The Content Marketing Strategy Kylie Jenner Used to Build a $900M Business in 3 Years

A complete breakdown and guide of what may be the best content marketing strategy of all time

John Blust
Nov 5 · 34 min read
Source: Constantinos Panagopoulos via Unsplash

Kylie Jenner became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire last year. She did it with no more than a Shopify store, a seven-person team, and super solid content marketing. She grew her cosmetics brand into a $900M business in three years without any paid traffic.

I learned this a while back during a phone call with my sister. I don’t remember how the subject came up, but she said something like: I love Kylie, she’s really smart. I mean, she makes more money than her sisters. I don’t know how she does it, but she’s doing something right.

I never thought of it that way before. Could the little half-sister have surpassed the queen, Kim Kardashian? I googled it and to my amazement, it was true. There were plenty of articles talking about it, but none went into depth about how she did it. Just the usual, non-specific, waste-of-time article. So, I started to obsessively study everything I could about her business. And man, did I learn a few things.

She regularly sells out her cosmetics lines using an easy-to-replicate content marketing strategy. If done right, anyone can use this content marketing strategy to double their business (or more) with juicy organic traffic.

I know, I know… “What does that have to do with me?” Well, if you aren’t a business owner or fashionable teenage girl, probably nothing.

I can’t speak for teenage girls, but if you are a business owner, you have to care. You needed this strategy yesterday.

She’s only 22 and she’s absolutely crushing it. She knows more about running a successful marketing campaign than most people do.

You might not agree with me on that point. If so, you’re not alone. A little over a year ago, Forbes made the big announcement. They gave Kylie Jenner the crown and the decision was met with some controversy. Could she really be called “self-made?” Critics said most of her success came from the privilege of her name and connections.

Those criticisms are bullshit and I’ll prove it.

The Kardashians have a long laundry list of failed business ventures. The Kardashian Kard, a prepaid debit card, was a massive failure and even called a scam. Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom’s fragrance line had a short run; they even named it “Unbreakable Bond” (that didn’t age well.) Kourtney Kardashian ran an unsuccessful children’s clothing line for a couple of years. Rob Kardashian launched a pretty bad sock line a while back. Kendall and Kylie wrote a Sci-Fi novel back in 2014 which wasn’t exactly a hit. And their biggest hit, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, came close to cancellation once upon a time.

It doesn’t matter what your name is. If you don’t have a good product-market fit and a rock star marketer on your team, your business will flop.

This is why most businesses will fail. They’re not solving a problem or providing a service their audience cares about.

Kylie Jenner understood this. She built the right audience, made a great product and marketed it the right way. She completely killed it. This proves she’s more than a pretty face. She’s a boss ass bitch.

I like to consider myself a savvy marketer. During my time in the industry, I’ve created some fresh marketing for some cool eCommerce brands. But I’ve never launched a campaign that’s on Kylie’s level of success. So, this marketing junkie decided to set aside his ego. I spent hours in a cafe (probably looking like a fucking creep) learning all about Kylie, her makeup, and her marketing.

I’ll save you the time because I’m going to give away all this gold to you. But why would I give away something for free that can double or triple revenue? Well, one reason is that I’m a nerd. I like to study things and break them down into an actionable process.

But there’s another reason. Most marketers simply won’t use it because it takes time and they are lazy. The popularity of “marketing hacks” are evidence of this.

Anyway, let’s get started. You’ll see how Kylie Jenner built Kylie Cosmetics into a $900M business in three years. More importantly, you’ll learn how to use her strategy in your business, too. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to peddle lip kits for this to work, either. But if you do, that’s cool too.)

P.S. — None of the websites or services linked here are affiliate links, so click to your heart’s content.


The Kylie Jenner Content Marketing Strategy

Let’s start with you and how to make your brand awesome.


1. Give Birth to a Brand You Actually Care About

So, why did the lip kits take off and not the sci-fi novel?

I’m sure Kylie likes a good sci-fi book as much as the next girl, but she really loves makeup. In her Forbes interview, she recalled her childhood. “Ever since I was in sixth grade, I would wear purple eyeshadow,” Jenner says. “I turned to makeup to help me feel more confident.” When she would feel insecure about her lips, she would apply liner beyond her lips to create the illusion of a pout.

Growing up in the spotlight during those formative years must’ve been tough. When I was that age, I wore sagged cargo shorts, DC skate shoes (I didn’t skate), and Naruto ran at recess. And for some reason, I still couldn’t figure out why people thought I was weird (go figure). So, I was super shy and insecure, and I longed for a way to feel more confident.

It’s safe to say that most young people are a little insecure about what people think about them. That’s true whether you have a camera crew following you or not.

Kylie Jenner understood how that felt. She wanted to make young girls feel more confident and powerful with her passion: makeup. Thus, a brand and a story were born with her at the center of it.

This is the most important part of a business.

You have to create a humanized brand with a relatable mission. By putting a story and passion at the heart of your brand, you create something people can get behind. Plus, this makes marketing the idea super easy.

