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Building Your Community

Building Your Community

In our previous post, On Beyond the Major Social Media Sites, we wrapped up our look at the major social networking sites and recommend some other sites and social techniques for you to use.

In this post, we begin a series on building your community by giving an overview on what an online community really is.



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Building Your Community

“Community happens when people feel
they’re among like-minded others and when
they feel their contributions matter.”

Social media expert Chris Brogan

OK, you’ve slogged through all the advice we’ve blogged in our “Be A Person” series, and you’ve decided you’d like to create a standalone online community for your enterprise. Well, we’ve got bad news for you: You can’t.

Sorry. We hope we haven’t led you on by titling this post as we have. Community is not some­thing you can create because a community belongs to its members and, as Chris Brogan’s quote says, community happens. You can start a community, but the members will create the con­nections that build and sustain it. You can nurture a community, but the members will decide how long it lives and where it goes.

It’s like a party.Three Guys Bored at a Party

You can invite the guests.

You can provide the venue, buy the food and drink, hire the band, and send out the invitations.

But you can’t make them have fun. The way that those who show up interact will determine the party’s success, not you.

Sure there are things you can do to increase your odds of a successful party: fly everyone to Paris; hire Cirque du Soleil to perform; and give everybody a Dolce&Gabbana bag full of expensive gifts. But you can’t ensure that everyone will have fun. And you can’t ensure that the party will never end.

It’s the same with community. People come of their own volition, share only if they’re inclined to, and will leave if the conversation gets boring.

One of our favorite thinkers about community, Amber Naslund, Director of Community for Radian6, lays it all out succinctly:[1]

You cannot create a community. It creates itself.

Strong community leaders, in my view, are there as the experience architects.

It’s our job to translate, to interpret, to build bridges and give them chairs to sit in. But ultimately, the community builds and sustains itself, with us nurturing it along the way.

If you’re ready to move beyond your need to control your community, the next step is to decide what it is you want to build, um, architect.


Building Your Community is the 155th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’ve been doing this since 2011 and we’re just past page 393. At this rate it’ll still be a while before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances


[1] Quoted in the comments of Chris Brogan’s seminal 2009 blog post, Audience or Communitybit.ly/cs2ogx

On Beyond the Major Social Media Sites

On Beyond the Major Social Media Sites

In our previous post, Promote Connections, we finished our series about blogging by discussing how commenting can get your blog found in the sea of millions of blogs.

In this post, we wrap up our look at the major social networking sites and recommend some other sites and social techniques for you to use.



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On Beyond

OK, over the last 153 posts, we’ve covered the major social media sites and given you lots of advice about how to use them for your business. But there are tons of other sites out there that you may find useful. If you don’t believe that, mosey on over to KnowEm and feast your eyes on the more than 550 sites they can help you sign up for automatically.

Not only are there scads of interesting social sites out there, but here are a few utility sites and techniques that you can use to improve your usage of blogs and your other social media efforts.

  • Google AlertsA Google Alert is a saved search that you can set to periodically email you results or, if you prefer, you can subscribe to the results via RSS. Set up Google Alerts to track terms related to your product category and your target prospects’ names, for example. You can set various preferences such as the type of item (news, blog, video, and so on), the frequency of notifications, and how many results to send.
  • Social Bookmarking Sites — Use Reddit, delicious and Digg to bookmark interesting sites you come across. This is useful especially if you use multiple computers, but an added benefit is you can make your bookmarks public, thus increasing the odds of attracting like-minded people.
  • FriendFeedFriendFeed, now owned by Facebook, helps you keep track what your friends are posting on several online media. It allows you to create private groups to share information, pictures, and videos with.
  • Expert Sites — Consider joining expert sites such as Squidoo and About.com to build your reputation as you share your expertise. These mostly volunteer sites are a treasure trove of tips and tricks on pretty much any topic. They are great places to showcase yourself as an expert.
  • Curation Sites — Curation is one of the hottest trends in social media today. Sites such as Scoop.it, Paper.li, Storify, Pinterest, and others enable you to collect and comment on articles and images you find interesting. Martin Smith of Atlantic BT has a nice roundup of interesting curation sites. The key to using these sites is to be able to tell a story. Just reposting  material without creating a narrative adds little value and will deliver little value for your business. Karen Deitz is a master at telling stories. Her motto, expressed in an article on Paper.li, is Whoever Tells the Best Stories Wins.
  • Location-Based Sites — Sites like FourSquare and, to a lesser extent, Instagram aim to exploit the benefits of local social networking and mobile computing.[1] Some may find them creepy or dangerous, but they are a growing segment of the social computing universe.
  • International Social Sites — We’ve been talking about the top sites for the US, but there’s a whole world out there that isn’t American, and lots of people flock to sites like Orkut and Qzone.

