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Marketing 101: What is a point-first headline?

May 28th, 2021
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Marketing has a language all its own. This is our latest in a series of posts aimed at helping new marketers learn that language. What term do you find yourself explaining most often to new hires during onboarding? Let us know.

 

Marketing 101: What is a point-first headline?

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

 

A point-first headline is a headline that begins with the main point you are trying to make to the reader.

There are three types of sentences: point first, point middle, and point last.

 

Creative Sample #1: Illustration of point-sequenced grammar

Essentially, when you write a point-first headline, you are leading with the information that is most appealing and relevant to the reader. So placing the main point of value for the customer in the front of the sentence increases the probability it will be read and understood by potential customers. For this reason, the best-performing headlines are typically point first.

Writing a point-first headline is the equivalent of the inverted pyramid in journalism. Writing a story this way encourages the reporter to put the most newsworthy info first.

Another journalistic saying that is very applicable to a point-first headline is “Don’t bury the lede.” In other words, make sure the most newsworthy part of the story is front and center. For marketing, “most newsworthy” translates to “main point of value to the customer.”

 

A headline experiment

MECLABS Institute worked with a survey company to research which headlines would be most effective to recruit panelists to take surveys (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa).

The experiment tested a series of point-first and point-last headlines. Below you can see each headline along with its conversion rate. We’ve also underlined the main point in each headline.

Point-first headlines

  • Get Paid to Take FREE Surveys: 28.76% conversion rate
  • Here’s Your First Survey, and an Invitation to Join Our Research Community: 28.35%
  • Get Paid to Fill Out Online Surveys: 27.98%
  • Get Rewarded for Your Opinion: 27.92%
  • Surveys – Quick, Easy and FREE: 27.52%
  • Win Cash & Prizes for Online Surveys: 27.27%

Point-last headlines

  • Set Up Your FREE Account Today and Start Earning Money!: 27.35%
  • You’re Invited to Join the [Company Name] Community and to Earn Rewards For Your Opinions: 27.14%
  • Join the [Company Name] Community and Have Your Opinions Count: 26.92%
  • Take Online Surveys From Home and Win Cash & Prizes: 26.81%

As you can see, point-first headlines tended to outperform point-last headlines.

While no point-middle headlines were included in this experiment since they tend to underperform both point-first and point-last headlines, here are a few examples of what point-middle headlines for this landing page might look like.

Point-middle headlines

  • Sign up today and get paid to take free surveys
  • Take free surveys and get rewarded for your opinion
  • Share your opinions and win cash with online surveys

As these examples show, the main value to the customer is easier to overlook in a point-middle headline.

 

Page Templates That Work

The tendency for point-first headlines to outperform point-last and especially point-middle headlines (all else being equal) led MECLABS to recommend to marketers that you should test point-first headlines on your landing pages.

In the free resource Page Templates That Work: Improve conversions with these scientifically proven webpage templates, the templates advise marketers to use a “Point-first headline that clearly communicates the value of the page objective.”

 

Creative Sample #2: Excerpt from Page Templates That Work

Creative Sample #2: Excerpt from Page Templates That Work

You can follow Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute, on Twitter @DanielBurstein.

 

If you are interested in point-first headlines, you might also like…

Copywriting: See immediate lifts by applying these 5 principles to your headlines

Headline Optimization: How testing 10 headlines revealed a 3-letter word that improved conversion more than major changes

Email Marketing: 3 letters to drive subject line success

 

If you are interested in entry-level marketing content, you might also like…

Marketing 101: What is funnel creation?

Marketing 101: What is PPC in marketing?

The Beginner’s Guide to Digital Marketing: 53 articles (and 1 video) to help with onboarding

Marketing 101: What is a business elevator pitch?

May 13th, 2021
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Marketing has a language all its own. This is our latest in a series of posts aimed at helping new marketers learn that language. What term do you find yourself explaining most often to new hires during onboarding? Let us know.

 

Marketing 101: What is a business elevator pitch?

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

An elevator pitch is a quick explanation of a value proposition for something you are trying to influence another person’s opinion on.

An elevator pitch (also called an elevator speech) can be for a company (to persuade investors), a product (to influence a purchase), a project (to get budget) or even a person (to get a job).

A key component of an elevator pitch is the quick, succinct summation of much more information – enough to change an opinion or elicit an action but not so much that you lose someone’s attention. An elevator pitch can be particularly important when you know you will only have a short amount of time with the person (say, at a networking event or running into the CEO in the hallway or in a literal elevator).

