Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

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

Coming to you live from the depths of Melbourne winter – while the rest of the country (almost) is springing into spring, we’re still freezing our butts off. Fingers crossed we’ll start to see the sun soon!

Here’s what I found interesting lately around the web:

How to use a $ 5 Twitter ad To Redefine Your Digital Strategy //  Jon Loomer

The Facebook Advertising guy changes tack with a cheap but effective way of getting audience insights on Twitter that you just can’t get anywhere else – advertising gold.

13 Lessons on Viral Content that got 36,177 Shares in One Year // CoSchedule

With great traffic comes great responsibility.

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog, Attracting Readers, and Making Money // The Penny Hoarder

A very humorous (and useful!) description of those foundational things you really need to get your blog running as fast as you can – but also a few tips for us old fogeys like great places to find images, finding readers, SEO and more.

15 Useful Tips for Attending an Event Alone (and Actually Enjoying It) // Hubspot

There were a few nervous newbies at PBEVENT a few weeks ago – it IS daunting to go to events on your lonesome. Hopefully these tips will help for next time.

How to Tell Stories with Instagram and Facebook Carousel Ads // Social Media Examiner

I have seen some very clever versions of this lately, and I’m left wondering how I could make it work for my own blog. Some are incredibly creative!

 

What news have you read lately?

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

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


@ProBlogger

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

The Biggest Lesson I Learned About Building a Profitable Blog in 2015

healthy-person-woman-sport-medium

Episode 38 of the ProBlogger podcast is focused on something I’ve learned in the course of the past year that I think has the potential to transform not only your blogging, but many areas of your life.

Today’s episode is personal – my personal journey of the last nine months. I talked about it at the ProBlogger event a few weeks ago now in my opening keynote – an unexpected topic perhaps, but one that I think is so useful as the foundation of everything, including building a profitable blog.

The question I want to ask you today is the question we get asked all the time: “how are you?”. Not your blog, not your business, but you?

Not just answering “good”, or “busy”, but finding out how are you really? Don’t gloss over the question – really ponder the answer.

The biggest lesson in blogging I’ve learned this year, is that if I want my blog to shine, I need to move beyond the minutiae of monetising, finding readers, creating content – I need to work on making myself shine. The wellbeing of my blogs is directly linked to the wellbeing of me, and I had been letting myself go.

Late last year I went to the doctor for my annual health checkup, and what he told me changed the trajectory of not only my life, but my blogs as well. He gave me a list of things to work on to get my health back up to speed – a whole list. It was stuff I already knew but had never really done anything about. Seeing it there, in list form, was confronting.

I left that doctor’s office feeling pretty low. I didn’t sleep well that night, as I thought about all the things I needed to change in my life. I even pondered the stuff that the doctor didn’t know, but that I knew was an issue.

The story I want to tell you today is how that day was a pivot point for me, and how putting my health and wellbeing first has made such an impact on my blogs and my work ever since.

I hope it inspires you to examine the parts of your life that need changing, to inspire you to take your health seriously and to stop forgetting to exercise, forgetting to eat well, forgetting to get your priorities in order as we churn on through the hamster wheel of work. I hope it helps you set a solid foundation from which your blogs and online endeavours can grow.

Click here to listen to episode 38 of the ProBlogger Podcast: The Biggest Lesson I Learned About Building a Profitable Blog in 2015.

I’d also love to hear your feedback on today’s episode, either here or at ProBlogger.com, and your answer to the question: “how are you?”.

Further Reading:

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

The Biggest Lesson I Learned About Building a Profitable Blog in 2015

The post The Biggest Lesson I Learned About Building a Profitable Blog in 2015 appeared first on @ProBlogger.


@ProBlogger

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

10 Ways To Stay Productive as a Work-at-Home Blogger

10 ways to stay productive as a work-at-home blogger - don't tell me you don't need these tips! On ProBlogger.net.This is a guest contribution from Larry Alton.

Working from home sounds like a pretty cushy job. You can wear whatever you like, eat as often as you want, text your friends, run errands, and be at home with your family, all while being employed. However, that list of things can often make it difficult to accomplish your work.

If you’re struggling to find a productive schedule as a freelance blogger, consider these tips.

Find Your Groove

Everyone has a groove that spurs productivity. Maybe you need to sit in your office chair with the lights off, blinds shut, and a fuzzy blanket on your lap. Or maybe you need to have a clear view of the sunshine and wear your lucky socks. Maybe your groove requires waking up and going straight to work without eating or showering. Everyone has a different groove, and if you find yours, you’ll find your most productive hours.

Dress Up

It’s pretty cool that you can go to work in your pajamas and fuzzy slippers, wrapped up in your Snuggie. However, that comfort zone may be your downfall. Wearing clothes that are too comfortable can often lead to a stronger desire to relax rather than work. Dressing up in your business professional clothing can help working at home feel more like working in an office, and you might find your productivity spike.

Manage Projects

Stay organized by managing your projects. Whether you write just one blog or you ghost write for 20, there are several tools you can use to stay organized both on the computer and off.

For example, there are software tools and apps that make invoicing, scheduling, and emailing extremely easy. Or if your projects aren’t very complex, you can use a simple white board to keep track of your daily tasks and mark them off as you go. Either way, stay organized to help you stay on track.

