7 Tweet Types To Get Your Business Noticed Among The Twitter Noise

Twitter Growth

There is a big difference between using Twitter for business and using Twitter for business effectively. In other words, you cannot expect to create a profile, send out a few tweets here and there, and gain a huge following. Despite the crazy growth of Twitter over the past couple of years, things just don’t work this way.

Do I really even need a Twitter account? There is no rule saying your business has to use this social media service. Neglecting to do so, however, could be costing you a lot of money.

Before we get into the seven tweet types you should be using, let’s take a closer look at a few stats that are sure to get you excited:

Are you beginning to get the point? Are you beginning to see that using Twitter for business is one of the best ways to connect with potential buyers?

Try these Tweet Types

Now that you know the stats and understand why you should be using Twitter, the time has come for you to formulate a strategy. This leads to one very important question: what types of tweets are you going to send out to followers? You don’t want to take a “scatter gun” approach, hoping that something eventually sticks.

Here are seven tweet types that allow you to better engage with followers, attract a new audience, increase interaction, and much more. And if you need a little motivation, we have included a tweet that fits the mold of each type.

Make an Announcement

Did you recently release a new product or service? Did you receive an award from an industry organization? Did you hire a key employee? Did you open a new office?

There are many types of announcements you can make, all of which will be of great interest to your audience.

 

Ask a Question

The more interaction you have with your audience the better. One of the best ways to promote this is by asking questions. For example, here are a few questions a clothing retailer could ask:

  • What is your favorite thing to wear during the winter months?
  • What was the last piece of clothes you purchased and why?
  • Can you share with us your favorite shopping experience?

These types of questions can go a long way in drumming up meaningful conversation. Not to mention the fact that they can help secure new customers.

 

State an Interesting Fact

There is nothing wrong with using Twitter as a teaching platform, especially if you have an interesting fact to share. This can be related to your business, your industry, or another generalized topic.

Just the same as asking a question, when you share interesting facts you can expect others to chime in. Again, anything that has the potential to stir up a conversation is worth tweeting to your audience.

Solve a Problem, Answer a Question

Do you ever take the time to read what your followers are saying? If not, you are missing out on a great opportunity to solve a problem or answer somebody’s question.

As your followers grow, so does the chance that you will come across somebody asking a question that you can answer. By doing so, this person is going to give you many thanks. On top of this, you are sure to stick in the back of their mind.

Promote a Blog Post

If you are the type who is using Twitter for business you are probably the type who realizes the benefits of maintaining a high quality corporate blog.

While you are sure to drum up interest for each blog post in a variety of ways, don’t overlook the benefits of tweeting the URL to your followers. This is a particularly good idea if past blog posts have been retweeted without your prompting.

Tip: there is nothing wrong with promoting a blog post, but you don’t want to take things too far. This is not something you want to do day in and day out, as your audience will eventually become “blind” to what you are saying.

Retweet a Follower

What are you going to do if you run out of things to say? Your brain won’t be empty forever, but there may be times when you don’t have anything of value to share with your audience.

This is when it makes good sense to retweet what others are saying. Here are some of the benefits:

  • It fills a void, allowing you to stay active without forcing a tweet that doesn’t fit
  • The person you retweet is going to be happy that you did so, as this helps them grow their Twitter presence
  • Increases the chance that the person will retweet one of your tweets in the future, even if it is only to return the favor

 

Tips, Tips, and more Tips

Your followers are following you for a reason: they value what you have to say. If you can share tips, even those that are far from earth shattering, you will be helping somebody out.

For example, the tweet below from the Food Network is a great example. Many people may already know this, but others are sure to find the information useful.

If you want to become an authority in your industry, it is essential to share tips and advice as often as possible.

 

Are you doing the Right Thing?

Even if you experiment with the seven tweet types detailed above, you may wonder if you are doing the right thing. Here are three ways to determine if your tweets are bringing value to your followers:

  • Are others retweeting what you have to say? If so, you know you are doing something right. Take note of which tweets are receiving the most retweets, and then focus more on these types in the future.
  • Your followers are responding to your tweets, especially when you ask a question. If your primary goal is to increase interaction, chart how many people respond to your tweets and what they have to say.
  • Did anybody like it enough to click “favorite?” Just the same as retweets and responses, when somebody “favorites” your tweet it shows that they really like what you had to say.

There used to be a time when many businesses did not fully understand the benefits of using Twitter. Guess what? Those days are long gone. In today’s world, if you aren’t using Twitter you are missing out on a big opportunity while probably losing ground to your competitors.

