You’re Only as Good as Your Community

You're Only As Good As Your Community

Simply the best. Better than all the rest.

As a business, as a blogger, as an individual – how do you differentiate yourself from the rest. There are a million people blogging about Social Media ROI – why should you read what I have to say? There are hundreds of tasty brews out there for you to enjoy, why should you drink Fat Tire? (shameless plug for my favorite beer). It’s not about being the best – New Belgium Brewing Co. will probably never be a household name like Budweiser, Coors, and Miller – but they get it. They’re fully aware that it’s not about head to head competition, it’s about specializing, connecting, and giving consumers a unique (beer drinking) experience.

It’s all about perception – and as with pretty much everything, you get what you give. It comes down to Community. A brand your promoting, a blog your authoring, a product your selling – it’s only as good as your community. The more ‘they care’ – the more success you will surely see. Yes, it’s your job to engage and influence the community perception, but it’s up to the general public to determine value. Those that are the best at what they do focus on establishing (and nurturing) relationships within their communities. But they also promote themselves in a way that makes you and I fall in love with who they are and absorb anything and everything they throw our way. Adding real value and leaving people hungry for more.

Is it possible to have one’s cake and eat it too? Can one person ‘do it all’? Let’s take a look at the two (general) perspectives and paths to success:

The ‘Nice guys finish last’ mindset

Many companies and individuals have very limited involvement with their community. But while they may lack the commitment to one-on-one connections  they’re still able to realize great success through their outstanding self-promotion. Think Dan Schwabel, Penelope Trunk, even Seth Godin. All very well respected and extremely successful because of their outstanding efforts put toward personal branding. Dan Schwabel is a mastermind in the art of personal branding, (not-so) shamelessly plugging himself, his blog, and his book all over the web. While there is nothing wrong with the approach these folks are taking (hell, I am a regular at each one of the aforementioned authors blogs) – A very select few see success in this approach. Especially for people who are just entering the ‘market’ – building a solid foundation of passionate consumers/readers/etc. is priority number one.

The ‘What’s wrong with kissing a little ass?’ approach

Dave Fleet, a relatively well known social media guru, hits the nail right on the head with his article posted earlier this week. There are many out there who prescribe to the notion that ‘what goes around comes around‘. These folks are believers in ‘you get what you give‘ and are constantly involved with their communities, engaging in discussion, providing additional value to their readers, and actively interacting with the so called ‘little people’ (that would be you and me). Everyone starts here – but very few businesses and individuals are able to maintain that connection with their fans once they ‘make it big’ so to speak.

If you haven’t noticed, I prescribe to this methodology and way of thinking. I asked many of you over the past week what YOU thought was the strong point of my writing and this blog, something that differentiates me from the rest and keeps you coming back – and the response was unanimous: It’s the dedication I have for my community. I make an effort to respond to (almost) every single comment that is left here. I email individuals personally when they have really provided some added value to a discussion, and those of you who email me from time to time know that I respond to everything I get sent my way. I’m active on various social media networks, I get involved in other blogging discussions around the web.  In short, I make time for all of you because I AM YOU. I’m just a regular guy, down in the trenches. I may post on some pretty lofty topics, but I’m no expert. I’m simply living my life, sharing my perspective on the world as I go. There is just as much (if not more) value in the comments shared by all of you as there is in the post(s) themselves.

Yes, I know we’re comparing Matt Cheuvront to the Chris Brogan’s and Dan Schawbel’s of the blogging world. I’m fully aware that I am but a small fish in this huge social media pond – but I’m making a name for myself because I give a damn. Part of the reason I do what I do is because I can. I have the time, and I make the most of it. I want everyone who comes through here to feel like their thoughts and opinions are really being heard. As someone who remains active in various blogging communities out there – I understand and appreciate the value in taking 10 minutes out of your day to read (and comment) on a blog post. I understand that without an active community, a blog is a pretty dull place. I can be the most brilliant writer on the web, but if no one is around to read it, if no one cares, if it isn’t sparking some discussion, what’s the point?

A little bit of this, a little bit of that.