Remove Distractions

Email, cell phones, kids, roommates, pets, food, television—all of these are some of the most tempting distractions for freelance writers, and if you want to find productivity, you’ll get them out of the way. Go somewhere to work where you won’t be distracted by your surroundings, and set aside separate time to check your phone and email so that you’re not doing it during your most productive time.

Set Specific Work Hours

Scheduling your time is extremely important for having a constructive day if you make a schedule that works specifically for you. Choosing your own schedule is one of the better perks of working at home, after all.

When are your most productive hours? When do you work most slowly? Some bloggers have their most productive hours between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Others have it from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Whatever time works best for you, make sure you build your schedule around that.

Make Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals

Both short and long-term goals do wonders for inspiring creativity and helping you stay productive. If you’re a work at home blogger, you’re probably goal oriented and deadline driven. Each day, write out your goals for your desired progress and tack it to your office wall. Similarly, define weekly and monthly goals that you’re constantly striving to achieve.

Log Out of Social Media

Social media is incredibly useful for promoting your writing and networking with others. However, when you’re supposed to be writing, it’s basically the antithesis of productivity. During your scheduled work hours, log out of social media. Better yet, block your favorite networks on your computer until a certain time or ask a trusted friend to change the password for you until you’ve finished your work for the day.

Make Time for Exercise

Sitting at your desk chair all day long not only contributes to lost muscle mass and definition, but it also makes you feel less alert and can contribute to lost productivity. When you stay stationary all day long, it can make you feel sleepier and fog your thoughts. Setting aside time for exercise on a daily basis can boost your efficiency by making you more alert and motivated, all while leading to a healthier lifestyle.

Eat Healthy Meals

Another thing that contributes to fatigue and lack of motivation is sugary, unhealthy food. These make it so that you don’t feel 100 percent, which makes it difficult to work efficiently. Healthy meals and reduced snacking on sugary treats can make you feel more alert and healthy, which enhances your abilities to perform your daily tasks.

Prepare the Day Before

As a work at home blogger, your schedule can fluctuate from day to day, but you can still benefit from preparing for your workload a day in advance. Write out all of the tasks you need to complete the next day and even a tentative schedule for completing them.

Furthermore, prepare yourself and your office space. You might set out your clothes or prepare your lunch. You might also clean up your office and pull out any resources you might need for the next day’s tasks. A cleaner, more prepared office makes it easy to go straight to work without worrying about a mess.

Further Reading: 5 Ways to Make Your Blogging Life Easier.

Productive blogging takes practice and a series of trial and error, but once you figure it out, the freer lifestyle is worthwhile.

How do you stay productive when goofing off is a more appealing option?

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

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

10 Ways To Stay Productive as a Work-at-Home Blogger

The post 10 Ways To Stay Productive as a Work-at-Home Blogger appeared first on @ProBlogger.


@ProBlogger

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

How One Couple Drastically Changed Their Life by Blogging

How blogging changed one average American couple's life / problogger.net.This is a guest contribution from Gina Horkey.

Two years ago, my husband and I were just like any other American couple.

We were both working in Corporate America, had a one and a half year old and another on the way. Our work schedules and commutes weren’t bad, we just weren’t doing work that we were passionate about.

Someone else was also raising our child. It could have been much worse – our son was maybe in daycare for 30 hours per week. And the provider was great! It just wasn’t what we wanted. Plus, with another on the way, daycare was about to get real expensive!

Since I’m not one to sit back and accept less-than-ideal circumstances, we decided to make some changes. Here’s our story of going from a dual income, Corporate America household, to a single earning one dependent on just my freelancing income. Buckle up!

Finding a Better Solution

Even though I was a financial advisor, we never thought it’d be possible for one of us to quit work and stay at home with our growing family. After a couple failed nanny attempts and the end of my pregnancy looming, we got desperate and finally entertained the idea.

My husband had always expressed interest in becoming a SAHD and my career was more promising at the time, so we set out to see if it was possible for him, the carrier of all benefits to quit.

By significantly cutting our expenses (cutting cable, reducing our dining out, raising our insurance deductibles, stopping our retirement savings, etc) we were just able to make it work!

Thank goodness we had the good sense to pay-off most of our debt the year or two before.

Fast Forward a Year

Our second child was going on a year old and Wade was enjoying staying at home. All should be well then, right?

Wrong. It should have been.

But I couldn’t help to acknowledge the growing discontent I was experiencing with my work. My clients were great and so were my colleagues. I just didn’t really enjoy talking and reading about investing, tax law or compliance all day long.

I tried to throw myself further into my career by enrolling in an accredited program and pitching a plan to buy into the larger practice. I began studying and we began talks to make it happen.

But then I realized it wasn’t what I really wanted. And I actually listened to myself for once.

Starting a Freelance Writing Side Hustle

So, I did what any other “normal” person did and turned to the world wide internet!

I explored my passions, my available options and started freelance writing on the side a little over a year ago. I secured an unpaid contributorship with The Huffington Post, got some samples by guest posting elsewhere and started my own blog.

I would get up every weekday morning at 4:30 and write for an hour or two before my family woke up and I had to get ready for work. I also had a four-day workweek at the time, so I used Fridays to work on my writing business as well.

