What PR Pros Can Learn from The Hunger Games

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The third installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay Part 1, came out just before Thanksgiving, and the pop-culture phenomenon did not disappoint: it was the second-highest grossing film of the year, after Transformers: Age of Extinction. A huge part of the series’ appeal is main character Katniss Everdeen, who is now the highest-grossing action heroine of all time. But what do The Hunger Games have to do with business blogging?

Katniss is a media expert. She’s part of a high stakes reality show, and she understands how to please audiences while staying true to herself and her vision for a better society. You may not be trying to foment rebellion with your blog, but you can take a page out of Katniss’s book by learning how to blog for an audience without sacrificing your unique identity.

Media in a Dystopian Future

The Hunger Games takes place in the future, at a time when the United States has deteriorated so much that only 13 states remain, out of which only three are prosperous. Everyone else leads a hand-to-mouth existence, with barely enough food to eat or clothes to wear.

Still, media continues to be a powerful force in this world. People watch The Hunger Games—a fight to the death between teens from various states—on TV. They root for their favorites, sending them supplies like medicine and food and water. In return, they expect to be entertained by the development of romances and participants outwitting their competitors.

Does the heroine, Katniss, have it in her to fake a romance for the screen? Can she ruthlessly kill other participants without batting an eyelash? Or will she take The Hunger Games and turn them into something they’re not—a platform for rebellion?

Attracting Audiences While Remaining True

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We can learn a lot about blogging for small business from Katniss’s manipulation of media. She offers viewers something they want, but also stays true to herself.  At first, her romance with Peeta is faked for the screen but later on, it becomes real.  And she only fights others in self-defense, staying away from conflict for the sake of conflict.  Plus, she manages to turn around the end of The Hunger Games by making sure that there are two victors this time, instead of one.

When you’re blogging for small business, learn from Katniss and think about what people are really looking for on the internet. Use popular keywords (without stuffing them), change your tone to suit your target audience, and take advantage of “trending” topics to draw your audience in. Blogging is all about being found and gaining a following, and if there’s nothing that immediately keeps your readers interested, they won’t stay long and won’t come back.

But once they’re interested in what you’re writing about, you can once again take a hint from Katniss and stay true to yourself. Just because you’re using a BuzzFeed-style headline (“12 Annoying Things About ____”) to get noticed doesn’t mean your content should read like BuzzFeed’s. You’re not BuzzFeed, you’re an expert in your field with the unique ability to represent your business. Tell your customers what you’re all about. What qualities do you emphasize in your company? What have you done that you’re proud of? What innovations are you making to improve your product?

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Like Katniss, you can also use your blog to bring about change and interact with your audience. Inform your customers about important trends in your field and get their feedback. You can use this feedback to improve your product or service. You may not be starting a Hunger Games-style revolution, but a blog can be an excellent platform to get your views out there and see how people respond.

Basically, blogging is all about balancing two things: being found by customers and potential customers (and search engines), and maintaining their interest by providing quality content that’s somehow relevant to their lives. The good news? You don’t have to fake a romance to get noticed on the Internet. If you’re paying attention to what your audience wants, using smart keywords, and posting consistently, you won’t have to use gimmicks to draw in your readers.

Patrick Armitage is the Director of Marketing at BlogMutt—a blog writing service helping businesses and agencies get their blogging done. Follow his miscellany (@Pat_Armitage) and all things BlogMutt (@BlogMutt) on Twitter.

Image: Kendra Miller, Clarence Risher (Creative Commons)

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Cision invites PR and marketing professionals to share their best practices and advice with the Cision Blog audience. To share your story, contact blog.us@cision.com

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