Example

Blogging and WordPress do a lot of great things together. Search engines love the code and regularly updated content, writters find it easy to publish their content and sites are relatively easy to navigate and find what you want. In the web world, that is a pretty strong formula for success.

However, there is one plaguing problem in blogging platforms and structure that frustrates the hell out of bloggers over time.

We spend all of this time putting together articles that are meant to inform, entertain and help people only to find that a year later they are buried in the archives for no one to find. With regularly updated content, our timeless content continues to be pushed down the line making it harder to find by new readers and search engines alike. The easy fix is to remember these articles and link to them within new relevant articles, but how can we start to easily leverage social media to get those same articles in front of the eyes of our followers?

I started searching around to find a tool to do this for me as I do not want to be spending hours of my day scheduling these posts (I have better things to do that generate more income). After looking at the features of several different options, I landed on one that had what I needed and started the testing process.

WordPress Plugin: Tweet Old Post

First, let me start by saying I typically do not like automated systems. They tend to be very impersonal and everyone knows when you are using one even if you think they do not. If something is going to be automated, it needs to be highly configurable and able to integrate into more personal atmospheres easily by providing value.

I uploaded Tweet Old Post to my WordPress install of Blogging Labs and started the configuration process. Luckily, this free plugin allows you to do several essential tasks that make it usable for me in this application.

Timing of Old Post Tweets

You can set the random times that tweets go out to your followers. Part of the reason that Twitter is the perfect testing ground for a system like this is because the timeline moves quick enough that you will not be annoying people and it has a viral aspect to it that you hope your articles start to get retweeted. If you do it too often, people will ignore your links and unfollow you, so setting a random time for these tweets to hit your timeline hours apart does wonders for not looking like spam.

Excluding Categories

One of the biggest things I needed in a plugin such as this one was the ability to exclude entire categories from being tweeted out. Information that was tweeted from my archives needed to be timeless to still be relevant. I did not want old articles that are no longer applicable to today’s environment to get tweeted out because that would look terrible as it has zero value to my followers.

Omit WordPress Categories

By being able to exclude categories, I can remove blocks of archives that should not be tweeted, or I do not feel provide enough value to my timeline. As you can see from my excluded lists, I tried to keep any articles from my archives to blogging tips, tutorials and advice.

Exclude Specific Posts

To fine tune the process even further, there were posts that I didn’t necessarily want retweeted within those categories as well for one reason or another.

Omit Specific WordPress Posts

Tweet Old Post allows you to also omit specific articles from being sent out to your followers automatically. Another great feature that I needed to insure the quality of the tweets would be at their highest.

After you have everything setup, an automated tweet ends up looking like this on your timeline.

Tweet from Tweet Old Post

A Couple Of Things To Keep In Mind…

Before you jump in headfirst and never look back, keep these couple of things in mind.

  • If you are going to set something like this up, you need to have some archives to pull from. As you can see, I really fine tuned my process, but if that came down to a dozen or so post by the time I was done, I would be sending out a very small number of articles over and over again. Talk about annoying for anyone that is following you.
  • You also need to gauge reactions within your Twitter following to see how people are taking the automation. In my @robbsutton account, the change was actually taken in very well and I am now getting traffic and RT’s into my older content…which was the goal. I even started asking around to followers to see what they thought and the overall reaction was positive.
  • I do not think this kind of automation would work with Facebook. The timeline does not move fast enough to keep you from clogging the system and in the end you would end up annoying friends and family at the same time. Saying that…if you have your Facebook account linked to your Twitter account so when you send out a tweet it updates your Facebook page, I would break that link before you start testing this out.

Overall, I have been happy with the result as I am always looking for ways to bring people to content that has been buried down over time. There are not very many efficient ways to get this accomplished, but Tweet Old Post seems to do a really good job by leveraging the fast moving timeline of Twitter. It’s highly configurable backend is the only reason I believe you can really make an automated system like this work.

But…just remember…you need to actually converse with your Twitter followers as well and RT other content. Your entire timeline can not be just automated tweets of your own content if you want to be successful with that online medium.

Download Tweet Old Post for free here.

Example

Flickr is the #1 photo sharing website on the planet and if you are in a niche that is really into taking pictures…you are missing out on a HUGE community building tool if you are not taping into this valuable resource. When done correctly, a Flickr group for your blog can do the following:

  • Create a larger community atmosphere around your blog.
  • Increase traffic and new visitors to your content.
  • Create new, engaging content for your readers automatically.

In the mountain biking world, pictures are used as a way to share our experiences on the trail with riders all over the world. With the group function on Flickr, we can tap into the community aspect of biking through images outside of your conventional online forums. Building community on your blog is not an easy thing to get started, so it is up to you to find outlets like Flickr that you can bring into your content that your readers can contribute to easily and efficiently. Luckily for bloggers, there are some tools we can use to tap into this community and grow our blogs while making our readers feel like they are actually apart of something bigger instead of a site that they just read articles on from time to time.