If the time has come for your business to take full advantage of Twitter, the seven tweet types detailed above will help you hit the ground running.

How To Use Google Hangouts On Air To Promote Your Brand

With the steady and significant uptick in algorithm updates since 2004, Google has notified the internet of the importance of quality. The king of search has always set the standard when it comes to search engine etiquette, and its search facility still serves as a major gateway for website traffic. Although the avenues available for large-scale traffic have widened to accept social media authority and activity, gaining traction with as many mass market distribution vehicles as possible is paramount to creating a well-known digital blueprint.

Many of the methods for online customer acquisition have changed, but there are still some free workflows that deliver as much value as many of the best paid solutions. The common ingredients to making them work are a little knowledge, and a bit of elbow grease. Once you get over the shallow learning curve, rinsing and repeating becomes routine.

Google Hangouts has proven to be a disruptor to the online web conferencing scene, in that it provides a free solution with many of the same features that were previously only available for a steep monthly price. While there are many advanced ways to integrate this technology, including utilizing flash media servers, Amazon EC2 hosting, and multiple premium WordPress plugins to take advantage of the technology, we will show you how to get up and running with the essentials.

A setup of this nature is not only feature-rich and cost-effective, but very powerful when it comes to organically attracting, engaging, and converting new visitors into clients, customers, fans, and sales.

Upsides and Downsides of Google Hangouts on Air (GHO)

Pros:

  • Free to use
  • Streams live on your Google+ Profile and your Youtube channel (with most accounts)
  • Recorded content shows up prominently in search results (at the moment)
  • Highly engaging, trusted format that builds credibility, and allows for “selling without selling”

Cons:

  • Video resolution is not always the best
  • Need to be creative to promote your event beforehand (no pre-event permanent URL)
  • Takes a few dress rehearsals to understand the workflow
  • While viewing is unlimited, only 10 live producers can present the event at the same time

Basic Layout

On the left side of your main GHO dashboard, you’ll see a few icons that you will use to make the user experience ripe with collaboration and interactivity. Keep in mind that only users who access the Hangout through your Google+ profile will be able to take advantage of all of the features.

The top icon is for inviting friends to your Hangout. If you are inviting people who are already in your Google Circles, then it’s easy to copy the URL at the top of your Hangout window, and paste it in an email, or wherever. If invitees are not already in your circle, then there may be issues with signup, reminders, and the like.

The next icon down is used to popup a chat window, in the event that you need to have a moderated conversation with an attendee or attendees while the event is going on. Here, you can paste relevant links and resources that you deem useful for your audience in real-time. Another icon allows you to share your screen.

Near the bottom of the menu is a Google Drive icon that allows you to share documents during the live session. Attendees can collaborate on active documents without writing over the work of other attendees. The sky is the limit when the live video aspect is combined with the collaborative documents feature.

GHOA-basic-layout-1

Google Hangouts on Air Pre-Event Flight Check

Just as an airplane goes through a flight check, you’ll want to follow a routine with your GHO workflow for maximum efficiency. While snags are a part of technology, each delay dilutes the effectiveness of your live and post-event efforts. Keep in mind that as the number of presenters grows, so do the logistics, including different time zones, microphone setups, and internet speeds, to name a few.

The first step in synchronizing producers is making sure that each presenter has a Google+ account from Gmail. It’s a good idea to email presenters a screenshot of the Gmail dashboard, and direct them to the Google+ signup link that appears in the top right or left corner:

GHOA-pre-signup

If they haven’t already, it is a good idea to make sure presenters have filled out their name and avatar profile information. Other essentials include a photo, a tidbit on their personal background in the description area, and their display name.

HOA Presenter Setup

Whether you opt to do a dress rehearsal or send setup instructions to your group of presenters, the professionalism of your GHO presentation is directly related to your preparation. Coming off as unpolished does lend itself to authenticity to an extent, however, large gaffes will decrease the trust and credibility that comes with this presentation medium.