As strong as my dedication is to promoting an involved and engaging community within the walls of Life Without Pants. I’m spending just as much time out there getting involved on your blogs and promoting my own ‘personal brand’.  Those who sit and wait for everyone to come to them will ultimately never be as successful as those who are out there actively promoting themselves; saying “Here I am, this is why I’m awesome!” It’s up to you to get out there and plant the seeds. Planting seeds means getting involved in other communities, providing value to others, reaching out and going above and beyond what people expect from you. By enhancing your brand perception and image, you’ll get people talking. Those seeds will grow into beautiful promotional tools (people) who will sing your praises and encourage others to buy into what you’re ‘selling’. To quote Dave Fleet:

“As an individual, doing something as a hobby, community is absolutely enough. In fact, it may be the sole end goal for hobbyists and that’s wonderful. For companies, however, you can’t only give back. You need to withdraw push for yourself, too. Community alone doesn’t pay the bills. Revenue and growth does.”

A common theme you’ll see sprinkled throughout the blog that relates to both my personal and professional philosophy is the importance in laying a solid foundation based on relationships. It seems obvious but you would be surprised at how many people don’t get that. Those who do,  those who make the time for others, those who ‘care’ – these are the businesses and individuals we respect, admire, and look up to.

Understanding the value of relationship building is crucial, but that’s the easy part. The hard part, and the concept that I have to continue working on myself – is getting myself out there. The ‘self promotion’ piece – and balancing the fine line between being confident vs. being self-centered. The latter is annoying and will undoubtedly turn people off while the former will let people know that you’re awesome and deserve to be recognized.

I challenge all of you to ‘get back to basics’ – reach out to some of your readers and get to know them. Follow up on some warm leads for potential clients and customers. Invest the time in others and they’ll be happy to return the favor.

What do you think? What’s more important: Promoting yourself or your community?


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38 Responses
  • Ryan Stephens Reply

    I think promoting your community is most important because if you take good care of them they’ll see that you get your due. At least that’s the experience I’ve had. Most people will do their best to reciprocate their efforts. If I share someone’s posts, they’ll typically share mine (provided it added value to their life.)

    But Dave’s right and at some point there is a tipping point where you want to leverage your community to make some spare change to keep going, to ensure that you have the means to keep growing and evolving, providing a better experience for your readers. I think the hard part, for most people, is knowing the optimum time to make that play — and the truth is sometimes you just have to experiment, see what happens, and adjust accordingly.

  • Ryan Stephens Reply

    I think promoting your community is most important because if you take good care of them they’ll see that you get your due. At least that’s the experience I’ve had. Most people will do their best to reciprocate their efforts. If I share someone’s posts, they’ll typically share mine (provided it added value to their life.)

    But Dave’s right and at some point there is a tipping point where you want to leverage your community to make some spare change to keep going, to ensure that you have the means to keep growing and evolving, providing a better experience for your readers. I think the hard part, for most people, is knowing the optimum time to make that play — and the truth is sometimes you just have to experiment, see what happens, and adjust accordingly.

  • Carlos Miceli Reply

    Matt, this is all true, your community is the one that brings value to your blog. But let me add another (possible) perspective of what’s going on here.

    I think that many people that comment here, that follow you on Twitter, that RT your tweets, that make posts about you, they all consider you a social media friend. You make such an effort to be everywhere, and people realize that. They appreciate it. This is a great “strategy”. Like you say, you get what you give, and you give a lot.

    You have made personal connections (in some way) with most of them, and it has paid off.

    Now, here’s my question: how much more can you do? I think that eventually, it’s ok to “lay back” a little bit. Let’s say you get 5,000 followers, and 5,000 blogs to check out, it’d be impossible. The day has 24 hours, and sometimes you’re going to just let the content OR your social media friends, do the work for you.

    It’s ok if it’s a hobby. But if you want to keep on growing, maybe you should consider the extra effort and time you would have to put into it.

    And I think you will keep growing. You just have to be ok with not being able to connect in a deep level with every member of your commmunity. LWP is already a community! Let the members connect with each other :)

    big things for this blog, no doubt about it. Take care my man.

