Since I put up the new poker theme this weekend we have had a nice stream of new sponsors signing up for the poker tournament. First thank you to each of you! Logos will go up below Azoogle soon!
Why would you want to sponsor something?
Honestly is someone going to see your companies name on a t-shirt or a sign and go, WOW! and go buy that thing? Absolutely not.
On the other hand, are you going to start a conversation with someone new, or cold call a new client and say, Hi this is Jim Boykin from Hot Fudge SEO, We Build Pages, we do SEO, and build websites,and have them cut you off and say, “Hey Jim! I know exactly who you are! I see your company all over the place! Yes, that happens all the time. (Jim’s giving us a ton of dough this year!, but that is not why I am linking to him or talking about him!)
The Purpose Inc blog and events have gotten well known enough now, that I can say, hey this is dk from Purpose Inc, and people now say, “yah, the poker guy” or “oh yah, the beach party guy”, or even, “Oh yes, Shoemoney’s brother!” no joke.
This does not get people to sign up for clients, does not get them to come to my events, and it does not get them to sponsor my stuff, but it does open the door. It gets their attention, so the conversation can begin. Being a sponsor also says, our company is established enough, or at least funded enough to throw a little money around to help the group. The attendees to my events at least are very sophisticated and sit at my events, (like I do at others), making up balance sheets in their head to figure out how much this cost, or that cost, how much I brought in, did I make a profit or lose money. Neil Patel is shockingly good at this, and will tell you how much this or that event makes even if not one ever told him the inside data. (Neil bought me In and Out burger and some crappy Chinese Food once, plus his mom has fed me many times.)
What this means is that the attendees, at least of my events, know how much all this stuff costs. They appreciate the open bars, hot girls, or cool t-shirts and realize someone had to pay for them. They really appreciate the sponsors who step up for the events they love, and that will get you some favors when they are needed.
This only works if they love the event. If the event sucks, then being a sponsor of it will be noticed. Quite painfully you may be thought of as a sucker for sponsoring such a crummy event. Crummy events cost as much or more to put on than the good ones. If the person who puts on the event does not have their finger on the pulse of the attendees, they can drop a lot of dough on making something nobody likes.
So first off, make sure the event is cool, and that the attendees like them!
This is tough for new events. I have been discussing different ideas for a new event in the spring. Is it going to be a success? Well, so far my events have been big successes, but I know it will be a harder sell for sponsors for a new event. People in the industry already know my Pubcon Poker event and the thinktank are going to rock, so getting sponsors is relatively easy. Getting sponsors for the new event (if I have it) will be significantly harder.
So you’ve signed up! You’re a sponsor now! How do you get the best image? First off, comunicate with the person holding the event. and communicate early on. If you communicate to me early on, a month before the event, I have plenty of time to talk, and figure out the best game plan. If you try to discuss some aspect of the sponsorship with the person running an event during the week before or the day of the event, they will likely be right close to the point of being overwhelmed, and won’t have time to really handle your request properly.
Here are the things you should give the head of the event, and any other PR people long before the event begins.
1. The Money! This lets them know you are in for sure, and will make sure early planning includes your companies placement on any promotional materials, and space on the blog. When I did my blog redesign this weekend, I literally made out a list of who was going to sponsor, and arranged the space to allow for them.
2. Give them your logo as a nice big jpeg. Send them a jpeg much bigger than anyone could ever use. A jpeg is quick to work with, and can easily be made smaller. A small jpeg if you try to make it bigger will look pixalated and like 1995.
3. Give them your logo in an Adobe Illustrator compatable file. These are usually a .eps format. This means that the parts are seperate from each other. This allows the graphics person, usually me, to remove the background, change colors of different parts if necessary, or change the look. For example last year, when Epiar sponsored the poker tournament, Indeed to put their logo in a log of places. It is very cool, but the majority of it is grey. It is a cool logo, but it looks best in front of white. As a result of this when I went to put it on a black t-shirt, or on a photo which often has lots of greys in the background it would disappear. Luckily they had given it to me in an Illustrator format so I could modify it slightly so it would show up on a black shirt, or a grey photo background.
