When I was very young, I was told that there is beauty everywhere you look. This idea confused me because sometimes, in some places, I saw little beauty. For instance, sitting at the corner waiting for the school bus, all I saw was a cold morning with a day at school looming. But sometimes, I would find the beauty, like a small crack in the pavement where a single blade of grass was reaching towards the sun. Beautiful. Like that blade of grass, popping up in an otherwise bleak environment, sometimes amazingly great content will pop up in places you’d never expect.
Such is the case with the TSA.
Yes, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has great content! Have a quick look, their Instagram account and blog are terrific. As a matter of fact, their Instagram account has quickly become a favorite of mine.
If you’re like me, when you hear TSA you think of long lines, shoe removal, disrobing in public places, little plastic bags filled with 3oz.-or-less liquids, emptied water bottles, random pat downs and, hopefully, a fun destination on the other end.
Let’s face it; the TSA gets a bad wrap. It is a thankless job, which in truth, is in place for our safety. And, as it turns out, the variety and amount of stuff they catch going through their checkpoints every day is simply astonishing.
Even more, how they use that confiscated stuff in their marketing offers a few terrific reminders for content marketers.
Four great content reminders from the TSA
- 1. Know your audience: Every traveler is the audience of the TSA, and to a certain extent, they’re all thinking of safety. What better way for the TSA to show they are keeping us safe than to share the things they confiscate with their audience. Sometimes the items are funny, sometimes they are shocking, and most of the time they leave you scratching your head wondering, “what was that person thinking trying to get that through security!”
- 2. Photos always help: It’s one thing for TSA to say, “we caught someone trying to go through security with brass knuckles.” Interesting for sure, but not nearly as interesting as a photo of the brass knuckles themselves.
- 3. Use data: There’s something about data that engages and draws people into a story. To wrap up 2014, TSA pulled together an interesting infographic detailing the number of seized firearms at TSA checkpoints in the US. Not only is this great data, it also takes into account number one and three above – well done indeed.
4. People love pets: You know how you see those amazing explosive and drug-sniffing dogs in the airport, and you want to pet them? Well, you can’t do that, but TSA knows you love dogs, so they share the profile of one of their dogs now and then. Cute, fascinating and fun content – pure and simple.