Daily Archives: March 19, 2013

Blogging For Bullseyes

Writing a blog post is a bit like public speaking – you’re sending your unique perspective out to a large audience of listeners. But you wouldn’t get up to speak about 10 Ways to Cook a Steak at a vegan convention, nor would it be very productive to deliver your industry-specific insights in a sidewalk sermon. Selecting the right audience is not only key to reaching people who are interested in what you have to say, but it’s one of the most important steps to deciding on what you’re actually going to be writing about. You probably have an overall theme in mind, but the specific topics of your posts should suit your audience’s wants and needs. So, how do you go about targeting the right audience?

Are you reaching the right audience?

Are you reaching the right audience?

Who are your customers?

Assuming you’re blogging for a brand, you probably have products or services that you offer. So, as Joe Pulizzi puts it in his Ultimate Guide to Blogging, who is buying what you’re selling? Those people are already interested in your brand, so why not target them with your blog? You can write more interesting articles related to your products, your industry, your community, even feature power users or helpful tips. Chances are you know how your customers use your wares, and you know a bit about who they are, so using them as a base audience is a solid place to start.

Demographics and Psychographics

As you narrow down your audience, imagine a few different individuals who might read and share your content: how old are they? Are they male, female, both? What are their other interests, what do they do for a living, what are their passions? Sometimes, companies create personas to assist with targeted marketing or communications, and the same tactic will work for your blog. When you consider what people are really looking for, you can better tailor your blog posts to their expectations and needs.

Pick Your Corner of the Market

There’s nothing wrong with writing for a particular niche, as Sherilynn Macale writes for The Next Web. If you have an audience of enthusiasts, blogging your expert opinions on their favorite subjects can be great for your traffic. For example, I keep two different blogs about specialty coffee; one is for general coffee topics, like news, how-to posts, opinions and musings, and the other is exclusively for coffee reviews. My niche is the same for both blogs – specialty coffee enthusiasts, with an extended audience of those who wish to learn more about that level of geekiness – but the content is fairly different. Even if your niche is already occupied, you may still be able to provide some unique and valuable insight.

Expand and Contract

Often, it can be difficult to determine how large your audience should really be, so don’t be afraid to experiment. You can always adjust the tone and subject of your posts to alter your targeting. If you find your blog is reaching too many of the wrong people – people who may never share your content or buy your products – you might need to rethink how you write your posts. The same goes for trying to increase your reach, so it is important to keep track of your key metrics, and make sure your targeting is actually working as planned. With a bit of planning and effort, you should be able to hit your target spot on – bullseye!

Rewrite and adjust your content to suit your new targeting.

Rewrite and adjust your content to suit your new targeting.

What are some of your most helpful tips for finding your blog’s target audience?

Book Review: Trust Agents – Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

Brogan and Smith

Julien and Chris

I love to read, especially books that help me grow in social media. I recently read a book that I have heard a lot of “buzz” about, Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. These guys have really used their experience well to deliver the basics of creating community, using social media tools and networking.

 I liked what I read and the fact that they used some of their own personal experiences as examples of what to do and what not to do. However,  I felt  like it maybe more focused on the newbies to this world of social media. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is always good to be reminded of the basics and what is important. I especially like the the “Six Characteristics of a Trust Agent“.  If you only read that one section you will learn enough about the concepts to implement their ideas for success. The idea of “build an army” resonated the most for me. It goes something like this –

Build An Army – this is a key component to successful community building. This will create an opportunity for collaboration from a varied set of resources. The best approach to any problem is with a variety of like-minded people being committed to a common outcome. Remember, you cannot do it alone!


So, what do you after you have amassed this army? You continue to engage and support them. It seems obvious that making your own game is crucial to attracting an audience and building a community, but you can’t just leave them hanging. If your content is fresh and brings a unique perspective to the topic(s) you discuss, you should have no problem attracting an audience and getting them engaged.

Another message that Brogan and Smith seem to make loud and clear is the fact that everyone needs to support and create opportunities for others, as well. An example that Smith gives is when Brogan was offered an opportunity to speak at an event in Los Angeles. Uunable to do it because of a scheduling conflict, he checked his network of people and referred the client to three other qualified professionals. In doing this, he showed us how we can use a network to problem solve effectively and look good doing it. This will not be soon forgotten by the other parties and is a prime example of the “Archimedes effect”.  The “pay it forward” mentality that Brogan employed will certainly provide a healthy ROI in the future as he is remembered for his generosity.


hands reaching

As a community manager, the use of all of these characteristics are important.  As a community manager you are working to develop a fully engaged audience that will help you with your mission because they are connected and passionate about your brand or cause.

Brogan and Smith have demonstrated some great fundamental ideas to an effective, transparent approach of how to become a good `community manager and a trust agent. Some essential concepts to take away for being a Trust Agent and/ or a Community Manager are truth, transparency and willingness to help others. While there will be a lot work to gather and maintain a community, the rewards will far outweigh the efforts. If you need more information or a deeper clarification of how to become a Trust Agent, I recommend reading Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.


The Double Edged Sword of Guest Posting

retrieved from: http://stinkingtruth.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/side-projects-development-double-edged-sword.jpeg

retrieved from: http://stinkingtruth.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/side-projects-development-double-edged-sword.jpeg

Guest blogging, akin to pretty much everything else in the social media sphere, is a double edged sword.  In his post How to Find and Keep Great Writers for Your Blog from this week’s #cmgrclass reading, Jacob Klein cites the employment of guest bloggers as crucial in order for those who run blogs to consistently provide quality content in diverse voices on a regular basis. While there is ample evidence to support the benefits of mixing things up with a guest blogger here and there, as the practice of guest blogging has grown myriad issues have emerged to challenge the purity of this practice. Diverting from Klein’s optimistic outlook on guest blogging, there are numerous sources across the web that call for caution in engaging with this outsourcing blogging practice, for quite a few reasons.



