PB118: How to Find Time to Create Your Blog’s First Product

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Seven Ways to Find Time to Create Your Blog’s First Product

Today I am talking about the topic of juggling priorities and finding time to do the work we need to get done.

ProBlogger_118

In our last newsletter, I asked two simple questions. What is your dream, and what is your biggest challenge?

The recurring theme of the replies is that for many bloggers a lack of time is an issue. It’s about juggling priorities. There was also tension around the topic of monetizing blogs.

One of the emails I received was from Bradley. He writes:

“I’ve been building an audience on my blog for the past two years, and to this point have made money with sponsorship and a little affiliate marketing.

My dream is to shift my monetization strategy to selling information products like ebooks and courses. I’ve started writing my first ebook. My challenge is that my schedule is full. Between a full time job, kids, writing blog posts, promoting my blog, and looking after my readers, I just don’t have enough time.

To get this ebook finished something has to give. I’ve been working on this ebook for the last couple of weeks, when I can, but at this rate, it’s going to take me another six months to complete. I can’t give up my job or my kids, so the only thing I can really give up is the blog itself. Should I put writing new content on hold while I write the ebook?”

This is a great question that really taps into what a lot of our readers are struggling with. So today, I am going to talk about seven things that might help Bradley get that product created without giving up on his blog.

Further Reading: Check out Episode 67 where I talk about why creating products is something bloggers should consider doing.

In Today’s Episode: 7 Ways to Find Time for Product Creation

  • Don’t put your blog on hold completely – I understand why, but I would encourage you not to do it. When you go back to promote your product, your audience will have gone cold. Plus, you need a warm audience to sell your product too.
  • Scale back on some of your blogging activities – There are times and seasons in most blogs. You may be able to pull back a little and have more time for product creation. The same goes for pulling back a little on social media.
  • Think about batching the creation of content and other blog activities – Do two or three posts or podcasts at a time. Batching your time is really useful. You can also do the same thing with the creation of your book. When I was writing my book, I set aside weekends for purely writing. I even went as far as booking a cheap hotel and locking myself inside.
  • Use some of the product content you are creating as blog content – When I was writing my book, I put some of the archives of ProBlogger into the book. I also published book excerpts as a blog post. This made writing the book easier and kept my blog going.
  • Set an aggressive deadline – Parkinson’s Law – Work expands to fill the time available for it’s completion. If you give yourself a year and it will take a year, give yourself a month, it will get done in a month. Create accountability.
    • Accountability partner
    • Announce it to your readers
    • Take pre-orders – once you take money, it really ramps up accountability
  • Create version 0.1 or a beta version – If you are creating a big product, get it to the point where you can sell it as a first version. Break it down and release it as modules. Get the minimum viable product out the door. Can you break it down?
  • Get some help – If you are at your absolute limits and need help, you may need to get someone else to work with you and help you.
    • Get someone to help with the product – find a coauthor or get help with design, editing or marketing
    • Get some help with your blog or business, have a guest post or hire someone to write, edit or proof a post.
    • Get someone to help with cleaning or another aspect of your life – paying someone $ 20 an hour to help with something that generates long term income for you is worth it.

Product creation is something that can really pay off over time. A recurring income stream is a great thing to have. I would encourage you to find a way to get it done.

How did you go with today’s episode?

If you have a question you would like me to answer, feel free to leave a voice message with the start recording button on the bottom of this post or send me an email or leave a comment.

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PB113: 4 Techniques to Get More Eyeballs on Your Blog

Note: this episode can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes or Stitcher.

How to Get More Eyeballs on Your Blog

Today I am talking about how to get more eyeballs on your blog. How to get more attention for your content. How to get people on your blog for their first view.

ProBlogger_113

This is part of my current series on the 4 different steps you want your readers to go through if you want them to be fully engaged.

The 4 steps were about taking your readers from being cold about your brand to becoming fully engaged with you and your brand and becoming raving fans of your site.

Today is all about the first stage – Helping People to Become Aware of Your Brand Getting attention isn’t for those just starting out, it needs to be incorporated for the long haul.

Challenge: Getting readers to know that your blog exists.

Objective: To get the eyeballs, and have your blog seen.

4 Techniques to Get More Eyeballs and Attention on Your Blog

  • Create guest content – leverage other people’s blogs, forums, and sites to get eyeballs on me
    • Go through the exercise of listing the top 5 blogs, forums, groups, podcasts, media, books, events, tweets, pins etc that your ideal reader is reading
    • Find out who your ideal reader is
    • Then get permission to interact with your ideal reader at these places they frequent
    • Look for opportunities to create content, even comments and forum posts count
    • Guest posting on blogs still has opportunity for exposure if not SEO
  • Shareable content – this is just one more way to get eyeballs on your site
    • Mythbusting posts get shared a lot
    • Humor gets shared
    • Debates this versus this
    • Research and poll results
    • List posts
    • Cheat Sheets
    • Infographics
    • Long Form Content
    • Beginner’s Guides
    • Use BuzzSumo
    • Always link to other content in your site
    • Look for opportunities to take readers to the next level
  • Repurpose your best content – this is a great way to get fresh eyeballs on our site. Can You Really Make Money Blogging (Example)
  • Search Engine Optimization
    • YouTube is a search engine – I made a video of me talking about a camera and put it on YouTube and it has been viewed 60,000 times
    • App Store – Content aggregation app Jarrod Robinson, he gets 1000s of downloads from this app, plus push notifications every time he publishes a new blog post
    • iTunes – Starting a podcast is one of the best things I’ve done for ProBlogger in a long time
    • Google SEO – Featured Snippets answer to your question put into the search results, we optimized an older blog post so that it would get a featured snippet

Further Resources on Helping People to Become Aware of Your Brand

How did you go with today’s episode?

Leave a comment below and let us know what you have done to get more eyeballs on your blog.

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You can use the following widget to ask a question. Please include your name and blog name (if you have a blog).

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PB116: How to Snap Readers out of Passive Lurking to Become Engaged

Note: this episode can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes or Stitcher.

How to Move Readers From Passive Lurking to Engagement

Welcome to episode 116. I am working through a series that helps you to warm your blog readers up.

ProBlogger_Episode_116

 In episode 112, I introduced the four stages of warming your readers up. In episode 113, I talk about how to get the first eyeball to your blog. In episode 114, I talk about getting people to give your blog a second look and become interested. In episode 115, I talk about how to get readers to subscribe and connect with you. This is crucial for building an ongoing relationship with your audience.

Today, I am talking about the final step which is getting engagement.

In the process of getting readers warmed up, we have people who subscribe, but they often never actually comment or connect or engage with us. Today, I will be giving strategies for getting our readers to talk back to us.

Next week, In episode 117, I will be going over a case study that pulls together all four stages, and I will be interviewing somebody who has developed a system for taking people from becoming aware to becoming fully engaged.

In Today’s Episode  How to Snap Readers out of Passive Lurking to Become Engaged

  • We need to be the community that we want to have. If we want engagement, we need to be engaging. This is the challenge that bloggers have.
  • Help your readers to get onboard – onboarding, helping your readers to get onboard with your blog
    • Set up an autoresponder with an email list
      • Email list of Ytravel Blog
        • Thanks you for joining (Email #1)
        • Tells a little bit about what the email will be used for
        • Sets expectations of when emails will be sent
        • Encourages people to add email to address list
        • Gives free audio download (optin)
        • They invite their readers to apply
        • Email #2 – Similar things generosity
        • How they are going to help their readers
        • Suggestion of 3 links, to get the readers back to the site
        • They point out useful stuff
        • Another invitation to reply
        • Email #3 – They really tap into the pain of their readers and give them a series of posts to help
  • Create engaging content as part of your regular production
    • Ask for engagement
    • Create blog posts that are all about engagement – A discussion post
    • Digital Photography School – How would you photograph a funeral?
      • I wrote a post about this question and opened it up to my readers
      • This goes beyond getting a comment, it shows my readers that I am interested in helping other readers
    • Weekly Challenge – Modes of Transportation
      • On Digital Photography School we issue a weekly challenge to our readers
      • I would do these writing challenges on ProBlogger too
    • Run a poll or survey and share the results in another post
    • Have a weekly editorial strategy and focus on different areas – attention, quick wins, engagement
  • Personal mediums are effective – live streaming is very engaging
  • Engagement is about you, your readers, and your readers to each other
    • When I live stream readers leave comments for each other
    • Twitter Chat having a # party allows readers to engage with one another
    • Real life events – tweetups and meetups and having readers come together
    • Our annual events – the relationships formed are amazing
  • Content Events – A series that goes for longer than a week
    • Engagement levels went through the roof because there was a challenge and then an invitation to share
    • Readers were engaging with one another
    • This brought a lot of life to my blog and built stickiness
    • People respond well to events – fear of missing out, defined start and end
    • Vanessa’s Blog Style and Shenanigans
      • Vanessa’s Last Challenge Event
      • Vanessa runs events on instagram featuring a color or print for someone to wear and show a photo of themselves wearing that
      • Every week of the event traffic goes up and engagement goes through the roof
    • Dan Norris 7 Day Startup
      • Dan wrote the book 7 Day Startup and runs WP Curve
      • Dan has 7 Day Startup Challenges
      • He creates content everyday for 7 days
      • He invites people to consume that content through facebook groups
      • He then gets his readers to do something for each day
      • At the end of the day, they launch something
      • Then at the end of the challenge, he invites people to join his paid program
      • This is a great way to get people from lurking to being very engaged
      • Many of these people also sign up for the membership site and buy

Further Resources on How to Snap Readers out of Passive Lurking to Become Engaged

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Let us know what you thought about today’s show. Leave a message or a comment.