    • Ryan Stephens Reply

      You bring up a great point Carlos. No matter how much we’d all like to be scalable (and I’m certain Matt can extend his reach further than most), it’s just not possible. At some point you have to give your community the tools to connect with each other and evangelize your brand for you.

      You can’t sacrifice the quality of your content investing an inordinate amount of time commenting on other blogs, etc. (well at least not if profitability is ever a goal – and I know it’s not for most of us yet.)

      I think at some point it might shift from as many relationships as possible to the right relationships.

      Bare in mind this is all off the cuff conscious streaming.

    • Matt Reply

      @Carlos. You raise some excellent points and you’ve surmised what I (think) is the goal of any blogger or business (keep in mind this ‘community’ theme applies to the business side of things as well).

      When we’re starting out – we, as an author or an entrepreneur, have to be there to hold the hands of those within our community. To urge people to get involved and care. No one will know about you if you don’t make yourself known. To paraphrase Jamie Varon ‘If you’re good at what you do, people will find out about you’. – I think this is true to an extent. But in the initial stages, you have to put yourself out there and let people know who you are and why they should care.

      But as the ‘life’ cycle continues, we all strive to back off a bit, mostly because we have to. I can manage a community of 100 or so easily – but what happens when there are 1,000? As you said, I won’t be able to form those close intimate connections (like I have with you and Ryan). My focus will shift into a focus on content and hopefully as the blog continues to evolve and community continues to grow, there will be more interaction between and amongst readers.

      @Ryan. I think we are all unanimous in saying our ultimate goal is, as you so aptly put ‘to give your community the tools to connect with each other and evangelize your brand for you’. – At this point, you’ve created an interactive community and you can focus on nurturing that and providing opportunities for continued growth.

      All very good points’ guys. We are clearly in the group of folks that really get what it’s all about.

  • Carlos Miceli Reply

    Matt, this is all true, your community is the one that brings value to your blog. But let me add another (possible) perspective of what’s going on here.

    I think that many people that comment here, that follow you on Twitter, that RT your tweets, that make posts about you, they all consider you a social media friend. You make such an effort to be everywhere, and people realize that. They appreciate it. This is a great “strategy”. Like you say, you get what you give, and you give a lot.

    You have made personal connections (in some way) with most of them, and it has paid off.

    Now, here’s my question: how much more can you do? I think that eventually, it’s ok to “lay back” a little bit. Let’s say you get 5,000 followers, and 5,000 blogs to check out, it’d be impossible. The day has 24 hours, and sometimes you’re going to just let the content OR your social media friends, do the work for you.

    It’s ok if it’s a hobby. But if you want to keep on growing, maybe you should consider the extra effort and time you would have to put into it.

    And I think you will keep growing. You just have to be ok with not being able to connect in a deep level with every member of your commmunity. LWP is already a community! Let the members connect with each other :)

    big things for this blog, no doubt about it. Take care my man.

    • Ryan Stephens Reply

      You bring up a great point Carlos. No matter how much we’d all like to be scalable (and I’m certain Matt can extend his reach further than most), it’s just not possible. At some point you have to give your community the tools to connect with each other and evangelize your brand for you.

      You can’t sacrifice the quality of your content investing an inordinate amount of time commenting on other blogs, etc. (well at least not if profitability is ever a goal – and I know it’s not for most of us yet.)

      I think at some point it might shift from as many relationships as possible to the right relationships.

      Bare in mind this is all off the cuff conscious streaming.

    • Matt Reply

      @Carlos. You raise some excellent points and you’ve surmised what I (think) is the goal of any blogger or business (keep in mind this ‘community’ theme applies to the business side of things as well).

      When we’re starting out – we, as an author or an entrepreneur, have to be there to hold the hands of those within our community. To urge people to get involved and care. No one will know about you if you don’t make yourself known. To paraphrase Jamie Varon ‘If you’re good at what you do, people will find out about you’. – I think this is true to an extent. But in the initial stages, you have to put yourself out there and let people know who you are and why they should care.

