This guest post is by Danny Iny of firepolemarketing.com.
Everyone is looking for the best strategy for growing a blog. Is it SEO? PPC? CPV? Guest posting? Twitter? Facebook? CommentLuv? Networking? Attending conferences? Writing great content?
The list goes on—I could fill a page if I had to, and I’ll bet that you could, too.
Every one of these strategies will work for some people, and some of these strategies will work for most people.
But there’s only one strategy that I know of that will work for everyone, and unlike all the other strategies, I didn’t learn it from other bloggers or internet marketing gurus.
I learned it from my parents.The “strategy” to which I’m referring is just the common courtesy that we all know and expect. When someone does something nice for you, say two simple words: “thank you.”
Why “thank you” is such an effective strategy
There are actually two reasons why it is very smart strategy to say “thank you” as frequently and creatively as you can.
You see, when you thank someone in a meaningful, heart-felt way, you are communicating that their words and actions have had a positive impact on your life. In their own way, they have helped you to achieve what you have achieved, and become what you have become.
This does two very important things:
- It makes them feel useful. We all long to feel useful, whether we have five followers or 500,000. We want to know that our work and actions have meaning and value to others, and this is even more true for people who have been successful, and for whom money no longer needs to be the primary or sole driver. By saying “thank you,” you are telling someone that they have made a difference to you, and that will make them feel good.
- It makes them feel invested. When we contribute to something, we care more about how things turn out. By thanking someone for the positive influence and impact that they have had on your life and career, you will make them feel a little more invested in the outcome of your endeavors—and more likely to want to support you as you work towards your goals in the future.
So in short, by thanking people, you make them feel good, and make them want to help you a little bit more in the future. Plus, it’s just basic courtesy.
So … what should you thank people for?
Don’t wait for the grand gestures
Don’t pester people for big favors, and wait for grand gestures that will never arrive. Instead, look at where you are today, and take careful stock of the people who have helped you to get to where you are.
Their help could be big, like the teachers and mentors that have guided you along the way, or it could be smaller, like the blogger whose example you are following, or the author of an article that gave you an insight into what you should be doing in order to succeed.
Here are just a few of the things that you could thank people for:
- reading your blog, and leaving a comment
- subscribing to your list
- linking to your content
- tweeting about something you wrote
- writing something that inspired you
- teaching you how to do something that you didn’t know before
- making time to answer your question when they didn’t have to
- being courteous and helpful in their interactions with you
- introducing you to someone or something of value.
This is just a start, but I think it gets the point across. The masters of social media are experts at thanking people for all of these things, and lots more—in fact, for many of them, it is the cornerstone of their strategy for building an engaged audience!
Say it in a way that counts
The way you actually go about expressing your gratitude matters. Remember, you want to communicate that a positive impact has been made in your life, and if that’s the case, then don’t you owe it to them to put some thought and heart into it?
For starters, the worst way to say thank you is with a generic comment to the effect of “Great post!” A comment like that doesn’t communicate why you thought it was great. What impact did it actually have on you? What did you learn?
If you want to convey authentic gratitude, then these are important things to express.
The other reason why a “great post” comment doesn’t cut it is that your “great post” comment will probably be added to several dozen others that are almost exactly the same. If you want to make an impression, you have to do it in a way that stands out from the crowd. For example, you could:
- send the person an email saying that you appreciate their work (without asking for anything)
- mention their work in your own writing, and link to it (try to always link to a post, rather than the homepage of a blog, so that they get a pingback and see it)
- send them a small gift when appropriate (like a book that you think they’d enjoy, relating to something that they’ve written about)
- introduce them to someone who can help them
- praise them publicly, for example on your blog, or on Twitter (make sure to @mention them!)
- send them a handwritten note expressing why you are grateful.
These are just a few ideas, and I’m sure that if you take a few minutes to brainstorm (or search on Google), you’ll find a lot more. The key is to stand out, and communicate in a noticeable way that you are genuinely grateful.
Of course all of this has to be genuine, and not just a manipulation…
The right thing and the smart thing are the same thing
The world of social media can sometimes be touchy about actions that are seen as self-serving, and things get even more complicated when there is an up-side to doing the right things.
I mean, shouldn’t you be thanking people just because it’s the right thing to do? Isn’t it just manipulation if you thank them because you’re trying to get something in return?
The answer to those questions, of course, is yes—you should be thanking people because it’s the right thing to do, and if you’re just thanking people when you don’t mean it, and you’re simply trying to get something out of them, then you’re a manipulative jerk.
That’s not what I’m suggesting at all.
On the contrary. I’m saying that you have genuine reason to grateful to a lot of people, and that thanking them is the right thing to do.
The funny thing about business, though, is that often the right thing and smart thing are the same thing!
So make a list of the people to whom you have genuine reason to be grateful, and say thank you.
Who can you thank today?
So who has helped you recently? And how can you make them feel good about the special thing that they’ve done for you?
My list would be pretty long, but here is just a starting example, to get you going:
- I’m grateful to Brian Clark, who gave me a shot with my first guest post.
- I’m grateful to Jon Morrow and Corbett Barr for all of the help and advice that they have given me.
- I’m grateful to all of the people who responded to our Semi-Local Business Survey.
- I’m grateful to more bloggers than I can list here for their friendship and support.
- Of course, I’m grateful to Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark, Mitch Joel, and the 27 other superstars who contributed to my book, Engagement from Scratch! How Super-Community Builders Create A Loyal Audience and How You Can Do the Same!
- And most importantly, I’m grateful to you for time and attention in reading this post.
What about you? Who can you thank today? And how are you going to do it?
Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is an author, strategist, serial entrepreneur, expert marketer, and the Freddy Krueger of Blogging. Together with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark, Mitch Joel, he wrote the book on how to build an engaged audience from scratch.