Tag Archive | "Community"

Building a Community of Advocates Through Smart Content

Posted by Michelle_LeBlanc

From gentle criticism to full-on trolls, every brand social media page or community sometimes faces pushback. Maybe you’ve seen it happen. Perhaps you’ve even laughed along as a corporation makes a condescending misstep or a local business publishes a glaring typo. It’s the type of thing that keeps social media and community managers up at night. Will I be by my phone to respond if someone needs customer service help? Will I know what to write if our brand comes under fire? Do we have a plan for dealing with this?

Advocates are a brand’s best friend

In my years of experience developing communities and creating social media content, I’ve certainly been there. I won’t try to sell you a magic elixir that makes that anxiety go away, but I’ve witnessed a phenomenon that can take the pressure off. Before you can even begin to frame a response as the brand, someone comes out of the woodwork and does it for you. Defending, opening up a conversation, or perhaps deflecting with humor, these individuals bring an authenticity to the response that no brand could hope to capture. They are true advocates, and they are perhaps the most valuable assets a company could have.

But how do you get them?

Having strong brand advocates can help insulate your brand from crisis, lead to referring links and positive media coverage, AND help you create sustainable, authentic content for your brand. In this blog post, I’ll explore a few case studies and strategies for developing these advocates, building user-generated content programs around them, and turning negative community perceptions into open dialogue.

Case study 1: Employee advocates can counter negative perceptions

To start, let’s talk about negative community perceptions. Almost every company deals with this to one degree or another.

In the trucking industry, companies deal with negative perceptions not just of their individual company, but also of the industry as a whole. You may not be aware of this, but our country needs approximately 3.5 million truck drivers to continue shipping daily supplies like food, medicine, deals from Amazon, and everything else you’ve come to expect in your local stores and on your doorstep. The industry regularly struggles to find enough drivers. Older drivers are retiring from the field, while younger individuals may be put off by a job that requires weeks away from home. Drivers that are committed to the industry may change jobs frequently, chasing the next hiring bonus or better pay rate.

How does a company counter these industry-wide challenges and also stand out as an employer from every other firm in the field?

Using video content, Facebook groups, and podcasts to create employee advocates

For one such company, we looked to current employees to become brand advocates in marketing materials and on social media. The HR and internal communications team had identified areas of potential for recruitment — e.g. separating military, women — and we worked with them to identify individuals that represented these niche characteristics, as well as the values that the company wanted to align themselves with: safety, long-term tenure with the company, affinity for the profession, etc. We then looked for opportunities to tell these individuals’ stories in a way that was authentic, reflected current organic social media trends, and provided opportunities for dialogue.

In one instance, we developed a GoPro-shot, vlog-style video program around two female drivers that featured real-life stories and advice from the road. By working behind the scenes with these drivers, we were able to coach them into being role models for our brand advocate program, modeling company values in media/PR coverage and at live company events.

One driver participated in an industry-media live video chat where she took questions from the audience, and later she participated in a Facebook Q&A on behalf of the brand as well. It was our most well-attended and most engaged Q&A to date. Other existing and potential drivers saw these individuals becoming the heroes of the brand’s stories and, feeling welcomed to the dialogue by one of their own, became more engaged with other marketing activities as a result. These activities included:

  • A monthly call-in/podcast show where drivers could ask questions directly of senior management. We found that once a driver had participated in this forum, they were much more likely to stay with the company — with a 90% retention rate!
  • A private Facebook group where very vocal and very socially active employees could have a direct line to the company’s driver advocate to express opinions and ask questions. In addition to giving these individuals a dedicated space to communicate, this often helped us identify trends and issues before they became larger problems.
  • A contest to nominate military veterans within the company to become a brand spokesperson in charge of driving a military-themed honorary truck. By allowing anyone to submit a nomination for a driver, this contest helped us discover and engage members of the audience that were perhaps less likely to put themselves forward out of modesty or lack of esteem for their own accomplishments. We also grew our email list, gained valuable insights about the individuals involved, and were able to better communicate with more of this “lurker” group.

By combining these social media activities with traditional PR pitching around the same themes, we continued to grow brand awareness as a whole and build an array of positive links back to the company.

When it comes to brand advocates, sometimes existing employees simply need to be invited in and engaged in a way that appeals to their own intrinsic motivations — perhaps a sense of belonging or achievement. For many employee-based audiences, social media engagement with company news or industry trends is already happening and simply needs to be harnessed and directed by the brand for better effect.

But what about when it comes to individuals that have no financial motivation to promote a brand? At the other end of the brand advocate spectrum from employees are those who affiliate themselves with a cause. They may donate money or volunteer for a specific organization, but when it comes down to it, they don’t have inherent loyalty to one group and can easily go from engaged to enraged.

Case study 2: UGC can turn volunteers into advocates

One nonprofit client that we have the privilege of working with dealt with this issue on a regular basis. Beyond misunderstandings about their funding sources or operations, they occasionally faced backlash about their core mission on social media. After all, for any nonprofit or cause out there, it’s easy to point to two or ten others that may be seen as “more worthy,” depending on your views. In addition, the nature of their cause tended to attract a lot of attention in the holiday giving period, with times of low engagement through the rest of the year.

