Earn Money with Affiliate Programs and Business Opportunities Online: Why Star Wars Is An Epic Example Of Great Content Marketing

Monday, December 18, 2017

Why Star Wars Is An Epic Example Of Great Content Marketing

Long time ago
In a galaxy far, far away
George Lucas set the stage
For what has become one of the
Most successful phenomena in our pop
Culture and, by creating a series of movies about
A galactic war against the Empire and the evil plans
Of the dark side, the director generated a gigantic branded universe
Which became the most successful merchandising example of all times…
And now please tilt your screen and slowly move it away from you until you see that the first paragraph becomes smaller and smaller!:D
Raise your hand if you've never heard anything about the Star Wars saga!
I thought so…
Unless you've lived for the past 40 years on top of a secluded mountain on a remote island on an unknown planet of our solar system looking for Yoda, chances are that you're at least familiar with the franchise name.
The movies have been polarizing audiences for decades since the first episode in 1977 (episode IV.)
Lots of people became fans of the Jedi adventures and the epic fight against the dark side which took place in that galaxy far, far away….
A portion of the viewers criticize some of the latest choices but still appreciate the concept and are fans of the original trilogy. Other people simply can't relate to the movies in general. Others love the Star Wars Universe unconditionally.
But no matter what your opinion about this space opera is, you have to admit that the whole franchise is an astronomical example of successful branding, marketing, and partnerships which spawned an endless list of merchandise, and media products.
What's interesting for us though, is the fact that the film series can also be considered one of the most successful examples of content marketing, way back at a point in time, when the term had never even been used and the "Internet" was just a secret network which could only be accessed by adepts in Universities and military facilities.
The very essence of content marketing presented in a fictional universe
If you ask yourself what the very basic concept of content marketing is, you'll have to answer with a very straightforward term: storytelling.
Of all the inbound tactics you can implement to attract potential leads, content marketing involves the ability to use your copywriting skills to catch the attention of your audience. In order, to capture the interest of your target group and turn your audience into loyal followers and prospects, you need to generate captivating headlines which, in turn, direct people to astonishingly great content.
After grabbing the attention of your readers (or viewers in the case of video content,) you need to deliver on your promise and keep providing exclusive content which is both useful and unique. At this point, people will want to know more, and you'll be able to create a special relationship based on trust and respect.
The fundamental step in this process is, of course, your content. Great storytelling is the essential component of a successful content marketing strategy and Lucas proved that by implementing some key elements within the narration.
Simplicity
Some of the detractors of the Star Wars movies, often base their criticism on its basic plot and overly simplified dialogues and generalizations (e.g. "all politicians are corrupt" .)
In the Star Wars universe, the bad guys are really, really bad and easy to spot from far away. The good guys sometimes struggle with doubts and existential questions, but they eventually end up believing in the force and using it to fight against the empire. Good and bad, light and dark…well-defined, strong contrasts.
But that's the point: unless you're aiming to reach an extremely specialized niche, the best way to tell your story is using clear ideas people can relate to.
If you're selling a ultra-specialized software for database management and you want to address an audience of engineers you're obviously allowed to create extremely detailed content which only your target group will be able to appreciate.
The idea, though, is that even if you want to reach your customers with a refined B2B software solution, your audience of decision makers is unlikely to be the same group of skilled users which will actually implement your service.
The essence of a good story needs to be told in a sentence. If you've ever had to deal with an elevator pitch or with a sales pitch, you know that the plot you weave should be so easy that even a random 82-year-old stranger in a park could understand your ideas without background information and context.
The same holds true for your content as well. A clear and compact piece of content full of easy examples and references will help your audience feel close to the concepts you're describing.
A good blog post, article, white paper or webinar must be valuable, rich in useful information and ready-to-implement solutions which people can relate to. Have you ever noticed how many examples great content marketers use? You need to be sure you take users on a journey. Examples help create a picture of the current situation. Then you only need to show where the road leads to: an empowered version of the reader who's armed with brand new information!
Immediate recognition which leads to credibility
Every Star Wars movie starts with the same opening sequence, from the initial text to the camera pan that shows the dark space, a tiny planet, and a space ship that crosses the screen. Starting from the very first two notes of the theme and the dark background you find yourself in a familiar universe in which you recognize roles, rules, vocabulary, colors, locations, costumes, and principles.
This basic alignment of all the elements of the story creates a believable universe and a set of characters which are uniquely linked to the brand.
The viewer is required to bypass their existing knowledge of physics, space, and history and ignore any discrepancy with the real world, and, with a stretch of imagination, enter a world in which the very same concepts of time and space are redesigned to serve the purposes of the plot.
How can you sell such a universe?
Through consistency.
Once you create a rule, or plot device, you need to stick to it and show your audience that everything makes perfect sense.
The same applies to content marketing. The most important assets are distinctiveness and alignment.
Your content needs to stand out and be recognizable. You need to create your own rules in terms of layout, ideas, and presentation. And this set of rules needs to be aligned with your brand and your mission statement.
Credibility is what leads prospects to opt-in, sign up for your services and even refer your brand to their peers. There are no shortcuts when it comes to creating a great reputation and a solid brand. You have to invest time and resources. Each little element of your storytelling and of your customer experience has to be perfectly recognizable in the world that you create behind a simple logo.
