Content marketing is nothing new. In advertising people have been baiting the hook for years - get people to read and engage in content matter with the intent of them 'making the next step' toward a purchase.
Also check out this great Google+ Marketing post and infographic as an example of content marketing.
Here is a definition for you: "Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_marketing
In the past few years, however, the world of content marketing has had a serious lift. The Internet allows anyone from mummy blogger through to blue chip companies to compete for attention with every word, graphic, presentation and video created.
What has Google+ got to do with this?
Well, right now there is an opportunity for everyone to build their global network using Google+. This in turn can amplify your messages i.e. your content and create a) engagement on posts themselves, b) social traffic to your website and c) traffic to your website that comes long term from Google Search. This not only builds brand, it creates business.
Google+ is made for amplifying messages and if you use it well it will transform your business.
The process of content marketing
Let's now take a look at the process of content creation as a whole:
Image was inspired by the one here.
This is intended just as a basic process for your to follow as so often people just create and throw content out into the wilds expecting it to get picked up by national newspapers and shoot them and their business to the moon.
So, instead, let's look at breaking it down to each component and look at how Google+ and help.
We all know how to listen in real life, but what you hear will depend on to whom/what and where you are listening. Using Google+ you have some excellent ways to listen to conversations that matter to you. As I explain in the video, I also go back to basics and do some research relating to Google Search.
Decide on themes and topics
Once you've listened you want to reflect on what you've heard and consider how to relate your business to it.
There is no point forcing your content in a direction of talking about Miley Cyrus and her latest twerking incident if your target audience simply will not relate. You may however want to push things a little outside your comfort zone on occasions, just to test the response.
Also be thinking about seasonal content and how you can ride those trends.
Once you've decided on your content you need to create it. Will it be text? What images will you use? Will you create videos? Should you consider hangouts on air? What about PDFs?
Think broadly about your content, and then create the best that you can with what resources you have available.
Here is a key tip: make it about them.
Make it about the people you want to read it. Don't make it about how great you are, instead make it about how you will change/help/enable/benefit/transform their lives.
This stage of content creation should take time. Don't rush it.
Also, the more you give for free the more appealing it will be - in fact, if you look to give away what other people would look to sell then you may well find you get the attention when it comes to the next stage...
So, you've created you content and it is either sitting on your website, on YouTube, as a presentation, in a document etc. - so next you want people to know it exists. Google+ is the perfect place to spread the word.
The more you've built your network the better, of course. But the general principle to follow is: make it about them!
You can share content via your Google+ profile or a Page and the direct feedback comes when people +1, comment and share that content with others. Also, people visiting your website will let you know how well it is going done...
Measure and evaluate
This is a key thing to consider: how do you know how well your content marketing strategy is doing?
Some key metrics are a) number of visits to a website, b) number of people who sign up to a newsletter, c) number of enquiries you receive, and d) ultimately for most people, number of people who convert their interest into business i.e. sales!
As such, Google+ is a handy tool for direct measurement on posts, but you will want to use Google Analytics (or the like) to measure once people have 'clicked a link'.
The question to ask yourself then is: are we happy with the response, and what would we do differently next time?
Then, you can look to...
On Google+ you have some brilliant tools that make re-purposing easy to do.
Here is an example of a process I use to ensure my content goes as far as it can:
You do a hangout-on-air
Then take the content off air (set it as private)
Do your keyword research into what are your aims for the content in search
Edit and add in intro and outros to the complete video
Edit the big video into smaller chunks based around key words and themes
Re-upload them all but keep 'private'
Then add content (still only people with the link can view) into a blog post
Then share the link to that post in Google+
Share the video (and release to 'public' - send a message to subscribers) in Google+ when you are ready for it to go live (and say 'FIRST FULL RELEASE' or 'NEW')
Create a Google Drive presentation with that content, and more, added value
Share that presentation into Google+ too
Remove the audio from the original hour long show
Create a podcast e.g. LibSync
Add to iTunes
And begin again:
Once you've completed that process you can then return to listening once more and working out what content to produce next.
Recently I found an article which was ranked as #1 out of 5.2 billion pages for the Search term 'What is Google?'
[Update: after about 10 months, this result is no longer showing in the top spots, but it held up well. Still there for 'What is Google Plus']
Here is a video running through the process of surfacing it in Search:
And then here is a discussion with myself and David Amerland:
Everything indicated within this blog post is at the heart of the methods used to achieve this results. Content marketing with Google+.
But don't just listen to me...
Would you like to hear some more ideas on this subject?
Sound good? Well, I thought I would also ask some of the Plus Your Business community as to why they thought Google+ was great for 'Content Marketing' and this is what they said (you'll see some comments as part of a thread too):
Content marketing through Google Plus allows you to build your authority and create relationships with people you may have never had the opportunity to elsewhere.
