Marketing goes to charm school

I can’t believe a comedian reminded me of a strategy to captivate audiences and turn casual viewers into devoted fans. I’ll admit it, thanks Jimmy Carr. Interestingly, we can look to stage presence for sage advice on creating attention-grabbing brand campaigns. The world’s top brands are already doing it. However, how can you take advantage with less money in the bank?

Recently, Jimmy Carr made an appearance on the The Pete and Sebastian Show. Jimmy talks about the difference between charm and charisma. Simply, charm is when you come to the audience creating a natural affinity. For example, he shares Barack Obama as a great representation of charm.

On the other hand, charisma is when you pull the audience towards you. In fact, it’s like your personality demands it. For instance, Jimmy volunteers that characters like Donald Trump exude this. Stepping outside of the political spectrum, he also shares that Jennifer Aniston is charming and Angelina Jolie is charismatic.

Two campaigns stand out in my mind as charming and impactful. First, Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” Campaign. Launched in 2015, the campaign was part of Apple’s strategy to promote the iPhone 6s. Apple had three major components to the rollout. In particular, they created a social media contest, leveraged influencer marketing, and tapped traditional ads (think: print, tv commercials, and in-store displays).

The charm comes from the authenticity and relatability of the content. Specifically, the brand highlights real people’s experiences. In turn, it makes Apple seem approachable and customer-focused. Unfortunately, a young brand or small business might not be able to afford the national ad costs. However, it’s possible to use similar tactics to create a version of charm around your product and brand.

Second, I think Airbnb’s Made Possible by Hosts campaign was charming and resourceful. I remember when I first caught a glimpse of it on the tv. Notably, I immediately loved the nostalgic feeling. Surprisingly, I could picture my friends and I sharing a house in Upstate New York or Joshua Tree. Both, experiences we’ve lived and laughed the entire time.

In contrast to Apple, these images were produced instead of created by the user. Fortunately, it doesn’t make a difference. It still feels charming, authentic and familiar. It’s an inviting story being told one frame at a time with a great soundtrack. Luckily, moments like these can be captured using customers and friends without spending a lot of cash.

What about charisma? Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign is a perfect example. Obviously, the ads are bold, confident, and humorous. Notably, the spots are punched up thanks to the selected actor, Isaiah Mustafa. Combining his charismatic delivery with a set of exaggerated scenarios is pure gold.

I want you to notice a significant difference between the personalities of these commercials and how they’re delivered. In general, with charm, you’ll often notice the subject is a passive participant. To clarify, Airbnb is showing you people enjoying their stays. They don’t speak or interact with the camera. Their experience is put on display and we get to imagine ourselves in their shoes.

Alternatively, charismatic ads are typically much bolder and in your face. You almost have to inject humor for them to work. It’s very much a look at me experience. Ripped muscles, quirky scenes, deliberate scripting all adds up to an ad that tells the audience to line up and watch. Hence, charisma is active and not passive like charm.

Implementing a charismatic campaign can be more difficult in the early stages of a business. Regardless, I think a great option is creating content and ads around founder journeys and startup missions. Founders getting in front of the lens being authentic about the challenge of building is powerful. Additionally, storytelling around a brand’s mission, vision, and values is another route to making content that’s impactful and bold.

Still not sure how you can tackle these approaches on a budget? Here’s a prime example of how Ruffin Mitchener helped the founders of Alinea get over 12 millions views on TikTok in one month. PS. Ruffin has a newsletter called Brydge Club sending female founder stories to your inbox weekly. If you want more support, make sure to sign up for my newsletter or get in touch.

Are podcast ads the new radio jingle?

Rendering of a podcast studio where podcast content and content ads are created.

Annoyed by podcast ads? Here’s why clear signposting might be the answer

Have you ever been listening to your favorite podcast, totally engrossed in the content, when suddenly, you’re jolted out of the story by jarring podcast ads? You’re not alone. In fact, research reveals that podcast listeners crave clarity when it comes to advertisements. So, what does this mean for marketers and the future of podcast advertising? Let’s dive in.

The Demand for Transparency in Podcast Ads

Podcast listeners are sending a clear message: they want to know when they’re being marketed to. Recently, a study from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) found that listeners prefer distinct signals that separate ads from the main content. For instance, musical jingles or clear verbal indicators that segment the content from the ad. This preference isn’t just a minor quirk; it’s a fundamental demand for transparency and respect for the listener’s experience.

