Every Monday I post an interview with a social media marketing expert. My blog focuses on using social media to promote books (particularly self-published books), and I believe authors can really learn a lot about successful social networking by following the experts.
This week we meet Daniel Roach, with DanielRoachBlog.com
KS: Tell me about your company – how it was created and what you do.
DR: That’s a long story.
When I left college in 2006 I was an actor (read: unemployable) and, having a lot of free time on my hands, I started reading blogs by guys like Steve Pavlina and Darren Rowse. I got enthralled by the idea of writing (which I love) about something that I was passionate about and making a living from it.
I started a blog on acting and worked my butt off for 2 years before I realized that “acting blog” isn’t something most people search for in Google.
All in all, I made about $100 in those first 2 years. (Insert sad tuba sound here.) But that small, lame success was enough to spur me on and since then I’ve started, grown and sold multiple profitable blogs and niche sites.
As for my current business, the honest answer is that I just fell into my current business model. After 5 years, it turns out that the thing I’ve learned to be good at is transforming blogs from making pennies per click in Adsense to being real businesses with real customers – so I help my customers do that by producing educational products that help bloggers stop chasing after “get rich quick” schemes online and turn their blog into a profitable business.
KS: Who do you feel can benefit from a social media marketing strategy?
DR: Every business that thinks the best way to get my attention is to interrupt me.
“We know you wanted to watch this hilarious YouTube video or the next episode of ‘Bones’, but wait 60 seconds while we show you this commercial that you’re not at all interested in. Then we’ll wonder why you have no brand loyalty to us.”
Social media is about connection (trite, I know, but true) and if you own a business or have some control over a brand, it’s where you need to be – talking with your customers instead of at them.
KS: How long have you been blogging and what is the primary focus of your blog?
DR: My current blog, my personal brand, is a baby. It’s not even a year old yet, but of course I started blogging in 2006.
The point of my blog is what I believe the point of every blog should be – it’s the central hub to my online business.
I’m free to give away 90% of my value for free on my blog because all of that value points back to the products and services that are at the heart of a profitable business.
I think of blogs as the center of the social media wagon wheel. On the outside are hubs like Facebook and Twitter where connections are mostly shallow. Those point inward toward the blog where comments and content can strength those shallow bonds. And the blog leads to the true revenue-generating heart of the business.
KS: What is your favorite social networking site? Why?
DR: Twitter. It’s a great place to get started and it gives you amazing access to people. I can @reply to anyone and instantly start a conversation. Heck, if it weren’t for Twitter, you and I wouldn’t be here doing this interview right now.
Twitter is a great first step if you’re just getting started in social media. The connections are shallow and easy to start, and no one expects anything from you. You don’t have to be brilliant or instantly find a new business partner. Just chat, start talking, eventually you can move your shallow relationships to a blog or Facebook or LinkedIn and deepen them from there.
KS: What is your #1 piece of advice for social networking newbies?
DR: Start anywhere (again, I recommend Twitter) and just start talking to people like a human.
Don’t approach them as “contacts” or “leads” or even “potential customers.” Come to them as you, not as a marketer – and, believe me, we can all tell the difference no matter what you say.
Just talk, share, be cool and contribute. Again, it sounds trite and wishy-washy, but that’s just social media in a nutshell. It’s the ultimate tool of transparency, for better or worse. We, your followers, can see right through you no matter how smooth you think you’re being.
Fake cool is still fake.
Don’t pretend, just be yourself and we, your followers, will gravitate toward that.
KS: You are the author of “How To Turn Your Blog Into A Business” . Tell me a little about your book.
DR: How To Turn Your Blog Into A Business is all about busting the myths about blogging that have held people back from really turning their blogs into businesses.
It goes behind the curtain of successful blogs and shows you that blog posts don’t make A-lister bloggers their real money, it’s the businesses they’ve built in the background, the businesses that you and I rarely see that really creates their income.
KS: Why did you decide to write it?
DR: I wanted to write this book because after 5 years developing blogs I felt totally lied to. Everything I had read and been taught early on was way off the mark. “Just write good content and get rich,” is always the advice and honestly I felt like I had been sold a bill of goods on a pipe dream.
What ended up bringing me success with my blogs wasn’t like anything anyone had taught me and I got tired of reading advice from people who’ve never built a successful blog. I wanted to get in the game and help out.
KS: What makes your book different from other social media/marketing books?
DR: I would say practicality.
I’m a very analytical person and I hate marketing advice like “give value” or “solve a problem.” That’s great advice, totally accurate, but to someone like me the next question is always “how?!”
I wanted to write a book that goes step-by-step and I tried to avoid that kind of wishy-washy advice. I aimed for concrete and complete and hope I’ve hit hose marks.
KS: Do you plan to publish more?
DR: Count on it.
To find out more about Daniel Roach, visit: