The Art of Culture War through Marketing
How I Found My Wisdom Thesis and Marketing Plan — And Why Outspoken Christian Conservatives Should Steal It
Are you a culture warrior? A communication strategist?
Then you are a marketer. You might not know it yet.
The following is a “learn with me” exercise.
It is for anyone who is a conservative Christian, a culture warrior, and a would-be writer and marketer.
I write because I am passionate. I help other people write and grow their audiences because I have bills to pay — and because I want to invest more in growing my own audience.
Can a person be a culture warrior and run a business as a marketer at the same time? Do those two projects overlap at all?
For me, the answer is yes. I only want to offer my marketing help to conservative Christians who are fighting the same culture war I am fighting. This article is my business plan. If you find it useful, please imitate it.
As a marketer, I realized I needed more clarity about how to market my own marketing business. This was a little too “meta” for me to solve just by thinking. I needed to speak the words out loud. So I created the following 20 short episodes (less than a minute each).
What you’re about to see is a mini-course in how to choose a wisdom thesis and an audience. If you’re an aspiring marketer, I hope you’ll find value in following my conceptual journey.
1. How do you make it so people online can quickly figure out who you are, what you do, and how it will help them?
You need a wisdom thesis. I learned this from Ray Edwards.
How do you make it so when people encounter you online they can quickly figure out who you are, what you stand for, and what you’re going to do for them?
The answer is: You need a wisdom thesis.
That means: a summarized statement of what you believe is true and/or how you’re going to help people.
Ray Edwards: He helps online entrepreneurs start and grow a business.
Don Miller: He thinks when you confuse you lose. Clarity is essential. He will help you clarify your message so you can make more money.
Michael Hyatt: I want you to win at work and succeed at life and I’ll be your virtual mentor.
Jeff Walker: You’re going to need a launch in order to grow your business.
It’s just really obvious things like that — just plain bam bam bam — straightforward.
For me… I’m experimenting. I’m not sure what it is. I’ve been searching for it.
But it’s something about learning to be an awesome Christian on social media.
Something like that.
2. To get your own wisdom thesis, ask yourself: Who am I helping? What is their problem and pain? What am I going to do to solve that?
Again, thanks Ray Edwards.
But at ChristianIntellectual.com Jacob Brunton and I have a couple wisdom thesis ideas:
Rational Christianity for those who love their lives.
Ideas matter: Help us restore the mind in Christian life.
We are Christians who stand for Reason, Individualism, and Capitalism. We’ll help you stand for those things too.
That’s generally the direction we’re going. It’s not fully solidified. It will get better.
But it makes me think, man, for what I’m doing online — for my own presence, just Cody — I probably need to think through this.
And the way to think through it is:
- Who are you helping?
- What is their problem? What is their pain?
- And what are you going to do to help them?
I know who they are: Concerned Christians and conservatives who want to spread truth and who want to defend society.
Those are my people.
3. Brainstorming what I offer my people… Trying to put it into words. Answering the question: What can you buy from me? After you buy it, what will you have?
I kind of know the answer:
Q: How do I help my people?
A: My people need help with creating an email list.
So what they’re actually going to get if they work with me is:
- I will set up MailChimp for them, which is free (so cool) up to 2000 users.
- And then I will set up email capture for them on their website and their social media.
- If they don’t have a website, I’ll make a basic one.
- And then I will set up a lead magnet: a reason why someone would want to get on their email list to get this free bonus download.
That’s a lead generation funnel.
And I’ll help them think through: How are you going to turn that into a source of income? I’ll make a plan for how you can get that.
For some people it will be:
Well, after somebody gets on my email list I’ll tell them “I offer editing services” and some people will buy.
Or: I offer some kind of design service.
Or: I do something for you. And then people can buy that.
Meta Level: So I (Cody) will create for you your sales funnel.
4. And this is why I’m bad at marketing.
Today has really turned into a “thinking out loud” exercise for my own business and for my own activities.
I realized there is an inefficiency — a snag, a waste — that’s going on right now.
