Digital & Content Marketing Strategy | Paul Patzloff - Part 2

Why your company deserves a theme song

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WIth the Stanley Cup starting this week (can it be mid-June?) I was recalling an evening in April when my son and I joined another father and son at a NHL game. Great seats. Big excited crowd. Right before the game the arena went dark. The rock n’ roll lighting show began and speed metal pumped through the speakers to set the tone. Then came the charm of the Canadian National Anthem and the power and glory of The National Anthem.

As a prelude to the first period, a music video played. It was our home team’s theme. Starting as a bit of an Irish folk song then switching into a rollicking sing-along that was all about the local love for hockey and its deep legacy.

My initial take? This is a bit contrived. But as the lyrics and music started to gel after the first verse, I wanted to sing along. It was heartfelt, poignant and actually moving. I was taken in by the music and the role it played. And it got me thinking…

Why don’t more businesses have a theme song? I mean really. There are missions, positioning statements, core values etc. Most with no memorable value whatsoever, except maybe for the consultant who got you to buy it.

Please don’t get a theme some confused with a jingle. A jingle helps customers remember your brand or a unique element of it by blending lyrics and music in a memorable way. Well maybe Pavlovian way is more accurate!. And jingles can be effective. But a theme song needs to be grander and motivating. Think of a hymn or even a rallying cry.

And a theme song doesn’t need to be an original song like the NHL team I heard. You can rally around any kind of song.

So what’s your theme song going to be?

Biggest QR Code Ever, or just the Goofiest?

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Marketing on the internet - QR CodesWhile checking out the recent face lift of Southdale Center (America’s first indoor mall) I couldn’t help but notice this.
A huge poster (not for Marshall’s, by the way) promoting The University of South Dakota. Even more striking than the gigantic QR code was the truly awkward photo. Was it meant to be annoying or just peak our curiosity? Probably both.

I took the hook and was treated to a nearly 2 1/2 – minute video that shared the journey of a freshman who found her way to SDU while she was enrolled and ready to attend college in Colorado. She even had two IDs to prove it!

I appreciate the marketing value of QR Codes, large format posters and using high production value, testimonial video. But this combo stuck me as a bit odd. Check her video out here and tell me what you think.

PS If you like the idea of adding testimonial video to your next project, ask me about a new user generated video format called Bravo.


Content Marketing in its most primitive state

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Content Marketing

At a fun run that was part of the Twin Cities Medtronic Marathon, I had to grab this snap shot above. I felt it was a fantastic and relevant visual metaphor for content marketing. These great folks were wondering the event 100% devoted to your questions.

They were…

  • easy to spot
  • wanted to help
  • fantastically friendly

So is your content and content strategy following some of these basic ideas?

These are good for your content and your brand!




What 3 Real Mad Men Can Teach Us About Content Marketing Today.

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 content marketing writer Paul Patzloff

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I’ve always believed that the AMC epic Mad Men is being fully supported by the advertising folks from the glory days of 1980’s & 1990’s. After all, they are witnessing an uncomfortable transition towards a new world of online & social marketing focused on content, inbound tactics and actual results. So it’s only natural they are drawn to a romantic vision of the postwar American advertising scene that’s portrayed as a casual & glorious era of martinis and push-up bras — all encircled by an endless cloud of cigarette smoke.

What’s ironic to me is the heavy mental lifting done by the real Mad Men of that famed time is alive and relevant in today’s content-driven reality.

First up, William Bernbach one of the three founders of the international advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB). He’s probably most well-known for creating the Volkswagen “Think Small” campaign for the Beetle. Here’s his take on facts…

“One of the problems is worship of research.
We’re all concerned about the facts we get and not enough concerned about how provocative we make them.”

My mind immediately goes to infographics. There is no shortage of data out there, just interesting ways to show it or compile mass amounts of it. See an example here. Infographics are ideal for Prezi presentations, SlideShare decks, white board sessions and short videos. Their popularity is exploding because they can translate complex information into simple visual references. I especially like pulling single infographic elements into other sources of content such as a point of view pieces or blog posts.

Next is Rosser Reeves. Often cited as the pioneer of TV advertising, he insisted that an advertisement or commercial should show off the value of a product, not the cleverness of a copywriter. His most famous ad was for Anacin, a headache medicine. The ad was considered grating and annoying by almost all viewers but it was remarkably successful, tripling the product’s sales. In 7 years the 59-second commercial made more money than the movie Gone With The Wind had in a quarter-century. Here’s just one gem from Rosser…

”You must make the product interesting, not just make the ad different.”

Now, replace the word ad with content. Podcasts, white papers, case studies, webinars — you name it. If your content is not compelling, it really doesn’t matter what form it takes. So find that hook to your title that creates intrigue. And make content that’s worth experiencing.

Finally, let’s learn more about writing from George Gribbin. As chairman of Young & Rubicam, he helped this advertising agency enjoy success for nearly 1/2 a century.

“A writer should be joyous, an optimist.”

