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5 Ways to Build Online Authority Using Content Marketing - A Guest Post By Paul Chaney

05/20/2016

Diva Marketing's 12th Birthday celebration continues with a very special post written by the first blogger I met IRW (in the real world) -- Paul Chaney!

FullSizeRender-1One of the biggest lessons I've learned in 12 years of blogging and being active in digital communities is real relationship can and do happen online.

As in offline, digital friendships are built through common interests, kindness, support when times are shaky and celebrations when good things happen. If you are lucky you get to take online offline.

Paul and I have collaborated on several projects including developing and facilitating training programs for the American Marketing Association. I am honored and touched that Paul offered to write an original post to celebrate Diva Marketing's anniversary. 

About Paul Chaney

Paul is an online marketing consultant, editor, writer, and author with more than 20 years experience in the digital marketing space. He’s written four books that cover the topics of business blogging, social media marketing, and social commerce, the most notable of which is entitled "The Digital Handshake: Seven Proven Strategies to Grow Your Business Using Social Media," published by John Wiley and Sons in 2009.

He is currently a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and also maintains a client-base of small to mid-size companies. Paul is a sought-after speaker on 1934055_120542921111_1037348_n
digital and marketing topics. Oh yes, and an accomplished musician! 

5 Ways to Build Online Authority Using Content Marketing

As a marketer, business owner, or entrepreneur, it's vital that you have a high degree of authority online so that when people search for you by name, they discover you (as opposed to someone else with your name).

But, it’s just as important that they find an impressive resume and portfolio to accompany your presence.

One of the best ways to establish your online authority is through the use of content marketing.

Here are five ways to go about it.

  1. Erect a Digital Home Base

The first step toward building authority is to create a website — a place you can call home. It's where people will go to learn more about you and where you have the best opportunity to convert visitors to customers or clients.

Just as you would not construct your house on rented land, you wouldn’t want to build your online authority on digital real estate that you don't own, such as a social network. Having a presence on social media is necessary, but you can incur risk by staking your claim there, as opposed to a web property that’s all yours.

Many companies offer web design services, both of the do-it-yourself variety and those that will create the site for you. Your available time and budget will likely determine which route you take.

  1. Claim Your Domain Name

If you aim to develop a personal brand, it's important to have a domain name that uses your name (i.e., YourName.com).

It's feasible that someone may have already claimed a domain with your name — in my case, the domain PaulChaney.com was taken years ago — but with the prevalence of new generic top level (gTLDs) and country-code domains such as .co, .us, .online, .services, and many more, there is no shortage of options from which to choose.

Pick the one that most closely resembles what you offer, or that best represents your area of expertise and go from there.

  1. Create Content in the Form of a Blog

I believe strongly that well-written, keyword-optimized, topically-relevant, frequently-updated content will not only improve your standing on Google but will also establish your authority and credibility in the eyes of customers and prospects.

Writing in your "sweet spot," that zone where you can clearly demonstrate deep expertise, will doubtless cause your stature to rise. And one of the best ways to create such content is through a blog.

Someone said that the word "blog" is an acronym for "Better Listings On Google," and I firmly believe it. I've seen time and time again the benefits blogging can provide from a search engine optimization standpoint. It also helps to trademark you as a subject-matter expert in the mind of the consumer — the "go-to" person for your industry.

Most website content management systems incorporate a blog component. Many, such as WordPress (arguably the most popular CMS on the market), are built on blogs as the foundation of the platform.

  1. Actively Participate in Social Media

You can't afford to bypass social media if you hope to grow a strong, authoritative brand. That doesn't mean you have to be everywhere, however, just on those networks where you are most likely to encounter your target market.

Let's examine the benefits of using the most popular networks:

  • If you provide products or services to other businesses, LinkedIn is where you want to be. It's a B2B network where conducting business is not frowned upon.
  • Facebook can be useful from the standpoint of letting people get to know you on a personal level. It's a social network in the truest sense and a place where you can "let your hair down" and be yourself. Just use good judgment when publishing content and making comments.
  • Let's not forget about Twitter. It's no longer considered a social network but a news and information network where you can share your content and content created by others.
  • YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest. Three other networks — YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest — aren't purely "social" networks either. Even though they have social aspects — the ability to comment, share, and like, for example — they are, in reality, more like "content" networks where you upload and archive videos and images.

