Published: 14 April 2014 If you think about your favourite websites, the ones you visit every day, it’s the content that brings you back: a steady stream of pithy articles, the latest reviews, timely updates, stuff you want to consume. As long as the content maintains a level of interest and is pumped through with enough frequency you’re hooked (look around an office at lunchtime and witness the power of the Daily Mail’s Sidebar of Shame).

But what if a marketer wants to drag me away from my favourite channels to see and absorb their message? That’s a two-part job:

i) Get my attention
Let’s assume the marketer has a broad approach to their online marketing via search, a good media strategy and the right emphasis on recommendation. Great, I’ve clicked and now I’m looking at their campaign landing page.

ii) Tell me a story

For me to have clicked through something must have piqued my interest - I’m a warm lead ripe for conversion. If the product being sold is a simple proposition then don’t waste my time, hit me with the deal. But if there’s some nuance in the USP then I’m going to need my hand holding a little.

Tell me a story...

Method 1 - Build trust
I’ll start with my favourite method (when done well), where the story is about something useful, solves a problem I didn’t realise I had, gives me a revelation that will push me to the buy button. A recent example is Bellroy’s Slim Your Wallet campaign that scratches an itch for anyone that wears skinny jeans:
Bellroy ‘Slim your Wallet’:

Method 2 - Give ‘em the old razzle dazzle
Sometimes it’s glitz that fits, such as this very impressive (although bandwidth-heavy) microsite for the new Citroen Cactus C4. The car represents a genuinely fresh approach and the site backs this up with an experience that will tantalise the target audience with requisite novelty:
Citroen C4 Cactus:

Method 3 - Be a great storyteller
Sometime you don’t have a product to push, you just want to tell a story beautifully (and slip the odd banner position in). The New York Times is publishing made-for-web articles with perfectly judged levels of interaction that beat anything you can get in an app:
New York Times ‘Tunnel Creek’:

Method 4 - Carry a big stick
Or, spend £60k sponsoring online crack:

Alex Lee

Digital Producer


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