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by Srinivas Rao
1. Introduction- The Most Valuable Currency on The Web .................................................... 2 2. The Paradox of Popularity ............................................................................................................ 4 3. Following the Leaders is Not a Recipe for Success ................................................................ 6 4. The Evolution of a Blogger ............................................................................................................ 8 5. What’s Your Intimacy Strategy for Social Media? ............................................................... 10 6. The Most Undervalued Asset on the Social Web - Emerging Talent ............................ 14 7. The Most Dangerous Metrics in Social Media ...................................................................... 16 8. There is No Formula for Viral Content ................................................................................... 19 9. Attention Must Be Earned .......................................................................................................... 21 10. A Multidisciplinary Approach to Creating Content ......................................................... 24 11. Reinventing Your Network ...................................................................................................... 28 12. Why a Larger Body of Work is Essential to Building a Tribe ....................................... 31 13. How to Turn a Small Audience into a Small Army ........................................................... 35 14. People Can Feel What You’re Thinking ............................................................................... 38 15. Conclusion - The Cumulative Effect of Building a Small Army .................................... 41
1. Introduction- The Most Valuable Currency on The Web
Today we live in an age of non-stop distractions. Text messages, status updates, tweets, and an endless stream of information battle for a share of the most valuable currency we have, our attention. Audacity and interruption may get somebody's attention, but they won't keep it.
Long term attention is captured on an emotional connection. People who tug at our heartstrings, those who we miss when they're gone, and those who touch our lives in a way that we can't help but talk about are the ones who will win in the battle for our attention. It's those who chose to make friends and connect with fanatics, instead of raising the number of fans and followers that will thrive in the connection economy.
"A guy sent me an e-mail today about someone who posted a paragraph on Facebook about finding twenty bucks and then giving it the next day to someone with a puppy, which is somewhat of a perfect Christmas feel good paragraph. And he got sixty thousand likes in one day. And the question is, what do you do to with that? The answer is, well you can’t do anything with it because you have put a meme out to the world but you don’t have a connection to go back to those people again. They don’t remember who wrote the post. They just remember the story." - Seth Godin
This book isn't about how to get more traffic or increase the number of subscribers to your blog. Those things are potential byproducts , but not the goal. The goal is to treasure and nurture the attention you already have. That's what I believe causes blog readers to turn into tribes and content to turn into movements.
How to Use This Book
There is no right way to use this book. It's open to interpretation. Some of the ideas will work for you. Some of them won't. Discard that ones that don't and repeat the ones that do. Although it's called The Small Army Strategy, it's really about a mindset. It's a way of showing up in the world. If you have one takeaway from this book it' this, GIVE A DAMN. Give so much of damn that people depend on you and rely on you. Give so much of a damn that strangers feel compelled to share their challenges and struggles. You can't put on a ROI on giving a damn.
The Few That Matter We've entered a fierce battle for attention. You won't be the next Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin or Chris Brogan. The world doesn't need more copycats. It needs you to be you. The only way you've got a shot at winning this war for attention is to give all yours to the few that matter. The most important people in the world are the ones who show up for you. Take such good care of them that they have no choice, but to recruit a small army. I've used many of the ideas in this book over the course of the last 4 years. I've failed at building a massive audience. However I have succeeded in building a loyal one. That's what this is about. It's about building an army, no matter how small that will show up and fight with you every single day to win whatever battles you’re fighting. You could be battling the demons of depression, career catastrophes, or the loss of love. This is about about building an army that will help you fight those battles and much more.
you start to hold back and quit taking risks. At the same time. You’re not necessarily biased by how the audience will respond. you start to approach every piece of content with the question “What will they think?” I waited 3 years to interview Seth Godin for this reason If you create something they love. It's an oxymoron. If you create something they hate. The simple act of applying a formula to authenticity makes you inauthentic. The Paradox of Popularity The paradox of popularity is that it can create a paralysis that inhibits you from creating the work that made you popular in the first place! The fear of how people will respond to you can start to creep into your work until it becomes so watered down that you become part of the echo chamber. isn’t it liberating to be an early stage blogger with a few readers? For those of you trying to build an audience I know that might sound ridiculous. you begin to avoid the risk of creating something remarkable. you feel good. it falls flat! That’s simply because it’s not authentic. it’s not uncommon to become addicted to the glow of audience response. But you’re free to say anything. In some ways. I usually dread it when one of my posts does well here at Mark’s blog because I’m afraid that I won’t be able to replicate that glow. and it upsets a few of your readers. Don’t Try to Replicate Success Every single time I’ve written something with the intention of making it as good as a post that went viral or was a big hit with my readers. I’m trying to apply a formula to authenticity. Pretty soon. That is a powerful place to create from if you’re willing to embrace it. Are you addicted to the glow? As your blog grows in popularity.2. and you want to get that feeling again. .
without giving it a second thought. The reaction isn’t yours. It's to make an impact on the person reading it. people can’t feel what’s coming across.Seth Godin . At best you’ll create a pale imitation of your best work. you must try what’s never been tried. The art is yours . It will change your work. you’re doomed before you start. If you’re trying to replicate the previous positive response from an audience. It’s what I think of as the sequel syndrome. Remember the Karate Kid? Try What’s Never Been Tried We all know that “lists” posts get shared a lot. it trumps a thousand who blindly share it. But the point isn't to inflate meaningless metrics and your ego. To accomplish what’s never been done. it belongs to them. Look at the so called “best practices” adapt and break a few rules.Don’t forget that just because it’s words on a screen. Most movie sequels are terrible. If one person is moved by your art.