The large video and image formats and the communities that are made available to us here on Google Plus allow us to reach people through attraction and relevance in our marketing processes which makes it easier to develop these things.
Being able to diversify the same link to your blog content into photo posts, community posts, even videos and show them all right here on the same platform is very powerful.
Combining it with Google Authorship means that your content is more 'clickable' and takes up more room in Google.
Don't know about anyone else, but I'd rather click on an article from a source where I can see a bit of information (and a picture) about the author than one without!
Useful because it makes a growing world of web, that bit smaller , and easily sorted.
Searching +Google for info, ranging from home improvements to Wordpress tutorials, I'm more inclined to click on people i'm following, people "I Know".
Google+ has refined the Social "Friend" concept, to a level that actually works. It turns the web into a type of Angie's List (which I didnt realize still existed, until 5 minutes ago).
It has truly revitalized the concept of micro-blogging. I've seen posts here that are more authoritative in their content and comments than if the same post were on a blog.
Engagement Engagement Engagement. Most everything else can be replicated on company sites and blogs, other social platforms etc, but the engagement here is unique. In my view, that's at the core of content marketing. At present, for many businesses not enough of their customers are here right now, but they will be....
To emphasize Chris Sutton 's point, I'll credit the high quality of engagement for boosting the quality of the content I create.
I listen and learn and then can't wait to share what I've learned. On G+, the people I'm learning from feel like friends, and of course, I tag them when passing on what I learned from them. It creates a sense of community . . . finally a social network that's actually social!
Genuine contact, +martin shervington
I have never seen a platform where you can truly say what you think and share what you know or have found from others so positively. You tag the person's name and then they know you enjoyed the piece, had something relevant to share or enlighten them with your knowledge of the subject.
I have learned more in the last few months of being here than I have in years of being in my own bubble.
The contact you have here is real, it is face to face in many cases (especially in the use of HOA and HVC) and it is genuine.
I now have trust with my customers as I share my story with them, show them how I do what I do and help them make it their own.
I also have trust in those helping me improve. They are no longer faceless numbers (or cash) where I wonder if I will get what I pay for.
Debi Davis & Heather Kraafter I couldn't agree more, the sense of community on Google+ is unique, and one of the benefits is definitely producing better work.
Martin Shervington, all good information, which reminds me so much of the old forum days of the late 80s and early 90s. I thought that was lost in the race to the bottom. From a blogging/content perspective G+ brings the interactions out to a broader audience and allows for greater reach and validation of good content.
Well, content marketing on Google+ is - at this time - a very special question. There are good reasons to have the own blog on the own website; see http://www.copyblogger.com/google-plus-sharecropping/ by Demian Farnworth.
But in addition or in contrast to this point of view, Google+ - though no selling platform itself (al least not for the users) - offers lots of advantages. But you have to know, how to make use of it in the right way. Cyrus Shepard wrote this post http://moz.com/blog/tips-to-use-google-for-seo , which I find very helpful.
Relationship building +martin shervington that is one of the most significant advantages to using Google+ for content marketing. These relationships extend our reach into a network no single one of us could have.
Also to Stephan Hovnanian's point it's great to be able to take the same link and share it in so many different ways. This really gives that content the opportunity to shine, and be seen by more than it otherwise would. Great question for discussion!
Echoing John Dietrich, content marketing & relationship building can go hand in hand when you reshare for someone. When you get as excited about someone's content and share it as they would speaks volumes for that person.
Good point John.
Great question +martin shervington! One of the more subtle benefits is that if you're doing what everyone else here has been talking about... Sharing your content. Engaging. Building relationships... Over time you will have built some fabulous circles of people that you're following and listening to every day... and LEARNING. I cannot say enough about the enormous educational and inspirational benefit that Google+ affords active users, and that's a crucial element to successful long-term content marketing. We have to keep learning to keep teaching, and when we teach others through our blog posts and Google+ discussions, we learn more and connect to more people and the cycle continues.
Well said +Mike Allton I like the educational aspect to G+ you bring up. I've heard the similarities between G+, and an educational campus mentioned more than once. Particularly I recall +David Amerland drawing these parallels, and the idea is further evidenced by how well received +Marilyn Moore (an educator) has been. We value our learning here on Google+!
There have been so many excellent comments here regarding: connecting with people in ways possible only on G+, relationship building, extending your reach, the tools, such as hangouts and now helpouts, that help you do that. All are extremely important.
I whole-heartedly agree with Mike Allton 's thoughts about the importance of the educational and inspirational aspect of Google+ having an enormous effect on content marketing.
