Commit an Audacious Act Online Today

I’ve been throwing around the term audacity a lot lately when talking about social CRM.

Blame it on Barack Obama. Not as much for the name of one of his books, but for his campaign to be our next president of the United States, aka POTUS. I mean really, who would have “thunk” he’d have gotten this far a mere two years ago. I know I didn’t. But now he’s being referred to as potentially becoming the U.S.’s first CRM president for his campaign’s strategic use of RightNow Technologies CRM platform. And others refer to his potential for being our first social media president. Oh yeah, and if we think hard enough I guess there may be one or two other “firsts” that would come out of an Obama presidency.

So if some consider him a social media candidate, and others consider him a CRM candidate, I’ll agree with both camps and say Obama could be our first social CRM POTUS. This brings me back to the audacity theme. Along with automation and analysis, audacity makes up one of the “Three A’s” of social CRM I recently wrote about for

Audacity is the ingredient that allows us to tap into our creative side to connect with people in ways we never allowed ourselves to do before. But it’s more important than ever to do so as more business relationships begin with Google searches, Facebook pages, and Tweets.

While audacious thinking may seem strange and counter-intuitive to our “in the box” way of business as usual, here are two examples that jumped out at me.

Free + Audacity = $1M

Speaking of Google, if you do a search on the term new rules of pr you’ll come across David Meerman Scott’s 20+ page e-book. I should say you’ll come across his FREE e-book. No sign-up required. No email address collected. Just download, read and enjoy.

This is completely counter-intuitive to what we’re used to. But, as David explains in the short audio snippet below, his decision to give away his “new rules” led to 50,000 downloads in the first month, a book deal with Wiley publishing, a best-selling book, and a thriving speaking business. Between his writing and speaking, David figures the decision to give away his e-book gave him $1M in business. Can anyone tell me what the ROI on that would be?

The Notorious B.I.G. of SEO?

I have to admit, I’m still trippin’ (aka buggin’ out) on this one. I recently found out (from a tweet no less) about a guy named Chuck who goes by the “MC” handle of The SEO Rapper … and no I’m not kidding. In fact Chuck has a series of rap videos on his YouTube channel that touch on many different phases of search engine optimization. Now Chuck will never be confused with rap royalty like Rakim or KRS-One, but his videos are actually quite good. Don’t take it from me, check out the stats from one of his more popular videos — Design Code (uploaded March 20, 2008):

  • Over 297,000 views
  • 512 text comments
  • 10 video responses
  • 4.5 out of 5 ranking on over 1,400 votes

Admittedly, I have no idea how much business (if any) Chuck has received from his videos, but these numbers really blow me away. I’d kill to have twelve comments on my posts, let alone 512. Not to mention video responses, or that high of a ranking based on that many votes. But that’s what audacity can do for you if you can let it loose. I don’t know about you but I might have to “drop” a few lines myself if it will get me a few more comments … and potential business deals.

Now we don’t have to rap to put audacity to work for us. We don’t even have to give stuff away. But the above numbers are hard to ignore. So we do have to allow ourselves to push beyond our traditional boundaries in order to find what will work for us. Better yet, find what works for the people we wish to captivate and build meaningful relationships with. That’s the power that comes from an audacious social CRM strategy. Have you committed an audacious online act today?

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Brent Leary explains CRMAbout the Author: Brent Leary is a Partner of CRM Essentials. Brent also hosts Technology For Business $ake, a radio show in the Altanta, Georgia, USA area about using technology in business.


Brent Leary Brent Leary is the host of the Small Business Trends One-on-One interview series and co-founder of CRM Essentials LLC, an Atlanta-based CRM advisory firm covering tools and strategies for improving business relationships. Brent is a CRM industry analyst, advisor, author, speaker and award-winning blogger.

24 Reactions
  1. Wow… and how fun. This is creativity, this is imagination running wild and totally unsuppressed by “in the box” attitude. I am sure he would have received a tonne of business, but even if you discount that, just imagine the fun he and his clients would have had doing this.

  2. Now that’s how you get a potential clients attention. His unique and creative approach is sure to make him stand out in the seo world. With those kind of numbers, the videos were probably worth all of his hard work.

  3. Anita Campbell

    Hi Brent, as you probably know or learned in another part of your interview with David Meerman Scott, in addition to giving away his book, he also did something else audacious that got him a lot of free PR.

