The Reason You Get Stuck Creating Content (And How to Fix It)

Anybody who creates knows the moment. You’re staring at a blank canvas in Photoshop, an ominous flashing cursor in Google Docs, or simply a blindingly fresh page of paper… and you have nothing. Your feed, channel, journal, boss, or client is waiting… and simply zero is coming out.

There are artists, like the recently re-appreciated Fran Lebowitz that have legendary, decades-long writers block. There are endless listicles and self-help books about getting yourself out of a rut – go for a walk, have a cup of coffee or a snack, visit a museum, call a friend, read a book, and so on and so forth.

But the simplest and most effective solution to this age-old problem happens before any of that though. It’s a mindset shift, a revelation that can unlock your full creativity and productivity. Here it is: thinking of ideas is a different task than producing them.

Staring off into the abyss of wide-open possibility, it is a daunting feat to create something out of nothing. But given the seed of a prompt, you’re suddenly a pro. You can write, design, compose, or code your work in no time flat. Separating the two tasks, of developing concepts and then executing on them, and you make both of those things easier.

It doesn’t matter if you run an agency responsible for churning out massive content calendars, or are just somebody who wants to keep their blog remotely up to date. Set aside a little time one day to list out ten ideas for a post (or video, or podcast, or whatever other creative output you’re working on). Then save that list in your Evernote or Google Drive and go back to doing something else.

Then another day, when you need to buckle down and produce content, pop that list open. Select an idea that speaks to you, and bring it to life. Rinse and repeat.

You might get through everything on that list, but most likely you’ll pick a few winners that still stand out to you through the sober lens of time and then go about making another list as your creativity calls for it.

I find that in addition to “unstucking” you, this model also takes care of the other biggest challenge with creating and publishing any creative work: curating the good stuff. We all have a lot of ideas that that flow through our heads in any given day, and the same way that you shouldn’t post every photo you take, you shouldn’t necessarily invest the time and energy needed to execute on all of your ideas. By cleaving apart the ideating and the making, you can ruthlessly edit your efforts and only work on what is worth it.

There’s an infamous lunch meeting between Pixar leadership in 1994, where in the span of one meal they developed the concepts that became four blockbuster films. While there was certainly a lot more work that went into the creative process, that legendary session set a path for that studio to follow for over a decade. Your output might not be as grand as “Finding Nemo” or “WALL-E,” but regardless of your medium, you can use this mindset to do the most important thing in making your vision a reality: getting started.

5 Things I Tell My Students Every Year

With another fall semester starting this week, albeit a less-than-normal one, a new cohort of students are starting their college careers, or just plain getting ready to start their actual careers. Over the past 6 years, I’ve had the joy of teaching hundreds of students in my digital marketing class at Baruch College. My class is a “4000 level” course, which means that it’s almost exclusively filled with seniors, which in turn means that I’ve often had the scary responsibility of being the last class that many of my students take before walking out the door for good.

Throughout each semester, I try to always impart a few core concepts that I believe are useful to these bright and energetic students just starting out. As a new year starts in a weird, mostly virtual way, I figured let’s share them here.

1. The career opportunities are (still) in digital

Walk into any typical marketing agency, large or small and take a look at the different department directors. In most slots, you’ll find a grizzled 20+ year industry veteran with war stories of climbing up the ladder. When you get to the directors of digital, mobile, or social it’s a different story – they are 28 or 32 years old, polished but still fresh-faced.

Digital is the one vertical where it’s an almost-intrinsic benefit to be young. For better or worse, agencies will trot you out in front of clients saying “look, we have young people who get it, you should hire us!” Social and mobile being such relatively new fields, these young leaders help the agency look hip and with-it, but it also means that there are less people lined-up ahead of you to get the next promotion.

2. The business opportunities are in the unsexy places

I may eat these words, but the world doesn’t really need another photo app or social network. But it does need better software for medical imaging, or regulatory compliance, or managing housing inspections.

I get it, everybody wants to go out and make a cool app and marry the supermodel (quite literally the Snapchat story). But if you want to make money – and make a real difference – you have to dig just a little bit deeper. The world is full of terrible user experiences and outdated software. Use your entrepreneurial superpowers for good and solve the tough problems in healthcare, government, education, and industry. You’ll be surprised how much money is floating around looking for solutions in the “unsexy” industries.

