– Marketing, Content Marketing, and Business Help Thu, 14 Sep 2017 18:31:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 29822047 TV Show “A Different World” Was UNINTENTIONAL Content Marketing for Historically Black Colleges? Thu, 14 Sep 2017 18:29:40 +0000 I love watching a show on TVOne called Unsung. It’s fun watching it and learning the backstory of a lot of music artists I used to love listening to!

Because I like that show so much, I started watching an offshoot of the show called Unsung Hollywood.

I recently watched their episode featuring the TV show and cast of “A Different World.”

It was fun remembering the show and the cast. But while I was watching the episode, I discovered something that I never knew before.

“A Different World” was UNINTENTIONAL content marketing for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)!

Before I tell you how I discovered that this show was content marketing for HBCUs, let me make sure you know what the show is about…

A Different World TV Show Was Content Marketing?

Was “A Different World” actually content marketing?

In Case You’ve Never Heard of the Show

If you’re not old enough to have watched the show, have never seen it in syndication, or have just never happened to watch an episode, here’s a little about the show from Wikipedia…

A Different World is an American sitcom (and a spin-off of The Cosby Show) that aired for six seasons on NBC from September 24, 1987 to July 9, 1993. The series originally centered on Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet) and the life of students at Hillman College, a fictional historically Black college in Virginia. It was inspired by student life at Hampton University,[1] Spelman College, and Howard University.[2][3] After Bonet’s departure in the first season, the remainder of the series primarily focused more on Southern belle Whitley Gilbert (Jasmine Guy) and math whiz Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison).”

Ok, now that you have some background and understanding of the show, let me tell you how I found out that it was content marketing.

How I Discovered That the Show Was Unintentional Content Marketing

Debbie Allen Photo

Debbie Allen – Photo from her Twitter account @msdebbieallen

As I was watching that episode of Unsung Hollywood, Debbie Allen made a statement that I had never heard.

She said that enrollment at Historically Black Colleges and Universities rose by something like 30% while the show was on TV.

When I heard her say that I instantly thought two things:

1. Is that actually true? Did it really increase enrollment or is that an exaggeration?

2. If it is true, then that means that “A Different World” was accidental or unintentional content marketing for Historically Black Colleges!

I kept thinking about this over and over and I was so intrigued by the idea that I finally decided to do some research.

Here’s what I discovered…


According to an article on the website called “‘A Different World’ Still Pulls Fans into HBCU Experience” by Jamal Eric Watson, he says…

Jamal Eric Watson

Jamal Eric Watson – Photo from his Twitter account @jamalericwatson

“I think A Different World is powerful even in syndication today, especially over the past year where we’ve seen so much tension on college campuses,” says Kimbrough, who points out that, from the debut of The Cosby Show in 1984 until the end of A Different World in 1993, American higher education grew by 16.8 percent. During the same time period, HBCUs grew by 24.3 percent.

This spike in enrollment at HBCUs isn’t a coincidence, says Dr. Marybeth Gasman, director of the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert on HBCUs.

A Different World brought HBCUs into the mainstream and presented them in very positive ways on a regular basis,” says Gasman, who is also a professor of higher education in Penn’s Graduate School of Education. “­The show was made with care and demonstrated the ethos of HBCUs. Viewers got a chance to see the diversity among African-Americans.”

Did you catch that?

Not only did it increase enrollment back in the mid-90’s but it is STILL impacting enrollment for HBCUs, even just in syndication!

But wait. There’s more proof.

I found the complete quote from Dr. Walter Kimbrough, the president of Philander Smith (a HBCU) in Little Rock, Arkansas.

It is from the The New York Times blog.

It’s the rest of the quote that Jamal Eric Watson drew from in his above article and it gives even stronger evidence…

(NOTE: I’ve bolded the additional part of the quote that came after the part Watson quoted above.)

 Dr. Walter Kimbrough Photo

Photo from his Medium account

“During the same time period, historically black colleges and universities grew by 24.3 percent — 44 percent better than all of higher education. But in the 11 years after “A Different World” ended, while all of higher education grew at a robust 20.7 percent, historically black colleges and universities grew only 9.2 percent.”

That’s amazing! In the years AFTER “A Different World” went off the air, HBCUs only grew 9.2%! 

That proves that the show obviously had an impact on the enrollment numbers because they increased when it was on the air and decreased when it went off the air.

That’s pretty convincing.

But let me give you one more piece of proof: a personal story on the impact of the show.

Buzz feed News logo

In an article on Buzz Feed News by Mark S. Luckie called “I Went To A Black College Because Of “A Different World'” he says…

Mark S. Luckie Photo

Mark S. Luckie – Photo from his Twitter account @marksluckie

“When I began applying for colleges my senior year, my extended family insisted that I attend a predominantly white institution like New York University or the University of California, Los Angeles. My strong grade point average and a long list of extracurriculars meant to them that I should attend a more “suitable” school. However, during campus visits, I immediately noticed that the number of students who looked like me was few. Because of A Different World, I knew I didn’t have to accept that fate. I didn’t have to be an Other.

“With my mother’s blessing, I applied to an equal number of HBCUs: Grambling, Howard, Norfolk State, Southern University, and Morehouse. I wanted very much to study broadcast communication so I could become a music video director like my hero Hype Williams. I ultimately selected Bethune-Cookman University (then College), where I received my undergraduate degree.”

After finding all of this information, it was clear to me that Debbie Allen wasn’t exaggerating at all about the impact of “A Different World” on HBCUs!

That brings me back to my original conclusion: “A Different World” WAS unintentional content marketing for Historically Black Colleges?

What Do I Mean by “Unintentional Content Marketing?”

In my book 51 Content Marketing HacksI give my personal definition of content marketing…

“Content marketing is the creation (or curation) of engaging content for the express purpose of gaining the attention and favor of a certain group, so that they will be persuaded to do business with an individual, business, or organization.”

In chapter 30 of my book, I tell the story of how I discovered that Popeye was so popular that spinach sales went up 33% – and this was during the depression!

The cartoon wasn’t intentionally created to sell spinach, but it did.

I think this is a similar case with the show “A Different World.”  It wasn’t intentionally created to be content marketing that would increase the enrollment at HBCUs.

But, never the less, it still had that impact on those colleges. And that’s amazing. It shows the power that content can even have on marketing institutions such as colleges.

What can we learn from this?

I think we can learn the same two lessons that I shared in chapter 30 of my book.

Two Important Content Marketing Lessons 

If you want to create content marketing that could impact your niche or industry, then you must remember two important things:

1. Create content that is of such great quality that it can stand on its own.

Don’t be in a hurry to create any old content. Make sure your content is something people will want to consume and enjoy consuming.

Don’t focus on the fact that it’s marketing for something. Focus on creating excellent content that your audience will love. That’s what the writers on “A Different World” did.

2. Don’t try to blatantly sell your product/service with your content.

Include your product/service in your content, but make sure that your content is entertaining and helpful to the reader, not just helpful for your sales.

Don’t emphasize your product or service directly in pushy ways. Mention it in indirect and subtle ways. Too many content marketers focus too much on the marketing and not enough on the content.

Since the creators and writers of “A Different World” never intended to create content marketing for HBCUs, they automatically followed these rules.

Do the same thing: always focus on the content and audience.

If you do, then your content can have as much impact on your niche or industry as “A Different World” did.

