Growing With Content: How to Start a Respectable Platform Others Will Love


Do you want to build a respectable platform?

Are you wondering how to use content to grow your business?

To learn more about how to start a platform that others will love, this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast gives you insight into the subject.

More About This Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael Stelzner

The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.

It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).

In this episode, you’ll learn 5 tips to help you grow your business with content and the story behind Social Media Examiner’s success.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

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Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

Growing With Content

#1: Experiment on someone else’s platform

Back in 2008, I sent a LinkedIn request to Ann Handley, who was, and still is, the chief content officer at MarketingProfs. At the time, I had spoken at Ann’s conferences and written for MarketingProfs on white papers and white paper marketing. The response I received back from Ann in hindsight was very important to me. You’ll hear the question Ann asked me and how I responded.

I also noticed that Brian Clark at Copyblogger had started to get excited about Twitter. I’d also written for Copyblogger since they were my target audience.

So I decided to take Twitter on and approached Brian to see if I could write an article about it. The article was titled “How to Use Twitter to Grow Your Business.”

copyblogger twitter article

This article became one of the most popular articles on Copyblogger for years. It has received 254 comments in total.

A few months later I reached out to Ann Handley and she agreed for me to write an article called “The Dark Side of Twitter: What Businesses Need to Know.”

marketing profs article

About a year later, this article turned out to be the single most popular article for the entire year on MarketingProfs.

Although I knew nothing about either subject, you’ll hear how I developed these articles and hopefully you’ll see that you can do it too.

These articles were published when the market was ready for them and part of the success was because of the people who shared it.

Take-home lessons:

  1. Experimenting on someone else’s platform allows you to make sure that your content will be popular before you decide to either build a new platform with this type of content or start to introduce that content into your existing platform.
  2. Almost anyone is approachable for a journalistic opportunity. When you write for a known platform that is large in your industry, you can leverage your visibility to connect with people. It’s an incredible opportunity for you to get some great content.
  3. You can set the stage for something big.

The success of these articles is what justified starting Social Media Examiner.

Listen to the show to find out the other great benefits of when you publish content on someone else’s platform.

#2: Do a reverse Trojan horse

In the tale of the Trojan horse where the warriors are released, I want you to reverse it and instead think about gathering data while other people march you around.

In January 2009, I conducted the Social Media Marketing Industry Survey, where hundreds of marketers were asked to complete a very simple survey. In exchange for that information, they received the completed report.

This data converted into a rich 26-page PDF file, known as the Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

social media marketing industry report 2009

The first-ever Social Media Marketing Industry Report in 2009.

You’ll find out the type of questions I asked and what the real goal was behind the survey.

Within weeks of this report’s publication, over 40,000 people downloaded it and made more than 400 comments. One of the unintended benefits for me was to become the first person to “claim an industry” in this space.

Take-home lessons:

  1. Make sure there is value or a benefit to everyone who participates.
  2. Let your reverse Trojan horse work for you.
  3. Start to develop some content you know people want as a result of the data you put together.

Listen to the show to find out how this report led to great things, and why it gave me a great deal of certainty when it came to the launch of Social Media Examiner.

#3: Build relationships early

In late 2008, I noticed that Denise Wakeman of the BlogSquad was super-active on Facebook and it became very apparent to me that she knew her stuff. I already knew Denise and when I reached out to her, she encouraged me to attend a conference where I met Mari Smith.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but these two people would be extremely instrumental in the launch of Social Media Examiner.

You’ll discover what happened at the conference that gave me the idea to interview “experts.”

jason falls interview

Jason Falls was one of the first people I interviewed for Writing White Papers.

Little did I know when I interviewed Jason Falls that later down the line, he would also be play a vital role in the future of Social Media Examiner. This relationship also led to a speaking slot for me at BlogWorld.

The moral of the story is to build relationships early, as you never know what they might lead to. I’ve been able to build lifelong relationships because of the opportunity I have given others to share their story on my platform when they needed exposure.

Take-home lessons:

  1. Relationships take time to build. You have to think ahead about the kinds of relationships you want to build now and how some of them may or may not benefit you or the other person down the road.
  2. Invest in the success of other people. There is always something you can do to help people. Make sure you offer help with true intention.

Listen to the show to learn how you can be a gift to others.

#4: Go to the well

A “well” used to be where everyone gathered because it was a place they needed to be. So when I say go to the well, what I really mean is attend conferences. Once you are there, take the opportunity to interview people who are there to speak or are on a panel.

You’ll hear how I approached speakers at BlogWorld and the many benefits you can gain from this experience. Chris Brogan recently said that he still vividly remembers his first interview with me 4 years ago.

Chris Brogan shares social media tips.

When you interview high-profile people at events, it’s not only a great way to build relationships, but also to develop incredible content. This in turn drives people to your website. Other people also approach you to be interviewed because they want to be seen on your platform.

Take-home lessons:

  1. You don’t need to work very hard to find people at the well. Just find the right event and go there. Be strategic about whom you interview, either on camera or just with audio.
  2. It’s very efficient. You can walk away from a conference with 10, 15 or 20 interviews that can help your content spread out over time and be very successful.

Listen to the show to find out why these interviews were critical to the growth of Social Media Examiner.

#5: Give awards to others

In my second book Launch, I talk about how everyone is interested in three things.

  1. They want access to great information.
  2. They want access to great people.
  3. They want to be recognized.

In December 2009, I started a contest called the Top 10 Social Media Blogs, where Social Media Examiner readers were asked to nominate their favorite blog. The judges were Scott Monty from Ford Motor Company, Ann Handley from MarketingProfs and David Meerman Scott.

top 10 blog post 09

The winners were announced in January 2010.

Once all the votes were in, the judges helped decide the winners. The number-one winner was Chris Brogan and you’ll hear how we referred to him in the post.

The fourth winner was Jay Baer, who was thrilled just to be recognized. Another winner, Kristi Hines, became a staff writer for us.

You’ll hear the benefits of when you run awards in your industry and the relationships that emerge as a result.

Take-home lessons:

  1. When you reveal the best in a category, it’s a really good gift for the winners.
  2. People love to be recognized. So recognize them.
  3. It can lead to incredible opportunities down the road.

Listen to the show to find out how these relationships go on to greater things.

These 5 tips are how Social Media Examiner went from absolute nothing in the world of social media to what it is today.

I hope you are inspired by this story.

Call in and leave your social media–related questions for us and we may include them in a future show.

Other Show Mentions

Social Media Examiner is 4 years old on October 12. I want to say thank you to each and every one of you. It’s been an amazing ride so far.

The social media jungle is mysterious, always changing, with new species popping up all over the place. We have a lot more stuff in store for you in the future.

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

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What do you think? What are your thoughts on growing your platform with content? Please leave your comments below.

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