Real-life mad man, Howard Gossage is quoted saying, “people don’t read advertising, they read what interests them. Sometimes, it’s an ad.” I think the Socrates of San Francisco was being a bit generous — it’s usually not an ad. Then again, Gossage wasn’t fighting for the attention of consumers with ad blockers, instant notifications, and millions of terabytes of media at their fingertips. However, in the era of branded content and inbound marketing, his point is more prophetic than ever.
You know what my favorite stage of the buyer's journey is? The consideration stage. This is where buyers really start to ask the questions that will ultimately decide what they purchase. It's also the stage most businesses ignore, dismiss, or don't really consider creating content for. Why? Because they're too busy fine-tuning their offerings at the decision stage or cranking out tons of fluffy content at the awareness stage hoping to bring new people into the funnel. They focus on the two ends of the funnel, where people come in as strangers and where they exit as customers, but it's the middle of the funnel where most of the buying decision really happens. It's here where consumers will do the majority of their self-driven research into all the possible solutions to their problems. And it's here where I teach my clients to focus a lot of their content creation efforts.
Writing was never one of my strongest skills while in school. I was a Math and Science nerd, with a love for IT.
Want to the know the greatest content marketing book I’ve read to date? You may have already heard of this clever novel written by Ann Handley, Everybody Writes.
So, I'm a huge movie buff. When I was in high school, I dreamt about one day marketing in Hollywood (or Bollywood) -- working with celebrities, organizing press junkets and premieres, crafting clever taglines, creating trailers, and of course, teasers. The success of a movie teaser in generating buzz relies heavily on the theory that people respond to curiosity. Journalists have recognized this for decades and recently, content marketers across various industries have argued the same, but how much of an impact does it really have? In inbound marketing, does curiosity kill the cat -- or increase conversion rates?
While Jessie-Lee, Marcella, and I would love to pretend our moments of creative genius are an effortless and ever-flowing constant, that's not reality. Do we have talent in spades? Of course. But, in addition to our education and experience, each of us calls upon a different set of applications and tools in our own creative toolboxes to execute, create, and deliver for our colleagues and clients. So, this week, in honor of Thanksgiving, we're pulling back the curtain on a few of the simple, yet powerful apps we're most thankful for.
Earlier this week, Jessie-Lee, Marcella, and I got together to record an episode of the Creator's Block podcast, during which we talked about the word "expert." More specifically, Jessie-Lee's personal beef with the word. (Don't worry. I'm not spoiling the episode, which you can listen to here. But it has inspired the related rant that follows.)
Before I explain what a content style guide is, why it matters to your brand messaging strategy, and how to create one, I need to vent a little bit. When most people look at the internet, they see opportunity. I, on the other hand, often feel like I’m looking out over an unending hellscape of wasted potential. Like a mother, I’m not angry; I’m just disappointed. As if the internet were my second, lesser child who means well… but also still lives in my basement and spends most of their time online, trolling people on message boards about who shot first -- Han Solo or Greedo. Okay, first of all, it was Han.