VIDEO: The importance of making content marketing projects fun

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

I was speaking in Berlin at the Best of Content Marketing conference in June 2017 and tried something new: I used emoji pillows for my talk. Let me walk you through that. Keep in mind the point of this article is to show how important it can be to make projects fun so frontline staff actually want to be engaged and participate.

Prefer to read the transcript? Follow this link. (It’s 8,000 words, though. FYI.)

Of course we need frontline staff to help us share the best and most unique stories for our organization. After all, they are closest to the stories. So here’s what I did in Berlin.

I again did not use PowerPoint but brought emoji pillows. To get the party started I used the emoji pillow with the heart eyes to welcome the standing room-only crowd:

“One ?  for everyone wanting to tell better stories. Let’s get going!”

Then I walked through six types of content-five of them that audiences actually want to consume. I used emoji keychain pillows for that:

So for example, one of them was to represent emotionally touching content. So I would hold up the emoji and say “who would want emotionally touching content?” That’s content that makes an impact that makes you feel something. And of course the hands would raise up in the room and everybody wants that kind of content. So then I would take  the emoji keychain pillow and throw it to one person in the room.
They were just delivered a piece of emotionally relevant content.  This really engaged the audience and people were participating.

< Picture a foul ball going into the stands in a major league baseball game. ?? The pillows were soft and nobody was hurt.>

Of course the sixth piece of content was C.R.A.P. (Content Really Annoying to People).

I talked about how people don’t want that kind of content, how it’s often self serving or really just kind of lame.  I asked who would like the crap content emoji? (By the way just because you put a ? hat on it doesn’t make it any better.)
A few hands quickly raised up and I asked one of them why they would want it?

“To remind me not to create it.”

Good answer. Here you go. <Throws emoji over.>

So we kept talking about how to come up with better stories and how to share them and  at some point I mentioned that we have to get frontline staff involved. They have many of the organization’s stories that are worth sharing and that impact our customers. I showed frontline staff through these two, which were sitting on top of a speaker – so somewhat isolated from the action:

That’s often the case with frontline staff and marketing teams. They’re fairly isolated from each other, but to make things work they actually have to talk to each other. By the way, yes that’s the Hootsuite owl in the picture. Hootsuite was nice enough to sent me some swag and I used it to also talk about distribution.

More on Hootsuite here (Not sponsored)

So then we get to the point of having a discussion on how to get frontline staff involved. I asked: what do you think you have to do to get frontline staff involved with the organizational storytelling?
Somebody-maybe even multiple people-hollered: “Do what you just did!”

“Throw emojis at them?”

“Make it fun.”
And that is such a good point. People want to be engaged and want to have fun. Yes, we’re all business people and ultimately have to run businesses. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. And when we make content marketing programs fun they actually have a nice likelihood to succeed. Frontline staff will likely be more open to participating and to sharing their stories and letting marketing teams tell them.

So how could we make processes fun-not just simple-but actually fun for participants? Here are some ideas:

  • Be easy to work with
  • Have a sense of humor
  • Make it a fun competition. Whoever shares the most stories wins. Something like that!
  • Actually publish the stories that are being shared

And then make sure the fun content marketing project also addresses some of their pain points. Ultimately the project needs to have some kind of business impact but combining addressing pain points and making it fun can actually be a recipe for success and engagement.

This was first written in July 2017 and updated in May 2018.

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