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How to Write Engaging Content About “Boring” Subject Matter

yawning-349753_1920This is a guest contribution from Anna Johansson.

Unfortunately, if you’re an industry expert in construction, finance, software development, or other similar “dry” field, you’ve already been handed the short end of the content stick. Your industry is important, and the subject matter is interesting to you and other industry gurus, but it just isn’t that exciting to the average web user. 

Of course, this only matters if you’re trying to write content that’s accessible to the average reader. However, if your goal is to give your audience an “in,” it’s time to kick up the engagement factor. Consider the following tips for rousing interest in your topic.

1. Give It Your Best Writing

When boring topics come across your desk, especially as a freelancer, it can be tempting to do a half-hearted job because you feel only lukewarm about the subject. After all, if it’s that boring, why waste your time on it? Resist this impulse. Poor writers create poor content, but a great writer can turn even the most boring topic into a compelling one.

How do good writers do it? The best content writers know how to create an unexpected angle on even the most mundane topic. They know what’s out there, so they aren’t repeating the same dull line. Instead, they push limits or create surprising connections. Great writers resist the expected.

Take for example, a post about installing drywall. While a weak writer will hand you a step-by-step explanation of the process and a list of necessary materials, a great content writer can turn this type of topic into an adventure. They provide readers with the needed information, but they’ll also show off incredible room transformations or offer anecdotes about what we used before drywall was invented. The difference is night and day.

2. Be Helpful

This is one of the primary rules of content creation. Useful content isn’t boring to the people who need it, according to the experts at HubSpot. Taxes, for example, are pretty objectively boring – but when tax season rolls around, everyone’s looking for information on how to properly document deductions and contributions to their retirement funds. The same applies to people looking for tips on how to negotiate a lower medical bill or unclog their kitchen sink.

Whatever your industry, it’s likely you can offer help to someone who needs it. You don’t have to make your boring topic more interesting. If the blog post you write is genuinely helpful and provides an actionable answer to the person who searched for it, you’ve already got an audience – and they’re reading with rapt attention.

3. Dumb It Down

“Boring” is a pretty broad category, and the term is often used to describe content that the average layperson doesn’t understand. Maybe your industry is extremely complex, but you’re trying to market your products or services to people who don’t understand all the intricacies or have access to the jargon you do. Your blog is a great opportunity for you to get on their level by offering introductory insights or tidbits about the field.

If you’re stuck on how to explain a complicated topic, the bloggers at web marketing firm AudienceBloom advise using a metaphor to break it down into more understandable information. People don’t respond emotionally to facts and figures; they want to see how they personally relate to the information.

Find a normal occurrence to compare to your idea. One popular analogy is that “blogging is like jogging” – it takes some time to gain momentum, and it’s hard to get started, but it eventually becomes second nature.

4. Dig Deeper

If you’re not interested in dumbing down your content to engage a broader reader base, the alternative is to go deep. And not just in the sense that you’re appealing to those with years of experience – no, this is your chance to become an expert on a highly specific topic. If you can become the smartest person around on a niche topic, you’ll attract a devoted, though often small, following.

As noted before, sometimes boring is code for a lack of reader understanding, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes boring means that you’re skimming the surface too lightly and it’s time to go deeper. Every topic has its devotees who find even the smallest detail of a topic interesting and creating expert content is the best way to draw them to your site.

Expert content will bring the people who are thrilled by the intricacies of home plumbing fixtures or self-employment taxes to your page. There may not be a lot of them, but they love to encounter someone who knows more than they do.

books-education-school-literature-48126

5. The Secret’s in the Story

The most important thing you should take away is this: People relate to stories. Facts about your industry may be informative, but without a story to back up the information, your readers aren’t going to care. And if you can offer a first person tale inflected with a little humor, all the better. Readers love to see the expert taken down a notch or otherwise humanized.

As for the story, remember the old fiction pyramid from grade school? It’s time to dust it off, bring it back to life – and apply it to your blog. Here’s a breakdown.

  1. Introduction. Headlines are important. The title of your blog entry should pique the reader’s interest. Then, where the beginning of a novel introduces the characters and setting, the first few lines of your blog post will reveal a problem or conflict – bonus points if you reveal that you’re mired in this particular problem yourself. The reader should be curious about how you intend to solve or address the issue. 
  2. Rising action. It’s time to flesh out the information you want your readers to know. Now that they have some context, provide the supporting facts, quotes, links, and charts. Don’t overdo it, though. You’re trying to build a case, not bore them to tears.
  3. Climax. Here’s where you propose your solution. You’ve laid out a case for them, and this is the pinnacle of your argument – the idea you’ve been getting at. Depending on your topic, this could look a few different ways. For example, explain that they should take your advice because the alternative will have negative consequences – long term plumbing problems, tax penalties, or lost income are all compelling consequences of boring issues and these will spur readers to action.
  4. Falling action. For the most part, this is a short section both in storytelling and in blogging. Close out your argument and wrap up any loose ends. This is a good spot to mention any difficulties you encountered when acting on the solution.
  5. Resolution. Finally, present the solution to the problem. Your reader should arrive with a sense of both relief and interest. A call-to-action is a great wrap-up. If it’s an onsite blog, provide a link for where they can find more information. If you’re blogging for an external publisher, a good call-to-action is a request for comments. You’re opening up the discussion, allowing them to provide input and experience – as well as to ask questions or, in some cases, to contest what you’re saying. That’s okay, too. Discussion – even in conflict – is true engagement.

6. Go Multimedia

It’s now well documented that users are more likely to stay on a page that includes pictures or video content – or the now popular infographic. Why? For many people, visual content is easier to understand than written material, especially on technical or abstract concepts. If you can show instead of tell, go with it. People would far rather watch someone explain how to unclog a toilet while also watching clips of the process than simply read a step-by-step description.

As for content that’s less visual in nature, don’t be afraid to get personal. You may not have a great video or diagram to explain how trading stock options works, but pair a “How To” article with a video where you talk about why you started trading options and you’ve got a much more compelling piece of content.

If all else fails, try a slideshow. Slideshows are less interesting than a video or even great, instructive pictures. But what slideshows offer is physical engagement. When readers have to click from slide to slide, they become participants in your post. User propelled slideshows are also a great way to walk readers through a task by suggesting that they complete each phase before they click to the next slide.

7. Enter The Quizbowl

Nobody wants to start reading a boring blog post, only to find out that they’ll be quizzed, but that doesn’t mean quizzes have no place in the content industry. Rather, quizzes are a great way to draw reader attention back to your content.

Create engaging, topic-related quizzes for your content by digging up interesting or obscure trivia. In a post about day trading, for example, you might offer semi-related quiz questions such as “what year was the stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression?” or “who was the first female broker?” Just be sure to stick to the trivia and leave content quizzes to company trainings or other mandatory learning exercises. You don’t want your content to become a chore.

8. Keep It Brief

Finally, when writing boring content, make sure to keep it brief. Readers are likely to lose interest, even when they need the information at hand. Instead of droning on for pages, cut your language to the necessities. If you can, break the topic down into its component parts and present them as separate posts. This allows readers to take a break and absorb the first segment, and can actually prevent readers from drifting away without finishing the full post.

Final Thoughts: Your Blog, Your Industry

You can try a number of other strategies to spice up content that would otherwise be boring, but across the board, the answer is the same. It comes down to publishing good writing – which means understandable, engaging, and useful writing produced by skilled content professionals. No matter what your topic, there’s ample opportunity to make this happen. Just remember that no topic is a throwaway. Treat even the most boring content like its important and engaging and you’ll get the best results.

Anna Johannson is a freelance writer specializing in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

The post How to Write Engaging Content About “Boring” Subject Matter appeared first on ProBlogger.


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10 Tips and Strategies for a Better Facebook Marketing Campaign

This is a guest contribution from Jerry Low of Web Hosting Secret Revealed.

When it comes to social media website players, Facebook is too huge to be ignored. With over 1 billion daily users, 934 million mobile daily users as of April 2016, one thing is obvious: you simply must market on Facebook if you want to reach highly targeted users.

Facebook Ads offers the biggest marketing opportunity on the Internet and provide:

  • A powerful targeting system
  • Different ways to approach the target audience (videos, images, texts, dynamic products, etc.)
  • Multiple entry points in funnel. Custom audience pixels allow you to do a lot of interesting things, including some basic A/B testing by sending different ad sets to different landing pages.

