Behind The Scenes: 50 Netsetters Post

Late last week I wrote a post as part of The Netsetter relaunch called 50 Netsetters You Should Know About. This was a paid project for Envato but it was so much fun. For me, it was an experiment that I felt would pay off and it did. If this post, I just wanted to share a bit of the background story so people could understand the processes and sheer hard work that goes into creating an epic post.

The background.

I was approached to create buzz surrounding the relaunch by Joel from Envato. Skellie, who I idolize, recommended me, and Envato is probably my favourite company. I was so ecstatic to be approached and pitched the idea of this post. I did the 30 Bloggers To Watch post 6 months ago and while that was successful, I had wanted to try some of the new techniques I had learned.

For full disclosure, the original job offer was to build awareness and create buzz. I pitched this post because so I could start the conversation and continue it when people decided to take it elsewhere. It was a non icky way to be useful and earn money. I’ve put in way more hours then the original brief but that’s cool, because this is how I work.

Then I heard my Pitch got accepted. I had four days to complete it, and had an amazingly hectic real life schedule between then and the deadline. Eek.

My approach

Creating segments

The five areas you see weren’t part of the original post. That was just a method for me to keep track of people in my head to make sure the list didn’t become too incestuous.

I quickly realized that it made the post so much more useful. The individual sections helped people continue the conversations in the comments. Many people in the support team group were especially grateful that someone drew attention to their work.

If you are considering creating a list, I’d look at how you can segment it into groups. And, within each segment, look at ways you can shine the spotlight on people who aren’t normally talked about.

Focus on people from different hubs

I discovered the concept of hubs in Emanuel Rosens brilliant book ‘Buzz‘ but had trouble finding a good definition. A good example from the book was someone that was connected to a lot of different clusters and “served as an information broker amongst these different groups.”

Now, if you apply that to an online setting then you are looking for someone that dabbles in multiple niches. They can have the majority of their influence in once niche but have the skills to identify the right people to approach in other areas.

I’m a hub. That’s what makes me kick arse. However, if you talk about people who are members of multiple clusters then you increase the chances of the post being sneezed beyond your own.

This sounds market-y and a bit icky, but it is possible to do it in a way that helps them. In my case, I placed them in a list amongst their peers and idols. They wanted to share it out of the sheer joy of being acknowledged. And, that was my intention with creating this list. I wanted to test my theory of hubs but I wanted to make people happy.

Do you know people that are friends outside of your niche? If you, touch base with them to see if there are ways you can work together and help each other.

Identify the people that aren’t being talked about

There are some brilliant people out there that aren’t being talked about because they aren’t easy to label, or are hidden gems. I know many of these and, where appropriate, am helping them out. One is BlogcastFM.

This is very effective because in most cases, the people are very grateful. It opens up the dialogue and opportunities to collaborate. It also means that people are willing to sneeze it because they are genuinely happy at finding new role models and people to engage with. Those people will then start to talk to you to find more cool resources and even send you tips of cool stuff to share.

The good stuff

I got a lot of social credibility

I got this gig on a very short notice and had a tight deadline. I was more worried about doing the right thing about Envato then how it would affect me. That meant that when the GilkMeister emailed me to ask me what I planned to do now, I genuinely had no idea. I’d just moved, been sick and had a depressive episode. I haven’t had the time to focus on the next phase of my business.

My short term goal is to build up the relationships with some of the people who now know who I am. I also want to strengthen the ones with good friends who I haven’t talked to in a while. Today I got to speak on the phone with Annabel Candy and that was awesome.

I got to test crazy theories

I read a lot of marketing books and I’m always trying to find cool techniques traditionally used by big businesses with the budget for viral campaigns. What I loved is that I was able to take knowledge from a book – a simple 300 page book – and create a post that has echoed around the blogosphere. I have learned so much and can’t wait to test more theories with future guest posts.

The Hard Stuff

I couldn’t play favourites.

There were so many people that I wanted to include. Lavonne Ellis, Siobhan Bulfin, Natalie Peluso. I felt really bad because I would have loved to be able to share them with people from other hubs, but I didn’t want it to be a list of people I liked.

I also had to be careful what communities I picked people from. I excluded some people because I had a lot from that paid community or even the country.

I wanted to create a list that was so useful that people would be coming back to it for months. I want people to discover brilliant minds and resources that could help them. This meant that many people couldn’t go on it but that’s fine. I’m a sneezer by trade and I always find ways to share the awesomeness.

