Long-tail blogger outreach is an amazing platform to both discover and engage with a multitude of natural allies and the people who are already talking about youRead More
I gave a presentation on how to promote your book (or your client’s book) by engaging online influencers. And I cited six books that I’ve promoted over the past couple of years on behalf of their authors: Glock and Law of the Jungle by Paul M. Barrett; Search Engine Marketing, Inc., by Mike Moran and Bill Hunt; Mindful Work by David Gelles; and The Creator’s Code by Amy WilkinsonRead More
Because so many people presumably make so much money “doing SEO,” there’s a lot of confusion as to what Search Engine Optimization is and all the little things that you can do right now, today, to improve your the results on your SERP — search engine results page. OK, let’s start...Read More
You can use the Sharing Debugger to see the information that is used when your website content is shared on Facebook, Messenger and other places. The Batch Invalidator will let you refresh this information for multiple URLs at the same time. Open Graph markup lets you take control over how your website content appears to others. Learn More. The Access Token Debugger lets you see the information associated with a particular access token from someone who’s logged into your app with Facebook. The Open Graph Object Debugger is to help you understand the information attached to that object.Read More
Whether or not your photos, title, description, and graphics render correctly isn’t as serendipitous as it is on Google or Facebook. In order to render correctly on Twitter Cards, you actually need to implement Cards on your site by adding the correct meta tags to the page.Read More
The biggest mistake that marketers make is that they don’t knock three times. Let me explain.Read More
We spend so much time fretting about the number and quality of links that are associated with your websites that we often overlook or ignore how important it is that our business and marketing websites be tightly stitch together, from a series of patches into a beautiful quilt; or, maybe more apropos, take all of those music tracks, those songs, back into the studio and turn them from a series of singles into album. Released 50-years-ago on 26 May 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. 13-tracks and 12 songs woven into a single musical narrative.Read More
Show all of your beautiful colors, Little Rainbow! Even the biggest bro tears up when he’s compelled to give his best bro a Best Man speech; even the steeliest ruffian is oft reduced to tears when delivering his dad’s Eulogy.Read More
Fully, generously, and even a little verbosely populating your website, your blog, your social media profiles, and your social media content is 100x more important to your success than “optimizing for search.”Read More
Every unprotected tweet you make, every public post you make on Facebook, every blog you post, every page you add and flesh out on your website, every time you update your LinkedIn profile or Company Page, any time you upload a video to YouTube, making sure you completely fill out the title, description, and all the other stuff they request, every time you update your bios on your social profiles, each time you guest blog or participate in conversations on reddit or become an editor on Wikipedia — all of these things — are indexed by Google and contribute to your online reputation and heighten your chances of showing up on the first page of Google and actually controlling and dominating your online reputation.Read More
If you’re doing influencer marketing right, you’ll have a lifetime relationship with your influential. And, like any family member or friend, relationships require consistent and attentive attention. Likewise, if you’re selling high ticket items, especially products and services that require new contracts, new leases, refills, upgrades, or are pricey and powerful but highly commoditized, then you need to go well beyond simply selling widgets. Every sale is an engagement ring that you’ve put on your prospect’s finger. The best salespeople in the world are wed to each and every one of their accounts. And, like marriage, you need to be on board for way longer than the honeymoon.Read More
Ian Maclaren is attributed, along with, Philo, Plato and Socrates, with saying “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I chopped it down to hugs not horns when I train new cadets at Gerris Corp.Read More
Most social media marketing strategies are like my mum and me in Genova: we were supremely blissed-out happy with our experience of the authentic, delicious, "to the tooth" spaghetti al pesto. A proper online brand management and social media marketing campaign demands a multi-course meal of more than just spaghetti al Twitter, pasta a la Facebook, and lasagna al Instagram.Read More
In my humble opinion, modern influencer marketing is traditional public relations pitching corrupted by huge Madison Avenue advertising money. Big celebrities and even bigger bucks. It used to be thousands of dollars-per-post, but now brands and agencies are signing partner contracts with digital, social media, and online influencers. These partnerships can include multi-year contracts which are getting tighter and more exclusive the more these same influencers are being dropped by advertisers such as YouTube, Google AdWords, and Instagram.
Now there’s micro-influencer marketing.
