June 18, 2024

Birth of a breakthrough idea

Ideas that don’t fly often start with a solution in search of a problem. But ideas that break through and disrupt markets start with identifying a problem that’s begging for a solution, and then imagining what might be. That doesn’t come from data off of a spreadsheet. It is born from insight that makes connections others […]

The heart of great content marketing: ‘Giving content gifts’

What kind of content will the people you hope to influence truly value? Not something they snack on like a bag of chips and are soon hungry for something else. But nourishing content that sticks to the ribs and gives them something they really want. It’s a question I had the opportunity to ask Ann […]

Out of your mind and into the customer’s world

It’s easy to assume other people see the world the same way we do. We see the world through the lens of our own values, beliefs, rules, and biases that have been shaped by our life experiences. But it’s not safe to assume our customers are looking through the same lens. The Pepsi marketing team […]

A bold move to displace TV advertising

Media is migrating to digital platforms, and that is a problem for traditional advertisers. It’s no surprise that people hate the clutter, the hype, and the interruption of advertising. But what has surprised advertisers is the extent to which they will go to block, skip, and avoid them. Digital media gives them more ways to […]

The customer’s voice: Knowing vs. understanding

You can know a lot about your customers and still not really understand them. Today it’s relatively easy to collect data on customer behavior and customer sentiment. But these data don’t tell you why they do what they do or why they think what they think. Understanding the why is as important as knowing the what. […]

How can we make the experience more magical?

We make assumptions about what people want based on what we know to be true, rather than what is possible. We assume that using technology to do the same things we’ve always done will give customers a better experience. But if we think about what is possible we find entirely new ways to solve their […]

Why everyone wants to sit at Pedro’s Table

On the first morning of Tim’s Mexico vacation he walked out to the beach to watch the sunrise. Alone with the sound of the waves washing on the shore, he waited. Slowly the sun peeked over the horizon. It was six o’clock. Little did Tim know it was the dawning of a day that would […]

It’s emotional rewards that build loyal relationships

The problem with most loyalty programs is they are based on the wrong kind of rewards. Rewards programs are based on transactional relationships that focus on the goals of the business: repeat sales, customer referrals, long term commitment from the customer. What does the customer get in return? Usually it is a discount based on buying a […]

Branding and the “It” factor

Is there an “it” factor to building a brand and becoming known, or can anybody do it? That’s a question that has haunted Mark Schaefer for some time. So much so that he has decided to write a new book on the subject. Recently I had the opportunity to pick Mark’s brain to find out […]

Brand awareness is earned

The secret to building brand awareness is to start with customer awareness. Companies today are much more likely to invest in advertising to customers rather than understanding what matters to them. On average, they spend $14 on advertising for every dollar spent on gaining customer insights. But in a world of ad blockers and fractured […]

Value is created by the questions you ask

  Finding ways to create value for customers is simply a matter of Q&A. Think about it this way: What happens when you ask yourself a question? Your mind immediately goes to work looking for the answer. Ideation is a process of asking and answering questions. So if you’re looking for ways to add value, […]

The many ways to create value people care about

There’s more to creating value than adding features and functions to your product. A lot more … Today people have so many choices between comparable products and services that feature functionality is the minimum requirement for consideration. It takes greater value than that to make a difference they care about. The value equation has shifted […]

The new standard of authenticity

Authenticity is not what you think it is. A dictionary will tell you it means to be the genuine article, uncorrupted from the original. But for brands, it means more than that today. The standard for being an authentic brand is evolving. Defining authenticity is like defining a brand. It doesn’t matter what you say […]

A more excellent way to become a valued brand

There’s a reason people don’t care about the mission and values of most businesses. Most mission and values statements are written for the business. They typically focus on the business’s goals of being the most profitable, the most customer-centric, the most sustainable or the most ethical business in its category. And they often put the […]

The most important question in marketing

Marketing success can be boiled down to one question. The answer to that one question can make all the difference in the world to your position in the marketplace. … it is a difference that makes customers love you and stay loyal to you … … it is a difference that makes you stand out […]

