These days, it seems that absolutely anyone can declare themselves an online marketer and start advising clients on the intricacies of web marketing. All you need is a laptop and a phone line and you have access to most of the same tools and techniques the professionals use. Even better – you can pretend you understand them too.
If you have the ability to talk continuously without actually saying anything useful and believe morals only come at the end of children’s stories, you too could make an impact in the exciting new world of online hustling â€” umm, marketing.
Five Steps to Online Smugness
1. Simply Declare Yourself a Social Media Genius
Hiding behind a keyboard makes it considerably easier to overstate your abilities. Hey, you’re online and reading a blog! You’ve already got more skills than some of my elderly relatives and – better yet – some business types out there who are blissfully unaware what blogs, social media and SEO are. Surely those admittedly basic skills can be made to sound like they are worth something with a bit of creative egotism.
You have a few friends on Facebook and have Tweeted a couple of times. Why not become a digital PR consultant or social media strategist or whatever job title you want to give yourself? Just take a couple of internet buzzwords and tack ‘consultant’, ‘strategist’, ‘marketer’ or even ‘guru‘ after it. Hey presto – another line for your resume. Sure, the rest of the industry will pour scorn on you for your three Twitter followers, unread blog and inability to even optimise your website for your own name. Who cares? Your target clients are those who have no understanding of this sort of stuff. Otherwise, why would they hire an agency? It’s beautiful! Those who see through you, you don’t care about, and those who are fooled are exactly the ones you want to part with cash!
2. Market the Lie
If your client’s website is just too boring, get creative. Advertising and marketing is all about deception and spin, right? That shouldn’t be hard. If you can’t find interesting topics to write about for the blogs and websites you are responsible for, just make them up. No one believes the internet anyway, so what’s the harm? 90% of all statistics are bogus, and newspapers always print crap.
After all, you made up your job title and expertise in stage 1 didn’t you?
If â€“ okay, when â€“ the truth comes out, the extra controversy and media outcry only brings more publicity for the brand and also yourself! So stick your finger up at ethics. Sticks and stones and all that don’t take away the cheque in your bank and your next potential client probably won’t be reading the same marketing blogs and IT journals that attacked you anyway. At least your mum will still talk to you afterwards.
3. Spread the Virus
Everyone is talking about viral marketing as the future, so you’ve got to have a bit of that. Viral video always works best with ridiculous animals doing ridiculous things or people hurting themselves.
There are three ways to do this:
- Constantly record your pets on video just in case they do something cute and/or funny.
- Persuade someone to do something incredibly stupid and/or dangerous in front of the camera.
- Fake it (see Tip Number 2).
That guy dancing around the world was cute, but that’s a heap of time and effort. Persuade the idiot kid next door to skateboard off the roof and you have comedy gold.
Get a duck on a surfboard or your niece’s hamster doing a handstand and you have a success on your hands.
Just remember that thin twine tied around a hamster’s ankles (invisible to the camera, you understand) can get so tight that their feet pop off. Then you’d have a very different video as you explain to your niece why Jeremy doesn’t like the wheel in his cage anymore.
No one wants to forward on the email of your new and gullible client talking about company growth. Yet everyone will click on the video of the rodent completing a crossword. All you need to do is somehow make the video relevant to the client’s brand, right?
Well, at least a little bit. Just tell the client that this is cutting edge and going after the savvy online market â€“ and leak the brand name in media reports after the video has gone global.
4. Spend Your Day on Twitter and Bill the Client
Networking is a necessary marketing activity. It’s just a coincidence that networking is also fun in these days of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and more. Just be sure to slip the client’s brand into your online conversations at least once per hour so you can bill them for the period you’ve been swapping PC game cheat codes and trying to increase your Twitter ranking in Cursebird.
Honestly, dip into Twitter at any time of any day and the same online “professionals” are still highly active. When do they get work done?
Why reinvent the wheel? If someone has written a great post on search marketing, you shouldn’t have to do your own research and slave for hours when cut and paste works just as well. You may be able to even set up some feeds or a bit of code to automatically scrape content based on the keywords you want to use. Shazam – instant blog content while you drink scotch and bill the client for all those hours of journalism.
You’ll be able to pump out hundreds of pages of brilliant copy quickly. And as your clients would never read the same websites you do, they’ll never spot the duplication.
Just be sure to remove any links back to the original article, because the original writer will find you that way. Writers take this kind of thing seriously. Anyone would think they owned the words on the page. Imagine if the guy who invented the wheel kept it to himself? That angry writer wouldn’t get to work so fast, would he?
Actually, it is not advisable to use this argument when challenged. Writers often drink a lot and have hung around the wrong bars in the seedy edges of town during their attempts to understand the human condition for that unpublished novel.
They know people who know people, if you know what I mean.
You don’t want to spend the next three years looking over your shoulder after finding that horse’s head in your bed, do you?
The Only Barrier is Your Personal Code of Conduct
Easy isn’t it? You too could have that same self-important, smug attitude that other self-made online gurus carry around. Practice sneering when a novice Tweets the wrong hashtag or leaving sarcastic comments on blogs that completely miss the point of the post.
You’ll start believing your own brilliance in no time.