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What Inbound Marketers Can Learn From Hillbilly Fishing

By John McTigueAug 29, 2011

Hillbilly fishing, also known as "Okie Noodling" or "Noodling" is the sport of Kings - Kings of catching catfish with your bare hands, that is. Yep, it's real. I've seen pictures! No fishing pole, no nets, no boat. You just wade into a river, poke around the muddy water under a log or stump and grab a 100 pound catfish and wrestle it to shore. It's very popular around rivers where people like to catch big fish with their bare hands. Me, not so much - but it occurs to me that we can draw important inbound marketing lessons from the "noodlers".

Okie Noodling 2 from FieldGuide on Vimeo.

Getting Found Online Has Its Limitations

We were taught early on (in the inbound marketing sphere) that Getting Found Online is Step 1 in capturing more qualified sales leads from the Internet. Blog every day, SEO optimize your website and posts, and engage as much as you can in social media - and they will come! Thousands of people will line up at your door and buy your stuff. Not to belittle what we do for a living, but there are limits to how successful you can be with this classical fishing method.

  • People are already completely saturated with reading more stuff online.
  • Your stuff is like the Moon compared to the Milky Way, i.e. barely visible in the great spectrum of things.
  • Your "bait" probably isn't all that tasty to a 100 pound catfish. Ever catch one on a line?
  • Nobody really understands Google. Those guys are just making it up every day and trying to confuse us all. It's working.

Profound Lessons From Hillbilly Fishing

So what the heck does this have to do with Hillbilly Fishing? Well, these folks have the "stones" to wade into a muddy river and grab a slippery monster out from under a log. So that's one thing - they're COMMITTED (or maybe they should be). The second thing is, they don't wait for the fish to come to them. They go out into the river and mix it up with the big fish. Translating into city-slicker talk:

  • Be available in social networks. Mix it up. Talk to people. Listen.
  • When opportunities present themselves, grab them!

So what have we learned? You don't need a boat to catch really big fish. If you're willing to spend the time and be REAL, maybe you don't really need to get found online - you can capture leads with your bare hands!


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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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