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Updated by Nick Kellet on Nov 13, 2015
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Engagement From Scratch - CoAuthors List

Each of the 30+ co-authors has built an engaged and loyal audience, and explains exactly how they would do it if they had to start all over again.


Gini Dietrich | Contributors | Engagement from Scratch!

Spin Sucks is a blog committed to clearing the name of marketers across the board. We're not just spin doctors! The brain child of Gini Dietrich, the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich,, Spin Sucks is one of the most influential marketing, content and social media blogs there is (and an AdAge top150 marketing blog).

Gini is also a sought-after speaker on a variety of topics suchas public relations, sales, digital communication, creating content and converting leads, and has been seen in venues across the country spreading the word. You'll be able to find more of her writing in the Franchise Times, Crain's Chicago Business, and All Business.

For Engagement from Scratch!, Gini wrote about stroking people's egos. It may seem simplistic, but keeping this one idea in mind will facilitate all of your online activities. While your first instinct might be that it isn't your job to make other people feel better, nothing will likely serve you better in the long run. When you can make people feel great about themselves, they'll make a point of seeking you out. If you can get your readers to do that, then all you need to worry about is having a clear vision, setting goals and being consistent with your calls to action - all of which Gini explains in great depth.

Adam Toren: Social Media from Scratch

From their childhood experience selling toys and stereo equipment to their friends, the Toren brothers have become a force to be reckoned with in all entrepreneurial circles, and are dedicated to creating communities where entrepreneurship and the skills required to do it are highly valued, and nurtured.

Adam Toren, along with his brother Matthew, is the founder of, an online community for entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, mentors and investors. They also started a resource for bloggers, and they are the authors of Small Business, BIG Vision, and Kidpreneurs.

In Engagement from Scratch!, Adam write about the importance of having a two-way dialogue with your audience from the word go. He teaches a thorough, step-by-step plan for creating a thriving community, and explains that everything you do online should be built around the idea that there are real people on the other side of the computer screen, with whom you can connect, and whose opinions and ideas can improve both what you do and how you do it.

Alexander Osterwalder: The Audience and the Business Model

Alexander Osterwalder is one of those people who decides something should be done a certain way (based on plenty of thought, experimentation, and research of course!) and then makes it so, regardless of the way things are normally done.

His PHd work in business models led to the creation of an online community called Business Model Alchemist, where people discuss different models for doing business and how they can be changed to suit ever-developing needs. Alex is also the author of Business Model Generation, in which he discusses many similar themes.

Alex's contribution to Engagement from Scratch! is about trying new things and being innovative in your audience building. The basic premise is that almost anything can work as long as the need that you're responding to is real. He gives you everything you need to analyse your business model in terms of your audience and community building, including a valuable worksheet. This article is a must-read, and you can find out more about Alex's ideas at

Ana Hoffman: Not All Blogs Are Created Equal

Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Cafe is one of those prolific bloggers who seems as if they were born to it. Surprisingly, this isn't the case, as Ms. Hoffman has been everything from a professional model to a corporate ladder-climber, and only in the last few years did she become a successful internet entrepreneur. Ana's posts are striking in the sheer amount of feedback they receive from her audience.

Ana learned the hard way how to build an engaged audience, and she shares her insights freely on Traffic Generation Cafe, where she teaches about SEO and link building, traffic conversion and list building.

Ana created a fantastic checklist of things to do, modify, test and experiment with to build your audience for us. She covers what type of person makes the best blogger, how to find your own unique voice, and how to create pillar content, social proof and profitable alliances. At the end of the day - you have to be a doer, not a spectator, and we can all agree that that is exactly what Ana does.

Anita Campbell: Engaged Community, from Scratch

Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Editor in Chief of BizSugar, Small Business Trends and the Small Business Trends newsletter. She is also the host of Small Business Trends Radio. A sought-after speaker, Anita is a lawyer by training, but also knowledgeable in banking, information technology, human resources, marketing and eCommerce.

Small Business Trends has won many awards and accolades from the business community, both locally and internationally, but Anita hasn't stopped there. She was written for publications across the world and continues to travel giving lectures and creating newsletters and other content for very lucky clients.

