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Three Ways to Build Your Email List (Without a Free Ebook)


It seems like every blogger out there has a free ebook they’re giving away in exchange for your email address. This is a popular strategy for a reason: it works.

But free ebooks are not without their problems, least of which is that they take time or money (or both) to create. Even a short 10-20 page ebook needs to be written, edited, designed, and promoted, and those tasks take time, and you may have to hire people to help you.

Although I do still encourage you to give away an ebook to entice people to sign up for your mailing list, this isn’t your only option. Here are three other techniques I’ve successfully used to collect email addresses:

1. Offer content you can’t find on your blog.

Lots of people use their email lists to promote content from their blog, as well as to drive sales. There’s nothing wrong with either of these options, but you can also drive sign-ups by promising (and delivering) special content only available to subscribers.

You still have to create content this way. However, instead of the daunting task of writing an entire ebook, you can split that content creation into smaller, more manageable chunks.

What kind of content can you create? Here are just a few of your options:

  • E-courses, distributed over multiple weeks
  • Blog posts that aren’t found on your blog (or that are behind a membership wall)
  • Outtakes or bloopers from videos you’ve created
  • Additional questions and answers from interviews you’ve done
  • Podcasts to go along with your blog content

Let your imagination run wild!

2. Give subscribers special access to you via email.

If you create great content online, you’ll start to get requests and questions from readers. Instead of giving away a free ebook, instead offer special access to you for anyone who signs up for your email list. Maybe you set up a forum for subscribers to ask you questions. Maybe you hold weekly or monthly conference calls with subscribers. Maybe you do a drawing every month and pick one lucky subscriber to receive a free consulting session with you. Again, get creative and think about what you have that is high value and that you can give away for free.

3. Offer a workbook that outlines your personal process.

We all have step-by-step processes for completing tasks. You can write a how-to for your blog, but also consider creating a workbook (or individual pages) for your readers. As opposed to an ebook, workbooks have a lot of blank space to give your readers space to record their ideas or complete tasks, so they aren’t as much work on your end while still being as long as an ebook.

If you don’t currently have an email list, I hope this post has inspired you to start building one even if you don’t have time to produce an ebook. You can get started with an email list right now and develop the ebook later.

Ten Reasons Your Blog Needs a Podcast


Okay, I have to admit it: After attending NMX 2013, I kind of want to start a podcast. About what, I don’t know, but the podcaster presence there rocked, and the Podcast Awards was one of my favorite parts of the whole show. I’ve been involved in podcasts in the past, but I never realized just how much I miss it.

I think that many bloggers out there could benefit from and would really enjoy having a podcast – and I’m not the only one with this opinion. At NMX 2013, Peder Aadahl, Dustin Hartzler, P.J. Jonas, and Jenn Swanson spoke on this very topic, with their panel presenting ten reasons why every blogger should have a podcast. Here are their ten reasons

  1. Podcasts can help you attract a new type of follower, expanding your audience beyond your current community.
  2. Podcasting often helps you improve your speaking skills, which allows you to get more speaking gigs and opens other opportunities to you.
  3. You can build loyalty with your voice that you don’t get with text, as it makes it easier for people to connect to you and trust you.
  4. Podcasting is not as hard as you think!
  5. With a podcast, you get the opportunity to talk to others in your niche, which helps you become a master of your subject.
  6. Podcasts are easy to consume, since you can listen in the car, at the gym, etc.
  7. You can recycle some of your best written content ideas by recording a podcast about these same topics.
  8. Podcasts allow you to tap into a new community.
  9. Having a regular podcast helps you improve perceived credibility.
  10. You can make money with a podcast.

To their reasons, I would add one of my own: podcasts are fun! When I used to be part of a video game podcast with a few friends, recording together was one of the highlights of our week.

If you still aren’t convinced, I recommend checking out the entire presentation at NMX University via our 2013 Virtual Ticket, which also gives you access to this and dozens of other sessions, including a number of presentations that will help you get started podcasting.

Bloggers, have you ever considered podcasting? Podcasters, what reasons can you add to this list?

