It’s seemed like the World Cup has grabbed more headlines than ever this year, but the 7-1 beatdown Germany laid on Brazil in the semi-finals seemed to capture more attention than almost anything else. There are a few reasons for that (Brazil’s the host country and usually pretty good at soccer, the Internet loves making jokes involving Germans) but one of the most compelling things the day after the loss has been the photos.
It felt like a full 98% of the Internet the morning after the game was pictures and GIFs of Brazilian soccer fans being so, so sad. (Here’s Deadspin’s great retrospective, if you’ve managed to miss out.) But why does the Internet lose its mind over photos of Crying Sports Fans? And how can you harness those evil powers for your own good?
Let’s look at a few factors that are at play here.
1. Explain It Like I’m Five.
A lot of people think they don’t understand soccer. Everyone understands sad people ugly-crying. The photos get rid of everything people find intimidating and cut to the heart of the game. Forget about offsides, forget about corner kicks, forget about stoppage time. These Brazilians are very sad, their team lost, and you can get all of that information in less than a second.
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Photos can work great for your content marketing because they communicate a lot of information in a very simple package. If you’re opening a new location, a photo of the ribbon-cutting in front of a giant building is much more effective than a press release touting how many square feet the new office has. As our culture speeds up, getting the most important points communicated clearly becomes incredibly important.
2. Get to the Point.
Americans seem to have decided that soccer takes too long. 45-minute halves actually wind up being shorter than most football, baseball and basketball games, but the perception is that sitting down to watch a soccer match is getting ready for a snoozefest. That’s not the case with these photos of fans: it’s pure emotion. All killer, no filler.
It’s so tempting to organize your content marketing around a ton of big thinkpieces and heavy e-books. Those definitely make up important parts of the funnel, but you need to have a way to get to the point. Infographics are perfect ways to distill a ton of information into an easy-to-digest chunk of information. Every time you publish a big piece of content, you should work on turning it into a smaller, more visual chunk for people who just want to hear the hits.
3. Choose Your Own Adventure.
It felt like there was an endless supply of photos, GIFs, and videos of sad Brazilian fans. You could waste your whole morning staring into the faces of pain, or you could spend five seconds and move on with your day. Photos can be compelling enough to hold your attention for a long time, but they always offer you the option of moving on. There’s no lock-in. And, in a culture that trends more and more toward “we’ll find out… after the break,” giving people the option to get back to work can be really refreshing.
For your company, photos and photo galleries can be a great way to let your audience engage with as much content as they’d like without forcing them to stick around for a payoff. Social sites like Twitter and Instagram make this even easier. Throw up a photo of that epic ping-pong match or the compelling seminar taking place at HQ, and your followers will have the option to interact with it quickly in their feeds or click over to your profile for more pictures. Putting the power in their hands lets them come to you, rather than making them feel like you’re force-feeding them advertising.
Your business may not have the drama and tradition of a futbol nation like Brazil. And hopefully you aren’t doing anything that’s going to leave your supporters weeping while holding onto homemade versions of trophies. However, these sad, sad, sad photos of Brazilian supporters may hold the key to taking your content marketing all the way to the finals.