Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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How did a boring blog post get shared over 3000 times?

I was emailed today by a reader, who pointed me to a blog post she’d just seen. She noticed something VERY suspicious… an exploit was being used to trick the blog’s readers.

As a lot of people get taken in by this exploit, I thought I would answer her question here.

How a poorly written post got over 3000 shares on social networks

I am not going to call out the blogger my reader noticed, who was using this trick. It’s not my style. Also, it’s a common trick and I don’t want to single out one person for using it.

So, what did my reader see?

  • The post in question was published just 4 days ago.
  • It has over 3000 shares across the various social networks.
  • However, only 4 people commented on it.
  • It’s just a generic post, poorly written and littered with errors. Other posts on that blog are of the same quality and they also get thousands of re-shares.
  • The blog carries ads for get rich products and was not professionally designed. It’s extremely hard to read.
  • Yet… it got over 3000 shares.

To put that 3000 number into context, it was more shares than Copyblogger and Seth Godin’s blog managed, combined, with their posts on the same day! They are 2 of the most read marketing blogs in the world, with massive audiences.

Here’s how the trick works

The blogger in question is one of many, who has found a way to game the system by joining automated, social re-share networks. These are groups of Internet marketers, who use software / apps to automatically re-share everything that everyone in their network publishes. By joining a handful of such networks, with a few hundred in each, you get hundreds or thousands of reshares for anything you publish.

Why do they do this? Because it fools most people into thinking the blogger and their work are popular and valued. It’s all about the power of Social Proof.

Re-share networks and fake social proof

The number of shares a blog post gets on social networks is used by readers, as a way to assess the value of the content and the ability of the writer. They look at those huge numbers and assume the information in the blog post must be great (otherwise why would so many people share it?). The answer, of course, is that it wasn’t people who re-shared it… it was software!

Other’s then legitimately re-share the post, even if they think it’s crap, simply because they see it’s (apparently) so popular and assume they must be wrong.

As you probably know, you can buy Twitter followers and Facebook fans. Well, you can also pay for a series of automated Twitter and Facebook accounts to retweet and ‘like’ your posts. These are slightly different from re-share networks and even harder to spot. A simple search on Google shows just how common these services are.

With re-share numbers so valuable, it was only a matter of time before internet marketers figured out a way to game the system. Anyone can do it now. Some, like the blogger in question, have taken this to ridiculous lengths. Most join only a few, small re-share networks, to make it less obvious.

Trust your instincts or pay the price

The reader who contacted me, trusted her instincts. She knew that a dull blog post, on a cheap looking blog, with just 4 people commenting, does not get 3000 legitimate social network shares.

You too must use your instinct. Don’t automatically assume that you can trust information you read online, because it has a massive number of retweets, likes, pluses and pins etc. If something seems like bullshit, go with your gut.

In short: Before you trust a blogger or what they write, look beyond their social network numbers. Anyone can get hundreds of re-shares and the practice is spreading. Trust your instincts.

PS: Here are some tips on how to spot the fakes.

Why domination is a terrible idea for your business!

Dominate

An increasingly popular buzzword with internet marketing gurus, is dominate. They want to show you how to dominate; your niche, your competitors, your marketplace, trade events, social networks… everything!

People don’t like being dominated

As you know, when someone tries to dominate a conversation or a group of people, it’s extremely unattractive. It repels us. It causes us to feel negatively about the person and whatever they have to say.

I propose a different approach.

In praise of being valuable

Instead of looking for ways to dominate your marketplace, look for ways to freely offer value.

Why? Because when you focus on helping your marketplace:

  • You and your business become a valuable asset to others.
  • It causes people to feel positive about you.
  • You attract people.
  • It motivates people to recommend you to their friends and contacts.

Being valuable in a way that scales

When I talk about being valuable, I’m not talking about giving your time away for free, offering one-to-one help, whilst you quickly go broke!

That kind of one-to-one help simply doesn’t scale. What you need, is what I call the one-to-many approach.

For instance, I spend around 1 hour most days, writing something useful (like this), which I share with lots of people on Jim’s Marketing Blog. Thousands more people read it via the email version of this blog - Get your free copy delivered to your inbox by clicking here.

So, using a one-to-many approach, I invest one block of my time and it provides value to many people.

In closing

The marketplace seeks out people of value. Conversely, the marketplace avoids those who seek to dominate.

So, find a scalable way to be of as much value to your marketplace as possible. If you deliver enough value and make it easy for people to share, they will. It’s a powerful way for you to build a massively valuable community of people, who value you, trust you and recommend you. Many will also go on to hire you.

No domination tactics required.

You deserve the best. Don’t settle for less!

One day you will arrive. You’re definitely on course.

The question is… where will you arrive?

Something better

I hope you are on course for something better. I don’t know you personally yet, however, I want the very best for you.

I want you and those you love, to enjoy a better lifestyle. I want you to enjoy working with better clients. I want you to be rewarded with better turnover and better profits. I want your future to be better than your present or your past.

All this is not only possible, but the natural result of working to a better strategy.

Take time to review where your current strategy (or lack of strategy) is taking you. If you’re not making measurable progress, either build a better strategy or find someone who can set you and your business on course.

