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How to Write Your First Roundup Post and get More Traffic

How to Write an Amazing Roundup Post

Have you ever seen a roundup post?

Round up posts are essentially “roundups” of great content in a particular industry or topic area. For example, “10 Brilliant Blogging ‘How-To’ Posts You MUST Read” would be a roundup of, well, 10 blogging how-to posts that other people have written.

Other examples are my roundup post: “9 stupid things speakers do on stage” or “21 Traffic Building Tips from professional bloggers” on this site.

Roundup posts are a little more work to create, so let’s start with the big question…

Why write a roundup post?

Unlike, you sharing your opinion on your blog site, a Roundup post aggregates many opinions and gives your readers a broader set of solutions. But there are more advantages than just a better post:

  • You can build relationships with other bloggers or authors.
  • The people you quote are motivated to share your article with their followers.
  • You position yourself as an authority in your niche.
  • You are leveraging other people’s content — less work for you!

If this sounds good, let’s clarify the two main approaches to writing your first roundup post:

Use existing content. You put on your Columbo trench coat and start collecting tips, tricks and insights already published on other blogs.

Interview experts. This second approach takes a bit more work, but will result in new content that you “own.” For example, you could interview authors about their advice on publishing your first book, or financial experts to get their best advice about saving for retirement.

In this post we will focus mostly on the first method: collecting great content into on themed post.

Steps to Write an Amazing Content Roundup Post

Alright, let’s go over the basics first.

Here we go…

Step #1: Find some great posts

You can’t write a roundup without great content to share. You probably already read other blogs in your niche – start with those. I like to create a quick spreadsheet format, starting with my favourite blog posts listed down the left-hand side.

From there, you can branch out a bit. Search well-known blogs in your industry for their best stuff. Use a tool like BuzzSumo to find articles with a high share count.

You can also use a tool like Klout to find popular articles.

 

Roundup Content Using Klout

 

Remember: Quality > Quantity.

You only want a handful of truly great articles.

Start with StumbleUpon or Quora to discover the questions people are asking about your topic area…

To help find posts in the future, set up a Feedly account, and follow blogs in your niche or topic area. Feedly makes it easy to scroll through the latest posts from each source and allows you to jump to the author’s site or share the post.

Feedly is a great tool for quickly scanning dozens of blogs

Step #2: Write the post and cite the authors

When curating content like this, you want to make sure you cite the authors. After all, the whole purpose is to get them to (hopefully) share it with their followers and bring you traffic.

Don’t just say “this post” or “a post I found.” Instead, say “This post by XYZ author talks about how to do XYZ.” Say the authors’ name or the blog’s name, and link to their homepage if available.

Remember: The better you make the author look, the greater the chance they’ll share the post.

For example, look at how Chris Garrett gives loads of credit to Digg – even so far as using their name as a header.

Content Roundup Example

 

Step #3: Be consistent

While you don’t have to publish more than one roundup post, an ongoing blog post every week or every month is the most effective option for growth.

In fact, consistently publishing roundup posts not only helps keep your existing readers around, but it brings new ones in, too.

If you do a weekly roundup, publish it at the same time every week. Your followers will begin to expect it and come back.

Hey, we know how tough it can be to keep up with publishing new content. We can help with that.

Step #4: Reach out to the authors

After writing your post, don’t forget to tell the authors about it. You can send them an email or tag them on social media.

When writing an email, try something like this (customizing the brackets):

Subject: I loved your blog post

Body:

“Hey, [Name]!

I’m writing to let you know I really enjoyed reading your post, [Post Title]. I particularly enjoyed the part about [something you liked about their article].

In fact, I liked it so much that I added it to my [weekly] roundup on [roundup topic]. You can check it out here:

[Link to roundup post]

I’d love to get your opinion on it!

Cheers,

[Your Name]

P.S. Here’s a handy pre-populated tweet if you’d like to share it.”

Note: You can create the pre-populated tweet using Click to Tweet.

Another option

Who said there’s anything wrong with a little self-promotion?

If you’ve got a bulk of content on your own blog on similar content, go ahead and create a roundup of your own posts.

Here are just a few reasons this is a great option:

  • It helps reduce your bounce rate (that means how many visitors navigate away from your page after only viewing a single page)
  • It demonstrates your expertise on a subject
  • It’s a good way to let new followers or readers get to know what you’re all about

If self-promotion isn’t your thing, we can help promote your blogs, too. Here’s how.

Content Roundup Post Examples

Finally, here are a few examples of big blogs using content roundups to help give you some inspiration:

Conclusion

Content roundups are sometimes seen as a cheap way to get views. But doing them right gets you authority and traffic, hands down. As long as you only deliver quality content and actually handpick the content you show, you’ll do just fine.

Will you start writing content roundups now? Share them in the comments to help inspire other readers!

If you liked learning about how to create an amazing roundup post, check out more posts on creating great content:

How to Guarantee Your Blog Posts Look Amazing on Social Media
21 clever ways to attract more readers and boost blog traffic this year
10 surprisingly simple tune-ups to make your blog sexy (and get more blog traffic)

This article was originally published in February 2017, but we’ve updated it in May 2020 just for you.

Hiring a Blog Writer? Here’s What to Look For

Hiring a Blog Writer? Here's What to Look For

You’ve got a blog. You’ve written six posts, but now the inevitable time crunch is happening.