3. Borrow other people’s brains

Despite what you may think at 21 years old, you don’t know everything. You don’t even know all the things you don’t know. At this stage, with compounding decades of a career and life ahead of you, you will most benefit from “borrowing the brains” of others.

How do you do this? Mostly read, and mostly books. The more you absorb from others that came before you, the better your own brain works to solve the problems that you’ll encounter in the years ahead. There’s nothing truly new under the sun, so pick up a biography, or a well-researched non-fiction book, or even a classic novel to give yourself a head start.

4. Value simplicity

People are busy. To have any success, you have to be able to communicate clearly and concisely – and this applies to all arenas.

Despite your rich and colorful inner life, to most people you are one thing, be it “the website guy” or the “TED speaker” or the “brain expert” or whatever. As you go about meeting people in this world, make sure that whatever that small remnant you are known as is helping, not hurting you.

5. Do the hard things first

It’s tempting to look at the big list of items on your day’s agenda, or even your life’s bucket list and start with the low-hanging fruit. You might be tempted to get a few wins under your belt before tackling the big hairy monster. I’ve always found this to be wrong.

If you start with what’s easy, you often never get to what’s hard (and what matters). You get tired, or you run out of time, or you get distracted. Before you know it the hard thing has become an even bigger and even hairier monster looming at the end of your checklist.

If instead you decide to slay the beast at the start, you’ll often realize that it really wasn’t that bad. And when it’s done, you’ve built up your “doing” muscle and everything else that comes next is a cakewalk.

How Inclusive Marketing Can Build Empathy

You’ve probably heard before that great brands thrive from particular qualities, such as empathy. This isn’t a particularly new concept in marketing – and for a good reason. Aside from the numbers and metrics, we believe that empathy should remain pivotal to the development of marketing campaigns because it naturally forges the path for authentic human connection. Imbuing empathy into your content that isn’t too forced or inauthentic can strike just the right chord with your audiences.

Now more than before, customers expect businesses to consider the emotional investment of their purchases. Rather than making solely transactional, detached decisions, customers are increasingly looking to build personal relationships with the companies they choose to buy from. This is why knowing your customers well and connecting with them on a human level becomes critical when approaching content from an empathetic stance. Especially now that we’re living and working in a world that’s increasingly, and suddenly, “digital only,” the importance of making human-to-human bonds can’t be ignored.

Essentially, empathy can be gained by engaging with your audiences and listening to their stories. Like any human relationship, a meaningful connection is created and strengthened by embarking on a shared journey with your audiences. As marketers, we should be careful not to focus on merely building buy-my-stuff relationships, but rather authentic connections based on mutual understanding. Which, perhaps, is easier said than done.

Tailor Your Strategy To Your Audience

People change, audiences always evolve. Marketers need to stay well-attuned to the ebbs and flows of these constant undulations, and staying open-minded to nuances in personal beliefs or cultural identities is imperative to have any sort of dialogue with your audiences. Modifying your strategy to evolve with these changes can keep you from crafting content that is tone-deaf, insensitive, or simply out-of-fit with the current social sentiment.

As you decide to adjust your strategy, ask yourself these essential questions: How have your audiences’ priorities, viewpoints, or preferences changed? What are the new challenges they’re experiencing on a regular basis? What types of content do your audiences want to consume and on what topics?

To learn what your audiences can’t stop talking about, use tools such as social media listening and community management. Analyze the performance of specific posts to determine which topics are generating the most buzz, reactions, and even push-back from your audiences. Discover what topics will get the conversation started, and fuel the momentum by tailoring content to address your audience’s specific questions and preferences.

A little personalization can go a long way, boosting your campaign’s performance–and perhaps more importantly, giving you the opportunity to forge lasting connections with your audiences, who will notice that the content is more relevant.

The Importance of Empathy in Inclusive Marketing

Empathetic marketing is especially critical during emotionally turbulent times. While they may not convey it, audiences want their needs, pains, and beliefs to be fully acknowledged and understood, especially amidst mass confusion or turmoil.

