This weekend I experienced two live performances that made me think about why the communication in our content marketing should be direct, useful and, above all, personal.
The first performance was a jazz concert at the Nyack Library in Nyack, New York featuring the wonderful Brazilian trumpeter Claudio Roditi and two masters of Brazilian guitar, Roni Ben-Hur and Paul Meyers. The setting was the library's charming and intimate Carnegie Room, which seats maybe 150.
The two sets that comprised the evening were as much conversation with the audience as concert. For example, during the introductions the emcee had a memory lapse concerning the many top performers Roditi has played and recorded with. Audience members began to help, shouting out favorite collaborations.
I contributed singer Mark Murphy to the list. Roditi played on a marvelous album called Night Mood, the music of Brazilian composer Ivan Lins. When the players took the stage, Roditi asked, "Who just mentioned Mark Murphy? Last week I listened to the album I made with him. Hadn't heard it for years and man it was a good session!" Listen to a cut here with a great Roditi solo. docs/02 - Madalena.mp3
That was only the beginning of the musicians' connection with the audience. The entire evening was a conversation on many levels. The music was incredible and included well-known standards, as well as original compositions.
We also heard behind-the-scenes stories about life on the road with other jazz greats. We learned about Roditi's musical influencers and interests. There was fun and humor. The audience was fully engaged. When the call to action came before the intermission to buy CDs, dozens of hands went for wallets.
On Sunday evening Jeff and I watched the Super Bowl, both for the football and Beyonce's half-time show. Even though it was happening live, the game had the trappings of a recording. By the third time the sound-enhanced graphic of the SuperBowl trophy whooshed onto the screen between plays, I wanted to run into the kitchen and make popcorn to escape. But at the heart of the game was a rivalry of cities and brothers and the drama of a power outage caused by human error. Salvation.
Beyonce's performance was electric and overly produced, but her singing was authentic – quashing the criticism that she sang to a pre-recorded track in her far more human and emotional performance at the presidential inauguration two weeks before. According to reviews, the most human moment – Beyonce’s reunion with the members of her original group Destiny’s Child – was the crowd favorite, trumping pyrotechnics and special effects.
Oh…and let’s not forget the Super Bowl commercials. According to USA Today’s Ad Meter, the top five ads as voted by almost 8,000 viewers all used humanity and gentle humor to engage.
- Budweiser – The tale of a man and the Clydesdale he raised from birth and their subsequent emotional reunion. (Watch above if you haven't seen it yet. Get a tissue first.) By the way the YouTube version includes a call to action for further engagement - Name the Baby Clydesdale.
- Tide – Gentle humor when a football fan finds a ‘miracle salsa stain’ of Joe Montana on his football jersey which his wife, a Baltimore Ravens fan, washes out with Tide – ending media fame and fortune.
- Chrysler Ram Trucks – Paul Harvey’s ode to the American farmer reprised in magnificent photography from the heartland.
- Doritos – In Fashionista Daddy a father and his burly football friends play princess dress-up with his daughters in exchange for Doritos. Silly and heartwarming fun.
- Jeep – A tribute to our servicemen and women fighting overseas.
I think you get the message by now. The most engaging formula for creating successful content is to connect authentically and personally. Share your business knowledge and expertise, your products and services. But do it with humanity. That’s what makes people want to buy from you.
What are your favorite content marketing take-aways from the Super Bowl? Thanks for reading and sharing in the comments. Please take home some Lead Generation Tips while you're here.