Well look at that, another cat video goes viral. Big whoop.

But what’s the difference here? A nonprofit did it – and as Pamela Grow explains, it wasn’t the cuteness of the kittens, it was the storytelling that propelled it.

She goes on to summarize the video, “the main character is a feral cat who answers to the name of Mason. Mason has led a rough life and toughed it out on the streets. He has advanced kidney disease (in addition to other health problems), and had he been taken to a shelter, he surely would’ve been euthanized.”

It’s fascinating how story can bring people in. If this was just a plain video of kittens, it wouldn’t have caught the attention of the almost 3 million viewers. It’s not filmed extraordinarily well. It’s very simple. And quite slow moving.

Nonprofit content marketing is so much more than polish and flash

One of the lessons nonprofits can learn from this example is of the power of content, and I don’t just mean content in the broad marketing term, the actual content of a piece. In this case the story, which will always trump the production value every time.

This is assuming the quality is high enough to not interfere with understanding the story.

This is paralleled in the music industry. When producers are looking for songs, or a band is looking to get a record deal, the demo version of a song is usually terrible. It could be recorded on a physical tape (if anyone knows what that is anymore), with a scratchy sound, and off-key instruments, but if the actual songwriting, story, and the musical composition is compelling, then it’s worth re-doing and polishing.

It’s so easy to get caught up in production. We need the flashiest website. The video needs to be polished and professional. But this should be the last of our worries. If the CONTENT is good, and the value is there, how smooth the transitions are matter a lot less.

So the next time you create a graphic, write a page for your website, or something else, think about the value that the content provides first – then look at the polish second.

Oh and here’s that video of Mason.

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