Chapter 11 - Be an Evangelist - Sharing your Way to Greatness
Of the many things on our lists to achieving digital marketing greatness, sometimes sharing can go to the bottom of the list. Yet this quality often materialized in conversations, observations and interviews with successful practitioners who are seen as experts.
I met Wil Reynolds, Founder & CEO of SEER Interactive when he keynoted the SearchFest conference in Portland, Oregon. What struck me most about his presentation was his absolute commitment and willingness to be a sharer of all he has learned.
He does more than just evangelize, he helps. He commits several hours per week answering questions on Twitter, Quora and other platforms. He shares his research and methodologies, his theories. He shares both successes and failures.
One of the most interesting things he's done was CEO swap with Rand Fishkin, Founder of Moz and they shared their findings and experiences. This is the soul of leadership and evangelism. The willingness to spend our precious time when the only outcome and reward is learning that impacts the whole.
Michael King, VP of Owned Media, speaker and blogger, writes 5000 word articles that outline the process he embarks upon to test a theory. He shares the successes and failures of his research and then sets the next research goal. He is in a constant state of test, learn and improve. Not only is there great clarity in his methodology but great transparency in his learnings. Willingness to work hard and then share the results of that hard work is the most important benchmark of an evangelist.
My second speaking engagement and Marty Weintraub's first was at SearchFest, a conference sponsored by SEMpdx in Portland Oregon, in 2008. Weintraub, founder of aimClear, author and keynote speaker, quickly became a beloved practitioner and expert in the digital marketing space and impacted great brands such as Martha Stewart by evangelizing for deep understanding of your market.
His and his teams' research and execution in Facebook (Weintraub literally wrote a book entitled, "Killer Facebook Ads") has become legendary because he evangelized two things, one that you could learn a whole hell of a lot about a your persona or target market with Facebook and other social platforms, and two that testing against and improving on your theories will bring great insight and ultimately brand success.
Do you believe in a goal or a system? A goal quickly becomes the thing we're to do or be and we're always behind it until we achieve it. A system is something you can live every day. It's sustainable. Regardless of where digital marketing goes, Wil Reynolds approach of learn and share will always be relevant, it's the difference between a goal and a system.
CMO's and digital marketers that share not only get a high level of respect from those they help, answer questions and diving deep into an issue (even if it isn't your own) helps broaden your understanding and expertise.
In Jonah Berger's book, "Contagious" he talks about the phenomenon of social currency. If people have questions but there isn't a strong culture of sharing, not only do people not feel like outsiders in their own company, but they're loathe to raise their hands and ask questions for fear of looking like an outsider.