And that is:
If the thing I want to sell people is a funnel (Which, I do sell — I have 6 clients right now) then why am I not talking more about that? Why am I not marketing my own marketing?
It causes me great consternation when I realize how bad a marketer I am when it comes to my own marketing (marketing my marketing).
Whew, take a step back. How can…
(Sees bird in distance)
Wow, it’s a heron!
And this is why I’m bad at marketing.
5. Why am I not doing this?! Time to create case studies of who I am helping and to talk about my actual work! I’m missing that.
Shall we try this again?
My problem is that the things I talk about on Facebook and on my email broadcasts are all about Christian conservative solutions to problems within politics, within theology. And I’m not talking about the fact that I can help you with your funnel.
I mean to some degree it’s kind of implicit because I created it — I created my own funnel and my own content. So obviously I know how to do it. But why not talk about the fact that I know how to do it? Why not talk about who I’m helping? Create some case studies?
I mean, I can mix it up. It’s okay that some of my emails are about politics. Some of my emails are about who I’m helping. It’s an integrated whole, in my opinion. After all, the people I’m helping are also talking about politics.
This requires more thought.
6. Here is what I did for Patient A. — We created and implemented a plan for email capture, a lead magnet, all pointing to his growing Patreon account.
Your ideas — and mine — are no good as long as they’re in here (inside the mind). They have to be out.
So here we go:
Patient A —
Let me tell you what I did for Patient A.
He has a rocking YouTube channel, tons of subscribers and growing fast. But he has no website and he has no email capture. Whoa!
Missed opportunity, right?
So I’m going to help him set up a basic website.
And I’ve already created a lead magnet for him. In this case it’s in video because people like his videos. So I made a video lead magnet. We’ve already made it. And we’re just about to release it.
And this lead magnet is design to get people to know who he is if they’ve never met him before and to show how awesome he is, and to make them want all of his videos, so that way they’ll make sure and get on his email list and join his Patreon.
And oh yeah, the other thing is I set up a plan for him (and he implemented it) to get a Patreon account. And it worked.
7. What other results have I helped people obtain? Case B, C, and D.
What other results have I got (pardon… obtained) for people?
Well, for Patient B:
I helped him with his messaging and I wrote emails for him and sent those emails out to his list and nearly doubled the monthly ongoing commitment to his Patreon page in two months. (Nearly) doubled it. Pretty cool, huh?
Let’s talk about Patient C:
Patient C had no idea how to make income from his writing. He had the most awesome 150 articles you’ve ever read, but nobody had ever read them. I told him at the end of each of these articles you’re going to need to insert a call to action. So we did that. And the call to action is “Here’s how you can pay for my services as an editor.”
Now, he has clients. He makes money from his work. So that’s Patient C.
He needed to figure out how to approach publishers with his book. So we made a plan.
8. Eureka. I have found my wisdom thesis. Ray Edwards, your years of virtual investment in me have finally borne fruit. This is cool.
So what is my wisdom thesis in light of all I’ve just said…
So, here is the thing that I do — and my thesis:
I make a funnel for you so you can expand your influence as a conservative Christian thinker.
And what is my thesis…
As a conservative Christian thinker, if you want to have an impact, you’re going to need to find a way to monetize. I’ll help you. I’ll make a plan for how you monetize and I’ll build out your funnel.
It’s pretty simple, huh? I think it will work.
9. Today I’m brainstorming to solve my own problem: How should I talk about what I sell?
The motto of many marketers — or would-be marketers — is “Physician, heal thyself.”
And the trouble is: We love helping other people with their marketing, but it’s a lot harder to think about your own marketing.
It’s kind of like you’re stuck inside. You don’t have the outsider’s perspective. There’s a saying about that: It’s kind of hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle. And that is very true.
So we all struggle with selling our own stuff or talking about what it is that we do. And I’m going to be working through in the next couple of videos:
What can I do for my own personal “describing what I do” to become more articulate?
So stick around. I’m going to brainstorm and solve my own problem.