Systemic racism is an ongoing pandemic, even described as a public health crisis by medical professionals. As digital marketers, we can be unaware of the role we have in shifting the currents of the global conversation. We have the unique capability to facilitate conversations of learning and unlearning, asking and reconsidering, planning and eventually acting. Now is the time to listen to what our audiences are saying (and even hear what they don’t say), knowing that starting challenging conversations is almost always better than not speaking at all.

As those who help shape the voice of others, we can contribute to a culture of inclusion in our field by representing diverse viewpoints and choosing to be inclusive of less visible voices to evade the “danger of the single story”. As progressive marketers, our goal is to create content that will resonate with all audiences and break down barriers that divide, rather than unite.

Developing genuinely inclusive, diverse content that leaves a lasting impression might require more foresight and sensitivity, as it’s the result of forming a deeper, more personal connection with your audience. This definition from Salesforce hits the mark brilliantly: “Inclusive marketing can elevate the stories and voices of people that have been typically marginalized or underrepresented, deepen connections with customers, and even influence positive social change.”

To put it succinctly, marketers, we can do better. Our campaigns carry more weight than we think, so please do not underestimate the impact of your platforms and the influence that they can have on your audience’s lives.

We can always work towards developing content that’s purposefully inclusive of the diverse voices of underrepresented audiences, such as those who have been traditionally excluded and seldom heard in your profession. Without taking deliberate action, we only exacerbate the problem.

We’re hoping that this is a conversation that doesn’t end in a matter of days, weeks, or even years. Our dedication to increasing inclusion and diversity is hardly only relevant in the present moment. Rather, we can make it our prerogative to continually sustain the conversation until the global crisis of systemic racism is finally resolved – for good.

Better Position Your Brand by Mapping Your “Territory”

Like a football team, every brand has to compete to win. But not every team is the best at everything – some have better quarterbacks, some are studs on defense, and yet others might even have the best placekicker in the league. Each team competes on a different attribute to try to win the day.

A smart, well-defined brand does the same. It competes on having the best product, coolest mystique, or even the most righteous morals. But, like how you can’t have all the best players in the league, you can’t compete on every attribute. Just as with the brand personality, the strongest brands choose to play on one or two areas.

One of the best frameworks to help you conceptualize where your brand competes is the “brand territory” model, outlined by marketer Scott Lerman in his fantastic book, Building Better Brands (which we ourselves use, in part, to guide our branding processes). This mapping exercise helps you visualize where your brand competes on a spectrum of tangible to intangible territories: Assets, Offer, Approach, Skills, and Mission. Let’s start at the top and review each one of these territories.

Assets

Assets

The most tangible attribute on which you can compete, Assets are things you can own and control. You are the best choice because you are the only one with thing X. This could be a piece of equipment, real estate, intellectual property, supply, or something else entirely.

Poland Spring is a favorite example of a brand competing on Assets. It’s claim is at the heart of their slogan, “what it means to be from Maine.” Poland Spring is the best water because they have the best springs – springs that nobody else has, and nobody else can compete on. Disney+ does this with their characters and franchises – nobody else has Mickey Mouse or Luke Skywalker. And nobody can compete with the real-estate-driven convenience of Starbucks on every corner.

Offer

Offer

Taking a step more intangible, brand that compete on Offer competes on their goods and services. Do you have the best selection, most unique flavors, or even the most attractive packaging?

The Container Store offers the widest selection of, you guessed it, containers. And here in NYC, the Strand Book Store boasts of “18 miles of books.” La Croix is the sparkling water with the most instagrammable cans, and only Volkswagen has the iconic Beetle.

Approach

Approach

Brands centered on Approach are grounded in “how we do things.” Is there an attitude, outlook, or process that is different between your brand and the competitors? This could be a difference in style, like better customer service, or it could be a difference in the very foundation of your business, like ecommerce-first brands.

JetBlue approaches air travel in a friendlier, more human way than its competitors. Casper and Warby Parker disrupted stagnant industries with direct-to-consumer sales and no-BS pricing. Costco brings a “warehouse club” model to groceries. Apple makes the “most beautiful” personal electronics.

The list of brands that compete on Approach can go on and on, partly because this slice of territory is tied closely with innovation, making it an attractive play for many consumer brands.

Skills

Skills

Competing on Skills means your brand brings the best stuff to the table, every single time. You have the smartest people, most experienced team, most caring staff, or some other attribute about your brand that makes it the expert.

