So cryptocurrency is a thing. Not a thing like financial trends are a thing. More like how Pokemon Go or planking was a thing. Yet despite the most layman’s descriptions about how it works, it’s still beyond me. Maybe I’m just not as millennial as I thought I was. Maybe no one truly knows how it works and they’re just pretending to know because it’s cool.
Regardless, Business Insider recently wrote that “despite concerns about security, criminal use and volatility, cryptocurrencies have proliferated at a dizzying pace”, and it likely won’t stop anytime soon. Which got me thinking, if they’re widely known as unstable, unregulated and misunderstood by most people – why are they so popular? I narrowed it down to three key things, and discovered…hey it’s pretty applicable to making anything popular – especially when it comes to content.
We want to consume things that make us smart
The internet is a source to broaden people’s knowledge. The answer to the biggest questions in the universe are but a quick Google away. Like veganism, underground “listening parties” or obscure sports references – we all want to feel like we know something our friends don’t, and I reckon this is perhaps cryptocurrencies biggest drawcard.
What that means for content
It’s pretty self explanatory really. What can your brand’s content tell me that my mates don’t know? Whether it gets me ahead or not is another thing entirely, as long as I feel one step ahead, I’ll buy into it. Content should be created in a way that informs and entertains audiences in a way that makes them feel sly smug for seeing it. Whether it’s the overused “life hack” or a heavily targeted in joke.
My favourite thing about this approach is that it’s format agnostic. It doesn’t chase the shiny new toy that Facebook or Google is spruiking. It’s merit based content, and if you can use this to bring your audience together into a cool little “in-club”, it will last longer than one session on your website.
We want a quick fix reward
My mum used to say it all the time – we are the instant gratification generation. Typical baby boomer (Love you Mum!)…it’s kind of true though. We want it all, and we want it now. It’s not all our fault though. Computers and digital devices were meant to help us, making work and life easier to process. All they’ve done is increase our capacity and allowed us to cram more in. Instead of making things easier, adulting is harder than ever – as we’re now meant to process umpteen times the information, be more efficient, and do it from wherever we’re currently standing. This means we’re continually led to quick fix solutions to everything we do, and cryptocurrency is the perfect example of this. It’s what our parents did to get ahead in life (investing in homes or stocks) but it can produce millionaires in a split second (apparently).
What that means for content:
The quick fix in the content world is all about tracking the continual rise of short form content. 360 Images, Live Footage, Stories, Snapchat, Cinemagraphs. It’s all an effort to get as much information to our crowd in as little possible time. As things get shorter, we’re increasingly more reliant on the visuals and how they connect with the audience to do all the legwork, and as basic as this sounds, some brands are still struggling to take a chance (i.e. not trying to cram every single key message in their content).
We’re all playing games and we want to be in it to win it
Whether it’s playing sports, gambling, playing the stock market, and in this case, cryptocurrency, it’s all chasing numbers and progress. Whatever you want to call it – points, tokens, coins – it’s all endorphins. Nothing more than a reward for playing a strategic game. Where is the boom going to happen, can we track it on a digital screen over time, can I win out? I wrote a piece a year or two ago about the importance of gamification in brands – from the invention of fitbits and habit forming apps to Fantasy Sports – and cryptocurrency is just another way of turning investing into a game. In short. Games work.
What that means for content:
For many brands, gamifying their product or service in a way that makes it relevant for consumers can be the most clear cut road to increased engagement, brand recognition (and love) and driving business results. The best part is, you can apply it easily to content with a simple audience reward, whether that’s a tangible prize or setting a challenge to take into their everyday life. The key is to make it relatable, make it something common to the everyday, and most importantly, make it fun.
And if a friend asks you to explain cryptocurrency, send them this simple explanation 😛