How do you get 60 bloggers to create a huge buzz for a book none of them has read?
Just ask Rohit Bhargava, Internet marketing whiz and author of the just published Personality Not Included: Why Companies Lose Their Authenticity And How Great Brands Get it Back (McGraw-Hill, March 31, 2008). The book’s premise is that companies can no longer be faceless entities in today’s social media era.
Exhibit One in the importance of personality is Bhargava’s marketing of his book. Not simply content to do the usual book tour, Bhargava has marketed his book like a brand. Which, in his case, means “making it stand out and go viral.”
Bhargava, already an Internet personality with a top marketing blog, offered an irresistible challenge to the blogging community. Send him five questions; he’ll answer them all and the several thousand readers of his blog will select a winner. Within 48 hours, 60 bloggers talked up the contest and 55 submitted questions.
That was just for starters. Bhargava blogged about the contest and book launch on Twitter, created a Facebook group dedicated to the book…and just this week will launch The Personality Project.com, an initiative as ambitious-sounding as its name. It’s a group blog that over the year will feature 100 visionary marketers talking about — you guessed it — why personality matters in business. Among the bloggers will be the president of Kiva.org, the founder of Zappos.com and the founder of BuzzAgent.com.
While any author wants a favorable review, Bhargava went one better writing his own review of his book on Amazon. He modestly gave his book four stars leaving it up to readers to decide it if it merits another star. His review, really more of a brief introduction to the reader, again helps put a human face on the book and its creator.
Check out his website for his book, and you’ll see a site your average marketer could take a lesson from. It includes everything from an elevator pitch for the book…to the author’s original book proposal…to a rejected book cover. Bhargava, like all great personal branders, understand the importance of being transparent and authentic and creating a virtual identity.
In the 24/7 world, it’s not enough to forge an image offline; you also need to create an online persona that melds with your flesh and blood self.
All of which has been Bhargava’s operating principal since he launched his first personal website in the Internet dark ages of 1998 – before many realized what a branding machine the Internet could be. In 2005, he created the first social media bio (now online at http://www.aboutrohit.com/), and even registered socialmediabio.com.
Rohit’s advice for personal branders?
- “Don’t be afraid to use your personality. It’s the secret sauce that makes you or your product stand out.”
- “Thinking about your online identity as a brand means letting your many profiles online work together to deliver a better picture of who you are.”
- “Doing things online isn’t a substitute for actually participating in meetups and attending conferences in person. Face time still matters.”