– Marketing, Content Marketing, and Business Help Wed, 26 Jul 2017 23:29:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 29822047 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.)

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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.

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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.)


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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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The Oldest Content Marketing Examples You Probably Haven’t Seen (INFOGRAPHIC) Fri, 07 Oct 2016 01:05:10 +0000 If you are looking for the oldest content marketing examples, then you’ve come to the right place. I have three examples of content marketing that you probably have never seen or heard of before.

But first, you’ve got to hear this story…

More Beyond

In Valladolid, Spain, stands a monument called “Monumento a Colón” or “Columbus Monument.” You see, Valladolid is where the great discoverer Christopher Columbus died in 1506 and so they build this monument to commemorate him.

(I know that he is not viewed in a positive light these days, but keep reading on because the story still reveals a powerful truth.)

At the top of the monument is a barge that is being beaten by the rough winds and waves. On top of this barge is Faith personified as a woman and she is guiding Christopher Columbus.

But the reason I am telling you about this moment is because of the next part of the monument.

You see, the barge is on top of a globe that is encircled by a band. And on that band are the words “NON PLUS ULTRA,” which mean “No More Beyond.” Because at the time, people didn’t think that there was anything else beyond what had already been discovered.

But this is the cool part…

Underneath that globe is a lion tearing off the three first letters “NON” with a powerful swipe of of his paw, so that all that is left is “PLUS ULTRA” or “More Beyond.

columbus monument

Because the discovery of a New World shattered the limits people had known and helped them to see that there was much more beyond what they had ever known.

Magis Content (Or “More Content”)

When I first looked online to discover what the oldest example of content marketing example was, it seemed like most people pointed to John Deere’s The Furrow as the oldest known example of content marketing.

People didn’t seem to know of any other examples that dated back beyond this.

Well I’ve discovered some much older content marketing examples that you have probably never heard of. In Latin, we would say “Magis Content.” In other words, there is still “More Content.”

In this post, I will reveal three of the earliest content marketing examples that I have discovered so far, as of October 6, 2016. (NOTE: These aren’t in chronological order, from the oldest to the more recent. They are instead listed based on the order in which I discovered them.)

Ben Franklin: Founding Father, Author… and Content Marketer?

benjamin franklin oldest content marketing example

It wasn’t a discovery I was intending to make.

But there it was: the oldest example of content marketing known to exist.

And the best thing about this discovery was that it wasn’t just interesting from a historical viewpoint. It also reveals some important content marketing lessons that need to be applied today, more than ever before.

Let me explain how it happened:

I had come across an old digital version of a book from 1918 called, Field of Advertising. It wasn’t the most exciting book I ever found, so I wasn’t intending to discover anything important. I was reading it more out of curiosity than anything else.

And that’s when I made my accidental discovery: Benjamin Franklin used content marketing. That makes this 59 years older than the earliest known content marketing examples that had previously been cited!

You can read more about this discovery and the lessons you can learn from Benjamin Franklin in this post I wrote for called…

4 Illuminating Lessons From One of History’s Most Inventive Content Marketers

The Oldest English Bookstore in France Used Content Marketing

galignani content marketing example

On a trip to Paris with my oldest son, I came across a bookstore called “Galignani” which described itself as “the first English bookstore established on the continent.”

After getting home and researching more about this store, I discovered that Giovanni Antonio Galignani, left an economically declining Venice for London and eventually ended up in Paris.

And that’s when he made a key decision: he decided to target the English-speaking population in Paris.

In 1801, he opened not only a bookstore, but also a reading room that specialized in the English language. But that’s not all. He had his publishing business.

He used that publishing business in a really ingenious way, which involved using content marketing in many of the same ways that top publishing empires of today use content marketing.

If you’d like to learn more about the methods he used 215 years ago to tap into the power of content marketing, and if you’d like to see how top publishing companies still use these same methods, then you can check out this post I wrote on LinkedIn called…

A 213 Year Old Business Reveals Two Content Marketing Secrets of Today’s Publishing Empires 


You can also listen to what Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose said about my post on the their podcast “This Old Marketing”. (I edited it so you can just listen to the part about my post.)

