Game Changer: Google Plus Changes Search And Social Media Marketing

On Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012, Google made the biggest change to their search algorithm ever.  They have integrated their 60 million (and growing) user strong social media network into their results.

Above, I searched the term “Internet Marketing”.  If I was going to pay for this keyword on Google I’d probably pay $100 a click.

This result shows Facebook expert Mari Smith as the number one result on the far right.  This is the coveted paid real estate.

You can also see that I was not even signed into Google Plus.  Which means they are not just showing me things in my social network.  They are deeming her important because of what she has done on Google Plus overall.

What It Means

The game has changed.  The reason Mari is now number 1 for a highly competitive search term is because she earned it.  The days of gaming Google for rankings are over.

Mari is number 1 there because she creates content about that topic and has close to fifty thousand people who have her in their circles.  If you’re not up on your Google Plus terminology yet, that is the same as a Like on Facebook.  And those likes and circles, that’s just good old fashioned list building.

Google Plus has decided she is a top influencer in Internet Marketing based on what she has created on their social network.  Social media has dictated who appears on top of the search result page, put her picture up and gave her primo real estate.

Told Ya So

I hate to say it, but I’ve been shouting this for a long time now.  I’ve been telling everyone who will listen that content and social media are going to be the key to search.  And today we wake to validation and proof of that fact.  It is no longer a theory.

Like Aragorn said to Frodo; “You can no longer wait for the wizard.  They are coming…”.  Businesses can no longer wait to get into social media.  Your competition is coming and they’re about to eat your lunch.

Search Results
Made To Order

In the picture below I am now logged in to Google Plus.  And you can see the results are similar but now personalized to me.  I am actually the number one organic result for Social Media.  But, I may be the only person who sees this result this way because they’re giving me results from my own life.

 

The Lords Of Content
Will Prosper

What does this mean? Simple, content and connection is king!

These results may not yet be seen by everyone the same way as Google rolls out this massive change.  And things may change as advertisers very likely shout about their lost real estate.  Or as Google itself decides to make tweaks.

But one thing is for sure, the handwriting is on the wall that people who create valuable content and draw an audience will win.  And win big.

Google will now show you not only influencers that have big Google Plus followings but also people you may already be connected to.  If someone who is connected to someone you know talks about what you’re looking for, it may bring that back to you as a personalized search result.

What Should
Businesses Be Doing?

Create high value content and connect and share it with people in Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter and whatever other social media channel important to you.

Make sure your profile is optimized.  Look at Mari’s profile page below.  Notice how choc-full of keywords it is.

She’s got pictures and links to her other social profiles.  Optimize yours like she does hers.

Internet Marketers
Are Freaking Out

In the not so old days, as in up until Tuesday, you could use black hat SEO trickery to fool Google into ranking you.  Smoke and mirror tactics like building backlinks by bulk commenting on blogs or forums.

There’s many things that people could do to get Google to see your site.  Then Google thinks your important because of all this inbound activity and you’re ranking high.

Now we know- and this has really been going on for a while-that they care about the quality of the content.  If people go to your site and bounce out, (which means they see the content sucks and leave), you’re not going to rank.

So now you have to make them stick to your site like never before.  You have to have great content that makes them want to stay and participate.

With social media though, this really makes it very hard, if not impossible, to trick the search engines.  Social media is self policing. If people don’t see you as a real human who has something of value to say, they won’t follow and participate.

Fakers and spammers just lost their jobs.  2012 is the year of content and connection.

I’d love to be added to your circle.  You can find me on Google Plus here.

 

My Interview With Triberr’s Dino Dogan

Triberr Is Wicked Cool

The other day I jumped on Skype with Dino Dogan, creator of Triberr, and recorded the whole thing.  It was a blast.

Triberr is one ingenious little tool.  I will let Dino explain it in the audio below in more detail.  But if you have never heard of it, you become a member of a tribe with other bloggers in your niche.  Everyone promotes everyone elses’s blog posts.  Brilliant!

Instant readers, promoters, comrades, commentators, network, advisers, trusted allies.

It is just under a year old and mark my words, if you are unfamiliar with Triberr now, you won’t be for long.  I feel it is going to exceed even Dino’s wildest expectations.

It has always been invite only but, as I write this, it is open to the public today.  Anyone can go register right now and you should if you write a blog.  If you don’t write a blog… go start writing a blog and then register.