I even hired a babysitter from time to time on the weekend to give Wade a break and get some time-sensitive client work done. It was fun, I saw the potential and I was committed to taking charge of my own career future.

All of my hard work and perseverance started to pay off. My income grew month-over-month and I figured out I really enjoyed this world of freelance. I had blogged socially for years, but this was the first time I was treating blogging like a business and reaping the financial rewards.

Putting In My Notice

Eventually things came to a head at work. I opened up about my freelance success and that I had changed my mind about what I wanted for my career future.

I was super nervous about it, but the conversation went better than I had expected. I had been an advisor for almost a decade at this point and with this particular practice for six years. We had a great relationship and I considered them almost like family. But it was hard to disappoint a father-figure!

Due to our great mutual respect, we worked out a plan for them to buy my small practice, for us to find my replacement (for the support duties I performed for the office) and that I’d have a long transition schedule to both train in said replacement and continue to build up my freelance career into a viable business that would support my family.

Becoming a Full-time Freelancer

Right around Christmas, 2014 I had my last day of work. I was now officially a full-time freelancer!

It was exhilarating and a bit frightening all at once. But now, six months later, I can happily say that I made the right decision.

I may work more than ever, but it’s work that I’m passionate about (I write, am a virtual assistant, coach newbie freelance writers and have a course to help aspiring writers for the web launch their own business in as little as 30 days). We also own our schedule, our time and choose how we get to spend it.

Better yet, we choose WHO we get to spend it with.

In Conclusion

Blogging changed our life.

We now decide our schedule, rather than our Corporate America jobs dictating it.

For us, it’s not about being rich or continuing to earn more money – it’s about defining and living out our own priorities, which just so happens to include spending as much time as we can raising our own children.

Want to know my favorite part of each workday now? Coming in for lunch with my family and laying my two toddlers down for their naps. I never would have been able to do that a year ago!

How would your life look different if you felt empowered to make big changes?

Gina Horkey is a writer for hire, with a background in personal finance. She also offers coaching services and really enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time. Please stop by Horkey HandBook and say hello and download a free copy of 8 Tips to Start Your Freelance Career off on the Right Foot!

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

How One Couple Drastically Changed Their Life by Blogging

The post How One Couple Drastically Changed Their Life by Blogging appeared first on @ProBlogger.


@ProBlogger

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

Grow Traffic to Your Blog Through Guest Posting and Creating Content for Other Blogs, Forums, Media and Events

Grow Traffic to Your Blog Through Guest Posting and Creating Content for Other Blogs, Forums, Media and Events on ProBlogger (the podcast)

Today’s episode is the fifth in this series we’ve been exploring on the ProBlogger Podcast about finding readers.

To get you up to speed, you can find the first four here:

So once you’ve started creating great content, and you’ve found your readers where they’re already hanging out, you can take the next step: creating content or guest posting for other, larger sites to help build your profile and drive traffic.

One of the best ways that you can showcase the kind of value that you’re able to deliver to people on your blog is to create that kind of content for other destinations on the web. But of course, the first thing you need to discern is what we discuss in episode 33: who are you trying to reach? And where are they? That will help you determine who to guest post for, or where to have your content published.

In this episode I will help you find where your ideal readers are, and also what kinds of content you could create to best show your skill and style in places other than your blog. In future episodes, we’ll drill down into each of the strategies I suggest, but for today it’s great to get an overview of how and where you can expand your reach.

Your goal should be to create your best content for these channels you choose in order to demonstrate credibility and authority and that you provide high value in all places, including your own blog.

We discuss:

  • How to add value
  • Building a portfolio of this valuable content elsewhere
  • Pitching ideas
  • What makes it more likely that you’ll be accepted
  • How to promote that content to your own networks
  • Multiple pitches
  • Short term burst strategy, featuring on more than one place at once
  • How to drive traffic without being spammy

So head over to ProBlogger.com for episode 37: Grow Traffic to Your Blog Through Guest Posting and Creating Content for Other Blogs, Forums, Media and Events, show notes, and to leave a comment, or a review.

Further Reading

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

Grow Traffic to Your Blog Through Guest Posting and Creating Content for Other Blogs, Forums, Media and Events

The post Grow Traffic to Your Blog Through Guest Posting and Creating Content for Other Blogs, Forums, Media and Events appeared first on @ProBlogger.


@ProBlogger

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

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

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

Here we are again! Fridays come around so fast, it seems… which is good, and bad.

There are heads full of knowledge and excitement and ideas after last week‘s ProBlogger Training Event, and it’s thrilling to see people starting to put their dreams into practise. Such a surge of energy and hustle! If you missed out and would love to keep updated about future events, feel free to join the Facebook group to keep in touch, and also connect with the attendees who have formed a wonderfully supportive and informative community.

For now though, let’s check out blog news:

Three Reasons Why You Should Take Snapchat Seriously // Hootsuite

I’m the first to admit I let Snapchat fall by the wayside years ago. But I’ve noticed a resurgence of late and I reinstalled the app. This is just the beginning, they say…

Facebook Now Drives More Traffic to Media Sites than Google // Fortune

And will blogs be next? I know Facebook is the number-one referrer for a lot of blogs – what lessons can we learn from it?

