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12 Reasons Why Your Blog Hasn’t Made You a Millionaire…Yet

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reasons blog millionaire

A few months ago, we published an infographic highlighting the top young entrepreneurs who have made millions online. Believe it or not, this list doesn’t just include social network owners (like Mark Zuckerberg) and eccommerce business owners. Bloggers were also represented on this list of millionaires.

The next time your parents tell you to “get a real job,” just show them the potential!

That said, if your bank account looks anything like mine, you’re not at that million dollar point…yet. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a more advanced blogger, there are reasons you might have gotten derailed on your way to that million-dollar mark.

If you’re a beginning blogger, here are the main ways you’re sabotaging your efforts to become the next online millionaire someday:

1. You have a traffic problem.

Hands down, the biggest reason that most bloggers don’t make a full-time living with their blogs is that they don’t have the traffic to support it. Making money is always a numbers game. If you have 500 people walk into your jewelry store, you’re going to typically make more sales if you have 20 people walk into your jewelry store. More traffic is better! If you’re wondering what you can do to build your traffic, I recommend getting started with this post: 58 Ways to Get Noticed as a New Blogger

You also need the right kind of numbers. Even if you do have 500 people walk into your jewelry store, but none of them are interested in buying jewelry, you’re not going to sell anything. The same is true of your blog. While you want more traffic, you also want relevant traffic (i.e., traffic from people who are interested in your content and want to buy whatever you’re selling).

2. You don’t invest in your blog.

Blogging is so attractive in part because you can get started without a huge investment. But the truth is, as your blog starts to grow, going for all of the free options isn’t the best choice.

Sure, you can go for a free blog hosted by WordPress, Blogger, or another platform, but if you pay for blog hosting, you have more freedom to make money on your own terms.

Sure, you can install a free theme, but unless you have the time and skills to fully customize it, you’re not going to have as many options, nor will you have the SEO benefits you get with a premium theme.

Sure, you can install only free plugins, but there are also several premium plugins that you can purchase to increase the functionality of your blog.

I might be biased, but I fully believe that investing in education like conferences and online courses are imperative to your continued growth.

If you spend money on your blog the smart way, you’re going to see a return on your investment. Here are the top five ways I recommend spending money on your blog.

3. You’re trying to do everything yourself.

There are 168 hours in a week. If you work full time, that takes up about 40 hours, plus about 5 “lunch” hours while you’re at work. If you sleep 6-8 hours per night, that’s an average of around 50 hours. If you spend an around hour in the morning getting ready and eating breakfast, and around an hour eating diner, that’s  about 15 hours.

Which means you’re left with 50-60 hours per week to potentially work on your blog. I say potentially because you and I both know how much time it takes to deal with chores and yard work, grocery/clothes shopping, family obligations, and errands. My estimate is that the average person who also works really has 10-20 hours per week to spend blogging, if they don’t have any other hobbies or small children.

That’s 2-3 hours per day. Tops.

Millionaires in any industry have teams working with them to help make their business a success. This goes along with investing in your blog – if you want to start growing and making more money, you have to start hiring help. Otherwise, you’re going to hit a ceiling where it’s just not possible to make more money because you’ve run out of hours in the day.

Hopefully, before you hit that point, you’ll be able to quit your job to blog full time. But even then, you can’t magically create more hours in a day. You will need to start hiring a team. If you don’t, and try to do everything yourself, you’ll ultimately be capped by time.

4. You have nothing to sell.

Lots of bloggers get started making money with affiliate programs, sponsored posts, PPC programs, and ad spots on their sidebar. But with all of these money-making options, you’re only making a percentage of the total the sell price. A percentage is better than nothing, but what if you could be making that entire amount (or at least a much bigger percentage).

The key is to figure out a pain point for your audience and come up with something to solve it. For example, say you blog about personal finance. Your audience’s pain point might be not understanding how to best invest their money. If you write an ebook that solves this problem by teaching people how to get started investing, your audience will respond.

Something import to remember: what you think your audience needs might now be what they actually need. In our examples as a personal finance blogger, maybe the problem isn’t that your audience doesn’t know how to invest, but rather that they don’t know how to budget so they have money every month to use for investing. Or maybe the problem is that they know the basics of investing, but lack the motivation. Before you create a product to sell, consider polling your audience and doing some research to find out more about your community. That way, you can create a product they’ll actually buy.

5. You’re in writer mode, not business mode.

I am a content creator first and foremost. I think I do have business skills as well, but my perfect job would just be writing all day. I think a lot of other bloggers out there are similar. That’s why we blog: we love to write.

The problem is that writing alone doesn’t make you any money. You have to charge people to read it in some way, whether that is directly (selling books, for example) or indirectly (through ads on your free content).

Humans, I’ve found, tend to read about topics they enjoy. So, if you’re a writer, you probably read a lot about writing and how to write better. Continue to do that – master you craft. But also read about the business side of things. Learn as much as you can about marketing, about sales, about the ins and outs of running a business. If you can, even consider taking some business classes at a local community college. Get yourself into business mode.

The bonus? Because you are a writer, you are a naturally creative person, and that’s a skill you can’t teach. Lots of business people would love to have your creative skills! So you’re starting with an advantage. You just have to put a little effort into learning about the business side of things.

6. You haven’t networked with other top bloggers.

When I first started blogging, I was scared to reach out to other bloggers. I’m a naturally introverted person, so even online, I don’t go out of my way to meet new people. I would always worry that people would find me annoying or silly.

But you know what? If you’re networking for the right reasons – to be helpful and make friends – no one will mind your communications. In fact, most people welcome them. I love to get emails and tweets from people who enjoy my work or just want to get to know me.

By networking with top bloggers in person (when possible) and online, you’re connecting with people who can also help you build your blog traffic – and remember, traffic is the number one reason you’re not a millionaire. By building real relationships, people will naturally want to promote you, which is good for both direct traffic and for SEO.

7. Your content is still “beginner level.”

There’s something to be said for creating content for beginners. Actually, I think blogs primarily for beginners can be wildly successful. But are you a beginner? If so, you’re going to have a much harder time making money.

By this, I mean:

  • Are you new to your niche, without much experience in the topic?
  • Do you use works like “maybe” and “I think” a lot, displaying a lack of confidence?
  • Are your posts basic information found on several other websites, instead of insightful in some way?
  • Do you fail to link to other posts to support what you are writing?
  • Is your writing level sub-par?

I believe that it is impossible to teach the raw talent that natural writers have, but you can learn to become a better writer. Like I mentioned earlier, go out there and master your craft.

