What Content Marketing Can Learn from Toys

What Content Marketing Can Learn From ToysWhen it comes to content marketing, there is the immediate problem of size. How big should content be? Should you focus on tweets? Blog posts? Full-length articles?

Perhaps, a healthier model for this grown-up business problem can be found in something as childish as a toy.

Size Doesn’t Matter

Take, for example, the Transformers series of toys. The Transformers are transforming robots that can change into cars or jets or even dinosaurs. This diversity in alternate forms can lead to interesting problems in terms of the actual figures, namely in their proportions to each other.

It is worth noting that the size issues of the Transformers series are, in some ways, inherent to their source material. The original cartoon featured the villainous Megatron, a character who can transform from a giant-sized robot into a handgun compact enough for his fellow Transformers to hold and use. That’s a tall order for a children’s toy.

Back to the point, all of the toys in a certain line are generally the same size, so that they can be played with as a group, but the vehicles/animals/vegetables that they change into might not necessarily be in scale with each other. Tractor trailer Optimus Prime and cassette tape Ravage are perfect examples of different scales at play within the Transformers world.

Compounding the problem is that different groups of figures may come in different sizes. A basic Optimus Prime will be a small toy, but the deluxe model can be as large as a carton of milk. The advantage of these varying sizes is that they allow for varying price points.

A terrific example of size being the selling point is the “World’s Smallest Transformers” line, in which the main gimmick is how small the figures are. Think of these figures like the tweets of the Transformers world. Another toy, like the massive Fortress Maximus, advertised as a city-sized Transformer, acts as a feature-length article.

You can also play with scale in your world – varying the length of your blog posts, and splitting your content between shorter social media blurbs and full length articles or white papers, will keep your users engaged and interested. It will also allow them to consume your content at the rate and volume that works best for them. A busy blogger might just want to reference one of your short blogs on their site, while a customer considering your product or services might want to read through a lot more in order to get a sense of your company.

Smaller Might Actually Be Better

As an example of smaller-scale working to a greater degree in the toy world, consider Japanese toymaker Bandai’s S.I.C., or “Super Imaginative Chogokin” line.

The line originally began as near-statues, with only one or two points of articulation. As the line developed, figures became much more complex with greater articulation and a variety of add-on parts. Due to rising costs, the line became more of a collectors’ item.

But Bandai didn’t want to give up on their less-fortunate customers and began the “Kiwami Tamashii” line of figures with the same look as the S.I.C. figures at a fraction of the scale. These smaller figures remained dynamic, fun to play with, and as artistic as their larger counterparts. Plus, no new design work needed to be done, as the small figures were just shrunk-down versions of their larger counterparts.

The “S.I.C. KT” line became a massive hit in the toy review community (link leads to video), even surpassing the original S.I.C. line itself in terms of notoriety.

Sometimes, bite-size pieces are more desirable and, in the end, can be more successful. If not all of your target audience have the time or desire to read through your longer content, you can boil down your key points into 140-character tweets, or a short Facebook post with a link to more. With something for your audience on both ends of the spectrum, you’ll be able to reach everyone with something they can appreciate.

“Let’s Bring it Together!”

Now, what toy line can bring together the lessons of the Transformers with the panache and style of the S.I.C. line? Look no further than the Power Rangers!

Born of the Japanese “Super Sentai Series,” the Power Rangers generally fight monsters at human scale, and then battle a returned, giant-sized creature with a transforming, multi-component robot called a Megazord. What’s not to love?

The different components come in different sizes, but they combine to form a singular robot capable of battling the toughest threats.

These machines have come in many shapes and sizes, based on a variety of themes. Series themes have included prehistoric creatures, space vehicles, and even basic humanoid robots, but they are all a part of the lesson (for kids or content marketers) that teamwork can be key to solving a giant problem.

Beyond the human element of teamwork, your content strategy itself can be formed into a team of differently-sized components that form a unified whole. Tweets, blog posts, Facebook updates, and multi-page articles can combine into a massive, unbeatable force that will level your enemies – or, more realistically, your competition – with ease!

What size of content do you prefer?

And, yes, I have had girlfriends. I swear. Some of them even liked me…

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Michael is a graduate of New York University’s Film and Television program. He specialized in writing, channeling a passion for storytelling, no matter the medium. In addition to his work at CEM, Michael primarily works in web content production, including projects like Geek Crash Course, a geek-educational series, the Ansible, a comics-based interview show, live performance series The Next Lab Sessions, and many more. In addition, he’s written and edited for the digitally distributed Champion! Magazine.

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