A lot of service brands will be found competing here: Memorial Sloan Kettering are the experts in cancer care. McKinsey and Company are the sharpest consultants. Culligan are the water pros. SNL hires the funniest sketch comedians.

Mission

Mission

Finally, on the most intangible end of the spectrum, you’ll find brands which compete on Mission. These brands are saying that the ideals that drive us are different, better, and ultimately the reason why you should choose us.

With Mission, most non-profits will be jockeying for position, from the American Red Cross to the Natural Resource Defense Council. But don’t discount this territory for your business branding – you can find both explicitly conscious brands like TOMS or Ben and Jerry’s, and some “big idea” players like Airbnb, Figma, and TED, competing in this space.

 


 

It’s tempting to say your brand is going to be the best at everything. But as the old saying goes, “if you chase two rabbits, you catch none.” Find a space on this spectrum, stake your claim, and then back it up. That’s how you compete to win.

The Best Design Brief I’ve Ever Read

Close your eyes, and think of Coca-Cola. What comes to mind? Probably the bright cherry red or Spencerian script of its swooping logo. Maybe it is the caramel fizzy product itself, or even Santa Claus. Or, for billions of people around the globe, the first image to materialize is the infamous, iconic, contour bottle.

This bottle is so elemental to Coca-Cola that a recent campaign by the brand featured just a red field with the script logo “wrapped” around an imaginary bottle. You don’t even need to see the bottle to immediately connect the dots. The ad’s minimal-yet-evocative copy completes the magic trick: “Feel it.”

And beyond the success of the end product, the process which got Coca-Cola here is a work of art in its own right. Early in the company’s foray into bottling, there was no singular package design – just a succession of off-the-rack straight-sided bottles with a diamond-shaped label affixed to the side. This generic treatment led to a slew of copy-cats and weakened the brand’s position.

That changed in 1915, when the “Trustees of the Coca-Cola Bottling Association” issued a challenge to glass manufacturers across the country to develop a uniquely Coca-Cola bottle. And here is where we meet the simplest, most effective design brief that I’ve ever seen: “design a bottle so distinct that you would recognize if by feel in the dark or lying broken on the ground.”

That’s it. There was no laundry-list of specifications and pre-prescribed half-solutions. There was just a challenge – make something so recognizable you could fish it out of an icebox or see in shards on the street and immediately know what it is.

Original Coca-Cola Bottle Patent

Eventually the Root Glass Company in Indiana would develop the iconic contour bottle and win the competition. The first patent was filed for it that same year, and before the decade was out nearly every Coke sold in a bottle was housed in this striking design. After the patent expired, the shape was so elemental to Coca-Cola’s brand that it was then recognized as a trademark in 1961. Today, over 100 years later, the bottle in your local vending machine looks a whole lot like that first prototype.

Obviously, this is a resounding marketing success, and it is at least partially due to the clarity and simplicity of that initial brief. As you are starting your next project, try to learn from this example – speak first about needs and goals, and then let the solutions come from there. Don’t walk into your next website design, branding project, or marketing campaign with all the ideas fully formed. Set the parameters of the challenge and let the process and creativity develop something great.

3 Takeaways About Social Marketing During Sprout Sessions 2020

During these unpredictable times, pressing questions loom over the heads of social marketers and clients alike: “what now, and where do we go from here?” Living in the era of social distancing presents unique challenges, and learning how to navigate these roadblocks becomes of even more importance.

I’ve gained a wealth of information during Sprout Sessions Digital 2020 through insightful, timely, and refreshingly candid conversations about how marketers can approach the unfamiliar terrain of social marketing during COVID-19. Among the plethora of actionable strategies and next steps that were discussed, I want to share with you my top three takeaways.

Keep it human

While metrics are important, these are difficult times, and beyond the hard facts, people will remember most how you made them feel. The role of empathy cannot be overstated in social marketing campaigns. More than ever, people are turning to content that is relatable and makes them feel understood. Your content should be conveying the message that “I care, I see you, and I am here for you.”

