Are You Ready for the Game of Thrones Content Marketing Zombie Horde Attack?

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Many a time I have listened to the moaning and wailing of the Ben Sherman attired SEO, about the overuse of infographics and that they don’t work anyway and that if only the new Content Marketing Manager had said yes to his 500 blog domain network over multiple “C” class ip numbers, we would have no need of the hipster design freaks and their bean bagged offices.

And of course they were right to complain, but the mistake they make is in thinking they are the audience. But there is something far more psychologically painful coming to the grumpy – bitcoin rig under his bed – SEO type, and this time it’s real.

Winter is coming.

You know what I’m talking about right?

To be honest, if you are a fan of Game of Thrones, people like me are probably going to ruin it for you. Not by revealing the list of people who will die this series – as a teacher in Holland did to his class to get them to shut up – no, we are not evil. But by unleashing a wave of content marketing that has been unseen in the Kingdom of Westeros since the dark age of the Dragons….. Sorry about that, got a tad carried away, I meant since ever.

You see, the corporate marketing depts are now infested with marketing types in their early 20′s, you know the sort, the kind that constantly witter on, “like yeah, cool, no worries”, and have a slight twitch coming from being always worried that their 1970′s retro, manbag is going to get pinched.

But they get content marketing, they grew up with it. They lived on Tumblr – before runined by Yahoo, had their first sexual experience with an avatar, think high speed broadband is a human right (actually I agree with this one). They are the ones that have been weaned on Buzzfeed/Huffpo headlines during their formative years. They love content that extends the narrative of the show, like, Game of Thrones – Get the Skills.

Of course, this does not mean they can implement/action/get things done, all you have to do to this generation is show them a shiny ball, throw it and say “go fetch ball”. It only occupies them for a few minutes, but by then they have forgotten what they were doing and are now busy downloading Prisoner Cell Block H, using Pirate Bay through a Romanian proxy, whilst at work.

But these are not the people I was at first referring too, the ones who are going to ruin GOT for you. No, it’s the herders of the 20 somethings, the wranglers of the Millennials, these are people who can squeeze commercially viable output from these “information is free”, Spongebob Squarepants for Student Union President, types. Using a blend of psychology, foosball, and sugar addiction.

Understanding this crowd is probably more important that understanding your customer, as these are the trend setters, the leaders of the pack – apparently Seth Godin keeps one of them in a cage under his desk, helping him keep it fresh.

Once directed, this tribe will go and create industrial scale content for the Walking Dead commuters to consume on their smartphones whilst trying to ignore the body odour of the cycling nazi who is crammed up against them in a crowded train coming into Waterloo.

At first it will amuse and for those it will be aimed at – those who link – it will be fun. But for the rest of us we shall soon tire of the “20 Killer ‘Game of Thrones’ Items on Etsy” type content shoveled at us by the likes of Mashable. (nice find btw, Laura Vitto, and of course the Ben Sherman, shirt wearing SEO will be moaning of Twitter again, whilst setting up secret Facebook groups to mutter about Rand Fishkin.

I’m thinking the content threshold will be met before the season actually starts, the amount of link and Google juice squeezed from these low handing fruit will be more even than the juice coming from Matt Cutt’s plums.

Should you hop on the bandwagon, and pump out some “10 Reasons no one flosses in Game of Thrones”, type content, for your online plumbing supplies website? Probably not, you are competing against a tidal wave of content, vomited forth by zombie plague of those who eat, drink and avoid sex for this kind of stuff.

Like I said.

Winter is coming.

Getty allows Websites to use their photo images for free

The bosses at Getty had a meeting.

And decided that too many of these geeky, internet types

were using their images without attribution.

So they put their boffins to work

And they came up with the idea of using the “iframe” tag, just like Youtube videos.

Now that’s interesting, and a lot of fun.

Because we can create better content and more interesting websites, in exchange for giving exposure to the Photo agency.

Of course the photographer may lose out, but just as the music business has had to adapt to the changing landscape, so must photo libraries.

Read more about it on the BBC

Why Does Buzzfeed Content Work so well?

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A recent Buzzfeed content piece has proved great success in getting social signals and links, Which ’90s Alt-Rock Grrrl Are You?

969,000 likes on FB and counting.

Yes, any mediocre content on Buzzfeed is going to get more action that brilliant content on a mediocre website. But the huge numbers here represent that the content is brilliant.

Buzzfeed has made it’s name in the field of brilliant “pop culture” content. It doesn’t always produce good stuff, but you don’t have to if you regularly knock it out of the field.

So what makes this work?

The celebs chosen are not current and even when at their height were not considered mainstream.

They represent what I like to call a “small footprint, but high impact theme”. They may not have Global reach but the people who grew up with these artists have them deeply imprinted on their psyche.

The “personality quiz” technique, has been used for years in teen and womens’ magazines and is an old staple. It requires little focused attention, is done in minutes and provides something to have a conversation about.

People need something to talk about to fill the empty void, but lets not get too existential right now.

The fact that this content requires you to only make 7 clicks, where you probably don’t even read all the options and give it considered though adds to the genius of this content. As it’s instinctual, it’s possible that it’s more accurate.

You don’t have to think too hard to engage with this content, it leads you through what you have to do simply, and clearly.

It’s easy to be critical of such content if you are an intellectual snob, but if you want mass results, you have to go after a mass, populist theme and present it in a way that engages and doesn’t require too much attention and thought.

Try to Watch a Bon Jovi video without thinking of Spinal Tap

For me, Living on a Prayer is the, Bon Jovi song.



When creating content you have to be aware of cultural connotation

A connotation is frequently described as either positive or negative, with regards to its pleasing or displeasing emotional connection

Some people will have not watched Spinal tap, and some may not have even heard of it. Which means the headline above will be lost on them. They will also not get the reference from the BBC iPlayer, which goes to 11 on their volume scale.



It’s important to be aware that some will not only have a different emotional connection to the stuff you are putting out, but also will not even know anything about the stuff you are putting out.

Most get away with this by simply running with their own tribe and thus they share the same cultural capital as talked about by the French sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu. Note: It is a proven fact if you quote a French Sociologist, you will seem more intelligent than you actually are.

If you are creating content for others, and for tribes that you are not a member of, you need to aware that the reader may not know what you are talking about. This is why most blog content is very shallow and broad in tone.

The headline above will resonate most with those whose formative years were in the 80′s, and by definition represent a distinct target group, ie those with, Mortgage, kids leaving home, divorce, overweight, etc. This of course is a generalised list but represents high probability.

So, think twice about creating content that refers to the second verse in “Love will tear us apart”, by Joy Division, if you are marketing to 18 year olds in Midwest America.



The Joy Division video balances the Bon Jovi video just right.

Feed the viewer of your content as if it were a Velociraptor

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When creating content you should always serve the meat first and then let the viewer gnaw on the bones after, if they so desire.

My thinking when it comes to this stuff is to put the meat above the fold and then allow the detail to be revealed to those who wish to scroll. This rewards the hit and run viewer who simply wants the meat and then to share it, and the viewer who likes to spend more time and dig down to rich detail and then share.

When you have made the massive effort of tempting the ravenous viewer to your page, to feast on your tasty content, don’t make them work for it.

Feed them Seymore

Don’t make them have to think. Viewers when asked may like to pretend they like classics like Dostoyevsky, but John Grisham always sells more. Don’t make them have to scroll further to get to the meat because even if the meat is the tastiest in the world, the viewer will probably give up before they get to the end..

The importance of having the meat above the fold is huge, as most people will even give great stuff a cursory glance. Content has to impact fast and smash it in the viewers face. The detail, the complexity and the “take the viewer on a journey”, comes after that and rewards those who stick around and want a deeper narrative.

It is tricky because when we create something we have been taught to take the viewer on a journey, this thinking developed for magazines and books, when the viewer had little distraction or need to quickly move on, as they had bought the book/magazine and intend to read as much as possible.

Same doesn’t apply to web content.

I see the modern web browser as a starving Velociraptor. They are not too concerned with the complex flavours or that hint of truffle oil.

They want meat and they want it now.

My solution is to radically change your layout so that the meat is always served first, and then as the blood drips from the Velociraptor’s teeth, let them gnaw on the bones of the detail.

The aim is to create art that satisfies the hunger on viewing and then allows for further investigation and confirmation that the content is worthy of a social signal or a link.

This thinking underlies my philosophy when I consult with clients on content that gets shared.

I hope my thoughts on this helps.

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Facebook is Dead

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Read a very interesting article over at Marketingweek.co.uk written by Mark Ritson, about fickle teens, and came across a great quote

Do you really imagine that Facebook will remain the de-facto social media standard by the time today’s 13-year-olds exit the teenage segment in 2020? Do you really believe Facebook is somehow immune from the same disease that infected MySpace?

