It sucks to read an article hoping to gain some tips (as the title promised) only to feel deceived and left stranded. It seems like a majority of the marketing blogs out there just write the same stuff over and over. A lot of these articles also don’t do much! “Learn how to grow your blog to $1 million”. They give you a few generic tips like “pick a niche” and “focus on keywords”. Well 99% of the other blogs out there will tell you the same thing! It’s boring, and doesn’t push the industry forward or help anyone.
Transparency has been popping up in blogs and businesses lately. Especially on one of my favorite sites, Reddit’s Entrepreneur subreddit. It’s all user-generated and you’ll find some really great conversations and stories in there. Yeah, there will be a lot of self promotion and posts you’re not interested in, but keep an eye out for the amazing posts. These posts are usually by entrepreneurs chronicling their journey to sales through a case study. These tend to be the top rated posts on the subreddit, because they are honest, and teach us something. Although they are a form of self promotion, nobody cares because the lessons we learn from the post are valuable and we appreciate that they wrote this to share with everyone. One of my favorite, and one of the top rated, posts on r/entrepreneur was from u/localcasestudy about the subscription box company he and his partner bought and helped turn around to become a huge success.
This is a trend among people on the site, as well as those just starting up online. Many people are creating blogs, videos, and podcasts about how picking their topic, struggles, successes, everything. This may have stemmed from the popularity of Startup, the hit podcast from Alex Blumberg who created a show about himself creating a podcasting business. I personally loved the show! I can’t wait for it to come back (it did come back for a second season that chronicled another startup). Because this is an inside look at someone with no business experience getting started and making it work. It’s not one of those blog posts titled “Here’s how I succeeded” and they tell you everything that went right and none of the bad stuff you should expect. It’s a real time, open look at how he’s working to make his business. You feel a connection to him and his journey, even cringing at the moment when he tells his new business partner his proposed equity split and it’s much much lower than his partner expected.
Stories are what we engage with, it’s something that every marketer tries to create around a product or service. We respond to a great story, creating emotional ties to it. A brand is supposed to elicit this emotional reaction, but it’s hard to manufacture. With transparency, you don’t need to create a story, it’s already there! You and your business are the story and people resonate with it. Don’t be fake and try to make something that isn’t there, just be yourself. Huge online successes like Pat Flynn don’t even hide their income, he’s well known for sharing everything he makes and his expenses. People love it! Not saying that you have to share your income (though it’s a good idea and makes you credible), but find something you do want to share and that you believe could help others.
So pretty much: help people by being open, they may respond, they may not but just try it out anyways 🙂