Content is King (and yes, the crown does blend)

02/18/14 Daniel Warren


The Blendtec videos were viewed over six million times within five days of their posting on YouTube and on Blendtec’s website. They’ve been viewed more than 100 million times since.

Blendtec’s “Will It Blend” video series is a primo example of effective content. Fearless and fantastic, this marketing tool offers up a rare gem in marketing – creative that NAILS everything beneficial about a product (pure advertising if you will) while APPEARING as genuine content (art for art’s sake, per se). Frankly, not everything your brand has to say can achieve this holy grail of communication. But finding the optimal balance between the two is part of having fresh, effective content.

Your company can learn a lot from Blendtec. Even if comedy isn’t in your wheelhouse, there’s pure value in this content. Here’s 7 things to consider when you’re planning what you want to say to your audience:

1.) Does your content humanize your company?

The challenge with digital communication is that it’s a medium where people are interacting in the absence of another person. However, the better your content, the more it will impart human feelings – happiness, joy, wonder, curiousity. However, just making people feel isn’t enough.

CONTENT TIP: Review your content from a 3,000-foot perspective. What’s the gist of the story you’re telling? Is it relatable? Could you order some coffee and genuinely explain it to a barista? Would they want to hear more?

2.) Is your content fun?

These videos appeal to our inner child. Even if you’re selling bank mortgages, there’s opportunities to impart wondrous moments – buying your first house, starting your own business – good content captures these feelings. The secret to being childlike is that it’s a state of mind conducive to possibility. A consumer who envisions possibility is a consumer who is more likely to make use of your product. But be careful….

CONTENT TIP: Find the balance between the real message and the imagined fun… If you’re working with a local brewery, your focus will lean towards the REAL offering. Whereas if you’re working with tax returns, you may need to push the BENEFITS of getting a tax refund (i.e. the imaginary)…

3.) Is your content real?

These videos ARE in fact, real. They are the product in question doing what these products are meant to do… blend… Imagine how different it would be if a company selling lawn gnomes and Christmas lights made this video. Although, perhaps if you were selling lawn gnomes by blending them maybe you’re onto a recent development in marketing…

CONTENT TIP: Think of content creation as a spectrum. Yes, you need to push the creativity, but make sure you don’t lose the message to the frills.

4.) Is your content interactive?

Maybe you asked your fans what else you can do with lawn gnomes and they suggested blending them. In Blendtec’s case, fans can suggest things for Dickson to blend and he listens. They engage with followers social media and they sound like people when they do it. If you make excellent content you have the chance now to share it many ways…

CONTENT TIP: Let’s talk about interactive… interactive doesn’t mean you automatically have to engage fans by having them vote, or by administering this week’s FWA Site of the Day cliché. Interactive means you understand your audience well enough to know how they’ll engage with your message.

5.) Is your content integrated into all appropriate channels?

Will it Blend is on Twitter, Facebook, a microsite, the company’s homepage, and the company blog. If you have something worth sharing, a design agency can and will get that message up everywhere it counts. Overlap and redundancy do not bode well when we interact, but one thing about excellent content, is that people won’t mind coming across it multiple times.

CONTENT TIP: Again, think spectrum… a good message in the yesteryears of advertising had “legs” and could sit well in all media. But today’s content is malleable. Remember that one of the most successful campaigns of last year, Felix Baumgartner’s jump from space, had NO broadcast media. Now, success hinges on putting the RIGHT message in the RIGHT place. That’s not always everywhere.

6.) Does your work show off your product?

These videos make it clear – that’s one hell of a blender. It costs $400, and it looks totally worth it. Business is business, and perception is part of my work as a content creator. It’s a good relationship: I put energy into presenting something; you focus on doing what you do best, creating quality goods/services. Case and point: the better your blender, the better videos we can make of stuff blending, metaphorically speaking.

CONTENT TIP: When organizing your content, it’s important to determine what the INITIAL impression is going to be. EVERY message shows off your product. But you’ll need to make choices about the hierarchy to attain the balance of pure product versus perceived benefits….

7.) Does it sell your product?

Bottom line is that you’re marketing efforts are there to increase bottom line. In Blendtec’s case, sales are up more than 700% since the campaign began. Pretty, pretty good.

CONTENT TIP: Trim the fat. At the end of the day, your message is really “buy this service”… which means that A) you need to talk to people who can make use of the given service… B) you need to make them really want it and C) you need to make it easy for them to obtain it… If something doesn’t do one of the three, let it go…

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