A good friend of mine, Phil Gerbyshak, has been a rock star middle manager for a long time. He speaks at conferences, trains teams and runs a help desk for a huge company.
On the side he has become a social media coach and has developed a strong body of work around better management. Recently the blog network he was a part of decided to change their business model and all the hard work Phil did building up Slacker Management went up in smoke. Yes, the blog network turned him off. Luckily, they did it in a nice way and moved all of his work to a new blog that he now owns.
If you have ever moved a website of blog before, you know how devastating this can be. You will not have the same audience and you will not have the same search engine credibility. It sets you back years if you are changing domains and have built up a good amount of content.
Please go visit Phil at the management expert blog – and leave a comment and show him some love.
There is also a lesson in this. Do not build your primary website or blog on something that can be taken away later. Free blogs are fine for links and toying around, but not a place to build your real resource.
You want to register your own domain and work with a company that will help you host your own website or blog. If you are trying something different, such as building a lead generation engine, do it on a sub domain of your main domain to preserve your main website.
Phil Gerbyshak had full confidence in that blog network being around – but now finds himself needing to move and start building his audience all over again. You do not want to do the same thing.
When I talk to business owners about social media and blogging, it is always the risks they are worried about. What are the social media risks and how to do minimize the risks while still capitalizing on the social media opportunities?
Some businesses block access to twitter, facebook, myspace and more as a way to minimize the risk. In some instances, this could be appropriate. For example, in the medical area, if you have professionals that need to worry about HIPPA and such, it might be better to take any chance of leaking information that would put the organization at risk off the table. Saying this will not be popular with social media professionals that think everyone should have access, but it is just the hard reality. Sometimes the risks outweigh any potential reward.
That said, if you care about marketing, PR, customers and website traffic, the risks for not using social media probably are higher than risks using it.
The key to minimize the social media risks is training and documenting your policies. What constitutes appropriate computer use at work? Can you only use social media at work if it is in your job description? What about people that talk about where they work while at home and off the clock?
Many law firms are now offering social media handbook services to help you craft this strategy. Just be sure that the law firm understands the risks and rewards of social media. If you could benefit from it, you do not want a policy in place that completely shuts it down.
It is popular to talk about social media, influentials and Web 2.0. But does that mean the old school marketing has stopped working?
No, it means that there are more ways to reach people and depending on your target market, you have more options that all may be less effective than in the past when there were fewer options (and more people condensed into fewer communication channels.)
Here are some old school marketing techniques that still work.
- Press Releases – When it used to be really read by the press, it was appropriate to call it a press release. Now I would call it a news broadcast. I do not believe a press release will usually find any major writers but I do think that you are going to get some good exposure and good back links to your website. Also, if you focus on a niche or use the more expensive services you may still hit some great media outlets.
- Email – Way more attention seems to be given to social media than email marketing. However, email marketing will still generate a lot more money for you. It is an essential part of your marketing and if you bought the whole Email is Dead crap, you jumped on the wrong bandwagon. I make most of my money from email and SEO.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization is not the new hot thing, but if there is one area that is actually using social media well, it is the people that get how SEO and Social Media tie in together. The key with SEO is that if you are in a tight target niche with little competition, you can probably pay for a one time project and reap the rewards for a long time. If you are in an even slightly competitive market, you need someone that goes to war on your behalf every month to increase ranking and get more pages indexed.
- Old Websites – Do you have one of those old websites sitting around that looks like late 90’s and does date back to then? Don’t touch it without talking to a professional! The age of your website is very valuable and the pages should not be changed unless you have someone that can look at your ranking first. I updated one of these old sites after some research and got fantastic results within 3 days – I am talking #1 rankings where a lot of other people were fighting for it. These old sites have great credibility in the eyes of search engines and can be ignited by a good search engine specialist.
- Directories – Things like directories seem out of date, but getting listed in a good directory still gives you a valuable back-link and can generate a steady (if not huge) stream of traffic. Some of my favorite are technorati and blogcatalog – but the older (less shiny) ones are still effective if you get into them too.
- Link Exchanges – These things have a bad name, and anything that automates the process I would stay away from. However, doing an occasional link exchange with someone else in your industry will help – not hurt – your website. If link exchanges actually hurt websites, most blogs with blog rolls would be thrown out of Google long ago since they often link to each other. This is one of those things that still works, you just have to be smart about it.
- Word of Mouth – The oldest of the old school marketing is the new cool. Finding ways to get people to talk about you are the holy grail of cutting through the clutter. But it may just not work for you – you really have to be differentiated.
Dead marketing – Some things are really gone
Yes, there are some marketing techniques that are really gone. Do not do the following –
- Pass out your audio book on 8 track tape.
- SPAM – Does anyone fall for that now?
- Dressing up as a gorilla and selling encyclopedias door to door – OK, this still works but don’t do it.
Most things will still work with good execution and message. Just be realistic about how people’s attention has scattered. You need to scatter your message where your niche market is to make sure they can find you. But that does not mean you throw the old school marketing in the garbage.