4. Let the person throwing the event know about your company. I love blogging about those who help me, whether they give me money or not, but especially when they give me money. I am so busy, to really understand your company it might take me hours of study. Even after that I could get it totally wrong. Make my job easy promoting you, let me know what your company does nice and simply. Ideally send me the one sentence version of what your company does. Send me a sentence of what you are trying to promote now. Send me links of pages you are trying to promote so it is easy for me to find the info, and put links to them. Even if I put no-follow links, the value of interested users going there is going to probably exceed any SEO value you would have gotten.
5. Ask what else you can do as part of the event to promote your product. I usually assume once you have kicked in your dough that you have tapped out what you can spend. There are often additional opportunities for you to make your product known, that I had not thought of before, but might require work and a small amount of money on your part. Examples of this is when Ruben of tweetfind sponsored this year he then emailed me and asked if he could bring a few tweetfind t-shirts to the event. I said of course. It doesn’t cost us anything, doesn’t really dilute the message of the other sponsors, since he is not going to be handing them out to everyone, but instead will sit there for those interested, and benefits tweetfind. Other options are putting custom sponsor outfits on the girls I will have there. It honestly doesn’t cost that much money for the outfits with the sponsors name on them, but takes a lot of time, is unpredictable whether the outfit will fit the particular model well, and there could even be a change in models at the last moment. So the clothing thing is cool, but requires a lot of time and unpredictability. I love sponsors who are willing to go through with it, because it looks cool in pictures, and makes the sponsor look cool.
Bitchen huh? Brilliant marketing? Gonna get ton’s of links, even though he states that he doesn’t give a crap about the links. I even wanted to enter, and I’m throwing the damn event!
It is a great example of SEO, SEM, Link Bait, viral, social, everything all mixed together! Perfect marketing if you ask me.
In full disclosure I must say that I logged into my wife’s Sphinn account and asked if I could Sphinn Shoe’s blog, which she had read, and she said yes.
I can’t remember the exact statistics, but I believe it set some kind of record in going hot perhaps faster than any other article in Sphinn ever has. Brilliant.
Did this benefit me at Purpose Inc? Absolutely!! Getting lots of requests from people to sign up and to sponsor, so huge thanks to Shoemoney for his post.
So why did it get removed from Sphinn?
I asked around behind the scenes with some of the Sphinn crew.
I believe the guy who took it down is EvilGreenMonky. Shoemoney suggested this, and I thought Shoe was just making fun of the guy who took it down, but according to an e-mail from Danny Sullivan, creator of Sphinn, he really goes by Evil Green Monkey.
It appears that Danny, according to Danny, was not at the helm at the time, and had no idea about what happened.
Nick Wilsdon, one of the nicest people you will ever meet (see I even linked to him), was involved on the comments of the Sphinn, stating that he didn’t think this article should be Sphunn.
Now was this right?
So I started my analysis of the Sphinn News Story Submission Guidelines.
“must be related to search, social media, search marketing and internet marketing per our categories or subcategories”
It totally was related to all of those points.
It had SEO value, involved social media (Sphinn) and the social media value of a blog itself. It will get his site to show up for “contests” and “ThinkTank” so it has SEO value, and it is internet marketing par excellance!
I believed someone claimed on the comments that it was too self promotional.
Well the Sphinn Guidelines say, “In fact, we’d rather you directly submit your own stories you think are of interest to the community than have someone do it for you.”
“Give your topic submission a good title and description”
Oh he did that all right. Good enough that people got it and sphunn it like crazy. I believe the title was simply the name of the post, Come To The SEO ThinkTank 2008 On Me. By the way, it is not an SEO Think Tank, but an Internet Business Think Tank, but come on, am I going to complain about that? Hell no!