you have to mix up those ingredients and add your own flavor. Best Practices Might Be Hurting You Everyday I watch so many brilliant people with invaluable life and business experience come to the blogosphere and approach it all as if they’re starting from scratch. in many cases. you have to do things that have never been done before. If you want to create mouth-watering content that makes your audience salivate. but if we could look inside your head and your heart. Experimentation In my very first conversation with Mark Schaefer.” The beauty of the social web is that experimentation is cheap and. We take what we already know for granted! .3. You may not know much about blogging and social media. free. You may even get some results. “The courage to experiment is at the heart of originality. Following the Leaders is Not a Recipe for Success If Brian Clark and Darren Rowse (some of the biggest names in blogging) started their blogs today and followed their own advice. and originality is the heart of success on the social web. he said something to me that has been fundamental to how I approach the online world. You are not going to stand out by simply regurgitating what you’ve read elsewhere. Many of us remain blind to our greatest strengths. You just have to have the courage to do it. they would fail. In order to do that you have to take everything you’ve learned and adapt it to your unique skill sets. It’s tempting to look at how successful people have made their reputations and copy their techniques. I think we’d find they are bursting with insights and wisdom that you may take for granted. I look at other blog posts and advice I read as ingredients in a dish that I’m cooking. If you want to get results that other people haven’t. But what made them successful was originality.
Originality is Underrated I’m always a bit irked when somebody who is new to the blogosphere tries a few things that don't work and starts "blogging about blogging". it is that there is no one formula for success. Try something no one has ever tried. authors and entrepreneurs and if i have learned anything. and scripts. If you’ve been following formulas. best practices. . Try something you’ve never tried. It’s such a tragedy that leads to the death of their own authenticity before they even start the journey.As a result we become dependent on repetitive “best practices” and formulas. mix things up a bit. I’ve had conversations with hundreds of bloggers. We forget that our most natural abilities give us the greatest opportunity to be outstanding in a world full of noise. Just because it’s a best practice. and your results have been less than stellar. That’s why it’s essential to infuse your personality into everything you do. it doesn’t mean it’s best for you. What makes any blog memorable is the author’s ability to invoke emotion in their readers and tell a good story. You might become the next big thing. Start by breaking one of the so called “rules” of successful blogging. What makes any blog unique or interesting is the person behind it.
what we’re really doing is creating art. The Mechanic As a mechanic you’ve mastered the basics. The response to your work is either lukewarm or positive. It’s not long before the formula that allowed you to make the transition from novice to mechanic stops working and you’re forced to evolve into the next phase. I’ve found that there is an evolution that takes place. In each phase of the evolution we develop essential skills. You also bring to your work a naiveté and a much needed fresh perspective that comes with a lack of experience. While it’s tempting to see ourselves as marketers. mentors. rinse. until you realize that being a mechanic isn’t particularly unique and you’re just part of the echo chamber. So. almost to the letter and it actually works. The Evolution of a Blogger As I’ve observed bloggers from all walks of life. Through our digital footprints we’re attempting to create our personal masterpieces and leave a mark on humanity. And this formula works to a certain degree. and as I’ve taken the journey myself. writing about every subject imaginable. and those who have come before you for advice. wash and repeat is the formula you follow. You can do things with a certain precision and you’re sold on the notion that repetition is the mother of skill. .4. You follow that advice. The Novice As a novice you look to experts. we’re unlikely to unleash the creative genius within all of us. but without the courage to stay the course and go through all the phases of the evolution.
now I have a question for you? Which one are you and what are you going to do to make it to the next phase in your evolution? . You detach from outcomes. People either love you or they hate you.The Artist As an artist you start to find a voice. experts and people who came before you. You realize that to be seen as an artist you must become one of those people. Everything that came before was necessary to get to this point. focus on process and let the chips fall where they may. and now you embrace experimentation because it’s at the core of growth. You find it inside yourself to watch everything fall apart. now as. part-mechanic. all of which combined turn you into an entrepreneur. You stop looking to the mentors. The linear process which you have followed to the letter falls apart and you finally come to terms with the fact that creativity is not linear. part-artist. The Entrepreneur The entrepreneurial evolution takes place when you realize that simply being an artist isn’t going to pay the bills or turn your blog into a business. So. You realize that following formulas and prescriptions designed to create a similar result for every person who uses them is a recipe for mediocrity. You take bigger risks with your content and the response is polarizing. part novice. pick up the pieces and start all over again.
making it a bit challenging to form a truly deep relationship. you’re still bound by the character limits. Some people are popular. Some are off in the corners in groups of five. building relationships is a delicate and somewhat complex matter that we have to really take the time to understand before we can master the art of connecting. While the DM does facilitate a bit more private conversation. Let’s give each channel an intimacy rating on a scale of 1 to 10. But if all you do is leave a “great post” comment it’s like showing up for a date and saying “you have a nice . with 10 being in the most intimate. But. If we considered dating as an analogy. you can walk up to anybody and say hello. you can’t operate inside a bubble. Perhaps the most complex aspect of how we build relationships in the online world today is the numerous platforms that we have at our disposal. What’s Your Intimacy Strategy for Social Media? You’ve probably heard to no end just how important relationships are in the blogosphere. Twitter Intimacy Rating 1: Twitter truly is the cocktail party of social media. but it’s not where they are deepened. Some people are not. The key really to “having mad game” when it comes to connecting with people in the blogosphere is being able to understand each platform according to its level of intimacy. If you come across as a troll. Blog/Blog Comments Intimacy Rating 3: Commenting on a blog is where relationships with other people start to take on a bit more depth. Twitter in many ways is where relationships start and are sustained. it’s safe to say there won’t be a second date. when it comes to really deepening relationships you’re stuck in the boundaries of 140 characters and a conversation that the whole world sees. a comment is kind of like a first date. In some ways this is the true first impression that somebody will have of you. Connecting with people is fundamental to how your business runs. However. However.5. The truth is in today’s age where the evolution of competition has a completely different meaning.
