Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Nov-Dec 2014

How to get Seth Godin to write about your brand

The Markhor experience and what it can teach brands.
Hitting the nail on the head: Markhor built a ‘Purple Cow’, a remarkable product with remarkable marketing.
Hitting the nail on the head: Markhor built a ‘Purple Cow’, a remarkable product with remarkable marketing.

If you don’t know who Seth Godin is, you are probably reading the wrong publication! A bestselling author of over a dozen books, Godin is one of the most prolific modern marketers out there today. Renowned for theories like Permission Marketing and concepts like the Purple Cow, Godin also authors one of the most popular marketing blogs in the world.

So imagine what would happen if you could get Seth Godin to write about you? From boosting your credibility to driving tons of traffic to your online presence, with a single linked mention in his blog post, Godin has the power to turn your business upside down – in a good way. This is exactly what happened with the Lahore based shoe manufacturing company, Markhor.

How did Markhor get Godin to write about them, link to them and then drive tons of traffic to their Kickstarter campaign (which by the way has pulled in over $68,000 in funding from enthusiasts around the world)?

Simple: they built a Purple Cow.

In his book Purple Cow, Godin’s argument begins with the premise that advertising is less effective than it used to be and that the only way to attract attention is to not only market a product in a remarkable way, but to also have a remarkable product to market.

Here is an excerpt from the book that clearly illustrates his point:

“The old rule was this: create safe products and combine them with great marketing. Average products for average people. That’s broken. The new rule is: create remarkable products that the right people seek out.”

This is exactly how Markhor hit the nail on the head. They created a remarkable product and backed it up with equally remarkable marketing. The innovative shoe designs and the 1,800 year old craftsmanship techniques used in making the shoes helped to build marketing into the product, and from there, everything else from the photography, intro video, storytelling and website was simply great marketing. I cannot think of many other products which have put in the kind of thought and planning that went into creating such a well-rounded digital campaign from Pakistan. Kudos to Markhor for absolute brilliance – end to end.

Of course, Markhor did not do this with the intention of getting Godin to write for them. They did it because they were thinking correctly and as a result of their efforts, they got one of the most popular marketers in the world to say this about them:

“Consider this new campaign for really comfortable handmade shoes from Lahore. Lahore, as in Pakistan. Handmade leather shoes are a click away, regardless of where they were made, but you might choose these.If you’re in the idea business, it doesn’t matter where you’re from. It matters if we care about the change you’re making.”

So how do you get Seth Godin to write about you? Be like Markhor, build something remarkable. Build a purple cow!

The takeaway from the Markhor story is about being remarkable. However, when it comes to online marketing and targeting influencers with the intention of getting them to write, tweet, share about you, you can make a plan of action. Among the obvious benefits (boosting credibility, driving traffic, improving search engine rankings), real influence drives action, not just awareness. So how exactly do you do this?

1 Determine who should be the influencer for your brand

Firstly, the right influencers for your brand needs to be a contextual fit. Getting Justin Bieber to tweet about you might not bring in the right kind of audience for your SaaS (software as a service) business (12-year-old girls don’t really need that project management software you are building). Secondly, your influencers must have the right kind of reach with your audience, so that they can amplify your message. Thirdly and most importantly, your influencers must have the ability to get their audiences to take action. (Case in point, Godin writing about Markhor). Once you put these factors in place, you will be able to identify the kind of people your influencers should be as well as the kind of message most likely to attract their attention.

2 Find the perfect influencer

Now that you know the kind of people your influencers should be, it’s time to get down to research and find them. Your best bet is social media monitoring. Use tools like Social Mention or Twitter Search to find brand mentions and then home in on influencers who may already be talking about your brand. Remember, not all influencers need to be as popular as Seth Godin. They just need to fit the above criteria. You can also identify influencers who regularly tweet or share stuff related to your niche but do not necessarily mention your brand. For example, an influential person regularly tweeting about her love for green tea without mentioning your green tea brand is a potential influencer you should be targeting. You can further up social media monitoring by researching commonly used hashtags in your space to find active talkers. Another way to track down influencers is to set Google Alerts for keywords related to your brand and niche. This way you will be able to identify people who actively write about topics in your area. Perhaps the most effective way of finding influencers is through blogger outreach. The majority of influencers have their own blogs and you can use Google to search for blogs in product areas and use posts to determine their relevance. Once you have a list of influential bloggers, use standard metrics such as traffic volume, Klout score and social media following to organise your list according to influence.

3 Influence them to write about you

Now that you have identified your influencers, it is time to work the magic. Start with happy customers and people who are already talking about your brand. Encourage them to share their photos, videos and other content with you and tell them you will be sharing this with your audience. You will be surprised how many people will be eager to do this. You can take this a step further and incentivise customer generated content by offering a product giveaway or a discount coupon. Give your happy customers and brand advocates importance by asking them to answer case study questions. Engage with your audience across all forms of discussion forums (Google Plus, blogs, LinkedIn, communities, etc.). Pick up insightful comments and ask the people who made them to write a blog post elaborating on their comments. Again, you will be surprised how many people will be eager to do so; and once they do, they will be sharing it like crazy. If such organic means don’t work or don’t scale up, then think about compensating your influencers financially (although you need to be careful) or through shoutouts, giveaways, commissions, etc.

There are many different ways to target influencers, but the most important part is to identify your influencers. However, your best bet is in being remarkable – like Markhor!

Rishadullah Shaikh is CEO and Founder, Grocode.