When Did Social Media Forget About Everyone Else?

I have a bone to pick with my online colleagues. I’m talking about people who write about social media, online marketing, entrepreneurship, etc.

I have a question for all of you.

When did we forget about everyone else?

When did this “industry” become about trying to turn everyone into a social media guru? When did we decide that everyone needs to become professional bloggers? Why does what most of our industry write about cater only to people who want to build an online business?

What happened to everyone else?

Why have we left behind the artists and musicians and crafts people? What about the lawyers and doctors and sales people? What about all the people with “normal” careers and “offline” interests?

When did we forget that they all need help too?

To all of you who write about the web, social media and online marketing, this might be news to you, but not everyone wants to be a social media consultant. Not everyone wants to make money online.

Some people already have careers and businesses and they just need help figuring all this stuff out. Some people want to do something online that doesn’t involve becoming a marketing expert of any kind.

Somehow we’ve all gotten sucked into the echo chamber.

Somehow we all decided to become marketing experts by teaching other people to become marketing experts. Somehow we all decided to make money online by teaching other people how to make money online.

It’s no wonder outsiders think social media is all a giant pyramid scheme.

The world doesn’t need more social media experts. The world needs to know how the web can be useful to regular people, how it can help normal businesses reach new audiences.

If you’re looking for a way to make your social media or marketing business stand out from the crowd, start talking to regular people. Help normal people understand the web. THAT is something you can build a real business around.

The social media expert space is saturated. If you’ve been barking up that tree with no success, it’s because there are ten million other people trying to do the same thing.

I’m going to share something with you that could be a goldmine of opportunity. I received this email from a reader last week.

Daniel’s needs represent millions of other peoples’ needs as well. Serve them and you’ll serve yourself much better than the echo chamber is.


I’m Daniel. My #1 thing that I would like help with is: how to create a successful blog/business in a niche that is NOT in anyway related to passive income, social media marketing, or making money on line. A lot of “build a business on line” bloggers share a lot of information that can be useful, but it’s invariably related to their own niche, which is invariably something about being a internet business guru. I’m interested in information that works for other niches. See, I’m not an internet marketing guru. I’m a rock musician. That’s my passion, it’s what I’ve been doing for 20+ years, and what I know about – my niche. So how do I build MY niche?

Daniel Crandall
aka Cheezo Morgan

Project Rock And Roll
The Lovely Savages

Who’s going to help the Daniels of the world?

Has social media forgotten about everyone else?

Let’s hear it in the comments!

Published by

Corbett Barr

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.

99 thoughts on “When Did Social Media Forget About Everyone Else?”

  1. You are right Corbett and hit the nail on the head.
    Recently I have been interacting with people interested in web sites and although they are interesting in using social media it is not their primary concern.

    When speaking to a lawyer he said that he was not interested in seo or social media ?? His business is successful using old school methods and gets a lot of referrals from word of mouth. However needed a website upgrade so clients can easily see what is available as a service without going through a consultation.

    The current buzz for traffic is Social Media, and a few years ago it was SEO. I think partially because Social Media only requires you to login and connect without any technical know-how. It is networking which is an ancient method of doing business and has been bought online.

    Maybe it is worth taking the word ‘Social’ out of the context and just use the term ‘networking’ and asking people to find those interested in their services anywhere on the web forums, blogs, etc and not just via Social Media

  2. Good points. At the end of the day your success will be measured in large part by the number of people you help. And there are a ton of people that need help with basic things like how to build a website and a community for their niche. They’re less concerned with generating passive income and more concerned with how to get their blog indexed by Google and found by their fans.

    Nick, The Traffic Guy

  3. The first question asked in these cases should be ‘what are you doing now’, followed by ‘what it is you want to achieve’, then we can have a discussion. Social media (and any kind of media) is a tool – useful for some things, not so for others. One should pick and choose. Then do something, measure impact (if you,re a business, it’s revenue) then decide on how to move forward.

    Thinking about just social media locks you in a surprisingly small box… I just smile when online gurus share their latest ‘secret trick’ of going offline – like talking with people, etc 😉

  4. I have to disagree with this a little bit. One of the places I hang out a lot online is over at the Warrior Forum, and the “teaching offline business owners how to effectively utilize social marketing tools” has been huge for awhile. Actually, it’s too big there, in my opinion, because it’s encouraging people who don’t have the education necessary to help others to go out and charge businesses thousands of dollars for skills that they haven’t fully developed.

    In fact, I’m surprised to see how much of the social marketing skill set is trickling down to offline businesses anyways – with or without blogs that cater to them. I’m a belly dancer, and I’m seeing more and more professional dance companies utilizing things like affiliate links and 2D barcodes on their websites. That kind of thing definitely wasn’t happening a year ago!

    At the end of the day, my blog is about teaching beginning affiliate marketers how to succeed online. And that’s okay, because that’s what I know how to do. My skill set leads me to choose this as a target market because it’s where my experience lies. I haven’t worked with a ton of offline business owners, so I know I’m not the best person to give them advice on how to incorporate social marketing tools into their businesses.

    1. Hey Sarah, thanks for sharing your disagreement. I hadn’t heard of that section of the Warrior Forums. Do you think that’s where the professional dance companies are getting their info?

    2. There’s a whole “Offline Marketing Discussion” on the Warrior Forum that talks about pitching web marketing services to offline businesses. I agree that there isn’t awareness about social marketing tools amongst offline business owners, but there’s definitely a community of bloggers and internet marketers targeting them and getting the message out.

      As for the dancers, I have no idea where they’re getting their info. I just about fell off my chair, though, when I saw an Amazon associates link up on one of their sites, recommending the company’s preferred air mattress for a weekend seminar :)

    3. There is a huge problem with people selling services they do not know how to perform and blogging about what they do not know. This “blind leading the blind” problem is why so few find success because newbies at anything do not know how to tell who knows what they’re doing and who doesn’t.

      Often the people giving truly bad advice sincerely believe they are right so they can be very convincing to others. I see this even in experienced bloggers who should have enough knowledge to recognize bad advice when they read it – but don’t.

      This post and others like it that encourage people to offer value to existing businesses is what we need to see more often. There is tons of work available for those who develop specialized skills,

      What bloggers can do is write up exactly what they can do (with examples of having already done it) and put a set price on each specific task so that businesses can answer a few yes/no questions and make decisions. THAT will work. I wrote about that in a post about how to get more freelancing work that I will link to this comment.

