The content on your website should have as its primary goal making your company and its products and services memorable. In this, web content is no different from other traditional forms of advertising; the goal is to make the product stick in the mind somehow. For instance, there was the catchy jingle or the hilarious punch line that stuck with the viewer long after the commercial had been viewed. The “memory-tag” attached itself to the viewer’s mind and didn’t let go.
Web content has an advantage over traditional advertising, in that the customer actively seeks it out. By contrast, TV commercials and magazine ads (to name a couple of examples) are usually obtrusive and insert themselves into an activity the consumer is enjoying. In order to make up for this intrusion, commercials have to be funny, intriguing, or at least memorable. Web content has to do this, too, but it doesn’t start with the handicap of being potentially annoying.
There are thousands of different ways to present content, but all website content can be broadly sorted into two categories: 1) informative and 2) entertaining. Now, it is certainly possible for a given piece of content to be both these things, but it will always be primarily one or the other: information presented in an entertaining way or entertainment that also happens to be informative. With that in mind, here are some compelling and effective content strategies to use:
1. Content That Reveals Secrets or Gives Access to the Previously Unknown
This effect has a dual goal-fulfillment and psychological effect. A viewer may have been seeking out specific information about a product or may just have wanted to know more. If he finds some arcane or obscure fact about the product that he hadn’t known before, that’s like finding a bit of buried treasure. For instance, someone surfing the site of a dealer in Oriental teas might read a history blurb about how tea became popular in some areas of the Middle East when the 14th century conqueror Tamerlane (with a rather prescient knowledge of the principles of sanitation) ordered his soldiers to boil all their drinking water—and they put tea leaves in it because boiled water tastes pretty bad. So the viewer, intrigued by this fact, might remember it (memory-tag) more than the other aspects of the product, and later, might recall, “Where did I read that? Oh yeah, that Oriental teas website…” and then endeavor to return to that site. Creating a content that reveals such secret would have more chance to get it memorable rather than a plain content.
2. Content That Reminds Us That Dreams Can Come True
We all have goals both realistic and unrealistic, but we never like to be told that any of those goals are anything but the former. It’s fun to fantasize, and if the viewer has a particular goal (or fantasy), then anything that helps to feed that fantasy or encourage that goal will be memorable. Want to put on delicious, memorable dinner parties for all your friends? Buy our cookbook. Want to have all the guys panting and drooling over you? Look at these photos and imagine how you would look in a pair of FemBomb high heels. It doesn’t have to be realistic (and probably 9/10 of all advertising is anything but that), but it does have to be memorable.
3. Content Where the Underdog Wins
The story of David and Goliath is memorable because we feel like David a lot more often than we feel like Goliath. A story of how someone won against the odds can be very compelling, and—here is the key for all such strategies–it doesn’t really matter whether it ties in that well with your product(s) or not. The idea is to present the content and let the viewer form his own associations.
4. Content That Reminds Us That We Matter
Let’s face it—life sometimes makes you feel like just another ant in an immense anthill. We have a visceral need to feel important; to feel special. Presenting this idea as part of content has been a tried-and-true method in advertising for a long, long time. Think of all the ads you’ve seen that urge you to “indulge yourself” or say that “you deserve it.” These are often for minor indulgences such as a candy bar or a bottle of perfume. It doesn’t take much to convince someone that they deserve something special!
5. Content That Confirms Our Assumptions
There’s something in human psychological makeup called the “confirmation bias,” which means that we give disproportionate weight to those items of evidence that seem to confirm our preconceived notions and discount those items that seem to contradict them. So content that caters to a preexisting belief set will be both pleasing and memorable. One way this might be used to sell a product would be to confirm that a given food is healthy.
6. Content That Challenges Our Assumptions
We do like having our beliefs validated, but that doesn’t mean we’re all sticks in the mud. We are generally willing to modify the way we do things if there’s some tangible benefit to be gained. For instance, someone selling a line of diesel pickup trucks could link to an article about how diesels actually burn cleaner than gasoline engines and are thus environmentally friendly. This might constructively challenge the assumptions of a viewer who would have liked to buy a diesel pickup but refrained from doing so because he thought that diesel engines produced a large amount of pollution.
7. Content That has Unexpected Twists
Surprise is a central element of both humor and memorability—two aspects of marketing content that are useful and valuable. A video that is intriguing and surprising, a story or narrative that has an unexpected ending, or even a series of photos that leads to an interesting, unexpected conclusion—these all create memory tags that the viewer will associate with your product.
8. Content That Tells a Story
Narrative has been around for a long time. The idea is to make that narrative both memorable and associative with your product(s). It doesn’t have to be profound or even serious at all—the story of Cinderella and the Slam-O-Matic Vegetable Chopper will certainly be remembered, one way or another. And herein lies the secret—just as there’s no such thing as bad publicity, a customer remembering your website—for whatever reason—is never a bad thing!
9. Content That Inspires Us to Action
Just as we want to feel important, we want to feel that our actions matter. Content that galvanizes us—whether it’s to lose fifty pounds, or to change the oil in our car, or to contribute to the Green Party—will be memorable and thus create the product associations we want. If the action you ask for just happens to also inspire and increase conversions, it could be a win-win situation.
10. Content That Makes Us Laugh or Smile
This is pretty much the oldest trick in the book, and probably the most effective. What commercials do you remember? The funny ones. Laughter is never unwelcome (even at funerals; just ask the Irish).
When all else fails, make your web content humorous.
So remember, the best titles and headers in the world will not help unless you have content that connects with the reader and makes him want to take action. That action may be to recommend your site to friends providing viral marketing, to purchase a product or service from your site, or simply to influence his views and opinions on a matter or brand. And that is your ultimate objective at the end of the day.
This guest post was written by Deny Saputra, who is a blogger and social media enthusiast. Loved to write and commenting about social media, SEO, IM, Blogging and many other related topics. Deny also write regularly for Getwebsitetraffic.org