Seems like everyone and their mother is a marketing expert nowadays.
After all, all you need is a domain name, a host, a free WordPress theme, the time to read a few marketing books or attend a few courses, the audacity to deem yourself a “marketing guru,” and you’re all set.
So here’s the question – With so many people entering the “marketing guru” scene and starting blogs with their smiling faces on the home page, why do only a few blogs become successful?
Of course, things like marketing strategy (things like having a USP etc) and writing ability (making your content interesting) play a part.
But there’s actually another simpler reason why only a few blogs become successful.
When you consider the fundamental prerequisite required to start a blog, the answer becomes obvious.
What? You don’t know answer?
(GASP with jaw smashing the floor)
Here’s the answer:
The basic prerequisite to running a successful blog is to have REAL experience in whatever you’re talking about.
Reading a few marketing books or taking a few marketing courses doesn’t count as REAL experience.
If you blog, you’re in the information business.
And there is only one true purpose of being in the information business – to produce information that actually helps or inspires your readers.
That is all that matters.
If people do not get results or are not inspired by your information, then you will not succeed. Period.
The only way to help people with your information is to actually know what the heck you’re talking about.
And the only way to know what the heck you’re talking about, is to have REAL experience in whatever you’re talking about.
Don’t get me wrong though. This is NOT to say that you have to wait till you have 10 years of experience in a given field before you start blogging.
You can start at anytime, as long as you know what you’re talking about and have something valuable to share.
Take me for example. I started Trigger360 not because I’m the best conversion rate expert in the world.
I started it because I found a gap in the market and actually have real experience working with real life clients to help them with improving their conversion rates.
I still have A LOT to learn (I will always have a lot to learn), but I started the Trigger360 anyway because I had some real valuable information to share.
The problem with most online marketing blogs is that they are run by people who have no real experience and have nothing valuable to share.
They provide simplistic advice, write about common information that everyone knows about, and generally don’t know what they are talking about.
They either borrow content from other blogs and rewrite them, write about things based on theory or hearsay, or write fluffed-up useless content.
That’s why when I started Trigger360, I made an oath to the marketing gods that Trigger360 would never be a generic blog that fades away into the digital abyss of marketing crap.
So what makes Trigger360 different you say?
1) I do not blog based on theory.
I write about things based on my own real experiences or informal testing (all my testing is based on my own unique circumstances. I obviously do not have the capacity to run rigorous, formal testing with huge samples).
If there is something I am in the midst of exploring or something still in “theory mode” that I’d like to share, I say it out right in the blog post.
2) I try as much as possible to make my content interesting, unique, and most of all, useful.
I know that you probably suffer from information overload.
Beyond providing you with advice that actually works from real experience, I keep my content interesting.
My aim is to cut through the clutter and make sure you not only learn something, but also have an enjoyable reading experience.
3) I’m diagnosed as a compulsive perfectionist.
Just kidding. I just have super high standards. It’s just the way I am.
Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not because I waste too much time trying to get things perfect (until I realised there is no perfect). But because of this focus on producing quality stuff, I actually do produce quality stuff.
4) I value integrity.
If I don’t know or am unsure about something, I either don’t blog about it, or blog about it in the form of a question that I want to ask my readers about.
I don’t write about something I’m not sure of as if it’s marketing gospel. Everything I say on my blog is through my own honest experience.
“On shut up you arrogant prick! You think you’re the best in the world?”
Of course not.
There are still many things I do NOT know, and I’m not afraid to say that.
I’m on a continuous journey of learning, and I believe that being humble is the only way to maintain success.
I think that arrogance leads to a stop in progress and sometimes even to failure.
This is not a case of me being arrogant.
This is a case of people are putting out bad advice that is harming people, and that doesn’t sit right with me.
I can’t stand people giving bad advice. It leads good people down the wrong path, wastes their time and their money.
So why am I so sure that most digital marketing blogs are bad?
Because I’ve read many of them and have been lead down the wrong path before!
When you read (and practice) a lot on a particular subject, you’ll inevitably move beyond superficial levels and gain a deeper understanding of the subject. You tend to know who’s the real deal and who’s not.
You develop a natural marketing BS detector that sniffs out fake experts like how police dogs sniff out drugs.
So trust me when I say this – if you’re someone looking to learn online marketing, stay away from blogs that are run by “internet marketing gurus.”
The people who follow these “gurus”, thinking that these “gurus” are gods of marketing, are even more clueless.
I call it the marketing blind leading the marketing blind.
If you want to learn REAL online marketing, then learn from the REAL experts who don’t just sell “make money online” products to desperate people.
Learn from people who have experience working with REAL clients, or who are working in REAL organizations, out in the REAL world, getting REAL results.
I’m REAL-ly serious.
“Internet marketing gurus” are people who work in their own little world.
Ask these “gurus” to manage a real marketing campaign in the REAL world, and they’ll probably fail.
They always talk about some super secret (read: super STUPID) marketing tactic each week as if they found gold in their house. The only thing you’ll find with these stupid tactics is that these tactics don’t help you build a real business.
They work today and fail tomorrow.
Look, people in the real world, who are behind real marketing campaigns, measure and keep tabs with real marketing strategies and tactics on a daily basis.
Even if there is some marketing secret, the people in the real world would be the ones to discover them first.
“Internet marketing gurus” are not real marketers or business people.
They’re idiots who sell stupid tactics to even bigger idiots who follow them.
So who, in this crowded world of marketing voices, should you listen to?
In my humble but supremely accurate opinion, here are some of the blogs worth reading, in no particular order of greatness.
Some of them are more popular than the others, but all of them are great.
- Hubspot blog – Inbound Marketing
- Seth Godin – All things Marketing
- Bryan Eisenberg – Conversion Rate Optimization
- SocialTriggers – Conversion
- Copyblogger – Copywriting, Content Marketing
- Duct Tape Marketing - Small Business Marketing (Although it’s for small businesses, the content on the blog is extremely useful and applicable to any business)
- QuickSprout – All Things Digital Marketing
- SEOMoz blog – SEO
- PPC Hero - Pay Per Click
- Firepole Marketing – General Marketing
- Ben Settle – Email Marketing
- Terry Dean – Running an Online Business and Digital Marketing
- Glenn Livingston - Pay Per Click, Market Research
- Michel Fortin – Copywriting and Marketing
- The Copywriter’s Roundtable – Copywriting
- Psychotactics – Psychology and Marketing
- PassivePanda – Not entirely about marketing, but there are some good marketing posts now and then
- David Risley – Blogging
Trigger360 – Conversion Optimization (how can I leave out one of the most bestest blogs of all time?).
I might have missed out some other great blogs, but the ones I mentioned above are definitely credible from my experience.
So yes, please do read their stuff.
They’ll bring you real results.
You wouldn’t want to be the marketing blind would you?