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C.C. Chapman is the Founder of The Cleon Foundation in addition to being a best-selling author, photographer and professional speaker. He has spent the past ten years helping people and brands convert passive consumers into passionate, invested advocates. He’s built meaningful relationships between a Who’s Who of A-list companies and their markets. He’s helped these companies sell more things.
C.C. sports the pro cred to be a talker (working closely with such clients as American Eagle Outfitters, Coca-Cola, HBO and Warner Bros.), and the passion and gumption to be a doer (creating content for the emerging Online Dad market, marketing professionals, music fans and more). He’s helped create, manage and execute ambitious online and offline marketing campaigns for startups and multinationals — and has the invaluable good sense to know which outreach strategies work with audiences, and which ones fall flat.
MO: Why have you always taken the road less traveled and what advantages has that provided you both personally and professionally?
C.C.: I’ve always lived my life on my own terms. I can’t wait for someone to give me permission to do something that I want to do. I’d rather try out something new and decide later that it isn’t for me than never trying it at all.
It has proven to be a professional advantage to not be afraid to be on the bleeding edge of technology and marketing trends. Granted, sometimes it means I’m doing something too early, but in the end when the rest of the industry catches up I’m already there which has always been a huge business advantage for me.
MO: What advice would you give to someone who is ready for something amazing to happen but isn’t sure how to set the wheels in motion?
C.C.: This isn’t easy to answer in a couple of paragraphs, which is why I wrote my newest book Amazing Things Will Happen.
The key though is to start off choosing the path you want to go down. This is something only you can do. People should figure out what the end game is. Where do they want to get to and part of that is defining what an amazing life looks like to them because it is different for each of us.
Once they know where they want to get to, they should write down all the steps it would take to get there so that they have a clear plan and strategy. Then it is time to do the work. No one gets a free pass and it all boils down to hard work and determination.
MO: What’s the most “dangerous” book you’ve read in the last year?
C.C.: Two instantly come to mind that I would encourage anyone to read. The first, Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown focuses on the power of joy, compassion and vulnerability in the world. The other is Mastery by Robert Greene, which is a detailed study for how someone masters something.
They approach life from sort of different angles, but together are a dangerously awesome combination.
MO: What are some tips for creating engaging content? Do you think that most people have the ability to create content that can arouse passion for their products or services?
C.C.: I firmly believe that everyone has it in them to do it, but they may not know how to yet. Storytelling, like most skills, gets better the more you do it.
Make sure that you know who your audience is and who you are trying to reach. The more you know about them, the better you can craft something that will appeal to them. You need to insure that you are creating an emotional response with the content you create. If you educate, entertain or inspire than you are more likely to get a reaction.
Don’t forget to also be human and authentic in everything you create. You and your company get to define what this means, but never try to be someone you are not.
MO: What advice would you give a start-up who is in need of a social media strategy but isn’t sure where to start?
C.C.: Best advice I can give them is to hire someone who can help them develop one, but to be sure that they hire someone who actually has created a successful one before. The market is saturated with too many people selling themselves as strategists who have never actually done one before.
Having a collection of social media accounts doesn’t mean you know anything about business.
Start-ups don’t have the time, money or resources to waste. Take the time to research anyone they are thinking of working with. Always ask for examples of work they’ve done and meet with them. If they come into the meeting with answers, show them the door immediately. There are no cookie cutter social media strategies that work, so a good person will work with you to develop one.
MO: Can you talk a bit about your experience of creating content for the emerging Online Dad market?
C.C.: I started DigitalDads.com in 2009 because I saw a lack of content for fathers online. It has grown into doing the Cast of Dads podcast with four other dads from around the country.
Dads are more active than ever in their families and yet most of the market still only focuses on moms, which I understand, but I also see as a huge missed opportunity. The key when it comes to dads is to remember that we are also men. We are interested in music, sports, cars, sex and food. We have interests besides our families and smart brands will remember that when targeting us.
Thankfully brands are starting to come around. Look at what Dove Men+Care are doing and you can see an example of smartly creating content for dads.
MO: What are the components of creating a successful podcast?
C.C.: Getting comfortable with the microphone is probably the most important thing. Everyone gets nervous in front of a microphone and if you are than it’ll sound that way and no one wants to listen to that.
The other key is to produce the podcast on a regular schedule. People like to listen to what they can depend on and if you don’t have a regular schedule people are not going to enjoy it as much.
Finally, make sure the quality is as good as it can be. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and build a studio, but at least purchase a good quality microphone. People are going to be listening to you on headphones and in the car. If you don’t sound good, they will stop listening and never come back.
MO: What’s the biggest risk that you’ve ever taken and how did it turn out?
C.C.: There have been many of them, but the most recent one was just as the mortgage collapse was happening in this country I decided to buy a new house and launch a new company at the same time. Looking back it was not the smartest of decisions in the world, but two years later we sold the agency and everything worked out great.
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