190: How to Overcome Failure in 6 Steps

How to Move Through Failure in 6 Steps

In today’s lesson, I want to talk about failure in business and how to move through it.

I’ve been asked questions on this topic a number of times in the last few weeks and while it’s a topic most of us probably don’t want to have to learn about – it’s something that we all will need to deal with at one point or another because it’s a part of any business story.

We all fail – in fact failure is an essential part of any startup and if you’re not having it it could be a sign that what you’re doing is not pushing hard enough and that you’re spending a lot of time in your comfort zone.

SO in this episode I’m going to give you 6 things that I try to do when facing failure of different sizes. I think they’re relevant for the small fails and mistakes that happen to us regularly but am particularly thinking about some of those big ones too!

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Hi there and welcome to episode 190 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com. A blog, podcast, event, job board and a series of ebooks, all designed to help you as a blogger to start a blog, to grow your audience, to create amazing content, and to hopefully make some profit from your blog. Learn more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

In today’s lesson, I want to talk about failure, failure in business particularly, and how to move through it. I’ve been asked questions on this topic a number of times over the last few weeks and when I hear the same question more than once, I often pick up my ears and it often turns into a podcast and that’s what I want to talk about today.

It’s something that I guess most of us don’t really want to have to learn about. We don’t want to have to learn how to move through failure but it is something that we will all need to deal with a one point or another, both in our personal lives but also as part of a business story and our blogging journey.

We all fail. In fact, I think failure is an essential part of any start up, any business. If you’re not having times of failure, if you’re not having things where things don’t succeed, it’s possibly a sign that what you are doing really isn’t outside of your comfort zone and perhaps you’re not pushing things hard enough.

In this episode, what I want to do is give you six things that I try and do and I emphasize try here because there’s a right answer when it comes to failure and there’s an actual answer, so most of us swing from the good things through to the unhelpful things. Those are six things that I try to do when I’m facing failure or mistakes of different sizes.

I actually think most of what I’m going to share today is relevant for the small failures we have, those things that just don’t go right from day to day but also those bigger things as well. I’m particularly thinking of those because some of the questions I’ve heard over the last week have been on those bigger failures.

You can find today’s show notes with the six points that I’m going to go through as well as some further reading over at problogger.com/podcast/190. Also, check out the Facebook group at problogger.com/group where there’s some great discussion going on at the moment. We’ve seen a lot of new members over the last few weeks. Let’s get into today’s show.

Like I said in my introduction today, I’ve had a number of questions on the topic of failure recently. Willie over in the Facebook group asked just a few weeks ago, how would you recover from a massive failure? And then Max also messaged me and gave me permission to share his question. He said, “I’ve just had a big failing in my blogging business and I feel unable to move on. Do you have any advice?” That’s what I want to address today.

What do we do, a lot of these will be applicable to other areas of life too, but particularly in a blogging business, the failures we have can sometimes be very public failures and sometimes the mistakes we make, the things that we say we’re going to do don’t often work out and there’s public consequences on that.

I guess I’m tackling it from that angle as well. Firstly, let me give you what I usually do first. That is to freak out. Usually for me, when I have a failure, when I make a mistake, when something doesn’t go right, I usually have some kind of an emotional response. I’m a fairly measured person, you would meet me in person you might not think that I freak out but I do.

I throw as good tantrum as anyone else, I panic as much as anyone else, I think the worst as much as anyone else, and as I was preparing this podcast, I was going to say, “Move past that phase as quickly as you can and get onto the more constructive things.” I actually think that it may be important to have that moment of freak out.

Failure takes its toll on us and that is a natural thing. I think it’s probably important to get through those feelings and to some extent embrace them and sit with them, and to let them out. I think it’s really important to let those feelings out, to not bottle them up. This is going to come out to a lot of what I’m going to talk about today. I think we do need to get those feelings out.

All I would say is as you are having your freak out, as you are having your tantrum, as you are having that panic, try to do it in a safe place that wouldn’t have long lasting consequences on you, those around you, and your business. I think it’s totally fine to feel the pain, to feel out of control for a moment. That is natural and it’s okay to do that so allow yourself to do that. But as you’re feeling that, try to move yourself towards the six things that I’m going to talk about next.

Out of that panic, out of that freak out, here’s what I would suggest you do. The first one is so important and that is to try. This is hard, all of this is hard, but try to separate your failure away from your identity.

One other the biggest challenges that I think many people face today is that they equate their self-worth with their achievements or their lack of achievements, also, what other people think about them and I think this is a real trap. This is a huge trap.

I want to give you an equation. This is an equation that I see the world suggesting when it comes to our self-worth. The world says self-worth equals what I achieve plus what others think of me. Let me repeat it, self-worth equals what I achieve plus what others think of me. This is a message we hear all the time. We hear it in conversations, we say it in the media, and we say it in marketing. My self worth is all about what I achieve my success, and what others think of me.

So to be worthwhile, I need to achieve a lot, I need to have other people think well of me. This idea creeps out in a lot of what we do. Most of us don’t even know that we abide by that equation, but we are constantly looking for success, and we’re constantly looking to look good in front of other people. The problem with this equation is that it really sets us up with problems because it’s just not realistic.

All of us are going to have times in our personal lives and in our business where we do not achieve, where we fail. It’s just human to have failures and so if we equate our self-worth with achieving with success, then we’re setting ourselves up for a massive fault. All of us are going to have times in our lives where other people don’t think much of us. If we base our self-worth upon our success and what other people perceives of us, then our self-worth is going to have times where we will have very little of it.

That’s an unhealthy thing. It’s going to only lead to poor self-worth. It’s going to lead to a roller coaster ride through your life. I guess one of the big things that I want to get across and this is something that I try and really remind myself in those times of failure is that my self-worth doesn’t come from what I achieve and it doesn’t come from what other people think of me, it actually comes from something else.

For me, that comes more from my faith. For other people, it will come from something else. But if there’s one thing I really want to get across today, as we tackle this topic of failure, is that you are not worthless because of your failure. You’re not worthless because of your failure, you are not a failure. What you have done, your business may have had a time of failing but that doesn’t mean that you are a failure, don’t personalize your failure.

Particularly if it’s a business failure which is really not connected to you, it is something that you do. Yes, it’s an action that has failed, but it is not you. Don’t identify yourself as a failure just because of something that you have done.

Number one, separate your failure out from your identity. Number two, don’t face it alone. I’m not sure whether this is a gender thing, whether it’s more of a personality thing, but a trap that I’ve seen many of my friends fall into is that they face their failure alone. They internalize their failure.

One of the best things that I think you can do is to admit your failure and to share with another person, just one other person. That will help so much. Even if that person has no real understanding of your business, by telling them what you are facing, you’re doing something very healthy.

To verbalize it and to start a conversation about it actually is a very powerful thing. Name the mistake, name the failure, first, by you alone and internalize it and you will very luckily become overwhelmed by it. It will become bigger than it really is. This is something I’ve fallen into the trap of, many times.

Even last year, the end of last year, I had a couple of months where revenue wasn’t really great for the business. It wasn’t particularly anything I had done, it just was a bit of a lean patch and I know many other bloggers went through that. For the first few weeks that I noticed that, I internalized it and I would lie in bed at night thinking that the end of the world was coming and not being able to see anything positive in my business, even though there was lots there.

It was only once I shared that load with Vanessa, and for me, Vanessa, my wife, my partner, is the place that I go to. By simply naming the issue, by putting words to it, it put things back into perspective. I realized, even as I spoke the words of what was going on that there were solutions, that there were ways forward.

The other person may not even know what you are talking about but you, simply verbalizing it to another person, can be a very powerful thing, so tell a friend, share the load. As I said, it’s usually for me, talking with Vanessa. Today, she is a blogger and so she does have some understanding of what I’m talking about but even in the early days, back in 2002, 2003, when none of my friends knew what blogging was, when social media didn’t even exist, I found simply by verbalizing those things really did help a lot.

In doing so, you’re actually going to find that you’re not the only person who has failed as well, we all do. Most of the people that you share your failure with will be able to recount some story in their own life where they faced something similar, even if the details are different.

The other thing I would suggest you do though is to also find someone who does understand your business. Talk about it and this might be the second person that you talk to. It maybe that you need to find another blogger, it may be, for a period of time you need to find a business coach or a mentor. Those types of relationships are really important, even if they’re not formal business coach type relationships.

There are a few people in my life, if I’m having a tough time in business, I’ll pick up the phone, and even though they might be in the different type of business, to me, they understand some of the pressures of what it is that we’re going through. Get some professional advice. It doesn’t have to be an ongoing thing. It might just be a simple phone call with someone who’s been through what you’ve been through and to draw the wisdom of them.

It might also be something like more of a group type of support, maybe finding a Facebook group like the ProBlogger Facebook group or there are plenty of others online as well to actually have those types of people we can present the failure, the mistake or part of it to that type of group and get that type of advice.

Lastly, I would say is that there are times where you might need to find a therapist. You might need to find a counselor. Perhaps your business failure has rocked your world, your confidence, your personal health, your mental health in some way. There is no shame in actually finding someone to give you support on that emotional level. When you’re sick physically you go and see a doctor and when you shaking up emotionally with your mental health, I think it’s important to seek help there as well.

That’s something that I’ve done from time to time as well. Sometimes, our business life spills out into our personal lives. Just to encourage you if that is spilling out to actually get some help in that way. Maybe going to speak to a doctor and getting some help in that way as well. No shame at all in that. It’s an important part of this journey.

Number one is to not take on that failure in your business into your personal identity. Number two, don’t face it alone and number three, is related to not facing it alone and that is to be transparent. It really does relate a little bit to what I’ve just talked about, you speaking with that friend, or that colleague, or that doctor, and being a little bit vulnerable with another person, it’s being transparent about the type of failure that you’ve had.

Often as you begin to process these failures, you realize there are other people impacted by your failure. This doesn’t always happen but in many cases there will be someone else who has been impacted by the mistake that you have made. It maybe that there is a business partner, maybe there is a team member, maybe there is a colleague, maybe even your readers as a blogger have been impacted by your failure, by your mistake.

The temptation when other people are hurt by our failures or impacted by our failures is to save face, it’s to hide our failures, and to actually even pretend that it didn’t happen or to lie about them, perhaps. But in most cases, this just escalates the problem, and this is really tough. I know it’s tough and I’ll say it’s kind of hesitating but come clean. Admit to your failing to those who are impacted, own your part in it, take responsibility for the mistakes that you have made and attempt to deal with those consequences to find a win-win solution for those who are impacted and to I guess seek forgiveness and to actually right the wrongs that have been done.

This isn’t really relevant to all types of failures but in many cases, I’m sure you can realize that those times in your life where you have had a failing, other people are impacted by that. Many times the failing, there’s ripple effects that go out from it.

To give you a really quick example, and this is a small failing, I know many of you are probably thinking of bigger things of what I’m about to share with you but this sort of illustrates in my own business a mistake that was made a few years ago, we sent an email, a sales email that was supposed to go to a few hundred people. It was a small segment of our photography blog. A few hundred people was supposed to get this sales email. We actually sent it out to every single person on any of my list including my ProBlogger readers.

I think it was close to 700,000 to 800,000 people who got this email. The email was irrelevant to most people. It was a sales email and it went out. My immediate reaction was to panic, to throw a bit of a tantrum, to run away, to pretend it didn’t happen and I was really worried, particularly my ProBlogger readers, that they were going to get this photography sales email.

How was that going to impact? Was it going to impact my credibility? I really hoped that no one would notice but I quickly realized that people were going to notice and so I had to come clean about that mistake as quickly as I could sent an email again to those hundreds of thousands of people, apologizing and owning the mistake that we’ve made and apologizing for that.

I sent that second email with a lot of fear. I wasn’t quite sure how it would be received. Whether people will believe me? I was amazed, instantaneously I started getting emails from readers, messages from readers, saying that they understood it, that they were confused by the first email but they really appreciated me owning the mistake. By no means was there any intention for this to happen. It actually ended up being something that built the brand. I think people were impressed by the way that it was handled and people reflected back that they could relate to the mistake.

In many ways, sending that email, owning that mistake, owning that failure, actually humanized the brand of ProBlogger and Digital Photography School. That’s not a big example. I know there are bigger failures. There has been bigger failures in own life but I’ve seen time and time again, when we own our mistakes, when we own our failures, when we take responsibility for where we have done the wrong thing, that often will be received well from other people. Most people are incredibility generous and gracious and can actually be something that can lead to solutions as well. As you are transparent with people, you will hear back things that can often help you to move forward through that failure. Number three is to be transparent.

Number four is to learn from it. This is something I say to my kids all the time. I say to my kids all the time, making a mistakes are not a bad thing, it’s actually making the same mistake repeatedly and not learning from that mistake, that’s the issue. That’s where I get across with my kids. If you made a mistake, that’s totally fine. What are we going to learn from it? How are we going to do things differently next time?

When they make the mistake again, that’s when we have tough words. That’s where we really need to address it, I guess. Making mistakes is a part of life. It’s actually I think a sign of life, that something that you are building momentum, that you are moving forward. Mistakes come when we do that. Failure comes when we do that. Embrace those mistakes, but look for what you can learn through that mistake.

All businesses will have their times of failure, but what you can learn from it, why did the failure happen? Spend some time with that question, what actually happened. Don’t just move on to the next thing, what actually happened, what could you have done differently that would provide a different result. What can you learn from that failure, what lessons were there?

Don’t run away from the mistake, the failure, embrace it. It’s a learning opportunity. If you can find some way to see as a positive and to do it differently next time, that’s a very powerful thing. You know that for a fact, if you actually think back to previous failures you’ve had, you know that those times, sometime they make you who you are today. In hindsight it’s really easy to see that but trying try and convince yourself out in the moment as well. What can I learn for this? How I can turn this around?

Number five thing is to keep moving. I do think it’s important to sit with the problem, to sit with the foe, to learn from it, to rest perhaps, if you need to recover from it, because sometimes it does take an emotional toll. There are times where I think in business we need to rest, we need to stop, and we need to have a break. Sometimes, after failure, that can be a really good time to do that, to look after ourselves, but I think it’s really important to then move on to keep the momentum going in some way.

Right now I’m teaching my five year old to ride a bike. I know a lot of you listening to this podcast, the parents, have had that experience yourself, and he has had his fair share of crashes over the last few weeks. He has scrapes, bruises, and sores on his elbows, on his knees and he even got a little one on his nose at the moment. He has had these crashes and that’s part of learning to ride a bike.

He kind of understands that but there are these moments after he has a crash, after he has banged into a fence sort or something, that his natural reaction is to say, “I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to ride a bike,” and to ride off this whole experience. I understand that, I understand that’s a natural reaction, I understand the little tantrums that he throws at those point, but I also understand that if he wants to develop this skill, he needs to get back on the bike.

He understands that too in many ways as well and sometimes a little rest is in order, sometimes a little what went wrong is in order so we can learn from the mistake, but most importantly, he gets back on that bike. The same is true in our business, failure can paralyze us. It can stop us in our tracks but it’s important to keep moving, get back on the bike.

Identify your next best step, maybe that your next best step is about picking up the pieces and starting again. Maybe it’s about evolving what you do, tweaking it, taking the lessons from the mistake and just evolving and tweaking or it may even be that your next best step is to start something new. Drawing out what you’ve learned, identify something that you need to do to keep you moving and if possible include someone else in that conversation, tell someone about that next best step as well.

The last one I want to share with you is going to annoy some of you. This comes from my personality type which I’m told can be quite annoying at times, but that is to be positive. It’s so hard to do it but I always try and look at the bright side. I’m told by Vanessa and her friends that I am eternally an optimist and that can be incredibly annoying, but I am always looking for positive. I think even in those times of incredible failure there are sometimes, there’s almost always some sort of a glimmer of something positive in the midst of that.

Sometimes, it does take a little while for this positive glimmer-y little sparks to emerge but when you see them, grab them and move towards those glimmers, focus upon them. It’s often the small little sparks that fly in the midst of a failure that can become our next big thing. It can actually be the failing, the mistake that we’ve made that shapes us and that becomes a part of who we are and how we move forward. It can actually become a part of your brand in many ways. I can think of many people over the years, who actually through failing that they’ve actually discovered a passion.

They’ve actually discovered out of their own pain a way that they can help other people who go through a similar things as well. Be very aware that in the midst of the gloominess of failure can actually be the seeds, of something really important. Be on the lookout for those things and on the lookout for those small sparks and to be positive about those sort of thing. Celebrate those little things in small ways in the midst of that pain as well.

I know as I’ve gone through this, part of me is cringing if I’m honest with you because I know in the midst of failure sometimes you don’t want to hear this kind of stuff. Hearing things like find the sparks, it sounds a bit corny, but I really hope that somewhere in the midst of those six things is going to be a way forward for different one of us, who are going through different stages of failure at the moment.

Separate your failure from your identity, don’t face it alone, draw other people alongside you to share the stuff that you’re going through. Number three, be transparent with the mistake, with the pain. I think that’s particularly important in the blogging space because many times when we try and hide the issues, the failings, and the mistakes, these things actually come out later. They can actually come back so be transparent. Number four analyze the failings, analyze the mistake, and work out what you can do to do things differently in future. Number five is to keep moving, keep momentum going, get back on the bike. And lastly, find those glimmers, those sparks of opportunity, those sparks of positivity, and focus upon those things.

I really do hope that somewhere in the midst of those six pieces of advice is something that helps you to move through the inevitable failures that will come your way, the inevitable mistakes that we all do, and that will help you to move through those things into exciting times ahead.

You can find today’s show notes over at problogger.com/podcast/190 where you have the opportunity to not only get a transcript of today’s show and find other episodes that relate to the show, but you can also leave a comment. Also, check out the Facebook group problogger.com/group. That will redirect you into that Facebook group.

Lastly, if you’re looking for something else to listen to, check out episode 54 of this podcast. It kind of relates. There’s some overlap in topic. In episode 54, I gave you three questions to ask yourself when you’re facing fear, which is something that I know relates to these times of failure as well. If you want something else, you’re feeling fearful at the moment about those sorts of failures that you go through, go and listen to episode 54 as well. It may help you to move through that, that time as well.

Thanks for listening today. I look forward to chatting with you in episode 191 next week on the ProBlogger podcast.

Before I go, I want to give a big shout out and say thank you to Craig Hewitt and the team at Podcast Motor who’ve been editing all of our podcasts for some time now. Podcast Motor have a great range of services for podcasters at all levels. They can help you to setup your podcast, but also offer a couple of excellent services to help you to edit your shows and get them up with great show notes. Check them out at podcastmotor.com.

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Bloggers to Watch in 2017

Bloggers to Watch in 2017

This is a guest contribution from Jade Craven.

The blogosphere has changed so much over the past decade. I curated Bloggers To Watch column here on Problogger for four years and it is phenomenal how much has changed since I wrote my last post in 2012.

In that time, popular bloggers have pivoted multiple times. Social platforms have risen and fallen. It is a fascinating time. So fascinating that I asked to compile another list of bloggers that haven appeared on my radar.

