A lot of people think my favourite kind of delivery is when Mum sends me a parcel of fresh fish, but there’s nothing like the buzz I get when the latest social media book arrives on my desk (yes penguins have desks!), and Michael Stelzner’s ‘Launch’ didn’t disappoint! Whilst ‘Launch’ isn’t exactly a ‘social media’ book, the author’s affiliation to and passion for our favourite topic is certainly evident, and enough to make it a valuable read for any ‘socmed’ enthusiast.
Michael Stelzner is CEO of the Social Media Examiner, which is regarded by many as one of the world’s top Social Media Blogs. ‘Launch’ is based around his ‘Elevation Principle’, which simply defined is, ‘the process of meeting the core desires of prospects and customers by helping them solve their basic problems at no cost’. Stelzner explains that this was the marketing method he used for the Social Media Examiner’s meteoric rise to the top, and therefore it made sense to use the blog as the book’s primary Case Study.
At first I was a little apprehensive about the analogy behind the Elevation Principle, which is that a of a space shuttle gaining more and more thrust as you follow each step, reflecting your business’ growth. It all seemed a little ‘cheesy’ for me, but you quickly realise that this is one hell of a well thought out analogy. Every little aspect reflects a valuable piece of information, from the rocket’s fuel (your content; the better the content the more refined the fuel) to ‘leaving earth’s atmosphere’ (people don’t like marketing messages and using them can hinder your rocket’s (business’) ability to take off into ‘outer-space’!).
Whilst ‘Launch’ will undoubtedly benefit your business planning going forward, a lot of what Stelzner talks about can work for you in any professional sense. For example, he uses Cialdini’s Reciprocity Theory to show how helping someone for free (one of the book’s key messages) makes it far more likely that person will reciprocate that favour further down the line. Like so much of the book’s advice, this is a really simple theory, but one that absolutely works.
Stelzner even simplifies some of his ideas into one word amalgamations, such as “Coopetition” – a contraction of cooperation and competition, which is used to describe his experiences with other experts who worked on SME; whilst he knew he would benefit from their input, they were also gaining great exposure on a fantastically well read blog.
The layout of the book is excellent, broken down into bite-size chunks of information, which are easy to digest, but what makes ‘Launch’ particularly brilliant is its conversational tone. In the past I’ve found that many ‘How to…’ books, have a tendency to patronise the reader, but this is like you’re sitting in the bar with the author and he’s sharing his thoughts with you. It’s a very clever tactic by Stelzner, because it undoubtedly makes the book more personable and therefore, you’re more likely to trust what’s being said.
I would absolutely recommend ‘Launch’ to you. Whilst it would be stupid to think that Stelzner can instantly turn any of your entrepreneurial ideas into a million dollar business, he certainly helps you to get into the right frame of mind and provides you with hoards of excellent advice. It’s also fascinating to read about the Social Media Examiner’s success story and you can’t help but feel inspired.
Rating – 8 Penguins (out of a possible 10)