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How to Create iPhone-Style Hype: Peter Shankman Explains

Peter Shankman is the founder of HARO and our VP and Small Business Evangelist.

A new phone is launching on September 12th. It’ll have a similar touchscreen to the other phones out there. A similar camera. A similar speaker, a similar shape, a similar design, and a similar storage capacity. Why will we care about this phone more than any other similar phone?

It’ll be a great phone, no doubt. But there are other great phones. The difference is, no one waits on line for four days without a bathroom to buy those phones.

What the heck does Apple’s iPhone 5 (or technically, iPhone 6, if you’re keeping score) have that no other phone does?

Answer: Hype. If the new iPhone 5 battery could be charged by the hype its release has created, the phone would never, ever run out of juice.

So how do you get that same type of hype for your business? It’s actually not as hard as you might think.

1)     Restrict facts: Apple is a MASTER at secrecy. I’ve heard from people who used to work there that the penalty for leaking classified information isn’t just being fired, it’s potentially giving back any salary you’ve ever made, or even possible legal proceedings against you. You sign a form every time you see something new acknowledging that you know what will happen to you if you leak information. The more you keep your facts to yourself, the less you leak, the more you whet people’s appetites for what’s to come.

2)     Flip the game: It’s no longer a “request,” it’s a “pass.” Ever hold a press conference? You request coverage, heck ,you beg for it. Then you hold your breath for a week beforehand hoping someone will show up, and then fall all over yourself getting anyone in the door who you think can cover it. Flip that. You know how many people Apple requests come to their launch? None. You know how many they offer “access passes” to? A select few. You’ve just made the boring “press conference” turn into the “must-be-at event of the year.”

3)     Covet the best: You might want to give away 500 of your new thing-a-ma-bobs, with the logic that someone will have to write about it. Wrong. Give away five, to the top influencers in your industry. There’s a reason the editor of Fishing Digest doesn’t get the new iPhone 5 but Gizmodo does. It’s all about knowing your audience and coveting the best of them.

4)     Don’t stop: Finally, once it’s out there, that’s no time to slow down. That’s time to speed up. Go after second-tiers, go after those you didn’t invite, go after those who didn’t show up.

You can change the game to make the hype work for you. It takes practice, but it’s most certainly doable.

 For more marketing tips from Peter, check out our Brand in 60 Seconds video series.

Image: http: Richard Masoner (Creative Commons)

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