Posts

Under the Influence? Eric Enge Talks Influencer Marketing

How do you influence an influencer?

How do you influence an influencer?

Today we’re happy to feature Eric Enge, CEO of Stone Temple Consulting. As a recognized, wicked-smart digital marketing and SEO expert, he brings a lot to any table. He’s served up many delightful and insightful dishes to our readers over the years, and his latest spread concerns influencer marketing.

Feast on his insights into this latest online marketing buzz!

There’s a lot of online chatter about “Influencer marketing” of late, as you well know. In your recent Stone Temple blog post, you outline a “script” with 7 steps for building a relationship with an influencer. Of these, which would you consider paramount, and why?

Focus on building a relationship. You need to view this as a give and take situation. Think of it as you are approaching them for purposes of benefiting them. Once you get this part right, the rest of what you need to do becomes much easier!

Most copywriters – both in-house and freelance — likely approach influencers either for their company or on behalf of their clients. As an influencer yourself, you’re likely inundated with requests to connect, help with something, or help promote something. So what makes you take notice of a request, as opposed to filing it in the “I don’t have time” pile?

In keeping with the prior answer, do some hard work up front. Read lots of their content. Read lots of their social posts. Find out what makes them tick. Then add value and engage them in a way that interests them.

Then, start slow. Don’t stalk them, don’t send them 10 messages in 2 weeks, or anything like that. Just take it a step at a time. Retweet their Tweets. +1 their blog posts. Add comments to their posts, these types of things.

Wait to you start to get some acknowledgement of your activity. Then when the time is right take another step forward in the relationship. Whatever you do, don’t ever ask them to share your stuff or link to you. That’s just plain offensive. Take your time with it, and let it develop, just like you would any other relationship.

This is essential. It’s not about you (at all). It starts, begins, and ends with them. Once you learn to approach people this way, they will start taking some of their energy and making it about you.

That’s how you create that magic win-win that you are looking for.

Related to the previous question: in your experience what is a completely original approach that worked really well? And what is your “horror story” of an approach that failed miserably?

The positive:  I left a Red Sox game one day, and noticed a famed baseball writer standing on a street corner, as he had just left the game as well.

I went up to him and the first thing I said was “Has anyone ever done what Koji Uehara almost did today?” (which was strike out the site in the 9th inning of a game to clinch a playoff series).

He warmed right up to me and we spent 15 minutes talking baseball like little kids. All the while, lots of other people were coming up and fawning all over him, and he more or less ignored them, while he and I just kept talking about the game.

Now this was not a content marketing based reason for my approaching him, I did it just for fun, but it still illustrates the point of how it’s done.

The negative: For a long time, people would simply generate mailing lists of people and blast messages out to them. Gradually, they got more sophisticated and cut down the volume, and added a very basic level of personalization. However, this still doesn’t work.

I know of one case where someone built a list of targets and robotically went through the process of getting emails sent out. They didn’t notice that one of the email addresses was donotspam@somedomain.com. The site owner submitted to a variety of services for tracking spam email accounts, and got their email account blacklisted. Ouch!

About a year ago, Barry Feldman (Feldman Creative) posted “30 Action Items to Get Serious About Influencer Marketing”. One of the items he emphasized is to “make LinkedIn your social center.” Do you agree with that? Or is there another social hub you’d recommend?

I don’t think that LinkedIn is necessarily the right social center for everyone. Yes, it’s a powerful network, and it has ways to contact people, and tons of people have LinkedIn accounts.

But, I think the right hub for you is probably where you have the largest audience related to your products. If you are into photography for example, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+ would probably be better picks than LinkedIn.

All of these approaches assume that an influencer will eventually contact and build a relationship with you. However, what about those influencers who won’t give you the time of day? Maybe they’re too busy. Maybe you’re not part of their “in” crowd. Maybe they just don’t care to build a relationship. When do you walk away and figure it’s not going to happen?

You can’t force it. Some people won’t want to connect, no matter how hard you try. But, it’s not about connecting with everyone on day one. You should have multiple people you are trying to build a relationship with. Do the hard work, do your best.

If you approach five, and you start to make a connection with one, then great! Move on with the others. And, as I noted below, with each one, take it slow, and let the relationships develop naturally.

To play Devil’s Advocate here…what would you say to people who think “influencer marketing” is one-sided — that is, someone is trying to ride on an influencer’s coattails/get help from them, and that’s the only reason they’re approaching that person? After all, don’t influencers have better things to do than help everyone who asks?

