Write About What Your Audience Finds Interesting

Writing

Image courtesy of lowjumpingfrog

A difficult thing for most bloggers is to write about what the target audience finds interesting…not what the writer finds interesting.

A lesson I’ve learned with blogging is there is a balance between writing about things that interest you and things that may interest your audience more. In the best case scenario you will find topics to write about that both you and your audience find interesting. It’s difficult to find topics that interest you and your audience.

The balance plays an important part because to have a successful blog you need to write about topics that keep you interested. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself getting bored or tired of writing. To have success, you need to cover topics that keep you interested. This is especially important when traffic has some down days and people don’t seem to have as much interest.

On the other hand, to build a strong following and to build up enough traffic to monetize a site you’re going to need to write about topics that have a passionate audience. Both on HBM and CML (Country Music Life) I’ve written posts that I was deeply interested and passionate about. These posts often fell on deaf ears. Readers simply didn’t have the same interest as I did. On other occasions I’d write about topics that I saw as throwaway or not as important and they would take off and traffic and interest would soar. Blogging is funny that way.

So the key with blogging is to research and write about the topics that interest your audience. This is essential for building a successful blog. But also throw in a few topics every once and awhile you find interesting. Write those articles for yourself and don’t expect much. On the special occasions you’ll find that you and your audience both find something interesting. This is when blogging is most rewarding.

Building the Right Audience

Building the right audience for your blog takes time and it can be a tricky process. The lure to seek out any able person to read or simply just open a page on your blog or site is so tempting. Numbers and money talk and in blogging it’s all about how many visitors and page views you can get. That’s what impresses advertisers, potential publishers, and even search engines.

However, when it comes to building a sustainable blog and Website, building the right kind of audience is important. The right kind of audience means finding the people that are truly passionate about the topics you write as well as being passionate about the way you cover those topics. These are long time readers. These are subscribers. These are people that check your site frequently each day for updates. These are people that share your content with their friends.

It’s tough to find these people, but the lifetime value of a reader like this is much higher than 10 or even 100 one-time visitors.

Conclusion

For a successful blog, you need to find your balance of topics that interest your target audience and you. The mix should be heavily skewed toward your audience with the occasional topic that keeps your interest.

To reach your target audience you’ll have to do research. You need to find the sites your audience already reads. What articles to they love the most on these sites? What articles does your audience comment on the most? Where is the most interaction and sharing?

It takes time to build a sustainable blog and most give up before reaching their potential. Keep the balance of interest for your target readers as well as yourself and don’t give up. Take the time to build the right audience.

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The Story of the Giant Moose

Sometimes unexpected keywords result in big traffic

Today I decided to draft an interesting case study that may prove valuable for you and hopefully for your blog and business.

What makes it valuable?

SEO and keyword research are important for bloggers to understand. Recognizing search traffic trends in your site’s statistics can help you hone in your writing to attract more visitors and potentially customers to your site.

Let’s take a look…

Ben G. Outdoors

I approached Ben Gustafson (@BenGOutdoors) early in 2010 to discuss working on a few marketing strategies for growing his blog and site: Ben G. Outdoors.

For Ben G. Outdoors, Ben writes about his experiences in the outdoors doing various activities including hunting. He puts a great personal spin on his writing (he and his wife recently welcomed a new baby boy to the family). Ben also writes reviews for hunting products and does interviews with leaders in the hunting industry.

Ben was excited about the opportunity to take a deeper look at his marketing strategy. We discussed a few things to focus on in the initial research and one of the objectives we wanted to focus on was keyword trends and opportunities.

Unique Keyword Strategy

After digging into some of the keywords that were bringing traffic to Ben G. Outdoors, I noticed something interesting.

Ben’s post, Giant Moose, was ranking #1 in Google for the term ‘Giant Moose’.

Now, this high ranking didn’t surprise me. Ben had used the keyword in the title and the post was, while not long in content, had numerous comments and seemed to be a popular one for Ben’s readers.

At first I thought this was just an example of a blog ranking well for a long-tail keyword phrase, but after doing some deeper research I realized that the term ‘Giant Moose’ receives about 4,400 broad searches each month and 1,900 exact searches each month (Google Keyword Tool).

Please click on the images to see enlarged…

Ben G. Outdoors is receiving some good traffic each month from a post that generated some quality discussion and interaction with his readers. Potential readers that first visit Ben’s site via a search for ‘Giant Moose’ have good reason to be impressed with the discussion and if they’re interested in hunting and the outdoors it’s likely they’ll visit again or look through the archives for further relevant reading.

Opportunity for Future Posts

Ben, being the smart guy he is, realized the potential to write more posts using ‘Giant Moose’ as inspiration.

Recently, a post on a Huge Black Bear story hit the front page of Ben G. Outdoors.

This post had more content and insight from Ben in the body of the post. Comments soon flowed in just as they had with ‘Giant Moose’. Ben’s readers seem to love discussing the strange and unique stories from the hunting world.

Along with the great conversation, the great thing about ‘Huge Black Bear’ is the fact that it’s already ranking on page 1 of Google. Depending on your personalized search, Ben may rank anywhere from 3-10 or so for the term.

The term ‘Huge Black Bear’ gets about 400 broad searches each month on Google, which isn’t substantial, but it is likely the post will generate some relevant traffic to Ben’s site over the long-term.

Summary

By working together, Ben and I were able to find some great insight into what is already proving to be a valuable source of traffic for his site.

I’m sure Ben will continue to craft posts using the ‘Giant Moose’ formula and I think he’ll have great success as he has already had with ‘Huge Black Bear’.

Ben also plans to continue to write interviews, reviews and other types of posts for his blog since those are popular with readers as well.

Your Input on Keywords

What about you?

Have you had keyword success with your blog?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

SEO Reading

And for more great reading on SEO Strategy, please read: Optimize a Single Post On Your Blog for SEO

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How Will Your Customers Discover You?

The underserved rarely speak up – they usually just leave

Guitar

Today I was driving in my pickup when a Taylor Swift song came on. I hit my preset button to change to another local country station and another Taylor Swift song came on. I hit one more preset, this time for local pop station, and yet another Taylor Swift song came on. I finally had to turn on the CD I had in the player (Diamond Rio – 16 Biggest Hits).

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift

Now, I happen to respect Taylor Swift as a singer and songwriter. As a marketer, I can appreciate the work she puts into not only creating songs that her audience loves, but also the work she puts into marketing her brand so that she can grow a large audience.

However, as a young male, I can’t particularly relate to the topics Taylor Swift sings about. Nor do I relate to the melodies she writes.

Who is serving me today in country music?

Uninterested Customers Change the Channel

Your customers are out in the world right now not even realizing that you exist.

When people are listening to the radio and they consistently hear music they simply don’t like they will just change the channel.  People won’t complain or make a fuss. They simply change the channel in an effort to find something that satisfies their desires to feel emotions – to connect with singers, lyrics, and melodies.

Just as people change the channel on the radio, your potential customers are searching for the right way to connect with a business such as yours so they can answer their questions and have their problems solved. They may not even know that they’re looking. We don’t give much thought to what we’re doing when we change the channel. Often we look for certain stations that have played some quality music in the past, but we rely on the disc jockeys to bring us new music that will satisfy us.

Who are the disc jockeys that can take your story to your customers?

Marketing is the art of connecting your business with the customers who don’t even realize that you exist. All great markets have a knack for finding target customers, but there is also an area of marketing that requires the art of discovery.

Discovery

Some of the biggest jockeys in charge of spreading the word about quality businesses on the Web are bloggers.

Bloggers are a business’s most valuable resource for spreading the word on the Web. Bloggers have audiences that rely on them to bring quality information and perspective consistently. Over time, bloggers build their loyal audience and look for sources of consistent information and content to provide that audience.

Businesses that come forward with fresh perspective that adds value to a blogger’s audience is an extremely valuable resource.

It’s important for businesses to seek out the influential bloggers in their niches as well as in niches where they may not expect to find their target customer.

Many businesses today are discovered in blog posts as bloggers review products and services and give trusted information to their audiences. People read blogs to learn and to be entertained, but most importantly, people read blogs as a way to discover something that satisfies their needs – needs they may have not even known they needed satisfied.

Bloggers are like disc jockeys in a way because they are trusted by their audience to bring new and exciting content that satisfies needs. Bloggers are important for businesses and customers alike.

Find the bloggers that are influential both in your niche and in related niches and allow them to tell your story. Give them all the resources they need to effectively allow their audience to discover and connect with your business.

Summary

The other day I heard a song on the radio that caught my ear.

I was on my way to work, riding in my pickup when a smooth country song with a sweet, rolling melody came across the radio waves. I’m a Little More Country Than That was the name of the song and it instantly made me wonder who the singer was.

I found out that the song was by Easton Corbin. He’s a newcomer in the country music world. He has smoothness in his delivery that I haven’t heard since George Strait (one of my all time favorite singers).

Without the discovery nature of radio today I may have never heard I’m a Little More Country Than That.

Easton Corbin
Easton Corbin

Marketing is about making connections with others in the world. The goal of any business is to take its products and services to those who need or want them. It can be difficult to find your customers and while targeting continues to improve, discovery will always play a huge role in the nature of connecting business with customer.

I don’t fit Taylor Swift’s target audience, but because the radio station played a variety of good country music along with hers I was able to discover Easton Corbin.

It can be difficult to find people that want and need your products and services. Take your story to the voices in the industry and allow them to take your story to those who can discover you and become your customers.

Easton Corbin – I’m a Little More Country Than That


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The Top 50 Hunting Blog Posts of 2009

Did you read these posts in 2009?

Happy Puppy

In the spirit of giving this Christmas season, I thought it would be appropriate to share with you some links to hunting blog posts…

As 2009 ends, I thought I’d list the Top 50 Hunting Blog Posts from the past year. These posts were all successful in attracting readers and comments while adding value to the online hunting world.

Enjoy.

These are in no particular order

1| Bowhunting.com

Website: Bowhunting.com

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Huge Monster 192”: A Two Year Adventure

2| Bowhunting.com

Website: Bowhunting.com

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Fixed Blade vs. Mechanical Broadheads – The Great Debate

3| Bowhunting.com

Website: Bowhunting.com

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Bowhunting Success in Illinois – The Creek Buck

4| Whitetail 365

Website: Whitetail 365

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Whitetail Are Tougher Than You Think

5| Whitetail 365

Website: Whitetail 365

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Portable No-Trespassing Signs?

6| FS Huntress

Website: Field Notes

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Hunters Who Happen to Be Women

7| FS Huntress

Website: FS Huntress

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Q&A, Angela Wilson, Taxidermist

8| Field Notes

Website: Field Notes

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Environmentalists on Hunters

9| Outdoors International

Website: Outdoors International

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Building Trail, Fishing & Wolves

10| Base Camp Legends

Website: Base Camp Legends

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Idaho Archery Bull

11| Cabela’s – Outdoor Info

Website: Cabelas – Outdoor Info

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Hunting Techniques – Stand Hunting

12| Team Huntress

Website: Team Huntress

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Stick to Your Guns

13| A Blessed Crazy Life

Website: A Blessed Crazy Life

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: A Boy’s First Deer

14| Ben G. Outdoors

Website: Ben G. Outdoors

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Trout Fishing Part 5 (Final)

15| Desert Rat

Website: Desert Rat

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Desert Rat Talks With Laura Francese

16| Doubletough Outdoors

Website: Doubletough Outdoors

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Got Hunts? Bet Your Boar He Does

17| Grow the Hunt

Website: Grow the Hunt

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Making Summer Successful

18| Muskoka Outdoors

Website: Muskoka Outdoors

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Coyote Closely

19| NorCal Cazadora

Website: NorCal Cazadora

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Woot! I got my first woodie today!

20| Native Hunt Blog

Website: Native Hunt Blog

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: The Trophy at the Table – More Than a Mount

21| The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Website: The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Instincts and Hunting

22| Outdoors With Othmar Vohringer

Website: Outdoors With Othmar Vohringer

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: The Pink Wave

23| Outdoor Freaks

Website: Outdoor Freaks

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: A Summer on the Porch

24| Wild Ed’s Texas Outdoors

Website: Wild Ed’s Texas Outdoors

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: European Skull Mounts the Texas Way

25| Wildlife Callers

Website: Wildlife Callers

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Scouting + Calling = Wildlife Photography Results

26| Michael Waddell

Website: Michael Waddell

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Sounds, Smells, and Feelings That Make Me Feel Great

27| David Blanton

Website: David Blanton

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: A Crazy Turkey Hunt

28| High Country Archer

Website: High Country Archer

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Stacey Scores

29| The Hunter’s Wife

Website: The Hunter’s Wife

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Chris Brogan’s Failed Attempt at Bowhunting

30| The Hunter’s Wife

Website: The Hunter’s Wife

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: My 6 Point Whitetail Deer

31| Whitetail Woods

Website: Whitetail Woods

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: A Muzzleloading hunt to Remember

32| Hunting Life

Website: Hunting Life

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Is High Fence Hunting Offensive?

33| Hunting Life

Website: Hunting Life

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Another Tactic for the Rut, Hunt the Does

34| Wired to Hunt

Website: Wired to Hunt

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: How to Become a Hunting Guide

35| Wired to Hunt

Website: Wired to Hunt

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Jumping the String

36| Deer Hunting Big Bucks

Website: Deer Hunting Big Bucks

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Scent Control, Wind Direction, and Better Deer Hunting

37| Deer Hunting Big Bucks

Website: Deer Hunting Big Bucks

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Deer Hunting With Dogs

38| Winded Bowhunter

Website: Winded Bowhunter

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Turkey Rappers

39| Live Hunt

Website: Live Hunt

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Bull Down!

40| Jake’s Outdoors

Website: Jake’s Outdoors

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Starting Them Young…

41| Hunting With Mike

Website: Hunting With Mike

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Nature and Little Girls

42| Moose Droppings

Website: Moose Droppings

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Tundra Swan Hunt in Washington County

43| My Hunting Buddies

Website: My Hunting Buddies

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: HEVI*SHOT® Product Review

44| Deer Passion

Website: Deer Passion

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: What Do You Dislike About the Outdoors

45| Long Ridge Deer Camp

Website: Long Ridge Deer Camp

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Almost Muzzle Loading Season, and How NOT to Book an Out of State Hunt…

46| Simply Outdoors

Website: Simply Outdoors

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Hunting Can Be a Cure

47| The Maine Outdoorsman

Website: The Maine Outdoorsman Blog

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Mr. President’s NEW Waders

48| The Deer Tree

Website: The Deer Tree

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: My 2009 Gear Wish List

49| LowCountry Hunting

Website: LowCountry Hunting

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: Lowcountry Rut Cranks Up

50| Rob’s Hunting Journal

Website: Rob’s Hunting Journal

Top 2009 Hunting Blog Post: First Day of Fall Pheasant Wreath

Please feel free to share your top posts in the comments.

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Image courtesy of Emery_Way

Social Media Strategy – Levenger

Levenger mastered the social media game before social media became a buzzword

Levenger Pen and Paper

Today I received my email notification about the new blog post by Levenger CEO Steve Leveen. The post was a great list post of gift ideas for the holiday season – all available from Levenger.

I clicked on a few of the items I thought were interesting and eventually made my way to the customer reviews and comments… Shirt Pocket Briefcase®

Levenger Shirt Pocket Briefcase

After reading a few comments and watching a few of the video reviews customers have submitted to the Levenger site I realized something – Levenger understood the most important rule – connecting – of social media a long time ago.

Since their inception, Levenger has worked to form long-term connections with each of their passionate customers. The passion and connection he company and its customers share is what leads to amazing results in what is today referred to as online social media.

Levenger’s customers love giving feedback on the products they purchase. Customers even take the time to add photos to their customer reviews. Some of the most dedicated customers even take the time to create video reviews.

It isn’t only on their site that Levenger is having an impact. On the popular connecting site, Twitter, Levenger’s customers rave about their new Levenger products. They rave about the way they are treated by the company and how happy they are with their purchases.

This is a situation most companies dream about and strive for.

So how was Levenger able to accomplish such social media success?

Let’s take a closer look…

Connections

On November 2, 1995, Mrs. Kathryn Bricker of Sarasota, Florida, called to order a Slim Shirt Pocket Briefcase. She was our one-millionth order.

Stories such as this are plentiful in the history of Levenger. The people in the company believe that they are forming respectful relationships with customers rather than simply selling products for serious readers.

For Levenger, the business grew out of the connection and understanding they share with their customers – serious readers and writers.

Since the inception of Levenger in the mid-eighties, through the nineties, and through today, Levenger has used the available tools and channels to connect with their customer. They’ve accepted the Web even when others may see their products as being ancient in relation to digital.

As the digital age came, so did the age of connection and accessibility.

Rather than reject the new technology, Levenger understood the need to enhance their connection with their most passionate customers by continuing to provide the best tools for serious readers while using emerging communication tools to enhance the customers-business relationship.

Social media strategy begins with a connection. A business that focuses on building long-term, valuable connections with individuals will naturally understand social media – no matter what the latest technology is.

As long as there is acceptance and yearning for enhancements in connection, companies will find success.

Telling a Story

Levenger, like many companies, tells a story.

They form a connection with their customers by telling compelling stories. The major difference, however, with Levenger is that they focus on the stories of their customers.

It seems like a simple concept, but most business are quick to tell their own story. Telling your own story is important, but highlighting the stories ahead of your own is more powerful than putting yourself and your business as the main focus.

Levenger benefits from being genuinely interested and enthused to share the stories of how customers use Levenger products to do remarkable things.

What are the stories your customers can tell?

How can you highlight those stories in a way that connects with others who share the same passions?

Target Audience

Something Levenger has always focused on is their core target customer.

Levenger found a group of passionate readers and writers that enjoy their tools for writing and read more than anything else in life (when it comes to disposable income). Levenger uses their customers’ passion to guide the decision to create innovative products that satisfy the dedicated reader/writer’s needs and wants.

Levenger Tweet

As I mentioned in 2010 | The New Normal Hunting Economy, consumers revert to what they are most passionate about when their disposable income decreases. It isn’t that consumers don’t want more things, their ability to supply their demand is limited.

In today’s economy, successful businesses use their connections with their passionate customers to learn and grow while continuing to satisfy existing customers while continuing to attract other passionate individuals. It likely won’t lead to extreme short-term growth,  but it can lead to sustained growth.

Levenger seems to be succeeding at this growth strategy.

Long-Term Strategy

Connecting is a long-term strategy – not a short-term tactic.

From their inception, Levenger has been working to make connections with passionate readers and writers. As a result of this company mission they have always been able to find success with the changing social communication tools.

I often see posts today on Twitter or Facebook. These posts often have tips and tricks for finding success. My favorite posts on technology tools like Twitter and Facebook, however, are the posts that discuss the communication and connecting benefits that the tools provide while looking at connecting and communication in a larger perspective.

Companies that succeed with social media today do so because of their long-term outlook and strategy. Successful companies approach social media tools by looking for the long-term advantages of the tool as a way to add value to their business-customer connection.

Levenger gains long-term customers one at a time.

As a result, they are successful with social media today.

Summary

If I haven’t said it enough, social media is a long-term strategy.

A business can try short-term tactics for connecting, but a long-term strategy of working to build connections with a passionate target audience is the best route for sustainable success.

Levenger has set out to provide the best products for passionate readers and writers since its very beginning. There have been periods of growth in demand from others who may not be the most passionate about their products, but sustained growth over a long period is possible at Levenger because they look to acquire passionate customers one at a time.

Focus on your customer’s story and giving is the key to success for sustainable success in social media.

Short-term focused strategies can be successful…in the short-term.

But to stay up-to-date with the latest communication tools, it’s best to start a long-term connection strategy today to prepare for tomorrow.

How is your company working to build connections with passionate individuals?

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5 Hidden Treasures on the Web

Don’t let your remarkable content go unnoticed

Gold

Recently I have been browsing the Web and finding a few things I’m surprised I haven’t noticed before. I spend a lot of time surfing the Web – especially hunting Websites and there are times I’m pleasantly surprised by the things I find. However, these five things below are areas of the Web I feel are under-appreciated by the hunting community.

The following five hidden treasures on the Web need to be more visited.

Let’s take a deeper look at each of the five hidden treasures on the Web and why hunters need to be aware of the opportunities these resources provide…

1| Cabela’s Outdoor Info

Cabela's Logo

Please visit Outdoor Info

I first found Cabela’s Outdoor Info section when I was searching for information on taking quality trophy photographs – I found this amazing article Two Shot Trophies. I was a bit surprised by the information available under the Outdoor Info section at Cabela’s. I was surprised I had never noticed the third button in the top nav on their site before. Had you noticed it?

Cabela’s calls their Outdoor Info section – Information for Serious Outdoorsmen and they mean it. There are a ton of great articles here for their customer base to digest. You could spend days in this section reading and learning about how to be the best outdoorsman in the world.

And because the articles are sponsored by Cabela’s and written by a first-rate team of experts, you know you’re getting the best information available.

I’m just not sure why Cabala’s hasn’t marketed this section of their site more…

Cabela's Outdoor Info

Cabela’s is moving into an area I see as essential or online retailers in the future – they’re teaching their customers how to hunt and then they’re providing the best equipment that hunters need to execute the things they have learned through the Outdoor Info section.

There are so many opportunities for Cabela’s to market the content they provide in the Outdoor Info section. I can’t wait until they start taking advantage of the remarkable content they have already written.

2| Bowhunting.com’s Bowhunting Knowledge

Bowhunting.com Logo

Please visit Bowhunting Knowledge

Bowhunting.com is one of my favorite hunting sites on the Web. I love the approach they’re taking with online retail.

Bowhunting.com is using blogs, videos, and photography to form connections with hunters on the Web and as a result of the formed relationships; they’re providing the necessary equipment and accessories bow hunters need to execute successful hunts.

One of the things that does confuse about Bowhunting.com, however, is the Bowhunting Knowledge section.

I’m not confused by the fact that the section exists. In fact, I love that the section exists and I love that the experts at Bowhunting.com are the ones provide the remarkable content. There are tons of great tutorials, including photos and videos that bow hunters can use to learn and make their next hunt successful.

Bowhunting.com Bowhunting Knowledge

I’m confused that Bowhunting.com isn’t putting a higher priority on the Bowhunting Knowledge section. I’m a subscriber to Bowhunting.com’s email program and I have either not received an email about the Bowhunting Knowledge section or I have not noticed the mention of the section in an email.

The team at Bowhunting.com does an excellent job of highlighting their remarkable photography, blog and trophy hunts. Their videos of trophy hunts are top notch. I love the video of Todd’s monster 192” Buck.

These videos are a great way to drive traffic to the site and drive sales revenue.

I’d like to see Bowhunting.com really take advantage of their Bowhunting Knowledge section and use it to grow their connections with their followers and really educate hunters on the Web while providing access, through their store, the equipment and accessories hunters need to best execute trophy hunts.

3| Deer & Deer Hunting Online Courses

Deer & Deer Hunting Logo

Please visit Online Hunting Courses

Did you know that Deer & Deer Hunting put on Webinars and video course sections for hunters on their Website?

Deer & Deer Hunting Online Courses

To D&DH’s credit, I’ve actually received more than a few emails (I subscribe to their newsletter and you should too) on their online courses. The most recent highlight was for the Lunar Rut Predictions from their expert Whitetail Writer Charles Alsheimer.

I love that D&DH give a great preview to this video course. Charles Alsheimer answers a great question about killing does before or after the rut. Check out the preview video on Rut Hunting.

Deer & Deer Hunting is doing great things with their online courses. They’re marketing the courses through their email campaigns and on their site. They’re also marketing the courses on Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

It’s great to see a media company transition from print to the Web to increase their connection with their customers.

