5 steps to writing an awesome blog post in less than 60 minutes.

It’s no secret that publishing blog posts on your blog consistently is important.

Whether it’s twice a month, once a week, or even more frequently, the more consistent you are with your blog posts the more your readers will return and bring their business with them.

But it’s hard to find the time to research, edit, publish and promote. Right?

At the same time there’s nothing worse than visiting a blog and seeing the last blog post is from a year ago. Your prospect might be thinking “If the blog is out of date, I wonder if the rest of the site is out of date?”

This post will help.

With a few shortcuts, a few tricks and a bit of focus you can write an awesome blog post in less than 60 minutes.

Let me show you:

  1. Really Quick Research
  2. Get your Shitty first Draft
  3. Super Fast Editing
  4. A Publishing Routine
  5. Follow a Promotion Plan

1. Really Quick Research

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Stephen King

When you read “research” do you want to run away screaming?

For most people, researching blog topics is about as much fun as doing your taxes. The good news is there are quick and dirty shortcuts that work.

When it comes to blogging and getting more traffic: if it’s working, keep doing it. In other words, if one of your blog posts went viral, use that topic again. If a Tweet got 130 impressions, retweet it.

When it comes to blogging and getting more traffic: if it’s working, keep doing it. Click To Tweet

Here’s how you do that with your blog post topics.

1) Start with your Google Analytics. Scroll down on the left menu to “Behaviour”, click“Overview” and look at your top three blog posts. For whatever reason, these got the lion’s share of traffic.

Choose one of those topics and write your next blog post on a related topic. For example: if one of your top posts is “The hidden cost of workplace conflict”, your next one could be “3 super easy ways to reduce workplace conflict.”

2) Next, go to BuzzSumo and type in that topic (“workplace conflict”). Find blog posts that have been shared the most and take inspiration from their headlines.

3) Finally, type your blog topic into your search bar. As you type, Google will suggest endings to your typing. These are based on query volume and can give you a clue for your next topic.

For example, you start typing “workplace conflict” and Google suggests “workplace conflict examples” Ah! You could start a blog post with a scenario of workplace conflict from your consulting work.

When you scroll to the bottom of the search results page in Google you’ll get more suggestions:

2. Get your Shitty first Drafthow to write a blog post

Now comes the fun part – you get to write your draft and not care how good it is! Let me explain…

There are two things that stall out most bloggers and authors: 1) thinking their work has to be perfect and 2) trying to edit before finishing the first draft.

There are two things that stall out most bloggers and authors: 1) thinking their work has to be perfect and 2) trying to edit before finishing the first draft. Click To Tweet

Instead, use a simple writing template to get the words flowing and keep your thoughts in order, AND avoid editing or looking up references until the draft is done. Before you know it you’ll have what author Anne Lamott famously calls your “shitty first draft.”

You can download the writing template here.

ultimate blog post writing template
Use a simple blog post writing template to get the words flowing and keep your thoughts in order

3. Super Fast Editing

“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” Brian Clark, Copybloggers

Editing can be fun. The hard work of writing your post is behind you and the trick now is edit quickly and be done. Set yourself a time limit for editing. It’s amazing how much you can improve your post in 5 minutes or less. Sure, you could spend an hour thinking of clever analogies or searching for the perfect images – but that’s not as important as getting it done.

Fussing over some sentence or punctuation will just slow down the process and make it less likely that your blog comes out on a regular basis. You can always spend more time editing your next book.

Here’s how to do super fast editing:

1) Remove redundancies, most uses of “that” and chop long sentences into smaller ones.
2) Keep the reader moving by breaking big paragraphs into smaller ones.

3) Build in short teasers that keep the reader moving like:
Let me explain what I mean…
But, before I get to that…
There’s only 3 things you need to get started:

3) Grab a catchy, license-free image at pixabay, unslpash, or pixels.

4) Include a call-to-action: invite comments, link to your products, invite to share on social, etc.

