A little over a year ago, I was hired by a real estate company to manage two blogs: one realtor facing and the other consumer facing. I had a solid writing background but little to no experience in digital, social media, or content marketing. Little did I know, I had just entered the B2B and B2C content writing and marketing world, and I had a lot to learn.
In addition to my lack of digital marketing experience, I also knew nothing about real estate. Nonetheless, I was able to increase the page views of both blogs by over 2,000% in less than a year.
How did I do it? Let’s start from the beginning.
The first thing I set out to do was learn as much as I could as fast as I could about the topic I was writing about. Whether you’re a freelancer or an in-house content creator, you have to completely immerse yourself in your subject matter before even thinking about putting fingers to keyboard.
First, start with a basic Google search and see who ranks for your given industry and/or topic at hand. Check out the blogs on these sites, and learn the names of those producing top-notch content. Keep your eyes peeled for list posts of key influencers and visit their respective websites and social media profiles.
The more you learn not only about your topic but about what type of content is effective in any given industry will give you a good idea of what to write and how to write it.
Actionable Item #1: Research Your Subject Thoroughly & Learn Who the Key Influencers Are in the Industry
2. SEO Writing Basics
As I discussed in How to Blog Like a Boss: 3 B.I.G. Blogging Basics, it’s important to understand the basics of writing for SEO. Here are a few tips for starters:
- Focus your piece of content around a keyword or phrase.
- Craft a headline that pulls readers in.
- Link both internally to the site you’re writing for and externally to other sites you’ve referenced.
- Make sure you reach the ideal content length (at least 500 words).
- Incorporate visuals within your written content.
- Use heading tags appropriately.
Actionable Item #2: Learn and Implement SEO Writing Basics
3. Social Media Marketing
Once you’ve written a well-researched and SEO-friendly piece of content, it’s time to start marketing it. A great place to start is on social media (your owned media). However, before you push your story out on all of your social media profiles at once, you need to learn a few key tenets of social media marketing.
Let’s start with the best type of content for each social media platform:
- Pinterest: Perfect for sharing beautiful images, infographics, DIY tutorials, etc.
- Google+: Great for community engagement, including posting to and having conversations within industry-related communities.
- Twitter: 140 character text and image posts, including article soundbites, retweets, and links.
- Facebook: Text posts, links, images, and especially videos do well on this social media giant.
- Instagram: Images, videos, and new hyper-lapse videos make this a purely visual platform.
- LinkedIn: Mostly for professional networking person-to-person or within communities, with the LinkedIn publishing platform being a great place to publish outside of your company blog.
Once you’ve developed a basic familiarity with these social media sites and what performs well on each, you need to decide which of these your intended audience is active on and when they’re on the site.
For example, Pinterest drove the most traffic to the consumer facing real estate blog, as homeowners and prospective buyers loved images of beautiful homes and crafts for the holidays. As for the agent blog, Google+ drove the most traffic due to fostered relationships with influential Realtors and community engagement.
Actionable Item #3: Find Which Social Media Sites Your Target Audience Use the Most and Market Your Content There
4. Create Relationships
Due to the well-written content and the relationships I was able to foster via social media, the B2B blog I managed became a trusted source of information for real estate agents.
After 1: Finding the key influencers, 2: Getting a good amount of content under my belt and on the site and 3: Engaging with these influencers via social media, these professionals began to share my content with their own audiences (earned media).
A great way to foster such essential relationships, other than sharing influencers’ content on your own social media profiles, is to ask to create a guest blogging partnership with them.
After taking a look at an influencer’s site, see what content topics s/he hasn’t written about yet and pitch a few ideas to him/her. Meet your proposed deadline and blow him/her away with your value-rich article. Not only will your name be introduced to his/her audience, a few well-placed links in your post will undoubtedly lead readers back to your own site.
Actionable Item #4: Interact with Key Influencers and Create Guest Blogging Partnerships with Them
Using the above formula, I was able to take two relatively unknown blogs in the real estate sphere and develop them into trusted sources in the industry.
Not only did I increase page views by over 2,000% in less than a year, I increased brand visibility and engaged with a great deal of prospective customers online.
If you’re a small business starting out online or just getting into the content marketing game, following these four basic steps can help you get a foothold and improve your visibility in the digital marketing world.