“Influencer + Content Marketing” Series Will Continue

how influencer marketing and content marketing make a powerful combinationI will be continuing my “Influencer + Content Marketing” Series” on how influencer marketing and content marketing make a powerful combination, so stay tuned.

I just need some more time in researching and writing the second post. (It will be about how Thomas Jefferson used influencer and content marketing in a combined way and changed the course of history for the United States.)

Since I will be out of town next week on an “Outdoor Ed” trip with my youngest son, I wanted to give you this interesting story about “A Different World” to hold you over until then. Hope you enjoyed it!

(Subscribe to this blog so you can be one of the first to know when the next post is up!)

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“Influencer + Content Marketing” Series: How the Potato Was Made Popular Thu, 27 Jul 2017 21:56:29 +0000

  • “Would you like fries with that?”

  • “I am a meat and potatoes type of guy!”

  • “Every single diet I ever fell off of was because of potatoes and gravy of some sort.” – Dolly Parton

It might be hard for you to believe, but these sayings about potatoes would have been scandalous and even frightening to the people of France back in 1785.

Yes, I did use the word “frightening” in regards to potatoes. No, I am not exaggerating.

Believe it or not, the potato was once not just an unpopular item but was thought by some people in France to have evil origins.

Now before you think, “Who cares!” and click away you need to realize something.

This story isn’t just about potatoes.

The story I am about to tell you could be one of the oldest examples of influencer marketing that you’ve ever heard of.

Not only that, it reveals an important lesson about the combined power of influencer marketing and content marketing.

Let me tell you the story and then I’ll show you what I mean.

The Amazing Story of How Influencer Marketing and Content Marketing Made the Potato Popular in France

It was the late 1700s in France, and after a series of harsh winters, the people of France were facing starvation.

At this point in time, the potato was seen in France as an unwanted and even evil vegetable:

  • Scientists said it caused leprosy.
  • The priests said it promoted lust.
  • The people thought it was cursed because it looked like a poisonous plant used by witches. And they thought that people who ate it could be controlled by them.
  • Besides all of these facts, the “gourmet people” of the day thought it was tasteless, indelicate, and gave people gas.

But there was a pharmacist named Antoine-Augustin Parmentier who had a whole different view of the potato.

Antoine-Augustin Parmentier

His different view came from his experience as a soldier in the French army. You see, during his time as a soldier, he ended up as a prisoner of war in Germany for several years.

And guess what they fed him in prison?

Yep, potatoes! It was his main source of food while in prison and it kept him and his fellow prisoners alive.

This caused him to realize that the potato could be helpful to his people because it was able to resist harsh weather conditions.

But he knew that the people of France would never eat potatoes if he couldn’t change their extremely negative opinion about them.

So he began a self-study of the chemical makeup of potatoes to try to prove that they weren’t the evil, poisonous vegetable that people thought they were.

And that is when a unique opportunity presented itself. 

PHASE I: Enter the Contest

He would have the chance to use content to attempt to change people’s minds about the potato.

You see, a competition sponsored by the Academy of Besançon was being put on for people to write about, and identify, foods that could help fend off the mass hunger that had come after the famine of 1770.

Parmentier realized this was his chance to begin to change the attitudes of his people about the potato. I say “begin to change” because he knew that it would take more than just content alone to influence the people.

I’ll explain the rest of the ingenious plan he used to change their minds in just a minute. But first, let’s look at how he used content to begin the process of influencing them.

In the paper he submitted, Parmentier began by explaining that he was going to attempt to present the potato as a viable means to fight off famine.

He said that he would do that by “…showing them the potato, the subsistence of a great people, the food of the poor as well as of the rich.”

In his paper he went on to demonstrate:

  • That the potato, which he had analyzed carefully, was not poisonous but formed of a pure starch.
  • It could actually be made to taste really good, depending on how it was cooked and what other ingredients and spices were used.
  • It was easy to cultivate
  • And that it multiplied quickly and was easily grown even in poor soil conditions.

He submitted the paper and included his own personal story of his experience with potatoes in prison…

“Our soldiers ate a lot of potatoes in the last war; They have even made excesses of it, without having been inconvenienced; They were my only resource for more than a fortnight, and I was neither fatigued nor indisposed. “

And what was the result of all of his work and effort to write this paper?

The Academy of Besançon declared him the winner – even despite the fact that the Parliament had put a ban on cultivating the potato back in 1748!

That’s how powerful his arguments in that paper were.

In fact, because of his paper, later in 1772, the members of the Faculty of Medicine of Paris published a paper stating that- without a doubt – potatoes were harmless, safe, and non-toxic.

So his paper obviously impressed the academics of his day, but did it work to influence the COMMON PEOPLE?

I am sorry to tell you this, but the answer is no.

But don’t misunderstand. It would be wrong for you to think that his paper was a complete failure in attempting to influence the people. Why?

Because it was that content, which opened the door for him to be able to implement the other phases of his plan. 

And, as you’re about to see, his ultimate plan was an amazing and ingenious one, one that will teach you many lessons about how to amplify the impact of your own content.

I’ll tell you the rest of his incredible story and show you how you can implement these powerful lessons in a minute.

I need you to first understand what great content can and can’t accomplish

What Great Content Can (and Can’t) Accomplish

If we were to analyze Parmentier’s content we would see that he really did a great job of creating powerful content.

  • He told them that the potato was “the food of the poor as well as of the rich.” (Social Proof)
  • He told them that based on his studies of the makeup of the potato, he found that it actually wasn’t poisonous. (Biological/Scientific Proof) 
  • He told them that it could actually be used to make tasty dishes. (Reframed Perceptions)
  • He told them that it was easy to grow potatoes. (Proof of Ease)
  • He even got his paper featured in a prominent scientific publication. (Power of Association)
  • If that all wasn’t enough, he shared about his own personal experience eating the potato. (Personal Testimony)

You might be wondering, “If Parmentier created such great content, then why didn’t his content have more of an effect on the common people?”

That’s because you have a misunderstanding of what great content alone can actually do. 

Great content can accomplish many things. It can educate people. It can entertain people. It can inspire people. And it can even influence people to some extent.

But great content cannot, on its own, break deeply ingrained fears and beliefs. That’s what Parmentier was up against with the people of France’s beliefs about potatoes.

That’s why creating content was only PART of his plan – a very needed part of his plan.

You see, creating that content in that paper enabled him to take the next step. Because that content established his authority and expertise in the knowledge of potatoes.

It was his content that changed “who” he was in the eyes of the academic leaders and the rulers of France. It powerfully positioned him in their eyes. (See Jesse James: The Legend That Content Marketing Created for more on using content to change your “who.”)

And that positioning enabled him to take the next step in his plan to change the minds of the people about potatoes.

PHASE II: Plant the Crop

King Louis XVI

Creating that paper allowed him access to King Louis XVI. 

In 1785, Kind Louis XVI offered Parmentier two acres of land in the plain of the Sablons near Neuilly. The land the king gave him didn’t have the best soil, but that was exactly what Parmentier wanted, so he could prove how easy potatoes were to grow – even in horrible soil.

The following year, on these two acres, Parmentier planted potatoes. The next year, he brought a bouquet of potato flowers to the king.

King Louis XVI was so pleased with them that he slipped one in his buttonhole and put another one on the wig of Marie Antoinette.

But the common people were still wary of potatoes and they don’t want anything to do with them.

So Parmentier hatched an ingenious plan. 

Watch what happens next…

Parmentier placed soldiers around the fields during the day but left no soldiers there to guard the field at night.

