Author’s note: This post contains spoilers for “Game of Thrones” seventh season, including “The Spoils of War.”
“Game of Thrones” embraces powerful female characters.
From Little Bird to the Mother of Dragons, each week features stellar performances of complex characters by talented women. In a genre long dominated by male protagonists and villains, these ladies hold their own and can teach us valuable lessons.
The show’s themes of power, revenge, moral ambiguity, politics and identity have intrigued us for hundreds of years—and will capture our hearts for centuries to come. However, its leading ladies can also give you guidance on everything from career moves to the creative spark you didn’t know your marketing campaign was missing.
Below are five crucial content marketing pillars, told by the women of “Game of Thrones”:
1. Arya Stark: Define your goals.
Fiercely self-aware and independent, Arya Stark knows who she is and what she wants.
After establishing her infamous “kill list,” Stark’s path to becoming an effective assassin was all but set in stone. Every decision she made was ultimately informed by this goal. Despite not being in an official leadership role, her work ethic, laser focus and aptitude for learning enable her to do anything she puts her mind to.
Stark exemplifies why it’s important to outline your objectives before diving into creating or disseminating content. If you don’t have an end game in mind, how will you determine what actions to take or know how to measure success?
Think about what your organization wants to achieve. For example, brand awareness might be a top priority for a startup, but a more established e-commerce company might want to grow sales. These two paths will look very different from a content strategy perspective, so identify the destination before starting the journey.
2. Cersei Lannister: Know your landscape.
In order to survive in King’s Landing and deftly wield the amount of power that she has, Lannister must be acutely aware of her enemies, allies, resources and the hearts of the people she rules.
A complex character operating in a chaotic world, she understands the nuances of control. Lannister’s keen ability to anticipate the moves of everyone in the game around her makes her a formidable opponent—and helps her more easily bounce back from missteps.
You probably don’t want to emulate all of Lannister’s qualities, but match her in the knowledge of your organization, industry and competitors.
To succeed in a particular space, whether it’s crowded or a new category, you have to understand it. Listen to your customers, competitors and peers. What does your target audience look like? Who are the people that influence them?
When you know who your audience is and what kind of actions you want them to take, you’ll know what kind of content will resonate with them. When something doesn’t work, you’ll have a backup plan.
3. Olenna Tyrell: Create memorable content.
The “famously tart-tongued Queen of Thorns” is a fan favorite for good reason: Diana Rigg steals scenes with her engaging portrayal of the quick-witted, sarcastic and opinionated Tyrell matriarch.
Though several of her plots were foiled and her family was destroyed, she outlived many clever men and kept House Tyrell an influential power for years. Ultimately, Tyrell changes the course of history—and gets the last laugh—by poisoning Joffrey and using her dying breath to out herself as the culprit. It was the moment she dropped the mic.
Some say that Tyrell would be amazing on Twitter. Though most brand managers shy away from a sassy tone (unless it fits with the brand’s voice), an organization’s social media team can still show personality.
If you’re going to invest time in generating quality content, it must be authentic, shareable and memorable. You don’t have to create the next viral video, but you must make a genuine connection with your audience.
From succinct tweets to lengthy case studies, tell a story: Be surprising, strike an emotional chord and end with a punch.
4. Daenerys Targaryen: Demonstrate leadership and expertise.
Despite as having as many titles as the Iron Throne has people vying for it, Targaryen is a queen of the people. She effortlessly commands a room with her vision for the world, but she’s not above working with Tyrion Lannister, inviting Jon Snow to Dragonstone or listening to her subjects.
Her genuine desire to improve the lives of those she rules over is what truly makes her remarkable, not her dragons (though Drogon is spectacular).
Like Targaryen’s ascent to Queen, becoming an industry expert takes time.
You can naturally rise in the ranks by authentically engaging with your community and consistently delivering value. Have a personable company blog, presence at trade shows and active social media properties to connect with your peers, competitors and target customers.
The best leaders understand that though they have expertise and influence, their vision and experience can only grow with help from those around them.
5. Sansa Stark: Tweak your strategy.
It’s arguable that Sansa Stark has shown the most character growth on “Game of Thrones.”
When we were first introduced to Sansa, she was bratty and naïve. Now she is curious, collected and cunning. She navigated her way through life by learning from those around her and changing her actions (and wardrobe) accordingly. Now that she’s been entrusted with Winterfell, she’ll have even more opportunities to test her limits.
When you have expectations of success but things don’t turn out as you imagined, it’s easy to feel defeated. Reset your course and chart a new path.
Part of crafting a successful content campaign is integrating experimentation. Rather than only A/B testing subject lines, test a new promotion strategy or forge a partnership. Taking risks can pay off. Either you’ll see success, or you’ll learn a valuable lesson.
You don’t have to abandon what works well, but you must consistently grow to stay in the game.
Content is here. Whether you’re a PR or marketing veteran or a new player on the scene, you must be prepared to adapt to the coming chapters for the industry—whatever they might be.
Erienne Muldoon is a senior customer content specialist for Virtual Press Office, PR Newswire’s trade show marketing solutions division. A version of this article originally appeared on Cision’s blog.