This is important for making money for two reasons. First, whether your reader is a beginner or advanced, they want to buy from an expert. It’s hard to position yourself as an expert if your writing isn’t great. Second, you’re going to get more traffic if your posts are amazing. People share posts that are awesome, not posts that are just okay.

8. You aren’t supporting your community.

When I was a kid, my parents owned a small business (a deli and butcher shop to be exact). On the counter, they always had a can of lollipops for the kids, and the parents really appreciated it. It gave the kids a little treat, something to keep them occupied while their parents took care of business.

My parents didn’t make money directly through the lollipops, but it contributed to their support of the community. It became a tradition for many families to stop once a week, pick up their fresh meats, and get the kids a lolly.

How are you supporting your community?

Let’s face it: there are hundreds if not thousands of other blogs in your niche they could be reading, and quality alone isn’t enough to set you apart, because the Internet is full of great writers. You have to go above and beyond.

If you do, they’ll go from being readers to fans, and it’s much easier to convert a fan into a customer than it is to convert a one-time reader into a customer.

9. You don’t care about SEO.

I’ve made the mistake of thinking that SEO doesn’t matter. “The best SEO is great content!” I would preach. And while I still believe that to be true, over the last year, I’ve made some minor tweaks to my SEO strategy and they’ve made all the difference. You’ll never read a post of mine that is stuffed with keywords unnaturally or written for search engines and not people. But the optimization is there, and it’s cause my traffic to increase.

Which, again, causes your income to increase as well.

SEO is a pain in the butt. People devote their entire lives to SEO, and when Google makes a change, we have to throw what we know out the door and start over again. But the basics do not change, and will help you create better content. Google’s entire goal is to reward good content, and if you start to play by their rules, they’ll understand that your content is good and start sending more search traffic your way.

10. You care too much about SEO.

Just like it’s a mistake to not care about SEO, it’s also a mistake to care too much. I’ve seen sites that are clearly optimized, and while the content is great from an educational standpoint, there is no soul behind it.

Your writing voice and style both matter. SEO brings people to your site, but you keep them there. That’s why a blogger like Jenny Lawson has a huge community of readers despite not optimizing her posts for search engines. Let your personality shine through, so you’re giving readers a reason to become a fan of your blog and a customer of your products.

11. You aren’t giving people what they want.

Remember when I talked about polling your audience to see what then want? Yeah, that’s a biggie. Your content needs to give people what they want or they sure as heck won’t want to buy anything from you or click on any ads.

The best way to give people what you want is to start with a well defined audience. Who exactly are you trying to reach? Think about your readers’ experience levels, sense of humor, income level, gender, and other demographics. A trick I learned from Darren Rowse is to actually write out the bio of a few of your readers. John Doe is a 50-year-old math teacher who enjoys playing the guitar and is reading your food blog to learn how to cook quick meals for his kids. Jane Smith is a 21-year-old college drop out with a strong work ethic who is reading your marketing blog to learn more about finding more customers for the bakery she recently started.

Keep in mind that what people want and what people need are two different things. People often don’t realize what they need, they only know what they want (i.e. what they think they need). When it comes to your free content, give them exactly what they need. Surprise and delight people with information they didn’t even know they needed. But when it comes to selling content? Need might not cut it.

People are usually not willing to drop money when they don’t know they need a product. People buy what they want because they think it is what they need. That doesn’t mean you should give your readers products that are unhelpful, but think about want and need when you are packaging your products.

12. You have no list.

Lastly, one of the biggest mistakes I see bloggers make is not giving people the ability to sign up for your mailing list. Having a robust mailing list can do wonders for your bottom line.

The fact of the matter is that you can’t rely on people to read you blog every single time there is a new post. Some people will, but more often, you’ll get readers who are busy and unable to keep up with all of the great content in their feed readers. If you don’t have a mailing list, you’ll have absolutely no way of reaching those people other than crossing your fingers and hoping they see your newest post.

A mailing list allows you to not only send traffic to your blog by reminding them to read your content, but it also allows you to promote affiliate sales, talk about new products you’re launching, and even sell services like consulting and freelance writing. If you aren’t already building a list, get that set up immediately and start emailing subscribers. Your bank account will thank you!

What changes are you going to make during 2014 (and beyond) to help you make more money as a blogger?

Image credit (altered): Bigstock

Six New Years Resolutions for Small Businesses (That You Can Do Right Now)

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Is it too soon to be sick of 2014 predictions, resolutions, and assorted New Year’s fodder? Wait, don’t answer that until you read this post. Here are the top six things you can do right now and be done with your list (until 2015 anyway):

1. Get Mobile

Obvious? Yes. Have you done it? Maybe not. Whatever your business model—from consultant to small business—it’s easier than ever to adopt a responsive design to ensure viewers experience an optimized view of your website. In fact, the majority of templates these days have these capabilities already built in, just make sure yours is or can be adjusted it on-the-fly (WordPress makes it easy). Remember, mobile viewers no longer tolerate sites that are difficult to navigate, slow-loading, or result in irksome moments. You can’t afford to lose them in 2014, so don’t.

Shortcut: If you’re not familiar with responsive design, or want to learn how to trick out your site to accommodate mobile viewers, check out an everything responsive design site.

2. Refresh Your Social Media Presence

If you’re like me, your social networks are live, well, and blasting out content on a regular basis. But how often do you check your business description, followers (and those you are following), and general housekeeping of your social media? Strangely, these are the items that get put on the back burner, even though they’re the first impression people get of your brand. Why not check, edit, and improve for a coordinated effort?

Shortcut: It’s unnecessary to create separate versions of social network descriptions based on differing word counts (always tempting to reach the word count, isn’t it?). Instead use a crisp, concise summary for all networks (Bonus: You’ll never have to worry about one being outdated from another. Consistency is underrated).  

3. Set Up Meetings With Prime Customers and Prospects

You might think the beginning of the year is the worst time to get in touch with customers who are just coming back to work. In reality, this is the best time to reach out. With most people still on a “holiday high”, you can snap up their attention for a quick chat, formal meeting, or lunch date. Once 2014 gets underway, they’ll be too busy with other priorities.

Shortcut: Take a cue from the sales playbook. Offer a specific date and time rather than asking the other party to supply one. People are much more likely to accept or counter with another date. Open-ended offers, on the other hand, are more likely to be put off or ignored.