Did William Penn Use Content Marketing to Establish Pennsylvania?

william penn oldest content marketing example

Almost a year after I made the discovery of Benjamin Franklin and the oldest content marketing example that we know of, I made a discovery of what could be an even older example of content marketing – one that is even 51 years earlier than the Franklin example.

That is IF it’s actually content marketing.

You see, the problem with this example I am about to show you is I am not sure whether it really qualifies as content marketing. (I’d love to hear what you think.)

I made this discovery while watching the TV show Finding Your Roots on PBS. (Actually, my teenage son made the discovery, but I’ll explain that more in a minute.) They were revealing a guest’s past and they made a passing reference to William Penn.

I wasn’t completely listening (because I was multi-tasking and working on my laptop) when suddenly my 13-year-old son turned to me and said, “Hey Dad. Isn’t that content marketing?”

(*How does a 13-year-old notice or even know what content marketing is? I point out content marketing examples so often to my wife and kids that now THEY notice them!)

I told him, “I am not sure. I need to look into it.” Well, I looked into it and in a post I wrote for, I reveal to you all that I discovered.

Did William Penn Use the Oldest Known Content Marketing to Establish Pennsylvania?   (I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you think it’s content marketing or not.)

Infographic of My Three Oldest Content Marketing Examples

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned many important content marketing lessons from each of the posts that I linked to above.

If you want to remember these three content marketing examples, then download the infographic below. And please share it with your friends, followers, and fans!

oldest content marketing examples infographic

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How Content Marketing Saved the $10 Bill Fri, 09 Sep 2016 00:36:26 +0000 alexander hamilton quote

Do You Realize How Unique the $10 Bill Is?

You’ve probably handled many $10 bills in your life. But I bet that you never realized just how unique the $10 bill actually is.

Let me show you why it’s so unique:

  • It is one of only two bills in circulation that features a non-president. (The other person is Benjamin Franklin who is on the $100 bill.)
  • It is the only U.S. paper currency in circulation in which the portrait faces to the left.
  • It features one of only four people featured on U.S. paper currency who was not born in the continental United States or British America. (Believe it or not, but Hamilton was born in the West Indies.)

Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill

Image from Wikipedia

But there’s ONE MORE thing about the $10 that makes it very unique.

It’s the only bill that has been influenced by content marketing.

Let me explain…

How Content Marketing Saved Alexander Hamilton

Back in June of 2015, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced that in order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (when women were given the right to vote), they were going to give the $10 bill a face-lift in 2020.

That meant that instead of Alexander Hamilton’s image on the front of the $10 bill, they would replace his portrait with the image of a great American woman.

And to help them decide what woman should be featured on the $10, they began gathering feedback from the public in the summer of 2015.

As they expected, the usual suspects — historians — gave immediate push back on the idea. Historians wanted Hamilton to stay on the $10 bill, because he was the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1789–95.

If that is all the push back they received, then the treasury would’ve probably moved forward with their idea. But that’s when something unexpected happened. 

They hadn’t accounted for an unintentional content marketing campaign that began with one man in 2004 and became an unstoppable force by August 6, 2015 when another man added content to this campaign.

It was this unintentional content marketing campaign that caused a public outcry to rise up and demand that Hamilton stay just where he was, on the face of the $10 bill. 

That’s right. This content marketing was so powerful that it changed the mind of the U.S. Treasury. Today, I want to tell you about this unintentional content marketing campaign and then I’ll show you how this changed the U.S. Treasury’s mind.

And before we’re through, I’ll reveal two important content marketing lessons we can learn from this.

The Unintentional Alexander Hamilton Content Marketing Campaign (Part I)

Alexander Hamilton was not alive to stage this content marketing campaign to keep his image on the $10 bill, but if he was then he couldn’t have picked a better candidate than Ron Chernow.