The term likely originates from the idea that one could run into a key decision maker in an elevator. If that happened, you need a prepared statement you can use during the few seconds you have with this decision maker during that elevator ride.

A forceful value proposition is key to an effective elevator pitch. According to MECLABS Institute’s methodology, there are four elements to a forceful value proposition – clarity, credibility, exclusivity, and appeal (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa).

“I must understand (clarity) so I can believe (credibility) that only you (exclusivity) have what I want (appeal),” said Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute.

Word usage examples

To put the term ‘elevator pitch’ in context, here are some examples of how we have used the term in our content.

Elevator pitch example

Steve Jobs delivered a famous elevator pitch to John Sculley in 1983 – “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?”

Sculley was the president of Pepsi at the time. Jobs was starting to make something special happen with Apple. However, Jobs needed a CEO to run Apple so that he could focus on developing new products for the growing company. Sculley wasn’t convinced by Apple’s laid-back culture and politely rejected Jobs’ original offer until Jobs presented his famous elevator pitch.

“That abrupt but direct question says everything about how Apple tackles innovation and its products—and it led to Scully joining Apple,” said James Edge, Founder, Crush the USMLE.

“The pitch is brilliant because of its simplicity and unorthodox nature. Instead of following the traditional elevator pitch model, this one went straight to Sculley’s heart. The question hit him so hard that he eventually changed his mind and joined what would become one of the most impactful and profitable companies in the history of the world,” said Marc Lewis, General Manager and Executive Editor, Ecowatch.

You can follow Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute, on Twitter @DanielBurstein.

If you are interested in elevator pitches, you might also like…

An Effective Value Proposition: What it is, why it is so important to business and marketing success, and how to use it

7 Steps to Discovering Your Essential Value Proposition with Simple A/B Tests

Pivot Your Value Proposition: 6 ways brands, entrepreneurs and marketers are responding to COVID-19’s economic fallout

Free Template to Help You Win Approval for Proposed Projects, Campaigns and Ideas

If you are interested in entry-level marketing content, you might also like…

Marketing 101: What is PPC in marketing?

The Beginner’s Guide to Digital Marketing: 53 articles (and 1 video) to help with onboarding

Marketing 101: What are beneficial buttons?

Ask MarketingSherpa: Homepage value proposition

February 10th, 2021
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Ask MarketingSherpa: Homepage value proposition

We frequently receive questions from our email newsletter subscribers asking marketing advice. Instead of hiding those answers in a one-to-one communication, we occasionally publish edited excerpts of some of these conversations here on the MarketingSherpa blog so they can help other readers as well. If you have any questions, let us know.

Dear MarketingSherpa: Hi Daniel. Hope you’re having a good week.

About 10 days ago I commented about a three-part study you posted on homepage redesigns on your Linkedin post.

I asked you for some extra resources, and you sent a few links that I reviewed.

If you don’t mind me asking a direct question, could you offer your two cents of feedback on this please?

Here’s the thing. My client is a SaaS Case Management platform, that wants a redesigned website. So we’ve started working, and at the outset, the deal is to make the homepage less techy and more business-oriented.

I’m working on the homepage value prop, and we discussed two options, both suggested by me:

Option 1: Manage Cases With Ease

Option 2: Manage More Cases With Less Stress.

The internal team is heavily leaning to Option 1 because it looks cleaner, and I’m pulling the other way because Option 2 identifies the wants and pains of the target audience better, and with more emotional impact.

I’d love to hear your two cents on the matter. When the homepage is competing with $50 million per year businesses, and the audience is the public sector and companies serving the public sector, how smart is the idea to use these more “emotions-oriented” taglines?

Igor Mateski
Founder/CEO
WebMaxFormance

Dear Reader: Hey Igor,

I can’t say which is the best value prop for the company. That takes a lot of work. If you haven’t already, I suggest conducting a value prop workshop with them. Here’s an example – B2B Value Proposition: How a tech startup used a value prop workshop to help prepare for a public offering (4 takeaways for your brand)

As to your question between the two options, your best bet is to test.

Personally, my off-the-cuff response (hope it doesn’t sound too harsh), they will both underperform because they have no credibility. I know you wouldn’t tell me “Manage Less Cases with More Stress” so why should I believe you if you told me “Manage More Cases with Less Stress?”

As for “emotions-oriented” – it can work. Remember, you’re not selling to companies or government agencies, you’re selling to people. If you’ve hit on the right emotion from them (and I don’t know them and can’t say if you have) it can be very effective, but again, it needs to be credible.

