Friday, March 2, 2012

Engagement From Scratch! by Danny Iny - 3 Day Book Bash!

Stumbling Your Way to Social Media Stardom 

Sometimes, stardom can be strategically engineered.

That’s what Michael Stelzner did when he launched Social Media Examiner; he had a solid plan that catapulted him to social media stardom almost instantly.

Usually, though, stardom is stumbled onto. That’s what most of the bloggers out there did, and that’s what I did, too.

The really thing is, though, that if you watch enough people muddle their way through something, you can actually make it a lot easier for yourself!

For me, it started innocently enough.

I was in Jon Morrow’s guest blogging program, and received the latest lesson in my inbox, explaining that list posts were the easiest way to break into a big blog, because they usually performed well and were exhausting to produce.

As luck would have it, I had just developed a curriculum of business books for a client. So I emailed Jon and asked him if he thought it would be a good fit for Copyblogger. Jon said that he couldn’t make any promises, but that I should send him a draft, so I worked my tail off to write a stellar post, and Copyblogger ran it.
The post performed well; 200+ comments, 900+ tweets, and tons of traffic back to Firepole Marketing. I even got an email from Guy Kawasaki (I had mentioned one of his books on the list) that eventually turned into an interview, book reviews, and Guy’s excellent contribution to the book that you’re reading today.
I figured that since Copyblogger had worked so well, I’d try my hand at another guest post, and emailed Problogger to see if they wanted to publish the story of my experience.

It was a total shot in the dark, and there wasn’t any kind of “in” – just a cold email through the contact form. It was a long shot, but it never hurts to try. To my great (and pleasant) surprise, they went for it. The result was my first post on Problogger. This led to more notoriety, and more traffic back to Firepole Marketing.
I realized that guest blogging was a great idea, and that I needed to do more of it. But where? And how? I felt that I’d been lucky with Copyblogger and Problogger. What now? Who would take my posts? Who would even answer my emails?

I did some research, and made a list of blogs that I wanted to guest post on. (Interesting note: even though my first guest post was on Copyblogger, I was so intimidated by their size and quality that it took another 14 guest posts before I worked up the courage to pitch them again.)

I emailed about a dozen bloggers, figuring that I would probably only hear back from a fraction of them, and most of the responses would be rejections. At best, I was hoping to end up with one guest post, maybe two.
Except that it turns out that bloggers are a lot easier to reach than I thought they would be, and if you do your homework and make a solid, concise pitch, they’re likely to respond in your favor. And they did – all of them
My first thought: “Great!”

My second thought: “Oh, crap, now I have to write a dozen posts, and I have to do it all in the next week or two!”

I was under the gun. This was a great opportunity, but if I blew it, or showed them that I wasn’t reliable, I probably wouldn’t get another chance.

So I buckled down and wrote.
And wrote.
And wrote.
And wrote some more.

Then the posts all started to go live.

Having all these guest posts run within a few weeks of each other was a happy accident, but I learned something very important from the experience: The value of guest posts increases exponentially with the number of concurrent posts that you write.

In other words, two simultaneous guest posts is worth a lot more than two individual posts, three are worth a LOT more than two, and so forth.

This returns to the truism we’ve all learned about the number of impressions you need to make in order for people to notice you, plus with people’s tendency to forget, and get distracted.

Imagine a “meter of attention.” Every time people see you, that meter inches higher. But then, whenever they aren’t seeing you, it slowly dips back down. Space your appearances out over a large period of time, and you lose much of the effect.

Do them at the same time, and you’ll see two benefits. Not only will you avoid losing momentum between posts, but people will also start talking about you, leading to even more attention and awareness. All of that comes together to move you past the threshold of “getting noticed”, and after that, it gets easier. You need less of an introduction because people already know who you are.

Once I realized what was happening, I could make it intentional. And that’s the beauty of it – so can you!

That’s why I asked 30 of the biggest names in social media to co-author Engagement from Scratch! with me. By sharing their stories, they all made it that much easier for everyone else to achieve what they have.

There’s a reason why it takes decades to break a world record, but then only weeks for someone to repeat the process; once you see someone else do it, it gets a whole lot easier.

I hope this post will make things just a bit easier for you.

Danny Iny (@DannyIny), a.k.a. the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, teaches marketing that works at Firepole Marketing. Together with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark and Mitch Joel, he wrote the book on building engaged audiences from scratch (available in paperback and on Kindle).


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