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


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)

It’s About the Response: C.C. Chapman Talks Content at BlogWorld


One of the track keynotes I had the pleasure to attend at BlogWorld 2011 was “Content Rules, but Common Sense Rocks!” by C.C. Chapman. One of the biggest take-away lessons from his session was this:

“It’s human nature to screw up and there’s nothing wrong with that… it’s how you respond.”

It’s a good lesson for bloggers and business owners alike. When you live online, you’re constantly scrutinized by others…and hey, no one is perfect! But when mistakes happen, you have two choices: you can ignore it/play the blame game OR you can own up to your mistakes and turn the situation around!

I especially liked a story C.C. told about one of the social media managers for the American Red Cross. One night, while having fun with friends, she tweeted out that she was “getting slizzard” from the official ARC account! It could have been a PR nightmare, but they turned the situation around by making light of the goof and they even worked with an alcohol company to turn it into a campaign drive. She got to keep her job, they got to raise money, and the alcohol company in question got some free promotion. They turned that mistake into and awesome opportunity.

C.C.’s full session is available with the BlogWorld LA 2011 virtual ticket, but here are a few other take-away quotes from his keynote:

  • “If you’re a jerk, no one cares how nice your blog post is.”
  • “Embrace that you are a publisher. Start thinking like a publisher.”
  • “Retweets cannot be cashed in to pay your mortgage.”
  • “You have to work really hard because this stuff does not come magically.”
  • “If you’re online and you’re not expecting a conversation, get off line.”
  • “If you do not know how you’re approaching, if you do not know who you’re reaching, good luck with that.”
  • “If you make the customer the hero…whatever content you create is going to do very well.”

He also ended the presentation with three final take-away messages for bloggers and business owners:

  1. You have to know where you’re going
  2. Have respect
  3. Have fun

Goo messages for us all to live by…don’t you think? Remember, you can hear the whole session, as well as all of the other great sessions at BlogWorld with the virtual ticket!

About the Speaker

C.C. Chapman is the Co-Author of the best selling book Content Rules and the Founder of DigitalDads.com. He also consults with companies of all sizes to develop engaging marketing programs and has worked with companies like American Eagle Outfitters, HBO, and Verizon FiOS. You can find him on Twitter @CC_Chapman.

Three Posts to Avoid on Your Small Business Blog


You have a small business. You’ve decided to start a blog. You’ve even done your research and learned how to use WordPress, search engine optimization, and social media. Congratulations! Blogs can be a great marketing tool, and although it takes time to build traffic, over time, it can bring in a lot of extra business.

But what should you post? As you stare at that blank screen wondering what to write, it can be paralyzing. Actually, small business blogging is more about knowing what not to write. Avoid the following three types of posts; any other post you write will only help you be successful.

1) Negative Posts, Especially About Competitors

Things aren’t always happy in the business world. You have to deal with angry customers, annoying regulations, and more – but your small business blog is not the place to vent. You especially want to stay away from talking badly about competitors in such a public online space, since it makes you seem petty. You can talk about mistakes you’ve made or changes happening within your company even if the circumstances aren’t great, and responding to customer concerns online can show that you’re dedicated to finding solutions to make everyone happy, but don’t use your blog to rant. You want readers to leave feeling positive about your company and your industry in general.

2) Word-for-Word Press Releases

As a small business, you probably write press releases occasionally, and there’s no better place to post these documents than on your own blog, right? Wrong. The point of a press release is to get lots of others to post it, and many won’t change a word (which is what you want, since you probably considered the press release language carefully). On your own blog, make your announcement special! Not only is it better for search engine optimization, but you can customize the announcement to really draw in readers, rather than using a press release, which is colder and less personal.

3) Personal Information

I’m a big fan of adding personality to any blog, even if you’re writing a small business blog. It helps readers connect to you and want to be loyal to your blog (and, in turn, your business). However, there is a thing as too much information. Make sure that every post you write directly relates to your business or your industry so it makes sense for your readers. It’s okay to talk about personal details occasionally, but if you write a blog about your restaurant, going off on a tangent about your cat probably isn’t interesting to your readers. Also, be careful about the personal information you share from a security standpoint. Don’t give out your home address (use a P.O. box or your business address) and think twice before posting pictures of your kids – make sure you can do so safely.

Do you write a small business blog? What’s your best posting tip?

10 Reasons Your Blog is Failing


Over the years, I’ve written for a number of blogs, including blogs where I was the owner (like my new Blog Zombies blog), blogs owned by other people (like this one, the BlogWorld blog), and blogs that were part of a larger blog network (like b5media). Some have been wildly successful. Others, not so much. My style as a writer certain has changed over the years, but I think the core of who I am is still there…so it isn’t the blogger along that causes a blog to fail or succeed. Rather, the other decisions that go into blogging have a huge effect on whether you’re eating potatoes or lobster for dinner.

In preparing to launch Blog Zombies, I took a look back at my own failures and successes, along with some well-known other blogs that have (or have not) been successful to see if I could crack the code. Why do so many blogs fail while others, often with less talented writers, succeed? Here are 25 different things that many failing blogs (including some that I’ve been a part of) have in common – if your blog is failing, these might be the reasons why:

1) You have unrealistic expectations.

What is your definition of success? If you expect to get a million hits your first month as a blogger or plan to retire to your own private island within a year, you’re going to fail. Period. Unrealistic expectations can make your seem like a failure and give up, even though you actually were on the right track. No a-lister out there was wildly successful from the very first post. It takes time to build a blog that’s comparable to the blogs of your heroes. When I first started blogging, this was my fatal flaw – I quit my first blog too soon, not giving it time to grow. Push yourself, but get your expectations in check.

2) You don’t make blogging a priority

I understand that many beginning bloggers out there have regular jobs that they can’t afford quit to blog full time. Here’s a reality check, though: that’s the case for all of us! At least, it used to be. Very few bloggers have the luxury of being able to blog as a full time job from their very first post because blogging simply doesn’t pay the bills right away, no matter how good you are. The difference between those a-listers in your niche and a lot of bloggers who fail is that the a-listers made blogging a priority. It means less sleep and less time with your family. It means having free weekends is a thing of the past. It means you don’t have as much time for hobbies anymore. Until you get some steam, blogging has to be your priority unless one of the kids is on fire. Welcome to the 80-hour work week, my friend. Of course, you don’t have to give up other things in your life completely – just be aware that if you don’t spend time loving on your blog as you build your readership, it isn’t going to go anywhere.

3) You haven’t invested any money into your blog.

“But I don’t have any money.” Well, fine. Continue to tell yourself that your blog is just fine with its free WordPress or blogspot domain name, it’s poor design that you don’t know how to fix, its non-existent mailing list, and its plethora of other problems.

Listen. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get started. That’s one of the reasons I love blogging. But you do have to start setting aside money for upgrades – yes, even before your blog is making money of its own in most cases. If you say you can’t afford it, I don’t believe you. You could afford to order pizza last night. You could afford to add the movie package to your cable bill. You could afford to go to the beach last weekend. This goes back to point #2 – make your blog a priority.

4) You take the “if I build it, they will come” approach.

Earlier this week, I talked about what the phrase “Content is King” really means for bloggers, and part of my argument was that you need to support the content you create. No matter how well you write, people aren’t going to just magically show up on your site and make it successful. At least, not at any kind of decent rate. You have to be out there promoting your content and building your community. Otherwise, you might as well just write in a diary.

I once served as a freelance writer for a blog where I wasn’t paid to do any kind of promotion. It was actually a ghost-writing project, so I didn’t even get a byline – it would have been difficult for me to promote that. After three months of daily posts and little traffic, I was fired from my position because apparently I wasn’t a good enough writer. Right, that was the problem. He went through three or four other writers over the next year before emailing me an apology and asking if I’d come back. I politely declined. He obviously didn’t understand that problem – it wasn’t the writer, it was the lack of promotion.

5) You “aren’t really into” social media.

