14 Sep

Engage Me!

What Cancelled TV Shows Can Teach Us About Marketing Engagement

By Libby Esterle, Senior Account Executive 

Awhile back, I wrote a blog about simply losing interest in pinning oodles and oodles recipes, décor ideas and crafts that A) were really just taking up my time and B) things I actually NEVER went back and referenced on my board.

More recently, I stumbled across a list of 2016 cancelled TV shows and it got me thinking, once again, about losing interest. What about these shows finally led to their demise? And how we apply these lessons (ok, really just my humble opinions about what I think may have led to their cancellation) to our work with our clients at a successful Cincinnati-based marketing and communications firm? What can we do to make sure that all of their written, verbal and visual communications are on point and will also keep their target audience members engaged?

So, based solely on my personal experience with some TV shows that I A) watched for a good while and finally lost interest in for a myriad of reasons or B) new shows that I simply couldn’t get into for whatever reason, here are a few things to consider when trying to keep your audience members engaged:

Keep it (at least relatively) simple. I’m looking at you, “Under the Dome.” Taking a cue from most of Stephen King’s full-length novels (although I do feel that he is an extraordinary short story author), this show just became too much and over-the-top, at least to me. While not hard to follow, per se, introducing secondary, non-essential storylines and characters gets a bit confusing and annoying. So, if they are not central to the storyline, I say ditch ‘em.

Same goes for consistency. Make it easy for your audience members to identify you by keeping things consistent and simple. Evaluate your company’s presence to ensure that you are using consistent logos, fonts and colors throughout all of your materials (both online and collateral). Stick to one overall tagline and make sure your key messages and supporting statements are solid, yet streamlined to quickly and easily communication who you are and what you do to the world.

Keep it fresh. While popular with many viewers (but not enough, I guess, since they are now cancelled) I just could not get into “Nashville” or “The Good Wife.” Neither was fresh enough or different enough from other shows out there to keep me hooked.

When it comes to communications, it’s also imperative to stay top-of-mind with your audience members. Since websites are essentially today’s version of trifolds and the place where most people go to learn about your business, make sure to update your content as necessary (and when it makes sense—not just for the heck of it). Learn how to increase your SEO so people can find you quickly and easily. Finally, maintain an updated and consistent media and online presence to stay relevant by blogging on a regular basis and posting press releases and announcements in a timely and ongoing manner.

Keep it real. Or, in other words: Have some character. In order to keep me engaged, I have to care about the characters in some way, shape or form. So, while I really enjoyed the novels and movies featuring Hannibal Lector (especially when portrayed by the legendary Sir Anthony Hopkins) the small screen version “Hannibal” just didn’t do it for me. I just didn’t care if the lived, died or became part of dinner, accompanied by a nice Chianti.

When drafting copy for our clients, one of the most important things we consider is tone. Whether it is more conversational in nature, appropriately humorous, straightforward and factual or highly professional, your tone is essential to defining who you are. So, the tone of voice you use in your key messaging, supporting statements and in all of your materials should reflect who you are to really connect with and engage your key audience members, and most importantly, make them care about you in a way that is meaningful to them.

Tell me, what TV shows have you lost interest in? Why? And what do you think are key elements to keeping audience members interested and engaged?