In this post I will share with you the transcript of the SEM Rush webinar I gave about creating more shareable content. I lay out 8 lessons that should help you push the potential of your content further, using neuroscience, ultimately helping you produce content that major journalists want to feature.
- How the brain is wired for certain content ideas and how to use this to your benefit.
- What brain tricks you can use to get journalists to take notice of your content.
- Where you can test and tweak your content before reaching out to journalists
See the full script and video below.
(00:00:04) Good afternoon everyone and good morning to those of you who are in other parts of the world. In today’s presentation it’s gonna be a little bit scientific because I’m gonna be looking at some lessons that we’ve learned over the thousand infographics that we’ve produced, and the hope is that you’re gonna take from these lessons and then you’re gonna be able to tomorrow go into the office and quickly improve your campaigns that you’re already working on. That’s the aim.
(00:00:28) But before we start I just wanna ask you a quick question. I want you to read the following in three seconds. One, two, three. And you probably found that quite hard and you probably didn’t have enough time to read it, and you complain and you say Danny give me a little bit more time. And the reason is that content, and text content especially, is very, it’s very new.
(00:00:50) So we’re looking at this chart here, we see that mass printed books didn’t arrive until the fifteenth century. Even manuscripts didn’t arrive until the sixth century. But put it on a timeline of human history, this is pretty much like it was yesterday. This is a very short amount of time, and our brains haven’t evolved quick ways to consume text content because we’ve only really just come across that.
(00:01:12) Now how about this: one, two, three. And you probably got even less time, but you probably found that a lot easier. And the reason is the same that we use for content, and that is because on a human scale, even well beyond when first humans arrived, millions of years ago, there’s actually been fossils found of eye cells. So these are cells that use visuals and confer that into information.
(00:01:42) And you can even imagine that looking through our ancestors, human ancestors, on the Savannah or wherever that was, and the ones that were able to identify potential threats or potential sources of food were the ones that survived. And thus, over history, our brains have evolved to process visual content really, really quickly. And that’s why we could see that straight away.
(00:02:08) My name’s Danny Ashton, and I run NeoMam Studios. And we’re a visual content marketing agency based in Manchester, UK. And in today’s presentation I’m gonna share with you some of the ways our brains are wired and the lessons you can take from that to improve your content marketing campaigns to get more people to engage, and more importantly to get journalists to feature your content.
(00:02:31) We’ve spent the last five years trying out different things with content. We’ve used infographics, we’ve used interactive experiences, and recently we’ve used video. And through the last five years we’ve had some great results. We got some great wins, we got placements on some of the biggest sites on the web. But, our results were often inconsistent, especially in the first few years.
(00:02:53) And many of you who work in content marketing will just say this is the way the game is meant to be played. You do some content, it performs well, and some content it doesn’t perform so well. But as the founder of the agency, and the first thing is set up to deal with new business and new clients, I found this really challenging. We’re a specialist agency, and we need to make sure that every client got at least a minimum level results, and that was why they came to us.
(00:03:17) The great news is that recently, especially in the last year, some really good things have started to happen. Really strange things in many respects. Journalists, and we’re talking big journalists from big newspapers, are kind of reaching out to our teams and even at some point ringing up the office, and saying look we’ve seen your content, we wanna feature it. Which, if any of you work in outreach, that’s not the way it’s meant to be played. We’re meant to be the ones cajoling, begging, reaching out to journalists and saying look, run our story, run our content.
(00:03:46) But something had happened, something had changed over the five years in our process that meant that our content was now being attracted to journalists so much so that they were taking the first move. They were coming out to us rather than us always chasing them.
(00:03:58) So in today’s presentation I’ve laid it out to eight lessons, and each of these lessons is gonna help you to understand how to improve your content in a way that means it’s gonna be of interest to these journalists. So hopefully the idea is that tomorrow you can start just improving your content a little bit so that you can actually get those same type of results. I want to hear journalists ringing your office up, and asking to use your content.
(00:04:26) So first, lesson one. And this is the triune brain theory. And this is a theory from neuroscience, if any of you are aware of neuroscience. It’s a very simple theory, and again it’s related to the different ages of the brain systems. So the oldest brain system is the reptilian brain system, and that deals with all our unconscious actions. It deals with things like breathing, things that we don’t really think about. The fear that we feel if we see a shadow in the corner. That all happens on that very ancient part of the brain.