The tension between results and relationships

You can tell more about a company’s values by looking at what it motivates employees to do than by what it says. We value what’s right for our customers in everything we do. Everything we do is built on trust. It doesn’t happen with one transaction, in one day on the job or in one […]

Higher purpose matters to your customers and your sales

Here is a paradox for the times. A brand’s higher purpose is the reason it exists beyond making money. But brands that have a clearly understood higher purpose frequently have the greatest financial growth. That conclusion comes from a Millward Brown analysis of the 50 fastest growing brands over the 10-year period 2001-2011. All of the […]

Extending the brand experience

Some brick and mortar retailers are trying to differentiate their brand by creating unique shopping experiences. Done well, this can be a smart strategy. One example is Origins beauty stores. Origins, owned by Estée Lauder Cos., has tapped into a consumer desire for experiences by encouraging slow shopping. It is a trend that encourages a leisurely browsing […]

Digital marketing and the human equation

Digital gives us opportunities to see our customers and to be more responsive to their wants. – Bernadette Jiwa That’s the promise, but it isn’t always the practice. We get excited about digital technologies like chatbots, the Internet of Things, marketing automation, artificial intelligence or virtual reality, but often miss the most important business opportunity. […]

Relationships are for people, not brands

The notion of a brand relationship has always been a flawed metaphor. The idea that repeated encounters between a brand and a customer would eventually take on the characteristics of a relationship between people diminishes the humanity of real relationships. Can anybody truly have a relationship with a tube of toothpaste or a sack of […]

Building your brand on moments of helpfulness

There is a difference between branding and being a brand. Branding focuses on the grand gesture. The big ad campaign with major media impressions. The breakthrough product innovation. The viral marketing event. Those things capture top-of-mind awareness for a short period of time. But in today’s noisy marketplace that awareness is quickly displaced by the […]

The helpful brand wins the heart

One way to disrupt your market is to disrupt your marketing. What if you set aside the hard-sell persuasion techniques and the broadcasted interruptions, and instead served up a generous portion of radical helpfulness? What if helping people actually became your marketing strategy? Do you think you could still compete and win? Some brands are doing […]

A suspect is not a prospect

Prospects are people who are able, ready and willing to buy. Suspects are merely eligible to do so. – Lester Wunderman Far too much time and money is wasted on marketing to suspects. Misusing data and technology enables marketers to waste time and money at scale. Prospecting with email is one example. Recently I got an […]

Telling the story versus being the story

The story you tell in advertising might make the things you sell sound better. But what really matters to people is how the things you sell make life better for them. It’s that experience that makes your story meaningful and authentic. Here is an example. MidModMen+friends is a Saint Paul, Minnesota retailer of restored mid-century […]

Don’t interrupt, add value

Time is not money. It has a far greater value than money. We can spend our money or lose our money, but we can always get more. Not so with our time. Once we spend a moment of time it is gone forever. That’s why interruptions are such an offense. An interruption says “Give me […]

Reimagining the ‘GO Digital’ blog

I have exciting news to share. I’ve made some significant changes to the GO Digital blog, starting with the name. It is now called Digital Heart. Along with the name change, you will notice there is a new look and editorial focus. Why the change? Over the past two years I have focused much of […]

The secret to a hundredfold return

“What do you suppose makes an 89-year-old man want to keep working like this?” I wondered this recently as my wife and I sat in the historic State Theater in Minneapolis waiting for Tony Bennett to take the stage. It’s pretty remarkable if you think about it. He has been recording and performing music for […]

The covenant of trust

People don’t just listen to what you say, they watch what you do. You get their attention when your mission and message line up with what they believe. They want to buy from a brand that shares the same values they have. It’s more than a transaction to them. It’s personal. When they choose your […]

The stories that matter

The most powerful brand stories aren’t the ones we tell our customers. They are the ones customers tell themselves. People tell themselves stories every day to make it easier to understand a complex world. The stories they tell have little to do with facts, and a lot to do with how they see the world. […]

