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My Secret Strategy to Send Surges of Traffic to Your Blog

This guest post is by Diggy of Flawlessconfidence.com.

As a blogger or website owner you know how important traffic is—and how difficult it can be to obtain.

Traffic is especially difficult to obtain when you are a small fish in the pond, when your site is relatively new and not many people know about you. And waiting for one or two or three years to build your blog before you can get substantial traffic is something that I’m sure you’re way too impatient for. So how do you get more traffic to your website, fast? And without spending money on PPC or solo ads?

Besides SEO, blog commenting, guest posting, Youtube and social media, there is another way.

I recently launched a new blog about how to be confident and my traffic was hovering under 100 visitors per day. Then I implemented my secret strategy for a single post, and traffic surged to over 1000 visits in a matter of hours. It continued into the high hundreds of visits for the next day too!

Traffic spike

I’m about to share with you my secret strategy to send surges of traffic to your website, pretty much whenever you want. It’s a strategy that I haven’t seen many people use, but I think that will start to change soon. The few people who I have shared this strategy with love it and have started implementing it already.

Content is king

You’ve probably read that phrase a million times. Bloggers always tell you that content is king, and to a large extent that is true. But in addition to having engaging, unique and fantastic content, you need to have people who are going to read your content and share it with others. If you have no traffic, you can have the best content on the web, but nobody is going to read it and share it, and it’s not going to bring you any benefit.

However, a big part of this secret strategy to send surges of traffic to your website is to create really killer content. Just one post will do, but it has to be something unique. Something that people really want to read. Like a super-long list post, or a very in-depth analysis, or a very heated debatable topic. Something that grabs people’s attention.

The post that I’m using as an example is titled 100 Ways How To Build Confidence. It’s about exactly what the title states: 100 different ways to build confidence. It’s a very long list post of just over 10,000 words and it took about eight hours to write, edit and format.

There are multiple reasons why an article like this is very effective is drawing mass traffic to your site. Not only is the title something that makes people want to click through to it, when the visitor reads the article he or she can see that it contains useful information and that someone took a long time to create it. That reader is much more likely to leave positive feedback and share the post with friends, which in turn creates even more traffic for your site.

I also used two other articles to test this strategy on separate occasions. The result was the same: mass traffic spikes to my blog within hours.

The other articles I used were Going out alone—here’s how to do it and
10 Things to say to girls.

The secret strategy

Here it is: the actual secret strategy I used to drive over 1000 visits to my blog within hours, with a single post, all while my blog was only averaging around 100 unique visits per day. And the strategy worked again and again on the two other posts I mentioned.

That strategy involves forums. A very simple promotion of a good article on a popular forum will send you boat-loads of traffic. The more related the forum is to the topic of your article, the more traffic you will get, and the better that traffic will convert.

Forum links

Every day, there are hundreds of thousands of people all around the world who are super-bored and have no desire to work, and who spend hours on their favorite forums. These people are all eager to be entertained, learn something, or to discover something new. They are ready to click on new links to new sites, and spend a lot of time if they like what they see.

To go back to the importance of a catchy title and unique, useful content, you can see why this is so important for this secret strategy. The catchier your title, the more people will view and click your thread and through to your link. If your article is unique, members will leave feedback in the forum. This feedback does two things:

  1. In most forums, when a user comments on a thread, that thread is “bumped” to the top of the forum thread topics. This means that everybody logging on to the forum at that point will see your thread first and click on it.
  2. In forums, people love to look at popular threads that have lots of views or comments or high star-ratings. This is because it is assumed that when a thread in a forum has many views, comments, or ratings, that thread is valuable and needs to be clicked on.

So, with a catchy title and useful content, you’ll get people to click through to your site, leave feedback, bump the thread, and allow more users to do the same.

If you’re wondering what kind of message you need to post in your forum thread to get the ball rolling, it’s very simple. All I posted was this:

Forum post

Finding popular forums

Now that you know the secret strategy, you’ll want to know how to find popular forums worth posting on. Fortunately this is very easy because all you really need to do is head over to Google and type in “[YOUR NICHE] forum”. You’ll end up with many results for forums in your niche.

A quick way to tell if a forum is popular is to check the amount of registered users and the amount of users currently online. This is usually displayed on the home page of any forum, towards the bottom of the page. The screenshot below is an example of what a popular forum’s membership would be—this is one worth promoting your post on!

Forum stats

Secret no more!

Let me just sum up the secret strategy in a few simple-to-follow points:

  1. Create a high quality post with a catchy title.
  2. Find forums related to your niche.
  3. Make a simple thread with a catchy title and link to your post.

Note that there is such a thing as forum etiquette or proper conduct. You may need to post regularly in certain forums and build up a bit of a reputation before you are allowed to post links or start threads or begin self-promoting. Even then, don’t do it too often, or you’ll risk being banned.

Be sure to reply and respond to any comments or feedback that you receive in your threads, and participate in the forum generally—after all, if it’s a focal point for your niche, it’ll be a great place to engage with potential readers, build authority, make new connections, and more.

Diggy is a confident, successful young man who is his own boss, travels the world and has fantastic friends and relationships. He enjoys teaching people how to be confident and even has a section with confidence tips for women. If you want to become more confident,happier or successful, it’s highly recommended to subscribe to Diggy’s Flawless Confidence newsletter.

How Often Should You Blog? (Hint: The Answer Might Surprise You)

This guest post is by Ali Luke of Aliventures.

Writing

Image courtesy stock.xchng user GinnyLynni

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ve probably come across advice to blog every day.

Perhaps you feel that you must blog every day—and you’re reluctant to even start your blog because you know you don’t have that much time.

