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The movie Inside Out and the world of digital content marketing draw their strength from the same source: the power of the image. Entrepreneurs, to be true to their name, should maximize digital marketing for optimal profit. However, whereas Inside Out has succeeded greatly with its marketing strategy, the same cannot be said of all entrepreneurs.

The worldwide success of Inside Out is emphasized by its excellent use of animation to provide visual representation for something abstract and in many ways resistant to language—the human emotion. For the millions of people who flocked to the cinemas, emotions are now something whose integral “ups and downs” and whirlwind of meanings can be better understood through the characters Joy, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, and Fear. The movie is successful not only in its commercial goals, but also in its artistic expression and representation of the intangible inner workings of human emotion.

By first establishing what Inside Out and digital marketing share—an image-intensive core—it’s now convenient to pose the million-dollar question: What are some content marketing lessons entrepreneurs can draw from Inside Out? Luckily for you, we have some! Below are some content marketing lessons Inside Out creatively teaches you.

Think in Images, Even with Words  

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Like Inside Out, digital marketing is fueled by the desire to capture the hearts and minds of its audience with the use of images. An image says a thousand words, we often hear. Nowhere is that line more crucial than in digital marketing. Since the Internet and new technology became integrated to almost all aspects of modern life, visual images have acquired supreme importance in convening messages to an audience and inspiring people to respond to a call to action. Which gives affirmation that, still, visuals reign in digital marketing; they are the undisputed king.

But does it mean that words are now something dispensable? Not so fast. If you come to think about it, words function with the help of images as well. For example, how would you explain the Internet to a caveman? The best way is to show it through a computer while using words to explain the foreign concept and object. Visuals are fundamental to both words and images. Inside Out demonstrates this by creating a visual world to explain words or concepts that are not easily graspable. Sadness? Joy? Anger? These words are difficult to fully understand because they are emotions. Recall the common sentiment, “I feel sad, but I don’t know why.” The feat of Inside Out, which entrepreneurs should learn from, lies in its ability to effectively think and express in images, even with words.

Be Clear in Your Message

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Confusing your audience isn’t your objective, is it? To succeed in your goals, you have to be clear with what you show and say. Again, the magic of Inside Out largely lies in providing clarity to abstract and complex concepts. The result? Droves of people being entertained while learning something deeper than hearty ha-ha’s and touchy sobs. You want to do the same for your business and content strategy. You want your niche market to clearly get your message.

Turn Problems into Opportunities

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A pivotal moment in the movie is the scene where Joy realizes her mistaken attitude towards Sadness. Viewing herself as the “strong” one, Joy in a challenging situation realizes that Sadness has her strengths as well. Joy experiences a radical paradigm shift; she begins to see the weak and oftentimes pathetic Sadness to be capable of something wonderful. Sadness’ obsession of reading resulted in her having a masterful memory and an impressive sense of direction. With those strengths, Joy and Sadness together found their way back to the headquarters and save Riley.

Problems are ever-present in all businesses. This often forgotten truth comes as less surprising when you see innovative businesses as solution providers. A business cannot exist without problems and challenges. Like Joy, many people have the tendency to think business and life should be problem-free. What impossibility! Inside Out shows that to reach a goal, what’s important is to change your attitude towards shortcomings, problems, and weaknesses. The problems you will encounter are diverse and ultimately ineradicable. For example, if you feel like in a losing streak in the competitive world of digital marketing, why not use this as an opportunity to explore different content marketing tools? Tools such as Google Analytics, Moz, Monetate and Campaign Monitor serve vastly different purposes and can help you overcome many challenges in content marketing. The key is to turn each problem or challenge into an opportunity to do better.

Know and Expand Your Market

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Had the creators of Inside Out made something highfalutin or difficult to grasp, you can bet that it wouldn’t have garnered as much success and profit as it did. This is not to say, of course, that “difficult” films have no market and cannot be profitable. What’s important is to know your target market. But Inside Out proves there is more to it than just the profit it can gain. To be a commercial success, you have to know your target market while being creative to expand your reach. Inside Out effectively actualizes this in its content marketing strategy.

Some viewers categorize the movie as a simple animation for kids, but Inside Out defies this narrow classification. The success of the movie is due to its ability to capture its primary target audience—children and teenagers—while extending its appeal to all age groups. True, it banks on great animation and storyline that bear the trademark of The Walt Disney Company (which owns Pixar Animation Studios). But the movie dares to widen its clout by enriching its message with accessible complexity, something that has proven to be appealing even to adults. The same principle should be applied to any enterprise that makes use of digital marketing. Knowing your immediate target market does not mean limiting your scope. Widen your horizon and invigorate your goals with a more universal appeal to rise above competition.

The lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Inside Out go beyond the movie’s entertainment value. Many entrepreneurs often fall prey to the narrow thinking that they must be solely focused on raking in profits. To be sure, profits are essential in any business. But don’t neglect other things necessary to reach your objectives. Think in terms of images, deliver a clear message, be flexible, and expand your market are some lessons Inside Out imparts to its viewers—lessons worth adopting in your own rollercoaster journey to success.

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