Here are a few general tips to remember when aiming for nice-looking presentations:

  • Maintain ample lighting (computer cameras have a habit of producing dark video)
  • Mute your microphone (unless you are speaking)
  • Choose a quiet area (even computer “humming” can be loud on camera)
  • If possible, angle your camera down on your face, and position yourself so that you are visible from the shoulders up

Combining Google+ Events With GHO

Creating a GHO event is a great way to leverage the search engine power of Hangouts, and increase awareness of your product or service long after your event has passed. Take these steps to integrate Google Events, and Hangouts:

  1. Create a Google+ Community
  2. Share your event from the share box
    GHOA-event
  3. Clicking on the “Text” icon will create your event
    • Name and write a description for your event (as mentioned earlier, no pre-event Hangout URL is available)
  4. Under your event advanced settings, click the “On Air” button (this alerts event attendees that your event is a virtual one rather than a physical one)
    GHOA-event2-1
  5. Just prior to starting your event, navigate to the Hangouts menu, and click the “Start a Hangout on Air” button
  6. Get the Youtube URL from the embed link located at the top right of the Hangout dashboard, navigate to the Google Community you just created, and click on the Video icon
    GHOA-video-button

    • Share your Youtube URL in the share box (now it is automatically shared in your Google Community and Google+ pages)
      GHOA-YT-URL
  7. Press “Start” to begin recording the broadcast, and “End” to finish

Your Google Community followers can now see which events are being live-broadcast, and view them even after the event. If you wish to delete the recording, you can do so from your Youtube Video Manager associated with its respective Google Plus account.

This should give you the tools you need to start running successful Google Hangouts on Air. Regularly doing so will give you consistent access to a pipeline of new potential customers and fans of your products and services. Combined with their increased shelf-life due to organic search, GHO can be a vital part of a comprehensive new media outreach campaign.

Grow Your Blog’s Traffic With These “Off The Beaten Path” Ideas

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ve probably tried some of the traditional marketing methods out there, such as  advertising on various sites. However, by keeping an open mind to “off the beaten path” marketing ideas to grow your blog traffic, you can generate more blog traffic and build a blog brand’s credibility even faster with less competition. Another advantage to marketing in unusual places is that you will reach customers you might not come across in other forums and get a leg up on your competition, who may not have a presence in this out-of-the-way  online venues.

Breaking New Ground

When you’re ready to add some test markets to your promotional plan, there are a handful of unique promotions that you’ll want to start with. These sites and methods get high traffic and have been successful for other entrepreneurs.

SlideShare

According to SlideShare, about 3 billion slides per month are viewed on this website. That breaks down into 1,140 views per second. The majority audience at SlideShare is made up of professionals, such as business owners and executives. If your blog is one that would appeal to this demographic, then creating a slide or two on topics you’re an expert in can be a good way to introduce your business to new people.

The slideshows are similar in nature to a Power Point presentation. In fact, if you create a slideshow in Power Point, you can then upload it to SlideShare and allow it to serve a dual purpose. The site is different than other social media networks, because it is less interactive. However, it is very informational, so you can teach people about what you do in a fun way.

As a blogger, you’re probably aware that Google’s algorithms have changed drastically in the last couple of years. The new Google appears to favor information that has high value and is quick and easy to read. SlideShare covers both of these requirements, so the site ranks well with Google’s search engines. This means that your slideshow may rank better on this site and you’ll get more browser mileage out posting a slideshow here than you might elsewhere.

You will want to make a couple of changes to get the most traffic possible from your posted slideshow. Most importantly, you’ll want to add a clickable hyperlink to your website at the end of the slideshow. You’ll also want to use the embed feature to embed the slideshow onto your own website.

Pinterest

You likely already have a presence for your business on Twitter due to the massive numbers of visitors using the site. According to Pew Internet Research in their Social Networking Use report (May, 2013), about 18% of online adults use Twitter. However, Pinterest is within reach of Twitter’s coat tails at 15%.

With that many people actively using this interesting website, this can be one place where your blog can have a presence and reach new users that the competition may have overlooked. Pew states that 68.2% of the users on the site are women. If your blog would be of interest to women, then this site may be of particular interest to you.

The site is driven by images. Most people going to Pinterest are looking for crafts, recipes and interesting sayings that they can then share on other social media networks or save on “pin” on their boards to share with friends on Pinterest or use later. To take advantage of this site, you might want to:

  • Create some motivational quotes and combine them with beautiful background images.
  • Come up with a how-to article that relates to your blog’s theme and share it on Pinterest.
  • Offer a recipe each week that ties into your blog. For example, if you write a blog with golfing tips, you could create a recipe called “Golf Day Stew” that golfers could allow to cook in a crock pot while out golfing.

When it comes to Pinterest, if your blog doesn’t naturally fit into the crafting and recipe type format, you may have to think outside the box a little to come up with a way to reach new customers through this format.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging isn’t exactly a new idea. However, you can take this concept off your typical course and reach out to new markets. What businesses are related to yours that are not competition? For example, if you write a wedding planning blog, can you guest blog on sites about floral arrangements, shoes, cake decorating and photography? Think about topics you can write for each of these types of blogs that would tie into what you’re already doing but still be unique. Example, you could write an article about simple floral arrangements for a country themed outdoor wedding for the floral arrangements site and an article about choosing the best photographer for your wedding for the photography site.