    • Orkut, owned by Google, is extremely popular in Brazil — making up 52 percent of users — while roughly 20 percent are from India and 18 percent from the US. Orkut’s age demographics run young. More than 70 percent of users are 18 to 30 years and a whopping 57 percent are in the 18-25 age group.[2] Orkut has roughly 33 million users.
    • Qzone is a Chinese site founded created in 2005. Although there is a free option most Qzone services are not free. In 2012, Qzone had 597 million users.

There’s lots, lots, lots more out there that we could discuss, but let’s turn the last, and perhaps most important, posts in this series — all about building your own online community.

Next up: Building Your Community


On Beyond the Major Social Media Sites is the 154th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’ve been doing this since 2011 and we’re just past page 393. At this rate it’ll still be a while before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances


[1] Mashable’s section Location Based Social Networksbit.ly/9AK7Vh

[2] Orkut demographics  www.orkut.com/Main#MembersAll

Promote Connections

Promote Connections

In our previous post, Write to be Found, we continued our series about blogging by discussing how content can get your blog found in the sea of millions of blogs.

In this post, we look at now commenting can increase readership.

Tips for Commenting

In addition to the techniques we’ve discussed in the past few posts, another way to promote your blog is to pay attention to the people who take the time to comment on it.



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You should regularly review your comments, and:

  • Respond to all commenters
    • Acknowledge the comment
    • Add your own comment if appropriate
    • If the comment is negative, encourage further discussion
    • If the comment is spam, feel free to delete
  • Click on commenter’s links — when they check their referral statistics, they’ll see that you visited their blog
    • They may be more likely to return to your blog
    • They may start commenting more
    • It helps draw them into a relationship 

Next up: On Beyond the Major Social Media Sites


Promote Connections is the 153rd in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’ve been doing this since 2011 and we’re just past page 393. At this rate it’ll still be a while before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances

Write to be Found

Write to be Found

In our previous post, Publicize Your Blog, we continued our series about blogging by discussing how to get your blog found in the sea of millions of blogs.

In this post, we look at the content of your blog can increase readership.



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Content is King

As we have mentioned many times in previous posts, the best way to be found is to write content that appeals to your community, as well as to search engines. First decide on the keywords that your community might use to search for your post. Then, use those keywords throughout the post. Use them in the title, the first few lines, and throughout post.

Another good idea is to use images liberally in your posts. Believe it or not, for some blogs, most visits come from Google Image Search.[1] If you’re not familiar with Image Search, it’s easy to try it out. Google anything. On the top of the page, to the left, you’ll see a list of links, beginning with Web, which is the default Google search type. Click Images. Not only do you see a page full of images that match your search terms, but you can choose from several ways to narrow your search, by size, type, and color. When you mouse over an image, Google displays its size and the site it’s hosted on. Click on an image, and Google sends you to the site.

Google image search

Use Images in Your Blog — Google Image Search

Google bases its search on the content of the page containing the image. Including, and captioning, images in your blog adds another way you can be found.

Next up: Promote Connections


Write to be Found is the 152nd in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’ve been doing this since 2011 and we’re just past page 393. At this rate it’ll still be a while before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances


[1] According to the blog Pictures of Cats org: Google Image Search builds Trafficbit.ly/dCwj1p

Publicize Your Blog

Publicize Your Blog

In our previous post, Getting Your Blog Found, we continued our series about blogging by discussing how to get your blog found in the sea of millions of blogs.

In this post, we take an in-depth look at how to publicize and advertise your blog in an effort to increase readership.