Rather than being “tone deaf” to what’s going on in society, be sensitive to what your audiences are thinking and feeling. Try to sound more human when crafting content, and avoid sounding scripted or robotic. Instead of trying to allude to the idea that life is normal, be real, and be willing to acknowledge that for many people, it’s the exact opposite. It’s okay to be honest about that.

Listen first

Now is an opportune time to create a safe, supportive space on your social platforms for audiences to ask questions without fear, share how they feel, and discuss their frank thoughts. Be especially attentive to your clients by practicing social listening and responding when they choose to engage. Interact as much as you can, as frequent communication is the key to building a successful brand.

The question to ask is not “what do we think about this issue?” Rather, ask this question: “how are customers talking about an issue?” Stay plugged in to social channels during off-peak hours, and be cognizant of what your audiences are talking about on weekends and evenings. By staying informed about what topics are generating the most buzz, you’ll have the knowledge to accurately tailor content and marketing strategy to your audiences’ whims and wants.

Tailor your strategy

The changes in the political environment should be reflected in your marketing strategy. To stay relevant, your messaging and content must evolve with the shifting needs, sentiments, and preferences of your audience. To determine the direction of your strategy and keep it customer-centric, utilize tools and metrics such as social listening and customer engagement.

For example, monitor what topics are frequently discussed in the comments section on social platforms and assess which topics generated the most favorable customer reactions. What approaches worked, and what didn’t? Use the data gleaned from metrics to adjust and determine the next steps in order to create an effective marketing strategy.

You may discover that you need to take a new approach entirely, but embrace this uncertainty by staying flexible. Be aware of who your audience is, such as clients living in specific geographic areas who may be experiencing the current situation differently than others. By taking the time to understand these audiences, you will be primed to customize your strategy to pinpoint and precisely meet their unique needs.

Don’t use the Coronavirus to Sell Your Stuff

It should go without saying, but please for the love of all that is good, do not use the Coronavirus to make your marketing cute or topical. You may think it’s a good idea, but it’s not even close.

Making a witty or quirky Coronavirus post, ad, video, or email has very little upside, and very high downside. Every single year, you see roundups of tasteless tweets from brands around 9/11 or Pearl Harbor – and you don’t want to be on top of the inevitable listicle of crass content.

While we have not yet reached Contagion-level threats, you do not want to be seen as making light of a serious health concern. Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida mockingly wore a gas mask on the House floor, and then within days a constituent died and the Representative himself was put under quarantine. It’s a bad look.

If you sell goods that people are stocking up on, don’t raise your prices to the stratosphere – that’s price gouging, and in addition to being illegal, it’s a very quick and effective way to destroy any brand trust.

Don’t advertise your cheap flights, hotel rooms, or concert tickets. Don’t hold new meetups or networking events. Don’t advertise “fun” quarantine activities.

Marketers should sit this one out. Stay the course with your big projects and plans, but stay away from trying to make a quick buck here.

The 3 Most Important Sentences in Marketing

Every now and then, you come across an insight that is just so disruptively, spot-on accurate that it lodges itself in your skull, grabs a hold of your brain, and attaches itself so deeply that your entire worldview changes. It’s the sentence that makes the entire book, or interview, or movie, or blog, or whatever worth it. Hell, it’s the type of thought that makes the entire concept of reading worth it.

As I’ve been working on new projects and teaching a new semester the past few weeks, there are three of these golden nuggets recently banging around in my head. And the more I dwell on them, the more I start to believe that almost everything else is noise, and that understanding and internalizing these three ideas would put you ahead of 90% of other marketers and change makers in the world.

Here they are.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

This takeaway from Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk and ensuing book is at the core of all great branding. You start from the authentic why and everything follows thereafter – build a brand essence that resonates with the values of your audience and everything else flows from the center. Sinek best expands on this with “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”

That’s the whole ballgame. Effective communication is not about features, but benefits. What can I accomplish with the thing you are selling me? What itch can it scratch? To take this insight from legendary Harvard professor Theodore Levitt to the next level: people don’t even want a quarter-inch hole, they want a family photo on the wall, and they want that snapshot up because they want acceptance and belonging.

“People like us do things like this.”

Blogger, author, and marketer Seth Godin made this early insight the foundation of his latest book, This is Marketing. It’s the elemental truth behind all of his best-selling books: people are moved to action because they are part of a tribe, and that they are fulfilling a narrative of themselves that fits their mental image of who they are and how they’re supposed to be eating, buying, donating, or voting. This insight ties in with the principles of commitment and consistency best explored in Robert Cialdini’s Influence.

