1. Write a content marketing blog about a passion of yours.
2. Build a small, powerful network.
3. Become the name brand of a specialty.
4. Master leverage and use it for good.
5. Sell by generating human trust.
6. Make an army to power your change.
Because Kindle Notes are awesome, I wanted to share all of my notes from Trust Agents (23 in total) with you. Please enjoy!
Attention is and will continue to be our scarcest resource. We believe that trust and the humanizing of business is where the action is.
Make those around you the rock stars.
Raise up the newcomers instead of sucking up to the industry’s top dogs.
Don’t ever sell to your audience. Instead, be their gatekeeper. Think of Oprah Winfrey. She gives and gives, constantly, and leverages that goodwill into bigger and bigger guests and giveaways. But does she ever try to sell her audience directly? No, Winfrey leverages her audience to provide visibility: to stars, to movies, to car companies. She protects her audience by guarding them from the bad stuff, and she lets the good stuff pass through, making her audience even happier as a result. Building any kind of following online is difficult enough. It requires solid leadership skills, the ability to create a sense of belonging, a gracious attitude, transparency about who you are, and empowering the community to feel important. It gets a lot harder when, to participate in a community, members are asked for money to sustain your business. In fact, it is practically impossible to foster a sense of community under these circumstances unless your channel is already very financially motivated (the “make money online” bloggers come to mind).
Don’t worry about driving attention. Instead, make your material more accessible and more shareable, then move on.
If you can delegate a task to someone else (or to a machine, for that matter) in order to save either time or costs, it is your duty to do so. Whether it’s a matter of opportunity or straight-up dollars, the result is the same: If you can save your own time, then you should. We see this as an attitude toward life, because this is pretty much the only time we have, so why waste it on something someone else can do? Business owners think this way, and so should you.
“A book is like a big, thick, impressive $25 business card.”
We refer to this as being Agent Zero: being in the center of a network and being able to spread ideas.
Creating tangible results by helping someone is a great way to become Agent Zero and make the best kinds of relationships. The simplest way to do this is to promote good work. You can write about people doing great things on your blogs, talk about these people on social networks, or go out of your way to introduce good people who might find mutual business benefits from meeting each other. Trust agents do this without fanfare and without lingering around to show that they were the catalysts. You can also share lots of the business opportunities that come your way, handing them out to people who might be able to execute them.
Social networking is not about getting attention for attention’s sake, but rather about being a part of the network, making other people aware that you are there—and that you’ll be there in the future, too.
Keeping in mind the notion of potential opportunities, it follows that any chance meeting can develop into a very fruitful relationship, so it becomes clear that giving up an opportunity to connect makes no sense. Having this mind-set, you will start to see opportunities in encounters as small as helping a neighbor carry groceries or heading to the garage sale down the street (though no one really ever finds anything at a garage sale). These opportunities are rarely financial, but that’s just the point. You aren’t building a network so that you can line your pockets, but rather because there are benefits of all kinds available to people who have a wide support structure of others they care about.
Link fervently. On your blog, you’ve built a platform to reach out to people. Use it to point to the people who are doing good work. Raise the boats when you can, meaning praise and point out the up-and-comers if you sincerely think they’re doing great work. They’ll grow into larger roles at some point, and helping them early isn’t a bad way to help both parties in a relationship.
When people ask Chris how he became successful in social media, his answer is always the same: “Be helpful.”
In addition to joining a group, creating one (and filling it with the smartest people you know) is the true path to influence online.
As Mike Grehan states in his article, “Getting a million dollars from one person is hard. However, getting one dollar from a million people is really not so difficult.” Taking small steps will help you reach your goal.
Trust is the most significant factor at the source of all of that, and understanding how businesses can rehumanize the Web is a view from only one lens. There could be another dozen books written about trust, people, and the Web—and they still wouldn’t cover it all. For all we know, that’s your next book to write.
By offering them concrete help in their time of need, you’re doing exactly what a trust agent does: You offer genuine, authentic assistance. People will see that and respond to it by opening up, by letting you in a bit more. In this way, helping others is probably one of the most effective ways to help yourself. By spreading ideas that help others, you get credit and people get the help they need. It’s win-win. It’s a welcome change from the scarcity mentality most people live with every day, isn’t it? And that’s one of the best things about the social Web: People are deeply interested in sharing with each other.
