Rob Eagar's Monday Morning Marketing Tip
is written to help authors, publishers, and organizations
spread their message like wildfire.
This week's focus:
Let's face it...controversy sells. Our society harbors a guilty pleasure towards juicy news, shocking revelations, and scandalous topics. Some of the biggest products and programs in the world are predicated on mocking established traditions and social mores. For example, Dan Brown's bestselling book, "The DaVinci Code," and MTV's top-rated show, "Jersey Shore," created a firestorm of attention, because so many people were intrigued by the controversy they generated. The debate even fueled some religious and political groups to publicly ban the book and TV program from their organizations.
Since controversy works, does it deserve a place in an author's publicity strategy or a company's marketing plan? Here's my take: Controversy just for the sake of shock value can be detrimental. You may get a lot of attention in the short run, but windup sacrificing your reputation in the long run. Once you lose your integrity with the public, it's hard to ever get it back. Instead, I recommend that you focus on a better alternative: Be counterintuitive, rather than controversial. There's a big difference between the two.
Controversy tends to adopt a selfish approach, because the motive is more about gaining attention, rather than providing value. In contrast, a counterintuitive approach centers on helping people by challenging the way they think. You attempt to benefit others by pushing them beyond the status quo and offering an unexpected set of options. At first glance, these two styles may appear the same. But, at their core, there's a fundamental difference in value that most people can sense. Thus, leave controversial marketing to the short-sighted shock-jocks, and let a counterintuitive approach gain you an audience that will respect you in the end.
Action item: Come up with three counterintuitive ideas about your book, product, or company that could garner attention if presented in a press release, blog post, or unique article.
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© Rob Eagar 2011. All rights reserved.