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There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills: Finding Hidden Content Treasures for Your Blog


After blogging for a year or two, you likely have a rich library of evergreen content. Your blog is just bursting at the seams with these high-quality posts, but what gets the most attention? Whatever you’ve posted most recently. Some of your best content might never see the light of day again.

This content is gold. Older blog posts can be absolute treasures, helping you create new content and drive new readers to your blog. You just have to dig it out, dust it off, and repurpose it in the best way possible.

The Inspiration Bank

Since new content often gets the most attention, maybe it’s time to repurpose some of your old content into brand new posts. I keep a list of the very best posts I’ve ever written, and this is my inspiration bank. Even posts that are timely (i.e., not evergreen) can be part of your bank. What was most popular in the past and why? How can you replicate that success? Think about the topic matters you’ve covered and consider doing an update on them to create a brand new post for readers.

For example, let’s say you’re a political blogger. You probably covered the 2012 U.S. Presidential elections pretty closely. A year from now, it probably seems like those posts aren’t relevant – but they are! Posts that discuss candidates’ promises or predictions from yourself and others can be turned into excellent follow-up posts on the topic.

You can also use this kind of “updating” technique to produce high-quality guest posts. With guest posts, people are often more likely to visit specific posts you mention in the text rather than a general link in your bio at the end.

Build Your Mailing List

Old content – or should that be gold content – can also be extremely helpful in building your mailing list. Instead of writing a free ebook from scratch, are there post series that could be combined, edited, and formatted into a short ebook to give away in exchange for mailing list sign-ups? Or, you might be able to expand upon a post, breaking down your advice into more detail so you can turn the post into a longer format giveaway.

You can also look to see which posts were most popular and then offer a free webinar or e-course on the topic. Use your older posts as a jumping off point for this kind of education. It’s much easier than starting from scratch.

Reshare Instead of Repurpose

If a post is truly evergreen, repurposing it might not make as much sense as simply resharing it. The key is to share it with a new audience. For example:

  • When you first published the post, were you active on Pinterest or Google+? If not, share them with these communities.
  • Have you ever shared the post with your mailing list? Maybe it’s time to promote it in one of your newsletters.
  • Was the post shared at a certain time of day? Change things up and share it at a different time of day to hit different time zones.

Breathe some new life into that old content!

Of course, to have great evergreen content in your library, you have to be adding new evergreen content to your blog regularly. For blog content creation tips, check out our upcoming Blogging Track at NMX in Las Vegas 2013!

Photo Credit: Bigstock

Working with Guest Bloggers: The Secret to Your Success


Guest bloggers? Isn’t your blog supposed to be your voice, representing your view and perspective on business, life, parenting, family matters, your hobby, or even products you’re selling? Well, yes, it is. But it can be more…

Actually, there are lots of reasons why inviting people to write guest posts on your blog can be a great idea, including adding a bit of variety for your readers, gaining visibility through more popular writers, offering slightly different perspectives on your topical area and giving you a bit of a break from the daily grind of blogging. There’s also this thing called SEO and people who are willing to publish guest articles might just find themselves more frequently invited to write guest posts on other people’s blogs. Those guest posts you write that include a link back to your own site are great for your own site’s visibility. A win-win!

Even on the most personal of blogs, embedding a dialog with someone else that perhaps started out as an email exchange can be a powerful entry to write, or you can even frame a guest article by introducing it to your readers in the opening paragraphs and then add your own concluding paragraph after, reacting to the main piece and ensuring that your own voice isn’t lost in the process.

To have your guest bloggers be successful and to make the process as easy as possible, here are my hard-learned tips:

Agree on a theme or topic in advance — This saves a lot of hassles and misunderstandings, when the guest blogger sends you an article that’s just not relevant to your audience. Rejections are never appreciated, even if they’re appropriate, so sidestep it by asking them for a sentence or two summary of what they want to talk about.

Specify your writing style — Do you like publishing obscenities? Do you want long, complicated sentences that are suitable for your audience of research scientists, or short, easily understood grammatical constructs perfect for a busy parent to understand? It’s your site, I encourage you to ask the guest writer to try and match your own writing style while still honoring their own voice in the process.

Long or short? Give ’em a target word count — This is one that always seems to be a challenge, but if your audience is used to substantial articles of 400 words or longer, a guest post of 135 words will seem insubstantial and pointless. Avoid that by specifying “target word count: 400 words” or, in the opposite situation, “please don’t exceed 250 words.”

