A Social Media Survival Guide for Small Business

A social media guide for small business

“I can only conclude that people who don’t use social media are, at best, considered to be mavericks or, at worst, some kind of psychopath.” Steve Blakeman

“I’m not a very social media person” my new client admitted to me. “I mean, I know I should be…I’m just not.”

I get it.

If you were born before 1980 you are less likely to be a ‘social media person’.

So, there you are: a business person who needs social media to reach your tribe – even attract a bigger tribe. The problem is the thought of checking Instagram every morning or uploading a video to Facebook gives you a cold sweat.

You could go cold turkey, buy a yurt and live in the desert (been done), or…
you could find a happy compromise and use social media on your terms.

There is a solution and it starts by understanding that you don’t need to reach the world.

 

If you were born before 1980 you are less likely to be a ‘social media person’.

 

Social Media Guide for Small Business: You don’t need to reach the world.

“There is also the joy of learning new ways of marketing, with that there is often the accompanying pain of mistakes that comes along for the ride.” Jeff Bullas

Has this happened to you?

You see a tweet that had 425 retweets or your competitor has 10,000 followers on Facebook. “Damn,” you think “I really need to spend more time tweeting. Or posting. Or pasting. Or someting!”

Well, whoop-di-doo (tech speak for ‘who cares?’) they got a bunch of monkeys to jump!

Maybe that’s not your goal?

Unless you’re promoting your new punk band or selling a new gaming app, volume is not your goal. Click To Tweet

Your goal should be to build loyal followers

The kind of loyal followers who follow you all the way back to your website. The kind of followers who share your content and buy your stuff.

You don’t need to reach the world … you need to reach your tribe.

Start by getting a clear notion of who you are speaking to – who is your ideal audience, or avatar:

— what age are they?
— gender?
— type of work or career?
— what problems do they seek solutions for?
— what style of writing do they enjoy: high-brow philosophy or Gary Larson cartoons?
— how do they like to engage: sharing, quizzes, comments?

Evernote (read my post about how I use this fantastic, free tool) does a great job of writing to people who love lists and getting organized.

Good is better than more.

“I am 100% convinced that you can live without using or be on social media.” Israel Garcia

There’s lots of “expert” advice online on how to schedule loads and loads of updates (I wrote about the problem with scheduling software). As if volume is the ultimate goal.

There’s lots of “expert” advice online on how to schedule loads and loads of updates. As if volume is the ultimate goal. Click To Tweet

Let me ask you a question…

If you went to a restaurant, would you rather have a huge bowl of mediocre food or a small portion of delicious food prepared by a talented chef? I’d choose good over more every time.

Good can simply mean a few extra minutes editing, choosing an original image, or making a reference to a trending topic.

A good rule with social media is people share what makes them look smart. Putting a clever twist on what they think they already know will have more legs than one more post about 5 ways to be a better leader.

Comparing two posts on similar topics, my post “5 steps to writing an awesome blog post in less than 60 minutes”  got a much better reaction than the earlier post “5 blog posts that will keep your reader coming back.” Taking a stand – even a bold claim – is an invitation for readers to share to their followers. They feel smart sharing the post they just enjoyed and you get the benefit of new readers.

A good rule with social media is people share what makes them look smart. Click To Tweet

Oreo does a great job of creating smart, often sarcastic, comedy in their Tweets.

Work in batches

“The best way to engage honestly with the marketplace via Twitter is to never use the words ‘engage,’ ‘honestly,’ or ‘marketplace.’”Jeffrey Zeldman, Founder, A List Apart magazine

One of the best ways to be more effective is to work in batches. That could be 15 minutes of solid email work, followed by no email for an hour, instead of constantly checking your email all morning.

You can also batch your social media.

Instead of interrupting your day with updates and responding to followers, you can do it once a day. You might not go viral, but you will have time for other work without distraction.

Fortunately, there are scheduling tools like Buffer and CoSchedule that let you load up a calendar full of updates. The problem with any schedule tools (this will intentionally sound self-serving) is that most people – especially super busy business owners – don’t have time to learn how to use the scheduling tool, let alone constantly fill it.

I know, because before I created BlogWorks, that’s what I tried to do.

I’ll give you two weeks before you quit.

Good news! At BlogWorks we can do it all for you. No scheduling tools, searching for articles, fussing with pictures, or shortening links. One account, one solution, social media is done. Learn how to get started with BlogWorks.

Good news! At BlogWorks we can do it all for you.

Outsource $10/hour jobs

“If you love life, don’t waste time for time is what life is made up of.” Bruce Lee

One of the most powerful lessons I received as an entrepreneur was about the value of my time.

Here’s a simple exercise that was a big eye opener for me and might be for you as well.

Start by making three columns on a piece of paper (a flip chart is even better) and title them: $10, $50, $[what you charge clients per hour]. These are the values of the time for each task, starting with up to $10/hour, and then up to $50/hour and finally, up to your current value when working for clients.

Now, fill in all the tasks, jobs, routines, roles you fill in a typical week, putting each one in the column that matches the value of the job in dollars.

A common mistake entrepreneurs make is doing $10/hour jobs instead of delegating them to others.

Do you see a problem?

Most business owners discover there’s lots of $10 jobs they are still doing, even though they charge 10X that, or more, to their customers. This is what Michael Gerber meant when he said we are “…spending too much time working in our business instead of working on our business.”

The solution begins by first documenting the process routine for all your $10/hour jobs. Simply make a list of each step using a Google Doc (we use Google Doc’s because they’re easy to share within our team).

These are called SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) and they can change your life.

Next, go on UpWork and hire a freelancer to do that job. Don’t worry about creating full-time employment or giving them five jobs to make it worth their time — just start with one reoccurring job that needs to get done.

A good job to start with is publishing your blog.

You might be surprised to learn how many steps go into publishing a blog. There are at least a dozen steps, starting with logging into WordPress, entering the headline, choosing tags, that have to be done the same way every time to get your blog looking good.

The solution is to start documenting the routines for all your $10/hour jobs.
Pro tip: once you post your job in Upwork, use the filters to choose the criteria for the freelancer you are looking for.

