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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get Ready to Propel Your Business Forward
If there had been more examples I would give this book a five. I wish I could give it a 4.5 but you cant.

Why use Content Marketing Instead of Traditional Marketing?
The idea behind Michael A. Stelzner's new book Launch is that you use two types of fuel to propel your business past your competition, primary and nuclear content marketing fuel. "People want...
Published on June 30, 2011 by Jennifer Woodard

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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Applicable to All Businesses
I feel jilted by this book. Perhaps it is not the author's fault, but from the subtitle ("How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition) one would think that the methods expounded in the book ought to be applicable to just about every business. As it turns out, Michael Stelzner's book is only intended for people and businesses who are starting blogs and...
Published on August 17, 2011 by Mike Finn


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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Applicable to All Businesses, August 17, 2011
By 
This review is from: Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition (Hardcover)
I feel jilted by this book. Perhaps it is not the author's fault, but from the subtitle ("How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition) one would think that the methods expounded in the book ought to be applicable to just about every business. As it turns out, Michael Stelzner's book is only intended for people and businesses who are starting blogs and conducting business primarily online. These methods would be of little practical value to someone starting a neighborhood cafe or hair salon, for example. That is not to say that local businesses shouldn't avail themselves of the tools of social media to promote themselves, but they don't need Mr. Stelzner's book for that.

Also, Mr. Stelzner is not quite honest when he portrays himself as a social media neophyte before he started Social Media Examiner. As he himself relates, he was already an experienced entrepreneur with his white paper business (whatever that means), had already organized online events and knew (or knew of) many of the key players who could help him when it came time to launch his blog. It has been my experience that experts are far less accessible than he would lead you to believe. They may be very happy to receive exposure, but they are notoriously lethargic when it comes to return the favor! I speak from considerable experience in this regard!

All in all, this book will be useful to some (just see how many positive reviews have been posted by Mr. Stelzner's friends and acquaintances), but it is hardly a panacea and is of limited applicability to local businesses.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get Ready to Propel Your Business Forward, June 30, 2011
This review is from: Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition (Hardcover)
If there had been more examples I would give this book a five. I wish I could give it a 4.5 but you cant.

Why use Content Marketing Instead of Traditional Marketing?
The idea behind Michael A. Stelzner's new book Launch is that you use two types of fuel to propel your business past your competition, primary and nuclear content marketing fuel. "People want valuable insight, access to great people, and recognition before they want products and services", said Stelzner.

Consumers no longer trust traditional marketing. Even though the trust in marketing has changed, people have not. They still prefer to do business with people that they know and trust. Content marketing allows you to build trust with consumers before you begin trying to sell them. Then they are more likely to buy from you because then have become to trust you and believe that you can help them solve whatever problem they may be facing.
With content marketing, you can answer businesses three big questions:
1. How can you attract leads prospects and opportunity without actively selling?
2. How can you gain access to influential people in your industry?
3. Is there an easy way to connect with and gain the trust of prospects and customers?
Introducing the Elevation Principle
The elevation principle is prospects and customers meet their core desires by helping them solve their basic problems at no cost.
This is worth repeating. The Idea is that you are going to help your prospects and customers solve their most basic needs at no cost to them, by providing highly desirable valuable content.
How will this help your business?
It will allow you to:
* Gain trust and attract attention
* Draw important people to your business
* Achieve rapid growth
* Spread the word about your business more cost effectively then traditional marketing

My final thoughts on Michael A. Stelzners new book Launch

This is a really good book and I do recommend it for people who are looking to propel their business forward using content marketing. What must be understood is that content marketing takes time and dedication. Not everyone will have the success that he had, but you can use content marketing successfully if you are willing to invest the time that is needed.

I would have like to have seen more examples within the book and a few more plans in action, especially of smaller firms. The great thing is you can subscribe to social media examiner blog and see the work in action.

Reading this book has made me rethink how I am marketing my business and the direction that my business is headed and where I want to go. I highly recommend this book if you are ready to work and move your business to new heights.

I must admit that I received this book for free as a review copy.