Or maybe you’re already blogging, and doing your best to get out a post every single day—but you don’t seem to get many comments or tweets.

The good news is that you almost certainly don’t need to blog every day. In fact, you may well find that posting just a couple of times a week works better for you.

But before you dismiss posting daily altogether, here’s why it could be a good idea.

Why posting every day might work for you

Some bloggers do best when they’re in a steady routine—and you might be one of them. If you find that posting once or twice a week quickly ends up as posting once or twice a month, then you might actually find it easier to post every day. That way, you can build a strong writing habit.

Another reason for posting daily is if you’re writing a news-focused blog in a fast-moving niche. One weekly post just isn’t going to work if you want to be on the cutting edge of what’s happening.

There are also some SEO benefits to quickly building up a lot of posts on your site: all else being equal, the more pages you have, the more opportunities a reader has to find you through search engines. (Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that in practice—one high-ranking post will generally bring you much more traffic than five so-so ones.)

If you’re going to post every day:

  • Keep your posts short and to the point.
  • Plan ahead, so you don’t end up publishing sub-standard content when you’re in a rush.
  • Vary your post types: try video posts, or image-heavy ones, for instance.

Why one, two or three posts per week is usually better

Over the past couple of years, there’s been a shift in the blogging world. More and more prominent bloggers-on-blogging are moving away from daily posting—and reassuring their readers that you don’t have to post every day in order to be successful.

Five years ago, there weren’t so many “pro”-style blogs around, and readers were eager for content. Today, with a wealth of blogs to choose from, readers quickly get burnt out.

I once surveyed readers here on ProBlogger about the reasons they unsubscribed from RSS feeds, and the number one answer was “posting too much.” Respondents expressed that they developed “burnout” and would unsubscribe if a blog became too “noisy.” —Darren Rowse, You MUST Post Every Day on Your Blog [Misconceptions New Bloggers Have #2]

As a reader, I much prefer blogs that post once a week or even once every two weeks—but always say something genuinely useful—than blogs that post every day just for the sake of it. If you look at the blogs you read in depth versus the ones you skim, you’ll probably realize that you feel the same way.

As a blogger, posting once or twice a week lets me write in-depth, carefully constructed posts—ones that are more likely to get links and tweets. I also get more comments per post this way, and have the time to engage with readers over several days of commenting.

If you’re only going to post twice a week:

  • Look at which content on your blog is most popular, so you can make every single post a successful one.
  • Experiment with longer posts, perhaps 1,000+ words.
  • Focus on evergreen content, so that each post will stay relevant for years.

Finding your perfect blogging routine

As bloggers, we all have different skills, personalities, and constraints on our time and energy. Don’t force yourself to stick to someone else’s blogging routine—it won’t necessarily work well for you.

Your perfect blogging routine might be one post a week, or one post a day. It might involve writing posts when you’re feeling inspired, or writing posts to a set schedule. You might use a content calendar to help you plan ahead with all or some of your content—or you might have differently themed posts on certain days of the week or month.

There’s no “one size fits all” approach to blogging, and what’s important is that you find a routine that you can stick to over the long term—not one that leaves you burnt out after a few weeks.

Don’t worry that readers will get upset if you change your posting frequency. I’ve chopped and changed on different blogs—and I’ve never had a reader complain that they wanted five posts a week, not three, or that they wanted my posts to be on Mondays and Thursdays, not Tuesdays and Fridays.

When you’re experimenting with your blogging routine:

  • Don’t change things too abruptly: try going from five posts per week to three posts per week, for instance.
  • Consider surveying your readers to find out whether they’d like more or fewer posts.
  • Experiment with writing posts ahead of time, or with creating a content calendar.

Blogging shouldn’t be a chore: if posting daily isn’t working out for you, it’s probably not working well for your readers either. Today, take a look at your blogging routine and see whether you want to make any changes—and leave a comment below to let us know what you decide.

Ali Luke will be leading day-long blogging courses in London from September 2012. If you’d like to learn more about blogging, with hands-on exercises and one-to-one support as part of a small group, book your place today. (Numbers limited to 8 people per session.)

A Guest Posting Strategy for Bloggers Who Really Want Results

This guest post is by Alexis Grant blogs of The Traveling Writer.

Now that you’re convinced of the benefits of guest posting and know how to create content editors want, it’s time to ask yourself: am I really getting as much as possible out of my guest posting efforts?

Most of us guest post as an after-thought, making time to pitch a post here or there when we can scrounge up a few free minutes in our schedule.

But you wouldn’t approach your blog without a plan, would you? And you wouldn’t approach your job without a plan either! Since most of us are aiming to make money from blogging, why be lackadaisical about your guest posting strategy?

When I first began guest posting, I was in that same boat, brainstorming guest posts whenever I could squeeze an extra few minutes out of my day. But once I realized just how much guest posting was helping me sell my eguides and gain new subscribers, I decided to take it more seriously. I decided to actively take my guest posting to the next level.

Rather than submitting guest posts in a once-I-finish-all-my-other-work fashion, I created a plan that would help me keep better track of my ideas, pitch more editors and bring more eyes to my site.

The master doc

How’d I go about creating this strategy? With the king of all planning tools, Google Docs.

Using a spreadsheet, I created a column for each one of these phrases:

  • Publication
  • Editor at publication
  • Contact info for editor
  • Topic of post
  • Date I pitched the editor
  • Editor’s response (whether the pitch was accepted)
  • When I submitted the post
  • When the post was published
  • Outcomes (like traffic peak, new subscribers, sales of products).

Not only will organizing your guest posting efforts in this way help you keep track of where you’ve pitched, the response you’ve gotten from each editor, and which pieces you need to write, it will also help you zero in on what’s working.

