Brand Marketing vs. Direct Marketing: Helping People Believe, then Buy

Brand Marketing vs. Direct Marketing: Helping People Believe, then Buy

In the lovable Apple TV series, Ted Lasso, the title character played by Jason Sudeikis has a one-word message to help his players get in the game: Believe.

It turns out that this simple, yet powerful lesson from the locker room can also apply to your marketing.

The Two Types of Marketing

Marketing is a broad term, but there are actually two subsets of marketing: direct-response marketing, and brand marketing.

You may find that you identify with a specific type of marketing a bit more based on your interests and skillsets. For instance, I consider myself more of a brand marketer vs. a direct-response marketer.

So what’s the difference?

Brand marketing is about getting your customer to believe in your product or service. Its goal is brand awareness. Brand marketing generally comprises initiatives like organic social media, PR, reputation management, traditional advertising, community engagement, and any storytelling effort. Brand marketers set out to inspire your audience to think positively of your brand. This encourages a conversion, but doesn’t directly produce it.

That’s where direct-response marketing comes in.

Direct-response marketing is considered ‘action marketing’ because its tactics facilitate a purchase. Its goal is conversion. Online advertising, email, SMS, and paid social are all examples of direct-response marketing because your customer can take action and convert in the moment. They’re just a few clicks away from a purchase.

To put it simply, direct marketing helps people buy, whereas brand marketing helps people choose.

How Do We Choose?

What makes you choose a brand over its competitors? It may come down to straightforward qualifiers like better quality, price, or availability.

But your brand’s reputation, values, and personality also play a role. And it’s brand marketers who manage your brand’s reputation, communicate your values, and display your personality through the tactics I previously mentioned.

Even if your brand is the highest quality, readily available, and priced within your customer’s budget, they probably won’t choose you if they have negative perceptions of it. Your investment in direct-response marketing touchpoints will be more effective if your customer has a positive association of your brand. Your digital advertising will be met with a stronger willingness to convert, thanks to brand marketing.

The Brand Marketing Conundrum

When it comes to these two types of marketing, brand marketing presents a certain challenge in contrast to direct-response marketing. Brand marketing is difficult to measure, whereas direct-response marketing is more black and white. This is because you can easily trace a conversion back to the direct-response tactic that produced it thanks to something called last-click attribution.

According to HubSpot, last-click attribution “is when you give all of the credit for a conversion to the last touchpoint in the buyer’s journey — it assumes the final touchpoint is what ultimately influenced the lead’s decision to convert.”

The problem here is that last-click attribution discredits brand marketing efforts. Your customer probably wouldn’t convert if not for the countless brand marketing touchpoints that preceded the conversion. Not to mention, brand marketing is typically a long game. It often requires weeks, months, or years of fostering goodwill so that your audience will gladly choose your company when they’re ready to buy. But as far as measuring what generated revenue, the last click gets the point.

What This Means for Brand Marketers

Last-click attribution puts brand marketers in a difficult position because it’s hard to prove their value. How can social media managers, brand managers, PR professionals, creative strategists, copywriters, and community managers quantify their efforts without easily tying them to revenue?

This is also how social media as a strategy, and also a profession, gets diminished. Sometimes people are unable to see the value in that meme you posted, the TikTok trend you participated in, or the tweets you wrote. But every piece of content helps create relationships, build trust, and inspire customers to choose you over the competition.

One of the best opportunities for brand marketers to demonstrate their value is to measure brand sentiment.

What is brand sentiment? It’s the attitude and feelings people have about your brand. Brand sentiment can be positive or negative, and it’s known as an indicator of your brand’s overall health.

There are several social listening tools and brand health analyses that can help you determine your brand sentiment. For example, that one social media post may not have necessarily created a direct path to conversion, but its story sparked a ton of positive engagement.

Brand marketers work tirelessly to ensure people perceive your brand in a positive light. They convey your company’s culture and motivate a prospective customer to choose you whenever they end up in buying mode. They also cultivate community and nurture customers into brand loyalists who believe in your brand and inspire others to do the same.

Companies that only operate with the bottom line in mind are in it for the wrong reasons. If you serve your customers, strive to do the right thing, and exemplify a strong brand purpose, you’ll meet your goals. With the help of brand marketers and direct response marketers working together, revenue will follow.