This pretty much feeds into everything else I said. Don’t let it be one-sided. If you are looking for someone to use, then influencer marketing is not for you. If you are looking to form real bonds and establish mutually beneficial relationships … now we’re talking.

How much time do you personally spend on influencer marketing? How much time would you recommend people spend on it?

Honestly, I am not quite sure. It starts with my deciding that someone is of great interest to me, not just because they have influence, but because they see things in a way that’s very similar to how I see them, and I think we could have a mutually beneficial relationship.

Then I start reading their stuff, both in terms of articles/posts and social media posts. I will start interacting with them. I might be working on a few of these at a time. Or I might only be pursuing one at that moment. If I had to guess, it’s anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour per day for me.

If you are just getting started on this, then you might want to spend a bit more time on it. But probably not too much more. You need to spend some time on producing your own great, original content and doing your regular work as well!

Connect with Eric on Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn 

Photo credit to Ryan McFarland | Flickr.com

 

 

SEO via Media Relations with @SpinSucks Gini Dietrich

pr-seo-handshakeYou’ve most likely heard of Spin Sucks and the force behind it, Gini Dietrich. She entered the public relations (PR) business after graduating from college, working her way up from her initial position as an account coordinator.

True to form, Gini eventually set out on her own and started her PR business (Arment Dietrich, Inc.) in 2005. The following year, she launched Spin Sucks (she quips, “embarrassingly so”). Fast forwarding to today, Gini has authored Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age and co-authored Marketing in the Round. She is also a co-host of the podcast Inside PR, and the primary voice of the Spin Sucks blog.

We were fortunate enough to grab some of Gini’s precious time for an interview, focused around her thoughts on leveraging media relations for SEO.

Enjoy!

A few months ago, you hosted a fascinating webinar on leveraging media relations for SEO using a three-pronged approach (readers can download the free webinar on demand here). Could you summarize this three-pronged approach?

You bet! We look at earned media, as it relates to building brand awareness, increasing your search engine optimization, and generating qualified leads. If your efforts don’t do all three of those things, it’s not working for you. This gets a bit into one of your questions below, but you want to work with media outlets to write stories about you, interview you on topics of expertise, accept contributed content, or run OpEds.

In those stories—all of them—should be anchor text, as it relates to your targeted keywords, and a link to something on your website or blog. There are very few journalists who won’t do this for you. Once you have that link on a higher domain authority site than your own, you have the opportunity to track your own domain authority, your search engine optimization, the qualified leads hitting you up online, and your brand awareness.

In this webinar, you also discuss how to create content hubs around a specific keyword or phrase. What content hubs would you recommend for an in-house copywriter, versus a freelance business owner? Are there hubs that would perform better for B2Bs than B2Cs?

I hate this answer, but I’m going to use it anyway: It really depends. Your content hubs should be focused around your targeted keyword or phrase. For instance, PR metrics is a big one for us because I am focused on changing the way PR pros measure their efforts. Our content hubs are built from that. It’s less about the job you’re doing (in-house vs. freelancer) and more about the search terms you need to use. And no, B2B vs B2C does not matter. This is about content around your keyword or phrase.

Earlier this year on the Spin Sucks blog, you described how to use media relations to get on the first page of Google by demonstrating your expertise on a topic. Specifically, you talked about how to leverage media relations via guest blogging on a site with relatively high domain authority to earn a link from it. Given the amount of solicitations authority sites receive from link wheel spammers, what steps would you recommend an online writer take to successfully pitch a guest post to an authority site for an “unknown” client, or for that matter, his or her own new business?

The very best way, just like any other relationship, is to build trust. I get TONS of solicitations from the wheel spammers…and it’s gross. I also receive really bad pitches and integrated news releases from PR pros, which makes me very sad. However, if someone were to pitch me and say, “I know you’re on a mission to change the way PR pros measure their efforts. I have content that fits that perfectly. Here’s a quick outline.” That would most definitely get my attention.

There’s been a lot of SEO industry talk about making links “no follow” and avoiding keyword-rich anchor link text so as not to invite a manual penalty per Google’s Penguin. Have you encountered any issues with backlinks that use a keyword or specific website domain name? How do you deal with link fear?

Nope. I’ve never had an issue, but it’s because we approach it with a “white hat.” I can’t even speak to link fear because it’s never been an issue for us.

Returning to the question of how to establish authority in the eyes of Google: what would you recommend a “noobie” do to market her content to influencers, aside from pitching a guest post? How can a new copywriter demonstrate her credibility when trying to forge a relationship with an influencer?

