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Where Marketers Go to Grow

February 3, 2011 // 9:35 AM

Becoming a Trust Agent w/ @ChrisBrogan [@InboundNow #6]

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Chris Brogan
This episode of Inbound Now features Chris Brogan! Chris is the President of Human Business Works, a blogger extraordinaire, co-founder of PodCamp, a New York Times Best Seller and co-author of the book Trust Agents , and he's also a member of the Advisory Board here at HubSpot .
In this episode we chat about:
  • What it takes to be a trust agent
  • Blogging tips Chris has picked up over your 11+ years of blogging
  • A look into the future of marketing on the web

View the full transcript of the episode here: Business Blogging best practices with Chris Brogan

What is a Trust Agent?

Chris explains that a trust agent is someone who uses internet tools to help put a human face back on business.

"The trust agent is the kind of person who, inside an organization, is translating that organization's presence on the Web, how to be human at a distance. The idea is that we have all this marketing speak, PR speak, etc. What a trust agent is, is somebody that you get the feeling that you're doing business with that company through that person."

Some real life examples of who Chris views as trust agents would be Frank Eliason  ( formerly @comcastcares), Jenny Cisney from Kodak and Matt Cutts of Googles Web spam team.

Social Media Sharing Ratio?

Chris recommends a 12 to 1 social media sharing ratio. You should be promoting other people's content far more than your own.

This may go against conventional wisdom but it's will pay you back in spades with the relationships this can help you build.

Fostering and Growing Your Community Through Blogging

It took Chris 8 years before he got his first 100 readers! Building a community of passionate readers and evangelists isn't something that happens over night! It takes time to build up this kind of momentum. 

Chris notes that being useful and giving away a ton of actionable information is one of the best ways to grow readership.

Create posts together that people can relate to and offer their own opinions. This will foster engagement.

The Difference Between Having an Audience and a Community

“It’s the way in which you face the chairs.” Encourage two way conversations, encourage people in the comments to interact with each other.

Reward your commenters by highlighting their great insights. Add in value where you can in the comments, “Nice Post” doesn’t count!

What Chris Got Wrong About Blogging

Chris started out blogging talking to much about himself, when he turned the writing around focusing more on his audience and the space he saw a dramatic increase in activity in his blog.

When starting out, Chris didn’t write with his reader in mind - the timing and length of posts are an important factor when it comes to blogging.

He wanted to be the "Known, good, go to source of fast acting information", so he crafts most of his blog posts in 300 words or less. 

Avoid “Me Too” Blogging

Don't just copy the leading industry blog and regurgitate content.

Cultivate sources outside of the main stream and share them with your audience.

Marketers Should Grow Bigger Ears

You need to be listening to what the marketplace is saying about your brand, products, competitors products, and other industry trends that people are talking about on the social web.

Read Chris’s post on how you can grow bigger ears here .

Listening in to social channels also gives you the opportunity to drop customer service help on people publicly crying out for help.

Quora, Lets Wait and See..

Chris thinks Quora is an interesting site. but is still on the fence about whether or not it is just another flash in the pan.

Right now it’s a useful resource for asking questions and answering topics that you have expertise in, much like Linkedin answers.

“Anything Robert [Scoble] loves I put on my "going to die soon" list. He's a great bleeding edge technologist. He really is. He's got an incredible capacity for falling madly in love with a site that's going to collapse under the weight of its nerdiness.” 

Who infleunces the influencer?

Chris is influenced by these folks:

And for good reason, each person listed here has a great blog and are phenomenal resources to check out.

A Look Into 2011 and Beyond

Chris mentions that mobile is something that he is closely watching moving into 2011 and states “if you're not doing more with mobile, you have a problem.” More and more content is being consumed on a three inch screen and companies who are not taking this into consideration.

You can find Chris online at ChrisBrogan.com and follow him on Twitter @ChrisBrogan

Past Episodes:

Topics: Inbound Marketing

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