Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Social Marketing: Content Creation

The search optimization specialists are always telling us to create content of value, and to use multiple key words to engage the search engine’s interest. They tell us to stick to the message, which keeps your content in a tighter category—this avoids some guy Googling ‘brake pads for a 1990 Chrysler’ and hitting on your blog post about ‘formatting a 5 x 8 paperback and I also put brake pads on my 1990 Chrysler lately’ post which you put on your blog five months ago.

You don’t want to waste the man’s time or your own.

They also tell us to go for ‘back-links.’ If you can get someone with a good following, in your genre, to back-link from his site to your content on your site, this will generate traffic to your own site as readers look for more interesting content that is relevant to their wants or needs. You need to be ‘quotable.’

(Or at least presentable, Louis. -ed.)

That’s what a back-link is: he’s using your content to back up, with its additional moral weight, something he is saying himself.

If your buddy is a writer, his readers are interested in other books and other writers. They may not be too fascinated with formatting, but so many readers also write, or aspire to write, that the formatting article is not too far off topic. More popular topics would include news about upcoming events, book reviews, writing tips, bargains, author interviews, fiction, and similar content. They don’t care about your brake job.

Search engine optimization and cross-linking has many applications. When you tweet about your book, you get traffic going where you sent them. Other readers, authors, editors, begin to follow you and your twitter chat. You follow them back. After a while, someone skimming through their follower list, perhaps an electronic engineer in Djakarta, follows you. Engineers are literate—they read books just like anyone else. You have a new potential customer. The more times your name comes up in posts, the more the search engines have to chew on, and them little bots are always hungry. The eat data for breakfast. They also draw conclusions about your weight.

Once you follow him back, some enterprising person who is looking for someone to follow goes on Twitter and searches a category, say ‘books.’ Or even ‘engineers.’ The more followers you or they have, the more weight you and they have, and the more likely either one of you are to be ‘presented’ to them. This way you pick up new followers without having to browse lists and follow them first. This is important, because only about 50-60 % of ‘cold-clicks’ follow back and many of them are in fact spammers who aren’t interested in your message. This cuts your effectiveness, especially when you come up against the 2,000-follow limit on Twitter.

To follow someone who is not following you clutters up your feed and they’re not seeing your message. If they don’t follow you, they are not linked to you and carry no weight in the search engine that Twitter uses to ‘present’ potential follow choices to those prospecting for someone interesting to follow. That’s why I used ManageFlitter recently to un-follow a number of non-followers. I had 1,143 followers but had run up against the 2,000-follow limit. I cleared off 850-plus people, some of whom were interesting, and then simply clicked on another seven or eight hundred people. You don’t have to drop them all. Some sources are worth listening to for their own sake, e.g. the BBC. I don’t honestly expect them to follow me back. The goal here is to crack the follow limit (if I can,) and then do the same thing with other accounts.

This has other ramifications when a follower re-tweets one of your posts. You can tell this when a ‘high-quality’ follower shows up in your notifications. When Thony Soprano or Joe Satriani shows up in your inbox, you know that they (or their social media manager) must have been presented with your name as a follow choice, even though you did not follow them first. And this is good, because if your content is good, Thony or Joe may just re-tweet you to their tens or hundreds of thousands of followers. In the meantime, you’re still tweeting and posting for Thony and Joe, so keep producing that content of high value in your category and you really can’t go wrong. All of this weight accumulates over time.

I’m not too interested in being famous, but it might help to sell books. Everyone I know was educated out of books, and if we can bring enough books into the world, things will eventually get better. Right?

This is a good thing.

It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about Google +, Facebook, Digg, or whatever. The ‘presentation’ algorithms are going to do their job.

Now, when I post a Smashwords link on Kindleboards, or a Kindleboards link on Facebook and Digg, I lead people back to the other site, where I and other authors receive some benefit from the exposure. Other people or entities such as Smashwords and Amazon receive benefit as well from our efforts.

It’s a kind of pyramid scheme turned into a game. The longer you are in it, the more active you are, the better you play, the more quickly you rise to the higher levels, and the more rewarding it becomes in every sense. It’s not all about money and selling.

Having met someone in the virtual sense, you begin to like them, to care about them, and to interact with them in some way.

We can be friends with people all over the world. Everyone learns something from one another, and the world will eventually be a better place due to all of this communication.

This is a good thing.

For an interesting slant from the corporate world on content creation strategies, you might consider reading this article.

Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, has a free e-book in all sorts of formats, and I thoroughly recommend it. It deals with related subjects. It’s called ‘The Secrets of E-Book Marketing Success.’

I plan on implementing some of these techniques myself, focusing at first on that which is easiest to fix, and also what needs doing most. After this post is done, I'm going to fix a marketing image and re-write a product description. We'll see what happens after that.

Comments are always welcome.

1 comment:

  1. I need a teacher in slashing - I post on twitter seldom due to my verbose fingers. But I am learning the art of cutting.


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