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Passion, People and Principles

Creating Awareness – Advice Please

post # 103 — June 12, 2006 — a Client Relations post

Can I ask your advice, for a change?

Along with every enterprise, I face the challenge of creating awareness of my activities. I often describe my reputation as being like the measles – spots of great inflammation, surrounded by vast areas of untouched territory.

I don’t have much difficulty meeting the financial targets of my business. That’s not where my challenge lies.

Rather, I am trying to think through how to bring my website and blog to the attention of a broader audience in order to serve them – make my free materials (articles, podcasts, videos, blog, etc.) available to more people who might find them useful.

Since I’m not selling anything, and I’m supposed to be some kind of consultant who gives marketing advice anyway, it should all be obvious and easy, right?

Not necessarily.

As my experience in past years with published books proved, you can know a lot about how to get hired as a consultant for many thousands of dollars, and still know absolutely zero about how to get people to part with $20 for a hardbound book. Being good at one doesn’t automatically make you good at the other.

Even though I’ve had some big sellers, I still don’t know how to market books. Only one of my books ever hit the weekly best-seller lists, and it went on to sell the least number of total books compared to those that grew solely by word of mouth.

I used to be frustrated that people who could have derived benefit from them didn’t read my books, until it dawned on me that most businesspeople don’t read books. Even though content is king, effective marketing is unavoidable. The trouble is, no-one really knows what effective marketing IS! No-one knows what works (reliably.)

I’m finding the same is true in hyperspace. I have put a lot of effort into creating the content of my website and must now I have to learn how to “market” a free website!

I have spent the past six months trying to build a resource-rich, helpful (I hope) website with lots of accessible, free resources. The next task is to “drive traffic to the site” (as they say.)

Many of you reading this “discovered” my work somehow. The question now is how to make it easier for others (many, many others?) to do so.

My primary goal is to get people to register their email addresses on my site, and I do offer a free subscription to my future articles to people who do this.

However, I am VERY reluctant to engage in anything that gives even the appearance of a hard sell (“Register now and receive these special gifts.”) I also don’t want to spam anyone.

I do already participate in blog carnivals and I’m reasonably active in the blogosphere. I give lots of interviews.

I’m thinking of doing a broad range of things. Should I do any “click-through advertising?” Should I attempt to get e-mailing lists from somewhere? Are there things I can do to encourage people – and make it easier – to tell more of their (your?) friends about my materials?

Advice, please. What’s an effective, but classy, way to do this?


Charles Tippett said:

Hi david: 1. I enjoy reading your posts on a daily basis, but that ‘commitment’ grew very slowly. I first learned of you when you did a Xerox meeting back in 1999. A number of us got really excited about Trusted advisor. We read it, re-read it, quoted it and took all our teammembers through it.

Here’s my two cents worth: If i were a non-maister reader, i would not be attracted to a mass appeal marketing campaign, but i would be very interested if someone said to me – “Hey you’ve got to read this guys article – it’s powerful…”

You should ask us (on a regular basis) who weve shared your work with. You provide a lot of material on your site for free and we as subscribers should feel some obligation to give back. We just need to be told what’s expected of us.

Naturally this is a slower growth strategy, but then again, it may be like your books that never hit the best seller list – it might be the better approach in the long term. ct

posted on June 12, 2006

Mark Gould said:

This is a really tough one, David. Your work (on paper and online) has been very useful to me over the past few months, and I think that is the key.

My guess is that the greatest growth in your readership is likely to come from those who are not yet that into reading blogs. (This assumption is based on (a) the fact that there must be more people not reading blogs than there are regularly reading them—even this one—and (b) within the blogosphere your blog has become well-respected—and I assume well-read—over the past months so that there are probably very few blog-readers who would be interested in your site and have not yet discovered it.)

If that is the case, I think your best efforts to raise readership will come by addressing the audience outside the usual blog readership. I think you could raise the profile of your online work by raising the profile of quality blogging generally.

In my experience it is true that many people who will use a variety of websites for information and entertainment still shy away from using blogs in the same way. Blogs are perceived by these people as amateur (in the derogatory sense of the word) affairs.

