How to Grow Your Business through Giving Away Great Content (Review of ‘Launch’ and Book Giveaway Contest)

Posted June 30, 2011 | Laura Christianson

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Michael A. Stelzner doesn’t come right out and state the Golden Rule in his new book, Launch, but the Bible verse from Luke 6:31 is at the heart of every concept he teaches.

For those of us who’ve been targeted by oily marketers whose philosophy is, “Give as little unto others as possible while taking as much of their money as quickly as you can,” Stelzner’s principles are a welcome blast of fresh air.

His premise is simple:

Give to others – consistently, joyfully, generously – without any expectation of reciprocation.

Strangely enough, Launch is not a self-help book. It’s intended to help business professionals rethink the way we market; the book’s subtitle is, “How to quickly propel your business beyond the competition.”

Say again?

Growing your business… by giving??

It’s a novel concept for many. But the meteoric rise of Stelzner’s latest business enterprise, Social Media Examiner, proves that his premise works. Really works.

Let’s take a closer look this anti-marketing message mindset.

Our Default Setting: Distrust

Do you enjoy watching TV commercials? Eagerly click pop-up banner ads on websites? Look forward to calls from telemarketers?

Probably not. In fact, you’re likely quite skilled at ignoring marketing messages. According to Edelman Digital’s annual survey of trust, fewer than one in three people trust marketing messages.

But, what if you sell a stellar product? Won’t your amazing gizmo alone create trust?

Nope.

The best way to earn people’s trust is to stop pitching to them. Stop marketing to them. Instead, walk beside them.

When you continually focus on meeting people’s needs – for valuable insights, for access to expert knowledge, and for person-to-person connection – you’ve already won half the battle.

The lesson:

Change your focus from “What can we sell you?” to “How can we help you?”

Ban Blatant Marketing Messages

Stelzner calls this process the “Elevation Principle”:

Great content plus other people minus marketing messages equals growth.


In other words:

GIVE AWAY valuable, practical how-to content that helps your readers solve their problems. Consistently producing great content gives people a reason to keep coming back to you.

SEEK OUT EXPERTS in your niche (particularly those who have gigantic, raving fan bases) and shine the spotlight on them. Interview them, do a case study of their business, and review their books, products, or services. As you and your team of experts share great content, your audience will begin to perceive you as an authoritative source.

Once you’ve earned your readers’ trust, opportunities for rapidly growing your business will unfold.

Stelzner practices what he preaches. In Launch, he details how to:

… write a vision statement

… define your ideal reader base (i.e., customer)

… find, attract, and persuade industry experts to contribute content

… produce and publish comprehensive how-to articles, expert interviews, reviews, case studies, news stories, and contrarian stories

He also addresses questions skeptics are bound to have, such as:

  • Should you give away your trade secrets?
  • If you make your living selling knowledge, aren’t you shooting yourself in the foot by giving it away?

My Critique

Every so often, Stelzner succumbs to using those odious marketing clichés: “thought leader,” “incentivize,” and “leverage.” (aaarrrrgh!)

The cheesy references to “launching your business into outer space” and “nuclear fuel” get old after Chapter 1. I ignored the rocket ship analogies and skipped to the good stuff. And there’s certainly enough good stuff in Launch to make it worth buying.

Bottom line

If you’re feeling uncomfortable with the marketing model you’re currently using, perhaps it’s time to shift your mindset. Launch shows you how.

You Could Win Launch!

At the beginning of the month, I asked my readers to help me come up with a creative way to give away a copy of Launch.

I received fun responses, such as:

Jan: Attach the book to a rocket and shoot it into the air.

Susy: If you were selected to take part in the very first rocket launch to visit Mars, what 5 books, 5 movies, and 5 snacks would you take to pass the time?

Karen: How ’bout the most absurd “launching” of any object, complete with pictures/video?

I’m going to adapt a suggestion from John, who proposed: “Have your readers submit exactly 60 words on the most important components of a great launch.”  (John, I’ll be sending you my review copy of Launch.)

