Rob Hatch and I are headed to Denver to speak about Small Biz Big Things with our friends from InfusionSoft. We’re talking about The Business of Belonging: How I Built My Media Empire. It’s fun, because not only will we talk about the goals of the organization, but we’ll give a lot of behind-the-scenes information on how we were able to accomplish all we’ve managed to get done.
The way they talk about it on the site is that we were successful because of the tools. We agree. And also, we were successful because we learned how to nurture our community and build relationships that these tools allowed us to really communicate to people in a way that let them know we appreciated their connection, and that we wanted to ensure we were being as helpful as possible. to their goals.
You’ve been told to blog daily, or tweet ten times a day, or make four facebook updates, or whatever you’ve been told. How the hell do I know? But at this point, is it getting you anywhere? Are you getting more business by just throwing whatever you think of up onto the web?
I’m on a train bound for meetings in New York City, with the types of people I rarely meet: investors. They work in an abstract that isn’t my typical play space, and they are tuned for completely different levels of thoughts, of insights, of metrics to prove their point. They play a bigger game.
I’ve been thinking about what else I can do to help you succeed. It’s what I work on the most at Owner magazine. It’s what the 20 other writers are working on, as well.
Have you ever pushed a crosswalk button a thousand times because you’re in a hurry and you’re concerned it “didn’t take?” Today, in Toronto, I pushed a button and it lit up to tell me, “Hey, yes you did indeed push me.” Wow, I thought. A response.
Sometimes, I have email in my inbox from people who have sent me email a few days before. They’re pushing the same button. They’re saying, “I really hope you’ll respond soon.” I’m that black crosswalk button without a light to tell them they’ve been seen.
A Response is Marketing
One of humankind’s greatest needs is to feel wanted. An extension of that is the feeling that we need to be seen. From early childhood, we start this dance of “mama! Mama! Look at what I’m doing!” I feel we never really grow out of this.
I started my blog way back in 1998, when it was called journaling. I had no idea what to do with it. I started the way lots of people did back then: I wrote about whatever was on my mind, however trivial. Every media software I’ve used since then has been some mix of personal presence building plus an attempt to add some level of value to the larger story. Both are important. And there’s no great time to start. But there’s always a chance to be “too late.”
Build Your Digital Presence Now
Start an account somewhere that lets you tell the story you want to tell, in the way you want to tell it. You like taking pictures and sharing them? I love Instagram for that. You want to make videos that show the behind-the-scenes of your great company? Maybe get a YouTube account. I’ve said this for years, and I’ll repeat it now. If I had to choose ONLY ONE digital online property, it’d be a self-hosted blog. Why? Because we “rent” all those other places, and even though we tend to rent server space, the rules of our hosting provider are usually far more in our favor than any social media software out there. (Related to this, my friend, John Saddington invented a photo sharing app and WordPress combo that lets you publish photos to your very own WordPress, if you didn’t feel like using Instagram or Flickr or the like.
I had the chance to review Kevin Kelly’s new book, DO! the pursuit of xceptional execution (aff link), and it’s really worth checking out. He’s got a lot of ideas that will help you, especially if you’re the kind that thinks about it but doesn’t always pull the trigger.
Do you need a book about doing?
If the book tried to spend all its pages telling me “you’ve just gotta get started and do something,” I’d probably lose my mind about ten pages in, but Kelly has a lot packed in here. His chapter on being a student forever was a particular favorite, as was his mindset around customer relationships. The doing part of the book is a constant thread throughout, but there’s more meat to this than that.
There’s a reason Vanity Fair covered Jay-Z. He went far beyond the label of recording artist, blew past the concepts of hip hop and rapper and all those terms that just don’t fit. The man has diverse holdings in clothing lines, in a basketball team, in a liquor brand, in a talent agency for sports professionals, and so much more. Filmmaker Ron Howard even shot a documentary about one of his latest projects, Made in America, a genre busting concert and festival series that sees everyone from Run DMC to Pearl Jam to Skrillix taking the stage, sponsored by a huge brand but promoting the concepts of universal acceptance.
Erin Giles has brought to my attention something pretty astounding. Almost 30 million people are currently enslaved by someone else. Not in the past, or in any historical context, but right now, today. Nuts, right? To bring some attention to this, Erin has created the End Sex Trafficking Day campaign so that we could all do something to help.