Today, a very tactical issue on how to get into your prospect’s head before they know what hit them…

As I’m writing this, I hit refresh on Google News…

— Dylann Roof — the Charleston church shooter — was found guilty (yes, it was pretty much assumed, but thank goodness)…

— Facebook is actually creating a process to battle the fake news proliferation (we’ll see how that goes)…

— Aleppo continues to be hell on earth, but hopefully the residents caught in the crossfire can get out safely in this evacuation…

— Yahoo got hacked, and a billion user accounts compromised (and their stock took a $1.3 billion hit)…

— And the Fed raised interest rates yesterday, and surprised the markets by suggesting an even faster pace of rate increases throughout next year…

And that’s just scratching the surface!  (Heck, there’s a new Star Wars movie!)

Here’s what you need to know about these stories…

These are all fodder for STARTING your marketing conversation with your prospects…

And if you scroll down through Google News (which I like because it seems to do a relatively good job of aggregating news independent of any major editorial bias) or some other news source (just make sure it’s not a fake news one, unless it’s a fake news site all your prospects are reading!)…

You have an almost infinite number of conversation starters you can use to get into a conversation with your prospects.

Now, for the most part, we’re not talking sales letters here.  Unless you’re able to tap into a very long-running news narrative, or your campaign itself is very short and timely, this won’t necessarily make the best opener for a sales letter.

But a good marketer knows that with every message that’s deemed interesting and thus consumed, you’re going to convert a few prospects, and move many others closer to the sale…

And so if you’re doing regular email marketing (like this) and you want something to write about that feels new and fresh and interesting…

Check out the news!

Here’s the big thing to remember when using news stories…

Frankly, almost any news story will work in terms of starting a conversation.  Just think about the conversations you have with friends.  “Hey did you see that article from…,” is a perfectly natural, casual way to start a conversation.  You continue with your reflection on the article itself, and steer the conversation in any direction you want.

Heck, the weather even works.  For those of you across much of the US, you may be feeling this cold weather sweeping in.  I certainly haven’t felt this cold since last winter — but I’m loving snuggling up under a blanket by the fire!

You CAN talk about anything.

But it’s even more powerful if you’re able to link the story in today’s news to your product itself.

Now, there’s a lot of ways you can do this.  But I like to find a story that can be somehow tied or linked to the problem my product solves.  Sometimes this is front page news.  Sometimes you have to dig for it a bit.  But if you’re looking, you’ll find stories like this EVERYWHERE.

For example, if you write about investments AT ALL, you know the market-moving power of yesterday’s news.  It’s the second rate increase since the financial crisis, and that has broad-reaching implications.  Now, there’s a variety of unique circumstances around this particular action that make it less of a news item today — but if you have an unexpected interpretation or angle, it can give you some real marketing juice to start there.

If you’re selling anything in the IT security field, maybe there’s an opportunity in talking about the Yahoo hack.  What’s the angle there?  It depends on your product, but I can most certainly guarantee that the best IT security marketers are using that in their marketing content today.

What about Star Wars?  Well, you could talk about the reinvention of the franchise.  You could talk about merchandising.  You could talk about JV relationships in the context of how every time a movie comes out, the actors and actresses make the TV rounds, giving the shows compelling content AND increasing box office sales.  And that’s just a handful of business topics…

Your ultimate goal is to link the story to your sales message…

When it comes to using news stories as starters for your marketing message, here’s the one thing you don’t want to forget…

You have an ultimate goal for that marketing message.  You have a destination.  You know where you want your prospect to go, what you want them to do.

Ultimately, you’re looking to get them to take the next step and consume your main sales message.

Which means you have to have a clear transition (at least in your mind) from news story to sales message.  Once you’ve said your piece about the news story, connect the dots.  Explain the relevance to your sales message.  And spark your reader’s curiosity to learn more about your product, and the solution is provides.

Do that, and this approach can work wonders…

Yours for bigger breakthroughs…

Roy Furr

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