This attitude is changing, largely because of the obvious quality that many blogs display. Your name is recognised by leaders within the professional services world as an insightful commentator—they need to know that you blog and that your thoughts are freely available in this medium. The best way to communicate the message to that audience is surely to step into their world—the journals that they read and the conferences they attend.

There is another message that you can sell. My perception of your online activity is that you have changed the way you work by using these new tools—partly as a matter of personal preference and partly because the world is changing around you. Telling people in the offline world about the changes you have made, and de-mystifying the challenges that you faced might help them to work out what changes they might need to make to improve their own business communications and to adapt to new ways of working.

posted on June 12, 2006

Mike Sansone said:

Great question, David. Already two good answers – so the conversation about your books is alive.

Here’s a few things I’ll suggest:

1) In my “Blog Posting Mantra” – #4 is always one link out (preferrably to another blog). Keyword is always.

2) Refer to points in your book(s) often within the discussion.

3) Find a few business people that review books on their blog and send them a complimentary copy (w/o expectations). Phil Gerbyshak and Zane Safrit quickly come to mind.

4) Your Blog is like the tables at the front of a bookstore. Display images and a link to each of your books right when a visitor enters.

5) Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re right, content is king – and the kingdom it serves is the audience. You’re providing a great service

posted on June 12, 2006

Duncan Bucknell said:

Hi David

I certainly don’t have all of the answers, and in fact started experimenting with my own site at about the time you started your blog.

If I may be so bold, advice I give clients in my own (Intellectual Property Strategy) consulting practice is that for a professional service offering such as yours, key issues are Brand (no problem for you), content (again, no problem) and distribution channels (no problem for sourcing challenging, great paid work, but you’d like to improve brand awareness and your contribution to the world with your free content).

My suggestion is to look for high quality channels that will distribute your content to the audience you want to reach. You may have to pay for some of this distribution, but I strongly suspect it will be worthwhile.

As an example only, you may want to try http://www.Mondaq.com who’s readership and cross-licenses with major internet content providers would, be of great interest to you.

I know I am not telling you anything you don’t already know, but perhaps putting my (IP) spin on things.

Best regards


posted on June 12, 2006

David (Maister) said:

It’s very gratifying to get such good advice so quickly. Thanks, Charles, Mark, Mike ands Duncan as well as those who have already sent me personal emails.

If I may say so, while I very much appreciate the personal touch inherent in an email, it’s more exciting if people post here rather than in emails – then we ALL get to exchange ideas, which is, after all, one of the goals of blogging.

Please keep the ideas coming, everyone, and as, Charles reminded me to remind you: remember your obligation to spread the word!

Tell your friends, clients, colleagues, boss and subordinates to subscribe to the future articles. Heck, tell your kids!

posted on June 12, 2006

Lou Brothers said:

David, looking at what you create on your blog, it’s clear that your written work is naturally tuned for books. The problem, as you pointed out, is that creating and distributing and marketing a book is problematic. Have you seen what 37signals did with Getting Real (https://gettingreal.37signals.com)? They made it easy to get a book based on the same information they blog about regularly. They’ve made 150,000 dollars from the effort so far (and probably much more).

By offering PDF downloadable books as well as providing excerpts and related articles on your site you reinforce your ideas. “Here’s an article on PM – and here’s a $10 100 page treatment on the same topic that brings together several articles with additional commentary and detail – click here to buy it right now”. By providing context and immediacy you allow your readers who want more information to get it (and to your benefit).

You mentioned that you want email addresses – that’s really not a good way to go about things. You can channel the same information via email, your blog, and RSS feeds at the same time and with much success. In the past I have pushed small marketing blurbs into RSS feeds with good results. Don’t ignore part of your audience, especially when it is a growing percentage of your audience.