I’ve got an exercise that can help. It works whether you are an already established business or just getting started. I picked this up from Nick Usborne. He’s helped huge companies like Apple, Citibank, and The New York Times with their copy. The best part is, all you need is your About page.

First, find someone who knows nothing about your business. This could be an acquaintance, neighbor, or some poor bastard you corner on the street. Then, read your About page to them aloud. (I know some of you are starting to sweat.)

You need to work on your brand’s story if:

· It sounds so douchey and pretentious you are cringing while reading it.

· They are falling asleep.

· It’s so wordy you are having trouble saying it with flow.

· They can’t explain what you do and why.

If one, some, or all those things happen while reading it, it’s time for a rewrite.

Take some time to think about your journey.

How did you get started in your industry?

What got you interested in it (besides the idea of making money)?

Is your experience relatable? You’re human, so it probably is. Expand on that so your audience can build a connection.

How does this story move people towards pleasure or away from pain?

Done? Cool. Read that page to a new person who knows nothing about your business. If there was less convulsing this time, you’re onto something.

Then, align the rest of your marketing to this message. This can take some time, but if you want to double or triple your revenue, it’s worth it.

Now it’s time to explore the second step of Kylie Jenner’s content marketing strategy—by far the most important one.


2. Pin Down Who Else Would Actually Care About Your Brand

Years ago, I was in an Entrepreneurship course that tasked us with coming up with a product idea. Then, we would pitch the business to prospective investors who partnered with my university. Everyone in the group came up with a product and had to convince the rest of the group that theirs was the “big idea.”

I thought back to living at my Dad’s in Stuy Town, Manhattan. My Dad didn’t own a car. In fact, nobody in their right mind owns a car in New York because finding parking is a nightmare. This is very different from life a couple of miles away in New Jersey, where my Mom lived. Everyone had a car and drove everywhere.

This difference in lifestyle made grocery shopping very different.

When I was with my mom, we would load the car up with a couple of weeks' worth of groceries. It was a pain to bring all that into the house, but it meant fewer trips to the grocery store.

On the other hand, grocery shopping in New York is limited to how much you can carry. This meant more trips to the grocery store and more time spent doing something you don’t enjoy doing. Your stockpile quickly went dry.

Rain or snow? Gotta eat.

Heat or sleet? Too bad, your pup needs more food.

It’s the day before garbage day (stinky garbage bags all over the sidewalk)? Better get your gas mask.

You were constantly making trips to your favorite bodega to restock the fridge.

Inspiration struck me like lightning to Thor’s hammer. My idea was a backpack-like device that you could clip grocery bags to. With it, you could carry as many Lays Potato Chips and Snyders Pretzel Rods you wanted. (Or healthy shit if you’re into that.)

I researched all the material costs, the manufacturing costs, and shipping costs. I had everything I needed to make my case. When our class met again, I realized how over-prepared I was. Everyone else’s idea was just as ridiculous, but I actually had a plan and estimated cost per unit. As the path of least resistance, the team chose my idea — for better or worse.

I ran into one big problem: there was no product-market fit.

Turns out New Yorkers and other urbanites didn’t want to wear a hideous backpack contraption. I had spent all my resources trying to market a product to a demographic that didn’t care about it. We got an “A” for effort but it would never work in real life.

Kylie Jenner had to find her tribe if she wanted to succeed. Luckily, she already had some data to work with from the reality show. According to Nielsen Media Research, the average viewership demographic was women aged 18 to 32 back when the show first aired. As the years went on, the demographic aged with it to include a broader audience. That being primarily women 18 to 49.

To be honest, I don’t have access to the exact demographic data, but I imagine Kylie’s social media following isn’t too different from Kim’s early followers. That being young women and young mothers.

In 2013, Kylie began to build her brand in modeling. She encouraged her fans to follow her. They would get an inside glimpse of the fashion and modeling industry through her socials. She used Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. As the years passed, the popularity of platforms shifted within her target audience. Her followers started to use Instagram almost exclusively, so she focused her efforts there.

If you don’t have access to years of demographic data, that’s okay. There’s another way you can find your tribe. You just have to hunt them down. This is when you use your competitors, social listening tools, and stalk online communities to find where your tribe hangs out.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are an e-commerce company that sells sundresses.

We need to create a rough customer avatar so we know what to look for. We’re going to create a really concrete customer avatar… like an actual person. It doesn’t have to be exact just yet. We only need a general idea of where to look for now.

I know, we’re a little old for imaginary friends, but as we fill in more of the blanks, you’ll see this person isn’t so imaginary. By doing so, we can make our marketing sound like a one-on-one conversation.

Here’s the template:

The Person

Name:

Age:

Gender:

Relationship Status:

Children? If so, how many/how old:

Location:

Occupation:

Job Title:

Annual Income:

Level of Education:

Favorite Things

Social Pages (FB Groups, Insta pages, YouTube Channels, Subreddits, etc.):

Books:

Blogs:

Gurus/Influencers:

Podcasts:

TV Shows:

Movies:

Hobbies:

News Sources:

Magazines:

Other:

What they dream of

Values:

Goals:

What they fear

Challenges:

Pain Points:

Their wallet’s gatekeeper

Objections:

Use this template and follow along with your own business. I’m going to fill in the blanks for our sundress store. All information that is guesswork will have an asterisk (*) after it. We’ll change those and fill in the blanks after some research.

