I have just finished reading Mark Schaefer’s most recent book “Known” . The tagline of the book is “The Handbook for Building and Unleashing your Personal Brand in the Digital Age” and, without putting too fine a point on it, it is really good, probably best in category. Not only is it a first-class resource for anyone interested in creating any sort of on-line presence for themselves – irrespective of their motive -, full of “how-to”s and step-by-step instructions, it is also a compelling story, a personal narrative of the author’s own journey from corporate high flier to nobody to, well, Mark Schaefer, digital marketing expert, blogger, author, speaker and authority on all matters social marketing over the past seven years, intertwined with many other stories of men and women, who have undertaken similar expeditions and established thriving careers in their respective digital niches. Mark Schaefer recounts their stories with love and a profound respect for their individual achievements, along side his perpetual encouragement of the reader to follow their examples and his distilled experience to create similar opportunities for themselves.
I reached out to Mark, sending him an email immediately on finishing the book, introducing myself, thanking him for his effort and congratulating him on a well-written and unusually helpful book, one that I had / have no doubt will inform and shape my own journey over the next years. To my delight (but, having read the book, not altogether to my surprise), he responded within half a day (we are in different time zones and have an Atlantic Ocean and half a continent between us) in a personal email, which was definitely not a standard text, as he had specifically alluded to a comment I had made in my original mail. Here is his response:
“Thank you so much for the kind words Steven. I’m a teacher through and through so when somebody has been impacted by my book it means a lot to me. This book is truly transforming lives, and even more quickly than I thought possible.
I’m eager to see your journey progress so by all means send me links to your blog posts along the way.
Warmest regards, Mark Mark W. Schaefer Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions www.BusinessesGROW.com“
That response and the speed with which he sent it, confirmed my opinion that here was an author and mentor who could be trusted, as his behaviour was fully aligned with the principles and methods he had just outlined to me in his book. I made the journey from ignorance (I hadn’t heard of Mark until the beginning of last week) to superficial Twitter connection to raving fan within the space of a week and generated some income for him by purchasing another three of his books, “The Content Code” and “The Tao of Twitter” (the latter publication is worth getting just for the wonderful artwork of the Ying and Yan Twitter birds on the cover) and the “Known Workbook” for about €70 in total. His method works, he has applied his pinciples to becoming known himself and he is turning connections into fans into customers by consistently providing quality content in a very specific space, whilst personally nurturing and valuing each.
I am so inspired and energised by his example and by his tough love message (Mark goes to great lengths to hammer home the point that the journey to becoming known as an authority and provider of quality content is neither fast nor short, but requires consistent dedication over many years to yield a significant harvest), that I have decided to emerse myself in a “Known” program, adhering to his tenets and steps and adopting his method in order to establish myself and this Good & Prosper site as an authority on crafting strategies for success for individuals and small and medium sized businesses facing trouble and struggling.
I have decided to catalogue my progress, starting today, in a separate “Known” journal on the site, on which I will be recording my work, from scratch, to establish Good & Proper as a “Known” resource. I am committing to publishing a daily journal of my activities, copies of my workbook sheets, a running table of the four success metrics plus a few leading indicators to capture output and engagement (probably on a weekly basis and monthly basis) a monthly P&L and balance sheet for the limited company I have formed to manage the site and related activities and whatever else I can think of that might be useful in plotting my course, wherever it might lead me.
I am truly grateful to Mark Schaefer for sharing his insights, for publishing such a practical and accessible book, for so clearly defining the audience to whom he wishes to act as a digital teacher, mentor and source of wisdom and for being so accessible and real. For anybody reading this piece, who is thinking about starting to become a knowledge entrepreneuer, who has already started their journey as a digital capitalist or just teacher, who is stuck, struggling or even soaring, “Known” is a must-read and hugely valuable resource. Whether you adopt (as I will) or adapt, as those more knowledgeable and experienced in all things digital marketing probably will, this book and the sister publications cannot fail but improve your journey. Thank you Mark.