How to Optimise your Tweets for Search // Social Media Examiner

I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THIS! Especially seeing as Twitter accounts are showing up in Google search results.

A Brief History of Internet “Joke Aggregator” The Fat Jew // Mashable

When curating your content, for goodness’ sake, attribute your sources! Goes for images on Instagram and elsewhere, “image via Pinterest” is not enough.

How to Use Evernote at a Conference // Veggie Mama

I know I wrote it, but it’s useful! How you can keep all the notes, audio, and images you take at each session in neat files, and what to do with all those business cards you accumulate through networking. You won’t know what you ever did without Evernote at conferences before!

So what did you learn this week? Care to share? Gonna revive that Snapchat account?!

Stacey is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

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


@ProBlogger

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

9 Habits of Bloggers Who Have Huge Audiences

9 Habits of Bloggers Who Have Huge AudiencesThis is a guest contribution from Jeff Foster.

If you’re just starting out as a blogger, you’re probably wondering how to grow your audience.

The good news is that there’s a lot you can learn from bloggers who have already built an enormous following – no matter what they blog about, great bloggers share a number of habits that make them successful. If you’re diligent about developing these habits yourself, you too can build an army of loyal supporters.

Let’s look at why highly successful bloggers truly connect with their audience:

1. They are Passionate About Their Subject

When you’re truly excited, it comes across in your writing – it arouses your audience and makes them feel that you have something worth saying. Don’t pick a blog niche just because there are lots of potential readers, write about something you truly care about, and readers will come flocking. In any case, if you’re not deeply passionate about your subject, chances are you’ll get bored and abandon your blog very quickly.

2. They Take the Time to Make Themselves Experts

People read blogs because they want unique insights and interesting points of view. If you just repeat what other bloggers are saying, then you’re not adding any value.

You need to take the time to become a true expert. If you’re passionate about your subject, this should be a labor of love – not a burden. Read widely and keep up with the latest news so that you have your finger on the pulse of your subject.

Engage in social media – not just your own blog – to build your knowledge and have meaningful discussions. By making learning a lifelong process, you’ll give your readers something that they just can’t get anywhere else.

3. They Create Incredibly Useful Content

Not only are top bloggers experts, they also give their readers genuinely helpful information.

Don’t just focus on expressing your own views – think about what your audience wants to know, and then give them this information.

For example, if you blog about cooking, ask kitchen equipment manufacturers for product samples. Then try these samples out, and tell your readers what you think. On the other hand, if you’re a fashion blogger, make the effort to go to real fashion shows and give your followers a first-hand account of what went on.

4. They’re Prolific

To grow a huge audience for your blog, you need to keep your readers coming back. Sure, it’s important to add new readers all the time, but if your existing audience is drifting away, then you’re fighting an uphill battle.

The way to build a loyal following is to produce lots of fresh content – every day if possible. This doesn’t mean you should write for the sake of writing – fuzz and fluff are useless. You have to deliver concise, insightful material on a regular basis – it’s tough to do this, but the more you try, the easier it gets.

5. They’re Motivated Self-Starters

The great thing about blogging is that you don’t have a boss telling you what to do – it’s also one of the biggest challenges.

No one is going to force you to sit down and write that next blog post, or tell you to go out and interview industry experts. What you do has to come from within yourself. Unless you can get up each morning and tear into life with a fresh appetite, you’re going to struggle. That’s why it’s so important to be passionate about your subject – if you believe in what you’re doing, then staying motivated is much easier.

6. They Know How to Manage Their Time

As a blogger, it’s so easy to waste time. There are countless ways to pretend to yourself that you’re getting useful work done. For instance, you may find it fun to play around with the latest plug-ins for your blog – but you need to ask yourself whether this is the best use of your time.

Successful bloggers look at their time as a precious resource – they plan ahead, schedule activities, and then do what they say they’re going to do. Everything in their plan is there for a reason. If something isn’t in the plan, it isn’t a priority.

7. They Persist

Even the most successful bloggers have setbacks. Not all of your blog posts will hit the mark, and you’re going to get turned down again and again by people you want to interview.

It’s easy to get discouraged, but to succeed you need to carry on. Talent isn’t enough – there are lots of skilled bloggers who don’t succeed because they can’t keep going when the going gets tough. The best bloggers are determined and won’t take no for an answer – if something doesn’t work, they just move on to their next great idea.

8. They Engage in Meaningful Dialogs With Their Readers

A blog isn’t a lecture. The best bloggers listen to their readers and create a dynamic community.

By responding positively to what their readers say, answering their questions, and engaging in meaningful conversations, they make their readers feel like they belong. This in turn creates a deep bond and a sense of trust – turning readers into impassioned supporters.

9. They Build Strong Relationships With Other Bloggers

Blogging isn’t a competition.

Great bloggers take the time to build relationships with other bloggers. They leave thoughtful comments, share other bloggers’ posts and even get in contact with them directly. If you do this, you’ll get amazing insights that you can share with your own blog readers. Equally important, connecting with other bloggers gives you exposure and helps you to build your audience. When you build a relationship with other successful bloggers, they’ll be the first to talk about what you do. Just make sure that you’re completely genuine. You have to truly care about what other bloggers are saying – otherwise you’ll just come across as engaging in cynical promotion, and they’ll spot you a mile away.