Why Does This Matter?

Podcasting is a unique medium. Specifically, it’s intimate, it’s personal, and listeners often feel a deep connection with the hosts. I like to think of podcasts as fireside chats. This connection can be disrupted by poorly integrated ads, which can feel intrusive and jarring. Fortunately, clear signposting helps maintain this connection by respecting the listener’s time and attention. Additionally, making the advertising experience more seamless and less intrusive.

The Impact on Marketers

For marketers, this research isn’t just a suggestion—it’s a roadmap. Ignoring these insights can lead to disengagement and a potential drop in ad effectiveness. On the flip side, embracing clear signposting can enhance listener trust and ad engagement. Think about it: a listener who feels respected and informed is more likely to respond positively to an ad.

Rendering of two podcasters laughing as they create podcast ads in a podcast studio.

The Road Ahead for Podcast Advertising

The future of podcast advertising hinges on balance. We have to find a way to integrate ads that respect the listener’s experience while still delivering compelling messages. Fortunately, we can be more strategic about where and how ads are placed. Ultimately, ensuring that the transition between content and advertising is smooth and clear.

I’ve noticed a promising approach is the use of branded content that aligns closely with the podcast’s theme and audience. When ads feel like a natural extension of the podcast rather than an interruption, listeners are more likely to engage positively. Additionally, hosts can play a crucial role by personally endorsing products and services, which can lend authenticity and credibility to the ads.

Why You Should Care

This applies to marketers and content creators alike. Understanding and adapting to listener preferences isn’t just good practice—it’s essential. Furthermore, the podcasting landscape is evolving, and staying ahead of the curve means embracing these changes. It’s about more than just selling a product; it’s about building a relationship with your audience based on trust and respect.

Conclusion: Podcast Ads and The Power of Clarity

In a world where consumers are increasingly savvy and demanding, transparency isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s a necessity. By clearly signposting ads in podcasts, marketers can maintain the integrity of the listening experience, build trust, and ultimately drive better engagement. So, next time you’re planning a podcast ad campaign, remember: clear is kind. Your listeners—and your bottom line—will thank you.

Marketing challenges in 2024

What if I told you that 68% of businesses are seeing a higher ROI from content marketing and SEO thanks to AI? Yet, measuring returns remains a critical challenge. Accurate measurement might be the missing piece in your strategy. Airtable released its 2024 Marketing Trends Report detailing a study that includes 550 respondents who are at the director level and above in their marketing department. Turns out, many leaders are facing similar marketing challenges. I’ve never felt so seen by data.

Marketing challenges faced by industry leaders from Airtable's 2024 Marketing Trends Report
Challenges facing marketing leaders. Credit: Airtable

The report provide insights ranging from marketing challenges in data visibility to the role of AI in the tech stack. When I read the statistic about Murky ROI I felt a bond with my fellow marketers. First, I am a startup marketer. Hence, I don’t have a background in enterprise level marketing at a Fortune 500 company. Second, this data proves that problems scale.

During my time as a founder, we were learning on the fly. Fundraising was the first time I had the word data hammered into my head. It was always important, but I didn’t understand it was mission critical. Besides, I was a creative at heart and wanted to make gut decisions.

When you look at the chart, what do you see? If I had to boil it down to one sentence, I’d say the following:

The role of growth marketing has become increasingly important; and although tools are helping teams grow, most teams struggle to find a single source of truth and visibility into what’s driving success.

On first glance, it seems paradoxical. As a startup founder and marketer, I can promise it’s not. Adding tools to a marketing stack doesn’t magically ease marketing challenges. AI helps with scaling productivity, but tools and robots require teams to become more efficient, not less.