Why Your Blog NEEDS to be Different: Tips from Patrice Yursik at NMX


“Strong, original, consistent content is your surest way to build a big brand from your little blog.” – Patrice Yursik

At NMX 2013, Patrice Yursik (a.k.a. Afrobella) spoke about one of the biggest challenges for bloggers: How to take your little blog to the next level where you’re actually a big brand. Patrice has serves as a spokesperson for national hair and beauty brands, has worked the red carpet, and consistently gets opportunities most niche bloggers only dream about.

And for Patrice, her success started with a single decision. Back when she started her blog, Patrice made a conscious decision to be different.

Filling the Void

Patrice has been blogging since 2006, when starting a blog about a topic no one else was covering was a much simpler task. Today, however, it seems like there’s a blog about everything. That doesn’t mean you can’t fill a void, though, because what you have that other blogs don’t have is YOU. What experiences do you bring to the table? What unique interests do you have? Think about the demographic you want for your community, and find a way to talk to these people.

Being True to Yourself

One of the decisions that Patrice says has paid off for her big time is the decision to be herself online. In the new media industry, there are lots of “rules” that top bloggers say you have to follow in order to be successful–but rules are made to be broken. Says Patrice, “Mainstream needs to embrace different. Whatever makes you different also makes you desirable.”

People respond well to an authentic voice. And brands want that too. During her session, Patrice talked about all the opportunities she’s had with brands, in part because they appreciate her authentic voice and the community she has built around it. Had she followed the “rules” and done what other bloggers told her to do, she wouldn’t have been able to build a community around her identity as a natural-haired, plus-sized, fashion-obsessed woman of color.

What Are You Offering that Others Don’t?

Every piece of content you write should be unique. Be proud of everything you write, so you can offer your readers something different than what they can get from other bloggers. That’s what will keep people coming back.

Give them weekly features to look forward to. Write content with your own twist. Remember, everyone in your niche is getting the same review products, the same PR pitches, and the same news stories to cover. Be different and you’ll stand out.

Want to learn more about what has made Patrice a successful blogger with a big brand? You can check out her entire NMX 2013 session at NMX University with premium membership, which gives you access to our complete 2013 Virtual Ticket. Learn more here and get your virtual ticket today!

Finding Sponsors: Where Do I Start?


Finding and attracting sponsors to your podcast, blog or web show is one of the most difficult, yet potentially most lucrative, aspects of your business. Business? Yes. If you’re looking to make money doing what you love, your content is a business.

To that point, it’s important to treat your content creation that way from the very beginning – professionally. You never know who may be listenin/watching/reading, and you won’t get another chance to make an initial impression on someone… especially someone who may be willing to spend their money to work with you.

But if you are thinking about working directly with advertisers and sponsors, here are a few things you’ll need to do to get ready and get started:

  1. Be Prepared… for when opportunity knocks –  “Do as I say, and not as I do.” Believe it or not, you don’t always have to seek out sponsors. Sometimes they’ll come to you. And if (and when) they do, you need to be ready. When a potential sponsor called me in 2005 about advertising on my show, I had no idea about what I could offer, or what I should charge. It’s (almost) 2013, and times, opinions and the economy has changed, so you need to be ready. Put together a simple media kit (read the NMX article “38 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Media Kits” by Allison Boyer to find out how to create one. Be sure and know your audience – not just the stats and numbers, but who they are, what they want, and what may appeal to them.
  2. Be Careful – Speaking of your audience, don’t take money from anyone that is willing to throw it at you. Be prepared to say “No.” Why? Because anyone who sponsors you must be one that is organic and relevant. Your audience TRUSTS you. That is paramount, and if it’s lost, it’s often lost forever. Be sure who you partner with brings value to your listener/reader/viewer. They believe in what you say and who you endorse, and remember that anyone that advertises with you is ultimately a reflection on you. If something goes bad, your audience will turn to you.
  3. Be Creative – Podcasting and blogging is not enough. You need to be everywhere. Always. It’s work. REAL work. But but doing more in multiple mediums, including videos, livestreaming, events, newsletters, etc., you are creating more opportunities for your potential sponsors. More opportunities gives you more creativity to share and spread the sponsor’s messages, and thus ultimately more income.
  4. Be Convincing – Podcast advertising just works. Plain and simple. But you may need to convince a potential sponsor and back it up with real data. How? Don’t worry – some of the heavy lifting has been done for you already. You’ll need to gather your own listener statistics (your hosting provider, such as Blubrry.com or Libsyn.com, can provide this for you). Overall, though, podcast advertising is very effective. For example, according to Edison Research in a study conducted in 2009: 80% of surveyed podcast consumers surveyed agreed that they “prefer to buy products from companies that advertise on or sponsor” the podcasts they regularly enjoy. Ninety-percent of respondents had taken some kind of action as a result of podcast advertising or sponsorship, and over 40% reported purchasing behaviors, which indicates that they are receptive to the right message, in the right context,” according to Edison Research Vice President Tom Webster. Survey Methodology: Respondents in this online survey were recruited using audio/video messages embedded in podcasts from some of the leading aggregators of downloadable media, including NPR, Wizzard, RawVoice and Revison3, during the 4th quarter of 2009. Source: The 2012 State of Podcasting Report.
  5. Be Confident– But remember that you must convince them to buy into YOU. So you need to be prepared to show them what your value is to their brand, why your endorsement to your loyal, very targeted audience is so valuable, and why you being an influencer to that audience helps determine your rate.
    • Determining what to charge is often the most difficult question of all. And because most of us are coming from a background where we’re not salesmen (unless you really were a salesman), determining and standing by what you value your sponsorship opportunities to be worth can be extremely challenging. So, where so you start? I suggest looking at the sponsorship opportunities you’ve established and looking at what you can deliver in terms of not only traffic, but conversions. Your sponsor is not just looking to potentially build their brand, but sell a product or service. Some ways to help determine your value and sponsorship costs:
      • Get comps – Look at other sites and shows and see what their rates are and for what they are offering. How do you compare in terms of traffic, reach and audience loyalty? Now look to other mediums in your niche, especially ones that a potential sponsor may already be advertising in. Research the costs of magazine ads, TV and radio spots, and even billboards. Find out where else the sponsor is already spending their money. And be confident in being able to convince the sponsor that what you can deliver is not only much more targeted and valuable, but trackable, changeable, unique and proven.
      • Be confident in who YOU are – Keep in mind that when you have built a loyal audience of listeners, viewers, or readers (hopefully all three), that the trust your audience has placed in you carries a huge value. A brand may broadcast a message about why their restaurant is great, but when your audience hears a review and endorsement from you, it carries a much different and powerful weight to it.
  6. Be Patient– Being patient means not just being patient in terms of waiting to attract, find and sign a sponsor, but with the sponsor themselves. For many brands, advertising in online media is a new venture for them, and very much outside their comfort zone. You will undoubtedly have to teach (and convince) them about the mediums, their opportunities and benefits, and why THEY need to be patient as well. Why? Because often times, advertising is a marathon and not a sprint, and they may not see their returns on the first day, or even for the first few weeks or months. So be patient while waiting for them, then while working with them, and why they may need to be patient but confident as well.
  7. Be Amazing– When you do come to an agreement with a sponsor, you need to set reasonable expectations on both ends. You need to outline what you can provide, and what the sponsor expects in return. Then do more. My belief is simple – Underpromise and Overdeliver. WOW your sponsor and they will remain a loyal partner.The most important part of finding and working with sponsors is to continue to be true to yourself, your mission and your audience. Keep them in mind first and always, as you begin to move your content creation and monetization in a new direction. Be prepared for many learning opportunities along the way, as well as some disappointments. But also be ready to invest a great deal of time and effort, and for the benefits that sponsorship can bring you and your audience. For more help, check out some previous NMX posts and articles:

Working with Sponsors for your Podcast [Video Series] 

Introducing Our Brand New Free Ebook: The Ultimate Guide to Blog and Podcast Sponsorship

3 Ways to Monetize a Podcast

The Number One Mistake You’re Making if You Want Sponsors

What are YOUR biggest challenges in finding and/or working with sponsors? Please leave your comments below, and I look forward to meeting you at New Media Expo in January!

Editor’s Note: If you want to learn more from Lou about getting sponsors, check out his session “7 Ways to Find, Sign and Profit from Sponsors for your Brand” at NMX in Las Vegas.