Jeff Foster is co-founder and CEO at Tomoson, the influencer marketplace. The platform allows bloggers and social media influencers to get paid for posting sponsored content, and lets businesses connect with targeted, niche audiences.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

9 Habits of Bloggers Who Have Huge Audiences

The post 9 Habits of Bloggers Who Have Huge Audiences appeared first on @ProBlogger.


@ProBlogger

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

Find Readers for Your Blog Through Commenting and Relationships

Find Readers for Your Blog Through Commenting and Relationships on ProBlogger.net

In the last episode of the ProBlogger podcast we talked about how to build a sticky blog to keep readers on your site. Today, we’re going to talk about how to find them in the first place by building community, strengthening relationships, and commenting on other blogs.

It’s important that not only you build great content that hooks the reader in, makes them want to read more, and makes them want to share it, but it’s also important to find readers for that content.

Before we get started on today’s episode, I want you to recall what we discussed in episode 29 about identifying where online your ideal readers are. It’s all very well and good to promote your content, but what if you’re promoting it to the wrong people? So if you did the exercises in that episode, you should have a list of places your ideal reader is hanging out: blogs, forums, social networks, who they’re following, the podcasts they listen to, etc – this will be the basis of where you will look for places to be useful and build your profile.

Today I want to focus on two things: prolific usefulness through commenting, and networking/relational growth.

The first idea, prolific commenting, is definitely a low-level strategy that won’t bring heaps of traffic, but it will help you gain confidence and get the lay of the land. It’s also useful for getting your name out there, as people begin to see it and remember you. I talk about this strategy more in episodes 9 and 20, but it’s a really good place to start. I do give extra tips in today’s episode about how to do this well on Twitter and even in YouTube comments.

The second strategy revolves around strategic networking and building relationships with others in your niche that can help to grow your profile. There are quite a few ways to do this, from informal online networking to pitching influencers, and I list the options available to you, and the best ways of making them work.

To listen to today’s episode and to view the show notes, head to ProBlogger Podcast Episode 36 Find Readers for Your Blog Through Commenting and Relationships

Further Reading

 

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

Find Readers for Your Blog Through Commenting and Relationships

The post Find Readers for Your Blog Through Commenting and Relationships appeared first on @ProBlogger.


@ProBlogger

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

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

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

Greetings from sunny Queensland, where we are hosting the sixth annual ProBlogger Training Event! We kicked off the two days of learning and connecting with our fellow bloggers with some inspiring words from Darren himself, despite a few sore heads in the crowd after a solid night at the Welcome Networking Event last night!. Tonight is our poolside party, which promises to be even bigger. The theme is “shine” and I hear Darren’s got something extremely eye-catching up his sleeve to wear – make sure you’re following the #PBEVENT hashtag on social media to see for yourself!

Read on for this week’s round up of what’s making news in blogging.

Why Slack is Exploding as a Community-Building Platform // Hootsuite

We are using Slack at PBEVENT for all our team communication and while it’s taking some of us a while to get our heads round it, it’s proving to be a popular choice for community-building in general. Read why Hootsuite think it’s an “email killer”.

Is Google Experimenting with Bringing Twitter Into Desktop Search Results? // Search Engine Land

It might be time to dust off that old Twitter account. When was the last time you actively used it? Could be worth reviving…

Want More Blog Traffic? Focus on Growing Subscribers // Hubspot

The email list. The one everyone tells you to have because it’s so important for reaching your readers no matter what social network they’re on. It’s still the biggest tip. Hubspot tells you how to make it a priority.

Periscope Now has 10 Million Accounts – Time for Your Brand to Start Live-Streaming? // Social Media Today

Live Streaming is still the buzzword of the moment. This article explains why you should be jumping on that trend.

How to Optimize Your Facebook Posts with Facebook Audience Insights // Social Media Examiner

We’ve said it all along – the key to Facebook success is knowing your particular audience. Delve into the insights to help you figure out a content strategy that works.

 

So what’s news with you? What article or tip have you found useful lately?

Stacey is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

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


@ProBlogger

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

20 Tips for Better Business Blogging: How to Use Blogging to Generate Leads

Lead Blogging

This is a guest contribution from Zoe Uwem.

Blogging can be an effective lead generation strategy, if done correctly.

The majority of companies that hope to use content marketing to grow their businesses all understand that blogging is one of the most effective ways to go about it.

Big corporations, start-ups and even smaller companies are buying into it. Internet marketers, freelancers and agencies all use blogging as a means of generating qualified leads for their businesses.

Recent statistics show that B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not. In addition, marketers who give precedence to blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.

In another report published on the Huffington Post, members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) went from agreeing that blogging has great value to listing out 12 benefits of business blogging.

Whether you’re running a sole venture or managing a big corporation, a business blog can work for you in generating leads, even when you’re sleeping or while on vacation in Zurich. There’s no paying for ad space, no paying of affiliate commission, and no offline networking which obviously takes more time and resources.

Not only can a blog serve as an evangelism tool for generating leads for your business, you can also use it to creatively position yourself as an expert in your field.

