It’s been happening for years and there’s no denying the interest a good leak creates. The real question is, how many happen accidently and how many are planned and brilliantly executed?

Nearly every industry has had a leak in one form or another but it we see it is a much more popular trend in industries such as motor vehicles and technology. You only need to take a look at the myriad of sites that are dedicated to information on future products or releases to know that there is a massive market out there, gasping for the inside on anything new.

Car enthusiasts swarm to sites claiming to have the latest info on a new release. Sneaky pics or clever 3D renders create unprecedented traffic as people clamber to get the first look. No doubt, if you wanted to keep a new model secret you wouldn’t drive the vehicle on the streets painted in large black and white checks!

Most recently the iPhone 4.0 has created incredible traffic to the GIZMODO site as claims flooded Facebook and Twitter with claims of pictures of Apple’s latest release. It was claimed that the new device had been ‘left’ in a pub and that the lucky person that discovered it contacted GIZMODO to see if they were interested. A figure of US$10,000 has been bandied around as payment for the phone along with statements that Apple has indeed ‘lost’ one of its prototypes and would dearly like to ‘ get it back‘!

Whether this is true or not, it begs the question as to how much value a leak (or indeed a sneak) can have for a new product.

Companies, like Apple, seem to thrive on the incredible amount of free publicity for their new products. It’s almost the ultimate tease campaign mixed with the ultimate viral campaign without having to spend a single dollar!

So how do you use this in your own business? Obviously most small to medium businesses, and even many large businesses, don’t have a particular product or piece of news that can create the kind of frenzy that Apple and GMH do but then again it’s likely that your market isn’t as big as theirs.

You can apply the logic though to your own niche market. It’s a matter of creating an environment by which you can develop the excitement. Obviously mediums such as newspaper and radio can offer good avenues when used creatively and with more of a PR bent than an advertising skew. Having a strong database is also vital as eNewsletters and SMS notifications can be hugely beneficial also.

Making the leak viral is also vital to its success so having a strong group of followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook can have a huge influence with posts and tweets being multiplied all over the world. If you’ve got video then YouTube can even start to play a role.

It’s all about being innovative really and installing the perception that there is something valuable to gain from being the first to know about a product, service or offering.

It encourages people to join your brand rather than just transact with it. It’s an extremely vital aspect of the very foundation of marketing.

So next time you develop something new, take a long look at whether a sneak leak will work for you.