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6 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Blog

Last week’s Blogging in Brief post looked at a really surprising business blog post. In fact, this was a post from a government body, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention—not the kind of place you might expect to have a raging sense of humor.

At work

Image courtesy stock.xchng user wagg66

Business blogging doesn’t have to be dull

Many business owners I speak to who aren’t bloggers scoff at the idea of having a blog. They look at their business and wonder who on earth would want to read about it.

But whether you’re a mechanic, baker, home cleaner, or a landscape designer, you can be sure that a blog could benefit your customers if you do it right.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at Dominick Del Santo’s story from earlier this year. His business—industrial dust collection solutions—isn’t what you’d call glamorous. Yet he tackled the job and owned his niche. Ryan Chritchett’s doing the same with his tech repair company blog.

You could do the same with a business blog in your industry.

Six reasons to start a business blog

Despite the possibilities, I know that business owners can have plenty of good reasons not to blog. They don’t have time, they don’t have experience, they don’t think it’s worthwhile—and these all seem like valid points. So I’d like to suggest some reasons why businesses should blog.

1. Most businesses think it’s too hard, too scary, or too much work

Your competitors are probably saying much the same thing you are about blogging. “It’s too hard. I don’t have time. I don’t even know where to begin!”

That means you have a great opportunity to jump in, get started, and engage with your target clients while other businesses in your niche are procrastinating. So do it, and build your competitive advantage before they have time to step in and take up the slack.

2. Audiences are more open to blogs than ever

Blogs are everywhere. The web is so chock-a-block with great content now that many readers no longer differentiate between what they call “blogs,” “news sites,” “websites,” and other content forms. What they want is to be informed and entertained.

If you can manage either of those goals through your business’s blog, you’ll be able to build a readership.

3. We’re more connected, which means more time to consume your content

Five years ago, at least here in Melbourne, Australia, smartphones were pretty rare. We might text or make a call while we were on the train, or waiting for a friend. We weren’t flicking from our email to Facebook to the news, following a link from Twitter, or clicking on an email newsletter to “Read more…” And no one, no one was reading an ebook on a tablet.

Things have changed now—and for the better. The web is constantly maturing, and so are its users. If you think your business’s clients aren’t too web savvy, think again. I’ll bet they use Facebook, download music, and read the news online just like most others. So this is a great way to get your brand and message in front of them.

4. It’s a great way to build deeper customer relationships

A blog is a place where your business’s individual style can really show through. Okay, you have a business card and some letter head, designed by a designer to reflect you as a person, and the professionalism of your business. That’s great, but it doesn’t establish a personal connection on its own, day or night, all week long.

Your business blog can do that. It lets you express yourself and your brand, and focus on the things that unite you and your clients. But it also lets them connect with you—through comments, feedback, and social sharing. The benefit is that you don’t need to staff a call centre to support this new method of communication.

With a blog, you can get closer to your clients than ever before—getting ideas for product or service developments, finding out what bugs them and what makes them smile, and unearthing new ways to make your business indispensable to them.

5. It’s an excellent way to stand out from the crowd

Put the points we’ve already discussed together, and you get a great opportunity to stand out from your competitors. The more you can differentiate yourself from the other suppliers in your market, the more reasons you’ll give customers and prospects to engage with your brand.

Blogs provide a great opportunity to support and build your brand, and explain and show what you’re all about. They also give you the chance to connect deeply with readers. The more you connect readers with your brand, the more you can develop your brand to meet their needs, and help them connect more deeply with it.

What that means is lasting loyalty, more repeat custom, and stronger word of mouth for you and your business.

6. Technology lets you do it your way

It’s not just consumer technology that’s evolved in the last five years. Producer technology has too.

You can create a blog in minutes, on a free platform if you want to. Or you can integrate your blog completely with your business website—again, using any of a range of platforms. And you can create and share content in a wide variety of formats—video, audio, text, imagery, you name it.

There are also plenty of blogging apps—apps that let you plan content on the go, access your blog remotely, and even publish posts from your phone.

The mechanics of creating great content have never been easier to manipulate. Blogging has never been easier. If you ever thought of starting a business blog, now’s definitely the time.

How will you do it? And what will you blog about?

Okay, so blogging takes time and energy. I don’t have the space here to get into the details of starting and running a business blog, through there’s plenty of information on the topic here, and in our ebook on the subject.

As to the question of what you could blog about, well, the sky’s the limit. Later this week, I’ll show you around a few great business blogs. Each of them is unique, presents information differently, and connects strongly with customers and prospects. Don’t miss it.

Beat Your Fear of Technology, and Grow Your Blog

This guest post is by Ayelet Weisz of All Colores.

As Matt Setter recently pointed out here on ProBlogger, pretty much anyone can set up a blog these days without worrying about technical mumbo-jumbo.

Yet as I learned when I transferred my blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, sometimes the technical mambo-jumbo will haunt you regardless, and your choices will be to learn its language, to pay highly for others to handle it, or to give up.

Did you, like me, turn to a free platform such as WordPress.com because you didn’t want to deal with technical set up? Are you holding back on transferring to your own domain because you’re afraid it will cost you a fortune to hire a webmaster, or wear your nerves if you do it on your own? Is WordPress refusing to create space between lines no matter how many times you log in, log out, save?

Fearing the dive into the world of technical activities makes sense.

If every past encounter with technical challenges left you feeling frozen, or was easily resolved by someone else in your office or home, it makes sense that you won’t necessarily feel comfortable in this area just because you’re now a blogger. If you’re not used to dealing with technicalities, fear will show up to remind you you’re doing something new.

Give yourself a pat on the shoulder to congratulate yourself for sailing off to a life of online entrepreneurship, then commit to stepping out of that comfort zone to a place where opportunities await. You must be willing to practice feeling more comfortable in the technical platform on which you base your business.

Here are a few easy ways to do just that.

Count to 10 before asking for help

Asking for help is a valuable skill to posses and can help you a lot in life. You will learn things faster this way, and perhaps save yourself some heartache.

Yet if you’re used to running to someone else any time a technical challenge arises, you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to test the waters yourself. Did a keyboard button detach? Is your phone acting crazy when you need to make an important call?

These days, information is more available than ever before. Take a moment to Google the problem, or do a search on YouTube and see if you can find a tutorial. Start with small projects—many times they’ll be easier to resolve than you expect.