That moment you made me feel important

On the first morning of my stay at the Renaissance Hotel in Chicago I went to the restaurant for breakfast. I was seated at a table overlooking the downtown cityscape. The Chicago River, still green from St. Patrick’s Day, was tucked between the tall buildings and bustling streets a block away. The waiter, Ahmet was […]

Meaningful experience is the end game

Customers experience your brand in many ways. It’s in how your product works, how it feels, how easy it is to use … It’s in how you resolve a complaint … It’s in how easy it is to find an answer on your website … It’s in the colors inside your store, on your signs, […]

Love is the ultimate market disruptor

Here’s an old idea for growing and sustaining a business in the shiny new digital world: Spread some love. Love is much more than an emotion. It is an action word. Love puts the interests of customers and stakeholders ahead of short term business interests. A business operating in love will look for products for its […]

Direct marketing is alive and well on the internet

Is direct marketing still relevant in the Internet Age? In these heady times of digital disruption some marketing pundits and thought leader wannabes say it’s not. Some even declare direct marketing is dead. How do they arrive at this? Their assumption is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what direct marketing is. Digital natives are […]

A rescue plan to revive your dead blog

Guest post by Heart of Marketing intern Claire Freier   What would happen if you entered a marathon the day of the race with no training, no plan, no preparation? You’d likely expire in a heap of exhaustion long before reaching the finish line. That’s what happens with many business blogs. They launch with enthusiasm and […]

The evolution of quality content: From discovery to experience

In the beginning marketers created content. The content was without form and substance; and chaos was on the face of the internet. Then Google said, “Let there be algorithms.” And Google called the algorithms ‘SERP’. This brought order to the chaos and the marketers saw that it was good. Then the marketers optimized the content […]

Ready for primetime? How to revive a comatose Twitter account for a live chat in 30 days

Here’s a challenge for you: A client in a highly regulated industry just learned they are going to be featured in a primetime story on 20/20. It’s a rare public relations opportunity to shine in their industry. They’ve asked you to help get maximum exposure for them on Twitter. There’s just one little problem. Before […]

Buyer personas for selling toilet cleaner (and other marketing dirty work)

It started out innocently enough. We were having an earnest conversation about the ABCs of buyer personas: what they are, the business benefits they bring, and how to create them. We were well on our way to another informative discussion. Then it got weird. Jayme introduced an article from the Wall Street Journal titled Trying […]

One mistake the ‘smart kids’ make with integrated marketing

It’s like the Rubik’s Cube of marketing, only harder to solve. The smart kids are already at work organizing pieces of the puzzle, trying to find the solution to integrated marketing for the digital age. They are building models that look a lot like integrated marketing from the 90s, but with a focus on digital […]

Insider secrets to content messaging that rings with relevance

It’s a tormenting thought, really. If you take any time out from your daily grind of producing content, it will catch up with you eventually. Is your content marketing truly significant to your audience? Or do they see it as just another helping of empty calories in the fast food line of irrelevant marketing messages […]

Uncover hidden gems that deliver a brand message ‘zinger’

It is like being in the Twilight Zone. You’re sequestered in a room with a half-dozen other business smarties toiling away at one of the toughest, most frustrating assignments you’ve faced in a long time. You’ve been tasked with describing your entire company in short sound bites that define your business. It should be simple […]

The brain science behind stories that grip your audience

A story can save boring content – except when you tell it wrong Admit it. You’re a sucker for a good story, right? For good reason! Stories kindle your imagination. They make you feel something. No wonder content marketers have glommed onto storytelling as a way to pierce through the noise and clutter of the […]

Business blogging today: Is it still worth the effort?

