Do you believe in karma?
It’s not such an existential question as it might sound… essentially, do you believe in giving back, paying it forward – putting in before you take out?
I do. And this is why being awarded the Top Contributor badge on the Google AdWords Community Forum is something I’m very proud of.
It’s not because I like to be able to flash the badge. It’s because it shows that I am part of a thriving community that simply helps others do better online marketing.
PPC is a very difficult area of business. There are no schools, no online learning programmes to speak of, and a lot (a lot!) of people offering the quick fix solution to online success that simply doesn’t exist. So if you’re interested in the area you grab a couple of introductory books – if you’re lucky you find Brad Geddes’s book early on – and then you simply jump in, all full of enthusiasm and confidence. Confidence that, if you’re lucky, lasts the day.
And then the reality of this complex marketing platform begins to dawn on you. It is like an onion, layer after layer of complexity each more significant than the last. Keyword match types, targeting, scheduling, extensions, tracking, conversions, CPC, CPA, ROI, automated rules, scripts – the list is seemingly endless.
So you struggle. And you turn to the help documentation, which doesn’ help. And you turn to the Google reps, who do help, but who don’t fully understand your client. And you turn to the online community. A community which can be found all over the net. From the #ppcchat twitter hashtag which, every Tuesday, is like a scene from a Carlos Castañeda novel where your mind expands into previously hidden territory, to the AdWords Community Forum where users with absolutely no motivation other than to give back will offer help and assistance to, well, anyone with a question.
I relied on the Community a lot in the early days. Asking what, if I look back now, must have seemd like very noobie questions. And all I got was patient, carefully crafted answers that guided me along the path. I recall the simple pleasure of being able to finally give back – having found someone who actually had a question I could confidently answer. It was a good feeling.
Now, some years later, I am a little further along the learning curve. Thankfully, I am still roped to the guys up ahead and, at the same time, I’m proud to be able to also say I have others roped to me.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people there are out there who will willingly share their time and knowledge just because they can. I’m proud to count myself among them. I guess it just makes us feel good to be able to help – and at the same time it’s like making a karma deposit every time you answer a question on the forum. You get to make a withdrawal when you need it.
The learning curve is steep and, as far as I can tell, it doesn’t end. I’m just happy to be enjoying the climb, and the higher you get, the better the view.
As Lennon said – Instant Karma’s gonna get you!