Anita knows that online communities revolve around shared interest, so for Engagement from Scratch! she has outlined in great detail how to identify who your audience really is and what interests you could share with them. She also goes into what to do once you've found that audience - where to find them, and what it will take to get their attention. Above all, she discusses the importance of remembering that it's not all about you!

Blog Tyrant: It's Like Starting a Riot in London

The Blog Tyrant is a mysterious character from Australia who is bent on teaching all of us how to dominate our niches online. He has created, built and sold many blogs for impressive prices.

He writes incredibly in-depth articles about working online, building blogs, marketing, SEO and monetization, asking in return only that you learn, grow, become successful and do something good for others in return (and, if you like, subscribe).

BT took an interesting turn in his article for Engagement from Scratch!, writing about the recent riots in London, and what events like that can tell us about building an audience. He goes into the different triggers that cause people to act, and the reasons why they blog (or read blogs). Naturally, he concludes that being genuinely helpful is the best way to win loyal support.

Brian Clark: Build the Audience, and Opportunity Will Come

From the Copyblogger about page: "Brian Clark built three successful offline businesses using online marketing techniques before moving to a completely online business model. The result of that move is Copyblogger Media - an innovative company that provides the advice and solutions that empower people to successfully grow their businesses through social media and online marketing."

Brian is a prolific writer whose articles walk the line between entertainment and education, and who has been named, among other things, "One of the Most Influential Marketers", "Top Marketing Blogger" and "Most Influential People in Small Business". He has also been featured in numerous business books, such as Problogger, Meatball Sundae, and Career Renegade.

This marketing superstar writes in Engagement from Scratch! about how the most important aspect of any online business is the audience. It doesn't matter if you have any idea how to make money, or run your blog in the future - if you have a loyal, engaged audience, the opportunity for success will come along. Even further - your audience can tell you, explicitly - what you need to create in order to grab that success and run with it!

Corbett Barr: The Fear of Engagement

Corbett Bar believes that your career should fit itself around your life, not the other way around. He spends his time traveling the world, living in different countries with his wife, and meeting people with lifestyles that allow them to live as they choose on a surprising variety of incomes. Corbett blogs about developing that type of lifestyle for yourself at Think Traffic, and, most recently, Expert Enough.

Expert Enough is part of his Million Dollar Blog Project, where he's going to be going hand in hand with readers starting their own blogs, through every step of the process in the hopes of creating $1 million worth of value in two years.

The truth is that blogging and building a community is hard work, and it's scary and there are going to be times when it seems utterly hopeless. But you should do it anyway. Read his article to learn why.

Danny Brown : Build Your Goals First

Some people do a lot of good in the world, while running successful businesses and sharing huge amounts of information. Danny Brown is one of those people. At (an AdAge top 150 marketing blog) he blogs about "the human side of media and the social side of marketing," and he is the owner of Bonsai Interactive, a profitable marketing consultancy.

Other Projects include the 12for12k Challenge, a social-media led philanthropic organization, and the For Bloggers, By Bloggers Network where Bloggers can share information and ideas. Danny is also the author of The Parables of Business.

Even the most successful of us make mistakes however, and Danny gives an incredibly honest account of some of the mistakes he made along his path, like too frequent posting, and more openness. He talks about the universal challenges face by online entrepreneurs, and the particular difficulties that can lie in building an audience.

Above all, Danny talks about the importance of continual learning, and how there is always something new to discover about your audience and yourself.

Derek Halpern: Design+Format+Topic

Derek Halpern is the conversion genius behind Social Triggers which brings together marketing and psychology in an endlessly fascinating fusion. Derek is an experienced blogger and marketer who has created websites that garnered hugeamounts of attention in very short time spans. Specifically,Derek uses a blend of data driven marketing (conversion rates, academic research, and personal case studies) and content marketing to get traffic, attract customers, and sell products online.

Derek has been mentioned or quoted on Problogger, Copyblogger, Marketing Profs, and on Entrepreneur Magazine; clearly, he know what he's talking about.

In Engagement from Scratch!, Derek talks about the necessary confluence of Design, Format and Topic that make the best and most effective online communities. He talks about the importance of positioning, which includes content design and format and promotion, and then the all important conversion of traffic into customers.

At the end of the day, Derek points out that it's not rocket science, but it does take skill, research and hard work to make it big. Read his contribution for the details!