Even if you’re not into social media, you don’t have to abandon it altogether.

The strategies in this social media guide for small business can keep you in the game with minimal effort and time.

Speaking of which, now you have more time for what you are into, like watching reruns of All in the family with a nice mug of Ovaltine.

The ultimate list: 7 reasons why you (yes, you) need a blog today

Do you need a blog? 7 reasons the answser is yes

Does your business need a blog?

Sometimes we do things just because everyone else does. Like wearing socks to work or washing our car on Saturdays. Sometimes we need to rethink those decisions. Especially when it comes to marketing.

In this post I will explore the question … does your business need a blog?

A bit ironic to write about this in a blog, but here goes…

Blogging has been around for over 20 years and is no longer the domain of only political pundits and geeks. According to some estimates, there are 300 million active blogs(!) and approximately 40% of businesses use a blog to connect with their customers and attract new ones.

And there’s loads of glowing statistics promoting the benefits of blogs:

Bu,t the question remains: do YOU need a blog for your business? After all, maintaining an active blog takes time, effort and attention – three things usually in short supply.

Maintaining an active blog takes time, effort and attention- three things usually in short supply. Click To Tweet

First, you have to research, write, edit and publish the blog with images and keywords. Then you have to promote the blog and worry about generating traffic and converting that traffic to sales. It’s a lot of work – especially if you don’t have a team helping you.

That’s why in this post we are looking at the WHY of blogging. You’ll want to also explore our other articles about how to write a blog, find a ghost writer, get more traffic, measure success and even overcome procrastination.

Here are the top 7 reasons that experts believe you DO need a blog.

Top 7 reasons you need a blog

1. Build loyalty

In the crazy-busy world of marketing, blogs are unique. Instead of pushing your products and services on consumers, with your blog you attract them with valuable information they want to consume. Just like a magazine or TV show; we are attracted to the content—selling is secondary.

Instead of pushing your products and services on consumers, you are attracting them to you with valuable information they want to consume. Click To Tweet

Blogs also build loyalty. Small at first, your blog will find loyal readers who value your advice, want your recipes or enjoy your unique insights on life. Those loyal readers can then join your list, attend your webinar, visit your restaurant or buy your online course.

A great example of building loyalty with the blog is Angela Liddon of the Oh She Glows recipe books. Since 2008, Liddon has built up a fan club of over 1 million readers and written New York Times best-selling cookbooks (we have 2 of them). The heart of her success started with posting to her blog 3 times a day!

Blogs can build loyalty - Oh She Glows
The care and attention to every blog post took Angela Liddon from baking and selling snack bars from her home to a New York Times best-selling author.

2. Build your platform

Of all the reasons you need a blog, the most powerful could be to build an online platform.

In the old days of marketing, we would define a market position with the 5 P’s (promotion, product, price, place, people). Now we use “platform” to refer to all the pieces you have on the Internet related to your business that create an image in the consumer’s mind and a competitive advantage in your market.

As author Michael Hyatt would say, your platform is about leading a tribe of engaged followers”.

Now we use “platform” to refer to all the pieces you have on the Internet related to your business that creates an image in the consumer’s mind and a competitive advantage in your market. Click To Tweet

Uber entrepreneur Neil Patel used his blog to build a platform as a consultant and speaker and for his associated companies, Neil Patel Digital, Crazy Egg, SproutSocial and Hello Bar.

Build your blog with a platform
When Neil Patel started to build his online empire, it all started with a blog.

3. Attract new followers

Here’s something you probably don’t know about your blog. Most visitors are new to your site. A sampling of 20 BlogWorks clients found that over 85% of visitors were new to the site. First time. Brand spanking new to your world—that’s a huge opportunity, and another reason you need a blog.

It’s like renting a hotel room and 85% of the people who walk into your evening seminar are meeting you for the first time.

What an opportunity!

Those first-time readers can join your list, request more information, watch a demonstration video, buy product or bookmark your site for future reading.

But, arriving at a blog for the first time can be confusing. As author, podcaster and blogger, Pat Flynn writes, “it’s like trying to read a book that was written on loose-leaf paper, un-numbered and thrown into the air and having the pages randomly land on the ground.”

The trick is to guide those new visitors to where you want them to go. Start with an index of the blog posts you most want new visitors to read. From each blog post direct your readers to read related blog posts or to your contact page or product page.

Attract new followers with your blog
A simple way to welcome new readers to your blog is to hand-pick the list of blogs you want them to read first.

4. Convert to sales

Of course, converting readers to sales is the most popular blogging objective. You want readers to buy your recipe book, order that exercise bike or contact you about executive coaching. That would be great.

While some readers will go straight to your sales page or fill in your contact form, it’s less likely on the first visit. What’s more likely is a reader will commit to a small first step – like joining your list.

Following that, your job is to move them to a sale.

Design Pickle founder Russ Perry does a great job of getting new visitors to watch a video before making a buying decision. After all, not everyone is going to sign up for a monthly fee over $300 on their first visit. But they will be closer to making that decision after committing to a 3-minute video (we use the same strategy).

Convert blog readers to sales
You might not be ready to commit to a $300+ monthly fee, but how about a 3-minute video?

5. Build your list

The long game with blogging is to build a valuable list of followers who eventually need what you sell. Getting to your prospect’s inbox will always generate better results compared to social media or advertising.

The good news is that list building from your blog with tools like Mail Chimp, Zoho and Constant Contact is easier than ever.

Start with a simple offer of delivering your latest post directly to your follower’s inbox, then go the next step with an “ethical bribe” for signing up, like a free ebook, or 30 minutes of coaching. Next, build a simple email sequence that starts to be delivered once a new prospect joins your list.

Referral expert, Steve Gordon makes his blog promise on the home page of his site The Unstoppable CEO “We help service businesses get great clients.” From there it’s an easy one click to schedule a call to learn more or to download his ebook “The Exponential Network Strategy” and 8-video training series.

Build your list with your blog
A clear promise with an easy call-to-action is the best formula for a high performing site.

6. Nurture your followers

Let’s imagine someone interested in your consulting company or gluten-free recipe for chocolate torte finds your blog. Great – that’s the first step. But if they aren’t ready to buy or even join your list, what will you do to stay top of mind? That’s another reason you need a blog.

