If you’ve been on Facebook for more than ten minutes, you’ve seen a friend share an interesting video.
Today I want to talk about one that was shared with me — about why it worked, what you can learn from it, and how you can break a complex piece of content down to get insights for your own material.
After I took a few minutes to watch the video, I immediately shared it. And then my friends shared it. And their friends shared it.
When I see that happening in my social media streams, I stop and pay attention.
So let’s take a look at a powerful story. The story of a good dog named Rosie, the kind people who helped her, and how they can help you create the kind of content that gets shared, that touches your audience, and that motivates them to take action.
The video is below. It would be a great idea to watch it through before we start the analysis part. You may want to have a hanky handy.
There are a lot of things these guys are doing right, but I want to call your attention to three in particular that I think you can learn from.
The part where they’re doing something remarkable
I watched what kind of language people were using when they shared the video. It was usually some version of, “This is amazing” or, “You need to watch this.”
Hope for Paws, the organization who published the content, does amazing work. Now lots of us have taken in stray animals. There have been probably a dozen cats in my life who have wandered in from the street and taken up residence.
But very few of us have the knowledge, patience, and wisdom of the man in the video. He’s a superhero of animal rescue. The device with the iPhone is interesting and clever, but it’s just one detail in a larger story of someone engaged in remarkable work.
Remember, remarkable just means people are talking about you. In other words, they feel compelled to share your content with words like, You have to see this.
There are a million ways to be remarkable. Most of them rest on a foundation of being (really) damned good at what you do.
The part where it grabs you emotionally
This story doesn’t pull any punches.
First, rescue stories are always touching. The strong protecting the weak, the frightened finding sanctuary. That’s a powerful archetype.
And then the story gets kicked up a notch when we find out that this lovely abandoned dog isn’t the only one in need of rescue — she has puppies to protect. Any parent (or anyone who’s ever had a parent, for that matter) will be able to resonate with this story of a mama struggling to keep her little ones safe.
They throw a little emotional music in, too. These guys don’t play fair. And that’s what makes it effective. (All of the Hope for Paws videos are good if you’d like to just sit at your desk and have a good cry.)
The story follows a good, proven template: Peril, Complications, Resolution. In copywriting, it’s called Problem, Agitate, Solve.
- The story is compelling because something we care about is at stake. (Peril — will we find the puppies? Will they be okay?)
- It holds our attention because interesting twists and turns develop along the way. (Complications — the mama is reluctant to reveal her pups, the trick with the iPhone)
- And it’s satisfying because at the end, we get our happily ever after. The world of the story is restored to order and goodness. (Resolution — that whole part at the end where you cried)
You may not have the benefit of adorable puppies for your business story. But there’s some version of this story structure in your business. You need to dig it out.
Hint: your customers know where you can find it, and they will show you if you ask.
The part where they let you know what to do next
Note that there’s a nice, clear call to action right at the beginning of the video. It isn’t lost. They don’t worry about being too “pitchy.”
If you want to help (and many people who watch the video will want to help), they make it easy. (Did I donate? Yes.)
The process after you click Donate is clear and simple as well. No hangups, no broken order pages. An optimization expert could probably come in and improve things even more, but 90% of the game is won by simply clearly asking for what you want.
We can sometimes get caught up in not wanting to “sell” too soon. And it’s a great idea to make your case before you start reaching into anyone’s pocket.
But be mindful — at the moment you’ve created a strong emotional impact, your audience wants to know how to take the next step. To book a consultation or buy a product or make a donation. Don’t make them wait too long, or their attention will drift to the next compelling story.
There’s a difference between decent content and great content
You don’t have to get everything right to create a great piece of content. Your grammar may not be perfect (although you’ll hear about it if it isn’t), your site might not be exactly the way you want it, you may have some details you want to fix.
But if you’re creating content:
- About someone (ideally you or your company) doing something remarkable,
- That engages your audience’s emotion and tells a compelling story, and
- Ends with a clear, simple call to action
Then you’re going to win the content game. Everything you do on top of that will just make it better.
And if you want to watch some more moving but happy stories and maybe even make a donation, here’s the link for the Hope for Paws website. By the way, we have no affiliation with them, other than finding their video on Facebook and being moved to write about it.