Let’s reflect on a few of the things we’ve learned over the past few years here at Search andSocialMedia.com:
- Journalists, editors and book authors find expert sources by researching online. Blogging gives you a way to communicate with them on their terms and yours. A few examples:
- DMNews discovered me through this blog, which has led to my contribution to their search and social media content both online and in print. This opportunity came to me purely through my blogging efforts.
- MedAdNews quoted me several times after reading my blog and then reaching out via Twitter asking for 2010 pharma marketing predictions.
- This blog’s content was featured prominently in the top-selling book Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day, and the sole form of communication with the author was through this blog.
2. Content syndication (or distributed online content) is a winning strategy for me.
- Slideshare is a great place to syndicate content, because it has a huge audience in the tens of millions. It has the added benefit of forcing me to mix up the format of my post content. Rather than writing a blog post on a topic, I sometimes write in PowerPoint format and post to Slideshare and then link to it from my blog. This has resulted in significantly more exposure and engagement than I would have received on my blog alone.
- Soon after posting the presentation, it was chosen by Slideshare’s editors to be featured on Slideshare’s homepage, which brought the presentation nice exposure.
This exposure then took about 5 days to ramp up until the presentation went viral on Twitter, becoming the most-tweeted Slideshare presentation on 10/26:
And the results show how a distributed content strategy (aka syndicated content) pays off in terms of exposure and engagement across the web. The presentation was download 70+ times and 10 websites embedded the presentation on their domain to promote it to their audiences:
|Site hosting the post/presentation content||Views||Comments|
3. Running multiple blogs is not realistic for me. One core domain is enough.
- In 2009 and early 2010, I experimented with creating multiple domains to host content specific to certain niche categories. For example, for Social PPC blog posts, I created a separate blog on Posterous with a unique domain name. And for Pharma-specific content, I created a Pharma Search blog. I took this even further and made specific blogs for Pharma Social content, pharma mobile content and pharma search social and mobile content. The goal was to get higher search rankings on related keywords for those posts. Did it work, yes. Was it a big difference, not really. My core domain (searchandsocialmedia.com) has more authority and with optimized page titles, Google is ranking my posts highly for specific phrases. That said, the multi-blog strategy may be the better approach, if time were not a very scarce resource.
4. Qualitative analytics drive more actionable insights than purely quantitative analytics.
Google Analytics tells me that my top traffic sources is Google Organic Search from keywords like “search and social media” and “Sidewiki Examples”. But it doesn’t tell me that 50% of my site visitors are seeking to learn about the Latest News, which I know this because I installed iPerceptions free 4q survey on my site a couple of years ago, and the first question I ask in this survey is What Was the Purpose of Your Visit? Another 20% are interested in learning about search and social media companies and products – which tells me I have a market opportunity here. While Google tells me about the popularity of the content I have already posted, iPerceptions 4q tells me about what I’m not currently addressing or haven’t thought of yet. (See new content ideas at bottom of this post.)
5. My blog is not for everyone, but I’ve been effective at improving overall user satisfaction over time.
- This is a challenge, because my purpose for writing this blog (explore issues in more depth than others to provide valuable perspective) differs from my search traffic visitors purpose for visiting (latest news).
- I’ve experimented in the past with catering more to user’s stated interests, with positive results.
6. Generating content is tremendously challenging, especially when you focus on in-depth analysis vs. latest news.
- I often have ideas for posts, but my approach has been that I would rather not post something if the thoughts are not somewhat complete. I usually want to delve deeper into an issue than other blogs, so I’m raising the bar for myself. This has resulted in far fewer posts than I’d like to see on my site.
- I’ve varied the length of my posts, and will probably continue to do so. A goal I have is to post more frequently, so this may mean some shorter posts, but I have to figure out how to do that in ways that add value to the discussion, rather than just recap news.
- I look at Seth Godin’s blog, where he posts very brief thoughts multiple times a day. He treats his blog almost like a Twitter account that is not limited to 140 characters. Then I see ViperChill’s blog where he posts far less frequently (every couple of weeks), but with far longer, in-depth exploratory posts. Both approaches have been successful. Even after 5 years of blogging, I haven’t figured out the right approach for me. But I think I prefer longer posts to shorter.
7. Things I Could Do Better
- Develop/Clarify my blogging goals. To be frank, I’m not totally clear on what my goal is as a blogger. I think a lot of the attraction has been that I want to share what I know. Maybe more of my focus has been using this blog as a test-bed, and lab for trying out new ideas, techniques and strategies. If you find it valuable, great. If not, fine. Another goal of mine is to develop a writing voice that is more compelling and more personal than how I write during the course of my normal day-to-day business operations. So…
- Bring my unique experiences and perspectives from the real-world into the blog
- Pull from various client experiences
- Share what I’m learning about building a search engine business plan and monetization model.
- Let the East Village add some color and spice to the blog.
- Create a posting schedule – and stick to it.
- Promote others’ great work, for example: Monte Isom’s self-promotion campaign and iPhone App
What else could I be doing better? Here are two ideas based on the iPerceptions 4q survey analytics data…what do you think?
Please help me improve on these ideas to make this blog better:
Weekly Search and Social Media News Roundup
- Ian’s Quicktake on the Top Headlines in Search and Social Media space each week
What About an Agency Recommendation Engine?
- A lot of people contact me looking for help in finding trusted search marketing experts and social media practicioners.
- Why not create a database and let people access parts of it on this site?
Leave a comment on these ideas below AND find me on Twitter @iano1000