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Is Networking a Waste of Time?

Marketing podcast with Derek Coburn

The simple answer to the question posed in the title of this post is – maybe.

always be connecting

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Networking is actually one of the most powerful strategic activities you can engage in if you do it right. In fact, when people ask me what they should do to market their business when they are just getting started I tell them to start networking.

However, I don’t simply mean print off a bunch of business cards and head out to the next wine and cheese Chamber event and start passing out your new cards.

Effective networking today has taken on a vastly different look but one thing has not changed – networking is not about selling, it’s about connecting people.

Technology, social networks and our propensity to turn online for every need have greatly expanded the elements of networking but connecting is, and I suggest always will be, at the core.

Today networking is the richest source of organic backlinks that still drive SEO. Today networking is building stakeholder maps as a way to shorten sales cycles. Today networking is how you make yourself more valuable to your existing clients.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Derek Coburn. He and his wife Melanie have created a unique network in Washington DC called cadre. The network is based on the idea of people connecting people rather than people promoting themselves.

You know of course the ironic thing about this idea of focusing on connecting and adding value rather than selling is that it’s a crazy powerful way to sell.

Derek is also the author of Networking Is Not Working: Stop Collecting Business Cards and Start Making Meaningful Connections, the best book I’ve read on the idea of connecting.

As he shares in our interview this book and his Cadre community were born out of frustration with having spent thousands of fruitless hours attending traditional networking events. Coburn’s book offers fresh, effective, unconventional strategies for growing and nurturing a powerful network. These strategies grew Coburn’s revenue by 300% in just 18 months and can have a major impact on your business.

Some of the most ideas contained in the book include:

  • How to become the Ultimate Connector
  • How to become the Ultimate Resource
  • How to identify and develop relationships with world-class professionals
  • How to enhance the value you deliver for your best clients
  • How to position yourself for more quality introductions to ideal prospective clients

Connecting is the master skill no matter if you are a salesperson, business owner or someone starting a career.

Creating Audio Authority One Interview at a Time

Marketing podcast with John Lee Dumas

Podcasts are back in fashion again, but my view of why you should be creating interview style audio content hasn’t changed since I started podcasting back in 2005 or so.

Blue yetti podcasting micWhether you ever plan to view your podcast as a show or publication or just another way to create a highly portable form of content, a podcast can open doors.

I’ve interviewed hundreds of interesting, influential and downright famous folks on my show over the years and many of these guests had no idea who I was when I asked to interview them – but they were drawn to the age-old media request of an interview.

I’ll be the first to admit that many of the guests I approached were people in my industry, authors, speakers and consultants, who I wanted to get to know. Instead of sending them a request to “pick their brain” sometime, I asked to interview them so I could promote their next big project or book.

The net effect of this approach is that I became a journalist in their eyes rather than someone simply seeking their time. Don’t get me wrong; many influential people will give you their time, but why not start these relationships by giving them something they crave – exposure.

I’ve written four books now and every single “big name” person I’ve convinced to write a blurb for my book jackets appeared on my podcast at some point.

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in or what your long-term objective are, you can benefit by way of interviewing your customers, industry leaders and even prospects as a way to create better content while you gain access to those you want to be part of your network.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is John Lee Dumas. John is a wealth of information on the subject of podcasting and in this episode he shares the tips, tricks and tools he’s used to not only create a wildly popular podcast, but make a living doing so and teaching others how to do so.

If you’re thinking about getting your podcast game on, below are some of the major elements you’ll need to consider. First and foremost you have to decide why you are doing your show. Is it to gain access, grow and audience, get exposure, build authority or make money as a podcaster? The answers to these questions should dictate how you proceed.

For more in depth coverage of each of these topics check out John’s course on podcasting.

Editorial

  • Theme – What will your show be about? What will the overarching objective of the show be?
  • Style – Will your show be interview style, 2 host banter style or simply a roundup of ideas from around the web?
  • Content – Will you have regular segments, guest appearances, or free flowing ideas and conversation?

Program

  • Format – How long? Co-hosted? Will you have music and advertising?
  • Frequency – How often will you publish a show? Daily, weekly, monthly?
  • Segments – What segments will appear over and over again?

Production

Publication

  • Hosting – You may end up needing lost of bandwidth. I use Libsyn to host my files
  • Display – I run my podcast as you can on my existing WordPress blog as a category
  • Podcast Plugin – I use the Blubrry Power Press plugin to handle some of the podcast specific details (PowerPress getting started guide has some useful information as well)

Distribution

  • iTunes – The Blubrry Press plugin will submit your show to iTunes, which is a must (How to from Apple)
  • Sticher – Submit your show to other directories like Sticher
  • Network – Don’t forget to tell lots of people about your show and network with other podcasters

Chris Brogan Is a Proud Freak

Marketing Podcast with Chris Brogan

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Chris Brogan, founder of Owner magazine and author of The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators

Freaks Chris BroganChris Brogan has embarked on a bit of a mission. He’s proudly telling his story and the story of many others who might not always end up on tidily scripted news shows. Brogan is calling them “freaks” but he’s doing so as a badge of honor, not as a put down.

