Launch your project on the weekend.
Seth Godin has this new imprint with Amazon, it’s called the Domino Project. And with regularity, he pumps out business books.
I don’t believe in ‘em. I believe in inspiration. The sudden flash of genius. Steve Jobs broke all the rules and became the most successful businessman of his generation, who you gonna listen to? And too often these people are terrible writers. Dan Zarrella might be a good speaker, but he hasn’t put in enough time as a writer. "Zarrella’s Hierarchy Of Contagiousness" is about as boring as that textbook you used as a doorstop, if you want to go to sleep, crack it open. And especially in the creative field, when you get too scientific, you lose your soul. And what we’re selling is soul, humanity, those are the records that last, despite their imperfections.
Zarrella tries to teach you how to game the system. That’s what’s wrong with America, finding the edge and exploiting it.
But there were a few gems in this very short book of barely sixty pages, and one inspired me so much I wanted to tell you about it.
Zarella says he’s taking the myth out of social networking, employing science. And even though it’s counterintuitive, he says it’s best to publish on weekends. If you want people to share. And that’s the essence of virality.
Sure, there’s less clutter then. But it’s also when people take the time to relaxedly surf and clean up their inbox. The pressure is off. Work is done and incoming is reduced.
And thinking about all this reminded me of "In Rainbows".
Radiohead was a cult band, albeit a very large cult, who created the biggest marketing buzz of the last decade by any band extant. Not only did they reach everybody, many who didn’t care, the story had legs, it kept on being told over and over again, to this day, even though we know that it was ultimately a stunt and pay what you want formulas don’t work.
My BlackBerry started going wild in Gelson’s, a supermarket for the non-L.A. savvy. And with surfing on a BlackBerry legendarily poor, I couldn’t wait to get home, to log on to my computer and see what was up.
The story was just breaking. News items were slim. "The New York Times" was about to go to bed, it wouldn’t be in the next day’s edition. I was experiencing the story in real time, it was exciting. And with no other distractions, I could focus my complete attention.
You may not remember that Van Halen launched its breakthrough project, "1984", on January 1st of that year. Traditionally the music business was in hangover mode at that time, belief was that people had no money, it was a bad time to sell. But with absolutely no competition in the marketplace, with nothing new available, "1984" gained traction and blew up.
Don’t release your record on Tuesday. That’s when everybody else releases their project. People are at work, how many other titles are you competing with? You’re gonna get lost in the shuffle.
But if you launch on Saturday morning… You’re gonna own the weekend. And not only will your potential audience have the time to marinate in your work, that’s when they share the most. That’s what the science in this book says.
It’s not about the SoundScan number. Just like MP3s disintermediated the album and streaming is killing the MP3 the concept of weekly sales figures is an anachronism. The concept of getting a big first week number so retailers will reorder is especially ridiculous. There are no inventory issues in the online world. As for stimulating press, you lead with your music, not the advertising.
But, but, but, my UK brethren are chiming in that they’re eight hours ahead. And that "In Rainbows" actually launched in the wee hours of the morning!
Zarrella addresses that too. If you want something to go viral, send the message early in the day, that’s when bloggers are looking for ideas to post, they comb their inbox and trawl for news to write about…
Friday at 4 PM is the most retweetable time. That’s when the weekend begins. Retweeting in general is much more prevalent later in the day. Your odds of going viral at 10 AM are below 1%. Around 4 or 6 PM they’re around 6%..
Facebook shares are 40% higher on Saturday than they are in the middle of the week.
The book goes deeper, delineating what is shared and why.
And fascinatingly, it addresses the "Tipping Point" issue. That you might pooh-pooh Twitter, saying no one plays there, but those who do are incredible influencers, they spread the word.
So I’m loath to tell you about this book, because it’s a tough read and I’m sick of lowest common denominator marketing techniques infiltrating the world of the arts. That’s why we get "The Voice" and no new Beatles or Bob Dylan. But if you create in a vacuum, following your own muse, and then create your marketing, you’ll find some tips here.
And like I said, "Zarrella’s Hierarchy Of Contagiousness" doesn’t even make 70 pages…and the book is only 5×7"!