What’s more, with a blog you can:

  • Reach more customers through strategic content marketing
  • Get the word out about your offering
  • Boost company visibility or even ameliorate your brand image
  • Target a global audience
  • Expose your products and services
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Build loyalty

Blogging is also a great medium for encouraging customer interaction and enhancing engagement.

But, how do you make blogging work for your business? What are the things to do to bring all these benefits of blogging to bear on your business?

If you’d like to build a following for your brand, generate quality leads, and ultimately grow your business through blogging, here are 20 things you can do to pull that off successfully:

1. Start with a Plan

Business blogging, unlike regular blogging, is blogging with a purpose. You’re not blogging just for fun (or as a hobby) but, you’re blogging because there’s a particular goal you want to achieve—to generate leads and grow your business.

With that in mind, if you want to see results, then you need a solid plan in place.

A solid plan here implies setting SMART goals and devising doable strategies. It involves knowing what you want, who you want to attract (the kind of leads you want to generate), where you’re going and how you’ll get there.

Before even writing your first blog post, develop a blueprint with which you’ll meet your business blogging objectives.

There are a lot of factors that can affect your blog business plan, some of which include your target market, your niche, your business size and even your business goals.

So, when making a plan, remember to consider all of these in order to make your goals truly SMART.

Further Reading: Setting Blogging Goals: Why You Need Them, and How to Write Them

2. Blog from Your Business Website

For effectiveness, let your blog be an extension of your business website; this can be a subdomain or a subdirectory of your main business domain.

Subdirectory and Subdomain

Blogging from a separate domain may not produce much results because most site visitors coming from traffic sources like search engines and social media will first land on your blog. It’ll take extra work to get them to go over to your business website where your products and services are displayed.

On the other hand, blogging from your business website helps drive traffic to your product/service page, convert the traffic into leads, and ultimately drive long-term results.

3. Develop a Blogging Culture

By blogging culture, I mean a set of strictly followed practices that are well-thought out and tailored to help you meet your blogging goals.

I love to call this kind of practice “systematized blogging” because it entails following a set system consistently to achieve results.

This involves practices such as following a publishing schedule, planning an editorial calendar, concentrating on the same topic and so on.

Developing your own blogging culture will help you remain focused and help you meet your blogging goals fast.

You might want to follow general rules and tips spread across the blogosphere, but it’s always better to come up with your own rules to see what works for you and what doesn’t, well because all businesses are not the same.

Further Reading: 3 Ways Scheduling Will Make You a Better Blogger

4. Think Long Term

Even though you can get near-quick results from business blogging, it’s vital that you don’t lose focus on the long-term aspect of things.

Can the content you’re creating today still show up in search results five years from now? Or, are you putting up a subnormal body of words that Google will kick out in five months’ time?

Truth is, it’s always better to create evergreen content. It’s always better to think long-term because that’s how to get results that are worth your effort, time and investment.

Evergreen content can drive steady traffic, generate consistent leads and produce regular conversion for a long time.

hubspot quote

Create something that adds value, something that helps people, something that both humans and search engines love. This might even mean investing in great content (see our next point below).

Here are some quick do’s and don’ts of evergreen content by 60 Second Marketer:

Evergreen content

Related: How to Write Great Blog Content

5. Invest in Killer Content that Provides Value and Truly Helps People

Running a blog is primarily about helping people, providing them with valuable information, and answering their questions.

To do this effectively, you need good content; content that provides value. More or less, the quality of your blog posts reflects the quality of leads you generate from your blog.

Successful content marketing now depends on the content quality. To get this right, let your focus be on providing value rather than on selling something.

There are a handful of ways you can provide value to readers. One of such is by helping them solve simple problems that are related to your industry.

For instance, if you operate a marketplace for developers to sell their apps, see about providing the developers (your target customers) with content that can help them improve on their app marketing skills; see about helping them make more money through their sales by offering them tips on how to market their products effectively.

Invest your time, money and resources in truly valuable content. I recommend you hire a professional writer if you don’t have the time or aptitude to create such content yourself.

6. Market your Blog Like it’s the Only Thing that Matters

That’s because the success of your blog (and that of your lead generation campaign) largely depends on how many people know that your blog exists in the first place.

You may have the best content ever, but if nobody knows that the content is there on your blog, of course nobody will go there to read it.

Imagine standing in front of an empty classroom to deliver the best lecture ever. You’d be wasting all that time talking your socks off, right? And worse, nobody is listening.

That’s a bummer and that’s the same way it is when you publish the best content on a virtually empty blog, traffic wise.

This does not rule out having truly quality content on your blog. While having quality content on your blog is vital, it’s even more vital that you get the right people to come to your blog, regularly.

The number of people who visit your blog can determine the number of leads you generate, but not necessarily the quality.

There’re a whole lot of ways you can market your blog, but you have to be tactical and invest your time smartly by focusing only on those strategies that are worth your time and resources.

Guest blogging, advertising, social media marketing and blogger outreach campaigns are some of the strategies you might want to consider.

Growing blog traffic

It’s all about going for targeted traffic, driving them to your blog and getting them to become interested in what you have to offer. Period!

