While the United States of America and indeed the rest of the world still reacts from an astonishing presidential election result for Donald Trump, the UK is responding to another, rather different news story – the 2016 John Lewis Christmas Ad.
Despite the plethora of content mediums that are on offer today, audiences remain transfixed by a television commercial. In many respects, this is due to the cute animals and ultra-realistic CGI that makes #bustertheboxer possible.
However, the perennial popularity of this annual event is much more simple. It’s all about evoking an emotional response through human interest, something that more and more marketers should be doing with their content, which can include interactive infographics.
Why human interest stories work
Go back in time and you will find that the most influential and impactful stories always have an element of human interest. This is because audiences can relate to what is going on and receive an entertaining, interesting, or astonishing insight into how other people live.
Human interest stories can also help to reveal a story’s most powerful message or even paint the bigger picture. When remembering historical events such as World War II, people tend to talk about their friends and family that fought or supported the war effort rather than the politics involved at the time.
Even though the fallout from Trump’s victory has only just begun, there are several stories about how certain groups and minorities might be affected. In fact, various political commentators seem to agree that Trump won because he knew what voters wanted and focused on the struggles they were going through rather than stating facts or listing his policies.
This is not an advocacy for following in the footsteps of Trump’s often-dangerous rhetoric, but more a lesson about being a good listener. If you identify the narratives your audience engage with the most and then indulge their desires, you should be able to create a knockout human interest story.
Turning human interest into content
The meaning or message behind your human interest story could easily be lost if you don’t do it justice, which is a distinct possibility with certain content mediums. For example, blog posts are fairly straightforward when listing the top 5 digital content gift ideas for Christmas 2016 (link to other JBH blog?).
But when it comes to a human interest story, you will need to create something compelling and captivating that takes your readers on a rollercoaster journey. This is something even the most adept writers struggle with, as it can be difficult to let the crux of the narrative come through naturally.
Imagine trying to put the John Lewis Christmas Ad into words. Two parents prepare their child’s trampoline for Christmas morning, but that evening a load of wild animals come and jump on it instead, leaving the family dog Buster completely dumbstruck. When Christmas morning comes and the child runs outside to play with her new trampoline, the inspired Buster jumps on it instead, leaving the family equally flabbergasted. Good, but not quite as gripping.
While you might not have the budget for a TV ad featuring computer-generated critters along with music that pulls at the heartstrings, an interactive infographic can still get your human interest story across. Content that comes to life can make any narrative more powerful, as audiences will not only gain a more in-depth understanding of what’s in front of them, they may also have a more emotional response and ultimately, a more rewarding experience.