Platform: get noticed in a noisy world by Michael Hyatt
WHEN there were only a handful of products or services in your category, getting noticed was about quality. When you are competing in a market with innumerable competitors and substitutes, quality is only an entrance ticket to compete.
Today the challenge of getting the attention of potential clients or customers has become easier, cheaper and more possible than it has been for decades through use of social media. Websites, blogs, apps, and social networks used thoughtfully as a combined force can connect you to potential customers and clients as never before.
Add to this that no one can stop you doing this and there are no massive entry fees.
Even if you are using social media today to promote your product or service, you will be well advised to read Michael Hyatt’s extremely practical, step-by-step guide so you can (in the words of the sub-title,) “get noticed in a noisy world”.
The first step in getting noticed is to have a product or service that is compelling. David Ogilvy, the advertising genius, wrote: “Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster.”
With competition at vicious levels your product must solve a problem in a way that is beyond your customer’s expectation, and even better, in an unexpected way. This creates the “WOW!” effect that is a factor in the most successful products or services in any category.
It is the phone that does things you never expected, or the hip replacement surgery that has you walking out of the hospital a day later.
The first 10% of the book is a clever guide to getting more “WOW” out of your product.
And then the book's real value is revealed. Each of the brief 60 chapters is a stepping stone to creating a powerful marketing tool using social media. It starts with a chapter titled “Accept Personal Responsibility.”
While you can and must use anything and anyone who can help, you cannot delegate this to anyone - you can only invite them to join you in this endeavour. This is especially true if you are the product or service, but no less true if you lead an organisation. Marketing is far too important to be left to the marketing department.
At the most basic level you will need an "elevator pitch", an 8-second, sharp, focused description of what you offer.
People have never been more distracted, and if you doubt this, consider how fast you flick through material that doesn’t grab your attention in 8 seconds.
There is an entire chapter dedicated to giving your product a memorable name, and another on how to write compelling headlines, each complete with references to the most useful books and sites.
The foundation of your social media marketing effort is your website, Twitter, and Facebook or LinkedIn, and your blog, claims Hyatt. He urges readers to start or restart their blogs.
Secrets of successful blogging
The steps in doing this, which I describe below, are just one example of how practical this book is and what a valuable resource it is.
To start a successful blog you need to determine the content theme. This is vastly different from the plethora of blogs that are nothing more than fleeting and random thoughts and little more than an online personal journal that is of interest to few outside the immediate family.
The theme you are looking for is one that people will want to follow and keep up with. This must be determined by your ability to generate high quality content on a regular basis, weekly or even a few times a week.
Then you are going to need to select a service to do this. He uses WordPress.org (and explains why,) but there is also TypePad.com and Blogger.com.
Then write your first post, a short piece of less than five hundred words, about something you know that others will find helpful.
Add whatever apps you need to help you build your metrics to see if you are attracting the right audience, and publicise your blog. Make it easy for people to subscribe to your blog and to share it with others. So much of what you will need for success is automated in free or cheap apps.
There is a template for writing a blog which you will certainly find helpful to get going. There is also guidance on how to create and add your own video content.
To succeed, you need to avoid 10 common mistakes made by people who realise the power of blogging. These include not posting often enough and posting too often, posts that are too long and posts that do not invite engagement.
This last point is critical to the entire process of social media. Unlike a book or newspaper, social media must invite dialogue between the writer and the audience.
A passive audience is less likely to buy your product or service than one that asks questions, adds comments, and disagrees. As any salesman knows, once the customer engages the sale is possible.
Social media is for marketing, not for the fun of writing. It is powerful and Michael Hyatt, a New York Times best-selling author on social media and chairperson of a large publishing company, has proven it by assembling tens of thousands of followers of his blogs and tweets.
Hyatt is a master who is giving away the techniques. I have not read a book this generous with ideas and knowledge in a long time.
Readability: Light -+--- Serious
Insights: High +----- Low
Practical: High +---- Low
*Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy. Views expressed are his own.
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