This post features bloggers who have gotten my attention over the past year. It doesn’t reflect the top bloggers online. Rather, it’s a list of bloggers that have sparked my interest and is heavily biased towards the marketing niche.

Sol Orwell

Sol Orwell is someone that has gotten a lot of attention in the entrepreneurship space over the past 2 years. To quote from Smart Passive Income:

Sol’s built his career across a dizzying number of spaces. He’s a master at building authority in a niche, identifying community pain points, and crafting businesses that meet those urgent needs

His latest project, Examine.Com, garners around 70,000 visitors a day and is a seven-figure business. Normally, such figures would put me off recommending him. However, his work stands out and he can teach you a lot about networking and selling products. His post about How I made my guest post a massive success [CASE STUDY] blew me away when I first read it.

It is refreshing because his work doesn’t repeat the passive income rhetoric. If anything, he rebels against many of the common themes in the marketing niche. To quote from his about page:

Having a one-time launch of $ 50,000 does not make you a guru, nor does making $ 2k/mo from your websites make you a passive income genius, nor does getting 2000 visitors a day to your site make you some kind of traffic genius.

You can learn more by checking out his blog at SJO.com

Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday is a writer and media strategist. I initially discovered him via his first book Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, where he shows how blogs control and distort the news. As a blogger, I found it useful to learn how I was being manipulated.

He’s written extensively about his business experiences. The following posts have helped me immensely:

Lately, his work has focused on what we can learn from philosophy. I believe everyone can learn from the principles of Stoicism, which he explores at Daily Stoic.

You can learn more by visiting his blog at RyanHoliday.net

Emilie Wapnick

Emilie Wapnick wowed attendees of the 2106 Problogger Event with her talk about bringing multiple passions/interests into one blog. In 2015, she gave her TEDx presentation about why some of us don’t have one true calling. I believe that was her reaching her tipping point. Since then, interest in her work has exploded. The release of her book, How To Be Everything, this year will spread that even further.

You can check out her top resources for multipotentialites at her Start Here page.

Ramit Sethi

Ramit Sethi is a New York Times bestselling author and founder of iwillteachyoutoberich.com. Over 1,000,000 people read his material to learn how to use psychology and systems to live a Rich Life. His work has helped me change my relationship with money.

His work has been featured here in the past via two guest posts by Michael Alexis.

His blog posts are brilliant but I also love it when he is interviewed. Here are a few of my favourites:

Now, he’s helping his readers create a low-risk and automated online business at his new site, Growth Lab. I highly recommend following it.

Sujan Patel

Sujan Patel is a leading expert in digital marketing. He is the co-founder of WebProfits, a growth marketing agency, and is a partner in many software companies.

It is so easy to be intimidated by Sujan’s experience and breadth of knowledge, especially if you are at the start of his blogging career. Don’t be. He is a prolific writer and content curator and shares so many useful resources via his Twitter account. He contributes regularly to Forbes, Wall Street Journal, and Inc.

Some of my favourite posts include:

Find out SujanPatel.com

Neil Fahey

Neil Fahey is one of my favourite Australian bloggers. He created Bushwalking Blog in 2008 to provide detailed reports of his hikes. In 2011 he expanded the scope of Bushwalking Blog to cover all things hiking, from how-tos and trip reports to news, outdoors photography, safety, and gear reviews.

What I find fascinating is how he leveraged his growing popularity in the outdoor niche into other online businesses. In 2013, he launched a hire service for personal locator beacons – a product that many hikers need but can’t afford to purchase outright. Later, he created an online booking site for nature-based walking tours at AussieHikingTours.com.

So many bloggers look at traditional methods of monetization such as advertising, affiliate income and developing online products. Neil has taken a different approach to meet the needs of his audience. I think we can learn a lot from his experience.

Alexis Grant

I featured Alexis as one of the 20 Bloggers to Watch in 2012 describing her as a “publishing powerhouse.” Well – I was right! She has blown me away with the work she has done since then.

Mid 2013, she launched her new blog The Write Life. She shares more about the behind the scenes development of this site in the bottom half of the websites about page. The site has since become one of the premiere destinations on the web for writers.

In 2015, her content marketing company was acquired by Taylor Media, the company behind the popular The Penny Hoarder blog. She became the Executive Editor, running the editorial side of the company. In 2016, the site was named the #1 fastest-growing private media company by Inc. 500.

I believe she will be accomplishing great things in the coming year, and beyond. You can follow her journey at AlexisGrant.com

Over To You

What bloggers are you watching in 2017? Any trends piquing your interest? Please share in the comments.

The post Bloggers to Watch in 2017 appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


ProBlogger

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Bloggers to Watch in 2017

Bloggers to Watch in 2017

This is a guest contribution from Jade Craven.

The blogosphere has changed so much over the past decade. I curated Bloggers To Watch column here on Problogger for four years and it is phenomenal how much has changed since I wrote my last post in 2012.

In that time, popular bloggers have pivoted multiple times. Social platforms have risen and fallen. It is a fascinating time. So fascinating that I asked to compile another list of bloggers that haven appeared on my radar.

This post features bloggers who have gotten my attention over the past year. It doesn’t reflect the top bloggers online. Rather, it’s a list of bloggers that have sparked my interest and is heavily biased towards the marketing niche.

Sol Orwell

Sol Orwell is someone that has gotten a lot of attention in the entrepreneurship space over the past 2 years. To quote from Smart Passive Income:

Sol’s built his career across a dizzying number of spaces. He’s a master at building authority in a niche, identifying community pain points, and crafting businesses that meet those urgent needs

His latest project, Examine.Com, garners around 70,000 visitors a day and is a seven-figure business. Normally, such figures would put me off recommending him. However, his work stands out and he can teach you a lot about networking and selling products. His post about How I made my guest post a massive success [CASE STUDY] blew me away when I first read it.

It is refreshing because his work doesn’t repeat the passive income rhetoric. If anything, he rebels against many of the common themes in the marketing niche. To quote from his about page:

Having a one-time launch of $ 50,000 does not make you a guru, nor does making $ 2k/mo from your websites make you a passive income genius, nor does getting 2000 visitors a day to your site make you some kind of traffic genius.

You can learn more by checking out his blog at SJO.com

Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday is a writer and media strategist. I initially discovered him via his first book Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, where he shows how blogs control and distort the news. As a blogger, I found it useful to learn how I was being manipulated.

He’s written extensively about his business experiences. The following posts have helped me immensely:

Lately, his work has focused on what we can learn from philosophy. I believe everyone can learn from the principles of Stoicism, which he explores at Daily Stoic.

You can learn more by visiting his blog at RyanHoliday.net

Emilie Wapnick

Emilie Wapnick wowed attendees of the 2106 Problogger Event with her talk about bringing multiple passions/interests into one blog. In 2015, she gave her TEDx presentation about why some of us don’t have one true calling. I believe that was her reaching her tipping point. Since then, interest in her work has exploded. The release of her book, How To Be Everything, this year will spread that even further.

You can check out her top resources for multipotentialites at her Start Here page.

Ramit Sethi

Ramit Sethi is a New York Times bestselling author and founder of iwillteachyoutoberich.com. Over 1,000,000 people read his material to learn how to use psychology and systems to live a Rich Life. His work has helped me change my relationship with money.

His work has been featured here in the past via two guest posts by Michael Alexis.

His blog posts are brilliant but I also love it when he is interviewed. Here are a few of my favourites:

Now, he’s helping his readers create a low-risk and automated online business at his new site, Growth Lab. I highly recommend following it.

Sujan Patel

Sujan Patel is a leading expert in digital marketing. He is the co-founder of WebProfits, a growth marketing agency, and is a partner in many software companies.

It is so easy to be intimidated by Sujan’s experience and breadth of knowledge, especially if you are at the start of his blogging career. Don’t be. He is a prolific writer and content curator and shares so many useful resources via his Twitter account. He contributes regularly to Forbes, Wall Street Journal, and Inc.

Some of my favourite posts include:

Find out SujanPatel.com

Neil Fahey

Neil Fahey is one of my favourite Australian bloggers. He created Bushwalking Blog in 2008 to provide detailed reports of his hikes. In 2011 he expanded the scope of Bushwalking Blog to cover all things hiking, from how-tos and trip reports to news, outdoors photography, safety, and gear reviews.

What I find fascinating is how he leveraged his growing popularity in the outdoor niche into other online businesses. In 2013, he launched a hire service for personal locator beacons – a product that many hikers need but can’t afford to purchase outright. Later, he created an online booking site for nature-based walking tours at AussieHikingTours.com.

So many bloggers look at traditional methods of monetization such as advertising, affiliate income and developing online products. Neil has taken a different approach to meet the needs of his audience. I think we can learn a lot from his experience.

Alexis Grant

I featured Alexis as one of the 20 Bloggers to Watch in 2012 describing her as a “publishing powerhouse.” Well – I was right! She has blown me away with the work she has done since then.

Mid 2013, she launched her new blog The Write Life. She shares more about the behind the scenes development of this site in the bottom half of the websites about page. The site has since become one of the premiere destinations on the web for writers.

In 2015, her content marketing company was acquired by Taylor Media, the company behind the popular The Penny Hoarder blog. She became the Executive Editor, running the editorial side of the company. In 2016, the site was named the #1 fastest-growing private media company by Inc. 500.

I believe she will be accomplishing great things in the coming year, and beyond. You can follow her journey at AlexisGrant.com

Over To You

What bloggers are you watching in 2017? Any trends piquing your interest? Please share in the comments.

The post Bloggers to Watch in 2017 appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


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186: A Step-By-Step Guide to How I Write a Blog Post

How I Write a Blog Post – My Step-By-Step Process

Today, I want to walk you through my step by step process for writing a blog post!

I get asked about this regularly over in the ProBlogger podcast listeners Facebook group today put together some notes on the workflow I use and want to run  you through it.

Before I do – and speaking of the Facebook group – I wanted to let you know that I’ve shared some exciting news with members of that group  in the last week – particularly about an event that ProBlogger is involved in running later this year in the US.

We’ve not fully launched the event yet publically but if you’re curious about coming to an event that ProBlogger is collaborating on – head to the Facebook group and check it out.

But enough of that! – let’s get into today episode.

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Good day, it’s Darren from ProBlogger. Welcome to Episode 186 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board and series of ebooks all designed to help you as a blogger to start a blog, to grow that blog’s audience, to create some really useful content for that audience and to make some money from your blog.

Today, I want to walk you through my step by step process for writing a blog post. I get asked quite regularly over in the ProBlogger podcast listeners group on Facebook about my writing process. Whilst I’ve talked about different aspects of my process, various episodes of this podcast, I’ve never really gone from start to finish. Today, I want to walk you through it.

Before I do, I just did give you a little hint, that we’ve got some events coming up with ProBlogger. This year, we are planning to do an Australian event. In fact, there may be more than one, we’ll let you know a little bit more about that in the coming weeks. But we also, this year, want to do something in the US because we do have so many of our readers of ProBlogger, listeners of this podcast in the US.and speaking of the Facebook group – I wanted to let you know that I’ve shared some exciting news with members of that group  in the last week – particularly about an event that ProBlogger is involved in running later this year in the US. This year, we are planning an event in the US.

Whilst we’re not quite ready to launch details of that quite yet, I’m working with some partners on this particular event, we have let some details slip out in the Facebook group. We wanted to do a bit of a soft launch. If you’re curious about coming to an event in the US, go join the ProBlogger Podcast Listeners Facebook Group. Do a search on Facebook for ProBlogger Podcast Listeners and you will find the group. Join and you will find some details in there. By the time this episodes comes out, you may even be able to pick up an early bird ticket to that event. If you’re curious about coming to an event in the US, check out the Facebook group. If you’re in Australia or willing to come to Australia later in the year, stay tuned, we’ll let you know a little bit more about that.

But enough of all that, enough of me teasing you about events. I know I’ve been known for doing that. I want to get into today’s episode. Let’s get into talking about my writing process.

Ben over in the Facebook group today asked me this morning if I could talk a little about how I go about writing blog posts. He particularly wanted to know how I outline my posts and then how I go about ordering the writing process; when do I write headlines, introductions, and that type of thing.

I started to write back a rather long post to Ben describing what I go through. As I was writing it, I realized I’ve never really fully run through that whole process on this podcast. That’s what I want to do today. I hope it will be helpful for you. I have touched on some of the different things that I’m going to talk about in previous episodes, so I’m not going to rehash all of that today. I’ll refer you back to some of those episodes as we go along.

Let’s get into it. The first thing that I do is pretty logical, really. It’s to pick a topic. Pick something that I want the post to be about. I should say this process really does apply to creating videos on YouTube or a podcast even. I went through almost this exact process in preparing this podcast. I actually use a very similar process when I’m creating a talk as well, a presentation, a keynote presentation.

This, for me, given the type of blogs that I have is almost always about either identifying a question that one of my readers is asking that I can answer, or identifying a problem that one of my readers has that they’re trying to overcome, or identifying a task that someone is trying to complete, or identifying a goal that someone is trying to reach.

I’m a teaching blogger, I’m a how-to kind of blogger. 95% of my posts are how to content. I always start with one of those things; a question, a problem, a process, a task, or a goal that someone is trying to achieve. Generally, that defines the topic of my post. I’m coming from that perspective today as a teaching blogger, I’m sure other people would choose topics based upon other things but that’s where I’m coming from.

Number two, this is something I think is really important, I don’t see too many other people writing about this when they outline their process. Number two for me is to remind myself of my reader. I’ve kind of eluded to this in my first point, picking a topic, because almost all the posts that I write tend to come out of questions or problems or goals that my readers have. In this step, I take a moment before I write anything to try and imagine the situation of my reader. You are so much more effective in your blogging if you write with your reader in mind, if you write to your reader. I think it’s really important to pause before you write, to picture your reader.

I’ve talked in previous episodes about how I’ve got avatars or reader profiles. I think I talked about this in Episode 33, about how to develop an avatar. In this step, I go a little bit deeper and I try and write a sentence before I write anything else about who my reader is and how they look at this topic, how they view the topic that I’m talking about, the perspective that they might have on this topic.

If I’m writing about a problem, why do they have that problem? Why does my typical reader have that problem? How do they feel about that problem? What have they previously tried to overcome that problem? What has stopped them from solving that problem in the past? Take a few minutes to put yourself in the shoes of your reader. This might be about you going back in time to when you had that problem or when you had that question, and actually just let yourself marinate in the situation of your reader for a moment because if you write from that perspective with that person in mind, you’re going to be so much more effective in your writing. You’re going to write with empathy and you’re going to write a relevant piece of content for them. You’re not going to write a hypothetical post, you’re going to write something that’s going to solve a person’s problem.

Let me give you a really quick example. I might choose to write a post on my photography blog answering a really common question that we get quite a bit. The question we often get is, “How should I light my portraits?” That’s a typical question we get. It’s a good question, but there’s a lot of different ways that I can approach that question depending on who is asking the question. My readers, who are they? What type of gear do they have? What type of budget do they have to buy new gear? What type of experience or level are they at in their photography?

If I was doing this for my readers on Digital Photography School, I’d write a short sentence or two describing my reader. If I was doing this for DPS readers, I might identify that a lot of our readers are just starting out with photography, they’re beginners. Their perspective, their viewpoint of lighting a portrait is they don’t even know where to start. They may not have too much lighting gear at their fingertips, they may have one flash, they may not even have a flash, they might be just using lights around their home, they might be on a real budget.

Knowing that gives me a viewpoint to write that article from, it gives me a perspective to tackle, it gives me a real understanding of who might be reading their article. I’m not going to write an article about how to light a portrait with professional photography gear in this case, I’m going to write something from the perspective of someone just starting out. Think about your reader, think about the situation they’re in, the feelings they have, the questions that they have around your topic. The more you can do thinking around that, the better position you’re going to be in to outline an article and to write that article with real empathy and in a relatable way.

The other thing I’m thinking about when I’m thinking about my reader is what do I want them to do after reading my article? Thinking about the call to action before you start writing anything is really important because it will shape your article, it will shape your headline, it will shape your introduction, it will shape the way you write your main part of the content, and it will shape your conclusion. Don’t just get to the end of your article and ask yourself, “What do I want my readers to do now?” Ask that question before you start writing.

Number three, create a working headline. This is something that I’ve actually changed my perspective on, I used to write the article and then write a headline. I know some people prefer to do it that way and that’s totally fine, I understand that perspective. What I like to do is spend a little bit of time taking that topic, taking that reader perspective, and trying to come up with a headline. I find that sometimes in the creating of a working headline that I find a unique angle to write the post from, particularly given the work I’ve just done on understanding my readers.

If I want to take that example a little bit further, the question I’m writing about is how do I light a portrait. I’ve done the work in understanding my reader, I understand they’re beginners, they don’t have much lighting gear. I might brainstorm headlines and come up with things like how to light a portrait using lights you find around your home. That might be something that interests that type of reader. Or, how to light a portrait when you’ve only got one flash.

They’re not really fully formed headlines yet, but they’re good enough for a working headline. I might choose one of those. Really, by coming up with a variety of those type of headlines, I actually now have an angle for my article. I might take that one how to light a portrait using the lights that you find around your home, that gives me the whole article. I can start to think about what lights do I have around the home and begin to construct that particular article. Or if I choose the one how to light a portrait with just one flash, I now have the boundaries of what that article needs to be about. For me, creating that working headline upfront sometimes just gives a little bit more tightness to what the article is about.

I will say, it’s important that this is just a working headline, it’s just a working title. I often, if not always, go back and tweak and change the headline later after I’ve written the article, or sometimes even as I’m writing the article I’m thinking about I need to change that headline a little bit.

I do talk a lot about headlines in Episode 156. If headlines is something you want to learn more about, I give you a variety of different ways to come up with a great headline for your article in that episode 156.

Number four is to brainstorm and list the main points or the main teaching of your article. I’m coming from someone who’s teaching in most of my articles. For me, it’s about trying to construct something that is going to teach people or is going to convince people of something. At this point, I’m not really writing a lot, I’m coming up more with a bullet point list, and I do this in a text document on my computer, sometimes I’ll do it on a notepad or I’m doing this in mind mapping. I did talk about that in Episode 182. I use a couple of softwares to create mind maps. Sometimes, for some of my larger articles, I like to visualize it. In many cases, it’s about doing it on a piece of paper or on a text document.

I’m trying at this point to brainstorm the answers to the questions that I’ve identified, or solutions to problems, I’m outlining the steps that a reader needs to go through to learn a new skill or master a process. I’m really trying to add the bones to the article, I’m not adding muscles, I’m not really adding much at this point. I’m just coming up with bullet points. Those bullet points will often become subheadings in my articles. I tend to almost start with a list, my articles don’t always end up as a list although sometimes they do. I find that by coming up with some main subheadings for my article for the main sections, and then beginning to come up with a few sub points for each of those sections, that’s where the article begins to form for me.

This is really the outlining process. I often start with more points than I actually end up using in the article. I’m thinking about all the possible things I could write and then I begin to call it down and come up with the main things that I want to say, the most valuable things.