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Publicize Your Blog

In addition to the general recommendations we made in the series of posts beginning with Get Found you should:

  • Add links to your blog on your Website
  • Add your blog to your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook profiles
  • Add your blog address to all your communications
  • Embed videos from your YouTube channel in your blog
  • Run a contest on your blog
  • Ask your supporters to blog about your blog

Publicize Your Blog — Techie

If you or your staff is a bit more technical, try these ideas:

  • Add your blog to blog directories such as:
    • Technorati
    • Daypop
    • Blogdex
    • Popdex
    • Blogrolling
    • blo.gs
    • weblogs.com
    • pingomatic
    • Robin Good’s list of blog directories[1]
  • Enable each post to be its own page
  • Set your blog to send pings to search engines via Ping-o-Matic[2]
  • Install Email This Post or other plug-in that enables readers to send the post to a friend
  • Turn on your site RSS feed and encourage your community to subscribe to it
  • Be search-engine-friendly

Advertise Your Blog

There are lots of places to advertise your blog on the Web. One that is quite affordable is a site called StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon belongs to a category of sites called social bookmarking services. Others include delicious and Digg.

StumbleUpon has more than 10 million members who use the site to, well, stumble upon new and interesting sites they might not have otherwise found. Members can rate pages, and when you use the site, StumbleUpon delivers pages or emails that have been explicitly recommended by friends or members with similar interests.

That’s great, and it’s a great site to subscribe to so you can find interesting topics to blog about. But you can also use StumbleUpon to place your blog or Website in the recommendations that members see.

You can create a StumbleUpon ad campaign for your whole blog or a single post. You can target the audience by selecting dozens of categories, various demographics and/or geography. When users click on the ad, the traffic comes directly to your site. It’s a pay-per-click service, which means you pay only for actual views of your site. You can also set spending limits to control your budget, and there’s no minimum spend requirements.

What’s even better is the cost: 10-25 cents per visitor.

StumbleUpon reviews all ads and accepts only those that meet their content guidelines.[4]

Next up: Write to be Found


Publicize Your Blog is the 151st in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 386. At this rate it’ll be a while before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances


[1] Robin Good’s blog list: bit.ly/aynbLz

[2] Ping-o-Matic: bit.ly/9LO88F

[3] Hubpages’ Advantages and disadvantages of each blogging platformbit.ly/8YOKCy

[4] Stumbleupon’s content guidelines: bit.ly/oIh3Ac

Getting Your Blog Found

Getting Your Blog Found

In our previous post, Good Blog Topics, we continued our series all about blogging by discussing some great topics to blog about and some rules for great posts.

In this post, we take an in-depth look at how to get your blog found in the sea of millions of blogs.

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Getting Found

There are millions of blogs. How are you going to get found? The first way is, of course, to write compelling, valuable content that matches what your community is searching for on Google and other search engines. If you’re not doing that, you’re not likely to be able to attract many readers no matter what else you do.

The second-best way to get found is to get linked to by more-influential blogs. Build relationships with respected bloggers in your community. (We talked about this in the post Study Existing Online Communities and in Synergistic Promotion Activities). Link to them, comment on their blogs, and engage with their audiences.

One common way bloggers collaborate is to guest-author posts on each other’s blogs. This has the benefit of offering a blog’s audience a change of pace, and can result in increased readers for both blogs.

Recently, however, a powerful new way to promote blogs was introduced: the Facebook Like button. As we discussed in the post Add a Like Button to Your Website, this new replacement for the old Share button can help your Website or your blog go viral. Typepad, a popular blog hosting platform, reported in mid-2010 that the installation of Facebook’s new Like Button on the sidebar of a blog boosted bloggers’ referral traffic from Facebook by up to 50 percent. For some blogs, adding the Like button to the blog’s footer boosted traffic from Facebook up to 200 percent.[1]

Blog referrals from facebook likes

Figure 1 — Referral Traffic from Facebook Like, 2010

Combining the Like button with a campaign on Facebook can boost traffic even further. This way of coordinating your efforts between social sites, described in the Triangulate Your Social Media Presence post, can yield big dividends.