This is not the reason I am giving this book high reviews. I really did enjoy the book and think that it can really help small businesses even the playing field or even move them beyond their competitors.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Launch your business to a new level of success!, June 29, 2011
This review is from: Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition (Hardcover)
In today's highly competitive and technology-driven marketplace, leaders wonder how their businesses can stand out. On a daily basis, leaders ask their sales and marketing teams to sell and promote products and services, they ask their R&D teams to develop the latest and greatest products, they ask their finance teams to accomplish more with fewer employees and smaller budgets, and they ask their IT teams to develop systems and infrastructure to handle business objectives with smaller budgets. So, it's not surprising that customer focus can, and does, easily get lost. But thanks to Mike Stelzner's latest book, Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition, the secret for standing out is easy. Mike's book describes the secret as the "other people" component. What he means by this term is that other people who are experts bring their insights to YOUR audience. "It's a great way to develop relationships with people, an outstanding way to provide really interesting insights for your audience, and it's another form of content that is written with perspectives and opinions other than your own." If you want to learn how the next phase of social media, marketing, and business development are going to connect, check out Launch for a good preview.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Launch: The Elevation Principle for Business & Life, June 27, 2011
By 
Marc Baldwin (OVIEDO, FL, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition (Hardcover)
Michael Stelzner's new book Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition has fired me up and helped me launch a couple of my own new ventures.

How? Because Mike's been there, done that.

Mike's Got Street Cred

I always like to know who's doing the work. If I'm building a new house, who's my contractor? As a baseball fan, I love to check out the players' stats. And I never miss a new U2 or Newsboys CD because I know they always do good work.

In the case of a book, I like to know something about the author.

Mainly, is he an authority in his field?

In 2007, Mike authored a white paper entitled Writing White Papers that landed him universal acclaim and assignments writing white papers and consulting for over 100 corporations. His work launched his career into the stratosphere.

Not one to rest on his laurels, in 2009 Mike launched Social Media Examiner, which in less than 5 months was declared the #1 small business blog in the world by Technorati.

I read SME faithfully because its articles and resources are always a big help to me and my businesses.

So Mike writing a book about launching is like Ted Williams writing about hitting, F.L. Wright writing about architecture, or Picasso about painting. Mike knows launching.

A Book of Principles
The principles in Launch will give you and your ventures more
* clarity and direction (what to do);
* efficiency (how to do it better);
* synergy (how the steps and ingredients can complement one another); and
* joy (how putting other people's needs before your own ends up making everyone happier--both others and you yourself).

How can this claim be true and why is it essential to your success? Simple, really.

Being principled works--both in your business life and your personal life. Good, honest, generous, selfless principles make people successful and happy.

What a concept, right?

The Elevation Principle
Mike's main marketing principle is counter-intuitive: don't market and don't sell. Instead, meet "the core desires of prospects and customers by helping them solve their basic problems at no cost."

Talk about a principle.

His EP formula is Einsteinian elegant: GC + OP - MM = G. That is, great content + other people - marketing messages = growth.

Makes such beautiful sense.
* Write great stuff that people can use. Inform and teach them. Show them you know what you're talking about. And give it to them for free.

* Get other people involved. Welcome them into your world, your sphere of knowledge. Help them. "If you lift people up, they'll lift you up."

* Don't sell! Don't be pushy! Shift your emphasis from "What can we sell you?" to "How can we help you?"

* That formula will result in growth. Not just for your business, but for you too--growth as a person of principles.

Consider Others Before Yourself
Mike never preaches in this book. Never stands on a soap box. That's not his style, thankfully.
But the subtext, the really beautiful, inspiring, implied message is this: life's really all about living for other people.

When you get yourself out of the center of the universe and realize that your main purpose--and most enriching and rewarding strategy-- in life is to live for other people, those people benefit and so will you.
Because people usually reciprocate. Especially when they sense genuine good will coming from you.

Igniting the Elevation Principle
So how can this principle be activated and used to launch you and your business? Back to the EP:
* Help people solve their problems. Write how-to guides. Show them what you know. Show them you're there for them.

* Don't push, manipulate, or pressure people into buying what you're selling.

* Give gifts--freely and without any expectation of getting one back. What gift can you give? Your knowledge. Your time. Your friendship and good counsel.