Another unique concept is to create a “blog tour” that lasts 30 days. You will need to find 30 blog owners willing to let you guest blog and come up with 30 unique posts.

You may feel a little uncertain about guest blogging. After all, Matt Cutts, Google Spokesperson, recently stated that using guest blogging to drive traffic to your site could potentially hurt your overall ranking. However, if you seek out quality blogs and provide quality content, you will gain new visitors through these posts. So, it just depends on what your overall goal is. Keep in mind that Google doesn’t like backlinks just for the sake of backlinking. Make sure you choose quality websites to guest blog on and that you only link to your own site once, if it even makes sense to do so.

There may even be occasions where you guest blog simply to increase name and brand recognition and don’t include a link back to your site at all. The choice is yours. The important thing is to be smart about making those choices. Stay away from ad-heavy blogs that might be flagged as spam sites or take a hit from Google. It is important which sites you link to or that link to you with new Google algorithm changes, so just be aware and make linking decisions accordingly.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia is one of those sites that pulls up in Google often. You’ve probably noticed it when you’ve searched for various terms. It holds prime real estate value. It would be nice to get a piece of the 116,835,000 visitors it claims. However, Wikipedia is tricky. If you go over there and start adding links to your own site in the hopes of getting visitors from them, you’re likely to get pinged by Wikipedia editors and blocked from the site.

Essentially, you have to spend a little time and get involved on Wikipedia. Talk to others in the community. Edit articles without any self-interest and without adding your own link. It’s smart to stick to educational and government resources when doing this as they are seen as extremely credible. You can thus establish yourself as an authority on your topic and someone else in the community may begin to use your articles as references.

This process can take time, so this isn’t a quick fix to get on Wikipedia. However, having just one article linked to on there can help your website traffic increase.

Liveblogging

Liveblogging events has taken on a life of its own. Nielson announced that during the 2013 Super Bowl 26.1 million tweets were posted. The year before it was around 13 million. There is a definite uptick in the number of people micro-blogging about an event as that event goes on. However, your blog can take advantage of the popularity of this trend in a number of ways.

  • Install a live feed on your own website with WordPress plugin LiveBlog.
  • Place a feed in your sidebar and utilize a service like Feedjit.
  • Use Pirate Pad and invite your customers to get involved in reporting on the event.
  • Host an event, such as a guest speaker, and then live blog about that event on Twitter.

The other thing you’ll want to do is try to find an event that makes sense for the theme of your own blog. For example, if you blog about daily soaps, then liveblog about the Daytime Emmy Awards. You may even want to line up an interview or two ahead of time with some of the newer stars on daytime soaps and include a link to those posts within your liveblogging feed.

Become a Trend Watcher

Ultimately, to benefit from ideas out of the norm, you have to become a bit of a trend watcher. What are the latest social media sites people in the age demographic you are targeting are frequenting? For example, if you are targeting readers in their teens and early 20s, Instagram seems to be a favorite. How can your site get involved there and gain a following?

On the other hand, if your demographic is senior citizens, you’ll want to seek out what is trending in that age group. What current topics are of concern to seniors and how can you tap into that with your blog marketing?

Be open to new ideas. Pay attention to what other blog owners are doing as well as what they aren’t yet doing. Be a trend watcher, so you can become a trend setter with your marketing plan and forge a new path that puts you ahead of your competition.

 

4 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Blog

Unless your new business venture involves a branch campus of the Illuminati, you probably want your small business to get noticed. So what do you do? Set up your business in a high-traffic area? Great. Get a big sign? Fantastic.  Set up your website and social media sites? Even better.

While many small businesses consider this a great place to stop, they don’t realize that they are actually missing a very crucial element.

According to a recent study done by GE Capital Retail Bank, 81% of consumers will engage in online research before making a major purchase, a number that is up by 20% from 2012.

This means two things for you, the small business owner. First, you need people to find your company amidst their research. Second, they need to like what they see. But how do you do that? How do you differentiate yourself from other companies that are in a similar field and make your business more visible?

Thankfully, the answer is not as elusive as it may feel, and doesn’t involve spending copious amounts of marketing cash or hiring a pothead teenager to spin your sign on a street corner. Simply put, start a blog.

Not the answer you were expecting (or wanting)? Before you begin throwing rotten cabbage at me, please consider a few things. As much as we enjoy Mad Men, marketing has taken a dramatic shift in the 21st Century. Our means of connection and interaction have moved to the digital universe, and thus, we need to meet our customers there.

