The term SEO (search engine optimization) seems to still be so mysterious to folks and I want to clear this up. Many people want to know how to get more eyeballs to their website and blog content, so if you’ve wondered the same thing… let’s chat. If you are an expert in SEO, plug your ears and look away because I am going to use examples and SEO basic terms that will have you shaking your head.
First, SEO is not mystical, and it is not even the job for
some guy sitting in a dark basement desk wearing a hoodie. It is something you
should understand and be doing every day…or at least frequently if you want your
content found by more people.
Whenever you add or tweak content on your website (including
blog posts) you are potentially optimizing the site for Google and other “search
engines” to find it. Optimizing it means you are adding content that will be helpful
to people who are searching for it, you are making sure it is relevant to the
person searching, and you are making it easy to consume by adding paragraph headers
and formatting it for people to find the information they seek.
Here are 7 things you can do to become your own SEO expert (or
at least apprentice):
Create content people actually want.
Before you write a new post, ask yourself if people are really searching for this answer…I mean like when I go searching for chocolate in my pantry and I am moving cans and boxes around. Are people going to Google and typing in, “How can I _____” with your topic in the blank? When you type that question in Google, what comes up? Are there loads of posts out there already? Can you put a unique spin on it or add to this body of knowledge to provide a more niche answer?
Too often we create mamby-pamby oatmeal content. Bland.
Boring. Useless. And I’m right there in the bowl with you. I find that after a
few months I start slipping from the edge right back into the cushy middle. It
takes a lot of work to stay in your zone of genius. In digital marketing, there
is a ton of content out there, so if I can’t put my own personality or spin on
content, it’s just another bowl of mediocre oats.
Provide great information, not a marketing brochure.
Google wants you to create content for the users who are searching for helpful information, not just a page that has nice marketing slogans and pithy facts about your brand. Go look at a couple of pages right now on your website. If you were a potential customer who had questions or problems they were trying to solve, would your page give them the answers or just tell them about YOU?
Think of the keywords BEFORE you begin writing
You have to write for humans, not for Google bots. That means
you have to think of the question or problem your reader has, write it down.
Now ask yourself, what is the main word or couple of words in that problem or
Question a reader has: How to set up the perfect podcast studio?
Possible Keywords: Set up podcast studio
Alternative 1: Set up professional podcast studio
Alternative 2: Set up video recording studio
While writing the post (or outlining what you are going to
say in video or audio content), be sure to use the keywords and phrases
throughout. Do it naturally. Don’t write, “To set up a podcast studio you will
want to use equipment for a professional podcast studio. There will be
microphones in a video and podcast studio …” You get the picture.
I tell our clients often to write down the top 10 FAQs people have about their industry and their specific business. Now write a blog post and create short video pieces that answer each one using the keywords and phrases from those questions. That is optimized content.
Quit using jargon and write content people will know what to
So often people write content as if they’re writing textbooks or worse, technical manuals. Dry and complicated copy often does not absorb. If you use terms and acronyms, even terms you assume everyone knows, explain it the first time you use it. You can go back to acronyms from that point on.
Will your content have the answer they came for or just more
questions? Make sure when you’re your reader finishes, they say, “Ahhh
refreshing! Just what I was trying to understand.”
Make it long enough to be helpful.
While I hear everything from “Make your blog posts 400-800 words” to “Google likes posts that are 1,500-2,000 words”, the key is to make sure there’s enough meat on the bones of a post that the reader gets their answers. If your post is only a couple paragraphs long and just covers a topic at a high level, your reader may feel they wasted their time clicking over and leave frustrated asking, “Where’s the Beef?”
A post that is 400-500 words long (or short) is going to have less of an opportunity to naturally have keywords and helpful content in it and yet if you stuff a post with keywords, it will smell like spam. There are many experts (who are these people? Yoast is a pretty reliable source and they say 300 is the absolute minimum) who say a post or a webpage must have 400-800 words to even be indexed or recognized as a page by Google or other search engines. Regardless of what those people say, write enough to be helpful!
