July 10, 2014

How to Find 7 Guaranteed Ways to Getting People to Read Your Content Every Time

You lie.

"Shock" by "jannemei"

I was tempted to leave it at that, but then I realize I would lose a chance to prove my point.

I apologize for my title, my intent was to make a point. Think about the headline for a second. How could someone guarantee that people will read this post every time? And if there were a way to do so, shouldn't this blog be ranked number one on Google already?

Yet here you are, reading this post. Writers do this a lot. "You Need To Know The Truth About These Vaccine Myths," "Everything You Need to Know About Marketing in 31 words," or "What Happens Next Completely Surprised Me. I'm LOL So Hard, People Are Starting To Stare," (let's be honest: you are either by yourself watching that video or know how to laugh without people staring at you).

You are telling the reader exactly what they want to know, so in that way you aren't lying. The question is to what extent does this definitive statement differ from what is true.

Since you clicked on this, let me give you a quick synopsis what's going on. Shoot, I'll even give you 7 reasons:
  1. Create an intriguing headline - What is it that gets people even interested in what resides inside of an article? A headline that grabs someone. This tactic is about as old as the career of being a journalist. If you believe in the 80-20 rule, writers state that 80% of people will only read your headline.

    It is highly recommend you do this by...
  2. Generate powerful emotions in your reader - As a human, you can't help we make decisions on our emotions. So what a writer needs to do is increase someones emotions to get them to respond.

    Start using adjectives and adverbs (words that are technically unnecessary to a sentence, but are added to give more "punch" to what is being described). Use a thesaurus to generate new words and consider the impact they will have to your reader.
  3. Begin with a powerful introduction - After your reader decides they want to read the article you posted on Facebook or watch your new YouTube video, they've got to be intrigued.

    Notice that this article did #4 to do this...
  4. Add a bold promise - "Vaccines save millions of lives every year. But outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases still happen all over the world."

    Now you are left wondering how to resolve these conflicting statements. Why haven't these diseases ended? How can we prevent future deaths? Curiosity drives our hunger for answers."
  5. Make a list (and check it twice) - Lists give us something to easily browse through and refer back on.

    Believe it or not, the Bible did not originally have chapter and verse numbers when it was originally created. Although occasionally this does cause minor discrepancies when a number is placed before a thought ends, at the same time having those numbers makes things a lot easier to take things in bit-sized chunks.

    And many of us really like concise lists.
  6. Write something useful - I've intentionally put this further down the list. The typical advice is to write great content and you'll get notice.

    Most fail to realize that since we live in the information age, great content is no longer good enough. You need to make it formatted well so that it is readable. Notice how much "excess" line breaks are in this article. Using a good balance of white-space and content keeps people engaged.
  7. Be definitive and precise - Which is more powerful: "Toyota Camry: A Drive that Surprises," or "At 60 miles-an-hour, the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock."?

    60 miles-an-hour gives you an idea that you are driving on the freeway, where things tend to be louder as cars fly by. Yet this tagline makes the claim that this is not so; in fact, all you can hear is the quiet buzz from the electric clock.
There are many things that keep us interested, reading, and keep clicking away at the many things that ask (or demand) for our attention.

By the way, if you couldn't figure it out, this article incorporated these points (and more). Did they get you to read all the way through? What have you found to pique your curiosity? Let me know in the comments below!

July 03, 2014

The One Thing a Marketer Needs to Do to Get You to Buy Anything

Advertising by "Wrote"

I've always found it humorous when people tell me that advertising doesn't affect them. They believe that somehow they are completely immune to its forces and for some reason, those big corporate knuckleheads just haven't figured it out.


Let's consider the Superbowl, which has been known to attract the most eyes (and not surprising also the most advertising revenue) of any event. If you take a look at this chart, you'll notice that the net price of a Superbowl ad has steadily increased since 1967.

2014 set a record not only for the most viewers, but also the cost of a 30 second ad, averaging around $4 million per 30 second commercial. That's a lot of money to throw around for something “that doesn't affect anyone.”

“Yeah, but I did not buy a bag of Wonderful Pistachios or Doritos, a Hyundai, Honda, Toyota, Audi and Volkswagen right after the SuperBowl aired.”

That's probably wise of you... considering that would cost you around $150,013.98 (gotta watch out for those Doritos, they're pretty pricey). But every marketer knows that they are in it for the long-haul as they first create awareness as a solution to your problem, increase your consideration of buying your product, and finally attempting to convert you to a buyer when looking to solve the situation you are in.

There are a lot of things that marketers have in mind as they develop their social media campaign, send out coupons, display their billboard, or print their ad. And there is only one thing a marketer needs to do to get you to buy: channel your desire towards their product.

A marketer is aware of a woman's need to feel attractive, a man's desire to be masculine, an average American's longing to become rich with no work, or a rich man's hunger to live longer. 

As creepy as it may sound, a brilliant marketer probably knows you a lot better than you do. The perceptive marketer knows the beginning, fulfillment, and reversal of a trend. He must be able to see the rising tide when it's almost imperceptible, sense which of the appeals in his product he should stress at any given moment, and always how to be there first.

