Last year I wrote an article called "11 Lessons in Productivity from a Very Productive 2011," which you seemed to like. Put your lighter away. Here's your encore.
It works like this... I fumble my way through the year trying this and that and report back to you which efforts proved to be effective online marketing moves and then share them with you. I'm the lamb striving to help you become a lion in this digital jungle. Let's do it.
I started with an eBook.
Studly move. (More on that in a minute.) My concept was simple. This time last year it became painfully obvious to me the number one call for my talent and time was to help clients improve their websites. So I hit the books, er, blogs, collected and then created what I feel is a very helpful series of vital ideas and named it "21 Pointers to Sharpen Your Website."
The ebook has been downloaded several thousand times since January. It helped demonstrate my command of online marketing strategy, and earned me new clients partners and opportunities.
I haven't got to the best part yet. That is, the document I refer to served as the blueprint for my content marketing strategy throughout the year. I took its 21 individual themes and wrote separate blog posts on them, created presentations, webinars, and so on. I'm doing it still. In fact, my ebook became the statllion to ponies who raised herds of their own.
I wrote an article and presentation that digs into the birds and bees of eBooks a bit more: "The eBook is the Stud in Your Content Marketing Stable." [BTW, the presentation has been viewed nearly 50,000 times on SlideShare.]
SlideShare-orama my friend! I've got googly over SlideShare before. In fact, it was the subject of a popular post, "SlideShare Means Business: 15 Reasons Why."
Because I give you that and a slew of articles and books now sing the praises of SlideShare (a LinkedIn company), I'll spare you the list and tell you what it's meant to my online marketing this year...
SlideShare has been the ace in my deck all year, the best card I've ever played. In addition to exposing my ideas to thousands (100,000 actually) of prospects, I landed on the radar of their editor who asked me to write for the SlideShare blog. Now we're talking landSlide(share)!
Have a peek at "Transform Your Website Into a Customer Attraction Force Field With Magnetic Content" (originally published on SlideShare). This piece delivered its very promise. The day it debuted, traffic to my site increased 2000%. No typo there. Every day it drives more traffic. The presentation that complements the article (which you'll want to see if you're new to content marketing) has been the centerpiece of my speaking engagements (another new and exciting gig for my business).
Be my guest blogger.
If you, or someone who writes for your business, have the chops to create blog posts people learn from and enjoy, guest blogging presents an amazing opportunity to expand your reach and widen your sphere of influence.
Whether I applied for the job, invited myself to the party, or received an invitation, I took advantage of this strategy more times than I can count in 2012. Just this month, my stories have been featured at a few prominent online publishing sites for the first time and I'm making my way down the list toward a few more.
Elbow rubbing at Content Marketing World.
You can tweet n' greet, buddy up on blogs, and friend, fan or follow all you like-and you should, but there's no substitute for shaking hands and saying hello. I made it to Content Marketing World in Ohio this past September. There, in two intense days of networking and attending presentations, I met, swapped notes with, and learned from some of the very best in the business.
You want to learn more about effective online marketing? Why not get the lowdown from the most learned leaders?
Oh, and I also had a blast. Beside meeting oodles of those I admire, read and RT, I met and got to listen to Rick Springfield. Now don't go accusing me of joining the Mickey Mouse club. Rick Springfield rocks. See him perform and I'd defy you to disagree.
I parted ways with my SEO company.
Yeah, I took the bait and signed on with one of those companies who gives you some legitimate search advice and then proceeds to create backlinks for you on low-ranked, irrelevant directories, one of the last gasps of search shortcuts from the decade of Google gaming.
Let's face it: SEO is important, but SEO companies are not. I'm not saying they are all 100% full of it. However, the ones who honestly know what they're doing are doing content marketing.
I'm my own search opti company now and I'm doing just great with it. I've learned how it works. I don't precede every piece I write with keyword research, but I often do. And I adhere to my strategies. One of them is to rank for "effective online marketing." Perhaps you see the point I'm making at work in this article.
If you don't want to take my word for it on this subject, check out "The New SEO Rules in a Content Marketing World," from Mashable.
I created productive landing pages.