4. A Publishing Routine

“Don’t try to plan everything out to the very last detail. I’m a big believer in just getting it out there: create a minimal viable product or website, launch it, and get feedback.” Neil Patel

Publishing is simply a mechanical exercise. Don’t waste time on this. If you’re using WordPress (over 30% of all websites do), log in, open a new post, copy/paste your text, add the main image, add tags, check your Yoast plug-in, set the date to publish on and hit “Publish.”

This is not the time to explore some cool widget or learn the HTML code for borders around your image. Stick to your routine and move onto promotion.

5. Follow a Promotion Plan

“What you do after you create your content is what truly counts.” Gary Vaynerchuk

You can waste a lot of time here or we can do it all for you. Find out how to get the social media monkey off your back for half the price of a Virtual Assistant.

If you are going to do this yourself, create a routine. We call these Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). Not only will you not waste time dreaming up some newfangled way to get more retweets, you’ll have a routine you can hand off to a freelancer or staff when you’re ready.

There you go: how to write a blog post in less than 60 minutes. And, guess what? That’s how long this one took to post!

Now here’s how you can help me! Click on the social share button (on the left) and help your friends learn how to publish a blog post in 60 minutes or less.

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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?

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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 _________

Thinking of quitting blogging? Read this first.

I don’t know how many times I’ve thought about quitting blogging. How about you?

On a scale from “not important” to “this puts money in my bank”, blogging seems to often falls left of centre. But, I keep writing and posting blogs. And in this post, I’m going to explain why you should as well.

The reality is it’s hard to be motivated about something that doesn’t have a direct impact on the bottom line. I mean, when was the last time someone read one of your blog posts and then gave you money?

Actually, that’s exactly what happens, but not in the way you think.

Now, before I get to the “motivational” part of this post, let’s talk about Alka-Seltzer.

Modern advertising

1950s advertising - quitting blogging
In the 1950’s clever marketers were perfecting the ad campaign.

In the 1950’s modern advertising was invented. During the post-war era of abundance, baby boomers, rebuilding, and consumerism, clever marketers were perfecting the ad campaign. In record time, products like Alka-Seltzer, Marlboro, Clairol, Anacin and Crest toothpaste gained massive market shares and became household names.

Push advertising has become more sophisticated since then, but the premise is the same: “Sell the benefits, deliver the features.”

But this only works if the consumer is already shopping. For example, if I’m in the market for a car or vacuum or girlfriend (at least one of these would be hard to explain to my wife) I might respond to your advertising. Then it’s just a matter of who has the most persuasive advertising campaign.

But, what if the consumer isn’t thinking about buying yet? Or, what if you’re more interested in building a long-term relationship with your client? What about then?

That’s where your blog comes in.

Pull marketing

Your blog is an example of “pull marketing”—the consumer is pulled to your blog because it solves a problem. Maybe it even entertains them.

With pull marketing we aren’t so concerned about selling right away—we’re building a long-term relationship; the kind of relationship where price is not as important and shopping around is unnecessary.

That’s why we need to go back to basics.

Back to basics

Don't quit blogging - even traditional companies now blogs
Even tradition companies have jumped on the blog bandwagon.

If you want a long-term relationship with your clients, blogs work.

Your blog doesn’t necessarily replace advertising, promotions, events or any other form of direct selling but blogs work wonders for developing long-term relationships with your client. Even tradition companies have jumped on the blog bandwagon, like Walmart, Allstate, Whole Foods, Caterpillar, and Disney. In fact, 67% of marketers report they are using blogs to promote their business. And it’s good business sense: building a relationship with your blog readers leads to them joining your mailing list and then being attracted to your offers.

After all, who would you rather market to: people who already know you and enjoy your advice or strangers?

Now for the motivational bit…

The road to Rome

Success with your blog comes down to a long-term commitment. Just as the road to Rome wasn’t built in a day (there’s the inspiring quote), it takes time to move a reader of your blog to a sale.

The good news is that customers who regularly consume your blog are much more likely to be long-term, faithful customers. And you can take that to the bank.

The secret is to treat your blog as a marketing expense and to measure results.

