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Using the Blogosphere’s Trends for Your Niche

This column is written by Kimberly Turner from Regator (a great tool that gathers and organizes the world’s best blog posts). – Darren

Hello, fellow bloggers! Hope you’re having a fabulous week. Since I started this weekly column on April 7, we’ve discussed strong headlines and opening lines, use of video and images, list posts, effective quotes, and more—all through the lens of the week’s most-blogged-about topics. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the conversations we’ve had together in the comments and the knowledge you’ve all shared with each other and with me.

In the spirit of those open conversations, I wanted to answer the most common question I’ve received: How can I use these general trends if I don’t blog about current affairs? Well, you can find trends on your specific niche on Regator, but the true answer is that no matter what your niche, there is often a way—with enough creativity and research into the details of the story—to make it work for your readers. And tying posts to the week’s hottest topics can be a great way to get new readers and attract attention. This week, along with trends from Regator, we’ll take a look at how these topics were covered by bloggers in unexpected niches…

  1. Gulf of Mexico – You’d expect the disaster in the Gulf to be covered by blogs on environmentalism, marine biology, perhaps even business and politics, but PopEater managed to find a way to bring this ecological story into the realm of pop culture in “An Interview With the Guy Skewering BP on Twitter.”
  2. World Cup ­– The Next Web’s “World Cup fever? Here are 5 apps to keep you on top of things” took what would traditionally be a sports story and moved it into the technology space by focusing on related apps rather than the event itself.
  3. Steve Jobs – Jobs’s highly anticipated World Wide Developers Conference talk unveiled the iPhone 4 and was covered widely by technology blogs but Star Trek blog TrekMovie.com was able to make the event relevant to their readers by focusing on the Star Trek references in the talk and technology from the show and movie in “Steve Jobs Invokes Star Trek (Again) While Unveiling 4th Gen iPhone.”
  4. Helen Thomas – While political bloggers obsessed over Thomas’s offensive comments, women’s blog Jezebel covered the story by discussing what Thomas’s undignified fall meant for a woman who had been an icon and inspiration to women everywhere in its post “Helen Thomas: When An Icon Disappoints [Iconography].”
  5. MTV Movie Awards – Rather than approaching this star-studded event from the usual entertainment blogger’s perspective, gay blog AutoStraddle’s “MTV Movie Awards 2010 Celebrate Lesbian Innuendo, Swearing, Twilight” made the awards more relevant to their readers by honing in on the “10 most homosexual moments of the MTV Movie Awards 2010.”
  6. Rue McClanahan – While many television and entertainment bloggers focused on McClanahan’s television and theater legacy, Ecorazzi’s “RIP: Actress And Longtime Animal-Advocate Rue McClanahan Dies At 76” brought the story to their ecologically conscious demographic by focusing on the actor’s animal rights work.
  7. Lady Gaga – On a week when Lady Gaga’s latest music video was on everyone’s lips, Social Psychology Eye’s post “Facing illness, belief helps” skillfully worked the pop icon into the blog by discussing the psychological implications of Gaga’s recent revelation that she had been tested for lupus, undoubtedly earning them quite a few more readers than they would’ve gotten on a straightforward academic post on illness perception.
  8. Rush Limbaugh – Rather than obsessing about the details of Limbaugh’s wedding, as many entertainment bloggers did, The Daily Beast’s “Celebrity Wedding Singers” took Elton John’s unexpected role as Limbaugh’s wedding singer and created a list post that broadened the appeal of the story.
  9. Israel – Music bloggers aren’t the most expected source of news from Israel, but several, including Drowned in Sound with its post “Bands cancel shows following Israel’s flotilla raid” covered what is essentially a political and international affairs story in a way that created value for their music-obsessed readers.
  10. Harry Potter – While film bloggers were busy dissecting the latest Harry Potter trailer, travel blog Gadling put its own spin on the popular character with “London mayor rails against Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Florida location.”

One thing all of these posts have in common is that the bloggers took the time to learn enough details about these stories to find a way to make them work for their blogs’ niches. Have you managed to work a popular story into your blog’s niche by using a creative angle? Tell us about it in the comments!

Kimberly Turner is a cofounder of Regator.com and Regator for iPhone as well as an award-winning print journalist. You can find her on Twitter @kimber_regator.

How to have a ‘Middle Road’ Mentality and Grow Your Online Business

My Dad’s Middle Road Mentality

My Dad always taught me an important lesson in life that still serves me well today…. “Learn from everyone you come across in life – whether they’re on the same path as you or not”.

He called it the ‘middle road’ and told me that in life you’ll come across all kinds of people with different views (in politics, in theology, in business). Many of them would write off everyone else’s experience or views as wrong and believe that their way was the best.

However he’d found that rather than writing those with different perspectives to you off, it was powerful to listen to everyone and to learn from them.

The key was not to just accept everything that they said as truth, but to take what was relevant to you from those on different paths to you and apply it to your own situation – and to leave behind what didn’t fit with your situation, values and approach.

Dad’s advice has continued to come back to me through life in different situations – but recently it’s been applying a lot to my business and approach to building an online presence.

The Middle Road and Online Entrepreneurship

You see in the online entrepreneurship space there are many approaches. Some of them are more extreme than others and often they rub people up the wrong way.

