Links worth a click #3

Worthwhile clickable content from over the last seven days.

An interesting piece on the Social Media B2B blog discussed the importance of goals and objectives in B2B social media 

I stumbled across a great piece from Social Media Examiner which I think is essential reading for anyone writing or considering writing / managing a blog project. Their Ultimate bloggers guide to blogging with search in mind outlines a step by step approach to ensuring your blog is search friendly and will deliver targeted traffic.

If you’re a fan of Linked in and keen to find content to curate either through your status updates, group interaction or indeed further afield on your blog or Twitter account, consider this How to Use LinkedIn Today to Find Popular Content blog post.

And whether you are a Facebook marketer or not, consider looking at this aAstonishingly useful list: 75 of the Best B2B Facebook Marketing Tips.

MarketingProfs wrote an interesting piece on How to Present Analytics to Your Leadership Team. Also useful in selling to clients and customers I suspect too.

Finally, if you do any kind of writing for a living, this piece from ProBlogger which talked about a superior writing method might make a difference.

Image: Caught Offside

Share

What do you want from a marketing blog?

 

I’m running a survey on Linkedin right now, soliciting feedback from people operating in and around the sales and marketing environment.

The poll is one question and I’d love for you to stop by and take a moment to have your say.

 

Please click this link and you should arrive on the page.

The poll runs until 15 June 2011. Thanks for your input.

Share

Links worth a click #2

Click-worthy content from the week ending 3 June, 2011.

In  a week where all the talk was about Google (with the new Google Wallet smart phone wallet project and the +1 button) it was difficult to tease out useful internet marketing content, but here are a handful of pieces that might benefit you and your business.

The internet is the most important part of your marketing mix. So here is a great glossary of terms used in landing page creation & optimization from Hubspot. Brilliant for newbies, a reminder for the rest.

Hubspot also published an interesting piece this week about how to deliver awesome marketing, the type that generates interest and inquiry in what you do, rather than marketing for vanity’s sake.

I picked up some great tips on optimizing your linkedin profile from Twitter this week. As most of us use this as an online ‘professional networking and barely tap into the ever-expanding functionality, it might be useful.

Twitter, itself, and the various programs that have sprung up around it to enrich a user’s experience, was the subject of Jeff Bullas excellent 10 top twitter marketing tips. There were a couple in there, even for a wiley campaigner like me, that warrant further exploration.

Finally, Social Media Examiner discussed the merits of Groupon, the sensation of time sensitive, location based deals and whether it can really boost your business. It’s arguably great for consumers but not for retailers who have to consider trading margin for the lure of volume, but in discounting risk brand value in the process.

Image: www.bloghash.com

Share

Starting all over again

As much as I try to fight it, I’m only human. Because I work hard and have a family, the wheels occasionally come off and things like this blog unfortunately go quiet for a few days. This time there hasn’t been any new content for nearly a fortnight. Sorry about that.

The greatest challenge with social media and the web is that the premise of today’s news being tomorrow’s chip paper is even more poignant. The traffic to this blog has totally (naturally) fallen off because of the lack of continued new content and promotion.

Building a content asset

I knew this would happen because I recognise the importance of building a content asset and working hard to maintain it. This means if you are going to commit to producing a blog, a series of white papers, webinars, podcasts, email newsletters – whatever it is – set yourself a manageable schedule and stick to it. People over time come to expect it without knowing it – you’ve gained their permission thus it isn’t an interruption any more. Unsubscription or worse, ambivalence is a disaster. And doing all this gives you the content to push your profile on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook meaning you are never short of something worthwhile to say.

Gaining permission again

I get frustrated because I have worked hard to build a profile and a credibility which has created an appetite for my content. This means well over 100 email subscribers, countless RSS subscribers, close on 2,000 Twitter followers, 350 Linkedin connections and 20 groups are primed for my latest musings – not to mention the traffic that comes from Linkedin, Stumble Upon, Digg, increasingly Facebook (soon to be YouTube) or any other aggregation site I use.

WordPress tells me 98,010 pages have been viewed since June 2009. I estimate the same again on syndication, so it know the content is relevant and engaging.

Learnings from ‘taking a break’

Before the automators suggest I could have scheduled content throughout this period, I personally prefer to keep that to a minimum. Keeps things personal. What this unplanned experiment has illustrated to me though is that sometimes you do have to take time out, take stock but then come back harder and more focused. Tell your friends, colleagues, family this blog is starting out all over again. Expect some interesting things over the coming weeks and months.

___________________________________________________

So, other than Microsoft paying over the odds for Skype, footballers taking on Twitter in court, Linkedin being valued at $9billion despite only making $15million profit in 2010, the IMF looking for a new head, Manchester dominating English football, and Empire Avenue filling the minds of early adopters (and my Twitter stream) with nonsense, what’s new?

Image: Visualise.us

Share

Content worth a click we 6 May 2011

Here are some great, thought provoking things I’ve been reading and sharing this week. Great content draws people towards you and curation is a perfectly acceptable strategy. So without a wedding dress or a length of Union Jack bunting in sight, here goes.

