How to Be The Perfect Guest (Blogger)!

You already know that blogging can help your business and hopefully you are building a good relationship with some committed readers. So why go and waste that by publishing your carefully thought out work on someone else’s blog?

Well, for the same reasons you might go to a party, you meet new people and can renew friendships with those you already know. Often old friends may find out something new about you or your status as ‘one of us’ will be reaffirmed.

In order to be invited to the guest blogging party you need to let your potential hosts know three things.

1. That you exist!
Honestly they can’t invite you if they don’t know you’re alive! So say something to them, the most obvious way of doing this is to comment on one or more of their blog posts. Say something a little more interesting than just ‘great post’ but don’t worry you don’t have to write an essay in the comment box. You could also connect with them on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, but again do say something to them, even if it is only ‘read your blog and really enjoyed it’

2. That you are guest material.
If a blogger knows you exist but doesn’t know that you also write then you’re not likely to receive an invitation from them. Next time you post you may want to send it directly to your desired host so they know you blog. You can do this via email or through social media, just attach a link with a short line or two explaining that you’ve just written a blog post and you’d love them to read it if they have time.
Of course it is also important that you write on topics similar to their niche but maybe not so close that you are direct competition. You don’t want to be invited to a posh soiree if you really want to be rocking out to Alice Cooper – and stealing the hosts girlfriend is never going to make you popular!

3. That you’d like to be invited!
Some bloggers welcome guest posts and even have a page for you to submit your posts without going through the steps suggested above, others might not have thought of hosting someone else’s writing yet but it doesn’t mean they’re not interested. If you’re not sure the best policy is just to ask politely. Even if they don’t accept your post it’s likely they’ll be flattered that you asked!

Just like a party there is etiquette to be observed if you are to get the best out of it.

RSVP
If you are invited respond! Let your host know that you’d love to write for them and confirm the date and time. Some hosts are very spontaneous and will publish instantly, others may take a few weeks or more to post it, but you do need to know when they need the post by and make sure it is on time.

Dress up!
You think long and hard about every post you write, I know you do, but this time your writing reflects on someone else, so make sure every ‘i’ is dotted. And that you have really thought through what you want to say and how to say it. You’ll enjoy the event even more that way!

But don’t wear the same as the host!
Writing a post about their speciality or on an identical subject, making an identical point, to one of their previous posts will not add value to their blog! It also won’t encourage their readers to befriend you as your post will be boring to them.

Bring a gift … and a bottle of wine!
Make life easy for your host – attach a bio box with a little information about you and your blog, not too much, just a few sentences and a link. Also send them any images you think are suitable to brighten up your blog.

Bring some guests
Promote your post on their blog through your network, that way you may be introducing more subscribers for them, which every blogger wants!

Converse politely.
Telling people more about you or the subject you are writing on is great, so do put some links in your blog. But do it thoughtfully, you are a guest in their ‘house’ and dragging everyone back to yours for an after party is rude!
It’s a good idea to send your post as a word document. Add comment boxes with the links you’d like inserting next to any anchor text you’d like. Make sure they know that it is up to them how many they include, and only send a maximum of three anyway. Also be deferential to your host by making sure that at least one link is to another post that they have written or to their website.

Host in return
This speaks for itself, give them the same opportunity to reach a different audience as they’ve given you, reciprocity goes a long way.

And, if you behave like the perfect guest blogger you may well be asked back again, giving you more opportunities to build your audience and have fun in the process! Cheers!

Posted in Blogging, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

This blog post is all about You!

Have you ever wondered how you could get the people reading your stuff to want to read more? Or to like your writing so much they actually want to connect with you through social media?

It might seem the hardest thing in the world, but really, I know ‘you’ can do it!

Ok, so I misled you a little in the title, this blog post isn’t about you at all, in fact it’s all about ‘you’ the word. Or to put it more clearly, it’s actually all about them – your readers!

Why you should use ‘You’

Using the word ‘you’ when writing: -
• Encourages the people reading your posts to process the information you’re sharing as it applies to them. Making them more likely to action it and remember you – particularly if really helps them!
• Sets an informal, conversational tone that is easy to warm to.
• Most importantly it practically forces you (the real you not ‘you’) to think about them and write for them.

Before you write, do think about yourself for a minute; think about the things you might want to know and the way you want to be spoken too. Your readers, no matter who they are, want to feel valued and equal to you. Although you are an expert in your field and able to dispense great nuggets of valuable wisdom, if that information is coated in arrogance your audience will find it difficult to swallow!

