How to Use Pull Content Marketing with Lou Carlozo


Table Of Contents


Pulling Interest in a Push Kind of World

SO MUCH marketing goes on every single day. We see commercials breaking up our favorite TV shows, sponsored banners in sporting events, a random closeup of a car logo in an action movie - the list goes on! How can we make our brands stand out in a content crowded world?

Recently, our CEO sat down with Lou to talk about how he has overcome this issue in his workplaces. In this blog, Hollywood Branded learns how to use pull content marketing with Lou Carlozo, the founder of Carma Productions.

How to Use Pull Content Marketing with Lou Carlozo

A Little More About Guest

Lou Carlozo is the founder and president at Carma Productions Worldwide, and the editor-in-chief of a journalist source media relations platform called Qwoted. Through friendships with people in public and media relations, he has become a successful content marketer. 

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Interview Transcript Highlights

Question: What is pull content, and how can you make it work?

Answer: When it comes to pull content, sometimes by trial and error, sometimes by being taught by really wise people, and sometimes by just taking what I knew to the table. I've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't work. When it comes to content, I want to say that I would be surprised if even 10% of what I see works.

Yeah. It's like dating, right? If you want to go out on a date with someone and you are attracted to them, people will smell that vibe right away that you're trying to just impose yourself on them. I mean, let's try another example. "Hey, Stacy. Come on. Let's go to a meeting. Let's go to a meeting. I got a three-hour meeting. I want you to sit in on my work, and we're just going to talk about a lot of stuff that we're not going to do," and that is how so much content comes across to people because you have to consider two things right away that I think we all know, but we all forget, myself included, is that right now, the average person has a seven-second or less attention span. We don't have a long attention span.

The second thing is that the noise floor is by far the deepest, loudest, and widest. It has been in history. Guess what? Wait five minutes. It's never going to be that slow or shallow again, right? We're constantly in competition. The idea of pushing a message, the idea of conventional advertising wisdom from, say, a generation or two back. It all needs to be reexamined and rethought.

Pull marketing with content is exactly what it sounds like. It is a way of drawing people in. Now, there are a lot of different ways to do that. One of my favorite examples from something a little outside my bailiwick, and I've cited this on many articles I've written is the Dollar Shave Club ad, right? He could have gotten up there and said, "I want to share you this new revolution in razor blades. You're really going to ..." That's pushing, but as an amateur improv comedian, what he did was created something that was funny, and people don't care about shaving blades were tuning in just to watch this. I mean, the numbers were incredible.

He did talk about the blades, right? "Our blades are effin' great." The point was he pulled people in. He gave them something funny and amusing, and it's disappointing but it happens all the time. How many people now have tried to imitate that ad? It's absolutely terrible. They're not creating this guy created. They're imitating. So, the other thing about pull content is how can we innovate and create.

Number three, I have never seen a man in a crisp well-starched tie bending over a computer thoughtfully while the client looks on anytime in my life except for on a freaking bank website, right? Get rid of the visual static. You're not drawing anyone in by that.

Number four, "It's not just what you present but how," because whether people realize it, when they are putting content up like that, the visual static is immediately going to turn people off. A picture paints a thousand words, right?

How to Use Pull Content Marketing with Lou Carlozo

The quality of the writing is often given short drift. I mean, a lot of people might not hire me if I walk in to a boardroom to say this, but I'm pretty fearless because I have a good life and I love doing what I do. I'd say, "You know what? Instead of the corporate stuff, why don't we have some crayon drawings? Why don't we satirize these stupid stock art photos that we see on every bank website or why don't put a photo up that has no correspondence to the content whatsoever?" Or maybe you got a guy on a motorcycle or something like that, the motorcycle rider's guide to 401Ks. I mean, I'm just coming up with these dumb ideas off the top of my head. 

Question: Why is it important to come up with disruptive ideas rather than standard ones? 

Answer: We have to do that, because if we don't, what we're going to get is the same thing that's already out there, and I'm calling my own ideas dumb. I'm a self-effacing type of person. I'm really terrible at being self-effacing, by the way. It's one of those things that we never want to say another person's ideas are dumb, but part of this push/pull is that in meetings or so-called brainstorming sessions, we are afraid to share our ideas because we don't want to be laughed at. We don't want to have our ideas shut down or we don't want to see as I saw with one of my old employers - the brainstorming meetings were the places where good ideas went to die. Everybody knew it. Every time you brought it up, somebody at senior level would say, "Well, no, not really. That's not what happens," right?

That innovation has to be in your DNA. I hate the word innovation, but, really, let's just say being inventive. That has to be in the DNA. Let's step back and let's say Bank ABC said to me, "Lou, you're right. We really need to rethink this content and we want to hear more about what this pull thing is. How does it work?"