“Please submit only content in English” Surprisingly enough, Shoemoney hit this target dead on. The English looked superb
Then Danny wrote a post about the common sense law,
“I like that approach. Rather than craft a billion rules on exactly how many things you can submit and so on, just use common sense.”
So let me think… a post by one of the most famous internet marketers and business people in the world, (whether you love him or hate him you have to admit that’s true!), announcing a contest that is full of SEO’s, SEM’s PPCers, Affiliates, Domainers, etc. etc. etc., including people like Neil Patel, the Mad Hat, and Aaaron Wahl as well as dozens more brilliant people in the internet business world, which is a brilliant piece of internet marketing, well executed and proven by how fast it went hot on Sphinn, should be removed?
Come on! There must be something more to it than that.
I wrote a story about how a guy gave me brownies and he got some promo value out of it, that went hot. Is it really any different, or is it simply that I am such a White Hat nice guy, and Shoe is…well…Shoe.
“We’ll also pull things that have gone Hot if we think there’s some issue (way off topic for the site; potential voting spam or other reasons where common sense would tell you something’s not right). If we pull, we’ll try to keep you or the community informed by posting in what’s removed if possible”
Honestly, I still don’t know exactly why the post was pulled.
Also this quote,
“Those spammers (I joke before we could call them sphinncters) know why they were pulled.”
just has to be repeated because it is funny. J
Finally, this is a social media site. I understand that the rules are all being defined as this is a new area. But isn’t social media, by its very essence, something where the mob rules? If this mob wants to see Matt Cutts and Danny Sullivan caught taking Square Dance lessons, then that is when someone gets that on video, the social mob brings it to everyone elses attention.
So when an article get’s written by a world famous internet marketer, about a contest to go to a fancy shmancy internet marketing event, and a bunch (was it 70?) of internet marketer types vote that it is the thang within an hour or two, is that not the very core of what the site is about? Or is it simply one persons opinion of what they like or don’t like.
Mr. EvilGreenMonkey has not alerted me yet as to why it was taken down over 24 hours since it took place. I would loooooove to hear the rationale.
Danny e-mailed me back, and said he thought this discussion would be good to bring out into the open. Nick is so fricken nice, after saying he thought the post should be taken down, he blogged about the ThinkTank. Nick Stop being nice! I am trying to generate a little controversy over here!
So I love everyone involved, except I still don’t know who EvilGreenMonkey is?
Please Sphinn the bajeebus out of this post, twitter it if you can, and most importantly leave a comment on sphinn about it.
I personally want to see Shoemoney’s sphinn put back up, unless someone can show me somewhere that he violated the rules, especially the common sense rule.
By the way, people can de-sphinn something at Sphinn. If it was not liked by the community, it could have been taken down.
So please comment here on Sphinn! and demand Shoemoney’s sphinn be reinstated!
We have been working with Randy Couture’s organization, Xtreme Couture GI Foundation to try to come up with something special for a project coming up. If you don’t know who he is, Randy is the 5 time world champ in mixed martial arts.
In talking to Randy’s son, I found out about the 5K charity run they are having in Vegas weekend after the one coming up.
The money from Randy’s charity goes to help American troops who have suffered massive losses. Examples of this would be guys who lost their arms or legs, and are on their way to becoming homeless.
If you want to mention it on your blog, I am sure Randy will be very appreciative.
Stay tuned to this blog for something exciting to be announced in the next few weeks!
How to Write a Press Release – with a little help from some friends.
You get an e-mail on a Friday morning from Jeremy (Shoemoney) Schoemaker and he asks if you can write a press release. He’s having an event called the Elite Retreat with the top names in the industry with people flying in from all over the world. He says the Press Release needs to be world class, and it absolutely needs to be done by Monday morning.
Your grammar isn’t so hot, you can’t spell worth a crud, and you have never written a press release in your life. In fact, you don’t actually know for sure what a press release is. What do you say?
You say, Yes! Of course! Absolutely, No Problem! YES!
It’s Shoemoney, what else are you going to do?