Seth Godin kicked off my week talking about how all the effort, resource and financial investment is often risked by how your company responds to one phone call, in this blog post called ‘The $20,000 phone call’ . You should sign up for daily inspiration at his blog.

The excellent and increasingly interactive Social Media Examiner blog recently blogged about how bloggers can use book reviews to connect with experts. This is the path to bigger audiences and a great way to consider bigger hitters to take you more seriously. Follow SME on Twitter.

Another of my favourite social media blogs, Social Media B2B delivered a compelling post on social media and content marketing in the B2B sales funnel. Pay particular attention to how good content marketing can influence buyers in the awareness, consideration and purchase stages of the b2b buying process.

And the same blog discussed later in the week how Linkedin really is a critical, and often pooly used b2b social media tool. What do you do with all those contacts you collect, those people you charm in groups and the companies you follow?

More on content came from Econsultancy with a discussion around the importance of creating durable content and a content asset that doesn’t depreciate too quickly. That means avoiding just writing about topical news and events.

What was interesting about Harvard Business’s blog on hiring graduates was the feeling that graduates really need to do more to make themselves look more attractive. I lectured at a UK university recently and was astonished that only student in a group of 40 had a Linkedin profile! You need to embrace social media people and start by selling yourself.

The final one from me this week. More small steps by Facebook in their slow but ultimately and probably all conquering march to social media dominance. The next step in Facebook business evolution was unveiled as Facebook Studio: a creative platform for brands

Share

Was Social Media World Forum worth the money?

Well, it was my first poll on Linkedin so maybe I didn’t promote it well enough (proves I don’t yet know it all!) But even in a tiny sample group I think it throws up some interesting feedback.

If you attended, what do you think?

My Twitter Week (we 25 March 2011)

In the week the iPad 2 went on sale in the UK, here are links below to some of the content that engaged, intrigued and even enraged me over the last seven days.

What have you been reading that you want to share with the world?

Monday: I stumbled across (using StumbleUpon) a smart site called  http://www.futureme.org/ where I fairly promptly wrote myself a letter that will be emailed to me in a year’s time. I went for the short term but you work a lot further into the future. It will be interesting to see what has developed, changed, improved.

Tuesday: I was alarmed to read on Social Media Examiner that an Alterian survey claimed that most marketers are clueless about social media conversations. Surely not knowing what is being said you, your brand and your company is increasingly about as neglectful as it gets!

Wednesday: Two bits of ‘big number’ news on Wednesday. First that Linkedin hit 100m users followed swiftly by news that The BBC has received over 50,000 applications for 500 positions in Manchester. Maybe they need to fast track some HR appointments to help start the sifting process.

Thursday: I spent the day at Social Media Academy’s Manchester conference, where I gave a talk on social media for b2b marketers. My slides are here, a blog post covering all the day’s presentations is here.

Friday: The ever readable Seth Godin mused on whether businesses and individuals try to get away with less rather than trying to do more. Which camp do you fall into?

More next week!

Share

Five ways to get more readers to your blog

Blogging is the in-thing. Writing a personal or corporate blog, over time, helps to position us as experts and if integrated with our website, can have a positive effect on our search engine optimisation if done correctly.

But when we start out on the blogging journey, it can be a hard road to the nirvana of achieving a massive subscription following. Let’s face it we’re not all Seth Godin, Brian Solis, Jeff Bullas when we start out. It took these guys time to get to where they are. It’s going to take you time too.

Unfortunately, this means that writing a blog post doesn’t end when you hit ‘publish’. But, fortunately, what it does mean is that by using a few specific tools and platforms you can serve your blog content to people in places where they may be more receptive to it.

Here’s some to get you thinking:

Obvious! If you blog you simply have to tweet. I put a new blog post link (shortened and with some explanation and hashtags) out to Twitter 3-4 times  on the day it is published. My times are GMT and designed to coincide with when I think people I want to reach are most likely to be using Twitter.

The times are 08.55, 13.00 (lunch) , 17:15 (end of UK work day browse and to hit east coast US) and 22:30 (to hit night owls, west coast US and Far East). Have a strategy, see how it works and refine it if necessary.

I’m not perfect though and am devising a way to keep older blog content alive by regular reposting – perhaps based on comments received or updates.

I’m a member of a number of Linkedin groups which also count clients and prospects so the blog posts (not every one) that are relevant are added to a group as  a discussion. This means rethinking the title to be more catchy and discussive, drafting a line of executive summary, posting and following the comments. Double up by including in your status bar. Triple up by adding blog plugin to your profile page!

While I’ve been aware of them, I’m a new convert to using bookmarking sites for my own content. I guess I always thought that those funny sharing buttons were for other people. Turns out I was wrong. A good friend of mine, Pete Masters who is blogging in the construction sector added a post to StumbleUpon and saw a huge spike in traffic. Obviously it is content dependent, but it is there to use for free and should be exploited.

Formerly Associated Content – Yahoo Contributor is a great way to reproduce blog posts which have a third party independent feel about them. As an example, see my Linkedin in ten easy steps blog entry on Yahoo Contributor. It’s just another way to put content in front of people who might be looking for it on another platform.

Blog response is a important part of both raising your profile and drawing traffic from other, higher traffic blog sites. The caveats here are to ensure that you post responses that add value and do not simply erect a signpost to your blog on someone else’s blog. That’s what your hyperlinked name is for when you make the comment.

And this is the tip of the iceberg. What about other link sharing, trade portals, news sites, hubs, forums? Think creatively about your blog content and do all you can to give it the oxygen it deserves to move and breath.

Share

My Twitter Week (we 18 March 2011)

Here’s this week’s wrap up from the last seven days. Hope one of the links informs, entertains, challenges or inspires you.

Monday: @JezHunt put a great article about sales process management and success in my path. Despite it being two years old, ‘Why 8% of sales people get 80% of the sales’ made for compelling and relevant reading.

@Econsultancy ‘s ‘Affiliate’s guide to dominating big niches with SEO’ provided a personal account of monetizing and maximising blogs, landing pages and search . A must read if you are looking to make money online.

Tuesday, and my favourite topic, content marketing (business social media utilising PR and other material) was itself repackaged by @hubspot who created the very readable ‘8 Ways to Use Inbound (content) Marketing to Retain Customers’.

On Wednesday, @Junta42, the team behind the Content Marketing Institute and The Content Marketing Playbook tweeted their latest blog post offering ‘Tips To Make Your Blog More Reader-Centric’. I love the simple, and blindingly obvious advice to turn blog questions and comments into further new content.

Thursday, I found a little time to catch up on the excellent Social Media Examiner blog. Their latest offering on upgrading your Linkedin account made for compelling reading and has left me thinking that it might be worth the investment. I rounded off Thursday in awe of the work @BBN_B2B have put into their “B2B Lions” website which serves as a showcase of the world’s best B2B websites.

The last post of the week involved Britvic’s CEO on why it is essential to keep your employees up to date with your vision and your performance.

What have you been reading this week that is worthy of sharing?

Share

5 ways to be a valued internet contributor

Yesterday I mused on valued contributors and internet bores.

The reason for this lies in the Internet levelling the playing field and creating unrivalled opportunity for anyone to be ‘somebody’ to someone. As Seth Godin wrote recently, anyone can be famous within a specific circle and there are a number of emerging stars in many sectors and on many platforms. Warhol got it right.

So, a plausible entry level strategy to raising your profile online is to comment on key news, articles and blogs relevant to your industry, especially if you’re not able (or willing) to create your own. The objective is to position yourself within the discussion by offering ‘expert’ comment on articles seen by the sector at large.

It’s easy to find the websites, news hubs, forums and groups where your peers and potential customers are congregating to discuss pertinent industry issues. But there is so much more to it than 1/ thanking people for posts or 2/ spamming articles with links to your own site.

Here’s how I go about responding online. If you follow a similar approach that works for you,  you’ll be on the fast track to becoming a valued internet contributor.

1. Start with a positive comment about the blog post / author. Sounds obvious but who has time to say ‘thanks’, ‘great post’, ‘that has really made me think’. Actually, surprisingly few. Whether you agree with what is being contended, appreciate the time that has been invested. Some articles can take hours to pull together especially if they contain data, case study material, links and images.

2. Add value. It’s fine to disagree but outline why. Offer evidence, perspective or a link to other material. It is quite routine on high traffic sites for the comments section to be the area where the most interesting material sits. If you position the initial article as a discussion enabler, you will quickly understand why so many articles have deliberately provocative or engaging titles – they are designed to take a stance and draw you in to offer an opinion.

3. Don’t get personal. Remember what happens on the web stays on the web and lots of people can potentially see it. If you wouldn’t say if face to face, don’t say it online. Once you hit send, you lose control over your comment. If you can’t remain professional, don’t post a response.  Best to stay factual or not get involved in articles you really don’t agree with.

4. Avoid adding obvious links to your own material or promoting something you did on a similar topic. This is a soft strategy. If fellow readers like what you have to say, they will be able to click your hyperlinked name/photo identification and see what you’re all about. A great metaphor is the property for sale sign. You wouldn’t erect a for sale sign outside your neighbour’s house encouraging buyers to come and see yours instead, so similarly on blogs and websites, be respectful of the personal space you are visiting.

5. Pick the right articles to respond on. Many high traffic sites have a team of contributors providing the articles to enable them to publish several items a day. Commenting on every post will quickly identify you to everyone in the community as a crushing bore, a know-all, or worse a spammer using it solely for the SEO back link.

So the trick is to add value. It will help. Getting blackballed in your own industry is not a road you want to go down.

Images: Luca Martera and SocialMouths

Share