Mike Stelzner Explains How to “Launch”

Mike Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, visited LinkedOC last week to share some great incites and information about his new book, Launch.

Think of Business as a Rocketship

Mike Stelzner began Social Media Examiner in October 2009 and, in less than two years, it’s become one of the top business blogs, with a subscription base of over 80,000. Being an “overnight success” himself, he advised thinking of business as a rockship as it needs to be navigated, with the goal being to reach new heights; somewhere beyond where you are today.

To achieve this, you need people: peers, perspective customers, etc. Like space travel, everything is moving in orbit: industries advance, ideas expand, product support moves and customers move on.

With change comes questions about how to proceed. The best way to move forward in a continually-evolving world is to provide things that will never become outdated: incite, recommendations, etc. People don’t want products and they don’t want to be sold.

Mike provided the example of trying to brush the hair of his young daughters; they don’t sit still. You can’t switch angles and keep trying to brush a child’s hair, but they’ll continue moving as well and the attempts won’t be successful. We have to stop treating people like kids, and instead, change the entire approach rather than the angle of the “wrong” approach.


Mike quoted the definition of marketing per the American Marketing Association:
Note that it doesn’t discuss selling but rather “exchanging offerings” of things that “have value.”

The question, then, for markers is, “How can I attain quality leads, gain trust, break through the noise, etc. etc.?”

The answer? Trial and Error.

Focus on People

Stelzner placed huge emphasis on focusing on people, and offerings things for FREE. He says to  help solve problems at no cost as when you help them with smaller issues, they’ll develop trust in you, and they’ll then consult you for bigger issues.

The enabler is content — it has unlimited scalability. Peoples’ desires don’t change. When you give something away as a gift, you trigger the question, “how much more (would they be willing to gain from you)?

While this may seem counter-intuitive, Stelzner says to give away all your secrets — no one can tell it like you can.

Don’t focus on yourself, products or services. Shine the spotlight on others: outside experts, successful peers, etc. When you lift other people up, they’ll lift you up! –

Rule of Reciprocity

Reciprocity if often abused by marketers (car salesmen, for example). When he says give something away for free, Mike really means to offer it as a gift, not a “trick” to automatically anticipate something in return.

A true gift will make you valuable. What if you received a wedding gift that was an ad? You’d be turned off to it.

“Caging Marketing”: When someone asks how they can help you, but then goes to explain what they’d like from you in return. It’s going for the quick kill rather than waiting it out a bit for better rewards.

“The Elevation Principle”

Form great content! HubSpot (a site I personally love and read frequently), for example, markets themselves entirely through content. They don’t advertise, they don’t even have their logo on some of their affiliated sites. They offer everything for free, and they get around 25,000 leads/month.

Create content that helps your readers make decisions: review books, products, events, and provide your opinions. Do case studies: share successful stories of businesses in your industry. Reports based on surveys are also highly effective. Survey people and create a free report on the findings. Survey results tend to be viral and they have a long SEO/shelf life.  Contests are another good way to build relationships with others.

Show problem > solution > results.

Primary Fuel vs. Nuclear Fuel

Primary Fuel is regularly-produced content. It keeps you moving, is core to growth, draws people to you, establishes trust and brings people back.
Nuclear Fuel is more difficult to produce, used less frequently, has bigger impact, draws people in, has a long tail, gets you noticed, etc.


How do you plan on using these tips to LAUNCH your business?

Five Reasons to Use Google Alerts

“Google Alerts” is a content monitoring system that notifies users when new content from news, web, blogs, video and/or discussion groups matches a set of search terms selected.  It’s a great, straightforward way to gather content for social media channels for several reasons:

  1. It’s free! It doesn’t cost anything to sign up. All you have to do is visit http://google.com/alerts and enter your email address. You can set certain preferences such as type of content you’d like delivered (news, blogs, videos, etc.), frequency and volume.
  2. It does the work for you. You don’t have to spend time doing web searches for relevant content. Google does it for you and delivers it directly to your inbox at the frequency to which you set it. You can set as many alerts as you’d like and it’ll be provided to you in an organized fashion.
  3. It’s straightforward. Say you have a daily subscription. Each day, at the same time, you’ll receive an email with “Google Alerts” in the subjectline. The email itself will list headlines along with a brief introduction to each article. At the bottom of each email are options to remove that particular alert, create a new one, or manage alert preferences, so it’s extremely easy to manage your alerts.
  4. It has broad search capacity. You can search for literally anything, and as much as you want. So Starbucks, as a basic example, could set up an alert for “Starbucks” to be able to keep track of whenever a news article, blog, etc., mentions their name. This is a great way to keep track of what is being said about your brand. They also could set up more broad searches for relatable subjectmatter (ie. “coffee,” “tea,” etc.)
  5. It makes it easy to track your competition. Being aware of your competition and what they’re up to is a great learning tool. Not only can you learn from their mistakes, but you can also learn from their successes. If nothing else, it’s also vital to just be aware of what’s going on, and this is a pretty effortless way to do that. So Starbucks might want to set up alerts for “Coffee Bean,” “Peet’s Coffee,” etc.

Basically, once you’re privy to your business or industry’s news that Google Alerts provide right to you, it’s easy to set up a few tweets or facebook posts with that content. You then become the social-media based hub for that specific type of information to those that follow you, and you really didn’t have to do much besides organize and re-disseminate the material.