I don’t like writing these blog posts, but someone has to.
I got another email from Ryan Deiss, who we all know is the Fresh Prince of marketing bullshit.
Just check this out. (It’s not the whole email. I’ll spare you that.)
Email Subject: “Do NOT publish another blog post…”
Okay, there are a few important things to clarify here.
- First, there are patterns in marketing that have been proven to work. They have worked time and time again.
- Second, they don’t always work. Sometimes, proven patterns fail.
- Third, smart marketers know that, surprisingly often, doing the exact opposite of the current “best practice” can be incredibly successful.
- Fourth, I’m sure Ryan Deiss knows all this. I’m sure he’s a smart guy. Yet, he’s a shrewd marketer. He’s taking a truth (i.e. these patterns have been proven to work) and deliberately applying a logical fallacy (i.e. therefore they always work).
- Fifth, that means he’s lying. It means he knows he’s lying, and he knows that lying like this is going to earn him short-term profits.
That makes him a scammer, in my book at least.
Deiss, you’re a lying scammer!
(Glad we’ve cleared that up.)
Now, by all means subscribe to these guys’ email lists, because there is a lot to learn, and I have seen some really excellent articles on Ryan’s website.
I’m not saying for a minute he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I think he knows exactly what he’s doing. But be careful to treat any claims of “universal effectiveness” with a heavy dose of skepticism.
(See also this example, which I think is dishonest and misleading.)
So What’s the Reality?
Unfortunately, the world of marketing is fuzzier and dirtier and less predictable than purveyors of these cure-alls are prepared to admit. Hey, fuzzy doesn’t sell!
I can say, with confidence, that there is no pattern or model or template that works every time. (Anyone who says there is is a lying scumbag.)
The right message, delivery, tone, and length… all these things depend on who you’re talking to, what you want your brand to mean to them, and what you’re trying to sell.
And there’s no formula for that. I’m in the middle of writing a book about how to create killer content, and the rabbit hole is a lot deeper than Ryan Deiss would have you believe!
You know we all have very finely-tuned bullshit meters these days (and it’s a good job, because there’s a lot of bullshit around). That means we’re getting very good at spotting when someone’s trying to sell to us and immediately switching off.
As I’ve suggested, very often, the best way to get your message noticed is to ignore what everyone else is doing, and do something quite different. Even if received wisdom tells you that X works, don’t do it. Why? Because if everyone’s doing it, your market is likely already to be switching off.
Truly successful content is not formulaic. I haven’t cracked the whole code yet, but I can tell you, at the very least, that it requires two things:
- sensitivity to what’s happening around you (and within you) right now
- and the self-belief and guts just to create, right now!
You know what else? The key to your most powerful content is within you, right here, right now. No one else can figure it out for you. And no marketing wiseguy can sell you the answer. Just remember that.
Please watch this space. Let’s keep this conversation going.