The 5-Part Recipe for Profitable Unpopularity

The 5-Part Recipe for Profitable Unpopularity

Reader Comments (55)

  1. Hi Sonia, just want to say that the most frustating thing we as marketers sometime under go is the unpopularity tag that we are trying to counter it. To avoid the High School syndrome when identifying unique business ideas, we should define our personality, attitude and values of our brand identity. Man i love this book. Thanks alot.

    • Bill – thanks for the kind words this morning. And I’m glad you dig the concept! Props to Sonia for eloquently distilling 200-some-odd pages that help us get past that high school mentality and INTO our businesses πŸ™‚



  2. Such an excellent point! Popularity is seductive. Exciting.

    One of my favorite clients is unpopular. Their following on social media is laughable. What isn’t visible from the surface is that their followers aren’t even all that technically savvy. Most of them don’t use social media. They “follow” by email. And yet this little “unpopular” client does 7 figures a year. I know, because I do their marketing.

    We’re not in high school anymore. It’s not so much about being the cool kids anymore. It’s about finding our tribe and not being another “me-too!” Great point – thanks for making it!

    • Seven figures…how VERY unpopular πŸ™‚ Awesome point, Linda — and thanks for stopping by today. And I don’t know about you – I’m not looking for seductive. I’m looking for successful.


  3. I think this is really another way of thinking about market segmentation. Companies don’t have to serve everyone and make everyone happy and by narrowing their focus down to their most attractive segments, they might turn folks in the other segments off. That’s totally OK. Smaller companies in particular would do well to focus on being popular within a smaller community and stop worrying about having everyone love them.

    • Spot on, April. What’s baffled me is that people think that saying “I want moms” is REAL market segmentation. Smart brands know what kind of moms they want AND take the time to understand what’s important to them. Solid segmentation goes WAY beyond naming names. It’s getting in there and living with them, too.

  4. Erika is one of the few blogs that I read religiously. I’m looking forward to getting a copy of Unpopular…but as I’m a cheap bastard I figured I’d go for the free one first. πŸ™‚

  5. As another redhead who happens to have a knack for being unpopular, I can’t wait to read this. I’d order it on Kindle but this is one I actually want a tangible copy of (I still buy CDs from my favorite bands, too, if I REALLY like them — it’s all about keepin’ it real, yo).

    One of my mottos is “If you’re not pissing anybody off, you’re not doing it right,” and I stand by that to this day. Not that I advocate pissing people off for no reason, but while “disruptive” seems to be the buzz word du jour these days, it’s only those of us who truly are disruptive, those of us who are impatient with everybody else and just naturally ruffle people’s feathers, that seem to “get it.” Ironically, it’s usually those who preach “haters gonna hate” that are the biggest haters. When you get under their skin, you become the itch they can’t seem to scratch, and it’s wonderful.

    What they don’t teach you in high school is that the minute you walk out of high school and into college and/or the “real world,” you’re just walking into another version of the same petty behavior. Now, thanks to the internet, it’s a lot easier to see that kind of douchebaggery on a much more exacerbated and amplified level. But like I learned in high school, you just gotta walk away from the douchebaggery and not stoop to that level. Do your own thing, and for every “hater,” you’ve got at least two people who are glad you’ve got the cojones to say what they’re afraid to.

    Keep up the good work, Erika. Can’t wait to read the book.

    – @damnredhead

    • Thanks, lady — and you’re 100% right about the ‘real world.’ No one in it cares if you were the prom queen, homecoming king, or threw the game-winning touchdown pass. They care about whether you can produce results, repeatedly, and do it in a way that keeps people coming back for more πŸ™‚

      Great to see you here this morning — and looking forward to hearing what you think about the book!

  6. I enjoy Erika’s blog and on the days she posts, my days are just that much brighter. (Erika – your new site rocks, too!)

    Would love to read the book! And yes, it is cool to be unconventional!

    • Well, aren’t you just complimenting me when I should be thanking YOU for reading and being the reason I get to do what I love? Glad to see you and it’s a honor that anything I do can brighten someone’s day.


  7. Dang. ANOTHER dose of reality from Sonia. I love it.

    Interesting how the most successful tips and concepts are the ones that take us out of our comfort zones.

    Looking forward to reading more reality checks in Erika’s book.


    • Thanks Brent – I agree. Sonia hit the Paris Hilton doll right on the small dog — spot on. And thanks in advance for reading the book and stopping by today to check out what the Copyblogger folks had to say about it πŸ™‚

  8. In reference to Unpopular:

    “A brilliant concept, powerfully delivered. I’ve already ordered six copies for my closest friends.” ~Seth Godin

    Once again that jerk nails a better soundbite than me. One day, I tell ya, one day … πŸ˜‰

    • HAH! Do you know why this is funny? Because I pushed out a Facebook event for the book yesterday and offered people solutions on getting the book based on 3 levels of patience. You’re definitely a Level 1! (Thank you for your purchase…truly. I look forward to your thoughts!)

