Get Out of Your Incestuous Circle Jerk Already

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I see blogs… and even businesses that constantly advertise and promote themselves in the same mediums time and time again. You see it in blogs a ton. The same bloggers reach out to the same bloggers all the time. The same people goto the same conferences all the time. The same business’s advertise in the same mediums all the time.

I can tell you some of the biggest changes in my business were reaching out to people outside my normal audience. For example conference wise attending the Blog World Expo was awesome. I got to meet so many regular everyday bloggers many of whom are working 9-5 day jobs. I would say a huge majority of the conference goers had no clue who I was. They recognized the brand but were not regular readers. I loved networking with these people at lunches and at parties at night. I talked to them about what they were doing and my thoughts on how they could improve it. It was kind of funny cause like sometimes they would be like “wow thats good advice, what do you do again?” and someone would be like “dude thats ShoeMoney how do you not know him?” (head inflates) which is a riot.

The techcrunch40 conference had by far the biggest impact of any other conference on our business. So much so that it lead to the newest corporation under the ShoeMoney umbrella – ShoeMoney Capital (haven’t had time to get up a website yet). After meeting with all these starving startup companies who were looking for funding it became obvious to me this was a niche we could get into. Basically these companies want money for marketing and programing… I have gone into funded companies and seen so much wasted money in those areas… So I saw a niche we could jump into. ShoeMoney Capital is something I have not talked about much mainly we are so busy I was afraid we would get bombarded with joint venture offers and stuff like that. Its really not that kind of gig. We will invest marketing, programing, and financial resources for a equity position in companies that have good management in place but just need help growing/monetizing/programing. I got off track a bit there but anyway the techcrunch40 conference was good. Really showed me the light about what I think the future of our company is (long term).

Other examples of incestuous circles is some of the smaller social Digg like sites. For instance sphinn. I love sphinn and I use it almost as a feed reader now but 1 thing about sphinn is its so focused on the same community. Just looking at my Google Analytic stats 98% of people who visit from sphinn have been to my website before. So while I like Sphinn and all that its not like anyone visits my site from Sphinn who has not heard of this site before. Also for the amount of traffic the Sphinn site gets it sends VERY LITTLE actual traffic for a front page sphinn. On average less then 100 unqiue per front page sphinn (going from my stats). Why is this? In my case I think most people see my stories on there and are like ok ill read that later in my feed reader or I have already read it. I am not trying to diss sphinn in anyway I am just saying for me to grow implementing something like stumbleupon or something else outside the box might be a much smarter business move. Top sphinner Dosh-Dosh who has submitted over 200 front page diggs recently said something like ‘Its easy to become a top sphinner just look at what sites are popular and run the sphinn button and they will make it to the front page’. I think sphinn is great for new people to the industry looking to get recognition from the SEO industry but once you are well known in that niche you should look for other venues to grow.

So the point of this post was really was to say that you can become comfortable in your little area. I would love to do nothing else but hang out with people I know (and know me) at search conferences. Also if I want to promote something new I can reach out to the same old people I always call on. Its also that confidence/security that will hold you back. Like when me and dillsmack did the eBay conference last year and won those awards. That was pretty wild. We knew NOBODY there and NOBODY had a clue who we were. But we were on stage so much and I gave 2 presentations so leaving there we had some excellent new business contacts and ShoeMoney fans.

So get out of your circle and meet some new people. It will do your business good.

61 thoughts on “Get Out of Your Incestuous Circle Jerk Already

  1. Real Lottery Winner

    It definitely would be a good idea for some of us to “step outside the box” I will implement this practice and see what it does for my readership. Thats all I care about. I just want readers/rss subscribers. Not in it for the monetization. All my money goes to charity.

  2. RacerX

    Great Advice. I am trying to get out to more blogs and personally increase my own unofficial network. This has been the number one way that I have increased traffic. The second is actually listening to me commentors and thanking them for coming by. I have able to turn many into frequent visitor and commentors like this.

    Often it is the simplest stuff!

  3. Real Lottery Winner

    I’ve also found that being genuine and thanking each person who reads my blog on a regular basis turns them into repeat visitors. I interact alot with my readers and I think its why I’ve been able to grow my readership so well right out of the box!

  4. Chris Bartow

    This is my pet peeve with joining one of those many local business groups especially when you know someone in the group and they are handing you the business anyway.

    Wouldn’t my time be spent better trying to pursue other avenues where people don’t know my name? Point well made.

  5. Famous Quotes

    If you want to grow, it’s very important to keep expanding your horizon continuously. Like Winston Churchill said, “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”

  6. Alan Johnson

    I definitely agree that you just have to network with other people every now and then since something good always surfaces after meeting new interesting people and sharing opinions, it’s refreshing at the very least.

  7. Alan Johnson

    Responding to readers who comment on your blog and thanking them for being regular visitors is always something I always recommend since building a relationship with your readers is the name of the game.

    Alan Johnson

  8. Alan Johnson

    Jeremy, as far as Sphinn is concerned, a new blog definitely receives more exposure compared to an established one since a Sphinn user who notices one of your posts has either visited your blog before and read it or is planning to visit your blog and will be reading your post then rather than following the Sphinn link.

  9. Social Traffic Exchange

    On Sphinn (and I know this bites into their concept a bit) but I think the site would be a lot more successful if they would link the Topic Title directly to the source like Digg does instead of to another page on their site, which doesn’t seem to contain even an excerpt from the source.

  10. Andrew

    Awesome post.

