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The Ground Up Business Challenge The Ground Up Business Challenge

Marketing Strategy

The Ground Up Business Challenge 01



Many of you who will read this know my journey.

You know that my wife and I have started a coffee business called MOLO Coffee Co., our 3rd official business in our entrepreneurial career.

For quite some time I have been pondering how, exactly, I would tell the story of MOLO in a way that would benefit the Modern Marketer audience. You all have asked many times before to show you exactly what I am doing to build a business from the ground up.

In fact, two of the most common questions I get on The Modern Marketer and ExecMindset social channels is “how do I build a business when I have nothing?” or “how do I build a business from the ground up?”

I hear you and this isn’t my first time doing this. So, here it is.

Not a blueprint.

Not a map.

But a journey.

A challenge.

This is the first installment of “The Ground Up Business Challenge,” where I challenge you to build a business with me. No, I dare you. I dare you to out hustle me, I dare you to out market me, I dare you to out perform me. Not because I think I am better than you, but because it’s healthy competition.

You and I both want to grow flourishing businesses, as I have done in the past, so let’s do this one together.

Here’s what the first 60 days of building our coffee business has looked like.

1. The Right Startup Mindset

Your mindset is everything when you are starting a business. However long it takes you to get your mind right, take the time. It’s worth it.

The first thing I do before hitting the ground running with a new business is center my mind. You have to mentally prepare for one of the most brutal and emotional journeys of your life. Every time.

Regardless of how many times you have done this.

So, I go in with the following thoughts:

  • ‘Doing’ is better than ‘thinking’
  • It doesn’t have to look pretty, it just has to get done
  • I don’t need resources to start something TODAY
  • It’s about speed to market
  • The business comes before my personal agenda
  • I am a storyteller before I am a business owner
  • This will not work without content
  • Take it one day at a time

It sounds simple, but it’s harder than it seems.

I’ve seen entrepreneurs (both young and grown adults) waste the first 12-24 months of their startup making mistakes that could be avoided if they understood the above mindsets. I see people wasting time:

  • picking out logos
  • arguing with partners and associates
  • beta testing for a year
  • spending thousands upon thousands on a beautifully useless website
  • looking for investors
  • waiting for the right time to go ‘all in’
  • holding off on social media
  • creating business plans (that they never use)
  • having meetings
  • not creating content
  • trying to get emotional support from friends and family
  • hyping themselves up in search of motivation
  • flat out procrastinating, etc

Here is the thing.

There is nothing wrong with planning and strategizing, in fact, I encourage it. What I have a problem with is becoming stagnant because you want something to look a certain way, feel a certain way, function a certain way, process a certain way, and 1000 other unrealistic expectations.

Business is messy and it never looks how you intent it to.

So, the faster you can execute, make small mistakes, adjust and keep moving forward, the better.

Now, that your mind is in the right place, let’s get into what we are doing tactically.

Branding, Micro Content & Social Media

Branding is one of the first things you should execute before approaching any other public facing digital marketing initiative.

At very minimum, at least have a text logo in place before you start creating your messages, emails, social media and content.

The branding for us was a simple thing.

We wanted a clean logo that represented something of value and purpose.

As do most people.

Here is a trick for the modern entrepreneur/marketer. Don’t spend thousands of dollars branding and don’t spend months branding.

Use one of the following resources and have it done in 72 hours or less, no exceptions. If you are spending longer than that on a logo or branding in general, you are too prideful to admit you’re focusing on the wrong things.

Find something simple, find something that relates, find something that you love the FLAT version of, and move on.

Side-note: The flat version simple means the black and white version with no effects like gradients, colors, shadows, embosses, etc. If you love the flat version of your logo, you’ll love the other versions most likely.

For us, we chose a template on graphic river, changed the font and color and moved on to the rest of our brand identity.

MOLO Logo Main

We love this logo. We love this name. We love it all.

MOLO in latin means “to grind.” Grinding like coffee, and grinding like an entrepreneur. The emblem is a simple flat icon of a fox that is both memorable and representative of the audience we are reaching.


Our tagline is “awaken the doer.”

We are going to reach writers, speakers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, startup owners, stay at home spouses and parents, hustlers, grinders, executives, and beyond. Anyone who is actively pursuing their dreams and knows there is a deeper purpose to their daily grind.

