Major industries thrive off of the one eternal connection point we are all drawn to – the power of suspense.
Hollywood, book publishing, news media and radio all understand how to create a gap in the mind of their audience. It is part of storytelling and we are all drawn to a great story. To love story is to be human. It is hardwired into our psyche.
If you ever notice how advertisements on radio and TV are transitioned in and out, it is typically with some sort of suspense. There’s an action scene with a cliff hanger that keeps you coming back after the commercial break.
Or there could be some kind of mystery that has been built up. You have clues but you don’t have an answer.
All of these tactics are designed to help you stay engaged and pull you in. It’s hard to walk away because our minds do not do well with an open loop. We want to close the loop. It’s like an itch that we cannot ignore and have to scratch.
Bringing Hollywood to Your Audience
Effective content marketing creates and fills gaps in the mind of your buyers. A person who finds you online via search, social media or a referral will start to read what you have on your website as well as any content you provide. This starts to tell a story about who you are and what you do to bring value to other people.
They are naturally drawn to case studies and videos because they want to understand and believe that you do something special. They are looking for the success story that has played out.
The stories should have a problem that they can identify with, drama around the struggle of solving the problem and a resolution of how you overcame the dilemma.
Your story will connect if you can articulate and illustrate the depth of the problem. Some people don’t even realize they have a problem until you put a magnifying glass on it. This is why stories such as calcium deficiency and its effect on bone health or the security threats to an IT architecture create engagement. There is an increasing gap in the mind of the buyer. They thought they were doing ok. Your spotlight on the problem created a gap.
Gaps Create Suspense
When I learn about a problem I have not focused on previously, and the impact and relevance is both believable and detrimental, I start to pay attention. A narrative starts to form in my mind. I want to learn more so I can see what the recourse is to my problem.
For our clients, they start to come to an understanding that there are entirely new rules to marketing and that people are not paying attention. There are all these great tools and technology, but what is lacking is a true strategy for getting attention and engaging deeply with an audience. After all the gimmicks they realize that a real strategy of substance and content that people want to read is what works in the long run.
Your business has an entirely different subject matter, but you know what the problem is that people have to acknowledge before they are open to listening.
If you start at the solution or the shiny features of what you sell, then you are trying to engage a mind that is closed. Your audience won’t be open because they don’t feel a gap. They feel they are ok and nothing needs to be done. There’s not a problem to solve or anything that is unresolved.
If you watch how someone with a crisis behaves, they are highly focused. A severe toothache could have been prevented long ago, but there was not a gap in the person’s mind. When they experience the pain, they look for a dentist that will get the pain out.
Much of the job of effective content marketing is to create that crisis before the pain comes.
When you think about what your buyer has to believe before they become a customer, what is the gap that has to exist in their mind that you can fill?