Posts Tagged content marketing

Your blog posts suck and no one is reading them

Posted by on Wednesday, 30 October, 2013

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Now that you’ve read my post about why you should be blogging, I expect you now have a blog setup and have published a first post to share your knowledge and expertise and are now wondering why no one read it….. ok, I don’t REALLY expect that, but I do want to talk about how to see success as quickly as you can:

One of my awesome colleagues, Erika Horrocks, blogged internally today about “3 reasons your blog post only has 70 views“.  In her post, she touched on the following topics which are problematic to driving traffic, and more importantly, audience engagement once they are reading:

  • You offer no value
  • Your buzz words are boring us
  • Your entry is long and dull
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Restated, you could say that to build a well read blog that drives a lot of traffic and engagement you need to:

  • Offer value. Give your audience something they can use whether it is deeper technical knowledge or a direct call to action
  • Speak in real and clear language. Jargon and buzz words don’t mean anything. Drop the buzz and be human.
  • Be concise and provocative. Bullet points combined with brief story telling can be quite compelling… and don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit, like my title may imply 😉
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Obviously, I don’t quite adhere to these bulleted items all the time.  Concise is just a high scoring word for me if I land it on a TW/TL tile in WordsWithFriends. I also often speak in industry jargon, forgetting that the real meanings behind my ideas are lost that way. These are all reasons why I rarely ever reach even a paltry 70 views on my posts. But, I do also have a few other tricks up my sleeves to ensure some level of visibility greater that what a “build it and they will come” attitude would draw (which is entirely zero by my calculations and observations).

To drive traffic to your blog you NEED the following components:

  • Solid content. This is the value side of the equation. Content is king; without content, there is no reason to bother reading. I want to come away with a sense that I got something from your post that I can use to take some action later.
  • An established or growing network of people who would want to read your content. Without an audience you’re just yelling into the vacuum of the ether; no one can hear you scream there 😉
  • A balanced sense of self promotion. Once you’ve built your content and your network, you NEED to promote it. This is where the “build it and they will come” attitude does you more harm than good. No one is going to come read if they don’t know you’re writing or where to go. You’ve got to let them know about your content.
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The last point there is tricky for me, as I’ve never been comfortable with self promotion, but I’m also guessing that 95%+ of you reading this post didn’t get here because you subscribed to my RSS feed or email list… you saw it because I promoted it, which hopefully helps prove my point here: Once you’ve created your amazing content, you’ve GOT to tell people about it.

 

Deeper content automation via Feedly and IFTTT.com

Posted by on Wednesday, 10 July, 2013

ifttt-feedly-tumblrIf you recall my previous post on using ifttt.com and BufferApp to automate and time shift twitter posts, as well as my post on auto-emailing yourself Snopes.com articles, you’ll know I’m a big fan of ifttt.com and all it can do to help you automate content posting thereby reducing administrative overhead.

Today’s post is no different. You see, ifttt.com recently added Feedly as a channel to their ever-growing lineup. The inclusion of Feedly has opened a world of potential to users of BufferApp, HootSuite, and Tumblr. Why these three, specifically? All three sites allow you the advantage of queueing your posts for publishing at a later time. This allows an administrator/curator to throttle the content flow to the right cadence for their audience and avoid the potential of flooding the readers with too much.

But that functionality was already available in those channels before Feedly was added, so why am I excited with this new addition… especially when there was already an RSS channel available as a trigger? Simple: the Feedly triggers will pull in not only new posts from single sources, but new posts from entire categories or tags containing multiple sources. In effect this allows for a single ifttt.com recipe to pull in content from a wide swatch of RSS feeds and send the content to the channel of your choice. The potential here is actually quite exciting, as I can now more efficiently curate larger amounts of content from across the web and queue it up back-to-back for publication on a schedule I create and control. Plus, this also allows me to control the sources in the categories/tags without having to adjust/disable/delete a recipe.

