Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Stating the Obvious

John Hall's new book, Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter To You, is getting rave notices.
There's a reason.

The author, CEO of a PR firm, has caught the wave we call influencer marketing, which he describes as a "content utopia" where your marketing messages are published and shared routinely by industry leaders.

This "top-of-mind strategy" can leapfrog your organization "from no online presence to industry domination," Hall claims.

And I'm sure the claim is true. But, for my money, Hall's book is a bust.

He spends most of the 180 pages of Top of Mind stating the obvious. Crack open the book and you'll find a lifetime supply of kindergarten lessons like these:

  • "Listen to your target audience; engage and communicate with them in ways they find helpful and meaningful; and repeat."
  • "Storytelling and sharing knowledge is a big part of our humanity, and we wouldn't be where we are today without it."
  • "Giving someone a gift is a nice way to establish a personal connection."
  • "The more personalized you can make your audience's experience, the more special and valued you will help them feel."
  • "To generate trust, you need to create a relationship; for that to happen, you need to open up lines of communication that are honest, meaningful, and authentic."
The greater source of disappointment stems from Hall's goal: it isn't to show you how to leverage industry influencers, but to become one yourself.

That's simply not something most marketers need, want, or are able to do.

Most, I think, are wondering: How can I use influencer marketing to sell more flow sensors, flood insurance, or file-sharing packages?

Hall doesn't offer much specific or practical help here, though he would.

He does sandwich halfway through Top of Mind four "best practices" for executing a "top-of-mind strategy;" but they're pedestrian as can be (set goals, find content, commit to a process, publish and repurpose). And he devotes his last two chapters to "turning your team into an army of thought leaders;" but good luck with that.

Besides, how many more GaryVees does the world really need?

Save your $26.
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