How to Get Traction with Your New Blog

How to Get Traction with Your New Blog - you can't have a blog without readers! | ProBlogger.net

This is it. This is your year, you say.

You’ve been tossing up the idea of starting a new blog for ages now. You read blogs, you love the idea of blogging, you may even want to earn some extra cash on the side, and you’ve thought “I could totally do that!” You may have even read last week’s post on WHY you should start a blog and found yourself all fired up.

You may even have gone so far as to think of a name, organised a domain, or claimed your social media accounts but something’s always held you back. If one of those stumbling blocks has been thinking “but who will read it? There are so many great blogs out there, how will they even notice me?” (and let’s face it, I think plenty of people feel that way!), then I’m here to help.

How to get traction with your new blog

We all start with zero readers. We all start with zero traffic. Anyone can write a blog, but it’s what you do with it that counts.

Think about who you’d love to read your blog and find out where you think they might be. Then go get yourself noticed!

Assess your social media situation

  • Social media is crucial when it comes to finding readers for your blog. The thing is to figure out what kind of social platforms will work for your blog and your potential readers. Want to stick to Facebook and Instagram? Do that. Will LinkedIn and an email list work better for you? Put your attention there.
  • Think about whether you need totally new accounts or if you can revamp your existing ones.
  • Follow both people who inspire you and people you think will be interested in your content. Engage with them (I can’t stress how important this bit is, but more on that later!). Think about what kind of content will work on these platforms that also represent you and what you’re about. These are the platforms where you share not only your own content, but items you think will be interesting and useful to your followers so they know you’re the real deal and will stick around. And hopefully not just stick around, but recommend you and your blog to their friends!

Call in favours

You’re ready for your blog to be seen – so consider the people you already know who might be interested in what you’re doing, and let them know!

  • You can email your first (or favourite) post friends and co-workers who might like your stuff and invite them to read and share with their friends.
  • You can share on your personal Facebook and Instagram pages that you’ve taken the plunge into blogland.
  • Tell people you meet who might be interested, chat about it at the water cooler or the school gate (or both!), let it be known you’ve started a blog in your conversations – you might be surprised at how many people will be interested and ask more questions about it.

How to get traction with your new blog | ProBlogger.net

Thoughtful promotion

I know, I know, it’s exciting to finally have a blog and you’re keen for everyone to read it. The thing is, over-eagerness can come off as spammy if you’re not careful (don’t worry, we’ve all done it! Just don’t keep doing it!).

Be considerate of how every day, everyone is bombarded with requests to read this, go there, do that. Even you! So put yourself in the shoes of your potential readers and understand what kind of calls to action would suit them. This can be real trial and error so try not to be upset if what you’re experimenting with doesn’t work, you will figure it out! Things to think about include the frequency of your posts on your social channels, your wording, the imagery, how much of it will be your content as opposed to sharing the posts of others, that sort of thing. Don’t just thrust your posts under people’s noses and hope it works.

Every platform benefits from a slightly different approach, so try to make it useful and relevant for each of the audiences you have or are trying to grow in each area.

Facebook

Join Facebook groups that focus on blogging, or are in the niche you write about. Don’t just spam their wall with your offerings, though – read the rules and play by them. Often there will be a specific day you can share your work, or specific threads in which you can do so. Be a team player and visit some of the other blogs too – don’t just drop your link and run!

Facebook pages almost seem like a law unto themselves, and I’ve spoken to plenty of folk who’d rather avoid it altogether – although they know they shouldn’t. Ignore your potential readers on the biggest social media platform in the world? Not totally a good idea!

Again the key is experimentation here, it’s almost impossible to guarantee a course of action that will work without taking into account your content, your motivation, and your audience. Try different times and different content and monitor the reaction. Do more of what your audience likes!

Instagram

Instagram is a visual beast, and therefore your blog promotion should suit that. You can use a picture from your blog post to advertise you’ve published one, and don’t forget to make use of Instagram stories to go into further detail – you can scroll through your post, give a brief explanation of what’s on there, and do a behind-the-scenes story about how the post was put together.

Hashtags are a fabulous way of not only sharing your content with like-minded people but also finding new inspiration. The trick is to use them well – they don’t work so well on Pinterest, LinkedIn or Facebook, but are vital on Twitter and Instagram. Don’t spam, don’t hijack hashtags that aren’t relevant to you, and on Instagram, pop the majority of them in your first comment, especially if you’re looking to use the maximum available to you.

Pinterest

Pinterest is exceptionally image-driven, so put your best foot forward on there. Pin your own content and other people’s content to specific boards and re-pin what you like. Join shared boards and abide by the rules of pinning your own content. Pinterest can be a fabulous traffic-driver if you use it well – try reading 4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Drive Traffic to Your Blog.

Online groups

Find other groups on other platforms you think will be useful. LinkedIn groups, Google Plus Circles, Twitter chats, Pinterest shared boards, forums – I can guarantee you will find places where folk of similar interests gather elsewhere on the blog that you can join.

Again, abide by their rules and avoid the impulse to be spammy. Get to know the people and culture of the group and figure out where you fit in.

How to get traction with your new blog | ProBlogger.net

Make use of the small spaces

  • Your email signature can definitely do with a link to your blog, both your blog’s email and your personal email.
  • Your Facebook Page has plenty of places to include a link to your blog, but you might want to add your Facebook Page to your personal profile’s “work” section, which will then show up on your profile, and maybe even let people know in your “Intro” section that appears under your profile picture.
  • It goes without saying that a link to your blog in each of your social media bios is vital! But again, think of your personal accounts as well as your blog accounts.
  • You can replace your profile photos with your blog logo.

Take care of basic SEO

It sounds frightening to plenty of newbie bloggers, but SEO can be a real boon if you pay a little bit of attention to it straight up.

If you’re on WordPress, you can download a plugin that will help you navigate your way through post SEO – we use Yoast, and it is user-friendly. We also have a resident SEO guru, Jim Stewart of Bloggers SEO, who talks us through the foundations and writes helpful posts decoding the mystery of search engine optimisation here.

But basically, if you want your blog to be found on Google and other search engines, think about they key words of what your blog is about, and also each post. Make sure you use these key words in your post titles, somewhere (naturally) in the post, and in the images of each post. Yoast will help you add a post blurb and will point out places you might have missed.

Get involved

Blogging is ultimately a community of people, creators and readers alike. It’s people you’re dealing with and in that case, you have to be approachable, open, and personable, not only to your readers, but other bloggers.

Read and interact with other blogs on their platforms and on social media. Leave thoughtful comments that might spark others’ interests enough that they’ll click over and see what you’re about. Be a visible and genuine addition to the blogosphere.

You can join blog linkups or challenges, or start your own. Answer your readers’ comments, and don’t be afraid to share other bloggers’ posts in your posts or on your social media. Getting involved is one of the best, fastest, and most rewarding ways of getting your blog in front of interested people.

A little bit of gumption and old-school hustle will help you find readers for your brand-new blog – almost anything’s possible! But it will make the difference between a lonely blog lost in the vastness of cyberspace, and a thriving hub of like-minded people. And the longer you wait, the longer it will take to put yourself on the map.

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5 Ridiculous SEO Myths Every Blogger Should Ignore

5 Ridiculous SEO Myths Every Blogger Should Ignore | ProBlogger.net

SEO scares or confuses most bloggers and for very good reason.

Google makes it a challenge for you to understand what they are doing, and they keep changing the rules. If that were not enough, there is also a lot of half-baked information out there and blog posts filled with the wrong information.

So, in this post I want to highlight five ridiculous SEO myths you should ignore and, what you should do instead.

Only The Big Blogs Can Get Traffic From Google

It is true that bigger (more authoritative) websites often rank higher on Google. And naturally, you might take that as a sign that it is impossible to a piece of the Google pie.

Believe it or not, everyone has a chance to get lots of traffic from Google. In fact, most of my clients get the majority of their traffic from search because they understand how to play the game.

Now you are probably wondering:

“Ashley, how can I also get boat-loads of traffic from Google?”

There are two big things you need to do:

  1. Target keywords that are quite specific (ie. long tail keywords) instead of going for the high competition phrases
  2. Check how competitive the top 10 in Google are before you target a specific keyword term (just do a search and see who ranks)

In short, pick your battles before you create your content.

SEO Is Too Hard, Google Always Changes The Rules

Sure, Google does tweak their algorithm countless times a year. And, they introduce bigger changes all the time knocking many off their perch.