Here’s how YOU can enter to win your very own hardback copy of Launch (retail value $24.95):

In the Comments area, name the expert in your niche you most want to interview. Dream big! The expert has to be someone you aren’t already in contact with. Tell why you would like to interview that person. I’ll give you a BONUS entry if you include one great interview question you would ask that person.

The winner will be selected via the Random Number Generator on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. I’ll announce the winner in the Comments area of this post, and will also e-mail the winner.

Want a Preview of Launch?

Click here to read the first chapter of Launch for free.

Tweet This Post

Let your friends know about the giveaway; tweet the following:

@bloggingbistro is giving away a hardback copy of ‘Launch,’ by Michael A. Stelzner. Enter here: https://bloggingbistro.com/?p=8445

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40 responses to “How to Grow Your Business through Giving Away Great Content (Review of ‘Launch’ and Book Giveaway Contest)”

  1. John Vonhof says:

    I look forward to reading Launch on my iPad. From Laura’s review above, I have a feeling this book will mirror my own style, i.e., helping others is the best thing I can do. Thanks for the review. I have followed Michael’s books and like what he offers.

  2. John Vonhof says:

    I look forward to reading Launch on my iPad. From Laura’s review above, I have a feeling this book will mirror my own style, i.e., helping others is the best thing I can do. Thanks for the review. I have followed Michael’s books and like what he offers.

  3. Diane Beason says:

    Laura, thanks for the review. I follow Michael on Twitter and like the way he thinks, but I wasn’t going to get this book because I have a pile of books I haven’t read yet.  However, thanks to your review…I’ve gotta buy it!  It’s time to get serious about launching my business again… 

  4. Diane Beason says:

    Laura, thanks for the review. I follow Michael on Twitter and like the way he thinks, but I wasn’t going to get this book because I have a pile of books I haven’t read yet.  However, thanks to your review…I’ve gotta buy it!  It’s time to get serious about launching my business again… 

  5. Hi Diane, I know you’ll like Mike’s philosophy and suspect it’ll fit right in with who you are and how you run your business. He offers tons of practical tips you can put into action right away. Put it at the top of your “to read” pile!

  6. Hi Diane, I know you’ll like Mike’s philosophy and suspect it’ll fit right in with who you are and how you run your business. He offers tons of practical tips you can put into action right away. Put it at the top of your “to read” pile!

  7. Karl Sly says:

    Awesome. Thanks for the non sugar coated review of the book. If you say it’s not worth sleeping on, I’ll take a chance.

  8. Karl Sly says:

    Awesome. Thanks for the non sugar coated review of the book. If you say it’s not worth sleeping on, I’ll take a chance.

  9. Jan says:

    Thanks for sharing about this book and holding the contest, Laura. And thanks for including my response.

    I would love to interview Joni Eareckson Tada. I’d ask her why she thinks so many people think special needs and disabilities are something to be ashamed of.

  10. Jan says:

    Thanks for sharing about this book and holding the contest, Laura. And thanks for including my response.

    I would love to interview Joni Eareckson Tada. I’d ask her why she thinks so many people think special needs and disabilities are something to be ashamed of.

  11. Ooh, what a great person to interview — and a great question, Janet!

  12. Ooh, what a great person to interview — and a great question, Janet!

  13. Karl – I was tempted to sugar coat it because it is one of the best business books I’ve read this year. And there really wasn’t anything wrong with it — just a few personal pet peeves (marketing jargon and rocket ship analogies that seem more fitting for an audience of 7th grade boys). But I can deal with that. And I hope you will, too, because it’s an excellent book.

  14. Karl – I was tempted to sugar coat it because it is one of the best business books I’ve read this year. And there really wasn’t anything wrong with it — just a few personal pet peeves (marketing jargon and rocket ship analogies that seem more fitting for an audience of 7th grade boys). But I can deal with that. And I hope you will, too, because it’s an excellent book.