One of the primary objectives of this mission is to provide some hope and encouragement for those who feel somehow they are different and are struggling to stay on that path as the world tries to push them back to its idea of normal.

He is building a community or place where people can start to believe that maybe there is a place for them. Check out his #proudfreak hashtag to meet some of those people. (Ironically, people who don’t feel like they fit in maybe aren’t the best people to try to corral into a group of some sort, so community might not be the exact term.)

But Freaks is also very much about turning your idea into something that has business value in your very unique way. In Freaks he also shows you how people have begun to find and serve a community and then how they have developed a marketplace around that.

One of the most interesting points in the interview is when I ask Brogan if his treatise is autobiographical. He claims in fact that he wrote this book for his children who he affectionately calls weirdos. In that he means that he never sees them finding their passion in a cubicle and this book just might help them understand why.

In Freaks you’ll meet dozens of other “weirdos” in what amounts to a fun filled romp through what it can mean to own a business these days.

If you feel like you’re a little different, your idea is a little off beat, then dive into Brogan’s new book and you just may find solid evidence that you’re not only right, you’re not alone.

 

Rules For Modern Selling

Marketing Podcast with Bill Caskey

20-RULES-FOR-MODERN-SELLING-FREE-EBOOK-250The game of selling has not really changed that much – the job is to build relationships, provide value and help people solve their problems – in the end, if you are to succeed, that means selling things.

What has changed dramatically, however is the way you accomplish many of these things. The way you sell must change because the way people buy has certainly changed.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, is Bill Caskey, founder of Caskey Sales Training and author of Same Game, New Rules.

In this show Caskey contends that the way you show up and even how you as a seller are positioned must change.

I start my upcoming book, Duct Tape Selling, off with the idea that in order for those who sell to succeed they must change the entire context of how a salesperson in viewed in the world.

Listen to the interview and then grab this free report called 20 Rules for Modern Selling

Are You an Instant Authority?

Marketing Podcast with Paul Evans

instant authority

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We live in an age where it seems everyone is an author, speaker, consultant and, yes, authority on something.

Now, having said that I am fully aware that I happen to be an author, speaker, consultant and self anointed authority. I’ve been at this gig for twenty-five  years now and in the last few I’ve become somewhat of an overnight success.

In case you’re not a long time reader here I’m attempting sarcasm.

Everyone wants to be an authority, but not everyone wants to do the work.

Becoming an authority in your town, your field or your network means different things to different people, but in the context of business it often means more exposure, higher fees and a much smoother path to marketing your goods.

The part that’s often left out of that equation, however, is that it takes work, it takes vision, it takes a plan and it takes showing up every day for a long time and talking about the exact same thing.

It takes a willingness to put yourself out there because you truly believe in a point of view, it takes writing even when no one is reading and speaking, even when no one is paying you to do so and, one more thing, it takes practice – lots of practice.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Paul Evans. Paul has been teaching people how to be better speakers and performers for more than a decade. In fact, I purchased one of Paul’s training courses almost fifteen years ago.

Evans teaches people the skills to be better, more engaging speakers and in this session we talked about just what it takes to make speaking an essential tool in your authority building toolbox.

It’s easy to call yourself a speaker, it’s a lot harder to be a speaker that moves people to action rather than boring them to tears.

Among other things Evans shares his tips for how to avoid becoming a human tranquilizer!

Practice, hard work, longevity – it all happens one day at a time.

The Visual Organization

Marketing Podcast with Phil Simon

Visual thinking is one of the more recent trends in business that has now reached into every arena. Organizations are rushing to become more visual. You need look no farther than the popularity of sites like Pinterest and Instagram to realize that people are inherently drawn to pictures.

Data Visualization

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Marketers have long realized that power of images to help illustrate a point, simplify a concept and evoke an emotion.

Online surfers, particularly younger online surfers, have grown accustomed to scanning pages and sites to quickly assess, in a sea of data, if something merits a more focused bit of attention.

A growing use of this visual trend is the visualization of data. Fueled by massive internal and external data sets organizations are turning to visual aids to help make and communicate meaning through pictures over spreadsheets.

The use of Infographics, as they are often called, loosely created an entire marketing asset category as organizations rushed to create poster-like graphics that tell a story and hopefully go viral.

Today, data visualization has grown up to the point that it’s no longer simply a trendy way to create marketing graphics. Data visualization techniques and data driven organizations are starting to use visualization as a leadership and management tool. (To be fair many organizations have done this for years, it’s just much more accessible in some of the new ways to analyze and communicate.)

As data journalist David McCandless said in this TED talk: “By visualizing information, we turn it into a landscape that you can explore with your eyes, a sort of information map. And when you’re lost in information, an information map is kind of useful.”