You have to wonder. Has business blogging peaked? At last count, there were more than 75 million WordPress blogs and 170 million Tumblr blogs. And that’s not counting all the other blogging platforms out there. It makes you think. With all that noise from all those blogs, will it make any difference to my business […]

The heart of marketing ROI in the digital age

A measly eight percent of companies claim they can determine the ROI of social media spend. They’re probably lying. Taking a traditional approach to measuring the ROI of social media isn’t based on reality. How can you track the sales revenue from a Facebook post or a tweet? You can’t do it any more than […]

The secret to surviving technology disruptions

Troubling thought, isn’t it? The idea that a new technology could come along at any time and disrupt your business … derail the comfortable status quo … maybe make you completely irrelevant to today’s customers. Are you ready to reimagine your business? Forbes says you better be. Last year it made the case that in […]

Nail your marketing message in 18 minutes

Isn’t it ironic? You’re the expert on your product. You’ve logged hundreds of hours collecting and analyzing marketing intelligence. Nobody walking the earth knows more about the features, advantages and benefits of your product than you. Then why is it so hard to turn all that knowledge into a compelling marketing message? You should be […]

What Taylor Swift can teach us about marketing with heart

Heart marketing is much more than touchy-feely emotional pandering to customers. It is smart business. For example, look at Taylor Swift. Not only is she a gifted musician, singer and songwriter, but she is also a savvy marketer. She has 140 million followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr. But it’s not the size of […]

This is the Heart of Marketing

“Most businesses are merely reacting to the rapid evolution of technology, rather than trying to create engaged customer experiences throughout the life-cycle.” – Brian Solis This quote from Brian Solis is a neat summary of several conversations I have had with my colleague and friend Jayme Soulati over the past year and a half. Technology […]

‘Give me a social experience or I’ll leave’

Dear social media marketer, Pardon me while I vent for a moment … You see, I’ve been following you on social media for a while. I’ve used your product, and I like it. So I decided to follow your brand. I regret that now. I understand you are a business. You need to pump up […]

Beat content apathy with audience-building tactics from the newsroom

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? It’s a bummer to be ignored. I mean, you put a lot of work into producing content for your website, your emails, your social media networks. That’s where you meet most of your prospects today. When they show little interest, when your content goes unread and unshared, it […]

How this nonprofit is stockpiling content on a shoestring

You know it’s true, right? You know you need to be marketing online to get new customers. You know you need to be marketing online to build awareness of your brand. And you know your competitors will get the inside track if you aren’t present. It’s what you don’t know that’s holding you back. If you […]

Dad’s old-school marketing lessons for today

Maybe father knows best after all. When it comes to marketing savvy, mine did. He also had a way of repeating himself that could drive a kid crazy. I heard the same stories, the same platitudes over and over again. It’s a wonder I don’t need special glasses from all the eye rolling I did […]

Social media marketing: The overlooked skill that can give you PR nightmares

What if? Two short words that can keep you awake at night. A common ‘what if’ for business owners is this: “What if somebody on my social media marketing team posts something that causes a PR firestorm?” You’ve heard the horror stories. And you don’t want to be one of those companies whose brand reputation […]

The complete guide to optimizing content for people

Powerhouse blogging is equal parts content and delivery. You can have all the brilliant insights in the world. But if you can’t deliver your message in a way that connects with readers, your content will fade into the abyss. That’s what differentiates elite, A-list bloggers from the average schmo. They know how to make their […]

Diabolical cliffhangers that compel people to read on

Ever get a nagging feeling no one is paying attention to your blog? You put in the work. You publish regularly. You promote your posts on social media. You write carefully crafted content for building an audience for your brand. Still you wonder if anybody actually reads it. Here is the cold, hard truth. It’s […]

Viral marketing: An expert checklist for creating branded content that spreads

One of the puzzling things about the spread of viral content is its unpredictability. A viral phenomenon explodes suddenly from nowhere and has everybody buzzing. Given its potential for massive reach at a fraction of the cost of traditional media, it’s not surprising marketers are looking for ways to “create” online buzz of their own. […]

The Hare Krishna guide to social media influence

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this social media marketing pearl: ‘You’ve got to give to get.’ It’s a common mantra of social media gurus today. The problem is too many followers meditate on only half of its meaning. In their hands it becomes a corrupted use of the reciprocity rule to influence others on […]