Do you want me to let you in on a little SEO secret?

If you are doing SEO the right way, none of that really matters!

Every time Google makes a change to their search engine, it’s the people who do the “wrong” thing that suffer.

That might be you if you trying to trick Google with:

  • too many links from spammy sites
  • too many keywords in your posts
  • blog posts that are just not worth anyone’s time

However, if you stick to the following simple rules, you are always good to go:

  • Only use your keywords 4-5 times (only)
  • Write the best piece of content you can on your chosen topic
  • Get links from quality websites in your niche

If you are keen for some more in-depth information on exactly how to write SEO optimized content, you can this more detailed post on the topic.

Keywords Are No Longer Relevant

A few years ago you could stuff your keywords into your blog posts dozens of times. That ensured Google understood the point of your post.

Today, that is no longer a good idea. And because of this, many people are claiming:

Keywords are no longer relevant

The truth is always more complicated that simple quotes.

Search engines still need to be given some hints to truly understand what your post is about. And those are your keywords.

Today, instead of sprinkling them all over your content like confetti, you only need to put them in a few key places.

Do you want to know what those places are?

Let me list them out for you:

  • The URL
  • The title of the post (SEO Title – ie. Yoast)
  • The main heading
  • The first paragraph (or 100 words)
  • Once more in the content (a variation if possible)

That is all you need to get your content ranked for a particular keyword.

Guest Blogging Is Dead

It’s funny how Google always tells us to stop doing what works. And guest blogging is no exception.

Back in 2014, Matt Cutts scared everyone by stating that guest blogging was dead.

This stopped a lot of people in their tracks, and lead to a big decline in guest blogging.

But don’t let it stop you!

Matt was really saying that if you use guest blogging the wrong way (like anything in SEO) Google will punish or ignore you.

What is the right way to guest blog?

Write a relevant, helpful blog post for a fellow blogger in your niche.

That’s it.

Take this post as an example. I wrote this like I would any content on my own blog.

And the great news is, many top blogs are still accepting guest posts and it’s a great way to do SEO.

You also get a link to your website, exposure to a new audience and a chance to network with new people.

All great ideas in my book.

Google Will Automagically Find My New Post

For bigger and more well known websites, that is certainly true.

However, if you have a newer site or have not published something in a long time Google might ignore you for a while.

There are a range of ways you can solve this, however I want to bring only the best one to your attention.

Use Google Search Console.

Google has created Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) to help us connect to them, and monitor our websites from a search perspective.

There are so many advantages to setting this up, but one of the biggest is informing Google of each and every page and post you have. Including the brand new ones, when they are created.

There are a few steps involved in this process, but the basics go like this:

  • Sign up for Search Console (with a gmail account)
  • Connect your website (by adding a special code)
  • Add an XML site map (use Yoast plugin on WordPress)

There are some nuances to it, but that is the basics.

Once you have it set up, not only will you be able to get your new content on Google faster, but they will keep you informed of all sorts of other useful things too!

This one is a must!

Ignore The Myths And Thrive With SEO

By doing a few simple things, and ignoring all the bad advice out there, you can quickly gain traffic from Google.

Take one or a few of the tips above, and you will soon be wondering how you ever lived with SEO in your life!

Ashley is an SEO and WordPress specialist, and founder of Mad Lemmings, who helps bloggers, solopreneurs and small business get more traffic from Google.

The post 5 Ridiculous SEO Myths Every Blogger Should Ignore appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


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PB174: An Alternate New Year’s Resolution That Will Transform Your Blogging for 2017

An Alternate Resolution to Transform Your Blogging in 2017  

In today’s lesson I want to talk about New Year’s Resolutions and Goals and want to suggest setting a goal that I think will help to set your blogging up for a great year of blogging.

problogger_174

In fact – I’m really excited about this episode because it’s an alternative way of thinking about New Year’s goals and resolutions – something I’ve never really considered before that I am really excited to try myself.

So if you’re looking at the new year and are wondering how to make it the best year ever for your blog – this episode is for you!

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Welcome to episode 174 of the ProBlogger Podcast and a very Happy New Year to you. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind www.problogger.com, a blog podcast event job board, a series of eBooks, and a real-life paper book, one of those old fashioned ones, all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your audience and to make money from your blog. You can find out more about all of those things that we do at ProBlogger at www.problogger.com.

In today’s lesson, I want to talk about New Year’s resolutions and goals being the 2nd of January. I want to suggest setting a goal that I think will help to set your blogging up for a great year of blogging. In fact, I’m really excited about this episode because it’s an alternative way of thinking about New Year’s goals or New Year’s resolutions. It’s something that until today, while I was out of my walk, I’d never really considered before. I’m really excited to share it with you and to try it myself. If you’re looking at the New Year, 2017, and wondering how to make it the best year for your blog, I hope this episode will help you do just that. You can find today’s shownotes with some links to some further reading that I’ve got for you at www.problogger.com/podcast/174.

Happy New Year! This podcast should go out on the 2nd of January 2017. I’m actually recording it though on the 27th of December from a little bit few days ago and I’m currently recovering from a very hot Christmas. It’s summer here in Australia and Christmas Day for us was 36 degrees Celsius which was about 97 F for those of you who aren’t used to Celsius. We spent most of the day, on Christmas Day, swimming in a swimming pool, my mother-in-law’s swimming pool. It was a bit of a hot day, a little bit different too. I know how many of you who celebrated the day and spending your time at this time of year because I’ve been watching some of you who are snowed in on Instagram at the moment.

But now that Christmas is over and preparations at our house are turning towards New Year’s Eve. We actually will be celebrating and staying in the New Year with five other families who are coming over for the evening. We tend to get together with the same families every year. This year, there are 10 or I think about 15 kids should be pretty noisy and a lot of fun. Every year, as part of that celebration, the conversation tends to turn to New Year’s resolutions and goals for the coming year. Over the last few days, I’ve been pondering my own goals and resolutions, my own plans for 2017. Now I’m not huge on resolutions but I always do set a few goals for my personal life, my health, my relationships, as well as my business, as well as my blogging.

I’ve talked a lot about goals in the past. In fact, if you want to go back and listen to episode 77 after you finish this one, I suggest the whole process for making goals for your blog that I do think is well worth listening to. It’s episode 77: How to Set Blog Challenging Goals for The New Year. But it struck me today while I was out on my walk that many of the goals that I tend to develop for my blogs every year are a little bit, I hate to use the word, but they’re a little bit selfish.

Let me explain, often as bloggers, we set ourselves goals like, “I want to double my traffic in the year ahead.” Or “I want to publish five posts a week because I needed three this year.” Or “I want to create a new eBook, a new product for my blog. I want to start something new. I want to start a podcast.” Or “I want to start doing Facebook Live. I want to grow my list, my email list.” Or “I want to update my old blog design into a new one.” All these goals are completely worthy. They’re all good. They all tend to be about making gain in some area, achieving some sort of goal that we have or eliminating some kind of problem or bad habit that we have. All of those things are good. However, they’re all about what we want as bloggers and I wonder as I look at those goals and was thinking today about my own blogging goals, if perhaps they all have some missing element and that is our readers.

As I was walking today, I was wondering if a much better starting point for thinking about our goals for our blogs and businesses might be if we set New Year’s resolutions for our readers. What would happen if we set goals for our readers? What do we want to achieve for our readers in the year ahead? Rather than what we want to achieve for our blog.

Here’s my little challenge for you. I want to challenge you to set a goal or a resolution for your readers in 2017. What kind of pain do you want to help eliminate in your reader’s lives in the year ahead? What kind of bad habit do you want to help them to get rid off in the year ahead? What kind of mistake do you want to help them to stop making in the year ahead? What kind of obstacle do you want them to overcome in the year ahead that you want to be a part of? That’s the negative way of looking at it. What pain do you want to eliminate? What bad habit do you want to eliminate? What mistake, what obstacle? But also, you can flip it around. What gain do you want to help your readers to achieve in the year ahead? What good habit do you want to help to develop in your readers in the year ahead? What change, positive change, do you want to help bring about in their lives? What achievement do you want to help them to make? Think about your readers. Who are they? What are their pains, their obstacles, their problems, and what are the gains, the hopes, the dreams that they have? Identify one of those things that you can help your readers to work on in the year ahead.

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals for more traffic and more income and more comments and engagement with your readers but as I was walking today, it struck me that if we instead flip it around and put the focus on the change that we want to see in our readers in the year ahead, then perhaps some of those things will look after themselves.

