Have you ever discovered the solution to a problem you didn’t even know existed? It’s like fireworks are shooting off in your brain, and the world is full of wonderful new possibilities.
To explain what prompted today’s post, let me take you back to Sunday, July 7th. It’s 1:45 pm and you’re sitting in a room with 150 other people, all of whom are waiting to hear Jodi Ettenberg and Steve Kamb give a presentation on how to build online communities.
Bored with playing on your iPhone, you turn to the curly blond gal who just sat down next to you and ask why she’s here. She says, “I’m really lucky to have a wonderful group of readers for my blog. But I can’t get them to talk to each other. They only want to talk to me, and hear my story. I feel like I’m on a platform talking to them, instead of being one of them. I want to change that. I want to encourage them to share their stories and talk to each other.”
As she’s talking, those fireworks are starting to go off in your brain.
Suddenly, you realize why blogging has become such a drag over the last several months.
You have the same problem! Somehow, quite unintentionally, you’ve set yourself up to dispense wisdom from on high. You stand apart from your community instead of being one of them.
As the presentation unfolds, a second set of fireworks goes off. This time, it’s something Steve Kamb says.
“The first 9 months of Nerd Fitness, I wrote the kind of blog posts I thought I should be writing. I gained 90 followers in 9 months. Clearly, something had to change. I scrapped the generic posts and infused as much Steve Kamb-ness as I could into my posts. That’s when my blog really took off.”
By the end of the presentation, two things are crystal clear to you.
First, it’s past time to stop writing generic “because I think I should” posts on your blog. Second, it’s time to infuse some “you-ness” into your posts and invite your readers to become part of your story. (And third – totally unrelated to #1 & #2 – Steve Kamb is the sexiest, most charismatic nerd you’ve ever shaken hands with).
– – – – – –
As you may have guessed, the “you” in that story was actually me.
I went to that presentation with no agenda beyond a desire to learn and absorb. Although I’d recently realized I wasn’t excited about writing blog posts, I certainly wasn’t expecting to find both an explanation and a really cool new focus.
Enough lead-up already! What’s this new focus you keep talking about?
I’m so glad you asked. 😉 (And even if you didn’t, I’m going to pretend you did.)
Ever since I started this blog one year ago, I’ve been writing the kinds of posts about online marketing that I thought I should be writing. I must be doing something right, because you keep telling me that the posts are really helpful.
But here’s the thing – you can find these kinds of posts on any of the major online marketing blogs.
In thinking about the kind of community that I want us to build together, those kinds of posts just won’t cut it.
The truth is, I’m not an online marketing genius.
And I don’t want you to treat me that way. You and I, we’re a lot a like. We’re both trying to build an online business (or at least market our business online) because we have a passion for doing work that we love and building a life that we love.
Sure, I may be a little further along the online marketing path than you are, but that doesn’t mean I know everything there is to know.
So instead of writing posts like “5 Easy Ways to Rock Your Facebook Marketing,” here’s what I propose.
Every month, I’m going to pull back the curtains and analyze exactly what is – and is not – working in my online marketing plan.
Yeah, you read that correctly. Every month, I’m going to set an online marketing goal for that month. And I’m going to set the goal publicly, on my blog, for all the world to see.
Then, I’ll analyze my goal from the previous month, including the specifics of what worked, what didn’t work, and how you can apply those insights to your own online marketing adventures.
The goal here is to be open and honest about where I am on the online marketing path, the obstacles in my way, and how I’m moving forward to overcome them.
So it’s not really that I’m changing the content of this blog. After all, you’ll still be getting great online marketing info. It’ll just be from a slightly different, “in the trenches” perspective.
In the spirit of honesty, I’m going to admit right now: I have no idea if this is going to work.
Certainly the other big online marketing blogs are not doing this kind of in-depth on the ground analysis.
But since you and I are on the same path, I figure some real-world case studies of what’s working for my one-woman business will be at least as helpful to growing your business as the more generic online marketing posts.
But this blog isn’t just my story. It’s your story, too.
Remember earlier, when I said I didn’t want to be up on the platform? My story is only one example of how online marketing works; there are hundreds of other stories just waiting to be told. Yours is one of them.
Each month, you’ll have an opportunity to submit your own version of “this is my goal, this is what worked, what didn’t, and lessons I learned” post to this blog. My goal is to publish these on the 3rd Thursday of every month.
Not only does this give you a chance to tell your story, but it gives the rest of this community a chance to learn from you. (In fact, if you already have story to share, head over to the Share My Story page and tell me about it.)
I sincerely hope you will become a part of this new community.
Together, we can share our triumphs, successes, and lessons learned as we walk the path of building our businesses. Together, we can help each other figure out this strange world of online marketing.
Together, we can build a business – and a life – that we love.
Are you in? Leave me a comment below and let me know. 🙂