I blew the whistle on myself. I was preaching landing pages, but not using them on my own site, not the truly authentic kind, which are singular in their mission and collect leads. I opted to invest in a software-based service called Optify and created landing pages for the free resources I offer on my site. They work. I plan to do much more landing pages designed to trade online marketing tips for email addresses and nurture the leads they produce.
I got my photo taken.
I picked-up this, and other tips, from Mari Smith's "The New Relationship Marketing Book." Sound advice. If you want to be perceived as an online marketing professional, you have a brand to build called "you."
Want to work in your PJs from a home office from 4 to 10 a.m. while you chug a sixer of Red Bull? Fine, whatever works for you. Want to present yourself with online profiles that make you look unprofessional? Not cool, that doesn't work for you. It works against you. Especially important is the profile pic on your site and social media.
Off limits: your pets, family portraits, shots of you on vacation with your significant other (mostly) cropped out. C'mon. I don't even think clever illustrations or logos suffice.
You hire writers to make you sound good and CPAs to make it appear you're paying your taxes. Hire a photographer to have your portraits reflect the professional you really are.
I declined business.
In the first 16 years of operating Feldman Creative, to turn away a potential new client, I had to be rolling in the dough, months behind on deadlines, and 100% confdent I'd never want for new business. In other words, never.
I revisited this approach. Of course, the demand-generating tactics that are the subject of this article helped me arrive at this place. But with or without the demand, I was torturing myself by working too hard for too little with people or companies that were clearly mismatches. Compromising your integrity is no way to do business.
A client told me to "find your zebra." He was speaking of "Selling to Zebras" a sales strategy book that speaks to the need to identify exactly which type of customer best fits your business model. Yes, I still dance with a donkey now and then, but I'm working on it and enjoying better results.
I started speaking.
Trust me, I've known how to speak for a good number of years, but this year I chose to make public speaking a goal. I have and continue to research the subject, but meanwhile I raise my hand when the opportunity comes along. I've found I really love it and the audience responds well to what I have to say. I'm a professional speaker now. You have to tell yourself you are something to be that something. Please let me know if you have an audience of folks interested in learning about effective online marketing practices because I'm very interested in delivering this stuff I feel so passionate about.
I started podcasting.
With Content Marketing Institute as my "sponsor," I kicked-off an interview program called "Content Marketing Minds." I've found podcasting not only to be a great way to expand my audience, but also connect with many fun, smart marketers. One of my guests has actually become a client.
Though it's an interview program, "Minds" differs from most in that I don't hit the guests up for marketing advice. Instead, the show features guests who have been involved in the creation of super interesting, unusual and effective content marketing programs. We talk about the objectives of the program, how it was executed and the results produced. To date, three episodes get into Skype's "Say it With Skype," New Belgium Brewing's "Tour de Fat," and NetBase's "2012 Election Mood Meter."
Fun stuff. Subscribe to the program on iTunes or listen to them here.
Gearing up for growth.
I blog. Clients ask me to do it for them. Same goes for search, social, pay-per-click, site design, research, ebooks, and an expanding list of online marketing functions. I can't do it all, at least not in every case. So, finally, I have expanded.
Feldman Creative is no longer just me, just a freelance copywriting service. I have brought on, or I should say, online, a variety of talented partners, which I have carefully vetted and put to the test.
I focus on writing websites, larger online marketing projects and providing content marketing planning, consulting and creative direction services. It's an ongoing cycle, so if you're a good fit to join my team, please let me know.
Reading and writing.
Hey, you can't read 'em all, but I try. In 2010 and 2011, I consumed a very tall stack of marketing books and my fascination with them continued this year. FIve favorites (and recommendations): Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson; Six Pixels of Separationby Mitch Joel; Engage by Brian Solis; Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, Optimize by Lee Odden.
Also, I started a book of my own.
Okay, this one has nothing to do with online marketing.
Also, we're on number 13 now. But you know, there really is something to using your online platforms to be yourself, share and have fun. With that, I thought I'd show you a couple recent additions to the family: Rio is the fluffball mini-poodle pup and Bojangles is the kitty. Love, love, love 'em and they're crazy about each other too.
Have a great holiday season.
Please let me know if I can help you grow your business with effective online marketing in 2013.