Using Content and Community to Grow Your Reach


Growing Your Reach Using Content and Community to Grow Your Reach

Hashtag: #bhhcontent

Amy Turn Sharp, (ATS) @amyturnsharp
Blogger, writer, Little Allouette toy company in Ohio, involved in online world.
Becky Jorgensen, (BJ) @whosies
Blogger, started online sewing workshops includes gallery, forum and community

Chrissy Herron, (CH) @indiebizchicks
For women who want to work themselves rather than work for a man.

CH introduced the panel.

Show of hands, how many are blogging at this moment, using Twitter, using Facebook, using RSS, have a newsletter, linkbuilding…. How many need extra help. Crowd seemed to be even those needing help vs. those who know.

Developing content for your blog also involves starting your brand.

ATS: Blogging doesn’t always match the toy company. Know who you are and your brand. Some not comfortable talking family/personal online. Amy IS comfortable.

BJ: Trying new things is good. Don’t go out of your boundaries, but don’t go crazy. You might be surprised at what works! You are always changing.

ATS: Doesn’t have an editorial style, but have a style. Monday is this subject, Friday share your talent. Blogging can even be two days a week. People like consistency and will come back.

CH: If you are wondering what to blog about, ask your readers. Look at what people talk about on Twitter and Facebook. What is your target interested in? Google your craft, read what the chatter is. Have guest bloggers write for you. Interview people! (People WANT to be interviewed.) She sets aside whole writing days. Publishes them in the future.

ATS: Instagram is an easy way to post on your blog. Just a photo. Have a consistent tone.

BJ: An RSS feed is so important to your blog. It helps readers not remember who you are, but they can still get a hold of you. GoogleReader is one. Content is automatically sent to readers. Reader registers for it.

ATS: Make a post about how to use these tools!

BJ: You should use it yourself, too. Your readers need reminders as to who and where you are!

ATS: There is so much coming at us so you have to check your blog and make sure it is in the RSS. Check your stats; where are people FINDING you? Feedburner? Delicious?

CH: Twitter. Free marketing, social media is huge. Twitter can be intimidating at first. It is the Virtual Watercooler. You build relationships. You pop in and talk about what you watched on TV, someone will read it and “discover” you. You don’t HAVE to always talk about business, but don’t FORGET to talk about business, too!

BJ: I don’t always use it, but I notice immediate results WHEN I use it. It is efficient and quick. There are twitter parties, too. People like chatting!

ATS: I get a ton of readers from Twitter. Twitter is the “wild wild west” of social media. You have to navigate the waters on your own. Not be afraid to intermingle with people. I follow every store I like! I sell products in stores. Make Twitter lists. Use your business brain with twitter.

CH: We want you to see an increase in your traffic in the next 30 days. RSS feed this week. Then try Twitter; don’t do everything all at once. Choose what you like!

Focus on what you can do well.

For Twitter parties, attend others, and you can start your own for free. You intermingle, start talking, pretty soon then you get followers. You can partner with companies for giveaways or have your own giveaway.

Audience member mentioned she gets lots of followers from attending twitter parties. Check out the bio before you follow.

ATS: Announced a giveaway at her blog if you tweet her and use #TCCE11.

CH: Create a Facebook Fan Page separate from your personal account. Sometimes called Facebook-Like page.

BJ: These services can be automated.

CH: Wordpress blogs have plug-ins and many will help you with social media. You can also have buttons on your site.

ATS: There IS time to tweet or Facebook ONE comment. In line to pick up your kids, a waiting room, etc.

Panel then talked about differences between, Wordpress hosted, Blogger, etc.

CH: Next topic is newsletters. I don’t check Google reader, but I check email 19 times an hour. Newsletters can be done for very cheap and one of the most effective ways to market your business. Have a newsletter sign up on the top right of your blog. You can connect with customer as long as they stay subscribed.

Use a newsletter service, MailChimp, ConstantContact, iContact, etc. Many have templates. You can use HTML if you already know how. It gets sent out to your customers REGULARLY. (Once a week, or once a month.) You can put same content as your blog. People will go back to your site.

You can offer them a coupon or recipe or something when they sign up for newsletter. The NEWSLETTER SERVICE will have a form to create sign up on your blog or website. It is important.

ATS: MailChimp is easy.

Panel agreed NOT to put customer on newsletter list if they buy something. Let customer sign up.

Link Building is next topic.

ATS: Trade Business Cards. Introduce yourself. Go thru your cards when you get home! I can go home and “meet you” online! Do it.

BJ: You have face to face word of mouth in which to spread your story. Link Building is important for word of mouth. Link Building is about getting your name out. Making tutorials, submitting them to other sites. Find Link Parties. Google needs NEW CONTENT to read your blog.

Join my link party if you have recipe or day, or photo or something. They put their link on your blog and their blog. Mr.Linky is good for Link Parties.

ATS: If you are selling, you need to dip your toes in other waters. There is a clique for everything out there. Linking helps you get beyond your own little pond.

BJ: You can also visit another blog and simply MAKE A COMMENT. That comment has your blog link!

ATS: Be open online! You never know how many contacts that blogger has. Even little ones.

BJ: Join forums and have your blog address in there. Doesn’t matter what the topic is! Make comments on other peoples blogs.

CH: Use for writing and create a link back to your blog. Go to big bloggers and volunteer to write an article in exchange for a link on big blogger’s blog. Guest Posting. Win Win situation for everybody.

BJ: There is give and take for everything, like link parties. Don’t give up right away. Keep trying it. Refer to past articles and LINK within Your OWN BLOG. Google reads new AND old article and refreshes it. Comments on old articles also refresh Google.

CH: This all helps you rise on Google. Populating your links helps you rise on Google.

Week 1. Think about content.
Week 2. Start link building.

Panel asked for questions.

ATS: You can post what you are wearing! Post!

Question was about Pinterest.

CH: Last year I spoke at Etsy, exchanged ideas, one person there had a “project meme:" "Let’s talk about orange” and people started linking to orange things. Another idea to try!

Great way to get traffic to your site and can meet others.

BJ: Did focus Fridays and took a project from a craft book. This year, every Tuesday is Trunk Show Tuesday and she goes OUT and features other quilters. She goes out and gets them instead of asking them to write something. She emails the person and says she’s featuring them. Great way to get links.

Question about legality of that. BJ says she asks first, but grabs the stuff without an answer. She always gives THEM credit.

Question about links: Are you talking about links WITHIN article? Or list of blogger on a sidebar. Panel is talking about WITHIN article.

CH: Within article, you can say, “you might also like this recipe from 2 months ago.”

ATS: To get twitter followers, find the cool people and follow who they follow.

Question: Why do people follow me? Panel: For many reasons.

CH: Recommends staying on topic with your business blog.

ATS: My blog is a slice of my life. I like those blogs.

BJ: Blogs are always evolving and you’ll find your niche.

ATS: We are all super special. There is amazing talent in this room. Don’t be afraid to share it.

CH: Don’t wait until it is perfect. Everyone starts at zero. At the same point. Just go out and do it.