Visual Marketing

Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy

By April 8, 2016 No Comments

Convince and Convert: Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing StrategyWhy 2016 Will Be the Year of Video MarketingA Marketer’s Guide to Making the Most of AdWordsHow to Plan and Create Awesome eCommerce Content7 Companies That Almost Tricked Us This April Fools’ Day​Why Storytelling Is Not Fluffy Stuff: It’s SurvivalWhy Snapchat 2.0 is Necessary for Digital Marketers5 Smart Habits for Staying Up-to-Date on Influence MarketingThe New Kind of Customer Loyalty Your Company NeedsHow to Understand Context to Maximize Outcome4 Social Media Tactics That Are Going Away Like the LandlineHow Social Media Examiner Uses Social to Power Customer ExperienceThe 25 Best American Mayors on TwitterThe Best Video Content for Every Step of the Marketing FunnelAn Expert’s Guide to How to Get SEO RightBusiness Storytelling From a Hollywood Screenwriting Coach Fri, 08 Apr 2016 13:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fri, 08 Apr 2016 13:00:00 +0000

Why 2016 Will Be the Year of Video Marketing

Why 2016 Will Be the Year of Video Marketing

January has come and gone, and February slipped out the door right behind it. Now it’s March, and you’re probably working hard to implement all those new campaigns and initiatives you developed in December.

But did you set the right goals? And are you using the right tools to achieve those goals?

The fact of the matter is, if you didn’t include a video marketing strategy as part of your broader content marketing plan, you’re missing out.

Video isn’t just a nice afterthought. It’s a chance to take your marketing strategy into the stratosphere. (highlight to tweet)

The good news? It’s springtime. It’s a fresh start—a chance to do marketing better. And it’s not too late to tap into the power of video. Here are just some of the many reasons 2016 is the year of video marketing.

1. Video Will Help You Dominate Your Marketing Objectives

One of our main messages at Explainify is that video is not a silver bullet.

By saying that, it may seem like I’m shooting myself in the foot with that silver bullet, but it’s true: video, on its own, isn’t magically going to grow your business. But if you use video strategically to accomplish specific business objectives, you’ll see serious returns.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Adding a video to your website can increase the chance of a front page Google result by up to 53x.
  • Using videos in email marketing has been shown to double click-through rates.
  • 71% of marketers say that video conversion rates consistently outperform other marketing content.
  • Audiences are 10x more likely to engage with video content—embed, share, or comment—more than text-only blogs or related social posts.

If you have a clear vision for what marketing objectives you want to achieve, video will help you get there.

2. Video Is No Longer Just for the Top of Your Funnel

A lot of companies see that we make explainer videos, and they think video marketing stops there. But there are so many opportunities for you to offer your audience video content throughout the buyer’s journey—video that will help educate them, make it easy to trust your brand, and move them to a purchase decision faster.

Top-of-Funnel Video

Of course, awareness-stage video is still a great way to improve conversions. Take ExactTarget, for example: When they implemented video on their website, their bounce rate decreased—and the average time on site increased by 100%!

Or what about the folks at Limelight Networks? Thanks to video, their bounce rate essentially evaporated, and their unique visitor count doubled—almost overnight!

Middle-of-Funnel Video

But stopping at the top of the funnel would be a big mistake. Video is a great opportunity to stay in touch with folks who are in the consideration stage, making their purchase decision.

That’s exactly what legendary online shoe retailer Zappos thought. And when they added product demo videos to their product pages, they saw a 30% impact on sales.

Zappos video marketing

Bottom-of-Funnel Video

Your existing customers will also appreciate ongoing engagement through video content, like when IKEA created a series of instructional videos showing customers how to build some of their most popular furniture.

Video belongs at every stage of the buyer’s journey. And the more places you utilize great video in your funnel, the easier you make it for those buyers to move down the path to purchase.

3. Video Helps People Feel the Love

Video is critical to helping people connect with, remember, and care about your brand. Consider these statistics:

  • Experiments show that video-based multimedia material create better learning performance and more positive emotion—even in text-centric learners. (Chih-Ming Chen)
  • Videos are usually presented as stories, and stories are 22x more memorable than facts alone. (Jennifer Aaker, Stanford)
  • Positive emotions created by watching a video can actually impact your viewers’ buying decisions. (Scheibehenne)
  • The human brain processes visuals 60,000x faster than text. (HubSpot)

Simply put, a great video taps into the human mind in ways that images and text just can’t.

4. Your Competition’s Already On It

The secret sauce that is video marketing isn’t so secret anymore. In fact:

  • 52% of marketing professionals name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
  • 76% of marketers plan to use video to boost their brand awareness campaigns.
  • 96% of B2B companies are planning to use video in their content marketing over the next year.

Can you really afford to be left behind?

5. 2016 is the year of video.

Did you know that consumer internet video traffic will go from 64% in 2014 to over 80% by 2019? That’s not very far away.

But don’t panic. There’s still plenty of time left in the year to get in on the video marketing game. You just have to get started!

Want to see more? Download the “5 Reasons Video MUST Be Part of Your 2016 Marketing Budget” infographic.

Get more content like this, plus the very BEST marketing education, totally free. Get our Definitive email newsletter.

]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 12:00:00 +0000

A Marketer’s Guide to Making the Most of AdWords

A Marketer's Guide to Making the Most of AdWords

Many people ask me how they can optimize in AdWords. I tell them to look for opportunities in their campaigns. (highlight to tweet) There are numerous AdWords reports that can help you find areas with room for improvement. In this post, I am going to highlight some of the most actionable ones.

Identify Metrics and Goals

Here’s a list of common metrics that should become the basis of your AdWords strategy:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR)
  • Cost
  • Average Cost Per Click (CPC)
  • Average Position
  • Quality Score
  • Conversions/Converted Clicks
  • Cost per Conversion/Cost Per Converted Click

The most important thing is to make sure that your conversion tracking is working properly. If you don’t insert the right tracking code in the right places, then your conversion data will not be accurate. Without accurate data, you could end up making bad decisions that hurt your campaign’s performance.

Note: You can find the list of conversion actions you can track through Google Adwords here.

It is also important to clearly define each campaign’s goals and use the appropriate reports to figure out whether those goals are being achieved or not.

Here are some example of common client goals:

  • Target Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA): This is a budgeted amount per lead or sale. For example, your client could say that they don’t want to pay more than $50 for a lead or $100 for a sale.
  • Target Ad Rank: Your client may want to stay in the top two or three positions no matter how much it costs them.
  • Target Lead Volume: Your client may like to get a number of conversions at a reasonable cost per conversion. For instance, they may want to get 100 sales in a month without their cost per lead exceeding $80.
  • Target Cost-Per-Click (CPC): Your client may prefer to to pay a certain amount for the cost per click. For example, they could say they don’t want to pay more than $5 per click.

Whenever you make any changes to your campaigns, carefully consider whether or not they’re going to help you achieve your campaign goals. After you make the changes, monitor your campaigns for the next few days to make sure the changes actually improved results. If they didn’t, then revert back to what you were previously doing, or consider following another approach.

Now let’s discuss the different reports you can use to look for opportunities in your account in detail.

Campaign Performance

If you have multiple campaigns in a single account, then this is the best place to start. You can easily find out which campaigns need your attention and which ones are your best performers. For example, in the screenshot below, you can easily see that the campaigns highlighted in red need attention. You can compare different metrics to see if each campaign is meeting your goals.


Ad Group Performance

After you find out which campaigns need attention, look at each campaign’s ad groups tab. At the ad group level, you can sort by cost to see which ad group is costing the most money, is not driving enough conversions, or has a very high cost per lead.

You can simply pause those ad groups and only run the ones that show a good number of conversions with a reasonable cost per conversion. You can also review the keywords in a specific ad group and pause any keywords that have a high cost per conversion.


Keyword Strategy

The keywords tab is the best place to see which keywords are actually driving conversions and which ones are wasting money. You can simply sort them by cost to see how much is being spent on each keyword, how many conversions each one is getting, and the cost per conversion for each keyword. You can increase the bid for your best keywords, and either drop the bid or pause the keywords that have high costs per conversion.

You can also review the quality score of each keyword and find ways to improve quality score. A good quality score will enable you to pay less for better positions in AdWords.


Individual Ad Performance

The ads tab is also an important place to look for opportunities to improve your campaigns. It is always better to have three to five ad variations within one ad group. This way, you will be able to test which ad copy performs better. From here, you can then pause poorly performing ads. If you notice that there is only one ad per ad group in a single campaign, than you should definitely add more variations to it.

You can also change the ad rotation to the option in the settings tab that says “Optimize for conversions: Show ads expected to provide more conversions.” This way, Adwords will automatically show the ads with the most conversions most of the time.

Search Term Report

This is one of the most important reports to monitor. This report shows you what the actual search term was for each of the ads that received impressions and clicks. To view this report, visit the keywords tab, then click on “search terms.”



You can also find negative keywords from this report, as well as new keywords to add to your campaigns.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are the words or phrases you don’t want to be associated with your ad. You can add in negative keywords as a broad, exact, or phrase match. When you gain access to a new account previously managed by someone else, review the negative keywords list to make sure no words are being blocked that are relevant to your client’s business. Review the negative keywords list at both the ad group and campaign levels.

Search Your Campaign Settings for Opportunities

It’s also important to look at the campaign settings to make sure that everything is correct. Look at Campaign type, then look at Networks to make sure your ads are running on the search or display network only. If your ads are running on search partners as well, look at the performance of each one to make sure you are not wasting your money. You can check for this at the campaign level using “segment.”