If you are aspiring to grow your small business and beat out the competition, blogging is a non-negotiable. Below are 4 reasons your small business needs a blog… right away.

1. Search Engines Will Love You

Teenage romance movies seem to be all the rage these days. If you have seen any of these movies, you notice a trend. Though the themes may change (vampires, sports, inner-city life), the plot basically stays the same:

  • We are introduced to a socially-outcast girl at a local high school
  • We also meet a handsome boy (often a jock) at the same high school
  • Socially-outcast girl makes a reference to an upcoming prom and how she plans on not attending
  • Due to some unforeseen incident, the boy and girl have to partner together in a class
  • Both hate each other and frown upon the others social identity
  •  Through shared experiences and time together, they soften toward one another
  • At the night of the big dance, socially-outcast girl shows up without glasses and in a beautiful dress
  • Boy realizes that he loves her, renounces his prom king award, cheerleader girlfriend and Princeton scholarship (that dad forced on him) and confesses his affections to her

If Google is the handsome jock, then your small business needs to be the prettiest girl at the dance, and blogging will help get it there!

Search engines love fresh content. As you add new and regular content to your website, search engines will begin to move you higher on their results page. Is your website regularly getting new content or is it stale? If you want to be seen you need new (and regular) content!

Your blog is the easiest and most effective way to regularly add content to your website. This isn’t a ‘one and done’ exercise. You need to be consistent with your posting. It may feel daunting, but your business will thank you for it.

Don’t make your clients wade through 12 pages of ‘search results’ to find you!

2. Potential Customers Have More Opportunity to Find You

When your company begins to embraces blogging, not only will customers be able to find you more easily, they will also be able to find you more often. The reason is simple: diversification.

When you regularly post to your company’s blog, you are creating another opportunity for potential customers to come across your website. The reason is twofold:

  • More Posts = More Search Engine Results

Let’s say that you run an independent insurance company and recently set up a website. At that point, your only hope of being found online is if a customer Google’s “insurance company [your city]”.

However, if your company is also embraces blogging, you make yourself more available. A certain customer may have never  heard of your insurance company, but when they Google “Should I use an independent insurance agent” they will likely find an article about that subject… written on your website. Why? Because you are blogging about your business and industry. In an instant, you went from an unknown company to an entity that is educating someone as to why they should use your services.

  • More Posts = More Social Media Exposure

On top of search engine results, regular blogging will also give you a stage on various social media sites.

How?

One of the keys of good marketing is networking. If you want to see more success in your business, you need to connect with other people that will help your company grow. Since the rise of social media, this has never been easier.

As your company begins to take advantage of blogging, it would benefit your company to show its blog posts on your social media sites.

Not only does your network of peers get to see your work, but they may also share your post with others who may be interested as well. Going back to the 81% of people who do online research before purchases, testimonials and personal endorsements via “sharing” a post goes a long way.

Additionally, your blog can even begin to collect a following of readers and subscribers. This will drive regular traffic to your website via dedicated followers.

3. You Establish Expertise

Here’s some truth: In order to be trusted by the public, your business needs to prove itself. And that’s fair. You may know that you are one of the best in your field, but that doesn’t mean much to the consumer. If you want the public to give you their business, you need to show them why.

Can you guess what the remedy might be? Yep, blogging!

Blogging is one of the best platforms you have as you seek to display your expertise. Write about your industry, whether it is current events, ‘how-to’s’, tutorials, helpful advice or things of the like. And do it often. Show your customers that you are well versed in your field.

But be careful. If you’re attempting to build your credibility and expertise (which you should), make sure that you are giving correct information. Your credibility can take a huge hit if you are known to supply shoddy work. Remember, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose.

4. A Blog Gives Your Business a “Personality”

Not only will a blog help get your company noticed, it can also help put your customers at ease. For many people who fear the unknown, even walking into an unfamiliar business can be anxiety-provoking. What can you do to help?

Keeping a regularly updated blog can help to set a tone for your business that will benefit customers. As you blog about current events happening in your store and in your industry, as well as ‘how-to’s’ and other relevant topics, do not be afraid to infuse some personality. Not only does this make good writing, it also helps your customers feel comfortable with you and your company.

Moving Forward

The idea of starting a company blog can feel daunting; that is understandable. Amidst all of the other work you have to put into your business, writing a blog can feel like a hassle. But the truth is, you can’t afford not to blog. If you are seeking to be found and noticed on the internet, a blog is necessary.