Instead of swinging for the fences and spending thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars on only a handful of A-D-list celebrities with high Q-Scores, micro-influencer marketing is much more egalitarian. Prices are much more affordable at this level, from $50-$250-$2,500/post. If you’re bold and go into the very deep pool of influencers, then you not only find some amazing values on some very dark horse influencers but you might even be their very first! Their very first brand or agency! So many very influential people are just deep enough in the pool that they’ve never been kissed and are days, minutes, or hours away from calling it quits. They’re tired of blogging and tweeting and instagramming for only their grandparents, sisters, brother, sisters, and greater influence squad. One giant smooch from one agency or from one brand, can reset their very own Doomsday Clock.
And then there’s earned media marketing.
Let’s refer to public relations before the corruption by Madison Avenue. The good old fashioned PR pitch to the good old-fashioned, scruffy, died-in-the-wool, bourbon soused, reporter. That’s not over. It’s not. Seriously. Earned media micro-influencer marketing still works — it’s alive and well, but it isn’t easy and it always demands your awesome.
When I do my earned media micro-influencer campaigns, I do get a lot of rejection, and I also get a lot of outstretched hands. However, most of those money-grubbers actually used to say, “No, what you’re pitching isn’t a very good fit for me. Since I am a business person and a professional, it would be stupid to say no, so I would be more than willing to work together for $250.” Online influencers at all levels are smart, savvy, and clever. If you’re doing an amazing job doing earned media “long tail” micro-influencer marketing and your pitch — what you’re offering — meets whatever minimum cash or value equivalency threshold that shows them respect for their time, their energy, and the opportunity cost, then you’ll have success.
It’s called value marketing.
“Value in marketing, also known as customer-perceived value, is the difference between a prospective customer’s evaluation of the benefits and costs of one product when compared with others. Value may also be expressed as a straightforward relationship between perceived benefits and perceived costs.”
I always say, “give ’til it hurts.”
Skinny Coconut Oil did a brilliant job at this. Kaylyn Easton, CMO of Skinny & Co., was endlessly generous with the hundreds of bloggers who responded to our outreach of thousands. She drop-shipped very generous assortments of products to everyone. If we made a notation that one particular influencer had exceptional celebrity appeal or a notable Klout score, then Kaylyn would send something extra special, like a box with an extra large bottle of their cold-processed, alkaline, organic coconut oil. With her support, we easily were able to meet everyone’s customer-perceived value. The product was exceptional, coconut oil is really hot, the brand is strong, and people felt they were getting a lot more than just a little individual squeeze pouch of sports gel or goo that you find at 5Ks and marathons.
In fact, the influencers oftentimes felt so spoiled and loved that we were able to get them to do YouTube unboxings for the first time and all sorts of other gifts to us.
All for value for value.
Yes, you heard me right, we pitch thousands of bloggers in search of the perfect match. We’re researching influencers now with the goal of collecting 6,000 long-tail micro-influencers for our next campaign at Gerris. This is pretty normal. In our outreaches, “pay me money” means no thank you but I’m nobody’s fool. While we at Gerris might ultimately end up paying for posts in the future, we take money requests as challenges to make the pitch and the gift/offer sweeter and better.
I have been doing micro-influencer marketing campaigns since Autumn 2006.
Back then we called it blogger outreach and blogger engagement. Even now, it’s still a little blogger marketing. Most YouTubers, Instagrammers, and the Twitterati worth their salt have their own online headquarters where they do their business, collect their best work (in the form of embeds and embedded streams), reveal their sponsors and brand-relationships, and offer their agency alliances, contact information, bios, and even pretty portraits.
And we’ve really perfected it as others are still foundering and floundering about. If you’re interested in earned media micro-influencer marketing please email me, call me, pop on over to Gerris Corp, or pop me a note and we’ll schedule a call. Also, if you want to hear me talk all about earned media micro-influencer marketing, listen to my podcast as a guest on Through the Noise.
Here’s a recent deck I put together for a guest lecture I did at Georgetown:
Why do search professionals scatter like roaches when the kitchen light comes on? Why is everyone acting so sneaky all the time? Why do SEO professionals skulk around dark alleyways, offering their search engine services in furtive, hurried whispers? What’s up with that?
Not only is Google a Glutton, but he’s always hungry — and a picky eater, too. In a perfect world, all of Google’s food would be steamy hot, bold with spices and herbs, and nutritionally rich.
If you and I don’t constantly develop ways to provide Google with all the taste-sensations, fresh out of the pan, out of the oven, and then beautifully-plated, then Google’ll definitely reheat leftovers — hell, he’ll fish out the meals ready to eat (MREs).