By tracking outcomes from these posts—even if they’re somewhat anecdotal or vague (example: you gained ten subscribers when a certain post went live, even if you’re not certain all those subscribers came from that post)—you’ll be able to recognize which blogs are helping you reach your goals.

This is important because you might expect the blog with the most readers to give you the most results, and then find out that a different blog—one that focuses on your niche, for example—is actually better at helping you bring in sales.

It will also help you see weaknesses you didn’t know you had. Once I set up this doc, for example, I realized I needed to better track where sales of my eguides were coming from. That prompted me to finally learn how to add tracking codes to my links, which is helping me become even more effective in my blogging efforts.

And here’s one more plus: know all those random ideas for topics and target blogs that hit you while you’re driving or in the shower? Now you can add them to your strategy doc, so those brilliant ideas don’t disappear.

One more way to optimize

Now that you’re on board with taking a strategic approach to guest posting, here’s one more idea for getting the most out of your guest posting strategy.

Once I decided to make this a priority—because growing traffic to my blog and increasing sales is my ultimate goal—I assigned one of my part-time business team members to the project. “Hold me accountable!” I told her.

Having an employee (or intern, or writing buddy, or someone you found on oDesk) oversee this process could help you keep on track, so you’re sure to hit your goal of submitting however many guest posts you’ve decided to write each month.

But even if you don’t have someone to hold you accountable, this strategy doc will hold you accountable to yourself. You’ll easily be able to see who you’ve pitched, which ideas have worked and which haven’t, and whether certain posts have brought the results—traffic, product sales, subscriptions, and more—you hoped for.

Could this system work for you? Could you approach guest posting in a more strategic, more organized, more effective way? Share your ideas in the comments.

Alexis Grant is an entrepreneurial writer, digital strategist and author of How to Create a Freakin’ Fabulous Social Media Strategy.

How to Lose Followers and Alienate People

This guest post is by Lianne Froggatt of Yes Gifts, UK.

Managing an unsuccessful social media profile is a time-consuming task that requires your undivided attention and dedication. Encouraging so much animosity around your profiles takes time, patience and, most of all, an incessant desire to anger every person who ever had the misfortune to hit that Follow button.

So, do you want to make your customers and friends hate your every status update? Look no further!

Lose followers and alienate people on Twitter

  • Tweet in batches of six or seven when 140 characters just isn’t enough.
  • Tweet quotes from philosophers—you can rebrand yourself as a genius! Sophie’s World will do if you don’t know of any actual philosophers.
  • Tell people about your miserable breakup. It shows the world you have a heart.
  • Retweet profound quotes from celebrities. This will make you seem both cool and smart—a double-win.
  • Make sure to reply to anyone who tweets about you or your work with a friendly “Thanks for sharing!”
  • Tweet in different languages. This will show how linguistically diverse you are.
  • Retweet ten things in a row. It will show your followers you really care about what they have to say.
  • Make offensive jokes. You want to appear edgy—this will give you an extra dimension.
  • Use an animated avatar. This totally makes you stand out from the crowd. So 2012!
  • Follow people with “#teamfollowback” in their bio. Another valuable follower guaranteed!
  • Say goodnight to your followers. And good morning. And Happy Tuesday.
  • Name and shame people that unfollow you. Your other followers won’t dare to cross you.
  • Reply to tweets by major celebs. Onlookers will think you are actually friends with them! Sneaky.
  • Tweet your favourite song lyrics. You may attract other fans!

Lose followers and alienate people on Facebook

  • Hook up your Twitter feed to your Facebook account, and every time you tweet, this will be posted as a Facebook status update. This ensures everyone, everywhere constantly know what’s going on in your life.
  • Like every status you post. People will be more inclined to pay attention to your witty nature.
  • Encourage as many likes as possible without considering their relevance to anyone; it’s quantity not quality that matters!
  • Post ambiguous status updates. This will make you seem aloof and intriguing—after all, who can refrain from commenting on a sad face? Attention guaranteed!
  • Never keep your statuses brief and to the point. If people don’t know the whole story how can you possible achieve those all-important likes? (Unless you are posting an elusive ambiguous status—in that case, short is fine.)
  • Post all the time! Remember, if it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen, so everything from you breakfast to your bowel movements must be documented … and quickly.
  • POST IN CAPITAL LETTERS. THIS IS EYE-CATCHING AND IN NO WAY LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING.
  • Tag every horrendous photo you find. Whether this be your friends, or your clients at conferences, everyone loves to have their comedy “ugly” shots broadcast to the world.
  • Show that you care. If a friend changes their relationship status to single, post reassuring comments like, “It’s okay babe, he wasn’t good enough for you anyway.”
  • Don’t use your real name—this way, only people who are in the know can find you on Facebook. To be totally hip and groovy, use a comedic pseudonym.
  • Use plenty of apps that post updates direct to your timeline. They will allow you to show off your achievements to the world in all their glory: how far you ran, how much weight you lost, how many Number 1 singles from the 80s you can name, how many cows you own on FarmVille…
  • Sign up for automated sharing on music websites like Spotify: this way, every song you ever listen to will be shared with the world. Uber-cool.

Lose followers and alienate people on Pinterest

  • Only post pictures of your own products. These are your boards, they should all be about you.
  • Make sure your followers’ boards are filled with your pins by having a half an hour pinning blitz. Every day.
  • Don’t participate in the Pinterest community. People will surely find you due to your fabulous pinning abilities.
  • Only ever repin images from others’ boards. You will be seen as engaged and interesting and it alleviates the bother of having to find unique content yourself. Phew.
  • If you do pin your own content, just get stuff from Google images. It’s easy to find and it doesn’t matter where it came from.
  • Target all your pins at men. It’s a male-dominated platform, right?
  • Pin lots of infographics. Most “normal” people haven’t heard of them yet, so you will definitely be considered cutting-edge by pinning every infographic you have ever seen.
  • Make sure the infographics you pin are very long, enabling you to take up at least half of your followers’ pages as they scroll down in an attempt to get past it. Ultimate exposure!
  • Your Pinterest boards must look full at all times, and that’s about the quantity of images you have up there. Don’t get overly concerned with quality.
  • Never credit anyone for anything that you pin. That’s definitely not an issue on Pinterest.
  • Get involved with every argument you see on pins. This is the time to let your opinion shine, and even if you are the 100th commenter, you can be sure that people are desperate to hear your insightful opinion.

So there you have it, the ultimate way to make your social media marketing a horrifying failure.

I am always looking for new ways to lose friends and/or followers, so if you have any other suggestions, please post them in the comments below.

N.B. Just to reiterate, in no way do I actually advocate this advice. In fact stop. Reverse it. There you go!

Lianne Froggatt is Digital Communications Manager at Yes Gifts, UK promotional products specialist. She would love any feedback, advice or comments, you might have so find her on Twitter @LianneCai, hopefully not following her own advice!

How to Add Your YouTube Videos to Pinterest

This guest post is by Krizia of CreateProfitableVideos.com.

So you’ve started using Pinterest to promote your blog. Congratulations!

When I started using Pinterest to promote my business, at first I was just happy uploading cool-looking photos. But after a few days, I realized that unless I established a clear strategy for my Pinterest activities, I’d be wasting a lot of time and I wouldn’t be able to delegate this social media activity to my assistant.

The reality is that Pinterest is a phenomenal tool for retailers, but if you’re a blogger or content marketer who uses words more than pictures, generating buzz using Pinterest may not be as easy.

From my experience, Pinterest can be a colossal waste of time. I mean it takes time to source all these photos on the Internet, and you also need to write descriptions for each of the photos you upload, and you also need to make sure you optimize everything you do to ensure the traffic comes back to your site.

But once I realized I could promote my YouTube videos on Pinterest, everything changed!

I’ve spent a lot of time, effort and energy building my YouTube channels and I’ve made sure each video we upload is optimized and takes viewers to a page where they can sign up to be added to my blog’s mailing list. Pinterest lets me capitalize on all that work, through a different medium. It’s become one of my favourite social media platforms to share videos from all four of my YouTube channels.

Adding your YouTube videos to Pinterest is quite easy, but if you’ve never done it before, I’ll share a few key points that will take the guess work out of the equation for you! Here are ten quick steps to getting your YouTube videos onto Pinterest.

1. Make sure you have an active YouTube channel

Pinterest is already set up to easily and quickly fetch videos from YouTube, but to use the functionality, you’ll need to have your own YouTube channel to make this work.

2. Make sure your videos are branded

Pinterest users don’t need to leave Pinterest to view YouTube videos. Once you click on any video link, it automatically opens inside the Pinterest platform. This is why branding your videos is so important.

By “branding” I mean that you should always have a branded intro and outro to your videos, and you should also make sure that you add an image watermark or a URL to make it easy for people to work out where the video comes from, and to click through to your blog.

3. Create a Pinterest board specifically for your YouTube channel

When you’re naming your board, make sure you take search engine optimization into consideration. Pinterest can bring you traffic from both inside its own community and from Google. That said, you’ll need to take the time to do a bit of research to find out which are the most appropriate keywords you should use.

4. Grab your YouTube embedded link

To crop your video into Pinterest, you’ll need to fetch your embedded link from YouTube. Right below your YouTube video, you’ll find a Share button. Click on that, and you’ll automatically see a dropdown box that contains a link.

A word of caution: there are two types of YouTube embedded links. There’s a shorter one (which is the first one you see), and a long link (which is hidden). Pinterest will reject the short link because the system sees it as spam. You’ll need to fetch the longer link.

The Share link

5. Upload a new pin

In order to add a new video to Pinterest, you’ll first need to add a new pin, then copy your YouTube embedded link into the Add a pin box, like so:

Uploading a new pin 1

Uploading a new pin 2

6. Select the appropriate board

Remember in point #3 I suggested you create a board specifically for your YouTube videos? Well, once you’ve uploaded your video, you need to select the board you want your video featured on.

7. Add a description

You have 500 characters with which to describe your video. Make sure the copy is inviting, and that it includes a number of keywords related to your blog.

Adding a description

8. Add a link to your blog or squeeze page

You should also add the complete URL for your blog or squeeze page to the description box. This won’t just give your blog a backlink from a trusted source, it’s also a great way to make it easy for people to easily get to your blog or squeeze page.

By making all links active from the description box, Pinterest makes it easy for you to build a strong community of loyal followers!

9. Automatic sharing on Facebook

If you sign into your Pinterest account (the same holds true if you sign in using your Twitter account), all of your updates will automatically be added to your Facebook personal profile. Pinterest has systemized sharing content from their platform to other social media platforms, which, again, makes our lives easier!

10. Rinse and repeat

Now that you’ve added your first YouTube video to Pinterest, make sure you keep up a consistent flow. My assistant ads one new video each week to my Pinterest account.

Here, we’ve talked about uploading YouTube videos to Pinterest, but you can also upload videos from Vimeo and pretty much any other video directory.

There are a few undeniable advantages to adding video to your Pinterest account:

  1. Your YouTube videos get a backlink from a trusted source, which helps increase the ranking of your entire channel.
  2. Your video appears in three different locations on Pinterest: on your board, on the Pinterest homepage where all your followers can immediately see it, and also on the Videos page on Pinterest.
  3. If you log into your Pinterest account via your Facebook or Twitter account, your new uploads are automatically shared on your personal Facebook account or your Twitter account!