Pictures? Video? — Just about all blog posts are enhanced by including some sort of media content. Are they responsible for this content? If so, make sure you tell them, and also ensure that they obtain the rights to the content (easily done if it’s their own photo or graphic, of course) so that they don’t put you in potential legal hot water due to rights violations. Your blog, your problem, even if the original was sent by a guest author.

Those are the key factors to ensure success working with guest bloggers. It’s easy and it’s fun!

I also asked a few other popular bloggers what their parameters are with accepting guest blog articles, and here’s what they had to say:

Jenny Ford: I have contributors and accept guest posts. it’s one of the only ways you won’t get stuck writing every single recipe!! (and getting grossly over-weight on my site! HA!). My tip – have a format, give clear details and expectations, let people know your deadline, make sure they have terrific photography.

Mary-Frances Main: I only take local “voices” and then they have to be relevant to the topic (which seems like a no brainer, but you’d be amazed!). Personally I like people I know – but will accept a recommendation of another connection.

Elizabeth C. Lewis: Make sure that before you ask for a guest blogger, you have read some of what they write! You don’t want to ask someone to write something to find out that they are terrible at writing and have to find a reason that you can’t use it.

Amy Gahran: Have a process: offer clear guidance on length, format, topic. Tell them how to submit a draft: text file? Word doc? HTML doc? Only do this for evergreen topics that can run anytime. Guest posts often don’t happen on deadline.

So there you have it. Not just my enthusiasm for guest bloggers showing up on one of my blogs — and I have four that I publish, ranging from my AskDaveTaylor tech support site to DaveOnFilm, where I share film reviews and the popular GoFatherhood site where I write about my experiences as a single dad — but the view of some other savvy bloggers who also invite submissions from friends and colleagues to mix things up.

Now, what are your thoughts on this? Do you accept guest submissions and, if so, what are your parameters?

Editor’s Note: For those who want to learn more from Dave, check out his session at NMX called “Quick and Dirty Video Production Workshop for Your First YouTube Video.”

Social Media and Higher Education [Infographic]


College and universities are embracing social media as a means to connect with the current student body, alumni, prospective students, and donors. According to BestCollegesOnline.com, one in three schools indicate that they achieve better results with social media than through traditional media.

According to recent data conducted by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth:

  • 98% of colleges and universities report having a Facebook page
  • 84% have a school Twitter account
  • 66% have a blog
  • 41% have a podcast

Check out the infographic below to learn more about how those in higher education are using social media:

Goals Behind Social Media Use

Compiled By: BestCollegesOnline.com


Want to Use Pinterest to Drive Traffic to You Blog, Podcast, or Videos? #pinbook


Over the past few months, BlogWorld has been hard at work creating a brand new eBook with everything you need to know about the hottest subject in social media right now – Pinterest. And now that we’re finished, we want to share that information with you – for free!

The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, or Videos is available starting today, and it doesn’t cost a cent. Simply click on the link to download your copy right now or, if you’re already subscribed to our newsletter, check your email!

Tell all of your friends – they can download a free copy too! Click here to tweet a message to them using our hashtag, #pinbook. And of course, we also hope you’ll consider pinning the ebook as well so you can share it with all of your Pinterest friends.

This eBook won’t be available forever, so make sure you snag a copy today!

How to Write Tweets that Instantly Lead to More Traffic


Whenever I write a new post, whether it is for BlogWorld or for one of my own sites, I automatically tweet out the link. Literally, it is automatic. I use a service called TwitterFeed to make sure every new link is tweeted, along with the title. I know some people are against Twitter automation, but I think in this case, the pros outweigh the cons. Many of my followers like the announcement when I write something new.

But I also tweet other links throughout the day, including some to my own sites – either the newest post I’ve written or a post from the archives that I love. These aren’t automated, and I’ve learned that just how I craft the tweet can instantly lead to more traffic…or it can lead to my tweet being ignored by 99% of my followers.

So here’s how I write tweets that get people to read my content:

  • I get away from the title/link/via formula.

When TwitterFeed tweets my link or I use a share button to tweet the link on a blog post I like, the automatic formula is Post Title – Link – via @whoeverwroteit. That can get you some clicks if it’s brand new content, especially if the title is compelling, but it’s not the best way to get a ton of traffic when tweeting older links or tweeting links for the second or third time. Mix things up so that you don’t become white noise to your followers.

  • Invite people to comment by asking a question.

