“The only things certain in life are death and taxes” – Ben Franklin
Let's add one more thing to this quote…CHANGE. Change is inevitable, and speaking of change, the world of online search and social media changes frequently. Over two months ago, LinkedIn changed the layout and functionality of “Groups” within the network. A couple of weeks ago, Facebook changed the width parameters for custom Facebook Business Pages. (This affected any Facebook Page owner who had a customized Welcome tab for example). Google completely changed the way that search results would be served up with “Google Instant“, promising to save time but certainly will alter the way we think about optimizing digital assets. Most recently, Twitter has also announced big changes about how it's site will work.
These kinds of changes happen often and can be difficult to stay on top of because they happen so quickly. Should you completely change your strategy to try and keep up? You will need to adjust your strategy from time to time depending on what has changed, but ultimately it is best to focus on what you can control. In many cases, these changes in the online marketing and social media environment are going to be out of your control and you'll want to be careful about investing in a major overhaul of your strategy unless it's warranted. In most cases, making small adjustments can do wonders. However, the best strategy is to focus on what you can control.
The secret to managing your online marketing strategy is focusing on what you can control
CONTROL = CONTENT
Rule #1: Own Your Content
It's great to be able to “rent” space on all of the social networking sites, but ultimately you don't own your profiles there. However, you can influence and control your profiles by populating them with your unique insights, ideas, thoughts, suggestions, commentary, articles, videos, images, notes, and links! Where should this content come from? Most of it should come from the domains that you own, and preferably your blog which serves as the central hub to your “social media” brand. I recommend that you if you haven't already purchased a domain name for your blog, or even your own name for that matter, go to a site like Go Daddy and do this immediately! If you opt to build your blog on a hosted, free platform, you will not own your domain nor will you own that content. To build your digital identity and online marketing asset portfolio, invest first in what you can own and build equity.
Rule #2 – Produce Quality Content, Frequently and Consistently!
You know your stuff. Your clients would not trust you if you didn't! The problem is that your message is not getting out there. Blogging will enable you to stake your claim and showcase who you are, what you care about, and what you do for people. When you produce your own content, make sure it is valuable and relevant information that people can use. Also make sure that you show your human side so that your target audience can learn more about YOU! Think about it, people are looking for connection and even more so in this world of virtual relationships! If you are passionate about your subjects and engaging like-minded people around your ideas, you will build an audience. Producing great content on your own blog site consistently will enable you to become the “go-to” person in your niche. It's worked for me and for many other professionals!
Rule #3 – Build Connections Through Sharing Your Content
Sharing content across the web has changed the way we consume information. We can hear of events on Twitter, for example, before they ever hit the local news station! It's important to always be on the lookout for value-added, relevant content that you can share with your social connections. However, the best way to build authority online is by sharing unique content that you've developed which comes from your authentic voice. You will quickly build a following once you learn what your audience is most interested in hearing about and work to provide them with answers! Solve problems, engage, be resourceful, and connect with others through the content that you produce and share. Also, don't over-promote yourself. Have a rule of thumb to share your own content 25% of the time.
Rule #4 – Measure Success by Who is Consuming and Sharing Your Content
Forget about quantity, it's all about the quality. It doesn't matter if you have 5 followers subscribing to what you have to say. If they are quality individuals who are a part of your target market, it's worth the effort! Each and every one of those niche followers could potentially do business with you. You can easily measure your success with blogging by the amount of traffic you are generating from your social networking activity, and the number of those visitors that you are turning into leads when they land on your blog. In fact, you should think of your blog as a social media “landing page”. It's important to focus on building quality connections within the social networks, but ultimately you want to drive them back into your blog where you own and control the content.
Self-publishing is the new marketing. Blogging is the future of publishing and producing your own unique content IS something you can control. Your success will be directly related to the quality and consistency of what you produce. Whether you prefer writing, speaking, video, images, or even screen-casting, self-publishing through blogging gives you an avenue from which to share your thought leadership and build authority within your niche markets. As long as your blog is built upon a domain that you own, you'll own and control every bit of that content and no one can take it away from you!
Let's face it, your best clients didn't find you through a Google search or the yellow pages. Your best clients came by way of referral. Make it easy for clients and customers to talk about you and share what you have to say! Although it will be interesting to watch how the new Google search algorithm will work, you can't bank your entire online marketing strategy on it. Why? Because it will change again. The next time Google or Facebook changes a search algorithm, keep posting that great content.