SparkToro Blog

What Your Marketing Needs is a Bad Guy

If you’re a big brand, already established, conservative in your ways and happy with your performance, this advice isn’t for you. But, if you’re a startup, an underdog, a challenger, you need to hear this. Villains are a good thing. Stories with villains make sense. They can be memorable. They can have depth and purpose. Stories without villains are meandering,…
Marketing SparkToro

How to Invest in Episodic Content that Promotes Itself

I’ve long been bullish on episodic content; in fact, I think it’s likely the best kind of long-term content investment most online brands can make. The challenges are consistent creation (gotta keep those episodes coming!) and finding the right marketing flywheel to bring in fans, subscribers, and amplifiers. But, these can be overcome by crafting episodic content that promotes itself,…
Marketing Psychology Tactics

Hook, Line, and Sinker: A Model for Crafting Successful, Viral Content

Despite studying content that overachieves for years, it’s only in the past few months that I’ve stumbled into a mental model I’ve called: Hook, Line, and Sinker. My goal here is to broadly encapsulate *why* overachieving content pieces hit their mark, and why similar, but underperforming pieces miss. First: when we talk about “content,” we’re talking about all kinds of…
Marketing Psychology Tactics

Influence Maps—The Best Marketing Framework You’ve Never Heard Of

When you find a tool that massively improves your work’s effectiveness and dramatically cuts down on poor decision-making, there are two natural responses: “This is amazing! It’s gonna save me so much heartache.”“WTF?! Why didn’t anyone tell me about this before?” That’s exactly how I felt when I stumbled across the behavioral design field’s Influence Map Framework. In a single,…
Events Personal

The Best Damn Food & Drink Gift Guide 2021

Welcome back to the best edible, potable guide to gift-giving the Internet has to offer. Like last year, we’ve assembled a lengthy list of food and beverage gifts from around the web. And, like last year, we have absolutely no ulterior motive. None of these links have affiliate codes, there’s no kickbacks, we’re just sharing products we (and people and…
Advertising Data Marketing Tactics

What if Performance Advertising is Just an Analytics Scam?

“What the pandemic showed is we can take marketing down to zero and still have 95% of the same traffic as the year before. So we’re not going to forget that lesson.” – Brian Chesky (via Campaign) In 2020, AirBnB cut $542 million of performance advertising spend and saw no measurable falloff in attributable sales. They continued this ad-slashing practice…
Personal Psychology Startups Team

Hustle Culture vs. Chill Work

A few weeks ago, Wil Reynolds and I were on a video call together. I think I joined in a couple minutes after him, and the discussion was already starting: Someone on the call: “… just hustling”Rand: “Ugh, I hate hustle culture.” Wil: “Yo, Fish*, can you define hustle?”Rand: “Easy one. Hustling is working hard to work hard. It’s valuing…
Marketing Psychology Startups Tactics

The Incentives to Publish No Longer Reward the Web’s Creators

It’s been almost two months since my last post here. For those of you who pay attention to the digital marketing world, the infrequency of updates may be missed, but it’s likely familiar. Many, many web creators (those who publish, in any format, on their own sites rather than big tech’s platforms) who historically published content with great frequency are…