      But as the ‘life’ cycle continues, we all strive to back off a bit, mostly because we have to. I can manage a community of 100 or so easily – but what happens when there are 1,000? As you said, I won’t be able to form those close intimate connections (like I have with you and Ryan). My focus will shift into a focus on content and hopefully as the blog continues to evolve and community continues to grow, there will be more interaction between and amongst readers.

      @Ryan. I think we are all unanimous in saying our ultimate goal is, as you so aptly put ‘to give your community the tools to connect with each other and evangelize your brand for you’. – At this point, you’ve created an interactive community and you can focus on nurturing that and providing opportunities for continued growth.

      All very good points’ guys. We are clearly in the group of folks that really get what it’s all about.

  • Benjamin Reply

    You are both right, I feel that the LWOP community has already connected with each other at some level. I really enjoy the posts here but I also really like the comments, because the conversation usually brings even more good points to the topic in question. This is a great community and I am glad to feel like I am a part of it.

    As for trying to scale your connections, I don’t know if that really is going to be a problem. Having to choose, I would concentrate more on your close friendships and those who really enjoy your content. I think Seth Godin has advocated focusing on a small number of customers or connections knowing that those very dedicated followers will tell others who will tell others and so on. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself, if you want to connect with most of your dedicated commenters, you should be able to meet your goal.

    • Matt Reply

      @Ben. I agree that it’s most important to establish lasting connections with your most dedicated community members – because these are the people who you can rely on the spread your message for you. What I think many get caught up in is the preservation of these ‘regulars’ and they forget that continuing to reach out and bring new people in is just as important – as I’ve written about before, it’s important as a blogger, entrepreneur, and so on – to not become TOO content with where you are. It’s those who balance managing what they already have while being proactive in reaching out who achieve the most success.

      • Benjamin Reply

        I agree with your point, but that brings the conversation back to the question of how many hours are in a day. At some point, you are going to have to focus on one or the other. Will it be the regulars or the people who are new to the community?

        I think you can focus on both, but at some point like Carlos and Ryan were talking about, you need to focus on something specific and try to scale.

  • Benjamin Reply

    You are both right, I feel that the LWOP community has already connected with each other at some level. I really enjoy the posts here but I also really like the comments, because the conversation usually brings even more good points to the topic in question. This is a great community and I am glad to feel like I am a part of it.

    As for trying to scale your connections, I don’t know if that really is going to be a problem. Having to choose, I would concentrate more on your close friendships and those who really enjoy your content. I think Seth Godin has advocated focusing on a small number of customers or connections knowing that those very dedicated followers will tell others who will tell others and so on. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself, if you want to connect with most of your dedicated commenters, you should be able to meet your goal.

    • Matt Reply

      @Ben. I agree that it’s most important to establish lasting connections with your most dedicated community members – because these are the people who you can rely on the spread your message for you. What I think many get caught up in is the preservation of these ‘regulars’ and they forget that continuing to reach out and bring new people in is just as important – as I’ve written about before, it’s important as a blogger, entrepreneur, and so on – to not become TOO content with where you are. It’s those who balance managing what they already have while being proactive in reaching out who achieve the most success.

      • Benjamin Reply

        I agree with your point, but that brings the conversation back to the question of how many hours are in a day. At some point, you are going to have to focus on one or the other. Will it be the regulars or the people who are new to the community?

        I think you can focus on both, but at some point like Carlos and Ryan were talking about, you need to focus on something specific and try to scale.

  • Sam Reply

    I agree with Carlos. One of the reasons you have such a large and loyal following is because you make the effort to connect with everyone across multiple platforms. But, I think what Ryan says is right on. You have to be careful not to sacrifice the quality of your content.

    Personally, I was drawn to your blog for a number of reasons. You write well and you always find a way to articulate the points you want to make in a very relatable way. You respond to comments and make the effort to establish connections with people. The community you have established here is wonderful, and very impressive. Oh, and you just so happen to be a very nice guy :)

    I think you’re right, you’re only as good as your community. But, in my experience, there are some stipulations. You have to be careful not to lose yourself and why you blog in the first place. Also, while you’re busy growing your community, don’t forget about the people who have become your friends. I’m talking about the ones you talk to beyond comment forms and Twitter feeds, who return the extra effort that you make. It’s easy to lose them in the shuffle.