This made the nearby villagers very curious.

There were so curious that they couldn’t help themselves. So they decided to “help themselves” to his potatoes… and stole them!

They thought they had put one over on Parmentier, but the fact was that they had done exactly what he had HOPED they would do! (He also instructed the guards to accept all bribes from people who wanted some of the potatoes.)

Phase II of his plan was a success!

And if you like this part of his plan, wait until you see what he does in the next phase. It’s awesome.

But I don’t want you to miss these two important lessons that we can learn from what Parmentier did here in Phase II, so let me tell you them first.

Two Important Lessons from Phase II

1. If you want to increase the impact and influence of your marketing, then don’t forget the power of SHOWING, not just telling, your prospects what your product can do.

In my book 51 Content Marketing Hacks, this is what I call Content Marketing Hack #23.

“Never forget the power of demonstration. Find ways you can create content that demonstrates your product or service in action.”

Parmentier told them that potatoes were easy to grow and could grow in poor soil, but by actually planting them in poor soil, he helped them see that this was true.

That was a subtle, but important and powerful lesson for those people to see.

Why do I say that?

Because it is said that some of those people who stole his potatoes went home and planted them in their own, nearby fields. (Fields that probably also had inferior soil.)

They saw that if he could grow them in that local soil, then they could too! That is the power of demonstration.

If you want to begin to counteract the ingrained fears and beliefs in your market, then you need to demonstrate the things that your content talks about.

2. The power of putting a “wall” or “guards” around the things you want to be seen as valuable.

The amazing thing about the internet is that it contains so much valuable, free, and easy-to-access content.

The negative thing about the internet is that it also contains so much HORRIBLE, free, easy-to-access content!

Because of this reality, we need to realize an important fact. Since so much content is free and right there at our finger tips, this begins to lessen the value of even the valuable content out there.

In other words, there’s so much great content out there, that is all free and easy to find, that it begins to make your content – no matter how great it is – seem like a commodity, instead of like something people should treasure.

What’s the solution? Do what Parmentier did.

Put guards or a wall around some of your content. That is a subtle way of increasing the value of the content in your prospect’s eyes. did this with some of their content. They took some of the previously written content that they had (and also created some new content) and put it behind a free, membership “wall.”

Copyblogger’s free membership portion of the site

By doing this, they automatically made the older content they placed behind this wall (that was previously “out in the open”) seem more valuable.

And it made all of the new content they created for that membership area (which would have previously just been posted on their blog) more valuable too.

Why is this important? Because when people value your content more, they will pay more attention to it.

And it’s only when people value and pay attention to your content that you will ever have a chance of even BEGINNING to influence and change your market’s deeply ingrained fears and beliefs.

(Hint, Hint. Wink, Wink: In case you haven’t noticed by now, isn’t the only one to have a “wall” around some of their content.

I’ve created a guide that will show you how to use a technique that Dickens used to create magnetic content that drew people in. It’s a technique that I use all the time. In fact, I am using it in this post.

Have you signed up for it yet? You can have access to it for free, but it’s in a downloadable area that you can only access with a password.

Sign-up by email and you’ll automatically be sent a link and password, so you can download it right now.)

PHASE II: Plan the Event

  • So far you’ve seen that Parmentier created powerful content that gave him authority and positioned him in the eyes of the academics and rulers in France.
  • He then demonstrated that his content was true by planting potatoes in poor soil.
  • And he made them seem more valuable to the local villagers by putting guards around them.

These first two phases of his plan began to get a small, local group of Parisians to begin planting and eating potatoes.

But Parmentier wasn’t satisfied with those results.

He wanted to change the minds of even more of his people because it was his only way to save them from future famines.

Luckily, he still had one more powerful trick up his sleeve. 

He realized that if he was going to have a larger, widespread acceptance of the potato, then he was going to need to harness the influence of the people that the common people looked up to.

So it’s said that he convinced King Louis XVI that the best way to encourage people to begin planting and eating potatoes was to throw a huge banquet for the king and his friends in which all of the dishes were made from potatoes.

Fries And Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin

Legend has it that Parmentier threw a huge banquet for King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and other important guests from around France and even from other countries. (Supposedly Ben Franklin was even there!)

At the banquet, they served potato soups, boiled potatoes, potato casseroles, and many other potato dishes.

But guess what the most popular dish that night was? Thinly sliced potatoes that were deep-fried and seasoned.

They later became known to the world as “French Fries.” The king and the guests LOVED the “French Fries.” But the truth is that they also really enjoyed all of the dishes.

When the word spread to the people of France that the king, queen, and all of these other distinguished guests not only ate potatoes but loved them, then it finally shattered the common people’s fears and false beliefs about potatoes.

That is how the common people of France began to gladly plant, eat, and even enjoy, potatoes. And what was the result?

Because of Parmentier’s unprecedented efforts to get the people of France to plant and eat potatoes, many were saved from some future famines.

Parmentier’s Secret Weapon: Influencers + Content Marketing 

Parmentier knew that the first two phases of his plan alone could not dislodge the ingrained fears and beliefs of the majority of people in France.

He knew that they were an important part of the puzzle, but he knew that the missing piece was to tap into the influencers of his day.

He knew that when THEY began to eat potatoes and rave about them, then:

  • That would make the truth he wrote in his paper even more powerful.
  • It would confirm his previous demonstrations.
  • It would prove the value of his “guarded” treasures.

Parmentier somehow realized deep down inside a truth that many content marketers today have forgotten…

Effective marketing is hardly ever built on a single event, channel, or tool. Effective marketing is a process that harnesses the power of multiple events, tools, and channels.

I say that because I want you to realize that even though “Influencer Marketing” seems all the rage right now, on its own, it is still not enough.

You can and should figure out ways to harness the power of “Influencer Marketing.” But don’t give up on content marketing (or other types of marketing) in the process.

They are all needed and must be used TOGETHER if you want to see the greatest influence and results come from your marketing efforts.

Whenever you doubt this fact and are ready to abandon content marketing for influencer marketing (or vice versa), then remember the humble potato and an amazing man named Antoine-Augustin Parmentier.

Part II of My “Influencer + Content Marketing” Series

In this post, I showed you how influencer marketing and content marketing (and a couple of other ingenious marketing techniques) were used separately, but in conjunction with each other, and that amplified the overall results.

But sometimes the two can be combined in a hybrid sort of way to produce the results you want to see.

In my next post, I am going to show you how Thomas Jefferson used influencer and content marketing in a combined way and changed the course of history for the United States.

Stay tuned!

In The Meantime…

1. Sharing is Caring: If you enjoyed this post, then I’d love for you to share it with your friends and followers. (I see this as your “vote” saying, “Yes, please create more content like this!”)

2. Don’t Get Left Out: If you want to be one of the first to be notified when Part 2 is posted, then make sure to subscribe to this blog right now. (You’ll also get other “subscriber only” information sent to you.)

3. Steal Away: I put a “wall” up so that only those who were serious could learn one of the techniques I regularly use to create content that captures people’s attention and keeps them reading. (It’s the technique I used to get your attention and keep you reading this post.)

I locked it away in my guide The Content Marketer’s Ultimate Guide to Creating Content That Captures the Short Attention Spans of Today’s Readers. But if you want access to it, then you can “jump the wall” by entering your email below.

If you’re willing to do that, then you’re welcome to “steal my technique” and plant it in your own content. SIGN-UP BELOW!