People like to give their opinion on a topic. Unless your title asks a question, you aren’t really inviting them to answer anything when you tweet your link with the generic Title-Link-Via formula. One way you can instantly get more clicks is by leading with a question. For example, if I wanted to promote this post on Twitter, I could write: “What makes you most likely to click on Twitter links? Answer here: *link*.” People need to be invited to your blog sometimes.

  • Be a proud mama.

People want to read the best of the best. If you’re a prolific link tweeter (guilty!), taking the time to mark an occasional post as special in some way can entice people to click. For example, I might write, “I’m super proud of my latest post. I think it’s the best on my blog!” or “I just finished writing a post that means a lot to me. Would be honored if you guys checked it out.” Of course, include the link with your tweets and make sure that your claim of something special doesn’t fall short – use this technique sparingly and only when you do write something that you’re especially proud of posting on your blog.

  • Time your tweets well.

You’re going to get more clicks at 3 in the afternoon than you are at 3 in the morning, no matter what your tweet says. Beyond that, though, do a little testing and find specific times that work for your audience. For example, I find that bloggers tend to read more in the morning, so I tweet BlogWorld links in the AM, while I find that college kids are night owls, so I tweet After Graduation links at night.

  • Write short tweets.

People are more likely to click on shorter tweets for some reason. It also makes it easier for retweeting purposes. So even though you have 140 characters to promote what you write, try to use under 100 whenever possible.

  • Tweet about how you’re solving a problem.

Sometimes the title doesn’t do the best job of describing just how the post will help people. Even the title of this post, for example, might be straight-forward, but it isn’t quite as enticing as a tweet that reads, “Having trouble getting people to click your links on Twitter? This is a good post for you: *link*.” Titles should be enticing, but sometimes when you tweet about the problem you’re solving in a more conversational way, you get more clicks.

  • Write responses to things others have written – and tweet about it.

This post isn’t in response to another post I’ve read, but let’s say it was. I might still want to title it “How to Write Tweets that Instantly Lead to More Traffic,” but when I tweet about it, instead of using the title, I might say, “I wrote a response to @someonesname’s post about Tweeting. Do you guys agree with me or him?” or “I liked @someonesname’s Twitter post so much, I had to write my own. Here’s my take on the topic.” (include links of course). Not only is it enticing to read two disagreeing opinions on something (or opinions that don’t necessary disagree but build on one another), but you’ll also attract the attention of the other blogger and they might retweet your link or at least click in themselves to see what you have to say.

Above all, remember that Twitter is most valuable in terms of traffic when you keep two things in mind:

  1. You should be conversational, doing more than just tweeting your own links.
  2. You can’t be afraid of tweeting links completely. You can be conversational, but it’s okay to promote your work too.

So those are my Twitter traffic tips. What makes you most likely to click a link? Or what techniques have you noticed work with your blog when you want Twitter traffic?


Seven Cool Ways to Use Pinterest


Have you joined Pinterest yet? I have to admit – I’ve been pretty obsessed with it in the last few weeks as I started pinning things and exploring the community. And some pinners are using this new network in really cool ways.

For those who’ve not yet familiar with Pinterest, the concept is pretty simple. When you sign up, you create “boards” – as many or few as you want. Each board has a certain theme. When you come across something you like online and want to both remember (like a bookmark) and share with others, you can pin it to one of your boards. For example, I found this really cute costume idea and wanted to remember it for next year. So I pinned it to my “Halloween” board.

Your homepage is filled with the pins from the people/boards you’re following. When you follow someone, you can choose to follow all of their boards or pick and choose the boards you want to follow. I find this extremely helpful, since a lot of my friends have interests that aren’t relevant to me, but I still want to connect with them when it comes to other interests that we share. A good example of this is my friend Kelby Carr. I follow her craft projects board, since that interests me, but don’t follow her board that features stuff for kids, since I don’t have kids of my own.

The most common boards I see are for recipes, craft projects, fashion, and humor, but more and more, people are starting to get creative, which is super inspiring. And, if you use Pinterest in unique ways, it can definitely help you as a blogger or online business owner. Let’s take a look at some really cool ways I’ve seen people using Pinterest:

  • Create a gift registry.

This list tip comes from Kenna Griffin from Prof KRG. This holiday season, she used Pinterest to create a Christmas wish list, which you can see here. She shared the list with family members, which made it much easier for them to purchase gifts she really wanted. You could use it to create a wish list for your blog as well. Depending on your niche, fans might want to send gifts or donations, and this helps them understand how to best show their appreciation. Of course, if you’re a parent, you can also have your (older) children create boards with a wish list theme to help you make purchases.

