Building a successful blogging strategy is never easy and should never be completely automated. With that said, however, there are a number of tools that are available that can make blogging along with your listening and engagement strategy much easier.
Time is the most important commodity you have. Using tools to speed up processes and provide valuable data for you to use is just smart marketing. Like the old adage says, don’t work harder, work smarter. Full automation often leads to errors, problems and credibility issues. But with the right tools, you can maintain full control of your blogging strategy while saving valuable time in the process.
Set Up Your Listening Dashboard
One of the most critical components of successful blogging isn’t writing, it’s listening. Again, another old adage comes to mind: people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Cute, right? But it’s true, especially in social media.
If you’re only invested in social media and blogging for yourself, you’re going to find that you are all by yourself. Social media is about engagement and interaction, which means you have to listen to what others are saying in order to engage and interact.
There are several key listening areas that you want to keep an ear toward:
Industry News: There is hardly any greater advantage to capturing traffic than being one of the first to blog about a hot news topic. While other, more authoritative site’s might soon push your post down in the rankings, if you have one of only a few stories about any recent newsworthy topic–even for a few hours–you’re likely to obtain top rankings for any related searches.
Those rankings translate into clicks, branding opportunities and increased authority, which results in repeat visits and new followers. You don’t have to try to be first with every relevant new story, but be ready to jump on any news item that you can write thoughtfully and intelligently about, while also providing an interesting take for your readers.
Social Networks: Pay attention to what others in your social spheres are discussing. This is a great opportunity to learn new things about your industry but also what other opinion leaders in your sphere find important or valuable. This is also your starting point for engagement with your audience. Listen, learn, then engage.
Competitors: It’s never wrong to keep an eye on your competition, especially on what they do via social media. Listening to your competitors gives you an opportunity to learn new tactics and strategies without having to do anything yourself, other than listen.
Learn what works, what doesn’t, and any other competitive knowledge that might be to your advantage. See what your competition does that builds engagement and customers and then build your own strategies to take advantage of this knowledge. Keep in mind, your competitors will be doing the same to you, so you might as well return the favor.
Have an Idea Storage Bank
Where do you store all your ideas? In your head? Oooh, big mistake!
You need a place to keep your thoughts and ideas and anything else that you think might make a good blog post. This might include articles, stories, pictures, tweets, titles, topics, headlines or whatever else crosses your mind at any time.
There are a number of tools available, but whatever tool you choose, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s available to you at all times. Nothing is worse than coming up with an idea that you are not able to jot down. You know how it goes, as soon as you get distracted (SQUIRREL!) that good idea is gone.
Set Up Your Distribution Tools
With your blog posts written you now need to socialize them. Yes, you can do this manually, but why when there are a number of tools out there that will help you distribute your content much faster and easier? There are pros and cons to every tools so be sure to research first and test them out before making a long-term commitment, especially when payment is involved.
Get into a habit of using your distribution tools regularly. Remember, though, it’s not always about distributing your own content; share other people’s content as well.
Distribution tools are a great way to set up content sharing at random times, rather than sharing a bunch of stuff all at once. Set up content distribution to go out throughout the day and week, even when you may not be in front of your computer. Just keep an eye of scheduled broadcasts that may appear insensitive due to breaking news events. We’ve all seen this happen to other companies who have had pre-scheduled tweets go out, appearing to make light of serious tragedies.
While you don’t have to try or use every blogging tool at your disposal, you will want to try a few out to see which tools work best for your needs. Don’t be afraid to spend a little money, if necessary, to get the tool that does the best job for you. A little money spent is often a great amount of time saved.
But using tools allows you to trim the time involved in managing your blogging and social media effectively. As it is, social media can often seem like a time suck. Suck some of that time, and effectiveness back, by exploring the tools that will help you do the best job possible.
Editor’s note: This post is a portion of a larger slide presentation. See full slide deck here.
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