Well, it works like this. If you think about the Dollar Shave Club ad I gave as an example, so much advertising and marketing turns people off, right? To every person watching this, I want to challenge you because you're not just a marketer, you're a consumer. How do you feel when the marketers had his off and you're being marketed something aggressively, stridently, in the same way you've always seen it marketed? Don't just think like a marketer. Think like a consumer because that empathy is the very first step to understanding pull marketing.

How to Use Pull Content Marketing with Lou Carlozo

Question: What are some questions to ask when you are coming up with ideas for marketing?

Answer: Don't be shy about asking yourself the questions we should all ask. If I was going to be marketed to, what would I appreciate? What would I actually value? What would I want? At the end of the day, we are really in this - why are we doing marketing as opposed to something else? Well, we love it, and I think when we do it well, we make a difference. We serve, right?

So, I'm with this bank and I say, "Well, we want to write about 401Ks. That's a great idea. We're giving people something they need, but they might not necessarily want it. So, what are we going to do about that? Again, starting from that place of we're marketed to, what would I want? I'm a funny guy. I might appreciate it if someone got their guitar out and they put a video upload.

Question: How do you entertain with your marketing?

Answer: As human beings, we are hardwired for story. That's why we watch ridiculous shows like Tiger King. That's why we have been unable to kill the actual book business. People still go out and buy books. It's why we go to movies. It is hardwired.

So, you and I are actually riffing right now, Stacy. We're in this meeting. We are in the meeting with a bank and I say, "You know what? We're going to tell customer stories," which is a common type of thing, but just even taking a step in that direction is the person that goes onto the website doesn't want to see someone that looks like a banker. They want to see themselves. You start with that, just the idea of telling a story. Stories draw us in.

If I told you, for example, the story of how I became a journalist, which, honest to God, begins with I was fired from a waitering job because my hair was too long. I know that's not believable now, and I wanted to find a job where they wouldn't make me cut my hair. That's it. It could have been a bowling alley. It could have been a music store. It could have been Chuck E Cheese. I just didn't want to cut my hair, and the first place I could find a job was at the local newspaper, which turned out to be the Philadelphia Inquirer, right?

If I add to the details of that and I engage through the art of storytelling, I have a much better chance of pulling you in. Nobody wants to hear me lecture about any topic, but if I tell you a story about that topic, it's much more engaging. I think there's a huge opportunity for pull content right now with COVID. COVID is the universal story that we're all sharing right now. I happen to be a person who really values positivity and hope.

If we're telling those stories in an authentic way, I mean, here's a switch. I have seen certain financial institutions do this and certain businesses that might post a story that has nothing to do with the product you're marketing, but it's inspiring. Guess what happened? Someone just tuned in to your channel, all right?

So, you and I are back at this meeting, and I actually am going to ask this question. You know what? We're going to take a break from doing all of this educational content for banks, and what we're going to do is just have people tell their stories about finance, what they're struggling with, how good or bad things have been, what gives them hope for going on, how are they making it work.

Now, all of a sudden, you actually are engaged with characters. You have something that you have in common with someone, potentially. There's something that's a little bit more in-depth that you can share and stir at. Even if it's a story that is a turn off to you, at least it's something that is engaging and something different.

In this time in particular, because marketing doesn't exist separate from the world, marketing is part of the world, and one thing that I think a lot of us  worry about is the forces that are pulling us apart.

How to Use Pull Content Marketing with Lou Carlozo

Question: How do you combat the risk of putting out disruptive ideas?

Answer: The only risk is that we are afraid to be laughed at. We are afraid to fail. We are afraid that if we put an idea out that's different like that and it doesn't work, then we are suddenly going to be cast aside. Our clients aren't going to want to work with us. Our colleagues aren't going to want to work with us.

Well, I think that when you're creating this pull marketing ideas, it's very important to not take yourself too seriously. A lot of hearts are broken and a lot of good will is broken when we go out there. I'm always the first person to say, "Well, look. It might not work, but what do we have to risk by trying?" The next thing is to be smart. Marketing doesn't have to be a cajillion dollar campaign. I think the Dollar Shave Club ad was shot 300 bucks. 

If you put all of your faith in the idea and are smart about how to do it and how to produce it, and you just get it out there, there's very little risk. I'm going to be honest with you, Stacy, it's taken me like an entire career to get to this point, but because I don't take myself seriously, and because I don't think there's anything to lose with sharing your best, especially because life is short. I'll walk into any room with anyone, any CEO, anybody, you name it, and I'll say to them, "Look. Give me a sheet of paper. I'm going to jot down 40 ideas in 30 minutes for things you could be doing."

Check Out The Podcast!

Lou has SO MUCH great information from his experience in pull marketing, check out the podcast below to learn more about how to drive your business from his advice and expertise!

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