How to Build Anticipation on Your Blog (and why you should do it)


Today is Christmas Eve and I find myself feeling like a kid again. This happens to me every year. My family started the tradition of exchanging presents on Christmas Eve after my sister and I stopped believing in Santa simply because Christmas day is filled with the hustle and bustle of spending time with the extended family. So, starting the moment I wake up on December 24 until the moment we start exchanging gifts, I feel one thing: anticipation.

Anticipation is an extremely strong emotion. Children can’t contain themselves, but even as adults, anticipation can drive you crazy. Kids might blurt out “Are we there yet?” on a long car ride, but let’s be honest. All of us adults are thinking it too. Time seems to slow when you’re waiting for something to happen. Soon, you can’t think about anything else.

You can harness the power of anticipation on your blog, stirring up these feelings in your readers to make them constantly think about coming back to your blog. Think there’s nothing to anticipate on your blog? Think again! With a little creativity and planning you can have your readers waiting on the edge of their seats.

Teasing Your Content

The first and easiest way to create a sense of anticipation in your readers is to tease your content. Tell them what they can expect from you in the future and get them so excited to read whatever you will offer that they bookmark your site or subscribe via RSS. You can tease your content in several different ways:

  • In your blog posts themselves, hint at future related posts. (“If you liked this post about baking a chocolate cake, you don’t want to miss tomorrow’s post where I share my best frosting recipe!”)
  • Update social media while you’re preparing a post. (“I just finished an amazing interview with John Smith. You definitely don’t want to miss this one when I post it on my blog next week!”)
  • Tell your email list. (“Hope you liked this week’s posts about end-of-summer shoes. Next week on the blog, I’m talking all about fall fashion, which you definitely don’t want to miss.”)
  • Give us a sneak peak. (“I’m at a conference right now and will be writing a wrap-up post on the blog later this week. Here are some pictures in the meantime.”)

Make your “tease” as mouth-watering as possible. One way to do this is to leave out some vital information. For example, the night before we announced that Chris Hardwick was going to be keynoting at NMX 2013, staff members teased the announcement by inviting people to guess who it was, giving hints, and sharing how excited we were. No one announced who it was until our blog post went live the next morning, but people were anticipating our announcements so much that people were DMing and emailing me (and other NMXers, I’m sure) and asking for the inside scoop.

Creating a Series

Another way to make people anticipate your post is to write a series. Here on the NMX/BlogWorld blog, we’ve written a number of series on topics such as getting started with Pinterest and creating better blog pages. This creates anticipation in a less obvious, more educational way. You’re still teasing your content in a sense, since you’re telling people what they can expect in the future, but it’s less about hype and more about the actual content.

The key is to make sure that you’re creating content people really need starting on the first day. You need to “hook” people. You want anyone who reads that first post to get so much out of it that they have to come back to your blog to read the rest of it.

Great Content on a Reliable Schedule

Lastly, I know I’m not saying anything new here, but you need great content on your blog if you want people to anticipate your posts. This is true for podcasts and videos as well. If your content is just “meh,” people won’t get excited about reading them in the future.

We have an entire blogging track at NMX filled with speakers who will talk about creating better blog content, but here are a few tips to keep in mind right now:

  • Define your style and find your voice. Not everyone will like you, but it’s better to have a 100 raving fans and 100 haters than 200 people who are luke-warm and disconnected.
  • Make sure your posts are formatted to be easy to read. Use pictures, headers, bullet points, etc. to help make your content (especially long content) look less intimidating to readers.
  • Break the “rules” when it makes sense (but not because you’re lazy). People will give you tons of rules that you should follow, but the best bloggers out there make their own rules. Just make sure that you’re ignoring tips and techniques because it truly is what is best for your blog, not because you don’t feel like doing something.
  • Support what you say with links. If you’re arguing a point, link to research and statistics. If you’re reporting the news, link to what others are saying. If you’re teaching me how to do something, link to related posts and examples. Links make your posts more credible and helpful.
  • Put your own spin on topics. Just because everyone has written about a specific topic doesn’t mean you should avoid it, but what you definitely should avoid is posting the same thing others are posting, just reworded. Put your spin on the topic. Interview someone related to a news story to get some fresh quotes. Voice your opinion. Give different examples. Change up the content type and produce a video. Doing something different is harder than just rewording the same old stuff, but the reward is worth the work.