Of course the best advantage of them all is the fact that you get to expose your content to new followers easily and simply!

Pinterest is just like any other social media platform: you need to go in with clear objectives, and you need to make sure your messages target the audience you want to attract.

That’s exactly why I love Pinterest’s automatic integration with YouTube—my videos act as a screening process for my business. Allowing potential clients to qualify themselves is a brilliant time-saver for me.

Pinterest users who land on your videos will know very quickly if your message resonates with them and from your YouTube channel they can make their way to your blog, site, or squeeze page.

Are you using video on Pinterest? How’s it working out? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Krizia (aka Miss K), is an Entrepreneur, Video Marketing Strategist, Video Show Host, Video Blogger, Speaker and International Author! Krizia launched http://www.CreateProfitableVideos.com to help entrepreneurs create AMAZING and IMPACTFUL video messages and discover How to Use video to Attract MORE Clients, Sales and Profits!

Traffic Technique 5: Social Media

We all agree that social media networks offer a number of benefits to bloggers. We can build a following on these sites, make new friends and connections, and share, collaborate, and interact in real time.

Social media: a tug of war

Image courtesy stock.xchng tam_oliver

This is great—and there’s no doubting that sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, and SoundCloud offer us a real opportunity to connect.

Yet in terms of traffic, many of us struggle.

Getting traffic through social media might seem like it’s about getting users to share your content. But that challenge in itself raises all kinds of issues:

  • titles, images, calls to action, and presentation
  • targeting
  • how you respond to social network visitors
  • what social search could, to should, mean to you
  • your involvement and presence on these networks.
    • We’ve discussed many of these issues in detail on the blog, so today I’m interested in going a bit deeper with the discussion and looking at social media at a more fundamental level.

      Where will you share?

      We all know about shiny object syndrome, and have felt the temptation to join the latest social network simply because everyone else seems to be getting on board. This is definitely a case of reactionary blogging—simply doing something because we don’t want to be left behind the mainstream. It’s usually not the best way to go.

      Thinking about your audiences—that is, your current audience and your desired audience—and where they hang out online is the best way to choose the social networks where you’ll have a presence. But that’s not the only thing to look at.

      We also need to consider where we can best dedicate our time and how much we can take on. It’s all too easy to be overwhelmed, but I know that the more I focus my efforts, the better off I am.

      So before you launch yourself onto the nest social media platform, consider whether you’ll reach your target audiences in that space. If not, it might be best to hold off until you feel it’s worth your while.

      What will you share?

      This seems like a fairly basic question. What will you share? Well, your content, right?

      That might be fine in most cases, but if you find your audience on a particular network represents a particular subsegment of your desires readership, perhaps you’ll shape your updates—and the content you share—specifically to them.

      The idea of a social network being a mass communication medium through which we update our followers on everything we blog may change as the shape of social networking changes from mass networks to niche networks.

      So perhaps we should be prepared—by experimenting and trialling this for ourselves, starting now—to shape the information you share specifically to your following on a given network.

      This will likely affect the traffic our social media updates generate in and of themselves, as well as the traffic they generate through resharing.

      How will you share it?

      There’s good old, tried and tested, low-budget organic social sharing: creating an update (text, images, and/or video) and sharing it through the social networks of your choice.

      But now we’re seeing a bounty of other sharing options flood onto the market:

      These tactics can of course be used individually, but if you have a strong following and presence on a particular network, you might look at using them together, in a sort of campaign-style approach to gaining traffic.

      In any case, it’s safe to say that you no longer have to slog it out updating your status with lonely links: there are plenty of tools that can help you get more bang for your buck when it comes to sharing—and gain more traffic and, ultimately, build your audience as a result.

      That said, since they began, social networks have been important points of connection—so sharing all the time, rather than balancing those efforts with other forms of engagement (like responding to the work of others, curating broader information for your followers, making genuine connections and helping others out, and so on), is a fast track to failure.

      In this way, social media really does mirror real life. While social networks are great places to share, if your sharing is to be effective, it must be tempered by true engagement and a genuine interest in others.

      How will you manage the traffic?

      So, let’s say your social media efforts have been successful and your latest update is sending masses of traffic to your site. This is great news! If, that is, you’re prepared.

      Momekh recently pointed out the benefits that can be gained by building targeted landing pages for your social network visitors. He did this through the his network bio, but if you target your content—and share it—to certain specific networks (rather than blanketing all networks with the same update), you can take his advice a step further.

      This can be a great way to build upon the engagement you’ve established through your persona on a given network, and use that to make people feel at home on your blog. Why not create an article targeted right at your Pinterest followers—something that speaks to them directly, and includes a call to action for them to join or subscribe to your site? Then, share it on that network, with a targeted, specifically Pinterest-y update, and see what happens.

      The results of this kind of targeted communication might just surprise you.

      Of course, there are other techniques you can try. As you may have seen, sometimes I’ll include hashtags in posts and their titles, to encourage and frame a discussion about them on Twitter. I’ve found this a really great way to help readers to connect off the site, in a different forum.

      If those posts are shared, they can also help people who are new to ProBlogger get a feel for our community in a forum with which they’re familiar and comfortable. And once they start to feel an affinity with my brand, they’re probably more likely to at least follow the ProBlogger Twitter account, if not bookmark the blog or subscribe to the RSS feed.

      Do you track the results of your social media efforts? I’m intrigued to hear how you’re handling the task of generating traffic through social media—and what you do with it once it gets to your blog. Share your expertise with us below.

