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Here's A Squidoo Secret: Make Your Lens Useful

Apr 7, 2008
Without help from a recognized expert, mastering any Web 2.0 platform can take time and a lot of trial and error. The same is true for Squidoo, a social marketing/blogging service created in 2005 by marketing genius Seth Godin.

To help you skip ahead along your learning curve, let me share the #1 secret to success with Squidoo.

Make Your Lens Useful
If I were writing a college thesis on Squidoo, I would say, "Squidoo was created within the premise that collaboration in a free market exchange of ideas will generate great content."

In other words: the cream will rise to the top. However, in order for your ideas on Squidoo to gain that larger audience you are seeking, you have to make your lens useful.

To do this, you must determine what it is your customers will appreciate you sharing with them. What is it that you know that they should want to know? Once you answer this question, give your audience the good stuff - don't hold back.

Next, you must convey your information in a friendly, readable way. Create your lens (your unique page on Squidoo) with short blocks of information. This is accomplished with multiple Text/Write modules. Use the titles of each module as your subheadings to break up longer articles of information.

According to Godin, your job as a lensmaster is to filter the overwhelming amount of information online into one easy to find resource (hence the term "lens"). So another piece of making your lens useful is to direct visitors to the best information that already exists online.

Use Pre-Built Modules To Make Your Lens Useful
To accomplish this, you can use several pre-built modules. The best of these are the Link List, RSS, and YouTube modules. The Link module makes it easy for you to link to the other websites and provide a short description for each site (for long term results, use the Link Plexo instead so your readers can add to this list).

The RSS module gives you the power to bring other people's blog articles into your lens. The module is made in such away that the first 25 words or so are automatically imported to your lens every day.

The YouTube module makes it easy for you to put the best videos on your topic into your lens. Not only does this provide your readers with more relevant information, it also makes your lens more fun to read. And don't worry - you don't have to be the creator of the videos to include them in your lens (but it does help!).

Create How To Lessons With Your Lenses
Another way to make your lens useful is to present your information as "how-to" lessons within your topic. This helps you and your audience in a number of ways.

First, it directs you to write content in a logical way. You may be stumped with what to write about when you start working on a lens. But if you approach your lens as a set of how-to steps, your ideas will come faster. And with the Reorder modules tool, it's easy to rearrange the steps if you get them out of order initially.

Having a step-by-step guide for your lens also gives your readers the action steps they need to become better in your area of expertise. As they accomplish their own goals of knowledge/skills, they know you were partially responsible. So they will "favorite" your lens, book mark it with Digg, Del.icio.us, or Stumble Upon, rate your lens 4 or 5 stars, perhaps even join your fan club.

In other words, the more useful your lens is, the more your readers will show their appreciation for what you are giving them.

That may seem like an obvious statement. And it is. But it's important to highlight it because with social marketing, also known as new media marketing, your reputation carries much more weight in your success.

Finally, the more useful your lens, the more likely you can get attention by people in high positions.

You could win a coveted Lens of the Day award by Squidoo. Or perhaps get picked up in a media publication. One of my own lenses was highlighted in the New York Times in early 2006, and the long term effects of that are still being felt in 2008.

So if you want to gain the fame and/or fortune you desire from your favorite pieces of knowledge, be sure to create lenses on Squidoo that are useful - indeed, make them the best single source of information on your topic available anywhere on the internet.
About the Author
Bob Jenkins is an internet marketing teacher, who specializes in Web 2.0 marketing strategies for business. He is the creator of Squidoo Secrets, a comprehensive audio and video training system to teach you Squidoo fast.
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