To be successful at Internet Marketing, you don’t need to spend every waking hour on-line – although it might seem that way by listening to what some Internet marketing experts say. Instead, make some smart decisions about which Internet marketing tools you’re going to use, and which you can afford to ignore.

Broadly, you can group these tools into four categories, based on how you use them to deliver high-quality content (which is the basis of modern Internet marketing):

Create: You create this once, and don’t need to update it regularly.

Generate: You generate material regularly and push it out to the world using these tools.

Automate: This stuff gets out there automatically.

Participate: You actively get involved in conversations and discussions.

I’ll explain and give you examples of each of these four categories.

Create

This will typically be your Web site itself. You create it once, and then adjust it as required. You do need to be able to update it yourself, but most of the updates are promotional (for example, adding testimonials, promoting new events, adding new products and services) rather than educational.

If you really get into high-level Internet marketing, you’ll be updating this much more regularly – for example, fine-tuning the keywords on pages, creating landing page for search engine marketing campaigns, and so on. But most of us mere mortals won’t need to be doing that.

Generate

These are the tools you use for generating and distributing your content regularly:

Blog

E-mail newsletter

Article directories

Podcast

Videos

Slide shows

Everybody should do the first two (blog and newsletter); and the others depend on your own skills and the preferences of your target market.

You don’t have to create brand-new content each time. It’s easy to write an article once, and then publish it to your newsletter, blog and article directories; to then record it as an audio file for your podcast; and then create a video and/or slide show from it.

This stuff is important – don’t neglect it!

Automate

If you don’t have the time to get fully involved in social media, at least get a simple presence by automating the process. Every time you publish a blog post, let your followers know on:

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

This gives you a minimal, but useful, social media presence. You’re pumping out valuable stuff regularly to your social media networks, so you can start building up a following for later use.

Warning: This is by no means the way to master social media! Like anything else, social media won’t work for you unless you put some serious time, effort and focus into it. This is just a way of creating a presence slowly until you’re ready to do more with it.

Participate

Finally, you can participate in on-line conversations. This can happen on the big social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; or they can be special on-line communities you belong to.

This stuff is also important. And yes, it does take time! But if you pick the right communities and the right conversations, it can be time well spent.

You do this already in the off-line world (I hope!), when you meet up with colleagues for a mastermind group, attend your professional association’s chapter meetings, or attend networking events where your clients hang out. This is the same thing, in the on-line world.

Here it is in a nutshell…

Here’s a summary of the four stages, written as a marketing plan:

Build a high-quality Web site that promotes you.

Publish articles regularly to your newsletter and blog; and optionally leverage them in other forms.

Automatically notify your social media followers of new blog posts.

Take part in on-line conversations of your peers and clients.

Internet-marketing-graphic-610-x-330

I hope this gives you a starting point for your Internet marketing plan. Yours might differ slightly, but stick to the principles of publishing high-quality content regularly and having high-quality conversations regularly.

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