Sources:, and Mysteries at the Museum (Travel Channel)

The Declaration of Independence: An Example of the Power of Words (aka Content) Tue, 04 Jul 2017 21:31:18 +0000 Words Have Changed the World

Words are powerful.

  • The power of words has saved lives and taken lives.
  • The power of words has created opportunities and shut doors forever on people’s hopes and dreams.
  • The power of words has attracted huge crowds and given leaders unbelievable influence and also stripped leaders of their once powerful kingdoms.

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that the power of words have literally changed the story line of history over and over again.

The Declaration of Independence: The Power of Words to Rally Support

picture of the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is one example.

It was the power of those words and the actions that went with them that established the United States of America.

Those words weren’t just used as a formal legal document laying out the colonists claims against the King of England.

Those words weren’t just an attempt to gather military and financial support from other countries.

It was the power of those words which rallied those thirteen colonies to do the impossible and overthrow the rule of King George III.

That is the power of the right words used at the right time. 

This isn’t just true of political revolutions. It’s been true in the business world too…

(If you have never read The Declaration of Independence – or it’s been a long while – then keep reading. I have a transcript of it at the end of this post.)

<-=–=- AD: Continue reading below -=–=->

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The Power of Words (aka Content) to Change the Future of Your Company or Your Industry

What I want you to realize is that the power of words (or what we call “content”) could literally change the trajectory of your company, if you can learn how to harness them.

Every industry has a group of people who are looking for someone to use words to create content that resonates with them and inspires them to new heights.

The question is: Will YOUR company be the one that rallies them?

If you look at the individuals and companies that have successfully used content marketing, you’ll discover that they tapped into the fears, goals, needs, and desires of their prospects and they inspired them to overcome their fears, accomplish their goals, and meet the needs and desires they had.

It was all done with content – or the right words used at the right time.

How Do You Create Content That Is a Rally Cry for Your Prospects?

If you’re wondering HOW to actually create this type of content, it’s not a secret. But it will take time, effort, and possibly money.

How do you create this kind of content?

You MUST know your prospects, customers, and industry.

  • You must understand their frustrations.
  • You must understand their hopes.
  • You must understand their desires.
  • You must understand their priorities.
  • You must understand their problems.
  • You must understand what keeps them up at night.
  • You must understand their lingo.
  • You must understand the real solutions your competition is offering them.
  • You must understand how your competition is seen in their eyes.
  • You must understand what has been tried and what has not been tried in your industry.
  • Etc.

In other words, you must understand as much as you can about them and your industry!

Many of your competitors will never take the time, effort, or spend the money it takes to do this. 

And that’s good news for you.

Because if you do, then your content will have an influence like no other content in your industry.

When you understand your prospects and customers like no other company in your industry, then it will become clear to you the kind of content that will resonate with them.

When you understand them and your industry on an intimate level, and create content that speaks to them from this understanding, then you and your company will experience the true power of words.

I hope this post was inspiring for you.

But more than that, I hope that it spurs you to action.

Happy 4th of July!
P.S. The transcript of The Declaration of Independence is below.

<-=–=- AD: Continue reading below -=–=->

Starbucks and Enchiladas

Some of the products I am offering on sale are cheaper than a mocha and muffin from Starbucks (as low as $4.99 for a single product). And I also have a “Whole Enchilada” deal, which allows you to get all four products for an additional amount off the 50% deal.

You can check out the offers below…

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Have You Ever Read The Declaration of Independence?

Many of us have heard of The Declaration of Independence, but how many of us have actually read it recently?

If you haven’t read it in awhile, then below is your chance to read the full text of the Declaration of Independence…

Full Transcript of The Declaration of Independence 

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

  • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  • He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
  • He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
  • He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
  • He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
  • He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
  • He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
  • He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
  • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
  • He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
  • He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
  • He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
  • For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
  • For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
  • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
  • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
  • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
  • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
  • For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
  • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
  • For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
  • He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
  • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
  • He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
  • He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
  • He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

(NOTE: I have bolded and bulleted some of the sections above in an attempt to make it easier to read.)


I Did All of These Things Right and It Still Didn’t Sell Like I Wanted It To Mon, 12 Jun 2017 21:42:14 +0000

When I put out my first book How to Survive and Prosper in a Recession,” I did a lot of things RIGHT:

  • I interviewed 20 top business, sales, and marketing experts (You can see who I interviewed here.)
  • I got really great testimonials about the book (You can see those here.)
  • I even purchased a really good URL for the book (which I still use for my content marketing related work).

My BIGGEST Mistake

After doing all of those things right, I made a major mistake.

I didn’t market it well.

I marketed it to the “make money online people,” instead of to business owners who would have really WANTED and NEEDED the book.

And for that reason, the sales for that book were not as great as I hoped they would’ve been – or that they should have been.

Why Having a Great Product, Book, or Service Doesn’t Matter

The strange truth is this: having a great product, book, or service doesn’t matter… if people don’t know about it!

In RARE cases a product, book, or service will do well without marketing. But that happens less often than you think.

And the accidental success of your product, book, or service is NOT something you want to rely on.

The Truth I’ve Come to Realize More and More

The truth I’ve come to realize more and more is that marketing matters.

  • How you think about marketing
  • Who you market to
  • Where you market
  • And HOW you market

…all make a HUGE difference in how well your product, book, or service does or doesn’t do.

A New Way to Think About Marketing

I know that a lot of people have negative opinions about marketing.

Some think it’s annoying. Some think it’s too pushy. And some think it’s manipulative.

But marketing doesn’t have to be any of those things in order to be effective.

I spent the first couple month of this year thinking about marketing, really thinking about it.

I asked myself over and over: “What IS marketing really?”

I thought over and over about how I, after 18 years of being involved in marketing in one way or the other, would define it.

And the definition I’ve come up with is one I don’t think you’ve ever heard of before.

It’s a way to think about marketing that will help you to market no matter the form (direct mail, email marketing, etc.) or the channel (social media, blogs, etc.)

I am going to be teaching this new way to think about marketing starting tomorrow evening at the UC Berkeley Extension Facility in Belmont, CA.

I’ll be teaching:

  • My definition of marketing
  • The difference between marketing, advertising, sales, etc.
  • Six things all effective marketing needs
  • And how to apply this understanding of marketing in offline marketing and/or online marketing
  • I’ll be bringing three guest lecturers: a direct marketing expert, a SEO expert, and an expert in C-Executive Business Marketing and Strategic Leadership
  • I’ll also be bringing in four local business owners to present their business to my class so that the students can create marketing plans for actual, real-life businesses (if the students don’t have their own company they work for and want to create a marketing plan for)
  • And more

If you’re local and would like to learn a way to think about marketing and do marketing that will help you to get the results for your product, book, or service — that you know it deserves, then I’d love to have you join us

But you MUST sign-up today, by 5 pm if you’re interested. (That’s not long from now!)

Click here to sign-up! Then Click the “+” next to “BUS ADM X460.1 – 076” to sign up for my class!

P.S. I am doing a marketing experiment with this post by breaking a rule that I never usually break. I am posting this same post on my site


2 New Blog Posts: Secrets from Marketing Legend & the One Solution Businesses Need Wed, 07 Jun 2017 12:00:18 +0000 I am away on vacation, so I don’t have a new post for this site, but I have two new posts this week on two sites I did guest posts for.

