A compelling plot, fascinating characters, an overarching theme, intense emotions — these are the essential elements of a truly great movie. Content marketing is no different. So without further ado, here are some red carpet worthy tips on how to make your brand shine like an Oscar statuette.

Will you give up two hours of your time to read a blog post?

In content marketing, dwell time is used to determine the success of a piece of content, helping us understand if it resonated with an audience or fell flat. So while two hours might seem like a lot to ask, this is something we willingly offer nearly every time we watch a blockbuster film.

When we enter a movie theatre, we are dedicating a considerable amount of our precious time to a single piece of content. Meanwhile, in the digital space, countless brands are hoping consumers will spend even 30 seconds with their content. In fact, research found that 55% of online readers spent fewer than 15 seconds on a webpage.

This seems like a major disconnect — in both instances, it’s still a person with the same interests and behaviours towards content. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the film industry and understand how it holds our attention and, in some cases, even keeps us coming back for more.

Whether we’re falling in love with the characters, or anticipating the next sequel, there are a lot of things content marketers can learn from Hollywood when it comes to capturing an audience’s attention for extended periods of time. Likewise for brands, we must aim to create content that will encourage repeat visitors to become subscribers.

Take me on an epic journey

Content marketing’s strongpoint is that it helps brands tell their story. However, these stories are often told in short bursts, or campaign windows. Consequently, the content becomes at risk of only telling the campaign’s story. The result is that after each campaign, the audience drops off as the following campaign may not be relevant to them.

Consider some of the largest film franchises: Star Wars, Harry Potter, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Each film in the franchise has a connected storyline. Brands should consider how they can take consumers on a journey from one campaign to the next.

Connect with me emotionally

Screenwriters often say that the best way to write a story is to spend time with the audience you want to tell a story about. How often do we spend time with the audiences our brands are targeting? More importantly, how often do we forget that a ‘consumer’ can be a parent, a friend, a lover, or even yourself?

In movies, characters offer the viewer an opportunity to connect with the plot on an emotional level through relatable moments. For every difficult decision you were forced to make in life, there’s Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy. For every broken heart you’ve suffered through, there’s Renee Zellweger in the Bridget Jones films.

It’s difficult to appreciate a film without feeling any connection to the story. For that reason, it would also be difficult to appreciate a brand’s content without any emotional connection.

Make me part of the community

Watching a film is a deeply personal experience — we form our own interpretations of the content as we experience it for the first time. However, movies are made for the masses, with studios anticipating audiences in the millions to view the film over a lengthy period of time. This means that feeling connected to a film’s plot and characters forms only one part of the picture. Once you’ve watched a film, you now belong to a group that shares this connection. This creates a group mentality, whether you loved the film or not, that allows you to share your experience with others.

Twilight, Star Trek or Fifty Shades of Grey — each of these films have very strong themes that can unify or polarise viewers. Sometimes, the most enjoyable part about watching a film is talking about the film with others. The end goal is for the viewer to talk or share the film with others who will then go on to watch it as well. This should also be our final objective with our content marketing efforts.