If you can identify the thing that you want to help you readers with, this year, that will help you to work out what content to produce, what products to create for your blog, will help you to work ahead and promote your blog better and how to attract new readers.

How will your blog make a difference to your readers in the year ahead? Think about it, what is your goal for your readers in 2017? Try and get it into a sentence. If you’re struggling with that, ask your readers. I just did exactly that on my Facebook page and I’m already starting to see some of my readers tell me about the things that they want to achieve in the year ahead as it pertains to my topic. Once you’ve identified what are these that you want your year to be about in helping your readers, put it in somewhere that you’ll see everyday. Try and get it into a sentence and write it down. Put it next to your computer. Put it on the office wall in front of you so that everyday when you sit down to write content, you’ve got that change that you’re trying to bring to your readers in mind.

Maybe, it could even become a weekly post that you do that really tackles that problem or that thing that you’re trying to achieve or maybe it could be an extended series or maybe it could help you to have some discussion on your social media, or maybe you could even start a Facebook group to help you readers to achieve that particular goal. Maybe it could become part of your monetization strategy. Maybe you have to create a course or an eBook or a membership that site that’s based around that change you’re trying to bring to your readers. You may even want to announce it to your readers. You might want to say, “I’ve surveyed you. I’ve thought a lot about what I want to achieve with this blog this year and this year, I want to help you to whatever it is that you want to achieve.”

Flip the New Year’s Resolution about this year. Don’t just come up with your own goals for what you want to achieve with your blog but think about what you want your readers to achieve. What is a New Year’s resolution, a goal, for them? Once you’ve done that, I would love to hear what you’ve come up with, I’d love to hear what your goals are for your readers in the year ahead. I’m going to ponder that particular question for myself and I’ll let you know what I come up with in the weeks ahead as well.

You can find today’s shownotes and I do have a little bit of further reading for you at www.problogger.com/podcast/174. Once you’ve come up with that goal for your readers for 2017, you might want to go and listen to episode 77 which is also about setting goals for the year. Those goals I would do tend to be more about the goals for your own blog. I do encourage you to start with the question of today, what’s the goal for your readers, and then you might want to go and listen to episode 77 which I think is a good companion to today’s episode. Hope you do have a good New Year’s and exciting start to 2017 and I’ll be in touch with you in the coming weeks with the next episode of the ProBlogger Podcast.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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PB175: How to Quit Your Job and Build an Online Business

How to Think About Giving up Your Day Job for an Online Business

In today’s lesson I want to tell you a story – a story of advice I was given when I was starting out that I ignored – a story of regret and a story that I hope might move you to taking some action!

Listen in the player above or here on iTunes.

problogger_175

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Hi there, its Darren from Problogger and welcome to Episode 175 of Problogger podcast. As I said, my name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com; a blog, a podcast that you’re listening to now, an event, a job board, and series of ebooks all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your audience. And if you haven’t started a blog, to start a blog too and to make money from that blog. You can find out more about problogger at problogger.com.

In today’s lesson, I want to tell you a story. It’s a story of advice that I was given when I was just starting out, advice that it turns out I completely ignored. It’s a story of regret and a story that I hope might move you into taking some more action in your blog and your business.

Have you ever been given the advice don’t give up your day job? Back in 2004, I was given that advice numerous times, quite a few in fact. I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half and I just discovered that you could make money from blogging. Now, by no means was it much money. I was only making a few dollars a day at first but I was beginning to see the possibilities of monetizing blogs. The dream of going full time as a blogger had begun to grow in my mind.

At first, I didn’t tell anyone about this dream of going full time with my blogging but as my income begin to grow, I couldn’t help myself. I began to tell a few friends and family members about these dreams. Whilst most of my friends and family were very encouraging, or at least they humored me without saying anything negative, I did get that advice quite a few times when I would tell them that one day I might become a full time blogger. Their advice was “don’t give up your day job.”

Often, those words were said in a gentle, joking tone. It was kind of almost like a “don’t give up you day job.” It’s kind of a funny saying people would say. But sometimes, they were actually telling me not to give up my day job and their advice was well meaning. And in some ways, it was wise advice too because who had ever heard of a full time blogger back in 2004? Most of my friends didn’t even know what a blog was, let alone know of anyone who was a full time blogger. There was some wisdom in their advice and it was well intentioned.

I didn’t take it to heart and I certainly didn’t let those words have much of an impact upon me because basically over the coming years, I did begin to give up my day job. I would say actually it was day jobs because at that time, I was working a number of part time jobs. I was working as a youth worker and a minister in a church. I was working in a factory packing parcels, I was working in an catering kitchen putting food on trays, I was working as a casual laborer doing things like assembling Cirque De Soleil tents. I only did that one day, it was too hard for me. I was also studying part time. I had the luxury of having lots of different jobs that I was working.

Gradually over the coming year or so, I began to give up those day jobs. It was a gradual process, it certainly didn’t happen overnight and it took me a year or so to really give them all up to the point where I was a full time blogger. I will link in today’s show notes to the full story if you are interested in reading that.

Over that time, I did begin to give up those day jobs. The before and after shots of my life from 2003, 2004 to now in 2017, they’re quite remarkably different. My life is very different today because of blogging. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to that well-intentioned advice of my friends not to give up my day job.

A year or two ago, I caught up with a friend who’s a long term friend. And this friend reminded me that he was one of these people who used to say to me, “Don’t give up your day job,” way back in 2004. I don’t remember this friend actually ever saying those words to me but a year or so ago, we caught up for a coffee and he kind of confessed to me that he’d said those words. He had been feeling guilty about it because he had been thinking about it ever since. He worried that perhaps I had been harboring some kind of resentment to him for telling me not to give up my day job. He was quite relieved to know that I didn’t even remember him saying that.

But one of the things that interested me in that conversation with my friend is that he also told me that he regularly wondered what would have happened if instead of saying, “Don’t give up the day job,” he’d actually said, “How could I do it too?” My friend is quite similar to me. He’s got lots of interest, he’s a good communicator, he’s a gatherer of ideas, he’s researcher and he’s got on entrepreneurial kind of spirit within him. He thinks about things in an entrepreneurial way.

He told me as we caught up for this coffee that when he saw me starting my first blogs back in 2002, 2003, 2004, that part of him wanted to do the same thing. He thought it would be fun, he thought it might have opened some doors of opportunity for him. But he also had these others voices going through his mind at the same time. The voices that said things like all the topics are being taken, everyone else has already started all the blogs. What if it doesn’t work? What if it’s a waste of time? I’m too late. What if I look stupid? There were little excuses running through his mind, little bits of fear, little worries that he had.

Instead of saying, “How can I do it too?” He said, “Don’t give up your day job.” He told me that he regretted that for 10 years. Now as he told me that, there was this pause in our conversation. We both reflected upon the decade that had gone by ever since and how things have played out for both of us. By no means had his life turned out badly. He’s got a great family, he’s had success in the employment that he’s had over those 10 years. On the other side of things, neither has my life been a complete fairytale; building your own business is tough.

But there was a real sense of regret in his demeanor. In the conversation, he then went on to tell  me that he wished he hadn’t missed the boat of getting into blogging and that for the last ten years, he’d still wondered if he should still start a blog, or a podcast, or Youtube Channel. He in the last few years had even brainstormed topics that he could start a blog on. He bought a domain, he planned out content ideas, he even bought my book, The Problogger Book without telling me a few years ago.

The thing that continued to hold him back is that when he looked at what was happening on the web today and how it developed, he kept saying to himself it’s too late to start, it’s too late to build anything that could be substantial today. He had this feeling that everyone else had all the topics already.

It was that moment in our conversation that I just felt like jumping up from the table and shaking him because I had those same feelings back in 2002, 2003. I remember back when I first started my first blogs and started to monetize them that I looked those little blogs that I had and I started to compare them to all the other bloggers who’d already been at it for two or three years.

I remember when I first started my first photography blog looking around the web thinking there’s already hundreds of other photography sites out there, how could I ever build anything of significance. I looked at the following that others have built, the influence that they have, the skills that they have accumulated and I distinctly remember thinking to myself I’m too light.

I suspect most people, most bloggers have felt that same thing at one point or another. And you listening to this right now probably had those feelings and maybe have them right now. We all tend to compare ourselves to others further along on the journey. Many of us have these feelings of inadequacy when we do have those moments of comparison. It’s completely natural to have those feelings but it’s such a shame to let them overwhelm you to the point of paralysis like my friend.

