March of the Penguins: 3 Rituals to Enrich Your Client Relationships

Emperor penguins are extraordinary animals.

For starters, they return to the same stretch of frozen water every winter to mate and give life to the next generation of penguins.

In between finding a mate and nudging their chick onto the ice for the first time, they endure brutal weather elements (up to -60°C / -76°F), lose up to a quarter of their body weight when laying an egg and take turns traveling tens of miles back to sea to eat, restore their energy and provide food for their hatchlings.

Every March and April, emperor penguins make their way to Atka Bay, Antarctica.

This blew me away, knowing hardly anything about emperor penguins and their synchronized breeding habits before watching David Attenborough’s new show, Dynasties.

If Attenborough’s voice isn’t reason enough to watch the show, the concept certainly is: each episode follows a different animals’ fight for survival, beginning with the chimpanzee and ending with the tiger.

Episode two is dedicated to the emperor penguin.

While watching the penguins embark on their journey to Atka Bay in Antarctica and nine months later, seeing the new generation of penguins set out for the sea, three rituals stood out to me as a way to build bonds with your readers and grow meaningful relationships with your clients.

Here’s how the march of the penguins can benefit your business:

1. Find (and know) your match

Once the penguins make it to the nesting grounds, males begin courting the females and eventually pair off as mates for the rest of the season.

They create a bond that lasts for nine months, sometimes longer. A bond that gives birth to, protects and feeds a newborn penguin.

two emperor penguins
Emperor penguins bond with one mate each winter.

Think of their strong partnership as a symbol for the relationships you would like to build online.

You won’t be raising a chick with your readers, but you do wish to have a great rapport with them.

The first step to establishing that connection is to come up with a clear picture of your ideal reader. Ask yourself:

  • What do they do for a living?
  • What are they passionate about?
  • What do they desire? What do they fear?

Once you have this person in mind (giving them a name helps!), you can more easily come up with content solutions that they are looking for. Because you know what stage of life they’re in, what they’re pain points are and how your service can help them overcome these obstacles.

If you are just starting your business and not sure what your ideal reader looks like, make one up. Come up with someone who would realistically be interested in your product and adapt him or her as your business takes shape.

Knowing exactly who you are speaking to makes creating content and forming a solid bond with your readers easier.

2. Show them you care

Antarctic seabirds not only bond as mates, but as friends and fellow parents.

When the female penguins return to the sea after laying their eggs, for instance, the males become sole protectors of the egg. That means keeping the egg warm under its belly and protecting it from blistering winds for weeks on end.

hatchling
A hatchling keeping warm under its parent’s brood pouch.

To shield each other and their eggs from severe elements, male penguins huddle together, trading places inside and outside the group to survive.

As soon as the females come back with food, the chicks are carefully placed under mum’s belly so the males are free to fish.

Just as penguins meet every task with care and attentiveness so too should content creators.

Plan out how you can help your reader (from ritual #1) warm up to your business. Think about how you can gradually gain their trust.

Some ways to do this are by:

  • Sharing your story and why your organization exists
  • Describing what your product/service does and how it benefits them
  • Bringing customer feedback to life with testimonials
  • Providing useful, practical advice in an entertaining and memorable way
  • Speaking from the heart

Nurturing this bond with your readers is essential. And oftentimes, being generous with your content’s value leads to more worthwhile relationships.

3. Give them something they can use

Before the chicks can leave their parents’ close watch, they must learn how to walk.

A forceful nudge usually does the trick, sending the chick onto the ice for the first time. It might feel like tough love, but as mum knows best, it’s time for the penguin to make their own way to the sea.

emperor penguins
A hatchling getting the hang of this ice thing.

While you won’t be teaching your readers to walk (unless your target audience is toddlers of course), your content should aim to offer them something useful.

This could be in the form of a video tutorial, a benefit-driven listicle, webinar or e-book. There are countless ways to provide value to your prospects and customers, so understanding how your audience consumes and responds to different types of content will help define your content strategy.

If your readers are mostly millennials, perhaps a Facebook live will resonate more with your audience than blog posts.

The great thing about content is that you can always put it out there, gauge interest and do more of what works.

To get your creativity going, here are three ideas that keep your reader top of mind.

Like the nine-month journey of raising a new emperor penguin, quality content takes time and commitment. When you’re able to look in front of and behind you and see the community you created through meaningful content, you’ll be sliding belly-down on ice towards success.

Notting Hill Carnival

How to Immerse Readers in Your Content

When we arrived at the Music Box Village, people had already taken their seats.

The film hadn’t started yet but it was plain to see that the show had already begun. We were the actors and actresses, lovers and mistresses, dancers and revellers, dressed as Voodoo maidens and Rio Casanovas.

Coinciding with Valentine’s Day, the night was a tribute to the tragic love story of Eurydice and Orfeu. We were invited not only to celebrate their romance but to take part in their fabled fairy-tale.

View from above at the Music Box Village.

Besides showing up in costume, the evening didn’t come with any instructions. So while the movie screens were still blank, my friend and I made our way up to an improvised treehouse.

There were lots of huts and hidden alcoves around the open-air venue and if you looked close enough, you could see instruments attached to doorframes, windows, walls and ledges. Little did we know, they would be ours to play at the end of the night.

