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Altruism makes cold hard business sense when it comes to social media.

Writing great, focused and relevant content. Sharing it socially. Making sure your blog is SEO optimized up to the wazoo. Guest blogging. Maintaining a newsletter. RSS feeds. Twitter. FaceBook. Klout. Buffer. SU.PR.

Do everything right, and you can still come out with no traffic. No interest. No comments. No tweets. It can be infuriating. Worse, it can be a waste of time and resources.

Modifying your social and content behavior

Doing what the experts told you to do won't work, if you're missing out one important piece of the puzzle. You have to talk about other people. Promote them. Discuss their ideas. Put them in a position to succeed.

If right about now you're thinking "Scr** this", I understand completely. After all, you've been hard at work blogging, creating content, paying for ads, fighting for every bit of traffic and exposure, and no-one has done anything for you.

But hear me out... I can prove that the amount of time you spend evangelizing other people, their business, products and services is proportional to the social following and exposure (and by extension, traffic) you gain.

Examples of how referencing others leads to better social connections and exposure

Take a look at these two articles (in order):

Guy Kawasaki's "Art of the start" outsells other titles by marketing gurus

The magic ingredient: What to change about your blog and social in order to succeed

Both posts have something in common. They talk about other people. In particular, they highlight strengths or great and noteworthy achievements about those people.

Both articles lead to great exposure deriving from the benefiaries of the posts retweeting and connecting. In Guy's case, he tweeted "This article made my day". With 800 000 followers, the resulting traffic made mine.

Why talking about other people works

Highlighting good things about other bloggers, businesses and marketers means that you have a reason to contact them directly to tell them about your content. Which of the following cold calls would you respond better to (assuming your name is Mr X):

"Hi Mr X. Want to learn how to write great content to drive traffic?"

"Hi Mr X. I recommended your book on blogging in this post about how to drive traffic using content."

By extension, if you take it upon yourself to mention, quote, review, promote and generally help others on a regular basis, you will soon become a desirable web property to appear in - precisely because everyone else out there is struggling and would love a bit of free exposure.

You accumulate good will. Other people will respond by providing unsolicited exposure for you - in the hopes of continuing the mutually beneficial social arrangement initiated by you.

Implement changes in your browsing & blogging behaviour

By modifying your browsing habits to take the time to:

  • Tweet or share valuable content
  • Connect with interesting people
  • Comment on their content

You will put yourself on their radar. Then, modify your blogging and content creation to shift the focus onto other people, by:

  • Quoting them
  • Reviewing their books, products and services
  • Sharing news about them
  • Linking to their content and discussing it on your blog

Being socially engaged gives you everything you need to drive traffic with content

You should never, ever have writer's block because you can always write something that discusses what other people have said. "The most useful posts about social media this year" is a perfectly valid bit of content that will give the people you mention something to tweet about and even link to.

Everyone is grateful to be sent traffic they didn't have to fight tooth and nail for. Start doing it, and you'll quickly rise out of the see of information noise and nonsense.

The proof is in the pudding. See for yourself

Oh, and my proof that this works? That's easy. Look at any highly succesful blogger or marketer's twitter account. While they almost always link to their own blogs or websites, they almost NEVER promote themselves or their products. They always talk about news, interesting things, and other poducts and services.

If you found this post useful... start the change now! You know what to do...


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