The writer goes on to say.

The data supporting a teen defection from Facebook remains qualitative at this stage. I am certainly in no position to suggest that Facebook is already losing teen users or that they are already spending less time on the site. But the key lesson from Abercrombie is that while Facebook’s teen downfall may not yet be upon us, it is nonetheless inevitable and will be expeditious once it begins.

There is a saying in share trading, “trying to buy at the bottom of the market is like trying to catching a falling knife”.

Likewise basing your business decisions on if and when a particular social media system is no longer worth the ROI is not very efficient and you could easily get stabbed in the back of the hand by the falling knife.

Google trends reporting for searches based on in quotes, “Facebook is Dead”.

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We cannot predict when the fall from grace will happen, but we can design our online marketing strategy to be nimble, fast and adaptable. If you are told, “you need to get ready for change.”

You are listening to the wrong people.

Change has to be in your DNA.

When things move online they move fast, you need to be adaptable. If you think, “I’ve marketed on Facebook, it’s been good to me so I will always market on FB.” You will be dead.

Adaptability should be hard wired into your online marketing plan.

It should seep into your content marketing strategy to take advantage of techniques like Newsjacking, where you need to act swift and decisively.

The image is of Shackleton, a man who was able to adapt to enormous changes in his situation and survive a disasterous journey to the South Pole. You can get a great book about his journey, Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic

Afflink attached.

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Building a publishing machine without the aid of Crystal Meth

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I doubt there is anyone reading this that is not already at least aware of the hit US TV series, Breaking Bad. You probably already know that the last 8 episodes ever are about to be broadcast on August 11th. Even the BBC are newsjacking a show that is not on their network.

But what has this got to do with seo?

Well, we publish content around what people are talking about to get their attention and engage them.

Although I use the term “seo” in its broadest terms.

What I am really talking about is publishing and networking or even content marketing. The debate about “seo” is currently a topic in the industry. http://insocialwetrust.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/were-missing-the-point/ which we can comfortably leave to others a the moment.

Lets explore the reason of whether you should newsjack Breaking Bad.

The problem
You have a website where you need to increase the rankings in Google for specific webterms.

The Objective
Produce attractive, engaging content that gets links, social signals and branding awareness.

The Solution
Publish content on your website about the Breaking Bad show and promote

How do we implement the solution?

The key is in the word “publish”, get rid for a moment of all those fancy pants marketing terms and stick with the basic concept that you are going to publish something and other people are going to experience it and react to it.

It is vital you keep the approach to the creation process as simple as possible and deal with the fundamentals.

Implementation should not be looked at as a one off thing. You need to build a publishing machine, because the competition for attention online has become such that you need to have the most efficient process possible.

It is no longer about producing that one great piece of content, it’s about publishing a continuous stream of great content that gives a good return on investment.

Therefore any solution that is implemented should be part of a wider process, You implement the solution by first building a process to that can efficiently solve this and any future publishing problems.

This raises the issue of content management. Having run a number of large budget operations I know that you have to organise your infrastructure similar to that of a tabloid newspaper. You then have to optimise every link in the chain, trim the fat and make sure the right people are doing the right thing.

But the process is the same, whether you are an in-house seo with a staff of 100 or a piratical, death dealing, do or die affiliate marketer who builds his website whilst downloading Breaking Bad on Piratebay.

Agencies too are no different, it does not matter that you have multiple clients. The solution is always going to be the same, the process is the same for any client but produces a different output.

It’s actually very simple

  • Establish your ability and resources
  • Develop a realistic objective
  • Create and publish the content
  • Promote the content
  • Use content to further build network and resources

One person can and often does do this, but larger websites have to delegate specific actions to specific people who have a certain skill set. This can be done both in-house and outsourced. I know of many one man bands who outsource everything and basically run a large agency in the cloud.

The problem suddenly becomes one of management and quality control, this can be alleviated with giving well defined tasks that are simple enough to understand and to track.

The bad news is, this is now the default setting. You have to have a publishing machine behind you to compete on a level that is going to make you a decent living if going solo.

And larger organisations need to build the publishing machine at the core of their marketing operations.

Newsjacking is one component of a content marketing strategy, a strategy that must be underpinned by a road map that has been thought out and designed by someone familiar with such things.