What's the payoff for paying it forward? Business, likely. Possibly lots of business. Because people like to do business with people who are low key, caring, giving, and knowledgeable.

Your bottom line--and your life--will benefit from following this principle of putting others first.

Not many people are like that. So you'll be different--as a business and a human being.

"Helping people ensures your business will stand out from the competition."

Sound Business Sense
Mike's wisdom about putting people first would be enough reason to read Launch. But there's plenty more great advice about many subjects.

Such as these practical, action steps to take to launch your business and yourself:
* Crafting and measuring "SMART" goals
* Implementing specific social media marketing strategies
* Inspiring yourself by "looking outward"
* Finding role models
* Working with experts
* Attracting and engaging "firestarters"--people who can help launch you

The Primary & Nuclear Fuel: Great Content
The first part of the EP equation is GC (good content). Why does Mike place such great emphasis upon GC?

Because great content sells. Its persuasive. It explains what you know and shows what you can do. All at once.

And, as the great French poet Jean de La Fontaine said, "By the work one knows the workman."

As a teacher of writing and literature for 38 years, I've read a lot of books, poems, articles, essays, dissertations--you name it. Mike's work contains all the elements of good writing.

For just one example, his metaphoric motif (getting literary now!) of the launch and the rocket, its fuel and trajectory, are all poetically persuasive. Poetry persuades. Its rhyme, rhythm, figurative language, and compression unconsciously convince us. Mike's a poet and he may not even know it!

Launch is a living demonstration of good content: it's clear, crisp, fun and easy to read, and packed with rocket fuel to propel you.

All you have to do is ignite its principles and watch them rocket you up, up and away!

We Have Lift Off: Read Launch!
Once in a while the planets align perfectly: things are happening in your life that link up magically and wonderfully with outside forces or events.

That just happened for me. Launch just launched at the same time I'm launching a novel and a new startup business.

Could the timing have been any better for me? Nope.

And the timing is right for you, too. Because there's no time like the present.

Launch is a winner: its solid gold principles and inspirational mission plan couldn't make more sense or work any better.

So, Launch yourself now! Get on board and take your dreams for a ride straight to the stars!
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, June 8, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition (Hardcover)
I started reading Launch and haven't put it down. Launch is a great book with tons of good info on marketing your business through content and social media. As a frequenter of the Social Media Examiner's Success Summits, it was definitely on my list of must-have books and WOW, I'm so glad I got it. There is not a single chapter that I haven't found useful information. The book covers everything from strategy to implementation and is applicable to any business. It's also an easy read with the chapters split into sections that make the concepts easily understandable and inviting. Enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best "how to" business book I've read in a long time!, October 16, 2012
This review is from: Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition (Hardcover)
Length:: 4:08 Mins

I started reading Mike's book this morning and haven't been able to stop. It is BY FAR the single best resource I've yet come across to help me launch my business. For example, the chapter on Leveraging the Power of Other People is beyond awesome and could have easily been a stand alone information product. If you feel like you aren't yet achieving the results that you want in your business, you NEED to buy Mike's book today. (I'm taking the entire day off to read it and update my business plan).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A roadmap to your business success. A book review of Launch: How to quickly propel your business beyond the competition., August 26, 2011
This review is from: Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition (Hardcover)
I actually won this book as a runner up prize in Michael Stelzner's Facebook photo contest this year. I have a good track record of winning book contest - 2/2 so far. So when this book arrived in the mail, I put on my trusty book-review glasses to provide you with a chic book review for Launch: How to quickly propel your business beyond the competition. By Michael A. Stelzner.

What's it about?

Michael A Stelzner, or "Mike" as I shall affectionately call him, is the founder of Socialmediaexaminer.com. His website is an information rich hub on all things social media for business. This is not a "how to set up a Facebook profile" book. No no. This book is much more valuable and strategic than that. Nor is it a fluffy, eye in the sky "conceptual" book about the social media landscape. His book "Launch" is essentially a blue print to help you grow your business using social media marketing plans - that are proven to work.

The best tid-bits?

Paying it forward. One of the key themes that resonated with me in the book is how you can (and I paraphrase) succeed through business by helping other people with their business problems. And the way that you help people is through information in the form of good, valuable content.

Content is king. As a social media marketer, I have always known this to be true. Mike takes it further in his book to explain how good content in the form of how-to articles, expert interviews, case studies and videos aimed at helping people resolve their problems, helps you achieve growth.

Awesome case studies, examples and TEMPLATES!!! Mike explains his success formula to be: Good Content PLUS Others Content MINUS Marketing Messages = Growth. He uses good case studies, gives you lots of different sources of ideas and reference points. But my favourite part is the "samples" at the back, which are really templates if you ask me. You get to see examples of best in class content which you can model your own off. I found this very valuable.

I have read many social media marketing books in the last year, which have disappointed me, but Launch did not. It was very engaging and useful. The information provided was relevant for a small business owner, the action items were achievable and within reach. I recommend it to any small business owner who wants to grow their business using social media marketing and who is willing to do the distance and create and source good content. Success is in your reach. I truly believe if you implement the ideas that Mike explores in his book launch, you will see your business grow and rise to new levels. Good luck to Mike and small businesses everywhere.

Sara
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Invaluable, July 23, 2011
By 
This review is from: Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition (Hardcover)
The books true strength comes from the specific examples and instruction. Mike has a great way of explaining his concepts in a way that's so easy to relate to. And thank goodness for it, because a lot of the analogies are NASA and science related. But for some reason, business concepts have never been so easy - or so interesting - to understand. He also uses lots of examples that aren't socialmediaexaminer.com, which I really appreciated, because I got to learn a lot about other businesses, too.

One thing I love about this book is that it's NOT about how he launched his blog and business. It's about how the reader can launch theirs. And Stelzner really does take you from start to finish.

I also love that he includes actual examples of a case study, an expert interview, contrarian article and a review, so that we can follow the examples and do it right ourselves. This is so helpful for those who are trying to do similar articles. (such as this one.)
There are so many how-to's in this book that it was hard to choose just a few, but I chose these because these are the ones I think people need the most. Here are my favorite things about the book (and I bookmarked a LOT of it):

- The "How To Create Your Vision" section - step by step instructions on creating what you want and the measureable goals to get you there by STARTING WITH THE END RESULT and working backwards. (awesome)
- Great examples on how to use outside experts for content, including how to approach them
- Specific things to put on your website to actively engage other people
- The EXACT components of how-to articles and how to write them (I've always wondered if I was doing it right)
- How to create a report based on a survey (another thing I was hoping to do correctly)
- How to create an editorial guide
- How to run a micro event, like a teleseminar series, and what you need to have
- How and when to use marketing, and when NOT to

This book is absolutely a must-have for anyone who is trying to not just LAUNCH a business but keep the momentum going for a while. The information in here is truly invaluable, and I'm a little overwhelmed by the generosity of the author by the price of the book....because I've taken thousand-dollar business courses with similar information.

Go. Buy. Now!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Launch Your Brand with the Elevation Principle, June 27, 2011
By 
This review is from: Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition (Hardcover)
What do the entrepreneur at the kitchen table and the frustrated corporate marketing exec have in common? Both struggle with launching things. Both have been burned by the broken promises of marketing in our rapidly changing economy.

Modern consumers are more educated and informed than ever before. They've got your number and, most of all, they don't want to be marketed and sold to. So where does that leave you and your idea? How can you cut through the clutter and rise above it all?

THE ELEVATION PRINCIPLE
"People want valuable insight, access to great people, and recognition before they want products and services." This is the thesis offered early on in the new book Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Above the Competition by Michael A. Stelzner, the founder of Social Media Examiner. Those people that you want to reach with your widget or website? The ones that don't want to be marketed to? What they do want is to have their problems solved -- preferably by a trusted expert. So how do you do this?

Launch's stage-by-stage, rocket-like assembly lays this out effectively and formulaically for you through The Elevation Principle. This theory states that Great Content + Other People - Marketing Messages = Growth.

GREAT CONTENT IS FOOD FOR THE MIND
As the book is built around the metaphor of launching a rocket into space, the great content you need to produce is broken into two categories. First, there's the 'primary fuel' you need to keep your rocket moving. This is the basic stuff we all create each day and week. How-to articles, interviews, reviews, case studies, and the like. This builds your body of work. But what about that big tank in the center of the rocket?