 

Kelly Clarkson Proves Karaoke is Your Key for Better Social Media

Kelly Clarkson Proves Karaoke is Your Key for Better Social Media

Being a talk show host on cable television isn’t as easy as it used to be. The ’90s gave us Ricki Lake, Jenny Jones, and our queen, Oprah. In 2022, Maury is still conducting DNA tests, and Ellen DeGeneres just wrapped up her final season.

With so many cord-cutters and people spending more time scrolling TikTok than watching TV, today’s talk show hosts need to be extra compelling to capture attention.

Kelly Clarkson has been hosting her show going on three years now, and if you ask me, she’s doing an amazing job. There’s something about Kelly’s personality that makes us feel like she’s just like us, although we know no one has a voice like hers.

Speaking of her voice, Kelly incorporates a daily segment that promotes the show in a way that’s true to the talent that made us fall in love with her in the first place. Can you believe it’s been 20 years since she won our hearts as the first American Idol?

 

Kelly Clarkson’s Social Media Brilliance

To start every episode of her show, Kelly takes the stage to sing a cover of a popular song. It can be the latest Billboard chart-topper, or a throwback that hits us right in the feels. The segment is branded as #Kellyoke, and it may be my favorite use of a branded hashtag for a few reasons.

• It’s not a gimmick. #Kellyoke lets Kelly do what she does best: sing. She’s even compiled the songs into a mini album released earlier this year. My favorite is her cover of ‘Happier Than Ever’ by Billie Eilish.

 

• All the songs she performs are requests from the audience. This is a brilliant way to foster fan engagement and make her viewers feel like they are contributing. It also creates a powerful storytelling moment. After each performance ends, Kelly will interview the fan who requested the song. Nine times out of ten, there’s a heartwarming backstory about why the song is meaningful to them.

• The covers are shareworthy. You’ll often see them shared on social media after Kelly elevates a song with her own rendition. This is a perfect opportunity to keep her talk show top of mind simply by sharing a fresh new cover every day. The concept is consistent, but each performance is unique. It’s repeatable but never stale. It’s also a great way to tap into new audiences by appealing to different fandoms across generations, depending on the song choice.

• It’s a fully integrated idea. The Kellyoke concept is bigger than her talk show and social media. She and her team are taking it on tour with the Kellyoke bus, where they’re searching for the next big star to sing with Kelly. They’re making stops in New York, Chicago, Dallas, and LA. This is such a fun and creative guerrilla marketing strategy!

What is a repeatable content idea you can incorporate into your marketing strategy? If you need help coming up with surefire themes that help you become a more strategic and efficient creator, check out this article about how to apply the content formula.

Why Social Media is a Lot Like Karaoke

There are a lot of takeaways from Kellyoke, but there’s also something we can learn about marketing and social media from the regular ol’ karaoke you do with your friends during a rowdy night of bar hopping.

In fact, social media and karaoke are actually very similar.

Whether karaoke is your jam or not, it’s a special form of live music. The audience gets to come on stage and share the spotlight. They get their own moment to shine.

To an extent, you can mimic this magic on social media, but most brands get it wrong. They treat their social media more like a solo act.

They hog the mic and make it all about them. They don’t invite others to participate. They focus more on promoting something instead of making people feel part of something.

Your path to conversion starts with more conversation. Instead of always talking at your audience, listen, engage, and share the stage.

Attention is Earned on Social Media

So, how can you make your audience go from a passive person in the crowd, to an engaged participant who is on the metaphorical stage, singing your praises?

A common misconception about social media is that we automatically have our audience’s attention. But just because someone follows you doesn’t mean they follow you. This is quite literally the case because social media algorithms may not distribute your content. But beyond that, your content has to be interesting to capture attention.

Your audience will only feel prompted to engage if your content resonates with them.

More brands need to realize this truth: people want to talk about themselves. It’s not about what your product or service does, but about how it fits into your audience’s lives.

When you find more ways to relate to them and make them feel seen and heard, they’ll find more ways to support you. They will also feel more comfortable opening up and engaging with your content.

With everything you post, ask yourself what’s in it for your audience.

Will they see themselves in your content and identify with it?
What emotion will it make them feel?
Does this content address a relatable perception, pain point, or objection they face?
Why will it resonate? What makes it relatable?

