Programming Blog

Jeremy Morgan

Mostly Coherent Ramblings of a Silicon Forest Software Developer

The Big Secret to Getting People to Notice You Online

By: Jeremy Morgan

Ever wanted to know the secret to getting people to notice you online? How can you get more people reading your blog, following your tweets, or subscribing to your newsletter? How do you position yourself to attract the crowds? The answer might surprise you.

What do all the “big” sites have in common? How about the big twitter users? If you really start comparing them, you’ll find they have a lot less in common than you think. Why is that? Why is there no “magic bullet” formula for success? Because if there were, nobody would stand out, and nobody would seem genuine. I’ll get right to the point.

The way to get people to notice you on the internet is no different from real life. You have to be different. You have to be genuine, and most importantly, you have to be…. you.

Are you feeling a little disappointed at the answer? Let me explain.

Meet the best cross-eyed auto painter I know

There’s a guy I know who runs an auto painting shop. He has an Albert Einstien haircut, crossed eyes, and his shop sometimes looks like a tornado hit it. He’s an extremely sloppy man, at least he appears that way. If you were to meet him and look around his shop, he’d likely be the last person on the planet you’d ever choose to paint your car.

So, would you be surprised if I told you that people ship their vehicles hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles to have him paint them? And we’re not talking beat old clunkers, these are immaculate classics to be paraded in car shows all over the country. They don’t send their cars to him because he’s the cheapest guy either, in fact far from it. They send them to him because he does such an incredible job that the cars win awards for their paint. The bodywork is flawless, and the paint job is absolutely of the highest quality. Most of the time he’s backed up for months.

Your imperfections are YOU.

So, do you really think he cares if you think his shop is a mess, or that you won’t like his crossed eye, or funny haircut? Heck no, if you don’t like it you can take it somewhere else. The lesson here? He is being himself. He could go and clean up the shop, and make it look like a showroom. He could cut his hair and shave, and show up in a business suit every day. He could move his location to some nice place downtown, and do whatever he could to impress you.  But then he’d be just like every other shop in town, and his word of mouth advertising would probably drop. After all, what is there to talk about when you’re just like everyone else?

What he teaches us all is it’s OK to be yourself. It’s OK to have flaws and imperfections, as long as you set out to do whatever it is you’re doing and do it well.  Would you care what this guy looks like, or the condition of his shop when you’re staring proudly at your sparkling ‘57 Chevy at the car show?

Don’t be discouraged if your site isn’t perfect, and doesn’t have a $10,000 design. Don’t worry if your writing isn’t Hemingway, or some of your articles or tweets are duds. Don’t be afraid to offend people or present something someone else might criticize. Just go out and do it, and give it everything you’ve got. Have the guts to say “this is me” and give 110% into everything you do. Stop caring what other people might think about you.

People will appreciate the sincerity.  Nobody likes to read tweets or blog articles that feel like they’ve been sterilized and run through a marketing department. They want to read real information from a real human.

Give it a try and tell me about your results!