You have the next big idea, just ventured into a new industry or have a really important message you want to share. Maybe you just launched a new company or need to find new ways to sell your product. Either way, everyone is telling you to grow your social presence and reach people online. Naturally.
The problem is that although the media landscape has never been easier to access, breaking through has never been harder to do. There is an infinite amount of information online, especially on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snap, YouTube, and let’s not forget Friendster. You are competing with baby pictures, cats and Chrissy Teigen for time (she’s just that good on social). Getting people’s attention is simultaneously imperative and daunting.
The good news about this new landscape is that a few of the old rules still apply. Namely, that cream still rises to the top and people like quality content, even on Facebook. While the social audience is different from the television or radio or magazine audience (they are younger, they spend more time in aggregate, but less time per visit and are have strong likes and dislikes), in the end, relevant and fun content will succeed no matter where it lives. Great storytelling is great storytelling, and that will likely never change.
At ATTN:, our content has a mandate to be equally informative and entertaining. We make videos and series about all kinds of issues, and we want people to learn something without getting bored. From videos on trash in the ocean to parental leave to the need for better school lunches for our kids, time and time again our content sets the industry standard for engagement because we get people to care.
When we started ATTN: in 2014, Facebook video was in its infancy. It didn’t take much to amass millions of views and the field just wasn’t as crowded. But in the last four years, social video has exploded and staying in the lead means being nimble and innovative. We have found that to continue to resonate with a social audience, content needs to be, first and foremost, relevant. This can mean timely or newsworthy on occasion, but it can also be evergreen — it just needs to be substantive, relatable and (most importantly) it needs to matter. There’s never a perfect time to talk about cancer or pollution or parental leave, but these topics are important and affect people’s lives every day. If news breaks, we look for the counter-intuitive angle or overlooked story and differentiate ourselves from everything else in your feed.
The content also has to have a clear point of view in the world of the news feed. Social audiences may give you 5-10 minutes, if you’re lucky, but sometimes 5-10 seconds is all you will have to make an impression. You need to get their attention early and then work twice as hard to keep it until the end. We use influencers, animation, graphics, text and many other tools to make our content entertaining from start to finish. You want to inform your audience, but no one wants to be bored. Every day we dispel the notion that topics like gerrymandering and student debt have to be dry. And more than anything else, to breakthrough on social, you have to get people to share. It’s not enough to get one person to watch. They need to watch it, like and comment, and then share it with their friends, family and colleagues. Shareability (my mom and friends should see this!) is the number one sentiment we are after. Engagement is everything and we are obsessed with it. That obsession helps us win.
To highlight a recent partnership example that incorporates all of these tactics, ATTN: has partnered with Ad Council and The American Lung Association to raise awareness about Lung Cancer and motivate people to get screened early and often. The ‘Saved by the Scan’ video was created by applying our creative best practices and optimization tactics to footage that was provided by The American Lung Association, ensuring that the piece was both informative and entertaining, albeit poignant. By editing to include quick cuts, facts you can’t ignore and graphics, the message becomes immediate and the point becomes clear – share this video to save a life.
The ATTN: team has worked hard to make our content authentic enough to stand out in this very crowded space. Whether you’re an individual, a brand or a non-profit, the type of content you make will resonate with your audience if you recognize their uniqueness and the unique nature of each platform you are programming for. Be relevant, make a clear argument, keep it entertaining and don’t be afraid to stand for something in order to get people to care.