    Promoting yourself and your blog is difficult, especially if you’re not a naturally outgoing person. It also takes more time and effort than most people realize. Another important thing I’ve learned is that it’s an ongoing process. Thanks for writing about your experience, and for creating such an amazing community here!

    • Matt Reply

      @Sam. Well, I hope I’m not compromising my content (and I hope I never do) through connecting with all of you and encouraging an interactive community dynamic here. But I can see where that balance would become all the more delicate as readership continues to grow. I’m not going to have a thousand Carlos, Ryan, Ben, and Sam relationships – I consider you guys friends as well as blogging colleagues – it helps to have a select few ‘regulars’ you can count on to interact with one another and always swing by when a new post goes up.

      You make a great point – it’s important to never forget where you came from. I think this is the common thing big businesses and mega-bloggers tend to forget. They forget the little people who got them where they are today. That’s why we’re seeing so many big businesses get back involved with social media marketing – they’re trying to RE-ESTABLISH that connection they used to have before the ‘made it big’.

      I’m happy to have you as part of this community – I’ve provided a forum for all of YOU to create an amazing community – in the end, I can only do so much, it’s really up to people like you. So thank YOU!

  • Sam Reply

    I agree with Carlos. One of the reasons you have such a large and loyal following is because you make the effort to connect with everyone across multiple platforms. But, I think what Ryan says is right on. You have to be careful not to sacrifice the quality of your content.

    Personally, I was drawn to your blog for a number of reasons. You write well and you always find a way to articulate the points you want to make in a very relatable way. You respond to comments and make the effort to establish connections with people. The community you have established here is wonderful, and very impressive. Oh, and you just so happen to be a very nice guy :)

    I think you’re right, you’re only as good as your community. But, in my experience, there are some stipulations. You have to be careful not to lose yourself and why you blog in the first place. Also, while you’re busy growing your community, don’t forget about the people who have become your friends. I’m talking about the ones you talk to beyond comment forms and Twitter feeds, who return the extra effort that you make. It’s easy to lose them in the shuffle.

    Promoting yourself and your blog is difficult, especially if you’re not a naturally outgoing person. It also takes more time and effort than most people realize. Another important thing I’ve learned is that it’s an ongoing process. Thanks for writing about your experience, and for creating such an amazing community here!

    • Matt Reply

      @Sam. Well, I hope I’m not compromising my content (and I hope I never do) through connecting with all of you and encouraging an interactive community dynamic here. But I can see where that balance would become all the more delicate as readership continues to grow. I’m not going to have a thousand Carlos, Ryan, Ben, and Sam relationships – I consider you guys friends as well as blogging colleagues – it helps to have a select few ‘regulars’ you can count on to interact with one another and always swing by when a new post goes up.

      You make a great point – it’s important to never forget where you came from. I think this is the common thing big businesses and mega-bloggers tend to forget. They forget the little people who got them where they are today. That’s why we’re seeing so many big businesses get back involved with social media marketing – they’re trying to RE-ESTABLISH that connection they used to have before the ‘made it big’.

      I’m happy to have you as part of this community – I’ve provided a forum for all of YOU to create an amazing community – in the end, I can only do so much, it’s really up to people like you. So thank YOU!

  • Elisa Reply

    Well, I think it’s no secret that I’m a fan of your blog, especially this week. :)

    I agree with everyone’s comments, I think the people you connect with most in the “blogosphere” are those whom you have come to consider as friends in some way or another. People come to your blog for the community you’ve established, but I don’t think it’s necessarily your commenting and emailing and Tweeting (though all that is most definitely appreciated!) It is your ability thru ideas and posts to rally people together for different ideas and causes. Between your series, guests posts and…hello…The Inconvenience of Truth, you’ve managed to create a place that people love to come to not only to read your great stuff but to learn about other great people. You’ve managed to promote other people at the same time you promote yourself.

