Even before we had our conversation here, David Meerman Scott has held a special place on my bookshelf. His practical advice and no nonsense approach will help you break the rules -- and drive buzz, product feedback, sales and more.
The second, expanded, edition of the book starts strong with Robert Scoble's own story about Microsoft, and grows richer with tips and case studies from Meerman Scott's own experience.
This is not a book just for marketers and PR professionals. It's a handy manual for business people who want to connect with their customers on the Web and earn word-of-mouth marketing off line. How?
By gaining the credibility you need to build your business, writes Scoble. You do that by reaching your buyers directly with useful content at the exact moment the buyer needs it -- making public relations public again.
What has changed?
For starters, media is now one of your publics, not the only one. You can use blogs, online video, news releases, and other forms of Web content to communicate directly with your customers.
The Web is a great disintermediator. From a PR standpoint, I can tell you that running a solid communications program directed to customers, partners, and prospects will prompt them to stream your news area RSS feed directly on their reader. As far as they're concerned, your hitting publish on your Web site or blog is all it takes to get your news -- they don't need media in the mix.
In fact, in many cases, the reverse happens. Once enough people are interested in your project, product, or service, mainstream media will take an interest in your story.
What else has changed?
People want authenticity, not spin. They want participation, not propaganda. Marketing is about delivering content at the precise moment people need it to make buying decisions. You can see how the lines between marketing and PR continue to blur and how integration is the winning strategy online-- and off line.
The Power of Blogs
While for many it's easier and more convenient to suggest using Twitter and Facebook as part of a company's outpost and participation in social media, I'm a strong believer in the power of blogs -- especially for B2B companies.
Think about it. You get your name out there, become your own publisher and have a chance to share your subject matter expertise. You can post rebuttals and corrections to stories without having to beg reporters and media outlets to do so. And, you get the benefit of engaging your customers directly, while commenting on industry trends, and being found in search.
This is not just about your own blog. It's about participating in a blog ecosystem; commenting, reading other people's viewpoints, and interacting with professionals who may be passionate about your field -- and influential because of it.
Ever thought of news releases with an offer?
You should be writing those, too. Does your PR read like this? If it does, follow the customer -- use their language, speak directly to them in your release. The truth is media folks will appreciate that as well. You'll be helping them bring to life the story for their readers.
If you work in B2B, you know that making your customers successful in the eyes of their customers is a win-win. We're talking about the same idea here. Make an offer your customers cannot ignore, build a bit of timeliness in it to engage human competitive nature, and watch the news spread.
Some examples of offers that create buzz:
- a film producer creates a soundtrack free to download
- a $1MM coupon off a luxury home
- exclusive access to hot news
- explosive new research that changes the game
Have a personality
This is becoming a new rule also for mainstream media. Once you start building your own following and have people who want to know about what's going on with your company, what new projects you're working on, you can have some fun, too.
Run contests, do live meet ups and record them on our blog. Look lively and approachable on video, sound interesting in podcasts and talk radio shows. Learn how to prepare your subject matter experts for new media interviews.
Earn attention by creating something worth spreading and making it available online, for free. This book will help you understand why and get to how quickly.
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[Disclosure: I received a copy of The New Rules of Marketing & PR from David Meerman Scott. This review and recommendation is based upon the quality of the material - and not on how I obtained it.]
©2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.