We start connecting with people who have expertise and knowledge in content marketing and related areas and we begin learning from them. As we continue to engage with their content and learn best practices, we start building relationships. Then we begin posting ourselves, which cements what we have learned and also causes us to reflect and create our own take and approach.
This cycle is a constant, on-going, self-perpetuating process which is fueled by the inspirational aspect. It is extremely motivating and inspiring to engage with experts in the field, which creates a desire to build your own expertise and improve your own content marketing strategies and skills. Constantly learning about best practices, seeing it modeled every day here on Google+, and having an opportunity to engage with those content creators is pretty heady stuff, and only leads to the betterment of your own personal skill level as well as raising the quality of content marketing itself.
What does all this mean?
Well, Google+ could well be the platform that allows you to reach and build relationships with the people who matter to your most. There is a true communities (and communities) on Google+ that enable you to both get started and shine.
Would you rather read the text from the video above? Well, here you go!
Martin: Hi. It’s Martin Shervington. And today I am interviewing Ana Hoffman and Mike Allton. And we want to be talking about how to massively increase your web traffic. And to start with let’s just come on over to Ana and say hi. How you doing?
Ana: Hi Martin. I’m fine. How are you?
Martin: Excellent. And I quickly say hello to Mike as well. How are you Mike?
Mike: Good, good. Hello everybody.
Martin: Hello. Right. Now I’m going to jump right back to Ana. Would you like to introduce yourself Ana and say what your site does and what you do on a day to day week to week basis?
Ana: Sure. So my name is Ana Hoffman and I am in charge of Traffic Generation Café. And that’s a website that’s focused completely on generating more traffic to your websites. And for the most part or pretty much all of the tactics that I talk about are free. So how can we get more traffic to your website for free. That’s pretty much what I do.
Martin: And this is why you’re here! Jumping across there to Mike. Mike would you like to talk about The Social Media Hat?
Mike: Sure. I started The Social Media Hat as a really an avenue for me to talk about and teach businesses about social media and blogging, content marketing. It’s a bit of a mixed bag. I talk about those topics. I also talk about technology. A lot of the things that interest me personally. But a lot like Ana said. It’s a lot of content. A lot of articles to help small businesses and medium business owners.
Martin: Fantastic. Okay, so I know how popular this event is because I’ve got people on the threads already. And I also see the viewer numbers. And they’re going up and up and up. So I want to make sure that we pick your brains.
So I am going to dive in with some questions. Let’s say somebody’s got a website. And they come to you. And they haven’t got the traffic levels they want. Now, what was the first thing, and I am going to give this to Mike. What’s the first thing that you would advise them to do?
Mike: Start writing.
Mike: Right, content. It’s absolutely the first thing to do. And we will probably dig in to - Okay what do we write? We would start looking at what topics can they talk about? What are the costumers interested in?
What’s their industry? What kinds of things are going on in the industry that they can talk about? What can they teach on? How can they get to that kind of content that they can share and re-share and get people referring to on a long term basis?
Martin: Okay, fantastic. I thought of another question for you Mike. What if it’s in the industry or subject matter? Because this happens all the time with companies. And they go, oh yeah but it’s a bit dull. And nobody really wants to kind of like know about it. What would you say to them then?
Mike: That it doesn’t matter. Yeah. You might you not get in to what’s hot on Google+ if it’s not really exciting or funny or entertaining in some manner. But that’s not what traffic is about. Traffic is about getting the people who need to know what you are talking about to your website where they can find that information.
And oftentimes it might be really dry. It might be really technical. But that’s some of the best traffic you can get. If somebody is doing a Google search looking about something that’s very specific to your industry and they land on your website. Not only are they finding that information that they are looking for. But now you’re instantly identified as the expert who provided that information they needed at that time.
Martin: Starting with content. Perfect. Right. Let’s come across to Ana. Ana, same question. What advice would you give to people? Would you focus on the content?
Ana: Content is definitely is a cornerstone for any business. But with just content you won’t get any traffic for sure. So just taking over from what Mike said and - now assume that you do have content, what do you do right? No matter what industry, no matter what business you are in, I would suggest that you start researching your competitors. And see where the bulk of their traffic is coming from.
So there are different ways of doing it. The easiest one to use is for instance alexa.com. You can just type in your competitors or website. And Alexa will spit out a bunch of information about their traffic, their demographics and what not.
And what you do from that point on is just to see where is that traffic is coming from. Is it Facebook? Is it Google? Is it any of those venues? And if they are getting a lot of traffic from that particular stream, that’s a good one for you to focus on.
So, again assuming that you have your content in place. It doesn’t have to be a lot of content. I want to discourage you from taking months and months developing content strategy before you actually start promoting and getting the content out to the public.