The question then becomes, when does a marketer cross the line between guiding someone's desire and manipulation?

If we can get people to earn money by obeying the speed limit or create a game out of recycling, that seems beneficial for everyone. But if Facebook alters your News Feed to see if your emotions will change, then this is seen as unethical.

I must admit that to a degree, I'm still working out where the line is and when/how it gets crossed. Still, I write this so that you become aware that if you govern your decisions based on your emotions, don't be surprised that you will find yourself doing things you'd rather not be doing.

Do you believe seeing more ads would either benefit companies (because a person is more apt to see their message consistently) or less beneficial (because they are bombarded with several ads, perhaps causing them to ignore all ads they see)? In what ways have you seen advertising work well and other times not so well? Let me know in the comments below!

June 26, 2014

The Orator, The Lyricist, and The Marketer: Seeing Beauty in the Words We Use

“Right now, I would pay a $100,000 for 10% of the future earnings of any of you.”

“You could improve on that, many of you, and I certainly could have when I got out, just in terms of learning communication skills. It's not something that's taught... But if you improve your value 50% by having better communication skills, it's another $500,000 in terms of capital value. See me after the class and I'll pay you $150,000.”

Warren Buffet made this tongue-in-cheek statement to the hundreds of Columbia Business School students who attended a CNBC Town Hall Event with Bill Gates.

There is great value in the things we say and how we say it.

And there is great beauty in the words we choose. While at times I will simply write whatever words come to mind, other times I'll painfully labor several minutes over a single word or phrase until it perfectly communicates the exact thing sentiment I wish for it to convey.

But my decision is more than simply choosing a lavishly equal word from a thesaurus as I vainly embellish in my waxing to flaunt my diverse vocabulary (sorry about the unnecessarily complicated words, just wanted to make a point).

Do I write longer sentences in attempt to better communicate a single point that I want the reader to understand? Or keep it short? Maybe I offset one type of sentence with another type. Should I use simple words or convoluted, multi-faceted, and complex words? What about, things like, well... “superfluous” punctuation to change my rate of speech? (Seth Godin believes semi-colons are rarely needed; I beg to differ).

Communication is more than just the words we use

Yet even though I write to keep my readers interested and entertained in what I say, there is much that I cannot communicate through written word alone. Perhaps the greatest TV show I've ever seen prove to this is the Muppets.

Whether it be the single-worded Beaker, the unintelligent Animal, or the unintelligible Swedish Chef, each of the Muppet characters conveyed many more things than what they spoke.

When communication transcends words (and even the lack of them).

Consider this: if the power of what we communicated was just in the words we used and how we used them, of what value is there to music or paintings? Ever wondered what the fox would say without music? Though funny in its own right, there is a reason it has .05% of the views of the original music video.

Sometimes we can have a deeper appreciation when we understand the history and purpose of an item's creation. Taking that into consideration makes “What Does the Fox Say” even funnier, knowing Ylvis's initial intent to be created to fail and their satirical nature against meaningless but catchy American pop songs.

Okay, that's cool Quey, but what's your point?

As I've dived more and more into the world of marketing, I've been humored to see how the world responds to some of the silly promises marketers give them. Some of the time, I wonder if the marketers actually stopped to really think these things through. Other times, they are like Ylvis (the band that wrote "What Does the Fox Say"), laughing at the inside joke against us Americans.

Everyday, we are marketed to. Anytime you buy something, you've been “marketed to.” That's not inherently a bad thing, because, well, you know... you've gotta buy something sometime.

But on the other hand, that does not mitigate our responsibility in being aware of what we buy and why.

Ever experienced buyer's remorse? Feeling the sting of being buried deep in debt? 9 times out of 10 it is because a marketer has learned to appeal to your senses.

Again, the problem isn't in being marketed to, the problem is when we buy something because we are driven by our sensual desire.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to do something that could be seen as career suicide: I wish to educate the world of the both the glamorous and dark arts of marketing.

I will bring to light to the tricks of the marketing trade that we do to harness your desires to buy our product or service.

Sure, most of the world won't read my blog and not even all who do will want to make the mental adjustment. But for those of you who want to regain and be in control of your thoughts, finances, health, career, spiritual well-being, family, social life, and any other aspect of your life, I offer you my knowledge.

Why, you ask? Because I believe we've been told too many lies.

We've been strung along into doing too many of the wrong things. And if... IF somehow everyone knew the truth, then we would see the world for how it should be and the truth would truly set us free.

John Piper inspired much of what I wrote in this post, from his book "Seeing Beauty and Saying It Beautifully". He describes the beauty and power of words through the poet George Herbert, the orator George Whitefield, and the philosopher and author C.S. Lewis. 

As with much of Piper's works, you can download them as a free PDF on his website.

PS – If you ever get bored, you can find all the silly marketed items I've started to catalog on Facebook with the tag #‎lifethroughtheeyesofamarketer‬. Feel to post your own when you find some, though I ask you keep it clean and appropriate. My favorite so far is courtesy of Taco Johns.

Oh, and don't worry about my career, this will just make things... “funner” for all of us marketers if this dream comes true.