It’s hard enough creating ridiculously awesome content. It’s even harder to do it consistently. It’s even harder to do it in three different languages. And it’s even harder to do it in three different languages EVERY WEEK.
The reality is that it is possible to crank out wonderfully delicious content regularly, and there are a number of trailblazers to show us the way. Take Damon and Jo, multilingual YouTubers and Instagrammers who produce a Millennials-focused travel blog called, Shut Up and Go. (And yes, they really do publish three videos in three different languages every week.) They document their travels on a budget around the world, and take you along for the ride.
Damon and Jo are a perfect mix of fun, funny, intelligent, creative, inventive, adventurous, and all sorts of stuff in between. In one recent video, they teamed up with their artist friend Jody Steel to get a world map tattoo painted on their arms. What made this such a cool artistic concept was that Jody spread the map across both of their arms, so you’d need the comedic team to put their arms next to one another to see the entire map.
Jody then went and drew the actual stamps from Damon and Jo’s passports in the map.
In Damon and Jo’s website, they write about topics such as:
- “What It’s Like to Stay in a Japanese Capsule Hotel”
- “My Experience Doing 50+ Homestays in One Year”
- “How I Barely Survived a 23-Hour Bus Ride to England”
- “7 Photos of Kenya That’ll Make You Shut Up and Go”
- “How I Traveled to 17 Countries During College”
- “Parasites and Explosive Diarrhea? Staying Healthy While Traveling Cheaply.”
Not exactly the type of titles you’d see in a standard travel website, for sure.
The content is fantastic in that it’s unique and creative yet useful at the same time. The titles are engaging and make you eager to click through. Damon and Jo have figured out a formula for producing interesting and engaging (and yes, ridiculously awesome) content week after week after week. And then they do it again the following week after that, too.
Now it’s your turn! Here are some tips and tricks to get you going on your ridiculously awesome content journey.
Need More Info than a Blog Post can Give?
1. Evoke an Emotive Response
What makes people share a Tweet, photo, post, or video? In Jonah Berger’s breakthrough book, Contagious, he sought to answer this question and to identify the underlying factors in word of mouth generation. What he uncovered was that emotion-evoking content was a key factor in getting people to tell others about content or experiences. Within his examination of emotion, he found that high-arousal emotions in particular were even more effective at leading audiences to share.
Evoke an emotive response, and get them sharing!
For a good example of emotion-evoking content, check out Missy Lanning, a #MomBoss influencer with two crazy cute boys and an awesome YouTube channel and Instagram feed. Watch this Mother’s Day tribute video, and we dare you not to totally and completely melt:
2. Disrupt Their Expectations
Your brain is still heavily influenced by the “old brain,” in which self preservation is the top focal point. This is the “fight or flight” part of your brain.
The average person is now bombarded with 3,000 – 5,000 marketing messages daily, and with social media and mobile phones, the volume of distractions your audience is faced with is staggering. Therefore, it’s no wonder that the human mind wanders 30% to 70% of the time. The threshold for grabbing someone’s attention has never been higher.
With so much distraction, how in the world are you supposed to capture their attention?
The answer is a bit, well, surprising. An academic team lead by the neuroscientist Gregory Berns uncovered that the human brain is hard-wired to enjoy surprise. In fact, they found that the brain reacts more strongly when surprised than when encountering something that it likes.
The old brain is a prediction engine. It’s constantly trying to figure out what’s coming next, so that it can protect you. Once it thinks it knows a pattern, it tends to ignore the information that comes next.
That’s why disruption and surprise are so powerful in cutting through all the noise, grabbing your audience, and making them pay attention.
3. Collaborate with Others
We discussed the overwhelming benefits of collaborating with other influencers in our prior post, “Why Collaborating with Other Influencers Is a Win-Win Strategy.” Essentially, it’s a way to get 2X the results for ½ the effort, by getting you in front of two communities instead of just one. Booyah!
You can see how Damon and Jo teamed up with Jody Steel for their world map tattoo video to create something completely unique. In another video, the traveling duo partnered with the Toronto-based travel team of Becky and Kelsie called The Sorry Girls to compare what $20 a day will get you in NYC vs. Toronto. (Spoiler alert: If you want to live in NYC on $20/day, you’re going to need to acquire a taste for dollar pizza…) Did the collaboration with The Sorry Girls work? Oh, it generated only a cool 224,500+ video views, that’s all.
If you’d like to get started collaborating with other influencers, Perlu is your answer. We like to call it the All-In-One, Get It Done, Influencer Collaboration Network. You can get started on Perlu here.
4. Brainstorm 25 Ideas
Where do you think the best ideas come from? In his book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, author Steven Johnson points out that most people get it wrong by thinking that our greatest innovations come from light bulb moments. It’s actually not the “Aha!” or “Eureka!” moments that lead to breakthrough ideas.
Instead, Johnson talks about how innovation actually is more iterative in nature and often has long “incubation periods” before the real breakthrough is revealed.
With this in mind, it’s helpful to come up with 25 or even 35 ideas when you are planning your next creative project. You might even sleep on it, discuss with others, and continue your brainstorming the next day. As you progress through the ideation exercise, you’ll find your mind making new, unexpected connections, opening the door to completely new approaches.
Whether an Instagram shoot, your next blog, or next YouTube video, don’t just rush into it. Brainstorm lots and lots of ideas, and you’ll probably wind up hitting on a few gems you hadn’t thought of originally.
5. Cross-Pollinate Tacos, Navy Submarines, and Lots of Other Stuff
Take Doritos. Now, take some tacos. Put them together. What do you get? Taco Bell’s introduction of the madly popular Doritos Locos Tacos, its most successful product launch in the company’s history with more than a million orders per day. It’s been an unmitigated success, all because the marketing team had the backbone to throw two unrelated food items together.
The Navy used to spend $128,000 on each joystick that submariners used to control their periscopes. Then someone cross-pollinated a submarine with a gaming device, and realized that a $28 Xbox controller would do the job just fine. The new solution has now made its way onto the SSN-774 class of Navy submarines.
How do you create new, awesome content? Look for opportunities to cross-pollinate two seemingly unrelated things into something new, innovative, and a bit magical.
This approach to content generation has quite a bit of overlap with #3 above, as the more you collaborate with other influencers, the more opportunity you have to mix a diversity of people, experiences, cultures, attitudes, and ideas.
6. Evaluate Your Prior Content Performance
Another way to create awesome content is to see what’s worked best in the past for you. You can of course check on your page views, video views, and other volume metrics.
Going beyond that, you should measure your audience’s engagement with your art, such as through likes, favorites, comments, shares, followers, etc.
Another way to measure engagement, although this would need to be on your website, blog, or other “owned” property, would be behavioral analytics. There are many easy-to-use software options available for this, such as MouseFlow, HotJar, and CrazyEgg. These packages provide you with heatmap data to see what your audience is doing once on your pages (e.g., where are they clicking, where is their attention, how far down the page are they scrolling, etc.), but also provide you with video recordings of the visits. The insights are invaluable in guiding you to understand what your audience thinks is only “meh,” in contrast to what they LOVE.
7. Would They Pay for It?
A great question to ask yourself when creating new content or art is whether you think what you’ve created is so deliciously wonderful that others would pay for it. Not that you necessarily need to charge for it, but is the quality so far off the charts that your audience would gladly pay for the opportunity to consume it?
If no, then maybe it’s time to enhance it or to ditch the idea altogether.
If yes, you have a winner and it’s Go Time!