This blog post is going to be a bit different from my normal posts. Mainly because I don’t really have a point.
Instead I have a series of thoughts running around in my head that I’m hoping once in print will meld together to form some sort of coherent thought or maybe even philosophy on blogging and social media as a whole.
And, if any of these random thoughts resonates with you, I’m hoping you’ll join in the conversation with a few thoughts of your own.
I’ve Been Thinking of Starting This Blog…
See it all started when I recently found myself in a situation I’m sure many of you are familiar with:
A friend or family member wanted me to help them start a website that would let them make money off their latest amazing hobby.
Or, they’ve started a blog and want my help making it popular enough to make money from it.
Or, they’ve got a great idea for a site that I should start and they’re absolutely certain it’s going to make a ton of money.
As you may have guessed I’ve encountered a situation similar to the above several times. I usually point them to a couple of my favorite blogs on blogging or if they’re really serious, will recommend a few books they should read.
But more times than I can count, I walk away absolutely knowing their blog will never succeed even if they do managed to string together a few posts on a semi-regular basis.
Why is that?
Why are there people who within minutes of meeting I can tell won’t make a good blogger while there are others that I know would absolutely crush it if they bothered to invest the time?
That question has been stuck in the back of my mind for the last several weeks so I began to take a look at the blog posts that really resonate with me.
Now don’t worry, I’m not claiming to have solved the meaning of online life or stumbled onto some fool-proof recipe for blogging success. Like I said, I’m looking for a discussion.
Making a Connection
Johnny Truant recently wrote a post on Copyblogger.com talking about how he built his online business. To be honest, his process doesn’t sound all that impressive. I mean, look at it:
The business model basically consisted of trying to write funny blog posts and generally just hanging out online, and then parlaying that good will into its logical succession, which is, of course, technology services.
Pretty deep huh?
And yet, he’s making 5 figures a month from his online business, while “doing everything wrong“.
Dave Snyder, the most dangerous man on the internet, wrote a post last week that had absolutely nothing to do with SEO or Social Media Marketing (the pillars of the company he co-founded) but resonated with me more than most posts I’ll read in a year. Does Dave talking about story time with his son make me think he’s better at his job?
Not at all.
Does it make me more likely to recommend him or refer people to his company when the time comes?
Why? Because I can identify with that post. In my mind, Dave & I share more in common than we did before I read the post.
At this point I’m sure some of you are screaming that these are perfect examples of Third Tribe Marketing. And to some extent, I guess you’re right.
I am a 3T member, but that has more to do with the fact that I’m an unabashed Brian Clark fanboy. I enjoy reading his blog, got a LOT out of his Teaching Sells course, and am in love with Thesis Theme which Brian partnered with Chris Pearson on.
When you combine those positive product experiences with the fact that Brian interacts with me on Twitter, the result is that I’ll buy pretty much anything Brian puts out as long as I can afford it without having to sell a vital organ.
The interaction on Twitter might seem petty to you, but I’d be careful not to dismiss that too quickly.
I recently interviewed several graduates of my Pops’ Dreamweaver Course in hopes of getting some good testimonials to use for his upcoming launch.
The course had a 100% student retention rate even though he offered a 30 day money back guarantee and every student I interviewed couldn’t say enough good things about it. Now, my old man’s a great guy and all, but these people acted like he walked on water!
When I asked them why their reviews were so positive and why they all were recommending the course the answer every single time was that he took the time to interact with them one on one. Whether it was in the support forum or on the weekly Webinar calls, he gave each student his attention, even if only for a short period of time.
If you’ve ever read advice on blogging I’m willing to bet you’ve been told to “find your voice.” While that’s certainly good advice, hell I’ve written those very words in a post before, I don’t think it actually sinks in to a lot of people.
Instead I think “be yourself” would be better advice. If you’re analytical in nature, be analytical. Dig deep into topics and break them down into statistical nuggets to share with the rest of the online world.
If you’re crass & irreverent, fantastic! Sugarrae has made a name for herself by saying what she thinks and refusing to filter it. At times she’ll say things that would make a sailor blush but a LOT of people respect her for being 100% her all the time, online & off.
One of her partners in crime, Lisa Barone had me following a site about knee socks for crying out loud!
I really have NO interest in knee socks but I enjoy Lisa’s style of writing and knew she was passionate about those damn socks.
So how does this long rambling post apply to you? I don’t have a clue.
For me it means that I think I’m finally realizing that I can relax on my blogs the way I do on Twitter and in real life. I’ve always prided myself on being honest with people. What you see is pretty much what you get.
If you ask me what I think, I’m gonna tell you. You might not like what I have to say but at least you never have to wonder if I’m being honest with you.
Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t staying up nights wringing my hands worrying about what kind of image I was portraying online. But I spent a decent amount of time trying to figure out what I want this site in particular to be and what kind of face I’d like to show to the public.
I mean, future clients or employers could be viewing this blog right? But I think life’s too short and it takes too much effort to try and “polish” your public image.
I’m a devoted husband, a Christian, a sports fan, a political junkie, an SEO, a blogger, a WordPress guru in training, a Thesis Theme designer, and no, all those classifications don’t always play nicely together.
But if you want to hire me to market your website, or design a Thesis Skin for you, that’s fantastic.
If not, at least you won’t waste your time having to sift through all the typical interview/token answers/telling you what you want to hear BS.
Now I’m not trying to dismiss business or act like I don’t care about making money online. I absolutely do.
I guess I just have the confidence that enough people won’t care whether I offend them once or twice (it’s bound to happen) as long as I deliver the goods.
What do you think?
So what do you think? Have I lost my mind? Should I care whether or not people know what political beliefs I hold?
Do you have to play nice to succeed online?