making a wish

The Magic of Matilda: How to Use Content to Help Others

By the time she was two, Matilda had learned what most people learn in their early 30s: how to take care of herself.

I’ve always thought being able to take care of yourself is an achievement in its own right.

So doing it while you’re learning to talk?

That’s a superpower.

Rewatching the film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda this past weekend, I quickly realized this brilliant little girl has more to teach us than how to take care of ourselves; she’s also a shining example of someone who uses their own superpowers to help others.

First UK edition of Matilda.

Since magically flickering the lights on and off or making objects fly off the wall won’t bring people closer to your brand – we’ll leave that to Matilda – let’s talk about another superpower that will: meaningful and fascinating content.

As a content marketer, your gift is being able to gracefully guide potential customers on an enlightening journey from “distant acquaintance” to “happy, returning client.”

With Matilda as our leading light, here’s how you can use your blog, newsletters, website and social media to bring your ideal customer one step closer to your brand.

1. Extend a warm welcome

Let’s just say Matilda’s conniving parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, aren’t who you’d want to mimic when communicating with your audience.

Instead, invite readers into your corner of the world wide web by extending a nice, warm welcome.

Matilda’s mom comparing herself to Miss Honey (via Giphy).

Whether this is on your social media channels or a search results page, let people know who you are and what you stand for.

Introduce online acquaintances to your core values. Shed light on your company’s origins – how did this all come about?

The trick is being able to do this quickly and succinctly so that casual browsers can pick up on your brand personality and ethos at a glance.

Attractive headlines and compelling visuals help get your message across in a short timeframe, however, it’s important to remember that if it’s relevant to your potential customer’s lives, it will attract the right audience.

2. Find common ground

Matilda forms a special bond with her teacher, Miss Honey, that grows even stronger when they realize how turbulent both their upbringings have been.

They grew up in hostile environments and shared some of the same experiences and feelings.

This is the kind of relationship your blog posts, social media and outreach messages should aim to create: one that is built on human connections.

You can do this by being authentic, sharing your beliefs and speaking from your heart.

Let your passion shine through (as long as it relates to your core values) and don’t be afraid to stand up for what is important to your brand. Because it’s your genuineness and enthusiasm that will resonate with your ideal customer.

Gradually these tribe-building messages will create common ground between you and your reader so, in turn, they will want to check out your website and learn more about what you do.

3. Show them how you will make their lives better

If only it was as easy as Matilda makes it look, eating cereal with no hands or scaring Miss Trunchbull using only her eyes.

It’s clear to Matilda’s friends and family she can make things move with her mind. Your audience, on the other hand, wants to know what unique powers you hold.

Matilda making breakfast (via Youtube).

This is where helpful and educational content comes into play.

Show your community how your solution works; describe what your product looks like in detail and paint a picture of their life with it (i.e. the positive benefits it will have and improvements it will make).

Think about what it is that someone seeing your clothes, consulting services, real estate listings, etc., would need to know before clicking to find out more. Write down these descriptors and competitive differentiators and communicate them using your blog, customer stories and relevant research.

Appealing to your prospects’ emotions is an essential element of this type of content because even though you aren’t speaking with them face-to-face, there’s a person on the other side of that screen.

4. Guide them to the next step

While Matilda knew exactly what she wanted to use her power for – to drive Miss Trunchbull out of town and get Miss Honey’s house back – your enchanting content will need to give its readers more direction.

At this point in the customer journey, your prospective client has gotten to know you. They like what your brand stands for and feel like you simply understand their needs.

Successful content will have your customers dancing on tables.

All they’re looking for now is a way to show their support, whether that’s by signing up for your newsletter, following you on social media or buying your product.

That’s when your persuasive writing and unmissable call to action signal to the reader, “right this way.”

Use a straightforward yet enticing tone to seamlessly guide them to download your e-book, join your webinar or click “Complete purchase.”

This step might be the most valuable from a business point of view, but it’s important to remember the previous steps your ideal customer took to get to this stage; not every move closer to your brand will result in a click, sign-up or download, although it is just as significant.

Matilda’s heroism didn’t bring her a more “normal”, fulfilling childhood overnight. She practiced her extraordinary gift and used it to help others.

In the words of the movie’s narrator and director, Danny DeVito: “Having power isn’t nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.”

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