Ever since its first appearance last October, new Expert Tracker features have made it easier to add and follow key experts in your own field and beyond. Boosting the efficiency of your Expert Tracker is a prerequisite to efficiently following and learning from their latest thinking, as well as a prelude to building relationships.
I find that each time I’ve incorporated a new feature in my Expert Tracker, based on greater utilization of MindManager’s features, it has lead to important improvements in the performance of the other mind maps in the Dashboard series.
Often, enhancements are the result of addressing problems I’ve encountered using the Expert Tracker.
One of my biggest frustrations with tracking experts occurs when they regularly post their latest and best work as guest posts on blogs with higher traffic and visibility than their own websites. I needed an easy way to directly access their latest thinking on major, high traffic blogs without needing to:
- Visit each blog where the expert’s guest posts frequently appeared.
- Locate the blog’s search box.
- Enter the expert’s name in the blog’s search box, which does not always provide the results I’m looking for.
- Visit the links that appear in search engine results.
This was, at best, a cumbersome process. It also lead to frequent duplications, references to similar names, and brief comments that they had added to other blog posts.
Portal Pages Offer Direct Access to Latest Guest Posts
Many blogs, however, create portal pages for their contributors. These pages make it easy for you to locate the latest posts by the expert influencers you’re following. From that one page, you can easily locate their latest guest post, as well as review their previous posts.
There’s little standardization of these portal pages, but the key characteristics include:
- Photograph, links, and biography. Sometimes, there’s a 25 word limit; in other cases, guests can write as much as desired and include as many links as they choose.
- Links to blog posts. In many cases, the blog post titles are accompanied by a summary, or brief text abstract. Often, there’s a thumbnail of the key graphic associated with each blog post.
- Blog post tags and categories. In the above Inc. example, the categories appear above the blog post title. In other cases, the tags appear at the end of the text summarizing the blog post.
- Additional options. Sometimes the dates of the blog posts appear; in other cases, they’re omitted. The Inc. example includes the contributor’s Twitter feed. Sometimes, the author bio will be accompanied by advertisements. Others, the blog posts are accompanied by a summary of each post’s social media shares.
Below are some examples that showcase the diversity of content and design approaches that you’re likely to encounter when perusing guest portal pages:
- Active Garage
- Content Marketing Institute
- Fast Company
- Huffington Post
- Inc. Magazine
Creating a Map Part for Guest Post Portal Pages
Above is an example of an easily created map part that—once created—you can use over and over again to link to the portal pages where your experts and influencers frequently contribute guest posts.
The starting point is to identify the blogs where your experts and key influencers frequently contribute guest posts. Here are some of the ways you can do this:
- Check the expert’s About page on their website. This often contains links to the blogs where they frequently guest post.
- Monitor your expert’s social media postings. Often, they will Tweet a link to their latest guest post, or post a notification on Facebook or LinkedIn.
- Search on Google. Search on the expert’s name plus the title of the various blogs where they might be contributing guest posts.
- Click the byline next to their guest posts. This will take you to their portal page on the blog, if there is one. Otherwise, it will take you to their own website.
When creating your guest post portal map part, include as many likely possibilities as possible. It’s easier to delete unnecessary subtopics than retype the blog titles you need. Let the map part serve as a reminder of the possible locations where your experts may be submitting posts.
As you can see from the Expert Tracker example above, the Guest Post Portals map part complements the Social Media map part. The two map parts offer you one-click access to an expert’s current projects, as well as their previous endeavors, in a variety of locations.
The Guest Post Portals map part is especially useful in cases like the above, where the individual’s guest posts are relevant, but cover less-technical issues than found on the website of their primary business.
The Ultimate Enhancement: Map Parts Plus Tags
The Guest Post Portals map part becomes even more useful when employed in combination with MindManager’s tags and filtering features.
As described in my Dashboard Series installment, 3 Steps to Make Your Expert Tracker More Productive, MindManager’s tags feature makes it easy to display experts on the basis of their categories and influence.
- Categories refers to areas of expertise, i.e., content marketing, graphic design, social media, or video.
- Influence indicates relative importance, i.e., their status as an A-list influencer, a rising star, a personal favorite, or a competitor.
For example, start by filtering your map to display only the A-list influencers in the copywriting field, then quickly review their latest guest posts in the most important blogs, i.e., the Huffington Posts, etc.
This is far more efficient than trying to monitor “everybody” in every field, regardless of their relevance or the influence of the blogs where they are guest posting. The process adds discipline and efficiency to what is often a “random encounter” experience.
A little effort setting up your Guest Post Portals map part can save you a lot of time down the road. Just remember to update your Guest Blog Portals map part as you discover new blog posts with portals in your field, or find that you’re rarely using other subtopics.
How do you track the experts and influencers in your field?
How does the above process compare to the techniques you’re currently using to track experts both in your field, and outside your field? What are the criteria you use when you seek out experts and influencers to add to your Expert Tracker? Do you know of any other blogs who create portal pages for their guest posters? Most important, will an Expert Tracker mind map and Guest Post Portals map parts work for you? Talk to us in the comments, below.