“Bus Marketing” – The Cheap Route to Buzz Marketing
People are talking about Noga Martin’s last two blog posts. Not because they add content, not because they are insightful, but because they grab the limelight that she has been seeking ever since her father ended up on a wild night out with his buddies rather than attending her ballet recital.
My comment above serves only one small purpose — it’s an example. The comment is worthless. I wrote it with my filters turned off. It doesn’t teach anything or enlighten. But it does create controversy and buzz. Do you think it might generate some likes and shares? Is it outrageous enough to get tweeted? You bet. Does it matter that my comment has no substance? Not at all.
Well, at least not according to the example being set by Noga Martin, a former editor at the Jerusalem Post and apparently a talented linguist, who is the blogger behind two sensationalist posts on how English-speaking immigrants in Israel have a collective chip on their shoulder. The last time I checked, the first post “The Anglo inferiority complex” had 262 comments and “Why Can’t the Anglos learn to speak?" had 294.
Noga is happy. Noga has created controversy and, as a blogger, she has hit the jackpot: she has generated likes, comments, and buzz. Her two outrageous blog posts got much more attention than her post from earlier this month, “Conspiracy theories,” which spawned just three comments. That piece was pretty good. It had content, it offered new perspectives, and it was relatively insightful.
Yet, Noga decided to turn to “bus marketing” — which is like buzz marketing but not quite right. It creates the buzz you want, but cheaply. I call it “bus marketing” as it’s the cheap way to get around.
Last week I read a great post about buzz marketing on the Kissmetrics blog. In his piece, Joseph Putnam used Mark Hughes’s “Six Buttons of Buzz” to illustrate how businesses can generate buzz effectively. According to the post, the following subjects are very effective at getting people talking:
- Taboo (controversial)
- The Unusual (unique)
- The Remarkable
- The Outrageous
- The Hilarious
- Secrets (kept and revealed)
Noga mixes the controversial with the outrageous to create buzz. Yet, she fails to include any valuable or engaging content, which is the foundation of any decent piece of buzz. As Joseph explains, “’Outrageousness’ for the sake of being outrageous doesn’t provide a benefit.”
Noga is just one example of a certain cross-section of the blogging community that has traded in their potential for a bargain basement way of generating attention and clinging onto the limelight. These experienced bloggers should be writing posts crammed full of interesting, intelligent, and insightful writing that greener bloggers like me could learn from.
I get that being controversial is half the game. But it’s not the whole game. When the shock and outrage of sensationalist posts dissipate, it becomes evident that this isn’t real content at all. Real content is what makes you want to come back for more. And that’s essential not only for bloggers, but for brands and businesses as well.
The online world needs to reject “bus marketing” and strive toward great content that creates genuine buzz. Not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Our industry is full of too many intelligent and exciting individuals to tolerate cheap and talentless content.