"Scott has consistently been one of our top authors at the Content Marketing Institute. His posts are timely, fact-driven and almost always drive a high-level of discussion. Scott’s "21 Types of Content We Crave" infographic post on CMI was one of our most popular posts of the year!"
Joe Pulizzi, the founder of ContentMarketingInstitute.com - one of the leading thought leaders behind the content marketing and social media movement
Not only was he good at building things., but he wasalso good at fixing cars.
These things made my dad the ultimate handyman.
Well, I guess those types of things aren’t something that can be passed on from a parent to their kid, because the sad fact is I am am UNhandyman.
I am just not good at fixing things or building things.
But it’s not just that.
I don’t even like doing these things!
When something breaks around my house, I need to either hire someone or ask a friend to come help me fix something.
And whenever I watch these people fix things, I am always amazed at how effectively and efficiently they can get things done.
Do you know why they are so much better at fixing things than I am?
One of the reasons is, because they have different tools than I do.
And because they have different tools, then they can do more than I can.
But there’s another reason.
Even if they happen to use the same tool that I actually have, they are still more effective than I am.
Why?It’s because they know how to use the tool in a way I don’t.
They have more experience using it.
For these simple reasons, they’re able to accomplish more than I can and do those things much more effectively.
The Real Truth About Tools
I’ve been thinking about these things and I’ve come to realize a very important truth about tools.
The truth is this: A tool is only as effective as the person using it.
If the person understands the tool and has experience with it, then they can accomplish amazing things.
If the person doesn’t understand how the tool works best, or they don’t have any experience using it, then they can’t accomplish very much.
I call this “The Law of the Tool.”
The Law of the Tool: Why Some Struggle So Much with Content Marketing
Because of my inability to effectively use a drill I could declare to you, “Drills are horrible tools!“
But would you believe me and think that drills were horrible tools? No!
You would know that the problem doesn’t lie in the tool I am using.
The problem lies in the person trying to use it!
I think this is the reason that some businesses and companies struggle so much to see their content marketing produce any worthwhile results.
It’s not that anything is wrong with the tool itself.
The problem is with the person (or team) using it.
The problem is that they don’t really understand the tool and/or they don’t have enough experience with it.
So before you toss out this tool called “content marketing,” because you believe it’s worthless, I would encourage you to learn more about the real purpose for content marketing and the best mindset and methods for using it.
That might be all it takes for you to see completely different results compared to the ones you’ve been getting from it.
Speaking of understanding the real purpose and using the best techniques, I have come up a new way to think of content marketing that I believe can really help business to answer these questions:
Why isn’t content marketing working for my company?
What are we doing wrong with our content marketing?
What is content marketing really all about anyway?
This new way to think about content marketing is something I am calling “Question Directed Content Marketing”.
Question Directed Content Marketing
I’ve put together a free video 12 minute video that explains a new way of thinking about the basic core purpose for all of the content you create.
In this video, you’ll discover:
The common quest we all are on
How the internet has changed that quest
How this creates an unprecedented opportunity for businesses
Anew mindset and paradigm that will help you to begin using content marketing in a more effective way.
The 4 powerful things that will happen when you use it in this way
The common mistakes most businesses make with their content marketing
And finally you’ll discover how to begin creating content that will allow you to stand out from your competitors
If you’d like to watch this video, then all you have to do is sign-up below.
We recently had some friends visiting San Francisco from Washington, DC, so we went up to spend time with them.
We saw a lot of things I haven’t seen, even though I’d lived 30-40 minutes from San Francisco for most of my life.
One of the places we saw was the Boudin Bakery on Fisherman’s Wharf.
While we were there I learned some interesting things about the bakery that I didn’t know.
And in the process, I learned some important lessons that apply to content marketing.
Here are some of the things that I learned:
Boudin Bakery was started in 1849 by a French baker named Isadore Boudin.
He came to San Francisco and started his bakery in North Beach because of the Gold Rush population boom that had happened the year before.
It is the oldest bakery in the West.
It’s one of the oldest businesses in San Francisco.
He used a traditional European technique of capturing natural yeast found in the air for his “mother dough”.
They still use the same “mother dough” to this day!
The 166-Year-Old “Mother Dough”
Did you hear what I said?
Boudin still uses the same “Mother Dough” that they first used back in 1849.
Isidore captured the original yeast from the air 166 years ago and he was happy with it. It produced a flavor in the bread that was pleasing to him.
So instead of trying to capture the yeast again and trying to duplicate it, he did what bakers have done for thousands of years: he kept part of that original “mother dough” to use in the next batch.