Crowdsourcing user-generated content for better engagement

To counter this and better engage the audience year-round, we again looked for opportunities to put individual faces and stories at the forefront of marketing materials.

In this case, we began crowdsourcing user-generated content through monthly contesting programs during the organization’s “off” months. Photos submitted during the contests could be used as individual posts on social media or remixed across videos, blog posts, or as a starting point for further conversation and promotion development with the individuals. As Facebook was the primary promotion point for these contests, they attracted those who were already highly engaged with the organization and its page. During the initial two-month program, the Facebook page gained 16,660 new fans with no associated paid promotion, accounting for 55% of total page Likes in the first half of 2016.

Perhaps even more importantly, the organization was able to save on internal labor in responding to complaints or negative commentary on posts as even more individuals began adding their own positive comments. The organization’s community manager was able to institute a policy of waiting to respond after any negative post, allowing the brand advocates time to chime in with a more authentic, volunteer-driven voice.

By inviting their most passionate supporters more deeply into the fold and giving them the space and trust to communicate, the organization may have lost some measure of control over the details of the message, but they gained support and understanding on a deeper level. These individuals not only influenced others within the social media pages of the organization, but also frequently shared content and tagged friends, acting as influencers and bringing others into the fold.

How you can make it work for your audience

As you can see, regardless of industry, building a brand advocate program often starts with identifying your most passionate supporters and finding a way to appeal to their existing habits, interests, and motivations — then building content programs that put those goals at the forefront. Marketing campaigns featuring paid influencers can be fun and can certainly achieve rapid awareness and reach, but they will never be able to counter the lasting value of an authentic advocate, particularly when it comes to countering criticism or improving the perceived status of your brand or industry.

To get started, you can follow a few quick tips:

  • Understand your existing community.
    • Take a long look at your active social audience and try to understand who those people are: Employees? Customers?
    • Ask yourself what motivates them to participate in dialogue and how can you provide more of that.
  • Work behind the scenes.
    • Send private messages and emails, or pick up the phone and speak with a few audience members.
    • Getting a few one-on-one insights can be incredibly helpful in content planning and inspiring your strategy.
    • By reaching out individually, you really make people feel special. That’s a great step towards earning their advocacy.
  • Think: Where else can I use this?
    • Your advocates and their contributions are valuable. Make sure you take advantage of that value!
    • Reuse content in multiple formats or invite them to participate in new ways.
    • Someone who provides a testimonial might be able to act as a source for your PR team, as well.

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Let’s Give It Up for the Community Speakers of MozCon 2017!

Posted by ronell-smith

Whew!

That’s the collective expression shared by the committee who perused this year’s community speaker pitches for MozCon 2017, which will be held July 17–19 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA.

Let’s just say, the entire group brought it.

There were more than 120 people vying for six speaking slots.

We’ve written in the past about how the committee whittles the submissions down, and then, before making the final selections from a group of about 20 people, we watch videos, peruse decks on SlideShare, and try to determine if a potential speaker would be successful on the stage. (Speaking in front of 1,500 people can be unnerving, even for the most accomplished speaker.)

After all, we want everyone to walk away from MozCon feeling as though the event was a benefit.

In general, during the final stages of the process, we’re looking for/at three elements with regards to the submission alone:

  • Strength of the pitch (e.g., value, relevance to the audience, etc.),
  • Whether or not the info can reasonably be delivered in the time allotted, and
  • Does it fit with overall programming (i.e., assuming it clears the two other hurdles, does it address a need for the event?)

The winning pitches nailed each of the elements above; we’re confident the talks will be well-received by the audience.

Without further adieu, let’s take a closer look at this spectacular group.

[Eds. note: Pitches were were edited for length and to help speakers retain an element of surprise.]


Daniel Russell

@dnlrussell

Daniel Russell is a director at Go Fish Digital.

Part of the winning pitch:

“It almost seems too good to be true — online forums where people automatically segment themselves into different markets and demographics and then vote on what content they like best. These forums, including Reddit, are treasure troves of content ideas. I’ll share actionable insights from three case studies that demonstrate how your marketing can benefit from content on Reddit.”


Jayna Grassel

@jaynagrassel

Jayna is the SEO manager at Dick’s Sporting Goods and is the unofficial world’s second-fastest crocheter.

Part of the winning pitch:

“Site. Migration. No two words elicit more fear, joy or excitement to a digital marketer. When the idea was shared three years ago, the company was excited. They dreamed of new features and efficiency. But as SEOs, we knew better. We knew there would be midnight strategy sessions with IT. More UAT environments than we could track. Deadlines, requirements and compromises forged through hallway chats. … The result was a stable transition with minimal dips in traffic. What we didn’t know, however, was the amount of cross-functional coordination that was required to pull it off.”