Overcoming these problems yourself won’t only save you the money you would have paid the technician, or the time you would have waited for a sibling to come from another city—it will give you proof that you can learn new things. And it will give you courage to keep learning about more aspects of your blogging business—SEO or social marketing, for example.

Take a class

Be it online or off, a class enables you to learn from an expert and get feedback on your work. It will usually involve homework, “obligating” you to face your fear and practice feeling comfortable. You can find classes in colleges and universities, at community learning centers and, of course, online.

Real-world classes usually take place at set times, enabling you to pick the one that best fits your schedule. Alternatively, many online classes allow you to tune in to the lessons’ recordings whenever it’s convenient for you. Some of these provide message boards where you can get feedback, even though you won’t meet your teachers and classmates face to face.

Classes don’t always come with an exam at the end, so don’t be intimidated. Focus on the process and the opportunity to grow beyond your past limits.

Hire a private teacher

If you feel you need more personal support, hire someone to work with you one on one. If it’s a friend or a relative, you can meet at home. If it’s someone from your community, you can meet at your local library. In today’s world, you can hire someone from the other side of the world and make a new, long-distance friend while you’re learning.

If you hire someone to work only with you, it will be easier to share your concerns and discomforts. Make sure to tell your teacher why you’re hiring her or him (for example: you’re a blogger, you want to set up a blog, or you want to make changes to your blog’s design), so that the teacher can provide you with the information you really need.

Hiring a private teacher won’t necessarily be expensive. Email the computer science department in your city’s college to find a student who’s more skilled than you—or hire someone for a quick, $5 session on Fiverr.

Work for a tech support department

Many times, you can get into a tech support department with little or no experience in the area. This is easier to achieve if you find a general customer service department that also provides tech support.

In these departments, there are usually supervisors available for serious technical challenges, while the everyday challenges—those that can be solved relatively easily—are handled by the general staff. The department will usually teach you everything you need to know before you start attending to customers’ needs.

Note that “relatively easily” doesn’t mean it will be easy for you right away. When you go in for your training, it might all sound like Chinese (unless you’re already in China, in which case it might sound like Icelandic). When you go through your first call, you might politely put the customer on hold to get support from your supervisors and fellow employees.

Yet pretty soon you’ll find yourself helping people who are even less tech savvy than you are, and you’ll start to realize you can handle bigger tech projects than you could ever have imagined.

Many tech support positions enable you to work part-time, leaving you plenty of time for your blogging or other, better-paying job. If you find a company that specializes in your niche, working for them could provide you with priceless industry information and connections. Perhaps you can even pitch that company your blogging services after a while, or create some other collaboration between this company and your blog.

Create a learning group … and network while you’re at it

You might think you’re the only one who’s scared, and that others have it easier, but I guarantee you there are many more people—even bloggers—who are just as terrified or uncomfortable as you are at the thought of becoming even a bit tech savvy.

As a group, you can set goals. You can search for information online, look up tutorials on YouTube, consult with one another, and hold each other accountable. You can do all this by yourself, yet if you’re a ProBlogger reader, you know you can’t make it on the blogsphere on your own. Networking is key. Why not create a learning group and invite bloggers in your niche to participate?

You’ll be able to check two goals off your list at once.

Leverage what you’ve learned—and learn even more

Once you know the information, you can use it to grow your business. If you document your process, you’ll be able to know what worked and what didn’t, and what you learned along the way. You’ll also be able to look back and acknowledge how far you’ve travelled along the technical road.

Then, you’ll be able to teach it. Teaching others strengthens your confidence in what you’ve learned and encourages you to keep on learning. Knowing you’ll be sharing your experience or knowledge will give you the courage to keep moving forward.

To leverage what you learned, you don’t have to a class, though you could. You could also create a blog to document your progress and improve your learning process. You’ll attract people just like you, who are interested in the value you can now provide. Heck, maybe they can even teach you a thing or two by commenting on your posts!

Of course, leveraging your knowledge can be as simple as creating one single post and submitting it to a big blog as a guest post. Maybe even the blog you’re reading right now? Facing my fears of technical mumbo jumbo got me published on ProBlogger twice—three times if you count the post you’re reading now.

The result? Not only does Google love me more (aww, Google!), but the feedback I received for the tutorial series I published here earlier this year encourages me to keep challenging myself, and make this technical mumbo jumbo a little more Ayelet-friendly.

If I can do it, you can do it! Do you know any other ways to overcome tech fears? Tell us in the comments.

Ayelet Weisz is an enthusiastic freelance writer, blogger and screenwriter. She celebrates the everyday and extraordinary joys of life on her travel blog, All Colores. Be sure to stop by and connect with her on Twitter.

SEO for Bloggers With Soul

This guest post is by Sarah L. Webb of S. L. Writes.

Maybe you consider yourself a serious writer who doesn’t have time for the details of how to boost SEO.

Why should you bother with that when you’ve launched a blog to help people and make the world a better place? Every post you write is packed with valuable information and compelling content. For you, that’s most important, and it should be.

However, it’s hard to change the world if you can’t reach the world, and SEO increases the chances that readers will discover this life changing blog of yours.

You still might think SEO is mostly fake and contrived and not worthy of a serious writer’s attention and time. You might view SEO as a spammer’s bag of tricks, even with Google’s efforts to make it harder to manipulate the system.

I understand that you’re a truly passionate blogger who wants to distance yourself from the kind of malignant marketing that clogs your spam folder. But there’s more to it.

Basic SEO practices are also good blogging and writing practices. More than just helping your site show up in a search engine, SEO can help improve a blog’s focus, readability, and value.

Here’s how it happens naturally.

Focus keywords: passion and niche

Keyword usage is possibly the number one strategy for bloggers, likely because it’s one of the simplest. But keywords have gotten a reputation for destroying perfectly good writing by making it annoyingly repetitive. That’s because spam writers pack keywords into every sentence, thinking it makes a difference.

Instead, the only keywords you need to focus on are passion and niche. Your blogging niche is probably your passion.

Of course those two terms won’t be your actual keywords. Instead, your keywords are the names of the category/sub-category that your niche falls under. For example, your niche and therefore your keywords might be rooftop gardening, comic book collections, or backswing.

This is far from contrived, and you’re probably already using these words because they’re the subject of your blog. It’s actually what your site is about and what your posts are about from any number of angles. The majority of your posts, therefore, and your titles, should naturally include these words on a fairly consistent basis.

If readers can’t tell what your blog is about, they probably won’t come back. If it’s clear that your blog is all about rooftop gardening, then rooftop gardeners will keep returning for more information. Otherwise, they’ll think you’re some sort of generalist blogger who once wrote about rooftop gardening on a whim.

