Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

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

I’m in full-on productive mode over here, streamlining and organising and powering through work (and housework!) to end the year with a bang. It’s such a good feeling to run with that momentum and before I know it, it’ll be Christmas and I’ll be in the sun, drink in hand, knowing that everything is under control. Nothing better!

I hope these tips help you do just that.

How Do You Get More iTunes Reviews? | Growing Your Audience #6 | The Podcast Host

Your audience is everything! Love these tips.

How to Deal With Burn Out | Smaggle

There are a couple of points on here that will be difficult, but it’s gotta be better than feeling like the bottom of the barrel, yeah? I get the feeling this is a common feeling this time of year.

CMO Survey: Why is Social Falling Short? | The Wall Street Journal

Pardon my French, but it really is a shitfight out there in social land, and it’s becoming less effective than it used to be for the average joe. This is why.

Your Best Year in 2017: 3 Steps to Setting Content Goals | Socially Sorted

Great for all the procrastinators! *raises hand*

Should Your Blog Have a Narrow or Broad Topic? | Aliventures

Ahh the old blogging chicken-and-egg question! What are your thoughts?

monetize-pinterest-traffic-617x923

6 Steps to Monetize Pinterest Traffic | Simple Pin Media

That’s the dream, right? There is so much potential for amazing traffic from Pinterest – and yes, it’s available for all niches! Not just the pretty ones. If you have a good strategy and work hard, it can be super beneficial for your blog traffic.

How to Transform Your Stress Into Insane Productivity, According to Harvard Psychologists | Elle Kaplan

“Some of the psychological experts in the Harvard Business Review challenge us to think about a time when we were most successful and performing at our highest level — were you motivated by stress during this time? The answer is most likely a strong ‘yes’, which shows us that stress doesn’t always have to be negative when it is handled in the right way.” — ooh now there’s a thought!

Stop Building Traffic, and Start Converting It. Here’s How | Quicksprout

At some point you’re going to have to stop concentrating so much on getting new eyeballs on your site, and working with what you do have.

5 Takeaways from Earning Links in 130 Countries | Moz

Visuals! and now I want fries.

#Buildyourchallenge: Why a Challenge Works | Jadah Sellner

And she should know! Jadah and her business partner Jen smashed tons of barriers with their green smoothie challenge. Here, Jadah lays it all out.

What’s caught your eye this week?

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

      


ProBlogger

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Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

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

I’m in full-on productive mode over here, streamlining and organising and powering through work (and housework!) to end the year with a bang. It’s such a good feeling to run with that momentum and before I know it, it’ll be Christmas and I’ll be in the sun, drink in hand, knowing that everything is under control. Nothing better!

I hope these tips help you do just that.

How Do You Get More iTunes Reviews? | Growing Your Audience #6 | The Podcast Host

Your audience is everything! Love these tips.

How to Deal With Burn Out | Smaggle

There are a couple of points on here that will be difficult, but it’s gotta be better than feeling like the bottom of the barrel, yeah? I get the feeling this is a common feeling this time of year.

CMO Survey: Why is Social Falling Short? | The Wall Street Journal

Pardon my French, but it really is a shitfight out there in social land, and it’s becoming less effective than it used to be for the average joe. This is why.

Your Best Year in 2017: 3 Steps to Setting Content Goals | Socially Sorted

Great for all the procrastinators! *raises hand*

Should Your Blog Have a Narrow or Broad Topic? | Aliventures

Ahh the old blogging chicken-and-egg question! What are your thoughts?

monetize-pinterest-traffic-617x923

6 Steps to Monetize Pinterest Traffic | Simple Pin Media

That’s the dream, right? There is so much potential for amazing traffic from Pinterest – and yes, it’s available for all niches! Not just the pretty ones. If you have a good strategy and work hard, it can be super beneficial for your blog traffic.

How to Transform Your Stress Into Insane Productivity, According to Harvard Psychologists | Elle Kaplan

“Some of the psychological experts in the Harvard Business Review challenge us to think about a time when we were most successful and performing at our highest level — were you motivated by stress during this time? The answer is most likely a strong ‘yes’, which shows us that stress doesn’t always have to be negative when it is handled in the right way.” — ooh now there’s a thought!

Stop Building Traffic, and Start Converting It. Here’s How | Quicksprout

At some point you’re going to have to stop concentrating so much on getting new eyeballs on your site, and working with what you do have.

5 Takeaways from Earning Links in 130 Countries | Moz

Visuals! and now I want fries.

#Buildyourchallenge: Why a Challenge Works | Jadah Sellner

And she should know! Jadah and her business partner Jen smashed tons of barriers with their green smoothie challenge. Here, Jadah lays it all out.

What’s caught your eye this week?

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

      


ProBlogger

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PB165: Interview with Daniel Flynn – Thankyou Cofounder

An Interview with Daniel Flynn – Co-founder of Thankyou

In today’s episode, we hear from Daniel Flynn, co-founder and Managing Director of Thankyou  a social enterprise that sells consumer products like water, nappies, hand sanitiser and much more here in Australia and soon to be New Zealand. They give 100% of their profits to end extreme poverty.

problogger_165

Daniel closed day 1 at our event, a couple of months ago, with the most remarkable of keynotes.

The title of his talk was Turning Stumbling Blocks Into Stepping Stones and he spoke about the story of Thankyou, from the very beginning (8 years ago), when Daniel and his co-founders were in their early twenties and stepped up to start Thankyou.

His session was remarkable and the most highly rated session of our event this year. In fact, it was right up there with the best session we’ve ever had in terms of ratings.

In this interview Daniel shares a few highlights from the event but also gives advice on:

  • Comfort zones
  • The importance of being a learner
  • Celebrating the wins before moving on to the next thing
  • A powerful tip for those struggling to have enough time
  • A tip for confronting fear

The other voice you’ll hear in this interview is Karly Nimmo who helped me out by interviewing some of our speakers from the event this year. Karly is another of our speakers and is from Radcasters.com – a podcasting school.

There’s lots of goodness in this interview! It goes about 14 minutes, and at the end I’ll chime back in with a few thoughts on what they covered.

Further Resources on an Interview with Daniel Flynn Co-founder of Thankyou.co

 



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Daniel: I know it’s a numbers game in blogging and online it’s all about the numbers. When it comes to making a difference, I love the thought of the one. If we can impact the one person, it doesn’t sound like much. If everyone did that, our world would look completely different.

Darren: That was the voice of Daniel Flynn, founder of an amazing organization by the name of Thankyou who we are so lucky to have as a guest on our episode today.

Welcome to episode 165 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, and job board as well as a series of ebooks, and I keep forgetting to say a real book that you can find on Amazon called ProBlogger. They’re all designed to help you to grow as a blogger. To create your audience, to build engagement with that audience, and to make money from your blogs. You can find all the information you need about ProBlogger over at problogger.com. Particularly look for the start here page if you’re new to ProBlogger.

In today’s episode, we do hear from Daniel Flynn, the Co-founder and Managing Director of Thankyou, a social enterprise that sells consumer products. They started out selling water but have moved on to many other products like hand sanitizer and even recently have launched a whole baby line of nappies and other baby products. They sell here in Australia and soon to be in New Zealand and I suspect you might see them oversees internationally over the years too.

They give 100% of their profits to end extreme poverty. Whilst they started out small as just a three young people in their early 20s, they have really found a foothold here in Australia and they’re in all major supermarkets.

Daniel closed day one of our event a couple of months ago, the ProBlogger event, with the most remarkable of keynotes. The title of his talk was Turning Stumbling Blocks Into Stepping Stones. He spoke about the story of Thankyou and took us right back eight years ago when they started out, when he and his co-founders were in their early 20s and they stepped up and started Thankyou. His session really was remarkable. He was the most highly rated session of our event this year. In fact, it was right up there with the best sessions we’ve ever had over the seven years of the ProBlogger event in terms of ratings.

In today’s interview, Daniel shares a few of the highlights from the event but also gives us some advice on getting out of our comfort zones, the importance of being a leaner, celebrating the wins before moving onto the next thing which is something I’m guilty of. He gives a powerful tip for those struggling to have enough time in whatever it is that you’re doing. Whether you’re starting a startup like he has been for the last eight years or whether you’re a blogger or podcaster or something else. He also gives a tip on confronting fear.

The other voice you will hear in this interview as you have heard in a few previous interviews is Karly Nimmo who helped me by interviewing some of our speakers at the event this year. Karly is another of our speakers and is from radcasters.com, a podcasting school.

There’s a lot of goodness in this particular interview. It only goes for about 14 minutes but they do pack a lot into it. I do encourage you to stick through to the end. I would chime in at the end with a few thoughts of what they covered. There’s a few things that he said that I was furiously taking notes on and want to apply in my own business and life.

I hope you will enjoy this interview. If you do want to find out a little bit more about Thankyou, you can find them at thankyou.co. I’ll talk to that at the end. I’m going to hand over to Karly and Daniel.

Daniel: My name is Daniel Flynn, one of the Co-founders and Managing Director at Thankyou. We’re a social enterprises that sells consumer products and gives 100% of the profit to helping end extreme poverty.

Karly: You were totally a highlight, by the way. I went to your session. Can you tell us a bit about what was it on?

Daniel: I ought to share our journey, of Thankyou really. The theme of the talk was around turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones. I think our journey like maybe many people listening, it wasn’t a smooth sailing. We had so many moments where we wanted to give up. These stumbling blocks for us were big enough to give up but we pushed through. We learned from them each time and now we have a pretty interesting story that is succeeding in some of the biggest supermarkets in Australia, products that are outselling global competitors. We hear a lot of nice things that about the organization which is amazing but that’s after eight years.

The journey of  persistence, of getting up and going again. That’s what I shared today, and also just really putting the thought out there that we can all make an impact bigger than just us.

I know where it’s a numbers game in blogging and online, it’s all about numbers. When it comes to making a difference, I love the the thought of the one. If we can impact the one person, I know it doesn’t sound like much. If everyone did that, our world would look completely different. We can never just look at big problems and be paralyzed, we’ve got to take a step out, share some stuff like that.

Karly: My next question was really what would be one thing that you want them to take away? I guess that would be one person can make a difference.

Daniel: Look, one person can make a difference. It’s the thing really of our organization and our brand. It’s a real takeaway. I think the other thing, the event, not a business head on but essentially that growth mindset on. We talked about getting out of your comfort zone and staying out of your comfort zone. Really, that’s our journey.

Even today, we do launches that get great PR, great marketing, and great cut through but they are so uncomfortable. They really stretch us but if you’re going to make your idea and dream reality, you’ve got to get comfortable with that very uncomfortable feeling.

Karly: Yeah, for sure. For me, what I took away was that idea of disruption. You’re like, “How can we do this differently?” “How can we cut through?” That was so powerful to hear. Also, I just think like that story of failure. Everyone on the stage, myself included, have had that. That slugging that through but moving forward regardless. Then not allowing failure to define your future and make that up yourself.

Daniel: I think it is the story of every great organization, dream persons. Some people get a quicker trajectory, a quicker initial launch. I definitely sat back for years in the edge and then going how come they got to just year one, a million this or that. Everyone has a different journey, a different story. We got to embrace the uniqueness.

Karly: What has been a highlight of you from the comfort so far?

Daniel: At Thankyou, we talk about learning. It’s one of our values which sounds like a bit of a boring value for such a disruptive organization. Learning is what we had to do at the beginning because we didn’t know what we were doing. It’s what we have to do now still because we still don’t really know. We know more than we knew, but every single day is an opportunity to learn.  

I think for me, I was in Nathan’s session yesterday and I was literally just like, “My mind’s going to explode with all the things we need to do to improve.” He’s just sharing all the journey of founder and essentially all the case of success.

I’m messaging a marketing manager. Do we have this? Are we using this? Are we using that? She said yes to a lot of stuff but there are still things that we learned. I think conferences, podcasts, blogs, it’s about continuing to develop because if you don’t grow, you will not be able to grow your idea kind of further than you grow.

Karly: I think it comes down to session here or the conferences. This reminds you of the possibility and opportunity.

Daniel: Yes, it does. I think when you see someone else’s story, you bump into someone else, they could be a speak, they may not be. I’ve had some great stories off the stage that you go, “Huh, that is awesome.” It motivates you, inspires you, or it challenges you. How can I think different?

Karly: Cool, love that. Have you had any major a-ha moments while you’ve been here?

Daniel: When I got up on that stage, I thought to myself a few things, one this is a big room of people. I’m new to blogging. You’re interviewing a blogger here, don’t ask me too many questions about. We have an organization that’s parting with bloggers, parting with influencers. I say influencers, I mean like you could have ten people following you, that’s influence. You have 100,000, that’s influence.

To stare down that stage and to see how many different influencers are in different circles? This is amazing, so cool as a community. For me, it’s like Thankyou could go so much further if this community backs it. For me, I was like, “Wow, our world is big even here in Australia.” It’s just so cool to see the diversity.

Karly: One tip for someone who’s just starting out on their journey, whether that be a blog, a podcast or a startup venture.

Daniel: So many tips, I’m just going to give this one. The tip to get started is get started. Get out, get off, just do it. It is the hardest part. There’s so much build up to that moment of actually starting. In fact, I met a girl yesterday. She was like, “Ohh yeah, I’ve got a blog post.” She hasn’t publish them yet. I get it, it’s a scary moment, the very first post, the very first page, it’s so scary. If you don’t hit that hard, you’re delaying your learning process, you’re delaying everything you need.

At first pitch, I was so nervous about it eight years ago. Really, it wasn’t that pitch that made or broke Thankyou. It’s everything that came from that. If you get started now like as in the moment you stop listening to this, get out, start the new idea or the new part of your venture. That’s one of the greatest case.

Karly: Totally. What do you wish you knew in the beginning?

Daniel: I think a lot of our failures now have really defined us and we really learned from them. I wish we knew some stuff that we didn’t have to fail so many times. I actually don’t think we’d have the strength we have now. In fact, Apple, they just launched chapter one. The only reason that’s even a book or it’s content is because we just failed so many times. Now, there’s a great story to spread. I don’t really want to undo that.

I got really challenged by our mentor once we caught up, it was the first catch up. He’s the chairman of some huge investment bank. His opening question, “Do you celebrate the wins?” I was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cool.” “What was the win? What day did you celebrate? How did you celebrate it?”

Karly: Yeah, that’s a big A because usually I’m like, “Wooohhh,” then move on to the next thing.

Daniel: He caught me on it. I looked at him blankly, I had nothing. Essentially I was like, “Wow.” I was the guy and sometimes I still am. I’ve got to get this out of me but when we think of wanting to grow in vision, it’s like, “Ohh yeah, it’s cool. We got a product in this one way retailer. Now, we need to outsell competitors.” Then, we need another retailer and you’re always moving forward.

If you don’t stop and celebrate the wins, you will not enjoy the journey. More importantly, the people around you won’t either. For the sake of our team, we had to stop and celebrate the wins. We got a celebration on Monday morning, two days time, three days time celebrating the big win we’ve had with our chapter one launch and baby range. We got 50 staff stopping. We’re all going out for breakfast, we are going to hang out and celebrate. You have to do it.

Karly: Totally. Actually, that just reminded me while you were speaking about that, you’ve got a young child. I have a toddler. We celebrate those moments in our lives, don’t we?

Daniel: Yeah, so true.

Karly: We really sit in it. But then when it’s our own stuff, we just move on so quickly.

Daniel: I think we move on because in our minds, people around us will celebrate, “Ohh great effort, great post, great engagement. That went viral.” You’re like, “Yeah, yeah but you don’t know how much more work there is. You don’t know how far I’ve got to go.” Sometimes just because we know that, it robs us of the moment. We got to stop to celebrate it and then go again.

Karly: Love it. What do you think has contributed to your success so far?

Daniel: Other people. I think other people have contributed to our success so far. I think from mentors as I mentioned, people who have decades of experience willing to drop one line either in person or over coffee or through a book. Some of my greatest lessons learned, I’ve never met the people but I feel like I know them because I’ve read their story. That is contributed to me which is contributed to the vision.

The Thankyou story is it’s a collective of people. From now, hundreds of thousands, really even millions of consumers to creative designers, to videographers. Helicopter pilots that once backed out our campaign flying helicopters for free with huge signs. I look at the collective of other people. That’s what made this successful.

Sometimes, it feels really lonely, especially early days. It’s like, “No one gets it. No one gets me. No one understands.” Actually, if you can move past that, for us we realize this is huge. There are so many people involved and that’s what’s built to our success. You’ve got to tap into it, focus on that.

Karly: Cool. What did you really suck at in the beginning?

Daniel: In the beginning, I really sucked at detail. This is on a personal level and I still do. I’m trying so hard. I lost my room key last night. I couldn’t find my wallet, I left my lanyard. Detail is for me a bit of an Achilles Heel. In the organizations, as we have, that’s pretty dangerous. We’ve got a phenomenal team around me who are great with detail. That’s backing kind of my weakness.

