"A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself"
Those words from American dramatist Arthur Miller sum up the way in which newspapers must, to stay relevant, reach out and involve readers. If readers aren’t engaged and don’t want to talk about and debate the content within a newspaper then it’s as dead as the bit of tree it’s printed on.
One of my editors told me that you can judge the quality of a newspaper by its letters section. If it’s packed with entertaining views, on a range of issues, from a variety of readers then it’s doing well. Fast forward to the modern day and you can, to an extent, say the same for the comments section.
If no-one cares about what you write you’re fighting a losing battle. It's not just written content either. Bosses at ITV were quick to axe drama series Jekyll and Hyde recently. A big reason for the lack of a second series? The show started at 4.8 million viewers and plummeted to 1.8 million by the end of the run. The audience dwindled and so, therefore, did the patience of the broadcasters.
Every piece of content needs an audience or else it is doomed to fail and, as brands look for ways to use content effectively in their marketing strategies, it's a vital lesson for businesses to learn.
This is, however, easier said than done. As more and more brands realise the power of storyteling and content in their marketing output there's a need for them to fully understand what this entails and how to make it work for them.
While newspapers are a nation – or at a local level a town/city/region – talking to itself, brands must be judged on different criteria. A modern brand, to paraphrase Miller, is a publisher reaching out and engaging its audience. Storytelling has to be done well and done for a purpose, if it is to be done at all and that purpose should be to grab the attention of the audience and forge a closer relationship. Without an audience you'll simply be talking to yourself, a level of self-indulgence that really isn’t a good look in marketing.
If a brand is a publisher then, just as you might judge a newspaper on the letters it elicits, it should come to be judged on the audience interaction it evokes. Whether that’s in terms of social shares, comments, replies or in a monetary sense in ROI - which depends on the business and its particular targets, but it's important and it can be done if, and only if, it gets its story and content spot on. If you can get people talking, attract their interest and bring them in to your story, you'll earn a much closer and more lucrative relationship with your customers and reap the rewards that brings.
But, to make sense of this a brand must understand:
In a bid to help address these key issues we've launched a new eBook. It’s free to download, just follow this link or button below and let us help you deliver content that talks to your audience and will deliver the results you want.
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