In Search of Buzz: What It Is and How to Build It
When it comes to marketing, people always seem to throw around the word “buzz.” “Let’s build some buzz!” “We have to get some buzz going!” Things like that. But when you step back and ask yourself what, exactly, buzz is, you often find yourself saying things like, “Well, it’s… you know… it’s… something. It’s social media! It’s PR! That’s what it is, right? No?”
The point is, “buzz” is vague. And, oftentimes, the pursuit of it can be expensive. For young founders and their companies, there’s no time for vagueness -- or wasted money. But there is still the absolute need for others to know about your company, your product/service and what you’re up to. After all, you want someone to buy what you’re selling, right?
With this goal in mind, here are three concrete ways you can "build buzz:"
Get out of your apartment -- I mean, "office."
It’s easy for a young one- or two-person company to sequester themselves. There’s too much to do and there’s not enough time to do it. But if you’re holed up all the time, you’re missing out on some prime buzz-building opportunities.
Related: How to Tell Your Company’s Story
Chances are there are real-life Meetups or hangouts in your area, relevant to what you’re working on. And if you’re in the tech space, almost every region has some sort of listserv. Example, here in Philly, there’s Philly Startup Leaders. It’s a great place to learn about what’s going on in town, straight from the people who are making the tech scene happen. Actually physically getting out and meeting people (like-minded or not) is buzz-building in its simplest, most true form.
You hear it all the time, but blogging matters. Do it. Go to WordPress or Tumblr or wherever you like and start a blog. It can be a personal blog. It can be your company’s blog. Better yet, explore blogging for an outlet that already has an audience. *grins*
What does blogging have to do with buzz? Plenty. It builds credibility. It gives you relevant content to share with anyone -- customers, press, business partners, advisors, whoever. It gives you a place to chronicle your young company’s experience, a place to engage with early adopters. And it’ll improve your communications skills.
Word to the wise though: stay consistent. A blog with a two-month-old most recent post smells funny.
Build a great product.
This comes as no surprise, but it all comes down to products. If you build a lousy product, no one will use it let alone talk about it. If you don’t listen to your early adopters on how to improve said product, they won’t evangelize. If your product’s not ready, then drumming up buzz probably doesn’t make sense at that moment. (There’s nothing wrong with waiting!) Frankly, a great product will help you get to that inflection point where you’re no longer pushing as hard as you can to generate buzz… it’s coming to you.
What other buzz-generating tips would you add? Let us know in the comments section.
Dave Clarke is the founder and lead strategist at AuthenticMatters, a digital strategy firm that helps companies - from web startups to brick & mortars - acquire the right customers to the right products for the right reasons. Email him at email@example.com to learn more or grab a beer if you're ever in Philly or New York.