MOLO is for them.

From there, we knew that we needed to get started on social media immediately.

What good is a strong message and brand like ours if no one knows about it (a common mistake in entrepreneurs—great vision and purpose, zero awareness.)

So, we took to canva and photoshop and started creating social graphics in preparation for micro content on social media.

Side-note: We also knew that we didn’t want to be EVERYWHERE on social media and that we wanted to master a couple platforms at most—at least to begin with. So we naturally chose Facebook and Instagram. Facebook because they have the best ad product on the marketing and Instagram because it’s still one of the fastest growing platforms with the most attention.

The goal with our social media branding is to raise awareness through value. To capture the mindshare of an underserved segment of a market. So, we came up with a few graphics and pictures that came together on Instagram like this:

MOLO Instagram on Iphone

For our Facebook brand identity, we kept it simple for now, like this:

MOLO Coffee Brand Identity

Now at this point, you have to keep in mind, we are only 24 hours-ish into the process of start a new business from the ground up. And in less than 24 hours, we’ve got our branding down and we are already prepared to create content, publish and distribute.

Speed to market.


Did we have any CTA’s yet? No.

Did we have a website yet? No.

Did we have a product that they could buy yet? No.

We didn’t need all of that. We just needed to get out there.

Our thought was to capitalize on our unique value proposition—and for us, that is the skill to create communities around the brands that we own. I don’t need anything else besides the ability to create, publish and distribute content to build a community.

So, without getting another duck in a row, we’ve published over 200 pieces of content in under 60 days. And full pieces of content too. No just a picture with a “give us a like” or “double tap if you like coffee”.

Full content, every time, like this:

content for social media captions

and this:

and this:

We created content from day 1 because the best marketers are salesmen and the best salesmen are storytellers.

The point is to create marketing so good that people want to pay you for it (that’s a Jay Baer quote.) And that’s what we are doing. We literally have people begging us everyday (no exaggeration) to let them buy our coffee.

And when we launch on 01/01/27, they all can.

Imagine, however, if we would have waited. It would have been a disaster. No awareness, no buzz, no warm audiences, nothing.

By acting quick with our branding, social media and content, we were able to get to the market immediately.

Not everything in business and marketing is about immediate ROI. Sometimes you just have to let your voice be heard. It’s how I built The Modern Marketer and it’s how I am going to build MOLO with my wife.

Website, Brand Voice & Messaging

After getting our branding, micro content and social media rolling, we’ve been working on our website.

At the time of this writing, we are less than 5 days away from launching that website and we couldn’t be more excited.

Simply put, I used as CMS (not .com, there is a difference.)

I believe, by far, it is the most well versed solution for managing a website. Sure, other platforms like Square Space, Shopify, Big Commerce, Wix and Weebly, are good “done-for-you” platforms, but they come with a cost—usually monthly.

I am only interested in low cost of entry and speed to market.

With a little R&D you can learn what it takes to create templatized WordPress sites without monthly costs, other than your hosting. With WordPress knowledge, a theme from Themeforest, a few wordpress plugins, and Godaddy or Bluehost hosting, you’re all set.

This is what the homepage of our website looks at the time of this writing (subject to change as we finish the site):

MOLO Homepage - The Modern Marketer Blog

As you can see, it’s branded well, it’s fairly optimized and user friendly.

All you could ask for in a website.

There is still some dummy text on the page, as well as the menu from the original template (just to show you that I am not coding this from the ground up even though my team knows how to.)

To make it possible to launch a subscription based coffee business, we are using:

  1. WordPress
  2. Samcart
  3. Stripe

…simple enough.

We are also keeping our website simple up front. Less than 10 pages.


Because it’s effective and it’s not 2008 anymore. We don’t need 50 page, complex websites to provide value and make sales. Dollar Shave club started from the ground up, a simple website and a few viral videos. Period. In 5 years, they sold for $5 billion dollars to Unilever.

Business Development and Market Strategy

Remember, earlier in the article when I said “the best marketers are salesmen and the best salesmen are storytellers”?

I meant it.

Your marketing is useless if you don’t execute your “biz dev” a.k.a. business development.

