How Empathy Maps Help You Speak Directly to the Hearts of Your Audience

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As we enter the conclusion of our three-part series on content strategy, you should already know what your audience believes about the world and have a narrative mapped out that will allow you to confirm your audience’s worldviews.

Now it’s time to explain the final piece of the content strategy puzzle. This piece creates an emotional connection between you and your audience. It’s a component that makes your audience think: “Hey, they get me. They understand me. They know what I’m thinking and feeling.”

I’m talking, of course, about empathy — the ability to identify with and vicariously experience the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of someone else.

But how do you incorporate that ability into your marketing? And why does this process help create a memorable brand?

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How to Stand Out in a World of Dull Podcasts

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Think about this for a moment. Your favorite podcasts.

This American Life.

WTF with Marc Maron.

Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income.

Every single one of them started at the bottom. Every single one of them started in obscurity. Every single one of them started without an audience.

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How to Ignite a Feeling in Your Audience

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Articulating the goal of content marketing, a wise man once wrote:

You lift prospects out of their ordinary worlds and invite them to consider a journey that ultimately leads to a transaction.

Easy to say. Not so easy to do.

We know that to lift our audience members out of their ordinary worlds we need to tell a compelling story — a story in which the audience member sees himself or herself in the role of hero while we play the role of mentor.

But how do we get from Point A (the concept) to Point B (the actual story that takes an audience on a transformative journey that results in a transaction)?

You’ll find out on this week’s episode of The Lede.

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Case Study: How One Veteran’s Podcast Built a Million-Dollar Business

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After spending many years in traditional career fields — including real estate, finance, and eight years as an Army Officer — John Lee Dumas still felt unfulfilled.

He couldn’t shake the feeling that his real calling was still out there — that there must be a way for him to feel excited to go to work every day.

He took a leap of faith and launched an interview-based business podcast called EntrepreneurOnFire. Within its first few months, the podcast became a top-ranked iTunes business podcast and earned a coveted spot on the “Best of iTunes” list.

The podcast is now the cornerstone (and biggest lead generator) of a thriving business that regularly brings in six figures each month.

Is John excited to go to work? You bet he is.

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How to Curate Knowledge, Turn it Into Wisdom, and Build Your Audience

Your audience expects a lot out of you.

As well as they should.

Which is why if you want to build a business you need an audience. But you can’t have an audience if don’t have authority. And you can’t have authority unless you have wisdom.

You need wisdom that enables you to paint the big picture while making obtuse concepts clear.

You need wisdom that inspires you to draw connections that other people in your niche don’t see.

And you need wisdom that empowers you to make connections and build relationships … so you can lead.

How do you gain this wisdom? By making a consistent habit of curating knowledge.

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The 5 W’s of Link Curation

When someone shares a link, and you click on it, and you are moved in some way by it — to action, to inspiration, even to tears — how do you feel about the person who shared it with you?

You likely feel equal parts appreciation and respect. If you’re honest, you might even feel a slight twinge envy. (Damnit, why didn’t I find that link to share first!)

It’s okay.

Being the clicker and the consumer is just fine. Content marketing is an ecosystem, and we all have to play multiple roles to keep it in motion.

But there is no reason you can’t be the link sharer more often. There is no reason you can’t consistently share useful links so that the appreciation and respect of an audience gets directed towards you.

To do this, all you have to do is understand the who, what, when, where, and why (plus the how) of link curation.

Which just so happens to be the subject of this week’s episode of The Lede.

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