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.