As a professional speaker, I need my clients, event planners, HR managers and speaker bureaus to remember I’m still active and looking for speaking opportunities. Rather than calling them every two weeks, I send them my latest blog post by email.

Sure, I might only have an email open rate of 25-30%, but that’s still thousands of people who are being reminded of the work I do.

Nuture your followers with your blog
Instead of calling my clients every two weeks, I send them my latest blog post by email

7. Pure fun and sharing

There is nothing wrong with having fun with your blog. Blogger Tim Urban makes it clear from his homepage at Wait But Why you should expect the unexpected, starting with his promise of “We publish every sometime.”

Urban’s blog posts range from simple cartoons to tackling complicated global social issues with 20,000+ word treatise that dive deep into topics like the birth of the electric car.

These are big, hairy topics and Urban is fearless. He also has some fun with his readers, like this recent post about table-hogging at a coffee shop.

Pure fun and sharing
Sometimes the best approach to a touchy topic is with humor

 

Here’s the bottom line (funny, I’m at the bottom of the blog) – get clear about the purpose(s) of your blog and then put it to work. Nothing beats a loyal customer and your blog is one of the best ways to get more of them.

Still considering whether you need a blog and want to read more?

You’ll want to also explore our other articles about how to write a blog, find a ghostwriter, get more traffic, measure success and even overcome procrastination.

 

Want more info on How to Get The Social Media Monkey Off Your Back?

How To get the Social Media Monkey off your Back E-book

 

 

Click here for our white paper.

 

 

 

 

Or contact us at yourblogworks.com/contact/

How to get more blog traffic (142%!)

How to get 142% more blog traffic

Let’s face it – if you have a blog you want traffic – right? But you need to know how to get more blog traffic.

It makes sense: more traffic equals more business…

In fact, companies that blog receive 55% more traffic than companies that don’t. And according to at least one study, 83% of consumers trust the advice of a blog.

The trick is to first get people to read your blog. And for that I have some help. In fact, I’ve used these same strategies to increase my blog traffic by 142% in one year. Not bad when you consider most blogs we watch trickle along with a modest 5-10% annual growth.

Before I get to my solutions on how to get more blog traffic, let me ask you a question:

Are you writing your content to be helpful?

Don’t get me wrong – it’s great that you want more business. But, if your blog is all about click-through rates and opting into lists – it will be obvious. Like the old saying: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

If your blog is all about click-through rates and opting into lists - it will be obvious. Like the old saying: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. Click To Tweet

Here’s the good news…

If you write your blog to be truly helpful – without expecting something in return – you will build a tribe and eventually get what you want. It might not be gangbusters overnight, but you will attract people who like your approach. That will happen.

With that caveat out of the way …

Here’s a quick summary of all 25 points on how to get more blog traffic – Slideshare style:

Here’s my favourite (all white-hat) 25 tips on how to get more blog traffic without breaking the bank or staying up all night.

  1. Know this is important work and publish on a regular basis. Once a month is much, much better than – as Tim Urban puts it: We publish every sometime.
  2. Write shorter posts. If you insist on writing Ulyssey’s-length essays you might be losing a lot of readers.
  3. Notice what works and do more of that (this is my fav. overall strategy – read this).
  4. Write in the second person (“you”, “your”, not “me”) – after all, every reader cares most about themself.
  5. Write about your failings. “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker.” Denis Waitley
  6. Share on social media (hey! we can do that for you).
  7. Take a risk – like write a short post (#2), admit you suck as something (#5), take a bold stand (#19), or start with a personal story (#24).
  8. Do (just a bit of) research. As a minimum, use a tool like buzzsumo to find top ranking blog posts on your topic.
google analytics
With a little strategy and some hard work I was able to increase my traffic 142% in one year.
  1. Be funny (at the very least choose a funny image.)
  2. Write stuff people will want to link to.
  3. Be remarkable.
  4. Don’t interrupt your writing with a lot of links (except for this post, of course.)
  5. Keep adding to your idea pile (I use Evernote and tag them as ‘unused blog posts’ to capture ideas on the fly.)
  6. Kill and bury old, low traffic blog posts. This is a good SEO strategy, but also good for your readers.
  7. Edit ruthlessly. Pro writer’s tip: don’t start editing until you have completed the first draft.
  8. Experiment with your blog on video, SlideShare, illustrations, cartoons or finger paint.
  9. Be patient! Great content with some promotion will attract the readers you want.
  10. Quote bloggers with big followings (then let them know on social media).
  11. Take a stand—a strong voice will cut through the Internet fog and, like a search light, will find the readers you want.
  12. Make it easy for readers to share your blog. We use the floating share button from sumo.
  13. Ask your readers to do something. Like add a comment, share the post or download a guide.
  14. Read lots of inspiring blogs. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Stephen King
  15. Don’t be boring. That’s worth repeating: don’t be boring. There.
  16. Tell stories.
  17. Assume every day is a new beginning because you always have new readers.

I know you’re reading this because you care. You care about results but you also care about helping people with your blog. That’s cool.

Knowing how to get more blog traffic can be confusing

Blogging is hard work.

Some months I struggle with every blog I write. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time, or the topic, or the damn thing just stalls out in the middle and I don’t know how to wrap it up in a meaningful way.

What keeps me going is knowing that __________ (fill in your monthly website traffic) people are coming into my “hotel room” to read what I wrote. And most of them are new (point #25). That’s a big and exciting responsibility, opportunity and role that I play.

If you’re up for that, I know these 25 tips and actions on how to get more blog traffic will help to fill your hotel room.

Thanks to Seth Godin for inspiring this short post. And Jeff Goins for adding to Seth’s post with his own list.

 

Want more help getting results with your blog? Check out these posts:

Tips and Encouragement for Bloggers who Doubt
21 Traffic Building Tips from Professional Bloggers
Build blog traffic while you sleep

(and our cool download “Get more blog traffic now”)

 

Excuse me, but your blog is BORING!

boring blog

Let’s face it, you won’t watch a movie to the end, finish a book or read a magazine article if it’s boring. Your blog is no different.