These conversations are the ones that result in the kinds of online relationships that put you in a position where you have a couch to sleep on in any city in the world. Facebook in many ways allows people to put together the story of who you are as a person. You’re free to send somebody anything you want in an email and flattery will get you quite far when it’s done right. You simply don’t know where an email will lead you. while others will allow people who read their blogs to add them as a friend. Facebook Intimacy Rating 7: Facebook is an interesting one. Email Intimacy Rating 5: If you think email is dead. People like Marcus Sheridan and Ingrid Abboud really get this and all we have to do is take a look at the comments on their blogs to see how true this really is. Some bloggers choose to refer people to our fan pages. telephone or a medium that is not technically “social media?” In a world where we’re all defined by our avatars and status updates. What email offers beyond twitter and blog comments is 1 to 1 conversation with no character limits or content restrictions. It’s a conversation that took place via email that resulted in the formation of BlogcastFM. Email is actually quite intimate in the context of the online world. think again. It seems to be constantly evolving. Look through my pictures and you’ll see at least half a dozen albums of surf photography and a handful of pictures of me surfing. What Facebook offers that some of these other tools don’t is a very visual glimpse into who you really are as a person. When you put a voice or a face to the avatar and status updates the relationships you have online are taken to a whole new level of intimacy. Skype/Chat Intimacy Rating 8 How often do you chat with your readers or twitter followers via Skype. Perhaps the best way to put it is that you will get out of a comment what you put into a comment. . the power of chat is highly underrated.smile” and going home.
At our root we’re social creatures. I look forward to her cards every year. South by Southwest. and meetups is. she made mention of the fact that Mark Schaefer actually sent hand written notes to people he wanted to build relationships with. You’re going to grow 10 feet taller this year. These days when you send somebody something in the mail they take a picture and put it on instagram (an added bonus) In-Person Meetings Intimacy Rating 10 If you ask anybody what the real value of conferences like Blogworld. a Fodor’s Guide Book.” There’s something about making this kind of effort that just has an innate ability to cement your relationship with somebody. When you start to understand the varying degrees of intimacy offered by all the platforms at your disposal. · I have a friend who to this day sends me a handwritten birthday card. they’ll say the networking.Hand Written Notes/Snail Mail Intimacy Rating 8 In an interview with Gini Dietrich. she actually emailed me to ask for my address in Costa Rica so she could send me a card. After all before we lived in an age where we were all connected that’s how real relationships developed. · My friend and fellow blogger Maria Brophy sent me a care package before I left for Costa Rica that included: The Surfer’s Guide to Costa Rica. . Consider for a moment the impact that would have on you if somebody sent you a handwritten note or snail mail. and a note that said “I’m so stoked for you. While most of the world is wishing me a happy birthday on my Facebook wall. Some people say you could just stand in the hallway at some of these conferences talking to people and there would still be tremendous value in that. There is an intangible value to in person meetings. how you approach building relationships with people in the online world becomes a more powerful and different ball game.
New Bloggers Need Encouragement. look at emerging talent as a way to grow a loyal blog community. I want to suggest an alternative strategy. Can you take just a moment to see what they’re up to? Join their tribes and invite them to join yours. it became clear that commenting on the biggest blogs was a desperate attempt to get your voice heard in a place where there was a bunch of noise. How often do you look at the blogs of the people who comment on your blog? Baby bloggers become big bloggers. to be honest that was just 36 months ago! — people taught me about getting my name out there by commenting on well-known blogs and guest posting at big blogs. While the guest posting strategy definitely had a strong pull for new readers. I decided to see who he was and what he was up to. it can be demoralizing when nobody is reading or commenting. My friend Bernardo Ramirez recently started a personal development video blog. The blogosphere is like an unlimited NBA draft with tons of talent accessible to anyone who can shed their ego and look for an opportunity to connect. New Bloggers are Looking For a Lifeline: As an established blogger you have a chance to become a lifeline for a new blogger. initiating what I hope will be a long relationship. When people start their blogs. The Most Undervalued Asset on the Social Web. that I invited him to do a guest post. My friend Stanford Smith said that one of his strategies is to “kiss lots of digital babies.6. He also hired me to do some consulting for him . So. Instead of focusing on the A-Listers. I was so blown away by the quality of video blog posts that he had.” I think that is a smart perspective.Emerging Talent In the earliest days of my blogging career — well. It was a week old and he commented on one of my posts.
