February 10, 2016

What THE HEIST Can Teach You About Content Marketing

The Heist teaches content marketingI recently read the new best selling novel, The Heist, and found it not only entertaining, but also educational from a content marketing perspective. You might wonder how a work of fiction can help you find more success with your content marketing efforts? Lee Goldberg and Janet Evanovich weave a fast-paced, riveting story around the intoxicatingly sexy conman, Nick Fox, and the equally hot FBI Agent, Kate O’Hare, who desperately wants to put him behind bars.

This has nothing to do with content marketing, Samantha!

Oh, but it does, my friend…and in a big way.

To understand where I’m going with this, you’ll need to know a little bit about the story:

In a surprising twist, the two arch enemies, Nick Fox and Kate O’Hare end up having to work together in an effort to help the FBI nab a sleazy investment banker. The reprehensible sleaze-bag has skipped the country with astronomical amounts of money belonging to his clients.

Naturally, O’Hare is less-than-thrilled to be working on the same side of the law with the charismatic and devilishly handsome Nick Fox. Even so, the FBI asks them to devise and pull off a huge con in order to catch their most wanted white-collar criminal. It’s in their collaboration and the subsequent execution of the brilliant con that you see the content marketing gems woven within the pages of this edge-of-your-seat, yet fun story.

Hot Nick Fox

Come on over, Nick…

Steal These 5 Content Marketing Tips from The Heist

1. Know your target audience – content marketing requires that you understand and know your target audience. Nick and Kate take time to learn all about their target, Derek Griffin. They find out about his interests, his fears, his weaknesses, and his habits. Any good content marketer takes time to learn about his target audience. You can do this through conducting focus groups and demographic studies. Read the book to see what Nick and Kate did to learn about Griffin. You’d do well to use the same diligence.

2. Share the work load – one reason Nick Fox enjoys so much success in pulling off his heists and cons is that he knows how to share the load. Nick has an uncanny knack for finding and enlisting very talented and loyal accomplices. He finds a person to play a specific part in each aspect of the elaborate plan. Each of these recruits is the very best as what he or she does. If you want to achieve success – and achieve it in a big way – with your content marketing efforts, you’ll need to follow Nick’s lead. Assess your contacts and network. Look at the best engagers on your various social media profiles.

Many people who regularly engage on Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook work on a freelance basis. Take your time and find out a little more about them. What makes them good at what they do? Could you use their skills to benefit both your cause and theirs? If so, start courting them and let them know how running with you can benefit them.

3. Identify and understand key objectives – obviously, Kate and Nick have a key objective of nabbing Griffin. But to do that, they have to pull the proverbial wool over the eyes of a few other folks first. Each of these smaller objectives represents a critical step that the hottie duo must pull off to achieve their ultimate goal. As a content marketer, you’ve got to outline each of the foundational objectives that will help you achieve your ultimate goal.

Figure out how you’ll measure the success of each step along the way. Kate and Nick have it easy for this part. They either pull off each part of the con, or they don’t and they fail. Content marketers must come up with their own metrics for measuring project success.

4. Plan project execution in detail – the logistics of executing a complex con take copious amounts of creativity. As you read The Heist, you’ll see that Nick uses a basic template or framework for all of his cons. He just builds out the template according to each con’s requirements. This build-out aspect requires the greatest creativity.

Nick and Kate must devise how to carry out each part of the plan they identified in step 3. Do they need fake passports? Weapons? How are they going to get their target, provided they actually snag him, out of his opulent hiding place and back to the United States? Figuring all of this out takes some brainpower – and still, the best laid plans still carry an underlying threat of danger in these scenarios.

Kate OHare

Kate gets her man

Think content marketing doesn’t need such careful planning? Think again. Think there’s no danger involved? Again, slow your roll and consider that a poorly executed content marketing plan can ruin your and your company’s reputation and cost a sickening amount of money. Now, that’s danger, folks! You’ll need to spend time with your team going over the project launch and all steps in between until you reach that big, hairy goal. When you read about the detail Nick uses when planning the execution of the con, you’ll see that emulating this when executing your content marketing plan has got to be a recipe for great success – and, unlike brilliant conmen, when you do it, you’ll stay off the FBI’s radar.

5. Have some fun while you work – at one point, Nick and Kate go shopping at stores so exclusive and ultraexpensive, I couldn’t afford to walk by them without going bankrupt. At first, Kate is all business, but Nick’s charm and charisma gets her to relax enough so that she gets her flirt on – just a little bit. Flirting. Always fun. They also indulge in a little Dom Perignon and fine chocolates at various points – all as part of the job.

