Don’t Ever

Walk the Dinosaurs

Don’t be creepy. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t waste people’s time. Don’t ask too much. And don’t ever ever ask people to follow you. “Follow me back?” is the saddest question on the Internet.

Austin Klein, Show Your Work

As true for marketing pros as it is for artists. Maybe especially.

I didn’t plan on being a marketing/communications professional, but that’s how things worked out after college. Originally trained as a journalist, I used my liberal arts background and interests to become a little-bit-of-everything marketing pro. As long as I’m making things, I’m happy.

Journalism is probably where I get my skepticism of most things marketing. For a marketing professional, I don’t actually subscribe to a lot of marketing tricks. If it annoys me, as a user/customer, I can be sure it’ll annoy someone on the receiving end. So, I tend to not use marketing techniques that are onerous to the end user. No digital ads that follow you around, no cover-the-whole-page-in-an-ad news site takeovers, nothing that screams for attention.

Again: if it bothers me, why would I do it to someone else?

Klein’s advice is the simplest, bare minimum marketing advice I can share. Don’t be that marketing pro.

The One True Way

Which brings us, finally, to the One True Way to get a lot of traffic on the web. It’s pretty simple, and I’m going to give it to you here, for free:

Make something great. Tell people about it. Do it again.

That’s it. Make something you believe in. Make it beautiful, confident, and real. Sweat every detail. If it’s not getting traffic, maybe it wasn’t good enough. Try again.

Then tell people about it. Start with your friends. Send them a personal note – not an automated blast from a spam cannon. Post it to your Twitter feed, email list, personal blog. (Don’t have those things? Start them.) Tell people who give a shit – not strangers. Tell them why it matters to you. Find the places where your community congregates online and participate. Connect with them like a person, not a corporation. Engage. Be real.

Then do it again. And again. You’ll build a reputation for doing good work, meaning what you say, and building trust.

It’ll take time. A lot of time. But it works. And it’s the only thing that does.

Via Derek Powazek, courtesy of Merlin Mann.

Again and again and again, marketers (or people that do things similar to what I do) ruin a good thing because they want to make more money.

When you job is to make web sites appear higher in Google rankings, you’re abandoning effort on the actual content of that site in favor of snake-oil tricks in the form of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Sure, it’s fun to have your page creep near the top of Google’s rankings. But it’s way more fun to have it happen organically.