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How to Find the Permalink of a Social Media Post

FootprintsPeople are busy. If you want them to look at your content, you must get their attention, tell them why the information will be relevant, entertaining or valuable, and then make it easy to get there. Otherwise they will grow weary of clicking on your links in the future.

While it’s great to promote each new blog post by sharing a “teaser” with your social media networks, you need to be sure to provide the right link.

In a previous post about how to find the permalink of a blog post, I explained that the problem with just posting a link to your main blog page (called the “archives” page) is that this page changes every time you add new content.

If a new post has displaced the one you're talking about, it can leave people feeling frustrated, confused or annoyed. These probably aren’t feelings you want associated with you and your business!

The same is true for sharing a link from your social media page, which probably changes much more quickly than your blog. You would never say, “Go watch my latest video at youtube.com,” – instead you would link to your specific video. You need to be just as specific with Facebook and Twitter.

Whether you’re sending the link in email, on social media, or in a blog post, you need to use the permanent link (permalink) for the specific update, conversation or event that you’re referencing.

The easiest way to find the permalink for a social media post is to look for a day, date or time, move your mouse over that text, and click. A new page should open up where you see just that one status update or conversation.

Social-media-time-links

Next, highlight and copy what you see in your web browser’s address bar – that is your permalink.

FB-post-link2

Finally, paste that link into your email, blog post or social media message.

If something you’ve posted on social media is important enough to link to, consider turning it into a blog post. Ultimately, your blog is the best place for people to read your content, because they are just one step away from taking the next step to doing business with you.

P.S. Here are some tips for how to turn your LinkedIn and Facebook activity into blog posts.

Photo Credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc


How to Turn LinkedIn Activity into Blog Posts

Pen-for-writing-blog-posts-from-linked-inThe other day I was using Google to search for guidance on a difficult client situation, when I came across Ilise Benun's post on the Creative Freelancer blog, "Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Client."

Ilise runs a LinkedIn group called Creative Freelancer Conference, built as an extension of the annual HOW Design Live and Creative Freelancer Conference. In the blog post, she repeated a question from one of her LinkedIn group members - with permission, of course, and with a link to the member's website.

At the end of the post, Ilise wrote, "This question has gotten a number of helpful responses from other creatives. Any advice for Stacey? Join the CFC LinkedIn Group to take part in the conversation."

I was very impressed by this clever combination of LinkedIn and blogging, and I asked Ilise how the blogging strategy is working for her. She replied:

"The LinkedIn Group I moderate for creative freelancers is a place where members engage in very rich discussions. But that group is restricted to members so it’s not accessible to those outside the group or to the search engines. By reposting on my blog, I’m trying to make the material available to a wider audience and grow the LinkedIn Group as well. And it works!"

It certainly worked on me - I joined the group! It also helped when I saw that several people from my network were already members. 

By the way, if you're thinking about starting your own group, check out these tips for effectively managing a LinkedIn group.

As a perfect follow up to my previous post about how to turn your Facebook activity into blog posts, here are a few other ideas for doing the same thing on LinkedIn:

Browse LinkedIn's Questions and Answers 

Whether you answer on LinkedIn or not (note: doing so would be great for attracting new connections and showcasing your expertise), browsing the questions about your industry is a great way of making sure your blog content is relevant. If one person asked, many are wondering! 

[Update January 22, 2013 - LinkedIn is closing its Answers section at the end of January 2013. Instead, look for relevant questions within your LinkedIn groups.]

Follow LinkedIn's Thought Leaders 

LinkedIn now features regular posts from some fascinating and inspiring business leaders. Write a response to one of these articles on your blog, or just see how they inspire your own ideas.

Review Your Endorsements

Is there a skill you'd like more recognition for? Write a blog post that demonstrates that skill. You could tell the story of how you used that skill to help a client, or write a "how to" article that highlights your knowledge and expertise.

When you're active on LinkedIn and other social networking sites, you're creating valuable content that can benefit both your business and your website visitors. Be sure to take that extra step and convert your social networking activity into blog posts.

Photo credit: The Seafarer via photopin cc


How to Turn Facebook Activity into Blog Posts

FacebookSometimes when I describe the basics of business blogging, someone will say to me, "I already do that on Facebook - why do I need to blog?"

Matt McGee wrote an excellent post that explains why you shouldn't use social media as a replacement for your own website or blog. The ultimate reason is that your site is your property - your name is on the door, you decide how things are displayed and you own 100% of your content. You simply cannot say that about any social media site.

The good news is that if your business's Facebook page is active, blogging will be a lot easier for you. Here are five ways to turn your Facebook activity into blog posts.

