Everyone’s looking to be heard, and almost the same amount of people offer a way to help you do it – through books/ebooks, free reports, blogs, webinars, videos, and so on.
Here’s the rub: most of them are saying the same thing.
Marketing Consultant and super-blogger Danny Iny’s recent release Engagement From Scratch: How Super-Community Builders Create a Loyal Audience and How You Can Do the Same! patently proves this.
The book is a compendium of how-to articles and essays from all the top-tier bloggers and entrepreneurs on the Internet right now on how to build a loyal community around your brand, blog, or service, including:
· Brian Clark (founder, Copyblogger.com)
· Guy Kawasaki (founder, Alltop.com)
· Mark Schaefer (marketing consultant and founder, BusinessesGrow.com)
· Derek Halpern (founder, DIYThemes.com)
And though their individual experiences differ, their basic framework for success is the same.
Note: this book targets writers, but these laws apply to any business and marketing strategy, so don’t feel alienated if you’re not a writer.
It took me a couple days to read the 234-page guide (not counting the first four pages of praise), so before you bounce between sites and blogs, I’ll give you the pros’ basic framework for success right here…in half the time.
One clarification: I’m simply offering a quick digest of its contents for those who may not have the time to read it right now.
If you do have the time, by all means go to engagementfromscratch.com to download your free copy of the e-book. It’s an awesome resource.
Here’s What All of the Successful Pros Agree On
Know what in the world you’re offering people before you offer it, and do it in a way that builds your credibility as an expert or authority on the subject.
2) Differentiate yourself. You have to set yourself apart from your peers by finding out what they’re doing and mix things up to make yourself different.
Derek Halpern (DIYThemes.com) suggests something as simple as studying what color hyperlinks your peers use and choose a different link color (p. 91) and how they position their photos in their articles and do yours differently (p. 92).
The best gem he offered (and probably one we overlook) is studying your peers’ medium. If the majority of your peers use articles, video, or audio, provide your material in a medium they’re not using (p. 92-93).
3) Avail yourself. The pros hammer this hard. If you’re not easily accessible, potentials may visit, but won’t stay.
Encourage conversation and value every comment; and love on your readers (translation: thank them personally and give them public recognition periodically in different ways).
Also, make sure you set up an email subscription to catch the people who are genuinely interested.
Email subs are the most effective way to keep, measure, and nurture audience loyalty.
4) Know your target audience. Another marketing must from the pros – and this law goes all the way back to what I learned in the Entertainment Business Masters program while designing my business plan.
Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends and BizSugar.com, suggests that you specify your target down to the last detail (p. 64-66).
The pros agree if you don’t know who you want to reach, you won’t know what approach to take to reach anyone effectively. Furthermore, you won’t know what social circles to lurk in to find who you want.
5) Show yourself in your content, but don’t be narcissistic. Business and Marketing Coach Marlee Ward’s article, “How to Suck at Building an Engaged Audience”, lists this concept in items #5 and #6.
“Refrain from Showing Too Much of Who You “Really” Are”, and “Make Sure Everything on Your Blog is About You and Your Business”, respectively, explain that you should show your audience who you are so they can connect with you on a personal level (via humor, a catchy approach, taboo topics, conversational tone, etc.).
However, if you only ever post about yourself and your business, you’ll disenfranchise people altogether.
6) Diversify your content. Don’t do all articles, all videos, all webinars, or all of any one thing. Too much becomes boring.
(Trust me, I know – I have a mother who gets bored if the home décor is in place for longer than two months. She changes everything out.)
7) Do offsite promotion. Leverage your social networks. Don’t share only your exploits, either (that’s narcissistic) – share content that interests you and that you feel your audience will find valuable.
Another powerful offsite promo method: ubiquity.
Author Danny Iny (at left) has branded himself “The Freddy Krueger of Blogging” (a phrase coined by friend Eugene Farber) because he’s everywhere.
He guest blogs on all of the top blogs out there offering his marketing tips.
Your takeaway? Make sure you’re putting your info, media, or service on the well-known websites in your niche. The more often people see you, the more they’ll ask themselves, “who is this?” and finally follow your link to come find you.
8) Connect with like-minded people. Keep your friends close, and your competitors closer.
As evil as that sounds, it’s actually far more productive – for both sides – than a silent competitive enmity. Engage with and help them, and they’ll reciprocate.
Think about this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show: Madonna performed with Hip Hop artists M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj. Three well-known artists came together to put on a crazy show – and don’t forget that shuffle.
People tuned in…and tweeted and updated their Facebook status by the minute.
9) Solidify your branding and design. Find out what kind of aesthetics your target market gravitates to, use that to decide the look you want to use, and keep it consistent across all your materials.
Innovative business model consultant Dr. Alexander Osterwalder discovered what aesthetics his target market desired and incorporated them into the design of his book and accompanying web site, which set him apart from his competition and brought him huge success.
“If I could offer you any piece of advice for starting from ground up it would be to make sure that your design, and your presence, is as good as your content” (p. 27).
10) Different strokes for different folks – there is no set path.
Sounds anticlimactic, right?
No worries – this statement isn’t to discourage us.
Just remember that these are businesspeople. The most they can ever do is share what worked for them.
They can’t know what will work for you, so they make that statement to protect themselves. Fair enough.
I know that was a lot, so here are the pros’ core points in summary:
· Know your content.
· Be different (not necessarily new, but different).
· Be reachable.
· Know who you’re reaching.
· Show yourself, but don’t be full of yourself.
· Provide variety, and bring your audience to you by first bringing yourself to it.
· Collaborate with your competition for better results.
· Know what branding/design to use for your target market and keep it consistent.
· Keep an open mind to experimentation – some things will work, and some won’t.
For those who stuck it out and read all this, thanks so much for your time.
However, I do hope this digest whets your appetite to know more. Believe me, what I touched on here is just that – a touch. There is much more in-depth knowledge in Iny’s book from all these amazing people.
So again, if you want the free ebook, you can download it at engagementfromscratch.com.
So what do you think? Which laws do you use? Which ones do you disagree with? Do these whet your appetite to read the book?
School me in a comment below and share this article if you find it helpful. It’ll help Danny Iny get the word out to help hundreds of entrepreneurs out there.
Thanks again for reading!