The Overlooked Side of Content Marketing and 3 Ways to Really Gain Exposure

Author : , Date : December 8, 2014



Studies are showing that more and more B2B and B2C companies are utilizing content marketing. Meaning they are blogging and generating blog articles that they hope will turn more people on to their brands and increase their sales and revenues.

dark-side-of-content-marketingIt’s smart, but according to an infographic that Nicole Karlis on Scripted Blog, the frustration around content marketing is mounting. But, I have some solutions that will help alleviate that frustration so be sure to read the whole article because there is help on the way!

In the following infographic that Nicole shared, 86% of B2B companies are using content marketing but the following statistics are staggering:


  • 21% of marketers think they are successful at measuring the ROI of their content marketing strategies.
  • 48% of marketers don’t have a documented content marketing strategy.
  • 62% of marketers think their organizations content marketing efforts are ineffective…

Check out Nicole’s full article and infographic 


Why is it that content marketers are feeling the tension and struggle of content marketing and what are some things businesses can do to increase their exposure and sales in a three to six month period?


Three Practical Ideas To Help Any Business Be Better At Content Marketing and Earn More Customers


1. Know thy Business, Problems You Solve and Who You Solve Them For


For regular readers of my blog, you know I talk a lot about the need to lay the foundation of your business. Marketing is the most foundational part of your business because without it you will never earn enough sales of your products or services and there will be no need for a business.


Previous Article: Are You Marketing in the Year We Actually Live In? 3 Reasons Your Struggling to Earn New Business


Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of business owners are not really business owners.

What do I mean by that?

Well, you likely started a business for one or a combination of three reasons:


  1. It’s a lifelong dream or passion.
  2. You were good at a skill or trade and felt you could do it better than the person you worked for and could make more money.
  3. You have been out of work for a while due to a layoff or you were let go and it seems like the only way to get your finances back where you want them.


As Michael Gerber in his popular book series on “EMyth” explains, most business owners essentially give themselves “JOBS” in their own companies because their skill set is what they know how to do. They are not really trained or equipped to be business owners.

I add to that by teaching my clients that you were trained to do a job as an employee. But as a business owner you must learn what you don’t know. All successful businesses manage the five areas of a business or their business struggles:


  1. Marketing
  2. Sales
  3. Production
  4. Customer Service
  5. Administration


Starting and growing a successful business requires a lot of different skills and sometimes it’s required all at the same time.

It’s easy to do your “job” but it’s hard to learn how to transition and think like a business owner instead of an employee.

So what does this have to do with content marketing?

You have probably not had anyone teach or challenge you on how to think like your consumers. They don’t care much about anything other than:


  • How much does it cost?
  • Can you do the job right or does your product meet my need?


The job of your content marketing is not to sell them. Yet, that’s what the overwhelming majority of businesses are trying to do in their content marketing. The job of your marketing is to learn how to identify with your target audience, do just that, and then allow the process of sales to start.

As I explained in this video, marketing and sales are not the same things.



In the most generic sense, marketing is building competency and trust and sales is simply the process of giving people the opportunity to buy from you.  I encourage you to click the link and learn more (it will open in another tab).

Your marketing has to establish the following:


  • You know what business you’re “really” in – meaning you understand how the public views your company and they feel favorable towards the brand.
  • You know what problems you “really” solve – meaning you understand your products and services and what role they meet in people’s lives and how you can help them either solve a problem they have or fulfill a need or want in their lives or businesses.
  • Who you “specifically” solve the problems or meet the needs for – When you write a content marketing piece (blog article or social media engagement) you are not writing to everyone. You write to one problem or issue and to one person.
  • Understand how your products or services are a part of “a” solution without selling in your content marketing – That is a true skill and talent that must be learned. Even the most experienced marketers struggle in this area.


Content marketing will be hard if you don’t lay the proper foundation. I find that most businesses struggle because they just jump right in. You cannot lay out a content marketing plan, strategies, goals and objectives without knowing your business first!

Unfortunately, 90% or more of the businesses I talk with on a weekly basis cannot tell me what business they are in concisely and quickly. They can only tell me what products or services they offer.

That’s a recipe for both offline and online failure.

Just think about it for a moment. When you think of the following companies what do you think of?


  • Tiffanies
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Southwest Airlines
  • BMW
  • Macy’s
  • Walmart
  • Whole Foods


The great companies know their purpose, what business they are really in, and they understand why they exist and what they are fighting for.

Do you?


2. Content Marketing is Education and Being a Resource, Not Selling


Remember what I said about the difference between marketing and sales? In the generic sense, marketing is building competency and trust and sales is simply the process of giving people the opportunity to buy from you.

If that’s the case, then content marketing is educating and informing people how you can help them solve a problem, make a difference in their lives and / or improve the quality of their lives or businesses. A simple way to say this is; IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! It’s about them!!!!!!