4. Slot in Conferences, Vacations, and Time Off

Anyone who knows me can vouch for the fact that I’m not a big vacation planner. The reason is simple: When you’re a consultant, you never know when client projects will get you in a pinch (not to mention the ever-present desire to keep the revenue stream flowing). Whether you have an online business, brick-and-mortar store, or consulting service, your busy times likely fluctuate by seasons, holidays, or by client activities. Mine this information at the beginning of the year and allot your time off. It may seem like a risky move, but planned events are 99% more likely to happen if you…plan them. It will ultimately save time, money, and headaches. Remember why you made the choice to go into business for yourself. You don’t work for “The Man”; you work for YOU. Go ahead and take that vacay or staycay!

Shortcut: Take another cue from the sales playbook. Ping your clients about their plans for next year (it also makes you look proactive and an excuse to get in touch). For retail businesses, study the purchasing schedules of seasonal, big-ticket, and regular customers, or conduct a quick online survey to find out buying patterns.

5. Be Ahead of The Curve

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made recommendations to clients based on an understanding of what’s coming next in their industry, a new marketing tactic, or other valuable information I’ve discovered. Sure, they may be familiar with some of these ideas already, but the fact that I can confirm this also validates their choice to hire me in the first place. Not surprisingly, I often get my best info by setting up an organized curating system. Whether it’s making recommendations to retail customers or  clients, they will thank you for it.

Shortcut: Google Alerts is not the only game in town. Check out these newer, customizable site and article curation services, or do a test run to see which ones you like.

6. Consolidate Your Marketing Resources

Say you’re doing email campaigns four times a year, pushing out social media content twice a week, and managing a monthly blog. That’s a lot to maintain, organize, and publish; plus you need to review analytics to determine the best performers. Though I’ve always valued  articles and resources from Hubspot, it took client access for me to discover the power of their marketing dashboard. Still, they can be quite expensive for a small business. For those who view HubSpot as the equivalent of the Microsoft Evil Empire, there are many alternatives, some free (but don’t expect the bells and whistles).

Shortcut: Truth be told, making a move like this is time-consuming. Consider adding capabilities to your marketing operations web site or software once a month. You don’t have to do the whole enchilada at one time, but at least make that first step.

Bonus: Add a Resolution Wild Card: We all have something to do for our business, but often we don’t have the time, resources, or budget to pull it off. We tend to get overwhelmed with the anticipation, or we get busy with other things, or both. But think of your own wish that you want to do…and do it!

What’s your first New Year’s resolution for your business?

Why Blogs Are the Future for 2014 and How to Prepare Your Blog for the New Year

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blogs are the future

As the calendar inches ever closer toward the new year, there’s never been a better time to talk about blogging. Everywhere you go these days, someone’s saying something about how many blogs there are and how the blog world is over-saturated. Could these ideas actually be true? Are blogs over, or is 2014 a good time to start your own? What will 2014 hold for blogs—how will things change, and how will they stay the same? If you already blog, how can you prepare your blog for the next season?

To help answer those questions, let’s look at what the experts are saying about why blogs do matter—along with strategies for making the most of your blogging efforts.

Blogs Still Matter

Despite what you may have heard, blogs are not done yet. “The need for an online presence has never been stronger,” says Jayson DeMers at Search Engine Watch. “[But] the landscape has never been more competitive.” Whether you’re thinking about improving your business’s search results or looking to become an authority in a specific niche, blogs are powerful, especially when you know how to use them. Below, consider what experts are saying:

  • “Extremely Relevant.” In February 2013, Clayton Lainsbury wrote at the content marketing site Crowd Content Resources that “intelligent marketers still know that blogging is extremely relevant if you apply it properly in a social and mobile driven world.” His point is that the world is online—and blogging gives you a way to reach it.
  • “There’s No Better Way.” In an April 2013 blog post at Social Media Today entitled “Blogging is More Important Today than Ever Before,” author Nicole Beachum said, “There is not a better way to add relevant content to your website on a regular basis than to utilize a blog.” Citing reasons like search engine optimization and keeping up with the competition, Beachum goes so far as to say hiring a professional is a savvy step.
  • “Effective Marketing Strategy.” According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 Report for B2B content marketers, 62% of marketers still see blogging as an effective content strategy.
  • “A Public Record.” There are intangible benefits to blogging, which is something personal bloggers like Lisa Endlich understand well. For individuals as well as businesses, blogging offers a place to chronicle your story and connect with like minds.

How to Blog Strategically in 2014

Based on a Google Talk given in October at PubCon 2013, staying ahead in the blog world is simply a matter of knowing what to expect. With that in mind, here are some tips for making the most of your blogging efforts, at least in terms of search results, next year:

  • Focus on Quality: Search engine algorithms are always changing, but one bottom-line principle stays the same: High quality content works. Rather than worrying about how to trick the search giants, focus on publishing the highest quality content you can.
  • Benefit Your Reader: If you aren’t answering the #1 reader question of “Why should I care?” you’re sabotaging your own blogging efforts. Look at your blog right now—what does it offer? What do your readers gain? Why should they come back? Make those answers crystal clear in order to prepare your blog for the new year.
  • Blog Like You Talk: As voice searching grows in popularity, blogs that are written the way people talk may rank higher.
  • Niche = Authority: The more specific and focused your blog topic, the better your chances of becoming an authority in your field. Rather than blogging about food, for example, blog about gluten-free, dairy-free recipes. Rather than blogging about lifestyle, blog about being a stay-at-home dad of twins in New York City. Look for ways to specialize, and you become more valuable.
  • Make the Most of Social Media: Social profiles are not only good for building relationships, but also they help you increase online authority. Search engines look at social activity—how often your blog is mentioned, linked to, etc.—to determine ranks.
  • Know Your Goals: Gone are the days when all you hope for with a blog is a reader. Moving forward, bloggers will need to determine their exact goals (Conversions? Subscribers? New leads?) to quantify success.

Your Thoughts

Will you or your business be blogging in 2014? What changes are you making to prepare for the new year? What changes do you think are important?

Image credit: Bigstock (altered)

How to Transform Your Dormant Sites into Fabulous Sources of Passive Income

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Transform your dormant sites

If you actually took the time to follow the advice of domain services experts in regards to buying and protecting your domain name, then you probably have a few dormant websites lying around. This is because these experts often advise us to buy as many TLDs of our chosen domain name as we can to protect our brand.

So, let’s say you were lucky enough to get the .com TLD for your preferred domain name and chose to buy the .org, .net, and .biz TLDs as well. What do you do with the three websites you aren’t actively using to grow your business? Believe it or not, you can turn these dormant ones into passive income streams!

What is a Passive Income Stream?

Simply put, this type of income stream provides you with a source of income with little to no need for constant upkeep as soon as the initial investment has been completed. When you write a book, for example, you make the initial investment of writing the book and then getting it published. After that, you simply wait for the sales to come in.