It’s hard to decide where you should focus your resources if you don’t understand what activities are valuable. Ultimately, there are many exciting trends as well. For instance, smaller teams can make bigger impacts across content and social media than ever before. Here’s my advice for early startup marketing teams to navigate the challenges of data:

  • Start early: Organize important metrics and data points. Understand what’s mission critical and what’s a nice to have. Find out where that data lives. Work with your tech teams on data architecture as early as possible.
  • Simplify: In addition, decide if onboarding new tools is necessary or not. It’s not abnormal to use 10+ apps at any stage of growth. However, if resources are available, work with someone technical to build a dashboard. For example, you can leverage APIs to send/receive data from most marketing tools.
  • Keep learning: Data attribution is vital. Unfortunately, traditional tracking like third-party cookies are all but dead. Pay attention to how other marketers are solving these issues so you can adapt quickly.
  • Automate: I’m a big proponent of automation. However, I recommend learning the why and how before you turn to automation. In fact, you’ll boost your skillset, troubleshoot faster and be able to teach others.
  • Zero and first-party data: Lastly, first-party data is customer data you own. Therefore, you should invest heavily in capturing it. The easiest places to start are with email, website, apps and purchase history. Additionally, don’t be afraid to conduct surveys, interactive quizzes, and customer research.
Data is one of the biggest marketing challenges for marketing teams. Here are 4 types of data businesses need.

Better hooks, better views

What if you could predict which of your posts will go viral? Would you trust me to explain how to get more views for your content?

Ever wondered why some brands go viral while others get ignored? The answer might surprise you. What about now?

Undoubtedly, I’ve piqued your interest. Marketing is art and science. Obviously, creativity is the sexy part. Marketers dream of creating ad campaigns that skyrocket revenues. On the other hand, science is how we engineer the probability of success. Today, we’ll focus on how to get more views for your content.

Image credit: @rico.incarnati

Heard of ADHD? I have it, and I’m not alone. Therefore, many of us need frameworks to accomplish our goals. Whether you’re becoming a freelancer or building a brand, you’ll need useful frameworks and habits to grow. Enrico has laid out a simple, yet effective framework for content creation. Let’s unpack how to get more views through writing better hooks.

Understanding the view count metric

First, what is a view? A view count is calculated when somebody visits your content. In contrast, you may have heard of impressions. Don’t get these terms confused. An impression is calculated when somebody sees an ad. Simply, an impression means your ad landed in front of their eyes. Consequently, It doesn’t matter whether they interact with it or not.

Infographic how to get more views by first understanding key metrics like impressions, clicks, and views.

Content views are an important frontline metric. You put the hard work into writing a post, shooting a video, or selling a product. Now, you want to ensure people are seeing your creation. In fact, the more views the better. However, view count doesn’t tell us everything.

In order to understand how to get more views, we need other metrics. For instance, are people watching our videos all the way through? Did someone leave a comment on our post? Did someone subscribe or buy? In short, views are only one part of the bigger picture. Engagement metrics fill in the gaps.

How to get more views with better hooks

If you want to get more views for your content, you’ll need strong hooks. Accordingly, essay writing is a great place to pull inspiration. Thankfully, there are over a dozen types of hooks. Once you get familiar with them, you will start seeing theme everywhere.

Below, I’ve listed my favorite hooks.

  1. Thought-Provoking Question Hook: Ever find yourself hooked by a really good question? Starting with a compelling question can draw your readers in, making them eager to find out the answers you’ll reveal.
  2. Bold Statement Hook: Imagine kicking things off with a statement that makes your audience do a double-take. Bold claims can grab attention, sparking curiosity about how you’ll back them up. This works great for argumentative pieces.
  3. Anecdotal Hook: Who doesn’t enjoy a good story? Sharing a light-hearted anecdote or a bit of humor related to your topic can make even heavy subjects feel more approachable. Just remember to use them in the right context!

Your approach may depend on your subject matter. Importantly, it’s smart to test different approaches, especially on social media. This will allow you to see what resonates best with you audience. Remember, your view count should increase if you’re catching people right away with your hook.

How to get more views understanding the data

How do you know if your efforts are paying off? Clearly, a viral video would be epic and obvious. Unfortunately, we can’t expect each video to go viral. We need to understand how to make incremental changes along the way. Therefore, I recommend two ways to approach your view count data.

First, compare your videos to themselves. For example, use a spreadsheet to log your content performance. It’s helpful to consider the content format and style. You can be as detailed as you like. You’ll want to standardize the information so you can compare apples to apples. Oftentimes, I will often break out performance by platform too. Below, are other metrics to consider including:

  • Follower count when you hit publish
  • Follower count 48 hours later (or a timeframe that makes sense)
  • View count after 48 hours
  • Hook type/style
  • Hook written out

Secondly, find other creators in your space. Similarly, you’ll want to pick some at your level and some above. Be gentle with your comparison. The last thing you want is to feel inferior or jealous by another creator’s success. Instead, use this comparison to understand what’s possible. Consider it healthy competition. Or, gather inspiration but don’t copy.

