Working

construction worker I delivered a keynote yesterday at BlogWorld Expo (Dave Thomas from SAS has great notes here). In it, I called for us bloggers that have been around for a bit to step up our game, to get to work, to bring this all up a level. The speech was one part arrogance, nine parts passion. For what I think happens next is this: companies either do or don’t get into these tools. We, however, have to consider the tools and the business and what we’re going to do with it all, whether or not the mother ships in our lives are ready to come along.

Here’s some of what I pointed out in my presentation.

Set Up Shop – if you’re an independent business and you’re blogging to make content marketing for your business, be sure you’ve built “how to do business with me” into your site. Do you have a “work with me” page? Do you have a “contact me” page? Are you putting out obvious calls to action? Take it from blogging about what you know is cool into blogging about ways to help the customers you hope to attract.

Think Like a Business – if you’re in this for business, always ask yourself how this work ties to more sales (and if you’re not trying to make money, think of “sale” as whatever you hope to convert. Hint: it’s not “more audience.”). If you’re just writing to write, shooting video to get it up there, tweeting because people said you should, rethink all that. Decide what’s going to ring your register and work on that. Use this as marketing if you want, but be sure to have a call to action, then, so that it’s really marketing and not just words.

Be a Consistent Brand – make sure that everything coming out of you syncs with your brand. It’s okay to talk business and personal (without the personal touch, you’ll miss some of the beauty of the human web), but make sure all that you’re doing is as consistent as possible. If you’re positioning yourself as a luxury expert, do you have all kinds of junk ads on your site? If you’re saying that you’re into relationships and quality human contact, are you spamming people with a newsletter they didn’t opt into? If you have other people working with you, are they representing the feel you’re hoping to portray with the EXPERIENCE of working with you?

Extend Your Platform – get beyond the blog. I don’t mean to just tweet, either. Get out into physical space and start meeting people from time to time. Don’t go to social media events, only. Go to the events where clients are, instead of the events where the cool kids hang out. Move your voice into as many places as you can. Consider video. Write speeches and things you’d love to say on a stage on your blog (it’s how I got my start speaking professionally).

Build Small Powerful Networks – go beyond using social media tools just to chat and keep up. Stop playing Farmville and start building networks of people you feel are important, energizing, uplifting, and potentially useful to your future business plans. Get into collaborative efforts with people who share your thoughts. There are lots of people going solo when they could team up and have even more power from the small organization. Don’t overthink this one. Just build networks that extend beyond having a “groups” tab in Tweetdeck.

Equip Your Customers – instead of writing about your stuff, write about your customers. Give them ideas on how they can improve their world, and for a REAL strong effect, don’t even mention your product every post. Your customers need much more than your product to succeed. How else can you equip them? Giving people useful information, useful things, a step up on the world is a powerful way to build new relationships and deliver potential sales.

Focus on the Relationship – to me, the new unit of business should be relationships. You get more fruit from an apple tree if you nurture it and pick apples when it’s ripe, instead of uprooting the tree and forcefully shaking the apples into your barrel. It takes a bit longer, but you’re a farmer and a steward, not a machinist. (This is a great part of why I feel many businesses failed over the last two years)

Make Trust a Must – If you’re in this for the long haul, work to earn trust. People want to trust you. It’s a matter of giving them signs of trust, including being there, being consistent, being everywhere they need you to be, and being authentic to your internal and external needs. People aren’t stupid. They need to feel your conviction and your support all the way throughout the experience with you.

Beyond that, I’ll save the rest for another post.

Does this make sense? Are you ready to get to work? Can you see what should come next from this?

photo credit saad.akhtar

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  • http://www.suzannefranco.com Suzanne Franco

    Awesome post Chris! Would've loved to see this in person but I really appreciate the recap here. These are all things I want for my business – thank you for putting it into an outline for me to follow. *SmiLes* Suzanne

  • http://twitter.com/pnstlion Gabe Young

    Great tips there. It's amazing how many sites are missing a call to action. Marketing 101!

  • http://twiwave.blogspot.com/ Hemant Kumar Singh

    I liked the 'sync' of photo with your post. People often say that – social media, blog, promotion, relationship, trust- seem so much work. Well, 'so much work' is brick and mortar business.
    Awesome post as usual! You are consistent with your awesomeness ;-)

  • markwilliamschaefer

    “Decide what’s going to ring your register and work on that.”

    Boy you've come a long way from “It's not about you and your stupid company.” I like that. It IS about you and your stupid company and it better ring the register (eventually) — or it will all go away. Great post!!

    @markwschaefer

  • http://www.facebook.com/ekalaivan Prabu Rajasekaran

    Chris, you set my ass on fire. Keep doing it, I'll fly one day!