I think in the early days, as an organization, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. In one sense, we said things in meetings that we should know so it kind of sucked out knowledge. At the same time, I loved it, I love it. Because it was like, what was our weakness became our strength. We asked the things we shouldn’t have, we pitched things we shouldn’t have, and we got them. We try and replicate that now years later now that we’re growing up and we’re getting all more professional and stuff and we’re trying to keep that.

Karly: The naivety.

Daniel: Yeah, the naivety.

Karly: Lastly, there’s two main things that we kind of see. Anyone who is trying to move forward, whether it’s a blog, or a podcast, or doing a Facebook Live, that is like the time factor. Time is an issue, the other one is fear. I’d love it if you could give us a tip on how to move through both.

Daniel: I think the most powerful word in building ideas, running businesses, organizations, blogs and anything, the most powerful word is no. I know it’s wishing gets the opposite, it’s yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes I’ll do it, yes to opportunity, yes, yes, yes. Actually though, if we become yes people, and I was one big time. Now, I say no a lot. It kills me but I want to say yes to that person or that opportunity. If you do, you rob yourself of the time it takes to deliver what you need to deliver.

You might be pleasing a whole bunch of other people and other groups, but you’re not actually delivering what you know you need to deliver. The power of saying no to something else to protect your time is so crucial. That’s time.

When it comes to fear, this is really personal. I bumped into [00:16:43] yesterday who’s on the panel about 15 minutes. She’s on the panel with our brand director Justine and my wife. She said, “I’m on a panel with you and your wife and I’m so nervous.” I said I know what you mean, she’s a bit surprised.

The fear thing, it can get all of us. In the early days, I said I’d never do public speaking. I shared this is the room yesterday. That for me was in year 10, 11, I haven’t develop this really strong list. I’m so self conscious of my words. I did speech pathology and that eventually kind of helped. I didn’t want to get up in front of more than three people. What if I messed up my words?

I think now I get invited, sometimes they introduce me as a professional speaker. I’m just thinking LOL in my head, like this is ridiculous. I’m speaking to a few hundred or ten or a few thousand people. I’ve had to overcome this fear. We all must. I think, how do we overcome fear? Of course, surround ourselves with great people who believe in us. There are moments before a talk and I’ve looked at Justine who’s one of our co-founders but also my wife. I’m like, “Man, I’m scared.” “I know you’ve got this.”

I should know I’ve got this but that encouragement to kind of push that fear aside is really powerful. Protect your time, say no. Get great people around you because fear does come after all of us but we have to push through to achieve anything remarkable.

Karly: Cool, thank you.

Darren: I just love that interview with Daniel and Karly and love the session that Daniel did at the event. You can actually get access to that session by purchasing the virtual ticket for our event which gives you access to that session and all the others that we did over the two days. You can find more information on how to grab that at problogger.com/virtualticket.

There are a few things in that particular episode that I felt almost compelled to write down and really ponder. One of them particularly was the idea of celebrating the wins. For me, that was something that I found really hit home for me because I’m someone who does celebrate the win in the moment but always am looking on to the next thing because I do have fairly long term plans. I think I need to perhaps just pause and celebrate a little bit more particularly with my team. It’s something that I’m going to take away from that particular one.

Also love the idea of making a difference to one person. I actually said this at a conference a few years ago. If your blog just has one reader, that might be enough. That one reader might just be the reader that takes your advice and changes their life because of something that you say. That one reader might be the person who has an amazing network and passes on word to their network of your blog and could be that one person that you need to tip your blog into having lots of readers.

That one reader might be someone who becomes a friend, a partner, business partner, personal partner. That one reader might be enough in many ways. Many times, we do as bloggers struggle with the idea of needing lots of readers. It might just be that the one that you have is the right reader. For a variety of reasons and particularly in terms of making the world a better place, Daniel is certainly on about.

The advice of getting out of your comfort zone and get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable is so important. I particularly liked his tip about saying no. Again, that’s something I struggle with. I’m a yes man. Often really struggle to say no and it really reminded me of what I was talking about just an episode or two ago about me creating my schedule. Really, I guess in creating a schedule, for me to manage my time, I’m thinking about what are my priorities, what do I need to get done. Creating a schedule around those things, in many ways, that was saying no to other things, other things that would cramp those priorities out.

For me, that’s a practical way of saying no. I don’t have an opening in my schedule to be able to take on the opportunities that come my way if they’re not aligned with my priorities. Maybe that is a way if you do struggle to say no, maybe you could put a schedule together that helps you to say no and to gather those things that do really need to happen. If we become yes people, we rob ourselves of the time it takes to deliver what you know you need to deliver. Those were the words that I wrote down from Daniel.

I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you want to find out more about Daniel and Thankyou, please check them out at thankyou.co. If you want to connect with Karly and learn about podcasting, you can check out radcasters.com. If you want to check out the virtual ticket for the ProBlogger event, it’s problogger.com/virtualticket.

I hope you enjoyed today’s interview. We’ll get back to you in a couple of days time with another teaching episode here at problogger.com. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll chat with you soon.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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PB166: Editorial Strategy – 11 Factors to Consider When Shaping the Content Strategy for Your Blog

Factors to Consider When Shaping Content Strategy for Your Blog

In today’s lesson, I want to share 11 factors to consider when thinking about developing your blog’s editorial strategy and thinking about your blog’s editorial style.

The success of your blog hinges on many factors but among the most important of them is your content. Putting thought into what content you want to focus upon creating is crucial. What I share with you today will help you to create a framework for content that not only serves your current readers, but will hopefully make your blog stand out from the many other blogs in your niche.

problogger_166

This episode is perfect for anyone just starting out with blogging, who is thinking about content for the first time, but I also think it’s great for anyone who has been blogging for a while who wants to review and renew their editorial strategy.

voices

Further Resources on 11 Factors to Consider When Shaping the Content Strategy for Your Blog



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Welcome to Episode 166 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, and series of ebooks all designed to help bloggers grow their audience and make money from their amazing blogs.  You can learn more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

In today’s lesson, I want to share 11 factors to consider when thinking about your blog’s editorial strategy and coming up with your own unique blogging style. The success of your blog really does hinge on many factors as you’ll know from listening to previous episodes. There’s many things that do help to grow your blog but among the most important of them is obviously content. Putting thought into what content you want to focus upon creating is so important.

What I want to share with you today will I hope help you to create a framework for content that not only helps you to serve your current readers but also to help you to create a blog that stands out from the many other blogs in your niche. This is a question I get asked a lot is, “How do I make my blog stand out?” Whilst there are many factors, I think ultimately it will come down to your content as one of the most important factors.

This episode today is perfect for anyone just starting out with blogging who’s thinking about content for the first time. You may be starting a blog and thinking, “What should I be writing about?” This episode will help you. I think it’s also perfect for anyone who’s been blogging for a while where you want to review your content and to renew your editorial strategy. I do have a lot of further reading today and I encourage you to open these notes up as you listen if possible over at problogger.com/podcast/166. Let’s get on with today’s show.

It was recently asked a question on a podcast interview that I really struggled to answer. It stumped me even though the question was quite simple in some regards. The question was this, they asked, “In the early days of your blogging, how did you develop your blog’s editorial style and strategy?” Whilst on the surface this does seem like a very simple question to answer for someone who’s been blogging, I’ve really struggled to answer the question because I knew the interviewer was looking for some practical strategies to develop an editorial strategy. The reality was in the early days of my blogging, I wasn’t overly strategic about my own content. I wasn’t intentional about it in the early days of my blogging.

My first blog was a personal blog and I don’t ever remember sitting down to come up with an editorial strategy when I started that blog. The content on that blog just came out of me. I wrote about what I was thinking about on any given day, I followed my interests, my passions and as a result, the content flowed. It was a personal blog too because I was writing all kind of topics. It was okay to experiment with different voices and to experiment with different topics. I guess in time, my style of content did emerge as I began to focus upon creating content that gave me energy that I could see my audience seemed to respond to but there wasn’t really any strategy there, the style just sort of happened to me.

That was my first blog and it was a personal blog. I suspect many bloggers who start with personal blogs have similar experiences to that. In many ways, I guess the big picture advice I could give and that I did give in my answer was to do just that, create content based upon your passions, interests, and pay attention to what’s giving you energy and to what’s giving your audience energy.

That’s the answer I gave, but ever since that interview I’ve not felt completely satisfied with the answer I gave because I realized that while in the early days my blogging I don’t ever come up with a strategy, I didn’t really sit down and think about, “This is my strategy.” I did make a series of decisions in that blog and in my other more niche focused blogs that I guess did shape my style and strategy. Whilst it wasn’t intentional, I was making decisions along the way.

What I thought I’d do today in today’s episode is to kind of reverse engineer my experience and to go back through some of those decisions and to put them all together so that you can be a little bit more strategic about this type of stuff.

The 11 decisions that I want to run through today, I made them on the fly. I made them without actually even knowing I was making them in some cases. That doesn’t mean you have to be on the fly, you can actually take these 11 decisions and make them about your blog today. As I said at the top, these are 11 decisions that a new blogger, I recon, if you are making this quite intentionally and experimenting with these things, they could actually help you fast track your own blog’s growth. These 11 decision are also great for anyone who’s been blogging for a while, who wants a bit of a framework to think about what they’ve been doing on their blog.

You’ve probably already made these decisions without even knowing it but sometimes it’s worth just assessing how are we going with our editorial strategy and do I need to change directions in some of these areas. I hope that makes sense. Hopefully as I get into the 11 things, you’ll begin to see what I mean by having already made these decisions.

Let’s get into them. Probably the best way to really explain what I’m doing is to share it with you and I hope it makes some sense to you. The first decision that most bloggers make, and it often happens to you, is to think about your voice. What voice do you write in? What voice do you want to write in on your blog? I’ve talked about voice in previous episodes and I will give you some further reading on this. One of the most helpful frameworks for thinking about voice that I’ve ever seen is something that I saw Jeff Goins presenting in an event that we ran in Portland a couple of years ago, ProBlogger day that we run off the back of World Domination Summit. At that event, Jeff talked about five platforms or five positions that you can come at blogging from. He said that pretty much any nature, any topic, you can write a blog in this five different voices.

The first voice, the first platform is the voice of the professor. The professor is someone who researches a topic, who studies that topic and it comes up with a hypothesis and then teaches in a fairly authoritative type voice. The professor is often seen as an authority, as a thought leader in their particular industry because they’ve done a lot of research and they’re really developed their ideas.

When I first came across blogging, this was the type of blog I saw when I started out. I thought everyone was a professor. I thought everyone who had a blog was writing in this style. I started out trying to be the professor and very quickly discovered that that wasn’t the right voice for me. That’s one type of voice that you could really put into any type of niche, you could be the professor of photography, you could be the professor of blogging, you could be the professor of any topic really.

The second voice, the second platform that Jeff talked about at our conference was the artist. The artist isn’t a teacher, they’re someone who’s more interested in the beauty of a particular niche and a particular topic. They’re telling stories, they’re really trying to inspire people. They’re I guess tackling the topic more in a heartfelt way than a hid kind of way that the professor might. The artist is someone talking for more beauty in the topic.

The third type is the profit. The profit is someone who tells the cold, hard, ugly truth about a particular topic. They are busting myths, they’re telling it like it is, they’re calling people and ideas out. Sometimes they’re not the most popular blogger in the world because they sometimes do say things that are uncomfortable for other people in that particular niche but that’s the approach that they take. They can really be tackling the same topic as the artist or the professor but in a very different way.

The fourth type is the journalist. This is probably what I’m a little bit more like. The journalist is someone who gathers ideas, curates ideas together and then presents a story. I think I’m somewhere between the journalist and the professor, if I had to choose from these particular types. The journalist is someone whose gathering ideas, they’re writing a story, and they’re presenting ideas. A lot of the ideas may not be their own ideas but they’re gathering them together from different sources and from their own experience I guess, and then putting it out there.

The fifth type is the celebrity. The celebrity isn’t someone who’s famous, they’re someone who’s more charismatic. I guess people read their blog because people want to know what they think about the niche. Those types of blogs is more about the personality and how they intersect with the topic.

There’s five different voices that you can use in your blogging that Jeff puts out there. He says mort bloggers really fit into one or two, it might be a combinations of those things. They’re just five words that you can describe your voice. You may not be comfortable with some of those words. I know some people don’t like the word profit, some people don’t like the word celebrity, last time I talked about these. That’s totally fine but you can be intentional about your voice. You might be the companion, you might be the mentor, you might prefer to be known as the entertainer, or the reviewer, or the curator, or the storyteller, you might be the guide, the teacher, the tough leader. Any of these things might be your voice. On some level, sometimes the voice just comes out of this like I described earlier but sometimes you can be intentional about that.

As I think back to starting Digital Photography School, my main blog, I actually was intentional about it. I made a decision, I looked around the photography space and I saw that a lot of photography teaching type blogs were using the professor’s voice, that were authoritative and there are the feely high level. They were talking using words that a normal person perhaps couldn’t really relate to.

I decided I wanted to be a teacher, but I also wanted to be a companion. I wanted to be someone who was speaking in a more conversational voice, who was talking to someone who maybe was just behind me on the journey. This is what I’m learning about photography, I’ll try this out. And actually trying to use language that was a little bit more accessible to people. My voice was more the conversational voice, the companion teacher. If I had to describe it, it would be the companion teacher as opposed to the professor. That helped me to stand out because there weren’t many blogs writing in that voice.

Sometimes voice happens to you, it just comes out of you. You just start writing in a certain style but sometimes you can be a little bit intentional about your voice as well and make a decision based upon that.

The first area, the first factor to consider, the first decision to make if you like is what voice will your blog be in. Some of you already have a voice and you’re very comfortable with that but maybe you want to go through that list of professor, artist, profit, journalist, celebrity, companion, mentor, entertainer, reviewer, curator, storyteller, guide, teacher, thought leader or something else. I’ll include all of those in a little slide that I’ve got in today’s show notes. The first area is the voice.

Second area that you might want to make some decisions about is whether you want evergreen content or whether you want more time sensitive content. Again, this isn’t an either/or type decision, you may have a combination of them. I think most blogs probably do have a combination with that. Most bloggers I know tend to major on one or the other. On my blogs, I tend to create more evergreen content. I actually spoke about evergreen content just a few episodes ago, probably about 30 episodes ago now, in episode 136. I’ll link to that in today’s show notes. I talked about why I love evergreen content and the power of evergreen content.

On Digital Photography School, I’ll use that as an example again. Most of the content there is evergreen. I’d say 95% of it, the day it was written, whether that was 10 years ago when I started the blog. A lot of that content I wrote back in 2006 is still relevant today. In fact, it gets a lot of traffic today. One of the reasons it gets a lot of traffic today is because people still find it helpful and they’re still sharing it. They’re spending a lot of time on it and Google sees that and they rank it high. Evergreen content is great if you can write that but it’s not the only type of content that is a legitimate strategy for your blog. You can be more of a time sensitive content.

As I think about my wife’s blog, Vanessa, her blog is Style & Shenanigans, and I can link to that in the show notes as well. It is more time sensitive. She’s writing about style, fashion, books, movies, what’s on Netflix, those type of things. As a result, some of those things date, the books that are new and current. She occasionally writes about a book that’s been out for a few years but most of it tends to be the books that have come out in the last few months, what’s on Netflix now. Particularly, you have fashion posts, fashion dates so quickly and so she’s more focusing upon time sensitive content. From time to time, she throws in an evergreen post and they do quite well as well.

On both of our blogs, we have a combination of them. I occasionally will do a review of a camera or might write about a new camera that’s coming out that’s more time sensitive. But most of the content is evergreen, where most of her content is time sensitive. There’s no right or wrong answer here, it’s just a decision that I guess I made in the early days without really thinking about it in much depths.

Again, what kind of content do you focus on, do you want to have a combination of both, would you say a certain percentage of the content needs to be one or the other and you may actually be really intentional about that. You may actually say I want four posts a week that are evergreen, one post a week that’s time sensitive, or you might flip it around. That’s the second area, evergreen versus time sensitive.

The third one, I find it difficult to actually come up with a label for this. I’ve said it’s the intent of your content. Some of you have heard me talk about how every week on ProBlogger and Digital Photography School I try to create content that informs, inspires, and interacts. There’s three different intents in terms of the content that I’m trying to create, I’m trying to give information, I’m trying to give inspiration, I’m trying to give interaction. I’ll link to a post that I wrote a couple of years ago now on ProBlogger about how I do all three of those types of post.

Information, it’s more tutorials for us, it could be news, it could be a review. That’s more of an information type post. I guess it’s more aiming at the head. I’m trying teach people or give people the information to make a decision. Inspiration for us is more image based first. Here’s a beautiful photo, hopefully that inspires you to go and take better photos. It could be here’s a story of how I overcame a challenge and hopefully it inspires you to overcome that challenge. The interaction posts are more asking outrageous questions, or getting them to do a little bit of homework, or to show off something that they’re done to share their experiences.

