How to Use Social Media Data to Focus Your Guest Blogging Efforts
One of the best ways to utilize content marketing is via guest-posting - rather than having to rely on only building your own audience and presence, you can utilize the reach of existing publications to boost awareness and amplify your messaging. But in order for this to be effective, you need to target the right publications - there's no point getting a post on a site that none of your focus market are reading, as it won't be effective in driving direct sales.
So how can you hone in on the right publications and ensure your guest-blogging efforts are being seen by the people you most want to reach?
Here's a simple way to zero-in your guest-blogging efforts by using Twitter - or more operatively, Moz's Followerwonk, which utilizes Twitter data.
For those unaware, Followerwonk is a Twitter analysis tool - it's free to use in basic mode, but the advanced version costs $29 per month. You may not want to spring for the paid version straight up, but Followerwonk is a hugely effective tool, and provides a heap of great data for the price.
One of the functionalities within Followerwonk is 'Compare users', in which you can analyze the audience of up to three Twitter profiles at a time. Using this, you can get an idea of who these people follow - and importantly for our purposes here, who they follow in-common, highlighting the key publications of focus for these users.
So let's say you've identified the key people you want to reach - maybe they're people in your local area, people with a specific job title or keyword in their bio, or who work for a certain company (or companies). More likely it'll be a combination of several of these factors - you can use Twitter's search functions to locate these key targets or use a tool like BuzzSumo which can help you identify key people of interest, including influencers, based on keywords (and note, Followerwonk offers its own Twitter bio search functionality).
Identifying influencers can be a great way to boost your brand exposure - if you can get your content in front of these potential amplifiers, that increases the chances that they'll also share your content, provided it aligns with their interests.
List the Twitter profiles of all your key target people, then head over to Followerwonk's Compare tool and enter the first three in.
What you'll get is a Venn diagram like this:
Some interesting stats, but the only element we're really interested in is the 'Followed by all three' listing, which you can see at the bottom right, alongside the graphic. Click on it, and you'll get a listing like this:
These are the profiles followed by all three of our targets, and as you can see, some of these are online publications which accept guest posts. If we want to get in front these people, getting our guest blogs on these sources will increase the chances doing so.
Go through the list of profiles followed by all three, identify publications (and check if they accept guest blogs) and note them down, then compare the next three users on your list in the same way. How long this will take is obviously relative to how many targets you identify, but Followerwonk's compare process is fairly quick, making it easier to action.
After you've gone through all your targets in this way, you'll be able to identify the most followed in-common sources among them. These are the key sources you should target with your guest-blogging outreach, as you already know that they're followed by the people you want to reach, and are thus more likely to be read by these users.
This helps hone your focus more than simply aiming for blogs and publications in your niche. And while a user following a publication on Twitter doesn't necessarily mean it's a key news source for them, by establishing the most followed sources amongst the majority of your target group, your chances of exposure are greatly increased, as opposed to simply selecting the sources you suspect are most relevant and going with that.
This is also an effective way to identify influencers - if all of your target audience follows certain, specific people, those are the ones whose opinions are most likely relevant. Influence can be difficult to nail down in social, as each influencer measurement source has its own calculations on what influence is, often largely dependent on overall follower counts and website domain authority, both of which can be gamed. By pin-pointing the voices that are most followed amongst your, specific, target market, you're more likely to identify the right voices, the ones you need to focus on to influence opinion.
Of course, this is dependent on how much of your audience is active on Twitter, and how active they are, but either way, it's a worthwhile experiment to see what sources you identify - it might help you uncover an unlikely source you hadn't previously considered.
On top of this, Followerwonk offers a range of data tools which are also worth a look. There was a time last year when it seemed like Followerwonk was going to be shut down, which would be disappointing considering the range of data it provides. If you've not used Followerwonk before, it's definitely worth checking out.
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