So this post is still all about you! It’s written with you firmly in mind. Now as there’s more than one of ‘you’ out there I know that not everything I write will be useful to everyone at once, but when I write I do think about you, and I’d love to get to know you better so I can write better for you … So please leave a comment or click one of the buttons over on the right so we can connect!

Posted in Blogging, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Want to get Ahead? Get a List!

Don’t worry – I’m not about to tell you to buy an email database with 20,000 names! Well you can if you like but that’s not really social media marketing. Social media marketing is all about knowing your audience and platforms like Facebook can give you all kinds of intriguing information that can help you target promotions and better serve your customers.

The kinds of lists I’m talking about are the ones you make yourself on Facebook and Twitter (this facility is also available on LinkedIn if you upgrade your account).

You can make a list for anything you like, and you can add people to more than one list so you don’t need to worry about defining people too narrowly.

As I run workshops across East Anglia I have lists that work geographically, so if I was planning a workshop in South Suffolk I would be able to see all those that live or work in that locality so I can promote it to them. This also saves those that live outside that area the inconvenience of receiving promotions not of interest to them.

But you could also choose to build a list based on the kinds of business that your followers have, if I was a marketing consultant for lawyers I would have lists for corporate lawyers, family lawyers, property, lawyers, international lawyers and so on.

Once you have created your lists you simply select a list and your news feed or twitter stream will be filled with posts ONLY from those people. To do this on Facebook click at the top of the news feed where it says most recent and a drop down list will appear allowing you to select the particular list you are interested in.

On twitter it is easier still, over on the left hand side of the screen you will see your lists, hover the cursor over the list and click the one you want.

You can also email to a list on Facebook, however it won’t allow an email to go to more that 20 people at a time so if you intend to do this it is worth having duplicate lists, ‘local business 1′ local business 2′ and so on.

You can do this on twitter, but it’s a little more long-winded, first you need to call up the list and then you can click on the direct message icon beside each name to send them the message. Marketing through DM’s isn’t often done so do make sure the message is as friendly and unspammy as is possible in 140 characters!

On twitter you also have the option to keep your lists private or share them publically, an open list can often help those that are following you and looking for more people to follow as they can click once to follow the whole list.

Personally I also have lists of people whose posts I like to read (and often share!), the social media world is full of smart people sharing tips but sometimes it goes so fast that you miss posts, so this helps me keep up with those I respect.

In fact this is really what lists were created for, and certainly when it comes to twitter the more lists a person is on the higher their Klout or PeerIndex score is, so those that value this will be happy to be put on a list!

Listing can be long-winded, particularly if you have a lot of connections, but long-term these lists can save you time and allow you to direct your messages more clearly so they are worth doing, and the sooner the quicker!

Posted in Facebook, Social Media Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

How to get more ‘likes’ on your Facebook page.

You’ve taken the plunge and started a facebook page – the challenge now is to get some people to like it, and to begin with this can seem very hard and you may feel a little unloved if your likes are still in single figures.

But don’t despair! We all start this way and you can grow your audience!

The first thing to do is to keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity, 5000 people ‘liking’ your page wont do you much good if they are all in America and you sell pet-sitting services in Wales!

With this in mind then work on the fact that facebook is social first, ask your friends and family to have a look at your page and if they think it could be useful to them to like it for you. We often forget that our friends and family may want the products or services we provide, don’t ignore your closest supporters!

With any luck this will get you to 25 followers – the magic number for claiming your facebook profile name!

Once you have reached this stage it’s time to start seriously thinking about the content you are posting on your page – make sure it is useful for your audience. Tips and free info are also helpful but don’t forget to let them know what they can buy from you sometimes too – particularly if you are about to have a sale! In fact as they are your loyalist followers they should know first or maybe get a bigger discount if they quote a code when they are ordering!

Now it’s time to push for a few more followers, again start by asking your friends and family to help, send them a facebook message with the link to your page attached and ask them to forward it to anyone they think will find it relevant. Do thank them for doing this and let them know that if they don’t want to send it or can’t think of anyone to send it too that’s quite alright!

You can also ask your current followers to do the same – you may even want to make this into a competition. Maybe you could give a prize to them person that gets you the most followers?

Another way to grow your page is to promote it within groups on Facebook and LinkedIn – do make sure that you are targeting this though, a large number of followers won’t help if they are just doing it to get you to ‘like’ their page back!

Don’t forget to promote it on Twitter too if you have an account there – stick to the same rules, don’t spam but do mention it once in a while, particularly if you have got a competition or offer happening or if you have just given away some particularly juicy advice!