Now, I’m not suggesting you flirt with your team and indulge in overpriced champagne and chocolate. In fact, unless the content marketing plan specifically calls for it, you’d do well to avoid these activities. But I am suggesting that you inject a little humor into the content. Design a fun infographic or meme for your target audience that gets them visually engaged in your message.

There you have it. You’ve just got to pick up this book full of hot characters, evil antagonists, adventure, pirates, exotic travel, and thrills. Who knows, reading it just might make the difference between a content marketing project fail and one that steals the whole show. Check out this review by Bookgasm (ok, I admit, I just wanted to write “Bookgasm”).

The Con Is On! 

Image credits: The Heist bookcover courtesy of Lee Goldberg, hottie – picstopin [dot] com, woman – dailymail [dot] co [dot] uk

About Samantha Gluck

Not only am I the chief editor of this multi-author online magazine, I'm a content creator and social media marketing strategist with a background in journalism, finance, & healthcare. I began my content marketing agency, All Media Freelance, LLC, in 2010 and lead a well-rounded, talented team of multi-channel content strategists and niche writers. I've developed and managed print and digital content projects for health care, fitness, financial services, mental health, non-profit, and automotive publishers, as well as for biotechnology brands.


  1. Great post!

    My mom reads Janet Evanovich. I couldn’t get into the books. I’m trying to read a book by J.D. Robb aka Nora Roberts, but I can’t get into it. Oh well…

    It’s amazing what we can learn from fiction and apply lessons to non-fiction writing such as content writing, social media posts, etc.
    Amandah recently posted..7 Lessons on Branding from Paula Deen that Can Save Your Business from a ScandalMy Profile

    • Thanks so much Amandah! I had fun reading the book and was so pleased that I thought about the content marketing principles the authors inadvertently wove in the story.

      Remember, it’s written by Evanovich AND Lee Goldberg. While I haven’t read any Evanovich books, fans of hers that have read The Heist say that there’s a definitely “different” flavor to this book because of Lee’s contribution, but that it still makes rabid Evanovich fans feel at home too.

      What authors (fiction) do you really love to read? Do you have a specific genre that gets you excited? I only recently began reading crime novels and, while I still love apocalyptic/supernatural fiction best, I really enjoy the crime thrillers too.

      The Heist was the first sort of adventure, crime, fun book I’ve ever read. I laughed and loved the easy page-turning style. It’s an escapist book in the truest sense in that it’s smart, fun, exciting, and entertaining without being too fluffy/girlie or too morbid (for those who can’t stomach traditional crime novels).

      The fact that the hottie male lead character is a genius content marketer without even realizing it was a bonus.

      • I’m drawn to sci-fi, historical, supernatural, middle grade, New Adult, and YA. I liked “The Spindlers” by Lauren Oliver. I’m interested in writing middle grade and YA and like to stay on top of trends and best sellers. Plus, they’re fun to read. :)

        My mom’s a big fan of Janet’s and said the book was all right, for her. I tried reading “Origin in Death” by J.D. Robb (mom’s a big fan), but I couldn’t get into the book.

        I’ve been in a fiction reading slump; I’ve read many non-fiction books since January 1st. I’m tempted to dig out a Harry Potter book or Stephen King novel just so I can have something to read.

        Maybe I’ll give “The Heist” a try. You can’t go wrong with a male hottie who’s a smarty.
        Amandah recently posted..7 Lessons on Branding from Paula Deen that Can Save Your Business from a ScandalMy Profile

        • Sounds like you and I are attracted to the same types of fiction, though Ive never read Oliver. Reading non-fiction (too much) always puts me in a fiction slump for some reason. Not sure what it is. You might like The Passage by Justin Cronin, sequel is The Twelve. I LOVED those two books and am utterly annoyed that he’s not coming out with the final book in the trilogy until 2014. Seriously? What’s he doing all this time if not writing? LOL

          And, yes, a hottie who’s a smartie can put a con or a heist on me any day! Love me some Nick Fox!


  1. [...] message of some sort in my work that I never intended. That was especially true when I came across this article by Samantha Gluck discussing all the things you can learn about content marketing from THE HEIST, the novel I wrote [...]

  2. […] Here’s what Katniss can teach you about your content marketing strategy: […]

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