I don’t think it’s too late today. If anything, this revolution that’s happening around us on the internet at the moment, is only just the beginning. We’re in the early days of this. Sure, there are so many people engaging and creating content on the web, but with that comes opportunity. Alongside that, we see an expanded audience. There are still parts of the world that are coming online today. Our audience has the potential of growing.

As one of my favorite social media practitioners Gary Vaynerchuk put in his book the Thank You Economy, he says, “There’s a gold rush happening, where are you?” Gary said that back in 2008 in his book, but I still think it’s a completely relevant message today.

I wanna be really clear here. I’m not saying you should quit your day job today. That would not be responsible in particular if you haven’t started blogging yet or if you are in the early days of your blog. But if that’s a dream for you, there are things you can do today about it. The key is to do something today, the key is to start today if you haven’t started. The key is to get over the fact that you’re not the first and to start creating something that matters today. The key is to get the ideas that swim around in your mind out of your mind and to take some action on them, today. The key is to start developing your voice and putting your ideas out there today. The key is to start building your network and an audience, today.

The key is to start developing skills that you need for this, today. The key is to move past your fear of not being good enough or not having the skills and to take you first small steps today. The key is to do something today.

Thanks for listening. Over the next few weeks, we will be starting a series on Problogger about how to start a blog but you can start today. You don’t need to wait for that series, but we will be providing you with some further content to help you on that journey.

In today’s show notes, I’m going to link back to that story of me starting my blog and the progression of giving up some of those day jobs but I’m also going to link to an article I wrote last year on how to start a blog.

If this is something you’ve been putting off, I really would encourage you to go and read that particular article today and to register that domain, to begin to brainstorm topics, begin to put that blog together today.

I look forward to seeing what happens as a result of that journey today.

You can find today’s shownotes over at problogger.com/podcast/175. Do something today.

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PB176: Scannable Content: 19 Techniques to Create it

Techniques to Create Scannable Content for Your Blog

In today’s lesson, I want to share a simple way to write content that is much more likely to be actually read, understood and acted upon by your readers.

We’re going to talk about techniques for creating more scannable content for your blog.

problogger_176

As bloggers, we put a lot of time into carefully choosing the right words for our blog posts but many times what stops people really engaging with our content is the way those words are arranged on the page.

They’re very often presented in a way that is too hard to read and inaccessible to many people. As a result our posts go unread, get no comments and have little chance of being shared on social media.

So if you’re someone who wants more readers, more engagement and more sharing of your content – learning to write more scannable content is a skill that you will want to develop and this episode is for you!

Further Resources on Scannable Content: 19 Techniques to Create it




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Hi there and welcome to Episode 176 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com; a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks all designed to help you as a blogger, to start a blog, to grow your audience, and to help make money from that blog. You can find more about ProBlogger at problogger.com.

In today’s lesson, I want to share something really quite simple. It’s a skill that is going to help you with all of the content that you create for your blog. It’s going to help your blog to be more read by the readers who come to it, it’s going to help those readers to understand what you are trying to say to them, and to take action upon the content that you create. It’s also going to help you to get more shares on your content too.

Today we’re talking about techniques for creating scannable content on your blog. As a blogger, you probably put a lot of time into carefully choosing the right words for your blog posts. We all do that. We all really think hard about those words, the things that we’re trying to convey. But many times what stops your readers from actually engaging with the content that you put a lot of time into is the way those words are arranged on your page. They’re very often the right words but they’re just not arranged in the right way and they’re presented in a way that is either hard to read or inaccessible to some of your readers.

As a result, our posts go unread. They get no comments or few comments and they have little chance of being shared because people aren’t actually reading the content, they’re not comprehending it. If you are someone who wants more readers, more engagement, more sharing of your content, then today’s episode is for you because learning to write scannable content is a skill that you will want to develop. Again, let’s get into the techniques for today’s show.

Studies show that the average person only really comprehends about 60% of what they read. That’s a little bit depressing as a blogger. It’s no wonder that this is true because another study that I came across today found that only 16% of people read websites word for word, 16% of people read the content that we write word for word. Most people today simply don’t read every word that is in front of them, they scan what they’re reading. I know this to be a fact because it’s exactly what I do.

When I first arrive on a website or a blog, I tend to do a very quick scan around the page without scrolling whatever I see above the fold. If I see something that interests me, then I might scroll down further. But really, it’s an initial scan of the page to see if the content looks like it is relevant to me and if it’s good enough for me to invest a little bit of time on.

If I see something above the fold that I find interesting, I generally then will scan down further. I’ll scroll and I’ll do another scan of the content. I might even scan to the bottom of the page to see how long it is, whether it’s going to be easy to read, and if I see any benefits of reading. And then I make a decision about whether I want to read it. If I see something in that initial scan that I want to read, then I go right back to the top and I begin to read.

This is how I think most people do it. People are making decisions in those first few seconds on your blog to determine whether they’re going to find your content relevant to them and whether it’s worth spending time reading it. If your content feels hard to read, if they can’t immediately see some benefits of reading it, then they will click away from your site and not actually read it, and never leave a comment, and never share.

Learning to write in a way that is scannable is really important because people are determining whether they’re going to read your content based upon that fact. In today’s episode, what I want to do is present to you 19, and that might sound like a lot but they are very short and simple techniques, that you can use to do just that, create scannable content. Good bloggers keep this in mind as they write. They will employ a variety of techniques to make their post easier to scan and to read. Not all of these will be relevant for every post you write but hopefully as you read through them you’ll begin to develop some techniques that will help your next post be more scannable, read, comprehended, and engaged with. Let’s get through them.

Number one, write great headlines. We talked about this in Episode 156, I’m not going to go into great depth but the first thing people will have their eyes drawn to is the headline of your post. Make it stand out, that comes down to designing your blog in a way where your headline pops off the screen and so people’s eyes are drawn directly to that. That’s what you want people to see when they first come to your site. Make it designed so that people see it and can have their eyes drawn to it but also make sure the headline itself is compelling and gives people a reason to want to read the next line. I do talk about that in Episode 156, I’m not going to go into any more depth on that apart from saying the best thing you can really do in your headline is to communicate a benefit for reading that.

Number two is to write a great opening line. Aside from your headline, the most read part of your blog post will be your first line. Again, you want to be communicating a benefit or creating a little bit of curiosity and intrigue, or making some kind of a promise, or do something in that opening line of your blog post to give people a reason for reading more. That’s a key place where you can help people to know that your content is relevant for them.

Point number three, keep your paragraphs short. Large, unbroken slabs of text will turn many of your readers off. Keep your paragraphs short. This gives your readers a visual cue that reading your content will be achievable. If they just come to your site and see these large slabs of text, unbroken paragraphs, they’re going to go, “This is just too hard.” They might not actually think that but it’s a subconscious type thing. Every paragraph should only have one idea in it and be relatively short.

Point number four is related to this, keep your sentences short as well. In a similar way to keeping your paragraphs short, keeping your sentences short will help your readers feel like your content is accessible. If the first line in your blog post is a sentence that’s 40 or 50 words long and is confusing to comprehend, they’re going to go, “This is just too hard.” I heard one person say that sentences should have no more than 16 words in them. I’m not a big one on rules but that sounds like a fairly achievable type of thing.

Number five, choose simple words. I remember back in high school, my English teacher once told me, she actually wrote this as a comment on one of the essay that I’ve written, that words that have four syllables or more sound impressive but make writing inaccessible to those reading. Anything with more than four syllables in it, four or more syllables, is inaccessible type word for people.

I actually pointed out to my teacher that the word inaccessible which she’d written as a comment was a five syllable word. That may not have gone down too well with that English teacher. I remember her not receiving that comment too well, but I guess her words of advice really did sink in for me.

Write like you speak. Choose words that simply and accurately convey your meaning. The less people need to get out the dictionary to find out what you’re actually talking about, the more they’ll persist with your reading. Big words might sound impressive but they actually make your content a little bit more inaccessible.

Number six point, use lists. Anecdotal evidence here on ProBlogger in the content that I’ve written over the years and on Digital Photography School suggest to me that my post with list type formats do so much better than the more essay like content that I write. Breaking your content down into the format of a list just seems more easy to read for your readers. As they scan through they can go, “Yeah, this is a list.”  “Yeah, this is 20 points, that’s pretty comprehensive but I can see that it’s broken down for me in some way.” I say this time and time again in the content that I create. Using a list to format your whole post can be one way, and even to use bullet points throughout a post can again help people to scan through your content, so using list in that way.

