I have created free reports for several customers but they still have not used it in the way I recommended and that is to offer it in exchange for a name and email address. My thinking is, if someone visits your site, and does not want what you’re offering now, how are you going to know they stopped by and how will you follow up with them until they may be ready to do business with you? With a topical buzz piece, you have your first point of engagement.
So let’s pretend we’re having that “more than ten minute” conversation now and I am going to tell you step by step how to go about creating your own piece.
The first step is to have a very clear idea as to who your buzz piece is going to be for, what do you want it to do and what your audience will learn from it. 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. The key is to make it about them, not you.
Next choose a title that will capture your potential customer’s attention. This is not your chance to be cute or clever. If it’s one industry that understands this — it’s the newspaper industry. Headlines sell news. A well thought out headline will get your prospects identifying and saying “this is me” and opting in for your free report. 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.
Marketing your buzz piece is a step most businesses forget. If you don’t tell the world what you have and why it’s important to them, no-one will know. In the best of times, it’s hard to promote any business. You need systems and tools that can give you the greatest return on your investment of dollars and time. In Social Media there are emerging tools that fit that bill. Social Media tools are increasingly moving from consumer to consumer tools to business to consumer vehicles. 6,000 people a day are signing up for Facebook and only a percentage of them are the college students that the platform initially attracted. Once you realise who your customer is, what makes them tick, what they like and dislike, you can use social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook to promote your piece. Additionally you can include a link to your special report on your business card or use the link together with your email signature to tell people to visit your site for the free report. 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.
I have not seen this last step fully utilised here in Trinidad and Tobago but it’s certainly worth a try. If you write a really useful piece you can find people who want to give it away to their customers. People are always looking for quality stuff to give to their clients so when you get a request for this say “Yes!” Because it’s not popular you may have to be the catalyst and suggest to a few business owners that you have this great report that you think their customers can benefit from. It’s a great way to build relationships and a fantastic way to expand your customer list.
And finally you should also encourage people at the end of the buzz piece to give it away to their colleagues and peers. That gets your name, web site address and details out there and you never know who might pick it up. It certainly spreads your report out there far faster than you could do on your own and might I add, at no cost!
If you’re not accustomed to writing, I will challenge you to at least write a rough draft, no matter how awful the result. Just get all your information and great ideas down on paper. If you need help in putting together the final piece then I can certainly provide you with some additional ideas. If you have created your own version of a buzz piece and find that after working so hard to create it — it isn’t working the problem may lie in the topic that you’ve chosen. It’s either of no interest to your target market or not related closely enough to the type of business you’re involved in. Create something that delivers a clear benefit. Think “how will my audience be better off when they’ve read my piece?” Or better yet, think Educate, Enlighten and Entertain. All three are good, but two out of those three are a must if you want to get your business buzzing.