    What did he do? He acknowledged and wrote about a large number of bloggers in his book.

    Now, some people will go around and read other people’s blogs and sites and then paraphrase what they learned and never give credit where credit is due. But not David — he went the opposite direction and credited bloggers even if he simply had read their blog and did not quote specific words from it.

    The net result is that he had bloggers lining up to write about his book when it came out.


    — Anita

  4. Great point Anita. I actually do something called “tales of blogger relationship management” on my blog from time to time. And David is a textbook example of great BRM, as are you!

  5. Sanjay and Paula I was floored by the thought of “rapping seo” more than anything else. I wouldn’t have come up wit that in a million years. But he not only thought it up, he did it. Now that’s what I call out of the box.

  6. Martin Lindeskog

    Is this what we should call “cool” stuff?! 😉 I don’t listen to rap music so I must be a bit out of sync… 😉 I will search for a pretty funny viral rap video made by Smirnoff hard cider and come back…

  7. I’ve tried convincing my cohorts that “giving it away” online isn’t killing my industry, but opening up all kinds of new markets (and making me a nice comfy living), but no one wants to listen.

    I hope they continue not listening.

  8. Brent, I love the SEO Rapper!!! It was also interesting to see his development. You can see in one of his videos (probably an early one???) that he was teaching a class and was encouraged to get up and rap, and he even had crib notes to help him. Later on it looks like his raps were well rehearsed and staged, even down to his clothes. Must be a formula that’s working for him.

  9. I think what’s really interesting about this SEO rapper is the fact that he took a topic that some would call “boreing” (sorry :-)) and was brave enough to add a dose of humor and a modern edge to it. Doing so helped to tap into the 20 something generation that represents a large population online, thus giving him the incredible exposure he received. I think it’s important to remember that there’s always a “new market” available online in a way. Meaning that you cannot keep appealing to the same market over and over and over again once you already have their attention and a somewhat loyal following built.

    Sometimes, going back to basics with a 101 mentality and reaching out to the “newbies” out there who aren’t informed yet, aren’t experts or specialists yet and who do not have an advanced knowledge yet can be the way to go. Just because you’ve been talking about something and researching it for 5 years doesn’t mean everyone else has. Five years into it, you’re writing and appealing to a somewhat more advanced market and discussing complicated, advanced topics – but there’s a large population out there who may just be beginning to investigate the matter. I’m a firm believe in offering basic, 101 information at all times. Discussing complicated, advanced matters over and over again only appeals to those that are as advanced as yourself. It’s the same market over and over again. The SEO Rapper is giving very basic information here, appealing to “newbies” by doing so and increasing his exposure tremendously.

    And isn’t it amazing how a good deed to assist others, such as offering valuable information online for free and not asking for a thing in return – can actually come back to you three-fold. The return of good karma possibly? 🙂

  10. Is there an audio or podcast version of these songs?

  11. Brent – question – why do you think David decided not to capture email addresses? I understand giving away for free – he created trust and allowed people to learn and view him as an expert. I just wonder why he decided not to take the opportunity to learn who downloaded his book for future communication. Maybe I’m just mercenary. I know that more and more, editors and publishers expect their authors to come with an established audience in place prior to signing a book deal and he clearly stated a case for there being an audience, with the number of downloads, yet doesn’t have the ability to go back out and commune with them.

    Even though he gave the knowledge for free – is requesting an email address viewed as a negative?


  12. Hey Deborah – I think David mentioned during our conversation that his main goal was to make his ideas go viral as quickly as possible. So he decided to remove one of the barriers for that happening by skipping sign-up process. But the other move he made was to build relationships with bloggers, which ended up being his army of evangelists. They linked and blogged about his e-book to the point that it went viral faster than he imagined it would. So he was able to show potential publishers the buzz he generated by introducing them to the number of blogs, links, diggs, stumbles and other new metrics being created in our new world. So a publisher could feel pretty confident that although David didn’t capture emails directly, he could reach the masses through his army of blogger buds. Which is precisely what seemed to happen when his book hit the stores.

    His is a perfect case in what I call BRM – blogger relationship management:

    Thanks for the great question!

  13. Hey Martin – I don’t know if rap is cool or not anymore, however I do admit to having a (very) short lived rap career doing my college years in the late ’80s/early ’90s. Thank God there are no recordings, and that YouTube was not around back then…

    What is cool is the response he received. I give him credit for trying something most of us would think is crazy. Makes me want to find a unique way – one that fits me and my audience – that will create that kind of reaction.

