Freelance Switch featured my special report the other week. In their article Get Business Buzzing with a Buzz Piece Kristen Fischer talked about the value of Buzz Pieces, mentioning several examples such as the one by Mike Stelzner writer of White Papers, and the one by Yours Truly on Social Media Copywriting .
I promised to re-blog the post on my blog and with the focus on a few things to think about when creating your buzz piece. My special report has been very successful, however it’s important to note that creating a buzz piece is only half of the journey – the keys to success with one is:
1. Having a clear objective when you create your buzz piece – who is it for? What do you want it to do? What will your audience learn from it?
2. Marketing your piece
3. Capturing and engaging with prospects
4. Creating something that delivers a clear benefit. Think “how will your audience be better off when they’ve read your piece?” Or better still, think Educate, Enlighten and Entertain. All three are good, two out of three I’d say are a must.
I advise all my clients to create a special report… or something free and downloadable from their site for their prospects. Surprisingly, even when they don’t have to do it themselves many won’t do it. When they understand they need to use an auto-responder and keep in touch with prospects, many see it as “too much work.” The fact is, it’s far more work to try and capture or convert someone just visiting your website. They may not be in a buying frame of mind, they may want to know a little more about you and what you offer. If they visit and leave, that’s probably it… you’ve lost them. With a topical buzz piece you have your first point of engagement.
So here are a few quick tips for the how of creating your buzz piece. It’s really what I did for my own. For the why’s you can read the original article.
1. Choose your topic carefully.
Look for a challenge your audience may be having and provide tips for solving it. Be original or at the very least take a different slant on a popular topic.
For example my focus was on how businesses could find their way through the swirling, overwhelming mass of information about social media. In this one report they could get 19 quick practical tips to use then and there or on their next project. At that time people were still trying to get their heads around social media, what it was and what it meant to them, Although social media has matured somewhat, some are still testing the waters… one reason why the report is still topical.
The key is make it about them, not you.
2. Spend time choosing a catchy title.
As a copywriter I’m not into being cute or clever. I’m first and foremost practical. Business owners are busy people and don’t have time to be figuring out clever headlines. However as this report was in part to get me exposure as a copywriter that meant I needed to use my headline-writing skills. Any copywriter will tell you getting the headline right is hard. I don’t mind revealing I spent hours on the headline (including running it by my copywriting coach) before I was happy with it. When I got it, I felt it.. it just fit.
The key is whether your piece is a how-to or any other guide, get a title that’s catchy and that delivers its promise of usefulness.
3. Set up your Autoresponder
The biggest use of buzz pieces is to interest potential clients and customers in who you are and what you have to offer so you are in their minds should they need help at some point. In the case of my report, I actually sent out a letter by post and followed up with phone calls. That was my offline approach which was marginally successful and was a lot of work.
When I set up my report for download I did so with an autoresponder (such as Aweber). People got the report free… in return for their email address. I recall when my news release went live.. I was getting downloads for the next week non-stop. It was pretty incredible. I still engage with my subscribers via my monthly newsletter two years later and of course my mailing list helps me share news, offers and other things about social media marketing and business.
4. Market your buzz piece
If you don’t tell the world what you have and why it’s important to them, no-one will know. There are many ways to market your piece, some more effective than others. I found the most effective for me was writing a news release and submitting it to PRWeb. You can also use Twitter (which I did – after someone had picked up my report and was reading and tweeting about it) very effectively, and blog about it. I also put the link to my special report on the back of my business card, on my website and in my email signatures.
You’re really only limited by your imagination… the key is market it and ensure you have a mechanism to capture interested subscribers and follow up with them.
5. Talk about your buzz piece – and let others give it away
If you write a really useful piece you’ll find people want to give it away to their readers. People are always looking for quality stuff to give to their subscribers so when you get request for this say yes! It’s a great way to build your own list and it spreads your report out there far faster than you could do on your own. You should also let people know they can give your report away to their colleagues and peers. That gets your name, url and details out there and you never know who might pick it up.
So there you go. I am sure you can think of many more to add to this list… these where simply the main ones I kept in mind. I hope you find them useful.
Thanks again to FLSwitch for the mention.