Technical Glitches Be Dammed!

Aside from Skype dropping us 3 times, we spent over an hour talking about everything from The UFC to starting Triberr to the future of Social Media.

I had gone back and fourth on how I wanted to present this interview to people.  At first I was thinking I’d use it as a ‘free bribe’ to get folks (like you) to join my mailing list.  Still will do that (if you want the unedited version that you can listen to on your own computer, burn on a CD, load on your Ipod or print as 1′s and 0′s enter your email…).  I was also thinking of transcribing and posting it here for folks to read.

But the thing is, Dino is a cool dude and he’s got a great personality that is just infectious.  So, I decided to embed the audio right here, in it’s entirety for your listening pleasure.

Get This

If you want the unedited version of this where Dino and I wax poetic about martial arts and other nonsense for a good ten minutes, join my mailing list somewhere on this page.  And don’t worry, not only won’t I spam you, it is highly likely I will even forget to send you the recording.  Just being honest.

 

The Final Day Of The Social Media Challenge

 

The Final Day Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

Today is the day! Day 31 of the 30 day challenge.

Technically, yesterday was my last piece of content that I was required to write.  But I decided a calendar month sounded much cooler.

This is $3,100 worth of checks that I didn't have to mail. See Day 6 for details.

I actually started this back on November 30th.  By December 1st I already published content piece number 1 and had 4 articles in the tank.

Thought I’d take today to sum it all up, tie it all together and put an exclamation point on this series.

I started this challenge as a challenge to myself.  A goal.  Something to help me grow and learn.

I decided to do it in broad daylight.  Open for all to see.

Hopefully it served to inspire others to take action.  Hopefully it will continue to inspire people to take a just do it attitude and get started with their own challenge.

The challenge, for me, was to tart a new social media presence from the ground up.  This is a little different for everyone.

For me the main objective of the challenge was to publish one piece of content per day.  I chose a blog as my central content hub.  But Facebook could have been the place I published to.  Of it could have been Youtube.  Or somewhere else.

I like to write so I chose a blog.

To wrap things up nice and tight, I thought I’d make this a simple list of my thoughts as I went through the month and what I’ve learned.  These are pretty much in order but fairly random.

Thanks for reading and participating.  If you finished your own challenge, leave a comment below and share your thoughts too.

The Challenge Wrap Up

This wrap up will also help you navigate back to each day of the challenge.  So if you’re just visiting for the first time, and since blogs list from newest to oldest, you may likely see this first.  Therefore, this is also your table of contents for easy navigation back to the appropriate day.

Here’s an important point: you don’t need to read this in order.  Jump to the section that you think you need.  If you want to setup your blog first, jump to Day 9.

The goal of the challenge is to create and publish a piece of content every day.  This is my content I created each day.  But you can go through it as you see fit.

Pre-Day 1 – Content is KING!  In the coming year, as I write this on the last day of 2011, all signs point to 2012 being the year of content.  If you’re not creating it, and it’s not valuable to your audience, you’re at a disadvantage.

Day 1 – A Central Content Hub is my special place.  Need to define that one place where all your content will go and where it will be shared from.

Day 2 – Find that one thing that will inspire you to follow through with your goals.  Get into a daily ritual that guarantees success.

Day 3 – Get started creating content.  It’s easy to get paralysis by analysis and never get going.  Just do it!

Day 4 – Create you vision.  You must know what your strategy is for the 30 days.  What do you want this to be when you’re done?

Day 5 – The FAQ technique.  The secret to creating a ton of content fast.  Easily publish 25 pieces of content with this.

Day 6 – Bring the pain.  Find something that is more painful than writing your content to use as leverage to get things done.  A punishment for not publishing daily.

Day 7 – Know the key influencers and experts in your niche.  Use them for education, resource and support

Day 8 – You don’t have to write.  You can use any medium you want to create content.  Here’s how to do it with video.

Day 9 – How to setup your blog.

Day 10 – Create your content syndication strategy.  What social media channels will you use?

Day 11 – Working and sticking with your plan.  Don’t lose sight of your overall vision.

Day 12 – The letter writing technique for creating content.  Writing a letter to a person is one of the most intimate forms of writing.  It can be a great model for creating truly valued content.

Day 13 – More on failure.  What do you do when you’re about to veer off track?