(00:04:56) The next system is our middle aged brain. So a little bit newer, and this is the limbic system. And the limbic system really means the emotional system. So this is the emotional reaction. Again it happens on an unconscious level, we often don’t know why we’re angry or sad, but it still happens without our, we don’t force ourselves into those situations.
(00:05:18) The final brain, and this is the neomammalian brain, and there will be extra points for realizing that obviously this is the part of the brain that we based our name upon. That is our newest brain, and that deals with the critical thinking, the evaluation, and it really is not all conscious. So when you’re putting together a presentation or you’re creating a new article, something new for the first time, this is the part of the brain that you use.
(00:05:40) And we don’t want to use it. It’s very energy-intensive and it’s hard work. And I’m gonna, this gets really interesting because obviously this is great, we’ve learned about the triune brain, but what happens, what gets really interesting when we apply this to content marketing.
(00:05:55) When we apply it to content marketing what we’re doing is looking at the type of content that aligns with the different brain types. And what we got on the left hand side we got our complexity of content, which is really how much time is being invested or money that’s being invested to create it, versus the percentage of the population of people that could consume this content. So when we have this we have a really nice, a nice chart that we can look at.
(00:06:19) So we look at reptilian content and we see that yes, reptilian content could be things like pornography, it could be things that are very, very base in their actions and our reactions to them. And they really affect lots of people. Everyone has the same reaction. And from a complexity, they’re very, very simple, often. They’re very just an image or a concept that’s delivered unconsciously to us and we react in that way.
(00:06:45) When we go up the level to the middle aged brain and we look at limbic content, this is content that is emotional. We see the range of complexity can be very different. On one side we have very simple, a baby, a cute baby, a cute dog, the two are very complex narrative emotional responsive content. And we see again the complexity ranges, but as well as the population that consumes that content as well. And it’s a little bit probably more complex than we, than is clear here, but we’ll talk about that in a moment.
(00:07:14) And finally, we have the neomammalian brain content. And this is any content outside of the emotional reptilian induced content, and this can really range in complexity to thesis’s that only five people in the world could understand, to just any information that’s on the web today. And this is the type of content that you really need to sit down. This is your school paperwork. This is can be essays that people produced at University. It can be a real range of content.
(00:07:41) But when we look at this from a population online that consumes this content, it’s really very small. We don’t go on the Internet to read thesis’ and to read really complex, really dense information. And that is true and it’s becoming even more true. And we’re gonna see how that plays a role in the process that we’ve done.
(00:08:03) So firstly, lesson two, which is looking at the reptilian brain content. And this is often the first question when I show this chart to people is: what is reptilian brain content? And I really, the first thing I always do is go to The Mail Online. It’s a great source of reptilian content. Whether it is the latest celebrity side-boob, to the terrifying moment a man is knocked down and dragged by a ghost, or even a girl clobbering her rival in the head with a shovel.
(00:08:28) Once you see this and you see this type of content, you see that it’s everywhere. And one of the great things about reptilian content is it affects pretty much everyone. It doesn’t matter your education level, where you live, even many of the content itself can be enjoyed by actually, you don’t need to understand the text that goes with it. And so from a content marketing perspective this seems like the perfect situation. It’s simple, doesn’t require much levels of complexity, so it’s cheap, and it will give us the largest audience we could possibly have. So surely, we should just go and produce reptilian content.
(00:09:05) Certainly not. I wish it was that easy. I wish we could stop the presentation now and say look, that’s it. Take pictures of people’s sideboobs and you’ll make it in content marketing. The reality is there’s a couple of problems with reptilian content. And the problems arise from why we’re doing it.
(00:09:20) So if we were, if this, if you, all of you here today were publishers, then this might be the approach you want to take. Certainly The Mail Online has benefitted very much so from this content. It’s now the most well-read paper in the world. But many of you aren’t publishers in the room, and many of you are either, we work for companies, we work with agencies with clients, and that’s where the first problem arises. The problem of brand reputation.
(00:09:46) So, reptilian content in its very, it’s very base. And the question of whether we can produce that type of content for the brands that we work with. NeoMam gets the opportunity to work with brands that, their brands themselves are worth multi, multi thousands even million times worth of even what our agency is.
(00:10:03) And for that client to actually say yes, take a risk, do some reptilian stuff, I don’t mind Danny, it’s okay, it’s just never gonna happen. And we wouldn’t suggest that to anyone, because there can be such a backlash. Because some people may enjoy it, and certainly people will enjoy it on their lunch break, but does anyone actually wanna align themselves with some of that content? It’s a very risky proposition, and very, very hard as an agency to sell that type of content in.
