It’s Marketing Monday and today I’m sharing with you an infographic of a handy social media checklist. We’ve been talking a LOT about the importance of social media in growing your online presence, so this tool will be a great help as you develop a social content marketing strategy. It’s like having your whole social media strategy rolled into one handy spot.
The “Sensible Social Media Checklist” infographic was developed by The Whole Brain Group, and, as the title states, it’s a sensible way to use social media to promote your business.
If social media takes us all day, then what’s the point, really?
As you’ll notice in the infographic, all the most popular social media sites are included. Plus, the first item on the checklist is to create a blog post. As I’ve mentioned over and over again, your blog should be the hub of your marketing strategy.
So, let’s recap the social media checklist:
- Start your marketing plan by publishing a blog post (using whichever keyword you’ve chosen to target) and after you publish it, post the link on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Use a link shortener to track your clicks.
- Facebook business marketing plan: Find and like 5 related pages, post about 2 topics of interest to your audience. You can either share content from all those pages you’ve been finding and liking or post original stuff. Mix it up. Don’t forget to update your business page’s status daily, and ask others to like and share your content.
- Twitter business marketing plan: Tweet at least three new tweets per day about interesting and fun things your audience will be interested in. This is in addition to the links to your blog you already posted. Also, retweet at least two items you find that will be useful to your readers. Use hashtags to let others find your tweets. To grow your following, follow 10 new people each week.
- LinkedIn business marketing plan: Connect with 3-5 new people each week. Follow three new companies related to your industry. Update your company’s profile and status, and post relevant blog posts in the groups you belong to. Then ask your groups for feedback. And while you’re asking, it never hurts to ask for endorsements. Ask 1-2 people each week for an endorsement. Don’t forget your manners and thank those who recommend you.
- Google+ business marketing plan: Add five new people to your circles each week. Offer a monthly hangout session on a topic relevant to your market and promote it via Google+ events. Share new content twice each day to your personal profile and company page. Oh, and make sure your posts are set to “public” so you can grow your audience.
- Pinterest business marketing plan: Pin images of your company’s products and/or services. Add a new board with at least 6 new pins each week. Be sure to use your target keywords in the descriptions and titles of your content. (Note: You don’t have to create all the content yourself on these pins – repin related content from your fellow pinners.) Follow 5 interesting boards each week from pinners related to your business.
- YouTube business marketing plan: Subscribe to three industry-related channels each week. Find three industry-related videos each week and share them on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. See if you can mix in some fun (but still relevant) videos to share. Create and post videos regularly (at least monthly, more often if possible) that showcase your expertise in your field. When you’re hosting or attending industry events, shoot short videos (including interviews of other attendees or presenters) to share on your YouTube channel. Don’t forget to optimize your YouTube videos with keywords in the titles and give a keyword-rich description.
Click on the image to view it full-sized over at the Whole Brain Group’s site. And while you’re there, you can download a printable version of the social media checklist infographic. Thanks, Whole Brain Group, for sharing this cool and useful tool with the rest of us!
Marketing your blog properly will help you stand out among your competition. Here’s a list of 25 tips for marketing your blog – most of these items only take a few minutes to do, and the vast majority of them are free:
- Host your blog on your own domain name, not a free hosting site.
- Use a blogging platform that is flexible and easy to rank in search engines. I personally use WordPress, which is also recommended by most professional bloggers, although some have had good success using Moveable Type.
- Customize the look and feel of your blog. Even if you use a template instead of investing in a custom design, you can still give your blog a distinct look.
- Create a bank of keywords to use and rank for. Doing your keyword research in batches can save you time. As you plan out your posts, go through your keyword bank and choose which one you want to optimize your content for.
- Complete on-site optimization for every piece of content. Use title tags, alt image tags, meta description, image title tags, keyword rich category names, etc.
- Allow automatic pinging and trackbacks.
- Enable email subscriptions and feed tracking through Feedburner (it’s free!).
- Create a Google XML sitemap.
- Identify blogs that are relevant and useful for your audience and create a resource page with links to those sites.
- Create a sitemap page of your pages and post archives.
- Set up tracking, such as Google Analytics, and keep up with which keywords are driving organic traffic to your blog. Create more content around those topics.
- Submit your blog’s RSS feed to RSS feed directories.
- Guest post on related blogs. This will enlarge your audience and generate quality backlinks to your blog.
- Create a regular podcast (or video blog) and submit it to podcasting (and/0r video) directories.
- Submit your blog to blog directories. Some, such as Yahoo!, are paid directories, but others, like Technorati, are free.
- Create and distribute a press release when you launch your blog and/or reach a newsworthy milestone.
- Submit your blog to blog reviewers (again, some are free, others are paid).
- Post consistently and frequently. Make each post high-quality, relevant content.
- Comment regularly on authority blogs within your niche. This will help bring attention to you and your blog and may open the doors for future joint venture projects and/or guest blogging opportunities.
- Monitor inbound links to your blog and set up a Google Alert for your blog name so you can keep up with when it is mentioned online.
- Respond to all comments, good and bad, and all reviews, good and bad.
- Connect with other bloggers in your niche through forums and/or offline conferences. Form relationships with these bloggers so you can partner in either joint ventures, affiliate promotions, or guest posting on each other’s blogs.
- Always cite your sources and link back to the site of origin. Blogging platforms such as WordPress display incoming links, so those you link to will become aware of your blog.
- Publish links to your blog posts on your social media networks.
- Put your blog’s URL on your business cards so you can spread the word about your blog offline as well as online.
A few years ago I wrote a blog post about promoting your blog consistently by performing 5 blog promotion tactics every day.
Challenge: For the next month, consistently do FIVE of the above items EVERY day. Check your blog’s traffic before you begin and then monitor it again at the end of the month and see how much it has increased. Then continue doing at least five promotional tactics per day. Every day.
We’re deep into the throes of football season, and as we go through this Marketing with a Blog series, there are a few lessons we can learn from the big play makers on the grid.
My brother and I don’t always see eye to eye. His alma mater is in a no-name conference that doesn’t get much attention, and although it’s in the same state as my team, they have never played each other. My team is having a pitiful year, even though they ended last season in the top 5 nationally and were ranked in the pre-season top 10. Naturally, he believes his team can beat mine. And this year, they probably could.
But, in order to get the opportunity to play with the big boys, you have to first go through the necessary steps to position yourself as worthy to do so. You have to prove you’re a play maker. The same is true in blogging.
How does one position themselves as a play maker?
In football, you have to construct great facilities, recruit great players, gain great publicity, build a great fan base, develop a great training program, and (typically the first step) hire a great coaching staff.
My brother’s team recently hired a great coach. And he comes with a backstory that keeps his name in the news, well at least in the realm of sports. This new coach, along with the athletic director et al, released plans for new facilities – a huge, expensive project that will make them attractive to recruits. Which means they will soon have more great players. All the pieces of the puzzle are coming together for my brother’s team. Soon, they will likely be a contender – a play maker!
And, to compete well with all the literally millions of other blogs out there, we need to implement those same elements into our blogging gameplan,
- You have to construct great facilities. That means building your blog on the right platform and constructing it in the right way. I use and recommend WordPress for a lot of reasons – for one thing, it’s the easiest platform in which to market your blog. I have written a lot of posts about how to get started with a blog, and I put them all together in a handy resource list titled, “How to Start a Blog.” That list will help you get your facilities game on.As far as structuring goes, create landing pages with pillar articles and include a specific call to action with a lead capture form on all of those pages. I suggest starting with at least 4, and adding 1-2 each month.What topics should your landing page content cover? Look through your analytics and see which keywords are driving traffic to your site already, then create more content on those topics – but place that content on a page, not a post, and add your lead capture form. Here’s a sample landing page from one of my other sites: http://creatingcompellingcontent.com/free/
- You have to recruit great players. For blogging, the “players” are the elements that comprise all the “positions” of your blog – the design, the content, the topic, the purpose — all these must work together in a cohesive manner to create a team. As you carefully select each component, think how it works together in your overall marketing goals.
- You have to gain great publicity. Great publicity doesn’t happen without a lot of behind-the-scenes work. I remember a quote from Queen Latifah, who said after an interviewer asked how she appeared so suddenly on the celebrity radar screen – “Yeah, it only took me 15 years to become an overnight success.” It might not take you 15 years in blogging, but it could take 15 months. Be patient. Be persistent. And soon, all your hard work will come to fruition as you see YOUR blog ranking consistently for all your desired keywords and the traffic starts rolling in.
- You have to build a great fan base. Your fan base (readers) in blogging comes through getting traffic to your blog. That’s done in a variety of ways, including SEO, word of mouth, social media, networking with others in your field, guest blogging, hosting webinars, and joint venture projects.
- You have to hire a great coaching staff. You, of course, are the head coach! And it’s your job to pull together a team of coordinators to help you keep your team (blog) going strong. Your offensive coordinator is your marketing plan. Reputation management and security and backup measures make up the defensive side.
- You have to develop a great training program. Keep informed about the trends in your niche by creating Google alerts for related keywords. Network with others in your industry through conferences and seminars. Read books about your industry. Continue your training in how to blog better by reading this blog and others.
Sometimes great teams call in outside help in the form of consultants and analysts. Bloggers do this, too. If you find you need further help to get your marketing gameplan on track, contact me and I’ll put together a consulting proposal.
