2016. was quite a year, wasn’t it?
Well, even though a lot of us aren’t really happy with the way it turned out, there’s always some good things you can take away from the last year. For some, it was the landing of a rocket on a barge, but for us, it was a great year of blogging and quality content.
Sure, we weren’t just messing around the last 12 months but were rather hard at work making great blog posts for the official domain .ME blog, and we’re glad to present the Case Study Of Our Year Of Writing For .Me
Starting off, we have a valuable piece of advice to give you: There’s a lot of times where you can really use the extra hand of someone who’s really knowledgeable on a certain subject, like e-commerce or web development. This brings us to the first part of our 2016 review:
1. A Great Success Story Is a Team Effort.
Sure, the “team” here can be the people actually doing the writing, but more importantly, it’s the people who provide you with the knowledge, expert comments and deeper insight into what you’re actually doing.
We worked with some amazing people who helped us write even better posts throughout the year, such as:
- Vanja Bunjevac on our Magento article;
- Krešimir Končić for our WooCommerce article.
1.1. Why Is Expert Insight So Important?
Michael Stelzner from Copyblogger wrote about how the people who are knowledgeable about some things can really give your blog posts a boost, and that was back in 2011. He admitted to knowing next to nothing about social media when he started his site Social Media Examiner, and he supplemented that with expert opinions and interviews.
Sure, it’s not like you only call out to experts when you know that you aren’t that good with the subject, but data has shown that the so-called expert roundup posts work extremely well both for your SEO scores and your overall credibility as a blog.
Of course, you need to find the people whose help you need for your blog posts, and probably the easiest way to do so is through the power of networking. Of course, if you’re not that well connected, you can always take to the Twitter universe and LinkedIn, and simply email the people whose help you need. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll get lucky.
1.2. How did we do it?
Well, of course, we first needed an idea. To create our expert roundup post about the tips for WooCommerce and Magento, we thought about a lot of things at the same time. The holiday season was getting near, and we knew that the data shows that webshops will have tons of traffic at that exact time of the year. We also knew that a lot of them aren’t prepared.
From that, we started to think about what the best platforms for e-commerce are, and how much of the market share do they actually have. Our search left us with Magento and WooCommerce, the leading platforms for online sales, which are currently powering almost half of all the webshops in the world.
After that, we started to look for experts. It was through the power of personal networking, some e-mail and Twitter magic that we managed to get a hold of both Vanja and Krešimir, experts from companies Inchoo and Neuralab that just happen to specialize exactly in the things we need.
From that, it was all smooth sailing. By creating a list of questions which are roughly similar and sending them to our experts, we managed to get somewhat similar, yet different answers. Some of the questions we asked both Vanja and Krešimir were:
- What do Magento / WooCommerce website owners need to have in mind for the upcoming holidays?
- What are the mistakes most webshop owners face on your platform of choice
- Would you recommend any particular plugins to ease the troubles of holiday season webstore management?
Armed with the replies our experts provided us with, we proceeded to feature both of them in the articles about their respective platforms to maximize reach and shareability, and then brought both of them together for a large post about both platforms. We published the post that Vanja helped us with first and followed it with the post we made with Krešimir’s help.
You could say that this way we managed to get 3 articles out of a single topic, and we covered an extremely large part of the e-commerce market, with Magento catering to large shops and WooCommerce being preferred by small and medium businesses. This way, users from the both segments of the market could read a post tailored to their needs, and also a larger one describing the benefits each platform has.
1.3. So what does all this mean?
Well, for start, it means that you should always trust the people who know a lot more than you do and that it’s really much better to find someone who really knows the ins and the outs of something rather than doing it yourself. Also, it’s always better to ask than to assume!
A case study regarding expert roundup articles showcased the vast amount of shares and interactions these kinds of posts offer. Among the great things the author received (around 4000 shares etc.), he noted that the post actually helped him build his own personal network. How’s that for an idea, right?
Now that you can actually get to know those people, they will surely stay in your network for future interactions and perhaps even friendships, but something else is also very important: their own networks, friends, and followers.
You see, once these experts and influencers share your posts, you’re directly connected to their followers by their own recommendations, which is actually the word of mouth, something which we know is the best possible marketing strategy there is. This makes their readers and followers familiar with your content and gives them the opportunity to come back for more.