10 Tips for a Better Facebook Marketing Campaign

With that in mind, we are going to look at ten handy tricks and strategies that will improve your Facebook marketing campaign instantly.

1. Promote a benefit, not a product

Even though your site is monetized and you are trying to sell something to your visitors, your main message must be to promote a benefit to the reader and not your product. The sales of products, services, or content will come naturally from the relationship that you build with your audience. You must let your target audience know how your product/content can help them. What problem are you solving?

Below are some examples of well-done ads and why they work.

Present and Solve a Problem

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The ad above presents what the problem is very clearly. The problem? Most people are inundated with emails, so it is hard for your business email to stand out from the crowd.

The solution? They know how to help you and have a simple, 7-step formula to get you there. See how the ad offers something to the target audience that they might want?

Inside Information

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The ad above talks about an in-depth report. The target audience is going to be business owners who want to promote on Instagram.

The person reading this ad knows they are going to get a report that will help them learn how to promote on Instagram better. More than likely, an email is collected in exchange for the report.

The benefit to the site visitor is a free report with information that will help his business grow. The benefit to the advertiser is converting visitors who want to download the report into email list subscribers.

I Had This Problem and Solved It

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The ad above uses an interesting approach that befriends the reader. The ad simply tells the story of how Amy Porterfield’s first few webinars didn’t go so well, but she got better and she can help you, too.

This type of conversational tactic can work particularly well because it is so personal.

Offer a Reward

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The ad above offers rewards for reviews. Basically, the “help” is via free things and all the person has to do is a simple series of reviews for businesses they’ve already frequented.

People love contests and rewards, so this is an excellent tactic to draw them to your site.

Make Money

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Who doesn’t love to make money? The Shopify ad above simply talks about the possibility of becoming a millionaire.

They then explain the description that they are an ecommerce platform. Simple, to the point, and with beautiful graphics, this ad works.

State it Simply

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The ad above just states what benefit is offered. It is to the point. You can tell that the advertiser knows their course is worthwhile and that this should be enticement enough to click on their sign up link.

2. Keep it short and direct

Speaking about writing to the point, keep your posts short, direct, and on topic. According to buffersocial, posts that are 250 characters or less gets you about 60% more engagement. And, that is not just on twitter, which obviously has to be 144 characters or less, but also on Facebook.

Buzzsumo found the same results in a recent study. “Short form text posts of 50 characters get the most interaction.” Short Facebook posts simply get more engagement, which makes sense because most Facebook users are highly distracted. Big blocks of text are not appealing enough to capture the reader’s interest.

Likely, this is because the Internet is such a visual media, particularly today. In fact Wishpond found that photo posts get around 120% more engagement than posts without a photo. Posts with a photo album get about 180% more engagement.

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3. Try “Thank You” ad

Acquiring new customer is expensive. Hence – it’s important to keep existing customers happy and turn them into repeat customers if possible.

Your goal should be to build brand loyalty and increase satisfaction among your existing customers. For example, Maxwell Finn at Startup Drugz on Facebook created a video thanking new customers for their business. The video is aimed at first-time customers. Finn states that the video had the effect of turning these new customers into repeat customers.

4. Start your Facebook post with a question

The easiest to write an effective Facebook post is by starting with a question. Kissmetrics found that question posts get 100% more comments. However, they did get fewer likes and shares, so be aware of whether you want to engage on Facebook with comments or you prefer to have your post shared and liked.

Here is a simple formula to use:

Formula: Want [X]? Try [this]/Read [that guide]/Use [this app].

In addition, some question words got more traction than others. The top words that got traction?

  • Should
  • Would
  • Which

Below is one example of a question post.

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5. Get creative with photos

As mentioned before, one study found that overall photo posts on Facebook get 120% more engagement than the average post, and photo albums actually get 180% more engagement. You should definitely make use of your photos and albums, but make sure they are beautiful, professional quality photos. They should not be blurry and should be framed properly.

One idea: You can turn photos album into a graphic article.  For example this is what I did recently – I created an album filled with images from a presentation slides – a brief elaboration and relevant links were added into each photo’s description.

So far, the photo album (see below) has reached more than 140,000 people, had 8,000+ clicks and 950+ page likes. This isn’t bad for a $ 120 boost and an extra 30 minutes of work in transferring slides into images.

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6. Creative use of Multi-Products Ads

Multi-product ads are exactly what they sound like. They allow a single advertiser to showcase multiple products — multiple groups of creative images and links — within a single ad.

This is an effective advertising option since users seem to respond so well to albums of photos. Even if you don’t offer a product on your blog, you can showcase content with a multi-product ad and point the reader to your very best posts.

For example, Jon Loomer placed an ad asking a question: “Have you missed one of my recent blog posts?” He then used a multi-product ad to showcase some of his best posts.

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7. Test out your page CTA

Your Call to Action (CTA) can make or break your ad. If your CTA isn’t working, then you may just be wasting money driving traffic to your site, even targeted traffic.

Try different Call-to-Actions on your Facebook Page and track analytics within your ad manager to see which ones are working best for the conversion you’re trying to achieve. Detailed info is available by going to Facebook Page > Insights > Actions on Page > Page Call to Action Clicks (sectioned to by Age and Gender, by country, by City, and by Device)

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8. Try “Abandoned Cart” ad

According to the Listrak Shopping Cart Abandonment Index, more than 70% of shoppers left their online shopping cart without buying anything. Barilliance found similar results in their study of cart abandonment statistics.

You can target those who have visited the landing page of a product (or added to the cart) but did not complete the purchase using Facebook Targeting.

This type of ad is highly targeted and not general in nature. So, you might offer free shipping to those who’ve previously abandoned a cart, or perhaps 10% off to complete the order.

Go to:  Facebook Ad Manager > Power Editor > Create Custom Audience > People visiting specific web pages but not others

But wait, that’s not all. You should also install an off-site pixel for your campaign and track how many people from your “Abandoned Cart” ads complete the buying process.

Use: Power Editor > Tools > Pixels > Create Conversion > Track Custom Conversion > Purchase

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9. Try “Facebook Page Admin” targeting

Page admin targeting is an excellent tool if you wish to reach out to business owners and social media managers. So, it is a great B2B marketing tool that gives you an extremely targeted audience to advertise to. If you are offering an SMM guide or tools – this is a must try.

Facebook Ad Manager > Power Editor > Create Saved Audience > Detailed Targeting > Digital Activities > Facebook Page Admins

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10.  Try “Upcoming Birthday” targeting

It’s a known fact that highly personalized ads are much more effective than general ones. It makes sense, doesn’t it? In an ever increasing impersonal world, we want to feel like someone knows us and our interests.

One way to deliver highly personalized ads to people who have not visited your site is by using the “upcoming birthday” targeting option.

Facebook Ad Manager > Power Editor > Create Saved Audience > Detailed Targeting > Demographics > Life Events > Upcoming Birthday

By Facebook’s own definition:

“If you run an ad over a period of many days, it’ll be shown to people whose birthday is within one week of the day when they see the ad. For example, people with a January 1 birthday may see the ad for a week leading up to January 1. People with a January 2 birthday will see the ad for a week leading up to that day.”

Startup Drugz is one success story using this method. They use the birthday option to offer a 20% discount to people who had birthdays coming up in the next 7 days. They simply said a birdie told them that the person had a birthday and here was the gift. The strategy resulted in a 2,700% ROI.

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Wrapping Up

These are just some of the ways you can use Facebook ads to drive new customers to your site and turn them into loyal fans for life. Facebook ads are a fairly cost effective way to advertise your brand. The ability to target a specific audience and track the results of the ad make it a highly desirable marketing platform.

Jerry Low is a geek dad who is passionate about SEO and digital marketing. His site Web Hosting Secret Revealed (WHSR) offers helpful hosting advice and tons of smart blogging strategies.

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7 Small Ways to Be a Better Writer

7 small ways to be a better writerThis is a guest contribution from Larry Alton

You could be a prominent authority in your industry, with multiple bestselling books and a successful business around your writing; or you could be a novice who just launched their first blogging website – as long as writing is a significant part of your life, there’s one thing you’ll always want: to be a better writer.

There are two surefire ways to become a better writer, and they’re universally effective: reading and writing.

Reading lots of outside material helps you expand your vocabulary, sharpen your communication skills, and become exposed to new topics and perspectives that help inform your writing. Writing itself serves as practice to gradually hone your craft.

So if becoming a better writer is (apparently) so simple, why isn’t everybody on their way to becoming a great writer?

Time and Patience

Reading a book doesn’t instantly take you to a new tier of writing ability, nor does a handful of written articles instantly make you better at your craft. To be effective, you need to spend tons of time reading and writing—and only after years of commitment will you start to show the results.