Day 14 – Build a strong and powerful bond with your reader.

Day 15 – What does every good social media content strategy need?  Traffic.  Here’s how to start driving traffic to your channels.

Day 16 – Stories sell.  Learn how to use stories to give your content personality and make your points.  People love stories.

Day 17 – Celebrity Engineering.  How social media can turn you into a star.

Day 18 – Rules of engagement.  How to keep your fans yours and get new ones.  Have a solid plan for how you will regularly engage your fans and get new ones.

Day 19 – There are a lot of ways to manage your social media.  Pick the ones that work for you and regularly prepare, implement and analyze.

Day 20 – Book equals expert.  People look at a published author as an expert.  Here’s how you can turn this into a book when you’re done.

Day 21 – Social Media is a lot like networking in the real world.  Always give first and you will receive plenty back.

Day 22 – If you’re going to continue to create content, getting other experts to contribute can be a great strategy.

Day 23 – Challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone, be inspired by others.  This was a post about Social Media expert Gary Vaynerchuck saying there is no such thing as Social Media.  This is also an example on how another person contributed to my blog.

Day 24 – More tools and tactics for finding and attracting blog contributions.  You can find guest bloggers, crowd source or curate someone else’s content like I did with Gary Vaynerchuck on Day 23.

Day 25 – Here is a crowd sourced blog sample.  I found a couple of experts on Linkedin and asked them to contribute.

Day 26 – How long should your blog post be?  I say, as long as it needs to be but no longer than that.

Day 27 – Getting near the end of the 30 days, I started to reflect back.  What I have gained is a positive addiction and a belief that I can do it no matter what.

Day 28 – The Shotgun approach to Social Media Marketing.  I have many different strategies I use all with very simple expectations.

Day 29 – Who are you creating content for.  Dig deeper into who your audience is.  The more you know about them, the better your content will be.

Day 30 – Get controversial.  Don’t be afraid to use controversy.  As long as you know your audience well, controversy can take your content up a notch and increase engagement.

The Blogger Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

 

Day 30 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

Back on Day 15 I told you about some things to avoid at all costs.  One in particular is:

Controversy:  Don’t talk about religion, politics or any other lightning rod issues unless that’s what your business is.  If you’re a politician, feel free to pick on the other side all you want.

Controversial topics can draw a ton of attention.  So you can certainly bring it into your world.  Just don’t be controversial unless that is what your strategy is.

Well, that was Day 15 Mike.  Day 30 Mike is here to tell you to go pick a fight, generate some buzz and get controversial.

I don’t mean to sound confusing or tell you one thing then another.  In reality, you still need to listen to day 15 Mike.

It’s All About Control

I like to use my experience as a martial arts instructor here to paint the picture.  When a student is brand new and just a white belt, they are not allowed to make any contact when sparring.  As they rise up through the ranks, slowly, we allow them to make a little contact.  Each new belt, a little more.

By the time, they get to black belt we allow them to make pretty heavy contact.  That’s because at the lower belt level they have no control.  So if they made contact, they might hurt someone or themselves.

As they develop control, they can now make contact without their opponent having to worry about getting kicked in the unmentionables.

Same goes here.  You don’t want to go getting controversial until you have the control and understand the right and wrong way to do it.

The right way can attract a super highway of traffic to you.  The wrong way can kill you dead in your tracks.  I’ve been on the receiving end of both.  One is not so much fun.

Controversy Sells

When you create content and distribute it through Social Media you want people to consume it.  Next, you want all their friends to consume it.  And their friend’s friends.

You want that sucker to go viral and have MSNBC talking about the fact that Stephen Colbert is talking about Bill O’Reilly talking about it.

How do you get things to that level? You have to be willing to talk about things that are controversial in nature.  Things that are hot topics.  Buzz.

People don’t care about the picture of your dinner.  Even if it is made from 5 different types of bacon.

But take a stand on some controversial topic that has a lot of buzz behind it, and you have a chance.  But you have to say something different.  You have to pick a side.

Talk About What
People Like To
Talk About

In Mark Hughes’ book “Buzzmarketing” he talks about the “Six Buttons of Buzz”.  This was recommended to me from a guest blog post on Anna Hoffman’s awesome blog by Danny Iny.  Great article called “The Most Important Traffic Source That EVERYBODY Forgets

The six buttons of buzz are:
1. The taboo
2. The unusual
3. The outrageous
4. The hilarious
5. The remarkable
6. The secrets

If you want to stand a chance at getting your content viral, push a couple of these buttons.

