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Content Plus Other People Minus Marketing Equals What?

Well, the answer to the question depends on the content and who the “other people” are!

So today’s riddle was sparked by an interview my girl, The Cubicle Chick, sent me highlighting Michael Stelzner on Blogcast FM entitled “How Social Media Examiner Made $1.7 Million in Its First Year of Business.”

Note: If you haven’t heard who Mike Stelzner is, he’s the Founder & CEO of Social Media Examiner, the world’s largest online social media magazine, a site I frequent often and has some awesome resources so check it out!

Back to the question at hand…throughout the interview, Mike kept mentioning a very important equation he’s entitled the Elevation Principle Formula:

Content + Other People – Marketing = Growth

(Here’s the official elevation principle formula: GC+ OP – MM = G.  Spelled out, the formula reads: ‘‘Great Content’’ plus ‘‘Other People’’ minus ‘‘Marketing Messages’’ equals ‘‘Growth’’)

elevation principle forumla

Mike assures you will have much greater success by focusing on this concept and I agree! But let’s take a moment to break down the formula, shall we?

Great Content

What is great content and how do I ensure my content is killer? Well, I previously wrote about some important keys to writing engaging content so in short, once you know your audience, your content should appeal to them. Think about sites whose content you like and why and whose sites you continue to go back to. What elements do they have that you can carry over to your site while keeping it specific to your audience?

Bottom line, deeply engaging content that is personalized for your readers is the first step on the right track to balancing the formula.

Other People

We’ve all probably heard that it’s not just about who you know but also who knows you. Likewise, this part of the equation can be broken down into two parts:

  • On one hand, you have your target audience – those you are creating your awesome content for. This is “who you know.
  • On the other hand, think about the people you can connect with and get to know (directly or indirectly through third party sources) who can become your champions and supporters. These people can be the experts in your field who can vouch for you, talk about you to their audience, and do joint ventures with. Because “they know you,” their loyal following will be more apt to check you out as well!

Marketing Messages

There is only one thing to say here about marketing messages: It’s not about you!

Remove the sales pitches and the company advertising and anything else that can dilute your content and/or confuse your readers. People inherently want great content without going through a bunch of bull to get it.

Launch – Get the First Chapter Free

I just read through the first chapter of Mike’s new book, Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition, which you can get for free here. I highly suggest you do so. You don’t even have to buy the book to get the full message (although I’m sure he’d like you to : ) ) because the first chapter should get you thinking about how to approach your business differently to spark more success – I know it did for me!

Over to you…

I’ll leave you with this: “…focus on people, not yourself and not your business; they will love you and be your biggest fans…” -Mike Stelzner

What do you think about the Elevation Principle? Please share your thoughts below!

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  1. Veronica Cervera

    Hi Kesha,

    I really didn’t grasp the message not until i read the first chapter of the book. I like the straightforward and articulate approach of MIke. Thanks for sharing this link. I’ll definitely get a copy of this.

  2. Kate Brown Wilson

    All I can say that one article that is so much unique will catch many readers attention. this is what blogging is all about, uniqueness of content. The link you have shared is very informative. I am sure I can adopt something to it.

  3. Melanie Kissell

    Hi Kesha

    The Social Media Examiner is one of my fav’s, too. It’s amazing how quickly Michael came up the ranks! Tells me he must be doing something RIGHT. :)

    As I read through your post, I couldn’t help but think of this quote of unknown origin …

    “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”

    So instead of “feeding” our readers, fans, and followers marketing messages …

    Why not spend time getting to know them better, get a clearer understanding of their pain points and challenges, ask them questions, be better listeners, and create content that’s about “them” and not us.

    Very enjoyable and poignant post!
    Melanie Kissell recently posted..Say Bye-Bye to the Challenge of Getting People to Attend Your Virtual EventsMy Profile

    • Kesha

      @Mel, my sentiments exactly and I’ve always liked that quote!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. I was so excited when I listened to the interview as it gave me (more) hope about my goals! :-)


      • Melanie Kissell

        @Kesha, The interview was killer!

        My biggest takeaway was to connect with well-established bloggers in a specific niche (e.g. Denise Wakeman of the Blog Squad), build solid authentic relationships with them, and leverage the power of their list.

        It makes really good sense, doesn’t it? Us little guys just can’t make it ALONE. We need to buddy up with the big guns (in a genuine, “real” way, of course!) and ride their coattails, in a manner of speaking. :)

        SO excited to see Michael Stelzner swinging by to post a comment!
        Melanie Kissell recently posted..Virtual Event Etiquette: 7 Tips for Webcast SuccessMy Profile

        • Kesha

          @Mel, me and you both are elated to see Mike here :-)

          I am still working on my list of people I want to meet (either virtually or in person) who are in my niche (of the personal blog) and ride some coat tails myself ;-)


    • Kesha

      @Michael, no problem. Like I mentioned, I learned a great deal regarding this principle from the interview and the free chapter of your book (thanks so much by the way!!) :-)

      I greatly appreciate your visiting and commenting!

      Talk soon!

  4. Mika Castro

    The uniqueness that you create for readers will surely a massive attack for your benefits. The more that you create fresh contents, the more you get positive thoughts and great benefits.

  5. Jill

    Interesting, I thought you were going to say it equals nothing without good marketing. I was surprised. The largest challenge I’m having now is getting the word out but maybe I just need to be writing better content.
    Jill recently posted..GoPro HD HERO CameraMy Profile