Joel Klettke

@joelklettke

Joel is freelance conversion copywriter and strategist for Business Casual Copywriting. He also owns and runs Case Study Buddy, a done-for-you case studies service.

Part of the winning pitch:

“If you want to write copy that converts, you need to get into your customers’ heads. But how do you do that? How do you know which pain points you need to address, features customers care about, or benefits your audience needs to hear? Marketers are sick and tired of hearing ‘it depends.’ I’ll give the audience a practical framework for writing customer-driven copy that any business can apply.”


Kane Jamison

@kanejamison

Kane is the founder of Content Harmony, a content marketing agency based in Seattle.

Part of the winning pitch:

“The 8 Paid Promotion Tactics That Will Get You To Quit Organic Traffic: Digital marketers are ignoring huge opportunities to promote their content through paid channels, and I want to give them the tools to get started. How many brands out there are spending $ 500+ on a blog post, and then moving on to the next one before that post has been seen by 500 people, or even 50? For some reason, everyone thinks about Outbrain and native ads when we talk about paid content distribution, but the real opportunity is in *highly-targeted* paid social.”


Kathryn Cunningham

@kac4509

Kathryn is an SEO consultant for Adept Marketing, although to many of her office mates she is known as the “Excel nerd.”

Part of the winning pitch:

“How to build an SEO-intent based framework for any business: Everyone knows intent behind the search matters. In e-commerce, intent is somewhat easy to see. B2B, or better yet healthcare, isn’t quite as easy. Matching persona intent to keywords requires a bit more thought. I will cover how to find intent modifiers during keyword research, how to organize those modifiers into the search funnel, and how to quickly find unique universal results at different levels of the search funnel to utilize.”


Matthew Edgar

@MatthewEdgarCO

Matthew is a web analytics and technical marketing consultant at Elementive.

Part of the winning pitch:

“3 Event Tracking Tricks and Tips For Monitoring UX Details: Great SEO is increasingly dependent on having a website with a great user experience. To make your user experience great requires carefully tracking what people do so that you always know where to improve. But what do you track? In this 15-minute talk, I’ll cover three effective and advanced ways to use event tracking in Google Analytics to understand a website’s user experience.”


Curiosity piqued? You could be in one of those seats yourself, watching them live:

Grab your ticket now!


Feel free to drop me a note in the comments below. I’m starting to get excited about MozCon 2017. I hope to see you there.

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Grace the Stage at MozCon 2017: The Door is Open for Community Speaker Pitches

Posted by ronell-smith

Some of the best talks at MozCon each year come from the community speakers—those who’re able to make a pitch to grace the stage.

This group enjoys the same privileges as the other speakers, including being able to deliver a keynote-style talk, and are always well-received by the audience.

If you’re eager to be a member of this group, step right up.

We’re now open for MozCon community speaker’s pitches.

We’d be happy to have your best effort.

(This year, we’ll have six speakers.)


The nuts & bolts:

  • Submitting is as simple as filling out the form below
  • Only submit one talk (the one you’re most passionate about)
  • Pitches must be related to online marketing & 15 minutes long
  • Submissions close Sunday, April 16th at 5pm PDT
  • All decisions are final
  • Talks must must adhere to the MozCon Code of Conduct
  • You’ll be required to be present at MozCon in Seattle

if you submit a pitch, you’ll hear back from us regardless of whether you’re accepted or denied.


Community speakers receive…

  • At least 15 minutes on the MozCon stage for a keynote-style presentation, plus 5 minutes of Q&A
  • A free ticket to MozCon. (If you already have one, we’ll either refund or transfer the ticket to someone else.)
  • Four nights of lodging covered by us at our partner hotel
  • A reimbursement for your travel (flight, train, car, etc.), up to $ 500 domestic and $ 750 international
  • A free ticket for you to give to anyone, plus a code for $ 300 off another ticket
  • An invitation for you and your significant other to join us for the speakers’ dinner.

If you’re curious about what the process look like, take a look at what Zeph Snapp wrote about his experience as a community speaker.

Long-time community member Samuel Scott, one of our fantastic community speakers at MozCon 2016!


How do you pick speakers?

The selection committee, comprised of Mozzers, reviews every pitch. Initially, we review only the topics. This helps us make sure the topics match our audience.

Later we look at the entirety of the pitch, with an eye for what the finished product would look like on stage.

Things to consider for your pitch:

  • Focus your pitch on online marketing. MozCon is all about actionable information.
  • Your pitch is for MozCon organizations, so detail what you’re talking about. We need to know the actual tactics you’ll be sharing.
  • Read this post on how to prepare for speaking, from pitching to the actual gig.
  • Review the topics already accepted to ensure there is no overlap.
  • Honor the form’s word limits. (Linking to Google Docs, for example, will result in an immediate disqualification.)
  • No one from the speaker selection committee will be able to evaluate your pitch in advance.
  • Lobbying on social media is frowned upon and won’t do you any good.
  • Link to a video of you presenting and to your SlideShare channel (or wherever we can take a look at decks you’ve created in the past)

A little weak in the knees about speaking at MozCon?