    4. Gail – couldn’t agree more! If someone can combine the skills that Corbett is talking about above with some of the techniques for selling services to offline businesses that are discussed in the Warrior Forum, I think they’d see a great deal of success.

      Unfortunately, people who sell themselves as social media experts without have the skills or experience to back that up do a huge disservice to those of us that study, test and implement these strategies extensively.

  5. Great post Corbett. Glad that I’m already doing this myself. All of my niche sites are outside of the “make money online” niche, and I work with the businesses you talk about, and have partners doing the same. As you say there is huge opportunity, people don’t want to have to learn what we know, and they’ll pay for us to do it for them.

    Thing is you can’t always find those people online, which means you have to get out and network, in real life. That’s scary for many folks that don’t want to get out from behind their computer.

    Oh well, more for those that do.

    1. Sad isn’t it, that it has become scary for people to interact with other people in “real life?”

    2. Maybe that’s because we’ve all been sold the ‘live on the beach’ dream by Frank Kern and co for so long that we started to think we don’t have to interact with another human. In fact, maybe we can just switch on our computers, drink coffee and watch the money roll in… it just doesn’t seem to be working that way …

  6. But really…do the other 97% of humanity that isn’t constantly reading blogs, using Twitter and checking Facebook daily matter? I mean, it isn’t like they buy anything.


  7. Agreed. We help small and medium size businesses by offering internet marketing troubleshooting. We’ve been doing it for almost 20 years. I see way too much MLM-related stuff on the internet.

  8. Finally fucking said it, excuse my french there Corbett.

    Seriously I think most of these wanna be online guru’s are people in a cave rehashing the same shit some other dude in a cave said. Slowly we’re all becoming caveman again.

    Okay but about helping Daniel, The Rock and Roll star blogger.

    I would ask Daniel, what do you think you’d want to read if you were looking for a r&r blog or r&r information do you think people need or want to know more about? Start there.

    I would go to the KW research tools like the adwords tool and see what people are typing in. Use google instant to see what other searches are coming up, this is what I found in one search:

    rock and roll hall of fame
    rock and roll hall posters
    rock and roll hall marathon….

    and a bunch more.
    By the look of your blog it doesn’t say rock and roll to me, and I’m not a rocknrolla. Maybe pay someone to design it. Just some ideas. I’m not a guru but those are just some ideas I through out, hope they help.

    By the way Corbett great job actually helping dude out like this. So many bloggers focus on their stuff their numbers and what not…awesome opportunity of helping others get what they want, so that eventually you get what you want. I like your style bud.

    1. Cheers Wilson, thanks for the reaction, and thanks for the example tips for Daniel, I’m sure he (and people like him) will appreciate it.

  9. hey corbett,
    something doesn’t seem to add up. is daniel crandall aka cheezo morgan really real/serious? as far as i can tell he’s telling one thing and doing another. he’s mentions affiliate marketing on his site yet writes to you he’s not interested in making money online. hmmm. he also has 3 posts (2 from today 2/7/11, 1 from 2 days ago). that’s it as far as i can tell. did you check his site out?

    what do you think?

    I’m thinking weird goose chase.

    1. He’s real. We corresponded over email. His site wasn’t really finished, so I know he wrote another couple of posts over the weekend in anticipation of this article going up.

      Anyway, my point is there are millions of other people like Daniel. don’t you think?

    2. Hi, is Daniel aka Cheezo Morgan. Yes I am real. ;). Let me clear up a bit of confusion regarding my question to Corbett. I WANT to make money online! I just don’t want to do it by being a “make money online guru”. 99% of the ‘niche marketing’, ‘social marketing’ and ‘blog income’ expert sites I see speak almost exclusively to others in those same niches. – and as I mentioned in my question, there is a lot of good information there. But there are a lot of us who would like to know how to translate that knowledge to our own niches. Perhaps mine is rock guru? :) I’m still trying to figure that part out. (and yes, my site and concept is still baking). Great discussion!

    3. I agree with Daniel. Sometimes it can be hard to take the information and translate it into a blog not about making money.
      I am interested in making money online. But only because I want to work less. Not because I want to quit my job and just build websites.
      I would really appreciate more information about using a blog to bring a small company clients. And creating long term business goals that include a blog and a small business. Maybe how I can diversify my income so if I want to take a month off of work I can.

  10. Nice. I’ve been thinking about this alot lately and am trying to really focus on Creatives and provide content on how successful artists, musicians, etc use the web and online tools. I do talk sometimes about online marketing, but I also talk about the need to show up at your gallery openings, build electronic press kits, tell a story with your copy to sell your jewelry, and overall develop a story that makes people care.

    Marketing and social media are important parts of any business. But you’re right, it’s not the end-all answer. This came at a perfect time, b/c I’m currently outlining and building 2 free mini-eCourses for Creatives and always intended it to -not- be about Internet marketing. But rather, a tool on how to create, diversify, and implement offline and online marketing for their craft.

    1. I’d rather not, examples have gotten me in trouble lately 😉 Think of it as a general sentiment people not in “the industry” have about it. Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. I’ve certainly been guilty myself at times.

    2. No I don’t agree with your post at all, but I can see why you’re saying it. People teach when they don’t have the skills because they like giving themselves the ‘expert’ title and they can’t really be judged for it because there is no exam or qualification needed as proof.

      Saying everyone is trying to turn everyone into a social media marketer is a bit much, in my opinion.

      I think, and i’ve probably suffered from this myself, is that you’re struggling with ‘projection’. For example, when a guy cheats on a girl, he starts projecting his own bad ways on her and starts assuming that she has cheated on him.

      Maybe you’re just trying to teach everyone else to become a marketer, and believe everyone is doing it to you 😉

      No hate. Just wanted to have my say.

    3. Thanks for the opinion Glen, we’re all entitled to them 😉 I certainly wasn’t talking about you or your site, if that makes you feel better. You’ve always shared really worthwhile content. In fact, I’m not talking about anyone in particular. I was just reflecting on the email I received from Daniel (and others) and trying to represent that sentiment. There is definitely something to think about there. And yes, like I said earlier, I’ve been guilty of playing to the echo chamber myself sometimes. Cheers.

