Writing a blog is only the first part of the process. After all, if no one reads it, is it effective? By effective, I don’t mean does it provide a well written, developed and laid out message; but rather, are people reading it? It is attracting the attention you seek? If not, it’s no different than the millions of websites that are no more than online brochures, because they are just sitting there waiting to be manually handed out.
Therefore, now is when the rubber meets the road. This is where you go from an unknown genius to a thought leader. And, you do this with social media.
Too many people see Facebook or LinkedIn and believe it’s all they need. Do not make the mistake of using a social-media profile as a pseudo website. Your website is still King! In social media, you are never in control and own nothing. When the networks choose to change the rules, which is often, you will realize they are in business for their best interest – not yours.
With that said, they provide tools you can use to your advantage, to keep cost down, drive traffic to your website/blog, where you will build a database you own for marketing purposes. Never forget that the number-one purpose of a website it NOT to make a sale – it’s to capture the identity of your visitor. Why? No one buys anything on the first go around (and by “buy,” I also mean hire or grant a scholarship), they’re simply doing their homework. Your job is to keep the conversation going, so they don’t forget you, what you offer and your brand. You do this with your blog.
When you create a social-media account (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Et al.), you get a profile page. This is where you display your logo, slogan, avatar and contact information. It’s also where all your personal posts are displayed and archived. When someone searches for you, they find your profile page. So you want to make sure you post all your articles there, but it doesn’t end there.
Every network has groups. They may be called different things (Google Plus calls them “communities”), but they are the same. You want to find groups with:
Typically, the mentality is, “JOIN THEM ALL!” I caution you, you are not Walmart; you cannot serve everyone (and not all prospects make good customers – read Choose the Right Customer: Not All Customers Are Profitable). Moreover, if you over do it, you’ll be overwhelmed and will abandon this faster than a New-Years’ resolution gym membership.
As you start to interact, make sure when you comment you share valuable perspectives and insight. Don’t just say, “I agree!” “Way to go!” and so on. No one will take you seriously. By engaging professionally, they will come to respect you and see every time you interact you share something worthwhile; therefore, when you start posting your articles, they will want to read them.
Just like the groups you joined were created by someone with a special interest, you too can create your own group for your particular passion or expertise. In doing so, those who choose to join know you’re sharing a certain flavor of content and look for it. It also shows you are a leader – a much sought after quality by universities, employers and potential customers.
If you’re not familiar with StumbleUpon, it’s a portal where people submit content and subscribers choose their interest. Then, when they click on the STUMBLE button, they see content based on their interests. It’s pretty addicting and a good way to find unique and hidden information.
Go to www.StumbleUpon.com and create an account, if you don’t have one. Once you’ve created it, if you use Google Chrome or Firefox browsers, you can add an extension to your bar for easy access and submission – because you can submit content you like as well. (see image below)
After you’ve posted your article, go to your blog where the entire article is read (not the blog index page) and click the STUMBLE button and follow the prompts. Personally, when I post an article, StumbleUpon delivers about one-third of my traffic – definitely worth doing!
Finally, once your website/blog is setup, make sure you submit it to the search engines. Have them crawl your site and index you, so you can begin to be found. One such FREE service is www.FreeWebSubmission.com. Here you will be able to submit your domain to not only the main engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo and AOL), but other smaller, less known engines.
So there you have it! If you’ve read all the articles in this series, you know what to do to create an effective blog. The question is, will you? I challenge you to make the time and invest the effort. In the beginning it can feel daunting; but before you know it, you are off and running, and it feels like riding a bike. Time will pass and your blog will grow – in content, reach and influence. Before you know it, doors of opportunity will open. The question is, will you walk through them or the other readers of this series? I sure hope it’s you.