    As for cutting down and how to interact and whatnot, I’ll just toss this out. I updated my Twitter name to align with the Webb about a month ago and Tweeted “Updated my name to be @opheliaswebb to keep my brand consistent mostly because @danschwabel told me to – thru a blog post” or something to that effect. Later that day, I received a DM – “Good move, checked out your blog, keep up the good work – Dan” Probably took 5 minutes, didn’t comment, but man do I think he’s one of the coolest famous Twitterer’s I “know.”

    • Matt Reply

      @Elisa. I only wish I came up with the ‘Inconvenience of Truth’ but here’s to hoping the ‘Inconvenience of Change’ can see half it’s success someday. :)

      The tweeting, emailing, etc – all of that is part of the community atmosphere I strive to develop. I want people to realize that this community crosses platforms, it doesn’t have to be limited to just lifewithoutpants.com. Conversations can continue on Twitter (where I frequently ask questions directed toward everyone to get people thinking), email, or heck, even your ‘real’ offline lives.

      It’s a pleasure to have you as part of the community. I am extremely flattered to be recognized as your ‘BlogCrush’ this week and I hope I will only continue to live up and exceed your expectations!

  • Elisa Reply

    Well, I think it’s no secret that I’m a fan of your blog, especially this week. :)

    I agree with everyone’s comments, I think the people you connect with most in the “blogosphere” are those whom you have come to consider as friends in some way or another. People come to your blog for the community you’ve established, but I don’t think it’s necessarily your commenting and emailing and Tweeting (though all that is most definitely appreciated!) It is your ability thru ideas and posts to rally people together for different ideas and causes. Between your series, guests posts and…hello…The Inconvenience of Truth, you’ve managed to create a place that people love to come to not only to read your great stuff but to learn about other great people. You’ve managed to promote other people at the same time you promote yourself.

    As for cutting down and how to interact and whatnot, I’ll just toss this out. I updated my Twitter name to align with the Webb about a month ago and Tweeted “Updated my name to be @opheliaswebb to keep my brand consistent mostly because @danschwabel told me to – thru a blog post” or something to that effect. Later that day, I received a DM – “Good move, checked out your blog, keep up the good work – Dan” Probably took 5 minutes, didn’t comment, but man do I think he’s one of the coolest famous Twitterer’s I “know.”

    • Matt Reply

      @Elisa. I only wish I came up with the ‘Inconvenience of Truth’ but here’s to hoping the ‘Inconvenience of Change’ can see half it’s success someday. :)

      The tweeting, emailing, etc – all of that is part of the community atmosphere I strive to develop. I want people to realize that this community crosses platforms, it doesn’t have to be limited to just lifewithoutpants.com. Conversations can continue on Twitter (where I frequently ask questions directed toward everyone to get people thinking), email, or heck, even your ‘real’ offline lives.

      It’s a pleasure to have you as part of the community. I am extremely flattered to be recognized as your ‘BlogCrush’ this week and I hope I will only continue to live up and exceed your expectations!

  • JR Moreau Reply

    Engaging your community and finding some common ground is as thrilling, if not more so, than hustling someone into buying some shit they don’t need. Why talk to people when you can talk with people and listen to them as well? You’re not going to envelope people into your community that don’t have similar values to some point. Everyone is quite different, but people connect on the few things that they have in common and value. So, connecting with as many people as possible and learning and embracing that common denominator is valuable both for the individual and the community.

    • Matt Reply

      Great point. It’s about finding that common denominator. Engaging in healthy debate, but in the end, when it’s all said and done, being able to find that common ground to fall back on. I am a huge advocate about talking with people. Yes, I use this blog as a platform to get my opinions and ideas across to you guys (as all writers do), but once the idea is out there it’s up to the community to make it truly interactive and engaging – and I am always happy to participate in every discussion. It’s fun, it inspires me to keep writing, and it opens my mind to new and innovative thinking. Cheers JR!