You know your blog is a great way to attract interested prospects and build a list of valuable followers.

But, a week goes by, and then another…and

no blog post.

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

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

Over time, you’ll start to see the consequences of an abandoned blog.

Your readers need to be well-fed! They’re not going to keep coming back if there’s nothing new to come back for…

Not to mention, a regularly updated blog is great for SEO. But more on that another time…

For now, let’s focus on what you can do about your abandoned blog.

One solution? Hire a blog writer.

Sounds simple, right?

You hire someone to write your posts. 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. First, there’s one big question to ask:

Should you hire a blog writer?

As tempting as it might seem to hire a blog 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.1Two 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 isn’t 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. At BlogWorks we take the time to develop a complete profile, including your ideal customer, competitors, and business objectives.

But it could also mean higher costs and a longer search process.

A common strategy we use at BlogWorks is 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.”2Jon Morrow talks about how to quit your job and get paid to change the world in this post: www.problogger.com/how-to-quit-your-job-move-to-paradise-and-get-paid-to-change-the-world You’ll also find many freelancers contributing great how-to content to Morrow’s SmartBlogger blog.3Morrow’s Smart Blogger blog is packed with tips to help freelance writers succeed

Hiring a Blog Writer? Here's What to Look For

What to look for in a blog 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, in your next job posting insert this instruction: “Please mention ‘Blue Moon’ in your application.” If you don’t see “Blue Moon” mentioned in their application it could mean they won’t pay attention to details in your work.
  • Basic knowledge: As a minimum, your freelancer should have proven experience writing similar posts and basic knowledge of your industry.
  • Confident writing voice: It’s great to be accurate, but a big challenge for any blog is to stop readers from clicking away. Look for a unique writing style and the ability to improve your writing with examples, analogies, and metaphors.
  • 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 for 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, Upwork4UpWork is our go-to source for hiring market researchers, graphic designers, and hiring for other long-term and one-off jobs.. At BlogWorks, we use Upwork every month to hire freelancers for market research, graphic design, and other one-off jobs.

Want to learn more about finding writers on other job boards? Check this out.

The tip we most often share about using Upwork is to use the applicant filters. There, you can 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Check out the video below for a step by step guide on using Upwork.

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’ve posted a one time job (as opposed to an ongoing contract), your risk is pretty minimal.

Another option? Hire BlogWorks to write high-traffic blog posts that attract more readers and convert more business. We take the time to understand your unique blogging goals and to customize our approach to every article. We also track your blog article performance and conversion on articles. Our goal is to give you a turn-key solution that drives more traffic to your revenue pages.

Oh, and of course we can promote your blogs too. Our team of local writers uses the best of your blog content to write and post daily announcements on social media. Click here if you’re dying to know more.

Want to write articles yourself? Download our Ultimate Writing Template.

Whether you hire a blog 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.

Did you like learning about what to look for in a blog writer? You won’t want to miss these posts either:

7 Ways to Make Your Blog Stand Out from the Crowd by Being Different
11 Blogging Statistics That Might Surprise You
9 Big Blogging Mistakes You Need to Avoid in 2020

This article was originally published on February 6, 2018, but we spruced it up in May 2020 just for you.

How to Easily Add Images to Your Blog Like a Pro

You’ve written your best blog post ever.

Seriously, this is great stuff that’s going viral with hoards of hungry readers.

Woah there Silver! First, you need to get their attention.

Before anyone will read your brilliant piece they need to first stop and pay attention.

That’s where images come in..

Pictures, videos, screenshots, diagrams, and illustrations are a great way to keep your reader from clicking away. Adding images to your blog helps readers understand your information and ideas, and remember your post.

The trick is to create and add those blog images quickly and effectively.

In this post, we’ll walk you through all the steps, tools, and tricks to add images to your blog without having to spend hours doing it.

WHY IMAGES WORK

“Our brain is mainly an image processor, not a word processor.” – Psychology Today

We are (literally) wired for images. Neuroanatomist R.S. Fixot estimated that two-thirds of our brain’s activity is dedicated to the visual activity. And it makes sense…

Historically we used our sight to warn us against nasty attacks from predators or to spot food that we could either hunt and kill or pick and harvest.

It’s no different online…

Your readers are unconsciously scanning for content relevant or entertaining, or both. In fact, articles containing relevant images have 94% more total views than articles without images.

Articles containing relevant images have 94% more total views than articles without images Click To Tweet.

That’s where images help. Anything from a simple picture to a custom created gif will make the reading experience more interesting and keep your reader scrolling down.

Our brain can process images 60,000 times faster than text

In fact, 65% of senior marketing executives say that photos, video, illustrations, and infographics are core to how their brand story is communicated.

So, if images are so, great, how should you add images to your blog to get more traffic and better results?

Let’s start with image sizes.

PIXELS, FORMAT, SIZE AND ALL THAT STUFF

Trying to understand the different image size options can get pretty complicated. The two basic things to know are orientation and size/compression.

Orientation

For most blogs, a horizontal orientation (longer width than height) works better. Horizontal/landscape images take up less real estate on the screen, allowing your content to catch the eye of your readers. Horizontal images are also perfect for sharing your blog on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

But vertical or square images perform better on Instagram and are more likely to be pinned on Pinterest. Again the reason is simple – Instagram and Pinterest are all about images. A vertical/portrait image takes up more screen real estate, which makes them more eye-catching.

