How to Write Social Media Drivel (and Still Get Published on Forbes)
Let’s be frank. There is a ridiculous amount of fluff posted online in the social media marketing world. Posts that seem to have been produced simply for SEO purposes which contain no real value. Or lists of influencers and conference presenters that have large followings, but haven’t sold a dime on the same platforms.
Many of these posts boil down to nothing but click bait.
The good news is that your business, too, can write such a post and use it to get press and drive traffic! It’s quite simple really, so let me tell you how to do it.
Step 1: Choose Your Champion
Hire an intern. Obviously, this should be a Millennial. Ideally, they know almost nothing about social media besides how to share funny pics with friends.
This is important because, if you’re not careful and hire someone with actual business experience, you may end up with a post that actually has substantive content. This would just confuse everybody, so best to steer clear of that option.
Step 2: Choose Your Topic
Don’t worry about strategy or things like researching topics, keywords and Google rankings. Just randomly pick a topic about a social media platform. None of the companies out there understand any of this stuff anyway, so any topic with a platform like “Facebook” in the title should be enough to get clicks.
Step 3: Get That Click Bait Title Just Right
Optimize your title for SEO and clicks. Something like “10 Superstar Tactics to Achieve Facebook Success” or “The Top 50 Gardening Influencers on Snapchat Right Now”.
Numbers in the title are great because people like to click on numbers. Exaggerated words like “Supastar” are also highly influential.
Step 4 (Option 1): Copy Some Other Stuff
Do a Google search for your topic. Now don’t worry about doing any research here. Simply read the first 3 articles that come up on the topic you want to write about. Pull some information from each one, combine, and reword a little.
Remember, your intern doesn’t understand these topics anyway, so it’s best to just have them rework something already written by another social media (Millennial!) intern just like them.
Very important, this post should also include some kind of data to make it look official. Something like “Facebook has over 1 billion daily users” should satisfy those data-obsessed executives.
And don’t forget to throw the word “ROI” in there somewhere.
Here is an excellent example: The Top 10 Reasons Your Brand Needs to Be on Pinterest. We don’t need to know how, or even if, companies are making money on Pinterest. We just need generalities that sound important so that people will think your post is important.
Step 4 (Option 2): Influencer List Alternate
A really smart way to get published quickly is to just list all the top people on the platform you’ve read about.
Now you might be panicking here as your intern just talks to their friends and doesn’t know any business-minded influencers.
Again, the 1st page of Google to the rescue. Just copy/paste whoever other people have already written about and identified as influencers.
You don’t need to be following these people yourself or know anything about them. This information should also be available on other posts already online.
It’s that simple. Wham, bam, done.
Here is a great example of just such a post: The Top 17 Business Gurus on Snapchat You Should Follow Today. Now some of these people rarely talk about business, people like Gary Vee rarely even use the platform anymore, and then there are a few that actually deserve to be there. But who cares if only some of the information is useful or accurate, we’re getting published on Forbes here!
This is an excellent strategy because, even if inaccurate or just so much fluff, no influencer is going to be able to resist sharing your article that you got published in Forbes or Huffington Post. This ensures that all their tens of thousands of followers will see and share it as well.
In this way, you can contribute to the cycle of fluff as all those shares will help your article now rank on the 1st page of Google and be able to be used by the next intern searching diligently to write a related piece for themselves or their company!
Step 5: Publish
That’s it. That’s all you have to do! Now just submit your article to all major publications and be sure to distribute to any influencers you mentioned so they can share with their peeps.
A Better Way Forward
While this article is largely sarcastic in nature, these tactics seriously work. It’s how far too many pieces get published these days on sites like Business Insider, Inc.com, Huffington Post, and Forbes.
The problem, of course, is that there is so much fluff out there as, even what used to be serious publications, are now more focused on click-throughs, so quality checking is not a high priority.
It’s no surprise then that companies regularly complain about not being able to achieve clear business objectives with their social media campaigns as most of the information out there is not very valuable.
This also means there is great opportunity to provide better content. Blogs like Social Media Examiner and Neil Patel are two examples of sites that regularly post very useful information and there are even occasional case studies thrown in.
Conferences Need to Change, Too
However, all of this isn’t just a problem with posts. It’s happening at many conferences as well. Presenters come in and talk about their latest buzzwords, but many times don’t actually have experience delivering tangible ROI, just growing followings.
You may hear unrealistic preaching like “It’s all about relationships”. While this may be true for small businesses starting out, McDonald’s, for example, is not going to be able to foster a serious relationship with its 3 million plus followers. Automation, ads, and customer service-oriented contact are the name of the game.
I have heard complaints from companies who hire said conference presenters only to spend tens of thousands of dollars for no result. They walk away writing off social media as ineffective, which is a problem, because that’s where they’re actually likely to see the greatest ROI if they can figure out how it can work for them.
When you dig down into the numbers and the return-on-investment, strategies become multifaceted and often the need for the setup of clear funnels arises. This all takes serious investments of time and extensive testing.
If you want some examples of hard results with digital marketing that actually work to improve the bottom-line, you may want to check out these two posts:
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Nick Jaworski is the Owner and Chief Digital Community Builder for Circle Social Inc., a Strategic Digital Marketing Agency in Indianapolis. He writes in order to push himself and others to accomplish their dreams. He is also devoted father of a beautiful little girl that speaks Mandarin Chinese, Turkish, and English. Twitter & Snapchat: @NBJaworski