You can check them out below…

In 1958 A Marketing Legend Revealed These Secrets For Creating Powerful Headlines –

The Marketing Legend Who Was Behind the Success of “How to Win Friends…”

You might not have heard of him, but Victor O. Schwab is considered to be one of the top copywriters of all time. He was a marketing master. 

Many people don’t know it, but he was the copywriter who helped Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People become a best-seller.

He was also the man behind the ads for the famous body-builder Charles Atlas.

And he was a copywriting pioneer. He would use coded coupon ads to test and track ads. (The codes enabled him to be able to track which ads the coupon came from, which headlines, appeal, etc. was used in that ad, etc.)

Can you imagine what it would be like to sit down with him and learn some of his hard-earned secrets?

Well, the good news is that we can. Because he revealed some of his marketing secrets in a most unlikely place: in an ad itself.

Click here to read my post on…

The One Solution That Solves Three Problems That All Businesses Have – UC Berkeley Extension Blog

The February 1966 issue of Popular Mechanics told an interesting story: For more than 20 years, Professor Edwin R. Keedy of the University of Pennsylvania Law School used to start his first class by putting two figures on the blackboard: 4 2.

Then he’d ask the class, “What’s the solution?”

Enviably, one of the students would call out, “Six.”

Another would say, “Two.”

Then several other students, after seeing the other answers were incorrect, would finally shout out “Eight!”

But again, the teacher would shake his head, and respond, “No.”

That’s when Professor Keedy would point out their collective error and reveal the lesson he was trying to teach his class…

Click here to read my post on the UC Berkeley Extension blog…

What Content Marketers and Marketers Can Learn from 8 Year Old Boy Who Really Wanted a Cheeseburger Tue, 02 May 2017 22:15:49 +0000 I came across an amazing story the other day that made me smile.

And as I’ve thought about it, I’ve realized it reveals an important and overlooked factor that many content marketers, or marketers in general, overlook.

  • The content marketers and marketers who do overlook this experience frustration and a lack of results.
  • The content marketers and marketers who don’t overlook this experience triumphs and abundance of results.

Check out the story below and then I’ll explain to you what this overlooked factor is…

The 8 Year Old Boy Who Really Wanted a Cheeseburger

McDonald's Cheeseburger

McDonald’s Cheeseburger – Photo from

It was 8 pm April 9, 2017 and a young boy in East Palestine, Ohio was really craving a cheeseburger from McDonald’s, so he decided to do something about it.

Instead of waking his sleeping parents and begging them to take him (who were asleep after a long day of playing with the kids outside), he decided to take matters into his own hands in the most unbelievable way.

He went online and looked up videos on YouTube on how to drive.

After he felt like he knew enough from watching the videos, he took action:

  • He stood on his tippy-toes and grabbed the van keys down from where they were hanging.
  • Then he got into the family van, with his 4-year-old sister in the passenger seat, and drove to McDonald’s!

And this is the amazing part of the story.

According to witnesses who saw the young boy driving, he must have been a fast learner!

The witnesses said that the boy followed all the rules of the road, stopped at all stoplights, and even kept within the speed limits – all within the mile and a half that he drove.

When the the boy pulled up to the drive-through window with his piggy bank, the McDonald’s workers thought it was a prank. They thought that his parents were hiding in the back.

It wasn’t long until the police finally arrived at the McDonald’s, because they had received multiple calls from the people who saw the young boy driving.

The boy burst into tears when he found out that he had done something wrong and told the police officer that he just really wanted a cheeseburger! 🙂

A family friend who was eating at McDonald’s recognized the kids and called their grandparents.

The GOOD NEWS is this…

1. No charges were filed.

2. They got to eat a cheeseburger while waiting for their grandparents to pick them up! 🙂

THE Factor That Either Frustrates or Liberates Content Marketers and Marketers

So what does this have to do with the factor that either frustrates or liberates content marketers and marketers?

Let me explain…

I am preparing to teach to an Intro to Marketing class for UC Berkeley Extension this summer in Belmont, CA (See “BUS ADM X460.1076″) and I’ve been thinking deeply about marketing.

In particular, I’ve been thinking about:

  • What marketing is (and what it’s not)
  • What marketing can do (and not do)
  • What effective marketers know that others don’t

And when I read this story, I realized that it reveals an important factor that effective content marketers and marketers understand that ineffective content marketers and marketers are unaware of.

Let me explain.

Who Would You Rather Market To?

Who do you think would be harder to market a McDonald’s cheeseburger to?

1. People who are like the 8-year-old boy in the story above and who would do anything to get a McDonald’s cheeseburger

2. People who don’t like McDonald’s cheeseburgers, but prefer In-N-Out cheeseburgers

3. People who are like my niece, who hates cheeseburgers of all kinds, because she hates the texture of ground beef

If you were on McDonald’s marketing team and you wanted to pick a group of people to market to, so that you could have the most success, then which one would you choose?

That’s a pretty easy choice, isn’t it? It’s group #1.

Why is it such an easy choice? Because you know that that group of people loves McDonald’s cheeseburgers. And the others groups? Well, not so much!

Well, THAT’S the factor that effective content marketers and content marketers take into account and that’s why they experience better results than ineffective content marketers and marketers.

They understand that one of the most important factors in effective marketing of any kind is doing everything you can to target the people who are most likely customers.

  • When you do that, then everything else becomes easier. (I didn’t say “easy,” just easier!)
  • When you do that, your results are much better. (I didn’t say that the results would be amazing, but they will be better.)

Effective content marketers and marketers know the importance of this factor to effective marketing.

They know how important it is, because they understand… what marketing really is (and what it’s not) and what it can really do (and not do).

So before you work on your next content marketing or marketing piece, remember the little 8-year-old boy and remember to focus everything you do on getting your marketing message to the people in your market who are like him, when it comes to what you’re offering.

P.S. These are the types of things I plan on covering in my “Intro to Marketing” class this summer.  If you’re live near the San Francisco Peninsula and it sounds like something that would be helpful to you, then I’d love for you to sign-up and take the class with me! Click on the “+” by the “BUS ADM X460.1076″ to sign-up!

Sources:  8-year-old learns to drive on YouTube, heads to McDonald’s (USA Today) | Young driver gets help from YouTube (Weirton Daily Times)

How Content Marketing Paved the Way for Me to Teach for UC Berkeley Extension This Summer Thu, 16 Mar 2017 23:30:50 +0000 If You Doubt the Power of Content Marketing, You’ll Want to Hear This Story

If you have ever believed that all of the talk about content marketing is “just a bunch of hype,” then you will want to read this post.

(If you’ve had to defend content marketing to your peers or boss, then you will also want to read this post!)

Because today, I am about to reveal to you the crazy story of how content marketing opened up an opportunity for me that I never would have imagined when I started this path 18 years ago.

And within my story, I’ll reveal to you an often ignored power that content marketing has.

But first, I have some exciting news I’d like to share with you…

My Big Announcement

I’ve been waiting to announce this until it was officially approved, and I just received an email yesterday that confirmed that I have been approved, so I am excited to announce…

I will be teaching an “Intro to Marketing” class during this upcoming summer session for UC Berkeley Extension this Summer!

  • How did I get this opportunity?
  • How did content marketing have a part?

Well, it all began sort of by accident. Let me explain…

How I Stumbled into Marketing

It’s a long story, but I sort of “accidentally” began delving into, and studying, marketing.

It all began when I was trying to figure out how to drive website traffic to a website I had created in a small, music niche back in 1999.

