What is the point of content marketing?

What’s the point of all marketing?

To sell.

That’s it.

Other benefits include things like better brand reputation … which leads to more sales, and loops back to the original point of marketing.

If you’re a marketer, you’re a salesperson. No getting around it.

I was a ‘proper’ salesman in an electrical store. My toes curl thinking back.

But here I am, selling you Latitude the agency, in a blog post designed to boost our authority on content marketing and contribute to more sales (hopefully).

Hear me out, and you might just want to swipe the same (painfully simple) strategy for yourself …

This Simple Content Strategy Has Been Under Our Noses Since We Were 10 Years Old

My daughter loves storytime. Me too.

But because I struggle to unscramble my day-job brain, I end up applying the morals of each story to marketing (spoiling every children’s book there ever was).

Let’s see if this one strikes a chord with you …

The Sun: “Time for a contest.”

The North Wind: “I’m listening.”

The Sun: “See that gentleman down there on the crooked path?”

The North Wind: “Yup”

The Sun: “Let’s see who can remove his coat.”

The North Wind: “No problem.”

The North Wind sucks in a hurricane of air and roars down on the man – swooshing up leaves, crisp packets, and empty Starbucks cups.

The man clutches to his coat even tighter than before.

The Sun: “My turn.”

The Sun beams softly onto the back of the man’s neck and warms the crooked path ahead.

Within seconds, the man chooses to remove his coat, sling it over his shoulder, and smile for the rest of his journey.

The North Wind reminds me of my time conning pensioners into thinking they needed a HD TV, along with the best HD cables, and expensive warranty.

I blew marketing spiel at them until they buckled. Most of the time, they didn’t. And that electrical store actually closed down as a result of sales drying up.

Not all marketers share the patience and understanding of the Morning Sun.

But if you tap into it, you can influence your customers to take the action that you want, in a way they welcome – and even enjoy.

Your audience grows in tandem with your authority.

You sell more stuff than before.

Lovely idea … but does it actually work?

Does the “Morning Sun” Content Strategy Actually Work in Real Life?

Imagine a teenage Sicilian boy in a white shirt, the sleeves rolled to the elbows, his cheeks flushed with hard work. He’s in the kitchen of a New Jersey bakery, scrubbing pots in the sink.

This is Bartolo “Buddy” Valastro. And it’s 1950.

Trained as a bread baker from the age of seven, Buddy wasn’t going to scrub pots forever.

In 1964, his boss and mentor retired – chucking the keys to Buddy (for a price, of course) and setting the stage for a heartwarming success story.

I’m sharing this with you because it was achieved through the same “Morning Sun” strategy.

See, Carlo’s Bakery first opened in 1910.

99 years later, the building played host to a reality TV show: Cake Boss.

Presented by Buddy’s grandson (also known as Buddy), it’s a window into the world of a family-run business, grounded in a passion set by Carlo and Buddy Snr.

Since the show debuted on TV, the stats haven’t stopped rising:

  • Orders at the bakery grew by over 1000%
  • 24,000 cupcakes sell per week
  • Nine Carlo’s retail stores are open for business
  • Buddy has a mail order service
  • Carlo’s offer a bakery training course
  • The B2B division is booming
  • And high-ticket orders continue to roll in from celebrities around the world

Buddy has released two cookery books based on the show and features in three spin-off shows of a similar nature.

New episodes are rolling out in 2016. And old episodes repeat all the time.

Cake Boss has over 9 million followers on Facebook at the time of writing this post.

Do you think those 9 million people ever feel like Buddy’s trying to peddle his cakes or books to them?

Or, do you think they all choose to consume his content?

This is the “Morning Sun” approach in action.

And it’s clearly working to build Buddy’s audience.

Carlo’s Bakery is even ranked by Google as the second best “thing to do” in Hoboken, which gets an average of 1,300 searches per month:

New Jersey attracted over 92 million visitors in 2014. How many of those do you think fancy a cannoli from the world-famous Cake Boss?

Buddy warms the crooked path for his prospective customers with an entertaining and authentic TV show. And they come to him, cash in hand.

Yes, it costs money to produce the show. Buddy invests a lot of time into it. And he’s taking a risk by exposing the business in this way (even catching some flak for it back in 2012 – pulling an episode due to its misjudged depiction of the transgender community).

Worth the risks? I reckon so.

But Buddy’s not the only shining example …

5 More Unique Examples Show How the “Morning Sun” Content Strategy Could Work for You

This is not a new concept.

And it’s not mine.

Advertising greats have been providing value up front since the 1920s (and probably before).

1. Claude Hopkins Used Free Samples to Sell [BLANK]

Claude delivered products free of charge to housewives in the States. If they wanted more, they paid.

And for Claude, the cost of the sample was buttons compared to the profit of his larger sale … which landed more often than not, thanks to a quality product.

There was no risk. He improved their lives for free. And they made the decision to pay afterwards.