Related to this, headings and subheadings are so important. Large bold words that act as visual cues for what’s happening in the content that you write is one way that you can use to communicate really quickly the main points of your article, but also to draw the eye through your content. Again, if people come to your site and all they see is a large slab of text, it may be broken down into paragraphs but all they see is text and nothing really is standing out to them, then it’s harder for them to actually find out what does this article cover. But if you can break your 2,000 word article or even your 500 word article down into 4 or 5 sections that each have a subheading that communicates what that section is about, it gives your readers a visual cue as to what is coming up, and whether there’s going to be something relevant to them. Using subheadings can really be useful in that way.

Other types of formatting is point number eight. This is where you might use bold, you might use italics, you might even choose to use capitals, all caps or underlining to emphasize points. You want to be really careful with this type of formatting. You don’t want your whole article to be a mismatch of bold, italics, capitals, underlining, because then your content might begin to look a little bit cluttered and messy. Some restrained use of these types of techniques can really draw the eye of your reader to particularly important parts of your content. Even changing the font size or the color of your content might be relevant at certain times. Again, be really restrained on this, you don’t want your content to just be a mismatch of all of these techniques. Formatting is point number eight.

Point number nine is to use pictures. Research shows that reader’s eyes are drawn down the page by pictures. Simply by putting a picture every 200 or 300 words can be one way to add some visual interest, but also to draw the eye of your readers down the page. Placing your pictures cleverly beside your key points, especially when they do relate to the content, increases the chance of people really getting right down to the bottom of your post.

Point number ten is related to this, use image captions. When you’re using a picture, an image in your post, consider putting an image caption. This is pretty easy to do today with WordPress, it’s all built into WordPress. People naturally look at the little descriptions or the words underneath images. I would suspect that they, perhaps apart from your subheadings, are possibly the most read parts of your posts. Actually putting in an image caption in there that emphasizes a point that you’re trying to make, even if it has a call to action, might be a good place to draw the eye.

Number eleven, use other visual content. Using images is great but putting your key points or quotes from the article into a graphic image can be a really great visual cue as well. Using charts can also be good, or even putting tables into your content. Anything that is visual and there’s a different type of conveying of information can really help to draw the eye, to show your readers that it’s not just reading that you want them to do, you’ve got something for them to look at as well. This can really help to get your key points across. Even those graphics that we often use to promote our content on social media, actually putting those into your content, you might take a key quote from your article, put it over a graphic, a beautiful image, and put that into your content. That again acts like a sub header. There’s something that’s going to be relevant later in this article, gives you a reason to read more.

Point number twelve, use blockquotes. This is a formatting tool that you can use. Most WordPress themes have a blockquote. This is where you’re highlighting a particular part of your content in some way. If you don’t know what a blockquote is, do a search on Google for that and you’ll see that WordPress enables you to use those. It really allows you to highlight a particular part of your content. It’s usually designed there to highlight a quote, but you can of course use that in different ways.

Number thirteen is to use white space. Don’t feel you have to fill up every inch of your screen. Rather, creating space in your content can actually help your readers to feel not quite so overwhelmed. Again, space can draw your reader’s eye down into the page. This is partly to do with design which we are to talk about but also you can add in line breaks into your content just to really space them out a little bit more. Thirteen is using white space.

Fourteen, I want to talk just really briefly about using good design. Speaking of using space, a lot of what we’ve actually been talking about really does come down to the design of your site and the template that you use. This episode isn’t the type of episode to talk in depth about blog design. We have had others in the past on that which I’ll link to in the shownotes. Many times, blogs are difficult to read simply because their design is cluttered. Simplifying your design can really help a lot.

Also, choosing fonts that aren’t too small can help to make your content more readable. Adding a little bit of distance between your lines on your content can also help as well. Getting the advice of a good designer can help a lot. We’ll have some further reading in the shownotes on good design.

Point number fifteen is to get to the point. Try to be succinct with your points. One technique that I have tried to use on my own content from time to time is to use summary statements to help to get to the point. If I’m writing a long article, maybe 2,000 or 3,000 words, and I might be using subheadings to break up the text, underneath each subheading I might try to include a summary statement. It’s almost like the opening line of your blog post but it’s the opening line of a section, actually summarizing what is the benefit of reading this particular section of the content. Using those types of summary statements can help to get to the point. Readers see the subheading, they read that opening line of that section, and they immediately have a reason for wanting to read the rest of that particular section. It’s really similar to using a title and opening line but using that technique throughout your posts as well.

Number 16, don’t bury your points. This really does relate to getting to the point there. One trap the many of us fall into is that we bury our main points deep within the content where it’s unlikely to be noticed. If you’ve got a key point that you really want your readers to come away with, you just say it upfront. Use those summary statements and also emphasize it throughout your post which is number seventeen, repeat your important points.

If you’ve got something you want people to get from your content, say it more than once. Don’t rely on the fact that if you say it once they’re going to get that point because as we said right upfront, most people aren’t reading word for word so you do need to emphasize that point numerous times throughout your content. Say it in your opening, say it in some of your summary statements, say it in your conclusion, say it in a visual piece of content as well and you’re much more likely for people to get that main point, to get that main call to action.

Number eighteen, don’t introduce too many new ideas into a single post. Once again, this helps to avoid overwhelming your readers with all the information at once. If you want to cover many ideas in a single blog post, you might want to consider breaking that down into a series of posts. There are pros and cons of having a series of post or having a long piece of content. Both can work but the more points you’re trying to make in a post, the less likely people are to get all of them.

The nineteenth thing that I want to say is to write like a human being, which might sound a little bit obvious there. The more human-like your writing is, the better. People will persist with your content if they feel like they’ve got a connection with you, if they feel like there’s another human being on the other side of the screen that they’re reading. Tell stories, show them who you are, write in a more conversational style.

If there’s one piece of further listening that I would encourage you to take at the end of this particular episode, it is to check out Episode 52 of the ProBlogger podcast where I have a conversation with Beth Dunn who works at HubSpot. We talked through 10 things you can do to make your writing more humanlike and less robotic. That’s Episode 52, which I encourage you to go and listen to.

I hope somewhere in those nineteen points there are some techniques that you can use in your next blog post to make it more scannable. Let me whip through them again really quickly. Write great headlines; write great opening lines; keep your paragraphs short; keep your sentences short; choose simple words; use lists; use headings and subheadings; use formatting tools like bold, caps, italics; use images; use image captions; use other types of visual content like charts; use blockquotes; use white space; use good design; get to the point; don’t bury your points; repeat your most important points; don’t introduce too many new ideas into one post; and write like a human being.

I hope you found that useful. I’d love to hear what you would add to these. You can find some further reading today and comment on these particular episode over at problogger.com/podcast/176.

Once again, if you do want to listen to a little bit more today on blogging, I encourage you to go over and listen to that interview that I did with Beth Dunn, 10 Things You Can Do To Make Your Writing More Humanlike And Less Robotic. It’s Episode 52 which you can find in iTunes or on the ProBlogger shownotes page at problogger.com/podcast/52.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In it by Marketing Yourself

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In it by Marketing Yourself | on ProBlogger.net

This is a guest contribution from Victor Idjola.

Sometimes, the way many startups become very well-known after a period of oblivion makes it feel like the industries we operate in are actually small villages.

And they really are! Have you noticed? Almost every new company that manages to build a great product and use some marketing tactic(s) that works ends up making the headlines within a couple of months.

It’s not always like that. But it happens many times. Take Buffer, for example. They got 100,000 users in 9 months. That’s a lot of subscribers for a startup.

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

Source: Search Engine Watch

We also heard of how Groove got 5,000 subscribers in just five weeks.

And those are just two examples, there are several others.

So you write a number of pieces of great content and everyone in your space begins to know who you are and what you do. But how can you use content marketing to quickly become well-known like these successful startups?

Here are five tips that work great:

1. Use tactics that have worked (and still work) for other businesses.

You need proven strategies to make your content reach your target audience FAST. I mean; strategies that other people have been praising because they get returns from them.

Sure, you could have techniques that you feel would work. But do you really have the time to start testing tactics that might fail? So what happens if they fail? You’d have wasted time and other resources.