Seth Godin’s blogs are
often very short, but he isn’t worried about driving more eyeballs to his blog.
He’s got more eyeballs on each post than Argus
Panoptes, the hundred-eyed giant in Greek mythology, so he writes whatever
he wants. He also writes daily!
If you are wanting Google to see your website and blog posts as a reliable source and send more people there for their answers, be sure to beef it up!
Write better titles for your content
This is where my wit often gets me in trouble. I always want
to name my blog posts something witty or clever, but Google has a very dry
sense of humor. If I would have named this post “Mullet Blogging” or “Excavating
Your Website” it would amuse me, but would anyone really be typing those terms
into Google? (Besides me?) NO! Save your cleverness for inside the post.
Take that keyword list you came up with earlier and the top
FAQs and use one of those for your title. If at all possible, start with a keyword.
“Basic SEO: How to get my content found” is one way to title this post. If “basic
SEO” is my keyword phrase I would want to put that in the front. “How to get my
content found” is still pretty close to a keyword phrase, it would be
I love how SEO Expert, Heather Lutze, calls
these “Mullet Titles” since you want the business in the front and then a party
in the back.
Let’s talk a little geeky here
Now stay with me. I’m going to get meta on you. Metadata, meta descriptions, ALT tags, H1, H2, H3 tags. These might sound like phrases out of a Steven King novel, but they are just sections and parts of your website content that Google bots know how to read. Imagine Google has a little robot and “metadata” is the only info it knows to read.
So, when you load any piece of content onto a website look for a section or box (typically toward the bottom of the page) that asks for the “meta description.” This just means, “Tell me a little about what this is and if you can include one of your main keywords that will be helpful.” The meta description is the sentence or two that shows up under the bold headline when someone does a Google search.
ALT tags are the words that will describe each image you
load into your website (they all should have ALT tags). While the intent of an
ALT tag was mostly for the visually impaired so their computer would read what
was being shown on the page, it is another area that you can use to tie that image
into your post concept. So instead of just “robot” being in my ALT tag above, I
would put “Google bot for basic SEO” or “Google bot to help content be found.”
Keep in mind that most website designers do NOT optimize the content they load
into your site and you may have a beautiful site that is not helping search
engines find you.
H1 H2 H3
H1, H2, and H3 tags are just a tech way to say the same thing your 4th grade English teacher taught you. Put your headline at the top and then put the rest of your content in OUTLINE FORMAT. So all of your paragraphs will have sub-headings and then other main thoughts will have sub-sub-headings (it’s been a long time since I was anywhere near an elementary school so just go with it). So, your blog post title, for example, would be formatted as an H1 heading (usually this is done automatically because of how the page is formatted). Your paragraph headings should be formatted to be H2. This is because our little robot friend speed reads and skims each page reading H1, H2, and H3 tags to see if the page is really about what your keyword says it’s about. So don’t get too clever with your headings.
If you are still with me and your head hasn’t exploded, CONGRATULATIONS! You now understand the basics of SEO to help you get your content found by more people. Of course, there is more to optimizing your website but I want you to take a deep breath and realize that it’s all very doable. If you follow the 7 steps outlined here and regularly create content for your ideal audience, you will see your website traffic increase. And of course, don’t forget to promote your new content by sharing on your social media channels. [READ: If you build it, they will NOT come.]
Everyone is talking about LinkedIn making a comeback. Did it ever go away? Well, perhaps it was stuck in its own version of the ’80s with its bad hair and awkward sense of style. I mean let’s be honest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even the hip app, SnapChat have all had their day as the “It Girl” platform. But LinkedIn has had the reputation of being not so social and so uncool.
Just this morning I was on a call with a potential client and she asked, “Should we even bother updating our team’s LinkedIn profiles? Isn’t it just used for job seekers?” LinkedIn must feel like women in their 50’s (ummm…. ME)—no one is paying attention to anything we do anymore! Well, it’s time we turn around and look again at this powerhouse social platform and start treating her with some R.E.S.P.E.C.T!