In order for people to anticipate your content, no matter how good it is, you need to blog consistently. I know some people disagree with this advice, but I truly believe that the best bloggers out there are those who are posting at least two to three times per week. If you post less often, people lose interest and forget about you. Blogging just to get your words out there? Blog as often as you like.

But if you truly want to build an audience, you need to be consistent.

Better yet, if you release content on a certain day (or days), you can build even more anticipation. A great example of this is Jenna Marbles, whose YouTube channel I love. She only adds one video per week, but you know it is coming every single Wednesday. Put out content regularly like that, and people will anticipate it.

So those are my tips. Now it’s your turn to sound off in the comments. How do you create anticipation on your own blog? Or what have you noticed other bloggers doing that really makes you anticipate their future content?

Image Credit: Bigstock

Bob Dunn talks about WordPress Blogs


There are lots of popular blogging platforms out there these days, but WordPress has an incredibly loyal fanbase. NMX speaker and regular guest blogger Bob Dunn is a WordPress expert and regularly shares his knowledge with blogging newbies and established veterans. Check out what Bob has to say about self-hosting, helpful plugins, and customization in this exclusive NMX video interview below. And be sure to check out Bob’s session at NMX this January, “How to Laser-focus Your WordPress Blog In 60 Minutes.


There’s still time to see Bob and nearly 200 other speakers at NMX this January! Register today!


Free Gift: The Ultimate Guide to Using Links to Build Relationships & Drive Traffic [12 Days of Giveaways]


Introducing the latest in NMX’s line of ebooks: The Ultimate Guide to Using Links to Build Relationships and Drive Traffic.

Here at NMX, planning for our January event is in full swing…but that doesn’t mean we don’t have time for the holidays! That’s why, every day from now through December 25, we’re featuring a brand new giveaway for the entire NMX community!

Today, to start off the 12 Days of Giveaways, we have a real treat – a brand new ebook! If you’re a blogger, this is one you definitely don’t want to miss. The Ultimate Guide to Using Links to Build Relationships and Drive Traffic is a comprehensive resource that will teach you how to:

  • Make your content better by using both internal and external links
  • Drive massive traffic with link resources that go viral
  • Attract the attention of a-list bloggers in your niche with links
  • Keep readers coming back for more with link opportunities for your entire community
  • Ensure readers stay on your site longer through related links

Best of all, The Ultimate Guide to Using Links to Build Relationship and Drive Traffic is completely free for members of our brand new community, NMX University. (Don’t worry – membership to that is also free!)

You can find out more about our ebook and register for NMXU here, or if you are already a member, simply log in to NMXU here to download your free copy today!

The Walking Dead Guide to Better Blog Content


Even if you’re not a fan of zombies, you have to respect The Walking Dead. This AMC original series, based on a comic book series of the same name, has won several awards, including two Emmys, and has been nominated for a whopping 43 major awards overall. 10.9 million viewers tuned in for the season three premiere, making it the most-watched basic cable drama telecast in history, and the show even has its own devoted late-night talk show, The Talking Dead, with host Chris Hardwick.

This blog post isn’t about what you can learn about blogging from zombies, though. Today, I wanted to actually look at this television show and why it is so successful (and how that relates to your content!). I truly think what sets it apart from other basic cable shows is not its geeky appeal or marketing ploys, but rather its top-notch content.

(And for those of you who haven’t seen the show yet or aren’t 100% caught up, don’t worry – this post contains no spoilers!)

The Devil’s in the Details

In the very first episode of Season One, protagonist Rick Grimes wakes up in a hospital to find that the world has gone to…well, you know where. He wanders toward his home, confused, an in one of the most iconic scenes, sees his first still-moving “walker”: a female zombie who has been ripped in half, but is still crawling toward him, trying to bite him.

This show’s special effects are nothing short of amazing. That scene is movie-quality, as is most of the show. In fact, their special effects department has won numerous awards.

Seeing as this is a zombie show, it would have been really easy to focus on the story alone and settle for campy special effects. They choose instead to spend money and time on the details to get it right. I think that’s where some bloggers fall short. Writing great content is important, but have you taken the time for the details, the finishing work. Is the post formatted well? Did you add interesting and relevant images? What about statistics, quotes, and links to back up the information?

