I recently finished “Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition” by Michael Stelzner (affiliate link).
Let’s start with the verdict: Yes, go for it.
Let’s follow with the a word of caution: Read it with an open mind and ignore the type of business Michael is in (content business).
Michael is the founder of Socialmediaexaminer.com, a magazine-style blog focused on the latest trends and advice for social media marketers. “Launch” is a comprehensive content marketing strategy book which at the same time describes the author’s journey bringing Social Media Examiner from nothing to a 1 million + USD turnover business.
As the title suggests, the book is full of space travel analogies and the author calls the main principle sustaining all content marketing strategies the “Elevation Principle”.
It makes sense and it is in line with what people like Dale Carnegie, Seth Godin or the guys at HubSpot have been saying for ages:
Great Content + Other People – Marketing Messages = Growth.
In other words, people are tired of being hammered with unidirectional marketing messages and companies making it all about them. By making it all about people and giving away great content that solves people’s basic problems companies can actually reach out and connect in a more meaningful way that results in business.
The book is full of great case studies ranging from B2B companies like Cisco saving thousands with social media & content generation to B2C players like Procter & Gamble reaching out to Dads through Manofthehouse.com . If you focus on those case studies you will surely find common angles and techniques that you can use in your own content marketing efforts.
Besides the elevation principle, which should be at the core of the content generation programme, Michael clearly works with the space travel analogy by defining primary fuel & nuclear fuel.
Primary fuel is content that you offer to your community on a regular basis, for free and that solves basic problems.
Nuclear fuel is special content that you release occasionally and is so interesting that attracts the attention of many people.
In our case for instance, this blog and our regular YouTube videos can be regarded as primary and our occasional webinars and the Social Media Summer Twist Contest, nuclear.
I really liked this definition and we are already even using it at the agency because it helps us explain strategies better. The important thing about it is that it clearly addresses the need for all companies to become a publisher in some shape or form if they want their online strategy to be successful but above all sustainable.
The author’s background is in copywriting and white-paper production. Therefore the book is full of tips and techniques to produce and re-package content in meaningful ways. It is also quite based on the strategies of a hardcore content producer like Social Media Examiner so that’s why I gave you that word of caution at the beginning of the post. Still, if you stick to the case studies, strategies and techniques and avoid feeling overwhelmed by lack of resources (trust me, you shouldn’t), you will get a lot of value out of your reading.
Finally, what I liked the most about the author telling his story is his cheekiness in getting things done and reaching out to people. He once needed 3 renowned judges for a contest but didn’t have enough credentials for the judges to show interest in him. In order to tackle this, he sent the same tweet to the 3 at the same time, addressing one judge and referencing the other 2 “Ann, would you be willing to be on a panel to judge a social media contest with join Scott Monty and David Meerman Scott?”, “Scott, would you be willing to join…”. He obviously got the three on board.
I’ll leave you with that last anecdote.
Have your read “Launch”? Are you going to?