There are several things that I knew going into starting a coffee business. You can apply these same realizations to your respective businesses if they apply:

1) We don’t have the resources of household names like Maxwell, Folders, Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks

2) We don’t have the snobby cult following like Stumptown, Bluebottle or Deathwish

3) Even though the snobby brands are bigger on social media, they only make up 10% of the market or less. So, their bark is louder than their bite so to speak.

4) We do have marketing experience with over 800 brands

5) We do know how to create social communities better than 99% of people out there

6) There is an underserved segment of the market (or as Gary Vee calls ‘whitespace’) filled with people who love coffee, are tired of cheap, stale coffee from the big brands but not enthused by the snobby, overpriced coffee brands. People who want great coffee that isn’t stale, isn’t over priced and doesn’t feel like a scientist lab when they are making it.

7) B2B sales are going to sustain our growth in the beginning even though we are running a B2C subscription business model—this will give us the breathing room to make bigger decisions for the B2C side when we have great cashflow.

8) Influencer marketing is something that most of our competitors either aren’t aware of or don’t know how to execute on a high level

9) Very few of our competitors are creating content as if they are a media company first and a coffee company second (another Gary Vee strategy)

Because of these realizations, we responded with the following actions.

First, we created a list of the top influencers in the coffee space on social media.

We’re still reaching out and expanding this list, but it looks a little something like this:

We are reaching out to every single one of them with customized messages that have context behind who they are for specific opportunities. Things like co-branding, influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, etc.

Side-note: The reason I am not scare to show exactly what we are doing is because few people have the skills necessary to spark responses. Something that can’t be taught. You just have to have intuition and discernment. 

The funny thing about influencers (if they aren’t already tied to a product of their own) is they know how to create audiences but they don’t know how to monetize and drive revenue. We can leverage that by paying for advertising, offering affiliate marketing, or co-branding.

This allows us to tap into nurtured audiences and skip most of the “awareness and consideration” stages of the buyer journey. That way, once we have a new audiences attention, our content will do it’s work in having valuable touch points and we can sell them coffee in the “decision” stage of the journey.

Second, we created a list of beta testers to try our coffee and review it.

We also brought it to all of our family holiday gatherings where we knew there would be friends and family from around the nation. This type of social proof (or “proof points” as we call them at DPA) is EXACTLY what we need to sell well in the beginning.

Launching with real reviews is priceless.

Third, I started meeting with packaging and distribution companies.

I didn’t just send out random emails, I acted like a human and developed real relationships.

I could have been straight to the point and had a selfish agenda (like most entrepreneurs) and simply sent template messages in mass quantities.

…but I made each person I talked to or met with, feel important.

This worked so well even our package representative gave us access to her list of clients from over 30 years to sell to. All we have to do is get a sample display together that she can pitch in her meetings.

Fourth, we created a spreadsheet of businesses within a 50-100 mile radius of where we live in NC.

It is/was tedious, but it’s what needed to be done.

By searching through directories, chamber of commerce sites and other local business listings, we were able to segment out a list of potential buyers for the B2B side of our business.

Then, I talked to one of my good friends who is a great salesmen about helping us land some business accounts and kicking him commissions on his work in his spare time.

Easy sales, no overhead.

Fifth, we created purpose behind our brand.

We chose to have a vision and mission of giving back through our business.

Not anything new. But, we’re doing it differently.

Not because it’s a checkbox that you’re supposed to do in business, but because we truly do care and want to build a legacy. People can smell fake from 10,000 miles away online and unless you are transparent and authentic, giving back doesn’t matter.

We are choosing to give 10% of our gross sales to improve the local community in NC, where we are headquartered. We’re partnering with 3 charities per quarter and involving our finances and our hands in their operations.

Beyond our own giving, we are allowing our audience a chance to get involved. They can do this by “pouring over” the cost of their subscription and one-off purchases to give into a pool of donation money. This pool of money will go to charity water once per quarter and provide clean water around the world to impact those in developing countries.


Just by reading this article, you can tell that there is a ton of stuff you can do without investors, resources or any outside infusion or opinion.

Far too many of you think you NEED things to get started.

Most of the above was done within the first week or less of launching a new business, and all of it was done in under 60 days. No, it wasn’t all easy to execute but it’s easy in regards to its simplicity.

There is no equation, no hidden secret, no fast track.