In order for that to happen you have to know:


  • Who are you?
  • Why do you do what you do?
  • How do you make a difference for them?
  • How do your products or services help solve their problems or make their lives better from their perspective?
  • How does all of the information above relate to your audience and why should they buy from you over your competition?


In marketing, people are many times coming to us because they plan to buy. If that is the case many times, then we have to give them the answer as to “why” thought should by from us instead of our competitors. Content marketing when done well is one way to answer to their “why”.

The key to great content marketing is to know thyself and thy prospects and customers.

A great study in a company not getting it right is JCPenney’s.

Just recently their leadership chose to operate under the assumption that customers were tired of being inundated with coupons, promotions and sales, and just wanted good, fair prices.

They started a campaign using the premise “Enough is enough!” They stated that they weren’t going to stand for their customers to be slammed with crazy promotions. They wrote as if they spoke for every one of their customers to say “Down with this sort of thing!”

And then JCPenney immediately saw sales drop 20%. It’s kind of obvious why isn’t it? They essentially insulted their customers.

It turns out that JCPenney’s customers LIKED the inundation of coupons, sales, etc. They liked the promotions and the feeling of grabbing a special; it, in turn, made them feel special.

By saying “enough is enough” it just proved they were out of touch and didn’t have a clue. They were not giving their target audience a reason to buy from them. Don’t mistake this, they weren’t going after a new or different audience either. That just makes it even worse.

But, the biggest problem they had is they had built a business based on discounting and then they took it away. They didn’t know what business they were really in and as a result they began to flounder.

JCPenney’s become known for offering products at a cheaper price than their competition via their in-store specials and coupons, and that’s what the audience they garnered wanted. Instead of talking about how they could help their audience, the message ultimately became about the company and their needs. That turned off their customers and they left.

Remember why people buy. It’s either based on:


  • Price, or
  • Solution and need


Now, contrast that with Fifth Avenue Saks. They clearly know their audience. I was in New York City this last Saturday and we walked through the department store. What an experience!!!!! It was nothing at all like being in a mall store. They cater to every customer, but you pay for it in both the quality of their products and in the service you receive.



Just looking at coats and dresses valued at $5,000. You won’t see that at JCPenney’s, lol… Just walking through the store was an experience. There is a theme… and more importantly an expectation of what you will receive.

saksWhen you glance at their website, you can see immediately what they are about:


  • Glamour
  • Beauty
  • Luxury
  • An experience


Check out their content… how many websites will show you various ways to wear one piece of attire? In this case it’s lace. Notice it has nothing to do with price, just fulfilling a need or want!

They don’t have to “sell” you, their content marketing is leading you to buy based on the experience they want you to have with them.

JCPenney has done a great job of going back to their roots. But they had to learn a hard lesson in order to get there.

Great content marketing, no matter your business, ought to be designed with your ideal customer in mind and then talk to them.


  • What appeals to them?
  • What do they want?
  • How do they need or want to see it?
  • How does the product or service help them or improve their lives?


3. Don’t Rely on Google, Build Relationships and Partnerships with Other Content Marketers and Bloggers


I want to address for each us as small business owners why our content marketing is secondarily failing. It’s because we are putting too much effort in the wrong places in my opinion.

In the title I said don’t rely on Google. DON’T DO IT!

I didn’t say don’t pursue search engine optimization or try to get business from Google. What I’m saying is there is another tactic to consider in order to compliment SEO if that is important to you.

I have learned over the years that those who generally visit a website from a search engine are not likely to be repeat visitors. They are searching for one thing and when they’ve found it they are usually gone.

However, if you lay out your strategies, goals and objectives (another way of saying objectives is a task list of things to do) well and include building relationships you can create massive amounts of new exposure to audiences not searching for you today but may be tomorrow.

Here is what I mean by that.

Why do large companies like Southwest Airlines buy billboards in sports stadiums?



Are you going to buy a ticket during the game? Probably not…

But, their goal in mass marketing is to get you to think about them when you need them. In order for that to happen you have to see them over and over again. When you think of flying, they want you to think of them.

You and I cannot afford a $100 million dollar advertising budget.

But, we can have the same effect through content marketing and blogging when we connect with other influencers who serve the same audience we do and in a different way.

How do you build a relationship with an influential blogger who will share you with their audience?

Do it for them first!

I connect with new bloggers daily who have access to business owners who need help learning how to lay the foundation for their business marketing and messaging so that their content marketing (blogging), social media marketing, search engine marketing and offline marketing will resonate with their audiences.

Every week I connect with people who I value what they share and write on and I share it with my social media audience and more importantly I include them in my blog articles.


Some of those influencers include:


Deborah Tutnauer – Entrepreneur’s Business Coach
Ryan Biddulph – Blogging from Paradise
Adrienne Smith – Relationship Blogging Expert
Donna Merrill – Blogging Expert Coach
Andrew Warner – Business Owner of Several Companies
Sheryl Perry – Keep Up With The
Enstine Muki – Making Money Online
Mi Muba – Be a Money Blogger


And, never count out the power of your offline contacts to help you meet new people through your blog.  In fact, Adrienne Smith has a great article today titled “What Do Offline Relationships Have To Do With Blogging?


