Branding challenge day 4 –  Changes How you Think About Things

Branding challenge day 4 – Changes How you Think About Things

Ths Branding Challenge Changes How You Think About things

One of the reasons that I love teaching is the fact that it changes how you think about things. Consequently, this changes how you do things. Talking to people about what we learned yesterday about the people that come to your blog wondering what can benefit them or how made me think am I actually being as wide as I could be in my blog posts.

Maybe I need to be more aware that I’m writing to people who are new to Internet marketing, and they need me to paint a fuller picture that’s something I will bear in mind for the future.
So onto day four of the branding challenge. Yesterday we looked at the problems in the Internet marketing niche today will look at how we can widen that and take it into other niches.

Beauty Tips

I saw a few of these in the challenge. Let’s think of a few issues your audience might be dealing with and see of we can change how you think about things:

a. Don’t know how to apply make-up correctly
b. Can’t afford good makeup
c. Have bad skin
d. Never feel satisfied because they don’t look like models

What’s something debatable you could do for these topics?

a. Are You Still Stuck in the 80s Wearing Cake-Up Instead of Make-Up?

You could discuss how too many women over apply make-up when they should be striving for a fresh look.

b. Quit Crying About the Cost of Make-Up When You Can Get By With Less!

You could teach them how to have a couple of choice pieces, or which brand they could afford that’s good (and why), etc.

c. The Worst Thing You Can Do for Bad Skin Is Try to Conceal It!

Piling on make-up clogs pores doesn’t help you heal, etc. You could talk about how they’re emotional about their bad skin, be empathetic, but then boost their confidence with some tips.

d. Is Your Self Esteem Faltering Because Vogue Is Putting Pressure on You?

Talk about the airbrushing, giving real life examples of scandals – Julia Roberts is one, for example). Show real and airbrushed versions.

Cooking Niches

I saw a lot of cooking niches as well – some for passion (French food) and some for dietary reasons. So let’s choose the healthy cooking niche to use as an example.

Problems the reader might have:

a. Healthy food is too expensive
b. Healthy food doesn’t taste good
c. Fat and sugar are bad for you
d. I don’t know how to cook many meals

Now let’s turn those into some debate-style blog posts:

Are You a Hypocrite When It Comes to Spending Money on Food?

I would let them know it’s not going to fly complaining that healthy food is too expensive when they typically spend money on fast food. Healthy food fills you up longer, and you can have it for leftovers. They’re not making any effort to shop around and find specials or freeze or can foods for later use.

Healthy food doesn’t taste good

Only if you keep your meal repertoire to a bare minimum! They should be willing to eat new foods and explore different styles of cooking and seasoning. They may discover that it’s all you need.

Fat and sugar are NOT bad for you

This would be great right now. Denmark just introduced a fat tax – even on avocados – you know, the one with the GOOD fats?

I would also talk about how the news is stirring debate about diet sodas and sweets, which leave the body wanting more calories. While eating and drinking less calories is better for you – healthwise.

I don’t know how to cook many meals

What an excuse! You could talk about fast and easy (yet healthy) ways to prepare meals. Like broiling meat or using a new kitchen appliance and technique that adds flavor but reduces calories.

Custer’s Last Stand

What you want to do is make people want to join in on the discussion – for or against you! And you want to evoke an emotional response from them.

You also want to take a stand one way or the other, so they know your viewpoint. Ever heard that saying, “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything?” I personally like to follow people who have an opinion on something.

You don’t want to be vanilla – you want to be exciting, flavorful – someone who attracts a crowd because they’re INTERESTING!

I’m assuming you know your niche well enough to know what problems they need you to guide them through. If not, you need to go back to square one and learn about your niche!

It’s not as easy as conducting a quick Google search – you need to be in the hearts and minds of your target audience.

Step 2: Explain What the Debate Is and Why It’s Important

Different Learning Styles

Remember those people coming to your blog with different expectations and learning styles. You want to cover all bases, so for those who complain about the length of a blog post, let it go.

Just because YOU like to skim, doesn’t mean others do. And even if they skim, so what? The information is there in case they see text that makes them want to slow down and dig in. Don’t cater to people’s impatience just because you’re worried they’ll click out.

We’re moving into content now. Don’t worry about being a perfectionist. This is “from the heart” information, backed with supporting information.