We’ll use another guest blogging example. This tactic has been working for many brands for quite a long time, but Alex and his team at Groove were hesitant in adopting the strategy.

They weren’t using it for about two years. But when they finally did, they started getting amazing results––like reaching over one million users (via guest blogging alone).

 Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

Source: GrooveHQ

Then they quickly figured that they should have been using the tactic sooner. In Alex’s words, “If we had known the power that guest posting has two years ago, we would’ve been doing this a lot sooner.”

It’s okay to have your new ideas that you want to try out, but it’s better that you start out with proven tactics (like guest blogging, PPC, etc.) first. For my business (Premium Content Shop), I mainly use guest blogging––because I’ve seen it work for several businesses. And as a freelance writer, I figured it’s one of the fastest, inexpensive and most effective techniques I can use to grow my business.

2. Tell a lot of stories.

The type of content that used to work when blogging and content marketing were still a shiny new toy––just a few years ago––don’t really work so well anymore.

Today, competition has gone quite fierce in content marketing. Everyone is doing content today, and so people are increasingly not having time to waste on content that is boring. People prefer to read stories.

When you begin to tell stories to back your opinions up, you take your audience to a new level where they begin to see your ideas as something they have to buy, IF they want to achieve the success or avoid the tragedy in the stories you share.

Kim Garst puts it more succinctly in a post on her blog:

“Think of the last story that captivated you. Were you interested in the characters? Did you find yourself relating to the protagonist? Did you follow her as she went through a crisis, hoping she’d make it out okay in the end? And when the crisis was finally behind her, did a part of you rejoice? That’s the power of good storytelling.”

Take the VideoFruit blog for example; the average post there gets about 25 comments. The blog is run by Bryan Harris, and guess what? He writes nothing but stories. All the time. As of the time of writing this article, here are the latest posts on VideoFruit (notice the number of comments):

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

 

 

These posts are both stories, and you can see how much they engage readers through the number of comments they generate. The same goes for the Groove blog. They write stories and case studies virtually all the time too and today they’ve hit 100,000 subscribers.

Most pieces of content that are stories tend to perform better than just sharing of tips. The most popular post on Problogger was written by Jon Morrow, and it’s a story. Are all these really coincidences? I think not. Telling stories will supercharge your engagement rate and even spread your name.

And that’s why various surveys, like this one, have proved that case studies are the most effective types of content. Take Robert Mening (the guy behind WebsiteSetup.org), for example, he flaunts his readers’ testimonials right at the top of his homepage:

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

Use tools that can bring out the best in your content

Content is king. That’s still true to this day. But you’re mostly aware by now that content isn’t all it takes to achieve success in any industry. This is something that most brands that succeed with content marketing know.

And that’s why you see them spending thousands of dollars on marketing tools that can bring the best out of their content.

For example, in a recent thread on Inbound.org, a commenter says “In my opinion, if you have awesome content, people will actively search for ways in which they can sign up for future content.”

And really, it sounds true. But that truism is only in theory. In real-life, you have to use sign-up forms to actually ask people to submit their emails so you can send them your future content.

Experienced content experts, Noah Kagan and Bryan Harris, explained to the commenter how it really works:

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

Source: Inbound.org

And sign-up forms are just one example. You need to be using every tool you can get your hands to bring the best out of your content.

4. Learn from others, but be yourself.

You can’t be another HubSpot. You can’t be another Moz either. In fact, in my own experience, the more you try to be someone you’re not, the worse you get.

Be you. Be transparent. Which word count (for instance) works best for you? We know expert online marketer Neil Patel writes really long posts (about 3000 words each) on his blog. It works for him a lot.

But is nailing your point in 1000 – 1500 words what works best for you? Yes? Then, by all means, stick to that.

In fact, one of the most respected experts in the marketing today—Seth Godin—writes an average of 100-300 word posts on his blog today and he still gets a lot of readers. Here’s a recent post on his blog that got 2,100 Facebook likes and a sum of 809 shares on LinkedIn and Google+. The post is just 96 words long.

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

Not every reader has the luxury of time to spend hours with Neil’s post. So this type of readers might prefer posts in the 1k – 1.5k word count mark. Neil is only able to attract readers who have the time to consume long-form posts. And they read his post because they’re happy to.

That’s Neil’s style, you need to find yours. Who says you won’t succeed with short form content? Another example is MarketingProfs. They accept not more than 700-word posts on their opinion section. And their content still gets shared a lot.

In fact, after writing my first guest post (of 700 words) there, I got someone asking for my writing services.

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

So it’s not really about word count. Just stick to what works for you. However, just so you get on the good side of google, you should make sure your post is at least 1,000 words.

Another aspect of being yourself is your tone.

What kind of voice do you love speaking or writing with? Is it a casual tone? A professional tone? Whatever kind of tone it is, there are readers who would love you for it. You don’t have to copy how someone else talks or writes.

Does this mean you can’t learn a writing style? Definitely not. But you should ensure that you’re learning a writing style that resonates with the way you want to write. That is, if you like to write in a conversational tone, you can learn from an expert who writes in the same tone and is successful with it. The person you’re trying to copy succeeds because he’s found his style. You need to find yours.

5. Persistence.

No great achievement is possible without persistent work.––Bertrand Russell

This is almost more important than every other tip in this post. Bertrand is late, but his quote about persistence is still true to this day. What did it take for Buffer to reach 100,000 users in 9 months? Guest blogging? No, it took guest blogging plus persistence.

They had to be persistent for those 9 months to reach a hundred thousand users. In Leo’s words, “It’s been something that was very gradual, though. Within the space of around 9 months, I wrote around 150 guest posts. Of course, the early ones barely drove any traffic and only very gradually did things improve…”

In conclusion

So if it’s traction you want, it’s traction you have to work for. Look around your niche and be as familiar to them as the milkman is to a small village. Pe persistent, be seen, be useful.

Victor Ijidola is a freelance business writer (for hire) and the founder of Premium Content Shop. He specializes in business and marketing related topics but branches out into other topics occasionally. His work has also appeared on sites like The Next Web, Inc.com, etc.

The post Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In it by Marketing Yourself appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


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Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In it by Marketing Yourself

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In it by Marketing Yourself | on ProBlogger.net

This is a guest contribution from Victor Idjola.

Sometimes, the way many startups become very well-known after a period of oblivion makes it feel like the industries we operate in are actually small villages.

And they really are! Have you noticed? Almost every new company that manages to build a great product and use some marketing tactic(s) that works ends up making the headlines within a couple of months.

It’s not always like that. But it happens many times. Take Buffer, for example. They got 100,000 users in 9 months. That’s a lot of subscribers for a startup.

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

Source: Search Engine Watch

We also heard of how Groove got 5,000 subscribers in just five weeks.

And those are just two examples, there are several others.

So you write a number of pieces of great content and everyone in your space begins to know who you are and what you do. But how can you use content marketing to quickly become well-known like these successful startups?

Here are five tips that work great:

1. Use tactics that have worked (and still work) for other businesses.

You need proven strategies to make your content reach your target audience FAST. I mean; strategies that other people have been praising because they get returns from them.

Sure, you could have techniques that you feel would work. But do you really have the time to start testing tactics that might fail? So what happens if they fail? You’d have wasted time and other resources.

We’ll use another guest blogging example. This tactic has been working for many brands for quite a long time, but Alex and his team at Groove were hesitant in adopting the strategy.

They weren’t using it for about two years. But when they finally did, they started getting amazing results––like reaching over one million users (via guest blogging alone).

 Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

Source: GrooveHQ

Then they quickly figured that they should have been using the tactic sooner. In Alex’s words, “If we had known the power that guest posting has two years ago, we would’ve been doing this a lot sooner.”

It’s okay to have your new ideas that you want to try out, but it’s better that you start out with proven tactics (like guest blogging, PPC, etc.) first. For my business (Premium Content Shop), I mainly use guest blogging––because I’ve seen it work for several businesses. And as a freelance writer, I figured it’s one of the fastest, inexpensive and most effective techniques I can use to grow my business.

2. Tell a lot of stories.

The type of content that used to work when blogging and content marketing were still a shiny new toy––just a few years ago––don’t really work so well anymore.

Today, competition has gone quite fierce in content marketing. Everyone is doing content today, and so people are increasingly not having time to waste on content that is boring. People prefer to read stories.

When you begin to tell stories to back your opinions up, you take your audience to a new level where they begin to see your ideas as something they have to buy, IF they want to achieve the success or avoid the tragedy in the stories you share.