Here is the real point: Don’t rely on a company that has no interest in you or you in them to help propel your marketing.


That happens through relationships and in a short time you can gain access to so many more people interested in what you do by meeting them in places they hang out like:


  • Other blogs – engage the blogger and their audience with real meaningful comments (fyi this may also really help your search engine presence for those whom this important). I can’t tell you how many amazing people I’ve met just through blog commenting that have become business friends and referral partners.
  • Social Media – Share their articles and tell your audience why their articles are really worth reading. I’ve met a lot of new people and my social media audience and blog readership is growing as a result. You can also meet people in groups or communities.


If you want your content marketing to work, you have to start at the beginning and work your way through the process:


  • Know your business and your prospects and customers.
  • Write content that solves their problems or meets their needs.
  • Connect with influencers online who have access to your audience but they serve them in a different way and start networking and helping one another.
  • Don’t wait on Google. Market and promote your articles through high quality blog comments, social media engagement and on forums.


Thank you to Donna Merrill who graciously and of her own will made this video one day after it went live!!!



For some reading this article, you might be a business owner who has given yourself a job in your company and you really don’t understand or are unsure of how to make the necessary changes to improve your marketing which in turn will make sales easier and help you live your dream and fulfill your purpose.

Are you ready for a change? Are you ready to make your marketing work for you?

If so, check out the Begin Here page and learn the secret to great marketing and easier sales!


If you have an idea, thought or question, please engage with me below in the comments. I would love to hear from you! 

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Don Purdum

Don Purdum

Don works with businesses to help them discover who their customers are and what business they are "really" in. He is an award-winning blogger and branding / marketing consultant.
Don Purdum
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36 thoughts on “The Overlooked Side of Content Marketing and 3 Ways to Really Gain Exposure

  1. Hey Don,

    I think the toughest part when someone starts their business, is why they are in business and who they are in business for. I myself have been changing who I’m in business for and why I’m in business for the past 4 years.

    I would have to say that this year for me is really the first year that I’m really in the process of aligning myself with what I want to do in business. I know with some it takes them even more years to figure this out.

    I really like point number 3. Yes you can use Google but the best source for traffic are from the people that you meet. Not saying that’s the only reason why you should connect with them, but they can definitely become resourceful, especially when you can show social proof to your audience.

    But the one thing you want to do is put your best foot forward. How? Just like you said, you want to be resourceful to those that you connected with. Especially if they’re high influencers. Like they said, what goes around comes around!

    Thanks for the share done! I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

    I found your post on under the category Content Marketing

    1. Hi Sherman,

      You are absolutely right! I was talking with a guy I met last night at a Christmas party social who is starting a new business and is struggling with these very issues.

      He has been employed and in ministry and has never been taught how to be a business owner. Unfortunately, this is very much the norm. It’s not like you can get a degree in business ownership and business degrees are really designed to help someone get a corporate job.

      I so appreciate your comment Sherman and it’s true… when we take the time to connect with people and resonate with them via comments it says a lot more to readers about us and our blogs through the engagement than just having people come from Google and leave.

      I’ve actually gotten social media messages and emails complimenting me on my blog engagement and that all comes from my growing community.

      Isn’t that awesome!!!!

      Thank’s for being a part of what’s happening on my site and for being a regular Sherman!!!!

      I hope you have an awesome week!

      ! Don

  2. Hey Don,

    Great post.

    I loved this line you said here, “It’s easy to do your “job” but it’s hard to learn how to transition and think like a business owner instead of an employee.”

    It’s so true that transition period is hard enough. A person needs to seperate that and start thinking like a business owner. And when they don’t, they struggle and ultimately give themselves jobs to do. And then it’s exactly like they’re just working in a regular job.

    Oh yea, you don’t want to do what JC Penney did. You never want to assume. That assumption could lead to customers leaving, just like they did. I think it’s better to ask or survey the customers instead to see what they want. Then, slowly follow through with the suggestions.

    I don’t rely on Google at all, but in the new year, I’m going to start being more thorough with SEO. Not because I want to rely on Google. but because I want to make it a viable source of traffic. But you’re right. No one should really rely on Google because it’s forever changing. There’s other forms of advertising out there as well.

    Really great post and advice, Don. And thanks for the unexpected mention. I appreciate it.

    Have a great week.

    – Andrew

    1. Hi Andrew,

      You’re very welcome. You’re contribution to the your area of influence is profound and really needed! You’ve been blessed through your openness and transparency to help a number of people!

      It is a very hard transition to go from an employee mindset to business owner. In fact, it’s almost impossible if we consider the statistics that nearly 75% of all businesses will fail in the first five years and of those nearly 80% will do so within 48 months.