So it’s bigger than keywords. It’s about the focus of your blog.

Still concerned about the quality of the writing? SEO can help improve the reading experience of your posts.

Titles and language: be direct

Honest, soulful, non-spam blogging is all about the readers, isn’t it?

Beginning with the title, SEO reminds you to tell readers exactly what to expect from an article. They shouldn’t have to read hundreds of words only to realize your post won’t give them what they’re looking for. Readers are busier than ever and they literally have a million other things they could be giving attention to. If you don’t respect your readers’ attention, they may never bother to read your work again.

It’s only fair that you don’t waste their time with misleading, ambiguous titles or introductory paragraphs that dance around the subject. More than likely, they won’t even click the link if the title is bad and isn’t somehow informative. You can still keep intrigue and shock, but the topic should always be clear and specific.

Another value of being SEO minded is that it reminds you to write in a clear, conversational tone. As the saying goes, “Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.”

This is more than search engine friendliness. Conversational language helps you connect with your audience and convey those brilliant ideas to the broadest, possible range of people.

Before you could ever think about the “how” of language, I’m sure you determine the “what.” What’s the value in everything you’re doing, and how does SEO help you improve that value?

Length and links: offer valuable content

When I’m grading student papers, I can estimate how well-developed or under developed the papers are by looking at the word count. Word count factors into the quality of writing because many students make strong claims, but they fail to support illustrate, or expound on those ideas.

For instance, students would probably say they can sum up this entire post in one sentence.

I can too: SEO can help improve a blog’s focus, readability, and value.

But if I had just stopped there, would you be convinced? Would you really walk away with a renewed perspective on SEO if I had left it at that?

That’s where elaboration comes in. Make a wonderful claim, and then tell readers how to apply it or how it relates to them.

Readers like posts that are packed with insight and helpful information. Being vague and general won’t give them that. Write it plainly, but also write it completely.

Include links wherever they’re truly relevant. Give readers the opportunity to continue learning beyond the single post they’re reading.

All of this is in line with your noble mission, not contrary to it.

SEO with soul

Unfortunately, a system put in place to measure the value of sites so that Google could deliver the best value to its users has been hacked by people trying to make a quick buck. But like any form of technology, a few people who abuse the system don’t make the system inherently worthless. Like Facebook, Twitter, and television, it’s about how you chose to use the tool, and the kind of value you bring to it.

If you’re a regular at ProBlogger, you’re probably someone who uses technology for legitimate, even charitable purposes. Your good intentions should lead you to an honest use of SEO. I call it SEO with soul.

So I urge you not to let the spammers keep you away from a great thing. Take back SEO, and show the world how to do it right.

Sarah L. Webb teaches writing at the University of Phoenix in Louisiana, is working on a collection of architecture poems, and blogs about books on writing and other off topic issues at S. L. Writes.

Use Product Promotions to Add Value on Your Blog—and Others

We get a lot of requests for co-promotions here at ProBlogger, and at Digital Photography School as well.

Sale sign

Image courtesy stock.xchng user Thoursie

No matter what niche you’re in, if your blog has a reasonably engaged audience, you’re probably the target for others who want to promote their new products. On the flip side, you may well target other bloggers when you want to promote your own blog products.

But negotiating coverage can be tough—and making sure the product’s promotion reaches the host blog’s audience in a meaningful way can be even tougher.

Today I want to show you how to do just that, using a great example from Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income.

The post

The post is How a Part-Time Blogger Landed His Dream Job—an Interview with Leslie Samuel.

Now, let me say up front that I have no idea how this interview came about, although Pat does say at the beginning of the podcast that he a Leslie have been friends for some time.

I do know that a lot of bloggers who’d love coverage like this for their products wonder how it’s done—even if they’re not personal friends with any A-list bloggers. So let’s pull this post apart a bit and see how you could replicate this kind of coverage for your next product launch—or to make the most of someone else’s launch on your own blog.

The post introduces a podcast—Pat posts regular podcasts on his blog—which contains an interview with Leslie, who tells the story of how he came to enjoy online success.

The post points out what’s covered in the podcast, and links to the services mentioned. It also links to the podcast, then mentions a special offer that Leslie’s making exclusively to Pat’s readers for his product.

What’s so good about this post?

Sounds simple, right? We all see posts like this all the time online. What’s so good about them?

  • The post provides valuable information independently of the promotion: The podcast is free. Anyone can listen to it—you can do it right there on Pat’s blog if you don’t want to download it. So any of Pat’s followers can access the valuable information Leslie has to share, without spending any money.
  • The information in the post isn’t focused on the product offer: Throughout the interview, Leslie tells a rich, deep story that’s packed with advice and tips. He gives it all away. Sometimes you’ll come across posts whose authors constantly refer to their new product or promotion, and some references aren’t always bad—often they’re necessary. But to make the product the focus of the post (or in this case, interview) can turn off more readers than it entices.
  • The offer comes at the end of the post: Pat makes mention of the special discount separately, at the end of his post. Leslie gets to it at the end of the interview. It’s clear, and obvious, which draws it to readers’ attention, and simultaneously lets them know that if they’re not keen, they can skip it.
  • The offer is provided independently of the host blog: While I have nothing against affiliate links (as you’ll know if you read ProBlogger or DPS regularly), promoting an offer in which you have no personal stake can be a great way to add credibility to the product, and communicate to your readers how much you’re focused on them.

From the guest’s point of view—Leslie, who has a product to promote—this super-credible approach to his story is great. He gets excellent coverage, which builds his profile regardless of whether people actually take up his offer or not. He also gets to make a great offer to a massive audience he might have trouble reaching otherwise. And he boosts his reputation as a guru without risking being seen as too salesy.

Pat, meanwhile, gets excellent content for his readers, and an exclusive deep discount on a product they’re likely to be interested in. This reinforces his position as a guru, too—again, without seeming salesy.

The message for host bloggers

If someone contacts you about a promotion they want you to mention on your blog, look at the potential value it can give your readers—and not just through the promotion itself.

See what gems you can get the blogger to “give away” in an interview, rich guest post, or infographic. Think about free value for your readers, not pushing a product.

The message for product promoters

Don’t see the opportunity as one for selling—see it as a chance to build authority with a new audience. What can you tell them that the host blogger can’t? That’s what you should share.

Focus on what’s unique about you, translate that into advice and help, and readers will automatically be motivated to click through to your blog, and take up your offer.