That is how Boudin Bakery has continued to produce consistently delicious bread for all these years!
They don’t start completely from “scratch” with each new batch.
They always begin with a part of Isidore Boudin’s original dough.
The original dough is replenished daily with flour and water, so that the strains of yeast that he captured way back in the 1800s can continue to survive and can be used to make another loaf of bread today and tomorrow.
The Secret of Today’s Publishing Empires
Effective content marketing comes from two things.
It comes from using a powerful content marketing strategy and from utilizing great content.
What you need to realize is that people who produce great content and harness effective content marketing strategies hardly ever start from “scratch.”
They almost always have some sort of “mother dough” that they use as a “starter”.
They all began by using a portion of a content strategy “mother dough” that has been used for 214 years.
What is the strategy? It’s amazingly simple, but powerful
The basic strategy is made up of just two steps:
1. Create a content channel for your target market.
2. Invite leading authorities to create content for you.
(Want to learn more? I go intomuch more detail about this here and explain how I discovered this same strategy was used to establish a bookstore in France that began using the strategy way back in 1801.)
How to Unleash Your Content Marketing Creativity
But you need to understand that this doesn’t just apply to content marketing strategy.
It also applies to content marketing creativity.
That means that if you want to come up with new ideas for your content marketing,you don’t have to try to come up with them out of the blue.
Let me explain by sharing with you a practice that copywriters have been using for decades.
Years and years ago copywriters learned a powerful secret to creativity.
Instead of starting from scratch every time they wrote an new ad, they discovered that it was better to use a previously written successful ad and use it for inspiration and ideas.
They created what became known as a “swipe file,” which was a file of copywriting that had already proven to be effective.
They would look over the samples that they gathered in this swipe file and use them to unlock ideas and inspiration for any and all new copywriting ideas.
I have 3 sons between the ages of 9 – 14 years old. Last year, AMC aired all of the old Jurassic Park movies and so I let them watch them.
And, of course, they loved them. (Come on! Dinosaurs, guns, and killing? It’s a formula for a movie boys would love!)
When they saw that Jurassic World was coming out they all set their hearts on seeing it.
I, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure I wanted to see it. I was thinking, “Can there be anything else that they can possibly do with this film franchise that would make it interesting?”
Well, Monday I found out.
Spontaneously, I decided to take the boys to see it.
And to my surprise, it was a REALLY great movie!
(It was funny, action-packed and had a creative twist to the formula they used in their past movies.)
What I didn’t realize was going to happen was that I would discover that the movie was being used as powerful content marketing for Mercedes.
The Two Groups of People Who Will Especially Want to Read This Post
I think you’ll want to keep reading this, because what I am going to share with you will be especially helpful for two groups of people:
1. People who don’t have the time or talent to create content
If you have ever thought, “I (or we) don’t have any time or ability to make great content,” then you’ll like what you’re about to read.
2. Content creators who need more income
If you have the time and talent to create awesome content, but you’re stuck trying to figure out how to make more money from your skills, then you’ll definitely want to keep reading.
Why I Believe that Jurassic World is Content Marketing for Mercedes
I need to start by saying that Jurassic World is FULL of product placements. A few of the products you’ll see in the movie are: Beats by Dre headphones, Starbucks, Brookstone and even Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.
They even make a joke about all of the product placements in the movie itself!
As a Washington Post article pointed out, “The dinosaur park is strapped for funding and takes on corporate sponsors: Its star dinosaur exhibit becomes ‘Verizon Wireless Presents The Indominus Rex.’ A side character jokes they should have gone even further, naming a dinosaur ‘Pepsi-saurus.’”
But I think there is something different about the Mercedes relationship that goes BEYOND just regular product placement. Why?
Because it’s on the screen so much that it can almost be considered co-star.
In fact, they didn’t just feature one model of Mercedes car. I researched it and found out that ALL of the cars featured in the film were Mercedes cars!
Here are just two of the Mercedes models that they featured in the film:
The Mercedes GLE Coupe…
And they also featured the Mercedes-Benz AMG 6×6…
If you’re still doubting that Jurassic World is content marketing for Mercedes, then watch this video clip “Mercedes-Benz JURASSIC WORLD Making-Of”…
Did you catch what they said? The Mercedes GLE Coupe came out the same day as Jurassic World did!
The partnership continues the relationship between Universal and Mercedes-Benz, first forged in 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park, when Mercedes introduced the M‑Class vehicle.