Here are 11.5 things you need to know about this new “IT” GIRL:
1. LinkedIn is still the Queen of B2B.
While all marketing is P2P (person to person), if you are looking to connect and build relationships with people in the business sector, LinkedIn is tops. It has grown steadily year-over-year from it’s creation in 2003 to now, and there are no signs of it stopping.
Executives and other decision-makers are on LinkedIn LOOKING FOR GREAT CONTENT and VALUABLE RESOURCES! They aren’t looking for goofy farming games, guess your celebrity personality tests or baby pig videos (although who doesn’t want to see baby pig videos?). People come to LinkedIn to read great content and connect with people who are serious about making things happen. Hootsuite wrote, “LinkedIn users are the educated and affluent people who are already in a professional headspace and actively looking for solutions.”
2. There are a lot of people here.
While it’s not the size of Facebook’s community, there are 630 million members on LinkedIn and it continues to grow, probably due to all of the Facebook algorithm hubbub. Two professionals join LinkedIn every second! 177 million of those members are from the US and 48% of all members log in monthly. 43% check into their LinkedIn profile daily. The best part is that 40% of users on LI are decision-makers! We’re not talking about spending your time chit-chatting with your creepy cousin Eddie and his friends anymore.
3. Microsoft purchased LinkedIn in 2016, for 26.2 BILLION and they’ve been busy.
You will see more Microsoft integrations coming and I’m already seeing more PowerPoint slide decks being shared on profiles. LinkedIn’s slide deck sharing platform, Slideshare has over 70 million users and that is going up monthly. When you add your marketing deck to Slideshare first, you can pull it into your profile and now it’s doing double duty for you. I have to admit, I initially went gangbusters on Slideshare years ago and I have forgotten about the power there. You can even add a lead magnet into the backend to use it as a great lead gen tool. Bottom line is, adding any visuals to your profile will make it stand out and a well-crafted slide deck is an easy way to do that.
4. Every “sophisticated marketer” uses LinkedIn as their primary channel to distribute their B2B marketing content.
So few people have published an ARTICLE on their LinkedIn profile, that you will automatically shine here. Only 1 million out of the 520 million users have published an article on LinkedIn. (source: OmniCore) Articles, which used to be called POSTS, are the blog-like content pieces that stay on your profile in a fashion that very much resembles a blog post. Share content that highlights your expertise and personality! [READ: 4 Qualities to Become More Likeable Online and Off] If you look at your profile under “Articles and Activity” you will find the home of your content. I still feel that this needs to come out from hiding—most people don’t even know where to find past posts and articles.
According to Daniel Roth, LinkedIn’s Editor in Chief, “Every day, over 2 million posts, videos, and articles course through the LinkedIn feed, generating tens of thousands of comments every hour –and tens of millions more shares and likes.”
6. Be sure to SHOW, and not just TELL with your content on LinkedIn.
Posts with images get 2x the number of comments and according to Peter Roybal, LinkedIn Senior Product Manager, people are 20 x more likely to share a video with their connections than any other type of LinkedIn post. People are also 5x more likely to comment on video content. Soooo, get that great content into short video-bytes, and make sure they are super helpful. If you get too salesy you get tuned out! My rules for social media are: Be INTERESTING, Be HELPFUL or Be QUIET!”
Here are a few ideas for you and your team to kick around and start planning for when LinkedIn Live reaches you:
• Product demos
• A chat to discuss trend reports
• Fireside chats with experts, vendors, and employees
• FAQ sessions
• Field visits and tours
7. Visit your LinkedIn profile and connections more often.
Don’t be a dead-beat parent on your own LinkedIn profile. Stop in daily for 30-minutes to share something or comment on what others are posting. If daily is unthinkable, aim for 3 times a week and build up to it. The more frequently you show up and engage on LinkedIn, the more frequently you …. Show up! You will be amazed at the increase of connection requests, profile views, and even BUSINESS if you increase your activity on LinkedIn.