Don’t be scurred.

We’ve got your back.

Whether a speaker has hundreds of talks under her belt or is giving her first talk, we work with them to deliver a product she’lll be proud of and the audience will both love and learn from.

We provide instruction on topics and review the content in its entirety.

We encourage pitches from speakers of all backgrounds, knowledge levels, and speaking experiences.

A few additional things we help with:

  • Discuss and refine your topic
  • Assist in honing topic title and description
  • Review outlines and drafts
  • Best practices and guidance for slide decks, specifically for our stage
  • A comprehensive, step-by-step guide for show flow
  • Serve as an audience for practicing your talk
  • Review your final deck
  • Sunday night pre-MozCon tour of the stage to meet our A/V crew, see your presentation on the screens, and test the clicker
  • A 15-person dedicated crew to make your A/V outstanding
  • Whatever else we can do to make your talk outstanding

Now over to you.

If you’ve ever had a vision of making onto the MozCon stage, this is your best shot.

So, umm, shouldn’t you be typing feverishly in the Google Form above?

Good luck.

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Facebook Adds Community Help to Safety Check

Facebook announced today a new feature for it’s Safety Check called Community Help, which makes it easier for people to find and offer help to others needing food, housing or transportation during or after a regional crisis such as an earthquake, flood or other disaster.

“Our belief is that the community can teach us new ways to use the platform,” noted Naomi Gleit, VP Social Good for Facebook. “We saw people using Facebook to tell friends and family they were OK after crises, so in 2014 we launched Safety Check to make that behavior even easier. Since then, Safety Check has been activated hundreds of times, but we know we can do more to empower the community to help one another.”

Facebook Safety Checks are an alert allowing people to mark themselves as safe during times of a regional emergency. When Facebook’s algorithm notices a surge in posts about a crisis near you a safety check is triggered which then prompts all Facebook users within the crisis area with a notification and link to mark yourself as safe.

Gleit says that Community Help will initially be available for natural and accidental incidents, such as an earthquake or building fire, with plans to add additional types of disasters later upon evaluation of how the new feature is used. The feature is launching in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and Saudi Arabia.

Here’s how Facebook describes the new feature:

For the community to use Community Help after an incident, Safety Check must first be activated. For Safety Check to activate, two things need to happen:

  • First, global crisis reporting agencies NC4 and iJET International alert Facebook that an incident has occurred and give it a title, and we begin monitoring for posts about the incident in the area.
  • Second, if a lot of people are talking about the incident, they may be prompted to mark themselves safe, and invite others to do the same.
  • And starting today, if an incident is a natural or accidental disaster, people will see Community Help. They can find or give help, and message others directly to connect from within Safety Check.

The post Facebook Adds Community Help to Safety Check appeared first on WebProNews.


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More Features Added to Community Focused Google+

About a year ago Google+ was relaunched to focus on communities of shared interests. “After all of these updates, more people are discovering vibrant Communities and creating inspiring Collections than ever before,” said Danielle Buckley, Progress Manager of Google+. “So it’s in this same spirit that we’re pleased to add three new much requested updates, rolling out over the next couple of weeks, to Google+.”

1. Making lower quality, possibly spammy comments, only viewable upon click. These would include short comments such as “nice post” or “great work” which aren’t engaging and may not be heart-felt. You can still see these types of comments by clicking a “View more comments” link.

2. Reduced whites space so that content, especially photos, can be viewed in the largest format possible. A new zoom functionality is also being added for photo viewing.

3. Google+ Events are coming back! “Finally (drumroll please!), we’re bringing Events over to the new Google+,” exclaimed Buckley. “While there’s more to be done to improve the experience, beginning January 24th you’ll be able to create and join events on Google+ web as you have in the past.” She notes that Events will not be available for G Suite at launch of this feature.

With these updates comes an announcement that Google is turning off the classic Google+ on the web on January 24. “Just because we’re bidding adieu to classic Google+ doesn’t mean we’re done working on the new one. Our aim is to make Google+ the best place to connect around the things you care about.”

Read the Google+ blog announcement here…

The post More Features Added to Community Focused Google+ appeared first on WebProNews.


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Comment Marketing: How to Earn Benefits from Community Participation – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

It’s been a few years since we’ve covered the topic of comment marketing, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of date. There are clever, intentional ways to market yourself and your brand in the comments sections of sites, and there’s less competition now than ever before. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand details what you can do to get noticed in the comments and the benefits you’ll reap from high-quality contributions.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about comment marketing. We talked about this actually five or six years ago, but it is time for a refresher because there are a lot of things that have happened in the world of online marketing, so this deserves a new take.

Comment marketing has not lost any of its power and influence. In fact, because fewer people are doing it today than were five or six years ago, especially in the digital marketing world, it’s actually become increasingly influential. There’s a limited number of blogs and communities in most sectors and spaces that have audiences that engage in the comments, but where they do, you find incredible levels of participation, of amplification, of opportunities for press and for links and for social following. I’ll show you how that works, and then I’ll talk about some tactics in terms of how to create great comments and a strategy to build around it.

