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Mark Schaefer On Igniting Content, Being Heroic and the Future of Marketing Being 'BADASS' is pretty much all you need to know to succeed in the internet economy.

By David Koji Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Mark W. Schaefer
Mark W. Schaefer

It's not shocking that 88 percent of organizations use content marketing. After all, content marketing builds a community of loyal customers, establishes your brand as an authority in your industry, provides value to customers, allows you to actually get to know your customers and increases both leads and sales.

While there's no denying that content marketing is an essential component of any marketing campaign, how can your organization stand out from your competitors? To help answer that question, I reached out to Mark Schaefer. If you've never heard of Schaefer, you're doing yourself a disservice.

Related: 9 Things About Content Marketing You Can't Get Wrong and Succeed

Schaefer is an incredible blogger, best-selling author, globally-recognized speaker and business consultant. He's also the person behind {grow} -- one of the top marketing blogs in the world. He's also considered one of the top marketing influencers in the world. In short, Schaefer is the man. It was a real honor for him to take the time to answer the following questions.

1. In your last book, The Content Code, who came up with the acronym "badass." How did you come up with that acronym?

The theme of the book is next-level content marketing. We must realize that the economic value of content is zero unless it is seen and shared. This suggests that we better consider new ways to get that content seen and shared.

In my research, I came up with six possible strategies to achieve content ignition -- Branding, Audience, Distribution, Authority, Shareability and Social Proof. When I wrote this on a whiteboard, I realized the first letters spelled BADASS. I nearly fell on the floor when I realized I had literally created a badass strategy!

2. Customers are saturated with content these days. What is the best way that a brand can stand out from everyone else?

There is really only one way. You need to find a way to create and sustain an emotional connection between you, your content and your audience. There is nothing new here, fundamentally. What has changed is the access and the amount of noise we must surmount to achieve that connection.

Related: 5 Ways to Stand Out and Attract the Clients You Desire

3. You've mentioned the importance of heroic brands. What exactly is a heroic brand, and what steps can a brand take to become heroic?

In my research, here is an amazing thing I discovered. One of the major reasons people share content has nothing to do with the content.

Many times, people share content simply because they love and believe in a person, brand or company so much that they want to share content no matter what it is. When people do that, it is a sign that you have become a brand that transcends the actual content, SEO and social media. You have become a heroic brand that is beloved and trusted, and that is an amazing achievement.

In my book The Content Code, I identified eight traits that typify a heroic brand. Here are three of them:

  1. Congruency -- A brand shows up the same way and stand for the same values everywhere.
  2. Value -- The brand exceeds customer expectations and stands for something other than selling stuff.
  3. Trust -- You share content because you trust that organization so much that you know they will never let you down.

4. What are the best two to three practices that brands should use when building trust and credibility with their target audience?

First, remember there is a real human on the other side of that avatar -- a person who may need you in some way. Treat people with the same kindness and respect online as you would offline.

Second, find ways to get out from behind an ad, jingle or logo, and put your people out front and center. Connect your people with your customers in a human and personal way.

Related: How to Build Trust, the Foundation of Success

Third, go beyond social media dashboards for insight. You're not going to find valuable brand insights by staring at a Pareto chart of Twitter mentions. Don't let technology make you become a lazy marketer. Insights, not merely information, will win.

5. Where do you see the future of marketing headed?

The future I see is amazing. I think the way will be led by virtual reality and the new competitive landscape will be fun, immersive experiences. We will be in a world where there are literally no creative limitations. We won't have to worry about conforming to certain a page size, SEO scheme, or ad budget because the new web will surround our customers like the air that they breathe. It will be all around them -- marketing without boundaries.

David Koji

CEO of evolvor

David Koji is CEO of, an online marketing and advertising agency based out of New Jersey, specializing in search engine and content marketing that converts into real results.

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