Only practical behaviors that lead to growing a business.

I hope you will stick around to catch the second installment once we have a subscriber base and can show you guys the sales side of our new business.

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Content Marketing

How to Jack Attention from News & Trends



the dos and donts of newsjacking

What is newsjacking?

Newsjacking is the process of following the topics and trends that are happening in industries relative to your business so that you can tap into audiences that are already interested in something that’s happening now.

One of the things we talk a lot about as marketers is “keywords.”

We all want to know what people are typing into that search bar on Google so that we can connect them first.

That’s what SEO and SEM is all about.

But what we don’t talk about as much are the topics and trends that are happening so fast that Google, SEMrush, BuzzSumo, Alexa, or whatever keyword tracking tool you may be using isn’t tracking on it.

They’ve already missed it.

That’s where newsjacking comes into play.

If you’re paying attention to what’s happening on the news—or trending on Google, Twitter and Facebook—there’s an opportunity here to grab attention that a keyword tracker won’t be quick enough to show you.

If your brand has a relevant stance or positioning on a specific topic or trend that’s happening right now and you can provide legit content around that topic, then you can tap into new audiences.

Audiences that would never find you if you hadn’t showed up in their search query about that topic or trend.

Newsjacking, or trendjacking as some call it, is a lot like influencer marketing.

The only difference is there’s not a third party involved.

The topic itself is the influencer.

The topic has that attention.

What you’re really doing is attention jacking.

But here’s the thing about newsjacking: It can work really great for bringing traffic to your business, but it can also go horribly wrong if you’re not careful.

There’s a lot of factors at play when you’re hopping on a trend, so you have to be wary of your timing, your message, and your context. There’s a fine line you have to walk for newsjacking to work for you.

I’m going to break this down for you with some do’s and don’t’s of newsjacking so you can understand where that line is.

Let’s get it.

DO Your Research

You have to keep in mind that trending topics, particularly ones in the news cycle, are always developing stories.

So when a story first breaks, that’s only a part of it.

Most of the time, it’s better to wait a bit until there’s more information out there before you write about a news topic.

do your research

Otherwise, if you’re too quick to publish, you could miss out on some critical information that drops later—information that could have been even more useful for your content had you known it before publishing.

Avoid “more later…as it develops” type of talk.

You really want to get as much information as possible before writing. In this day and age where everyone’s wary of fake news, it’s important to get your facts straight and to be as accurate as possible. Or else you risk losing credibility with your audience.

So spend some time browsing the news sites, the comments sections, and talk to other people about the topic. Sometimes people in your immediate circles have some insight on the topic you may not have thought about before.

DON’T Write Without Providing Context

If a topic isn’t relative to your industry and you write about it anyway, it’s really not going to make sense. Maybe you’re passionate about that topic and you have thoughts about it, but it’s not going to do you any favors within the context of your business.

Sorry, but your audience doesn’t care about news topics unless it affects them.

On the other side of the coin, you always have to keep in mind who you’re writing for (or speaking to, if it’s on video or audio). A topic you’re covering could be relevant to your industry, but if it’s not filtered into a context that makes sense for who you’re trying to sell to, it doesn’t make sense for your business.

Always keep your buyer persona in mind. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering a news topic or trend to cover:

  • Is this relevant to my industry?
  • Could my buyer persona connect to this topic?
  • Can I bridge this topic directly to value that my business can provide?

DO Provide Value

Here’s the thing about trending topics: a lot of people have something to say about them.

That’s why they’re trending.

Your objective in newsjacking is finding a way to offer some new thoughts on the given topic. Something unique.

provide something unique

It can be difficult, particularly if there are already a flood of thoughts out there on the matter. But it comes easiest if a topic comes up that you find yourself passionate about. Chances are if you’re passionate about it, you have some value to offer on that topic.

You know we’re all about value over everything.

With newsjacking, it’s no different.

When you’re writing or speaking about a topic, your goal first and foremost needs to be to provide some sort of value.

DON’T Newsjack Just to be Heard

Look, consistency in producing content is important. And newsjacking may look like a shining opportunity to add to your growing archive of content, but if you’re just doing it to check off a box you’re not going to get the results you want.

Just like with any content you produce, it has to provide value. If your newsjacking just adds to the noise out there, you’re wasting your time and effort.

