Get Business Buzzing with a Buzz Piece
Photo by JSmith Photo.
Most business models can attest to the power of a buzz piece. This marketing tool provides valuable information for prospective clients, the ability to transform readers into customers and a ton of exposure. So if you don’t have one, you should absolutely consider it.
Here’s what you need to know about buzz pieces.
What is a buzz piece, anyway?
A buzz piece, as defined in The Wealthy Freelancer is a freebie like a list of tips, a checklist, overview of survey results, bundle of articles, section of a book, or how-to guide. You’ve seen them online…they usually include titles like, “5 Steps to…” “3 Ways to…” or “How to…” They’re always free, but sometimes you have to sign up and then have it emailed to you.
Here’s a glowing example:
Mike Stelzner is a well-renowned copywriter who specializes in creating white papers. So he created a white paper on writing white papers to help others learn this craft. Check out the strategy he uses here to get people to sign up for the report. He prompts you to sign up and emails the report free—but not before getting your name and email and requesting that you sign up for his newsletter, too. Most people subscribe to his newsletter, which gives him a solid database of contacts—and prospective clients.
How can I get clients out of a buzz piece?
Long after you enjoy Stelzner’s “How to Write a White Paper – A White Paper on White Papers,” you can learn more about this lucrative industry by reading his ongoing newsletter if you sign up for it. Now, for a prospective client that doesn’t need a white paper at the time he signed up, this turns into gold for Stelzner when—bam—an email pops into the prospect’s inbox just when he is considering creating a white paper.
Then, most likely, the prospect will contact Stelzner because he’s been visible for a while and obviously knows a ton about writing white papers. That’s how prospects become clients. Of course marketing your white paper goes beyond just writing it, as you’ll read below.
How do I get started?
Well, you’ve got to write something that you’re an authority (of sorts) on. So if you’re a designer, you want to talk about how to create or edit graphics; if you’re a copywriter like me, you want to educate people about writing or let them in on what not to do. But you want to be specific…instead of just tips in general.
Ed Gandia recommends choosing a strong topic, crafting a catchy headline and thinking about your audience. If you are a photographer and you want to target PR directors at big companies, for example, he says possible titles could include:
- “5 Elements Editors Want to See in a Press Release Photo”
- “7 Inside Secrets to Making So-So Corporate Photos Look Great”
- “How to Create an Online Virtual Product Tour that Will Wow the Press”
See how he didn’t just use, “5 Ways to Use Photos” or something broad like that? These are useful tips for the audience reading it.
Get the buzz back
You also want to include your name and website on the content so if it gets reproduced, you can still get recognition for it. It’s a smart way to drive people to your website to learn more about your services. Oh, and the report is generally a PDF file but you can use multiple formats. Just make it easy for people to get.
Aside from those you will market it directly to, you never know who can wind up with it. Which is the cool part. Email it to your clients and friends. Snail mail it to a client with a thank-you note for a project. Bring copies to your next networking event. Even put a link to your piece in your email signature. And yes, tweet about it!
How do I create buzz about my buzz piece?
My first buzz piece created years ago was very general and while it did attract people, I didn’t do enough research into it and didn’t market it too well. I never asked for people to sign up for my e-newsletter at the same time they were viewing my buzz piece, so it was kind of a flop.
That’s why I love how Nicky Jameson marketed “The 19 New Rules of Social Media Copywriting.” Not only is it easy to get the report, but she published a press release to help get the buzz out. Great work—you never know who else will find this in addition to those you market it to.
Stelzner opted to include a video to promote “Social Media Marketing Industry Report: How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow Their Businesses.” See how he marketed that resource? I love that he included video. The sky is the limit and creatives are ideal for formulating new ways to market their buzz pieces.
And here’s my buzz…
That’s why I’m going to be doing the same to spread the word about my latest creation, “5 Writing Rules to Break for Great Website Content.” I’m letting people view the report free as a PDF and giving them the option of subscribing to my newsletter on the very same page as they see the report. I’ll be using a variety of promotional tactics to get the word out about what I think is some pretty useful stuff–especially for those that don’t write everyday like me. Everyone can use these “new rules” to brush up on their writing–and in this case, create compelling website content. (In the event they give up, my contact information is prominently placed so they can leave it to a pro!)
So go ahead—dive in and create one of these useful buzz pieces if you haven’t already. And if it’s been a while since you’ve updated your marketing platform, create a new one. I think you’ll like the results you can get from this innovative marketing tool.