Zero-Click Content: The Counterintuitive Way to Succeed in a Platform-Native World

Update: We’re hosting a SparkToro Office Hours webinar about Zero-Click content on August 23. Sign up free to attend or watch the replay. It could be a chicken or egg situation: Maybe the platforms have made us lazy, or we’ve trained their algorithms to reward platform-native content — as in, content that keeps people on the platforms’ sites instead of…

Google, Apple, and Amazon Stifle Innovation When They Favor Their Own Products

The SparkToro team got an exciting surprise on Sunday evening: a mention of our research on Last Week Tonight by John Oliver. The full episode, Big Tech Monopolies, is available on YouTube. It covers an issue I’ve railed against before, but with a heightened sense of urgency: there is actually a bipartisan bill in Congress that might fix this. Thankfully,…

SparkToro’s Mission, Vision, and Values: BELUX

Those skilled in the art of BS detection can tell you that 99% of company mission, vision, and values statements are meaningless. For corporate ideals to be more than just blatant-hypocrisy-in-poster-form, leadership has to build them into the company’s operating systems: how they hire/fire/promote, how they prioritize product investments, treat customers, make decisions around funding and acquisitions, and more. Even…

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 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,…
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…