Disney’s latest animated film “Finding Dory” smashed box office records this past opening weekend, raking in more than $136 million in American theaters to become the animated film with the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The endearing story of a blue fish on a mission to find her family, the sequel to “Finding Nemo” that comes 13 years after its predecessor’s release, struck a chord with kids and adults alike, scoring an overwhelming 94 percent on the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. Besides its cute story and beautiful animation, the film has a thing or two to teach content marketers about how to be a hit with your audience.
From the film itself to the marketing efforts that support it, this movie has plenty to offer audiences to keep the buzz going long after they’ve left the theater. Here are four content marketing best practices “Finding Dory” used that content marketers can apply to their own work to generate success.
1. Inject emotion into your content
Anyone who has had a bond with a parent or a child will be able to relate to Dory’s quest to reunite with her parents. There are plenty of moments in the movie that might inspire a few tears, making viewers feel emotionally bonded with the characters in the film. All the silliness and humor makes us feel good (hello, serotonin), and the action-packed scenes get our hearts racing. These trigger physical responses to the film that captivate our attention.
Drawing out emotions like happiness, sadness and fear isn’t just effective for an engaging narrative — it also helps increase sales. According to the 2016 Quirk’s Marketing Research Media report titled “Using Consumer Neuroscience Methods to Understand the Power of Emotions,” emotion is the most prevalent factor in successful advertising. Using emotion to make content relatable makes consumers trust your brand more and feel like your message is speaking directly to them.
2. Make content memorable
One of the most-repeated lines in “Finding Dory” is one that blends an already-familiar phrase — “What would X do?”, as in, “What would Jesus do?” — and makes it unique to the movie: “What would Dory do?” While watching the movie and seeing the success Dory has despite challenging situations, “What would Dory do?” becomes imprinted on viewers. You could easily imagine the phrase displayed on T-shirts and posters, and it has already become the focus of interviews promoting the movie.
Creating content that is memorable is one of the easiest ways to drive sales, according to Content Marketing Institute, since your brand will be top of mind next time someone needs your services. Whether it’s an innovative way of presenting an idea, a catchphrase you use throughout your content, or a photo or meme that gets etched onto the consumer’s mind, think about how to make your content more memorable before you hit “publish.”
3. Create useful content
Sure, watching “Finding Dory” is a great way to spend an afternoon with your family, but there are also plenty of lessons to be learned from this film that span generations. One is acceptance of diversity and special needs, as seen through Dory’s short-term memory loss, which is touched on often throughout the film. More takeaways include the importance of having the courage to take a stand for what you believe in, of allowing yourself to be spontaneous, and of refusing to be confined — to live “beyond the tank.” Dory isn’t perfect, but her positive attitude and love for others is something to celebrate, and her messages resonate after the credits have rolled.
According to content marketing expert Jay Baer in his 2013 bestselling book “Youtility,” creating content that is useful rather than that simply promotes your brand is the best way to make your content marketing program successful. For example, if you’re a fitness brand that creates a calorie-tracking app and you give it away for free, every time people log their calories, your brand will be associated with the positive results, whether they are eating more healthily or are losing weight. When creating content, think about how to make the content useful to consumers. What lessons can you teach? How can you cultivate a reputation as a trusted authority in your industry? Help people solve their problems, that’s how.
4. Give your content legs beyond the page
Consumers can engage with “Finding Dory” in many ways beyond watching the film, from the
adorable bonus short “Piper” (which plays before the feature) to an online sticker book game. There’s also a mobile gaming app with characters from the film to hype the movie even more and increase the connection between consumer and characters.
You can expand your content’s reach beyond the original post, too. For example:
- Throw a Twitter party or host a Google Hangout on Air based on the content’s theme
- Reference the post in another asset, such as an ebook or slideshow
- Include an excerpt of the post in an email newsletter
- Create a mobile app that supports the content’s purpose
- Leverage any of these tools and tactics for content distribution and promotion
By researching your audience and what they’re interested in, creating emotionally compelling content, including valuable takeaways that will help the content maintain momentum, and spreading the content out through multiple channels, you can create a stellar piece of content. You might not have the budget of a blockbuster feature film, but you can still become a sensation with your current and prospective customers and clients.