Successful Web-based Promotion and Marketing (is that the same as Social Networking? Read On!)
Early this year, I took a fresh look at my business website stats. Traffic was growing, but was beginning to show signs of slowing down. I began looking for ways to improve my effectiveness in communicating with business partners, colleagues, workshop students, and others.
That work has resulted in several changes: how I publish on the internet, how I focus on topics and content, and how I promote and publicize that content. And, best of all, visitors/month has more than tripled.
My web site has been a very effective tool. Having said this, it is just not enough to provide the kind of coverage I need. I now use a separate WordPress blog. Although many gurus recommend using WordPress or other blogging applications on a personal or rented server, I opted for the hosted-style blog (wordpress.com).
Although one is limited by on-line software in some ways, (pre-set templates, for example), I have found that it is quick to get started, easy to use, and quite effective. WordPress also provides reasonably detailed reporting on blog visits, readers’ content selection, and more. Plus, the WordPress.com application is free.
One important consideration is choosing a blogging tool is how well it is indexed by Google and other search engines. Additionally, how quickly do the search engines update themselves when new content is published? In the past, it could take days, or even a couple of weeks, to see results on Google from content published on my web site or my old blog. Now, I see results from publishing on WordPress in less than a day, usually within hours.
I also find that WordPress’ blogging tool provides a number of customizable features that make it easier for readers to find content – including customized keywording (called ‘”tags”), tag clouds, customizable link and menu posting, and more. I did look at other blogging tools, and this one seems to me to very streamlined and user-friendly. Also, ads are kept to a minimum, which keeps page clutter down.
I teach workshops and seminars quite frequently. Workshop attendees are constantly asking interesting questions, and I receive quite a few emails on a variety of subjects related to digital capture, color management, camera use, printing, and the like. I also see questions posted on various forums.
From these, I compile a list of FAQs. I rank them based on how timely they are, how much interest is shown in that subject, and of course whether I know something about it!
At least once every calendar quarter, I conduct an online survey. I ask about topics that have made it to the top of the list, and use the survey to narrow things down to manageable proportions.
I have used the survey feature offered by Constant Contact, a newsletter publishing service. I’ve also used poll services offered by Polldaddy.com, and LinkedIn.
Recent topics that have scored high in pre-publication polls and have succeeded in blog posts include selective sharpening in Photoshop CS3 and CS4, streamlined portrait retouching techniques, landscape photography techniques, and fine art reproduction.
I also have invited a couple of guest authors to post entries on my blog. The posts, covering “Managing And Archiving Your Digital Images” by Robert Ash, and “Getting In Right In The Camera” by Ted Dayton, were widely read and drew many comments and compliments.
There are a number of ways to publicize your work. One of the most useful tools I have is my LinkedIn membership. There are many special interest photography and printmaking groups on LinkedIn. In fact, I started one myself, Fine Art Reproduction for Professionals, which has drawn over 130 members. I estimate that this level of membership puts it in the top 20 percent of photo- and printing-related groups on LinkedIn.
When I post new content, I make an announcement, with a direct link to the post on the groups which are most active. I also make posts on Facebook, and Twitter.
I publish a content-based newsletter once each month, via Constant Contact. This is a pay-based service; it is feature-rich, and provides reporting on results as well as delivery services.
I have also found that news-based sites, such as Imaging Insider, are a very effective way to communicate with readers. But, be aware that these are not link farms, and if you don’t have relevant content you may not get any coverage.
I also make sure that Google gets informed about new content in a timely fashion. The best way to find out about this is to create a user account on Google (free), and look up Google Analytics. The instructions provided for connecting Google to your site or blog are detailed and complete.
Conclusion – USE MULTI-TRACK MARKETING~
I feel that combining these tactics is much more effective than using just one or two activities. Sometimes the challenge is making sure that content publication, and the all the other activities take place on the same day. I definitely see better results if I can accomplish that.
Last, each web site or blog has its own readership, and unique personality. It is important to pay close attention to reader comments, pages visited, and the like – and use that information to fine tune your efforts.
Postscript: Be sure and check out blog feeds and directories offered by Feedburner and Technorati!
my web site: www.davidsaffir.com