Tag Archives: socialmedia

How To Create a Buzz Piece

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iStock 000003645243XSmall thumb How To Create a Buzz Piece 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.

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19 Things I’ve Learned About Social Media

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20081204110858PM thumb 19 Things I’ve Learned About Social MediaSocial Media is interesting. One of the most interesting things about it is that, far from turning everything we know upside down it actually brings certain age-old business foundations into sharp clarity. You only find this out when actually using social media in your business – as opposed to simply talking about it.

I’ve taken a break from my beloved blogging the past couple of weeks to launch a new business project. And in launching this new project I’ve used the opportunity to test some of my social media marketing knowledge, theories and assumptions. It’s been an interesting and very exciting time (and particularly welcoming as, fearing becoming just another echo chamber, I was actually looking for topics other than social media to write about. For me at least, it’s true that early adopters also tend to tire of what they adopt far more quickly than the “come latelys” and that’s part blessing, part curse.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of my own social media media networking and marketing insights as this blog post. They are insights in progress and are by no means exhaustive. They might be different for you. Hopefully it will give people food for thought as they consider their own social media plans, strategies and desired outcomes.

OK, here goes. I’ll try and keep to 19. And not all of this is new… but it is my perspective (which is of course subject to change just because it is mine).

1. Talking, even writing about social media is easy. Actually using it is less so. You really do need to begin with a plan.

2. It is rather unwise to ignore social media. The potential for positive business exposure is pretty big.

3. Face to face contact still trumps sitting behind a computer and “social networking.” You must get out there and “press the flesh.” People need to connect with you as a person.

4. The ABC of marketing is very much alive… find a need, an unserved, preferably hungry niche. Focus on it. Fill that hunger.

5. Test everything. Yes,even social media. If you don’t test and track you might as well be walking blindfold.

6. Blogging IS where it’s at. Though I built a great website which did and is still doing a great job, blogs still out pace it for seo (for a lot less work and expense). I at least need both.

7. As annoying as I find Facebook sometimes, as a small business I would not ignore Facebook. Find out how to harness Facebook Fan Pages for increased Fandom – sorry Brand exposure. Use Facebook ads – but again test, test test. Do stuff for your fans.

8. On Facebook your “friends” aren’t necessarily your market. You may need to cultivate a new market.

9. Copy is still King, Queen and everything in between! I am glad I am a copywriter. No social media campaign will replace lack-lustre copy. You either have to learn it or pay for it. Either works.

10. There are still no magic bullets. Not for online marketing. Not for social media. If you find one, do let me know. Meanwhile take a long term view.  And be persistent.

11. You must still follow up. You must give your customers a reason to keep doing business with you. You must up-sell and cross sell. That’s business 101.

12. Many smaller businesses are still not using social media as much as they could. They don’t see the value. Talk to me. I’ll give you tips.

13. Unless you’ve managed to replicate and/or clone yourself (or you don’t have to bring in business) you are going to have to outsource some aspects of your social media work to do it well. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. Says she who still writes all her own blog posts because she loves it. Guests bloggers anyone?

14. As Yanik Silver said, focus on the key value producing tasks. Outsource the rest. Don’t get caught up in minutiae and bullshit. If you do you will lose the will to live.

15. Build your opt-in list. Form a relationship.  No social media platform will replace a responsive list.

16. Link all your social media platforms. For example my Facebook Page tweets as well.

17. Share helpful tips. But don’t over-share because it’s overwhelming and frankly annoying.

18. Take a break from all the social media tools, platforms, noise et all… take time off, smell the roses. Life does go on.

19. Social Media is very powerful, but it’s still just a tool. You must have a message, a market and a focus (if you’re in business that is)

When it comes to social media there is no one size fits all. Some things will work, some won’t. Most things will take time and other resources. But if you look at everything, even the mistakes as an investment in your business you can’t lose.

Look for opportunities to listen, then take action. Most of all – keep learning and refining.

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