      It’s staggering!!!! But it’s understandable. There is a huge learning curve for any business owner and especially for those who’ve never owned a business before or those who don’t know what they don’t know and keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

      I agree with you in regards to Google. Traffic is nice, but if we build our websites and blogs the right way we can earn that traffic and then some!!!

      Have a great Wednesday Andrew!

      ~ Don

  3. Hi Don.

    Unfortunately, until now, I fall into the 48% of marketers who don’t have a documented content marketing strategy. I say until now, becuase I’m just in the process of creating one ready for the new year.

    In fact, just the other day whilst I was searching the trusted Google for help with my content marketing strategy, I was shocked to discover that 64% of small business owners struggle with content marketing. Again, I was shocked, but also relieved if I’m honest – always nice to know I’m not the only one. lol. 🙂

    And I totally agree that the job of our content is not to immediately sell. As my previous mentor Lynn Terry always told us, stop marketing and start talking. Find out what your target audience needs/wants and give to them through your content. Then, let your content do your marketing for you, and sales will naturally follow…

    …but we still need to know our audience and have clarity about our business objectives before we can give potential customers what they want anyway.

    I was blogging for a good 12 months before I REALLY knew my audience, and only then could I truely identify the problem my business solves. Personally, I think we need to serving our audience in one way or another before we can truely understand how to help them – knowledge that only comes with experience.

    Your advise is spot on Don. Relationships play a HUGE role in our online success. Heck, 80% of my customers come from the relationships I build through blog commenting, and being active in niche related forums.

    I’ve not been as active on social media as I should, so I can’t comment on that, but social media is definitely something I plan on leverage as we enter 2015 – once I have a solid conent marketing strategy of course.

    Loved the presentation of your video btw. What a beautiful background. 🙂 Where are you located Don?

    1. Hi Kerry,

      Congratulations on venturing out and creating your strategy!!! That’s awesome.

      You bring out some really great ideas and concepts that need to be addressed. I think I’m going to write an article today on “Discovering Your True Content Marketing Audience”.

      What I would say is I somewhat agree with you… here is what I mean.

      Even if you don’t have the experience that shouldn’t stop you from creating the profile of those you want to do business with. You can learn with the right questions a lot about them:

      * What are some generic problems they might have that you solve?

      * Where might they seek the answers? Google? YouTube? Facebook? Specific Forums? etc…

      * Are they generally male, female or both?

      * Some businesses might know or be aware of some hobbies that can inform them of where they hang out online?

      I can do this all day long… the point is we can know a lot about our audiences before one ever writes their first content marketing blog, does a podcast, makes a video, attends a chamber of commerce meeting or other network meeting, etc.

      As people start to engage with you then you and share in their blog comments or social media then you can develop it more thoroughly.

      The truth is, it’s an ongoing process that never truly ends. It just gets easier and easier with time.

      Thanks for the comment. I live in Lancaster, PA but I shot that video with a green screen and layed a picture in the background behind. me. I love technology!!!!!!

      Have a great day Kerry and I have a feeling we can talk about this subject some more. It’s exciting isn’t it?

      ~ Don

  4. Hi Don!

    It’s been a while! I’ve been MIA for a couple weeks! 🙁

    It’s great that you brought this up. A lot of businesses we talk to really take this the wrong way.

    As we deal with SEO, clients we talk to usually expect to rank in Google and gain tons of traffic from it (within 3 days – 2 weeks depending on who we are talking to.)

    We end up dropping clients like that because long term, it’s not going to be healthy.

    I love the samples you gave. Definitely the right points to execute a successful inbound/content marketing campaign.

    Keep it up! 🙂

    1. Hi Dennis,

      It happens, no big deal. Did that hurricane hit you guys in the Philippines hard? I saw it was coming but I never heard much after on the news. I instantly thought of you!

      Like I said in Brittany’s comment reply, I think a lot of business owners are lazy and just want to throw money at something in order to get the results they want, meaning more money in the form of a significant ROI.

      They don’t realize the world has changed and SEO doesn’t work that way any longer.

      Sorry you guys are dropping clients as a result. It can sometimes be hard in the qualifying process to know if someone is a good fit if they talk a good game. Been there and done that, lol…

      Have a great one Dennis!

      ~ Don

      1. Hi Don! Thanks! I really appreciate that! We’re fine. The hurricane didn’t hit us as hard this time around so that’s an early Christmas blessing.

        I talked with a fortune 500 company a couple days back…they would rather pay for sleazy seo for cheap as long as they get quick results. This goes the same with their social media strategy because somebody offered them 1/4 my asking price. It’s crazy. I wonder how they can pull off a national campaign with a price below a small business’ average investment.

        I hate seeing companies like this put the wrong managers in power.

        We’re talking with another big company that dropped off Google for bad practices by paying cheap marketers.

        They did content marketing the wrong way. They ranked for those really expensive terms like cosmetics and plastic surgery etc. Now, even a single page doesn’t appear.

        Always a treat coming over to your blog Don. Have a great weekend!

