My last blog post, which I received positive feedback on, got me thinking, what else does playing tabletop RPGs have in common with copywriting and digital marketing. I came up with a few more things, so I figured I’d start with:
Customers (and players) don’t like being told what to do (without a good reason).
One of the most exciting (and incredibly aggravating) things about crafting something for others, be it a beautiful product or a compelling story, is that they don’t act or react in the way you intended.
As a Dungeon Master, this looks when you spend a lot of time creating a story plot and world for your players. Your players could really like your Non-Player Characters (NPCs) and get really hooked on the plot of your campaign. On the other hand, they may unexpectedly burn down the house of that wise old wizard who would have helped them.
As a content marketer, where, while you might have an approximate idea of who your client business’ customers are and what they feel and want, you don’t REALLY know who they are until you put yourself out there and try to attract them to your brand. So you might have what you thought was an amazing piece of content, but when you go to publish it, it falls flat. This could be for any number of reasons: maybe you published it at the wrong time; maybe you didn’t promote it enough; maybe your content wasn’t as interesting to your audience as originally thought; maybe it wasn’t even that well-written and you didn’t have the time or budget to have someone give it a read-through before you fired it off.
The fact is, once you put out your content out there, you can no longer influence how others interact with it. How people react and engage with your content will always be outside of your control.
It may be tempting to intervene and steer your audience (or your players) to engage the way you intended —DO NOT DO THIS.
This is especially true for Calls to Action – when people feel they haven’t been given enough information or a compelling reason to take action, it kills any interest they might have had. They need to know what is in it for them if they choose to click/buy/go out and slay that dragon.
So what should you do?
Tell Them Why
When introducing content in a campaign meant to motivate people (this works for tabletop players and potential customers), the best, and, to a degree, the only way, is to frame your message around what’s in it for them. How do they benefit, how are they better off for engaging with your content? Is it because it’s fun, informative, useful? Your audience is far more likely to take action when they understand why they should.
Make it Easy
This probably seems obvious, but it is staggering how many websites I’ve been on where the process to buy/sign up/join is unnecessarily complicated and overwrought. Once you’ve (hopefully) done a good job of helping your customer or player understand and want to take action, the best rule is often “Get out of their way.” Remember: it’s not about you – they are the heroes of the story, so let them be so.
Learn & Adapt
People do surprising, unexpected things. While you may not be able to influence how your audience interacts with your content, what you CAN do is pay attention to how they do engage. This is where recording data and responses are useful – once you have that feedback, you can learn from it, and adapt so that your next piece of content is even more tuned to the needs and wants of your audience, and motivates the action you want them to take.