We want everyone to be able to grab their Avengers: Endgame tickets, but it looks like we’ve gotten Thanos’ snap. We’re working on getting things back up and running, and in the meantime, please keep trying our website and our partner sites!
— AMC Guest Services (@AMCHelps) April 2, 2019
Fandango reported that this latest installment in the Marvel series broke the previous first-day presale record, held by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in just six hours.
The fanaticism is real. Up until recently, the only Marvel movie I’d seen was Black Panther (because you know, Wakanda Forever). I have a date with my partner to see the new Avengers movie in a few weeks. To make sure I’m fully prepared for the experience, he made sure I watched Captain Marvel and Avengers: Infinity War prequels in advance.
A similar kind of excitement and eager anticipation exists with Game of Thrones. I’ve seen zero episodes, but have been fascinated by the impact the series has had on people. In anticipation of the final season of the show, I’ve seen people posting photos and videos of their Game of Thrones blankets, whiskey bottles, and action figures.
Even though I don’t have a television, and am grossly behind in movies, I’m not immune to this kind of fanaticism. Years ago when I did have a tv, I binge watched a full season of Glee while on holidays. When I discovered the Serial podcast I binge listened to the entire season in a day.
The good news is, there is a similar thread in these content forms that you can apply to get your customers to be just as fanatical about what you produce. And you can implement this simple strategy without having the blockbuster budgets of Marvel, Game of Thrones, or Serial. Here’s how.
How to Create “Must Consume” Content Your Customers Will Devour
Tell stories with cliff hangers, leave loose-ends, ratchet up the drama, and layer in lots and lots of emotion. Take your customers on an emotional roller coaster, that will make them feel incomplete if they don’t know what happens next.
Soap operas have used this format for years. That’s why people have spent decades watching the twist and turns of the same characters. There is always some detail, some problem, some unanswered question that keeps the audience tuning in day after day, week after week, year after year.
And it’s the approach the Marvel series, Game of Thrones, Glee, Serial, and many more have used to transform eager audiences into superfans and loyal customers.
You can do the same with your content.
Delivering good content is all about storytelling. And when done well, you can weave stories about your brand into that content.
One way to do it is to tell stories about your company. When Alex Bloomberg started Gimlet Media, a narrative podcasting company, he chronicled the ups and downs, the good, the bad, and the ugly in podcast form for season one of the show Startup.
Take your customers behind-the-scenes of what it is really like to build your business. Showcase your goal, and take them along the journey as you show up each day to tackle it. Your customers aren’t looking for perfection. They want to know you’re human, and have triumphs and low points, just like them.
You could tell stories about your customers. Make your customer the hero. Follow along and showcase their own journeys as they work to achieve the transformation your business helps them with.
At my last corporate job, we would feature our patients with type 1 diabetes stories as they worked to tackle big goals. We featured one group as they worked to swim across the English channel, and another athlete in his quest to run across Canada.
The serialized stories you tell don’t have to be real either. Avengers, Game of Thrones, and Glee are pure fiction. But that didn’t stop me or any of the other fans from getting emotionally invested in what happens to the characters.
GE launched a science-fiction podcast series, The Message a few years ago. By going above the brand to tell stories that hooked their audience, GE delivered an experience that delighted millions of listeners.
Producing original content is a smart way to deliver experiences that attract more of your ideal customers. But when you deliver that content in a serialized storytelling format, you set the stage to get those customers so hooked on what you do, that they won’t be able to help but to keep coming back for more of what you produce again, and again, and again.