What the Four Hogwarts Houses Can Teach Muggle Content Marketers
Expecto Conversium! What the Four Hogwarts Houses Can Teach Muggle Marketers
February 9, 2018
It’s been 20 years now since J.K. Rowling first transported us to the world of Hogwarts with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the introductory installment in her now-legendary series on wizardry, witchcraft, and magic.
One of the most memorable moments in that book, laying groundwork for the rest of the saga, is the Sorting Ceremony, where first-years are divvied up. Each of the four noble houses at Hogwarts represents a different set of values, and the magical Sorting Hat assigns students accordingly based on their personal attributes.
What made this part of the novel especially compelling is its pertinence to real life. It goes without saying that many elements of the Harry Potter universe delve into whimsical fantasy, but the houses of Hogwarts -- and their guiding criteria -- are grounded in relatable qualities. Dividing the characters, whom we were still learning about in earnest, by these distinguishing traits helped us learn so much more about them.
For content marketers, however, it’s not enough to develop just one virtue. We have to be cross-disciplinary: Bold and cunning, wise and compassionate. For content that enchants and delights your audience, you’ll want to incorporate virtues from Houses Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin.
House Gryffindor: Bravery
“Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart.” A dash of daring resides within individuals selected for this house, so it comes as no surprise that our courageous protagonist Mr. Potter and his closest friends wind up as Gryffindors.
Their adventurous spirits take Harry, Ron, and Hermione to many wonderful places and the same can be true for marketing muggles like ourselves.
Be willing to try new things, whether it’s publishing through an unfamiliar channel or adopting a different perspective. Uncomfortable on camera? Face your fear and post a live video on LinkedIn. Nervous about launching an experimental campaign? Let if fly and see where it soars.
Become a hero to your audience by entrancing them with bold viewpoints, and delivering impactful information that helps them succeed.
House Ravenclaw: Intelligence
Gaining entry to House Ravenclaw requires that one solve a logical riddle, meaning only the sharpest of minds are fit for its hallowed halls.
Founder Rowena Ravenclaw once said, “Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure,” but in today’s marketing environment, nothing is beyond measure! And because of this, we have a treasure trove of data to inform and guide our strategies.
You may not have a Sorting Hat to compartmentalize your audience, but you do have access to many tools that can help develop accurate profiles and personas. Tap into demographics through LinkedIn and other sources. Research competitors to see what they’re doing with their content -- then do it better. Set achievable and tangible goals, and execute.
We have data measuring everything these days… even how much we love Harry Potter. What do your customers love? Solve that riddle and unlock stellar results.
House Hufflepuff: Empathy
“Those Hufflepuffs are true and unafraid of toil.” Hard-working and loyal, the members of this house are an admirable bunch. They are generally kind, trustworthy, and non-contentious, leading some to associate them with a certain vanilla blandness. But do not take these vital qualities for granted, especially at a time where trust toward institutions is dreadfully low.
Now more than ever, marketers must exert every effort to practice empathy and build meaningful connections. Take on the customer’s point of view and address their pain points in a credible way.
And while entry to the cozy Hufflepuff Basement requires a special procedure of rhythmic barrel-tapping, you’ll go a long way toward earning your audience’s affinity by removing barriers and offering ungated content.
House Slytherin: Ambition
“Those cunning folks use any means to achieve their ends.” Slytherin gets a bad rap, in no small part for rostering such nefarious characters as the Malfoy family and Tom Riddle (aka Voldemort). Yet, the house’s members carry indispensable traits like resourcefulness, determination, and -- in the words of Professor Dumbledore -- “a certain disregard for the rules.”
Don’t be afraid to colour outside the lines and deviate from convention in order to get results for your business or clients. Never settle for good enough; use A/B testing and other optimisation techniques to ensure you’re always improving. Leave no stone unturned, tweaking your headline, imagery, and CTA for superior clickthrough rates. Push organic engagement to new heights by mixing in paid media.
A Magical Combination
As a marketer, you don’t need to pigeonhole yourself into one of the categories above. Instead, seek to incorporate principles from all four. And never underestimate the power you hold as a content creator and conduit to the customer. In the words of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”