Finally, your marketing message is somewhat lacking. After reading several of your articles I finally subscribed to your site, but on first glance I did not find anything that really clarified your message. Who are you and what are you writing about? You have 2 tag lines “Passion, People and Principles” and “Professional Business Professional Life” Ok, which is it? And do either of those really clarify your message? And the overall site structure really doesn’t LEAD a reader to any particular theme or message. You cover a lot of ground in your writing, and there are ways to handle that effectively, but unfortunately you don’t do it so well. That fights against your goal.

posted on June 12, 2006

Jeff Merrifield said:

One of the great joys of my job is I get paid to spend a good amount of my time thinking about what we do. Unfortunately, either by design or by nature, I am afraid most of the people we employ do not have either the luxury or inclination to spend time thinking through and making sense of their work. This may be one of the struggles you face in attracting others to your site.

Other immediate thoughts are that: a) your site is one of the best I’ve seen in design and construction b) I think you may be out ahead of the pack (of potential readers) tecnologically. Honestly, I’ve only ever looked at one other blog – Edward Tufte’s at http://www.edwardtufte.com and because it wasn’t labeled as such, didn’t realize it was a “blog” until today and c) I’d echo the other commentators that word of mouth is the most powerful tool when it comes to gaining our professional’s attention. They are just too overwhelmed with electronic input and filter out everything that is not urgent or from a trusted source.

posted on June 12, 2006

David (Maister) said:

Lou, your analysis is right on target – there is not one clear message, and that may be an issue. I need to think about that.

You say there are ways to handle the diversity of interests / topics / possible audiences. Any obvious suggestions or references as to where I could learn more? I’m sure I’m not the only one with a website who could benefit from more guidance on this.

Jeff – you’ve put your finger on a crucial issue. Business managers and professional firm people are too busy to have the “luxury” of reading my stuff (or anyone else’s) on a regular basis.

So, (I now realize thanks to you) that means I (and everyone else who blogs, has a website, writes articles or books, creates videos or podcast or anything else must do one of two things (perhaps both):

i) Communicate about things that are not only important but that are URGENT.

ii) Have an absolutely fabulous internal and external search function so that people can find the resources whenever they start to look for them. Search may truly be the singular most important marketing topic there is right now.

Lots to think about here! Keep those thoughts coming, please. You’re not only helping me, but a lot of other people. Let’s explore the frontier together!

posted on June 12, 2006

Joseph Thornley said:

David, I’ve posted some suggestions (in the spirit of giving back a small measure of all the value your books and posts have given to me.)

Unfortunately, the trackback ping doesn’t seem to be working. However, your readers can see my post here.

Both Passion, People and Principles and Lessons I’ve Learned are an important part of my week. Thank you for sharing them with us.

posted on June 12, 2006

Gordon Gray said:

This is a great topic, David. Thanks for posting it.

As well as endorsing all the good advice that’s coming in, may I add my 2cents worth. I first heard of you from my son, who’s boss gave him one of your books to read – from memory it was “True Professionalism”. I then came across mention of your blog on another blog and have been a regular reader since. I have a number of times referred others to both your blog and your PodCasts (which are great) – what might help you though is a way of getting people to register for the free papers and PodCasts, thus giving you a contact point. A free registration with a promise of no selling of details, but a promise of details of new papers and podCasts as they are posted.

The other thing is that you could put an “email this post” link at the end of each post. I have this in my Blogger site and I know that with my old site people used it quite often. Encourages people to think of sending a copy to an associate and also makes it easier to do so.

Keep up the great work


posted on June 12, 2006

Gordon Gray said:

Also – there is tons of good advice on the following site: http://www.problogger.net/


posted on June 13, 2006

Jeff Sansone said:


Great stuff as usual.

Several recommendations, first personal, then professional. First I say, regardless of performance around your business, you personally are doing great things for this world and this community. You should feel very proud of your accomplishments and know that you are helping all of us do a better job. Be proud and acknowledge yourself every day, every moment.

Dont’ misunderstand, this is not a suggestion that confidence is lacking at all, just take that mojo and “double it”. Then moving forward, look for an opportunity to “double it” again.

Why? well it’s free, life is truly short, and it’s an improvement to half (after the first time you X2).

Now business,

A quote from my old friend Leonardo-

“Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else”.

-Leonardo da Vinci

What haven’t you done?


Co-branded activities?

Search Engine Marketing?

Research current events in target verticals?

What’s top of mind?

What’s going on today and projected for tomorrow?

We all know what happened yesterday, I suspect people want what’s next and an easier way to get it.