Get Sponsored to Attend the Next Conference in Your Niche

This guest post is by Kylie Ofiu of KylieOfiu.com.

If you attend conferences, the idea that you could get sponsorship to go will certainly appeal.

In 31 Days To Build a Better Blog, one of the tasks is to hunt for a sponsor for your blog.

Even if you’re a smaller blogger, getting sponsorship is doable. You don’t have to have 100,000 subscribers or 50,000 page views a month, although it does make things easier. It is simply a matter of presenting yourself in the best possible way and finding a business—or businesses—that are compatible with you and your brand.

I had between 10,000 and 15,000 monthly pageviews when I negotiated full sponsorship with a big brand to attend a blogging conference. I had only a few hundred followers on Facebook and around 1,000 followers on Twitter—so not a huge following. But that isn’t always the point.

If you have heavily engaged readers, that can be more beneficial than a large following who do not actively share your posts, click on your links, or engage with you on social media. You don’t have to be big to get sponsorship—but you do have to have authority among your tribe.

How to get sponsorship for conferences

Think you’re up for the challenge? Taking on a sponsorship involves some significant work—but it’s worth it!

1. Get prepared

You need to get prepared before you start pitching potential sponsors.

Look over you blog and make any changes you have been meaning to do, but have been putting off. Make sure you social media buttons are visible and your posts are easy to share. You’ll be judged on appearances as well as statistics, so make yourself and your blog look good.

See the post 10 Ways to Make Your Blog More Attractive to Advertisers for more advice.

2. Create a media kit

A media kit is essential for any blogger who wants to work with brands or get sponsorship. It’s basically a few pages on your blog, your audience, your blog statistics, why it and you are fantastic, and what you offer. Keep it interesting, factual and easy to update.

The post Create a Media Kit to Attract Advertisers to Your Blog explains how to do this in detail.

3. What will you offer?

When it comes to sponsorship, aside from your statistics, what you are going to offer or do for the brand or business? That’s what they are really interested in: why they should work with you.

You could create packages that cost a set amount, and include a select variety of things you will do for the sponsors, or you could offer to tailor a package to suit the brand’s needs and outline the ways you can promote them.

Some of the offers you could include in your sponsorship pitch are:

  • Sponsored posts, including a post that welcomes the brand as a sponsor, explains why they’re great, and possibly includes a giveaway or a special discount for their product or service. You could include a link to the sponsor’s site in every post you write about the conference (usually three to five posts in total).
  • Adding the posts to post-conference link lists and blog round-ups.
  • An ad in your sidebar for three, six, nine, or 12 months.
  • You’ll mention and link to the brand from your social media platforms.
  • You’ll include a link to their site from your newsletter for the duration of the sponsorship.
  • You’ll use brand products at the conference such as pens, notepads, tote bags, etc.
  • You’ll mention the sponsor on the back of your business card.

These are just suggestions—it’s up to you to offer items that you feel comfortable with, and which suit your blog and audience. Whatever you choose, make sure you over-deliver and provide real value to your sponsor.

4. List potential sponsors

Some bloggers need to send 50 or more emails before they get sponsorship, so be prepared to contact a lot of businesses. When you’re thinking about who you would like to sponsor you, consider these points:

  • Look at the size of your blog and the size of the business or brand you’re approaching: If you are a small blog, don’t go reaching for big brands to begin with. Instead, look at smaller businesses, bloggers and even local organizations that might suit your blog.
  • Consider having a few sponsors instead of just one sponsor: Four sponsors sharing the cost can make it easier for you to find sponsors.
  • Consider your niche: Are you a mummy blogger, tech blogger, food blogger, or finance blogger? Know your niche and look for sponsors that fit. For example, food bloggers might look for restaurants or food brands. It is unlikely readers of a food blog are going to be terribly interested in insurance ads! They’re there for the food.
  • Talk to brands you’ve worked with before: If you’ve done any freelance writing for a brand, had a lot to do with a brand or business (perhaps they’ve advertised with you before, or you’ve connected strongly on social media), email them about sponsorship.

Think outside the square a little when you’re listing potential sponsors. You could hold auditions for sponsors, or if you meet a reps from a business, product, or brand you’d like to work with, tell them. Opportunities are everywhere!

5. Contact the Marketing department, not PR

In larger companies there are often Public Relations departments and Marketing departments. PR tries to get free publicity, whereas the marketing department is the one with the money for advertising and marketing.

Take the time to find out who to contact by either calling the company, or checking out their website to find the relevant person. Then personalize your pitch to them.

6. Pitch your blog

You can do this by either calling your contact to discuss potential sponsorship, or sending them an email.

Keep it brief; if they are interested, they’ll get back to you. Let them know who you are, what you do, and that you are interested in a potential partnership. Most people do not read full proposals, nor do they want them until they have made some contact with you first, so you won’t need to send your proposal at the first contact.

7. Negotiate

Once you have a brand or business interested in working with you, you will need to negotiate what will and won’t be included.

As you do this, make sure you know what you want, but also be clear on why partnering with you is a fantastic opportunity for them. The arrangement needs to be mutually beneficial, so make sure you only agree to sponsorship tasks that you are comfortable with. Confirm everything in writing and have them sign a contract for the sponsorship.

8. Follow up

Some brands will want updates on the work you’re doing for their sponsorship. If something great happens—a post you wrote about the conference for which they sponsored you goes viral, for example—be sure to let them know.

If you’re work for the sponsor gets positive feedback from readers, keep track of it. Then, when it comes times to discuss renewing the sponsorship, you’ll have strong evidence as to why they should sponsor you again. Towards the end of your sponsorship, do get in contact with the brand to see if they are interested in renewing advertising, or sponsoring you for another conference in future.