Why you need content marketing to get customers today

The rules of buying and selling have changed forever. Today it is common for a prospective customer to be 60 to 70 percent through the decision process before talking to you about buying. That trend will continue. Both Gartner and Forrester project that by 2020, 80 percent of the buying process will take place without any direct […]

Business blogging: How to turn a stodgy planning tool into an engine for blog content

Most marketers agree: planning is a drag. For most, the effort far outweighs the rewards. If not for the need to justify a budget, many of them wouldn’t write a marketing plan at all. One client summed up this sentiment at his company: “We write plans then tuck them away in a drawer until next […]

Win more customers with less digital content. Mail a letter

In a rising tide of content fatigue, a direct mail letter can be a surprisingly effective way to acquire customers When everyone zigs, it’s time to zag. Today the big zig is online. And the volume of digital communications is staggering. On any given day 145 billion emails are sent. We have gone from seeing […]

Customer love never fails

Today there is one commandment of marketing success. Get it right and everything falls into place. Miss it, and all of your marketing efforts are in vain. It is the foundation to building relationships with customers and prospective customers. The First Commandment of Marketing is: Love thy customer. That’s right, I dropped the L-bomb. Love […]

The Emmy winner’s guide to telling a simple brand story

How I learned to turn multiple brand messages into a coherent brand story by watching television Who’d have thought watching my favorite sitcom would one day benefit a client? There are only two television programs I would set my calendar to. One of them is How I Met Your Mother. Not only is it entertaining, […]

Business blogging: Get rid of ‘dead blog syndrome’ once and for all

It’s a common scenario for many companies. Someone reads the latest statistics on the success others are having with business blogging. Maybe it’s the Hubspot report that says businesses that blog 3-5 times a month have twice the  Web traffic and inbound leads of companies that don’t. Getting in on that action seems like a […]

How to build epic word-of-mouth without leaping from space

On October 14, 2012 Felix Baumgartner plummeted 24 miles from the edge of space, landing safely on the earth.  He broke the record for the highest skydive in history. The epic event generated epic word-of-mouth for his sponsor Red Bull. Has Red Bull ruined social media for the rest of us? When the conversation turns […]

Social media content: Secrets to Facebook engagement that actually gets you sales

If your content strategy for marketing on Facebook is to drive sales with every update, you’re going to bomb. The same is true if your strategy is to engage for the sake of engagement. Somewhere in the middle of that spectrum lies the secret to social media marketing success. To the ROI-focused marketer, engagement is […]

Web copy: 100 artful ways to convert online prospects to online customers

  Need, want or desire? Savvy digital marketers know the difference – and use it as a competitive advantage True or false: Web copy that focuses on customer need and product benefit is your best bet for getting a response and driving conversions? If you said ‘true,’ congratulations. You are half right. It’s true, Web […]

He risked his future on this content strategy. Would you have done it?

What if you were to create content that helps your customers spend LESS time discovering your products? Content that leads them directly to their purchase destination, potentially cutting off opportunities to view other products that may lead to add-on sales? That is an approach to content marketing that turns conventional wisdom on its head. It […]

Make your story stand out in the expanding universe of social media

The world is hooked on social media. Social networking has moved beyond the status of trend to become the norm. It has moved beyond Facebook and Twitter to an expanding universe of niche networks. In the process, the power to influence the market has shifted dramatically. People love their new power to engage with your […]

Social influence: 4 tips for building a loyal following from a guy who blew it

The rise of social media and content marketing has inspired renewed interest in amassing greater social influence. And with it, a loyal following. The Holy Grail of social networking is to be viewed as an authoritative, influential expert by your followers. This is not unique to the online world. Influence has always been the entry […]

Power up your content marketing with brand stories: 4 ideas you can use today

  Here are excerpts from four excellent books on content marketing and copywriting that give practical tips for telling stories to inspire and influence business audiences     Use the language of your audience You develop an unbreakable bond with your audience by using attention, empathy, storytelling and mirroring. You get attention with a compelling […]