Best to all,


posted on June 13, 2006

Jean-Claude Brunner said:

Stumbling across your blog via google some time ago, I recognized your name from some article’s bibliography. I just ordered two of your books (currently in the mail). Regarding your question:

Branding and marketing professional services is probably covered extensively in your books: It all depends on the quality of the audience or community you want to build. I assume your interest lies in reaching primarily managers, consultants, lawyers and accountants with your blog.

A) Link love

1. Identify the blogs your target audience reads, eg ernietheattorney for lawyers, tompeters for managers.

2. Write targeted posts for them to link to (and inform them beforehand). Some Drucker-like “do the right things” for lifehacker, some managerial economics-oriented one for marginal revolution or orgtheory.net, some “how to manage creative groups” for the webdesign crowd blogs. However: Do you really want their readership in your community? for instance, the productivity tips at lifehacker are mostly targeted to the “cubicle class”. Affinity is the key.

3. Get on their blogroll, eg you should be on Tom Peters’ for all your focus on PSF.

4. Guest-blog at one of them during the owner’s vacation.

A good case study would be reading the posts from GUy Kawasaki from the beginning. Whatever one can say about the quality of some posts, he managed to attain #36 technorati rank in no time. Slashdot or digg, however, are in my opinion not suitable ways for you to attract quality readers. Otherwise, a quality article about eg managing open source programmers could well melt your server (see Paul Graham regularly featured articles).

B) Print love

Your core audience of CEOs or partners has, in my opinion, not really discovered the value of reading blogs (or even the internets), even if most read their daily news from compiled press clippings. Enlist quality print media by writing op’ed/columns with a blog byline.

I don’t know your position about Wikipedia. But you should consider getting your biography into it. You are sufficiently famous in your field to warrant an entry. But it would certainly need monitoring. If you are interested, email me with the information you want included, as people are discouraged from writing their own entry.

Thank you for your excellent posts.


PS Increase your comment field entry. currently it gives me tunnel vision.

posted on June 13, 2006

GL Hoffman said:

David—- great question and great comments from your readers and friends.

This is the third start up i have had, and i have always been aware of, and frustrated by just how hard it is to get noticed even if you do exemplary work, whether a product or service. I think it simply takes longer and costs more than we all estimate.

My little jobs newspaper is getting amazing traction due to the simple idea that we respect our readers and are trying our best to present information and articles for them that might actually help them in their qwest for meaningful work. Most of the other job boards, papers, etc…end up being preachy at best, condescending at their worst. We would be happy to include some of your articles in our issues and on our websites. About 500,000 people see our articles each week so it should help.

We all need a tipping point.



Minneapolis, MN

posted on June 13, 2006

Doug Fletcher said:

David: I have been a raving fan of yours since 1992 – when introduced by your friend, Cliff Farrah. This was a few days before the blogosphere existed. Nonetheless, I believe people discover good content on the Internet the same way we did with older media: we are referred by friends we respect, or we learn about a new “guru” in a magazine article, a TV/Radio interview, speaking engagement, etc. Most people have a limited bandwith for information. I follow 3-4 blogs daily (including yours), and another 3-4 on a weekly basis. That’s about it. I share your blog with others frequently when it resonates strongly with me. I think your site will grow organically over time. Like many artists,musicians, writers, etc., when they become famous it appears as if they are an overnight sensation. When, actually, they have been working diligently for many, many years. Thanks for being so diligent in your writing. I’m getting a lot out of it!

posted on June 13, 2006

Elizabeth Cockle said:

Hi David,

I’m taking up Charles Tippett on his suggestion that we let you know whom we’ve shared your work with.

I quoted you several times, and mentioned your blog, in a recent conference presentation for on outsourcing select projects to trusted subcontractors. The audience was primarily self-employed copywriters and editors working in a wide range of fields.

Your philosophy that “strategy is deciding whose business you are going to turn away” fit perfectly with my theme that subcontracting is essential to avoiding the feast/famine cycle of self-employment.