If you really feel like you do not have time to blog, hope is not lost! There are still avenues you can take to have a thriving blog:

  • Delegate writing responsibilities to a trusted employee
  • If your budget allows, hire a freelance writer(s)
  • Consider posting on a regular, but less frequent, basis (2-4 times a month)

So if you’re ready, take the plunge today and start your business blog! We want to hear your feedback. How has your small business benefited from blogging? Please leave a comment and share your experience with us!

How to Get A-List Bloggers to Promote Your Blog

Imagine this: you wake up tomorrow morning and ten of the top bloggers in your niche decided to promote your blog. If that’s not enough to put a smile on your face, now imagine that they, along with hundreds of other bloggers, promote your blog every time you write a new post.

Despite what you may think, the key to getting this kind of promotion for your blog isn’t quality content. Yes, you do have to write quality posts, but more importantly, you have to write relevant content if you want a-listers sharing your links. (Note: In my below tips, I often include examples from Twitter, but these techniques can be used to get promotion on any social or bookmarking site.)

Types of Relevant Content

Writing relevant content isn’t about using a formula; it’s about tapping into what top bloggers want and need. Here are some examples of relevant content that can entice others to share:

  • Posts that Quote, Interview, or Mention the Blogger

One of the easiest and fastest ways to get someone to share one of your posts is to make them part of the content. People love to read about themselves. No matter how new you are, most people would be happy to give you an interview, as long as you aren’t asking for too much time. Even quoting or mentioning a top blogger can get them to promote your blog. For example, one blogger wrote a post that named Chris Brogan’s blog one of the top business blogs, and he shared the link with his 267,000+ followers:

twitter with chris brogan

Would he have shared if the list didn’t include his blog? Maybe, if it was spectacularly written, promoted his friends, or written by someone he knows. But the fact that he was named on the list meant that it got some promotion love no matter what.

  • Case Studies Involving a Blogger’s Tips

Want a top blogger to promote your post? Test out one (or several) of their tips and write a post outlining your results. Not only is this a great way to stroke an ego, but assuming the tip helped you, it is also an awesome testimonial for the blogger. You don’t even necessarily need to write a case study about your own blog. Instead, profile someone who used a tip from a top blogger and interview them about their results. Two for the price of one: a case study and an interview!

  • Solutions to a Problem

No blogger is without his or her struggles. If you help a top blogger with one of their challenges, not only will they share your post, but they’ll also start to consider you a peer, rather than a newbie. One blogger who did this extremely well was Derek Halpern, who reviewed sites for a-list bloggers (such as Amy Porterfield) to help them get more traffic and increase conversions. Be helpful and you’ll reap the rewards, just like Derek did.

Supporting Your Posts with Social Activity

Even if you write relevant content, top bloggers might not promote your blog if they don’t know you. That’s why I always recommend using social media to build strong relationships with top bloggers (which can coincidentally also help you with affiliate sales). Again, it is about relevant content and being helpful. I like to split this part into three categories: conversation, custom shares, and curation.

  • Conversation

First, it is important to actually talk to other bloggers in your niche. Pat Flynn gave me a really great tip for this, which is especially good for Twitter:

When you want a top blogger to notice you, find out who they are talking to, and tweet with those people first. Then, tweet with the blogger who’s attention you really want to attract. When they check your stream, they’ll see their friends’ names, which makes them more likely to follow you.

Conversation means more than “thanks for the link” or “great picture.” Add some value. If they ask a question, answer it. If they need help, help them. If they share an experience, share your own similar experiences.

Remember, it’s not about business. It’s about being relevant to the person’s interests. This works, no matter how popular the celebrity. For example, recently I shared a brief Twitter-conversation with Penn Jillette. Here’s part of it:

twitter with penn

He tweeted with me because I wasn’t trying to grab a piece of him with questions or promote an agenda. I was just a girl talking about a mutual interest in zombie movies. Of course, some people (like Penn) are more interested in Twitter conversations than others, but the fact remains that a-listers have people coming from them at every angle. It’s refreshing when someone simply wants to have a conversation about a shared hobby. When you become friends with someone, they’re more likely to promote your blog in the future. Sometimes, it’s about the long game.

  • Custom Shares

If you want top bloggers to share your links, it behooves you to share theirs first. But top bloggers have hundreds or even thousands of shares on every post. So, how do you get your share noticed? Simple: write something different.

When most people share a link, they simply include the title, link, and name of the writer. Instead, write something different that encourages people to click the link and compliments the blogger. Being unique will help you stand out in a sea of retweets, and people will be more likely to promote your blog if you stand out and they remember you.

