Archives For Content Marketing

Have you ever felt like you’re straddling two different markets? Are you fearful of choosing one market over another?

Basically, do you feel like if you do choose one you are going to miss out on another market?

The reality is most of us only have the ability to focus on one market at a time. One niche at a time. And if we don’t, we lose out on “old mo,” AKA momentum. Not losing out on old mo’ is something my football coach always talked about. Of course, I mostly just sat on the bench, but I still remember him saying that nonetheless. Because it so often applies to life and to business.

At Think Digital, we’ve been experiencing the tension between being in the church market and wanting to move into the entrepreneur/small business market. I used to believe that church folk would buy from business people, but business people wouldn’t buy from church folk. I no longer believe that.

As it is, we have two client bases. One is the product side, the other is the services side. The services side is where a lot of our agency work is; where we do social media management, social media content creation, blog post creation, website development, graphic design. All of the things you associate with an agency are done on the services side.

This side of the business is open to all who come! We specialize in book launches and working with publishers and also with large non-profits. It also includes small businesses, educational institutions, anybody and everybody comes through the services side.

Our other side is the product side. Our brand for churches specifically is known as Social Church. This brand was created off of the message of my book. We use that brand to serve churches specifically on the digital products side. This product side has served small businesses also, but we have reassessed.

We’ve made a decision that we are going to focus the product side of our business, the Social Church side, on churches for the rest of 2015. There is huge opportunity here because there is huge need here.

We want as much momentum in business as possible. So Think Digital is focusing on services, but digital products are being focused under Social Church. We aren’t abandoning everyone, though. We’re pulling a Taylor Swift.

How is That Like Taylor Swift?!

Taylor Swift was the belle of the country music ball. She started her career in 2006. She dominated the charts, quickly rose to fame; everybody loved T Swift. Eventually, you could not step into the country music circle and not see or hear Taylor or her influence.

She won every award that you could win, completely dominated the country music charts, and seemingly had no where else to go in country music.

And so, in 2014, she made the decision to become a crossover artist, moving completely from country to pop. She switched genres, much to the delight and to the dismay of many country music fans.

Since switching genres she has done much the same in the pop world as she did in country; dominating charts, snagging scores of raging fans (Swifties as they’re known), selling out stadiums and generally doing whatever in the world she wants to do when it comes to music.

How Crossovers Succeed

Now the switch was successful for one main reason: she had a system.

Taylor Swift had a music system that she developed in the country music world. That was, to put it in a relational metaphor, her first true love.

As is true with most first true loves, the audience was much more forgiving and open to the flaws, faults, and foibles that she brought to the table. So she could hone her craft, she could become comfortable with who she was, she could get to know her strengths and weaknesses and correct them and really put together an operating system of sorts that was untouchable in the world of music.

When she had completely exhausted what she felt was her potential in the country music world, she could have either:

  1. A) Chosen to be a big fish in a little pond.
  2. B) Taken a risk, capitalize on the momentum of her country music system, and catapult it into the much larger niche of pop music.

Obviously the latter is what she did, but it wasn’t without first perfecting her system which allowed her to get a standard set of blueprints for operation. She took what she learned in the country music world and applied it to the pop music world and the rest, as they say, is history.

Moral of the Story

Things are working for Taylor Swift. The same system that worked in country music is now working for her in the pop world. There’s a lot to learn from this.

We as a business are choosing to hone our craft in the industry that we know best: churches. Now, I firmly believe that the systems and processes and blueprints that we’re putting into place business-wise are definitely working in the church world. But I also believe that they will work in the larger niche of entrepreneurship and small businesses.

Remember, Taylor Swift did not go straight to pop. We have no way of saying what would have happened if she would have, but, I doubt she would’ve found the same success. Would she have been successful? Probably. She’s talented, she’s hungry, and people love her.

She would likely have succeeded. But I don’t think she would’ve been as successful as she is now simply because of all of the other voices and noise in pop music. She could really hone her craft in a tighter knit community that knew her and loved her and was way more forgiving than the pop world would have been.

