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Be fearless if the situation calls for it…

(please note: this article originally appeared online while I was a student in the New Media Driver’s License course at Michigan State University.)

Copyblogger caught my attention a few weeks before I started the New Media Driver’s License course, due to a post entitled “The Eminem Guide to Becoming aWriting and Marketing Machine.” This Eminem post just came from a completely different point of view that many people would hesitate to apply to social media marketing: controversy.

That article drew my attention to his site; I honestly forgot how I ended up there – as I visit a variety of blogs in my efforts to expand my ‘worldview’ on social marketing and online networking. In fact, I belong to a number of groups on LinkedIn related to digital marketing, and I posted a link to it on one of those just to see what the reaction would be. It created a stir; half the people loved it, half of them hated it. The point it made for me?

They were all talking about it.

Prior to the development of digital marketing, I ran a media company that collected short films and Entertinament Weekly Articlreleased them in compilation tapes to the home video market (back in the days of VHS). Selling these titles was never easy, as few people had any exposure to the concept of short film. It required marketing that not only thought outside the box; but reinvented it.

As an example, my company collected a series of hallucinogenic animated films – worked with a performance artist by the name of Tony Vegas – and we turned it into a 60 minute compilation entitled “Tony Vegas’ Animated Acidburn Flashback Tabu.”(Artwork courtesy of Stephen J. Stofflet. Article / Entertainment Weekly May1992)

Now where would you put your advertising dollars for a title like this? We brainstormed: and ended up touching base with Timothy Leary (please tell me you remember him… if you don’t, visit Wikipedia) – and got a copy of the tape in Leary’s hands. He loved it. He wrote an article about it. We got the article in the hands of the entertainment editor at Entertainment Weekly.

The result?

A completely unknown collection of twisted animated short films got a full page in one of the country’s top entertainment magazines. Roughly equivalent to about $30,000+ that cost us maybe $100.00 – and some successful networking.

In a way, this could be compared to the effect of a viral video today; we got a controversial figure to endorse our program in a ‘mainstream’ publication. The response from this exposure was significantly higher than anything we had released to date, due to the notoriety of the author.

That is what I like about ‘copyblogger.’ This guy, Brian Clark, has created a site that is interesting. It’s fun to read. It provides free resources like tutorials that include “Copywriting 101″ and “SEO Copywriting.” But he’s willing to go out on the edge with an article like the one on Eminem and what he can teach you about marketing and writing: put yourself out there / be extreme. In fact, he’s posted another similar article pulling material from Madonna: “Madonna’s 6 Secrets to Personal Branding Mastery.”

Does this work for all clients? Absolutely not. However, it’s important to go in this direction for those clients that could benefit from it.

Be fearless if the situation calls for it.

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