Keep up the excellent work—we readers will keep spreading it!


posted on June 13, 2006

Shaula Evans said:

Joseph, my apologies about the trackbacks. I’m on David’s tech team—we’ve fixed up the technical issue, and your trackback now shows on the site. (Thank you for sending a trackback, too; we appreciate it!)

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.

Shaula Evans

David Maister tech team

posted on June 13, 2006

karen love said:


Because you are such an ICON, you hold the key! Everyone who currently knows of you wants to be your best friend! David, you have paid your dues!

Now, there are a select few who just thrive on being in your company or who would go to the ends of the earth for the right to be a ” Maister Advocate”… these advocates would have specific measurable goal to maintain their “MA” status.. Maister Advocates would be allowed discounts, listed as an advisory board in a prominent place etc. These folks would be your vitamin pill because even the best get weary some time or another of being at the top of the food chain.. I have other ideas but a “secret handshake” is not what I have in mind. Maister Advocates are your “Board of Advisors” and would rotate based on format set by you. Driving a certain amount of biz your way would be a by product of their excitement for being your advocate. A PR campaign that would put you and your services on the daily brain wave pattern of your advocates AND would drivemore business to your site.. Just think of what a regular, no name advocate with no incentive, does on a daily basis to impress their friends with your pearls of wisdom.

posted on June 13, 2006

Duncan Bucknell said:

Hi David

Another comment, if I may.

This one about blogging and the human condition – isn’t it interesting that of all of the interesting, thoughtful (amazingly useful) blogs you have posted, the one which attracted the most comments & dialogue is the one in which you asked for help?

There are a lot of interesting things that derive from this – but I’ll let people decide for themselves.

Best wishes


posted on June 13, 2006

David (Maister) said:

I don’t mean to fail to acknowledge everyone else’s comments, but I do have to react to Duncan’s.

He;s spotted somwething important. I call it “Kathy’s Law” (Kathy is my wife.) I wrote about her experience in building friends in my article “Young Professionals: Cultivate the Habits of Friendship” (http://davidmaister.com/articles/3/47/)

Like me, she found that people are friendlier when you ask them for help than when you are trying to help them!

But come on, Duncan, don’t be a tease – tell us all what you think the other lessons and implications are!

posted on June 13, 2006

Duncan Bucknell said:

Hi David

Thank you. Here are a couple of things (among others):

1 – Blogs are about community — asking for help strengthens the sense of community

2 — People like to feel important (every person is, of course, important and has a unique [positive] contribution to make to the world). If you view your employees, co-workers, boss, blog-readers etc in this way, it’s amazing the results that will be achieved.

Also – I’d love to hear what Kathy has to say about all of this.

Finally, how does asking your readership for help sit with being the world expert? (Isn’t perception all important?) Actually, I think the credibility you have reinforced and the interdependence you have demonstrated by asking the question is immeasurably valuable.

Best regards


posted on June 13, 2006

David (Maister) said:

You think it was a struggle for me to confess that I don’t have the answers to everything?

Sure, part of me would have loved to pretend that people view me as all-knowing, but I’m not that self-delusional.

At least not ALL the time!

posted on June 13, 2006

Brad Farris said:


I don’t think that you need to try advertising. Think about your own advice for PSF.

First market to those who know you. Your core audience are the people who are already reading. I tell folks about your blog and podcast all the time (I would second the request for a “mail to a friend” link).

Second, (as others have already said) writing for other blogs, & guest appearances on other’s podcasts to increase awareness. Also, leverage any speaking and writing you are doing by tagging a link to your blog onto the end of your articles or handouts. Many people even add a link to their blog to the bottom of their emails.

With the quality of content, and ready need for your advice, the audience will come…

Thanks again for the great work, David.


posted on June 13, 2006

Peter said:


As usual, you have raised very interesting questions and have received some very generous responses from your loyal readers, of which I am one.

I have enjoyed your written work ever since I began practising law almost 15 years ago. It seem strange to realise that you have been my mentor although we have never met. Over the years you have been remorseless with my shortcomings. But you have also encouraged me as a dear friend to improve and have shown me the steps I need to take to get there, many of them beginning with a changed mind-set.

