Friday, November 6, 2009

Follow This Link: Creative Marketing Via Social Media

In the last entry, I talked about the value of engaging with readers and friends to become smarter. During its release, I watched how people shared the link on Twitter. My observation revealed the first generation of readers simply retweeted the title of the entry as it was written.

Surprisingly, at some point, the tweet message changed and found a life of its own. Instead of stressing a blogger's perspective, the tweet focused on embracing the power of Twitter. It was ingenious.

To date, the entry rests at 48 retweets (thank you Tweetmeme). For some, that would be a slow day, but for me that is the largest number of retweets I have earned thus far. As you can imagine, I am very appreciative that my readers felt compelled to pass it on (Thank you!).

Lessons Learned
So, what is the lesson we can take from this experience? For starters, and this is probably the most obvious answer, some people have a lot of followers. In the case of one reader, their tweet was retweeted a couple dozen times. This could mean that one has established trust with their followers and provides an ongoing value.

Another idea is that people react to certain words and phrases. Personally, my day is full and I often skim titles from within Google Reader, Facebook, and Twitter. As a result, I often miss good information because the title failed to grab my attention. In another instance, the title fails to communicate what I can find inside.

Through Google Reader, I find that my friends, or fellow bloggers, will restate popular news items into something more interesting. So, if this is happening in my circle, I would have to assume this happens to you, too.

How to Market Your Blog
Now that we know this, what is the solution? The solution is to market your blog entry like an author markets a book. This means getting out there in the world and selling your ideas. Below are a few ideas on how to do this from within Twitter or any other social media tool.

Pose Questions
Take a look at your entry and develop thought-provoking questions that people may have. Having already written the solution within your latest entry, attach a shortened URL to the end of your question. Using this technique will attract those people in search of answers.

Freshen the Title
There are many ways to create titles for blogs. In fact, I will probably run through a myriad of ideas for this article, only to end up with one. With this step, you can actually put some of those other titles to good use by sharing them as a tweet or status update.

Promote Readers
As your blog grows in popularity and readers start to respond, try sharing the most innovative ideas from your comment section. As I learned through an earlier blog, I have some extremely intelligent readers. Why don't you promote their ideas, arguments, and perspectives as a way to invite other readers into the conversation? As with all things, give credit where credit is due.

Use Popular Buzz Words
If you are a regular on Twitter, you know about trending topics. In short, trending topics are key words that people are using within their tweets. Take advantage of buzz words, trending topics, and popular terms to catch the eye of readers. In this way, you might get a few more milliseconds to sell the story.

Closing Thoughts
In this day and age, spammers are everywhere. The line between a successful sale of your article and a spammer can get blurred quite quickly, if you are not aware. Things to remember before you race out and start marketing yourself:

Promote in Moderation
Promoting a product, event, or idea, is alright. Be firm but not annoying. When sharing news via Twitter, Facebook, or some other social media tool, remember that your posts will end up on someones page, so refrain from hijacking the stream with your marketing blitz.

Ask for Permission If you are going to use someone's comment to market your article, be certain to ask permission first. It may not a big thing to some, but it helps build trust and shows that you respect your visitors.

Have Fun!
Lastly, after churning out a thoughtful blog post, it is time to have fun. Engage with your readers often, listen to them, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Feedback
I would love to hear from you. If you are a blogger, what techniques do you use to market your articles? Do you rely solely on word of mouth? What do you find most challenging?

Not a blogger? That's ok, what is the most annoying marketing strategy bloggers use? How would you like to be approached?

Let's get together in the comment section and explore this issue even more.

Until next time...

Image via Chrisdlugosz

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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