You might have the best tips, strategies, insights or even keys to the kingdom, but if you have a boring blog, people won’t read it.

In this post, I’m sharing 7 ways to turn any blog from boring to brilliant, get more readers and have readers become loyal fans.

Ready?

1) Start with a problem (I just did it)

I started this post by describing a problem (your blog might not be working, possibly because it’s boring) to get your attention. That’s very different from starting with a bland statement about why blogs are important or why you need more readers.

If you want to get your reader’s attention, design your blog post to “answer the question going on in your customer’s mind.” In other words, get clear about the problem you are going to solve, make that clear in your headline and then deliver the goods!

If you want to get your reader’s attention, design your blog post to “answer the question going on in your customer’s mind.” Click To Tweet

2) Tell a story

Stories are often the most indelible parts in a blog post—remembered long after statistics, facts and advice are forgotten.

We love stories. In a keynote (think of your favourite TED talks), stories are often the most indelible parts in a blog post—remembered long after statistics, facts and advice are forgotten.

The story could be from your life (in this post I wrote about making money by drinking tea), your work (here I talked about creating the world’s first airline in Antarctica), or retelling a story (like this post about experimental economist John List.)

Sometimes the story could be a simple observation. Like this morning you noticed that everyone standing in line at Starbucks were checking their phones.

When you invite your reader into a story you capture their imagination – a picture develops in their mind – and you have their attention.

When you invite your reader into a story you capture their imagination - a picture develops in their mind - and you have their attention. Click To Tweet

3) Keep the reader moving

Nothing is more boring than run-on sentences with too much detail about points nobody cares about that never reach a meaningful conclusion. Like this one:

“It used to be that work-life balance was the holy grail of work-life. Work hard, but also have equal, or more, time for family, friends and personal time. In our new world of 24/7 communications and flat organizations it’s harder to turn work off and even harder to stop thinking about work after hours.”

You can add punch and get to your point faster with short sentences and short paragraphs, like this:

“Work-life balance is dead.

In our new world of 24/7 connections and flat organizations, it’s hard to end work at 5PM – even harder to turn work off.”

(see #7 about retrofitting your old blog posts.)

4) Remove unnecessary words

“Kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

In his classic On Writing-A memoir of the craft, Stephen King pulls no punches when it comes to culling unnecessary words: “Kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

Here’s a short list to get you started:

  • Then. You don’t need to have ‘then’ to tell us something is coming next. Book marketing expert and author, Diana Urban, goes one further: “Using “then” frequently sounds repetitive and even juvenile.”
  • All, every, totally, completely, absolutely, literally. If I’m writing “I packed my clothes and left the room.” It doesn’t help to say I packed all my clothes (it’s assumed I have them all). A quick test is to remove the suspect word and see if your meaning is intact.
  • That. I’m still surprised by the number of times I find a useless ‘that’ lurking in my writing – shoot on sight! Diana Urban suggests, “If a sentence still makes sense after removing ‘that’, delete it.”

Chopping out unnecessary words helps to move the reader along, cuts word count and make your work appear more professional.

5) Break it up with a dash

A dash often replaces the word ‘to’, as in “Breaking sentences with a dash moves readers forward – get the results you want with fewer words.”

An em dash marks an abrupt change of thought in a sentence—often replacing a colon or semicolon. It’s popular use has made it, as Kimberly Joki writes in Grammarly, “the Swiss army knife of punctuation.”

Here’s an example from the post Why you are so damn distracted and how to finally get stuff done on my site: .

I took this original writing:

You can think of your brain as a sentry on speed. It’s job (all 3 pounds of it) is to keep you safe from harm. So anything that appears to need attention, your brain’s attention gets it.

With dashes, I cropped 8 unnecessary words and gave the writing some punch:

Think of your brain as a sentry on speed. It’s job – all 3 pounds of it – is to keep you safe—anything that needs attention gets it.

6) Ask a question

Let me ask you a question…

Are you using questions in your blog?

When we read a question a light goes on in our brain (this is probably not scientifically accurate) that says “Huh, I wonder what the answer is?”

That’s a good thing because now your reader is engaged and wants to read on.

You can use a question to segue into your next topic or just to get reader’s attention. You can even use them as orphan sentences, like this:

What’s a question that would get your readers’ attention?

7) Have something to say

The world has too many blog posts about leadership, relationships and dog grooming.  To be more accurate; the world has too many boring blog posts about leadership, relationships and dog grooming.

The world has too many boring blog posts about leadership, relationship and dog grooming. Click To Tweet
The world has too many boring blogs about leadership, relationship and dog grooming.

What reader’s crave are unique reflections and insights – that hard-won wisdom only you possess. When you write original, relevant and valuable content, people will flock to your site. And you will build loyalty – not with everyone, but with those who matter.

Ultimately, a reader will hire you or buy your product or come to your restaurant (or get their dog groomed by you) because they like and trust you. Bland, generic, boring writing won’t get you there.

Before you start writing, ask if this is interesting – will it stand out in a crowded blogging world. Your blog doesn’t have to unlock secrets to the universe or explain how to split an atom (although that would be cool), but it does need to keep your reader’s attention.

 

Here’s the good news:

Any blog post (I look at dozens every day) can be greatly improved with a 5-minute retrofit. Break up sentences, delete dead words, pose questions and make your reader think.

Do that and you will quickly build a loyal audience and – best of all – they will keep coming back for more.

 

Want to know How to Get The Social Media Monkey Off Your Back?

How To get the Social Media Monkey off your Back E-book

 

 

Click here for our white paper.

 

 

 

 

Or contact us at yourblogworks.com/contact/

Tips and Encouragement for Bloggers who Doubt

tips and encouragement for bloggers who doubt

If you’ve been blogging for a few months and haven’t seen the new gigs, clients, sales, connections, or whatever else you’re looking for—it’s not time to quit. Real leaders know that instant success is impossible. It takes motivation, direction, smart work, and persistence to find blogging inspiration.

Blogging, social media promotion and tangible results are similar. Likewise, getting a date and turning them into a mate is far from automatic or instant. Blogging, social media promotion, and sales are a lot like boy notices girl, boy dates girl, boy marries girl. Intrigued? Then read on!