Lastly, why not offer a bit of reciprocal promotion? You promote someone else’s page and get them to promote yours in return! Keep it to pages you think your audience will benefit from. For example if I ran an animal photography business I would team up with other local businesses that offer services for animals, whether it’s dog-sitting services, collars and pet-accessories or maybe the local vet surgery, this way you’re both adding value to your audience and any additional ‘likes’ you get from it are likely to be relevant! Obviously you don’t want it to be spammy so make a feature of it and keep it to either a page a week or a page a month.

I hope you’ve found this useful – for more information or assistance please get in touch!

Posted in Facebook, Social Media Strategy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog -Reading Revolution!

Just before Christmas I read a report from the Pew Research Center that suggested to me that blogs start becoming less important, not exactly cheering news as I had just started one but unsurprising as I’d already wondered if blog reading wouldn’t be dead already if it wasn’t for links being shared via Facebook and Twitter!

But just 6 short months later I find myself reading (and sharing!) more blogs from more places than ever before.

So what’s changed?

Well for me there have been several things. First I got an iPad, not in itself earth shattering, but the sheer lightness and mobility of it combined with a screen big enough to read means I am much happier to be online in my leisure time. Which in turn means I am seeing more updates with links to interesting looking blogs!

Then I added apps such as Mashable, TechCrunch and AllThingsDigital so I was coming across more posts, but these were still from limited sources, in some senses these blogs are more like online magazines with definite editorial stances and these days so big that they have become part of the establishment.

I still read these and still share links to great posts from them, but recently I downloaded an app called Zite ( http://www.zite.com/ )on the recommendation of a friend (thanks Andy Merrill!) and this has expanded my blog reading no end!

What Zite bills itself as is a ‘personalised magazine’. It allows you to pick as many or as few sections as you like from its list and even to use keywords to create your own sections. Then it goes out and trawls the Internet looking for content to populate your magazine with.

The magazine is beautifully presented, every story has a headline, picture and the same font but they are laid in a variety of size and position.

This is great but it gets better … The more you interact with Zite the more tailored to your needs it becomes. Every time you read a story you can quickly rate it afterwards with a thumbs up or down and you can also say if you’d like to read more from either the blog or that particular author. Of course you also have the options right there to share the posts you are reading too.

What I love most about Zite is that it finds posts that I probably couldn’t find, and it does not trawl only sites from the U.S! In fact I was thrilled a couple of weeks ago when it presented me with a blog post written by a friend of mine. Peter Masters (or @marketingm8) is a great guy who teaches people in the construction industry how to use social media and he lives less than 20 miles from me. Seeing a blog from my home county opened my eyes to just how extensively Zite looks for articles and reassured me that content was more important to them than fame.

As a blogger that lives in the back of beyond in the UK I suddenly felt like we were on the map! And that anything was possible! It reminded me that all these other blogs I’ve been reading were written by people just like me, I suppose it gave me back the feeling of community that seemed to be missing from blogs recently.

Because of Zite I am discovering a vast array of well written thought-provoking blog posts. Long live the bloggers and long live Zite!

http://www.zite.com/

Posted in Blogging, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Buff up your output with Bufferapp.com!

Why are you reading this? I hope it’s because you’ve been following me for a while and find a lot of what I say useful. I also hope that you’re acting on my recommendations, and are regularly updating your own tweet stream and news feed with useful information for your followers!

But it’s not always easy to keep updating, let alone time the information to come out a little at a time rather than clumping up your stream and overwhelming your audience! And it’s harder still to know the best times to send out updates full of useful information that will reach the highest possible numbers.

But not anymore! One company has set out to solve all these problems in one oh-so-easy click!

Bufferapp.com (http://bufferapp.com/r/0bb84 ) allows you to install a button on your chrome or firefox browser, click it and the page you are reading will be added to your ‘buffer. Your buffer will then post it to your tweet stream at a time when your audience is usually around its highest number. If you want to edit either the wording, or the time it’ll send, simply click the edit button on the site and away you go.

This works for any page being read on chrome or firefox, including pages from your own blog, so don’t forget to use this to promote yourself a little too! But what if you don’t use those browsers? Or are reading information you want to share on your phone or iPad? No problem, most pages online have a button you can press to send the link via email, simply click this and email it to your buffer (details of how to do this are on there website, it only takes a minute to set up.)

For people like me that have set times of the day available for reading buffer is a godsend, I no longer have to copy and paste every single link I like into my hootsuite, shrink it, write what it’s about, figure out when is best to send it and schedule it. ok so doing all that only takes a minute or two on each item, but it’s very disruptive and since I am no longer interrupting myself to do this I am reading and sharing much more.