The temptation is to simply write off everyone who rubs you up the wrong way and to ignore their teaching completely – however the problem with this is that you could be throwing out some great teaching that is mixed in with a few bits that you don’t like.

I was a Purist Blogging Snob

I’ve been guilty of throwing out the baby with the bathwater in this space many times. I remember being asked to speak at an internet marketers conference in the USA 4-5 years ago and coming away from the experience feeling sick in my stomach. The hype, trickery and manipulation of some of those presenting turned me off completely.

In hindsight I should have taken my Dads advice to that conference because while there were things in it that I was right to feel sickened by – there was also a lot of good stuff that I should have taken on board.

You see at the time I believed that I simply had to build a great blog and people would come to it and I would make money – I didn’t need to market it, I didn’t need to develop products to sell, I could just build a great site and put some ads on it and I’d do well.

This ‘purist’ approach worked OK…. to a point, but I could (and should) have learned a lot from those internet marketers.

  • I should have listened to them talking about the importance of building an email list/newsletter
  • I should have taken note about what they said having my own product to sell
  • I should have listened to them talk about the process of launching those products

I should have learned a lot that week…. but I didn’t. I allowed the bad stuff that I saw to overshadow the gold that would have taken what I did to the next level.

How I got Back on the Middle Road and Doubled the Size of My Business in a Year

Of course, 3 years later I did learn those lessons. Those of you who read ProBlogger will know that I’ve changed my approach somewhat of late. While I still believe in building great blogs and I still make good money from advertising, I’ve begun to develop email lists along side my blog and have started to release my own products.

I’ve also started to read and learn from some of those ‘internet marketing’ people. I struggle with some of the more extreme ones, but there are a few good people in that camp who are starting to get the social media/blogging space too.

One I’ve mentioned here before is Jeff Walker. He’s known for his Product Launch Formula – something I enrolled in last year when he opened it up and which taught me a lot. In fact he was one of the main people who helped me to get back on the ‘middle road’ and to see that while I was having some success that I still had a lot to learn.

I’ve since launched 4 products which have done really well and this income stream has more than doubled what I was earning previously in just under a year (my accountant emailed me recently to ask me what I’m doing!).

Of course there are a few things in Jeff’s teaching that I’ve left out of my approach – but the stuff I’ve taken on board has been invaluable. The key is to not swallow everything whole but to take what resonates with you and to apply it to your situation and to calmly leave what doesn’t ‘fit’ aside.

Jeff has recently released a video that talks about big product launches and what he’s learned along the way. He reveals some great details (including income figures) on some massive launches. The video is well worth the opt in.

Whether you learn from Jeff or not, I guess the take home lesson that I’m trying to communicate is to have a ‘middle road’ mentality. There is great power in opening yourself up to learn from those on different paths who are trying different approaches to online entrepreneurship.

Learn what is working for others, filter it through your own situation and values and you might just find your business grows as a result.

10 Foundational Tips for Bloggers Wanting to Make Money Blogging

Almost every time I do an interview about blogging I’m asked some variation of this question:

What tips would you give a beginner wanting to make money blogging?

It’s always an interesting question to answer – particularly when you’re asked to limit your tips to just a few sentences so the person can use it as a sound bite. The problem in condensing the advice into just a few quick tips is that for every tip there are plenty of successful blogs out there who didn’t do what you’re advising and still have had success.

filename.pngImage by Wessex Archaeology

Having said that – here are a few of the foundational tips that I would give to those starting out. They’re not ‘rules’ and not every successful blog has followed them – however I think they are solid advice and should apply for most bloggers. They’re presented in no particular sequence.

1. Choose a topic you know about and have an interest in writing about

It is much easier to sustain a blog over the long haul if you have a genuine interest in the topic. It’s also easier to gain the trust of others and be seen as an authority if you know what you’re talking about.

2. Choose a topic that is in demand and has potential for profit

IF your goal is to make money from your blog (and it isn’t for everyone) you’ll probably want to do some thinking about the topic you’re going to write about. Most profitable blogs have a niche that they focus upon (here are some reasons why). Beyond your own interest in the topic there are other factors that you might want to consider when it comes to profitable niches including its popularity and whether people are searching for that information, how many competitors there are in that niche (and how strong they are), what income streams might be available on the topic, whether the topic is a long term one or a fleeting trend etc. For more reading on choosing a topic check out How to Choose a Blog Niche.

3. Produce content that meets peoples needs or solves problems

The content on your blog needs to mean something to people, it needs to solve a problem that they have (whether it be ‘I need to how to….’ or ‘I’m bored and need a laugh’ or ‘I want someone to tell me how xxxxx applies to my life’). Do this and people will keep coming back and they’ll tell others about you too. Read more on this in a post I wrote about ‘Usefulness’ as a principle of successful blogging.

4. Build traffic by participating on other sites and building a network

Building great content on your site is just half the battle but especially in the early days you can’t just rely upon a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. Later on you might find that you can focus less upon promoting your blog but in the early days you need to get off your own blog and be willing to interact on other parts of the web (other blogs, social media, forums etc). Build a presence on sites where the type of reader that you want are already gathering, build relationships with other blog/site owners and be as useful to others as you can where ever you go. Read more on this topic at The Myth of ‘Great Content’ Marketing Itself.

