Provoking Content: Amazement & Vigilance

We’ve just about felt it all; from the pain of grief and the joy of ecstasy, to a fit of rage and the essence of loathing. I’ve put you through the wringer of emotions and there’s just two more emotions left in this emotionally provoking content series. Hold onto your hats for Amazement and Vigilance.

  Amazement

A state of extreme surprise or wonder; astonishment.

This emotion stems from being exposed to stimuli that are out of the ordinary. Since it’s relatively new or out of the norm we find the stimulus to be quite intriguing, surprising, and typically pretty awesome and impressive.

So ok, not everyone finds big fancy cameras or moustaches simply AMAZING. Looking out through a broader scope at what most people find amazing is actually easier to pinpoint than I first expected. My initial thought was that we’re all so jaded with content on the web and over exposed to so many different weird and wonderful things online that how can we as content creators keep amazing our audience?  You have to show them something new and the possibilities are infinite.

Double Rainbow?

As insane and ridiculous as I think the Double Rainbow video is, I have to admit that it has amazement factors on a couple of different levels. The double rainbow guy Paul Vasquez is not only ecstatic over the sight of a double rainbow; he’s also pretty damn amazed by it too. Furthermore, how amazed were you by Vasquez’s reaction? 35,293,391 views and 147,000+ comments don’t lie – I’m going to edge my bets and say that one or two of you out there were amazed as well.

Here are the stats:

As you can see in the last 34 months or so this video has averaged over one million views a month.

I have to get high and go out into the mountains with a camera?

What you do in your spare time is your own business. However, you probably don’t have to go to that extreme just to get some attention and social love from your audience. Showing your audience something new, impressive, or interesting can be simple even if you aren’t creative. Putting a new spin on an old idea can be a great place to start when you don’t have a ton of ideas. Now I don’t mean taking a previously written article like “29 ways to induce labor” and writing your own article on “28 ways to induce labor” (if that’s what you’re thinking, then please consider hanging up your writing pen and pad now). Instead how about morphing it into “Your Labor Inducing Weapons of Choice: Eggplants, Pineapples or Dancing?” If you do have a gift of creativity or have a particularly unique talent they you’re a step ahead of the game and can get down to brainstorming on how to use those resources and put your ideas into unique content production.

Vigilance

Alertness is the state of paying close and continuous attention.

Getting someone’s attention online is relatively easy if you have a killer clickable title in your arsenal – keeping their attention is a whole other ball game. You have to walk the walk and talk the talk; meaning that if you are going to have an awesome and interesting article title then you have to back it up with equally awesome content. Too often in advertising we fall for the get rich quick pitches, and the “don’t miss out – a terrific offer is waiting for you!” and too often we are disappointed by what we end up reading.  Don’t expect your readers to feel any less disappointed. Once you have a great title at hand getting the content that keeps your audience’s attention can be generated in a few different ways:

Content Trailblazing

Be the first to publish the latest, most exciting news:

If no one has read it or seen it before, then you’re off to a good start.  Posting breaking news stories or having the latest scoop on a celebrity will definitely get people’s attention and have your audience checking back regularly for more information. Remember this online content can be in any form such as comics, infographics, videos, or good old fashioned written copy. I understand that we all can’t be the BBC or TMZ, however there are ways to secure such content if you really want to roll up your sleeves and try:

  • Cunning journalism – get out there and do some research!
  • Stalking celebrities online or at their home – just don’t get arrested.
  • Content exchanges with other bloggers and writers – you have to speculate to accumulate.

Once you’ve got a reader hooked, you have to keep the ball rolling with similar types of content and consistent posting.

Live Content

Streaming videos live is certainly one way you can get your audience to “tune in.” Obviously, we’re not going to have the rights to the Olympics or anything, but there are other DIY methods to creating your own live and unique content. If your audience is into YOU (or at least you think they are) because you’re so hot/awesome/funny/troubled then you wouldn’t be the first to have a live video feed in your home, just like the TV series, Big Brother.

If you have something educational and informational to say to your audience on a regular basis because you’re so smart and interesting, then live podcasts and live webinars are also great places to start. They key with these two, just like everything else is that you have to offer value to the audience and not just blurt out commonly known information that they can find on Wikipedia.

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them.

So you can’t stalk a celebrity because you in the middle of nowhere and celebrities rarely visit or maybe you don’t think you’re so hot/awesome/funny/troubled and don’t fancy doing the whole DIY live content approach. Well thankfully all hope is not lost – you can always just rip off everyone else’s ideas.

You can report on the same recent and interesting news story, but add your own spin just like The Onion:

Poor Mrs. Armstrong.

Another way to jump on someone else’s content band wagon is to take content that is already going viral and do your own spin off of it. The first example that comes to mind is the Shit Girls Say video series. Within a week of the first video’s release, several bloggers responded to the viral web series with their own perspective such as Shit Drunk Girls Say and many other variations.

Coming Full Circle on the Wheel of Emotions

I’ve discovered many different things about content, emotions, and pushing people’s buttons whilst writing this series on provoking content. One of the biggest notions that I have found to be completely consistent is that you really have to know your audience and gauge their emotional reaction to the content you are publishing. Part of this is knowing what your audience wants and expects from you as a creator of content. This can take a little bit of digging and research to really lock down what they are into, but it really is important. Sometimes shortcuts are taken in content creation for two reasons:

A) We think we know what our audience wants so if it is not broken, don’t fix it.

B) We are selfish and we will do whatever suits us best. My audience can like it or lump it.

Making assumptions and doing whatever you want is your prerogative. However, if that’s your approach, then I would advise caution because repeated publication of undesirable content will be a quick turnoff for your audience. Of course, you’re probably going to do whatever you want because that’s what you do. In which case, I’ll stop typing now…

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If you missed any of the earlier posts from this series, then get yourself together and get caught up!

About the author

Lizzie Seedhouse