Book Review: 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

I’m trying out viddler for the first time. I loved how simple it was. The only hiccup was the flash player crashing after I recorded this whole video the first time. Are you guys using viddler? Is youtube or something else better?

This week I reviewed the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout. It’s a book that I think every marketer should read. A lot of the stuff they talk about, we already kind of know. The way they present it though, allows you to understand how marketing works, at it’s core.

The big takeaway I got from this book is that much, if not all of marketing is about perception. In business, perception is everything. There are a number of factors, or “laws” that explain why consumers, perceive businesses the way they do.

Each one of these laws are carefully, but clearly laid out in this book. I’ve read books where authors dance hypothetically around obscure ideas. Reis and Trout sound like they know their shit, and make it very easy for you to grasp their message. No bullshit.

Published in 1993, many of the examples they use are something a millennial may have to rack their brains to remember (if they’re like me). The lessons behind the examples however, are as relevant today as they were then.

Give it a read. If you already have, what did you think?

Learn more:  The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! [Amazon Affil]

What’s up?@!#

I'M ON A BOAT!

Hey guys.  I remember a long time ago, Mack Collier said never to write a post apologizing for not posting in a while.

meh…

I just wanted to let you guys know that I’m still here and absolutely have not forgotten about my blog.  It has been on a bit of a hiatus since I went on vacation (more cruise pics coming soon I promise) and have been working exhaustively on some really cool stuff with Scribnia (stay tuned for some exciting announcements).

Oh and #u30pro has been growing like crazy, which is freakin awesome…and somewhat time consuming occasionally…but still awesome.  If you haven’t checked out our Brazen Careerist network…GOGOGO! It’s oodles of fun.

I promise that I’ve been learning a ton lately, and have some good posts cooking.  When things slow down, you’ll see some changes here, along with some sweet new content.

So…that’s where I’ve been.  What’s up with you?!

What have you guys been working on?  Any exciting new developments in your lives?  If you don’t want to comment, drop me an email anytime dspinks5 at gmizzle.

Oh and let me know if you’re going to SXSW so we can party network.

Stop Begging for Favors

Photo cred: GreyBlueSkies

If you find yourself constantly asking for favors in business, you’re doing something wrong.

This spark came  when I was watching Alpha Dog the other day.  Yes, my inspiration for posts come from some really weird places…

The one guy was pitching a drug deal to Emile Hirsch’s character.  When Emile started questioning him, the guy said “I’m not looking for any favors… if it makes sense, then do it.  If not, fuck it.”

Whether you’re pitching bloggers, seeking partnerships, looking for funding or seeking any other kind of business arrangement, you can’t go into it with the mentality that you need them, and that they’d be doing you a favor by helping you.

I see it all the time.  I’ve even done it myself.  You reach out to others to see if they’ll be kind enough to promote your blog post, or your projects.  You want them to help you.  You need them to help you.  How else can you succeed?  This causes a few problems:

  • You come across as needy. It makes you look bad and degrades your image as a confident professional.
  • You become reliant on others. Always relying on others to help you succeed, you’ll quickly fail as soon as that option is no longer there.
  • You use up your resources.  People aren’t going to help you all the time.  You cash in on a favor, and you may not get many more.  In fact…
  • You’re indebted. Asking everyone else for help means that you would now be expected to help them whenever they call.

Instead of looking for favors, look for opportunities to help them.  If you can propose a deal that benefits both parties, you’re not doing each other favors, you’re doing business.

When reaching out to bloggers, don’t ask them to review your website.  Explain to them exactly why your website will be valuable to their readers, how else you can provide value to them and explain what you would expect in return.

When you’re creating partnerships, make sure you’re identifying value for both parties.  They need you just as much as you need them.

I’m not saying you should never turn to others for help.  It’s important to know when you can use someone else’s help and be big enough to ask for it.  Business can be personal, but it’s still business.  It’s exchanging value for value.

Are you focused on asking for favors or doing business?

Home Away from Home: Building Community OFF Your Blog

This is a guest post from Matt Cheuvront and is part of the Guest Blog Grand Tour over at Life Without Pants (an epic journey of over 75 guest posts). Want to learn more about Matt & see how far the rabbit hole goes? Subscribe to the Life Without Pants RSS feed & follow him on Twitter to keep in touch!

Photo cred: Poe Tatum

I talk a lot about building community, and then I talk about it some more. David, as the community manager of Scribnia, has probably talked your ear off about community as well. But, you know, there’s always room for just one more “building community” post – and this time, I won’t focus on what you should be doing on your blog – but instead, giving you a few ideas to cultivate community elsewhere.

Get active on other networks

Now we all know the big three (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) – those are no brainers. But what about Brazen Careerist, Twenty Something Bloggers, and (wink wink) Scribnia? You’ve probably heard of them, but are you really using them? These networks are out there for a reason – and they’re a great resource to tap into if you’re looking to discover new bloggers and network with new people. Everyone doesn’t hang out in the same place – so if you’re only hanging around Twitter and Facebook, you’re missing out on a huge untapped resource of amazing people. Invest some of your time building relationships around the web and leave some breadcrumbs that will lead folks back to your neck of the woods.

RSS Subscribers

Have you ever thought about this one? We’re all constantly urging people to subscribe to our blogs through e-mail and RSS reader. Why? Because it helps us build “loyal” community of readers. This is obviously an imperative goal (that you should be measuring regularly) throughout the development of your blog. But RSS subscribers can be both a blessing and a curse. They may always read your posts, yet they might not ever visit your actual site – thus missing out on that big ol’ community thing you have going on.