5. Produce Content that People Want to Pass on

The bulk of your content will want to be solid content that focuses upon meeting the needs of your readers – however it can be well worth your time also throwing into the mix content that is designed to be more about attracting new readers through word of mouth. It is hard to define this content and many times it just happens but be aware of what content in your niche is being passed around on social media sites and you’ll begin to see opportunities to write some of your own. Often this content is funny/playful, controversial, statistics/research based or ‘list posts’ that are mega resources (50 ways to….’ or ’50 ….. to watch’ type posts. Ultimately it is the type of content that someone reads and where their first reaction is to make them think – ‘I need to send this to….’ or ‘I need to tweet this’ or ‘I’m going to bookmark this on Delicious’.

6. Develop a ‘hook’ or ‘hooks’ that will keep those visiting your blog for the first time coming back again

Some people will naturally keep coming back to your site after their first visit, but a very large percentage of them will never return unless you ‘hook’ them in some way. Many bloggers rely upon people subscribing to their RSS feed to ‘hook’ readers and while this can help only some visitors will know how to do this. Other options for this include creating an email newsletter or getting readers to sign up to join/become members. Once people sign up for these you have their permission to remind them about your site and continue to draw them in. Further reading on this topic: How I use Email Newsletters to Drive Traffic and Make Money.

7. Build Community

People no longer just come online to download information or read the expert opinion of others. The web is not a passive place, people want to interact, create, discuss and belong. A blog is a great way to broadcast information but it is also a fantastic tool for building a sense of belonging and interaction, so make the most of that. You might want to add other areas to your blog for this type of interaction (a membership area or forum) but much of it can happen right in your blog posts as well. Ask questions, feature what your readers are doing, run interactive projects, do polls, host debates, give your readers a place to show off what they’re working on. The more you get your readers to ‘do’ the more they’ll feel like a member rather than just a ‘reader’. Get more tips on building community on your blog here.

8. Experiment with Different Direct Monetization Streams

One of the wonderful things about the blogging space today is that bloggers now have a myriad of ways to monetize their sites. Back when I started in this business things were much more limited and most bloggers just used AdSense and Amazon affiliate program because there were not many other options. Those can be great starting points to begin to learn about running ads and affiliate programs on your blog but don’t limit yourself to them. The key is to experiment with different ‘direct income streams‘. Try some different ad networks (whether they be contextual ads, impression based ads etc), try selling your own ads and play with different affiliate marketing campaigns. Play with using different ads and affiliate programs in a variety of ways and positions on your blog (for example in your RSS feed, in posts, in your sidebar, in your header etc).

9. Plan for Indirect Income Streams Early

One of the biggest trends in blogging over the last couple of years is bloggers also experimenting with making money ‘because’ of their blog through more indirect income streams. It’s not just about running ads on your blog – there can often be other things you can do including selling your services as a consultant, running training programs, developing eBooks or other resources, starting a paid members area/forum, selling premium content services etc. Not all of these will apply to every niche but more and more bloggers are now discovering the power of developing their own products and services to sell to blog readers.

10. Don’t Give Up Your Day Job…. Yet

Making money through blogs can be very profitable and a lot of fun, however it is not a fast process and there are no guarantees. It almost always takes years to build up and there are many many bloggers who’ve been at it for that long who make very little money (if any) despite their best efforts. I think there is something to be said about investing a lot of time into a blog if you want it to grow, however I’d advise very very careful consideration if you’re thinking about opening up time by giving up other employment. I personally took 2-3 years to move my blogging from a hobby, to a part time job to a full time thing (and even when I went full time there were times where I took on other work) and most full time bloggers I chat with today have similar stories. Further Reading: A Reality Check about Blogging for Money.

7 Signs of an A-List Blogger in the Making

Guest post by Annabel Candy from Get In the Hot Spot

If you’re into blogging then you might as well aim to be the best blogger you can be. There’s no point trying to be a D-list blogger or you might up even lower down the alphabet than that. Of course, we all start our blogging journey at Z but you may as well shoot to be an A-list blogger at the top of your game and reap the benefits that will naturally flow from that.

You want to be an A-list blogger don’t you? Then check your vital blogging signs and see if you’re telling the world that you’re blogging like you mean it.

If you want to make it into the A-list you owe it to yourself to check if you’re showing the signs. Every time your blog visitors  visit your blog or come across your comments or tweets they’re jumping to conclusions about your level of competence and how trustworty or interesting you are. It sounds harsh and they’re probably not doing it consciously but both blog readers and other bloggers are on the look out for blogs that are going to stand the test of time and will still be around in years to come.

Have you ever made a new friend, hung out with her for months, shared your highs and lows, started to rely on her for everything and loved her more than anyone only to hear one day that she’s moving to China? I haven’t experienced that exact scenario either but I’ve got a feeling it would suck. Unfortunately, it happens a lot in blogging circles. I’ve only been blogging for 16 months but during that time I’ve seen bloggers who’ve been at it for two or more years, who’ve invested hours of their time into blogging, just stop overnight.