It was hard to step back and let the conversation happen naturally

This was a paid gig so even though I was immensely proud of my work, I had to step back from the conversation. I am very, very careful about what I share and do not want to compromise the relationship I have with those that follow my work.

I did sneakily tell a few people about it. People like Annabel and Catherine. My motivation there was to unburden a secret moreso then create pre-launch buzz. I was very fortunate in that most of the craziness happened while I was asleep.

Now that the initial buzz has died down, I am able to step in and help continue the conversation. Pat Flynn had a fascinating post on his blog and I added a few insights there. Other people are creating projects based on this and I’ve been in email contact with them.

I’ve exceeded the paid hours so I’m allowed to do this is a fan, rather than a client. I truly believe that this is where the awesomeness begins.

Was it worth it?

Gosh yes. On so many levels. It was awesome to wake up to so many positive tweets, emails and comments. It has given me a lot of material for my own business and has inspired me to think bigger.

I would recommend that anybody creates a list but only if the list serves a purpose other than attention. Create something so darn useful that people feel compelled to share.

If you have any questions or want to share your own experiences, I’d love to hear them.

28 Comments on Behind The Scenes: 50 Netsetters Post

  1. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot
    July 26, 2010 at 3:58 am (4 years ago)

    Hi Jade, I’d say you definitely exceeded their expectations to “build awareness and create buzz” – that thing took off. I’m glad you had fun with it although I can see stuff like that can get a bit political and tricky you’ve done a fab job of explaining how you came up with the list and why some people weren’t on it even though they are also fab.

    Your reading and marketing knowledge is phenomenal too and it’s great to see you experimenting with that knowledge and building on it. You’re going to be a force to be reckoned with and it’s exciting to see someone growing and learning in such a low key, non-competitive way.

    I must fall into the super grateful category as I do often feel a bit left out of social media circles so you’ve definitely got a big fan in me now.

    Go Jade Go:)

    • Jade Craven
      July 26, 2010 at 4:02 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks for the compliment on the marketing knowledge :-P That’s kinda funny because I just haven’t had the time to read. I’ll be doing a book page soon and just adding notes to it.. but I guess it depends on what I can pull off before Cairns.

      So. I didn’t have the perspective to see whether it took off or not so thank you. Yes, it can get political. The Problogger one sure as heck did. I’m glad that people just saw my intention and spoke nicely about it.

      I feel left out in social media circles too. Like, I have influence but most of it is behind the scenes. I rarely get acknowledged so thank you for the lovely comment :-) It has made my morning.

      – Jade

  2. Paul Cunningham
    July 26, 2010 at 4:02 am (4 years ago)

    Speaking of BlogCastFM, when are you going to be on there?

    • Jade Craven
      July 26, 2010 at 3:26 pm (4 years ago)

      :-) All in good time.

      Seriously, he asked me a few weeks ago and I gave him a few names, plus some ideas for improvement, as a way of apologizing for the time I needed to take off to move.

      Technically I’d rather wait til I’m back from Cairns/Brisbane lest my brain explodes.

      See you next week. While I remember – you up for being on camera? May do some flipcam interviews on Tuesday.

      – Jade

      • Paul Cunningham
        July 26, 2010 at 5:14 pm (4 years ago)

        Maybe, though I’m starting to worry that nobody will recognise me in color.

        • Jade Craven
          July 26, 2010 at 8:41 pm (4 years ago)

          Some people are creating badges. Create one – or get a shirt with your name on it. I’ll be the chick with a cheeky grin and a stuffed bear.

  3. Karol Gajda
    July 26, 2010 at 4:12 am (4 years ago)

    Fantastic Jade!

    I especially like “There are some brilliant people out there that aren’t being talked about because they aren’t easy to label, or are hidden gems.”

    Great insight.

    • Jade Craven
      July 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm (4 years ago)

      ;) I’m one of those people. I rarely get spoken about but I’m cool with that. The emails I get make it worth it.

      Keep in touch dude and feel free to email me if I can help with anything.

      – Jade

  4. Jean Sarauer
    July 26, 2010 at 7:23 am (4 years ago)

    Hi Jade. First off, you did a fabulous job on the list–I felt like a kid at Christmas time when I was clicking on the sites that were new to me.

