An incredibly cynical take on 10 strategic blogging tactics used on you at this blog

Guest post from Mark Pollard (@markpollard, Flickr, Stealth Magazine):
strategy-maker, professional people-watcher and word-assembler.

Note: this post comes with a free copy - available for a limited time only - of the 10 Secret Moves from the Ultimate Blogger's Ultimate Blogging Playbook for Crazy Success.


This is the dirtiest post you will read for a long time.

It exposes the cunning strategies of mastermind social play-maker, Julian Cole. Yes, the blonde-quaffed man who 'innocently' blogs here every day. The thing is, after watching Mr Cole from afar, I quickly came to the belief that he had to be in possession of the Ultimate Blogging Strategy Playbook. The one the seniors kept hidden in American Pie, and passed on to younger generations when the time was right.

Only this playbook isn't about the sacred gyrations of the nether-regions and weird positions that would pull hamstrings the world over. No, the playbook in Cole's hands is about how to get you, his kind-hearted readers, to not just read his blog but to even respond to it ... and - even more sinister - subscribe to it, social-bookmark it.

He's just way too smooth. Every move is so deliberate, every shout-out so thought-through, every diagram so invitingly provocative. Once, I even saw him finish a conference PowerPoint presentation and straight-up tell people to visit his interwebsite! Unbelievable. Was this Chekov getting his bloggy groove on? Or, was it an accidental stealth maneouvre a la Adam Sandler in Water Boy?

I couldn't stand it any longer so I decided it was time to get naked. Well, to get Cole's strategy naked. Exposed. Hanging out in the breeze for all to see: freshly waxed and ready to play volleyball with some Brazilians on Bondi Beach before snacking on some late-night gelato at the Cooge Bay Hotel.

So, you want to know what he's up to? Well, here it is.


1. He is the Elmer Fudd of ego traps. Only better.
This is the oldest trick in the playbook. Name-drop, give props, source, celebrate, promote. Heaps. Let's face it, JC mentions you all the time. Yes, you, Clare Lancaster. You, Nick Crocker. Kate Richardson, you could not escape. Gavin Heaton, hurts so good, doesn't it? He even got Joseph Jaffe.

And, the young Scott Drummond, he got you really good as well. Not only did he mention you but he called you his 'hero' and posted a photo of the two of you locked in intellectual embrace. He even mentioned my digital love interest, Ian Lyons, and me but we outwitted him and zagged his zig by refusing to comment. Got him!


2. He doesn't answer his own questions. ????
As if he doesn't have all of the answers all of the time! He went to uni for ages. Cole knows only too well that leaving enough room in the mousetrap for the mouse is bound to get people to reply to his posts. I especially like his '????' tactic. Masterstroke. I also like the 'help me with my big conference idea'. Makes you want to write something, doesn't it?


3. He fakes you out with pretend absolutism. Bam, made you look!
He got Mr Truffle a good one with PR Agencies owning Social Media because Mr Truffle apparently only reads blog headlines. He nearly got me too but I read it... well, scanned it and then got distracted and forgot to post a quickfire retort. Another example of this tactic is, Why Twitter still loses, in which he even has a blog battle with Chris Brogan. Body slammin'!


4. He knows that diagrams make things true and make him look smarter
JC is a big fan of diagrams, especially his own. He even has multiple posts where he writes about little parts of his diagrams - individually. Now, that's dedication. But what I like most about his 4 Dimensions of Social Media Marketing diagram is that he combines actual absolutism (he's taking this one seriously, not running Play 3 - Pretend Absolutism here) with big words, numbers, shapes and a line. I mean, I look at it and think, "Wow, that's got to be 2 or 3 diagrams he's squeezed into one. Smart guy."

This play deserved a diagram of its own:




5. He is very sticky social glue. Tarzan Grip, not UHU.
I don't even know how many Beersphere franchises this guy is involved with. There's Sydney Beersphere, Melbourne Beersphere, International Beersphere, the Xmas Sydney Beersphere, the Beersphere without Beer Beersphere. How many of you has he introduced? And have you bought him a beer yet? How do we know he isn't working for the alcohol industry?


6. He tells you he'll mention you at conferences. And give you a ticket.
This tactic simply isn't used enough. Not sure what to talk about? Get other people to tell you and give them a ticket that somebody else gave you, and then pretend that you're doing Speaking 2.0 - open-source type stuff. He got Jenni Beattie with this one before the Marketing 2.0 Conference (BTW, Jenni, he got you with Play 1 - Ego Trap, shortly afterwards - the nerve!). He then even put the presentation from the conference on Slideshare to continue the sharing charade but you can tell what he's about because his name is above everyone else's. Smooth operator operating correctly.


7. He bitchslaps the establishment. Establishment won't fight back.
Now, I know whose playbook he got this one from but if I named them I'd be doing Play 7 on the anti-establishment establishment. This year, he's issued smackdowns on NAB, my ironically hip hop skater friend Ben Phillips, dumb 'Pimp My...' campaigns, the Brandshop + Clemenger + George Patts Y&R all in the one post, BMF and even Nandos.

However, his most surprising gasface was blown at his own parents, proud builders of the establishment. They were members of the advertising industry, an industry Cole shows utter contempt for: Sorry Mum and Dad, I wanted to follow in your footsteps but it just doesn't look like there will be that many opportunities in your industry : ( .


8. He has list superiority complex. 3 amazing lists by Julian Cole.
Ah, Lists, how he loves thee. Cole knows that lists make him sound informed (even if he is mentioning the only 12 Historical Social Media Marketing Moments he knew). They make him sound thorough. They make him sound above than the riff-raff. Lists are smart work and easy to do.