Real Life Example

I’m going to show you an example here that is NON marketing, and actually write my OWN niche example on my blog so you can see both. Let’s use the example from the health niche – Fat and Sugar Are NOT Bad for You.

If I was in this niche, this is how I would address the second step – what and why:

“For a long time now, we’ve been taught all sorts of wrong information about how to eat healthily – most notably that fat and sugar are bad and should be avoided at all costs when you’re trying to lose weight.

I believe

I believe that those who teach this method of dieting are entirely wrong – and once I explain why it might help put your mind at ease and make the implementation of better nutritional choices less of a struggle for you.”

The first paragraph tells the reader what the debate is. The second addresses why they might want to know this information. You’ll add more answers to these questions throughout the blog post.

Step 3: Give Both Sides of the Story

It’s important that you show both sides of a story. That doesn’t mean you support both sides – it means you tell your readers, “Here’s what they’re saying. Here’s what I believe.”

“Some say that fat and sugar are what’s ruining our nation. You have news media coming out to the public every day with new changes in our nutritional advice and suggested restrictions – it’s enough to drive you crazy!

I get it – I understand they’re looking at what ingredients aren’t chock full of vitamins or those which, when eaten in abundance, put your body on overdrive, struggling to burn off calories.

More than one perspective Shouldn’t be confusing

Changes How you Think About Things

They’re looking at the massive increase in weight-related illnesses, such as diabetes, and looking for someone to point the finger at. It’s putting a strain on our healthcare system, and it could be threatening the longevity of mankind if things continue as they’re going.

What’s the Real Enemy

But my way of thinking is that fat and sugar aren’t our enemies – our mindset is. Those people bashing fat and sugar don’t consider the fact that moderation exists. That it’s perfectly possible for someone to indulge in these ingredients even on a daily basis and continue to be healthy and happy.

Being denied foods only make us want them more. As children, we hear threats about food and eating. If we don’t finish our plates, we don’t get dessert. They’re dangled in front of us like carrots on a stick. We accept that while dieting, fat and sugar are completely forbidden.”

If this were my niche, I might be even more specific, but I’m just showing you an example for now. Now it’s time to pull in the multimedia resources that prove you’re a researcher and a sharer of good, reliable free information, helping people make up their minds!

Step 4: Provide Multiple external References for Both Sides

This is the part you might choose to do as you write your initial blog post. I like to get my thoughts down first, uninterrupted – and then go out and gather specific resources to back up my blog post with – not just MY opinion, but those of the opposing viewpoint, too.

How do you find them? Google!

You’re going to search for things by using the left sidebar in Google that lets you choose from blog sources, news, and maybe even images! I might start with the opposing viewpoint like this:

I find Harvard articles, Men’s Health magazine content, MD Web advice, and forum discussions about it. I ignore Yahoo Answers as an expert source. You might also be in a niche where a magazine at the grocery store acts as a perfect resource. Or maybe you see a news report on TV.

So below, I’m going to paste what I have written for this example so far and put the new additions in bold for you so you can see how I did it.

“For a long time now, we’ve been taught all sorts of wrong information about how to eat healthily – most notably that fat and sugar are bad and should be avoided at all costs when you’re trying to lose weight.

Top highly revered experts are shaming people by telling them if they eat these foods, they’re addicts – and they now have to go into stringent detox situations.

Look at Oprah’s poster boy for good health, Dr. Mehmet Oz on ABC News calling people who like donuts “addicts:”

My Tuppenny Worth

I think that those who teach this method of dieting are entirely wrong – yes, even Dr. Oz, and once I explain why it might help put your mind at ease and make the implementation of better nutritional choices less of a struggle for you.

Some say that fat and sugar are what’s ruining our nation. You have news media coming out to the public every day with new changes in our nutritional advice and suggested restrictions – it’s enough to drive you crazy!

Take coffee for instance. There’s been so much back and forth dialogue about whether coffee is good or bad for you, it’s like watching a tennis tournament!

On Web MD, they have an article about whether coffee is good or bad for you, confusing consumers even more. First, they tell us all of the good things coffee provides for our bodies – and state research that shows the more you drink, the healthier you are when it comes to diabetes risk!