How to do it

This post presents great, unique information in a format that’s familiar and interesting to the host blog’s audience. While not all blog hosts will want to run hour-long interviews with product promoters, the path to the best opportunities is to match the key elements of the product that’s being promoted with the key needs of the host blog’s audience.

For the product promoter

For the product promoter, this means taking your product offer, and focusing on the aspect of it that’s central to your brand.

For Leslie, it’s about his journey to become a blogger—what it’s taken for him to build a popular blog from scratch. That’s what he wants to focus on in his coverage on the host blog. So he might come up with a few different ideas for exposure (through a post, a recorded interview, a series—the sky’s the limit when you’re proposing to help another blogger by providing content!) and pick one or two that seem to suit his brand and the host blog’s audience best.

Now as I say, I have no idea how this interview came about, but let’s suppose Leslie initiated it. He might approach Pat about the coverage, explain what he has to share, how it’ll help Pat’s audience, and mention the offer he’s willing to give Pat’s listeners if Pat’s open to that.

For the host blogger

For the host blogger, the challenge is to match that central element of the product promoter’s brand with the needs of the audience. So Pat would need to make sure that Leslie’s focus could be framed in an appropriate and really compelling way for his readers and listeners.

Of course, since Pat’s podcasts often include interviews, he may have approached Leslie about the interview himself, having spotted the solid fit between Leslie’s site and his own. He might have been the one who came up with the ideas for the interview coverage, including topics and questions, and approached Leslie with them. We bloggers are always looking for great content, after all! An hour is a lot of time to take out of a busy blogger’s week, so Pat may also have offered the opportunity for Leslie to promote his product as part of the interview.

Finding the right fit

As you can see, getting great coverage of a person and/or their product on a blog is a matter of fit.

The two brands need to align on some level, and the two bloggers need to work to make that alignment work in the best way possible for the host blog’s readers.

If you can do this as a product promoter, you’ll find it much easier to get really deep promotion on others’ blogs.

And if you can do this as a host blogger, you won’t have much trouble coming up with posts that really provide massive value to your readers, and position you as your niche’s go-to guy or girl.

Have you promoted someone else’s product through a post on your blog? Or had your product promoted through another blog? Tell us how it came about—and why it worked—in the comments.

How to Handle Guest Post Rejection

This guest post is by Tapha Ngum of MyAppTemplates.com.

So, you agreed on a topic to write about for a blog with the blog owner or editor, and you’ve just spent eight hours writing and editing it. You’ve done all the right things—read the submission guidelines, and double-checked your post for spelling mistakes, and you’re sure you’ve done a good job. You’re confident and excited, though a little apprehensive about sending it over. Because, after all, it could still get rejected, right?

But you send it out anyway.

Two days later you get an email back from the blog, and it tells you that the post has been rejected. Inevitably, you feel terribly deflated.

I know this feeling—and if you’ve been guest blogging for a while, then I’m sure you know it too. It’s really frustrating.

People don’t often talk about this aspect of guest blogging. But it’s a very real part of the equation. The fact is, you can spend hours working on a post and just like that, it can be rejected—deemed useless by the site you wrote it for. All that blood, sweat and tears for nothing. Even after you have discussed your post idea with the editor!

So what do you do?

Well, in most cases, that post that you wrote would probably end up locked away in some random folder on your computer. And with your confidence dented, you would probably not be too eager to write another guest post for a while, let alone make any revisions to the current one. But this, in my mind is the worst possible way to deal with guest post rejection.

The right way to deal with guest post rejection is to treat it as a stepping stone.

Guest post rejection, just like any other form of rejection, has within it the seeds of an equivalent benefit, if you know how to spot and effectively use those seeds. In each case of rejection, there will be some variability, and the benefits that you can take out of the situation will differ. But in the main, there are some key benefits that I have seen and used to good effect every time one of my guest posts has failed to be accepted.

I specifically mentioned the word “seeds” above, because the benefits that can be gained from guest post rejection are not always immediately apparent. A lot of the time you need to dig them up for yourself.

So, to help you along with that process, here are the three steps that I take when a post of mine has been rejected. You can use them to help you unearth the benefits for yourself and ultimately get more of your posts published.

Step 1. Get specific feedback from the person who rejected your post

Getting your guest post rejected is a brilliant opportunity to find out how you can improve your guest posting approach. Was it the way you wrote it? The lack of references in your article? In some cases you can even find that it was the way that you approached the person in the email that put them off and caused them to reject you.

Don’t be afraid to ask why your post was rejected. More often than not you’ll get useful feedback that will help you in your future guest posting endeavours. When you’re armed with this knowledge, your future attempts will only be more successful.

Quick tip: In your first email with the person who accepts the guest posts, let them know that you are willing to make revisions as necessary. This makes it easier to request a second submission later on if the post is rejected.

Also make sure that you do your research and find out how the blog that you’re dealing with likes to accept submissions. Often, you will find that your post has been rejected because you failed to discuss the ideas with them first. ProBlogger, for example, prefers bloggers to send their pitches over to them before you go ahead with your guest post.

Step 2. Try to resubmit the guest post

Once you have had a chance to analyze the feedback that you have been given and implement it into your post, send the guest post in again. Try your best to make sure that you have incorporated as much of the feedback as you can.

I’d also suggest you read the last ten guest posts that were accepted onto the site, to get a feel for what they like to publish.

Step 3. Try another blog

If you have really made an effort to make the post great, but are still not getting through with it, then maybe it is time to see if it can be placed on another site.

You should understand that every objectively well-written post is an asset, and even though it may not be valued by a particular site, it still has a lot of inherent value if it is used. So don’t let it end up on a folder, unused on your computer just because the rejection of it decreases your perception of its value. Not all posts are necessarily the right fit for all sites. So you have to accept that in some cases, your post will just not work for a particular site—and move onto another one.

A rejected post is not a useless post, although initially it can feel that way. In fact, if you have gone through the first two steps outlined above, and you’ve edited the post and submitted more than one revision, the chances are very likely that you will get accepted by another blog of similar standing.

Quick tip: Again, make sure that you know how the blog that you are dealing with likes to accept submissions. If you have to discuss the pre-written post with them before you send it in, make sure you do that. In the end, you want to make sure that you give yourself the best chance of having your guest post accepted and published. So complying with the host blog’s guidelines is a must.

Rejection can make your post better

A lot of people who have experienced rejection of their guest posts end up thinking that it’s just not worth the effort—it’s just too risky for them to put in the all that work for a chance that it may not even pay off.

