3 Tips from the “Walking Dead” on Creating Engaging Content

Walking Dead The Walking Dead recently premiered to an incredible 12.3 million viewers, setting a new record for AMC. What’s even more impressive? This was the 3rd consecutive record-breaking premier for the series.

As content creators, it’s our goal to engage our readers and compel them to return time and time again. If the writers of The Walking Dead can do this, why not us? There are 3 elements that have made The Walking Dead so addicting:

  1. The “don’t make me think” syndrome
  2. Interactive content
  3. The reptilian brain

Don’t Make Me Think, Bro!

The attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds. The patience of an internet user, however, is a measly 1 to 5 seconds. You have to catch the user’s attention, and you have to catch it fast.

For those who are avid fans of The Walking Dead, you’ll know that many of the characters are faced with tough life-or-death decisions. However, the decisions and thinking-process have already been made for you by the writers. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy.

Likewise, your audience shouldn’t have to think while reading your content. Plan how you’ll capture their attention and where it flows and unfolds from there. You’re responsible for filtering down to the crucial information and displaying it in a manner that is digestible.

Unlike novels and short stories that sometimes contain pages of exposition, online content is quick and concise. If you have to set-up your content, it’s probably not simple enough. The concept of The Walking Dead is pretty simple: Run, fight, survive.

Interactive Content

The producers of The Walking Dead have marketed it brilliantly by promoting it on a variety of platforms that encourage user interaction such as:

  • Smart Phones
  • Tablets
  • Laptops
  • Trivia
  • Flash Polls

The producers worked to ensure that the content displayed on mobile devices didn’t compete with the show, but enhanced the story telling experience. Polls and trivia questions were synced with the airing of each episode, allowing viewers to interact while enjoying the program.

Likewise, statistics show us that internet users are captivated by interactive content and even share that content with their friends. In fact, 57% of Facebook users who have liked a brand have shared content from that brand! Slide shows, polls, and even encouraging comments on your content are good ways to boost interaction.

The Reptilian Brain

The characters on The Walking Dead are always on the lookout for danger. Their minds function in ways that are similar to the reptilian brain; but did you know that the average internet user thinks with that reptilian mindset as well? When something catches our attention, our brain automatically asks two reptilian-esque questions:

  1. Is it dangerous?
  2. Is it interesting?

If neither of them is answered with a yes, then we ignore it. Hopefully the content we produce won’t be dangerous to our audience, but it can certainly be made interesting! While making interesting content may seem commonplace, too many brands regurgitate content and rephrase tired ideas. Interesting content adds to a conversation, theme, or idea. Is your brand interesting?

What can you do to put the above lessons to work for your business? Do you have any tips to add?


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Daniel Chioco is a writer living in Nashville, TN. He earned his Commercial Music degree at Belmont University, where he also studied creative writing and wrote for the student newspaper. When he isn't creating content, Daniel works as an actor and films YouTube videos. He is also a freelance musician and is authoring his first fantasy novel.

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