3 Key Takeaways from Search & Social

3 Key Takeaways from Search & Social

Posted by Lindsay

Last week Jen and I attended the Search & Social Summit here in my backyard of Tampa Bay. This isn’t your typical conference recap post, though. I wanted to focus on the action items that still stand out for me a week later, the things will make a difference in what I do or how I do it. Perhaps you’ll rethink the way you do a thing or two as well.

Outsource, Seriously.

Kevin Henrikson is a low key guy, and one that I hadn’t met until the Search & Social Summit. You won’t see him spouting off on Twitter or elaborating on his accomplishments on LinkedIn. He beats even me in the blog neglect category. Personally, I wish he’d publish more. He has a strong business acumen and seems to find his comfort zone well outside the boundaries that most of us create in our own DIY vs. outsource struggles.

Kevin’s presentation was about outsourcing. I expected the standard cliché we’ve all heard 100 times, “Do what you do best. Outsource the rest.” Good advice, absolutely, but now what? Kevin’s presentation was different. It outlined real, actionable strategies for outsourcing the things you’d expect – like copywriting and development – but he also spoke about his experience delegating some pretty unusual stuff like the hiring of a housekeeper for his parents out-of-state.

Kevin covered more than a dozen solid online sources for building your outsourced empire including craigslist (for local need), Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, and the old standby Elance. None of those excited me like oDesk and 99designs.

oDesk describes themselves as a marketplace for online workstreams. Don’t have time to sift through your email to identify the important ones that require a response? Hire a personal assistant to do the drudge work for you. Need a new site design converted to work with your WordPress blog? You’ll be surprised by the rates. I created my account while listening to Kevin’s presentation and can’t wait to get started.

99designs provides a platform and 192K strong community to facilitate your own ‘design contest’. Open an account, outline your project in seven simple fields, pay a few hundred dollars and within a week you’ll have dozens of designs to choose from that were created by the 99designs community. I did a hack job of my own blog logo design a few years ago. I figured there was no time like the present, so jumped onto 99designs and kicked off my own contest. For a few hundred dollars I’ve received around 200 logo designs. You can check out the contest entries and maybe even help me choose a winner from the frontrunners.

If you want more information on how to leverage the outsourcing vehicles like the ones mentioned above, check out Rand’s recent post on the topic here.

Targeted Promotion on Niche Social News Sites

If you’re like me, when you think ‘social news’, examples like Digg and Reddit stand out. Though the traffic from these sites is astounding – IF you can get your story to the front page – obtaining traction is hit or miss and the competition is intense. Brent Csutoras is a wiz in the world of social marketing, and another speaker that presented some refreshing content at the Search & Social Summit last week.

Brent highlighted Kirtsy.com as a great place to post content that would appeal to a female audience, for example. This isn’t the kind of place to post the latest puss video from PopThatZit (view at your own risk. eww) but if you take a look at the current list of most popular content on the Kirtsy homepage, you’ll get the idea of what is possible there. I was surprised to see a few listings from small personal blogs on topics like crafts and parenting.

Despite being more than a year old, Brent says that this list of niche social media sites from Chris Winfield over at 10e20 is still the best out there. Think about the opportunities for sites you represent. No doubt a few more niche social news sites have cropped up since then. If you have another one that works for you, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Get New Content Indexed Faster

Michael Gray recommends creating small sitemaps of <100 pages, in addition to your regular sitemap(s), to help get  new content indexed faster.

Michael has found that for sites that add a lot of new pages, or want to get the pages they do add indexed quickly, using a dedicated sitemap for fresh content is the key. In his testing, deep pages on large sites that would sometimes take weeks or months to make it into the index took just 1-3 days with the dedicated fresh content XML sitemap. He suggests playing with the ‘100’ number. That is what the need has been for his clients, but if you are working with a site that has a larger fresh content output you may achieve the same affect by including more.

I’ll be testing this one out for sure! Let us know how it goes for you, too.

Action Items

  1. Are you making the most of your time? Think about the things that someone else could do for you and outsource it. Check out 99designs for graphics work and oDesk for nearly everything else.
  2. Look through Chris Winfield’s list of niche social news sites. Maybe your content can ‘make popular’ on social news afte rall.
  3. Try creating a supplemental fresh content XML sitemap to see if it helps you get your content indexed faster.

Happy Optimizing!

Lindsay Wassell (aka @lindzie)

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