But in my mind, that’s where the value in guest posting lies. If you learn to deal with this uneasy part of the guest posting process, then it will become an asset, not just to you, but to your business as well.

Have you ever had a guest post get rejected? How did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments!

This is a guest post from Tapha. Founder of MyAppTemplates.com, a site that provides custom iphone app templates to people who cannot afford to spend $1,000′s on their iphone app design.

Why My First Blog Failed … and What You Can Learn from My Mistakes

This guest post is by Ali Luke of Aliventures.

Where do you hope blogging will take you?

I’m thrilled that blogging’s got me to where I am today—with a successful full-time business, a bunch of ebooks, a membership site, guest posts on major blogs, two speaker appearances at BlogWorld, and a published book Publishing E-Books For Dummies).

To other bloggers, it might look like I’ve been successful.

And I have definitely had my share of success … but, like every single blogger you can think of,I’ve also had my share of failures.

Today, I’m going to tell you about my very first blog. It failed … but I learned a huge amount from the experience.

Here’s how it happened, and what you can learn from my mistakes.

Where I began

Like most new bloggers, I had a day job when I started out. I wasn’t too happy in my day job, and for a while, I’d been thinking about ways to make money doing something I loved—writing.

I came across the idea of “pro-blogging” online—and promptly devoured most of ProBlogger’s archives. I was fired up with the idea of becoming a blogger, and immediately pictured a book deal and a six-figure income.

But I made three big mistakes…

Mistake #1: Too much of a focus on money

Instead of thinking up a topic I could write on for years and years, I chose one that I was sure would make money: healthy eating and weight loss.

This was back in late 2007, when the conventional blogging advice was to choose a niche – as narrow a niche as possible.

I named my blog The Office Diet (if you’re really curious, it’s still online—www.theofficediet.com) and focused on writing about healthy living for office workers. For me, this was too narrow a niche: I was starting to lose interest after a few months.

Learning point

Money matters—but so does love! Don’t just choose a blogging niche because you think it will be commercial … choose one that gives you room to grow.

You might even want to go for a blog title that gives you scope to shift and change your perspective, in case you start to lose interest in your initial topic.

Mistake #2: No real business plan

I was very keen to monetize my blog … but I didn’t have much idea of how to go about that. I’d been reading Steve Pavlina’s blog at the time, and he made most of his money through advertising, so I decided to go down the same route.

I signed up for Google AdSense, popped some ad units into my blog’s sidebar, and waited for the money to start coming in.

And waited.

And waited.

In the end, it took me eleven months of blogging—five times a week at first (I later dropped to three posts a week) before I got my very first check from Google.

Since then, I’ve become much more business-savvy. Instead of seeing my blog itself as something that will produce money, as if by magic, I’ve realised that I need to use my blog as a marketing tool to support my business.

Learning point

Blogs are a wonderful way to market and grow your business—through writing great content that draws people to your products or services.

Advertising can bring in some extra cash, but it’s not going to be a big revenue stream unless you have a massive blog. For most of us, it’s much easier to build a successful small business than to build a blog with hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Mistake #3: No interaction with readers

When I began my blog, I decided to switch comments off. I’d seen some big bloggers do this due to being overwhelmed with comments—and I figured I might as well do it at the start. I was convinced that before long, I would have tons of traffic, and hundreds of people commenting on every post.

Looking back, I can’t quite believe I was so big-headed! Of course, my blog didn’t take off overnight … and I lost out on a potentially very useful resource: reader feedback.

Believe it or not, I managed to take this mistake even further. By this point, I’d realized that I was making just pennies with Google AdSense (partly due to my niche – weight loss ads don’t pay well – and I hadn’t thought to research this before starting the blog).

So, I launched an ebook.

It didn’t occur to me to ask my readers what they might want to read. I just wrote the ebook that I thought they needed.

Of course, it went down like carrot sticks at a chocolate-lovers’ convention. I made a few sales, but nothing like what I’d hoped for (even after I cut the price from $10 to just $4).

Learning point

Your readers are the lifeblood of your blog. Treasure their comments—especially in the early days of your blog. Seek their feedback when you’re deciding what to post about, and always survey them when you’re at the brainstorming stage of creating a product. You might well find that what they want is very different from what you thought they’d want!

As you can imagine, by this point, I’d become a bit disillusioned with my blog. I was struggling to come up with ideas for new posts, because I was losing interest in my topic.

I’d tried pitching a book idea, but (unsurprisingly) the publisher just wasn’t interested—my readership stats really weren’t impressive.

And, of course, I wasn’t making much money.

The blog had failed.

But … that’s not the full story. Because some very good things had come out of my blogging, despite all those mistakes I’d made.

This is what I’d managed to get right.

#1: Guest posting led to freelance blogging

I started guest posting very early in the life of my blog (about a month after launching it). By the luck of being in the right place at the right time, I landed two paid blogging gigs.

I managed to build on these to get more paying, regular writing work … and about nine months after launching that first blog, I quit my day job. My blog itself wasn’t making money, but my blogging for other people had resulted in a steady income.

While I had a bit of an advantage here over some bloggers – I have an English Literature degree, and I’ve always been a confident writer—I strongly believe that paid blogging is accessible to anyone with a good standard of English.

#2: Freelance blogging led to my first successful ebook

I found that people were very interested in how I got paid blogging work, so I wrote an ebook about that – and this one was much more successful. (I updated this ebook last year—if you’re interested, it’s The Blogger’s Guide to Freelancing.)

By this point, I was beginning to get a name for myself as someone who wrote about blogging and writing, which led to…

#3: My ebook led to my blog

In 2009, I launched a new blog, Aliventures. I already had the domain name, as Aliventures was the name of my business.

Of course, I made plenty of mistakes with that blog too – but I managed to apply all the things I’d learned from my first blog, The Office Diet, and from my second blog (that lasted all of a couple of months), which was called Alpha Student.

I was able to get readers much more quickly, plus I had lots of strong connections through guest posting and through Twitter.

Even better, I now write about topics that inspired me. To begin with, I focused on personal development, but then I switched my focus to writing, blogging and publishing. Because the blog had a brand-style name, Aliventures, rather than a keyword-rich name like The Office Diet, it was easy for me to make this shift.

And four years on from starting my very first “pro” blog, I finally got that book deal I’d been hoping for. My book Publishing E-Books For Dummies came out last month, and it’s wonderful to be an author for such a major brand.

