A year ago, nobody knew who I was.
My blog traffic was in the single-digits, and my subscriber-list only included a few dozen of my friends.
In short, when it comes to the world of online marketing, I was a nobody.
Well, things have changed a lot since then.
We’ve got traffic, subscribers, and you’ve probably heard my name on multiple occasions.
And most exciting, today I’m launching my new book, Engagement from Scratch!, which is co-authored by 30 of the most successful audience-builders that I could find, including Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark, Mitch Joel, and TGC’s very own Ana Hoffman.
Everyone wants to know one thing: how did I get them all to write for me?
Relationships Always Come First
Before I dive into the mechanics of how I got everyone on board, I want to stress that the relationships come first; I built relationships with most of the people who contributed to the book before I even thought about writing one.
Does that mean that you need to spend years building relationships?
No, it doesn’t, and I certainly didn’t.
But I did give before I expected to receive, and before I asked for anything. I worked my tail off promoting Guy Kawasaki’s new book Enchantment, and I wrote guest posts for or wrote guest posts for Copyblogger before asking for anything, not to mention buying almost everything they’ve produced over the last couple of years.
I didn’t do those things because I was trying to get a favor out of them further down the line – I promoted Enchantment because it’s a great book, and I was lucky that Guy made the time to do an interview with me. I bought Copyblogger products because they’re great, and I wrote guest posts for them because it’s a privilege to do so.
But the point is that I didn’t email them out of the blue being like “Hey, Guy, you don’t know me, but could you maybe write a chapter for my book?”
And that made the biggest difference, as you’re about to see.
Start With the Biggest Fish
Of course, I didn’t have relationships with everybody.
Guy Kawasaki and Brian Clark weren’t the only big names on my list; Gary Vaynerchuck, Tim Ferriss, Leo Babauta, Tony Hsieh, and even Malcolm Gladwell are all people that I have a huge amount of respect for, but hadn’t had an opportunity to interact with yet.
So I reached out to them all, and explained what I wanted to do, and who I was hoping would get involved.
And guess what: most of them said no.
They were polite about it, but they very understandably declined. They didn’t know who I was, and I’m sure they get approached very frequently with all sorts of requests. And let’s face it, writing a chapter for a book is a fair amount of work.
But the people that I had at least a bit of a relationship with – like Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark, Mitch Joel, and Derek Halpern – were kind enough to take a chance on me and say yes.
And I was off to the races!
“Want to be in a book with Guy Kawasaki?”
Once I had a few superstars on board, it was a lot easier to approach everyone else on the list.
After all, who would say no to the chance of being in a book with Guy Kawasaki and Brian Clark?
The responses were almost all favorable, and it was a long and impressive list:
- People who have built impressive followings, like Marcus Sheridan, Corbett Barr, Evan Carmichael, and others…
- People who are recognized experts in the fields of marketing, PR, and social media, like Danny Brown, Gini Dietrich, Mark Schaefer, and others…
- Published authors like Randy Komisar, Sean Platt, Adam Toren, and more…
All together, I ended up with 30 audience-building experts – ranging from the Brian Clarks and Guy Kawasakis, whose audiences number in the six or seven figures, to people who are just getting started like Stuart Mills and Jk Allen, whose audiences ‘only’ number in the thousands.
Yours Free: Engagement from Scratch!
And yep, that’s right – the book is free. You can download the entire book without paying a cent. Just visit the book’s website, click on the download link, and tell me what email address to send it to, and moments later you’ll the full-length PDF waiting for you in your inbox.
You see, I wanted to be sure that anybody who wants access to the book could have it. Which is why the digital version is free.
But I do want you to buy the book, and I think you want to buy it, too. Let’s be honest here… 239 pages is an awful lot of content to read on a digital screen.
And these aren’t 239 pages that you’re going to be skimming and skipping through, either – every single one of the book’s contributors put their heart and soul into giving you the best advice that they possibly could – so you’re going to want to read it.
Isn’t it worth spending a bit of money to get the paperback version, so that you can read on the couch or in bed, and write notes in the margins?
Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is the co-founder of Firepole Marketing, the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, and the co-author (with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark, and many others) of Engagement from Scratch! (available on Amazon, or as a free download). The latest and greatest thing you can get from him (for free, of course) is his Naked Marketing Manifesto, about marketing that really works!