(00:10:25) But it can be done, and Golden Palace Casino did this, and they had a permanent tattoo, that’s a permanent, not a semi-tattoo, on the forehead of a single mother in the US. And they got features everywhere. They paid the woman ten thousand dollars, so okay it wasn’t super cheap, but it worked. It got people, it got them featured and talked about and got them, if you’re in SEO it got them links, everything happened.
(00:10:51) And, yes, it certainly can work, but the question many of you are asking is well is that the kind of exposure that I want to get? Do I want to be known as putting permanent tattoos on people’s heads? Potentially not, is what I’m suggesting.
(00:11:07) There’s also a problem when it comes to actually promoting this type of content. The content that we produce as an agency we need to access publishers and communities and bloggers and influencers to get that out there, and if we took the path of reptilian content, then we would be left with the publishers within the reptilian world, which is the tabloid, tabloid press. Because they’re the places that we’d need to get to, because that’s where the audience, the biggest audience is.
(00:11:33) And the challenge when it comes to that is that the tabloids within the UK and the US, they’ve been producing this content before many of us all here were born, and they’re great at it. They have more money, experience, and they know exactly what they’re doing. And that’s not always a problem, but the challenge comes when we’re pitching content to them, it has to be better than what they’ve already got. Otherwise why would they go to the effort of giving you using your content over the content they have in house?
(00:11:58) So it becomes a real challenge, with a limited budget, to make an impression. Obviously you saw the example before with the Golden Palace Casino. It can be done. Obviously it costs ten thousand dollars and the potential chance that you’ve tattooed someone for nothing. But with a very small budget it’s very, very challenging. And for that reason, we, I would never recommend going down the reptilian approach, at least as a primary concern.
(00:12:21) Third I want to look at the emotional response of human beings. And I wanna quickly show a video, hopefully this video’s gonna work, and we’ll find out if it doesn’t in just a second.
(00:12:51) I’m not sure if you got any of the sound of that, but hopefully you would have seen the baby crying. And with that video, and I’ll have to explain it, and it kinda just lose some of its message, the woman was singing to the baby, and it was a song about a breakup that she’d had. And there’s no way that that baby could understand the words, never mind the concepts and the history that goes behind that. But the baby through the whole video, and I certainly recommend checking it out, responds emotionally to parts of the song.
(00:13:19) He cries in the right areas, it laughs in the right areas, and the reason is is that our brains are hardwired from birth to connect with emotion that we see. Whether it’s the people that we see around us, or whether its stuff that we see on the Internet. And so it’s a very important way of driving action. Because if we can inspire emotion, and the right type of emotion, we can get people to share and tell other people about it, because everyone wants to experience that emotion in their lives.
(00:13:45) When we look at it in the chart that we showed earlier, we see that it still can take a large percentage of the population. Not on the same levels as the reptilian, but still a large enough that we can work to. And the complexity can really differ, but we can look at different ways of doing that.
(00:14:03) And often and this is lesson four, the importance of knowing your audience’s emotional response. You may have come across how to use emotion within content marketing before, and what you’ll often see is lists like this. You know, top ten emotions to use in your content. Things like pleasure, joy, hope, surprise, happiness. And the idea being that if you can imbue these emotions in as many as you possibly could into your content, then you would win the content marketing lottery and it would all work out.
(00:14:29) But I think that’s a real big over-simplification, because actually every audience’s emotional response is very different. Speaking to one audience with one emotional response and speak to another can actually go completely wrong. And I want to show you that very quickly with an example.
(00:14:45) So this is a, what I did is I went onto Reddit and I looked at a number of communities, and I tried to find very simple images that inspired emotion. But more importantly is inspired people to take action and shares and comments and the rest of it. And this particular photo title, It’s tough being a single daddy, was in the parenting subreddit. So these are parents. Many of them dads, many of them mums, many of them single parents, many of them not. And this was the type of content they engaged with it. obviously the dad has taken, gone through the effort to do his nails like his daughter. And for those people that’s what that emotion engages with.
(00:15:17) But then we look at a completely different community, and we look at those involved in a gadget community on Reddit. And here it completely different, we’re looking at how USB flash drives have completely changed over the last time. Look at the nostalgia of how things are moving so fast and things and changing so well. And certainly the emotion here may completely fall flat on the parenting audience and vice versa. And so it’s, whilst there is an emotional response happening with this content, it is completely different.