I recommend you start a relationship online just like you would offline. You find something in common. You share content. You comment on their content. You scratch their back and, eventually, they’ll scratch yours. Every day we have new commenters on Spin Sucks. They’ll say things such as, “First-time commenter, long-time reader.” I love that because I can dig a little to see who they are, welcome them into the fold, and provide some context about them to our community. This always helps start the relationship.

Finally, in a recent Spin Sucks post referring to the Narrative Science genesis of news storytelling via computers – or more precisely, algorithms spawned from artificial intelligence software — you discuss how “[i]t’s a new world where algorithms and humans are working hand-in-hand to produce some of the world’s best content.” Assuming the trend towards algos and writers working together will only grow, where do you see this new world heading for content creators, SEO copywriters, and online communicators?

It scares me! I joke that a computer will win a Pulitzer before I do. But I’ve talked to the founders of lots of these companies, and they’re focused solely on creating content that humans won’t do. For instance, they’ll write stories about Little League games and the Fortune 450 company because it doesn’t make sense for the newspapers to spend resources on that type of content. It’s also impossible for an algorithm to add color, irony, or even sarcasm. So, even if you use an algorithm to pull the data and science you need for a story, you still need to do the human part of it.

Well said, Gini! Thank you for spending time with us here!

You’re welcome! 🙂

Connect with Gini Dietrich via Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+

Photo credit to Garfield Anderssen | Flickr.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEO copywriting roundup: Hottest posts week of Jan. 14, 2014

Google changes authority

Is Google killing your authority?

Is Google killing your authority?!

OK, maybe that’s a little dramatic.

Google’s changing the way authorship markup appears in search results, which, naturally, caused quite a stir around the Web this week.

You’ll find a few posts on Google authorship and authority, along with the usual awesomeness from our beloved Internet marketing experts.

What are your questions or conclusions about Google’s authorship changes? Share in the comments below!

Meanwhile, read on and enjoy!

TopRank’s Nick Ehrenberg tells us How to Build Your Brand’s Voice Through Blogging #NMX.

Content Marketing Institute’s Grant Butler shares How To Hire Effective Content Marketing Writers and Editors.

Social Media Today’s Barry Feldman asks How Does One Guy Produce So Much Content?

Social Fresh’s Jeremy Goldman gives us 14 Top Marketing Pros Give Their Best Tip For 2014.

HubSpot’s Rachel Sprung writes 30-Day Blog Challenge Tip #8: Crowdsource Ideas From Sales.

Moz’s Pete Meyers shares Google’s December Authorship Shake-up.

Econsultancy’s Ben Davis writes Bloggers and PRs: the 10 commandments.

Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz gives us Google’s Matt Cutts: Yea, Google Changes Search On Average Twice A Day.

Search Engine Journal’s Matt Southern shares Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone Launches Jelly, A Social Q&A Search Engine.

Tracy over at Brandalism shares The difference between a content marketer and a content strategist.

Barry Schwartz writes Experts Say Google’s Authorship Reduction Not Related To Author Authority on Search Engine Roundtable.

Adam Dorfman gives us 4 Local Search Tactics That Will Matter More in 2014 on Search Engine Watch.

Gini Dietrich writes Brand Journalism: Embrace the Trend for Your Organization on Spin Sucks.

Margot da Cunha shares 6 Social Media Marketing Strategies to Drastically Improve Your Efforts in 2014 on WordStream.

Marketing Land’s Danny Sullivan gives us FAQ: How The New Gmail “Send To Anyone On Google+” Feature Works.

James Walker writes Growth Hacking: 5 Fundamentals To Get You Started for Social Fresh.

Social Media Impact’s John Souza shares Dawn of The Mini-Blog and How It Will Impact Your Content Strategy #Blogging.

Henley Wing writes 20 Contrarian Rules on Content Marketing from 20 Experts for Buzzsumo.

Eric Enge conducted a Google+ hangout on How to Scale Content Marketing. (Thanks to Ammon Johns, who’s also in the hangout, for letting me know in the SEO Copywriting LinkedIn group!)

Andrew J. Coate writes Freelancers: How to Find Them and What to Pay Them (Part 1) on kapost.

Shane Arthur gives us 7 Simple Edits That Make Your Writing 100% More Powerful on Boost Blog Traffic.

Jay Baer shares The 3 Ways to Succeed at Content Marketing When Everybody in the World is Doing Content Marketing on Convince & Convert.

Julie Joyce writes 15 Ways Clients Can Build a Better Relationship With Their SEO Provider on Search Engine Watch.

Heledd Jones shares Do you really need a search agency in 2014? Three reasons to bring it in-house on Econsultancy.

