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The Rainbow Dash Theory of Content

Rainbow DashIt was last year that I wrote a post asking one very simple question. Can you be a good SEO by following the teachings of My Little Pony – Friendship Is Magic. I'm not sure that I came to any solid conclusions, and ended up comparing the @Moz TAGFEE culture to the My Little Pony elements of harmony…look it up, they're practically identical!

Anyway, a year has passed and it appears that My Little Pony is going nowhere in my life any time soon, so for this post, I shall once again be mining the wisdom of the citizens of Ponyville

If you don't know this genius cartoon, I highly suggest you check it out, it follows the journey of unicorn pony Twilight Sparkle in her journey to learn about the magic of friendship, it's funny, heartwarming and good fun…Ahem…You know, in a manly sort ofway.

However this post is not looking at Twilight Sparkle, but at one of her Ponyville friends, the awesome Pegasus, Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow Dash is confident, brash, fast, the creator of the sonic rainboom and above all, loyal. Her element of harmony is loyalty.

Now, you may think I'm nuts going on about a cartoon aimed at young girls, but I promise my friends, I have a point tomake.

In the episode Suited For Success, Rarity offers to make the mane six dresses for the grand galloping gala. They end up not liking what Rarity makes them and run her ragged making them dresses exactly to their specifications. These dresses look terrible, and they learn that they really should listen to the expert. Now I'm imaginings that rings a bell with most of us, but that's not the main thrust of this piece.

However it's one specific moment of the episode from which I draw what I'm referring to as The Rainbow Dash Theory of Content. Here it is.

To transcribe for those who can't watch the video -

Rarity - aren't you going to tell me to change something
too?

Rainbow Dash - no, I just want my dress to be cool.

Rarity – do you not like the colour?

Rainbow Dash – the colour's fine, just make it look cooler.

Rarity – do you not like the shape?

Rainbow Dash – the shape's fine, just make it look cooler. It needs to be about 20% cooler.

Yep, Rainbow Dash says there's nothing wrong with the dress, but it needs to be about 20% cooler and we as SEOs and content marketers can take a lot from Rainbow's perspective here. How can we make our content 20% cooler? As Rainbow said, it's probably fine, but fine just doesn't cut it any more.

Since content marketing became the latest trend in Internet marketing, we've all been creating and publishing content like it's going out of style. So how can we make our content stand out above the rest? Quite simply, it needs to be at least 20% cooler than any of the other content out there that's similar.

In other words, make your stuff stand out. Say you've created a guide or a blog article, what can you do to make that post 20% cooler? Is the guide as comprehensive as it could be? Google really likes long form content at the moment, so that's a good place to start.

Would quality images make your content 20% cooler? Perhaps you could add video sections or animation to illustrate certain points and that would be what makes it 20% cooler.

Mike Essex did a great blog recently about content that is created using
web technology, and illustrates some great examples of how certain modern web technologies can be used to illustrate content and make it stand out.

In Mike's example of the iPod content illustrated as vinyl, the content creator could have decided that they'd write a blog post about the storage capacity of an iPod (yawn) or even decided to make it into SEO favourite, the infographic, but no…they went 20% cooler and produced an awesome piece of content. You only have to look at the social shares on that thing to see just how successful it has been. Since the iPod was launched, you can guarantee that there has been thousands of blogs, opinion pieces, infographics, tv spots, podcasts and every other form of content talking about the exact same thing. They took an old idea and made it 20% cooler

One great way you could go 20% cooler is to make the content personal to the viewer. Using the Facebook API, Intel created a great piece of content, The Museum of Me which puts your Facebook pictures up on virtual walls like a museum.

If you're feeling particularly brave, check out Take This Lollipop which uses the same technology to creep the viewer out and makes them think twice about just what they share online.

Now, we don't all have access to the budget, or technical skills to create something like that, I know I generally don't. The way I try to be 20% cooler, is by creating content that will really help the reader/viewer, and present it in a way that hopefully will engage my audience.

Your web audience is fickle, they won't read content just because we publish it. You need to incentivise them to do so, you can lose your audience within the first paragraph if you're not careful. That is if your content even gets read at all.

So you need to grab them quickly, and show them that your piece of content will make their day better, so help them solve issues or problems that they are facing, this is a great way to engage with your audience and be 20% cooler.

A generic "here's my opinion on something related to my industry" blog post just
doesn't cut it any more. Unless you're someone who is highly respected and who's opinion actually matters, who cares what you think? That's not going 20% cooler. In fact,
that is going 20% less cool!

Remember, try to make all your content 20% cooler than it was when you first created it, get other opinions on how it could be improved. We often get too close to content we create and think it's already 20% cooler. It's not, it can always be improved.

If you can think of any more examples of content that follow my Rainbow Dash theory, I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below.

Remember, it needs to be about 20% cooler

and as with my last pony related SEO post, I’m going to finish up with a video made by the brony community…it’s time to get 20% cooler

2 Responses to The Rainbow Dash Theory of Content

  • Paul Gailey says:

    I’m torn on this one. Yeah, everyone’s cool is subjective and being self critical is not easy, it’s all to easy to become content wallpaper. Truth is even with some deft content on your microsite you’re still not cool until the right people say you are first, and so the art of exciting the cognoscenti is all important if you are going to get any level of sustained social applause. Thus outreach planning and efficacy is possibly as important as making the cool shit in the first place, and the skills are not often the same people even if the creative has good contacts – that’s not enough – you need serious skill and planning (and a tad of luck) to create a burst of influential attention that will get you the big pony points.

    • Jim Seward says:

      Hi Paul

      Thanks for stopping by, I absolutely agree, you can have the best content piece in the world but if no one sees it, what’s the point.

      But you must confess, outreach is a lot easier when you’re pimping something that’s 20% cooler then when you’re trying to market something that’s dull as ditchwater

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