You deserve the best. Don’t settle for less.

Could this tip transform your business? Yes. Yes it could!

Each morning, you are presented with choices and challenges. The way you decide to deal with them, is what determines your success.

Choices and challenges

Most small business owners tackle their daily choices and challenges, using a a very average approach. As a direct result, they work too many hours, for uninspiring clients who pay them uninspiring fees. Money is always an issue for them and as you know, the majority of small business owners slowly go broke.

So, why do they choose to waste their time, taking the average approach?

Simple: It’s easy to be average.

  • Do what’s expected.
  • Follow the manual.
  • Be a ditto-head.

It takes more effort to be meaningfully different and grow a successful business.

  • We need to do more than is expected.
  • We need to write our own manual.
  • We need to form our own opinions.

In short: We need to work smarter than the average business owner.

Try this

Take a look at the remaining choices and challenges ahead of you today. Decide to tackle them the best way you can: Not the easy way, the fastest way or the most predictable way. Give each challenge and choice your absolute best shot.

Repeat this for the next 30 days and it will improve your business.

Make it a habit and it will dramatically improve your life!

The naked truth about shortcuts to success

The shortcuts to success have 2 things in common.

  1. They are not shortcuts.
  2. They don’t lead to success.

Rather than looking for shortcuts to success, the smart business owner looks for proven paths to success. Instead of looking for the easy route, they look for the best route.

Does it sound like harder work than trying to game the system, with growth hacking and other get rich quick fads? Sure.

It’s a vastly better use of your time though.

PS: This post offers an alternative approach, which could make you extremely successful. WARNING – Requires effort!

How to quickly get more from your marketing

I’m going to show you how to avoid a common marketing mistake, which is causing a lot of pain to a lot of small business owners. I’m also going to share a cornerstone of great marketing with you, which can quickly improve your marketing results.

Here’s the challenge: No matter how good your product is. No matter how good your customer service is. No matter how good your marketing is — you will attract very few clients or customers, if you’re marketing to the wrong people.

Allow me to explain

If you sell a commodity service, one that is offered by lots of equally qualified competitors, you’re wasting your time marketing to people who want a top class, boutique service.

If you offer a boutique service, you’re wasting your time marketing to the bargain basement crowd, who buy cheap from commodity service providers.

And no matter what service you provide, if you spend time marketing to freebie hunters on social networks, who are simply looking to pump as much free advice from you as possible, you’re wasting your time.

Instead, get specific

Know who your ideal profile of client or customer is and focus your marketing exclusively on them. Delight them with the things they value the most. Answer their most pressing questions. Give them highly specific information… the type of information that demonstrates you are exactly the kind of provider they need.

In short, make delivering the correct message, to the right group, a cornerstone of your marketing.

PS – Read this if you want to know more: Marketing 101: How to get specific.

How to build a massively valuable client list

If only your prospective clients knew how great your service was, they’d hire you. Right?

Well, I’m going to show you how to totally overcome that marketing challenge!

How your competitors ruin your marketing promises

Almost every small business owner claims to offer an amazing service. Especially the really terrible providers!

So, as you are one of the few who genuinely produces work, which is meaningfully different, your marketplace needs to know. They need to know that you are the real deal. That it’s not just words or empty promises.

How?

It works like this:

  • Put your work out there, where people can see it. Use either a blog or newsletter to showcase what makes you meaningfully different from your competitors.
  • Show us, without holding back, exactly how your work is meaningfully different. In other words, don’t just make claims about how great your services are — show us. Remember, your average competitors all claim to be great.
  • Make your blog posts, articles or newsletters visible and make them easy to share. If you are doing great work, people will want to tell their friends. Make this as easy as possible, with a small number of reliable sharing options.

Why bother doing all this? Because as I am about to explain, it is extremely effective.

Something about me you never knew!

For the past year, I have successfully provided a service, which I have never (even once) marketed to anyone.

What is it?

I write articles and marketing material. My fee is £1000 for an article or marketing piece (around $1600 USD at today’s exchange rate). There is currently an 8 week waiting list for the service. All that, without marketing the service even once.

Instead, people have come to me.

Why? Because they read my articles and blog posts, see the value and want their magazine, website, blog or whatever, to be just as valuable.

Others needed to see sales results from their marketing. They figured out that if they hire me to write the main conversion page of their website, it could be the difference between them motivating potential clients to hire them — or being ignored.

Why would any savvy business owner risk losing out on a fortune, by using ineffective, amateur copywriting? Exactly!

Show them who you are and what you do

The marketing promises and claims you make are largely ignored by your prospective clients. They have seen them too many times before.

If you want to earn the trust of your prospective clients, (which is essential if you want them to hire you), you need to demonstrate what makes you better than your competition.

No one hires me wondering if I can deliver. They already know me and my work.

Now show YOUR prospective clients what YOU are capable of.

If it feels safe, it’s not moving you forward!

If that idea you’re working on feels safe, it’s probably not moving you forward.

Our best work feels neither safe or comfortable. It requires us to stretch… to embrace the edges.

If you feel comfortable with your work, for too many days in a row, stop. Check that you’re not mistaking activity for progress. Otherwise you end up working hard — for too little reward.

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