How do comments help me/my site?

So, first off, why do comments help so much, and how do they help? Well, it turns out that if you leave great comments on other folks’ sites, they may lead to visits to your website through your profile, through links that you leave, through people clicking on your profile and then following that link, which can lead to links in future posts by the authors of the site where you commented or in future content pieces created by people who read that site.

If they see that your comment is particularly insightful, it brings up a great example, shows off a resource that is sorely lacking, especially when you are either leaving links or commenting about things, if you do so in a very respectful, diplomatic way. For example, one of the best strategies, best tactics I’ve seen for leaving a comment with a link in it is to say, “Hey, I want to make sure that this blog accepts links in the comments, but I figured I should point to X. Editor, feel free to remove if links are not appropriate.” So that way you’re saying, “Hey, I recognize that dropping a link in a comment could be a little sketchy.”

Or you could say something like, “We’ve actually been doing this on our site. If you go to our website, you can check out the link via my profile.” So you’re not even leaving it in there. You’re saying go check it out from there, then you can see this other thing that I want to show off in relation to the content here. But those can lead to great links to your site in the future.

Commenting can also lead to indirect links through exposure and exposure itself, meaning things like you leave consistent quality comments, people start to recognize you. You sort of see that profile picture again and you go, “I know that brand from somewhere or I know that person from somewhere. I have some positive association with them adding value.” That can lead to a better chance of engagement with you, your personal brand, or your corporate brand in the future, which can mean a better chance of future conversion.

It can also lead to social following growth. So you have lots of great comments. People will check out your social profile from your profile in those comments, and that can often lead to follower growth. You can, of course, juice this a little bit by choosing rather than linking to your personal site if you so choose, you could link directly to the social account that you are trying to promote or grow followership with.

So if you say, “Hey, I’m trying to grow my Facebook page. I’m going to make my Facebook page my profile link in here.” That works just fine. That can grow your Facebook audience. That may be how you’re best reaching your audience. Or it could be you’re doing it on your website or through Twitter or Instagram or another way. But all of these things basically follow the same format. People see those comments. If they’re engaging and they draw them in, it can lead to very good results.

What makes a comment great?

Basically, every single one of these start with you must leave consistent, high-quality, great comments. Greatness in a comment means a few things.

I. It’s gotta be on-topic

Meaning that while you may have lots of very interesting things to share, if you go off topic, you will, even if you provide great value, tick off the moderators of the community. You will often turn off a lot of folks who are reading those comments. It’s just not what people are there for. So you’ve got to keep it on-topic.

II. Respectful to the author and other commenters.

I say respectful because what I don’t mean is you can’t disagree. In fact, I think it is great to say, “Hey, I really love this post. I think you made some great points, but point number three and four that you made here or this one and that one, I disagree with and here’s why. This is my experience or I have this data or I conducted this survey or I want to show you this information, go check it out over here.” That is just fine. As long as you are respectful and kind, I think you’re in a great position to disagree and to add value. Disagreement actually does add a lot of value.

III. Provides unique value

Speaking of value, we are trying to provide unique value here. We want to provide unique value through our comments. When I say unique value, what I mean is you can’t just say things that were already in the post itself, things that have already been mentioned in other comments, or things that are sort of common knowledge, anyone could find them out or they’re instantly recognizable, they’re sort of already known.

We want insight or tactics, help, context, examples, data, whatever it is that is not found in the original piece or through common knowledge. That’s what makes a comment truly stand out. That’s what makes people vote up a comment, click on the profile, go check this person out. They seem really smart and intelligent and helpful.

IV. Well-written

There are a few other items. We want to be well-written — so grammar, spelling, language issues.

V. Well-formatted

So you should use spacing and paragraphs, bullet points if they’re available in the markup effectively to try and convey your point so that it doesn’t just look like a bunch of jammed together words and sentences. If you have a very long run-on paragraph in a comment, it can turn people off from even starting to read that.

VI. Transparent

Finally — this is important — transparent. So you should not try and pull the wool over people’s eyes in a comment. We want to not hide our intent or our associations. Even if you are doing comment marketing specifically as a commenting strategy to try and attract people, you can be totally up front about that.
You can say, “Hey, full disclosure, I work for company X, and I wrote this piece, but I think it’s relevant and helpful enough that I want to bring it up here. So, with permission, hopefully I’m linking to it. Editor, feel free to remove this link if it’s not appropriate. Here’s why I’m linking to it and here’s what the value is that it provides.” Now you’ve been transparent about your intentions and motivations, your associations, what you’re doing. You will get a lot more both forgiveness and leeway to leave comments that are valuable if you do that.

Building a comment marketing strategy

Final thing, if you’ve decided, based on the couple things we’ve talked about here, that comment marketing is something you want to try and engage in 2017, or for the future, I would urge you to build a true strategy around it, not just tactically say, “Well, maybe a couple of times I’ll leave a few comments.”