Most of us would prefer something a little faster, and something a little less repetitive when our eyes start to bulge out of our skulls. That’s why we’ve come up with these seven small ways to become a better writer:

7 small ways to be a better writer

1. Talk to strangers

Writing is a form of communication. Even though it is, in many ways, distinct from verbal communication, verbal conversations can still improve your writing by teaching you new vocabulary, exposing you to new styles, and introducing you to new concepts.

Talk to strangers wherever you can—at the grocery store, at a coffee shop, or on the bus to work. It’s important to break out of your element and communicate with people outside your traditional circles. That’s the only way you’ll learn anything new.

As an exercise, challenge yourself to meet a certain quota; for example, you could commit to talking to a new person three times a week, or if you’re especially ambitious, every day. Take note of their word choices, and walk away with new nuggets of information about the world.

2. Eat healthier foods

It may not seem like eating habits could impact your writing ability, but according to a recent study, excessive consumption of processed and unhealthy foods can actually impair your cognitive abilities.

Stick to fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains when you can.

As a long-term benefit, you’ll be able to think clearer, you’ll have more energy, and you’ll be more motivated to accomplish your goals. As a short-term benefit, you’ll get a boost of energy immediately after eating thanks to your body’s pleasure receptors and metabolism.

And as long as you’re eating foods rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, you won’t suffer from a sugar crash afterward! If you can, keep a store of healthy foods in your desk, or wherever you work most frequently.

3. Work on pet projects

Don’t limit yourself to only writing for your career, or only writing for your blog. Adopt some pet projects to expand your linguistic horizons.

For example, you could commit yourself to writing poetry on the side, or start work on a novel you’ve been planning.

All forms of writing can improve all other forms of writing, so find something you’d enjoy writing about and write about it! Not only will you build and diversify your writing skillset, you’ll also relieve stress and introduce a change up to your routine—no matter how much you love writing, working on the same project ad infinitum can lead to burnout.

7 small ways to become a better writer

4. Meditate

Meditation has tons of physical benefits—it helps you lower stress, reduce anxiety, and may even help prevent the onset of certain mental health conditions.

Even putting these benefits aside, meditation can help you clear your mind of clutter and zero in on what really matters. If you practice meditation regularly, you can enter a meditative state with relative ease—which comes in handy as you anxiously prepare to write something significant. Taking just a few minutes before an article can clear your head of the clutter; with a clearer head, you’ll write more productively, and in a purer, more intelligible form.

Over the long-term, meditating daily will lead you to a more relaxed, productive, and mentally healthy existence, which can only help your ability to write.

5. Set rules for yourself

Create rules to control your productivity and limit yourself from distractions or damaging habits.

For example, in the context of writing quality, you could set a rule not to use a certain buzzword in all of your articles moving forward, or you could set a rule to avoid any first-person or second-person pronouns.

In the context of productivity, you could set a rule that you’re only allowed one distraction until you finish your current article, or set a rule that you must start working within X minutes of turning on your computer.

You could even construct rules about your habits, such as mandating that you write at least 1000 words every day, in order to reinforce behavioral patterns you wish to adopt naturally.

6. Watch lots of movies and TV shows

Most people would agree that TV is a time suck, and it can be, but it can also be a useful exercise in linguistic analysis and communication improvement, if you allow it to be.

Turn on the subtitles, and watch programs known for their exceptional writing (especially dialogue). Pay close attention to what makes the writing especially believable, compelling, or intriguing, and treat it with an analytical eye.

Even though you probably aren’t writing scripts for TV shows and movies, you can advance your skills by doing this (though, depending on your definition, this could count as “reading.”).

7. Learn a new language 

You won’t be writing much in this new language, but learning the rules of a foreign language can help you better conceptualize your thoughts and speech patterns.

To illustrate, when learning a new language, non-native speakers are forced to experiment with new situations in both written and verbal forms. These situations force you to think carefully about your responses, rather than allowing you to fall back on the colloquialisms and phrasing you’re used to.

These new conversation patterns will help your mind work harder to find the right words for any situation, and might even expose you to new linguistic concepts. Plus, learning a new language will force you to re-familiarize yourself with basic concepts of grammar, such as sentence structures, giving you a bird’s-eye view of how the world communicates. 

These strategies aren’t an excuse to stop reading and writing to become a better writer; they’re designed to serve as complements to those two pillars of writing success. Like it or not, you’re still going to have to read and write—often—if you want to succeed. These tactics won’t take you from “novice” to “professional” overnight, but they will help you refine your approach, clear your head, learn some new perspectives, and strengthen your command of language.

Combined with enough practice and repeated exposure, you’re sure to hone your skills in due time.

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Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

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

So I’ve been experimenting more with Facebook and to be honest I still can’t tell what will work and what won’t at the moment – everything I know has gone out the window! Stuff I think will do well totally flops and some other thing I forgot I scheduled has everyone buzzing. I cannot figure this out for the life of me!

Also the Instagram icon changed colours and everyone wigged out, and the chronological timeline disappeared with minimum fuss. Unless you fussed. Did you fuss? Does it bother you at all?

Anyway, here’s what I found this week that piqued my interest (and reminded me about stuff I had forgotten, which is a bonus!)

7 Helpful Resources Every Content Marketer Should Bookmark | HubSpot

I get into so much of a rut sometimes I forget to see what new and exciting stuff everyone else is doing, so the links to email galleries and inspiration are super useful to me.

10 Examples of Great Disney Marketing Campaigns | Econsultancy

I spoke on a panel recently about working with online influencers, and one of the questions I was asked is what is exciting me about brands and bloggers working together – I replied that it was the unique and out-of-the-box campaigns I was seeing coming through nowadays. Some of them are so creative and so fun, and that’s what I think these marketing campaigns by Disney totally represent. I love the interactivity of them, and their difference to the same-old same-old marketing we’re all immune to.

Creating a Kick-ass Brand Identity | Limwrites

You know you need to stand out – and by creating an instantly-recognisable brand is so much a part of that. This is a great post for helping you dig deep into what you’re already doing and what you can change.

How to Rule Facebook: Lessons From the Most Engaging Pages | Buzzsumo

Who’s doing Facebook really well? HOW are they doing it? How can you use these tips and do it too?

17 Tips for Entrepeneurs Who Blog | Entrepreneur

This is fantastic if only for the reminder that blogging daily isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in terms of traffic (so blog smarter, not harder!). Pretty solid tips.

photo-1420310414923-bf3651a89816
This Entrepreneur Built His Business on Social Media (and you can too) | Entrepreneur

I love hearing case studies and people’s stories, and Richie Norton’s tips on doing your own PR are spot on.

14+ Tools for Bloggers | Social Media Examiner

Some of these I use, some are totally new to me, but all are useful. Which ones do you need?

Optimising for Accessibility + SEO: Site and Page Structure Overlaps | Moz

Okkkkk I think it’s time I just outsourced this stuff now. I am really impressed with the lengths they’ve gone to to discuss how to make your blog easier to find for people with disabilities.

5 Top Ways to Strengthen Your Social Media Marketing Skills | Socialnomics

If you don’t have a background in marketing, but suddenly realise you need some of these skills to help you get more traction with your blog, these tips are for you (and me. and most of us!).

Your Guide to Creating and Sharing Content | Content Marketing Institute

Images and design is where I fall down the most *makes a note to do something about it*

So what’s caught your eye this week? Have you had a Facebook win or finally got on Snapchat? I’d love to hear!

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, follow on Pinterest for fun and useful tips, peek behind the curtain on Instagram, listen to her 90s nostalgia podcast, or be entertained on Facebook.

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

       

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30 Practical Tips for Producing Great Facebook Live Videos

facebook-live-video-tips

This week we’ve been digging deep into Facebook Live Video. Earlier in the week I shared 10 benefits of building Facebook Live into your strategy and yesterday shared 12 different types of Facebook Live videos that you might like to create.

Today I want to get practical and give you some tips on how to create the best Facebook Live Videos you can.

These come my own experiences of creating live videos as well as what I’ve picked up from others. I’d love to hear your own tips on using the platform in comments below.

I should also say that most of these tips come from the outline of a Facebook Live Video that I did last week where I talked about this very topic. You can watch that video below (or keep scrolling to get a written version plus a few more tips that I’ve since come up with).

30 Practical Tips to Help You Create the Best Facebook Live Videos

1. The Basics of Creating Facebook Live Videos – You Find it On Your Phone

I didn’t include this in my initial list of tips but I had a few questions about the real basics of where you create these videos so… if you want to do a Facebook Live video you need to do it from the Facebook App on your phone.

Alternatively if you use Facebook’s Pages App to update your page or if you’re a verified Facebook Page you can do it from the Facebook Mentions App (note: if you are verified you should use Facebook Mentions, I’ve heard it gives you even more reach than other FB apps).

The following screenshots were from iOS’s ‘Pages’ app.

Whatever app you use – look for the ‘Publish’ icon (the one you would hit for making any update to your page from your app).

IMG 8818

On the next screen look for the Live Video icon (a little person icon with halo like circles around their head). Click this.