“We are delighted to have been able to support this epic action-adventure with our vehicles,” said Dr. Jens Thiemer, Head of Marketing Communications forMercedes-Benz Cars. “Our wide range of SUVs in particular fit perfectly with JURASSIC WORLD’s various requirements, with the focus on our new trendsetter, the GLE Coupé.”
And listen to what the producer for Jurassic World said…
“Unveiling the new GLE Coupé in JURASSIC WORLD was a natural fit as we continue our relationship with Mercedes,” said producer Frank Marshall. “Audiences will find that the vehicles featured in the film lend themselves perfectly as the transportation of choice in the fully functioning international theme park we have created at JURASSIC WORLD.”
The Content Marketing Lessons We Can Learn from Jurassic World
There are two powerful lessons that we can learn from this and they help solve the problems of the two groups of people I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
1. If you don’t have the time or talent to create great content, then partner with someone who does.
There are many great content creators and content marketers who are out there these days.
They not only have the time and talent to create the content you need, they are ALREADY creating content that could be used for promoting your company or its products or services.
If you have been held back from using top content creators in the past, because you didn’t have the budget to hire them to be a full-time part of your company, then now you have a different paradigm to use.
You don’t have to hire them and make them a full-time part of your on your team. You can instead just pay them to feature your product or service in a particular piece of content or series of content.
The key is to find someone who has already gathered an audience made up of the people you’re trying to sell to.
2. If you need a better (or additional) source of income as a content creator or content marketer, then look for companies you can approach who need exposure to your audience.
In the same way that there are many content creators and content marketers out there, there are also many, many companies who need great content that they can use to spread the word about their products or services.
If you haven’t been able to find, or haven’t wanted, a full-time job creating content for a company, then now you have another option.
You don’t have to find, or choose, a full-time position. You can now look for companies that you can forge asymbiotic relationshipwith.
The key is to figure out who wants access the audience you have gathered enough that they would be willing to pay to be put in front of them.
If the work you do has been for others, and you haven’t gathered your own audience, don’t worry. It could still work. How?
The company might still be interested in working with you, if they have gathered their own audience.
Now don’t get stuck thinking, “But I’m not a movie studio! How can this work for me? I am just a content marketer,” or “I’m not a car maker! I don’t have a product people will want to promote in their content.”
This content marketing relationship that Universal Pictures has with Mercedes is a model that has been used in many ways and in many forms.
MentalFloss.com even hasan articlethat shows how the classic kids’ book series Little Golden Booksused this same basic model with a book called Doctor Dan the Bandage Man and Johnson & Johnson Band-Aids.
If an animator, a chef, a band, and a book publisher can all use this model, then so can you.
You see, John is smart enough to realize that when it comes to content marketing the more hooks (or poles) in the water, the more fish!
The Content Marketing Principle John Uses: The more pieces of content that you put into the water, the more “fish” you have a chance to catch!
Why don’t more businesses think this way?
How Many Content Marketing “Hooks” Do You Have in the Water?
Somehow many businesses post up one blog post, one white paper, etc. and then expect that one piece of content to bring in all the prospects and customers that they’ll ever need.
And then, when they don’t see any results, they think content marketing is useless!
That’s like betting all your money on catching two fish on one hook.
Yeah, that’s not likely to happen.
Instead business owners need to think like a fisherman and like John Lee Dumas does. Many poles in the water increase the chance you’ll catch more (or at least some) fish.
How You Can Apply This “Many Poles in the Water” Principle
Now I am sure that by now some of you are thinking, “Well I don’t have time to podcast (blog, etc.) 7 days a week! I have a business to run!”
There are ways for you to follow this principle without having to write 7 days a week.
Here are two ways you can follow this principle without focusing all of your (or your staff’s) time on creating content.
1. Same bait different ponds
You need to realize that there are different sites that you can post your same content on. For example, a few months after you (or your team) post a blog post on your site, you can post the same post on LinkedIn.
That will allow a new group of people to get exposure to it. (I post old blog posts on LinkedIn and have gotten great exposure this way.)
Another thing you can do is have you (or your team) write a new post, but this time get it posted on some other website. Where? There are plenty of sites that are looking for content. You just need to look around.
Check your local newspaper websites and see if they’d like to republish one of your posts or have you (or your staff) write a new blog post for their site
Another thing you could do is search for other local businesses that have blogs. Look for businesses that sell to the same prospects, but offer non-competitive products or services. Then approach them and see if they’d like to republish one of your posts or have you (or your staff) write a new blog post for their site.
(NOTE: Your content needs to be good for any of this to work, but I am assuming that it is. Otherwise none of your content marketing will work anyway!)
2. Same pond different bait
You need to realize that some people are readers and others hate to read. Some people love to watch videos and others would rather read that same information.