8. Make sure you have an updated photo and profile.
I think when LinkedIn launched in 2003 people loaded their stoic corporate headshot or a glamour shot from those cheezy mall studios (yep..I had one and my children still pull it out for the occasional comedy relief) and never looked back. Let’s face it, we’ve gotten older and that’s OK! You need to put up a headshot that actually looks like you. One that was taken within the past 6-12 months. While you’re on your profile, go through and update your skills and experience. We don’t need to know where you went to grade school but beef your profile up a bit. Tell us about projects you’ve been working on, the revenue you have helped to generate or save. You have 2,000 characters you can pack into your summary area alone. Use all of your space.
[Download our resource guide that will help you maximize every area of your LinkedIn Profile]
9. Get over that 500 hump!
When you have more than 500 connections you have hit the tipping point that allows you to start reaching and connecting with even more people. When you go to someone’s profile and see “78 connections” or whatever number they have, you wonder where they’ve been. Once you get over 500 connections, then the playing field evens out—they all say “500+.” Now I am not saying you should go and connect with all of the random strangers and spammers to get to 500. I’m suggesting when you meet someone at an event, a business meeting, a friend’s house for dinner, you reach out and connect on LinkedIn after.If you are seriously still collecting business cards and bundling them in your desk drawer as if you will even remember anything about the person, forget about it. Take the business card, and if you really want to be savvy, download the Microsoft Pix app which allows you to scan the card right in front of the person and select, “Connect on LinkedIn.” Once you do that, hand back their paper business card back and tell them…one small tree branch saved!
On your phone, open your LinkedIn App and click on the little head icon at the bottom now in the top middle, turn on “FIND NEARBY” when you are at a conference or event where there are several people to connect with. Go ahead try it now.
10. Jump on LinkedIn LIVE as soon as you get it available on your profile but keep your expectations low in the beginning.
What I mean by that is, the typical LinkedIn user barely engages with written content. They read it, but they do so quietly in their office or cubical. To expect people to consume long-form video while at work and then chat it up with you is a BIG stretch. Keep your videos short and informative. Share your expertise but allow time for LinkedIn users to grow accustomed to this form of content here. It’s like when women were allowed to stop wearing pantyhose to work (yes those were barbaric times … *shudder*), it takes time for people to come around to radical change. I think LinkedIn will be rolling out lots of changes once LIVE video hits everywhere to figure out where it will live. Like articles and posts need to be displayed more prominently, so will video.
11. Consider creating or re-engaging your business page (if you have a business).
There are roughly 35 million business pages on LinkedIn, which is just a fraction of the number of people and businesses actually on LinkedIn. While they do function VERY differently than a personal profile and get a lot less attention, they are a great way to showcase your content to those who DO choose to follow your updates there. Consider this: To follow a business page on LinkedIn, you have to typically search for it, then you have to follow the updates of that page, and then… well OK, it’s not that hard at all…but for someone to go through those two steps … they WANT YOUR CONTENT! Don’t leave them hanging. It’s like asking people to subscribe to your boring newsletter and then when they actually do, you never send anything out. (Ooo… sting!)If you have employees in your organization, be sure to encourage them to share the content you are sharing on the company’s business page and when someone shares something on their personal profile, LinkedIn now makes it easy to share it on your company’s page. On your business page, there is a small section to the right that says, “Communities” where you can select up to 3 hashtags that you want to follow. You can also click on “See what others are saying about (your company). Now you can select content that others are putting out and share it on your company’s page. Seems a bit clunky, but a great way for a brand to monitor and share the content employees and others are talking about.
Here are a few more fun LinkedIn facts to impress your friends and family…if they care!
The average user spends about 17 minutes a MONTH on LinkedIn (That’s depressing for me as a content creator unless all 17 min are spent on my content!)
Motivated was the most overused word on LinkedIn in 2014 AND 2017
Specialized, Experienced, and Skilled were the most overused words on someone’s summary section. Change these up to standout!
There are 5.5 million accountants on LinkedIn. Wow sounds like Digital Marketers.
