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Where Should You Spend Your Time When Expanding Your Blog and Business?

Last Updated on August 28, 2015  

What would you say if an author was working on a new book, but they spent all their time around the water cooler chatting?

You’d probably tell them they were wasting their time. Because chit-chatting doesn’t create books.

Now, what if that author was taught that the chit-chatting was important for their marketing? So, they went out and spent several hours doing this chit-chatting with the excuse that it was somehow important. Yet, STILL… from the outside, you’d probably be thinking, “But, what a minute…. chit-chatting doesn’t create books, does it? And isn’t an author supposed to, you know, like… write a book?”

Welcome to the confusion which is online business.

Where do you spend your time?

Do you spend your time tweeting, sharing, liking and pinning? All the “social media gurus” will tell you how important it is. But, then you’re sitting there looking at your old dusty blog and see that not much is happening. Traffic isn’t much to speak of. You have no time to create offers or products. You don’t have anything to build your list with. In fact, your email list building remains on your “Things I know I should do but don’t have the time” list.

Oh, but TWEETING… that shit is important!

Or so they’ll tell you.

Everybody’s a guru now, apparently.

No, I’ll tell you what social media marketing REALLY is to most budding online entrepreneurs. It is an easy out. It is an excuse. It is the easy and fun stuff to do so you can avoid the real work.

Is social media marketing a complete waste of your time? No, but it is pretty damn far down the totem poll of priorities.

So, where SHOULD you be spending your time?

Let’s look at this logically.

If you want to build a business and make money, then what do you need? What is a business?

Well, a business is a provider of goods and/or services to people who need or want it. So, there are two things needed in this equation:

  1. A relationship with people who need and want the things you’re looking to provide.
  2. An offer. Something to sell to them.

That’s what you need.

Now, the blog falls into #1 above. It is a magnet to bring the RIGHT people to you by way of providing content solutions to the things they’re looking for. Then, you get them onto your email list so that you can build the relationship.

A blog and an email list.

Then, you need something to sell. You need an offer.

So, where should you be spending your time?

You should be working on building your email list, building customer relationships (not just any ol’ connection, but connection to the right people), and creating things to sell to them.

Period. That’s what builds businesses.

If you’re tweeting and Facebooking so much that you don’t have time for your email list, don’t wonder why your business isn’t making any money.

If you’re writing so much on Google Plus that you’re not putting useful, relevant content on your blog, designed to give your blog a long-term asset which can attract the right kind of prospects over time and hopefully entice them to join your email list… then don’t wonder why you’re not making any money.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn… while these platforms have their uses, they are VERY ineffecient means of marketing when compared to less noisy mediums like email. Those platforms are NOISY. The people on there are endlessly distracted and you’re sitting there trying to compete with all of that in some vein attempt to be interesting to people who barely have enough mental energy left to be interested in anything. They’re hypnotized.

Now, before I leave you, I fully realize that social media marketing seems like the best way to build traffic when you don’t have much of any. So, people feel compelled to do it with the hope that people will funnel off and visit the blog. Makes sense.

But…

Let’s be strategic and not lose sight of the ineffecient nature of social media.

Tweeting to grow your online business is like driving on the Autobahn in first gear. (click to tweet that)

Typical social media marketing ends up pulling you in a ton of different directions and talking about anything of interest. Strategic social media marketing focuses on connecting with the RIGHT people for your blog and your business.

Guest post on other blogs. Participate in relevant forum conversations (Google Alerts can help you filter out the crap). Build relationships with others in your marketplace with the aim of mutual assistance. Do interviews. Be very targeted in where you interact, with whom, and why.

And all of it with the strategy in mind… to build your list. THAT’S where the real relationship with prospects gets made.

So, to summarize, here are the big 3 priorities:

  1. Build your list.
  2. Create offers to sell.
  3. Create content for your blog with long-term value to your marketing in mind.

These are the big pieces.

Tweeting and all that stuff? It shouldn’t take up any more than 20 minutes per day at most. The rest of your available time should be spent on the big things which build your empire. And those things are listed above.

 

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  • Tom Southern says:

    So true! You nail the point about business and how to be successful at business.

    I’d also go further, and say that social media is actually a hiding place for Fear.

    Fear of success. Fear of actually getting out there, building a business, creating products, and becoming your own income source. That scares a lot of people. So they use social media as a comfort blanket because it gives the impression of building a business, and working on our business.

    My strategy? Follow interesting, pro-bloggers to see what and who their following. Check those people out. Retweet pro-bloggers’ whose Tweets inspire and resonate with me. Add one or two useful and helpful tips of my own that follow-on from those of the pro-bloggers tweets.

    When I discover something from a pro-blogger that really delivers value for me, I also plan to start sending that person an email to let them what it was that inspired me, or to let them know what I liked about their tweet, and to thank them for it.