The Reader’s Digest school of blogging: Hook readers fast

Stuck for ideas on writing an intro that hooks readers into your blog post? Here are six time-tested tactics you can steal Bloggers: you have eight seconds to grab your reader’s attention. It hardly seems fair, but that is the reality of life in the digital world. The average attention span of a Web user […]

How to take charge of your social media mix [Infographic]

Putting your brand story in the proper context is critical to successfully integrating your social media marketing Integrated marketing communications has always been a challenge for businesses. Before social media came along you had your hands full just integrating consistent brand messaging across traditional channels like advertising, public relations and direct mail. Add social media […]

Why content marketing flops

 You don’t have to be a dummy to make the most common mistake in marketing. Lots of smart people do it every day. In fact, it is often because they know so much about their business that they fall into a trap that makes their content marketing a big old belly flop. That trap is […]

The Zen of creating quality content your audience will love

Tony Bennett’s lifetime of creating art is a model for creating content marketing that touches hearts and has timeless appeal Great marketing has always been equal parts art and science. That’s never been truer than with content marketing. You need to crunch the numbers and do the analysis to understand your market and your customers. […]

Social media content: 10 starter tips for posting like a pro [Infographic]

A simple truth to growing sales is to be where customers and prospects are and to give them information relevant to their wants and needs. If you aren’t on social media, you’re blowing a huge opportunity to do that. How huge is the opportunity? Fresh data from Digital Buzz gives you some eye-popping insight. Here […]

Business blogging: How storytellers turn humdrum content into fuel for leads

There is good news and not-so-good news for business bloggers. The good news is your blog is one of the most powerful content marketing channels you have for engaging prospective customers and turning them into leads that convert to sales. One study found that small businesses that blog get 126% more leads than small businesses that […]

Your hidden source of unstoppable influence

In the excellent book The Five Levels of Leadership John Maxwell says, “Too often leaders place a higher value on impressing others than on having integrity with them.” This brings to mind a story. There was a vice president of field sales in a large corporation who was in a perpetual turf war with marketing. He criticized […]

The science behind word-of-mouth that ignites customer referrals [Infographic]

 People will talk. What they say about your brand on social media has a direct impact on your bottom line. In fact, word-of-mouth is still the most influential factor in driving purchase decisions. Consider these findings: A Neilson study found 92 percent of people trust recommendations from friends more than all other forms of marketing. […]

Thank you marketing on social media: 4 things you should do every day

Four expert insights on giving thanks to your customers all year round on social media Social media exposes one of the biggest challenges to digital marketing success businesses face today. That is to break from a transactional mentality and shift into a relational mentality. The transactional mentality focuses on getting. So a lot of effort […]

Winning with content marketing: How to think up game-changing content ideas like a Mad Man

Content marketing is the great leveler today. You don’t need big-time resources to compete with bigger organizations. What you need is relevant content your customers want, need and desire. Your ability to come up with original ideas for publishing content is the differentiator. Train your mind to produce better ideas and you can win the […]

Straight talk about content marketing for the reluctant business leader [Infographic]

If you’ve been waiting to see if content marketing is just a passing fad before you jump in, your wait is over. Here are a few trends you can’t ignore. According to research by Forrester, B2B customers are 60-90 percent through the decision-making process by the time they contact a company about making a purchase. […]

I tweet, therefore I brand: Your simple guide to looking good and getting clicks on Twitter

Mom was right, appearances do matter. She couldn’t have anticipated a world with social media when she said it. But it applies there too. Each tweet in your Twitter stream is a 140-character snapshot of your brand. There are other important factors to your Twitter success like sharing great content, optimizing your profile and engaging […]

11 digital marketing principles for earning the trust of skeptical customers

The Web enables you to create interactive dialogs with customers and prospects. But they don’t want to be rushed into a relationship. You still have to earn it. The age of skepticism has been with us for years. It began well before social media and all the other digital marketing channels we have today. You […]

106 all-time great advertising headlines you can use to get more readers to your blog

