Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hype over Substance!

OK, I hear this all of the time. "But that company made it sound so great!" And when it came down to the actual work, not so great! I know some people whose products and services are just garbage, but these same people are masters of hype. They tell you how exciting it is. How great they are. How successful! If you intend to invest in companies like that, here is your best advice for "consumer protection." Don't get sold on hype! Get sold on substance! Here are some tips to help you avoid the hype and find out if it's true.

1. Samples -- If someone has hyped it all up and made it sound all glamorous, look at the truth. What do their products look like? If it's a publisher, what do their products read like? Are they loaded with editorial mistakes and weak information or plot lines? Watch out and make sure that whatever samples, they show that these are really their products. You would be surprised about misrepresentation. Also, in the publishing world, if someone is putting out there, they know publishing, writing and editing, then they should be a qualified editor. If they're offering editing or writing services, ask to see samples of "published" (published as in a reputable magazines or periodicals). This one isn't that difficult. Google their professional name. What comes up outside of their website or blog? Do you see any bylined pieces out there if they're a professional "writer?" I don't think someone who has never been professionally published anywhere outside of his/her own company is a true pro.

2. Credentials -- OK, now we're getting down to the meat. What is that person's credentials? Their true credentials NOT what they've hyped it up to be. We can all one day decide we're going to be something and put down a title. Check their credentials -- especially if you're going to spend money with this business. What is the leader's education? Is it nutrition when they're marketed themselves as an editor? If they're education isn't on the money, then how many years did they spend working hands-on in the field? The RIGHT field. Again, if they're a publisher, how many publications did they work on prior to becoming a publisher. Check it out thoroughly. You may be unpleasantly surprised that there is not substance to all that hype. It's your money, so be careful.

3. References -- Ask for references directly from those products the person is saying he/she produced. In the case of publishing (but this applies to websites and marketing collateral too), ask to talk to the author of that book he/she is saying his/her company produced. The author has the authentic experience with the company and can reflect back the experience. So make sure you talk to the client and/or author.

4. Hype is hype -- You can make anything appear sexy and glamorous -- it's called marketing. Most business people are not going to admit their business isn't doing so well. But if a business owner is saying he/she is super successful but, in truth, are not profitable or even filed bankruptcy, watch out! Especially watch out, if they're out teaching how to be successful when they have never personally achieved success.

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