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What Content Marketers Can Learn from Studying Movie Genres


MAY 2017

The worlds of movies and content marketing have more in common than you may think. Dissecting the different movie genres you may enjoy watching on movie and television screens can teach you a lot about elevating the quality of the content marketing on your computer screen.


Technology has drastically impacted the attention spans of most people around the world – creating a need for instant gratification and nonstop engagement in media. Think about your favorite action-packed flick or even martial arts film. From high-speed car races and explosions to gritty fight scenes and stunts, the fast-paced footage of action movies is what keeps theater seats filled and movie tickets sold.

When you examine your content marketing, what is “action-packed” about it? Artistically weaving videos, social media posts and other engaging elements will keep your viewers tuned in and ready to read. Keep the attention span of your readers in mind and strategically approach engaging your readers accordingly.


Questions need answers and most people thoroughly enjoy connecting the dots needed to get them. Mystery movies and books have always created entertaining streams of seemingly endless questions, leaving viewers and readers hooked until they fill in the blanks: how, when, where and (most importantly) why? Instead of quickly rushing to the end and giving the answer away immediately, the best mystery movies hook viewers at the beginning and reel them in slowly.

The same setup can be used to boost lasting engagement within your content. If you have a problem with preventing your readers and viewers from abandoning your page too quickly, add a little more “mystery” to your content. Find clever and effective ways to hook them in the very beginning but keep them on the line until the end.

You can also offer “clues” throughout the content – catchy subheadings, images worth sharing and a progressive story or narrative – that requires them to stay onboard to see how it ends.


Tension and suspense is what keeps moviegoers on their edge of their seats from start to finish. They are the same factors that pull the heartstrings of viewers and shift their emotions to flow with the tone of the story. That is the same type of edge you can use to tell your story or relay your message. Blending intrigue and interest with captivation and creativity makes it much easier to effectively keep your fans, followers, readers and watchers right where you want them – connected to your content. Keep in mind that dramatic movies are interwoven with action-packed scenes and mystery as well. Even when you are trying to implement the dramatic edge into your content, therefore, you will still need to dip into other movie genres accordingly for maximum effect.


Comedy has its own genre, but there is an aspect of comedy found in most movie genres. Emotional dramas have scenes with comic timing and witty punchlines. Engaging mysteries usually have a few funny moments woven into the plot to break up the monotony. Even gory horror films or blood-filled war movies have points that make viewers smile and crack up hysterically.

Do you add a touch of comedy to your content? Remember that keeping your viewers and readers engaged means keeping them informed and entertained. This does not mean you have to completely transform your content with an overflow of stand-up comedy routine. An effective and skilled content marketer knows how to cleverly season their work with doses of comedy and laughter.  Liven up your content and give it personality with a moderate sense of humor.


The general rule of thumb of effective advertising is to shine a spotlight on the most noteworthy elements of the subject. The same principle applies to most award-winning documentaries. Instead of clouding and cluttering the footage with unnecessary details and scenes, the filmmakers and producers strive to aim the spotlight on the most substantial content.

To improve the quality of your content marketing, you must take the same “spotlight” approach. Shift the focus toward the meatier aspects of your story. Tailor your research and resources into a narrative format to create the same unfolding effect appreciated and even awarded in most documentaries. Use visual aids – such as embedded images and infographics – to bring your content to life.

Movies vs Content: Where is the Line?

With so many similarities between movies and content marketing, where exactly is the line that separates one world from the next? The truth is that these worlds remain separated at all time. The bridge that connects them to each other is art. Talented content marketers (like talented filmmakers) are artists of the industry. Once you embrace the artistic beauty of content, you can learn how to paint with keystrokes instead of brushstrokes. The connection between content and cinema will become crystal clear to you as the creator and (more importantly) to your audience.

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Geek

Annie has 20 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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