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September 2012

How to Earn Attention–the Easy Way


kid screaming into bullhorn Let me ask you a question. How do you effectively communicate your expertise to your audience? Really?

You work your little fingers to the bone by solving problems. We call that “value” and you “bring it,” right?

But what’s that special ingredient that will keep people coming back to your blog? Your podcast? Your business?

The other day I was thinking, “what do I know about making an online brand work, really?” Well, I do know that people like to deal with authentic, honest to goodness, real people.

We don’t want to be lied to, cried to or manipulated. And just being “real” is part of making “it” happen, really.

Anyway, this made me think about the people in my life and the lessons they could teach any self-respecting blogger, podcaster or solopreneur.

For example, my sister-in-law sells timeshares in the great state of Colorado. It’s a job she kind of fell into, but with no sales experience to start, does it better than just about anyone. It comes easy to her and she could probably sell a McMansion to Tammy Strobel, but she wouldn’t have to twist her arm, trust me.

She’s been her company’s top-selling agent for years. Why? Because she’s the least salesy person I know.

Seems counter-intuitive, right? But think about it.

If our goal is to attract buyers or simply get people to pay attention to us, we often shout a bit too loud. It worked when we were kids, right? Even if the result was a big ol’ smack on the butt.

Sure, shouting sometimes attracts and manipulation often works. Some people are master schemers or barkers extraordinaire, but how sustainable is that model for most of us? And if you want to be known as a leader, someone people return to time and time again, it’s not the best idea to come off like this guy.

You wanna guess why my sister-in-law is so darn successful?

She doesn’t sell to her customers, she talks to them like she would speak to anyone else. She doesn’t rush or push or make them feel like they’re missing out on some amazing opportunity. In fact, she’s the polar opposite of the classic conniver. Approachable, honest, helpful. It’s how companies earn business.

So, what does this have to do with you? Your blog? Your podcast? Your small business?

Everything! Because you being YOU is an oh, so important part of a successful online model. And if you combine this with your expertise (read: value) you’re golden.

You are competing for eyeballs, remember?

You might be thinking this is all fine and dandy Craig, but how do I find MY swag? Put that unique stamp on my little sliver of real estate in this gargantuan online playground?

Well, stop and think about it for a minute. About you, your traits, your quirky little differentiating characteristics.

Are you an extrovert with more enthusiasm than Gary Vaynerchuk at a wine-lover’s meet and greet? Or are you more the quiet escapist?

Maybe you’re a combination or nothing close to the two examples above. But answer me this: Are you letting the real you out for the world to see?

Are you being true to yourself AND your readers?

Are you being “real?”

To me, that’s the cornerstone of your brand, and it can become the foundation for a truly engaged audience and a loyal following.

You won’t get anywhere fast without some real-world value, no duh, right? BUT, how you deliver said value is key, because the most essential component of that little online recipe is … ? You guessed it, little old YOU.

Stop for a brief moment and think about how you can combine your expertise (value) with that something special that will make your voice unique. And then think about your story and how you will combine this narrative with your know-how.

So, what about that funny, but modest person with a wee bit of snark?

The friendly, outgoing and helpful soul with that infectious spirit?

Maybe you’re more close-mouthed than Raymond Joseph Teller. or loud and proud like his well-known business partner.

Or that nerd, whose idea of a good time is playing Magic: The Gathering.

Regardless, do you write like you speak and let THAT person shine through?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. In fact, I’ll be shouting this from the rooftops. Are you ready? Okay: Personality + Value is your killer combination. Your 1-2 punch for success in blogtopia.

So, what say you?

Providing helpful, valuable, no-nonsense content is just the common sense part. Weaving in your authentic personality? That’s the extra seasoning that just might bring people back. It IS how your brand becomes sticky and it is your most sustainable model.

Just make sure you make it your way.

Whatever characteristics you own, well they just might resonate with a certain crowd. These little kinks you see as flaws in the machine might appear as desirable traits to others. If they don’t resonate, well it’s time for the wrong crowd to move on and the right one to move on in.

Okay, sometimes salespeople are masters of their domain because they shout and manipulate. But the rest of us? Well, if you think it’s worth the effort to hustle, peddle or bluff your way to success, more power to you, but I think there’s a better way forward.

If you’re you, you’ll fit in with the right people and the old “trying to fit in” model won’t even enter your imagination. And if you are selling, isn’t this one of the best ways to get buyers to actually come back?

Stay true to yourself and your peeps. Have a mission and put in the hours to make it all work, daily. If you do so, you might be a little shocked to see how quickly your world changes.

It’s not rocket science, but I can’t think of a more powerful AND sustainable model.
So why not get crackin’ right about now!?

How do you bring personality + value?

Google+ Cheat Sheet [Infographic]


Whether it’s a Word doc or a social media platform, there are always tips and shortcuts that can help us do things more efficiently.

For those of you who are active on Google+, check out this helpful infographic from Blue Rise Media. (And, if you want to learn how to effectively use Google+ hangouts, be sure to read  “25 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Google+ Hangouts.”)




Reprinted with permission from Blue Rise Media.

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