But, honestly, Google would always prefer to eat healthy. Quality over quantity. Google would love to get enough fiber, enough vitamins and minerals, enough healthy fat and presentation.
The internet webosphere is like greater Washington, DC on a weekday lunchtime: food trucks everywhere! Yes, also restaurants, fast food, fast-casual, brown bags of tuna prepared at home, hot dog and burrito carts, office cantinas, take out places, and by-the-pound buffet joints.
Before the age of the food truck, there were some carts offering haute cuisine, but it wasn’t until the rise of the food truck when the entire power structure lunch at least, was set: dirty water dogs, burgers, buffet salad, or sit down restaurant food.
The barrier to entry was pretty impossible save for a few rich folks doing it for vanity or experienced folks doing it for shareholder value. And the paperwork, licensing, and all the other food-hoops required.
But DC is big, hungry, and wants all the taste-sensations, fresh out of the pan, out of the oven, and then beautifully-plated; and we want our lunch to be delicious, steamy hot, bold with spices and herbs, and nutritionally rich.
Because DC’s already hungry, DC’s only somewhat a snob! The majority of folks who work in DC during the work week is balancing between time, price, proximity, healthiness, preference, and deliciousness. And all you need to do is discover what as many of those things are and cook to order.
You can feed Google. You can even become Google’s favorite type of food, snack, lunch, sandwich, dessert, cheat, breakfast, dinner, late-night bite. But you, like every great cook, every great chef, cannot just make something awesome once.
You don’t need to make the Guinness Book of World Records and then done. SEO is not one-and-done! It’s feeding the newsroom rather than just getting a novel out of you just to have written a novel.
I’m a pretty good cook. In fact, I have made some amazing things perfectly actually once (remember that Bûche de Noël I made that one time with the powdered sugar snow, the branches, the ganache and cake?).
But Google prefers hot fresh donuts over even my Bûche de Noël once it’s a week old.
So, stop sneaking around and stop trying to be way fancier than you’re able to provide every single day.
Google wants your content food as hungrily as it wants the the President’s latest transcript or the top headlines from the New York Times. But only if it’s at least as fresh, nutritional, and as tasty as the other good stuff around it.
I sell web site and branding services for my buddy Mike McDermott of Bash Foo and the vast majority of all your competitors can’t cook at all; and those who can, only cook a couple times a year at the most, give or take a couple years.
While the bar is super-low for 99% of your competitors, the bar is nosebleed-high for the remaining 1% who have all that sorted out. Also, since the webinternetosphere is a global market, mostly, that 1% is still a very large number.
Google doesn’t think so. Google thinks that it really sucks that only 1% of all online content-providers offer more than complete crap. Those 1% (who are generally the same people who are in the 1% in the real world), the best-of-breed in Google Search, are the same people that Google, in it’s love of the little guy and it’s passion for egalitarianism and equal access based on an impossibly-low barrier to entry, fights hard to disempower.
Google wants diversity — your diversity — but Google also knows that the people who search using Google are also impatient, intolerant to junk results, unwilling to suffer ugly, unable to trust a site that is rarely if every updated, unsure about sites that haven’t kept up with technology and design (so many of our websites are the equivalent of shag carpet, orange appliances, avocado green counter tops, old stove, and a tiny ancient fridge with no stainless or granite or backsplash to be seen anywhere!
Come up with a content marketing plan that is the equivalent of my simple peasant meal of eggs, chicken, greens, fish, herbs, and spice, and then run with it. Make it every day. Just make sure it’s fresh, it’s honest, it’s make with the best ingredients possible, and you don’t cut corners. Put too much gravy or cream or béarnaise on your dish and maybe that’s an attempt to hide a bunch of flaws. Gilding the lily is almost always a way to give an often deceptively attractive or improved appearance.
Cook simply, show your work, make it basic, use good ingredients, plate it lovingly, deliver it quickly (you all need faster sites), and you’ll become Google’s favorite — at least when it comes to the particular fare you’re offering, within your niche.
Now, your turn. It’s essential to think of Google as hungry and in need of what you — or anybody — have to contribute (Google’s like Wikipedia that way, but unlike Wikipedia, you’re allowed — encouraged – to create your own page!)
So, that box you gladly checked when you finished your website three years ago isn’t a completed task. How dare you! It was just the very first version of a constantly expanding, growing, changing, and living collection of documents.