  • JR Moreau Reply

    Engaging your community and finding some common ground is as thrilling, if not more so, than hustling someone into buying some shit they don’t need. Why talk to people when you can talk with people and listen to them as well? You’re not going to envelope people into your community that don’t have similar values to some point. Everyone is quite different, but people connect on the few things that they have in common and value. So, connecting with as many people as possible and learning and embracing that common denominator is valuable both for the individual and the community.

    • Matt Reply

      Great point. It’s about finding that common denominator. Engaging in healthy debate, but in the end, when it’s all said and done, being able to find that common ground to fall back on. I am a huge advocate about talking with people. Yes, I use this blog as a platform to get my opinions and ideas across to you guys (as all writers do), but once the idea is out there it’s up to the community to make it truly interactive and engaging – and I am always happy to participate in every discussion. It’s fun, it inspires me to keep writing, and it opens my mind to new and innovative thinking. Cheers JR!

  • Dan Erwin Reply

    Fabulous post. You get it! You’re making an exceedingly sophisticated theological statement. . .intriguing, especially since you’ve used no religious language.

    Two of my most used storylines: “Learning is a contact sport.”
    “What we know is who we know.”

    Gladwell’s “Outliers” fits and presents the same case, but I suspect you’ll find Richard Nisbett’s, Intelligence and How to Get It even more fascinating.

    I also have a counter-intuitive post on self-branding in which I quietly vent my frustration at the process. I was both shocked and intrigued by the appearance of a certain blogger’s comment on it. You’ll find it here: http://danerwin.typepad.com/my_weblog/personal-brand/

    And, “nice guys do not necessarily finish last at all.” You’ll find my post with all the relevant and recent research on it here: http://danerwin.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/05/does-it-pay-to-be-a-nice-guy.html

    Obviously your post more than piqued my interest.
    Thanks very, very much.

    • Matt Reply

      @Dan. Thank you very much for taking the time to come by, read, give some insight, and share with us some of your own writing on the subject – both posts were great reads, and I look forward to reading more from you – nice to see Dan S. came by and left some thoughts on personal branding as well.

      Learning truly is a contact sport – very little ‘growth’ would actually occur if there was never any conversation here. I’m no expert – maybe I ‘get it’ but in the end, I’m no different than most, maybe just a little better at getting my ideas out in writing than some. It’s when we actively engage and interact with one another, bouncing ideas and opinions back and forth, that we are able to experience ‘real’ growth.

      Cheers to you Dan. Here’s to hoping you become a regular in this neck of the woods. A pleasure to have you!

  • Dan Erwin Reply

    Fabulous post. You get it! You’re making an exceedingly sophisticated theological statement. . .intriguing, especially since you’ve used no religious language.

    Two of my most used storylines: “Learning is a contact sport.”
    “What we know is who we know.”

    Gladwell’s “Outliers” fits and presents the same case, but I suspect you’ll find Richard Nisbett’s, Intelligence and How to Get It even more fascinating.

    I also have a counter-intuitive post on self-branding in which I quietly vent my frustration at the process. I was both shocked and intrigued by the appearance of a certain blogger’s comment on it. You’ll find it here: http://danerwin.typepad.com/my_weblog/personal-brand/

    And, “nice guys do not necessarily finish last at all.” You’ll find my post with all the relevant and recent research on it here: http://danerwin.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/05/does-it-pay-to-be-a-nice-guy.html

    Obviously your post more than piqued my interest.
    Thanks very, very much.

    • Matt Reply

      @Dan. Thank you very much for taking the time to come by, read, give some insight, and share with us some of your own writing on the subject – both posts were great reads, and I look forward to reading more from you – nice to see Dan S. came by and left some thoughts on personal branding as well.

      Learning truly is a contact sport – very little ‘growth’ would actually occur if there was never any conversation here. I’m no expert – maybe I ‘get it’ but in the end, I’m no different than most, maybe just a little better at getting my ideas out in writing than some. It’s when we actively engage and interact with one another, bouncing ideas and opinions back and forth, that we are able to experience ‘real’ growth.

