This is a guest post from Matt Cheuvront and is part of the Guest Blog Grand Tour over at Life Without Pants. Want to learn more about Matt Cheuvront & see how far the rabbit hole goes? Subscribe to the Life Without Pants RSS feed & follow him on Twitter to keep in touch!
Ok, you caught me. Busted. I’m kind of a Star Wars nerd. There’s something about the lightsabers and intergalactic battles that is just so damn cool. And in a world full of analogies these days, why don’t we tie the connection of being “one” with the force as being “one” with your consumers and community audience.
Here are seven things you NEED to be doing with your blog and Social Media “force” in your epic struggle against the “noise” and “clutter” from the Dark Side.
Target a specific audience
If you don’t know who your audience is, how are you ever going to know if you’re hitting the right notes? Part of the marketing process, and probably the most important, is RESEARCH. You MUST define your demographic (you know, the people who actually give a damn about whatever you’re selling/writing/etc). Once you’ve defined them, you can customize your style and approach. What’s equally important is that you don’t exclude everyone else. Why? Because they may not know they’re interested until they become interested. It’s your job to lead them in and get them on your bandwagon. But never forget the horse(s) who brought you to the race.
Be a thought leader
What is a “thought leader” anyway? To quote David Meerman Scott’s New Rules of Marketing & PR:
“A thought leader, instead of selling something directly, tells the world that you are smart, that you understand the market very well, and that you might be a person or organization that would be valuable to do business with.”
A thought leader is selfless – not promoting themselves, but rather, what they can do for you – by being engaged and involved in your community, a thought leader knows what you want WHEN you want it. Timing is everything.
Be authentic and transparent
The most important thing…Hands down. The minute you become someone or something you’re not – you’ll expose yourself as a total fraud. It might work for a while, you might be able to hide behind your mask, but eventually you’re going to have to tell Luke that you’re his father. Eventually the truth will come out and odds are, it won’t be pretty when it does. Know your identity and own it – be authentic, genuine, and transparent in every single thing that you do.
Create lots of links
Link to your own site – link to others – in short, link like a maniac. People love links – they love to explore and find new things – whether it is digging through the archives of your own blog/website (interlinking is a prime SEO practice) or discovering something new – incorporate links early and often in everything you do and leave breadcrumbs for your community to explore new paths on their own.
Participate. Engage. Listen
Listening is priority number one. Above all else, you have to know when to shut up and listen to your community, listen to your competition, and pay attention to what others are saying about you. By listening, you’ll know exactly when the right time is to engage – the right time to say “hello” – the right time to close a sale. Listen first, participate second, then follow it up with the engagement.
Make it easy to find you (everywhere)
A blog or website is a platform created by in individual. I may not know about you – but when I discover a great new website, I want to know who’s behind it. I want to follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their RSS, send them an affectionate “you are awesome” email…you get the picture. People want to know YOU – Make this EASY to do with OBVIOUS calls to action and ENCOURAGE people to do it.
Experiment. Screw up. Learn. Experiment again.
There’s a time in every young Padawan’s life when he knows nothing of the force – his Mitchlorians may be off the scale, but they have no idea they can push stuff around with their mind, shoot lighting out of their hands, and all kinds of other cool stuff.
The same goes for you – you don’t know if something will work until you try. The only time you fail is when you DON’T try. Blogging and Social Media is great because it allows you to try new things. If it isn’t working, great, tweak it and try something else – or abandon the effort and try something new. THERE ARE NO EXPERTS in Social Media – its one great big learning experience for EVERYONE (even the Brogan and GaryVee’s) at the party.
Don’t dwindle down the path of the Dark Side, no matter how tempting or easy it may seem to sell yourself out – side the those of the light and do things the right way. Be genuine, use the tools at your disposal for good, and never be afraid to challenge yourself to trying new things.