The PR BlogPublic RelationsPR StrategyThe Superhero Solution PR Strategy: Become an Obvious Answer

The Superhero Solution PR Strategy: Become an Obvious Answer

With great power comes great PR potential.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

The super­hero solu­tion PR strategy is simple yet powerful.

The strategy is inspired by Derek Halpern, former blog­ger on mar­ket­ing psy­cho­logy at Social Triggers.

The gen­er­al idea: By intro­du­cing (and nam­ing) a spe­cif­ic solu­tion to a com­mon prob­lem, online search­ers will come to you in droves.

The chal­lenge, of course, is to devise a solu­tion potent enough to get the job done.

Here goes:

What Is a Superhero Solution?

The basic premise of a super­hero solu­tion is simple: 1Indeed, the “super­hero solu­tion” concept is itself a super­hero solu­tion with a catchy name.

  • Identify a com­mon prob­lem in your industry or niche.
  • Create an easy-to-imple­ment solu­tion and make it accessible.
  • Give your solu­tion an easy-to-remem­ber name.
  • Promote your super­hero solu­tion by piggy­back­ing on oth­er people’s audi­ences (OPA).

Derek Halpern, who wrote about mar­ket­ing psy­cho­logy, named this approach the super­hero solu­tion. To demon­strate its use, he iden­ti­fied that the most valu­able real estate on a web­site is above the fold (i.e. the part of a web­site front page vis­ible without scrolling).

Halpern argued that all busi­nesses should push their exist­ing front page con­tent down and insert a “fea­ture box” (the name he gave his super­hero solu­tion) accord­ing to a few easy-to-fol­low guid­ing principles.

By insert­ing a high-con­vert­ing fea­ture box con­tain­ing the organ­isa­tion’s most crit­ic­al CTA (call-to-action) above the fold, con­ver­sions would skyrocket.

Halpern then offered a series of high-pro­file YouTubers (who often neg­lect their web­sites to focus on their chan­nels) to do a live review to improve their con­ver­sions. As a guest on their chan­nels, he walked them (and their audi­ences) through insert­ing a fea­ture box accord­ing to best practices.

The concept of a “fea­ture box” is today the wide­spread nam­ing con­ven­tion of this per­vas­ive fea­ture that almost all web­sites use.

Superhero Solution Case Study: Inbox Zero

The ori­gin of Inbox Zero can be traced back to Merlin Mann, a pro­ductiv­ity expert and cre­at­or of the pop­u­lar blog 43 Folders.

In 2006, Mann intro­duced the Inbox Zero concept dur­ing a Google Tech Talk. The talk, titled “Inbox Zero: Action-Based Email,” was aimed at help­ing people reclaim con­trol of their inboxes by imple­ment­ing a series of habits that would enable them to pro­cess and organ­ise their emails more efficiently. 

Inbox Zero gained pop­ular­ity as many indi­vidu­als and organ­isa­tions recog­nised the neg­at­ive impact a cluttered email inbox could have on pro­ductiv­ity and over­all well-being. Inbox Zero provided a prac­tic­al solu­tion to this prob­lem, help­ing users regain con­trol of their inboxes by imple­ment­ing a series of best prac­tices focused on effi­cient email pro­cessing and organisation.

Many soft­ware applic­a­tions, such as Gmail, Outlook, and vari­ous task man­age­ment sys­tems, have integ­rated fea­tures that sup­port the Inbox Zero meth­od­o­logy. This wide­spread adop­tion has made it easi­er for indi­vidu­als and organ­isa­tions to put the prin­ciples of Inbox Zero into prac­tice, res­ult­ing in an increased focus on email man­age­ment as a crit­ic­al com­pon­ent of over­all pro­ductiv­ity and time man­age­ment strategies. As a res­ult, Inbox Zero has become syn­onym­ous with effect­ive email hand­ling and con­tin­ues to be a pop­u­lar approach for man­aging digit­al communication.

As such, Inbox Zero was Mann’s “super­hero solu­tion” that awar­ded him massive traffic and inbound links for an exten­ded period.

The Challenges of Devising a Superhero Solution

A super­hero solu­tion can be many things:

  • A sys­tem
  • A concept
  • An idea
  • An approach
  • A mind­set
  • A tem­plate
  • A spread­sheet
  • An applic­a­tion

And so on.

A super­hero solu­tion can offer a com­plex tech­nic­al ser­vice, such as Pingdom’s Website Speed Test or OpenAI:s free ver­sion of ChatGPT.

Or it can be a simple organ­ising sys­tem such as Inbox Zero.

Whatever the super­hero solu­tion should be for your industry or niche, it must rep­res­ent a simple and reward­ing fix for an actu­al chal­lenge that exists in the real world. 2Many web­sites focused on con­tent mar­ket­ing use lead mag­nets and con­tent upgrades (also known as “opt-in bribes” to boost con­ver­sions, and these can often be mis­taken for super­hero solu­tions. But the … Continue read­ing

And while a super­hero solu­tion should be able to pro­mote itself via word-of-mouth (and some­times built-in vir­al loops), it typ­ic­ally needs to be heav­ily pro­moted ini­tially to gain the neces­sary traction. 

Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing it with oth­er PR- and com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

PR Resource: How To Write a 1‑Page Strategy

1-Page Strategy - Doctor Spin - The PR Blog
Keep it clean. (Photo: @jerrysilfwer)

How to Write a 1‑Page Strategy

If you can­’t explain it simply, you don’t under­stand it well enough.”
— Albert Einstein

My inspir­a­tion for writ­ing “no-bull­shit” strategies comes from the clas­sic Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt. The 1‑page strategy focuses on how to win.

Here’s how you can write a 1‑page strategy that fits one page — using the myth­ic­al battle between David and Goliath as an analogy:

1. Analysis

  • David can­’t beat Goliath using his size or raw strength, but he has an advant­age in speed and accur­acy from a distance.

2. Guiding Principle

  • David should­n’t engage in close com­bat but rather use tools that will allow him to strike from a distance.

3. Coherent Actions

  • David should­n’t use any heavy armour because that would slow him down.
  • David should use a sling­shot, a weapon he is famil­i­ar with and can strike from a distance.
  • David should lever­age the sur­prise ele­ment and not advert­ise his advant­age beforehand.

If you write 1 – 2 clear sen­tences per bul­let, your strategy should fit nicely on one page.

Read also: The Easy Street PR Strategy: Keep It Simple To Win

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PR Resource: More PR Strategies

Doctor Spin’s PR Strategies

The under­ly­ing prin­ciples of strategy are endur­ing, regard­less of tech­no­logy or the pace of change.”
— Michael Porter

Make sure to explore a wide vari­ety of PR strategies for every dif­fer­ent type of situ­ation and challenge:

Learn more: How to Create a PR Strategy That Actually Works

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1 Indeed, the “super­hero solu­tion” concept is itself a super­hero solu­tion with a catchy name.
2 Many web­sites focused on con­tent mar­ket­ing use lead mag­nets and con­tent upgrades (also known as “opt-in bribes” to boost con­ver­sions, and these can often be mis­taken for super­hero solu­tions. But the dif­fer­ence between super­hero solu­tions and opt-in bribes is that the former will attract new users by itself and propag­ate out­side your web­site’s confines.
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo has nothing to do with public relations, of course. I share for no other reason that I happen to enjoy photography. Call it an “ornamental distraction”—and a subtle reminder to appreciate nature.

The cover photo has


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