Dude. Dude. If you’re a blogger who doesn’t like social media, you’re missing out on perhaps the single easiest thing you can do to be successful. I don’t care if you don’t like Twitter or Facebook or Google+ or LinkedIn. You need to at least have a mild presence at these social networking sites. You need to at least give your readers buttons to they can share your content. You need to stop complaining about the kids on your lawn and admit that social media isn’t some new-fangled passing fad. It’s here to stay.

And believe it or not, if you stop being so stubborn and give social media a chance, you’ll probably actually like it!

6) Your guest posts are better than your own posts.

Guest posting is a great way to promote your content. Some bloggers I know guest post like fiends. As soon as they finish a guest post for one blogger they’re off looking for their next fix. The problem? They don’t update their own blogs! If I click through to your site after reading a great guest post and their are tumbleweeds blowing around and – worse – mediocre posts that you threw up so there would be new content, I’m not going to come back…and neither is anyone else. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Only guest post if you can be assured that readers are coming back to your site and seeing even better content.

Remember, your blog is your home. If you want people to hire you as an interior decorator, your own home has to shine too!

7) You haven’t defined your niche.

What do you blog about? If the answer is pirates, cooking, Project Runway, and motorcycles, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding your audience. You don’t necessarily need to pick one specific topic, but when readers come to your site, they need to know what they’re getting. Are you a mom who tells stories about the funny things her kids say and gives tips on how to find the best toys? Are you a banker by day who writes humorous stories about your life to entertain readers? Are you a home cook who talks about her favorite TV shows and the snacks she’s going to make to eat while watching? You don’t have to fit into a tight little box, but if you post about everything under the sun with nothing that ties the topics together, you’re going to have a hard time building a community.

8 ) You’ve too narrowly defined your niche.

Define your niche, but don’t be so narrow that it is hard to find people who are interested. Your blog might be failing because there just aren’t many people interested in the topic. It’s hard to find an audience when you blog about something really random that doesn’t have a ton of fans. I mean, you can do it, but it’s much harder to build traffic and make a profit that way.

If your don’t have a broad enough niche, you’re also likely going to run out of things to say!

9) You blog as “admin.”

If I want to know how to do something specific, I google it. I read the post. I complete the task. The end. The next day, I probably can’t tell you who wrote that post. Does it matter? Well, yes…if you’re actively trying to build a community.

This point is a bit subjective, because if you’re planning a blog that is purely informational and gets most of its traffic from search engines, I suppose that blogging without personality could work. Most of the time, however, it works better to inject a little of yourself into each post. Let readers get to know you, not as admin, but as John or Susie. Make sure you have a well-written About Me page so readers can learn more about you because they will be curious if you write good posts.

10) You scrape content.

This should go without saying, but the last point I want to make is this – don’t plagiarize. If your blog is scraping content from others, it is only a matter of time before it fails, and I hope that when it does, the police are involved and you go to jail. I once worked (briefly) for a very small blog network that I found out was stealing content from others – I high-tailed it out of there as quickly as possible!

But also don’t scrape ideas. A lot of people in your niche are probably talking about the same topics, so be original and you’ll stand out. If you read an idea you like, give credit where credit is due. When you are inspired by another blogger’s work, link to them to give them credit for the idea. You can’t copyright ideas, so you might be well within your right to blog about that topic, but it’s just polite to link to the other blogger.

Remember, success and failure are both a matter of perspective.  And, even if you do feel as though your blog is failing, keep in mind that it doesn’t make you a failure. You can move onto your next project and be a raving success!

Ten Simple (but Costly) Blog Mistakes


Sometimes, the difference between a profitable blog and a blog that doesn’t make any money isn’t major. In fact, it can boil down to just a few simple mistakes. Of course, every blog is going to be different, with different goals and meeting different reader needs, so not every tip is right for every person. But in general, here are ten really simple mistakes to fix that could be the difference between financial success and failure:

1) Filling Prime Real Estate with Other People’s Ads

In my high school graphic design class, I learned something that I still carry with me – a person’s eye naturally moves like a giant “S” across a page. That means that you’re prime real estate is at the top right. Online, anything “above the fold” (aka, the space you can see without scrolling) is also good. What do you have filling these spaces? I see a lot of people with ads in this space. Unless the most important thing for you is to get clicks on your ads (like if your main monetization strategy is a PPC program), why are you just giving this real estate away? Fill the top right with ads for your own products or affiliate products. Sales will jump. Or, use it for mailing list sign-ups, which you can use to drive sales in the future.

