How can you use blogs and social media to become a recognized expert? As recently as a few years ago, college graduates entering the job market were almost exclusively reliant upon other people to help them become established experts in a given field. Someone who wanted to be an authority in the political campaigning business, for example, needed to first get hired by a political consulting company in order to gain the experience and credibility to market himself as an authentic expert.
The road to becoming a recognized authority in a field has changed greatly since the advent of blogging and social media. With little more than a working knowledge of a specific niche, a blogger can transform himself or herself into an industry expert by publishing helpful content, building social media communities, and practicing some search engine optimization fundamentals.
Here are five helpful tips for using blogging and social media to make yourself a recognized expert in your chosen field, regardless of your age or experience level. Just remember: building a successful and widely-followed online presence can take some time, so make sure you practice patience and consistency on your way to becoming an authority in your niche.
1. Choose as Specific a Niche as Possible, and Put the Keywords in Your Domain
The more specific you can be in the field you choose, the faster you’ll find success and attention from your colleagues. If you want to become a recognized expert in the niche of relationship advice, for example, drill down further and get more specific: concentrate on relationship advice for women, and you’ll be able to attract a super-targeted audience that is more likely to respond favorably to your content and take you up on calls to action.
Once you’ve settled on a specific niche, purchase a domain name that includes some of your targeted keywords. For the above example, getting a domain that includes the keywords “women,” “relationships” and “advice” would be ideal. Including targeted keywords in your domain name is one of the best ways to get your site to rank highly in the search engines for relevant phrases . . . which will send you loads of web surfers who are interested in what you have to say.
2. Start Publishing Original Content Immediately, and Write Every Day
The faster you start publishing original content on your new blog, the faster it will get indexed in the search engines and start bringing you traffic and attention. While it’s good to take some time to research and polish your articles, make sure that you are publishing something new several times a week. Remember: the stuff that you publish today might not be read by anyone immediately, but it will get a lot of attention a year from now when it has lots of authority in the search engines.
Don’t worry about writing extremely lengthy posts on your blog unless the topic makes it completely necessary. Blog posts of 250 to 500 words are just fine for helping you rank for targeted keywords in the search engine and attracting lots of new visitors.
3. Set Up Social Media Channels and Make Them Easy to Follow
Thanks to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you can connect with other people in your field and start driving traffic to your blog much faster than you could before. When setting up your new site’s Facebook page, Twitter account and LinkedIn group, remember to use your most important targeted keywords in the titles and URLs, and provide detailed descriptions and links back to your blog.
Building communities and followers on social media sites can take time, so be patient as your audience grows. Be proactive in searching out to other people in your niche and inviting them to join your social media channels, and make sure that your blog includes very visible icons that link to your profiles.
4. Research Relevant Keyword Phrases and Write Posts on Those Topics
A lot of new bloggers struggle with ideas for new posts, but there’s no reason why you should ever wonder what to write about next. To become a recognized expert in your field, you need to write about what people are searching for online – and that’s easy to figure out.
Helpful resources like the Google Keyword Tool allow you to enter a keyword phrase and see dozens of related phrases that web surfers are using to search for information in your niche. Soon after kicking off your blog, make a long list of the most searched-for phrases in your vertical and save them on your desktop. Whenever you run out of posting ideas, grab one of the phrases off your keyword list and write a post about it.
5. Be Aggressive in Building Relationships and Relevant Links
Even if you’re optimizing your new blog for targeted keyword phrases and writing posts about topics that people are searching for online, you won’t get any competitive rankings in the search engines unless you get some links pointing back at your website. The best way to do this is naturally, by building relationships with other industry bloggers and webmasters who will want to share your best content with their readers.
In addition to building links through professional relationships, there are other ways to increase your inbound link count: website directories, article marketing, reciprocal links and guest blog posts can all produce valuable links if done correctly. Just remember that relevancy is key to the value of a link, and make sure that the pages linking back to your site are at least loosely related to your topic.
Guest authors Phil Van Treuren blogs about political campaign strategies on Killer Campaigning.com, and Jessica Van Treuren blogs about relationship advice on ChicRelationships.com. You can also share your social media and blogging tips by writing guest posts here.