The same holds true for us. My desire and goal is to take what we’re learning as a business and teach it to entrepreneurs of all sorts and shapes and sizes. In order to do that, first we need to ground ourselves in rock solid principles.

Because of the network and skillset and opportunities that surround us, specifically in the faith-based space, we are choosing to start there and really serve that market well. To really understand who they are and what their needs are and to develop a system specifically for them.

Then and only then, once we feel like it is not only helpful to the faith based community but can also provide value to the larger entrepreneurial community, will we make that transition.

Lesson Learned?

As you are growing your business, embrace the opportunities and the network that are sitting right in front of you.

Instead of aspiring to be something else, be who you are right now. Certainly plot a path towards your future and build yourself a roadmap. But don’t make the mistake I was in danger of making! Do not overlook the overwhelming abundance of opportunities that are staring you in the face.


“Asking for the close on social media is like making out in church. You can do it, but it’s highly frowned upon.”

My friend Brad can be credited for the above quote. And you know what? He’s right.

Why Social is Not for Sales

Many people make the mistake of seeing social as a sales channel. It’s not! I have said it before and I will say it again. Social media is a relational platform.

The goal is to start, grow, and nurture relationships. It’s not about timing studies. It’s not about mindlessly joining every new platform under the sun.

If you are using social media to generate direct sales you will be continually disappointed. That’s not social’s purpose, so it is simply not what you will get as a result.

As you may know, our company offers done-for-you digital marketing services. One of the ways that we try and set this up for those clients is by using the Know-Like-Trust-Build spectrum. Those are relational terms that we use to judge effectiveness for a relational platform.

Know Like Trust Build Spectrum

  • Know is about increasing awareness. How many people know who we are?
  • Like involves engagement. How many people like who we are and interact with us?
  • Trust is conversion or commitment. How many people are converting or committing to what it is that we put in front of them?
  • Build is all about advocacy. How many people are advocating on our behalf? Who is taking action when we ask them to take action? Who is willfully telling people about us on social without any coercive measures?

Realigning your view of social media to this relational perspective nullifies the ROI question, or at least puts it in a different light.

The Cost of Doing Social Wrong

Social media is one of the biggest assets an organization has. Almost everybody makes the ROI-obsession mistake. Everybody gets this wrong because they just blast social media with information, product, or blurbs about how great they are. Just know, this mistake costs everyone.

Not long ago, I looked at a company’s  social media accounts and could tell that they must be pouring hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars into content marketing on a monthly basis. Yet all of their content marketing is geared towards telling people how great their product is.

I would be shocked if they are making the money they are spending on those tactics back. Additionally, they are alienating tons of potential allies by that kind of billboard marketing!

Trust me when I say that I would rather have the most cobbled together content that focuses on building relationships with people than spend any amount of money to praise my own products on social media.

I know from my own and from client experience that the payoff of social media is in building relationships, and it’s so much more than financial.

This week, take a step back and look at how your organization is doing social media. If it looks more like a billboard or self-praise, it is time for a shift. Remember, nobody wants to see you making out in church.

You’ve got content dying on the vine.

I’ve done my research on content, and I’ve found a very common theme. So common, I’m confident in saying it’s a fact: too much created content goes unread, unpromoted, even unpublished.

We all need to do something with all of that content that we have written and produced. It’s just sitting there. Why haven’t you done something with it?

I’m not just talking about digital marketing. Digital marketing is so much more than sending out tweets. As much as I try to avoid this terminology, it really is sharing your story in an online format. It is scaling the ability to tell your story. 

Like with most things at Think Digital, this concept is birthed out of a personal pain point that I have experienced. 

We’ve touched on this before, but it’s so crucial: I realized that I had ideas that were good and were helpful, that were not getting out there. The solution? Utilizing others.

Benefits of Hiring People

Employing others doesn’t always mean hiring someone internally to get the job done. Often it looks like finding a reputable company that provides a done-for-you service. Think Digital not only provides done-for-you services; we also utilize them!

My Experience

Maybe my biggest example is the Think Digital Podcast. Although it’s not being produced currently, it created a strong brand connection with people. I still have people tweeting me saying they miss hearing me on the podcast, even though I haven’t done one in over a month. 

