The following article is a guest post by Brett Alan.
In a world where Internet marketing advice becomes obsolete in a matter of weeks, it’s rare to find a book with marketing insights and tactics that are as relevant and effective today as when they were first published nearly two years ago. Books about online marketing with this kind of an extraordinarily long shelf life are usually reserved for works that garner lofty descriptions such as “game changer”, “illuminating” and sometimes even “classic”.
In my opinion, Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel is one such book deserving of the praise “classic” as it has helped lay the ground-work for how I market my business online.
If you’re not familiar with the Six Pixels of Separation, I would plainly describe it as a play book for small business owners, entrepreneurs, or professionals that want to understand the why and at a high-level the how of content marketing in an increasingly digital planet.
At the crux of Six Pixels of Separation, Joel weighs in the importance of all the popular permutations of content marketing, including blogging, podcasting, video marketing, and social media. Joel recommends finding the style of content that best matches your individual strengths in the beginning of the process and slowly building a brand over time by attracting an audience through long-tail searches and social media.
Yeah, yeah, I’m sure you’ve probably heard some of these concepts before. Just keep in mind that this was published back in 2009. Some bloggers are still treating the concept content marketing like some shiny new idea. That’s part of the reason I believe Six Pixels of Separation is deserving of classic status.
But if you’re still not convinced you want to spend time reading Joel’s 304-page masterpiece, here are what I consider to be the most important crib notes:
You are the Media
It wasn’t all that long ago you had to either have special access or lots and lots of money to get your message out. Now you can communicate for almost nothing and if you work hard and long enough, build an audience and finally a business all online. You’re lucky to be born when you were.
Attention Does Not Equal Trust
Just because you’ve managed to get 100,000 people to watch a YouTube video because you recorded your 4-year-old son kicked you in the balls doesn’t mean any of these people will ever want to buy anything from you. Keep that concept in mind before when you start envisioning your brand.
More Work, More Opportunities
The harder you work and the longer you publish content the more opportunities your business will have of succeeding. Just make sure you’re working hard on a business that actually makes sense.
The Free Economy
In my opinion, Six Pixels of Separation acts as a nice introduction to the New York Times Best Seller Free by Chris Anderson. If you’re not familiar with the concept in the book Free, Chris Anderson makes the case that it’s in the best interest of some businesses to give their products away at no cost, while focusing on monetization through back-end offers or product upgrades to make money.
Mitch Joel’s beliefs align closely with the concept outlined in Free as he encourages publishing copious amounts of free content to attract, educate, and entertain an audience. Ideally, a small percentage of this audience will eventually convert to paying customers when they’re ready.
At some point in your life, you probably wanted more information than traditional media would allow. For me back in high school, I couldn’t get enough factoids about my favorite WWF wrestlers. Developing consistent content allows you to build deeper relationships with your most hardcore fans. Two hours of Monday Night Raw once a week might be good enough for 99% of the population, but for the most passionate 1% of your audience publishing more in-depth content makes sense, especially when the top 1% of your audience could be making up for 80% of your profits.
The author Brett Alan operates an SEO reseller business at StartSEOCompany.com. Visit the website to read his regularly updated blog.