There was a time in social media, just as in search engine optimization (SEO), when everything was only about getting to the front page. Little attention was paid to what happened after you got there, and for a while it seemed as if you could do it in your sleep. Over the last year, social media has evolved and become a more common form of online marketing and link building.
With that evolution, it has become more difficult to push your content to the front page of top social communities, and the different communities’ algorithms have taken into account the various tricks and methods previously used. Marketers are also taking more time to evaluate and determine the value of success in social media.
Whether you are looking for increased RSS subscriptions, more page views and traffic, or inbound links, it is time to start looking at a real strategy for success with social media marketing.
SEO, social media, and success online all point back to one common factor: quality content. It has been said repeatedly that “content is king,” and as overused as that comment is… it is still very true.
Content is what will convince people to return to your site and sign up for RSS feeds. It will be what inspires another blogger or webmaster to want to link to you. And when you do get the links, it will be what is likely to help your content and site rank better within search engines.
The following tips should help you to create content that will perform better in social media and increase your chance to convert, whatever your conversion metric is.
Research It all begins with research. It can be very difficult and intimidating to try to come up with good content ideas. First, determine what your content should be about (i.e., what product or service are you trying to promote). Second, think about all the various terms that relate to your subject matter (i.e., your “long tail” terms).
Once you have a good list of terms that relate to your site, search sites like Google, Delicious, and Technorati, using phrases that are typical of a good resource. Search phrases like: “how to“, “best“, “helpful“, “top 10“, and any other phrase that will show you results of content that is a good resource or helpful.
Use the results you find to come up with various content ideas. Write down anything that comes to mind so you can have a decent collection of ideas.
Get visual Images, graphics, and video can be very effective in bringing content to life. People in general like visual stimulation and will enjoy your content more if it is visually appealing. Many people online have a limited time period to catch up on reading and tend to visit a large number of sites. When you provide content with only text, it can appear intimidating and less attractive to the reader.
Using images or video helps break the content up and give a quick understanding of what the article is about, which will help your content’s success.
There is a difference between writing online and writing a paper or book. If you have a long paragraph, go ahead and break it into two, or even three, paragraphs for the sake of your readers. Try to make your content look inviting and easy to digest.
Give them everything you can Never make your readers search to find the rest of your story. Always ask yourself the questions that you think your readers might ask, and then find the answers to those questions. Check to see if your article has any background information that could add more value for your readers.
If necessary, link out to resources that add more value or have different information that might be relative to your topic.
Start a conversation You can get people involved and grow your content by inviting people to comment. Asking a question or inviting people to comment in your article can add great value.
Don’t forget SEO Think about the terms you hope to rank for. Try to put these key phrases into the title of your content and make sure that your article supports the selected phrase you have chosen. Consider the title you use carefully. You don’t want anyone to have the chance to substitute your key phrases out when they link to you.
Make it easy to link to you Provide a nice summary paragraph as an introduction and throw in a few good sentences or quotes that people can easily use when linking to, or writing about, your article. Make your title relevant to your content so it is easily used as the link anchor text.
If you make it easy for people to link and source you, they are more likely to do so. Take the time to research good content ideas and then present that content in a manner that shows it to be of high quality and a good resource; you will see increased results. Just because you can get something to the front page of a social community does not mean the readers are going to convert or link to you.
You should use social communities as a platform to get your quality content to a vast audience. Once there, the content must stand on its own. The better the quality of the content, the better chance you have to reap the rewards social media has to offer.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.