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3 Important Lessons Content Marketers Can Learn from Pokemon Go


Pokemon Go’s all the rave lately and just in case you’re hiding under a rock somewhere, Pokemon Go is a free, location-based, augmented reality game that’s been the talk of the town these days.

To illustrate the game’s phenomenal success, here are some quick stats:

  • It took 7 days for Pokemon Go to reach 10 million downloads, the fastest ever for any mobile game.
  • So far, Pokemon Go has been downloaded more than 30 million times across 35 countries since launching early July. That’s not counting its most recent launch in Japan just this week, which is deemed to be one of Pokemon’s biggest markets.
  • Pokemon Go just surpassed Twitter in terms of active users and Facebook in terms of user engagement.
  • It doubled Nintendo’s market value; shares are up 14% barely a month after its release.

With this Pokemon craze taking the world by storm, it’s just inevitable to discuss what we, Content Marketers, can take away from all of these.

The game’s mechanics is brilliant in its simplicity. Using the device’s GPS and camera, the game requires players to battle and capture virtual creatures appearing on the screen with the real world as backdrop.

The fun part is in locating these creatures, which means you have to get out of the house and go on a pokemon hunt.

Which brings us to our first Content Marketing takeaway:

1. Integrate online and offline

This digital era has made all of us hooked to the internet and to our mobile phones 24/7, at the expense of real life interactions. We don’t go out to parks and restaurants anymore. We like our food delivered. We prefer Netflix marathons over social gatherings. We like typing rather than calling. Facebook messenger is the lifeline of most of our relationships. Our mobile devices have become our best friends.

Challenging the norm, Pokemon Go pulled people out of their couches and pushed them to get out of the house. It gives users the ultimate social experience of meeting other gamers in real life, not just by their made-up game handles and avatars. Take a look at this video taken at Central Park, where a crowd of gamers have spontaneously gathered to catch pokemons.

There’s something refreshing about campaigns that seamlessly integrate both the online and offline worlds, as well as business goals that are reflected across all channels.

Now, an augmented reality game is not applicable to most businesses, but this unified online-to-offline messaging can be applied in simple, everyday content marketing decisions.

Does the content you publish online reflect the values your peers and clients see in real life? More importantly, does the content you create challenge your readers to get off their devices and to act on something in real life?

2. Capitalize on innate human social instincts

In the first item, I talked about how our days have been driven by technological devices and the internet. But even with the continuous rise of this digital culture, people are still inherently social. We long to connect and meet and help people, in fact, content consumption and promotion are often driven by these innate social instincts.

This article by Garrett Moon via Co-Schedule listed down statistics on why people share content online:

  1. To bring valuable and entertaining content to others.  49% say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action
  2. To define ourselves to others. 68% share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about
  3. To grow and nourish our relationships. 78% share information online because it lets them stay connected to people they may not otherwise stay in touch with
  4. Self-fulfillment. 69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world
  5. To get the word out about causes or brands. 84% share because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about

People seem to be drawn to Pokemon Go because of its game-changing social element—the real world interaction among gamers—plus the fact that it encourages users to explore places in the real world. It also becomes natural, then, for people to spread the word to others and add to the hype in social media.

pokemon-go-walking.jpgGetty Images

That said, social media is still the fastest way to promote anything. But social media distribution is only effective when you’re providing unique value, whether its information, education or entertainment.

Which brings us to our last item.

3. A remarkable content promotes itself

In the same way that a remarkable product or service sells itself, a remarkable content often gets its way around naturally.

Without very little ad spending, Pokemon Go has gained much traction through organic referrals and word of mouth. People are crazy about it, and the rest of us just couldn’t help our curiosity. Men and women, young and old, parents together with their children, friends and colleages—this game has reached all types of users. And largely because it’s a game-changer, pun intended of course.

Even inbound marketers are talking about how to newsjack Pokemon Go headlines for fun, and well, I bet some of them are serious about those content ideas 😉

In conclusion

The virality of a product, a piece of article, or an app is still often a happy accident. Sometimes, we find ourselves surprised that the thing we created performs over and beyond our initial expectations.

But being intentional in whatever we put out there is still the best way to do our business. Taking note of Pokemon Go’s formula for success (albeit reverse engineered), one must remember the above content marketing lessons: to make your content relevant by bridging online and offline realms, keeping in mind that people are inherently social, and continuously finding ways to make your content unique, timely, and remarkable.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I shall go back to hunting that rare pokemon. 🙂 Have a great weekend!