Then. As you think about how to grow your tribe and build your network over the next couple of months give some thought to what emerging talent you may be neglecting.New Bloggers Become New Readers: Most new bloggers are looking for additional blogs to read. New Bloggers Can Teach Us Things We Don’t Know: The beginner’s advantage is that they have no preconceived notions of how things should be so they tend to be more open to new ideas. and play like they have nothing to lose. while established bloggers tend to have a set reading list and occasionally add new feeds to their RSS reader. I’d say the majority of people who comment on my blog these days are digital babies on the rise. we really need new bloggers to keep starting blogs because we need fresh ideas to keep making progress. New bloggers are looking to learn from established bloggers and as a result they end up becoming loyal subscribers. take more risks. When you think about it. . start reading their blogs and providing a lifeline to them.
Do you need traffic? Absolutely. just a tribe who actually cares. Just because a post is popular on social media it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s valuable for your customers or your business. . As bloggers it’s really easy to get caught up in comparison and competition. 2. As a result we end up measuring the things that don’t have a strong impact on our business. which I thought was really reflective of this.000 visits to my blog in a week. The posts that have made him the most money from his pool business are not necessarily the most popular. While it’s nice to have comments on your posts.000 visitors. 3 Metrics That Don’t Really Matter Much 1. The people who comment on your blog are usually other bloggers. Traffic I had a post that went viral on Stumbleupon. Comments Talk to Dan Andrews and you’ll realize that the people who comment on your blog are not an accurate representation of your readers. But if there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that quality trumps quantity . 3.7. Likes. What I failed to realize was that this is only the case when we measure the wrong things. Tweets. You don’t need 100. If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that all traffic is not equal and traffic doesn’t necessarily equate to revenue. The Most Dangerous Metrics in Social Media A while back I said that metrics and measurements have a tendency to limit our potential. but don’t comment. Fans and Followers Marcus Sheridan wrote an interesting post . It sent over 160. it’s not as important as you might think. and there is a “silent majority” who read everything you write.
Open Rates It’s nice to have a list. 4. and my blog is growing faster than ever before. Do you actually measure the revenue you generate? Even if it’s $100 make a point to measure it. 2. On the flip side a popular personal development blog that I write for sends me anywhere between 50-60 new subscribers per guest post. A list of 50 people who talk to you is better than a list of 5000 who ignore you.Metrics that Matter 1. and interestingly enough I have a much deeper connection with my readers. Other than bragging rights a post on a really popular blog might not do much for you. Don’t be afraid to let some of your subscribers go. When I recently spoke to a business coach she told me something really interesting. then this is the only metric that ultimately matters. I recently decided to clean house on my email list and deleted almost 350 people from the list because they hadn’t opened any of my emails in the last 4 months. A few months back I made a very conscious decision to focus on this group of readers. Revenue If you’re in this to make money. The key is of course to write great content and use a well written custom landing page. Conversion Rates Many people get caught up in writing guests posts at the most popular blogs. . This is your “silent majority” and this is who you need to cater to. but if nobody is opening your emails than it doesn’t matter. Email Subscribers There’s not one person who is successful that won’t tell you that your email list is what generates your money. 3. There are people who make plenty of money online that you’ve never heard of. My traffic is higher than ever before.
Unfortunately many early stage bloggers get caught up in the trap of all these metrics.Measuring all the wrong metrics can make it really difficult to turn social media attention into income. What’s been your experience with this? .
What makes you human is that there is no other person on this planet like you. . I’ve tried to make an effort to write something that will catch fire again and can rarely reproduce that effect. 5 ways to get more followers. and likes. It loses the personal touch that makes people read your blog. Stop Trying to Fit In People who fit in rarely make history. They get lost in the echo chamber. it’s not authentic. It’s a bit like adding artificial sweetener to your dessert and wondering why it doesn’t taste as good as real sugar.000 times before It usually sucks. so make sure you leverage it. etc) It’s something I think will get shared plenty It’s a safe topic that has probably been repeated 1. When you approach producing content this way. There is No Formula for Viral Content Every now and then I will write a post that meets the following formula: · · · It has a clickable headline (i.e 7 ways to increase traffic. A conversation with Danielle Laporte made me realize why.” When you write a post in the hopes of getting tweets. “what people spread is emotion. you filter your voice through that lens. Infuse that into every blog post you write. You Can’t Manufacture Authenticity And yet. To quote Scott Stratten.8. traffic. It’s manufactured. . we’re all looking for that magic viral “formula” right? In the past when I’ve had a blog post go viral. Social media amplifies your competitive advantage.
Write as if you’ve got nothing to prove and you’ll resonate with your audience in a way you never have before . I’d recommend taking a week off from reading any other blogs so you can reconnect with your own voice. likes and comments for a while. if you try to appeal to everybody you’ll appeal to nobody. not marketing material. Create Art. get over it. So you have to create art.Take a Stand If you’re afraid to offend people or fear people disagreeing with you. You might even be the most popular person in the echo chamber. it’s unlikely it will appeal to everybody. For some reason when you stop keeping score it goes up on its own. Everybody is a creative business owner. As you’ve probably heard before. Ditch the Scripts and Formulas Scripts. formulas and best practices will only get you so far. Forget the traffic. If you want to write something that makes an impact. Entertain and inspire. they may not be the right members for your tribe. not Marketing Material One of the things that holds most business blogs back is that most of their blog posts read like PR puff pieces that promote their products. tweets. But if you ever want to get out of the echo chamber you have to ditch the script. Writing anything formulaic with the intention of inflating vanity metrics is a recipe for mediocrity. If you lose some people because of what you write. But we’ve entered an age in which everybody is in the publishing business.