9. He makes us think he's one of us. Not like them.
Play 7 - Bitchslap the Establishment goes a long way to accomplishing this but his other ploy is talking enough 'adult' to get away with not dressing like one except when he talks about hip hop. FTW?


10. Own, claim... then share. The ultimate power move.
Let's face it, his Top 100 Australian Marketing Pioneer Blogs was not the move of some unintelligent douchebag. This sort of stuff is the ultimate link bait because it brings together:

  • Play 1 - Ego Trap: all of you who are listed looked at it, linked to it, promoted the logo
  • Play 3 - Pretend Absolutism: these lists are never perfect, all-inclusive, static... absolute
  • Play 4 - Diagram Smarts remixed as a chart: looks rational, smart, believable
  • Play 7 - Establishment Bitchslap: Take that, 'heritage media'! (not my phrase)
  • Play 8 - List Glory: one.hundred.blogs...top.ones. Pow!
  • Play 9 - One of us: he was too soft to put himself at the top

Play 10 is all about him being all about you. It mentions you. It gives you a structure to believe in and propagate because it may make you famous. It provokes you: "Why am I only ranked there? Who did the maths on this?" It looks official... and becomes official when you believe in it. It's a king list. But JC looks like he's promoting your cause... all at the same time. Blitzkrieg!


< /End >
Game over, Cole. You've been outed. Put your Coogee Bay Hotel gelato down and hand over that playbook before the volleyball-playing Brazilians yank it out of your Speedos.


Author's note
Why did I write this? Because I want to be in the audience when he speaks at TED. I always wanted to get the back of my head onto one of those videos. Oh, and Julian called me on it.

Safe and happy holidays, all!
@markpollard, Flickr



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23 comments:

Ben Phillips said...

absolutely brilliant.

WE'RE ALL PAWNS! PAWNS I TELL YOU!

Matt Granfield said...

Would someone please forward Mark a copy of the second edition of the Bloggers Ultimate playbook, the one with secret moves 11-20. From memory (and it's been a while since I put it back under the second table from the back at the Lounge Cafe, Surry Hills) I do believe secret move #15 is 'rope in unsuspecting guest blogger to share workload whilst doing more important things, beersphering for example'.

Nick Crocker said...

The one point you didn't make is that offline, his secret is to get everyone else blogging.

The first time I met him, I told him I wasn't going to blog. He looked at me and said - 'If you are calling yourself a digital strategist and you don't have a blog, I don't take you seriously'.

I agreed with him and started a blog.

Nice post Mr Pollard.

Clare Lancaster said...

OMG I feel so used!

Cenk Baban said...

Wow, this is one of the smartest and funniest blog entries I read in ages. Mark must spend a lot of time sniffing this blog to get all these points right!

Tim Burrowes - Mumbrella said...

Until this moment, I'd felt special.

Julian? There were others you liked too?

But I'm with Mark: the 100 list was the shrewdest move of the lot.

Nathan Bush said...

I'm off to have a shower. I feel dirty.

Zac Martin said...

Is it too late for this post to be nominated for a Moggie?

Juju puts on that sweet innocent smile and secretly he's been plotting all along.

Kate Richardson said...

Julian "Machiavelli" Cole.

I thought you cared.

I've even shared my twit crushes with you.

Now I'm crushed.

Post of the year.

Tristan said...

...well now i don't know what to think! However Mark, you may have a little bit of an obsession with Mr Cole. Jealous much?! ;)

Nice post.

Coogee Bay Hotel gelato will never be the same again.

Tony Thomas said...

I'm honored to share an office with Jules, his Argentinean pants and his random white boy bling.

A great read Mark!!

Kate Richardson said...

Look, we're all falling for Play 1 - Ego trap.

And I've done it twice.

What a ham.

Colin Campbell said...

Julian? Julian? Julian?.......Julian?....???

Wherefore art thou?

Julian Cole said...

NOT THE PLAYBOOK!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Anonymous said...

Soooo cynical Marko you kidder! Play 11 could be rebuzzing oldbuzz like 'Stalkernomics'. Thankyou for giggles, Pete

Anonymous said...

Soooo cynical Marko you kidder! Play 11 could be rebuzzing oldbuzz like 'Stalkernomics'. Giggles all round, Pete xx

Age said...

Don't hate the player, hate the game. Props JC, homie.

Kate said...

What a golden read! Mark Pollard is a genius (and stalker?)

The diagram fiasco at #4 had me laughing out loud.

Chopps said...

Well played sir! By the book.

wisey said...

sweet jesus.
what have i let myself get involved in?

Mark Pollard said...

@everyone Thanks for reading! Had fun with it and Julian pays well.

@Matt Would definitely like the rest of the playbook. My game's limited.

@Nick Agree - smart tactic. Ditto for Twitter. Being the water-breaker breeds a nice co-dependency.

@Zac, @Kate You're too kind. The Moggy's are a nice multi-play play. See what you can do :)

@Tristan Infatuated? Only with you, son.

@TonyThomas ... ah the master pimp himself. Thank you for reading.

@Anonymous Pete Your take on Stalkernomics is way too cynical. Watch this space. Need to talk to @radian6, @BigPondTeam, @Brightkit, @bonobos and a few others about it too (Hi guys! Drop a comment when you pop in!)


@ everybody else - if it made you giggle, you owe me a comment. Puhleaase.

Meg Rayner said...

Great post! I read it all the way through instead of just skimming like I do when I "read" some other blogs.
So true, you caught JC out!

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