But my most rewarding job ever was working in the wildlands of New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico. I took prospective donors on raft trips to show them what they would be protecting if they donated to our group.
I took Sierra Club members into the Blue Range Mountains of Arizona to hear wolves howl and teach them to track bears.
Which brings me to why I got up at 5 a.m. this morning after laying down to sleep for only 20 minutes all night. I couldn’t get it out of my head how much tracking bears parallels what we as internet marketers do to generate traffic for our sites.
You see, bears in the wild have an incredible communication system. Much like those big cork boards that are placed all over college campuses for students to pass information on to each other, bears have high-traffic areas in the wild where they leave messages for each other too.
When you get on the trail of a bear, if you follow it long enough, you will come to something most people will walk right by unless they know what to look for. Wherever major wildlife corridors and paths cross in the wild, the trained eye can pick out signsthat the wildlife can see, smell, and sense a mile away.
In these “crossroads” you can find incredible signs. Like links we leave around the internet to let people know of our presence, bears leave their scent and marks in these wildlife “high-traffic” areas to either let other bears know to stay away from their turf, or to let bears of the opposite sex know “Hey, I’m here, drop by sometime.”
I can take you out in the woods in bear country and within a short period of time show you a bear “sign post” which is really just a tree, usually the biggest one in the area, where they scratch their backs and leave their hairs and scent.
They will also claw as high as they can, stretching up on their hind legs to leave marks to show how big they are. Again, either “Don’t mess around in my territory or you’ll be dealing with me” or “I’m the biggest most beautiful bear in the woods, wouldn’t you like to meet me?”
I have linking on the brain, as many people know, from writing an awful lot about website marketing particularly in the linking department, and I have come to the conclusion that I led myself into this niche of internet marketing because it is so much like tracking bears. (As much as sitting on your butt in air conditioning typing a computer can be.)
As marketers we are constantly leaving signs (links, ads) all over the net in as high-traffic areas as possible. And many times we are simply claiming turf and leaving our “scent.”
I claim my piece of internet turf when it comes to linking, and you can bet that when I am leaving signs of my presence, I am going to stretch as high as possible to leave the most
impressive and biggest sign on each “tree” as I possibly can.
Either to let my competitors know “Hey, you are going to have trouble with me if you challenge my turf” or to let customers know “Hey, I have the best product and the most skill at getting you what you need, come see me sometime.”
There are many other parallels that can be drawn from my tracking days to my work on the net today. It is just very interesting to know that such a “wild” past career could even come close to affecting my path on the internet, let alone shape exactly how I got to be the biggest bear in my niche of the “e-woods!”