WordWizards Blog

Tap into timeless tactics to get more mileage out of your blog

One of my favorite marketing resources is Rene Gnam’s book Direct Mail Workshop -published in 1989. Lest you dismiss me as marketing dinosaur, let me remind you that marketing is based on human nature, and human nature has not changed since 1989 (or going back much farther than that).

This was driven home recently as I launched into a copywriting project for one of my long-time clients: a B2B blog post accompanied by a series of brief LinkedIn posts designed to drive traffic to the blog post.

Something felt strangely familiar about this project.

Later in the day, I read a Social Media Examiner blog post entitled “How to repurpose blog content into short-form social media updates.” That’s when it really hit me. Blog posts are like the contents of a direct mail package, and social media posts are like the outer envelope.

Okay, not exactly. But one parallel immediately struck me.

As with the message on an outer envelope, a marketing post on LinkedIn or another social media platform is intended to pique the interest of potential customers, subscribers or leads. Back in the day, we referred to a teaser message, or “hook,” on the outer envelope. In describing the use of social media as a blog driver, Brian Appleton, author of the Social Media Examiner piece, writes:

“In a (social post) headline, the hook usually will raise questions in the reader’s mind that are answered in the blog post. Find those answers, and write a social post that hints at the solution without giving away the entire explanation. Your social post should provide just enough information to prompt the audience to engage.”

Change a few words here and there, and Mr. Appleton easily could have been presenting Direct Mail 101 – how to write a teaser message on the outer envelope (social media hook) and the printed materials contained inside (blog post).

Other points of similarity from Mr. Appleton’s article:

  • Use an interesting statistic, surprising statement or quote from a key influencer in your social media post. (Yep, sounds like an outer envelope tease.)
  • Don’t simply repeat the headline from the blog post (aka flyer or letter) in the social media post (aka envelope).
  • Delete filler text, rework weak sentences and try to replace wordy phrases with a single word. (Good advice for any marketing channel, including an outer envelope, where less is definitely more.)

I realize that my analogy comes up short in certain ways. For starters, direct mail has traditionally been highly promotional, whereas blog content tends to be more informational and subtly promotional. But both ultimately aim to generate a sale, a lead, new subscriber or some other action. (Direct mail just happens to be more, well, direct in its call to action.)

Mr. Appleton’s article concluded with these words: “The more effort you put into adapting your long-form blog posts into gripping social posts, the better results you’ll achieve.” Now in direct mail lingo: “The more effort you put into capturing the essence of your direct mail package in the outer envelope teaser, the better results you’ll achieve.”

My bottom-line take: A lot of “old school,” but tried-and-true, marketing concepts live on in the digital age!

Click here if you’d like to read the full blog post in Social Media Examiner.

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