Seducing Strangers – by Josh Weltman

Describes how advertising works.  Split into two parts: offline advertising and online marketing. These notes only deal with the online marketing principles. Very insightful – unlike any other online marketing advice I’ve ever read.

Understand the role of advertising

The role of advertising is to set attractive expectations in the consumer’s mind at a level that the product, service, blog post, video, or update being advertised can meet or exceed. In other words, the point of advertising is to convince your audience that using, reading, listening, watching the product, service, or media will fulfill a certain desirable expectation/promise.

Understand the four expectations:

Online, there are four possible expectations your audience can have:

  1. “This will change what I think is possible.” When the audience has this expectation, they are likely to buy, read/watch/listen to, like, and/or share the content.
  2. “This will help me get to where I need to be quicker or more easily.” With this expectation, they are likely to read or skim the content.
  3. “This will help me let out things I need to let go of.” With this expectation, your audience is likely to give a story.
  4. “This will let me let others become aware of what I’m upto, how I’m doing, or what I know.” With this expectation, your audience is likely to give an update or advice.

Ask four questions:

Before you create or share anything, ask yourself at least one of the following four questions. Your answer will determine what you should do with it.

  1. Can this change what my audience thinks is possible? If it does, make it as entertaining or enthralling as possible.  Focus on stimulating their imagination with sensory details (especially visual).  Don’t aim to inform – aim to entertain.
  2. Can it show them how to get from where they are to where they want to be qucker and more easily? If so, aim to inform.  Post as a blog post, article, video, podcast, etc. Make it simple (straight to the point), easy to follow, with lists or bullet points.
  3. Can this let your audience let go of who they are?  If yes, let users write comments or send you emails. Ask questions in your posts or provide a platform for them to share their thoughts and feelings. (Think PostSecret or FML.)
  4. Can this let your audience make other people aware of their status/knowledge? Then give them something they can use to measure their progress, knowledge, or status.  Create personality tests or competency quizzes (e.g. “Can you recognize these celebrities?”) they can use to share on their social media. (Think BuzzFeed quizzes.)

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