Yesterday, I sat down with the intentions of writing an entirely different blog post. But when I checked my mailbox (Yes, the physical box where snail mail comes and goes), I was greeted with the inaugural issue of Rally, a new print magazine for young women published by Reebok, and it made a major impact on me. The attractive design and clever messaging was enough to save it from my recycling bin, but I never expected for it to influence my blog writing as it has.
After flipping through the magazine just once, the stories and imagery inside made me want to pump some iron, sign up for a tough mudder, or, at the very least, kick some butt at the gym. I couldn't stop thinking about this magazine. So instead of investing my time in a physical workout, I decided to do a mental workout and write about how this intriguing piece of content became something I could not put down.
You already know quality content matters—if you cannot hold your buyers’ attention for more than a few seconds at a time, the chances of garnering conversions and qualified leads is slim to none. That’s why with the sheer amount of information being produced today, businesses need to create content their buyers will not want to put down.
That’s a hefty task, and it is hard to know where to begin. To help, I thought I would break down exactly what elements of Reebok’s Rally glued its pages to my hands and imprinted them on my mind.
The cover of Rally immediately defines the audience being addressed within the pages of the magazine: young, powerful women who think of exercise as more than fitness, but rather a way of life. These women are not afraid to get sweaty or even a little dirty if it means bettering their bodies and minds.
Had this magazine been a generic grouping of just about anyone who could wear Reebok products, from kids to seniors, men and women, it would have undoubtedly found its home in the recycling bin before the cover was cracked. However, because I identified with the women found on each page, I was immediately intrigued and encouraged to read on.
Your target audience may be CEOs, safety managers or mothers. Whoever you're targeting, make sure you understand their thought process, their pain points and their goals before you write a word. Without a clear direction, you won’t be able to speak to your intended buyers, and they won’t care what you have to say.
The Takeaway: Determine your target audience and only speak to its members. Talk about their dreams, their hopes and their fears. Tell them ways to make their lives easier or, at the very least, their jobs less challenging.
One theme is carried throughout the entire issue of Rally, as well as the entire line of products behind the magazine. It is clearly spelled out in the editor’s note of the first issue: “Reebok addresses your potential head on, knowing that improving one area of your life can lead to possibilities unfolding in every other area.”
Every inch of every page nods to this sentiment. From yoga to track to dance to kickboxing, women are achieving their goals one workout at a time. And it just so happens they are wearing Reebok while improving their bodies and their lives.
If you had to define one ongoing theme for your content, could you? Would you feel a cohesion that supports your story? Your buyers will be able to tell if you do, and they will certainly be able to feel if you don’t.
The Takeaway: Develop a cohesive story and stick to it. Paint not just a picture for your buyers, but an entire world where they are the star.
Plain old prose, no matter how flowingly beautiful, is no longer enough to ensure the ongoing attention of fast-paced buyers. Efforts must be taken to stimulate the mind and the eye. In Rally’s case, bold images of athletes and products were chosen to make even the biggest couch potato consider working out. Whether the subject matter is the determination found in a young woman’s eyes, a pinwheel of clothes or simply a pair of shoes, each photo pushes forth a belief in oneself.
When you create content, do you simply make it pretty? Are you adding pictures for the sake of imagery? Or are you ensuring each image takes advantage of the 1,000-word power it yields? Don’t make the mistake of generic imagery. Instead, make your pictures powerful vessels of your message.
The Takeaway: Design for the eye, as well as the mind and the heart.
From healthy recipes to athlete profiles, Rally provides inspiring and quality content mixed in with products. Each page is presented as a fashion spread rather than an advertisement. And while the Reebok logo is present, it is not obtrusive or offensive.
The editors here understand if they offer useful information to its readers—healthy, post-workout snacks, music for a run and inspirational stories about overcoming defeat—they won’t mind giving their attention to a page where the model is wearing Reebok from head to toe.
Never stop finding ways to offer your buyers value. This should be your main goal with every piece of content you create, and continuously finding new ways to incorporate your solution—when it is naturally a good fit—is the key to keeping your buyers intrigued and entertained.
The Takeaway: Offer value—and don’t focus on your product too heavily.
Reebok not only offered a print version of its new magazine, but the brand recreated the entire experience online, as well. Every article, every image and every sentiment is available on buyers' smartphones and laptops. The creators also incorporated online conversation channels with a relevant hashtag (#ReebokRally) so it could monitor the feedback. And there was extremely positive reactions, both online and off:
Multi-channel marketing is an imperative step today. No channel, whether it be print, LinkedIn or blogging should be siloed. Each should be a building block for the other.
The Takeaway: Determine where you audience lives online and off and be a part of the conversation. Continuously deepen your connection with your buyers.
Now you know why I couldn’t put down Rally. Think about all of these elements and how you can incorporate them into your own content to create truly remarkable content your buyers won’t want to put down.
Photo credit: Reebok