The Person

Name: June

Age: 23*

Gender: Female

Relationship Status: Single*

Children? If so, how many/how old: None*

Location: USA… not in a metropolitan city*

Occupation: Service Industry*

Job Title: Senior Associate*

Annual Income: $40,000*

Level of Education: Associate’s/BA*

Others:

Favorite Things

Favorite Related Brands: They probably like H&M, Zara, and ASOS…*

Social Pages (FB Groups, Insta pages, YouTube Channels, Subreddits, etc.): They probably use Instagram, follow fashion pages on FB, YouTube fashion channels, outfit inspiration subreddits, etc…*

Books:

Blogs:

Gurus/Influencers:

Podcasts:

TV Shows:

Movies:

Hobbies:

News Sources:

Magazines:

Other:

What they dream of

Values: Look good, feel good…*

Goals: Look unique*, find outfits that express what I am about*, look mature but fun for an affordable price*

What they fear

Challenges:

Pain Points:

Their wallet’s gatekeeper

Objections:

Okay, this should be a good starting point. Now, it’s time to fill in the blanks. I like to start with the Favorite Related Brands section. This is your competition. Start with the biggest and most successful competitors first.

Take a look at how they are interacting with their customers. What channels are they using? Are they more active on one than another? What about where they are paying for ads? You can get an idea of a general demographic based on the platforms they use.

Then, move onto the rest of the “Favorite Things.” Find the online communities they frequent. Listen to the conversations they have and note the type of content they respond to.

If you don’t want to do all this hunting by yourself, you can use a service like Moz, Ahrefs, or SEMrush. These will allow you to track mentions of particular keywords. Or you can always hire a savvy marketer to help you out.

After you have figured all that out, it’s time to start making your own content. In the next section, you’ll see how Kylie Jenner used high-quality content to grab eyeballs. You’ll learn to create tons of organic and loyal fans that you can mobilize when the time comes.


3. Give Them Free Goodies

What makes going to Costco so great? Let’s face it, it’s the free food samples. The wholesale food grocer knows this, too. They place their sneaky sample agents all around the store. This promotes spending longer in the store and picking up something along the way.

Why is YouTube crushing most television networks? They provide endless, personalized video content for free. People would rather sift through the sea of content creators to find what they want for free.

Salesforce reports that it takes six to eight touch points to generate a viable sales lead. Hubspot’s research shows that buyers consume five to six pieces of content before converting. McKinsey found that the modern consumer prefers an interactive marketing experience with brands.

All this means that you need to be producing high-quality content on a consistent basis. That’s old news, though. But people have forgotten about the whole “high-quality” part of the equation. The majority of businesses hire not-so-good content mills to produce “Top 7” articles out the wazoo. Then, they’ll sit around and wonder why it’s not working.

I’ll tell them why it’s not working, but deep down, they know why. The content sucks. It’s not helpful or entertaining and no one cares about it. There’s no real thought behind it. It doesn’t solve a problem, answer a question or relieve a pain-point.

That’s not a content strategy; that’s just producing content.

Kylie Jenner knows how to produce content that can grab eyeballs. Not in the click-bait kind of way, but in the consistently good kind of way. At least, that’s what her fans say. And if I liked to use makeup, I’m not inclined to disagree. That girl can paint a face.

Look at her YouTube channel. She has been posting vlogs and tutorials for three years.

I also went through four years of content on Kylie’s Instagram (remember that part about looking like a fucking creep?). She’s been promoting her content from Instagram long before she started Kylie Cosmetics.

Let’s dive in and break down why her content is great, shall we?

Let’s start here. Watch this video from November 2015:

Source: Kylie Jenner via: Youtube

Okay, so here we have a video of Kylie getting glam’d up for her 18th birthday party. Her makeup artist shows you how she did the look in real-time — from start to finish. What makes this video so great compared to the plethora of other makeup tutorials?

It’s great because it ticks off the two boxes every piece of content should and then some.

Those two boxes are: Is it useful, and is it unique?

First, this video is extremely useful. It shows you how, from start to finish, to paint a face and glam a girl up. You get to see what kind of makeup she uses, why she uses it, and how.

Secondly, the content is unique. There are plenty of makeup tutorials on Youtube. So, they niche down: Makeup tutorial done by a professional artist. Still, there are some videos just like that one. They niche down further: Makeup tutorial done by a professional artist for the Kylie Jenner. Suddenly, they are the only ones left standing.

This is content is uniquely informative. It fulfills a desire that you can only get here. You want to paint your face like Kylie? This ain’t your cheap Chinese knock-off, this is the real deal.

On top of those two major value points, there’s something more subtle that makes this video great.