I’m looking forward to more courses from Deer & Deer Hunting.

4| Field & Stream Answers

Field & Stream Logo

Please visit Field & Stream’s Answers

I just found Field & Stream Answers the other day when I was looking at their site. I love Field & Stream’s email newsletter especially their great reader-submitted photos.

Hunters on the Web love looking at remarkable hunting photography and Field & Stream has some of the best photos available. And the great thing is they combine photos from their own team of expert outdoor photographers along with reader submitted photos.

But as much as I love the photos, I really love the F&S Answer section.

Field & Stream Answers

The Answer section is like a forum of sorts. Visitors to the site can ask and answer questions. I haven’t had a chance to look through too many of the answers, but I’m sure a few of the F&S writers have answered a few of the questions.

I haven’t seen any mention of the Answers section mentioned in F&S Newsletters and I haven’t seen too much promotion for the section on any other areas of the site or print magazine.

There are some great answers from readers and I think F&S can use Answers as a way to enhance their connection with their readers. Hunters are on the Web looking for ways to connect on a more meaningful level with outdoor companies. Answers is a great way for readers to get real value from a quality outdoor company (the photos are great also).

It’d be a great way to drive sales for the new Field & Stream Brand.

5| Wudyaget Custom Field Portraits

Wudyaget.com Logo

Please visit Wudyaget.com

I love remarkable hunting photographs on the Web. And I love when entrepreneurs take advantage of an opportunity. Matt Walters has taken advantage of an opportunity with Wudyaget Custom Field Portraits.

Matt takes ordinary pictures of extraordinary trophies and turns them into conversation pieces. Take a look at some of his great example portraits.

Wudyaget.com Custom Field Portraits

If you haven’t known about Matt’s service, here is your chance to take your trophy photos from years past and turn them into lasting memories.

Or perhaps if you’re lucky enough to harvest a trophy this season, give Matt a call to make the memory last a lifetime.

Conclusion

There are lots of great things on the Web. However, some of the hidden treasures go unnoticed as they remain hidden among the many great things on the Web.

These are only five of the great hidden treasures on the Web. I feel that all five should be getting much more attention from hunters than they are currently getting.

Companies can gauge their various services and products with their customers to see what their customers respond too. It takes some time and testing to find what connects with customers. I hope these five hidden treasures find their way to the marketing priority of their respective companies so hunters on the Web can take full advantage.

Do you know of any other hidden treasures on the Web?

Share them in the comments below.

What to read next on Hunting Business Marketing

10 Remarkable Hunting Business Blogs

How Small Businesses Can Beat the Big Competition

Disrupt the Hunting Industry

What to read next on the Web

Small Talk is Big – Overnight Success

How to Achieve Your Goals by Changing the Way You Surf the Web

Shift Your PR From Push to Pull

image credit: Mykl Roventine

Sponsorship Case Study – Team Huntress

People look to others they trust to help them make decisions – including purchasing decisions

Team Huntress Empowering Women in the Outdoors

Increasing your business’s Web presence begins with forming trusting relationships with your customers. There is a lot of transparency on the Web and the companies that are able to build trusting relationships with customers are the ones who will succeed in the future.

One of the ways to build trust with customers is through sponsorships and becoming involved in creative ways with the people, businesses and organizations your potential customers already trust.

Due to the recent conversation in the HBM Forum on Race Car Sponsorship, I’ve wanted to write the opportunities for hunting businesses to gain exposure with new audiences through sponsorships, but I wasn’t sure how to approach the topic. Then, a short while ago, Dave Olsen of Pheasant Phun and Team Huntress contacted me and introduced the concept of Team Huntress.

After hearing what the program was about I thought it would be beneficial to look at Team Huntress and the companies who sponsor the program in case study format so you can get a better feel for the opportunity to market your business with sponsorships like the ones offered by Team Huntress.

Let’s take a look at the Team Huntress story and the opportunity for you and your business to grow through sponsorships such as the ones other hunting businesses have done with Team Huntress.

Team Huntress

Team Huntress

First, a little background (please read the entire description at the Team Huntress Website):

Team Huntress was formed as an avenue to direct and empower women on their path toward outdoor success. By providing exploration and discovery in a safe and secure environment, ladies will be aligned to boost their confidence and self esteem.

Team Huntress also offers:

* Certified Hunter Safety Program

* Instruction for proper firearm (handgun, rifle, and shotgun) and archery use

* Small class size – 18 or fewer per outing

Read the following reviews for more on Team Huntress:

The Team Huntress secret formula: Guns + Archery + Massages = Happy Women

For $995, you get the best of both worlds that outdoorswomen inhabit – archery and firearms instruction with tons of spa treatments and tons of cool gifts that you find someone has left on your bed each night (seriously, I came home last time with some great swag from Prois, RealTree, Doeville and Tanka Bar).

Revolutionary Team Huntress Outdoor Adventure Clinic

That formula – instruction, female staff and pampering – proved highly effective at the inaugural Team Huntress Outdoor Adventure Clinic at Pheasant Phun in June. Women who’d never fired a gun felt secure taking those first steps and found they really enjoyed what they were learning. By the end of the weekend, participants were abuzz about the shooting sports and the new friendships they’d formed.

Interview: Jane Keller, Team Huntress

The end of the weekend, participants were abuzz about the shooting sports and the new friendships they’d formed. Participants and instructors evolved into a close network of outdoor friends. It is the goal of Team Huntress to leave you with an “I can do anything” attitude. I have bonded with friends in the vast outdoors who will guide and support me every step of the way!!!  Team Huntress is here to help empower you for outdoor success, support and encourage you on your journey through life, and always be Your Personal Outdoor Adventure Network of Friends.

Team Huntress Outdoor Adventure Clinic

What do the ladies of Team Huntress have in store for you:

* Firearm and archery clinics

* General outdoor safety and first aid clinics

* Outdoor photography

* Wild game cooking

* ATV, GPS and nature walking

* Yoga, massages, wine tasting, star gazing and much more

Team Huntress Sponsors

Beyond the price for attending each outing, Team Huntress uses sponsorships for monetary and product needs. There are a variety of ways businesses can get involved with Team Huntress. Here are a few of the businesses that are sponsoring Team Huntress.

Doeville – Product Sponsor

Doeville

As part of the Team Huntress Outings, participants receive gifts each day. Doeville became involved as a product sponsor with Team Huntress by providing a leather hunting diary ($40 value) for each participant in the Team Huntress events.

Doeville Hunting Diary

Hunting businesses that are just starting out are often strapped for cash initially, but the need to gain exposure still remains. One of the ways to gain exposure without giving direct monetary compensation is provide product sponsorships that resonate with potential customers.

By providing a hunting diary for each participant in the Team Huntress event, Doeville was able to get their product and name in front of potential customers. Not only will the participants of the event remember Doeville for hunting apparel, jewelry, and art products for themselves, but the products at Doeville also make for excellent gifts for others.

There is opportunity for your business to provide product or service sponsorships with events and organizations that cater to your target audience. By putting your products in front of your target audience and letting them use the products in a setting where they can understand the full benefits of the product, you’re connecting with potential customers while building trusting relationships that can mean long-term business.

When considering a product sponsorship opportunity, think about the audience and who they connect with. In the example of Team Huntress, it might make sense for a hunting apparel business to outfit the event with the necessary shooting apparel while also offering an introductory offer on related hunting and shooting apparel that includes men’s, women’s, and children product lines.

Faini Designs – Sponsor a Scholarship

Faini Designs Jewelry Studio

Faini Designs became involved with Team Huntress by sponsoring a scholarship for a woman to attend the Team Huntress Event. Faini paid the cost of the outing and the participant was able to partake in the event that she may have never been able to attend without the sponsorship.

Today, as a result of Faini providing the scholarship, the participant is shooting archery nearly every day while being active in the outdoors.