 


Everything I’ve learned about marketing, in school, in a book, or in the field, comes back to these three ideas. For me, they are permanently lodged in my cerebral cortex (which I’m thankful for!), good luck on forgetting them anytime soon.

How to Increase Your Email Click-Through Rate

Real talk: how many promotional emails do you receive on a given day? Now tell us, how many of those do you open, let alone click-through to learn more? We’d have to guess the answer to that is, well, not too many.

Here’s the silver lining: you’re not the only one with click-through rate (CTR) woes. Across all industries, the average CTR is about 2.6% – but we want to help you change that. The click-through rate is one of the most important metrics to watch in your email campaigns. After all, if your open rate is high, but your click-through rate is low, it could mean that your subject line brings them in, but your content isn’t converting. That means you’re delivering a false promise.

But there are things you can do to increase your clickthrough rate, and it all starts with understanding your audience. Sounds simple enough, right? The mistake most marketers make is that they include their entire email list when they send email campaigns. Think about it: Is your entire list really interested in that new niche blog you just published? Instead, maybe you’ll send the niche blog to prospects who’ve previously showed interest in that topic. It’s all about understanding your list and realizing that marketing to everyone the same way is as effective as not marketing at all, which brings us to our point:

Email. Segmentation.

How to Segment Your List

Segmenting your audience and sending targeted email campaigns is one of the most effective ways to increase engagement and drive more sales.

You can segment by:

  • Creating targeted landing pages
  • Looking to previous engagements on social media
  • Offering free downloads that speak to specific audiences

If you have multiple signup options on your site with different calls-to-action, you should segment your subscribers based on where they signed up. For example, if a user signs up via a landing page for a free guide, they should be segmented to understand where this new sign-up came from, and how you can best communicate with them.

Be sure to do some light maintenance on your lists, making sure to clean them up and remove any inactive subscribers. Consider sending an email asking people to opt-in for certain types of updates. This could help improve your open and click-through rates.

Have Your Contacts Opted In?

You may have heard of the ever-present debate among digital marketers: to double opt-in, or not to double opt-in – that is the question. Using a single opt-in will certainly grow your list quicker because people don’t have to verify that they do in fact want to subscribe. But you could argue that going the single opt-in route means that your email list won’t be as high-quality than if you used a double opt-in. Decisions, decisions – we know. While it’s true that you do make new subscribers jump through an extra hoop with a double opt-in, it ensures that they really do want to receive emails from your company – and that’s an easy way to increase  open rates.

Humanize Your Email Marketing

We live in a world where everything is scheduled, automatic, and triggered, but in the email world, you’ll want to keep a human – and personal – touch if you want your readers to click-through.

Storytelling and humor are both great ways to incorporate more of that in your sends. Have a funny anecdote that relates to your send? Throw it in there. Received feedback from a reader? Share that, too – your click-throughs will be better for it.

If you need some more ideas, considering sharing the story behind your book, case studies or testimonials, or rapport building stories to humanize your brand or book.

While we’re talking about humanizing your email sends, make sure you double check your “from” address. No one wants to read an email from “no reply.”

The (Preview Text) Must Go On…

If your subject line is the star of the show, your preview text is the supporting role. Once your reader’s attention has been caught by your subject line, the preview text might be what convinces them to open your email or not. If you don’t write preview text for your email, the first sentences of your email will appear as the preview text. Yawn.

Use your preview text to play off the subject line, and don’t be afraid to get playful with it. Remember, give the people what they want: humor.

Write a Great CTA

Email is your chance to have fun with CTAs (and we might argue everywhere else, too). The “Learn More” or “Shop Now” CTAs are so 2008, and we’ve evolved, thank you very much. These CTAs may have worked once upon a time, but now people want to know: What’s in it for me? Why, with my limited time in a day, should I click this link?

First off, don’t use the same CTA for all your emails. If your emails always look the same, include the same type of content, and has the same CTA, your readers will grow tired of it and stop clicking through or even read your emails. By changing your CTAs in every email, you keep it interesting and people are more likely to engage.

