A few weeks ago, I checked my stats here on Renewable Energy World and was surprised to learn that I’d crossed the million page view mark.* Wow! And thanks for reading.
Former REWorld editor Stephen Lacey first noticed my work on SolarPowerRocks.com, where I started my solar social media career. Renewable Energy World was just starting this blog platform, and Stephen recommended to REWorld's former publisher Oliver Strube that I become one of the first outside bloggers on the site.
Oliver told me he didn’t care what I blogged about, so long as it was related to solar. My first post was filled with hubris, and in hindsight, was a bit odd, although that’s kind of typical for my posts. My goal was (and still is) to get people’s attention about our industry's need for bold marketing, and I strongly encouraged readers to embrace social media, especially blogging and Twitter. Solar suffers from many outdated myths, and I argued then that we had to start using more attention-grabbing guerrilla marketing tactics "to reach the street."
Since those first posts, the industry’s marketing has indeed changed for the better, and from the emails and the recognition that I’ve received at solar trade shows, I’m glad to know that these blog posts have helped solar communicators to build stronger social media communities.
Nevertheless, our collective solar communications are still being undermined by $138 million in annual oil and gas lobbying, various green-washing campaigns, plus the blatantly erroneous information propagated by Fox News and their commentators.
So, whatever positive influence a million page views have had for solar advocacy and individual solar companies, it’s a drop in the bucket. We all need to do even more, and I intend to continue doing my part here and in other ways. I hope you will too.
With that in mind, here are some lessons learned:
A million page views means that content really is king. Renewable Energy World doesn’t have to feature my blog posts. The editors do so because they believe I’m writing useful content. While my useful content has the result in promoting my services, that’s never the point of each post. I’m not “selling.” First comes my mission to provide useful marketing or advocacy information to the solar industry. That’s what leads to readers to contacting me. No matter what sector of the solar industry you’re in, you also can provide valuable content here and get attention for your company. If it’s written well and it has a “how-can-I help my customers attitude,” the Renewable Energy World editors will notice — as well as potential customers.
A million page views means top Google search results. I always encourage people to blog here on Renewable Energy World, especially in the solar B-to-B space. Beyond the knowledge that my posts have been seen a million times, my business has benefited by being on the first page of Google for “solar marketing,” “solar guerrilla marketing,” “solar social media,” and I’ve done this without paying a cent to Google or any other search engine. Blogging takes time and effort, but if your goal is organic search engine optimization and getting on the first page of search results, it works.
A million page views is the result of sharing. Part of that million page view number comes from taking the time to share these posts beyond the Renewable Energy World website. You’ll notice the social network buttons above every post. Even if your post here isn’t featured, using those buttons can spread your useful blog content to targeted social communities, such as LinkedIn Groups, Twitter, and Facebook. When you do that, your insights (and brand) can get spread even further. So the lesson here is that it’s not enough to just write a post here. You need to make an effort to share these posts too.
A million page views means brand recognition and authority. If you’re a solar start up, you need both brand recognition and authority about your product and service. As a result of my blogging here, I’ve made a lot of high profile solar relationships and connections. Solar industry people not only recognize “Solar Fred,” and “UnThink Solar,” but they also recognize me as a solar communications authority. Likewise, if you want to be a respected authority about solar panels, inverters, solar development, or any solar widget or solar service, blog here with useful blog content that shows why you know your business. Once again, if it’s helpful and not purely self-promotional, people will read it and think of you as an authority in your solar sector.
A million page views is a result of solar advocacy. I think the other reason why people read me is because of my sincere advocacy for the solar industry. Through my writing here, solar readers recognize that I deeply care about helping solar companies to succeed, regardless of whether they ever use my services. Yes, I sometimes benefit, but not always. If that were true, I’d have a million clients. I offer these posts because our industry needs to help each other to succeed, not get in the way of each other. We all have competitors, but there are certain things we can do to help each other, and these posts are my contribution. I’m sure you have useful thoughts to contribute too, so don’t be shy. Share those thoughts here, or at least on your own company blog.
Thank you, Renewable Energy World
Finally, I’d like to thank the publishers and editors of Renewable Energy World for their past and continued support for my writing here, especially Managing Editor Jennifer Runyon; Co-founder and President Jim Callihan; and Amy Lanza, Total Access Sales Manager.
Of all the leading solar publications, Renewable Energy World is currently the only one that offers every company or individual an open, high traffic, blog platform to contribute their industry and advocacy thoughts, regardless of whether you advertise. Take advantage of it. It’s another way to UnThink Solar.
P.S. For those interested, my top 10 most read posts and corresponding page views since 2009 are the following:
Tor Valenza a.k.a. “Solar Fred” advises solar companies on marketing, communications, and branding. Want more solar marketing info? Sign up for the Solar Fred Marketing Newsletter, or contact Solar Fred through UnThink Solar. You can also follow @SolarFred on Twitter.
*RE World editors say that "a page view" in their reporting system includes multiple views by a single viewer, as well as search engine indexing.
The information and views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of RenewableEnergyWorld.com or the companies that advertise on this Web site and other publications. This blog was posted directly by the author and was not reviewed for accuracy, spelling or grammar.
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