If our team was bigger, if I had the ability to unload some of the day to day that I have to do, I would continue with the podcast. It helped generate revenue. It was sponsored. You cannot buy that type of loyalty.

As wonderful and important a part of Think Digital the podcast was, I found myself stretched too thin to record and produce it. So I hired Don’t Panic to do the editing and producing and even part of promoting for me.

It made for a better and much more frequent product, which lead to better returns. That is why I advocate for done-for-you services.

It’s also why Think Digital provides these services. Below are three examples of successful implementation of our work!

Startup Client

One of our clients runs a startup. He’s busy making decisions each and every day to extend the life of his startup as he leads to his goal of an acquisition. One of the things he needs to do but doesn’t have time to is write blog content for his personal blog and email list.

Think Digital is filling that void for him. We take the ideas in his head and form them into content. It’s his bricks, our mortar. Essentially, the concrete ingredients are all him; we just concretize it.

He benefits by getting increased exposure so that when his business is acquired, he has a platform that has been nurtured for years with content. He won’t be starting from scratch. Entrepreneurs aren’t the only one’s we’ve helped, however.

Organization Experience

We’ve worked with Compassion International for the last year and a half. One of our main focuses has been creating content that attracted pastors and then nurturing those relationships that we started through content.

Through content marketing strategy, we have been able to initiate, nurture, and strengthen those relationships to the point where pastors “converted” into Compassion International partners. By utilizing Think Digital in full capacity, our done-for-you services allowed us to bring viable leads to Compassion.

Book Launch

Think Digital had the opportunity to work with Dave and Jon Ferguson for their recent book launch. We got to know them as authors. We got to know their team. We worked with them to launch their book to success.

We coordinated their launch team and gave that team content to spread the word. We directed those efforts and provided social media support before, during, and after launch day.

The result? They were numbers one AND two ebook and paper book in their category on the charts. I did not even know you could do that!

Our done-for-you services leveraged our network to get that book into the hands of as many people as possible.


We Help People Share What Matters Most

Maybe you have a book you’re gearing up to launch. Or maybe it’s your organization or personal brand that needs growth. Whatever your situation, if you need to convert leads and share your story online, Think Digital is here for you.

We have focused our efforts on providing the support, knowledge, and effort you are looking for to make your content work for you. You can learn more here; we would be happy to work with you!


Gary Vaynerchuck has said, “Marketers ruin everything” and he’s completely right.

I want to market differently. I want to think differently about marketing. I don’t want to market out of manipulation, but rather out of inspiration.

Manipulative Marketing

The reality is, I have manipulated people to my desired end through marketing. As a marketer, I know the tricks, the hacks, the buttons to push to get people to do what you want them to do.

I’ve seen it work and I feel dirty afterwards. I can only imagine what someone on the other side of the equation feels like.

Thankfully, my conscience kicked in a while back and I’ve been looking at marketing through a whole new lens. That lens is marketing through inspiration.

Perfect Marketing

Marketing is essentially understanding people’s pain points and then providing a solution to solve that person’s pain. When marketing is manipulative, that looks like exploitation. When it’s perfect, it’s through inspiration.

I just had an experience that illustrates this in action. The other day I needed to clean my grill. I didn’t want to use anything harsh or corrosive but my grill brush wasn’t cutting it so I wanted to find a grill cleaner. With my wife and little ones, I didn’t want to use harsh chemicals so that we wouldn’t ingest any.

I was looking for a safe, non-toxic grill cleaner and I found one! It’s safe; it’s citrus-based. The labeling on the package basically says “Hey, if you’ve ever been concerned about using harsh chemicals on your grill, try us out!” I did, and it worked!

It was perfect marketing. Because they understood that as a dad, I want to make sure I’m not putting anything unsafe on a grill that will cook food my kids and wife will be eating. Many companies focus on the first pain point only; needing a clean grill. This one went further and was straightforward; inspired. They nailed it. 

The pain point was: I had a dirty grill. The deeper pain point was: I have a family and I want to protect them. This product met both of those pain points without fear mongering.

That is perfect marketing.