Good content is a dime a dozen online. We like to think it’s not, but the fact of the matter is that despite all the crap you’ll find online, there are also thousands of amazing bloggers out there. If you don’t care about the details, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd.


What I find extremely intriguing about this television series is the amount of restraint the show’s writers use when telling this story. At the end of the day, it’s a tale about the zombie apocalypse. You want to please fans? Show some us the zombies! Show us gruesome zombie kills, horrifying human deaths, and disgusting walking corpses. Granted, if you’re not a horror fan, that might not be your cup of tea, but believe me when I say that this community is hungry for the blood and guts scenes.

The show has its fair share of zombie goodness, but there’s a certain amount of restraint used as well. The writers delve deeply into character development and take time to set up the story. Some episodes actually have very few zombies at all. Fans complained loudly during season two that it was too much talking and not enough action, but this was not without purpose. The writers needed time to tell the story, in order to make the experience that much better for the audience. Too much time spent on the horror element and gross-out scenes and you begin to lose site of what the show is really about.

I see bloggers make this mistake regularly – giving fans want they want, not what they need. You have to please your audience, but don’t lose site of what your blog is really about. You’re the expert. It’s up to you to direct the ship, which means sometimes missing out on those traffic spikes in order to write content you feel your readers really need. Keep readers entertained, but never at the expense of the “storyline” – the reason you write your blog.

Shock Value, Done Right

Lastly, I want to talk a bit about shock value. The Walking Dead isn’t afraid to surprise viewers, but in the right way. Some horror movies go for the cheap scare, the moment that make you jump when you realize the killer is standing right behind the character or a monster jumps out from behind the door. Sure, it makes your scream and jump in your seat, but this kind of shock rarely has any long-term value.

The Walking Dead has very few moments like this, but is not short on shock value. Instead, the show focuses on moments that will really shock you and have a lasting impact. They aren’t afraid to kill off main characters. They aren’t afraid to put characters in horrifying situations. They aren’t afraid to do a 180 degree turn and take the plot in a direction that most people never saw coming.

On your blog, you can write content that shocks readers in some way, gets them to click through and read your post, or you can go for long-term value.  Being controversial on your blog can lead to a landslide of traffic, but the value of this kind of traffic isn’t very high if you’re being controversial for the sake of it, rather than actually trying to voice a real opinion about a topic. Write content you really believe in, rather than writing posts that bait your readers. Building your traffic is a marathon, not a sprint.

If you want to learn more about creating great blog content, definitely check out the entire Blogging Track at NMX in Las Vegas this January. And if you want to talk zombies (or blogging..or both) definitely hunt me down at the show!

The Life-Changing Move I Made When I Wanted to Quit Blogging


Feel like your blog has stalled? I’ve been there. Today’s post is a pretty personal one for me.

I think all bloggers get to a point where they plateau. Your content is great, but you don’t have any more readers than you did last month. You’re enjoying what you’re doing, but the blog isn’t paying the bills. You read all the top blogs about blogging, but the tips and tricks they post don’t really seem to be working for you.

I’ve been there. I’ve completely stalled out and wanted to quit, so today, I thought I’d tell you all the story of how I got past it.

My Beginnings

My personal blogging story begins in 2006 when I was still in college. I got hired to work for a now-defunct blogging network where I ran three different blogs, and later I moved on to working for b5media, a place where other NMX-ers past and present also got their start.

It wasn’t long before I started thinking, “Hey, I’m spending all of this time blogging for other people. Why don’t I just do it myself?”

I went into the whole “blogging for yourself” thing convinced that I’d be the next big name on the virtual block inside six months or so. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but what did happen is that I started learning all I could about blogging and how to do it better.

So from 2007 to 2009, I built my blogs, as well as continuing to blog for other people. Things went well, but I was soon extremely frustrated with my lack of growth. I quit some of my blogs and blogging jobs. I considered quitting others. I was ready to just get a “real job” and forget this whole online entrepreneur thing once and for all.

And Then I had a Major Breakthrough

Obviously, I did not quit, as I’m writing this little post for you today. So what changed? Easy; I did one thing that I had not been doing before and it completely turned things around.

