What’s My Superpower as a Digital Marketer?

What’s My Superpower as a Digital Marketer?

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 2.23.51 PMWe pitch ourselves all-day, every day, for different roles. And we’ve worked on our branding, our personal reputation, our LinkedIn profiles. We’ve polished the elevator speech and we’ve taken our show on the road. Still, the business isn’t coming. (I’m talking about myself here.)

In a new business pitch this afternoon, I was asked by the referral to back up a step from the project we were talking about and give her my overview. Who was I?

Again, I do this 20 times a week, so I got on my script and began to describe my recent history as a consultant (5 years) and my previous roles with various companies (Dell, a UK-based interactive firm, and a now-Young & Rubicam shop in town that I intra-entrepreneured an Interactive Development team within. Of course, usually I don’t go back that far…). But today after I had rattled off the resume points I went back to a phrase a “coaching” friend has really been hitting me with over the last few years. “Yeah, but that’s not your superpower. If you could tell them what your superpower was, you’d have loads of business.”

So I tried it on, and I’ll try it on you, as I ask for your digital marketing business. Let me know how I do, please, your feedback is essential to my success. (grin)

My Digital Marketing Superpower is Content (capturing the story) and Socialization of that content in a way that generates business.

Did I get it? Do you have any idea what I’m talking about, or is this marketing speak?

Do terms like Demand Generation or Top of Funnel have any more relevance in your world? I’m just trying to get familiar with the setting of our conversation. Let’s have a conversation for a minute about my superpower.

Q: When you say content, what are you talking about?

A: In the current climate of digital marketing, word of mouth seems to have gained more steam. Word of mouth is people talking about your product or company. And most people aren’t going to share your company DATA SHEET to their friends. BUT… if you get your “story” just right, they might share about how your company’s Thanksgiving Fund Raiser is kicking into gear and last year we served 300 hot meals to the homeless in our city. The first part, your white papers and corporate brochures might be interesting to some potential customers, the world wide web doesn’t care so much about marketing materials. You can’t socialize your “about us” page for very long. Or if you do, you will be frustrated by the reach of the non-story.

People want to read about people. They want to share uplifting stories, information that can help others, or to tout their own involvement in a cool cause. Sure, people also share what they had for lunch, but those #foodies are a different kettle of fish. When I talk about content, I’m talking about stories. Information and human-focused content that says something in an interesting or helpful way. It’s the difference between “Check out our annual report – the numbers are in and looking good.” and “Check out how our charitable giving program benefited 300 people and 12 different agencies, last year.” Both links may point to the annual report, one has a “story” attached to it.

Q: So you’re talking about advertising?

A: In a way, yes. But marketing differs from advertising in one significant way. I’m not shouting BUY THIS BIG MAC NOW FOR $1.19. I’m trying to say DRINKING THIS BOTTLED WATER HELPS YOU AND OTHERS. Does that example work? It’s about the value of the thing, not just the price and call to action.

Q: So you write marketing copy for companies, is that your super power? Sounds boring.

A: I agree, marketing writing is boring. I’m bored of most home pages by the second sentences. But that’s not really what I do. My job is to understand a company from the “what’s interesting and life changing” perspective. (Sometimes there is not one, and you have to go digging a little deeper.) And then I help companies decide what to write about themselves, or their client successes, or their human impact stories, that can help drive the conversation a bit further in the “good we do in the world.” Sometimes we get that, sometimes we just get, “here’s an interesting way we’re doing our process.” Both are valid.

Q: Okay, so you make stories out of company information and successes? Then what?

A: If we’re successful at creating an interesting piece of content, when we share it through our social media networks, the post, tweet, update has a tendency to get shared. That’s the idea behind viral. Except we’re not really going for virality, just authenticity and sharing.

Q: But viral would be good, right?

A: The right kind of viral could be great. But there are just as many viral attempts that misfired and caused the companies a lot of cleanup work. Viral would be great, but we’re not looking for sensational as much as authentic and engaging. If our content is shared by others we begin to tap into the word-of-mouth marketing thing, you keep hearing about.

Most people go see a movie, or go to a restaurant, on the advice of a friend. That’s why Rotten Tomatoes and Yelp have gotten so big. Today we are blasted by too many advertising (BUY NOW) and marketing (THIS IS THE BEST) messages. The information stream is polluted and most of us filter out the noise of people just like me, digital marketers. BUT when we get a piece of information (a post, a review, a dinner recommendation) from a friend we often attribute a much higher value to that information. We are piggy-backing on your reputation and the relationship you have with your network when you share a piece of our content. We get a little bit of love, every time you share something about us.

Q: Okay, great. Last question. How does this superpower of yours help businesses make more money?

A: If I do my job correctly, and your company is producing a regular quantity of solid content, we will see a number of great things happen.

  1. You’ll get more traffic. (top of funnel)
  2. Google will see your content as more valuable when it’s shared by others (better SERP and Page Rank)
  3. Every time someone passes along our content to their network, our reach is exponentially increased by the sharer’s network.
  4. More traffic, better reach, and trusted recommendations by your networks, means more sales, conversions, subscriptions, clients. (Whatever you happen to be selling.)

I’m in  the business of helping businesses tell their stories better, generate higher-quality traffic, and move those potential clients down the sales funnel and into the mouth of the awaiting Account Service team for a kick off meeting.

Social and Content drive business. Let me show you how I can help your company drive better content, leading to increased social reach, and new business. (Wait, wait, WAIT! My CTA {call-to-action} is way to soft, let’s try again.)

November Special:
First 5 new clients get 50% off their initial project. GET STARTED.

(Current clients, you can use this too, November needs some help!)

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink: http://uber.la/2014/10/whats-my-superpower/

Let me share some short videos on how to do it yourself.


ROI in social media, creating business leads using social media
Social Media Marketing - the Social Media Strategist Evolves
Social Media and Marketing Tips in Under Two Minutes
Getting Your Content into the Social Media Stream
How to Start a Hangout with Google+
A 90-second intro so social media marketing
*All the videos are collected on the Social Media Strategies In-Less-Then-2-Minutes Playlist on YouTube.

Check out the Strategist’s Notebook page for more engaging tips and tricks like these:

ANNNDDD, Let me help you jumpstart your digital marketing:

image: learn to draw a super hero, from cartoon critters

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