If you want your marketing to make an impact, your content should be like a parade, not a movie

June 19, 2024

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The Brazilian Carnival is one of the biggest parties on earth (and my favorite), a week’s long festival celebrated all over the country. In the city of Rio de Janeiro alone, it’s estimated that the Carnival sees an average of over two million people take to the streets for the festivities per day.

If you’ve ever seen a picture of the event, it was probably of the parade at “Marquês de Sapucaí” avenue in Rio, our main attraction to anyone who wants to have a taste of what the Carnival is all about. Being surrounded by thousands of people singing and dancing, with colorful costumes all around, and great music playing, definitely has a memorable impact on visitors.

When I founded my company, Rock Content, almost ten years ago, content marketing was all about inbound: bring organic traffic to your blog, convert it into leads, and turn them into customers. Straightforward success.

Nowadays things have changed, and I believe that a future-proof marketing strategy should be just like the Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro. I’m not talking about the music or the dancing, of course, but about structure and cohesion.

 

Person dancing at a parade in a samba costume

 

Dozens of samba schools put on dazzling musical performances during the Carnival, showing off the best and most authentic aspects of Brazilian culture. These samba schools have thousands involved in the performance, with more than 250 drummers alone!

The logistics of each performance are harrowing, but the samba always prevails to put on a great show. That’s because there’s always a central theme, captured by every detail of the presentation, from their cars and costumes, to the most important element, their song: the samba.

Each school’s parade lasts between 60 to 70 minutes, so there’s of course the chance that someone watching will miss some parts. People need to go to the bathroom or even the bar to get drinks. This is a party, after all!

 

 

If you’re watching a movie, missing even a few minutes makes it harder to understand or enjoy, since you miss part of the story. The same is true for why you can’t skip episodes of your favorite TV show.

But that’s not true for a parade. You don’t need to see everything to understand or enjoy it. Every section of it is beautiful and entertaining in itself, and if you miss a few parts of it, you’ll still have a great experience.

That’s why your marketing needs to be more like a parade, not a movie: you can’t expect everyone to see every piece of content you create, so every bit of content must be valuable on its own and identifiable as coming from your brand.

Until a few years ago I wouldn’t invest a single dollar on any initiative that didn’t have proven and direct ROI. We could grow just by investing in advertising aimed at last- click acquisition, especially since SEO was a surefire way to generate traffic and revenue, and our social media channels had great organic reach.

Good times for us marketers (though perhaps not so much for our audiences), but now things have changed.

First, because of—justifiable—privacy concerns, it’s getting harder and harder to rely solely on PPC to get results. Highly targeted advertising is slowly receding, and reaching your audience is becoming more expensive. Laws like the GDPR have made it harder to access data, as seen in the impending death of the 3rd party cookie or the privacy changes in iOS 14.

 

 

Second, we learned that distribution channels based on algorithms are not our friends. Organic reach is almost non- existent on social media for brands and in 2020, according to research done by Sparktoro, two-thirds of Google searches are zero-click, meaning that the user doesn’t need to leave the SERP to get what they want. So much for reliable organic distribution!

So, what’s the solution? A powerful brand, great distribution, and owned channels!

Your brand is your samba, connecting everything under a cohesive and distinctive narrative, echoing your unique traits. Every piece of content you create and promote—including Ads—is like the sections of a Carnival parade: part of the whole, yet able to exist independently.

If you do it properly, every time any piece of your content leaves its mark on someone, they’ll remember your brand. And the ultimate goal of that is for them to seek your brand out in the future, not just discover your content by accident. When this becomes true, magic happens.

If a person is searching for your brand and content on Google or a social network, there’s no algorithm that will stop them from finding you. You are already on the top of their mind.

But it’s also important to create your own channels, with direct distribution, so you can create an audience that’s truly yours and easily reachable. That’s why you should always try to convert visitors into newsletter or podcast subscribers, for example.

You have to be so good at this that they’ll wait for your next email, YouTube video, or podcast the same way they wait anxiously for Netflix to launch an episode of their favorite series. Your role, as a marketer who wants to make an impact, is to orchestrate a parade that your audience likes so much that they’ll keep coming back to see it again and again!

About the author

Vitor Peçanha is the co-founder and CMO of Rock Content, a global leader in Content Marketing, with more than 400 employees and operating in four different countries. He’s built a content strategy that’s the main growth driver for the company, with more than 6 million blog visits a month and 500 thousand students in his online courses. He’s also an international speaker and bestselling author.

Vitor Pecanha

Vitor Peçanha

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