This booster is the 'nuclear fuel' that gives you that kick you need to breakthrough and get where you're going. This is the harder-to-produce content like research reports, white papers, and events. This propels your subscribers, leads, customers, and ultimately your business into orbit. A classic example of nuclear fuel is Disney's development of theme parks, which leveraged their existing content while taking their experience to a whole new level of engagement.

LIFT UP OTHER PEOPLE
Rockets don't fly themselves, an early chapter in Launch announces. So who consumes all of this great content? To lift off, you'll need to engage three types of people:

- Reader base -- your general audience, which may or may not yet be prospects and customers (yet) but whose problems you understand
- Outside experts -- people outside your company who have access to knowledge your readers value; leveraging experts can help your idea take flight
- Fire starters -- super-experts who can help you reach the next frontier

Each of these groups is absolutely critical to helping you and your brand achieve escape velocity. You could say Launch is a book about content marketing but that's an oversimplification. If you take another step back, you'll realize that the great content is really powered by a deep belief in helping people solve their problems and the impact this has on your business. As Stelzner says, as "you lift people up they will lift you up."

THE LAST CHAPTER
As a marketer you might raise an eyebrow to learn that there is only one chapter about marketing messages in Launch and it's the very last one! Alas, though a tough pill to swallow, Stelzner's Braveheart-like plea to hold, hold, HOLD (!) the marketing messages is critical to successful implementation of the Elevation Principle.

Remember all of those people who don't what to be sold to? We've helped create that stigma, as so many of us marketers (this blogger-included) are hard-wired to ask for the sale too early. Launch tells us to focus instead on creating and sharing compelling content that you give to your audience.

Wait -- give?!? We aren't using marketing messages and we're giving our thought leadership away?!? More revolutionary thinking but Stelzner -- who has built successful businesses around both social media and white paper development using these proven principles -- reassures that even giving away some of your best ideas and content in a blog post or report will never replace you and what your business have to offer. Further, he goes on to say "something free can lead to future fees." By focusing on great content for other people and caging your overt marketing messages, Launch blazes a trail for marketers that is based on restraint.

SO, SHOULD YOU READ IT?
Dog-earred, written in, and stuffed with papers, my copy of Launch is a mess already. But that's what you do with a book of action. If you are a person of action, then Launch is a book for you. While heavy on examples from Stelzner's own successful ventures, Launch also features diverse case studies ranging from solo bloggers to major corporations.

Will this be the first time you've heard of some of the ideas and concepts in Launch? Maybe not. But this will be the time you finally thread them all together and make something big out of the pieces. You see, how Stelzner packages this process here is a key element to the book's power. The launch/rocket/space metaphor is airtight. It is a flawlessly built brand story. From the formula of the Elevation Principle to primary and nuclear fuel and even the dangers of friction and drag, this parable not only dynamically illustrates the content but it packages it in an extremely memorable and easily sharable format.

You can't launch a business, brand, or rocket to the moon without a plan. And this book reads like a mission-control manual stuffed with the step-by-step processes and examples you need to achieve escape velocity. That's why Launch is a good fit for both the entrepreneur and the corporate marketer. For many of the executives I see every day and also for my wife the yoga teacher struggling to stand out from the competition. We're all looking to launch something ...

Read more of my reviews and brand-driven insights at [...]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read For Anyone Shooting For The Stars, June 14, 2011
This review is from: Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition (Hardcover)
I love Michael's blog, SocialMediaExaminer.com, but I had no idea what to expect from his book.

Writing short posts, or hiring others to do so, is a completely different skill set than writing a book that is compelling throughout.

Turns out, he's got 'the right stuff'.

A compelling read, Michael blasts off at the word go and never slows down, sharing a relatively simple principle -- and a proven formula for success.

The philosophy he shares may not be common practice -- but it reads like common sense.

It's the kind of book that makes me feel richer just for having read it.

Thanks Mike! You never disappoint.
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Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition
Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition by Michael A. Stelzner (Hardcover - June 21, 2011)
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