  • Pin your best blog posts.

Sure, Pinterest is a great way to share funny pictures and whatnot, but does it have any practical use for bloggers who aren’t working in visual-centric niches? Yes! For example, one of the boards I created is called “Favorite Blog Posts I’ve Written,” and my plan is to use it to pin posts that I’m especially proud of. This has the potential to get out of hand if bloggers use boards to promote every post they write, but with the correct restraint, I think it can bring me a lot of traffic. People have already started to follow that board, and as of writing this post, it only has a single pin.

  • Start a Pinterest book club.

This is one board I’m hoping to start in the coming months – a little book club for me and others interested in reading the same books as me. Lots of people use Pinterest to share their favorite books, but what about creating a group board (where anyone can pin things) and every month reading a book together, using the board to share links to reviews and analysis, products inspired by the book, interviews with the author you’ve found, etc. When I read a book I like, I love to read as much about it as possible, and share with others who are reading the same things, so Pinterest could give us a fun place to collaborate.

  • Use Pinterest for project management.

I haven’t seen anyone doing this yet, but I think it could be super helpful for some people, since you can create boards where multiple people can pin things. For example, say you’re an interior decorator. You could use Pinterest to share cool stuff you find online for a specific room you’re designing with the rest of your staff (and they can share with you too). The homeowners can even get involved with pinning. There’s a lot of potential here for anyone collaborating on a project. I love that it would cut down on the crazy number of emails you send back and forth.

  • Pin as an affiliate.

This Pinterest board idea comes from James Dabbagian, who created a board called “Books on Blogging and Social Media.” All the pins on that board are affiliate links, so if others check them out on his recommendation, he’ll get the credit on Amazon (or wherever). You can easily disclose that your links are affiliate links in the description, which James has done, and it makes total sense, since it helps people who are interested in a specific type of product find an entire list of items to check out.

  • Create a Pinterest test kitchen.

Food bloggers have definitely headed to Pinterest en masse, which makes sense since food is definitely visual. Instead of just sharing recipes, though, what about creating a “test kitchen” board? As you’re developing new recipes, ask your followers to try them out and “like” or repin if they enjoyed the meal. It’s a great way to get feedback on the success (or not) of a dish.

  • Bookmark inspiration pieces.

Occasionally (and by occasionally, I mean every two minutes), I come across blog posts, infographics, pictures, and so forth that get my inspiration juices flowing. I don’t always have time to write at that moment, though. Instead of just bookmarking posts, which is clutter-y and hard to efficiently organize, I’ve created a new Pinterest board to essentially bookmark cool ideas. If it inspires some of my followers to check out awesome things other people have written or created, all the better.

Some there you have it – my seven cool ideas for using Pinterest. As I continue using this platform and explore what others are doing, I’m sure I’ll have even more neat ideas to add to this list. Have you come across anyone using Pinterest in a cool way? If so, tell us about it in the comments!

The 12 New Media Days of Christmas 2011: 5 Traffic Tips


During the 12 New Media Days of Christmas, we’re counting down the days until 2012 comes by featuring some of the best blog posts of 2011 from awesome writers within the BlogWorld community! Skip to the end to read more posts in this holiday series and don’t forget to leave a comment if you’ve written a post about today’s topic!

When it comes to blogging, the numbers matter. Without traffic, you can’t build a brand. Without traffic, you can’t sell advertising. Without traffic, you can’t spread your message. Without traffic you can’t sell your products. Unfortunately, the “if you build it, they will come” model of blogging doesn’t really work. Great content is often buried in the bottomless void of the Internet, and even the best bloggers in the world occasionally write posts that are fantastic, but go relatively unnoticed. So the topic of traffic is relevant to all of us! Here are some awesome posts about this topic:

1. How to Drive Massive Traffic To Your Blog—With Less Effort by Amy Porterfield at AmyPorterfield.com

This is the last post in an entire series by Amy called “How to Create Bite-Sized Content Your Readers Will Devour and Share.” In this post, Amy talks about the need to find your own sweet spot when it comes to the effort you exert trying to get more traffic to your site. The answer is going to be different for each person, but the overall concept is that you don’t need to do everything. You just need to do what works for you. Writes Amy,

The good news is, you’re probably already doing a lot right. Really. You’re probably already doing at least 90% of what you need to do to hit your own sweet spot.

In fact, you might be doing too much.