Taking It Too Far

You’ve probably watched several people take things too far in social media.

If you’re a member of Congress, don’t tweet pictures of your private parts.

Back in 2009, Habitat UK, allegedly tweeted about their products using trending hashtags in their tweets.  That might not have been so bad if some of the hashtags had been about, say, butterflies.  Instead some of the trending tags were about the Iran elections.

These are pretty big and obvious blunders.  But the point is, you can go too far and do much more harm than good.  Handle with care.

Know Your Audience

You want to get your content seen, you want to push some buttons, kick the hornet’s nest, rattle the cages.  As long as your audience is with you, that is.

Yesterday I wrote about knowing who your audience is.  This is what I mean about using control.

If you know your audience you can start to add these triggers in.  And you should.  But if you don’t… stay away!

It’s even okay to make your audience feel a little uncomfortable.  As long as you don’t take them farther out of their comfort zone than they can stand.

 

Who Are You Blogging For

 

Day 29 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

Got a question for you.

Are you looking for traffic to your blog?

I am assuming you said yes.  But what kind of traffic do you want?

I started getting traffic right away.  Killer spam robots found me.

Sometimes it is an automated system or a person who seek out blogs to make comments with the sole purpose of getting a backlink to their site.  These are usually obvious.  They make very generic comments about how much this information helped them.

Because of stuff like this, bloggers are very careful about approving comments.  I have no desire to give a backlink to someone trying to promote his porno or Viagra website.

But this is traffic.  The same 15 blog spammers come back to my blog every day.

As my site takes root more in the search engines, more of these types, which I affectionately refer to as ‘Internet Ruiners’, will find me.

Did You Identify
Your Readers?

Earlier in the thirty day challenge we created our vision and strategy for our content.  So by now you probably have a good idea of the types of people you want to attract to your blog.

But now that your content is aplenty and you’ve been doing this blog thing for a while, I think it’s good to come back to this.

I do believe that over time if you’re consistent and never give up, eventually you’re going to attract an audience.  But I also believe you can make it happen much faster when you speak to a very specific, laser targeted audience.

The Big
‘Project Killing’
Mistake

I’ve been selling products in the online world for years now.  I’ve created my own information products and sold other people’s products.

The biggest mistake newbies to Internet Marketing make is they try to be everything to everyone.  They don’t target correctly and before long their campaign is a failure.

Take the lose weight industry for example.  This is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Within this industry there are sub niches.   Women who want to lose weight have different objectives and needs than men.  You can probably dig even deeper and find more sub niches of the sub niches.  Women in their 20′s are different than women in their 60′s.  Some women in their 60′s may need to lose 100 pounds.  Others are just looking to firm up.

If you start a blog in the weight loss niche that is generalized you’re going to be lost in an ocean of competing blogs.   It doesn’t mean you won’t find success.  Just if you’re blog is super specific to a certain group, you’ve got a much greater chance to build an audience.

But by talking to everyone, you run the risk of talking to no one.  You won’t make an emotional connection.

There Are Riches
In The Niches

When I ran the martial arts school, we had a very specific type of person we were looking for.  I created our avatar of the perfect customer for us.  When I then created marketing, it would be to that avatar.

But when I first got into the business, I was going after everyone.  The school tag line was ‘classes for ages 3 to 103’.  Pretty broad, wouldn’t you agree?

Well, because we were marketing to everyone, we really were engaging no one.

I finally realized our perfect prospect was a stay at home mother of a boy age 4 to 6.  The boy does not like team sports.  He gets teased in school and doesn’t seem to fit in with the crowd.  Mom knows he’s got self-esteem issues and could use a male mentor to look up to aside from his dad who works all the time.

I could go into even more detail about this perfect avatar.  I could tell you about her personal values, income level and much more.

When I did anything in that business it was for her.  That not only includes marketing, but how we put our curriculum together.  We even created our schedule to be convenient for her.  The school lobby had her favorite single serve coffees available.

People Who Were
Not Our Avatar
Found Us Too

When we started to just speak to her, everything about our school flourished.  Not only did that age group grow, our adult program grew.  Turned out parents of kids who take martial arts happen to be adults.  Who knew?