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Phil Simon. Simon has written six books on management including his most recent – The Visual Organization: Data Visualization, Big Data, and the Quest for Better Decisions.

As we discuss in this interview Amazon is, of course, the poster child for its use of data as a decision making tool. In many cases Amazon can offer next or same day shipping because they have a pretty good idea of who is going to order what and when.

Simon is also quick to point out that “a company with a dysfunctional culture and no sense of innovation can’t save itself via dataviz.” Like many new things that’s a key point. This is a tool and it’s what you do with it that matters.

Many organizations will use new data visualization tools to create pretty dashboards and little else.

Simon points to an example of how Netflix uses data visualization to ask and answer questions. Instead of saying I bet people often do X when then do X, they simply ask as many seemingly odd and random questions of the data and make discoveries that help drive their business in ways that no competitor can.

And that I think is the essence of this new era of visual data – data doesn’t simply replace intuition, it helps make intuition smarter. If you’re open to asking questions and becoming a data scientist you’ll discover things you can’t imagine from numbers on a page.

Here are some data visualization tools worth checking out -  Visual.ly, Many Eyes, iCharts, and one from LinkedIn Labs that allows you to view your world connections.

Like It or Not You’re Being Compared to TED

Marketing Podcast with Carmine Gallo

2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the phenomenon knows simply as TED. At this point in time an entire generation has grown up feasting on TED Talks.

John Jantsch TEDxKC

In the world of communication TED Talks are the gold standard by which not only formal presentations are gauged, but most forms of communication are gauged.

Within the thousands of successful TED Talks there runs a somewhat common thread, or formula perhaps, that has transformed the way presenters present, leaders lead and teachers teach.

Mastering, or at least acknowledging, this art form has become required study for marketers, business leaders and communicators alike.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Carmine Gallo, author of Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds.

Gallo has made a career out of studying TED Talks and in his book he breaks down the elements of the most successful talks. The book is filled with example after example of real talks and, along with the TED repository, acts as a bit of a master’s class in the art of great presenting.

If you’re not tapping the TED library to get better at speaking you’re missing out on a tremendous free training resource.

Gallo starts our interview by suggesting, as I have in the title of this post, that in business today your communication skills are likely being compared to the TED standard.

Gallo’s book breaks down the very specific elements you need to master, but in the end, there’s one skill that will take you farther than any other and that’s the ability to communicate with stories.

I’ve always contended that the best leaders, the best marketers, are the best storytellers and at its very core the art of the TED Talk is framed in the art of storytelling.

How Much Transparency Is Too Much?

Marketing podcast with Pat Flynn

Transparency is a business concept that’s been tossed around liberally these last few years. To some extent social media has forced organizations to be more transparent, because they no longer had the luxury of hiding behind press releases and company spokespersons.

I believe first and foremost in transparency in all things, but how far is too far? I’m not offering a prescription or solid opinion on that. For this post I want to start a discussion as much as anything.

transparency

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I believe that transparency, sharing information, revealing the numbers, opening the books or whatever form it takes is a healthy core value and not a marketing play.

Internet marketers have often misused the power of transparency by attempting to “prove” how much money their system makes through the display of large checks and bank statements. This is precisely the manipulative guise of transparency I’m not talking about.

One of the truly innovative good guys in this space is my guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, Smart Passive Income creator Pat Flynn.

From the very beginning Pat has published his money making numbers in his monthly report as a way to validate the advice he is giving to others. Here’s where Pat is totally different than most and why he’s so immensely popular. Pat reports on how he does what he does, even when and as it doesn’t work as often as when it does. He refers to himself as a human crash dummy taking all the lumps and sharing in an often open and sometimes humorous way. Don’t get me wrong, Pats wins far outweigh his losses, but it’s this level of openness that has created a large, loyal and trusting community.

My interview with Pat is actually a ramble through a number of online topics, but I wanted to anchor it with the specific topic of transparency that has served him so well.

If information is power then when you share the information you spread the power and that’s one of the best ways to build a healthy internal culture. A healthy internal culture usually seeps out into the market and defines how the world sees your brand.

When everyone in an organization knows how much everything costs, how profit is made and how to save money or make money for the organization, they are better equipped to make decisions like an owner. Have you ever wondered why nobody cares about your business like you do? Maybe it’s because you know more about why you care, how you care and what difference you’re trying to make – have you shared that information?

I stared this post with a title that asked if you can share too much and I pose that question to you the reader really.

Buffer, an organization I’ve written about in the past, takes public transparency to a place few have. In addition to publishing goals and business performance updates, Buffer recently published how their salaries are determined and who, by name, makes what. This move created a tremendous amount of buzz both from those that thought it was bold and innovative and from those that thought it was reckless and overboard.

I believe that transparency along with consensus and autonomy are essential elements of any healthy business and wrestling with getting these elements just right is one of the greatest challenges that small business face.

So, now your turn. How do you make transparency work?