Those three types of posts work quite well on Digital Photography School but we’ve decided to be very intentional about majoring upon information. Every week on Digital Photography School, we publish 14 posts, we’re very intentional, about two posts every single day. The only week that we don’t do that is between Christmas and New Years, we scale it back to one post a day.

Over the normal week, we would do 12 posts every week that are information posts. They’re either a tutorial, or a review, or occasionally a piece of news. It’s all information, those 12 posts. Once a week, we do an inspiration post and this is usually for us a collection of beautiful images that relates to one of our information posts. It might be here’s 12 images that illustrate this technique that we just talked about in a tutorial. The last post of the week is an interactional post and that’s where we do a challenge. We say, “Go and take a photo.” It usually relates to the inspiration post which relates to that tutorial. We create three posts a week that relate to each other but have different intents.

Your blog might be a different combination. You may say, “I want to be more of an inspiration blog, and occasionally sprinkle in some information, or some interactions, or your blog might be more about the conversation, it might be more focused upon the interaction and trying to get discussion going in and occasionally sprinkling in one of the others. Or you might choose just to do one of those things and not bring in the others.

These are decisions that you might make. Again, you might make these decisions without actually knowing you’re making a decision. You might just look at the content on your blog and realize that it’s all information. You never do an interaction post, you never do an inspiration post, and that might be totally fine. You might also decide to experiment with some of these different types of posts. You might even, like we have, work out what ratios you want to do.

We’ve talked about voice, we’ve talked about evergreen versus time sensitive, we talked about the intent of your post. Now I want to talk about the format of your post. This does relate a little bit, it flows from the decision you might have made about the intent of your post. The format of your post might be it’s more about are you writing reviews, or are you writing how to, or are you writing opinion posts, or are you writing resources and links post, or are you doing interviews, or are you doing case studies. There’s so many different types of post that you can write. These are more relate to the format.

Again, you can be very intentional about this, you may actually just come up with a weekly format for example. You might say every Monday is an opinion post, every Tuesday is a tutorial post, every Wednesday is a link up post, every Thursday is an interview. Some bloggers are very intentional about that, others let it flow a little bit more. These are decisions and you will find that most blogs tend to go with two or three different types of posts. Some blogs just choose one and that’s all they do. Again, this is something you can be intentional about. Maybe to add a little bit of spice to your blog and then freshen up your editorial style and strategy, maybe you need to try a new type of post. Again, in today’s show notes, I’ve got a link with 52 different types of blog posts that we’ve published on ProBlogger as well.

The fifth decision that you can make is about the authors, who is going to write the content on your blog. For most bloggers, it tends to be that they are the only author on their own blog. Most bloggers start out that way. When I had Digital Photography School started in 2006, I was the only author on the blog. In time, I began to get readers volunteer to create some content. I began to see that we had some really good photographers reading the site so I’ve reached out to some of those and said, “Hey, would you be interested in contributing an article for the site?” Gradually over time, we got more and more submissions from people wanting to write as guests on the site. We turned slowly over a couple of years into a multi-author blog but it was mainly guest contributions. Multi-author blogs can be guest contributions where you have lots of different authors on your site.

The other option is where you might have regular contributors. I guess really the three options that I would put forward to you today is that you might have a single author blog, or you might have a multi-author blog. If you have a multi-author blog, you might have guests, lots of random guests, or you might choose to have regular guests, so there are the three options.

Digital Photography School kind of evolved through all there. We started single author, then we started to do more guests. In more recent times, over the last five years really, we’ve developed a writing team. We have a team of about 20 authors who most of them contribute once a month, some of them do once a week.

The same thing has happened on ProBlogger. When I started ProBlogger, it was just me for the first few years. Then gradually, I approached other bloggers to do some writing for us and they came in as a guest posts. We went through a phase where pretty much everything on the site, apart from an occasional post from me was guest content. In more recent times, we’ve developed the team of subject matter experts. I have Jim Stewart who chimes in and does an SEO post every now and then. We have other experts who come in and they own the category, they’re the voice of that particular category.

There are advantage for each type of blog. There are certainly some advantages of being a single author blog, your readers begin to get to know you but having other voices on your blog does bring other areas of expertise and other perspectives as well. There’s no right or wrong answer here but these are decisions. Maybe that your blog evolves through a number of different options or maybe it’s a combination, maybe you are a multi-author blog who has guests and regular authors. That’s what we currently do on ProBlogger but we’re moving more and more to that regular author model.

The sixth one is making decisions about the frequency of your content. Again, this is something that probably with most blogs evolves over time. I’ll get some reading for you in the show notes on how many posts you should do on your blog. Again, there’s no right or wrong answer here. I talk about in one of them the pros and cons of daily posting. There certainly are some upsides of lots of content on your blog but there’s also some downsides of that and some warnings in that particular post as well.

You might have a blog that is daily, you might have weekly posts, or you might even have a monthly post, or you might go more frequently than daily. Like on Digital Photography School where we have two posts every single day, 14 posts a week. On ProBlogger, we tend to do five or six posts per week. That is a cross of both a podcast and a blog. We made that decision partly based upon our own capacity to create content but also came down to how much content our readers wanted to consume. Frequency of a post is another decision to make to factor into these matrix of decisions that we’re coming up with.

The seventh one is probably the most obvious, it’s the topics and categories of your blog. You will find over time if you have a niche focused blog that you tend to focus upon different subcategories within your overall niche, or maybe you have a multi-topic blog and you do have different categories within that. Again, there’s no right or wrong answer there but it’s a decision that you gradually make over time.

It’s one that most blogs will evolve as well. Most blogs, there’s an emerging category in your niche. In the photography space, one of the emerging niches over the last four or five years has been a new class of camera. People have gradually been moving away from digital SLRs and they’re moving to smaller format compact system cameras, little mirrorless cameras like the ones that Olympus and Sony make. Still interchangeable lenses but they’re smaller format, they’re not technically digital SLRs anymore because they don’t have mirrors in them. This has been a new emerging category.

The same has happened with smart phones. People aren’t using point and shoot cameras anymore, they’re now using smartphones. That’s a decision we’ve made over the last year. On Digital Photography School, we’re going to start a new category of smartphone photography.

These are things that you will be making decisions about over time on your blog. There will also be categories that die. You may actually find that there’s just a category that’s not relevant anymore. It might be that you yourself have a new interest in your particular topic so you want to add a category not because there’s an emerging trend going on, but it’s an emerging passion or interest for you. This is something to return to time and time again. When you’re starting out, you certainly will be looking at the top topics and categories but over time it’s something to make a decision about as well.

The decision to make about your content is the length of your content, this is number eight. Again, there’s no right or wrong answer here, there’s plenty of examples of blogs that do lots of short posts. I think a lot of the gadget blogs like Gizmodo and Engadget. Back in the day, particular Engadget was publishing 10 to 15 posts a day but most of them were 200 words and they were more just news posts like here’s a new camera, here’s a new tablet, here’s a new smartphone. They might list the features but they were short shot posts.

Whereas other blogs on the same niche might be doing long form content, that might be really digging in, doing a deeper review. I think of a photography blog deep review, it was doing posts at the same time as Engadget on the same topics on cameras and gadgets but they were doing 5,000 words reviews of a particular camera, it’s a very high end type reviews. The length really, there’s pros and cons of doing different lengths as well. Again, I’ve got some reading for you in the show notes about some of the pros and cons of long and short content.

Related to that is the ninth decision to make and that is whether you do content that is stand alone or a series of content. Sometimes when you have a long piece, you are confronted with a choice, “Do I want to break this up into a series of posts or do I want to just do one long post?” This is a decision that you’ll find different bloggers take different positions on. I know a number of blogs who just do one post a week and it’s just a mega long post.

Other bloggers say hey, for a whole week I’m going to explore a topic and they break their long post into a series of smaller pieces of content. Their editorial style is every week or every month we explore a new topic. We create content that builds upon what happened the day before. That can really ultimately end up is being exactly the same content as a blog that has long form content but it’s just a different way presenting that becomes part of your style and a part of your strategy.

No right or wrong there. It may be that you want to experiment with a bit of both on your site. This is something that we do on both of my sites at the moment. Most of our posts are probably seated around 800 to 1,000 word length which is sort of a medium length but occasionally we’re throwing in mega long posts. We just published one on Digital Photography School that I think was about 5,000 words long that we offered our PDF version of it behind an opt in as well. Mega post can really work very well. We find that they get shared around a lot but our short shot post gets consumed a little bit more as well. We’re doing combination but I know other blogs will take the decision to just focus on one type of content.

The tenth decision is around the medium that you use. Again, no wrong or right answer here. You might focus on written content, you might choose to do more video based content, you might want to do audio in more of a podcast, you might want in your video to do live video, or more of a recorded video, or you might want to do visual content, infographics, or a combination of all of those things. Again, this is something that we make decisions about on ProBlogger particularly. At the moment, we’re doing three or four written pieces of content per week and we’re doing two podcasts a week, and I’m trying to also do a live video once a week as well. Although I’m not doing a great job with that at the moment.

Again, you can be very intentional about these types of things. Really, the decision will come down to your skills and experience, ability, personality, so you. It also comes down to the topic, some topics relate better for video, or written, or visual. Also your audience, what type of content do they consume, what are they wanting, what are they responding to. I go into much more depth on how to make that decision in Episode 134 of the podcast as well.

The last area, the eleventh area that will relate to some blogs but not all is the level of your content. Are you trying to create content that is for beginners, intermediate, or more advanced readers? This is perhaps a little bit more relevant to people who have a teaching focused blog, or maybe even a news type blog, people who are just exploring the news of a certain level. It may not be as relevant for some niches as others but in my blogs, I started out both ProBlogger and Digital Photography School very much focused upon the beginner. As I said before in the photography space, there were a lot of very advanced photography teaching sites around but no one really catering for that beginner. The first post I wrote on Digital Photography School were very much focused upon things like how to hold on a camera, what is aperture, what is shutter speed, very beginner-y type posts. This has changed over the last few years though.

One of the things that I’ve noticed is that my audience was growing up. This might partly because in general culture, people perhaps are becoming more used to taking photos and some of the concepts that I’ve been talking about perhaps they were more commonly known. Also, I think my audience grew up because I was teaching them. This is what I’d want them to do. I think those long time readers, they should know by now how to hold a camera, what shutter speed is. This is something I decided to make a bit of a decision on a few years ago is to do more intermediate level content.

From time to time, we also throw in a more advanced piece as well. Again, this is something you’ve made a decision on probably three quarters of our posts still have that more beginner-y type content. Another 20% probably is more intermediate and then maybe once a week we’ll throw in something that’s more advanced.

There’s 11 things and you can probably think of some others and I’ll be interested in what you’ll add to these 11 decisions that you could make. As I said at the start, some of these decisions you make on the fly without even really thinking about it. I do think from time to time, it’s worth going back to these 11 things. Ask yourself, how are we going with them, do we want to change our approach in some way?

Let me revise them really quickly, the voice you write in. Whether your content is evergreen or time sensitive. The intent of your content, information, inspiration, interaction. Fourth one was the format, the type of post that you’re writing, opinion versus list, person’s resources versus interviews versus how to content. Number five was the authors, are you a single, multi-author blog. Number six was the frequency of your post. Number seven was the categories and topics that you might cover. Number eight was the length of your content. Number nine was whether you do stand alone posts or whether you do series of post that build upon each other. Number ten was the mediums, written versus video versus audio. Number eleven was the level of your content.

As I said along the way many times, there are no right or wrong answers in any of these areas. In fact, the thing I love about going through this is that when you put your answers together to those 11 different factors, the chances of you creating a blog that’s exactly like someone else in your niche are slim, this is how you can actually stand out in a very crowded niche as you begin to look at what other people are doing, how they’re answering that. Making some decisions not only based upon what you want to do but actually you can make some decisions to stand out from what everyone else is doing in each of these areas.

It maybe that you take a really different approach in voice, or evergreen versus time sensitive, or the intent, or the format, or how many authors you’ve got, or how frequent you are. You can make decisions in each of these areas that help to make you more unique. Also, that help to serve you readers better.

As you’re going through that list of 11 things, just monitor you, how you feel, how much time do you have, how much energy have, how much passion you have, what your skills and experience, your personality. Also monitor the content, the topic as well that you’ve got. Different niches will sometimes determine your answers, different topics will lend themselves to different mediums, and different styles of content, different frequencies of content even.

Of course, be monitoring your audience, particularly monitor your audience. How are they responding to the decisions you make? It might be that you decide to experiment with some long form content. Watch to see how your audience responds to that, do they share that content more, do they ignore that content, some other reaction happened there. You can monitor that in terms of all of these 11 decisions.

I hope that’s been helpful. I would love to hear what you would add to that. I’m sure as I’ve gone through those 11 things, that you are thinking, “There’s another one that you could have added.” Please leave a comment over on the show notes. Add in what you think you could add and I’d love to hear your decisions on these things. Which ones do you really focus upon? How has your blog changed over time? Have you evolved in you approach? I’d love to hear your reflections on that today.

Thanks for listening. There are plenty of things that you can read and listen to over on the show notes. Again, it’s problogger.com/podcast/166, for all of that further reading and listening. Thanks for reading today and listening today. I will chat with you in a few days’ time in episode 167. 

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How to Create Consistently Valuable Content for Your Blog

How to Create Consistently Valuable Content For Your Blog | ProBlogger

Doing something of value is a basic motive that drives us in doing pretty much anything in our lives.

Writing is a passion and there is a little art in every piece of content we create, irrelevant of the topic or the reason why we put the words in this sequence on the sheet in front of us. When we talk about blogging, we should consider the value of our texts, especially if we write professionally and there are targets to be reached. Even though blogging has been around for quite awhile, the number of people practicing it who can’t distinguish clearly what is the value of the content they create, how to effectively measure it and boost its engagement is concerningly high.

The art of blogging

Blogging may be considered an art, as it is a way of expression and no matter the topic people write about, they put a little piece of themselves into the materials they are working on. Writers put the words in a certain sequence and structure the information that is contained inside through their own perspective, thus creating a unique material.

Every professional can tell you that writing is the easy part of blogging. The harder one comes with defining the message and pinpointing the kind of value the content brings. The major problem with art and personal expression at all is that, usually, they cannot be interpreted in the same way by everyone or even by the targeted audience, if the message is not presented in an appropriate way. This is why before starting an article, we need to consider a few things such as:

  • What are the characteristics of our targeted audience?
  • What interests them?
  • What value do we, as bloggers, want to bring to them?

By doing so, we will save ourselves time otherwise wasted on unnecessary editing. Further, we will prevent anxiety and disappointment if the published material does not achieve the results we had hoped for during the process of realizing our idea.

Why should we concentrate on value so much?

Blogging is a process of continuous improvement that requires time, dedication and expertise on the topics we cover. For many people, it starts as a hobby that later turns into a secondary source of income and eventually a full-time occupation.

Bringing value to your readers is the only way to make a profession out of blogging. Simply put, if your words lack value for your readers, you won’t be able to build an audience and a community around your writing.

Speaking from the perspective of a journalist who transitioned to blogging, creating a valuable blog article for a specifically segmented audience is much harder than it may seem. For example, when you reflect the news, the way you present the information is pretty simple – deliver the message with maximum clarity and avoid manipulation at all cost.

When I transitioned to professional blogging, the difference became apparent immediately. I started writing in the manner of a reporter, but my target audience’s response was unanticipated. I was writing for a sophisticated audience of project managers in the IT sector, not the masses, and at first, many of the people reading my articles had more expertise than me on the topics I was presenting. As a result, articles that seemed perfect to me, were achieving a lot less engagement and a lower response rate than I hoped. Not to mention my drafts were getting far more edits than I was used to, which was not a pleasant feeling.

The value of a piece of content varies from one person to another

Identifying the value of an article is not always an easy task. Research by the Content Marketing Institute conducted in 2014 shows that roughly half of the B2B bloggers in the United States have trouble pinpointing the value of their content. This is not a surprise because even similar people may find different or no value at all in a given article.

In blogging, the value of an article usually consists of the information that readers take away and can apply at some point. A simple way of creating valuable content is to present actionable advice in a way that is easy to understand by the targeted audience. In other words, offer something that can make a positive impact on the way your readers live or work.

The article should be long enough to go in depth about the topic and yet short enough to keep the reader’s attention up until the end. When planning any form of content, we should be asking ourselves – what will the readers learn from the material and are we going to bring some kind of positive change to their lives with the article we are about to write.