What orientation you choose comes down to your users and what social platforms they use.

Sprout Social maintains an up-to-date list of the best image sizes for the various social media channels in this post.

It’s handy to know the basics of image sizes for each platform you use.

Size/Compression

The image size can mean two things – the physical size of the image (length x width) and the file size (bytes).

Most images straight from your camera or from a stock photo website are higher in resolution (file size) and physical size than they need to be for the web. The problem with large image files is they slow your site down.

A digital photo is made up of pixels (px) – tiny square tiles of colour. We generally talk about pixels in two ways – pixel count and pixel density. The pixel count is the number of pixels that make up your photo. So an 800px by 600px photo simply means your photo is 800 pixels wide and 600 pixels tall.

The image on the left is 3456 × 5184px and 2.7Meg. The image on the right was reduced to 800 x 1200 and 193kb.

Pixel density, or dpi, is the number of pixels per square inch. The more pixels per square inch, the higher the resolution of the image, and the clearer it is.

For print photos, 300dpi or higher is ideal. But, for the web, a good range is 72-150dpi.

Best sizes for your website

The goal for your website is a good resolution (not fuzzy) and speed (not big).

Your images should only be as large as your blog content width. All modern sites are built with responsive design (automatically resize the page for smartphones, laptops, tablets, and desktop screens), set your image for the maximum width.

Find a balance between file size and quality

The smaller the file size of your image, the faster it will load for your reader. But, reducing size too much can create a fuzzy image. Your goal is to find the balance between the lowest file size and acceptable quality.

Try to keep your image size between 150KB and 300kb. Take a look at the example below. The original image was 7.6MB and 5000px wide. The image on the left was resized to 860px wide and saved as a high-quality jpeg, which produced a 250KB file.

You can barely tell the difference between this image and the original when viewed online. It’s perfect for the web.

The image on the right was resized to be 860px wide but saved as a low-quality, 30KB jpeg. Sure, it will load quickly but it’s fuzzy and will look amateurish.

The optimal image size is 150-300kb. Any smaller and your image will be too fuzzy.

Of course, when adding images to your blog it isn’t always possible to keep your images to under 300KB. On retina displays, a complex photograph may likely look fuzzy at 300KB.

The key take-home idea is to keep file sizes as small as you can, especially if you are using a lot of images in your post! Page loading times affect your google rankings and readers are likely to be turned off a page that takes ages to load.

There’s a number of free services for reducing image size, like Pic Resize, and Tiny PNG. Or you can use free design sites like Canva or PicMonkey to get the right size and resolution for any social media site or for your website (more on using those tools below).

Tools like Pic Resize make it easy to shrink the resolution on your image without sacrificing quality

Do I use JPG, GIF, PNG, SVG?

If you’ve ever been confused with all the image types (jpeg, gif…) this will help.

When adding images to your blog what’s the best format?

  • JPG/JPEG – offers great quality images at small file size. It’s the best option for photos unless they need to be transparent, animated or have a lot of text in them
  • GIF – perfect for small graphics and animations, and they can have transparent backgrounds.
  • PNG – ideal for detailed graphics, images with a lot of text or transparent images. PNG files tend to be larger than JPG files.
  • SVG – this is a scalable vector format, which means it stays crisp and clear at any resolution. They tend to be large in terms of file size, but if you have a complicated graphic that needs to automatically resize, and/or has rollover effects or animations, SVG is a perfect choice.

In most cases, use jpeg for all images unless you want a transparent background.

NOTE: Not all websites are set up to automatically handle SVG files. WordPress has plugins that will help. For non-WordPress sites, give it a go and if your SVG file doesn’t display check with your web developer.

Test your images

Not sure how your image will show online? Most content management systems (like WordPress), allow you to preview your draft blog post before you make it live.

FEATURED IMAGES

Every blog post needs a Featured Image.

Your Featured Image is the first thing your reader sees and is the image pulled by your social media channels. In this article, we explain what to do if your image is not being pulled correctly by your social channels.

Your featured image could be a photograph or, with a little extra work, overlay your headline on the image. Either way, it needs to create some curiosity and make the reader want to read on.

In WordPress, you’ll find the link to choose your Featured Image on the right side of your WordPress menu.

MAKING YOUR OWN IMAGE

Stock images are great, but original is better – even if you are just adding a twist to a stock image.

You don’t have to be a graphic artist or own expensive software to create your own images. Free tools like Canva and Picmonkey have a wide range of templates, images, and ready-to-use graphics and fonts. With a little practice, you can add your unique spin on your images or create quote images, memes, diagrams, and infographics.

Here’s an image I made in Canva in only 5 minutes.

With a little extra effort, you can overlay your headline on your image.

Once you get comfortable with these tools, you can get creative with your results. Simple techniques like resizing images, adding screens, cropping – even choosing more interesting fonts will make your image stand out.

Learn more simple techniques for making your images pop in this post.

[You don’t have to be a graphic designer to dress up your images so they stand out.]

AVOID THE LAW

You’ve searched the web, found the perfect image, and added it to your blog.

Fast forward two months and you receive a ‘cease and desist’ letter demanding money for damages.

WHAAAAAAAT?

Images have ownership, just like artwork. And you can’t use some images without the owner’s permission. In this post, we explain how creative commons works with images.