Examples of attention-grabbing hooks

Practice is how to get more views for your content. Let’s take my three favorite hook styles and put them into practice. Let’s take a piece of interesting data and turn it into different hooks. Be mindful of whether they grab your attention.

Dark Social: Over 80% of online shares are “dark social,” meaning they’re shared through private channels like direct messaging and email, making them difficult to track.

Thought-Provoking Question Hook

“What if I told you that over 80% of your content shares are happening out of sight, in private channels like direct messages and email? Discover how tapping into ‘dark social’ can skyrocket your engagement and maximize your ROI. Ready to revolutionize your strategy?”


What if told you: The first sentence is the thought starter. It greets you with an unbelievable statistic or claim in the form of a question. Psychologically, you want someone to think Wow, I didn’t know that! It’s the beginning of a breadcrumb trail towards a valuable payoff.

Discover how: Our second sentence is setting expectations. After you’ve grabbed someone’s attention, hint at what’s coming next. The key is that the hint should highlight something valuable to them.

Ready to: Lastly, the hook ends with a call to action (CTA). You won’t always need this in your hook. Typically, CTAs are great when accessing your content requires more steps. For instance, a lead magnet requiring an email to download a freebie. With social media videos, you might wait until the end of the video to share a CTA.

Bold Statement Hook

“Over 80% of online shares are invisible to marketers. Imagine how much engagement you’re missing out on.”


Over 80%: Again, a lofty number upfront to grab attention.

Imagine how: Simple and effective. The statement closes by pointing out a deficit. The deficit is something important to your business or brand. Similarly, it’s highlighting something valuable to the audience.

Anecdotal Hook

“Once, I worked with a brand struggling to boost their ROI. They had no idea that most of their shares were invisible, happening through private messages. Curious how ‘dark social’ could be the game-changer for your engagement?”


Once, I worked: This hook opens with authenticity and relatability. Moreover, it also provides immediate credibility. Upon reading, you know this person has worked with other brands.

They had no idea: Next, we do two things. One, we add to credibility by showcasing our expertise compared to the client. Then, we let the audience in on it by dropping a bold insight.

Curious how: Closing with a CTA paves the way towards a next step. Remember, this isn’t always necessary upfront. However, this would be perfect for a social post at aimed driving people to the full story.

Bonus: More tips for how to get more views

Social media trends are always evolving. Hooks are a great way to get people interested in hearing the rest of your story. In addition, they’re also a great way to get people to take an action in your funnel. But, hooks are only one part of the story though.

If you’re wondering how to get more views, think about other tactics as well. Here are some bonus tips that can help improve your view count as well.

  • Add Thumbnails: Images can help grab attention right away. Personally, I gravitate towards YouTube channels and podcasts with great cover art imagery. Layering text over and engaging shot helps me learn about the topic and the personality.
  • Be Relevant: Make sure your subject matter isn’t too niche. More importantly, make sure the topic within your subject matter is something people care about.
  • Start Short: Longer videos and articles are a bigger commitment. Perhaps, start shorter and build longer content as your reputation grows.
  • Get Meta: Pay attention to other creators in your subject are doing. Again, don’t copy. You’re looking snippets of tactics that resonate given your shared audience. For instance, are videos fast-paced or slow? More specifically, GRWM videos are perfect for beauty tutorials and dating stories.
  • Stand Out: No, this doesn’t mean you need to be eccentric. Be authentic and find your own spin.

You’re ready, you’ve got this

In this post, we’ve explored how to get more views, emphasizing the importance of understanding key metrics like view counts and engagement. We’ve delved into the art of creating compelling hooks—whether through thought-provoking questions, bold statements, or engaging anecdotes—to capture and retain your audience’s attention. Additionally, we’ve highlighted the necessity of analyzing data to refine your strategy continuously. By combining creativity with analytics, you can enhance your content’s reach and impact, ensuring your marketing efforts are both engaging and effective. Ready to elevate your strategy? Let’s get started!

