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How Not Changing My Game Changed My Game [Day 16 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]


This is Day 16 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Leesa Barnes got us walking our talk, and today John Haydon will take us down the road of discovering where our passion intersects with actually earning a living – yay!

How Not Changing My Game Changed My Game

by John Haydon (@JohnHaydon)

Sometimes I get emails from people I know on Twitter asking me how I’ve built up my business to the point I have (not that I’m rolling in it). They want to know how I’ve used my blog as leverage to become known as an authority on non-profit social media marketing.

I’d love to blow them away with “the secret”. But I don’t have it.

I simply decided what I wanted to do and stuck with it.

Deciding My Niche

This part was challenging and required a lot of research, both internally and externally. I knew that, based on my past success helping with non-profits with various aspects of marketing, I had something people needed. I also knew that because this service involved social media, a blog was a perfect way to sell it. But I had no idea how many others were doing the same thing.

So I made a list of folks online that were talking about social media for non-profits. I asked myself:

  1. How are they talking about this niche?
  2. Are they speaking in broad theoretical terms or very tactical terms?
  3. What’s their personality?
  4. What needs are being unmet?
  5. Is my voice needed?

Matching Inside and Outside

Once I answered all these questions I started blogging as much as I possibly could (about 3x per week). The frequency helped me “tune” my voice so that I was in harmony with both my heart/mind and my reader’s needs. This process is on going.

The “One Of Us” Marathon

I concurrently worked on developing relationships with folks playing the game I wanted to play. Some people call these folks “the competition” – I call them “the community”.

In Trust Agents, Chris & Julien talk about an idea called “one of us”. Basically, it’s the process of being invited into a special club by establishing trust with the members of that club. In my experience, this meant doing three things:

  1. Showing Up – Commenting on their blogs, meeting them at conferences, retweeting their goods, subscribing to their newsletters and eventually inviting them to guest post.
  2. Sticking Around – Month after month. Time is the ultimate vetting machine.
  3. Being Sincere – In my book, nothing is a more powerful differentiator than sincerity. It’s rarely seen but joyfully recognized when found. I’m a bad lier anyhow and being honest means not having to worry about short-term memory issues.

Game changing? I doubt it. Did it work? Yes.

Your Daily Challenge: Write down the answer to this question: Where does a marketing niche arrive at a crossroads with your passion?

John Haydon advises non-profits and small businesses how to implement inbound marketing strategies with the social web.

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