How do you know that social media is maturing? It has its own annual awards, of course! Yes, it’s that time of year again where we wait to see which old-timers and which newcomers make the Social Media Examiner list of top blogs. Part crowdsourcing (for initial nominations) and part judged contest, this is an annual list of who’s who in the blogosphere – when it comes to social media blogging.
Blog Like A Pro! Lessons from the Social Media Examiner Finalists
Whether you’re aspiring to make the list one day or merely enjoy reading about this year’s A-listers, it’s a valuable read. Looking at the judging criteria and examining the blogs and bloggers chosen can be an excellent resource when it comes to strengthening your content and taking it from solid to epic.
This year’s judging criteria for the Social Media Examiner contest places emphasis on the following areas: quality of posts, frequency of posting, reader involvement and blog ranking as measured by back links. Each of these areas is significant enough to be its own area of focus when it comes to creating content that rocks. So for my next few posts, I’ll look into each and share ways you might apply it to the content you create.
The Secret to Creating High-Quality Content
The very first criteria Social Media Examiner mentions is the quality of posts. Specifically, they state that educational and discussion spurring articles are stronger posts than those of a self-promotional nature.
Some experts recommend using a ratio of 90:10 or 80:20 at when it comes to balancing your value-added content with more self-promotional content. Of course you could just honestly ask yourself if you would want to be on your own mailing list.
How to Communicate Value in 7 Seconds or Less
Valuable content starts with a compelling, specific headline. Because the best content in the world doesn’t do squat for anyone if they’re not intrigued enough to click through and read (or watch or listen to) it.
Looking at Amy Porterfield’s blog, for example, I’m struck by how many times her headlines are in the “how-to” category. And yet – it doesn’t get old! It suggests that her blog is filled with nuggets of information that teach you, step by step, how to engage in this thing called social media marketing. Because the titles are so specific and action oriented, you know right away that you will come away knowing how to do something useful.
How to Increase the Value You Bring to Your Audience
Variety isn’t just the spice of life – it’s also the cornerstone of an effective content strategy. Specifically, your content should reflect that your audience isn’t just made up of people who like to read blogs. I admit – creating written content is my very favorite approach to sharing value. But I’m also realizing that for whatever reason, not everyone is like me. Whatever.
But in all seriousness – your content needs to be varied in its tone and its approach in order to reach the wide range of people who make up your audience.
Another SME finalist, Jon Loomer, has a masterful approach to creating a rich variety of content on his blog. Traditional blog posts share space with infographics and mini-webinars, for instance, in a stream of content sure to appeal to a diverse audience with many different learning styles represented.
Checklist to Boost Your Post Quality
- Create specific, compelling headlines
- Create content that is actionable
- Inform and educate your audience about what they need and want to know
- Encourage discussion and comments (and respond to those who leave comments)
- Break out of the blog post rut – create and share a rich variety of content
How will you strengthen the quality of your blog posts this year? Leave a comment below! And stay tuned – next time I’ll talk about how often you should post.