Plenty of people produce content to get attention. But nobody will be interested in your content if it’s lacking of substance. Give people a reason to read or watch or listen to your newsjacked content.

Ask yourself: Why would people want to read this as opposed to any other thoughts on this trend? What does it offer that other content doesn’t?

DO Captivate People

Some people are reluctant when it comes to newsjacking, particularly if there’s a political element to the given topic. But a lot of times, controversial topics are the ones that really grab people’s attention.

And you want that attention. You want to engage people and get them going. You want that discussion. And sometimes, a little controversy can be good.

You can go to far

As long as you can engage people in a relevant way that makes sense for your brand, that’s good attention.

However, be warned: You can go too far…

DON’T Be So Controversial that you Divide your Audience

Yes, engagement and discussion and attention are all good things.

But if you’re not careful about what you’re writing or saying, you can end up dividing your audience and losing attention.

With political topics especially, you have to be aware that people in your audience have hard set opinions. And if you challenge these opinions too much, your newsjacking efforts will backfire.

Be careful when you’re taking a stance on a certain topic. The more context you provide, the more viewpoints you can write or speak about in relation to the topic, the better your chance of not dividing people.

Or, don’t bring in any viewpoints and just use the topic as a jumping off point to talk about something more relevant to your brand.

So represent as many perspectives as possible, or represent none of them.

Don’t speak to divide, speak to unite around your brand value.

DO Make it Evergreen, If you Can

We talk a lot about evergreen content, and producing value that is useful months or even years into the future—not just right now. That can be difficult with newsjacked content since it’s specifically about a topic or trend that’s happening right now.

But if you can take that topic and create value around it that outlasts the relevancy of that topic, that content will still be useful after everyone’s forgot about the topic.
make evergreen content

That’s a powerful thing—being able to immortalize a topic by providing a context of evergreen value around it.

It’s not an easy thing to do by any means. You can still provide value with newsjacked content without making it evergreen, but it’s far more valuable if you do.

DON’T Wait Too Long to Publish your Content

Trends can be here today and gone tomorrow.

If you’re sitting on some content that you wrote on a particular trending topic and you’re waiting to see if any new information will come out about it, you could lose your window of relevancy.

It’s a tricky thing.

You don’t want to publish too soon and risk your credibility, but you also don’t want to publish too late and miss the relevancy of the trend altogether. That’s the point of newsjacking after all— to ride a brief but strong wave of relevancy.

So how do you know when the time is right to publish? When you feel like the trending topic has developed and you have enough information to provide some real contextual value, it’s time to publish.

The value comes from your brand, not from the topic. So publish it once you can provide real value from your brand!

DO Atomize, Break it Down, and Promote It

You want to get as many eyes on your content as possible while the newsjacked topic is still relevant. So like with any content, you have to optimize it for all your platforms.

If you write an article, you can take a quote from it and put it on top of an image for an Instagram post. You can also tweet that quote.

You can make a video about that article and just talk it out. Or if you do a video first, take notes from your video and turn it into an article.

promote your content while it's still relevant

There are tons of ways to break down your content and make it work for any given platform. But whatever you do, make sure you promote it while it’s still relevant. This is a good opportunity to justify some Facebook ad dollars!

DON’T Just Publish the Content and Move On

You may think after you’ve published your content, atomized it, and promoted it, that you’ve done all you can and it’s time to move onto the next piece of content.

Nope. It’s not over. Just because you’ve put your thoughts out there on the topic or trend doesn’t mean the discussion is over. You have to keep monitoring the discussions and engage with others on the topic.

You have made yourself a part of the conversation on that topic, now you need to engage in the conversation until it dies out to get the most out of that window of relevancy.

Make the most out of your content. Engage with others about it.


Newsjacking can be tricky. You have to be careful, and there’s not always a clear right answer to the what, the how, and the when of newsjacking. It can be hard to decide what trends or topics are relevant to your brand, how you’ll provide value in the context of a given trend or topic, and when to publish that content.

But the good news is that the who, the where, and the why are always clear with newsjacking.

Who you’re writing for is always your buyer persona. Where you’re publishing your content is all of your channels (in the format that makes the most sense for that platform). And why you’re newsjacking should always be to provide some unique value or insight from your brand voice.