  11. Thank you for a very interesting article. You make some good points. Like how is the normal entrepreneur suppose to use social media and all the other tools. Today, I believe a business needs to focus on both online and offline strategies. The number one question must be…as the great Gary Halbert would put it…where is the “Starving Crowd”. Then it is up to you to serve your market, where they are.

  12. People in general and entrepreneurs especially will always search for the money where they can find it. Some time ago this was SEO, now it’s social media and soon it will probably something else. And the easiest way to learn something is when someone else pays you to. This also happens in the “offline” world.

    So I like your angle of tackling blogging without the financial aspect.

    I had a quick look at Daniël’s blogs, and it immediately appeared to me that only one of both sites has audio, and it’s a bit hidden. If you make a blog about music, you need audio.
    There is also no video. Since the Lovely Savages Sounds is the blog of a band, I think it should have video too.
    Some old fashioned media :-)
    There needs to be interaction with MySpace, the social network for musicians.
    But most important is more content. Much more content. And then we can start thinking about building an audience.

    1. You bring up a great point Nicolas, with your comments about Daniel’s sites. Sometimes the advice needed to take a site like that up to the next level is fairly simple advice. Add audio, create more content, and interact with other musicians. Simple but effective. Thanks.

    2. Thanks for your tips Nicholas.

      As for the site for my band The Lovely Savages, you’re totally right we need more media bad – we’re recording music right now and once that’s done video will be close behind. The audio that’s there are just rehearsal demos for the purpose of having something there.

      Regarding my other blog, that’s not band specific. My idea is to share my experiences being a DIY musician, interesting or overlooked kick ass rock bands, tips like how to teach yourself to play guitar and sing at the same time (the topic of my first give away ebook), and other facets of making rock music on ones own terms.

      I hear you that I need to have more media on the blog as well. I did included youtube video in my post about the band Dr. Feelgood, and will definitely brainstorm other ways to include more media. Any ideas on that would be fantabulous!


  13. Corbett,

    This really hit home for me. I’m sick and tired of seeing more sites pop up online telling people how to make money online because that is the route to go. Not true. The route to go and move forward with is one where the individual truly loves doing whatever they love and getting the needed help from people like us to take them to new experiences with social media.

    I consult for the Iowa State Daily for using social media and its crazy how many people don’t know the basics of using social media to help them or just stay connected to the people or items that interest them. If they were shown this they would honestly spread the true importance of social media. It’s not to make money online. It’s to have the ability of advancing your career, interests, communication, and understanding.

    More of us just need to understand that social media is not just for making money online or helping businesses. It’s much bigger than that! It’s for helping people wanting to take their interests or career even further. Time to start thinking at an individual-by-individual base.

    1. I agree with you man. But I don’t blame these newbies, it’s hard when all they see is people talking about MMO you know. It isn’t until later when they get how it works that they start using the web the correct way. Doing something they love. I was a newbie once so I see why the big problem, with all these people that don’t know how to MMO talk about how to MMO.

    2. Hey Wilson,
      That’s exactly the route that brought me here. I actually thought at one point “well, I need to become an on line marketing guru if I want to make money on line”. I didn’t have to go too far down that road before I hit a wall and said “what the hell am I doing? this isn’t me! I need to figure out how to make this work for me and what I’m good at and what I know”.

  14. Hey Corbett,
    Recently, one of my readers emailed me and asked me how she could make some pocket change selling articles. To me, that seems easy enough, but I realized that not everyone has gone as far down the rabbit hole as I have, and I’m perfectly happy to provide people with the info they want. Sure, she could find it elsewhere, but she came to this dude, and this dude will oblige. Why?

    Because everyone wins: I get to write an ‘easy’ post, and my readers win because they can learn how to make an extra $100 per month.

    Oh my god I’m writing about making money online.

  15. People enjoy doing what they’re good at.

    I think most marketers neglect this opportunity. This is where guys like Chet Holmes, Scott Hallman and Jay Abraham clean up is because as marketing consultants, they take what you’re doing already (usually offline strategies or minor online stuff)… and optimize it.

    They don’t walk in and give people all kinds of foreign language methodology and 10 networking sites they need to start using a.k.a work-potential for looking dumb not knowing what they’re doing, in order for them to see results. That’s what causes deer in the headlights, frozen, don’t want to go to work syndrome.

    The old school pro’s ride on what you’re already comfortable with, and feel you’re fairly competent with and then they make minor tweaks that make huge differences to get you happy and profitable.

    And then, and only then, might they entertain the idea of introducing some new shiny object.

    Most consultants would do wise to follow their lead.

  16. I’m beginning to think that the only people who read blogs are other bloggers…note that most comments on blogs are bloggers linking to their content. I am not a blogger, just someone looking for useful information… and I really get tired of the same old sales-oriented pitches…and delighted to read your article today!

    1. Great point, but you need to keep something in mind. Bloggers are much more likely to be commenters, that’s why you see so many people with blogs in the comments. BUT, for most blogs, less than 2% of readers typically bother to leave a comment. What you read in the comments isn’t a true representation of a blog’s general readership.

  17. I can understand where you are coming from as I experienced something similar recently. I have a blog, not about social media, but about personal development and living a healthy balanced life. The only thing I sell are a few e-books in similar niches, however I am currently writing my own e-book and developing workshops. I went to a blog conference recently, and while a lot of it was great, there was not much geared toward the blog/biz who had created their own product (not a handcraft) to sell. And I am finding that I need to reach outside of the world of biz and mommy bloggers for my readers/potential customers. Maybe participate in some forums, etc.
    Blogging can definitely be used in ways to be an asset to an exisiting offline business, such as the musician who needs to stay in touch with his fans.
    Great post, we are not all social media consultants. Then who would we consult to?
    The Gifts of Imperfection- A Giveaway!

  18. Hi I’m Daniel – the guy who sent Corbett the question in his article. First things first… Thanks Corbett for taking the time to write this article! And thanks commenters! Let me say that I have read a ton of blogs, ebooks and wood books about social marketing, affiliate marketing, blogging for fun and profit, and anything to help me take my passion and skill and make money on line with it. I’m probably on information overload at this point.