So how did the Music Box Village turn a group of festive spectators into performing musicians? By following the three golden rules for immersing readers in your content:

1. Invite Them In

Although my friend or I had never been to this venue, the invitation told us exactly where the party was located.

The only other explicit details were to dress up. Which helped because once we saw people in costume, we knew we were in the right place.

The Casa Samba group wore elaborate costumes.

Try and do the same for your online community and give your content a way to stand out.

If people can’t find your tech video review, instructional webinar or latest podcast, then how can they watch or listen to it, much less immerse themselves in it?

That’s why the most important thing to consider when publishing your piece of content is, how will my readers and prospects find it?

Come up with a plan for sharing your content, whether that’s on social media, your own site, someone else’s blog or via a newsletter. And think about how you can use a combination of these, such as sending out an e-newsletter and posting it to Instagram.

It’s also a good idea to give your readers just a taste of the content like you are letting them in on a secret. That way they have to click through to your website or landing page to experience the piece in full.

Then they are more likely to explore other pieces of content and potentially sign up for one of your services (the ultimate goal!).

2. Show Don’t Tell

From the moment we entered the experimental village, our senses were filled with colorful costumes, Brazilian music, samba dancers, Capoeira performers and more.

This perfectly set the scene so when the movie, Black Orpheus, began you felt like you were being transported to Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro.

Carnaval with a Voodoo twist.

Although the Music Box Village could play to our senses a bit more easily, you should always consider different ways to engage your audience.

Catch their attention with compelling imagery and headlines. If it’s a travel narrative or lifestyle feature, describe what you saw, how you felt, who you talked to as clearly as you can.

The more you can bring your content to life (include photos, embed a video, link to your products or services) the better you can capture and hold their attention.

3. Hand Over The Reins

After the Casa Samba performers finished their group dance, the Brazilian beat drummers opened up the circle. It was our turn to join in.

They pointed us to the dance floor with their drumsticks and soon enough people were making their own music all around the village.

That’s the same response you should be going for with your content. Keep them entertained throughout the piece and seamlessly guide them to the next step.

Whether that is asking them to leave a comment, share it on their social media, sign up to your newsletter or purchase one of your services, make sure your viewers and readers know what to do next.

Remember, signposting your content with relevant links and tagging posts by category will not only help your audience learn more about your business and area of expertise, but it will also improve your company’s search ranking.

As you can see, being able to immerse readers in your content is a powerful achievement. One that the Music Box Village has so masterfully demonstrated.

If you’d like help creating this type of experience for your readers, I would love to hear from you at celeste@cbacontent.com or through this contact form.

woman on laptop

Real Talk: What’s Content (and Why Should You Care About It)?

You’ve heard this term, “content”, being thrown around a lot lately.

“If you’re not producing content, then do you even exist?” they say.

The word even makes up half of my business’s name.

But really, what is it? And why does it matter to your business?

Since there is no one-size-fits-all answer to these questions, let’s use something we’re all familiar with to talk about different content types and functions — weddings.

Just like there’s no one way to throw a wedding, there’s no one way to create and use content.

All the colors of content

Blog posts are probably the most common type of content that people discuss, but there are many other shades of content out there.

Consider going to a New Orleans wedding versus a Greek wedding — the first traditionally has a second line during the reception while the second usually includes smashing plates for good luck.

Likewise, different types of content can be seen across a variety of businesses. If you primarily manage a YouTube channel, for instance, you will produce mainly videos. Or, if you teach writers how to put together a novel, then you might have a webinar series that takes them through each step of writing a book.

Depending on what you specialize in will determine which type of content will resonate most with your audience.

This list will help get your creative juices flowing when deciding which way to educate, entertain or persuade your community:

  • Articles, including blog posts and guest posts
  • Videos, including live streaming
  • Infographics
  • Newsletters
  • Podcasts
  • E-books
  • Photos
  • Checklists
  • Case studies
  • Social media posts
  • E-courses or webinars
  • Promotions or sales offers
  • Whitepapers

quality content matters

Now that you have an idea of how wide the content spectrum is, let’s turn to the important role it plays on your website.

And while we’re discussing the benefits of creating content, it’s safe to assume that we’re talking about quality content and nothing less.

Because just as every wedding detail is carefully thought out, so too is engaging content.

Now, what kind of effect can good content have on your business?

The short answer: a powerful one.

The impact of good content can be more abstract, like building your authority in an industry, or more tangible, like direct sales.

In addition to helping you become a greater authority in the field, content has the ability to create a bond with your community, act as a sounding board for customer pain points, solve prospects’ problems and tell your audience how life will be better with your product or service.

More concretely, content can attract new prospects or subscribers, spark new relationships with strategic partners, cultivate feedback from customers and increase your ranking on search engines.

what will your ‘happily ever after’ look like?

As we’ve discovered, your business’s “happily ever after” will take on a life of its own.

Think about your company’s personality and the characteristics that define your target audience. Is your community more social and driven by visuals or more traditional and drawn to long-form articles?

Whatever it is that groups you and your audience together, try recreating that in content form. Don’t let the endless avenues put you off. Rather, embrace the possibilities, test it out and produce more of what sticks.

P.s. If you’d like help creating content for your company, email me here and we can put a plan into action.