Kim Garst puts it more succinctly in a post on her blog:

“Think of the last story that captivated you. Were you interested in the characters? Did you find yourself relating to the protagonist? Did you follow her as she went through a crisis, hoping she’d make it out okay in the end? And when the crisis was finally behind her, did a part of you rejoice? That’s the power of good storytelling.”

Take the VideoFruit blog for example; the average post there gets about 25 comments. The blog is run by Bryan Harris, and guess what? He writes nothing but stories. All the time. As of the time of writing this article, here are the latest posts on VideoFruit (notice the number of comments):

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

 

 

These posts are both stories, and you can see how much they engage readers through the number of comments they generate. The same goes for the Groove blog. They write stories and case studies virtually all the time too and today they’ve hit 100,000 subscribers.

Most pieces of content that are stories tend to perform better than just sharing of tips. The most popular post on Problogger was written by Jon Morrow, and it’s a story. Are all these really coincidences? I think not. Telling stories will supercharge your engagement rate and even spread your name.

And that’s why various surveys, like this one, have proved that case studies are the most effective types of content. Take Robert Mening (the guy behind WebsiteSetup.org), for example, he flaunts his readers’ testimonials right at the top of his homepage:

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

Use tools that can bring out the best in your content

Content is king. That’s still true to this day. But you’re mostly aware by now that content isn’t all it takes to achieve success in any industry. This is something that most brands that succeed with content marketing know.

And that’s why you see them spending thousands of dollars on marketing tools that can bring the best out of their content.

For example, in a recent thread on Inbound.org, a commenter says “In my opinion, if you have awesome content, people will actively search for ways in which they can sign up for future content.”

And really, it sounds true. But that truism is only in theory. In real-life, you have to use sign-up forms to actually ask people to submit their emails so you can send them your future content.

Experienced content experts, Noah Kagan and Bryan Harris, explained to the commenter how it really works:

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

Source: Inbound.org

And sign-up forms are just one example. You need to be using every tool you can get your hands to bring the best out of your content.

4. Learn from others, but be yourself.

You can’t be another HubSpot. You can’t be another Moz either. In fact, in my own experience, the more you try to be someone you’re not, the worse you get.

Be you. Be transparent. Which word count (for instance) works best for you? We know expert online marketer Neil Patel writes really long posts (about 3000 words each) on his blog. It works for him a lot.

But is nailing your point in 1000 – 1500 words what works best for you? Yes? Then, by all means, stick to that.

In fact, one of the most respected experts in the marketing today—Seth Godin—writes an average of 100-300 word posts on his blog today and he still gets a lot of readers. Here’s a recent post on his blog that got 2,100 Facebook likes and a sum of 809 shares on LinkedIn and Google+. The post is just 96 words long.

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

Not every reader has the luxury of time to spend hours with Neil’s post. So this type of readers might prefer posts in the 1k – 1.5k word count mark. Neil is only able to attract readers who have the time to consume long-form posts. And they read his post because they’re happy to.

That’s Neil’s style, you need to find yours. Who says you won’t succeed with short form content? Another example is MarketingProfs. They accept not more than 700-word posts on their opinion section. And their content still gets shared a lot.

In fact, after writing my first guest post (of 700 words) there, I got someone asking for my writing services.

Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In It Using Content Marketing

So it’s not really about word count. Just stick to what works for you. However, just so you get on the good side of google, you should make sure your post is at least 1,000 words.

Another aspect of being yourself is your tone.

What kind of voice do you love speaking or writing with? Is it a casual tone? A professional tone? Whatever kind of tone it is, there are readers who would love you for it. You don’t have to copy how someone else talks or writes.

Does this mean you can’t learn a writing style? Definitely not. But you should ensure that you’re learning a writing style that resonates with the way you want to write. That is, if you like to write in a conversational tone, you can learn from an expert who writes in the same tone and is successful with it. The person you’re trying to copy succeeds because he’s found his style. You need to find yours.

5. Persistence.

No great achievement is possible without persistent work.––Bertrand Russell

This is almost more important than every other tip in this post. Bertrand is late, but his quote about persistence is still true to this day. What did it take for Buffer to reach 100,000 users in 9 months? Guest blogging? No, it took guest blogging plus persistence.

They had to be persistent for those 9 months to reach a hundred thousand users. In Leo’s words, “It’s been something that was very gradual, though. Within the space of around 9 months, I wrote around 150 guest posts. Of course, the early ones barely drove any traffic and only very gradually did things improve…”

In conclusion

So if it’s traction you want, it’s traction you have to work for. Look around your niche and be as familiar to them as the milkman is to a small village. Pe persistent, be seen, be useful.

Victor Ijidola is a freelance business writer (for hire) and the founder of Premium Content Shop. He specializes in business and marketing related topics but branches out into other topics occasionally. His work has also appeared on sites like The Next Web, Inc.com, etc.

The post Your Niche Is A Small Village: Here’s How To Become Well-Known In it by Marketing Yourself appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


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Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week / ProBlogger.net

Hello and welcome to the first Reading Roundup of 2017! May this be the year we make the breakthroughs we want, understand the things we haven’t yet, and have more fun than ever. Let these readings be your guide!

The Top 9 Social Media Strategists to Watch In 2017 | Entrepreneur

I love these picks because they’re so diverse. They’re not all Digital Whizkids, they’re just people at the top of their game, not matter what the genre. Following them won’t only teach you how to be a better online marketer, but they’ll be entertaining to boot.

How to Fix Internal Server Error in WordPress | Web Hosting Secret Revealed

Who hasn’t come across one of these? And panicked?! Bookmark for the next time your site returns an error and you have no idea what to do.

Plan Beyond January to Achieve Your Goals: A Whole Year of Wins | Potential Psychology

I know, we’re all so motivated RIGHT NOW but a little longevity in our planning never goes astray.

Why SEO & lousy content don’t mix | Search Engine Land

Look, I’m not suggesting any of you are writing lousy content! This is more a reminder to really aim for high standards when it comes to creating your content.

How Much Does Facebook Advertising Cost? The Complete Guide to Facebook Ads Pricing | Buffer

This was fascinating not only because it explains why Facebook charges what it does, but also how your ad gets chosen (or not) over millions of others to be shown. Essential reading for anyone who relies on FB advertising.

Will the buzz continue? Influencer predictions for 2017 | AdNews

2016 was arguably the year of the influencer, and I was intrigued to read these predictions from people who have worked with them before. Can you say “video?”!

Instagram Looking to Push Ad Content into Stories | Social Media Today

Ahem.

How to Find and Fix 14 Technical SEO Problems That Can Be Damaging Your Site Now | Moz

Make 2017 the year you get on top of your SEO game. We have plenty of info here, but you might wanna check these 14 problems to see if they apply to you.

Why a Side Hustle May be More Important for Women Than Men | BBC

And what better side hustle to have than a blog?!

Snapchat launches universal search to simplify navigation | TechCrunch

There’ll be plenty of you out there saying “IT’S ABOUT TIME”. The confusion about how to use Snapchat and find friends to follow is a big reason it turns a lot of newbies off. Hopefully this will help.

Go forth and blog well!

The post Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately? appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


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Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week / ProBlogger.net

Hello and welcome to the first Reading Roundup of 2017! May this be the year we make the breakthroughs we want, understand the things we haven’t yet, and have more fun than ever. Let these readings be your guide!

The Top 9 Social Media Strategists to Watch In 2017 | Entrepreneur

I love these picks because they’re so diverse. They’re not all Digital Whizkids, they’re just people at the top of their game, not matter what the genre. Following them won’t only teach you how to be a better online marketer, but they’ll be entertaining to boot.

How to Fix Internal Server Error in WordPress | Web Hosting Secret Revealed

Who hasn’t come across one of these? And panicked?! Bookmark for the next time your site returns an error and you have no idea what to do.

Plan Beyond January to Achieve Your Goals: A Whole Year of Wins | Potential Psychology

I know, we’re all so motivated RIGHT NOW but a little longevity in our planning never goes astray.

Why SEO & lousy content don’t mix | Search Engine Land

Look, I’m not suggesting any of you are writing lousy content! This is more a reminder to really aim for high standards when it comes to creating your content.

How Much Does Facebook Advertising Cost? The Complete Guide to Facebook Ads Pricing | Buffer

This was fascinating not only because it explains why Facebook charges what it does, but also how your ad gets chosen (or not) over millions of others to be shown. Essential reading for anyone who relies on FB advertising.