If you’re a blog reader you’re often looking for a long term reading plan, someone you can trust who’s going to be around to help or entertain you for years to come. If you’re a blogger you’ve probably realised that having strong connections is vital. Since it takes time to build a strong relationship with other bloggers you want to make sure that they’re going to stick around so you help each other out for years to come. Blogging’s definitely a long term commitment so you need to connect with bloggers who will stand the test of time.

Most of all if you’re a blogger you might as well present yourself as an A-list blogger. If you want to make it into the A-list it’s essential to show these signs. If you’re a long way from the A-list then now’s the time to start faking it until you make it, otherwise you may never get there.

7 Signs of an A-List Blogger in the Making

1. Professional blog design

I know two well known blogs by A-list bloggers with tens of thousands of RSS feed subscribers that don’t have their own domain name and template blogs. It’s probably the same basic blog template they set up years ago and when you first see their blog it definitely doesn’t say “warning you are entering the zone of an A-list blogger”. But these two are big exceptions. Every other A-list blogger I’ve come across has their own domain name and a unique blog design which makes them look professional.

Professional blog design isn’t essential to success but the odds get harder if you haven’t invested in your blog or website design. What I like about the web is that it allows small businesses to rival much bigger businesses by presenting themselves as well as they do. If you want to compete on a level footing with the A-list bloggers making sure your blog is designed as well as their blog is will help.

2. A well-defined topic and regular updates

A-list bloggers dominate their niche. They decide on the focus of their blog and stick to it so there can be no confusion. When a new reader gets to their blog they learn immediately what it’s about and there’s a sizeable archive of blog posts focused around that topic to back it up.

When A-list bloggers go on holiday they make sure that their blog is updated while they’re away and most of them update their blogs at least once a week, probably two or three times a week and often daily. That’s what readers have come to expect and you need to make sure you show them you’re doing it.

3. Consistent branding across all social media

Use your professional web design to set up a clear and instantly recognizable brand for yourself. A photo of yourself is the best way to get yourself recognised and provide the personal element people need to build trust on the Internet. Pick a good head shot or get one taken. Decide if you want a serious image like Darren Rowse, a fun shot like Seth Godin or go for a friendly smile like me and Pat Flynn. If you visit Darren’s Twitter page you’ll see he’s also got the Problogger logo and another fun photo wearing his trademark glasses. Include some of your branding, logo or branded colors into your image or personalise your Twitter page so it reflects your blog branding.

4. High visibility

A-list bloggers seem to get everywhere. They’re always being interviewed, being retweeted, popping up on Facebook or being mentioned by other A-list bloggers. Repeat exposure is good. Often it can take several times of seeing your name or blog name before people feel curious enough to actually take the next step and visit your site. Make yourself visible across social media by leaving comments on blogs related to your topic. If you start to retweet other bloggers or interview them they may do the same for you. If you keep this process up you should slowly become more visible, easily recognised and known for your topic and expertise.

5. Friendly

A-list bloggers help their readers out by giving them excellent information and often go a  step further emailing them special updates, replying to comments, giving free webinars or going to blogging conferences where they can meet readers en masse. Like all of us A-list bloggers have unique personalities and they use it on their blog and in life to make connections with people. Blogging’s all about community and connections and the A-list bloggers are friendly leaders of their communities. They often use video and podcasts which let readers to feel a deeper connection with a blogger than they can just through reading their blog posts.

6. Writing style

The main stay for most bloggers is still words. You don’t need to be a great writer to have a great blog, you can learn how to write well for people who will be reading it on a screen. Improve and hone your writing slowly by writing regularly. A-list bloggers understand the importance of every word on their posts and avoid taxing their readers by using words unnecessarily. They format their blog posts so they’re easy to read online with numbered or bullet-pointed list and clear headers with sub-headers to allow people to skim read and break up long passages of text. Writing headlines is a key skill and the A-list bloggers learn how to draw readers into their blog with compelling headlines using questions, how to posts or ever-popular numbered lists.

7. Blogging connections

Look out for another blogger who’s on about the same level as you and hook up with them. Together you can help propel each other to the top by commenting on each other’s blogs, sharing guest posts, promoting each other’s blogs and motivating each other to keep blogging even when you don’t seem to be getting anywhere. I don’t rate your chances of becoming an A-list blogger without connections. Show that you’re connected to a wide variety of interesting people by replying to questions or asking them on Twitter, replying to your readers’ comments, writing guest posts for other blogs and inviting up and coming bloggers to write a guest post for your blog.

No man is an island and no A-list blogger is either. Nor should you be. Check that you’re showing the 7 signs of an A-list blogger in the making so you can start climbing your way up the blogging alphabet by the shortest possible route.

Do you show the signs of being an A-list blogger in the making or do you know another blogger who is?

Annabel Candy writes empowering tips for life and work at her newly designed blog Get In the Hot Spot. Subscribe to her RSS feed or choose   free email updates for regular helpings of useful, inspiring writing that will teach you how to succeed in life and online.

How To Turn Your Blog Into A Profitable Business

Recently I went to the Connect Now conference and had the chance to hug Darren Rowse, meet Gary Vaynerchuk and hang out with my social media friends. One year ago, I didn’t think I’d be able to accomplish something so awesome.

blogbizfunnel_cover_thumb.jpgSkellie was one of the people that made this possible. She wrote this killer book, The Blog Business Funnel (aff), which presented a new model of making an income from your blog.

