Podcast

David Meerman Scott on building a fan base, using content instead of paying for ads, & the best way to convert your marketing to sales

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Introduction

David Meerman Scott is a 5-time author on the subject of real-time marketing, including The New Rules of Marketing and PR (7th edition out now, more than 400,000 copies sold, & translated into 29 different languages!). 

He believes that the marketing world has become too digital and clients & customers are missing out on and craving real human connections. David has coined the phrase “Fanocracy”, which is how he helps organizations win with marketing & which is the subject of his best-selling book, Fanocracy: Turning Fans Into Customers and Customers Into Fans

He’s also a huge live music fan, having attended over 800 live shows, a passionate Apollo Lunar Program fan, & an avid surfer, although he admits he’s not great at it. 

What You’ll Hear

  • [1:54] About David and his background
  • [3:06] How David became an entrepreneur
  • [4:44] David’s advice on creating content 
  • [8:18] David’s New Rules of Marketing & PR 
  • [13:58] The fancy word concept 
  • [20:03] How to turn customers into fans 
  • [24:13 David on Will Smith and fandom 
  • [26:47] Converting your marketing to sales 
  • [32:14] The most interesting place David’s visited
  • [34:25] Final comments

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About David and His Background 

David’s initial plan was to become a bond trader. He worked on Wall Street but hated it, although he did develop a love for the information and data behind it. He ended up spending about 15 years in the financial info business, working across the world. 

In 2002, he ended up making a career change & has since become a huge success, with 12 published books including his latest, a Wall Street Journal best-seller that he wrote with his daughter. 

How David Became an Entrepreneur

Losing his corporate job played a role in David becoming an entrepreneur. It was just after the 9/11 event & there weren’t a lot of jobs available. Many of his friends were entrepreneurs, & his wife encouraged him to become an entrepreneur too. 

He began writing & working with companies on intelligent marketing & teaching them how to create great content & get away from paying for ads. 

David’s Advice on Creating Content  

David doesn’t have a favorite form of content, but he prefers to focus on text for his own content as he likes to write. He uses Twitter & LinkedIn the most, but advises others to focus on the thing they like the most. 

It’s easier & better to do what you like & it’ll be easier to be consistent. He also cautions against spreading yourself too thin between every channel when you could be focusing in on one or two. 

David’s New Rules of Marketing & PR 

The New Rules of Marketing and PR is now in its 8th edition. It was originally published in 2007 & it’s currently published in 29 languages and has just come out with its 8th update. 

According to David, the “old rules” of marketing included spending a lot on advertising, trying to convince the media to write about you, or going door-to-door to sell. He understood how content works & how it can be much easier & more affordable to anybody, which was the basis for his book, the first of its kind. 

David’s Tips for Marketing 

David is adamant that there’s not one thing that works for everyone. The first step is to recognize that the world has changed & then carefully choose the ways that you want to engage with people online. 

He reminds us that the strategies remain the same, but techniques & social media platforms change and adapt. He reminds us that we’re in a real-time world, so you need to be considerate of things like the shortened news cycle & constant flow of opportunities that can be grabbed in the moment, based upon what’s happening at the time. 

Real-time marketing takes away the “I’m ready to…” idea, & focuses on creating content when the moment is right and the market is right, not when you’re ready. David uses “news-jacking” to produce near-instant up-to-date content on news stories that are extremely relevant to the current moment. The phrase has even been added to the Oxford Dictionary! 

The Fancy Word Concept 

David obsesses over book titles & works hard to ensure that the title firstly reflects the topic but also that it comes out top on search engine rankings. 

For example, he owns the URL for Newsjacking & for Fanocracy, which means that he’s always at the top of search rankings when someone looks for his new word or book title. ie. he practically owns the traffic for that particular phrase. 

He also suggests branding your own name if possible so that you stand out immediately online & are easy to find. For example, David Scott is a common name so he added his middle name, Meerman. Lilach adds “Make it easy to spell!” 

How To Turn Customers Into Fans 

It’s not very obvious, which is why David wrote this book. Both he & his daughter & co-author realized that the algorithm-driven online world was robotic & wasn’t really helpful unless people were spending money on ads. 

They also recognized the importance of doing what you love, & how that contributes to success. The basic premise of the book is that all humans are hard-wired to want to be part of a group of like-minded people. That’s when we feel safe and secure, & that’s where we can truly reach people. 

So the key is to create a tribe of like-minded people, bring people together in a way that they become part of something you’ve built. That’s the idea behind Fanocracy. 

David on Will Smith and Fandom 

You can definitely lose fans overnight with the wrong action. People with big fan bases can survive crises. Using KFC’s great chicken shortage as an example, David says that he believes that as long as you’re honest about what’s happened or happening, the vast majority of fans will continue to support you. 

The same is true of Will Smith, according to David. He was honest about it, took responsibility, & should be able to keep his fans based on that. 

Converting Your Marketing to Sales 

David’s a huge believer that when you put value out there into the universe, it gives back to you. In the Fanocracy context, we’re talking about putting out great, valuable content without trying to sell to everyone. The more value you provide, the more business will come your way (& it flows over into life outside of business too!). 

The Most Interesting Place David’s Visited

David has visited 107 countries, so he loves a lot of places & finds it hard to pick a favorite! Places that stand out include Panama, as he’s invested in an NPO that owns 12 acres of rainforest there & it’s very close to his heart. Antarctica is another magical place for him for its uniqueness. 

Final Comments

Check out Fanocracy & Newsjacking to find out more about David, or just Google his unique name and you’ll get straight to him!

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