Having your business attached to success stories is most importantly a wonderful way to give opportunities to those who may not otherwise be able to participate in such events as Team Huntress. Also, having your business as the sponsor in a situation like Faini is a way to build trust with your potential customers. Not only did all of the participants at the event become exposed to Faini, they now have a story to tell when they talk to their friends and family about their Team Huntress experience and the name attached to the story is Faini Designs.

Team Huntress also takes time during each event to highlight each of their sponsors and the benefit they provide for their customers. They also offer space on their Websites for sponsorships, which are year round marketing opportunities to expand your audience and build trust with your potential customers.

By attaching your business with stories that your potential customers connect with, you can begin building the trust necessary to acquire long-term, quality customers that can carry your business for a long time.

Look for opportunities to sponsor individuals who can participate in events like Team Huntress. Look for a story that can be shared by your potential audience and look for genuine businesses that can help you build trust with your potential customers.

Other Ways to Sponsor

As an outfitter, Dave Olsen knows that it’s difficult for outfitters to offer free outings for businesses who promise video time or reviews for the hunting experience. There can be lots of disappointment as expectations are not always met with such arrangements.

It’s for this reason that outfitters need to look for these opportunities to provide access to facilities and hunting property with quality and trusted organizations and businesses.

By establishing clear expectations for return on investment with trusted organization, there is a lot of opportunity to expand your audience by being a host outfitter.

Be a Host Outfitter

Hosting an event like Team Huntress provides great exposure for an outfitter who is looking to expand their audience. By hosting such an event, an outfitter can become part of the story that will be shared by all who take part in the event.

In the example of Team Huntress, Dave hosted an event at his property with Pheasant Phun Outfitters. Pheasant Phun has actually been named the most women-hunter-friendly outfitter in the United States and such recognition can mean business. Such recognitions can increase the level of trust between outfitters such as Pheasant Phun as he looks for hunters who are looking for comfort with a quality hunting experience.

Look for hunters who can provide experiences that include:

* Video

* Podcasting

* Positive, but reputable reviews

* Potential repeat customers

In a situation like Team Huntress, there may be potential for participants to return (possibly with their entire family) if their experience through Team Huntress is positive. This would be an example of building a trusting relationship that provides return for the hosting business.

Hosting an event like Team Huntress provides opportunity for outfitters to market their businesses without providing cash for advertisements and the like. However, there are risks involved with hosting events since the investment of hosting hunters without cash payments is always risky.

Be sure to perform due diligence with organizations and businesses before offering to host an event. Once you’re sure you’re working with reputable and trusting individuals, work to make their experience a story that can be shared throughout the hunting industry and watch your audience grow as you potentially gain a larger audience and more trusting customers.

Full Sponsor

A final way for a business to fully embrace the sponsorship opportunity is to become a full sponsor with an organization like Team Huntress.  Hunting businesses, especially those in the consumable arena (ammunition, targets, scent, etc.) can become involved with sponsorships and see great return on their investment.

In a situation like Team Huntress, participants are generally new to hunting or are looking to expand their knowledge of the sport and the outdoors. Through the event, participants get a lot of exposure to products like ammunition, for example. This exposure would be away for an ammunition company to build a trusting relationship with potential customers are they become familiar with the products. When the participants leave the event they will look for products from companies they can trust and are familiar with as they continue the participation with outdoor activities such as shooting.

The opportunity to become involved with organizations and events like Team Huntress can mean great reward for businesses. Look for organizations and individuals that look to build trusting relationships with their own audiences. Look for individuals that are passionate and serious about their craft. Passion is contagious and its passion that breeds the stories that customers share.

Opportunity to Reach Women in the Outdoors

When Dave contacted me he brought up an interesting point about the opportunity for businesses to reach a potentially underserved audience – women who are passionate about the outdoors, shooting sports, and hunting.

Team Huntress is filling a need for women who are looking to empower themselves and become more involved in the outdoors and activities such as shooting sports and hunting.

Is your business exploring the potential in reaching out and connecting with the eager women in the outdoor audience? Perhaps your business could be the one to fill a need like Team Huntress.

Another example of a company reaching out to build trust with the female audience is Harley-Davidson with Women Riders.

Acquiring new customers is difficult and as business owners we look to align our products with audiences and potential customers who have the highest likelihood of connection with our business. Acquiring new customers requires businesses to look at all options and there may potentially be a mutually beneficial option for your business and women in the outdoors.

Conclusion – Building Trust

There is opportunity for your business to connect with new audiences while building trusting relationships with potential customers through sponsorships.

The form of sponsorship can vary:

* Product

* Scholarship Sponsor

* Host Outfitter

* Big Sponsor

The goal of any sponsorship you consider is that the relationship with the organization and their audience should be about building trust.

Have you had experience with sponsoring events, outings, or other hunting businesses?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

To contact Team Huntress about sponsorship opportunities:

Jane Keller Founder/Outdoor Concierge
Team Huntress
18526 398th Ave
Hitchcock, SD, 57348

Phone: 605.266.2848
Cell: 605.450.0931
Fax: 605.266.2887
Email: jane@teamhuntress.com

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

Successful Hunting Business Highlight – CamoFire

Successful Business Highlight – Sportsmen of North America and Magnum Hunt Club

5 Habits of Successful Hunting Business Owners on Twitter

Related posts on the Web

Shutterstock Gets Social – Digital PR Case Study

Beyond Headlines: How to Get Your Audience to Read Every Word

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Please note that no monetary, product, or service has been provided to Hunting Business Marketing or me (Dayne Shuda) for the writing of this article.

How to Get Subscribers for Your Email List

The secret to success is in your list

Let Me Tell You a Secret

image credit: Photo Mojo

There was a question in the forum about Email Campaign Results and Kevin of Hunting Life brought up a great point – “the hard part [of a successful campaign] is building a quality list of subscribers”.

Coming from the catalog world, I realize that the power of any successful company is their ability to build a strong list of quality customers. The power to build a list of customers who have opted into your products and services with their purchases or approval for you to contact them can make a business successful for a long time.

Building a strong subscriber base for your hunting company begins with the quality of your products and services. In order for Web users to subscribe to your email campaigns you’re going to have to gain their trust. You’re going to have to show them that you will provide valuable content within emails, whether it’s access to new information and products, exclusive promotional offers, or unique articles that relate to your business.

There are things you can do on and off your own Website that will gain the trust of your visitors and get them to sign up for your email campaign.

Let’s take a look…

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On Your Own Website

In order to build a strong subscriber base of valuable subscribers you’ll need to convert the people visiting your site. Those visitors who are coming to your site likely heard about your business via offline referral, searching a keyword phrase related to what your business does, or they followed a link from another Website (online referral of sorts).

These visitors are highly valuable as they’ve already shown an interest in what your business provides and they’ve taken the first step by visiting your site. It’s important to convert these visitors to subscribers so you can market your products and services to them via your email campaigns.

Let’s take a look at a few specific things you can do on your Website to convert visitors…

Put your sign-up in multiple places

Depending on how your Website is setup, there are many places you should be putting your email sign-up.

Here are just a few:

1| Header, right side or left side of your home page

I have seen email sign-up areas in multiple places on the home page and I’m sure all work depending on how sites test the conversion of getting subscribers. I like having the email sign-up near the top right of the home page, but I am in favor of trying it out in various places to see what works best. And what works best can change over time as well. I’ve seen it work on the left side very effectively as well. So continue testing.

For an example of the power of testing your email sign-up here is a speech by Tim Ferriss, author of The 4 Hour Workweek on how he tests various things to convert first-time visitors to long-time subscribers.

How to Build a Successful Blog [Random Findings 8:00]

2| Main pages (other than the Home page) on your site

Most Websites today have at least a few pages other than the home page such as a products/services page, a photo gallery, a blog, a contact page, possible a store, maybe product reviews, and other areas hunting businesses feel are important enough to highlight in the top navigation menu on the site.

You can take advantage of these pages by using their specific content to show a benefit to subscribe to your email campaigns. One of my favorite email campaigns is Field and Stream because they always include great headlines for awesome photos in their gallery. Field and Stream has an awesome gallery of hunting photos and they always use these photos in their emails.

