Admit it, your marketing campaign sucks.
You’re doing everything you’re supposed to, yet somehow you’re still not getting noticed.
No attention, no traffic … not even a bleep on the radar.
What are you doing wrong? What is it that your competitors are doing and you’re not?
“Well, they’ve been doing this a lot longer than I have. It’s hard for me to catch up.”
“They’ve got a whole PR department and I’m only one person.”
Because what I’m about to show you will blow them out of the water.
It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been in the business or how big their PR budget is.
What matters is knowing what works and what doesn’t. And more importantly, knowing what will ultimately make a difference to your bottom line.
Why Your Marketing Isn’t Working
Be honest. Are you:
- sending out the same old press release that no one else but you reads?
- submitting your app to review sites overwhelmed by hundreds requests a month and where your chances of getting a free review is about as great as getting struck by lightning?
- using black hat tricks like building thousands of backlinks that can easily get your website de-listed by Google? (yes, this has happened to me)
- placing ads everywhere hoping something will stick?
- following outdated SEO practices?
- spending thousands of dollars you don’t have on AdWords campaigns?
If you’re doing any of the above and wonder why no one’s buying, it’s because the traditional way of online marketing just … well, doesn’t work anymore.
Be the Signal, Not the Noise
When you’re doing the same thing everyone else is doing: (1) you’re being lazy (get off your ass and innovate!); and (2) you’ve become part of the background noise instead of a signal for everyone else to follow.
The Solution: Leverage Marketing on Steroids
In my previous post, I told you about newsjacking and how I was going to conduct my own marketing experiment using this method. So, this will be the first in a series of posts where I document the whole process. (Note: If you haven’t read that post yet, you really need to before jumping in to what I’m about to explain.)
But let me get one thing out of the way first. The term “newsjacking”. Very appropriate, but I hate the bad connotation attached to it. People liken the technique to a stunt. And though it’s been around a long time in the PR world, it gets no respect from journalists.
So if it’s nothing new, why are you telling me about all this?!
What makes newsjacking different than what PR professionals have been doing for years, piggybacking on a story, is the real-time nature of newsjacking and the ability of a single person, through increased access to social networks, to influence a story. Instead of PR professionals hounding the reporters, now it’s the other way around. The media approaches YOU … if you do it right.
So, back to the term “newsjacking”. Like any tool, it can be used for good or bad. While many have used it for PR stunts, it can also be a legitimate and very effective way to market your product or services.
But this is a case where the label gets in the way. So, I’ve come up with another way to describe not only “newsjacking” but a type of marketing I’d like to call “Leverage Marketing“.
What is Leverage Marketing?
Leverage (noun): “The power to influence a person or situation to achieve a particular outcome.”
That describes newsjacking perfectly, doesn’t it?
So, I wanted to come up with a different term to describe what I’ll be doing because there are so many facets to this marketing method that using the term “newsjacking” just doesn’t do it justice.
Now that I got that out of the way. Let’s dig in, shall we?
Leverage Marketing – The Ground Rules
As we begin, it helps to see your role in Leverage Marketing as a performer in an improvisational sketch. Like improvisation, the real-time nature of Leverage Marketing (LM) makes it difficult for you to implement tasks and generate results with any kind of consistency.
And also like improvisation, there are rules we can follow to make these tasks easier and the results more predictable.
But first, you should read this article on Tina Fey’s Rules For Improv…And the Workplace. The rules are simple and effective, both for improv and LM. Please read this and come back to this post when you’re done.
Did you read it? Don’t cheat. Go read it and come back! The rest of this post will make much more sense if you read it.
Okay, so here are the lessons I learned from the improv rules in that article:
Lesson #1: Have an open mind. To effectively use LM, your mind needs to be open … open to be inspired to create an angle to a story that includes you, your idea, your company, your product, or your services.
Lesson #2: Contribute something. Don’t add to the noise. Contribute valuable insight that leaves a mark in people’s minds and YOU become the influencer.
Lesson #3: Be part of the solution. Don’t just be a talking head, giving opinions instead of offering solutions. People crave answers. They want solutions. Give it to them!
Lesson #4: Seize the opportunity to shape the story. This is the holy grail. To not only ride on the coattail of a news story, but to change people’s perception of a story, or dare I say, become the story (in a positive way, of course). Make it your own and aspire to do something great. Seize the opportunities presented and you may see many beautiful happy accidents.
Lesson #5: Learn to adapt and change. Some things cannot be planned for. Mistakes will be made. If LM was easy, everyone would be doing it. And you don’t want to be just like everyone else, do you? The only thing you can do is learn from your mistakes and move on.
Just as improv is a collaboration between performers working together to create an engaging scene, LM is a collaboration between you and the media working together to generate a well-rounded story.
There are no scripts to follow and you need the ability to react on the spot. LM is your performance and the world wide web is your stage. And just like the performers, you need to hone your craft. This is not a one-shot deal. If you want to get better at LM, you have to practice, practice, practice.
Step-by-Step Guide to Implementing a Leverage Marketing Strategy
1. Study the Masters
In the beginning, we learn by imitating.
So the first step is to see how other people have successfully implemented their Leverage Marketing strategy.
Like basketball players who study old game tapes to learn their opponent’s weaknesses and map out a strategy for winning. You need to study successful leverage marketers and dissect the elements of a good as well as a bad LM campaign. When you find common elements or recurring patterns, you can use that to your advantage.
With that, I’ve put together a “game tape” for you. Examples of LMs I’ve come across. This library of LM examples (case studies) will be regularly updated. I will add to it as I come across good examples that you can learn from. You can always refer back to this spreadsheet whenever you need an inspiration for a LM campaign. And if you come across examples you’d like to share with the rest of us, please email me and I will include it on the list.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Please note that I’m only making the complete list of case studies available through my online forum to my opt-in subscribers. So, if you want to see it, you’ll have to register for a free account here: Register to see the case studies. When you register, you will automatically be added to my free newsletter email list. And yes, this is my blatant attempt to get you to subscribe to my email newsletter with an incentive. And no, I don’t spam my list. Only useful stuff from me. Promise!
Once you’ve registered, you can see the Case Studies here.
2. Apply Examples to Your Situation
Now I want you to think hard, I mean REALLY hard, about how these can be applied to your product/service/situation/niche/industry. Don’t just go through the motions. Again, you wanna be lazy like most people? Then you’ll get zero results like most people.
Below are a couple of examples to get your creative juices flowing. Read the example, then ask yourself what would you have done differently to make it better or more effective? How can you apply it to your own product/service?
Example 1: When 33 Chilean miners, trapped underground for 69 days, were rescued, they emerged from the mine wearing a new pair of Oakley sunglasses to protect them from the glaring sunlight. The resulting press coverage was valued at over $40 million.
Application: Can you donate your product or service to someone or a group of people in urgent need? How can you get the press interested in your act of generosity? (Now this can be seen as very self-serving, so you’ll want to be very tactful.)
Example 2: GoDaddy.com, the top domain name registrar, originally came out supporting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). One of its main competitors, NameCheap, offered a special to unhappy GoDaddy customers who wanted to transfer their domains because of GoDaddy’s support of SOPA.
Application: Can you lure your competitor’s customer away by pointing out the competitor’s support of an unpopular idea or organization, and position yourself as a better alternative? What can you offer them as an incentive to switch?
Need more ideas to attract customers? Check out my Ultimate Guide on how to get more customers.
3. Sign up for a Google+ Account
So, Google+ will feature prominently in my LM strategy.
Because Google+ posts get indexed VERY quickly, “sometimes showing up within minutes of being published.”
With the success of LM being dependent on speed and getting found by the media via the search engines (specifically, Google), being on Google+ is almost a necessity.
Also, since I am building AppsBlogger as an authority blog, some of miscellaneous contents I’ll be posting in conjunction with my LM campaigns would not be appropriate here. But on Google+? Well, that’s a different story.
Want to see what shenanigans I’m up to on Google+? Then add me to your circle and find out.
And last, but not least, Google+ gives certain posts Authorship treatment (name and profile picture in the listings) which not only helps reporters and journalists identify you but gives you an aura of authority (deserved or not).
As noted recently by Amit Singhal (part of the team responsible for Google search algorithms), it’s not just about content anymore, it’s about “identity, relationships and content.” “Content WAS king. Now Content is a knight at the round table along with Identity and Relationship.”
… and having a Google+ personal account can play a big part in helping you achieve this trifecta.
4. Set Up Alerts and Searches
To be there when the news breaks, you need to set up monitoring mechanisms.
And once you have identified or narrowed down certain industry/niche keywords you are interested in monitoring, you can create keyword alerts and searches to notify you when breaking news occurs or when these keywords are used.
- Google Alerts. Get emails sent to you when Google finds new results – such as web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs — that match your search term.
- Twilert. It’s like a Google Alert for Twitter. Twilert enables you to receive regular email alerts of tweets containing any keyword you like.
- HootSuite. HootSuite is a social media dashboard that lets you monitor keywords, manage multiple Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other popular social media profiles.
- Help a Reporter Out (HARO). This is the service that over 30,000 journalists use to locate experts for interviews and article quotes, etc. Sign up for a free HARO account and you’ll receive a daily listing of queries from journalists. Monitor this list for possible PR opportunities and also to get a pulse of what reporters are looking for when doing a story.
- Google News. This is a great place to look for ideas across many industries and different countries. You can also get a quick glance at the current top stories.
5. Do Some Paper Trading
A “Paper Trade” is an investment term defined as “simulated trading that investors use to practice mimicking trades … without actually entering into any monetary transactions.” (Investopedia). It’s “a good way to learn the ropes without risking any money.”
Like investing, the rewards for Leverage Marketing can be great, but so can its risks. Do it wrong, you risk damaging your reputation and the reputation of your company.
That’s why you should “paper trade” a few times before you put your name and reputation on the line.
See a breaking news perfect for injecting your commentary? Look for ways to tie your company/product/service/pitch/announcement to the breaking news. Write your comment or post as if you were going to publish it. But don’t.
Hold on to your content and see how the news plays out. See how others have responded and if anyone attempted to leverage the story. Polish your comment/post to reflect what a perfect LM angle would’ve looked like. And save it.
Because with a little editing, you might just be able to use this unpublished content for that next breaking news. And this time, you’ll have the jump on the competition because the content is already 90-95% written!
And even if you’ll never be able to use this content, it’s wise to practice writing for a LM piece. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it certainly helps.
Use Leverage Marketing for Good, Not Evil
I want to make it clear that I’m not advocating publicity at all costs. Obviously, there’s good publicity and there’s bad publicity.
Always write your comment and post not only with an eye towards what will make a difference to the bottom line, but also for the greater good. It is the marriage between these two that will help you and your brand rise above all others.
View your LM campaign as an “endless series of difficult but achievable hills.” Pick the right hills to climb and before you know it, you’ll have scaled to the top of the PR mountain.
Now that you know how to monitor for news as it happens and are diligently “paper trading” your LM posts, the next step is to dive into the nuts and bolts of writing and publishing content for a LM campaign. It’s part art, part science. That’s why it’s important to practice. Because you never know when inspiration will meet perspiration to create an amazing PR campaign.
Stay tuned for my next post as I take you through the steps of generating content for your LM campaigns that produce consistent, measurable results. Until then, keep your eyes peeled and ears open for that breaking news!