How to Realize a Breakthrough in Content using “The Power of One”

Article by | May 25, 2018 Content Marketing

Every piece of content you develop is ultimately designed to do one thing: create a click. You want every blog article, video, piece of gated content, and social media post to convert. Plus, you want your number of leads to keep increasing. Let me ask you a question: how’s your lead-to-MQL ratio?

Too many times, we focus on the statistics with such intensity that we forget there are human beings doing the clicking.

Your content may be creating clicks but your leads may not be the right ones because your content is not reaching the right audience. You’ve built your collection of marketing personas, but are they detailed enough? Are you communicating to them?

You’re reading the first in a series of four articles designed to help you lead your content creation team to more targeted content that will result in more MQLs.

In this post, we are going to address the fundamental shift in thought for you and your content team. It’s called The Power of One.

What is The Power of One?

The Power of One states: You can only communicate with one person at a time.

Ever since one person stood on a hill and tried to talk to an entire crowd, the human race has made the mistake of attempting mass communication. Your content creation team is not immune to this challenge.

My first real job in communication was behind the mic at a radio station in Athens, Georgia. My station manager pulled me aside after my first week as a DJ and said, “I want you to bring in a picture—an 8×10—of your best friend or your girlfriend and post it behind the microphone. Don’t cover it up with your scripts or your notes. Always have it just a few inches from your face. Every word that comes out of your mouth needs to be directed to the person in the picture and no one else. You are speaking directly into that one person’s ear.”

I’ve since learned that if I think this way every time I communicate—in writing, from the stage, behind the podcast mic, or in front of the camera—I am more effective. I am more natural. My audience connects with me on a deeper level. Engagement goes up. The charts look better on Google Analytics.

Addressing one person and one person alone remains the most powerful way to deliver your message… even when you need to deliver that message to millions.

Your content can’t reach everyone in your CRM with the same efficacy. If your content creators employ The Power of One, over time your company will deliver content that:

  • Carries more meaning
  • Meets your customers where they are
  • Moves your customers to action at a higher rate
  • Remains relevant longer
  • is more likely to be shared

Three Reasons the Power of One is Essential

1. You Will Deliver Content on a Personal Level

Can you remember the feeling you had when you found the perfect gift for someone you really care about? A gift that demonstrates just how well you know them. Close your eyes and return to the moment the gift was opened and you exchanged glances. Now, transpose that to your business context. That feeling is the bullseye of your target.

When you provide content to your One, you are giving a gift. Choosing the right gift requires empathy. At its core, empathy is getting yourself out of the way so you can see their needs, dislikes, problems, yearnings, and the things that make them pound the table. Like Atticus Finch said to his daughter, Scout, in To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

Empathy is the heart side of the equation; Personalization is the practical side.

When you wrapped the gift, you thought of your One’s favorite colors and textures. The gift tag didn’t say “To: Recipient.” The gift itself was thoughtfully designed to meet a need or fulfill a desire. How much do you know about your contacts in your CRM? There are countless fields and customizable fields. The majority of respondents amaze me at how much information they are willing to offer. Step one is ensuring the name field is accurate. Beyond that, put a plan in place to slowly gain other personalization factors. Then use them.

Don’t use them to check a box for on a checklist or because a formula tells you to. Use personalization tools to develop rapport. Use them in unexpected ways. Your customers expect to be addressed by name at the top of an email, but will be surprised when their names pop up in the middle.

When you know what really matters to your One, you’ll provide content that produces clicks. You won’t just be marketing to a prospect; you’ll be conversing with a person. You’ll provide the perfect gift.

We’ll address how to build empathy in part four of this series.


Before you start your next content project, put yourself in your One’s shoes. What is your One likely doing when your content arrives? How will they receive it?—mobile, desktop, mailbox? How do you want your One to respond? Facial expression? Time invested? Next action? Once you have these thoughts in mind, create away.

Or, find three unexpected places to personalize the communication. Go beyond “first name” and use another field in your database.

2. Deliver Content with Intention

You only have a few seconds to capture your customer’s attention. In essence, you have to earn that attention over and over again every few seconds. It can be easy to share too much or irrelevant information, so challenge yourself to always think about what your One wants to hear.


You’ve seen the statistics of how quickly viewers click away from YouTube videos or readers click away from emails or blog posts. Don’t fill your writing with extra words to hit a magical word count you’ve read about online. Say what you need to say and move on. Neither be too quick to hit publish. Remember: a good editorial pass will tighten, improve, and reduce by 15 percent what you write.


The eyes tell you all you need to know. Before you publish your next marketing project, show it to others and watch them experience it. If a video, when do they look away, or worse, pull out their phones? If a written piece, where do they shift? Do they look back to the top of the page? Do you catch them beginning to skim? Mark the places where the eyes move. That’s where boredom is setting in. On one project, I had to run this exercise three times before my sample One didn’t look away.


Pick one of the two examples from above for your next content project.

3. Deliver Content without Creative Block

The side benefit to crafting content for your One is that the focus turns off the critical voices. In his fascinating memoir-meets-textbook, On Writing, Stephen King tells the story of what happened after the success of his breakout novel, Carrie. He started receiving fan mail including hate mail and “suggestions” for improvement. On some mornings, these voices would stop his fingers cold. He learned to silence the voices by identifying his early readers—those he would trust with a copy of an unedited manuscript. He also identified his most important early reader—his wife, Tabitha. He would spend his days entertaining, horrifying, surprising, and thrilling this tiny group, and especially his One.

Don’t let your editors, your company’s quality assurance process, or the critic in your head bug you while you create content. Focus on your One and your One only. You’ll produce a better and more clickable product.


Who is your most important early reader? Who is your photo behind the mic? Print out an 8×10 today and post it at your desk. Look at it often as you write. You’ll be surprised.

In the rest of the series, we’ll examine:

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