David Meerman Scott (who is also a fellow contributing editor at EContent Magazine) is an expert in social networking and using the internet as a marketing tool and speaks frequently on the subject. His best selling book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR was published in 2007 and was reprinted 11 times and published in 22 languages. His latest book World Wide Rave will be published in March. I last spoke to David in May about how social media was changing PR and Marketing.
I recently asked him about his new book and how individuals and companies can use his concept of a "world wide rave" to get people talking about their products and services on the web.
RM: What is a World Wide Rave?
DMS: A World Wide Rave is when masses of people around the world can’t stop talking about you, your company, and your products. Whether you’re located in San Francisco, Dubai, or Reykjavík, it’s when global communities eagerly link to your stuff on the Web. It’s when online buzz drives buyers to your virtual doorstep. And it’s when tons of fans visit your Web site and your blog because they genuinely want to be there.
RM: Why did you write this latest book?
DMS: I became fascinated with how and why ideas spread online. And the more I studied what made things spreadable, the more I ran across the sleazy aspects of “viral marketing.” So I wanted to write a book that helps anybody create something that people WANT to share. A World Wide Rave is when people are talking about your company because they want to, not because they were coerced or tricked by “viral marketing.”
Viral campaigns developed by most ad agencies involve buying access to audiences in the same old ways, such as purchasing an email list to spam or launching a micro-site that hosts a print- or TV-style ad. Worse, some of the dodgiest agencies set up fake viral campaigns where people who are employed or in some way compensated by the agency create reviews, videos or blog posts purported to be from a customer. For example, several publicists reportedly have written gushing (and anonymous) reviews on The Internet Movie Database.
Going viral via a World Wide Rave is more authentic—and therefore vastly more effective--than going viral via gimmicks, silly contests and dishonest trickery.
RM: How did you find all the great examples in the book? Do you have a favorite?
DMS: In June 2007, my book The New Rules of Marketing & PR came out. Since then, it has become a bestseller, going through 11 printings in hardcover and now in just a month or so two printings in the new paperback edition. And the book is being published in 22 languages. Nearly every day, somebody sends me a World Wide Rave to look at. And nearly every day, I meet people or find things on blogs and Twitter that are interesting. I’ve seen my work for the past year and a half as identifying the fascinating stories worth telling from all kinds of industries.
The stories in the book are nearly all “new” in that they have not been told in other books or blogs (other than maybe mine). I’ve found that too many writers re-hash the same old stories again and again.
I love the story of how Lisa Genova used social media to turn a self-published book into a NY Times bestseller. She was rejected by the big publishers and ended up self-publishing and promoting via her blogs. She built a huge World Wide Rave. And she sold the rights to her book for over a half million dollars. When the new version of her book “Still Alice” came out, the first three weeks it was a NY Times bestseller.
RM: You are practicing what you preach in how you promote this book. Can you explain what you are doing?
DMS: The World Wide Rave book cover design looks like an old rock poster. (Cool, isn't it?) My designer Doug Eymer (who also designed the new look for my By Ron Miller blog) and I thought that prior to the web, rock bands invested a lot of money in a great poster and plastered it all over a city before a gig. They created a localized World Wide Rave by using interesting graphics.
Well, we created posters too. And via my blog, I asked people around the world put the poster somewhere interesting in their country, with fascinating people, or in unusual settings, and then send me a digital image or short video. Hundreds of people requested a poster. My goal was to get a bunch of countries / cities / locations represented. I then posted many of them on the World Wide Rave site.
Very quickly, we got poster shots from dozens of countries. We now have all seven continents represented (including Antarctica). People were eager to help me because they felt a part of a global happening. It is exciting to see the creativity people used. And I have so much fun learning about each person involved. I put a post on my site with a little information about each person and location.
The photos will be put together into a video that I’ll be releasing in early February.
RM: Why are so many so many companies still afraid of Social Networking tools like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter?
DMS: I’ve had an opportunity to casually explore the attitudes of hundreds of large and small companies whose employees attend my full-day New Rules of Marketing seminar and my keynote speeches. Based on my very unscientific show-of-hands surveys, I’d estimate that more than 25 percent of companies block employee access to YouTube, Facebook, and other social networking sites.
I think the real issue here is about trust. Ultimately, I think human resources and legal departments are naïve and scared about what their corporate charges might do out in the wide world of the Web. Since HR and legal people don’t usually understand social media themselves (and don’t use them for business in their jobs), they respond by just slapping on controls.
RM: If your book became wildly popular and people started following your techniques in large numbers, do you think there could be a saturation point for this approach?
DMS: No way! Because the ideas I talk about are how you can understand the people you are trying to reach so well, and then create something so interesting that they are EAGER to share, there is no saturation point.
RM: You give lots of great examples of success stories in your book for businesses big and small? What advice do you have for people to get started with social networking?
DMS: Be yourself. Focus on your passion. Have fun.