Amy Teeple says Sing to your customers on SEO Copywriting.

Carrie Hill posts Use Google Analytics To Create Campaigns, Not Just Track Them on Marketing Land.

Kristina Kledzik writes How to Create a Prioritized SEO Action Plan on Moz.

Unbounce’s Eric Sloan gives us 10 Landing Page Mistakes You’ll Never Make Again.

Daniel Burnstein shares Content Marketing: How to serve customers when they shouldn’t buy from you on Marketing Sherpa.

Claire Jackson writes Four Ways to Shatter Your Writer’s Block on ISOOSI.

Laura Lippay gives us Laura Lippay’s Randomly Weird SEO & Tech Predictions for 2014 on SEO Gadget.

Carrie Hill’s back on the list with Schema Markup for Reviews for SEO Copywriting.

Heather Lloyd-Martin asks Freelance writers: Are you making this costly mistake? on SEO Copywriting.

Michael Stelzner posts Why We Fail to Create and What You Can Do to Fix It on Social Media Examiner.

Sanchit Khera writes Why Google+ Will Demand Our Attention in 2014 and Andrew Hutchinson shares Five Key Elements in Writing High Quality, Engaging Content on Social Media Today.

Photo thanks to Eliya Selhub (Suicide King)

Time’s running out to save 20% on the SEO Copywriting Certification training! Use coupon code HAPPY 2014. Sign up now!

Three Essential Tools to Research, Curate and Build Authority

Content curation and research toolsWe’re living in the age of information overload. As a content creator, curator or copywriter your job is to cut through the clutter and find what is most relevant to your audience. Whether you are writing original content, curating information for social media or just need to keep an eye on your entire industry, you need tools to help you.

Unfortunately, finding the right tools can be just as overwhelming as trying to find the information in the first place. There are dozens of RSS readers, social search tools and curation platforms that all beg for your attention.

If you want to build authority, you need to provide top quality information – whether you’re simply sharing it or using it to create original pieces. I keep tabs on several industries – including the content marketing field as a whole – so it was important for me to find something that did a little more than the standard RSS reader. I use Feedly Pro as my go-to subscription platform, but for more insight, new sources and industry overviews, here are my essential tools.

Zite

Zite is a neat little app that I discovered a week ago – and I find I open it on my phone far more than my mobile Feedly. Zite curates and finds information in your top areas. You can add topics based on their suggestions or search for your own.

I like Zite because of its interface and its sources. Just within a week, I’ve found new authority blogs that I trust to share from and to learn from. I can easily share to social sites directly – although I wish there was a one-click integration with Pocket or Buffer.

BottleNose Lite

BottleNose is like a social search engine on steroids. As much as Google has tried to integrate social activity into its search results, it just doesn’t compare to this tool. The full version offers some pretty advanced social campaign and analytics tools – but for research purposes, lite works just fine.

BottleNose connects with your social accounts (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook) and shows you which topics and sources are most popular. You can also use the Sonar feature to find out which keyword phrases are most popular in your social circles. Right now, my Twitter community is interested in social media, Netflix, Halloween and #contentmarketing. You can dive deep into those topics, which can spark ideas and lead you to new sources for content.

ScoopIT

I went back and forth on whether to list this source or PearlTrees as the third tool in my trifecta. But ScoopIT edges PearlTrees out just slightly. ScoopIT is a curation tool, but it can also be used for discovery.

There’s a better quality-to-noise ratio on ScoopIT compared to other sites because the topic boards are personally curated by experts. They take the time to find the best articles on ACT test prep, content security or small business accounting (or any other topic I might be researching for clients). That means the research time is a lot less than it would be if I were trying to research these topics on my own. It’s also a social network within itself – you can follow other curators and engage with their content within the ScoopIT platform.

These are my top three picks for staying on top of things – how about you? 

About the Author ~ Courtney Ramirez

Courtney Ramirez is the Director of Content Marketing Strategy for Endurance Marketing. She’s an SEO Copywriter and content marketing specialist who creates clickable content for clients in both B2B and B2C markets. As a proud graduate of SuccessWork’s SEO Copywriting Certification training program, she geeks out on algorithm updates and content marketing metrics. She’s always in the mood for a good cat-based meme. You can connect with Courtney on Google PlusLinkedIn or Twitter.

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski (Librarian)

Why do some freelance copywriters rake in the bucks while others struggle to make ends meet? Hint: It’s all about tightening up the back end of your business. Learn how to make more money, faster with the Copywriting Business Bootcamp. Save 10% until 11/13/13 with coupon code SECRETS.