Another high-value place? The very end of your posts. When people are done reading, give them something valuable to do, like sign up for your mailing list or check out your product.

2) Not Including a Search Option

If there’s no search option on your blog, people can find stuff on Google instead, right? Right…but will you be #1 in the search results? Let’s say that I remember you reviewing a product but can’t easily find the post. I can search on Google, but what might pop up is someone else’s product review or someone else mentioning that you reviewed that product.

Even for your own products, you might not come up first on Google. One of your affiliates with awesome SEO can easily beat you out, simply by optimizing their posts. While this will still sell your products, you’ll have to pay an affiliate fee whereas on your own site, it’s pure profit. Don’t risk it. Just include a search bar on your blog and you don’t have to worry about it.

3) Avoiding Affiliate Links

If you talk about products often, why would you not sign up to be an affiliate? You don’t have to link everything you mention, but Amazon affiliate links can be easily added when you mention something in a post. Share a Sale and Commission Junction are also two great places where you can find product affiliate links – I’ve used both with success, and usually these affiliate programs give a better commission than Amazon. People are taking your recommendations when purchasing a product. Why shouldn’t you earn a bit of a commission.

When someone approaches you to ask for a review, this is definitely something you should ask as well. Most people have affiliate programs for their products, and if you’re doing them the favor of reviewing their product, the least they can do is allow you to earn a commission for anything you sell.

4) Underestimating the Eagerness of Your Readers to Buy

A few months ago, I was reading a blog that I really enjoyed, so I signed up for the blogger’s mailing list. I got several emails per week from this blogger, and while they were all interesting, not a single one tried to sell me anything. So I asked the blogger…why? His response was that he didn’t want to turn off readers with sales. Now, I definitely think that some people overdo it, but your readers are your fans – they want to buy the things you recommend or products from you. It’s silly to never sell, in my opinion.

The blogger took my advice and added in a sales email about once a month (so, one every 10 – 15 emails) and is now making a boatload of money that way. To date, he’s had no one complain and sees no greater unsubscribe numbers than with non-sales emails.

5) Paying Too Much for Hosting

Shop around. Are you getting the best deal? You want to avoid a shoddy hosting plan to save money, but some companies are waaaay overpriced. Ask your connections on Twitter or Facebook. People can recommend some great hosts that might be better AND cheaper than the host you chose at random.

Even look at the hosting plans offered by your company – do you need the plan they sold you or is their a cheaper plan that would serve your needs? Companies love to upsell you, and you might be paying for stuff you don’t use. It takes about ten minutes to check out the hosting plans available and you could save a lot of money every year that way, especially if you have multiple sites.

6) Not Including Clear Contact Information

If I want to purchase an ad on your site, how do I get in touch? If I can’t find your email address or a contact form in about 20 seconds, I’m gone. Make a contact page and put it somewhere very easy to see on your site. Don’t hide it on your about page. Don’t put it half-way down your sidebar in a small font that’s lost between ads and navigation tools. I don’t understand why bloggers don’t make it easy to be contacted…unless, I guess, they don’t want to be contacted? The best blogs, in my opinion, make it idiot-proof, listing contact information in multiple easy-to-see places.

Personally, I like it even more when I see an actual advertising page for potential sponsors to learn more. Creating an advertising page on your site that’s clearly listed in the top navigation bar or footer (the two places advertisers typically check first) will tell them that you’re open to selling ad space, that you’ve actually thought about your prices (so you’re a professional), and that they’re likely to hear back quickly.

7) Being Too Humble About Your Products

Dude. You’re awesome! Your readers won’t be reading your posts or following your tweets or subscribed to your emails if they didn’t like you. Don’t be afraid to tell people about your products.