The good news is there are more sites than ever to supply you with brilliant images you can either buy user rights to or use by crediting the artist.

Credit the artist

If you are using an image under a Creative Commons license, it’s good practice to credit the photographer and source. Most stock photo websites will supply you with the link when you download the image.

With sites like Unsplash, they make it easy to copy the artist’s credit so you can paste that in the bottom of your post

At BlogWorks we use a number of sites for our images. We do have an account with Adobe Stock that we rely on for our clients’ blogs, plus we often use Pixabay, Unsplash, Refe, and Magdeleine.

Adobe provides a high-quality source for images, along with other creative software packages. If you are looking for an easy new way to find or create images, you can check out their products here.

If you still can’t find what you want, go to Librestock where images from over 40 sites are aggregated for you to search. We listed 7 sites to find great pictures in this post.

You can even use Google to add images to your blog – just be sure to choose ‘Labeled for reuse’ under Tools.

If using Google to find images, always search for ‘Labeled for reuse’

Quick tip about searching for that “perfect” image: finding a picture slightly better than the one you found in the first 5 minutes won’t make your post go viral. Limit yourself to 5 minutes to find a good-enough image – you can always change it later if you find a better one.

USE IMAGES OF REAL PEOPLE

Pictures of people are one of the most engaging forms of content on the internet.

Faces are unique and humans have a hardwired visual preference for staring at faces. Images of faces and people will hold a reader’s attention.

But your image needs to relate to the content or help explain a concept or point – studies have found that pictures of people are glossed over by readers when they are generic, decorative images.

When it comes to social media, faces engage us. Photos with faces attract more comments and likes.

If I’m adding images to our blog, I try to avoid cheesy stock images, like the image on the left and look for something more original like the image on the right.

Stock photography can be cookie-cutter, unoriginal, and sort of boring (left) or more interesting and original (right)

ADDING SCREENSHOTS AND DIAGRAMS

Let’s say you are trying to explain how to use an online search engine or where to go on your site to find your latest book, or even how to make sure your opt-in email didn’t go into that person’s “promotion” folder in Gmail.

Kind of hard to explain in words – right?

That’s where screenshots are super helpful. Within a couple of minutes you’ve captured the image, added a couple of arrows and now your picture is worth a thousand words – plus you get more people going to the right place!

A tool like Snagit is an invaluable investment. For only $50 you have a ready-to-go workhorse for screenshots, videos, and even gifs (all the screenshots used in this post were created with Snagit).

Here’s a video I created in Snagit of using Snagit to edit a screenshot (now that’s meta!).

How to Easily Add Images to Your Blog Like a Pro

Custom graphics and diagrams are another great way to explain complex concepts or just add some fun to your post. OmniGraffle and Lucidchart offer flowcharting tools that you can use to make fun diagrams. Piktochart has a free version for creating infographics and data-driven graphics.

Need a chart to help illustrate some information? You can take them right from Excel, Google Sheets, or Word. Just copy your chart and paste it into your text editor, or take a screenshot.

And don’t be afraid to pick up a pencil or pen! Sketch your idea and take a photo. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t an artist – your readers will enjoy seeing that you are just like them!

ADDING VIDEO AND GIF’S

Sometimes text alone isn’t quite enough. That’s where video and animations can come in.

Giphy and Tenor are good resources for animated GIFs. Sitepoint has a great resource list of places to find creative commons images, videos, and other media.

I’ve been asked many times how I add videos to my blog. I’m certainly no expert, but when it comes to anything that smells technical I remind myself ‘done is better than perfect’ and I keep it simple. Start to finish, a simple video should take me no longer than 15 minutes.

Here’s an illustration of the steps I go through.

How to Easily Add Images to Your Blog Like a Pro

You do need to host your video somewhere. We have used Vimeo for many years and love the price and how fast and simple it is to use. You can also use YouTube or Wistia.

The steps to adding video to your blog are pretty simple once you’ve practiced them a few times, but they do vary depending on your website and where you are hosting your video.

Here’s how to insert a video from YouTube into WordPress:

  1. This process had gotten super simple. Start by locating the video you want on YouTube.
  2. Next, copy the URL for that video (it will look something like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKrPz6JHwYw)
  3. Log into your WordPress website, open the blog post to edit, locate your cursor where you want the video, paste the URL.

This free tool will allow you to customize the look of your YouTube video and do things like turn off the annoying “related” videos.

Here’s how to insert a video from Vimeo into WordPress:

  1. To get your video’s embed code, go to its page on Vimeo and click the ‘Share’ button.
  2. Click the ‘+Show options’ link and copy the embed code.
  3. Log into your WordPress website, open the blog post to edit, and click on the ‘Text’ tab in your text editor.
  4. Locate your cursor where you want the video and paste the embed code.
How to Easily Add Images to Your Blog Like a Pro
With tools like Vimeo, it’s easy to insert videos into your blog like a pro.

Note: You should include text in your post with your video if you want your post to get picked up by search engines like Google. You can see how it’s done on the Gone with the Wynn’s travel vlog. With every blog post they have lots of text, images, and videos to keep you, the reader interested, and for SEO purposes.

How to Easily Add Images to Your Blog Like a Pro

USING A CONSISTENT THEME

When you are choosing images or fonts it’s a good idea to be consistent with the theme of your site and your blog.

It could be as simple as using a consistent font (I’m a fan of Helvetica Neue, Marker Felt, Yellowtail, and Bebas Neue), a color scheme or icon style.

The customer service app, Help Scout does a great job of using consistent design elements in their blog that are light, modern, and quirky.

How to Easily Add Images to Your Blog Like a Pro

CHOOSING THE RIGHT FILENAME

Image SEO starts with the file name. When you use images in blog posts, you want Google to know what your image is about without even looking at it!

Before you upload your new image, take a look at the name of the image. Your image should be named something that relates to the image and/or the content of your article. It should also include your keywords whenever possible. Choosing a keyword-rich name for your image will make it easier for search engines to rank your page.

For instance, if you are writing an article on how to choose the best chew toy for puppies, name your image “best-chew-toy-for-puppies.jpg”. If your image shows a sunset on a beach in Koh Samui, Thailand, name it ‘thailand-koh-samui-beach-sunset.jpg’.

Use dashes between words, rather than spaces, underscores, or running all your words together.

This recommendation comes straight from Google. We’re not sure of the exact reason for this as Google guards how it’s search engine algorithm works closer than a magician guards their tricks. But the Google Webmaster says dashes between words help google find your images!

ALT TEXT

When you upload your image, video, or other media, you have the option to include ALT text. You should do this whenever you can.

The ALT text tells search engines about your image, which helps your rankings. Plus, screen readers read out the ALT text so you are helping your content be more accessible.

How to Easily Add Images to Your Blog Like a Pro
The Alt text on your images explains what your image is about

Your ALT text should help explain your image or the point you are trying to illustrate. Like choosing a file name, your ALT text should be related to the content of your article or your keywords.

CAPTIONS AND HEADLINES

Image captions usually appear below your image. Many readers scan articles and your image captions can grab their attention and get them to get curious about your content.

At BlogWorks we try to write captions that add to the written content. The idea is if the reader only reads the captions they will get a good idea of what the article is about.

BarkPost, the inventors of the monthly dog treat subscription Bark Box, tantalize dog lovers (like me) with goofy, fun images of pooches matched with Hollywood tabloid-style headlines, like these:

  • 5 Signs Your Dog’s Eye Boogers Are Caused By Something Dangerous
  • 18 Dogs Who Don’t Approve Of This Water Torture You Call “Bath Time”
  • I Signed My Dog Up For A Dental Care Box, And Here’s What Happened

YOUR FINAL CHECKLIST

Any image you add to your blog should make your readers’ experience better. And entice them to read the article – which means they stay on your site longer.

As a final check, ask yourself these two questions:

  • Will this image keep the reader on the page longer?
  • Does this image help the reader to understand my message better?

The extra effort you put into finding and adding images to your blog can pay big rewards. Instead of getting passed over, your post could be shared with thousands of readers and take on a life of its own.

After all, our goal is to get our blog read, shared, and loved. Right?

Enjoyed this article? Here are 3 more all about images, video and making your blog go viral:

The ultimate guide to adding YouTube videos to your blog.
Free Images for your Blog: 7 Awesome Sources
4 Ways to Make Your Blog Images Pop

Footnotes:

  1. In a paper published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology neuroanatomist R.S. Fixot estimated that 50% of our neural tissue is directly or indirectly related to vision and two-thirds of our brain’s electrical activity is used for visual processing.
  2. In one study by eMarketer photos accounted for 75% of content posted by Facebook pages worldwide and generated 87% interaction rate from fans (compared to less than 10% from any other post type.)
  3. A study at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs looked at 1.1 million posts on Instagram and found that pictures with human faces are 38% more likely to receive likes than photos with no faces. They’re also 32 percent more likely to attract comments.

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

Blogging vs. Social Media – what gets you the best ROI?

“The key to success in blogging (and in many areas of life) is small but regular and consistent actions over a long period of time.” – Darren Rowse, Founder of Problogger

Wondering how to get the best ROI from your content?

Most businesses find it at least a bit challenging to build and maintain consistent readerships on their blogs…and many get frustrated.

But we’re here to help you keep going, even when times are tough.

Read on for a few of our favourite strategies for getting your blog working for you.

Blog Content or Social Media: What should you focus on?

Consider this scenario: Your update on Facebook got 15 likes, you just added 7 followers on Instagram, and a few people just added some great comments on your most recent LinkedIn article.

That sounds like a pretty good day, right?

While most people would agree, we need to consider the bigger picture: Is all of this social media traffic really bringing you the revenue and staying power you deserve?

It can be hard to compete with the “sex appeal” of social media, but a good quality, well-maintained blog will help your business stand out from the crowd.

Can you take your social metrics to the bank?

“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

It might appear that pouring more attention into social branding and reach is the wise choice for marketing professional services or your line of products.

But…is it?

Here are a few points that might change your mind:

  • Social media is shared on “rented land,” but you own your blog content in perpetuity, so it can (theoretically) make money forever.
  • These channels have plenty of competition, but with your blog, you can build a consistent relationship with your audience.
  • Social media might bring you likes and shares, but your blog is more likely to lead people to make a purchase.

Get the best ROI from your blogs and social media

Your social media channels and your blog should absolutely be connected, but you can use your blog to build relationships and sell products via a targeted strategy, leading to a higher ROI rooted in your blog, but composed of the two content types.

