Sharing, not shilling.

A client is finally waking up to the potential of social media. Hallelujah for that. The problem is, they are rock solid certain that the best way to use it (for them) is as a always-on megaphone for their products and services. The online equivalent of dragging their catalog behind an airplane over a baseball game.
They don’t “get it,” like a health club that creates a smoking station right outside their front door. But you know clients—they’re always right.
Except when they are not. And this is one of those critical exceptions.
Describing it in the simplest way possible, social media is for sharing, not shilling. It’s predicated on the cliché that launched a million bumper stickers:

The more you give,
the more you’ll receive.

An important thing to note: the word is love. Not respect, customer service, or value. The latter are marketing blah blah buzz words of little to no real common meaning anymore. But love? That’s existential, elemental, and universally understood.
The real marketing key to social media success (and the ‘killer app’ reason for doing it) is all about building relationships through a variety of always-on channels that enable almost friction-less, real time action.
Social media channels provide the engage now venue for reciprocal conversation, message amplification and instant notification. Need examples: quick tip videos of FAQs, fast answering mini-help desks, and ‘you asked for it, you got it’ user-generated content uploaded via their always-in-hand mobile printing presses/movie studios/photo agencies devices.

Premier Guitar gets it—big time.

You don’t have to be a guitar player to appreciate just how well the magazine Premier Guitar shares socially.


Got a few minutes for lunch? Join PG guitar ace John Bohlinger as he Facebook Live’s Lunch with Bohlinger featuring the coolest new & old gear (in this case a ’54 Les Paul).



Want a little guitar and gear-flavored aperitif all day long? PG’s got you covered.


PG’s Rig Rundown series is simply fantastic. Ever wonder what your personal guitar hero is using to get his/her signature tone? Get the answer live on video.
As of this writing, they’ve got 322 of them, including Peter Frampton, Angus Young, Esmé Patterson, and one of my favorites, Jason Isbell. It’s literally a webseries of guitar geeks geeking out about their guitars—and 100% YouTube FREE. And it’s all 100% evergreen content with an perennial ROI that needs to be recalculated daily.
One Rig Rundown episode featuring John Mayer’s gear has been viewed (as of this writing) over 1.2 million times since its posting in 2010—and it’s still in their Top Ten playlist. Not bad for a YouTube-quality video filmed during a pre-concert sound check. And the guitarist cred coolest thing about it? Mayer’s not even in it (but the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar tech Rene Martinez is).
That means those 1.2 million views aren’t from non-player JM fans; they are from ‘how does he get that tone’ guitar players who’d rather buy gear than golf. And that’s exactly the audience every music gear brand Marketing Director wants.

Production values? What production values.

But wait—there’s more.

On top of their Rig Rundown web-video series, they have a DIY repair/modification series, a playlist called Monsters of High Gain, and the list goes on. The screenshot below provides a just a taste of the video content guitar-oriented goodness PG shares out into the world—again, for FREE. Make no mistake: none of these videos are high-cost productions. But the ROI on what little they do spend is MASSIVE.

Deep tone dives start here

And their magazine?
IT’S FREE TOO (online).

Go to Premier Guitar online and look to the top navigation bar, all the way to the right over the search box.
Yup, you can even read the latest issue online at absolutely no cost.

What’s all this content sharing do for Premier Guitar?

Get them the inventory to sell to their customers.

Their real customers: music industry brands.

That’s right. They print a magazine IRL, but their subscribers aren’t PG’s primary buyers. PG knows what their real product is: the time, eyeballs and wallets of rabid, toneseekers and those afflicted with really bad G.A.S. (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome).
Joe Bonamassa likes guitars a lot.

Premier Guitar is MADE OF PEOPLE!!!

I hate to think of myself and my guitar-wielding cohort as inventory, but that’s exactly what we are. That FREE online issue? Count the number of ads in any issue, then compare it to the mass of editorial content. Truth be told, each issue is more of a product catalog for the biggest names in musical instruments.
And guess what; I don’t care one little bit. In fact, I am absolutely delighted to help Premier Guitar in any way I possibly can (hence this post); because they earned it via the high quality, desperately desired content they so freely share.

Good sharing begets goodwill—and ultimately, great customers

The best salesmen have known this forever; Creating and maintaining a great relationship is more important than shilling a great product. A ten-year relationship will always beat a one-time transaction. And right now, social sharing is the key that opens the door to real sustainable, scalable and mutually beneficial two-way relationships. That’s why when it comes to social media my prime directive is:
Share. Don’t shill.
– D.P. Knudten
Chief Collaborator

©2017 D.P. Knudten / COLLABORATOR creative – all rights reserved

2 thoughts on “Sharing, not shilling.

Thank you for the Premier Guitar shout out. As a musician, PG has been my prime source for details on tone and gear since they started. Once I joined the PG team I learned that the entire enterprise is fueled by the staff’s mutual love of music. It’s like band camp for grownups.

Dude, could not agree more. After years as a basement hacker, PG (in all its forms) has given me more inspiration to get the guit out of the case and into the coffee house. Your Lunch with stuff is great, and I hope you never stop doing them. Had a wonderful talk with Jon Levy yesterday (I mean, what publisher calls a guy who blogged about his pub? One that cares).

The love you folks bring to the page (video, post, whatevah) is readily apparent, and greatly appreciated. Keep up the fantastic work.

– D.P. Knudten /

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