I don’t get too precious about how many points I’m going to make, I know some bloggers only create lists of seven things. I don’t do that, I use as many points in my articles as I think are useful and I try and make it the best article I can. Some of my articles and podcasts have one point, sometimes it’s most effective if you’ve just got one big idea, and sometimes I have up to 20 or 30. I think I had a podcast recently with 21 points in it.

It’s about trying to come up with what you’re going to say, outline that in a bullet point or in a mind map in some ways. You may want to write a sentence about what you’d say in each of those sections, or some sub bullet points as well.

I think it’s really important to arrange those points in the right order. This is something I think a lot of bloggers could improve their writing by just taking a moment or two to ask themselves is this the right order? Is it a logical order? Are my points building upon one another?

Most articles, it’s much more effective to put them in a logical order, in an order that builds momentum and makes sense to your readers. Spend some time on that. At this point, I’m still outlining, I try and take a bit of a critical look at the outline I’ve come up with. When I’m happy with the outline, I look at it and then I start to ask myself some hard questions. This sometimes isn’t a very nice process, but sometimes things like is this outline going to be useful? Usually, you can tell from an outline whether it’s going to be a lightweight article or whether it’s gonna be really useful. Is someone going to have a fist pump moment when they read this article, given the points you’ve come up with, or are they going to say that was okay? “They got me to click but it didn’t really change my life.” Is that article useful? Is it meaningful? Is it going to change someone’s life in some way?

What questions might people still be asking at the end of reading that type of article, looking at the points that you’re going to make. Will they have some questions? Make note of what those questions are. Is there something that you don’t know as the author yet about this topic that you really should know? Sometimes when we write articles, we get to the end of the article and we go, “I didn’t really know enough about that. I should’ve done some research on that.” What arguments and objections might people have about this article having a look at that outline?

I think it’s really important to ask those types of questions, be critical about the outline that you’ve come up with. Don’t just ask those questions at the end when you’ve written the whole thing. I think it’s important to ask some of those questions as you’re drafting an outline for your article. Because sometimes, at this point in the process, you realize that you need to go away and do some research, or that you need to go away and ask some questions of your own to learn more about that particular topic, or maybe at this point having asked those questions you think actually this is a bit of a weak article, I’m not going to write it.

That’s happened to me many times, I’d much rather come to that conclusion that this is not a strong article. At that point then after I’ve already written something because that’s going to take me several hours more. Ask some of those critical questions at this point. It may be that you need to go away and do some research. I try not to look at what other people have written too early in the process, I like to outline my article first, and then do some research and see what other people have written to see if there’s any other ways that I can improve it. I tend to do that later. It’s also really important to make note of who inspired you so that you can give some credit for that as well.

The other thing you might want to do, having asked some of those questions, if you realize that the article is not going to be strong enough, you may want to go away and seek some help from other people. You can seek help by reading other people’s articles, but maybe there’s someone you can do an interview with or ask some questions or even get them to write a section of your post for you. This point in the drafting of your post, it’s important to have asked those questions so that you can put in place answers to the objections people will have, that you can strengthen something that’s shaping up to be weak.

Number five is where we begin to work on the introduction. I do know that some people wait until after they’re written their article and then go back and write their introduction, in the same ways that people sometimes do that for their headline. I, again, find that for me, writing the introduction upfront is good, it helps me get into the flow as a writer. Sometimes, I find that if I’ve written an introduction, again it shapes the direction of the article and it helps me to write the rest of the article faster and more in the flow. I will say as with a headline, I will often go back and re-work an introduction later, I think it’s important to do that. I find for me writing that introduction early is good.

When you’re doing your introduction, a few things I’ll say about that. Again, as you’re writing an introduction, be really thinking about your reader and their position, the questions and the feelings that they have. I think a good introduction not only identifies the topic, which is important, but it also should empathize with the reader. It should show your reader that you understand their situation, that you understand the question they have or the problem they have and how they feel about that. I think if you can show some empathy in those first few lines, you’ll make a deeper connection with your reader and that will drive them to want to read the rest of your article. Show them that you know how they feel, that you understand their situation, rather than you’re just writing a hypothetical article on a topic.

Paint a picture also of what the benefits of them reading the rest of your article are. You might want to make a promise, you might want to say this is an outcome that you’ll have as a result of reading this article. They’re the type of things that I would put in an introduction. For me, an introduction is generally between one and three paragraphs. As I’ve said, this will get reworked later, it’s a working introduction.

Point number six is to expand your main points. With the introduction written, I then tackle each of the previously outlined points that I’ve gone through in putting that outline together. This is where I write the bulk of the article, this is where I spend a lot of time. Sometimes for me, it will take a couple hours to write a couple thousand words or a thousand words, sometimes it will take me a couple of days to really work through this depending on how hard it is and whether I’m in the flow or not of writing. Generally, what I do is take a bullet point from my outline and come up with a subheading for that part of the article. And then, I write a paragraph or two or three, or maybe a little bullet list as part of that article.

I try and stick to the outline I’ve previously come up with, but it’s not unusual for me to also be thinking of more things that I can say as I’m going. I’ll either make note of the other ideas I’m getting on a piece of paper next to me, or I might add them to the outline that I already come up with.

I also find as I’m writing articles, I get ideas for new articles. It’s often in this part of the process that I’ll be tempted as I’m writing to take a tangent. I’ve trained myself to be aware that sometimes those tangents take in the middle of an article are actually new blog posts. I think it’s really useful to have somewhere as you’re writing that you can just brain dump other ideas that you get, or other questions that you think readers might have that relate to your topic.

Really, point number six here is about expanding the main points. It’s adding meat to those bones that you’ve come up with earlier in your article. You can see here that I tend to write my articles in the order that my readers read them. For me, this is really important. I write the headline, the introduction, the main part of the article.

Point number seven is really moving onto the conclusion. The age old advice of Aristotle says, “Tell them what you’ll say,” that’s your introduction. “Then, tell them,” which is the main part of your article. “And then tell them what you just told them,” this is the conclusion. Good articles have some kind of a conclusion. For me again, I do this after I’ve written the bulk of the article. Once I know what I’ve told them, I then try and sum up my teaching in some way.

Usually for me, this is about trying to return to the problem or the question that I set out in the introduction to tackle, to remind people what I’ve tried to teach them. Give them a bit of a summary of the main points again. You’ve probably heard me do this in the podcast quite a bit. I generally go back through the points that I’ve made, put them in a nice, quick summary statement. And then, it’s important to ask your readers to take some kind of action and to go back to that thing that you identified right at the start that you want your readers to do and then ask them to do that. It’s important not to ask them to do too many things but clearly state the one thing you want them to do next. Make it very clear what you want them to do. That can really be anything. Depending on the article, it could be to do something that you’ve been just teaching them to do. Go away and try this technique I’ve just talked about, or it might be something more about leaving a comment, or telling a story, or responding and interacting with what you’ve done in some way. There’s no right call to action, it really has to flow from the goals of your blog and the goals of this particular article.

Number eight, before I do any editing, I’m looking to polish and add depth in some way. I think almost every article could be improved in some way, and not just by editing, there can be more added to it. Could you add a story? Could you add an image? Could you go and find a video on YouTube that you can embed into it? Could you create a chart that illustrates something that you’ve done? How could you make it look better and how can you make the content actually be better? Could you go away and find a quote from someone and add that particular thing in? Could you go away and do a little mini interview with someone to add in some of their ideas, with maybe an alternative viewpoint to what you’ve written. It’s really important to make your content look really good but to add depth to it as well.

Step number nine, the last one I want to talk about, is to edit and proofread. You’ve spent a lot of time by this point steering over your article but you need to take a little bit of a step back at this point and do some editing. For me, I find putting a bit of space between when I write and when I edit is really important. I think we use different parts of our brains for this more critical thinking about editing. I suggested seven steps for editing your work in Episode 168, but I do want to emphasize it’s so important to do. You waste all that energy by publishing something that’s not quite good enough and that’s got glaring mistakes in it. Do some editing, or get someone else to help you with that particular process. Build editing and proofreading into your workflow. Quality control really does matter.

To summarize that, because all good conclusions have a summary, pick your topic, number one. Number two, remind yourself of your reader, do a little bit of work about putting yourself in their shoes. Number three, create a working headline. Number four is to brainstorm and to list the main points of your article. Number five, write a working introduction. Number six, expand the main points. Number seven is write a conclusion and call to action. Number eight is to polish. I should’ve said in the polishing stage for me, that’s where I go back to my headline, I go back to my introduction, and rework those so that they’re not just working headlines, working introductions, they are the final ones. Number nine is to edit and proofread your content.

That’s my workflow. I would love to know how this differs from yours, what you would add into it. I wrote a whole series of posts on this topic quite a few years ago now on the ProBlogger blog. I’m going to link back to that because I think it’s still relevant today, I do go into more depth in each of the things that I’ve talked about. I also have another one right at the end about what to do after you’ve published your content as well.

The title of that series was actually called How To Craft A Blogpost, 10 Crucial Points To Pause. The whole idea of that series was that I think a lot of bloggers—I’ve done this myself. It’s so tempting to just bang out a blogpost, just bang out an article and hit publish and put it out there. The whole point of that series, and hopefully of this particular episode, is that I think it’s so important to take your time and to craft the content that you have. That means pausing to ask question, pausing to imagine your reader, pausing to make it better, to add depth, to polish. Crafts people don’t just bang out art, they really take their time and they add depth to it. They make it the best it can be. I think it’s important that we do that with our content.

Whatever workflow you have, I really encourage you to pause along the way to be reflective about it, to ask those questions along the way. Most importantly, to really keep coming back to who is reading that content. On the other end of that content is a human being who has needs, who has problems, who has feelings, who has a situation that they’re in, and to really spend a little bit of time throughout this whole process, to picture them, to understand them, and to write for them. It’s such an important thing. Your content will rise in quality, it will rise in relevance to people, and it will be the type of thing that people will want to share because they feel connected to you if you go to that extra effort of understanding who’s on the other side of that content. Craft your content, don’t just create it, craft it, take your time with it.

You can find today’s show notes with all the further listening that I mentioned along the way over at problogger.com/podcast/186. I hope you found this one useful, and also as I said before, check out the ProBlogger Podcast Listeners Facebook Group where we do have some details of some upcoming events, particularly an event coming up in the US. Love to connect with you and hopefully even meet you and see you there.

Thanks for listening today, I’ll chat with you in Episode 187.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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187: Is Written Content Dead?

What the Future Looks Like for Written Content

In today’s lesson, I want to talk to you about written content vs other mediums and respond to a few questions I’ve been getting lately about which medium is best to focus upon and to answer the question – is the future of written content dead!

Listen to this episode in the player above or here on iTunes (look for episode 187).

Events:

Before I get into today’s show though I’ve been hinting for a few episodes now that I’ll have some news for you about this year’s ProBlogger events in Australia and the USA – and how you can get early bird tickets to both.

Today I’m pleased to announce what we’re doing:

In Australia – we’re running two events. We’ve got Pat Flynn coming out to speak in both Brisbane and Melbourne on two consecutive weeks. Brisbane is 29-30 July and Melbourne is 5-6 August.

There’s two options with tickets in both cities. On the Saturdays we’ll be doing a larger single stream day with 7 sessions. Pat, myself and some other special guests will be teaching on how to monetize blogs. We’ll be talking monetization models, content, traffic, engagement and conversion.

On the Sundays there’s an option to upgrade your ticket to come to a mastermind day. These will be much smaller (32 people) and give you an opportunity to really drill down into your own blog and business and to talk with both Pat, myself and some other experience bloggers to brainstorm, strategize and plan how to grow your business.

These two Aussie events are already selling quickly – the Melbourne mastermind is already sold out but there are tickets as I record this for day 1 in Melbourne and both day 1 and the mastermind in Brisbane.

Check out the Aussie event at problogger.com/events, where for the next week or so you can save $ 100 when you get an Early Bird Ticket.

If you’re in the US, I am co-presenting/hosting an event in Dallas on 24-25 October. I’m doing this in partnership with the Digital CoLab and we’re calling it the Success Incubator.

This event will be a combination of very practical/actionable teaching but also a chance to really drill down and mastermind/discuss your business in round table sessions.

We’ll be announcing more details about speakers and agenda in the coming weeks but have put tickets on sale for those of you who are keen. We have a limited number of tickets and they’re already selling fast. You can see what we’re planning and grab your ticket at:

problogger.com/success, where there’s currently an Early Bird ticket available that saves you $ 50.

OK – that’s enough about our events – let’s get into today’s show where we’re going to talk about the place of written content in blogging today.

Mentioned in todays episode – A series by Colin Gray on Content Stacking.




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Hey there and welcome to episode 187 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind the ProBlogger.com – blog, podcast, event, job board and series of eBooks all designed to help you, as a blogger, to grow your audience, but first, to start you blog, to grow your audience and then to create some amazing content that’s going to help people to improve their lives in some way. This is going to make the world better but also, hopefully, be sustainable for you to build some profit into your blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger and all that we do over at ProBlogger.com.

In today’s lesson, I want to talk to you about written content versus other mediums, other types of content. I want to respond to a few questions that I’ve been getting lately about which medium is best to focus upon and if there’s any future in the written word. Is the future of the written content dead? That’s the question I had a few times at Social Media Marketing World last week. I want to address in today’s podcast.

You can find today show notes where I’ll have some further listening and further reading over at ProBlogger.com/podcast/187.

Before I get into today’s show, I have been hinting over the last few episodes that I’ll have some news for you about this year’s ProBlogger event in Australia and the USA, and how you can get some early bird tickets to both those. Today, I’m pleased to announce what we’re doing. I’m going to give you some further reading if you are interested, over in the show notes. But if you’re in Australia, we’re running two events this year. We’ve got Pat Flynn coming out to speak from Smart Passive Income. He’s coming out to Brisbane and Melbourne on consecutive weeks. Brisbane is the 29th and 30th of July and Melbourne is the 5th and 6th of August.

There are two options for tickets in both of those cities as well. We’re doing two-day events as you know. The first day, in both cities is a larger single stream day with a seven sessions. Pat, myself and some other special guest will be teaching you on the topic of monetizing blogs. We’re going to be specifically talking about the different models that you can do, content tips and traffic tips, some engagement tips and a little bit about conversion, making the money from all that stuff. That’s the first day. It’s everyone in the same room. We’ll have 100 plus people in on that day, potentially even more.

On the Sunday, the second day, there’s an option to upgrade your ticket to come to a mastermind day. Again, these will be with Pat, myself, and some other experienced blogger. It’s going to be limited to 32 people for that second day. We’ll give an opportunity to really drill down into your blog, into your business, to talk to Pat, myself and some of these other experts that were bringing in to strategize, to plan and to really brainstorm what it is that you need to do to grow your business, much more intimate kind of thing.

Those two cities, Melbourne and Brisbane, that’s the format. We’ll do the same thing in both events with slightly different speakers in addition to Pat and myself. I have to say the Melbourne mastermind is already sold out. It’s sold out in the few hours when we launched it. As I record this, there’s still a few tickets left for the mastermind in Brisbane and then there are plenty of tickets for day one of both of those events. We should be able to accommodate most people who want to come to those first days.

If you’re in Australia, check out ProBlogger.com/events and for the next week or so you get $ 100 early bird discount on both tickets there.

If you’re in the US, as I know about half of our listeners are. I’m co presenting or co hosting an event in Dallas, in October. It’s the 24th and 25th of October. It’s in partnership with some friends of mine called the Digital CoLab and we’re calling the event that’s partnership of both of our different businesses, we’re calling it the Success Incubator. I’ve got some link for you on that as well if you go to ProBlogger.com/success.

ProBlogger.com/success, there’s a $ 50 discount at present for early birds.

That event is going to be a combination of some practical, actionable teaching but also some mastermind type of experiences as well. We will be giving you a bit more information on that in the next few weeks but at the moment, you can get that early bird offer. Again, if you’re in Australia, ProBlogger.com/events. If you’re in America, ProBlogger.com/success.

That’s all I got to say on the events, I would love to see you there. It’s the whole out of my year doing this events. It’s probably the best thing that I think I do. If you get some value from this podcast, you’re going to love what we do at those events because it’s very similar. I’m trying to do practical, actionable stuff that you’re going to get a lot of value at. Some of my best online friends will be there to deliver that value as well in addition to what I’ve got to present.

That’s enough of the events. You can find today show notes over at ProBlogger.com/podcast/187 where I’ll link to both of those event types as well.

That’s the longest introduction I have ever done. I’m not going to do that in every show, that’s for sure but I want to get onto today’s show. We’re going to talk about written content.

Just a little word of warning, I’m completely jet lagged out of my head. I got back from Social Media Marketing World a couple of days ago in San Diego, 25 hours both ways. Those of you who were in the Facebook group, who know that I, pretty much, every time I had a layover, I answered questions in the group. I want to thank those of you who kept me company over that particular trip. That was a crazy trip. I’m pretty tired but I want to get into today show, we’re talking about written content.

The reason that I want to talk about it is because at Social Media Marketing World, I recon I had about 10 conversations with people about written content and whether it has a future. People are coming out and going, is written content dead? Everyone at Social Media Marketing World is talking about video. There were whole streams about podcasts. There were lots of streams about visual content. In a lot of our sessions on written content, people were saying, “Is it dead? Is there a future in it?” That’s why I want to talk about it today.

To do so, I want to rewind the clock back to 2002, in my first blog. While it’s the first blog, it was called Living Room, it’s not online anymore the other day, I was actually looking back as part of my preparation for my talk at Social Media Marketing World. I went onto one of my favorite tools, the Internet Archive, which is a tool that records what sites you used to look like in the past. It’s actually recording what it looks like every few months. Once you’re site’s in there, it will continue to grab what things look like on your site right now.

I went back as far as I could on the Internet Archive to find what my blog look like, that first original blog looked like. I got to it eventually when I remembered what the URL was because it was on Blogspot when I first had it. As I was looking at it, I found myself really cringing. Probably because of the horrible design, I hacked it together myself. I’m not a designer at all. Back then I was even less of a designer. I also cringed at the spelling mistakes and some of the naivety of what I was doing on the blog at the time.

As I was looking at it, I was amazed by a couple of things. The main thing that I was amazed about was the complete lack of visual content on that blog. The front page had 10 posts on it and not a single one of them had anything other than text. The only visuals on the front page of my blog were a tiny little series of 100×100 pixels that I put in the header of my design, these tiny little images which, if memory serves me correctly, took me days to get those images right up there in the design. That was the only visual on the whole site. Every blog post I had was text and it really, to me, stood out as being very different to what my blogs look like today. If you go to my blogs today, ProBlogger for instance, you’ll see there’s video on the front page and on key pages around the site. Every single post has images. There’s obviously a podcast on there as well. It’s a much more of a multimedia experience.

Back then in 2002, I didn’t use images or any other mediums at all for a number of reasons. Firstly, people just didn’t do that back then. I do remember a few bloggers who were doing visual stuff but really not many at all. Most bloggers that I was reading were doing purely text as well. Dial up internet, that’s what I was on at that time in 2002. That made it hard to upload images. I remember trying to upload an image at one stage, even those 100×100 pixels, it was really slow to get them up there. Any time that I did start to do images, I would get pushed back from my readers because some of my readers were on dial up as well. I really didn’t like it when I did use images. I don’t know if you remember those days when you would load up a website with images on it and the images would load line by line, a big image would take 5 to 10 minutes to see images. I guess the other reason that people weren’t doing multimedia, video and audio in particular, was that the tools to do that were pretty primitive. This is pre-YouTube, this is pre-iTunes. The tools to make that topic content were pretty primitive as well.