How I Use Flickr Groups To Grow My Blog

If you are in a community that already shares a lot of images on Facebook or Flickr, this is a pretty easy way to get people more involved with your site. If your niche market is not big into taking pictures, it can be harder to get involvement…but it is not impossible.

When your readers share their images on Flickr, they are looking to share their experiences online. The #1 problem most Flickr users face is getting image views. They do not have a blog to draw traffic to their images and…at best…they have some Facebook friends they might be interested in what they have posted. Ideally, they would like to share their images with other people in their passion…and that is where you step in as the blogger and provide that audience.

Step 1: Setup Your Flickr Group

As I mentioned before, Flickr groups are a way for Flickr users to share their images with other Flickr users. There are groups for everything from the city you live in to the camera you use. Flickr makes it incredibly easy to add your uploaded images to groups within your profile page and it is probably one of the most used features on the site.

The first step for the blogger in this process is to create a Flickr group for your niche site. In my case, I created the Bike198 Flickr group so my readers could add their images to the group. As you can see on the page, I added a little note about how these images show up on the website so you can gain more exposure to your images. While that gives new users an idea on where they will see their images displayed, it also covers your ass by being up front and honest about how you will be using their images which will be copyrighted in many cases. By submitting their images to the group, they are agreeing to let you link and preview them on your site.

Also, I like to limit the amount of images the members can submit a day to 2 or 3 to keep variety in the stream (done within your group admin). I do not want readers thinking it is a waste of time to include their pictures because of a couple of users completely flooding the pipeline.

Once you have setup your Flickr group, you will want to add your own images that relate to your niche to get it populated a little bit.

Step 2: Get The Images Live On Your Site

The next step in the process is to get your group’s images live on your site. I do this by installing the FlickrRSS plugin for WordPress. It makes displaying your images in the sidebar like you see below incredibly easy and it has some other options as well. All you have to do is enter in your Flickr group number (which the plugin helps you find) and then put the widget in your sidebar. I even edited the CSS within the plugin to make it match the site a little bit better.

Bike198 Flickr Group Displayed On Site

Step 3: Get Your Readers Using The Flickr Group

Like with most things in blogging, just setting up the tools is not enough. Now you must promote your new feature to get your readers to actually use it. Just as you would promote your Facebook fan page, email your newsletter to let them know it is live (don’t forget to include links to the Flickr group), write an article on your blog, tell the fans of your Facebook fan page, Tweet it out on Twitter, hold contests for the editors choice submitted photo, etc.

You can also invite images to your group through Flickr from users that have zero clue about your blog. This is a very powerful feature that can populate your group in the early stages and bring more visitors to your content. Again, you are providing an audience to photographers that want more targeted eyes. By providing that value, you are filling that need.

Once you have users submitting their photographs to your group, it will start to grow and the images should come in on autopilot.

Step 4: Create Content Around Images

Your readers are going to be very visual by nature. They like bold headlines, descriptive pictures and bullet points to engage with content. Your Flickr group is creating content that your readers will like to see.

If you have done this right, an interesting thing will start to happen. You will attract some incredible photography from your niche that you are going to want to feature. Every now and then (about every 2 weeks), I put together an article of some of my favorite new images submitted to the group. I resize them to fit the page (decreases page load speed and makes it so you are not sharing their high res images) and link their Flickr profile page below each image.

Flickr Photo Sharing Article

Doing this not only creates engaging content on my blog, but it also provides additional exposure for the photographers while promoting my Flickr group.

After that…rinse and repeat. The Bike198 Flickr group has become a nice asset to my blog by creating more user interaction with high quality content that is done automatically. In the blogging world…that is the trifecta.

Balloon Image by luvi

Example

Last night, I gave a presentation at the Atlanta Bloggers Meetup on social media and blogging as part of Atlanta’s Social Media Week. I was one of three presenters of the night and the only one that fully relies on blogging for income. I brought along the Kodak Zi8 to record the session and the video came out ok. The small sensor camera really struggles in low light and I wasn’t wearing a mic, but the quality was good enough to publish.

One word of warning…apparently I REALLY talk with my hands. It is funny what you realize about yourself when you have to watch it on video.

How To Leverage Social Media To Grow Your Blog

In the video, I talk about basic principles in regards to social media, blogging and how you can combine the two to increase your business, traffic and bottom line and then I answer some questions from the audience on generating income and increasing traffic.

Text Summary On Social Media Presentation Video

Everyone already knows the most popular social media spaces online. We all use them on a daily basis to converse with friends, keep in touch with family or to follow our favorite celebrities. When we do this act, we are functioning within the core, fundamental purpose of social media.

Entertainment.

99% of users of social media have zero interest in blogging or starting a blog. However, they have a great amount of interest in conversing with other like minded individuals online who share their same interests. That need to communicate is what we can leverage into our blogging to pull readers back into our content.