Step 1: Looking good (your blog)

The first step in a relationship is making that connection and spark. Without a good presentation that usually doesn’t happen. Whatever our natural beauty is, grooming, dress, appearance, and how we carry ourselves influences the impression we make.

Think of yourself as that raw beauty. You are a leader. You have knowledge, insight, and skills. That’s beautiful! Your blog presents that beauty.

If you aren’t sure your blog is working, easily available tools can tell you your popular pages, which opt-ins are working, and what is driving visitors to your site. Even if your blog is doing well, any blog can get better. Re-examine your approach and take some tips from successful bloggers.

Be sure to ask yourself…

TIP: If you’re running out of things to say, use one of the 36 blog post ideas from BlogWorks. Fill in the blank and “voila!” The title of your next blog.

 

Step 2: Making the connection (social media)

If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear? If you look dazzling, does anybody see?

Your blog may be full of well-presented insight. But that won’t mean anything unless someone reads what you wrote. When someone reads your blog that’s like your “date.” If you write a great blog and no one sees it, that’s like being all dolled up, but “Home Alone.” Move over Macaulay Culkin.

Social media is an invaluable way to ensure that you, the author, get those “dates” with readers.

It is important to not be shy in this regard. Not every tweet is seen by every follower, nor is every Facebook post seen by everyone on who likes your page. Even if all those people did see every post, not everyone swings at the first pitch, nor will the same pitch work on everybody. This means that frequent and varied posts with varied hashtags are essential.

Tip: If this is not something you want to take the time for, you may consider hiring a social media service to do it for you.

Step 3: Let it Grow (repeat and repeat again)

Not everyone who “dates” wants something that outlasts the morning dew. Someone may see your blog, like what they read, enjoy it, and not necessarily come back. If you want them to be a keeper, it will require more posts, more social media promotion, and many happy returns from your potential suitor. All of this takes time—at least six months according to some experts. Give up early and you’ll be like a farmer who planted a crop in spring, got sick of all the weeds and no crop in summer, and walked away before the harvest.

You see, there may come a time when that casual dater wants something lasting. When they are looking to make a transaction—a “marriage” you might say, who will they choose?

It will be someone they have built a relationship with, had many dates with and thought that person had the right stuff. Suddenly, all that looking good, the diligence of your matchmaking friend, and your mutual perseverance pays off.

Ta daa—a wedding that doesn’t cost you anything. And your suitor pays!

Quit early and you’ll never know that. Keep going and you’ll be saying, “I’m a Believer” like the Monkees in their famous ‘60’s tune.

 

I thought love was only true in fairy tales

Meant for someone else but not for me

Love was out to get me

That’s the way it seemed

Disappointment haunted all of my dreams…

I thought love was more or less a giving thing

The more I gave the less I got

What’s the use in tryin’

All you get is pain

When I wanted sunshine I got rain

Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer

Not a trace, of doubt in my mind

I’m in love, I’m a believer

I couldn’t leave her if I tried

 

Blogging works. Re-tune, repeat, and reap the rewards.

Five Simple Steps to Double Your Business with LinkedIn

double your business with linkedin

LinkedIn may not be up there with the “cool” kids like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but if you know how to take advantage of it, LinkedIn can provide you with a lot more leads and new clients that all other social networks combined.

Despite what some people still think, LinkedIn is not simply a place to find a job or for recruiters to find talent. Over 80% of all B2B leads generated by social media come from LinkedIn.

By following some simple steps, you can put your lead generation in the fast lane, expand your reach, elevate your authority and most importantly, grow your sales. LinkedIn provides fantastic targeting abilities, where you can hone in on precisely the type of customer you want.

But you need to understand what is required to attract today’s buyer.

It requires a shift in the sales dialogue from “What can I sell you?” to “How can I help you?”

Today, your personal brand is more important than it’s ever been as people are looking to find out more about an individual before they do business with them.

Seven seconds is all you have to wow a potential client. Your social selling success is dependent on how your LinkedIn profile represents your personal brand.

With all of these challenges, there is still tremendous opportunity. You now have tools available to you to connect directly with your ideal prospects, with the click of a button.

And while everyone has been talking about social media for years, few talk about the power of LinkedIn. I believe many businesses ignore LinkedIn for two primary reasons:

  1. It isn’t sexy.
  2. It isn’t fun or exciting.

While LinkedIn may not be exciting, getting new clients and having a successful business certainly is!

The LINK Method™ – Double your business with LinkedIn

There are five crucial steps that will turn LinkedIn into a highly predictable lead generator for you. I call this The LINK Method™.

In the infographic below I will share with you the five-step process, what you need to have in your profile to attract your ideal clients, trigger events that allow you to build relationships with your prospects on LinkedIn, how to leverage existing relationships, and much more.

Are you interested in discovering how to turn LinkedIn into a lead generation machine? Take a look at the infographic below:

The LINK Method™

 

I believe that when you stop collecting connections and start building relationships, you increase trust, credibility and attract more clients. This is vital because effective social selling is all about building relationships and trust.

The beauty of LinkedIn is that it is a platform that was designed to help you find, connect and then build a relationship and trust with the exact group of people that comprise your target audience.

Yet people continue to make two very serious mistakes with LinkedIn and social selling.

Mistake #1:
They rush to a sale right after connecting with a potential prospect.

Mistake #2:
They never move the conversation offline, or don’t know how to, as it’s offline that you convert a prospect to a client.

 

LinkedIn is the premier business platform for social selling and the tips shared in this infographic represent just a small portion of the blueprint laid out in my brand-new book LinkedIn Unlocked: Unlock the Mystery of LinkedIn To Drive More Sales Through Social Selling.

 In LinkedIn Unlocked you will learn a step-by-step system that will help you generate a steady stream of new leads, clients, and sales on LinkedIn in under 30 minutes a day.