It’s got a fairly low production budget. This gives it an impromptu and personal feel. It leaves an impression that she’s not going out of her way to make a video with a motive. This is something she would be doing regardless, but she decided to let you in on it. It has a very intimate feel, like you are getting an exclusive, inside scoop on her life and makeup secrets.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that you should film 30-minute vlogs on your iPhone SE in the hopes that it feels more “intimate.” She’s still using a decent camera and some skilled editing to keep the video sharp and short.

Let’s look at another one. This is another pre-Kylie Cosmetics gem.

Source: The King Kylie via: Youtube

Okay, so what makes this video great?

Once again, the video is super informative. Kylie is taking you through her process for her “everyday” makeup. This is a more casual-but-still-bomb look. She’s walking you through what she does and the products she uses to achieve the look.

Secondly, the video is unique content. Want to be ready for the paparazzi in less than an hour? This is the look for you. Nowhere else can you find an in-depth tutorial like this from Kylie herself.

The video also has that highly personal feel. You can also tell it’s on a lower budget than the last video. You can see in the mirror that the video is filmed on an iPhone by her friend or sister. The editing is also a little jumpy. Some people may like this. But, in my humble opinion, it’s not for the better.

This can work for you, but you’ll probably want to do something similar to the former video for your business.

Let’s look at one more:

Source: The King Kylie via: Youtube

This video is more like the first one. What makes this video great?

Useful? Check.

Unique? Check.

Personal? Check.

I’m sure you’re starting to see the pattern.

And you can see she is promoting the content across all of her channels (at the time) for maximum reach.

Source: Kylie Jenner via: Instagram
Source: Kylie Jenner via: Instagram

Even as I’m writing this, she’s posting an eyebrow shading tutorial on her Instagram story. These are problems her audience really cares about.

This brings us to another important tactic she used. Nurture an audience long before you ever ask for the sale. The content she was creating wasn’t selling anything. It was establishing her as an expert in fashion and beauty.

That doesn’t mean you should close shop and become a full-time content writer — you still need to pay the bills. But before you spend all this money on a huge promotional campaign, you need people to be listening and you need them to trust you.

The results that she has gotten speak for themselves. Let’s dig into how she created content that her fan base eats up like a swarm of ravenous beasts.

The first thing you need to do is think about your product/service. What does it do? What kind of problem does it solve? What are some related subjects to your vertical?

I’m going to use the sundress e-commerce example again for simplicity’s sake.

My sundresses allow you to look great, flowy, and free in warm weather. You can look great while staying cool. If it’s especially sunny, here are my favorite black sundresses that hide boob sweat.

BOOM.

Here’s another one: How to care for your sundress to prevent wear.

Not too sure about those, but I came up with these ideas in 30 seconds. I know nothing about sundresses. If you are a sundress expert, one hour of brainstorming can produce months of content that your tribe will love.

If you are having some brain block, there are some tools on the net to help. I prefer Answer The Public. You only get a couple of free searches a day, so use them wisely. Hubspot has a content idea generator too, but I find it to be more of a gimmick. Answer The Public uses actual search queries for its results. Buzzsumo and Ahrefs are other good ones, but their pricing starts at $99/month.

After you have a shit ton of content ideas, it’s time to organize them. We’ll use a ranking system. But don’t attribute this ingenuity to me. I’m borrowing this method from Ahrefs because it’s pretty bomb.

They rank their content ideas based on three categories.

1) Keyword Competition

2) Traffic Potential

3) Business Value

Keyword competition and traffic potential are pretty straightforward. Keyword competition refers to how difficult it will be to rank for that keyword. Traffic potential refers to the average search volume and popularity.

What keywords you can successfully rank for depends on your existing website authority. The lower the competition and the higher the traffic for a particular keyword, the better. If your website is new, staying below 0.20 in keyword difficulty and above 1,000 in search volume is a good rule of thumb.

So, all you have to do is look up these search terms in a keyword research tool to determine these values. Once again, Ahrefs and Buzzsumo are pretty good paid tools. There’s also a free website I use from time to time called Wordtracker. You only get ten searches a day and I’m not sure how accurate data is, but hey — it’s free.

But This Savvy Marketer Will Share His Secret to Accessing Accurate Keyword Research for Only $10 (SEO Wizards Hate Him!!)

*ahem*

I have been using Keywords Everywhere for years. It used to be a free chrome extension; those were the glory days. They recently went to a Freemium model because of botting (fuck you bots), but it’s worth it. For only $10, you get 100,000 credits. Each keyword only equals one credit so unless you are doing some serious research, they will last you a good month or two or more.

Source: me :) via: Google

This tool is seriously dope. All you do is google a keyword or phrase, and it will give you the search volume, the cost per click, and the competition. Then, on the right, it gives you a “Related Keywords” list and a “People Also Search For” list. But I’m going to take this to the next level (get ready for this)…

Turn Keywords Everywhere on and go to Answer The Public. Type in a related keyword again. Wait for it… BOOM.

Source: me :) via: Google

And it only costs one or two hundred credits per search. All this for only $10. Thank me later (also, you’re welcome Keywords Everywhere for the free advertising).

So, now you have the keyword competition and the traffic potential.