I think that one of the mistakes that a lot of newer business owners or bloggers do. They just try to write-write and forget to focus on promotion. At the very beginning I’d say about 20% of your time should be devoted to writing those still posts that are sharable. That are likeable. That are talk able. Funny if possible. If not, that’s okay too.
But the other 80% should be devoted to promoting that content. Otherwise you probably won’t get much of anywhere.
Martin: Okay, Fantastic. Now, we just have a question. And it’s Blair Warner. Normally I don’t do questions so early on. But this is a perfect opportunity. He has a credit and debit consulting company. So to him, he considers this to be a dry topic. And he says what would you guys do?
That is obvious. It’s about financial issues. And internet is full of that stuff. What would you do? So I am going to handle that a little bit on. How would you make that interesting? I’m going to come to Mike first. You’ve got some thinking time Ana.
Mike: Well, yeah. It’s not funny. It’s not a happy topic. But at the same time it’s also a very compelling topic. People who are looking for that information, they are looking for it because they need it or right then. They are usually in a bad place. They have overwhelming debts. They are overwhelmed.
So they are experiencing a lot of negative emotions. And while we don’t want to necessarily play off of that as marketers, the fact is those emotions are there. And those can be drivers for getting those people to be interested in what you have to say and then converting them into costumers and leads.
Martin: Let me add a bit on them then. So looking at this, because it’s a useful little case study. And I think, myself and Mike have been talking about this when we are off air. Is how do you make it interesting? And sometimes you’ve got to go around the subject.
So you mentioned about emotions then. And maybe there is like a rescue package emotionally for people going through this. How do they deal with it when that letter comes? How do their emotions –
So instead of tackling the issue head on, you are actually providing support on the emotional context. People to talk with. Start a community. Start talking about the subject as opposed to try to fix the problem. And maybe there is something broader. What do you think Ana?
Ana: I don’t care about the emotion. The kind of personality that I have -
Martin: Oh Ana. Come on.
Ana: I want answers. Right? But what I would do is focus on the particular problem or the question that people in those type of situations would be in. And see if I can come up with a practical to the point answer that would give them solutions to the problems that they have.
It doesn’t have to be interesting. It doesn’t have to be funny. It has to be to the point. It has to answer my needs at the time. And that’s the kind of content that would win over people like me. It has to be helpful and practical. You don’t have to hold my hand. But I do need to feel like you know what you are talking about.
So going back to the original question, I think it’s a perfect industry to develop a tremendous business out of. Because I know – well, I can guess that a lot of people have specific questions of how do I deal with situations? What do I do now?
So again if you are trying to come up with more practical information on the subject, I think you are ahead of your competition right there.
Again you are not writing a novel. You are not writing a poem. You don’t have to make fun of it. Just be to the point and give them answers that they are looking for. And I think that’s the number one thing that you can do for that type of business.
Martin: Okay, great. So I – a part of it is answering somebody’s question. So we’ve got two sides. I feel we’ve got – I took it like it’s an emotional way so Mike so- And we’ve got the very rational side as well.
But let’s now look at Google semantics search in relation to what you just said Ana and about answering questions. Because I am doing a lot with David Amerland’s book at the moment. I’m putting something together. And so much is around the periphery as opposed to saying I’m targeting those key words. I am going after those key words. And that’s why I want to get number 1 for. Because the web’s changed largely because of Google+.
What we can look at is what question do we answer. So if somebody says, I’m looking for this. We can be writing content that satisfies exactly that and that question without thinking I’ve got to hit those keywords. I’ve got to get there. May not be. It’s not the old way of looking at it. We can produce a lot of content then.
There is always what question everyday would somebody have in this situation. How do I deal with this? Who can I talk to? What are the supports? Or whatever it might be. So in terms of questions, how- I think it’s a good example – let’s keep with this one for Blair. How would you go about thinking like a customer? Would you have any tips? Let’s keep it Ana for that one.
Ana: Well, what I have done in the past first of all is I’ve asked existing customers. I’ve asked how they found me. I’ve asked what kind of questions they have to address their specific traffic generation needs. So –
Martin: That’s really useful. That’s a great tip. Go back to the original – go to the existing customers and ask them. Because you’ve got relationship with them.
Martin: That’s great.
Ana: That’s what I did when I started Traffic Generation Café. I have talked to a few existing readers that I already had. And I said well, if you were to look for tips on traffic generation, what would you look for on Google? Or what kind of queries? Be specific.
What kind of questions would you type in the search box? And that gave me a lot of feedback. And of course you can do it for any industry. That’s the best and the most direct way to find out what your readers, what your potential customers need.
Martin: Okay, great. Mike any thoughts on that one?