OK, after all of this talk about food, I’m ready to eat — ready, set, Publish!
It’s time for you to really invest in your own personal or professional social platforms. As lines are being drawn, it’s time to make sure all your hard-wrought creative work lives on your own blog or website instead of on someone else’s.
While we both know you’re not a purveyor of so-called fake-news, if you’re not a proper J-school-certified and verified reporter, you might end up on the wrong side of the social media content filter.
Fake news has been in the real news recently. In order to protect their readers, Facebook and others are considering filtering out the fake from the real in order to slow down or even stop a proliferation of willful and wanton deceit.
At least that’s what they say they’re doing. Looking at it another way, this could be the beginning of a process of licensing and verification that will separate the proper journalists and reporters from the bloggers, propagandists, anarchists, marketers, and dirty, dirty affiliate marketers.
If I were conspiratorial, I might fancy this as an aggressive hearts-and-minds land-grab by the mainstream media to sell more papers and cable subscriptions, and to train us that nothing but traditional mainstream media can be trusted (and in a post Smith-Mundt Act world, who can we trust?)
No matter what your expertise, specialization, experience, or contributions, you may very well end up on the wrong side of the filter. I won’t go so far as to call this censorship, but it surely is an aggressive business plan, a last-gasp push by so-called traditional and trustworthy fact-checkers.
I, myself, have been working very hard to make sure that I have published and copied as much content as I can find — and still consider relevant circa 2016 — to my corporate and personal platforms, Gerr.is and ChrisAbraham.com, respectively. I do this to make sure I don’t lose track of them and to make it easy and simple for Google, you, and me to be able to access them well into the future.
In fact, I always copy these articles over to my Gerris Blog and my Chris Abraham Blog the day after I post them, just to make sure I keep them close, though I always make tribute to Biznology whenever and wherever I cross-post anywhere.
Currently, Gerris Corp runs on Squarespace, which isn’t ideal; however, Chris Abraham runs Plone, an exceptional CMS/publishing platform for sharing content online. When I finally port Gerris over to something, it’ll probably either be to Drupal or WordPress.
If you’re not already experienced with blogging/publishing platforms, I would always start with WordPress.
Even if your raison d’être isn’t extreme like Breitbart, relying only on sites like LinkedIn, Medium, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, WordPress.com, Blogger, YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo, Instagram, or Snapchat to populate and propagate your brand online puts a lot of responsibility onto the shoulders of platforms that are not only not owned or controlled by you, but might not offer you the best copyright terms.
What’s more, where’s all the stuff I uploaded and shared on Friendster, Utterz/Utterly, MySpace, and Orkut?
For example, the more than polarizing InfoWars.com, founded by alt-right political firebrand Alex Jones, started as a simple message board. While the topic is indeed extreme strangeness, their news isn’t fake, per-se, or intentionally deceptive. It’s consistently painfully earnest, but I honestly believe those folks, including Jones, are true-believers.
Like Coast-to-Coast AM, these alternative news sites reflect very accurately the hearts and minds of their readers.
Now, as a direct result of the firestorm that has erupted against the firebrand, news, content, media and information are allegedly being filtered out of reddit and Facebook. They’re taking it so far as to copy all of their videos and films off of video-sharing sites like YouTube just to make sure, no matter what. No matter how filtered against their sites and properties social networks, search engines, and social media might become, their core membership, readership, viewership, and subscribers will always be able to access content directly, hell or high water.
This has actually been a boon for sites like these. While they still share their content as promiscuously as possible across social media, they’re really just doing this to expand the brand as best they can. What they’re really doing is working to convert — to train — their core audience to go directly to their sites instead of going to Facebook or Twitter to get their alternative news. They’re basically doing exactly what the New York Times hopes you’re doing every morning: setting your browser homepage to your favorite, though filtered, site.
After you’ve sorted out your content, content-delivery, and audience, you can actually avoid browsers and social networks completely by commissioning your own site-specific app for Android and iPhone — it’s really become affordable and deceptively simple if you’re just trying to create an app that will update, download, and nicely render your site’s content. You can be just like the Washington Post.
Mainstream media has been fighting irrelevance since the early 90s. The real bloodbath started in 2009. Information wants to be free and newspapers, basic cable, and broadcast radio and television rely on subscriptions and advertising to support their top-heavy and laborious 19th century business models.