That’s fine too, but you can get the most benefit from this strategy if you truly invest in it by following a process like this:

A. Determine the goals you want to get out.

So maybe that’s build exposure to get links. Maybe that’s to grow a social audience. Maybe it’s to try and get influencers to engage with you so that they become brand proponents for you in the future.

B. Create measurements

You want to build some measurement around that. Comment marketing is tough to measure, very, very tough to measure because you can’t see how many people saw your comment. You only see the results of it. But you can look at traffic and visits that are referred to your site from the site on which you left the comments. You can look at growth in your social following. You could look at new links from sites in which you engage with in comment marketing, those kinds of things.

C. Identify list of sites/communities for engagement

Then you should identify a list of the sites or communities that you want to engage with. Those sites and communities, it is best if you don’t say, “Hey, I’m going to try and leave one comment this year on each of 200 communities.” Not valuable. Pick the top 10. Choose to leave 15 to 20 comments on each of them. You want to build up a reputation in these communities. You want that consistency so that people who are in those comments and the authors of them, the influencers who write them, consistently see you in there and build a positive association with you.

D. Research

Then you want to do some research. I’m urging you not to comment the first few times you read through it. Go through the backlog, look through their archives. Read and see what other people have commented on, see what other people have enjoyed and appreciated, see what comments do well and get noticed, see what the community is like.

E. Create and alert system when new content is published

Then create some sort of an alert system. This could be subscribing to updates via email or using RSS or if you follow them on Twitter and you get pinged every time they launch a new post, whatever it is, because early comments tend to do best. Right when a post is published, if you can comment in the first, let’s say, 30 minutes to 3 hours, that’s the best opportunity you’re going to have to be seen by the most people reading that post.

F. Use social to help amplify/spread your comments

Finally, I would urge you to use social media, especially Twitter because that’s where most publishers are, to amplify and spread your comments, meaning you go leave a comment and it’s really high-quality, then tweet, “Hey, I just left a comment on @randfish’s post here about blah, blah, blah.” Now I’m probably going to see that via Twitter, even if I don’t see it via my comment alert that I get through email, and I’m going to know, hey, this person is not only promoting their comment, they’re also promoting my post. That’s great. Now that builds further engagement with the people you’re trying to reach.

All right, everyone. Hope you give this comment marketing strategy a spin. If you have other tips, things you’ve seen be successful, feel free to leave a great comment in the comments down below, and we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Exchanging More Value with Contributors to Your Content and Community Efforts – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

At risk of sounding cliché, we’re right smack in the middle of the season of giving. And when it comes to giving, there’s no better example in our industry space than the topic of communities. Moz itself is a great example: You — the reader, the commenter, the Q&A inquisitor, the subscriber — are what sustains and inspires us. What kind of value does your community add to your site, and how can you provide incentive and value to your site contributors, social media fans, and influencers?

In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explores ten fresh, actionable strategies you can use to encourage and promote an exchange of value with your contributors to feed your content and community efforts.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This is a special Whitebeard Friday edition of our show. We, of course, have the annual tradition where I wear the beard, but you know the beard gets in the way of a lot of me talking to you. So I’m just going to wear the hat for today. I hope that’s all right. And I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season. Christmas and Hanukkah start the same day this year. New Year’s, of course, Kwanzaa, whatever you’re celebrating, a very happy holiday to you.

So let’s chat about exchanging more value with the contributors to your content and community efforts. So basically, I think, in the holiday season, we talk a lot about exchange of value and exchange of gifts and of giving, and that’s wonderful. We do this on our websites as well.

So you’re watching Whiteboard Friday. You might leave a comment in our comments section. You might tweet about this. You might put it on Facebook. You might share it on LinkedIn. There’s sort of a community of things going on here.

Most of the ideas that I have for Whiteboard Friday come from people like yourself in the community who have ideas and questions, concerns and issues, and that’s a wonderful thing. But what I found is that 99% of the time we all follow exactly the same patterns in our content and our community efforts with how we basically use each other’s value and exchange value with each other. So here’s the challenge.

(The hat’s just swinging around and hitting me. It’s great.)


3 major groups make up your community exchangers of value

So you have kind of three groups, three major groups that I would consider community exchangers of value. Those are people like commenters and on-site contributors, your social media followers and fans and people who engage with you through social, and then influencers and experts and, broadly speaking, amplifiers, people who do this.

Look, lots of the people who might be commenters are also influencers. Lots of the people who are social media followers may also be on-site commenters. That’s definitely the case.

1. Commenters and on-site contributors

But traditionally, the contributions look like this. For these folks, when they leave comments, they are seeking answers and visibility. So they want to show maybe something that they have done, and they also want an answer or a reply from you or from someone in the community. They have questions about it. And for you, you know they’re creating — well, I promised myself I was going to do red and green so I’m a very Christmassy Jew this year — more content and SEO for you, which is great.

That’s one of the big values of comments, absolutely speaking. That’s one of the reasons we try and render comments on the page so that the engines can crawl them. It can help you rank for more long tail stuff. It can certainly help you with engagement metrics and all those kinds of things.

