How does writing content shape the course of your professional evolution? We’ve seen many entrepreneurs start off in one direction and discover new strengths and talents through writing online content. I think regular blogging where you document and share your daily journey helps shape the trip.
Des Walsh comes to my mind. His entrepreneurial journey has been visible online through his blogs and social networking participation. He’s been a pioneer in online content publication.
We met Des Walsh back in 2004 when we first started blogging and we’ve watched him evolve and gain massive visibility on the Web. At the time I think he had recently retired from a government/public service position and focused on helping others with home-based businesses. My memory’s a bit foggy on this, but what really counts is what he’s done since then.
He’s often speaking at big conferences and generously shares his knowledge and networking talents with everyone. Read his responses to this interview about content marketing for more insights.
1. Tell us what your profession is, and who your typical clients are.
Social media strategist and business coach.
Business owners in the small to medium sized business sector; entrepreneurial, emotionally balanced, who look at business and life from a framework of thought-through, practiced values, care about the people in their firms/networks, want to take their business/career to the next level and still have their friends and family talking to them when that is achieved; generally between 35 and 55.
2. What marketing tools do you use on the Web?
Blogs and various social networking tools/platforms
Also contribute (not a lot lately but on a promise to improve) to
Use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (wrote a book on LinkedIn for Recruiting) and some others
Soon to launch an online radio show via BlogTalkRadio – – with a focus on doing business online, with and in China.
3. What kinds of content do you write or use to market your business?
- Stories with a point
- Reviews of products that can help productivity
- Things I think of walking on the beach
- Fruits of career over many years, first in the public service, and more recently, as a business owner
My approach is of the non-techie business owner making my way in a networked world and sharing what works for me.
4. What sources, besides your own, do you use to find content?
Other blogs via RSS feeds
5. How much of yourself, your personality, your own experiences do you include?
A lot. I don’t go much into personal family details and I don’t do religion/spirituality or politics or much about my reading outside the world of business, on my blogs – they are business blogs – but longer term readers know a lot about me, how I think, something of my values, where I live, etc.
My wife is a blogger in her own right – The Abundance Highway – and her readers probably know more about me in some aspects than my readers do.
I believe that if someone wants to know whether they could do business with me and whether I know my stuff they could get a fair idea from reading my blogs.
6. What kinds of results do you see from your online content? And which media bring best results?
The main result is the one I set out several years ago to achieve from my blog(s):
- To get known as a coach internationally, not just in Australia.
I’ve achieved that, but much more has come my way, including:
- My morphing into a strategist/coach about blogging and social media generally in the business space
- Speaking/training engagements in the USA, Australia and China
- Partnerships with a social media/business collaboration platform – WordFrame
- And with an online marketing and reputation management company in China – CultureFish Media
- Book writing engagements – LinkedIn for Recruiting
- And for Big Biller
- An amazing new network of amazing people around the world, in the USA, Canada, Europe, China
- Invitations to be on advisory boards in the blogging and new media space
I believe the blogs have brought the best results so far, but lately I believe Twitter has had a significant role in extending my reach.
7. How much time do you spend daily writing or posting content on your blogs or sites?
Hard one. I’d like to tweak the answer here because I spend time on blogging/social networking and it is a mix of writing/posting content and visiting other sites and commenting: say average 4 hours a day – could be longer in reality.
8. What advice would you give to others in your profession about using content for marketing?
a. Everyone has stories to tell about their product or service or industry – assume people will be interested until they prove otherwise
b. Be interested, rather than striving to be interesting – picture yourself writing for a particular person you want to help or share something with, a favorite customer or favorite type of customer
c. Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. A lot of people are too lazy and the energetic ones think their ideas are better anyway. And remember there’s nothing new under the sun, just your unique way of seeing it and explaining it.
Patsi: Des, I know I said this doesn’t have to be long… Any stories you have that can make this come alive and show people the benefits from writing content on the web would be appreciated.
Des: I live in a little town in Australia that even a lot of Australians probably haven’t heard of and most would not be able to locate on a map. I have built an international network with the low-cost/no-cost tools of blogging and social media/social networking. It’s not complicated. It’s just not easy and it is more fun when you decide to enjoy the journey not look for instant impact.
The network. …Yesterday I had an email from a person in the US wanting me to help them promote a product in the USA to a particular niche audience which I suspect is huge but is a total mystery to me. I emailed a colleague, a specialist in social media. He replied that his firm had just done a promotion to this particular group and knew who all the key bloggers were. I did my introduction. If I had not started blogging back in 2003 or sometime since, that series of events would never have happened. How does that help me in business? It’s givers gain, it’s the network. It will come round. Always has, always will.
Patsi: Thanks so much, Des, for your generosity in all that you do!