For some topics, the value is easy to point out, while others need deeper consideration

To illustrate the difference, let’s look at the types of projects a tech blogger might undertake. In the first case scenario, she decides to write a review of a certain product. The value for her audience is going to consist of getting to know the advantages and disadvantages of the product, accompanied by advice on whether the product is worth buying, given from a person with first hand experience.

In the second scenario, that same blogger writes an article about a psychological factor connected to the way her readers work. In this case, giving them something of value might prove harder because the reader is provided with subjective advice on a topic that may be related to them.

Knowing that something is valuable is important, knowing exactly how much – even more so

Creating content of value is somewhat easier when you are not keeping up with schedules, because you have freedom to remodel the message of the material as many times as you need, and deliver it only when you have full certainty in its impact on your targeted audience.

Unfortunately, most professional bloggers must adhere to deadlines and maintain a predictable delivery schedule of content to their readers. Even if you know that your content is valuable, you need to know exactly how much and to whom at which time. This will allow you to focus on articles with high value to the majority of the readers and show you how to make more impact with your work on a regular basis. There are many indicators that can help you identify the most valuable pieces of content you create, focused in three categories:

  • Engagement metrics
  • Social media metrics
  • SEO metrics

Among the most important indicators of the value of your content can be found with the help of your website analytics. You do not need to track every single metric that Google provides, but you should target at least a handful of them like page views, time spent on the article, crawl rate, inbound links, and bounce rate.

Social media is of no lesser importance, as it is one of the largest sources of user data in the world. You should be keeping an eye on the reach and engagement of every article you post, as well as the advocacy on your page (comments, participation in polls and, most importantly, feedback).

When referring to SEO, the most important metrics you should follow consistently are your articles’ page rankings in the high-traffic search engines and the keywords that bring visitors to your blog. It is important to know how you rank for words or phrases that are common to the field you write about or the industry you often reference and plan for which ones you will aim to rank better.

Focus on creating more value instead of more volume

To create more valuable content bloggers should have a clear understanding of the details related to the spectrum of topics they cover. By selecting a niche and sticking to it, you will be able to attract more readers with similar interests. This way, you can deliver value to a larger percent of your audience with every post you create. As a result, you will retain a larger part of the visitors that come to your blog.

Focusing on quality instead of quantity will do you a big favor, because when the audience knows that they will get something valuable every time you publish content, they will be eager to read your every word before they’ve even seen the title .

Find an efficient way of working

Last but not least, you need to have an efficient way of work. Blogging is usually not a solo act and we often end up collaborating with different people to be able to consistently create valuable new content and grow the community of peers with similar interests.

The common misconception is that the creative process cannot help but be messy and uneven, that you can’t control inspiration. Although there is some truth to this, a growing number of professional bloggers have been experimenting in developing and adopting process management methods to assess and boost the quality of their work and improve the efficiency of their creative process.

More recently, the Kanban method, typical to the IT and manufacturing industries, has been making its way into the lives of a growing number of professional writers, especially those that specialize in technical blogging. The method began in production, was later adapted for software development, and eventually, started gaining popularity in other professional fields.

It is used to map the workflow of a person or a team on a white board. Each part of the white board represents a typical step of your process, whatever it may be. Tasks are hosted on individual sticky notes that move from the first stage, on the left side of the board, to the final completion stage, on the right side of the board. On the board, you can create a backlog that contains all of the ideas that you generate, but are unable to work on at the moment.

The great thing about Kanban is that it is very simple to apply and yet extremely effective in boosting the efficiency of your creative process because it removes the possibility to lose track of your work and helps you avoid multitasking.

How to Create Consistently Valuable Content for Your Blog | ProBlogger.net

Blogging is a calling, a passion, an art, and a profession for many people across the globe. Creating value should be the main goal of every person who wants to turn their blogging from a hobby into a profession. Learning how to recognize and measure it is of utmost importance to every “pro” out there. Hopefully, by reaching the conclusion of this article, you have been able to find value in this article as well.

Alexander Novkov is Marketing Expert at Kanbanize where he specializes in content marketing and social media. Before getting into the tech world he was an economic reporter for the Bulgarian media OFFNews. Alex is passionate about creative writing and continuous improvement.

The post How to Create Consistently Valuable Content for Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


ProBlogger

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How to Create Consistently Valuable Content for Your Blog

How to Create Consistently Valuable Content For Your Blog | ProBlogger

Doing something of value is a basic motive that drives us in doing pretty much anything in our lives.

Writing is a passion and there is a little art in every piece of content we create, irrelevant of the topic or the reason why we put the words in this sequence on the sheet in front of us. When we talk about blogging, we should consider the value of our texts, especially if we write professionally and there are targets to be reached. Even though blogging has been around for quite awhile, the number of people practicing it who can’t distinguish clearly what is the value of the content they create, how to effectively measure it and boost its engagement is concerningly high.

The art of blogging

Blogging may be considered an art, as it is a way of expression and no matter the topic people write about, they put a little piece of themselves into the materials they are working on. Writers put the words in a certain sequence and structure the information that is contained inside through their own perspective, thus creating a unique material.

Every professional can tell you that writing is the easy part of blogging. The harder one comes with defining the message and pinpointing the kind of value the content brings. The major problem with art and personal expression at all is that, usually, they cannot be interpreted in the same way by everyone or even by the targeted audience, if the message is not presented in an appropriate way. This is why before starting an article, we need to consider a few things such as:

  • What are the characteristics of our targeted audience?
  • What interests them?
  • What value do we, as bloggers, want to bring to them?

By doing so, we will save ourselves time otherwise wasted on unnecessary editing. Further, we will prevent anxiety and disappointment if the published material does not achieve the results we had hoped for during the process of realizing our idea.

Why should we concentrate on value so much?

Blogging is a process of continuous improvement that requires time, dedication and expertise on the topics we cover. For many people, it starts as a hobby that later turns into a secondary source of income and eventually a full-time occupation.

Bringing value to your readers is the only way to make a profession out of blogging. Simply put, if your words lack value for your readers, you won’t be able to build an audience and a community around your writing.

Speaking from the perspective of a journalist who transitioned to blogging, creating a valuable blog article for a specifically segmented audience is much harder than it may seem. For example, when you reflect the news, the way you present the information is pretty simple – deliver the message with maximum clarity and avoid manipulation at all cost.

When I transitioned to professional blogging, the difference became apparent immediately. I started writing in the manner of a reporter, but my target audience’s response was unanticipated. I was writing for a sophisticated audience of project managers in the IT sector, not the masses, and at first, many of the people reading my articles had more expertise than me on the topics I was presenting. As a result, articles that seemed perfect to me, were achieving a lot less engagement and a lower response rate than I hoped. Not to mention my drafts were getting far more edits than I was used to, which was not a pleasant feeling.

The value of a piece of content varies from one person to another

Identifying the value of an article is not always an easy task. Research by the Content Marketing Institute conducted in 2014 shows that roughly half of the B2B bloggers in the United States have trouble pinpointing the value of their content. This is not a surprise because even similar people may find different or no value at all in a given article.

In blogging, the value of an article usually consists of the information that readers take away and can apply at some point. A simple way of creating valuable content is to present actionable advice in a way that is easy to understand by the targeted audience. In other words, offer something that can make a positive impact on the way your readers live or work.

The article should be long enough to go in depth about the topic and yet short enough to keep the reader’s attention up until the end. When planning any form of content, we should be asking ourselves – what will the readers learn from the material and are we going to bring some kind of positive change to their lives with the article we are about to write.

For some topics, the value is easy to point out, while others need deeper consideration

To illustrate the difference, let’s look at the types of projects a tech blogger might undertake. In the first case scenario, she decides to write a review of a certain product. The value for her audience is going to consist of getting to know the advantages and disadvantages of the product, accompanied by advice on whether the product is worth buying, given from a person with first hand experience.

In the second scenario, that same blogger writes an article about a psychological factor connected to the way her readers work. In this case, giving them something of value might prove harder because the reader is provided with subjective advice on a topic that may be related to them.

Knowing that something is valuable is important, knowing exactly how much – even more so

Creating content of value is somewhat easier when you are not keeping up with schedules, because you have freedom to remodel the message of the material as many times as you need, and deliver it only when you have full certainty in its impact on your targeted audience.

Unfortunately, most professional bloggers must adhere to deadlines and maintain a predictable delivery schedule of content to their readers. Even if you know that your content is valuable, you need to know exactly how much and to whom at which time. This will allow you to focus on articles with high value to the majority of the readers and show you how to make more impact with your work on a regular basis. There are many indicators that can help you identify the most valuable pieces of content you create, focused in three categories:

  • Engagement metrics
  • Social media metrics
  • SEO metrics

Among the most important indicators of the value of your content can be found with the help of your website analytics. You do not need to track every single metric that Google provides, but you should target at least a handful of them like page views, time spent on the article, crawl rate, inbound links, and bounce rate.

Social media is of no lesser importance, as it is one of the largest sources of user data in the world. You should be keeping an eye on the reach and engagement of every article you post, as well as the advocacy on your page (comments, participation in polls and, most importantly, feedback).

When referring to SEO, the most important metrics you should follow consistently are your articles’ page rankings in the high-traffic search engines and the keywords that bring visitors to your blog. It is important to know how you rank for words or phrases that are common to the field you write about or the industry you often reference and plan for which ones you will aim to rank better.

Focus on creating more value instead of more volume

To create more valuable content bloggers should have a clear understanding of the details related to the spectrum of topics they cover. By selecting a niche and sticking to it, you will be able to attract more readers with similar interests. This way, you can deliver value to a larger percent of your audience with every post you create. As a result, you will retain a larger part of the visitors that come to your blog.

Focusing on quality instead of quantity will do you a big favor, because when the audience knows that they will get something valuable every time you publish content, they will be eager to read your every word before they’ve even seen the title .

Find an efficient way of working

Last but not least, you need to have an efficient way of work. Blogging is usually not a solo act and we often end up collaborating with different people to be able to consistently create valuable new content and grow the community of peers with similar interests.

The common misconception is that the creative process cannot help but be messy and uneven, that you can’t control inspiration. Although there is some truth to this, a growing number of professional bloggers have been experimenting in developing and adopting process management methods to assess and boost the quality of their work and improve the efficiency of their creative process.

More recently, the Kanban method, typical to the IT and manufacturing industries, has been making its way into the lives of a growing number of professional writers, especially those that specialize in technical blogging. The method began in production, was later adapted for software development, and eventually, started gaining popularity in other professional fields.

It is used to map the workflow of a person or a team on a white board. Each part of the white board represents a typical step of your process, whatever it may be. Tasks are hosted on individual sticky notes that move from the first stage, on the left side of the board, to the final completion stage, on the right side of the board. On the board, you can create a backlog that contains all of the ideas that you generate, but are unable to work on at the moment.

The great thing about Kanban is that it is very simple to apply and yet extremely effective in boosting the efficiency of your creative process because it removes the possibility to lose track of your work and helps you avoid multitasking.

How to Create Consistently Valuable Content for Your Blog | ProBlogger.net

Blogging is a calling, a passion, an art, and a profession for many people across the globe. Creating value should be the main goal of every person who wants to turn their blogging from a hobby into a profession. Learning how to recognize and measure it is of utmost importance to every “pro” out there. Hopefully, by reaching the conclusion of this article, you have been able to find value in this article as well.

Alexander Novkov is Marketing Expert at Kanbanize where he specializes in content marketing and social media. Before getting into the tech world he was an economic reporter for the Bulgarian media OFFNews. Alex is passionate about creative writing and continuous improvement.

The post How to Create Consistently Valuable Content for Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


ProBlogger

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4 things I Learnt as a Blogger Working at an Influencer Marketing Platform

4 things I Learnt as a Blogger Working at an Influencer Marketing Platform

This is a guest contribution from Sam Wright at techgirlblog.com

I’d had my technology lifestyle blog for little over a year when I began working with an influencer marketing platform, connecting brands and bloggers on sponsored collaborations.

Blogging in my region hadn’t become a true income source yet (that has changed in recent months and I like to think I had something to do with it) and a solid nine-to-fiver seemed the “safe” bet, especially as the platform would let me continue my blog.

One year on, I’ve had my job title change almost bi-monthly, I’ve stood in boardrooms and fought, almost to the point of tears, for bloggers, and I’ve also stood in boardrooms and been let down, almost to the point of tears, by bloggers.

The business of blogging is evolving at a rapid pace and I’ve been lucky enough to wear both “hats”, that of the creator and that of the brand on the other side, fearfully giving up creative control of their identity to a blogger.

Playing these dual roles has taught me four key lessons that I now apply to my blog and my job. These insights have allowed me to better monetise my own platforms but also given me the ability to ensure income for other creators. These are my learnings and whether blogger or brand, I’m hoping they can assist you as much as they have me!

Content. Content. Content.

It seems like such a cliche but the truth is everything links back to the content you produce.

Good content builds your audience and invites engagement, which then makes you attractive to brands – who then become interested in paying you to create good content in order to get exposure for their product or service.

Creating great content isn’t rocket science but there are a few additional things I’ve learnt over the years. The first is that good content is subjective. I’ve seen things produced by other creators and thought: “what the hell is that?” and yet it has gone on to do incredibly well with their audience. I’ve also seen really bad content that has little to no creative flair that gets published, getting no response from the targeted audience and yet the brand is over the moon because they liked it.

Sometimes it is hard, as a blogger, to remember that you don’t create content for brands but for your audience. It shouldn’t be hard, but it can be. I have a day job, so for my blog it is easy for me to say no to something that doesn’t sit with me, but I know that when your livelihood depends on the income your little space on the internet derives, it could be easy to think you could twist the content to work. You can’t. You shouldn’t. Don’t do it. All the money in the world won’t make up for the audience you’ll lose down the line.

As a creator myself I can say this with confidence: that audience means more to you than anything and if you’re true to your craft you’ll happily penny pinch to retain them. Long term it will mean less penny pinching because you’ll be far more respected than the blogger who chose to make the quick buck along the way.

photo-1434626881859-194d67b2b86f

Report on EVERYTHING

Vanity stats, the stuff you think no one cares about and then the extra statistics you don’t even understand – make sure they all go in your closing report.

My biggest learning from a blogger’s perspective after my first year at an influencer marketing platform has been that sometimes the blogger in me gets far too caught up in the creative.

The business of blogging has two parts: Blogging and Business. Business needs a return on investment. Lots of eyeballs on some gorgeous flat lays isn’t enough and, in time, we’re going to see even the best creators fall away if they don’t begin to show an accurate conversion. Your blog post or Instagram photo is simply one section of a giant funnel leading the consumer to the point of sale.

Bloggers, when approached to work with brands, need to ask what the goal is and what the measurement criteria is going to be. Don’t do the job if you don’t think you can deliver – and when delivery time comes be sure to over-deliver: track links, track audience demographics, track the keywords they searched to get to the post you wrote. Every little detail is like a tiny golden nugget for a brand attempting to not only target the right consumer but also lead them to a point where they purchase a product.

I’m about to be a little bit controversial now but if I take off my influencer marketing hat for a minute and put on my blogger hat: I know how annoying influencer marketing platforms can be.

I realise that they constantly hound you to sign up with no real promise of reward. I know you think they take the power out of your hands. I feel you. But the truth is, these platforms offer a service to the brand on the other side that bloggers have failed at: they know how to accurately report on a campaign.

Rather than fighting ten bloggers to get any sort of statistic other than “it got 20,000 views”, “there were 35 likes”, “my monthly uniques are…” it is far easier for a brand to pay a fee to a platform to pull the data they need to build their digital campaigns. The truth is we, as bloggers, are selling ourselves short and not delivering on the costs associated with running content on our blogs.

Report on ALL. THE. THINGS.

Blogging is about community – start collaborating

Sometimes during the hunt for money to put food on our table or the obsessive need with growing our platforms I think we forget why we started blogging in the first place. I think we forget that we wanted to have a space to share with like minded people who think like us or feel like us or could relate to us in some sort of way. We forget the conversations with our friends that revolved around theme design or the concept art behind our latest blog.

You’ll notice that most influencer marketing campaigns usually involve more than one blogger or creator. That’s because a few bloggers reach a far larger target market than just one. I’ve learnt to take the business thinking and apply it to my blogging. Working with other bloggers on projects (even ones that don’t make me money) allows me to reach a new audience who might potentially be interested in my blog. It also allows the other blogger to reach my audience. Most importantly though? It makes me happy.

Even if you want to make your blog a fully-fledged business, it should still make you happy. It takes so much of your energy to create, it’s important you enjoy it. I enjoy working with other creatives (usually far better than me at what they do) because I am able to learn so much from what they do and how they work. There’s a reason we flock to a site like ProBlogger and it is because the only people who really understand the passion that goes into maintaining a blog are other bloggers.

It comes down to relationships

In one year I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest brands in the world. I’ve collaborated with some of the most well respected international media and advertising agencies both on my blog and at the influencer marketing platform I work at.