Now, for guest content, which a lot of folks do create and allow, Moz certainly has historically through YouMoz and soon we’re going to be allowing that through the main blogs, so you might be seeing more guest contributions there, visibility for them and content and SEO for you. Same story there.

2. Social media followers and fans

Now, shares and replies on social, it’s essentially you are helping to … when you create content and when you, whether that’s content on the social media platform or on your own website, that you’re amplifying, when other people share that content or they like it, they reply to it, they amplify it, that’s new fans and followers and content for them, hopefully, and it’s more reach and visibility for you.

3. Influencers, experts, and amplifiers

With influencers, experts, and amplifiers, pretty much the story is like more influence for them through contributing to your content or promoting your content, and more reach for you through those influencers and experts’ audiences. This is certainly powerful and useful too with roundups, which I think, unfortunately, have become the default style in which people use influencers and experts in many, many fields. It’s more visibility for them, hopefully, because they appear in that roundup. They have their names cited and all that kind of thing. You’re hoping that they’re going to share it and amplify that content so that you get more reach to their audience. Maybe they’ll even link to it, which will get you links.

How to exchange value by thinking broadly and daring to be different

I want us to think broader. What I believe is that being the exception to this rule can be hugely helpful. Essentially, if everyone else is doing something in one way, doing it another way, doing it a different way will fundamentally add more value to your content and SEO efforts.

Personal profiles

So if we’re talking about these commenters and on-site contributors, I want you to think about profiles. This is something that most comment plug-ins don’t allow by default. Disqus creates a profile, but that profile lives on Disqus’ site, not on your site. Think about your Moz profile. Think about your LinkedIn profile. Think about the profile that you create on lots of community-focused websites, like an Inbound.org or a Hacker News or something. Like there’s fundamental value to having that. You can own that content. You can now promote that page. You can rank in search engines with it. All those kinds of things.

Edit/citation suggestions and highlights

Edit and citation suggestions like places like Wikipedia have. Others have notable ones. Medium, obviously, has the highlighted section. It’s a little more creative.

Featured comments

Featured comments, which places like The New York Times do, I think if you are an editorial content creator and you want to amplify the visibility of comments and encourage people to share great comments, a featured comment system is a valuable one. Here on Moz, we used to show comments ordered by the date in which they were left or the timestamp of when they were left, and now we order them based on thumbs, which encourages people to have a great comment because it will have the most visibility because it got the most thumbs up.
With social media folks, I would think about some of the content. You can create content that features social contributions, thus encouraging people to follow you and contribute and reply to and amplify your tweets or Facebook shares or LinkedIn because they will get additional visibility from that.

Data via polls and surveys

You can think about collection and amplification of data that you collect through polls and short surveys. Facebook and Twitter are great about allowing those.

Sharing others’ social accounts

Promotion of other people’s social accounts. One of the things that I think far too few social accounts do is actually call someone out by name and say, “Hey, this is another really valuable page on Facebook that you should check out.” Or, “This person did this wonderful thing.” I see too few Twitter accounts, including the Moz Twitter account doesn’t call out as many people, in non-reply tweets, as we probably should or could, and I think that’s another wonderful thing that we can do.

Using social for testimonials and promotional content

Use of social, of course, in testimonial and promotional content. We started doing that where we actually said, “Hey, someone said something really nice about us on Twitter or on Facebook or on LinkedIn. Let’s reach out to them and say, ‘Hey, could we use that on our website, on our product page, to help get you visibility and show that you’re an expert in this field, but also to help us sell this product that you apparently love?’” Win-win there. Again, a wonderful way to creatively use that same type of content.

Smart influencer roundups, such as helpful email lists

And last, with influencers, with experts, with amplifiers, I think there’s vastly more ways to do this in roundups. First off, I’ve seen some folks create some great email discussion, the help-each-other type of lists. I’m part of a few of those. I love them. There’s great content on there. I think this is a wonderful way to get influencers and experts on your side in the long term and to help them help each other as well as you.

I’ve also, just recently, become part of a few BCC email lists, where a couple of content creators in the technology and entrepreneurship space, when they have new content to share, they share it first with this BCC email list before they even promote it to their regular audiences. That’s awesome. That gives me a chance to be one of the first people to show it to everyone. I, of course, benefit from that through sharing with my audiences, and they benefit through the additional visibility that I give them.

Focus on data above quotations alone

Surveys and data gathering, I’m a much bigger believer in surveys and in showing data than in roundups. I think roundups that just are text only and have a bunch of text, rather than show data from a lot of influencers and saying, “Hey, you know, we interviewed 100 startup CEOs and we got these 5 data points from each of them, and here are the distributions.” Vastly more interesting than, “Here are the two sentences of advice that every startup CEO gave about how to hire your first engineer.” That kind of thing.

Featured commentary

Featured commentary and input on content is another way to do this. So, essentially, you share content with influencers. You say, “Hey, if you have some featured comments or some ideas around that, send that back and we will include it in the launch of that content.” Lovely stuff there. I’ve been part of a few of those and I love those.