Next up: Publicize Your Blog 


Getting Your Blog Found is the 150th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 384. At this rate it’ll be a while before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances


[1] Typepad’s article What you should “Like” about Facebook Integration on TypePadbit.ly/936YL9

Good Blog Topics

Good Blog Topics

In our previous post, Creating a Great Lead for Your Blog Part 2, we continued our discussion about creating great leads for your blog.

In this post, we take an in depth look at some great topics to blog about and some rules for great posts.

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Good Blog Topics

Once you start blogging, one of your first concerns is going to be, “What do I blog about?”

Chances are you have plenty of possible topics. But what’s going to connect with your community? Once again, you’ll have to figure this out for yourself, but here’s a list of suggestions that may work.

  • Create Top N Lists — Creating blog posts that offer top 10 (or whatever number) lists is a proven winner. It promises a quick, easily-digestible take on a subject. Google the phrase “Top 10”[1] and see 450 million great examples.
  • Top People/Products — A variation of top n lists that adds the promise of celebrity
  • Be Contrarian — Disagreeing with established opinion can be a draw. People often seek this type of alternative to accepted wisdom
  • Be Controversial — But not too controversial. You’re looking to stir up debate, not trouble.
  • Answer FAQs — FAQs are Frequently Asked Questions. Every field has them. If you promise to answer them, people will be likely to read.
  • Ask Questions — One pastor we know uses this as an ice breaker: “What’s your favorite movie?”

If this short list doesn’t do it for you, there are lots of good blog posts that offer ideas for what to write about. Here’s a list of great recommendations:

  • Social Media Content Creation Process[2] by Geoff Livingston of Now Is Gone
  • Discover Hundreds of Post Ideas for Your Blog with Mind Mapping[3] by Darren Rowse of Problogger
  • 100 Blog Topics I Hope YOU Write[4] by Chris Brogan of ChrisBrogan.com
  • 8 Must-Dos For Aspiring Writers[5] by Amber Naslund of Brass Tack Thinking

In addition to these bloggers and their sites, check out Dosh Dosh, Buzz Bin, Ittybiz, Copyblogger, Remarkable Communication, Remarkablogger, and Problogger. [6]

Other ways to find blog topics:

  • Read something new every day
  • Dedicate 20 minutes each day
  • Follow Alltop[7] for ideas
  • Ask people for ideas, especially your community
  • Keep a log of potential ideas
  • Bookmark sites you visit
  • Use Delicious[8] or Digg[9]
  • Read other bloggers
  • Find interesting and relevant photos
  • Use Flickr[10] — be sure to look for the Creative Commons license so you can reuse them
  • Stuck? Try a “Best of” post
  • Remember: Fast is better than perfect, and perfect is the enemy of good

Next up: Getting Your Blog Found


Good Blog Topics is the 149th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 383. At this rate it’ll be a while before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances


[1] Made you look! Here’s the Top 10 Google search for your convenience: bit.ly/13bn4xK

[2] Geoff Livingston’s Social Media Content Creation Processbit.ly/16RLrRs

[3] Darren Rowse’s Discover Hundreds of Post Ideas for Your Blog with Mind Mappingbit.ly/bk5Au1

[4] Chris Brogan’s 100 Blog Topics I Hope YOU Writebit.ly/c7uaM220 Blog Topics To Get You Unstuckbit.ly/cinHGT, and 100 Personal Branding Tactics Using Social Mediabit.ly/9B04I1

[5] Amber Naslund’s 8 Must-Dos For Aspiring Writersbit.ly/9s82tC

[6] Dosh Dosh: bit.ly/bQFgaB, Buzz Bin: bit.ly/9FCYE7, IttyBiz: bit.ly/bLa2SY, Copyblogger: bit.ly/atrUqh, Remarkable Communication: bit.ly/9M7ZlE, Remarkablogger: bit.ly/cvLuTX, and ProBlogger: bit.ly/dghN9I

[7] Alltop is a blog aggregator: bit.ly/c0DLPn

[8] Delicious is a social tagging site: bit.ly/dzUxVm

[9] Digg is a social tagging site: bit.ly/cGXpV9

[10] Flickr is a photo and social tagging site: bit.ly/cyVvgU

Create a Great Lead for Your Blog Part 2

Create a Great Lead for Your Blog Part 2

In our previous post, Creating a Great Lead for Your Blog, we continued our series all about blogging by discussing how to create great leads for your blog and gain readers.