The Value of Passive Income

The value of passive income sources is that they provide you with multiple income streams. This means you earn not just from the business itself, but from a number of other sources as well. The importance of having several income sources lies in the fact that it protects you from a great deal of trouble in case you experience a downturn in your business. Passive income serves as a buffer, so to speak.

The idea of using websites as sources of passive income began when some people created websites with just a few pages of content and then promoted certain products as their affiliates. The owners of those sites earned a certain amount of money for every customer they sent to their affiliates. The only thing site owners had to do to keep their sites running was to update their content from time to time.

With the Google algorithm changes, however, this type of sites started getting penalized and soon dried up. Nevertheless, the field of online passive income remains alive to this day. After all, getting affiliates isn’t the only way for you to turn a dormant website into a passive income source.

Transforming Your Site Today

The key to turning a dormant website into a good source of passive income is to make it valuable to a certain group of people. Let’s take a quick look at two types of websites that are usually meant to earn passive income:

  1. A site that mostly contains pop-up ads, banner ads, and practically any other type of ad you can think of. I’m sure you’ve run into this kind of website several times before. This approach may require the least effort, but it also gives you the least return on your investment.
  2. A website that contains “How-to” articles, updated twice each month. This isn’t completely passive, since you’ll have to post new content from time to time, but it also doesn’t require much effort and is more likely to turn in a good profit.

In the above example, it’s obvious that the second website offers more value to users than the first. That’s why it stands a better chance of turning in a good profit. Here are a few tips on how you can add value to your dormant websites and turn them into good sources of passive income:

  1. Create an ebook

Check out all the “How-to” articles you’ve written or published so far. Do you think you can compile them into a book people would find interesting and helpful? Perhaps there might even be a way for you to expound on one of your articles such that you can turn it into a detailed guide. You could then use one of your dormant sites as an online store for your ebook.

Post a summary and teasers for your ebook on that site and then set up a mechanism to allow visitors to pay for and download the book directly from that site. To promote your eBook, you could post teasers on your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts along with a link to the website. You could even post the teasers and link on your business website.

  1. Create a Subscription Service

As mentioned earlier, you could create a series of articles that offer something of value to people and then post these articles on one of your dormant websites. In order to earn passive income from the site, you could require payment of an annual subscription fee. If you choose to go this route, though, you have to make sure your articles are truly relevant, useful, and interesting so people will consider them well worth the fee.

  1. Create an eCommerce Website

You already have an official website, so why do you need another one for selling products? This question is probably going through your mind right now. Well, whatever your product is, there are sure to be other products that complement it or are related to it in one way or another, right? You could provide space on one of your dormant sites for other brands to sell their products and earn a commission from each sale made.

Let’s assume that your main products are contact lenses. You could earn passive income by allowing manufacturers of lens solutions, lens cases, and eye makeup to sell their products on your dormant site! Of course, the site will no longer be dormant when you do that, but that’s the point, right?

Dormant websites don’t have to remain dormant forever. They can be excellent sources of passive income as long as you know how to design them such that they offer real value to users. You can make use of any of the strategies discussed above or better yet, use them all on the different websites you have. The more passive income streams you create, the less trouble you’ll be in, should your business unexpectedly suffer financial losses. Remember, it always pays to prepare for the rainy days.

Do you have dormant sites? If so, any plans to turn them into passive income sites?

Image credit: Bigstock

10 Easy-to-Fix Content Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

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Content Mistakes

Over the past few years, content marketing has emerged as the answer to a lot of our online marketing challenges. And because it works, we all do it—but not all of us do it as successfully as we’d like.

Granted, there’s no fool proof marketing plan that guarantees success. The only guarantee we have is that we’ll make mistakes and hopefully, learn from them. Unfortunately, a lot of times we don’t even realize we’re doing something wrong…and that’s where the trouble starts.

Below are 10 easy-to-fix content marketing mistakes you may not even know you’re making.

1. Not Reusing Content Effectively

The beauty of content marketing is in its reusability. Just because you’ve written a blog post doesn’t mean its life expectancy is limited to that post alone.

Expand on the topic and write a short ebook, report or white paper on it. Turn it into a presentation, a podcast, or even a video. Better yet, invite an authority on the subject and interview them. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Editor’s note: You can also do the reverse and take other content, like ebooks and presentations and turn them into blog posts. For example, every year, we turn the presentations at NMX into several blog posts, like this one we published based on Dino Dogan’s session at NMX 2013.

2. Using Jargon

Using industry jargon is a big fat “no” in content marketing and most of us know it. But we still end up using it in our content. We forget that our audience might not have the same understanding of the subject that we do.

Sure, we live, breathe and sleep our respective niches – but our readers don’t.

So go through your existing content and weed out any jargon used in your copy and replace them with layman terms.

3. Ignoring Your Current Audience in Favor of Attracting a New One

This phenomenon used to be a classic customer service mistake but it’s found in content marketing too now. A lot of times, content marketers are so focused on gaining new readers/followers/subscribers that they ignore the ones they already have.

Find a balance between the two but always give more importance to your existing audience. After all, retaining an audience is a lot easier than attracting a new one.

4. No Email Subscription Option

Is your content marketing strategy too focused on social media? Do you measure the success of your content in terms of social shares?

If yes, then it’s time to step back and think about email subscription. Social shares are fleeting. Once someone shares your content, they’re gone. There’s no way to contact them again or even find out who they were in some cases.

Email subscription on the other hand gives you the foot in the door you need to make a lasting impression.

HubSpot does this brilliantly. They have visually appealing call-to-actions for email sign ups after every post they publish.

5. No Incentive or Bribe to Encourage Sign Ups

Here’s the thing. Folks who sign up for newsletters don’t do it because of your stellar content. Well some do, but they’re very rare. Most of them sign up because they want to receive something in return. Something they can only get if they sign up for your newsletter.

Jon Morrow used his free report “52 Headline Hacks: A Cheat Sheet For Writing Posts That Go Viral” to get 13000 email subscribers for his new blog before he wrote the first post.

Crazy, right?

Your audience is more likely to do what you want if you give them an incentive. So make them an offer they can’t refuse.

For even more tips, check out this post on getting more email subscribers.

6. No Automation in Place

Even if marketers have their email subscription and incentive in place to capture leads, your subscribers will forget about you if you don’t follow up.

Even if they think the free report/ebook/ecourse etc. they received was brilliant, they won’t seek you out unless you do so first.

Email auto-responders are the best way to do that. They keep your audience engaged even when you don’t have the time to talk to them. It also saves you hours and hours of time you’d otherwise have spent coming up with content ideas.