Mike: Yeah absolutely. And it’s funny because what Ana has been brilliantly demonstrating here is that not everybody is the same. Not everybody thinks the same. And that’s one of the benefits of content marketing as an avenue for marketers. Because you don’t have to create one piece of content that fits everybody.
The movie industry has known this for years. For years if you see a trailer for a movie, you are seeing trailer B or trailer C. You might see a trailer for an action movie that for some reason they decided to try and play off the love angle in the movie. And showing you the hero with his love interest even though that’s not really the point of the movie. They are trying to target a specific demographic with that trailer.
And we can do the same things with our blog post. We can write a blog post that is very technical. And actually have a completely different blog post that’s on the same topic but not nearly so technical and its reaching to a completely different target audience. So that way we try to hit different kinds of customers. Different customers that are different points in our sales funnel.
There’s a lot of different top of funnel, middle funnel, bottom funnel there is other different kinds of acronyms for those. But what we are talking about here are customers who are number 1. At the beginning they don’t even know that they have a problem. They don’t know that - they haven’t identified their issue let alone whether or not you can solve it.
And then you got customers who they know that they’ve got an issue. Know that they have got a problem. But they are shopping around. They are not sure that you are the person to solve their issue. Then you finally, you’ve got people who they know that’s it’s between you and somebody else that they may purchase from.
And there are different scenarios and different levels. But that’s again one of the benefits of content marketing. That you can create those different pieces of content to fit that.
Martin: Okay, fantastic. And that response has brought us perfectly into another question as in – let’s look at the nature of content. How many different types of content? We’ve got blog post and we’ve got videos.
And I am going to come to Ana for this one. Because we are going to move in a direction I know you are an expert in. And what are the things should people have on the list when they are thinking about content?
Ana: As you said the most – the things that come to your mind first would be a blog post obviously. And that’s the good first stepping stone for developing your content strategy. But then what I would usually do Traffic Generation Café, you write a blog post.
You usually put in hours and hours of work. Otherwise it’s not worth writing. Right? But how do you maximize those hours of work and make that post go a long way and - as Mike said different people accept content, digest content very differently. So if you give them different ways to digest the same content, you probably would get a lot more readers. A lot more customers and you basically get the most bang for your buck that way.
So for instance let’s take a blog post. So you wrote a thousand words article on the subject. So let’s take that article for instance and you can use a tool like SoundCloud.com. Basically all you do is create an audio of that article. You don’t have to do anything other than just simply read it. Put it into audio file.
Upload it to SoundCloud.com. And now you’ve got a different way for your readers to digest your content in an audio file. Let’s say it’s a housewife who is cooking dinner. Or it’s a busy person who can only listen to things like that on the road.
So you gave them a different way to access your content. Then we take that audio file for instance and you can create a very simple slide images. And create a slide show out of the same piece of content. Then put the audio to the slide show and now you have a video.
So it’s basically sort of a snowball. And I know it might sound intimidating to somebody who has never done this before. But if you think about it, it’s just one step at a time. You are taking the same piece of content and you are adding on to it. You’re not changing that any way. You’re just putting in different formats.
And now all of a sudden people can find you on YouTube. They can find on sites like slideshare.com for instance. They can find you through SoundCloud or even on your own podcast. Because nobody says you can’t upload that to iTunes that saves audio files. So you just kind of maximizing the content that you’re already creating.
Martin: So that’s great. That’s let us in well Ana. So a couple of things to say. The first thing is content. It’s not just thinking about the content as a blog post. It’s thinking about the ideas. And really how the ideas can spread. And the spread in one way is on the blog post the next way could be audio and audio plus some video or some slides and so on.
So it actually – it travels. It morphs. And the texture changes. But the message is your message. So this is if you don’t have to keep creating stuff in order to have another shot. The other side of it is – not the other side another point just to make, is Google+.
Now when you embed a SoundCloud link, makes it playable. Which is really good. And I haven’t played with – I mean I’ve done it a few times. But I haven’t done what I have intended to do with it. Which is to turn into my articles and some other things into little mini courses for people.
I know if people are looking they are thinking more how do they make their own industry a little bit more sexy? Maybe and how do they come up – or how they think about how you could package things as 3 minutes sections or 5 or 10. And then have people have tips.
And as you said, learning education, all of that people relate to very well online. Because we know they will go looking for it. So I think that’s so powerful. So you are at SoundCloud.com you mentioned about the slides and that adding audio to slides. Would you recommend a site for that Ana?
Ana: Actually I just do it on PowerPoint. Through PowerPoint. And basically the way I create a slide show is – you can do it as simply as if you’ve already wrote the blog post you can simply copy and paste certain paragraphs of the blog post into your PowerPoint presentation.