Hope that helps.

Dear MarketingSherpa: Hmm…interesting point, about credibility. I didn’t turn over that rock. Obviously.

We haven’t had any interviews/planning with the client. They just asked that we redesign the site, and the deadline is New Year’s. So we’re cutting corners in plenty of places in order to make the deadline.

That being said, what do you suggest as a quick and easy way to add credibility to the value prop?

By the way, thank you for your comment. It’s quite helpful!

Dear Reader: Glad I could help, Igor. Quick and easy? That’s tough. I’d suggest get them on the phone, discuss the claim they like, and then you really have to challenge them. “OK, I believe you. But why should anyone else believe this? They’ll have three other tabs open with websites for your competitors. Why would they believe this line?”

Here are some specific elements that can help build credibility on the page – Credibility: 9 elements that help make your marketing claims more believable.

Dear MarketingSherpa: Thank you for the resources. I really appreciate this.

If there’s anything I can do for you, let me know.

You can follow Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute, on Twitter @DanielBurstein.

You might also like…

MECLABS Institute Value Proposition Development on-demand certification course – Learn how to clearly communicate an effective value proposition based on a review of 1,100 academic articles and more than two decades of real-world experimentation

MarketingSherpa Quick Guide to Website Optimization PDF

Powerful Value Propositions: How to Optimize this Critical Marketing Element – and Lift Your Results (Value Proposition Archives)

Visualizing the Conversion Journey

November 12th, 2020
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Here is the great struggle in all human relationships.

Me with my wife. Your brand with your customer. Even me with you, dear reader.

I am not you.

I am not my wife. You are not your customer.

However, we tend to think other people are like us. This is known as false consensus effect. Overcoming this cognitive bias – and striving to break down this barrier – is key to successful human relationships.

And thus, it is key to successful marketing. The better you understand how to truly serve your customers, the more successful your marketing will be.

Here’s one way to break down the barriers between your marketing team and your customers.

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

 

A purchase is a journey

“Why do you insist on visualizing the conversion journey?” This question came from an attendee of a group coaching session with Flint McGlaughlin about conducting a data pattern analysis.

Visualizing the conversion journey is one way to break down that artificial barrier between you and the customer.

If marketers work on a landing page, direct mail piece or print ad in isolation, they overlook the real way potential customers make decisions in the real world.

Other than an impulse purchase, there is usually a step before. Or after. Or both. Or several steps. These other elements of the customer journey affect the overall success rate of whatever piece of marketing collateral your team is currently working on.

Here’s a simple example. MVMT used to send emails that linked to a general collection of its watches. When the team changed its strategy to use the emails to drive potential customers to specific landing pages that tied tightly to the campaign in the emails, they increased conversion 44% (see more in How the World’s Fastest-growing Watch Brand Used Email to Grow Revenue 98%).

To get you thinking of ways to visualize your customers’ conversion journey for your marketing team, here are a few tips.

 

Don’t view data in isolation

In the free Simplified MECLABS Institute Data Pattern Analysis Tool, there is a place to add in the metrics for a funnel analysis. Of course. (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa)

 

 

However, just seeing webpage paths and conversion numbers is not the best way to try to get into the customer’s shoes. The customer does not experience the conversion journey like this.

So there is also a place in the tool to add in the actual screenshots of the funnel.

 

 

When using the tool, having the actual customer experience close at hand is a good reminder that conversion optimization is more than a numbers game. There are real people on the other sides of those numbers.

What does the world look like to them? The more you use data as a means to an end – to get closer to the human experience – the more you can leverage empathy in your marketing and increase conversion.

 

Immerse yourself in the customer experience

Many decisions that impact the customer are made in a meeting in a boardroom. The walls in that meeting room might be filled with generic art or company mission statements.

As a temporary way to bring the customer journey into that meeting – and set the right environment for your team to make customer-first decisions – print out each step of the customer journey and hang it on the walls of the meeting room as an oversize poster.

That’s what we do in a MECLABS Quick Win Intensive. Here’s an example:

 

 

We’ll even use markers or Post-It notes to write the metrics right on each step of the conversion journey, or mark each step with potential conversion optimization changes.

This approach makes sure the changes aren’t made in isolation, and the entire customer journey is front and center. Should you change a certain headline or call to action? Well, when you see what customers are experiencing in the previous or next steps, you get a better sense if the entire journey is smooth and seamless.

