5 Content Marketing Lessons Learned from Superman: The Man of Steel

We all want to fly high in the marketing sky and show the world how awesome our product or service is. We all wish we could instantly transform into some kind of social media juggernaut like Red Bull overnight.

Unfortunately, us business-people aren’t superhuman (though some would argue otherwise about dynamos like Gary Vaynerchuk and Ann Handley). We have to deal with petty human issues like time and money. Even if we did happen to get bit by a radioactive spider like Spiderman, we’d probably just end up bedridden and have even less time to do marketing.

We may not be able to shoot content lasers out of our eyes or tweet with the power of our minds, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing of two from those with superpowers. The Superman reboot “Man of Steel” debuts in theaters this Friday and it made me realize: Superman is one great inspiration for content marketers.

Now, I’m not suggesting you don a cape and develop an alter ego (that’s a great way to scare customers away), but you can learn some content marketing lessons from the last son of Krypton. And you don’t even need to read through the thousands of Superman back issues to do it.

Here are 5 content marketing lessons learned from Superman, the Man of Steel:

  1. Be a Reporter

When Clark Kent/Superman isn’t saving the planet from bad guys like Lex Luthor, he’s writing top-notch new stories for Metropolis’s favorite newspaper, the Daily Planet. Now that’s multitasking!

Like Clark Kent, you too need to go beyond your main gig and publish original content on a regular basis. According to Christina Austin in an article for Business Insider, “Companies now see that to be successful, they need to become publishers of their own content.”

Be like Clark. Don’t let workplace woes get in the way of creating high-quality content. Clark created content for the Daily Planet to keep his ears to the ground and to maintain his secret identity. You need to pump out high-quality content to build long-lasting relationships with your socially inclined audience.

Develop a system to produce content on a regular basis. Create an editorial calendar. Hire freelance writers. Schedule posts in advance. With the right strategy and tools, you can get it done. Hey, if Clark Kent can battle evil rock monsters and still have time to write thrilling news stories, there’s a way for you to run your business and produce enough content to engage your audience.

  1. Use Your Superhuman Hearing

When’s the last time you tuned out the noises of an entire city and focused in on the sound of one person’s heartbeat? Oh, you never have? Well, Superman has.

Superman uses his superhuman hearing ability to hone in on specific sounds and save the day. You might not be able to hear a heartbeat from miles away anytime soon, but you can use a form of “superhuman hearing” to accomplish your content marketing goals.

Matt Wesson, Content Marketing Specialist at Pardot, suggests that brands, like Superman, need to do some listening: “Take control of your brand identity and create truly compelling content for your audience,” says Matt. “Your audience is telling you what that content is. You just have to start listening.”

Your customers are out there tweeting, posting on forums, commenting on YouTube videos, etc, so go to where they are and do some listening. Whether you use a tool like Social Mention or straight-up monitor conversations on your Facebook page, you’ll have a better grasp of your customers’ wants and needs and be able to provide them with relevant content that meets their unique needs.

For more info on social listening, check out a post by another dashing gentleman, Content Marketing Casanova. He may not be the Man of Steel, but he’s still the man.

  1. Come to the Rescue!

Superman might have an iconic suit, and that curl of hair of his is pretty boss, but these things alone don’t make him an awesome superhero. People love Superman because he cares about the citizens of Metropolis and is always there to help!

You don’t have to rescue people from burning buildings or hoist cars over your head, but you should be there for your customers and provide helpful content as often as possible.

Content marketing expert Jay Baer offers some sage advice on the power of helpful content: “Sell something and you make a customer today. Help someone and you create a customer for life.”

Instead of bombarding social users with thinly veiled sales pitches, provide them with information they can use to solve their problems and improve their lives. For example, if you run a plumbing company, share a blog post that instructs customers how to detect minor plumbing issues.

Sharing helpful content might not be as amazing as saving California from nuclear armageddon as the Man of Steel did in 1978’s “Superman”, but it’s certainly something your customers will remember.

  1. Develop a Memorable Look and Tone

There’s something about Superman’s “S” logo that just screams “truth, justice, and awesomeness.” One look at that symbol and you’re suddenly filled with feelings of triumph and goodwill. Superman really has the whole branding thing done pat.

Like the Man of Steel developed a memorable suit and symbol, you need to develop a consistent, high-quality look and tone of voice for your content. According to content marketing consultant Stephanie Kapera, “establishing the right tone of voice will help attract people to your brand and keep them coming back.”

When you see Superman flying toward you in that red and blue getup; you know everything’s going to be totally fine, even if you’re hanging off a cliff. When you develop a consistent look and tone of voice for your content, your audience will come to expect quality from your content and will be more apt to consume it.

  1. Team up!
    You know, even guys “faster than a speeding bullet” and “more powerful than a locomotive” like Superman need help now and again. Humble hero that he is, the Man of Steel isn’t afraid to call for help when he needs to get the job done. And hey, it can never hurt to have Batman and Wonder Woman on your side.

Content marketing, like superherodom, doesn’t have to be a solo venture. In fact, it can be a huge benefit to incorporate more members of your staff into the content production process.

According to Nicholas Putz, Creative Project Manager for Cultivate Communications, “Individuals have great ideas, but the more minds at work, the more ideas are generated.” Put more minds at work in your content marketing and you’ll have more great ideas than Superman has big, red capes.

Brainstorm together on eBook topics. Let different employees respond to Facebook comments. Invite someone from sales to write a blog post. Like the Justice League, the superhero team to which Superman belongs, you can get more done with more people on your side.

Whether you’re as big a Superman fan as Jerry Seinfeld or haven’t read a comic book since, well, never, follow the Man of Steel’s lead and your content marketing campaign will be simply super.

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