And frankly, why should they care? As marketers, it’s important to practice putting yourself in your customer’s shoes as often as possible. It’s far too easy to get caught up in our company’s initiatives, deadlines, meetings, and corporate ivory towers that by the time you share something with your audience, we’ve lost our way a bit. But it’s always about them.

Sparking Engagement the Right Way

Lastly, I’ll leave you with another thing to keep in mind when creating content.

I see a lot of businesses that think simply posting on social media is enough — as if each post is just to check a box for the day. The biggest mistake you can make is posting and expecting engagement instead of proactively inviting it.

I’m not saying every social media post needs a call-to-action, but why not be direct and tell your audience exactly what you want them to do?

I’ve spoken about this during marketing seminars and one thing people aks is, what happens if you ask a question on social media and nobody responds?

There are two answers to this:

1. Your question may be too complicated or open-ended. People are scrolling through social media — they’re not taking an exam. Simplify your question, or incorporate an easy opportunity to engage like a poll with limited answers. There’s more on this in this post: How the Boy Band Wars Can Boost Your Social Media Engagement

2. We always start off talking to an empty room. If you’re starting from scratch, assume your content won’t get a lot of engagement right off the bat. But if you keep at it, one day, one person will respond. And with the nature of social media, that one person’s response will amplify your post. Their own followers may see it pop up in their feed, and then one more person responds. Audience building is something that compounds over time.

Be patient. Growing your brand and attracting an audience takes effort, consistency, and creativity. Be okay with posts that flop, because it will happen. Experiment and try again. And as Kelly Clarkson says, the posts that don’t kill you make you stronger… or something like that.

 

READ MORE: The Fool-Proof Content Marketing Formula

RELATED: All the Small Things Content Creators Need to Remember

How the Boy Band Wars Can Boost Your Social Media Engagement

How the Boy Band Wars Can Boost Your Social Media Engagement

Like it or not, pretty much every brand has its competitors. It’s a reality of being in business.

Coke has Pepsi.

McDonald’s has Burger King.

Nike has Adidas. 

The list goes on and on.

But the first time I declared my own brand loyalty was during the historic rivalry between the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC. An entire generation was forced to choose.


No matter where your allegiance lies, you may not know this boy band rivalry was man-made. 

A notorious businessman named Lou Pearlman got his start in the blimp business in the 1980s, but by the 1990s he started chartering airplanes in central Florida. That’s how he met New Kids on the Block. He had no idea who they were, so he was confused about how a bunch of young kids could afford a private airplane.

After he learned New Kids did $200 million in record sales and $800 million in touring and merchandising, he thought to himself, “I think I can do that. I think I can put a group like that together.”

And in 1993, he helped create the Backstreet Boys. As their manager, Lou paid for choreographers, vocal lessons, tutors — everything they could ever need to be successful.

 


And just as the Backstreet Boys were rising to fame, Lou realized there would eventually be competition. That was his light bulb moment – why not create it himself? That’s when he built *NSYNC behind Backstreet’s back… ALRIGHT! 

There’s an entire YouTube documentary produced by Lance Bass called Boy Band Con that goes into this in more detail. It turns out Lou Pearlman was a con artist and cheated both bands out of millions of dollars.

But anyway, I share this backstory to demonstrate the power people feel when given a choice. Declaring your side of the boy band wars was one of the main ways millennial girls around the world expressed themselves. The question of ‘Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC’ sparked impassioned debates at every slumber party. 

So what does this have to do with marketing? Well, let’s talk about this within the context of social media.


How to Get More Social Media Engagement


All brands want more social media engagement. So how do you get it? It starts with giving your audience easy ways to express themselves. Too often, we ask too much of them. We present them with obstacles instead of options. If your call to engagement is too complicated, your audience will scroll past.

Most of us are on social media to connect with friends and pass the time. This means your brand is already at a disadvantage. Your content seems out of place — showing up among all the personal things our friends and family are saying. You’re competing for attention, so your content has to be extra interesting. You can’t afford to be boring.

One way to foster more social media engagement is by implementing what we call ‘See and Choose’ content. This is content where your audience sees options in front of them. This gives them a simple opportunity to choose a way to engage.