There have been over 11 billion endorsements made on LinkedIn (most by people who don’t even know the person they are endorsing!)
90% of LinkedIn members use Facebook. This is a statistic for all of you who have told me “my customers are NOT on Facebook!” (source: DataReportal, Pew Research Center)
The percentage of premium LinkedIn users currently stands at 39%, while 61% of members are still satisfied with the basic free accounts. (source: Kinsta)
I’d love to hear from you. Are you an avid LinkedIn user? What tips and tools do you have or do you find most useful? And while you’re at it… Connect with me on LinkedIn!
Writing Better Posts will Get Your Message Further in the Social Stream
The social marketing space is extremely crowded and loud. Twitter alone has approximately 500 MILLION tweets flying out PER DAY! (approximately 6 million every SECOND) Twitter is a stream flowing wild and full with interesting content and … not-so-interesting clutter. Your goal on your social media channels is to share interesting and helpful content that others find good enough that they pluck it out of the stream and pass it along through ReTweets and shares.
To help your social media messages stand out and be read more often, here are 5 things to keep in mind:
1. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.
Being controversial isn’t a bad thing on social media channels… occasionally. Tell us how you feel about something, while still being civil. People want to chime in and agree with you… or disagree with you. If you are just quoting everyone else, it gets old. It’s like that old saying, “Be yourself…unless you’re a jerk, then be someone else!”
2. Become a better writer!
Punch a bit of drama, humor or even intrigue into your tweets and posts where you can. Can you say it in a way that is more entertaining or humorous? “Craving that last piece of cake” can be tweaked to read, “I kept hearing my name being called in a seductive voice. I turned to find the last piece of cake winking at me.” Just more fun to read and pass along! “Busy day ahead” can be made more interesting AND helpful by telling us a bit about you with, “Working with clients to tame their clutter today-I love scary closets” or “Busy day ahead expanding minds–this could get messy!” [READ: 7 Skills Every Social Media Marketer Needs]
3. Share it More Than Once.
We all know that once is never enough for anything great, so why not share your post more than once. Unless it is time-sensitive, put that post out today in the morning and then again perhaps tomorrow afternoon. Keep in mind that people are not sitting at their computer or on their phone JUST reading your posts (I know…shocking!). I’m sorry to burst that bubble, but people are reading lots of content and perhaps they missed your post today but will catch it tomorrow. Try adding two different images to your posts and see which captures the attention better. Speaking of images…
4. Add more photos and videos to your posts to allow people to SEE what you are saying.
Social media is all about photos, videos, and all things visual. Make sure and utilize this on your posts. While there are LOADS of great sites to find stock images [see: STOP USING THESE CRAPPY IMAGES ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS] you can also create your own with photos you snap, images you create with tools like Canva or other tools, or fun Gifs you find or create!
5. Be quiet sometimes.
On any social media platform, my philosophy (that even I do not follow at times) is BE HELPFUL, BE INTERESTING, or BE QUIET! If you post tweets when there is nothing interesting or helpful to say…you might start being ignored. Of course, we are talking about SOCIAL media, so there are times you are socializing and chatting it up with folks, but if you are just posting what you are doing without asking yourself “Can I make this more interesting or helpful?” you might want to just go for a walk.
YOUR TURN TO SHARE: Of all the posts you have shared in the past week, what was it that grabbed YOUR attention and inspired you to pass them along?
Here is our FREE resource to help you use Twitter to build your business — Download Now:
You’ve been asked by your manager to set up a Facebook Page for the business and most of what you read says you have to do this from your personal profile. You don’t want this business page attached to YOUR personal profile. After all, what happens when you leave (hey, it can happen!) Perhaps it’s YOUR business, but you still don’t want to link it to a personal profile that you use for family connections and REAL friends.
FEAR NOT! You CAN do this. It may feel like you’ve been asked to turn over your personal diary for the world to read on your business page, but I assure you, your secrets are safe. Even though you are linking them for access, you are not linking them for the world to view.
