Knowing your audience intimately is essential to any successful marketing campaign. In fact, it’s the first and most essential ingredient when you’re leveraging the power and allure of tabloid #journalism to reach as many customers as possible. As I covered in an earlier blog, tabloid journalism works because it gives us what we want and taps into our impulsive desires for scandal, fun, and entertainment. When done well, we find it irresistible. But to enrapture and tempt your audience, you have to first know what they want. There’s a reason movie trailers show us explosions and hinted-at nudity—they’re making us anticipate what happens next.
B2B tech marketing should do the same. Companies must start by identifying their customers. In some cases, businesses will already have fleshed out customer personas. Remember, though: one size does not fit all. Being able to identify the distinctions between different customer personas is crucial. There’s a reason BuzzFeed and sites like it have stories aimed at mothers, war veterans, dieters, and cat lovers and not just stories about Kim Kardashian. Not every story or marketing campaign will appeal to everyone, but by making it very appealing to some, you can get tremendous results.
Once you’ve identified your different types of customers, you need four additional crucial ingredients for tabloid-style success. Unlike making a soufflé, there’s no specific order that has to be followed when mixing these components. You can start or end with any of them. All that matters is that you include them all.
The Catchy Headline
There’s a famous adage in journalism that the writer never gets to craft his own headline. There’s logic there: the journalist is not a marketer and does not necessarily know the best way to sell the piece and grab the reader’s attention. The same is true of marketing materials. Using tabloid templates like “The Top Ten Things…” or “Can You Guess…” can either be the start of a campaign or the cherry on top. A tabloid headline could lead marketers to list out the top ten reasons a product should appeal to a customer, which then helps to shape the content of the piece. Or, the headline could come as a result of first pinpointing the ideal audience for the materials. Either way, the headline should have some punch, and drawing on pop culture references is generally a sure fire way to do so. For instance, I once wrote an article entitled “Fifty Shades of Graph” about graphical databases that gathered a lot of hits.
What’s The Get?
What’s going to interest your audience the most? If you can’t answer this, you may not attract customers. Building on the type of cross-demographic interests that click sites exploit so well, like fatherhood, religion, and food, is a good bet for marketers as well. It’s entirely possible to structure tech pieces around mass appeal topics, whether you’re linking #big data to Darth Vader, or databases to sex. But marketers can also get millage out of delving into the pleasure the audience can have with the piece— will it be a vicarious thrill like celebrity photos in posh locales or just pure entertainment like watching a dog play piano?
Where’s The Beef?
Content matters. So does the story. If a company already has a compelling story it knows will appeal to customers, then deciding how to package it with a headline and pop references becomes easier. If the story still needs to be built out, start with the headline or content form. Ultimately, what matters is that there’s enough substance to take the reader’s initial titillation and turn it into a lead.
Form Serves A Function
When coming up with content ideas, form can be a catalyst for creation. Would something as playful as a quiz appeal to your consumers? Or would they prefer the ranking of a listicle or an expert interview? Marketers should explore all the forms click sites use to draw in views, and vary the form they produce their materials in to constantly remain fresh for customers.
Once your audience persona base has been established, you can combine these four tabloid journalism ingredients of headline, appeal, story, and form to generate captivating content. Tabloid style journalism is not appropriate for every setting, but marketers should embrace its best elements. Tabloid journalism recognizes a basic fact about human psychology: promise to amuse us and we cannot help ourselves. We want to be entertained—even when it comes to learning about tech products.
Keep ‘em coming back for more with tabloid style content marketing collateral
Also read our other posts about the link between journalism and #content marketing:
Content Marketing Lessons From The History of Journalism
Why B2B Marketing Should Titillate like Tabloid Journalism
The Naked Truth for Marketers: Investigative Journalism Matters