How to use Personality to Build a Loyal Audience and Create Raving Fans — with Naomi Dunford

  • May 10, 2010 by Corbett Barr
  • 27 Comments

Naomi Dunford of IttyBizNaomi Dunford is known for her brash personality and unconventional approach to business. It’s exactly those traits that have made her small business marketing site IttyBiz such a standout in a crowded market.

Naomi often says what other people might be too afraid to say because it wouldn’t be “professional,” and this interview is no exception. If you think Naomi’s approach to marketing is just adding some swearing or sex talk, think again.

I learned a lot from Naomi in our audio interview about why building a loyal audience and creating raving fans is so much easier when you inject some personality into your content. It’s not just about sounding bold or controversial, it’s about connecting with people on a human level that sometimes involves more than just business.

Below are some of the lessons I learned from Naomi in this interview about how to build an audience. Oh, and she did swear a little in our conversation. Consider yourself warned.

Listen and learn:

  • Why the Small Business Association of the United States’ definition of small business is “total crap” (1:26)
  • How Naomi missed her first major goal for IttyBiz (4:04)
  • How Naomi cleverly used guest posting and a contest to launch the first IttyBiz services (4:27)
  • Why there is no such thing as an oversaturated niche (9:44)
  • Why Frank Kern doesn’t have to go out and say f*** everywhere (14:22)
  • Why if you’re going to skimp on money in business, “you’re going to have to un-skimp out on personality” (16:16)
  • How Naomi knows someone who makes six figures and has fewer than 200 subscribers (19:10)
  • Why people won’t magically start beating down your door just because you use your personality (24:34)
  • How to make a shameless traffic grab into much more (using Sonia Simone from Copyblogger as an example) (27:38)
  • How we keep breaking social media, and why Naomi wishes she could get into Facebook (31:10)
  • Why you don’t need 50,000 subscribers anymore to have a successful blog (33:46)

Here’s the audio interview (just click the play arrow):

(or, download the file directly — right-click and choose “Save Link As…”)

And here’s the complete raw transcript:

Naomi Dunford on Using Personality to Build a Loyal Audience

Naomi Dunford is a microbusiness marketing consultant, helping businesses with fewer than 5 employees create dynamic marketing campaigns on the cheap. She works from her laptop on her couch, surrounded by goldfish crackers and Lego, and she’s never been happier. Find her at IttyBiz or on Twitter.

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Henri Junttila May 11, 2010 at 4:30 am

Awesome interview sir Corbett!

I especially agree with the whole e-mail list building part. That’s one of the reasons I’m focusing much more on building a list instead of getting RSS subscribers.

Don’t get me wrong, the RSS subscribers are nice, but you have to know what your goal is so you can use the most effective tools to get there.

Corbett Barr May 11, 2010 at 9:58 am

Yeah, and I think Naomi made a good case that getting RSS subscribers is much harder than it used to be. Not that getting email subscribers is easier, but they are definitely much more valuable.

Andy Hayes | Travel Online Partners May 11, 2010 at 7:02 am

Hooray, two of my favourite people!!!

Naomi talks trash and is a total lunatic, but her solid advice has put my businesses on the fast track to happy. She is my hero. And isn’t she cute? :-)

Corbett Barr May 11, 2010 at 10:00 am

Seriously. I’ve bought two of her electronic progeny (How to Sell the **** Out of Your eBook with Dave Navarro, and Online Business School), and WOW. She puts out some ridiculously useful stuff.

Adam Porter May 11, 2010 at 7:32 am

Fantastic interview!

I’m a really cerebral, geeky, and socially-stiff kinda guy. So, the part about personality was really great. Now, I just gotta find mine and inject away!

Thank you both for the great discussion.

Corbett Barr May 11, 2010 at 10:02 am

Just go with the cerebral, geeky or whatever comes to you. Be YOURSELF. Personality doesn’t have to equate to being funny or shocking or irreverent. The point is to be genuine and connect with people on a human level.

