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How to Master The Denny Crane School of Online Publicity

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I'm a huge fan of the hit TV show Boston Legal. Every episode of this show that I’ve seen, I love. This is in no small way due to the irreverent charm of the Denny Crane character, played by the great William Shatner.

Denny's a quirky fellow who is the first name partner at the law firm Crane, Poole and Schmidt. A combination of “mad cow,” brilliance, and guts gives him the ability to boldly say and do what no other lawyers would dare.

In my quest to help businesses get more exposure online, I've discovered that it's easy to get lost in the sea of activity taking place online, even if you do everything right. This often led me to ask, how can I be more of an attention-grabber? How can I be more like Denny in my online adventures?

For both fun and education, here are six things any of us can do.

1. State your site's name/slogan/tag-line/whatever repeatedly, out loud, or in print as needed.

Denny's always repeating his name as his tagline, which is brilliant. "Denny Crane," he says, to punctuate a statement, with the same flair James Bond had in all his incarnations. Why should you state what you do/who you are/your site name/your slogan/company name as much as you can without sounding nuts?

Because repetition works.

Repetition works.

Repetition, works.

Repetition – hey, how'd you know what I was going to say?

Because it works. :)

2. "We have to create our own reality."

In "Season 2, Episode 17," Denny starts out the episode depressed because his woman has left him for cheating with another woman in the coat room.

On his wedding day.

Later, he sees a case about a guy who is being sued by the robber who tried to break into the man's house, because the thief got electrocuted when he breached the security system. Knowing that the prosecution would likely paint this man as a vigilante, that's when Denny said they'd have to create a reality wherein their guy was a hero. (And one of his instructions to his underlings was to start a blog. Hint. Hint.)

Was Denny's team lying? No! They just exposed the truth as they perceived it, and marketed it to the public. There's going to be a public perception of you, your Web site, your company. The only question? Whether you are in control of it or not. One method: Control it indirectly by striving to be the best of your kind.

3. Don't just ask for attention. Do what it takes to grab it.

Trying to get people to come to your site to buy your latest widget? Boring! Invite people to events that are happening in and around your site, and the satellite pages you control around the Web, about how to solve their problem. And don't forget to invite the important people you know to what may seem to be an unimportant event. Not to do so would just be rude.

What Denny said when his friend Alan didn't invite him to a protest of women who got topless so the press would show up:

Denny Crane: 100 women there, and you didn't invite me. That's 200 breasts! And you kept them all to yourself.

4. Be confident almost to the point of stupidity, and have the verifiable track record to back it up.

Denny Crane: I'm going to tell you this one more time with all the humility I can summon up. I'm the greatest trial attorney that ever lived. You will not beat me.

Denny's able to say that because Denny is right. He's not arrogant because he likes the sound of his own voice — though he does. He's arrogant because he's earned it. He's the best, he's got a roster of people proving that he's the best and an undefeated record.

5. Be outrageous.

(Judge)Brian Stevens: Motion for continuance is denied.
Denny Crane: You know what I'm going to do, Brian, just to show you there are no hard feelings? I'm going to sleep with your wife.

I know, naughty example, but it's funny, and it illustrates the point. How do you do this? Please don't sleep with anyone else's wife! Try this instead: take some normal event and think of things that are the opposite of what a person would expect. Then do them. Example: Write a sales page about your free newsletter. At the end of the page, when people are ready to fork over their $100 for the fantastic information you have, tell them it's free.

6. Be the Rainmaker.

The Rainmaker is the money-making executive. They bring in the big accounts, solve the big problems, get jobs done that no one else wants, with eagerness, finesse and the appearance of ease.

If you're an entrepreneur, develop that reputation among colleagues and clients, but not by saying what you can do, by doing it and showing your results.

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