So let’s understand something up front. When I create a business page, it is like creating a website for a business. I will need access to the backend of the site to load or change content, but nowhere on the site does it have to give my name or contact information, unless I want it to. It is the same with Facebook. Your PERSONAL profile is your access point or portal into Facebook but from there you can create and manage as many business pages as you’d like. You don’t need a special login and password for each page, and you don’t have to share passwords with anyone. (If your mother didn’t tell you this a long time ago, you should NEVER give your passwords to anyone. Whether they are your manager or not. There is no need for anyone to use YOUR password.) You log in and go to the pages you have admin access to. Your manager, or other team members, can log into their own personal profile and have the same access point if they are made an admin for the page.
If, and I hear this all the time, your manager or co-worker does not have a Facebook account of their own, so they ask to log into your account to check the business page, tell them you would like their login information to their bank account to check on your payroll first! They need to create their own account–it’s FREE and they don’t have to ever use it or share their horrifying vacation pics. If they need to log into a site, including Facebook, they need their own login credentials. There are just some things, like a glass of milk, a toothbrush or social media passwords, that should never be shared with other people.
When you are logged in from your personal profile and then jump over to your business page (easy to switch between the two from the dropdown arrow in the upper right) people on the outside do not know you are associated with the page. They cannot see any of your personal information and they are NOT automatically made FRIENDS of yours if they LIKE the business page.
With that out of the way, let’s get started! To begin, log into your own personal Facebook profile and THEN go to Facebook.com/pages and click CREATE PAGE in the upper right. You will be asked to name your page and select the category (not-for-profit, local business, etc. And don’t worry too much about the categories since they can be changed at any time. Your name is not so easy to change so choose wisely!).
Fill out the basic info and you are well on your way!
In the SETTINGS for your new page, look to the left and find PAGE ROLES. This is where you add an additional admin to the page, such as a team member or your manager (who will need to have a Facebook account). You can select different ROLES for people such as EDITOR (someone who cannot add or remove others but can post and comment AS THE PAGE.) You can select MODERATOR, ANALYST, even JOBS MANAGER to give specific rights without allowing people to add or remove others. If you leave the organization, you simply make sure there is an ADMIN assigned to the page and then remove yourself in this same area.
Now that we’ve covered how to set up your page, let’s move onto the REAL WORK…. creating and posting content every day!
That’s where things get scary! Happy posting!
No, No, Not Content Creation
Gina Schreck is the founder of SocialKNX. Their teams help organizations connect to their world and convert LIKES into DOLLARS! Be sure to find more geeky goodness on our own Facebook Page!
Who cares about the galaxy far away, when you have customers swarming around waiting to be pulled into your universe right here?
We’ve all heard that content is KING. We may have even heard that video content is QUEEN, which, aside from most card games, always trumps the KING! But, what good is it to create lots of content if you don’t have a plan in place to attract people to the content once it’s created? And even when people come to consume a piece of content you created, what is your plan after that?
Many people put a lot of hours into the creation of a single blog post, video or even website content but then they put no thought into how it will be promoted or what the next step is, and they wonder why no one is finding them. [Read More at- If You Write It They Don’t Necessarily Come]
I’m going to talk about a lot of different content pieces, and I don’t want you to get overwhelmed. You don’t need to create all of these at once, and you can get help with many of these pieces (I know a great team who can help! 😉) but when you do create a piece of content for your marketing, you need to know its role and its place in your content universe.
Your Website- THE SUN
The core of your universe, or your sun, is your website or your physical space (i.e. your store, your office, etc.). It is the place you want to ultimately get people to come to so they can contact you or purchase something from you. If your website is old and outdated or doesn’t have strong calls-to-action for people to contact you or buy from you, this should be your first step. You need a clean website without pages and pages of text.
Donald Miller of StoryBrand says it best, “If you confuse, you lose!” Your website needs to be clear and yet answer the questions people are coming with. If you feel that explaining what you do is complicated, imagine what people coming to your site are thinking.
According to Donald Miller, there are three questions your website must answer in the first 10-seconds someone lands there:
What is it that you offer?