10. Step 1 to solving any problem: Identify the problem…
Some thoughts on my own business messaging…
Step 1 to solving any problem is to identify the problem. My problem is that I don’t know how to talk about what it is that I sell.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit.
Okay, so what is Step 2?
The people that I’m selling to need to see on the website: This is how much it’s going to cost. Is this a $50 service? $500? $5000?
And then they need to know what they’re going to get. They need to know: I’m going to set up email capture and an onboarding email series that is going to sell the thing that you’re selling.
(And by the way, if you’re not sure exactly what you should be selling, I can help you with that also. Also, by the way, if you need a website, I can help you set up that as well.)
But ultimately the point is that you’re going to have a working sales funnel — or a sales process that’s automated — put in place that is bringing you leads and bringing you income.
I’ll set up your funnel. That’s the thing (after we work together) that you’ll have in your hand — that you’ll get.
11. Tracing out the steps in my own thought process about what I sell and how I sell it…
I’m tracing out the steps in my own thought process for how I talk about what I sell. This is partly for my own clarity and partly because it might help you to watch.
So I’ve determined that I sell a marketing funnel. That’s what I give people. After I know that, now I know who I should be talking to. I can figure that out.
I should be talking to people who have already tried to sell something. If you’ve never tried to sell something before online, then you don’t know that you need what I have.
I want to sell my services to somebody who already has created an email list or at least a YouTube channel, already has significant online content, already is attempting to make money through that content, and doesn’t know how to do it.
That’s the person who is basically like somebody who has a raging headache and is looking for the aspirin. And that’s the best place for me to appear: Hey look — I have the solution to your problem.
12. Once you know what you are selling and to whom, where and how will you sell it?
Okay, now I’ve identified what I’m selling: It’s help with marketing.
But here’s what I call it:
It’s a marketing funnel that I build for you.
And who I want to sell it to:
It’s Christian conservatives — theological conservatives — who are wanting grow their audience and have already tried either growing a YouTube channel or creating a lot of content, or possibly even tried to sell something and they just don’t know how to do it.
Those people have self-identified as the ideal client for me.
Now where do I find them? And what do I say to them?
I can go to groups of such people, like conservative groups on Facebook or Christian groups on Facebook, and just talk to them — get to know them individually — or invite them onto my email list.
Once they’re on my email list, then I can tell them what I do. And they’ll understand that it’s coming from somebody who has a business.
My email list: That’s where I should be doing the selling.
13. What should I say to get people on my email list? Important question…
Things are coming together.
Now I know I should use my email list mainly as the place to sell. Which means that I should never make efforts to get people onto my email list unless I’ve preselected for which kind of person is getting on that email list — and it’s going to be people who need my service.
If I run a Facebook ad to get people onto my email list, that ad better be talking about things that select for that kind of person. Such as: Get the best free training on how you can grow your audience and even generate income doing it.
That’s the kind of thing that ought to be on a Facebook ad. That would put the right kind of person on the list.
Or even: You’ve already tried this, it’s frustrating. Here’s how to solve that one problem.
If somebody clicks on that, there’s a good chance they are the kind of person who is looking for the solution I’m giving.
14. How do you create a cohesive message/experience from one end of your funnel to the other?
Now I have a general idea of:
- Who I’m helping
- How I’m helping them
- Where to find them
- What kind of things to say
Let’s work out the details.
There needs to be a cohesive experience from when somebody first identifies that they might be interested in what I’m talking about — to when they get on the email list — to what they receive in the emails. I need to think through that.
One way to approach creating a cohesive experience is: Everything the person sees from the original Facebook ad that pushes them to my page and my email list, and then everything they get on the emails, ALL talk about one specific problem/pain/aspiration (they’re all connected).
The aspiration is to change the world: to speak the truth in such a way that transforms the world, and to know how to grow a listenership (an audience) and how to do it sustainably.
That’s the aspiration/problem/pain.
15. Want to help people? Get more specific about how — and more and more until you can’t any more.
Okay, now I know quite a bit about what I’m saying (and to whom).
But it’s still not specific enough.