What I want you to remember

This post has been very much about me, so I wanted to end with what’s important for you. If you don’t remember anything else from this post, remember this part:

It’s always frustrating when things don’t go as well as we’d like, and if you’re struggling to get more than a handful of readers, you might well be tempted to give up.

Don’t.

Even small successes count. If you only have ten people on your mailing list, or ten subscribers to your blog, that’s still ten people who are enjoying your writing. Imagine sitting at them with a table in a restaurant—it’s not such a small number!

And every time you step outside your comfort zone and try something new—from joining Twitter to writing your first guest post—you take a step that could lead to somewhere amazing.

Thomas Edison, who invented the lightbulb, didn’t get it right the first time. Or the tenth time, or even the hundredth time. But he didn’t give up. He said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Whether you’ve been blogging for a few days or a few years, you’ll have had some successes—even if, like many of mine, they were a bit unexpected! Even if you’ve made a few mistakes, you’ll have learned a huge amount.

Share your best blogging experiences with us in the comments, so we can all learn from one another, and celebrate our successes together.

Ali Luke is a writer and blogger from the UK. If you’d like to take your writing and blogging further, join her newsletter to access her library of free mini-ebooks, including Ten Powerful Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Stronger, Ten Easy Ways to Attract Readers to Your Blog … And Keep Them There and more!

How to Fail Productively as a Blogger

This guest post is by Bea Kylene Jumarang of Writing Off the Rails.

During one of my blocks of free time, I found myself watching a video from Tim Harford, an economist and a writer. In it, he was discussing his three rules for failing productively, and those rules were the beginning of a love affair for me.

Before you think I fell in love with him, that’s not it. I fell in love with the rules, and they’ve changed my life for the better.

Today, I’d like to share those rules with you, along with a concrete process for applying them to your blogging. It’s my hope that if you care to listen to what this post says, the rules and the process will change your life too.

What you’ll need

  • a spreadsheet or a pen and notebook for your log, though spreadsheets are better
  • the faithfulness to actually log things (more on this later)
  • honesty (very important).

Tim Harford’s three rules—blogger’s edition

1. Be willing to fail a lot

If you’re blogging for the long haul, I can guarantee that you’ll run into hundreds, if not thousands of setbacks. Dozens of your posts will languish without comments, your analytics will be a constant flatline, and it will seem like no one really gives a darn. What matters is that you’ll chug on despite everything.

In simple words, be willing to fail—a lot.

2. Fail on a survivable scale

This rule can mean two different things, depending on what stage you’re at with your blog.

If you’re still a beginner, congratulations. You’re already failing on a very survivable scale. It’s unlikely that a bad post will kill your blog, so you’d better appreciate the benefits of smallness.

On the other hand, if you’re a big blogger, you’ll take a little bit more care. Hopefully, you’ll use your experience to the full, and by this time, you should already know what works along with what doesn’t. If you plan to take a risk, put thought into it so you’ll fail in a way that you and your blog can survive.

3. Make sure you have what it takes to spot a failure, and fix it, early

Don’t let issues or problems fester. As soon as you identify something that needs correction, get to correcting. The faster you respond to a crisis, the faster you can learn and deal with its potential repercussions.

Also, don’t close yourself off from the problems other people point out. When they tell you something needs action, act on it, instead of pushing your own primacy over the situation.

A process for productive failure

1. Know your systems, behaviors, and habits

As I said in the introduction, failures are incredibly important as revision triggers. They tell us that something needs to change, and that action needs to be taken. That said, you’ll never maximize a failure’s usefulness if you just let it pass you by like a little tumbleweed.

Instead of pushing the failure to the back of your mind, bring it to the forefront. In fact, log it.

Remember the notebook or the spreadsheet? This is your time to use it.

For the next week, just log your failures. Relevant data points include the following, though this list is just a suggestion. Feel free to customize and add!

  • Time in/out: useful to see how much time you actually spend on a task
  • When you did the task: so you can see when you’re most productive
  • Type of task: post writing, editing, formatting, research, etc.
  • Word counts: to see how much you achieve
  • Remarks: note any important details about a task
  • Failures: whether you were able to do something needed, or not
  • Length of material: you might log based on the length of a Kindle book (e.g. 790 locations), or how long a PDF is (e.g. 210 pages).

For the Failures part of your log, you can do the logging in a text editor or something like that. Just make a note in your log whenever you didn’t do something you were supposed to. You’ll see why this is important in Step 2 of this process.

How can you keep up the motivation to log stuff? Make things easy for yourself. As soon as you boot up your laptop, open your spreadsheet. Before you start a task, enter your time in, and remember to enter the time out when you’re done.

In my personal experience, just seeing the spreadsheet on my taskbar has been enough motivation. There will be times when you forget to log things, and that’s alright. Don’t beat yourself up, but keep logging as much as you can.

As an important note, don’t do anything to your log yet. Logging is not the time to reflect. Like Tony Stark says in the Avengers movie, “I can’t do the equation unless I have all the variables.”

Wait for the variables, alright? No equations yet.

2. Make sense of the data

After one week of logging, you should have a pretty detailed spreadsheet, with all the data points that matter to you. Now that you have enough information, it’s time for analysis and reflection. Below are some suggested questions to ask yourself as you review that data.

  • How much time does it take me to write n words? This is useful for future estimates to clients who ask you how long a project will take, for example, as well as for your own time planning.
  • How much  time do I usually spend on email and other online tasks? I can guarantee, this will probably be a shock to you.
  • How much time does it take me to do research? Again, useful for future time estimates.
  • What times of the day am I most productive? This can be a general answer, like “in the afternoon,” or a specific answer like 4:30 to 5:10 pm.

Once you’re done with these questions, you probably have a reasonable overview of your real behaviors and limits. What you discover may be intuitively known to you, or it may come as a complete surprise. The point is, now you finally know the truth, and you can back up what you know with data.

As far as your failures go, this is the time to be honest with yourself. Find the real reasons for why you failed. No one will see your log anyway, so there’s no reason to lie. What matters is that you’ll finally get an idea of your real excuses, strengths, and pain points, which will be valuable in the quest for improvement.

3. Adapt

There’s no point in all your logging and reflection if you aren’t willing to act on what you’ve just learned. All the data in the world won’t matter if you just let the information languish. Because of that, it’s time for you to create your plan for improvement, and to chart your new course based on the realizations you’ve arrived at.

Below are some actions you can take.