    Andertoons – I think many of your cohorts think a lot like my cohorts…

    23 – I’m hoping to have a conversation with Chuck just to ask what made him think of this idea, and what made him actually do it.

    Chris – if it’s true (and I believe it is) that people like doing business with people they like, then doing something helpful really can go a long ways…

    Thanks guys!

  14. Brent,

    Yeah, it is very cool with the positive response. Keep on “digging” it! 🙂

  15. Hey Brent:

    Wow. there was a party going on here. Sorry I’m late to it.

    The New Rules of PR ebook has been downloaded 250,000 times in about 2 years. I put out another ebook this year that crossed the 250.000 download mark in just 8 months. That one is called “The New Rules of Viral Marketing”.

    There are three important considerations for making information totally free with no registration required.
    1) What is your goal? If your goal is to collect email addresses so you can spam people, go ahead and gather names. However my goal was to spread my ideas. I had the faith that people would like my stuff and some would buy my products (my hardcover book or my speaking gigs). I don’t have to coerce them into buying.
    2) My evidence is that there is a fifty to one ratio of people who will download when no registration is required. That’s amazing. What that means is that if you have something that requires an email, and you got 100 downloads, you’d get 5,000 with no registration requirement.
    3) To get bloggers to write about your ideas, your ideas need to be free. No blogger will talk up your stuff if you are charging for it or you have a gate of some kind. Bloggers are eager to talk up stuff that is free.

    Take care, David

  16. David Meerman Scott,

    Welcome to the party! I said the the following on July 10:

    “Is this what we should call “cool” stuff?! 😉 I don’t listen to rap music so I must be a bit out of sync 😉 I will search for a pretty funny viral rap video made by Smirnoff hard cider and come back”

    I have now found it. Attend the party at (I swear that I am not working at Smirnoff! 😉 I am an American in Spirit, but I was born in the “Absolut(e)” land called Sweden. 😉 )
    It is interesting to see how viral this marketing campaign started out with the first video coming from the old east coast and the “preppy” New England style. The follow up is from the new “hip” west coast.

    I studied in the “live free, or die” state, New Hampshire, between 1997 – 2000. Then I started working in the mid-west (but still on eastern standard time), in a city called Troy, Ohio. I wonder if they have a special hip-hop / rapper style in the heartland of America? I am fascinated by the different lifestyle around U.S.A and at the same time the integration of the united states of America. I wrote a post in 2005, titled, What Kind of American English Do You. Please feel free to take the quiz and the continue to read my post on the “red or blue state of mind”. Are you doing business in different way if you are on the west coast, east coast, or the mid-west?


    Martin Lindeskog

  17. Hey David,

    No need to apologize for being for making a grand entrance. It kind of reminds me of Orson Welles’ entrance as Harry Lime in The Third Man… 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your story, and for helping me answer Deborah’s question.

    Martin – All I can say to the Tea Partay videos is WOW…. They were both pretty funny, but I’ll have to go with the West Coast rap as being the funniest.

    Thanks again guys!

  18. Martin Lindeskog


    Cheerio mate! How should I prepare for my first visit to the west coast? 😉 Do you have any special “peachy” flavor i Atlanta, Georgia? 🙂

  19. Martin,

    Listen to some old Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube. But whatever you do stay away from Tone Loc, Young MC and MC Hammer… definitely stay away from the Hammer! 🙂

    Here in Atlanta you can swing with basically anything!

  20. An outstanding post. I share the sentiment of Sanjay, the first commenter. I read blogs all day long. And not many posts make me smile, bring a little bubble of happiness in me, are well-written, focused and…(drumroll) offer useful advice I can pursue today.

    And, as a bonus, you wove in politics without being partisan, music without being elitist/obscure, and you touched on your own expertise w/o distracting from the greater message. Well-done.

    And thanks!

  21. Zane thanks so much for the kind words. Your comment actually had me blushing, but I’m not really sure… 🙂 It actually led me to do a short post on my blog on how comments can lead to conversations.

    So thanks for the comment AND for the inspiration!

  22. Hey…thanks for the post. Hopefully I’ll see you around. I’ll be in Atlanta August 18-20 for the E W Scripps conference.