You can do the same for your hunting business with your own photo gallery and you can put the call to action email campaign subscription sign-up in your photo gallery and near each photo by saying something like:

“To get updates on the latest photos in this gallery subscribe today”.

This is a powerful benefit for your visitors who are looking for amazing hunting photos. If you can show that there is a specific benefit, people will sign up because they see the value in subscribing to your email campaigns. And the best part is these people are likely to be satisfied when you actually send them updates with your email campaign that includes photos. And once that trust is there you can promote your other services and because you have the trust of the subscriber, they are likely to convert over to buyers.

Use specific calls to action on each of your site’s pages as ways to share the benefits on your site with your visitors on a deeper level via email subscription. If you have a forum, tell your users that if they subscribe you’ll share with them the hottest topics in the forum each day. If you have a page that offers your various outfitting packages, tell your visitors that if they subscribe to your email campaigns they’ll receive updates on the latest hunts you offer as well as limited time discount offers or something along those lines.

There is a lot of opportunity with specific calls to action for getting people to subscribe to your emails on your pages.

3| Blog posts

If you have a blog for your hunting business (and I suggest you do) and you have done some keyword research and you’re targeting topics that will likely attract the attention of potential customers via search, you will get some new visitors to your blog posts and your goal is to convert these people to subscribers.

One way to do this is to include a call to action at the end of your blog posts. New readers who read an entire post on your blog are likely interested in hearing more from you. After all, they made it through an entire post. This is not an easy thing for writers as Web users tend to have little patience.

Since some readers make it through an entire post, why not offer them the chance to subscribe to your email campaigns by including a benefit call to action like this:

“For the latest blog posts subscribe via email”

Don’t let your quality visitors get away without getting them to subscribe to your email campaigns.

Testing Calls to Action

As Tim Ferriss mentioned in his speech, testing is very important for getting strong conversion on your site. And this is not only true for getting new visitors to subscribe to your email campaigns, it’s important for getting new and long-time subscribers to convert as paying customers as well.

Try changing your language with your calls to action.

If the current language at the end of your blog post isn’t working:

“Sign up for blog posts via email”

Try changing it up to something new:

“Get the latest blog posts and other benefits with our email updates”

There are lots of things to test with calls to action and it takes testing to find what’s best for your specific business.

Communicate the Benefits

Earlier I touched on the importance of communicating the specific benefits readers will get from each of your site’s pages if they subscribe to your email updates (ex: photo gallery).

Here is an example of how one company, Conversion Rate Experts, shares the benefits of their email campaign with their visitors in order to convert them to subscribers.

Lots of companies do a great job of communicating the specific benefits visitors will receive if they subscribe to an email campaign.

Make sure you share the benefits of your email program with your readers and visitors and get them to convert to subscribers.

Then you’ll be able to deliver on your promises (providing them what they actually signed up for) as well as providing relevant product and service offerings.

Visit Other Websites

You’re going to get some traffic to your Website if you’re doing things like paid advertising, sharing links with other hunting Websites, paying for listing in directories, listing your business in free directories, etc, but in order to grow your own audience you’re going to have to spend some time off your site looking for other Websites that share your target audience.

There is a lot of opportunity to grow you’re the audience on your site and the size of your email list by spending time off your own Website.

Let’s take a look at a few…

Guest Posts

One of the things I enjoy doing is writing guest posts on other blogs. Here are a few examples:

Bow Hunting and Pumpkin Pie – A tragedy

How to Start and Outdoor Conservation Charity

How to Keep up with the ‘Big Boys and Girls’ on Twitter

Guest posting is a great way to introduce you and your business to someone else’s audience. And it doesn’t only benefit you it benefits the blog you’re guest posting on because you’re providing the blog owner with quality content for their site as well as providing quality content for their readers to view and discuss.

Look for other blogs and Websites that share a similar audience to the one you’re targeting for your hunting business and offer to do a guest post. Site owners and bloggers usually welcome content providers with open arms.

Here is a great how-to on guest posting from Problogger:

How to Guest Post to Promote Your Blog

Interviews

Another thing you can do to get the attention of someone else’s audience and convert them to email subscribers is to participate in interviews.

Make yourself available to be interviewed on the topics you’re the expert in – what your business provides.

Ask other site owners if they would be willing to interview you via email, phone, or video for use on their site as a way to share your expertise with their audience.

Also ask other site owners with large audiences that you would like to target if you could interview them and then allow the interviewee to share the interview on their site with their audience.

By exposing you and your business to other audiences, you’re expanding the reach of your marketing message and showing your potential customers the benefits of your business.

These are just a couple of ways you can participate off your own Website that will bring traffic to your site in ways that will likely convert people to your email list with proper calls to action. You can also do things like participate in forums, blog commenting, etc.

The possibilities are endless and only know the limit of your own creative thinking.

Always Leave a Call to Action

Now, with all of this offsite activity it’s important to remember to include calls to action so the other audiences know what they’re supposed to do now that they’re aware you and your business exist.

Make sure when you participate in discussions on other sites that you provide ways for new readers, listeners, and viewers of how they can contact you and subscribe to updates from you.

When doing guest posts, leave your Website and email subscription link so people can quickly sign-up.

When doing interviews do the same or if it’s video/audio, tell the users the address of your site and where to look for your email sign up and what they can expect when they subscribe.

The work you do off your site can go to waste without quality calls to action.

Make sure you’re converting your new audience to subscribers so you can share your quality products and services with them via your next email campaign.

Maintaining the Trust

Once you get new subscribers on your email list it’s important to deliver on the promises that you mentioned that got them to subscribe.

With email, it’s easy for people to unsubscribe to your campaigns or worse, put your emails in their spam filter.

Make sure that your emails include the content you promised like the specific benefits you may mention like:

“Subscribe for email updates that include the latest additions to the photo gallery”

Make sure everything in your emails is beneficial and valuable for your readers.

Bonus – Break Rules!

I am a fan of breaking so-called ‘rules’ or standards on the Web.

Just because I may think that the top right is the best place for your email sign-up on your home page doesn’t mean that it’s the absolute best place to put yours. Try new things that nobody else has tried. Sometimes the best way to get the attention of visitors is to catch them off guard with things that are non-standard.

I like putting the email subscription call to action at the end of my blog posts, but maybe for you it works best at the beginning.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and set your own rules with your Website. See how your visitors respond and adapt to what they’re telling you with their actions.

The beautiful thing about the Web is that it allows you to adapt quickly to the needs of your audience.

Summary

Converting visitors to email subscribers on your site is important for building long-term relationships that lead to strong sales conversions for your business on the Web.

Try a few things on your own Website like:

1| Putting your email sign-up in multiple spots

2| Testing calls to action

3| Communicating specific benefits

You’re likely to see an increase in the number of visitors you convert to subscribers on your site.

Also do some participation off your site to extend your marketing reach to other audiences.

Try things like:

1| Guest posting

2| Interviews

3| Blog commenting

Make sure to always leave strong calls to action so that your new listening audience has a way to subscribe to your email campaigns.

As your email list grows, make sure you’re following through on your promises by providing valuable content in your emails. Make sure that everything in your emails is valuable for those receiving them. It’s easy for people to unsubscribe or to put your business in the spam filter so make sure you give them a reason to open the email and click through to your Website and ultimately purchase your products and services.

The strength of your business on the Web directly relates to the quality of your subscriber base. Grow your email list with quality subscribers and you’ll see stronger sales conversions for your business.

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Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

7 Email Marketing Observations

How Long Copy Email Can Help Your Hunting Business

How to Use Current Events and Email to Trigger Your Customer’s Buying Emotion

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How Crappy Landing Pages Kill Email Campaigns

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How to Create Marketing Pull by Commenting on Other Blogs

“Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don’t.” Seth Godin

Push Pull Marketing

image credit: Robert S. Donovan

I was asked recently about commenting on blogs.

A few of the things discussed concerned:

1| The effectiveness of getting traffic by commenting on other blogs

2| Adding links to blog comments

3| How to actually comment on blogs

I like reading and commenting on blogs and I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts on the topic.