The Blog Business Funnel

Skellie argues that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to monetize a blog via traditional methods such as direct advertising, affiliate sales and adsense. She highlights a system which shows bloggers how they can make plenty of money doing what they’re best at.

She recommends “using word-of-mouth worthy content to generate targeted traffic, then using your knowledge and insight to generate trust.”

How it helped me.

I’ve struggled with the idea of launching a business from my blog for years. I’ve had lots of issues and was flailing around, trying to find a model that aligned with my business goals and my promotional ethic.

I had read a lot of business products about how to build a profitable business but they were separated into different niches: sales, blogging and freelancing. I was getting the information I needed but I had no way to fit it all together.

Skellie took us through key launch strategies and details how we could apply them to our own business. I’m heavily into product launches yet it never occurred to me that it could apply for services. We are in the prelaunch stages and already have huge demand. We have several larger companies willing to send smaller jobs our way as well.

I knew that my business would be successful because I had an established blog and had worked hard to create trust with my audience. What I didn’t expect was for it to be doing this well less than a month after the launch.

Why it’s so awesome.

It fits into the third tribe marketing model.

I’ve struggled with the concept of promoting myself. It’s hard. I wanted to get the word out there but didn’t want to seem sleazy or that I was trying to take advantage of my friends.

I was able to learn how to sell myself and my business by just doing what I was already doing. Hanging out online, being darn useful and creating high quality content. She taught me how I could leverage that interest in a way that benefited everyone.

Skellie has extensive practical experience

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Skellie in Melbourne. She is the real deal. This is the model she used to rock it online and leverage that success to get employed by Envato. I watched her grow from a compelling blogger to someone that commanded respect in the industry. Everything she writes is from personal experience – experience that most bloggers don’t have.

This isn’t for everyone.

Now, I love Skellie. She is one of the few bloggers I get totally fan girl over. I was worried that this would affect my objectivity so asked a friend for his opinion.

Frank Wall is a hiking blogger. His site is primarily monetized via advertising and ebook sales. He didn’t get as much out of the ebook as I did. He was intrigued by the idea and really enjoyed Skellies writing but it didn’t fit with his method of monetization.

I agree. Skellies book was perfect for me because I know I wanted to create a freelance business based off the success of my blog but had no idea how to accomplish this. I spend six months kicking arse with my guest pots and let my blog stagnate because I didn’t know how to handle the demand for my services.

Why I love Skellie

There is one blogger that I credit for igniting my passion in this industry. She showed me that you could write beautifully, no matter the topic. She revolutionized the industry for me and I’ve used her as inspiration. This blogger is Skellie.

I review a lot of products. This is the best value ebook I’ve seen in a year. Learn more about it here (aff).

Jade’s Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this product in exchange for my feedback, and get no affiliate commission.

Must Read Free Report and Recordings with Smart Entrepreneurs

I’m literally heading out the door to speak at an event here in Melbourne but before I do I wanted to let you know about a great free report written by CopyBlogger’s Brian Clark and two great conversations with amazing entrepreneurs Jason Fried (37 signals) and Steven Pressfield.

This is great content and it’s part of a new project that Brian’s putting together called Lateral Action.

Here’s what you get:

  • A recorded conversation (with edited transcript) between poet/entrepreneur Mark McGuinness and bestselling novelist and historian Steven Pressfield, about the true art of entrepreneurship.
  • A recorded conversation (with edited transcript) between writer/entrepreneur Brian Clark (hey, that’s me!) and 37signals founder Jason Fried, about building businesses that produce not just remarkable profits, but remarkable lives.
  • A 31-page PDF report from me called The Lateral Action Guide to Starting a Smart Business.

The recordings are a really insightful glimpse into the minds of two very smart people, but the report – as is usual with Brian’s stuff – is really excellent if you’re thinking through starting a business (or rethinking an existing one).

To get all three just visit Lateral Action and add your email address to get immediate access.

Update: the Lateral Action Course is now up and running – learn more about it here.

Have Your Blogging Job Advertisment Seen by Tens of Thousands of Bloggers

Looking to Hire a Blogger?

If you’re looking for a blogger to hire – the ProBlogger Job boards remain one of the most effective and affordable places to find the. For just $50 your ad for a blogger will be seen by tens of thousands of bloggers.

  • the RSS feeds are subscribed to by over 2000 readers
  • each job is sent out to my Twitter followers (close to 100,000 people)
  • jobs are posted on the ProBlogger LinkedIn group news section (1900 members)

Current advertisers feed back that the quality and number of applicants is high – as a result we have quite a few regular and repeat advertisers.

If you’re looking to place an ad – here are some tips on how to advertise for a blogger.

Looking for a Blog Job?

If you’re looking for a blogging job there seems to be a lot more people looking to hire at the moment.

In the last 7 days alone we’ve seen 24 new blogging jobs added to the ProBlogger Job Boards (there are only 18 listed now as 6 were quickly filled and removed by advertisers).

To stay up to date with the latest blogging jobs simply follow me on Twitter and/or subscribe to the job board RSS feed.

If you’re applying for jobs – here’s some tips for bloggers on how to apply for jobs.

