Keeping Your Eye on the Prize

First published August 11, 2008

Marketers often find good business advice in the unlikeliest of places. Why? Because everything is marketed whether you’re talking gizmos or ideas. Today’s pearl of wisdom comes from an interview at Mediabistro’s GalleyCat of blog-to-book-to-movie phenomenon Julie Powell.

With a strong opening weekend behind them, the movie Julie & Julia about the author’s quest to recreate all of the recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking while blogging about it is already the stuff of urban myth. In the interview, Julie cautions others to not get caught up in the social media aspect of the process.

“I think you always have to keep your eyes on the prize in terms of writing about the things you are passionate about, writing about the subject matter that you really love. If you get too concerned with branding and getting the links and making sure that enough people know me—getting away from writing about what you want to write about as well and clearly and evocatively as you can—you might publish a book that way, but you won’t turn into a writer. The writing always has to be at the center.”

This is good advice for all marketers but especially those like education publishers who are relying on a high level of trust in selling to their audience. Here are three ways to apply Julie Powell’s observation to your own business:

  1. Be authentic. Don’t get caught up in the metrics. Yes, they’re important, but unless your marketing message resonates with the audience at a core level, your efforts won’t result in sales no matter how many followers or blog readers you have.
  2. Stay focused. It’s easy to get distracted. A nanosecond here, a nanosecond there and you lose hours of time. Guard your time as strictly as you guard your message.
  3. Speak to outcomes. Features and benefits are far less important than what can be accomplished with use of your product. For us in K-12 education, it’s all about how it affects the students – how it changes their lives for the better.

What other inferences can we make from Julie’s statement?


Three Critical Rules for Effective Writing

Back to Basics

In the Blink of an Eye

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