The Internet is evolving. If current trends in mobile technology, social media, and profiling continue, the way people search for, consume, and share content will look very different in another year or two. The question is: are you ready for it?
The Changing Tides of Content Marketing
You probably clicked on this post thinking it will be about keywords, algorithms, or maybe new trends in content marketing. Far from it. This post is about a revolution that is unfolding at this very moment, and if you can understand what’s happening, you’ll be able to position yourself properly now and come out ahead of the competition.
It’s no secret that social networks, search engines, and advertising models are converging, and this is happening as the consumption and creation of content across various mediums is becoming more seamless, and as countless people literally upload their lives to the web leaving in their wake a rich pool of defining data.
I think pretty soon anyone who is involved in online content creation is going to be dealing with a completely different kind of vocabulary. Instead of worrying about how we rank in search engines for various keywords, we are going to focus on a new kind of SEO: Social Experience Optimization. With this kind of SEO, the level and quality of the engagement around your content will be as important as the content itself.
Many bloggers and Internet marketers don’t seem to understand what’s happening. People are stuck looking at the short-term trends and hanging on the next algorithm update- whether they are trying to understand what they need to be doing to keep their heads above the water or they are trying to figure out how to game the system.
Case in point: Most of us got the memo that social sharing is factoring into search engine visibility. Predictably, black hatters are pimping the system, flooding the web with bogus zombie accounts and automates. Sending a flurry of lifeless tweets, likes, and +1’s hurtling throughout cyberspace. No surprises there.
But, even legitimate, hardworking bloggers are falling into the trap. The concept of Klout has begun to poison the Internet psyche- regardless of whether you actually have an account with this service or not. The biggest downside to all of this is that people are focusing on the wrong things. This is not a numbers game. Being an influencer is more about the engagement level of your following as well as how targeted they are even if many of these people don’t have the biggest twitter accounts. This is just common sense. Building an engaged network of people with the same interests is the most profitable setup there is for business bloggers since these are the people who will share your content, engage with you, buy your stuff, and refer their friends to you.
Right now, the systems for measuring this kind of engagement and influence are still playing a game of catch up. But, it won’t be this way for long.
How Can Bloggers Optimize Their Social Experience?
I know all of this may sound airy fairy, so what does Social Experience Optimization mean in concrete terms, and what can you do about it right now? Here are three tips:
1. Post no more than three times a week. I know many big bloggers are still pushing the idea that you have to just write, write, write, till your fingers bleed since it will bring in more traffic, and Google seems to like sites that constantly produce fresh content. But, unless you are running a news-type platform, even if you have a high-traffic blog, you should give your new posts and videos some time to percolate. This allows your readers more time to engage with you and your content, and that engagement is vital.
2. Create a rich multi-media experience. Here is another currently under-optimized area of content creation. In an effort to quickly (and rather painlessly) gain backlinks and traffic, many bloggers take a post and then “spin” that post into a video, a slide presentation, or even a pdf. It’s a wasted opportunity! It would be better to create content across other mediums that complement, not rehash, your written content. So for example, you could write a post, and then embed a video where you delve more deeply into one of the points that you brought up. You could create a slide presentation that basically does the same thing, or make a “teaser” that will bring curious readers to your site wanting more.
Why is this so important? Because it gives the people who have already expressed interest in your content a richer, more valuable user experience. They will thus be more likely to notice your updates and share your content across platforms.
3. Build a real following of people and businesses. Again, this isn’t just about numbers; it’s about the quality of the connections you have within your social media accounts and your private subscriber list. You may have heard the idea that you should try to become an expert in your niche. This solely means that the people who are connected to you consider you to be an authority in your field. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are one of the biggest influencers in your niche. In most cases, that should not be the goal; not everyone is meant to be at the top.
In closing, if you are a business blogger, you will benefit from paying attention to the trends mentioned above as well as those three tips. Optimizing your social networks is definitely where it’s at, and it will only get stronger as time goes on. It’s a train you don’t want to miss.