And the attention of an audience can be bought! Anybody can get the attention of an audience. Even if you manage to get it cheap. then you know that this causes the price of attention to rise. It’s created through a combination of great content. the supply of attention is decreasing while the demand is increasing. Members of a Tribe Will Defend Their Leader I wrote a post that really hit a nerve with one of my readers. A few days later I went back to check on the comment thread out of curiosity and noticed that a number of my readers had come to my defense. The Attention of a tribe must be earned The attention of a tribe is something that grows over time. Attention is a form of currency on the social web. they’ll sing your praises and defend you. Embrace the nature of social conversations. Attention Must Be Earned As the social web gets flooded with content creators. When you’ve truly built a tribe they’ll become loyal. it won’t last long. Rather than engage him.9. When people choose to spend theirs with you. This was after my reply to his original comment. and drive tons of traffic to your blog or company web site. relationships and trust. But it’s one thing to get somebody’s attention and something entirely different to keep it. There’s a big difference between building a tribe and getting an audience. Characteristics of a Tribe 1. 2. treat them accordingly. I decided to direct my energy towards something more positive. You can buy ads. He went so far as to say that I should be ashamed of my content and was doing a disservice to humanity (not exactly a light criticism). If you’ve ever taken an economics class. . It must be earned. I’ve always said that attention is a form of currency on the social web. Attention isn’t available at bargain basement prices.
You don’t need millions of people following your work. If nobody notices that you’re gone. you’ve probably got some work to do.3. they will tell you to get really clear on who your audience is. A Tribe is There by Choice Unlike an audience who you can force to end up at your blog through ads. . 4. Existing readers and tribe members will recruit the others. Members of a Tribe Recruit Other Members If you talk to anybody who has built a sizable audience. A tribe keeps coming back every single day. effort and a genuine desire to make a difference in order to build a tribe. just the ones who really care. It takes time. now you have to ask yourself: Are you building an audience or a tribe? There’s a big difference. you’ll attract the people who it is for in droves. products. and content. disappear for a week without telling anybody. The Ultimate Sign That You’ve Built a Tribe If you want the ultimate test for your whether or not you’ve built a tribe. It may seem counterintuitive.ideas. a tribe is there by choice. But once you figure who your message is not for. or a blog post that went viral. A tribe looks forward to your insights. So. A tribe will notice if their leader is missing.
Your output determines your future. One of the unfortunate byproducts of our ability to rapidly create content is an incredibly short attention span. One of the things that every single master had in common was a diversity of input and influences. Short form content is rapidly flooding the Internet. entrepreneurs. As Zig Ziglar once said “Your input determines your output. I don’t think I’m alone considering most of these books are New York Times Bestsellers and they show up on the recommended reading list of every blogger. A Multidisciplinary Approach to Creating Content In his latest book. But sit down and read a bestselling author’s book. But there’s a problem with this. But there’s a slight problem with my reading. it won’t be long before the entire blogosphere turns into a giant echo chamber.” and you’ll notice numerous references to books from multiple disciplines. pilots. Every single book falls into one of these categories: · · · Marketing/Business Self Help/Psychology Entrepreneurship/Careers There has been no fiction. Robert Greene studies masters from multiple fields (athletes. It’s easier to read 20 different blogs on a daily basis than it is to read an entire book which could take a week. Mastery . A Multidisciplinary Approach to Creating Content Over the last two years I’ve read more books than I’ve read in my entire life. artists and more). Their best work was shaped by knowledge from . or any book that falls outside of my field. I’ve heard two best-selling authors emphasize the importance of reading books over blogs. even when it falls into the self-inflicted “genre bubble.” If we’re not careful. not a single memoir.10.
Pick up a copy of a Dr. The beautiful thing about fiction is that it’s the byproduct of imagination. Additional Sources of Inspiration . which enabled me to use riding waves as a metaphor for taking risks. Another book that I discovered on Maria Popova‘s site that’s more like a creative workbook is Keri Smith’s How to Be an Explorer of the World . But by reading content that falls outside your field you can pull ideas and insights from other disciplines into your work. I recently was asked to write a guest post for a really popular blog on the subject of taking risks. 3. They avoided tunnel vision which we’ll all become a victim of if we’re only reading marketing blogs. How to Diversify 1. 2. Read Content Outside Your Field Our obsession with authority has too many people reading nothing but blogs about their industry. Read Children’s Books This might seem a bit silly to some of you. Read Fiction One of the easiest ways to start diversifying your input is to start reading fiction. As a result it will get your imagination going and enable you to start creating things that don’t exist. Seuss book and pay attention to how it inspires you. So the other day I returned to my personal love for surfing and picked up a copy of Saltwater Buddha. But one place where children have most of us beat is in their creativity and imagination.a variety of fields. Just talk to a 5-year-old and you’ll wonder if maybe he or she should be the next creative director at your organization.