So the next time you’re writing about something you know a little about, try asking someone who does it for a living, and focus on asking the right questions, and you’ll have a great post in no time!
Of course, asking the questions is only one part of your story. The other part is the writing itself, and that’s a little bit more complex than simply arranging words into sentences. The point here is to create a fun, interesting and engaging story, with the emphasis on STORY being the key to your success.
2. Success stories – why it’s great to write the actual “story”
We can all agree that most of us can take a great topic, such as a successful site and then write a long post about the ins and the outs of the site, but that’s really not something you should aspire to do. If you’re writing about a product, your blog posts should always portray the product as a part of a real world situation with which the user can connect, rather than just rambling on about the features that the product possesses.
The importance of actual storytelling in marketing, in general, is certainly undeniable, with research proving that the desire to listen to and read stories is actually hardwired into our brains, and brands that tell a great story tend to come out on top more often than not.
That’s precisely why we’re focusing on writing great success stories for the numerous .ME sites we visit every month. It’s important to show the backstory behind the site as something the readers can relate to, like noting the importance of resting properly in our article about FaceCradle.ME, or giving a shout out to our teachers in the TeacherToolkit article.
Simply writing about the sites we visit wouldn’t be as interesting if we didn’t connect the brands and sites we write about to the real world events and trends. This real world factor is very important, both for us and the readers of our posts.
The basic part of any story you’ve ever seen or heard about are the characters, the setting and the idea itself. Of course, the idea is the most basic, essential thing when it comes to writing, and finding a great one that’s both entertaining and smart can really take a lot of time. That’s why in 2016., we really tried to find unique ideas and spreading into niche markets.
3. Uniqueness isn’t overstated
There’s a lot of work online about a whole lot of things, but being unique is what sells these days. Sure, it’s easier to just compile a whole lot of sources and claim the post as “the best ever” but we learned in 2016 that if you dig hard enough, you’ll eventually find a topic that’s not that covered in articles, but is nevertheless extremely interesting, like the article on how your logo needs to look like to get more downloads for your app.
It’s something we all thought about, but haven’t really got around to. It’s smart, cool, and helpful, and that’s precisely the combination for a great blog post!
3.1 Why is finding a unique topic so important?
Topics such as the one mentioned are only a drop in the sea of content we’re seeing every day on the web. The idea of writing for a narrow audience, such as the developers in need of app icon advice is not something we thought of first, as much as we’d love that was true.
Of course, unique readers spawn unique ideas of their own, and that’s the reason we’re allowing people to register their own domain names through most of our articles. Inspiring and empowering users leaves them wanting to start their own business, and the process of easily registering a domain name from the article itself is there to help them with their ideas.
There’s a lot of great writing on both the upsides and the downsides of this type of marketing, with the great things about it being:
- The fact that there’s less competition (you’ll struggle to find a post about choosing the right app icon)
- Higher brand loyalty, because items in a niche market are difficult to find in general products
Writing about niche topics, and then marketing said topics to a specific target audience can give you great results simply because the idea at hand is so narrow that it will be really liked by a small group of people, but those people will help you get more conversions because of their deep interest in the topic.
3.2. Finding the right niche is half the work
You’ll agree that finding a topic to write about that has the potential to be a great niche topic isn’t easy, but once you find it you’ll really know it.
In an article on Entrepreneur, Thomas Smale wrote about the idea of finding a niche when starting a business, but doing the same for blog posts is surprisingly similar. He notes that it’s most important to:
- Identify your interests
- Identify problems you can solve
- Do research on your competition
- Determine the profitability
- Test your idea!
Sure, things like this can pretty much apply to anything, but you need to keep in mind the fact that the process of “defining problems you can solve” can really help you find out a niche topic to write about.
That’s actually the same process that led us to make the article we mentioned earlier. While browsing app stores, we simply found out that there’s a lot of bad icons, and that the apps that have better icons do have more downloads.
In a piece called Why You Need a Great App Icon, Dan Counsell argues that the greatest thing that an app can do is to stand out in the vast amount of others, and getting noted is as important as the quality of the app itself.
Sure, there’s only so much you can write about app icons, but there are so many things you can write about that really resonate with a specific type of people, and those people will really appreciate it, trust us.