Let’s look at what you HATE doing. Some people hate, hate, hate Twitter. If you hate Twitter, maybe you’re doing too much there—or maybe you’re wasting your time. Often, when we don’t love something, we don’t do it very well. The same goes for Facebook, your blog, and any other social media you do.

Amy created the 4-week video training program The Simple Social Media Formula: Social Media on Your Terms and is the co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies. You can find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @amyporterfield.


2. Why Guru Strategies for Blog Growth DON’T WORK… and What Does! by Danny Iny at Firepole Marketing

This post from Danny covers everything you need to know about building your traffic, using the idea that you don’t need to use the “slow and steady” strategy, but you do need to do what’s right for your current level of success. That’s why what’s working for someone with a million hits a day probably won’t work for you. You need to get to that level first! From the post:

No, this isn’t a post about how you should be patient and take things slow and steady, because eventually you’ll win the race.

(As Sonia Simone said in a recent radio interview, “slow but steady works, but we’ve all had the experience of being beaten to the finish line by a jack rabbit with ADD!”)

The point of this post is that the fastest way to grow is by using the strategy that fits with your current stage of growth. The more appropriate your strategy is to your stage of growth, the faster you’ll outgrow it, and be ready for the next one!

You can find Danny on Twitter @DannyIny. He’s also the co-author of Engagement from Scratch! and founder of Bowl of Goals.


3. 49 promo ideas. simple, grand + the tried n’ true. by Danielle LaPorte at White Hot Truth

I love the ideas for promotion that Danielle offers in this post. Some of them are old standbys that everyone tells us to do to drive traffic. Others are pretty unique ideas that I haven’t heard anywhere else. All of them are fantastic! Go through the whole list or pick and choose what makes sense to you.  Whether you’re launching a new business or trying to build traffic to a site you already run, these are great ideas. Here are a few examples of the tips Danielle gives:

15. Don’t be shy about all the awards and accolades you’ve earned—create a special section on your site’s About page just for that.
16. Have ongoing giveaways on your site to engage customers, generate content, and build up subscriber base. e.g. “Answer Today’s Q&A and you’ll be entered to win the Awesome Gift of the Month.” Get cool people to donate the Awesome Gift (or Service) of the Month and they’ll help with the buzz.
17. Host a Story, Poetry or Photo contest that’s related to your industry. You could take the best submissions and turn them into an e-book, or you could partner with a print magazine and the winner would get published.

You can find Danielle on Twitter @daniellelaporte. She’s the creator of the Spark Kit and Your Big Beautiful Book Plan and has a number of free downloads available for readers.


4. Are You Taking Advantages of Recurring Posts? by Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income

What are you “known for”? What do readers enjoy looking forward to reading on your site? Hopefully, every post your write keeps them coming back for more, but doing a recurring series makes a lot of sense. Traffic isn’t just about finding new eyeballs. It’s also about keeping current readers coming back to your site more often. In this post, Pat talks about how doing a recurring series can boost your traffic. He writes,

Are you giving your audience anything specific and regular to look forward to?In other words, is there some type of post that you publish consistently over and over again that becomes a true unique element to your brand?

Pat’s free ebook guide is available on his blog’s sidebar. You can also like Smart Passive Income on Facebook and follow Pat on Twitter @patflynn.


5. How to Improve Google Rankings for Your Older Posts in 4 Easy Steps by Ana Hoffman at Traffic Generation Cafe

Oh, Google. You are the bringer of traffic, but the bane of my existence. I couldn’t write a post about traffic and not include any links to information on boosting your search engine rankings. In this post, Ana writes about the step by step process to actually put your old post to good use. You’ve probably spent hundreds or even thousands of hours writing those old posts, so you deserve to get a little traffic from them! Just a few small changes can help make good (but old) content more visible on search engines. Writes Ana,

Blogging is never a “publish and forget it” sort of deal.You publish a post, you answer comments, you build links to it in hopes of ranking it high in search engines so that you can start getting organic traffic on autopilot.

Then comes the day of publishing a new post – for many of us, it’s the following day.

And what happens to the previous post? Previous 10, 20 posts? That’s right – who has the time?

If you make the time for your old content, you can see great results! After checking out this post, you can find Ana on Twitter @AnaTrafficCafe and add Ana to your Google+ circles. She’s the author of 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination, which is available for free on her sidebar.

