What a wild three-and-a-half years, huh?
Copyblogger started out as a way for me to demonstrate what I knew and could do in order to collaborate on new media projects with others.
Now it’s the hub of a business enterprise that supports three families, two single guys, one single mom, and a host of domesticated animals.
And we’re just getting started. Of course, that means having a clear picture of where we want to go is pretty essential.
Guidance from the Wise Bald One
I’m not going to pretend that Seth Godin and I are best buddies who hang out on weekends and major holidays. But if there’s anyone I’d point to as a mentor, it’s him.
For years that came solely from his books, which in many cases was more than enough. In the last couple of years, however, Seth has been very generous with his time and wisdom when I needed guidance.
A couple of months ago, an email from Seth arrived with some unsolicited advice. Actually, it wasn’t advice, but a question:
What kind of tribe are you building?
Over the last 8 months, we’ve been experimenting with stretching the bounds of what Copyblogger covered, reviewed, and recommended. I think Seth thought we had gone off track, or lost the path. In hindsight, maybe he was right.
At first, I was annoyed. Then, I started giving it a great deal of thought. Finally, Sonia and I started to talk about it . . . a lot.
The result was what’s become known as the Two Tribes post. And that turned out to be a defining moment.
The Intersection of Pragmatism and Progress
Sonia and I are both students of online marketing. Not any one particular kind of online marketing, mind you, other than marketing that works.
That doesn’t mean we adopt things as is. The key to effective marketing is to be context appropriate, regardless of the tactic or strategy. So we’re very good at creative adaptation when it comes to taking, for example, an effective tactic that is being used in a sleazy manner, and making it non-sleazy. Or seeing a touchy-feely social media concept that makes sense, and tweaking it so it can actually convert prospects into customers.
To put this in context, Copyblogger has always been extremely selective about what we recommend to you in terms of paid offers. We had to be convinced through our own direct experience with the product or service that it had value and worked.
Products or tools have needed to be extremely useful. We’ve only recommended products that made it easy to make your money back, within a realistic timeframe and with skills that we are confident you already possess.
We didn’t necessarily care how those products or tools were marketed. We figured you’d just creatively adapt the tactics or strategies in a context-appropriate way.
That’s not enough any more. From this point forward, we’re only going to recommend and promote products that truly embody what we stand for.
It’s all about the Third Tribe.
What Does the Third Tribe Stand For?
We seek to combine the practical, solid techniques of the Internet Marketing so-called “gurus” and the ethical, content-focused, high-quality approach of the blogging world. It’s what we call the Third Tribe, and you’re going to be hearing a lot more about it in the coming months.
In practical terms, it means you’ll be seeing many more Copyblogger products, and far fewer from other people. My greatest satisfaction comes from knowing that we strive to make our in-house projects like Teaching Sells and Thesis not just good enough . . . but as good as we possibly can (and that’s an ongoing process).
One of the best ways to ensure that standard is to do more product development ourselves. So that’s what we’ll do.
If we do make an outside recommendation, it will be for someone who “gets it.” They may not be household names . . . yet. But they’re creating solid tools that work for real people, without hype and nonsense.
Copyblogger products will be created for smart businesspeople (even if you’re not too sure of your business skills yet), not naive “business opportunity” seekers who are constantly looking for the newest magic pill.
They’ll be products for people who take action, not dreamers who think about making millions overnight. The money really does roll in while you sleep with the right online business model . . . but only after you put in the time and hard work to get to that point.
Anyone who tells you differently can’t be trusted.
Over the past few years, Copyblogger has grown thanks to a very high standard for the free content we produce, and that’s not going to change. It’s just that we feel that an even higher standard applies to things you pay for.
Thought you might like to know. Especially since without you, there’d be no reason for us.
Thanks for everything: past, present, and future.