The Ultimate Socialnomics Guide to Topple Your Competition in 2016
There are several different ways to topple your competition. There are also variations on those different ways. And, there are different ways to combine the methods to topple your competition. Have I lost you yet? Good. We are on the same page.
For this lesson in toppling, we are going to keep it simple. We are going to look at three strategy areas. Each of these areas is an article (at least!) in and of itself! However, I’m not here to write a book…yet. So, we’ll look at one aspect of each of these strategic areas in order to give you a cohesive path that you can follow.
But, this is iterative. Once you follow this path, you need to follow the next iterative path and continue to build, grow, and engage. Confused? Don’t worry. Let’s just get started and eventually this will all sink in, OK?
Expanding on the build, grow, and engage, we are going to look for action steps that augment those strategies:
- Build It… with your blog.
- Grow It… with the ranking of your site (blog).
- Keep It Going… with attractive graphics and media.. keeping the attention and curiosity going… keeping it focused on YOUR brand!
The reason that I use the phrase “strategy group” is because there are many more aspects and many more components that could be included in each of these three strategy groups. An easy example to use to demonstrate this is #3 Keep It Going. Within that strategy group, you want to add email marketing, engagement, community building, and so many others! We are only looking at graphics and media (for now) to keep in simple (and give you room to add the other strategies as you go!).
Build Your Brand with Your Blog
Currently, the word blog has a meaning and use for millions of social media communicators around the world. A little over a decade ago the word did not exist! With that, there are probably three types of people who are reading this right now.
- Group 1: You have a blog and you believe you have it covered. Good for you!
- Group 2: You have a blog (technically speaking, as in it is installed somewhere on the web), but you are not quite sure what to do with it.
- Group 3: You do not have a blog at all. This is the case because either a) you don’t think you need one, or b) you don’t know where to start.
If you are in Group 1, you may be tempted to skip ahead to the next section. I’m not going to stop you (like I could, right?). However, you may want to skim over some of the resources that we include in this section, just to see if you are on the right track.
For those of you in Group 2 and 3, you are in the right place and we have some links and tips for you. Even if you are a part of group 3 that don’t think you need a blog, you will likely want to check out some resources. I mean, you do want to topple your competition, right? That is why you are still reading, eh?
Today, writing a blog is like keeping a personal journal or a diary, but with one major change! The diary was not to be broadcasted! The blog post goes out to everybody. Your blog must be interesting and readable. Your expertise may include being funny. Maybe it is about being informative. Maybe newsy. It is about finding your voice when it comes to blogging. But, that “voice” needs to appeal to your audience, as well.
You may be wondering why I’m writing as if the blogging is personal when this article is focused on toppling your competitors. That was intentional. You see, there is a lot more transparency going around, even in business, than ever before this time. That doesn’t mean that you have to approach it that way, but it is worth considering. As a part of finding your voice, you will want to define what it is that represents your brand. That includes things like:
- Tone – a level of “warmth,” etc.;
- First-person or Third-person;
- Academic, professional, or personable;
- The frequency of blog posts, etc.
It is very important that you consider these things prior to blogging (or prior to a change in your blogging strategy). It is helpful if you list this out and collaborate with your partners. You could even poll your audience if you are more on the side of “personable.” That way, when you move forward, your blogging is consistent. Another thing to add to your list is frequency.
Even if you are a business, sometimes a “personal touch” appeals to your audience even more than the professional voice. Consider all angles and find what works for your business!
OK, OK. This can seem like the more I write about blogging, the more complicated it starts to sound. Remember, I called this a strategy group? This is an area that is not self-contained within this section but allows for growth within itself, as an area of strategy (we still have two more to cover!). So, let me leave this section with a list of helpful resources for you to bookmark and work through as you start (or improve) your blog and blogging:
- On Blast Blog (this blog has tips galore on how to blog… including ideas for topics);
- How to Create a Successful Blog Based Business (an oldie, but goodie, and great for those of you just starting out and who need the basics.. then head over to On Blast Blog for more topics on blogging. Be sure to read up on the social media tips here on SocialNomics.net!).
Grow Your Blog with Your (SEO) Ranking
In order to topple your competitors in 2016, you need traffic to your site. You need consistent traffic and you need to create a buzz around your brand! You have to make it happen! There are many ways to do that, but we are going to focus on the SEO part of the strategy in this section.
Every blogger and business owner wants their website to be seen by more people. The question is how do you get your content to show up the most often in search engine results (SERPs)?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the answer. So, with that, let’s go over a few things that will help you to do well, for starters. There is much more to SEO than what is listed here, but for you newbies, this is a start in tactics to get you starting to rank in Google, Bing, and other search engines.
