Growing online is critical for any person living abroad, the knowledge and skills these mentors will bring you is impossible to value.
Last week I was in New York, attending Blog World and meeting in real life the online mentors which have helped me develop my overseas lifestyle. Each one of them taught me the value of a different skill online and I want to thank them for being such great educators.
I first discovered Spin Sucks back in January of this year. A post criticizing Chris Brogan’s approach to book marketing brought me to it. Someone who has the guts to take on Brogan in a non-trolling and smart way will get my attention any day.
- Lesson: incorporate members of your community in your story when it’s relevant. This is a skill, if you don’t do it well, it looks like you are just dropping names and links. Be smart and include a person who is relevant to your narrative.
Mark Harai: I have your back
As expats living overseas, often isolated from our friends, we all need someone to help us get through the days and weeks when all we hear is crickets in the comments. Mark Harai has been next to me since day one, back in the fall of 2010.
I’m not exactly sure how Mark and I found each other online. I do know for sure that many times he was the only one having a conversation with me right here. Perhaps it’s the fact he is a brilliant entrepreneur who lives and works overseas.
- Lesson: Don’t just participate on the big blogs. Find ‘digital babies’ as my friend Srinivas Rao calls them and nurture them. Remember the more you give, the more you get.
I live in a tiny village in the South of France. This may sound cute and quaint but unless you enjoy speaking to retired folks all day long, there isn’t much else going on here.
As much as I love the laid back lifestyle here, I rely on my online activities to meet other entrepreneurs. Social media is scary, at time I felt it was like a private social club, where I wasn’t welcomed. Marcus Sheridan welcomed me with open arms and immediately made me feel at home on his blog.
- Lesson: Treat everyone well on your blog and make sure you look after the newcomers. It’s a huge step to come out of the ‘lurking’ phase and start participating in a blog conversation, it’s really scary.
- A few tips to make them feel welcome: email them to thank them for joining the community, add them on Skype and have an IM chat or even better give them a call to let them know you appreciate their input. Marcus did all of the above and there is no wonder he has one of the largest community online.
Griddy is something of an exception online. There is nobody else I know which can match her enthusiasm and friendliness. Beyond her slick and funny writing is a smart lady who knows social media inside out.
Many ‘big name’ bloggers will tell you that posting everyday is the key to success online. I tried and quickly realized I was burning out. Then I looked for bloggers who were smart instead of busy and Griddy suddenly appeared. She was only doing two (occasionally three posts) a week, built a huge audience and her guest posts expanded her online influence even more.
- Lesson: There is no magic formula for posting frequency, more isn’t always better, especially if the more means a drop in quality. Remember your community is busy and can’t spend 20min each day reading your posts and commenting, be considerate with their time and they will give it back to you a thousand times.
There are many other bloggers who each taught me lessons in their own unique style of growing a presence online. JK Allen, showed me that working for corporate America can be a win-win situation, Erica Allison confirmed the fact that mom entrepreneurs rock and Bill Doorman showed everyone how to build a community and a blog in less than 90 days.
Who are your online teachers and what have they brought you?
photo credit: Ozyman