    Blogging for business is about creating connections. Because blogging is also a social medium, it makes sense to create a social media strategy based around creating meaningful, win-win connections.

    Tom

    Reply

  • Warren Wooden says:

    I finally had to sit down and track where my time was going on a daily basis. I then made a list of priorities within my business and wouldn’t you know it, the majority of my time was being spent on misc. stuff that while easy and took only a few minutes each time were eating into my day. I now work of a document I made “Daily Tasks for Growth and Profitability” and while my days are much harder, they are way more results oriented and my business is growing because of it.

    Reply

  • What’s your advice on product strategy ? is it wise to build 1 product and promote it full extent ? or build a series of product (say, 2 to 3 that i can manage at a time) and promote them as a whole to see what works or what not works ?

    Thanks.

    Reply

  • Well said. Epic article. Social media can help a business to build a traffic. But it is not the only source of traffic. Building a loyal following through social media requires too much time compared to guest posting and commenting. I personally prefer to spend more time on building an asset like email list which keeps delivering excellent results. 

    Reply

  • I use Facebook and Twitter a TON, using Twitterfeed. To be honest, I don’t even know my Twitter password, but I tweet almost every day!

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      Yeah, then its on automatic. Its all good. 🙂

      Reply

  • Peter David Gustafson says:

    David, love your thoughts. But I think 20 minutes a day is about 20 too long.

    Social media is just that. Social. 

    Working with SEO clients that dominate and convert sales “dabble” in social thereafter. Social media doesn’t convert into paying clients. Less than 8% max.

    Keep up the great advice David. I read (and sometimes steal) it all:-)

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      Well, for many bloggers, I think there is a time and place for social media. Its just that most overdo it grossly.

      Reply

  • Vonita Brown says:

    David, you’ve said a mouth full. thanks for keeping it real and telling it like it is; reminding us to keep the main thing the main thing. kudos

    Reply

  • David Risley says:

    A lot of wanna-be gurus out there peddling advice.

    Reply

  • Andi the Minion says:

    I spend a fair bit of time with Social Media for the company I work for and I believe it is only good for a small amount of engagement, letting people know you are still about and posting new content to your blog. Anything else is in my opinion a waste of time, email is proven to be more successful than any social media network. Thank you for reinforcing the point to us all, too many people are pushing social media marketing as products which is just confusing people. 

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      Yeah, I know. It was amazing to watch the wave of Pinterest guru products come out just as that thing started to take off. Then, all of a sudden, people were thinking Pinterest was THE thing to be doing.

      Meh.

      Reply

  • Michał Dorsz-Drożdż says:

    I like this part the most: “It is an excuse” and it is. It’s so much easier to play with FB, Google, Twitter and read blogs all day than do the actual work that matters. I guess it’s good to have a system, like ex. stay away from all of those in the morning, just do the work planned the evening before, later at some point go ahead and check the socials/emails/blogs whatever, come back to work. Maybe in the evening play a little more, but also not too much. I’m sure there are tools to help with organizing this stuff. I don’t use it myself and am fighting with those “excuses” everyday. Sometimes I win and sometimes… I regret that I didn’t win earlier 🙂 

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      RescueTime.com works for some.

      Reply

      • Michał Dorsz-Drożdż says:

        Looks good, thanks!

        Reply

  • Tom Southern says:

    Social Media is a maze (or is it a mine field?)! It’s okay for enjoying a chit-chat and maybe discovering a couple new blogs and people with something interesting to say, but it’s not a business-builder. SM is a little like hanging out in a really sociable cafe where anybody can chip in with anybody’s conversation and just enjoy the buzz. But doing business? Maybe a little here and there. Not many businesses would hang out down their local cafe with the intention of building customer relationships.

    I enjoy SM and focus on Facebook and Twitter. There’s just too many other wise. A few might have found a wild fan base through SM but I think these people (as well) built this wild fan base off their blog, e.g. their fan base on SM was created first on their blogs.

    Watching the clock hands now for the course starting 🙂

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      I’d probably equate social media more to putting 10,000 people in a room and having them all scream at each other, then sitting there trying to convince yourself that the other 9,999 of them are “following” you.

      😉

      Reply

  • Cody Wheeler says:

    Agreed. I was actually thinking a lot about this yesterday. Social can work to grow a following, but it’s just one tiny part of the picture of the business. Honestly a social following will more or less take care of itself if the rest of the business is executed well enough. The most followed brands and people aren’t followed because they’re social gurus. They’re followed bc they do cool shit that people want to take part in.

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      The only following that really matters, if you ask me, is email subscribers.

      The word “follow” in social media is a misnomer. 99% of most people’s followers aren’t REALLY following them. The noise level is way too high, so you’re just another molecule in the water avalanche. So, a person with 10,000 followers sits there and thinks they’re hot shit, yet they can probably only drive about 50 clicks on any link tweeted out unless you sit there and tweet it over and over again.