You can also find out which devices your ads are running based on location. Make sure that you have selected “People in my targeted location,” unless you want to show your ad to “People in,” “Searching for,” or those who show interest in your targeted location. Then look at “language” to make sure you have the language your customers speak selected.

Finally, check the bid strategy to make sure you are not doing automatic bidding. Check the delivery method to make sure you have chosen the right option based on your goals and budget. If you want to keep running your ads until your budget runs out, choose the accelerated option. Otherwise, the standard option is recommended.


Search for Opportunities at the Location Level

If you are targeting a whole country, this is an amazing report to see which cities or states are performing well and driving conversions for your campaign. You can add those cities or states to your “target as location” setting and increase bids to get more conversions from that particular area.

For example, if you’ve noticed you get 50% of your conversions from California at a very cheap cost per conversion, then you would definitely want to increase your ad’s position in California by raising your bid.


Your two options for viewing location reports are:

  • What triggers your ad (geographic): This option shows your users’ physical location, or the location where they showed interest based on their searches. For example, a user in New York could be searching for a lawyer in New Jersey.
  • Where your users are (user locations): This option shows your users’ physical location. Here, you can see where your users were when they performed each search.


Through this report, you can easily see where you spend the most, where you get most of your conversions from, what your average position is, and you CPC for different cities or states—and much more. Based on the information here, you can perform bid adjustments to increase or decrease your bids by X% in specific cities or states.

Search for Opportunities in the Ad Schedule Report

Ad scheduling is one of the best features in Adwords. You can actually schedule your ads to run at specific times or all the time, depending on how your business works. Most service-based businesses prefer running ads during their business hours so they can respond to leads quickly.

In this report, you can see the days and times that you get the most leads.


Based on the above data, you can easily see that Monday, Saturday, and Sunday are the best days to get conversions in this example; so you can set your bid modifier to increase your bid on these days. In the same way, you can decrease the bid on Friday and Tuesday, because that’s where you see high costs per conversion.

You can also view a combined report that shows both the hours and the days of the week to see more specific details on when most of the conversions come in.


The trick here is to stop running ads during the hours when you don’t get any conversions and spend your budget on running ads during the hours and days when you get the most conversions.

Search for Opportunities in the Devices Report

It is also important to see which mobile devices you are getting the most conversions and clicks from. The increase in mobile searches means an increase in competition as well. This means you need to make sure your ads are showing up in the top two or three positions to get impressions from mobile platforms. Of course, this can also cost you a lot more than desktop CPC, depending on the industry you’re advertising in.


Once you find out which device brings most of the conversions, adjust the bid percentage accordingly.

As in the case above, mobile brings in most of the conversions, so I have adjusted the bid to stay on the top two positions on mobile to get more conversions.

If, in your case, the desktop platform actually performs better than mobile, then you can decrease the bid for mobile devices so that you spend more on desktop and less on mobile. You can also set your mobile bids to -100% if you only want to target desktop audiences. But if you only want to target mobile, then should create a separate call only campaign that targets mobile devices.

Ad Extension Report

With ad extensions, you show some extra information about your business with your ads. You can use call extensions to show your business phone number, sitelinks (links to other relevant pages on your website), location extension (to show your office location), reviews extension (to show reviews), and callout extension (to show extra information in 25 characters or less).

All of these extensions are really helpful in getting a higher click-through rate. You should monitor each extension report to make sure that each one you use is getting as many impressions as possible. Look at average positions to show sitelinks and callout extensions.You have to be in the top three positions, so make sure you are bidding well enough to be in the top position. From here, the extensions can show up, and you can get more clicks.

You can also test adding different sitelinks and callouts to see which ones perform better.


One thing to be careful about here is that clicks on a specific sitelink only show that the ads received 2,886 clicks when the FAQs sitelink is showed along with the ads.

To see whether you get more clicks on your headlines or on your sitelinks, you can filter or segment them by click type.


Use Segments

In using “segment,” you can include some extra information in your report such as details based on hours, devices, click types, and conversion types.


There are a lot of options to segment your data:

  • Time: Includes more specific data such as Day, Week, Month, Quarter, Year, Day of the Week, and Hour of Day.
  • Conversions: Includes statistics on Conversion name, Conversion category (Lead or Signup, etc.)
  • Network: Includes statistics about networks like search or display.
  • Network (with search parameters): Includes statistics on networks and search partners.
  • Click type: Includes data about click types, like whether the click was on the headline, the sitelink, or through mobile click-to-call.
  • Device: Includes statistics on device type such as desktop, mobile, and tablet.
  • Experiment: If you are running an experiment in Adwords, you can use this to see statistics on inside and outside experiments.
  • Top vs. Other: Includes statistics about your campaigns when it shows up in top positions vs. other positions.
  • +1 annotations: If you are using social extensions, then you can use this segment to see how well your campaign performs when it shows up with different social annotations.

The view type option is basically for in-display type video campaigns that show TrueView in-stream.

Search Reports in the Dimension Tab

You can access a bunch of useful reports in the Dimension tab. These reports include conversions, time, destination, and final URL, as well as geographic and user locations.


You can find out more about what you will see in each report here. Each report can provide you with opportunities to improve your campaigns.

Search Hidden Columns

There are many useful AdWords columns that are not in your reports by default. You should definitely add these useful columns to your reports, as they will unlock the doors of opportunity for you.


Click “Modify columns” in order to add these columns.

Competitive Metrics

In the Competitive metrics, there are four columns you should add in your search campaign reports. These are “Search impr. Share,” “Search Exact match IS,” “Search Lost IS (rank),” and “Search Lost IS (budget).”


  • Search Impr. Share: This metric can help you identify potential opportunities and get more impressions and clicks. If the value is equal to 100%, this means you are not missing any impressions. But if the value is less than 100%, then it means you are missing search impressions either because of the budget or because of low ad rank.
  • Search Exact Match IS: This metric can identify potential opportunities to capture more exact match impressions and clicks. It works the same way as the Search Impr. Share, but focuses only on exact match keywords.
  • Search Lost IS (Rank): A high Search Lost IS (rank) means there were many times your ad was eligible to be shown on the Search Network but wasn’t because its Ad Rank was too low. You can increase the bid of the keywords or improve your quality score in order to increase your ad rank.
  • Search Lost IS (Budget): Search Lost IS (budget) is the estimated percentage of the times that your ad was eligible to be shown on the Search Network, but wasn’t because your budget was too low. In this case, you can increase the budget of your campaign if the campaign is performing very well.

You can also add Display Impr. Share, Display Lost IS (rank) and Display Lost IS (budget) in your display campaigns to see if you are missing any impression shares for your campaigns.

Attribution Metrics

You can add “click assisted conv.” and “click assisted conv./last click conv.” columns from Attribution.


Click-assisted conversions: Refers to the total number of conversions to which this keyword, ad, ad group, or campaign contributed one or more assist clicks. This lets you see how many times a campaign, ad group, or keywords assisted in the conversions. With these metrics, you can find out if a keyword is not bringing in conversions directly, but is assisting in making the actual conversion. From here, you can decide whether to keep it running or put in on pause.

Click-assisted conversions/Last click conversions: The total number of conversions from which this keyword, ad, ad group, or campaign received assisted clicks, divided by the total number of conversions by which it triggered the last click.This provides you with the ratio that shows whether a keyword contributed more click-assisted conversions or more last-click conversions. If the number is greater than one, it means the keyword contributed more assisted conversions. If the number is less than one, it contributed more last-click conversions.

Add these optimization tips to your AdWords strategy, and you’ll be on your way to improving your campaigns.

Get more content like this, plus the very BEST marketing education, totally free. Get our Definitive email newsletter.

]]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 14:00:00 +0000

How to Plan and Create Awesome eCommerce Content

How to Plan and Create Awesome eCommerce Content

When starting an online store, content is a frequently underrated yet vital aspect of the website creation process. We consistently tell our clients that we need content for the site completed within the first one to two months of a project—otherwise, it is the area most likely to slow down a site launch. Make sure you’re paying attention to these areas of website content when preparing to launch your eCommerce site.

Brand Voice

A clear brand voice is absolutely crucial in determining how all copy and imagery should look and feel across the site, and really, across all marketing efforts. Is your brand Fun and Quirky? Luxurious and Exclusive? Sweet and Sexy? Hopefully during the branding process, you’ve answered these questions, but if not, now is definitely the time.

Asana’s brand voice embodies who they are in four main characteristics, as shown in this illustration:

Asana brand voice

Once you’ve established the core essence of your brand voice, find photography and write some sample copy that fits that voice. For instance, what would your brand voice say when someone wants to purchase an item? How about when someone wants to return something? What about greeting someone? Is it Hi, Hey, Hello, Yo, What’s Up, or something else altogether?

These seemingly small phrases add up into your brand personality. A mood board of photography and phrases, while not required, can be a valuable visual resource not only for the website but also for your team to know who you, as a company, truly are.

This moodboard for Portland Apron Company by Taiga Press has a limited palette and a distinct style. It also gives a great sense of photographic style.

Portland Apron Company mood board


Once you’ve established your brand voice, it becomes infinitely easier to know what kind of photography your site needs. Reference a few of your favorite top photographers, look at their level of photography for images that match your brand voice, and aspire to reach that level with your own.

This moodboard for Beauty & The Beast, by Jamie Barker Photography, captures the essence of the brand and what the imagery should evoke emotionally in the viewer.

Beauty and the Beast photography

If you’re doing it yourself, keep it simple and clean with good lighting. If you can’t afford a photographer, reach out to friends who are photographers and ask them how they would set up the shoot. If you can’t afford models, ask your friends who would be a good fit for your brand. Be resourceful!

