the SPARK 160 ~ Lessons from The Far Side

the SPARK Newsletter

Welcome to the 160th issue of the SPARK. A weekly newsletter where inspiration meets real online strategies, behind-the-scenes stories, and a boatload of valuable resources.

Hi, Reader,

For the ten years I spent working for a major book retailer (I started as a clerk my senior year in high school and ended up as a District Manager), one thing sold out every year during the holiday season.

Can you guess what it was?

Probably not surprising (at least to anyone over 40), but it was a calendar.

And not just any calendar, but a page-a-day calendar (where you tear off each day)… one in particular.

Any guesses? (again, you definitely need to be of a certain age to get this).

The Far Side by Gary Larson. 😉

Fun fact (albeit a little sad): Gary Larson retired from comics in January 1995 (and The Far Side launched in 1979).

And here I am, 28 years later, talking about his calendar.

This means the calendar is simply repurposed cartoons—year after year.

We used to have stacks and stacks of this calendar anywhere we could find floor space near an end cap. Every year, I’d think, “There’s no way we’re going to sell all of these,” – and every year we would.

*If you’re unfamiliar with The Far Side, here’s a popular Far Side comic.*

Hopefully, you got a good chuckle out of that.

Looking at the box cover for the page-a-day calendar vs. the cartoon above, you can see that the subject matter isn’t similar (other than humans being less-than-smart).

Also, between the time the cartoon was first published and when Gary Larson retired, there was no social media, no online marketing, no email marketing, etc.

Distribution started with one medium: newspapers.

I’m sure this may sound like Captain Obvious, but it continues to be popular (the cartoon) because it’s good.

I was thinking about this earlier this week when I watched the first training from Amanda Bond on her multi-page sales site that she did for her viral article, “The Real Reason Facebook Ads Have Stopped Working.”

First, that article has generated over $500k for her business since she published it… in 2018.

Not a bad way to generate an extra 100k a year for your business. All on auto-pilot (once published).

Write one really good article and drive traffic to it.

Over and over and over (you know what they say, “If it ain’t broke…”).

In the first live training, she started pulling back the curtain on how this article came about (all four of these free trainings cover how she accomplished this, no opt-in required).

A few of the things she shared:

  • She spent three months researching this article (talking to customers and clients, digging into comments, course feedback, etc.).
  • For the tune of 8k, she hired a copywriter to write this six-page article in her voice (she edited it). She also paid someone to develop the site/pages.
  • She had a lot of assets to create before she could even publish, let alone start promoting. Here’s a screenshot of the assets she needed to create (from the first training). That’s a LOT of writing:

After I read the article and discovered where she learned this strategy, I got even more excited (I’m not the only one who gets excited when you realize one person you admire is a student of someone else you admire, right?).

André Chaperone of AutoResponder Madness (which has since become The Art of Email).

André is a prolific writer, has created an incredibly successful business, isn’t really on social media, and is respected and admired for the quality of his work.

Not a bad claim to fame.

This is what happens when you focus on doing better work.

I’m the first to admit that I’ve fallen prey to ‘shiny object syndrome’… and just might in the future; you never know.

However, I’ve learned that something magical happens when you focus on being the best version of yourself and doing what you do because you love it.

Because you want to help people.

Because you actually enjoy doing deep work.

And because who wouldn’t want to create something amazing ONCE… that generates revenue year after year?!

Bond (that’s what Amanda Bond calls herself) differentiates marketing by “expiration marketing” and “evergreen.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in re-inventing the wheel.

My plan for 2024 is to go deeper into what I already love.

Less expiration marketing and more evergreen.

SPARK Spotlight 🔥

Speaking of André Chaperone…

This article is for anyone interested in the long haul. In other words, creating something (like Amanda Bond’s article) that gets you off the hamster wheel.

A Little Brainpower 🧠

This one resonated with me. I’m not a fan of LinkedIn. Read “Why you need to ditch LinkedIn as your content platform.”

It looks like Dr. Benjamin Hardy is active on Medium again. For all my journalers – “15 Ways To Use Your Journal To Become Absolutely Unstoppable.”

From yours truly…

Start thinking outside of the box for marketing. I wrote a post on using Events Calendar Pro for lead gen & community engagement.

Read “Dramatically Maximize Your Marketing Results with Events Calendar Pro.”

Content Corner 📝

Hat tip to my amazing friend, Karen Michaels, for letting me know Descript will now automatically create your short-form videos from a long video.

A handful of tools already do this, but if you’re already paying for Descript, this is a huge bonus! 🥳

Check out ‘Find Good Clips’ here!

Tool Time 🛠

Pretty much… 🤪

Before I forget, I have a link correction from last week.

I had recommended my friend Jason Resnick’s free “Email Blueprint, Turning Email Subscribers into Customers,” and the link was broken. DOH! Grab it below. 👇

I’m still obsessively playing Rummikub (on my iPad… I brought the physical game down to my sister’s house last weekend and got her into it, too. mwahaha).

When I need to check out at night and watch a little TV playing this game is a great way to stay off my phone and turn my brain off (I get it; I’m still on a device, but it’s not social media).

Whatever you can do to unwind, enjoy it.

Simple pleasures can go a long way during such a busy time of year.

Have a fantastic day, my friends,

the SPARK newsletter

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