Engaging Your Audience

Extending Your Reach Through Influencers

My blogging inspiration newsletter this week is about offering guest posts to carefully selected websites to further your reach and drive traffic to your site. This is a strategic way of using content marketing to target a specific audience; perhaps a larger following than you have, or a particular niche or sector you want to break into.

This week I’m also working with a new client on identifying places online where their target customers hang out. Specifically so we can then target them with blog posts and other content. Of course, the two things are connected; it’s about creating relevant content and then targeting people with it in a very direct way.

Targeting Influencers

In this instance the term “influencers” is a bit of a one-size fits all phrase for anyone who can help you fulfil your objectives. This could be someone who can promote your business, or it might be the person within a company that could invite you to tender for a job. Depending on the nature of your business these individuals might be internationally acclaimed experts in your sector, or local personalities who are very well connected within your town or city.

Here I’m going share three fictional scenarios, which you could apply to your business and content marketing:

The Guest Blog

Jamie has set up as a personal trainer in his local area and has been writing some great blogs about health and fitness for his website. But his social media followers are limited to friends, family and the few clients he has; and he doesn’t have the funds for a PPC or any other advertising campaign.

He needs to tap into a local online community that shares an interest in wellbeing, and can help him market his business. Fortunately, he finds just the thing: a local online directory of professionals associated with the health, fitness and wellbeing industry, with an active social media following of potential customers.

So, he approaches the directory owner with a few suggestions of guest posts he could write. Choosing titles that will appeal to customers, specifically about men’s health, such as encouraging couch potatoes to get moving again and finding fitness activities to do as a couple; the directory owner is delighted to get them, as she doesn’t have much material for men on her site.

The guest posts get published and promoted on the directory’s social media platforms. The response is great. The majority of followers are women, many of whom would like to get their partners more active, or spend time doing something together. Jamie makes sure that he replies to comments about the posts on Facebook and Twitter, and sees a spike in hits to his website and enquiries about his services.

The Social Media Mention

The IT Consultancy is a SME who service companies in the South East of England. One of their marketing objectives is to increase brand awareness amongst other professionals in their sector: particularly those who might recommend them to their clients.

The team quite regularly attend industry summits and other events, and the marketing department have a strategy for “eventsjacking”! As well as sharing other organisation’s social media updates about an event (such as searching hashtags for tweets they can retweet), they also blog about the event on their own website.

Prior to the event a team member will post a blog about it; what they hope to get out it, what they’re looking forward to and why their readers might be interested in the themes and content of the event. The blog post is promoted on their social media channels using relevant hashtags and the Twitter handle for the event itself.

If there are particular speakers the consultant is looking forward to hearing from, they might include a tweet along the lines of, ”Looking forward to hearing @name talking about #subject at @event, here’s why: link to blog post”.

The company have had great success with this strategy as those people or organisations mentioned in the Tweet generally retweet it to their followers, and the use of specific hashtags helps other interested parties find them.

Following the event, another blog post is written sharing the key take outs the consultant got from it, and the post is shared as above.

The main thing to take away from this is that by sharing a blog post about the event and taking the conversation on social media to key “influencers”, not only does The IT Consultancy get good engagement on their social media channels (specifically Twitter), but they also get hits to their website where visitors can also find out more about their services.

Targeting Communities With Your Blog Posts

Next up is Green Construction, a business looking for large-scale green build opportunities in the UK and Europe. They have a great blog strategy tackling many of the challenges developers face when incorporating renewables into their plans, answer the kinds of questions they get when tendering for projects, and debunking many of the myths surrounding the industry.

Their blog posts are often linked to a case studio that explores further the challenges particular projects faced, and the solutions Green Construction put into place. While they share their blog posts on their social media profiles, and target potential clients through their email newsletter, they want to be more proactive in getting their blog posts in front of the people who make the decisions about which firms to invite to tender.

A decision was taken to use LinkedIn Groups to engage with these individuals, by sharing blog posts into specific groups and inviting comments, questions and discussion around their subject. But what groups to engage with?

Then a member of the team was tasked with researching possible LinkedIn groups. As well as searching for groups using industry specific and regional terms, the researcher also looked at the LinkedIn profiles of individual clients to see what groups they were members of. This way they were able to identify exactly were those individuals who make decisions about tendering hang out.

Their strategy after this was to target those groups with relevant existing content, and also look at the subjects being discussed within the group that they could add value to. New blog posts tackling these subjects were put into the blog content schedule and, when published, posted into the group. This resulted in more engagement both within LinkedIn and in the comments section of individual blog posts; as Green Construction was able to demonstrate clearly how well they understand their clients and the challenges they face.

All three of these examples can be part of your content marketing strategy, regardless of the size of your business, the sector you operate, or whether you are a local or global company. If you would like suggestions on how these could be applied to your business, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to give you some feedback.

blogging inspiration

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