Back in our Stranger magazine days, Clare had the privilege of speaking with the queen of British burlesque, Immodesty Blaize at the festival. And as it happens, when it comes to content there’s a lot to be learned from this siren slung over a glittering 6ft rocking horse.
What in the heavens does a corseted, eyelash-batting seductress know about producing compelling content? So much more than you’d think. Great content is expertly crafted escapism, seamlessly delivered. It’s captivating, tempting and seductive. And above all, it’s entertaining. In short, behind every great ad, article or website, is (or should be) an element of Immodesty.
1 ) Be a tease
“Why go straight to the end and get it all out when there is so much in between that is interesting and mysterious?” says Immodesty. It’s the most basic of content writing tips: if you actually want people to make it through to the final syllable, you’ve got to give them a reason to keep reading.
When you’re writing content for your brand, it can be tempting to give it your all. Spilling every detail out onto the page for everyone to see. But there’s nothing tantalising about that. Nothing alluring. Nothing to keep your readers coming back for more. “I did a job for Christian Dior where all I did was remove a pair of gloves and men were looking away all coy – you know you can make someone tremble just by pinging a glove off your fingertip”, says Immodesty.
“You know you can make someone tremble just by pinging a glove off your fingertip.”
Brilliant content is just that, the ability to make your point with all the subtlety of pinging a glove off your fingertip. “The trick is that it is all in the tease: I am completely naked under the sheet but you never see anything. […] The intention is to imply”.
2 ) Be unmistakable
Before you can craft the best supporting words, you need to get down to your naked truth – the core message(s) behind your brand/content. The assets that make you, you. The things your readers want.
Immodesty’s success hasn’t come from being just like every other burlesque dancer. She’s refined and has crafted a unique performance style that’s unmistakably her. And that’s the most important thing, “It’s about taking the things that are special with you as an individual and feeling good about them.’’
”You can’t just stick on a corset, buy a cheap boa and just walk up and down and take your knickers off.”
3 ) Be crafted
Once you’ve got your focus, the tease plays out through writing intelligent, meticulously crafted content that highlights your assets without giving too much away. But as Immodesty says, ”you can’t just stick on a corset, buy a cheap boa and just walk up and down and take your knickers off”.
The difference between an Immodesty Blaize performance and a less successful seductress’s is hard graft: “I spend a lot of time making it look effortless, much in the way that a swan swims in the water – it glides along but underneath its little legs are paddling away.”
Why should you invest time in building amazing content? Because audiences today are as eagle-eyed as the men at Immodesty’s Christian Dior show – the slightest slip and the tease is broken. You’ve lost them.
4 ) Be consistent
And that’s the final lesson. Clare met Immodesty at Port Eliot festival. In a sea of unwashed festival-goers, Immodesty was a vision of perfection. The same vibrant red lips, black coiffed hair and dazzlingly thick eyelashes as her on-stage self. “I never stop,” she says. The same has to be true for brands.
When it comes to great content, you need to see it through. Right down to the final word on the deepest page of your website.