Think you’re not a marketer? Think again. We’re all marketers, bloggers or not, because we’re all to some degree “selling” something. Whether that something is an idea, a lifestyle, a product, or an experience, we can all benefit from learning the basic principles of effective marketing. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, it’s impossible to succeed in ANY endeavor without some degree of marketing knowledge.
I talk a lot about marketing because, well, it’s the coolest!! I see it everywhere I look, and watching the latest Hunger Games movie was no exception. To me, this series has always had some pretty poignant marketing lessons to teach us, but I especially enjoyed watching Mockingjay Part One through my “marketing glasses”. There’s a lot to be learned from the story there for bloggers such as ourselves, and today I’ll talk a bit about what I picked up from it.
Of course, if there’s anything you think I’ve missed by the end of the post, I hope you’ll let me know in the comments!
Branding is Everything
My husband insists that Cinna, the designer of the iconic outfits that first endeared Mockingjay’s heroine to the public, is the real hero behind the Hunger Games story. Why? Because those outfits turned her into a symbol for courage and gave her a distinctive brand identity that inspired a revolution.
I know. We’re a couple of marketing nerds aren’t we? Yup.
Whether you meant to or not, you’ve been creating a brand for yourself since you started blogging. Everything from your social media cover photos to the fonts on your site gives your audience a feel for who you are and what they can expect from you.
What message are they receiving? It’s tough to say. It might be worth asking a trusted friend or another blogger to take a look and give you their impressions.
Do you stand out? Do you impress? Do you inspire? Do you appear friendly or standoffish?
Branding matters. But it makes no difference to figure out your branding if you’re not clear about your goals.
Authenticity Creates a Lovable Brand
Readers/customers want to see who you really are. It helps them trust you.
Sometimes bloggers feel like they have to represent themselves as flawless in order to be respected, but in my opinion, it’s more fun to read posts by bloggers who aren’t afraid to embrace their imperfections.
It’s the flaws that set us apart and connect us with each other. Don’t be afraid to let your readers see you make mistakes from time to time.
Social media is a great place for this. The things we share can say a lot about who’s behind your blog. What are your posts/photos/status updates saying about you?
Humility is Essential
The “reluctant hero” archetype is used by lots of writers, and the author of the Hunger Games series is most definitely one of them. Katniss continues to make clear in Mockingjay that she has no desire to be the leader of the growing rebellion… but yet, like it or not, she is more or less forced to assume that role.
Why does this need to be the case? Because generally, people are more inclined to look up to people who are humble. If someone steps up and says, “follow me, look how great I am” it’s often seen as off-putting. We naturally feel skeptical of such people, whether or not they actually are as great as they seem to think they are.
Why do I bring this up? Because often I find myself reading blog posts that could use a bit more humility.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s every good blogger’s job to provide useful information. But there’s a difference between sharing what works for you and bragging about how you’ve got everything figured out. It’s a fine line, but it’s one we should do our very best not to cross.
Whether you’re marketing a blog post or a product, if your audience feels talked down to, they’ll tune you out. Period.
Some people I know, after watching Mockingjay, thought that the character of Katniss was a bit TOO reluctant to really be a hero. This is a danger for bloggers and marketers as well.
The other side of the coin with humility is that it IS okay, if not essential, to be confident. For me, I try to walk this line by blogging confidently about things I’ve learned, but always trying to give credit where it’s due and acknowledging the possibility that others might do things differently and that’s okay.
The “this is what works for me and/or people I know, now tell me what works for you” kind of approach helps establish a tone of humility.
Also, it can be helpful to throw in a mention or two of your imperfections in each post. People like to know you’re human, it makes them like you more. Don’t you think?
Passion is Contagious
In Mockingjay, the characters discover that where Katniss really shines is in the heat of battle, where she has the opportunity to show her natural courage and empathy for those who are suffering.
Those situations awaken her true passion: helping those who cannot help themselves. This is particularly significant in Mockingjay because early in the movie they try to shoot propaganda videos for their cause on a sound stage, but soon discover that she can’t perform in an artificial setting (but more on that later).
When Katniss has the opportunity to see people who are suffering and help those who are hurting, her passion awakens and she assumes the role of the leader of the movement. Passion was the missing ingredient.
Passion is contagious. Do you love your subject matter? It shows. If you’re just “phoning it in”, it might be time to find a new niche.
Once you find your passion, the thing that makes you feel excited to get up in the morning, the driving force behind all your activities online, you should be able to formulate a clear plan for your blog and your online presence. When everything you publish reflects that goal and your passion, the right kinds of people will start to gravitate toward you.
Over to You
What do you think? Have you seen the movie? Do you ever think about it this way?