    Now I’m starting to put my feet on the pavement and trying this stuff – building a blog, getting set up with some affiliate products, working on SEO, article marketing. As I mentioned to Corbett in my email, I’ve been a little frustrated by the ubiquity of “echo chamber” phenomenon as he called it. Ok. I can see how this all works for aspiring experts in social media/blogging income/affiliate marketing/SEO. I’m just trying to figure out which concepts apply to me and which do not.

    For instance, I’ve met resistance to the idea that I use a ‘stage name’ that I’m also using it for my blog. Yet, in art and especially rock music, this is not considered deceptive or a blow to credibility or even weird. (Bob Dylan? Johnny Rotten? Bono?) It’s a way to differentiate yourself from the crowd. On the other hand, maybe it really doesn’t work in the internet marketing world regardless of my niche.

    I would devour any suggestions and advice! (thanks Wilson for the tips bellow!) My blog is admittedly very half baked; eventually I probably will pay somebody for a better design. In any case, suggestions rule!

    Thanks again!
    (aka cheezo)

  19. I don’t disagree with your points in principle, but I don’t think people in our niche have messed up either — for two reasons.

    1. First, a note on why you see people mostly talking about social media/making money online:

    The internet is a big place and I’m sure there are all sorts of sites about rock and roll, creating art, and thousands of other areas. That’s not the circle that you and I run in because we are interested in building online businesses.

    There might be someone out there writing about how to build an online business as a musician, but we don’t come across that because we’re not trying to build a music business online. Thus, we are bound to see far fewer people talking about those things online.

    Furthermore, most people with “normal” careers and “offline” interests are — big surprise — offline. I worked in a medical practice and 99% of doctors don’t need help online. The online world didn’t “forget that they need help” too. It’s just that they help we provide isn’t relevant to most of them. And if it’s not relevant to most of them, then it’s not a business for most of us.

    2. Secondly, and more importantly, there is a clear reason why most people choose not to talk about niche markets. People are trying to build their own business and they want to have as many customers as possible.

    I would imagine that this is the reason why you made Think Traffic about “building a high-traffic website or blog” rather than “a place that teaches musicians to build a high traffic website.”

    For the most part, your traffic building tips apply to many people, not just musicians. And because you have dreams of building a large audience, you choose to address the largest market you can within the “traffic building” niche. Rather than creating something just for musicians, you trust that musicians — and your other readers — are smart enough to apply the traffic building tips to their own market. I think you’ll find that many people build sites with the same approach.

    When most people start a site, they have dreams of building something large, profitable, and compelling. They want the next Zen Habits, Copyblogger, or Art of Nonconformity — not the next niche blog that most people don’t know about. There is nothing wrong with highly niche blogs, but they aren’t sexy and they don’t have the major market potential. Most people — you and I included — are going to choose to spend their time trying to build something bigger with a broader market appeal.

    So, in short: Yes, there are all sorts of offline audiences that need help as well, but you hear less from them because they are offline. Meanwhile, most people that are online talk about more general strategies in an effort to maximize their own audience.

    1. Hi James.

      I get what you’re saying. But it doesn’t it also follow that if you want to be by targeting marketers and would be experts, you’re also unnecessarily narrowing your niche? Would it not prove your internet business building acumen even more if you were to say, put up a case study where you helped a musician (or artist, or real estate agent) struggling to establish their on line identity and tribe to focus their concept and build an audience? Would that not show the rest of the folks in the social media marketing yadda yadda niches that you really know what you’re talking about?

      Just thoughts.

    2. Dan,


      I just sent an email out to my list today with a testimonial from one of my readers who used my freelancing email course to start earning money at an solar energy non-profit. Results are the ultimate form of proof. Everything else is just fluff.

      p.s. You may have already found this, but Derek Sivers has a great marketing guide for musicians. It’s about marketing music, but it can apply to all sorts of things and I thought of it because of your background. You may enjoy it: http://sivers.org/pdf

  20. Well said.

    The din of the affiliate marketing MLM bullshit echo chamber is so pervasive, it’s impacting society in general. An example, I was recently tasked to develop a series of workshops to help anyone start using blogs as a means of communication behind the firewall (or beyond) here at our 50,000+ employee multi-national.

    Despite being an avid blogger, I couldn’t shake this odd feeling that helping people start and build blogs was scheister territory. Why? Because there are elventy-billion blogs out there already preaching how to build fantastic blogs, more often than not, for the sole purpose of generating a large audience and serving up ads. Yawn.

    Once I’d broken through the thick-skinned mold of the echo chamber, I saw the light. We’re moving ahead with our workshops. It all starts with a focus on who the blogger wants to speak with and how to provide meaningful value that genuinely improves the reader’s quality of life.

    Einstein said “Information is not knowledge.” Knowledge comes from the dynamic application of information. Knowledge is synthesized. Press on with this vibe, Corbett. Dynamically apply the collective experience of this community to new problems. Let’s synthesize some knowledge. It’s power, you know.

  21. You might have helped me figure out a direction to take my own blog! I’ve been struggling to find a direction. I don’t want to do what everyone else you pointed out in your article is doing…I also find it quite annoying that everything seems to be written with a specific niche in mind.

    I’ve always enjoyed helping others, and I started by trying to help seniors get the most from their blog. That was nice, but I think you might have opened my eyes a little more. Thanks!

  22. Cobett,
    Once again I find myself in complete agreement with you. It’s not just social media experts, why are so many blogs targeting bloggers? Are we forgetting that blogs are a great way to drive traffic to any website? I blog for businesses and entrepreneurs not for bloggers. Sure, a lot of my readers are bloggers but blogging is a tool to market their business not the business itself.

  23. #Daniel , my business is based on principles that apply in any niche.

    I don’t think there are core concepts or strategies outside “make money online” niche that could be implemented in your niche.

    People will ALWAYS buy from other people; you (and I) both mainly buy from people that we like, know or trust.

    Building your audience (tribe, community or however you want to call it) requires time, patience, passion. You have all this, right?

    Combine it with the right knowledge/skills (from the “make money online” industry) and you should have a thriving business.