Always have a list of photographs that are needed as well — it keeps things on schedule and allows you to be efficient with the shoot. Also, make sure to know if you want lifestyle shots, lookbook shots with a model, and/or lay downs, as well as what angles you’ll need for each. Planning out your needs and establishing a level of quality for which to aspire are the first steps (and in some ways, the most important) to nailing the photography down.


Once you’ve clarified your brand voice, go through this core list of content areas to make sure you’re covering all pages of the site:

  • Home (navigation, footer, and email sign up)
  • Products (title, details, colors, etc)
  • About (tell a story about your brand)
  • Stores/locations/stockists
  • Contact (what do you want out of this page? potential wholesalers?)
  • FAQs (vital to alleviate customer service issues)
  • Shipping and Returns (also very important to alleviate customer service issues)
  • Privacy policy (ask your lawyer)
  • Terms and conditions (ask your lawyer)
  • All emails for shipments, returns, confirmations, newsletters, etc.

Of course, this content will vary from site to site, but having a list of these pages on hand will keep you organized. Once you’ve written your content, run it through the “does that fit our brand voice” filter. (highlight to tweet) If your brand were a person, would they say that? If not, think about editing copy to match that voice. The only exceptions are pages influenced by lawyers—always make sure those are done by your lawyer and have you fully protected.

When potential clients come to us and have difficulties with their budgets on starting their web presence, the first thing I tell them is to invest in great content above all else. You can use a Shopify template in the short-term, but great content will stand the test of time through website iterations as your company grows.

Get more content like this, plus the very BEST marketing education, totally free. Get our Definitive email newsletter.

]]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 13:00:24 +0000

7 Companies That Almost Tricked Us This April Fools’ Day

7 Companies That Almost Tricked Us This April Fools’ Day

With each passing year, April Fools’ Day presents a challenge and opportunity for companies. While April Fools may not be for every company out there, there are some companies who surprise and delight us each year. Following last year’s robust Convince & Convert roundup of April Fools’ Pranks So Fun They Should Be Real, here are seven companies that almost tricked us—in a good way—this April Fools’ Day.

1. Zappos Accidently Lets CEO Tony Hsieh​ Go

When a reported software “malfunction” removed CEO Tony Hsieh from his role, the company didn’t dwell on the glitch, or the stern ruling from Holacracy experts who deemed the mistake irreversible. In an official Zappos video statement from Executive Fred Mossler, the company decided to launch a 2-week search for a new CEO.

According to Mossler, the ideal candidates must “have an obsession for world-class customer service, love llamas, and know what teal means.” Applications must be sent via video cover letter with the hashtag #ZapposCEO. It didn’t take long for applications to flood in, including a few surprising ones from celebrities such as Tony Hawk, Jewel, and more.

2. ASOS Fans Can Now Get Married on Its Legendary Catwalk, Models Included

ASOS’ catwalk is about to star in more than just fashion shoots—it’s now available as a glamorous backdrop for weddings. Announced on April 1, the ASOS wedding package includes clothing (of course), dapper male models as ushers, flowers, photos, and even the company’s delivery van (limos are so last year). Read more in the company’s blog post about how “wedded bliss is but a click away.”

3. Whole Foods Market Plays Matchmaker With In-Store Dating App

Before planning a dream wedding, singles need to meet that special someone. If Whole Foods Market has anything to do with it, single shoppers can now pick up more than just grocery items. On April 1, the company launched a new app called “Main Squeeze” to help their customers find love—#WholeFoodsAndChill optional.

4. OpenTable App Introduces Lickable Photos to Taste Restaurants Prior to Booking

Trying out new restaurants can be a gamble—until OpenTable’s app cracked the code on 4D technology to bring its users a taste of its many restaurant listings via lickable photos. Announced on April 1, OpenTable notes that its “lickscreen technology” is equivalent to fingerprint technology.

On the company’s website, OpenTable notes that “our Taste technology recognizes the unique taste bud patterns on your tongue to recreate the flavor profiles in your brain.” They warn users, “With excessive use, OpenTable Taste may desensitize taste buds and make you feel full though still hungry. Exercise caution as over-licking is similar to over-eating.”

Apparently, licking other photo types such as interior, exterior, restaurant staff, or guests is also not advised.

5. McDonald’s Launches Hipster Happy Meal Subscription Service

Not to be outdone by its foodie counterparts, McDonald’s announced on April 1 that it was launching MmmBox, a monthly subscription service that matches its customers with “non-mainstream taste buds” with their favorite menu items according to their lifestyle. Akin to a hipster Happy Meal, McDonald’s has three MmmBox offerings, including The Artisan, The Ribster, and The Minimalist.

For example, The Ribster includes The McRib, a moustache comb for “combing out those pesky crumbs,” a plaid napkin, and a little bit of irony.

6. Flo from Progressive Nabs a Reality TV Show

April 1 was a big day for Flo from Progressive, who took to Facebook and Twitter to announce that her family landed a reality TV show. Rumored to be called Flo’s Family: Behind the Glitter, each family member looks mysteriously like Flo.

On the Progressive blog, the company hinted, “The new show will truly help all of Flo’s fans understand her background and how she grew into the insurance-loving brand lady that we all know and love.”

Cleverly, Progressive is also using April Fools as an opportunity to launch, a way for its customer to prank their friends by creating a personalized fake news story “that’s too good not to be true.”

7. Netflix and John Stamos Partner for a Documentary Unlike Any Other

Flo was not the only famous face to nab a new TV show. On April 1, Netflix and John Stamos decided announce plans for John Stamos: A Human, Being to debut on Netflix on April 31. Described as a “new original documentary unlike any other,” John Stamos will play the role of a lifetime—himself.

But it didn’t stop there. As users started to cry “April Fools,” Netflix continued the fun by releasing a video statement from Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. Could there be something to this documentary after all?

Well done, April Fools’ Day 2016! Which were your favorite and least favorite jokes from companies this year? (highlight to tweet)

]]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 12:00:01 +0000

​Why Storytelling Is Not Fluffy Stuff: It’s Survival

Park Howell - InstagramTargeting the Reptilian Brain

When his son left for film school, Park Howell became very curious about his education as it related to storytelling. As a result, Park began studying and researching storytelling until he understood its underpinnings in our subconscious and reptilian brain. 

After finding Joseph Campbell’s, “A Hero’s Journey,” which outlines a 12-step process in our universal storytelling formula, Park condensed these ideas and themes into a 10-step story cycle process for businesses.

Park’s main hypothesis is that the human brain only does anything in the interest of survival. He believes that storytelling is just another form of survival that garners you power, attention, and respect. By telling personal stories, especially ones that highlight flaws, failures, and vulnerability, we gain the trust of our audience.

People seek to learn from our mistakes, thereby avoiding similar pitfalls.

Thus, Park encourages businesses to focus on humanizing their process, noting that “B2B marketing” is a misnomer because businesses don’t sell to businesses; they sell to people. He contends that they best way to create a bond with a consumer is to build empathy and grab attention by revealing our weaknesses. He encourages all professionals to get in touch with their feelings. This may seem like fluffy stuff to some, but it’s all in the name of some not so fluffy concepts: survival and success.

A brother from a similar mother, Park Howell also runs a podcast under Jay Baer’s Convince & Convert umbrella: The Business of Story Podcast.

Listen in as Park explains how to use storytelling to sell something really well, and also save people’s lives in a really interesting way.

In This Episode

  • Why stories are important from a Darwinian perspective
  • Park Howell’s 10-step story cycle process for great storytelling
  • What is the right length of story for today’s attention span
  • What to say to cynics who don’t believe in the power of storytelling
  • How to get executives on board to create a bold story for your brand to lean into
  • How REI did it right
  • Why you’re already a great storyteller
  • How to re-structure your pitch to gain power and attention

Quotes From This Episode

“I make executives, much to their chagrin, get in touch with who they are and why it is they do what they do, and then sell from that position. Not sell from a features and benefits position. Tell stories about what human element is actually connected, made better, and empowered through their services.” —@ParkHowell

“Brands really no longer own their stories like they used to. Brands truly are story makers and allow their customers to become the storytellers.” —@ParkHowell (highlight to tweet)

“It isn’t about owning them for that day at the cash register, but it’s owning their hearts throughout the rest of the year.” —@ParkHowell (highlight to tweet)

“This is not rocket science; it’s just that we were all at the tops of our storytelling game in kindergarten, and our educational systems, cultural environments, and political correctness have silenced our innate storytelling.” —@ParkHowell

“Once your audience has empathy for you and you don’t use it against them, you are the most powerful person in the room.” —@ParkHowell (highlight to tweet)

“How succinctly can you tell a story that really triggers an emotion in a person, builds empathy, and gets them involved to where they’re buying with their heart? If you can do that on a napkin at a bar, trying to land a piece of business, that’s how long your story needs to be.” —@ParkHowell


What did you want to be when you grew up?

Park dreamt of being a composer as a kid. “I wanted to be a composer of music for movies. This was back when you had little tape recorders that were really crappy, but I loved it. I would do my own music; write and record it onto this crappy little cassette player.”

Park followed his love of music through high school and into college where he studied music composition and theory. “I really thought I would like to be either a writer/composer of music for movies or soundtracks or a producer of music. And I did a little bit of that in my 20’s and it just didn’t really take off and I had to go where I could actually make a living. That was in the advertising marketing world.”

Before you start feeling too cynical, Park has intentions to return to his childhood dream. “In this next chapter I might sneak back over there and do a little bit of music composition for movies. That’s what I ultimately wanted to do.”