Believe it or not the entire last section of this post came to me after falling asleep with some headphones on (a great way to use sleep and music at the same time). . It’s amazing how much inspiration you can find for creating blog content within your Instagram feed. Wake up in the morning. Words will flow and you’ll escape the echo chamber and never return. Then write a blog post that tells a story based on the pictures.Written content is not the only place you’ll be able to find inspiration and break molds. At first it might seem like you’re wasting time. she writes about the power of keen observation and how it can lead to creative breakthroughs. Spend a day documenting your life. Photos In case you haven’t figured it out yet. In Tina Seelig’s book inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity . 5. a lot of people are starting to love Instagram. 4. 6. Music Another great source of inspiration for your content is music lyrics. but sit down with the intent of coming up with new ideas for content and you’ll be amazed what happens. create a playlist on Spotify of your favorite songs and just listen to them for an hour. Every day do something to step outside of your content bubble to find new sources of inspiration and you’ll start to ignite the voice inside you. Sleep You may have heard before that many of Albert Einstein’s best ideas came to him in his sleep.
Our natural tendency is to gravitate towards people similar to us. It made me realize just how narrow our view of the web is. Just so we’re clear. but Oliver. had never heard of these people when I mentioned their names. but also take steps to get outside of our comfort zone and expand our horizons. That’s why I believe it’s important we not only embrace new and emerging talent. I’m not pointing fingers. Mark Schaefer wrote about his observation that there is nothing new in blogging. Reinventing Your Network Chances are you’ve never heard of Oliver Starr. a successful blogger and Michael Arrington’s first employee at Tech Crunch. I’m willing to bet if most of Mark’s readers put the names of the blogs they read on a regular basis into a hat. Maybe it isn’t that there’s nothing new in blogging. lifestyle designers. they would all have a very similar list. Here are five ideas on how to do that … . but that we’ve been stuck in an incestuous circle of social media marketers. and personals development bloggers. The only reason I learned who he was is because he’s the product evangelist for Pearltrees.11. My interaction with Oliver was eye-opening because I just assumed that if you’re in “the biz” you would have heard of most of these folks. I fall into those same incestuous circles! Innovation and new ideas can’t diffuse throughout the social web when experts spend all their time talking to experts. and the result is a self-imposed lens through which we view the social web. a tool for organizing information that I really love. But you’ve probably heard of many of the people below: · · · · Julien Smith Mike Stelzner Jay Baer Chris Guillebeau This may seem odd to you.
but you could also tap into a significant source of opportunities. Pick 5 new people to follow on Twitter and build a relationship with them I’ve never particularly cared too much about the number of followers I have on Twitter which might seem sacrilegious. and many other people who are doing amazing things online. you not only have an opportunity to grow your network substantially. This has been a great way to broaden my own horizons and connect with exciting new people. This enables me to accomplish a few things. This could lead to additional speaking engagements and consulting opportunities. literary agents.1. 2. 3. Subscribe to a few blogs that have nothing to do with your industry but that you just find interesting. but it’s been a big part of my philosophy on building relationships. Second. Every few days I read the bios of my new followers and pick a few to engage with. it forces me to look for new blogs and creates an opportunity to connect with new people. The one speaking gig I had the led to paid consulting work was in the Travel Industry. He said that rather than speaking at a social media conference go speak to an association of dentists because in that environment you’ll be the go-to person on your subject matter. artists. published authors. What I’m more interested in is who is actually following me. The amazing people I’ve found by doing this include successful entrepreneurs. By attending or speaking conferences outside your industry. Attend a conference outside your industry One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about leveraging public speaking was from Michael Port. As a result my network continually expands. Purge your blog reader and start from scratch Every few months I literally unsubscribe from nearly every blog I read. . First I’m able to prioritize which blogs have become the most important to me. Additionally you may find that you’ll be exposed to a wide variety of new ideas.
4. Don’t go to conferences. Go to smaller conferences Our general tendency is to attend the biggest industry conferences each year so we can see as many people as possible. This is why I think a 5-6 person retreat of some sort that involves more than just talking about business could be much more powerful than a typical conference. This creates a highly competitive environment for people’s attention and limits what we can get out of the conference. If we’re going to discover what’s new in blogging and social media marketing. then we have to keep opening up ourselves to new people and new experiences by trying things we’ve never tried. . but not always easy to do. Seems obvious. 5. I think conferences like Social Slam. Attend a retreat instead A 5-minute conversation and business card exchange during happy hour at a conference has its limits in terms of building long-term relationships. drives opportunities to meet thought leaders outside the echo chamber. One additional suggestion I have for conferences – don’t hang out with the people you already know. which is devoted to opening up speaking and networking opportunities for diverse new talent. Imagine how well you’d get to know each other if a small group of people spent three or four days together.
become a household name on the social web." . people become invested in your body of work. and traditionally published books. Bodies of Work that Have Transformed Tribes 1. Why a Larger Body of Work is Essential to Building a Tribe "Every major religion has a text. 2. World Domination Manifesto Chris Guilleabau cites his world domination manifesto has one of the major turning points in his journey. He's gone on to publish two books. Seth Godin even cites writing a manifesto as one of the most important things you can do to build a tribe. They connect with your philosophies and what you stand for They go from being spectators to tribe members and raving fans. His second blog post was an incredible manifesto. This includes e-books. A Manifesto is that for your blog or business. .000 times. The manifesto has been downloaded over 100. In Tribes. Creating a larger body of work results in a deeper emotional connection to your work that simply can't be established with an individual blog post.000 times and create a cult like loyalty to his work.Jeff Goins Many of our greatest thought leaders on the web have cemented their authority through producing larger bodies of work. free guides. When you share something bigger with the world.12. But he did something quite unusually. Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit AJ Leon launched his blog two months ago. and is working on his third book. It's been downloaded over 50. It's hard to argue with those kind of results.