Blogging leveled the playing field when it came to producing news for readers. There has always been zero barrier-to-entry when it came to blogging, at least when it came to your particular niche.
And who knows? In a few high-profile instances, consumer-generated media sites have been able to rise to become bona fide feared and respected news sites in their own right.
Episode 64 of the #FIR podcast is up. Chris Abraham, Cindy Crescenzo, and Steve Farnsworth join host Shel Holtz to talk about Breitbart News’ call for a boycott of Kellogg’s after the cereal company pulled its ads, the suggestion that we should stop measuring employee engagement, PR’s ability to propel Virtual Reality into the mainstream, the need for brands and agencies to adapt to a voice-driven world (with Amazon Echo and Google Home becoming new means of searching and engaging), the latest from the fake news front, and much more.
- Breitbart News called for a boycott of Kellogg’s after the cereal company pulled its ads, then started publishing articles critical of the company after calling the decision to withdraw advertising “censorship.” Is this the new reality for companies making what used to be simple business decisions?
- Employee engagement surveys aren’t worth much anymore according to one expert, since people are more concerned about survey scores than addressing engagement issues. Is it time to stop measuring engagement?
- Virtual Reality headset sales aren’t setting any records. Can public relations help make it go mainstream?
- With the Amazon Echo and Google Home, along with Siri and Google Now, it’s fast becoming a voice-driven world. Brands and agencies will have to adapt.
- A lot has happened on the fake news front since we first reported on it, including a shooting in Washington, D.C. by a North Carolina man “self-investigating” a fake news story. We’ll bring you up to date.
- Brands have jumped on the emoji bandwagon, but audiences think they’re trying too hard.
- Figuring out what people are talking about using Google Trends is a better way to do real-time marketing.
- Dan York reports on the Internet Governance Forum this week in Mexico, a panel last week on Internet fragmentation (which communicators don’t want), and WordPress’s move toward promoting more SSL/TLS.
Links to the source material for this episode are on Contentle.
Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music.
About today’s panel:
Chris Abraham, digital strategist and technologist, is a leading expert in digital: search engine optimization (SEO), online relationship management (ORM), Internet privacy, and online public relations with a focus on blogger outreach, blogger engagement, and Internet crisis response. He operates his consultancy at Gerris Corp. A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and adviser to the industries’ leading firms. He specializes in Web 2.0 technologies, including content syndication, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.
Cindy Crescenzo brings more than 15 years of research, measurement and planning expertise to the corporate communications world. Her passion for numbers and audience research have helped thousands of communicators all over the world transform the way they communicate, by teaching them the power of surveys, metrics, focus groups and executive interviews. She and her husband and business partner, Steve Crescenzo, founded Crescenzo Communications more than 20 years ago and together they have energized the communication industry with their proven tactics and strategies to combine research and strategy with creativity and best-practice communications.
Steve Farnsworth has over 15 years as a senior digital marketing executive, and is currently the Chief Marketing Officer for the @Steveology Group, a content marketing for demand generation agency serving high tech B2B organizations. He works with mid-sized and large companies, and funded start-ups to develop and implement multimedia content marketing programs that increase inbound leads and grows brand reputation. Steve is a Forbes top 50 social media influencer. He is a digital marketing educator and has moderated panels, spoken at, or managed industry events at Google, Intel, PayPal, Yahoo!, Cisco, Adobe, Electronic Arts, HP, SAP, Wells Fargo, TEDx, Applied Materials, Symantec, NetApp, and Stanford on brand, social, digital, and content marketing.
Search will never be the same as it was as recently as a few years ago. Google is severely penalizing sites that are buying links or are invested in private blog networks. Sites that have dominated search in the recent past are being penalized or de-indexed, going from the first page to page twenty or being removed completely, stripping many eCommerce sites of millions of dollars in revenue.
Site Optimization: This includes copy rewriting, internal linking, keyword research, Google Analytics/ and Google/Bing Webmaster Tools integration, integration of Sitemaps, structured data, title and description rewriting and organization, image ALT tag development, site submission, and content recommendation development strategies, etc.
Social Media Strategy for Social Signals: A site needs to be organic (never static), as Google tends to spend most of its attention on site that are constantly changing and updating. In addition to editorial “blog” content, it’s always worth developing content on the maddafella.com domain in addition to producing content only for social media. Using platforms like Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, and other sites, are essential. Actually, Madda Fella is really underutilizing their YouTube site. Instead of only producing one very expensive
Authentic, Organic, Inbound Linking: Content marketing is an essential part of developing a strong organic search reputation online. It must be unassailable, and completely white hat instead of being fully invested in tricking Google. That doesn’t work anymore – and will work less and less well into the future.