  • Curation

Next, become a master curator. If you know that so-and-so likes a certain sports team, and you see an interesting article about one of the players, send them the link. Or if you know that so-and-so likes to bake pies, send them the link to an interesting recipe you found. Do not promote your own stuff. Simply promote posts, videos, and other content that the other person would enjoy. Be their own personal curator.

It feels good when someone says, “I’ve been thinking of you,” or “This reminded me of you.” We all like to be noticed and remembered.

For example, recently I saw someone send a YouTube link to an inspirational song to a top blogger, Jenny Lawson a.k.a. The Bloggess, who is extremely open about her struggles with depression. Unprompted, Jenny retweeted the link:

twitter with the bloggess

So, not only did “Miss Morgan” strengthen her relationship with Jenny, but she also got some free promotion. When someone with 365,000+ followers retweets you, you’re bound to get a few new followers.

Tools to Help Top Bloggers Promote Your Blog

The easier it is for a blogger to promote your blog, the more likely they’ll do it. Here are a few of my favorite tools for blog promotion:

  • Triberr

When I first started using Triberr years ago, I didn’t like it. My, how things have changed! Today, this is one of my favorite promotion and discovery tools, and I recommend all bloggers use it.

The concept is simple: You sign up, add your blog’s feed, and join groups (called “tribes”) filled with people who have similar interests. Each tribe has a stream filled with the posts of its members, which you can easily share. You can also start your own tribes and invite members.

Every time one of my posts goes live, I get lots of shares from Triberr. It takes some time to build your profile there, but once you prove yourself a valuable member of the community, you’ll get top bloggers willing to make you a member of their tribes so they can promote your blog.

  • WiseStamp RSS Email App

You can easily promote your blog with WiseStamp every time you send an email (there are other services that allow you to do this as well, but WiseStamp is my favorite). Sure, you can put a link in your signature manually, but an even better move is to use an app to add your RSS feed. That way, your latest post will always be displayed.

Yes, people notice. If you send an a-lister a short email to thank them or ask a question, even if they don’t reply, they might click on the link in your signature if the title is enticing. (Writing great titles is a must.)

WiseStamp actually has a huge number of email apps available. I just like the RSS one the best! If an a-lister reads your email, you might as well get the most out of it, right? It’s a really simple way to promote your blog posts without much effort.

  • Social Button Plugin

If I get to your site and can’t find a button to easily share your link, I’m probably not going to share it. Sounds harsh, but my time is limited. You’ve done all that effort to get an a-lister reading your blog. Don’t throw it away by making it hard to share.

WordPress (and other platforms…though WordPress is the one I recommend) has several plugins available to make sharing easy. My favorite is Sharaholic because it is easy to use, looks slick, and has a ton of features, but if you browse the WordPress plugin directory, you’ll find dozens of great options. There’s no excuse for not having a social sharing plugin on your blog.

A Final Piece of Advice

Any relationship is about give and take. As you build relationships with top bloggers in your niche, reaching out and asking for their help with blog promotion is fine, but those requests will be ignored if you don’t give back ten times as much as you take. Someone who tweets every link I post? I’m going to notice that person and say yes to a request to retweet a high-quality post. Someone who doesn’t help me in any way? I’m probably not going to have time.

Position yourself as someone helpful and giving, and people will be helpful and giving in return.

Rel=Author: Increase Click Through Rates and Social Rankings

 

Traffic. That’s the name of the game. If you have traffic, you’ll be able to turn that into a strong, loyal audience, and then finally, you’ll be able to make money off them.

Getting that traffic, though, is difficult. I’d be remiss to say that getting people to come to your blog, participate, and hopefully result in profit is an easy task. It’s anything but easy. Tiring, stressful, and often demoralizing.

Rel=Author

Now that I’ve gotten the gruesome out of the way, let me lay out a tactic that should help you to increase your rankings in Google, increase your click through rates (CTRs), and have the right people coming to your site that will increase your profitability. Is it the end all be all to getting audience? There isn’t one-way to do that. But if it can help increase your organic traffic by over 30%, perhaps it’s well worth your time.

The tactic that I am referring to is the implementation of the “Rel=author” tag on your site. For those that haven’t seen, this enables a small face of the author to appear to the left of the result. Since most of the results don’t have this, it draws the searcher’s eye to it. While it’s not the only variable that entices a click—your title tag and meta-description are definitely big parts here—it will help significantly.

what-is-rel-author

Just one last thing before I explain the details. There are actually two variables. The “rel=author” and the “rel=me” tags. The basic structure works as follows: you set up a Google+ account, add the site that you are a contributor to, and then link to your Google+ account on your site. That makes the connection. But you can also link to other pages with the “rel=me” tag that tells Google those other links are also part of your network.

