The Networking Paradox: How to Build Powerful Connections Without Looking Like A Pushy Douche
So, I’m on a cruise. A cruise for business. No, seriously. No, like, I’m not kidding. This is a cruise with a bunch of online marketers on it and I decided to go and see what its all about. Plus, its an excuse to get away with my wife – and ONLY my wife. Since…
So, I’m on a cruise. A cruise for business. No, seriously. No, like, I’m not kidding. This is a cruise with a bunch of online marketers on it and I decided to go and see what its all about. Plus, its an excuse to get away with my wife – and ONLY my wife. Since our lives are all about work and kids, it is essential that we break the patterns sometimes.
So, anywho, today I leave you in the good hands of Logan. He’s guest posted for me a few times and I’m always impressed with his writing chops. This post is no different. He is talking about how to network the right way. Many of us have experienced the business card ninja, who just shows up to meetups and conferences and damn near FORCES you to take his business card. Or the email which does the usual “Hey, I like your site.” then proceeds to pitch me to promote his next launch. That is a pushy douche, and Logan will show you how not to be that person. OK, take it away, Logan…
Today I have a “game changer” to share with you. A mindset shift that will change the way you look at building connections on the Internet. But instead of giving you twelve paragraphs of teasing copy leading to one disappointing sentence, I’m gonna spill the beans right now.
Are you ready for it? Here it comes… Effective networking is not about relentlessly hunting down partners. Not at all.
In order to really create connections, you must ATTRACT the attention of big players in your niche. You must “draw them in” like fish on a line.
And how do you do that? You create something amazing. Think for a second about all your relationships — both social and business related. Among all (healthy) relationships there’s a common thread. Do you know what it is?
I’ll tell you: Both people receive VALUE from the relationship. They get something beneficial out of it. This can be information, intimacy, happiness, laughter or even money. Point is — people choose friends and partners based on a “value proposition”…a mutually beneficial exchange of awesomeness.
And the same principle applies to online relationships. In order for someone to want to interact with you (let alone promote your business) you must offer them OBVIOUS value. Irrefutable value. You must create something so impressively epic that people are hunting you down in search of partnerships. By doing so, you turn the tables. You create a “snowball” of momentum. A powerful system that will pay off for months and years to come.
That’s what we’re shooting for. Here’s how to achieve it.
How To Get People Asking To Promote You
So…creating “epic” content is the secret to standing out, driving traffic and attracting attention. That’s not news. You know this.
But HOW can you strategically engineer your content so that popular bloggers desperately want to help you spread the word?
Well, after spending the last few months designing the most epic piece of content I’ve ever created…I think I’ve finally “cracked the code.”
There are four steps.
1. Understand your audience
The first step is probably the most important…but it’s also the least followed. No one does this.
Most people just pop out of bed, sit down at their computer and start mindlessly banging on the keyboard filling their content with random “musings” that they THINK people will find interesting.
Big no no. Not smart. Here’s the deal:
People don’t care about what you think. Yes, they sometimes desire a “connection” to the brain behind the blog, but for the most part they care about one thing: Themselves and their needs. That’s it. That’s all.
With this in mind, if you want to create something amazing, something that captivates your niche and builds your business literally overnight you must discover what people DESPERATELY want, and then give it to them.
You must fill an unmet need. This is the key to successful marketing. This is your job as a blogger.
How do you avoid the “trap of random guessing” and make sure you’re next piece of content is a hit? Well…it’s really not that hard. But it does take a little digging.
Here are my three favorite strategies:
Survey Your Audience.
If you already have an established audience, the easiest way to discover what they desperately want is to ask them. Create a short (three to five question) survey asking…
- What are you struggling with right now?
- What’s your ultimate desired outcome?
- What do you want to learn that you can’t find a solution to online?
While this should get you started, it only skims the surface. There’s far more to creating a killer survey. A survey that get’s RESULTS.
To master this skill…go pick up Ramit Sethi’s free guide “How to write a $100,000 survey.”
Browse Through Forums
Another way to discover the “hot buttons” of your market is to browse through forums and look for common problems. Be a fly on the wall. Put on your detective hat and search for clues. Searching for phrases like “biggest problems,” “help me,” and “frustrated” should get you started in the right direction.
Amazon Negative Reviews
While few people know about this, Amazon Reviews is a veritable dumping ground of priceless information. Marketing gold. That stuff we’re after.
To “mine” this resource all you have to do is…
- Head over to Amazon.
- Enter the title of a popular book in your niche.
- Select the negative (1 and 2 star) reviews.
- Read through the reviews and write down common objections that you notice.
- Repeat with related books.
If you spend even 30 minutes doing this, you’ll start to gain a definite understanding of what people dislike about your niche. You’ll also discover the most common needs people have allowing you to “fill the gap.”
