Creating Captivating Content

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Malaysians are at the forefront in the region in terms of digital content consumption. Consider this; 80% of Malaysian Internet users stream or download videos each month. YouTube accounts for 67% of all online videos viewed in Malaysia, out of an audience of 9.3 million and social networking, at 32.1%, holds the largest share of online minutes for Malaysians, followed by 11.5% for entertainment.

There is no doubt that greater content consumption through the availability of various social media and digital platforms provide opportunities for more content producers to come on board, while enabling existing content creators to diversify their ideas and channels.

With more players crowding the space, how do you differentiate your content and stand out from the rest?

“We have seen a lot of talent from amongst the creative community here, producing animation, games, CGI, and comics. The few outstanding talents, however, set themselves apart by focusing on high quality storytelling, the kind that any audience in any part of the world can relate to,” said Kamil Othman, Vice President, Creative Multimedia, MDeC.

Great content differentiates you from the other million aspiring producers. Whether you are a brand trying to make your presence felt online, or just an upcoming talent trying to break into the industry, focusing on content will give you that first push to success. Hear it yourselves as our industry experts share their pointers on how to create creative and captivating content.

1. Engage your passion
The most compelling stories come from the heart. Producing content just to get it viral is not enough. The foundation of capturing the hearts of your audience is to produce something that you are passionate about. Most YouTube producers create projects based on their passion such as singing, dancing, travelling, or even as simple as talking. Find your passion, and share it with the world.

2. Know your audience
Now that you have your content prepared, it is time to craft it to suit your targeted audience. Think of their needs and what they would identify with. The toughest challenge usually comes when your audience is very much younger than you. Irwan Junaidy from The R&D Studio, Producer of the new animated series ‘Nobodies’ overcomes this challenge by interacting with kids from his series’ target audience. Some of the characters and storylines in the series were even directly inspired by his conversations with the kids.

“At the end of the day, we feel that the creation of good stories involve both arts and science. It is an art to get good story ideas with interesting characters, but it is also science as the age and psychology of the target audience pretty much determines what sort of story that will resonate better with them” Irwan said.

3. Connect emotionally
Building emotional connection is a powerful way to engage with your audience. Associating your carefully crafted message with emotional charged languages reinforces the importance of your content. The task is to make your audience care about the message as much as you do.

Walid Omar, Executive Producer of Lil Critter Workshop, the producer of Mr Hooty’s Toy Shop, a Puppetry and 2D animation hybrid, said, “Storytelling is all about emotion; laughter, excitement, and action all brings the best out of your target audience’s emotion. Make sure your story is relatable to your audience. Knowing how you want to touch the viewer on an emotional level is a big part of the entire process.”

4. Keep it simple
Research shows that the average human attention span in 2013 is just eight seconds. Hence, do your best to be concise and communicate your ideas effectively. Get straight to the substance, and try to avoid all the fluff. Try starting with one key theme or story idea that can capture your audience attention, and then grow your plot and ideas within that common theme in order to sustain your audience’s attention.

“Some of our most successful local animation series started from very simple ideas that our animators are able to develop into exciting story lines. Take for example Boboiboy, a story of a young boy with superpowers who fights evil with his friends, or Dunia Eicak, which is about a boy who found new friends in an imaginary world. These are simple premises around which the creative mind could work wonders. Where imagination can be unleashed. When placed in an everyday context, kids could relate themselves to the situations depicted or to the characters. Hence it is no surprise that these series have become a favourite amongst young audiences,” Kamil Othman added.

5. Be authentic
People are flooded by information from the moment they wake up till the time they go back to bed. Be yourself and give your content some personal touch. It pays to be authentic as this will create viewer loyalty and you will receive returning audience. Eventually, what every producer wants is a continued sustainable traffic. Walid Omar says, “Your target audience can spot a fake a mile away, and they know when you’re trying to manipulate or preach to them. It’s important to say it like it is, and keep it real.”