Content Creation VS Content Retention.

Content Creation VS Content Retention.

Content Creation VS Content Retention.

1920 1440 Oliver Kagwe

As a content creator, I believe that video is the future of communication. You can already see it. Over the past few years, there has suddenly occurred a need by social media companies to create live statuses and live streaming. WhatsApp brought to us WhatsApp status – which is essentially a place you can not only send photos and quotes, but also live videos. Then Facebook and IG did the same. Later Facebook started Facebook live and Twitter created twitter live. IG then came with IG tv. Even Youtube started a ‘live’ functionality. Most apps nowadays also have video calls. Video is everywhere. I did not even mention apps like Skype, Hangouts, Snapchat, Behance, Musically, Reddit, Tumbler etc.

Architects and designers who have an interest in smart cities are also incorporating videos into their plans. An example is the launch of the note 9 on the Burj khalifa. Now they imagine that instead of having billboards all over the place, let the buildings do the advertising themselves.

Schools have also started embracing the use of videos in learning. Most people nowadays don’t do presentations without a short clip included. NGO’s use videos to highlight the impacts of the projects that donors have funded. When you see something that interests you, the 1st instinct that comes is for your to pull out your phone and start recording. Video is encoded in our DNA., and people are mass producing them.

But as a content creator, I desire to stand out. I want to create videos that last in the minds of their viewers. I am always in pursuit of retention more than anything else. The greatest question in my mind has therefore always been this: how do I make stuff sticks in the minds of my audience? I went around collecting information and I found helpful insights that I would like to share with you:

a. Simplicity – Less is more.

This is a very simple Ad that says many complex things in less than half a minute. Keep it simple. Keep it real. Apple compared its Mac Book Air to an envelop in a video 30 seconds long. The take home point in this video is that a Mac Book Air is a thin computer, and therefore portable. So thin that it fits in an envelop. A different version of the same video would have started mentioning things like inches, octa-core, chipsets, memory and all those things that just make one’s mind tired. Be wary of  information overload otherwise you loose your viewer.

There is a saying that goes like this: “Tell people 10 things and they remember none. Tell them one thing and they will remember it.” One of the best ways to keep it simple while still maintaining interest is using analogies (a comparison between one thing and another, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification). Analogies don’t tell everything about a thing but they get you to as close as you can get to the thing. It is essentially comparing something you know with what you don’t – like using X to find Y. If you are to tell 3 of your ideas to your listeners, which one would they carry home? How can you compare that  main point to something that your customers interact with everyday to pass your point? Simplicity also creates a desire to know more. In the case of that commercial, one is left with a desire to find out more information about this laptop that can fit in an envelop.

b. Unexpected – Make your messages unique.

Pattern… Pattern… Pattern… Boom! (the unexpected). Surprise always gets attention, but to get things to stick you need more than that; you need to create surprise and maintain it. By violating expectations and breaking the pattern, you open a curiosity gap that keeps people hooked until they know the answer. In this commercial, they coudn’t have validated this point better. Also, it is important to ensure that you are not too repetitive. Repetition works for kids but makes adults bored.

c. Concreteness – Show, don’t tell. 

If you want your audience to hear and not listen to your content, use abstract words and definitions. There is difference between climate change and global warming. Instead of saying “he murdered her” you could say “he stabbed her 7 times on the head with a fork, spilling her brains out and killing her”. Things that can be visualised last longer in memory. So the next time you are passing on a message, SHOW, DON’T TELL. If people can’t see what you are saying, they are not getting it.

d. Credibility – Will people believe what you have to say?

“Russia is approximately 17,098,242 sq km in size.” Says a man doing a presentation and seeking to impress the board. What he does not know is that all his cramming went to waste. By the time he is sitting down, they shall have forgotten what he said. But what if he said, “Did you know that Russia is 29 times the size if Kenya?” I think they would at least remember something. They would go asking themselves “Ati how many Kenyas did you say fit in Russia? 27?’ Then he would correct them by smiling and saying, “No. 29.” The advice here is that if you are to use statistics, make them sexy. Put them into context by giving people a reference point. Put two or more things in comparison to each other.

e. Emotional Stories – How do you get people to not just listen but care?

As my mentor keeps saying, “you can never be on the wrong side of people’s emotion and expect to win them over.” Create and tell stories that relate with people. Decide on an emotion that you want to inspire then build your story around it. You can arrive at emotion by asking ‘why, why and why again’.  Why do girls buy make up? Because they want to look pretty and hide their dehydrated skins. Why do they want to look pretty and hide their dehydrated skins? Because it is a boost to their esteem and confidence. They’ll also be able to attract more boys. Why do they wanna attract more boys? ……the questions can go on and on and on. When you get to the last one, you will have arrived at the emotion.


If you feel that you have more examples or more ways to make content stick in the minds of its audience, kindly share in the comments section below.