This guest post is by Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing.
Could you get 872 new subscribers in just 24 hours?
Have 1,587 subscribers by the third day?
And 3,381 within three weeks?
I didn’t think I could do it either, but I did, and in this post, I’ll show you how you can do it too.
Those first 24 hours happened on November 29th…
November 29 was launch day
November 29 was the day that my new book Engagement from Scratch! officially launched to the public, in a massive, frenetic frenzy of launch promotion activities:
- I had built relationships with all the major players that I could find…
- Studied the successes (and failures) of the book launches of big name authors like Tim Ferriss, Guy Kawasaki, Jonathan Fields, and Seth Godin…
- Built a mini-site and two video trailers to promote the book…
- Wrote 28 guest posts about anything and everything relating to the book (including one right here on Problogger called Why I Wrote the Kind of Book That I Hate)…
- Ran a “nominate your engagement superstar” contest on the blog, that attracted dozens of nominations for the position (Adrienne Smith was the winner)…
- Spent over $2,000 on postage to mail out hundreds of review copies of the book…
- And then, to top it all off, I wrote the ultimate book marketing guide documenting everything that I had done for anyone who was interested.
The results were impressive; 872 people downloaded the book in the first 24 hours, 1,587 had downloaded it by the third day, and the book keeps getting downloaded (on days with zero special promotion, I’m averaging 30-50 new subscribers).
So, am I telling you that to get tons of subscribers you need to write a book and have a huge, fancy launch?
No, not necessarily.
You see, the truth is that it wasn’t really the launch itself that made it all happen…
It’s about doing it fully baked (and then some!)
The real lesson that I learned from the book, from my co-authors, and from the launch, is that it really doesn’t matter what your particular tactics are; whether it’s a book, or a launch, or a contest, or a round-up of expert opinions, or a video series, or whatever – what makes all the difference is whether you’re doing it all half-baked, or fully, beautifully baked to perfection.
Here’s what I mean—these are some examples of half-baked ways of doing things:
- Releasing a book: Outlining and writing it over the course of a month, getting a cover designed, turning it into an ebook, putting it on your site, maybe making it available on Kindle, emailing your list about it, and maybe writing a handful of guest posts.
- Doing a round-up post: Sending an email to a few dozen industry experts asking them for their number one tip on your subject area, pulling it all together into a post, and publishing it.
- Running a contest: Writing a post with a question, and asking people to leave a comment answering it, with the best comment winning a prize.
- Writing guest posts: Committing to write one guest post per week, and really writing two or three posts per month (about 30 posts per year).
- Doing a survey: Outlining a survey, plugging it into SurveyMonkey, writing a blog post about it, emailing your list about it, sharing it on social media, and then writing a post about the results.
- Creating a video series: Making a list of things that your audience would be interested in, turning on a flip camera and recording yourself answering the questions.
Do these descriptions sound like viable strategies to you? Well, they aren’t—not even close. Here’s the fully baked way of getting it done:
- Releasing a book: Research exactly what angle will most interest your audience, then do the work to create the best possible book that you can (reaching out to 30 industry experts and soliciting chapters from them if necessary). Get the cover designed, do the typesetting, get the book edited, and have it produced in paperback, PDF, and for the Kindle. Do an elaborate book launch with a minisite, two trailers, a contest, and dozens of guest posts.
- Doing a round-up post: Spend hours coming up with three questions that your audience would just love to have an answer to, and will really get the contributors thinking. Then reach out to the experts with personalized emails explaining why you picked them for the project, and why their answers will help your readers. Assembling the answers into a series of posts, releasing them with as much promotion as you can manage, and sending personalized thank you emails to all of the contributors when the posts go live.
- Running a contest: Choose a premise for the contest that will be valuable to contestants and to your audience, and come up with prizes that will be attractive and appealing. Put out and publicize a call for contestants, and then correspond with contestants over the course of a month and a half to get the best entries you can ready for show-time. Then display the entrants to your audience over the course of a month, and let them vote on the winners.
- Writing guest posts: Committing to write an average of five guest posts per month, sticking to it, and ramping up to as many as 20 or 30 posts per month when you’ve got something big to promote, or that you want to spread the word about (writing more than 80 posts in a year).
- Doing a survey: Come up with a series of questions to which data-driven answers would be valuable to your audience, and then crafting a detailed survey to gather that information. Then find over a dozen partners to help you spread the word about the survey, collect the data over the course of a week, do the statistical analysis to extract the results (or hire someone to do it for you), and create a report sharing those results with everyone who participated.
- Creating a video series: Spend a month mapping out a detailed curriculum for your video series, and then scripting each of the videos. Carefully record and edit the videos, add music and effects, and create worksheets and resources to go with each and every one. Then show them to people to get feedback, and make them better before releasing them to your audience.
Do you see the difference? It’s the difference between doing just the bare-boned necessities of the strategy, and going all out, above and beyond to make it as much of a success as it possibly can be.
Half-baked implementations rarely work (believe me, I’ve tried), but fully baked implementations often do. Which begs the question…
Why is there so much half-baked stuff out there?
Near as I can figure, there are four big reasons why there’s such a huge amount of half-baked garbage circling around the interwebs and blogosphere, and those four reasons are laziness, lack of passion, bad advice, and fear…
The first reason is laziness
This is the guy (or gal) who’s bought the “internet lifestyle” routine hook, line, and sinker. They want to make tons of money without doing any work, and cycle through one short-cut scheme after another that doesn’t create value for anybody (except, they hope, for themselves).
This is the only reason for half-baked implementation that I have no respect for, and I wish the people who fit into this category would get out of the game, because they give the rest of us a bad name.
The good news is that there aren’t a lot of people like this, though—most of the people who might seem to be lazy are actually suffering from either lack of passion, or bad advice…
Then there’s lack of passion
This is much more common than actual laziness, because a lot of people confuse passion for their outcome with passion for the path that will bring them there.
In other words, they’re passionate about the lifestyle that their online business will create, but they aren’t passionate about the actual business—it’s just a means to an end, and they’re following it because they’ve been sold on the idea that it’s incredibly easy (which it isn’t). Unfortunately, if you aren’t passionate about the work that you’re actually doing, then you aren’t going to go all-out to make it all spectacular.
The solution to this is to find something that you really are passionate, and make your work all about that—because if it isn’t, you won’t be motivated enough to do the work that needs to be done.
There’s just plain bad advice
Yes, let’s face it, the internet is full of bad advice, and the particular piece of bad advice that I’m talking about here is the “don’t worry about making it good, just get something out there” idea that is flung around in action-oriented productivity circles.
The logic driving this advice is that doing something is better than doing nothing, but the truth is that if you’re doing something mediocre, it isn’t all that much better than doing nothing at all.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying that you should do nothing—I’m saying that you should brace yourself, take the plunge, and do something truly awesome. At this point, there’s usually one reason why people still don’t do it, and that reason is fear…
And then there’s fear
There are all manners of fear that keep us in the world of half-bakedness (to coin a new word):
- The fear of failure (“What if I blow it?”)
- The fear of success (“If this actually works, will I be able to handle it?”)
- The fear of being judged (“Who am I to take on something like that?”)
- The fear of being accountable and overwhelmed (“What if I tell everyone that I’ll do this, and then blow it?”)
These are all legitimate, serious fears that keep people from achieving greatness (or even taking the chance that they might achieve it) every single day.
A lot of people aren’t going to like my solution to this particular problem, but here it is:
Suck it up, and do it anyway.
Yes, we all feel fear. A week before my book launched, I was terrified, thinking “What if it bombs? The book is about building engagement—I’ll have zero credibility left!”
Well, that’s just tough—without taking risks, nothing of significance is ever achieved. And taking risks means that every so often, life is going to kick you in the teeth. When that happens, we nurse our wounds, pick ourselves off the ground, dust ourselves off, and try again.
So are you afraid? Probably.
Was I afraid? Definitely.
But I sucked it up, and so can you.
What about time? Isn’t that a reason, too?
The other excuse that people sometimes hide behind is time.
You’re working a full-time job, and doing your business on the side. You have a spouse, kids, parents, in-laws, and friends who complain that they don’t see you anymore.
In light of all that, is it fair to say that half-baked may be the most you have time to do?
Sorry, but no.
In the last year, I released a book, ran two contests, wrote 80+ guest posts, did a survey campaign, and created several video series… in addition to running my business, and planning a wedding.
Do you have to do all that to be successful? No, you don’t.
But can you pick JUST ONE campaign and throw yourself into it?
Yes, you can.
What will you throw yourself into?
Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration—in other words, the ideas are easy, but then it’s the work that separates the successes from the wannabes.
It’s throwing myself into the work that got those 80+ guest posts written.
It’s throwing myself into the work that grew Firepole Marketing into a recognized brand in just a year.
And it’s throwing myself into the work that got me 872 subscribers in 24 hours.
So if you were looking for overnight success, as in 24 hours’ worth of work that would get you a giant number of subscribers, traction, and money, then I’m sorry to disappoint.
But if you’re looking for the real secret to true success in business, life, and everything else, that you’re willing to put the time and energy into applying for real over the course of the coming year, then there you have it.
So what are you going to throw yourself into this year? What project will you take on, plan, work at, and build into something truly spectacular, and truly awesome? How are you going to change the world?
Find and answer to that question, and then get started.
Good luck, and godspeed. I’ll see you at the finish line.
Leave a comment and answer this question: what will you throw yourself into?
Danny Iny (@DannyIny), a.k.a. the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, teaches marketing that works at Firepole Marketing. Together with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark and Mitch Joel, he wrote the book on building engaged audiences from scratch (available on Amazon, or as a free download).