Then you gotta tell the wife that doing the taxes this weekend is out, even though you promised her you would get them done. You clear off the dinning room table, and you get to work.
So how do you write a Press Release?
First stop, PRWeb. They have guidelines there. It takes a bit of reading to make sense of it.
For webheads PR Web is the most obvious and easiest place to find info on Press Releases and to release them.
If you write a Press Release by the rules, it can fall into the well oiled international news machine that has been running for around a 100 years. The rules are a bit rigid, but if you follow them, and your press release appeals to the media, your words can end on a conveyor belt going out to all the big names in the press like CNN or NBC, and maybe even end up on some kids wordpress.com blog.
These are the official parts of a Press Release as presented on PR Web’s guidelines.
PR Web is where we released the guidelines.
Part 1. Headline (should be less than 80 characters)
Part 2. Summary Paragraph. (1 to 4 sentences)
Part 3. Body (In the entire press release there can be at most 300 to 800 words)
Part 4. Additional Information (This is simply one line telling where to go for more info)
Part 5. About Section (A short paragraph about each of the main people, event or main thing in the release.)
Part 6. Contact info. (Include Contact Persons Name, Organization name, phone number and website.)
Part 7. ### (this is a bit of random code that must go at the end of a press release)
The first step is to write the headline.
It needs to be written in under 80 characters and really sum up the whole story.
This is one area where you can stick in a little creativity and give it a little edge. Keeping it under 80 characters while describing the full texture of this event was like trying to get two dozen screaming spider monkeys into a Dodge Caravan.
I could have written this title
“Story on a new Small Personal Internet Conference in San Francisco.
The problem is that although the above is factual, it totally misses the real spirit of the event. This event rocks, so I want the headline to capture the excitement Jeremy feels about it, the enthusiasm the speakers bring to it, and my pure level of stoke that I have about the event!
So I spend half a day just on the Headline. When someone reads the title, they either are interested and dive in, or get bored and click out. The title should be engaging but not be sales copy. If it smells too much like an advertisement PR Web won’t release it, and the news agencies will delete it like last weeks herbal male enhancement spam.
By the way, after you submit your Press Release, you get to look forward to PR Web giving you a grade on a scale from 1 to 5. The grade is a combination of how well you followed the PR Web format, and how newsworthy your article is. A first article about a new volcano in Manhattan or a 12 foot bumble bee, if well written, can score you a 5. Most of PR Web’s published articles get a 4. If you get a 1,2, or a 3, you lose your submission fee and it ends up in the trash bin.
Here is my final Headline.
Shoemoney Media Group Announces Elite Retreat Providing Direct Access to Top Internet Entrepreneurs
Next is the summary paragraph, which must be from one to four sentences. These few sentences, standing alone, should tell the complete story. This section should be written so that you could hand it to Anderson Cooper and have him read it as a complete news story on the nightly news.
If you hit it big, you may find your story on the cover of Wired magazine next month, or in Business Week Magazine.
I want to really nail this summary paragraph more than any other part of the Press Release.
The Elite Retreat speakers are some of the top guys of the Internet world. They are not just pumping up smoke of how great they are, they are folks who on a daily basis create major waves, and make serious money. You want to convey the power and breadth of who and what these guys are.
The first speaker is Jeremy (Shoemoney) Schoemaker who is famous for affiliate marketing, but has reportedly made millions with his “auction ads” software that places advertisements on other sites, and made a big mark early on selling ringtones.
We have Neil Patel, a guy in his way, early 20’s who is reported to be making $20,000 a month getting major corporations to the front page of Digg.
Brian Clark, whose site I have returned to for a long time, is a widely read authority on writing.
Andy Liu, one of the speakers I am most excited to hear, has actual real life successful experience in the Angel Investing area, and will be talking about how to raise start up money in the current economy.
David Dellanave, who is not mentioned much in most of the press about the Elite Retreat, is Shoemoney’s main programmer. David is the behind the scenes guy, seamlessly tying all of the code together in Shoemoney’s vast and varied projects. He is not as well known as the other guys, but is a really powerful force that should never be dismissed.
