Anyone who works in the digital marketing world inevitably encounters ‘celebrities’ – essentially, self-proclaimed experts in a niche area of digital marketing. They might be the king of Facebook or the queen of Twitter, and they all share one thing in common.
Their advice looks like this:
That’s how absurdly simple it can be and it happens often. More often than I care to count.
- Press releases should actually be newsworthy
- Use the contacts’ first name when pitching
Search engine optimization
- Target long-tail phrases for a better chance to rank
- Just create high quality content
Social media marketing
- Be more personal on social media – ditch the corporate tongue
- Use images for more engagement
I went through 10 articles of self-proclaimed experts in social media and digital marketing, and then 10 articles by social media and digital marketing professionals at different companies. This is the key difference:John Smith is a top 50 Tweeter and Facebook Marketing Expert John Smith is the Director of Social Media for [Company Name]
I have nothing but respect for freelancers and self-starters, but too many are guilty of preaching the most basic, elementary advice, and then hiding behind claims such as “this is targeted at beginners.” Really? Are we supposed to assume our readers have the natural intention to create poor quality content and send press releases about their coffee machines breaking?
And when the advice is sort of sound, there are no real-world examples to back them up. We just have to assume their intuition is the voice of god – that’s that. She/He is a Facebook Guru so this must be the best way to increase the number of likes my posts get – it’s not like I wanted to see a legitimate example anyway. Forget empirical data. /s
The real gurus are the ones who humbly take the time to detail their successes and failures. They are the ones who actually show us their planning and thought process, screenshots of the tools and software they use, walk-throughs to support tactics, and beautiful nuggets of insights; completely unique to their situation but undeniably beneficial to our own approaches. We can immediately implement their tactics. They are not general sweeping statements. They are specific and targeted. Some of my favorite writers embody these traits exceptionally well. And I will admit that some of the ‘experts’ or ‘gurus’ out there have solid advice, but only because they actually back-up their words with client/campaign examples. You know, material we can actually extract benefit from.
Look for writers who deviate from the norm from time to time. Writers who aren’t afraid of self-deprecation, writers who could care less about how many twitter followers they have, and writers whose passion for their subject is as clear as day. These are the ones to bookmark, share, and discuss.
What do you think about gurus and experts – who are your favorite or least favorite writers?