Long ago, and well before I had heard the term ‘content marketing’, I discovered that sharing stories and information about music, dance and theatre had an amazing effect on building and retaining audiences. Rather than relying solely on the unrelenting deluge of advertising (‘buy tickets!’) and typical press releases, I wrote articles about the concerts I was presenting.
My best illustration of this is a jazz series I initiated despite the fact I knew nothing about jazz. Obviously, I had a lot to learn in order to succeed and to find an audience. I tackled both through research and writing.
Turning my budding knowledge into informative and chatty articles, I wrote out the instruments and rhythms of Cuban music, the history and harmonies of Delta blues, and the legacy and ladies of the Great American Songbook.
It was a good experience: I learned a lot, and the jazz series found a strong and loyal audience base.
Content Marketing is actually something of a misnomer. ‘Content’ refers to the curation of information that readers and audiences will find enlightening and valuable. The word ‘marketing’ is a little problematic, as the goal is not to sell, but rather to illuminate, illustrate, and share mutual interests.
Content marketing is powerful. It has the ability to establish trust and build relationships. It is eminently shareable through email and social media, easily increasing word-of-mouth. It differentiates your company from everyone else, and it places special attention, often with a unique perspective, on what you put on the stage.
Best of all, it really doesn’t cost a thing – except time and imagination. But, before you say you don’t have time, consider the benefits that far exceed a few hours of researching, thinking and writing.
The Takeaway: rather than placing yet another newspaper ad urging people to buy tickets, or writing another press release that will not likely see the light of day, communicate the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of your passions. You will find that people actually share your passions as they learn more about your interests and your art.
SIX TIPS FOR WRITING CONTENT THAT COUNTS
Like anything, content marketing takes practice and dedication. Here are a few simple tips for getting started on writing content that will find an audience.
- Give your readers a reason to care: your content should be focused, well written, and relevant. Tell your readers something they likely do not know.
- Write for the reader: it’s not about you or your brand. Don’t sell or tell. Write as if you are talking to someone.
- Offer pictures and videos: it is a quick and easy way to illustrate a point and tell a story. Plus, it is also very shareable.
- Be creative: use your imagination and you can find interesting new angles about anything. If someone can write great content about bubble wrap, you can write awesome content about your art. In other words, don’t underestimate what people will find interesting.
- Tell a story so people want to keep reading: it doesn’t have to be long, but give your writing some shape with an introduction, development and a conclusion. Spell check, get a critical second opinion, and then spell check again.
- Keep writing: dole out one story over a few posts or keep coming up with new content, but don’t stop – this is a long term commitment for a long-term relationship.
My inspiration: 15 Content Nuggets
10 ATTENTION GRABBING TITLES TO BOOST YOUR READERSHIP
There is a lot riding on the title of your writing. It is said that eight out of ten people will read your title, and only two out of ten will carry on from there. You want the subject line to be good, eye-catching and inviting.
One of my best (I think) was "Wombats, Missiles and Radios", which was actually the title for a story about Christmas carols leading up to a typical seasonal sing-along concert.
Here are 10 sample titles that you can use to boost your readership and perhaps ever inspire a few stories.
- How To Look Like A Diva In 10 Easy Steps
- Write about stage make-up tricks and techniques
- 20 Ways To Boost Your Inner Shakespeare
- Research ways to sound like a Shakespearean play
- Dieting Like A Dancer
- Tell people about your eating habits when preparing for a performance.
- So You Want To Be A Singer? (or Dancer, or Actor)
- Give people a glimpse of what it is like to be a professional artist.
- [Your Play], Then and Now
- describe historical and current interpretations of the play.
- My Most Frightening Moment On The Stage, or My Best Moment On The Stage
- Tell your readers about something that went wrong or right during a performance.
- What Everyone Should Know About Ibsen
- Avoid the usual biographical information; find and relay interesting and unusual stories about the author/composer/choreographer.
- En Pointe with Tutus
- Offer a short history of dance (or theatrical) costumes.
- So, What Really Goes On Behind The Scenes?
- An introduction to the backstage world of your production.
- Why Is The Green Room Never Green And Other Myths
- There are lots of theatrical superstitions and oddities that will be fun to describe.
Some of these may seem a little over the top, and they will not suit every situation. You can use these titles as inspiration for your own creations, or you may copy them directly. No matter what, remember the goal is to pique the reader's curiosity so they go beyond the title.
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