Cut out the clutter for content that counts

If you are a regular cinema-goer you are likely to be familiar with the experience of watching a film that is so overloaded with ideas, plot-lines and characters that you leave feeling exhausted.

Content that achieves resonance is founded on insight and constructed with creativity, argues Sara Turner
Content that achieves resonance is founded on insight and constructed with creativity, argues Sara Turner

The bad guy is actually the good guy, and the good guy becomes his new best buddy, and these two are actually double bluffing and they’re both bad, which leaves the bad guy’s sidekick with the nasty job of turning good to save the day, with the help of a new super fantastic mega gadget, and…

While film theory is not a topic for today, the idea that each new film has to somehow beat the last with bigger explosions and more surprising plot twists than ever before is worth exploring.

While the aim is to excite and entertain, the effect is – potentially – the opposite.

As viewers, we are arguably becoming increasingly desensitised to extremes, instead looking to engage with content that can cut through the confusion with its simplicity.

The films that have been most successful at both instant audience pulling power and maintaining long-term appeal are those with the strongest, most well-developed storylines.

Inception, Gravity, The Revenant (below) – all have believable characters and investigate deep-rooted human stories.

In PR, then, what can we learn from this experience?

Arguably, the same thing is happening in marketing as in filmmaking, with ever more extreme stunts vying daily for the media’s attention.

There are no doubt some incredible, creative ideas being put into action out there, but if you look closely at those that win awards and retain interest beyond a few days – or even hours – it is those that have a strong narrative at their heart.

Our job as communicators is to enable an organisation – whether that’s an inspiring charity, big brand or industry heavyweight – to cut through and engage.

How do we do this, without just adding more clutter to the content-verse?

The content that achieves resonance is in my view founded on insight and constructed with creativity.

If a client asks for bigger explosions, we must act as the consultants we are and ask the most important question: Why?

Thinking strategically is the secret weapon of every good PR person. What do people care about? Love? Loathe?

Whatever the audience; share the insight, information and expertise that are unique to the client.

Don’t rely on the written word to do the work – thought leadership that elevates might be via social media, or a vlog.

Video is fundamentally changing the ways businesses and brands are reaching and connecting with audiences.

It’s not about big budgets, either. Footage filmed on an iPhone can achieve a huge amount, if the content is brave and engaging.

Agencies can create content for their clients that is cost-effective and engaging by playing on unconventional tactics.

A good idea works across multiple channels.

To create high-quality, engaging content, we should be taking every opportunity to help clients inform, engage and entertain their audiences.

Viewers are tired of the conventional hype. Unconventional content is built on forethought, insight and creativity – all things the PR industry must champion if it is to grow.

Sara Turner is senior content manager at Speed Communications

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