In this post, we continue the themes from our last post with part 2 on creating great leads for your blog.

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Write Scannable Text

Since your prospective readers are going to quickly scan your article to decide on its relevance, be sure to write in a way that enables scanning. This means no long, laborious, clause-laden sentences. Write in a shorter, choppier style that quickly imparts the information. And use lots of white space, especially between paragraphs.

Use bulleted lists. You may have noticed we have a lot of them in our blog posts. Take a moment and scan back through some of our previous posts. See how the bulleted lists attract your eye, and quickly give you a sense of what’s on the page, and what the topic under discussion is?

Notice that we use a lot of white space as well, often setting sentences off apart from the rest of the text.

That’s not the way you were taught to write in school, but that’s what works in the increasingly attention-deficit world we’re living in. So keep your paragraphs short, and don’t be afraid to make them only a sentence long. There’s a great example of how to lure the reader in on the Problogger site in a post called How to Craft a Blog Post — 10 Crucial Points to Pause.[1] Since the author, Darren Rowse, also uses type styles to attract attention, we’ve reproduced the beginning of the post in the next figure.

Blogging lead

Figure 1 — Example of a Great Blog Post Lead

Doesn’t this lead make you want to read the rest of the post? Rowse dares you to read on by taking the risk of placing a picture between you and the rest of the post. Brilliant.

By the way, the rest of Rowse’s article, and the series it’s part of, is killer, and we definitely re­commend you read it.

Keep it Short

Pundits differ on the precise recommended post length, but pretty much everyone agrees blog posts should be short. We think you should aim for 300-500 words. As a guide, the average 8 ½” x 11” page has roughly 400 words on it.

If your topic is long and involved, split your post into multiple pages, with about 500 words on each. If your topic really demands more extensive coverage, consider making it into a series of posts. We did this recently when a blog site asked us to do a guest post on business use of LinkedIn. They suggested 500-700 words for the whole article. We replied that there was no way to do the topic justice in that amount, and ended up doing a five-part series.

You’ll need to figure out the length issue yourself. We suggest you ask your community what they think. Perhaps you always leave them wanting more. Perhaps they get tired of reading you after half a page. Remember that it doesn’t matter what you think when it comes to these issues. It’s what your audience thinks. And the great thing is: You can ask them.

Next up: Good Blog Topics


Create a Great Lead for Your Blog Part 2 is the 148th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 382. At this rate it’ll be a while before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances


[1] Darren Rowse’s post How to Craft a Blog Post – 10 Crucial Points to Pausebit.ly/bGED2G

Using LinkedIn to Prepare for a Conference

Using LinkedIn to Prepare for a Conference

So your startup is going to an important conference where you hope to attract attention and start conversations with partners, backers, and prospects. You all have LinkedIn profiles, so you’re ready to go, social media-wise, right?

Wrong.

 Conference booths

Buff Up Your LinkedIn Presence

Of course it’s important for you to be on LinkedIn. If they’re interested, people you meet at the conference will probably look you up to find out more information about you than what is contained on your business card or in your trifold. They’ll want to know how seriously to take you.

We see many, many profiles on LinkedIn that are really barebones. A weak summary statement and incomplete information about your background can be a real turnoff for the folks who are gauging whether you’re for real or not.

So to prepare for an important conference, follow our recommendations for beefing up your LinkedIn presence:

Improve Your Profile

  • If you’ve got a day job while starting your startup, be sure the startup company name is listed first in the Experience section. Your title and the name of the company, location, and industry are bits of information that follow you around on LinkedIn. For example, this info, along with your picture, is what shows up in search listings. So how are the people you meet at the conference going to find you? By searching. If I’m someone at this conference and want to know whom to talk to, I’m going to look on LinkedIn, not read everyone’s business cards.
  • Fill in all the experience sections of your profile.  Again, this speaks to credibility.  You all may be really smart, but on LinkedIn, you need to give evidence of industry or domain knowledge and experience to establish your bona fides.
  • Create a strong summary statement. It’s OK to have personal aspirations in this statement, but keep it fact-based and fairly short, no more than 200 words. Here’s an example of a weak summary statement: “I have brought success to numerous firms by taking a strategic and systematic approach to financial operations.” This is generic and vague. If you’re going to make a statement like this, back it up with details. Strive for statements that will set you apart from others.
  • Include a recent picture, of just you, not you and your spouse or dog or kid. Have it professionally done if possible. Dress in clothes appropriate to your business.
  • List the company Twitter account as your Twitter account and list other appropriate social media presence. Also list the company Website.
  • Get appropriate recommendations, both personal and skill. It’s OK to endorse one another, but keep that to a minimum. Seek out people who will give you a great recommendation that is pertinent to what you’re doing in your startup.

Pre-Conference LinkedIn Activities

  • Join relevant LinkedIn groups.  Use the Groups search to find them. Other LinkedIn members can’t tell when you’ve joined, just that you’re a member, so don’t worry that they’ll find out you’re a newbie. If there’s time, comment on posts and post one or two items of your own.
  • Definitely post in groups that you are attending the conference.  Ask if anyone else is going and if they want to meet for a drink, dinner, sightseeing, something fun.
  • Look up all conference keynote speakers on LinkedIn and visit their profiles.  The keynoters can see these visits to their profiles, and this could trigger conversations with those folks.  We’ve connected with lots of people just because we saw them checking out our profiles.
  • Create a Company Page. Seriously. If you don’t have a Company Page on LinkedIn, you don’t exist. (We may have overstated that just a bit.) It’s easy to do, and you can even list your products.
  • Post a PowerPoint describing your startup on SlideShare and link it to the individual profiles of company members. Having a PowerPoint on SlideShare conveys an air of professionalism and credibility, despite the fact that any jaboney can post there.

We recommend that all principals take these steps, but those who are attending must definitely address these issues.

There’s lots more about using social media for B2B sales in our book The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for B2B Sales Success – Sales Person Edition. Get a free chapter at  bit.ly/InfPipeCh1


Create a Great Lead for Your Blog is the 147th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 380. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances

Create a Great Lead for Your Blog

Create a Great Lead for Your Blog

In our previous post, Writing Your Blog, we continued our series all about blogging by beginning to get into the nitty gritty of blog writing, starting with your blog post titles.

In this post, we continue discussing blog writing with a look at how to create great leads for your blog and gain readers.

AttributionShare AlikeSome rights reserved by bertop

Create a Great Lead

Blog posts must get right to the point. Study some of the most influential blogs, such as the Huffington Post[1] or Gawker.[2] Watch how they hook the reader in. Here’s an example of a recent HuffPost article lead:

For all his retro failings and inability to open up, Don Draper has always been intrigued, even turned on, by women who are willing to stand up to him and are smart enough to argue with him.

Who’s that lead targeted to? Yup. Women.

How about this lead from Gawker:

There’s a melodramatic “war” brewing between Facebook and Google, and Facebook’s CEO is seizing the opportunity to squeeze more work from his engineers, declaring a “lockdown,” keeping the office open on weekends, and putting a neon sign on his door.

Target audience? People like you, who read blogs about social media!

Write and rewrite your lead so that it communicates the promise of the post and entices the reader to continue.

Add Pictures

Remember when you were thumbing through the magazine in your imagination in the previous post? You were scanning titles, but you were also looking at the pictures. Since many of your audience members will belong to the post-literate generations, consider including at least one grabber of a picture in each blog post.

Use Pull Quotes

PullQuote

Also known as a lift-out quote or a call-out, a pull quote is a quotation or edited excerpt from a post placed in a larger typeface and embedded in a text box to entice readers and to highlight a key topic. You’ve probably seen them on the professional news sites and blogs. It’s a great way to provide more cues to your readers about what your post is about.

Next up: Create a Great Lead for Your Blog Part 2


Create a Great Lead for Your Blog is the 147th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 380. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances


[1] Huffington Post: huff.to/9bAbxA

[2] Gawker: bit.ly/9czGyt