I should add at this point that my wife loves the way you call your wife your life coach. I, too, would not be where I am today if not for my wife’s prudence and good sense – as well as her courage in confronting me at those times when I needed it the most but was most resistant to correction. Did your realise that your talking about your wife has turned my wife’s attention to what you say? Now mention of your name is met with approval, and your ideas have become the topic of general conversation as a result! Interesting how seemingly remote references can extend your audience precisely because they are off (your usual) target.

For me, your website is a treasure trove of information. I have known about you for some time, so I know that my searching your site will uncover new gems. That said, I have by now pretty much exhausted most of your permanent content. So your blog has become the main reason I return (thanks for showing me when you add new things to your permanent content).

Your blog is thought provoking, but to be honest sometimes a little bit academic and even a little sterile. Maybe it is because you make me think too much! Maybe it is because you have put too much thought into it. Your topical (important + urgent) posts are my favourites.

Sometimes my mood is for something a little lighter. Do you have any light stuff you can use to pepper your blog? I think of Dave Barry’s blog which is sometimes just a word and a link to something humorous. We can’t all be Dave Barry’s (and indeed he is probably the last person I would want running my law firm – or would Tom Peters tell me he would be the ideal candidate?), but it is nice to have a multi-dimensional blog that offers a little surprise every now and then.

Unpredictability will get me back more often to your site and possibly with a more expectant attitude.

Of course, you have serious messages to convey. But you have books and articles to say them. Your blog is more personal, at least that is how I (want to) read it.

You have said somewhere that you prepare your blogs a week in advance. That is great planning and efficient no doubt. But I don’t always like stuff that is too pre-prepared, particularly when I think I am relating to you as another human. Your books should definitely give me carefully crafted prose – the logical development of ideas in lucid form is extremely important in that context. But for your blog I would really enjoy some more of your spotenaeity.

By analogy, I like some music that is complex, deep and well-rehearsed. But I also like free jazz or a great rock & roll guitar solo, where I feel I am experiencing something unique, fresh and unrehearsed – with the risk of a mistake, maybe. I like blogs with variety, some risk and some mistakes.

I also like strong statements. Musically strong statements can be surprisingly subtle, but still pack a punch. Same with blogs. Too much opinionated discussion is a real turn off. But someone who takes a position firmly, defends it with good humour, and then acquiesces if necessary, is a great learning experience for all concerned.

Variety is the spice of life, and probably of good blogs, too. This is obviously no solution to all the issues you have raised, or those your other readers have raised, but it seems to me it may help you think through the issues.

I would like to learn more about you as a person. While your books are very good, they are by their nature “studied” in every sense of the word. Your articles are similar, yet a little more casual – and the ones about your own experience as a young professional are truly life changing.

Your blog, on the other hand, is another facet of who you are. What is clear is that you like to ask lots of questions! That’s good for us to know, and an encouragement in itself.

Thanks for the opportunity to share my views, and for being my ever patient mentor.


posted on June 15, 2006

Bill Peper said:

Great post, Peter.

While I lack the experience of the other posters in this blog, here are the ideas I made as a read through this blog discussion tonight:

1. I recommend that you highlight a different form every week, and that you provide a “leader’s guide”—an explanation of what purpose it serves and how to use it effectively. Compiling the forms and the explanations would make a great new .pdf book;

2. I would love to see you write a regular column on business lessons we can learn from pop music or business lessons from cooking with Kathy. These different angles can drive more traffic and create articles that we can forward to others who would never read a useful business blog or column;

3. Publish in traditional, non-academic venues like newspapers. Every column would invite readers to the website, and you could influence a new audience;

4. Hire a consultant/marketer who already has the distribution list that you want to reach. Create a joint venture that gives the marketer (like Jay Abraham or Dan Kennedy) all of the profit and you access to a wider and influential audience;

5. Recommend the books of others and/or links that you find helpful.

6. Rethink adversion to anything even remotely close to a “hard sell.” If you know you have a valuale product, offer it to people. I have been a professional fundraiser, and people have no problem in saying “NO” if the offer does not benefit them.

7. Feature a different video every week.

8. Create a message targeted at graduating student who will be entering the work world. Career Service office will help you distribute this material, and you can include a plug for the website in every message.