    • Ahhh…sweet music. Chris, thank you. I hope that you’ll share your thoughts with me and Amazon as you read it. Thanks for being the best part about what I get to do for a living. πŸ™‚

  9. This seems like a really interesting book, if only because it’s the exact opposite of the norm.
    I’d definitely be winning to re-think how I run my business (not sure I can really call it that yet but I will anyway), and I’m also geeky and dorky so this sounds like the book for me!

    I have a hunch I’ll be buying this on Amazon if I don’t win a copy πŸ˜‰

    • Hey – don’t sell your business short. I’m betting it’s DEFINITELY a bonafide business. And I’ll bet that you’re closer than you think to finding the people and resources to make it go kaPOW πŸ™‚

    • Chris – Sonia got my book down to a tee in her review, no argument there! And glad you dug the Whiny Little Freelancer post…it seems to be an audience favorite πŸ™‚ You guys at BlueGlass put on one helluva conference every year — I can’t stop hearing all of the good things about it. So nice work and way to make that audience work FOR YOU!


  10. I think being unskilled and unprofessional in your profession is the new black these days…more-so than being unpopular.

    Just look at all the latest unskilled actors and musicians out there now.

  11. If I had taken the popular route, I’d still be working in retail. To achieve anything meaningful in this century, you can’t be afraid to be unpopular.

  12. Popularity is A-OK for general awareness, but unpopularity seems terrific for actual sales. Thanks for the thoughtful post! (It makes me feel so much better about high school too…)

  13. Interesting stuff.
    Many times I get the feeling blog commenters are sucking up to the popular kid in hopes someone will notice and click on their url.
    Sucking up won’t make you popular or get the job done because it sure doesn’t give you a personal brand for readers to trust. Trying to implement the latest hype in social networking or SEO won’t get you eyeballs that stick either.
    Embracing the concept of Unpopularity can feel kind of liberating. I like that.

    • I like it, too. And I don’t know what you think, but I always feel I can sense when someone’s leaving a comment in earnest or just dropping a mindless platitude. Great point.

  14. Telling customers “Your video is god-awful – but it’s only X to fix” works for me, and has built a business that earns. That doesn’t make me beloved. But it does pay my mortgage. We have 100 likes on Facebook, but every single customer has rehired us.

  15. We were talking about exactly this kind of split in social media in the office today.

    I was reading one of my favourite bloggers, Marc Randolf (off of if anyone wants any insight into how venture capitalists think) and he wrote a great piece about how to pitch to a VC and what they don’t want to hear.

    It got 11 tweets.

    Meanwhile, I’m unfortunately in the beauty business so, sadly, read a lot of blog reviews of nail polish which regularly get a bajillion retweets.

    Seriously? Nail polish?

    • But here’s what I’m betting — those 11 retweets of Marc’s blog were targeted and READ/clicked. Not so much on the nail polish side, methinks. But this is the beauty of it all: there’s an audience for everyone, and if a brand has built a shareable brand — no matter what you sell, people will share. And the RIGHT people at that πŸ™‚

  16. One other aspect of being unpopular – I was in high school, is that you learn compassion and people resonate with compassion. People want to know you care. Thank you for this post – the book looks interesting and helpful.

    • I can’t agree with this more. We learn to respect people for being people instead of the superficial things that just add color. “Things” can come and go. People? Those have staying power.

    • I just tested it and it looks good to me, there might have been a momentary blip? Let us know if you’re still having trouble and I can add your name manually (you would still need to confirm the opt-in, of course).

  17. So true. A lot of us tend to be seduced by numbers that we tend to forget who we are really trying to reach are.
    Let’s face it, not all people would be interested to buy our product and services.

    I’ve found that we don’t need to be popular to be successful. That the key to successful marketing is by doing it without spending too much time with people who’s never going to buy. That we only need to be damn sexy to the people who matters most – our customers.

    Great review Sonia. Would love to read the book!

  18. I think that being popular on the web consists of writing mostly kind of dumb posts. Sorry, but it’s true. People are searching for the basics and if you can deliver that, you’re the king. However, those people often don’t want to pay for products. So, focusing on those who want to work on themselves, their skills or whatever will bring you profit. At least, that’s how I see it. I’d rather have a small fan base than having massive amounts of readers who don’t engage.

  19. Thanks Sonia for your book recommendation. I think this book will sell well considering that there are too many people out there that are unpopular but want to be successful under the radar. I also agree with the personality aspect when building brand is really vital. When we meet blog or anything, we will feel more welcome if we read articles that can really talk to us personally.

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