In fact, your products should be front and center! Not only that, but when you talk about your products, don’t be humble. Talk about the advantages of your product and, although you should be clear and honest if there are people who won’t benefit from the purchase, make sure you sell it. If you’re not comfortable with sales, let your fans speak for you by posting testimonials. I’m always willing to give away a free copy of my book if someone (especially someone known in my industry) is willing to write a testimonial.

8 ) Crazy Long Sales Letters with No Buy Button until the End

Long sales letters drive me nuts. I understand that they work, otherwise people wouldn’t use them. But just because they work in their current long form doesn’t mean they couldn’t be better. Don’t confuse the fact that you’re making sales with success. If you sell 1000 products on launch day, you might be jumping for joy…but what if I told you that you had the potential to make 10,000 sales? Not so exciting anymore, is it?

I’ll be one of those people who hits the back button, in many cases, if you don’t have a “buy” button near the top. I certainly want to read a little about your product, but I’m there for a blurb, not a book report, and other readers probably feel the same way. So keep your long sales letter with the buy button at the end, but put one closer to the top too for those of us who are sold already.

9) Lack of Formats

This one is specifically for those who create informational products, which is a lot of readers. If I could do one thing differently with my last product launch, it would be to offer not just a downloadable PDF file, but also multiple other formats. Some people still like print. Others will jump on board if you offer a kindle version. Heck, some people even want content broken up and sent via email over time.

If your products are expensive, I think it also make sense to offer different payment structures. Give a discount for those who can afford to buy your product outright, but make it possible to pay in small chunks for readers on a budget. You don’t want to offer so many options that things are overwhelming, but a few choices will help get your product in the hands of more readers, and it doesn’t take much effort to offer multiple options.

10) No Affiliate Program for Your Products

If you’re selling stuff, are you offering an affiliate program? If not…why not? You’ll have a virtual sales team that are only paid when they sell something if you set up even a low-payout affiliate program! I have to love beyond love a product to write a review if I’m not getting a commission. Even then, if it’s a busy week, I might not make time for it. If you have a great affiliate program, though, you’ll see a major boost in your sales, and most of those buyers will be people you never would have reached otherwise, so it’s not like you’re losing money by paying affiliates, at least most of the time. The benefits greatly outweigh the disadvantages, and best of all, it only takes a few seconds to set up an affiliate program through a company like E-junkie.

It’s your turn – what changes have you made on your blog that resulted in big jumps in profit?

Do You Make These Content Mistakes?


There’s no lack of advice for bloggers, podcasters, vloggers, and other kinds of online content creators. Every year, we feature hundreds of speakers at BlogWorld Expo who give just that type of advice, and that’s just representative of the huge number of proposals we get every year – not to mention the people out there who don’t send in proposals, yet give great advice on their own sites.

It can be overwhelming and even a little confusing to new content creators and those who are experienced alike. Should I use pop-ups? Do I need a mailing list? Is there one best way to use Twitter? The list goes on and on, and with each question, it seems, a debate is raging.

These questions aren’t easy to answer…so instead, start here. There are the most common content mistakes I see; make sure you don’t make them:

1. Thinking You Must Conform to Find Success

Those giving advice about content creation typically have your best interests in mind. That doesn’t mean you should take their advice. Treat everything you read (yes, even this post!) as theory, not fact. Often, the content creators that break the “rules” are the ones who are most successful. Listen to you gut, even if it’s telling you to do something that others might consider wrong. Yes, you can learn from those who have come before you, but sometimes it pays to take the road less traveled…or create a road of your own.

2. Leaving No Space for Alternative Views

The best content, in my opinion, acknowledges that there are alternative views out there. I took a debate class once in college and one of the best lessons I learned is that you can recognize an opinion even if you don’t agree – and you can do so respectfully. Listen, we all get passionate at times. I’m guilty of that just like everyone else. But when you write something, try to think outside of absolutes. Few things in this world are absolute.

To summarize this point, let’s just say that there’s a reason that I used a picture of a stubborn monkey to illustrate the idea of not leaving space for alternative views in your content.