3. The Extraordinary Achiever’s Manifesto This is shameless plug for my own work. have a very different quality to them. The Shelf Life Social Media Results in a Minimal Impact You'll never hear somebody say "that status update changed my life. You probably don't have a clue what commercials were on the air a couple years ago. It’s been downloaded over 1000 times. Have you ever ever heard of any of the following movies? Top Gun Ferris Bueller's Day Off The Godfather . But the movies. Blog posts are like episodes of TV shows and larger bodies of work are like movies. Tweets and status updates are like televisions commercials. In each of the three cases above. a larger body of work resulted in a significant impact. We don't ever talk about a particular episode of a TV show 10 years after it's been on the air. The shelf life of social media is far too short to have a meaningful impact on people you connect with. but I can tell you that it has transformed the SKool of Life tribe and resulted in a band of fanatics keeping up with my work. A girl I had a crush on in college sent me a message saying “you seem to have a cult following.” I found that amusing." Tweets and status updates don't change lives.
The dialogue and the storyline are the same. Think in terms of creating movies instead of commercials and tv shows. A larger body of work is much more likely to create this kind of impact than an individual blog post. A Simple Secret for Creating Larger Bodies of Work Take a closer look at many many manifestos. Great content triggers an emotional response in the person who consumes it. You might wonder why anybody would invest so much in something they are giving away for free. Design for Impact If you take a look at the Manifestos that I mentioned above. you'll notice that the design work is impeccable. Publish content with the intention of packaging and keep an end in mind. Think of this way. Sometimes they change lives. The value of good design can't be overstated. Imagine your favorite action flick minus the special effects. However. It sets a standard and amplifies impact. Find common threads in your work and you'll notice seeds for larger bodies of work. and books.We talk about movies decades after they've been released. The creators aren't afraid to leverage existing content. but it won't have the same impact on you. this is not an excuse to slap things together. Even though they are completely free a great amount of attention was given to the details. Chances are every one of those movies triggered an emotional response of some sort in you. It's an opportunity to polish and refine your best work. e-books. Same words and bad design will reduce the effect. We refer back to them over and over again. They have an evergreen quality to them. * I used alot of existing content to write this book Develop content in a way that it serves your ultimate needs. They are larger bodies of work. .
Seth Godin on BlogcastFM (yes I got him to say that) It's simple. You can't measure the ROI on that because it's simply too great.00. Your manifesto is designed for impact not income. but there’s a difference between free and paying for it. It enables ideas to spread.000 people find out. You earn $400. Look where it lead for the people I mentioned above.Why invest so much effort in something you give away for free? Analogies to prostitution are sometimes uncomfortable to make. Let's say you give it away for free and 10. . Maybe you can charge 20 dollars and sell 20 copies.
“If you only have a few readers. They had a substantial head start and don’t appear to be slowing down. Chris Brogan. You’ve just discovered a super fan. that provides chance for you to take that relationship further. You can’t really argue with his success. and I am finding it really helpful! Just to be clear. How Turn Small Audience into a Small Army Every single day we focus on how to get more traffic to our blogs. Chris Guillbeau told me he emailed every single newsletter subscriber personally for his first 10. While each one may not have had an impact. if somebody does respond to you. . I’ve made this part of how I treat my email subscribers and I recently received this email in response. increasing the number of followers we have on Twitter and inflating every metric we can in hopes that we’ll become the next … insert famous blogger of your choice. and sell more. Let’s get real for a moment. Neither are you.13. But the good news is that you have an edge that you may be overlooking. while this is a tactic.” – Chris Guillebeau Email Each Reader Personally I have to give credit where it’s due for this idea. When your audience is small you can run your blog like a VIP experience. The result is an obsession with raising our Klout scores. Thanks for your email! Of all of the resources that I subscribe to. Be genuine and engage them.000 subscribers. or Seth Godin. the cumulative effect was incredibly powerful. treat them like the most important people in the world because they are. increase our conversion rates. I don’t think I have ever received an actual personal email that wasn’t an obvious use of email marketing personalization features. I’m not going to become the next Zen Habits. Your content is awesome.
but here I am telling you about it 2 years later. who was and still is a relatively unknown blogger. It’s how you become a facilitator of conversation between the members of your tribe. It’s no longer a tribe leader communicating with a tribe member. I told him to contact each one of them. If you have a small group of readers imagine the impact you could have if you wrote a post dedicated to each one. we can’t forget that 95% of communication is non-verbal. Phone or Skype Your Readers Although we live in an online world. Let your readers to get to know the real you. Host a Fireside Chat This is where an audience becomes a community. runs a start-up called SpotHero. His blog is more or less dead. .Write a Post Specifically for Each Reader A friend mentioned to me in a conversation that he only had 25 readers. For the A-list bloggers to emulate this they’d have to spend their entire year. He used all his frequent flyer miles to visit every single person he connected with online. Visit Your Readers in Person My friend Mark Lawrence. He used his connection with me as an excuse to visit California and to this day we’re friends. When somebody who reads your content hears your voice you go from “that person who writes that blog” to a real person. every dime they have and possibly their whole life to accomplish this.