I’ve put together several Content Marketing, Road Maps for clients, they are not cheap and require a huge blob of time thrown at them. But it’s amazing the results a publishing machine can get when it is heading in the right direction, knows its destination and knows when it has arrived.

In future posts I will be talking about how to build your publishing machine and how to create a content marketing roadmap.

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Fear that Robots are blasting Sydney Harbour Bridge from Google Maps

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Fears have been raised that Google Maps may be removing Sydney Harbour Bridge from Google because it is now cleaned by grit blasting Robots.


BBC News website is reporting that robots developed at the University of Technology, Sydney are now operating on the bridge, applying high-pressure grit blastingcleaners and following a 3D map of the bridge area.


 As we know that Google takes a firm line on webmasters who employ robots to perform black hat techniques such as spam website creation and machine written text and we fear that Google will remove the Sydney Harbour Bridge from their newly refreshed Google Maps.


To keep the Google search index fresh Google often removes websites from their search index without warning because of robot action.


We beg the Google spam team not to remove the Sydney Harbour Bridge from Google Maps because of this robot action. These are good robots not the bad robots that spam the Internet.


Help save the Bridge.

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50 Design Inspirations for 8 types of Infographic

Have an idea for an infographic but don’t know where to begin with designing it?

Fear not!

With thanks to Lyndon, we’ve compiled an ultimate design resource for every imaginable type of infographic. Well, nearly every one.

Our blog post earlier this year, identified the 8 different types of infographics.

This is a list of 50 that we think deserve to be noted for their design, or certain aspects of them.

A visual list of infographic inspiration awaits…

 

The Visual Article

The Visual Article infographic is all about attracting the viewer immediately with the title and offering something more than just a written article. The content itself must be varied, interesting and plentiful so that readers do not come away disappointed.

 

1. Amsterdam: On Yer Bike – by easyJet Holidays

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2. A question of taste – by South China Morning Post

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3. 50 Unbelievable Facts about Earth – by Giraffe

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4. 50 Incredible Facts about Skin – by beautyflash

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5. Why Bill Gates is Better than Batman – by Frugal Dad

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6. 50 Insane Facts about Hair – by Hair Loss Geeks

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7. How to Control Your Dreams – by BedroomWorld

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The Flow Chart

Flow charts are successful for answering questions and when engaging the right audience do well on social media. The design of a flowchart prefers simple over cluttered and to make it worthwhile, there needs to be plenty of options so the viewer doesn’t feel forced into an overly narrow category. Tongue-in-cheek is common and a sense of humour is definitely a bonus!

 

8. Should  I Text Him? – by Becca Classon

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9. Which Infographic Should You Use? – by NeoMam Studios

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10. Star Wars Occupation Flowchart – by OnlineSchools

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11. I Want to Make a Horror Movie – by Canal+

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12. Are You Happy? – by Rick Webb

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13. Should Your Business be on Pinterest? – by Intuit

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Useful Bait

The useful bait does what it says and provides a useful resource to the viewer. Usability should be the priority with a straightforward design and content which is strictly relevant to the topic. When designing infographics like these it’s best to imagine them being printed out.

 

14. Gangnam Style The 5 Basic Steps – by Hugo A Sanchez

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15. Kitchen Cheat Sheet – by Everest

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16. Sitting is Killing You – by Medical Billing & Coding

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17. How to Train Yourself to Speed Read – by Mindflash

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18. Exceptional Expressions of Espresso – by Pop Chart Lab

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19. Pairing Wine & Food – by Wine Folly

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20. The Shelf Life of Food – by Visual.ly

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21. The Charted Cheese Wheel – by Pop Chart Lab

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Number Porn

Impressive numbers coupled with an engaging design make the ‘Number Porn’ infographic work. Numerical infographics boil down to a lot of numbers with little visualisation to aid comprehension. They are straightforward to produce but may lack a bit of imagination.

 

22. Titanic by the Numbers – by History.com

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23. Education by the Numbers – by Microsoft Education

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24. A Day in the Internet – by MBA Online

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25. Google: Behind the Numbers – by Business MBA

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The Timeline

The timeline shows a journey to the viewer and it must be important to them to be successful. Each element of a timeline infographic should be visualised, so it’s easy to see the progression and is visually stimulating.

