Today marks the birthday and, unfortunately, the death day of William Shakespeare. And here at Vibe, we wanted to honour the famous Bard by turning to him for tips in online marketing.
“Online marketing?!” – we hear you cry – “How can a man that lived 400 years ago have anything to do with online marketing?” Well, you’d be surprised…
1. Know who you’re writing for
If you could have attended one of Shakespeare’s plays when they were originally performed, you’d have seen that the place was completely packed out. Why was this? Well, aside from the fact he was a great writer that produced outstanding drama, he also had a real talent for knowing his audience. He would devise humour and puns that would appeal to people on a different level. On many occasions, he would skilfully couple complex quips, aimed at the more educated classes, together with simple, visual humour that could be enjoyed by all.
What can you learn from this? Get to know your audience. If you have a target group in mind, write specifically for them. Learn what they find interesting and what gets them talking. If you can produce content that’s engaging and appealing, you’re one step towards devising a sure-fire strategy that will draw people in.
2. Create a topic of conversation
Whether it was the latest comedy or tragedy, you could guarantee tongues would be wagging after coming away from one of Shakespeare’s plays. Let’s face it, you can’t walk out after seeing Romeo and Juliet for the first time and not have something to say about it – could it really have been true love after only a few days? Was Romeo right to avenge the death of Mercutio? Sparking up a debate and creating conversation was Shakespeare’s ingenious method of self-promotion. The more people heard about his plays, the more they wanted to see them.
The same applies today. Word of mouth is an excellent way of increasing brand awareness. We’re not saying you should go out there and create controversy all over the place, but if you can give your audience something new and unique to talk about, that is the best way to get tongues wagging.
3. Don’t be afraid to copy, but be original
Ok, on first glance this one may sound a little contradictory, but bear with us.
Many people argue that Shakespeare was not as much of a genius as we believe him to be, given that many of his works were based on well-known storylines. Take a look at Richard III for instance, a play that was based on historical events; not exactly a topic Shakespeare created from thin air. But Shakespeare does better than to just use historical facts and turn them into a play; he put his own spin on them. No one knows for certain whether Richard was the evil, prince-killing king he’s often portrayed to be, but because of Shakespeare’s work, this image of him is the one that’s now fixed in many minds.
So how does this apply to you? Well if you’re a little stuck on how to engage with your target audience, there is absolutely no shame whatsoever in doing a little digging to see what other companies are doing. Take a look at your competitors; what are they producing? Have they created a video or an infographic that’s generated an enormous amount of engagement? Is this something you can apply to your own online marketing? If you find something that gives you inspiration for your own content, that’s fantastic. But please, make sure you put your own spin on it. Don’t create a direct copy; make something bigger and better.
4. Don’t do it all yourself
Even Shakespeare wasn’t afraid to ask for a little help here and there. It’s believed that many of his works were edited by another party; some are even thought to be co-authored.
Content for your online marketing needs to be top-quality; it needs to be regular and it needs to be impeccable. Unfortunately, human error can often get in the way so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask a friend or colleague to cast their eye over your content to ensure you haven’t missed any typing errors. Speak to your target audience directly (maybe through platforms such as Facebook or Twitter) and ask them what they’d like to hear from you; note down their ideas and use them as topics for your next blog posts.
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