How to Make Money on Every Holiday

Guest post written by @ChrisGuthrie from Make Money on the Internet

I made a little over $60,000 in the past 12 months using Amazon’s Affiliate program and it’s actually my primary income stream. Many people are turned off by Amazon primarily because of it’s short 24 hour cookie length, but I want to show an example on how I make money using Amazon by focusing on the holiday shopping season every holiday. The next holiday coming up is Father’s Day and will be your opportunity to make some money today. But before we get to that I highly suggest you read some of the tips Darren has written in the past on how to earn money with Amazon which can be found here, here, here and… here! I also shared my own Amazon tips to earn more, but in a twist I used Amazon tracking ID’s for every single strategy all through 2009 so that I could determine which specific tactics were the most effective in terms of how much revenue they generated. The results can be seen here and in doing this I found out which tactics should be avoided as well.

How to Make Money with Amazon Today:

Now that you’ve read the tips above you may be thinking to yourself, ‘Alright that sounds great but, I’m still not sure where to start.’ Well, if your blog is in any way loosely related to consumer goods (almost everyone) there is an easy way to get started today by promoting deals for Father’s Day. Most bloggers focus on just the big holidays and shopping periods like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas. These are all great, but you can take it one step further by promoting products on almost every holiday without annoying your readers (I would skip this holiday though unless you have a blog about Pirates). Early last week I received an email from Amazon’s Associates team that stated Amazon would be running Lightning Deals for Father’s Day for the first time from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM PST on Monday June 7th through Wednesday June 9th to celebrate Father’s day on June 20th. Amazon frequently creates landing pages like this for holidays so for every holiday worth promoting just search for the respective holiday landing page and replicate this strategy below on future holidays. Promoting products around the holidays is the best way to make money without looking like it’s your only focus. First I’ll show you a simple blog post I’d write for my cooking website and second I’ll break down the steps I incorporate into most of my posts designed to make money with Amazon:

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Great Deals for Dad on Amazon This Week

Amazon will be running lightning deals from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM PST on Monday June 7th through Wednesday June 9th to celebrate Father’s day on June 20th. For those that aren’t aware – lightning deals run for only a few hours and the very best deals tend to sell out quick so be sure to keep your eye on Amazon.com/fathersday so that you don’t miss anything. In addition to the lightning deals there are already great prices on Shun cutlery products like this 22 slot bamboo knife storage block:


(Information pulled from an Amazon plugin I use)

Again, the lightning deals only run from June 7th to June 9th so watch Amazon.com/fathersday and if there are any great lightning deals on cooking products I’ll be sure to let you know on the blog here and via our free newsletter. Sign up for our newsletter now and get your free guide to Summer Grilling Healthy Meals and to ensure you hear about all the great Father’s Day deals that will be shared this week.

See more Fathers’s Day Deals at Amazon.com

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How I write the Father’s Day Deal Post:

Step 1: Go to Amazon.com/fathersday to find potential products to promote

Step 2: Sort through to the appropriate section for your website and look for pre made “deal images” like the one above that can be used on your website (Amazon usually creates several of these for sales within each product category)

Step 3: Save the image and generate an affiliate link for the page it goes to. Use this in your blog post somewhere as people love to click images especially if they outline the specifics of a sale.

Step 4: Start writing the blog post and linking to Amazon products and the father’s day home page where appropriate (see above as an example)

Step 5: Optional I use an Amazon affiliate plugin like PHPzon, Review Azon etc. to quickly and easily toss product information into my blog posts but this can also be done manually instead
Important Note To Potential Shoppers: Yes, a knife holder would make a terrible gift for Father’s Day though lol so pick something different, remember that was just a joke example.

Step 6: Reinforce that you’ll keep the reader up to date on the best deals via your blog and then take the time to promote your newsletter so that they don’t miss out on any deals you will send to them over the next few days.

Step 7: Finish the post with another link to the Amazon.com Father’s Day page

Step 8: Over the next few days watch the Amazon’s Father’s Day page for Lightning Deals that are appropriate for your audience. When the deals crop up write a quick blog post about the product on sale and send an email to your newsletter. Remember to write the blog post and send the email quickly as the popular lightning deals really do go fast.
Step 9: Required Buy me lunch with your increased Amazon earnings next time you’re in Seattle, WA.

The important thing to remember is that you can make money and still provide value to your readers at the same time. People have either forgotten Father’s Day is coming up soon or they’re already starting the process to find a gift. If you’re the first person to tell your readers that Father’s Day is upon us AND there are some sweet deals on products he might like your readers will thank you for sharing this information. This is just one way I make extra money during the traditionally slow season.

Now that you’ve learned how I make money on every holiday with Amazon, I’d love to see people actually take the advice and use it. Share your father’s day posts in the comments below and let me know what you think of this strategy.

Chris Guthrie has been a full time internet entrepreneur since October 2009 and has been earning money online since 2005. When he’s not working or playing Xbox 360 he enjoys speaking in third person. If you learned something from this blog post you’ll probably learn more by subscribing to his blog.

Interview with Blogger Chris Monty: ProBlogger.com Small Victories Series

201006041127.jpgThere’s a really great thread going on over at the ProBlogger Community right now where we’re asking members to share their “small victories” in blogging. The reason is so that we can find candidates for podcast interviews and feature them over here at the blog.