Spend time creating an auto-responder series relevant to your subscribers and then watch as they become more and more engaged with your content.

7. No Guest Blogging

Content marketing isn’t worth the time, money and energy you invest in it if you don’t have authority. One of the fastest and most effective ways to build authority is by guest posting on reputable blogs.

Find popular and well respected blogs in your niche and reach out to them for guest blogging opportunities. Plenty of popular blogs accept guest posts and even have guidelines listed for them on their website.

Want more advice on guest blogging? Check out the following posts:

8. No Branding

Your online marketing efforts can’t be successful until you get your branding right. And having a great logo, professional web design, and stellar content is all well and good but that’s not the whole equation.

Your branding needs to be on every piece of online property you have your name on. That includes everything from the background and cover photos of your social media profiles to your email signature.

Here’s a tip not many people think of. If you’re investing in stock photos, get the right license and brand them as well. This way, when someone tweets, shares or pins your photo, folks will know at a glance who the content belongs to.

9. No Clear Call to Actions

The whole aim of producing, publishing and marketing content is to get people to take a specific action. Yet so often, we forget to include a call to action. We assume that since it’s a blog post, readers will comment. Or just because it says “free report”, folks will automatically sign up to download it.

If you want your readers to take action, you have to prompt them to do it. Figure out what action you want a particular piece of content to encourage and then spell it out.

10. Ignoring Smaller Tools and Tactics

Content marketing isn’t just about the big things like blog posts, newsletters, freebies and guest posts. It’s also about the small things you do to prolong the life of your content.

Don’t shy away from using different tools within your content that encourages sharing. Occasionally give away a freebie for the price of a tweet or a Facebook share. Include a “Click to Tweet” link in your blog posts, ebooks and other content to make it easy for people to share it.

Take a quote from your content and put it on an image to make it more share worthy. The Write Life does a great job of doing so in their posts. They then use those photos in their Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ updates.

What’s other easy-to-fix content marketing mistakes have you seen people make?

Image credit: Bigstock (altered)

6 Keys to Every Great Blog Post

Author:

bigstock-Blog-10686950 Despite the uniqueness found in every blog post, there are certain commonalities that exist in every great blog post. Use this list and make sure your post has all six of these elements before sending it out to the world.

1. An Intriguing Title

Why are you reading this post? It’s probably because you wanted to learn about how to write a better blog post. My title was intriguing, attracted the right audience, and brought in readers like you.

Use different types of hooks to grip your readers. Some of the most captivating hooks include:

  • The Educational Hook: connects a concept with the mind.
  • The Topical Hook: connects a concept with the news.
  • The Fresh Spin Hook: connects a concept with a normally unrelated idea.
  • The Self-Interest Hook: connects a concept with the reader’s personal identity.
  • The True Story Hook: connects a concept with real-life stories.
  • The Curation Hook: connects a concept with a series of unrelated ideas.

Can you tell which hook I’m using in my title?

2. Examples

Blog posts are much more interesting and useful when the author uses examples. Some ideas of examples that you can use in your post include:

  • Pictures
  • Charts/Graphs
  • Screenshots
  • Videos
  • Article References
  • Statistics
  • Excerpts
  • Case Studies

These are all great ways to show (not tell), and it helps keep the post more interesting and sharable.

3. Breaks in the Content

Breaking up your content is a crucial part of a great blog post. While it doesn’t change your message, it can quickly determine whether or not readers will actually read through and share you blog post.

People don’t like to read. Instead, they scan blog posts, looking for the most important points before moving on.

The Nielson Norman Group found that only 16 percent of readers read web pages word-for-word. That means that most of you aren’t actually reading this. You simply read my subheadings and moved on.

Posts without breaks in the content are visually unappealing and hard to read. Here are a few tips on how you can break up your content:

  • Use subheadings.
  • Write short paragraphs.
  • Include bullet points or numbered lists.
  • Bold or italicize important points.
  • Add pictures.

Remember white space is an element of your blog post. Use it.

4. Proper Conventions

If I run across a post that’s packed full of spelling and grammatical mistakes, you can be sure that I’m never returning to that blog again no matter how qualified the author is to speak about the subject.

Realistically, though, I can easily let a few mistakes slide; mistakes are understandable. However, if an author’s not willing to edit and revise their content, it’s not worth my time to try putting the pieces together and guess what they’re trying to say.

On the other hand, a blog post that uses proper conventions sounds more professional and is easier and more enjoyable to read.

Bookmark a good grammar site and check any rule or wording that you are unsure about, or use a grammar checker if you don’t have a second set of eyes to scan your post before it goes live.

5. An Engaging Appeal

While I wouldn’t say that an engaging aspect is essential for a great blog post, it certainly helps peak readers’ interest and helps them get the most out of the piece.

You have to get your readers involved. For example, you might include an exercise to get your readers more engaged in the subject, or you could simply ask a question for them to answer in the comment section.

The Write Practice certainly has this down, and they have thousands of followers because of it. In each of their posts, they include a practice exercise and have readers share their results in the comment section.

6. A Unique Voice

A survey conducted by SmartBlogs.com found that 43.41 percent of respondents say a distinctive voice is the number one aspect a successful blog needs.

This means that readers love unique writers, someone who doesn’t copy another writer’s voice and can put their own personality to their work.

Your voice should not be forced, and it is yours alone. Not sure what your unique voice is yet? Use these 10 Steps for Finding Your Writing Voice which includes exercises like:

  • Describing yourself in three adjectives
  • Examining the types of writing you like to read
  • Listing your favorite cultural influences

Your unique voice will set you apart and give your audience a reason to follow you. So find a voice, stick with it, and add some creativity and uniqueness into your posts.

When reading blog posts, it’s clear when the post is great, but when we break it down like this, creating your own spectacular blog post becomes a bit easier. Do you include all six in your blog posts?

Image credit: Bigstock

3 Steps to Increase Blog Visitors, Mailing List Signups, and Product Sales

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3 Steps to Increase Blog Visitors, Mailing List Signups, and Product Sales

What’s the difference between a $100 bill and a $1 bill? Same paper. Same ink. So why do we value one more than the other?

The copy.

Like dollar bills, the words you put on your blog or speak during your podcast will make all the difference as to how people value what you create.

Good copywriting is similar to baking a cake. You can have all the raw ingredients, and know what the end result should be, but if you don’t mix and bake everything in a specific order, the result isn’t nearly as good.

The following three copywriting tips, used in the correct order, will help you to get the results you’re looking for the next time you write a blog post. You’ll increase visitors, increase subscribers, and make more sales.

