This morning I read a fantastic post from my friend Sam Collier over at Develop Socially: Create Value to Gain Influence. Stop Bragging! If I could I would reprint the entire thing here because it was so quotable. But the gist of the article was that rather than telling everyone how great and wonderful you are, create content, or products, or services, that have great value.

To paraphrase Sam, if your product isn’t that great, you have to resort to marketing tricks, often of the loud variety. But if your product is great, you can sit back and let it, and your customers, do the talking for you:

It’s easy to become frustrated when we don’t achieve all of our goals, but instead of yelling louder, we can get quiet and focus on creating valuable content that our readers will find valuable.  Instead of focusing on what we can get, focus on what to give.

Remember: Word of mouth is THEIR mouth, not yours.

Prospective customers are more likely to listen to your satisfied customers than they are to you.

It’s like the tortoise and the hare: slow and steady wins the race. And I wouldn’t be me if I couldn’t come up with a great sports analogy.

The other night Jim Thome hit his 600th career home run, making him only the 8th player in the history of baseball to reach that mark. And for a lot of people, when they hear Thome’s name, they say “Huh?” Thome? Among the top 8 home run hitters?

When you look at the list of the top home run hitters, there are a lot of big names. Of course number one is Barry Bonds, and we all know who he is, mostly because of how loud he was, and because of all the accusations and court cases surrounding his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs.

Also on the list are Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey, Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Sammy Sosa.

All are household names, even recognizable among non-baseball fans. All are known for hitting home runs. But Jim Thome?

While baseball was embroiled in the steroid controversy, and Griffey and Sosa and Bonds were hitting them out of the park, Thome was very quietly going about his business. Day in and day out he showed up and played the game. He was just another member of the team, doing his part to help his team win. And no one really paid much attention to him.

He never sought out the press. He never talked a lot. He even seemed uncomfortable with the limelight at times. He has exhibited true humility, something of which no one will ever accuse Barry Bonds. Thome will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame one day, and there won’t be an asterisk next to his name.

Create great content. Produce great products. Provide great service.

Then let your customers do the talking for you.

THEIR mouths, not yours.

Do you spend more time creating great value, or telling people about what you create? How do you balance the two? Are you a Jim Thome or a Barry Bonds?