Vampires look like humans. Some so beautiful they hypnotize people.
Three such mesmerizing vampires seduced a lawyer from England, Jonathan Harker, when he visited Castle Dracula for the first time.
It’s not until after Harker escapes from the female vampires’ deadly spell that he realizes Dracula, his host, only wants one thing: human blood.
This fictional story is from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, written in 1897 and renowned all over the world. Today, the book’s basis in history and connection to real people and events is what fascinates me most.
Because it uses fiction to tell the truth about a brutal 15th-century ruler, Vlad the Impaler. He and Dracula shared a thirst for blood, one while defending Transylvania and the other while trying to survive and grow the domain of the undead.
This idea of fiction being used to shed light on the truth is key to all good storytelling. Whether you’re writing a novel about vampires or a blog post about your business, the ability to educate and entertain your audience is powerful.
Here’s how you can incorporate history (fact) and horror (fiction) into your marketing strategy to capture and hold your readers’ attention.
Inform with the facts
Without Dracula, Vlad the Impaler’s life and bloodthirsty reputation might have remained largely a mystery.
The fact Vlad’s father’s name was Vlad Dracul and he became known as Draculea, “Son of Dracul”, is no coincidence; the ruler’s name and his cruel punishment tactics (impaling his enemies on stakes), were the perfect inspiration for Stoker’s vampire.
Knowing this gives Dracula another dimension. The vampire becomes more real because of Vlad and thanks to the Wallachian prince, readers are more invested in Stoker’s bloodsucking creature.
As a business, think about your different dimensions. Give your audience everything they need to know to make an informed decision about your product or service.
Using your homepage, landing pages, blog, newsletters, social media — all your content channels — set the scene, describe every benefit of your offering and paint a real picture of how your reader’s life will be transformed by your one-of-a-kind workshop, sustainable clothing line, etc.
There are a number of ways to do this including:
- Sharing the story of how your organization came about
- Telling your community exactly who you are (reinforce your core values)
- Describing exactly what your thing does (material, look, feel, etc.)
- Explaining how their life will change for the better (testimonials, case studies, research)
- Providing them with something of value: a solution, an answer, expert advice
Think of what is relevant to your community right now. Pinpoint the stage they are on in their customer journey and produce useful content that they care about and can gain something from.
Give them Vlad. Just try not to scare any customers away.
Entertain with fiction
This is where the terrifyingly good content comes into play.
It’s the wolves howling outside the castle and the paleness of Dracula’s skin. It’s the blood from a shaving cut that causes the vampire to pounce on his house guest.
In Stoker’s case, the gory details and bone-chilling plot twists are what entice the reader, leaving them wanting more.
Most likely your content won’t grow its audience by frightening them (unless you run a haunted house), but if you incorporate the elements below into your blog, newsletter, social posts, you will draw in and engage with your readers:
- Use eye-catching headlines that clearly state the value readers will receive in exchange for their time
- Create a bond with your community by being passionate about your product and speaking from your heart
- Satisfy readers’ desires with a series of blog posts on a popular topic. Then package it into a free e-book!
- Give a new perspective on your industry. Be different than your competitors.
- Make sure your call to actions pop on the page and are easy to understand
- Choose compelling images and user-friendly designs
Remember that your content marketing should imitate fiction in its power to captivate an audience, make them feel a special connection to the story and persuade them to keep reading. Your content shouldn’t ever be fake, fabricated or untrue.
Virginia Woolf put it succinctly: “Fiction must stick to facts, and the truer the facts the better the fiction… “
People want the facts, but they also want to feel and experience something. That’s the bloody truth.