Some of these kids had siblings.  Some of them had friends and neighbors.

By being really specific and working to engage the specific group, we were able to make a connection in everything we did.  People identified with us and our message.

As more of those avatars became members, the wider masses found us; the parents, the brothers and sisters, the friends, the people who happened to walk by and peak in the window to see people sweating and smiling.

And because we got super specific, the business grew larger than we had hoped for.

Define Your Avatar

So now that you’ve come to the end of our thirty day challenge, I want you to take a second look at who you’re writing for.  Who is your avatar?

The more you know about this perfect customer/prospect/blog reader, the better.  What is her favorite color?  What types of food do they love?  The more you know the more you will be able to connect.

Once you’ve identified your avatar, go back and see how your content measures up.  Have you been writing to them or to some random group?

The great thing about a blog is it just keeps growing and evolving.  As you go forward with each new work, make sure you write for your avatar.  The better you get at this, the better your content will be and the more people will enjoy it.

 

My Shotgun Approach To Social Media

Day 28 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

As we come into the home stretch of the thirty day challenge, my focus is starting to shift.  Creating a piece of unique content every single day, as you know if you’ve been playing along, can be time consuming.

This doesn’t leave as much time to do many of the other things we’ve talked about that will drive traffic to your channels.  But as my focus shifts and the groundwork has been laid out, it is now time to turn my focus onto the daily attention grabbing things.

I Just Used
This Strategy Today

I want to share a strategy that I just used today.  Keep in mind, this is just one strategy of many you can use.

I was reading a post on the Social Media Examiner today called, “12 Google Plus Marketing Tips From The Pros”.

I saw a comment that I found interesting.  In the comment, a reader referred to one of the tips that mentions using Gplus.To to create a vanity URL.

Right now, Google Plus does not allow for a URL to be shortened.  They give you a big ugly URL with a number in it.  You can’t turn it into an easy to pass along customized link like with Facebook and many others.

The commenter made a great point.  If that service was to shut down or something goes wrong, we lose our link.  And if you promote that link far and wide, it could have a pretty nasty effect.

So, what I did was to make this video below demonstrating how to use Gplus.To.  But as a second option, I also show how to create a custom URL using a redirect on a hosting account.

I uploaded the video to my Youtube channel and then responded to the comment with my advice.

 

The goal was to add value to the conversation.  This is a high traffic site so a lot of people will see it.  This gives me an opportunity to help others and attract them to my social media channels.

Time To Learn
How To Shoot

I used to use a marketing method when I owned my martial arts school we called the shotgun approach.  In coaching other martial arts school owners, I found the most common question they would ask was: “What is one thing I can do to get twenty new students?”

Now it’s pretty hard to get twenty new students at once.  In fact, it was hard to get that in an entire month.  But everyone wanted that magical thing they could do to get the big result fast.

Do A Lot Of
Different Things

It’s far easier to do twenty things to get one student.  That’s the shotgun approach.  And it worked.

Many school owners would continue to try the one thing to get twenty.  They would end up with none.  Then they’d try another magical one thing to get twenty the next time.  They’d get none.

Meanwhile, I was consistantly doing twenty (or more) things all designed to get one new student.  Sometimes we’d get none.  Other times we’d get two or three.  At the end of most months we’d end up with twenty or so new students.

Typically, the shotgun approach means to target the masses and cover a wide area of the population.  I like to think of it as using a lot of different techniques.  Spraying many things around all targeted to one person.

In the example above, I do one thing with the goal of getting one person to like my page, read my blog, follow me on Twitter, etc.  Now, if I do all sorts of those little things, and I get one person along the way, I can actually build a strong social media presence.

Sometimes The Result
Can Be Huge

The cool thing is that occasionally, one of those little things will turn into a big thing.  You never know which will be the one, but eventually, if I am consistent, something will have a much broader impact.

I created a video that taught how to setup a Facebook page that got thousands of views.  But that was one video I made of many trying to get realistic results.

I like to follow these rules:

1: Do lots of different things

2: Be consistent

3: Add value

4: Repeat

Here is another video I made talking about the previous video I made.

 

 

Starting To Celebrate Early

Day 27 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

I can’t believe it’s day 27 and my personal challenge ends in a few short days.  I’ve written an original piece of content every single day since November 30th.  Well, technically I started writing a few days earlier.