You can add a couple of images to it. And there is your slide show basically. You can upload it as is to – let’s say slideshare.com. That’s the site that I actually get a lot of traffic from. So you can upload it as a slideshare presentation. Then if you can just do two things.
Either you can use a screen cast software. For instance I use screenflow because I am on that. So basically you just play your slideshow, your PowerPoint slideshow and you read what the slides that you’ve put together. And thus creating an audio that should go with your slideshow.
Or Slideshare.com will allow you to actually record your voice over of your slides basically. So there are two ways of doing it. But either way is very very simple. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You just need simple recording software to record your voice to go with your slides.
Martin: Fantastic. Great advice. And Mike. What your thoughts? On the re trafficking repurposing content?
Mike: Well, I was thinking actually one of the tasks that I take with my clients is a little bit different. Repurposing content is fabulous. But one of the tenets that I teach also is that it doesn’t always have to be a blog post. We can use different kinds of content. That’s why I started using Drupal as a content managing system. Because it’s so easy to create completely different content types. Completely different forms or workflows for clients.
They can log into their website. And they can create an FAQ. They can create a case study. They can create a testimonial. White papers. You know we can go on and on. Different kinds of content beyond just the blog post. So that would mean as a small business or medium business owner.
It’s not always that compulsion to create a blog post 2 times a week. Or every other week. Or whatever their schedule is. They can fit in these different kinds of content that are a bit easier for them to create and easier to consume.
Martin: And that’s Drupal.com? It’s a website – I don’t really know how it works.
Mike: It’s very similar to Wordpress or Joomla. I would consider it a more professional grade content managing system. Not something I’d recommend somebody build their site themselves using Drupal. It’s pretty complex.
Martin: So that’s really a decision when the business is going to take on – really when the business we do their site – should we go to Drupal. Do you want to just explain to them a couple of the benefits beyond that?
Because then I know people would now feel it is a bit more complete. As to what would they get if they went the Drupal route.
Mike: If you go with Drupal, that’s one of the largest benefits, it’s that it’s such a flexible platform. That we can create systems. We can create forms and workflows for whatever that business needs in that unique situation. If you’re – I’ll be honest. If you’re a small business and you really just want a site that you can edit yourself and add blog posts, there’s nothing wrong with Wordpress or Blogger or some of the other platforms.
But usually the clients that I work with if I’m going to build their site. I’m building it because they need something a little bit complex. So that’s why we use Drupal.
Martin: Okay. Right. Now, we’ve got around about 8 minutes left. So we’ve talked about content a lot. And we’ve talked about repurposing. And we’ve talked about the sites you can do it on. And we’ve got some texture as to how that could look.
Now, what people will say when they’re watching this is, while I get massive traffic to my site, how do I put these bits together? How do I use social in order to get attention to my content? So let’s come back to Ana.
What do people do? How many networks should they look at? What activity should they have on those networks? How should they approach this?
Ana: I think I mentioned it in the beginning. The first thing that I would do is – so let’s talk about social media, right? Let’s talk about – so I’ve got a choice of Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Let’s just focus on those three just to make things easier. So, how do you choose which one, right?
How do you know where your potential customer is more likely to be? The easiest thing to do is, as I mentioned before, is to see where your competitors are getting most of their traffic. If they are getting traffic from there, obviously it means that that’s where your potential customer could be.
So let’s say you went to Alexa.com and you did your research on your biggest competitor. And you see that a lot of their traffic comes from, let’s say from Facebook. So the next thing I would do is – so that would be a good starting point for you to develop your social media strategy.
Start with one. That would be my biggest advice. Don’t go starting to create accounts everywhere. A presence everywhere. It’s just overwhelming. And it’s really counterproductive in many ways. Because each social platform is so different.
It might seem like all we do is just send out updates. And say hello to people and whatnot. Each approach, each – and I’m sure you guys all agree because you have your favorites as well. But each one requires completely different approach.
So let’s say we start with Facebook. What do you do next? You create a page obviously. Then you just see what others do. And use that as a starting point. What is it that your competitor does on Facebook that get’s you that traffic?
Do they post a lot of pictures? Do they post a lot of posts? Do they talk about only their stuff or do they share products, services, whatever it might be, from other companies as well. And then see how you can be different.
Once you do research on your competitors it kind of gives you a grade of what is possible. But then, as Mike said, you need to step outside of that. And see what you can add to it. So that people say, wow, that guy or that gal is truly different. And I want to check out what they have to offer.
So again, take your – what you can get from your competitors. And then be better than them. And that’s unfortunately one part where nobody can really help you with. Because Mike and I can sit here and give you ideas about what you can potentially do.
But what it comes down to is, you have to know your audience the best. You have to learn about them. You have to – sometimes by trial and error. You try this thing and it doesn’t work. You try that thing and it works a little bit better. So in the end it’s your business.