It was possible to do it but it was pretty hard to do. Things have changed a lot since 2002 when I started blogging. Today, not a blog post goes by on my blog where there’s not at least a single image. That’s a rule I have. We have to have an image in every post. Of course, I’m doing a weekly podcast. We’re doing live videos over on Facebook and embedding some of those into content on the blogs as well, playing with different types of mediums, some infographics and other visual content as well.

The web today is just so much more visual and the tools at our fingertips are so powerful. The fact that I can get my phone now and go live on Facebook is just amazing, so much easier to create content, to edit that content today. There’s this expectation amongst our readers today that if content isn’t at the very least visual, then it’s often seen as second right. As a result, we’re seeing a lot more bloggers shifting their attention to audio, to visual, to live content and visual content as well. As a result, I’m starting to see some of my friends shift away or at least decreasing their reliance on the written word.

Hence, the question I’ve been getting this year at Social Media Marketing World. Is the future of text, of written content gloomy? Is written content dead?

I don’t think it is. I really don’t think it is. What I think has been happening over the last five years is a needed realignment to get the balance right between the different mediums. If we look over the last few decades of mainstream media, even before the rise of the internet, we’ve always seen room for text, newspapers, magazines in largely a textual content with images as well, I guess. We’ve always had, over the last few decades, room for audio radio, we’ve always had room for video over the last few decades at least, with television, movies whether that be live television or recorded televisions.

As we look back in history, we’ve always had these types of content sitting side by side, at least over the last few decades since television came out. We’ve always had them sitting side by side but there had been periods of time where certain mediums have dominated. We’ve seen the rise and fall of different mediums. None of them have ever completely died, often. Over the last decade, we’ve seen of course a massive shift to the internet. Now, it’s so much easier to produce all of these different types of content on the internet. In comparison to 2002, it’s so much easier to do video. I think what’s been happening as we’ve seen the rise of audio and particularly the rise of video is just a realignment. I actually think it’s going to balance out and we will see a place in another few years where these three different types of content or four different types if you include visual sort of sit side by side.

At the moment, it does seem like video is everything. We’re saying Facebook, putting a lot of time in the video as well. But I think things will balance out again particularly with the web getting faster and faster and more and more of the world getting access to fast internet. We’re going to see things continue rise perhaps for audio and video for the next little while, but written content is not going away.

I actually think, at the moment, written content is still, the dominant or at least in the top two types of content that people are consuming online today. Yes, we have seen the rise in video but I think written content is still perhaps the most popular, if not, the second most popular.

There’s a few reasons that I will give you that I don’t think written content is going away. For me, the main reason for this is that some people simply prefer written content to anything else. I saw this when I launched these podcast. When I launched these podcast, I was really excited about it. I was really excited about audio because I’m an audio kind of person. I learned best through listening to someone. But when I launched it, I got some really positive feedback. I also got quite a few of my readers who were a bit angry that I was starting to do audio. They pushed back. I got a number of emails in that first week or so and in the weeks afterwards from people saying, “I don’t listen to audio.” When I do the same thing with video, when I do a Facebook Live and I link to it in a newsletter, I get emails from people saying, “I don’t watch video.”

There’s a variety of reasons why they don’t, for some it’s accessibility, they’re on slower internet. Some, it’s they don’t have an iPhone and they don’t know how to listen to the audio or they don’t want to download an app to listen to it or they don’t want to do that and for some people, it’s just a preference. Some people learn best through the written word. That’s why we’ve added transcripts for all of our podcasts but the reality is some people just prefer an article to listening to something or to watching something. This is not going away. The written word is not going away because some people just are going to be searching for that topic content. For me, that’s the number one reason. There are other reasons as well.

For now, the type of content that search engines present most in their results, this is changing a little, is written content. If you do a search for anything in Google on google.com, you will find that Google is presenting a few videos and images to include some visuals in their search results but still, the vast majority of what they’re indexing is text and written content. That might be partly because there’s more written content on the internet than video but Google is still showing more of that, I think it’s another good reason to continue to create written content.

Another reason that I think written content is great is that it’s scannable. Most people can scan an article much quicker than they can watch a video or listen to a podcast. You can speed up YouTube clip, you can double the speed of a YouTube clip. Some of you listen to these podcasts at one and a half times speed or even two times speed but there’s only some file you can speed up listening. It’s very hard to find an exact moment in a podcast. You can’t scan and go, “Yeah that looks interesting, I’m going to just go straight to that.” Same with video unless the creator of that video or audio goes to the effort of marking when things happen, they do timestamps. In most cases, written content, you can take a quick scan and go, “Yeah, I want to read that section.” That’s another advantage of written word.

We’ll see some changes in these, we’ll perhaps see Google indexing video and audio in a better way that helps people to be able to scan it and find the right beat that’s relevant for them but for now, written content is the best in terms of that. Text also allows you to really comprehensively cover an idea. Of course, this can be done in other mediums too but I think people are used to reading those comprehensive pieces of content, at least some people are. I’ve got books that take hours or days to get through. My last holidays, I read a book that took me several days to read, that really long form content people are used to. They have the mindset that they’re willing to really invest time in reading.

In terms of video content, perhaps people aren’t quite as used to that although we’re seeing changes with this. With live streaming, people are now binging on video content a lot more. Things are changing in that regard but I think text does allow you to comprehensively cover an idea in a way that people are used to and willing to invest time into.

Text is still perhaps the most accessible type of content for many people today. In terms of internet speeds, we still see some parts of the world that are on slower internet speeds than others. Text opens up a way of communication with those people. I think text builds credibility, I’m not saying video and audio don’t, but I think it does build credibility. People are impressed by the written word.

Written content is also really easy to create. This is another advantage for the written word, I think. While it’s very easy these days to create and edit video, it does take more work to get that to a final point where you can publish it. It’s something that takes some certain level of technical expertise as compared to written content where you can open up a WordPress document and type it straight in and then you can edit it on there as well. You can even go back and edit it once you’ve already published. I guess that’s the other advantage of text, for me.

In comparison to audio or video, once it’s published, it’s really hard to go back in and then edit it. Sometimes, I’ll be listening to my own podcast and think, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I made that mistake.” I could go back and edit it but it would take so much more work than it does to edit a blog post, for example.

There’s a variety of reasons why I don’t think written content is going away either from a consumer standpoint or from a creator standpoint as well. I’m sure other people would give me some other benefits of written content. If you’ve got any, I’d love to hear them in the comments over on the show notes or on the Facebook group.

I do want to say I’m not arguing that it should be the only medium. I’m not arguing that written content is the best medium even, that everyone should be creating it even. I just want to emphasize that I don’t think it’s going away. I see a lot of hype about how video is going to be the only thing that we consume online and I personally don’t see that day coming. I actually, personally think I will always listen to podcast. I prefer audio. There are certain types of content I prefer to read. I don’t have all day to sit and watch videos, to find the snippets that I really need to learn about. I want to be able to scan content. I don’t think written content is going away. I’ve just argued for written. I think there are also some real benefits of having other types of content as well.

I guess the way I look at it is it’s like a tool bell. I want in my online content creation to be able to pull out written content, to be able to produce video, to be able to produce audio, to be able to produce visual content at the right time. Each medium has its strengths. To be able to create them all enables us as communicators, as online entrepreneurs to communicate more effectively at the right time. For example, let’s just go through different types of content. I’ve just argued the case for the written content.

Let’s think about visual content. Visual content is really good today, obviously, it’s a very visual web. But what I found is the visual content helps you to get shared, it helps you to get exposure. It helps you to become known. People share visuals on Pinterest, Instagram, Google Images, help us to become known and found through visual content. Creating visual is really important because it helps us to become more known, it helps us to become shared.

Video is great, also for being found. We’re seeing video coming into the search engine results more and more. But for me, the strength of videos, that helps us to be liked. We talked about visual content helps us to be known. I think video helps us to be liked. It shows who we are. It shows people our expertise. It shows people our sense of humor, our delivery style. It helps us to become liked. It helps us to build credibility. It helps us also to illustrate ideas and processes in a way that text sometimes struggles to do. To be able to show someone this is how I do something, that’s something that you can’t do in text but it’s so much easier sometimes in video. Video is really good in that.

For me, the strength of audio is that it’s incredibly personal. I lost count of the number of times at Social Media Marketing World that people came out to me and said, “You know I feel like I talk to you every week. I feel like we have conversations. I feel like I know you on a deeper level.” There’s something very intimate about putting ear buds in the ears and listening to the voice of someone. It helps people to make a connection with you on a really deeper level. It helps people to build trust with you.

We often talk about people want to know, like and trust you. We want to be known. We want to be liked. We want to be trusted. For me, if you’re using these different types of mediums, it enables you to be known, to be liked and trusted. Particularly, if you bring those different types of medium together.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is there’s real advantages of text but there are also real advantages of these other mediums as well. If possible, gather as many skills as you can in those different areas because there’s something very powerful that happens when you bring those things together.

My friend, Colin Gray, he’s spoke at our Australian event, ProBlogger event last year. He has a blog podcast called The Podcast Host. At last year’s event, in Australia, he talked about something that I’ve never heard anyone talked about before, he called it Content Stacking, Content Stacking as a way to communicate more effectively. He talked about designing a series of content or a season of content that takes people through a number of pieces of content or a number of different types of content. He talked about bringing written word, podcast, video, visual content together to create a stack of content that leads people through a learning process.

Ever since I heard him talking about that, it’s something that I’ve been wanting to do more and more often. I’ll link in the show notes today an article that Colin wrote on that particular topic. In fact, it’s actually a series of articles that he wrote on that topic. I’ve really been digging into that series. On ProBlogger, we’re going to be exploring content stacking a little bit more in the coming months. You’re going to see us roll out some content that is stacked. It will take us a couple of months to get it together but you’re going to see us put together some content that’s written content and audio content and video content and some visual content as well that will walk you through a process over on ProBlogger. It’s something that we’re putting together at the moment. We’ll present almost like a course but I could see it being done on a blog as well. I really encourage you to really grapple with bringing the different types of content together but don’t throw out written content.

Is written content dead? No, way. Keep creating it. There are so many reasons to do it.

Should it be the only type of content you create? This is really going to come down to your goals but I think most bloggers today should be mixing their mediums. They shouldn’t be just creating single medium blogs.

I still think there is a place for single medium blogs. Someone like Seth Godin, is a great example. Seth Godin is a gifted writer. He writes really well and his articles are short and punchy, they’re short but they’re powerful and I think he presents those articles in a really good  way. He’s a gifted writer and so that’s all he does. You go look at his blog, it looks like my blog in 2002. There are no images on it at all. He’s got a bald head and his glasses a part of his brand. But really, vast majority of the content he’s creating is written content.

It can be done that you just focus on one medium. If you are an amazing writer, write. If you are a gifted video maker, go with video. If you’re audio is your skill, be a podcaster. There are no rules. You can focus on one of the mediums but I think most bloggers today are bringing these different types of mediums together but don’t give up on the written word. I guess that’s my message for tonight. Don’t give up on the written word. It still does have a big place on the web today.

If you want to listen to a little bit more, explore some of these things a little bit more, I’ve got two podcast episodes for you to go back and listen to. Firstly episode 97, I talked about embeddable content. I think this is the easiest way to get multimedia onto your blog today. Some of you are listening to this and going, “Yeah, I do written word but I don’t know how to do visuals. I don’t know how to do video. I don’t know how to do audio.” The easiest way to get those different types of mediums onto your blog is to embed content other people have created.

You go to YouTube and find the best video possible. 99% of those videos on YouTube, you can embed onto your blog. That content creators wants you to embed that content on your blog and this is the easiest way to get these different mediums onto your blog alongside that written content you’ve created.

If you want to learn more about embeddable content, go back and listen to episode 97 of the ProBlogger podcast. It’s sitting there on iTunes or you can go over to the show notes as well. I talked about some of the different types content that you can be embedding onto your blog.

The other one that you might want to listen to is episode 134 which is one where I talked about how to choose which social network but also which medium is best for your blog. If you’re just starting out and you want to experiment with adding a different type of medium into your blog but you don’t know whether you should video or you don’t know whether you should do audio or you should do something else, that episode 134 is one that you can go back and listen to. It asks you some questions, it gives you some questions to begin to explore which medium might be best for you.

Hopefully, they’ll help you. That’s episode 97 and episode 134. Otherwise, dig into the archives. There are 186 previous episodes of this podcast. There’s plenty to listen to. Lastly, don’t forget to join the ProBlogger Facebook group. We’ve seen explosion of people joining that group out over the last little while. If you want to find us, I setup a redirect for you to make it easy for you to find, just type into your browser ProBlogger.com/group and you’ll be forwarded straight to that group.

Thanks for listening. I’m looking forward to chatting with you further of the ProBlogger Facebook group or over on the show notes as well. You can find today’s show notes at ProBlogger.com/podcast/187.

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188: How to Build Two Successful Blogs (and the Pros and Cons of Doing so)

The Pros and Cons of Having More Than One Blog

In today’s lesson, I want to talk about having more than one blog on the go at once.

Regular listeners of this podcast know I have two main blog – ProBlogger and Digital Photography School. I’m fortunate enough to have been able to build them up so that either one of them could be a full time venture which is great – but having two businesses to focus upon not only comes with some benefits – but some costs.

In this episode I want to share:

  • The story of how I built them to the point they’re at today

    The pros and cons of having more than one blog or business
  • Some tips on juggling two things like this at once

Lastly – today’s episode is proudly presented by this year’s ProBlogger events. This year we’re holding three events – one in Brisbane Australia, another in Melbourne Australia and a third in Dallas Texas.

These events are designed with very similar goals to this podcast – to help bloggers to grow blogs with world changing content, with lots of readers and which are profitable. All of these events will have some amazing teaching from experienced bloggers (people like Pat Flynn who i speaking at our Australian events) but also have opportunities for masterminds and really drilling into the blog and business that you have to help take it to the next level.

If you’re interested in the Aussie events head to problogger.com/events and if you’re interested in the Dallas event head to problogger.com/success but please don’t wait too long as these events are selling quickly and the early bird price ends in the coming weeks.



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Hi there, it’s Darren from ProBlogger here. Welcome to another episode of the ProBlogger podcast, this is episode 188. For those of you who are new to ProBlogger, ProBlogger is all about helping you to start a blog, to grow your audience of your blog, to create content that’s gonna change that audience’s life and hopefully to make some money from your blog as well. You can find out more about ProBlogger and what we do at problogger.com.

In today’s lesson, I want to address a question that I’ve been getting quite a bit lately and that is, “How do you juggle two blogs and should you have two blogs?” A lot of regular listeners of this podcast know that I do have two main businesses and they both center around blogs. It’s ProBlogger which you are listening to right now, which is a blog podcast event and numerous other things. And then there’s Digital Photography School, which again is a very similar model in many ways. It’s centered around the blog, and then there’s ebooks and courses and other aspects of that business as well.

I’m fortunate enough to have been able to build up these two businesses so that either one of them could really be a full-time venture, which is great. It also presents with some interesting challenges, to say the least. Having two businesses comes with benefits but it also comes at a cost.

In this episode, I wanna share with you the story about how I built up these blogs to the point that they’re at today, the pros and cons of having more than one blog and business. And then for those of you who are considering juggling two businesses like I am, some tips on how to do that and how to approach that if you do decide to do that.

Lastly, today’s episode is proudly presented by this year’s ProBlogger events. This year, we are holding three events over in Australia; Brisbane, Australia, and Melbourne, Australia and the third event in Dallas, Texas in the United States. These events are designed with very similar goals to this podcast, to help you to grow your blog with world changing content, to grow your readership and to build profit around your blogs.

All of these events have some amazing teaching from experienced bloggers like Pat Flynn who’s speaking at our Aussie events but also we have opportunities for master minds at all of our events as well. These help you to really drill down with some experts, with some experienced bloggers to drill down into your business and to really pick apart your business and work at how to take it to the next level.

If you’re interested in our Australian events, head to problogger.com/events. If you’re interested in coming to our Dallas event which is in October this year, head over to problogger.com/success. Please don’t wait too long on either front because the events are selling out quickly and we do have some early bird pricing on these events that end in the coming weeks.

Today’s episode really is inspired by a question that I had over in the Facebook group this week from Sandy. Sandy wrote to me, “You blog on ProBlogger and Digital Photography School. I have heard that you had many other blogs in days gone by. Can you give me some advice on whether having more than one blog is a good thing or not?”

Thanks so much for the question, Sandy. I do appreciate it. It is a great question and as I mentioned at the top of the show, it’s one that I’m getting increasingly regularly at the moment. I know a lot of you as bloggers are wondering whether you should have one blog or more than one blog. That’s really what I want to talk about today. I want to tell you the backstory, the pros and cons of having two focuses, and then some tips on how to juggle two businesses really I guess is what we’re talking about today.

First, the story. I’m not going to go into great detail. The first thing I really do wanna say is that most people when they come across me, and dig into what I do, see a snapshot of how things are today. Two blogs that are established with thousands of blog posts already in the archives and a decent readership with multiple income streams, that’s what you see as the snapshot. This is just the reality of today.

What you don’t see is the whole journey of almost 15 years behind what you see today. I guess what you see today wasn’t the reality when I first started. It had to evolve. I guess why I wanna tell you the story today is that it didn’t just arrive like this, it actually was something that evolved over time. To be honest, it started completely as accident, and it really is not something that I’ve planned to be like it is today.

To go back in time, 2002 is when I started my first blog. That first blog’s name was The Living Room. It was a blog about my experience of being involved in a new church. As well as many other aspects of my life, it started off as me wanting to tell the story of that church. That church was called Living Room as well.

As I began to blog, as I began to find my voice, I realized that I really enjoyed writing about all kinds of things. I wrote about life in Australia, politics, television, movies, sport, blogging, photography, getting married, all of these different things that were going on in my life at that time. It became I guess an extension of the different compartments in my brain as I began to talk about these different things.

Back in 2002, it was very normal to have a blog that covered such a wide spectrum of topics. That’s why I did it, it worked. My readers didn’t really push back too much on me covering that diverse spectrum of topics.

But gradually over time, as blogging matured and as other people begin to niche down with their blogs and focus upon specific things, and as my audience grew and different groups in my audience came for different things, I did began to have some tension on my blog. There were readers who came because I wanted to hear about the church that I was involved with. They were interested in photography and they were interested in blogging. And then there were other people who began to read that blog, Living Room blog, because I was writing about blogging and not many other people were writing about how to make money from blogs at that time. Those readers really were interested in hearing about photography or church.