Further Reading: How to Find Readers For Your Blog

7. Practice “Diversified Blogging”

Just because written content is the most widely accepted type of content doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try out other types. Add some fuel to your blog with the help of images, videos, slideshares, infographics and the like.

Publishing diverse kinds of content broadens not only your audience, but also your reach because people will want to share your content on a variety of platforms other than on the traditional bookmarking sites.

Again, you may find that there might be people who prefer other forms of content to written content.

For instance, the chart below shows an increased demand for infographics:

Search demand for infographics

8. Have a Solid Conversion Strategy

As leads begin to verge on your blog, don’t let your blogging effort be in vain by letting them go without purchasing from you or at least leaving their details.

Have a solid conversion channel set up on your blog, for converting ordinary visitors into regular visitors and then into loyal readers and ultimately to purchasing customers.

Some of the best ways to do this are:

  1. Strategically placing well-written calls to action on your blog and website
  2. Collecting visitors details through a well-configured email optin box.
  3. Using every opportunity you have to link to your sales page/landing page from your blog
  4. Systematically integrating your services into your blog articles

To make this even more effective, offer an incentive. It could be a free trial or a truly useful resource that can help them in any way.

Whatever it is, just ensure that it’s attractive enough to reel them in.

A reliable conversion strategy is the tipping point between an ordinary visitor becoming interested in what you sell.

Conversion

Without a solid conversion strategy in place, your whole “blogging for leads” endeavor may not produce as much result as you’d expect, thus the importance of getting this step right.

9. Take Your Blog Seriously and Be Consistent

Want to generate serious leads from your blog without being serious? You can’t be serious!

It’s not all about setting up a blog and creating a solid business blogging plan, you’d have to sit up and be serious with your blog; you’d have to follow your plans and goals seriously in order to turn your blog into a lead-gen machine.

In my escapade as a professional freelance blog writer, I have come across dozens of abandoned business blogs. And, whenever I asked to know the reasons those blogs were abandoned, the blog owners, in general, would blame it on lack of time, no one to create content on a regular basis and all that excuses.

But the truth really is, those who abandon their blogs are not serious about blogging.

For a blog to produce results, you need to take it seriously.

Also, as one blogging to generate leads and attract clients, you have to be consistent, not just in your publishing frequency, but also in your blog topic.

You really shouldn’t be writing about catfish farming this week, and switching to writing about how you partied in an airplane last month.

Maintaining an considerable level of consistency not only show that you know what you’re doing but also show that you’re serious about it and so every other person should be serious with you, too.

No one will probably be serious and consistent in visiting and reading your blog if you aren’t serious and consistent with it yourself.

Further Reading: How to Get Serious About Blogging and Make It Work for Your Business

10. Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines

This is especially important if you’re looking to build a magnetic system that attracts leads to your business on auto-pilot.

One sure way to show up in search results is by regularly updating your blog with epic content. By continually publishing informative and actionable posts that are search engine optimized, your content will rank high on search engines thereby bringing more people to your website, which will ultimately earn you more leads, sales and revenue.

Statistics show that over 70% of buyers use search engines at the beginning of their purchase process.

SEO

Organic search traffic is of extreme importance. If you can build this system, then you will have a sort of always-on-duty marketing tool that’s available 24/7 to bring you quality leads.

11. Be Approachable, Helpful, and Friendly

Sometimes, it’s not all about providing great content. If you really want to create impact that can translate into leads and sales, you may have to condescend and relate with your audience at their level.

For instance, if a reader reaches out to you for help, maybe to ask a question, be kind enough to respond. I would even recommend you sometimes reach to some of them and bring them to the spotlight. This can be done by mentioning a reader in your post or even posting an intelligent question one of them might have asked and answering it there for the rest to benefit from.

One question to answer is, if one of your readers meets you sitting at McDonald’s, can they come up to you freely, without feeling fettered?

Be approachable; be sociable and you’ll find that you can gain more instead of being inimical.

12. Gather Feedback and Encourage Interaction

You want your business to be better than it was yesterday, right? You want to be able to provide your audience with exactly what they need, uh?

The best way to do that is to gather feedback, and there’s only one person that can provide you with genuine, practical feedback— your blog reader.

Continually improving on your approach, strategy and offering is important for remaining indispensable in the hearts of people, especially in today’s fast-changing world of advanced technology.

Gathering customer information and assimilating the same helps you to actually improve.

There are a number of ways through which you can gather customer information. For instance, you can conduct surveys, host live sessions, use in-product request forms, or even encourage them to send in their thoughts via email.

Beyond gathering feedback, you should also encourage interaction. One benefit of interacting with your audience is that it opens doors for opportunities and also gives you the chance to learn from them the things that really matter to them.

Interaction can be achieved through the comment sections of your blog and through social media.

13. Know Your Audience and Know What You’re Doing

Imagine blogging to generate leads without actually knowing the people that are following you. That’s not cool , right?

Sure!

Successful business blogging demands that you not only know the people that are following you but actually care about them.

Do you care about your audience? (Or more honestly, how well do you care about them?) Do you care about the way they respond to your articles? Do you care about the kind of information you pass across to them?

Yet more, do you know their demography? Do you know what they want, where they hang out at (good for promoting your content), what they like, the keywords they use when searching for your kind of product/service, their preferred method of receiving information etc.?

