Do you have a favorite business book thats streaked with highlights, scribbled with margin notes, has a broken spine, and dog-eared post-its? The New Rules of Marketing and PR, by David Meerman Scott, holds that honor on my business reference bookshelf. Subtitled How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing & Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly, this book seemed to shout at me from the shelf during one of my regular forays into Borders business section.
As a marketing professional, I try to keep up with communications trends, so I was already familiar with some of the information in Scott’s book. I’d purchased it specifically for the news releases and blogging sections, but goaded by the author’s light and enthusiastic tone I found myself learning about truly actionable online activities to support B2B marketing efforts.
New Rules gave me insight into some new tasks that have become SOP in my regular work at our Atlanta ad agency (i.e., this blog). As a result of the Buyer Personas section, we maintain and plan around the personas of our clients’ customers as well as our own. In plain English, Scott was able to explain search engine marketing with clear guidelines. An example of this clarity is shown in a favorite sentence which presents a visual description of the long tail of search, a concept I had had trouble grasping.
Think of this approach as rigging thousands and thousands of individual hooks on a long line and exposing the targeted bait at precisely the right time to catch the variety of fish you are after. (Chapter 20)
OK, now I get it.
In the early chapters, David gives a broad overview of Internet marketing options, showing us how they developed, why they’re important, how they work, and why they work. In the “Action Plan” chapters, he explains how to actually use the tools and implement programs. Throughout, he uses detailed case studies to illustrate not only the programs but the amazing results they can achieve.
In my most well read chapters, Scott explains that it isn’t just the latest and greatest technologies that are significantly important. Public relations, which has been around since Old Richard’s Almanac, is now practical for a small company. Traditional PR was costly and largely dependent on clandestine and closely held media contacts. But in the new world
“…your primary audience is no longer just a handful of journalists. Your audience is millions of people with Internet connections and access to search engines and RSS readers.” (Chapter 5)
At MLT Creative we now do Web news releases verses press releases–truly global public relations verses limited media relations and the passive supplication for placement.
The three most important points I got out of The New Rules of Marketing & PR have huge implications on traditional web site development.
Those key points are:
- The most important New Rule is CONTENT. Design is important. Technology is important. But without extraordinary content, you’re doomed.
- Interruption marketing (think spam and pop-up ads) has given way to consumer-driven marketing. Yeah! “The Web is different. Instead of one-way interruption, Web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the precise moment that a buyer needs it.” (Chapter 1)
- The starting point for any New Rule program is to create customer personas. If you’re going to have extraordinary content that motivates buyers to take action, you’d better know your customers inside-out.
Scott explains how these three principles should influence not only your corporate Web site, but every other online program you undertake.
Overall I enjoyed this book, and regularly peruse my highlighted and tabbed sections. Fortunately, David is understandable as well as enlightening. Just like his blog, www.webinknow.com, the book has a conversational, engaging writing style and is thoroughly worth the space on any business reference shelf.