How will you make my life better?
What do I need to do to buy from you?
There are too many websites that never clearly tell people how to actually work with the company. Go look at your website with the eyes of a stranger. Does it answer the three questions above, QUICKLY?
Too much text on a site will also cause your potential customer’s eyes to glaze over and they will leave. It’s too much of an investment that you are asking them to make. I have a hard time when people send me an email filled with text, don’t think people will invest loads of time on your website right away. Have links and buttons to “read more” or “learn more” but don’t make it over-whelming for someone just stopping by to read a blog post.
Here’s the harsh reality, no matter how much you just love the 16 paragraphs you have on that home page, even your mom isn’t reading it. As the popular meme goes, “Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!”
Once you feel that your website will help you convert more of those who come to it, let’s focus on how to get more of those ideal people heading your way.
Your Larger Pieces of Content- THE PLANETS
There are planets that are orbiting around the sun. These are pieces of content that your audience members want and need. These should have a natural gravitational pull that brings people from the piece of content into your core for more. Planets come in many forms:
A challenge series (one tip a day delivered via email)
Live Video Shows or Interviews
Shortcasts (Alexa briefings or Google capsules)
You may have some of these planets directly on your website or they can be delivered through an email or social media post. Your planets can have planets within them as well. For example, you might write a blog post and within that blog post you have a graphic or box that has a “DOWNLOAD OUR TIP SHEET WITH 25 WAYS TO SAVE TIME.” This is a great way to see if your readers are ready to move forward and commit by giving you their email address. I call this a lead magnet delivery campaign.
Keep in mind, as sad as it may be, not all of our ideal customers will be drawn to every piece of content we create. For this reason, you need to continue to create a variety of content pieces to see which ones land with your audience members.
If your content is helpful or interesting and leaves the reader wanting more from you, they will take the next step. So let’s move out into the stars!
Your Social Media Posts -THE STARS
Your stars are the social media posts (and sometimes email pieces) that are pointing people to the planets. They are small, byte-sized, shiny objects that are attractive to people. Your social media posts should be visually appealing, drawing people in to get to know, like, and trust you. They give enough information to entice. They will have short captions that attract attention and make people want to click or be pulled into your orbit.
Email messages can fall into this category since the purpose may be to pull them in closer to your core, but typically a person is already close if you have their email address. This is where you might want to look at how you can segment your email list to create smaller groups to get more personal with –that’s a topic for another post.
The key with social media content is you need lots of it. Just like stars in the night sky, not everyone will see every post. Some go by like a flash and won’t even catch your attention, while others stop you from scrolling immediately, drawing you in. You will need a variety.
Many people feel that posting one or two times a week is plenty of content on their social channels, but what they don’t realize is, like a shooting star, most people miss the infrequent post and so they never get pulled into your universe. If you’re promoting a new blog post, you might want 3-5 versions of social posts, each with different headlines and images pointing people to the post. This gives you five chances to capture someone’s attention.
Don’t forget that your social posts are not just for pushing out promotional content either. You want to mix in a healthy dose of “social” content to allow your ideal audience to get to know and like you. Social posts that do well include a peek behind the scenes in your office showing how you prepare for projects or your work team in a brainstorming meeting. Anything that lets people come in a little closer to learn more about the personality of your brand.
Ask questions to see whether your audience likes listening to classical or pump up music on a Monday morning. Share your favorite quote. That’s the social part of social media.
NEXT STEPS? What do you want your audience to explore next?
Now that we have explored your content universe, you will start to see how important each piece is in your marketing strategy. Nothing works when it sits alone. If you only have a website, you’ve got to work harder to get people to find you. And once people are on your website you will have a lot of work to do getting people to know, like, and trust you if that’s all they know about you.
Is it possible to only have a website and not need the planets and stars in your content universe? Of course, it is. When I have an immediate need for a plumber, if I don’t already have a relationship with someone, I’m going to Google, but then I will take the time to read the reviews on their Google My Business page, which is also a social channel.