One thing is for sure: newsjacking takes practice. The more comfortable you get with it, the better you will understand how to successfully newsjack.

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Content Marketing

Growth Hacking 101: How to Make People Take Action Using ‘Context’



Growth Hacking 101- How to Make People Take Action Using Context

Guys, it’s no secret: we put out all our best information on The Modern Marketer.

We preach Value Over Everything because we truly believe in providing value above any business agenda. People can be suspicious of that and wonder how the heck we make any money if we’re giving away our value for free.

You may even wonder yourself how creating content could possibly benefit your business or brand.

I get it, it’s different. I come from a sales background and I understand that there’s no point in doing something if it’s not going to be profitable for your business.

And that’s exactly why I’m such a huge advocate for content creation. Not because it makes profit, but because it’s a vehicle for profit. A necessary tool.

I’m about to break down why creating all this content and distributing it for free leads to profitability. It all comes down to context…

Content vs Context

So you probably understand that content carries the ideas that we as business leaders and entrepreneurs stand behind. This is the substance with which we conduct our business.

Whether you’re a service-based business or you sell products, you have to put your best information out there to establish your credibility. But here’s where the difference comes in between content and context.

Your content can be very helpful, inspirational, even game-changing. But what you can’t give away is how that content applies directly into an individual’s life.

You put your best content out there to get people to pay for the context.

You can’t just put your best context out there. It’s impossible. Because context isn’t the same for any two individuals. People want context specific to their lives, for their story. And they will pay to be able to understand how your content is relevant to them.

Your audience has problems, your content has solutions, but they want to know how your solutions will solve their specific problems.

Once you understand that, it becomes a lot easier to identify who your content is for. When you distribute that content on social platforms, the people who reach out to your for that context are your buyer persona. Knowing that buyer persona will reinforce your content strategy.

But know this: while context is what pays the bills, it all starts with content. You simply cannot have context to sell people without first providing the content. Build the credibility, build the connections, then you can sell the context.

you can sell the context

The Best Calls-to-Action = Context

Ultimately when we write content for landing pages, we want people to be persuaded to take some sort of action towards the step of buying, right?

So many marketers publish content about the best words or phrases to use, the best sales copy, the best times to post, the best types of posts— as if there’s some universal answer to creating effective calls-to-action.

But the truth is there is no universal, one-size-fits-all solution for creating effective calls-to-action.

Every single person who will come across your content is an unique individual who is inspired and motivated by different things. Sure, there will be groups of people who are called to action by similar content, but you’ll never find a singular call-to-action to motivate everybody.

So what should you do to drive people to take action?

My advice to you is to treat your calls-to-action as if they’re normal interactions. It’s so easy to forget when we’re writing our content that we’re trying to persuade actual humans to take action.

Awhile back I ran into a guy at the supermarket who asked where I got my hat from (you all know I love my hats). We started chatting right there in the supermarket and ended up deciding to have coffee sometime to talk about entrepreneurship and business.

So we made a call-to-action for each other based on the interaction we just had in the supermarket. If there wasn’t any value there, no relevance— no context —it doesn’t matter which way I would have asked to have coffee because it wouldn’t have happened.

It’s the context that drives the action, and that context is created through connection. Had the guy not connected with me in the supermarket about my hat, there would be no connection, there would be no context.

This is why there’s no singular, universal solution to creating calls-to-action. People are called to action through context, through making an unique connection to your content.

people are called to action through context

Since there’s no way to create individual connections with every single person that fits your buyer persona, you have to constantly split test and refine your landing page content. 95% of my clients have extremely high clickthrough rates and conversions because I’m always split testing and refining.

It’s a process.

But there are plenty of tools out there to help you find what yields the best response from your audiences…

  • Unbounce – a landing page creation service with overlays that feature specifically targeted calls-to-action
  • Hotjar – a program that uses heat maps to visually represent users clicks, taps, and scrolling behavior, allowing you to understand what users want and care about on a page
  • Crazy Egg – similar to Hotjar, a program that uses heat maps to show user activity, and additionally shows where the users come from and what they click the most
  • ClickFunnels – a sales funnel creation service that streamlines the sales process online for users

It’s all about testing and adjusting until you can find the calls-to-action that resonate strongest with your audiences. Context is key.

