When there’s a buzz about something, people pass on the word to other people. That is, other people who are just like them. So investors talk to investors – it’s natural. It might seem great to imagine millions of people talking about your startup, but actually that’s not practical, or useful. If you have a huge audience, you have to do a huge amount of communicating with them. It’s better to concentrate on a focused target audience, and get them buzzing, just like bees in a hive who want to share the good news about where the sweetest flowers are.
Few startups understand how to do this. That’s not so surprising: they are in the business of launching an exciting new product or service, not dealing in mass communication. Creating a buzz is the practical way of getting noticed within a target audience, but let me point out, creating a buzz is not about advertising. In fact in this case, advertising is the last thing you should be doing, and the least effective. If you use the power of your network, then it will work for you. But what does that mean, and where do you start?
Well there are ways to spread the sweetness, and at very little cost. As with every part of my 6 Steps Program, I show that through logical steps and stages, it’s possible to reach exactly where you want to be, and the same is true about creating a buzz. The buzz doesn’t happen to you. You start the buzz. You are the creator and owner of the buzz. But that means going through steps and stages, with logical, and sometimes hard work. Once you have started the process, then you can hand it over to be spread by others through their own networks, but you have to ensure that what is being spread is the message that you want.
You do this by educating your audience. Education is the surest way of attracting and retaining the interest of people, and it should begin from the very launch of your enterprise. It won’t be something that only begins once you start asking for investment. From Day One you should be on the case, thinking about how to tell your story in a way which people will understand and appreciate. If you do that from the beginning, then your core followers will be able to pass on the word to others in their circle, and the effect grows.
The quality of your educational materials is therefore crucial to the success of how the word spreads about your product or service. Make the message unclear, or over-complicated, and the more the message spreads, the more likely it is to get corrupted and misunderstood.
If on the other hand you have been feeding high quality information to your nurtured core audience, then as the word spreads, the re-telling of your story will remain true and accurate. There will be few – if any – false claims either for or against your offering, and what people see is what they get. When people feel satisfied that their education is comprehensive and valuable, then that’s the point they will share what they are learning with others. If there’s little or no perceived value, then why pass it on? Think about it: When have you ever said to a co-worker or friend, “Hey I read this article yesterday, and I didn’t learn a thing. I recommend you read it too!”
That’s right, we never recommend things that we perceive to be of no value. ‘Go see this movie, it’s terrible’ is not something we ever say. We do give, ‘Negative buzz’ however: ‘Whatever you do, avoid this movie, it’s terrible’ – but we only positively recommend what we believe in.
We believe in things when we are personally convinced, and we become convinced through education. If at school our Math teacher had said ‘1 + 1 = 2’ in our first class, then changed it to ‘1 + 1 = 3’ next time around, we would have reason to doubt their credibility. It’s the same with the education that startups must offer: the story must be consistent, and always credible.
That’s why I make the distinction about creating a buzz not being advertising. I have nothing against advertising, of course, but advertising often deals in dreams and aspirations. It promises things which we know are not literally true. Advertising can sell us an idea which in reality is (possibly) not deliverable. In contrast, in creating a buzz for a new startup, every step should be deliverable, and credible.
If you have started out on a path of education, education… and more education, then you will have been nurturing your ‘students’ all the way. If your nurturing has delivered, then your ‘class’ will feel pride in their knowledge, and an enthusiasm in wanting to share it. That’s what creating a real buzz is about. It may only apply to their own local ‘hive’, but that’s all that matters in the initial stages. Later on you can maybe afford the expenditure of advertising and trying to reach ‘the whole world’. But in the first place, get the hive buzzing through feeding your audience the sweet nectar of education.
If you’re Serious About Success, you need to start creating a buzz!
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