This is done with tactics like:

– This or that
– Multiple choice
– Fill in the blank
– Would you rather
– Rank your favorites

The Benefits of ‘See and Choose’ Content

There are so many reasons to love ‘See and Choose’ content. Not only is it easy for your audience to engage with, but it’s also easy for you as the marketer or brand to create.

You don’t have to create fancy graphics or any assets. For polls or multiple-choice content, just write a question and a few options and you’re done. But don’t make your polls random and for the sake of creating polls. Always ensure they tie back to your brand’s overall strategy.

‘See and Choose’ content is also one of the fastest, cheapest, and most effective ways to learn about your audience. Instead of wondering what your audience thinks or wants, you can just ASK! And in real-time. Every post is an opportunity for insight.

Another reason to love ‘See and Choose’ content is because they have a low barrier to social media engagement. The call-to-action is baked in with clear options to select. This approach is way more effective than asking your audience a broad question because most of the time, we ask questions that are just too hard.

This isn’t my opinion — this is based on the science of System 1 and System 2.

System 1 and System 2 Thinking in Social Media

In his book, Thinking Fast & Slow, Daniel Kahneman explains how our brain and thinking process is broken down into two parts: System 1 and System 2.

When we employ System 1 thinking, decisions are easy and automatic. We decide based on intuition and instinct and are able to think quickly.

System 2, however, calls for more rational thinking vs. instinctive thinking. When we activate System 2, decisions are slow and take a lot of effort. They require more logic and analysis.

 

System 2 is often way too complicated for social media! Remember, your audience is there to socialize and pass time, not to take an exam. Questions that require too much processing or logic are better suited for a different medium.

With
‘See and Choose’ content, you activate System 1. You ask your audience a question, but you also give them the answers. It makes your content damn near irresistible — your audience will want to weigh in with their choice. 

So now you know to avoid System 2 at all costs, here’s another common mistake I see brands make on social media: asking rhetorical questions.

For example, let’s say you do social media for a restaurant that offers a weekly happy hour on Fridays. You might be tempted to post a picture with a caption that says
“Who’s ready for happy hour?!”

This is just boring. Your audience isn’t waiting for your post with bated breath just dying to drop what they’re doing to tell you they’re ready for happy hour. Instead, ask them something specific. Better yet, ask them a question that allows them to express themselves. 


Swap
“Who’s ready for happy hour” with “What is your go-to happy hour cocktail?”. Most people have a favorite drink of choice. This immediately gets your audience reflecting on their personal preferences, and better compels them to share. Then you get to engage with all the fun comments!

 

Social Media is a Skill

Remember, social media isn’t just a place to share information. It’s a place to start conversation. You can’t just expect engagement — you have to prompt it. And more audience participation starts with an invitation.

I like to think these takeaways I’ve shared with you today are further proof that although everyone can do social media, not everyone can do it well. It requires a deep understanding of your brand, your audience, and how people think.

It may be tempting to have a friend or family member handle your social media, but investing in a true social media professional with the proper training is one of the best things you can do to grow your business.

All the Small Things Content Creators Need to Remember

All the Small Things Content Creators Need to Remember

It’s no secret that my love of teenybopper boy bands is a big part of my personality. And while I was never the girl at the rock show, I still had love in my heart for Blink-182.

I was driving in my car the other day and “All the Small Things” by Blink-182 was playing. You may remember that Blink-182 was in their prime during the Y2K boy band era, and that this music video actually mocks the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, 98 Degrees, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. 

 

It actually won an MTV Video Music Award in the year 2000, beating out Destiny’s Child, the Foo Fighters, *NSYNC, and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. 

But the song got me thinking about all the small things marketers and content creators have to worry about. It’s one of those fields where you really have to sweat the small stuff. (Work sucks, I know). 

 

all the small things screen grab 'Work sucks, I know'

 

But this is because the small details are the difference makers. They determine if that big piece of content you spent forever on actually gets seen.

 

You could have the best, more informative email, but it’s pointless if nobody opens it.
You could spend hours and hours making an incredible video, but what if nobody watches it?
Or you could write the most helpful blog post that never gets read. What a shame that would be, not only for you who spent time on it, but for the person who is now missing out on the value you could have provided. 

 

All the Small Things Content Creators Need to Optimize


Blog Posts

Blog posts are so powerful and can be huge traffic sources for your website!