        1. Hi Dennis,

          That’s great news, so glad you guys didn’t have to go through the worst of that storm!!!

          It’s really sad that companies put themselves in that position. Sad, but not surprising!

          Of all the companies, you would think a Fortune 500 would respect and know that you get what you pay for?

          But, apparently not!

  5. Don,

    There’s so much juicy stuff here I don’t know where to start. I’m really interested in learning more about forum marketing, I definitely think there’s something for my business there.

    This is the thing I’m trying to figure out. All my clients so far are people who a) have marketing money to spare and don’t have the slightest clue about how/why they should blog, they just know they want to, or b) have outsourced their content before but been disappointed with the quality. Right now I’m just focusing on relationships I currently have, but as far as branching out, besides referrals I’m a bit stumped as to how I can reach those business owners. I have a suspicion LinkedIn should have something to do with it and I’ve joined a few groups, but I don’t really know where to start there.

    Any advice for a rookie business owner like myself?

    1. Hi Brittany,

      Thank you, that means a lot to me!!!! Your kindness is always an encouragement.

      Forum marketing is powerful!!!! But, it can take a lot of time and energy and you have to make sure you block the time for it and stick to it. But, I agree that there is definitely something there.

      I have a number of thoughts (big surprise right? LOL…):

      1. The overwhelming majority of people blogging don’t understand what their purpose for blogging is.

      Is it an outlet to share their ideas and thoughts?

      Do they just want people to know what is happening in their life or business?

      It it a business and marketing tool?

      Are they using it for content marketing to reach more people who will buy from them?

      On and on…. right?

      But as I like to say, you cannot figure that out until you know what business you are “really” in and who you’re in it for!

      2. Outsourcing – BIG, BIG, BIG mistake! First, they cannot even help you if they don’t understand your business. That means understanding it from the inside out and the outside in. Most businesses don’t have that kind of money!

      They have to get out of lazy mode and figure this out. Yes, I say lazy. I will bet anything that the number one reason people don’t blog is because they claim they don’t have the time. The number two reason is they claim they don’t understand it.

      What’s the common theme – they have to take the TIME and ENERGY to do it, learn it, and network online.

      Otherwise, either no ever finds you, or they won’t buy from you because you’re just a commodity and then people buy based on price. That hurts you as the business owner if you can’t compete with Amazon.

      LinkedIn is fantastic and I earn new opportunities for networking online and offline every week, and I earn a large contract at least once or twice a quarter. I love LinkedIn. But, again you have to know your business and you have to know how to use the tool to attract your audience.

      With that, on one hand it’s complicated and on another it’s really simple tool. The complicated is figuring out your messaging. The easy part is engaging in groups, posting on your wall, connecting with business owners and then posting Liking and commenting on their wall posts, and creating LinkedIn articles.

      Sounds simple, but the trick is really tied to the same principles I always share Brittany.

      I hope that helps?

      Have a great Wednesday. I did get your email last week. My wife’s amazing grandmother passed away the funeral was last week in Connecticut and so I’m still catching up.

      Chat soon!

      ~ Don

  6. Hi Don,

    I’m glad I finally made it here today. Wow, a busy week already.

    Well, that’s why I wanted to gather myself in one spot, so to speak, so I could better understand what I’m about, and what business I’m in.

    I do two things, though. On one hand I deliver content. I write for people who don’t know how or don’t want to, and on the other hand I help people with personal, professional and even relationship problems. In short I’m a freelance writer and a life coach, so in my case that’s a bit more complicated.

    Now, once I move to Italy mid 2015, I’ll be that freelance writer and coach living that adventure in Italy.

    I know for sure that it will inspire my writing and inspire people to come to me and ask how did I managed to pack and go live in Italy for a year? I feel that this alone will be a great marketing move. Don’t you think?

    Yes, there are still people who confuse content marketing and selling. Actually I know a handful of successful marketers that create such boring selling blog content that I’ve lost interest in them. I don’t even know how they managed to make the money they have thus far. Though they did.

    I think that the more we concentrate on what we are doing, rather than what we are selling, the more it will be clear to us, in what business we’re in. Humm I smell a tweet 🙂

    Thank you for your great article.

    1. Hi Sylviane,

      It has indeed been a very busy week!!! Congratulations on your new website! It looks great and as important it says it all. Way to go!

      I really think when you’re in Italy you’re going to have an amazing experience both offline enjoying your life and online sharing your journey with us. It’s going to change a lot of things for you.

      It’s easy to lose interest in something or someone when they no longer bring value to you. It’s really the same in all of life if you think about it. Family, friends, work, hobbies…

      When we start feeling like all we are doing is giving (yes, just visiting a website is a form of giving if you think about how we measure online success and metrics) and not getting anything in return. Now, I know that feeds into the individualism and selfishness talk,but in the end all people are somewhat selfish and in it for ourselves.