Missing the mark

It’s been a rough week for two key brands. Unfortunately, creating a memorable marketing campaign is a double-edged sword. Brands aren’t unfamiliar with courting controversy to sell more widgets. However, with every day that passes, the metaphorical snowball of digital social thought keeps growing. Gone are the days of newspapers and radio. In fact, social media is Yelp restaurant reviews on steroids.

Source: Bumble

Bumble attacks celibacy and faces backlash

Dating is inherently tricky to market. There are many pitfalls ranging from memorably controversial to PR nightmare. Bumble managed to step in the latter. First, here’s why these ads stirred up so much animosity:

There were a host of reasons why the ads received such strong backlash, namely the challenges of reproductive rights, the societal pressure to have sex and the rights of women to their bodily autonomy. The ads were also seen to stigmatize asexual people and those who actively choose celibacy, going against Bumble’s intersectional ethos. 

Natalie Fear, “Bumble admits it “made a mistake” on Creative Bloq

Upon seeing this ads, two things stood out immediately. It’s dicey to indirectly target a movement aimed at empowering women. Specifically, peeling back the layers of celibacy (within this context), you may find the 4B movement.

There’s always a man or brand trying to control women’s ability to navigate the world safely. Therefore, an attempt to erode that power to generate more app downloads is a cheap shot at best. Dating apps are built to exploit fantasy and vulnerability by leveraging the power imbalance of patriarchy.

It’s not that women don’t want to date and enter partnerships. They’re simply asking for the bare minimums: respect, safety, and choice. Moreover, I believe this is an example of why more diversity in marketing would reduce brand risk.

Apple forgets to ‘read the room’

Surprisingly, Apple stumbled with its recent spot for the iPad Pro. Undoubtedly, the ad takes a stab at the concept of creative destruction. In short, the destroying of old to make way for the new. Hot take: Apple’s mistake is reflective of two incredibly common things.

One, being too prescriptive in a creative process can create unintended consequences. For instance, hopping on a social media trend to illustrate a creative concept. It seems smart, but it’s hard to see the full picture when you’re too close to it.

Secondly, without emotions we are flying blind. When I watch the commercial, I feel weird. It’s off-putting. It’s hard to name why. You feel it in your gut. It makes me wonder how this all unfolded. Was there anyone in the room that raised their hand?

I didn’t like the ad, but I didn’t hate it. Though, I never want to see it again. For all the thought leadership buzzing around, I wonder how the ad actually performed with consumers. It’s clear that the iPad is for creative amateurs and professionals alike. I wonder if the feeling I experienced is true across the board.

Key lessons from Bumble and Apple missteps:

  • Prioritize your customer. Ensure that your creativity and revenue goals align with the needs of your top stakeholder—the customer. It’s fine to be cheeky, but never at the expense of alienating your audience.
  • Get an outside perspective. When you’re deeply involved in a project, seek external opinions. Being too close to something you care about can cloud your objectivity.
  • Act with integrity. Mistakes happen, but they don’t have to be disastrous. Addressing a minor issue promptly can prevent it from escalating into a major problem.
  • Promote diversity. Intentionally build diverse teams to reduce the risk of creating ads that miss the mark and ensure more inclusive marketing.

Case of the Fridays

Do you ever look back at your week? Do you take stock of what you accomplished? Do you grade yourself? Often, I greet Friday with a mixture of relief and excitement. Finally, there’s a week of hustle behind me, and a day at the greenmarket ahead of me. It’s a cycle that’s dependable, even if there are healthier approaches.

My mind has been racing recently. There are pros and cons to launching a website. Especially, a lot of mixed emotions when you’re trying to attract people to your business. First, I love helping people. That’s a major advantage to writing about my experiences in marketing and growing businesses. Contrarily, nobody is attracted to your work unless you hook them. It’s getting considerably harder with each day passing.

Luckily, I’m obsessed. I’m not sure what I would do with myself if I wasn’t doing this. Now, there is a danger and fine line between obsession and stubbornness. I’m definitely going to be mindful as I build.

This Friday’s reflection is a common and consistent one. Get out of your own way Justin. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It doesn’t even need to be complete. Gather your ideas. Decide where you want to start. Test them. Don’t overcomplicate it.