Googley Lessons from Author Aaron Goldman

I knew Aaron Goldman when he was just some search-loving punk in short Cover 3Dpants who'd crash the Search Insider Summits. Look at him now, a published author, free agent, and blog tourer.

To celebrate the debut his new book, Everything I Know about Marketing I Learned from Google, he invited me to join his blog tour where he's appearing on 30 blogs in 10 days. We discussed Barack Obama, the lessons he's both applying and struggling with, and why the book isn't called Everything I Know about Marketing I Learned from Webcrawler (hint: the answer to that last one is NOT that the book name was taken).

The back of the book screams out, “Barack Obama Googled his way to the top of the political ladder.” Obama’s an interesting case study. What do you mean by that, and how should Obama use Google today now that his reputation has taken a hit?


Aaron Goldman Google Me Cropped I use Obama as the prime example in chapter 5, “Be Where Your Audience is.”  The idea is that you can’t expect your audience come to you or your branded destination. You have to take your brand to the place(s) the people you want to reach spend time and interact with them in that environment on their terms.


Google does this by making its search tools available wherever people are connected to the internet — desktop, browser, toolbar, phone, etc. You don’t have to go to to google something.


During the 2008 campaign, Obama engaged his audience on a number of levels and in a number of places. His social media efforts were dizzying — Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. The man was everywhere. Offline too. Along the way, he and his campaign did a great job of “laddering” up support.


In the book, I share the story of Scott Kier, who volunteered for the campaign and canvassed in Detroit. It was interesting to see how Scott was “laddered” up the chain from personal supporter to social supporter to full-on advocate.


So the idea that Obama Googled his way to the top of the ladder is a bit of a play on words, something I do quite a bit on the book. I’ve been told I have a pun-derful writing style.


As for what Obama should do now, I’m not going to take the bait and get political. But I will say I’ve been impressed that he’s continued to use social media to spread his message and push his agenda.


Is this book available in Google Book Search? If not, what are you waiting for?


I’m currently the #1 listing on for “Everything I Know about Marketing I Learned from Google.”


But I suspect you’re asking if I’ve made the full text available to Google, aye?


Alas, that’s out of my hands and something for my publisher to decide. I’m not sure what McGraw-Hill’s  policy is here but, if they asked for my opinion, I’d tell them not to do it.


I know, I know. I’m such a hypocrite. Chapter 17 is “Show Off Your Assets” and I advocate for digitizing and distributing everything. But I don’t want Google profiting from my work.


Sheesh, I sound like Rupert Murdoch!


In what ways are you applying the lessons of this book to promoting it?


In chapter 5 I talk about the “Hub and Spoke model” that Obama used in his campaign.


I’ve put that into play with my book by creating a hub at and setting up spokes where my audience is — Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, this blog and the 29 others included in my “blog tour.”


My goal is to engage potential readers wherever they happen to be and give them some valuable content that will make them want to spend more time — specifically 341 pages of time — with me.


Did you learn anything from Yahoo or Bing or or Webcrawler or Dogpile? Anything at all?


I learned a lot of what NOT to do from these guys.


Yahoo – how NOT to quit when you’re down. (Competing with Google on search is tough. We give up!)


Bing – how NOT to overpromise and underdeliver. (Decision engine? Hardly.) – how NOT to throw the baby out with the bathwater. (I miss Jeeves!)


Webcrawler – how NOT to do M&A. (AOL, Excite, InfoSpace, oh my!)


Dogpile – how NOT to create a brand. (Tell me you’re not picturing a pile of dog sh*t!)


Of the lessons you write as your chapter title, which do you have the hardest time following?


“Let the Data Decide.” I have a bit of Don Draper in me. Sometimes I just want to say, “Screw the research” (although Draper would also screw the researcher) and go with my gut.


Have you figured out how to autograph e-book editions of this?


I think there’s a new sharpie that will do the trick. Can I test it on your iPad?


What would Google do? Just asking…


Hire me? Just sayin’…



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