Dino Dogan: How to Create a Community of Fanatics

For a long time, Dino Dogan lived a corporate life as a network engineer mostly performing corporate training, which served as a sandbox for him to experiment with different business ideas, concepts and situations, before he moved on to (among other things)start Triberr, which has skyrocketed to become one ofthe most popular networking blogs on the internet.

On another of his sites, DIY Blogger, Dino shares the "information business folks would find useful if only they knew it existed." He also maintains several other blogs on topics as diverse as biking (motor - not bi-cycle!) and dogs, all of which perform well as niche sites. Clearly this is a man who knowshow to build an online community!

In Engagement from Scratch!, Dino writes about how to create a community of fanatics. Through an exploration of the nature of "fanaticism" as it relates to online communities, he explains how you can use this phenomenon to your advantage.

Evan Carmichael: The Internet Helps Those Who Help Others

Evan started his first business when he was 19, without a clue about how to build a company or an audience. Instead of giving up, he modeled the strategies of successful entrepreneurs and he soon found international success.

His current project,, is a resource where you can learn from industry experts including Donald Trump, Michael Gerber, Zig Ziglar, Jack Canfield, and Tom Peters. He also plays host to a vibrant forum of entrepreneurs at every stage of their journeys.

One thing that Evan has found to be the most important in business, particularly online business, is being yourself, completely honestly, and at all times. In his contribution to Engagement from Scratch!, he discusses very specific techniques for doing this in a way that is incredibly impactful to new readers.

All of the tactics that he teaches are actually implemented with, where you can see for yourself what a difference it makes in your experience of the site. Always be passionate, sincere and as personal as you can.

Guy Kawasaki: 99 Happy People

No one who uses a computer can be totally in the dark about the existence of Guy Kawasaki, Apple's long-time and most influential advocate-turned-internet-superstar. Since the early days of Macintosh, Guy has been enlightening the world about how companies can enchant their customers.

He has certainly done that with Alltop, which keeps you informed about what's happening in all topics. Guy is also the author of ten books about marketing, branding and community building. You can find out more about his projects at

In Engagement from Scratch!, Guy gives us a look at the three pillars of enchantment: Likability, Trustworthiness and Quality, and explains how to use them in the context of social media. If you can apply these principles to your audience-building, you'll go very far.

Jeff Bullas: Building a Global Engaged Audience

Jeff Bullas is a consultant, coach, mentor and speaker who works with companies and executives to optimize their online presences with digital marketing and social media. On his blog, Jeff writes about all things to do with social media and online marketing, including Twitter, blogging, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, search engine optimisation (SEO), inbound and content marketing. In other words, he teaches companies how to get found online.

Over the course of his career, Jeff has used direct marketing, television, radio, print, in-person and many, many types of online marketing campaigns. He is experienced and knowledgeable, and has achieved a great deal of success for his own blogs and those of his clients.

For Engagement from Scratch!, Jeff created an awe-inspiring step-by-step guide to writing effectively online. When talking about community building, it's easy to get caught up in new techniques and technologies, but Jeff reminds us how important a rock-solid foundation in the basics is.

This is the type of information that you can't get by browsing a few websites - It's comprehensive. From self-analysis to maintaining your momentum, there is nary a stone left unturned by Jeff's chapter - so go read it!

Jk Allen: Six Tips to Build an Engaged Audience from Scratch

JK is on a mission to help people recognize their potential in work and in life. His blog The Hustler's Notebook, is a powerfully written chronicle of his experiences. The word "hustle" is meant to denote someone who works hard, and is driven to succeed by an internal force - just like Jk, as any reader of his blog can tell.

Focusing mainly on marketing, personal branding and individual development, the Hustler's Notebook offers a gritty, "keeping it real" tone and style. Some of his more popular (and possibly controversial!) posts have been about the questionable need for a degree, how looks matter and the death of the company man.

JK provided us with six tips for building an engaged audience, based on the idea that every teacher was once a student and that while building an audience from the ground up takes work, it's something that is feasible for everyone. Assuming, of course, that you choose the right niche, and define your audience correctly, while staying humble and focused. Sound challenging? Better read the chapter then!

