Here’s why you need Character Driven Content [Newsletter #33]

Hello Content Creators!

Ever wondered why some brands and influencers seem to gain a massive, devoted following, while others just do…OK.

And how they keep them tuned in for years.

Some of it’s obvious…they’re entertaining, funny, ridiculously good looking, or helpful.

Most of them use proven tactics like asking questions, commenting on others, responding to comments, posting regularly, etc. And they do all the Stories, videos, surveys, and other things that algorithms like.

But there’s something else.

peloton instructor ally love on instagram

All of those things will get you a decent following if you’re persistent. This applies to brands as well as persons.

But it’s not enough to reach Superstar status.

I recently read The Parameters of Peloton Celebrity by Ann Helen Petersen. It’s a brilliant analysis of how the Peloton “family” has built their top coaches into superstars. I strongly recommend you read it, but here’s the gist:

By tightly controlling aspects of their social posts, personalities, and content, and by scripting the story across multiple social accounts, Peloton has been able to create a “drama” that unfolds over time, keeping fans hooked and elevating their coaches into stars of a story.

Think about that for a minute.

Their customers are now hooked on the story and eagerly tune in to workouts and social posts to see what happens next. And then they gossip about it.

This is how popular TV shows grow…create compelling characters, immerse them in interesting stories, then leave us wanting more until the next episode.

the rock on instagram

Another example is The Rock. He didn’t get to 263 MILLION followers by showing videos of his shirtless workouts.

Rather, he strategically mixed in storytelling about the products he working on (tequila, energy drinks, etc.), movies he’s in, funny clips with other actors and celebs he’s hanging out with (and they’re tagging him), etc. All while being encouraging in his overly positive, happy, and bright demeanor.

Each post is like a new paragraph in one of his stories, and he seemingly has something for everyone.

Each post reveals a little bit more about the characters in his stories, or moves a story along in some small way.

And that’s key. We humans like stories. And we like novelty, it keeps things interesting. We want to learn more about the people and products we’re interested in. And the more we learn, the more interesting they become and the more invested in their story we become.

Until you screw it up.

This is why Girl… author Rachel Hollis’ popularity fell off a cliff in a matter of weeks after posting something that was completely out of character for the persona she had built.

She accidentally showed a side of her that was alien to her audience.

There was too much of a disconnect between this new information and the personality that she had curated.

If her story were intertwined with the stories of others, as is the case for many Peloton stars, it could have made for a great drama that played out with a larger cast of characters…and perhaps she could have redeemed herself and made a comeback.

But Hollis was the entire cast and crew of her story, so there was no one else to keep that story interesting. Arguably, her story has ended.

Imagine if The Rock went negative on someone? Or trash talked his competition? His popularity would drop like a…. rock.

How to build your own brand’s story

So, how can you take the lessons of Peloton and The Rock and apply them to your own business?

Simple, actually.

Who’s on your team that does something interesting? What stories could they tell? Do they butt heads with someone else on occasion? What “drama” does that create?

Could you turn that into a fun, friendly story about how each party (like, say, R&D versus Accountants?) has to work together to deliver the best product possible at a price people can afford? Then script it and release the story in parts over weeks, months, or years?

Don’t have anyone in-house to work with? Popular YouTubers collaborate all the time, building their own audience while helping others grow, too.

Which brands, products, or people would complement what you’re doing and mutually benefit from collaborative storytelling?


Be a character,

Tyler Benedict

PS – If you’ve been enjoying these newsletters and wanna take things to the next level, email me to see how I can help your brand. Or just buy me a coffee.

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