Have you ever wondered why people like Oprah are so powerful? All she has to do is give her word of approval – blink an eye and a book will become a best-seller… blink an eye and a whole farm will no longer go mad over cows… blink an eye and a rap artist will never swipe another naughty credit card again!
How did she become so powerful? Why do people listen to her every word and passionately adhere to every syllable?
It’s because she uses one of the most overlooked magical marketing tools around: she helps – and not just any help, but life-changing, empowering help.
Ellen DeGeneres is another example. She gives away cars and other gifts on her show, too. These gifts improve the quality of life of the less fortunate. So even if you can’t stand to watch her dance down the aisles (my favorite!) you can’t resist hanging around to see who she’ll help next. I’m sure Ellen is genuinely a kind and giving person, but make no mistake, that’s highly effective marketing.
Why is helping so magical?
Once you’ve helped someone change his or her life for the better, that’s it – that follower, potential client or customer will be under your magical spell for life. Okay, no, they’re not really under a spell, but depending on what you’ve done for them, they will grow to trust you. They’ll look to you as a credible source. They will drool over and crave everything you do. These are the people that will become your biggest promoters – your raving fans.
The other magical part of helping, is that when you do, sometimes you end up in places and among people you’d wouldn’t otherwise have access to. It opens the door to infinite opportunities that you wouldn’t have been exposed to any other way.
The most important thing that I’ve learned since the day that I started blogging is this: if you can figure out how to help people, it will build trust and strengthen your credibility faster than a speeding bullet.
I helped one woman create engaging content for her site at a discounted rate, but I still went out of my way to provid top notch service. I provided value without regard to how little I was charging. And do you want to know what happened?
A few weeks later, she referred several other small business owners who were eager to get my help and weren’t concerned about the cost. I couldn’t have found those new clients any other way, but the act of helping created those opportunities instantly out of thin air.
So why isn’t everyone out there on a helping spree?
There are lots of reasons, but I think it’s mostly because helping others is counter-intuitive. Helping and/or giving away your time and resources just seems to produce the exact opposite of the outcome you’re aiming for. You’re giving, when instead you’d rather be getting – sounds like a no-brainer, right?
Almost everything you read about marketing and promotion will tell to create a product or service that people want, advertise until ears bleed, and they will flock to you quicker than pigeons to a tossed hot dog. In some ways that still applies, but there’s been a shift, companies are beginning realize that people have not only become immune to advertisements, but most people despise ads and will gnaw off their own foot if they have to just to get away.
It’s not until marketing becomes helpful or meaningful that it really gets people’s attention. As Bob Gilbreath puts it, “When marketing is meaningful, it ads value to people’s lives whether or not they immediately buy what you’re selling.” (The Next Evolution of Marketing, 2010.)
You’ve got to give people a chance to chose what they want. And what most people want is help. Some are willing to pay for it and some aren’t.
If you can offer a service or a product that helps people solve their problems; that will teach them something valuable, or that will help them reach their full potential, you’ll attract a loyal following that will do just about anything to express their gratitude. If you ever need help, just yell and they’ll rush to your aid in droves.
But to begin reaping the benefits of helping, you have to get out and start planting some “help” seeds. You’ve got to jumpstart the process by going out of your way to help others first.
Helping doesn’t always have to be about giving out something for free, but if helping is really the focus, you will learn that sometimes you have to be willing to bend and understand that sometimes a delayed reward has just as valuable, if not more, in the long run.
So how can you apply this to your blogging efforts?
When I first started blogging, I thought I would be in constant battle with people who were only concerned about selling, but I ended up meeting some of the most helpful people around. People like Evelyn Parham would visit my blog and leave helpful comments and share my posts on Twitter. People like Ileane went out of their way to sponsor fund raisers and contests. To this day, I can’t thank Brandon Cox enough for the opportunity he gave me when he was looking for someone to take over WeBlogBetter.
At first glance, it might not seem like commenting, sharing content, sponsoring, or giving a new blogger an opportunity is all that important, but these are simple helpful tasks that when applied can have a huge impact.
How can you help? It’s really simple.
Do something for others without thinking about what you’ll get in return. Go out of your way and do something that you’ve always wished someone would do for you. That is how you build beneficially helpful and meaningful relationships; that is how you get the biggest return on your marketing efforts. Helping and giving is the key to getting more out of social media and life in general. Think of it as an investment that has endless returns and possibilities for growth.
If your blog isn’t growing, it could be because you aren’t helping enough. What can you do to change that? What do you think about all of this?
This is a guest post by Kiesha Easley – Kiesha blogs at WeBlogBetter.com, a blog devoted to offering blogging tips. She’s a writer, editor, and blog consultant for small business owners. Connect with her on Twitter @weblogbetter.