Dust off the floppy shoes, oversized trousers, honking noses, and teeny tiny cars, because after reading this article you’ll be taking your content marketing skills and strategy straight to the circus ring.
Well, perhaps not quite.
However, though these two disciplines may seem about as related to one another as chalk and cheese, there are some very definite points of comparison.
Below I outline why content marketing is actually a little bit like being a circus performer.
In doing so, I hope that it may also give you some ‘out of the box’ thinking and help you generate some ideas you can take away and apply to your existing content marketing (or circus performing) strategy...
What is Content Marketing?
If you’ve landed on this article, then chances are you’ve already got a pretty good grasp of precisely what content marketing is.
But, to allow for a clean point of comparison, let’s just have a quick catch-up.
Content marketing is a multi-disciplinary approach to marketing.
It’s goal is to provide content which is relevant and adds value. This is so that your reader engages with it on a deeper level than more traditional, less nuanced ‘sales first’ advertising.
The point is that your customer should find your content interesting and informative.
What is a circus performer?
A GIF can tell a dozen words and in the case of circus performer that’s certainly true:
If that was as clear as mud — a circus performer is a multi-disciplined entertainer.
The point of seeing a circus performer is to come away having been dazzled by a show that will stick in your mind forever.
So, then, why is content marketing like being a circus performer?
Your content marketing seeks to grab hold of your audience's attention and not let go.
This is the same as a circus performer.
For the circus performer’s juggling, aerial skills, contortionism and weightlifting prowess, read a content marketer’s catchy headlines, dashing sentences, and skillfully crafted arguments.
Content marketing is about conveying a message, and for a lot of people the medium they most associate this with is words and copy.
However, just like the circus performer, who may be a clown, strongman, contortionist, juggler, acrobat, or ringmaster — content marketing comes in many different guises.
Examples of content marketing include:
It speaks directly to its audience
Following on from the last point, content marketing seeks to strike up a relationship with its audience and it does so by speaking to them directly.
Content marketing is all about “you” — and that you is your target audience.
A circus performer also adopts this tactic, seeking to draw their viewers into their show by addressing them directly — it’s pure pageantry, but it’s also about relationship building.
There’s a voice of authority
In the case of content marketing, the authority becomes the author.
This may be in a literal sense (namely, from the person who has crafted the content) or in a more indirect fashion (this being the company behind the content).
This is much the same as a circus performer.
Here the voice of authority is largely the ringmaster. However, as specialists within their discipline, this authority may also come directly from one of the performers. It also comes from the circus itself, with its name and reputation marking it out as something which demands respect.
Similarly, look at whether you have leveraged enough points of authority in your content — have you used data and insights to back up your points? Does your online profile qualify you to pass comment on this topic?
Why content marketing isn’t like being a circus performer
As we’ve seen above, there are clear points of comparison.
That isn't to say that there are not some quite obvious and instructive differences between each:
As much as there are innumerable recordings of circus performers, you cannot escape the fact that they are designed to be enjoyed in the flesh.
Content marketing is not quite the same.
Content marketing resides in a much less definitive and rigid home. Among others, it can live on:
● Social media
The fact that you are not physically present to ‘supervise’ the consumption of your content, puts more pressure on you as a creator to ensure its coherency.
That isn’t to say that there isn’t a clear bridge between offline and online customer experiences — craft fairs and markets are still a big part of ecommerce, and often form the central basis of an online content marketing strategy. In order to be the best type of content marketer, learn how to leverage both for your brand.
Role of the audience
This is a key point of difference, for the circus performer can actually make the audience the voice of authority by including them in the show. The circus performer often creates a role for the audience which is designed to develop the narrative of their performance.
Content marketing has a quite clear distinction between audience and author. The author creates a domain in which they can impart their message to their audience and demonstrate how it benefits them. The audience’s involvement in this message is to divulge it, not to embellish it.
That old distinction is slowly starting to fall away with the advent of social media and user-generated content — it seems like online audiences are just as keen as circus audiences to get involved.
While there are some very obvious differences between content marketing and circus performers, they aren’t as different as all that.
The really important thing to remember is that each seek to grab their audience's attention and give them a show that will stay in their memories long after they’ve gotten to the end of the performance....