What’s the point? You need to invite and entice your RSS subscribers to click through. How? ASKING QUESTIONS is a good place to start. Make an effort to objectively ask questions in your post that instigates a response from your readers. In other words, force them to come to your “hood” in order to see people’s responses (and hopefully leave one of their own). The only way to get people to click through their Google Reader is if you give them good reason to.

Email

With Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, and a plethora of other social networks, e-mail seems to be a dying trend. But it shouldn’t be, at least not for a rock star community builder such as yourself. Every time someone leaves a comment on your blog, you are blessed with an email address – or as I like to call it, a “gateway to a relationship”. Use it (wisely – not spammy) to your advantage. A blog can be a great place to start a discussion, but email can be a beautiful way to keep it going. Your friendships and connections don’t have to stop in the comment section – and taking the time to follow up via email (when it makes sense to do so) shows that you are really committed to building a relationship with that person.

IRL

Ah yes, three letters that we are starting to fade away: IRL or “in real life” – there’s still that distinction between our online lives and the ones we live when we’re not in front of a computer screen – but it’s fading fast – the two are quickly becoming one in the same. So when we talk about building community, it would be stupid not to mention the great connections and friendships that can be found over a cup of coffee or an ice cold Black and Tan.

The beauty of blogging and Social Media is it provides a gateway to opportunity – whether it be personal or professional, making friends or finding clients – it may all start with a blog or a tweet, but it doesn’t ever have to end there. Focus on building community and relationships everywhere – and your blog will become a much more fulfilling place for you and your readers to hang out.

Two Birthdays One Post!

Photo cred: Don Solo

So…one year ago today, I was on winter break from college, and decided “screw it, I’m going to start my own blog.”  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  NO IDEA.

But before I get into that, I’d like to wish the most important birthday wish of all to my girlfriend, Alison (her actual birthday…she doesn’t blog).  She’s an amazing girl who supports me every step of the way, regardless of how much of a geek I can be at times ^_^.  She’s also always begging me to talk about her on my blog…so here it is.

Happy Birthday Alison, I love you!

annnnnd back to the boring stuff.  One year ago I wrote “The Dreaded First Post“.  I said,

I am extremely excited to grow as a professional and learn new things from those that I work with.  I have found my passion in social media and when you love something, it’s almost too easy to learn more and more about it every day.

Now here I am, working full time for a website for bloggers, part of countless communities, and still learning every day.  I know so much more than I did that day, but still have so much to learn on the grand scale.

I never thought I’d connect with so many amazing people.  I’m so thankful for the people in my community that I consider to be friends, mentors and more.

Lauren Fernandez has become an amazing friend, colleague, and more.  Working with her on #u30pro has been one of the most inspiring and rewarding experiences of my life.  For all of you that join us every week for u30pro and have helped us build such a great community, thank you.  She motivates me to be better every day, and I’m extremely grateful to have her in my life.

You’ve seen all of them at some point in my Mentor Monday series or just around my blog, but they’re also amazing friends, without whom, I wouldn’t be where I am today…

Arik Hanson, Chuck HemannSonny Gill, Danny Brown, Beth Harte, Gloria Bell, Stuart Foster, Keith Burtis … (I know I’m forgetting a lot more, and I’m sorry). I can’t begin to tell you how much your support and friendship means to me.  It’s been a crazy year for me, and knowing that you guys have my back keeps me going.  Thank you, really.

So here’s to second year of blogging, connecting, debating and growing.  If things move as fast as they did in 2009, I better get my seatbelt on.

The Long Tail Approach to Blog Outreach

Photo cred: Rob!
Photo cred: Rob!

The Long Tail is a concept that is used for a number of business practices.  In sales, wikipedia defines it as “selling small volumes of hard-to-find items to many customers, instead of only selling large volumes of a reduced number of popular items.”

When you have to reach out to bloggers, your first thought might be to search for the top bloggers in the category, and reach out to the “A-list”, hoping to hit it big.

The problem with this method is that so many others think the same thing.  This means that the bloggers you’re reaching out to have been contacted by countless others looking for the same thing and you get lost in the noise.

Instead of reaching out to a few of the “A-listers”, try reaching out to more bloggers that aren’t considered the top of their class, but have still built up a strong community of readers.  Look for the bloggers that will have the time to read your email, and write a post about your cause or message.

  1. You’ll get more content written about you.
  2. The content might be of better quality, as they’ll have more time to commit.
  3. If enough “B-list” bloggers write about you, an “A-lister” may find out about you anyway.
  4. A smaller blog might have a much tighter community, with more trust… which translates to more trust in your brand since they’re writing about you.
  5. You’ll be able to target niche audiences.

That’s not to say you should completely ignore any mainstream publications/”A-list” bloggers however it certainly shouldn’t be your only focus.

Hat tip to Arik Hanson for inspiring this post.

14 Ways a Blog Will Help You Get a Job

keyboardNot everyone should start a blog…you should only start one if you are ready to commit to it and you have something to contribute.

If you think you can do that, then starting a blog is one of the most valuable tools you can utilize to get a job.

Starting a blog shows…

  1. your commitment to your field.
  2. your writing skills.
  3. your communication skills.
  4. your knowledge in your field.
  5. you… on search engines.
  6. how you deal with criticism and feedback.
  7. that you’re always thinking about issues and trends.
  8. your creativity.
  9. your persistence in maintaining the blog.
  10. your ability to bring new ideas to the table.
  11. your ideals and beliefs.
  12. your level of thought leadership in the community.
  13. your network and your ability to network.
  14. your love for what you do.

continue the list in the comments!  How else does having a blog help someone get a job?