You walk into a party and you make your way over to the snacks. No one knows you, no one speaks to you, and you might as well not be there. You munch your celery and ranch dip while thinking about how you might get more people to know you.
So you break out your phone and take some pictures. You make note of the decorations and the friendliness of the servers. You might note the food and who catered. You may even write up a little “who’s who” about attendees and hosts.
You take all of that information and submit it to your local paper. Hypothetically, let’s say it gets published and the people that threw the party, love your review. Now you get invited to another party. This time, you walk in and a handful of people know who you are and why you are there. You have increased your party presence.
Online presence is like that except on-line, there are a hundred parties to attend at the same time and everyone is screaming at the top of their lungs. Sounds a bit hopeless doesn’t it?
Before we begin to consider your online presence, you need take time to strategize and think about it. Imagine a bicycle wheel. It has a hub with many spokes emanating from it. The wheel is held together by the tension on the hub. If the hub is bad or the tension on the spokes is wrong, the wheel won’t roll correctly or be straight.
The hub in this scenario is your website. The spokes are every other marketing effort on-line. This could be your Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, Yelp reviews, Google business listings, Google or Facebook reviews, email newsletters, advertising and anywhere else that your name and messaging appears on-line.
The tension is the messaging itself. When every spoke has a similar tension then the wheel is straight and consistent. If it is all over the place then the wheel will be crooked. Additionally, every spoke points back to the hub.
How To Grow Your On-Line Presence
I want to get this out of the way first. Going viral is not a reliable strategy. Sure, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of this happening, but in the long run, it is a highly unreliable way to get your message out. Here are a few “1000ft view” pointers on how to go viral:
- Lots of content, including videos, in many channels
- Paying heavy attention to trends and copying them
- Humor helps a lot
- Anger and outrage, to our shame, seem to work even better
- Intricate artistic processes that are visual in nature do really well. Think cooking, painting, and pottery.
The reason I am listing these is that though going viral is not a good strategy, knowing about it helps with the good strategies.
Helpful, Focused, Consistent, Relevant, and Regular Content
You may have noticed that going viral has a focus on content. The thing going viral often lacks is consistent, focused, and relevant content. Think about the movie, Wreck-It Ralph Breaks the Internet. Ralph creates several videos on BuzzTube to “Go Viral” and get paid for it. They were random, funny, artistic, and copied the latest trends. It worked for a time but faded quickly as there was no rhyme or reason to the strategy. He had the right idea, but the execution only produced temporary results.
When you create content for your online presence there needs to be a clear goal for your message to achieve. You are not just looking to be seen, you are looking to interact, to generate leads, and to develop consistent messaging and interaction with your customers and fans. This also works for individuals whose business is being themselves1.
Let get into what kind of content you should be creating:
- Helpful : Content that is useful to those that find it not just entertaining; though entertainment is always a plus.
- Focused : The content is focused on the business, industry or service that your business provides. A bike repair shop does not need to post a cooking video. Unless the cooking is somehow being done with a bike2.
- Consistent : Businesses have messaging and that messaging needs to be consistent. If a company signals that they fix widget X3 and then a customer calls to get widget X fixed only to find out that the company only sells widget X. Then messaging is going off the rails and doing more harm than good.
- Relevant : Pay attention to your industry and the world at large. You would not write an article about a bicycle being the most advanced form of travel in today’s age. However, you might write one that talks about bicycle travel leading to fewer cases of childhood obesity4. A good rule is if you have customers asking about it you should probably write an article about it5.
- Regular : Whatever content you start to create, create it regularly.
You need content and You need content on a schedule. In this case, we advise clients to set up an editorial schedule6. Let”s say you post one new article on the website about what your business does 2-4 times a month. If that is too much, then once a month is fine but arguably less effective.
You are building a knowledge base for your company’s clients. This can include all kinds of topics from industry achievements, cultural or charitable interactions your company has, to the employee of the month and why they love working at your place of business.
The content should also has a technical SEO aspect to it. If you are competing with bicycle repair company A and you find out that they show up higher for the topic/keyword you are targeting, it is time to write an article, shoot a video and release a podcast on that topic or keyword.
With that said, the article content can and often does need to be turned into other formats other than just written. Most won’t, but if you do, it can give you a leg up. This means that maybe an article turns into a podcast or a video.
Now that you have written your first article about the best kind of bicycles, (you did write that article right?) what do you do then? Well, the first step would be to publish that content to your website and then share a link to that content on all of your platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or Youtube7. It is really easy to post to these platforms and often can be automated. However, automation only makes sense if you are creating content at a regular rate.
To grow an organic on-line presence takes effort and time to see returns. This does not always mean more sales either, it could simply mean more traffic on the site. Getting more sales requires an additional strategy.
You will want to have supplemental content to go along with the main cornerstone content you are producing. This content involves mostly your social media posts. These extra content posts may not be super important information in the long run but they generate top of mind awareness. They do, however, need to be consistent with your messaging.
What To Do With All of This Information
This is a lot of information and it can seem overwhelming. You also have a business to run. If you need help getting a marketing plan together or having a Content Driven Search Engine Optimization (CDSEO) plan put in place, please contact us. Otherwise, it is as easy as writing about your industry, your company, and how you impact society and culture. Then distributing that content to your marketing platforms.
- Think influencer, tastemaker, people who’s brand is their name.↩
- Maybe slice some carrots with the spokes of the bike or grate some cheese with the chain. On second thought, maybe not.↩
- Flux Capacitor.↩
- Bonus points for cultural relevancy.↩
- We are taking our own advice in this article. We have customers ask all the time about climbing the ranking on Google. This article represents a foundational way of doing just that. Like all foundations, what kind of building you build on it is up to you.↩
- This tends to be the scariest word we have when talking about Content Driven SEO. Our experience has been. Unless you set a deadline for this sort of thing you will not do it.↩
- The second largest search engine. Also owned by Google.↩