Marketing Profs held a one-day virtual conference in early April, and one of their keynote speakers was David Meerman Scott, author of the recently released World Wide Rave and The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

His seven Rules of the Rave apply to any business or organization that wants to create online buzz with their customers or members, and I wanted to share them with you.

1. Nobody cares about your products, except you.
Ouch, but this is true. Your members and customers care primarily about themselves. They care about your organization to the extent that you can solve their problems or meet their needs. So you need to be really clear about how you do that, using language they use, no gobbledygook or corporate-speak. Remember, it’s not about you, they don’t care how big you are or how many awards you’ve won. They do care about how you’re going to make their lives easier, so tell them that in their language.

2. No coercion required.
If it takes a hard or deceptive sell to get people to pay attention, are you really offering something of value? Are you speaking to the right audience? Scott used the example of a funny banner ad touting “parents against reprehensible metal music” that led to a Toyota matrix landing page. Huh? Don’t waste people’s time with gimmicks. Shoot straight.

3. Lose control.
Let your members and customers use word-of-mouth or word-of-mouse to spread your message. Find ways to empower them to be your evangelists. Scott talked about how the Grateful Dead lost control of their music by allowing their fans to record concerts and then trade tapes. This viral marketing led to the Dead becoming the most popular touring band in history. They made it easy for their fans to do the work for them. Put a useful resource on your site and make it easy to spread around – don’t put up any barriers to getting it, like requiring registration or email addresses.

4. Put down roots.
Be where your members and customers are. Fish where the fish are. Participate in communities and be a trusted source. Get friendly with bloggers — they are influencers.

5. Create triggers that encourage people to share.
Make it easy for your members and customers by giving them something they can share with others that will get your name out there. A restaurant can provide recipes and a shopping list based on what’s on sale that week at the local supermarket, or what’s in season at the farmers’ market. Find out who the influencers are and give them something to share, something to blog about or talk about.

6. Point the world to your virtual doorstep.
Sharing is great but you need to get them back to your doorstep where they can learn about you and might get interested in doing business with you. Make sure your URL is on everything. Create a special landing page to measure the effectiveness of your viral marketing. Give a special discount code to those who land there.

7. Stop making excuses.
Anyone can create a world wide rave. You don’t have to be a “social media expert” to come up with one, besides there are no social media experts. Think about the content or knowledge that lives in your organization and find a way to share it following these rules and your word-of-mouth and word-of mouse will spread.