Last week I sat with Paul Shapiro, a fellow search marketer and blogger who shared with me a couple of great blog optimization tips that every blogger should know about.
I have collaborated with Paul on Triberr and have been impressed with how – in a relatively short time – he managed to develop an impressive audience in a competitive niche. In this Q&A with Paul you will learn:
- Beginner blogger dos and donts
- How blogging can enhance your influence (and career)
- How to use Triberr to promote your blog
- Blog optimization tips
- SEO and social media tips for bloggers
- And a bit about horror movies…
Paul Shapiro is an inbound marketer that loves to take both a technical and creative approach to SEO. Currently an Organic Search Manager for Catalyst in New York City, Paul likes to dabble in other areas digital marketing, especially social media. He is an amateur programmer and is very fond of horror movies. You can follow him on Twitter, circle him on Google+, and connect with him on LinkedIn.
Q: When and why did you start blogging?
I started blogging only months before graduating from college at Rutgers University in 2012. I had taken a pro-active approach to my job search, making online personal branding a priority. Knowing that I wanted to enter into some form of digital marketing, I made sure that I was marketing myself above all else. I had partaken in multiple informational interviews with industry leaders most of which were attained through relationships that I built through an active social media presence.
Amongst the most common feedback I had received was to blog, so I listened and started writing. After having worked a while at my first job (SEO by the way), I eventually learned that my blog had greatly helped my candidacy for the position that I had assumed. I would give the same advice to any job seeker or anyone looking to boost their career. Start blogging. Even if you feel that you have nothing to write about or are in an industry where blogging is less common, start blogging. The truth is that you probably do have something to say, have some insights that people do want to hear. A blog shows internet savviness, drive, and the ability to write among other things. Start blogging now and you will thank yourself later.
Q: What type of blog promotion tactics have worked for you to develop traffic and audience?
As an SEO professional, I’m going to surprise you and say social media is really key. Make friends, build relationships, and when appropriate, promote yourself. Listen to what people are saying on social media channels, especially Twitter. Learn what questions are being asked and create content to address them. If you do, you are providing real value and that is the type of content that people want to read and share.
I am also a big fan of blog commenting which gets a bad reputation as a spammy marketing tactic. However, I find if you are providing legitimate feedback and not treating blog comments as a place to build spammy links, then it becomes a great way to get you and your blog’s name out there. Also as an alternative, find the author on Twitter or Google+ (I’m a huge fan of using Google+ for outreach) or wherever and tell them you have written something that provides additional value to their readers. They will either appreciate it or they won’t and it is unlikely to hurt you. Remember, there are people behind these blogs, even the big ones.
Q: What didn’t work? Any pitfalls beginner bloggers should avoid?
Oh boy. I learned really fast that my real serious writing, my innovative ideas, the stuff that I was truly proud of failed to generate the traffic I felt it deserved. So in order to drive more traffic to my blog in hopes that people would see the content I really wanted them to see, I started to write some link-bait, industry relevant list-posts and stuff that people would be more likely to search for or click on the headline of rather than the content I really wanted to share.
I realize now that high volume traffic should not have been my blog’s true goal. I wanted quality traffic, even if that came in smaller numbers. I’ve since steered away from this type of content and although I would advise against selling yourself for traffic, I do not regret it as an experiment. That is how we learn, by experimenting. Feel free to treat your blogging experience as an experiment that you can gain insight from.
Q: When I launched Search Decoder blog, I initially struggled to develop any audience. Then I jumped on Triberr, which helped me build relationships with other bloggers, like yourself. What has been your experience with this platform?
I’m a tremendous fan of Triberr. If you are a blogger, sign-up for Triberr ASAP. It is an amazing platform for getting eyes on your content, the right eyes, and other bloggers who have influence. I have also developed some phenomenal relationships as a result of being a member.
In fact that’s how I met Matt. Matt and I had attended an SEO industry event after work and I recognized him. I had been reading and sharing his content on Triberr for some time. I asked Matt if he was SearchDecoder and when he responded “yes”, I told him how I knew of him. He recognized me as well. That’s powerful stuff man.
Very excited that I had met someone I respected from Triberr, I tweeted my experience to their Twitter account and the following week I was invited to a private event. It was a small get-together, where I was able to sit down with Dan Cristo and Dino Dogan, Triberr’s founders, as well as about a dozen people all of whom I knew through Triberr, people like Lori Ruff, Michael Brooks, and Jure Klepic. It was phenomenal.
Q: Do you have any tips how to maximize your efforts on Triberr? What worked for you?
- It is important to get into the right tribes with the right people. You want to get the right eyes on your content. You also want to be able to build relationship with its members. Triberr is platform for authors, for people, not blogs. For life and for business, human relationships should always be your number one priority. I learned that from a Triberr member, Ted Rubin, and it has really made an impact on me.
- Also, you shouldn’t feel obligated to Tweet out every blog post on Triberr. That would drive you crazy! Only share what you feel like deserves to be shared and that is right for your audience. People will not be offended. They will be using the same methodology.
- Triberr is also an excellent way to read interesting posts that you normally wouldn’t come across. I often take the time to comment and read other people’s writing, even if I am not sharing it on my social media channels. Again, it’s about relationships above all else.
Power Tip: Rock that “Manually Share” feature. Make your shares personal.
Q: I heard you are a big zombie movie guru. Do you think the new season of the Walking Dead will by better than the last?
Ha. I’m a huge horror movie buff, including zombie films. As for the Walking Dead, as well as the genre, I think it should be more about the non-zombie characters than anything else. When George Romero made Night of the Living Dead in 1968, it was meant as a social commentary and was very people-centric. That’s how the zombie genre should be in my opinion. I recall Glen Mazzara, the original producer and writer of the series, left the show because someone high up wasn’t satisfied enough with the level of action in the show, thinking that there was too much of an emphasis on character development. That mindset can be the show’s downfall, but I hope not.