I know it’s not over yet, but I feel like it’s time for a victory lap.  I set out to challenge myself to start a new Social Media presence from the ground up around my central content hub; this blog.

Today, I have a lot of content. I have been slowly building my social media around it in Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, StumbleUpon, Youtube and other channels.  As the process continues even past the thirty days, I’ll continue to build my social channels with the content I already have and new content to come.

For today’s post, I wanted to share thoughts and little things I’ve learned along the way.

1: Build a positive addiction

When I first started this, I was fired up.  Wrote stuff fast and furiously.

Towards the end of the second week it got a little tough, I must admit.  Some days I had to push and reach.  But in the end, I was proud of what I came up with.

As I move into the home stretch, something interesting has happened.  It got easier.  Imagine that?

I have not had to send a check to anyone yet.  Pretty happy about that.  Of course, I would have found some way of writing to stop that from happening; which was the idea…

And I know it will likely get tough again.  Especially after the 31st when I stop writing and publishing every day.

My hope is that the habit will have formed and it will be easy as pie going forward.  But even if the habit hasn’t taken hold yet, it will.

One thing I’ve noticed with all the successful folks I know is they all have very healthy habits that border on pure addiction.  That’s what I want; A powerful addiction to something good for me.

People can have emotional and physical reactions to habits; good and bad.  If a pack a day smoker doesn’t get a cigarette within a few hours, he’s going to have serious withdrawal symptoms.

I want the habit of writing content to be so strong that if I miss a deadline, I’ll actually feel like the world will come to an end.  That’s a healthy habit.  And healthy habits lead you to success.

2:  It’s not a race

Mastery doesn’t happen over-night.  Success doesn’t happen over-night.  It takes time and effort to achieve anything.

We live in a world of instant gratification.  More and more people seem programmed to quit anything that looks like it might be even a little difficult.

I knew going into this that I wasn’t going to have fifty thousand Facebook likes after thirty days.  That’s just not realistic.  (Speaking of which, here’s my Facebook page for you to go like.  If you like what you’re reading here, sure would appreciate the help and kindness).

It’s certainly important to recognize when something just isn’t going to work.  But if you’ve set out with a strong plan, things will work out with consistent focus and perseverance.

3:  Believe in yourself no matter what

When Cassius Clay fought Sony Liston for the very first time, it was not only assumed he’d lose, but that he would get beaten into a pulp.  Liston was ferocious looking.  He pounded his opponents with ease.  Other fighters were actually afraid to get into the ring with him.

In the run up to the fight, the trash talking Clay verbally tormented and taunted Liston.  He would call him ugly in interviews.  He made brash and bold predictions of his certain victory.  He chased his car screaming down the street all the way.

He taunted him so badly during the weigh in that his blood pressure became so elevated they almost didn’t let him fight.  Meanwhile, if Liston even cared, he didn’t show it.

The day they stepped into the ring, the intimidating champ couldn’t touch Clay.  By the end of the sixth round Liston refused to come out to fight the seventh.  The rest is history.

Clay new he was going to beat Liston and told everyone so.  But years later Muhammad Ali reflected on Liston after his death.  Telling a reporter he’d love to sit around and swap old stories with him.

The reporter asked what Ali would say to him.  He replied, “You scared me”.

All great champions believe in themselves so deeply that no one can stop them.  And they don’t let fear of anything stand in their way.

I’m Going To
Shock The World

So with my brand new healthy addiction, resolute focus and belief in myself, I continue on.  If you’ve been taking the challenge along with me, I’d love to hear your reflections as you get to your day 27.  Make sure to leave a comment below.

Does Size Matter – How Long Should Your Blog Post Be

Day 26 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

There was a great conversation going on today in one of the forums I follow.  The discussion was about how long blog posts should be.

At this point in the challenge, I probably don’t need to mention this, but I will anyway.  If you want to create a strong social media presence, you need to have great content.

People need to want to come back for more.  Your content has to speak to them in a way that is different and more valuable than all the other choices they have available to make.

And it’s not getting any easier.  Every passing day, there are more people competing for the same readers as you.

There are a ton of different opinions on this.  Since this is my blog, I get to promote my opinion.  Here are my thoughts on the subject.

1: Make every post as long as it needs to be and no longer than it should be.

Every word must earn its place.  If the word, sentence, paragraph don’t need to be there to move the article along, they’re out.  Make every word count as opposed to counting every word.

