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.
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.
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.