Last week I spoke at Social Slam in Knoxville, TN. It was an absolute blast and the best conference I’ve ever attended. Huge thanks to Mark Schaefer who invited me and Fluency Media who sponsored my trip.
My talk followed the innovative Social Slam format which allowed me only 10 minute to share 10 Big Blogging Ideas for Social Media. Four other whip-smart social pioneers presented 10 ideas in their respective specialities. This meant that we had to cut to the meat pretty quickly before we got the hook.
I absolutely loved the format. The only drawback is that you can’t take questions or dig deep on specific ideas.
But that’s what I have a blog for! So I’ll give you the “expanded” version here.
10 Big Blogging Ideas for 2012
Small is the new social black.
The large broad subjects are dominated by mega blogs with armies of writers. In 2012, blogs will succeed by identifying small audiences with specific problems that beg for novel solutions. If you are trying to write a general subject blog, pause, and rethink your focus. A smaller audience can help you zero in on a specific reader and give your blog more reach and engagement in the process.
You can refine your focus by looking for the subjects and challenges that are consistently popular with your audience. Look for the common thread and look for ways to expand upon the subject. You have a winner if you can identify a small to medium-sized audience that consistently engage around the subject.
Multiply your blog’s content and reach by partnering with up-and-comers in your niche. Bloggers are often solitary souls that pound out their posts in mood lit small offices. Reaching out to other bloggers isn’t our first thought. However, Joint Blogging is a smart way to expand your blog’s visibility, finding inspiration, and actually earning money.
I suggest looking for someone that has a complementary message. Offer them a guest post on your blog. Take the relationship a step further and work on a joint special report or ebook. From there you can collaborate on marketing and share in the revenue. You’ll find that many of the fast-rising blogging superstars are using this formula to multiply their efforts and expand their resources.
The Power Trio
Blogging is more than text. Add Podcasting and Webinars to your content mix to attract larger audiences and build deeper relationships. Podcasting will introduce you to a growing iTunes audience significantly expanding your audience base.
Webinars are a terrific tool for building closer connections with your audience through group coaching and education. You can start small with Google+ hangouts and expand to a GotoWebinar platform as you get more comfortable with the format.
Look outside of your blog for ways to promote your content. My favorites are invoices, packaging, bags, business cards, and any advertising you are running. Humble ads in your local yellow pages are full-time billboards that can bring in new readers.
Make sure to add a compelling "reason" for visiting your blog. Simply saying "connect with us" doesn't convey a specific benefit. Try "get exclusive offers, inside tips, and in-depth reviews at". This call to action communicates exclusivity and relevance an irresistible combination.
Make your content work harder. Repurpose your blog posts to live on content hubs such as Slideshare and Pinterest. Take this idea one step further by turning your posts into a script for a podcast and turning slides into screencast videos. Slightly changing your content helps it appeal to readers who prefer to consumer information in ways other than text. This is the reason infographics are so popular. Targeting content hubs increases the chance that your content will appeal to the hub's audience and attract new readers.
People love people. Your readers want to see faces and not logos. Help them out by looking for opportunities to showcase your employees, customers, and even supplier photos in your blog posts. Showcasing your audience also encourages them to share your content with their network - a Win-Win for everyone.
Blog Pep Rallies
Your readers are searching for a cause. They want to rally around a shared experience and solution to a problem. Give your readers something to be proud of. At Pushing Social, about 60 people are working together to get 1,000 new readers to their blogs.
Look for a similar cause for your blog readers. Your cause will unite them and build bridges of support.
Fans are not born. They are trained.
Think of every interaction with your audience as an opportunity to train a future fan. Ask yourself, “What would a reader need to know to be an advocate for my blog?” Should they know your mission? Do they know your core principles? Are they aware of your speaking engagements and other opportunities to meet you?
Adopt a Reader
Get a New Role Model
It’s easy to collect a group of role models that in your niche. The problem is that this often leads to echo-chamber posts and group think. Look outside your niche for inspiration. For me, I am an avid collector of anecdotes about Tim Cook, Apple’s new CEO. Tim Cook has a daunting challenge and I’ve already gained inspiration and more than a few blog post ideas from his efforts.
I challenge you to select a role model that isn't a leader in your area of focus. Look for someone with a different personality type and approach. You'll find that focusing on your role model will broaden your perspective and inspire new approaches.
Get The Presentation - Complete with Cool Pictures
You can see pretty presentation slides here. Before you do that tell me which of these Big Ideas resonated with you? Which one will you start on first?