The Content Marketing Question You Need to Answer … Now

One unfailing characteristic of online business is The Latest Bandwagon that’s perpetually rolling down the road toward us.

It’s usually some kind of new, sexy, easy, fast, 1-2-3 fad that will ensure you’re bathing in champagne by 10 o’clock tonight.

As you may well know, a strategic fad fetish can be a very expensive habit, both monetarily and psychologically.

What if you could go a simpler way? A way that fit your personality, that could exploit your natural strengths?

Thankfully, our very own Sonia Simone has broken this very thing down for us. And she’s willing to spill it…

In this episode Sonia and I discuss:

  • The two types of online working style that can determine your success or failure
  • How to execute your business goals based on who you are
  • Why comparing yourself to others might be a sure path to failure
  • The priceless marketing tool that works on your behalf like a mule
  • The critical aspect of business that both types have to master

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About the Author: Robert Bruce is Copyblogger Media’s Chief Copywriter and Resident Recluse.

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  1. Sonia:

    Today’s headline was good. It forces folks to listen to the radio show – the headline invokes curiosity.

    There’s actually a few variations between marathon runner and sprinter. It reminds me of the old Bugs Bunny cartoons, where Bugs races the turtle. In one case, the turtle used a jet pack. In another episode, the turtle let Bugs win. But he had Bugs brag about how fast he ran. Then Bugs got arrested.

    You mention Jeff’ Walker’s day. I remember when Clayton Makepeace shared his day on occasion. Clayton put in tons of hours each day, let he make over 1 million per year.

    But when is work – work? I remember a quote from the poetry book “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran: If you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work.

    But we do need to recharge. Auto-responders still need work to program the message series correctly. Some can do this very well (i.e. Marketer Ben Hart in his marketing membership site autoresponder messages).

    Good food for thought today.

    Randy

  2. I think it’s possible to be both a marathoner and sprinter. I set posts to go out every weekday, but usually get most of a week’s worth of posts written (but not fully edited) in 30 minute or hour-long sprints.

    • I agree, there are a lot of great businesses that blend both. I mention Jeff Walker as a sprinter, for example, but he’s also got some marathoner habits that make his business a lot stronger.

    • That’s where I want to be — writing a week’s worth of posts on the weekend and scheduling them so that during my work week, I don’t have to write them after working at my day job all day. I’ve been trying to do one post a week, but would like to do three a week. I’ve been brainstorming post ideas here and there, and now have a ton, so ideally I’d like to even write a couple weeks’ worth of posts ahead of time.

      • Something I learned from my fiction writing friends: The more you write, the more you think, the more you write. Writing is an idea generation process in itself. It’s better if you write every day, even if that’s just hammering 2-3 simple outlines out after work.

        • I have found that to be true, although I’m not doing it at the moment. But I’m working on getting back to that (six days a week works well for me), even if it’s just a few paragraphs.

  3. I believe running a business is like racing a bicycle where you have to be both a marathon rider and sprinter. I have yet to bath in champagne but this is the intent.

  4. Sonia & Robert,

    Thank you for another stellar radio show!

    Question: Sonia, when you say to load your auto responder with messages, so you can have a little downtime, do you mean additional communication than just blog broadcasts will be going out?

    Because if you load your blog and send out blog broadcasts, then you would still be “keep in touch” with your email list while you’re laying on the beach in St. Tropez sipping Champagne.

    So, I guess what I’m wondering is if you are meaning that extra communication should be going out to your list on a regular basis in addition to blog broadcasts?

    Thank you – Theresa

    • If you’re blogging every week, then you’re keeping an open connection with your audience (marathoner strategy), although we also recommend you add an email list/autoresponder that makes a deeper connection with the people who are your most avid fans (like we do with the Smart People newsletter).

      When you say “load your blog and send out blog broadcasts,” do you mean doing a sprint and writing a bunch of posts, then scheduling them to release later? That would be the blog version of the tactic, but with blogs folks pretty much expect you to be there responding to comments, so it’s trickier than it is with email. But if you’re willing to come in off the beach a few times in the morning to reply to comments, it can be functionally the same thing, just using another tool.

      • Okey-dokey. Thank you for your eply.

        I just took a peek at one of the Smart People emails and noticed how the Comments section (when I click through to read the entire post) is not available, so I see how you don’t have to be checking for comments throughout out the day – and my Champagne won’t get warm.

        Now this brings another question (sorry): With what frequency do you have your autoresponder send out these additional messages?

        If you are sending out blog broadcasts and the extra communication, only for email subscribers, what is a good amount of emails per week?

        If it’s quality content people will value it, but at what point do you overload your subscribers?