(00:15:47) And then this study, and this study is taken from Jonah Burges’ book Contagious which I’m a big fan of, and certainly if you wanna learn more about how to use emotion in content to actually get shares this is the book to read. And in one of the studies was the New York Times most emailed list, and looking at the different emotions there. And one of the things that he noticed, because at the time, and certainly still is preached that only positive emotions engage people to share stuff. And what he found was actually powerful emotions like anger and anxiety can be really influential in people to share that. And that makes sense. So you are looking for that influence.
(00:16:22) Now, I’d still say that you still need to be in-line with what your brand is as well. You know, do you want to make everyone feel anxious, or is that something that you don’t want to kind of align with. And I think that’s a choice that you need to make as well. So certainly don’t just go right, I’ve gotta make everyone angry, that’s gonna do it. Have some common sense as well.
(00:16:40) So, here’s a great example of this, and this was for the car, there’s a car funs on Reddit, and obviously these people are interested in automobiles. The perfect paint scheme for a Smart Car. So again this is probably not a positive emotion that we’re looking at, and certainly if any of you do drive a Smart Car I’m certainly not agreeing with this. I think the Smart Car’s a very nice car. But this audience, this kind of looking down upon the smaller car driver or kind of laughing at one car is an emotion that at that time for that group of people worked. And that’s what inspired it, inspired the shares.
(00:17:14) Now, limbic content don’t just take my word for it and say well Danny told me to use emotion. I really want you to see, start to look at the web in a different way, and you’ll see that limbic-focused content has really, it’s been a game changer in the world of publishing. Now the most famous one is obviously Buzzfeed but there’s lots of others out there. Buzzfeed built an entire business on inspiring emotion. Each of their listicles or their quizzes are all about getting that emotion.
(00:17:39) And Buzzfeed didn’t just generate the millions and millions of page views that it did. It turned the whole publishing industry on its head. And you have to take, you have to look at it and think what was it that they did that you can take from them and you utilize that. And if you distill that down as the emotional response that they were able to provoke in their audience, they engaged them to hit that Tweet, that Facebook, that email, and get an audience doing all the promotion work for them, which is what we want to achieve.
(00:18:09) The truth is, real publishers are changing. You know, five years ago you’d look on the front page of the New York Times and it would be just news. And the publishers wanted to keep it that way, they wanted to be serious news organizations. But even now, look at The Garden, look at The New York Times, you’ll see that their content is now, they’ve realized they have to have that emotional charge with their content. Doesn’t mean that everything has that, but they’re moving with the times as well and so should you if you’re producing content for yourself or for your clients.
(00:18:36) So, we’ve talked about reptilian content, we see that that’s not something that we would recommend. We see that limbic content is really powerful, but it has to be aimed at the right audience. We have to identify who that, what their emotional response is for that audience. But where does this neomammalian brain fit into all this?
(00:18:53) I think what’s really interesting is looking at the way that different people share content online. So for the average user to hit Tweet, Facebook Like, email to someone else, the potential action that will come from that is very small in most cases. you may have ten thousand followers on Twitter, and if you Tweet something a bit bad no one’s gonna hold it against you for the rest of time. Certainly not, and we’ve all done that from time to time. And because of that we don’t really care. If something engages with us on an emotional level, then we’ll share it. We don’t spend hours and hours, and many people often, maybe just see content. I sometimes do it, and we see a great headline from a great place and we say right, I’m sharing that.
(00:19:34) But it’s a very different game when it comes to journalists. Journalists are the gatekeepers of the audience that we want to achieve. And gatekeepers is a good word because they’re protecting their audience from potential backlash, and also protecting themselves.
(00:19:47) You can see the screenshots behind me where journalists have been found to do dodgy quotes, factual inaccuracies, plagiarism, and the reaction is not oh, a tap on the wrist, it’s people are getting full stories written about them. They’re probably never gonna get hired in the publishing industry ever again. This is a serious point, and the fact is we, journalists are, we trust them to do the right thing and when they break that trust it’s a very serious case. And it’s the same true with all journalists that are out there today. They have to make sure that content is up to a certain level, and if it doesn’t then they have a backlash.
(00:20:18) We certainly felt that with promoting content, especially in the early years, that they maybe they’d featured infographics before only to find out that they were based on lies or they’re based on factual inaccuracies, and then they said we’ll never feature infographics again. That’s how strong that power is.
