I got a nice surprise when David included me in his thanks and sent me a proof copy of his new book: The New Rules of Marketing & PR along with an audio seminar Online News Releases. Sweet Stuff!
I’d like to share juicy tidbits of the book with you, but also talk about some things that I’ve learned as a marketer/blogger that correlates to what David has written. I hope it will be interesting, and be warned: this is a long post ;).
If you liked the Cluetrain Manifesto, you’ll like this book. Message: If you have something to sell–you need to understand, and respect, that consumers are now plugged in and connected like never before. Companies are slowly beginning to realize that building relationships and communicating with consumers is the fast track to manna.
David provides plenty of examples and actionable steps that can help expand your online reach–this book isn’t marketing theory and fluff, it’s all laid out with examples and steps to make. And HELLO! we could all benefit from that info. You don’t have to be big business to benefit from what he’s shared, there’s some great stuff in the book.
If you’re a company and you’re not trying to figure out how to connect with your customers online or how to generate buzz and work with bloggers, ***You Are Late***. Because some of your competitors already are, and the number is growing by the day.
Buyer Persona Profiles
David talks about developing “Buyer Persona Profiles”: Who are you trying to reach? What are their goals? Problems? What’s important to them? What are they doing online? What are they attracted to? and on and on. Flipping this to online marketers and bloggers, I’ve found that I have applied this with great success to one of my blogs.
You have to drill down and figure out who is that person you’re trying to reach–and then create content just for them.*
Although David provides examples and ideas for multi-Buyer Persona Profiles for companies and organizations to use, this is a tricky thing for bloggers because you know the “unsubscribe” notices are going to hit your inbox occasionally. And you know it is probably due to the fact that you are presenting a vibe or two that just isn’t “resonating” with a more/less sophisticated crowd. BUT if you stay focused on the “Buyer Persona” that you’re aiming for, instead of trying to kick it with everyone–you’ll see more chatter, more links, more comments, more subs. More blog stalkers. Guaranteed. It’s called tightly targeting your content.
David even goes so far as to suggest naming the persona and clipping a representative picture of one from a magazine and having it in your face when trying to develop the message to reach them. I found that to be really powerful stuff.
I found a vocal blog fan and focused on her (she commented and linked a lot). Carefully chosen, she seemed to fit what I had in mind of the type of reader I was trying to reach. What would she be interested in reading? What would she like to see on the blog? What would she link to? It’s working to the point that another blogger linked to the blog with a blurb along the lines of: this blog is like a crack addiction, can’t shake it. And that’s TRUE for a lot of readers on that blog.
Is your blog crack to someone? Would they miss it if it disappeared in some black hole? If that’s not the case, read what David suggests about developing Buyer Personas and develop one. Because it really does work.
*The best persona would preferably be one that compliments what you can offer and is true to you (as a blogger). It’s no use being fake and trying to attract vegetarians to your blog if a) you think they’re silly or misled for cutting out meat, and b) you don’t have a clue about the lifestyle, benefits and the choice. Your vibe will be ‘off’ and will have a hard time connecting with that persona–never mind driving yourself crazy trying to be something you’re not.
Page 135 (softcover, uncorrected proof version):
Often times, marketers and PR pros are amazed at the transformation of their materials and programs as a result of buyer persona profiling. “When you really know how your buyers think and what matters to them, you eliminate the agony of guessing about what to say or where and how to communicate with buyers,” says Revella.
“And of course, they’re wasting budgets building programs and tools that don’t resonate with anyone. It’s just so much easier and effective to listen before you talk.”
Key word: Resonate. Or how about: Grab them by the throat. And to do that–you need to be quiet and pay attention to that persona. When you know who you’re trying to reach and what they’re about–it’s so much easier developing content to attract them.
More sections to read:
How To Create Thoughtful Content (page 155)
How To Write For Your Buyers (page 159)
An Analysis of GobbledyGook (page 160)
Poor Writing: How Did We Get Here? (page 161)
It comes down to: Write for your customers/readers/visitors. Don’t make it “all about you”. Skip the promo language and the “trying to impress you” stuff that means nothing to anyone but you. Again: Know your buyer and what she’s interested in and write for her in her language.
Blogs and Media Relations
Getting your organization visible on blogs is an increasingly important way to not only reach your buyers, but also to reach the mainstream media that cover your industry, because reporters and editors read blogs for story ideas. Treat influential bloggers exactly as you treat influential reporters–read their stuff and send them specifically targeted information that might be useful to them. Offer them interviews with your executives and demonstrations or samples of your products. Offer to take them to lunch.
The blog of mine mentioned above is not a highly influential blog, but it does have some interest. It’s within the top 5,000 in Technorati and for the niche that it’s in, it’s doing great. And I’ll tell you this: Companies ARE going after bloggers. Mmm Hmmm. Even here on this little blog (SuperAff), I get proposals–but not very many are worthwhile because they’re just not handled right or the product isn’t right.
The key to best success for buzz is to make it EASY for a blogger to write about you, and the best way to do that is to make it mutually beneficial. Free products to try, exclusive freebies for visitors (without the lame s&h charges), free content like reports and white papers and little-known hacks (that a blogger can do with what they will in their own way/words).
David’s approach with his new book is a PERFECT EXAMPLE on how to do this well. He wrote up a big blog post linking to a group of bloggers and thanking them, then offered to send them the book for free (along with other goodies).
This gave bloggers a few different things: Flattered the ego (:heart:); Provided content ideas (book review and commentary); Freebies & Goodies (he even autographed the book).
Here’s the buzz that single page of his that I linked to at the beginning generated: Technorati. Over 100 blog links and growing, and if you have a website at all–you know how difficult it is to get 10, never mind 100+ freely given links. Then add all the rest that linked to his main page instead and all the book reviews that are yet to come.
That’s exactly how you connect with bloggers and get them to talk about you, and with great energy too.
It’s *INCLUSIVE*. Look at the people he linked to. All kinds of various blogging personalities. Some big wigs. Some smaller bloggers. And everyone in between. He reached out to a wide spectrum of people, and he was genuine with his outreach. He really did embrace and thank a bunch of people. That makes it so easy to respond to!
Big business, small business, small time online marketer or big time blogger: the book does provide a lot of food for thought, a deeper understanding of what’s happening online as well as actionable steps to take that will help your online presence grow. And David fully demonstrated with his book launch that he knows what he’s talking about ;).
Congrats David, the book’s a hit in my eyes! And it helped me too, thank you for the copy 🙂
PS: Chapters not mentioned that were big hits with me were the podcasting and news release sections. I’d love to delve into those areas, ack! I need more time!