My boss is going to want me to tell you it is because of our amazing technology and the blogger in me wants to say it is because of the incredible, but small, audience I’ve built. There is no doubt that those things play a big role but I’m pretty sure there is one defining factor across that board that results in success: good relationships are built on a foundation of trust.

My blog readers trust me and because they trust me they come to me for advice or read my content for assistance. My “day job” clients trust me when I suggest our tech to better manage their influencer campaigns and report on them because I’ve been able to prove it delivers on what I say it does. My “blogging” clients trust me to look after a brand they’ve cherished, nurtured and built because they trust me (sometimes blindly). Those relationships aren’t made overnight. They’re like any other relationship and take time to nurture.

The first three things I learnt all link directly to the relationships you build: be it with other bloggers, your audience, with brands or even with the influencer marketing platform you might decide to sign up to.

In my time juggling hats I’ve realised the importance of people and of the connections we’re able to make. Ironically, the need to make those connections was the reason I started blogging in the first place.

Sam Wright is a lifestyle technology blogger at techgirlblog.com. She also heads up the software partners division at Webfluential – an influencer marketing technology company. 

The post 4 things I Learnt as a Blogger Working at an Influencer Marketing Platform appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


ProBlogger

Posted in Blogging | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 things I Learnt as a Blogger Working at an Influencer Marketing Platform

4 things I Learnt as a Blogger Working at an Influencer Marketing Platform

This is a guest contribution from Sam Wright at techgirlblog.com

I’d had my technology lifestyle blog for little over a year when I began working with an influencer marketing platform, connecting brands and bloggers on sponsored collaborations.

Blogging in my region hadn’t become a true income source yet (that has changed in recent months and I like to think I had something to do with it) and a solid nine-to-fiver seemed the “safe” bet, especially as the platform would let me continue my blog.

One year on, I’ve had my job title change almost bi-monthly, I’ve stood in boardrooms and fought, almost to the point of tears, for bloggers, and I’ve also stood in boardrooms and been let down, almost to the point of tears, by bloggers.

The business of blogging is evolving at a rapid pace and I’ve been lucky enough to wear both “hats”, that of the creator and that of the brand on the other side, fearfully giving up creative control of their identity to a blogger.

Playing these dual roles has taught me four key lessons that I now apply to my blog and my job. These insights have allowed me to better monetise my own platforms but also given me the ability to ensure income for other creators. These are my learnings and whether blogger or brand, I’m hoping they can assist you as much as they have me!

Content. Content. Content.

It seems like such a cliche but the truth is everything links back to the content you produce.

Good content builds your audience and invites engagement, which then makes you attractive to brands – who then become interested in paying you to create good content in order to get exposure for their product or service.

Creating great content isn’t rocket science but there are a few additional things I’ve learnt over the years. The first is that good content is subjective. I’ve seen things produced by other creators and thought: “what the hell is that?” and yet it has gone on to do incredibly well with their audience. I’ve also seen really bad content that has little to no creative flair that gets published, getting no response from the targeted audience and yet the brand is over the moon because they liked it.

Sometimes it is hard, as a blogger, to remember that you don’t create content for brands but for your audience. It shouldn’t be hard, but it can be. I have a day job, so for my blog it is easy for me to say no to something that doesn’t sit with me, but I know that when your livelihood depends on the income your little space on the internet derives, it could be easy to think you could twist the content to work. You can’t. You shouldn’t. Don’t do it. All the money in the world won’t make up for the audience you’ll lose down the line.

As a creator myself I can say this with confidence: that audience means more to you than anything and if you’re true to your craft you’ll happily penny pinch to retain them. Long term it will mean less penny pinching because you’ll be far more respected than the blogger who chose to make the quick buck along the way.

photo-1434626881859-194d67b2b86f

Report on EVERYTHING

Vanity stats, the stuff you think no one cares about and then the extra statistics you don’t even understand – make sure they all go in your closing report.

My biggest learning from a blogger’s perspective after my first year at an influencer marketing platform has been that sometimes the blogger in me gets far too caught up in the creative.

The business of blogging has two parts: Blogging and Business. Business needs a return on investment. Lots of eyeballs on some gorgeous flat lays isn’t enough and, in time, we’re going to see even the best creators fall away if they don’t begin to show an accurate conversion. Your blog post or Instagram photo is simply one section of a giant funnel leading the consumer to the point of sale.

Bloggers, when approached to work with brands, need to ask what the goal is and what the measurement criteria is going to be. Don’t do the job if you don’t think you can deliver – and when delivery time comes be sure to over-deliver: track links, track audience demographics, track the keywords they searched to get to the post you wrote. Every little detail is like a tiny golden nugget for a brand attempting to not only target the right consumer but also lead them to a point where they purchase a product.

I’m about to be a little bit controversial now but if I take off my influencer marketing hat for a minute and put on my blogger hat: I know how annoying influencer marketing platforms can be.

I realise that they constantly hound you to sign up with no real promise of reward. I know you think they take the power out of your hands. I feel you. But the truth is, these platforms offer a service to the brand on the other side that bloggers have failed at: they know how to accurately report on a campaign.

Rather than fighting ten bloggers to get any sort of statistic other than “it got 20,000 views”, “there were 35 likes”, “my monthly uniques are…” it is far easier for a brand to pay a fee to a platform to pull the data they need to build their digital campaigns. The truth is we, as bloggers, are selling ourselves short and not delivering on the costs associated with running content on our blogs.

Report on ALL. THE. THINGS.

Blogging is about community – start collaborating

Sometimes during the hunt for money to put food on our table or the obsessive need with growing our platforms I think we forget why we started blogging in the first place. I think we forget that we wanted to have a space to share with like minded people who think like us or feel like us or could relate to us in some sort of way. We forget the conversations with our friends that revolved around theme design or the concept art behind our latest blog.

You’ll notice that most influencer marketing campaigns usually involve more than one blogger or creator. That’s because a few bloggers reach a far larger target market than just one. I’ve learnt to take the business thinking and apply it to my blogging. Working with other bloggers on projects (even ones that don’t make me money) allows me to reach a new audience who might potentially be interested in my blog. It also allows the other blogger to reach my audience. Most importantly though? It makes me happy.

Even if you want to make your blog a fully-fledged business, it should still make you happy. It takes so much of your energy to create, it’s important you enjoy it. I enjoy working with other creatives (usually far better than me at what they do) because I am able to learn so much from what they do and how they work. There’s a reason we flock to a site like ProBlogger and it is because the only people who really understand the passion that goes into maintaining a blog are other bloggers.

It comes down to relationships

In one year I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest brands in the world. I’ve collaborated with some of the most well respected international media and advertising agencies both on my blog and at the influencer marketing platform I work at.

My boss is going to want me to tell you it is because of our amazing technology and the blogger in me wants to say it is because of the incredible, but small, audience I’ve built. There is no doubt that those things play a big role but I’m pretty sure there is one defining factor across that board that results in success: good relationships are built on a foundation of trust.

My blog readers trust me and because they trust me they come to me for advice or read my content for assistance. My “day job” clients trust me when I suggest our tech to better manage their influencer campaigns and report on them because I’ve been able to prove it delivers on what I say it does. My “blogging” clients trust me to look after a brand they’ve cherished, nurtured and built because they trust me (sometimes blindly). Those relationships aren’t made overnight. They’re like any other relationship and take time to nurture.

The first three things I learnt all link directly to the relationships you build: be it with other bloggers, your audience, with brands or even with the influencer marketing platform you might decide to sign up to.

In my time juggling hats I’ve realised the importance of people and of the connections we’re able to make. Ironically, the need to make those connections was the reason I started blogging in the first place.

Sam Wright is a lifestyle technology blogger at techgirlblog.com. She also heads up the software partners division at Webfluential – an influencer marketing technology company. 

The post 4 things I Learnt as a Blogger Working at an Influencer Marketing Platform appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


ProBlogger

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PB167: My Million Dollar Blog Post (and How Procrastination Almost Stopped me Writing It)

How to Overcome Blogger Procrastination

In today’s lesson I want to talk about an issue that I think is at the heart of why many blogs don’t reach their potential. In fact it’s an issue that I think is at the heart of why many people don’t reach their potential in many areas of life.

problogger_167

Listen to this episode here on iTunes.

I want to talk about procrastination and why we so often don’t do what we know we should do.

  • In this episode I’ll share a quote from my mum that changed my life.
  • In this episode I’ll share a couple of stories of my own procrastination and how I pushed through it to achieve some pretty remarkable things.
  • In this episode I’ll share with you a challenge that I hope will help us all to get something off our ‘someday’ list and put it onto our ‘today’ list

If you’re someone who procrastinates and perhaps feels that they’re letting opportunities pass them by because you’re not taking the action you know you should take – this episode is for you.

image00-2

Further Resources on How Procrastination Stopped Me Writing a Million Dollar Blog Post

Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | Tim Urban Video

Challenge: Identify one thing that you have been avoiding.

 




Full Transcript
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Hi there and welcome to Episode 167 of the ProBlogger podcast, an episode that I think could just be the most important episode I’ve ever done. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks and a book all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your audience and make money from your blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger at problogger.com.

In today’s lesson, I want to talk about an issue that I think is at the heart of why many bloggers don’t reach their potential. In fact, it’s an issue that I think is at the heart of why many people don’t reach their potential in many areas of their life. Today, I want to talk about procrastination and why so often we don’t do what we know we should do.

In today’s episode, I’ll share a quote from my mum that changed my life. In today’s episode, I’ll share a couple of stories of my own procrastination and how I pushed through that to achieve some fairly remarkable things. In this episode, I’ll share with you a challenge that I hope will help us all to get something off our someday list, something we’ve been procrastinating on and to put it on our today list. If you’re someone who procrastinates and perhaps feels like you’re letting opportunity pass you by because you’re not taking action that you know you should take, this episode is for you.

I want to start today‘s show with a quote from my mum. I quite often quote Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein and other such people on my Twitter account at @problogger but I added to my tweets recently this quote from my mum because I realized that it’s something that had really shaped me and really put the finger on an issue that had been a bigger part of my life and that had potentially held me back in many ways.

This is the quote, “Your life will be better if you take action on the things you avoid.” It’s a very simple idea. Your life will be better, your blog will be better, your business will be better, your relationships will be better if you take action on the things that you avoid.

That’s a bit of a paraphrase because my mum used to say this in many different ways and she started saying it as, I was probably around the age of 4 or 5 and she began to notice that I was a procrastinator. My earliest memory of procrastination was when I used to get a 20 cent piece for pocket money on every Friday morning if I’d clean my room and my other chores for the week. And of course, as a procrastinator I always left thing to the very last minute.

I’ll get the pocket money at 8:30 am just before we left the school. If I had not cleaned my room by that point, I didn’t get the money. But I always got the money because I had this little deadline and I worked towards it. But I never cleaned my room until 8:25, it was always left to the last minute and this is around the time that my mum began to say, “Your life will be better if you take action on the things that you avoid.”

I’m sure she began to say it about other things because I was that kind of kid who always left things the last minute, I left my paper around to the last minute when I got that, I left homework to the last minute, and when I got a part time job in the supermarket I left getting there to the last minute, I left studying for essays and exams in high school and university to the last minute. I even avoided getting to work when I got my first full time job until the last minute. I usually got things done because there was a deadline.

Unfortunately, because I left things to the last minute, the quality of what I was doing wasn’t always great. The natural enemy of procrastination of course is the deadline. This is the way most procrastinators kind of get by. This is the way we do get things done. It’s the way I pay my taxes. It’s the way I get my keynote talks done when I’m presenting at a conference. That’s the way I buy Vanessa a christmas present.

Deadlines really help us as procrastinators but here’s the thing, this is why I think my mum used to say this to me over and over again. There are many things in life that simply don’t have deadlines. They don’t have a natural deadline to them, or they do might have a deadline but they’re so skewed and so far in the future that they don’t actually impact the way we live our life.

Some of you might have heard my thoughts and my own progression on health. Health is an area where there is a deadline but the delaine is so far in the future for those of us who are young-ish that we don’t actually get motivated by it. The deadline is when we’re 70, or when we’re 80. It’s not impacting us now even though we know we should eat well, we should exercise, we should look after our mental health, we should look after our education and those types of things that help us to be healthy people.

We’re not really motivated by that deadline because it’s in 40, 50 years in the future and so we tend to procrastinate. We tend to put these things in our someday least. This is something I think we all do in different areas of our life, for many of us it is in health. One of the things that I’ve learned over the last few years is that there are many aspects of blogging where there are no deadlines as well. There are many aspects of business, there are many aspects of creating pursuits like podcasting and YouTubing where there are no actual deadlines, or when we have these fuzzy deadlines and as a result we’re not motivated by them.

Let me share a story with you that I’m sure some of you will relate to. I was recently going through my desk which has a drawer dedicated to notebooks. I don’t know if you’re a notebook kind of guy or girl but I have this drawer in my desk that is full of notebooks particularly from the early 2000 and that’s how I pretty much took notes at conferences, I kept my ideas. It was almost like a journal or diary in many ways but it is also where I did a lot of my planning.

I found this notebook from 2009 and it was full. It was full right from the first page right to the end. Towards the end of it, I had a page dedicated to my goals for 2010. Obviously, it was probably November, December that year of 2009. I was beginning to think about what I should do next year. Right at the top of my goals list for 2010 was the words, and I’ll post this in the show notes an actual picture of my journal, “Start ProBlogger podcast.” That was right at the top of my goals list.

Underneath that, I had a little description of what the show would be like. I said it will be a weekly show with tutorials on growing profitable blogs and then I named some of the categories, starting a blog, finding readers, building community, making money, creating content, then I said it would have some interviews but it would be mainly talking head, me, delivering the content which is actually how it turned out to be. Then I also had a little bullet point, “Challenges?” Obviously I was thinking about maybe doing some challenges.

I don’t exactly remember how I put that on my list back in 2009, my goals for 2010, but I presume it was because I was seeing some of my friends like Pat Flynn, Aimee Porterfield, Chris Dhaka, some of these people starting to talk about podcasting and actually starting their own podcasts. I remember a number of times, people like Pat and Chris particularly, saying, “You really should start a podcast.” There it was at the top of my list for goals for 2010.

2010 rolled around a month or so later and from my memory of 2010, life was really busy. I had a lot of excuses why I didn’t get my podcast launched in 2010. We had two little kids running around the house, I think we’re moving home around that time. I had two successful blogs already, we’re in our second year of the ProBlogger Event. Life was busy.

Also, alongside it, there were times where I remember feeling fear when it came to the podcast. I remember thinking to myself what if no one listens, what if I sound stupid, what if no can understand my accent, what if I suck at podcasting? And then there were other excuses as well, you know, I don’t know how to set it up, I don’t have the right microphone, I’ve never done this before. The excuses went on and on. I also didn’t tell anyone about my goal and for all of these reasons, it slipped onto my someday list. “Yeah, I’ll do that one day,” and this is what I tend to do as a procrastinator, I say to myself, “Yeah, I’m not going to rule out doing this thing that I know I could do, or should do, but I’m just going to put it on my someday list. I’ll do it one day.”

For all of these reasons, it didn’t happened in 2010. At the end of 2010, I hadn’t done it and I came to write my goals for 2011 and actually found this in another notebook. There at the top of my list of goals for 2011 was start a podcast. Of course, 2011 came around and life got even busier. We had a new baby, our third boy in the house. The fear was still there, the excuses remained, I didn’t do it. The cycle of procrastination really set in. Of course at the top of my list of goals for 2012 was start a podcast. I didn’t do it. At the top of my list of goals for 2013, 2014, 2015 was start a podcast. I didn’t tell anyone and I allowed my business, my fear, my excuses, to let it slip off my things that I would do in those years. I continued to put it on my someday list.

Last year, 2015, I went to a conference in the Philippines. It was Chris Dhaka’s conference, Tropical Think Tank. It was the 13th of May that I arrived at this conference. I was late to the event because the first day of the event I think was Mother’s Day and I wanted to be home for that, Mother’s Day here in Australia. I got to the event a little bit late. It was actually, I think from memory, the second last day of the event.

This is kind of my worst nightmare as an introvert because everyone already knew each other, they had shared experiences of a couple of days of the conference together and I was walking to this event cold not really knowing too many people at all. The night I arrived, there was a networking party going on. There was a lot of drinks and lots of people having fun. There I was feeling a bit nervous and very, very jetlagged. I just spent over 24 hours on planes to get to the Philippines.

I had met a couple of people but I didn’t know too many people. I walked into this party and I met a few people but one of them did something that really jumped out at me and helped me to integrate into the party. She asked me if I would partner her in a game of billards. The person who did it was Lane, Lane Kennedy.

It was one of those billards games where it goes on forever because no one was really that great a player. Sorry Lane and the others we’re playing with and probably because we were drinking as well but it was a fun game. It went on for over an hour. We basically just hit balls around the table for a while but it did give us a really good chance to start to get to know each other and to chat.