Rather than stepping you through the recipe creation, I’ve shared one of the recipes which will take an article from Feedly and send it to your Tumblr queue for publishing later: https://ifttt.com/recipes/103637

This will allow you to either directly reuse this recipe for your own needs, or at least look at it to see how simple the process really is, and how much time it can save you. While there are indeed limits to what you can trigger on and the actions you can take, the potential of ifttt.com is near limitless, especially for automating content feeds in a smart fashion. If you are in social business or content marketing, you owe it to yourself to check this out and see how you can use it to help make your own life easier as well. Remember, this automation is only intended to ease some pain of manual post creation. It doesn’t take the place of actual social engagement; rather it helps you focus on the right things to do and not spend time on the logistics of doing it.

 

My top 5 strengths; Or, how this was a completely different post until I went to write it

Posted by on Thursday, 17 January, 2013

gallup_top5Command and control attitudes and strategies don’t help protect you or you company. Instead they produce pain and frustration between your employees and clients, often to the point of causing them to simply give up and abandon the very task in which you want them to engage.

Case in point:

Today I was going to blog about my top 5 strengths as identified through the Gallup Strengths Finder assessment. I’d spent the $10 early last December to take the test and get my “custom” report based on my identified strengths. Having identified them, I was looking forward to blogging about them and what they mean, then moving on to how I can lead using my strengths. Instead, it seems Gallup is trying to prevent me from doing so. Because of their terms of use, I am wholly unable to post any of the descriptions of my 5 top strengths which renders any discussion or understanding of what these 5 terms mean to be completely irrelevant and any blog post to foster conversation a waste of time. Honestly, can you tell me what the 5 terms to the left actually mean?

I understand the need to protect intellectual property, but there comes a point when openly sharing the right information will lead to further growth and opportunity. Presently, the share and tweet buttons on their site will post my top 5 strengths as show to the left here, but the link provided takes the reader to a very generic home page where the only action a reader can take is to learn more about the overall program or purchase their own assessment. A pure marketing ploy if ever there was one. Without context and a bit more information to help the reader understand the value, I’d be shocked if Gallup ever sold a single license from this page.

Now, let’s imagine the same home page and same sales links, but with the simple addition of my top 5 identified strengths AND their descriptions. Now I have context and information to share that shows more value to you, perhaps even enough to prompt you to buy your own assessment based on how accurate you perceive mine to be (which by the by, appears to be quite accurate from my own perspective).  Simply allowing me to provide deeper context and meaning to my identified strengths would not only allow me to engage in good social conversation given a shared understanding of the terms, but it would ultimately help with Gallup’s marketing of the program by allowing it to be shared virally.

Instead, I am here telling you that my top 5 strengths were: Relator, Intellection, Empathy, Command, and Deliberative, but have no way to connect with you and show you how they really apply without breaking Gallup’s terms of service and explaining what they each mean. Rather than helping me be a great marketing vehicle for their program, they have instead made me a detractor providing negative social sentiment about the program and how it is overly controlled. (Ironically, my own Command strength has noting to do with command and control attitudes, but rather to do with taking charge of situations.)

People love taking tests like this and learning about themselves as evidenced by the glut of internet memes that are so similar in nature to these types of assessments. Imagine how different this post would have been had Gallup been just a bit more open and transparent with what they allow to be shared publicly. Their program inherently has a greater amount of trust and weight behind it given their reputation… even given the $10 price tag, I can imagine a far larger uptick in purchases would be seen if only potential customers could have some better understanding of the terms being shared by those who have taken the assessments already.

 

 *Update: 1-17-2013 at 1pm PST: Thanks to my business partner @coreybowers, it seems Gallup does indeed post the definitions elsewhere  causing more of a confusion of business strategies than outright command and control: http://businessjournal.gallup.com/content/102310/clifton-strengthfinder-book-center.aspx and a PDF here: http://t.co/k6NACeRh
So, I may yet be able to make the post I’d intended to and provide some context to the terms. Time will tell as I investigate the possibility of sharing the information on either of those two sites.