IMG 8815

On the next page you can enter a description for your video (tips on this below). It’ll also tell you when your internet connection is strong enough for you to go live. If you have a good connection the button will turn blue and you can hit ‘go live’. It’ll count down from 3 to 0 (quickly fix your hair…. 3 seconds is more than enough for me) and you’ll be live!

IMG 8816

2. Prepare an Outline or Plan for Your Video

OK – lets take a step back from going live and ponder a really important question. What are you going to do on your video?

I remember my first live video experience with Periscope. I hit the button that set the whole thing live by accident and then suddenly found myself LIVE with 4 people watching and no idea what I should talk about.

I bumbled through it but it quickly taught me that you should always have some kind of plan for the video you’re going to make.

Depending upon the type of video you make (see yesterday’s post for some of the options) this will mean different things but for me when I’m doing a teaching presentation I usually preprepared a bullet point list of the points I want to make.

I also make note of any Calls to Action I want to make, things I need to promote, links that I might share and questions I’m going to ask people to answer.

A couple of other things you might want to ponder before you go live:

  • what do you want your audience to DO (having a call to action is important – we’ll talk more about this below)
  • what’s in it for your audience (a benefit for those watching will keep them watching and make them want to see your next video too)

3. Promote Your Live Video Before You Start

One of the big challenges with live video is getting enough people to watch it to make it an interactive experience and to make it worthwhile for you to put the work into preparing and doing it.

This is particularly a challenge if you don’t have a lot of followers on your Facebook page so I would highly recommend putting some effort into getting people to your live video by promoting it.

The way you do this will depend upon where you have a following already that you could leverage to get them to your Facebook page. It might include:

  • Emailing your list with a link to your Facebook Page
  • Promoting your page on Twitter
  • Putting up an Instagram update announcing you’re about to go live (a quick video might give people a taste of what you’ll do
  • Publishing a Facebook post telling people when you’ll be on

At the very least I tweet that I’m about to go live like this:

I suspect most of these approaches will be most effective if you do them shortly before you go live. People are not going to wait around too long for you. Alternatively if you develop a bit of a rhythm of doing video at the same time every day (or week) then you might help to build some expectation in your followers of when to show up.

You might want to also think about educating your followers about Facebook Live too – particularly if your audience isn’t very tech savvy.

For example telling them things like letting them know to click the video to make the sound happen, that they can leave a comment at any time and you’ll see it on your phone etc might help them feel more comfortable with the experience.

I’d also promote ahead of time what you’ll be doing on the video and how it’ll benefit them to show up.

4. Time Your Live Video for Peak Participation

I’ve experimented with a variety of times for doing Facebook Live Videos and have found that while I’ve got enough followers to be able to get a decent audience at most times of the day that there are certain times that seem to work better than others for me.

My audience is pretty global but there is a large segment of ProBlogger readers in the US – so obviously when the bulk of the US is awake is a good time for me. That’s a fairly large window though and being in Australia myself there is a lot of the US day when I’m asleep – so I’ve been experimenting with timing my videos for first thing in the morning US time (the end of the day for me) and evenings US time (my mornings).

Both of these times have worked well but the few times that I’ve tried it during US business hours I’ve had mixed results.

What I would suggest is using Facebook Page Insights to identify the peak times when your page followers are online and see how you go with doing videos at those times.

So for my audience at ProBlogger Facebook Insights gives me this data on when my audience is on Facebook (to find this go to your ‘Insights’ and then the ‘Posts’ section.

Screen Shot 2016 05 12 at 12 35 20 PM

These are Australian times so as you see the peak is pretty late for me so I try to time mine for late evenings to capitalise on the rise at about 10-11pm my time (and it also means that the replay is fresh during the peak) and then if I hit it around 9am my time I get the tail end of the peak time.

Those of you lucky enough to be living in the zone of your audience – I envy you! :-)

5. Try a Broadcast into a Group

I’m yet to try broadcasting into my Facebook group but I think it’d definitely be a worthwhile thing to do if you own one and want to really deepen the connection you have with that group.

I’ve seen a number of group owners do daily videos to teach members of their groups, to run challenges with their groups and as part of mastermind experiences.

The main challenge of course is that most groups have smaller memberships which is great for intimacy but you’d really want to work hard to promote what time the video would happen to try to get as many members to it as possible.

While we’re talking about ‘groups’ – you can actually broadcast a live video onto a page that you own AND a group that you own. In fact you can have it going live onto multiple pages and groups.

The way to do this is to set up your broadcast on your Facebook Page and then once its live get your page up on another device and hit the ‘share’ link and then you can share it to your profile, a page you have admin rights for or a group.

facebook live video share to page or group

6. Make Sure Your Wifi connection is Strong

Facebook won’t let you go live until it determines that you have a strong connection which is great – but if you have an internet connection that gets flakey at times you’ll want to try to get the strongest signal that you can because you don’t want to drop mid video.

So find a place where you’re near your wifi unit if you can!

If your connection begins to waver you sometimes get a warning mid video that you’re in danger of dropping out – this can give you a little time to move where you’re at so watch to see if you get an alert.

4G has also worked well for me when I’m somewhere on location – however again this can get flakey so test your signal strength before hand if you can and be aware that you’ll chew through a lot of data if you do a long video.

7. Choose a Compelling Video Description

As you’ll see in the screenshots above, before you go live you are asked to give a description of the video. This is really important as people will make a decision on whether to watch based upon it. It’s the equivalent of the headline/title of your blog posts.

You can change this description later after the video has finished to make it more appropriate for those watching the replay so tailor it to attract live viewers.

I often make my description incorporate the word LIVE for this reason and then try to find a benefit for viewers to draw them into watching.

8. It takes time for your Audience to Build

Once you go live a little icon with the number of people watching will come up at the top of your phone’s screen.

Don’t be discouraged if there are only a few people (if any) watching in your first few minutes as it takes time for your audience to find your video.

You can speed this up by promoting it (as mentioned above) but other than that the only people who will find your live video will be those who happen to be on Facebook at that very moment scrolling through their newsfeed.

This means that the longer you’re on the more people will see your video in their feed.

I find that my audience usually takes at least 10 minutes to get to it’s peak and sometimes it can be as long as 20 minutes.

This means you might be talking to yourself a little for the first few minutes which can feel awkward. I’ve seen many people give up on their video in the first couple of minutes for this reason.

As a result I think it can be worth coming to the video with something that you could talk about for those first few minutes before you begin what it is that you want to get into.

Perhaps tell a personal story, share what you’re going to talk about, show where you are, give a behind the scenes insight etc. You don’t want this to go too long but it’ll give a few people a chance to join.

Also in the first few minutes as you see people joining you should reach out and ask them to say hi to you. Ask people to share where they are in the world or something else that is relevant to your topic. For example I often start ProBlogger videos with an invitation to share your blog’s link.

9. Aim for 20 minutes or More

While we’re talking about how long it takes people to join lets touch on the length of Facebook Live videos.

Recently at Social Media Marketing World I talked to many people who had been experimenting with FB Live and I asked many of them how long their videos went for.

The common consensus was that people liked to go for at least 20 minutes. The main reason given was that it took time to get people watching (as I just spoke about) but also that the longer your video goes on the more interaction you get.

It will vary a lot depending upon the type of video that you do but my own experience echoes this advice and my plan is always to go for at least 20 minutes.

I’ve gone a lot longer though on my ‘Ask Me Anything’ videos and have peaked at 90 minutes (the limit for a single session) which was really well received. Going this long gave me a chance to answer a lot of questions and quite a few of my viewers said that they really enjoyed ‘hanging out’ in that way.

I’ve seen a number of people do very short videos which might work for giving people a quick look at what you’re doing or where you’re are – but I suspect these wouldn’t get a lot of people watching live (it might be better for those watching the replay though I guess).

I’m sure studies will be done at some point about optimal length of Facebook Live Videos but for now I’d try mixing things up!

10. Interact with Your Live Viewers

One of the beautiful things about Facebook Live and other live streaming services is that it opens up the potential of a more conversational experience with your audience.

To be able to ask viewers questions and get their immediate feedback is great. To be able to take questions and serve specific needs of viewers is likewise a really fantastic thing. I often come away from Live Videos feeling like I know my readers a lot better and feeling as though they saw a glimpse of who I really am too.

Of course this only happens when you take the lead and are engaging with your viewers rather than just talking at them.

I think it’s really important to signal right from the beginning of your live video (and through to the end) that you want to engage.

    • Greet people who comment by name.
    • Ask your readers where they’re watching from.
    • Be ready to share a little of who you are, what your life is like etc
    • Come ready with some questions to ask your viewers (on topic and off topic).
    • Signal that you’re ready to answer any questions that viewers have.
    • Reward good commenting and encourage readers to share their own answers to other people’s questions.
    • Ask readers to share examples to things you’re talking about.

You might even like to offer a prize for the best commenter.

