Most of us have been there before. Staring forlornly at laptop screens, avoiding the flashing of a cellphone as it lights up with Instagram notifications (although to be fair this is an hourly occurrence thanks to the guilty pleasure of following the Kardashians). These are the joys of working to send out a marketing campaign when it’s five o’clock.
Instead of enjoying an ice cold beverage or two, you are stuck attempting to figure out why the cursed HTML formatting refuses to hold across platforms. Perhaps equally as frustrating is the realization that arrives when it dawns on you that your precious marketing campaign is about to be sent to a bunch of lucky happy hour attendees, who in their state of blissful freedom will probably swipe left instead of right; that is assuming of course that they bother to open the email, view the social media ad, or read the post at all.
Ahh, the joys of marketing. The question that begs to be answered is not, “Why can I never escape work during summer happy hours,” but rather, “How do I make my content beg to be read, even when the shots are being poured?”
Step 1: Recognize The Myth Of 5 O’Clock
In the words of the great Jimmy Buffet, “It’s five o’clock somewhere.” Now, I’m not suggesting that you should adhere to the Hemingway endorsed “write drunk, edit sober” philosophy. On the contrary, if you want to create engaging content, then you need to first recognize that people will always be living their lives at all hours of the day.
Try as you might, you can’t force people to read or view your carefully crafted content marketing messages at the exact moment that you want them to, just like you can’t force the people of Austin to believe that happy hour typically starts at 5:00pm not the standard “keeping it weird” during 3 – 7 happy hours, emphasis on the extra s. What you can do is strategically choose the time of day that you deliver said messages, and, of course, keep the content as engaging as possible, which leads us to Step 2.
Step 2: Know Your Audience
Is your audience made up of Parrotheads or Deadheads? Perhaps they are Swifties or Beliebers? No matter who your audience is, you have to know them in order to create engaging content. Just as a comedian surveys the audience in the opening seconds to find any would be hecklers, so too must you survey your intended market group for any outliers.
Speaking of Outliers (although in this case the book by Malcolm Gladwell), “The lesson here is very simple. But it is striking how often it is overlooked. We are so caught in the myths of the best and the brightest and the self-made that we think outliers spring naturally from the earth. We look at the young Bill Gates and marvel that our world allowed that thirteen-year-old to become a fabulously successful entrepreneur. But that’s the wrong lesson. Our world only allowed one thirteen-year-old unlimited access to a time sharing terminal in 1968. If a million teenagers had been given the same opportunity, how many more Microsofts would we have today?”
In other words, when you truly know your audience you can spot the so-called outliers and learn what they have to teach you about upcoming trends, concerns, or ideas that might influence the entire group in unforeseen ways. In short, don’t underestimate the power of the outlier for a short term group consensus.
Step 3: Don’t Reinvent The Wheel If Your Business Builds Wings
Far too often marketing departments are forced to change directions because someone in upper management didn’t like “the numbers.” This trickle down initiative is the same as a business whose specialty is building wings saying, “Hey, I think we should reinvent the wheel instead.” The point being that in an effort to meet marketing metrics (aka “the numbers,”) you shouldn’t simply try something completely out of your wheelhouse. This philosophy goes back to the previous step: know your audience.
You can’t expect the content to be engaging when you are constantly changing your style or attempting something entirely different than the marketing voice that you have already worked hard to establish. Sure, change can be good, but typically in moderation. The reason is simple: just as you need to get to know your audience, so too do they need to get to know you. As the relationship grows, so too will their engagement levels. In other words, sometimes “the numbers” need to be ignored as you “shake it off.”
Putting It All Together To Increase Content Engagement
Shaken not stirred. On the rocks or neat. No matter the happy hour drink, the beautiful thing about that magical 60 minutes is that all sorts of people come together for one purpose–to relax after a long day of work. Instead of bemoaning the fact that you’re about to send out a marketing campaign at 5:00pm, remember your common purpose, namely to engage with an audience who might just be convinced to put down the growler in favor of reading your email, blog post, or social media update.
Laura P has written 4,000+ articles, blog posts, product reviews, press releases, and website content for a multitude of clients. In the past 7 years, she has developed written, marketing, video, and web content for clients in the real estate, information technology, restaurant, auto, retail, equine sales, oil and gas, and public relations industries. Laura is highly proficient in SEO optimization, particularly in real estate and retail industries. She ghost wrote IT white papers, government contract task orders, RFIs, and RFPs that resulted in millions of dollars won. She has 7-years of experience working with and interviewing olympic athletes, small-business owners, CEOs, SMEs, and entrepreneurs on complex topics. As a professional writer, Laura strives to create content that is both meaningful and relatable to her readers.