Park Howell shows us that at any age, it’s not too late to pursue long-ago dreams. His thorough understanding of storytelling will no doubt aid him in this quest.

]]> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 14:09:34 +0000

Why Snapchat 2.0 is Necessary for Digital Marketers

This Week in Realtime Media

The Launch of SoundCloud Go

Looking to avoid ads while streaming your favorite songs? SoundCloud has now joined the ranks of other audio distribution platforms by making their music ad-free for a reoccurring monthly fee. In fact, comparisons Soundcloud to its competitors (namely, Spotify) is dominating buzz around the launch:

SoundCloud requiring subscribers to pay for ad-free music has caused a lot of upset among those discussing the launch on Twitter. 😭, or Loudly Crying Face, is the most heavily tweeted emoji within the SoundCloudGo conversation, followed closely by 😒 (Unamused Face) and 😑 (Expressionless Face):

While SoundCloudGo may have appeared to upset those that enjoyed listening to ad-free music on the platform at no cost, negative sentiment is still overwhelmingly low:

Because the majority of those contributing to the discussion are doing so in either a positive or neutral manner, a low volume of SoundCloud enthusiasts will likely continue to use the platform, whether they decide to upgrade or not.

Snapchat 2.0 has Arrived

Last week, Snapchat provided a new software update, offering users an abundance of new features.

New and improved items include auto-advanced Snapchat stories which play the next Story in your list automatically,  200 new stickers in private chats, Video Notes in Chat, Video or Audio Call someone even if you aren’t already text chatting, and much more.

The launch of Snapchat 2.0 caused the platform to jump to the forefront of social media chatter, spiking in mentions on Tuesday evening.

This momentary popularity started with a TechCrunch article describing the Launch of Snapchat 2.0, identifying the enhancements as ones that contribute to the platform not becoming a “disappearing teen fad.”

Was the update an attempt to get people to take Snapchat more seriously? Perhaps.

As stated in TechCrunch:

“Snapchat is the floor-to-ceiling window observation deck into someone’s life. It sees every type of communication humans have invented: video, audio, text, symbols, and drawings. Beyond virtual reality and 360 video — both tough to capture or watch on the go — it’s difficult to imagine where social media evolves from here.”

As social media evolves from here, it will be interesting to watch the impact this update has on businesses and marketing. Snapchat is already recognized the fastest-growing social media network today, and 2.0 has seemingly drawn even more attention to the platform.

Subscribe now to get the full This Week in Realtime Media delivered directly to your inbox. See you next week!

]]> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 14:00:00 +0000

5 Smart Habits for Staying Up-to-Date on Influence Marketing

5 Smart Habits for Staying Up-to-Date on Influence Marketing

The wealth of marketing knowledge available spread all over social media and our digital world can be overwhelming. Add that to the fact that influencer marketing is constantly evolving, and marketers have a really stressful job on our hands.

The fact that I may overlook an important post or research report sometimes keeps me awake at night. Wanting to make sure I know everything I’m expected to know about influencer marketing keeps me scrolling through my Twitter feed and asking brands and agencies of all shapes and sizes questions (probably too many questions).

To ease my mind about staying up-to-date on influencer marketing news, there are a few very simple habits I’ve formed. Here are my five favorite ways to stay updated and educated in the world of influencer marketing.

1. Set Up a Google Alert

Check in on your Google Alerts. These alerts allow me to make sure I get a daily feed of new posts. I have eight alerts set up, and they all pertain to influencer marketing and companies in this space.

I highly recommend making sure that one of your alerts is “influencer marketing.” The alerts I get for this topic are always great pieces and keep me up-to-date in real time.

Google Alerts for influence marketing

2. Host an Event

For GroupHigh, I run a bi-yearly influencer marketing virtual conference. The Outreach Marketing Virtual Summit is by far my favorite thing about my job and an event that keeps me and my network “to-date” on the latest and greatest strategies and creative tactics in the world of influencer marketing.

To promote attendance, steer clear of impersonal email blasts. Instead, promote your event through opt-in email channels and personal invitations. Once your event is underway, drive real time engagement with easy-to-share content like Tweetable quotes and data visualizations.

What I love so much about virtual events is that they are free to tune into and can be enjoyed from anywhere on the planet with an internet connection. Our next summit is Tuesday April 12, so make sure you’re signed up!

3. Use Twitter Lists

On social media, content passes through quickly. I tend to soak up my content in chunks of time, so I consult Twitters lists.

You can view a list someone has already made and subscribe to it or make your own. This allows you to only view the topics you want to read about at any given time. When I click on one of these lists (shown in the screenshot below), I see a feed of tweets from like-minded sources lumped together by any given topic.

Twitter Lists for influence marketing

Instead of logging in and viewing my normal Twitter feed, lists free me from scrolling through people’s rantings, food selfies, and tweets about their children.

4. Sign Up for Specific Newsletters

Subscribe to blogs and newsletters that you actually want to read regularly. I tried subscribing to every blog, news site, etc. that ever mentioned “influencer marketing,” and it was so overwhelming that I ended up not reading any of them. I scaled back and now only follow a few bloggers who specialize in influencer marketing. My three favorites are TopRank Marketing, Convince & Convert, and SpinSucks.

5. Nurture Marketing Connections

I make it part of my weekly routine to touch base with all of my marketing relationships. I make it a point to know what they are doing in marketing for their brands and what they think of the results and current trends.

Find some way to make sure you have a list of all of your “marketing friends” in a CRM or on a spreadsheet, and make sure to reach out periodically. This outreach can be anything from a “catch up email” to sending them a gift card for being awesome—just don’t forget to make sure your relationships are mutually beneficial!

Savvy marketers can’t afford to let big news pass them by. Put these habits into practice to stay current, well-connected, and clutter-free.

Get more content like this, plus the very BEST marketing education, totally free. Get our Definitive email newsletter.

]]> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 13:00:00 +0000

The New Kind of Customer Loyalty Your Company Needs

The New Kind of Customer Loyalty Your Company Needs

Image via Unsplash

It has been predicted that by 2020, price and product will no longer represent a brand’s biggest advantage for standing out in a crowded marketplace. Instead, the key differentiator will be a brand’s ability to deliver the best possible customer experience.

From initial customer search to an in-store purchase, the significance of this statement is undeniable. However, considering the fact that 89 percent of marketers expect to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience this year, it looks like we won’t need to wait until 2020 to validate these predictions.

The reality is that customer centricity has been on the radar of brands for some time now thanks to connectivity; social media platforms and a mobile-first culture have changed the ways consumers engage with brands and their expectations of those brands. These new interactions have proved to be instrumental in shaping both consumer buying behaviors and their expectations surrounding those experiences, so much so that today’s customers are no longer brand-loyal—they are experience-loyal. (highlight to tweet)

If your brand can’t measure up to expectations, it risks abandonment from customers, who can—and will—find another nearby business that meets their needs. In order to stay competitive in the era of experience loyalty, brands must restructure their strategies and make local customer engagement a priority. Here are four areas to focus on.

1. Connecting Across Channels

Customers today are omni-channel—that is, they take their shopping from desktop to smartphone to retail location (sometimes more than one at the same time) and back again, and they expect their experience to be seamless and personalized from start to finish. With local traffic increasing from a variety of smart devices, overall brand success depends on satisfying moments of local purchase intent.

Brands that lag behind in the engagement race are the ones that continue to chase broad demographics rather than recognize the individuality of customers. From segmenting audiences to localizing and contextualizing messaging, personalized engagement relies heavily on individualization.

To effectively harness customer experience, brands must stop thinking “big picture” and start building their strategy around understanding the customer’s needs and an individual’s path to purchase. This means redefining what role their brand seeks to fill in a customer’s life, and discovering what it takes to deliver that experience consistently across all devices.

2. Strengthening Strategy With Technology

Brands like Amazon and Starbucks continue to be industry leaders because their strategy prioritizes constant innovation into digital tools that improve the customer experience. But all brands have the ability to use technology to their strategic advantage.

For example, using native mobile functionalities to provide customers with value based on their real-time activities (such as offering a coupon using location data) helps personalize the buying experience and showcase the brand as one that genuinely understands their customers’ needs, no matter where they are.

Organization-wide acceptance and implementation of these experience-focused technologies is necessary for strategy to be truly effective—that includes the marketing department, sales, customer service, and beyond. Universal buy-in will also help to ease the process of reporting and tracking these tools across multiple locations and departments.

Additionally, businesses trying stay on top of rapidly changing platforms will benefit from appointing a Chief Location Officer (CLO), who understands the tech space as it relates to customer engagement. The CLO acts as the bridge between various departments in an organization, actively translating the value of the individual customer’s journey and relevant data to these different organizational departments.

3. Using Data to Make It Personal

At the heart of engagement is personalization fueled by layers of user data. Technology (such as beacons and the IoT) is enabling companies to gain greater access to accurate location, proximity, and contextual information about their consumers that helps drive truly personalized experiences across devices.

Personalization, however, really begins with the collection of these data layers, which brands should utilize to map and personalize the customer journey. This process enables brands to view the journey from the perspective of their customers and ask questions that characterize engagement at every key touch point: what are the steps my customer has to go through to reach me? What do they expect from this interaction? What are the points of customer friction they are experiencing that adversely impact their engagement, and are there any ways I can improve that experience?

Even if it’s just simple Post-Its on the wall, plotting out this journey will help brands hone their strategy and develop tactics that integrate with real-time data and technology to meet the highest customer experience expectations.

4. Focusing on Simple Metrics

It’s no wonder that 47.3 percent of customer experience professionals surveyed think that their organizations are either “ineffective” or “very ineffective” at measuring the business impact of customer experience—engagement is a notoriously difficult thing to measure.

While a variety of factors contribute to this, brands often struggle with data overwhelm resulting from a virtually endless number of digital strategies. Instead of getting lost in all the possibilities, marketers should focus on identifying specific goals and utilizing data obtained from simple metrics to achieve success: Did this ad drive sales? Did this coupon increase location visits? Can we attribute an in-store visit to an online search?

These questions provide a starting point for breaking down the data into digestible and actionable KPIs that will help continuously refine strategies and tactics into ones that are most effective.

Many brands know that customer experience is the new battleground for businesses, but there’s still a major disconnect as to how genuine engagement can be achieved and leveraged for growth. To succeed, brands today have to dive deep into all aspects of their consumer/brand interactions and identify the elements that sustain an effective engagement.

Strategy and technology serve as the foundation for these efforts, while customer data signals helps to drive personalization that engages customers and influences them to take action. It’s the combination of these factors working together that enables brands to master customer engagement and realize the true potential of delivering an exceptional customer experience.

For more insights into how leading companies are leveraging data and technology to engage customers, download the whitepaper The Engagement Stack.

Get more content like this, plus the very BEST marketing education, totally free. Get our Definitive email newsletter.

]]> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 12:00:46 +0000

How to Understand Context to Maximize Outcome

Shonali Burke_InstagramWe’re All in This Together

There is no “I” in team.

But there is an “i” in Shonali. That doesn’t mean she’s self-focused though, on the contrary, Shonali believes that value and success comes from taking the time to research, build relationships, and focusing on what’s mutually beneficial.

Shonali Burke Consulting is an international Social PR firm that focuses on having a strategic mix of platforms, measurable objectives, and empowering communities.

Shonali also maintains faculty positions at Rutgers and John Hopkins University, as well as a being a speaker, trainer, and avid volunteer for many community-building organizations.

In This Episode

  • How to balance many different roles
  • Why education never stops
  • How to stay personal in your work
  • How to best approach your influencers after thorough research
  • Why community is key

Quotes From This Episode

“Putting the community at the center of our programs just gives them a lot more power and fuels them in a much more effective way.” —@shonali

“Context is really everything.”  —@shonali (highlight to tweet)

“When you approach it from the relationship-building point of view as opposed to the transactional point of view, then it works.” —@shonali

“For me, an influencer is someone who can motivate your target audience, your target community towards actions that are beneficial for your brand or organization. If you think about it in that regard, then those influencers are very much contextual to your brand and to the value that you bring to your customers.” —@shonali

“Unfortunately, most brands do not approach influencers in a very personal way. Which, I think, is what you need to do.” —@shonali

“It has to work for both. It can’t work for just one. That’s just not a win/win situation. I would much rather focus on contextual influencers as opposed to celebrity endorsers, because I think the former is where you’re going to ultimately get much more value.” —@shonali


Would You Rather

Would you rather be able to control fire or control water?
Water. I learned how to swim, but I’m not comfortable treading water. So, one of my goals as I grow up is to learn how to do that, but if I could control water, then I wouldn’t drown.

Would you rather be stranded on an island with someone you hated, or stranded on the island by yourself?
Oh, by myself. Why waste all the energy that I could be spending into surviving or getting rescued fighting with somebody I hated?

Would you rather wear clown shoes every day, or a clown wig every day?
I think a clown wig for sure, because I would not get callouses on my feet.

]]> Tue, 05 Apr 2016 14:00:00 +0000

4 Social Media Tactics That Are Going Away Like the Landline

4 Social Media Tactics That Are Going Away Like the Landline

Do you remember when everyone had a landline?

I do. In fact, I remember the days when a phone number with a nine was a thorn in your side because it took longer to dial. It wasn’t that long ago.

I also remember when Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook were the only social media platforms that marketers really needed to pay attention to. Today, we’re balancing Instagram, Snapchat, Blab, Periscope, and whatever makes the front page of Product Hunt tomorrow.

But as the networks change, so do the best practices surrounding what you should and shouldn’t be doing. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you four social media tactics that are going away like the landline.

1. The ‘RT’ in Retweets

Of all the features on Twitter, the retweet may have been the most influential in driving early growth and long term success. The first retweet was sent in 2007:

Retweets are the way you pass along a tweet from someone else to the people who follow you. Until recently, the only way to do a retweet was to copy and paste the tweet, mention the users Twitter handle after “RT,” and place the tweet after this sequence.

Some still use this approach, but it’s quickly becoming old news. There are now two types of native retweets that are built directly into Twitters platform.

There’s the pure retweet:

Pure Retweet

And there’s the quote retweet:

Quote Retweet

In both circumstances, the user who is retweeted gets a notification, and the person who does the retweeting is having the content shared to their followers. Because this is now possible without the cut/paste and addition of an RT, the old approach to retweets is falling by the wayside.

One of the primary reasons people liked RT’s was because they could add a bit of context or commentary. Now, quote retweets allows the users to do this without staying restrained to the 140 character count.

2. Adding Thousands of Connections to LinkedIn

Once upon a time, the number of connections you had on LinkedIn was a badge of honor. Today, it’s an indication that you’re simply a connections collector and possibly someone looking to spam people online.

Tip 1: Don’t add people to LinkedIn you don’t know. (highlight to tweet)

Tip 2: If you’re looking to connect with someone for the first time, add context.

Tip 3: Don’t go in for the sale immediately. Nurture the relationship first.

If you’re going to send a request to someone who you have only met once or twice, give some context in your initial message. You don’t want to give off the vibe that you’re someone who is looking to spam them or clutter their newsfeed with memes and quizzes.

3. Sending Auto Direct Messages

While some of these are going away, this one is already gone. If you’re still sending automatic DMs on Twitter, the time to stop is now.

This tactic worked before everyone realized it was an automated system. You may be able to trick a few people into thinking it’s a real automated message, but those who know better will potentially unfollow you just because of it.

There’s a lot of debate about automation on social media, but I believe there’s a place for it in the marketing mix. Scheduling content to be shared later with tools like Buffer or Crate is something I can support. But insincere DMs that pretend to be genuine? That’s not a tactic I can get behind.

4. Hashtag Stuffing on Twitter

Similar to RTs and Auto DMs, once upon a time simple hashtags like #Marketing or #SEO would help you uncover great resources on the topic. Today, because Twitter is filled with millions of people and thousands of bots, these one-word hashtags don’t carry the same weight they once did.

Instead of stuffing your tweet with a bunch of different hashtags, take the time to understand a niche hashtag that only a small group of people is using.

You can use a hashtag like #GrowthHacking or #SMM for an immediate like, but the engagement is likely to be connected to bots. You want to use hashtags that will place your content in front of real people with an actual interest in your topic.

It’s no secret that social media changes frequently. We all know this. The key to sustaining long-term success on social media is in our ability to adapt to the latest trends and ensure that we’re aware of the tides as they change.

Get more content like this, plus the very BEST marketing education, totally free. Get our Definitive email newsletter.

]]> Tue, 05 Apr 2016 12:00:00 +0000

How Social Media Examiner Uses Social to Power Customer Experience

Erik Fisher - InstagramDoing Reps and Running Marathons

Social Media Marketing World, hosted by Social Media Examiner, is the world’s largest social media conference. Over the course of 3 days, 3,000 attendees hear from 100+ of the world’s top social media pros as they share their transformative ideas on social. It makes sense, given the expertise of the audience, that the team managing the social for this conference must be ready, willing, and able to engage with their customers on all channels, including platforms that are just emerging in the field.

So how does one interact on social with several thousand social pros?

For Erik, it’s all about training for the social marathon. He has a system locked in for pre-game, during, and post-game social that ensures every one of his 3,000 customers is taken care of in the channel of their choosing. He keeps an approach that is rigid enough to withstand the most torrential storms of social engagement while maintaining a degree of flexibility that allows them to adapt quickly and easily to new platforms as they emerge. Under his leadership, the world’s largest social conference has become one of the best for social pros near and far.

In This Episode

  • How “divide and conquer” leads to a more well-rounded social team
  • Why having a fine-tuned process for social engagement means being flexible enough to completely change platform priorities if needed
  • How practicing what you preach leads to a more authentic approach to social
  • Why having a social hit list prepares you for a better conference experience

Quotes From This Episode

“It’s paying attention to detail and trying to carry the torch of being service-minded in every single thing that we do.” —@ErikJFisher (highlight to tweet)

“You line them up in order of priority, check all of them in an interval, push the button, and then done. You’ve done your reps.” —@ErikJFisher

“We listen to all the pertinent top-of-mind and top-of-authority recommendations and best practices and implement them for ourselves.” —@ErikJFisher

“There’s never time to hang out enough with the people that are there.” —@ErikJFisher (highlight to tweet)

“Anything can be a time suck if it’s the wrong thing to be doing at that time.” —@ErikJFisher (highlight to tweet)

“Not everything is going to work on a personal scale unless you figure out what that scale really needs to be for yourself.” —@ErikJFisher (highlight to tweet)


See you next week!

]]> Tue, 05 Apr 2016 12:00:00 +0000

The 25 Best American Mayors on Twitter

The 25 Best American Mayors on Twitter

Twitter bring people closer to their peers.

Twitter brings people closer to brands.

Twitter brings people closer to celebrities.

But Twitter also brings citizens closer to their government.

And nowhere is this more the case than with municipal mayors in the United States.

There have been a handful of mayors lauded for their use of Twitter (and social media in general) throughout the years, but there’s never been a full accounting of who uses Twitter – and who uses it best – until now.

