The post below has been penned by Anthony Pensabene (known to many as @content_muse). We asked him to write a guest post for us as he is able to combine deep technical knowledge with awesome writing ability - the two key attributes Zazzle looks to promote...
"Stay gold, Ponyboy," moans a pre-Karate Kid Ralph Macchio, inspiring viewer tears as he waxes Frost in his final moments spent in a Hollywood-basement hospital room.
Stay gold. Before that, one must be gold, eh? We know of the golden rule, do unto others as you would have done to you. (Of course, this is metaphorical and theoretical, and (protip) does not always work practically within the singles scene, but I digress…maybe in another post.)
Let's observe the golden rule in regard to forming relations with others or in baiting marketing to them. Begetting attention lies at the heart of…marketing, right? (I know; your mind's blown, and it's only the third paragraph. No rest for the basic tenets.)
Mo Influence, Mo Attention
Most bloggers in the SEO space seek readership from peers. As I satirically addressed at the Saloon, influencers are a part of the process. Taking a broad-sweeping step back, we endeavor at marketing to them, no? We assume they have more followers, respect, and exposure. Therefore, we assume their attention begets more attention. (Marketing win- yay!)
However, people don't like to be used or leveraged. (I know! WTF, really?) I understand the plight of asking for attention. Allow me to be transparent in showcasing the wrong way I've erroneously went about it before.
"Hey [insert influencer here],
I wrote up a post today and published. I used your insights and linked to one of your posts. I would really like to know your thoughts. P.S. A share would be much appreciated!"
I've done this before. I'm embarrassed to admit it. I'm not embarrassed to want others to champion my work; that is being human. However, I failed as a marketer above. If I was being smart, I would have studied the intended market like Emma Still did.
Please understand Emma did not follow a formula of baiting. Emma marketed. There's a difference.
The golden rule and subsequent optimization thereof has a place in marketing. It has a place in business. It has a place in life, that's why it's a 'golden rule', right? I mean, no business would assume financial success if value was not provided to consumers, right? No marketer would seek the attention of another without providing something in return, right?
I did above. I was doing it wrong. I do some things right; Ben Beck even says so. Therefore, I'm going to relay thoughts on optimizing the golden rule, using marketing to influencers as an example. I hope you can see the broader metaphor of marketing without me mentio..oops!
Ian Lieu of a Response
Let's assume I want to use Ian's insight for a theoretical post on SEO owners. I could just ask Ian to partake. However, he may not respond, especially if he doesn't know me. Furthermore, in doing so, I would not be adhering to the golden rule of reciprocity.
What does Ian get being on Content Muse? Let's be realistic in recognizing he doesn't need to be featured there. However, if I helped him perhaps he would be more likely to help me, adding insight to my blog.
How could I facilitate (not guarantee) a response? I'm glad you asked.
Let's go back to what Emma did. Her 'SEO dude' post got attention from…SEO dudes. Emma studied her market. Bingo. Let's get all creepy by studying and stalking Ian.
Learning a Bit.ly of Them
Rand says we can do better than Bit.ly, and I agree. However, there is some data you can gather here. Have you checked out 'your network'?
Ian doesn't follow me (channels Italian-mother guilt), but I follow him. Therefore, I can see what he's sharing. I can also see his bundles (oh joy!)
So, let's do what Emma did. Let's study our target, Ian. What makes him tick? What content does he read and share? We can do some research here. This endeavor is akin to the act of milling through pictures and dated e-prints.
Take some time studying their interests. After some time, you observe patterns of subject matter or publishers. For instance, I'm sure Ian takes interest in all areas of business (being an owner) and marketing (owning a marketing company), but I quickly notice titles associated with social media (I'm cataloging 'blogging' with social media.)
Ian enjoys reading about social media. Maybe in addition to reading the same materials as he tweets, I can also look out for reads he may like and copy him on my tweets. I do this for peers from time to time.
Alert Them of Your Interest in Them Being Interesting
Please don't spam and abuse influencers. Most of them are old and somewhat crotchety. You're giving and not getting. Therefore, act accordingly. (Usually) givers don't piss receivers off.
Let's assume Ian sees my 'cc' and appreciates. Win.
What if I wanted to learn more about Ian? I would read his blog posts to get a better frame of reference. This would be like reading your market's mind, but with influencers you don't have to guess. You can read their thoughts. (Maybe any marketer can do the same with market surveys.)
I noticed Ian tweets Washington Post articles a bit. I'll use operators to uncover any Washington Post stories of germane topics. It's dated, but here's one. (Did you see that one, Ian?)
Is Ian Importent to My Project?
Let's reconsider why we would (even) want Ian's attention in the first place. Is he a good fit? We know he's a good fit to beget more exposure; he's Ian Lurie. However, if I wasn't doing a post regarding something of his specialized interest, he may wonder why I called his attention at all. Savvy?
Perhaps someone else can lend insight to my project. Not everyone is Ian Lurie, but another age-old maxim states something about people created equally. Maybe, using Followerwonk, I can find peers interested in site speed.
I quickly glanced through, searching for tweets or bios with "load speed" in the prose. (*cough* There's a lot to be done with Followerwonk.)
Let's continue with the site speed theme. Maybe I'm not quite ready to write the post yet. I need to do more research myself. Let's create a Google Alert for related keywords.
Moreover, like using Garrett French's link prospector, you could use your marketing prowess for selfless good. Perhaps rather than find broken links, I could find resources related to load speed, possibly mentioning to the webmaster that Ian is a good source of information, or maybe suggest linking to Ian's post.
What do you get out of it? Meh. Maybe nothing, or in the best-case scenario, Ian appreciates. Appreciation of peers is a big something. Sometimes, I help for no apparent reason. It's called being in a community.
I was thinking maybe a good .edu link building idea for [company name] would be to offer to do 101 content marketing/seo type of posts on college/high school sites (maybe even reach out to teachers who host blogs)."
That was me suggesting a link-building idea to a peer. It just came across my mind, and I thought it might be an idea he could use.
Let's use another example. What about HARO? I'm good at wrapping my head around reporter/editor queries and being crafty about fitting client resources into the query mold.
I was using HARO today and saw this query. The deadline was earlier in the week, but maybe with all the storm chaos it got pushed back. Moreover, if it even is a good fit, maybe your client can ping the reporter for a future story.. can't hurt, right?"
This was another time I thought about a peer. It's cool. As Courtney Seiter told us, being interested begets interest. It makes you more interesting to be interested in others. It's likely to make people more receptive because of mutual interests and a dilution of a "me" attitude and approach to outreach. Savvy?
In Abusing Closing
Please outreach responsibly. Optimize your understanding of the golden rule. I've spent time sharing thoughts with you, readers. Quid pro quo, starlings; it's your turn. Give us some comments...!
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