    Secondly, I give you so much credit for pulling this off on a tight deadline. I know how much it takes out of a person to pour so much energy into a project and still have semblance of a life. I tend to fail on that ‘semblance of a life’ bit quite regularly :)

    • Jade Craven
      July 26, 2010 at 4:09 pm (4 years ago)

      What is this life thing you speak of?

      Well, honestly, I did sneak off on the Saturday to hear a classical performance. And I got my business partner to help because I was exhausted at the end.

      Thank you so much though, and I’m so stoked that you are commenting here. That was the type of reaction I really wanted. A lot of these sites I discover because people contact me but this happens over a period of time and not all at once. On that note, if you do see anyone really standing out let me know and I’ll see if I can help them.

      And feel free to email me anytime if I can help with anything. You’re one of the cool people that make me feel so glad to be doing what I’m doing.

      – Jade

  5. Rhys
    July 26, 2010 at 7:51 am (4 years ago)

    “I would recommend that anybody creates a list but only if the list serves a purpose other than attention. Create something so darn useful that people feel compelled to share.”

    Totally agree! Unfortunately there has been a list saturation in my eyes, where people are creating lists because somebody some time said “lists are good”. So “good lists”, but then “good content” stands out.

    Great post :)

    • Jade Craven
      July 26, 2010 at 3:46 pm (4 years ago)

      I know. From my perspective, EVERYONE does list posts to try and get attention. It kinda annoys me from a readers perspective because I can see through it.

      I agree with you though. There is list saturation and someone should say ‘No. List’s are bad unless they are good.’

      Thanks for popping by :-)

  6. Srinivas Rao
    July 26, 2010 at 8:58 am (4 years ago)


    Thanks so much for the shout out here and on the netsetters post. IT’s been a steady stream of new email subscribers since you wrote that post, and I’m really excited to showcase the new design and of course a whole new list of people to interview. I’m going to get that Book Buzz today from Amazon.

    @Paul: I’m guessing Jade will be on BlogcastfM within the next few weeks. Just need to get everything scheduled. Ideally we’re going to time it with unveiling our new design.

    • Jade Craven
      July 26, 2010 at 3:35 pm (4 years ago)

      I’m tempted to offer to recommend other cool books (World Wide Rave by David Meerman Scott! nuff said) but if you are anything like me you’ll read all day instead of work.

      re: interview – I am leaving next Wednesday to go on a holiday. I may be available for an interview but, er, would rather not work.

      I’m glad that the post was able to help you. It’s so fascinating from my perspective. I was meant to write a how to post to accompany this but, er, I fell asleep. I’ll send you the link when that’s up.

      – Jade

  7. Kelly
    July 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm (4 years ago)

    Flattery is some of the stickiest stuff around. By grouping 50 people with a common thread together in a useful way, digging up the hidden gems, you created instant community and a very word-of-mouse ready. Plus, in toasting our individual inclusion on the list we get to give some visibility to 49 others, which feels great. Very savvy! Thanks again.

    • Jade Craven
      July 26, 2010 at 4:11 pm (4 years ago)

      :-) Anytime.

      I also had the secret agenda of being able to direct attention to the people I thought deserved it. Most of my influence is hard to see, so most people treat me normally. This means I get a real insight into their personality and how they treat others. I tried to focus on the good people that I knew would treat others right.

      Thanks for popping by! I’m so inspired by what you have achieved. It helps me up my game.

      – Jade

  8. PlanningQueen
    July 26, 2010 at 6:45 pm (4 years ago)

    I loved the list for two reasons:
    (1). It introduced me to so many new amazing blogs.
    (2). It was written with genuineness.

    I always find these qualities in your work Jade and is one of the reasons why I want to keep up with what you are doing (and you do work at a hectic pace!)

    • Jade Craven
      July 26, 2010 at 8:43 pm (4 years ago)

      I don’t always work at a hectic pace :-P I want to go to Blog World in Vegas shortly and have no idea how to do that. That, and I took a fair bit of time off when I moved. I’m working my arse off now because I spent all that time plotting and wanna just take action.

      :-) Glad you liked it. It’s always awesome when real life people like my work. It’s kinda weird though.

  9. Mars Dorian
    July 27, 2010 at 6:44 am (4 years ago)

    Hey Jade,

    Wow, I had no clue your approach was so systematic – I thought I was an obsessive strategist here – but no way ;)

    It was awesome seeing myself there – nice nice one.

    “Create something so darn useful that people feel compelled to share.”