    Do you have any questions, I’m open to answering specific questions for your specific niche :)

  24. This cracks me up. I was just having this conversation: Comparing “web gurus selling to web gurus” to real-estate flippers in 2005. Making affiliate money selling to people who are looking to make affiliate money has to burst at some point right?
    Let’s see some content people.
    Don’t deprive the masses of folks who just want good content on the web to read while they are supposed to be working…

  25. If you attend any local Chamber of Commerce event, that’s the number one topic. “How, as a business owner, do I use social media to market my business?”. The “offline” community wants to understand the benefit of this medium, but they don’t have the time. This is a niche I have been researching and I’ve come up empty due to competitiveness and low number of hits. Maybe I’m using the wrong keywords. I’ve found one person who’s providing video training out there. The product is called Zero to Twitter. Can’t remember the name of her blog though

  26. I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Derek Sivers AT ALL. His whole life is practically teaching musicians to dominate incredibly small niches.

    Hey Daniel, I suggest you read this:


    And then this:


    That’s really all that needs to be said. Forget keyword research and all these techniques everyone keeps suggesting. Focus on your own unique message (not original, but UNIQUE; there’s a difference:

    There’s a difference between telling a potential listener: “Hey, our music is, like, NOTHING YOU’VE EVER HEARD BEFORE. Come by and have a listen.” and telling them: “Yo, brah! Our music sounds like monkeys having sex with Beethoven with a little JAZZ and Bluegrass thrown in. You should have a listen.”

    Which one is the potential listener more likely to give a chance? The indescribable babble of the first pitch or the totally weird, but intriguing (monkey sex with Beethoven mixed in with bluegrass beats? Dude, I have GOT to hear this!) second pitch. See what I mean :)

    BTW this is idea is from Derek Sivers. Read his stuff, test it out, and I guarantee you’ll do well. Worked out for him.

    The best thing about it is that he’s completely reachable. Shoot him an email or send him a tweet:

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/sivers
    Email: http://sivers.org/contact (I think this is his preferred method of contact)

    Hope this helps, Daniel. Let me/Corbett/Derek know if you need anymore help.

  27. Thanks for this post, Corbett. Even though I get asked about my own social media success quite a bit, I’ve been reluctant to write about it for just this reason.

    However, I’ve recently made the realization that I can connect my people to my social media skills in a way that works FOR them and not just for me. My audience is artists, designers, & crafts people and they have the perfect types of businesses for social media outreach: their biz is about connecting with people.

    And so I’m trying to connect the idea of “creative living” – both its ups & its downs in a way that resonates with social media. Recently I wrote a post on using Twitter to claw out of your box – expanding your network, getting out of the “echo chamber,” etc… and it was very successful.

    The key is really finding out who your audience is and not assuming they are social media guru-wannabes. Who wants to blog to that audience anyhow????

  28. Totally agree. The thing is, all kinds of businesses that have an online presence want to sell themselves to those who visit their sites – as you say, it’s certainly not about internet marketing, it may be about presenting a beautiful product in the best way, or telling a story about your charity that makes people want to donate or volunteer, or providing a compelling online service. We should be worrying about the nuts and bolts of what works, or the issue of how to combine online with bricks and mortar – not just focusing on the narrow world of the blogger-marketer with too much time on their hands.

    (Rick, above me, you’re thinking of Laura Roeder, who I think is hugely successful because she talks to beginners and customers, not her peers)

  29. I’m actually helping a musician who was pretty big in the 70s and 80s build his online presence. Multi gold and platinum albums. He’s come to the realization that online is where it’s at now, and he’s making some progress online…new fans, old fans finding him, and he’s selling product from his own website.

  30. Wow.. So much to say,

    Corbett I know exactly what u mean bro. Hell.. I’m guilty of this myself but, eventhough I agree that newbies get into this chamber without actually having the experience necessary, I don’t think they’re to blame.

    It’s all they see..

    I understand that not everyone wants to start a blogging business about business and marketing; that’s why when i wrte about niching down, my examples include parenting and weight loss, so that my audience knows that they can talk about other things. Things that they’re passionate about.

    I started to make this change in my content a few months ago and I’m very happy I did. I’ve gotten emails from people wanting to grow a photography business, self development business and a muscle building blogging business.

    These are the people I really want to help. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for helping anyone who needs guidance, but I know that I’ll be doing my customers and clients a disservice if I didn’t tell them that they should reconsider choosing a different niche if the first thing that comes out of their mouths is, “I wanna help people make money online”..

    It’s easy to fall into this trap, especially when you’re just starting out. I’m glad someone brought It up..

    Good stuff man

  31. Hi Corbett,

    Spot on post and the reason why I take my father’s opinion quite seriously when building my sites, capture pages and creating my campaign in general.

    Why? He’s a 63 year old recent retiree who’s distrustful of much of what we see online. He’s on FB and twitter for about a year now and although he’s picked up much still comes to me for much advice and is quick to provide real world feedback in a moment’s notice. For this I am deeply grateful.

    The man sees the web through the eyes of a different bird than we’re accustomed to dealing with, or more importantly who we SHOULD be catering to on a daily basis: people who use the web to improve their life, shout out their opportunity, grow their business, or network with like-minded folks.

    He tells me if things look suspicious, if I’m not being clear, if I’m not being direct enough. His feedback has helped me out a great deal on more than one occasion.

    Hell, he’s not even in my niche. Or is he? He uses the internet to improve his life. Yeah, his feedback is valuable to me for that’s what most of us are trying to teach others, isn’t it?

    Ultimately we’re attempting to teach people how to make connections online. It can be done with social media or 1 million other methods because the tools we use to connect with people are unlimited.

    Thanks for sharing your always keen insight Corbett. It’s refreshing to take in a contrarian viewpoint to get the wheels of my mind turning a little bit more quickly. Have a great week!


  32. You asked, “Who’s going to help the Daniels of the world?”

    The answer is bloggers like me who understand that small business owners do not have the time or desire to become experts in Social Media. They do NOT need to have their own blog if they do not have the financial resources to hire it done or time to do it themselves.

    What they need is us to assist them with blog outreach, and to teach them where they have to interact themselves if they want to see real results or how they can hire someone else to assist with SOME activitities.

    We do not need any more blogs about blogging tips or how to blog or how to make money online. What we need are bloggers who can reach a specific audience that small bsuinesses need to reach. I wrote about how to do that in the post I’ll attach to this comment.