To celebrate the launch of LinkedIn Unlocked, there is also $221 in free bonuses, including a companion workbook with all of the exercises, worksheets, and templates provided in the book. Click here now to learn more about LinkedIn Unlocked and the exclusive bonuses.

double your business with linkedin

 

Melonie Dodaro, is the founder of Top Dog Social Media and a leading expert on LinkedIn and social selling. She’s the author of two books, including the #1 Amazon bestseller The LinkedIn Code and her brand-new book LinkedIn Unlocked. Melonie has trained over 27,000 businesses and individuals and appears on countless lists as a top sales and marketing influencer.

36 Blog Topics your Readers will Love

blog topics

We’ve all been there. You need to get the next blog post out, but you’re flat out of blog topic ideas and feel like you’ve already written about everything you know.

Not to worry.

Sometimes it just takes a new angle on an old story to get that spark you need to get new content flowing. And before you know it, you’ve got a unique post that readers love.

In this post we’ve compiled 36 blog post themes you can apply to just about any topic and have an original post people will want to share.

Here’s how it works.

Choose your blog topic.

Let’s say you write about leadership. Start with a leadership topic your followers frequently ask about.

Let’s pick delegation.

Choose your blog theme.

Next, scan the list of 36 themes below and choose a writing angle you haven’t used before.

Let’s pick:

1. Reasons that most _________ fail
8. The biggest misconception about _________
29. A quick checklist that will save you _________

Write a rough headline.

Once you have the theme for the post, create a rough headline to give the post some direction.

Let’s go with:

  • The reason most delegation fails (and how to avoid it).
  • The biggest misconception new managers have about delegation.
  • A quick checklist for your next delegation conversation.

Write your rough draft.

From here, have fun with this new angle to an old topic. You can start with a personal story or a story from a client of yours and then expand on the theme.

In short order, you’ll have a rough draft of a post with an interesting twist that will get your reader’s attention.

All of our most popular blog posts used these themes. Here are some examples:

Facebook Page vs Profile: Everything You Need To Know

What is the Ideal Blog Post Length?

4 Ways to Make Your Blog Images Pop

Now, it’s over to you.

Here’s the complete list of 36 blog post themes:


Opinion posts

  1. Reasons that most _________ fail
  2. Do’s and Don’t’s of _________
  3. One question that changed my _________
  4. My predictions for _________
  5. One purchase that chanced my life
  6. What most people don’t know about _________

Experience/Expertise

  1. ## steps to becoming _________
  2. The biggest misconception about _________
  3. Why I _________ and you should as well
  4. Why I will never _________
  5. One goal we all need to have
  6. How one conversation changed _________

Aspirational/Inspirational

  1. How thinking different can get you _________
  2. The books that impacted me the most
  3. How _________ changed my thinking forever
  4. What success really means
  5. ## great examples of _________
  6. One daily routine that _________

Learning

  1. How to discover _________
  2. Why a survey can _________
  3. ## ways to discover your _________
  4. How to buy your next _________
  5. ## TED talks that changed my life
  6. How to read better and faster

Mistakes to avoid

  1. ## mistakes you want to avoid when _________
  2. The biggest mistake that taught me _________
  3. How to avoid _________
  4. How to know if you are _________
  5. A quick checklist that will save you _________
  6. What I learned from _________

Getting better

  1. What I learned when I first _________
  2. My experience _________ and lessons learned
  3. What I discovered when I _________
  4. How to change from _________ to _________
  5. One habit that every one needs to _________
  6. Feeling stuck? ## ways to _________

How to hire an awesome writer for your blog

hire a writer

You’ve got a blog – so far, so good. And you’ve written six posts, but now the inevitable time crunch is happening.

A week goes by, and then another.

No blog post.

Two more weeks and despite your best intentions…still no blog post.

We see it all the time: orphaned blogs. They still command a place on your menu bar, but nobody’s home.

One solution is to hire a writer. Sounds simple, right?

You hire someone to write your posts for you. You sit back, the posts come in, you get more engagement and more business.

But, whoa there silver! There are a few things to consider before going down the freelancer highway and starting to read resumes. Let’s start with the most important question first.

Should you hire a writer?

As tempting as it might seem to hire a writer, you should first consider how important it is to use your own voice in your blog posts.

If you have a content blog sharing great advice, maybe it doesn’t matter so much who wrote it, as long as the content is unique and the writing is high quality. Two good examples of this are inkbotdesign.com or contentmarketinginstitute.com.

On the other hand, if you are the brand, then maybe having someone else write your blog is not the best idea. A freelance writer is unlikely to accurately mimic your style of writing or humour and certainly can’t match your knowledge.

It is possible to find a great match with freelancers, after all, ghostwriters have written many of the best-selling autobiographies. But it could mean higher costs and a longer search process.

The workaround is for your freelancer to write content pieces, not personality pieces. A good example of this is Jon Morrow, who writes brilliant posts about his take on blogging, life after his accident and “living in paradise.” Meanwhile, you’ll find many freelancers contributing great how-to content to Morrow’s SmartBlogger blog.

What to look for in a writer

Before you start posting your job or searching forums for writers, it’s important to know what you’re looking for.

Just like shopping for groceries, if you don’t start with a list it could be an expensive trip to the store.

Your list of requirements will be unique, based on the content expertise you are looking for, but here’s a good list to start with:

  • Writing skills. As basic as it sounds, there’s nothing more frustrating than bad grammar from a “professional writer.” If you really want to test if applicants are detail oriented insert this instruction “Please mention ‘Blue Moon’ in your application.”
  • Basic knowledge. As a minimum, your freelancer should have proven experience writing similar posts and a basic knowledge of the content area.
  • Confident writing voice. It’s great to be accurate, but a big challenge for any blog is to be interesting enough to stop readers from clicking away.
  • Commitment to quality. In your interview process, give some feedback. How your freelancer receives your advice is one of the best measures of how well they will work out.

How to get started

We published a detailed post about job posting boards, forums and even searching Twitter to find freelancers. If you’re ready to find that perfect writer, that’s a good place to start.

Adding to that post, there is, of course, the Mack truck of freelancing, Upwork. At BlogWorks, we use Upwork every month for market research, graphic design and other long-term and one-off jobs.

The tip we most often share is to use the applicant filters and to individually invite the freelancers you are most interested in working with (as opposed to letting Upwork send you applicants.)