9. Keep readers abreast of exciting academic research in areas of interest.

10. Work your ties to the academic community to expand into new areas and and gain a larger audience for the blog.

I appreciate all of your hard work and your willingness to share your expertise.

posted on June 15, 2006

Roland Shankles said:

David, you rock! But please be aware of what you’re not aware of. In this format, you’ll never know how many people you are reaching regularly. I know how many times I’ve gone to your blog (usually thru Thomson’s Accountants’ Web offerings) and never responded. But you’ve helped tremendously. In your book, one comment about..”don’t add partners thinking it will increase profits, it won’t”. That grabbed me by the horns and caused us to re-think our strategy. Keep up the good work. Don’t great articles become great books, become great seminars, become better blogs?

posted on June 19, 2006

Eileen O'Hara said:

David, I find it striking to read how many of us consider you a mentor from your books and website. I am part of your broader audience-not a lawyer or accountant, but a consultant who writes sales support and internal marketing materials for companies. I came across your work in a book by Tom Peters, then I immediately purchased your books and have followed your blogs avidly since. I recommend your website to many fellow professionals as a ‘thinking source.’ Your blog differs from those that we read about that seem to take off immediately with immense online buzz…but I think you’ll succeed because you’re focusing on the flywheel, to use Jim Collins’s term. It takes considerable effort to push the flywheel initially, then momentum kicks in. One thing I hadn’t done before was to actually register with your website-I have now done so, and you could perhaps gently nudge more of us to do so in order to gauge the breadth of your audience. Thank you for your work and professional generosity.

posted on June 19, 2006

Dan T. said:

Here’s my idea: create some kind of annotated blogroll which would function the same way as an annotated bibliography in a book. The blog roll is one of the most useful features when I find a blog by a writer I respect.

I often want to know why blog writers include certain links in their blog roll. A blog with an excellent annotated blog roll could function as an information hub that I would turn to first when seeking quality information.

posted on June 24, 2006

Kathleen O'Brien Thompson said:

First and foremost, THANK YOU! I am truly awed that our company is in some small way, able to assist you in reaching your seminar audience- literally. [From the Seminars> Speaking Requirements section of David’s website: “Where the client approves, I often make extensive use of voting machines at seminars and speeches, allowing extensive interaction and a continuous explicit understanding of what issues and proposed actions are supported by the group”].

I wanted to include this excerpt because it seems that blogging is another way for you to ‘understand what issues and actions are supported’ by your online community. The quote answers your own question for you (maybe you are all-knowing and you simply forgot it!).

It occurs to me that the common denominator between the success of your powerful seminars and what has made this thread “the one which attracted the most comments & dialogue”, is your willingness to ask for other opinions and to solicit participation.

In the world of meetings/seminars, you are known worldwide as one of the best speakers. Why? Among the many, many reasons that could be given, at the heart of the answer is how you interact with those around you. In fact, if we think back to our own education, the most interesting and effective teachers we had then are those who talked the least, yet interacted the most. The best facilitators capture our interest and motivate us to take action by asking questions, finding out what we want and need, and listening to our ideas….then they provide us with what we just said we needed.

It’s one of many things that sets your seminars apart from others, its one of the most important components in a true community (more eloquently expressed above by Duncan Bucknell) and its what good service is.

To specifically answer your primary goal, which you stated is to get people to register their email addresses on your site, I must couple my response above with my experience borne out of my former position helping to create and execute marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies.

I learned that the one strategy that worked for them all in regard to registration of email addresses, was that they asked! Millions of dollars were spent on these campaigns, yet 3 simple steps were always what wound up working, no matter how complex the entire campaign got, they all: 1. Asked people to register 2. They offered something that was valuable to their audience in return for registering 3. They found out what the “something of value” was by interacting DIRECTLY with their audience. Then they repeated the process many times and changed the “something of value” when the audience demanded it.

warm regards,


posted on June 28, 2006

Sebastian Carey said:

David, perhaps you should have your blog translated into other languages. I am not being able to forward your content to my spanish speaking friends and employees. But it has to be VERY well translated: the language of business in english is very difficult to translate.