As you write your blog posts, you first need a title that is compelling. If your title doesn’t interest the reader and inspire them to click, your blog post will never get read.

A good rule of thumb is to always incorporate what’s in it for your audience. How will this blog post help them? Does it solve a problem? Is it something they can relate to?

A common format is listicles, but even those need a bit more information to be successful.

For example, something like “5 Best Travel Destinations” is decent, but too broad. Narrow this post so it calls out something specific that make resonate with your audience. Something like “5 Honeymoon Destinations That Won’t Break the Bank” or “5 Unique Cities to Explore on Your Next Girls Trip”. These are specific enough that it allows someone in your audience to clearly identify with them.

Once you compel someone to click, you also have to compel them to stick around. Write a powerful first paragraph that confirms your content is worth reading.

Your blog posts also need to be rich with relevant keywords. Incorporate these in subheadings and throughout the post, but don’t overdo it. Create a customized URL that features the keyword, instead of something like blogpost-november.html. The keywords are the cues Google needs to serve your post to your audience.

The goal of a blog post is to build your audience, right? In that case, your blog should also feature opt-in forms, at least on the sidebar. You also can offer a lead magnet or content upgrade, such as a free download, to capture an email address. Put a sign-up form at the end of the post, or even as a pop-up! You might think pop-ups seem spammy, but they work well if you offer something your audience will actually want.

Want to keep people on your site longer? Recommend related posts or pages for them to check out. “If you liked this, you’ll also like this” kinda thing. This is called interlinking and helps your audience move through the site, nurturing them along the way. 

 

Long-Form Video

Content creators understand the importance of video! The first thing I’ll say about video is that your video’s audio quality is actually more important than video quality.

Your audience will still watch if your lighting isn’t perfect, if your room is messy, or if you’re wearing sweats. But if your audio is bad, it makes the video unwatchable.

To instantly elevate your videos, invest in a decent microphone. You can find some good ones on Amazon for less than $150. If you’re big into video, a great mic will be the gift that keeps on giving.

You’ll have the biggest chance of success with video if you don’t waste a second of your audience’s time. The worst is to click a video and the entire time your audience is thinking “get on with it already!”. Incorporate a strong hook, get straight to the point, and cut out the fluff. You can do this and still incorporate your personality through your expressions and overall delivery.

That’s all part of creating the video, but there are several housekeeping items you must complete to optimize it on YouTube. Like blog posts, your video also needs to have a detailed title and description that is rich with relevant keywords. Remember, YouTube is a search engine!

The most common, heartbreaking mistake I see on YouTube is when a video doesn’t have a custom thumbnail. Your thumbnail is an opportunity to attract a viewer. Rather than using a default thumbnail that’s just a still from the video, design something strategic. Make it informative and eye-catching, with bold fonts and a helpful or humanizing image. Uploading a video without customizing a thumbnail is a huge missed opportunity.

Also remember that if you share your videos outside of YouTube, such as on Twitter or Instagram, you should absolutely include captions. This makes your video accessible to the hearing impaired and is the considerate and inclusive thing to do. As content creators, this needs to be a priority.

The same goes for Instagram Stories. Keep in mind that many people watch Instagram Stories without sound. Use the captions sticker or add descriptive text overlays to make your story effective with or without sound.

 

Instagram

While on the subject of Instagram Stories, enhance your engagement by looking for more opportunities to include engagement stickers.

Can you add a questions sticker or relevant poll? In my book, the idea is to make social media a two-way conversation every chance you get! Also, don’t forget to include hashtags on your feed posts if you want to increase your reach, just make sure they aren’t too broad.

If you want more eyes on your Instagram content, you’ll need more followers, and much of that starts with having a bio that compels people to follow you. You’d think it would go without saying, but make sure you have a clear profile picture, whether it’s a photo of your brand’s logo.

Spend time writing a bio that with endear your audience and inform them of exactly what content they can expect. You want to make them feel like they’re in the right place when they land on your profile, and that your content will help them in some way.

Include a link to your website or a lead magnet that will interest your audience. The worst thing you can do is include a LinkTree link with 17 different options. This is overwhelming. You’re better off directing them to your website’s homepage where they have a clear navigation, or to a simplified LinkTree.