At one point during the game, Lane turned to me and she said what are your goals for 2015? Remember, I was completely jetlagged and by this stage probably had a couple of beers and was feeling a little light leaded. I just said the first thing that came to my mind. It was the thing that I’d had on my goals list for four or five years now and had never really told anyone. I said to her, “I’m going to start a podcast. By the end of the year, I want to start this podcast.” She began to ask a few questions about that and expressed some enthusiasm toward it and said, “Yes, that would be good. I would listen to that.”

I don’t know whether she was just saying it to give small talk but it was enough encouragement that I began to get a bit more excited about it. I began to tell her that I was going to launch this podcast with 31 episodes in 31 days. It was an idea that just came to me in that conversation. I was going to base it on my ebook 31 Days To Build A Better  Blog. Again she was enthusiastic about it, she went and played another shot and then she came back to me.

She said something that I to this day see as a real gift. She gave me a gift by asking me a very simple question. Her question was this, these exact words, “When are you going to do it by?” That question I think is the reason I launched my podcast.

I was jetlagged, couple of beers in me, and at the top my head I said, “I’m going to launch it by the first of July.” I didn’t really put much thought into that date at all and in hindsight it was a crazy date to say because it was six weeks after that point.I had just told her that I was going to launch his podcast with 31 episodes in 31 days and anyone who has launched a podcast knows that that is crazy. I also realized a day later that most of my team were involved in other projects and they wouldn’t be able to help me that much in setting this podcast up. I needed to learn how to set up a podcast, I needed to learn to edit a podcast, how to record a podcast, and the equipment I needed and all of these things. But it was the best thing that I ever did to set myself that deadline. By me telling someone I was going to do it and putting a date on it is the reason I got it done.

I’m not even sure if Lane remembered the date that I’d said or if that conversation even had much of an impact upon her but it was something that I remembered and I was motivated by. Lane didn’t keep me accountable, she didn’t actually ring me up and say it’s almost the first of July, have you got it done?  Simply by me knowing that I’d expressed that to another person, I get myself a deadline and I killed the cycle of procrastination.

I’m happy to report that on the first of July last year, I launched the podcast. Over the next 31 days, I actually launched it with 32 episodes and it was one of the best things that I ever did. Starting this podcast has been fantastic. We’ve almost hit 1.9 million downloads which is great but more importantly to me, it’s opened up all kinds of opportunities and conversations with my readers and my listeners.

Podcasting is such a personal medium. I’m getting emails from people everyday who are saying things like, “I feel like I’m having conversations with you.” People who feel like they know me in deeper ways. I’m meeting people at conferences who are very familiar with me and it’s only because they are listening to the podcast each week. It’s such a personal and conversational medium. What other medium allows you to whisper directly into someone’s ear each week?

Last week alone, we had one episode that was listened to 10,000 times. It was a 20-minute episode. When you add that up, that’s 3,333 hours of people listening to my voice and that has a massive impact. I’m so glad that I ended that cycle of procrastination and I’m so grateful that Lane asked me that question, “When are you going to do it by?”

Here’s my question for you today, what do you have on your someday list? What have you been procrastinating on? What have you been avoiding?

This time last year in episode 66 of this podcast. I started a whole series of podcast where I issued you with a challenge to get things off your someday list. If you have been listening for about a year now, you will remember that series, it was ten things that I encourage you to consider getting off your someday list.

I particularly encouraged you back in episode 66 to focus upon things that you’ve been procrastinating about but also things that you could do once that could have ongoing benefits for your blog. I think from memory I talked about creating products for your blog, I talked about email and starting an email list of building engagement on your email list by using autoresponders. I talked about design, that’s one thing many people procrastinate on, redesigning their blog. I talked about optimizing your use of social media. I talked about creating a resource page for you blog. I talked about mapping out a monetization strategy and creating an editorial calendar.

There were 9 or 10 things in that series that I said that you can do today that are going to have ongoing benefits from your blog and there were things that I saw a lot of bloggers procrastinating on. The list could go on and on. That’s just 9 or 10 things and one of the things that I loved about that series was many of you took the challenge but you did something else.

I had people emailing me and saying the thing that you got off your someday list were things like starting a blog, creating an avatar for your audience, diversifying your income streams by adding a new income stream, running a challenge for your readers, moving to your own domain or server, getting off Blogspot onto WordPress. Someone else reported during SEO on their blog and giving their blog an SEO audit. Someone else said that they actually started a podcast as a result of that challenge. Someone else said that they started to experiment with Facebook Live. The list could go on and on, there are many things that we as bloggers procrastinate on and only you really know what’s on that someday list.

But today, I want to challenge you to do one thing that you’ve been avoiding and only you know what it is. I really want you to do three things with that one thing. First, I want you to tell someone about it. I want you to tell someone in your real life what that thing is that you’ve been procrastinating on. Do what I did with Lane and actually name the thing that you want to get done. It’s so powerful to have that little moment of accountability.

You can tell somebody in your real life but also want to encourage you to come over to our Facebook group, the challenge group that we’ve got running. Tell us there what’s the one thing you’re going to do. Number two, here’s the gift I’m giving you now. Put a date on it. Tell us when you’re going to do it by and tell that person that you’re telling as well. Tell someone about what you want to do and put a date on it and then get to work. I want you to come back and report when you’ve done it as well in the Facebook group.

Pay particular attention when you’re choosing the thing that you’re going to do to things that you can do once that have ongoing benefits and I want to share a quick story of something that I did in that regard, but also pay attention to the things that you’ve been avoiding. Like my mum said, “Your life will be better if you do the things, take action on the things that you avoid.”

If you’ve been avoiding something and it’s still in your mind, it’s probably an important thing. It’s probably something that you really should do. Also, pay attention particularly to the things that you’ve got a bit of fear about. As I’ve said in previous episodes, fear is a signal that something important is going to happen. Pay attention to things you’ve got fear about, the things you’ve been avoiding, and the things that have ongoing benefits.

Let me finish with one other story that shows my amazing abilities as a procrastinator but also shows what you can do with this challenge. Late last year, as a result of this very series that I just talked about, The Today Not Someday series of podcast, I was feeling so motivated by the things that I saw you as listeners doing. I decided to take the challenge myself. I made a list of things that I’ve been avoiding doing. I made this list of things that I’ve been saying, “Yeah, I’ll do that one day.”

Some of the things were really big like redesigning ProBlogger. That actually took me 6 months to get that off my list. We did a lot of work on that this year and that was probably the biggest thing on my list, redesigning ProBlogger. The other things I noticed about creating that someday list was that many of the things was really small things. One of the things at the top of my list was to write a new piece of content for ProBlogger. It was actually a piece of content that I thought about writing way back when I started ProBlogger in 2004.

I started ProBlogger back in 2004 because I wanted to read a blog about blogging and how to make money blogging but no one was writing that blog at the time. I remember as I started that blog, brainstorming ideas for topics, for that blog, and I came up with all of the normal things that you would expect. How to find readers for the blog, how to monetize a blog, how to write great content for your blog. At the top of that brainstorm list that I came up with was the idea for a post called how to start a blog.

That’s probably the most logical idea for a blog about blogging. You would expect to have a post called how to start a blog and you’d expect it to be one of the first posts that you’d write. I had excuses for writing that post and I procrastinated on it. I had all these little voices going through my mind and most of the voices centered around the fear that I had around that post. The little voices said things like you’re not technical enough to write that post.

I had at that point already started a number of blogs. I knew how to start a blog but I had this little voice at the back of my head that said, “You’re not technical enough. What if you make a mistake in that post? No one will believe anything else you say. You need to research more, you need to get some advice on that.” All of these little voices made this thing a bigger thing than it needed to be. I put it on my someday list.

At first, I probably thought to myself I’ll do that in a couple of weeks or next month or maybe in 2005 but gradually it slipped off my list. If you go through the archives of ProBlogger, you’ll see that I’ve never written a post on how to start a blog in the first 10 or 11 years of ProBlogger. We’ve published over 8,000 posts. Whilst we’ve had a few other people write posts similar to that and talking about starting a blog, I’d never written that post and it was missing. I used to have readers email me and say, “Hey, I’m sure you’ve written on this topic. Can you point me to the article on how to start a blog?” I would point them to other people’s articles either in our archives or other people’s blogs.

I began to feel guilty about doing that. I would actually lie in bed at times and think to myself, I really should write this post. I had guilt, I had this kind of tension within me that said I should write it but the voices continue to say, “You’re not technical enough.”

Last year, end of last year when I created this list of things that I knew that I’ve been procrastinating on, this was at the top of my list, write a post on how to start a blog, and I did it. It took me three and a half-hours to write the post and as soon as I started to write it, I knew that I built this thing up to be bigger than it was. My excuses began to melt away because I instantly, as soon as I started writing it, realized that of course I knew how to write this post. Of course I had the ability to do it. I’d started 30 blogs over the years and of course I could write this post and so I wrote the post and got it out there. The results were immediate.

Firstly, I knew I’d created some useful piece of content and so I started to share it. I knew this piece of content was going to help people step by step. Five Steps To Starting A Blog, I’ll link to it in the show notes today. As a result of me feeling confident about this piece of content, I began to share it. I began to share it on social media, and I if you go to any post on the blog at ProBlogger you’ll see in the sidebar we link to it. It’s linked to on our Start Here page. It’s something that I talk about in conferences, I talk to people in conversations. I link to it a lot and as a result it gets traffic.

It’s not ranking number in Google but we’re starting to see some search traffic from it as well. As a result of all this traffic, it’s starting to be one of the most read posts on ProBlogger. This post has a few affiliate links in it, we link to some server providers, we link to some WordPress templates, we link to where you can get a domain name. As a result, every single day I get emails from our affiliate partners saying “You’ve earned money as a result of this post.” We also, at the end of this post, link to one of our ebooks, What To Do In Your First Week Of Blogging. It’s a natural flow once you started a blog, you want to know what to do in your first week. Every day we see ebook sales as a result of this post.

This post in September earned almost $ 8,000 which I think is just remarkable. One post made that much of money months and months after I released it as a result of all that traffic. When I saw that figure, I had two simultaneous reactions. On one hand, I was ecstatic, $ 8,000, that’s close to $ 10,000 Australian. Over a year, it has the potential to make over $ 100,000. That’s amazing, a single post making that much money, I was ecstatic.

But then I had this simultaneous realization that I could have written this post in 2004, 12 years ago, this post by now could potentially have been a million dollar post. Why didn’t I do earlier? I had regret and this is one of the things us as procrastinators have to realize that we’re going to live with. We’re going to live with regret and there are many stories in my blogging career like this one; excitement simultaneously coming with regret. Why didn’t I do it earlier?

This why I want to talk about this today because I don’t want you to have that regret. I want you to do the things that you know you could do, that you know you should do, that you know that will benefit your blog.

There has been some great things about this, there’s been some regret as well. This post drives traffic around our blog, the secondary page views because we linked to further reading. This post has led to me getting a lot of emails from very happy readers who are proudly showing off their new blogs.

The other great thing about doing this and knocking it off my someday list is that there’s a relief associated with it. I don’t have to lie there in bed at night and think, “I really should write that post.” I don’t have to send people away from my blog anymore to get this kind of information, it’s there and there’s relief associated with that.

What do you need to do? What do you need to knock off your someday list? Something that is going to have ongoing benefits from your blog potentially. Something that you’ve been avoiding, something that you’ve been procrastinating on. What is it? Only you really know what it is but today I want to challenge you to face the fear, face the fact that you’ve been avoiding this thing and get it done to stop the cycle of procrastination. Identify what it’s going to be, tell someone about it, come to our Facebook group. Tell us what it is and when you’re going to do it by and then come back and report. Celebrate with us.

I cannot wait to see what collectively we get done as a result of this podcast. I really do look forward to that and so I encourage you. You can do it in the show notes, leave a comment at problogger.com/podcast/167 or search in Facebook for the ProBlogger challenge group and share with us your thing there. I will set up a thread dedicated to this episode where you can share the things that you’re going to get done and I look forward to celebrating those things and maybe helping out in any way that I can with you to get some of these things done as well.

I hope that somewhere in the midst of my stories today, you have felt that you’re not the only one perhaps who procrastinates but also found some motivation to getting things done. Thanks for listening, I look forward to hearing from you as a result of this challenge.

If you are a procrastinator and you’re sort of wondering what you should choose to get done as a result of today’s challenge, you might want to go back and take a look at Episode 66 of this podcast where I do I introduce that Today Not Someday Series. If you are wondering what you should do, there are 9 or 10 episode straight after episode 66 where I do talk about 9 or 10 different things that I do see a lot of bloggers procrastinating on. You might want to go and have a look on the show notes there and choose one of those episodes. That might give you some ideas to participate in this challenge. Again, look forward to chatting with you further about this idea, chat soon.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The post PB167: My Million Dollar Blog Post (and How Procrastination Almost Stopped me Writing It) appeared first on ProBlogger Podcast.


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PB169: Single Author Blog to Multi Author Blog – How to Make the Transition

Transitioning From Single Author Blog to Multi Author Blog

In today’s lesson, I want to talk about hiring writers for your blog. In order to do so, I want to share a case study of how I took my own photography blog from a single author blog, publishing 3 posts a week, to a blog that now has around 50 writers, and I don’t write anything.

problogger_169

Most bloggers start out blogging as single author blogs and many remain that way. Even so, I’m regularly asked by bloggers how to add new writers to their blog without putting off their readers.

So in today’s episode, I want to share a few reasons why a multi-author blog might be worth considering, and I want to share the 3 stages I went through to make the transition from single author blog to having a paid team of regular writers.

Some of the topics discussed today include:

  • How I found my first guest writers
  • Where I currently find new writers
  • How I transitioned from relying upon guest posters to having a writing team
  • How I took readers on that journey

So if you’ve ever wondered if you should consider adding new voices to your blog – this is for you.

Further Resources on Strategic Blogging Combined with Blogging from the Heart



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Hi there and welcome to episode 169 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 grow your audience to create great content, to build your readership, and to ultimately make money from your blog, if that is your goal.

You can find today’s shownotes over at problogger.com/podcast/169, and you can learn more about ProBlogger, the brand, and all the things that we do at ProBlogger.com.

Now in today’s lesson, I want to talk to you about hiring writers for your blog. To do so, I want to share a case study of how I took my own photography blog, Digital Photography School,  from being a single-author blog, where I published three posts a week, to a blog that now has around 50 writers and an editor working for me, in which we now publish 14 posts a week, and I don’t write a single one of them.

Most bloggers start out blogging as a single-author blog, and most probably remain that way. That’s totally fine, but I am regularly asked by bloggers if they should add new writers, and if they should, how to actually find those writers, without actually putting off their readers and disillusioning their readers.

That’s what I want to talk about in today’s episode. I want to share a few reasons why a multi-author blog might be worth considering, some of the costs of doing it, but I also want to share the three stages I went through to transition from being that single-author blog to having a paid team of writers. I want to talk about how I found my first guest writers and share some techniques in getting some user-generated content, content that you don’t have to pay for, at least not in financial terms. I want to talk a little bit about where I find my new paid writers, and I want to talk a little bit about that transition from single-author blog to multi-author blog and how I took my readers on that journey.

So if you’ve been wondering about whether you should add new authors to your blog, this is the episode for you. You can find today’s shownotes, where I will have some further reading, and there’s a full transcript of what I have a feeling might be a slightly lengthy show. There’s a lot of information I want to take you through. You can find those shownotes at problogger.com/podcast/169.

Grab a drink perhaps because this is gonna be a meaty episode. I’m going to walk you through a lot of information now. Let’s get into it!

This episode was actually stimulated by a question over at my Facebook page from one of our readers, Mantas, who said, “Hello, I know a lot of marketers and bloggers want to know: How did you attract so many people to write for DPS?” DPS being Digital Photography School – my main blog. “What were the steps that you made, and what was your position then? Were you working alone or with a team in the early days?”

Thanks for the question, Mantas. I appreciate that. If you do have a question, feel free to pop it over on the Facebook page.

Let me first take a step back from Manta’s question and just ask the question, “Is a multi-author blog right for you?” because I, by no means today, am saying that every blogger should have more than one voice on their blog. It’s not going to be right for everyone. If you have a personal blog, it’s probably not something you want to explore. You may wanna have the occasional guest post, or you might wanna interview someone to get another voice on your blog, but if your blog’s a personal blog or even if it’s a personally branded blog, you might find that it may not just fit with you. But if you do want to add more voices to your blog, it can add a lot of benefits to you and to your readers.

The thing I like about having a multi-author blog is that it adds so much more to the content. I think it helps my readers to get smarter, if you do it the right way. You can bring in a new mix of personalities, different experiences, different skills, different styles of writing as well, and this can make your blog more appealing to some of your readers.

