Lessons from the spider from her web to ours

by Kirsten Lecky

Ann Handley kicked off the 22nd annual Greystone.Net Healthcare Internet Conference with a bang in Scottsdale, Arizona last week. Her presentation, “The Big Bold Brave New World of Content Marketing and Storytelling” brought us back to the childhood story of Charlotte’s Web to illustrate the key components of marketing:

Know your product – Charlotte knew the radiance and brilliance that was Wilbur, and she had to convince others to see it too. This story was about Wilbur, not Charlotte. Takeaway – know what makes your service or product special and unique.

Know your target audience – she wasn’t trying to reach a mass audience with her message. Charlotte needed to reach one person — Zuckerman the farmer. Takeaway – rather than focusing on a population or a demographic; focus on that one person in the crowd. It will make your message that much more poignant.

Understand your objective – Charlotte had one objective: Save Wilbur’s life. This drove her efforts every day and inspired the team of animals around her. Takeaway – with every piece of content you write, include a clear objective that rallies your team and directs your efforts.

Make it remarkable – Charlotte created meaningful words in a beautiful web. She understood the power of creating content that was remarkable so people would share it with each other. Takeaway – avoid the trap of publishing to publish and “task list” content marketing. Ask yourself, “Would I share this with a friend?”

Be humble – Charlotte was always behind the scene. It was never about her. She knew she had to inspire her target audience (Zuckerman) to save her product (Wilbur) from being slaughtered. And she knew she had to create remarkable content so that the word-of-mouth would spread. Takeaway – never make it about you. Always make it about them.

Ann’s presentation was funny, entertaining and on the point. Thank you, Greystone.net for bringing us such thought leaders at this year’s HCIC.