Make memorable content, or keep wasting your money

Alain Thériault – June 7, 2017

Every year, 50B$ is spent on unused content according to Yoav Schwartz the CEO of Uberflip. And according to CEB, 84% of marketers intend to spend more on content than in the previous year.Is it just me or there is something really, REALLY wrong with this picture?

Is it just me or there is something really, REALLY wrong with this picture?

And that’s not all…

…all of this for 15 seconds of attention, half the time!!!!

Yep, Mark Schaefer says that a chunk of 55% of adults spend less than 15 seconds on a piece of content.

How much money do YOU spend on un-used content?

It’s time to make your content impossible to ignore or even better, contagious.

We all remember the famous quote from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Storytelling makes for memorable content

That is why the storytelling trend has been so strong! We try to make our readers « feel » something. Sadly, in B2B, our « stories » are often too factual, have no plot to speak of, and no emotional intensity. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Do you remember the Jean-Claude VanDamme epic split between two Volvo trucks? Short, to the point, something to talk about, and totally B2B. Can you do the same? Make sure your content answers the question: What do I want my audience to remember?


Make your content scannable

So people scan your article before they start reading, they are looking for clues, chunks of « is it worth it? ». That’s why choosing the right infographic, picture or video to put emphasis on your content is so important. It’s also why quotes are so popular. They are easy to carry and we easily give them our own meaning! They strike an emotional chord! Think internet meme, like the one on top of this post!

I can almost hear Yoda say: “Be memorable you must
Yes master…

I digress, let’s push it further, make it: impossible to ignore!

Make it impossible to ignore

In her book Impossible to ignore, Carmen Simon Ph.D. says that according to research, there are 15 variables you can use to influence memory. To get your readers to engage put at least 7 in the first 40% of your content. I have used 8 easy ones so far, can you guess most of them? The list of 15 is at the end of this post (don’t look, try to figure them out).

People look for clues and they anticipate what’s next. Is that “what’s next” interesting enough? If you can play on anticipation, it’s even better!

Getting them to remember is one thing, but that something has to be distinctive. Something about it has to stand out. Adding a little human touch in B2B can go a long way. Try to involve at least one or 2 senses. Do you see how this works?

Then, if you want people to act on your content, what is the next step? Start by answering the question, what do I want my audience to act on?

There has to be a shareable snippet in there somewhere!

Knowing that word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of advertising, according to McKinsey & Company, how can we get people talking about us, to share our stories and facts?

Make it contagious

Jonah Berger talk about the 6 key steps to make something Contagious in his book with the same name….

Social Currency:  When your reader feel they are part of something, that they have some kind of insider’s information, that they are, in-the-know. That’s why those who subscribe to our list receive few newsletters, but when they do, it’s unique content that we don’t post elsewhere!

Trigger: Tip-of-Tongue=Top of Mind. Rhum &…., Peanut butter &…..If I talk about integrated marketing, it’s marketing &…..  Can a part of your content “trigger” something else. What does your name, your services, your product, your story trigger?

Emotions: Feeling good, being scared, being shocked, laughing. 4 basic things that your content can do. The best: when we care, we share (nice little trigger here don’t you think?). When any of these 5 pop up, we have a tendency to share.

Public: Built to show, built to grow. In this age of social media, you want people to share not only with their close friends but make it public!

Practical value: Can we do something with it. The “actionable” parts of content. Plenty of tips in this post, which one will you pick?

Stories: Engaging stories with a “kernel”, a gold nugget. Where is the lesson, what do we want them to “get”? It’s important because for how many ads do you remember the story line but not the company behind it? Make sure your nugget is identified to you as much as possible.

And don’t forget, re-activate the most important message before bringing them somewhere else….

The variables

  1. Context
  2. Cues
  3. Distinctiveness
  4. Emotion
  5. Facts
  6. Familiarity
  7. Motivation
  8. Novelty
  9. Quality (of info)
  10. Relevance
  11. Repetition
  12. Self-generated content
  13. Sensory intensity
  14. Social aspect
  15. Surprise


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