I started this story on Monday talking about the power that content marketing has had on my business.
I honestly thought I was going to tell you this secret in that post. But I got going on how effective all of this has been for our company. So I thought it would be fun to hold out on you before giving you this insight I’ve come across.
Let me tell you a story:
I have run 3 marathons: Chicago, Pittsburgh and Akron.
One of the tricks to running a marathon is that you have to put in A LOT of training time. Near the end of your training you are running 12 miles each day during the week and 20 miles on Saturday. Forget the endurance that takes. It’s boring as hell.
You are out there for hours at a time with nothing to do. You can’t read. You can’t talk on the phone. Sure. Your legs are busy. But your mind and hands are doing nothing.
So I started tweeting.
I would tweet from the trail all the time.
The other thing about endurance running is that it does crazy things to your mind. You are sometimes reaching a point of hallucination.
So you connect exhaustion, with entering a point of spiritual awakening and you can get some interesting tweets.
People loved these!
By far, without a doubt, my running tweets have been my most followed and discussed social media engagements I have ever done.
People would come up to me and talk to me about what I tweeted over the weekend.
If you read Monday’s post, did you come to the point where I started talking about statistics? I put a graph of traffic patterns from the SageRock blog. I then reiterated some traffic numbers.
Did you find yourself glazing over? I know I did.
Reading statistics is the most dry, boring kind of writing.
Reading about someone’s journey towards training for a marathon is engaging.
Think about what you remember from stories, movies and the Bible.
- Jesus turning water into wine.
- Luke Skywalker destroying the Death Star.
- Indiana Jones running away from that big huge round bolder.
It’s the stories we remember.
We struggle to remember dates and figures.
- What were the years of Vietnam?
- What were the years of WWI?
- What were the exact years Ronald Reagan was president?
We remember images from those time periods. But we struggle to remember the statistics.
Content marketing is exactly the same way.
In Monday’s post I mentioned that I have been keeping up on this blog even though things have gotten really busy. 3 posts a week come hell or high water.
But I’ve really slowed down blogging on my personal blog, SageLewis.com. (That actually has more to do with the anti-depressant medication I’ve started taking than being busy. But I’ll be talking about that more over there in the next week or so.)
I firmly believe that it’s the personal stories that create the engagement. It’s not the Web marketing tips I put out.
Now don’t get me wrong. I think I need both ingredients. If I didn’t write this blog talking about Web marketing people would quickly lose touch with the fact that’s what I do for a living.
However, without the personal stories I can’t get a serious level of engagement.
It’s a delicate mix of stories and information. And ultimately I think they probably become one. The stories convey the information. Every major spiritual leader in history knows this truth.
I would encourage you to spend some time reading James Altucher’s blog. He is a well regarded hedge fund manager and author on the same topic.
But his blog has nothing to do with finances. It’s all about his personal life. He goes very deeply into some of his most intimate parts of his life.
I also recommend spending some time at the Zappos CEO’s Twitter feed. 1.8 million followers and never a mention of buying shoes.
One of his most recent posts is:
Want happiness? Don’t buy more stuff – go on vacation! Time Magazine article: http://ti.me/oJTbCR
He is actually advocating not buying stuff.
We all have to come to terms with our lot in life:
No one needs the shit we are selling.
You can tell people all day:
- How you are going to make them more money.
- How you are going to save them money.
- How you are going to make their lives:
- More fun.
But it’s all bullshit.
More often than not you are complicating peoples’ lives by injecting yourself into their routines.
Do you know how much money and effort I would save if I just stopped drinking Diet Coke? And don’t get me started on drinking alcohol and smoking. That’s like having a marketing director take over your entire body and mind from the inside.
We have to sell our stuff to people through their heart, not their mind. We sell through the connections we make.
We sell by being real human beings.
I drink Diet Coke because it’s refreshing and a little bit of a pick me up. But why do I not drink Diet Pepsi? I mean I’ll gladly drink Diet Pepsi if that’s what’s being served.
The Diet Coke people have gotten me at a very deep level.
Think of every Coke commercial or ad you’ve seen in your life. It’s telling a story of being:
Never once have they tried to tell me statistically why I should drink Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi. It’s impossible. They have sold to my heart by telling me a story.
If you want content marketing to work for you the secret is to reach peoples’ hearts not their minds.
Tell a story. Be real. Be vulnerable.
When you start to feel nervous about whether or not your should post something that’s when it’s about to get good.
Go down that path. Get to the truth. The truth will set you free. The truth will make you successful.