Step One – Know Your Market

Before you write a single word of sales copy, you absolutely need to understand who you’re selling to. You need to understand their needs, desires, and objections to anything you have to offer.

You want to build rapport, which is essential for any successful selling situation. You can do this by speaking to readers in the language they themselves use. Anything else is like using profanity in a church – you’ll show “you don’t belong here.”

Reading other blogs, browsing forums, and looking over product reviews in your niche/industry will give you a good feel what the people you’re trying to connect with want, what they don’t want, and how they communicate with each other. Even if you’ve been in your market for years, and even if you’re part of your own market, this is something you should do on a regular basis to make the most of your content creation.

Step Two – Kick The Door Down With a Great Title

When you’re ready to start writing, pay special attention to your title. It doesn’t matter how good the meat of your content is if nobody reads it. A great title says, “I’m here. Let’s talk!” It’s the big entrance you need to get your the full attention of your audience, so they they’ll read the rest of your message.

A great headline, like a great blog post title, is a promise to the reader that you’ll meet a need, fulfill a desire, or solve a problem.

Look to sales headlines for great examples of what a powerful title can be. These headlines, written by professional copywriters, wouldn’t be used if they didn’t get results.

Here is an example for a one-hour laundry service. A time-poor businessman needing clean clothes for an important meeting would highly respond to something like this:

We’ll Dryclean Your Suit Within One Hour – Or You Don’t Pay!

This is much better than a general slogan, such as:

Great Service for Over 15 Years

Nobody cares how long you’ve been in business – they only care that you’re able to solve their problems. When you let them know this is possible, they’ll read the read of your offer.

Like a businessman who needs clean clothes, the people who come to your blog are also looking for a solution to their problems. Do your blog post titles offer these solutions?

Below are five problem-solving blog post title formats that you can use to get started. Feel free to edit any of the examples listed so they’ll apply to what you’re doing.

1. The “How to” Title

  • How to Lose 10 Pounds in Only 7 Days
  • How to Make Money as a Professional Gambler
  • How to Lose Your Shirt in the Stock Market
  • How to Get a Date Tonight
  • How to Live on Only $2/day!

2. The “Fear” Title

  • Are You Making These 7 Mistakes?
  • Do You Have Any of These Symptoms?
  • What The President Isn’t Telling You About Gun Control
  • What Does Congress Know About Social Security That You Don’t?
  • 57% of Americans Have This Disease – Are You One of Them?

3. The “Simplify” Title

  • Lose 10 Pounds Guaranteed (Without Exercise!)
  • Get More Done in Less Time
  • A Clean House in Only 20 Minutes? Yes!
  • 3 Easy Steps to Get a Low-Interest Mortgage
  • 7 Healthy Meals Using Just 3 Ingredients

4. The “Solution” Title

  • Sleep Better With This Strange Trick…
  • My Kid Was Failing Math…Until This Came Along!
  • Tired of Riding The Bus? Get a New Car for Only $97/month!
  • If You Think Your Spouse is Cheating, I Can Help!
  • Finally! A Diet The Really Works!

5. The “Secret” Title

  • Insider Tricks to Beating the Stock Market – Guaranteed!
  • The Secret Doctors Don’t Want You to Know
  • The Diet Only Celebrities Know About…Until Now!
  • Right-Wing Secrets Every Democrat Should Know!
  • Liberal Secrets Every Patriot Should Know!

Step Three – Ask For What You Want!

When you write a blog post, keep in mind what you want readers to do. If you want them to sign up for your newsletter, ask for that. If you want them to follow you on Twitter, ask for that. If you want them to leave comments on the blog post, let them know! Every post needs a strong call to action.

Don’t assume that people visiting your blog or reading your blog posts will know want from them. Unless you specifically ask, they don’t. Be crystal clear about what you want from your readers. That is the only way they’ll know what you want.

Final Thoughts

There is no reason to reinvent the wheel when it comes to creating effective blog posts and titles for them. Simply look to the words your readers are already using to describe the problems (and solution to those problems) they are already asking about. Finish this process by asking for what you want them to do – sign up for your email newsletter, leave a comment, buy a product, etc.

Do you have a favorite blog post title that solves a problem or a call to action that worked extremely well? Please share it in the comments section.

Image credit: Bigstock

The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide to Selling Digital Products on Your Blog (Step Five)

Author:

Step Five Serving Cusomters

Your product is out there! You’re starting to make some money! Now you can sit back and just watch the passive income roll in, right?

Wrong.

One of the biggest mistakes most people make when selling digital products is thinking that the work ends after launch day. Very few people can “set it and forget it” when it comes to digital products. You need to provide great customer service to turn your fans into customers and to turn your customers into advocates.

Step Five: Continuously Serving Your Customers

Today, before ending this series of posts on selling digital products, I want to delve a little deeper into the life of a digital product after launch day. Let’s talk about…

  • Whether or not digital products are actually a source of passive income
  • Finding new customers beyond the initial burst of sales
  • Short-term customer care
  • Long-term customer care

When Passive isn’t Really Passive

Everyone always talks about how great passive income is, but the fact of the matter is this: passive income isn’t typically truly passive. Whenever you have money changing hands, customer support is needed. There will always be someone who has trouble downloading your product or logging into your website. There will always be someone who wants a refund. There will always be someone who has problems with payment processing.

This can be passive in the sense that you don’t have to be personally providing the customer support. You can instead hire a team of VAs to help you with this task. Then, all you’ll need to do is some initial training.

Just be aware that if you choose not to provide customer support, the result will not be good for your bottom line. People who have bad experiences tend to be extremely vocal on social networks. When someone googles your name/product, do you want a bunch of bad reviews to be the first thing that pops up?

Finding Customers

Launching a digital products is exciting because you typically see a rush of sales on launch day, slowly dropping off over the course of a week or two. But what then? If all you do is link to your product on your sidebar, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Every person who visits your blog is a potential sale. How much money are you missing out on, simply because you leave it up to people to figure out you have a product for sale?

So what can you do to find new customers continuously? Here are a few ideas?

  • Set up an email campaign some that when someone signs up for your mailing list, they get a message about your product.
  • Write blog posts about similar topics and link to your product at the end.
  • Write guest posts for other bloggers and mention your product in your bio or even within the post if relevant.
  • Run promotions throughout the year, offering discounts or free trials.
  • Work with your affiliates for special promotions.
  • Host a Google+ Hangout and talk about your product.
  • Come up with a plan to mention your product on social networks on a regular basis.
  • Create free products related to your paid product to give away, then upsell to the full product.
  • Do a free webinar about a related topic and talk about your product at the end.