It was through that search that I began on my own self-study of marketing and discovered that I not only found it interesting (when I couldn’t care less about it before), but I was it made sense to me and I was good at it.

The Crazy Zig-Zag Path to Where I Am Today

From that discovery of marketing, I began to take these steps to break into the marketing arena and this is the crazy, zig-zag path that I took:

1. In 2002, when the recession hit after September 11th, I put out an ebook called How Your Business Can Survive And Prosper In A Recession in which I interviewed 20 top business, marketing, and sales experts and got them to reveal their methods to help business owners survive and prosper in a recession. (I also wrote the introduction and conclusion.)

2. That book led to some interviews with a couple radio stations and online interviews. (Before podcasts were invented.)

3. In 2003, I was hired to help with online and offline marketing for a non-profit on the East Coast.

4. When my family and I came back to Silicon Valley in 2004, I started blogging about the recession, marketing, business, etc.

5. In 2008, when the most recent recession hit, I put out a second volume of my ebook, How Your Business Can Survive And Prosper In A Recession in which I interviewed 18 more business, marketing and sales experts and got them to also reveal their methods to help business owners survive and prosper in a recession.

6. It was at this point that I then began offering free business/marketing consulting to friends and/or people who contacted me at my website. (As I began doing this, I was glad to hear that the people I coached and consulted with were very happy with the results.)

7. In 2010, I noticed that content marketing was becoming popular and realized I had been doing it from the very beginning without even realizing it.

So I submitted a blog post to (CMI), which is the top website in the content marketing arena, and my post was accepted.

8. I then began writing for CMI regularly and I also began focusing on blogging about content marketing on my site

9. I also began writing for other marketing websites and began doing some paid writing and consulting for some websites and clients. Throughout this time, I had the opportunity to help all sorts of people from small business owners to corporate executives. (I later began doing some paid consulting jobs.)

10. In 2012, I began a website for local Bay Area business owners called

I decided to curate content for the site, write a post once a month, and I also asked three other local marketing experts to contribute once a month.

11. In 2012, I was thinking about how all the content that people love seems to have common themes, regardless of whether it is on TV, in movies, in books, or even a non-fiction blog post.

After thinking about all these content themes, I decided to try to come up with a list all of the types of content that people crave.

I looked at my final list and thought it was a really interesting list. I believed it could really be helpful to people, so I decided to get an infographic of the list made.

I contacted CMI to see if they would be interested in using it as a guest blog post and they said they would.

I really thought that what I had come up with was an important list, but I still wasn’t sure how the CMI audience would respond.

The infographic and short blog post that I wrote originally appeared on CMI back on June 5, 2012. It was called 21 Types of Content We All Crave.”

As soon as it appeared, people began commenting and sharing the post. And they kept commenting and sharing it and commenting and sharing it.

It ended up being tweeted well over 800 times and it received 102 comments before the comments were finally closed.

The founder of CMI, Joe Pulizzi, later gave me a testimonial that said that my post was one CMI’s most popular posts of the year. I couldn’t believe the response!

12. In 2012, I had the opportunity to teach some workshops on social media as a part of workshops offered to the staff of Palo Alto Veterans Hospital. I later was asked to teach an additional workshop on what I call The 5 Keys to Success in Life. The workshops went really well. (In later years, I have spoken for other groups such as writer’s groups and for B2B content marketers.)

13. Over the last seven years of writing about content marketing, I’ve ended up discovering the oldest known examples of content marketing. (Here’s one example: “4 Illuminating Lessons From One of History’s Most Inventive Content Marketers.”)

14. In 2015, I took the blog posts that I had written about content marketing from my own site, CMI, and other sites and I compiled them into a book that I released as my first Kindle book in January 2015. It’s called 51 Content Marketing Hacks.

15. The book ended up getting great reviews from top experts in the marketing and content marketing arena. And because of that book, I was interviewed on several podcasts to share my content marketing “hacks”, etc.

16. In 2016, 51 Content Marketing Hacks was one of the books that was nominated for’s 2016 “Small Business Book Awards.”

17. At the end of last year, I saw that a friend was teaching a course for UC Berkeley Extension and I asked him how he got that opportunity.

He explained the process that he went through and said the he now had a connection there. And he said that if I thought there was a course I could teach, then to let him know and he’d connect me with his contact there.

18. I submitted my name and some ideas and I found out that they were looking for an instructor for the “Intro to Marketing” course, which I could easily teach after my 18 years of experience in marketing. (I’ll hopefully teach a content marketing course and a smaller course for them also.)

19. I went through the formal application process to teach a class for them, got recommendations, etc.

20. I was informally accepted in January and began the process of choosing the textbook for the class, etc.

21. I just found out via email yesterday (3/15/17) that I have been officially accepted to teach the class! 


So I’ll be teaching an “Intro to Marketing” class at the UC Berkeley Extension in Belmont, CA on Tuesday evenings beginning in June.

When more details are locked in and the class begins being offered on the website, I’ll post more details.

I’ll also post a link and ask that you share it with any Bay Area business people who want to gain a really unique and practical understanding of marketing.

Teaching courses is not a high paying job, but there’s an even greater benefit than the pay that I am receiving.

This opportunity will also help “position” me even better in the marketing arena, because I’ll be able to say that I have taught marketing for UC Berkeley.

And that leads me to content marketing’s part in this whole story…

Content Marketing’s Underlying Role Within My Story

Some of you who were paying close attention (Good job!) might have already noticed the underlying role that content marketing played in my story, but let me point it out so that there’s no chance of anyone missing it.

Content marketing was the underlying stream that I rode on throughout this whole journey:

  • It all began with a book How Your Business Can Survive And Prosper In A Recession. (Book = A form of content marketing)
  • That book led to my first interviews and my first marketing-related job. (Interviews = A form of content marketing)
  • By blogging about the recession, marketing, and business I proved that I had the knowledge and understanding that could be helpful to people. And it was through blogging that people began to know, like, and trust me. (Blogging = A form of content marketing)
  • Blogging created a platform and a place which allowed me to attract my first clients – first free ones and later paying ones. (Blogging = A form of content marketing)
  • After I realized I had been using content marketing and didn’t even know it, I began guest posting on, which increased my position and attracted even more opportunities for me to guest post for other sites. And all of this helped me to attract higher paying clients. (Guest Blogging = A form of content marketing)
  • I created as a “one-stop hub of information for business owners in the San Francisco Bay Area.” I did this for two reasons: 1) To help local business owners 2) Create a platform for me and other local experts to share our knowledge and, in turn, attract some new clients.  (Content Curation and Creation = A form of content marketing)
  • I then came up with my concept of the “21 Types of Content We Crave,” had it created into an infographic and submitted it to CMI. I later added an additional 10 types of content we crave. You can see them here: “31 Types of Content We Crave.”  (Infographic + Guest Blogging = A form of content marketing)
  • I then taught those workshops and later spoke to other groups. (Speaking = A form of content marketing)
  • I continued to establish my expertise in the content marketing arena by guest posting on various sites and also by discovering the oldest known content marketing examples.  (Guest Blogging + Authoritative Content = A form of content marketing)
  • I compiled all of my personal blog posts and guest posts and released 51 Content Marketing Hacks. (Book = A form of content marketing)
  • That book brought in great endorsements, reviews, and an award nomination. (User Generated Content = A form of content marketing)
  • And now I am getting to teach a course for UC Berkeley Extension. (Speaking = A form of content marketing)

Do you see it now?

