I’m not a football fan—at all—but I spent the afternoon and evening yesterday keeping my husband company as he watched the Super Bowl. I watched the commercials and the halftime show and kept a running commentary on them on Twitter as I pigged out on junk food. With the exception of the dip and chips, I found the time actually well spent in my writerly estimation. Why? Because even the Super Bowl has something to offer writers not interested (or interested) in the American past time of watching football.
I noticed that Writer’s Digest Magazine editor Jessica Strawser wrote an inspirational post today about what writers can learn from yesterday’s game. (You can read it here.) She suggests that beneath every story is an even better story. I’d say there might even be an additional story—one that ties into the topic or theme of your book or your area of expertise and that helps you promote yourself and your work. For example, I wrote a blog post called Lessons learned from Christina Aguilera’s Super Bowl Mistake after Christian Aguilera changed a few words while singing the national anthem at the beginning of the Super Bowl last year. You can read it here. As a tie in to the Super Bowl last year I also wrote about the benefits of playing team sports for one of my national Examiner.com columns: What Spiritual Lessons Does the Super Bowl Offer Parents? With these stories I got in on the hype of the football game while still writing on topic. This pulled in more readers for these posts than ususal–readers interested in what I might have to say about the Super Bowl who might not normally read my work.
I’d add another practical twist on what writers can learn from the Super Bowl: Every newsworthy event offers an opportunity for writers to tie their books and their topics into the news. Any event in the news is a prime chance to drive traffic, meaning readers, to your blog or website or to garner a bit of media attention for yourself. How do you do this with, for example, the Super Bowl? Ask yourself what your topic or book has in common with the Super Bowl, one of its players or coaches, the place where it was played, or the commercials you viewed. Once you discover that commonality, write an article, blog post or press release on that topic. You may get even be able to land a radio or TV spot in the process.
As I watched the Super Bowl commercials, I noticed how a few of them tied into themes recently in the news. For example, the Chevy truck ad drew on the 2012 end-of-the-world theme. The Audi ad featured vampires, which continue to rake in bucks in movies (Twilight) and books (Amanda Hocking). Chrysler’s “halftime in America” commercial with Clint Eastwood brought politics into the scheme of things, an ever present subject with the elections looming ahead of us, and asked people to have hope (again) for better times. You can do the same. Ask yourself if any of the topics used in the commercials are ones you could tie into with your writing. Is there a way to bring those themes into your blog posts, articles, ezine articles, or press releases? If you do so, just like those commercials, you’ll garner some attention.
But the news isn’t always the main event for a commercial. Sometimes it’s the emotional connection. The Super Bowl Honda commercial featuring Matthew Broderick wanting to take a day off and have fun strikes home for many of us, for instance. The biggest hits in Super Bowl commercials tend to be the ones with babies, animals and celebrities. How can you bring these into your writing? Is there a way?
The point of looking at commercials, or advertisements in general, is simple. While we all say we hate commercials, they can be quite creative. They are worth paying a bit of attention to as a way to spark out creative juices. Ads make people buy products. They drive people to stores, phones and the internet with their credit cards or wallets in hand. As a writer, you want to drive readers to your website or blog—or to a book store (online or off) to purchase your book or to subscribe to your newsletter of blog RSS feed. Although you want to do it with great content and a genuineness that makes readers trust and like you, and, therefore, want to buy from you, you still need to get them to your site to read that content and get to know you. Tying into the news and looking at the basic principles behind advertising offer wonderful tools to accomplish this feat.
If you can think of more reasons writers should watch the Super Bowl, please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear what you learned and applied to your writing.
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