Short-Term Customer Care

Short-term customer service is all about taking care of problems, right? Well, kind of. Problems should be your main focus, since these are opportunities to turn a bad situation into a good situation. However, don’t ignore your customers who are singing your praises or you biggest group of customers–the ones who say nothing at all.

Create an automated email sequence so that about a week after your product is purchased, the customer receives an email follow up. Ask for feedback, offer a surprise bonus, or simply thank them a second time. You want that “second touch” with each customer to show that you really do care.

Make sure you reply to anyone who emails you, even if they are not inquiring (or yelling!) about a problem. The people who love your product or just have a question are the people who will sing your praises if you give them a little attention. We all like to feel like we’re important. When you personally reply to someone, even to just say thank you, you’re making your customers feel noticed.

While I do advocate you doing this yourself, you can have a VA help you manage this part as well by categorizing your emails so you can reply more quickly.

Long-Term Customer Care

Think about how you’re going to connect with your customers long-term as well. Why should you care? Because they’ll give you even more money! When you have another product for sale, someone who has felt they received a lot of value from you in the past is going to pull out their credit card a second time.

It’s about more than a great product. You do want to be sure that what you’re selling is awesome. But more importantly, if you go that extra mile, you’ll have people begging you for another product or even giving you more money in the form of a donation. Pat Flynn once told a story about people purchasing a product from him that they didn’t even need just to say “thank you” for his free help in the past!

The key is VALUE. Here are a few ways you can offer long-term value:

  • Offer a free “second edition” version of your book to people who purchased in the past.
  • Ask your customers to become affiliates so they can earn a little income from recommending your product.
  • Engage with customers on social networks. Beyond just talking about your product, get to know them and share their links from time to time.
  • Create a community around your product, offering forums, Facebook groups, etc. for customers to talk to one another.
  • Do a call/webinar with your customers around the 3-month-since-launch mark to answer any lingering questions.
  • Touch base via occasional emails.

The point is this: keep people involved. Then, when you have another product for sale or want a boost in sales for your current product, ASK your community of customers to help you! They can…

  • Tweet, pin, and otherwise share via social networks
  • Send emails to their friends and followers
  • Write testimonials
  • Review your product on other sites

So, while you might be thinking of your digital product as a passive source of income, if you put some more time into building a community around the product, you’ll sell more products over the long term. Passive? Not really. Profitable? Absolutely!

I hope this series has helped you prepare for selling your next digital product. Remember to check out all of the other posts in the series if you haven’t already!

 

See Other Posts in This Series:

  1. Step One: Building Relationships
  2. Step Two: Choosing the Perfect Product
  3. Step Three: Creating Your Product
  4. Step Four: Planning Your Launch
  5. Step Five: Servicing Your Customers (this post)

Image credit (altered): Bigstock

No More Excuses: Top 10 Reasons to Start a Business Blog in 2014

Author:

bigstock-Beautiful-woman-with-thoughtfu-29888243(1) A few weeks ago I taught a blogging webinar for consultants as part of a social media education series. At the beginning, I did quick survey to gauge the knowledge base. Not surprisingly, my audience ranked high on awareness and interest in social media, and also appeared savvy in running their businesses.

What I didn’t expect, though, were the reasons accomplished business owners didn’t have a blog: lack of confidence, worrying about that first step, not knowing where to start. See a theme here? It’s all about getting started. For all you “blogcrastinators,” 2014 is the year to launch your small business blog. With each passing day, you’re missing out on one of the best, easiest, and most fun ways to grow your business (yes I said fun). Not convinced? Here are the top ten reasons:

#10-Be an original: Blogging was the first social media: If you think showing your social media chops consists of retweeting other people’s ideas, reposting industry articles on LinkedIn, or asking provocative questions on Facebook, you’re not seeing the whole picture. Blogging is the granddaddy online social media provocateur, and in a larger sense, the hub of all social media network connections—so go be an integral part of it.

#9-Regurgitated content doesn’t help your business: All that social media you are blasting out might be interesting, but it doesn’t have your thumbprint on it. Why not take advantage of social media to its fullest? Even better, your blog will provide you with an ample, endless supply of content to use, repackage, and repurpose for other marketing. In other words, promote yourself first, others later.

#8-Add instant cred to your business: Want to impress a client, customer, or new prospect? That’s guaranteed when you mention your blog in conversation, include it on your email signature, or any other subtle PR move—people will automatically take your business more seriously. It tells the world that you’ve made the investment to reach, influence, and connect with your audience, and those perceptions help your business star rise.

#7-Create an “open space” for thought: One of the great things about blogging is that it will stimulate and trigger an amazing cornucopia of ideas. You’ll find yourself constantly scouring for interesting ideas to post (in a good way), getting inspired to tackle topics you wouldn’t have dreamed of otherwise, and feeling the push to research new topics of interest. Blogs provide a great venue for this. You have to experience it to believe it, but trust me you will.

#6-Win-win with the competition: Check out the blogs of your competitors and see what they’re writing about, their style, how often they post. Then make sure you are writing better and differently, with a style unique to your business. Stand out in the blog crowd. And of course when you’re pushing yourself to higher standards, it nudges everyone else to get on that higher ground too.

#5-Become a better writer: They say a habit takes three months to adopt: When you start blogging on a regular basis, I guarantee you’ll find that your writing becomes more crisp, focused, and better as time goes on. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes, and nowhere else is that more true than the art and discipline of writing.

#4-Get out of your comfort zone: It’s not often we get to email an industry expert to get an interview,  become an instant authority overnight by reading up on a topic voraciously, or whip up commentary post on anything we desire. Whatever path your blog takes, you will meet interesting people, learn about new things, and blogging will surely stand out as a unique, creative part of your business—and life.

#3 Become the master of your blog domain: Don’t drive yourself crazy with high expectations that you will be blogging on a daily basis—That is just not going to happen (feel free to prove me wrong though). Start your postings slow and build up—consider once a month or every other month. Then add in as you can. Posting every week on a certain day is a noble act, but only commit to what you can reasonably do. I advocate regularly and religiously, but not ridiculously.

#2-Cultivate a new way to express yourself: For those fearing the combo click of the keyboard with the white computer screen, you’ll be surprised at how you enjoy writing when it’s a topic you’re interested in, and even passionate about (here’s hoping you find your business at least interesting, otherwise you should find another lot in life). That’s not to say that some posts won’t be difficult to write, or get rewritten 20 times and you’re still not happy, but in the end, you will be proud of your accomplishments as a whole. That I know to be true.

