London-born fashion designer Mary Quant has gone down in history for her striking, daring and exciting takes on ordinary clothes in the 1960s. She is best known for popularising – some even say inventing – the miniskirt, and making fashion fun, accessible and practical for the modern woman.
Fast forward to 2019 and you can see how her influence has left its mark on modern popular fashion. Everyday women’s fashion is still very much focused on a marriage between comfort and style, being practical while having fun.
“Mary Quant was jolting England out of a conventional attitude towards clothes.”
THE SUNDAY TIMES, 1963
During a recent visit to the V&A Museum, where Quant’s revolutionary designs are currently on display, it was easy to see how much of an effect she has had on women’s fashion and lifestyles. It also led me to think about how we, as content marketers, can take a leaf out of her book.
Mary Quant showed that functional doesn’t have to mean dull; you can brighten up a practical pinafore with a funky pattern, or cut the length of a skirt to make it easier to run for a bus (and look great in the process). This same rule certainly applies to content marketing, too – stellar content will serve its purpose and carry information, but it doesn’t need to be dry and dull!
Putting the ‘fun’ in functional
Quant wanted “relaxed clothes suited to the actions of normal life,” and so created high fashion versions of the practical clothes she’d worn and loved. Pairing short tunic dresses with bright-coloured tights and high, conservative necklines with short skirts, she put the ‘fun’ in functional and showed that sensible clothing didn’t have to be boring.
“I liked my skirts short because I wanted to run and catch the bus to get to work.”
In content marketing, it can seem clearer and more straightforward to simply give information to the reader without much embellishment or pizzazz. And while it’s always important for us to deliver the message we wish to convey, whether in the shape of an informative blog post or comprehensive white paper guide, to keep the reader engaged you need to add a bit of flair.
For example, if you’re writing about a topic that’s been covered a thousand times in the past, think about your unique selling point and individual take on the subject. Just like Quant took an ordinary skirt and chopped inches off the hem to make a staggering new product in the late ‘60s, try and make your subject matter engaging, fresh and something people genuinely enjoy reading. Inject some character into your writing, take a new angle on the subject and make it your own!
Not sure how to make your content pop? These are good places to start before putting pen to paper:
- Listen to your audience on social to discover their interests, pain points, wants and needs
- Think outside the box when producing a piece of content: would it work better as a video, podcast or webinar? What images or infographics can better illustrate my point?
- Make your topic relevant to your readers’ lives (i.e. explain your subject matter using a popular TV show or widely-loved food – if it will resonate with your audience, try it!)
The power of style and substance
Formal, informative content is all well and good; it serves its purpose, delivers what it says on the tin and gets information to your audience. It shows you are a reliable resource and you know what you’re talking about; however to give readers a reason to return to your site it’s important to create engaging content. An entertained audience is a captivated audience who will ultimately learn more and gradually trust your brand with each interaction.
Mary Quant’s designs subverted conventions, keeping some aspects of the traditional and functional but adding a daring edge and quirk. As content marketers, we need to do the same: deliver on both style and substance so that our audience is kept focused and absorbed.
What are some ways to capture and hold your reader’s attention?
- Include compelling photos and images
- Write headlines that inform and intrigue
- Don’t be afraid to use wit and humour to add colour
- Put your own spin on the subject matter
When you’ve got your audience excited and engaged, they will be more dynamic and empathetic towards your brand. Give them something that delights them, and prove your worth by showing off your knowledge – it doesn’t have to be an either-or situation!
If you’d like help to boost your reach and engagement through custom content, email me here and we will come up with a plan that brings your story to life.