So I am left with a quandary. What do you call this crew? Internet Marketers? ECommerce experts? SEO guys? What one word can you use that encompasses the breadth of who they are. SEM, (Search Engine Marketing) ties most of it together, but does everyone know what it means?
None of these terms sum up what I amlooking for. Jeremy comes to my rescue and suggests that I simply list the top five things these guys do. I am leaving out the Venture Capital part which is huge, but I think the terms used show the breadth of what will be covered.
Here is my two line summary.
Ecommerce, Search Engine, Social Media, Programming and Website gurus from around the world will meet in April at San Francisco’s Intercontinental Hotel for the Elite Retreat. Jeremy “Shoemoney” Schoemaker hosts and leads this conference that connects online businesspeople with leading Internet industry experts.
I find the next part, the main body, to be significantly easier. This is where you tell the whole story. As long as you keep the whole Press Release under 800 words you are in good shape. I suggest not just filling the whole thing with crud. Tell the story, and then stop writing. I spent a good day and a half on this part, trying to use the best quotes, the best grammar, and the most content heavy words I could find.
In fact after writing the press release, I find that I really notice how wordy posts like this one are compared to the content rich writing of a press release. One challenging part for me was that the grammar has to be perfect, and you should stay away from opinion, and exaggeration. Most of my English classes were spent on my skateboarding, surfing and professional skimboarding career!
There is a little crevice in all of the rules of a Press Release where you can have fun. It is the feeling of summer vacation that is found between the quote marks in the main body of the press release. The deal is, that if you are using a quote from someone else, and it is true, then between the quotes you can say anything.
You can ask some random guy named Joe Shmoe on a bulletin board what he thinks of Stefan Juhl, and if the guy says “Stefan is an old Norwegian eating pasta in Greece”, and you can confirm Joe said this, then you can put it in quotes, state that Joe Schmoe said it, and put it in your Press Release.
Legal Note – Stefan Juhl by the way is actually a Dane who is currently living in Cypress, but is indeed eating pasta under a sunny blue sky at the very moment you read this.
So, here I am less than 48 hours from the deadline and I have to get most excellent quotes. Who better to ask quotes from, than the world class speakers we already have for the Elite Retreat?
E-mails go out, blog comments get left, favors get cashed in by asking friends to fess up the cell phone numbers of the internet rock stars. I go to outlook, Wait, refresh, Wait, refresh, Wait, Refresh. The phone rings and it is a call from Neil Patel calling me from London. I get the worlds shortest e-mail from Aaron Wahl ?. Andy Liu e-mails apologizing for taking so long to get back to me after it has been like 4 hours since I e-mailed him, and we had only exchanged no more than literally 3 words before this. Shoemoney says “Call” and spends 40 minutes on the phone with me on a Saturday letting me into the inner workings of this massive enterprise that I assure you, you have only glimpsed a tiny tip of the iceberg of.
Basically within a few hours I have access to a half dozen of the top guys in our industry. I pump them with questions, scratch down responses, and then sit down with the quotes and weave them together into a story.
From what angle do I want to promote about this? Where should I start?
This is not my event, although now I feel an integral part of it. When I speak to Jeremy (Shoemoney) for half an hour on Saturday, what I hear in his voice when he talks about the event, is an honest, deep hearted desire to help the participants. He knows the frustration we have all felt in trying to figure out how to solve some complex problem regarding internet marketing, and he wants to help us.
See, Mr. Shoemoney has not always been a big internet millionaire. He has worked really hard to get where he is. He has gotten a lot of help. And the only reason he is doing this event is not to make money, but to help others fulfill their dream, and have their moment in the sun.
In speaking to Jeremy, he really discloses a few details. I really get one thing for sure. Jeremy and the other guys speaking are not doing this as a way to make money. Although the event is around $5,000, it is so small, with so few guests, and in such an amazing venue, that each of them on average ends up making far less than they would just doing their own daily businesses.
