The Inbound Marketing Milwaukee User Group had another meet up with a ton of great marketing takeaways. This time, Jen Lopez, Director of Community at SEOmoz, joined us to walk through the steps to build a stronger inbound marketing strategy by adding an online community.
Here are some takeaways from Jen’s presentation.
Jen defined community as a base for sharing and expanding your network to create better marketing. You want to get your community to be part of your marketing team essentially 24/7 all over the world, so your community must be a team sport – everyone in the community is part of a team. This community needs to be empowered with topics and ideas so they can come together in a single place and collaborate with each other.
So, how do you build an online community and use it to help your inbound marketing efforts? Jen recommends adding community to each layer of your SEO strategy (see SEO pyramid example).
1. Community + Content
Having an online community will help you develop ideas and create amazing content. Use the content your community has already created or showed interest in, such as:
- Blogs and blog comments
- Ebooks and Whitepapers
- Product reviews
2. Community + Keyword Research
Use your community to learn more about your audience. By looking at what they’re searching for and the search terms they use, you can expand your keywords.
- Use organic search traffic to see who and how you're getting found
- Check internal search and base content around these keywords
- Use keywords from Twitter and reference hashtags.org to get insight into what people are talking about.
3. Community + Link Building
Your community will be the ones actually linking to your content. Give your community a reason to link to your site by creating remarkable content.
- Check out The Beginners Guide to SEO – a great resource to help you get started with SEO and link building
- Make your content easy to share
- Focus on your community and research what they are searching for and using
- Give them data or something they want to put on their site and link back to you
- Use embed code for link backs, such as slideshare
4. Community + Social
Make sure your community is sharing the way you want them too, and that it’s simple enough to do.
- Use open graph tags - image, title, and description – more inviting and exciting
- Reference the Ginzametrics open graph tags cheat sheet
- Use social sign in for areas they may need to log in to
5. Community + Email
Find a fun way to build and share information with your company and with your community. Create personality through your emails, instead of sounding like a robot. This can be used on all channels and networks.
Finally, remember that you don’t have to do it all at once. Take one thing at a time, and focus solely on that. For example, if you want to start blogging, just do that. Blog once a week, or once a month – you set the goal and stick with that plan. It may get frustrating if you don’t see a response or change, but don’t give up. Slowly over time, build more blogs and more views and comments will start coming in.
When the blog starts taking off and showing success, only then can you move on to the next thing. Don’t move on to the next challenge until the previous one is well on its way.
This is just the beginning...when you look at online communities, ask yourself:
- How can I integrate community into my job?
- What are we doing now that benefits my community?
- Who's already doing this?
- Why haven't I started this yet?
To learn more about the benefits of an online community, check out SEOmoz’s blog: How to build an online community for your business.
Jen gave a great presentation and made many key points to learn and build from. It’s time to grow your online community and strengthen your inbound marketing strategy!