Get the Best ROI by Building Blogs for Lead Generation

Blogs aren’t directly for selling, but they are great for educating and informing your readers about what you know best.

Readers who find blog posts online are often looking for information about specific products or services.

So if they are already interested, you lead them to learn more about your product by making a soft offer — for instance, a free e-book — which will help them keep your brand on their mind.

If they have read the entire blog, you can keep on them on your site by linking other blogs at the end of the article. Another option is to take the opportunity to also send them to your revenue pages, whether that be a particular product, or your consult/contact page.

Here at Blogworks, we like to think of your website like a conference.

When people stop to read your blog they are staying for 4-10 minutes – that’s a big opportunity.

Imagine your homepage is the main conference room and your blog posts are breakout rooms where different speakers are talking about different topics. While people may stay in the main room for only 1 or 2 minutes to grab a bite to eat; they could spend 7 to 10 minutes in the breakout rooms listening to the speaker.

It is the same with your website. We have found that people tend to stay on blogposts significantly longer than any other page on your site. So why not capitalize on that?

Instead of letting them go from the breakout room, back to the main room, send them to your revenue pages. In doing so, you can turn those readers into leads, and possibly even clients.

Share Blogs on Your Mailing List

If you use social media, think about which type of content sticks with you more: that random post that you scrolled by when absent-mindedly scrolling through Facebook?

Or the well-crafted, thoughtful and handy article you were introduced to after signing up for a favoured company’s newsletter?

The truth is that marketing is always a puzzle – one way can work better one day, and the other the next.

With its capacity to generate an ROI of 3,800% (according to HubSpot), email marketing remains one of the most versatile and inexpensive of all marketing options.

Try using A/B testing to see what subject lines or email content work best. By doing this in conjunction with the statistics generated by whatever CRM you are using, you will be able to better understand what works with your list, and what does not.

Build a Useful Library of Content

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

When investigating strategies for the best ROI, you will hopefully be thinking long-term. Building a blog is essentially like creating a little business “library” where people can go to learn about your business anytime.

So long as you own this content, you can use it over and over again in different ways in perpetuity.

Here are some ways to repurpose your blogs:

  • Re-share older blog posts on social media with a fresh image and title
  • Update old blog posts to include some current relevant information
  • Mix and match media – combine blogs with podcasts and videos

Get Support

No matter which way you spin it, keeping a high-quality, consistent blog takes time.
So why not leave it to the experts?

Book a consultation with us to get started with a fresh content strategy asap!

Enjoyed this article? Here are 3 more articles all about putting your blog to work:

10 surprisingly simple tune-ups to make your blog sexy
5 brilliant ways to start your blog post with a bang
9 blog topic ideas your audience will love

9 big blogging mistakes you need to avoid in 2020

Key Blogging Mistakes to avoid

If you have a blog congratulations!

Whether you’re a lawyer, financial planner, doctor, motivational speaker, you’re on the right track.

Even in 2020, this is the easiest and most effective way to attract clients, build rapport, build a contact list, book appointments, and sell products.

But there are definitely blogging mistakes you want to avoid.

Some are obvious, like bad grammar, spelling mistakes or using tacky stock photography.

Here we’ll outline 9 blogging mistakes you might not know you are making that can hurt your results.

Ready?

Let’s dive in…

Mistake #1: Not Solving a Problem

Imagine you’re meeting with a financial planner to decide if you want to hire them. And all they do is talk about themselves.

Interesting? Maybe.

Helpful? Nope.

What you want is solutions—what do they know that will help you?

Your blog is no different. Every article has the potential to solve a problem for a reader. And the more specific the problem, the better.

Here are some examples of some bloggers that consistently offer valuable, useful content:

Seth Godins Blog
There is a reason why Seth Godin has earned millions of readers – consistently great content. 

One of the biggest blogging mistakes you can make is not making this problem obvious. So start at the top to grab attention.

It’s no different than a speaker on stage asking their audience “Has this ever happened to you?”

Right away, we are leaning in…waiting for the solution.

Mistake #2: Not Measuring Results

You wouldn’t drive a car without a speedometer or open a bank account if you couldn’t see your balances, so why would you invest in a website if you couldn’t see the results?

Examples of metrics you’ll want to pay attention to include:

  • Social shares
  • Bounce rates
  • CTA clicks
  • Traffic sources

Here’s more on how to measure your blog’s success.

A great place to start is by making sure you have Google Analytics installed correctly on your website. Here is how to check. Next, set it up so you get a simple PDF of your results emailed to you once a month. Now, you will be getting feedback on your site and can track the results of your blog posts and site traffic.

Google Analytics
A good place to start is to set up your Google Analytics to send an automatic report

Mistake #3: No Call-To-Action

Every article you publish should help your readers take the next step.

It could be as simple as a related article on your site they can enjoy, or a link to your book or to learn about your services.

The bottom line is that you don’t have to do anything fancy here! Just make sure that you are offering some valuable content, product, or service that is relevant to the reader.

Here are some examples of Call-To-Action for your blog:
– read a related post (like this post all about adding a Call-To-Action to your blog)
– download a more in-depth ebook, report, or video on this topic
– complete a quick survey on this topic
– learn more about your book, courses, facility, staff, services…
– submit a comment
– share this post on social media

Mistake #4: Doing it All Yourself

You’re a busy professional. Your time is valuable.

One of the biggest blogging mistakes is trying to do it all when you could be delegating tasks to other professionals.

If you’re looking at your content and thinking “It’s no big deal, I’ll just do it myself” maybe it’s time to do a little self-reflection.

Next time you are about to log into WordPress to publish your blog, ask yourself: What does this time and inconvenience cost me?

Those 15-20 minutes are an interruption in your day and a big distraction from growing your business, enjoying a break or even reading a chapter in that book you bought last month.

Here are some blogging tasks that are easy to outsource:

  • Research – wouldn’t it be great if someone was pulling together the perfect quotes, statistics, stories, and facts for your next post?
  • Editing – once the writing is done, editing is a tedious task someone else can do.
  • Publishing – there are at least 15 steps to publishing a blog (if you do it correctly and set up: tags, categories, meta descriptions, etc.). And they are repetitive – perfect for outsourcing.
  • Video creation – you are the rock star, not the whole crew. There are lots of freelancers who love messing around with transitions, intro’s and sound.
  • Slide decks for presentations – if the presentation is important enough, it’s worth have a pro check over your slides and adding final touches.

Upwork is a great place to find talent. If you’re using it, use filters to help you narrow down parameters like country, skill level, and rates. In this post, we walk you through how to set up a job and find freelancers.

At BlogWorks we pride ourselves on being able to deliver white-label, SEO rich blogposts to our clients. If this is something you are interested in, contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help you!

Mistake #5: Being Inconsistent

One of the biggest blogging mistakes that people tend to make is trying to publish randomly, when inspiration strikes, or even every day.

But, just like most things, quality is more important than quantity.
So if you want to stick with a schedule of weekly or bimonthly, that’s fine! But stick to it.

Consistency builds loyalty, and readers will look forward to your next post.

At BlogWorks, we publish weekly. And we can see a nice spike in our traffic every time we publish.

Start by blocking out a little time for writing out some drafts or ideas, and then outsourcing (see #3, above) where you can.

TIP: Check out Cal Newport’s argument for time-blocking in his book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.

Cal Newport Book

Mistake #6: Skipping Your Mailing List

If you are a service professional (doctor, lawyer, professional speaker, medical professional, coach, etc.), then your blog is the ideal way to attract more clients. You get to showcase your best solutions and your clients get to “test drive” your services.

Your blog is also a great way to build your mailing list.

Having a mail list is a simple way to stay in touch with your audience, keep them informed of what you’re up to, and advertise your latest products and services. It also adds value to your business.

Unlike, advertising that you have to constantly feed, your mailing list can reach your followers for free. And unlike advertising that is pushing your products and services on people, your blog is welcomed by readers and attracts them to your solutions.

Not having a mailing list is one of the biggest blogging mistakes you can make. So, even if you only have 200 people on a list now, it’s not too late to start growing that list. Before you start, though, check out these 5 questions to ask before you build your mailing list.

Mistake #7: Not using an Template

You wouldn’t start a business or go on a vacation without a plan. Similarly, you shouldn’t write a blog without a template. Your template, or blueprint, or outline, is a guide for what comes first and what follows.

For example, all blog articles need to start by getting your readers’ attention. That’s pretty obvious, right? After all, your reader needs to stop scrolling long enough to pay attention to your post. But, did you know that the next part is all about a problem?

The whole idea is to create a reading experience just like a conversation. You start by getting your listener’s attention, then you present a problem you think they would be interested in solving and then tell them what you know about that.

Often, just by reorganizing your content you can turn a ho-hum blog post into a viral machine that attracts thousands of readers.

Here’s a quick overview of the exact template we use at BlogWorks.

Opening – always start by getting your reader’s attention and get them to stop scrolling on their phone or tablet or lean in if this is a presentation. Start with a story, a bold claim or a statistic/fact.

Problem – next, you need to make it obvious what the problem you are solving. It could be to save time, rescue a marriage, or delegate better – whatever it is, make it clear that you understand their problem.

Personal – why are you writing/speaking about this? What is your personal experience or client’s story, or research you’ve completed?

Promise – what will you share? What will they get from reading further or listening to you?

Solutions – what do they need to do or change? Can you give examples of how this has worked for others? Is there anything they need to avoid?

Next Steps – remind them of the problem and why this is important.

The Offer – how they can go further with you (products, services, courses, etc)

Close – motivational message, call-to-action, or challenge

Download your copy of the complete template here.

Mistake #8: Forgetting Social Media

At BlogWorks we love to bring you more love.

We don’t use mindless automation, instead, we have a team of wonderful, local writers who get to know your writing style and craft each update for your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

It’s important to have a clear picture of what’s working, but wading through a sea of metrics can be time-consuming and even confusing.

Here are some tips to help you simplify

  • Get clear on how to use social media analytics
  • Choose only one or two key channels which are most relevant to your audience
  • Hire a dedicated social media professional to manage and monitor posts
  • Develop a content plan which encompasses social posting and all marketing activities

Learn more about why social media scheduling tools might be a bad idea.

Mistake #9: Getting Discouraged and Giving Up

Finally, we are at the biggest of all the blogging mistakes: giving up!

Here’s the thing:

Your blog will never be as sexy as paid advertising or as daring as hosting a webinar or renting a hotel room and inviting people to a free seminar.

Instead, it will be something that adds value to your company slowly over time.
Every day, readers are giving you their attention. They come back over and over for advice and guidance.