It can enable you to produce more content, if that’s something that you want to do, but also more specialized content. This is something that will come through in the case study that I wanna take you through.

One of the reasons I added more authors onto my photography blog is that there were areas, where I didn’t feel comfortable writing. I didn’t know much about those particular topics, those aspects of photography, and I wasn’t at a level myself, where I was comfortable in writing advanced content. So it can allow you to do that.

It can also be great if you don’t have a lot of time to write, or if you take a lot of time to write. You may be someone, who really takes a lot of time to write content, and it may be one way that you can produce more content and not have to spend that much time.

Having said that, it’s gonna cost you. It may cost you time, because when you bring in people to write for you, there’s time associated with that, but also could be potentially money as well because you’re probably gonna wanna pay your authors. But it will take you time to find them, to hire them, to train them, to oversee them, and to, I guess, keep them accountable and maybe to edit their work as well, if you take on that role as an editor.

The other cost, of course, is that it could potentially – if you get the wrong kind of person – dilute your brand or impact your brand in a negative way. Bringing on an author is great, if that author is great. If that author’s not great, if it doesn’t work well, if you’re not willing to put in the time to oversee them, to edit their work, it could actually make your blog suffer in terms of the quality of what you’re doing. And it can also confuse your readers potentially as well, if you don’t find the right people.

So ultimately, what I want to talk about today is “How do you find those right people and do it the right way?” I will say again – if you have a personal blog, you probably won’t wanna move it to a multi-author blog, unless your readers are there really. They’re not really tied to you. Maybe they’re just tied to your topics in some way. Look, it probably can be done, but I would say, “Do it gently and slowly.” That’s part of the story that I wanna share today.

Let’s get into that case study. As I thought today about answering the question and of the own journey that I’ve been on with Digital Photography School, I’ve identified that there are being really three stages of the journey for me.

For me, stage 1 was that the blog was really just me writing on it. When I started Digital Photography School back in 2006, I was writing three posts a week, and it was very beginner-oriented content, which I had no problems writing because I was an intermediate kind of photographer.

The site is about how to help people take better photos, and I was at an intermediate level. I was an enthusiast as a photographer. I’d photographed a few weddings, and I was comfortable writing for people a little bit behind me in their journey.

I didn’t really know what the site was gonna turn out to be, but I typically start all my blogs in the same way. I write all that content. I start low and small-budget; I don’t have the dollars to invest into a writing team. I found a free WordPress theme for my blog, so I didn’t even invest much in terms of design. I just did it all. I did all the writing, all the social media, all the marketing – everything.

My goal in that first stage was really to build my traffic, to build up my archives of content, to rank in search engines, to hook people into subscribing to my blogs and email lists, to build my brand, and, I guess, to build a bit of engagement as well.

One of the best things I did, in terms of finding new writers for my blog down the track, was to start to build community because my first writers actually came from being readers. So if you do want to build a writing team, or if you wanna hire people, if wanna get guest posts – one of the best things I think you can do is to build your traffic, but to build engagement on your blog.

One of the best things I did in the early days was to start a group on Flickr. Now I would probably recommend you don’t start a group on Flickr because Flickr is for photographers, and unless your blogs are about photography, it’s probably not the right place for you. But a Facebook group might be the place, a LinkedIn group – somewhere where you can build engagement with your readers.

It may just be having a Facebook page. It may be engaging in some other network, but as much engagement as you can get because you are going to find it so much easier to get people to write for your blog, if you’ve already had some sort of an engagement with them and if potential writers come to your blog and see engagement as well – because that’s something that will attract them.

So one of the best things I did was to start this Flickr group. Today, it will probably be a Facebook group or some other kind of interactive space as well.

Now, I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t really even have the goal of hiring writers, but I was confident that I could produce probably around 200 articles myself on that blog for the first couple of years. And I actually came up with the topics for 200 articles, and if you listen to episode 11 of this podcast, you’ll know the exercise that I went through, where I kind of brainstormed these 200 topics. I knew that I had enough in me to write that blog and just really focused on creating that content in stage 1.

Stage 2 really came as a result of doing the hard work in stage 1. Stage 1 was building the foundations. The first couple of years in my blog, I did all the writing. I did all the marketing. I did all the social media. I did all the community management as well. And as a result of all that hard work, I began to see my readership grow. It took time; it didn’t happen overnight. It took a couple of years to kind of build it up.

I began to see that I was attracting readers to my blog, who were engaging in the Flickr group and engaging in the blog post comments, and I was beginning to see, in those comments and in that engagement on the group, that we’d attracted not only beginner photographers, but also a higher level of photographers. There were more intermediate level photographers like me. People were starting to leave some really good comments on the blog. I was very proactive about trying to get good comments. I asked a lot of questions. I asked my readers to add their tips a lot.

I began to also see in the Flickr group that people were starting to share really beautiful photos, so I began to wonder, as I saw these more experienced, regular readers, whether maybe some of them might be interested in sharing their knowledge. Now at this point, I kind of had in the back of my mind that I wanted to see them start to write guest posts, but it was a bit of a big leap. They were just leaving comments on the blog, and they were sharing photos in our Flickr group. How could I take them on that journey to get them writing guest posts?

I could’ve just emailed them and said, “Hey, do you wanna write a guest post?” Maybe that would have worked, but I actually thought I’d do it a little bit more gently. And this, I think, can be a good way to get your readers, your highly engaged readers to begin to think about creating guest content for your blog. There’s a few gentle ways that you can do that.

Let me just run through four or five of those, and these are things that I would encourage you to think about – how could you apply these on your own blog, if you do wanna have other authors?

Firstly, I saw people leaving quite detailed comments, and these were usually when I finished an article, “What would you add to this? What would you disagree with this?” Or I sometimes wrote posts that were purely discussion style, and I’ll talk about that in a minute. I began to see people slightly more detailed comments that were answering questions from other readers or my own questions.

What I did was begin to email some of those readers, and I would ask them if they would allow me to use their comment as a blog post or part of a comment as part of a blog post. Now I’d already put the content into a public forum on my blog, and perhaps I didn’t even need to ask that permission but I wanted to do that because I was interested in them knowing that I was using their content because it was a step towards getting them to write a blog post. Most of them were totally fine with it.

What I would do is either use their whole comment as a blog post. I might put an introductory sentence at the start, “Hey! Darren here. I saw this comment on the blog the other day about this, and I really loved it. Here it is.” Then I might write a sentence or two at the end of it, just to sort of wrap it up because the comment itself was really useful. It might have been a tip on an aspect of photography.

Or I might have used a part of a comment, so I might quote my readers. The idea here was that I was actually showing my readers that I value their thoughts. And this is partly to get our readers to start leaving more comments and to build that engagement, but it was also starting to get my readers used to the idea of seeing their content in blog posts themselves.

In the Flickr group, I also set up an area, where I ask my readers to submit a tip into the group. I made it really clear that I would use some of their tips as blog posts, and this worked really well. People were much more comfortable with adding a tip – might be a couple of paragraphs long – into a Facebook group than they were submitting a guest post.

What I would do then is to take some of those tips, and I combine them together into a longer post. I might say, “I need tips on portrait photography,” and 10 of my readers would submit their paragraph-long tip on taking great portraits. And then I’d combine that into a longer article. Again, my readers were writing the bulk of that content; there was 10 of them – all contributing to it. The other thing I might do occasionally, if a reader left a long, detailed tip in the Flickr group, is just to use that as a whole post in it of itself.

Another thing we used to do quite regularly was run weekly challenges with our readers. We still do this today – every Thursday or Friday, we would say, “Hey, the theme of this week is slow shutter speeds or large apertures,” or some kind of photographic technique. We’d get our readers to submit a photo they’ve taken using that technique.

What I would do if I saw a beautiful photo being submitted by one of our readers would be to email that reader and say, “Hey, I love that photo! Can I use it in a blog post? And would you mind answering a couple of questions for me about how you took it? What settings did you use? What’s the story behind the image? How did you compose it?” They would respond with maybe three or four sentences, and that would then become the blog post – the image, a few tips, a few thoughts from them behind that image.

Again, it was just about creating some user-generated content, that was inviting our readers to begin to see themselves in the blog posts, and this began to change the culture of the blog. It didn’t happen overnight, but gradually over time, readers began to expect that other readers would be in the content – it wouldn’t just be me all the time. I began to weave this in.

Another thing I’d begun to do is to do these discussion posts. A blog post would purely be me asking a question, “What type of camera do you use? What type of lens is your favorite lens, and why? How would you go about photographing a wedding?” These types of question-oriented posts.

The discussions that would come in as a result of that. If it was a good discussion, I could then take those comments and weave them into a blog post and create a blog post on that topic. It was really the blog post – this is what our community thinks on this particular topic. Again, just about getting our readers’ content onto the page.

The last thing I did is I began to approach people who were engaging in the Flickr group and sharing photos or engaging in comments. I would approach those who I thought knew something about a particular topic, and I would ask them, “Could I interview you on that particular topic? I see you take a lot of really beautiful wedding photos. Can I ask you five questions on wedding photography?”

I would actually reach out to them and interview them on a specialised topic. Again, this is an easy way to create some guest content. They don’t have to come up with a structure for the article. They don’t have to think of the questions. “I just have to answer some questions.” This was the beginning again of relationships with a few people, who later on became guests posters – is getting them used to the idea of writing some content, as brief as it might be (and I would add in some of their photos as well), and get them used to being on the site and seeing some of the benefits of that.

All of these techniques that I’ve just talked about helped my readers to begin to feel like their ideas were important to my site, began to build a community and a sense of engagement as well, got them used to seeing themselves and other readers on the blog as well, and as I said, it builds this culture of interaction and reader involvement.

Now none of this happened overnight. It took months. It took actually years to do this, and it became something that, as I got used to looking for opportunities to get my readers into blog posts, it opened up all kinds of wacky ideas as well. As you begin to do it, you see more and more opportunities, and so that’s one way to kind of approach this.

Now a few people who was featuring in these ways enjoyed the process, particularly some of the people I interviewed. They enjoyed the process so much that I would then follow them up and say, “Hey! If you enjoyed that – our readers obviously enjoyed that – if you’ve actually got any ideas for a longer article that you might like to write, feel free to shoot me an email with the idea that you’ve got. We can work out whether you could write an article.” Often the interviews would lead to a longer form article – and some of the other techniques that I mentioned did as well.

I was writing most of the content, still at this point, but I guess I was looking for any opportunity that I could to involve people in writing posts, particularly moving them towards writing a feature piece content, a longer article in some way.

This whole process, after a while, a few people did start to write a few guest posts, and that led me to putting up an actual page on the site. I created a WordPress page titled “Write for DPS” (Write for Digital Photography School), and I actually called my readers to submit. I gave them a process where they could begin to submit ideas as well. I did this because a number of people were starting to contact me. They were seeing different voices on the blog, and they were like, “Well, I could write something. I wonder if he’d take my post.” After I got a few of those, I began to put this page together, and it was really just me saying, “Hey, we can’t pay you at this stage. We’re not making enough, but if you’re interested in contributing to the site, here’s how to do it.”

I put light at a few expectations and a contact email address as well. That generated some submissions as well. I actually put that link in the navigation area on the site.

One of the things I am really glad I did also around this time was anytime anyone wrote for us in anyway, whether it was a guest post or I interviewed them or I featured them in any other way, I would put them on a spreadsheet that I created. It was a spreadsheet of contributors to the site. Whether they’d just done an interview or written an article or was just someone I thought might be a good contributor, I would put this spreadsheet together.

I made it my goal that I would touch base with everyone I put on that spreadsheet at least every couple of months. Just keep in touch with them. And I would also put next to their name, any contribution that they’d done, any link, any topic that I saw that they were interested in.

I guess, I was building up this little bit of a database. It was a pretty disorganized database, but it was a database of people who might write. So if I did wanna write an article on some aspect of portrait photography, I could look on that spreadsheet, and I knew there was someone there who I could ask for a quote or involve in some other way. It really was about trying to just keep that relationship going in some way, so if an opportunity did come up to feature them, I could. I also would share the stuff they were doing on our social media accounts to build that relationship in some ways as well.

Now as a result of all this, I began to get a few of the people, who did eventually write guest posts, say that they were interested in doing more. By this stage, a couple of years into the site, the site was starting to get some traffic, and people who did contribute began to see that when they were featured on the blog, they were getting traffic as well. So some started to return, and they would come back and say, “Hey, I’d like to do one every couple of months or one every month.” That was great. That was, I guess, the beginning of the next stage, which was all about trying to build a team.

At this stage, I still didn’t have much money to invest into writing. We were beginning to make a little bit of money from AdSense. I hadn’t created our first eBook now, by this stage, so there wasn’t a lot of money. Paid writers weren’t really on my radar, but I did begin to form this idea that maybe I should get some regular writers into the site because I could see my readers were beginning to recognize some of those people who did come back again from time to time.

The other thing that I began to do, as traffic grew, was – traffic is great because it’s good for building revenue, but it actually makes it easier to find new writers for your site as well. After a while, people began to know the brand of Digital Photography School in the photography circles, so it started to make it easier to approach people. Up until this point, I kind of have been looking at my readers, but as our brand grew, I began to see opportunities to approach other photography bloggers as well. These were people who perhaps had a little bit bigger profile, they had their own network, and they had expertise as well; so I began to reach out occasionally to a photography blogger and say, “Hey, would you be interested in writing an article for us? Or could I interview you?” The interview was often the first step.

The same thing happened with other photographers – photographers who might be quite well-known on Flickr. Flickr was huge at that time. There’s other photo-sharing sites now, but I began to see some of the Flickr users really had big profiles. I began to reach out to them and ask, “Can I interview you or would you be interested in writing for us?”

Then I also started to realize that I saw the same names over and over again in photography magazines, and these are offline publications that people were writing in. I realized a lot of them weren’t actually employed by the photography magazines; they were just writing guest content or writing as freelancers. So I began to reach out to some of those as well, and I would usually approach all of these people, whether they be a photography blogger or a photographer or a freelance writer, by introducing the site, talking about our traffic numbers and how much profile we could help them to build, and then making a broad invitation to be involved in creating content in some way for us. I would give them some examples of what others had done, usually others who had a bit of a profile as well, to build a bit a of social proof.

As I mentioned, many times I would reach out and say, “Hey, could I interview you? Or could I do a case study on one of your photos?” but sometimes they actually would come back and say, “Hey, I’ve written this article for a magazine. Could I rewrite it for you?” That was actually something that happened a number of times as well. Some people did prefer an interview ‘cause it felt easier, but some people who were writers actually found it easier just to write an article for us.

Now up until this point, everyone is guests on the site; they’re not paid writers. They’re all doing it for free, and they’re all doing it because (1) they want to give something back to the site if they’re our readers or (2) they’re doing it for profile and to grow their reach. By this stage, I was standing to earn money from the site, and I didn’t feel comfortable just taking guest contributions. Actually some of our writers didn’t want to be paid at all. They just did it because they enjoyed the process, but a number of our writers, I thought, “Maybe I could actually begin to pay them.”

That really is stage 3. Up until this point, stage 2 has really been all really about building guest contributors to the site. Stage 3 really is a time, where I was starting to have decent traffic to the site, starting to get revenue to the site, and I was starting now to think, “I need to build my regular writing team.”

By this stage, as I mentioned before, I have a few guest writers, who were writing submissions once a month, but when you’ve got a guest writer – even if they’ve committed to writing once a month – it’s really hard to keep them to that. You can’t put too many demands on someone doing something for free for you, so in the back of my mind, I was like, “Maybe I need to start paying people. That way, I might be able to enforce a deadline a little bit more.”

I wanted to increase the frequency of our publishing. When I started the site, I was publishing three times a week. I moved it to daily by the time I built this sort of little team of guest writers up, but I wanted to get to two posts a day. I wanted to get 14 posts per week, and to do that, I knew I needed a consistent stream of articles coming into the site. I knew I couldn’t write them all, so I thought one way to do that is to start to hire some writers.

I also wanted to lift the quality and the level and expand the topics that we were writing about. Some of our best authors, by this stage, were actually growing their profile so fast that their own projects were beginning to take off, so they weren’t writing for us anymore. To get a high quality of writer, I knew I’d probably need to start paying people to attract those high caliber of writers, and also I wanted to start attracting intermediate and advanced writers as well, and people who specialize in topics like post-production (how to use Photoshop) or people who were willing to write reviews of cameras, which take a long time to do. I knew to attract those types of writers, I was going to have to start to pay for those writers.

I also wanted to have regular writers. I didn’t want to just pay for one-off writers. I wanted people who would come back and contribute on a regular basis because I saw that when we did have regular writers on the site, my readers actually responded really well to them because I felt like they knew who they were and relationships between my writers and readers were important. So I made the decision, “I’m gonna put some investment into paying writers for all my sites.”

