You may not think the apex of cool is a multi-colored scarf. Or a bow-tie. Or both.
Unless you’re a Whovian, of course.
Doctor Who is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running science fiction television show in the world, and as the “most successful” science fiction series of all time (in terms of its overall ratings, DVD and book sales, and iTunes traffic).
The show has earned acclaim for imaginative stories, creative low-budget special effects (although these have improved over time), and its pioneering use of electronic music.
As Doctor Who builds towards its highly-anticipated and climactic 50th anniversary year (and 14 big, blockbuster-movie episodes) things couldn’t be brighter. Why? Because sci-fi fans are cool like that?
Nope. It’s not just the genre. It’s the storytelling.
It’s the triumph of good over evil. It’s the life and death plots. And it’s because weeping angels are just, well … fascinatingly scary.
Obviously, the writers of this show know what they’re doing. Here’s what you can learn from them about developing timelessly delicious content.
1. Be your audience’s hero
The Doctor is a god-like hero.
And not just as metaphor, but as one we can see and understand. He loves humans more than all the other creatures in the Whoniverse. He would die for us, if it came to that.
The bottom line? The Doctor is over-the-top helpful. He cares. And he does whatever it takes to save the day.
Your content needs to be the same. Your audience is struggling with real problems — sometimes they might even be the life-and-death serious kind.
Don’t just tell someone vaguely what to do. Give them actual steps to get it done. Use a tutorial, a template or a video; or at least make sure you point them to the exact resources where they can get what they need.
2. Love your TARDIS
The TARDIS (which stands for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) is the Doctor’s super-vehicle.
A properly maintained and piloted TARDIS can transport its occupants to any point in time and any place in the universe.
And if that weren’t special enough, it’s a living, organic being — created especially for the Doctor, himself.
The bonus? Because a TARDIS’ interior space exists in a different dimension from its exterior, it appears bigger on the inside.
It’s your vehicle or platform for delivering all that juicy content across the web. Its interior size is limited only by your imagination, and can have as many rooms as you need to tell your story.
You should know your site like the back of your hand, and keep it properly maintained.
3. Be timeless
Time Lords have a non-linear perception of time that allows them to see everything that was, is, or could be at the same time.
They’re extremely long-lived, routinely counting their ages in terms of centuries. The Doctor claimed in at least one episode that Time Lords could live “practically forever, barring accidents.”
Create cornerstone content that isn’t bound to any particular timeline.
Focus on telling the truth — not telling what’s true now. This makes your content “evergreen” and relevant long after other types of content have ceased to be relevant.
Tell stories with real characters. Don’t forget to include detailed portraits of the villians and aliens you’re battling on behalf of your audience. Help them find the courage to take a stand against evil — in whatever form it takes in their lives — and you’ll go home safe and happy at the end of the day.
4. Regenerate and repurpose
Time Lords also have the ability to regenerate their bodies when their current body is mortally wounded. This process results in their body undergoing a transformation, gaining a new physical form.
Once you’ve poured your heart, mind and soul into your blog post, it would be a shame to let it languish in your site archive, collecting dust.
Here are 11 ways you can breathe new life into that single blog post:
- Record a podcast — Narrate your blog post as is, or invite an appropriate guest to discuss one aspect of the content in more depth.
- Create a white paper or special report — If the post itself isn’t too long, you may need to supplement with data and/or images. These are great as a downloadable gift or enticement for list-building.
- Create a video — Record yourself delivering the content highlights for a short video (2 minutes or less). If necessary, you can record an entire series and deliver them as part of an opt-in list-builder.
- Create a slide presentation — Find a series of strong images, and use them — with or without music — to present your ideas in a slide presentation. Upload the slides to slideshare.net and then embed on your site and share via social media channels.
- Deliver a webinar or in-person presentation — Use your slide presentation for this and add your special report as a handout.
- Article — Revise the post so that it speaks to another subset of your target market. Submit it to an article directory like eHow, or to Squidoo.
- Guest posts — Revise the post to meet the needs of another blog’s audience and submit as a guest post. Be sure that the blog knows your submission is based on your original post.
- eBook — Package together with 7 to 10 similar themed posts, write an introduction and a summary wrap-up paragraph, and save as a PDF. EBooks can be used for free promotions, or as introductory products.
- Audio Book — Narrate your eBook and record as an mp3 or series of mp3 files.
- Inspirational Quote — Pull a quote or two and use as a Tweet and/or other social media share. Include a link back to your post. You could also create some swag (like a t-shirt or a bumper sticker) if the quote gets a lot of positive response.
- Infographic — Create an infographic using the data or steps outlined in your post. Pin to Pinterest and include embed code for ease of sharing.
Once you’ve exhausted the new lives of your blog post, consider pulling everything together into one signature info product or class. Who says you only get 11 lives?
5. Make friends with technology
The Doctor has a gadget he never leaves home without: his sonic screwdriver.
This complex piece of technology — a portable device that allows him to do everything from pick locks to perform medical scans and control other devices remotely — is more than just a fancy tool. It’s another vehicle that facilitates the Doctor’s mission.
You have one, too. It’s called a smart phone. Make sure you understand all the nifty things it can do for you and how your content looks and acts when viewed on its lovely little screen.
People are shifting away from their clunky laptops and desktop computers to read and engage on the web. This means your site needs to work properly on a mobile device — or your content is dead in the water.
This is the journey of a lifetime
It might only be sixty minutes of wildly dramatic adventure, but during that time, Doctor Who manages to capture your attention, involve you in the storyline, and hook you into wanting more.
The secret? A three-dimensional look at the lives and morals of aliens and humans — both good and evil. Doctor Who writers create raving fans because they tell meaningful stories that entertain us at the same time. This, above all else, is your mission, too.
So whether you’re a Third Doctor fan or a Tenth Doctor fanatic, the Whovian recipe has some time-honored ingredients that can help you cook up your own timelessly fascinating content.
Best way to begin? Decide on a destination, check your instruments and take off!
About the Author: Tea Silvestre is a sci-fi geek, a marketing coach and the author of “Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd: How thinking like a Chef can help you build a solid business.” You can follow her musings on Twitter at @teasilvestre. Learn how she regenerated her blog content into a published book when you take her free e-course: “From Blog to Book in 9 Simple Steps“.