1. Turn FAQs into "How to..." articles. Do you get questions on your Facebook page about how to use your products or services? Or how people can solve particular problems in their business or life? Respond on Facebook, then expand your answer into a blog post. Hint: Look beyond your own Facebook page to see what people are asking on other pages from your industry, or that are related to your industry.  

2. Turn positive praise into case studies. Whether it's a formal recommendation or a comment on your wall, when people share good feedback you can contact them privately and ask for an interview. Find out more about their experience and the problem your business helped solve. Case studies make great blog posts and can also be highlighted in a separate section of your site. 

3. Turn to your network. Ask the people who visit your page what topics they'd like to read about on your blog. You could share a few ideas and do a poll, or just see what they come up with. Also be sure to notice if you get a lot of "likes" (and also if they appear quickly) when you post links to your blog - those are popular topics you should keep writing about!

4. Turn impromptu fun into a backstage tour. One of the things a blog can provide is a more casual glimpse behind the scenes of your business (though a business blog needs to be more than just a diary). If you or your staff have posted Facebook photos or stories from your day-to-day travels, round them up and post them to the blog. Hint: Use a specific category such as "Facebook Fun," "Around the Office" or "What We're Up To" so it's clear these are separate from your informational articles.

5. Turn your shares into entertainment. Look over the photos, videos, quotes and links that you found yourself passing along on Facebook or other social media sites in the last week/month. Choose a few favourites and post the links to your blog, along with a brief introduction about why you like them. Similar to the last point, put these in a separate category such as "Fun Links," "Things We Like" or "From Our Network." 

If you're already in the habit of posting regularly to Facebook, build on that momentum to keep your blog fresh as well.


Are You Curating or Hijacking the Content You Share?

Hijacking-online-content.jpgSocial media networking is all about balance. Ideally, you want to be spending 80% of your time having conversations and sharing other people's content, and the other 20% of the time sharing your own content and promoting your business.

Content curation is the formal term for sharing other people's content. It's a content marketing strategy that helps:

  • Solidify your credibility as a trusted resource in your topic area (your readers will think, "Sally always finds the best information!")
  • Keeps you active on social media without having to always create your own content (imagine calling a prospective client and hearing, "Sure, I know you, you're always popping up on my screen,")
  • Cultivate relationships with the industry experts whose content you're sharing (even if someone responds with a simple "thank you for sharing," that could be the start of something. As a bonus, the rest of their network will see that message and may just check you out as well)

As more people realize these benefits and are using content curation (either manually or through software applications created for the purpose), I see some habits that could be unintentionally creating rifts instead of relationships and turning off your readers.

Let's call it content hijacking, and look at how you may be doing it on your blog or on social media. 

Hijacking content on your blog 

It's a legitimate and effective blogging strategy to use someone else's content as the jumping off point for your own article (as I've tried to do in my recent posts about content curation and Twitter). 

What I don't enjoy is when I click on a link and find just a teaser - a summary and/or quote of the original content, so now I have to jump through an additional hoop to get to the content promised by the headline.

If you're not planning to add to the content, stick with content curation via Twitter and other social media sites. Just be sure not to hijack there, either.  

Hijacking content on Twitter 

I know that 140 characters isn't a lot of room. I know that you're not intentionally plagiarizing. Yet when you post an enticing headline that leads to someone else's content, without giving proper credit, you're performing a bait and switch that could leave a bad impression on your network.

Content curation tips that will enhance your relationships and credibility 

  1. Read the entire piece of content before you share. Even if you've read the person's work before, or it was recommended by someone you trust, make sure it's something you truly want to endorse. 
  2. Use the author's Twitter name. If you've discovered the content on the web (versus through social media), look for a link to the author's Twitter account. Look to see if he or she has tweeted a link to the content, and RT (forward) that to your network.
  3. Make room for the credits. If someone else has hijacked content and you want to give credit, go ahead and add the author's Twitter name when you RT the post. To make room, you can delete the hashtags or replace the headline with a shorter description. Note (and I just learned this myself): If you need to revise the tweet in order to add the credit, use MT instead of RT. MT stands for "modified tweet"). 
  4. Acknowledge the source. For extra credits, let your network know where you heard about the content, by adding "via @name." 
  5. Always share links right from Twitter or HootSuite so that you can add the attribution and control what people will see. Beware: if you check a box to "Share with Twitter" from LinkedIn or Facebook, or if you have your account set up to do that automatically, your Twitter followers will just see the headline and link and it will look like a hijacking. 
  6. Follow your content stars more closely. Create a Twitter list in HootSuite so that you can quickly and easily discover new content from your favourite experts and share it with your network - with full attribution, of course!  