 With so many excellent articles out there on how to write “killer” headlines for your blog, why should you read this one? I can give you 106 reasons. Over the years I have built quite a swipe file of headlines and other copywriting examples as a handy reference to inspire my own work. One of […]

8 fiendishly simple ways to bring dead content back to life

Don’t leave your old content for dead. Instead, start your own content zombie apocalypse. Tap into the undead to: Draw new readers Generate traffic to your site Save time by repurposing content Stay engaged with your audience Remain relevant and reliable to your followers Here are eight ways to bring that dead content back to […]

Web copy: The false choice of brand vs. response

Beware the hype about hype copy. It can take you off strategy. Case in point is an article I saw recently titled The epic face-off in copywriting: hype vs. no-hype. It is a frontal attack on direct response copywriting masked as a critique of hype. I am surprised a commentary on the evils of hype […]

9 keys to writing likeable content on your blog

Whenever the political season comes around there is a lot of discussion about the candidates’ likeability. For bloggers and content marketers this is a consideration for all seasons. One key to influencing people on your blog is the ability to present information in a way that builds likeability. People are more likely to agree with, follow […]

Content marketing: What is more important than strategy?

In content marketing, your ability to execute strategy is as important – if not more important – than the strategy itself. I had a marketing strategy professor who used to say, “A mediocre strategy with good execution beats a great strategy with poor execution every time.” He wasn’t promoting mediocre strategies. He was emphasizing the […]

Web copy: What you don’t know will hurt you

There is a difference between Web copy and Web content. It is the difference between getting subscribers, clicks and customers – and being ignored. Or worse. Here is an example that illustrates the point. A year ago I was searching on LinkedIn for people with SEO expertise. When I went to the top ranked profile […]

Before you publish that blog post, remember just one thing

One thing. That’s it. Keeping your topic focused on one idea is critical to holding your audience. That means you will have to weed out important ideas that aren’t MOST important. In the process, you must be willing to discard a lot of great insights to let the key insight shine through. This is not […]

The surprising rewards of going the extra mile

Going the extra mile is most-commonly associated with the merits of hard work and extra effort. That’s only a partial understanding of the original idea. Like many expressions, “going the extra mile” originates from a bible story. In Matthew, Jesus teaches his disciples the principles of humility and a servant heart when he says, “Whoever […]

Brand journalism, yesterday and today

My first marketing mentor was fond of saying, “The old is forever new.” I think he would be fascinated by the concept of brand journalism today. He’d consider it old-school. Except for the technology, of course. Back in the 1970s he founded a direct marketing agency that was among the first to produce hybrid direct […]

You can learn a lot about brand storytelling from this classic direct response letter

  “On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than average students, both were personable and both – as young college graduates are – were filled with ambitious dreams for the future. “Recently, […]

Finding your voice: What every blogger can learn from Frank Sinatra

The Voice. For those old enough to remember, it is the nickname that defined Frank Sinatra. There were many popular crooners during the time he made music, but none earned the distinction of being “The Voice.” Besides having a stand-out baritone, Sinatra perfected a style of delivering a song that made it uniquely his own – […]

The influence of the servant

Every now and then I encounter a compelling example of a great servant-leader. It happened again recently. This year I attended a retirement party for 10 former colleagues I had worked with for many years. As you might imagine, it was a bittersweet event. It was also a classy sendoff sponsored by the management team. […]

How to be a first-rank wordsmith in the next 10 minutes

Should you write “can you …” or “will you …”? “Brave” or “courageous”? “30 minutes” or “half an hour”? Is it a weakening redundancy to write “100% guaranteed”? I learned early on these are not trivial matters to a professional copywriter. Whether you are a DIY copywriter or you hire someone to write your content, […]

The first rule for repurposing content for digital marketing

Pop quiz: Your boss just discovered a treasure trove of white papers and PowerPoint presentations. She asks you to repurpose them for digital marketing. Immediately you run through a list of your options: Email/e-newsletter content Social media and Blog posts Video/multimedia content Landing page conversion offers Website pages Banner advertising/PPC Some others you haven’t thought of […]