        Thank you – Theresa

        • Different people have different rhythms — once a week (in addition to any blog content) is good for awhile to get people used to receiving the emails, and then a lot of folks might drop back to every other week or once a month. If you’re going once a month you run the risk of people entirely forgetting who you are.

          There’s no single answer since much depends on how dense/long your content is, how interested your readers are in the topic, how much email overwhelm your readers deal with, and your ability to create content.

          • Sonia,

            Thank you for your reply. Sorry, sorry, one more question as I analyze how Copyblogger is set up in respect to email subscriptions.

            You all have the regular email (first level) – and subscribers receive the daily stuff. Than you segment out the Smart People subscribers (second level), why the extra step?

            In the beginning did you all provide the “extras” to your first level subscribers?

            Do you all find that this “second level” of subscribers are a more targeted audience? (I don’t mean this as an obvious rhetorical question, I’m actually interested in the thought process here.)

            Thank you – Theresa

  5. You mention Tim Ferriss as a sprinter. Before you mentioned T. Ferriss, I actually thought about him as the quintessential marathoner (to Seth Godin being the ultramarathoner). The reason I say this is Tim developed his very popular blog before launching his first book, 4HWW. He built up an audience over a decent period of time; his book was a runaway hit.

    T. Ferriss continued blogging regularly after his first book. He did slow down blogging about 1 to 2 years after 4HWW (I suspect he was writing the 4 Hour Body). My point is Tim built up a huge and loyal audience over time. Now he can afford to be a sprinter because he has a massive audience, but he started out (in my respectful view) a marathoner.

    But, I see your point about the sprinter aspect of T. Ferriss in that he worked very hard leading up to both book launches and that he does take extended vacations (“mini-retirements” as he calls them).

    Looking at T. Ferriss leads me to wonder if most internet marketers have no choice but to start out a marathoner to build up an audience? Once an audience or tribe is created, then the option to be a sprinter is available.

    I suppose the exception is if you do product launches exclusively and have relationships with other marketers and do JVs. But in order to enter into a JV, one must have something to bring to the table, namely a subscribership. Building that subscribership takes a fair amount of work akin to a marathon.

    Anyway, I really liked your interview because you framed online businesses into two models which is very simple to understand. When I stumbled onto internet marketing, I hoped to be a sprinter, but it’s turning into a marathon. I’ve decided to embrace the marathon and go the distance. Perhaps the option to be a sprinter will be available in the future.

    • That’s a good point — the Tim Ferriss as blogger today, I agree — I was thinking more of the business outlook he described in Four Hour Workweek, which is very sprinty. And also his penchant for long exotic vacations, which I envy. :)

  6. By the way, I completely made up Jeff Walker’s day based on observation. I don’t spend time hanging out with him in Durango, although it looks like it would be a lot of fun. :)

  7. I like to be marathoner rather than a sprinter, because as a marathoner I can have the stamina and ability to reach my long goals where as a sprinter I will lose both of them after a certain amount of time.

  8. I can see how you really need to be a hybrid of both marathoner and sprinter depending on the situation. If I had to choose over the two types it would be the turtle though…He’s not as “sexy” as the Hare, but unlike the Hare, when the going gets tough, he has a shell that he can retreat to in order to rest, regroup and replan before getting back in the race. Anyone who has been on line knows the value of putting time in, making sacrifices, posti g, tweeting, blogging day after day until you finally get a little attention.

  9. Really great, eye-opening stuff. Thanks so much Sonia and Robert.

    After many trial and errors it’s becoming clear…as much as I’d like to be, I am not a marathoner. The blogs I started testify this. No matter how passionate I was for the topic I just couldn’t carry on with them. Hard to face the reality: blogging is not for me.

    But I’m not the pushy, hypey marketing type of a guy either. What I really enjoy is building systems and automatizing them. That’s more of a sprinter strategy I guess.

    On Copyblogger I keep reading about how content marketing is the way to really make it big in today’s digital brave new world. And I absolutely agree. The slow and steady wins the race eventually.

    So what happens with us, sprinter folks? How can we make it without blogging regularly? Without being hypey? Without trying to shove our stuff down everybody’s throat?

    How can we utalize the power of content marketing and relationship building? Autoresponders? Partnering with marathoners?

    C’mon guys and gals, am I really the only sprinter here? :-)

    Zsolt…a sprinter from the middle of ol’ Europa.

  10. This is a great podcast, Sonia.

    You are right, there are sprinters and there are marathoners.

    I am more like a sprinter by nature. I like to do great amounts of work and then take rest.
    But I realized that in order to have a steady business, I should be both.

    Now I combine both approaches, and it works great for me.

    In between products and content launches, I…

    - study
    - plan
    - maintain relationships with my customers through email and social media
    - improve my website

    I may be wrong, but in case you don’t have the whole team working for you, you should combine both approaches.