I began to feel this tension. It began to constrain my blogging in many ways as well. I began to think, “Well, I’ve just written about blogging yesterday, can’t write about it tomorrow. I need to throw in another topic there to serve those other people.” I began to feel constrained. I didn’t really have the freedom to write that blog in the way that I wanted to. I began to take some of the categories in my blog and start new blogs based upon those categories.

The first one I did was a camera review blog which I started late in 2003. It was about a year after I started blogging. It was a blog where I reviewed cameras and many of you have heard me talk about that blog in the past. It worked really well, it’s actually the first blog that I began to make some money from by putting some Adsense Ads on and referring people over to Amazon with affiliate links.

It worked so well that I decided that I’m gonna start to replicate this and so I started a camera phone review blog. This is right when those first phones came out with cameras, Nokia cameras have little tiny camera on it. I began to do reviews of camera phones. Then I thought, “Okay, I’m gonna do another one on printers.” Printers are kind of related to photography and so I began to review printers. I think the next one, I’m kind of a bit fuzzy here about the order of it all but I did another one on the Olympic Games. Was it the Athens Olympic Games? It must have been 2004-ish. And then I started ProBlogger, that was in 2004. I definitely remember that one. That was where I began to talk about making money from my blogs. I began to share what I was learning about making money from blogs.

At this point, I already had four or five blogs going. Some of them were making good money. The camera review blog was making good money. The camera phone blog was doing okay. And then ProBlogger came about, and it completely took off. It was really about the timing of launching that blog. No one else had a blog about making money from blogging back then. A few people are beginning to explore how to do it, but no one had a complete blog about it.

When I announced that I was making a full-time living from blogging and six figures a year from blogging, that became big news. A lot of other blogs linked to it. Some because they didn’t like the idea of people commercializing blogs and other people because that’s what they wanted to do. ProBlogger had this tipping point moment, it was even just a few months into the blog and it already had a fairly sizable audience. It began to make a little bit of money. And I began to explore different ways of monetizing that blog.

Around this time, I also started my first blog network, it was called The Breaking News blogs. I did that with some friends over in New Zealand. By 2005, I think I had about 30 blogs including that network of blogs that I was involved with at that time.

The reality though was that only three of them were really working very well at all. The Camera Review blog was doing well. The Camera Phone blog was doing okay. The Athens Olympic Games blog did really well for the two weeks of the Athens Olympic Games and then it died away. And then there was ProBlogger.

Whilst those blogs were working, there was really one that I was enjoying. I wasn’t really enjoying the camera reviews, I wasn’t really enjoying camera phone reviews, I was enjoying ProBlogger. I decided that I needed to make some changes because I knew I really was gonna have to be at this for 10 or so years to do anything significant with blogging. I thought to myself, “I might as well enjoy what I’m doing.” I decided to make some big changes.

Luckily, ProBlogger by this stage was at the point that it was starting to make a decent income from it. I was doing some affiliate stuff, I was launching some of my products. I decided to focus upon that more and to start killing off some of those other blogs.

The first thing I decided to stop doing with my partners was to stop the Breaking News blog network which freed up a lot of time from me. That enabled me to put more time into ProBlogger, and it grew ProBlogger even more.

In 2006, I decided I was gonna stop the Camera Review blog and the Camera Phone blog. That was a big risk because those blogs at that point were my main source of income. In fact, they were making over $ 100,000 a year in income but they were killing me. They were soul sucking kind of blogs to run because I’m not a techy kind of guy, I’m not a review kind of guy. I didn’t really feel satisfied with the quality of what was going on on those blogs either.

I decided to transition from being a Camera Review blog to being a How to Take Better Photos blog, which is something I really was much more passionate about. It was something I was much more interested in. The other aspect of it is that I knew I could build my audience over time with the how to blog more than a review blog. People I knew read review blogs when they’re in a buying mode, when they’re trying to work out which camera to buy. But people would subscribe to a how to take better photos blog for a longer period of time. I kind of knew that was a better business model and opportunity around a how to blog, and so I decided to make that switch. Felt risky, but I did had the back-up plan of ProBlogger by this stage. It had been going for two years.

I guess that’s one of the reasons I wanna share this story is that I didn’t launch Digital Photography School and ProBlogger on the same day. I actually did ProBlogger first. I got it up and running, I got it to a point where it was profitable which enabled me then to start something new as well. That, I guess, is one of the big lessons that I wanna get across to you with this story is that you might have two things in mind, you might have two blogs in mind. I would encourage you to really invest into one of them first, and put one of them on the back burner perhaps for a little while, you might want to get the domain, might want to reserve some social media or accounts but put it on the back burner and really focus on one thing.

I personally find that I’m much better at launching one thing at a time. It takes a lot of energy, a lot of creativity, a lot of thought to launch something. Don’t try to launch them both at the same time.

2006 came around and I decided to make the switch. To be honest, when I started Digital Photography School, it was really tough. It was the first year or two of Digital Photography School, the growth was really slow, it was completely different to ProBlogger. ProBlogger had this tipping point moment and I’ve gone into Digital Photography School rather naively thinking that I would just be able to grow that blog really quickly and it didn’t happen. There was no big tipping point day like there being with ProBlogger.

My readers from my original photography blog weren’t interested in the new blog. Not many of them came across, hardly any of my ProBlogger readers were interested in the new blog, that was too different of a topic I guess. I had to work for those first two years on DPS to really grow the archives up, to write a lot of content, to grow traffic to the blog through writing sharable content, through networking, through writing guest posts, through collaborating with other bloggers. Eventually, to get some traffic in from Google and some other social media sort of sources.

I was doing it all myself, particularly for the first year, and most of it for the first two years. Initially, I was doing all the writing, all the promoting, all the comment moderation and all the partnerships and all the monetizations as well. There were numerous times during that first couple years of DPS where I almost gave up because it just wasn’t taking as fast as I wanted. There was growth, but it was really slow growth.

In hindsight, I look back on the stats and I actually see that the growth was steady. I guess that’s the reason that I continued with it is that even though it wasn’t spectacular growth, I knew that if I could keep growing that blog by 10% per month or even 10% every two or three months, over the long haul, I could see that that would grow to a point where it would be a significant amount of traffic and a significant amount of income.

I kind of tried to take this long term view all the time knowing that I had ProBlogger already at a point where it was doing reasonably well. Eventually, Digital Photography School did grow to a point where it got to the same size as ProBlogger and then it grew bigger than ProBlogger. Probably took about three years to get to that point where Digital Photography School was bigger in terms of traffic and income than ProBlogger. It continued to grow. To this point, I haven’t looked at the stats for a few months but Digital Photography School is probably about eight or nine times larger today than ProBlogger. It’s where I put most of my time and resources today.

ProBlogger’s still something that I put a lot of my time into because it’s a personal brand, I’ll talk more about that later. Digital Photography School is where most of the focus of my business goes to.

Now, I should say at this point before I get into some tips that both DPS and ProBlogger are more than just blogs today. They both started out purely as blogs but today the blog is at the center of other things. Digital Photography School today has a range of products around it, ebooks and courses and software. It’s also got a little sister business called Snap and Deal that runs alongside it. It’s more than just a blog and the same is true with ProBlogger. Of course you’re listening to the podcast today but we also have a job board and events as well. There’s lots of moving parts with both of those businesses and either one of them is a full-time thing in terms of income but also both of them could be quite overwhelming. There are a lot of parts to run. That’s the story.

Let me talk a little bit about the pros and cons of having more than one blog or more than one business. Let’s start with the good stuff, the benefits of having multiple blogs. I’ve kind of picked up on some of these already as I told my story. The first benefit that I would say of having more than one blog, and I guess the reason that I started having more than one blog is that it brought a certain amount of freedom to my blogging.

One of the reasons I decided to have more than one blog in those early days is that I felt like I had something to say on more than one topic. I’m a multi-passionate kind of person. I know a lot of you as readers and listeners of ProBlogger are on the same boat. I talked to many of you who say have multi-passions. You’re interested in travel as well as food, or you’re interested in technology or science or you have this multiple kind of interest. For me, in those early days and still today, I have multiple interests. I’m interested in spirituality, I’m interested in photography, I was interested in blogging, I was interested in communication. All these things were things I wanted to talk about.

To have more than one blog enabled me to do that with more freedom. I didn’t have to worry about my readers so much and whether they wanted me to talk about the different topics. I knew that they could just really drill into the blog that they wanted to read rather than have to wade through all the other stuff that they weren’t interested in. If you’re a multi-passionate person, then maybe that is one reason why you might want to have more than one blog.

Second benefit of having more than one blog from a business perspective is the income diversification. Another advantage of having more than one blog, if you’re blogging for income is that by having more than one iron in the fire can be a good thing. It can increase the chances of one of them working for you.

Most bloggers know that there are no guarantees that a blog is gonna work. There’s no formula for a successful blog that will guarantee you’re gonna have success. And more so, I teach a lot of principles of building successful blogs. There’s no guarantees that any of this is gonna work, or any of it will hit them up with your readers.

I had 30 blogs and two of them really worked, 28 of them didn’t. That kind of gives you the kind of chances of having a successful blog. Having more than one blog and my strategy was, “Okay, I’m gonna start lots of blogs. Let’s see which one works.” Which one works for me as an author but also which one works with my readers as well.

This is one of the reasons that you might wanna have more than one blog. To actually have a couple of irons in the fire, to test which one works best and then to be able to focus on that.

I knew really quickly after studying all my blogs whether they had a chance of success. I knew when I started that printer blog that I talked about before that it was not gonna work. I knew within a couple of months of starting that blog that it was not getting traction. I got no comments, I got no emails, I got very little traffic. I knew it wasn’t gonna work. I also knew that it wasn’t giving me any energy as well, it wasn’t something I enjoyed at all.

I knew that even though Digital Photography School was slow, and it was tough and I felt like giving up at points, I knew it had a good chance of working even after a few weeks of having that blog because I started to get comments. I started to get emails from people going thank you. I also felt a lot of energy. Having numerous blogs and starting those blogs, it was good in that regard. It showed me what I wanted to do. It unveiled my true passions, but it also showed me where my audience was responding in different ways. It’s good for testing different ideas and diversifying your interest in that way.

Also, it can help in terms of the actual income and diversifying that income as well. I’m having different income streams on those different blogs, I guess spread the risk a little bit. Digital Photography School in the early days, I monetized it mainly using Google AdSense and a little bit of affiliate marketing on Amazon. Whilst ProBlogger, the income from that was more about ebooks and promoting software and tools.

There were quite different income streams and I guess that diversifies the risk in some ways as well. If AdSense was to go away, I still would have other income streams by having those other blogs. I guess in terms of topics as well, there’s some diversification there. By having more than one topic that you’re blogging about, if one topic was to go away, if blogging for example was to be a trend that disappeared after a couple years, I would still have another topic that hopefully would have sort of an increase in trend as well. Diversifying I guess the topics, the income streams they could be some benefits of doing that.

The other benefit for me of having more than one blog is that as a multi-passionate person, I tend to get a bit bored if I just have one thing to do. This is why before I started blogging, I’d had 20 jobs in the last 10 years before my first blog. I was someone who just needed to switch around, needed to try new things. Having more than one blog enabled me to switch. There’s times over the last 10 or so years where ProBlogger has been my passion and there’s been other times where Digital Photography School’s been something that I’ve really served myself into and enjoyed. By having two things to really focus my energy on, I’m able to mix things up which for me keeps my interest and helps me continue to be passionate as well.

Some of the cons, some of the costs, I think you could probably work it out. Firstly by having more than one focus, you run the risk of lowering the quality of what you do. At the height of my diversification, when I had 30 blogs going at once and I was creating content for all 30 blogs, I know for a fact that the quality of what I was doing was not great on most of those blogs. In fact, on most of those blogs, it was pretty boring. I think back and I kinda cringe at what I used to put onto those blogs. I remember putting press releases up onto my blogs, it was not good content though. It wasn’t personal, it was robotic, it was machine like. It was formulaic, I was rehashing the news that was being sent to me by camera manufacturers and printer manufacturers. It was more about trying to gain the search engines and trying to get AdSense clicks than anything else. It was boring for me and it was also boring for my readers in hind sight. It was never gonna lead to a sustainable business because the quality just wasn’t there. It wasn’t interesting, it wasn’t meaningful, it wasn’t really that useful to anyone at all.

As it turns out, I’m glad I got out of that kind of model because Google has put more and more emphasis onto ranking quality content. Back then, you just had to have the keywords in the content and work at how to get a few links to your site. Today, Google’s so much better at it and same with the social networks as well.

Thirty blogs for me, it was never realistic if I wanted to keep the quality up. Even just having two blogs at times has led to me having to decrease the quality as well. That’s been one of the struggles, particularly when I was writing all the content myself for both ProBlogger and Digital Photography School. I was really aware that by having those two focuses, the quality at times did suffer. That’s one of the reasons I began to get some help in terms of building a team around the blogs as well. Having more than one blog, it’s something that you’ve really gotta be aware of. It may be that you have to write less content but to keep that level of quality up again.

In terms of cost, I guess it could be that you not only lower the quality but you could be lowering the quantity of the blogs. For me, quality is always more important than quantity but quantity can help as well. The way I kept the quality up on both of those blogs was to really pull back on how much content I produced, and that’s fine. When you’re first starting a blog like Digital Photography School, one of the ways that you can really grow a blog faster is to produce more content, to begin to put more content out there because every piece of content on your blog is a new doorway into your site. You really aren’t able to produce as much if you have more than one blog.

I guess the other cost of having more than one blog is the risk of burning out. When I had 30 blogs, I was living a crazy, frantic life. I was working 12 to 14, 15, 16 hours a day just trying to get content up onto all of these different blogs. I was trying to produce content on every blog everyday which just wasn’t realistic. Reducing my efforts to just two blogs really helped me a lot in terms of work-life balance, my own health, my own passion for what I was doing. Even just having two blogs, there’s been times where it’s been a struggle as well.

These are some of the costs. The risk of burning out, the risk of lowering quality, the risk of lowering quantity and all of these things can have an impact upon whether the blog has a chance of working as well.

Some of the things that I would encourage you to do, if you really do have those two passions and you really do wanna explore having two different businesses, I think it can work. I’ve made it work. I do sometimes wonder whether if I just focus on one of them, will I build something bigger? That’s something that possibly the answer would be yes. If I just focused on ProBlogger, could I build ProBlogger into a better thing for my readers, for me? Same with Digital Photography School, if I didn’t have ProBlogger, could I build Digital Photography School into something bigger as well? I think the answer would have been yes. I probably would have built bigger businesses, but I’m also someone who’s fine with that.

Big isn’t everything for me. I don’t want to be a multi, multi-millionaire. I don’t wanna have a business with a hundred employees. I like small. I think I can make something meaningful on both fronts, for myself but also for my readers. I guess really you’ve gotta do some analysis on what’s your ultimate goal. Do you wanna be a multi-million dollar company? Do you wanna just build something small, that’s meaningful, that sustains your life? For me, it’s the latter. That’s probably the first tip I could give you, is really think through: what are your goals? If you want to build something massive, if you want to build something like Telstra or Google, then you probably wanna just pick one thing and really go after that thing. But if you’re happy to have something smaller, something that’s sustainable perhaps, and you wanna explore different passions in your life then maybe two things.

Firstly, consider what it is that you’re trying to achieve, what it is that is your goal, what it is that’s your dream. Secondly, if you really do wanna explore two things, as I mentioned before, spread out the launches. Don’t launch two things at once. I’ve talked to a number of people who’ve done this, it’s possible but you’ve probably got a much better chance of both of them working if you spread things out. For me, the reason I told you my story earlier is that I wanted to show you that things were spread out.

I started blogging in 2002, spent two years really learning the skills. I started ProBlogger in 2004. After I had the skills, after I’ve had some experience, I started Digital Photography School in 2006. It was really two years after ProBlogger that I started. There were other things that I started in the midst of it but I think the reason that Digital Photography School worked is that even though I had that all idea when I started ProBlogger, I could have done it in 2004 in terms of an idea, but I really allowed myself to get ProBlogger established first. That meant I didn’t have as much pressure on me to make Digital Photography School work straight away. I didn’t have to make an income from that blog straight away, because I already had ProBlogger up and running.

Spread out your launches, if you can. Give yourself a period of time where you can just focus upon one thing to get it established, to make it operate as a business, to be able to build some systems and procedures and to build a team so that first thing can run relatively independently so that you can then give a lot of your attention to that new thing.

The next tip I’ll give you is to build a team. I did okay at launching both Digital Photography School and ProBlogger with largely just me working on those businesses. I learned very quickly that I could only really scale those businesses to the point that I was willing to let go and bring others into what I was doing. This is probably a topic for a whole other episode as how to build a team. But for me, it initially meant bringing on some other writers. My first writers were guest writers and then I began to build a team of paid writers.

That also meant getting some administrative support, getting someone in. I think the first person I actually hired was to do comment moderation. Now I’ve got someone to help me with some email and customer support, I’ve hired people to help me with design and tech. And then also some more managerial type roles. I’ve got someone working for me at the moment who helps me produce new products and do busdev.

Again, this is not something that just appeared, this is something that really evolved. That comment moderator, I think they were earning $ 10 a day for 10 minutes of work. It’s really tiny kind of stuff. It’s gradually growing over time.

Today, I’m fortunate enough to have an amazing little team of seven or eight people who I talk to most days. They help me with different aspects of the business. They’re all part time, but they all do things that either free up my time so that I can do what I do best. I don’t have to answer emails or I don’t have to moderate comments or do these things that they can do. They’re either freeing up my time or they’re doing things that I could probably do but they can do it better than me.

Editing this podcast, the team of PodcastMotor helped me to edit this podcast. They do a much better job, they do it faster than me which frees up my time but they also do it at a high quality. That’s really the kind of hires that I make, they either free up my time and free up my mindspace or they have skills that I just don’t have. Keep in mind, all of these hires didn’t just happen, they were all tiny hires in the early days. Some of them actually started as me bartering services and giving exposure and that type of thing and then growing in that relationship.

While I’m also talking about team, I guess the other thing I would say about teams, this is something that’s become more important to me over the last couple of years. If you do have two businesses and you’ve got teams, you probably in the early days will have team members who are working on both of the businesses.

To give you an example, Jasmin who today manages Digital Photography School, Jasmin actually for a while there was working on both sides of the business. She was producing and I hired her to help me produce products for Digital Photography School. She was also working on the ProBlogger event and helping to manage that. She was doing an amazing job on both of those things and did really well.

One of the things that we’ve tried to do with the business over the last little while is to separate the teams out. This is something you probably won’t be able to do in the early days but there are some real benefits of being able to have different people on your team to focus on different aspects of the different businesses. The problem with having people working on both of your businesses if you’ve got two businesses is that there would be times where they would feel torn between the two businesses in terms of what they should be focusing their time on and you will as well. This is one of the things that we’ve really worked on over the last years, we now have two separate teams. I work on both of the businesses but all my team members work on different aspects of the businesses except for our developers. Our developers are kinda working on both aspects, and again that’s got some cost, there’s some tension there at times. I think that’s certainly been something that’s been really beneficial for us to have different people working on different parts of the business.

The second last thing I’ll say is to think really carefully when you’re launching your businesses about how much personal branding you put into the businesses. One of the best things that I ever did was to make Digital Photography School a non-personally branded site. Digital Photography School, if you’re gonna have a look at it today, you find it really hard to find many references to me. My name is not really on that site much at all. It’s only the about page I think as the founder. Occasionally, we’ll write a blog post if it’s more of a sales type blog post. But 99% of the content is written by a team of writers, the editor is someone else, not me. I’m really not there at all. It’s not a personally branded site.

The benefits of that is that I don’t need to really do much to keep that site running. In the early days, I did it all. But even in those early days, I didn’t really promote myself. I promoted the brand, Digital Photography School. It wasn’t really a Darren thing. I knew that that would enable me to scale it and to get others involved in that. Right from day one, I knew I wanted to have other people writing most of the content on that site because I knew I just wasn’t going to be able to invest heavenly in that for all eternity because I had ProBlogger which is much more personally branded.

Again if you look at ProBlogger, you see my face on the front page. You see videos of me every week, you see my name on a lot of places. I’m the voice of this podcast. It’s much more personally branded. As a result of that, there’s a lot more that I have to do to keep ProBlogger running. I’m committed to that, I enjoy that so that’s not a problem. But if you had two personally branded sites, that’s gonna be really tough.

I encourage you if you are gonna do two things, maybe consider making one of them or both of them non-personally branded if you can. It will enable you to scale things a lot bigger. It will enable you to be less involved in the day-to-day running of one or both of those businesses. It’ll really help a lot. It will also help you if you eventually wanna sell what you do. I think I would have much better chances of selling Digital Photography School one day than ProBlogger. ProBlogger I think could be sellable as well but there would probably be conditions that I would have to hang around because my name is associated with that brand a lot more. Think carefully about your personal branding.

The last thing I’ll say is one thing that helped me a lot is to really work on my routines and batching what I do. I‘ve talked about batching in the past. One of the biggest challenges that I faced having to have my head across both of my business even though I’ve got Digital Photography School to a point where it almost runs itself in many regards, there are dead lines that loom for me every week on both of those blogs.

It could be hard when you’re involved in the day-to-day of two different businesses to keep track of what you’re supposed to be doing at any given time. Particularly when you got a personality type like me which is not the most organized type person, I’m not great at diaries and these types of things. That’s an area that I’ve really had to work on.

I had to build routines and I’ve talked in previous episodes about my routines but Tuesday afternoons for me is the time that I create the ProBlogger Plus Newsletter. Thursday afternoons, until about a year ago, I always did the Digital Photography School Newsletter. I separated those two things out onto different days. Today the DPS one gets done by a team member. Monday afternoons I’ll record this podcast. Every Monday afternoon I’m recording this podcast, it’s Monday afternoon right now. Wednesday is a day that we have our DPS team meetings. On Fridays, we have our ProBlogger team meetings.

Actually having these rhythms, these routines to your week actually enables you to remember, to create a rhythm that helps you to be productive as well. It also helps your team, when you do build a team, to know what it is that you’re working on. My team knows that Wednesday is the DPS team meeting. If they’ve got something they wanna ask me, they can just hold off until Wednesday morning and when we have that if it’s a non-urgent thing so they’re not pinging me all week, they’re putting things onto the agenda for that particular time.

Conversely, the ProBlogger team knows that Wednesdays is the time that I spend more thinking about DPS and so they don’t tend to annoy me as much on that about the things that are associated with ProBlogger and vice versa. The more you can set-up those sorts of rhythms where you focus upon different aspects of your business, the better. That’s good for you but it’s also good for you team as well.

Alright then, my tips and some of the pros and cons of building two different businesses simultaneously, I don’t know that I’ve got all the answers on this particular front but I hope that somehow what I shared today is some wisdom you can apply to your particular business.

If you’ve got anything that you would like to add to this conversation, I would love to hear it because I love to learn from you. That’s a completely selfish request. Let me know what you found to be useful for you if you’ve got two businesses. You can do that over on the comments at problogger.com/podcast/188, or you can head over to the ProBlogger Facebook group, just go to problogger.com/group and you’ll find the group. We’ll forward you over to that particular Facebook group where we’ve got just over 3,500 members now interacting with each other every week and discussing the episodes but also sharing the tips that we’ve been picking up on blogging as well.

Lastly, if you’ve got a moment, head over to iTunes and leave us a review if you haven’t already, I love getting those reviews, it means a lot to me. Helps me to actually stay on track and create podcasts that really serve you. If you’ve got any reviews that you wanna leave, head over to iTunes or your favorite podcast network to do that as well. I look forward to chatting with you in next week’s episode, Episode 189 of the ProBlogger podcast.

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189: How to Create Amazing Videos for Your Blog Using Your Smartphone

Removing the Barriers to Create Video Content on Your Blog

In today’s lesson, I’ve got some very practical and actionable information for you on how to shoot great video for your blog using your smartphone.

As I’ve mentioned a few times lately – video is becoming one of the hottest types of content online. While the written word isn’t going anywhere video content helps you to grow your reach, stand out from the crowd, make a connection with your audience and is highly shareable.

We’ve all heard about the opportunity but if you’re anything like me – you have a few questions, challenges and barriers that stop you getting into video.

  • I don’t have the right gear!
  • I don’t feel comfortable in front of camera?
  • I don’t know the first thing about the technicalities of shooting and editing good video?

Recently at SMMW I bumped into a fellow Aussie by the name of Justin Brown who was doing a workshop on how to create great video using the camera that most of us already own – the one in our smart phone. Justin teaches how to create great online video at his site – primalvideo.com

I heard so many great things about Justin’s workshop that as soon as I got home I decided to get him on the podcast. I just finished our interview and I’m so excited by what Justin shared.

Over the next 35 minutes Justin is going to remove all of the barriers to getting into video that I just mentioned.

  • He’s going to tell you what gear you need (your smartphone is #1). We talk affordable options for mics, lights, apps etc.
  • He shares tips on getting comfortable on camera.
  • Tips on how to set up your shot – we talk framing, lighting and more
  • He gives tips on editing your videos – he suggests apps and software as well as how to approach the edit
  • And we finish up by talking about how to export your video so it’s ready to be used online.

This is a highly practical interview that we designed to help you to create that first video.

Tools and Apps mentioned in this episode:

Microphones:

Lighting – Portable:

Lighting – Studio (not mentioned but worth checking out)::

Wide Angle Lens:

Tripods (not mentioned but worth checking out):

Monitoring Software (PC/Mac)

Filming Apps:

Editing Apps:

Link to Justin’s site

Justin’s YouTube account

Join the video challenge in our Facebook group




Full Transcript
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Darren: Hi there and welcome to episode 189 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks all designed to help you to grow a profitable blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at ProBlogger.com.

In today’s lesson, I’ve got some very, very practical and actionable information for you on how to shoot great video for your blog using your smartphone. As I’ve mentioned many times over in the last 100 or so episodes, video is becoming one of the hottest types of content online at the moment. Whilst we covered in episode 187 the written word isn’t going away anywhere soon, video content really does help you to grow your reach, to stand out from the crowd, to make a connection with your audience, and to create content that is shareable.

We’ve all heard about this opportunity of video but if you’re anything like me, you probably have either some questions or some challenges or barriers that stop you from getting into video. Things like I don’t have the right gear, or I don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera, or I don’t know the first thing about the technicalities of shooting and editing good video. They’re the questions I hear a lot, they’re the questions that I have, the barriers that I have myself to creating video.

Recently, I was over in San Diego at Social Media Marketing World and I bumped into a fellow Australian on the first night, a guy by the name of Justin Brown. Justin was one of the speakers at the event. He was doing a workshop at that event on creating great video using the camera that most of us already own, the one in our smartphone. Justin teaches how to do that and he has some great teaching on creating online video at his site, primalvideo.com. I heard so many great things about that particular workshop that as soon as I got home, I decided to get him on the podcast because I think he’s got some really good information for the ProBlogger audience. I literally just finished our interview. I’m so excited by what we covered for about 35 minutes.

Over the next 35 or so minutes, you are going to hear Justin remove all of those barriers that I just mentioned for getting into video. He’s going to tell you exactly what gear you need. The number one thing is your smartphone but we talked also about things like microphones, lights, apps, attachable lenses, and just how essential those things are. He really does suggest some very affordable options in each of those categories if you do have a little bit to invest.

He also talks about how the smartphone itself is creating good enough videos, that you don’t need a lot of that stuff as well. He also shares some tips about getting comfortable in front of a camera. We talked about some different types of videos that you could create, that don’t necessarily mean you need to get in front of that camera. He shared some tips on how to set up your shot. We talked about framing, lighting, and sound. He gives tips on editing videos including which apps and software might be best to use.

We finished up talking about how to export that video so that it’s ready to be used online. This is probably the most practical interview that I’ve ever done. You’re probably going to want to have something to take some notes on or you want to head over to the shownotes where I do list all of the pieces of gear that he mentions as well as the apps and software as well.

At the end of this interview, I issue you with a challenge. Be warned, I’m going to ask you to create a video. I really would love it if you would share it on our Facebook group. If you go to ProBlogger.com/group, you will find the ProBlogger Facebook group. In that group, that’s a safe place where you can share the videos you created as a result of this particular interview. You may not share it anywhere on else on the web but the challenge today is to create a video because by creating that video, it might be your first, you are going to learn so much. You may not share it but you’re going to learn a lot that will help you to create a better second video and a better third one. Take the challenge today.

If you want to head over to the shownotes to be able to follow through some of the tools and apps that Justin mentions, head over to ProBlogger.com/podcast/189, where there’s also a full transcript.

Let’s get into today’s interview.

Justin, I spoke in my recent episode 187 about how different types of content have almost like superpowers, different strengths, I guess. Written content is really great for being found in search engines, visual content is great because it gets shared a lot and grabs people’s attention, audio is good for building intimacy with your audience. I’d be interested to hear what you think video’s super power is.

Justin: I think it’s a hybrid of all of them. These days, you can get some really good optimized SEO for your videos. YouTube is the second biggest search engine followed by Google. What we do with our YouTube channel is we tailor or we optimize our videos for Google rankings. A lot search terms these days when you search for a problem or search on Google, you’ll actually be served up a video first before you actually get to the web pages themselves.

I think video is really a hybrid because you get a different level of connection than just audio or just text with your audience a well. I think it’s a bit of a hybrid of both.

Darren: Maybe you could just give our audience a little bit of your back story. How did you first get into video and why do you major on it today?

Justin: I’ve pretty much worked in video production my entire professional career for as far back as I can remember. I’ve been able to work on some really crazy projects with some really amazing people. I followed the big wave surfer Mark Visser, Australian guy, around the world for a few years following his big waves. I think he’s the guy that surfed Jaws in Maui at 2:00AM and was throwing jet skis out of planes and all sorts of stuff.

I’ve worked with guys that have 22 minute breath holds. Some really crazy people but also some really inspirational people like UN Women. I’ve had opportunities to work on some really top level documentaries as well in the health and wellness space.

From that, I’ve started a company with my brother Mike called Primal Video. We really just help people get better results with their videos faster. Essentially, removing all the barriers that we have and that we create to creating video content. That’s what we’re up to these days.

Darren: That’s a great introduction to what I really want to cover in today’s episode because every time I talk to bloggers about using video in their content creation, I get these recurring objections that people have or barriers that they have into getting into video. I even asked about it in our Facebook group just a few minutes ago and already I can see seven or eight people with questions but they’re all to do with these common objections I get. Do you get a lot of those objections? What are the main ones that you get?

Justin: I guess the fear of being on camera is a big one and actually sort of stepping out. From someone who’s always been behind cameras, a camera man, producer, or director, to step in front of the camera, it’s a freaky thing. It’s not normal for most people.

Some people love it. Some people have that gift but I can guarantee you that most of us don’t have that. It’s something that I don’t necessarily struggle with but it’s still not something I’m really comfortable with. It’s definitely something that everyone should practice and I think that everyone should be doing but it’s normal to have these fears.

It’s the fear of being on camera but also the fear of the technology or the technology, using it as an excuse like, “Next week I’ll have a different camera so I’ll hold off creating the content until then.” Or “My audio is going to be bad because it’s noisy outside.” All these little things that we can talk ourselves out of creating the content. I guess the key is actually starting and doing it, you can always grow from there but it’s also the hardest part.

Darren: The first objection I wanted to talk about was pretty much related to that. I don’t have a good enough camera. It’s too expensive. I can’t afford to buy it. The reason I wanted to get you on is your session at Social Media Marketing World this year was about creating video with smartphones which most of us have in our pockets. I guess the first question is do you really think a smartphone is good enough if you want to create video for your business?

Justin: 100%. As you said, I had that session at Social Media Marketing World which was purely based on that. We have these awesome cameras now in our pockets, in our hands. The cameras on them are actually really phenomenal. As long as you set them up right and get your lighting right, and all these sorts of simple things really, once you hear them, then you can actually get some really good results with them.

It’s always a case of using the gear that you’ve got instead of delaying until future gear, until you’ve got that new camera. It’s not needed. Use simple things like a plugin microphone to get better results. We can dive into that if you’d like.

Darren: Yeah, for sure. What other gear would you recommend people investing in? Maybe, if you could put it in a priority, what would you get first to take it to the next level?

Justin: First off, 100% would be a microphone, an aftermarket microphone. If you don’t have one, then I’m still big advocate for start now. Don’t say, “Justin said I need to have a microphone so I’m not going to create a video.” Use your phone to still create videos, but if you’re going to spend money.

If you’ve got bad video and good audio, you can replace the video and use slides or images or animations, anything. You can still use your video. If your audio is bad, then your whole video is going to look and sound bad. Audio would be by far the number one.

Darren: Do you have a first mic recommendation? Like for an actual microphone that people should look at?

Justin: There are three that I would recommend. There’s a $ 20 US microphone called the BOYA BY-M1. It’s a wired lapel or lavalier microphone. It’s got a huge cable, it’s like a six meter cable on it. You’re then connected to your phone but the audio that you would get through that is phenomenal.

If you don’t want to be tied or tethered to your phone or to your camera—that microphone lets you work on both your phone and your camera, both DSLRs and smartphone so that’s pretty cool—then you can get Shotgun Microphone, something like the RODE VideoMicro. I think this sells in Australia for around the $ 79 mark. It’s a little Shotgun Microphone so you can move away from your phone a little bit but the closer you are to it, the better the sound.

All these things aren’t going to be breaking the bank account but they will make a huge difference to the quality of your videos.

Darren: Great. What would you be looking at next? We’ve got microphone, lights.

Justin: Tripod, I would go tripod or some sort of stabilizer over lights. Lights would probably be number three. Getting the phone out of your hands or getting it stable is the next important step I would say to creating professional looking videos. If you had a production team coming out to do your videos for you, they’re not going to handhold the cameras, they’re going to be stable.

Whether it’s a selfie stick even if you’re going to be walking around, it’s going to be so much more stable in a selfie stick and out of your hand. If you’re going to be sitting down on a desk, then get a desktop tripod. If you’re going to be standing up, then get a tripod that’s going to go up to your eye level of where you’re going to be standing.

It sounds so simple, really, it essentially is simple, it’s just to get it out of your hands. Mimic what a production team would do if they showed up at your place to film.

Darren: That’s right. There are so many great tools now like this custom made things for live streamers and all kinds of little tools that you can use. It’s probably worth looking.

Justin: The little desktop tripods are awesome and you can use them again for Facebook Live, YouTube Live, or Periscope from your mobile. That’s something I think that everyone should grab. You can pick them up for $ 10, $ 15 as well.

Darren: Yeah, okay. Lights, you mentioned there’s another option.

Justin: With your lighting, there’s a heap of options. If you look on places like Amazon, you could waste the part of half a day looking at all different lighting options. The ones that I like at the moment, that are relatively new ones, there’s a brand called Yongnuo. It’s $ 40. It’s essentially an LED light panel. You can power them from you 240 volt or from your wall socket as well. These are awesome little LED light panels.

I guess with your lighting, you want to make sure that you’re lighting up yourself first as the priority. You are the focus, you’re the one that’s delivering the content, you want your audience to be able to see you well and connect with you. Lighting up your background and the rest of your scene or your studio should be secondary. If you’ve only got one light, then make sure it’s lighting yourself up.

Another really good portable light is by a company Apache. This is a smaller one. It’s the ILM 9. Another one, I think it’s $ 45. We’re not talking lots of money but these are great little portable lights that even if you’re going to be out and walking around and want to set up at a park bench to create some content or go live, these are fantastic little lights.

Darren: That’s great. I just actually got asked in the Facebook group I run to ask about lighting but also the value of some of those mounted lenses, the wide angle lenses that you can clip on to the front of your phone. Do you put much sway into that type of thing?

Justin: I think it’s the kind of thing if you’ve got it or you’re happy to spend the money to get one, again, it’s not a lot of money, then do it. They’re always handy. I always carry one with me. They’re fantastic if you’re going to have more than one person in your video or in your livestream because you get so much more room, but also it helps your phone camera mimic more what a professional camera would.

It’s going to be more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It’s going to be more matching what we’re used to seeing on TV and these sorts of things. I think you could pick them for under $ 20 price point.

TECHO is a brand that we use. It’s a bigger lens and it will fit on the front end, the rear camera for most smartphones that’s why it’s a good, safe bet. Definitely, I think it’s an awesome tool to have with you. I wouldn’t rank it as high as a microphone or as a tripod or as lighting but the more of these things that you can tick off, the better the end result.

Darren: In terms of shooting the video, do you generally shoot in the native camera app or do you recommend looking at some of the other apps that are in app stores?

Justin: We really come down to the individual. Definitely, you can get great results using the inbuilt camera apps in either iPhone or Android. These days, it’s so easy to manually lock down the exposure and the focus so that you’re not going to have those changes while you’re filming. It’s just a matter of pressing and holding on the screen itself and it will lock down the focus point and the exposure, the brightness so it’s not going to change as you move in the shot or if the cloud comes over or those sorts of things. That’s really important if you’re going to be using the stock camera app.

If you want to take things up a notch and really get professional with it and really get the most out of your front cameras, then there’s a great app called FiLMiC Pro. I think it sells for around $ 14 Australian, $ 11 US. That would give you full manual control. Essentially, all the settings that you would find on a DSLR or video camera, you will be able to mimic those on your smartphone. Things like your white balance or your color changing throughout the shot. A lot more settings around your exposure and your shutter speed.

We’ve got a few videos on our YouTube channel as walkthrough. It’s taking you through how to set those up. I personally think they’re definitely worth using but don’t use that as a barrier. Like, “I’ve installed this app and I’m not sure how to use it. I’m not going to make a video today. I was going to keep coming back to it.” Just create the video as the priority and then grow as you’re comfortable or as you can.

Darren: I think that’s a great advice and that’s what we advice people on digital photography school with some of the apps on iPhone as well. Start on your camera, learn the basics there, and then once you start seeing the limitations of the camera and start noticing those limitations, then start looking for some of those other apps which really can take it up a notch but it’s kind of 1% of stuff for the average eye.

