I had the privilege of hearing a talk by social media expert, Lori Greene, sponsored by New York Women In Communications. Greene has devised content strategies with venerable brands, including BBC, History Channel and The World Business Forum and teaches social media and content strategies at NYU. Here are my 7 favorite takeaways:
1) 22% of Fortune 500 companies blog v. 45% of Inc 500 and 80% of non-profits
I was surprised by the stat, and of course, it merits further probing before jumping to conclusions. But as a blogger who writes to build my own business, does this mean that the biggest companies didn’t need blogs? As a blogger who also writes for pay for other sites, does this signal a business opportunity to go after the 78%? Perhaps, it’s both, but those stats blew me away.
2) Content strategy = what is your unique value proposition + what people will come to you for
Greene shared the example of how she grew BBC America’s traffic over 100% (and won Cable Website of the Year) by focusing not just on how BBC had content around all things British (its unique value proposition), but also how BBC already had brand awareness among people of being the British channel (so people would already be familiar). This is a great exercise for even the solo writer – most of us know our expertise but what will people EXPECT from us? WHY do your readers COME to you?
3) Launch off of current themes (so be fast)
BBC hired a dedicated Royal Wedding blogger. International Women’s Day is coming up on March 8, so Greene is recommending a piggyback off that holiday for a client whose target demo is women. How can you set our editorial calendar to take advantage of upcoming events? The Oscars are on Sunday, St. Easter is early this year, the tax deadline is coming up…
4) Test a lot (and follow the numbers)
Greene advocates experimentation and then actually using the numbers (traffic, comments, forwards) as a guide for future posts and subjects. This means doing more of what audiences flock to, but also dropping categories that aren’t resonating. What ideas should you say NO to?
5) Openness + transparency = criticism (so prepare)
Greene recommends watching comments and proactively responding to reader feedback. This includes negative feedback, such as when a Dell computer malfunctioned and Dell posted the story on its own blogging page, responding to it, and engaging in the discussion rather than squashing it. How can you better engage with our detractors?
6) New ideas spread best
Greene stressed the importance of entertaining content that offers an original spin or point of view. How can you entertain? What is new about what you want to say?
7) Number 7 works best for lists
Greene has found that Top 10 lists work but lists of 7 are also very effective. I’ve been guilty of breaking my posts into lessons of 3 or 5! I know 7 as a final digit has been found to work well with pricing, so this seems reasonable. So I’ll stop the lessons here, at number 7, as a toast to a great workshop.