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Wood Street Journal

Informed Marketing Insights & Inspiration

Our goal for the Wood Street Journal is simple: to educate and empower the reader by providing you with the tools to market your business, organization, or cause online. We do this by offering posts by experts on web design, tech trends, SEO, social, content marketing, and more. If there are any related topics you’d like us to cover, please let us know!

5 Questions with David Meerman Scott, Don’t Know Him? You Should!

David Meerman Scott is one of the most cited, trusted, and sought after minds in marketing today. He has been ahead of the curve with each step he’s made. This is not hyperbole, it is the truth.

Don’t believe me? His book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR was written in 2007 and is still just as relevant today as it was then. Totally amazing considering the only thing consistent about marketing these days is change.

If you want to learn more about David, check out his website. I just want to get inside his head!

Let’s get started…

Question One – The New Rules of Marketing & PR and the Changing Marketing Landscape

Your book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, was certainly ahead of its time and continues to evolve as the marketing landscape changes. In fact, you are currently on the 4th addition. To me, this speaks to the fact that things change quickly in our industry and we have to be able to adapt quickly. What advice would you give to small businesses overwhelmed by the ever changing marketing opportunities available to them?

The Web has liberated us from the tyranny of paying for attention! There are four main ways to generate attention:

  1. You can BUY attention (this is called advertising);
  2. You can BEG for attention (this is called Public Relations);
  3. You can BUG people one at a time to get attention (this is called sales);
  4. Or you can EARN attention online by creating great information that your buyers want to consume such as YouTube videos, blogs, Twitter feeds, photographs, charts, graphs, and ebooks—and it is all free.

How are YOU generating attention?

Question Two – Newsjacking

I love the idea of newsjacking. We’ve seen some brands do some wonderful things with this. Can you share some of your favorite newsjacking examples?

Trent Silver, a young Internet entrepreneur, been building Web businesses since he was a 15-year-old high school student(!!). He’s 22 now.

One of Trent’s businesses is Cash for Purses, where he serves as CEO. Cash for Purses finds new homes for high quality designer purses and handbags (brands like Gucci, Prada, Hermes, Chanel, etc.), generating cash for the former owners.

Trent recently enjoyed a barrage of press because he tied his business with cash-strapped but designer bag laden starlet Lindsay Lohan. Trent recognized that Lohan is sitting on a goldmine and doesn’t even know it! So he crafted a pitch to celebrity Web sites that cover Lohan, saying that his company would purchase her extra handbags to help her pay her bills. He even offered to donate his profits to charity.

Trent understands that celebrity sites are always looking for exclusive stories, so he pitched the top sites first. Since Lohan’s financial troubles have been in the news, that was his newsjacking hook. Radar ran with it: We’ll Buy Your Purses, Lindsay! Company Offers Big Money For Cash-Strapped Lohan’s Leftovers.

Once the story was out, other sites started to pick up on the resulting buzz including Huffington Post: Lindsay Lohan Offered Money For Used Handbags By Fundraising Company and the Inquisitr: Lindsay Lohan’s Purses May Be Key To Financial Freedom.

Interestingly, people who read celebrity sites seem to also be people who want to sell their purses because since the story broke, Trent has received several hundred new leads from people ready to sell their designer bags.

Question Three – Writing a Book

You write in the introduction to your book that your writing style is more casual and the book is more like a collection of blog posts. I love this idea. It seems to open the door for anyone to work towards writing a book of their own. What would you tell a small business owner or marketing professional about writing their own book?

I’ve found that you can write much of a book over a year or two on a blog. 100 blog posts, well edited, is a great starting point for a business book.

You can self publish or go with a publisher. Both have merits.

My first book was self published and it was a great way to do a book. But you have to deal with and pay for every aspect – design, editing, distribution, sales, etc.

With big publishers, the business book publishing game is not about great book ideas. It is about great platforms. My first deal with Wiley was because I showed them that I could deliver an audience by having 50,000 downloads of a free ebook.

When looking at potential books to publish, the most important thing business book publishers look for is your platform. Biz book publishers need authors that they can prove will sell many thousands of books because the author has a large audience — through blogs, speaking, quoted in the press, famous, or whatever.

Question Four – Letting Your Content Go Free!

I absolutely love the fact that you wrote the book Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead with Brian Halligan of HubSpot. I know you’re both huge music fans. In fact, quite a few of my favorite marketing peeps are music lovers and write a lot about music. As a musician myself, I have always had a great respect for how the Dead marketed themselves. In some ways, they were early adopters of the new rules of marketing and PR. The fact that they opened all of their shows to tapers speaks to their willingness to release their death grip on content. What would you say to marketers who are afraid of losing control by sharing too much?

The biggest barrier these days is fear.

Many company executives and public relations people trace their worries about the over sharing to their belief that “people will say bad things about our company” via social media.

This fear leads them to ignore blogs and online forums and to prohibit employees from participating in social media. In every discussion that I’ve had with employees who freely participate in social media, I’ve confirmed that this fear is significantly overblown.

Let me repeat – everyone who has experience tells me this fear is overblown.

Sure, an occasional person might vent frustrations online, and now and then a dissatisfied customer might complain (unless you’re in the airline industry and then it might be more than a few).

But the benefit of this kind of communication is that you can monitor in real-time what’s being said and then respond appropriately. Employees, customers, and other stakeholders are talking about your organization offline anyway, so unless you are participating online, you’ll never know what’s being said at all.

The beauty of the Web is that you benefit from instant access to conversations you could never participate in before.

Question Five – David and Bob

What was your favorite live concert ever and why?

I have a small role in finally telling Bob Marley’s story on film.

While in New York City after a gig at Madison Square Garden, Bob Marley learned that he had terminal brain cancer. He headed to Pittsburgh anyway, travelling by bus with his band The Wailers for a gig at the Stanley Theater two days later in what turned out to be his final concert on September 23, 1980.

On that same day 32 years ago I also road tripped to the Stanley Theater to be at the show, although nobody in the crowd knew what the world would learn soon after, that Marley was very, very sick.

I felt compelled to borrow a friend’s excellent camera outfit complete with telephoto lens. It was a cosmic thing because I had never brought my own camera to a show before. Since the big Canon looked “official” back in the days of film cameras, the staff let me fire away from anywhere I wanted. Somehow I managed to focus the unfamiliar camera even though we had “prepared” for the show for the entire drive.

Turns out my photos are the only ones known from his last show and were used in the “Marley” documentary film.


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