Can you use only social media to get business and never need a website? Sure, you can. There is a cupcake truck that drives around Denver selling only cupcakes. You can find out where they will be and what flavors they will have stocked only through their social media accounts. So, you may have something so desirable that people are going to know about you through word-of-mouth and they already like you, so you just have to show up! That’s my kind of business.
The key is, you will shorten your sales cycle and increase your conversions when you have your content universe in working order. So once someone has been drawn to you through a social media post and goes to your website to read a post or watch a video… then you have to ask what do you do to keep them engaged with you? This is where the lead magnets and email campaigns come into play.
Often, we spend a lot of time and stress trying to drive more traffic to our websites, but we don’t think about what the person will do next. We don’t have a next step identified and so the person reads some information and then clicks away to another website. We think our “contact us” page is enough of a call-to-action, or even worse our “sign up for my newsletter.” Who wants another newsletter clogging up their inbox? Why not, “Get our weekly free tips and tools,” or something that sounds like something people would actually want.
When we attract people to our website to read a blog post, we have to think, “THEN WHAT?” What can I offer my reader when they finish, to give them a little more? What can I give them that might allow them to think of my brand a little longer and perhaps allow me to connect one step deeper with them?
You will want to start creating lead magnets and content upgrades for your blog posts or other content on your website to encourage people to exchange their email address for something of greater value. Let’s use the example of a content upgrade in one of your blog posts.
If you were an electrician and had a blog post about the “25 tips to keep your family safe around electricity in your home.” You could then create a printable tip sheet for parents to use with their children to help educate them on the “Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts Around Electricity”. You could have a second sheet that provides readers with “20 Hidden Electrical Dangers Lurking in Your Home.” Of course, your contact information is at the bottom of both sheets. All the reader has to do is enter their email address and download these great resources. Who wouldn’t want these? Since you are an electrician and you want to know who lives in your neighborhood, you could ask for their mailing address along with the email address and then mail out a card with tips on a magnet.
When your blog reader gives you their email address, you make sure you have a statement on the form they fill out mentioning you will send monthly tips and resources to keep their family safe at home, and they are automatically added to your list. Now you need to think of ways to nurture this relationship.
Perhaps you send a welcome email with a short video letting them know you are so glad they are focused on keeping their family safe and that if they are ever interested in having a free home inspection for them to give your company a call. Always mention ways they can stay in touch and find more tips and resources on your social channels. You want to stay top of mind and in front of your potential customers as often as you can
Now you send a regular email with additional tips and resources, perhaps seasonal tips along with additional information that you know a homeowner will find helpful. It doesn’t have to be a sales pitch in an email, and it doesn’t have to be daily or weekly. You are nurturing the relationship. Building trust.
At the end of each email message be sure to offer a free consult or perhaps a summer special or holiday safety check, along with your contact information. Never make people search for your contact information. I’m always surprised how many of these emails I get where they expect me to click over to their website to find how to contact them. Call me lazy, but that’s just too much work!
When this family needs an electrician, who are they going to call? They have now gotten to know you, like you and trust you because of the information you have shared. They certainly wouldn’t dare call someone from a random Google search.
Make sure you’re not collecting email addresses the way many people collect social media fans. If you are adding people to your list and then not doing anything to stay in touch and nurture the relationship, what’s the point? And then when you want to sell something to this list of people, how likely will they be to purchase from you?
WHAT NEXT? LET’S PUT IT INTO PRACTICE TODAY:
Here are 3 things you can do today to start building your content universe:
Create a content inventory of your current assets.
Add all of your blog content, video content, any lead magnets you currently have, etc.
Make a list of ideas for possible lead magnets and content pieces that you will plug into your calendar for creation.
Draw out a simple content map with your website being the sun, the pieces you have floating around the sun and then begin the craft some social media posts to start shining on those planets!
If all of this has your head spinning… RELAX! We can help you with any or all of these activities and we love working with our clients to move from just having social media posts thrown up on your profiles to having a strategy in place to drive more leads to your business!