2: Write for people.

There are way too many blogs out there that are written for the search engines.  And they read like it.  This is one of the key reasons why Google is always making algorithmic changes.  So writing for the search engines may work in the short run.  But it is not a quality strategy for the long term.

3: People will read what they’re interested in.

Many people feel they need to keep articles short because of the ever shortening attention span of the reader.  To a certain extent that is true.  But who is your reader?  If your reader hates reading, make videos instead.

4: People don’t need to read the entire post for it to do its job.

What’s our goal when creating content?  Getting people to become fans, make comments, share our stuff and come back for more.  I follow people religiously who’s content I don’t read all of.  Sometimes I just scan it.  Sometimes I read enough to get the main idea.  But I still comment, share it, like it and return all the time.

5: Write for yourself.

Enjoy the process.  If it is something you find interesting and would want to read, chances are great that there’s others out there who will feel the same.

6: Turn one article into two.

If a post is running really long, I can usually find a way to turn it into two different posts.  As long as it makes sense, break up the wicked long ones.

7: Break things up.

You will notice I use a second readership path in all my posts.  These are sub headlines that appear every few paragraphs.  I also may use images, bulleted or numbered lists to break up the post as well.  This may not make the article any easier to read.  But it will make it look easier to read.  And when it looks easier, it is easier.  Plus, scanners like me can still get the main idea.

It All Comes
Down To Interest

At the end of the day, I really think that if you write great content people will read it.  If it interests them they will clamour for more if it’s too short and read it to the end no matter how long.

I’ve seen Field Of Dreams a lot of times.  If it’s on TV, I will drop what I am doing and watch the entire thing.

If someone wrote a really long blog post talking about Field of Dreams, I’d probably read it.  Wouldn’t matter how long it was.  Why, because I love that movie.

Write to your audience and let things fall into place.  Even more than that, assuming you love the topic like your audience does, write for yourself.

In case you didn’t catch the earlier post where I mentioned I am turning this Thirty Day Challenge series into a book… I’m turning this into a book.  So, if you want to be in a book, leave your comment below and share your thoughts on this.

Now I’ve gotta go before this post gets over 700 words…

 

Content About Creating Content With Contributed Content

Day 25 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

We’ve reached Christmas together during this challenge.   This means that I only have 6 more days left in my challenge that I started on December 1st.   The last post in this challenge is going to be on New Years Eve.

We’ve been talking over the last few blog posts about how to get other people to create content for us.  In yesterday’s post on tools and tactics one method I discussed was crowd sourcing.  A tool I love to use to crowd source content is Linkedin.

In preparing for the article on crowd sourcing, I actually crowd sourced some content.  Cool, eh?

Like the title of this article? Content About Creating Content With Contributed Content.  Say that ten times fast.

As a member of several blogging groups on Linkedin, I started a discussion in each looking for contributors to a blog post on how they generate content.  I received several responses.  So you can see crowd sourcing in action, here are their responses:

 

Ken Moorhead

I recently started a new project focused on cocktails and nightlife in my local area. My approach is to gather feedback. I sent each and every follower a quick personal message asking … drum roll, please … what were they interested in reading? This is an incredibly broad question, of course. But I didn’t want to make things too narrow to start. Within a few hours, I had a significant amount of feedback, all of it actionable: how-to articles, reviews that focus on the people behind the bar, and where to host a party in the city.

I’m so thrilled with this smaller-scale effort that I’m going to duplicate it on some of my larger profiles. It’s a good bit of work to send so many personalized messages, but well worth the effort for the feedback gained.

 

Rosemary Orchard

Explore your niche within social media. Find groups on Facebook, SubReddits, Quora topics and so on. Look at what questions are being asked and what sort of people are using these areas – professionals or people new to the niche? You can use these questions to spark ideas of your own and also directly as blog posts.

It’s also worth exploring other areas of social media – Skydiving might be completely unrelated to your niche, but someone could have posted a great quote, or you might simply stumble across a great idea for a blog post “Why Blogger’s Shouldn’t Skydive” could be a random one related to both my niche and the example given.

