Five Lessons on Content Marketing from SkyMall

[responsive]skymallcatalog[/responsive]The reaction in the Twittersphere when SkyMall announced its bankruptcy was both hilarious and heartfelt. And we all got a little giddy when it was announced that SkyMall is making a comeback.

Clearly the iconic in-flight catalog had earned a placed in the hearts and minds of travelers. In doing so, they provide a solid lesson in content marketing for the rest of us, according to Jason Miller in LinkedIn’s marketing blog.

Miller outlines five specific reasons why the content worked and turned travelers into hard core fans.

  1. Show, Don’t Tell – “The pictures in SkyMall may elicit some giggles, but they also allow you to visualize your life with the product,” Miller notes, giving the example of the folding guest bed set up by the Christmas tree. You don’t need a lot of copy to tell that story; an overcrowded house during the holidays is something almost everyone can relate to.
  2. Lead with the Benefit – “SkyMall’s copywriters know that benefits sell their products, not features,” Miller continues, reiterating the basic tenet we all learned (or should have) in Marketing 101. In other words, it’s not the super long nozzle on the spider vacuum; it’s the fact that you don’t have to get close to the creepy crawler to suck it up.
  3. Identify Your Audience – What’s cool about SkyMall is that any one person can laugh at most of the products, but there are always those few things that really resonate. Like pink dog hoodies. “Zany products that only make sense for select people are a trademark of SkyMall magazine,” Miller explains. “Hone in on the exact people who will benefit most from engaging with your brand and make it clear you’re speaking to them.”
  4. Give Them Something to Remember – “Some of SkyMall’s most memorable products seem designed to encourage the ‘wow, what?’ reaction that prompts you to hop on social media and share the link with your friends,” Miller notes. And while they might not need that particular thing now, you bet they’ll remember where they heard about it when it comes up again.
  5. Be Entertaining – “One of the main reasons SkyMall has endured in popular culture is that it’s entertaining as well as promotional. It’s a look into a bizarro world of personal air purifiers, cat spas, and giant bronze yeti statues. You may not open the SkyMall looking to purchase a specific product, but once you’re sucked in, the odds are higher that you might make a purchase—or at least take the catalog with you to share with your friends,” Miller notes.

No matter how un-whacky your own products or services are, you can surely take a lesson from the folks at SkyMall when it comes to telling a great story.