Send Your Email at the Optimal Time

The age old question: what is the optimal time to send that email (or Tweet, Facebook post, Instagram…). You may have noticed that there’s plenty of contradictory information out there. If you have 1,000 or more followers, you could try running an A/B test, splitting the list in half. When deciding exactly what time of day for your additional tests, it’s important that you put yourself in your subscribers’ shoes. Think about what a typical day would look like for your ideal buyer. Ask yourself: what time might they wake up in the morning? When are they most likely to check their email? Is there any potential period of downfall during the day when they might be checking their email?

Some email providers, like Mailchimp, offer an “optimal send time” function, but you can also look up recent industry charts to see what time might work best for your audience.

To find the right day to send your emails, you need to send emails on different days of the week but at the same time of day. It’s all about testing, testing, and more testing in order to find the sweet spot.

Making the Most of Media Hits: 6 Tips for Amplifying Your Interviews

We live and breath digital at Digital Natives, but we’re no fools: an appearance on TODAY or The Rachel Ray Show or even a segment on your local news will still be one of the best bang-for-the-buck moments for your business or brand.

But those moments don’t come in isolation. It’s often because of a digital interaction, be it a singular viral Tweet or a large and faithful following, that your brand or word has credibility. This might be why that you were able to earn that media hit in the first place.

And thanks to digital platforms, you can now make that moment even more meaningful and generate further traction. These are six tips for how.

Before your appearance

The best defense is a good offense. If you want to get ahead of the wave, you need to begin laying the groundwork for your appearance as soon as you’re allowed to. This helps prime your audience, but also helps drive eyeballs to your hosts and makes you a more attractive booking in the future.

Offer to do a Twitter Chat or Instagram Live on the outlet’s social channels

Giving viewers a taste of what they can learn from your upcoming segment may entice them to tune in to see what the actual appearance may end up being. It’s an opportunity to also solicit questions and learn more about what this outlet’s audience may be interested in.

Script out some soundbites

We’ve only got about six seconds, if we’re lucky, to hook someone in a video. After that, viewership drops off significantly and folks tune out of your content. Knowing that, spend time before you go on-air developing 1-2 soundbites that will hook someone viewing or listening to your conversation online at a later time. Think of these with social in mind, asking yourself if this snippet would make sense out-of-context for someone experiencing the clip on their Instagram feed or in a Tweet.

Create an exclusive

Impressions may lead to a surge in search or social chatter, and you need to be ready to convert on this moment so it has maximum effectiveness. For instance, if you’re a health author and you’re going on a podcast to discuss the importance of nature exposure, prepare a 5-step guide that listeners can download with tips for getting back to nature. If you own a hardware shop and you’re going on local TV to discuss spring cleaning repairs, have a coupon available to access on your website. Whatever your specialty, design some incentive that will live on your website and relate back to the content you’ll discuss in the interview. Put it behind a form that asks for a user’s email address, and you’ll start to build your list thanks to the effort.

After your appearance

Now that you’re off the air, its time to rapidly take action in order to capitalize on this great PR. In a fast-paced news cycle, your glow might fade fast, so be prepared with these items before you ever step foot in a studio.

Prepare a blog post

We all need content, and it’s hard for us to produce enough of it. The same goes for those media outlets you may be appearing on. There are just not enough hours in the day to produce all the content we need. Offer to fill the gap for the outlet you’re appearing on by guest-writing a blog post on your subject matter. Not only will you get additional exposure, but the SEO boost with the back-linking to your own website is an added plus!

Offer to do a live follow-up chat on social

Just like you did before the discussion, offer to conduct a follow-up chat on social media with the outlet’s audience on their networks. This can be done from a show’s page or an anchor’s, as either is a way to continue exposing yourself to a fresh audience.

Send share content to partners and allies

If you listened to the tips above, your interview came prepared with some soundbites ready to be shared for social. Once you’ve gotten access to the clip and have been able to make some sharable assets (think quote cards or videos with subtitles), share them around with friends and allies with some suggested copy and ask them to share on social. This is THE time to call in all those favors and goodwill you’ve been building up. And remember to always supply a link for them to drive traffic to!

As for earning those media opportunities in the first place, well, that’s something we’ll let our friends in PR speak to.