Another example: Kerry needed to transfer over a pension plan from when she was in the working world. We’ve been using Vanguard for a year or so. We called them up, and within 30 seconds we got a real person who walked us through the entire process.

Turns out they’ve got a concierge service that exclusively handles transferring pensions and IRAs from one entity to another. The guy was smart, he was sharp, he was personable. He got the job done.

The pain point was: it’s a drag calling up customer service lines and getting people who don’t give a hoot about you or your business. They’re just mindless cube-dwellers. Everyone knows that is a hassle!

Vanguard met the pain point by providing a very thoughtful, personable human being that made the process from transferring her pension way easier. It’s perfect marketing from start to finish.

The concierge service has made us huge fans of Vanguard. So now, when we have money to invest for our future, that is where we are going to go.

Inspiring Instead of Manipulating

As I said earlier, I’m trying to figure out how to inspire people to take action instead of manipulate them. There’s a huge difference between the two: one serves me. That’s manipulation. The other serves clients. That’s inspiration.

Manipulation is easy. Inspiration is difficult. But frankly, if I can’t inspire people to take action, then I have no business being in business. If I have to manipulate people into buying my products or services, it might work for a short time, but I won’t be in business very long. 

So, I’ve really started looking at how I market. Everything from webinars to email marketing to in-person to pitch phone calls. I’ve been reevaluating from top to bottom.

The differences are already noticeable.While it takes longer to make the sale when you inspire, there is a lasting impact. When you DO inspire, you keep people around way longer.

With an inspiration you’ve gained their trust. With manipulation you’ve capitalized on their fears.

Josh Burns coined the title phrase, and I have been using it ever since with one tiny addition. Social media is a relational platform – not an advertising platform.

Many times when we first start working with a client they will naturally look at social media as an advertising platform. Their focus is primarily on driving clicks, views, eyeballs – however you want to say it. They ask us time and again: “How do we drive clicks to our product/site/store?”

That type of thinking comes out when you hear things like “How many likes did we get this month? How many followers did we add? What is our click-through rate of our Facebook ad?”

The Primary Function of Social

Now, let me clarify: the above are not bad questions to ask. In some ways, social is another marketing tool.

However – that is it’s secondary function. The primary function of social is to establish, build, and nurture relationships. That’s it.

Social works in the same way that we meet someone at a party and nurture that relationship towards friendship. When we’re at a party we’re not thinking (at least non-skuzzy people aren’t thinking) “How do I get something out of this person?” We’re thinking something along the lines of “This person seems interesting and I’d like to get to know them better.”

To put that paradigm on social: it’s like having that dinner party conversation infinitely with the people in our social communities. It’s not about baiting them to buy. It’s about building a relationship. You and I both know when we’re being sold to. People in your social media communities know when you’re selling.

If you want to drive business with social you have to put in relational effort first. Think of it this way: I don’t mind if – in fact I cherish it – when a friend comes to me and says “this is what I do professionally, I think I can help you, here’s what it would look like.” But for that to be something I value and will be open to, months and years of personal relationship have been established. Social media contacts function the same way.


Seth Godin calls it “permission based marketing.” Gary Vaynerchuk calls it “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.” We call it the KLTB spectrum: Know, Like, Trust, Build.

Basically, we wanted to have a relational metrics for a relational platform. When we work with clients we use KLTB.

This spectrum was born of these four questions:

  • How do we get people to know who you are?
  • To like who you are?
  • To trust who you are?
  • How do we get people to build alongside you?

Under each one of these queries go specific metrics but it is crucial to keep in mind that the point isn’t the metrics. The point is the relationship. The metrics help support the ultimate goal which is establishing, building, and nurturing relationship.

The Efficacy of Social

Is social media effective at *insert your ultimate objective here* (sales, donations, more members, attendance, book sales, etc.)? Absolutely 100% freaking yes! But you have to remember that it looks different than a broadcast platform like radio, tv, print, and billboards.

The key is knowing the difference between the two.

Social media is there for you to find like-minded individuals and to connect with them. It’s there for interaction. It’s there for relationship building. Let that truth sink in as you schedule your social content this week!