All of these social media spaces (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.) in and of themselves do not generate revenue or traffic. They are their own separate sites with defined purposes. The blogger has to tie all these separate entities into something usable and measurable by giving them a common home base. That home base for the blogger is the blog.

By going out and pulling potential customers and readers back to your content, you are bringing value back to social media by turning it into something that can be measured and converted.

With Facebook fan pages, branded Twitter accounts, LinkedIn groups and other aspects of these social media sites, we are able to create a consistent branding atmosphere, a consistent voice and a consistent purpose that all increase our traffic and revenue.

If Only It Was That Easy!!

The theory of “if you build it and they will come” applies as little to social media as it does to blogging. The trick for the blogger is to go out and converse with members of social media sites to pull them back to your content.

However…there is one major mistake I see most bloggers and businesses do when they are looking to expand into social media to increase their web presence.

They do ZERO market research.

Just because Joe down the street told you Twitter is the next big thing or you believe you have to be everywhere at once does not mean that is the right plan of attack for your blog or business.

Most bloggers and business owners like to do what I call the shotgun affect. They spread themselves out really thin across all aspects of social media just hoping something sticks. The result…nothing does and they become another person that says Twitter or Facebook doesn’t work. It isn’t that they don’t work, it is your approach that failed.

Your job as the blogger or business owner is to go where your core audience interacts and bring your content and brand to them. It is not your job to convince them that Twitter is better than Facebook.

For Bike198, I find that Facebook is a much higher converter as cyclists could really care less about Twitter. My Facebook likes and shares are very high on that site and it serves a great purpose in my blogging. However, in the blogging niche, Twitter took off like wildfire and bloggers across the world are using it as an easy way to spread content and connect with other bloggers. It all depends on your target audience and how they are already communicating. Once you figure that out…you go there and set up shop. If you do that, your chance of success is much higher than if you just recklessly hope something sticks.

That is the key to making social media successful for increasing your profits and expanding your brand’s reach on the web.

Filmed with the Kodiak Zi8 and edited with iMovie and Keynote

Example

If you are constantly buying into the concept of “content is king” that gets pushed on bloggers around the world, you are buying a used car with sand dust in the gas tank. This same tired out line has been played out beyond belief in the blogging world.

Content is not king…content is the product.

When you are looking to create your successful blog online, consistent and quality content is the given product that is required in blogging, but…just like with every industry…there is a massive amount of sub-par crap that can greatly outperform your “pilar articles” and “high quality list posts” because the bloggers behind that content have already realized the huge secret to successful blogging that really isn’t a secret.

Successful promotion is king…content comes in a far off second.

It’s true…go ahead and marinate on that one for a bit. Have you ever read a highly successful website and thought there is a lot better content out there? Better yet…have you seen sub-par, worthless products get huge launches and massive sales? You even see it in the retail world! The #1 main reason a blog, company or product makes it in the marketplace is because of calculated and successful promotion…not because it is providing over the top quality.

So Why Promotion Over Quality?

Now…there are cases where enormous quality creates enough press to warrant high dollars and fame, but those cases are extremely rare. The high quality cases for blogs and products that you have seen or read are actually the by-product of having the double whammy…quality content and successful promotion.

Quality “content is king” content is absolutely nothing without new eyes digesting it and then spreading it out to others. Without this promotion, your articles and products do not get past the development stage. They are just words on a page or items on a shelf that no one knows about…or even cares to.

Next time you hear someone say “content is king”, you need to think of it as a used car salesman selling you a big steaming load of crap. Content is not king…the promotion of that content is far superior if you are looking to create a successful blog.

How Do I Get My Content In Front Of A Massive Amount Of Eyes?

Now…there are also bloggers out there that are going to tell you the “top 5 ways to get more traffic” or how you need to find traffic on your blog. First, anyone that tells me there is only 1 (or 5 ways to do things) are typically people that I discount their opinion greatly. One of the things that you need to realize in blogging is that all niches are different. There is never one top way of doing things as your readers are going to interact and spread content online differently dependent upon subject matter so taking advice like that can be dangerous and detrimental to your growth.

Proper testing of different promotion methods are the only way to find out what works in your niche.

That said…there is one theory that will greatly reduce your learning curve when looking for promotion techniques that will work well for your blog. It is one simple task that every blogger should be doing…

Find your target audience (and be specific) and then research how that specific target audience communicates and spreads content online.

Not every niche is going to know what RSS is…or use Stumbleupon…or even know how to use Twitter. It is up to you to find out how they communicate and how they like to digest content and then provide those methods. On top of that…you need to find methods that force call to actions (newsletter sign-ups, content spreading, etc.) like contests, giveaways and other viral content monsters.

There is no “one size fits all solution” for all bloggers and “content is not king”. It is up to you…as the blogger…to promote your products and content in a method that your audience will absorb to truly be successful. Hey…no one who was ever successful online used a cookie cutter tagline. They worked hard for it. That means you have to as well. Ramp it up!