A company like Red Bull, managed to create a separate and distinct universe which is clearly identifiable (made of images, language, associations…). The process requires time and great content. All the promotional activities, inbound marketing tools, and all the steps the company took managed to create a series of unique brand associations which are part of the collective popular culture.
All the elements of the story need to be familiar. And familiarity derives from a consistent approach to storytelling.
Do you really need a signature to identify content created by Seth Godin?
Partnerships and structure
What would be Star Wars without the characteristic sound of the lightsabers? (I know you're vividly hearing the sound in your mind at this point!) And what about the Star Wars theme?
The feelings conveyed by the films derive from the unique picture created through different sets of skills. Star Wars was famous for its special effects (and the use of miniatures before CGI became affordable and practicable) together with great sound design. Lucasfilm (now a member of the Disney family) is a gigantic box of divisions which also include ILM and Skywalker Sound. The cooperation of different companies and their relative areas of expertise created a brand new cinematographic experience which went beyond the vision of the director.
Great stories are based on words or images but also involve all the other senses. Your content needs an identity and this identity can derive from the ability to give birth to vibrant images and sounds. The presentation of your content through blogging, social media, video marketing and infographics allows you to reach your audience using different approaches. But you can't be an expert in each single sector.
Great partners and collaborators will transform your original vision but will allow your content to reach unexpected peaks.
In the content marketing universe, you're not alone. Your content contributes to generating a common library of knowledge which is free and accessible from every corner of the globe.
Your content needs to be part of a common dialogue which can start from difference sources and which needs to spawn additional contributions. You can build upon other people's ideas and you need to allow others to expand your own inputs.
Your company culture can spread out way beyond the limits of your own blog if you allow others to use your resources.
There are many parameters which can be used to identify a successful content marketing strategy. But the quintessential element of a viral message is the fact that people are influenced and inspired by your style, refer to you and direct others to your content. If you think about it, even being spoofed can be considered an honor! Did you watch Spaceballs? ;) (Elon Musk certainly did!)
When your content becomes part of the collective culture, people can catch a reference to your brand without any additional information. Think about colossal content created by Quicksprout, Hubspot or Moz…through great collaborations and partnerships they always manage to generate and promote outstanding content. A single person alone cannot achieve that level of accuracy and quality. Your partnerships and the people who work on your content marketing with you are the key ingredients of a varied inbound marketing strategy.
The world in between content and product
"Okay." you might say, "I see what you mean, but what does the Star Wars saga have to do with content marketing? The movies represent the product itself, not a promotional piece of content…"
If that's what you're thinking, let me walk you through the actual breakdown of the revenue streams generated by Star Wars.
The total revenue generated by the franchise is approximately $30bn.
The box office revenue generated through the movies is $4.3bn.
The remaining portion of the income is generated through companies like Lucasfilm Animation, Lucas Licensing (merchandising,) THX, Lucas Online, Lucas Arts (videogames), Lucas Books and Lucas Story group.
The holding generated $3.4bn through video games and $1.8bn through books and additional revenue through merchandising and licenses.
Let me ask you a question: when it comes to Star Wars, what is the actual product?
Content marketing doesn't necessarily mean creating separate articles and videos as a carrier which is used to attract leads to your site.
Your content marketing strategy must be an integral part of your own product. You don't create content only with the intent to be found by search engines or through social media and attract traffic.
SEO and quality traffic to your content must be byproducts of your inbound strategy. The real purpose of your content should be the creation of a service and a continuous relationship with your target group.
You don't simply write stories which are unrelated to your own company and product.
You need to provide support, ideas and additional value through a content marketing strategy which is based on the real needs of your clientele.
Content marketing is a complementary portion of your product exactly as packaging and after sales services. Content and product must blend into one single brand positioning statement.
The stories you tell create the world you sell
Lucsfilm managed to sell a whole universe (literally) and generate and endless stream of profits which goes well beyond the simple revenue generated through tickets and DVD rentals.
Star Wars created a brand through apt storytelling. Around that very brand, managers created then new extensions which generate constant income.
Disney is now the owner of this empire. But the business model is not really unfamiliar to them. Disney based their business plan based on a fictional set of characters which spawned books, films, theme parks, toys, and much more.
The stories that Disney, Pixar or Lucasfilm create are not the real product. The product is embedded in the stories and not vice versa.
Disney Business Model. Copyright Disney 1957
But again…think about that: what does Apple sell?
Laptops? Phones? Tablet computers?
Think again. They sell the story which is behind their logo, company history and all the other elements of the brand constructed upon their consistency, choices, and content.
You don't buy an iWatch. You simply buy your slice of their world.
Star Wars is a brand in which content and products perfectly blend and create consistency and familiarity.
Your content and your product must become the same thing. A genuine content marketing strategy is additional free service which comes with all the other value-adding activities connected to your supply chain.
Sell your story, not random features. Content marketing is a perfect alignment between product and the stories you tell.
Interested in stellar SaaS related content? Head over to Userlane's blog to read more about product marketing, product management, UX, and Customer Success.



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