I’m convinced it’s one of the reasons small companies are so innovative.The Cost of Failure is Minimal When You’re Small One of the great things about being relatively small and unknown is that the cost of failure is not that harmful. Nurturing a small audience is essential to converting a small audience into a small army. give them more than they paid for. When you’re small you can take some bigger risks with your creativity. That gives a blogger with a small audience a tremendous amount of leverage. while big companies lose this capability as they grow. . When people spend theirs with you. So take that small audience and turn into a VIP experience that has people lined up around the block for an opportunity to be part of your army. Don’t forget attention is a form of currency on the social web.
They're just proof that you existed. If you're not careful the picture you're painting could be that you're a douchebag. But do things even matter? Are those really signs that you've lived? I don't think so. that people can't' feel what you're thinking. Existing is not living and there's a difference between living and being alive. The detector in your head immediately goes off and you can just feel that they want something before they even open their mouth. although that's unlikely to lead to a positive outcome. You might as well just be blatant about what you want. they will know. People Can Feel What You’re Thinking Have you ever been approached by somebody on the street who wanted to sell you something or ask you for money? It doesn't matter how well they're dressed or if they're homeless. every status update. .14. But then I was just living. They give off energy. You know he's there to hit on you. club or even the grocery store when a guy approaches you. Just walk up to a woman and tell her you'd like to have sex with her and you'll see what I'm taking about. Your words carry an energy wit them. As would the DMV. If you're a woman this has probably happen to you in a bar. not alive. Every tweet. What was the point of having been there? Sure. So what does all this half to do with building a small army? You may think that just because you're sitting at home behind a computer. Walking blindly through universe. I might have left this earth without a trace of my existence. the credit card companies. and financial insinuations might have had records of my existence. If the only purpose of your interaction with somebody is that you want something. and every blog comment are painting a picture of what you're like as a person.
You simply don't know who is on the other end of the screen. But they still choose which one they'll join.Will your mark have mattered? That’s the more important question to be asking yourself. It could be the lives of your friends and loved ones. If you had to choose between an army where they were serving filet mignon or one were they were serving bread and water. But reducing these people to fans. IT doesn't' have even have to be the lives of 1000's. You must never forget that. Don't squander that in the pursuit of vanity metrics that do little more than provide a temporary inflation of ego. subscribers. You're the general of this army. Has your existence touched lives. Would you be missed when you're gone. their own challenges. at least on me. Every year on special occasions I receive a card from her in the mail. They let you into their homes and hearts. And now i'm telling you. It's simple. . and maybe you'll tell somebody else. send you unexpected gifts in the mail. their attention. I have a friend that I only see once every several months. criticism. and subtle knocks at their work. and listeners complete dehumanizes that magic that leads to connections and the growth of small armies that make dents in the universe. followers. What' the impact that you've had on them? Is there an opportunity to have more of an impact on them than you have so far? SO why not take that chance. and come to your defense when you're attacked. inspiration and courage. and their own bullshit. On other end of the screen is a person going through their own battles. You can feed them with disagreement. pick you up when you fall. and do what it takes to have your impact. She's made an impact. likes. and shower you with their greatest treasure. but it's her mark on the world. which one would you join? It should be pretty obvious. Or you can feed them with encouragement. DO what ever it takes to leave your mark.
Give so much of a damn that strangers feel compelled to share their challenges and struggles. .Underlying the technology is what really makes it magic. GIVE A DAMN. You can't measure that. Give so much of damn that people depend on you and rely on you. people.
000 subscribers personally • Seth Godin still replies to your email (It's a safe bet that he gets more email than you or I) You might wonder how you can get bigger if you can't scale.16. One of the questions the time management ninja in you will be tempted to ask is "Will this approach scale. What you'll find is that many of your interactions won't lead anywhere.The Cumulative Effect of Building a Small Army The small army strategy is not based on big actions with big results. But it doesn't really matter. The magic that made the army fall in love with its leader dissipates.000 subscribers of his newsletter for signing up. Conclusion. But the cumulative effect was incredibly powerful. that they lose the touch that made them so special in the first place • Companies get so big that they stop the innovation that made them so successful in the first place. When Chris Guillbeau told me about how he personally thanked the first 10. . The question is have you reached a point in building your army where it won't? • Chris Guillebeau emailed his first 10." But you're asking the wrong question. First you must remember that bigger isn't always better. It's based on small actions that add up over time. he said not every effort was hugely meaningful. Inevitably as something gets bigger the quality tends to diminish. You have to remember that there is a cumulative effect. • I've seen conferences grow to a point where they're so big.
Just ask Kamal Ravikant who self published the most successful self help book on Amazon.The literary agent may not choose you . And you become a leader and the person the world was meant to see.Seth Godin made a rather wise observation when he said that mass culture doesn't reward the long tail. So go on and star building your army. So don't worry about how it will scale or how it will grow. Not everybody will follow.The Publisher may not buy your book . None of this has to happen for you to share the truth of who you are with the world. Followers and fans become fanatics. Content turns into a movement. Focus on how you can care more. Just the ones who believe in you so much they'll do whatever it takes to hold you to the highest standards imaginable. You don't need everybody. how you give more and how much more value you can create.Your mom might not read your blog (mine still does I think :)) . . I've made less money than I ever made at a "real job" in the last 3 years. For those of us building armies. . but that's ok. But I have no doubts in my mind that I've created more value than I ever did in my 10 years as a corporate misfit.Oprah may not call .The moguls of Silicon valley may not acquire your little army (beginning to wonder if that's even a bad thing) But here's the real magic. our goal is to build them in the long tail. When you do that audiences become armies.
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