A good rule of thumb for any content you create, whether written or visual, is to share it in as many places as possible. It's what the social media expert Chris Brogan calls your "media empire."

Given that these networks, however you classify them, are accessed by millions of people daily, you stand a much better chance of getting your message seen than by sequestering it on your website.

Think of it as a hub and spokes arrangement. You create content on your site, and then syndicate it to these networks, where users can find it more easily. Just be sure to include links back to your site, to drive traffic.

The main thing, where social networks are concerned, is to maintain an active presence. Create and curate content that you share in the form of tweets and status updates, and then interact with fans and followers via retweets, @mentions, responses to comments, and shares of content created by others.

The more active you are, the better your chances of impacting your audience with your message, and growing your reputation and authority right alongside.

  1. Create Strong Website and Social Network Profiles

The "About" page is one of the first places people will go when visiting your website. The information it contains is an excellent way to show your audience who you are and why they should trust you. The same holds true for your social network profiles.

An essential part of the About page is your bio. The following tips, from dlvr.it, a social sharing platform, talk about how to write a bio that will help confirm you as a trust agent.

Decide on the tone you want to take when writing a bio.

Should your bio be serious, cool and professional, or should it have a personal flair where you, perhaps, mention your family? Also, should you inject humor or maintain a more serious tone?

Identify the audience you want to reach.

When preparing to write a bio, clearly identify the audience that you're attempting to influence. That step alone can help dictate your tone.

Inject some personality.

Even professional bios should include something that displays your personality. Here’s a short bio example that does just that:

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 10.11.06 AM

Write in the first person.

Writing in the first person will make your bio more intimate and personal, but it is also a matter of preference and taste that depends on the tone you take and the audience that you’re addressing.

Conclusion

Building online authority using content marketing requires that you:

  • Have a home base in the form of a website;
  • Claim your domain name;
  • Share your expertise in a blog;
  • Participate actively in social media;
  • Have a bio that showcases your skill set and personality.

There are other steps you can take, such as setting up an email newsletter or writing a whitepaper, but those are "add-ons" that amplify your presence. Start with these five essentials to lay a sound basis for establishing your authority, and then build on it from there.

Connect with Paul Chaney! Twitter | LinkedIn |

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Influencer Marketing: Interview With Danica Kombol

05/09/2016

Birthday_morqueTo celebrate Diva Marketing's 12th Blog Birthday (!) ... an extra special interview on a topic that is sizzlin' hot -- Influencer Marketing with Danica Kombol founder of Everywhere Agency.

Seems you can't turn a corner in the digital world without bumping up against an influencer marketing post or campaign. Influencer marketing's roots began in the blogosphere programs of what we called blogger relations.

However, with the onset of multiple social media channels e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, Blogs, YouTube, Snapchat and technology that provides in-depth metrics, more brands are creating marketing promotion and content initiatives that include people who have significant followings and well -- influence.

Although the relationship aspect of today's influencer marketing campaigns are still critical, campaigns are more sophisticated than in the days of blogger relations. 

Danica Kombol graciously agreed to give us the scoop on what makes a successful influencer marketer program from the point of view of the brand/agency and the influencer. In her usual style, Danica includes so much more. Enjoy!

Danica Kombol
About Danica Kombol:I’m an entrepreneur, a mom, a pie baker and passionate about communications. I run the social media marketing firm, Everywhere Agency. We launched in 2009, focused primarily on social media and helping major brands get into the social media space. At that time, we were novel and unique, and big brands like CNN, Lexus, Lexis-Nexis and others needed our services. 

This day and age, most brands get it and have built out robust social media teams of their own. Now a major focus of our agency is influencer marketing. We connect companies like Macy’s, Carter’s and other major consumer brands with influencers to help amplify and tell their story. 

Diva Marketing: The term influencer marketing seems to be the hot buzz world. A Google search pulled up 20,800,000 links. Let’s start at Influencer Marketing 101. How do you define “influencer marketing?”