It’s ok to have periods of your video where you’re more interactive than others (I’ll describe how I do this in the next point) but at least at the beginning, middle and end try to build in some form of interaction and engagement.

Any engagement you get (comments, likes, shares) helps increase your reach so the more interaction you get from those live viewers the better!

11. Remember the Replay Viewers

Last week I did a Facebook Live Video that was watched (at least in part) by 1300 viewers according to the stats I got at the end of my broadcast.

In the following 3 days it had a further 1300 viewers.

So remember that while we’re focusing a lot in these tips about looking after and interacting with the live viewers and creating a great live experience – those who watch after the Live broadcast is over could exceed those who watch live.

As a result you need to create something that is as useful to them and which draws them into the experience as much as possible too.

One of the things I’ve been doing in my Live Videos lately is spend the first 20 or so seconds of the video paying attention to those watching the replay. The reality is that most of the live viewers miss that part anyway as it takes them a minute or so to join and so it gives you an opportunity to acknowledge, welcome and tell the replay viewers what to expect.

I sometimes mention that I love that they’re watching the replay of this live video and that I will spend a couple of minutes greeting those who are joining live and then will get into exploring the topic. Sometimes I even encourage them to skip to the 3rd minute where I should be into my talk.

You can see that this is what I did at the start of this live broadcast that I did in the last week:

I guess it’s also worth keeping your replay viewers in mind during your video too. There’s a real art to getting the balance between interacting with live viewers and not annoying replay viewers and I’m not sure I’ve ever really perfected it – but what I do try to do is to give chunks of time in my videos to different purposes so as to serve both audiences.

So after my short intro to replay viewers I will then spend a couple of minutes greeting live viewers as they come (as outlined in the point above) and then if my video is a ‘teaching’ video I tend to get into that mode which focuses more on delivering content and doesn’t have as much interaction.

I usually tell people that I’m going to teach/talk for 10-15 minutes and encourage people to ask questions at any point – but say that I’ll come back to answer all the questions at the end of the teaching. In this way those watching the replay get the bulk of the teaching up front and then can end the video if they don’t want to watch the Q&A.

I find that if I teach and take a question/interact, teach and then take a question/interact sporadically that the interactions can take over and take me off track – which I think I’d find a bit annoying as a replay viewer.

12. Be Aware of ‘Lag’

While we’ve been touching on interaction – it’s worth noting that one of the things I don’t like about Facebook Live as compared to Periscope is that there is currently a real lag between what you’re saying and what your viewers are hearing.

I sometimes have my Facebook page open (on silent) in the background while I’m presenting so that I can add in links to the comments etc and it’s not uncommon to see a minute between when I say or do something and when I see it on my page.

This is particularly worth noting while you’re interacting with those watching.

If you ask a question and nobody responds, it’s probably due to the lag. So you might want to be willing to answer your own question or talk about something else while you’re waiting for the interaction.

Similarly if you’re winding things up and saying goodbye – you might like to wait a moment or two to for others to say their goodbyes or ask last questions before you go.

14. Ask for the Share

In the first few minutes of your video it can be well worthwhile to ask those watching to share your video. This helps you get more reach and hopefully a few more live viewers.

You might need to ‘teach’ your viewers how to do this but it’s pretty simple – they simply hit the share link under your video and then can share it to their personal profile, a page or even a group that they own.

I usually ask for the share with a simple call to action like this:

“If you think this topic will be interesting to your network please share it with them. I’ll do my best to make it as useful as possible so they thank you for it.”

I don’t find the ‘sharing’ of videos is happening as much as it does on Periscope yet but hopefully this changes in time.

15. Be Yourself

Facebook Live Video is not about being perfect (although in the last few weeks I have noticed production quality of some using it really increase). Rather, it’s about being yourself.

Those watching your video will respond warmly to you if you’re warm, real and relatable.

My sessions that have had the best feedback have been me sitting on my couch at the end of the day talking like I’d talk to a friend.

These videos at time went a little ‘off topic’, showed my personality, etc.

So while I’m about to give you a few tips on how to produce a better video keep in mind that what people really love is the chance to have a personal connection with you!

16. Create Something with Visual Appeal

Most people’s Facebook Lives at the moment are them sitting in front of a computer talking. This is getting attention at the moment because the medium is still relatively new – but in time it’ll be videos with some kind of visual appeal that will cut through more and more.

Remember the way people end up watching your video is that they’ll see it as they scroll through their Facebook news feed and that the sound will be off until they click the video.

So anything that has some visual appeal, grabs their attention and generates some curiosity will help to get more actual views.

The other aspect of visual appeal is that it has the potential to keep people on your videos longer.

There are numerous things that you could try with this and I’m seeing a lot of people experiment right now but a few things you could try include.

1. creating a ‘set’/thinking about backgrounds

This need not be anything too fancy (although I’ve seen a few people build custom sets for their videos).

Even a bright colour wall behind you that stands out as people scroll through their feed might help.

Other live video creators use Green Screens or get backdrops made.

I sat in front of a piece of art in our kitchen recently and was amazed how many people commented on it.

Facebook live background
As I showed in yesterdays post we’re seeing people like Michael Hyatt add a monitor into the background of videos. This allows you to either show slides or to simply display call to action URLs, your Twitter URL or even your logo for branding.

2. Flip Between Cameras

Another way to create a little visual interest is to utilise the fact that your phone has two cameras and can be moved around.

If you’re in an interesting location – flip your camera around and show where you are.

Alternatively get up and move around a little to change where you’re sitting mid video – simply to mix things up a little.

17. Multiple Cameras/Screen Sharing/Titles/Transitions etc

This one is for those of you wanting to get a bit more serious in your live video and it will take investing some time and maybe even money – but there are ways to take your live videos to a whole new production level!

wirecast

I’ve just gotten access to Telestream’s Wirecast product (disclaimer: I was gifted it last night) which allows you to produce live video and really do some amazing things. It’s a high level product that can be used for professional applications but it is also something I’ve seen numerous small businesses use too – and it now also works with Facebook Live.

Some of the things you can do include:

  • Live switching between cameras – you can set up web cameras, iOS devices and even other pro level cameras using capture cards and switch between them
  • Adding Titles to your feed (put your name/link/Twitter id etc on the screen as you broadcast
  • Add Transitions when you’re switching between views
  • Screen sharing (show your desktop, show slides etc)
  • Picture-In-Picture (so you could share slides and put live video of you in the corner
  • Mix Audio (add in some music while you’re talking for example)
  • Twitter feeds – Add Twitter messages directly to your broadcast
  • Playlists – queue up videos, images, audio etc ready to play during your show (you could run little commercials, show videos that illustrate what you’re talking about etc mid video)

The mind boggles at the kinds of things you could do with Wirecast! It’s certainly an investment (it costs $ 500 USD) but if you’re going to put serious effort into Facebook live then it could be worth considering.

Here’s a replay of a live video that the team behind Wirecast did that shows you the quality of what it can do (it also has some good tips for using it):

Another option to investigate in terms of tools that can do some of the above is OBS Project. I’m yet to test it but saw Cliff Ravenscraft testing it in the last few days in the following video in his new studio setup. It’s completely free (although depending what cameras you want to use you might need to invest a little there).

I’m told OBS may not be as powerful or feature rich as Wirecast and might need a little more tech know how to set up – but it looks like one to check out – you can’t beat the price!

It’s worth noting that tools like Wirecast and OBS have only in the last month been able to be used for Facebook Live since Facebook opened up their API.

I suspect we’ll see a lot more services like these in the coming months. It’s an exciting time!

18. Think Lighting

One of the best things you can do to increase the quality of your videos is to make sure you’re in good light.

We’re seeing some live video producers invest in lighting setups (like Cliff in the above video) but even just setting up near a window and making sure the lights are on in the room you’re working in will help.

I invested in some LED lights like these last year and use them to add some more light to some of my videos.

led lights facebook live video

You can join them into one big light or use them as four smaller ones around your room.

Light really will lift the quality of your videos (whether they are live videos or not).

Note: if you wear glasses lights can cause reflections that can stop people seeing your eyes. This can be distracting for viewers and interrupt the connection you have with them.

Consider getting yourself some lenses in your glasses that are non-reflective to cut reflections down.

19. Think Audio

How you look is obviously important – but how you sound also makes a big difference.

At the very least think about getting away from background noise and find a quiet spot to film.

But if you have a little money to invest – consider buying a microphone to increase the quality of what you’re doing.

One of the most popular miss for those using their phone for video is the Rode SmartLav mic.

rode smart lav

It’s what I use in most of my live videos. It’s not the cheapest option but is very good.

There are plenty of other options for Lav Mics that plug in to your smart phone that are cheaper though – so don’t feel you need to go straight for the top of the field.

Another good option for smartphone use is this directional mic from Rode which I see many people using.

51WQrFSEZzL._SL1000_

The benefit of this is that it means you’re not weathered to your phone.

Of course if you’re going to invest in one of the tools like Wirecast or OBS Project you can use all kinds of higher end mics (the sky is the limit) but as I say above – finding a quiet spot and making sure your smartphones inbuilt mic isn’t obstructed can get you decent results.