Sure it’s a bit altruistic but also a nice, guiding thought. In the world of online content I feel you can either be likable or controversial to get attention. But at the end of the day you need to have a positive, motivational call-to-action message to be successful.

To conclude, let’s go back to Rosser, the most colorful of our real Mad Men who believed the true purpose of advertising was to sell. Here’s a paraphrased version of a classic quote:

“Let’s say you’re advertising isn’t working and sales are going down. Your company is the lifeblood for you and others. Now what do you want from me? Fine writing, or do you want to see the damn sales curve stop moving down and start moving up?”

Oh boy, here’s where things get sticky on our journey. Content must sell? Yes content marketing is the new intelligent way to sell. But it only works when used carefully and integrated into some kind of lead generation system or capture program. Compelling content builds trust in your brand which starts a nurturing conversation and eventually leads to a relationship and finally a sale.

David Ogilvy another real Mad Man said it best, “You can’t bore people into buying your product.” And I’m sure the legends of yesteryear would agree this holds true for content marketing today.

Brands I’ve Enhanced

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Marketing on the Internet

A wide range of experience with some of today’s most recognized brands has taught me that you must push (extra hard ) to keep these monster brands fresh and meaningful.

I’ve enjoyed engaging these and numerous other brands both large and small. From print marketing to digital lead generation, promotions to loyalty, my wide and deep experience has put some gray hairs on my head, and created some valuable branding insights…

1) Visualizing the big picture
I’m concerned that any marketing effort lines up with the long-term goals and purpose of the brand.

For example, by presenting the idea of your family enjoying a stress-free mealtime where actual conversations can happen, Schwan’s Home Food Service was able to grow acceptance and deliveries into micro localities. See the example here

2) Tapping into the new
New technology can make our marketing so much easier, but don’t get caught in the trap of new for new stake. Cool new technology must deliver real results.

For Imation I identified and developed a keyword strategy that helped drive organic search traffic to specific product landing pages. Here is a post on a related advertising project I completed for Imation

3) Validating with proven standards
I’m a believer in direct marketing. And the Web offers amazing opportunities for direct marketing to thrive. But it’s best to have a great offer, a solid call-to-action and an easy to use capture experience.

When Sage Software needed to improve their lead generation efforts, I drove my team to develop a prospect survey that resulted in an infographic as content. This strategy beat all of Sage’s previous controls. See the infographic here.

Do you know your 10 most important keywords?

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SEO 101 for marketing on the web, plus two cool tools to use today

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After 20 years as an ad & marketing guy, I’ve found that most businesses know their business and have an established set of words & descriptions. But too often many simply don’t always know or understand their online marketing lexicon. And by that I mean the words prospects are searching online to solve their problems.

When you think of the web search queries, try to think of Google or Bing or YouTube as being an enormous help desk  — or better yet a concierge. A smart, efficient helper directing you to a solution. So make sure your words and search meanings line up. In other words, speak your prospect’s language.

For example

  • You may think you are selling home heating systems 22K searches per month when furnace gets 5 million searches.
  • If you sell dog accessories 110K searches per month, consider emphasizing hot items like dog bed 450K and dog collars 673K searches per month.
  • You may be a cosmetic dentist 368K but you’d best be using teeth bleaching 1 million monthly searches as one of your 10 words.


I know this exercise may seem overly simplistic, but these 10 words are the foundational logic of your business online. And finding the right words is really a process of relation. By that, I mean you should first nail down the core 4-5 words you know are critical and then branch out for more related terms or phrases. Confirm your 10 words and load them into your web marketing efforts. Share with your internal and external teams so you can be speaking the same language across your content and digital marketing efforts.

Photo by Edho Pratama on Unsplash

Think beyond your website
Your 10 words need to live well on your website as SEO magnets. But they also need to be sprinkled into all your online effort like your blog, press releases, articles, white papers, case studies and your social media. Remember, YouTube is the #2 search engine, so it’s important to be there with the words that connect with your prospects.

Here’s how to start, or restart
As an established business you may already have a pretty good grasp of your 10 words. But it’s important to examine and even re-examine these from time to time. I believe trends, new business demands, and changes in your industry can continually influence your 10 words.

It’s all relative
For starters try this cool Visual Thesaurus tool from Think Map to start determining the different words that relate to your business. This Gantt-Style mapping tool lines up related words in a diagram. The movement and motion of this online tool is quite addictive! Using these related words will help you determine a wide range of terms for your business.

Value your words
Next, take that big bunch of related words and see what they are really worth. Try plugging them into KeyWord Spy. This is a neat tool much like Google Adwords. You can use their basic plan for free to get started. I like the simplicity and insights it provides.  You get tables that display the searches per month and the cost per click for online advertising. So it’s a real demand /cost analysis of keywords that are being used. And it can be quite revealing.

So go explore with these resources, discover your 10 words and embrace SEO with confidence.

Want to discover your 10 words to use in the fastest way possible?