With currently dozens of stories there, all of which are really great, we’ve got so many interviews to do! The idea behind this was to not only feature our Community members on the blog, but also to serve as inspiration to others who may think that even these “small victories” can’t or wouldn’t happen to them.

First, we’ll start with Chris Monty (pictured above), owner of Blippitt.

Transcription of Interview with Chris

For those of you who prefer to read than listen – here’s a transcription of the video by The Transcription People.

Lara: Hi ProBlogger readers. This is Lara Kulpa the community manager for ProBlogger.com and I have with me Chris Monty from Blippitt and we’re going to use Chris as our guinea pig for our new feature at ProBlogger.com where we feature our members over at ProBlogger.net with a story about their little small victories. So, Chris, hi.

Chris: Lara, how are you?

Lara: Good. How are you?

Chris: I’m good thanks. I’m excited.

Lara: Good. Good, good. So tell us a little bit about you, like what your background is and how you got started blogging and making money online?

Chris: Sure. Well I was in the mortgage industry which was a wonderful career choice up until around 2007 and the market started to fall and I had kids, a couple of little kids, and was on 100% commission and, you know, I just started thinking to myself, why am I putting myself through all this when, you know, I know … I’d just started to read ProBlogger and I’d gotten to know a few friends online who were blogging and making a little bit of money and I just kind of … when I first started I really didn’t even do it to start making money, I just, you know, I heard about blogging, I’d never tried it, so I setup a free blog over on Blogspot by Google just to have a little fun. And I, you know, I started one about being a dad and I started another one about, you know, one of my guilty pleasures is watching pro wrestling on the weekend. So I started another one where I was …

Lara: Nice.

Chris: … just kind of talking about pro wrestling stories and that kind of thing. And it was really just for fun until one day I guess I hit on a hot story and, you know, I saw that I was getting several hundred hits on my blogger blog and I thought, uhuh, so this must be how this happens. So I decided to actually do some research into and, you know, figure out how to properly setup a blog and spent a long time researching search engine optimisation and social media and …

Lara: Yeah.

Chris: … just sort of took it from there.

Lara: Cool. So what is the blog that you’re … that’s getting the most of your attention right now?

Chris: That’s definitely blippitt.com and, you know, I’m not so sure now that it was such a great domain name choice because every time someone emails me about it, they misspell it, you know.

Lara: I was going to say, can you spell that for everybody?

Chris: Yep, it’s B-L-I-P-P-I-T-T .com. So two Ps and two Ts in blippitt.com.

Lara: Gotcha. Gotcha. We’ll put that in the post too just to make sure.

Chris: Great.

Lara: Now how old is that, two years?

Chris: Well there’s a little bit of a story behind it. I’d been, you know, participating in some make money online forums and that kind of thing and, you know, it started out really as … it started out as one of the many make money online blogs out there. It started out as Montysmegamarketing.com and, you know, I had a pretty good following but I realised that the make money niche is not really where I wanted to be. So I launched Montysmegamarketing.com in July of 2008 and then, you know, after I lost my job in mortgage in February of 09 I rebranded it, I changed the domain name, you know, I moved everything over on the server to Blippitt …

Lara: Yep.

Chris: … .com and turned it into more of a mainstream pop culture, entertainment news, sort of a blog. So it’s, you know, I think of it as kind of like a buzz feed meets the inquisitor meets boing boing, you know.

Lara: Right.

Chris: You know, it kind of goes, what’s hot on the Internet and have a few laughs and we do viral videos and you’re fail of the day and things … mix in a few daily deals and that sort of thing.

Lara: Nice. Very cool.

Chris: So it’s, it’s been really going well. I mean, it cracked the Alexa top 100,000 within six months and then hit the Alexa top 50,000 just three months after that. So it’s fortunately just been doing nothing but … the traffic has been doing nothing but going up.

Lara: That’s fantastic. Fantastic.

Chris: Yeah.

Lara: So what was your small victory? When we put the call out inside ProBlogger.com for our members and said that we were going to do this, you were very excited to put your post in there and you said that it was your new favourite thread and I had to agree with you because I think it’s so cool to hear all these stories. So …

Chris: I think so too. I mean, there’s a lot of people that read ProBlogger that are doing a lot of good things and it’s, you know, it’s nice to hear what everybody’s success story is and …

Lara: Yeah.

Chris: You know, certainly my … one of mine was hitting the … hitting the Alexa top 50,000.

Lara: Absolutely.

Chris: Another was finally making it to the first page of Digg which actually just happened about two months ago. It was a …

Lara: Nice.

Chris: … post we did on, you know … of course it was a list put on which was something like 24, you know, contextual advertising fails. And it was actually … it was a pretty funny post.

Lara: Cool.

Chris: You know, I can see why it sort of took off and went viral.

Lara: Definitely.

Chris: But, you know, I’ve never seen traffic like that. In fact that was the main catalyst to make me go out and, you know, instead of being on a reseller server now I went out and just purchased a dedicated server through … through HostGator and …

Lara: Yep.

Chris: … we’re cooking along.

Lara: Cool. Now, I have to ask you this question because I know the answer and I want you to share it with everybody else. How has the ProBlogger community helped you with this whole thing?