Jeremy conveys to me in his own way that he wants people to know that this event is unlike anything they have ever seen, where they have some of the biggest names in the industry digging down deep to figure out how to help you.
Some of the numbers I calculated from some of the details Jeremy said, led me to figure that this event is very, very, very small potatoes for him financially, and that he literally is doing this only to help us fellow webmasters and marketers.
So how the heck do you get that across in a Press Release without it sounding like a cheesy sales pitch, that no one is going to believe. (In fact I guarantee that some people reading this right now don’t believe what I am saying!)
So I put together quotes that I feel really show that the guys involved care, and that they know what is going on.
Here are a few of the quotes.
Jeremy – “The Elite Retreat breaks the mold of large livestock-style Internet conferences, and brings the attendees face-to-face with the speakers. The up and coming webmaster can get one-on-one consulting from one of the rock stars of our profession. I have seen our top programmer, David Dellanave, break out his computer right on the spot to write new code for an attendee to execute solutions.”
David Dellanave (Jeremy’s head programmer) – “One attendee last year had a great site with fantastic content, but very few pages were indexed in Google. By making just a few changes in the code, we were able to increase his indexed pages by 2000 percent that very weekend. Since then, their traffic has increased exponentially,”
I am putting in this quote from Neil Patel so it can convey the sheer massiveness of the playing field that he plays on. I met Neil at my poker tournament, and thought he was very nice, but knew nothing about him. This excerpt from the Press Release says it all.
Neil Patel, founder of Advantage Consulting Services and a speaker at the event, said, “I plan on using this small conference format to reveal how I can leverage Facebook to get 100 million visitors per month”
Are you fricken kidding me? 100 million visitors per month? As soon as he said that, being the hardened news reporter that I am, I said like a school girl who just found out where babies come from with my jaw resting on the floor, “Really?”
I don’t think Neil is too impressed with my massive Facebook mastery at this point.
If you tie your Press Release in with current events, then it may fit into broader stories in the news more easily. So When Andy Liu gives me a quote about raising venture capital money in today’s market, I tie the quote into today’s current bumpy stock market, and Andy’s expertise with angel investing.
The fact that I already know Jeremy, David, Neil and Andy personally already probably has a huge effect on why I write a bit more about them as opposed to the other speakers. I respect Aaron’s work tremendously. I fricken love Brian Clark’s Copy Blogger site and read it myself. The one time I heard Guy Kawasaki talk he was both brilliant and hilarious. I guess I just have more to talk about the people I know from having met them face to face.
So now I am down to the bottom of the body of the Press Release. At this point I simply state the who and how of getting more information.
I then write a short About section for the event, and then an About for each of the people involved. This is just a really, really short biography of the person or thing. The slant that I put is who they are in a way that reinforces the above story. For most of this part I simply stole data, and even some direct wording from About sections written about them in the past.
I need to make a choice about whether to include David Dellanave in the About section. He is an integral part of the seminar, but is not one of the headline speakers. Same thing went for Guy Kawasaki. He is a big name too, but there are so many important people to talk about in this Press Release I had to draw the line somewhere to keep it under 800 words.
I then write the contact section at the bottom.
Then I send it out to two professional editors to review the whole thing for grammar and spelling errors. I also triple check that I spell Schoemaker, Schoemaker, and not Shoemaker.
Then comes my favorite part of the whole thing, cause its easy! This has to be a throw back to teletypes going ditit dit ditit dit, as the news came in across the wire as they called it back in the 1940’s and 50’s. At the very end of a Press Release to indicate it is over you simply type the number sign three times.
Big thanks to Jeremy (Shoemoney) for such nice comments on his Webmaster Radio show where he interviews Chris Winfield about PR.
David Dellanave’s blog with Matt (black hats rule) Cutts’ comments about grammar are now requiring much more time in my blog preparations! In the meantime if you are looking, here is the Elite Retreat press release that I wrote for Jeremy.