So, you need to do this today.

Do this today

Your Google Analytics dashboard is a great place to start to measure results.

The most popular question we get asked about BlogWorks (formerly SOS) is “How will I know it works?”. Before I answer that question, you need to step back and look at your sales cycle.

A blog is not direct selling – where a knock on a door either makes a sale or it doesn’t and a 10% close rate is a good day. Remember, blogs are a long-term game designed to build loyal customers.

That’s why you need to be measuring performance.

Just like a grocery store can measure sales in their store and make educated decisions about product positioning and displays, you can measure consumers experience of your blog by looking at basic traffic numbers.

Your Google Analytics dashboard offers up some basic measures that are a great place to start, like: “users”, “time on site” and “source of traffic.” In this post we show you how to have the dashboard automatically sent to you every week.

Next, just like you might compare your P&L year, by year, you should track these numbers with a simple spreadsheet We look at these every week, but even monthly will be helpful.

Just like checking your weight, or bank balance, tracking these numbers on a regular basis will help keep your blog (and traffic, opt-in’s and conversions) a part of your marketing conversations.

Blogging works for the businesses who are thinking lifetime value of a customer and are willing to earn those relationships. If that’s you, start thinking of your blog as an important part of your marketing strategy. And track its performance.

On the other hand, if all you want is quick sales, maybe you should pick up the phone.

In Praise of Hard Work

making money

This post was originally published on www.hughculver.com

It wasn’t long ago that factory work, coal mines, lumber and fishing employed more than half our workers.

That was Hard Work.

Nobody was sneaking a peek at Instagram updates, checking their Inbox, or trying to increase their Luminosity score. They came to work to do work.

It was honourable.

And you also got to see the results of your labour.

I like that.

Hard work on the swing shift

But, we aren’t in the 1950’s—we don’t put on overalls and punch in on the factory floor. Our day is full of clicking keyboards, moving paper, making lists, and busy-work.

Heck, a whole week can fly by and you don’t feel like you made progress!

Been there.

Sure, you’re busy. I could snap a camera on your desk, record you for a day and I’d see lots of busy-ness. Click, click, click…busy.

Yeah, but what about Hard Work?

I define Hard Work (in our modern, no-lunch box, society) as actions you might otherwise avoid that make the most progress towards your goals. That’s the work that pays off.

I’ve written posts about habits, willpower and goals – those are all critical components of Hard Work and getting results. Goals point me in the right direction, willpower gets me out of bed and habits grease the productivity wheel.

They’re the trifecta of productivity.

And then there’s Hard Work. That’s making a decision to get behind the wheel of resistance and push through.

This is Hard Work for me:

  • interrupting someone’s day and asking for something
  • writing an email to say ‘no’ to someone’s offer
  • giving feedback when I know better is possible
  • sticking to my practice of hardest 50 in the first 90
  • limiting my list for the day to fewer than 12 items
  • leaving my office earlier than planned
  • resisting all temptations to stay up late

That’s all Hard Work. And it pays off. That’s what moves the needle—if I want more money, more freedom, more time to choose what I want to do I need to do the Hard Work.

factory workers

“I learned the value of hard work by working hard.” Margaret Mead. Click To Tweet

And here’s the funny thing:

My anticipation that work will be hard is roughly 115,367 times (not based on scientific research) more than reality. “As powerful as is our soul’s call,” writes author Steven Pressfield “…We’re not alone if we’ve been mowed down by Resistance; millions of good men and women have bitten the dust before us.”

Here’s that list of Hard Work again with my Reality tacked alongside. See if this rings true for you:

What hard work looks like

I don’t know what Hard Work is for you, but I do know you have some you’re avoiding. So do I—we all do.

Let’s get some Hard Work done today.

Please do 2 things right now:

  1. tell me in the comments what Hard Work you need to get to.
  2. share this post by clicking on the social share button on the left (bottom on mobile). When you share the love you motivate me to keep writing. Thank you.