Here’s an example of a more permanent way to visualize the conversion journey. In the MECLABS building, we had a Customer Experience Lab. There were a series of screens where you could pull up each step of the customer journey, in addition to magnetic boards if you wanted to include any print collateral and write on it. So as potential ideas are debated, the entire customer conversion journey is laid out clearly for everyone to see.

 

 

Of course, times have changed. Many people reading this article right now are not in offices or physical meeting rooms yet.

You can do a virtual version of the conversion journey over Zoom. Or print out the steps and hang them up in your home office. The core goal is the same whether you’re working in-person or remote – making sure you and your team can’t overlook the customer journey when making key decisions.

 

Map out the big picture

Visualizing the conversion journey isn’t just about seeing what the customer sees, you should also try to think what the customer thinks. For example, you could create a customer journey map clearly showing the questions potential customers have as they consider your product and map the marketing and sales material and interactions you are using to address these questions.

 

 

Or you can approach the customer journey from the opposite direction. Instead of focusing on the questions potential customers have about your product, identify the key conclusions they need to reach to keep traveling along the journey with your company that ultimately leads to a product purchase by creating a prospect conclusion funnel.

 

 

As you can see, there’s more than one way to visualize the customer conversion journey. The exact way you go about is less important than the intent behind it – better understanding your customer to better serve the customer and improve results.

You can follow Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute, on Twitter @DanielBurstein.

You might also like…

Data Pattern Analysis: Learn from a coaching session with Flint McGlaughlin

How SAP Mapped Buyer Journeys for 19 Industries to Build More than $23 Million of Marketing-generated Pipeline

Marketing 101: What is funnel creation?

Marketing 101: What is source/medium?

September 15th, 2020
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Marketing has a language all its own. This is our latest in a series of posts aimed at helping new marketers learn that language. What term do you find yourself explaining most often to new hires during onboarding? Let us know.

 

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

If you’ve ever been in a meeting with people who work on the data analytics for your company’s website, you may hear them refer to the metrics of Source and Medium. Sometimes, they’ll say the words so quickly together it sounds like one compound word “Sourcemedium.” (Just like people who work in digital advertising can make pay-per-click sound like “paper click.”)

Source and Medium are actually two distinct pieces of information that together help you understand where the traffic going to your website comes from. They are referred to together because they share a report in Google Analytics. You can find them in the left-hand column of Google Analytics, under Acquisition, then All Traffic, then finally Source/Medium.

 

 

The source is the specific website that sent traffic to your website, and the medium is the category that website resides under. Here’s a look at a Source/Medium report for our websites for a random day.

 

The word before the slash is the source, and the word after the slash is the medium.

As you can see, the top source of traffic was direct, which is not assigned to any medium. Direct traffic can come from someone typing in your website’s address to their browser, clicking on a bookmark, or clicking on a link from a non-website source like a PDF or presentation. As the name implies, people went directly to your website. However, direct is also the default source Google Analytics uses to report any traffic that it cannot assign another source to.

As you see, some traffic comes from the medium organic, like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This refers to organic search.

And some traffic is listed with the medium referral, this means that visitors clicked on a link from another website to get to your website. In the example above, some of those websites (sources) were Internshala, Target Marketing magazine, and the University of British Columbia.

How you can use this information

According to the MECLABS Conversion Heuristic — a methodology to help marketers understand and optimize the factors that affect the probability of conversion — the motivation of the potential customer is the factor that most affects conversion. (MECLABS Institute is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa).

Understanding the source and medium of traffic to your website can help you better understand your customers’ motivations so you can better serve them and ultimately increase conversion. It can also help you understand if you are not getting the right types of customers to your website and need to change your traffic-driving and traffic-attracting initiatives.

Here is an example from work the MECLABS team is doing with the nonprofit TenbyThree as part of the show The Marketer as Philosopher — Become a Force for the Good:

Read more…

Marketing 101: What are beneficial buttons?

July 8th, 2020
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Marketing has a language all its own. This is our latest in a series of posts aimed at helping new marketers learn that language. What term do you find yourself explaining most often to new hires during onboarding? Let us know.

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

A beneficial button is a call-to-action (CTA) button that explains a benefit the customer will receive by clicking on it. In other words, the button has a process-level value proposition.

This may sound obvious when you read the above sentences. If you’re asking the customer to take an action, of course, the button should have a benefit. However, I challenge you to navigate around the web right now and see how many buttons are truly beneficial.

Three categories of CTA buttons

There are three categories of CTA buttons:

  • Value-neutral buttons – These buttons don’t have a positive or negative value. For example, using the word “Submit” or “Go.”
  • Value-negative buttons – These buttons have a higher cost than value. For example, “Buy Now.”
  • Value-positive buttons – These are beneficial buttons. They show the customer the benefit of taking action. For example, “Download My Template.” By filling out the form and clicking the button, you will get the value of a template download.

