Not all experts know everything.
Case in point: My good friend Greg Habstritt just spent some personal time with legendary expert direct-marketer Dan Kennedy.
Dan Kennedy is a brilliant no-BS entrepreneur for whom I have immense respect.
But: I have to say the advice he gave Greg is wrong.
Kennedy told Greg that online content is no longer king.
Hold on. What?
Are you kidding me?
How could any intelligent Internet marketer make such a bold, and patently wrong statement?
To be fair to Dan, he isn’t actually an Internet marketer. He has a website to which he provides input. He doesn’t have an email address let alone a blog, a Facebook account or a Twitter tag.
Nevertheless, despite his avoidance of today’s social-networking tools, Dan is a brilliant marketer and his observations on the Internet are worth discussing. So, let’s examine them here:
Dan supported his belief that content is no longer king by saying:
“It’s about the relationship that you build with your community and the people in it. When you have that relationship, it’s very difficult for anyone else to get their attention, or to attract them away from you.”
OK, I agree with this statement: It is about the relationship, but how do you build a relationship?
“The second key is developing a unique and compelling offering that generates significant ‘pain of disconnect.’”
Hold on: If you’re not “selling” something (which is how I interpret “develop a unique and compelling offering that generates significant “pain of disconnect”) you’re doing something wrong, and selling takes precedent over content?
Wow, so let me get this right:
- Develop a relationship
- With the intent on selling someone something.
I’m sorry, but that doesn’t hold water for me. Ask yourself something: If you knew that the only reason someone was developing a relationship with you was simply to sell you something, how would that make you feel?
Would you find it easy to develop a relationship with someone who just wants to sell you?
My answer is that I run as far away as possible from people like that. I don’t want to be sold, I want to be engaged.
Trust is established through the transference of confidence between one person and another. Trust is needed to develop a relationship. Can you really trust someone whose intention you know to be one that’s simply based on selling something to you? I can’t.
And let’s get over this idea that we are all trying to sell something to someone else in everything we do (i.e., taking a shower, putting makeup on in the morning etc…). There’s a distinct difference between subtly selling who you are, and overtly selling something under the guise of selling who you are.
Honestly, what Dan is suggesting is transactional marketing disguised as relationship marketing.
What Dan and Greg seem to miss is this: that content is an expression of both soul purpose and voice, your own soul purpose and voice.
Without expressing your voice, you have no ability to initiate or create a relationship with your audience.
Let’s use Greg Habstritt as case in point.
Greg created his excellent Engage Today event because he wanted to share an expression of his voice, after he’d noticed the moving shifts in business, communication and personal development. He had many opportunities to share his voice, but he chose to exercise it by putting on a fantastic live event, Engage Today.
This event was a reflection of both Greg’s soul purpose and his sharing his voice.
He got many of the world’s top thought leaders to appear and speak, including:
His Holiness the Dali Lama
Sir Richard Branson
and many, many others.
Each of these speakers, as well as the subsequent DVD box set of the recording, Engage Today 2010 and 2011, and Greg’s blog Simplewealth.com were all a reflection of Greg’s soul and his voice. All of this was content.
Greg’s a close friend, and I know that his intention for hosting the initial Engage Today was not to make money. In fact, when he asked me to speak at Engage Today it was only after he had seen me present the Pendulum presentation in which I discussed how society was moving away from a “me” (or individualistic) mentality into a “we”- (or community) based one. He told me that Pendulum helped him articulate why he was doing the Engage Today, because it wasn’t a profit center for Greg, rather a labor of love.
Greg’s intentions are pure: He wants to help radically transform the world. Selling a product or service came second to making a difference.
So, the advice taken from Dan that Greg has latched onto is counter to his own personality and, I take it, his intentions. Greg, I want my readers to learn from your heart, not your pocketbook.
Living into soul purpose and sharing your voice doesn’t require selling something. It requires a genuine desire to want to help someone. If selling a product or service will help people, then that’s great. But it isn’t a must that you sell something, anything, in order to make a difference.
What’s interesting is, at the end of his post Greg says:
“The days of content ruling the world are over – so the secret is to focus on the relationship you build with your community so that they TRUST you (which is a key lacking element in the world today).”
Greg is both painfully wrong and painfully right.
Content for content’s sake, à la Emily Dickinson writing poetry and hiding it away, has never been king.
But Greg is right: The Internet is a relationship-building technology.
How, however, do you develop a relationship? How do you develop trust with people?
Through conversation. And what is a conversation made up of?
So, I guess Greg and I aren’t that far apart.