20. Consider a Tripod

While we’re talking about gear – another good investment if you’re going to do regular Facebook Live Videos is some kind of mount or tripod.

There are a couple of reasons for this.

Firstly if you’re going to do videos that go beyond 20 minutes even a phone can feel heavy!

Secondly there’s nothing more annoying for your viewers than a camera that is constantly moving, shaking and jerking around. A nice steady camera view helps a lot.

There are many options here ranging from proping your phone up on whatever you can find on your desk to keep it steady (I used a coffee cup for several months) through to picking up a relatively cheap smartphone tripod through to investing into something more custom built for live streaming like this desktop stand for an iPad (for your notes) and a phone.

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There are many such products on the market for live streamers!

21. Smart Phone Lenses

One last gear suggestion – particularly for those going out on location who want to show different environments – is a lens attachment for your smart phone like the 4-in-1 Ollo Clip.

41NRSF2RNYL

I particularly like being able to use the wide angle lens that allows you to show a wider angle view of a scene that you’re showing off.

This would be particularly useful if you’re a travel blogger wanting to do Live videos from on location of spectacular locations. Similarly if you’re wanting to shoot from an event or want to get numerous people into your shot in a tight location.

22. Consider Those Around You

If you’re broadcasting in public – consider those around you.

I’ve seen a number of live videos in the last few weeks where people were at events and while live they bowled up to people and put the on the spot for an interview.

This could work out well but it could also put people who don’t want to be on camera under pressure.

I’d personally ask people’s permission before going live before featuring them in a video.

If you’re broadcasting from home where there might be family about it might also be worth talking with your family about how and when you’ll use live video.

At our home I tend to only do live video when my kids are not home. I don’t want screaming kids (or parents) in the background – partly because I don’t want my viewers to have to experience that but also because I don’t think it’s fair on my family to have to tiptoe around our home in case I might be live.

There are also privacy and security issues that you’ll probably want to discuss with family in terms of whether you want your family featured and whether you might film in locations that identify where you’re living.

23. Calls to Action

As with all your content – consider calling people to action. If your video is long you could ask people to do a few things during your video but it’s worth thinking ahead before you go live as to what the number one thing you want people to do will be.

If you know you’ll be calling people to do something have links handy and ready to share. If the link is long consider using a link shortener to make it easier to communication.

If I’m sharing a link I will generally say the link but also add it to the comments of my video as I’m saying it (this means you’ll need to have your page/group open on another device to be able to leave a comment).

24. Call People to Follow Your Page

One call to action that is worth doing is to call people to follow your page. I often do this at the end of a video.

The reason for this is that often live videos get a wider reach number than the amount of people who actually follow your page. This is because Facebook seem to be really promoting live videos (in places like their Live Video Map) but also because people will share your video.

As a result you could be talking to people who don’t already like your page. So say something like ‘If you liked this video follow my page to get notified when I do another one’.

25. Get some Help With Moderation

A number of times while I’ve been doing important live videos I’ve arranged to have one of my team members live on the video to help me out.

This has usually been Laney (who manages ProBlogger) and she will watch the video and the comments coming.

She will answer questions that people have, find links to posts or podcast episodes that I might mention or add links to calls to action that I might make.

She also feeds me questions that I might have missed.

I’ve not had any issues with trolls on Facebook Live (which is pretty remarkable as it happens a lot on Periscope) but having someone there with admin rights on your page could be useful for this too.

26. Check Out Your Video’s Stats

At the end of the your broadcast a little chart comes up on your smart phone that shows you how many people watched live, how many commented, how many liked and how many shares you had. It also also shows you when the peaks and troughs of the viewer numbers were during your video.

Pay attention to this and learn from it for next time.

Facebook live video stats

There’s also an option to save the video to camera roll (this could then be uploaded to Youtube or saved for use at another time and place). There’s also the opportunity to upload to Facebook a higher quality video (it takes time and you would want to be on wifi).

27. After You Finish – Edit Your Video

A few minutes after your broadcast finishes you can also edit your video.

To do this on desktop look at your video on your page and click the little arrow to the top right of your video and look for the ‘Edit Post’ option.

Edit facebook live video

This then opens up the option to add a title to your video, edit the description, to select a thumbnail, to select a CTA button, add a url and select tags for the video. You can also add captions if you want to and have the option to block embeds of the video if you don’t want people to share your video that way.

This allows you to optimise your video for replay views and is well worth doing.

28. Consider Boosting Your Video

If you’re happy with the broadcast and think it warrants it you might like to consider boosting your video.

This will help you get it in front of more people and is particularly worth doing if your video has a call to action that helps to build your business.

29. Embed Your Video into a Blog Post

If your video is of a nature that might help your blog readers – why not embed it into a blog post?

You’ve gone to the effort of creating the video so embedding it is a really simple way to repurpose it. It will also increase the number of people who see your video which should help your reach numbers and might have flow on effects into helping you get more attention in Facebook’s algorhythm.

I would generally add some content around the video in your blog post so there’s something there for people who prefer to read.

This might also be a good opportunity to call your blog post readers to follow you on Facebook for more live video interactions.

30. Be Useful and Have Fun!

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post (and I’m sure we could go on further). I’m really aware that while I’ve tried to create a list of tips here that help you create great live videos that it might also have made it feel overwhelming.

If that’s how you feel – please don’t let it stop you experimenting. The main tip that I want to emphasise is that people respond best to people who create useful content that shows who they really are.

So be yourself, show your personality and have fun!

What Tips Would You Add?

I’d love to hear from you on the topic of Facebook Live today.

Have you given it a go? Have you watched others who have experimented with it? If so – what tips would you add?

Note: this post includes a few affiliate links (to Amazon) which enables us to make small commissions when you make a purchase. This is one of the ways I make money blogging and helps us to keep the vast majority of what we do here on ProBlogger free.

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12 Types of Facebook Live Videos that You Could Create to Help You Grow Your Blog and Business

facebook live

This week we’re taking a deep dive into Facebook Live Video and how you can use it as a blogger to deepen relationships with your readers, build your profile, extend your reach on Facebook and much more.

Yesterday I shared 10 benefits of giving Facebook Live video a go and tomorrow I’m going to give you over 25 practical tips on how to use it effectively – but today I want to show you a variety of different types of Facebook Live videos that I’ve tried and that I’m seeing others use.

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I’ve embedded a number of videos into this post – all were shot using FB live.

7 Types of Facebook Live Videos I have Created

I’m still relatively new to using Facebook Live having only done regular ones this last month – but already I’ve tried a number of formats of Facebook Live videos including:

1. Ask me Anything (AMA)

By far the most successful (in terms of reach, views and engagement) attempts I’ve had so far have been when I’ve jumped onto FB Live simply to take questions. I’ve done this the previous two Friday nights and on both occasions had a great time but have also had some really encouraging feedback.

I have the advantage here of having enough followers to get a decent amount of people join the session to be able to generate enough questions to keep me going however a smaller page could also do this if they promoted the AMA in advance and/or if they asked readers for questions in advance so that they had a few to keep them going.

If you’ve got a spare hour…. here’s the last one I did:

2. Behind the Scenes

The day we launched tickets for this year’s ProBlogger Training Event I jumped on Facebook live during the launch (here’s the replay).

I did this partly to build some buzz and promote the event but also partly to field questions that came in about the launch as tickets went live.

3. Teaching Presentations

I’ve done a number of videos that have been almost like mini keynote presentations where I’ve given some tips on some aspect of blogging.

Here’s an embed of one that I did on a FAQ that I get – How many times should a blogger publish posts:

Here’s another one that I did earlier in the year when I first started to experiment with FB live in which I actually turned the camera around to show some slides on my computer to make it even more of a keynote like experience.

Here’s one from Michael Hyatt who used a TV to show his slides – a great idea.

4. Announcements

While in San Diego at a conference I jumped on FB Live to announce Brian Fanzo as one of our keynote speakers for this year’s event.

Being on location and taking people into a conversation with Brian live gave those watching a sense of who he is and helped build a little buzz for the event.

We similarly announced Nathan Chan as a speaker on the same day.

5. Event Recaps

Immediately after Social Media Marketing World in San Diego I decided to do a recap of the event.

This was a great way to quickly share a lot of the themes of the event but also to be able to share it with the event hashtag on Twitter after the event meant it got shared around a fair bit.

I could imagine doing this at future events either at the end of each day or even to do end of session summaries for followers.

6. Thoughts for the Day

In the following video I got a little more reflective while out for a walk on a beach and shared a thought for the day (as well as showing where I was which went over well too).

7. Promoting Content/Newsletter

Over on Digital Photography School I’ve done just a couple of Facebook Live videos so far on our Facebook page – both of which were recaps of content that we’d published on the blog during the last week.

In both cases I simply walked readers through the posts that we’d linked to in our weekly newsletter. I encouraged them to go read the posts but also to subscribe to the newsletter.