Danica Kombol: With influencer marketing, influencers become the vehicle to deliver your marketing message. However, it’s way more complex than that.  The question really becomes, “How do you use influencers to deliver that message and what type of influencers do you seek out?”. At Everywhere Agency, we practice the ancient art of storytelling.  By that, I mean finding influencers who can naturally and organically communicate a story about a product or brand.

Diva Marketing: Influencer Marketing is a service that your agency Everywhere Agency offers. How and why did you come to include it in your offerings?

Danica Kombol: In 2009, Everywhere Agency won the Guinness World Record for the most socially networked message in #BEATcancer.  We launched that campaign at BlogWorld (now extinct) by getting influencers at the conference to all tweet out #BeatCancer, and eBay/PayPal agreed to give a penny per tweet for every mention. Those funds went to cancer serving charities.

We were trending on Twitter within the hour and remained that way for three days.  At the time, we wanted to send the message that social media could be used for social good.  In retrospect, I realize that was our first experience galvanizing influencers, and those who participated in those first hours of sending out tweets are friends to this day. 

After that, brands kept coming to us looking for novel, non-advertising ways to promote their events or their products. We knew all these influencers, many who had a natural affinity for certain brands. We realized we could leverage influencers to share positive stories about brands the same way we got influencers to deliver a positive message in #BeatCancer. 

Seven years ago, we were keeping all these influencers in Excel spreadsheets. As more and more of them worked on campaigns, they began to talk to one another and say things like, “I’m part of Everywhere.” We realized we had to move all these amazing folks out of spreadsheets and bring them into a community.

That’s when we launched Everywhere Society – which is a community of influencers who work with our agency and opt in for brand campaigns. And it really is a community. Our influencer network has grown from those early years of the geek bloggers who used to attend BlogWorld to a vast community of 2,500 influencers coast to coast who write about lifestyle, fashion, technology, food, DIY, parenting, and well, just about anything. 

Diva Marketing: On a high level, why do brands invest in influencer marketing programs?

Danica Kombol: According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people – even if they don’t know them personally – over promotional content that comes directly from brands, and 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key factor of their purchasing decisions.

Essentially, influencer marketing is word of mouth advertising in the digital sphere. It’s easier for consumers to connect with a brand when they see it through the eyes of a real, relatable person.  

Diva Marketing: Let’s drill down to the “influencer” which might be more complex to determine.  Before we get into the weeds of the elements ~ for you, what makes an effective “influencer” for a brand campaign?

Danica Kombol: Ha! We debate about this often. An influencer is really anyone who is persuasive over a great number of people.  An influencer is that person you know who tells you about the best hair salon or movie to see. In Malcolm Gladwell, Tipping Point-speak, these people are the “mavens,” or people we rely on to connect us with new information.

Most of us have many different subgenres of influencers in our lives. For example, I seek parenting advice from my friend Paula and technology advice from my friend Lina.  In the “olden days” we’d have a phone conversation with that influencer seeking their advice on, say, the next gadget to buy. Today, we see his or her Facebook post, and we take action or are influenced by them. 

Diva Marketing: Is there a secret recipe that Everywhere Agency created to determine if a person is a digital/social media influencer? By that I mean is a percentage of reach, followers, Klout score, engagement , etc  that  is used? If not what does Everywhere take into consideration?

Danica Kombol: Sure, and contrary to my response above where I define just about anyone with influence as an influencer, at Everywhere Agency we are specifically looking for “digital influencers” or those folks with an extremely large digital footprint and a very engaged audience.  So yes, we look at numbers.

If they are a blogger, we look at their UMV’s (unique monthly visits), but in this day and age, we’re as likely to look at their Instagram, Vine, Snapchat or Twitter reach. Most important of all is what the influencer writes or talks about.  There has to be a real match for the brands we represent.  

Diva MarketingIn the Public Relations world celebrity marketing has been a tactic for a very long time. How does influencer marketing differ from celebrity marketing?

Danica Kombol: Ha, ha. It’s not so different anymore! Because I’ll tell you, a lot of these YouTube influencers are now celebrities in their own right!  Celebrity marketing is an aspect of influencer marketing.  At Everywhere Agency, we’ve worked with celebrities, but the core of our activations revolves around digital influencers. 

