In 2011, I embarked on a voyage. Silly me, I had chosen not to board the S.S. Social the first 50,000 times or so the boat had pulled into port.
I don't mean to say I'd never sailed the seas of the Internet. Being an experienced copywriter and marketing consultant, I had indeed written boatloads of websites, emails, landing pages, and all kinds of content bound for web-based distribution.
However, I was no captain, first mate, or even navigator on the Great Online Ocean. I was a writer, a deck hand. I don't mean to minimize the role of the writer. Content's king, right? So as a skilled wordsmith, I was a servant of the king, which felt noble enough, now and then.
Now the king serves me.
What I mean is, I get this content marketing stuff now. I'm totally onboard with inbound marketing. I'm a certified member of the social media scene. And, thanks to a ton of reading, a good measure of writing, and reaching out to the conquistadors of content (which this article is soon to be about), I see the lighthouse's shining ray and am steering a course toward the land of opportunity.
The pilgrims are pretty cool.
Do the people who write the books you read seem larger than life? They always have to me. I mean, I read books authored by sports biggest stars, fiction's most fantastic storytellers, the kingpins of business, the greatest helpers on the self-help shelf, and in 2011, the pilgrims of modern day marketing. If I were to meet these luminaries, perhaps I couldn't come up with anything other than "Can I have your autograph?"
Guess what? I met quite a few of them. They're real people, really smart real people. And they're willing to give you much more than their autographs. They'll give you their knowledge, lend you a hand, and introduce you to their friends and associates.
How about that? They not only preach relationship marketing, they practice it too.
So I propose a toast to the givers, guides and gurus.
On average, I guess I've paid $25 or so for the many new media marketing books I've bought this information-intensive year. In return, I've received far more than tips. My career as a writer and creative marketing consultant has picked up a serious second wind. So, I give thanks to...
- The Rocket Man-Michael Stelzner, ad copywriter, white paper mastermind, linchpin of the highest order, and author. He wrote "Launch," a book not only about the skyrocketing success story that is Social Media Examiner, but a set of instructions for propelling your business with the same flight plan. Then, when I met the man at the Blog World conference he gave me his ear and email address. Later, I showed him my online review of his book. He thanked me, via email, and via Twitter. Since then, if I ask him a question, he promptly answers. I like Mike.
- The Content Kid-Junta Joe Pulizzi, also an author, entrepreneur, speaker and one of America's great content marketing authorities. Through his writing and presentations, he's taught me the core of the new media revolution is good old-fashioned publishing. And then through his propensity for giving, he's not only connected me with the editors of his many online properties and publication, he's given me another lesson in old school kindness.
- Two Rulers-Ann and C.C., co-authors of "Content Rules," the book I wish I wrote. I met C.C. Chapman at Blog World. Got his book. Got his sig. Got a good vibe why he's cool enough to go by "C.C." Didn't get to meet his cohort Ann Handley. I expect I'll hit her up for some advice not long from now and have a hunch I'll get the same sincerity that oozes from the pages of her great book.
- The Accelerator from Arizona-My relationship thus far with Arnie Kuenn has been all virtual. However, his assistance has been 100% real. His great book "Accelerate" gave me a million insights into the many links in the chain of online marketing and his company, Vertical Measures, gave me one of my first guest blogging opportunities. I want to give him a great big thanks.
- The Sales Lion-My man Marcus Sheridan gave himself the nickname. He first made his mark online selling fiberglass pools. Now he gives concrete advice for achieving the same kind of success. The time I spent hearing him explain "7 Blogging Ideas that Will Brand Your Business" might have been the most valuable 60 minutes of my life and his free ebook "Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy" is one of the many examples of why this cat is truly a king in this jungle.
- My Relationship Counselor Mari-I haven't yet got to Mari Smith's book "The New Relationship Marketing." I did get to her session on the subject and in addition to picking up a nifty turquoise flashlight pen, I picked up all kinds of inspiration and insights for networking successfully on the social web.
- Ambercadabra-That's her Twitter handle. Her name's Amber Naslund, she co-wrote "The NOW Revolution" with Jay Baer and she delivered a truly inspiring keynote at BlogWorld. She reeled off all kinds of keeper quotes, but her basic premise came through loud and clear. Amber told a room of 4K new media makers they are drawing the routes on a map that doesn't even exist. She called us all "wayfarers." When I found her making her way around the LA Convention Center the following morning, she was happy to meet, sign my homemade Tweet-Tee-shirt (which is another story), and answer my many questions.
- My Sketchy Friend-Nicholas Cardot, author of "Blogging to the Third Power," is a blogging pro who personifies leadership and is a soldier of the social revolution. Months back, Nick's blog, "Site Sketch 101" caught my eye. His genuine voice, which campaigns for uncovering your potential, caught my ear, and when I asked for a chance to write for his site, I caught my first break in guest blogging.
- The Inbound Hounds-Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the chiefs at HubSpot and co-authors of "Inbound Marketing." I don't know either of the guys, but I thank them both for writing the bible that was the genesis of my appreciation for lessons I now preach daily. Their book reveals the glory that comes from giving and says:
"Ten years ago, your marketing effectiveness was a function of the width of your wallet. Today, your marketing effectiveness is a function of the width of your brain."
I'd like to thank those I mentioned, apologize to those I forgot, and give a great big holiday hoooooo-yeah to my many new friends from the great fraternity of modern day marketing who not only enjoy the rewards of helping their clients grow their businesses, but take pleasure in grabbing an extra place setting for those looking to join the feast.