  33. Corbett, here’s another nonblogger-reader comment. We do put fingers to the key board every now and then. (Have we hit our 2%?)

    Thank you for your blog and for the provocative comment it inspired. I suspect many of us Daniel-types* have felt cynical about what seems to be a lot hype and preachifying about the exalted state of being a social-media guru, for whom pots of gold lie just beyond the next tweet. (Forgive the hyperbole it’s getting late.) At times social media does seem to smack of a “pyramid scheme” driven by “scheisters” who are close kin to the “real estate flippers of 2005.” (Some of that language in your blog and the comments above really resonated, and I’ve only been paying attention to this stuff for the past month or two.)

    So, does “the Emperor have no clothes?” The question is rhetorical. I suspect he has quite a serviceable wardrobe in the back of his closet. But there is something of a revealing, whistle-blowing, ain’t-got-no-clothes-on quality to your blog. That was my first thought.

    My second thought was, why not challenge your colleagues to show us what they’ve got in the back of the closet — show us the utilitarian, work-horse clothes of the everyman and woman. We can do without the window dressing. What can social media DO for the artists, musicians, crafts people, lawyers, doctors, and sales people you spoke of? Piggy backing on Daniel’s “case study” idea, show us! (BTW: Some of us also hang out in nonprofit and education arenas and are eager to harness social media for altruistic causes and education purposes.)

    Why not pick one deserving, red-blooded, interesting person once a month (NOT a social-media-guru-wannabe), profile this person and his/her challenges and aspirations, and invite colleagues to generate specific ideas and strategies? It’s pretty much what happened in your blog and comments above. When it did, there was substance in all that verbiage.

    Heck, you can even run some kind of contest for picking this person or devise some type attention-getting nomination process. Might this not drive traffic to this blog, give peers a chance to flex their muscles a bit, elevate industry standards, help lots of people out (those profiled, those who share characteristics with those profiled), and . . . well . . . just generate business (for all concerned)? (See, us non-blogging newbies are paying attention.)

    Anyway, might not the bubble burst sooner than later if y’all keep pitching each other and trying to enlist/sell the newbies? How many social-media gurus can the world support? Corbett, you are right. Some of us do “already have careers and businesses and we just need help figuring all this stuff out.”

    So, I echo Daniel’s thanks! A great post! I’ll definitely stop by periodically to see what happens next.


    * Sorry Daniel to reduce you to a “type,” but you’ve become a poster child for the rest of us.

    1. Fantastic idea and suggestions, Carolyn. I think your monthly profile (or something like it) is definitely worth pursuing. Let me digest the concept for a while and see what we can come up with. Cheers and thanks for “putting fingers to the keyboard” this time 😉


  34. If you don’t have an actual product to sell, than online media is nothing more than marketing masturbation.


    The Truth

  35. I am in the exact same boat as Daniel. A lot of the strategies out there for building traffic and links and monetizing don’t work in every niche. I write a lot of pop culture reviews (books, movies, tv) and blog about the process of writing from the perspective of an English professor.

    I’m sure I could make some generic ebook together that was a grammar how-to or a collection of freshman comp lessons to gather email addresses, but that’s so lifeless. I want to keep the core of what I’m writing the same, and it’s hard to find some way to build a successful brand out of that.

    I have a solid, but small, reader base, but my niche is so varied I don’t know how to increase it and make it worthwhile for me and them both without falling on the crutch of dumbing it down to Top10 lists and that kind of post.

    It will be great to see posts regarding blogs whose authors are just as serious about their niche as the meta-blogs, but with tips that will be pragmatic for us.

  36. Jesus Christ yes.


    Thanks for the shout-out for the creatives too, Corbett. I’m a (goddamn) solo performer by trade, and I’ve been trying to develop my blog identity as an authority on writing a one-person show, (so I can make money from it, let’s be honest, here) it just feels like that I NEED TO add the whole personal development pixie dust in all my posts in order to get people to read them.

    And that just feels phony to me. Extraneous is another word that comes to mind. So reading this, I feel justifies my thoughts.

    Thanks, Corbett.

  37. There’s a helluva lot more opportunity out there when working with offline businesses and, quite frankly, I want to work with these people overall because they’re the ones that have to put a TON of extra work in; they’re very, very passionate.

    That isn’t to say that people working online aren’t but when you have to put something in a box or physically show up to a location to get the job done, that takes balls.

    This is one of the biggest reasons why I’m putting my business together this year to work with small business; there’s so much great potential in these mom and pop operations that are just ready to get out there to the world; they need that little edge to get notice and I hope that’s where I can come in.

    Plus, what’s great, is that working with (as the example goes) musicians (more specifically, Psytrance artists), I get to work around the people I love to listen to and I can help them get noticed; I love their work and I wish more people could hear what they create.

  38. Really valuable advice in the comments. To not be redundant and say what has already been said I would suggest Daniel you begin networking with other individuals who do what you do and are where you want to be. Check out:


    It’s run by a guy named Joe who launched that site in 09 and has grown it into an online business. It might be a good idea to reach out directly to him, maybe even have him become a mentor in some small way. Hope that helps.


    1. I agree with David. First do a diligent search for who is already successful. Ignore all the hype and look for substance. When you find that person connect with them. They will already know others and together you can find or build what you need.

      If a diligent search does not turn up anyone, congratulations. You’re the leader and it is up to you to bring together a collaboration and brainstorm what you need. Reach out to people in other niches or sepcializing generalists (I just made that up) like me who can offer suggestions and tell you not only what has worked for others that could work for you but most importantly what will not work!

      Contrary to popular belief there are ways that most useful strategies will work for your niche too IF you know how to adapt them. Start with my post on small business Internet marketing for ideas. It is linked to this comment.

  39. Skill + Passion + Educate others = $$$

    It has nothing to deal with Social Media, Pasive Income or any other buzz word in the Internet. Find a market with problems, get paid for the solutions. Private training is no scam, it’s an industry with more than 100 years.

    Musicians (Trainers, Writters, Ilustrators, etc..) are experts and 90% of them ONLY survive by teaching (offline private classes). It’s not about making money online, it about launching a business that distribute training content the right way in an automated way 24*7 to posible customers.

    It works for any profesional activities. There is NO MAGICS behind, just education, hard work and mentoring. And yes, musicians do need training. They have no ideas of what’s the Internet as a distribution channel, and even less ideas in how to run a business.

