Content is Out, Curiosity is In
Over 2 million new posts are published to WordPress, every day. And that’s just WordPress…
The amount of content being created and pushed out into the world is growing exponentially, and everything that can be written about has probably already been written about. Anything we could ever want to learn, we can learn – and probably for free if we mine the internet long enough. We even know all the things we don’t even want or need to know, like how many cheeseburgers Donald Trump eats every day, or what our second cousin’s political views.
When was the last time you felt curious about something?
The last time you had to truly take a moment, step back and evaluate something to understand it?
Content is everywhere
Thanks to Google, the internet, and that trusty device that’s never outside of your reach no matter where you go (does anyone even go to the toilet without their phones anymore?), all the information you could ever want or need is just a few taps away. Mystery and wonder are gone. We’re so confident in our ability to find the answer to everything that most of us don’t even see the point in learning basic math.
We’re overloaded with content, we don’t need more of it. If we ever need to learn or discover something, we can do so when we need to.
Like directions. Who needs those anymore? My last argument with my grandfather illustrates this – he insisted on giving me the long list of directions I needed for my 3 hour drive next week. “Grandpa, I’ll just look at the routes in Google Maps when I’m ready to go”. He was outraged by the fact that 1. I wasn’t writing the directions down and 2. That I wasn’t planning on deciding on my route ahead of time.
But that’s how things are now. We don’t need more information. In fact, we tend to tune it out.
Now can you think of how that relates to marketing? Simple. Consumers don’t need more content. We are bombarded with it at all times – from the moment we wake up, throughout the day, to the moment we go to sleep – media and ads are constantly being pushed upon us. We’re confident in our ability to find any information we need in the exact moment that we need it.
The result? We’ve become incredibly well trained in tuning out content.
And while our spaces are filled with information, there’s one thing missing:
We need more mystery.
Sure, this isn’t anything groundbreaking. Mystery as a novel genre has been around since the 1700’s, yet as humans, we are naturally drawn to the element of mystery.
The problem? There is no mystery today.
Want to know what your friends are up to? Just tap your finger and open Instagram or Facebook. Want to know what Kim Kardashian had for breakfast today? Just load Twitter. Want to know what outrageous thing Trump said today? Just turn on CNN. Want to know if your crush is ignoring you or just busy or asleep? Easy. Everything you want to know is just a few taps away.
So that’s the situation – no one wants or needs more media or information.
Challenge or Opportunity? How to Create Curiosity in Your Content.
You can view every situation as a challenge or an opportunity. I choose to view it as an opportunity.
Embrace it! Embrace the fact that information and content are out, and curiosity is in. Don’t create another ad, create mystery, cultivate curiosity. Very few marketers and ad agencies have been harnessing the power of curiosity… but those who have, have created quite the buzz.
People want to connect the dots; and when they can’t, they get hooked. Curiosity is powerful, motivating and captivating. If you want to engage your audience, spark their curiosity.
Think about the last series you watched on Netflix – was the season ending abrupt and mysterious? If so, it probably left you wondering, thinking and ruminating about it – completely on your toes until the next season was out.
The best channels to use
The channels? It’s not about the channels. You could spend 500 hours evaluating the perfect marketing channel for your audience and how to provide the highest ROI, or you could get creative and let those ideas flow. Pop that cork, loosen that tie, pour a glass, and another glass, and another one. Stop being uptight and get creative. After curiosity, the next most important aspect is authenticity. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel authentic when I’m wearing perfectly pressed clothing, high heels, and hairspray (and I can’t even remember the last time I wore any of those things, tbh) and that’s not the type of environment that gets my creativity flowing.
To do something different, you need to think differently. Change things up and go find inspiration in the real world. Put your phone on airplane mode, go for a walk and look at the people around you. Sit on a bench in a park, ride the bus, train or subway… observe your surroundings. Clear your head and allow the creative juices to flow. To do something different, you need to think differently.
If you need a little push… here are a few great examples of curiosity marketing put to work!
Examples of Curiosity Marketing:
These are all quite large scale examples… but you can use curiosity marketing in your daily efforts across any channel.
For example – post a photo on Instagram and talk about everything in the photo except the one thing that you want people to pay attention to. Trust me, if you post a photo and talk about where you got your outfit, people will wonder where you are. Post a photo and talk about the amazing time you’re having at X hotel, people will be wondering where you got your outfit.
Authenticity over everything
But remember to be AUTHENTIC above everything!
People are sophisticated, and algorithms are powerful.
If the motive is sales-ey, your audience will be able to smell it from a mile away, and the algorithms will easily detect it to ensure that you aren’t using free channels to sell products (yes, this is a thing… but algorithms are a whole other beast and we’ll leave that topic for another day…)
Leave an element of mystery, but be authentic and don’t be sketchy. I like to think of marketing the way that I think of dating – provide a little bit to keep ’em hooked, but don’t give away too much!
Just remember – curiosity is powerful, especially in today’s age. If you want to take up more than a millisecond of your audience’s attention, leave them wondering.