This week, we’re talking about audiences – helping them, gaming with them (until the law gets in the way), and putting them to sleep.
Set your audience up for smooth sailing
Second-generation family-owned company Sailrite is a one-stop retailer with an audience-first website. Designed for DIY-inclined home and boat owners, Sailrite’s website content prioritizes education (what the audience wants to know) over promotion (what the company wants to say or sell).
The company makes it easy for DIYers to buy the materials they need for their projects. Each New & Noteworthy entry includes an article, a how-to video, and an equipment list. The listed time stamps for each chapter in the video are especially helpful. (Want to see? Check out the temporary patio sun shade how-to.)
The Sailrite blog – Meet Our Customers – features interviews with customers and customer-submitted stories. Many of the posts go into great detail about not only the how but also the why of their projects. Some dive into quirkier topics like cat-proofing a boat.
WHY IT MATTERS: CMI’s Kim Borden says it best: “The website is set up for customer success.” And she would know. Kim had purchased material from Sailrite in the past. So when her family took on a “project boat” – one lacking the little luxuries like a motor and seats – she knew where to look for help. As she dove into tutorials making seats, cushions, and more, she appreciated the how-to information, tips, and tricks the website offered.
All the content is ungated and easily searchable. And that strategy paid off for both company and customer in Kim’s example.
“A large percentage of my purchases came from them because I have confidence in seeing how their tools were used in applications and their willingness to put the information out there ungated,” she says.
By designing and crafting a content strategy that keeps the audience top of the mind, the business created a place customers turn to (and trust) again and again.
HOW WE HEARD ABOUT IT: CMI’s Kim Borden shared the example with us.
They gamed the brands – and the brands won
Free, downloadable game Brands Against Humanity (briefly) turned the dark humor-style of Cards Against Humanity (and adult “party game for horrible people”) on brands that made horrible choices.
As Fast Company explains: “Instead of setting up pop culture and poop jokes, each white card in Brands Against Humanity lists an exceptionally egregious and unethical decision that a famous company has made in the past.”
But brands might have gotten the last laugh. Within weeks of the coverage, visitors wanting to download the game found this 404 message on the site:
What happened? Unfortunately, no one who wrote about the new game shared an update about its demise.
And Ellie and Elisa, the creative team behind the game, offered only an upside-down smile emoji in response to a tweet requesting information about what happened. (When we reached out to them by email, the creative duo let us know they don’t consider the game gone for good – but they’re not yet sure what form it will take when it returns. They also confirmed that none of the media outlets that originally covered the game had followed up with questions about its fate.)
— Ellie and Elisa (@ellieandelisa) February 22, 2021
WHY IT MATTERS: Brands Against Humanity offers a couple of lessons. First, pay attention to copyright laws even if you don’t plan to earn revenue from your content. Second, make sure to regularly update your content – you never know when the story will change. That advice goes for everything from periodically checking links to reaching out to your sources to make sure their advice still holds true.
HOW WE HEARD ABOUT IT: CMI’s Kim Moutsos wanted to download the game only to find a disappointing 404 error.
They fought the brands – and the brands won. What #ContentMarketing lessons to learn from the brief, bold ride of Brands Against Humanity via @KMoutsos @CMIContent. cc: @ellieandelisa #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet
Put your audience to sleep – on purpose
IKEA Australia wants to lull its customers to sleep with its IKEA Sleep Podcast and IKEA Slow TV.
Started a couple of years ago, the podcast periodically shows up on the IKEA Australia podcast page:
Yep, it’s simply a person narrating the IKEA catalog – product name after product name read in a soothing voice.
While the podcast pops up from time to time, IKEA Slow TV seems to have been a one-off project to support the company’s Festival of Sleep in 2019. The videos followed IKEA freight on a 14-day journey from Asia to Australia, from travel on a ship to the truck rolling up to the store. It included not only ambient sound but a reading of the IKEA products on board. “I can’t explain it, but I can’t stop watching,” wrote Jules Yap on the IKEA hackers blog.
(The Slow TV idea is based on Norway’s Slow TV concept, a livestream of what a vehicle sees in its journey – like this almost 10-hour train trip.)
WHY IT MATTERS: Many content marketers struggle with “boring” topics. In this case, IKEA – a brand known for quirky and fun – made “boring” the basis of its content. Turn boring on its head by delivering it in unexpected ways. That’s more likely to prompt a memorable connection and maybe even a conversation with customers.
HOW WE HEARD ABOUT IT: We saw an IKEA newsletter promoting its new livestreams and went down the rabbit hole until we found these examples. And even though they aren’t happening this week, we thought they were too unusual (and fun) to keep them to ourselves.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute