Marketing to Buyer Personas and Inbound Marketing – David Meerman Scott’s Keynote at Inbound Marketing Summit

3 11 2008

This past weekend I started re-reading David Meerman Scott‘s The New Rules of Marketing & PR.  As you know from previous posts, I’m a huge fan of David because of his thought leadership in the space of inbound marketing.  As I was reading I realized that I hadn’t shared his keynote from the Inbound Marketing Summit with all of you.  This keynote was excellent and definitely a “must watch”.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader, you can view it here.

Are you marketing to different buyer personas?  What are some of the ways that you are executing an inbound marketing campaign?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Why You’ll Never Get on Oprah…and Why That’s OK

16 09 2008

A lot of businesses focus on “making it big” in the media. While it’s great to be interviewed in Entrepreneur Magazine or be a guest on Oprah, the average business owner will not have this success.  And you know what? That’s okay.

Take a look at the diagram above. Say you have a press release and you have two options. You can send it to the Oprah show and pray every day that they choose you to be on the show OR you can distribute your search engine optimized press release using a distribution service, knowing it will definitely reach a wide variety of channels online, including Yahoo!, Google, RSS feeds, blogs, journalists and others who may want to interview you further or write about your release on their websites.

Now, each of those channels has anywhere from dozens to thousands of readers who will see your press release. Many will click on the link to your website to see what you’re all about. Some of those will even buy from you.

So rather than putting all your eggs in one basket with the Oprah show (or major media channel of your choice), you do better to diversify and let larger numbers of people in smaller, under served niches find you.

As David Meerman Scott says in his book The New Rules of Marketing & PR, the market for press release is changing:

  • Marketers must shift their thinking from mainstream marketing to the masses to a strategy of reaching vast numbers of under served audiences via the Web.

  • PR is not about your boss seeing your company on TV. It’s about your buyers seeing your company on the Web.

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A Rant About Interruption Marketing

8 09 2008

As I’m sitting at the Inbound Marketing Summit anxiously awaiting the conference to begin, I’m reminded about interruption marketing. Both of the keynote speakers today, David Meerman Scott and Seth Godin, have both written extensively on their blogs and in their books about interruption versus permission-based marketing.

On a daily basis we receive various forms of interruption marketing. While not wanted, I have grown accustomed to many of these forms of marketing and thus simply tune out when confronted with them. However, on Labor Day it was a different situation…one which I couldn’t tune out.

I had traveled down to Watch Hill, Rhode Island with my fiancee, her family and we brought along our dog for her first adventure in the ocean. There I was, a perfect day to be at the ocean….approximately 85 degrees, slight breeze, no humidity and not a cloud in sight. “What a great day to relax and enjoy some time away from my hyperconnected life” I thought to myself. I had been doing some reading as waves crashed into the shoreline with my dog thoroughly confused at why the water kept “attacking” her as she tried to lay in the sand. Just when it seemed that all was perfect I begin to hear the roar of a small airplane. I looked up in the sky and guess what I saw? A small airplane trailing a long banner for Cox cable service. At first I didn’t think anything of it because we’ve all had similar experiences when relaxing on the beach. But, throughout the course of the afternoon I saw a plane probably another 3-4 times, each time with a new banner. Since there aren’t big billboards in the ocean or along the beach, companies turn to banners flown by plane as a way to interrupt people relaxing with their friends and family. I mean, really, do you think I’m going to run out to my local dealership to purchase the car you have a special on this weekend or a great deal on local cable service because of a banner that I had to stare up into the sun and squint to try to read….which is of course after I had to put down my book and have the nice silence I was enjoying disturbed?!?!

While my rant is only one example of many different forms of interruption marketing, I think it is one that highlights why inbound marketing is so important. The potential customer is giving you permission to tell them about your services instead of interrupting them when they’re trying to concentrate at work, spend time with their family, etc.

For those not able to attend the Inbound Marketing Summit, it is being streamed live.  

You can also keep up with all the chatter on Twitter about the Inbound Marketing Summit.

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The New Rules of Press Releases

25 08 2008

In case you haven’t noticed, press releases are changing. The way they’re written, the way they’re distributed, and the way they’re used has evolved.In the “old days,” press releases were sent to, well, the press. They piled up on reporters desks (because they were physically mailed to them; no email back then!) and occasionally one got pulled from the pile and printed in the newspaper.

Today, we have email, Internet, and SEO to throw into the mix. Press releases use all these elements, and are no longer  held captive by a few key editors. Now bloggers and consumers are the targets of releases.

In his book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR , David Meerman Scott explains the “new rules of press releases:”

  • Don’t just send news releases when “big news” is happening; find good reasons to send them all the time
  • Instead of just targeting a handful of journalists, create news releases that appeal directly to your buyers.
  • Write releases that are replete with keyword-rich copy.
  • Include offers that compel consumers to respond to your release in some way.
  • Place links in releases to deliver potential customers to landing pages on your Web site.
  • Optimize news release delivery for searching and browsing.
  • Add social media tags for Technorati, DIGG, and so your release will be found.
  • Drive people into the sales process with news releases.

How are you using press releases? Are you still stuck in the “old days,” or have you evolved along with the process?

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Using Unconventional PR to Gain Exposure

20 07 2008

In my last post I mentioned that David Meerman Scott, in his book and ebook, suggests that we should write press releases about any topic and not just when we have big corporate news such as a new product launch.  This got me thinking about the various unconventional uses of internet PRs I’ve seen at my company.  Two examples come to mind:

Example #1: We had a client who used our company to write and distribute a PR for them because they were in the final interview phases with a major organization in their field.  The purpose of the press release was to gain them positive exposure on the internet when the firm searched for them.  We wrote the PR highlighting previous accomplishments, articles that had been written about them, and their education…basically a resume.

Result #1: In 15 days the client received 29,000 headline impressions, 400+ fullpage reads/downloads of the PR, and it was picked up by 50+ websites, blogs, journals, etc.  The client ended up receiving the job offer that they had been being recruited for.

This was an unconventiontional use of PR because it was used to enhance their online reputation and it was used to gain exposure to obtain a new position.

Example #2: I have distributed PRs for my restaurant, Caminito Steakhouse, when we have hosted beer and wine dinners

Results #2: We received similar stats as my first example.  But more importantly to me, due in part to our PR efforts, when you search Google for “argentinean steakhouse” we appear as the 2nd search result on the 1st page, 3 times on the first page and 13 times on the first 10 pages.  This is out of over 899,000 results when searching that term!  We are not nearly as big or in as big of a market as many of the steakhouses listed on that search result but, because of our SEO efforts and using PR in a traditionally unconventional method, we have seen an uptick in customers, website hits and reservations via our website.

Now, I know some may think that the way I utilized internet-based PR for the restaurant is conventional because something like a beer dinner is similar to a product launch for a typical company.  However, it’s unconventional because most restaurants, especially in smaller markets, don’t actively include PR in their marketing plans…if they even have a marketing plan at all!

These are just 2 examples out of many which I’m sure exist out there.  So I turn the question over to you…what are some of the traditionally unconventional ways you have either used or read about using press releases to gain exposure?

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Old School vs New School PR in a Web 2.0 World

16 07 2008

It amazes me how many companies still do not harness all that the Web 2.0 world has to offer when distributing press releases and creating industry buzz.  Let’s take a look at the old school vs new school approaches to distributing press releases.

The old way of marketing – Traditionally marketing teams would put together a press release and send it to a handful of newspapers, magazines and radio stations.  The press release might be mentioned/written about and those audiences who subscribe to the newspaper/magazine or who listen to that radio station would be exposed to the content of the PR.  If the company hires a reputable marketing firm, they may guarantee that their PR will receive more exposure due to the reputation and network of that firm.  But, how would they reach all of the other possible interested folks who weren’t part of one of those groups mentioned above? Simply put: they wouldn’t.  This translates to lost opportunities for the company in developing prospective customers and helping the company to push their brand to a mass-audience.

The new way of marketing – Nowadays companies who embrace Web 2.0 have so many other available tools besides the traditional vehicles for reaching prospective customers.  Now companies can have a website, blog, social networking pages such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and also reach audiences into the millions with their PR campaign – if they know how to properly target that PR for the internet.

Besides becoming diversified on the World Wide Web, companies have to debunk the old myth that you only publish press releases when you have BIG news such as a new product release, corporate merger or acquisition, etc.  Companies should publish press releases about anything that they have going on.  The more press releases you get distributed, the more your company (and brand) will stay at the tops of the major search engines when prospective customers search for your company and/or products.

David Meerman Scott, in his book The New Rules of Marketing & PR suggests writing a PR about anything from your CEO speaking at a conference to winning an award or publishing a white paper.  Whatever the subject, the goal is to keep your company in front of prospective and current customers.

Resources on becoming a new school PR expert:

  • I highly recommend purchasing The New Rules of Marketing & PR.
  • While waiting for the book to arrive, download and read the condensed ebook which focuses on web-based press releases with suggestions on how to properly optimize your PRs for the web.
  • Brian Solis’ PR Tips for Startups is an excellent resource for an overview on the history of PR and where we are today in the Web (PR) 2.0 world.  Solis provides thought-provoking and actionable tips for the reader to implement.
  • Another resource from David Meerman Scott is his Gobbledygook Manifesto which will help you to analyze your corporate marketing and PR materials, remove meaningless catch-phrases, and communicate with your prospective and current customers in way which they will understand.

Becoming proficient at maximizing social media, web-based PR and marketing, and understanding all of the available tools to you will not happen overnight.  It will take time to build these networks and is a space that is ever-changing to meet the speed of technology.  But, don’t be afraid of it, embrace it and utilize these resources to help you start understanding the Web (PR) 2.0 world.

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