My whole journey was a journey that harnessed the power of content marketing! I am walking, talking proof that content marketing works!

But I don’t want you to leave today without this last important point to take with you…

Content Marketing’s Most Ignored Power

Content marketing is often seen as a way to sell products and/or services. And it is a powerful tool that can help you do that.

But content marketing’s most ignored power is this: It’s power to sell YOU!

Over the last 18 years, I have used content marketing to sell things and to attract clients. But the most important thing I’ve harnessed content marketing to sell is MYSELF!

  • That first book wasn’t the product I was really selling. The real product was ME.
  • All of the interviews and blog posts attracted clients, because they were indirectly selling ME.
  • I love teaching, so teaching those workshops was great opportunity. And even though I was paid to present that content, what I was really selling was ME. (The same is true for the non-paid speaking opportunities I’ve done.)
  • The 21 Types of Content and the 51 Content Marketing Hacks were ideas I had to share with the world, but the thing they were ultimately doing was selling ME.
  • And finally, this chance to teach at UC Berkeley Extension is an opportunity I would’ve never imagined I’d have when I began this adventure 18 years ago. I am getting paid to teach this course and am excited to share some unique ways to think about marketing (really excited about it). But again, this is another opportunity for me to indirectly sell ME.

So as you leave today, I want you to remember that content marketing’s greatest power is NOT in selling your products and services, or your goods and wares, but it’s in selling and positioning YOU (and/or YOUR BUSINESS) in your market.

When you think about it that way, there aren’t many other types of marketing that can have more impact on your life and your career!

Obama Reveals Important Content Marketing Lesson from Presidential Elections Tue, 14 Feb 2017 17:30:49 +0000

The person who can capture and hold attention is the person who can effectively influence human behavior.

“Who is a failure in life? Obviously, it is the person without influence; one to whom no one attends: the inventor who can persuade no one of the value of his device; the merchant who cannot attract enough customers into his store; the teacher whose pupils whistle or stamp or play tricks while he tries to capture their attention; the poet who writes reams of verse which no one will accept.”

Harry Overstreet

Harry Overstreet in Influencing Human Behavior (1925)

The Most Important Content Marketing Lesson Has Nothing to Do with Your Content

What I am about to share with you is one of the most important lessons you can learn about content marketing (or marketing in general).

The most shocking thing about this lesson is this: it has nothing to do with your actual content!

I’ll explain to you what I mean in just a second, but first I want to tell you a story that Brent Barlow once told in the Salt Lake City Deseret News.

It’s a story that reveals why what I am about to teach you is so important…

The Lawyer’s Frustrating Conversation with a Woman Who Wanted a Divorce

Photo from Flickr by Wesley Fryer

A woman went to a lawyer and said she wanted a divorce. The lawyer got out his note pad, and proceeded to ask her some questions.

“Do you have any grounds?” he inquired.

“Oh, yes,” she replied. “About three-quarters of an acre.”

The lawyer paused for a moment, then queried, “Do you have a grudge?”

“No,” the woman answered quickly. “But we do have a lovely carport.”

Again the lawyer paused and then asked, “Does he beat you up?”

“No. I get up before he does every morning,” the woman reported.

Finally the lawyer blurted, “Lady, why do you want to divorce your husband?”

“It’s because,” she explained, “that man can’t carry on an intelligent conversation.”


We laugh at this situation, because it’s not us.
But if you were that lawyer, then you wouldn’t be laughing! You’d be extremely frustrated.

But wait a second.

Before you let out a big sigh of relief that you’re not in this situation, I have bad news for you.

If you and I don’t learn the lesson I am about to share with you today, then we will be in the same situation this lawyer was in – but we’ll be in it with our prospects and customers!

How successful do you think you’ll be if that’s how your conversations with your prospects and customers go?

Even worse, if we don’t learn the lesson I am about reveal to you, there’s a danger that you won’t just be like the lawyer, you’ll be like the woman in this story! 

You’ll have problems connecting with your prospects and customers and you’ll believe it’s THEIR fault! 

In fact, there’s something that happened recently that is very similar to this situation.

Three Important Disclaimers Before You Read On

Before you read on, please read these three important disclaimers:

1) I didn’t vote for Donald Trump.

I actually didn’t vote for either candidate, because both candidates just seemed too flawed to me.

2) If you are still emotionally distressed about the election, then you probably shouldn’t read on.

You won’t learn anything and you’ll only be frustrated. So my suggestion is that you stop now while you’re ahead! 🙂

3) When I was in martial arts our sensei used to say, “You can always learn from any person or situation. You can either learn what to do or what not to do!”

There is a VERY important content marketing lesson that we can all learn from the presidential elections, regardless of whether we are happy with the results or not.

If you understand these three things and you’re still ready, willing, and able to learn something, then please read on…

Former President Obama Reveals the Most Important Content Marketing Lesson from the 2016 Presidential Elections 

Former President Barack Obama

By Official White House Photo by Pete Souza – P120612PS-0463, Public Domain

In December 2016, former President Barrack Obama gave an hour-long interview with NPR. And it was in this interview that he revealed a very important content marketing lesson for us all. (Although he didn’t intend it to be a content marketing lesson.)

In the interview former President Obama said this…

“There are clearly failures on our part to give people in rural areas or in exurban areas a sense day-to-day that we’re fighting for them or connected to them.”

And don’t miss this the next thing he said, because it reveals WHY the rural areas felt this way…

“Part of the reason it’s important to show up is because it then builds trust and it gives you a better sense of how should you talk about issues in a way that feel salient and feel meaningful to people.

Did you catch it? Do you see the lesson?

It’s the same problem the lawyer, and the woman he was trying to help, had.

Obama basically said that Hillary didn’t know how to talk to voters in the rural areas, because she didn’t know them.

That means that the key lesson we need to learn is this…

The Most Important Content Marketing Lesson from the 2016 Presidential Elections: You must know your audience.

I mean, think about it:

  • If you don’t know your audience, how can you ever create content that can help them?
  • If you don’t know your audience, how can you ever create content that will impact or influence your prospects or customers?
  • If you don’t know your audience, how will your sales conversations ever be anything but frustrating and fruitless?
  • If you don’t know your audience, then how can your content marketing or your business ever succeed?

Do you see why this is such an important lesson for content marketers to learn this year?

But don’t be fooled.

This isn’t just an important lesson for this year. This has ALWAYS been the most important lesson for content marketers and marketers to learn. 

If you don’t believe me or former President Obama, maybe you’ll believe a marketing legend…

This Echoes the Warning Eugene Schwartz Gave 24 Years Ago

Eugene Schwartz was a master of copywriting. Why do I say this? Because his copy and letters are said to have generated more than $150 million in sales.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, he was one of the world’s highest paid consultants. (I heard that Rodale Press once reportedly paid him $54,000 for four hours of work!)

Well, in a lecture that he gave 24 years ago he gave a warning to a room of marketers that sounds a lot like the warning that former President Obama gave.

In 1993 a lecture that Schwartz gave to Phillips Publishing called The ‘Lost’ Secrets of Breakthrough Advertising he said this…

“You cannot lose touch with the people of this country, no matter how successful or how potent you are. If you don’t spend at least two hours a week finding out where the market is today, you are finished! You will have a career of three blazing years and be finished.”

Do you understand what that means?

That means your first step as a content marketer, or marketer of ANY kind, is the same as any effective communicator.

You must know your audience.

