Michael Stelzner was gracious enough to visit my social media class at Howard University this week to share his secrets for launching a successful social media marketing business. It so happens that the day he visited us, his blog, Social Media Examiner, was named the #1 blog in the world by AdAge.
The conversation was extensive, involving lots of Q&A from the students. We did a Google Hangout, allowing students to participate better, so it’s a little grainy and there’s a lag between the audio and video. But then, I was hoping to get the story, not an Emmy.
I’ve chunked our conversations about social media into more manageable bits and here’s the first installment:
How Did You Launch Social Media Examiner?
In this segment, Michael Stelzner shares his story surrounding the launch of Social Media Examiner, in October of 2009. Prior to starting Social Media Examiner, Mike was working writing white papers on high value products. He recognized the potential of social media and the opportunity it presented.
Mike used his existing network of writers and built relationships with prominent social media pundits such as Mari Smith (who’ll be doing a guest lecture on Oct. 4) and Jason Falls. Writers committed to providing much of the content early on when the blog only published 3 times a week. Now a team of writers, guest bloggers, and staff manage the flow of manuscripts allowing posts 6 days a week.
It’s this content that drives traffic to the site and contributes to its more than 100,000 subscribers. Mike admits he’s not a social media expert and doesn’t claim to be. He just knows how to get people who are experts to share their insights on his blog. He also suggests creating regular content, such as case studies, which draw traffic.
Mike produces an annual report on the state of social media. This report goes viral and embedded sharing ensures its contagion, with each sharing increasing his reputation and bringing more traffic to his site.
When asked how his blog became so successful in such a short period of time, Mike stressed the importance of building these networks long before you have any notion of needing them. He also stressed the importance of giving something to get something back — the notion of paying it forward.
Listen and Respond
Enjoy this recording not for it’s outstanding cinematography but for the value of Mike shares. Looks for the second half of his presentation in a later post. Meanwhile, what insights can you share about your own experiences in social media? We’d love to hear from you.