Development Counselors International (DCI) is a communications firm that specializes in marketing places. DCI is also a long-time Convince & Convert client. They set out to determine which mayors have mastered Twitter, and how much city size and other factors might contribute to their aptitude on the platform.


DCI started by looking at mayors from the 250 largest US cities. Of that group, 186 mayors were on Twitter.

74% of big city mayors are on Twitter

(highlight to tweet. It’s fun!)

Mayors with fewer than 1,000 Twitter followers were eliminated, narrowing the list to 110 officials. Each mayor’s Twitter activity was then analyzed for a 60-day period (January and February, 2016).

To assist in the data collection and analysis, DCI (with help from me and the C&C team) used software from LittleBird and RivalIQ to measure influence and engagement, respectively. (disclosure: I am an investor in both firms, and we use both platforms at C&C).

Overall, the rankings are based on:

  • Audience (30% weight) – number of followers divided by population
  • Frequency (20% weight) – average daily number of tweets
  • Responsiveness (20% weight) – average daily number of reply tweets
  • Engagement (20% weight) – engagement rate of tweets
  • Influence (10% weight) – number of other top 250 mayors that follow each mayor

Top Mayors Overall

Based on these criteria, DCI ranked the top 110 mayors. The 10 best are:

  1. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake – Baltimore, Maryland
  2. Muriel Bowser – Washington, D.C. (mid-atlantic Twitter battle!)
  3. Bill Peduto – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  4. Jennifer Roberts – Charlotte, North Carolina
  5. Steve Benjamin – Columbia, South Carolina (Carolinas battle!)
  6. Kasim Reed – Atlanta, Georgia
  7. Francis Slay – St. Louis, Missouri
  8. Martin Walsh – Boston, Massachusetts
  9. Andy Berke – Chattanooga, Tennessee
  10. Robert Garcia – Long Beach, California

To see the full list ofThe Tweet Elite 25 top mayors, visit the special microsite and download the entire report. You’ll see that three of the top 25 are from Kentucky. Also three of the top 25 are from Tennessee. And comparatively few mayors in California (and the western USA, overall) are on the list, even though Twitter was invented in California! 

Some of these mayors include “mayor” or similar identifying language in their actual twitter handle. Others do not. I assessed this in the full data set and found that 59 out of the 110 top mayors do include a signifier in their handle. A majority, but certainly not universal.

Category Rankings

In addition to the overall list of top mayors (beyond the top 25, DCI can also provide the full list of 110), the best officials in each of the ranking criteria categories were also identified.

Here are the top two in each category:

Top Mayors on Twitter – Audience

  1. Kasim Reed – Atlanta, Georgia (followers equal to 26.1% of overall city population)
  2. Kevin Johnson – Sacramento, California (18.7%)

Top Mayors on Twitter – Frequency

  1. Ed Pawlowski – Allentown, Pennsylvania (11.7 tweets per day)
  2. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake – Baltimore, Maryland (10.4)

Top Mayors on Twitter – Responsiveness

  1. Tony Yarber – Jackson, Mississippi (6.9 reply tweets per day)
  2. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake – Baltimore, Maryland (5.8)

Top Mayors on Twitter – Engagement

  1. Beth Van Duyne – Irving, Texas (.97% engagement rate)
  2. Bao Nguyen – Garden Grove, California (.74%)

Top Mayors on Twitter – Influence

  1. Sly James – Kansas City, Missouri (followed by 32 other top mayors)
  2. Kevin Johnson – Sacramento, California (32 and tied for first)

For the entire list of top mayors by each category, visit the DCI Tweet Elite microsite where you’ll also find written interviews and podcasts with top mayors talking about how and why they use Twitter to connect with their constituents.

Thank you to DCI for putting this interesting report together, and thanks to RivalIQ and LittleBird for the data.

]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 15:04:52 +0000

The Best Video Content for Every Step of the Marketing Funnel

The Best Video Content for Every Step of the Marketing Funnel

Take yourself back to your childhood chemistry lessons. I bet at least once your teacher droned on about how heating up a substance would make the particles in it move faster.

What has this got to do with video content marketing?

Here’s the picture: Your marketing funnel is that substance your teacher was telling you about. All the leads inside it are those particles, bouncing around.

How do you make those leads speed up and move down the funnel faster? Well, it’s simple. You just need to energize the situation.

How Video Content Energizes Your Funnel

Video content can help raise the heat on your marketing funnel.

We all know that content marketing is about creating valuable content tailored to your audience. It should attract, engage, and convert your potential customers. Basically, it should encourage them to move down the funnel. But have you tried using video as part of your content marketing to speed up that process?

This post will give you 13 examples of how video content can be used throughout your entire marketing funnel (and beyond!) to market to your target audience—and keep them moving even faster towards purchase.

A little icon indicating the top of the marketing funnel.Top of Funnel

Your potential customers are experiencing a problem or a need, and are researching more so they can fully understand and put a name to it.

1. Brand Films

The aim of these promotional videos is to share your values, mission, and ultimately your brand with your target audience. With video, you can get your brand across through visuals, sound, and storytelling in ways that would be impossible for any other medium.

As if you need an excuse to watch it again:

[embedded content]

Volvo’s brand film works so well for several reasons:

  • It tells an engaging story (through an interesting narrator).
  • It looks and sounds incredible and awe-inspiring.
  • It expresses the values of the brand: pushing the limit, precision, expertise.
  • The brand products and their benefits are included in a minor yet relevant way.

How this encourages leads down the funnel:

We all want to spend time with people we like. We all want to buy from companies whose values align with our own.

When first catching the attention of your target audience, you’re more likely to forge that initial relationship by focusing less on your products and services and more on your core values.

As Simon Sinek put it in his awesomely inspirational TED talk, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

So when your potential audience finds your highly effective brand film while researching their need, they’re more likely to remember your brand and feel compelled to find out more.

2. Educational and How-To Videos

People love having their questions answered and being taught new things. They especially love it when they’re in the top of your marketing funnel and explicitly looking for more information. That’s why educational videos in content marketing have become so popular—they offer real value to your audience that they can apply to their everyday lives.

In the SEO world, it’s an area Moz have found great success with in their Whiteboard Friday videos:

These videos gives Moz’s target audience unique, remarkable and highly actionable advice.

They’re also:

  • Quick and simple.
  • Delivered in a personable, entertaining way.
  • From a trustworthy source.

How this encourages leads down the funnel:

When your target audience finds the content you’re producing genuinely helpful, you’ve begun earning their trust. And once you’ve started that process, you’ve created a strong link to your business or brand.

When they trust you, your potential customers are more likely to see you as an authority and return to you for more help in the future. From there, you’ve got a great recurring hook to keep those leads moving down the funnel. (And did you know that when people trust a brand, 78% of them will look to it first for the things they want?)

3. Video Documentaries

Video documentaries used in content marketing are a relatively new phenomenon, but they’re becoming more and more popular. And with good reason: just like educational videos, documentaries teach your target audience something new—but they do it in a more comprehensive, story-driven, and stylistic way. Think of them as a mash-up of brand films and educational videos.

Take a look at this documentary about worn clothing by Patagonia for a wonderful example:

[embedded content]

By focusing in-depth on an interesting and unusual subject (where the real spotlight is on the stories rather than their products), Patagonia succeeded at:

  • Intriguing their audience and drawing them in.
  • Reinforcing their brand values.
  • Presenting themselves as a thought leader.

How this encourages leads down the funnel:

By offering your target audience a surprisingly emotional and informative experience, you’re giving them value while asking for nothing in return. That doesn’t just position your business or brand as an expert on the topic in question (with solid values and beliefs to boot)—it also sets up the expectation that leads can return to you at any time for more valuable content.

On average, it takes 10 marketing-driven “touches” before a top of funnel lead will turn into a customer. High-value video content marketing keeps your potential customers returning time and time again. (highlight to tweet)

4. Entertaining or Emotional Short Videos

Short pieces of video content used to engage, amuse, and affect audiences have exploded in popularity over the last few years. They’re often used in places where quick content is preferred, like on social media (think Vines and short YouTube videos).

Here’s a hypnotically creative example from Samsung:

This snackable, short-form video content works because it creates a short burst of emotion in the target audience. Unlike educational videos, the goal isn’t necessarily to teach. It’s to make the audience feel something. Really, this emotion can be anything. Most often it’s one or more of the following:

How this encourages leads down the funnel:

I’m sure you know the old saying, “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

And it’s true. If there’s one way to effectively engage with your audience and make sure they remember you, it’s to make them feel something. Studies have shown that emotions strengthen our memories. So if you make your potential customers feel a certain way, they’re more likely to recall your brand and return to you in the future.

5. Explainer Videos or Animations

When it does come time to introduce your product or service, an explainer video is first choice for many businesses and brands. These quick, simple videos (or frequently, animations) are great at explaining topics plainly and succinctly.

Just take a look at this snazzy animation from budgeting tool Mint:

[embedded content]

This explainer animation is effective because it:

  • Doesn’t delve too deep into the product at this point in the funnel.
  • Emphasizes the target audience’s pain point.
  • Gets across the brand’s look, tone, and values.
  • Shows screenshots of the product in action.

How this encourages leads down the funnel:

Eventually you need to stop charming these potential customers at the top of the funnel and start moving them onto the middle of the funnel.

How do you do this? Well, if your leads are ready to move on, they will have gathered enough information about their problem or need. They should be willing to start considering solutions.

That’s when your explainer video or animation can present your solution. And if that video is clear, simple, visually appealing and reflective of your brand, you’re already strides ahead of the competition in your target audience’s minds.