 

Email

Lastly, let’s cover email. If you think email is dead, you’re mistaken. It’s still one of the best ways to reach for content creators to reach their audience, and is where you can find your warmest audience. If someone has willingly subscribed to your email list, they are way more likely to convert than a passive social media follower.

Aside from writing emails that are packed with value, the main thing I want to remind you is not to overlook your subject line. The success of your email hinges on your subject line. If you rush it and write something that isn’t interesting, the recipient won’t even open the email.

A quick tip I’ve tried to write subject lines is to include the word ‘you’ or ‘your’. It forces you to speak directly to the subscriber, which likely means you’re communicating what’s it in for them. The subject line becomes audience-focused vs. brand-focused, which will increase the chances of your email being opened.

 

Small Changes, Big Differences

What are some of the other small things content creators should keep in mind to help content perform better? It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of creating, but don’t overlook these little details. They truly can make or break your content. 

User-Generated Content isn’t Always Great Content: How to Use It Wisely

User-Generated Content isn’t Always Great Content: How to Use It Wisely

I was going down a YouTube rabbit hole the other day and I ended up watching an old episode of TRL from the year 2000. Melissa Joan Hart and Britney Spears were hosting in Carson Daly’s absence. Besides the fact that Mambo #5 was on the countdown, I was reminded of something even more interesting.

Melissa Joan Hart starts talking about a contest TRL is running where audience members can submit original artwork to potentially be featured on TRL merchandise. She and Britney introduce the artists and share the designs on screen — all of which were hand-drawn sketches.

But what I found most remarkable was how Melissa and Britney called the audience to action. If others were interested in submitting their artwork to the contest, they couldn’t upload it to social media. They had to FAX it in. I couldn’t help but smile when TRL’s fax line popped on the screen: (212) 258-8719.

You can watch around the 3-minute mark here:

 

Think about how limiting this was. I imagine there were thousands of people who would’ve wanted to enter their designs, but the barriers to entry were high. They couldn’t fire their work off in an email, submit a form, or upload to social media. They had to have access to a fax machine. 

I wonder if marketing and social media managers know how lucky we are today. On a daily basis, our audience gifts us a bank of content we can share from our brand channels, with their permission of course. And on the other side of that, your audience has more opportunities to express themselves and share content that is meaningful to them. 

The opportunities for user-generated content are endless. We can receive unlimited content, all in an instant. But just because you could use UGC, doesn’t always mean you should. Let’s discuss some considerations when managing and sharing user-generated content. 

How to Make the Most of User-Generated Content

I’ll start with the hardest, yet most important tip. Screen your UGC! While we love content that is authentic, you should still have a level of standards before reposting a piece of content. Some UGC is good, but not good enough. Look for basic quality guidelines like image clarity, lighting, audio quality, etc. 

Ask yourself if you’re sharing this piece of content because it’s helpful, informative, or entertaining to your larger audience, or if you’re only sharing it simply to spotlight the original user. 

You can still express gratitude and show appreciation for the user without reposting their content. A simple DM, comment, or like on the post is often enough to make the user feel special. You’re not leaving them out, and they’re just as likely to keep posting just for being acknowledged. 

Also, remember there are certain etiquette rules when it comes to user-generated content. First of all, always ask permission before resharing it. Just because a user shared it on their own channels, doesn’t necessarily mean they’d like it broadcast to your entire audience. Plus, reaching out to thank them for the content and ask permission only strengthens the relationship. It’s much better than just taking their content without initiating a conversation. 

Okay, so now you’ve determined the UGC is high enough quality and you have permission to share. But your job goes beyond simply retweeting or reposting. In order for your UGC to have the most impact, you have to give it meaningful context.

This is where most UGC, including testimonials, falls flat. Unless the content does a great job storytelling all on its own, you will likely have to provide those additional details. 

For instance, let’s say you’re a realtor who is tagged in a photo your clients posted standing in front of their new house you helped sell. Rather than just reposting it, tell us more about the couple and how you met their needs. Give your audience something they can potentially relate to as well. Is this a young couple who is expecting their first child and needed more space? What were they looking for in a home and where did they find it? How desperately were they searching before you were able to help?

This added background helps your larger audience see themselves in the content, too, and realize that you have the solution they may need. “If it worked for them, it will work for us.”