Or, are you just blogging blindly?

Having at least an appreciable knowledge of your audience is vitally important for successfully blogging for leads.

Know your audience plus

Beyond knowing your audience, get to know your stuff; know what you’re doing. Analyze your blog often and make improvement where necessary.

14. Make Your Blog the Hub, But Don’t Be Self-Centered

Your blog should focus on helping your customers (both current and potential) solve problems related to your industry/product. But unfortunately, too many business blogs have been turned into some kind of repository for press releases, company news, and other natters.

News about your company may be interesting to you and your team, but it’s not what will ultimately exert a pull on leads and keep them engaged.

Posting what they care about should be primary. Making announcements can come in second.

However, when it comes to publishing your company news, make your blog the hub.

For instance, if you have any announcement to make, don’t go over to Twitter and rant about it without first talking about it on your blog.

The information should actually emanate from your blog to other sources and not the other way round.

This forces people to visit your blog, encourages link-building which further promotes your blog.

15. Promote Your Product/Service

While sharing helpful and interesting information with your readers, remember the purpose of doing that—to generate leads.

So, in the midst of the valuable information you’re giving out, also strategically promote your business.

You can do this by:

  • Tactically integrating your services/product in some helpful blog posts
  • Displaying some of your important web pages prominently on your blog
  • Linking to your product page or landing page from epic blog posts that receive massive traffic
  • Advertising your services, products, events etc., on your blog sidebar
  • Regularly sending well-crafted marketing emails to your blog subscribers, or by at least remembering to end every email you send with a signature showing your name and company.

Promoting your product/service doesn’t mean asking for the sale, but mildly and continuously keeping your offering in front of people who may likely buy them.

16. Be Professional, But Add a Bit of Personality

It’s important to keep your blog professional, but did you know that readers are equally interested in knowing you as a person?

Don’t be that faceless, robot-like being behind the computer that’s always posting. You have a name, right? So why keep the default “Admin” as the publisher? Maybe a picture of you and your team will do over on a well-written Team Members page.

I know you’ve got awesomely actionable tips but, blog posts with a sense of personal touch tend to do great as well. So, once in a while share a little beautiful story about yourself to inspire and endear your readers to you. That way, they’re likely going to buy from you or at least become loyal visitors which is all good.

Emotional stories work pretty well at this. The charts will help you choose the right emotions to target:

Popular emotions

And another one:

emotions

17. Establish and Portray Yourself as an Authority

That’s because without being or presenting yourself as an expert, nobody may really listen to what you have to say.

Except your mom. And maybe your cat, too.

So, get your skates on, do epic content, talk like you invented that niche, guest blog on some top sites, get interviewed and they’ll listen to you.

Why is it important that people listen to you? Well, it’s because you can only get their attention when they’re listening, and getting their attention is essential for conversion.

Good news is, with a blog, you can set yourself apart, establish & portray yourself as an expert, and grab people’s attention through authoritative posts.

18. Encourage Your Readers to Share your Content

You don’t have to do the work alone; this is why you have to create viral content and have social sharing buttons on every blog post you publish.

When your readers share your content, other people in their network will see the content and head over to your blog, resulting in increased reach and more leads.

Social media and blogs generate real customers

To get readers to share your content, create content that resonate with them, kit out your blog with easy-to-use social sharing buttons, lead the way by sharing first, and openly ask them to share the content if they love it.

Related: 10 Quick Tips for Going Viral

19. Demonstrate Positive Results of Your Product/Service

Use your blog as a medium to demonstrate how remarkably awesome and result-oriented your product and/or service is.

This will egg people on to purchase from you.

You can do this by quickly sharing, in a blog post, a success story of how your product helped a person solve a problem. Case study articles are good for this, too.

Even more, you can interview some of your clients and publish the interview on your blog. You can also invite some of them to share their positive experience through guest posting.

People are more likely to buy from you when they see the positive results your product is producing.

20. Remember to Sell

A lot of businesses that blog to attract customers may end up selling nothing, not because the visitors were never interested in buying from them but because they never sold.

Unlike promoting your product/service mildly but continuously, here, you’re bold to ask for the deal. This shouldn’t be done every time but once in a while, lest you bug your readers.

Wrapping Up

Running a blog for your business holds many benefits especially when following business blogging best practices and the right steps to successful content marketing– developing your goals, building your audience, publishing creative content and so on.

business blogging

Beyond generating leads, you can nurture those leads and eventually convert them into buying customers.

This list of business blogging best practices is far from exhaustive, but if you’d be diligent enough to apply them, you’d be on your way to generating quality leads with a business blog.

Zoe Uwem is an entrepreneur, a successful freelance blog writer, copywriter, and a content marketing expert who is passionate about helping businesses generate quality leads, reach more customers and make more sales. Zoe writes for and helps companies spread the word about their businesses. You can hire him to write for you, too. Find Zoe on his website, ZoeUwem.com, or connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

20 Tips for Better Business Blogging: How to Use Blogging to Generate Leads

The post 20 Tips for Better Business Blogging: How to Use Blogging to Generate Leads appeared first on @ProBlogger.


@ProBlogger

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