You can see the full landing page yourself: Free Template to Help You Win Approval for Proposed Projects, Campaigns and Ideas

How to categorize your CTA buttons

Two marketers can see the same button and disagree on whether it’s a beneficial button.

For example, Kodak considered a “Subscribe” button to be a beneficial button for its email registration page while a “Submit” button was not. (From the case study List Growth Tactics: How Kodak added 33% more email subscribers and 53% more YouTube followers).

Read more…

Marketing 101: What is lead attribution?

June 4th, 2020
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Marketing has a language all its own. This is our latest in a series of posts aimed at helping new marketers learn that language. What term do you find yourself explaining most often to new hires during onboarding? Let us know.

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

Lead attribution is the process of determining which marketing activities should be credited for bringing in a potential customer, also known as a lead.

The exact definition of what is considered a lead will vary based on the lead management process at each company, but for the purposes of this article, we will consider a lead as a potential customer that indicates interest in a company (for example, filling out a form or calling for more information).

Lead attribution is extremely valuable

Lead attribution is both extremely valuable and maddeningly difficult.

It is so valuable because if companies know which marketing activities produce leads, and which do not, they can optimize their marketing investment. As department store owner John Wanamaker famously said more than 100 years ago, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

So even though lead attribution doesn’t have the creative glory of other marketing practices like copywriting, design, content marketing or branding, don’t overlook it. In fact, I’m writing this blog post because I received a question when I was waxing poetic about lead attribution in the recent article – 8 Mini Case Studies of Using Marketing as a Force for Positive Change in Our World While Getting Results for Your Company and Clients. In the article I say …

“Listen folks, I’ve been doing this a long time. So when I started looking for stories for this article, I had my assumptions about which marketing tactics this article was going to cover:

Landing page optimization to better communicate value —that’s a given.

Content marketing — probably more than one mini case study.

Better ad targeting — of course.

But lead attribution?

Valuable tactic? Absolutely. But it’s boring, behind the scenes, and has little direct correlation to bring about positive change for people. At least, that was that my assumption.

If you’ve had similar assumptions, check out this next story.”

The mini case study goes on to tell the story of how a marketing attribution technology helped fuel a little friendly competition between radio stations in a radiothon that ultimately raised $500,000 for Feeding America during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Which brings up the point — while lead attribution is the term I most often hear thrown about, attribution can be applied to any customer action that companies seek, including product purchases or, in the above case, donations during a radiothon. For that reason, there are other similar terms — like marketing attribution or revenue attribution – that refer to roughly the same thing: understanding which marketing or advertising (or even sales or public relations) activities contribute to a company achieving its goals.

Read more…

Marketing 101: What is PPC in marketing?

April 30th, 2020
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Marketing has a language all its own. This is our latest in a series of posts aimed at helping new marketers learn that language. What term do you find yourself explaining most often to new hires during onboarding? Let us know.

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

PPC stands for pay-per-click. The abbreviation is usually used in front of the words “marketing” or “advertising” to describe digital ads for which the company pays a fee to the website where the ads are displayed (or the advertising network that is running the ads across many websites) every time a potential customer clicks on the ads.

If you’re a new marketer, you might have heard the words pay-per-click slurred together pretty quickly by experienced marketers, and not quite understood what they are saying. My favorite anecdote, sometimes I would get a transcript from a recorded interview back, and the transcriptionist (not familiar with the marketing industry) would transcribe “pay-per-click” as “paper click.”

Here’s an example of the look and feel of some PPC ads:

This example is from PPC Marketing: 3 steps to improve performance.

Words like “condition” and “part” are called out in brackets because those words would change to address different medical conditions faced by the ideal customer using different keywords (more on keywords in the PPC vs. SEO section of this blog post).

The URL is simply listed as “company.com” because we’re protecting the identity of the MECLABS Conversion Marketing Services Research Partner that engaged in this PPC experimentation (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa).

Performance advertising versus impressions-based advertising

Traditionally, advertising was sold based on how many people would see the ad — also known as impressions, exposure or reach. The cost is calculated as cost per thousand and abbreviated as CPM (“m” stands for “mille,” Latin for “one thousand.”)

The rise of advertising on the internet has brought with it a shift to performance-based advertising. While marketers can still buy adds based on their reach, many choose to buy based on an action like a click.

