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The Carnival as a Metaphor for Alluring Content - 8/6/2014 -


The Carnival as a Metaphor for Alluring Content

Just like a carnival, variety brings visitors.

By Kelsey Jones

Traveling carnivals are the highlight of many kidsí summers, allowing them to check out rides that they never would have ridden otherwise. There are several popular rides at carnivals that perfectly describe the different types of content that associations should be incorporating into our own content strategy.

The Ferris Wheel Explains What You Offer
The Ferris wheel is a ride that lifts you up out of the excitement, giving you a birdís eye view of what is happening below. It doesnít rush you or drive up your adrenaline; instead, it gives you a good overall perspective as to what the carnival has to offer.

Your association can create its own Ferris wheel of content on your website by having an easy-to-understand services or library page. If your association offers a lot of services or content pieces (or both), it is easy for visitors to get overwhelmed (experiencing choice paralysis, which isbad) and end up not exploring more pieces of the website, even though they hadnít yet found what they were looking for.

The Roller Coaster is Your Big Rock Content
The roller coaster is the capstone of any carnival. As an adult (or a slightly nerdy kid), you think about all the time and effort it took to construct such a huge ride, and its presence towers over the rest of the rides. Itís usually near the back, so you have to go past all the other just-as-cool-but-slightly-smaller rides to reach it.

Just like the carnival gives us the roller coaster, associations should produce 1-5 pieces of big content a year. Of course, this is largely dependent on resources, but large pieces of content not only provide credibility and act as a lead generator to attract visitors to the associationís other "ridesĒ, but also it can be broken up into smaller pieces of content.

The Carousel is Your Linkbait Content
No matter how old you are, riding the carousel is something you never really outgrow. You get to choose the specific, unique horse or animal that appeals to you and while on the ride, you can check out the other choices available. Maybe on the next turn, you choose to ride a rabbit or a giant bear. The bright lights and fun music make it hard to get off.

Like the carousel, organizations have really stepped up their game when it comes to content offerings. Because of this, there is so much great content to consume. Using pop culture to create tie-ins to the points you want to make, or using analogies to get your point across, you can create fun content that people want to share.

While there is a fine line between being too hokey and continuously being engaging, itís important to actually provide value behind the snazzy title or fancy, colorful graphics. Link to related content at the end of posts and provide easy-to-see social sharing buttons to make sure your content gets shared.

The Bumper Cars Give You Competitive Insight
The bumper cars are always a favorite of the kids who are constantly trying to keep their competitive nature under wraps. It allows you to ram into the kid youíve always found annoying in class and also gives you an equal playing field between the big timers (the adults) and your fellow classmates because everyone has the same size car.

When it comes to content, it helps to scope out your competition to see what they are doing on the content front. However, this doesnít mean you should be copying their style. After all, one kidís bumper car strategy can be totally ineffective against at adult who is braver and makes faster turns. Being aware of what others are doing gives you perspective on your own content, and can also lead to bigger and better ideas by identifying their weaknesses.

See something they arenít doing in their content marketing strategy, like podcasts or white papers? Take your chance to fill in the gaps.

The Octopus is Your Good Old Standby
Much like the Ferris wheel, the Octopus ride is one that everyone seems to like. Itís a mainstay at almost every carnival, and itís usually positioned at the forefront. Itís continuously popular, not too intrusive, and always fun.

Your octopus content is that predictable, engaging content that readers expect from your blog or website. Not every piece of content you produce has to be completely exciting; the majority of readers want practical, interesting information that they can directly apply to their work. If you are trying to make every piece of content a viral success, it could backfire because you look like you are trying too hard.

What is your favorite ride on the carnival? Do you like to sample a little bit of everything, or do you find yourself going to the same ride over and over, missing out on the joy of a good carousel ride or the serenity of the Ferris wheel pausing with your car at the top? Mix up your content strategy and your audience will appreciate the variety.

Kelsey Jones is a search and social consultant at MoxieDot. Published with permission from READZ.com.


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