Here are a few other posts I’ve written about blog commenting:

Which Blog Commenter Are You?

Successful Hunting Business Highlight – CamoFire

A Hunting Business’s Most Valuable Resource on the Web

For this post, I’d like to focus on how you can use the power of blog commenting to create pull marketing for your own blog or Website.

Pull vs. Push Marketing and Blog Commenting

Maki at Dosh Dosh sums it up the best with the post Push Marketing V.S. Pull Marketing: Using Both Strategies to Promote Your Site:

In push marketing, you ‘push’ your content or product towards the audience which may or may not be aware of it.

Conversely, in a pull-marketing scenario, the customer ‘pulls’ your content or product towards themselves, because they are interested in learning more about it.

Blog commenting should be a part of your goal to make connections on the Web and subsequently market your own Website or blog.

The initial thought most Website owners have when they consider leaving a comment on another blog is that it’s an opportunity to create a link back to their own site. They’re also hoping to gain attention for their site by leaving a quality comment.

While getting a link to your site is one of the benefits of leaving a comment on a blog, it shouldn’t be your main focus.

Here are the differences…

Push Blog Commenting

image credit: flattop341

I’m sure you’ve seen it (and I for one am guilty of it).

If you read blogs or message boards you’re bound to come across a blog comment that goes something like this:

Dayne Shuda said at 5:05pm:

Hi, I just wanted to say what a nice Website you have here. I think you’d really like my Website, Hunting Business Marketing. I write about hunting business marketing and I think you and your site would benefit from all of the wonderful content available. I hope to see you over there and I’ll look for your comments. Take care, Dayne.

Now, this comment has all of the best intentions. I really do think my content will help out the readers and the writers of this [insert hunting blog here].

But it might be obvious to you now that I only have one person in mind when I’m writing this comment whether I realize it or not…Me.

That’s right, I’m only thinking about what this blog comment can provide for me and my Website. I’m writing this comment strictly with the goal of getting the site readers and editors to come visit my Website by clicking on my name or on the link I included in the comment.

This type of comment is often viewed as spam by not only site editors, but by readers of the site as well. People can sniff out your intentions from a mile away on the Web. They’re used to seeing this type of marketing offline and they don’t have the time for it online. There are too many other sites to visit.

The Web is saturated with push marketing and while it probably works to some extent (otherwise people wouldn’t do it), the quality of the traffic you want is not found by pushing your content onto your potential audience.

There is a much better alternative.

Pull Blog Commenting

I feel fortunate that you always leave great pull marketing comments on the posts here at Hunting Business Marketing.

You and other commenters on the posts here leave your insight, feelings, and thoughts regarding the topic addressed in the article and that’s what adds the most value to the discussion and the connection both with me and with other readers.

The best examples of blog pull marketing blog comments are those that have nothing to do with the author of the blog comment. Yet in a weird way when you write blog comments that say nothing about you or your Website, it actually says something about you.

Confused yet?

What I mean is that when you give your subjective thoughts and insight and add value to the discussion of the blog you’re visiting you’re letting the readers and the site editors know that you’re the kind of person who cares about adding value with no strings attached.

This is powerful and you have to be truly sincere to be able to comment on blogs in this way.

Let’s take a look at some of the amazing comments left on this blog.

Examples of Great Blog Comments

1| A Different Take on Intellectual Property and Blogging

Commenter: Albert A. Rasch

Dayne,

Overall I do agree with you.

Where I draw the line is failure to attribute the work to the originator. And I am willing to be a little flexible on that point. If you’re trying to make a buck off the work then you damn well better give credit where it is due.

I am fine with folks copying my work. Just put my link to it and we are cool. As long as your website is relatively morally acceptable, I see little issue with copying with attribution.

The problem that arose over at TROC was a multi-tiered issue of ethics, morals, and ill-gotten profits. Far from the issue and value of shared content.

The real value of TROC isn’t the content, but my ability to create that content.

Now the content has value for others, otherwise they wouldn’t visit as often as they do! There are values that I am willing to give away for free, educational, comic, inspirational, emotional, and probably others. When someone tries to use that those values to profit from my ability to create it, then there is a definite problem.

You are very perceptive to look at the music industry as an example of the disconnect between the artist/musicians, producers, marketers, hanger-ons, and leeches that have sucked that industries vigor right out of it. We are at the cusp of a paradigm shift in the music industry.

“When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.” That sums it up very nicely. But again the issue for an Albert, Rick,or Zach, isn’t the money. We don’t make any money from our blogs! But by golly neither should anyone else. I put three to six hours a day in my blog… (Mostly because I type with two fingers and a thumb. Shhhh!) and I’ll be damned if some low life is going to steal my content for his lame dating service, (Which is predominantly stolen content too.), without me hunting him down until he wishes that Al Gore had never invented the Internet!

Lotsa Love!

Albert
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
The Mark Osterholt Files

My thoughts

I have admit that I thought this particular blog post would get some comments because it was about a topic that affects so many passionate bloggers. I was hoping for some good thought and discussion. Albert delivered that and much more with this comment.

Not only is this post a great example of a blog comment that contributes more to the discussion (pull marketing), but Albert writes it in his own voice, which only adds to the overall effect of the pull marketing benefits of blog comment.

2| The Significance of a Hunting Business Logo

Commenter: T. Michael Riddle

You know Dayne,

Your site and content are addicting, I just can’t seem to go a day without visiting and learning something new here!

The title of this one really brought home some very good and quite familiar points for me.

While playing in various bands over the past 30 years and now my hunting business as well, here below was probably one of, if not the, hardest obstacles for me to over come.

First would be the name itself! Will it reflect what we do and what we are about? then how do we come up with a respective logo which will brand us effectively? etc. etc.

This process would sometimes take weeks of think tanking and brainstorming.

Then, just when you finally settle upon something which you believe does everything that you think it should, now comes the real work of checking that your Name and Logo do not infringe upon someone else’s established Trademark!

Then after that, finding a graphic artist who can convey what image that you have in “your” head to the brand that will eventually establish your product into the mind of the buying public.

The one thing which I have learned over the years is to trust the people whom you have hired out to help you do this.

They are the professionals, so let them do their job without hindrance.

You would not attempt to tell your brain surgeon how to operate upon your head, so do not tell your marketing firm how to market your business.

A couple of examples would be: When I would write songs, our producers would ask for about 30-50 songs so that they could choose 10-12 good ones to take into the studio for recording.

While in the studio those final songs would sometimes get chopped up quite a bit, rearranged etc etc. to the point that they were barely recognizable (to me the artist) from what they started out as in the beginning.

While just starting out as a young writer and with just barely 10 songs under my belt, I would view those 10 songs as my “babies” and anything that anyone wanted to do to them was particularly abhorrent to me.

“don’t molest my songs! I would be saying in my head”

After the first 100 songs or so you begin to lose that overly protective attitude, and then you start to look at the “business” of music rather a little differently than when you first started out.

That is when the real art of collaboration begins to take form and the result will sometimes be where legendary albums are created.

That same way of thinking is what got me through the Re-Branding of my hunting business.

When our marketing firm suggested that we change our logo to something a little less redneck, and something with more family appeal.

I immediately knew what to do and that was to let the pros do their job without my interference. And the result of allowing them to reshape our image placed the company exactly where, and to what I wanted it to be in the first place.

It just happened to be out of my realm of expertise in respect to graphic arts, and appealing to a broader market with a logo style that would do just what it was intended for.

It must be remembered that a single person cannot do it all by themselves because any successful company owner, be it a band or a hunting business will tell you, that it was through collaborative efforts that they got to where they are today.

I think that our old website is still up if you search down for it and you can there, view my old self designed brand compared to the new one which comes up first on the search.

My thoughts

This was a post that Sarah from On Life and Design and I spent some time on. We really wanted to touch the essence and importance of a hunting business logo.

I was glad that the post was good enough to warrant a comment from one of the best commenters on this site.

T. Michael has contributed a lot of quality, pull marketing comments on this site.

Not only does T. Michael add to the conversation, he brings his unique voice and musical background perspective. It’s a great way to bring more depth and meaning to the discussion.