#1-Your small gains can lead to big changes: I’m not sure what the attendees of my blog webinar did after that course I taught a few weeks ago, but I can only hope it pushed them to the next step of starting a blog, whether it was to check out blog templates, or commit to some topics to write about, and in some way ultimately get over their fears to begin a blog. Speaking from personal experience, having and nurturing my own blog for three years led to a regular monthly post here at BlogWorld and a cascade of blogging work for my own business. Ask any successful entrepreneur, anyone who has changed a habit, or any small business owner that started a blog—it’s totally worth it on all levels. So start 2014 with your blog!

What’s your excuse for not starting a blog? What’s holding you back?

Image credit: BigStock

What A-List Bloggers Know about Supporting Their Own Content

Author:

When I first started blogging, I made a big mistake: I wrote about the topics that inspired me.

Before you take up arms and lecture me on how important it is to feel passionate about the topics you cover on your blog, hear me out. I think it’s fine to write about content when you are inspired. Passion is a very good thing if you want your blog to thrive. But if that’s the only way you plan your content, you’re not doing your posts justice.

The Reader “Sales” Funnel

How many posts do you have to read by someone before you’re hooked? Maybe it’s just one really awesome post…but more likely, you have to see that person’s name a few times before you start to take notice. We’re bombarded with so much content every day that it’s hard for a single author to stand out unless they consistently wow a reader. Only then, will the reader perform an action, like following on social networks, subscribing to a mailing list, subscribing to an RSS feed, etc.

Reader Sales Funnel In the world of sales, we talk about a “sales funnel.” This funnel exists on your blog too, even if you aren’t actually selling anything. At the top of the sales funnel, you have your widest audience of readers – people who land on your site for any reason. Next, you have a smaller number of readers – people who actually read your post instead of clicking the back button right away. Then you have a smaller number, people who read the entire post without clicking away. Then an even smaller number – people who want to read more. Then the smallest number – people who take an action that you want. That’s the red part of the diagram at right. We actually posted a really great explanation of sales funnels last week that you should check out for more information.

Your goal is to get as many people as possible taking that action, and to do that, you need to do two things:

  • Increase traffic from the top
  • Increase the conversion rate of people who move down the funnel at each level.

I’ll leave increasing traffic conversations for another day (check out this post for example). What I want to talk about today is moving people down the sales funnel.

If you have great content, people will automatically move from “sticking around” to “reach the end of the post.” And really, most people who actually read to the end of the post want more information. You have to hand it to them, though. If you wait for them to find it, you might be waiting a long time. People are lazy. If you want them to read related content, give them the link on a silver platter.

After you get people wanting and reading more, you can move them on to take an action.

What a-list bloggers know is that it isn’t enough to just point people to other posts on your blog. Your content has to actually work together in a way that makes sense.

If you only write when you’re passionate about a topic, it is really hard for your content to support itself because you’re just jumping from conversation to conversation.

An Analogy: A Conversation with A Friend

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine that you’re having coffee with a friend you haven’t seen for several years. Well, don’t actually close your eyes…because then you can’t read the rest of this post! But imagine it. It’s an experience we’ve all had.

Usually, you start off talking about one topic and then three hours later you’re still chatting away, even though you’ve moved to a completely different topic.

You didn’t have a break in your conversation where you both said “Okay, we’ve talked about our kids long enough. Let’s talk about our jobs now.” No, you just naturally moved from topic to topic. That’s how a blog works when you write content in a way that supports itself (only doing this takes a little more planning than you would do during a conversation with a friend!).

Now think about saying goodbye to your friend after a conversation over coffee. No matter how long you talked, you probably had more to say, and you might even be thinking, “I wish I would have asked about…”

You don’t want this to happen on your blog. You want to provide your readers with all the content they need about your niche. That’s where planning and a content calendar come into play. Don’t allow your content to fall into the deep abyss of forgotten blog posts on the Internet!

Your Content Calendar

If you don’t have an editorial calendar, you need one. That’s the best way to plan out a natural flow of supportive content. This post is a really great introduction to planning your content with an editorial calendar.

Beyond scheduling effectively, though, what you really need to do is make sure each post has the opportunity to shine not only on the day it is published but by being linked to in other posts.

Think of your blog posts as vines. Your want those vines intertwining and growing as much as possible. This will create a maze of content for your readers – and believe me, it is a good thing when someone gets lost in your blog because they are finding so much value!

For example, let’s say that I run a pet food blog and I’m going to write about the best brands of dog food. As I write, I may realize that I don’t have any posts that talk about doggie dental health, but there’s a great opportunity to link to that. So I write that post. Then I realize I should also have a posts about shiny coats and foods that are dangerous to dogs. So I write those posts too.

So far, my post schedule might look like this, with the arrows indicating that a post links to another post.

best dog foods 1 As you keep brainstorming posts, though, look back at your calendar. Always try to find that connection so you can link to posts you’ve recently written. So in our example, I wouldn’t leave the “best dog foods” post hanging. I would think, what are some follow up posts that I could write about this topic? AND, even better, are there follow up posts that I can write to link to some of the other recent posts on the blog as well? Also, what content do I need to write that is not on the blog yet?

So, my post schedule might expand to look like this:

best dog foods 1 From there, I would keep expanding the ideas, and I would also edit older posts to link back to newer posts when appropriate. The key is to always make sure each post is linked back to at least 3-5 times from other posts. That way, you’re creating a chain reaction. See how I might expand even further:

best dog foods 1 As you can see, it starts to get a little messy, but what is important is that nothing it left “hanging” without connections to other posts. All posts include links and are linked to by others. At least, that’s what is being built. If you map out your content, you can see what holes you have to fill. In our example, I would probably what to write something that links to cat hairball control next, since nothing is linking to it.

The best bloggers out there are organizing their content this way, rather than just writing whatever they want and not tying it into their other content. For example, check out this post on Problogger:

problogger post

It starts off by saying that recently they published a post about a certain topic, and this new post would be expanding on that topic. Throughout the post, there are also other links to old evergreen content.

Here’s another example, from Rich Brooks at the Flyte New Media blog:

flyte example

See how the post starts with a reference to a previous post, to tell readers that this new post is an expansion on the same topic and you should go read the other one too?

You don’t have to be as blatant about it if you don’t want to. You can just simply link to other posts without actually saying “Hey, I wrote this other post…”

The point it, you need to link internally, and the top bloggers do so in a structured way, not just willy-nilly. Don’t leave anything hanging out there by itself. Don’t leave it up to your readers to find your best content. Help them along the way. Support your own content. That way, your posts will live on and readers won’t  be able to leave your site.

What are you doing to support your own content? Do you link internally in a structured way? Do you cover topics according to a content schedule?

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