An example in the case study Small Business Social Media Advertising: Local shop conducts value proposition testing with Facebook ads shows a few of the different ways marketers can buy ads online. Consultant Metodi Iliev ran three tests with Facebook ads. For each test, he chose the Facebook ad delivery aimed at a different metric — optimized for post engagement, optimized for impressions, and finally, optimized for link clicks.

Read more…

Content Marketing: Here’s a really selfish reason to properly credit your sources (plus an altruistic one)

April 23rd, 2020
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This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

The rise of digital publishing has provided a voice to anyone with a digital device and an internet connection, anywhere in the world. For brands and businesses — both massive and solopreneurs — it means the ability to publish content marketing and get the word out about your products and services directly to the customer.

That’s a good thing. A powerful way to grow your company.

But as publishing has become democratized, now all of us are newspaper editors and book publishers — with no training.

And because of that, properly quoting your sources is a significant professional courtesy that is seriously lacking.

Quit biting my style

In any creative or artistic endeavor, there lies the temptation to copy successful inspiration. Music. Writing. Comedy. “You have a better chance of stopping a serial killer than a serial thief in comedy,” comedian David Brenner said. “If we could protect our jokes, I’d be a retired billionaire in Europe somewhere — and what I just said is original.”

Having an actual new idea is extremely difficult. As Barenaked Ladies has sung, “It’s all been done before.”

And occasionally, we’re not even aware we didn’t come up with an original idea, as this quick clip from Seinfeld so beautifully illustrates:

 

But do you see what I did in each of those instances? I gave credit where it is due. As we publish content through MarketingSherpa, MarketingExperiments or MECLABS Institute, I’m also surprised how often people think it’s okay to simply use our content with no permission or attribution.

And I’m not talking about content scraping. That is straight-up malicious.

But there are plenty of seemingly well-meaning content marketers who don’t credit sources just for lack of knowledge. While there are brand journalists who have actually gone to journalism college, most people publishing content marketing today have done so with little to no training. It’s just not their expertise.

So they overlook properly crediting sources. And when you don’t credit your sources, you are essentially taking credit for someone else’s idea and saying it is your own. You are copying.

I’ll give you an example. I was a guest speaker on a webinar. We did a run-through on the slides before the webinar. And I was impressed with some of the content this speaker and this company had. So after the run-through, I started asking him about it.

He was quite forthright. Didn’t realize he was doing anything wrong. “Oh, that’s just some stuff I found by Googling around.” But for anyone watching the webinar, attendees would have thought it was his content and data (unless they knew the original, in which case he would have looked like a fraud). The story has a happy ending. He was more than happy to properly source, once our team showed him how — which I’ll show in just a minute, but first, what’s in it for you?

Read more…

SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loans and the Marketing Industry: 4 tips for marketers

April 13th, 2020
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This blog post was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

If you haven’t already heard of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), it is part of $350 billion in aid the U.S. Congress allocated for small businesses in its recent stimulus bill (and more is being considered).

This program, in response to the economic devastation wrought by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, is meant to keep small businesses afloat as well as ensure workers on private payrolls continue to get paid.

If you want general information about the program, you can learn more directly from the U.S. Small Business Administration. In this MarketingSherpa blog post, we’ll focus on some tips that are especially relevant to marketers.

Tip #1: Understand how your workers are classified

There has been a lot of press about the PPP and how it can help small businesses cover payroll and operating expenses. For some in the marketing industry, there may be special considerations in how they should manage their organization’s human resources.

“Many marketing agencies have a lot of 1099 contractors; those freelancers are not covered under the agency’s PPP loans. Therefore, marketing agencies would have an easier time covering those types of expenses under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance Program,” advised Taylor Gibson, COO, Optima Office, an accounting firm.

Gibson advises that the Payroll Protection Program can be a better loan option if you have W2 employees since portions can be forgiven (more info below).

“You can get two-and-a-half times the qualifying monthly wages and benefits through the Paycheck Protection Program. Plus, the PPP does not require a personal guarantee — which the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance Program does,” advised Gibson.

Tip #2: You may be a small business

Jay-Z once said, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!”

You may be a small business as well.

Sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed persons can apply to the PPP, according to the SBA website.

“If you own a one-person marketing agency and are a sole prop[rietor], then you likely do not have payroll costs in the same way. That being said, the loan amount that you are eligible for would still be calculated as a result of your payroll costs for the twelve months,” said Allan Givens, PR Manager, Finder.com, which offers a tutorial on How to apply for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program.

Read more…