One “Connector” Who Uses Social Media to Make Her Own Luck: Jade Craven

February 8, 2012

Want to learn how to use social media to Make Your Own Luck? Check out my new digital course, which begins March 5!

Speaking of using social media to Make Your Own Luck, today we’ve got an interview with a woman who has pretty much mastered that art.

Jade Craven is a “connector” and digital publicist of sorts, someone I’ve recently grown to admire. You’ll find her in a handful of places around the Web, including at Launch Watch, where she details launches of digital products on a weekly basis. (This is GOLD for new digital entrepreneurs, since observing others is one of the best ways to learn.)

Apparently Jade likes birds.

Apparently Jade likes birds.

Australia-based Jade also sells several fabulous ebooks, including How to Network on Twitter and The Beginner’s Guide to Guest Posting. And — because it’s impossible to overstate this woman’s value — Jade does consulting, so certainly consider her if you want your next ebook launch to be a knock-out success.

This is a long interview, but if you’re at all interested in the power of social media and where it intersects with entrepreneurship, I bet you’ll find it fascinating.

Thanks for indulging us, Jade! We connected because you reached out to me and asked how you could help me. Why'd you do that?

It's just something I do, I can't help it. When I see someone that is talented, I want to do everything in my power to help them succeed. I do it for altruistic reasons and because it makes me happy.

However, connecting is something that will make people like you. Being authentic and genuinely caring means that you have a great network that will be willing to support you when you've asked. As a connector, you also get a lot of benefits:

  • You get to notice trends before other people do
  • You get to connect great stories with influential people. Both parties are really, really thankful which makes them feel positively towards you
  • People and opportunities will just start coming to you

There is nothing more satisfying then giving someone advice and them benefiting from it. It gives me social proof and referrals, but most of all, I get to develop good friendships. It makes work a lot more fun and pushes me to try harder.

With you — you’re brilliant. [Lexi blushes.] Anyone here can see that. Reading your site made me giddily excited and I wanted to be part of the journey.

2. You call yourself a “connector.” What does that mean? Can you give some practical examples of how you connect people?

I connect people with whatever they need at a specific time. I filter through a lot of information – more then the normal person – and accidentally built a reputation as someone who is “in the know.”

People started coming to me asking for suggestions. A lot of it is related to people and products. I generally know what people are getting up to, and it's easy to just say “Oh! This person is doing something similar. You should totally talk to each other.”

Sometimes it's more complex and people ask for advice. This is occasionally strategy stuff that I really should be charging for. However, I've been doing it for free because it helps me to learn a lot. I know:

  • What problems people face. I can create content to target them
  • What new products are launching. I can connect people with affiliates that earn both parties a lot of money
  • About ideas as they are still being developed. Getting an insight into creators’ thought process has been so beneficial

I know that my previous efforts will help me so much going into 2012. Rather then just sulk about how hard things were on a personal level, I threw myself into staying connected. It means that I have a much greater chance of rocking it this year.

Here's an example.

I read a book called Swept by Torre De Roche. It was originally self-published, but she sold the rights and it won’t be released until next year. I LOVED the book. When I put it down, I emailed a couple of friends saying that they should check out her work.

I then recommended to an American blogger that Torre attend a meetup that was being held while she was visiting Melbourne. She did, and I got the chance to talk to her personally. I got to get a feel for her personality, and right there, I was thinking of who I could connect her with because I really wanted to see her succeed.

I thought of a journalist friend, a high profile blogger and a couple of other people and sent them an email. When I wrote the Problogger list, I put her on there. It's just little things I do, and I do them every day for people that I know. Some require a lot of effort and others, just a quick email.

With most people, I do this on a much smaller scale.

3. How do you monetize all this connecting? How do you turn it into money?

Here's the reality: Right now, I'm not making much money off it.

Previously, I worked as a networking assistant for the Launch Coach, Dave Navarro. This lasted for six months and culminated in him paying for me to attend Blogworld and arrange the networking side of things. Sadly, he had some personal problems after that which resulted in a lot of web drama online. This affected my earning potential.

I generally make money in three ways:

  • People buy my products (which talk about networking and connecting)
  • I make money via affiliate sales. Usually, these are recommendations I make that address specific problems
  • People hire me. Currently, I do random freelance work to make enough money so I can eat. I spend the rest of my time just creating stuff that will benefit me later

The thing is, I have to see this business like a startup. You can't just grow it from nothing. If bad things happen that affect your business, you may have to put a lot of work into getting it back to where it used to be.

I've been fortunate in that I've leveraged social media to make a lot of connections. When the time comes to ask for help, I have a lot of people that would be interested. I just prefer not to ask for favours, or use up my luck, for short-term monetary gain. I'd rather use it to promote something amazing.

People are told to gloss over the rough stuff, but this is reality. The other reality is connecting alone wont make you money. It needs to be connected to a business that serves the needs of the people you are helping.

I know that this will change very shortly. I haven't been promoting myself or my services. When people ask me how they can reciprocate, I turn the conversations back onto them. Part of this game is patience. People respect you so much more when you only ask them to support your best work and, frankly, my work over the past year has been substandard.

4. Part of the reason I like you is your enthusiasm for creating awesome content. What are you excited about right now? What projects are you working on?

I'm doing a regular blog series called Launch Watch. I am so excited about this. It's a project that is about six months old and it's changed so much. Basically, I curate the best resources for those looking at creating and selling information products, similar to what you are doing. I love it and it has been so fascinating seeing the feedback.

See, here's something I've read in a lot of books on startups and career: people LOVE it when you have an interesting side project. It doesn't have to be profitable or time-consuming, it just has to demonstrate passion and commitment. This concept has so much potential to help people become aware of my work, but I'm doing it because it excites me. I think people pick up on that excitement and that's what draws them back. It has been great for networking, which is one of the reasons I transitioned it back to being a blog post. People like knowing when they have been mentioned and it makes them want to share the content.