Mutually beneficial new content

For blog managers and editors, the pressure to create new and diverse content can get a bit demanding and overwhelming at times. Inviting in a guest post adds variety, a new point of view, and provides the editor with a small but helpful hiatus. In its best form, the practice of guest blogging is an exchange of value-for-value where both parties benefit mutually.

Increasing backlinks

As stated by Klein, the “content for links strategy works so well because both parties are receiving something truly valuable.” The guest poster receives exposure and a link to his domain from a trusted source, the new content can generate site traffic and, as is the theme of this pro-item, “precious, precious links.”



Commercialization of guest post pitches

Sujan Patel from Single Grain Digital Marketing laments that the well-intended procedure of guest posting has been hijacked by “enterprising marketers” who “see guest posting as a technique that can be automated… to promote their own websites for to get guest posts published as a  service to others.”

Increasing backlinks

No, you’re not having déjà vu. This fun tidbit is so special it made it onto both the pro and con lists. While more backlinks will result in better SEO results, it will also post a billboard-sized invitation for spammers across the web to pay a visit or 500 to your blog. To be curt, Mo’ Backlinks, Mo’ Problems. Not to mention, spattering your guest blogger’s post with backlinks to your own blog, or vice-versa, can come off as inauthentic and self serving, and no one likes that.

Content. Content, content, content

In a world where content always has been, and always will be, king, the concern over questionable content received from guest bloggers poses a viable threat to the practice. This overarching issue breaks down into three sub-issues; poorly written posts, stolen or re-purposed content, or a voice that is not consistent with the blog or one that completely misses the mark on the purpose of the blog.

Blogger Jeff McIntire, in a guest post on guest posts called Why I Took Down my Guest Posting Page (take that for meta), laments over these issues and how it’s changed the way he approaches guest blogging.

“When I put [my guest posting] page up, I assumed it would attract professional pitches and posts from knowledgeable content creators. I knew that many of these pitches would come from marketers, but thought certain they’d  want to build a long-term relationship with an established site, and send me well-written, thoughtful content that I’d be thrilled to share with my readers. In a few cases, I’ve received those high-quality pitches and posts; in many, many others, I’ve been proven woefully wrong in my assumptions. More often than not, I’ve gotten untargeted, spammy pitches.”

And for your viewing pleasure, blogger Ann Smarty has compiled a handy video on guest blogging pitches gone wrong. This video is incredibly groan-worthy and showcases link-hungry guest post spammers. Read her full post on The Guest Blogging Fails: Again here.

A business case for blogging, Content Marketing Magic!


Photo By esalesdata

How much can blogging really help with your content marketing strategy?   Before we answer that question, let’s talk about what content marketing means?  The author of the whitepaper, The University Guide to Blogging and Content Marketing defines it as simply, “Any and all materials an organization creates and shares to better engage customers and prospects.”  The paper goes on to address several benefits of using blogs to power content marketing efforts:

  • Blogging is controlled.  Any content that comes into your blog should be approved before it goes live, meaning you never have to worry about off-message or inappropriate content hurting your organization’s image.
  • Blogging is conversational.  Blogs humanize marketing efforts as they give people a way to share thoughts, experiences, and ideas in their own words.
  • Blogging improves search.   By creating frequent, relevant, focused content, you’ll have more opportunities to provide value and create relationships with people who need your help.
  • Blogging demonstrates thought leadership.  Blogging about what you’re thinking and doing shows people what you’re really all about.
  • Blogging is linkable and sharable. Blogging provides a platform for promoting content on social networks.
  • Blogging is a more permanent repository for social media marketing. Using a blog to manage a social media marketing strategy gives the organizations the ability to take control of their content.

There is no doubt, blogging makes content marketing sense!

The author of the article 7 Tips for Making Your Blog a Marketing Magnet,  contends that the blog is the content hub.   That may be true today, but what does the future hold for bogging and content marketing.  If blogging platforms such as Overblog  are any indication, blogging may become an even easier content marketing solution.  What make Overblog different?  It can assist users in organizing a stream of social content onto their pages, whether it’s coming from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, or Instagram.   It also includes free designs that can be customized with HTML or CSS, analytics tracking on the dashboard, multiple user access on one page, and it offers a 50-50 revenue split with bloggers who receive at least 500 unique visitors per day.  The CMO of Overblog, Liva Judic, states, “If you intend to be a serious blogger and you want visibility, [our platform] is good for you because the SEO approach is really comprehensive.  It puts it all in one place, enriching the content and making you more visible to the search engines. So if you’re an individual or small business wanting to build a brand, it’s a good strategy to be on Overblog.”

Blogs give organizations of all sizes the ability to focus marketing efforts, even small companies with few resources.  Blogs can be a powerful and important foundation to an organization’s content marketing strategy.  Their significance should not be overlooked.  If you own a business and you have not started blogging, it’s time to consider this content marketing jewel.  In fact, the perfect time to start blogging was a year ago.  The next best time is today!   Just consider advice from the article 10 Commandments of Blogging, the Path to Content Marketing Salvation.  In it, the author urges her readers to just “Begin with the basics and practice to learn. You won’t get it perfect with your first post, but you’ll learn as you go.”

So what are you waiting for?  It’s time to get that content marketing ball rolling.

Get out there and start blogging!