But then…they hit you with this information:

“Regular coffee, of course, also contains caffeine. Caffeine can raise blood pressure, as well as blood levels of the fight-or-flight chemical epinephrine…”

Okay, so which is it – do I drink it or not? Consumers are left worrying regardless of which decision they choose. And what about fat? Some experts completely ignore the fact that there are indeed GOOD fats!

Luckily some research is clear on this, but only consumers lucky enough to stumble on it get the facts. Harvard School of Public Health tries to guide people in their article, “The Bottom Line: Choose Healthy Fats, Limit Saturated Fat, and Avoid Trans Fat.”

They REALLY put a kink in dieters’ nutritional label reading plans when they say this:

“…dietary cholesterol isn’t nearly the villain it’s said to be. Cholesterol in the bloodstream is what’s most important. And the biggest influence on blood cholesterol level is the mix of fats in your diet—not the amount of cholesterol you eat from food.”

And all those victims of high cholesterol who pick up packages and see how much cholesterol is in a product feel defeated at the confusing information – once again.

The Spanner is in the Works

I get it – I understand they’re looking at what ingredients aren’t chock full of vitamins or those which, when eaten in abundance, put your body on overdrive, struggling to burn off calories.
They’re looking at the massive increase in weight-related illnesses, such as diabetes, and looking for someone to point the finger at.

It’s putting a strain on our healthcare system, and it could be threatening the longevity of mankind if things continue as they’re going, as shown in this graphic shared by the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s perfectly possible for someone to learn good habits that enable them to add lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and grains into their diets and still indulge in some foods for the sheer sake of enjoyment, as the LiveStrong.com website assures dieters in this passage:

Get Real

“The guidelines recommend you increase your intakes of fruits and vegetables and add more whole-grain products. If you increase your fruit and vegetable intake daily, you’re on the road to improving your health and your weight.

Make whole grains, vegetables and fruits the foundation of your diet. Then add the others food groups in smaller portions–proteins, dairy, fats, and sweets. Make moderation a part of your eating–enjoy all foods in moderation.”

See that last part I underlined? It’s important – but dieting fanatics like to either go hardcore and cut out all fats and sugars or not diet at all. And THAT is where failure and obesity are growing at an alarming rate.

Being denied foods only make us want them more. Our parents threatened us, that if we don’t finish our plates, we don’t get dessert. These threats dangle in front of us like carrots on a stick. We read that fat and sugar are completely forbidden when we are on a diet.

Make Your Peace with Food

The Huffington Post had a great article by Marcia Reynolds called “10 Steps Toward Making Peace With Food” that really stressed the problem with guilty eating messages coming from the media.

She says, “the diet food industry perpetuates the “good food-bad food = good girl-bad girl” concept through commercials like the one for Fiber One Brownies where a woman finally gets behind the velvet rope and into the forbidden world of something that now tastes great.

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Men and women alike have hopped onto a harmful artificial sugar bandwagon because of the shame in indulging in REAL sweets from time to time (and even in moderation). And what’s this doing to their bodies? Harming them!

The reason is, artificial sweeteners do NOT turn on a satiety signal in our bodies that make us feel satisfied and “fed” to be blunt! This was reported by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
CBS News reported in a very straight to the point fashion, “Sorry, soda lovers – even diet drinks can make you fat!”

WOW! Here you’ve been tolerating Diet Coke because a real Coke makes you feel guilty, and now you know why the pounds aren’t coming off like you thought they would.

“Artificial sweeteners could have the effect of triggering appetite but unlike regular sugars, they don’t deliver something that will squelch the appetite,” said Sharon Fowler, an obesity researcher at UT Health Science Center at San Diego.”

Step 5: Explain What Happens if the Advice You Offer Is Ignored

The article is taking shape now. The debate topic is clear. You’ve presented the sides and chosen one to support. And you’ve pulled in a variety of multimedia resources with quotes and references to prove the points and images to break up the text.

Add Multi Media

By the way, with the Dr. Oz story, I would probably not only include a link but embed the video on my blog, too.

Now it’s time to add a portion that explains what life will be like if they don’t heed your advice. So I might add the following personalized story and then conclude with the “if” scenario.

“I struggled with diet guilt and shame for years, my weight creeping up on me every year at a rate of 10 pounds per year until I finally put the brakes on it.

