Beginner’s Guide to Blogging 7/10: The Picture

Blogging isn’t going out of style any time soon; with the ascent of content marketing, blogging, podcasting and video are on the minds of marketers and PR professionals all the time. In this 10-part Beginner’s Guide to Blogging series, we’re going to explore what makes a blog great and give you some structures and frameworks to help make blogging easier. Take from it what works and leave behind what doesn’t work!

Beginner's Guide to Blogging Series:

The Picture

Suppose you don’t want to compare your brand to anything. Suppose that competitively, you simply don’t care about your competitors? How would you create a blog post or other content that instead focuses solely on you? For this, you’d paint The Picture.

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In The Picture, you relentlessly focus only on your topic and positive call to action. Your goal is to inspire someone, to amaze them, to make them yearn for your product or service. Contrast this with approaches like the Kennedy or the Franklin, in which you’re aggressively highlighting problems in order to prove you can solve them.

The Picture is painted in four stages: Promise, Picture, Prove, Push. You begin with the promise, the end result. This could be the key benefit of a product, the result of an action, or a final state of mind. You then paint a detailed picture of life after the promise has been fulfilled. How has the world changed for your reader? You prove that this is possible, either by briefly addressing a problem or providing explanation of how the promise works. Finally, you push for the reader to take action.

In terms of usage, few companies do The Picture as well as Apple. Compare Apple’s marketing and content to any other tech company. You’ll notice they spend very little time talking about competitors. They spend very little time even talking about the product. What they focus on is the promise and picturing your life with that promise fulfilled. Examine their long-form advertising. They focus on how your life will change with their products.

Example

Let’s return to our archetypical coffee shop from previous Beginner’s Guides to demonstrate how The Picture might work. Our fictional shop, Todd and Jim’s Coffee Emporium, roasts and grinds on-site and sells espresso at a premium price.

Promise: Wake up your day with Todd and Jim’s Ristretto Sunrise! The Ristretto Sunrise is everything you love about an espresso with none of what you don’t. Smooth, rich, and creamy, it’s the perfect way to start your day.

Picture: What does life feel like after a Ristretto Sunrise? Life moves faster without a trace of bitterness. Birds sing a little louder. The sun shines a little brighter. Your inbox seems to magically melt away twice as quickly as it normally does.

Prove: Did you know that a Ristretto Sunrise is made only from the best parts of an espresso? It’s true: a ristretto is the first half of a standard espresso shot. All of the rich, bold, creamy flavor occurs in those first few magical seconds. The part of espresso people don’t like, the sour, bitter notes? Those occur mostly in the second half of an espresso shot.

Push: Drinking a Ristretto Sunrise is like a day at the beach with no risk of sunburn. It’s singing in the rain but magically staying dry. Grab one today, and taste just how good life can taste without the bitterness.

Use Cases

When would you choose The Picture over other blogging structures? Obviously, it’s a terrific method for highlighting a product announcement when you want to draw exclusive attention to the product. The Picture is also appropriate for motivating your audience with inspirational content as well.

The Picture works for nearly any form of cause marketing with an “imagine the world” pitch. Your cause changes the world for the better and The Picture relentlessly drives home just how much better the world will be.

Finally, when you look at the structure of The Picture, note that it spends very little time on the problem compared to the solution and how it will change your life. When you’ve got a solution for a problem that your audience isn’t aware is a problem, The Picture is a good framework to use.

In the next post in this series, we’ll look at a classic, refreshed for modern usage.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

Beginner's Guide to Blogging Series:

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Posted on March 23, 2015 in Blogging, Content Marketing

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, Leading Innovation, teaches organizations how to implement and scale innovative practices to direct change.

Christopher is a highly-sought keynote speaker thanks to his energetic, informative talks. In 2015, he delivered insightful, innovative talks on all aspects of marketing and analytics at over 30 events to critical acclaim.

He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast.

Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero.

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