Feed the machine. The Web revolves around human contributions. Location-based platforms like Foursqaure seek to be fed information and pictures. Flickr wants to know where the picture of the bright yellow coffee shop was taken, down to a pushpin on a map. Amazon really does want to know what you thought of the Fight Club twentieth anniversary DVD.
Be helpful. Just for the sake of doing it, be helpful. It’s the act that keeps on giving. Since so many people are in it for themselves, this one idea is worth more than you’d imagine. Doing very simple things without the emphasis on any kind of quid pro quo makes it much more meaningful, and the ways you can do this are endless. Help others with a job search. Donate your time to causes that otherwise could not afford to hire you. Offer value for free that’s worth five times what you’d normally charge. Whatever the method, be helpful. 3. Make things. It’s okay to talk about things and report on new developments, but try to make things that others can use. You might not be a software developer or designer, but you are figuring things out, and you probably have some information others can use. Take the extra time to create the occasional e-book—not as a sales tool for your stuff, but because it’s nice to help and because you’re contributing to the larger body of work.
Connecting through sites like Twitter and Facebook isn’t enough, that building trust requires listening and delivering value, not simply using a new bullhorn to preach.
In a few days, compile a list of 10 bloggers writing about topics that relate to your space. Not sure where to start? Try http://alltop.com, or try http://blogsearch.google.com, or find just one and go through blogrolls until you find more. Now leave comments on all 10 blogs, but do not direct them back to your company or your product or your “stuff.” Instead, just engage them. Build relationships. Offer to connect via other methods, such as LinkedIn (remember, always with a personal message).
Start writing in a text file about the shape of what you’re offering. This relates to Your Game. How are you different? How do you stand out? What exactly can you do that will show to the world how you stand out? Kiva.org is a charity, only it’s a charity that focuses on microlending and the technology to track such transactions. It stands out from other charities because it focuses on the idea that money will help people find their own independence, and that through microtransactions, people can donate in a better way. How do you stand out? Try to answer this by explaining it in three full pages. Do not let yourself be vague. Why these  tasks? Because we want you to go back and really rethink how you use books in general, and you may as well start with this one. This strategy will become the differentiator between you and others who are out there racing through books. Reading blogs has become such a habit on the Web that we almost collect them now, like a score: “I read 500 RSS feeds, beat that.” But the point isn’t “collecting” information, it’s how it changes you—which is based on the actions you take about what you learn. Start by acting differently from now on. We put a lot of stuff in this book. Sometimes it stands out, like our sidebars. Other times, it’s between the lines. Did you absorb it? Or were you racing—and if so, why?
A Few Frames to Consider Adopting
As a trust agent, think about some of these frames when considering your work. These are based on the six lessons taught throughout the book, and they are a great way to advance your business and build better online relationships.
• How can I connect other people? If you’re at the elbow of every deal, using your Agent Zero mind-set, think often about ways you can connect people of value. Sometimes you can do this simply, such as mentioning out loud (e.g., on a blog) that @Ed is a good person to know. Other times, you can be purposeful and connect someone who has lost a job to prospective employers. Both benefit, and you strengthen your ties.
• Where’s the leverage point? When thinking about making moves, such as buying a new domain, changing jobs, writing a book, or whatever, ask yourself what you gain from the move. We both consider this book as an opportunity to speak with people outside our existing circle. It’s a way to leverage our experience into new places.
• Are they One of Us? When evaluating new products or services, ask whether the company has a presence in the space the product belongs in. For instance, would you rather buy video games made by lifetime gamers who keep a blog and who talk to their community or from an opaque shop whose web site shows you only how to buy more things? Find ways to help those inside your community.
• Is there a new game here? This is a powerful frame for entrepreneurial types. Trust agents who work on the Web have to perpetually keep their eyes open for new potential business opportunities. Attention is a powerful thing to have, and games often draw attention. As such, they are worthy of a trust agent’s consideration. Where’s the new game? Are there rules you could ignore? These are just a few to consider. You might develop new frames all your own as you keep your perspective tuned and adaptable.