Justin: If you did a video on each, I would pretty much guarantee that your audience isn’t going to know, “Oh, he used FiLMiC Pro for this one.” Or “This one was the in built camera app.” I guess it’s more peace of mind for yourself, knowing that nothing is going to change and removing the chance that something is going to go wrong because the last thing you ever want to have to do is to re-record content that you’ve already recorded. It’s not only a pain but it’s a mental drain as well. You’re already past and you’re done with it. Try to eliminate that wherever possible.

Darren: Great advice. Objection number two that I get is pretty much what you mentioned before, I’m not confident enough to present on video. Do you have any tips for people who don’t have that experience of appearing on video or the confidence?

Justin: Once again, that’s something that I struggled with big time. Even moving from behind the camera to in front of it, it’s something that I’m still not 100% comfortable with but the key really, it’s going to be obvious, is to practice and to start now.

Even if you’re creating videos and not releasing them, just show your friends and family and get some feedback. Get used to really seeing yourself on camera and seeing yourself in the end video product. Most of the practice of talking to a little camera lens which is a weird thing, it’s a daunting thing if you haven’t done it before and when you’re first starting out.

The other things you can do are to put a picture behind your camera, or your webcam, or your phone, whatever you’re using of either a friend, a family member, or your ideal audience or client and just talk to them behind the camera. It sounds simple, it sounds silly but it makes a huge difference when you’re just starting out because you still then get some sort of human connection.

A lot of people, they just run out and lock themselves to the room and start recording. There’s no connection. You’re not talking to anyone. It’s a strange thing. Getting used to it and practicing, even if you’re driving along, press record on your phone and don’t crash while driving. Just get used to saying what am I doing today? What am I doing right now? Where am I going? These sorts of things just to get you used to talking on points. It’s amazing how fast you grow from there.

Darren: I find the same even with public speaking. The more I practice, the more I run through it, the more confident I am with what I’m saying but also visualizing that person that I’ll be speaking to is really important. We actually advice our readers when they’re writing content to have a picture of someone in front of them as well. I think that that would really work very well.

I guess the other thing that comes to mind is that there are other types of video that you could be creating where you don’t have to stand in front of the camera. Do you have any advice on other types of videos that people could be experimenting with as their first video?

Justin: I guess we’ll come down to the type of videos that you want to be creating. If you’re going to be doing sort of how to videos, then the obvious one is to do a screen recording and talk through something or even do a screen recording of a PowerPoint presentation or a slide show so that way you don’t have to be on camera, you’re just talking through your presentation. That’s a really simple way to get started with video. You can also use animations, or graphics, or animated text on screen so that you don’t have to be in front.

What I would really suggest is that you practice and learn to do it because even just from the personal brand building and the deeper level of connection when people see your face, they can then associate that with the content and with the information you’re sharing. It’s a deeper level of connection.

Even if you’re going to do a screen recording, I would say turn your webcam on and put yourself in the bottom corner of the screen recording. Even if you don’t use it as the end video, you can remove it in the editing software. Start now and get used to it because I think this is where everything is going. The quicker you can learn, the quicker you can get used to it, the more you’ll be able to leverage the power of video.

Darren: One of the questions that have been asked in the Facebook group by Susan is whether to use a script or whether to use bullet points and talk a little bit more off the curve. There may not be an answer to this question, it might come down to personality but what do you recommend people do?

Justin: I think it does come down to personality but I think it also comes down more so to the type of videos you’re creating. If you’re creating a sales video or a video for the front page of your website where you need to be very specific on what you’re saying especially in a sales video, in the offering, and you don’t want to miss any point, then I would say use a script if you can, use a teleprompter, or read through the paragraph first and then present it back to the camera. You can chunk it down.

You don’t need to worry about doing your videos in one take. Focus paragraph by paragraph and just focus on getting that paragraph right or how you like it and then move onto the next one. You can chunk it down and that’s a much easier way to create the content.

As for dot points, that’s another way to do it as well. For all of our videos I started out scripting them all but I think you actually get more personality through if you’re just able to use dot points because then they become more of a conversation instead of a teaching or a lesson. That’s again where you’ll get more personality through and the deeper connection with your audience.

Again, it’s practice. Try both and see which one works for you. The easiest way for most people is to write it out and present a paragraph at a time or if you have to do a sentence at a time because next time you might be able to move to a paragraph and then progress through the dot points.

Darren: I found the same with this podcast. I used to have a script and it was pretty much read. These days it’s dot points, it comes across in a much more conversational tone as well.

Justin: I think to be reading from a script, same as using a teleprompter, there is an art and a skill to using a teleprompter so that people don’t know that you’re reading. If they can tell that you’re reading, then there’s that big level of disconnect. It’s not authentic so it can have a big negative effect if you’re not able to present without looking like you’re reading. That’s where the end goal should be, dot points, in my opinion.

Again, don’t let that freak you out. Start now with paragraphs and I guess probably all the sales videos and things that we do and products and all those sorts of things, I definitely have them scripted out and sometimes I will use a teleprompter if I have to be so specific on the words that I’m using.

Darren: Great advice. Are there any teleprompter tips, skipping back to gear, I guess if someone does want an affordable option, what would you recommend them?

Justin: The one that I use and the one I recommend is by a company called Prompt-it. I’m pretty sure it’s actually an Australian company. It sells for around the $ 300 mark but it lets you put your iPod or iPhone and use that as the display to send the text up. It’s really easy to use and it just sits in front of your camera.

As for tips to make it look like you’re not reading, again, if you can use dot points so that you can see what you have to talk about next. But I guess the biggest way to remove that obvious part where you can tell people are reading is with your eyes. If you look outside of where the camera lens is, then it’s so obvious that you’re reading because you’re not then making the eye contact with the camera lens so you’re not making the eye contact with your viewers.

You can shrink the font size down so that all the text is in line with the camera lens. That way, even if you’re reading from left to right, as long as the text doesn’t go outside the camera lens, then you’re not breaking that eye contact with the viewer so it’ll be less likely for them to see that you’re reading.

Darren: Objection number three that I get is around the shooting of the video, things like I don’t know anything about framing shots, or lighting. We’ve already talked about some of the gear but do you have any tips on shooting the video. How do you light the subject with those lights you recommended? Any tips on the actual shooting process?

Justin: I guess the first one is an obvious one. This applies whether you’re using a smartphone or really any camera is to clean your camera lens first. It sounds so obvious but no one does it. Especially with our phones, that’s up against your face when you have makeup, dirt, grime, or fingerprints on it.

It’s about getting the fundamentals right first. You’ve got to create a checklist; clean the lens, use your microphone, then adjust your exposure and your focus. You really want to lock those down. You don’t want to have your cameras on automatic so that if something changes, your camera is going to make that adjustment. You want to know that it’s all set and it’s all sorted. It’s going to look good and sound good so you can focus on delivering the content.

In regards to the framing of the shot, you want to make sure that your entire head is in the shot. A lot of the times, you’ll see on videos, especially people doing it themselves, they don’t check the shot first so they might then move around in front of the camera and they’ve chopped off part of their head. Simple things like that. Do a test.

Get everything set up until you think it’s right or perfect but before you start, do a 15 to 20 second video. Go back and watch it, plug in headphones if you can so you can really listen to the audio and make sure that that is how you want it before you actually start shooting.

Specifically, in regards to framing, if you have to, put yourself in the middle of the frame. Ideally, if you had yourself slightly off to one side, left or right but not way off to the side, just a little bit off center, you’ll get a much more aesthetically pleasing shot. If you think of a documentary that you might have seen, no one is sitting smack in the middle of your shot. They’re always off to the side a little bit.

Maintaining eye contact with the camera lens is probably the most important thing you can do because you’re talking, you’re sharing your knowledge, your story, your message you want to be sharing with a person. If you’re having a conversation with someone face to face, you’re going to be making eye contact with them so you need to do that with your videos as well.

Darren: That’s great advice. Louise in the Facebook group just asked, do you suggest using the front facing camera or the back facing camera? If you’re using the one where you can’t see yourself, do you set up in front of a mirror so you can see how you’re framed or anything along those lines?

Justin: Great question. That’s a big one. I think the obvious answer is the easiest way to do it is use the front facing camera because you can monitor everything and see what’s going on. The front facing camera is more than enough for most people. We have a video on our YouTube channel that’s filmed with a front facing camera on an iPhone 5 and people are still blown away with the quality of it. That was just with the built in camera app, without FiLMiC Pro or any of these things.

The front facing cameras on any of the newer phones as well, newer than the iPhone 5 is going to be really good. Wherever possible I would say to use the rear facing camera because it is much higher quality. Obviously as you said, the logistics of doing that, in framing and making sure that you’re actually are recording well and you can’t see what’s going on makes that a little bit difficult.

Mirror is one way but what you can actually do, there’s a piece of software called Reflector 2. I think it sells for just under $ 15. You can install that on your Mac or PC. Whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android device, you can screen share over Wi-Fi your phone screen to your computer so that you can sit in front of your phone and use your phone for the recording but next to the phone on a computer you can see exactly what’s going on with your phone. That is an awesome app for monitoring what’s going on. That would be the ideal setup if you don’t have anyone there to monitor all of that for you.

Darren: That’s sounds like a very useful piece of software because I’ve shot numerous videos and then at the end I realize that I had chopped off the top half of my head which isn’t a bad thing when you’re bald. It can work.

Justin: It happens all the time. Back to our core message, we really want to remove these barriers and these bad experiences that people have creating content. Reflector 2 is an awesome piece of software that will hopefully eliminate you from having to reshoot because you’ve chopped off your head or something.

Darren: That’s great. We will link to all of these tools, apps, and softwares in today’s show notes. Objection number four, literally, as I’m saying I can say Vanessa has just asked in the Facebook group about editing. She said, “I technically get how to do it but I don’t feel like I’ve got a sense of style. What is the video equivalent of avoiding comic sense?” I think that’s a great way of asking it. “Do you have any tips on editing? What software should we be using? Should we be doing it in camera, in phone, or putting it into our computer? Any tips on getting a nice edit?”

Justin: Where I would start with is you’re always going to have more power and more control if you’re editing on a computer but it’s not always practical, you definitely can edit well using your phones or your iPads.

On iOS, I would recommend iMovie. If you want to take things up a notch, then you can get Pinnacle. It’s a great app. Pinnacle will really replicate what you can do on a system, on a computer. Those are two great places to start with editing on iOS.

On Android, check out PowerDirector. That’s a fantastic app that gives you pretty much the same functionality as you would again, on your desktop. The limitations on those pieces of software when you really want to get creative with effects and those sorts of things which aren’t really necessary for most videos, they’ll either just trim the start off, move your clips around, do color correction, those sorts of things, all the important stuff and save it out in a high quality format for YouTube or for Vimeo, wherever your videos are going.

You definitely can edit on your device and those are the apps I would recommend to check out. Obviously, moving onto a computer, your process is longer because you’ve got to get the files off of your phone or off of your device or the camera.

The key focus should be around, with any editing, first and foremost, edit your content down or chunk it down into the content itself. So many people would jump in and get to the fun stuff, the color correction, the audio, and the music, do all of that first but there may be actually be something wrong with your content or your might’ve missed something. It actually delays the entire editing process if you don’t get your content down first because by adding all these color effects and things, you’re actually putting more load on your computer or on your phone to actually edit the video down.

It’s another obvious one but get your content down first and then worry about the music and then worry about the audio and then the color correction. Probably the most important thing with any editing and any video is that your editing actually starts in your filming. If you’ve planned out your video and you have a set structure that’s already defined, or you’re working through when you’re filming, then your editing will become much faster.

If you only move on from one paragraph to the next paragraph or from one dot point to the next dot point once you’re happy with it so that your last take is always the best one, then when you’re editing the video, you can edit backwards. Instead of starting left to right as you normally would, if you start at the end, you’re always going to hit the best take first. You’re editing actually becomes much, much faster if you edit backwards, right to left, because you’re always going to hit the best takes first.

Be aware when you’re filming that you’re going to be editing so the least amount of takes or the least amount of stuffing around that you have will make your editing process faster as well.

Darren: The last objection that I hear a lot is around what to do with the video once you’ve got it and a common question again being asked in the Facebook group is how do I export my video in a way that doesn’t leave me with a massive file that is too hard to do anything with or that’s so low of quality that it’s not really viewable? Do you have any tips on what settings or export settings to set?

Justin: I guess the ideal scenario if your end goal is to upload your video to somewhere, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, you should be uploading the highest quality video that you can. It’s easy to say if you’ve got a really good internet connection which probably most people don’t. That’s why you would want to compress or reduce the size of your videos. It really is a chicken and the egg kind of thing. There is no set perfect solution because it comes down to how long your video goes for that you can then apply a different level of quality to reduce the file size of the video.

Where I would suggest everyone start is with the video preset that are built in or the exporting preset that are built in to all editing software. Whether you’re on your desktop or you’re on your phone, they’ll all have a preset for YouTube. Whether you’re going to export to YouTube, Facebook, or Vimeo, use the YouTube ones because they’re the ones that are normally the best optimized in my opinion. Use those and see how the files size comes out from there. But you always want to be exporting on the highest quality possible.

These days, I think no one should be uploading videos online that’s less than 1080p. If you’re uploading at 720p, they should be only because you have to. Your quality these days and even with some people’s bad internet connection, you should still be able to produce a high quality 1080p video. That’s where I would start with.

The setting to look for if you need to tweak this is called the bit rate. It’s the number of megabits per second without getting too technical here, we’re taking 25 photos every second to make up our video so it’s the compression that’s applied to those. The higher the number, the bigger the file size, the better the quality, the lower the number, the more compression is going to be applied. If you need to tweak the preset, again, without going too technical, the bit rate is the setting that you want to adjust.

Darren: Sonia, actually, just asked in the Facebook group about using multiple cameras which was something that I hadn’t thought to ask you but do you think that’s going to add much to the video, to have different cameras? Are there any other advantages of shooting from different angles or does that get too hard in the editing process?

Justin: That definitely adds a step or adds a couple of steps to your editing process but it can also give you greater flexibility when you’re editing. For any high end videos that we will create, we’ll always use two cameras. The beauty of that is you can cut people’s sentences in half and switch to the other camera angle and it will then still look seamless. If they’re having a really good run and they’re halfway through a sentence and stop for some reason, you could switch camera and pick it up on the next take. The viewer watching doesn’t realize that that’s happened, still looks like a seamless take.

In saying that, you’re also going to need a second camera, second batteries, second memory cards, your storage is going to go up and then you got to sync the two cameras together to make sure that they’re perfectly lined up. Logistically, there’s definitely a lot more involved and for most people’s content videos, I would say that is way too much overkill unless you’re going to be recording in your computer with multiple webcams. That could be the easiest way to do it.

If you’re going to use software OBS or Wirecast for maybe a Livestream or a screen recording, then that would be the easiest way to get going with multi camera.

Darren: Second to the last question is around the most common mistakes that you see people making. I get the sense probably the biggest one is not making videos at all and letting the obstacles stop you making the videos, but any other mistakes that you think people really do need to just be aware off as they’re creating those first videos?

Justin: I think the planning is really the key and getting really precise on who you want to be targeting or who you want to be talking to. The more specific you can be with your avatar or with your target market and knowing directly who you’re talking to is really the key, especially if you’re looking to do things like to grow an audience on YouTube or something like that. You want to be talking directly to those people so you’re not talking to the masses.

For example, our audience on YouTube, we don’t ever tell them a free option unless it is the best option because we don’t want to be targeting people that are only there for the free answer. Essentially, that’s our lead generator. We want to be bringing in customers and clients through our YouTube channel. We know who are our ideal customer is for our courses and products and we target all of our video and all of our messaging to that. That’s probably the first point that a lot of people miss. They’ll create videos for the masses and hope they rank. It’s actually a lot harder to rank a video that is designed for everyone.

Same with SEO in general, you want to get specific on who you’re talking to but also around the content that you’re delivering. If you can get it down to dot points and get a structure around it, and follow that structure, then there’s no thinking why you’re creating the videos. You know that you’re going to hit every mark and create the content that you want.

Darren: Great advice. Last question, if you had a little bit more to spend on your setup, would you be looking at upgrading your camera or do you think it’s better to invest your money into something else in the process?

Justin: I guess it really depends on what you’ve already got. I would recommend at this day and age is that if you’re going to spend some money, get a camera that can shoot in 4k, that’s higher than 1080p. If you’re going to release your videos in 4k, there is some advantage. YouTube has a 4k section and features 4k videos, as far as we know, higher.

But also if you’re only going to be releasing your videos at the 1080p resolution and you’re recording in the higher quality, 4k, then you’ve got so much more flexibility in your editing. You’ll essentially get a wide shot and a tight shot from the one piece of footage. It definitely gives you more flexibility and more creative control in your editing but also you can hit a different market or get more attraction on your videos if you’re going to release them at the highest quality.

A lot of people still think 4k is too far away and it’s not worth doing it. I beg to differ and say that if you can and a lot of smartphones even these days will have the 4k option. You will need more storage because the files are going to be bigger, you will need a slightly more powerful computer because it’s going to be more load on your computer but if you can and if it’s feasible for you, then I would recommend shooting in 4k.

Darren: Where can people learn more about what you do and your business and learn how to take the video shooting to the next level?

Justin: Our website is primalvideo.com and our YouTube channel is youtube.com/primalvideo.

Darren: Excellent. We will link to that in the shownotes today as well as all of the other tools, apps, and suggestions that you’ve made. Any last advice for the ProBlogger audience? On video?

Justin: You can already guess what it’s going to be. Start now. Use what you’ve got. Practice, practice even if you don’t release your first video, it’s always the case of everyone that we’ve helped, they always wished that they’d started earlier. A lot of the barriers and things that we have, they’re in our head. We’ve got the gear. If you’ve got a phone, you’ve got enough. If you’ve got a DSLR, even better but don’t wait for the technology and just start now.

Darren: Great advice. I’m actually going to issue a ProBlogger challenge to our audience. Those of you listening now, I want you to go and shoot a video in the next week if you can, don’t delay. You could probably do it faster than that. I want you to share it in our Facebook group. It’s just a small group of 3,500 of your closest blogging friends are going to see it. It’s not going to go any further than that. We’d love to see what you create there and give you some encouragement as well. Maybe we can give each other some suggestions on how we’d improve things as well. That would be pretty cool. If you are listening to this, head over to the ProBlogger Facebook group and share your videos there. That would be great.

Thank you so much, Justin. I really do appreciate this. It was nice to meet you in San Diego, another Aussie in another part of the world.

Justin: There was a few of us there.

Darren: There was. There were a lot of us there. I actually heard a lot of really positive feedback about your sessions. You’d have a lot of value today for our audience. I appreciate your time.

Justin: Thank you very much. It was awesome to meet you too. Thank you for having me on the podcast.

Darren: No problem. Thanks a lot.

I just listened to that again and there is some really good information there. Thank you so much to Justin Brown. You can check out more from Justin over at primalvideo.com where you’ll also find links to his YouTube channel which has some really good quality videos on how to create great video online.

You can check out our show notes over at ProBlogger.com/podcast/189 where we do have links to all of the tools and apps mentioned today. Also, please do head over to the ProBlogger Facebook group. I really loved doing that interview and seeing the questions come up as I was interviewing Justin from the group. I would love to see the videos you create there. I will set up a thread. Once this podcast has gone live there will be a thread over in that Facebook group for you to share the videos you created. I might even invite Justin over to the group as well so he can see some of the things that he inspired today.

Really looking forward to looking at some of those videos and connecting with you further in the Facebook group or on the shownotes in the comment section. Thanks for listening today. Happy shooting with your videos and I’ll chat with you next week in episode 190 of the ProBlogger podcast.

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The post 189: How to Create Amazing Videos for Your Blog Using Your Smartphone appeared first on ProBlogger Podcast.


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3 Email List Building Techniques You Need To Use in 2017

3 Email List Building Techniques You Need To Use in 2017This is a guest contribution from Jawad Khan.

If you’re serious about blogging, I’m sure you’re already building an email list (or planning to do so)

Since you’re a Problogger reader, I’m also assuming your knowledge and expertise in blogging is significantly higher than most newbies.

So you’re well-aware that “Get Free Email Updates”, that beautiful sign up form in your blog’s side-bar, isn’t an attractive incentive for potential subscribers anymore, right?

No one wants to subscribe to another email list just to pile up more junk in their email inbox.

Don’t get me wrong.

Email is still the best way to build a relationship with your audience and turn them into paying clients.

Studies suggest that 66% of online consumers in the US aged over 15 made a purchase as a direct result of marketing emails.

Source: Quicksprout

Another study suggests that 54% of online buyers that abandon a shopping cart, but are reminded again via email, will complete the purchase. According to a recently published report by email Monday, email marketing has an ROI of 3800% ($ 38 in return for every $ 1 spent)

Email marketing isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it has become more important for bloggers, marketers and eCommerce businesses.

But since everyone’s trying to squeeze email addresses out of their blog visitors, people have become more guarded about their contact information and only sahre it away when they see clear value in return.

This is why most marketers use lead magnets for list building.

But it’s 2017, so you need to be a bit more creative and find new ways to effectively deliver your lead magnet to your audience and persuade them to join your list.

Not sure how to do it?

Let me share 3 list building techniques that you’ll see many smart marketers use in the coming months.

1. Host a Virtual Summit to Steal Subscribers from Industry Influencers

You’ve read expert round-up posts, right?

Turn them into video content and you have yourself a high quality virtual summit.

Virtual summits have been around for a while but the concept really picked up in late 2015. Throughout the last year, I’ve seen hundreds of influencers in dozens of different industries participate in virtual summits, skyrocket their email lists and fill their pockets to the top.

It’s one of the fastest ways to not only build an email list but also to enhance your brand image and influence in your niche.

You might have seen banners like this one in your Facebook newsfeed in the last few months.

Here’s how it works

  • The summit host picks a very specific topic for the summit (e.g email list building or Amazon self-publishing, Shopify dropshipping etc.)
  • He decides the dates and the duration of the summit (usually 4-5 days)
  • The host gathers 15-20 experts on the topic and conducts video interviews (live or recorded) with each one of them
  • Every expert who is interviewed has the option to promote a paid offer or a lead magnet during or after the interview (a link to the offer is also published on the interview page)
  • All the experts promote the event to their own email subscribers. For example if a virtual summit has 10 experts with 1000 subscribers each, it is promoted to 10,000 people. This creates a pool of potential subscribers for all the participants.
  • The host gets all the subscribers that opt-in to watch the event live.
  • Once the live event is over, the host can sell the recorded event as a paid product or a lead magnet.

Sounds simple, right?

Hosting a high-quality virtual summit can be expensive and technically challenging.

Which is why only the top influencers in most industries are currently using it for email list building.

But no one’s stopping the lesser known bloggers from doing it.

If you can’t get A-list experts to join your event, look for the second-tier experts who have a loyal following but are looking to expand their reach. You’ll find them in every industry.

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, use free tools like Google Hangouts to record your interviews, use any WordPress landing page plugin to create landing pages for the event and get the job done.

In short, if you get it right, a virtual summit can literally give you thousands of subscribers overnight.

2. Use Facebook Live Videos To Build Your List in No Time

Facebook Live has spread like wildfire

Studies show that Facebook is getting more than 8 billion video views every day and users are spending 3x more time watching live videos as compared to the recorded ones.

Source: Facebook Video Statistics 2016

The top influencers and experts in almost every industry are using Facebook Live to get closer to their audience, engage with them more frequently, and strengthen their personal brand by answering the most burning questions of their followers.

Darren himself does regular “Ask Me Anything” sessions using Facebook Live.

As I said, the user-engagement level on Facebook Live is much greater than recorded content. And it’s always easier to persuade an engaged audience to take action. Which is why Facebook Live presents the prefect opportunity to route viewers to your email list.

How to do it?

Just ask them.

Really, that’s all it takes.

Create a free resource like an eBook or checklist, which is relevant to the topic of your live video, place it on a landing page to collect emails, and ask users to download it during your Facebook Live session.

Also add the landing page link as a pinned comment on your video, and to the video description so that viewers can download it even when you’re not live.

Amy Porterfield used this exact strategy to get hundreds of subscribers to her email list.

Facebook Live videos currently enjoy additional organic reach, so this is the best time to use it to build your email list.

3. Include Laser-Focused Content Upgrades in Your Guest Posts To Open Floodgates of Subscribers

Guest blogging is one of my favorite ways to drive traffic and find subscribers.

In the last 3 years, I’ve written over 500 guest posts on some of the most widely followed marketing and SEO blogs on the web, generating thousands of email subscribers.

But many bloggers struggle to generate any traction from their guest posts.

Do you know why?

Because they rely on the good old author bio links to send them subscribers. Many others simply link to their homepage and hope people would subscribe to their list.

That’s not how it works.

Bloggers that generate hundreds of subscribers from every guest post do 2 things really well.

  • They write super quality guest posts with lots of actionable insights
  • They create laser-focused content upgrades used within the body content. Most editors have no problem allowing this as long as the post offers real value to the readers.

Not sure what a content upgrade is?

It’s a post specific lead magnet that offers something additional to the readers of a blog post.

Brian Dean (Backlinko) increased his sign up rate by 785% by adding a content upgrade to this post.

Insane!

Bryan Harris shared this detailed case study of how one blogger generated thousands of email signups to his blog by combining content upgrades with guest blogging

They work in all niches.

For example, if you’ve written a blog post “7 Healthy and Safe Weight-Loss Tips for First Time Moms” you could create a checklist on “23 Healthy Foods You Should Eat While Losing Weight” and use it as a content upgrade.

Content upgrades work so well because, unlike generic lead magnets, they are targeted towards an engaged reader who is already interested in the topic.

They’re so effective for lead generation that many leading email marketing tools now have separate features to create content upgrades and add them to your blog posts.

SumoMe, for example, introduced a new two-step pop-up for content upgrades that has been tested to increase signups by 200-300% in some cases.

But when you’re guest blogging, you don’t have access to the tools used by the host blog. So you should simply link to the landing page of your content upgrade from where users can opt-in and subscribe to your list.

Wrapping Up

Email list building is more important for bloggers than ever before. It is the only channel that gives you direct and uninterrupted access to your reader’s inbox, and allows you to focus on long-term relationship building.

The tips I’ve shared in this post are already being used by some of the best marketers on the web. Making them a part of your list building strategy will surely help you attract more relevant and engaged subscribers.

What list building techniques are you applying to your blog right now?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant and a freelance blogger for hire. Follow him on his blog Writing My Destiny, Twitter, and Google+.

The post 3 Email List Building Techniques You Need To Use in 2017 appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


ProBlogger

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3 Email List Building Techniques You Need To Use in 2017

3 Email List Building Techniques You Need To Use in 2017This is a guest contribution from Jawad Khan.

If you’re serious about blogging, I’m sure you’re already building an email list (or planning to do so)

Since you’re a Problogger reader, I’m also assuming your knowledge and expertise in blogging is significantly higher than most newbies.

So you’re well-aware that “Get Free Email Updates”, that beautiful sign up form in your blog’s side-bar, isn’t an attractive incentive for potential subscribers anymore, right?

No one wants to subscribe to another email list just to pile up more junk in their email inbox.

Don’t get me wrong.

Email is still the best way to build a relationship with your audience and turn them into paying clients.

Studies suggest that 66% of online consumers in the US aged over 15 made a purchase as a direct result of marketing emails.

Source: Quicksprout

Another study suggests that 54% of online buyers that abandon a shopping cart, but are reminded again via email, will complete the purchase. According to a recently published report by email Monday, email marketing has an ROI of 3800% ($ 38 in return for every $ 1 spent)

Email marketing isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it has become more important for bloggers, marketers and eCommerce businesses.

But since everyone’s trying to squeeze email addresses out of their blog visitors, people have become more guarded about their contact information and only sahre it away when they see clear value in return.

This is why most marketers use lead magnets for list building.

But it’s 2017, so you need to be a bit more creative and find new ways to effectively deliver your lead magnet to your audience and persuade them to join your list.

Not sure how to do it?

Let me share 3 list building techniques that you’ll see many smart marketers use in the coming months.

1. Host a Virtual Summit to Steal Subscribers from Industry Influencers

You’ve read expert round-up posts, right?

Turn them into video content and you have yourself a high quality virtual summit.

Virtual summits have been around for a while but the concept really picked up in late 2015. Throughout the last year, I’ve seen hundreds of influencers in dozens of different industries participate in virtual summits, skyrocket their email lists and fill their pockets to the top.

It’s one of the fastest ways to not only build an email list but also to enhance your brand image and influence in your niche.

You might have seen banners like this one in your Facebook newsfeed in the last few months.

Here’s how it works

  • The summit host picks a very specific topic for the summit (e.g email list building or Amazon self-publishing, Shopify dropshipping etc.)
  • He decides the dates and the duration of the summit (usually 4-5 days)
  • The host gathers 15-20 experts on the topic and conducts video interviews (live or recorded) with each one of them
  • Every expert who is interviewed has the option to promote a paid offer or a lead magnet during or after the interview (a link to the offer is also published on the interview page)
  • All the experts promote the event to their own email subscribers. For example if a virtual summit has 10 experts with 1000 subscribers each, it is promoted to 10,000 people. This creates a pool of potential subscribers for all the participants.
  • The host gets all the subscribers that opt-in to watch the event live.
  • Once the live event is over, the host can sell the recorded event as a paid product or a lead magnet.

Sounds simple, right?

Hosting a high-quality virtual summit can be expensive and technically challenging.

Which is why only the top influencers in most industries are currently using it for email list building.

But no one’s stopping the lesser known bloggers from doing it.

If you can’t get A-list experts to join your event, look for the second-tier experts who have a loyal following but are looking to expand their reach. You’ll find them in every industry.

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, use free tools like Google Hangouts to record your interviews, use any WordPress landing page plugin to create landing pages for the event and get the job done.

In short, if you get it right, a virtual summit can literally give you thousands of subscribers overnight.

2. Use Facebook Live Videos To Build Your List in No Time

Facebook Live has spread like wildfire

Studies show that Facebook is getting more than 8 billion video views every day and users are spending 3x more time watching live videos as compared to the recorded ones.

Source: Facebook Video Statistics 2016

The top influencers and experts in almost every industry are using Facebook Live to get closer to their audience, engage with them more frequently, and strengthen their personal brand by answering the most burning questions of their followers.

Darren himself does regular “Ask Me Anything” sessions using Facebook Live.

As I said, the user-engagement level on Facebook Live is much greater than recorded content. And it’s always easier to persuade an engaged audience to take action. Which is why Facebook Live presents the prefect opportunity to route viewers to your email list.

How to do it?

Just ask them.

Really, that’s all it takes.

Create a free resource like an eBook or checklist, which is relevant to the topic of your live video, place it on a landing page to collect emails, and ask users to download it during your Facebook Live session.

Also add the landing page link as a pinned comment on your video, and to the video description so that viewers can download it even when you’re not live.

Amy Porterfield used this exact strategy to get hundreds of subscribers to her email list.

Facebook Live videos currently enjoy additional organic reach, so this is the best time to use it to build your email list.

3. Include Laser-Focused Content Upgrades in Your Guest Posts To Open Floodgates of Subscribers

Guest blogging is one of my favorite ways to drive traffic and find subscribers.

In the last 3 years, I’ve written over 500 guest posts on some of the most widely followed marketing and SEO blogs on the web, generating thousands of email subscribers.

But many bloggers struggle to generate any traction from their guest posts.

Do you know why?

Because they rely on the good old author bio links to send them subscribers. Many others simply link to their homepage and hope people would subscribe to their list.

That’s not how it works.

Bloggers that generate hundreds of subscribers from every guest post do 2 things really well.

  • They write super quality guest posts with lots of actionable insights
  • They create laser-focused content upgrades used within the body content. Most editors have no problem allowing this as long as the post offers real value to the readers.

Not sure what a content upgrade is?

It’s a post specific lead magnet that offers something additional to the readers of a blog post.

Brian Dean (Backlinko) increased his sign up rate by 785% by adding a content upgrade to this post.

Insane!

Bryan Harris shared this detailed case study of how one blogger generated thousands of email signups to his blog by combining content upgrades with guest blogging

They work in all niches.

For example, if you’ve written a blog post “7 Healthy and Safe Weight-Loss Tips for First Time Moms” you could create a checklist on “23 Healthy Foods You Should Eat While Losing Weight” and use it as a content upgrade.

Content upgrades work so well because, unlike generic lead magnets, they are targeted towards an engaged reader who is already interested in the topic.

They’re so effective for lead generation that many leading email marketing tools now have separate features to create content upgrades and add them to your blog posts.

SumoMe, for example, introduced a new two-step pop-up for content upgrades that has been tested to increase signups by 200-300% in some cases.

But when you’re guest blogging, you don’t have access to the tools used by the host blog. So you should simply link to the landing page of your content upgrade from where users can opt-in and subscribe to your list.

Wrapping Up

Email list building is more important for bloggers than ever before. It is the only channel that gives you direct and uninterrupted access to your reader’s inbox, and allows you to focus on long-term relationship building.

The tips I’ve shared in this post are already being used by some of the best marketers on the web. Making them a part of your list building strategy will surely help you attract more relevant and engaged subscribers.

What list building techniques are you applying to your blog right now?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant and a freelance blogger for hire. Follow him on his blog Writing My Destiny, Twitter, and Google+.

The post 3 Email List Building Techniques You Need To Use in 2017 appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


ProBlogger

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5 Steps to Creating a Productive Blogging To Do List

I have always been a to do list writer, but I haven’t always used a to do list productively. See if any of the following sound familiar, you:

  • Write things on your to do list after you have done them, just so you can cross them off.
  • Add so much on your to do list that it overwhelms you and you don’t look at it.
  • Scan your to do list looking for the easiest things to do.
  • Get to the end of the day and you have done quite a few tasks from the to do list, but not the activities that will help you achieve your goal.
  • Email yourself notes and use your inbox as a to do list.

None of the above are productive ways to use a to do list, but it is possible to use a to do list to make you more productive. You just need to put thought into it and ideally have a defined process behind the approach you take.

I have evolved my to do list process over the years and for the last two years have found a process that not only allows me to get stuff done, but it makes sure I get the right stuff done. To be productive we need to do more than get more work done. We need to get the right things done.

It is worth noting that you will never get everything done that you want to do. We have so many ideas for things that we want to do and no matter how productive we are, we simply will not be able to do all of them unless of course we hire ourselves a team of VAs and that is a whole other blog post!

Being productive doesn’t mean doing it all, it means choosing wisely where to spend your time, energy and attention to help you achieve your goals. An effective to do list will help you work productively.

1. Create a weekly master list

Ideas floating around in our head can distract us from our task at hand. We often keep thinking of things because we don’t want to forget them. Thinking about a new idea for a product you could create while your writing your latest blog post however, will see your attention split and as a consequence the blog post takes longer to write.

Allocate a time once a week where you create a master weekly to do list. Sunday afternoon afternoons work well for me. I find that after sometime off work over the weekend, I have lots of ideas to get out of my head. Using a simple A4 size notebook I write two columns – the first is for blogging and the second is for family and household tasks.

I write the two lists at the same time as I find once I start writing things to do, they all come to my mind and I just separate them out in columns on the page. It is a great feeling to have everything out of your head and on to paper.

2. Write down your goal

On another page I will create my to do list for Monday. I will write the day and date, then write my blogging goal for the year at the top of the page. Writing down your goal regularly reminds you of what the goal is and writing it before you choose what tasks you are going to do for the day helps increase your focus on what is most important over the longer term.

Your to do list might contain these activities:

  • Create a video tutorial
  • Write newsletter
  • Update resource page with affiliate links
  • Catch up on emails
  • Write module one of course

To help prioritise them you would look at your stated goal for the year. If you have chosen your goal well for the year, your goal acts as a decision making filter for you. For example, if your goal was to increase revenue by creating your own products then your first task should be to write module one of the course. If you goal however was to build your newsletter list, then writing your newsletter should be your first task.

3. Write down your key project

To achieve your goal for the year, there will most likely be a number of projects you will need to complete.  If we follow on from the example above and your goal was to increase revenue by creating your own products, you current project might be creating an online course. You would write that as your project at the top of your to do list and make sure that you spend some time on your project every work day.

4. List three tasks for your day

With your goal for the year and current project at the top of your page, you would then turn to your master list and choose three tasks that will help you achieve your goal and project. Limiting the tasks you put on the list prevents you from choosing a range of easy tasks. It is much easier to sit down and clear out your inbox, respond to comments and spend time on social media than it is to write the first module for your online course.

By limiting your tasks to three, you have the room to choose tasks that will add value to your blogging bottom line.

5. Visualise your day

Many of you may have read the point above and are now shaking your head thinking visualising my day sounds all woo woo. I used to think this too until I tried it. It truly makes a difference. Having written my to list the night before, when I head to the gym first thing in the morning, I can better visualise my day.

I visualise what I am going to do when I get home from the gym to get things organised at home for the day. This allows me to get straight into my work when I get back from taking the kids to school. I then visualise which will be the first task I will work on for the day, I visualise the break I will take once I have finished my first work session, then repeat the process by visualising the next task I will work on.

Visualisation works because it reinforces your priorities and they are front of mind. So when I sit in front of my computer and I am tempted to head to my inbox, there is a disconnect experienced – this doesn’t match up to my visualisation and I am much more likely to resist the temptation and start work on my project.

Charles Duhigg a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter for The New York Times, writes about the importance of visualisation in his book Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business.

“Your brain has to decide what deserves attention and what deserves to be ignored, and [the] way it does it is compare what we expect is going to happen to what’s actually going on,” Duhigg told Quartz. {source}

Then it is a matter of rinse and repeat. Through out the week as you think of things you need to do, you add them to your master list. At the end of each work day you write your to do list for the next day, with your goal and project at the top of the page.

As the week ends, you create your new master list and you are once again setting yourself up for a productive week via your to do list.

How do you create your to do list for blogging?

The post 5 Steps to Creating a Productive Blogging To Do List appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


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