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As I told a fellow blogger yesterday, one of the great things about blogging is that every post is a new experiment in viral marketing....

When CK created her amazing collage of what many of us marketing bloggers had gained from blogging, I told her the main thing I had gained was knowledge. And seeing the 'Z-List' turn into a meme that's spreading like wildfire has really been an eye-opener.
I've lost count on how many bloggers have emailed me telling me that they have found a ton of great new blogs to read, and that their link count and traffic have both soared. The first 'Z-List' I posted back on 12/12 had just 5 blogs on it, and all 5 of those blogs have now added well over 100 links each.
And I've gained plenty myself. The Viral Garden has picked up about 60 new links in the past 16 days, traffic is up about 25%, and most importantly to me, I've found several great new blogs that I've added to my daily reads, that I'd never heard of 16 days ago.
So the beauty of the 'Z-List' is that everyone on it, wins. But the key is, when you post the 'Z-List', the community benefits directly. Your blog isn't included on the list, and by posting it, you do a service to the community by giving all the blogs on the list another link, and more exposure on your blog.
And as a result, the community comes back and adds your blog to their lists, and your blog ends up getting all the above benefits.
It seems to me that there's a pretty important marketing rule at practice here: Satisfy your community's needs directly, and they will satisfy your needs indirectly.
But we are so wired to be "me first" in everything we do. It's hard to take that marketing leap of faith to put the community first and see if they return the favor.
I think it's worth a shot. Then again I've always been a believer in the power of the community.

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier