Why read anything unless you hope to get something out of it? Why bother writing anything if not to provide some benefit? In the end, if you’re not entertaining or educating, it may be best to say nothing at all and save the reader the trouble of being annoyed.
People may not want to hear what you have to say or buy what you’re trying to sell, but if you can at least be entertaining or educating, you’re a step closer to being engaging. More pointedly, when we have something boring to say, it may be beneficial to wrap the story within a much better story. Consider this the price of admission that we as marketers have to pay in order to encourage the user to engage.Getting an audience to “pay attention” means we first need to “pay the audience for their attention” by providing some benefit that either entertains or educates. This is especially true when it’s something they don’t want to hear or something they’ve grown numb to by hearing repeatedly.
So what does a trained chicken have to do with any of this? Nothing other than it’s a good story to help me prove a point, so here goes nothing.
My family has a small chicken coop that after spending months to build, took nearly the same amount of time to find chickens to occupy. After numerous dead ends and missed opportunities, I gave up and put a post on Kijiji advertising our beautifully built, albeit unoccupied coop, along with the sad faces of two of my chickenless young children. It was a very sad post that was also pathetically funny, and I’d like to think mildly entertaining, but that’s exactly what I was going for.
I needed to attract attention and build some engagement within a unique community in order to score some qualified leads to fulfill my goal – getting chickens. My current methods were proving futile and I needed people to come to me and not the other way around. I believe this should be, if it isn’t already, one of the tenets of good marketing.
What happened in the following days though completely surprised us, as we received an outpouring of support from numerous folks in the community, along with multiple offers of chickens of various varieties and even offers of ducks, turkeys and a goat.
Out of all this activity however, there was one contact that stood out from the rest – a local animal trainer by the name of Heather Soper of ReelAnimalTalent.com. Heather asked us if we would consider adopting a chicken that she had originally trained for a movie filmed in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia in September 2013. The movie was for the latest installment of the Beethoven Saint Bernard franchise, that would star a number of people, including Morgan Fairchild.
We completely freaked out. Who wouldn’t want a trained chicken, and a movie star chicken at that!?
So far the story was great on its own, but the potential for tragedy turned into a much larger story and even more thrilling the further we allowed ourselves to be indulged. As it so happened, after a day of shooting with the chicken, the production company said “Good job, Chicken” and retired her back to the farm, where the next day, along with a hundred or so of her less famous family members, would be turned into chicken nuggets. We were shocked.
After literally devoting her entire life of 4 months from fluff to feathers, perfecting her craft, this beautiful chicken would be slung unceremoniously upon the chopping block to be butchered and then devoured no doubt by some dubious character at a drive thru. Would they even know that the chicken they ate was once in a movie? This truly would have been a sadder than sad story if fate herself had not thankfully intervened.
The very next day, the production company after viewing the footage of the chicken, decidedly liked her performance so much that they called her back in for some more shooting. Heather the trainer, now in a panic, quickly contacted the farm to see if the chicken had been dispatched to some store shelf, but thankfully the processing set up was still being prepared, and luckily a few hours from starting.
On contacting the farm however, the farmer didn’t have good news as their star was now in a single coop with a hundred or so suitable stunt doubles, none of them with the chops to fulfill the role that months of training would provide. Would all be lost? No! This my friends was a trained chicken, unlike any other chicken – this chicken was born to perform and one of her last performances would certainly save her life!
With little time remaining, the trainer instructed the farmer over the phone to put some chicken feed into a metal dish and clang it loudly with a spoon while yelling “Here chicken, chicken, chicken”. At first nothing, but then in the melee that is a factory farm, one chicken out of hundreds heard the call and stuck her head above the crowd like a periscope in wave after wave of white, and then began to storm her way towards the farmer like a linebacker heading towards a touchdown at the Super Bowl. Other chickens would fly left and bounce right, and with a flurry of feathers in her wake, our chicken would then stand respectively at the farmer’s feet, leaving him shaking his head in utter amazement.
The farmer laughing in disbelief called the trainer to say that he had the chicken. The chicken then performed her remaining shots for the movie. The trainer realizing that this chicken was too good for the grocery, found our ad on Kijiji and the chicken now lives safe with us and 13 other chickens in her coop in Halifax, Nova Scotia.>
True story, heart felt, and hopefully entertaining enough that you get the point. The point? To spell it out, the point is that without the initial investment made in that first pathetically sad, yet funny post on Kijiji, I never would have had the pay-off of not only filling my coop with chickens, but as well, would never have had the opportunity to adopt (for free I might add) a highly skilled movie trained chicken that unbelievably worked along side Morgan Fairchild and had even perched on her shoulder. That was golden.
The more perceptive among you, may have noticed that I could’ve ended the post with simply the Kijiji ad and not bothered to mention the trained chicken at all. So why did I? I’m still betting that a good story will attract more attention, and the life of this story hasn’t yet run its course. And with the addition of the trained chicken story to this post, it may help garner more views and greater returns than without it. In the end, Hubspot will certainly tell us how well we did.
Now then, who wants to hear about the time my father blew up a whale?
PS: Here are the remains of the Kijiji post that I had to update with a thank you note to let everyone know we got all the chickens we need.
And, for anyone wanting to see our soon to be famous chicken in action, you’ll need to wait for the release of Beethoven’s Treasure sometime in 2014. She plays Morgan Fairchild’s evil spy chicken. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3124476/