Do you recall the scene in Mission: Impossible when Tom Cruise is dangling from a line to infiltrate the CIA? Picture it in your head. Try to recall the context of the scene, the motivation of the characters. Recall (or imagine) some tense music playing.
Now think about when you first saw this great movie. Is this the scene you thought about when you told your friends to go see it too? And after they did, is this the scene you talked about?
Assuming you’ve seen Mission: Impossible, you probably did – because the excitement of this iconic moment imprinted on your consciousness, and you couldn’t help but share your experience.
Get worked up
Chances are, you’re not going to be scripting a Hollywood blockbuster. You probably also don’t have a blockbuster budget to work with (if you do – call me!). Yet the lesson of palm-tingling movie moments is still instructive.
Excitement is important because it keeps you engaged, and helps you retain what you’ve experienced. That much is probably obvious. If you’re a studio executive at Paramount, you know that the exciting moments in Mission: Impossible were what your audience would remember when they came back for the sequel.
But excitement is more than an outgrowth of being memorable. Experiences that are simply memorable stay with you, but you won’t feel compelled to share them with others. Excitement is the quality that makes you pick up the phone, open up Facebook, or walk over to the water cooler. When you’ve had an exciting experience, you want to share it.
So even though we’re not making a Hollywood movie, we can still try to make our content so inspiring that our customers just have to share it.
Something to share
Many marketing materials lack excitement. They are designed to relay information and to persuade, but they don’t tug at the emotions. Yet it’s possible to produce content that has the pull of a great popcorn flick. Here are a few ways to do it.
- A summer movie audience wants action, so filmmakers give it to them in the biggest, most frequent, and most creative doses they can. In the same way, you need to decide what factors are most attention-grabbing to your customers. Is it fast response time? Great customer service? Ease of use? Whatever it is, give it to them big, fast, and frequently in your materials. Make sure that this message comes across in the first few seconds, so your reader will continue to pay attention.
- Plumb the limits of what your product means for your customers. Just as filmmakers push the boundaries in action scenes, you should drive your text as far as possible in your white paper, email copy, website, etc. Of course you need to stay professional and accurate – your limits are not the same as Tom Cruise’s.
- As appropriate, use superlatives, exclamation points, dramatic rhetorical questions, and aspirational phrases to build up the excitement. Just be sure not to overuse them, or you’ll sound cheesy. An example I like is the Twitter account of General Electric, which uses motivational language (“Build. Power. Move. Cure.”) and just the right amount of exclamation points to keep its feed exciting. The liberal use of fascinating Vines and video elevates the effect.
- Give your prospects and customers an implicit reason to share. While it’s possible to bribe your prospects into retweeting, liking, and pinning your content, it’s far better to make them want to. Have you written something that will make your readers look great to their friends if they share it? Will your readers who share seem smart, fashionable, ahead of the curve?
Tallying the results
How can you tell if your content is exciting?
We naturally want to tell others about the exciting experiences we’ve had, whether great movies, roller coaster rides, or interesting reads. The best way to measure the impact of this excitement is through sharing.
Is your content being shared on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest? Are people blogging about it and linking to it? Are they talking about it at trade shows? Are they mentioning what you wrote to your competitors? Success in any of these areas is good evidence of excitement.
Of course, you want the right kind of attention. You don’t want your business to be known for the wrong reasons.
Once you add a dash of excitement to your content, your prospective customers will start talking about it – and the results you want are sure to follow.
Have you ever read a piece of really exciting content? Tell us how it affected you in the comments below.