The various musings of Michael Hiles

How To Learn Content Marketing Strategy From “Choose Your Own Adventure” Books

When I was a kid, we still had these things called “books”.

In fact, reading was one of the few pastimes I was not only allowed to enjoy with little-to-no limitation on what I consumed (within reason) – but actually encouraged to do as much as possible. My trips to the library and the bookstore were akin to going to an amusement park or a big toy store.

Some of my favorite books were the Bantam Books classic series, “Choose Your Own Adventure”.

“Choose Your Own Adventure” Books

For those not familiar, “Choose Your Own Adventure” was a series of children’s game books where each story is written from a second-person point of view, with the reader assuming the role of the protagonist and making choices that determine the main character’s actions and the plot’s outcome.

“Choose Your Own Adventure” stories are written in such a way so that, after a couple of pages of reading, the protagonist faces two or three pre-determined options, each of which leads to more options, and then to one of many possible endings.

The number of endings is not set, and varies from as many as 40 in the early titles, to as few as 12 in later adventures.

Likewise, there is no clear pattern among the various titles regarding the number of pages per ending, the ratio of “good” to “bad” endings, or the reader’s progression backwards and forwards through the pages of the book. This allows for a genuine sense of unpredictability, and leads to the possibility of repeat readings, which is one of the distinguishing features of the books.

Hero’s Journey Definition

There’s a defined path of potential choices (behaviors) baked into each book’s story model by the author. When you reach a decision point, you’re directed to skip forward and pick up the story at a pre-determined page, where the story varies according to your previous choice.

You can only arrive at a specific point in the story after having made the specific sequence of choices leading to that particular destination.

Customer Journey & Content Marketing Engagement

When designing a customer experience, a successful content marketing campaign will cast the prospective buyer as the hero in a story. The marketing messaging will define a story setting and a context — a plot of sorts.

As we’re now moving into a world where digital marketing and storytelling are no longer constrained by traditional media format issues, we can see the emergence of new content marketing models. A customer’s experience with a brand can be designed and tested as a series of segmented funnels around incremental behavioral choices.

That’s essentially what content marketing automation seeks to do from an email database marketing standpoint.

Powerful, laser precision of a target market and persona — with the intention of giving the right incentives to deepen that commitment towards a purchase decision.

If you’re not intentionally designing your customer experience and gamifying the engagement, you’re missing out on a powerful strategy for your content marketing and content development.

Just like Choose Your Own Adventure books, a successful content marketing strategy is a series of paths and actions that allow your customer hero to own their journey.

Now go write your adventure!

 

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