Twitter Tips from Inc.com

Thanks to Jeff Korhan for recently posting a link to an Inc.com article, 10 Things You Should Tweet, and to Jon Gelberg for writing the article. It's one of the best summaries I've seen for how to use Twitter to promote your business online.

If you're not sure what you should be writing in your business's Twitter updates, check out the article now! Then please come back because I have a few other thoughts for you.

How's your balance?

On a recent webinar about blog planning, I talked about the balance between networking and marketing when you're using social media. Too much networking without any promotion, and people won't know how or when to refer business to you. Too much marketing without any relationship building, and no one will want to go near you.

scale with more rocks on one side than the other
In another post on Inc.com Hollis Thomases lists 11 Things to Tweet When You Have Nothing to Say, and she puts posting your own content at the bottom as #11.

She mentions the 80/20 rule, which is that 80% of your social media messages should be about other people (I would include connection/conversation in that portion) or showcasing other people's work, while 20% should be presenting your own content. Nichole Kelly from SME Digital makes the same recommendation in a recent interview.

Your Twitter stream is another website

Like it or not, the minute you set up a Twitter profile, you've got another piece of online real estate to look after. A quick glance at your profile page will show someone a lot about how you're using Twitter, and your balance between networking and marketing. 

I suggest you monitor your Twitter page (http://twitter.com/yourTwittername). Anytime you notice that you're veering over the 80/20 line, make an effort to rebalance the scale.

You've only got 140 characters to make an impression on Twitter. Use them wisely and have fun!  

P.S. Please connect with me on Twitter @lindadessau.


Writing Original Content Versus Sharing Other People's Content (Content Curation)

Passing-along-contentWhen I read the title of Roger Parker's post, "Writing Versus Content Curation for Personal Branding Success" on Dan Schwabel's Personal Branding blog, my immediate reply was "Both, of course." As I read the article, I discovered that Roger had come to a similar conclusion.

I do disagree with one point - that in order to succeed with original content you cannot delegate the task. As a ghostwriter, I have helped dozens of business owners create their own original content.

Roger points out the many benefits of creating original content for your blog, such as increased credibility, thought leadership and the ability to re-purpose your blog post content into other forms such as books, presentations or courses.

The secret to keeping your blog and website fresh with new content

And as I also reminded people recently at my Business Blogathon in Barrie, Ontario, you don't have to write a full-length (i.e., 500 words) feature article every week in order to keep your blog fresh.

You can alternate your feature articles with shorter posts (i.e., 250-500 words), what I call "connective content." Connective content might be your own personal reflections on the topic of your feature article, a case study of a client, or recommended resources. These "in between" posts could also be your own comments about related content that you've found on other blogs or via social media.

What is content curation?

The formal term for sharing other people's content is content curation. Though you may not realize it, if you're active on social media you're likely already using content curation as part of your online marketing strategy. Have you ever re-tweeted or "liked" someone else's link on social media? That's content curation - that's you saying, "Here is some content that I find valuable, and I'm sharing it with you because you might not have seen it otherwise."

All of a sudden you're taking on a whole new role for that person. You're sifting through all the noise on the Internet and finding the best, most interesting and most important content in your particular topic area. When you pair that with creating your own original content, your value as an expert rises significantly!

Sharing other people's content on your blog

If you're already doing this type of content sharing on social media, you may wonder why you would bother doing it on your blog. Here are three reasons to consider:

  1. Your blog is your home - your name is on the door, you decide how things are displayed and you own 100% of your content.
  2. You can find it later - by organizing, categorizing and storing your curated content on your own blog, both you and your readers can easily find it later so it will continue to be of value.
  3. Sharing other people's content boosts your blog's credibility with both readers (most importantly) and search engines - by curating and commenting on other people's content, you enhance your own position as an expert in that area.

Of course once you've published the content on your blog you should also widely promote your blog post on social media.

Please be sure to give proper attribution when you're sharing someone else's content. For more information, check out my blog post, "How to Share Great Content Without Plagiarizing." 

Also, as Greg Bardwell of B2B Content Engine writes in his e-book, Curation for B2B Content Marketing, you should always read through whatever you're recommending. "Just because a blog has a great title and you know the author or source does not make it worth curating." Be sure you're not inadvertently compromising your readers' trust by sending them to a site or post that doesn't share your values.

Sharing other people's content is truly a win-win-win proposition. Your readers win because they have access to information they didn't have to find on their own. The other expert wins because their content is seen by a new audience. And you win because you're increasing your visibility, credibility and consistency. 

