There’s a big difference between tactics and strategy when it comes to content marketing. As a content strategist, I often…
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What brought you here today? What are you hoping to learn, be, become, do, or change by reading Copyblogger? We’ll be asking that question a lot in the coming year, but while we wait (feel free to answer in the comments below — we’d love to hear it), allow us to talk about why we Read More…
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The task of selecting the top Copyblogger posts from 2017 is a bit like asking me to choose my favorite child. Each post is crafted with care, and I value all of them. But I rolled up my sleeves and devised a strategy. In fact, this year was all about the power of the individual Read More…
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When my middle son was seven, he knocked it out of the park with the first video he created. Back when Rainbow Loom bracelets were hot, he put together a tutorial on how to make a certain type. Within three days, his video received 70,000 views. He also received quite a few nasty comments. He Read More…
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When we talk about content marketing strategy, all the discussions of heroes, journeys, and maps can seem a bit esoteric.
What does it look like in real life? And how exactly does it relate to email marketing?
Content marketing is a broader discipline than email marketing, but your email list is the core focus. In fact, the primary purpose of content that is distributed in other ways (social, search, ads) is to begin the email relationship.
So, let me walk you through an imaginary campaign that takes you from a documented strategy to a working funnel. I’ll use my site Unemployable as the stage for this particular campaign.
Please note that the documented portions of the strategy below are much more abbreviated than you would do for yourself. It’s just an illustration that will help you better understand how a documented strategy translates into real-world digital marketing.
Let’s take a look.
Why are we pursuing this?
The business objective is to sell StudioPress Sites to people who want to start a new website.
In the “who” phase, we identify a single persona that we’ll keep in mind as we craft content.
This particular campaign will focus on freelancers looking to slowly move away from serving clients by shifting to a product-based business model. Our persona is a freelance writer named Penny.
Penny was thrilled to break away from the corporate marcom world and start her own business. She still loves the independence and flexibility, but some days the stress of working with clients
Art Silverman had a vendetta against popcorn.
Silverman wanted to educate the public about the fact that a typical bag of movie popcorn has 37 grams of saturated fat, while the USDA recommends you have no more than 20 grams in an entire day.
That’s important information. But instead of simply citing that surprising statistic, Silverman made the message a little more striking:
“A medium-sized ‘butter’ popcorn contains more artery-clogging fat than a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, a Big Mac and fries for lunch, and a steak dinner with all the trimmings — combined!”
Yes, what you say is crucial. But how you say it can make all the difference.
How you say it is determined by your “who”
“Marketing succeeds when enough people with similar worldviews come together in a way that allows marketers to reach them cost-effectively.”
– Seth Godin
When you create a well-rounded representation of your ideal customer, what you’re really tuning in to is the way your people view the world.
And when you understand the worldview your prospects share — the things they believe — you can frame your story in a way that resonates so strongly with them that you enjoy an “unfair” advantage over your competition.
Consider these competing worldviews, framed differently by simple word choices:
Crossfitter vs. Gym Rat
Progressive vs. Snowflake
Businessman vs. The Man
These are extreme examples, and you can certainly cater to audience beliefs and worldviews without resorting to name-calling. For example, the simple word “green” can provoke visceral reactions at the
There are two ways to go about business.
The first is to have an idea and then frantically do a lot of stuff hoping some of it works. It helps to only focus on tasks you’re already comfortable with, ensuring that critically important things will fall right through the cracks.
This approach is closely related to the frequently made-up statistic that a billion percent of new businesses fail.
Luckily, we have option two: Find solid frameworks and adapt them to your own unique circumstances. This way has the advantage of not burning through all of your money, leaving you heartbroken and living in a van by the river.
On Monday, Brian Clark kicked off the week (He’s still on the blog! We’re very excited!) and walked us through a detailed framework for mapping a customer’s journey experience.
That’s everything your customer is thinking, seeing, doing, and feeling as she goes from having no idea who you are to becoming a happy customer (and beyond). This is the framework you’ll be able to hang specific content on, and feel confident that you’re actually moving in the right direction.
I also recorded a podcast for you with headline frameworks — 13 specific structures you can use to build those all-important headlines on.
On Tuesday, Robert Bruce shared a writing fable with us about the power of slow and steady steps. And on Unemployable, Brian Clark interviewed Sherry Walling about the psychology of the entrepreneur … both the good aspects and the difficult
Back in the 1940s, psychologists Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmel conducted an experiment. They showed study participants an animated film consisting of a rectangle with an opening, plus a circle and two triangles in motion.
The participants were then asked to simply describe what they saw in the film. Before you keep reading, take a look at it yourself. I’ll be here when you come back.
So, what did you see? Out of all the study participants, only one responded with “a rectangle with an opening, plus a circle and two triangles in motion.” The rest developed elaborate stories about the simple geometric shapes.
Many participants concluded the circle and the little triangle were in love, and that the evil grey triangle was trying to harm or abduct the circle. Others went further to conclude that the blue triangle fought back against the larger triangle, allowing his love to escape back inside, where they soon rendezvoused, embraced, and lived happily ever after.
That’s pretty wild when you think about it.
The Heider-Simmel experiment became the initial basis of attribution theory, which describes how people explain the behavior of others, themselves, and also, apparently, geometric shapes on the go.
More importantly, people explain things in terms of stories. Even in situations where no story is being intentionally told, we’re telling ourselves a tale as a way to explain our experience of reality.
And yes, we tell ourselves stories about brands, products, and services. Whether you’re consciously telling a story or not, prospects
Last week, we talked about how to really understand who is in your audience.
This week, we’re shifting into what kind of message they want and need from you. Brian kicked off on Monday with a piece of classic marketing advice (exemplified by a classic American comic film):
It’s not enough to just know your audience. You also need to put their interests and desires ahead of your own.
That might sound impossibly idealistic — but in fact, it’s pure pragmatism.
On Tuesday, Beth Hayden gave some specific thoughts on how to do it, by creating extraordinarily generous content that can open all kinds of doors for your business.
The Copyblogger FM podcast this week talks about your customer’s path to purchase and how to make it a little more appealing (and effective). I talk about the right places to ask for a sale and how you can discover what kinds of content to create.
In Wednesday’s post, I continued that theme of the content marketing path — taking a winding road through a new persuasion “formula” I’m calling ECUBED. I’d love your thoughts on how you’d tweak or add to that formula — drop by and leave a comment?
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Sign up at the current lower price and we’ll
Phil Connors is having a bad day … over, and over, and over.
The arrogant Pittsburgh weatherman has once again been sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He soon discovers that visiting once a year wasn’t all that bad, given that he’s now living this particular Groundhog Day again, and again, and again.
It all begins at 6:00 a.m., the same way each day. The clock radio clicks on with Sonny & Cher’s I Got You Babe, followed by the declaration, “It’s Groundhog Day … and it’s cold out there!”
After the initial shock wears off, Phil (played by national treasure Bill Murray) realizes he’s in a time loop. No matter what he does each day, there are no lingering consequences for his actions, because he wakes up and starts over again fresh the next morning.
This initially leads to hedonistic behavior, such as binge eating and drinking, manipulative one-night stands, and criminal acts. Eventually despair sets in, and Connors repeatedly attempts suicide.
No dice — he still wakes up the same way the next morning. It’s not until Phil commits to bettering himself and serving others that he achieves redemption and breaks out of the loop.
The film Groundhog Day is regarded as a contemporary classic. In 2006, it was added to the United States National Film Registry and deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Further, the movie has been described by some religious leaders as the “most spiritual film of our time,” in