  15. Laura – Thanks for the wonderful review! – Mike

  16. Laura – Thanks for the wonderful review! – Mike

  17. Rebecca says:

    I’d like to interview New York’s leading author and Christian speaker Joyce Meyer. As an apiring author launching my writing career, I would ask her how she got started and for tips for success. Rebecca in Ben Lomond

  18. Rebecca says:

    I’d like to interview New York’s leading author and Christian speaker Joyce Meyer. As an apiring author launching my writing career, I would ask her how she got started and for tips for success. Rebecca in Ben Lomond

  19. You’re very welcome, Mike. Hope I can help you sell a few copies (not that you’ll really need the help!). Many of my readers are authors/pro writers — we appreciate that you model creative ways of promoting your books.

  20. You’re very welcome, Mike. Hope I can help you sell a few copies (not that you’ll really need the help!). Many of my readers are authors/pro writers — we appreciate that you model creative ways of promoting your books.

  21. Excellent, Rebecca! Why not go for it? “Famous” authors are often more accessible than you might imagine.

  22. Excellent, Rebecca! Why not go for it? “Famous” authors are often more accessible than you might imagine.

  23. Denadyer says:

    I’d like to interview Lysa Terkeurst, and ask her (if she would answer the question honestly) how much money she and/or her publisher put into marketing for her new book, Made to Crave. 🙂

  24. Denadyer says:

    I’d like to interview Lysa Terkeurst, and ask her (if she would answer the question honestly) how much money she and/or her publisher put into marketing for her new book, Made to Crave. 🙂

  25. Laura Christianson says:

    Dena – I’ll bet Lysa would answer honestly (maybe not publicly, but privately, to you!).

  26. Laura Christianson says:

    Dena – I’ll bet Lysa would answer honestly (maybe not publicly, but privately, to you!).

  27. We have a winner in our “Launch” contest. It’s Jan, who responded, “I would love to interview Joni Eareckson Tada. I’d ask her why she
    thinks so many people think special needs and disabilities are something
    to be ashamed of.”

    Jan will be receiving a hardback copy of “Launch.”  Congratulations!

  28. We have a winner in our “Launch” contest. It’s Jan, who responded, “I would love to interview Joni Eareckson Tada. I’d ask her why she
    thinks so many people think special needs and disabilities are something
    to be ashamed of.”

    Jan will be receiving a hardback copy of “Launch.”  Congratulations!

  29. […] them realize they can’t live without us. We can do this in a number of ways. Laura wrote a great shakedown of giving away content as one aspect of this […]

  30. […] them realize they can’t live without us. We can do this in a number of ways. Laura wrote a great shakedown of giving away content as one aspect of this […]

  31. Great review. Love your writing style and site — I’m connecting one of my posts to this one to help explain the concept of giving away your content.

    (I’ve already read the book, so I don’t need to enter your contest.)

  32. Great review. Love your writing style and site — I’m connecting one of my posts to this one to help explain the concept of giving away your content.

    (I’ve already read the book, so I don’t need to enter your contest.)

  33. Thanks for stopping by, Tea. Hope you’ll be a regular visitor!

  34. Thanks for stopping by, Tea. Hope you’ll be a regular visitor!

  35. […] them realize they can’t live without us. We can do this in a number of ways. Laura wrote a great shakedown of giving away content as one aspect of this […]

  36. […] them realize they can’t live without us. We can do this in a number of ways. Laura wrote a great shakedown of giving away content as one aspect of this […]

  37. […] can do this in a number of ways. Laura wrote a great shakedown of giving away content as one aspect of this […]

  38. […] can do this in a number of ways. Laura wrote a great shakedown of giving away content as one aspect of this […]

  39. […] Lesson: Give away your best content. Formal marketing and advertising doesn’t work anymore. It’s time to teach and share. […]

  40. […] Lesson: Give away your best content. Formal marketing and advertising doesn’t work anymore. It’s time to teach and share. […]

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