  • GlennHansen

    I have been watching corporate blogs for a few months now, and have seen a few do excellent things. Look at Am. Ex. and http://www.openforum.com. Also Avaya and its http://www.avayablog.com, or even the Symantec communities through Symantec Connect. Let's hopen even more step it up significantly. Chrysler, you listening? Your blog needs to quit talking about “Me” all the time.

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  • http://www.virtualitassistants.com/ Amber Whitener

    This post is like Trust Agent's Cliff's Notes and it is one of my favorite posts from your blog thus far. It is very challenging and motivating.

    It's a little like parenting. Have you ever noticed that 20% of parenting is teaching your child the difference between the right ways and wrong ways to get things done, and then the other 80% is reminding them of the difference between the right ways and wrong ways to get things done?

    Except, of course, in your scenario:
    You are teaching your audience the difference between the right and wrong ways to get things done professionally. :)

  • http://socialmediaphilippines.com Rob Angeles

    Back in the old days when I was still a business analyst, my boss taught me the value of Focus on the Relationship and Make Trust a Must.

    In the Philippines, majority of business owners are Filipino-Chinese and these 2 points are the most important factor when they do business. It's been a practice for decades. If you want to do business with them, buy them beer and do normal chit chat or take them out for dinner. No topic coming out from your mouth about your product or what you do.

    When I read your book, Trust Agents, I remember the phrase “Are you one of us?”. With that, I remembered many things.

  • http://www.kherize5.com Suzanne Vara

    Chris

    The main point is the building of relationships. If you build relationships all the others fall into place. The trust will come into play in business or personal as you would not be build a relationship with someone you do not trust. When a relationship is built with clients the focus sifts from what you can do for them to what they are doing with the tools you have given to them.

    I agree to go outside your world and attend events that are not social media or the like. It opens up the doors of communication.

    Good stuff!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raimund-Kohl/1301162469 Raimund Kohl

    thrilling posting! Thank you!

  • heathermasson

    Focus on the relationship. I've been talking about this a lot lately. It is all about the relationship. I also really like what you said about giving your customers what they need, and that's not all about what you're selling! Great Post!

  • Elizabeth_H

    This is an excellent post. Definitely one I will come back to again and again to make sure I am staying on track.

  • deborahrichmond

    Some people think that being a consistent brand means you should not mix personal with professional. But if you do not, you are too boring for anyone to care what your brand is. Today you need to be consistent as a brand, absolutely, but don't be so consistent that you are boring.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dave.linabury Dave Linabury

    Stop playing Farmville? Chris, you are asking far too much of us. I need that damn goat topiary. ;^p

  • Mark Kubert

    Thanks for posting this Chris. It’s practical and relevant.

    I’m brand new to all of this social media stuff and it’s exciting and overwhelming all at once. It’s tough to know if I’m dotting all my “i’s” and crossing my “t’s” not to mention how to keep the bigger picture in mind. Posts like this really help us beginners. It’s appreciated and needed.

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  • Bobster

    “There are lots of people going solo when they could team up and have even more power from the small organization”..

    I'd like to build these networks and collaborate. The people who I feel are important, energizing, uplifting, and potentially useful to your future business plans dont want me to form networks, they're too busy — too busy doing their own stuff, to busy to be working with some people maybe cuz I dont look cool. It seems you have to look like them to work with them – sigh.

  • http://inconsequentiallogic.blogspot.com roschelle

    Business 101. Thanks for bringing this back to those of us who couldn't see it in person.

  • http://www.speakersoutlet.co.cc speakersoutlet

    A good post to improve our business performance, thanks

  • http://www.speakersoutlet.co.cc speakersoutlet

    A good tip to improve our business performance

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    That's what sparked the thought. : ) I think it's cute you both love it.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Right. It's the blend of both, though. The register rings once there's a relationship.

  • http://www.marketlikeachick.com Coree

    Thanks for another kick in the pants post, Chris. A couple points you made really hit home for me. One is being consistent with your brand…my blog is about marketing & I try to simplify techy stuff or social skills in a way that women can relate to. I also blend in some mindset posts, but I keep thinking I need to narrow my niche down & create a more personal brand. I want to make sure I am staying consistent so people know what to expect. So, you got me thinking again!

    The other point is about creating small networking groups and focusing on other people that I can collaborate with. So far it's working because I'm in talking with a few other women about organizing a women's virtual conference. But, I feel I may neglect engaging with more of the influencers & firestarters. (ahem…like YOU). How in the world do you keep up with everything??

    PS – Saw you walk by a few times at Blogworld today. Tomorrow I will actually stop wussing out & introduce myself! :)

  • http://www.quired.com quired

    Excellent post Chris. Many of our clients still do not get the power of blogging much less the power of sharing and connecting. We work with a number of small businesses who have not made the transition from boom economy to recession. When their existing word of mouth marketing dried up they don't know where else to turn. (Yes we are trying to move them in the right direction)

    And you are right indeed. It all boils down to good, old fashioned “work”. Those who make it through this economy will certainly be stronger for it. Especially those who take advantage of the available tools.

