Observations on Day 365

June 23rd, 2009

social media strategy birthdayThis week makes it one year since I started writing this blog, and I wanted to take a moment to say a sincere thanks to every one of you that occupies even a minute of their increasingly precious time by reading Convince & Convert.

The volume of high quality, free, online content (especially about marketing) is astonishing, and I’m delighted that you’ve chosen to consume my water droplet within that fire hose.

As some of you may know, before starting Convince & Convert I seriously considered a university position teaching digital marketing and social media. The two things I like best (outside of wine and BBQ) are pontificating and networking, and although I’m not in a classroom, I hope this blog can become a place for learning where we’re all teachers and we’re all students. I think we’re on the way there, and thanks for being a part of it.

More to the point, thanks to my amazing clients and colleagues who have given me the gift of having a career instead of a job. To be a professional social media consultant right now is an invigorating and fantastic opportunity. I appreciate the trust you put in me every day.

Stuff I’ve Learned

As I look back on the past year (which feels like about 14 minutes), a few observations:

Social media closes the gap. You can develop relationships and opportunities within the social media sphere that you can’t replicate offline.

– Don’t worry about promoting your blog until you’ve written it for a while. Your community will help guide the development of your voice.

Give more than you take. If you shine the light on other people in social media, eventually that light will shine on you.

– Blog “success” is maddeningly difficult to bottle. Sometimes, posts that you just knock out become big pass-along hits, and the posts that you slave over go nowhere. Kismet is a cruel mistress.

– Build some hooks. With regard to the fire hose of free content I referenced above, you have to stand out somehow. For me, it’s living in the forest, bottle opener business cards, and the Twitter 20 interview series.

– Blog like a magazine. I used to get up every morning, read a ton of blogs, figure out what was interesting to me that day, and write. My schedule makes that game plan untenable now, so I try to post every T, W, Th regardless of circumstance. I tend to write posts in batches, and release them on that schedule. I sacrifice time sensitivity, but I gain consistency and discipline and rigor. And with so many blogs being abandoned, that’s a trade-off with which I can live.

– Listen. Much of what has made this blog successful was imparted to me by others. The ideas and the writing is mine, but Chris Brogan taught me about images in posts and how to get more comments using questions. Amber Naslund taught me a lot about ease of use. Mack Collier provided invaluable advice about “humanizing” your blog and having a signature series of posts. Valeria Maltoni continues to set the standard for making your blog a community. Darren Rowse and problogger.com have provided more specific, tactical advice than I can even remember. And Chuck Reynolds keeps this blog from blowing up on the technical side.

– Remember that all bloggers start with zero. One of the very cool elements of blogs is that that with rare exceptions, all bloggers are self-made. Conversely, ournalists have an audience largely due to the reputation of the media outlet that employs them. That’s why it’s so important to support new bloggers. If you like somebody’s work, retweet it, comment, build a relationship. Today’s new blogger is tomorrow’s Jason Falls – who was the first blogger to support me. And I’ll never forget that.

I’m fired up about year 2 of Convince & Convert. In fact, in my long digital marketing career, this may be as excited as I’ve ever been (actually, the invention of the browser was a pretty big deal). The way brands interact with their customers and prospects is changing. And it’s changing forever. It’s not about the economy, or technology, or tools. It’s about faces, not logos. It’s an opportunity for us to remake the nature of marketing and communication together.

Let’s make it happen.

(if you have any ideas, feedback, criticism, input, about C&C and what you’d like to see here, this would be a really good time to add a comment along those lines).

(photo by Perfecto Insecto)

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