A little icon indicating the middle of the marketing funnel.Middle of Funnel

Your potential customers have clearly defined their problem or need, and are now researching all the available options for solving it.

6. Videos in Email

At this stage of the funnel, it’s time to really nurture those leads. This is frequently done through email, but standard email is boring and expected nowadays. By injecting video into your email, you can excite your target audience and differentiate yourself.

Here’s an email newsletter from jewelry retailer Alex and Ani:


Here, video is the focal point of the email. A large thumbnail with a play button encourages leads to click through to view the video on Alex and Ani’s website.

Video is email is such a potent combination because:

  • It’s visual and engaging, giving you space to reinforce your brand.
  • It piques the viewer’s interest and makes them want to click.
  • It’s lively and different, unlike the usual dull emails in your leads’ inboxes.

How this encourages leads down the funnel:

It’s all about the click-through rate. Including video in your emails can boost open rates by 20% and click-through rates by two to three times. Just using the word “video” in an email subject line has been shown to improve open rates and click-through rates and reduce unsubscribes.

Vy using video in email, you’re achieving a win-win. Firstly, you’re keeping your brand or business top of leads’ minds with engaging and unique content. But those emails are also more effectively encouraging your leads to click through to more content, more offers, and more likelihood of moving further down the funnel.

7. Product or Service Videos

You know what’s perfect for showing your audience how your product or service works in practice? A product or service video. Especially if you offer a physical product that relies on lots of sensory feedback (like clothes or food), a video of it can encourage your leads to convert like nothing else.

This is a gorgeous example—a short lip balm product video from Lush’s website:

A piece of video content from a Lush product page showing a lip balm being used.

It’s a looping video on the product page that we’ve capture here as a GIF. Why is it so effective?

  • It really gives you the sensation of using the product. You can imagine it on your fingers and lips.
  • It’s integrated seamlessly and unobtrusively into the site: visitors don’t even have to click play.
  • We see a real person using the product, authentically illustrating how to use it.

How this encourages leads down the funnel:

Visualizing yourself using a product or service before you buy is a powerful thing.

There’s a reason why psychologists tell athletes to visualize performing well. Imagining something sets off similar processes in the brain to that thing actually happening.

When you encourage your leads to visualize themselves using your product or service, they’re already creating mental connections which strengthen their desire to turn that thought into a reality. And all you need is a product or service video to help your audience move down the funnel this way.

8. Case Study or Testimonial Videos

Once your potential customers get far enough into their research, they will eventually want to know what experiences others have had with your product or service.

That’s when they look for case study or testimonial videos.

Here’s how communications and collaboration tool Slack did it:

[embedded content]

It’s a quirky example that mixes case study and a product demonstration. Apart from its quirkiness, here’s why it works:

  • It shows the real stories of real people in a real company.
  • The focus remains on the impact of the product on people’s lives, rather than the product itself.
  • But the benefits and features of the product are still included in a natural way.

How this encourages leads down the funnel:

At this stage of the funnel, authenticity is key. People trust recommendations from people they know above any type of advertising (84% of global respondents in a survey by Neilsen said as much).

Your leads may not know your existing clients, but case study videos help to offer an authentic endorsement of your product or service that isn’t from yourself. Ultimately, they allow you to showcase real-life instances of the benefit you’ve had.

Unlike text or even images, in video your clients’ positive emotion really shines through. Plus, the effects of social proof are increased with visual reinforcement, making leads more likely to trust the recommendation and move further down the funnel.

9. About Us or Culture Videos

You might think that only potential recruits watch “About Us” videos. But in fact, I’m betting your “About Us” page is one of the most visited on your site. And not all those visitors are people looking to get hired.

Remember how we all want to work with and buy from people we like? You can tap into this universal truth to create about us videos that also show your leads just why you’re a great business to get involved with.

This is exactly what Zendesk did:

[embedded content]

Here’s a run-down of why this particular about us video works so well:

  • It’s funny, personable, and embraces the values of the brand and business.
  • It briefly covers the products and services of the company, but the real spotlight is on the team.
  • It’s shown how the positive energy of that team positively impacts customers.
  • It helps the viewer imagine what it will be like working with the company.

How this encourages leads down the funnel:

Encouraging your leads to become customers requires a well-rounded brand image. That’s why businesses engage in Corporate Social Responsibility and why they produce appealing culture videos (apart from the warm fuzzy feeling it gives them, of course).

Research has found that “likability” is the metric most predictive of whether an ad will increase brand sales. So the more a lead likes you—as people, as a business, as a brand—they more likely they are to buy from you. It’s a simple as that. That’s why you should create about us videos with both recruits and potential customers in mind.

A little icon indicating the bottom of the marketing funnel.Bottom of Funnel

Your potential customers have decided on a solution to their problem or need and are considering providers, products, and services from which to make a final purchase choice.

10. FAQ Videos

By the end of the marketing funnel, your leads are generally looking for answers to any remaining questions they may have. You need to allay their fears and calm any last quibbles before purchase.

McDonald’s Canada did this brilliantly with a series of informative FAQ videos:


Instead of a dry, plain FAQ page, McDonald’s turned in into an engaging microsite of its own, filled with text- and image-based answers, along with plenty of filmed responses too.

This approach succeeds at:

  • Answering the audience’s most commonly asked questions in a genuine way.
  • Feeling more like a personal response than a corporate one.
  • Showing that the company cares about dealing with questions.

How this encourages leads down the funnel:

To put your potential customers at ease, you need to answer their final concerns. By doing this in a friendly, honest, and transparent way, you also build up goodwill which spurs leads onto that eventual purchase.

Video makes your FAQs feel even more like the kind of tailored response you’d get to your questions at a physical store in front of a real person. The better the experience at the end of the funnel, the closer you drive your leads towards closing, so pay attention to how you answer those questions.

11. Instructional or Demonstration Videos

Your leads have another important question they want answered: will they still get assistance from you should they need it once they’ve bought your product or service? There’s one great way to prove that, yes, they will. It’s through instructional videos.

Not sure what I mean? Check out this spot-on example from Ikea:

[embedded content]

It does what it says on the box. The video literally gives an instructional demonstration of how to use the product—in this case, how to assemble Ikea furniture. It works because:

  • It shows a visual, step-by-step walkthrough on how to best use the product (when the images just don’t cut it).
  • It reassures leads that this information will be easily accessible for them when they buy from Ikea.
  • This type of demonstration video can also be used in webinars, training or customer support.

How this encourages leads down the funnel:

Your potential customers just want to know you won’t abandon them once the sale is over. They want that sense of security. They want to be assured that they will continue to receive good customer support post-purchase. In fact, customer service is ranked as the #1 factor influencing trust in a business. (And we already know how important trust is when converting leads.)

To push your leads down the funnel, you need provide up-front proof of how good your support is. An instructional or demonstration video, with plain but in-depth educational advice on how to use your product or service, will go a long way towards proving your trustworthiness to leads.

12. Personalized Videos

Okay, so this kind of video actually works no matter where in the funnel it’s used. But the power of personalization can really help leads on that final push towards purchase, so let’s consider it specifically at the bottom of the funnel.

See below for a highly personalized video from the Polish branch of Orange:

[embedded content]

Let’s ignore the unfortunate Siri-esque voice for a moment. Why is this video effective?

  • It creates a unique, totally tailored experience for each and every lead.
  • It makes that lead feel important, cared about, and invested in.
  • It builds a close, personal connection between lead and brand.
  • The unexpected kindness ignites the law of reciprocity and makes the lead want to do something in return.

How this encourages leads down the funnel:

A survey of 1,000 marketers found that personalization improved their conversion rate by 1.7 times the average. On top of that, video can make the personalization feel more real and more human. It’s a hearkening back to the days of your local butcher or baker, who would know your needs and favorites just as well as you.

Personalized video can speed up the process of personalization and make it feel more authentic. So if your lead is deciding whether or not to buy from you, a highly personalized, highly personable piece of video content might just sway their opinion from a competitor back towards you.

A little icon indicating beyond the marketing funnel.Beyond the Funnel

You’ve turned that lead into a customer! Congratulations! But the story doesn’t stop there…

13. Customer Thank You Videos

That’s right, video content marketing even goes beyond the funnel. It can help to energize your customer marketing, too.

Just because a lead has made their way through the whole marketing funnel doesn’t mean they’re suddenly immune to the effectiveness of video. In fact, they may even appreciate it more at this less-expected stage.

Watch this for a lovely example of a customer thank you video from Constant Contact:

[embedded content]

Here’s why the video succeeds:

  • It makes the company’s customers feel loved and special.
  • It doesn’t have any overt selling purpose—the aim is just to spread the positivity.
  • It reminds clients why they enjoy working with the brand.

How this encourages leads down the funnel:

Well, it doesn’t really. The funnel’s technically over at this point. But by celebrating and thanking clients rather than explicitly pushing them towards repeat purchase, this video makes clients more likely to become an advocate for the business. And it probably does also increase the likelihood of repeat purchase.

Don’t forget, on average there’s a 5–20% profitability when selling to a new prospect, but a 60-70% profitability when selling to an existing customer.

Create videos for your customers too, and you’ll keep nurturing them long past the funnel. Customer thank you videos can also be personalized for even greater effectiveness!

Reviewing How to Incorporate Video into Your Content Marketing

Those were 13 examples of video content that can be used throughout the whole marketing funnel to help energise your leads towards purchase. Including video in your content marketing strategy is an effective way to speed the journey of leads in your funnel.

Just remember to plan through:

  • How your video content will fit into your wider strategy.
  • How it will complement your other types of content.
  • Where and how you’ll use and distribute your video content for the best possible results.