Just as I was writing this the boys from buffer sent out an email to tell me they have improved buffer – if you are a blog owner you can now put a Buffer Button on your blog very simply, hopefully this will encourage people like me and people not reading on chrome or firefox to post your blog to their twitter and facebook streams. I’m planning to find some time to do this over the weekend, they tell me you just need to search plugins for “Buffer Button” and install it.

For most users the free account is all you will need as you can have 10 posts waiting to go out at any one time. And they send you a very polite email to let you know when your buffer is empty. but if you are an avid sharer or a social media professional do think about upgrading, for $5 a month you can have 50 tweets in 3 separate accounts, such a low fee it shouldn’t be a barrier to anyone.

I will stress here again that this type of posting should be a supplement and should most certainly not take the place of interacting with people. This is a fact that the creators of buffer know only too well, they are very happy to talk to people on twitter about buffer and other things, they are friendly, interested and polite. Buffer is a great tool created by some lovely chaps and I hope you find it as enjoyable and effective as I do. So go on – buff up your output!

http://bufferapp.com/r/0bb84

Posted in Social Media Strategy, Twitter | 3 Comments

Getting ‘Influencers’ to help you.

If you’ve been dabbling with social media for longer than a month you may well have noticed that there seem to be people within your network that seem to be more influential than others, you may find you look for their tweets or check their pages above other people’s.

These ‘influencers’ will often have large networks and if they share or retweet your message you know it will reach a much wider audience than you can otherwise.

But how can you get these people to help you and spread your message?

First off you need to select the people you want to help you carefully, there is no point them spreading your message to an audience that isn’t interested in it! If you are aiming for a local Market you need to talk to those that influence that Market.

Once you have identified the influencers you wish to help you then you have to attract their attention, you might do this by commenting positively on one of their posts or @replying to a tweet. Or you can get in touch directly through their Facebook inbox or by direct messaging them on twitter.

This can be rather daunting, particular for us British who are not used to asking for help – particularly if it seems that we are just asking and not giving! But most social media influencers know that giving a bit of help out to others builds their own reputation too so are quite happy to have the opportunity.

Remembering your manners is key, if you are asking a particular person to promote your message it is good to actually ask! And even better if you remember to say thank you, that way you will be building a relationship that both of you may continue to benefit from.

It also helps if you make it easy for them, if you want them to retweet something make sure it is short enough so they can just click retweet and don’t have to edit it so it fits into 140 characters again (generally keep it to under 120 to be on the safe side!)

I’m sure to most of you that sounds obvious, but unfortunately it seems there are those out there that don’t do this. Recently a twitter stream for a local event attracted my attention and that of a few other local influencers by sending out a tweet for their event with ‘RT @GemLThompson @ANOther’ etc.

Now it was an event I thought the majority of my audience may be interested in, particularly as I have another social media presence that is all about local events! So to begin with I was perfectly happy to send this out, then they did the same thing again, and again. Maybe I was having a bad day, or maybe it was because they still had not said please or thank you, but I suddenly thought ‘hang on a mo … What’s in this for me?’

I took a look at their stream and saw that they haven’t spent much time building their own audience (in fact they have only around 200 followers), or engaging with people, and this disregard of social media manners annoyed me even more. After all, I’ve spent time building and caring about my audience.

So I sent them a cheeky little D M saying ‘Happy to re-tweet your event but what’s in it for me? Any chance of a couple of free tickets ;)’ I must just say (tickets were only £20! Not World Cup tickets or anything of that nature, I’m not greedy!)

Their reply was ‘How about if you get 20 people there we’ll give you some free tickets? Appreciate all the tweeting but we need sales!’

I used to run a local magazine, so this made me think, after all no reputable paper or magazine can guarantee you sales, you place your advert and pay for it knowing this. PR is different, but generally you would expect to give the press tickets to an event if you wanted them to cover it! And you would definitely expect to pay a PR firm to get your information into the press if this was a major part of your marketing mix.

So what makes social media so different? Quite frankly not enough! Of course I don’t have printing or distribution costs but to get their message to a local audience of over 5000 you would think would be worth a please and thank you … And if not that then some kind of perk or benefit!

I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not suggesting that you need to offer goods or payment to influencers, Most of us will happily help for free. But please do remember we are people, and if you value our audience so much you’d like us to share your message, then let us know you value this and build a relationship with us based on mutual appreciation and support!

If you’re in need of more help take a look here and see what I offer!

Posted in Social Media Strategy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment