We’re having dessert before dinner this week — and it’s a healthy bite too: apples and oranges. While my post…
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Emotional benefits of your offer trigger the “me-want” response. They create desire — but creating desire isn’t usually enough. Unless…
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I want to tell you a story about two women. One is my hairdresser and the other is my massage…
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If you’ve got something to sell, at some point you’re going to need to present an offer. In other words, you’ll need to tell your prospective customer: What you’ve got What it’s going to do for them What you’re looking for in return Sounds simple, and it is. There’s just one problem. Too often, we Read More…
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I love presentations. I love going to them and I love giving them. You have a defined amount of time, during which a bunch of people come together to listen to a message. Whether your presentation is online (a SlideShare, a webinar) or in the real world (a talk to a large or small audience), Read More…
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Ever see a numbered headline like the one above and try to guess what the three things are?
Sometimes it’s easy; sometimes it’s not. In this case, you could be thinking I’m going to talk about content, copy, and email.
And while you’re right that those things are important, that’s not what this article is about.
Content and copy contain the messages you need to get across, and email delivers those messages within a conversion-rich context. But without understanding the fundamental elements of those messages, you won’t create the kind of influence with your target audience that leads to sales.
With companies of all sizes rushing to embrace “influencer marketing,” it seems that many have given up on the unique power the internet provides to form direct relationships with prospects.
Instead, they’re trying to avoid the work by reaching the audiences of people who have already put in the work.
Despite the disintermediated nature of the internet, brands are instead turning to a new form of intermediary, or influential middle man. Shortcut marketing rears its ugly head again.
Now, don’t get me wrong — having relevant influencers in your corner is desirable, and often game-changing. That said, your main goal is to first develop direct influence with your prospects, which ironically makes it easier to get outside influencers on your side.
This is the reality of modern marketing in any medium, and it’s especially viable online. And those three key elements that your digital marketing must embrace to develop true
An elderly man storms into his doctor’s office, steaming mad.
“Doc, my new 22-year-old wife is expecting a baby. You performed my vasectomy 30 years ago, and I’m very upset right now.”
“Let me respond to that by telling you a story,” the doctor calmly replies.
“A hunter once accidentally left the house with an umbrella instead of his rifle. Out of nowhere, a bear surprised him in the woods … so the hunter grabbed the umbrella, fired, and killed the bear.”
“Impossible,” the old man snaps back. “Someone else must have shot that bear.”
“And there you have it,” the doctor says.
Persuasion comes from understanding
At the heart of things, persuasion is about your audience understanding what you’re communicating. Understanding leads to acceptance when the argument is sound, well-targeted, and the conclusion seems unavoidable.
When it comes to creating effective understanding, analogies are hard to beat. Most of their persuasive power comes from the audience arriving at the intended understanding on their own.
The doctor could have simply said that the old man’s wife had to be cheating on him. But the analogy allowed the cranky patient to come to that conclusion on his own, which is much more persuasive.
Let’s take a second to make sure we’re all on the same page with analogies. It first helps to distinguish them from their close cousins, metaphor and simile.
A metaphor is a figure of speech that uses one thing to mean another and makes a comparison between the two. A simile compares two
OK, confession time — when I was a kid, I was a complete Nancy Drew junkie. “Sleuth” sounded like just about the best way ever to spend one’s time. (Of course, that’s before I knew what a Chief Content Officer was …)
This week, rather than figuring out Irene Adler’s cell phone password or who stole the missing emeralds, we’re working on “Why isn’t this content working? and “How can I get a whole lot better at what I do?”
On Monday, Brian gave us three rhetorical tools that can help build trust with your audience — then asks if you should consider putting all of them aside for another option. And on the podcast, I snagged the very nice Bryce Bladon from Clients from Hell to get his ideas on how to stay out of some less-than-heavenly situations.
On Tuesday, Kelly Exeter found a couple of critical elements missing from a lot of content — hooks and big ideas. Now, you and I both know that the reason we often lack a hook and a big idea is that … good hooks and ideas are really hard to come up with. Luckily, Kelly has some actual specific advice that can help.
Brian also has a nice interview on Unemployable with Emily Thompson of Indie Shopography and the Being Boss project. She shares one of those great, twisty-turny stories that show you how varied the entrepreneurial path can sometimes be.
And on Wednesday, Robert Bruce channeled the greatest consulting
Know, like, trust.
At its essence, those three things are why we do content marketing. And if you’re not hitting all three, you’re likely not enjoying success with your content.
Traditional marketing is big on the know — it’s all about creating awareness in the marketplace. Add in some clever messaging to prompt some level of liking, and mission accomplished, right?
It’s as if awareness of a brand is enough to spark trust. And it’s true — we do tend to prefer brands that we know, even if there’s no true difference between one product and a generic one.
But when it comes down to choosing between two or more brands, trust becomes critical. This is one of the benefits that content marketers have over competitors who don’t create and freely share valuable information — and it can be substantial if done correctly.
Trust works on many levels:
Do you do what you say you’re going to do?
Are your products and services solid?
Do you treat customers fairly?
Will you be in business next year?
Do you abide by the core values you claim?
Content marketing allows you to tell stories that touch on each of these over time. Even more, your brand can be viewed as not only trustworthy, but generous. Even selfless.
The art of disinterested goodwill
In terms of persuasion techniques dating back to the time of Aristotle, ethos is an appeal to the authority, honesty, and credibility of the person speaking or writing.
And that’s exactly what builds trust and influence when
We all want a positive response to the content we work so hard to create. Not all positive responses, however, are created equal.
I’m reminded of this David Ogilvy quote from Ogilvy on Advertising:
“When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product. When Aeschines spoke, they said, ‘How well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march against Philip.’”
In other words, if you’re looking for something more than “Great post!” comments, then you’ve got to prompt action. And that means you’ve got to stir something in the audience before they’ll do something.
Now, before we get to that, one easy way to get someone to do something is to simply ask. I’m assuming you’re already using calls to action, but if not, click that last link to read about those first.
Otherwise, let’s focus on what must happen before the ask. What we’re trying to stir is an emotional response.
It’s emotion that moves us to act. In fact, the Latin root for the word emotion means “to move,” because emotions motivate what we do. We don’t necessarily want to make them seethe with anger or burst into tears, though.
The goal is not necessarily to get someone to feel, but rather to want — and to act on that want. Here are several ways to accomplish that.
1. Vivid storytelling
Emotional responses come when we experience