Magicians know it as ‘the reveal’. Lovers know it as ‘the thrill of the chase’. I call it the content marketing striptease.
Why do people watch a Burlesque show?
It’s not only about the naked ladies (these days straight women watch Burlesque shows too…). It’s about the journey, the tease of the strip, the ‘what comes next’ factor. That’s what keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.
The marketing romance has gone
But when it comes to marketing, we’re so eager to share our stuff that we’ve forgotten what temptresses have known since time immemorial, and Amazon succeeds in doing with pre-release orders: sometimes having to wait for it makes you want it more.
In our frantic modern lives we are so busy that we expect instant results. The same applies for content – it must be hit our needs immediately, or it will be discarded. But marketers can learn from the mystery of the tease because people still like to be entertained… wooed… tantalised…
Frankie from the Rocky Horror Picture Show knew all about it. There is an art as well as a science to making people want to buy in to what you have to give them. If we want people to really build excitement about our content the art lies in the build-up. So that by the time the reader gets to the content, they’re excited about it. They’ve been taken on a journey towards downloading this content. And the destination is even sweeter as a result.
The content marketing striptease
So how does this work for content? Quite simply – it’s about revealing each piece in a digestible chunk that builds anticipation for what’s next to come. I compare the striptease theory of content revelation to the length of the skirt:
A Tweet is an ankle-length skirt. Not much revealed, but it can be ‘sexy’ in and of itself (ask someone from 1820 about the sultriness of a ‘well-turned’ ankle and they’ll tell you – phwoar!)
By the time you get to a knee-length skirt you’re in blog territory. You’ve got an idea of what the legs look like, but it’s not really going to make you want to take the wearer out to dinner just yet (or buy the product immediately).
But when you get to thigh-high content you’re talking serious value. It has to be good enough for your reader to be prepared to slip that £20 into your content garter belt. (I’m talking about giving up their details in order to download a white paper. What were you thinking?)
In conclusion, marketers should be Burlesque artists. We should:
- Peel back the layers of content, one at a time, and carefully reveal each piece with a flourish
- Give people what they desire (not just what we think they need)
- Romance the audience (make them excited about what they’re getting)
- Dress up our content appropriately (graphics and layout make content a whole lot more appealing)
- And always leave them wanting more…