Other posts in the 12 New Media Days of Christmas series will be linked here as they go live:

12 Bloggers Monetizing
11 Emailers List Building
10 Google+ Users a-Sharing
9 Vloggers Recording
8 Links a-Baiting
7 Community Managers a-Managing
6 Publishers a-Publishing
5 Traffic Tips (this post)
4 New Media Case Studies
3 Must-Read New Media Interviews
2 Top New Media News Stories of 2011
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

You can also check out the all the posts from 2010 and 2011 here, and don’t forget: If you wrote a post in 2011 about today’s topic (traffic), PLEASE leave the link in a comment below to share with the community!

How Travel Bloggers Can Best Use Facebook & Twitter


… by Jessica Spiegel

Once upon a time, posting high-quality writing or photos or videos on your travel blog was pretty much the first and only step to blogging. Now, unless it’s just your Aunt Jane who’s reading about your trip, there’s all sorts of social media marketing to think about. Whether Google+ (or any other new site popping up in the next three days) is a long-term threat to existing social media platforms remains to be seen, but for now the biggest players are Facebook and Twitter.

Travel bloggers, like bloggers in all genres, are – for the most part – engaged on both Facebook and Twitter, but in different ways and to different degrees. It’s not a science, and can involve quite a bit of trial-and-error, but here are some helpful hints before you dive into the deep end.

How are travel companies using Facebook and Twitter?

It’s not just travel bloggers who use social media – travel companies are, too. Wendy Perrin of Conde Nast Traveler asked a few travel industry pros how their companies use both Facebook and Twitter, and if you’re familiar with the two platforms then the answers aren’t exactly earth-shattering. Still, it’s interesting to hear that big companies like Virgin America and Travelocity not only understand that the platforms are different but also how to use each one in an effective way.

Both Travelocity and Virgin America acknowledge that while Facebook does better with “long-term engagement,” Twitter is better at handling customer service issues, often in real-time. Another perk about the immediacy of Twitter is the ability to generate sharp (albeit brief) peaks of interest, sometimes through promotions like freebies or travel deals. Because Facebook users tend to be on the site longer, that’s where conversations between users of a particular travel brand occur, alongside conversations with the brand itself. It’s a place where hotel or cruise ship guests – self-declared “fans” of a brand or product – can communicate with each other, strengthening brand loyalty and increasing word-of-mouth referrals.

While travel bloggers can learn a bit from the way big travel companies use social media, it’s impossible to keep up with their pace – jetBlue, for instance, has 17 people on staff just to handle the company’s Twitter account. Seventeen people just for Twitter. Can you even imagine what your travel blog’s Twitter account would look like with 17 handlers?

Travel bloggers can, however, engage in personal real-time conversations with readers on Twitter, work toward long-term “fan” cultivation on Facebook, participate in travel chats on Twitter to expand readership/community, and encourage Facebook fans to chat with each other to generate a sense of community. Take your cue from the travel companies – a big part of your time invested in social media is about being responsive.

Which is more valuable for travel bloggers, Facebook or Twitter?

Let’s assume from the outset that you’re going to be on both Facebook and Twitter. Which one deserves more of your time and energy?

As you can probably guess, there’s not a simple answer here. Most people will need to put a certain amount of time and energy into both Twitter and Facebook, but each blog’s readership will help dictate which venue produces the best results and proves most worthwhile. Not only that, the content you post to each platform also has the potential to determine how successful it is. There’s some evidence that Twitter users are more apt to hit the retweet button rather than click through and read something, whereas Facebook users are more likely to click through and read many more posts than they share. Again, tracking traffic will help you figure out what your audience is responding to most so you can adjust your posts accordingly.

Since you probably don’t have a staff of 17 to deal with your Twitter followers, you’ll need to be judicious about how much time you devote to social media. It’s a good idea to try out a few things and see what works for your audience, but here are a few important things to remember:

