How do I create relevant or engaging content?

Every marketer, brand manager or small business owner often struggles with how to approach creating good content. At The Perlman Agency, we've developed and successfully used this strategy that we're now sharing with you.

TPA's Strategic Approach to Content:
Punchy, Pithy & Provocative

Our agency founder, Phillip Perlman at a recent Innovation DuPage presentation shared how to apply our Bespoke Strategy for content: Punchy, Pithy & Provocative

This content strategy is what's used at our agency to validate any content or creative before it ships out the door for our clients. It's important to note that this doesn't get into the details about the Call-to-Action or other business goals and objectives for a creative piece (that's another article for another day).

What this strategy does provide is a litmus test from the very beginning and throughout the creative process. Ensuring what's produced will resonate and have an impact. Let's be honest, if it's not resonating and impactful, then why are you wasting time and advertising dollars?

Ready to learn? Here we go...

1) Punchy

The advertisement, marketing communication or headline (insert whatever the creative is here) should get the attention of your audience. No one wants a boring advertisement. Especially if you're the client or brand paying for the creative and distribution. Wasted ad dollars hurt (personally, professionally and your finance team will be knocking on your door).

To make something interesting, consider different uses of literary techniques.

Remember Shakespeare? The use of literary devices in advertising can improve the recall of your organization's slogan or marketing campaign. Literary devices can make your headline, call-to-action, slogan, etc. memorable, and punchy.

Consider Using a Common Literary Device: Poetic Metre

Poetic Metre is the rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. It's a way to make the lines flow and become easy to say, and memorable.

Poetic Metre in Advertising:

  • The use of poetic metre can greatly increase readability and memory recall
  • Poetic Metre comes in a variety of rhythmic structures
  • Metrical patterns can be used in long-form voice-overs or short-form articles and headlines as they vary in length: trimeter, tetrameter, pentameter, etc.

Poetic Metre Foot Types

How Metre and Foot Type Work: If the (verse) has a foot type three times, it is a trimeter; four is tetrameter; five is pentameter; six is hexameter, seven is heptameter and eight is octameter.

2) Pithy

To the point.

^ Yes, that's a great example of what Pithy is, and how you should apply it to the creative.

In some instances you need to cover the material in more detail, such as long form content. If it calls for that, then you should absolutely do it. Long form content has its place and should not be overlooked... however: some long form content can be too long (and that's where this concept comes into play).

Take for instance billboard advertising. If the headlines below were to be read on a billboard, the eight words on the left have a higher chance of being read as opposed to the longer headline on the right. The only difference is the headline on the right has 6 more words. See how easy it is to go overboard?

There's a balancing act to the number of words, or consider the total items in a creative piece. If you have an image, a headline a CTA, etc. in a print ad, be careful with the amount of ad copy. Everything has it's place and proper context for what the ad is, who the target audience is, etc. should be kept in mind.

Keep in mind that Miller's Law still applies to this as well. Check out our other post about cognitive load.

Pithy Headlines - Especially for Outdoor / OOH Advertising (Billboards)

3) Provocative

Engaging and memorable, that's the idea here for the final product, or even elements within it. This is especially true of an entire marketing campaign.

You should leave the target audience (the person or people you are advertising to) feeling great about the content they just consumed from you. It should give them that, "ah-ha" moment to know that what you're advertising is speaking to them and their need, mood, or emotions.

Putting it Together

Consider this great concept from GEICO and their agency - The Martin Agency - for the campaign, "So Easy, a Caveman Can Do It."

GEICO Ad - So easy a caveman can do it.
  1. Punchy: Anapestic Trimeter - Yes, a literary device for the slogan: "So easy, a caveman can do it."
  2. Pithy: Headline uses 7 words, the creative ran as a :15 or :30 spot. It built upon a larger campaign that allowed the target audience to really understand the value prop of "15 minutes or less" to save money on car insurance.
  3. Provocative: It tied in the USP with a funny anecdote about cavemen being able to easily do something that would be "complex" by modern standards (as compared to their competitors).

Additional Reading / Resources

Follow these links to get in-depth information on the topic discussed in this blog:

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Phillip Perlman

Phillip is the founder and CEO of TPA. His background in marketing includes: higher education, restaurant, legal, automotive and medical.

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