3| The Best Country Songs You’ve Never Heard – A Lesson in Marketing

Commenter: Tom Sorenson

Well done – my musical tastes veer more towards alternative and classic country – but I can see and appreciate the points made just the same!

It seems we all hear about the stories of the guy/gal that just shot onto the scene and had amazing success right off without having to really work too hard to get it. That’s probably the story of .5% of success stories – most success stories begin and end with a ton of sweat toil and sleepless nights! Thanks for the reminder.

My Thoughts

Tom is another great commenter as well as a great site editor and writer.

I always appreciate his insight when he takes the time out of his busy day (he has a newborn now) to comment on the blog.

I remember writing this post and wondering if it would hit home with anybody. It felt good when Tom commented that he got the marketing message that hard work and perseverance usually pay off and that it takes time to become successful.

This is another example of how your blog comments show that you’re taking the time to understand the meaning of blog posts. Readers and site editors respond to this and they’ll often click on your name to find out more about you. It’s a win-win situation.

Summary

I’d like to finish by saying that there are some wonderful commenters on Hunting Business Marketing. You are the best readers a site editor could ask for and I thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and build on the topics discussed.

To touch on each of the questions mentioned earlier:

1| Commenting on blogs is an effective way to get traffic for your site

2| Adding a link or two in your comments is ok, but consider pull marketing when leaving links

3| When leaving comments on blogs always try to add value to the post

When it comes to commenting on blogs it really is as simple as thinking about adding value to the readers of the site you’re visiting and commenting on.

As a site owner yourself this is what you hope for from the people who leave comments on your posts so it’s logical to think others expect the same.

If you’re leaving quality blog comments on hunting blogs across the Web you’ll gain a solid reputation as a person willing to provide quality content on others’ sites.

People will take notice and click on your signature and find your Website. They’re pulling you and your content to them rather than you pushing yourself at them.

Some bloggers might even highlight your exceptional comments in a blog post (wink, wink).

So that’s my take on blog commenting.

Do you have anything to add?

I hope you do. (wink)

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

20 Steps to Starting Your Hunting Business Blog/Website

Adding Something More to Your Blog and Website

Do You Know Who is Actually Reading Your Hunting Blog?

Update: I came across this post after I published this article and it related so much that I had to add it:

Is Commenting on Blogs a Smart Traffic Strategy?

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10 Things Marketing Professionals Starting Out Should Do

How TO Influence Me

Since When Are Blogs Not Social Media?

7 Unconventional Web Tools and Resources for Your Marketing Initiatives

The Web is limitless

Unconventional Web Tools

image credit: net_efekt

There are tons of useful tools available for businesses of all marketing skill levels on the Web.

It can be overwhelming to attempt the task of searching for all of the marketing tools and resources relevant to your specific business and its Website so I thought it might be valuable to put together a list of a few of the more unconventional tools and resources you may not have heard about yet.

These are all resources and tools I’ve had success with for my blog and content.

I hope at least one or two are valuable for your business…

1| Stumble Upon

Stumble Upon Snapshot

I’m relatively new to Stumble Upon, but in the short time I’ve been experimenting with the service I’ve been pleasantly surprised at its ability to increase traffic (see #5).

I’ve had some of my posts stumbled by others and I’ve tried stumbling some of my own posts that I felt would be valuable to users on Stumble Upon.

After reading A Comprehensive Guide to StumbleUpon: How to Build Massive Traffic to Your Website by @DoshDosh I thought it would make the most sense to stumble my image-focused posts. It seemed like images or posts about quality images were popular on the content sharing site.

So I stumbled each of the posts included in the Flickr Creative Commons Series and had success.

Stumble Upon is probably not as unconventional as it used to be, but for some it’s probably a new and useful tool for marketing your hunting business and Website.

2| Alltop

Alltop Snapshot

One of my favorite sites/tools on the Web right now is Alltop.

Description:

Alltop is an “online magazine rack” of popular topics. We update the stories every hour. Pick a topic by searching, news category, or name, and we’ll deliver it to you 24 x 7. All the topics, all the time.

Obviously my favorite topic is Hunting. There are some great hunting blogs listed on this feed. Luckily, even this blog is listed.

Beyond just Hunting, Alltop is a great place to browse topics you may not have thought you were interested in.

It’s a wonderful tool for discovering new topics of interest or doing research on your target market.

3| Cosmo and Men’s Health

Cosmo on Copyblogger

Here is a unique little trick I learned from the beautiful minds at Copyblogger:

The Cosmo Headline Technique for Blogging Inspiration

I’ve used it many times when I’m trying to think of ideas for blog posts and the works especially well for list posts (see #5). And I’ve done quite a few list posts.

You use the catchiness of Cosmo headlines (or Men’s Health headlines if you feel uncomfortable) for inspiration for blog posts.

It works surprisingly well and you can make just about any headline fit your niche.

4| Backtweets

Backtweets for Business

There are about a million and a half (hat tip to Forrest Gump) tools that enhance the awesomeness of Twitter.

Currently, my favorite is Backtweets.

I like having the ability to see who is linking to my site on Twitter. I love it for the stats and curiosity, but I mostly love it because I can recognize who is sharing my content and thank them properly.

This tool has helped me form connections with others who found my content valuable enough to share on Twitter and I’m very grateful for their kindness.

5| Local News Sources

Volume One for Bloggers

One of my favorites: Volume One

It isn’t time to forget about your local news sources.

I had a lot of fun experimenting with the idea of using local news sources as inspiration for bloggers:

Write Better Blog Headlines: Tonight at 6

Some local news sources have adapted well and taken advantage of the connections available on the Web.

You can use your local news sites and sources as inspiration for your blogging or you can use them for information that affects your target customer.

Your local news is still relevant and you can use their expertise as a tool for your own business.

6| bit.ly

Bit.ly for Business

Awhile ago I was asked about URL shortening for Twitter.

My favorite has been bit.ly.

Bit.ly just happened to be the first URL shortening tool that I came across as I started using Twitter (@DayneShuda) more.

It works great for shortening the URLs of posts I share with my followers and over the past few months, bit.ly has added some great features.

They include statistics and other information for every URL you shorten.

It’s great for curious minds like mine.

I hope the evolution of bit.ly over the past few months is a sign of good things to come from the company.

7| Imeem

Imeem for Bloggers

It’s no secret that I’m a music lover as you can tell by just a few of the music posts I’ve written for this blog:

Remarkable Country Songs That Stand Out In My Hunting Memory

Successful People Guide to Success Series

10 Inspiring Country Music Videos for Hunting Businesses

Imeem is a great resource for music (they have lots of ads now). I use the service almost every day as I like listening to music while I work.

Music, when used effectively and not as a blatant way to gain attention, is a great way to add something extra to your Website or blog.

There is a ton of information on the Web and it’s impossible for your target customers to see it all. You have to find ways to be relevant and stand out.

I like using Imeem to link to songs I write about (Note: you can’t embed with WordPress.com blogs).

Try adding a little something extra to your site or blog posts to add value.

But never do auto-play. I’m not a fan of audio that startles me when I visit a site.

Bonus – 8| Become a source of aggregation

The Future Buzz Snapshot

One of the things I’ve learned while blogging is that aggregating content saves your readers their most valuable resource: Time.

So if you see a void of valuable tools for your readers or customer, become the valuable resource yourself.

I’ve always had an inquisitive nature so naturally I’ve always been curious about the hunting industry and the statistics that represent the market.

I was having trouble finding a place where all of the content was aggregated so I decided to create it myself:

Essential Hunting Industry Stats, Resources, and Information for Hunting Businesses and Websites

It has been a very successful blog post for me and I believe it’s been valuable for readers as well.

Become a source of aggregation for your customers and they’ll appreciate you and your business for doing the work and saving them valuable time.

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

The Top Hunting Blogs: Part 1

How to Use the Web to Grow a Successful Hunting Business – A Tutorial

5 Creative Ways for Hunting Businesses to Use Twitter

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