content GoT

There’s one big problem with the fact that Game of Thrones returns to our screens on July 17th – I’ve got to wait a whole week between episodes instead of drawing the curtains, switching off all my mobile devices and shamelessly binging the entire series on Netflix.

Life is hard at times.

But, however hard my struggle, nothing quite compares to the trials faced by one of the most popular GoT characters: everyone’s favourite brooding bastard, Jon Snow. How life has changed for him since those early days knocking around Winterfell, back before a fair few characters lost their heads and he found solace in Ygritte’s cave. He’s seen a lot of things, done a lot of deeds and has warned us all copious amounts of times that winter is coming (it is, but it’s taking its damned time).

It got me thinking that actually there are a few lessons he has learned throughout the seasons that might make him a pretty strong contender in the world of content marketing. Although Ygritte might object, I surmise that Jon Snow might know a thing or two after all…

Content 101 – lessons from Jon Snow

*Be warned: there could be some spoilers inferred from this content*

Sometimes the underdog wins out

Poor old Jon took a lot of flak in the early days for being Ned Stark’s bastard son. Despite sharing a dad with his brothers, he didn’t have a hope in hell of inheriting any titles or lands and essentially was considered something of a second class citizen in comparison. But look who’s laughing now! OK, so laughing isn’t really Jon Snow’s thing – however, in terms of power, prestige and general life energy he really is going from strength to strength whilst those who used to be considered his ‘superiors’ have fallen by the wayside.

In a way, this is how the humble SME can feel when competing with bigger, more successful brands in the market. But instead of giving up the ghost (something Jon Snow would never do, no matter how bleak things were looking), take advantage of the fact that the smallest, underdog brand can reach their audience directly in this age of social media with authentic stories and, slowly but surely, build a passionate base of engaged followers. Free from the restrictions that big brands and businesses often face, underdog brands are in a great position to experiment more and make faster changes.

Don’t take loyalty for granted

Two words for you: Red Wedding. Taking loyalty for granted in the Seven Kingdoms is just asking for something oh-so bad to happen. But even that shocker of an evening do didn’t totally teach Jon his lesson. He had to learn it all over again one frosty night on the Wall a few seasons later, when the Night’s Watch descended to air a few grievances, ultimately leaving him out in the cold. Which wreaked havoc on his health.

Assuming you don’t have to work hard at keeping your customers and followers loyal in the world of content marketing can be just as bad for the health of your business. Consumer sentiment is shifting constantly, so you have to make sure your tactics and strategies allow you to keep up. According to Rare, 86% of consumers say loyalty is primarily driven by likeability and 83% of consumers say trust. Take steps to show your people you care, get them to like you and win their trust and they’ll be chanting ‘King of the North’ for you at the drop of a hat.

Only the determined survive

From savage wildling hordes to those creepy AF whitewalkers, from mutinous brothers to the Battle of the Bastards, Jon Snow’s faced down more challenges than you’ve had hot dinners. I’m not sure how many lives this boy has but he must have used up a fair few by now. But even when things have seemed hopeless, his steely determination has seen him push through to the other side.

Content marketing is a slow burn process and if you’re looking for a short, sharp fix, then you need to adjust your expectations. Patience, consistency and determination is what produces results. In fact, Hubspot, in its 2015 benchmark report, revealed that companies with 400+ published blog posts get twice the amount of traffic as those with less than 400. Having a well-documented and thoroughly researched content marketing strategy will keep you on track and on the road to success.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Sometimes it pays to turn to turn to the experts for support – contact M2 Bespoke for more information on how we can help.

Ben Hollom

July 14, 2017