Updated: Apr 22, 2020
This pup knows the art of creating effective content, and can teach us something about it.
We can learn something about content creation and marketing . . . from dogs.
Well, to an extent.
I've been developing content for many clients over the years. As much as I love him, I can't credit my dog for success in that area. There are, however, actions dogs take when it comes to getting what they want, which ties in quite nicely with well-crafted content and delivery.
Hence, the topic of this article.
Before moving on, let me introduce you to Sleet.
Sleet has been with our family for close to 14 years. He came to us when he was little more than a puppy. While he was supposed to be our kiddo’s dog, guess who he bonded with. At any rate, in his time with our family, Sleet has become a master of communication with his audience (aka, yours truly). He creates and delivers content that gets results.
Said content, complete with calls to action, consists of musical growls, muffled barks, wide-eyed stares, a wagging tail and sit-stays. The messaging leads to specific actions on my part, such as a treat. Or a walk. Or a belly rub. Or play time. Based on experience, Sleet understands what messages and delivery methods will lead to positive responses. My crafty canine knows which content will resonate.
Given where he is and where I am (the kitchen), Sleet's message is: "I'm irresistible." His CTA? "If you give me a treat, I'll be happy, and that will make YOU happy."
What can we learn from Sleet and others of his kind when it comes to content marketing?
Tell a compelling story. The stories Sleet tells are about the fun of walks and treats. The dog makes these stories compelling, in part, because he’s so darn cute. Now, “cuteness” doesn’t cut it when it comes to business-to-business communications. But your story should appeal. It should have the same “how can I resist?” lure of puppy-dog eyes.
Know your audience, and understand what will resonate. Speaking of puppy-dog eyes, Sleet knows I’m a sucker for his big, brown ones. He’s tried other ways to get my attention in the past (such as reaching out with a paw on my leg). He has learned, through trial and error, what I will respond to, and what will get him what he wants. This underscores the importance of knowing your audience, and building relationships, both of which are important when it comes to content marketing.
Include a call to action. When Sleet decides it’s time for a walk, his CTA involves sitting in my office doorway, and staring at me. The “call” is very clear: He’s telling me to get off my rear end and put on his leash, so we can take our daily tour of the neighborhood. A strong call to action encourages your audience to take specific, beneficial action. When I take action based on Sleet’s “call,” I make him happy, which benefits me, as it makes me happy, too. An added benefit is that our walks are great exercise.
As an aside, Sleet’s wide-eyed stares can also be disconcerting. “Disconcerting” is something you might want to avoid in your content creation efforts.
Sleet's message and CTA were both successful, as you can see.
Though he operates on instinct (as animals do), my dog is a consummate content creation and delivery artist. He knows how to communicate an appealing message, one that encourages his audience to take action.
Granted, Sleet isn’t big on setting up editorial calendars or managing content marketing plans. He also doesn’t know much about lead generation.
Still, Sleet’s ability to obtain results from his content is worth observing and, in certain cases, emulating. But, in your own content creation and delivery efforts, be sure to translate stories and CTAs from “dog” to “human.” Your audience might not understand content delivered via growls, barking or sit-stays.
For assistance with content creation and editorial calendar management, contact The WordSorters at firstname.lastname@example.org.