What does Google want? Google wants to know that you, the site owners and employees, and your community, your prospects, current, and past customers, are engaged in the success of the store. This is in response to people’s time, talent, and treasure being spent more on automated systems, advertising, link-buying, and savvy inbound marketing programs than on doing what brick and mortar businesses have been doing for generations: community-engagement.
Bloggers: while they may no longer be the only kings of the kingdom, bloggers have a lot of bang for the buck because not only do they have a lot of SEO mojo associated with their blogs, they tend to be shameless self-promoters and minor deities themselves. As a result, if you’re able to woo them with your message or pitch, they’ll spend an inordinate amount of their own sweat equity promoting their own content across their own social media platforms and profiles such as their own Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and even sites like Reddit and digg and whatnot — including cross-posting onto LinkedIn, Medium, and other aggregator sites like Business2Community, Google News, and Yahoo! Do it! It’s worth it!
Facebookers: Everyone in the entire world is on Facebook. If you can find the right Page or Group, you could be as good as gold. And, if you’re willing to give it a go, you can become the go-to guy. You can become your very own influencer.
Tweeters: Twitter’s hard but worth it, if you can make the right connection. Don’t waste your time on small fry. It might even be worth it to search and discover the right hash tags, or even really spend your time and maybe a little money wooing one of the top Twitter influencers. They’re out there but they’re Unicorns. I, myself, have over 50,000 followers but nobody really listens to me in a real way (though I do have my secret weapons).
LinkedInners: Apparently LinkedIn is a thing. You’re on your own.
Pinners: Ask someone else, though I really think becoming an expert in Pinterest would benefit you immensely, especially if you produce beautiful things.
Social Media Marketing
Facebook, Twitter, Google+: You’ve probably got these sorted out already; though I seriously doubt that you are actually doing anything with Google+, though you should be.
Pinterest: If you offer products, you need to share your products on Pinterest, just make sure link everything back from each product page of your website. Pinterest allows you to pin links and then choose photos that’re featured on that page. If you’re just uploading product pictures to Pinterest, you’re doing it wrong.
Guest Blogging: I hesitate to recommend this because there are so many d-bags doing this wrong. Be nice, be generous, be useful, be helpful, and make sure you tailor-fit your post to their site and their needs. Don’t lead with links, lead with valuable content.
Collaborative Blogging: I used to just have ChrisAbraham.com (RIP) and then started MarketingConversation (RIP), a collaborative conversation marketing blog. Then JD Lasica invited me to contribute to SociaMedia.biz, Mike Moran invited me to write for Biznology, Bob Fine invited me to write for The Social Media Monthly, and I’ve written for AdAge, Rosetta Stone, Huffington Post, and some other spots. Stop trying to be such a one-man-band: many hands make light work.
Editorial Writing: A lot of my friends have serious success when it comes to writing for Fast Company, Inc, Business Insider, Huffington Post, AdAge, and all that — if you have the juice to command it. If you’re not already a known entity, you had better start off writing in earnest for your own blog or on sites such as Medium and LinkedIn.
Article Cross-Posting: One of the best things you can do, after you start producing content (for brand promotion, not SEO) is to do a little strategic cross posting. I think you should start with Medium and Linkedin.
Message Boards and Forums: Only do this if you’re already someone who loves and uses message boards. Forums take a long, persistent ride — a commitment to becoming part of a longer-term conversation, to become a member of the community. PS: this is the year of the message board!
You need to start now. You need to shift the money you’re wasting on SEO and advertising and spend it on setting up your other world, your social media doppelgänger, your social media shadow.
After I wrote The More the Messier for Content Marketing SEO Success I received an email thanking me for the post, but also noting something else. While learning how to write content to best support your marketing goals, the golden ticket is what to write, week-after-week, that will drive people organically, over time, more and more, to your website.
What to Write?
It’s diabolically simple. I have at least a dozen topics that you can write immediately. And, even better, all of these posts will most certainly be as germane and bespoke to you and your business. What’s more, they will be just about as evergreen as you’re likely to ever get. And it’s so simple you’re going to kick yourself.