Ron Chernow is an American writer, historian, and biographer. But Chernow doesn’t just write any old biographies. He writes bestselling biographies — award-winning biographies!

After writing popular biographies about people such as J.P. Morgan (1990) and John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (1998), Chernow published Alexander Hamilton in 2004.

And this book took the literary world by storm:

  • The book became a New York Times Best Seller and stayed on that list for three months.
  • It was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award.
  • It was also named as the winner of the first George Washington Book Prize for early American history.
  • And, if that wasn’t enough, the book received rave reviews from literary critics.

alexander hamilton book by ron chernow

Needless to say, Chernow wrote about Alexander Hamilton’s life in such a compelling and powerful way that it exposed the public to the story of a man that few really knew about, except for the fact that he was on the $10 bill.

And this powerful content that Chernow created began to change people’s opinion of this man whose image they had seen for years. The book left people in awe of the life and death of this man.

But it was the next stage of this unintentional content marketing campaign that would secure the public’s affection for Hamilton in a way that a book alone could never do.

The Unintentional Alexander Hamilton Content Marketing Campaign (Part II)

Again, if Alexander Hamilton could have had his way, then he couldn’t have picked a better candidate for the next phase of his content marketing campaign. But the truth is that Hamilton wouldn’t have had to choose this person, because this man actually ended up chosing Hamilton.

This might surprise you, but the next person to join the unintentional Alexander Hamilton content marketing campaign didn’t ever plan on being a part of anything to do with Alexander Hamilton.

He was just looking for something good to read.

You see, Lin-Manuel Miranda was on vacation from performing in his hit Broadway show, In the Heights, when he picked up and read the popular biography about Alexander Hamilton by none other than Ron Chernow.

And that’s when it happened.

After just reading the first couple chapters, Miranda quickly began to realize that the life of Hamilton would make a great a musical – a great HIP-HOP musical.

He didn’t remember ever hearing of a musical about Alexander Hamilton, but he had to be sure there wasn’t one before he put any work into it.

So he researched whether or not a stage musical of his Hamilton’s life had ever been written. And all he could find was that a play about Hamilton’s life that had been done on Broadway way back in 1917.

It was then that he began work on a concept album that he simply called The Hamilton Mixtape. It might have just stayed at this stage of existence, except for the fact that Miranda was given an opportunity, an amazing opportunity. 

Lin-Manuel Miranda was given the opportunity to perform at the White House, in front of the President Obama and the First Lady for what was called An Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word.

He was invited to do something from his musical In the Heights or anything on the American experience. He took the words “or or anything on the American experience” as a sign – or an opportunity – to feature the 16 bars of Hamilton that he been working on. 

So he made a decision to perform that song at the White House and it would prove to be a decision that would change his life forever and go on to make Broadway history.

You can hear Lin-Manuel Miranda tell the story of that fateful decision below in the interview he did on NPR…

On the night of his performance at the White House, when he announced that he’d be performing a song from his concept album about “…the life of someone who embodies hip-hop… Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton” the crowd laughed.

But by the time he finished performing the song, no one laughing anymore. In fact, he received a standing ovation! You can watch a video of that performance below…

Lin Manuel Miranda performs “Alexander Hamilton” at The White House

This was all the encouragement and exposure that he needed. With that experience in his mind, he decided to make The Hamilton Mixtape into a full-fledged musical.

And the rest is history!

That musical, like the book that inspired it, would take Broadway by storm with people doing everything they could to get their hands on tickets of the sold-out shows.


But it wasn’t just the public who loved the musical. In 2016 Hamilton broke records with:

  • 16 Tony nominations (winning 11 of those nominations)
  • The most notable Tony win was for “Best Musical”
  • It was also received the 2016 Grammy Award for “Best Musical Theater Album”
  • And it even won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama 

You can check out a great performance of Hamilton on the 2016 Tony Awards show in the video below…

Hamilton Tony Awards 2016 Performance

The Impact of This Accidental Content Marketing Campaign

I call this an “accidental content marketing campaign” because neither of these men had any intention of creating a content marketing campaign that would keep Alexander Hamilton’s image on the $10 bill.