Discussion and debate as content

Discussion or debate as actual content. The FiveThirtyEight folks have been brilliant about this, where they invite on guest contributors and experts and then they feature that discussion. Some other political sites and places like The Stranger have done that. Wonderful stuff.


Getting creative with how you exchange value with your content and community contributors is an awesome way to go. I hope, in 2017, I see a lot more of this stuff and maybe even a little less of this stuff.

All right, everyone. Hope you have a great holiday season and a great year. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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An MP3 Website, Activist Community, A Craigslist-Copy Called Yaz.com.au And An English School – These Are My Failures And The Lessons Learned

[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] Welcome to the EJ Podcast ‘Solo Session 2’, otherwise known as the Failure episode. The episode itself is not a failure, but features business projects that I created during my earlier years as an entrepreneur that did…

The post An MP3 Website, Activist Community, A Craigslist-Copy Called Yaz.com.au And An English School – These Are My Failures And The Lessons Learned appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Making A Sale Vs Building A Community – Which Comes First?

When you first launch your online business you’re going to feel pulled in two directions – Start by building up your community, so you have an audience to learn from and eventually sell to Start by trying to sell something, so you have money, which is what you need the…

The post Making A Sale Vs Building A Community – Which Comes First? appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

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Insights on Business and Community from Two Intense Days in Denver

Copyblogger Weekly

Hey there — welcome back to the Copyblogger Weekly!

I’m writing this the night before I fly back home from Denver, Colorado, where we held our live Digital Commerce Summit last week. I had the pleasure of teaching a small workshop on Wednesday and then switching gears to give a conference keynote on Thursday.

Every time we hold a live event, big or small, I’m struck by the sense of community that comes together around Copyblogger and Rainmaker. Whether we were hollering our heads off singing together (just a few feet from the stage) at the CAKE concert or feverishly taking notes at 8:30 in the morning during Brian Clark’s talk on “what comes next” in digital commerce, the Summit brought us together to take the next step.

This week, I had fun listening to our own Brian Gardner and Lauren Mancke talk with Matt Mullenweg — the founder of WordPress — about the evolution of that community. It’s a fascinating conversation — and interesting to hear what Matt thinks about the WordPress community nurturing such a thriving economic ecosystem.

And if you’re interested in some other ways togetherness can play a part in business, you might take a look at my post from Tuesday, where I dig into the Unity principle from Robert Cialdini’s new book.

Heads up: Digital Commerce Academy will be closing to new students

One thing I want to make sure you see is that Digital Commerce Academy (DCA) is going to close to new students on Friday, October 28 so we can put all of our focus into developing some killer new courses for our members.

Don’t worry, DCA will be back … but not until 2017, and with a substantially higher price.

And if you’re having pangs of regret for missing the live event? Your DCA membership will include presentation videos from the Summit and the video from that small workshop I mentioned (I taught that one with Brian Clark — it’s a focused dive into creating online courses).

As I mentioned, the price is going to be quite a bit higher in 2017 to reflect the quantity and quality of the new content we’re adding, but you can get all the great new stuff and today’s pricing if you jump in now. Jerod Morris’s post from Wednesday gives you all the details.

Hope you enjoy this week’s content, and I’ll catch you next week!

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


Tips and encouragement from master content marketersContent Marketers Share Their Secrets

by Pamela Wilson


Who we are and why that mattersThe Ultra Powerful 7th Principle of Persuasion

by Sonia Simone


Join Digital Commerce Academy Before the Doors Close (and Price Goes Up)Join Digital Commerce Academy Before the Doors Close (and Price Goes Up)

by Jerod Morris


8 Ways to Use Online Discounts to Grow Sales8 Ways to Use Online Discounts to Grow Sales

by Sean Jackson


 How (and Why It's OK) to Make Money with WordPress, with Matt MullenwegHow (and Why It’s OK) to Make Money with WordPress, with Matt Mullenweg

by Brian Gardner and Lauren Mancke


How to Create a MVP (Minimum Viable Podcast)How to Create a MVP (Minimum Viable Podcast)

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


How Will Falconer Stopped Trading Dollars for Hours and Found His CallingHow Will Falconer Stopped Trading Dollars for Hours and Found His Calling

by Brian Clark and Jerod Morris


A New Book to Make Content Marketing EasierA New Book to Make Content Marketing Easier

by Sonia Simone


How Bestselling Author Jennifer Weiner Writes: Part TwoHow Bestselling Author Jennifer Weiner Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


Create Your First WordPress Product, with Chris LemaCreate Your First WordPress Product, with Chris Lema

by Brian Clark


this-week-in-authority

Authority Q&A Call with Sonia Simone and Pamela Wilson

Friday, October 21

Join Authority members for the opportunity to get your content marketing and business questions answered by two people with almost 60 years of experience between them! No question is too small, and the more specific the better.

Join Authority to attend this session

The post Insights on Business and Community from Two Intense Days in Denver appeared first on Copyblogger.


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