  • Revise schedules: commit more or less time to certain tasks.
  • Take on more or fewer clients: this is linked to the data on how much you can actually handle without failing too much or being too stressed out.
  • Lower or raise your word count goals: if you see that you can’t handle 2000 words in one session, then lower your word quota.

The last thing to do, of course, is to implement your action plan, and then log the results. See if you’re less stressed, happier, or anything like that. Just make sure to note what happens.

4. Keep failing

Tim’s first rule is to be willing to fail a lot. Inherent in that rule is the need to keep trying new things, and yes, to fall in love with trial and error.

You see, according to Tim, complex things often benefit from such an approach. In the first place, trial and error gives you a very definite result, e.g. it worked or it didn’t work. And though it may sound pretty surprising, blogging is actually a complex thing. In fact, I view it as a complex system, and evaluating my results often makes me use systematic thinking.

If you don’t believe me, have a think about how many variables are in the equation. You have things like search engine optimization, social media influence, number of newsletter subscribers, heck, even the keywords in your domain are a variable.

That said though, maximizing trial and error necessitates having many things to test out. If you’re wondering about how to do that, I have short process outlined below.

  • Brainstorm a list of new actions or directions you’ll take. Examples might include “I’ll publish an infographic instead of a text post” and “I’ll do a shorter post than usual.”
  • During brainstorming, don’t let fear crush you. Just let all the ideas out. Ideas don’t need to be subjected to judgment during the initial stages.
  • Refine your list. Select the directions that are appropriate for your present situation.
  • Apply your selected actions and monitor the results. If you want to be able to evaluate things more effectively, see the resources heading on systems thinking below.

Resources for further reading

This resource list introduces you to systems and design thinking plus the work of Tim Harford. Taken collectively, these resources have made my blogging and my life infinitely better.

  • Trial, error and the God complex: This is a talk from Tim Harford, delivered at TEDGlobal 2011 in Edinborough. It remains one of my favorites from TED, and I listen to it every day.
  • Tim Harford’s books: I love these. The one that applies most to this blog post is his book titled Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure.
  • Design thinking … what is that?: This piece is from Fast Company, and it’s best used at stage 4 in the productive failure process.
  • Introduction to systems thinking: From Pegasus Communications, this is an excellent overview of the subject. It’s best used to learn better ways of evaluating your results.

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts. Do you do any of these things already? Are you conscious about learning from failure in a systematic way? Let us know in the comments.

Bea Kylene Jumarang is a blogger and fiction writer, obsessed with connecting writing to everything else. When she’s not writing at Starbucks, she’s investigating fonts for her upcoming e-book, Techified : Silicon Valley’s Secret Guide to Writing. If you want first dibs at the book, head on over to the Facebook page for her new blog’s launch. Once the blog goes live, you’ll be the first to know. You’ll also get the e-book, along with even more free stuff!

Weekend Project: Learning to Fail

This weekend, we’re taking a different approach with our weekend project, and touching on a topic that I think is overlooked a lot in blogging.

Escape key

Image courtesy stock.xchng user michaelaw

And that’s failure.

In a world like this, where it’s so easy to try new things out—new social networks, new product ideas, and so on—it’s also very, very easy to fail.

Gone are the days when we’d get a standard education before we went out to work in a particular field. In fact, as I explained at a recent careers night, my Marketing degree was the first big thing I failed in!

…but it wasn’t the last. As I explain in that interview, I spent my early years in a kind of “chaos” as I pursued all kinds of different interests. Many of them didn’t end in great “achievements”, which I guess you could take to mean that I failed in them, too.

At the time, my parents were eager for me to settle down—to pick something and stick with it. We’ve probably all heard this advice at some point, and in some ways it seems very closely related to this idea of not “failing.” For a lot of people, simply following through with something—whether it’s working, or whether you enjoy it or not—is better than “failing” by dropping it. Dropping something is often seen as giving up, even when it makes perfectly good sense to do so.

So there’s a lot of baggage around failure. And this weekend, we aim to clear some of it out, so you have room to fail—and learn—in your blogging journey.

The half-full glass

It sounds patronizing, but I’ve found that when it comes to failing at something, a good way to stop yourself from focusing on the negatives is to look at what you’ve learned.

I know that can sound trite‚ especially if the thing that hasn’t worked out is something you’re heavily invested in—financially or personally.

But it’s true. I’ve started more than 20 blogs now, and obviously most of them haven’t lasted. Does that mean they’re failures? To you, maybe. To me, they were part of the proving ground that helped me develop the skills to become better at some things, and even have some successes later. In this way, blogging’s kind of like being employed—each job you take on helps you build skills that lead to the next job, and over time, help you develop a career.

Of course, within each job—or each blogging task—there are plenty of opportunities not to succeed, and as they say, you can’t win them all. If you did, you wouldn’t be learning anything.

Now, you might be thinking, “That’d be great—I’d love to know it all!” But we all have to start somewhere, and the only way to progress is through good old trial and error.

The important thing, though, is to learn from those errors, and to feed back those learnings into what you do next—or next time.

Surf the learning curve

It can be tough to handle failure—and in blogging, failure can be a very public thing. Even if your failures aren’t major show-stoppers, it can be really hard to persist when you seem to be faced with little failure after little failure. Sometimes we go through phases where nothing we try seems to work. And if we don’t know why, that can be very disheartening.

That’s why it’s so important to learn to manage failure as a blogger. At any one time, you might have several fronts to fail on—you might be trying a new ad network or a different post style, tweaking your social media strategy, floating a new product idea with your audience, trying to grow your subscription rates—the list goes on.

My approach is always to try to learn something from the failure. Even if I can’t work out what went wrong, I try to use the failure to direct my future efforts. So maybe I’ll try a different approach to using the same process or tool next time—or maybe I’ll decide to try a different approach or tool altogether, in the hopes of finding one that works for me and my blog.

I think taking the time to reflect on the failure is important, too. Otherwise, you can easily fall into the trap of just banging your head up against a brick wall, rather than thinking creatively about other ways you could achieve your goals.

There’s certainly a lot to think about when it comes to blogging failure, so I hope you’ll enjoy this weekend’s posts. In them, we’ll cover:

But first up, I’d love to hear how you handle failure as a blogger. Be honest—we’ve all done it, and we can all learn from each other. So we’d love to hear your stories and secrets for learning to fail.

How to Make More Money Blogging, Stop Worrying About Advertising, and Get Back to Writing What You Love

This guest post is by Sophie Lizard of Beafreelanceblogger.com.