Get more content like this, plus the very BEST marketing education, totally free. Get our Definitive email newsletter.

]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 13:00:00 +0000

An Expert’s Guide to How to Get SEO Right

An Expert’s Guide to How to Get SEO Right

When it comes to bettering your website’s search engine ranking, the importance of following good SEO practices cannot be emphasized enough. Sydney-based Andrew Raso has a similar opinion. He is the Co-Founder of Online Marketing Gurus, an award-winning global SEO agency that has collaborated with giants such as Salesforce and Coca Cola.

Thanks to Andrew’s all-encompassing experience in technical SEO, stakeholder management, and sales, he can pinpoint exactly why SEO will continue to matter in times to come and how clients can make the most of it. I spoke to him about this and couldn’t resist sharing the takeaways with you.

1. The obvious question: Will paying more and choosing a bigger agency get me more ROI on SEO?

Andrew: Of course, with increased investment comes an increase in hours spent on your campaign. Now, these hours could be spent doing a variety of different activities, whether it’s doing outreach, producing content, or even building and leveraging assets. It also depends on the competition on the industry. I do find myself having to tell customers we can’t work with them if the level of investment is just not enough to be able to be competitive in their market. You could also mention that a bigger agency usually has more credentials and ability to show results.

Further reading: Is There Such a Thing as Cheap SEO?

2. How do I decide whether SEO or PPC is better for me?

Andrew: I generally find myself saying that if you can, you should always do both. Now, of course, not all businesses have the luxury of being able to do both SEO and PPC. SEO is going to generate the best ROI in the long term and is going to deliver the lowest cost per acquisition. PPC is going to generate immediate results (most of the time). To cut a long answer short, I would recommend choosing SEO over PPC if you have investment for a minimum of 12 months.

Further reading: SEO Vs PPC: Which Is Better?

3. If they rank for “SEO company mycity,” does that mean they’re good at what they do?

Andrew: Not necessarily, and there are two reasons behind this. The city-related terms are usually not very competitive, and achieving ranking for them is not that hard. Just because they rank for a non-competitive term does not mean they can rank for a very competitive industry (such as yours). The other reason is that SEO companies are known to use deceptive tactics to rank their own websites. This could mean that they have manipulated Google’s search engine to rank them for certain phrases in the short term. However, once a Google update is released, they will no longer rank. I have seen this happen time and time again.

Further reading: Why Reputable SEO Firms Don’t Promise Guaranteed Search Engine Rankings

4. Google discourages ranking guarantees. What should I expect instead from my SEO vendor?

Andrew: If you speak to any company that offers guarantees, run for the hills. (highlight to tweet) Before they start an SEO campaign, they need to outline exactly what they will be doing for the investment every month, and you need to make sure they are delivering on these promises. Over and over again, I see SEO vendors who don’t show the work they are completing, either because it’s substandard or because they are trying to hide something.

My team shows clients absolutely everything we do—from the links we build to the content we produce—and explain why we are doing it. We have done from this from day one, and I think that’s one of the reasons we have been so successful. You should also have a dedicated team working on your campaign. All our campaigns have dedicated team members, with direct lines, Skype IDs, and other channels of communication, so you can be confident of always reaching them.

I find myself saying at the start of any campaign that if we can’t speak to the client at least once a month, unfortunately, we can’t take on the project. Further to this, here are Google’s quality guidelines. You should make sure your SEO vendor follows these instead of giving ranking guarantees.

Further reading: Don’t Get Fooled: 17 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Company

5. What would be a good length of time before I start expecting results from my SEO campaign?

Andrew: This depends on the client and industry. A number of factors affect the results you can expect, including whether the client has previously had SEO work done on the site, whether the site has been penalized, whether the client is doing other marketing work, etc., etc. There are quite a few variables that come into play when answering this question. I have had clients who have generated a significant ROI in as little as two months, and others for whom it has taken 12 months to generate an ROI. The rule of thumb is that the site should be generating traction within 4–6 months of starting a campaign. But again, this a very hard question to accurately answer.

Further reading: How Long Does SEO Take To Start Working?

6. I don’t know how to choose from one of their packages. What should I do?

Andrew: Well, firstly, there should never be packages with SEO. Every strategy we build is from the ground up and is tailored to a specific campaign. They all should have a scope of work that should be completed for that investment level based on a certain number of hours each month. If the company has shown you a few options, they need to explain to you what will work in your industry, and why you need to be spending this amount each month.

7. Should I help them with keyword research?

Andrew: To an extent—but it depends how complex your industry is. We do spend a significant amount of time understanding the scope of a client’s business before proceeding with any campaign. We ensure we speak to the client to obtain their approval, but we won’t necessarily have the client do keyword research for us. Bear in mind, we have plenty of tools that we combine in order to come up with the best terms to use for any campaign.

Further reading: The Ins and Outs of Keyword Research Success

8. My site has millions of pages. How many should I get them to optimize?

Andrew: Firstly, I would recommend targeting the most important pages with terms that you really want to rank for, as this will help to give your site a quick boost. Secondly, our team can usually write a script that can pull a list of best practices for titles tags, meta descriptions, etc., to be listed on the site, so you don’t have to do it manually (if the site is on a decent CMS).

Unfortunately, if you are going to write unique content for every page (which we highly recommend), this has to be done manually and can’t be scripted. From another perspective, it’s also important to ask whether it’s worthwhile having a million pages on a site. Each page should have unique, quality, and valuable content—and if it doesn’t, it should be removed.

Be objective, and question whether or not it’s really worth having all those pages on your site.

Further reading: How To Optimize Database-Driven B2B Websites

9. Do I need to implement all their recommendations for on-site changes, or should I listen to my developer instead?

Andrew: It depends on whether or not the SEO vendor has a developer in-house. Our team has SEO developers in-house who can implement all changes once we have been given approval from the client. We offer a fully managed service. Developers often have limitations in their SEO knowledge, or the site itself might be limited in terms of what changes can be implemented. Therefore, all decisions should be made on a case by case basis.

Further reading: On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page

10. Do I need to watch their activities closely? How would I know they’re on the right track?

Andrew: Yes, I would recommend that you do. If the company is consistently coming up with excuses, there are going to be some issues with the campaign. Make sure they are delivering what they promised you in the pre-sales process. All too often, I have seen cases where a company has said they can obtain big links and produce great content, but all the client receives is a directory listing and some content that looks like it’s been produced by someone with a poor grasp of the English language.

Further reading: How to Know if Your SEO Firm is Helping You or Hurting You

11. Can I expect the methods that worked for their other clients to work for me?

Andrew: Yes and no. The whole process of ranking a site does not differ too much—it’s actually quite straightforward. However, how a vendor does it is another story. Every campaign is different, and you need to make sure your SEO vendor is providing a solution and strategy that is tailored to your needs, and not something that has been ripped off from another campaign.

Further reading: Don’t Get Fooled: 17 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Company

It’s always great to hear more about SEO from the movers and shakers of the industry. The above information comes straight from the horse’s mouth and tells you exactly why you should seriously consider doing SEO for your website, and get it done through a reputable agency that understands the intricacies of your industry. Doing so will be highly instrumental in growing your business and taking your company to greater heights.

Get more content like this, plus the very BEST marketing education, totally free. Get our Definitive email newsletter.

]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 12:00:02 +0000

Business Storytelling From a Hollywood Screenwriting Coach

Robert McKee 2 - Instagram

The Story Master Speaks

Robert McKee is the master of Hollywood storytelling, and you may recognize his name. For the first time, we are excited to welcome a previous Business of Story Podcast guest in for another round.

Robert is a story mentor, the creator and leader of his famous STORY and Storynomics seminars, and a world-respected lecturer and teacher on story and the engines behind both business and narrative storytelling.

He brings his expertise once again to the Business of Story Podcast to illuminate a trend he has noticed: the key difference between screenwriters and business leaders—their implementation of logic and rhetoric.

Business leaders are not unwilling or incapable of adapting to story structures, it’s just that we have all been taught inductive rather than causal logic, and when delivering a proposal or presentation, this leads to an overwhelming amount of jargon and indigestible data.

As Robert points out, “Rhetoric is not the way the mind works.” By identifying the type of story you wish to tell, you can fit your form of logic to it.

In This Episode

  • The three fundamental techniques of persuasion: emotional persuasion, rational persuasion, and the combination of emotional/rational persuasion, story
  • The difference between implicit and explicit story
  • The intersection of meaning, truth, and moral
  • “Negaphobia,” or the fear of all things negative
  • Changing your thinking from inductive to causal
  • How to win a free story consultation with Park Howell

Quotes From This Episode

“It’s risky. It takes courage. It really does take courage to tell a story because when you’re doing a PowerPoint presentation, people are silent and thinking their own thoughts and you get a little applause. But when you’re telling a story, you’re really sticking your neck out.” —@McKeeStory

“There’s meaning. Truth is too big a word. Moral is too trivial. Story must make meaningful emotional sense.” —@McKeeStory

“The mind learned how to take the chaos and build order, how to take the meaninglessness of being alive and give it a meaning, it began to create ideas of life after death as the mind built religions and fortified those with stories. So storytelling is the way in which the mind works.” —@McKeeStory

“Life is movement, negative to positive back to negative to positive, life is dynamic. It’s not static. It’s story.” —@McKeeStory

“Aversion to the negative, aversion to friction or risk is built into your brains in business school, never to expose to the public that there are any problems, any conflicts, anything negative within the company. But the product is the solution to a problem, right? So why are we not announcing the problem?” —@McKeeStory