Milestone: Ten Years and a Thousand Posts
It all started in the summer of 2007, when I was sitting on a camping stool in the warm and salty water among the rocks in the little sleepy fishing village of Prizba on the island of Korcula in Croatia, reading David Meerman Scott‘s first edition of The New Rules for Marketing and PR.
“My goodness!”, I thought. “Why didn’t I learn this a long time ago?”
I still had three weeks of holiday in front of me, but the urge to apply my new insight bugged me so much that I immediately started making planning notes in my little, black Moleskin. I also wrote my first blog post, but could not publish it since I did not yet have a blog.
Marketing was expensive and (remains) hard work
Since I started in business in 1980, I had learned that marketing consisted of paid promotion or by wining and dining journalists who, from time to time, wrote something (including one’s name) in their newspapers and magazines. You could also write or call your potential customers directly, but it was like finding a needle in a haystack: time consuming and brutally expensive.
David Meerman Scott’s book explained how to skip the ads and the hard PR work and communicate directly with your audience via the Internet and social media. After that, customers would start calling you.
It sounded exactly right and could help bring new customers to my boutique consulting shop, that was mostly very busy, but in between a little too quiet. A more even distribution of the workload was preferable, but it required us to say no to some inquiries, knowing that other jobs would be ready when we had completed ongoing projects.
The learning curve
Immediately after returning from the summer holidays I got started.
Since January 2004 I had had a profile on LinkedIn, but I really did not know what for. After reading the Meerman Scott book, it was now crystal clear. When you are a consultant, your LinkedIn profile must substantiate your claim of expertise, preferably supported by statements from new and returning clients.
In 2006 I had created hpech.dk (Danish) and hpbech.com, (English) and when we started TBK Consult in the spring of 2007, we also created tbkconsult.com (the blog you are currently reading). The hpbech domains were built with WordPress, while with tbkconsult.com, we, unfortunately, got tangled up with some other blogging platforms before we finally landed on WordPress.
I now needed to learn how to write posts and get them shared on social media. I should learn about keywords and groups. About call-to-action. About conversion. About a hundred other things that make up the plumbing of social media. Content marketing, which is the term for what we were planning to do, sounds straightforward, but there is more to it than meets the eye.
Rome was not built in a day
Perhaps our consulting background helped us or we were just plain lucky, but we decided from the start not to be led astray by vanity metrics. Views, likes and shares had no value in themselves. Only when the activities generated inquiries about consulting, workshops and, later, purchase of books, could we talk about success.
We were hardly the only ones who read the Meerman Scott book in 2007 because in those years the Internet exploded with content that was supposed to attract customer attention. The Internet did democratize access to potential clients, but the background noise also increased significantly, and you could easily drown in the tsunami-like communication and propaganda storm.
We stuck to the long form post format, deep analysis and unusual perspectives. And we kept on writing and writing and writing.
Denmark is a small country
It is well-known that Denmark is a small country (5.5 million inhabitants), where a vertical industry approach results in very small market segments. We have always wanted to serve clients all over the world, and with the new Internet-based approach it now became far easier to achieve visibility across national borders.
Where our focus on the business development-related disciplines in tech companies might address a hundred potential clients in Denmark, the potential increased by a factor of 100 when we could reach all the world’s English-speaking tech-people. Hpbech.dk was therefore put to sleep while all efforts were made to build and maintain tbkconsult.com. Here we have so far published close to 1,000 articles, of which I have written over 700.
Only when the plans to write the business biography 5,460 Miles from Silicon Valley (the original title is Fra Damgaard til Microsoft) became a reality in 2015, hpbech.dk was reactivated and I resumed blogging in Danish. Today most of the posts start with a Danish version, which is later rewritten in English.
Even though I do not currently plan to write new books in Danish, I continue to blog in Danish. The rewriting in English is a minor task, and it is an advantage to write in your native language.
What have we achieved?
I have no doubt that our success as a boutique-consulting company can be attributed to four factors:
- We serve clients all over the globe (face-to-face or through web-meetings).
- Potential clients discover us through our content marketing activities.
- Our articles, whitepapers and books help emphasise our competencies. We do not have to invest in time-consuming sales activities.
- Our consultancy and workshops make a difference.
I love writing, and from my relationships with professionals in the global, IT industry comes a steady stream of inspiration for new articles, whitepapers, videos, podcasts and books.
In addition, I also write for others, which is something I particularly enjoy.
You can see some examples below.