I grew up with a diet mentality – even women who were thin were always dieting, so it seemed reasonable to deprive and binge and hide and cry about food.

Once I went to a nutritionist who taught balance and elimination of guilt, I no longer felt the need to stuff myself with sweets (because I knew I’d be “dieting” again shortly).

It’s There If I Want It

I grew a mindset that it’s there if I want it, and when I want it, I’ll have it – and oddly enough, I no longer over-indulge. The panic to eat it is gone. My weight has slowly been coming off, effortlessly.

True, it’s not as fast or as much as it would be with a strict fad diet regimen, but I can honestly say I’m happier and healthier than before when I was thinner and fluctuating with my weight on the diet yo-yo train.

This is the nutritionist I saw – Jennifer Pereira – and what I love is the way she legalized food so that I no longer felt like a criminal when it came to eating.

Legalize Eating

One funny story that happened when I was seeing her for help is the shame I felt one morning having to tell her I ate a piece of cake for breakfast. She threatened to make me have cake every morning until I no longer felt guilty for eating it. I nervously laughed but eventually, the lessons paid off.

If I had continued with my shame and guilt of eating fats and sugars, I would have continued watching my weight spiral out of control. You might be on the same self-destructive path.

If you give yourself permission, you might see a short-term spike in indulging, but it should level off as you become more comfortable with the idea that there are no bad foods.”

Step 6: Talk About How They Can Make Changes You Suggest

It’s fine to debate a point of view and encourage people to change their way of thinking, but if you don’t give them any insight on exactly how they can do that, they may leave your site confused and let down.

I like to end with some concrete steps they can implement to fix the situation or alter their way of thinking, like this:

“I want you to start practicing moderation and reintroduce the enjoyment of food – not denigrate it and bury yourself in shame about it.

So here are six steps you can take to change your mindset

Over the course of the next few months – it won’t happen in a day or a week. You have to practice it and live it for it to become a part of you:

Stop saying, “No” to foods.

It’s very uncomfortable right at first, but if you wake up and want cake, cut a piece of cake. Initially, you’ll feel guilt, but over time, it will go away.

Eat foods in any order that you want.

Dinner for breakfast, breakfast for dinner – stop putting rules about what foods can be eaten, and when.

Make sure you watch your hunger levels.

Right at first, you may eat faster because you’re indulging in something formerly forbidden. But as that guilt subsides, you can relax and eat a bit slower, savoring each bite. Don’t eat until you’re full – eat until the hunger is just gone. This is also uncomfortable at first, but it goes away over time.

Be okay with throwing away food.

Eventually, you’ll learn to plate smaller portions, knowing it’s perfectly acceptable to go back for seconds. But right now, you’ll plate more because you’re used to eating until full, not until “no longer hungry.”

Instead of focusing on foods to give up, focus on foods to add!

Make this a wonderful time of discovery for yourself. Teach yourself how to cook in new styles, and see if you like exotic fruits and vegetables you can buy at a farmer’s market.

Ignore guilt talk from well-meaning, yet harmful individuals.

Everyone’s dieting – and those who aren’t are “weird.” They’ll try to talk you out of having cheesecake or drinking a full-calorie soda. They’ll think it’s odd when you take 2 bites of the cheesecake, and smile as you put your fork down because you can have another cheesecake tomorrow if you want – there’s no NEED to finish it.”

Being More Relaxed

I know that once you embrace a more relaxed, state of mind about eating, you’ll notice your peace with food results in a healthier and more satisfied you.”

So that’s one example of a “sharing blog post,” where not only do you come across as an expert, with a personal touch, but you’ve also shown yourself to be a researcher, willing to showcase the debate without making your readers go all over the place to find this out on their own.

Over to You

Right now you’re going to create the same kind of post for your blog (or to put on a free blog). Go back to page 3 to see the summary of steps if you need to.

Remember not just hyperlink to resources. Extract quotes from them to share right on your blog. Don’t copy the entire page someone wrote – that’s content theft. But quoting and linking back is a form of sharing information.

Include quotes, summaries, images, videos, or whatever means you can to help support the issue.
This may seem tedious to you the first time you do it. But over time, you’ll begin sharing with this type of system in a way that feels comfortable for you – and your readers will see the value and thank you for your contributions and guidance.