In other words … you should link to your Twitter account using “rel=me.” That’ll tell Google which Twitter account is YOUR Twitter account.

So the question is: how do we set it up on our own sites? I’m glad you asked.

Step 1: Google+

Google PlusIf you thought you were going to get away from Google+, you were mistaken. Google’s social networking site is alive, kicking, and ready to try and dominate. Google will do whatever it can to make their social network work. So play along.

If you haven’t already created an account, create one. But assuming you have, head on over. When Google+ loads, it always displays your posts to constantly remind you that you should participate. Click “About” in the navigation. Scroll down until you get to “Links.” This includes links to anything of yours off site: your other social accounts, your blog, and any sites that you contribute to.

Punch in the URLs that you write for and voila, you are done with this step. This is Google’s way of having a control variable when setting up the authorship tag. It’s also how Google pulls data so that it will include your name, your picture, and the number of people in your circles.

Google Plus Profile

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 11.23.55 AM

Step 2: Your Site

Now you need to put the code on your site so Google knows to search for your Google+ account. That sentence is a bit tricky to understand, but it works like this. The Googlebot lands on your page and starts to read your site’s information. It stops at “rel=author” and sees either a link to your Google+ or the profile number. It holds this information and then continues reading the rest of the page. I would need 20,000 words (or more) to explain the details of everything that helps your site rank.

I digress …

You’ll need to put the following into the header:

Just copy/paste from your Google+ and subtract the /posts/ Google always adds.

But since most of you are likely building your blog on WordPress—I really hope all of you—then there is a far simpler way to do it.

Some WordPress frameworks, such as Genesis, come with the functionality for Authorship already built in. Therefore, all you need to do is go to your profile page in the backend of WP, locate the Google+ section, and paste the Google+ URL.

Then you’re done.

But if you’re not using a framework, all you’ll need is one of the two big SEO plugins available today: All in One SEO Pack or Yoast SEO. My favorite is Yoast, but either one will result in the same outcome.

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 11.28.22 AM

Just like with the framework, both of these plugins take the data from your WordPress profile. A new field will show up in your profile, paste your URL, and then it’s connected. To ensure this is happening, go to publish a new article and it’ll include a drop down of Author metadata.

Step 3: Test

Just because you’ve added the code doesn’t mean it’s going to work. Fortunately, Google has provided us with a simple tool called the “Structured Data Testing Tool” to guarantee that your implementation has worked. Copy and paste one of your articles into the tool and if it’s working, it’ll say: “Your authorship setup is finished. Congratulations! However, please note that Google will only show your author portrait in search results when we think it will be useful to the user.”

If it doesn’t confirm that it’s working, you’ll need to go back and make sure you added the correct URL to your profile or in the SEO plugins or you’ll need to confirm that you connected the correct site to your Google+ contributor section. If both are working, your test should come up positively.

Structured Data Testing Tool

But I’m Just a Writer

So let’s say you’re the minority visitor to this site and you’re not interested in running a blog, but rather, you just want to write on other blogs as a freelance writer. It’s a great career and you can make plenty of money.

There is a theory in the SEO community that Google will start to gauge your authority based on the types of articles you write, where you publish them, and other unknown variables. In other words, if you write about finance on a diverse number of sites, Google might see you as an authority in finance.

As a freelance writer, this is very valuable for you. You are, effectively, bringing your authority to other sites. Should you get a job writing an occasional column for another site, that site benefits from your authority as well; therefore, you are in a position to negotiate. If you run a site about SEO, would you pay more from a beginner or an expert? If you have a ton of authority in Google’s eyes, other sites are going to pay you more money. Period.

None of this has really been proven yet, but ask yourself: if you could prepare for the future of SEO before it happens, would you do it? If the answer is no, you’re likely in the wrong business. There is no harm preparing and even if it never comes to that, you’re still going to have the picture in the SERPs which will, inevitably, increase the CTR.

You should know that Google is constantly in change about what pages they show the data on. About a month ago, there was a report that the image snippet had stopped showing on real estate sites. Does this mean that Google is against commercial and they view real estate as commercial? Who knows? But what we do know is Google always changes.

Increase your click through rates, get more traffic, and plan for the future is what you’re doing when you implement the authorship tag.

If you have trouble setting up your Authorship, please post in the comments. I’ll try and help you out and help figure it out. But if you’re using WordPress, you’re likely going to have it done in about two minutes. It really is that simple.