  • There’s some overlap between Facebook and Twitter users, but it’s far from 100%. When, for instance, you publish something new on your blog, you’d be crazy not to post a link on both Twitter and Facebook. Yes, some people will get the link twice (more times if they subscribe via email), but they voluntarily signed up to receive those updates.
  • Some duplicate posting is fine (see above), but try not to duplicate everything. It can be annoying to think about keeping your blog, your Twitter stream, and your blog’s Facebook page updated on a regular basis without just auto-posting the same thing to each – but it’s a good idea to keep each venue unique. Otherwise, what reason does your audience have to visit? This can be as simple as sharing interesting/related links via Twitter and Facebook to sites other than your own that you think your readers would also enjoy, or doing giveaways that are Twitter- or Facebook-only.
  • There are tools that can make managing multiple social media platforms easier. Heavy Twitter users are likely already familiar with tools like TweetDeck and HootSuite, but did you know you can also update Facebook pages using those tools, too? I’ll confess that I’m a TweetDeck fan but have (as yet) been unable to set up my TweetDeck desktop account to post to my site’s Facebook page (there’s some sort of bug in there I can’t figure out). From HootSuite, however, I’m able to do it easily, including scheduling updates for later times. Having one tool to keep track of both Twitter and Facebook is a huge time-saver.
  • You can’t just be a megaphone – you have to listen and react, too. Posting your links (and other interesting links) to Twitter and Facebook is great, but the critical part of both of these platforms is the “social” part of social media. It’s a conversation, and in order to generate brand loyalty (where your travel blog is the brand) you need to put in the time conversing with your audience – through comments on your blog, Twitter @-replies, and Facebook comments on your page. If you’re not prepared to do that on one or the other of the social media platforms, you might as well not even be there.

You’ve got to go where the community is.

Back in the days of message boards and forums, community was everywhere – and nowhere. These days, the communities on Facebook and Twitter are huge, and any attempt to create a message board now would seem a little silly. The bottom line is that if you want to be in on the conversation, you have to go where the community is – you can’t expect them all to come to you. And for now, that means being involved to some degree with Facebook and Twitter.

>> What are your experiences using Facebook and Twitter to promote your travel blog?

Jessica Spiegel is a Portland-based travel writer with BootsnAll, the RTW travel experts, for whom she writes the WhyGo Italy travel guide. She also writes frequently about things like business travel and finding cheap airfare, and although she participates on both Facebook and Twitter she’s more of a Twitter fan. You’ll find her on WhyGo Italy’s Facebook page and on Twitter as @italylogue.

Image Source: SXC

Guest Posting 101: Pitching Your Post


You can write all the guests posts you want, but it doesn’t matter unless you can do a good job pitching your ideas to other bloggers. This is where a lot of really talented writers fail. You have to understand how to connect with other bloggers so that they’re more than happy to publish anything you write.

So let’s talk about pitching your posts.

Write First or Pitch First?

One of the most common questions people ask me about guest posting is this: should I write my post first and pitch it to bloggers or should I pitch my ideas to bloggers and then write. There’s no one right answer to that question – it depends on the situation and on the blog.

If you know the blogger enough to have conversations via social media occasionally and meet up at conferences, I suggest pitching them first. You have a working relationship – simply ask if they’re accepting guest posts and go from there. When you have a relationship with someone, you can develop ideas for guest posts together or even consider posting something from them on your own blog.

If you don’t know the blogger personally, though, it might not make sense to pitch ideas if you don’t have the post written yet. Check out the blogger’s guest post policy if they have one. Some prefer to receive ideas, while others just want to see the full post. If they don’t have a guest post policy, here are a few tips to help you decide if you should send the full post or simply send ideas:

  • A-listers who get tons of traffic and lots of emails don’t have time for lots of exchanges. Send your full post unless their guest post policy says otherwise.
  • Do you see other guest posts on the blog? If not, the blogger might not accept them, even from friends. Ask first.
  • If you see a blogger mention an upcoming vacation on Twitter or Facebook, reply and ask if they’d like guest posting help in the meantime. It’s simpler than an email, and you can get a quick yes or no before you spend time writing a post.
  • Is the blog more personal or more informational? The more personal the blog, the more likely it is that they want to exchange guest post ideas via email first, because their blog is more branded around their personality.

When in doubt, send the guest post in full. If it really is perfect for their blog, they’ll accept it. I’ve even placed guest posts with bloggers who don’t normally accept them because the post I sent was such a good fit.

What’s in it for Me?

When you pitch a guest post to a blogger, you want to make the email short and sweet. So, don’t spend what precious space you have talking about what’s in it for you. Talk about what’s in it for the blogger.

Be realistic. Don’t say that your post is going to send them tons of traffic because you really can’t be sure that it will, even if you’re the most a-list blogger out there and wrote the most search engine optimized post in the world. Instead, simply make offers. Will you promote the post on your social networks? Will you blog about it?

Also, make sure that the post makes sense for the blogger – and mention that. Don’t get post if you aren’t familiar with the blog, and definitely do your research to make sure they’ve never published a post on the exact same topic in the past. Even if you’re a fan, do a quick search to make sure they didn’t post the same thing you’re hoping to post before you were a reader or in a post you missed while sick/on vacation. Don’t be afraid to mention where you think the post would fit in terms of category, especially if the blog covers a wide spectrum of topics.