Linda-dessau-squaredLinda Dessau, CPCC, is the author of Write Your Way to More Clients Online and the founder of ContentMasteryGuide.com. She offers ghostwriting, editing, business blog consulting and training.


Spreading the Seeds of Your Blogging Tree

Girl-blowing-dandelion-seedsOne of the most common questions I'm asked about blogging is, "Once I've published something new to my blog, how do people know it's there?"

There are three ways to spread the seeds of your blogging tree so that you can grow your audience and your business. 

1) Wind

You can set the wind in motion by spreading the news that you have valuable information to share.

One of the simplest ways to do this is through social media. Social media - isn't that just for keeping in touch with your friends? Yes, that's one purpose, but social media is also a powerful tool for growing your business.

In an earlier blog post that provides ten reasons (and ways) to share your blog posts on social media, I discussed how blogging can turn social networking into business networking. Plus you can automate or outsource part of this process so it doesn't take over your day.

You can also share links to a specific blog post whenever a conversation leads you there. Let's say you meet someone at a Chamber of Commerce event. When he finds out what you do, he says, "That's funny that I should meet you today. I just had a situation come up where . . ." Since the purpose of networking events is make connections, not necessarily have in-depth conversations, let him know that you wrote a blog post on that topic and that you'll email a link to him later.

Following up after networking events can be challenging, which is why some people don't do it. These same people tend to comment that networking doesn't work for them. In the example above, following up was a lot easier. There was no selling, no "cold call" and nothing to be uncomfortable or nervous about.

You can email blog post links to other people as well. You can add a personal message and send it to individuals who might have a special interest in the topic, and/or you can email it to a group of people who have agreed to receive regular updates from you (and only people who have agreed). (Click these links for more details about email service providers and automating your blog post emails.)

You have plenty of other opportunities to invite and remind people to visit your blog. One is to mention it in your introduction or bio every time you do public speaking. Another is to add a blog link to your email signature, business card or QR code.

2) Bees

When you share your new blog posts with people in your network, in turn they can share them with their own contacts. Some call this "going viral" - when a piece of content gets quickly passed around the web. On your blogging tree, your contacts are the bees that buzz around from tree to tree, sharing the latest and greatest news. (That's why it's so important to be consistently publishing high-quality content!)  

Make your content easy to share by posting permanent links via social media, and by including sharing buttons right on your blog

You'll have the strongest relationships with people you have a genuine connection with, starting with those you already know. You also want to expand your network, and specifically seek out industry leaders who could potentially introduce you to many prospective new clients. Show your respect and admiration for them by sharing and commenting on their content, and then build on that starting point to make contact.

3) Fruit

When your readers indulge in the delicious fruit you have produced, you're planting seeds not only for them to become prospective clients, but for them to become prospective referral sources. They'll likely start by sharing your content via social media, and then eventually, someone will ask, "Do you know anyone who . . ." and they just might think of you!

Another way that your readers help you spread the seeds of your blogging tree is by sharing their own thoughts and comments. Depending on your audience, they may do this on the blog or by email, or they may just wait until the next time they speak to you by phone or in person.

Regardless of how you hear from them, listen carefully to your readers' comments. These ideas can be the seeds of your next blog post, whether you answer frequently asked questions or just focus on topics your audience cares most about.

If you work consistently to spread the seeds of your blogging tree, over time you will grow your relationships, your ideas and your business.

Linda Dessau, CPCC, is the author of Write Your Way to More Clients Online and the founder of ContentMasteryGuide.com. She offers ghostwriting, editing, training and consulting. 


How Do I Keep People Coming Back to My Blog?

InvitingThis question came up from two different audiences recently. First while I was speaking to a class of business students at Georgian College about entrepreneurship and blogging, and next it was among the questions that attendees submitted when they registered for the Wellness Blogging Seminar.

Blogging has many benefits, but one of its challenges is that it requires your audience to come to you. However groundbreaking, creative, helpful, consistent or timely your blog posts are, readers have to bring themselves to your blog in order to read them.

So how do you keep people coming back to your blog? You need to keep inviting them! That was one of the housekeeping tips for living online that I shared on the Blogging Mindset webinar last week.

