Content Development Lessons From Doctor Who?

A little secret about me is that I love science-fiction. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of my favorite books, Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors, and my dog’s name is Wookie… enough said. So when I’m looking for new shows to watch, I often stumble into a sci-fi of some sort. And I’m now knee-deep into BBC’s Doctor Who?

Can you mimic what Docto Who does in your content strategy as well as this reproduction?

Can you mimic what Doctor Who does in your content strategy as well as this reproduction?

If you haven’t seen it, and you like sci-fi, then I would recommend it as long as you can deal with corny special effects and over-the-top acting (which you probably do, if you like sci-fi). But this isn’t a commercial for the program. Instead, I want to talk about developing your company’s story using Doctor Who as an example.

The series, which has been around since 1963, has had countless of re-airings, movies and even plays. And now there are talks of JK Rowling writing an ebook of the show. Why does such a concept continually get new play at a time when there’s a number of options for showcasing a time-traveler story? There are two main reasons that stand out to me, as I watch the show. And these should be mimicked by anyone trying to develop their own company story.

1. It Inspires

While you can have all the great points in the world, there’s really one tried-and-true way to encourage people to keep coming back to you. And it’s not always the quality of your product. For example, you could argue that the Android phones are in fact better than the iPhone (they’re adaptable, cheaper and there’s more variety) but because of Apple’s marketing, the iPhone continues to outsell any other company’s version of the Android phone. It’s not even close, in that sense. And the reason this happens is because it inspires users.

Doctor Who inspires fans by going to far off places, and exploring new, made-up worlds. It’s interesting because it’s something that so many want to do: travel, explore and have new experiences. That’s inspiring, even if it’s using a land 3000 years in the future for its backdrop.

How does your company or brand inspire another with your content strategy? What do you showcase and offer that will encourage someone to read what you write, then sit and ponder it throughout the day? What will drive them to come back and read again?

You see this style in all the successful online marketers. Look at Tim Ferris; he’s inspired others to live differently, and has countless number of advocates who tune in as soon as he writes another post. Mike Geary does the same, by inspiring others to get into shape. It’s not so much about the product they’re selling, it’s how they’re inspiring others in the process of selling.

2. Touching On An Emotion

The other aspect of Doctor Who that really stands out is the sense of loneliness the Doctor has in his travels. He’s a man who has lived for centuries, seen his race wiped out and is the last of his kind. He’s had friends and lovers die, without aging a year. It’s an incredibly lonely way to live, and this emotion viewers recognize, even if they can’t comprehend living for years. After all, as Dr. Seuss said in ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go:’

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

It’s a feeling that every one of us, whether we have a 1000 friends or two, know. In fact, it’s something that many fear. But it works for Doctor Who because fans can sympathize with the character. It helps them understand him more. And with that understanding, viewers become advocates for the character. They want him to overcome this loneliness and become happy because in some way it gives them hope they will defeat their own loneliness. But the only way to see him happy is by tuning in for the next episode.

In your writing, make your fans see the human side of your business. What does your business want to achieve? What in your past, can you share with customers or potential readers which they will understand, recognize and even sympathize with? You find that and explain it through your content strategy, whether it be on your blog, newsletter or new media then you will find an advocate that will do almost anything to help you overcome it. That’s power, not a weakness.

These traits are difficult to develop, and take time to mature. With the right story, you can share with customers, and then they will freely share with you, leading to easier marketing and a more effective business.

What are some characters in movies, television or online that you sympathize with? How can your company do the same?

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photo by: JD Hancock

4 thoughts on “Content Development Lessons From Doctor Who?

    • Thanks for the note, Brian! Yep, you’re absolutely right about that. While typical analysis of the phones goes Apple versus Google, Google uses a number of different manufacturers, like Samsung, that sell the Android phone using whatever design the manufacturer would like. So if comparing Apple to the other manufacturers (since Apple is the only manufacturer of the iPhone), it’s not close. And I was trying to explain why it isn’t close in that sense. This is relevant in the point I was trying to make about the marketing, since the manufacturers of Android are the ones really trying to sell their individual phones. And how they inspire users to do so, typically leads to the results. Although Samsung, lately, has really started to do a great job here.

      Which phone were you inspired to buy? Why?

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