8 Calls to Action that Initiate New Relationships with Customers and Collaborators

I know. I know. I know.
“Viral” is an actual term people use to describe wildly popular content that has spread across a variety of distribution channels, landing in our Twitter feeds, Apple News updates, text messages, and emails from Uncle Sue.
But I still don’t like the word.
When “going viral” is a goal for a piece of content, it puts me a little on edge.
Viral content may feed your ego, but it doesn’t necessarily feed your business.
Business success without “going viral”
I understand it’s frustrating if no one knows about your products or services. That’s why you want a lot of people to see your work.
But sustainable success stems from your dedication to produce one great line at a time and consistently publish your content. One article/podcast episode/video is not going to change everything.
Plus:
Many smart content moves have nothing to do with a piece of content “going viral” and don’t depend on a massive amount of views.
So, stop putting pressure on yourself. “Viral” doesn’t need to be your goal.
Let’s talk about what you can do right now to initiate new relationships with the customers and collaborators who will help build your business.
1. Ask for comments and suggestions
I always talk about crafting a thoughtful presentation, but individual pieces of content are not definitive articles on a topic — nor should they be.
While you want to thoroughly express your message, an exhaustive guide that tries to tackle the subject from every angle is tedious to read. It’s

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Why You Don’t Need to Be a Thought Leader

We all want to get traffic to our websites. We want to build audiences who are interested in what we have to say and responsive to our offers.
And so it’s natural to think that we should become “thought leaders.” (Or, to push the expression a little further down Jargon Lane, “thought leaders in our space.”)
Perhaps even more coveted than “going viral,” thought leadership is that elusive, glittering prize — the Golden Snitch of web publishing.
Most of us (I hope) know better than to self-identify as thought leaders. But we think it would be kind of great if other people started calling us that.
I’m not buying it. And here’s why.
First, the petty part: I just hate the term. It’s a clumsy verbal construct that has no need to exist.
Saying “thought leadership” instead of influence has always reminded me of Homer Simpson calling his garage a “car hole.”
But I have real reasons, too.
Let me be clear: I think it’s smart to publish the kind of content that people pay attention to. I think it’s smart to publish good advice. I think it’s smart to be smart.
But thought leadership implies that you have some kind of shiny, new insight that no one has articulated before. To be a thought leader, what you’re saying can’t just be interesting, well-reasoned, and useful — it has to be new.
Novelty is not wisdom
Allow me to propose a radical notion:
We don’t actually need a bunch of new thoughts.

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Try These Useful Suggestions to Build Your Audience

On Monday, our good and wise friend Andy Crestodina showed the difference between optimizing for search engines and optimizing for social shares. He also gives us a nice piece of advice about how you can get really crafty and do both.
Proofreading might not seem exciting, until the day you publish a post with the headline Making that Shit into the Next Phase of Your Career. Don’t let that happen; read Stefanie’s Tuesday post.
On Wednesday, Brian Clark reminded us that search and social get all the attention, but it’s email that pays the bills. He explains why email is the most important content distribution platform you have … and reveals that my favorite analogy for how to treat your audience has always given him the jitters. (Do you agree with him? Let us know in the blog comments! …)
And earlier today, I posted our Content Excellence Challenge prompts for April. These are fun, creative exercises we do together as a community. Both of the prompts are practices that will make your content better, and get you making more of it.
On The Digital Entrepreneur, Bryan Eisenberg shared his insights with Sean and Jessica on how to leverage Amazon self-publishing to find new audiences and customers. If you haven’t encountered Bryan yet, he’s a bit of a marketing and persuasion guru/ninja/Jedi/grand master … but the kind who actually knows what he’s talking about. He understands Amazon on a deep level, and the conversation is filled with useful

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A Surefire Way to Get Constant Traffic to Your Content

Two weeks ago, my side project Further had one of its highest traffic days ever.
If you’re not familiar, Further is a personal development email newsletter in which I curate content from around the web. It’s basically whatever I find useful and interesting related to health, wealth, wisdom, and travel.
So what sparked the traffic? After all, the newsletter’s primary function is to send traffic to other websites.

Was it a significant social share from a relevant influencer?
Did I spend a fortune on a pay-per-click advertising campaign?
Had I caught a link in another personal growth newsletter?

It was indeed a link from a personal growth newsletter. Only thing is, the link was from me, in the Further newsletter itself.
Here’s what happened.
After adding the category of travel to the topics I curate for the newsletter, I also decided to test including original travel articles on Further.net to see what the response would be.
Long story short, I met a travel writer at a conference in Austin, which resulted in The French Riviera for the Rest of Us, an article that shoots down the myth that la Côte d’Azur is only for wealthy movie stars and international men of mystery.
I first built an email-based audience with curated content, so that when I moved to original content, it would get guaranteed traffic. In fact, that article got tons of clicks, because after two years of serving the audience, I knew it would be a hit with my subscribers.
Let me give you

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