Write At Least One Blog Post for Every Page of Your Website
You heard me. Very few websites allow for long-form journalism, the kind of in-depth expository that allows your visitors and your readers to really grok and unlock everything you do, including all the remedials, backstories, answers to frequently asked questions, individual insights, and even your personal interpretation, spin, english. Expounding upon your products, services, and talent can both seriously woo Google (because Noogle AKA New Google loves long-form content these days) and also seduce your prospects into understanding that you’re not a bottom-feeder, that you’re not a commodity and that you and your products and services are worth way more than fairish market rate. The long and short of it is, start with writing a blog post based on every single page of your current website. Go do it!
Examples can include absolutely anything
- Expertise: a deeper dive into your expertise as a person or as a company is always the first thing anyone goes to when it comes to content marketing. Showing off one’s analysis of the current state of the art is the favorite go-to — but it’s really hard to keep up that sort of insightful brilliance day-after-day, week-after-week. That’s why people get some serious writer’s block when they’re tasked with populating an entire content-marketing blog that, like a bakery, starts going stale the moment you post your last article.
- Staff/Team/Partners: one of the best sources of a rich biosphere of content and diverse keywords comes from your staff. Two of the easiest: employee interviews and guest posts by employees. Start there and other variations of including your team in your content strategy will open like a flower. Just be sure to not edit out who they are. If you are too harsh with your red pen, you’ll both dispirit your employee to ever blog again and you’ll also ruin the natural language of their particular writing site. Biodiversity is seriously essential. Monocultures are vulnerable and true polycultural environments are much more resistant to pathogens, where pathogens are represented by the fickle and volatile shifting sands of Google’s algorithm. Allow as many diverse voices and writing styles and names and authors to exist on your blog as possible, just be sure not to edit all the diversity out of them before you click publish.
- Products & Services: I guarantee you that all the copy on your website is completely devoid of color, diversity, humor, and subjective tone. It sort of has to be because there’s a formula, an expected uniformity and professionalism that results in copy-by-committee, bureaucratic drivel that checks all the boxes but compels neither human nor machine (as in Google, Bing, and even Yahoo!). What you can do, via a blog, is do what I do every week: noodle around, let the keyboard take me where it might. I yell out to my Amazon Echo, “Alexa, remind me to write about what to blog about.” And then on Tuesday morning I try not to think too much about it. The words just tumble out and the lovely Eileen and Madeline do just a little bit of reigning in. In my agency, products and services are pretty much the same thing.
- History: every single person in the world loves to hear origin stories. Become a superhero to your prospective clients!
- Backstage: people really love process. When I was a professional stock photographer, people seemed to me to care more about my process, my origin story, my ASAs, film speed (yes, film, and Fuji 100 slide film was my go-to), camera body, lenses, and even the bag I used (Domke F-2) before they spent too much time looking at my images. Artists who have an interesting, tragic, spiritual, impoverished, or human-journey-inspired process almost always sell more art and for more money than often better artists who just sit in their studios, sober and sane, doing their taxes and books, raising a loving family. Who wants to spend $1.2M on something their kindergartner could probably do if it’s not the direct result of Angel-inspired, drug-addled, genius. People don’t only want to know how the sausage is made, they demand it!
- Clients: with the approval of your current and past clients, and with a sweet text link and a hearty thank you, you can probably write so much good stuff about work with your client that are a lot more free-verse than the almost unreadable clap-trap that ends up when you stuff all the months and years of collaboration and partnership into the terribly formulaic Case Study or Testimonial format. Get personal. Your clients really do want to become your work BFFs. The more work BFFs they have, the more they can play and recreate on the clock and the expense account. You dig?
I Am Assuming You Like Writing
So many people make excuses as to why they can’t, won’t, or don’t blog. First they start out with “why should I blog,” to “how do I blog?” Then they move on to “what do I blog about.” When you scratch past this, you’ll discover that, for whatever reason, they really don’t want to blog. It could be that blogging is below their pay grade (only trolls, who live in their mother’s basement, blog), it could be that they really don’t know how or don’t like writing. Or, the longer-form stuff really makes them too self-conscious or open to ridicule, to judgement (“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue” — Proverbs 17:28). Or, no matter how true this is, or how beneficial the time spent will reward them, there’s the “I’m too busy to blog” ploy. It’s all bullshit and always leads to something else. It means you need to find someone else who is passionate, excited, and enthusiastic about it. Either in your own organization or from somewhere else. A ghostwriter, if you will.
