In late March, I organized a panel at the Mott House on Capitol Hill on "Effective Online Marketing." Writer and social media coach Amy Nazarov spoke about Twitter, Janet Chiu of Cyberturf Strategic Media spoke about Search Engine Optimization for websites, and I covered e-newsletters.
Here are a few notes from our presentations:
To Twitter expert Amy Nazarov, Facebook is the place to connect with friends, while Twitter allows you to "hang out with strangers whose interests dovetail yours."
For beginners, she suggests committing 15 minutes a day for six months to try it out--using the time to create original tweets, look at other people's, and, especially, respond to anyone who has connected with you.
- Create a succinct bio with a snappy handle, along with your photo ("not a photo of the ocean or your cat").
- Watch how and what others tweet about. Reply to, star, and retweet to increase the amount of information and ideas exchanged on your Twitter page.
- Find and follow those in your industry/field, potential partners, and others. Add followers until you hit the ceiling set by Twitter (which roughly corresponds to the number following you); cull those that are not a good match.
Amy prepared a "Twitter 101" one-pager that she would be happy to share. Send her a tweet @WordKitchenDC.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Janet Chiu explained some of the logic behind search engine optimization" that is, "optimizing" your website to increase its chances of a higher showing in search engine rankings.
A few tips under our control:
- Write clearly about your services and how they solve problems. For example, she worked with a college prep tutor who wrote about her process of tutoring. But prospective clients will search for services (e.g., SAT prep) and not a process.
- Describe one program or service per page.
- Include an address, because searches tend to be local (e.g., "SAT prep Washington DC"). If you don't want to list a street address for privacy reasons, at least include city, state, and zip code.
- Check out Ubersuggest and other keyword suggestion tools for words and phrases that other people use when looking for what you do. Include those words--still writing smooth text and headings, of course--on your pages.
Janet's blog elaborates on these points.
In my monthly newsletters (which you can access here), I try to put into practice my main points, including--
- Choose a title that reflects the purpose of the newsletter.
- Aim for monthly distribution, with only an article or at most a few per issue.
- Use experts to provide valuable information to readers and widen your distribution network.
- Repurpose the content (for example, by using our presentation here!)--it makes the whole endeavor more manageable for you and reaches different audiences.
I also prepared a handout that lists resources for content, graphics, and distribution. Feel free to email me for a copy.