(00:20:34) And so, the neomammalian brain whilst for the rest of the audience that you’re targeting is not such a concern, if you need access to gatekeepers and if you’re doing content marketing you will at some point need these people. You need to overcome their objections, and make sure it passes their test.
(00:20:49) And if you do that and they’re able to understand the sources are correct the levels, the quality is there, then they will open their doors, but not just open their doors, they’ll then, you’ll build trust. And that’s when things like they’re ringing up your office, sending you emails directly to ask for more stuff starts to happen, because actually journalists don’t trust everyone. They automatically assume that everyone, which is the fair point, is not trustworthy. And so once you do earn their trust then you became the suppliers of the content that they need.
(00:21:24) So, what does this all mean? So yes, we need a limbic focus for our content. Because that’s what’s gonna engage sharers, it affects a lot of different people, and the great thing about emotional content is we can target specific audiences. So yes we wanna get media placements, but we also wanna speak to the right people who potentially could buy our product. So if we know what emotional response works, we can target our content at their emotional response, benefit from the shares that we all get, and we get to speak to the right type of people who may follow us on that journey through the sales process. Which is an excellent way to be.
(00:21:57) But we also can’t forget about the neomammalian brain and the credibility that we need to build, because the journalist always needs trustworthy sources. They need to make sure that this stands up. And that effort that you go to to actually make it to a point can really pay off massively, because the journalist, you become that trusted source of information for that journalist.
(00:22:18) I know I’ve covered a lot of things, and we’re about twenty six minutes in, so I do apologize. I’m not a big fan of lectures myself, but the good news is, is that the lecture stage is over and the next part of this presentation I’m gonna look at real case studies. Because I’m a big fan I go to lots of conferences and I really wanna see how it’s used. Because you could be going well, Danny, that’s a great theory, it sounds great, but how does that really work in practice and does it really work? Because when you see it in practice then you can actually apply that in your own work.
(00:22:44) Before I do that, I just wanna have a little confession. Because I remember I said before about reptilian content, I said look, avoid like the plague, it’s got brand implications and you gotta compete with the tabloids. The truth is that all human beings have a reptilian brain that is there, and we need to overcome that. And one of the big issues with, especially consuming content online and engaging with content is that the reptilian brain is there to defend the rest of the brain from using any energy.
(00:23:11) What it wants to do is look at something and say oh, this isn’t worth our time, let’s not bother. And we need that, especially in a world of information overload. Reptilian brain has to do that a lot, because otherwise we won’t even leave our house. We’ll end up reading all the junk mail. And so we can’t ignore the reptilian brain, and we need to win it over. And we win the reptilian brain over in one way, and that’s what we reptilian brain over in one way, and that’s what we call the golden three-second test.
(00:23:36) At the start of this presentation you saw me talk about understanding text information versus visual. And the reason as an agency we’ve decided to go purely down the visual angle, is primarily because of the reptilian brain. Because we know visuals are consumed faster and so we can just that little bit tweak the game in our favor. And the same is true of the content you produce even if it is visual.
(00:23:58) You need to test it and say look, if I was given three seconds, would I understand this? Would I be able to, would I want to engage with it? You know, do I see a title and does it work for me? It’s the reason why headlines and titles are so important, because the reptilian brain just wants to say is that something that we could work through? Is that something that could be actionable? Is that something that I could learn easily? Or is it something that’s gonna take hours and hours and hours of switching on all parts of the brains and working till all hours to learn it. And if it is, they don’t want a part of that. So the golden three-second test is really important for the content you produce, so do, do, do utilize it.
(00:24:33) So, let’s go on to the case study. Now this case study was for a hosting affiliate, and it was targeting a general audience, but what really wanted to look at Internet users. So there are people who are interested in the Internet, and potentially these could be people who could purchase the product further down the line. And I really wanted to relevant to the customers already, but also the potential customers. And so the main brief that we were given was to target people who had a care about the Internet. Anyone else we weren’t too bothered about.
(00:25:00) And so, the first thing we do, and this is what we do with any of our clients, is look at the limbic concerns. What is the emotional nature of our audience? What are the, what are the emotions that keep coming up? And this is just one way of looking at it but looking at Reddit is a very simple and quick way. And we could look at the communities and we can see well is there an emotional response that keeps coming through?