      Our motives are always tied to our interests. The key is the motive good or bad? That doesn’t mean we don’t think about others, it just means we think about others in the context of what we might want.

      You are so right, focus on what we are doing instead of what we are selling. Focus on our readers, prospects and customers and they in turn will focus on us!!!!

      Have a great Wednesday Sylviane. Thanks for such an enlightening comment!

      ~ Don

  7. Great advice, Don! I’m always preaching that you need to know the problem you solve for your readers.

    Thanks for the informative post,

    1. Hi Sue,

      Thank you for the kind words!!! Keep on preaching my friend. We can never get that message out enough can we?

      I am due a visit to your site this week. See you there soon Sue!

      ~ Don

  8. Hey Don,

    I finally made it by and thanks for the mention too.

    Okay, I was nodding my head as I was reading your post and I’m one of those that started this business mainly because I had lost my job and didn’t want to return to corporate America. Sure, I needed to make income to support myself but I also wanted to do something different. I’ve always been an employee although I have held management positions. I’m not afraid of hard work at all and I expect that from others too. I still probably am missing the boat though with a lot of what you shared here.

    You are SO right about making those connections and helping enough people get what they want. By doing that and supporting them for all the right reasons they notice that. They’ll start to come around and support you as well.

    I’ve felt very comfortable speaking with you several times on the phone now. I was glad I was able to help you along the lines of blogging and those immediate connections but you’ve helped me in such a big way as well. What you say here makes so much sense and I do see a lot of companies thinking only of themselves and their bottom dollar instead of what’s best for their customers. I mean we are the ones keeping them in business right! Just like our readers are keeping our blogs going.

    Don’t rely on Google, well I’m all for that. I say focus on your audience and you’ll be much better off.

    Thanks again for the great advice and the mention. Oh and I love that scenery from the room you’re in in your video. What a view.

    Have a great week and keep these lessons coming.


    1. Hi Adrienne,

      It’s business such as yourself that encourage me!!!! You have taken it upon yourself to figure out how to make your business work for you instead of you working for your business!!!

      I love chatting with you on the phone and I too learn a lot from you through each conversation and on each one of your blogs. Building a business is a process of learning, growing, overcoming and just being plain persistent.

      The scenery in the video is what I’m assuming you’re referencing. I actually shot the video with a green screen and then embedded it behind me. I have a few things to figure out in order to improve it in the future and as you may have seen on other videos I’m mixing it up a bit, lol…

      Thank you for your friendship Adrienne! It means the world to me.

      ~ Don

  9. Hi Don

    Very thoughtful post.

    Content itself is not an end itself so is content marketing. We invited readers to read our posts to help solve their basic problems and then tell them advance solutions as our premium products to best serve their purpose.

    Life can be spend for free but quality life can never be even of one day without money or you can say it value. This is the basic theory of every business that first it shows how value improves on life through a tool of marketing may it be direct promotion or content marketing then it tells the business how they can improve the quality of their life.

    Third point is the biggest reality of present era. One must not wait when Google will shower its blessings to rank his contents higher and focus at building relationship and creating a community to keep expanding it consistency.

    Thanks a lot for sharing. Have a great rest of the week.

    1. Hi Mi,

      You are so right! There is a really fine line between how we help people for free and how much we share before the value has a cost.

      As business bloggers who create valuable content this is really something we have to be mindful of.

      Regarding Google, as you said we can’t wait for them nor do they expect or want us to. We have to be proactive building our readers, followers and communities so that Google knows if we are valuable and important or not. When we do it right it’s amazing how they reward us so I see Google as icing on top of the cake, lol…

      I hope you’re having a great start to your week!

      ~ Don

  10. Hi Don,

    First, thanks so much for the kind mention and for including me in your list of influential bloggers, I am humbled and honored.

    Your post is spot on and we all need to treat our blogs as a business and a business we know what it is about and who it serves. I was nodding my head as I was reading and asking myself so many questions as about where do I stand in my business and if all this foundation aspects are met in my business. I have to tell you, it opened my eyes to so many things in my business that I need to change to be moving in the right direction.

    Thanks Don so much for the value you offer here and I am blessed and honored to be part of your community and I learn a lot from an expert like you.

    Have a great week ahead!!

    Be Blessed,


    1. Hi Neamat,

      You are so welcome my friend!!!! I appreciate you and what you have to share with us who follow you about leadership and business. It’s a discussion that is always needed and in high demand.

      I agree, our blogs are just an extension of us since they share our thoughts, philosophies and ways of doing business. They are us and as a result they ought to represent us the way that is most helpful to our readers, prospects and customers.

      I’m so glad I could challenge you and offer some insights that might help your business. What a blessing to me and I’m so thankful you shared!!!!!

      I hope you have an incredible week Neamat!!!

      ~ Don

  11. Hi Don!

    Thanks for the kind mention 🙂

    Wow….the resource line is dead on. I just did a Google Hangout with my friend Matthew Capala’s class at NYU, and let me tell you; he’s one of the ultimate SEO resources online. I’m reviewing his new Udemy course in a day or 2 on my blog and it’s 6 plus hours of good old fashioned, tremendously valuable content. It’s a resource.