 

26. The Road of the Future – by Carloan4u

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27. The Evolution of the Geek – by Flowtown

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28. The Evolution of Video Game Controllers – by Pop Chart Labs

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29. A History of Western Typefaces – by Mashable

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30. The History of Home Heating – by Global Home Improvements

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31. The Apple Tree – by Mashable

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Data Visualisation

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a data visualization is worth a thousand more.”

Data Visualisation is the bread and butter of the infographic world. A creative approach along with careful design can get great results and lead to placement on high-profile sites.

 

32. The Billion Dollar-o-Gram – by David McCandless

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33. Mission(s) to Mars – by Bryan Christie Design

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34. Fifty Years of Exploration – by National Geographic

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35. Snake Oil? by David McCandless

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36. The Big Numbers – by Rune Leth Anderson

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The Versus Infographic

Matching content to audience is crucial here. You need to consider what the audience care about and focus on two characters or concepts. A common feature of these infographics compares both differences and similarities. A little humour and stylised design are a must if they are to succeed.

 

37. Geek vs Hipster – by Geeks Are Sexy

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38. Messi vs Ronaldo – by Visual.ly

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39. A Tale of Two Meals – by Massive Health

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40. Beef versus Horse – Guardian Digital Agency

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41. How Being a Liberal or Conservative Shapes Your Life – by David McCandless

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42. Serif vs Sans – The Final Battle – by Urban Fonts

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43. Woof vs Meow – What Our Furry Pets Reveal About Us – by Hunch

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The Photo Infographic

Arguably the hardest to produce, these infographics need quality photographs and a well thought out design to come off as professional looking. When done right though, these infographics are visually arresting and provide a unique way to display information.

 

44. Dining Etiquette 101 – by Sun Sentinel

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45. The Simpsons, South Park and Ninja Turtles LEGOs – by Jung Von Matt

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46. Know Your Poop – by Raj Kamal

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47. The Evolution of a Hipster – by Paste  Magazine

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48. Fat or Fiction – by Fat or Fiction

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49. Seven Summits – by FFunction

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50. Refugees and Immigrants – by Peter Orntoft

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We hope these proved useful and let us know if you agree with our choices!

Compiled by Danny Ashton, founder of the infographic agency NeoMam Studios.

How Sex Taught me Everything about Social Media Networking

Some very interesting things have been happening in my coaching group. Although it is focussed on linkbait, it seems to becoming more of a PR coaching group. Lots of back and forth about how to contact journalists and get them to write nice things about us and a real thirst for helping build a social media following.

In fact, I would say that getting a following on social media is the next biggest thing after help creating killer headlines.

I have difficulty with this though, because I find it so easy to navigate the rapids of social media I kinda expect everyone else to. But we all have our skill set, and sharing killer techniques and methods between people with other killer skill sets is the best way to learn.

My social media networking skills were being honed long before social media existed or even the World Wide Web. Writing poetry gave me the skill to be able to crack off a rich, terse, to the point Tweet. Cracking sarcastic one liners at the back of the class gave me the snarky humour that sometimes can get you noticed in crowded places and being an avid fan of Encyclopedia Britannica when I was a kid gave me obscure references to the seemingly unrelated allowed me to appear a lot more intellectual than I actually am.

But I would say that the most important thing I learned about success in social media is from sex.

Not actual sex, but the part of the brain that drives us. (Apologies if you were expecting some 50 Shades of Grey Action)
I figured out at the right age that getting girls was not really about being the best looking or the richest. But being able to simply ask a girl out. The more you asked the more you succeeded. Sure you fall flat on your face often. But the burning shame of being told “No” to, was worth it for the ones who said yes.

I had no shame, because I was focussed on the positive results, not the failure rate.

I realised that other guys who never seemed to get the girls simply couldn’t deal with the pain of being told no to. So they just didn’t ask, which to me seemed bonkers. They seemed to expect a 100% conversion rate.

If I can now turn your attention away from sex and to social media, just for a minute.

It’s the same thing when building a social media network. People hate being told no, they hate the defollow, they hate not being noticed and not being retweeted and bewail the fact that nobody seems listen. When the reality is, they never really asked anyone to listen to them or took chances on revealing the good stuff.

It’s not that it takes balls to put it all out there, it’s more about not caring if people don’t give a toss. Because for everyone who things your are a jumped up little turd, with pretentions of grandeur. There are going to be others who think the sun shines out of your assiduously crafted Tweets.

The point is, get out there do stuff, and ignore the rejections. Action is the key to effective social media networking.