 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

17 proven strategies for building a better blog

blog traffic

In this post we are sharing one of our most popular slide decks published on SlideShare. It’s advice from the gurus that is not only really smart, it’s actionable.

PRO TIP: Once you scan through these, go back and choose just one to work on this month. For example, you might want to put more attention on your headlines – great! Go through your underperforming posts and rewrite the headlines using keywords (don’t change the URL of the post – just the headline).

Here’s the complete list:

  1. think: long road
  2. build your avatar
  3. don’t guess – ask them
  4. think like a publisher
  5. do the grunt work
  6. don’t make it all about you
  7. survive the first draft
  8. be a name dropper
  9. solve problems
  1. each post is a product
  2. give readers what they want
  3. great headlines
  4. include eye candy
  5. make it about them
  6. use a template
  7. spread the good news
  8. be consistent

How to Find Writers For Your Blog: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to find writers for your blog

Did you know that 73% of consumers prefer to get their information in the form of articles?

Creating blog articles for your site, whether you’re a lawyer, baker, or online business, is the easiest and most effective way to get more traffic and sales on your website.

But writing consistently is hard. It takes a lot of time.

Besides, not every business owner is a great writer. Nor should they be! You have a business to run, why worry about writing when you can find writers to write for you?

There are tons of skilled, affordable, and reliable content writers out there. You can have high-quality articles in a matter of hours.

In this post, I’ll show you exactly where to find the best writers to make your blog shine.

Let’s get started!

Find Writers on Job Boards

Job boards like ProBlogger are filled with professional writers with expert knowledge of their industry. For $70 you can expect to see the best writers available for hire.

Find writers on ProBlogger's job board

Note: You may get over a hundred applications, so be prepared to dig through resumes and emails! (See below for how to screen applicants and find the unicorn in a field of donkeys.)

Although Problogger is one of the top job boards available for companies looking for writers, there are a few more worth mentioning:

BloggingPro Job Board

Similar to Problogger, BloggingPro is another home for professional writers. Pay $30 and have your job posted for 30 days.

Freelance Writer’s Den

With many perks and incentives, Freelance Writer’s Den is a job board built to benefit writers. Because of this, writers seem to be much higher quality. Plus, posting a job is free!

Textbroker

An affordable option for those who are sticking to a budget, Textbroker allows blog owners to connect with thousands of authors in a variety of categories.

With any freelancing job board, it’s important to have guidelines in place so you don’t waste time or money. Here are a few key points:

  • Specify what you are looking for in a writer. This will cut down the submissions you receive, but increase quality applicants.
  • Request samples and reviews from other clients to ensure quality work.
  • Detail how you want the potential writer to respond to your ad. This will help you determine which candidates are following your instructions correctly.
  • Ask for something silly, like having “rubber ducky” in the subject line. This proves they thoroughly read the job posting and won’t be wasting your time.

When using Job boards, don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions of those responding to your ads. This is your business and you want to make sure you’re receiving high-quality content.

Check Online Communities and Forums

Niche-specific online communities and forums are a great place to find quality blog writers.

Online communities and forums are filled with passionate and knowledgeable members willing to share their story with your audience.

These same members often have blogs of their own, where you can take a peek at their writing style.

A simple Google search can lead you to thousands of forums and online communities in your industry.

You can use a tool like AllTop to find forums in your niche.

Scour Your Blog’s Comment Section

There may be great writers right under your nose.

The comment section of your blog can harbor potential writers. The commenters that take the time to leave in-depth, well-written comments may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Commenters will usually leave a link to their blog right under their comment. Take some time to browse their content to see if their writing style will fit with your blog.

Don’t be intimidated by cost. The author might be more interested in an article swap partnership or a link back to their site than money.

Search for Guest Bloggers in Your Industry

Guest blogging can be mutually beneficial for both the writer and the site owner.

As the site owner, you can expect to receive well-researched and written content that will engage your readers. The guest blogger can benefit from increasing their notoriety, website SEO, and traffic.

