This guest post is by Tricia Lawrence of Realbrilliant.com
I’m not one of those people who relies solely on search engine optimization to get me to the top of the heap. I am paid to write blogs for clients every week, and they focus on their SEO enough for the both of us.
Positioning has another meaning to me. It’s content-focused and deals only with how my content and expertise is positioned in my audience’s head.
You can’t get those results from a Google or Bing search. You can only get that from positioning yourself, either weakly or strongly. Either way, you’ll learn quickly.
Learning about this “mental positioning” may seem like it has no place in social media strategy. After all, it’s not exactly a social media tool per se. But there’s more to blog marketing than just loading content onto your Facebook and Twitter profiles. If you’re using social media to talk without giving any thought to who is listening, you’re not positioning yourself whatsoever.
What’s your story?
This is what you feel compelled to share, to write a blog about, to speak about, to share with others. What is the best way to communicate that story? Is it social media? (I always suggest yes, it is.) But what about other channels: public speaking, webinars, or teaching what you know to an entire company? Social media works well when you’re presenting ideas and links as teasers to your platform. Social media should point the way to you and your story.
What’s your audience?
Who you’re speaking to has a lot to do with how you will present your message. A lot of the younger generation may not use email, but if you speak to any other generation, you’ll want to use email. If you’re teaching people how to be Luddites and to stick to typewriters out of protest to the wasting of bandwidth whenever someone tweets about Britney Spears, then yes, you can stay off of social media quite easily. How does your audience use social media? What do they look at online? What kind of solutions are they looking for when they come looking for your story?
What’s your influence?
When you are positioned in your audience’s mind, your influence can reach quite far. How far? Your core audience shares you with their core audience, who in turn share you with theirs. Sometimes it’s who you know, but sometimes it’s not. Your goal is to be visible to many, but to attract a chosen few. Sure, we’d all love everyone to pay attention to us, but that’s just not going to happen. Let’s be realistic and focus on the audience we can influence toward our solution and our expertise.
What’s your engagement?
Positioning yourself online is mistakenly viewed as just about Twitter followers and just about retweeting what you find interesting. Successful positioning includes much more. As your story is communicated over and over and over, you’ll learn how to say it differently; you’ll also learn your audience’s lingo. As they interact with you, you’ll learn more from them. Engaging is not getting something or giving something more than the other: it’s about the even exchange, the leverage both parties give to make the other successful. As you learn what your audience wants from you, they learn more about your story and what you can give to them. Both parties benefit.
One last word: Even if you’ve been positioned or have positioned yourself weakly (notice I use the words weak and strong versus right and wrong; I hate for people to view this as being black and white, because the Internet is much more a gray area), it’s never too late to reposition. You can always strengthen your position by going back to these four questions. They are at the core of a strong position.
Let Google change algorithms every hour if they want to! Let Bing see the traffic coming to your site every day! You just keep right on strengthening your position. Have you positioned your blog strongly on social media?
Tricia Lawrence is an author, teacher, and speaker, helping the publishing industry, specifically authors, position their blogs and books to sell. Tricia’s book, The Social Network(s): A Field Guide for Writers will be out on Kindle in March and she’ll appear at several tech and writing conferences in 2011. Sign up for Tricia’s biweekly eZine, Please Write Like You Talk at http://www.realbrilliant.com. Tricia is on Twitter @realbrilliant.