3 (Not so) Simple Steps to Get Called an Expert
I've been asked several times this year by people about the secrets behind developing their personal brands. Associations and companies also seem to be a little lost when it comes to using the knowledge and expertise they have to add followers, members and customers.
It really comes down to three things - develop great content, build your direct mail following and share the content on social media. It's simple, but sometimes simple isn't easy and that's the case here. It's a lot of hard work.
It's taken me a long time to learn how to develop an online presence. While I'm a long way from where I would like to be, I have learned some of the secrets and am happy to share them (just don't tell anybody ok?)
Create Great Content to Show Your Stuff
When it comes to creating and marketing great content, there’s no specific task to start with. You need to do three things and all are separate, so while they have to be done they don’t really have to be completed in a specific order. In fact, you can do them in parallel if you want, but all need to be done.
For the sake of argument, let’s start with developing the content you need to share with others. Content is all about sharing your skills and knowledge to help others. You do it for free, in order to gain business down the road, once people see you as an expert in your field. A wise man also once advised you should give your best stuff away for free. That can be argued, but let’s move on.
What kind of content do you create? Speaker and business leader Hugh Culver once told me, do what you like doing. He told me, if you like to write, do a blog. If you like to speak and have some technical ability, shoot videos, or do a podcast. What format your content is in doesn’t really matter. What does matter is how well you do it.
Let’s say you want to write a weekly blog. Then do it. Figure out what you plan to write about and do some research before you start. Find out who else is writing about what you plan to do you blog on. If there are gaps, fill them.
Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. Maybe begin with a blog once every two weeks, rather than doing it weekly.
From there, figure out what delivery method to use. Can you place your blog on your website? It’s best if you can. If not, perhaps you can create a site using a service such as Wix. You can also place your blog on Wordpress, or other sites. I found this excellent online article explaining your options.
Build a Fan Base
Now you have a blog, or at least have a plan to put one together. That’s great, but who’s going to read it?
An electronic mailing list is a critically important marketing tool, regardless of whether you’re a thought leader, an association, or corporate entity such as a store or business service. In fact, the longer the mailing list, the more you can do with it.
We can get into that at another time, but what you really want to use your mailing list for is to get your blog read by as many people as possible, especially people who know you and what you do.
Start by developing a thank you gift to people who subscribe to your blog, such as an e-book, a checklist, a video or a short training course - all free of course.
Set up a free account on a site like Mail Chimp, and with a little work you can have it automatically deliver your freebie to anyone who signs up for your blog. Send people you know an email letting them know you’re starting a free blog and if they want it, all they have to do is click on a link to sign up. For their trouble they’ll receive the freebie.
Try to grow your list by advertising your blog and freebie on your website and by using social media.
You Know Social Media - Use It
Here’s where everything starts to come together. After you post your blog, regardless of whether it’s on your website or on something like Wordpress, copy the link to the blog. Go to Mail Chimp and write a lead-in to the blog, with a link to the article at the bottom. Then hit “send” so everyone on your mailing list gets it.
I’ve only mentioned social media briefly, but the third leg in this three-legged stool is to develop your social media followers. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the best sites to use to distribute your blog. Along the way, try to build your social media audiences so you can send your blog to everyone who follows you. Use an image from the blog or develop something specific for your social media feed. See more info on that below.
What you’ve done is create a blog and sent it to your mailing list and also distributed it through your social media network and hopefully your friends and followers will share it, so others can learn how smart you are too.
Tools to Make Your Job Easier
Finally, a word about some online products.
I mentioned Mail Chimp because I use it and like it. It’s free until your mailing list hits 2,000 names and then you have to pay to use it, but that’s a good problem to have. There are other similar products like AWeber.
I also use Adobe Spark to create images that can be used to go with my social media posts. You can pay a monthly or annual fee to use it. Canva is another great product that works very well too. Putting customized images with your social media posts to lead people to your blog will drastically improve the professionalism of your post and get more people to read your blog.
I also use a product called Buffer to schedule my posts because more often than not, I’m doing a media training session or speaking somewhere on Wednesdays, which is the day I’ve chosen to post and distribute my blog. Hootsuite works very well too.
Finally, plan your process as well as you can and start slow and build from there. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a great blog and distribution system.
Need a Presentation?
If your organization would like to receive a presentation on content marketing and social media, just drop me a line through the Contact page on my website.