Your Pitch Doesn’t Need…

As you’re writing the email to pitch your post, there are a few things you don’t need to include:

  • A Deadline

Bloggers are busy. If you don’t hear back in a week, you should definitely follow up, but your initial email doesn’t need some kind of imposed deadline. It comes off like a threat. If you don’t get back to me by the 15th, I’m going to approach other bloggers. You know what that makes me think? Go ahead. In reality, your post might fit on a few different blogs (though avoid being too generic). But giving a deadline makes it seem you’re just going to offer your post to blogger after blogger until someone takes it. It makes your post sound…well, not very good.

  • Warnings about your Links

You can also leave out the part where you say that you want a link back to your site. That’s why people guest post. Just include your bio with the post itself, along with the link. Otherwise, it takes up space and looks like you’re just interested in the benefits you’ll get if they post what you’ve written. I once received a request from a blogger who spent an entire seven-sentence paragraph talking to me about how if I used his post, I had to include the bio exactly as written with links in tact. He even said that if I didn’t, he would consider it steal. Um…you’re asking me for a favor. Stop being a guest post diva.

  • Anything Else

If you send me an email with a guest post pitch, don’t also include other requests or information. I like to keep my inbox organized and I get easily distracted. Name your email something like “guest post” so I don’t miss it and save everything else for another email.

Have you received any good or bad guest post pitches? What did the other blogger to right or wrong? Leave a comment! And don’t forget to check out the other posts in this series:

Could Your Blog Survive Without Facebook and Twitter?


Earlier today on Twitter, Mike Stenger posted a link to an infographic on Soshable about what life would be like without Facebook. With 600 million users (as of Jan. 2011) who average 130 friends each and create an average of 90 pieces of new content (pictures, status updates, notes, etc., suffice to say that Facebook plays a significant role in our lives. And with 70% of local businesses using pages to connect with fans, everyone is beginning the realize the power of this platform. If it was suddenly taken away, it would be pretty jarring.

Twitter might be lingering behind Facebook, but I imagine that a life without it would be just as jarring. At least, it would be for me!

Today, I have a little challenge for you – think about what your blogging world would be like if Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist. Of course, they do exist, but I think sometimes we use them as crutches. We rely on people to share our links via Facebook and Twitter, so we don’t do much other promotional work. We don’t have to.

But just because you don’t have to doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. You could be missing out on thousands of readers by not promoting your blog anywhere but Facebook and Twitter.

It’s a little exercise to stretch your blogging muscles – think about some of the well-known and creative ways you could promote your blog (and individual posts) to find readers who might miss what you’re doing on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook and Twitter might be your old standbys, but if you mix in some other techniques now and then, you can reach out to completely new readers – and that should be an exciting prospect to any blogger.

I’ll start by listing off some non-Facebook/Twitter ways to promote your posts. I hope you’ll add to it by leaving a comment at the end!

  1. Other General Social Networks (like LinkedIn)
  2. Niche-Specific Social Networks
  3. Social Bookmarking (StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, etc.)
  4. Emailing Your List
  5. Guest Posts on Blogs in your Niche (check out My Blog Guest)
  6. Comments on Other Blogs (especially those using CommentLuv)
  7. Guest-Hosting Podcasts
  8. Being an Expert Source (try HARO)
  9. Do Interviews (like Meet the Blogger)
  10. Hosting Webinars or Live Chats via Ustream
  11. Submitting Articles to Directories
  12. Include Links in your Signature on Forums
  13. Install a “Related Post” Plugin on your Blog
  14. Link to Old Posts within New Posts
  15. Include a Link in your Email Signature
  16. Buy Advertising
  17. Write a Press Release (if relevant to your post)
  18. Pitch your Story to Mainstream Media
  19. Create a Free WordPress Theme with Your Link in the Footer
  20. List your Blog in Blog and RSS Directories (like Technorati)
  21. Participate in Blog Carnivals (like Brilliant Bloggers)
  22. Email Friends Who Might Be Interested
  23. Upload Pictures on Flickr and Other Stock Photo Sites
  24. Upload a Video on YouTube and Othe Video Sites
  25. Attend Conferences like BlogWorld

Your turn – what are some non-Facebook/Twitter ways you promote your blog and your individual posts? Leave a comment below!

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