It’s not how much you know but how much you do and implement.
I bet you’ve heard that before.
Yet, you still can’t help but be paralyzed by choices.
You have so many half baked projects and ideas with nothing completed. Which should you focus on first? Which should you shelve for later?
I’ve had similar situations and a question that has always come to my rescue is this:
What would get my audience to sit up and take notice? But not just attention, what would get them to take action and at the same time allow me to turn that attention to biz growth?
Attention is the currency of the web right?
Your brand doesn’t have to be bright or flashy…the words you use can be subtle and not loud, you could be an introvert…regardless of all of this, does your message attract attention?
Are you able to get your audience to take action on what you want them to?
Your audience is tuning out a lot of messages because of the sheer number of channels and options they have.
Just think about it.
All those opt-in forms that simply whiz by and don’t even get a second chance…
All these email lists you’re on but have never read even 30% of the emails sent…
All those ads in our feed…
We’re all fighting for attention in the online space.
Your marketing scores if you get their attention.
Attention doesn’t have to be quick and fast. Attention can be built up over time. You can continuously hone your message – just like sharpening a knife – and work towards being top of mind.
My friend Dave Chesson has an interesting article about 3 different approaches to get your marketing noticed.
If you’re ever interested in self-publishing, Dave’s site Kindlepreneur is a must read. And he brings his expertise in book publishing and author platforms to this article.
Looking for some marketing inspiration? You will love Dave’s refreshing post!
What’s the one thing better than an entertaining and inspiring story about marketing?
A useful one.
Sometimes, it’s easy to feel like we’re being productive, when in reality, we’re kidding ourselves. We can spend hours reading marketing blogs and browsing YouTube. That’s a good use of our time, right?
Well, not exactly.
Unless you take away actionable ideas and tactics from the content you consume, and actually apply them to your business, what have you gained?
In that spirit, I’d like to share with you three of my favorite marketing lessons. They are entertaining but also enlightening.
Although the lessons are from my area of expertise, book marketing, I’ll break them down into actionable steps which any marketer can apply to their own work.
Go Against The Grain Creatively
As you uninspired by the standard range of marketing options in your niche?
Sometimes it feels like everyone is carrying out the same type of marketing as everyone else.
Even though the ideas might be effective, they are often less than exciting. This is especially true for creative people.
Author Jennifer Belle was in this position in the leadup to a book launch. Her publicist was advising her to use the standard promotional tactics based on social media and blogging. Jennifer felt these ideas were dull and unlikely to provide much publicity.
Instead, Jennifer drew inspiration from her hero Jacqueline Susann, author of Valley Of The Dolls.
Jacqueline had engaged in many outlandish publicity moves in her time, and Jennifer wanted to do the same.
Jennifer’s plan was simple. She would audition and hire actresses with particularly crazy laughs to read her book in public.
The entire process was relatively cheap. Jennifer paid the actresses $8 per hour, purchased copies of her own book, and sent them out during rush hour times in highly visible New York City locations.
Her results were astounding.
Jennifer received an incredible amount of media attention. The New York Times ran a story. Radio shows contacted her. Other authors began to spread the word and eventually international radio shows started to call. An incredible word of mouth buzz was also generated.
Think about how much it would have cost Jennifer to purchase advertising in the New York Times and on international radio stations. Instead, she was able to achieve the same impact at a fraction of the cost by getting creative and doing something unique.
Key Takeaways and Action Ideas
I’ll now share what I feel to be the most important, bite-sized lessons from Jennifer’s story, before presenting practical steps you can take to apply them to your own work.
- Listen to your instinct when someone suggests a marketing idea to you. If you feel uninspired by something and doubt it will succeed, you are unlikely to give it the energy and attention it needs.
- Consider marketing ideas from past decades. Any fashionable tactic is likely to be used by everyone you are competing against. If you think outside the box, you will probably be the only person in your niche trying certain things.
- A creative enough publicity stunt will generate coverage far more economically than purchasing advertising directly.
- Keep an ear out for anecdotes and tales from older people in your niche you admire. You might hear of something they did when they were younger than could work for you in the present time.
- Creating an offline buzz leads to a lot of online attention and sharing.
Here are three ways to apply these concepts to your own area of marketing.
- Find a source of publicity you would love to be featured on. This could be a publication, website, radio show, or even TV station. Carefully study the types of stories they cover. Look for any themes. Perhaps they focus on charitable stories, or inspirational stories, for example. When you feel you have a solid idea of what they’re looking for, be creative and find a way to get their attention.
- Read biographies and memoirs of people within your field or niche that you admire. Jennifer was able to take a concept from a hero of hers from past decades and apply it in the modern world. See if you can do the same.
- Be open minded about the type of people who can help market your work. Think of hiring experts as an investment rather than an expense. Jennifer made use of actresses engaging in public performances.Are there unconventional people that could help put you on the map? Brainstorm the types of people in your network and ways in which they could help.
Not everyone will be able to generate coverage in the New York Times and attention from international radio.
However, you can still try this on a smaller scale. Getting the attention of local media, relevant online influencers or niche publications related to your field is an achievable target.
Mix Early Adoption With Bespoke Content Creation
There are a lot of advantages to being one of the first people to adopt a new platform, idea or way of doing business.
For example, King was among the early authors who made the switch to writing on a computer. He took this early adoption a step further and became the first to write a fictional book about the newfangled world of word processing.
King continued this practice into the modern era. He was one of the first writers to mass release an eBook. Naturally, when Amazon were looking to promote their new Kindle reader, they knew who to contact.
To promote the release of the new device, King wrote a special story only available on Kindle. Of course, with King being King, the story was about a supernatural Kindle device with horrific consequences.
This early adopter approach by King worked to his advantage. As he was one of the first authors writing exclusively for the Kindle platform, he received a lot of attention from its users.
By making the Kindle device itself the topic of his story, he ensured that his audience would be interested in what he had to offer.
Try and see it from the perspective of an early Kindle buyer. These people were excited enough about the idea of Kindle to buy one before it was common to do so. Stephen King was excited enough to write a story about the device. Of course, early adopters would want to read it.
Seek out early adoption opportunities you can deliver your message in a bespoke way.
Imagine the advantage you would enjoy if you’d been one of the first YouTubers, the first bloggers or the first to see the potential in Google advertising!
Key Takeaways and Action Ideas
So what are the key marketing concepts we can take from King’s early adoption example, and how can they be applied to any business?
- New platforms tend to receive huge promotional pushes from their owners in their early stages. By being part of that platform, you benefit from this extra effort which wouldn’t be expended at a later stage.
- It’s not enough to simply be one of the earliest adopters of a new platform. You still need to offer a bespoke form of your own work or message suited to the new platform.
- Embrace opportunities and advantages offered by technology in your niche. If you’re a blogger, invest in specialist blogging resources. If you write, consider specialist book writing software. No matter your area of marketing, there are likely to be new opportunities. Seek them out.
- You can use your past early adoption experience to guide your later choices. As King had enjoyed positive results from being an early adopter of the word processor, he was probably more inclined to see similar potential in the Kindle than others.
- Be discerning about the things you become an early adopter of. Word processors and Kindles are directly relevant to King’s field of fiction. Make sure new platforms and methods are relevant to your own area of expertise.There are endless opportunities for early adoption and you can only pursue so many. Therefore, make sure they are the most relevant to your own work.
Let’s consider three ways to apply these principles.
- Keep an ear to the ground.By the time your favorite blogger has written about a new platform, chances are it’s not really that new.Instead, look for ads announcing newly launched or upcoming platforms. Beta tests are absolutely perfect.
You want to be able to assess whether a platform is right for you before your competition even know it exists.
- Be sure to package and present your content and message in a way which is designed specifically for the new platform and its users.Just to illustrate this with an example, imagine you were one of the earliest podcasters. Simply being present on podcasting platforms would get you the attention of their earliest users due to the lack of competition.However, if you didn’t make your content appropriate and enjoyable for the podcast format, you’d rapidly lose your early advantage.
- If you’re deciding between more than one early adoption opportunity, consider which seems to be the most suited to long-term growth, which is the most unique, and which is most likely to reach people interested in what you have to offer.If you can find an early adoption opportunity that seems built to last, difficult to replicate, and able to reach your target market, you’re onto a winner.
Perform Your Work In A Fascinatingly Public Way
Remember how Jennifer Belle drew inspiration from past marketing maestros to publicize her book?
Here’s an example from 1927 to inspire your own efforts.
Popular writer Georges Simenon agreed to write a novel while suspended in a glass box for 72 hours. On top of this, the public would be able to make suggestions to him as he worked!
The media covered the runup to Simenon’s stunt intensely, generating a lot of publicity for the writer and his new work.
The twist in the tale is that the stunt never went ahead. The sponsor was unable to financially back the event and it never took place. Despite this, Simenon had already received astonishing levels of publicity for absolutely nothing.
Key Takeaways and Action Ideas
Marketers of any type can learn from the ideas found in Simenon’s story.
- Opening up your work to the world can cause real intrigue. All you have to do is let people witness your process in action.Think about a magician that shows how tricks are performed. They are still doing the same old work they always do. The only difference is they are letting others see how it really happens.
- Allowing people to be participants rather than mere spectators is powerful. Simenon wasn’t only going to write in public, he was also going to take suggestions from regular people as he worked. If a situation gives an audience a feeling of influence, they are likely to remain interested in that situation.
- Carrying out normal work in an intense way makes it more interesting than usual.A band recording an album isn’t a story. A band recording a whole album in a day is.This principle explains the popularity of marketing case studies which take something mundane, such as building an email list but achieve it in a much shorter time period than usual.
- It’s possible to generate buzz without even carrying out an event. Often, anticipation and speculation are more interesting for people than the event itself.
Let’s consider how to put these ideas into action.
- The modern-day environment gives you plenty of opportunities to show your way of working to the world without having to sit in a glass box. You can use live streams, social media platforms such as Snapchat, and journal style blog posts to show the world how you do things.
- Utilize the power of audience participation. Imagine you are working on a creative project. If you give your audience input into the fate of that project, don’t you think they will be more invested in its outcome?
- Consider whether there is an attention-grabbing way you can perform a marathon version of your usual work.For example, writing and publishing 24 blog posts in 24 hours, while posting an hourly photo to social media, and also giving your audience input into the topics you write about.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this deep dive into creative marketing concepts as demonstrated by authors.
More importantly, I hope you’ve found at least one idea you can apply to your own marketing.
The three lessons in their simplest form are –
- Think way outside the box to come up with publicity plans your competitors would never be daring enough to dream of.
- Offer killer bespoke content to brand new platforms to gain an early adopter advantage.
- Leverage the power of transparency and participation to make your everyday work a source of fascination.
I’d love to hear your own personal take on any of the above ideas. If you have a question, an idea, or just a funny marketing anecdote to share, please feel free to connect with me in the comments.