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Content with intent: Entertain your audience

OK, I am about to share a very well-kept secret. There will be many people that will be angry with me that I have decided to share this with the world at large. (Well, at least our readers but who’s counting?) I risk being ostracized by just about everyone when I reveal the following: Business can be very boring.

Wow! What a relief! I said it and I feel good! How about you?! OK, so it wasn’t so much of a secret was it? It’s this reality that brings me to the next way that business really needs to look at their content no matter how dry the subject matter may be. There needs to be a level of entertainment.
People often work in environments that can sap the lifeblood from them. As a result, anyone who can brighten their day with something amusing yet still relevant to business scores a big win. While it sounds interesting, it’s not as easy as one might think when putting it into practice.

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The best way to show this is an example of someone who took a dry subject (lighting) and turned it into something that made me chuckle and think. These are two desired results that are rare in the world of business to business marketing, let alone marketing as a whole.
The following video was done by Cree Lighting’s Ginny Skalski. She and Cree as a whole have done a great job of taking a rather dry subject matter, lighting, and built interest around how Cree intends to revolutionize lighting through LED technology. Their blog is accomplishing this task, but what really caught my eye was this video that is worth the minute and a half look to see how one can both entertain and educate even on the most mundane topics.

While it’s not obvious from the video, the timing of this video adds to the humor a bit. You see, Cree did this at Easter time, so the use of chocolate Easter bunnies for this particular demonstration is even more clever.
So how do you entertain your audience? A better question to ask first might be, “Do you believe that you even can entertain your audience?” Is your product so dry that nothing could breath life into it, let alone entertain someone? Is your company so “old school” and boring that they wouldn’t consider this kind of approach to marketing even remotely plausible?
Well, you might be working for the wrong company or you might have been thinking about things from the wrong angle. As with any content question, the particular company situation and specifics will dictate what might or might not be done, but here are a few areas to consider if you think you can have a chance to make this happen.
Video – People watch ridiculous amounts of video online and the B2B space is not excluded from that. With the ability to shoot HD-quality video from a little handheld device, such as an iPhone or a Flip MinoHD, there is little if any capital investment required. What is needed, though, is some considerable thought and planning. While the Cree video looks simple, it wasn’t as easy as it appears to make it happen.
Twitter – With Twitter you can get away with more, especially if there is a personality attached to the account. Sometimes it’s better for a business to let one of their more creative types engage with customers so they can ‘keep it light.” This tactic, however, is fraught with risk so be very careful.
Blogging – Corporate blogs are a great place to throw in material that is on the lighter side. You can profile people or show some of the faces behind the products. There are many options with a blog. If your corporate blog is lacking personality, then I would suggest that it is lacking engagement which kills its effectiveness. Lighten up a bit.
Overall, finding ways to entertain people in the business world is much easier to talk about than to execute. Remember this, though. You don’t have to think that everything has to be THE piece that will go viral and get a million views. Look at the Cree example. It has received over 22,000 views as of this writing. Not bad. That’s 22,000 people who now think that LED lights exist and that they are different in a positive way. That’s success in any marketer’s book.
So look to entertain your customers and visitors alike. Remember that all work and no play makes a company look dull. Are you dull right now? Well, you need to get busy and laugh a little.

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