We now live in an attention economy, where it’s harder and harder to get the attention of multitasking multi-device consumers. More and more companies are acting like publishers, creating killer content and using techniques like native advertising / Content Recommendation to garner further engagement. That’s how they get attention and mindshare. More and more marketers are curious about what kind of content people love. Some of the answers are here.
We originally posted 21 types of content people crave. These were seen by more than 675K people, generating 110 comments and 520 shares. Our summary top 10 graphic was seen by yet more. Based on the feedback we got, and our own research using InfiniGraph, we narrowed it down to what we think are the 10 most important. Let’s explore what those are and how you can use them in this blog post.
1. Reveal Secrets
I’m going to tell you a secret. Just kidding. See how that works? We pay attention. No one wants to be uninformed, or at a disadvantage from a lack of knowledge. InfiniGraph is in the business of telling secrets about social media to CMO’s. There are content pieces, themes, and strategies already working, either in your niche or another- if you only knew what it was. Contact us and we’ll let InfiniGraph tell you some secrets.
2. Remind Us That Dreams Can Come True
Life is tough. Sometimes it’s great. Sometimes it sucks. We are fueled by our goals and our dreams. People love your Facebook page if it helps them believe in and achieve their dreams- whether that’s riding a mountain bike in the desert, or achieving financial freedom with their own business, or just enjoying good times with their friends. Every company has customers and all of those customers have individual and shared dreams. Tap into people’s dreams and drive them forward. Your products and services are just a means to the end. What’s the end?
3. David Defeats Goliath
Luke Skywalker. Hunger Games. Ender’s Game. The American Revolution. Ghandi. Martin Luther King Jr. They all are empowering stories because the little guy can win sometimes. And hope is a very powerful fuel that most of could use a bit more of.
4. Remind Us That We Matter
Everyone can’t be the President or Tom Cruise. Everyone is important. Sometimes we forget that. And how many problems could we solve if the disempowered were empowered and given a role? How much more could each of us do if we believed in ourselves and the part we play?
5. Confirm Our Assumptions (Tell Us We’re Right)
Nobody wants to be wrong. We want more and better information, but we also want confirmation that we haven’t been on the completely wrong track. That’s why it’s so powerful to tell someone that what they’re saying is valuable. Our emotions and pride get mixed up with out knowledge, so we feel more comfortable when people are confirming that at least some of our ideas are already right.
Is this at odds with #8? We’ll talk about that below.
6. Expose Unexpected Twists
Surprise! We love surprises. We love new information, new patterns, new revelations. In fact, one theory of humor is that we laugh when a comedian makes a new connection in your brain. Two things had never been connected before, and it’s hilarious how they now make sense together. Horror comes from the same place- surprise, but bad news, dangerous revelations- finding out that you aren’t as safe as you thought you were. Whether it’s comedy or tragedy, we love it.
Keep in mind that the best way to get someone to do something new is to scare them. Kinda like how if you don’t use InfiniGraph and your competitors do, you might lose mindshare and revenues. It’s true!
7. Tell Us A Story
The most popular forms of entertainment have always been stories. From the oral tradition of Homer’s Odyssey to Shakespeare to Hollywood, people crave stories. Stories scare, amuse and inspire us. They give us perspective. They help us live and work better. Or they just help us escape our own lives for awhile. Either way, they’re powerful attention grabbers, and while you have that attention, you can influence your listeners.
8. Challenge Our Assumptions (Tell Us We’re Wrong!)
Now you’re telling me I’m wrong? How dare you! Wait- at least you have my attention. The power of the contrarian is shocking people into wondering if they’ve been thinking about this all wrong. You can use it to grab attention, but then you’d better back it up. If you don’t, people will like you less for having fooled them. Even if you do have a valid and true contrarian point to make, end your content with some affirmation and make sure you’ve given people a way to deal with the new information constructively. Now you’ve created value- a type of value that differentiates you in the marketplace.
9. Inspire Us To Act
We’re always moving. Even when we sleep our minds are moving forward, exploring and acting. We want to go somewhere. We want you to help us get there. We don’t want to be depressed or stymied. Sometimes we’re stuck because we’re uninspired. Sometimes we don’t have the tools we need. Sometimes we stop believing we can get there. Whether it’s by inspiring, empowering, or leading, inspire your customers to act in a way that moves them toward their goals and dreams.
10. Make Us Laugh Or Smile
Who doesn’t want to be happy? Ok, depressed people don’t. But we want people to associate our brand with positive emotions. What’s more likely to get shared- things that make people feel good, that they can pass on to their friends and make them feel better? Or things that depress you? Who wants to share something like that? They say that fear gets people to try new things, but affirmation gets them to continue. So maybe your content is a mix of 10% alerting people to problems and 90% positive.
You have to get attention and awareness before people can choose to buy from you. Having fans isn’t enough- because of Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm, you might not reach them all. Engaging content means visible content. And then if it’s persuasive, that means revenue. The same issue exists with Twitter- how many people actually see your tweets? Are they looking right now or doing something else? Clicks can be a better measure than followers. So learn the lessons of what kinds of content people crave, then make sure your content is also persuasive, and watch the cash register ring.