Next, you need the business value. Ahrefs defines this as “how crucial your product is to solving each problem.” Business value is a little trickier to figure out, but Ahrefs uses a scale system to rank content ideas:

“3” — our product is an irreplaceable solution for the problem;

“2” — our product helps quite a bit, but it’s not essential to solving the problem;

“1” — our product can only be mentioned fleetingly (for “brand awareness,” rather than “sales pitch”);

“0” — there’s absolutely no way to mention our product.

Ahrefs recommends filtering out all content ideas that rank under “2.” This is sound advice.

Throw all these ideas in a spreadsheet. Enter in their search volume, keyword difficulty, and business value. Then, start making some bangin’ content with the ideas that score well in all three categories. If you are a good writer, then you can create the content yourself. Otherwise, you should hire one; it’s worth it.

Publish the content to your site on a consistent schedule. Try not to wait any longer than two weeks to release each piece unless they are fucking great. Then, sit back and watch all that organic, straight-from-the-farm traffic stroll onto your website. If the content is truly useful, they’ll worship your brand.

Don’t get me wrong, though, it will take time and work to see results. But don’t worry. Call me doctor because I got your fix. The next step in Kylie’s plan will spread your content fast like a California wildfire.


4. Spread That Shit Everywhere Like It’s the World’s Best Jam

If you did a good job in the last step, it will spread everywhere. It’ll spread everywhere because you make the best god damned jam they’ve ever tasted. Now it’s time to hand out some free tasters (shout-out Costco) so other websites will preach what you’re dishing.

The technical term is content syndication. But “Spread that shit everywhere like it’s the world’s best jam” sounds way more fun, right?

Content syndication is when a website republishes a duplicate piece of content or excerpt. This is a win-win. Publishers like to syndicate pieces because it exposes their readers to new content. This is good for the original author, too. It exposes a much larger audience to their brand. The publisher will give you authorship credit for the piece and a contributing author’s page. This helps build your credibility as a brand.

Isn’t duplicate content bad for SEO, though? Normally, you would be right, but there’s a catch. This is a Canonical URL.

Source: Irina Nica via: Hubspot

The Canonical URL tells Google to classify the content as syndicated, not duplicated. Guess what?

You just got a free backlink and some PR.

This makes SEO specialists start licking their chops. Depending on the publisher, they may even let you link to your website or blog in the article itself.

For example, BusinessInsider may let you put a mini call-to-action at the end of your piece. This is a really powerful way to draw visitors to your site and rank your content.

Kylie Jenner gets her content syndicated everywhere. That’s why it feels like you can never escape the Kardashians. Their content performs incredibly well. This attracts lots of visitors to the celebrities’ channels, and publishers want a piece of the action. Often, these syndication networks syndicate the content naturally without asking. As long as they attribute credit, it’s fair game and the publisher gets to enjoy some clicks.

The most recent example of Kylie’s syndicated content is her latest YouTube video.

Source: Marci Robin via: Allure

This isn’t the only publisher that picked up the video, either. Tons of websites wrote articles that summarize the video and then link to it.

But would you rather listen to someone describe a song, or listen to the song yourself? You probably prefer the latter. So, the readers click through to watch the video after reading. Once again, this is a win-win for Kylie. Her fans who missed the video and her less-engaged audience segments get exposed to the video.

Your brand might not have the authority or relationships to get published. If you don’t, that’s okay. Most businesses don’t.

During my time working in PR, I learned a couple of things about relationship building in media. Combine these tips with what I learned from Daniel DiPiazza and you can spread that shit like it’s the world’s best jam.

If you don’t know Daniel DiPiazza, he runs a consulting business called Alpha Mentorship. He started out as a freelance writer. Using content syndication, he leveraged his media connections into a six-figure book deal. He was also able to build his brand into a business worth seven-figures. What I’m getting at is, this shit works.

Let’s get into it.

First things first, refer to your customer avatar. Where do they hang out? What are their favorite publications/websites/blogs? So, if we use our favorite sundress store as an example, the biggest would probably be Vogue.

Next, go to SimilarSites.com. This is a handy tool that will do exactly what it says: find similar websites to the one you enter. If you type in Vogue, here are the results:

Source: me :) via: SimilarSites

Scribble these down. This is where your tribe will be looking.

We are going to tier them using Daniel DiPiazza’s system. Daniel categorizes publications into three tiers.

Tier One includes publishers that have a larger reach than you do and don’t have a high barrier for entry. You likely don’t have to go through an editor to get published as a contributor here. These publications help establish some credibility and backlinks for your brand. Examples of Tier One publications for our sundress shop would be Bustle or Medium.

Tier Two includes publishers that have a massive audience. They are stricter with their style guidelines, and you’ll need to build a relationship with an editor to get a column here.

Source: me :) via: Fractl

These Tier Two publications have a huge syndication network. If you get published here, the other Tier Two and Tier One outlets will start to pick up your piece. This is where your brand really starts to increase its reach. Daniel DiPiazza says this tier is the best for business. Our sundress shop might want to include Allure and Cosmopolitan in this tier.