3. Content Creation without Confidence

You rock. Seriously, you do! I can say that all day, though, and if you don’t believe it, your content will never be awesome. It’s okay to recognize challenges and even failure. In fact, I think it can make your blog stronger if you admit that you aren’t perfect, at least occasionally. But when you’re teaching someone something or voicing your opinion, if you don’t have confidence in what you’re writing/saying, that shines through, and over time, your audience will start to dwindle. Look in the mirror and say it right now: I rock. I create awesome content. Now, believe it.

4. Giving You Audience What They Want

I’m a big fan of tuning into your community, understanding your audience, and being a team player. I’ve never been a huge fan of bloggers who give the middle finger and say, “I don’t care about my readers, because this is my site! Like it or leave it, suckers!” So why do I think that it’s a mistake to give audience members what they want?

Because what they want  isn’t always what they need. Your readers might absolutely love it when you post funny pictures of your children, but if you blog about disabilities, the posts they need give advice or voice opinions. Don’t lose sight of that.

It is your blog – you should write what you want to write, but don’t make the mistake of not caring about your audience. If you honestly don’t care about them, don’t put your ideas online. Just keep a diary. At the same time, don’t let your readers run the show. Writing link bait or otherwise just catering to the popular opinion for the sake of some traffic only hurts your goal in the end.

5. Being Satisfied with Your “First Draft”

Remember what I said about some content creators lacking confidence? It can go the other way as well: it is a mistake to be overly confident. Sometimes posts simply flow. Other times, it takes tons of time to contract a simple sentence. I don’t personally podcast (anymore) or do many videos, but I suspect content creation is the same with those types of media – sometimes, it’s easy, while other times it’s like pulling teeth. Even when your content creates itself, though, take the time to perfect your pieces before you hit the publish button. At some point, you need to stop nit-picking and actually present your content to your audience, but don’t fall into self-devise trap where you don’t take care with your content. Have a little pride in what you do.

Why I Don’t Listen to Your Podcast


I’m not a big podcast person. Oh, I think they’re great for blogs to have and I’ve even done podcasts in the past. I just don’t listen to them often. Why? Well, I’m working much of the time and I don’t really like having any noise while I am. I listen to podcasts occasionally when traveling, but since I have no commute, it’s rare that I actually have car time that I need to fill.

Because my podcast time is limited, I only listen to the best of the best. If I listened to one bad episode, I probably won’t be back. It sounds harsh, but my time is limited and there are a lot of interesting podcasts out there.

So what makes me stop listening to yours?

  • Too much “intro” material

It’s okay to introduce yourself and talk a little about what you do, but if you spend tons of time talking about yourself rather than the topic at hand, I’m out. It just starts to get boring. Sure, your mom might be interested to hear about your day, but there’s a line you have to draw between personality and TMI. Make sure you stay relevant to the listener.

  • Too many ads

We all gotta pay the bills. I understand that, my friend, but do we really need a 10-minute commercial break? If you have to fill tons of time with ads, that might be an indication that you’re not charging enough for the slots. Increase your prices, have fewer ads, and stop driving your listeners away.

  • No structure

I’m not a fan of conversational podcasts that have absolutely no structure. I don’t think you need a rigid schedule to follow, but if you have no direction, there’s often a lot of boring crap that’s irrelevant to the listener. Before you start each episode, make sure that you and your fellow podcasters have a run-down of the information you want to cover on the show – and make sure that you (or a co-host) takes a leadership position to keep everyone on point.

  • A face for radio

People often joke around, saying that someone has a “face for radio” (i.e., they’re ugly), but sometimes I think that phrase is relevant when listening to someone. Although you might be looking at something on your computer, it’s not good to include anything visual, even if you do give your readers the link in a show note. If you do, make sure you describe what you’re seeing really, really well. Not everyone has the ability to click a link or type in a URL while listening, since people listen when driving, jogging, etc.

So, those are my biggest four podcast pet peeves – boring intro info, too many ads, lack of structure and relying on visuals during the show. What makes you groan most when you listen to a podcast? What are your favorite podcasts (other than your own)?

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