I invested in education.

I had spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (my own, my parents’ and in scholarships) to go to a four-year school and major in Professional Writing, but I never once spent a dime learning how to be a better blogger. Certainly, you don’t need a degree to be successful in your career, but you absolutely do need education. And I was lacking it.

The truth of the matter is that you can read this blog or other blogs about blogging all day long, but it isn’t the same as actually investing in an educational program, like the one we offer at NMX.

Actually, the first educational program I bought wasn’t NMX (BlogWorld at the time), but rather a membership to a blogging 101 program. The information in this program wasn’t really what I wanted, to be honest (I was looking for something more advanced), but it sparked something inside of me. Every “learning module” was something I already knew, but I had gotten lax in my blogging duties. Now that I was paying for it, I felt like I needed to listen to what I was being taught. So, I spruced up my content and monetization efforts, as well as made improvements to the way I was promoting my work via social media and email. Immediately, my stats across the board jumped up, and it wasn’t just a random spike. It was actually working.

The Best Think I Ever Did for My Blog

Then, I did the best thing I have ever done for my blog to date: I attended my first BlogWorld. It literally changed my life.

Now, I’m sure that you’ll take what I say with a grain of salt, since I now work full-time for NMX (previously BlogWorld). But anyone who knows me knows that there’s no way I’d ever work for a company I didn’t believe in 100%. When I say attending this event was the best move of my career, I’m not exaggerating. I had drinks with a-list bloggers. I made partnership deals with others who have since become some of my closest professional friends. I soaked up so much information that it was almost overwhelming, and when I got home, I took my personal blogs to levels they had never before seen.

Not to mention that I’m now courted for consulting and blogging jobs within the new media industry. I went from being a no-name blogger struggling with the tempting idea of quitting to someone who is not only proud of the blogs she has built, but cringing at the thought of ever having to give up this work.

So I hope that you’ll join me at NMX this January. I’m confident that you’ll have a similar experience – that investing in your education as a blogger (or podcaster or video producer) will be the best thing you could have ever done for your career.

And while in Vegas, definitely get in touch with me. I’d love to meet up and trade blogging war stories!

Photo Credit: Bigstock

3 Ways Content Creators Can Use Private Pinterest Boards


Pinterest recently announced the introduction of private or “secret’ boards, which allow users to pin items to boards that their followers can’t see. This is a feature Pinterest users have been wanting for a long time, as it helps with planning gifts and surprise parties and pinning personal items that you might not want others to see.

If you’re using Pinterest as a marketing tool, private boards might not at first seem like a big deal. After all, why bother pinning images your followers can’t see to click on, repin, or like? But if you think outside of the box, there are a few ways bloggers (and even podcasters and video producers) can use this new Pinterest feature to create better content.

1. Sharing Content Ideas with Your Team

If you have a content team, like we do here on the NMX/BlogWorld blog, a private Pinterest board can be invaluable for sharing ideas quickly. Pinterest’s new private boards can be seen by one person initially, but you can invite others to view as well, giving you a great place to collaborate. Sharing ideas in this manner is especially easy because of Pinterest’s commenting system. Rather than a long email chain that just gets lost in the inbox shuffle anyway, keep your post concepts contained to a single board.

2. Creating Inspiration Boards for Future Posts

You can also create a private board of images that inspire your and could be good to use in future posts. Quotes, beautiful pictures, blog posts from other people, and reports can all serve as inspiration. Unlike the group post idea and collaboration board, these ideas might not be fleshed out quite yet, but that’s okay. No one can see them but you! So when writer’s block hits, head to your inspiration board to see if you can get your juices flowing.

3. Bookmarking Competitor Design Ideas

“Spying” on competitors (and I mean that in the most innocent way possible) can help you come up with new ideas for your own blog. There’s nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from others. So if you see a cool design element or notice another blogger in your niche using a cool plugin, take a screenshot and upload it to Pinterest. It’s easier (or cheaper if you hire someone) to make lots of changes at once instead of little changes here and there.

If you want even more Pinterest education, make sure to check out Debba Haupert’s Pinterest session at NMX Las Vegas!

How will you use Pinterest’s new private boards feature?

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