(00:25:21) One of the main responses that we see, and this is during a time with Edward Snowden, we saw there was all sorts of hacking, the government was looking at different people, and there’s generally a fear and paranoia especially around privacy and control. So that was something that was coming up again and again. And we just couldn’t ignore it, so we knew if we wanted to achieve success within that sector, any idea that we came up with had to have this emotional response to fear and paranoia. And hopefully we’re talking about this issue of privacy and control.
(00:25:52) We also want to check we need the gatekeepers, we need the audiences that these publishers can provide. So do they care about this issue as well? A quick search at Buzzooma we see that yes, big news organizations like The Guardian, ARS Technica, Huffington Post, Business Insider, all cared about this but more importantly they were getting a lot of on-site shares as well. So we knew it was working for them too. So we go in and say well this is what we wanna talk about. We know now that the probability is in our favor if we produce something aligned with this then we’re gonna get something that we can bet that we’re gonna get some really decent results.
(00:26:28) So we pull all the content together and obviously Reddit is just one source, but there’s many sources of that to try and really get under the skin of the audience, to understand what is the emotional response that we’re trying to get hold of so that we can then produce an idea that either adds to this emotional response or could potentially have a solution to this emotional response as well. But we need to, that idea that emotional response has to be at the core of what we’re producing.
(00:26:52) We went through this process and we came up with the idea of how to disappear online. And the concept being that you would follow this infographic and you would be able to disappear and the NSA would never be able to track you.
(00:27:05) Firstly we had to deal with the reptilian concerns as we told about, and obviously it wasn’t an infographic itself, but the images we wanted to make sure they would pass the three second test. So we didn’t want to use vast paragraphs of test. We wanted to do screenshot, screenshot, screenshot, screenshot, so that a quick scan of the three second test would go: ya this seems something I could do. This is pretty easy. I could go through this infographic and consume this content and maybe I would be able to make myself a little more private from the rest of the world.
(00:27:33) The title as well. we’re using a how-to. You see how-tos on publishing sites all the time. It works really well because it tells the reptilian brain after this content you’re gonna know a little bit more about this and how to do something actionable. You know, no one wants to know the how-to is very actionable and being able to use that can really help to win over the reptilian concerns.
(00:27:55) And finally we have the neomammalian concerns. So with the content, and this is the process that we do for all our content, is that we like to test it. So yes we will go through fact checking and proofreading and all the different ways to improve the content, and this would be a very boring presentation if I was telling you how to do those things, and many of you probably already do that already. But this is something different that we do that I think is a great way of winning over the neomammalian brain, and that is that we test the content before we speak to any publisher. We load it onto imgur, and then we actually share that within Reddit, and we wanna get at least a thousand people to check it out.
(00:28:30) The great thing about using this process with imgur and Reddit is that we get people who will tell us what they think without really caring about it. So if they think it’s crap, they’ll say it’s crap. And they’re not the client, they’re not ourselves, and we can really find straight away what a problem is. And we’ve seen it with some infographics we’ve made massive changes after this testing process because people just didn’t get it. We got it, the client got it, but the actual audience didn’t get it. And we quickly found that out, and yes you can ignore maybe one or two people, but a thousand people all saying the same thing you need to make a change.
(00:29:05) And this is a very powerful way of getting the content even more improved before you then speak to the gatekeepers. Because you only get one chance speaking to a journalist, and this process really helps to improve the content.
(00:29:16) If you’ve read Caldini’s book on influence you’ll know that also social proof is a very powerful way of opening the doors to journalists, or to influencers. And one of the things with this particular graphic is that we did the test and it went a bit mad really. We had a hundred and seventy one thousand people view it, which we didn’t really want to happen, but it did. But then we can then you know, our promotions team or our digital PR team can then go out and say look: we tested it, it went a bit mad, we think that this might be a good, a good story for your publication. It potentially might do very well for you.
(00:29:47) And with this particular example we even had people already journalists knocking at the door saying look, I’ve seen it, I want it, tell me when it’s ready. And we know that we were gonna make some improvements and when it was ready we was ready to speak to them. And, results wise this did massively so ya, we picked up on all the the big media publications and that’s kind of, that’s why clients kind of hire us. And you know, we look at even the long term results. We look at the placements two hundred and twenty referring domains.