Who’ll send you to your next conference?

Be persistent with your sponsorship pitches! Know your worth and actively do your best to present yourself in the best possible light. It’s critical to show why you are a great fit for the brand or brands you want to sponsor you.

It might take some time, but it sponsorship for conferences really is doable. More brands and businesses want to work with bloggers, because we are valuable.

Have you got a sponsor to send you to your next conference? Share your sponsorship tips with us in the comments.

Kylie Ofiu is the author of Blog to Book, 365 Ways to Make Money, among other titles as well as a public speaker, freelance writer and blogger. She shares real ways to make and save money on her blog, as well as what she is doing to go from SAHM to millionaire by 30.

From Zero to Manifesto in 4 Easy Steps

This guest post is by Michael Alexis of Writerviews.com.

Chris Guillebeau’s 279 Days to Overnight Success has been downloaded over 100,000 times, and the guys over at ThinkTraffic credit their manifesto to the first viral traffic bump on Expert Enough.

They didn’t slave away finding the right words to empower their mission, defining values, and getting the end result all dolled up for publishing just for the kicks—a manifesto is the mark of a serious blogger. And they have been known to offer three incredible benefits:

  1. Your manifesto becomes a consistent path for you to follow with your work.
  2. It becomes a rallying call for readers to share your vision.
  3. You can offer it as a free download to snag email subscribers.

Basically, when you create a manifesto, you go from thinking, “I have a blog” to realizing the start of your world-changing movement—overnight.

I learned the information in this post from this interview I did with Kyeli and Pace Smith of Connection Revolution, a mission to change the world.

With such a large goal, this blogging duo have explored many ways of reaching their audience, including publishing a book and earning over $20,000 the first time they offered an online course. So let’s see how Kyeli and Pace created a great manifesto.

Step 1: Hit them with the problem, then hug them with your solution

If we didn’t have a manifesto, the Connection Revolution would be a hodgepodge of apparently unrelated junk. —Pace Smith

The first step in creating a manifesto is to come up with an idea. This idea should be a cohesive vision for your blog’s larger goal. It will make it really clear why you are doing what you are doing.

Brainstorm your idea by asking what’s wrong with the world you engage with. If you blog about children’s hockey, maybe you think it’s a problem that physical contact is allowed when the early-bloomers outweigh the others by 30 pounds. If you blog about activism, maybe you think people should do more and protest less. If you blog about blogging, what’s wrong with that world?

You’ll use your words to paint a really ugly picture that gets people to say, “Yeah, you’re right! I’m not okay with that either.” But, don’t dwell on the negative, or Pace warns you’ll “become a documentary and people will feel horrible and drained.”

Instead, you want people to feel good after reading your manifesto. So, the second part of the idea is to tell a story about what a perfect world could look like. The perfect world of little league sports. The glorious dream of contact-free play! Make it a vision as vivid as you possibly can.

Want an easy way to remember all that? Think IDEA. Initially Depressing Eventually Awesome.

Action step: Create an idea for your manifesto using this easy formula: IDEA = [What's the biggest problem with your world?] + [What does your ideal world look like?].

Step 2: Revise and outline your idea

Sometimes I think I must have been in a drug addled haze or something. I felt like I had a brilliant idea, but then when I bring it into the world people will be like “what are you talking about?” —Pace Smith

Once you have your idea(s), spend an afternoon considering it. You can do this by reading what others have written about the topic, conversing and communicating it to others, or journaling. This process will clarify your thoughts and feelings. You might also develop new viewpoints and see what resonates, especially if you talk about your ideas with others.

When you are satisfied that you’ve come up with “the idea,” create an outline. This could be a mind map, table of contents, or something similar that starts to provide structure to your idea. By seeing the flow of ideas you can ensure that they are logical and you haven’t missed key steps.

Action step: Revise (or refine) your idea by talking about it with a friend. When you have the idea, create an outline containing the major points.

Step 3: Write your manifesto (with the help of a plan!)

Everyone says “I wish I had time to write a book”, but actually everyone has time to write a book, you just need to make it a priority. —Kyelie Smith

You might write a blog post in one sitting, but a manifesto can take weeks. So to make sure you finish, you need a plan. Set a schedule that compliments your regular routine and make it a habit. An example is writing your manifesto one hour a day for six days a week. If you are like me and write in bursts, commit to drafting a certain number of pages in a certain number of days.

You can also do a daily brain dump. This is a writing practice that you do before your public work, and is intended to clear your mind. Spend 15 minutes writing about your distractions: the cat that keeps biting you even though you rescued it from the streets of Beijing, how difficult it is to experiment being a vegan when you can’t eat wheat, or whether CommentLuv is good for your blog.

By having a plan, and clearing your mind to execute it, you will finish your manifesto.

Action step: Commit to a writing schedule. It can complement your current writing habits, or jolt you into action.

Step 4: Give your manifesto a design that complements the theme

I really loved your manifesto and the design was awesome! —Kyelie Smith

The design and custom illustrations for Connection Revolution’s manifesto cost between $500 and $800. Worth the investment? Absolutely. Professional design complements your words, and enhances their value.

Pace and Kyelie hired a designer and artist they knew in the offline world. The designer had never created a manifesto before, so she researched what others charged and then they all negotiated.

Another way to find a designer is to look at the credits in another manifesto you liked. Usually the author will credit the designer for their work. If there is no credit, send the authour a quick email saying that you liked it, and especially the design—then ask for the contact information for the designer.

Action step: When you have a designer and price settled, revise the work until it’s just as you like. Make the design consistent with your blog theme.

Have you created your own manifesto? Thinking about it? I’d appreciate your thoughts on how to create a good one.