Invite the right applicants to write

For example, if hiring a blog writer, I would follow this simple routine:

  1. Post the job. You can start with this being a one-off job and set the price level as “intermediate”

  1. When you move to “Invite freelancers”, immediately open “Filters” and start selecting the criteria you are looking for. You can even select your country of choice.

hire a writer through upwork

  1. Once you have selected your filter criteria, Upwork will start displaying the freelancers that fit your criteria. This is where you invite the best applicants to apply.

The most remarkable aspect of Upwork is the speed at which you can go from job posting to communicating with qualified applicants. And because you have posted a one time job (as opposed to an ongoing contract), your risk is pretty minimal.

Whether you hire a writer or commit to writing all of your posts, either way, committing to a consistent schedule of publishing is important. The worst option is to have an orphan blog on your site collecting dust.

Your readers want to learn from you and be inspired. Now, get publishing.

 

 

9 expert bloggers reveal their best strategies

pro blogger

There is no end of advice online about becoming a successful blogger – some of it brilliant, some not so much. Some tips for blogging success even conflict with other advice.

You should write short posts. You should write long posts.

Try using more pictures. Add infographics.

Short, punchy writing is the peach. Long-form writing attracts a more committed audience.

…you get the idea.

We know you don’t have the time to wade through a sea of conflicting advice to find the gems, so we went mining for you.

We reached out to people we respect as being expert bloggers and who we know have used their blog to help built large followings and a sustainable business.

This is hand-picked advice – just for you – of what pro bloggers want you to do with your blog in 2018.

Newsjacking

If you’ve ever wondered about how to connect your readers with breaking news – David Meerman Scott (best selling author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR) is the expert. In fact, he coined the term ‘Newsjacking’ – the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story to generate tons of media coverage, get sales leads, and grow business.

Newsjacking blogging success

Here’s how David explains it:

“As the story develops in real-time, buyers become interested in products and services based on what’s happening now. Newsjacking generates sales leads and adds new customers. For free! Newsjacking is a great way to grow your business. Faster than ever!”

Buyers are interested in products and services based on what’s happening now. @dmscott Click To Tweet

Further Reading

Are you making it easy for your readers to stay on your site longer?

Just like a store that displays other products you might want, we want to make it easy for readers to find posts that are related to the one they are currently reading, and hopefully stay on your site longer.

That’s what psychologist and author Liane Davey does with a simple list of “Further reading” at the bottom of every post.

“One of the things I’ve started doing is adding three older posts as ‘further reading’ at the bottom of each post.” Davey told us, “It’s exposing new readers to older content, giving them more to sink their teeth into and getting my number of clicks per visit up.”

blogging success: include further reading

Old is new again

This is an idea we have started using on this blog. It saves us time and is getting great results.

“Rather than constantly be creating something new,” founder of The Agents of Change conference and owner of Flyte New Media, Rich Brooks told us “find some older blog posts that can be easily updated.”

Rather than constantly be creating something new, find some older blog posts that can be easily updated. @therichbrooks Click To Tweet

The process is pretty simple and starts with just a bit of research:

“If you use Google Analytics you can find some blog posts that were page one success stories that may have fallen off the first page recently. Some additional images, an expert quote, an extra graph or two and you’ll be back on the first page with a lot less work than creating something from scratch.”

improve existing content: blogging success

Be authentic

After trying all the tips and tricks in an attempt to achieve blogging success; it’s good to know the basics haven’t changed. Like being real:

“Focus on offering valuable content that truly reaches your audience in an authentic way,” marketing strategist and best-selling author Susan Gilbert told us.

Focus on offering valuable content that truly reaches your audience in an authentic way. @susangilbert Click To Tweet

And more than just being honest and showing your personality, Gilbert encouraged us to stand out with unique solutions:

“Find a way to provide the answers they are looking for and not finding anywhere else.”

successful blogging strategies: be real

At BlogWorks we’re doing that with our blog topics.

Heading into the New Year, our editorial team is working on bringing you articles that we think reflect what our readers and customers are facing every day. Sure, tips on successful blogging are always valuable, but we believe our readers (like you) also want help with procrastination, getting organized, dealing with imposter syndrome and all the barriers that come up when you’re sharing your ideas and solutions publicly.

Keep ‘em clicking

A strategy we use on every blog post is to link to other, related posts. We start by identifying what we think are ‘anchor posts’ – these are posts that have attracted lots of readers AND are posts that help explain the value of working with us.

One way to think about anchor posts is this: if you were explaining your services/products to someone for the first time, these are the posts you’d recommend they start with.

Once you’ve identified your anchor posts, it’s time to find opportunities to link to them. For example, if I was writing about keywords I would link to one of our popular articles on keywords.

Don’t overdo it – we usually link to 3-4 posts within one post. And you can do this retroactively—edit your top five highest traffic posts by adding links to anchor posts.

Let your reader in

Ultimately, your readers want to learn from you and connect. They have lots of choices, but they have chosen you to guide them – whether it is business advice or life strategies.

Click To Tweet

“I have slowly come to understand the power of letting my audience in.” says BlogWorks founder Hugh Culver “As much as I write primarily to a business audience, my readers seem to be interested in me and what I am doing with my business – even what I’m doing in my life.”

“Four years ago, on a whim, I wrote a post about my goal of retiring in 1460 days. It would be the date I turn 60 and it really just wrote the post for myself. Since that post went live – 4 years ago – I have been asked hundreds of times about my retirement!

And here’s my point – very few people ask me about my other posts. Sure them might write a comment on the post or share it, but when I’m on the phone with my readers or meeting them at conferences they ask about my retirement.

I’m not sure what’s the right balance for you—between your professional blog and your personal life, but I suspect your readers would enjoy learning more about the person behind the blog.”

Repurpose your content

successful blogging strategies

A much talked about online promotion strategy is to repurpose your content. Some experts like Chalene Johnson start with a Facebook Live broadcast and turn that recording into a YouTube post, blog and podcast post – even a list of tweets to go out through the week.

Speaker, sales trainer and author, Frank Furness has a version of repurposing just for bloggers he calls COPE – Create Once Publish Everywhere.

“My first publishing of any article is with www.blogger.com” explains Furness “then I take the link and promote it with www.plus.google.com. Both these products belong to Google and this results in me getting onto the first page of Google for certain keywords for a day. I repeat this every week.”

Longer is better!

longer is better

“There is so much confusing information out there about blogging.” LinkedIn expert and author Melanie Dodaro told us.

“Perhaps you’ve heard people say…

  • People don’t want to read long articles, keep them short to under 500 words.
  • No one wants to read anymore, they’re only interested in videos.

Neither of those is true! People will read long blog posts as long as they are filled with quality, actionable tips and how to’s. And the bonus, Google loves longer articles. That’s why most of my blog posts range from 1500 – 2500+ words.  In fact, longer blog posts generate nine times as many leads as shorter posts.”

Click To Tweet

Deliver what your market cares about

“Learn what your market cares about,” coach and author Michael Zipursky told us. “Get detailed and provide content, ideas, and observations that add value.”

“Focus on answering questions that aren’t answered by (many) others—at least not others with more credibility than you” adds marketing expert Peter Sandeen. “When your target customers search for the answer, your answer will be at the top of search results. That gets you in front of new people through Google. But it also keeps you focused on creating content people see as useful and easy to consume, so your existing readers get a lot of value from you.”

Be consistent

Finally, we get to one of the secrets to successful blogging that many bloggers struggle with: consistency.

“Consistency is key,” says Zipursky.

“Create content on a regular basis and don’t stop just because you don’t see a result overnight. Blogging and content creation is a long-term strategy that pays dividends if you keep it up.”

Click To Tweet

And (self-promotion), this is where BlogWorks helps. We take all the promotion of your blog off your hands so you can focus on researching new topics, writing and welcoming new traffic to your business.

Pro tip: a simple solution to staying consistent with your publishing is to have one blog post ready to go. When you have a lighter week, find some time to write a timeless post that you can save for a ‘rainy day’ – it could mean you are more consistent with your publishing (a good thing) and reduce your stress.

3 Reasons to Measure Your Blog’s Success (And How)

Do you know why video games are so addicting?

Because they set clear goals, and always tell you whether you’re moving towards them or not. Goals and measurement are two crucial elements to success in games, business, and life in general.

Without measurement, you’ll never understand where you’re at or what needs to be done to move you forward. It’s like a game with no clear mission – not fun, and won’t keep you going for long.

Need a better understanding of why it’s important to measure the success of your blog? Here are 3 great reasons:

1. SEO drives thousands of free visitors… but it needs measuring

Keyword ranking is one way to bring more traffic to your blog, but what keywords should you be targetting?

One great way to identify keywords that will bring more traffic is to look at what keywords are currently bringing traffic to your site. Thanks to Google Analytics, you’re able to view your organic search traffic with the click of a button (or two).

You’re able to do this by going to your Channel Groupings report, which can be found by clicking Acquisition > All traffic > Channels.

organic_search_with_getsos

You’re then able to click on Organic Search which will give you an in-depth report on your organic traffic – and only your organic traffic.

organic_search_help_getsos

After viewing this data, you can determine the key factors that are contributing to your blog traffic, such as:

  • Your top landing pages for search traffic
  • Which keywords are driving the most traffic
  • Which search engines are sending the most traffic, and more.

As a good rule of thumb, you’ll want to check your organic search results once per week to see what’s increasing and what’s decreasing. This way, you’re not putting time and energy into things that aren’t working well anymore! You can then use this information to help drive traffic to your site, check if your blog posts are reaching your target audience and plan future topics that match what your clients are searching for.

Your analytics also help you determine whether your content is engaging your clients. Metrics like the time spent on your site, the number of page views, how many clicks and comments will give you a great indication of how engaged visitors to your site are, and what type of content they find particularly engaging.

Keep in mind that if your blog falls under the “Seasonal” category, you’re going to have much more traffic when that season rolls around. For example, if your blog focuses on something like “Best Winter Foods,” you’ll gain more traffic in the winter and less in the summer.

Pro Tip: If you want a more accurate measurement of your SEO, try a tool like Ahrefs.

2. Killer Opt-ins are great, but knowing which ones are killer is better

Creating an Opt-in for your blog is crucial. After all, email marketing is said to be the most effective form of marketing to-date.

So, how do you create the perfect Opt-in offer? That’s simple:

Focus on providing a solution that your readers may have a problem with. 

If you can make it quick and simple, even better!

Take, for example, this Opt-in offer by SmartBlogger:

optin_offer_getsos

They state the problem that their readers may be having: Making their blog posts go viral. They deliver a quick solution: A cheat sheet that’ll help you create killer headlines to get more eyeballs on your content.

With Google Analytics, you’re able to set up goal conversions to see which Opt-ins are performing the best, as well as which landing page your readers signed up for the Opt-in on.

For example, you may have an Opt-in waiting for readers on your “About Me” page. You may also have an Opt-in on a blog post you’ve recently written.

If your readers decided to Opt-in after reading your blog post, you’ll be able to see that through your goal conversions on Google Analytics. This will aid you in the future and will help you determine which blog posts bring more readers to your site.

3. How to measure your social shares and traffic

There are, of course, other ways to measure the effectiveness of your blog. One tool, in particular, is BuzzSumo.

BuzzSumo allows you to see which of your posts are getting the most shares, but will only show you five results (if you’re using a free version).

Take a look at the screenshot below to see some of the most shared pages on our CEOs personal site, Hughculver.com:

buzzsumo results

As you can see, his most successful post, The bizarre truth about willpower and keeping promises, has performed really well on Twitter and LinkedIn, while his second most successful post has been more successful on Facebook and LinkedIn. So, not only will you be able to see where your social shares are coming from, you’ll be able to determine which of your articles do best on which platforms.

This does not mean you shouldn’t share your blog posts to each social media website. As you can see from the image above, while traffic varies across platforms for each page, there is traffic from each site. But you can use this information to plan where you might spend additional time and money on further marketing of each article.

That’s all for now, folks! How have you been measuring your blog’s success? Drop us a comment to let us know!