Wendy Cholbi May 11, 2010 at 9:45 am

Thank you SO much for including a transcript. I love Naomi and I love hearing her voice, but I don’t have the patience for recorded audio (being a more visual learner, I get distracted by whatever’s in front of me and eventually realize that I’ve stopped listening, and the idea of closing my eyes to listen hasn’t worked so far). Being able to read the conversation made it possible for me to learn from it. Good stuff, and looks like there are plenty more interesting posts to check out too!

Corbett Barr May 11, 2010 at 10:03 am

Naomi and I had a little talk about interviews and why they don’t typically do well as posts. We concluded that it’s partly because there is a lot of time consumed by listening/watching A/V formats. So, I decided to pull out some of the salient points from the interview as well as include a transcript. Glad you liked it.

Mars Dorian May 11, 2010 at 10:28 am

that’s f**king awesome, Corbett !

I found her blog about 3 weeks ago, and I totally luv her brash style – she’s got grrreat knowledge and even greater personality. I agree with her, being personal has much more value than being professional – that’s going to vaporize more and more in the digital age !

Nice interview, I EN-joyed it a lot !

Corbett Barr June 8, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Hmm, somehow I missed these comments from here down. Sorry I didn’t reply earlier…

Yes, what the hell does being “professional” mean anyways?

John Bardos - JetSetCitizen May 11, 2010 at 10:35 am

Fantastic Interview! (I also appreciated the transcript.)

Naomi definitely knows her stuff.

I wonder if finding a personality is about being authentic or more about creating a persona. I have seen lots of Gary Vee imitators and they all came across as fake. At the same time, I think our everyday lives can be dull so spicing it up with a bit of attitude is important.

Do you think Naomi of IttyBiz is always Naomi of IttyBiz?

I still haven’t been able to put my personality into my posts because I think my sarcasm doesn’t come across well. When I try, people think I am a jerk. :-)

Corbett Barr June 8, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I’m guessing that creating a persona out of thin air would be pretty exhausting after a while. I’ve talked with Naomi on the phone a couple of times, and she comes across almost exactly like she does in her writing at IttyBiz.

I hear you about the sarcasm. Getting your personality across can be a real challenge. THAT would make a great course/guide/blog post. How to get your real personality across.

John Paul May 13, 2010 at 6:58 am

Naomi is awesome.. luv how you say it and tell it like it is.. swearing included..lol

Great tips,, to be yourself, luv me or leave my blog..

Corbett Barr June 8, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Refreshing, isn’t she?

Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot June 8, 2010 at 7:58 pm

A little treat lying down on the sofa listening to you two shooting the breeze about one of my favourite topics: blogging and traffic:) Right, who has Seth Godin’s email address I want it! Unlike you Naomi, I’m a prude when it comes to swearing in print but I might do it once every 100 posts or so when I really need to let rip. Looking forward to it already:) Thanks Corbett and Naomi for the sound advice, inspiring stories and friendly voices.

Corbett Barr June 8, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Glad you enjoyed it! It definitely doesn’t feel like “work” when you tape an interview like this.

Corey Heller June 9, 2010 at 11:35 am

Thank you so much for posting this interview! Social Media Marketing is fairly new to me but I feel like I’m slowly but surely making my way. Every bit of advice and encouragement I can get my hands on really helps – and this interview was a big boost! — Thanks, Corey

Corbett Barr June 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Great, Corey! Glad you enjoyed this. Best of luck.

Larry Clark November 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Corbett how about a download link?
for my iPod?

Corbett Barr November 8, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Great idea, Larry. I just added a download link. Let me know if it doesn’t work. Cheers.

Adam Porter May 11, 2010 at 10:58 am

I think that’s the conflict. My professional, socially-stiff personality can be sleep-inducing to people in the wrong situations. I just imagine that learning about trading the stock market (as that’s what I write about) in my unflavored vernacular is agonizingly boring.

So, yes, that IS my personality…but for my niche, I feel that some elements need changed in order to keep interest and make the instruction more effective.

Though, I suppose it may not require a personality or writing-style change, rather something as simple as changing my methods of teaching (e.g. over-the-shoulder video how-to’s instead of an eBook format, etc.)?

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