My ideal lister is not just conservatives who want to change the world and want to grow an audience sustainably. It’s conservatives who have wanted all that and tried it and failed.
If they tried it, then that means they are an implementer.
I need to be talking to people who have tried and didn’t know what to do next. They got stuck.
I need to find people who already moved significantly and then got stuck. And I will come and help them out. That will be my role.
They are the hero. I’m just the person who happened to see them, and pull them along, and get them unstuck so they can continue being the hero.
So being stuck is an important part of my message: Helping people get unstuck.
What specifically am I going to do to unstick them — and from what? That’s my next video.
16. Here is the best I can identify so far about whom I want to help:
My people who I’m helping get unstuck are those who already have a YouTube channel or a Patreon account.
And it has some good content so I can screen it and see if I like what they’re doing. and it shows that they are an implementer, but it also shows that they got stuck.
If somebody already has a YouTube channel or a Patreon account, I can see their stats. I can see how many subscribers they have. Or I can see how much income they are bringing in per month, and I can know whether they are a good fit.
And I can know probably what their pain is, and I can talk about that pain. That pain is going to be: I’ve got great content. Why is it crickets? How do I grow? What do I do next to grow?
What should I tell them?
17. “Double your subs.” That’s what I can offer. I like it.
They’re stuck. They have subscribers/patrons. But they don’t know how to double it.
Oh! Well then here’s what I should say:
- I’ll help you double your YouTube subscribers
- I’ll help you double your Patreon
Something like that. Maybe one, or both. That what I’ll say I’m going to help them do.
And then, of course, how will I do it?
Well it has to include clarifying their message and giving people reasons why they would want to subscribe or donate.
And so I’ll tell them: It’s about getting really clear on what you offer. I’ll help you tell people what you offer and why they’d want to get behind it.
I like that: I’ll help you double your Patreon. I’ll help you double your YouTube subscribers. That’s pretty cool. That’s something specific and tangible. And it selects only for the people that would really want the kind of help I can give.
I think I’m onto something.
18. “Double your subs.” I like it. What now?
Double your subs. It’s a good concept. I need to Google search it to make sure I’m not stepping on someone else’s toes.
But the concept itself works and it can be used, regardless of the specific name.
So the next question is: “What kind of message do people need to see on Facebook when they first encounter me or when they read a blog post if someone Google searches and they find my articles? What should I be talking about that’s going to attract that person?
Well I need to be talking about the pain of wanting to double your subs and not knowing how.
In all of my free stuff I will deliver the “what”: Doubling your subs is a great thing.
And the “why”: Because it will help expand your influence. Feels great too.
And the “how”: Click here. (That’s the call to action.)
19. Now I’m taking the ideas I outlined and actually doing something with it. Here is how….
I feel like I’ve made some good progress today. But it’s never complete until you’ve drawn action items. Because all I did so far is talk.
What is on my “to do” list because of what I’ve said today?
I need to write three blog posts that attempt to talk about the “what” and the “why” and that are an attempt at attracting people who really want to double their subs.
I need to publish those on Facebook and everywhere else I can find, and I need to see what the response is and which one gets the best response. Then I need to use that as a clue about what angle I should be taking in the next couple of weeks.
I need to implement, implement, implement. This whole exercise will be useless until I write my blog posts and look at the numbers.
20. How much of what I just did could be used by YOU? Review the last 19 videos from that angle…
Alright, that was a lot of work to do all those videos. A lot of brain work.
I did it in just two mornings — two morning before my kids woke up. I filmed 19 videos and now is number 20.
So now is your chance to interact with what I did and take it and use it for something for yourself. I want you to watch those videos in order once more, now that you’ve gone through the whole journey.
And I want you to watch it all with and eye toward: “How much of this would be suitable for my marketing or the kinds of things that I want to do?”
You can take as much of it as you want. You can steal it all if you want. It doesn’t matter to me. None of it is even set in stone. These are just ideas. But I think you might be able to get further with it than I might. And I think you should.
So try to use these ideas. Best of wishes. And contact me if you need help doing it. I’ll be there.