  • http://www.quired.com quired

    Excellent post Chris. Many of our clients still do not get the power of blogging much less the power of sharing and connecting. We work with a number of small businesses who have not made the transition from boom economy to recession. When their existing word of mouth marketing dried up they don't know where else to turn. (And yes we are trying to steer them in the right direction.)

    And you are right indeed. It all boils down to good, old fashioned “work”. Those who make it through this economy will certainly be stronger for it. Especially those who take advantage of the available tools.

  • http://blog.digitalroom.com/ Girlie | Digital Room

    I totally agree with tip number 6. It doesn't have to be about your business all the time. Customers would appreciate it if you share your knowledge and expertise with them without having to pay for your time. Answer frequently asked questions, be a friend to them and they'll eventually return the favor to you.

  • partywedo

    Chris,
    Thank you for giving us ideas on how we can improve the world. The internet world seems full of virtual gifts and virtual friendships, but it is REAL results that have the strongest effect improving our lives.
    I never witnessed an avatar helping an old lady across the street – It takes a REAL Boy Scout, doing his good turn of the day…
    At the presentation you equipped us by giving useful information, useful things, a step up. Now we need to step up our game and make this all REAL. Those are the gifts worth sharing with the world.

  • Honest Abe

    I think that the real question would/should be “Could one give up the spotlight, or the pursuit of said spotlight, in exchange for staying home with their family. Watch their kids grow each day. Enjoy all the little things in life. Embrace each moment.”?

  • scrawfordbit

    Chris, awesome points and so true. It is time for us bloggers to step it up a notch. On Monday, I will be speaking to a number of small business owners on social media, not so much that they need to be doing it. I believe this time is passing, but what to do next. Is it video, audio or something else. What can we do differently than those who we compete with. Good food for thought. I am looking forward to our chat on Jan 8 as part of Bulletproof Business Radio.

  • http://twitter.com/crittjarvis Critt Jarvis

    >”There are lots of people going solo when they could team up and have even more power from the small organization.”

    Just checked this one off my short list yesterday.

    As Seth said the other morning, “You can create a constantly innovating organization where extraordinary employees thrive.” Or, in my case, discover who that organization is and then go meet them.

    Now working with @strategisadv, where I can step up my game.

    Thanks, Chris.

  • bkjrecruiter

    Your words are heartfelt Chris.. THANK YOU.. for your dedication to sharing your knowledge… Best, Brian-

  • http://www.jtrigsby.com jtrigsby

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for expanding on your thoughts a little from the other night. It was so motivating to hear it Thursday night, I went right to work implementing what I could and planning the changes that would take a little time.

    There is a pretty big shift that has to go on here for this to work for most bloggers. I'd think its pretty safe to say that about 95% of bloggers get started for one of two reasons… because they have something to say or to make a quick buck. Neither of those mindsets fit very well into your model, and that's the shift that must take place.

    The other perceived barrier to entry for most bloggers is their own self-deprecating thoughts. I hear it all the time, “I don't know anything anyone else would want to know.” Even if all you've done is setup a free blog on Blogger or WordPress.com, you're one step ahead of folks who aren't that far yet! So help them out already!

    (Sorry, got on a bit of a roll there…) Great stuff Chris, I'm retweeting it out to my network and its on my Mastermind agenda for tomorrow night! Keep it coming man!

    Thanks,

    @jtrigsby

  • jeffcutler

    Agree totally…ok, not totally, but mostly. The advice is clearly for those blogging with a goal of branding themselves and leveraging their brand/blog/presence in a business arena.

    As a writing professional (yes, blogging counts too when you get paid for it) with 20 years penning articles for newspapers, magazines and even reporting on radio, I can appreciate the people who might be blogging without the aim of making that pursuit their lifeblood.

    To them, I say go write what you want and enjoy it. Share your passions and perspectives and just have fun.

    Like anything else in life (passing a football, reading a script on stage, making love) if you're just trying to follow the rules and forcing the activity, it will result in less than your best work.

    Sorry I couldn't be there to enjoy the presentation but will check back to read more reports on the action.

    Best,

    Jeff

    http://jeffcutler.com
    http://twitter.com/jeffcutler

  • http://www.jtrigsby.com jtrigsby

    Yeah, I think your both right. You are most successful in any money making en devour when you are selling what people want to buy. You can make a magnificent product and still go under if no one wants to buy it. In that respect, there MUST be focus on the customer and their needs & wants.

    This also means you can't spend all you time talking about you. We've all seen websites that read like a Wikipedia article about the company… and doesn't address their customers anywhere. That has to change.

