Connecting People for Fun and Profit with Minimal Effort
In my last post I focused on influencers, who they are and how they get there. At the end I concluded that most of us are not natural born influencers. Not everybody can become a president. That's perfectly OK, especially as there is a more viable and rewarding alternative to becoming an influencer, being a connector.
Please note that I intentionally say becoming an influencer but being a connector.
It's not a long tedious process in the second case. Connecting people for fun and profit is not a daunting task. You don't have to publish a book or a blog with millions of readers. The advantage of being a connector is that it works right from the start and with minimal effort. We're all connectors by nature to some extent.
I am myself a good example here. I have been sick for over a week. I couldn't even look at the screen long enough to do something meaningful before becoming dizzy and getting headaches. It was nothing more than a cold but it kept me from working and influencing people for a long time. I'm still not healthy enough to do my parkour workout but my eyes don't hurt anymore from looking at the screen immediately.
You can only influence people by communicating with them, saying things or writing things down. That was too much for me.
The insidious thing about this cold was that it was really slightly below surface at times. I almost felt OK again and each time I assumed that I felt worse afterwards. It was like in those horror flicks where each time you think the monster is dead it will reappear even closer to the victim.
So I kept trying to work starting my days with the usual routine, maybe a bit slower, researching social media and doing what I call SMO, sharing articles with my audiences on social media. In case you take a closer look at what I actually do then you might call it connecting people because I select the few authors worth being read on a given day and then inform the potential readers of their articles.
So I connect writers with their audiences.
- Connectors have to listen to people while influencers want other people to listen to them. Of course there are a lot of self-promoters who also want other to listen to their monologues but the difference is that influencers have a real audience while self-promoters just interrupt you and push their message into your face.
- The next thing a connector does is to differentiate between the people who are worth listening to and those who are just stealing your time. Then they recommend those who are worth it. You probably have noticed that already have noticed that. Connectors are those who tell others who the real influencers are. For example I'd tell you that in the field of SEO you have to listen to Danny Sullivan, Rand Fishkin and Aaron Wall are certainly three key figures to listen too. Most other people would agree too.
- Connectors have to dig deeper than the Captain Obvious usual suspects. You don't need SEO specialist to tell you to listen to there above. Anybody who starts out in SEO will notice them sooner or later. The problem with these top level influencers is that they are not available. They are just too famous to have time to deal with every person out there who wants something to tell them. There are exceptions sometimes but those people are working as public figures like Lee Odden and represent their business full time. A good connector also finds those people who have some influence but are approachable. Otherwise it doesn't make sense connecting with them if all their recommendations are dead ends.
One example are the "must follow" lists of experts in a given filed we often encounter. In most cases these will be lists of the most renowned individuals who always appear on such lists.
Thus such lists are not helpful, I do not even read them anymore, I just see that they are just another list of the top dogs I already know. They only make sense in case you are satisfies with the status of the follower. A follower is in contrast to a connector someone who only listens, never answers or makes connections. Followers only amplify what their leaders say or they try to connect with the leader/influencer all the time. At the end of the day they may get an autograph like on a signed book.
- Connectors strive for real connections between real people not larger than life figures. That's another reason why I'm glad that I'm not a blogging celebrity or something, I still manage to reply to every single comment on my blog on most days, unless it's typical monologue comment not asking for a reply at all. The point is to act like human being did for thousands of years in their neighborhoods. Now we have tools do do that on a global level.
Our neighborhood is the global village of your choice. You may choose the SEO village or the social media village or the blogging village.
During the best days of my blog here I managed to move around all three villages and connect their inhabitants. That's why this blog was so successful among other reasons. Over the years while I have been a writer on another SEO blog I lost my initial fervor and I didn't simply have the time anymore. I focused on a too narrow audience, the SEO industry and lost it anyway due to the fact that I do not agree with many of the SEO industry dogmas.
It's still fun to connect with the people from the industry, the old ones who do not need to read my blog, but also the new ones who start far better blogs than my won one which by no can't keep up with the fresh newcomers who are often truly amazing. this is the fun in it. Where is the money? Well, just ask the true connectors who have appeared out of nowhere in recent years and are successful business men by now sometimes withing just a year or two.
Some of them have even taken the leap to influencer status. Many of them are not native speakers of English like myself, some of them have more spelling and grammar errors in their writings than I do! Still they rock, and they get recognition from all over the world like I did in the early days.
Just look at their whereabouts and their stories:
Jason Acidre - From an unemployed father struggling in the Philippines who can't spell "SEO" to one of the most respected SEO experts in just around two years. He's been an excellent connector from day one but due to his invaluable writings he became an influencer too quickly. He connects mostly by linking out and sharing valuable articles from others. It's already more than enough in his case.
Alessio Madeyski - Another guy from outside the SEO industry. He landed a reputable in-house SEO position and took the SEO community by storm with his interview series "meet your SEO". Alessio is from Italy so he is not a native English speaker either but id didn't matter, he is one of the most known SEO people right now.
Moosa Hemani - A former spammy SEO drone somewhere in Pakistan (yeah, the country that gets bombarded by US drones all of the time) who learned everything about SEO, social media and blogging himself also by connecting with SEO practicioners over the world simply through social media and email. He also noticed that going after the famous people only does not yield results. By now he has so much work to do that you rarely see him on social media at all. Heck, in case I had to live in country like Pakistan I would have probably starved to death already.
Aleyda Solis - Another non-English speaker is Aleyda from Spain. I noticed her due to her high quality curation work on social media quite real, even before she became on of the most valuable players of the Inbound.org community. Again, despite of doing most of her work in Spanish and writing in Spanish as well she became a very useful ally in the daily quest to find the articles and news that matter for many people in the international SEO industry. Aleyda is by now part of one of the most respected SEO companies worldwide.
Jon Cooper is a youngster like almost no other. As an 18 year old he took the SEO world by storm by connecting with people. He conducted group interviews with lost of experts and made other people promote him naturally from the start. By now he has started his won business and he made most of the SEO industry peers part of the launch. He allowed me early access as well. The term communitybait has been coined on his blog. I'm not ashamed to learn from a guy who is just half my age, I do when it comes to Parkour all the time.
So this is just a short list of examples. This is not a best of list or something, just a few examples of how you can profit by connecting people and connecting with people. Of course the examples above were not about minimal effort. These people spend a lot of time mingling with the right peers on the Web. On the other hand you don't have to excel like they did to succeed. Connecting with people works on a small scale too. I do that for more than a year now as well.
I maintain connections with just a dozen or two of people from the industry at a time, whomever appears to have the time at a given moment. I can't afford to spend more time than an hour or some per day on socializing but but I still get at least half of my links from these people for example. My industry peers contact me from time time with work offers or recommend me to others. In fact I still work together with the first client I ever got from blogging and connecting with people online, back then on Google Blogoscoped as guest writer.
Many of my best clients were always coming from connections with other people not via Google.
Are you connecting (with) people for fun or profit? I guess you do already. Now you know that this practice has a name or even a role, the connector. Does it require more than minimal effort? Not always. Try your best and other people will follow. Just consider the example from my curation post. Scott Skinner from Egobaiting is just the latest upstart in a long line of successful connectors. I am proud to say that I connected him to the rest of the online SEO community. It wasn't hard though, he did everything right to get discovered.
Connecting people is simply great, no wonder a huge international corporation uses it as a slogan but none does say "We SEO for Google" in its motto.
*Creative Commons images by Jordi Paya.