(00:30:15) But what we’d really like to look with any campaign is go a little bit deeper, and to go deeper we mean we wanna look at the human interaction. We wanna see what real people were doing. And one of the ways to do that is to look at the placements themselves. So it was featured on Lifehacker, and what we can do when we look at Lifehacker is actually see in the top corner here, we can see that it was viewed two hundred and sixty eight thousand times. Which, for a placement of a repeated piece of content is massive. That’s, we had a look at Buzzsumo and we actually saw that was the second most successful infographic ever produced for Lifehacker, which is absolutely mad. And it wasn’t produced by them, it was produced by someone else.
(00:30:51) And even on The Mail Online they give stats on the amount of shares, but they also give stats on the comments. And The Mail Online is very, can be great for comments. It can be really horrible comments but sometimes they can be really funny ones. And this particular one which I really liked, and I think you know, this could be if this is all I’ve achieved then I think I’d be quite happy, is Wonderboy who’s enjoying his retirement, I’ve deleted all my accounts so this is the last comment from me. If we can believe that our content actually made, this guy’s, he’s disconnected now, he’s living on a canal boat, he has no Internet, and he’s living probably a very happy life, then that’s certainly a great result.
(00:31:25) Second case study, The Ultimate Towel Folding Guide. And this is for a completely different audience. There’s a Pinterest users that was interested in interior design, hopefully purchasers of towels, which would even be great, and when we did the audience identification we saw that it was very playful, the content. So in comparison to like the anxiety and paranoia that was probably within the Internet issues, this was completely different. It was very playful, lots of light, very very simple type content that was sharing well with this audience.
(00:31:54) We took that on board when we did the brainstorming, and we also needed to make sure that it was quick, and we also needed to make sure that we dealt with the neomammalian concerns. So the reptilian limbic concerns were relatively easy. we, again it was, we were gonna use visuals and we also need to make sure the visuals themselves were very simple. So it’s done like an origami piece, you can see how things were folded, so a quick three second scan and you can see oh ya I can do this.
(00:32:19) And with the design itself, we wanted to make things cute. the towel with the towel snake. The whole design was aimed at that audience, and this design would not work for a gadget audience or an Internet audience, this works for this type of audience, those people on Pinterest, those people interested in interior design.
(00:32:38) Again, the results did really well. Especially on our target. with Pinterest it’s still being shared every day on Pinterest, and it got picked in the Washington Post, loads of really big sites, and then nearly over probably half a million views now, sixty placements, the rest of it. But you can’t beat human interaction, and so this, this is one of my, again one of my favorites. I’ve had it here. And this is an email that we got completely out of the blue from a journalist at the Washington Post saying that we covered your story, but what I really wanted to do is actually test it out. And he actually created a, I think it was a swan through the towel in the office, and he took photos and he shared it with us.
(00:33:14) So I like the idea that we were able to inspire a journalist at the Washington Post to go and use our infographic, and that’s the real neomammalian test, because in this case it wasn’t fact, it wasn’t data, it wasn’t sources, but he needed to know if it worked. Because if he shared it with his audience then it wouldn’t happen. And so that, again, is a great example of human interaction that there’s real people doing something out that’s different to their lives were actually engaged in that content in a new and different way.
(00:33:43) I want to talk a little bit more about human interaction because I think it’s one of those really important areas, especially looking to kind of the long-term view of producing content that’s gonna get results. Especially if you want to get journalists on your side and you want to get journalists to reach out to you, this is the approach to take. And, it’s really important when you come to creating content to actually think about the humans that are gonna actually engage with it, because you can get lost in in data, in in social shares, engagement, and all the rest of it, but you really need to go back and think about who are the people who are gonna be using it?
(00:34:17) Now, the first thing we want to say is that there’s a problem with visual content when it comes to visual interaction. Because when we produce a static infographic, and this is just the screenshot of an infographic that we’ve produced, you come across the sources and none of them are clickable and you can’t even copy and paste them. And we can deal with that with the journalists because we can give them the data, we can give them the sources themselves, so that they can access that. But the users themselves can’t, and so it’s very hard for them to go in deep and engage in that content in a deeper level.
(00:34:49) And certainly for a long time this issue of sources was something that I personally found very hard, that we needed to alleviate that and find a way for the average user, not just the journalist, to engage with it further. And also journalists that we weren’t speaking to. And the way that we found a solution to this, to have more human interaction, was to create an interactive experience. And if you’ve not come across interactive experiences it’s very similar to obviously a static, but it’s created in HTML using jquery and css to do something similar, but in a way that you can copy the text, you can add links, and the rest of it.
