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How ‘Hot Sam’ wins at content marketing #Goals

How ‘Hot Sam’ wins at content marketing #Goals

‘Hot Sam’ worked with my husband in the late 90s. (Alas, the name is as racy as this tale gets.) They worked together at a large network agency in India. Now, the legend goes thusly.

Hot Sam wanted a job at said agency 👆. His name, at the time, clearly, was not Hot Sam. It was Just Sam.

Just Sam interviewed at Said Agency and since there wasn’t a specific role for him at the time, got turned down with vague promises of getting in touch ‘when something comes up’. Which, we all know, is bullsh!t.

Now Just Sam, obviously wasn’t going to just let this go. If he did, this wouldn’t be a name-changing story! So Just Sam did what any awesome marketer begins with. Research.

Just Sam had a friend or two at Said Agency. The agency set is pretty small in general most places. Everyone knows everyone else, if not in actuality, then definitely ideologically. So Just Sam did what he liked doing anyway – hung out with agency peeps.

Except, now he noticed things. Because he was in ‘research mode’. (Research mode is that wonderful state of mind in which everything feels important! You examine it all a little more closely and see if there are patterns. It’s almost always guaranteed to get you results with one caveat. You need to leave Research-ville after a reasonable amount of time, come up out of the rabbit hole and actually do some work.)

via GIPHY (Find the patterns! That’s what research is all about.)

Just Sam realized quickly, that between the hours of 3 and 4 pm, when the mid afternoon slump hit, people clustered into random but purposeful groups and meandered off to get something to eat or drink.

Ta dah! Just Sam made a connection.

Mid afternoon = creative slump = panic = need to find carbs fast.

This was information Just Sam could use! Now Just Sam was (probably still is) a writer. Writers live for this sh!t. So Just Sam came up with a plan.

He was going to send them something to eat, everyday, between the hours of 3 and 4pm. It had to be something cheap because it was out-of-pocket. It had to be something GOOD for people to care. And it had to make people remember him.

Taking, a giant leap of faith, Just Sam transformed into Hot Sam.

AKA Hot Samosas.


In an epic, if not nearly celebrated enough, victory over the forces of ambivalence, Hot Sam made himself memorable.

The name pun; the brilliance of the solution! Legedary.

Needless to say, he got the job.

‘And this when content marketing wasn’t even a thing’, some may say. But that’s just it. I’d argue it’s always been a thing – by many names – and always will be.

Know what you what.
Know your audience.
Create memorable content.
Follow through.
Magic happens.

When it comes to setting goals and going after them, Hot Sam is my hero. So today, let’s learn to set some goals, as simply as possible.

Swift aside: The question around goals is often one of the first things discussed in any intake exercise with a strategy professional. Why am I calling bullshit on that order and making this the 5thin my series of blog posts?

Because IMO as much as goal setting is of extreme importance, it’s rarely the first thing that you will do unless you’re running a campaign. For a more holistic content strategy, before you set goals, you need context.

Prefer to watch these hacks in video form?


Think of it like training for a marathon. Before you set goals for yourself as a runner, you would ask yourself a number of questions.


Who else is running?

What kind of conditions you’ll have when you’re running?

What access you have to professionals and gear?

What shape you’ve been in recently?

And what strengths you’d like to leverage?


Once you have all of that information, you would set yourself a goal.

Perhaps it is that you’d like to improve your finish time by 10%. Or maybe it is that you want to place in the top 10 runners. See? First context, then goals.

Here is my super-broken-down-to-zero-frills-formula to help you set a goal.

Ask yourself:

What over arching thing will I do?
By when will I do it?
And what results will it get me?

For example, I will increase my subscriber base, this year, to get 10% more revenue.

That’s a large goal. To get there you’ll need some actions or tactics, each of which might have some objectives.

So what is the difference between a goal and an objective?


To my mind, a goal is a more general direction that you’re heading in. And the objectives are the milestones of the actual things that you would need to do to help you get there. Simply put, the tactics that you use will each be supported by an objective.

Use the same formula to get to your objectives that you did to get to your goal.

In the case of the goal above 👆, you could have an objective like: Build an opt-in for my website to get 500 new subscribers, in the first quarter.

(If you’re feeling a little #extra – superimpose your goals on a SMART formula to make sure that you are on track, and give yourself 500 brownie points!

SMART = Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time-bound)

Simple, right?

Set clear goals for all your content.

Be Hot Sam.

Play long game.

If you found that useful, you want to read this 👇

I have a 6-week content strategy online program that has just launched. It’s called Content Clinic. It’s a step-by-step 6-module approach to ending the content overwhelm. At the end of it, you’ll have yourself a content strategy and a calendar of effective content for a whole year. The results you should expect to see are 10x your engagement on social. Take a look at the page for more info. There is a special introductory pricing on now that won’t last long.


This is Part 5 in a 10-part content strategy series for independent brands and small business.

Find Part 1 here
Find Part 2 here
Find Part 3 here
Find Part 4 here




Carrots and Peace
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