Create Quality Content
Ranking high in search results starts with the basics: produce content that is worth reading. Blogs are your best bet for SEO because text is search engine friendly, right off the bat. Expanding on what we started in our first strategy group, here are some of the desirable features for your blog, as it relates to SEO. The best blogs are:
- Clear and concise;
- Include visuals (next section).
In the past, there have been various guidelines regarding the ideal length for posts. While often times experts say that 850 words are ideal, the real truth is that length doesn’t matter as much as quality. You can get that opinion from HubSpot and from bufferapp.com. The fact is that quality content will always win regardless of length. This means if you can effectively share your expertise in 290 words, you’ll rank higher than someone who pretends to know what they’re talking about in 1,100 words.
So, you are asking yourself, “What is she doing with this exceeding long post? It is not exactly 850 words!” That is where we come into a group of posts that are more like guides. These are the types of articles that garner the bookmarks and “go to” place for a wealth of information. There are blogs that may have more of these “guides” than other blogs, but generally, the guides are not posted daily.
Define Relevant Keywords
If you’re writing a blog about dogs and your article is specifically discussing Yorkies, it’s likely you’ve stumbled on relevant keywords organically. However, it’s important to check the keywords for several reasons. On WordPress blogs, there’s a plugin called Yoast SEO that is effective in checking your keyword usage. Before that step, you need to know what keywords you plan to use. This involves doing some keyword research. Don’t let that term scare you, though. Keyword research is simply defining your topic.
Start by writing a list of broad topics related to your blog or business. From these broad topics, narrow down a niche. An example of this would be if you blog about Social Media, a specific sub-topic would be “Getting More Followers on Twitter.” Use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to get an idea of how many people are searching for your article’s topic. The more searches, the more competition there will be for clicks. However, if you’re an expert, you’re in luck! Keyword research often reveals potential SEO goldmines. Use it wisely.
Sound confusing? That’s ok. Remember, this article may be a sort of Ultimate Guide, for starters, but there is room for growth in each strategy group.
The most important thing to remember is SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. The best search engine rankings are a result of hard work, dedication, and time. It doesn’t take forever to see results, but by being strategic in your approach, you will get quality traffic that loves your digital presence. If you have reached that point, you continue what you are doing and watch that traffic and success grow!
Keep Your Audience and Keep Them Coming Back with Media
Content must be both attention-grabbing and attention holding. Use your anecdotes or examples to liven a post. Add interest with compelling photos or infographics. Stick with the key message of your article and results will follow. But, don’t forget that your key message could also use the help of some images, slideshares, videos, podcasts, and any appealing media piece that complements your message.
Using media will grab your audience and keep them coming back for more!
It may be a made-up word, but “shareability” is crucial to SEO success (and technically belongs under that category). We added it to the “Keep Your Audience” section because it has a lot to do with the images/graphics. Be sure to include images that look great on social media. Coupled with your top quality content, the more people who find your website useful, the higher it will rank in searches.
Where do I get the graphics?
Now, where do you get those wonderful graphics? There is a great tool, Canva, that lets you design some of your own creations and even purchase some ready-made graphical components for about $1 or so. (You can even upload your own images and photos, too, for free.) You can obtain stock photos at places like 123rf.com. Looking for videos that are ready-made? Check out BigStock (which also has photos).
If you are feeling completely lost on how to design graphics or what to do with the videos that you have purchased at BigStock, you may want to hire a designer, videographer, etc. Fiverr may be a place to find some inexpensive labor, but you also need to be careful that you receive the quality that you want.
There are other options, too.
Recently, I was introduced to the concept of crowd-sourced design. At first, it was confusing to figure out how that works. I mean, I get crowd-sourcing, in general, but how does it work with graphic design?
Fortunately, Rahul Aggarwal, co-founder of Designhill, a crowd-sourcing design company, was willing to explain it to me. He explains the process better than I can and tells us a bit about his company:
The idea with the crowd-sourced method is that you let the graphics professionals do what they do best! Describe what you are looking for and let multiple designers sort of compete for your bid. Each artist presents his or her graphic example to meet the description that you have provided. You look through each of the graphical elements and choose the one that you want. This saves you time and money!
In the past, if I wanted professional graphics, I had two options. I could go find a designer, based on brilliant work that I found online and hire them. That would cost me hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. It also cost me in time, trying to use words to describe what I was looking for, in my design graphic. Fortunately, when I have gone that route, I have been pleased with the results. However, if you are going to spend, at the minimum, hundreds of dollars, you should be happy with the results.
Pulling it All Together
Whew. You made it. You read the ultimate guide to toppling your competition in 2016. But, then, this is only scratching the surface with the three strategy groups and only a few aspects of each. Don’t worry. You have come to the right place.
Socialnomics is chock full of tips and especially those social media tips that you need to complete the picture! So, in pulling this together, be sure to bookmark this site, subscribe, and visit often. You won’t regret it!