  • Can you imagine someone who is blind-folded being able to speak effectively  to an audience they’ve never met and don’t know?
  • Can you imagine someone who is blind-folded being able to sell effectively to a single prospect that they know nothing about?

Either situation would be impossible, right!?! 

Then how can YOU ever create effective content marketing if you don’t know your audience?

If you don’t know your audience, then you are – for all intents and purposes – blindfolded to who you are communicating to!

Do you now see why your most important lesson as a content marketer has nothing to do with your content?

It has everything to do with your audience

You must know their desires, their dreams, their goals, and even their fears.

Until you accomplish this step, your content marketing, all of your other forms of marketing, will remain powerless and anemic.

More to Come

This lesson is so important that I’ve decided to do two other posts on the topic of knowing your audience.

If you enjoyed this post and found it helpful, then you’re going to want to stay tuned!

But in the meantime…

The Common Mistake Most Businesses Make with Their Content Marketing

Because many companies don’t realize the importance of knowing (REALLY knowing) their audience, they start the process of content creation by asking the wrong question (or at least it’s the wrong question to ask at the beginning).

And that’s the reason their content marketing never seems to get any traction.

If you can really learn this lesson about knowing your audience, then you’ll be able to create content that will allow you to stand out from your competitors.

If you’d like to learn more about this, then check out the FREE 12 minute video I’ve created for you that introduces a way of thinking of content marketing that I call “Question Directed Content Marketing.”

Click here to sign-up to watch the free video!

Our Top 10 Content Marketing Posts for 2016 Thu, 29 Dec 2016 22:26:19 +0000

Sorry that things have gone a little quiet around here over the last month or so.

I’ve been writing some posts for my other website (, as well juggling a few other things. (I have some exciting things to announce in the new year.)

But I’ve shared some really important content marketing lessons that you need to take with you into 2017.

You can learn them in these in our “Top 10” posts for 2016…

10) The ABC News Report That Was Secretly Content Marketing

Fit to Fat to Fit

9) How Content Marketing Saved the $10 Bill

alexander hamilton quote

8) When the Power of Content Marketing Has DEADLY Results – Literally!

Dr. Linda Hazzard

7) 7 Ways to Create Boring Content: Lessons from a Boring College Professor

6) Visual Proof in Content Marketing: Why You’ve Never Heard of the Real First Person to Fly

5) The Underlying, Neglected Reason Why Some Content Marketing is So Powerful

jetblue content marketing

4) Jesse James: The Legend That Content Marketing Created

3) The Powerful, Unique Way Neil Patel Uses Content Curation to Create Irresistible, Viral Blog Posts

neil patel

2) Want Your Content to Be Unique? Focus on “How” More Than “What.”

1) The Real Way to Get More “Shares” Has Nothing to Do with Titles, Techniques, or Technology

I’ll have some important new content marketing insights for you in 2017, so subscribe to our list to get updates whenever a new post goes up!

What to Do to Make Sure Your Content Marketing Works in 2017

What would you do if you were put into this situation?

You are snatched from your current company and placed at a company in another city where you have to start all over again. 

You’ve been hired to run their marketing. It’s a medium-sized operation. They are doing ok, but they’ve hit a wall.

They need more momentum, but they don’t have a big budget for marketing or advertising. 

They want you to use marketing to build this company, so that it will bring in more customers regularly and at a low cost.

You have decided that creating content to attract prospects is the best way to go, but this company has tried content marketing and didn’t see much ROI from it, so they are doubtful it will work.

Still you believe this is the best option.

Where would you start?

  • How would you decide what content to create?
  • What would you do to make sure that your content gets seen and consumed?

More importantly…

  • How would you create content that gets shared on social media and is linked to?
  • How would you create content that would ATTRACT prospects to your company instead of having to continually CHASE after them?

Click here to learn more…



Content Marketers: This is Your Brain on Stories Wed, 26 Oct 2016 01:31:17 +0000

“The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get into the office.” – Robert Frost

brain image when hearing stories

The activity in the brain when hearing stories

This Is Your Brain on Stories

I’ve talked before about the reason why stories are so needed and so powerful when they are used in content marketing.

So I KNEW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that stories were powerful. I’ve seen the effect that they have on people!

But it wasn’t until I was listening to an episode of the “Freakonomics” the other day, that I knew the reason why this is true based on Neuroscience. 

In other words, I suddenly understood what stories do inside our brains which, in turn, gave me the neurological reason why stories are so powerful.

Let me explain…

I was listening to a “Freakonomics” episode called This Is Your Brain on Podcasts yesterday and Stephen J. Dubner was interviewing a guy named Jack Gallant

I found out that Jack Gallant is a professor at UC Berkeley who does research focused on Cognitive Neuroscience and Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience. And it was during one of his research projects that he discovered what stories actually cause to happen within our brains.

The Study They Didn’t Have to Pay People to Be a Part Of

Gallant and his team decided to test people while they listened to The Moth Radio Hour. They chose this because normally laying in an MRI scanner is very boring, because they just flash words at the person inside the machine.

This is not the way to get brain activity going! 🙂

But the stories they share on The Moth are much different than flash cards. The stories are very engaging and compelling. In other words, people can’t NOT pay attention to these stories!

In fact, people loved the stories so much that Gallant said that they didn’t even have to pay the test subjects, like they usually do. It was the perfect way to test how the brain responds to stories.

The people in the MRI scanners listened to a couple hours of stories. As they did, Gallant and his team measured their brain activity by measuring the changes in blood flow and blood oxygen in different locations across the brain.

As they measured these things, Gallant and his team tried to figure out what information in the stories was creating the activity at the different locations in the brain.

And that’s when Gallant and his team found something they weren’t expecting.

Stories Light Up the Brain

Gallant said that stories didn’t really activate the normal auditory part of the cortex, like they expected them to. Instead, stories activated a larger constellation of areas in the brain – areas that represent different aspects of meaning.

Listen to what Gallant says about it in his own words…

“…the one very surprising thing from this study is that semantic information, the meaning of the stories, is represented broadly across much of the brain. All of those various areas of the brain represent different aspects of semantic information, in these really complicated maps that are very, very rich but fairly consistent across different individuals.” – Jack Gallant, Interviewed on Freakonomics episode This Is Your Brain on Podcasts 

Why do stories do this? Read on and I’ll explain…

My Version of Why the Brain “Light Ups” on Stories

My “take” on what Gallant said about why our brains light up is this….

When we are hearing or listening to a story, our brain isn’t just listening to dry information:

  • It’s engaging with the stories.
  • It’s trying to comprehend what’s happening in the story.
  • It’s analyzing and calculating any numerical details in the story.
  • It’s connecting the details of the story with its past experience and knowledge.
  • It’s trying to anticipate what will happen next.
  • It’s seeing what you’re describing.
  • It’s feeling the emotions involved in the story

I’d say it simply like this: Your brain enters and experiences stories!

Your brain can ignore dry facts. It passively take in data and stats. But when you tell a story (if you tell it well), then the brain wakes up and plays along!

This is why stories are so powerful.
This is why you MUST use them in your content marketing.

How to Tell More Engaging Stories

If you want to learn more about how to tell stories that light up the mind, then check out my previous posts below: 

3 Ways to Tap Into the Most Powerful Content Tool Ever Created –

Have You Been Using the Most Powerful Content Marketing Tool Incorrectly? –

If you want to go even DEEPER and learn MORE about how to create engaging content, then contact me and I can tell you about my upcoming Content Boosters course.

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