I’ve said it many times, but this whole blogging thing is a really a people business. Focus on people and awesome things happen. Today’s post is from Mark Aylward and he talks about this. It should be a reminder for ALL businesses, but is important for bloggers as well. Content isn’t king – relationship is. So, I’ll hand you off to Mark…

I started blogging about a year ago, and one of the things that I realized after a while was that I was so caught up in the logic of search engine optimization, keyword research, and the use of anchor text links, that I had lost my voice.

What I mean by that is that my personality and humanity were taking a back seat to technology and “technique”.

I have been an entrepreneur for over 20 years – most of it in the offline world, but “close” to technology. I am a technical recruiter and, as such, I have been on the 50-yard line watching technology advancements for 20 years. But I never got “into” the game. I have never programmed or built software so I arguably have just enough knowledge to be dangerous!

I remember when speech recognition and artificial intelligence were nascent ideas coming out of places like MIT and Cal Berkeley. I remember the promise of “client-server” advancements and lived through the Dot-Com bubble bursting while supporting software development clients in Boston. There was actually a funny looking little fella named Seth Godin who was developing software in Boston at the beginning of my career up there. He has subsequently gone on to becoming one of the worlds pre-eminent “idea guys”, a freaking genius who balances technology with humanity like no one else I know of.

The point here is that no matter what new supercomputing, cloud-based, super fast gizmo comes out every year, people still want to be touched on a personal level.

David has written a number of posts here on his blog about things like gratitude and being thankful and focusing on people. I would guess that he would agree that this approach plays a major role in his success.

I am here to tell you that e-mail, texting, instant messaging and the like will never take the place of a personal note, a phone call, or a face-to-face meeting. The key is to use these tools, these technological advancements, in a way that does NOT dismiss people’s humanity.

The Internet, when used properly, can impact things like scale, reach and leverage…and these things are great! I mean, the ability to reach thousands of people at a moment’s notice from all over the world? That’s amazing.

What it doesn’t change is the way that you need to treat people. Respect, integrity and courtesy are perhaps more important in this medium than ever before because so many people are being touched so frequently from so many different places that there bullshit meters are hypersensitive.

The two most powerful ways to do this in my mind are quite simple.

  1. Be yourself and don’t be afraid to share. Don’t bore the world with gory details of your botched surgery or your nasty divorce, but don’t be afraid to share the fact that you have experienced these hardships and what it has meant to you. EVERYONE has been kicked in the teeth and faced with getting back up. This kind of personal exchange with people is what engages them and elicits empathy and understanding. It makes you real in a mob of numbers and email addresses.
  2. Tell stories. This is huge in offline and online marketing. Stories do something similar in that they share experiences with the listener (reader) and make them feel connected – trustworthy. Storytelling is an art for sure, but the more stories you tell, the better your stories get. There is something terribly compelling about…”man, you will never believe what happened to me yesterday…”

So as you learn the intricacies of link building, SEO, keyword research, auto-responders and video marketing, don’t lose sight of the fact that the recipient on the other end of the “tool” is just like you and me.

Anybody need a hug? 🙂

Mark Aylward is an expert offline marketer, making the move online. For more of his insights and advice, visit him at www.internetmoneymap.com. And speaking of technical challenges, one of the things that frustrated him to no end are these things called auto-responders. He wrote a free guide to address some of his issues regarding auto-responders and you can grab it here.

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