      Cheers to you Dan. Here’s to hoping you become a regular in this neck of the woods. A pleasure to have you!

  • Tony Ruiz Reply

    I believe that it’s the community that defines your business. You’re providing the product, but it’s the community, customer, and supporter who has the last say. Once you take care of your community word of mouth becomes your ultimate marketing tool.

    • Matt Reply

      Right on Tony. We’re on the same page. You take care of your community and they’ll in turn take care of you. It’s all cyclical. (Thanks for coming by and checking out the blog, by the way).

  • Tony Ruiz Reply

    I believe that it’s the community that defines your business. You’re providing the product, but it’s the community, customer, and supporter who has the last say. Once you take care of your community word of mouth becomes your ultimate marketing tool.

    • Matt Reply

      Right on Tony. We’re on the same page. You take care of your community and they’ll in turn take care of you. It’s all cyclical. (Thanks for coming by and checking out the blog, by the way).

  • Kristina Summers Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I can’t say it enough. I just wrote a post about karma for bloggers and then I come across this. Blogging truly is about being a part of a community even if it is an online one. I may have never met many of my readers, but I feel connected to them through my posts and their emails/comments. You are exactly right about reaching out, the personal touch. I make a point to respond to every comment (even though I only get a few) and try to build relationships with those I admire, such as the blog bloke, Penelope Trunk and Karen Russell. The golden rule holds true regardless of whether you are talking about deeds you’ve done or a friendly smile. Everything does come around, if you are patient enough to wait for it. (and a warning for those who are not…you can’t outrun it, like an alligator on land, fate moves faster than you ever thought possible when it wants too.)
    Love your blog, great post. I love it when a good read makes me smile.

    • Matt Reply

      Well I love when I’m able to influence you enough to comment with a smile on your face. That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? If you’re not trying to form connections, network, and build relatonships – what are you writing for? We all want to be recognized, we want people to see value in what we do – I speak from experience.

      I know there are many out there who read and never feel compelled to share a comment. To them I continue to do my best to write outstanding content that keeps them coming back and eventually compels them to get involved in a discussion.

      To the ‘regulars’ – I want to go the extra step. I actively read most of my readers blogs – comment, discuss, connect on Twitter, email, etc. When you really get to know your audience, what they like and don’t like, it helps me cater to my ‘target market’ (think business-sense), not to mention it serves as inspiration and I’ve met some pretty amazing people through the online realm.

      Thanks for the comment Kristina – I’m glad you’re out there reading and adding some wisdom into the mix!

  • Kristina Summers Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I can’t say it enough. I just wrote a post about karma for bloggers and then I come across this. Blogging truly is about being a part of a community even if it is an online one. I may have never met many of my readers, but I feel connected to them through my posts and their emails/comments. You are exactly right about reaching out, the personal touch. I make a point to respond to every comment (even though I only get a few) and try to build relationships with those I admire, such as the blog bloke, Penelope Trunk and Karen Russell. The golden rule holds true regardless of whether you are talking about deeds you’ve done or a friendly smile. Everything does come around, if you are patient enough to wait for it. (and a warning for those who are not…you can’t outrun it, like an alligator on land, fate moves faster than you ever thought possible when it wants too.)
    Love your blog, great post. I love it when a good read makes me smile.

    • Matt Reply

      Well I love when I’m able to influence you enough to comment with a smile on your face. That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? If you’re not trying to form connections, network, and build relatonships – what are you writing for? We all want to be recognized, we want people to see value in what we do – I speak from experience.

      I know there are many out there who read and never feel compelled to share a comment. To them I continue to do my best to write outstanding content that keeps them coming back and eventually compels them to get involved in a discussion.

      To the ‘regulars’ – I want to go the extra step. I actively read most of my readers blogs – comment, discuss, connect on Twitter, email, etc. When you really get to know your audience, what they like and don’t like, it helps me cater to my ‘target market’ (think business-sense), not to mention it serves as inspiration and I’ve met some pretty amazing people through the online realm.

      Thanks for the comment Kristina – I’m glad you’re out there reading and adding some wisdom into the mix!

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