In part one of this series, I talked about some of the “traditional” ways to get found. The reason I highlighted them first is because many organizations now ignore them completely in favour of some of the newer tactics. While some of these may be very effective, the tactics should not be used simply because they are new. As I said in the previous post, all these tactics need to be considered as part of larger demand generation initiatives.
Clearly, there is no dispute that social media has changed this game in many ways. Not only is it much easier to share but the tools are free or inexpensive, which can level the playing field between start-ups and larger organizations. But there is more than just social media as a new tactic that can be used to get found and include video, communities, blogging, and others.
But before I do that, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about search engines as one of, if not the most, powerful way to get found. I debated including search engines as a “traditional” way to get found as it seems like it’s been around forever but we need to remember that the idea of a search engine has only been around for just over 2 decades and Google just turned 16 years old this year.
Whether you see it as new or not is irrelevant, as long as you see it as important. There is no question that ranking high in a search result is critical to getting found so putting some precious time into search engine optimization or even buying ads on search engines can be very effective. But it’s not just a matter of producing the content, you need to follow strong SEO practices and build links from reputable sources to help you rank higher.
Beside search, this entire post could have focused on social media as the new way to get found with new outlets appearing on a regular basis. In fact, maybe we already have traditional social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn plus new ones like Pinterest, Instagram and others. Or, have those already been replaced as the new kid as I write this post.
There are a number of resources from books to blogs that talk about how to use social media so what I want to highlight here is the importance of picking the right social media outlet to further your demand generation goals and meet the objectives of your sales-centric marketing plan. Too many times, organizations go through the list and make sure they have a presence on all the outlets but then don’t contribute or be involved in the discussions on them. It clearly takes a lot of time and resources to do social media well which is why I don’t think of it as free.
What needs to happen is to look at social media strategically and figure out which ones your audience participates in and goes to for information. It makes little to know sense to invest time in building a Facebook page if you target audience is only on Twitter. It’s likely not that clean and simple but you need to prioritize and go where your audience is.
But it’s more than just a presence, you need to make it simple for others to share your content through this medium. It’s easy to add links within your content so that people can share it with their friends and colleagues, for example, the Share This button makes it easy to share your content across many different sites. Make use of Tweet This, Facebook Like, +1 and other similar buttons throughout your site, blog and content.
But it’s not just the mainstream social media sites you should consider, look at media specific sites like Slideshare, YouTube, Instagram and others, depending on format of the content you want to share. Different media types across different sites can be a very effective way to amplify your content in this sphere but remember to pick the right format for your tactic and audience.
And, many industries have sites and communities built around a certain technology or vertical market. Some aren’t even new but are often overlooked. In some cases, you can post content to these sites for free while for others you may need to pay. These sites though can be an effective way to share your content and get found by a very focused audience. Or, you could look at creating your own community around a certain topic.
Last but definitely not least is leveraging the blogosphere to share content. Creating a blog is one of the more common ways to publish content but don’t forget to leverage blogging as a way to share your content too. One of the best ways to share you content is to do guest posts or comment on other blogs related to yours and your adience. This will expose your content to a new, and hopefully, bigger audience while also adding more links back to your blog and site.
Obviously, this list of new tactics is far from complete and changes often but I wanted to highlight the main ones for now as a compliment to the traditional approaches I talked about last time. In the end, combining tactics to help you get found is key and will also drive more conversions. At the same time, all of these tactics need to be looked at in terms of how they fit within the larger sales-centric marketing plan.