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Home / Online Mkting, Public Relations, Social Media / Blog article: One with the Force: Tapping into your consumer’s psyche and becoming a thought leader


One with the Force: Tapping into your consumer’s psyche and becoming a thought leader

January 27th, 2010 | 23 Comments | Posted in Online Mkting, Public Relations, Social Media

This is a guest post from Matt Cheuvront and is part of the Guest Blog Grand Tour over at Life Without Pants. Want to learn more about Matt Cheuvront & see how far the rabbit hole goes? Subscribe to the Life Without Pants RSS feed & follow him on Twitter to keep in touch!

Ok, you caught me. Busted. I’m kind of a Star Wars nerd. There’s something about the lightsabers and intergalactic battles that is just so damn cool. And in a world full of analogies these days, why don’t we tie the connection of being “one” with the force as being “one” with your consumers and community audience.

Here are seven things you NEED to be doing with your blog and Social Media “force” in your epic struggle against the “noise” and “clutter” from the Dark Side.

Target a specific audience

If you don’t know who your audience is, how are you ever going to know if you’re hitting the right notes? Part of the marketing process, and probably the most important, is RESEARCH. You MUST define your demographic (you know, the people who actually give a damn about whatever you’re selling/writing/etc). Once you’ve defined them, you can customize your style and approach. What’s equally important is that you don’t exclude everyone else. Why? Because they may not know they’re interested until they become interested. It’s your job to lead them in and get them on your bandwagon. But never forget the horse(s) who brought you to the race.

Be a thought leader

What is a “thought leader” anyway? To quote David Meerman Scott’s New Rules of Marketing & PR:

“A thought leader, instead of selling something directly, tells the world that you are smart, that you understand the market very well, and that you might be a person or organization that would be valuable to do business with.”

A thought leader is selfless – not promoting themselves, but rather, what they can do for you – by being engaged and involved in your community, a thought leader knows what you want WHEN you want it. Timing is everything.

Be authentic and transparent

The most important thing…Hands down. The minute you become someone or something you’re not – you’ll expose yourself as a total fraud. It might work for a while, you might be able to hide behind your mask, but eventually you’re going to have to tell Luke that you’re his father. Eventually the truth will come out and odds are, it won’t be pretty when it does. Know your identity and own it – be authentic, genuine, and transparent in every single thing that you do.

Create lots of links

Link to your own site – link to others – in short, link like a maniac. People love links – they love to explore and find new things – whether it is digging through the archives of your own blog/website (interlinking is a prime SEO practice) or discovering something new – incorporate links early and often in everything you do and leave breadcrumbs for your community to explore new paths on their own.

Participate. Engage. Listen

Listening is priority number one. Above all else, you have to know when to shut up and listen to your community, listen to your competition, and pay attention to what others are saying about you. By listening, you’ll know exactly when the right time is to engage – the right time to say “hello” – the right time to close a sale. Listen first, participate second, then follow it up with the engagement.

Make it easy to find you (everywhere)

A blog or website is a platform created by in individual. I may not know about you – but when I discover a great new website, I want to know who’s behind it. I want to follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their RSS, send them an affectionate “you are awesome” email…you get the picture. People want to know YOU – Make this EASY to do with OBVIOUS calls to action and ENCOURAGE people to do it.

Experiment. Screw up. Learn. Experiment again.

There’s a time in every young Padawan’s life when he knows nothing of the force – his Mitchlorians may be off the scale, but they have no idea they can push stuff around with their mind, shoot lighting out of their hands, and all kinds of other cool stuff.

The same goes for you – you don’t know if something will work until you try. The only time you fail is when you DON’T try. Blogging and Social Media is great because it allows you to try new things. If it isn’t working, great, tweak it and try something else – or abandon the effort and try something new. THERE ARE NO EXPERTS in Social Media – its one great big learning experience for EVERYONE (even the Brogan and GaryVee’s) at the party.