posted on June 28, 2006

Geoff Considine said:

I have a small and highly targeted business with an online presence and I think that the main issues are word of mouth and related viral methods. I submit articles to blog aggregators and also put articles on my site. In professional services, too much in the way of ‘obvious’ sales and marketing dilutes the brand. If you put out valuable and interesting information products and broadly distribute them, people will come to you. It just takes time—like marketing a high-end retaurant. Advertising in a newspaper will have limited impact. What works is when the mavens who go to good restauarants start to talk about your retaurant, good reviews, etc.

posted on June 28, 2006

John Carroll said:

Just read your article on “Adventures in Modern Marketing”. I’m new to blogging, have never before used it, but know I should.

What’s the difference between a blog and a normal website? If people email me from my normal website, can I just post those comments onto a page on my site and is that then a blog?

Help, please!

posted on July 27, 2006

Shaula Evans said:

John, I’m on David’s tech team, and I’m jumping in to field this question for you with his blessing.

First of all, welcome to the world of blogging! I hope you follow through on your initial interest and continue to investigate blogs as a tool in your professional repertoire.

Most blogs are supported by dedicated blog software, that automates the posting of comments and includes other standard blog features.

If your readers email comments to you, and you post them on your site, you’d certainly be capturing the “conversational spirit” of a blog—but with a lot of manual work that blog software could take care of for you. Your readers may not be expecting their comments to appear in public, either—if you go this route initially, you may want to ask permission of the authors before you post the email on your site.

Blog software, on the other hand, is available for free or for very little expense, and while you may eventually want to invest in a highly-customized blog as David has done, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get started.

Try taking a look at:

http://www.blogger.com (free)

http://www.vox.com/ (free)

http://wordpress.com/ (free)

http://www.typepad.com/ (low cost)

The whole idea of blogs is that you don’t need to be a high-tech expert in order to set up and run one. (There is also a whole industry of high-tech experts to support you in blogging should you want professional assistance.)

Two more quick thoughts, if you’ll forgive me for going beyond the strict parameters of your question:

1. Writing comments is a GREAT way to get started with blogging, and to get a feel for how blogs work. Thank you for joining the conversation here, and I hope we’ll be seeing more of you in the discussion on David’s blog.

To find blogs on topics that interest you , look at the blogroll (list of recommended blogs) on blogs you already read (David’s blogroll is on the right side of his blog); look at the URLs in the comments on blogs you read; or look up blogs at technorati.com, a search engine dedicated to blogs.

2. At its best, blog culture is very generous and supportive. Keep asking questions! There are a lot of people online who will be happy to help you out.

Best wishes,


posted on July 27, 2006

RJON said:

As I’ve mentioned in previous comments, I’m pretty new to the world of blogging & internet marketing too, for that matter.

One thing I have discovered to be pretty effective (by accident) is a free e-book I wrote. I mentioned in the book, the circumstances under which I wrote it – frustration with all the avoidable mistakes I keep seeing lawyers make when trying to market their small law firms. And without the pressure of a “publisher” the book came together very quickly.

The point, is that it has been downloaded from my site over 7,000 times in less than two months. We can tell from the tracking software that it has become quite viral with each reader apparently sharing it with many more and now we’re averaging around 900 downloads each week. Pretty amazing for a little project I sat down & wrote the bulk-of in two successive mornings – though as you’ll see alot more time went into graphic design.

We’re going to test how it works to post the book on the website and just e-mail links to anyone who wants to read it. The hope is to boost readers by avoiding the hassle of downloading, and also bring people back to the website one more time so that they get another shot at discovering additional useful resources, like the free e-zines, etc. I’ll let you know how that goes after we implement and see what the results are like.

Anyway, if this is of any interest to you and you’d like to discuss some of the things I discovered in writing my first e-book, which I am now applying to the make the process of writing my second e-book (out soon) a bit easier, I’d be honored to do whatever I can to help.


posted on September 6, 2006

Milan said:

Hi David,

I had never heard of you untill one of my marketing professors had shown us a video of yours. Ever since then I have your website bookmarked under favourites. I think the profs out there are doing the marketing for you :)


posted on November 18, 2006