Start thinking about your calls-to-action as attempts to make connections with people, rather than pushing someone to buy. Be patient with the process. Testing and refining your content takes time.

Doing Your Job AND Creating Content

So at this point you probably understand the important role that content plays in driving sales. It is a catalyst for context, an enzyme for connection.

Without content out there, you don’t have an out-stretched hand for a buyer to grab onto and make that connection. You don’t have that same opportunity to sell.

But how do you make the time to create content while doing your job? Growing your business means creating and distributing content, but how do you do that and serve your clients?

First you have to understand that creating content for content’s sake is not going to be helpful to you. You have to know why you’re creating content in the first place.

So before you begin to write, or record, or design, or edit, you have to be in the mindset of where you’re going rather than where you are. That’s an important piece of the puzzle.

There’s been many times where I’ve started to create content then stopped because I lost sight of why I was creating the content at all. It’s disheartening to get stuck like that, but it’s even more disheartening to put time and energy into creating content only for it to not be engaged with.

If you don’t know why you’re creating your content, if you don’t know the purpose behind it, your audience won’t know either.

I want to get to the point where 80% or more of my income is coming from writing and speaking. For me to do that, focusing on clients, to-do lists, working with employees and subcontractors, and expecting any result other than growing a client base is very naive.

The only way to grow your business from content creation is by intentionally scheduling time to make those things happen. There are times I will not accept new business, not have sales meetings, and not have execution time for clients, because I know I need to create content to get to where I’m going.

intentionally schedule time for content creation

The only way you’ll have time for both your job and creating content is by making the time.

But it doesn’t have to be as tedious as you might think. You don’t always have to create content from the ground up because already have content from your interactions with people.

Repurpose your interactions. As a marketer and a consultant, I’m always having interactions with people— casual conversations, email exchanges, strategizing, phone calls, etc. 95% of my posts are from interactions that I’ve had, repurposed to fit the context of the platform.

Skim through your emails. Look through your texts. Flip through your journal. You have content there already, you just need to put it all together.


On the surface level, creating content may seem futile. But once you begin to understand that content is the foundation on which to not only build your business but make connections with people, the benefit becomes more clear.

Always be forward-thinking with your content and remember that your content should always be evolving to produce unique contexts for each of the people it resonates with. You can put all your best information out there, because people will come to you for the context.

That context, the connection, is what will sell. Not your product, not your service, but the context you can build from connection.

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Marketing Strategy

4 Social Media Mindsets to Ditch in 2018



4 social media mindsets to ditch in 2018

Content marketing is great. It gets your voice out there and demonstrates your authority and capacity for thought leadership in a given industry.

But the truth is that your content marketing means nothing if that content never makes an impact on people.

In this day and age, we can’t simply rely on Google to organically get our content in front of people. There are just too many players in the game for your content to be able to stand out. And at this point, even paying Google to get our content out there is highly competitive.

So what can we do?

Well, we have to get creative about distributing our content, and mechanically promoting it on social media isn’t enough. Treating social media as a means to an end is as about as useful as putting your car on cruise control but letting go of the steering wheel.

In order to get the most out of social media for your business, you must treat it as a culture to contribute to rather than a tool to get what you want out of it.

1. Social Distribution is About Native Value, Not Leveraging

Think about scrolling through your social media accounts. How often do you intentionally click on something to leave the platform you’re on and go to a completely different app or website? I bet it’s not very often.

So if you really want your target market to interact with your content, why would you try to leverage them off the platform?

According to a statistic by Social Media Today, an average person spends a total of 5 years and 4 months of their lifetime on social media— compared to only 3 years and 5 months of their lifetime eating and drinking.

Time spent on social media

If people spend more of their time on social, we marketers should be trying to capture that attention native to those social platforms rather than trying to take the attention away. People won’t go out of their way just to consume your content.

That’s why it’s imperative for you to change the way you think social media plays a role in your business, and start creating forward-facing content. In other words, you need to create content that doesn’t require any navigation away from a platform to consume.

We’re now in a realm of marketing where when you want to consume something, you’re going to a place where you can consume it without being disrupted. For example, if you’re scrolling through Facebook and want to watch a video, you don’t have to leave Facebook in order to watch it. It all happens right there.

Consider how you can make your content more forward-facing and consumable. If you find yourself using the phrase “go check out my _____” to promote your content and it requires the user to leave the platform, your content is not native enough.

So how do you know where to create native content?

2. The Right Social Platforms for you are Based on your Business Objectives, Not Trends

As I mentioned in my article about the Power 120 when it comes to social media marketing you just can’t use every single platform. You can’t just spray your content across multiple platforms and expect that to work.

In order to truly harness the attention that’s on social media, you need to invest deeply into one or two platforms.

We all know that in this digital era, audio and video are the most engaging media you can use. So no matter what your business objectives are, the execution of that objective should involve engaging people with interactive media.

Therefore the ideal platforms to choose are the ones that have the ability to use the most native interactive media. There are two platforms in 2018 that do this well: Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook has more than just textual posts— it has photos, videos, live video, gifs, and now it even has Facebook stories. Instagram has all those same features with a format that’s even more dedicated to visuals. Both platforms have so much potential value to offer simply for how interactive they are.

If a platform cannot support that level of value, it’s not right for you. YouTube, for example, is great but it has major limitations— it only does video. Pinterest is cool too, but it’s only really a catalog of ideas rather than an interactive platform.

At the end of the day, you need to be intentionally offering value where the attention is and sticking with it. Period.

offer value on social media

The great thing about being consistent and going deep on a platform is that it frees up your ability to create without any expectation of leverage. Because the second you think you need to leverage a call-to-action, the second it’s going to bottleneck your ability to distribute content.

Make it your mission to master the one or two platforms you’re on first, using all of the features and really getting creative with your content. Then and only then you can reverse engineer back to leveraging calls-to-action.

3. Social Distribution is About Positioning your Content, not About Reach

Inbound marketing experts have a tendency to make social media marketing seem like a strategy for making your brand voice louder. But everyone and their mothers (literally) are on social media now— so if you’re on it just to make your voice louder, it’s going to get lost in a lot of noise.

Social distribution is not a matter of numbers. It’s not about how many people you can reach, how many likes you get, or how many views you can rack up. It’s a matter of strategy and positioning your voice where it’s actually getting consumed.  

Social platforms are the same as any other marketing platform out there. Just like the traditional platforms— TV, radio, print —you can’t just put your message up there and expect to get customers when there are thousands of other brands out there just like yours.

You have to make your brand stand out for your content to be consumed.

So get creative on how you present your content. Find ways to position it that hasn’t been done before.

The Modern Marketer has found a way to do this by essentially turning our Instagram into a digital magazine. Our profile looks like a magazine with photosets of 3, 6, 9, or sometimes 12 making up a larger image, but when you click on each individual image it offers a post with value relevant to the image in the text.

Think about how you can position your brand and your voice in a unique way on your social platform. In the end, that uniqueness is what will cause your content to have impact— not how many people you can reach.

4. Creating a Culture of Value Will Prevent You from Being Disruptive

Of course, the entire reason for using social media as a business is so that you can ultimately access more customers.

But how do you avoid being disruptive when you’re trying to promote your products or services?

There’s no perfect balance between providing value and promoting products or services. There’s not some formula that will prevent you from ever being considered disruptive on social media.

However, if you have good intentions and create a precedent for always providing some value when you finally do ask for something from your audience it’s not going to be seen as disruptive. It comes down to providing enough value that people feel nurtured enough into engaging with your calls-to-action.

One specific way of doing this is tailoring your content for specific platforms. If you have a blog post, for example, that you feel is really valuable and want to promote it on your Instagram account. Instead of posting about it and telling people to go visit the link in your bio, post an image with a quote from the article and some further explanation in the text.

Repurpose your content.

Nurturing your audience native to the platform that they’re on is what will win them over in your calls-to-action. So be sure to upcycle, atomize, and repurpose the content that you already have to make the most out of it on the platforms you use.

nurture your audience on social media


Social distribution may seem like a logical and analytical concept, but if your mind is on distributing content for the sake of numbers you will not find success in social media marketing. Instead, your social distribution efforts need to revolve around the platforms that you’re using.

Create native and intentional content that people don’t have to go out of their way to interact with. The more you nurture your audience with value where their attention already is, the more willing they will be to buy from you.

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