Don’t dwindle down the path of the Dark Side, no matter how tempting or easy it may seem to sell yourself out – side the those of the light and do things the right way. Be genuine, use the tools at your disposal for good, and never be afraid to challenge yourself to trying new things.

There is no try, only do.

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  • Tim Jahn

    I love ya Matt, but you're telling me you haven't written this same basic post before (minus the Star Wars analogy)?

    At what point are posts recycled too much? At what point do we stop learning new things from a community?

    I usually look forward to your new posts. But now I'm hesitant because I'm afraid it'll be the same old song and dance.

    (and yes, you make some good points here. But nothing you haven't made before.)

  • Matt Cheuvront

    Again. Not much of a constructive comment Tim. This seems to be a pattern for you as of late – almost like you're following me around on every post I write and attacking the content. If you found no value in it…why comment at all? Following me around and telling me my content sucks doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. But thanks anyways.

  • Tim Jahn

    You make some good points, as I said. But to me, it feels in the past on your blog, you posted provoking questions that got people thinking. Seems like now you post the same old generic questions and topics everybody else does, to appeal to that mainstream community.

    I apologize that I'm not the sheep you're looking for. But you will run into that from time to time. People will actually question what you write and look to push you ever further.

  • Matt Cheuvront

    I appreciate the “push” but this isn't constructive, it's just a negative attack – you and I have discussed this before in private – and face to face you come across as a totally different person than you are online. Again, appreciate the feedback – I'm not catering to the “sheep” – if you found no value in this, so be it – I enjoyed writing it because it's something I'm passionate about, and I'm sure others will walk away with value. Thanks

  • Tim Jahn

    I'll say anything online that I would say in person – in no way am I a different person. If you would like to chat more about this offline, I'm more than game – I'll be me, as I am now.

    Explain to me how somebody disagreeing with you (and asking for more thought provoking posts because it would benefit the community as a whole) is negative attack.

    I'm not sitting here and calling you names here or anything. I'm providing suggestions and reasons for those suggestions. And I feel that I'm doing so in a civil way.

    (stupid like button – why isn't reply first?? Gets me every time on DISQUS!)

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  • Nick Shin

    Hey Tim,
    I understand where you are coming from, but that is because you follow Matt's posts closely. The audience for my blog might not have necessarily read these points. It's also important to understand that my blog is still developing and very raw. I tend to post more 'how-to's” so my audience is probably different than what Matt's or your blog receives. It's great to see the passion you have for a fellow user though.


  • Nick Shin

    Hey Matt,
    As I mentioned numerous times, I thought this was a great post. As I said in my reply to Tim, my visitors could very well be a different type of audience. I target my posts in “how-to's” and helping users reach success through step-by-step instructions. This is a great thought-provoking post that although some may have seen before, perhaps my audience has not.

    It's very much appreciated.


  • Tim Jahn

    Agreed, Nick, and nothing against you, your blog, or your audience. In fact, this is my first time reading your blog and I have Matt to thank for leading me here. :)

    You have an excellent point about me being an avid reader of Matts. That goes to a question I've been pondering lately: How can a community leader can keep the engagement of older community members while still allowing newer members to get up to date on the history and beliefs of the community?

    Add one to your subscriber list, Nick :)

  • Nick Shin

    Oh I definitely understood where you were coming from and that you weren't on the offensive to Matt or me. I've purposely tailored my blog to be a how-to resource. Thought provoking posts like Matt's certainly puts an added dimension that I don't address, not to say my posts are mind-numbingly boring. :P

    You bring up an intriguing point about how to re-engage older community members. I'm sure you have some thoughts about that. Maybe you and I (with Matt) can put together a post to address this. Perhaps reaching out to community leaders, gathering their inputs and creating a post. Let me know what you think. Feel free to reach out via email ( or Twitter (@shinng).


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  • Matt Cheuvront

    Thanks Nick. Happy to write it for you and hopefully your community found some real value in it. Thanks for the opportunity. Cheers!

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