These days if you want to get found online, you either need to have an established brand with a decent network, a well-thought-out strategy
or and lots of luck (or just do something crazy that lands you on the news – not recommended).
It’s a lot like medieval war. There are arrows, swords, flaming hay bails, horses and bodies flying all over the place – in order to penetrate the gate you have to first get to it. This takes a ton of strategy. You have to find the least lethal pockets of battle, then assemble a team to fight through the chaos as you make your approach. But that’s not enough, even if you manage to make it to the gate you have to a plan to get through it.
So if you didn’t get my medieval reference, go watch Lord of the Rings – kidding (but seriously). You have to devise a plan to get through the millions of other pieces of content in your network. Not only that but once you get in front of your viewers eyes, you have to win their attention, and entice them to ‘click’.
It’s not the easiest thing in the world, in fact that’s the discussion of the majority of our meetings at The Monster Shack (our headquarters) – “how can we get this thing found?” But over the course of many campaigns we have found the follow list very effective.
Do your homework
The first and most absolutely imperative step is to always do your homework. Always. It’s not like high school where you can copy off your neighbor when your teacher isn’t looking. You have to understand who your customer avatar is, understand where they spend their time, and on what. There are many ways to research who your avatar is, but the simplest way is to think about who is currently your best customer – not what type, but literally, what individual is your best customer. Now try to identify as much as you can about them. If you know enough about this customer or if you can get the data, this individual will become your customer avatar – or perfect customer.
Focus on the few
Now that you have your customer avatar identified, you can begin to engage with the people that most closely resemble that description. For example – if your customer avatar is a 18 year old gamer who still lives with his parents and is a freshman at a local community college – you might want to spend some time on reddit chatting it up with that community.
The key is to focus on the communities that have the greatest chance of engagement and awareness. If you were to just go on Facebook, launch a fan page and start posting; without an established brand, you will get less than minimal results.
Learn how to write headlines
The next suggestion is to learn how to write headlines. Now this is not something you can learn overnight, in fact you can expect to be “learning” how to do this for the rest of your career. Our writers are always learning and trying new headline-writing techniques, testing how they work, and tweaking their tactics to constantly improve.
A few tips to get you started however:
- Identify a keyphrase – Once you have a concept for a blog article, tweet or YouTube video, go to Google and type in some of the phrases that you would search if you wanted to find this type of content. As you type, Google will begin to show you some popular search phrases to give you ideas. (Note: if it’s a really popular topic like fitness or celebrities be more specific with your keyphase to reduce the likelihood of competition)
- Keep keyphrases up front – to make it easy for Google and Bing to rank you, keep the most important words towards the front of the title.
- Use powerful words – Use words like amazing, powerful, epic, crazy (see title) and other strong words to catch readers attention.
- Keep it short – While you can make a blog post title fairly long, when you share it, you may want to shorten it a bit for speedy reading. If it’s too long, not only does it eat up precious characters in Twitter, but people are more likely to scan past it.
Find some influencers
If you are building your brand in a niche community, one of the first things you should do is make nice with some influencers in your industry. Find someone who is an authority figure with a large audience of followers. By sharing their content and giving them valuable content that can help their cause, you can build a trusting relationship. This will pay off when you launch a new piece of content and ask them nicely if their followers would benefit from reading or watching it. (Note: don’t spam them with your own content hoping that they will retweet or share it – they won’t. Start out by writing them a nice note thanking them for their inspiration. Then send them some valuable content from other sources that they might be interested in. After you have built trust, then you can infrequently ask them if your content is valuable for them to share.)
Spread the love
Share, share, share. There are some “gurus” out there that advocate posting all your own content as much as
humanly digitally possible; but if you’re just starting out share other peoples content, with other people. Be helpful to others, and people will begin to notice.
— John Timmerman (@JohnnyTimbo) October 8, 2014