And you are the best one to know what your audience would learn. But that’s a good starting point. See what others are doing and what they’re not doing. And step into the gap and try to develop that.
Martin: Okay. Great. Thank you. And we talked a little about Facebook there. And I’m going to come on to Google+ with Mike in a second. But I think there’s one thing that I find all the time when I’m working with clients. It’s a lot of – unless you’ve got somebody who is a social media manager that in place that’s doing the day to day work, most of this is a total pain in the neck. There’s no other word for it. It’s just like just getting new customers. Sorting the customers out.
And that’s been the big shift really. It’s that people – you have to start producing content. You have to start networking. You have to be outreaching. And the world has changed. And unless you want to pay for Google Adwords, which often recommend paying for Google Adwords and doing that properly. But unless you want to do that you’ve got to be looking at either social research.
And with Google+ you’re looking at social and search. Which is where I want to go next then Mike. So let’s say that the station that people choose to focus on, and let the content flow through is Google+. But they want to get started. What would be your tips, your tactics for getting going on Google+ for a company?
Mike: Okay. I would start by being extremely selective about who you follow on Google+. Look for not just your competition. Definitely put them in a circle. And with Google+ you can create your own unique circles. They’re like lists of the people that you’re following if you’re not using Google+.
Create another circle for your competitors. But also create circles for influencers in your industry. They might be vendors. They might be suppliers. They might be colleagues. Anything along those lines. People who are talking about the things that you as your business owner in your industry are interested in.
That’s going to help you not only see what other people in your industry are doing, but it’s going to provide a lot of value to you. You’re going to see these posts. I follow social media experts like Martin. And Ana. And other people. And they help educate me.
Every single day I log into Google+ and it’s just a streaming university of courses and information for me. And then when you’ve done that you’re helping yourself. And you’re creating opportunities for yourself to find information that you can share with the people who started to follow you.
And you start to transmit and transfer some of that value to other people on Google+. And this is really true on every social network. You can do these same things on Facebook and Twitter. So when you start to do that, you create that value add.
You can interject your own opinions and your own information on top of these shares. And you can start to identify some of these people’s sites offline, off the Google+ and share them to Google+. I have RSS feeds from dozens of sources of information that I bring into Feedly and HootSuite.
And I use those to power a lot of the posts that I share. So I’m not just sharing my own information, my own contents. And that’s kind of the mix that you want to look for.
Martin: And when you do that, that starts to build connections. Because people go, oh, you share my content. You want other people to see my content. Therefore I’ll start following you. I’ll start watching what you’re doing because – become part of the network then.
So that’s where we want to start now. I know let’s go back to it being a pain in the neck. A lot of people, a lot of companies that haven’t got somebody that’s dedicated to doing it. How much time do you think that we should dedicate to Google+, Twitter, Facebook? When you’ve got everything else to do. You’ve got your thoughts on that?
Ana: You know it really doesn’t take that long. Once you figure out how to do it, actually doing it does not take long. One of the best ways that I found to expand my reach on let’s say Google+ and start talking about it. And Mike mentioned creating circles. Influencers.
This is a small nuance but it’s something that’s helped me out quite a bit. I have a circle for people who I call engagers. Because there’s a big difference between people who have thousands of people who follow them. And they may be a big brand. They may be an established entity of some sort.
If their followers are not engaging with them, that’s very different from someone who has 1K-2K people that follow them. But those are the people that keep engaging in conversation. They step in, they leave comments. Those are the kind of people that you want to find.
Because once you follow those discussions and you step in. You add value to the discussions. It’s the best way to get in the face of so many people that potentially would want to follow you. And see what you’re about. And follow you on to your website as well.
So that would be one of the most important and time maximizing tactics that I would suggest. Jump into conversations. If you see a post and nobody is talking, there’s nothing, of course you can leave a comment. But then if nobody talks to that person or in discusses of their posts, it sort of, you don’t get the biggest bang for your buck.
So as Mike said, share other people’s posts. See what works. What engages your readers. For instance, what I do at my Traffic Generation Café page or my personal profile even more so @annahoffman. I share things that are coffee connected because I am a coffee addict.
That’s why my site is called café. And I kind of hope a lot of people will relate. It’s not about traffic. It’s not about blogging. It’s not about marketing. It’s just something fun that people can relate to.
And for instance A.J. Kohn right? We all know him. He shares his I didn’t wake up at serious. And it gets a lot of response from people. So nobody says you have to share only industry specific, industry related information. Step out of the box and see what other interests you might have that people can relate to that are maybe much more shareable than just a piece of content either from you or someone else that you follow.