Here are five ways to invite people back to your blog:

  1. Announce and promote your blog posts via social media - Not just once, but several times - your friends, fans and followers check in at various times in the day and week. Write a compelling "teaser" such as a question or headline that entices people to read more. There are many tools that allow you to update your social media accounts automatically when you publish a new post. You can also preschedule several messages at once to batch your tasks (just be sure you don't automate your entire social media presence!). 
  2. Display your latest blog posts in your email signature - You can do this manually by updating your signature each time you publish a new blog post (be sure to use the permalink) or use WiseStamp to do it automatically.
  3. Send regular email broadcasts with links to your latest informative articles - If your focus is on sending valuable, helpful content, these emails will always be a gift, not an intrusion. 
  4. Send blog post links as responses to questions - One of the benefits of building a mountain of content is that when people ask common questions about your area of specialty, you'll likely have one or several blog posts that answer the question. Whether you're replying to an email or popping into social media or an online forum, a well-placed article link can boost your credibility and build new relationships.
  5. Provide an RSS subscription - RSS (really simple syndication) is a way to automatically send your latest blog posts to people who've specifically requested to see them. If someone has an RSS reader, they can either search for your blog and add it to their account, or when they're visiting your site they can look for this icon:

Rss

You don't need to jump through SEO hoops to get people back to your blog, but you do need to make an effort to keep inviting them. That's just good housekeeping.


Blog Readers Are Your Friends, But...

My definition of friend has changed from spending so much time online. I have many friends that I've never met in person, and probably never will. Some friendships began with a five-minute Twitter exchange; others were sparked in person and then deepened online.

I've written before about how you want to engage your blog reader as if you're already friends. After all, even as a brand new reader, that person has still come from somewhere.

Maybe they found you on Google, "Hey, my friend Google the search engine thought I should meet you because I'm looking for..." If they've come via a link on social media, the introduction was even warmer and more meaningful.

But presuming too much intimacy can backfire – both on your blog and on the popular business networking site, LinkedIn.

How to get ignored on LinkedIn

"______ (name) has indicated you are a Friend and would like to add you to his/her professional network."

There's something about that phrase that bothers me, and I click the "Ignore" button when I receive these types of LinkedIn invitations. Unless the person includes a note about how we're "friends." (I used to write back and ask them, but it became too time consuming.)

On LinkedIn, if you can't honestly say that you know someone via work, school or another institution, you have two other options other than "Friend": (a) you can say you don't know the person or (b) you can click "Other" and include a note about why you'd like to connect.

The latter option is what I always choose. You have to enter the person's email address, but don't worry, it's not a test; it just helps LinkedIn deliver your message.

Remind your blog readers why they like you

Blog readers might also ignore your advances if you get too close, too soon. While you want to take a friendly approach, keep in mind that even if they've "met" you once or twice, they may not remember whether or not they liked you.

That's why it's so important to be consistent with your language and branding – it helps remind people who you are and what they liked about you. So you're not just presuming intimacy; you're backing it up.

Keep earning your friendships

Someone recently recommended that I change this phrase in the Wellness Blogs submission guidelines: "Pretend you're chatting with a good friend who came for your help and expertise." He said people wouldn't give the same level of advice to a friend. I disagreed, and kept the phrase as is. What do you think?

This reminded me of an important point, though. Keep making the effort to impress and deliver value to your blog readers. Don't skimp on details or explanations because you assume people read them in a previous post – they may not have. 

How do you define friendship these days? Do you think people throw around the word too liberally? Do you consider your blog readers to be friends? How does that affect your approach to writing?


Blogging Makes Being a Local Celebrity a Celebration

PaparazziBlogging can feel like an ego-driven pursuit, especially when we get too caught up in the numbers: how many "Likes" do I have on Facebookhow many comments am I gettinghow many people are there on my mailing list?

When I talk about how blogging makes you a star and the "go to" expert in your industry, I see some people shy away from that idea. They say they don't want to be a celebrity; they just want to help people and earn a good living.

Maybe it's time we redefined what it means to be a celebrity, and why it's an admirable goal for any service-based business.

What if becoming a celebrity was actually a celebration? Here are five ways that blogging can make it so:

  1. You can use your blog (and your celebrity status) to give back to your local community
  2. Blogging builds your confidence and helps YOU see just how much of an expert you are. After all, it's easier to plant your flag of expertise on top of a mountain of content.
  3. Your celebrity status can be an inspiration to others in your local community, and shows them what is possible.   
  4. Blogging is a way to express the meaning behind your business - why you do what you do. So as you blog, celebrate your passion!
  5. Your celebrity status will attract a tribe of people with the same passions and interests, and your blog can be a forum for them to celebrate as well. They may comment (or they may not, and that's okay, too!), or simply show their affinity by sharing your content with their own tribes. 

Have you been shying away from your celebrity status? What's one way you could celebrate it, starting today?