What a Little Boy and a Puppy Taught me About Content Marketing
A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read “Puppies For Sale”. Signs like that have a way of attracting small children, and sure enough, a little boy appeared under the store owner’s sign. “How much are you going to see the puppies for?” he asked.
The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.’
The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. “I have $2.37“, he said. “Can I please look at them?“
The store owner smiled and whistled and out of the kennel came a lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “what’s wrong with that little dog?“
The store owner explained that the the pup was not born with a hip socket. It would always be lame. “That is the little puppy that I want to buy.”
The store owner said, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll give him to you.“
The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.’
The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.”
To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied,
“Well, I don’t run so well my self, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!“
The little boy bought that pup that day and came back every month until the now dog was paid off.
There are three things that this story does that every content marketer should take note of:
It Moves You – This is the key to every story, movie and the key to some of the best brands. This story moves a person to tears; it tugs at the heart strings. It is so rare that a Tweet or Facebook update does this, that when it does we are compelled to share it. Whether it makes you cry or laugh out loud or make you want to stand up for something you believe we feel the urge to tell the people around us. We are fantastic story tellers, but companies have simply forgotten this. This is one story that I read once, but have told a thousand times for this simple reason; because it moved me.
It does not matter who you are, this story appeals to you – We are so used to only focusing on our target markets or a particular demographic. What we seem to forget is that the more universal the topic, the more opportunities to reach your prospects. Dollar Shave Club do this very well; I am not a man with a mustache or am balding and need to shave, but their content is humorous and even appealing to people who aren’t their key prospective buyers like myself. It is through me that I can refer people who are ideal to the product.
It’s evergreen– This story has no shelf life. The latest data or economic report can go out of date very quickly but this story is timeless. Try to mix your content up now and then; trivia questions, motivational quote of the day or an inspiring story. Everyone loves a happy story!
I believe that if we content marketers can get these three points into our check list when producing content we will all be producing brilliant content.