Lastly, remember that attention is scarce. If you reshare every single piece of UGC without context or adding value, you will slowly chip away at your audience’s attention, and they may tune you out for good. 

For example, if you run a fitness studio and you often get tagged in your customers’ post-workout mirror selfies, resharing several of these back-to-back, day-after-day is BORING. There are only so many Boomerangs we can take! 

We’ve all seen those brands with endless Instagram Stories that don’t hold our attention. And don’t even get me started on those people who tag a friend in a post, then that friend reshares the tag, and then the original tagger reshares the tag! You’re just spamming your audience at that point.

 

Don’t just reshare so you have a steady stream of content. Reposting all of your UGC can be tempting, and it surely makes our jobs easier, but it can do more harm than good. 

You know how it goes… always make sure your content adds value. It has to be worthwhile. 

 

READ MORE: The Fool-Proof Content Marketing Formula

READ MORE: TRL and the Magic Formula for Raving Fans

This Simple Content Idea Works Every Time

This Simple Content Idea Works Every Time

Content creation usually requires a lot of trial and error, but for a content idea that ALWAYS works, I looked to some of my favorite movie scenes for inspiration.

Like in Miss Congeniality when the frumpy FBI agent Grace Hart becomes a stunning pageant queen.


Or in Clueless, when Tai Frasier gets a makeover and goes from stoner to stunner.


Or the iconic scene in She’s All That, when the class geek Laney Boggs makes an entrance down the stairs, stunning Freddie Prinze Jr. with her beauty.

 

If you haven’t guessed it by now, the surefire content idea I’m referring to is transformations. Transformations hit the mark every time you publish one, and they work for any medium. Here’s why:

Transformational content is versatile.

It’s not only people that undergo transformations. So can places, companies, and things. Any brand has the potential to share them.

We see this often on social media any time we see a person’s physical, mental, or behavioral traits transform. But an inspiring before-and-after can also apply to products, DIY projects, home renovations, or workplace culture.

 

Transformations are authentic.

But only if you communicate them correctly… Don’t skip right to the good part. 

Even a good testimonial can be a bad testimonial. For a transformation to be the most effective, you have to show the full story. Paint a picture of the bad, the ugly, and then the good. This gives the transformation more meaning and impact.

If you have a satisfied customer, don’t just share a happy-go-lucky quote. Help your audience understand their original problem and pain points so the transformation has a stronger story arc.

 

Transformations are compelling.

They give the reader something to look forward to, and there’s always a clear beginning, middle, and end. It’s likely your audience can relate to the before stage of the transformation themselves, and they’ll be interested to see how the story ends. Transformations are the perfect way to promote the idea that “if it worked for them, it will work for me.” 

Every great story has a strong hook, so be sure to frame your content with an interesting detail that will grab their attention. 

 

Transformations promote conversation.

If your audience sees the way things were before compared to how they are now, there’s a built-in wow factor. 

They’ll feel inspired to remark on the story or ask questions of their own. And since transformations typically emphasize improvements, your followers will want to applaud, congratulate, and engage.

 

Transformations illustrate credibility.

No matter what your expertise is, transformations show your impact. This can apply to products you sell or services you perform. Maybe you’re an artist who makes jewelry to upgrade someone’s look, or you’re a landscaper who gives homes some much-needed curb appeal. 

With transformations, you don’t have to explain why you’re an expert. They prove it on their own. This will make people trust you and want to work with you. 

 

Transformations build relationships.

A transformation is often highly personal. It’s admitting to the world that you needed to make a change. Your transparency and willingness to share the full journey with your audience not only make them feel closer to you, but it makes them want to root for you.

Because of this, vulnerability is key with transformations. Your content will be much more interesting if you share your imperfect experience. 

 


Transformations create an emotional connection.

Have you ever sat through an episode of Queer Eye and found yourself crying at the end? When you bring your audience along for a transformation, they experience the emotional roller coaster, too. They are an ideal opportunity to relate to your audience and inspire them to take action or get involved.

 

Transform Your Brand’s Content

Audit your content to see if you’re sharing enough transformations. This content idea works well as a blog post, short or long-form video, Twitter thread, or even before and after photographs. You also can get really creative with transformation transitions on TikTok! With every transformation you share, you’ll build trust and bring yourself closer to your audience.