    I intend to do the same thing Don. Like you, I intend to create resources for folks, as I know that resources sell themselves. Or, resources sell the eBooks and other products you put out for consumption. Money follows value, sales follow value, and resources are valued creations.

    So many business owners make the mistake of thinking about themselves, and their needs, almost exclusively. Unless you plan to buy your own products and services regularly this is a terrible idea.

    Think about the needs of your audience, relate to them, and you’ll understand how to do business right online, or offline.

    Don, in-depth post! Thanks so much for sharing….and I hope you enjoyed your time in NYC 😉


    1. Hi Ryan,

      I love it!!! “Unless you plan to buy your own products and services regularly this is a terrible idea.”

      What a great way to express it and you are absolutely 100% spot on.

      The problem is too many don’t want to do the work and they end up trying to do SEO first and wonder why it’s taking too long to earn new leads or why they aren’t getting the right qualified referrals from those who are just searching for information on Google who are just stopping by, learning from you and then leaving to never return. I see SEO traffic as icing on top of the cake when combined properly with good content marketing.

      Just today I got a high quality referral from a highly known blogger. Isn’t that the coolest!!!!! That carries much more weight than a person just doing a search.

      It’s all about networking and the reality is if we do a good job online of offering quality, helpful value we will earn the high quality links and we will also earn the social triggers that help SEO.

      In my opinion it’s really the way the search engine wants it to be. I’m seeing my Google traffic increasing every day now… but in a year from now it and in three years from now it will still be the icing on top of the cake.

      Great post Ryan! Congrats on your opportunity to share with the students and NYU!!!

      Have a great week!

      ~ Don

  12. Hello, Don,

    What a great article, and we were sort of thinking along similar lines this week, so cool.

    I so appreciate you mentioning my article on forum marketing, what a nice surprise today when I saw your Google Plus tag. Thank you! Forum marketing is a great way to gain exposure, and I’m so glad you included it.

    Absolutely agree that we need to decide on our purpose, know what business we are in and who exactly we are reaching out to, and what exact help we’re giving.

    Thank you for sharing, yes! I read The EMyth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber a few years ago, and it completely changed my mindset.

    That’s when I started outsourcing and building a team so that I could be the visionary and thought leader of my business. Love that book, and it found its way on my post of Top 20 Success Books a few years ago.

    Your point number two is interesting, and I somewhat disagree with this.

    I definitely think that content marketing is a way of creating and giving out valuable, relevant and consistent content.

    It’s used to get the attention of a very specific audience, and the objective is to drive a profitable customer action.

    However, I think we’re on the same page, maybe it’s just the way you worded the second paragraph in that section.

    Relying only on Google is a mistake, but I don’t discount the importance of organic search traffic and plan to build up my search traffic ten fold this coming year.

    It does get frustrating how often they completely change things around.

    Your summary in bullet points is spot on, and I couldn’t agree more! 🙂

    Certainly enjoyed your article, Don – you always make me put my thinking cap on.

    Have a good evening.

    – Carol

    1. Hi Carol,

      You are a wise person and it is increasingly harder to find business owners who take the time for themselves to learn how to build a business instead of just do what they always have known and end up giving themselves a job inside their own companies.

      I can understand why some might disagree with my second point. Please allow me to elaborate…

      I go under the premise that marketing exists to demonstrate competency, build trust and be an entry point to a sales meeting. If marketing is done right, sales ought to be easier.

      Sales is the process of allowing people to buy from us. You will notice in my blog articles I don’t sell. I have a call-to-action that leads them to a landing page where they can learn more. It’s still not selling. The selling happens when I talk with them.

      Sales is nothing more be definition that giving a person a reason to buy. In a sales atmosphere I’m still educating but I’m not marketing. Marketing subtly starts to happen when you feel yourself pushing or trying to convince someone of why they need you. We’ve all been there when we didn’t know better and it’s a pretty uncomfortable feeling for everyone.

      If sales is done right, I’m looking for something to the extent of… “what’s the next step?” from the prospect.

      Marketing is not sales and sales is not marketing. Too many confuse them and end up losing business as a result.

      I do recognize that ecommerce is a different monster and it is there to sell. So, that type of tool is not really what I’m talking about here.

      So, that’s my frame of reference for point 2. I do think we are on the same page and if we were talking in person there is no question we would agree. I think we are talking definitions.

      I loved that article you wrote on forum marketing. It has been a blessing to me personally I reference it often. I really appreciate what you offered.

      I hope you have a great week Carol! I certainly appreciate you and your openness to share your thoughts.

      Have a great week!

      ~ Don

      1. Hey, Don,

        Thanks for such a thorough reply, wow! 🙂

        I wasn’t saying that marketing is selling. There is a distinct difference.