Tier Three publishers are pretty similar as far as reach and lead generation goes. Sometimes, Tier Two can perform even better in this regard. The purpose of Tier Three is really to catapult your social capital through the roof. They demand respect. As Daniel said, “When you say, ‘Oh, I have a column in TIME magazine,’ people eat it up. They love it.” I would include Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in this category for our sundress store.

Unless you already have some clout, you’re going to need to start at the bottom. While it may not seem like it’s worth it to post articles on some of these websites, they totally are. Once again, this builds backlinks to your website and increases your exposure. They help your website rank for relevant keywords.

These sites either have a submissions page or give you direct access to post whatever you want. So, repost your content there with some links and mentions of your brand. Then, track how the content is performing. This will take some time, so keep posting in the meantime.

Once you have a couple of articles that are performing pretty well, it’s time to put on your PR Specialist hat. We’re going to Tier Two.

This part is a little harder. In this tier, you need to get your content approved by an editor to get published. During my time working in PR, I learned that the attention of these editors is in high demand.

Emails flood their inbox. Their phones are always ringing. Countless businesses are pitching them stories because of how valuable the channel is. As a result, these editors keep their emails and phone numbers close to their chest.

Each site has these decoy emails set up to filter out the shitty marketers. Things like contribute@forbes.com or submissions@entrepreneur.com. If you are thinking about sending a pitch to that email, I’ve got a better idea. Print out your pitch, fold it into a paper airplane and throw it off the Grand Canyon. The chances of your pitch getting read doing that are better there than in those inboxes.

These editors aren’t too different from that bombshell girl in the night club. She’s got about 50 dudes huddled around her. They go on and on about how great they are. They brag about how much money they make. They ramble on about “something funny that happened recently (it’s not funny).” One of them has even started doing push-ups. She doesn’t care about any of it; she’s shut off and on guard. If some dense guy is persistent enough to keep annoying her, she’ll give him a fake number so he’ll finally fuck off.

It’s going to take someone interesting to get her attention; someone she can see herself having a real conversation with.

That’s how you need to approach these editors. Make sure that whoever is doing the pitching knows what they are doing. The last thing you want is for these editors to blacklist your business altogether.

So, we need their real email. Don’t worry about getting them on the phone yet. That’ll come later.

PR agencies use some expensive tools to keep track of the editors’ emails and phone number. Even then, it’s not always accurate. Unless you’re running a huge operation, you don’t need to spend five, six-figures a year on something like this.

I like to use hunter.io. This tool scours the internet for mentions of employee email addresses. You get 50 searches a month, so use them wisely. Save any useful emails so you don’t have to search for them again.

So, let’s do some sleuthing. If I type in allure.com, here’s what I find:

Source: me :) via: Hunter.io

Now you’ve got the most common email format and every employee email address listed on the internet. Go through all the names until you find the right people. You don’t want the Editor-in-Chief. They have so much on their plate that sending them an email would be an annoyance. For the sundress store, I want to start with the Fashion Editors and then work my way down if they don’t see the emails.

If you can’t find their email on hunter.io, you aren’t out of options yet. Go to LinkedIn and go to search. Filter by Allure Magazine under current companies and then set the Job Title as Editor.

Once you find the right person, see if they have their email listed on LinkedIn (they won’t but it’s worth a shot). If they don’t, go to verify-email.org or Email Hippo. Don’t use hunter.io because you want to save your searches for already verified emails. Use Allure’s most common address format {first_last@allure.com} with your lead’s name and see if it goes through. If it goes through, congratulations. You’re basically the FBI.

If you can’t find the person you need on LinkedIn, here’s one last thing you can try. Go through the Fashion section (or whatever your niche is) and look at some of the articles. Go to the contributor’s author page. They’ll usually have their website and their email in their bio. Shoot them an email and see if you can start a dialogue. If they like you, you can ask for an intro or at least an email address.

This is by far the least efficient way of doing it. But if you try enough contributors, it’ll work.

Time to pitch the editors. Some publications have pitching guidelines publicly available. If so, use them. Otherwise, you’ll have to freestyle.

The first story you pitch should be the one that performed the best in Tier One. Generally, it’s a good idea to be straightforward about how they will benefit in the subject line. Something like “Interesting story on _____.” Then, keep it short and to the point. You are busy; they are busy. No need to beat around the bush. Introduce yourself, what you do, what your story is about and why it’s a good fit. Then, ask if they want you to send over a full outline.

Like with all email marketing, you’ll want to be tracking opens/clicks. It’s important to track this because it informs you of what to do next if they don’t respond to you. I use a Chrome extension called Boomerang to do this, but any will do.

If it’s been a week or two and they haven’t opened the email, send a follow-up. If they still don’t open, that means they are getting lots of emails and they missed it or you are going to their spam filter. In this case, move down the hierarchy. Instead of the Senior Fashion Editor, try the Deputy Fashion Editor.

If the editor does open the email, but hasn’t responded, then they aren’t interested in the topic. Take another look at the type of content that they are posting and find the next best fit in your arsenal of content.

If they get back to you, 99% of the time it’s because they like the piece. High-fives all around, you’re in.