      On the contrary, you build an email list of 10,000, you can quit your damn job. The difference is STARK.

      Reply

      • Cody Wheeler says:

        Yea. I’ll take 10,000 opt-ins over the same amount of fans / followers any day 🙂

        Reply

  • Andy Riegler Andrews says:

    AMEN! The vast majority of people on our list come in through joint ventures and the blog.

    Reply

  • John Lee Dumas says:

    FOCUS on what matters.  Thanks for the 3 big priorities Dave.  They are now taped to the inside on my eyelids so when I blink I remember to get the heck off FB.

    You rock, looking forward to the seminar today!

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      I’m eager to get it started. I wish I could start right now, but I told people 3PM. 😉

      Reply

  • Sharon Thompson says:

    Good post David, simple and to the point.  It doesn’t have to be complicated.  I especially liked the section I copied below…

    “Well, a business is a provider of goods and/or services to people who need or want it. So, there are two things needed in this equation:

    *A relationship with people who need and want the things you’re looking to provide.
    *An offer. Something to sell to them.That’s what you need.”

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      Simple when one focuses on business and not on “internet business” as if it is somehow much different.

      Reply

  • I think you have put the priorities very
    neatly into a nutshell!  It’s so
    easy to get diverted by all the bells and whistles on the internet – the trouble
    is that they add up to overwhelming us. And the important things like lists,
    posting and relationship building get shifted to the bottom of the list because
    they are the most difficult to get right. 
    I’m not very partial to Facebook or Twitter and its good to hear that it’s
    possible to manage without them!
     

    Reply

  • Vikk Simmons says:

    If you’re a writer working on a book, you better stick with the book because all the Twittering in the world won’t get that book to the publisher or get your published without a manuscript. I work in social media but it’s not even daily and it’s pretty calculated. I’m not working on a book these days but my time is limited in many ways due to being a caregiver for an elderly parent. You never know when interruptions, major ones, will occur. I look at social media as an opportunity to set sail a post or two and hope they won’t crash on the nearby shores and sink. 

    It’s way too easy for writers to get caught up with the after-stuff and not spend enough attention on the work at hand. It’s always been a problem but I see and hear more and more of it–and much comes from a total lack of self-discipline, too. They’d just rather Twit, uh, Tweet. 

    Reply

  • David Risley says:

    In other words, they’re trying to get famous when they have nothing behind them. No business. Its putting the cart before the horse.

    Reply

  • Leo Dimilo says:

    David, I agree with almost all of your points except that what “social” media does is become a networking tool.  For instance, I have a client who owns a trade magazine and does seminars.  Social media, for her, wasn’t so much about getting followers but channeling her energy to reach the people at the top of her industry.  And she did.  Which resulted in more seminar appearances.  And more opportunities.

    As far as a “goods” service, I am not too sure that it would have the same benefit but in terms of networking and finding people who you can help (and who can help you), it shouldn’t be written off as simply a time to have fun.

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      Of course. 🙂 But, see, that’s strategic. And, even then, it would have meant nothing if your client didn’t have set products and services ready to roll with.

      Contrast that to the typical person trying to build up a new venture. They often have nothing to sell, no email list, etc. They spend time out there READING about how they need those things, but then they spend multiple hours on social media every week. And, most of that interaction is just casual conversation and trying to keep up with the firehose of info coming your way. It isn’t strategic, and is usually a HUGE distraction. All the while, they have no product and they have little to no email list.

      It is about priorities, and where one stands in the evolution of their business.

      Reply

  • Brad Gerlach says:

    Now that I am running a local blog, I am on FB and Twitter a little more often. However, I never thought they were extremely powerful. Twitter, for me, is mostly networking and seeing what other local bloggers are talking about. FB is where I have family and friends and, of course, my blog’s Page. But FB is just an extension of my blog. 

    I try to be conversational on it so I am not only pushing my newest post and blatantly promoting myself. In the past, I have removed certain “Friends” from my newsfeed because all they do is push their business (Mostly MLM things or some kind of home show thing). They didn’t try to communicate beyond pushing their own agenda. I do not want to be like that. That being said, I never was big on FB and kind of have to force myself to post more and communicate with others in a conversational way to ensure my FB account isn’t solely for business. I guess that is kind of good since I am less likely to fall into the FB or Twitter hole. 

    Reply

    • David Risley says:

      Just focus on your email list and on having things to offer which make money. That’s the point of this post.

      Reply

      • Brad Gerlach says:

        I understand that David, but I get a good bit of traffic from FB when promote new posts. What I am saying is that it is an necessary evil. People come from FB and then subscribe. But it definitely isn’t a primary focus. If I don’t have content or a good offer, then my list will suffer. 

        Reply

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