Kristi Hines: Three Wishes

Kristi Hines, a.k.a. Kikolani, is an online marketing consultant, freelance writer, professional blogger, photographer and social media enthusiast. She contributes to a huge number of business and marketing sites including KISSmetrics, Search Engine Watch, Income Diary and Unbounce, and is a widely sought after guest poster. When not busy writing for clients and the web, Kristi enjoys tennis, hiking and building her photography business.

Kristi is a prolific blogger, writing on about blogging tips and blog marketing advice for personal and professional bloggers. On you'll find a portfolio of writing samples, and you can get all the details about her photography business at and

Author of the eBook Blog Post Promotion, Kristi is an expert in the art of relationship development, and has built an online community to be proud of. Her writing style is friendly, colloquial and incredibly informative. In Engagement from Scratch!, she shares the three things she wished she knew when she began building her audience back in 2009; the importance of branding your name, of creating email lists, and being careful who you get involved with online.

Linda Bustos: Make Yourself Indispensible

As Director of e-Commerce Research at Elastic Path, Linda Bustos oversees and is a regular contributor to the Get Elastic e-Commerce Blog while providing consulting services to some of the largest ecommerce sites in the world.

Linda took over the fledgling blog in 2006 and has since turnedit into the best e-commerce blog around with over 13,000 subscribers, and an incredibly engaged audience. Linda is in the enviable position of being able to blog almost full-time, and she produces a huge amount of content every week.

She shares the principles she's learned from the growth of Get Elastic with us in Engagement from Scratch!, the dominant one being that you must make yourself absolutely, completely and entirely indispensible to your audience.

Growth is going to come down to a few things - having great content (and lots of it) from day one, having a purpose for everything that you create, and differentiating yourself on a basis that will matter to your readers.

Marcus Sheridan: 5 Levels of Networking Like a Superstar

Marcus Sheridan, also known as The Sales Lion hails from rural Virginia, where he lives with his wife and 4 children. Author of several self-help books and the owner of the nation's leading swimming pool company, River Pools and Spas, Marcus has developed no-fail techniques for driving traffic and creating engagement. He prides himself on sincerity and being genuinely helpful to his audience, which every reader of this book can aspire to.

In Engagement from Scratch!, Marcus outlines his 5 Levels of Networking Like a Superstar; Comments and Retweets, Advanced Commenting, Learning to Give Love, Promoting Others and finally, Above and Beyond. Contrary to conventional popular wisdom, Marcus firmly believes that networking that is king - but awesome content sure helps!

Mark Schaefer: Community Through Tenacity

Mark Schaefer is a business and marketing professional with over 25 years of experience. Currently a teacher at Pellissippi State College in Knoxville and an adjunct professor of marketing at Rutgers University, he is also the author of The Tao of Twitter, a massively popular book about using the newest social media engine.

Mark is an award winning business writer and speaker whose main online presence is his {Grow} blog where you can not only hire him, but become a part of his loyally engaged audience. Covering social media, marketing, entrepreneurship and other business topics - it's well worth a read.

In Engagement from Scratch!, Mark gets personal, and talks about just what his community of fans and supporters means to him. Mark explains that taking a human approach, being genuine letting your weakness show and always being grateful for what you're given are the pillars of success.

Marlee Ward: How to Suck at Building an Engaged Audience

For a long time Marlee Ward followed "the path" that is supposed to lead you to health, wealth, happiness and success. Unfortunately, doing all of the "right" things isn't all it's cracked up to be, and even being a lawyer left her wanting more from her life.

So she became an entrepreneur, offering marketing consulting services and personal coaching. Today, her blog helps hundreds of people achieve their dreams of freedom from corporate shackles.

In her chapter of Engagement from Scratch!, Marlee takes a characteristically tongue-in-cheek approach to explaining audience building. Instead of telling you how to get that thriving, loyal engaged audience, she takes us, step-by-step, through how to suck at it.

Including such terrible ideas as: having no purpose, trying to please everyone, demanding action immediately, treating readers like cattle and hiding your personality, Marlee really leaves no stone of potential failure unturned!

Mitch Joel: Be Damn Interesting

Mitch Joel has been called the Rockstar of Digital Marketing, but personally prefers the term "Media Hacker." He blogs at Six Pixels of Separation, is the creative genius behind the the innovative marketing firm Twist Image, and is the author of an excellent book also called Six Pixels of Separation.