        I was saying that marketing is used to get the attention of a very specific target audience and the goal is to get them to take a positive action that is profitable for us.

        Your articles definitely contain PRE-selling, in my opinion.

        Your point about if marketing is done right, sales will be easier. . . – uhm, yeah! Sales will definitely happen if marketing and pre-selling is done correctly.

        Love the discussion, Don – you’re the best!


        1. You’re welcome Carol. I realized that after I posted but I thought I would reiterate for those who might read the comments and miss it in the article.

          I agree with you and one of the things I love about content marketing is that we ought to talk to about on problem or issue and solution to one person. Targeting like that makes it relevant and easy to understand and like you said allows them to then take the positive action that results in business.

          See… we are on the same page! YEA!!!!!

          Also, I left you a Facebook message and I hope you see it.

          ~ Don

  13. Hey Don,

    I always have a push for the kind of content marketing articles you write here. Most times I tell myself bookmark and then come back and read. I really have picked up a handful of writing strategy from you and that I enjoy much about you!

    To the article, I am really concerned with relationship building. While I can boldly say search engines have not worked lately for me (probably because my blog is still new) connecting with bloggers directly has turned me a known blogger over night. I discovered a strategy that lets me stay in the radar of most amazing bloggers like you and I was up to build a long lasting relationship with them.

    You are right Don, why will big companies like Cocoa Cola, Pepsi, and others buy all those billboards, sponsor so many adverts only when there is a huge football event going on? These guys know their marketing strategy which all boil down to relationship management.

    Just like you do Don, I also make it a point of duty to connect with new bloggers and then maintain balance with the ones I had already connected with. You are witness of how my blog has grown so much as a result of this single strategy Don. It’s no magic but a content marketing strategy that really gains exposure!

    I am glad you shared this awesome post Don!

    Time to share it on social media…

    Do make sure you have a wonderful day ahead my very good friend!


    1. Hi Jackson,

      WOW! Thank you for the kind words and I’m happy to share some of what I know in order to help businesses owners of all types rather they are online or offline businesses, or a combination of both.

      I really believe that if we take the time to build relationships and communities we will see the search engines catch up with us.

      The reality is that we should be connecting with people who are directly and indirectly in our niches and target audiences who share us in their blogs and social media.

      Over time as we accrue enough solid relationships and links we validate ourselves to a search engine and that’s why I think blog commenting and social engagement is critical to the process of SEO.

      The problem is too many don’t want to do the work and they end up trying to do SEO first and wonder why it’s taking too long or why they aren’t getting the right qualified referrals from those who are just searching for information on Google, stopping by and then leaving.

      Just today I got a high quality referral from a highly known blogger. Isn’t that the coolest!!!!! That carries much more weight than a person just doing a search.

      Congrats on your growing blog Jackson! Don’t let your blog success fool your business metrics… you’re still a business so be more impressed with your business growth than your online growth, unless of course your online growth is leading to business.

      Build your strategies, revise as necessary, set your specific and measurable goals and execute.

      I hope you have an incredible week ahead Jackson!!!!

      ~ Don

  14. Solid advice as always Don! So many people do not treat their blog as a business. What happens is that if it’s not a business (and you’re not making money at it) then it’s a hobby.

    Even the IRS tells us this. (Our accountant made that clear to us years ago.) If you’re not showing a profit after three years, it’s very possible that you will be audited if you continue claiming business losses.

    You’ve offered some sage advice here (as always). Thanks so much for including me in your list of influential bloggers that you connect with. It’s an honor to be a part of this community. As I always say, “we can all learn from each other”.

    1. Hi Sherryl,

      Great point! You’re right that many don’t treat their blog as an extension of their business when it is part of their brand.

      I love what Southwest Airlines does with their blog. They really have a lot of fun and it shines through in their blog. It’s just one example of how it can work for a big business and small business alike.

      You are welcome, I’m glad I could include you and it’s been a joy engaging with you over the last five or so months. I still plan on getting that guest blog to you. Perhaps this week… Life has been a little challenging of late with family member passing, etc.

      I hope you have a great week!

      ~ Don

  15. This feels so on target based on my experience. I have to admit I am guilty of giving myself a job in my business even though I know better. And, regarding the selling vs. being a resource, I unsubscribe from blogs who sell, sell, sell. I feel their is no real interest in me as their potential client. It is all about their making money. Great article!

    1. Hi Linda,

      It’s okay Linda, the key is to not be hard on yourself. We all get caught into things we shouldn’t be doing from time to time and we know better.

      I am the same way. If all you’re website or blog is doing is selling then I’m not interested and I’m gone. My trust level goes down REAL quick. Like I said, educate me, solve my problem or make my life better. I’m much more inclined to move forward.

      But, I do love gaining new clients when the know and understand me and they feel that I understand them as well. There is no greater joy!!!! Well, maybe there is a few. 🙂

      Thank you for the kind words Linda and I hope you have a fantastic week ahead!

      ~ Don

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