Chris: The ProBlogger forums have been invaluable just from everything from how to market my blog better to the technical aspects of it. And just the other day … I use a plug in called WEBO Site SpeedUp to … I run the blog on WordPress which is just a fantastic system as far as …

Lara: Yep.

Chris: … search engine optimisation goes. But as far as hogging your CPU resources on your server it’s …

Lara: Yep.

Chris: … it’s a nightmare.

Lara: Yeah.

Chris: So, you know, this plug in got updated and my site basically crashed and I kind of posted this urgent, you know, thread in the ProBlogger forums, “Help. My (6:23) is down. I can’t get it back on,” you know. I know some WordPress but I don’t know PHP anymore than I know rocket science. So …

Lara: Right.

Chris: … you know, a couple of guys jumped in there and got me back up and running in no time …

Lara: Nice.

Chris: And it’s also been nice to just, you know, ask people, “Hey, take a look. What do you think of these monetisation methods?” You know, “I’ve got these ads running on the right, I’ve got these ads on the top and I’m using these advertising networks, you know, are there any others I should know of?” You know, “How can I go about negotiating a higher per CPM rate from some of these folks?” And, you know, the feedback that you get in there is great. Now, that being said, you can’t just come in and ask questions all the time and wait for people to answer them, you have to give as well as get.

Lara: Right.

Chris: So I sort of jump in and share my expertise whenever I can with …

Lara: And you do.

Chris: I use the term expertise loosely. I’ve been doing this for two or three years now but, you know, I feel like I’ve gotten to know things about WordPress and things about SEO that a lot of people would benefit from, so.

Lara: Absolutely. Absolutely. You’ve been a big help in there. And the thing to remember is that, you know, just as much as there are people who are in there that have been at this for six or seven or eight years, there are people in there who have been in it for six or seven or eight weeks and you’re kind of like in that, that middle ground now where …

Chris: Right, right.

Lara: … you know, there’s an equal balance and it’s really nice.

Chris: I’ve made some good friends in there too. It’s nice to, you know, we’ve got a few people that, you know, we private message each other, “Hey, I just put up a new post about this and I could use some traffic to it. Would you mind blogging about it?” You know, they’ll do the same to me, like, “Hey, we just put up this post about XYZ, you know. Can we … can you send us a few visitors or maybe mention it on your blog?” And, you know, networking online is not a whole lot different than networking online[sic]. It’s really …

Lara: Right.

Chris: It’s who you know.

Lara: Right. Very cool. So anything else you want to tell us about Blippitt?

Chris: You know, we’re just … we’re growing. It’s going really well. We just launched an iPhone app that’s … it’s available for free in the iPhone store.

Lara: Cool.

Chris: We’ve got our Facebook page up now and we’re on Twitter. We not too long ago were mentioned in a blog post by MTV.com so that was kind of a rush.

Lara: Oh, wow.

Chris: It’s nice. I looked in the stats one day and I started seeing all these hits coming from MTV.com and they picked up on a post we wrote, a Lady Gaga post that we had written and, you know, it’s great. I do plan on eventually … in fact I’ve already started it. I’m just kind of writing an eBook about exactly what steps I took to, you know, build links to Blippitt the way I did and how I’ve gotten the traffic and how I’ve … you know, I’m basically … I told myself if I can get it to the point where we’re making a good three to four thousand dollars a month then I would consider that a full-time income and …

Lara: Absolutely.

Chris: … we’re finally now … we’re finally now there. I mean I still, you know, I still have a day job but it’s for the benefits and it’s because I want to …

Lara: Right.

Chris: … and not because I need to. So it’s really cool just to be able to show my wife, you know, hey, all that picking on me you did because I was spending so many hours online is now paying off.

Lara: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Chris: Once the cheques started rolling in, her attitude changed a little bit.

Lara: Yes, they do. They do. It’s all about the green.

Chris: Yep, that’s right, yes.

Lara: Show me the facts, honey.

Chris: They’re really supportive of the whole process and it helps to have that support system behind you, definitely.

Lara: Yeah, that’s great. Fantastic. Well thank you so much, Chris.

Chris: Sure.

Lara: And we will be happy to watch Blippitt continue to grow and be really cool.

Chris: Yeah, that would be great. I mean, the one thing I can tell folks listening is to, you know, just never give up and never get discouraged. There were definitely times, you know, six or seven months into it and then a year into and a year and a half into it when I thought, you know, I’m really … I’m missing out on this family time and I’m just wasting time and it’s never going to happen, it’s never going to take off. But I’ve got this sign on my bed … on my bathroom mirror that is a quote from Winston Churchill and it just says, “Never give up. Never.”

Lara: That’s awesome.

Chris: And just when you finally commit yourself to doing it and not giving up, you know, that’s when things finally seem to take off. So you’ve just got to stick it out and be dedicated to it.

Lara: I love it. I love it. Thanks so much, Chris.

Chris: All right. Thanks, Lara.

Lara: All right. Great talking to you.

Chris: See you in the forums.

Lara: Okay. See you there.

Chris: All right.

Lara: Bye bye.

Chris: Bye.

So there we have it, our first ProBlogger Community Small Victory Interview! Many more to come, and if you’re interested in having your “small victory” story posted like these, join the ProBlogger Community and share your story!