The first two people that I hired actually turned out to be people, who had been writing as guest writers. I probably could have gotten them to keep writing as guest writers, but I went to them and said, “Hey, you write once a month for us. I love the content that you’re doing. You’re writing on a topic that I don’t feel comfortable writing about. Would you be willing to write on a more regular basis?” I actually went to both of these writers and said, “Hey, I’m willing to pay you to write a weekly article. You’ve only been doing a monthly article, but I want you to do a weekly article. And I’ll pay you.”

At that time, I didn’t have a lot to invest into it, so it was 50 USD per article, while also giving them lots of exposure in the articles linking to their own projects. Both of them actually had their own products to sell as well. Both of them had eBooks, and so I allowed them to promote their eBooks. They were actually earning more than that $ 50. That’s where we started out. You’ve really got to work out what the right rate is for you.

This is like eight years ago. I acknowledge that really probably wouldn’t cut it today if you’re trying to hire someone at a high quality, but that’s what we started out. We’ve certainly increased since that time. Initially, I just hired the two, but gradually as I was able to drive more traffic and more revenue in the site, I was able to increase that group of writers and went to three, to four, to five. We gradually went from 7 posts a week to 10 posts a week and then to 14 posts a week.

I would usually hire internally, so my guest writers who might write the occasional article, I would hire them in the early days. I would only ever pay someone if they could commit to writing at least once a month. I wanted that regularity. I wasn’t gonna pay someone just to write a one-off article; I wanted the regular writer so my readers could get to know them.

Initially, it was all about promoting people, who were writing as guest writers, but at times, I began to realize that my pool of people that I could hire was not really that big. That was around the time I decided I needed to start advertising for writers for the site. Now it just so happens that on ProBlogger, we have a job board, so I was able to advertise on my own job board for writers. I wasn’t really sure the first time I did it, how it would work, because I didn’t know how many photography enthusiasts read ProBlogger and subscribed to those job boards.

I put up a job. I can’t remember exactly what year it was, but I was amazed at how many applicants we got. I think the first job I put out – must have been six or seven years ago now – got 80 applicants, and about half of them, I would have hired. They were incredibly high-quality.

If you haven’t checked out the job board, it’s at problogger.com/jobs. It’s a great place if you’re looking for work as a blogger, but it’s also a fantastic place to advertise for bloggers to actually hire. Seventy dollars ($ 70) will get you a job that lasts for thirty days. We get quite a few of our advertisers emailing us within a few days, saying, “Take the job down. I’m getting too many applicants.” Anyone can advertise there, if you wanna check that one out, if you are looking to hire people.

So I advertised there. I was getting quite a few applicants, and the quality was really great. Today, we probably put a job up there every two or three months, and these days, we get over 100 applicants to many of the jobs that we advertise. And as I said, a lot of them are very high quality. We typically will hire five people at a time. We kind of wait until some of our writers will have left and moved on. They only write for a period of time, and so we’ll wait until we need to hire a few more. Then we’ll hire in batches in that way.

If you do want to advertise on the job boards or anywhere else, the key is to be really clear about what you’re looking for. You don’t wanna just do a broad ad, or else you’ll get a broad number of applicants. You’ll get more applicants, but they won’t be as targeted so be really clear about what you’re looking for and the process that you will work through to hire them. We typically will put a job up – even though the job lasts for 30 days, we typically have a cut-off date of the week. We say, “You’ve got to get your application in within a week.” Then we ask them for examples of their work as well.

The other thing that I would encourage you to do is to think ahead of time, before you place your ad, about the process you wanna take your applicants through. We actually have this little process that we’ve developed now that we’ve probably done this about 8 or 9 or maybe even 10 times over the years.

This is the process. Firstly, we place the ad, but we also have two emails ready to go. The two emails are for different scenarios of applications. The first one is one that we send to people, who we just know straight away aren’t suitable – either they apply ignoring some of our criteria, or we can tell through their application that their writing isn’t great or they don’t seem to have the right experience for us. This is our “Thanks, but sorry” email, that we send out straight away as soon as someone applies that we know isn’t a fit. We just send out an email saying, “Thanks for applying. We’re really sorry, but we can’t progress your application.”

A second email is a “Thanks! We will be in touch,” email, because we typically have a deadline of a week. We know that we’re gonna get a lot of applicants in during that week, so we send this one out to anyone who we think we might be interested in, anyone who’s at least at a quality where we should consider them and we need to look a little bit deeper into them. We collect everyone’s emails that’s in this second category, and we send them a quick email just saying, “Hey, thanks! Here’s the process. From here, we will be in touch in a week or so.”

The next step is that we begin to sort those applicants into groups. I guess this is like a triage type scenario. The applicants, who we immediately feel are a good fit or could be a good fit, we put into a “great” pile. Then we put the rest into a “good” pile, and then maybe if there’s sort of a lower quality, we might put them into an “okay” pile. It really depends how many people we’re looking to hire and how many applicants we get, but we generally go to anyone in that “great” pile and maybe some of the people in the “good” pile. We will reply to them with an email that invites them to go to the next stage. Anyone who we don’t invite to go to the next stage, we of course send an email saying, “Thanks, but we can’t progress any further.”

Anyone we invite to go to the next stage, we send them an email. We tell them a little bit more about the job: what it entails, what it pays, what are the benefits they get. “We’ll give you links. We can promote your stuff.” And then we invite them to write a trial post for the site – a paid trial post for the site, one-off trial post.

We invite them to nominate a topic that they want to write about and to come back to us with that. We give them approval or we adapt it if we don’t think it’s a good fit. We may have written about that topic in the last week already, so we ask them to come up with another one. Then we set them a deadline and ask them to write that post and to submit it. Then we might go back and forth a little bit on any edits, and then we publish the post.

We do this trial for a few reasons. Firstly, it shows us the quality of their work. Secondly, it shows us what they’re like to work with. Can they deliver on time? Are they high-maintenance? Do they seem to understand what WordPress is and how to write for that audience? Will they follow up with comments that are left on their articles? Will they promote the posts on their own social networks? I guess, we’re really looking here to see, whether they’re just going to submit us a piece of content and then leave it, or they’re going to take it to the next level.

This gives us a chance to see whether their style fits with our audience – what voice they write in, how accessible, how inclusive they are, how clear they are. And it also gives us a chance to see how our audience will respond to them. Do they get a lot of comments? Are they writing in a way that is really engaging and gets lots of shares? You get a real feel for people through this process. And I guess the other side of it is that they get to see what we’re like to work with as well. What are the benefits of working with us? What are our systems like? That can give them a sense of what we’re like and whether we’re a good fit.

This trial process – and we do pay them. We pay them the normal rate that we would pay them normally. It helps us just to really work out whether it’s a good fit or not. So we might invite 10 or 15 people from all the applicants to go through this process. Then we might hire the best 5 or 6.

The other beauty of this is that it gives us some other content that we can use on the site as well. Even if we don’t go on to hire these people, we’ve got a piece of content that we can use as well. That’s nice to get some extra voices on there as well.

We publish pretty much everything that’s submitted. We do go back to some people and do some edits and revisions on it, but the process really does work very well. It takes us a couple of weeks to go through that process. From the time they see the ad to the time we hire them might take three or four weeks. It is quite a long process, but it does tend to get quite good quality of writers.

As I mentioned before, the people who we do offer the job to, we always ask them to write regularly. We won’t hire anyone to write less than once a month because it’s gonna take an investment of time to get them trained and integrated with the way that we do things. So we don’t wanna train someone who’s just gonna write one article for us every couple of months. We usually ask them to write every couple of weeks or at least once a month. That’s quite good.

Once we’ve hired someone, we’ve got a bit of an initiation process, and this is something that’s come in the last couple of years as I’ve hired an editor, who I’ll talk about in a moment. We send them out a handbook, and the handbook’s a nine-page document. It’s got a lot of guidelines about how to use images, what size images, whether they can use watermarks, how they should name their files, their image files. We give them some tips and guidelines for writing articles (US spelling versus UK spelling, how to format posts, how to use headlines) – sort of a style guide in many ways – some information on how we title our posts, some tips for using WordPress and formatting the posts, some tips on how to write their author bio, other expectations that we have for them, as well as some contact details for us as a team, a little bit about who we are as a site, and also some information there about our readers because we want them to be writing for the right level of readers.

This handbook has been really great, and it’s evolved over the years. It started out very simply. Now when someone comes onto our team, where I would hand this to them and walk them through this process, it really helps them to be lifting the quality of their articles, but also helps us in our editing. If we’ve taught them how we want them to submit our content, we don’t have to spend as much time fixing the things that aren’t formatted in certain ways. We also have a little Facebook group for our regular writers, where we build a bit of community. If we’ve got a camera that we want someone to review, we might put it in there. We call out topics; we brainstorm as a group, and a little bit of community going on in there.

Some of our authors that we hired have worked out brilliantly. We’ve had authors that have written for us now for five or six years, and others stay for a time. They might stay while they’ve got extra time on their hands and then they get busy and move on. Some of them don’t work out at all, they might last three articles and then think this isn’t for them or we might look at their articles and think this isn’t really right for us as well.

Because we don’t have people who are relying on us for their full time income, we don’t have to give them three months notice or anything like that. We’re fairly quick to work out whether we’re a good fit and they are as well. Typically, things do tend to work out well as a result of the process that we’ve got.

As I look at our Facebook group today, I think we’ve got about 50 members in that group, 47 of which are writers. There’s myself, our editor, and our site manager as well in that group. There’s 47 people in there who are writers.

I mentioned our editor a couple of times in the last few minutes. Eventually, it must be three years ago now, I realized that I could not manage this whole process. It actually had gotten to a point where having 40 or 50 people to manage, that’s too much for me to do as well as all the other things that I do. I’ve got Digital Photography School and ProBlogger. I decided I needed to step up and hire an editor as well as writers.

We hired Darlene who lives in Canada. She actually started out as a writer who I promoted. I saw in her an attention to detail and some of the skills that we would need as a writer. She was also someone who’s a photographer, so she is operating at a higher level of expertise in photography which I knew would help as well.

The idea here was that she would be able to take things to the next level in developing a team of writers to be able to communicate more regularly with them and better with them, to streamline some of the processes that we had, to keep our writers to the deadlines that they committed to, to think a little bit more strategically about the editorial direction and to increase the quality of the articles as well. I’m not a details person, the idea of me editing someone else’s work is kind of laughable because I’m really in need of that myself. I’m not the best speller or the best in grammar. It really has lifted the quality of our articles quite a bit. As I mentioned, she’s a professional photographer.

That’s kind of the process that I’ve gone through. Just to give you a bit of a sum up, a few other tips that I give, and just to recap a couple of the things that I think have been important.

In terms of taking your readers on that journey, some of the people I talk to who are thinking of having other writers on their blog are really worried that their readers will push back. I was too. I was worried when I did this on ProBlogger as well as on Digital Photography School. To be honest, there were some readers who did push back. Some readers started reading my blog because I wrote every post on the blog. It was less so on Digital Photography, more so on ProBlogger. ProBlogger is a bit more of a personal brand. Digital Photography School, I never really injected my personality into that content. It didn’t really get so much push back there. I did get some readers who are all these other people.

One of the things I would say there is the thing I like on Digital Photography School about the work I did is that it really did take a few years. It actually probably took me about two years from the time I had my first guest post to the point where my guest posters were writing more than me. For those two full years, I was still writing three posts a week. I didn’t change how much content I was writing over those two years, I just added in some other articles. It was a bit of a transition.

Today, I don’t write any articles on the site. Again, that was a bit of a transition. I went from three posts a week to two, to one, to none. That, again, took several years to get to that point. Take your readers on that journey and introduce new voices slowly, that can work quite well.

Build a sense of community and collaboration on your site. You’ll see back in stage one, I found it was really important for me to be asking my readers questions, having discussions, getting them into a Flickr Group, getting them engaging with me in some way. Even if it wasn’t creating content, it was so much easier to get people to create content for me because they felt like they’re in a relationship with me in the early days. That was really important.

The next thing I’ll say is some of your best writers down the track will be readers today. Look at your readers, start with your readers, take them on a journey. Look for the people who are contributing at a higher rate than other people in the comment section in your blog. Look for the people who are being helpful on your Facebook page or in the groups that you have. Actually really pay attention to your readers because in your readers, you probably have potential writers.

Always be on the lookout for ways that you can promote what they’re doing in your comments into blog posts, even if it’s just adding a quote or showing something that they’ve done or doing an interview of them in some way. Look for those gentle ways to help them to create content for you. It does take more work to do that. To do an interview with someone, you got to think of the questions, you’ve got to edit their answers, you’ve got to format it all. But in the long run, if that person ends up becoming your writer and that process is well worth the time. Do look for gentle ways of promoting your readers into creating content for you.

When you’re hiring people, be careful of the voice. This is one of the things I noticed. In the early days, I did hire a couple of people who wrote in a very different style to me. That can be good but it can also clash. There are a couple of people who I hired in the early days who had a much more aggressive tone. I’m a much more gentle conversational kind of person; I don’t like to offend people, I’m not really opinionated. Whilst I think having people with opinion can be a good thing, it can actually clash as well.

Be really careful of the voice. Watch really carefully to see how your readers do respond to the different styles of people that you write. You’re never going to hire someone who’s exactly the same as you. Be careful when you do hire someone who clashes with your voice and see how your readers respond to that. It could end up being a good thing but it could also be something that really hurts your brand.

Be careful of voice, be careful of values, you want to hire people who share values with you, who have the same kind of goals as you. That’s something I’ve really paid attention to.

Having said all that, variety can be good too. I’m a guy and my first two hires were women. I didn’t do it because I wanted to add women into the site, but it actually benefitted my site. It made my site a little bit more inclusive and I started to notice that we attracted a different audience. Gender might be one of those things.

The location of your writers might be another thing. I’m in Australia, I’ve hired some US writers, I’ve hired people from the UK, I’ve hired people from different parts of Asia and Africa. I think that can have an impact upon your site as well. Maybe that’s a positive impact, it has been for us, but again it’s got to be something that you watch to see how people react to that.

In terms of the topic, variety can be good again then too. I didn’t know much about how to use Photoshop, so my first hire was a woman who wrote about the topic of Photoshop. That broadened our topic and that went down really well with our readers. Think about variety in terms of the level that you write at, I’m an intermediate kind of photographer, some of my early hires were people who were at a more advanced level, one that again went down really well with my readers.

Be careful of voice, be careful of value, you want to hire people who are going to add to your site and take your readers and your site towards your goals. Be also open to variety because hiring people who are different to you can actually add a lot of depth to your site as well.

The last thing I’ll say is that if you hire someone or if you bring someone on as a guest and it’s not working, and you’re seeing that there’s a real pushback from your readers, you see a clash of values, of voice in those kinds of ways, be quick to end that relationship. You don’t want to have someone who is on your site for years to come just because you’re a bit nervous to say this isn’t working out. You want to be really clear right upfront that you’re hiring people as a trial and that’s one of the things I probably should’ve mentioned earlier.

We generally say to people let’s start this paid relationship out for three months and then we’ll assess how things are going, and then they become permanent. That gives you a chance to have an out if it’s not working for you and to have some expectations around that. I’ve certainly made that mistake, I’ve had people who have worked on my sites over the years. I really should’ve ended those relationships faster and it would’ve benefitted me and my readers, and it would’ve benefitted them in the long run as well.

I am aware that I’ve talked a lot today and this is probably one of the longer episodes that I’ve done. It is a question I get asked a lot, how do I find more writers for my blog? I really wanted to really walk you through that process because it’s not something that’s just happened over night. I started Digital Photography School in 2006 and ten years later it’s very different to how it started. It actually took me probably nine years to really make that journey from being a single-author blogger to having a team of paid writers as well. I should actually say that we do still have some people who prefer to just be guest writers. We do have some guest content still on the site, but the bulk of our content on the site now is from our paid team.

Hope that’s been helpful, I would love to hear your insights on this process as well. Perhaps you’ve made that transition or perhaps you’re mid-way through it. What have you found worked? Where have you found your writers? What tips would you give in integrating those writers into the system and actually initiating them into writing for you and taking them on that journey? How have you taken your readers on that journey? Have you had pushback?

Any of these questions that you feel like you want to chime in on to help us all to learn a little bit more about this whole process, head over to problogger.com/podcast/169 where you can get a full transcript of today’s very long show but also leave any questions or comments that you have.

If you are looking to hire bloggers, of course head over to problogger.com/jobs where you can place an ad for a writer for your site. We just actually redesigned the job board in the last few months, I hope you liked some of the added features we have added there. We actually have a new feature there where you can pay a little bit more and get a featured ad. Unfortunately, they’re all taken though, they got snapped up within a couple of weeks. There will be some more ones coming up in the coming weeks as well.

Thanks for listening today and I will be back with you next Monday night for the next episode of the ProBlogger Podcast.

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