Originally published at www.biznology.com on November 29, 2016.
You need to spend only 20% of the time you do on your content marketing and marketing SEO than you’re doing — at least for now. Be quick, be messy, be pedestrian, maybe even turn off your Grammatik and your Autocorrect. Churn out five-times the amount of content you’ve been writing then hit publish and walk away for a couple days. Then, feel free to get all anal retentive on your content — but only with the stuff you plan to add to your portfolio. Leave everything else as close to as-is as possible. Please.
America voted Donald J. Trump 45th president of the United States. To many, Trump’s campaign was a mess — but it worked because it spoke directly to so many people right under our nose and in their own language. Away from school marms and hall monitors. For better for worse, the internet reflects the way people search and write and speak when they’re on their own, away from the grammar police and your thesis advisor.
When I was recruited into the elite digital team at Edelman Public Affairs, they made me take a grammar test. It was an HR requirement even though I was brought on board by an EVP. To this day, our reports, our memoranda, even our emails need to reflect exceptional professionalism.
Unfortunately, all this esprit de corps is mostly wasted in your pursuit of search engine optimization (SEO) ranking and in your content marketing campaigns. Trump speaks at a 6th grade level, and should we all. In fact, weren’t we all trained to aim at the 6th or 7th grade Flesch–Kincaid readability?
As I have said many times before, Google is mostly literal. Google is not your book editor or your doctoral advisor, Google is your everyman. Google is mostly populist. Actually Google is whatever and whomever you want Google to be; however, when it comes to money, you’re more likely to get 20,000 nickels than one thousand-dollar bill. Everyman is where it’s at.
When I wrote for AdAge, back in the day, circa 2008-2009, they did the most delightful thing, though I don’t know how SEO-aware or SEO-focused they were about this. They published whatever I wrote for them immediately upon receipt and then, a couple-days, if not a week later, they went back and put it through the full archive, for perpetuity, let’s not embarrass the Advertising Age reputation, editing.
I always knew that my work would enter the world fully-flawed just like me. With the kind of mistakes that everyone, including me, makes all the time, especially during search. The genius of letting a few days go by before the first deep editing is that all the mistakes, all the informality, and the colloquialisms of we the rabble, pre-spit-polishing and detailing.
And then Google gets in there, indexes, and maybe gets lazy, doesn’t come back in a couple-few days later, doesn’t care too much about the diff between initial draft written by a PR and marketing professional. The final article worthy of consideration is restored to a perfection there never was, by a hyper-vigilant school marm cum hall monitor cum editor.
In my previous life, I used to be a professional film photographer. 35mm slides through Nikon bodies and Nikkor glass. The creative process only took up 20% of my time while developing, sleeving, editing, sorting, labeling, logging, packing, mailing, marketing, selling, and waiting took the other 80%. No, I am not missing a piece. Since I was a slide shooter, I rarely spent too much time in Photoshop doing post-production. I only had light, film, glass, and filter. Someone else did their magic in the darkroom or on a Macintosh Quadra 950.
Same with blogging or any other type of creative behavior. When I was shooting, I was giving 100% but it was still only 20% of the work required to deliver a finished product to the client.
I have upwards of 100,000 slides in archival sleeves in my storage area — but only 4,000 have made me any money and only 400 of those slides made my portfolio: 20 sleeves of 20 slides per.
But back in the day, all 100,000 of those images sat in tall steel file cabinets at Corbis (née The Stock Market) and Pacific Stock, filed away and indexed. While only 4,000 made me royalties and only 400 made me money, 100,000 were always in play.
While only 4% of all my work was considered profitable — and that’s high — nobody ever knew which 4%. And though only .4% ever made it into my portfolio, 250x that had potential.
I want you to write at least five times as much content as you are. Blog content, not ephemeral tweets or facebooks.
Populism 2017 — stop trying to appeal to your Headmaster or the Yale Law Journal, the future’s in that other bubble, a bubble where your choice of words and how you write them color your writing as much as does the content.
Each and every telegraphist has his or her own unique style and pattern when transmitting a message, called their “fist,” identifiable to other telegraphers. The same can be said about your and your words and your writing. Allow your content to become as unique in style and pattern as possible. Your flaws will become your own personal style and you will actually begin to attract people who are outside of Phi Beta Kappa and the National Honor Society — were they ever your perfect customers in the first place?