On both occasions I flipped the camera around and showed them the posts on my computer. Both went over well. Here’s a replay of the first one I did (here’s the 2nd one).

5 More Potential Uses for Facebook Live

The ways that you could use Facebook Live are of course many and only limited by your imagination. Here’s a five more that come to mind (feel free to suggest more in comments).

1. Guest Presenters/AMAs

I love the experiments that Social Media Examiner have been doing on their Facebook page with Live video. One of the things they’ve tried is letting guests take over their page.

This takes a bit (or a lot) of trust as you need to give some admin rights to the person who is the guest but it is good for the guest (it gives them exposure) but also can be good for your page as it gets a new face and voice onto it and can build some credibility.

Here’s one where they let Mari Smith take over their page:

2. Demonstrations

If you have a product or service that you sell – why not demonstrate it on a live video to give prospective customers a glimpse into what your product does?

Similarly it could also be useful for current customers to show new applications and/or features of your product.

You could use live video to showcase how other customers use your product by doing case studies.

3. Reviews

Taking the demo idea further – why not use Facebook live to demonstrate and/or review someone else’s products.

This is a lot of what Robert Scoble does with his Facebook Live videos. Hardly a day goes by when Robert isn’t visiting some cool startup and showing their products.

Here’s a relevant example to this post on FB Live where Robert demonstrates a camera that can actually be used for Facebook Live (the Mevo live camera) – one I’m very keen to try myself.

4. Interviews

The above video also shows how Facebook live can be effectively be used for interviewing people.

While I’m yet to find any easy way to do this as a virtual interview (I hope Facebook add the ability to do split screens at some point) if you’re physically with another person at an event it’s not hard to conduct a live video with them.

5. Live Events

If you’re attending a conference or live event relevant to your industry Facebook Live presents all kinds of opportunities.

For example if the event allows it (do check) you could do a broadcast of a session.

Many events wouldn’t allow this but there would be many other opportunities at events either by doing recaps of sessions yourself, interviews with speakers or attendees, demos at expo booths etc.

How have You Used Facebook Live Video?

I’d love to see more examples of different types of Facebook Live Videos that you’ve created. Let us know below in comments.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Give Facebook Live Video a Go

Have you tried using Facebook Live Video to communicate with your audience?

If not – you might like to give it a go, because right now it’s a pretty hot medium that I’m seeing quite a few bloggers use with great benefits.

This week I want to explore Facebook Live in a little more depth than I’ve done before. Here’s what to expect.

  • Today (below) I’m going to share 10 benefits of giving Facebook Live Videos a go.
  • Tomorrow I will share 12 types of Facebook Live Videos that You Could Create.
  • Wednesday I will share 25 tips on how to use Facebook Live Video most effectively.

To get the first part simply read on. To make sure you catch all the following posts, please subscribe to ProBloggerPLUS from the following button and we’ll shoot you an email with links so you don’t miss out.

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10 Reasons You Should Give Facebook Live Video a Go

There are lots of reasons to use Facebook Live. Here are the main ones that come to mind out of my own experience.

1. It helps your readers to get to know you better

One of the biggest benefits of using live video as part of my social media strategy is that I feel like it allows my blog readers to get to know me in a deeper way and helps them to understand who I really am.

I received this email last Friday night after doing an ‘Ask me Anything’ live video where I sat on the couch for an hour and a half taking questions:

“Thanks for your Q&A session today and for answering my questions. I’ve been reading ProBlogger for 5 years but tonight for the first time realised a few things. Firstly, you’re an Australian! I’m not sure how I missed this! Secondly, you don’t only know about blogging but you’re funny and kind. I saw a whole new side of you in that video. I hope you do more of them.”

I’ve had this kind of feedback quite a bit – live video gives people a glimpse at who you really are and can really humanise a brand.

2. It can lead to higher Engagement

Facebook Live is by nature an engaging type medium if you allow it to be. One of the things I’ve noticed about it is that the people who interact live with me often start appearing in the comments section of other Facebook posts, blog posts and on Twitter in the days after a live interaction.

I guess there’s something about having had a conversation with someone that triggers an ongoing engagement.

3. It can lead to leads and sales

I’ve not really done too much selling in my Facebook Lives to this point, but despite this I know that even passing mentions of products that I sell has generated sales.

I’ve also used it a couple of times to promote my ProBloggerPLUS newsletter and have seen spikes in new subscribers as a result.

4. It will help you generate ideas for future content

Every time I open up for Q&A on a Facebook Live video I get asked questions that stimulate all kinds of content ideas.

For example – this recent post on updating your blog archives came about because of a question I was asked on FB Live. Similarly many of my recent podcasts have started as questions from or hearing the needs of viewers of videos.

I guess this is partly the flip side to point #1 above – Facebook Live allows you to get to know your readers and their needs a lot better too.

Of course the more you know about your readers the better position you’re in to create great content for them.

5. You’ll create content you could repurpose

If you read tomorrow’s post with tips on how to use FB Live, you’ll see that the ideas I give you below on how to do a successful Facebook Live video were previously presented as a Facebook Live video (very meta I know).

You’ll also see the actual video replay of that Facebook Live that I’ll embed into that post.

This is gold – being able to create a piece of content that not only serves those joining live, not only those who watch the replay on Facebook but being able to embed it onto your blog and even to download the video to then put onto Youtube opens up all kinds of possibilities.

6. Facebook is prioritising and promoting live video right now

Last Friday night I did a live video to my ProBlogger Facebook Page. My page has around 80,000 people following it, and a typical update on the page gets between 2,000 to 10,000 reach.

The live video that I did last Friday night had 147,000+ reach. The Friday night before I had 133,000 reach.

This is not unusual. I’ve spoken to Facebook page owners who have both bigger followings than me and smaller followings than me and they’re reporting reach on their live videos that goes beyond what they normally get for a post and in some cases significantly bigger than their total page followers.

This shows how much Facebook is promoting FB Live videos right now into news feeds. When you go live that chances are that anyone on Facebook at that moment will see it at the top of their newsfeed.

Add to this that even in the last week Facebook have made live video even more findable with their new Live Maps that promotes Live videos happening around the world. This makes our live videos even more findable by people beyond those who like our Facebook pages which is one of the advantages that Periscope used to hold over Facebook.

Facebook are also investing heavily into this space so you can bet that they’ll continue to work to make sure these videos are seen – particularly in the short term. So now is a very good time to jump on.

7. This could have flow on impact with the rest of your reach

Facebook page owners will know that when they get good engagement on one particular Facebook update that this can help your next updates to get better reach. This is one of many factors in Facebook’s algorithm and so there could be some flow on impacts from using FB live in helping the rest of your updates get seen a little more.

Note: It is worth saying though that I’m seeing mixed evidence of this and it’s only a bit of a guess at this point.

8. It’s new so its standing out

When I do a Facebook live video on the ProBlogger Facebook page I find many of my followers are familiar with the idea of live video. But when I do one on my Digital Photography School Facebook page I’m getting a lot more people who have a WOW! reaction.

Many people comment that they’ve not seen a FB Live before and as a result I think that in many niches these would really cut through, stand out and get curiosity engagements from those who are following your pages.

This won’t last but at least in the short term if you have a Facebook page with an audience who perhaps is not bloggers/tech savvy early adopters – you might find FB Live gets some good cut through and you might be seen as something of an innovator in your niche for using it.

9. Helps you to test new ideas and get immediate feedback

I remember one of the things I loved about Twitter in the early days of starting to use that was that it enabled me to test ideas and get quick feedback from my readers. I would test blog post ideas, ask readers for feedback/quotes for articles, test product ideas and a lot more.

Twitter is good for this – but live video takes it to a whole new level.

If you can get a few people live on a video and feeling comfortable to interact with you then FB live puts you into a close to real time (there is a small lag) conversation with readers.

You’ll not only get ideas like I mentioned above but you can test new ideas with it.

10. Private Live Videos – in a Group

Many bloggers own and operate Facebook Groups and/or Events. Facebook Live video can now be broadcast into Groups and Event pages.

I’m really excited by this possibility as it means you can do private videos to closed groups – creating content and conversations that are a bit more intimate and exclusive.

I’ve seen a number of bloggers doing this already. One is doing daily tips every morning with his group and getting an amazing response. Another is running a mastermind type experience in a group and members are given opportunity to jump into the Live hottest and talk about what they’ve learned during the week. Another is running week long challenges in a group and delivering some of those challenges via live video.

The possibilities are endless!

Have you tried Facebook Live Video yet? If so – what do you see as the main benefits? I’d love to get your opinion in comments below.

Subscribe to Get The Rest of This Series on How to Use Facebook Live Video

Don’t forget that in the coming days I’m going to share a lot more information on using Facebook Live.

Tomorrow I’ll share 12 different types of Facebook Live videos (including quite a few examples from my own use of them and others) and the following day I’ll share with you 25 practical tips on how to create the best Facebook Live Videos you possibly can.

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