I recently became the unsuspecting victim of my 16-year old son’s TV watching habits.
I’ve never been much of a TV watcher. I attribute this to growing up in a country where an entire channel was dedicated to broadcasting the riveting affairs conducted in the Houses of Parliament.
Somehow though, I unwittingly got sucked into watching Ink Master. Perhaps it was the relatively frequent “Mom, can I get that tattoo? Not that one? How about this one?” that finally pulled me in.
After saying about seventeen times “When you’re old enough to no longer need my consent you can get any tattoo you want”, I finally looked up.
Ink Master is described as a “Tattoo Competition Reality Show”. Here’s why I would typically object to shows like this:
- Reality TV seems to be the furthest from real you could possibly get
- The endless build up to announcing who’s getting kicked off is infuriating
- Bad behavior seems to get glorified
Have you seen this show? It has just enough drama and a good handle on reality to avoid the sins listed. It doesn’t feel staged and while it’s not going to change your life, it might change the way you think about tattoos. There is so much work that goes into designing and inking a beautiful tattoo. I had no idea.
What really piqued my interest was how expertly the producers used 4 of the same rules that apply to content marketing to keep the show appealing.
- Start with what matters most to your target audience
In this case, the target audience either watches because they have a real appreciation for the art of tattooing or because they like the drama of the competition. Or both.
Each episode quickly reviews who’s left (drama) and gets straight into a flash challenge (a blend of tattooing and drama). The flash challenge is a teaser to the big challenge of the episode. It’s very similar to a teaser in content that builds to the promise of something that will be revealed later.
- Let your content achieve one objective
Ink Master has an overall objective to drive viewers and ratings just as businesses must drive revenue. The objective of each episode is to entertain and build a relationship with the viewer that brings them back in for the next episode.
The objective of each piece of content is to relevantly connect with members of your target audience and keep them coming back for more. Ultimately consumers of your content invite you to the table when they’re ready to buy if you’ve engaged with them meaningfully.
- Deliver the way audiences consume
Each episode tells a story. The story is about who is going to pack up their machines and leave in 40 minutes. Each episode can be watched without having seen any other part of the story, or it can be viewed as part of the series.
In the same way, all content should be served in easily digestible chunks. Not long paragraphs or wordy monologues without pauses. Content is best delivered in snacks, not 3-course meals.
- Connect on a human level
I was rooting for Tommy. Not because he was the best tattoo artist, even though he was fabulous, but because he was the better person.
Content that involves and makes the audience feel part of the story connects people authentically. Whether the cause is to see someone win a challenge or educate about a topic that supports their business goals or resolves their problem.
I’m not suggesting that you have these guidelines tattooed on your body. But I am suggesting that escaping mediocrity and producing consistently appealing content has everything to do with following them. Start today and watch your content attract the audience it deserves!
Is content more appealing to you when compared to things you are already familiar with, like a TV show? Thanks for sharing your thoughts!