Until next time,
Today we’re starting the marketing with a blog series. If you didn’t grab the free eBook last week Marketing with a Blog, then be sure to download your copy now. The eBook is actually an outline for one of my most popular presentations, but this series will flesh out those points in the outline.
There are a number of reasons why blogs make great marketing tools, and today’s post will share nine of them.
1- Blogging expands your outreach
Back in the multi-level marketing heyday, one of the big concepts those companies promoted was the advantage of duplicating yourself. Since we can each only be in one place at a time, they taught that by developing a network of marketers, you could, in effect, reach dozens if not hundreds (depending on the size of your network) of prospects at one time. All you had to do was convince all your friends and family members to join your network. While it didn’t always work the way the circle-drawers hoped, it really is a great concept.
Expanding your reach by broadcasting your message to a multitude of leads at once can be attained through blogging. You write a blog post and promote it through your social media platforms and/or your email marketing list, and viola! – you’ve duplicated your marketing efforts in a matter of minutes. And you don’t have to irritate any of your friends and family members in the process!
2 – Blogging speaks directly to your audience
One of the big advantages to marketing with a blog is that it gives you a direct line of communication with your target audience. Today’s market is buyer-driven. Consumers are in control and they know it. And the trend is, the one who supplies the most useful, relevant, and easily accessible content – wins!
The thing that sets blogs apart from other content delivery platforms is that not only are you communicating TO your audience, you can receive feedback FROM them through the comments. True, some social media outlets have the back-and-forth communication capability, but a blog keeps all the comments on each post nested and neat so everyone who stops by can read them all in one handy place.
3 – Blogs are easy to set up and maintain
You can literally be blogging within a few minutes of setting up your domain hosting. Once you register your domain name and transfer it to your hosting company’s server, all you have to do is use the automatic script to load WordPress and start typing your first post. It’s that easy. You will probably want to upload a new theme and a few useful plugins, but seriously, it doesn’t take long at all to start a blog.
Maintenance takes a bit more work than setup. Outline an editorial calendar and start planning your posts. Then set aside a few minutes per day to monitor and respond to comments. Once you get your routine going, blog maintenance becomes a habit.
4 -Blogs level the playing field
Blogging has given the small business marketer the same advantage as the huge corporations with massive marketing budgets. Because content marketing, especially social content marketing, is the wave of the present and future, all that expensive in-your-face advertising that small businesses couldn’t afford is no longer necessary to get attention in the marketplace.
5 – Blogs are a great branding tool
Blogs are a great way to reinforce your brand by providing content that influences a memorable response in your target market. Branding takes time, focus, and consistency, which makes blogging a perfect platform to deliver your branding messages.
6 – Blogs establish you as an expert
If no other reason, this alone should explain the importance of marketing with a blog. The first few steps in market research include knowing your target audience, knowing your competition, and determining what makes YOUR company the one your target audience should do business with.
Positioning yourself as the area expert in your industry will create “top of mind” marketing in your audience. YOURS will be the first company that comes to mind when they need your products and/or services because you’ve kept them informed and proved that you know what you’re talking about through your blog.
7 – Blogs give your business a human touch
This is a lesson that was long in coming to many major corporations. And many of them lost business until they learned it. Just because someone is researching your product or service via the Internet doesn’t mean they want to feel as though they’re stuck in some automated maze like an impersonal phone answering system. People want to feel as though it’s important to you that they shop with you. Treat them that way and they’ll not only be loyal themselves, they’ll tell their friends about you. (Read: Yelp, Google, etc.)
8 – Blogs allow you to share fresh and exciting content
Blogging is one of the best ways to deliver content to consumers. Do your on-page optimization to make it easy to be found, share your content in the places your market hangs out online, and make it compelling so that it will attract more readers and shares.
If you’re wondering what exactly to blog about, check out last Thursday’s list of 63 types of content to create for your blog.
9 – Blogs are affordable
And I don’t mean free. If you have your business blog hosted on a free platform, get your own domain and hosting. Seriously. Nothing screams amateur like having the big orange B in the favicon slot of the browser or handing someone a business card with the word “blogspot” in your company’s domain name. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a free platform for your personal blog, but if you wish to be taken seriously as a professional, put forth a serious professional effort. (Rant over.)
Having a self-hosted blog typically runs about $5-15 per month, depending upon where you get it hosted and how large your blog is. Even if it’s a bit more than that, the return you get on your investment is excellent.
Tomorrow we’ll continue with part 2 of the blog maintenance checklist series. Hopefully today’s post has given you some tips you can use. We’ll continue next Marketing Monday with part 2 of Marketing with a Blog.