You’ll have your website and brand floating around some big outlets. Keep pitching stories and building a relationship with the editor.

Track your content’s performance. If it’s performing well, other outlets will start to pick up the story. This presents an opportunity to open a dialogue with the editors there. Since you have a proven track record and a foot in the door, it’ll be much easier to get a dedicated column there.

This is how you get in with Tier Three. When your content performs well in Tier Two, there’s a chance it’ll get picked up by the big dogs. This is because they are often owned by the same parent company. For example, Allure magazine and Vogue are both owned by Condé Nast. If your content works on one platform and it makes sense for the other, they will syndicate the content. It just makes logical sense from a business standpoint.

This is your big break. Reach out to the editor there. You’re going to have to offer a lot of value here. But if you’ve done it right, you can leverage your past syndication success. You’ll have some meaty articles on some other reputable publications. Remember not to take an “I’m so great” approach. Take an “I’m going to offer you a shit ton of value in a sea of mediocrity” approach.

At this point, you’ll have a lot of organic traffic pouring in. They’ll be coming in from the backlinks or through organic searches that your content now ranks for. You’ll generate some sales from this, but remember, that’s not the goal yet so don’t push it. They will need a couple of weeks, sometimes months, of interacting with your brand.

The goal of this part of the strategy is to get more people interacting directly with your site, faster. Now that they are there, keep doing your thing. Make great content, get them on email lists, and have them follow you on socials.

It’s time for the meat and potatoes. The sexy part of marketing everyone loves: leveraging your massive audience to make moola. Kylie Jenner has a great way of doing it that people just don’t do enough.


5. Flirt With Them to Build Hype

What makes a great first date so great? It’s the build-up.

You send each other texts about when and where to meet. You put on your best outfit, clean up your eyebrows, and play your favorite song to amp yourself up.

You get to the café fifteen minutes early and you are a little nervous. You can’t stop fidgeting. You order a tea and gulp it down without really appreciating how it tastes. Then, you bring the cup back to the barista because you don’t want your date seeing you ordered already. It’s a long fifteen minutes.

Finally, they walk in. They look as good as you remember. You can’t help but smile. You wave them down like an excited child because in that moment, you are. You are so full of life and excitement.

You go to the table and begin chatting. Talking to them is like talking to an old friend. It’s easy. Nothing is forced and the conversation just flows. You talk about your childhood and how you got here. They do the same. You learn a few things, and you hope that they learned something from you.

Hours fly by but it felt like minutes. The barista walks over to tell you that the café is closing. The two of you gather your belongings and slowly walk down the street. You are talking and laughing about whatever comes to mind. You get to their metro station and they stop, saying that they should probably go. They had a really good time and you say the same. You suggest that you two meet up again. They agree.

There are a couple moments of awkward silence. You lean in for a kiss. They kiss you back. After a few intimate moments, you let go of each other and they go down into the station. You feel amazing. While walking home, you feel light. You’re almost gliding along the pavement.

You're happy with how it ended, but you can’t shake that primal desire for more. You wanted to rip their clothes off right there on the street. You wanted to melt into them. You wanted to run your fingers through their hair until they fell asleep. But you couldn’t yet, and that’s okay. You can’t wait to hear from them again.

A build-up and a denial are what make a great promotional campaign.

This is where most businesses fall short. They craft an amazing product, make a beautiful website, and create meaningful content. They get some decent sales based on that alone, but they fail to romanticize the product.

They don’t create those massively successful campaigns. The type of campaign that keeps you up until 2 am to watch the numbers climb up and up. The kind that has you running to the 24/7 bodega to buy a cheap bottle of champagne so you and your team can pop bottles.

You have to bring their customers along for a journey that leaves their mouths watering for more.

Kylie Jenner knew how to do this. She did it so well that she sold out of her entire inventory, 15,000 lip kits, in one minute.

She dropped the first hint of a product line as far back as three months in advance in August 2015. She left breadcrumb after breadcrumb. Each time she did, she was moving her audience closer to the answer of their most agonizing question: “How do I get lips like Kylie?”

Finally, in November 2015, she opened the floodgates and the site crashed. But not before selling all of her product. She began the cycle again. Teasing the next release until the restock in mid-December.

The content you’ve produced up to this point has made your leads warm and toasty. Time to push them over the edge. If you want to get the results Kylie got, you need some damn good copy. You need messaging and words that romanticize your product and promote conversion.

It’s hard to say what approach you should take. It depends on what you are selling, but I can help give you the general outline present in Kylie’s promotions.

Here’s the framework

1) Problem

2) Solution-based content with a catch…

3) Product-focused solution

4) Create real urgency based on scarcity

Let’s dig into each step.

1) Problem

The “Problem” is something that Kylie touches on many times. She talks about it in her brand story, on social media, and in interviews. The problem her business is confronting is feeling insecure about the way you look.

2) Solution-based content with a catch…

In the months leading up to release, she started blasting Instagram with vlogs and tutorials. She even released an app that her fans could use to access exclusive makeup and style tutorials. There was one big catch, though…

She never really mentioned her lips.

