21 January 2008

Balancing Act, Part II: Scott, Free

I mentioned in my last post that the timing of the launch of this blog was no mere coincidence. Indeed, I don't think I could have started one at any other time than during a holiday's week away from the place where I practically live.

But the other motivator was that over the break I thought a lot about blogs, thanks to my friend David Meerman Scott. I connected with David back when I was interim copy editor over at EContent. He offered me some editing work on early drafts of his book The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly. The book became a best-seller and made BNET's list of 10 Underrated Business Books. It was my first crack at any book-length editing, and I had a really great time working on it.

Since then I've been fortunate to work with David on a couple other projects, one of which was released yesterday. You can download his new e-book, The New Rules of Viral Marketing: How word-of-mouse spreads your ideas for free, from his blog Web Ink Now. And as you'd certainly guess if you're familiar with his ideas, it's available for free.

What I appreciate most about David's work is the way he teaches with analogies (a subject I've written on a bit myself). My favorite is his simple admonition against creating content the consumer has no interest in: "Think like a publisher." That's wise counsel, and it's an analogy rich with plenty of takeaway examples. (It also reminds me of the advice we give engineering students in writing classes about the similarities between the writing process and the design process.)

Anyway, his most recent analogy is that those keen to harness the power of viral marketing would do well to "think like a venture capitalist." The research university is increasingly spinoff-centric, so David's comparison of the success rates of startup companies to those of viral marketing campaigns immediately resonated with my otherwise not-at-all business-savvy mind (I've spent some time on the receiving end of the laughably one-way PR pitch "cycle" [David describes it as "begging the media to write about you"], but I knew absolutely nothing about marketing before I started working with him).

Anyway, you can't work with David for long and not see the value of having a blog. Even if you don't draw huge numbers (I don't) and can't post every day (I can't), David reminds you that everyone benefits from having a forum for bouncing ideas off a few friends, colleagues, or total strangers.

CSC is now such a forum for me, and it probably wouldn't exist but for the spark David's books lit in my head. Whatever your business, some of strategies he suggests should probably be part of your stock-in-trade.

1 comment:

David said...

Hey Kyle,

Thanks for your efforts on the ebook. I think it has turned out great. And the ideas are spreading already - its only been out for 3 days and already a dozen bloggers have talked about it on their blogs.

Take care,