Every once in a while, you stumble upon a story or an experience that brings you back to Earth.
Something that reminds you to ask if you’re spending enough time creating extreme value…instead of extreme image.
I struggle with this in business all the time.
In large part, because I have so much fun marketing and copywriting. It’s like a giant puzzle to me. Which is why I was so thrilled to read Maki’s column over at DoshDosh.com and have the opportunity to touch base with what really matters.
Here’s a guy who launched a blog about making money online (it’s really so much more) and grew it to 10,000 subscribers in the first year. That, alone, is an astonishing accomplishment. For any blogger, in any niche. But, what makes it so much more remarkable is the way he went about it…
Breaking all the rules…
The first thing Maki did was break all the rules about what you need to do to grow a huge readership online. First, he picked one of the single most-crowded niches on the planet to enter. ..with no prior reputation. Conventional wisdom would’ve called this blog-suicide.
But, what’s even more remarkable is what he didn’t do to get from 0 to 10,000 subscribers in one year. According to him, he didn’t:
- Guest post
- Have guest bloggers
- Flood high-traffic blogs with comments
- Front-page in social media sites
- Write daily
- Write short easy-to-digest posts
- Rely on social-proof by displaying his feed-count (though there was nothing he could do to block his Alexa rank), or
- Run contest, promos or any other gimmicky incentive to get people to subscribe.
Heck, other blogs have made their names on the backs of revealing how they built readership using these very techniques.
Instead he, in his own words…”maximized his signal, while minimizing his noise.”
Translation, he turned all the energy that so many others (yes, even me) have spent on marketing to creating highly-differentiated, opinionated, well-researched, full-blown, resource-laden, can’t-miss articles.
In short, he swapped extreme marketing for extreme value.
Can anyone do this, in business, blogging and careers? Honestly, probably not. But, it’s not due to lack of skill, but rather…lack of will.
In blogging, it requires a maven’s voracious interest in knowledge acquisition, a deep desire to share that knowledge and the ability to do it in a way that is clear and compelling enough for others to stop, take notice and stand in line for more.
In business, it requires an investment in time, energy and, many times, the money needed to develop your products, services and processes to a point where they serve the needs of a community so much more effectively than anyone else that, again, people will walk past every competitor on the block or the web for the opportunity to buy yours.
In career-evolution, it requires a level of mastery, confidence and influence that drives you to be seen not as somebody who knows how to get the job done, but someone who knows how to do it better, faster, cheaper and with more ease and likelihood of success than anyone else.
Cultivating the level of mastery needed to deliver extreme value is really hard work.
It’s not that these skills are unattainable by most people, it’s that most people won’t put in the effort to cultivate them on a level that rises to the ability needed to deliver extreme value. Because, it’s really hard work.
And, if that work is viewed and experienced not as a passion-driven pursuit of knowledge and skill, but, rather soul-less work needed to serve a market-need, most people will never put in the time needed to “make” themselves capable of delivering extreme value.
This is especially true when, as I noted my my earlier article on marketing and innovation, there are often so many other ways to get you “most” of the way there that seem to take far less effort. And, this is especially true when, as is my case with marketing and copywriting, you also have a maven’s interest in the art and science of bringing those other ways into the picture.
But, Maki’s success at accomplishing what thousands of others aspire to by delivering extreme value is a potent reminder.
It reinforces the power of not just picking a market where you know demand exists and then spinning your way into serving that market “by any means necessary.”
But, rather picking a market that is not only hungry for great solutions, but that, by its very essence, inspires the effort needed to develop the ability to deliver extreme value to that market through the pursuit of a personal passion.
It reminds me of the need to find work that makes me come alive, build on that energy to become great at it and then leverage that greatness to generate whatever additional “returns on my investment” are needed, beyond the opportunity to engage in the pursuit of a personal passion.
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