Another great niche article last year was the one we wrote about the phenomenon of unboxing videos and the advice that we can give you to start using them for your own brand recognition. Considering the popularity of unboxing videos, and the curious lack of brands that are using them to promote themselves, we dived into a niche that is both immense and has an engaged audience.
It wasn’t all experts and niches for us in 2016., though. We’re really pleased to have been a part of a great collaboration between .ME and the world’s largest social media company – Facebook. Having powerful friends can sure benefit both sides, and 2016. has taught us that it’s really important to be in the right place at the right time and nurture great relationships with both our clients, but with their clients, too.
4. Collaborating with big players in the business can really benefit your own
Ever since Facebook announced its focus on Chatbots and incorporating them into Messenger, we knew something big was about to happen. Sure, bots aren’t really mainstream just yet, but something that rose out of this idea was also something we’re extremely proud of in 2016., and that’s, of course, the collaboration of both Facebook and .ME on the development of links for Messenger profiles.
The collaboration between Facebook and .ME was something extremely important for us this last year because it has shown the power that the great players on the global stage have, and how can we be a part of that for mutual enjoyment.
By the way, did you know you can reach Facebook by simply writing FB.ME?
The case of .ME and Facebook’s collaboration was a really interesting and specific example of how a great blog post can really help the promotion of your brand. Of course, it’s obvious that the collaboration with Facebook helped .ME immensely, and that the blog post written at that exact time was really striking the nail on the head.
The article described the importance of these links by explaining that these links are the newest way of communicating with brands and that simply by writing the brand’s m.me link you’re actually engaging in a conversation with said brand, thus bringing customer service to the 21st century.
Lastly, the article describes the background behind these links by quoting .ME’s Marketing Director Nataša Đukanović, with the emphasis on Facebook’s acquiring of different .ME startups, like MSQRD and Karma.Me.
By connecting your brand with other brands that share the same vision, you’re associating yourself with their cause. This means, of course, that if they have massive amounts of followers and their brands are generally well-received, you’re going to benefit greatly simply by associating with them.
The reasons why associating with a company as large as Facebook is good are abundant, but we’ll settle for the three reasons we think are the most important:
- Considering that Facebook is a multinational corporation, associating with them brings .ME the authority, and credibility. Of course, bigger brand authority is extremely important for your overall SEO scores and more, so associating with a large, powerful brand can only boost the brand authority of your own.
- It shows the usage of the.ME domain in the real world, which, in turn, allows for other companies to recommend the .ME domain to their clients, “because Facebook is using it”. It’s a classic case of Leading by Example, a way of thinking that focuses on doing the things you want others to do, or in this case using domains you’d like others to use.
- It connects .ME to a current trend, and shows that the .ME brand is up to date and keeping up with the latest happenings. There are numerous examples of brands posting the right thing at the right time, and the importance of correct timing is priceless.
That’s precisely what .ME has done by deciding to work with Facebook, thus positioning itself as the go-to domain for anyone that needs their own personal website or a blog.
Our takeaways from this year are numerous, and we’re sure to incorporate a lot of things that we learned through our cooperation with .ME in the months to come. The importance of expert opinions, association with known brands and striving to be unique can all be things you can do on your own blogs, and while costing you just a little bit of time and effort can really supercharge your blogging.
All in all, 2016 was a year where we learned a lot and accomplished even more. We learned to better communicate with the people who know more than us, struggled to improve the way we research topics and simply deepened our writing skills. The cooperation with Facebook and other great brands is just the icing on the cake of an overall very successful year.
And what about me?
It’s been quite a year for me personally, too. As a new member of the team, I’ve come to realize what it takes to be a great blogger, and am aspiring to be one with every post I write. I’ve come from a person who kind of knows how to write, to someone who is starting to think in blog posts.
Sure, that’s a bold statement, but as I learned how things work, I’ve started to put my own personal touch into every piece that I write, such as this one, and if there’s something 2016. has taught me, it’s that everything really is possible as long as you put your back into it.
2016. was also the year when I started to actually blog and write as a job, and not as a hobby. My whole experience up to that point has really been revolving around talent, but while blogging every day for the last year, talent was multiplied by practice, and I can say now, that as I am finishing this post I feel like I’ve improved so much I can’t even begin to describe it.
Here’s to an even better 2017.!