Today’s post is inspired by Matt Mickiewicz the founder of Sitepoint, Flippa.com and 99designs.com. He is a young multi-millionaire who believes that success is all about creating value and helping people. I watched an interview with Matt and Sean Gallagher that was posted on StartupFreedom (edit: here is the link to the video) and it’s truly amazing how Matt got to where he is now. I highly recommend that you go check it out too.
Matt started Sitepoint over 10 years ago and grew it to the most visited web developer forum in the world. It all started with creating great content and providing value to people. Matt says, “We don’t really have much of a marketing budget. Our budget is our content budget.” I hope you take a minute to really grasp this concept because it is the key to success. In the interview Matt talks about how important it is to be patient and invest money into content. I have always been a believer that “content is king” and it’s really the only ingredient you need to become successful. Once people realize how much value you are giving them they will become your marketing tool! Think about what I just said for a minute.
We live in very exciting times and those who understand what is happening right now with the internet are way ahead of the game. More and more people come online each and every day. They all have problems and they want (need) solutions. Brick and mortar businesses realized it’s time to get with it or they will perish. New marketplaces are being created on the internet every single day which creates new opportunities for people like you and me to profit from. Can you afford to sit and do nothing?
If you provide enough value you will create a community in your marketplace and that is probably the most profitable business model. Gary Vaynerchuk says “your community is god” and I totally agree with that. Listening to your users and what they need or want is crucial, but you cannot build a community without valuable content. Content is what attracts people to you, plain and simple.
So how can you provide value?
Let’s talk about some stuff you could do to create instant value in your marketplace.
1. Write content for your readers and not for yourself. So many people write content with only one thing in mind and that’s monetization. You don’t want to constantly try to sqeeze out money from your community because they will see straight through it. There is nothing wrong with making money from your content if it’s helpful and provides a lot of value. I see so many bloggers pitching products in every single post. Please stop doing that because that’s not how you build a community. You need to help them first if you want them to help you 🙂
2. Create free software – I understand that developing software is expensive if you don’t have the budget but just imagine how much value you can create for your peers. Indentify some of the problems people have in your niche and outsource the software development that possibly solves the problem or automates some of the stuff to minimize their workload. If you do that I guarantee you will get backlinks, people will talk about it on their blogs and tweet it etc. Like I said earlier they will become your marketing tool that drives free traffic to your site without you spending a dime. For example, in the internet and affiliate marketing niche the easiest thing would be to create WordPress plugins that you could give away for free on your site. Trust me it’s powerful!
3. Participate in your own community – This is basically what Gary Vaynerchuk talks about. Listen to your users and respond. They will appreciate that. Respond to their comments, emails, help someone one on one and that person will spread the word about you. I know it’s tough sometimes especially when your community grows big and you have a huge following, but do what you can and it will pay off.
4. Allow your users to generate content for you – User generate content is one of the most powerful methods to grow a community exponentially. For example, Hubpages.com allows users to post content and earn revenue from Adsense on their platform, so does Asssociate Content. Some of the most visited websites in the world are purely based on user generate content. Why is it so powerful? Well, users will post content on your site and the incentive to earn money from it makes them build links for you 🙂
5. Simply help and don’t ask for anything in return – Such a powerful concept that has always worked so well since the beginning of our human race. It’s in our nature to recipricate back. If you genuinely help someone without any hidden agenda that person will notice that and he or she will want to do something for you. I am sure you have examples of that in your own everyday life. The same concept applies to business.
Those are just a few things I could think off the top of my head, but I am sure there is more and each one of you can come up with something tailored to your marketplace specifically.
Another thing I want to mention is how good it actually feels when you help others and provide value. It impacts your inner self and makes you feel more alive. Try that sometime, it’s an amazing feeling.