Diva Marketing: Would you share a successful influencer marketing campaign with us e.g. what made it successful, how did you determined which influencers to use, etc?

Danica Kombol: We recently did a series of Twitter chats for Macy’s. We were promoting the fact that Macy’s carries plus-sized clothing in their stores and embraces women with curves.

Macy’s teamed up with SuperModel Emme to do a series of fashion shows in their stores featuring plus-sized models and influencers. We found curvy bloggers who write about fashion to model and then joined forces with Emme to have Twitter chats where we talked about body positivity, fashion trends for curvy women, and the power of embracing your curves.

The conversations were amazing (even leading us to trend on Twitter). The impressions, which are how we measure our social conversations, topped 36 million. What was evident to us in these chats was that there are all these women who want to have this conversation, and we were proud to help facilitate it. Did I mention we won an AMY Award for our efforts?


Emme _everywhere tweet

Diva Marketing: What metrics do you usually use to determine the success of a campaign?
If can share any tools that would be great!

Danica Kombol: We look at a variety of factors – and every campaign has a different goal, so success doesn’t always look the same. Some clients are more concerned with the quality of content and photos than the amount of eyeballs that see it. Generally, we consider a campaign successful based on the number of impressions, a.k.a. the number of people who potentially saw a post, and the level of engagement or interaction the posts received.

Determining these statistics can be tricky, but we currently use a platform called Tracx to keep tabs on how our influencers are performing.

Diva Marketing: What 3 tips would you give a brand manager new to influencer marketing?

Danica Kombol:

1. Don’t expect the influencer to do a carbon copy of your brand message. Realize the benefit of working with influencer is that they tell your brand story in their own voice. Give them the tools to tell the story, but let them tell it on their own.

2. When you’re compensating an influencer, you must follow FTC Guidelines, which debuted in 2009 and are continuing to evolve. If confused about them, seek guidance from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.

3. And finally (and I’m not just saying this because I run an agency but), “don’t go it alone.” Finding the right influencer is only half the battle. Agencies like mine specialize in doing the negotiations, building out the story architecture, tracking the influencer and making sure all FTC guidelines are met. 

Diva Marketing: What advice would you give that brand manager if an influencer goes ‘rogue?’

Danica Kombol: See tip number 3 above, where I encourage a brand manager to “not go it alone.”  At Everywhere Agency, we’ve been working with the same 2500 members in our network for years. We know their strengths and weaknesses. WE ONLY work with influencers who meet deadlines and follow the brand mandates.  An influencer who “goes rogue” is an influencer who was poorly chosen.

Diva Marketing: Let’s change direction and talk a little about influencer marketing from the influencer’s point of view.  Number one question people want to know:  Is this a financial exchange? In other words how should an influencer expect to get compensated?

Danica Kombol: By and large, any influencer with a large following gets compensated for their work.  The good influencers have a healthy ratio of sponsored versus non-sponsored posts, and the campaigns we bring to influencers are all sponsored campaigns.

In other words, we are paying the influencer to write (in their own words) about a brand, event or product.

Diva Marketing: Understanding that each campaign is different, what are some of the common aspects an influencer can expect when participating in an influencer marketing program?

Danica Kombol: An influencer can and should expect clear direction from the brand. What specific messages must be included in your blog post or social shares?  What’s the goal of the campaign? The influencer should also stop and ask if this campaign is a match for their audience.

The surest way for an influencer to lose their audience is to fill their content with advertising messages their readers don’t want to hear. 

Diva Marketing: As is Diva Marketing’s tradition, we’re tossing the virtual mic back to you. Wrap it up anyway you’d like.

Danica Kombol: McKinsey & Co says that word of mouth is the primary factor in 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions, so influencer marketing isn’t something that’s nice to have – it’s a critical component in this era’s marketing landscape. 

There’s power and passion and energy in influence that you don’t see in advertising. Go forth and be influential in your marketing efforts!! 

Connect with Danica!

Everywhere Agency Website|Everywhere Agency Twitter | Danica Kombol Twitter | Danica Kombol Instagram| Danica Kombol LinkedIn