2. John Carlton Built the Right (Paying) Audience with Free Newsletter & Blog

John Carlton followed in the footsteps of copywriting legend, Eugene Schwartz – giving away the best parts of his copywriting books for free. His readers craved more and were happy to pay for the full hardback when The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Getting Your S**t Together was released.

It was their decision … only they were now more inspired than before.

John picked up new prospects along the way, new orders for his seminars, and new sales for his previous books, too.

3. Kevin Rogers Attracted New Customers to Paid Membership Site with Free Podcast

Keven Rogers hosts a podcast with John that reveals (for free) many of the secrets locked behind his membership site: copychief.com.

His listeners are compelled to want more and are more likely to pay for becoming an “insider”.

4. Gary Vaynerchuck Wins with the “Morning Sun” Approach, Time and Time Again

@GaryVee gets a ton of attention from marketers like me, who like to shine a light on him as an example of someone we should follow … without myself achieving anything near what he’s achieved.

But here I am again – making you look at him …

Gary first used a smart content strategy for his parents’ wine business and produced media in the form of easy-to-follow videos at winelibrary.tv. He built the audience online. And the business grew as a result.

Now we see him applying it again with his latest book #AskGaryVee.

In his time running VaynerMedia, Gary’s been inviting his audience of 1.21 million followers to ask him a question via Twitter every week. Then he answers it in a short video.

His latest book is a transcribed compilation of those same Q&A videos. It costs £20.00 per hardback. And I bet it’s going to sell … even though most of his customers have already consumed a bunch of the same content before.

They love Gary. They look forward to the value he adds. And they want to pay for more.

Starting to make sense?

5. Brian Clark calls this concept “Media, not Marketing” in the entrepreneurial podcast series New Rainmaker.

Instead of blowing marketing messages at your audience, you produce media. That media offers value to your prospective customers – and they welcome your paid solutions as a result.

Guess what, Brian’s got a paid solution (the New Rainmaker Platform) that his listeners are happily paying for today … after listening to his free podcast.

Some marketers hesitate to embrace the idea.

Latitude has even been guilty of it in the past.

The North Wind believes “If I give you my best stuff for free, why do you need me afterwards?”

But, the Morning Sun knows there’s always much more behind the curtain, like a great product or service that adds value, which can’t be added through media alone.

That’s the key to all of this – your ‘paid for’ products or services MUST add value to every potential customer’s life.

So, what’s the simplest way to get started with media production?


Why Launch a Blog When Your Competitors Are Already Doing It Better?

Welcome to the most crippling and common fear of content creation there is – the fear of unoriginality.

Some would-be marketers say things like “how do I avoid being a ‘me too’ website?”.

There’s a very straightforward (and serious) response to this:

If you let the fear of unoriginality stop you from pulling the trigger, you could turn 68 and have nothing to your name.

It’s rare for originality to spawn out of nowhere.

Think about Buddy Jnr. again …

When he started out baking butterfly cakes with his granddad, do you think he made the likes of his Transformers masterpiece on the first weekend?

It’s more likely he made the same butterfly cakes as the next baker. And over time, unlocked his own unique style.

Think about Kevin Rogers, who teaches many of the same lessons as John Carlton – only in his own unique way. Kevin brings his younger perspective to the principles of copywriting and salesmanship, along with his life experience as a stand-up comic.

And Carlton himself absorbed most of his knowledge from legendary copywriters who went before him (including Eugene Schwartz and Claude Hopkins).

Your originality emerges by being yourself.

You convey similar messages to your peers, but, it’s your take on it that the reader buys into. Your life experiences and brand story play a part in your unique identity and message.

Now, time to go behind the scenes of this blog post and reveal how I’ve been trying out the “Morning Sun” approach on you …

How to Build Your Audience with Simple Content Marketing (first step)

You don’t need to produce a TV show to build your audience. In fact, your content doesn’t even need to be entertaining.

My 10-year-old is learning how to write for different purposes in his English class: entertain, educate, or persuade.

Same applies in content marketing. And your niche may be starved of educational content.

All you need to do right now is discover your own man on the crooked path. Get to know your customer like a friend – and your ideas never stop.

Interested? Join me as I explore the concept step-by-step on the Latitude blog, in my new series: Simple Content Marketing.

Next Chapter: How to Find Your Most Important Customer.

Other chapters include: 

  • How to Map Out Your Content Plan with a Real Customer Journey
  • How to Put Eyeballs on Your Content with Straightforward Headlines
  • The Importance of Writing an Explosive Intro (and how)
  • What Else Makes a Successful Blog Post?
  • Why “Sales without Selling” is the Wrong Goal

Believe it or not, it’s free to receive every chapter.

And if you click the download button below, you’ll unlock an x-ray of this very blog post, so you can clearly see the “Morning Sun” tactics I’ve tried to apply throughout. You might as well get it now, while it’s free … because I’m gonna try and sell it to you at the end of the year anyway.