(00:35:24) This was an infographic we choose back in 2013, quite a, what our first interactive. And the reason we set it up was to provide this interactivity to improve human interaction. So with every fact that we had there was a little source link here, and it might be hard to see, where you’d click and it would take you down into the end and you could click through to the academic journal that actually featured it. So you could do your own research and you could test it.
(00:35:46) Another area that we wanted to employ and that we now kind of roll across all our interactives was the Tweet to Share button. This has been used I’m not saying this is a completely original idea. One of the things that we did that was differently, we hand-wrote every single one of these Tweets so it would be really powerful for every single fact. It was a time consuming process, but the effect of it was really, really powerful. And even today, and this is now we’re looking at two and a bit years after the infographic went live, people are still clicking these Tweet buttons. Because we’ve made it easy for them. To say that if we didn’t have them, would that still happen, I very much doubt it. And if it was a static infographic would we have that engagement, I very much doubt it too.
(00:36:25) It did great from a results point of view. Because when you actually make life easier for people, then they engage deeper, on a deeper level, and they’re more likely to take action. That’s a very powerful thing to keep back in your head.
(00:36:41) This is one of the if you’re looking at the neomammalian brain, we didn’t reach out, so this is Harvard Business Review. We didn’t reach out to them personally because they’re the kind of people that you can’t really reach out to. They wanna write stories that they wanna write about they’re in the next level of intellect and academia, and that’s what they’re about. They’re doing new and innovative work.
(00:37:00) This particular guy had actually referenced our thirteen reasons interactive infographic. And when we asked him about that the reason he shared is because it contained all the research and all the information without him having to feature it there. So he found it a very useful way of giving that result. And he was able to, even though we didn’t reach out to him, he was able to investigate it and say okay these are all academic journals, these all stand up to rigor and tests, thus I feel like I can trust it enough to run this as part of Harvard Business Review. Which certainly as a avid reader of that particular site I was really happy about that, but it was great to see that the interactive, human interaction element really improved the potential of people engaging with that on a deeper level.
(00:37:45) And interactivity is not so much now, but certainly a year ago, everyone was doing interactive content and they just thought well if we make it shiny or we make it animated it’s gonna mean loads of people are gonna share it, everyone’s gonna be impressed.
(00:37:57) I think that missed the point completely, and the actual point of interactivity is actually to improve the human interaction. So if all it does it makes it shiny and makes it makes it move, then that doesn’t really add anything new. And in reality static images are far more easy to share. You just, you copy and paste, you post them somewhere. Interactive experiences need to add something more that when they exist and then static. So does it have clickable facts? Does it have some sort of tool that allows people to interact further? Does it make their life a little bit easier to consume, the limbic response aimed content, and actually win over the neomammalian brains of all of us? If it doesn’t, I suggest that it’s probably not worth going down that path.
(00:38:37) To summarize, and we’re coming right to the end now, just on time. TO create content that journalists want to share, you first need to identify the emotional hooks of your audience. And if it’s your business and it’s a business that you’ve been working in for a long time you may know that, but it is worth going out there. You might be speaking to your customers, it might be investigating the publishers, investigating the forums where people are talking about your product, and finding out well what is that emotional hook? And it’s very different, so you can’t just take and say well I wanna make mine happy, I wanna make people sad, it is very different and it will be completely unique to you.TO create content that journalists want to share, you first need to identify the emotional hooks of your audienceClick To Tweet
(00:39:08) You also need to invest in the content. This is something that obviously is common sense, but the reason you invest in it and the reason that you test whether you’re using the method that we do with imgur and Reddit is so that you can get your content up to the level that when a neomammalian gatekeeper or the journalist checks it, it lives up to their expectations. And they don’t just feature it, they actually ask you for more. And you become a relationship, which is really what you want to achieve.
(00:39:33) And finally, you do need to seduce the reptilian brain in all of us. So that is the reason why we do visual content, but it’s the reason why even if you did text content you need to make it scannable, you need to make it easy to digest, because it doesn’t matter where you are there is more and more information being produced daily. And we haven’t, just haven’t go the time, and our reptilian brains are gonna stop us reading anything that looks too difficult. Doesn’t mean that your content has to have no depth, but it needs to be easy to investigate. And things like titles, things like uncertainty and solutions within those titles works really well at achieving that.
(00:40:11) Okay so I think that’s pretty much it. Thanks for listening. Obviously if you want to learn more about this or you wanna just kind of ask me some questions and you’re not in this webinar feel free to hit me up on Twitter, or you know, check us out at NeoMam.com. Thank you.