So just again – you have to kind of get a feel for what works for the kind of audience that you want to draw in. And that’s the hard part about social media. And that’s where the pain in the neck comes from. Because you kind of have to figure what works, what doesn’t.
Once you do and you just build on that. Then from that point on it shouldn’t take more than, I’d say, it’s hard to put a number on how long it should take you to be on social media. Or Google+ let’s say in this case. But I’d say ½ an hour a day. If you break it out to a few posts here and there.
Find what’s in your stream. What’s interesting. Jump into a comment thread. About half an hour broken down into let’s say 3 sections of 10 minutes per day. I think that should be a great start to just maintain what you have built and build upon it.
Martin: Okay. Fantastic. And I’m going to come to Mike and we’re going to start to wrap up. Do you want to say just what your website address is Ana? And give yourself a good plug before we come across to Mike?
Ana: I am horrible at that but you know - trafficgenerationcafe.com is where you can find me. And as I said before, all I talk about is traffic. So if you need more of it just come visit me there.
Martin: There we go. Fantastic. I know you’ve got some great videos. Some free content. Everything available on the front end of the site as well. So, that’s cool.
Mike. Last thoughts as we move towards wrapping up. Anything that you want to give? Any extra tactics? In fact, the one tactic from you. You’re very much – you’re a good news breaker, aren’t you? You get involved when something happens. And you said – what’s the phrase that you used – or the word that you used?
Mike: News jacking.
Martin: News jacking.
Martin: So would you guys want to give people what tip? Of how you can get people’s attention when news breaks? And then how that influences website traffic as well.
Mike: Yeah absolutely. It’s a term – I don’t know if it was coined by David Amerland. But he certainly has kind of led the charge in terms of educating people how this process works. Every news story has a certain cycle. Where as information starts to get on the mainstream, it peaks.
And then interest dies down. And eventually the story goes away. Every story is that way. And what you want to look for as a business it to try to get in there. As a provider of information before that peak. Before it gets to peak interest. And what you want to look for as a business, identify number 1, sources for information.
So that you can have – you’re not just finding it on CNN because at that point it’s too late. If it’s on the mainstream news the story is peaking. You want to have sources of information that are close to the story. So for instance, follow industry blogs.
Follow the blogs. And the websites. And press releases for the players in your industry. I follow Facebook, I follow Apple. I follow Google and LinkedIn. I’ve got their RSS feeds plugged in. So as soon as they announce something, within an hour or 2 I’m going to see it. And I’m going to have an opportunity to write about it.
Hopefully before everybody else in the world has written about it and heard about it. And by doing that I’m providing value and information to my readers and followers. And breaking that news for them. And it’s driving traffic to my sites. And it’s identifying me as an expert in that particular industry.
Martin: And what you’re doing often is contextualizing something that’s come out and a bit of news. And you’re wrapping a story around it. As opposed to just sharing that news story. You’re actually rewriting – or you’re writing content and putting that in there.
So you’re adding value. So you’re giving your perspective. Which is why your followers react so well to it Mike. It’s that people go, oh, I want to listen to Mike’s view. I don’t want to just read the story. I want to read what Mike says about the story. So I think that that as a tip, or a tactic for people is so powerful. Because it takes something that’s going on and give you a perspective to it.
Mike: You’re right. And that is the key. You have to provide insight. What’s in it for me? What’s the value to your customers? An easy example I give a lot of my local businesses is to pay attention to local changes in law and legislature that might impact their customers.
If you’re a real estate agent, what are the changes? If something is going on that might impact real estate sales in your community. Write about it. And then explain what that impact is. Explain why they should be reading. Why they should be concerned. Or whatever it might be. Provide that extra value. Absolutely.
Martin: Fantastic. As we wrap up. Mike? Would you like to give her a quick plug? For your website?
Mike: Sure. It’s The Social Media Hat, thesocialmediahat.com. Honestly the best place to find me is Google+. Look for Mike Allton on Google+. That’s where I share all of my content. But I probably do the most engaging and discussing on Google+. I’d be happy to talk to you and meet you over there.
Martin: Fantastic. Well, thank you both Mike and Ana. That’s been a – I’ve really enjoyed that been a good 37 minutes. I know it was going to be 30. But thanks for being patient and letting it run on a little bit. And thanks everybody for watching. We’ve picked up some of the questions on the threads.
But we’ll come on over and see if we can answer some more as well. Anyway. I shall look forward to seeing you again. Hopefully that’s given you some tactics. Think about content. Think about repurposing. Think about distribution.
Think about efficiency when it comes to the platforms as well. Because Ana says you can do it in ½ an hour. Not all day sitting on Facebook. You can do it in ½ an hour if you need to. So how it is part of your plan. Take care folks and look forward to seeing you at your business event. Bye.