And all it costs you is some planning and a bit of your time.

You will want to quit. After all, it’s not like you see the readers marching into your office waiting room or lining up at your home office. But they’re there.

When you get discouraged and want to give up, remember this…

You’re building an audience and if you serve them well that audience will become fans and those fans will become clients. Your blog is an investment in your business that will keep paying rewards for years to come.

Now all you have to do is keep investing in your blog!

Did you like this blog? Here are three more you’ll want to check out:

The Ultimate List: 7 Reasons Why You (Yes, You) Need A Blog Today
5 Ways To Get More Social Media Followers
3 Reasons To Measure Your Blog’s Success (And How) 

Why Do Best-Selling Authors Brown, Kiyosaki, Rubin, Maxwell, and Godin All Blog?

“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”
Br
ené Brown

Guess what in-demand professional speakers: Bené Brown, Robert Kiyosaki, Gretchen Rubin, John Maxwell, and Seth Godin all have in common?

They all blog. 

Strange, right?

I mean, after all, aren’t they all successful – too successful to bother with blogging?

There must be a good reason why busy authors and speakers are still using a blog to get their message out and attract the business growth they want.

Let’s dig a little deeper…

You connect

There is something very special about sharing your voice with readers. You connect. You can also instruct, advise, direct – even admonish, but you always connect. 

It’s hard to connect in a 140 character Tweet or as people scroll past your post on Facebook or Instagram. You need time to connect.

[bctt tweet="“It’s hard to connect in a 140 character Tweet or as people scroll past your post on Facebook or Instagram. You need time to connect.”" username="YourBlogWorks"]

At BlogWorks we commonly see blog articles holding readers’ attention for 4, 6, even 13 minutes! That’s an eternity in Internet time. Imagine you had 100 people in a room taking in your advice for even 5 minutes every day, year-round. 

You have time to share your position on complicated topics like marriage, financial planning or selling a home. You have time to share your style, or unique approach and build rapport. You have time to invite readers to learn more about your company, your team and your solutions.

That’s what a blog can do.

Let’s look at how some of the most sought after speakers, authors and thought leaders use their blog.

Bené Brown

Prolific, best-selling author Bené Brown has been blogging since 2007. Her posts range from 400 word thoughtful muses like this one to 2000 essays like this one.

Not every blog post has to be an essay.

Not afraid to “let it all hang out” Brown allows her readers to see all of her vulnerabilities as an addict, mother, wife and, of course, as a celebrity. Just like her books, reading a Brene Brown blog post is like listening to her speak—authentic, often raw, insightful and always positive. 

If you’ve ever looked into improving your personal wealth, you’ve most likely come across serial author and celebrity finance wizard, Robert Kiyosaki. Kiyosaki’s empire includes real estate, books, games , coaching, retreats – you name it. If it has to do with making money, Kiyosaki has his hands on it.

He also has a massive following and uses his blog (written by both Robert and his wife, Kim) to nurture his list of over 1.5 millions subscribers. 

At BlogWorks we are huge fans of updating and reposting old blog posts. Kiyosaki uses this strategy and goes the extra distance with not only updated content but also images.

Updating and reposting old blog posts saves time but can also result in boosted traffic.

Gretchen Rubin

One of my favourite books about mindset and living with self-awareness is Gretchen Rubin’s bestseller The Happiness Project. And I remember reading that about half-way through writing the book, Rubin decided to share her monthly experiments with happiness in a blog

What was most remarkable about her blogging exercise was how her reader’s feedback started to inform her writing. Her blog became a kind of two-way conversation.

Your blog can become a kind of two-way communication with readers.

John Maxwell

You don’t have to always be the author of your own blog. Best-selling author, speaker and leadership expert, John Maxwell blends his own writing with posts from his CEO, Mark Cole. True to brand, all of the articles are about Maxwell and his teachings. 

Regardless of your workload or age (at the time of writing, Maxwell is 73), you can invite other writers to contribute to your blog. In fact, it can be a win/win. You get an article to publish and your contributor gets exposed to your audience.

Inviting other writers and speakers to your blog can be a great win!
Inviting other writers to your blog can be a great win/win.

We recently published a post on the BlogWorks blog contributed by editor Barbara McNichol and by communications expert Lauren Sergy.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the epitome of marching to your own drummer – including how he runs his blog. Millions of daily readers return to Godin’s quirky, short (his posts rarely exceed 400 words), but consistently insightful thoughts on life, thinking, marketing, and success.  

Godin’s blog and followers are a big part of his success as an author, speaker and thought leader.

Why Do Best Selling Authors and Speakers All Blog?
Your blog can be a feeder for attracting new followers and clients

You don’t have to be famous

You don’t have to be famous to blog. Your blog is a powerful way to connect with readers and to attract more followers. All of the authors profiled in this post are successful and they still use their blog as a core part of their marketing strategy.

Sure, social media, video, podcasts are great ways to get your message out. But if you want to attract people to your message and have them convert from readers to followers and then to buyers, you won’t do it with a Facebook update or Tweet.

Want to be able to write like a pro? Download our Ultimate Writing Template.

Enjoyed this article? Here are 3 more to help you with your blogging success:

21 clever ways to attract more readers and boost blog traffic this year
How to increase your blog traffic by almost 30% in only 90 days-a case study
How to (finally) make money with your blog