Category Archives: Social Media

How to Hypnotically Harness Your Blog for Better Search & Social Results

Before you sell your expertise, recommendations, and time, you have to sell someone on consuming your media. It’s like dating before you ask someone to be in a committed relationship or for their hand in marriage. You wouldn’t ask on the first date would you? Your media could include blog RSS feed subscriptions through email or a reader, tweets on twitter, status updates on Facebook, or an email newsletter. The more touch points the better. This all starts with having compelling content. Social Media is merely the delivery method for content you’re already creating: blog posts, PDF whitepapers, videos. You should never practice social media marketing in a vacuum without inviting your audience commit to the next step: consuming your content on your website. This is a seduction process that takes time. Since blogging is one of the most foundational and fundamental activities for attracting business, I thought I’d start with some basic reminders.

    1. Spend More Time Crafting the Headline than the Content
    This is an old advertising rule reiterating headlines are crucial in capturing the reader and keep him/her reading. You have to capture the readers attention first. No matter how cliché they seem, lists work. All magazines from Time to Wired to Fast Company use top 10, even top 100, lists as featured articles to attract readers passing newsstands and online. List blog posts use two irresistible psychological triggers based on classic persuasion principles: specificity and authority. Here are ten more psychological triggers you should use in headlines borrowed from direct marketing industry masterminds: social proof, curiosity, halo effect, stories, a reason why, contrast, commitment & consistency, damaging admission, scarcity, and reciprocation. These headline writing tactics, based on rarely-changing persuasion principles and can have a hypnotic effect on your reader. Having an angle or slant commenting on recent national or industry news or “How To” articles also do very well, and play into the same principles. There are several other variables you should consider when writing your post headlines including alteration, flow, and SEO. You should just start with a brain dump and hone from there. What to avoid: Cutesy, self-indulgent, vague, or pun-laden headlines.
    2. Captivate Your Audience with a Compelling or Slightly Confusing Image
    A curious image at the beginning of every blog post can increase the likelihood someone will read it in the first place as well as the likelihood he/she will read the post in its entirety. Readers will read the whole post just to see why the particular image was chosen, like an Easter egg hunt. Picking a slightly odd or weird image, not just a reflection the title, causes a little more brain stimulation. By relating the photo to something in the middle of the post, it triggers a rewarding, “I’m smart” feeling in the reader when he/she finds the connection. It’s like when the name of a song or movie is mentioned in the middle, the viewer/listener goes “ah, hah!” Use and perform an advanced keyword search in the “creative commons” section for royalty-free images. If you use Google Images, at least give a photographer credit. Use at least one compelling image every time you write a blog post. What to avoid: Blasé corporate clip art, stock images, not crediting the photographer.
    3. Cite Internal Links Often
    Link to the homepage or interior pages once or twice in every post, and two to three to other authoritative sources. A good rule of thumb is one link per 100 words. When mentioning an article from the New York Times, use a linkback to the article. When quoting that article use the blockquote function on the backend of WordPress. Speaking of citation, you should always cite credible/authoritative sources, when making a blanket statement or using statistics. It not only helps persuade, there is a secondary halo effect, pairing you with the authority of your source. When mentioning a topic you’ve covered before, link to that post using juicy keyword-rich anchor text (the words that link). Once you’re written a dozen or so posts, add “Related Posts” at the end of every post to get three deep links to older posts. If you use WordPress use this plugin to make it easier: SEO SmartLinks
    What to avoid: Using non-descriptive anchor text such as “click here” when linking internal pages.
    4. Use Your Blog for Original Thought Leadership
    A blog is not the forum for selling or overt personal promotion. In order to build an audience, articles need to be engaging and offer extreme resource and citable (linkable) value to the reader. It should be something which has universal value to your specific audience in which he/she could not help but pass on to others on their networks. Only after the blog has a following should you make a soft sell. The purpose of a blog is not to sell but to be considered a thought leader and expert by displaying expertise in the field. Any press releases should be placed on “company news” section on your website. What to avoid: Posting company news, product specials & press releases. “Me too” articles. Rehashing news already covered by A-List industry blogs everyone has already read, rants or negative thoughts.
    5. Attract Links & Build Community
    Creating articles which get shared and passed along to others using social media goes along with this goal. In this day of attention economics, one has to earn comments on his/her blog . This is done by leaving meaty comments on others’ blogs without personal promotion. These articles link back to your posts in an unobtrusive way and you get on other blog owners’ radar. He/she may link to you or quote you from time to time. Find other relevant bloggers in the same industry and network online by leaving comments.What to avoid: Thinking of other blogs in your industry as competitors to be avoided.
    6. Write Evergreen Info Until You Have an Audience
    Evergreen topics are information users are searching for every day, all the time instead of time sensitive announcements. Create authoritative posts between 1000 – 4000 words answering and teaching in a verbose way detailing what’s important to your audience, step-by-step. Break up the copy with sub-heads which reflect a well-worded headline. Only after you have built up a loyal audience should you start posting commentary or your opinion on the latest piece of industry news. What to avoid: Doing a half-a** job, and being lazy. You’re not going to win if you don’t have the most authoritative article for a given topic.
    7. Research Topics Using a Keyword Research Tool Every Time you Write
    Blog about what’s in demand and shoot for a five to seven word long phrase for ranking every time you post. Make that phrase your headline with one or two buffer words before or after. What to avoid: Guessing based on what you think people are searching without doing the research & targeting phrases which are too competitive.

