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#6.03: The “Something to Share” Issue

When someone passes along your content, they are advertising you for free. Make it easy.

1> Create stuff to share
2> Make it sharable
3> Copy protection vs. copy promotion
4> Check it out: Google job on the moon

1> Create stuff to share

You want people to talk about your organization. So give them something to pass along. Nothing travels faster than an interesting article that you can send to a friend by email. Start with a report or white paper. Add tip sheets, shopping guides, instructions, coupons, and jokes. When you want to get really fancy, give out clip art, audio and video, cut-and-paste text, and more. Think about how your fans’ web sites start to get more interesting when you give them the stuff to make it more interesting. It doesn’t take much. For three years, WOMMA’s Word of Mouth 101 white paper (7 pages, written in 3 days) has been the #1 source of leads and promotion for the organization, because it gets passed around and reposted every day.

The Lesson: Create something that gives your fans something to give their friends.

2> Make it sharable

Offer your content in different forms to be handy to anyone who wants to share it. Offer a fancy PDF download, but also put it up as a word document for people who want to cut and paste it. Add a tell-a-friend form, but let people paste it into their blog or email also. Test each item to make sure it looks good on different computers, email readers, blogs, etc.’s blog is incredibly share-friendly. For many of their user conferences, they post ALL the presentations, for free, as PDF, PowerPoint, video, and an audio podcast. It’s easy to learn and easy to share.

More info

The Lesson: Increase the velocity and likelihood of sharing by creating content that fits any situation.

3> Copy protection vs. copy promotion

“What if someone steals our stuff?” is the wrong question. Ask “How can we get people to steal our stuff?” Marketing is copy promotion — the exact opposite of copy protection. Just don’t share anything that is really top-secret. eMarketer fills their blogs and newsletters with helpful graphs and charts that are perfect for pasting into your reports and presentations. And they love it – thousands of executives are displaying their chart and logo to tens of thousands of colleagues. Are they giving away too much? No way — the free charts are handy ads for their expensive reports, the real product. What better way to sell the report than getting readers to present the highlights in a private company meeting. Do insist that your content is properly credited, with a link to your site, but beyond that … encourage the sharing.

The Lesson: When we advertise, we pay to spread our content. Don’t stop customers from doing it for free!

4> Check it out: Google job on the moon

Looks like Google is expanding to their first extraterrestrial office.

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  1. John Stubbs June 19, 2007 at 3:50 pm #

    eMarketer’s free charts not only created a brand from nothing in a space filled with research competition, but I have personally abused them for at least two promotions.

  2. Andrea Morris June 20, 2007 at 8:29 am #

    Hi Andy,
    Thanks for clarifying this topic. One of the concerns I often hear from my clients is “I worked hard to create my intellectual property – I want to protect it.” I agree with you – if you worked hard to make it, then make it work hard for you.
    To your success,

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