I’m Michael Alexis and I video interview the world’s top bloggers at WriterViews. Check out this ProBlogger article from when I interviewed Ramit Sethi.

Is Your Self-perception Killing Your Blog?

This guest post is by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt of aMINDmedia.

We all know this dream: you’re walking down the street, wondering why everybody is laughing, snickering and pointing at you. You look down and notice you’re naked. The shame that washes over you is immeasurable. Everybody saw you. All of you. The parts you’re extremely insecure about, the parts that you’ve always tried to hide, and the parts you hate and would do anything to get rid of. You’re revealing it all.

Blogging tends to feel that way too.

You put yourself out there. You write from the heart. You try to get real. You’re basically repeating that nightmare, with the only difference being intentionally telling people to look.

People will read it. People will discuss it and they will criticize it.

Putting yourself out there makes you vulnerable. It makes you attackable. It’s like taking the defenses down in the biggest battle of your life. It often feels counterintuitive. However, once you become completely authentic, you’re blogging success is practically guaranteed.

There’s only one unknown barrier: your self image.

How hating yourself ruins your career

I hated my body, but most people—at least secretly—have something about themselves that they hate. So in the following discussion, feel free to substitute your secret hate for the word “body.”

Hating your body means having a lot of inhibitions. When you feel constraint by your physical appearance, writing about things in your life that aren’t perfect or may cause some controversy is brutal.

However, that’s exactly what readers want to read. They don’t want you to make them feel bad about themselves because you’re such a flawless human being and have your life all perfectly lined up. They want to read about your struggles, your challenges, weaknesses and maybe even your problems. That’s what makes you interesting and will keep readers returning to your site.

Being ashamed of your body is a telltale sign of having no self-confidence. Readers notice that right away. Sure, you can always fake confidence to a point, but when it’s real, it shines through every word you put on a piece of digital paper.

The time you spend worrying about the way you look, hating certain body parts or wishing your next diet will forever liberate you from these limiting thoughts is time you can use much more wisely. Just think of how many hours you waste that you could use proactively working on new blog posts, strategically planning guest posts or working on new ideas. The possibilities that will present themselves are endless and thrilling.

Tapping into your emotions when feeling insecure about yourself is almost impossible when you hate some aspect of yourself, but that is an integral part of successful blogging. People are moved by emotions and they want to read about them. Some of the most successful blog posts ever written focused on stirring up feelings in the readers in order to influence them to comment on and share your content.

Overall, your dislike for yourself hinders your blogging career in more ways than you can imagine—and I speak from personal experience.

How hating myself almost cost me my life … and how I saved myself

I was ten years old when I turned against myself and my body. The pressure of living with a brother who was mentally and physically abusing me finally broke me.

I had been too strong for too long, but now I needed relief and I found it in obsessing over my body. I blamed my body for everything: the beatings, the spitting, the screaming and the sheer terror of my brother’s presence.

I didn’t like a single thing about myself. My belly was too big, my thighs were disgusting, my face was fat, my legs and arms too short and my fingers round like sausages.

So, I tried to fix my life by fixing my body. Instead, I almost died.

I started a diet that quickly led into anorexia nervosa. I was miserable, depressed and hoped that shedding more weight would finally make me happy again. The insecurity was eating at me and was slowly but determinedly killing the once vibrant, creative and confident little girl.

I started retreating into myself, losing all my friends, too weak to engage in social activities. I sobbed on the way to my three– to four–hour workouts because I was so weak my feet were hardly carrying me.

I fainted several times because of malnutrition. I stole laxatives from my mom’s pharmacy. I told hundred of lies in order to protect my addiction. I tried to commit suicide in order to escape this disgusting body.

I went through nothing short of hell.

When I woke up after 14 years, it was almost too late. It was then that I faced an even bigger struggle than I had been fighting for most of my life: I needed to make peace with the body I was given.

Make peace with yourself

How did I make peace with myself?

I started to transform my thoughts from negative ones into purely positive ones.

I started to sit up straight and walk with a head held high. I started to strategically work with the mirror and only focus on the parts of my body I liked. I started to express my feelings in healthy ways instead of simply translating emotions into feeling fat. I started to readjust my values in life and put my body in perspective.

All of these actions helped me become more confident, and as a result, my writing improved drastically.

Now I am not ashamed of my emotions. Now I am not hiding my brilliance behind self-hatred. Now I am not shying away from spending hours upon hours in my office doing nothing but writing. Now I am not enveloped in a cloud of misery, but giddy with excitement about every day that I am given.

I wish I hadn’t wasted so much of my life by despising my natural self. I could have advanced in many areas of my work where I put a serious limit to what I could achieve by simply portraying how uncomfortable I really felt. However, now that I am in love with my body, I am ready to change the world with confidence, drive and a welcomed lack of limiting thoughts.

And the best thing is if I can do it, so can you. In the end only one thing matters: taking action.

If I was able to radically change my self image, you can write that epic blog post.

If I was able to overcome a deadly disorder, you can improve your craft.

If I can use my past for something good, you can put a dent in the world.

If I can embrace life with the excitement of a toddler getting a new toy, you can start following your dreams.

Don’t let your self image stop you from making your life and your work matter. Don’t give your poor self perception the power to determine your career. Don’t hide your greatness behind a layer of self-hatred and doubt and let your life’s work remain hidden for the rest of your life.

Take advantage of the freedom and the possibilities we have in this world, act upon them and by all means, let the world take a close look at the bright shining star you are.

Anne-Sophie Reinhardt is an anorexia survivor, body image expert and the owner of aMINDmedia. She empowers you to achieve a healthier and more successful life by returning to your true purpose and values.