The other project is for a client, but screw it. I've just started helping out Kate Kendall with The Fetch and seriously, I'm SO excited about it. It's a site that curates what is going on in your city’s digital and business communities. The information is mostly relevant to Australian cities and London, but I love the model. I love everything that Kate does.

Actually, this ties back to using social media to make your own luck. When Kate was working on a previous project, I recommended you be interviewed. It was on Travellers Point. I've recommended other people and just tried to be helpful and didn't even expect to get work out of it.

I use social media to share my passion and support interesting projects. People really resonate with that. It's gotten to the point where it's kinda scary with so many opportunities being thrown my way and it's all because of my social media usage. [Lexi getting excited because she gets how to use social media to make your own luck. Are you hearing this, guys? Are you hearing this?!]

5. You've given me some great advice about how to launch products online, including ebooks. Can you share 2-3 of those tips with my readers?

  • Marketing is SO Important. I talk about word of mouth and community, but I hate marketing. I have generally believed creating a great product would suffice when it came to marketing. I have been so wrong. You don't need to do a huge push at the start, but you do need to do some marketing. I know how hard it is – it makes me feel so uneasy – but you wont get sales otherwise. No sales = unpaid bills. Ethical Launch is a nifty new blog about non-icky marketing.
  • Amazon will change the game. We don't know how yet because everything is still evolving and new. You don't have to experiment with it yet, but watch the results of other people’s experiments. See what works, and what doesn't, and think about ways to apply them to your own projects. Anything that was published as an eBook can be published on the kindle, including books with multimedia like Rob Brydon’s autobiography. Or you can look at David Meerman Scott’s must-read ebook on Newsjacking. That was backed by Wiley and contains lots of links! It's worth monitoring the trends now, rather than being overwhelmed later.
  • Make it easy to talk about your product. Check out this cool worksheet by Andy Sernovitz about the 5 T's of Word of Mouth. It's incredibly simple. Then, focus on finding the tools that will get the talkers to start talking about your product. It's so darn effective.

6. You write Problogger's annual 20 Bloggers to Watch post. How'd you get started doing that, and how has it helped your career?

It went live on New Year’s Eve this year. When I woke up, there was a job offer in my inbox. I had another shortly after. I full on freaked out as it was New Year’s and I didn't want to make any decisions just then!

I started that in 2009 on a whim. I had guest posted on Problogger occasionally and thought, hmm, this seems like an interesting idea. I pitched it to Darren [the founder] and it just took off from there. I can't believe how much it grew.

It's turned into a yearly tradition. People get excited and look forward to the list, and it's helped cement my reputation as someone who “gets” the industry. I've already had one job offer based on this years post. Additionally, I use the information surrounding the post as a way to learn more about what the community wants and the type of bloggers that inspire them.

It has shown people that I'm not centered on one community. This is something that makes you incredibly hireable. It is so hard keeping up with just one community, let alone knowing what is going on elsewhere.

People have also seen how I responded in the comment section. I engaged those that commented, offering my perspective and asking for feedback. I went to posts talking about it and contributed. That led to a well-known blogger saying I was the “real deal,” which made me feel so happy.

Basically, that post is one huge resume. But it's not the post itself, it's everything that goes on surrounding it.

7. You know the ins and outs of my business, as well as many of my goals — and you included me on the Problogger list for 2012. What would you like to see me accomplish this year? In other words, is there anything I'm not doing that I should be?

It's not about the goals, it's the journey. I think you are on a pretty good journey. You are experimenting with multiple forms of products and types of publishing. You are always looking for opportunities and you are so. darn. professional.

People always think they need to do something specific to have a cool career but really, I want you to just learn a lot and get to the point where you can travel more. It sounds lame, but it's the personal growth that I think will be what makes you stand out this year.

8. You're always pointing me toward fabulous resources. What websites would you suggest my readers — many of whom are writers — check out?

I think the stuff Thom Chambers is doing at Mountain And Pacific is really cool. He focuses on micropublishing and creating digital magazines, and his work is just amazing. It's a new type of curation and way to share content. People are so saturated by blog posts that it's hard to find something that stands out. It's also hard to find something that is crafted as beautifully as this, with both words and design.

Also, Chris Guillebeau has put out a really good guide on publishing. Danielle Laporte put out a similar one called Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. So much of the conversation is about self-publishing, so it's interesting to see resources skewed towards getting a publishing deal. It's totally worth looking at the conversation surrounding both of these resources.

Finally, check out Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields. You'll thank me for it later.

Whoa, so much helpful information. Thanks, Jade!

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4 Replies to “One “Connector” Who Uses Social Media to Make Her Own Luck: Jade Craven”

  • Lisa McKay says:

    As someone who’s about to launch a self-published book in a couple of months, this was fascinating, thanks! Jade, also, kudos on the front page of your website – clear and clean and easy to figure out what you’re up to.

    • Jade Craven says:

      Thanks for the compliments, Lisa. Let me know if there’s any resources I can point you to regarding self publishing. I’ve only been dabbling, but I’ve learned a lot from my experiments and also by what my friends are doing.

      😉 You know what? I’ve also been experimenting with the front page of my site over the past year as I tried different things. That version was finished about an hour before this interview went live – and looks exactly the same as it did a year ago! It’s a cheap theme from Themeforest called U-Design if you’re interested.

      Thanks again. I never know if my ramblings about this stuff are useful to anyone.

      – Jade

  • Shae says:

    This is really useful. Thanks Jade and Alexis. I’m even more pumped now to start the social media course in March and elevate my profile. Self-publishing is most definitely on my agenda over the coming year and the information in the interview was very enlightening.

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