This is article #2 in my weekly advice series. A couple of days ago, I shared a picture on social networks that showed how much traffic Social Media Slant had received in February 2014. The blog keeps growing steadily and I love letting others know about it. The picture led to a short but interesting conversation with Blogger and Social Media Advocate, Valerie Van Spengen, on Twitter. She and I agreed that the success of a blog (and the brand behind it) depends on the relevancy and value of its content. However, as someone asked me in an email a while ago: “What do you mean by ‘valuable and relevant'”? It’s a very valid and important question, and one I am happy to address today. Let’s start with two definitions from the Oxford dictionary:
- ‘Valuable’ stands for “Extremely useful or important” – Some synonyms: helpful, practical, beneficial, invaluable, worthy…
- ‘Relevant’ stands for “Closely connected or appropriate to the matter in hand” – Some synonyms: pertinent, applicable, appropriate, fitting, suitable, related, linked…
As you can see, it’s all about being helpful and delivering the goods in a way that matters. But to whom? To the members of your audience.
No special skill is required to create valuable and relevant content. What you need, though, is a deep knowledge of who your readers are in order to anticipate the kind of things that they want and how they want them delivered. In turn, this will allow you to
• Make your content more engaging and shareable;
• Increase awareness of your brand; and
• Become recommended as a thought leader in your industry.
Not sure how to get started? Here is a short list of things to help you:
- If you have a website / blog, take advantage of Google Analytics. This free service from Google generates detailed traffic statistics. Information includes locations, languages, browsers used, visit durations, and bounce rates.
- Do you own or manage a Facebook Page? Use the Insights feature to see how well your page is doing. Data includes reach, engagement, and demographics.
- When looking at numbers, pay particular attention to locations, age groups, and gender. This information will help you determine how you can segment your audience for more efficient targeting.
- Another great way of gathering information is to ask people directly. Surveys, for example, usually work wonders.
Additionally, spend some time researching and observing successful competition. Many businesses and solo-entrepreneurs in your niche have a Facebook / Twitter page and a blog. Take note of the following:
- What kind of language do they use? Do non-native English speakers understand them easily?
- What content do they share: graphics, videos, pictures, links…?
- What type of content gets the most engagement?
- How active are they?
- How quickly do they respond to comments?
- What tools do they leverage to promote their products and services?
- How self-promotional are they?
- What mistakes do they make?
- How do they deal with complaints?
Keeping an eye on competition can be a daunting task. Using a tool like HootSuite or TweetDeck will make things a lot easier. You can set up columns to follow specific keywords, hashtags, and companies.
As Valerie told me during the conversation I mentioned at the beginning of this article, Social Media Slant keeps growing because I “have something that people want to read.”
Whatever I do, be it curating content, writing an article, creating a presentation, or conducting a workshop, the only thing at the back of my mind is the audience I serve. You matter more to me than anything else.
“Loyal brand evangelists and engaged community members are earned over time, not purchased over night.” – Pam Moore
——————- Looking for a quick tip on how to use a specific Twitter feature? Need a recommendation on a specific WordPress plugin? Searching for some social media numbers / stats for your industry?… You can ask me anything at firstname.lastname@example.org. Every Tuesday OR Thursday, I will answer one question on the blog. Your name and website can even be mentioned if you want.