They had just been drawn in by his amazing story and felt inspired to share that story with the world. Even though it wasn’t their intention, the results were still just as powerful as if it was intentional.

As the Treasury waited for the feedback on what woman the public thought should replace Hamilton, they were caught completely off guard when they were INSTEAD inundated with protests and rebukes about replacing Hamilton.

Because of the content created by Chernow and Manuel, Hamilton was no longer just an image on the $10 bill. People had fallen in love with Alexander Hamilton. They felt a kinship and an affinity with the man.

But it wasn’t just the general public who protested against replacing Hamilton’s image. Celebrities chimed it too. In fact, Lin-Manuel himself got involved.

According to

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda even directly lobbied Lew (the Treasury Secretary) last month on Hamilton’s behalf, after which Miranda said Lew told him “you’re going to be very happy” with the redesign plan.

Manuel later tweeted this about the meeting….

There’s one more interesting fact that you have to see.

Because it reveals the real impact that the Hamilton musical had on the Treasury’s decision: The Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, himself, saw the musical before he announced the final decision.

According to

When Mr. Lew and his wife caught a performance last August, the Treasury secretary hinted to Mr. Miranda that Hamilton would stay.

So that’s the story of how content marketing, in the form of a book and a musical, influenced the $10 bill. (Now you know an extra, little-known reason why the $10 bill is so unique!)

Two Important Content Marketing Lessons

There are two important content marketing lessons we can learn from Alexander Hamilton’s unintentional content marketing campaign.

Here they are:

1. Your personal story is the most powerful form of content there is.

It was the story of Alexander Hamilton that influenced people and created a movement.

Your personal story is one thing of the main things that sets you apart from everyone else. It is the thing that people can relate to. It’s the thing that will draw people to you and make you memorable. 

I talk about this in my book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. I call this “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.”

I don’t just recommend others do this, but I’ve made sure to “practice what I preach.” If you’d like an example of this type of content, here are two parts of my personal story that I’ve shared here on this site:

The key thing you need to remember is that if you never tell your story, then it will never having any impact on others and you will never stand out in your niche.

Let me repeat what I’ve said before about this…

“Your personal story and your business story could be some of the most important content you have in your arsenal.

Stop keeping it to yourself.
Start sharing it proudly.”

That means that a key part of your content marketing strategy must be to tell your story in the most powerful way you can (hire others to do this, if you need to).

And then, you need to promote this content like you would any other content that you want to spread.

Now let’s look at one more important lesson we can learn.

2. Tell your story in more than one format and more than one way.

The book about Alexander Hamilton influenced a lot of people and is ultimately the thing that influenced Lin Manuel Miranda.

But it was when that same story was told in a different format (a musical) and in a different way (a different story-line) that the story reached an even larger audience.

Different people prefer consuming different types of content, and different types of content have different levels of emotional impact on people, so you need to make sure that you tell your story in more than one format and more than one way.

Again, I’ve tried to make sure that I am doing this and not just recommending this to others. And that’s one of the reasons I have done podcast interviews – so I can share my story in a different format and different way.

If you’d like an example of my personal story, told in a different format and told in a different way, then here’s one of the podcast interviews that I’ve done.

In this interview, I reveal:

  • 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

You can listen to this podcast below…


My interview on the “Relaunch” podcast (26 minutes)

Those are the two lessons that I want to leave you with today.

I’d encourage you to figure out how you can apply them immediately in your life and in your business. When you learn how to do these two things effectively, you will begin to stand out from the crowd and you’ll create a group of fans like you’ve never had before.

Now let me leave you with one last thought…

The Man Who Harnessed the Power of Words, Saved by the Power of Words

Now that I think about it, it’s actually pretty fitting that content marketing would save Alexander Hamilton’s image on the $10 bill.

Why? Because it’s been said that Alexander Hamilton gained all that he did in his life because of the power of his words.

It looks like, in the end, the power of words won out again!

Sources: Wikipedia,,, and

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