By the early 1760’s the relationship between the 13 original American colonies and Great Britain had been severely strained. The monarchy had for years been incrementally increasing taxes and tariffs on the colonies, without providing citizens a voice in Parliament. Citizens were being forced to house and quarter British soldiers and several violent episodes had brought the tension to a tipping point. By 1775, many of the leading colonialists—our founding fathers—were calling for a revolution to claim independence from Britain.
But despite the wishes of America’s ruling class, garnering mass appeal for an uprising proved difficult. A majority of colonial Americans were poor and uneducated in relation to the founders who would later comprise the Constitutional Convention. Simply put, the average citizen had less at stake and had less interest in fighting for freedom.
But on January 10, 1776, just six months before the Declaration of Independence was signed, a writer turned the tides of history.
“Common Sense,” a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, was released and began circulating throughout the colonies. The writing was simple and clear, crafted purposefully to appeal to the average American. The pamphlet argued the moral and political grounds for fighting for freedom and it wasn’t long before the literature was making the rounds through taverns and homes across the colonies.
The pamphlet proved incredibly efficient in galvanizing the public opinion in favor of supporting revolution, giving American leaders the support they needed to effectively wage a military campaign. In fact, John Adams was once quoted as saying “Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.”
Paine may not have been a marketer himself and he wasn’t selling a product or a brand. But nonetheless, a finely articulated piece of content proved to be the best method for selling Americans on taking up arms.
So what lessons can today’s marketers take away from this history lesson? If you want to succeed in your campaigns, you’ve got to earn an audience with your targeted demographics. You can’t earn their favor with slogans or jingles. You’ve got to speak their language, providing a clear argument to earn their trust, respect and loyalty.
If your marketing department is struggling to strike the right tone, generate compelling content or connect emotionally with your audience, your efforts may be wasted. To ensure that your content has the optimal impact, procure the services of an experienced content vendor. Having your own content marketing arm is like bringing an ally into battle. And even the great George Washington couldn’t have won the Revolutionary War without a little help from France.
So be sure not to underestimate the power of quality content. Your marketing efforts may not impact the fate of a nation, but you’ll certainly be able to change the world. Click here to learn more.
Keith Batter, known as “The Machine” due to his ability to provide quality content on a tight deadline, earned his degree in Creative Writing from Colorado University. Keith’s interest in a multitude of topics imbues his writing with valuable insights that resonate with readers in many fields. His work experience spans industries as diverse as hospitality (Thistledown Inn Bed and Breakfast), insurance (American Income Life Insurance), sales, journalism, publishing and even a brief foray into politics as a community organizer during the 2008 presidential election. In his spare time, Keith is difficult to find. Equipped only with a guitar, notebook and a liter of water, he frequently disappears deep into the forest with his wife and dog to evade civilization and wax poetic about the nature of existence.