Mitch serves on several boards and committees, co-founded a music company, and is frequently asked to be interviewed by publications such as BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Marketing Magazine, Profit, Strategy, Money, The Globe & Mail and many other media outlets. He also writes a twice-monthly business newspaper column called Six Pixels of Separation for the Montreal Gazette and the Vancouver Sun.

In his chapter of the book, Mitch talks about how your audience does not have to be your client base, but your client base must be a part of your audience, which basically means that of all the people to are able to connect with, only some are going to end up being clients - but you'll have no idea who until after the fact.

He also goes into the importance of being awesome - a whole indescribable and fundamentally necessary quality for internet entrepreneurs to have. That plus remembering that everything isn't all about you and that engagement takes two-way dialogue makes for an incredibly interesting essay.

Natalie Sisson: The Power of One

Natalie Sisson has been traveling the world since 2006 as The Suitcase Entrepreneur, talking about women in entrepreneurship, marketing and online culture. She has an incredibly diverse background that includes everything from technology start-ups to professional-level body-sculpting. She is the author of the Build Your Own Business Guide, a comprehensive online business start-up guide.

Currently a blogger, world-traveler and business coach, Natalie also operates under the brand Womanzworld. Her mandate is to: "blow the top off history and create a movement where women court bolder dreams and turn them into reality by starting their own 6 figure online businesses. A world where women want to shape and change the way in which we do business. Watch out world." - Natalie Sisson

In Engagement from Scratch!, Natalie shares the mind-boggling list of all the types of social media that she engages in every day to build and nurture her audience (plus, exactly how she does it, too!). Rome was not build in a day, and neither will you community, but if you take the time to get to know people personally, on a variety of forums, success will come.

She talks about list building, RSS feeds Forum participation Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and relationship marketing in great detail - this is not an essay to miss or skim over!

Onibalusi Dele: If I had to start over...

Onibalusi Dele is the very young, very successful freelance writer and blogger behind YoungPrePro. By creating great content, and scores of guest posts, Onibalusi has carved out a career for himself, and blogged about the process so that others can do the same.

Unlike many blogs about writing and blogging, Onibalusi focuses on generating traffic through the quality and quantify of your writing, which is a refreshing take on the subject.

Onibalusi goes through some mistakes he feels he made early in his blogging career, including more focus in his blog, an earlier start on guest blogging, list building and paying more personal attention to readers. Having love and respect for your readers is going to be what sets you apart from all of the other blogs out there, so don't be afraid to be sincere and to put yourself way, way out there.

Randy Komisar: An Unlikely Audience

Randy Komisar is the author of The Monk and the Riddle and Getting to Plan B, two books that have rocked the world of business literature.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Randy has spent years working in the highest levels of marketing and technology. He serves as director to a number of organizations, and works with emerging technology companies to build strong visions and successful enterprises. He is a consulting professor of Entrepreneurship at Stanford University, and the subject of a case study by Harvard law school, entitled "Randy Komisar, Virtual CEO."

Randy does no promotion, does not blog, and does not try to sell his ideas in any way. His fame and audience came to him largely on the basis of the books he has written, and in his contribution to Engagement from Scratch!, he explains that having an audience is a privilege, and to be worthy of it you must bare yourself to the fullest extent to gain trust and respect. You always start with content, but that content will take you nowhere if you don't know why you want your audience.

Sean Platt: Grow the Right Audience

Sean Platt is the wildly productive author of Writing Online and Sales Letter Sellout (How to Write a Sales Letter That Works Without Wasting Your Time!), as well as co-author of Available Darkness, and the groundbreaking serial, Yesterday's Gone. And because that's nowhere near enough, he is also the founder of Ghostwriter Dad, Writer Dad, Collective Inkwell and outstandingSETUP. He is also the co-founder of the publishing imprint CIMedia and outstandingLLC, and is a regular contributor to Copyblogger and several other writing and marketing sites.

Sean makes it simple for us in Engagement from Scratch!: Be yourself, write what you'd want to read and talk to your audience. Couldn't be easier right? Well, there's more to that than meets the eye. Meeting people may be easy, but of all those people you can meet on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites - which ones are going to be your audience?