Some people love podcasts and others don’t know what they are. That means that if you only provide your content in one format, then you are limiting who will consume it.
The people who hate reading will usually not read your blog posts. The people that prefer reading probably won’t watch your videos.
How do you create content for each of these types of people without taking too much of your time away from running your business?
One of the best ways to do that is by re-purposing content. You’ve heard of recycling right? Well, you can think of re-purposing content as recycling your content.
Here are some ideas for re-purposing your content:
Take a white paper and record a video about the same ideas.
Or you can take your white paper and use it to create an app. (You just take the knowledge you shared in your white paper and create a “how-to” app.)
(BONUS TIP: It’s best to add to, or change, your re-purposed content some. Why? So that the people who consume content in more than one format will still enjoy it, even if they consumed it in the original form.)
The Only Way to Build Momentum
To see momentum in any area of life takes repeated action.
To try something once is not much better than never trying it at all.
How many of you have seen any major results in your life from only doing something once?
You’re only going to see results from the things you focus on and keep doing!
It’s the same with content marketing.
I am not going to pretend that you aren’t going to have to create at least some additional content to see this principle really work. You will!
But if you apply the ideas I’ve given you in this post, then you’ll be able to maximize the content you do create and multiply its impact.
This will enable you to harness this principle without having to create as much content as other businesses.
But the truth is, once you start reeling in some more fish from harnessing this principle, you’ll be excited to put more poles in the water! You’llfinally understand the wisdom of John Lee Dumas’ 7-day-a-week podcasts.
Final Warning: Every top fisherman knows that if you don’t use the right bait, then you’ll never catch the fish you are hoping for.
This principle I’ve shared with you is based on the assumption that you understand the content your prospects are hungry for. You must know this in order for any of this to work!
(NOTE: This isn’t the only thing that John has done that’s helped him achieve such great success. But it is one of the key principles that he’s tapped into.)
Today I want to share something that I’ve never shared on this blog before.
After I reveal what it is, I will share with you about an often overlooked content marketing hack. It’s what I describe in my book51 Content Marketing Hacksas “Content Marketing Hack #37.”
Content Marketing Hack #37
Don’t neglect your “origin” or “genesis” story. This is one of the overlooked content forms that will help you to attract raving and dedicated fans.
Alright. Enough suspense.
Are you ready to hear what my secret is?
What I Have in Common With This Seemingly Unrelated List of People
Believe it or not, but I havesomething in common with this crazy, seemingly unrelated, list of people:
Leadership guru John Maxwell
Copy writing legend Claude Hopkins
Comedian Sam Kineson
Singer Al Green
Rapper MC Hammer
Can you guess what it is?
The thing I have in common is this: besides the content marketing and business related work that I do, – believe it or not – I am also a pastor.
(Yes, ALL of the people on the above list have been pastors or were studying to be in ministry.)
It was 27 years ago, when I was 19 years old, that I began working as a pastor and speaking to people on a regular basis.
For that reason, I became obsessed with figuring out how to communicate in a way that captures people’s attention, holds their interest, and explains my points in an eye-opening way.
Now, of course, in the ministry arena, I don’t believe the impact of my words is all dependent on me.
But I DO feel that what I am sharing is so important that I don’t want to be thebarrier to people understanding what I am trying to share.
I feel obligated to do my best to share things in way that people can understand and relate to.
And it is those lessons that I’ve learned over those 27 years that I bring into all of the content I create in the content marketing and business arena.
So how did I go from doing ministry to entering into the business arena?
Read on and I’ll explain it to you…
My Pivot into the Business Arena
A pivot that brought me into the business arena was when I put up a website in a small, music sub-genre and wanted to figure out how to build traffic.
It was 1999 andI began to read everything I could about marketing.
I read every online-guru there was in the late 90s, classic marketing book, or current marketing book I could get my hands on.
In the process I found out that I not only had an interest in marketing, but my mind was wired in that way.
I grew that small site to become probably one of the top five or so sites in that niche.
This was the “accidental” moment that sent me down the marketing and business path, which led me to content marketing.
I won’t share anymore of my story here, because I want to focus the rest of this post on the power of sharing your “genesis story” as a way to create raving fans, but if you’d like you can learn more of my story:
How the birth of my first child and living in Silicon Valley during the “Dot Com Boom” propelled me further into the marketing and business world
How I interviewed top experts for my first ebook
How I discovered I’d been using content marketing the whole time
How I later entered into the content marketing arena
I reveal all of these facts on these two podcasts I was interviewed on: