Lisa Robbin Young

I've said before that I'm an Internet Marketing dinosaur. With over 25 years in the online world, I know the value that digital marketing can bring to any business. I had a website for years before blogs were a thing. After a little while on Myspace (remember that?), I decided to dip my toe into blogging. And am I ever-so-glad I did! My first foray into blogging (on blogspot, no less!) expanded my audience and my income. It helped me build the Noble Empire that would eventually become Direct Sales 101 and later the entire Creative Freedom brand.

There are different ways to achieve the level of success that you hope for. If you've got the cash, investing in PR, media, and publicity is a fast track to wide recognition. But digital marketing, including blogging, SEO, and sharing quality content and affiliate advertising usually cost less and have a longer-lasting and farther reaching impact for your business. My appearance on Disney+ last year saw a short-lived spike in my website traffic and book sales. A few people are just now discovering the show and reaching out on social media, but for the most part, the hubbub is over. But all the other marketing I do (including my show and my blog

Getting your business link shared on someone else’s blog is a positive way to go, but there is the additional possibility of running a blog around your business, which may attract enough interest to be a very useful part of your marketing. However, it is important to bear in mind that “a blog” in and of itself won’t make that much of an impact. It needs to be a blog that people are prepared to read - and that’s a trickier process.

Post consistently

"Consistently" doesn't always mean "frequently". I mean, if you can manage to crank out content like Gary Vee, then have at it. But most folks I know can't do that and keep their sanity.

So what makes sense for where you're at in your business. I know a six-figure independent author who writes a new blog post once a month. Then, he spends the entire month promoting that one blog post. WordPress makes it easy to schedule posts for a later date so that there are updates even when you’re otherwise occupied. Many times I'll film two or three episodes of the show at one time, but they're scheduled to only go out on a weekly basis during the show season.

Focus on your expertise

You have a level of expertise that other people don’t, and you can gain regular satisfied blog readers by focusing on your expertise. Create how-to content, or demonstrate your art. People want to know how things work or go behind the scenes in your creative work. Humans have this vicarious nature where we want to see how other people operate. That's the entire basis of the reality show genre!

You may consider hiring a digital marketing company or other team members to help strengthen your blog, but remember that it's your expertise and talent that people are coming for. This season, I hired a copywriter to help develop a longer season for the show. It's still me in front of the camera and writing the content, but Jackie's brilliance in researching topic ideas and developing show outlines has saved me countless hours and helped me focus in on the parts I do best!

Keep it short and shareable

"Short" and "sharable" are relative terms. Content only needs to be as long as it needs to be in order to get the point across and make your desired impact. You don’t have to write anything particularly long. 500 words is plenty, and it doesn’t even need to be that much. Seth Godin regularly cranks out blog posts that look like haiku.

Conversely, if you feel like even 2000 words wouldn’t cover the topic you want to write about, you can serialize it. Five posts covering an entire week (or month) can create a lot of buzz... if you have something to say.

Make it easy for folks to share your content. There are plenty of plugins that help your blog readers make sharing easy. But they won't share if your content isn't engaging. Give them reasons to WANT to share your EPIC content!

Running a business blog can fast become your best traffic generation tool and solid source of (almost) free advertising. Focus on your expertise, create engaging content, and post consistently for best results.

[Creative Freedom S5E10]

Okay, I gotta rant a little.⁠ There's nothing that grates my toast more than the phrase "EPIC CONTENT" (be sure to say it like you're announcing a monster truck rally this Sunday-Sunday-SUNDAYYY!⁠)

In the final regular episode of Season 5, I'm going OFF about how this phrase "create epic content" has become synonymous with "if you can't make something that goes viral, then don't do anything at all" - which is a trap that either keeps you stuck on a hamster wheel of content creation in your creative business or paralyzed by perfectionism to the point of doing nothing at all.⁠

Instead, I'm going to show you an easy way to share engaging, meaningful content with your audience on the regular on any platform. And you don't even have to create it all. In fact, if you want to have a life, you probably shouldn't!⁠

THAT, to me, is what epic content creation is all about!

December is content creation month at Creative Freedom HQ. I'm leading a series of workshops to help you plan AND create your content for 2020. Be sure to sign up for email updates to get advance notice of the next one!⁠

Listen To The Podcast

Download Season 5 Episode 10 | iTunes | Stitcher | Spotify 

Podcast Show Notes

  • 2:45 - a little behind-the-scenes from filming on the new Disney+ show, Encore!
  • 5:32 - How doing a shorter season for my show, instead of a year-round production, allows me to play to my strengths as a Fusion Creative while still creating quality content for my audience.
  • 8:00 How the phrase "EPIC CONTENT" has actually devolved into a notion that keeps creatives stuck in perpetual creation mode.
  • 12:15 The 4 elements of engaging compelling content that you can use in any format at any time.
  • 20:20 The one place where creatives consistently fall down in their content marketing

Mentioned In This Episode

Rising Tide Members

Our Rising Tide Community has moved! If you're already a member, you can login and access your free downloads here.

Not a member yet? It's free! When you register for the Rising Tide, you also get email updates, the FREE learning library, and access to episode transcripts, worksheets, and more!

Sponsors & Credits

Special thanks to our Patrons for your continued support.
Theme music: “Welcome to the Show” by Kevin MacLeod, incompetech.com. Music licensed under creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/


Marvel just dropped the official trailer for the upcoming film, Avengers Endgame. Filming began in August 2017, in the can since January, and in post production since October. Fans have been dropping concept trailers since August. But the current release date is scheduled for the end of April, 2019!  

You can't buy tickets this early. So why drop the trailer now?

Disney knows a thing or two when it comes to marketing.

Yes, it takes time to edit a film, but not 18 months! The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a carefully choreographed series of content pieces that all work together on one timeline. They are released in a particular order that synchronizes with every other piece of content: film, television, etc. They tease future films in current ones, so you get a taste of what's to come. There are over 20 films already released in this series, with at least 15-20 more in the works (not to mention the numerous television series that are also interconnected to the film storylines)!

Disney also intentionally delayed the release of this trailer after the death of former President Bush. Disney insiders said they wanted to capitalize on the anticipated record-breaking buzz they'd get from the trailer release. If they released on a national day of mourning (when the markets are closed), they'd get very little financial benefit from dropping a FREE video clip.

The buzz created from record-breaking video views means an increase in stock price for Disney and their shareholders. They weren't about to miss out on that!

While you may not have a bunch of shareholders, you DO have a vested interest in watching what Disney is doing with Marvel's Avengers. They know how to create buzz and drive demand for an offer - even if that offer is a $10 (or $20) movie ticket.

Marvel's content marketing plan stretches for nearly 18 months!

Here's the thing: all that content comes directly from the film itself (and the people in it)! They're not re-inventing the wheel and trying to crank out a bunch of unrelated content to sell movie tickets. They're giving you some of the best bits of the movie (including the actors) well before the release date in order to entice you to buy a ticket and see the whole thing!

You need compelling content to be able to maintain that buzz for the long months between the start of filming, the first trailer release, and opening day at the box office. Certain media outlets get exclusive behind-the-scenes access during filming. The actors and directors book interviews and use their social media to talk up the film from shooting through opening day. Disney releases trailers and special behind-the-scenes clips to keep fans talking.

The more fans talk, the more fans watch. The more fans watch, the more fans talk. Good or bad, like it or not, the buzz keeps going, which means higher box office sales on opening weekend.

Granted, you may not have multiple offers to choreograph like Marvel does, but it's still important to plan ahead when you're marketing and selling your offers. Do you need 18 months to sell your next big thing? Maybe, maybe not, but a solid content marketing plan can make the difference between shoddy sales and blockbuster results.

What if you could create compelling content like Disney (and Marvel) for YOUR offers?

What if you could take a closer look at the elements of your offers and tease out the most compelling bits to share with your audience BEFORE your release date? What if your content could build buzz with your fans and get people talking about your content (and by extension, your offer) in advance, so that when you're ready to start selling, people are lined up and ready to buy, and is when using social media is great for this, since people use social media everyday now a days, even more apps like Facebook or Instagram, and you can click here to learn more about this and get the best resources for this.

That's what we're talking about this month in my Accountability Club! On Saturday, December 29 at NOON Central time, we're going to take a closer look at how Marvel and many of today's big names in entertainment, use different types of content to build excitement and drive demand for their projects. We'll also look at how you can use that same approach for your own upcoming offers.

If you're not a member, then you need to be on my email list to get the zoom link to join us!

You're going to learn:
* How to pull your content marketing material directly from your existing offers - regardless of your industry.
7 types of content that Hollywood uses to great effect - and how to do the same for your own offers.
* my exact process for generating as much content as possible in as little as a few hours.
* plus, access to the VERY SAME document I use that makes it super easy to keep your ideas organized.
And a sneak peek at MY content marketing plan for A-Club next year!

This is a WORKSHOP. Which means, you'll be working on your own plan with me during the session. As such, we're probably going to run a little longer - about 90 minutes instead of our usual 60. You'll be able to ask me questions and get suggestions for your specific plan... but only if you show up to the live workshop!

This is the LAST time I'm offering live access to A-Club training at no cost. I'm creating some new free training opportunities for next year, and as a result, A-Club will no longer be open to the public. If you're not a member, the only way to get access to this workshop  and the downloadable worksheet is to be on my email list. Details will go out next week,

Is Content REALLY King?

Back in 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay for Microsoft insiders stating that Content was King – meaning that as the internet advances, it will be imperative to deliver timely, useful content in whatever form the platform demands. It was a statement so general that it easily became a meme for CEO's across the globe, and still lingers to this day as a key reminder that what you have to share better matter to the people consuming it.

If content is King, context is God. - Gary Vaynerchuk

Fast forward 30 years, and Gary Vaynerchuk offers this addendum: "Content is king, but context is God." He invites his audience to consider the medium and the platform as much as the content itself. Make sure that what you're saying and sharing makes sense in the context of how the audience is showing up. Don't start singing “Figaro” at the top of your lungs during a dramatic reading of Hamlet, for example.  Don't sell tickets to your event at someone else's grand opening.

And yet, that's exactly what so many marketing messages do today. They interrupt us. They try to “grab” our attention. There's nothing subtle about them – which makes us feel slimy, smarmy, and out of integrity if we feel like that's the only way people will buy from us.

"Hey! Buy  my stuff! It's on sale for hella cheap!"

"You'd be crazy not to buy this RIGHT NOW!"

"We interrupt your Facebook feed to bring you this useless advertisement..."

But there's a better way. One that keeps us in integrity with our values and still invites our audience to invest with us. One that still puts money in our pockets, pays our bills, and let's us be a force for good in the world. You can use  it on any social media platform, in your email, and any other place where you might find yourself using marketing messaging on a regular basis (during the merch pitch at your concert, perhaps?)

By paying attention to the context of your audience – and providing content that meets them where they are at – you can draw them in – lead them through an experience that makes them eager to say yes to your offers without feeling like they've been marketed to.

Your content calendar

There's a difference between an editorial/content calendar and a marketing calendar. Editorial calendars support your marketing efforts. So once you know what you're promoting at different times of the year (your marketing calendar), you can set themes and develop content that supports your promotional efforts. If you're not developing content, you probably don't need an editorial calendar.

That said, most of my readers ARE creating content – shows, videos, blog posts, sales presentations, classes, etc. And you're not just creating content for the sake of producing more stuff. I believe that you're hoping that content will ultimately lead to more sales of your stuff.

Not every piece of content needs to be for marketing purposes.

I recognize that there are times when content creation isn't about a set agenda – we post pictures on instagram about our recent trip because we're excited to share our adventure, not necessarily to sell our latest offering.  But when you are creating content for marketing purposes, it's important to remember the journey your customer takes in order to decide to buy from you.

How buyers decide to buy

Most collegiate business textbooks outline the stages of the consumer buying process. It looks something like this:

  • Needs reocgnition
  • Search for information
  • Evaluate solutions
  • Choosing and purchasing

This means that, you can use this process to generate your content.

For example, if you sell coaching, chances are good potential clients might not know they even need coaching. So trying to offer a coaching service to the uninitiated might not land well. You may have created an amazing offering, but if your audience doesn't recognize they have a need for coaching, they simply won't buy.

How to use content to attract buyers to your creative business

Educating the buyer around the problem has to come first. This is email-level and blog post-type content. This is awareness-building content. It's early stage content for your launch sequence. People have to know they need what you offer before they're going to buy, and your emails, newsletters, and social media posts can go a long way toward building awareness for your solution.

But you can't stop there.

Because even after they recognize they need coaching, why should they choose you? After all, there are plenty of options out there, right? So now, they're going to start investigating options – unless you've already laid the ground work for them that YOU are the only game in town. Quality content helps position you above other options.

Positioning yourself as the go-to choice is the early to mid-stage launch content, your opt-in content, and the opening of your sales and marketing materials. This is where you get to remind people that "yes, there may be lots of options out there, but this content I'm sharing with you now illustrates why I'm the best choice." And if they're still not convinced? That's where you take things deeper.

The more you personalize the content, the more they feel like you get them. Webinars, live streams, teleclasses or one-on-one sessions - any ways you can interact directly with your potential buyers are going to not only position you as the go-to person, it's going to elevate your stature with your client. They've invested time with you, so there's a greater likelihood that they'll choose you when it comes time to buy. There are no guarantees, however.

Because once they've narrowed their choices, they've got to be ready and able to buy. My husband has known for years that he wants a Cooper Mini, but he's not in a position to buy. He's done the research, he's evaluated his options, he's even made a choice, but he's not buying. He's not ready. He's not financially able or willing to make the commitment to buy yet.

You are NOT creating content for that guy. Sure, you want to make a compelling case for buying with you, but your content at this stage should assume the sale. Assume your clients want to buy from you. At this stage, you're mostly re-assuring them that buying with you is a great value. This is sales-page level content, or evaluative consultations, where you make the recommendation at the end of the consult to buy from you. This is your call-to-action content.

However, all call-to-action content is not created equally, and customers today are more knowledgeable than before. As a result, the typical call-to-action triggers fail to achieve the intended results. It's a narrow line between creating a sense of urgency and being aggressive. Fortunately, a few SEO marketing agencies can help you create the right content to get that guy's attention and make the sale.

That's four distinct tiers of content and if you're launching 3 or 4 offers in a given year, that's 12-16 pieces of quality content that you can craft that directly tie back to your offers, leaving plenty of room in your editorial calendar for lots of other content that isn't marketing a specific offer.

And what if you don't "solve a problem"?

Every "problem" has a core solution of making someone's situation even better. So if you're a musician or a painter, it's the same story. How does your work make their life even better? Why do they need what you're creating? Why should they consider your offer over the offers of other artists or musicians? Macklemore still hosts an annual appreciation pizza party for his fans. What are you doing to create a community around you and your Great Work? Your content calendar can help with that.

Go back to the 4-step framework:

  1. Establish the need - use your content to show them how what you're doing has helped or inspired your other fans. Show and tell them how their lives could be even better when they buy your painting (or download your song). You could do this with a short fan video or an instagram photo of a piece of art you're shipping off to a client.
  2. Show them options - let them know that you're aware they have choices  (maybe even share a few with them), and begin to explain how what you do is unlike anything else out there. They're going to do some of this on their own, but if you help, you become like Santa in Miracle on 34th Street, who helps people find what they need (even if they can't get it from his department store). A simple way to show options is to share what you're listening to on Spotify, or links to other artists you admire (and tell people why you like it!)
  3. Reaffirm your difference - keep showing your awesomeness and illustrating why your offer is still the best choice. This is you, sharing content from your shows, your portfolio, or your studio, and letting people see how you make magic happen. Do a livestream and connect individually with your fans. Give them a chance to connect more deeply with you.
  4. Ask them to buy - this is the place where most creatives fall short, failing to ask and just assuming people will choose them. Assuming people want to buy from you is one thing, but it's meaningless if you don't offer the call to action to buy from you. It's not just saying "HEY! Buy my stuff because it's awesome!" It's reminding your fans that tickets go on sale next week, in three days, tomorrow, TODAY! - and sharing your enthusiasm about what it means for them (as much as what it means for you). It's inviting them to tell their friends, or bring a friend, or make new friends! Remind them why they want to be part of your community and invite them to invest in you.

There's nothing slimy or icky about reaching out with an average of 1-2 marketing messages per month, especially when they don't feel like marketing messages! And while you may condense your timeline to 1-2 messages per week during a marketing launch, you're still not making your audience feel icky because the content you're creating is actually helping them make progress toward their goal.

Want to know more?

I'm leading a call for my Accountability Club members and current subscribers at 1pm Eastern tomorrow. I'll share specific examples of content for marketing, and there's a Q&A session at the end. If you're already on my list, look for an email with details. The call is free to listen live, but only A-club members get access to the recordings. Learn more about Accountability Club and get access to all of last year's training too.