Ways To Entertain And Engage Readers With Content

Remember the days when you would lounge on the coach on a lazy Sunday morning and flip through the Sunday newspaper? You might start with the front-page headlines, or flip straight to the sports section, lifestyle or comics, but rarely did you put it down without reading your horoscope. 

Amazing how a fragmented media world has put everything at our fingertips, and those lazy days are now spent surfing on your iPad on the couch or at the coffee shop. If you think about it, when was the last time you looked up your horoscope?

We are a global society slowly conditioned to chunk information, which has created challenges that have forced retailers to mimic publishers, trying to compete with the likes of Amazon by being interesting and engaging even when customers aren’t buying.   

How do you engage your audience, effectively embedding your brand without impairing how the consumer perceives your brand?   Think about  the context of the media, not just the social or viral value.  And think about how you could possibly develop cool content fast enough to even consider moving in this direction.



I thought the best way to illustrate this shift was to expose you to a few bits of content that just work, most of the time.   Look at this through a marketer’s lens before you judge as a consumer.

To start it off, look at TV ads like what Kmart did in 2013: classic humor, a bit annoying.  Success or failure, in your opinion? 

Geico did a nice bit designed to target Millennials and cat lovers.  If you own a cat, you’ll probably read all “88 thoughts every cat owner has probably had at some point.”  If not, the animated gif snippets will keep you engaged.

Or for the yoga wanna-be, “11 slightly more accurate names for Yoga poses” definitely works.

There are brands you should definitely follow.  If you don't think Twitter’s entertaining, try following @charmin  for a week and report back. If you read my Valentine's Day post about toilet paper, you’ll likely understand this reference.  

 For the real men out there and likely the ones over 40, you can’t not follow Old Spice’s Facebook page  -- or better yet, this bit of strange content that you will watch and not know why.  

If you don’t have the team or budget to create the content,  why not curate it or license it from others?   For example, Orange, the service that connects content and people through wireless while on the London Underground, has done a tremendous job morphing from content creator to simply a curator.  Rather than hire an editorial team and scrambling to keep up, it used licensed and curated content to deliver news while evolving its entertainment portal.  While not a retailer, it provides a compelling proposition to think about how small or mid-sized retailers will compete with super retail brands for attention, share of voice and digital experience.

Whether or not you sell as a core objective, you can tap into the emerging world of humor, levity, and contextual engagement as a core brand trait. The world where consumers separate their shopping behaviors from their entertainment and information fixes has ended. If it's hard to know where to start, fall back on the concept of the Sunday paper and horoscopes and why we read them in the first place.

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