    They should be training by other musicians that have overcome the very same difficulties and have reached the stage that the pupil wants to reach in 24/36 months.

    The point is to choose the right expert to follow. If I were musician, I would only trust a musician business man as a valid mentor/coach.

  40. Kudos to Daniel! :)

    I’m also an aspiring musician but that isn’t why I started blogging. I started blogging to create income and pursuit the things that I enjoy aside from work.

    It didn’t work out as planned so I then turned to the things that I love. Personal Development, Life hacks and Practical Knowledge, Dating. I blogged about them. To succeed is to give people what they want and fulfill it. With this I’d be earning better and giving more value as oppose to being a social media guru in which is greatly saturated and obsolete.

    As to the social media guru topic. Well, that started when automatic web based software appeared. “Oh cool, look I can add 50 followers in one click”.

    Many are still stuck on that phase even though auto web based software are now negated by twitter.

    Hop in. Blog about the things that you love, the things that you care about. Divide, focus on the niche and your audience and they may be sure to come. :)

  41. This article has made me very, very happy. Enormous thanks.

    I strongly agree that not everyone wants to or should be a Social Media dynamo. Millions of people have other jobs and interests, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be involved and shouldn’t use the opportunities available. I’ve been training individuals and organisations for years on how to incorporate IT and now Social Media into their work routine without letting it take over their life. I understand the practical applications very well and encourage people to make the best use of it. But I still want them to follow their genuine interests because I need and want them to do things I can’t – compose music, write books, educate, heal, landscape etc etc etc

    Again many thanks for saying something that needed (once again) to be pointed out.


  42. Corbett,

    I’ve never commented here, but I like your site, and I wanted to share some ideas about how I’ve used the knowledge I’ve gleaned here and at sites like smartpassiveincome.com and erica.biz as well as a half dozen podcasts that I listen to regularly.

    First off, I’m not a social marketing whiz. I have no intention of becoming one. Instead, I plan to use the tools that I’ve learned about to help grow my classic car brand. I own a brand called Gone Autos. It’s devoted to orphan cars: the cars whose brands or manufacturers are, well, GONE (like Studebaker, Pontiac, and now Mercury). The web site is still under construction.

    I learned about how to give content away in blogs and podcasts and then repurpose it into ebooks. I plan to do this with a series of podcasts whose topic will be “How to Buy X Classic Car.” I’ll interview experts and owners in various car clubs and establish relationships with them. Then I’ll repurpose that information into ebooks that I’ll sell through my site. Then I’ll offer people in these clubs a commission if they become affiliate marketers for the books that fit their interests. I’ll also donate a small percentage of my profits to the car clubs that are always starved for members and cash. These books will make money for me and serve as valuable recruiting tools for the clubs and a modest source of income for their members. I don’t know if all of this will work, but it’s a win-win for everyone.

    Another thing I’ll do is post lots of affiliate marketing links to content that I know my viewers are interested in. For instance, classic car buffs are also history buffs. An entire web page devoted to Amazon books linked to these book titles is a no brainer, and it fits my niche perfectly. Plus, I’ve done podcast interviews with several of the authors of these books, so it’s value added affiliate marketing.

    These are just two tactics in my strategy. I’ll have a Facebook page but no Twitter. My audience is primarily 35-64 year-old men, and they’re just now turning to Facebook. It makes no sense to be too far out on the technological curve. Not only that, I’m a solopreneur. There aren’t enough hours in the day to establish and then maintain ALL of these tools. You gotta be smart by picking and choosing, knowing your audience, and knowing what you can accomplish daily/weekly/monthly.

    I hope this helps people who are bewildered by the social media echo chamber. My humble advice is to take all of these fantastic ideas and apply whatever number of them you can to your particular business. Take a breath. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed. Try just one of them to start with.

    Thanks, Corbett, for acknowledging that social media is a means to an end. Not the end itself. —–Todd Ruel

    1. Hey Todd, thanks so much for sharing. I’m sure others will benefit from reading your plan.

      Just remember to keep things simple at first and focus on one thing at a time. It’s easy to plan two years worth of work for yourself and then get discouraged when everything doesn’t come together like magic. Always ask yourself: what’s the simplest thing I can do to help my customers and start earning income for my business? Start with that and then move on after you’ve accomplished it. Don’t get stuck thinking you have to build everything all at once.

  43. I couldn’t agree more Corbett! I work with small business owners and I also have found that the great majority of online marketing info out there is NOT for them. I often recommend strategies and approaches to small businesses that are the complete opposite of what many online gurus say you should do.

  44. It’s understandable why not everyone wants to work online. There’s no real human interaction.

    People really need to ask the tough questions , do some exploring, and find something they are passionate about with the proper skill set to match. Ifits just becoming something to make money, then nothing has changed. Your still gonna find yourself feeling empty and wondering what’s next

  45. When I started helping local companies use online marketing methods, I opened up a whole new world for myself. Not only did I have a lot of knowledge, but I had little competition. It’s not a get rich quick type thing. But helping the “offline” world get online in a profitable way is a real way to build a real business. Good post!

  46. Haha~~ Indeed you’re really right on this. Many people tends to follow and building the same thing educating people the same thing with the similar informations out there. :p
    Educate people to become social media guru seems to be the trend where other niche are left aside.
    This reminds us to think and provide values for all readers, but not certain specific readers all the time only.

  47. This still amazes me. I run a blog dedicated to helping people start micro businesses and I’m not at all focusing on folks who want to do it 100%online. I’ve mentioned social media maybe 3 times in a year and I get gurus and wannabe gurus spamming me with offers on social networks all the time.

    There is so much noise and it seems that the only information that you can find online about businesses is about online businesses; or hard core financial advice. How is anyone supposed to break through that?!

  48. Corbett, this is so very interesting. I work as a consultant, (it’s a bricks and mortar business) I work mainly with large businesses and I’m trying to grow my online income by offering scaled down services online for smaller businesses wanting to grow.

    I come across time and time again ‘real’ entrepreneurs who have no idea how to use social media effectively to run thier business. I don’t specialise in this, I’m an accountant and serial entrepreneur, I just add it in at the appropriate time. One of my clients recently secured $1000 additional income, wtihin 2 hours after he implemented what I suggested about using Facebook.

