Trying to hook a reader? Or a viewer?
Sometimes it works really well to craft a story, identify a moment of crisis, and start right there.
Because you can use that very first moment to get them emotionally invested in the story’s outcome.
Television dramas execute this all the time.
Someone in a dark room, frightened, trying to get out.
“Why is my favorite character trapped?” you think.
Cut to 5 days before.
You need to understand what led to this moment.
And how—if!—things get resolved.
Great writers do this, too.
They open a loop.
Bring you into the action.
Make you want the missing pieces filled in.
“But, Ashley, I create content for a B2B SaaS company. It’s different. There aren’t climactic moments in my industry.”
Sure there are.
How about that moment right before you hit send on an email going out to thousands of people and you’re not 100% sure you got the segmentation right?
What about the stress of presenting your idea to the CEO and Zoom requires an update to open?
Or the times when 2 conflicting priorities are vying for attention and you’re in charge of deciding which one gets cut, TODAY?
Use those moments your audience can relate to.
You don’t have to over dramatize them (in fact, that undermines things a bit).
Instead, create a short, relatable introduction.
Be concise, but set a scene that resonates and/or piques curiosity.
If it feels too “imaginary,” talk to a customer and get them to tell you about a situation they were in and use their words to explain the rising action.
And, here’s something you might not expect to hear from a woman who loves a good, slow narrative:
MAKE IT SOMETHING THEY CAN SKIP IF THEY’D RATHER GET RIGHT TO THE TACTICAL BITS.
Like this Prologue.
It’s not for everyone, and that’s ok.
If you’re here for the curated links, you know how to scroll.
It’s the same as landing on a blog article and scanning to see what the H2s are recommending.
If you start “in the action” and you make the introduction skimmable—“Ah, I get it. This article is about X.”—you’re providing an experience that lets someone navigate to what they want to get out of the engagement.
Don’t make them slog through exposition if they’d rather not.
It’s the same for podcasting.
I’d rather fast forward past the “tell me about your background” bit in most interviews and get right to the thesis: “Today, we’re talking about how to not waste your audience’s attention.”
This week’s round up includes some inspiration, intentional thought provoking, and a touch of AI (it’s coming, y’all). Let me know what you think.”
SEO And Thought Leadership Roundup
There’s a lot of chatter about both SEO and Thought Leadership in the content marketing world. Take a look at the roundup below for insights, questions, answers, and more.
SEO vs Thought Leadership
“When did SEO content become separate from “thought leadership content?”
She then explains why good content combines both, and offers a framework for building a “content moat” that involves: positioning, depth, POV, and search intent.
Influencer vs Thought Leader vs Subject Matter Expert
Ashley Faus is asking and answering questions of her own. When it comes to distinguishing between influencers, thought leaders, and SMEs, she advocates for using 4 assessment pillars: credibility, profile, prolific, and depth of idea.
Thoughtful and Leading Thought Leadership
How do you know if you’re creating “good” thought leadership content? Greg Levinsky offers a definition and shares 4 dimensions you can use to evaluate your content: Market context, audience insights, corporate alignment, and organizational readiness.
Investing in SEO
“Invest in SEO early and avoid the problems that could limit your growth tomorrow.”
Ross Simmonds’s LinkedIn post explains why businesses fail to invest in SEO and what the consequences can be.
Supercuts Are Super
Guess what happens when you record video case studies / testimonials with happy customers?
You build up enough footage to create a “supercut.”
Seth Morris and Sara Robinson are working on something pretty cool for Audience Ops, and I’m looking forward to seeing the final product.
For now, I’ll explain the concept:
Take 4 or more interviews you’ve recorded with customers (ones they’ve agreed can be used promotionally, of course) and create a video that combines the best stuff.
It can be used on a homepage and purposed for social media, YouTube preroll ads, you name it.
I helped with some of the revision rounds for the prototype last week and we discovered that it’s really fun (and impressive) when you group the problems solved / results achieved bits from each customer together.
4 back-to-back quotes about high ROIs makes a strong case for the brand featured, and I’m betting you’ve influenced results that would stack well this way, too.
The best part?
If you’ve already recorded and produced individual videos, the content is already there, ready to be spliced, diced, and reframed as part of a larger whole... PLUS you’ve spent enough time picking the best parts to know which bits will resonate strongly in this new context.
Think of it as going from several albums to a greatest hits album.
Stay tuned for our first client supercut.
I’ll share it when it’s ready.
If you’re interested in video case studies / testimonials, the amazing team mentioned above at Audience Ops can help with that.