    The problem I find when talking to many business owners and want to be entrepreneurs is they won’t even take the first step and go to a single conference!

  11. Ben Cook

    Shoe, great title and it’s a very good point. Sometimes you have to step outside the circle you’re running in to be able to see the bigger picture.

  12. Ben Cook

    Also, Sphinn may lead you to a whole new circle to network in etc. I know personally that I’ve found several new sites through Sphinn and those sites have led me to others, etc.

  13. CatherineL

    Great tips Shoe and awesome title. And you are so right – people seem to get stuck in a comfort zone when it comes to networking and they’re afraid to move out of it.

    I’ve seen it at networking groups – the majority of people will go with a friend and they’ll stand and talk to the same friend the whole evening. And you have to wonder why they didn’t just stay at home.

    I must admit – I need to be learning more about the social networking sites online. And I have been looking round to get an idea of some of the things you’ve been doing. I’m not a cyber stalker honest – but it’s good to learn from someone who already knows what they’re doing.

  14. Jim Lockwood

    You make some great points. There are a number of bloggers that really on the same traffic from the same sources to support their blog….well, readers are finicky and the crowd will grow disinterested. Soon you lose those regular readers and have nothing to replace them with. Best take the Shoe’s advice and diversify that advertising.

  15. Popular Wealth

    I think Pro Blogger does this better than anyone. His recent “blogging is like…” article is a case in point. He researched the top blogs for specific but not related keyphrases, found many in the top of Google results, and included their keyword in his titles and trackbacks.

    It works because Darren is already an authority on his subject. People looking up those other subjects will find pro-blogger in the results now too. Those other sites will visit because of the trackbacks. THAT is a classic example of reaching out without leaving home in my opinion.

  16. Will

    Yea reaching for new audiences is good. I’m starting to reach out to search engine traffic now. Not saying I’m gaining much ground though. :(

  17. SlightlyShadySEO

    The issue with sphinn is the same thing that makes it great. You get regular readers from it. RSS subscribers. So after you front page 4 or so times, it’s easy as pie to get back up there.
    Now, I haven’t seen so much the same blogs getting to the front everytime(aside from well, myself, and a few names much larger than myself), but they ARE largely the same submitters.
    Most of the other submissions I see tend to be blatant affiliate plugs, things that are ridiculously vague/basic, or stuff that’s been gone over a million times.

    I think what we REALLY need to see, is the real hardcore bloggers who are NOT yet a part of sphinn get in there, and get submitting!
    For example, I don’t think I’ve ever seen uberaffiliate frontpage, and that’s a complete shame. But without him putting up the little badge, or perhaps having a strong base behind him, it’s hard.
    It’s not just the submitters. We need new medium to high profile members who are willing to get out there and submit. And put the funny little badge up.

    That said, I sphunn this story.
    XMCP of SlightlyShadySEO

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  19. Netmeg

    Your title exactly states what I’ve felt about the entire SEO industry for ages now. SPHINN was neat for about a week, and then it reminded me of high school.

  20. Moviecat

    I always try to promote outside my little niche, everyone loves to laugh. Like with entrecard…I push outside my group, I often get rejected.

  21. john andrews

    Last I read, most Nobel prize winners won the prize in a field *other than* their primary academic discipline (Prize for Chemistry won by a mathematician, etc). Perspective matters. Then again, the only time I read Shoemoney is when I follow a post to it. Go figure.

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  23. Alan Johnson

    As far as influential readership is concerned, Sphinn definitely stands out and, as such, the networking opportunities are worth taking into consideration. The fact that you can see quite a few backlinks as a result of a good story should also not be neglected.

  24. Ryan

    Your relationship with Dillsmack has had a positive impact on your business. How did you and he meet and what was your first project together?

  25. Keith Cash

    You are correct on all accounts. I have had some luck networking this year. I hope to continue more networking this year.

    New Year New Attitude helping others make it on the internet


  26. 賃貸 大阪

    Nice post. We had a lot of success last year networking with university professors and students. There are a ton of smart kids in scholl that would love to work on small projects and the professors are happy that we are helping their students and giving them real world experience. Most of the IT professors have no idea how marketing works so they appreciate our input. If you can add your local college to your circle of business friends, it will pay off.

  27. Mike 11|15 Media

    Shoemoney Capital. Venture Capitalism is the way to go, When you can invest in other companies at such an early point, you are set for life. So it looks like you and Guy Kawasaki are the people entrepreneurs should talk to.

  28. How To Rule The World

    i have been practicing this on a regular basis, attempting to meet and greet many new bloggers. I have made some really good contacts doing this and I recommend everyone get out there and start mingling.

  29. Alan Johnson

    It’s always good to meet people who share your interests and it is always a win-win situation for both parties involved. Having good conracts is an issue which should never be neglected and the effect should also not be underestimated.

  30. Internet Marketing

    You are so right. I used to be in the IBM midrange community years ago and that was a real incestuous circle jerk. What is extremely funny yet sad is to go back after years and see the same jerkers who now are “silver surfers” but still doing the same things.

    Ah well life goes on and it is really good being in a new circle jerking off again.
    Some of us never learn. LOL

  31. Utah SEO

    Valid point on Sphinn but it does help draw traffic to particular posts (like this one). While I do read your site, I don’t read every single post.

  32. Erica DeWolf

    This is some GREAT advice. Step out of your comfort zone. I’ve been telling myself this since graduation. Take your blog viral by telling as many people as you can about how cool you are. Find out what others are doing so you can find something really cool you can blog about or share with friends!

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