I know your secret.

You’re spending too much time on your blog, and it’s starting to feel like hard work. Not only that, but your blog still isn’t making quite as much money as you’d like. Believe me: I’ve been right there with you.

Luckily, I got out. Now, I don’t waste time fiddling around with ad code and affiliate dashboards. I only check my traffic analytics if there’s a specific question I want to answer. And I make a good full-time income on part-time hours.

Want to know my secret?

I was on the wrong track, and so are you.

Most bloggers that make money at all will always wish to make a few dollars more. But a few dollars more isn’t worth hours more of your time, is it?

How to know when you’re wasting your time

If you’re labouring over a blog with few subscribers and low traffic, trying to scrape another half a percent on your affiliate conversion rate or posting three times a day to boost page views, you’re on the wrong track.

What you’ve got there isn’t passive income. It’s a blog-supported business, and it’s failing.

It’s failing because the time you’re putting in isn’t equalled by the money coming out. Monetizing is actually costing you money, in the form of time you could have spent on more effective revenue-generating tasks.

The point of blog monetization strategies is typically to make money in a way that keeps on scaling up as your traffic and engagement grow to mythic proportions… but what do you do if your blog hasn’t hit the big time?

Stop chasing scalability

Scalable is a buzzword. It means that your income can keep on growing, not limited by the hours in the day or your inability to be in two places at once.

Scalability goes right along with “set it and forget it” in the big bucket of ideas to stop chasing if they don’t apply to you. The scalability of a system doesn’t determine its growth; it only makes it more or less capable of handling growth.

A blog with few readers won’t make vast sums of money, regardless of its business model’s scalability. But there is an important scale to consider: your time-to-money ratio.

Your time and your income aren’t on the same scale right now.

That’s the only thing you need to focus on. How do you bring your income up to scale with the time you’re putting in?

Do what works, don’t do what doesn’t

Are your blog’s visitors frustratingly immune to advertising? Have you made a less-than-stellar income from your ad spaces and affiliate links? Then stop spending too much time on this income stream, and focus on something more effective.

Has frequent posting exhausted your mine of inspiration? Are you struggling to come up with fresh content ideas and new angles on old classics? Then stop wearing yourself out chasing traffic, and refocus on boosting quality instead of quantity.

I’m not saying that advertising, affiliate marketing or frequent posting are a bad idea. I’m saying that if they’re taking up your time without raking in money, then you need to rethink your strategy. Here are some suggestions that might work for you; they worked for me.

How to make more money

Selling your own products may be a more lucrative income stream than selling other people’s stuff. But then you’ll have to plan, create and launch each product, plus maintain the ongoing marketing that will keep the income stream moving in the long term. That’s a lot of time and effort for an unpredictable possibility of reward.

There’s a very simple way to increase your blogging income that doesn’t involve putting up more ads, publishing more often, or launching your own products. Sell a service instead. Sell freelance blogging.

In the last few years, I’ve earned a solid living part-time from my freelance blogging career. In fact, I know some famous bloggers who make more money from freelance blogging than they do from advertising or affiliate marketing.

These people have thousands of subscribers to their blogs. If their advertising income can’t compete with freelance blogging, then your ad income from your few hundred readers probably can’t compete either.

How to stop worrying about advertising

All this time you spend stressing about your blog’s monetization, tweaking ad widgets and affiliate link anchor text, obsessing over your stats, and checking your balance until it crawls past the minimum payment limit for your affiliate network… are you enjoying that? Because if you are, that’s all good—rock on.

If you’re not doing all that stuff for fun, though, I’ve got the best piece of advice you’ll ever hear: just stop it. Check your affiliate stats only once per month (or once per week, if you had a daily habit and really can’t quit cold turkey).

Unless you’re running tests, there’s no need to obsess over visitor clicks on your blog. Put your ads in place and then don’t touch them for at least 30 days. If you can’t resist analysing your stats to death at the end of the month, at least you’ll have a whole 30 days to analyse without multiple tweaks messing up your conclusions.

Now use all that time you’ve saved to write jaw-droppingly brilliant posts, for yourself and for other blogs.

How to get back to writing what you love

When you started blogging, what were your intentions? Did you want to be heard, to help people, to make money, or all of the above and then some? What were your first posts like?

Think about what you really love to write. Make a list of things you always wanted to blog about. It doesn’t matter whether you published a post on the topic or not, write it down.

Now think about what you love to read. Which blogs do you make a point of keeping up with? Which do you go to when you have a problem to solve? Add those blog topics to the same list.

This list is your passion plan. I want you to write at least one post on every single topic on that list. More than one, if you’re any good at finding multiple angles. Then pitch and sell your posts to paying blogs.

For advice on selling your posts, read more about freelance blogging here on ProBlogger and check out freelance writing and blogging sites like Make A Living Writing.

Use your blog as a portfolio

If you can’t sell one of your posts for a good fee, take on board any feedback you received from the editors you pitched to. Then publish each unsold post on your own blog and end it with a note that you’re a freelance blogger who enjoys writing on this topic and welcomes enquiries from potential clients.

Add a Hire Me page to your blog, too. Use it to explain what you blog about, what types of blogs you’d like to work with, where you can be contacted, and your rates.

Believe you can do it

You’d be amazed how many smart, eloquent bloggers I know who’ve chickened out before they got this far. Maybe you wouldn’t be amazed; maybe you’re one of them.

You could be making more money by blogging for other people, but the idea of pitching to an editor makes you so nervous you’ve never tried. Or, you pitched one idea to one blog and when it wasn’t accepted, you lost the confidence to try a second time.

Hey, it’s okay. We’re all nervous sometimes. But now you need to get off your digital behind and start making more money, right? So draw up your topic list, think of a few ideas that could make great blog posts, and email a few blogs to pitch them some of those ideas. Today.

That’s right, do it today. It doesn’t even matter if your topics are vague and your first queries aren’t perfect.

The important thing is that you’re doing it at all, and that puts you ahead of every other blogger who didn’t make the time. You can refine your pitching as you go along, but you’ll never have another chance to start right now.

You’re smart. You’re courageous. You’re exactly the kind of person a good blog needs. Now go out there and be a freelance blogger!

This guest post is by Sophie Lizard, a successful freelance blogger on a mission to help bloggers increase their income and authority by blogging for hire. To get you started making money as a freelance blogger, she’s giving away her insanely useful The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs: 45 Blogs That Will Pay You $50 or More – download your free copy today!