    I think I’ve commented here before that for many teaching people to make money online as indeed social media consulting are effectively pyramid selling ‘scams’ in the sense that they thrive because people want to know how to make money online, by sellling stuff to people how to make money online…

    Helping real people get resutls is what I do and that’s clearly what you’re doing here and you should be congratulated.


  49. Good day Corbett. Well written my friend. What would some people do without the internet right? There are others out there doing their best for living without any social media at all. As long as it does not become an addiction, let’s continue the hard work being considered for everyone!


  50. By the way Corbett: I really like the way the pictures look on this blog; on what theme are you running it? I was thinking about giving “Thesis” a try… (?)

  51. I think you hit the nail on the head also, people visit great blogs where they are told about how many tens of thousands said blogger makes per month and decide that they want a slice of the pie. Then they just copy what they see and 99% of the time are destined to fail.

  52. Oh wow! You really read my mind. I’ve been reading a lot of prominent social media and minimalist blogs this past year. And i decided that i’m going to start a niche blog dedicated to helping artists thrive and succeed living their lives passionately.

    There is a giant empty gap online and in the real world regarding art business. Everyone giving advice is from an old school of thinking, which never seemed to help me. Or their advice is incredibly vague. They didn’t even teach art business in art school. So i’m learning all i can and working on the design for the blog now.

    But the question is how to draw traffic into such a nice blog…

  53. I should also probably say i’m an artist, and want to spend most of my time painting. But i blog because i want to connect and build an audience around what i love to do.

    I read all these blogs and use the information to apply it to what i do. I’m not trying to teach others to be a social media expert. Lol.

  54. Hey Corbett,

    Long time no chat! I think the comments gave away so much good information, but as someone who blogs in the music marketing/music business niche I wanted to chime in and see what happens.

    All the tactics in the “big/guru/A-List/whatever” bloggers/Info Marketers can really easily be adapted to any niche. We all want something handed to us on a golden spoon and think it will make us rich beyond our dreams through selling “how to train a cat to walk up the stairs” ebooks.

    Not the case.

    Where the money comes in, and the business, is in looking at creating a business. You can’t make a business out of a band that doesn’t treat itself like a business. 99% of bands I work with don’t have:

    -An LLC or any other business entity
    -Products to sell (they are always recording or writing or whatever, but you can’t make money without a product, and having multiple products will multiply your returns)
    -Meaningful content
    -A way to connect with their fans
    -An advertising budget
    -A marketing plan (my favorite b/c I get the email that says I just got 10,000 CD’s from DiscMakers, now what, and btw we have no budget b/c we spent in on recording and all these CD’s)
    -and so on…

    So this goes for any creative…do you want a business or do you want a hobby?

    How do you make money? Its the same in any business. Sell great products and services to people that want/need them. The tools don’t matter. What matters is knowing your audience, attracting them and then providing value that they will pay for.

    The gurus/A-Listers all explain this method and yes they profit off of it.

    For Daniel it’s simple. Who does he want to connect with? Rock music fans. Pitchfork has over a million of them coming to their site every month. Can he guest blog there? Can he hang out in their forums, comments, etc? Can he put an ad on their site? There are millions of Pitchfork like sites on the web, and here’s a good start to finding them:


    Then when he gets the traffic what does he want them to do? Join a newsletter? Buy a product? Enter a contest? Subscribe to his blog. Guide them…

    It makes no difference what the business is. Find out who you want to reach, figure out where they hang out (online of off) and direct them to take action with you.

    For lawyers, what kind of cases do you take? Can you find out where these people hang out, or what they search for? Focus on that and then have a lead generation system to get inbound calls and emails.

    For artists. Can you get a booth at the local farmers market? Then send people to your Facebook page with pictures of the art you just displayed and even (gasp) sign them up to a mailing list where you have special offers on your work and direct them to more art shows you are going to appear at?

    It’s a simple game. Not easy or short term but simple. You want more customers. That’s it. But if you don’t have anything to sell, none of this applies. Think about your business first. Or else it’s just a hobby and there’s nothing wrong with that. I know hundreds of musicians that enjoy playing in their garage with buddies on the weekend and playing gigs here and there to cover a bar tab. But it’s not a business.

  55. I couldn’t agree more. Helping offline businesses achieve achieve a credible online presence is often all they want – and need.
    Whether that includes Social Media should be solely based on whether it’s needed or warranted for that particular business.
    I see far too many small “bricks and mortar” businesses diving into Social Media without a marketing plan or focus to direct them. Just because they fear missing out.
    My advice – find a sensible marketing consultant and pay for sensible advice.

  56. I have to disagree slightly – a lot of the advice given about social media can be used for any business. I read quite a lot of these sorts of blogs and, in addition to helping the company I work for build a social media strategy, I also run blogs/facebook pages for a Kickboxing school, a Professional Coach, a jewellery brand and for my own modeling. For all of those businesses, the content differs, but the rules are the same.

  57. I liked this succinct message from “Daniel” and he’s dead-set right. Many people who talk about blogging forget that other people simply want to “talk” about their niche and the love they have of it.

    In fact, IMHO, some of these blogs share so much love of their niche they almost convince me to become a rock musician or whatever….now that’s scary :-)

  58. This is our goal at you knew, to let the online community know about musicians, artists and other creative people.

    I have noticed tho and find it funny that so many of the web “gurus” who make money with their websites do so by writing and v-loging how to make money online in which they basically tell you to do the exact same thing…. How does that help anyone? How does that stimulate our creative progression?

    I think its a little ridiculous, but im also laughing at it

  59. I really like your website here and this article hits home for me. I’m a master plumber/business owner, and I’m now just starting to build a blog. All I want to do is blog about what I do and help people solve plumbing problems online….and of course build an online community.

    I belong to construction forums where we have hundreds of thousands of business owners. A common topic is about how most of the “blogging” information sites cater to everybody but us. Construction is an untapped market and guess what type of businesses need the most help with marketing in this recession? Of course construction, because we have been hit the hardest first of all and second, we are construction workers with no marketing training. For guys like us to build a blog and figure it all out it’s very hard. We have the money to spend and want to spend it. But who caters to us?

    I love this article, you hit this square on the head.


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