Will the buzz continue? Influencer predictions for 2017 | AdNews

2016 was arguably the year of the influencer, and I was intrigued to read these predictions from people who have worked with them before. Can you say “video?”!

Instagram Looking to Push Ad Content into Stories | Social Media Today

Ahem.

How to Find and Fix 14 Technical SEO Problems That Can Be Damaging Your Site Now | Moz

Make 2017 the year you get on top of your SEO game. We have plenty of info here, but you might wanna check these 14 problems to see if they apply to you.

Why a Side Hustle May be More Important for Women Than Men | BBC

And what better side hustle to have than a blog?!

Snapchat launches universal search to simplify navigation | TechCrunch

There’ll be plenty of you out there saying “IT’S ABOUT TIME”. The confusion about how to use Snapchat and find friends to follow is a big reason it turns a lot of newbies off. Hopefully this will help.

Go forth and blog well!

The post Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately? appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


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8 Reasons You’re Losing Money On Your Blog

8 Reasons You're Losing Money on Your Blog | ProbBlogger.net

This is a guest contribution from Larry Alton. 

You spend hours and hours of time each week on your blog, but at the end of the month, there’s nothing to show for it in your bank account. In fact, after you add up all of the expenses associated with maintaining your blog, you’ve actually lost some money.

What’s the problem? Here are some possible culprits and what you can do to overcome them.

1. You Never Researched Your Niche

While you need to be interested in the blog niche you choose, personal affinities play a minor role in blog profitability. Ultimately, it’s the readers of your blog who determine whether or not you’re successful. If you never researched your niche prior to launching your blog, then it’s likely that your root problem is a lack of demand for the content you’re producing.

If you’re committed to building a popular and profitable site, you’ll have to write, read, and talk about your topic almost every day for the next several years. You’ll invest thousands of hours, quite literally gambling with your time,” CopyBlogger.com notes.

“The question is, how will you approach it? Will you start writing and hope someone notices you? Or will you carefully research your niche, looking for the precise angle that will make your content irresistible?”

While CopyBlogger is obviously giving advice to bloggers who are just getting started, it’s never too late to consider the questions they ask “after the fact.” If you never researched your niche and are merely hoping someone notices you, then consider this your answer for why you’re losing money. You’ll either need to scrap your blog altogether and launch a new, better researched one in the future or find a way to overhaul your current blog.

2. Your Blog Isn’t a Priority

There are a lot of lazy bloggers out there. Nobody’s calling you lazy, but if you’re losing money on your blog, you may want to consider the possibility that you aren’t ambitiously chasing success.

We’ve all seen article headlines that read “Here’s How I Make $ 24,343 Per Month Blogging from Home” or “I Was Able to Quit My Job After Blogging for Two Weeks.” Unfortunately, these articles are highly misleading and designed to generate clicks, not impart actual wisdom. But the negative byproduct of these headlines is that people incorrectly assume that you can make money laying on your sofa and writing a couple of blog posts each week.

Successful bloggers work hard. In fact, they work really, really hard. They often put in more hours each week than traditional salaried employees at major corporations. So, if you’re only dedicating a few hours per week to blogging, you aren’t making it a priority in your life. Perhaps, that’s why you aren’t making money.

3. You Aren’t Willing to Invest Time and Money

When blogging isn’t an actual priority in your life, then you fail to commit the necessary resources to make it successful. The most obvious areas where this reality shines through are time and money. We already discussed the fact that blogging takes time in the last section, so let’s turn our attention towards money.

You have to think about your blog like an investment. As the saying goes, “It takes money to make money.” In other words, if you want to generate revenue, you’re going to have to put up some of your own money to get the engine lubricated. (There are obviously some exceptions to this, but for the most part, you’ll have to pony up some capital.)

The reason you haven’t put up money is because you aren’t totally confident in your blog. This goes back to pre-launch research. If you do your research and find a niche that you believe is capable of being tapped into, you’ll be more than willing to invest your time and money into it.

8 Reasons You're Losing Money on Your blog | ProBlogger.net

4. You Have a “Come and Find Me” Strategy

One of the more prevalent issues surrounding unprofitable blogs is what we’ll call the “Come and Get Me” strategy. In this strategy (or lack of strategy), bloggers simply publish content and then wait for visitors to stumble upon it. (Hint: This very rarely happens with blogs that aren’t already established.)

You need to replace this strategy with the “Go-Getter” strategy. Under this approach, you’ll proactively go out and draw people to your blog. In other words, you develop a strategic lead generation strategy that draws readers into your content. Thankfully there are plenty of ways to make this happen. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use Google AdSense. “If you’ve got a blog, you can quickly and easily monetize it using Google AdSense,” Coupon Ninja points out. “It’s totally free to use, and with it, you can place small, mostly inconspicuous ads on your blog. When visitors click on an ad, you get a few cents; if your blog gets a lot of traffic, those clicks can add up quickly.”
  • Share on social media. Social media is great because it’s free. If you already have a significant following on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can disseminate new posts and encourage people to click back to the articles. You can also use targeted hashtags to reach people who don’t already follow you.
  • Feature other bloggers. One interesting strategy is to mention other bloggers and blogs in your content. Most bloggers have Google Alerts set up for their names and will notice when you highlight them. As a result, they may share your post with their own networks (or reach out to you in the future).

These are just a few tactics. There are literally dozens of other lead generation techniques for bloggers. Research all of the opportunities and don’t be afraid to get creative.

5. You Don’t Have a Profit Funnel

If you want to profit from blogging, then you need a plan. Specifically, you need a profit funnel or sales funnel. This funnel provides a step-by-step plan for how you’ll move individuals from blog visitor to customer.

Every blog profit funnel is different, but you should follow the basic outline of the traditional sales funnel. At the top of the funnel is awareness. At this stage, people are just discovering who you are and what your blog offers. Next, there’s interest. At this point in the funnel, the individual not only knows about your blog but is interested in what you’re saying. Third, comes a decision. The individual makes the decision that they are going to purchase what you’re offering. And finally, there’s action. The visitor follows through and makes a purchase.

The goal of a profit funnel is to move your blog visitors from awareness to action. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary to spend some time developing a specific plan that resonates with your audience and customers.

6. You Don’t Actively Network

If you aren’t actively networking with other bloggers and industry leaders, then you’re missing out on a major opportunity to get your name out there and forge lasting relationships that will ultimately help you monetize your blog.

“Networking with bloggers just like yourself is of the utmost importance. Why? Because it means that you will be able to further promote your website – and they, in return, can further promote theirs,” says one blogger. “Building connections and forming relationships is important when it comes to promoting yourself online, but you do have to make sure that you start off by giving them the right impression.”

The issue most bloggers have is that they confuse the idea of networking with harassment. Sending out generic spam emails to a bunch of bloggers isn’t networking, and tweeting at someone a dozen times in two hours isn’t networking.

In order to successfully network, you need to show the other party that you’re interested in who they are and what they do. You can do this by posting thoughtful comments on their posts, sharing their articles on your social media accounts, referencing their articles in your own posts, etc. Then, once you’ve established that you aren’t just a leech looking to take advantage of someone, you can reach out directly and try to spark a relationship.

7. Your Writing is Poor

If everything else seems to be fine, then you may have to turn your attention towards the quality of your writing. While it can be difficult to accept the fact that you aren’t the next Hemingway or Twain, the reality of the situation is that many bloggers simply can’t produce quality content. Hire a copywriter or send some of your work to a trusted individual and ask for an honest opinion.

If you aren’t a great writer, this doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Blogging is equal parts writing and marketing. It helps to be a good writer, but you can always focus your attention on the marketing portion while partnering with a writer.

8. You Fail to Apply Knowledge

The final reason you’re losing money on your blog is that you don’t take action. You’ll read an article like this that clearly exposes some of your flaws and you don’t feel strongly enough to apply what you’ve learned.

If this article teaches you anything, you need to be calculated and strategic in everything you do. Don’t merely consume content. Consume content, digest it, and then apply that energy towards actively improving your situation.

It’s Time to Reverse Your Approach to Blogging

Whether you’ve been blogging for six months or six years, you shouldn’t be losing money on your blog. If you are, then something is seriously wrong beneath the surface. Chances are, one of these eight culprits is to blame.

Reverse your approach to blogging and find out how you can start making money.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

The post 8 Reasons You’re Losing Money On Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


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