    At the same time, what we do needs to be driving potential customers into our sales cycle so we can ring the cash register. Its fine to “give away” product if it has a pre-defined or predictable path into purchasing a product.

    I'm not even a fan of the ringing the cash register phrase/mentality. Maybe its just me but that carries a connotation of one time sales and our customers being objects we strive to take advantage of. If all we ever think about is ringing the cash register, that will show through and we'll be considered the used car salesmen of our chosen field.

    In the end it should be about trust and relationship building. People would rather to business with someone they know and trust, even if its not the best deal or out of their way. Invest in relationships and not only will your customers be dedicated fans, they'll tell others without you even asking. At least that's my humble opinion.

    @jtrigsby

  • http://twitter.com/FranchiseKing Joel Libava

    Chris,

    This should be included in everybody's online bookmarked library. Fantastic job!

    It was great pressing the flesh with you this weekend.

    What can I do to help you?

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  • jeffshuey

    Another great post. The notes from Dave Thomas are great too. I completely agree with the point on authenticity – both from a personal perspective and from a professional / corporate point of view. This article focuses on the personal aspect and extends that “brand” to each persons professional life – whatever that may be. I have written a fair amount about Corporate Authenticity and I am happy to see our points line up very nicely. I look forward to your blog posts every day. Keep 'em coming.

  • http://www.sarahmerion.com @sarahmerion

    I love seeing you speak Chris so I'm sad I didn't see you present this. Great advice in this article and thanks for always inspiring.

  • http://www.worldtree.tv/ Tony Farley

    Thanks Chris! I just made a list of the ways I could help my viewers and I am not doing most of them. I do have a pretty good farm going on Farmville though! I'm thinking I should be cultivating and planting seeds for my audience with as much effort and time. Thank you.

  • http://www.GrandmaMaryShow.com Grandma Mary

    Love this wake up call to all of us who lose sight of why we are tweeting in the first place! Wish I could have been at Blogworld but had to work on ringing my register more :)

  • jnewman1

    I like this blog! It stands out from all the others in this search criteria! I know a great blog when I see it. Thanks for the great information on the subject. The web needs more blogs like this one. Thanks again, and Happy Halloween!
    Tech Blog

  • Juliesquires

    Excellent, Chris. Thanks. Have several clients just starting to blog and I congratulate them. They waited until it made sense for their business.

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  • ginnylogan

    Chris, this has to be one of the most simple posts I've ever read. But….the best and most motivating/inspirational post ever. The points you discuss are true and applicable to every type of business and should be followed without hesitation. It's a true map. A guide to success. It's not only applicable to the digital world, but to every department head, manager, sales person, CEO, etc….it's the smart and realistic key elements to any business plan. Thank you for spelling it out…in such a way that everyone should be able to take this outline and make it applicable to their business model.

  • ginnylogan

    Chris, this has to be one of the most simple posts I've ever read. But….the best and most motivating/inspirational post ever. The points you discuss are true and applicable to every type of business and should be followed without hesitation. It's a true map. A guide to success. It's not only applicable to the digital world, but to every department head, manager, sales person, CEO, etc….it's the smart and realistic key elements to any business plan. Thank you for spelling it out…in such a way that everyone should be able to take this outline and make it applicable to their business model.

  • http://www.wonderbranding.com/ Michele Miller

    Chris, this is a terrific post. Even though I'm immersed in this kind of business every day, it gave me new things to think about. And THANK YOU for talking about the “new unit” of business. It's a great left-brain analogy to a concept that's been based in right-brain thinking for too long.

    Now, it's time to go back to my blog and look at it from a new perspective- thanks!

  • whitedove

    Hi Bobster… It has been my experience on the web that most professional people CELEBRATE each other's differences so I don't feel looking different than someone else is a bad thing. I AM different in so many ways than most people and have been that way most of my life. I used to compare myself with others and still do sometimes, and my critic always has me coming up short.

    I have over the years through reading much information and interacting with a few people from my heart just like you did by posting this comment, come to the realization that we are ALL in this JOURNEY together. You are just as important and have just as much to offer as anyone else.

    Take the things that you feel others are lacking, and figure out what you can do to offer those things to others! :)

  • http://twitter.com/MurrayNewlands Murray Newlands

    OK Chris after your comments in Florida and having read this post I have no excuse. I did it and wrote the work with me page on my blog. While I have published it, I expect it will take me a few weeks until I am happy with it. Why had I delayed, well I am not really sure. I Just did not have the confidence to say it the way I wanted to.

  • jonathanjp

    This perspective is dynamite…it does forward the conversation on using social media in business. Good stuff. Thanks.

  • http://karyo.net/ patti schom-moffatt

    “People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” I've always thought this quote sums up the way we need to be in a service economy — whether in person, across the table, or on the net.