For half a decade, Neil Lemons has worked behind-the-scenes to help create exposure, traffic, leads, and sales through major search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing using . Lemons has also been involved in Social Media sites since 2001, networking, promoting and building community on : Facebook, Livejournal, MySpace, Friendster, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, and others. Calling upon his diverse background in copywriting, advertising, marketing, and sales, learning traditional SEO and SEM tactics implementing online marketing strategies since 2005.

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10 Steps to Blast off Your Social Media Optimization Efforts

 1485388086_b19e8c62aa_m.jpgFrom years of executing SEO and SEM campaigns, I am now more than ever seeing the parallels of  social media and SEO/SEM as well as how they all work together. Ten years ago, business owners thought their only option to improve their SEO was stuffing their meta tags and submitting their site to 1,000 search engines. Similar to SEO and SEM, business owners now realize it’s not enough to just plug the social media hole because they read in some business magazine it was needed. A new phrase has joined the lexicon of business buzz words, and rightfully so, showing a more sophisticated marketer: Social Media Optimization. You should not have a social media campaign for your business just because everyone else is doing. CEOs, marketers, entrepreneurs are now seeking solutions to optimizing their social media marketing campaigns. What do I mean by Social Media Optimization?

  • Create Compelling Content – Use proven headline formulas with ( lists, how tos, popular & timely names and news), uniqueness, controversial, resource aggregation. The less often you write, more compelling topics you need to cover. Do this on your blog, every tweet on Twitter, and every status update on Facebook.
  • Target Relevant Connections – Your network, your friends’ trusted networks. Be friends with competitors and industry people, “linkerati” or “likearatti” on Facebook. Every person who likes your status update or comments are gold to you. Why? Social proof. You’re showing other people that other people like you and your content, this inturn creates more buzz. Success leads to more success.
  • Syndicate Intelligently– It’s not always how large, but where. Instead of syndicating to 100s of social media sites, only a few matter and the audiences you’ve built on those networks. If you do spend loads of time syndicating to dozens of sites, make sure you use tools optimize your efficiency. In regards to SEO, focus on getting dofollow links from sites you can get control and quickly update. Only put your most powerful posts and call favors for links to those posts. Ask for juicy keyword anchor text using your targeted keywords linking to your blog and individual posts.
  • Never Stop Growing Your Audience – Cold friending is OK. If you want to know more about someone add he/her and start a conversation. Comment on something specific in his/her profile  to get on their radar fast. Follow up again later.
  • Funnel back to Your Hub – Calls to action back to the site, teasers, giveaways, opt-in free whitepaper reports. You can’t convert if you do not filter your audience back to your website.
  • Update Content Consistency – Audiences prefer consistent short updates over long time elapses. Set a 30 minute window and make as many connections and follow ups managing current relationships by engaging others on their network and updating yours.
  • Show Social proof – Success breeds success. Who’s friends with who? Do you have common friends? How many comments have you attracted?
  • Influence the Influencers – Who are the most influential people in your network? How can you get on his/her radar. Use the Law of Reciprocity, promote others’ stuff, network offline provide value, etc.
  • Engage Your Audience – Buzz on your page. Make the “News Feed” not just the “Live Feed” on Facebook.
  • For almost five years, Dallas Internet Marketing Consultant Neil Lemons has worked behind-the-scenes to help create exposure, traffic, leads, and sales through major search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Calling upon his diverse background in copywriting, advertising, marketing, and sales, he has been learning traditional SEO and SEM tactics since 2004 and implementing since 2005.