Be Original & Useful

So I’m chatting with Christine “PurpleCar” Cavalier the other day, and my current status as the #7 Google entry for “Bill” out of 21,500,000 English pages comes up. (I’m actually #5, because both Gates & Clinton have multiple entries ahead of me… but who’s counting? :D)

So Christine asks me “How did you do that?”, and the interesting thing was that I didn’t have an answer for her. 🙂

I never had a goal of having a high Google ranking for the name “Bill”. I started out branding ReelSolid.TV and then switched to branding BillCammack and “Bill Cammack”.

I had no interest in branding “Bill” because it’s so generic. Not only is it a name, but people have to PAY THEIR BILLS, there’s the BILL OF RIGHTS, ducks have bills, etc… Buffalo Bills, not to mention, a ton of famous Bills… Cosby, Maher, Nye The Science Guy… I’m not even the first Bill on the videoblogging scene. Bill Streeter was there way before I was.

So I decided to think about it… Not that *I* did anything, but how did I end up with such a high ranking? Technically, I can’t say, because as Liz Burr points out, Google’s all about math. However, I do have two tips for people that aspire to some sort of distinction either on the internet or IRL….

1) Be Original

One of the reasons my posts get a lot of play is that they’re original. I made them up. I’m “kicking them off the top”. It’s FRESH information. I don’t write anything ahead of time. I’m thinking about something, I ‘feel’ it, then I go for it.

I’m not reading other people’s ideas, then regurgitating them. I’m not making people aware of what SOMEBODY ELSE said or thought. I might use other people’s material as a foundation for what MY point is, like in Women’s Guide to NYC Dating, but I make a CLEAR distinction between what someone else posted and what’s coming directly from me. If all you’re doing is regurgitating ideas you heard or read on the net, you’re a librarian…. a curator. Why would anyone go to your site for FRESH information when you offer ZERO added value? That’s what and StumbleUpon are for. The only reason they would visit your site is for YOUR SPECIFIC FLAVOR about things. If you’re not adding any, you don’t get play past people’s first encounter with you.

Another benefit of originality is that people pass your information around, because they’ve never seen it before, ANYWHERE! How many places can you go to see celebrity gossip? A million, plus. So if you want to separate yourself from the pack, make a site like Stephanie Frasco’s or Marissa Nystrom’s You don’t go there because there are celebrity shots there… You go there because you want to know what Steph or Marissa HAVE TO SAY about celebs, what they do and what they wear = Added Value, due to their originality.

The other benefit to being original is that when conversations come up IRL about stuff you posted to the net, you actually have valid defensible positions. 🙂 When you’re talking about other people’s stuff, your knowledge on the topic only goes so far as what you’ve READ… Not what you learned or experienced yourself. This is what causes you to LOSE PROPS instead of gaining them, because when people find out that you’re just a librarian/curator for other people’s thoughts and concepts, your conversational value plummets.

2) Be Useful

It’s great to have your own style, and people will definitely check out your blog (show, whatever) just because you’re a stylish person… especially if your style is original for some reason… but you also want to present something USEFUL to your audience. That might be technical information, entertainment or your own style of humor, even if it’s mostly funny TO YOU and makes other people cringe because of the light it sheds on their own lives and relationships. 🙂

When you post useful information, the effect is that people are always interested in it. It’s not the same people… It’s just that as life occurs, the same exact thing happens to different people at different times. In turn, they search google for insight on what just happened to them and end up at your site, absorbing the useful information you posted a year and a half ago. 🙂

Nothing educational to say?… Make up and play an interesting character or talk about what your job is or the town you live in. Give people tips on how to do photography or run an internet music show or work behind the scenes in the film industry. Show people how television shows are made:

How To Properly Color Correct A Presidential Candidate
Formats Available: iPod (.mp4)

OTOH, you don’t want to be useful ‘for no reason’. Make sure the topics are things that you normally kick it about anyway and enjoy discussing or writing about. The people that are interested in the same things will seek your posts out on the internet, and without actually becoming “internet famous”, people will start to “tune in next week” to see what you’re doing or saying now.

~Bill Cammack

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  1. I think you forgot to mention that you also write well and that it is always pleasant to be reading your posts. Original, useful, pleasant…

  2. I agree with Otir! You always have great insight and are a fantastic instructor! Your communication style is natural, too. Sometimes this kind of thing just can’t be taught! Thanks for the shout out!

  3. @Otir: Thanks for the compliment. Yes, granted, there are a lot of things that I left out, such as being decent to people in general and having an open mind when you meet them, especially for the first time, or even via social media… but I think Originality @ Usefulness are good places to start. 😀

  4. @PurpleCar: Thank You. 🙂

    Yes… There is an element of “being a natural” that gives certain people advantages in things that they do. As you said, there are things that can’t be taught, and people either have to be born with it or have learned things through their life experiences up to this date.

    I wanted to bring up a couple of things that non-naturals can focus on that they seem to not be aware of. Don’t do another gossip blog or another tech news reporting blog with a chick as the front and guys doing everything else associated with the program. Do something original. Give it YOUR OWN SPIN, where people are going to recognize you as different and interesting so they’ll look forward to whatever you decide to present to them next. 🙂

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