We’re honored to present this flattering guest post by Chris Koch of ITSMA. We’re constantly picking up tips and insights from other bloggers — including Chris -- and are thrilled to see that it’s paying off. That said, we can’t wait to see what valuable lessons lie around the corner. Here’s to a lifetime of learning!
When I first started my most recent blogging gig for ITSMA, I spent many lonely weeks speaking to the crickets. I was lucky to get ten people happening by my microscopic slice of the blogosphere on any given day (and my guess is that most of those were people stubbing their virtual toes on my blog on their way to somewhere more vibrant).
But then one day I was thrilled to see my first pingback and incoming link. It was from the Savvy B2B Marketing blog, where the sisters had linked to a recent post and had the courage to put this nascent blog on their blog roll.
I’ve been jealous of them ever since.
Here’s why. They do all the things I tell myself and ITSMA clients we should be doing in social media but we never seem to get around to doing. Here are just a few best practices by the Savvy Sisters that if you’re smart, you’ll emulate:
- Be generous. Mine wasn’t the only unproven blog to make it onto the Savvy Sisters’ list. They are constantly scouring the internet for new and interesting content and they share all of it. Every week, in addition to their own fine content, they feature posts from other bloggers. And they don’t do it in a smarmy, scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours kind of way; they highlight the stuff that they genuinely like and that is most relevant to their chosen focus of B2B content marketing.
This is something I call the aggregation strategy. It does a number of smart things. First, it builds loyalty to your blog from other bloggers, who appreciate you sharing their stuff—which of course, means they are more likely to share your stuff, thereby increasing your influence in a way that’s harder to do organically.
Second, blog readers come to rely on the aggregator as a filter for all the crud that is out there. When I’m having a particularly rough week and I can’t get to all my RSS feeds, I just go to the Savvy B2B Marketing blog and see what the Savvy Sisters recommend reading. That’s an invaluable way to build loyalty among your readers.
- Be smart. But there are plenty of good aggregators out there. When you drive people to your blog, you need to demonstrate mastery of your chosen topic area. When you arrive at the Savvy Sisters’ site, you see plenty of their own posts, each of which focuses on the author’s own area of interest and expertise. With all the rich content sitting there, it seems ridiculous not to check out the links to their services. How could you not, when they know so much about what they do? Look, fancy flash ads and come-ons certainly don’t hurt to get people to your site, but once they get there, you have to look so smart that they can’t help wanting to know more about who you are and what you do.
- Be focused. I’ve alluded to this already, but is there any doubt what the Savvy B2B Marketing blog is about or what each of the Savvy Sisters does in her own business? B2B Marketing. They do a particularly good job at maintaining this focus in spite of managing all of this virtually—I met two of them at a conference where they were meeting each other for the first time in person. Damn. Now that’s communication and discipline.
- Be deep. I’ve met some of the Savvy Sisters and I have no doubt that they are deep people. But that’s not what I’m talking about. One of the reasons that they do all these things well is that there are so many of them. Seems like an army sometimes. If one’s away on vacation or gets really busy working, the others take up the slack. Readers expect high frequency and high quality. It’s harder to sustain both as a solo act.
- Be visible. The Savvy army is out there on Twitter all the time being good members of the B2B marketing guild. Almost everything they share is links to others’ stuff, which makes them MVPs to follow in Twitter or in other social media channels. As my presence in Twitter grows, I always know that the Savvy Sisters will have at least double (usually three times) the number of followers that I do. Being more visible brings more followers (and more leads).
- Be patient. The thing that really drives me crazy about the Savvy Sisters is that they seem invulnerable to social media’s most pernicious disease: impatience. So many blogs practice BS link baiting to drive the numbers up, with titles proclaiming the sudden, painful death of some marketing practice that we all know is never really going to die, but we click anyway just to make sure. Pisses me off not only because it wastes my time but because I always find myself tempted to do the same thing. I’ve never seen it in one of their posts, have you?
- Be genuine. One thing comes through in everything the Savvy Sisters do: They are there to help. They don’t sell. They want to talk to you and they want to help you. That’s it. No hidden agenda. That builds loyalty and community.
I’m sure there are other things the Savvy Sisters do that I don’t (like keeping their posts below 700 words) but I don’t want to hear about them because I’m starting to get really depressed. Maybe I’ll get going on my three-year-old pledge to handle myself in social media more like they do.
Right. It only took me a year to follow up on their invitation to write a guest post for their blog. Excuse me. I need to go to my quiet place now.
About the author: Chris Koch, the Associate Vice President of Research and Thought Leadership at ITSMA, is a leading researcher and writer in B2B marketing, a prolific blogger and social media enthusiast. He's also an award-winning writer and editor and a public speaker with more than 20 years experience in journalism and more than 10 years covering information technology and business.