So you’ve built up your personal brand to superstar status. Everyone is watching. You are setting the pace and rocking it as an A-lister. Your community loves & adores you. Everything is awesome right? What could go wrong?
An unintentional mistake …
I’ve watched it happen over the past couple of years. The blogging community is a warm tight knit community. But as with any group the leaders are held to high standards. They’re expected to set the bar.
It’s easy to sit back & watch the kerfluffle unfold. In the past I haven’t said much out loud because it was ‘safer’ to support people in the back channel. We went thru the puppet fiasco with Shel Israel. I got to know him at a personal level by supporting him in the back channel. The puppet videos weren’t funny if you put yourself in his shoes. And there is the person on Twitter who has a parody going. I’m not interested in being on their radar.
This spring I watched when Jeremiah Owyang made a slip on his blog. We talked by phone & he told me that many of the anonymous comments were from the same IP. I was glad to be able to offer my support & suggestions for weathering the storm.
Most recently I saw a post on SocialMediaToday criticizing Gary Vaynerchuk’s PR blogger campaign to promote his book, Crush It. I received the same email & agree that there was one sentence that won’t motivate me to engage:
On your side, anything you do with him is going to get an influx of readers to your blog due to his massive and loyal following.
I was interested in participating in promoting Gary’s book because:
- as a past librarian, books are amazing
- we were invited to suggest how we wanted to share the book with our community/network (allowing creativity)
I didn’t know Gary & so his personal brand wasn’t a motivation (hence that last sentence didn’t resonate with me).
What are the ramifications: At the time I put my opinion on the post, 600 people had viewed the post. I see that 2000 have now. I understand John Cass’ intention to use examples to teach others but at what expense to Gary’s brand? We agreed that we get bad pitches every day but this one came from a social media superstar.
The conversation was taken up on Shel Holtz & Neville Hobson’s live interview on Friday. Gary apologized & said that he realizes that some things could have been done differently.
My take aways:
- I disagree that an effective blogger campaign requires reading each person’s blog to find what motivates them. It’s not scalable. (Gary was trying to grow his community – the email just didn’t describe his book to connect with the audience)
- scaling a brand & connecting with potential new audiences on a personal level is difficult. How can one connect & build relationships?
- empowering others to help you with your work has its risks. They need to understand the space because even though this email was signed by someone else, it still represented Gary’s brand.
Gary graciously expressed his apologies many times in the interview. He did say that of the 500 emails, he had a 50% response rate which is really good. What success rate do professional agencies have?
I look forward to seeing Gary’s book (and the other nine! He signed an unprecedented 10 book deal). You can read John Cass’ follow up is here & I respect his opinions. John’s intent was to use it as a learning experience. After commenting on the post Gary sent me a personal note & we are now connected. He works 19 hrs a day & I am guilty of that too. We need to support each other as we’re all going to make mistakes. Let’s speak up for what we believe in & not be too hard on each other. What will happen when you stumble?
Photo credit: gicol/Flickr