Now, of course, this is the “abbreviated version.” The quickie. If you want to REALLY understand your audience inside and out, there are a few other strategies I recommend you use.
For the complete guide to “niche mining”…click here.
2. Understand Your Competitors
While it’s important to create something that people actually WANT, there’s more to this equation. Here’s the deal:
While some (very few) people create content based on expressed unmet needs most of them do nothing to make their content stand out. They just take out the cookie cutter and start slamming it into the same rehashed dough.
If you want to attract attention (both from your audience and your competitors) you must create something different. Painfully different. Squint your eyes, cock your head to the side, stick out your tongue and mumble “what the eff?” different.
You don’t necessarily have to base your training program around the plot of an epic fantasy saga (who would do that?) … but you do have to follow two steps:
- Observe what your competitors are doing.
- Do something completely different.
Because if you want people to share your content, if you want people to shout your praises unto the world, you have to give them an obvious reason to do so. Think about it this way:
Which YouTube videos, news stories and celebrities attract the most attention? The WEIRD ones. The ones who deviate from the crowd, give conformity the middle finger and break new ground.
As W. Chan Kim writes in his famous book Blue Ocean Strategy:
“Stop benchmarking your competition. The more you benchmark your competitors, the more you tend to look like them.”
3. Deliver A World Class Experience
Now for the fun part. Once you know what your audience wants and you’ve developed an idea that will make the competition irrelevant, the next step is to sit down, create your piece of content, and make it awesome. World class. Mind blowing. This is where it counts.
You can have the best idea on the planet, but unless you actually deliver on your promise, no one is going to care. You may be able to get some opt-ins, but the “viral frenzy of affiliate awesomeness” we’re shooting for ain’t gonna happen. Sorry, it just won’t.
While creating world-class content is a skill that takes time and practice to develop, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Understand how to create killer content
Unfortunately, most people never truly understand how to create killer content. Content that inspires trust, rapport and action.
They think it’s random. Something you just “whip up” when you feel like it and hope for the best.
In reality, there is a specific set of rules and strategies that top performers use to create brilliant content and effectively communicate their message. To learn these “insider secrets,” I recommend you check out this ebook from Chris Garrett.
Put in the extra time
While you may be anxious to just “get something out there” and see what happens, my advice is to make sure that what you are releasing is your absolute best work before you pull the trigger.
Don’t get caught up in perfectionism, but also don’t slap together a crappy e-book and call it good. Find the perfect balance between “obsessive lunacy” and “foolish optimism” and watch your business take off.
Stack value in the beginning
While it’s important to make your overall product “world class,” the beginning is where it really matters. This is where you hook people. This is where you generate rapport and make or break a long-term customer relationship.
So make sure that you spend some extra time crafting a captivating “opening sequence” that will have people smiling, dancing and startling their cat by screaming “I LOVE YOU MAN” at their computer.
How do you do this? One sentence:
By “overwhelming” people BEFORE they opt-in with large amounts of quality, accurate information that is immediately useful.
Get The Ball Rolling
And finally, once your content is created…you gotta get the ball rolling.
If you’ve completed all the previous steps it won’t take much, but you have to give your content a “push.” You must get it the exposure it needs to take on a life of it’s own.
While there are many ways to do this, here are some of my favorites:
- Strategic guest posting (what I’m doing right now).
- Product launches.
- Video traffic.
- Affiliate endorsements.
- Webinars and interviews.
The key here is to “GO HAM” for a few weeks and spread your gospel far and wide.
Do this and momentum, subscribers and success will be yours.
I know I’ve given you a lot of information in this post and hopefully you’ve gotten at least a few key takeaways.
In all of this, there’s one thing I want you to understand:
While most people think they need to aggressively “hunt down” customers and partners, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Everyone (yes, everyone) operates according to a “value proposition.” Your audience wants to solve their needs. Your competitors want to make money, look good and help their audience.
With this is mind, instead of focusing on taking from others, adopt a new game plan:
- Understand the emotions, needs and frustrations of the people you’re trying to reach.
- Create something in line with these needs. Something that would be a “dream come true” for both your prospects and your competitors.
- Casually place it in front of the marketplace.
- Watch the frenzy begin.
This is your mission.
Now go create something awesome.
Logan is the creator of a (nerdy) free course on how to set aside ALL EXCUSES and build your first $1000 “muse business.” Chief Dragon Slayer behind Forge Your Freedom, he helps frustrated entrepreneurs SLAY their “sticking points” and embark on an epic quest for freedom.
Good post Logan,
Hilarious title thanks for acknowledging the fact of how people actually come off.
People forget to think in terms of how THE OTHER person benefits everything isn’t just ME ME ME all the time.
favorite line of the article:
….Strategic guest posting (what I’m doing right now)
That’s what I’m talking about man lead from the front by example. #BlogSoHard