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PNI Virtual Interview Book Launch: Recap, Top 12 and the Big Vote

As most readers of this blog know, a week ago today I announced a very ambitious (and niave) open call to any blogger to send me 5 questions about my new book and I would answer each one individually.  I ended up with 55 bloggers that took me up on the challenge and doing all the answers took a little over 10 hours (more than the day I had anticipated). This post is an attempt to share a recap of the effort, some lessons I learned, what I thought the top five interviews were, and (of course) your chance to vote for the best. 

The Contest:

As I promised in my initial post, the best interview will win a signed copy of the book and a $100 gift certificate from Amazon.  When I wrote that, I planned on getting far fewer blogs – but I think everyone can agree that expecting anyone to read 50+ interviews is probably unrealistic.  So because of the volume, I am going to choose the top twelve here and then let you vote for your favourite. Since there were so many great interviews, I am going to send the top 5 vote getters out of the 12 all a signed copy of PNI … and the winner will get the Amazon gift certificate as well. In the interest of fairness and so the other bloggers don’t feel like they didn’t have a chance to win (and in case many of you feel I got the top five wrong), there is a write-in category as well so you can manually enter your favourite and vote for it.  I will also give a signed copy to the top write-in vote getter from the other 50 interviews. Voting goes till Friday. Make sense?  Too complicated?  Post a comment with any questions and I’ll clarify.

The Lessons:
Overall, this effort has been a success far beyond what I imagined as a part of the book launch. Aside from the obvious great buzz and tons of links the program generated, it was also the best kind of media training I could do for myself in honing how I talk about the key ideas in the book. I crowdsourced my message training, so to speak. Looking back on the effort, here are a few lessons I learned:

  1. Offer something back. The main reason I think this idea worked so well, is that bloggers got something tangible in return for participating … an custom interview that they could run on their blogs. I wasn’t just asking for a favor, I was trying to do one for participants as well. I’m continuing that through linking as well, by linking to each blogger’s interview on my new website for the book also.
  2. Make it ok to do less work. This was probably the one thing I didn’t do too well with this effort. I think asking for five put a bit of pressure on some people to come up with more than they wanted to, and definitely put more work on me to answer five questions for everyone. Next time around, I would make it ok for others (and me) to do less work if we can.
  3. Decide on real-time vs. exclusivity. One thought I had with this idea early on was that it might have been cool to use a more "wikified" approach where I was entering my answers to all questions in one big document that people could follow and comment on in real time (making it more of a stunt that people could watch).  The problem with this is that it would have lost the element of the "exclusive interviews" for all the bloggers though, and in the end I think that ended up being a really important component.

The Top Twelve
So, without further ado – here are my choices for the top twelve interviews, along with why I chose them (in NO particular order). The criteria I used for picking these was creativity, originality, depth and relevance. I could spend a lot of time defining each of these, but think you will probably get the idea of what I mean when you read these:

  1. Scott Monty | Interview Link
  2. Todd Andrlik | Interview Link
  3. Kevin Dugan | Interview Link
  4. Bruce Reyes-Chow | Interview Link
  5. Jonny Goldstein | Interview Link
  6. David Berkowitz | Interview Link 
  7. Krishna De | Interview Link
  8. Connie Bensen | Interview Link
  9. Ronna Porter | Interview Link
  10. Zachary J. Braiker | Interview Link
  11. Gaurav Mishra | Interview Link
  12. Linda Sherman | Interview Link

Thanks to everyone who participated and sent in their interview questions! I am thinking about opening up a second round of this effort as well … so stay tuned for that.  Voting will close this Friday at midnight so if you’re part of the top twelve, good luck!

The Vote:

Update: This vote is also cross posted on the new Personality Matters blog as part of the PNI Official Book Website.

Update 2: Due to a technical glitch, Ross Hill who blogs over at Hatchthat.com didn’t get his responses in time and missed out on participating in the final vote.  I offered to do a special mention for him here and you might want to consider his interview for a write-in vote in the contest above as he had a great interview as well.

  • http://www.bizgrowthnews.com Krishna De

    What great interviews/posts and I am thrilled to be in your shortlist of the PNI interview series.

    And if I am fortunate to win a copy of PNI and a gift certificate, I’ll gift my copy of the book to someone who votes for me.

    Also please don’t send me the gift certificate. Instead if you could make it payable to Donors.org that you support with the Ultimate Marketing Bookstore that would be great. This is in recognition for all that you have done for sharing your expertise and of course time in replying to all those questions.

    I hope that is OK with you Rohit?

    Details of this are at my blog: link to snipurl.com

    It must be an exciting and busy week for you Rohit!

    Best wishes
    Krishna
    Bringing Your Brand to Life!

  • http://www.toddand.com Todd And

    Sweet! $100 at Amazon = 25 percent off the Kindle! :-)

    Like the Academy Awards, it’s just an honor to be nominated! If there was a contest for the best book marketing tactic, I’d vote for you, Rohit! You definitely picked a winner.

    I look forward to meeting you this weekend at Blogger Social. -Todd

  • http://www.conniebensen.com Connie Bensen

    I agree that it’s truly an honor to have my interview questions chosen for the top 12 list. And yes, Rohit, this is an absolutely brilliant way to promote your book & get the conversation started.

    Best wishes on your book launch Rohit!

  • http://internetbrandingstrategy.blogspot.com/2008/03/book-lauch-personality-not-included.html Ronna Porter

    Hi Rohit, you asked for some suggestions for using sound in your marketing outreach. The book has a strong visual idea, but what does it sound like? Source a unique, meaningful sound. This could be a piece of music that is identifiable and individual to PNI (remember: are you marketing your brand, or the music artists?). Or it could be a soundbite – how about a combination of an unwinding clockwork chicken ending with a power-chicken fanfare (I’m thinking Foghorn-Leghorn, or a great line from ‘Chicken Run’ – but that might be taking the analogy too far!). Once you have your sound, use it consistently but selectively to ‘audio brand’ PNI in the same way you would with a visual identity. For example, you could use it podcasts or videos, audio book (Kindle here you come!), on Camtasia videos or webcasts, or in a short opt-in audio greeting on your PNI site. The skys the limit!

    Thanks for putting me into the top 12. I’ll be glad to get some votes and win the book. Cheers, Ronna

  • http://rohitbhargava.typepad.com/weblog/2008/04/pni-virtual-int.html Ross Hill

    Good luck to everyone who made the top 12!

  • http://jonnygoldstein.com jonny goldstein

    Egads, I am totally hooked. I keep coming back to check my stats.This experience reminds me how powerful competition can be. It’s a great experience participating in this game.

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