 

Deb McAlister-Holland

I’m director of marketing at a software company, and one of the best sources of content ideas for my website and blog is customer questions asked of our implementation, training, and customer support staff. If two or three of our customers — who are very sophisticated marketers in their own right — are wondering about something, it’s a pretty sure bet that others are, too. Our blog publishes “best practices” content for marketing professionals three times a week, and we also publish monthly white papers on marketing topics, so I’m constantly looking for content ideas. Over time, customer questions have been my #1 source of ideas, followed (of course) by LinkedIn posts and questions.

 

 Collier Ward

Since my blog “Building Content” is “The Architect’s Resource for Professional Blogging” I have used special content curation software to find appropriate architectural articles from around the Internet and link them on a dedicated series of pages.

 

 

Everyone Benefits

Through this process, I got great insights from other content creators that really add value to what I was doing thus making it even better.  What they got out of it is even more exposure for their projects and voices.

Not only did I get other people to provide usable content for me, but I also made some new connections.  One of the contributors here invited me to guest blog for them.

I love synergy.  The whole is greater than the sum of their parts.  Two people can come together to achieve so much more than one person or even the two would separately.  This is why this method is one of my favorites.

Tools And Tactics For Content Contributions

Day 24 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

Today we’re going to pick up where we left off yesterday and the day before.  In this multi-part blog post we’re getting into the subject of leveraging other people to create content for you.  Today we’re going to dive into tools and tactics for finding content contributors.

There are three main methods that I like to use:

1: Guest Blogging - Here you find a person who will write an entire article for your blog.  Or, you can also write for their blog to build your brand and drive traffic back to your own blog.

2: Crowd Sourcing - Here you look for a short comment or quote from other people.  Many people contribute smaller pieces that you can then put together into a blog post.

3: Curated Content - This is something someone else wrote that you share with your community.   You can take one or many blog posts written by others and talk about and share them with your community.

It goes without saying that with each of the three methods, you must give proper credit to the author.  Linking back to their website or blog is standard practice.

Big Dogs To
Newbies Are Welcome

When I first started doing this, I looked for the superstars to help me out.  Why not?  If they help you, it can really put you on the map.

But the problem is, when you’re new to the game and have nothing to give in return, (like traffic back to their blog), you may hear a lot of no’s or just get ignored altogether.  But every now and then you may hear a yes.  And that one person can help by driving their traffic to you.  Never hurts to ask.

Don’t forget, the superstars all started at the beginning.  There was a time when they were no one too.

Finding future superstars makes getting a yes much easier.  And the more yes’s you hear the easier it will be to get more content.  And likely the good ones will work really hard to give you great stuff.  After all, they want to be superstars someday.

Methods For
Finding Contributions

Linkedin

This is an absolute treasure trove of talent and resources.  This social network was built to connect business professionals with each other.  Facebook and Twitter are great but for business networking; Linkedin is ‘It’.

Status Updates – Talk about your project here to attract contributors within your own network.

Groups – Join a group that matches your topic of choice.  Participating in discussions will build up your credibility and attract others to connect with you.  You can start discussions inviting people to contribute to your blog.

Answers – This feature is a great crowd sourcing tool.  You may find questions already exist for your specific topic.  All you need to do is get permission from the people who answered to use their comments.  Ask your own question to crowd source your project.

It takes some practice to find the correct way to engage people so the responses are what you want.  The best way to learn how it’s done is to join groups, read discussions and answers by others.

People in your offline network

Personally, I have a lot of people I network with locally.  I also have my clients.

I’ve tuned my ear to really listen to people when I speak to them.  When I hear someone offering something in conversation that I think would be good, I’ll write it up and then show it to them for approval.

People in your online network

Through all of my social networks I am connected to several thousand people.  And they all know other people.  My connections run wide and deep and yours probably do to.

On Day 7 of the challenge I talked about an interview I did with Mari Smith.  She was in my online network so I reached out to her.  Simple as that.

Your email list

Do you have a list?  If not, you should start building one.

A simple email to your list asking for contributors or help on a post may lead you to a lot of great responses.  If they’re on your list, your rate of response should be pretty high since you’ve already cultivated a relationship with them.

Blog Stampede is a crowdsourcing tool that I use occasionally.  You can actually add code into your blog that automatically shows all the contributions you like.  I like to use this with my email list a lot but you can use it in conjunction with any method.

You’re Turn

What do you think?  Did I miss anything?

Let’s do a little crowdsourcing right now and leave your comments below.  Tell us what your method is. Next post I will share the results from my crowdsourcing I’ve already done on this topic.