Enlist the help of your social media profiles and email list to find guest bloggers that are willing to work with you. If you have a decent size social following on sites like Twitter or LinkedIn, you’ll be able to find a few guest bloggers who would be eager to partner up with you.

Create a “Write for Us” Page

Instead of spending time trying to find writers, let them find you. You can create a page on your site that allows interested writers to contact you.

To weed out low-quality writers, set up a list of requirements like the following:

  • Ask for at least 3 article examples of previous work. This will give you a better feel of their writing style.
  • Allow for bylines. Many writers want to know if there will be a link back to their site.
  • List the categories you are looking for writers to write on.
  • Share some of your examples so that the potential writers know what you expect.

To make good use of your ‘Write For Me’ page, share a link on your social media profiles and send the same link to friends who may know someone who is in need of work. You may be pleasantly surprised to see where the next best author for your site is hiding.

For an example, check out The Write Life’s contributor guidelines.

Social media

The search engines on social media sites make it easy for you to search for writers. Often, writers have links to their portfolios on their profile so you can review them before reaching out to them.

Using Twitter to find writers

If you use Twitter to search for writers, a tool such as Followerwonk works great to help you find writers based on their bio information.

How to Screen Applicants

So you have a hundred and one dalmatians to search through. Which one should you choose?

The best way to decide on a great applicant is to answer three things:

  1. How is their spelling and grammar in their application? If it’s bad, it’s a sign they aren’t going to be a good fit.
  2. Does their portfolio match the tone you want to convey? You should like their writing (obviously). If you don’t, keep looking.
  3. Is their personality a good fit? Most writers show their personality on their website. Some are analytical, some satirical, other fun-loving and weird. Go with a personality you feel fits your brand’s style and are comfortable with.

If you have a few people you like, go with the one who is easiest to work with.

Conclusion

There are plenty of places to find writers online, but it is important to know what you’re looking for in a writer before you begin your search.

Do you need an expert, or are you OK with an up and coming writer with little experience?

While more expensive, a writer with SEO and marketing knowledge is better for your blog. They can help you show up in Google search results and promote your blog posts.

Take some time to jot down what your ideal writer would embody and use it as a template during your search.

Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions when hiring writers. When it comes to your blog’s reputation, quality over quantity is the way to go.

And congratulations, because you’re now ready to hire a blog writer to help you increase your traffic, sales, and brand recognition!

You haven’t published in a month… now what?

You Haven't Published Online In a While... Now What?

Remember those deadlines that you set for yourself? You were going to get your work done by this day and have it up on your website no later than that day. You made a promise not only to yourself but your active readers, too.

Only, it’s been awhile since you’ve published an article (or anything, for that matter). So, now what?

How can you get back into the swing of things and gain trust from your readers again? Will your readers forgive you for not posting quality content weekly?

Chances are, they will! While you may be stressed over getting back to it, it’s manageable (and it’s easier than you think).

Let’s dive into a few different ways to get your creative juices flowing again.

Drive traffic to your older blog posts

On average, you need to publish at least one new blog post a month to gain new readers. However, there are people who didn’t see the blog post you published last month, and it’s still relevant!

Make sure you’re sharing your posts on all social media outlets. Facebook, Twitter, Slack, LinkedIn, even Instagram! And don’t forget to email your subscribers with links to your previous work.

Write an awesome round-up post

 

Roundup post example

 

One of the best ways to create new content is to see what other bloggers in your niche are writing about. Create a roundup post that cites those authors and shares their work.

By citing the original writers, there’s a chance that they’ll share your blog post! People like to be recognized for work they’ve done; give them credit when they deserve it!

As long as you’re writing quality content that matters, you’ll gain a following again.

Just dive back into it, head first!

So, you messed up. Who cares? Everyone makes mistakes. It’s what you do after that counts.

If you want to be recognized for quality work, you have to put in the effort. No one else is going to do it for you!

Want to keep this mistake from happening again?

Come up with a list of S.M.A.R.T goals, create an editorial calendar, and brainstorm with Evernote. Take the steps to stop missing deadlines.