If you’re reading this and you have a blog, podcast or YouTube channel, chances are you’re looking for more ways to engage your audience, get more comments, more subscribers, viewers and listeners.
Evoking a response in people is not as hard as it seems. A titillating picture and a captivating caption always helps, but if you’re working towards creating an image, a personality, and a brand that will stand the test of time, you can’t just endlessly crank out “bit pieces” all day.
In today’s fast-paced world, people seem to like to share a lot of ephemeral news items on social media. However, marketers producing this kind of content have to continuously generate new ideas, because their traffic would slow down considerably if they didn’t. They might get a lot of traffic and social shares, but return visitors is another matter altogether.
In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at how to channel wrestling archetypes to create compelling content. The great thing about understanding and adopting these personalities is that you can mix and match to your heart’s content. You don’t have to stick to any one thing, and you may find one “fits” better than the others.
Back in July, Jonah Berger was on the Social Media Marketing Podcast explaining the six ingredients that the most engaged content tends to have in common. While the ideas expressed here are definitely less scientific, they are very similar in concept.
With that out of the way, let’s get on to the good stuff.
Archetype #1: The Hero
The people are for the hero, and the hero is for the people. He is the voice of the majority, and he embraces it. He strategically mocks and takes jabs at his opposition, just so people know what side he’s on. He is not afraid of anyone and is willing to take on any fair fight. He is a clean fighter and prefers to play by the rules.
The tricky part about being the hero is that the crowd can turn on you if you’re not careful. If you say or do anything that is out of character, the people will begin to question your stance.
Classic heroes include wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, The Rock or John Cena (although some wrestlers jump ship and adopt a different personality at times; that’s true of every category).
Archetype #2: The Villain
The villain proudly states his own unpopular opinions, and generally doesn’t care what the majority thinks. He waves his own flag and marches to his own beat, even if that means being disliked. However, he is visibly aggravated if the booing and jeering of the majority persists. He doesn’t care much about fighting fair or keeping titles.
The tricky part about being a villain is repeatedly convincing your audience that you are, in fact, bad. You can only rely on the same shtick for so long before you have to up your game, and it can be challenging to have to one-up yourself all the time.
Classic villains include wrestlers like Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Chris Jericho or Triple H.
Archetype #3: The Daredevil
The daredevil isn’t afraid of anything and doesn’t mind putting himself in harm’s way. Sometimes he’s a little “messed in the head” as result. If the fight involves big jumps, razor blades, thumbtacks, steel chairs, a cage, electricity or other hazards, he’s there. If he’s not loved by the fans, he’s at least respected for his ballsy boldness, and his highlight reels are filled with classic moments.
The daredevil can only retain his status for so long before physical or intellectual limitations set in. Because he’s always getting himself injured, he has to suffer the pain and endure recovery regularly. He also has to outdo himself whenever possible, and there are limitations to how much higher the bar can go.
Classic daredevils include the likes of Mick Foley and Jeff Hardy.
Archetype #4: The Comic Relief
There are countless wrestlers who display a sense of humor, not the least of which is The Rock. However, for the intent and purpose of this article, the comic relief refers more to one-offs, mockers and impersonators. Humor is a great way to embed your personality into people’s consciousness, and this can make tackling difficult subjects a breeze.
The challenge with becoming the comic relief is that you won’t always be taken seriously, and you can get written off as novelty. It’s also hard to be a hero at the same time. A hero is allowed to be moderately funny, but if he’s all-funny all the time, he’s in danger of confusing the people and being seen as a goof. Moreover, the comic can come across as a one trick pony if he doesn’t update or change his routine from time to time.
Classic comics include the likes of Bobby Heenan, Charlie Haas or Goldust.
Archetype #5: The Grim
The grim are dark, ominous, and mysterious. They are usually willing symbols of death and seem to transcend it at times. They are feared by their enemies, and they usually have the stature to justify it. The grim are lone wolves by choice but at times they are also free agents for alliance. However, their loyalty is always with their own objectives, and they will turn on partners if they no longer serve the greater cause.
Death sells, but as the grim you will always alienate some people. It’s hard to maintain mystery if you’re always in the public eye, and, moreover, showing up when least expected is the best publicity stunt you can pull. Reviving when you’re supposed to be dead is a hard trick to pull off over and over.
Classic grim wrestlers are, of course, The Undertaker and Kane.
Archetype #6: The Weirdo
The weirdo spouts off celestial jibber-jabber like white on rice. Half the time, he doesn’t even make sense, though in his own twisted mind, he probably does. He is delusional and in love with his own abilities, and he’s always amped up, making him touchy, twitchy and unpredictable to his peers. However, he is usually backed by real talent and skill.
The tricky part about being a weirdo is that you are prone to being seen as a villain. If you can keep a sense of mystery and intrigue while dialing up the crazy, you might be able to walk the tight rope.
The classic weirdo, of course, is the Ultimate Warrior.
Archetype #7: The Diva
The diva is sexy and attention getting. She is sneaky and conniving when need be, and highly combustible around other big personalities. She is strong, quick and dramatic. She often leaves the fans wanting more.
By the way, you don’t have to be a female to be a content marketing diva.
The challenging part about being a diva is that fans are often more interested in outward appearances than talent and ability (even if you are highly skilled). All sizzle and no steak, so to speak.
The classic diva is virtually every woman associated with wrestling, but how about Sunny, Sable and Trish Stratus?
Conclusion: Effective Content Marketing
How you make use of these archetypes for your content marketing efforts is up to you. In conjunction with Jonah Berger’s advice, developing content that engages often relies on harnessing strong emotions or taking extreme viewpoints. For example, in Berger’s findings, content written with anger as the primary drive tended to engage well.
Making great content isn’t just about getting a rise out of your followers, of course, but if you had the choice between starting a great discussion with your fans and your comments section remaining a virtual graveyard, I’m sure you would pick the former.
Author: David Andrew Wiebe
David Andrew Wiebe has built an extensive career in songwriting, live performance, recording, session playing, production work, investing, and music instruction. In addition to helping musicians unlock their full potential, he also continues to maintain a touring schedule with multiple bands.