I was recently invited by Ambal Balakrishnan to become a regular contributor to a new blog on content, ClickIdeas.
Obviously, I’m very excited about the opportunity. But as I advise my clients, it’s important to step back and reflect: What happened and why?
In this case, landing the gig involved a combination of social media, traditional networking and content development that merits reflection. Here’s what happened:
On May 19, 2009, I gave a presentation at the NE XPO for Business about attracting and keeping customers called, “Lure ’em, Hook ’em and Hold ’em.” One of the attendees, Stephanie Tilton, approached me after the presentation to express her appreciation. A little later, as I was about to buy a sandwich, she invited me to sit with her and her colleagues for lunch; our conversation led to an exchange of information, stories and business cards.
Once in my office, I checked out Stephanie’s Savvy B2B Marketing blog; she and her compatriots (known as the “Savvy Sisters”) maintain a terrific site all about content marketing strategies. Impressed and eager to join the conversation, I started leaving comments on various Savvy B2B posts. These caught the attention of another Savvy Sister, Michele Linn, who downloaded an ebook I had written about case studies.
A couple of weeks ago, Ambal was preparing a blog post about case studies and invited Michele to contribute her thoughts. When asked to share additional resources, Michele mentioned my case study ebook.
Next thing I know, I see a flurry of tweets between Michele and Ambal about the ebook. I follow up with Ambal via email and our conversation extends beyond case studies to content in general. Once Ambal learns about The eBook eBook, she ups the ante: Would I become a regular on ClickIdeas?
As the former governor of Alaska might say, “You betcha’!”
What can we learn from all this?
What I like about this ancedote is that it’s NOT a simple-minded, social media “build it and they will come” success story. In fact, what this case reinforces is the importance of multiple, integrated efforts. Consider the pieces:
1) Public speaking: I made myself visible to a live audience with a well-received presentation on a topic that mattered to them. BTW: (I can bring live content writing training to your organization, too.)
2) Personal interaction: Stephanie and I talked, broke bread, shared some thoughts. We got to know something about each other under the most optimal condition: face-to-face.
3) Reciprocity: I didn’t use Stephanie’s (and her Savvy Sister’s) blog to trumpet my services. Instead, I left comments that respected their work and added something meaningful to the conversations they had initiated.
4) Content: Ultimately, the ebooks I had written on case studies and ebooks convinced Michele and Ambal that I had something to say — that I was a worthy collaborator.
5) Social media: A combination of blog post exchanges and Twitter tweets helped us find, connect and work with each other.
It’s not about being on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn or whatever. It’s about HOW you use the social media tools — in combination with other efforts — to build relationships. That’s what matters, that’s what works.