If you ever feel like your small business is “boring,” or “niche” and can’t really generate interesting storytelling content, you’re wrong. Just look at how far science fiction has come!
The very first science fiction movie was made in 1902 — but it wasn’t until the 1950s that science fiction, as a genre, began to rise significantly in popularity. Some experts believe this is due to the post-WWII public imagination surrounding ideas of space, dystopia, alternate futures, and militarization.
Any science fiction can become boring and bogged down in the details of how its new reality operates, whether socially or technologically. Yet, many science fiction stories still manage to captivate massive audiences around the world — and the story of your small business can, too. Here are three crucial lessons your marketing team should absolutely learn from the sci-fi phenomenon.
No. 1: Know your audience — or miss the mark.
Your greatest marketing ideas are often the ones that you care the most about not just because they’re great, but because they’re meaningful to you and your customers. In George Orwell’s “1984,” totalitarianism was an ever-looming threat in 1930s Europe. Surveillance, censorship, and dehumanization were constant concerns for millions of people. So, Orwell created a dystopian narrative that echoed his readers’ deepest fears and created a masterpiece that became both timely and timeless.
Knowing your audience is a huge boon to your marketing — and it means going down the rabbit hole to understand their most specific, real fears. For example, if you’re a dental practice and your patients are staying up late at night worrying and putting off their fillings, why not share stories specifically from patients who have had their fillings done at your practice?
Conduct interviews, send out surveys, ask questions constantly. Misunderstanding your audience makes it easy to miss the mark, but easing their fears and concerns through storytelling can make all the difference.
No. 2: Words matter. Make them meaningful.
Famous science fiction writer Ray Bradbury once explained that we live in a world that says “nothing, nothing, nothing” and says it “loud, loud, loud.” Every industry has marketing buzzwords that don’t really do anything for customers, such as “game-changing” or “revolutionary.” In fact, by saying them, your audience is likely to automatically tune them out.
We read and write emails all the time where 60% of the words seem to have no real meaning in them. How often do you read a vague paragraph that could’ve been summed up by one very specific sentence? Unfortunately, sometimes marketing campaigns can make very similar mistakes.
If you want to spread a message, don’t fill it with jargon or vagueness. Make your message confident and clear, while replacing the buzzwords that so many of your competitors rely on.
No. 3: Bring your audience to life.
Whether it’s Darth Vader’s final act of kindness toward his son or when HAL is shut down in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” there are many moments in sci-fi that evoke strong emotions from viewers and powerful intellectual questions. In “Fahrenheit 451,” Ray Bradbury asks, “How long is it since you were really bothered about something important … something real?”
A clever copywriter can make your audience feel something about anything. Within the history of marketing, it shows! From artificial intelligence to mattresses, there’s nothing you can’t sell without creating real emotions and real questions for your customers to wonder.
Whether you’re reshaping your content marketing writing strategy or just need another newsletter idea, there’s a lot we can learn from the fantastic work of many sci-fi creators in the past hundred years. Follow their example and remember that great storytelling, especially in marketing, is often not possible without a little showmanship, curiosity, and fun. Believe me; customers will know the difference.