Source: Kylie Jenner via: Instagram
Source: Kylie Jenner via: Instagram
Source: Kylie Jenner via: Instagram

She taught her fans about hair styling, outfit styling, eyebrows, and foundation. But she would only give a couple of quick tips about lips here and there. She gave her fans the tools to glam everything but Kylie’s most sought after asset—her lips. This left her fans hungry for more.

3) Product-focused solution

Source: Kylie Jenner via: Instagram
Source: Kylie Jenner via: Instagram
Source: Kylie Jenner via: Instagram

Finally, she officially revealed her lip kits. She made a big video about the lip kits as the launch approached. I don’t have access to the old videos, as she has reworked her old app into a Kylie Cosmetics shopping app. Today, she’ll often post videos on her Instagram story. They are videos of her using her makeup products. She talks about how to use them and what makes them great.

I imagine she did something similar through her Instagram story and her app.

4) Create real urgency based on scarcity

When Kylie first launched her lip kits, they sold out instantly. This sent her fans reeling. Lip kits began appearing on eBay for hundreds of dollars. This was a massive mark-up from the original listing price of $29.

There is some debate on the internet of whether this was an accident or by design. Some say she used limited release tactics to drive up demand for her products.

I don’t think she did that deliberately. According to Wikipedia, she put up $250,000 of her own money to produce the initial 15,000 lip kits. If you include product research, staff salaries, and marketing costs, she likely used up her entire budget.

But it looks like she has decided to stick with this strategy. Since then, she’s had a reactionary approach to production output. Going through her Instagram history, you’ll see posts referring to restocks often.

Source: Kylie Jenner via: Instagram
Source: Kylie Jenner via: Instagram

This creates real urgency. Her fans feel like they need to jump on her products. This isn’t the usual “live webinar don’t miss it (it’s not live)” or “get it while supplies last (they will)” claims shitty marketers spout. This is actual scarcity. This makes shopping for and successfully purchasing her products an experience that makes the buyer feel like they are part of an exclusive club.

This framework is the basis of all sales.

You present a problem and you offer a unique solution they can only get from you. Depending on your business, the way you go about this will vary. Regardless of what business you’re in, you need a clever copywriter to guide your campaign

Okay. You’ve flirted with your customers. You’ve got them all hot and bothered. Now, it’s time to pull the trigger and make some serious bank.


6. Bag ’Em and Throw ’Em in the Van

It’s time. It’s finally time. If done right, all that work you did will pay off right here, right now.

You’ve got them right where you want them. But there’s a lot at stake. You’ve got to hit them hard and fast from all angles.

It’s kind of like in the gangster movies. The person you want to hit is walking down the street. You and your posse scream to the curb in a black van. Your accomplices jump out, throw a bag over their head, and toss them into the back. You skirt off like nothing even happened. The only thing left behind is the smell of rubber.

Your big push should be like this except they are happy it happened, not praying to God and crying. When you open purchases for your product, your fans should go crazy. They should run out the gates like a horse at the Kentucky Derby with piss, shit, and mud flying out their behind.

Like the previous step, this is where a lot of businesses screw up. They don’t create the urgency; they don’t reinforce why the customers need them.

To pull this off, you need to use all the channels you’ve built and a damn good copywriter to flip their switches.

When Kylie Jenner announced her release, she took an omnichannel approach. She hit them through Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Email, and her app. She even opened a couple of pop-up locations. You simply couldn’t escape her. She was persuading you to buy her lip kits everywhere you turned.

You need to take the same approach. You need to leverage all your channels and use some pretty persuasive language. Then, when they buy, you need to make them feel like they are the shit and remind them they made the right decision.

If you’ve done all the research necessary to get to this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what to say. If you’re having trouble, you can always ask someone witty to throw you a bone.


7. Play Gangster Music and Make It Rain

Source: Kylie Jenner via: Youtube

You did it. You actually did it.

You’re a goddamn superhero. You made it to the end of this guide, you learned the strategy, and you applied it to your own business. Play your favorite gangster music, do donuts in the parking lot, and make it rain on some strippers (or your marketing team).

If this is your first time reading, don’t feel bad, your time will come.

There is a lot of information here. Go back and reference the guide along your journey. Here’s a PDF version of this article for your offline viewing pleasure.

Anyway, that’s it. Enjoy being on the cover of Forbes and driving a top-down Rolls Royce.


Resources

Forbes Article on Kylie Jenner

Moz: SEO Tool

Ahrefs: SEO Tool

SEMrush: SEO Tool

Answer The Public: Keyword Research Tool

Buzzsumo: Keyword Research Tool

hunter.io: Email Search Tool

Boomerang: Email Tracking Tool

Keywords Everywhere: Keyword Research Chrome Extension

SimilarSites.com: Market Research Tool

Email Hippo: Email Verify Tool

Better Marketing

Advice & case studies

Thanks to Niklas Göke

John Blust

Written by

I’m a boozing globetrotter who grows businesses with fresh copy. You can find me in my cave staring at shadows: www.socraticcopy.com

Better Marketing

Advice & case studies

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