    That’s timeless information most people still not follow. That and your very genuine, personal style make it awe-some to enjoy these kind of posts.


    • Jade Craven
      July 27, 2010 at 7:19 pm (4 years ago)

      I’m not an obsessive strategist. I read a book, got an idea and all the time was spent implementing that idea. :-P I’m too lazy to do strategy dude. Well, not lazy, but you know what I mean. My brain is kinda awesome though.

      Thanks for the compliment though dude. I’m still unsure about blogging for myself – I primarily want to share the behind the scenes stuff because it is so fascinating, and publish the tutorials elsewhere.

      Talk soon,


  10. Fabian | The Friendly Anarchist
    July 27, 2010 at 4:20 pm (4 years ago)

    Well, I was another person who felt very happy to be on the list! :)
    But what’s more is that it definitely became a resource to be consulted for months to come, just like you intended. As you say, it wouldn’t make sense just to copy the concept blindly in order to get attention. But if it’s well done, it’s so useful! I still have the post open in my browser (since last week), because it takes some time to really check everybody out. (And, well, because my internet connection is down, so I’m not so much online currently, with all the accompanying advantages and disadvantages.)

    Thanks for sharing the background of how this post was created. It’s easy to underestimate the work that blogging really takes, and it’s certainly great to hear a little bit about the “mechanics”! :)

    • Jade Craven
      July 27, 2010 at 7:26 pm (4 years ago)

      I find blogging easy. It’s the ‘project based’ ones that suck. This was one of those evil massive ones that nearly made me cry.

      I am so genuinely pleased you like it. I’m now creating one for a different industry which is surprising! Things are very weird at the moment regarding the work/life juxtaposition.

      Anyway keep in touch and I’m keen to hear about any cool people you found from that list. And others that I can help draw attention too. (and stuff you think I should read because I don’t read blogs nearly as much as I used to.

      :-) Talk soon,


      • Fabian | The Friendly Anarchist
        July 28, 2010 at 10:14 am (4 years ago)

        Hehe, Jade, it will be a pleasure to send you some stuff along from time to time. :)
        Blogging in itself is easy, but I still think it takes a lot of time and effort to craft a great post. You notice the difference between the quick and dirty half-baked post and the one that really took some time to complete and polish. This may still be fun, of course. The same is true for good journalism and pretty much any creative work, as far as I can see.

  11. MP
    July 29, 2010 at 7:06 pm (4 years ago)

    Right now, I feel like the last person to get the joke who laughs after everyone is done laughing. This is actually a compliment.

    I got so carried away ready The Netsetter article and checking out every person I had not yet bookmarked as a favourite and found on Twitter, that I had not even taken the time to look at who wrote the article.

    I loved it and it helps immensely to discover new people. Thanks for all the hard-work you do and congrats on an awesome article!

    • Jade Craven
      July 31, 2010 at 10:19 pm (4 years ago)

      :-) Thanks – I appreciate it. I work my arse off (hence why I’m doing last minute blogging work on a Sunday) and it makes my day to be acknowledged.

      It’s cool – that was the reaction I wanted. It seems like many people were just blown away by the quality of people I included and that makes me all warm and fuzzy.

      I want to try and turn my recommended section into a huge version of the netsetters list but that will have to wait until im back. QUEENSLAND BABY! WOO!

  12. Dawn Martinello
    August 1, 2010 at 6:47 am (4 years ago)

    I absolutely love that you broke down your process. Not only have you created a really useful list on Netsetter, but you’ve also created a great how-to here.

    If you haven’t printed this out yet, you should. List posts usually get crazy attention and now you know exactly how it’s done.

    What was your favourite “crazy theory” and do you think it worked as well as you had hoped?

    • Jade Craven
      August 1, 2010 at 5:48 pm (4 years ago)

      I was so run down when I wrote this that I didn’t know if it was useful or not – so thanks. :-) I’m going to do more posts about my weird theories that have been inspired by books because a large amount of them seem to be right.

  13. Natalie Peluso
    August 17, 2010 at 4:16 pm (4 years ago)

    I just want to say thank you for mentioning me :). I don’t expect to be included on lists mainly because (like you) I’m a delightful secret that only those in the know get to enjoy, right? Seriously though, really admiring what you get done and hope that the meetup gods will smile on us one day! (Annabel GITHS knows all about that too, we’re hoping for 3rd time lucky!)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *