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The Beginner’s Guide to Outsourcing Video Content Production

This guest post is by Leslie Anglesey of EssayTigers.

Does it make sense for blog owners to include video in their posts? It sure does!

Your posts should include all types of interesting content to engage and entertain readers, and this can definitely include videos.

But rather than trying to do all of the work yourself, get smart about your time and consider outsourcing your video content by partnering with a reliable provider.

Research for reliability

How can you find a reliable service? You do your homework.

  • First of all, consider how much content you will need each month, as this will help you determine the costs you can expect to pay for each service.
  • You will also want to ask about content storage volumes and delivery.
  • Support is an important issue. Find out whether you would contact the provider by email or phone, and how long you would have to wait to get a response if you need to rely on email as the preferred contact method.
  • Price is another important consideration for any business owner, and you need to make sure that you are getting good value for the money you’re spending. Consider the following services if you are interested in outsourcing your video content in addition to writing posts.

In finding companies to consider, ask other bloggers for recommendations. Word of mouth can be a great way to find the service that you need.

The companies you are considering should have samples of their work posted online that you can review. When you are checking them out, make a point of looking at the quality of the sound and lighting. These two factors will tell you whether you will be getting a good quality product.

A few options

Here are a few outsourced video services that I’ve come across, and which you might like to consider.

Viddler

The Viddler video platform allows users to upload videos one at a time or in batches. You can record your video from your webcam directly into your Viddler account.

It’s an easy and convenient method for getting your message out to your readers. This company has been in business for six years and has processed over 22 million minutes of video since its inception.

It offers iTunes syndication and RSS feed, as well as embeddable widgets, so you can imbed your videos into your posts.

Pricing starts at $42.00 per month with an annual subscription. You also have the option of paying $50.00 on a month-by-month basis for this service. At this level, you would be provided with email support. Customers who choose a higher level of service would be entitled to email and phone support.

ReelContent

ReelContent is a UK-based company that offers video production services on location or in its studio. The company also offers editing services to its clients.

If are looking for highly polished video content to complement the blog posts you are writing, you may want to consider this type of option. The company has experience shooting content for news items, reviews, interviews, guides, and product demonstrations.

BlissMediaWorks

BlissMediaWorks targets the small and medium-sized business market. The company offers flexible video services that can be adapted to suit your needs.

Services include adding real footage, graphics, and animated text into a video. They can even include music and sound effects if you wish. The company will even post a video direct to YouTube as a special service to drive traffic to your blog.

Audio Concepts

Audio Concepts offers web videos as one of its services. If you are looking for a way to establish yourself as an expert in your niche, adding a series of videos to your blog is an effective way to enhance your online reputation.

Invite visitors to visit your blog to view the next installment to get more information about the topic you are discussing. This is an excellent way to tell a story and really connect with your visitors.

SmartShoot

If you know what you want in a video service, and are prepared to review multiple quotes for your video project, you can post it on SmartShoot.

This online marketplace will connect you with filmmakers and photographers who will put up bids for your job. You then choose who you want to work with.

What are you waiting for?

Adding video to blog posts is an excellent way to give your writing a boost. You can connect with your readers in a new way, and give the search engines something different to index from your blog.

This type of content is, of course, very popular with readers and may result in more shares on social networking sites. If your goal is to have more people liking your posts on Facebook, stumbling them on StumbleUpon, or tweeting them on Twitter, you will want to include video content on your blog more often.

It’s a good idea to get in front of your audience to let them see and hear from you, too. People want to know what you look and sound like so they can get to know you.

If your goal is to be seen as an expert to promote your business and get higher conversion rates for a product or a service, you need to be seen as someone your readers know and trust. The video messages are a good way for you to accomplish this goal.

Finally, remember: your videos don’t need to be lengthy. Anything from 30 seconds to three minutes will give viewers a chance to get to know you. And focus on one main theme per video.

Over time, you will feel more comfortable making videos. Just pretend you are talking to a friend, which is exactly what you are doing. You’re just speaking to your readers instead of writing your message.

Leslie Anglesey is an educational specialist and editor at EssayTigers - service that provides professional paper writing tips for the students.

Internet Freedumb: Are You Falling Prey?

This guest post is by Chris The Traffic Blogger.

I can explain why you’re not making any money online in one word: Freedumb.

The irony of my writing a free post aimed at curtailing your misuse of free offers is not lost upon me. While your eyebrows fuse together and you determine whether reading this information is really worth your time, let me assure you that there is a valid reason for not charging any money for this work.

I absolutely believe that it’s worth quite a bit, but the people who need to read it (you’re in that group) would only purchase such knowledge if they already understood the concepts within it! Ironies abound, and you’ll realize just how ironic this entire volume is the further into it you get. In the end, I know my audience, and this article will target them, which is a skillset you need to learn to for yourself as well.

The greatest danger to entrepreneurs worldwide is the concept of Internet Freedumb. It is more lethal than the IRS, writer’s block, and months of poor sales figures combined. When you allow this cancerous notion to enter into your brain, it becomes the equivalent of quicksand beneath your feet. What’s really scary, and the reason it is remarkably deadly, is the fact that it sounds so damn appealing. Yet nobody seems to address it or feel the need to warn entrepreneurs of its affects.

I refuse to sit back and watch your internet dreams fly out the window. You owe to your business and yourself to read this entire document in a single sitting. Enough words of warning, let’s dive head-first into a word that you see every day but have never had access to the vernacular necessary to properly identify it.

What is Internet Freedumb?

Internet Freedumb is difficult to describe—much like the word “pornography.” I can tell you when I see it, but it’s a struggle for me to nail down an all-inclusive definition. Let’s focus on the result of Internet Freedumb in order to help define it.

The effect of Internet Freedumb on an entrepreneur, when you boil it down, is the entrepreneur thinking that making his or her content entirely free is the only way they can compete in the marketplace. It’s also the belief that creating 100% “free stuff” will lead to lots of traffic. This devolves into the use of advertising as the primary source of revenue, which is almost always done poorly, with little foresight.

Instead of building a business model, victims of Internet Freedumb literally set themselves up for bankruptcy.

The most confusing part about Internet Freedumb is the misconception that giving everything away for free makes people’s lives easier. No, it most certainly does not. How much garbage do you have downloaded onto your desktop? How many pdf’s, links, and videos? Probably far too many. We are bombarded day in and day out by the results of Internet Freedumb. Keep in mind, entrepreneurs ironically do this because they believe it will help them to stand out.

You know what does stand out? A paid product that removes the fluff and filler that makes up most Internet Freedumb giveaways. A $37 price tag sticks out. But even better, a $99 price tag really sticks out. As long as you deliver excellent content that both reduces Internet Freedumb inspired garbage down to manageable levels, and adds your own two cents, you will have a product that truly stands out.

By charging people money, you actually are helping them place a value on your work.

Think about when you want to ask the internet for help, and compare that with times when you want to purchase instructions. When you Google something, it’s usually a single question with a very basic answer. For example: “Dear Google, who invented electricity?” Conversely, you don’t go to the internet for a tutorial on how to learn AP Physics. Instead, you’ll spend your money on a concise, structured book about the subject or, even better, attend a course on it.

If you want to make money online, you need to focus on creating the manuals and video courses that teach people something. These must be objects of value, things that stand out above the wasteland of Internet Freedumb-inspired rubbish. It is only then that you will be able to make a living online.

You must not listen to the skeptics who believe that Internet Freedumb is the only way. Most importantly, you must build a new series of experiences that disprove the Internet Freedumb concept we all seem to initially believe in.

Let me clear up some initial confusion: this disease is not the same as the objects it spawns. Remember, we’re talking about entrepreneurs following a doomed-to-fail mindset, and it’s important to distinguish the cause from the result. The reason for this should be obvious: not all free stuff is dumb. There certainly is a time and a place for free pdf downloads and products. Problems arise when entrepreneurs take this too far, and usually they think that they will solve the puzzle of earning money from their free stuff later.

That “later” doesn’t ever come.

So Internet Freedumb really is just a mentality. It’s a losing mentality that makes you feel like a winner. You’ll think to yourself: “Yeah, I’m giving away lots of great stuff for free and everyone will love me for it!” Unfortunately, you’re just peddling more garbage amongst the gigantic pile of everyone else’s garbage online. You’re not building a business, and you’re certainly not making enough money to justify your hours worked.

Everything we do as human beings is aimed at helping someone (especially ourselves). In most cases, we make the wrong choice for the right reasons. Someone who succumbs to the Internet Freedumb mentality believes that they will help their readers. This is a great reason. Unfortunately, the choice of how to deliver that content (all free, all the time) does not lead to making that reason a reality. This someone also believes that giving everything away for free will get them traffic and money. Sorry, it just never works out that way.

Let’s say you have a really amazing product and are getting ready to price it. All too often, you will drop the price down to ridiculous levels, and eventually give it out for free, because you keep telling yourself that no one is going to pay for it. When someone sees the option to download your product for free or pay $50 for a well packaged tutorial on the subject, you instinctually believe that you’ve made their decision easy.

Unfortunately, our minds tend to consider paid products on a higher quality level than free ones. By giving your masterpiece away, you are devaluing it in the eyes of the reader to the point of possibly not even being worth glancing at.

If you find yourself making pennies from hours of hard work, then you have Internet Freedumb sickness. Don’t for a second believe that this only affects “losers.” In many ways, I myself have been bitten by this bug. Any time you cut corners and produce less than optimal quality content, you are falling for Internet Freedumb. It truly is a disease that destroys your work ethic and the ability to read what your customers want from you.

In the end, subscribing to Internet Freedumb means that you are truly selling out. At first you will think that I am lying to you. “No, selling out would be selling a product.” Actually, by giving away more free garbage, you are basically telling your audience that they aren’t worth creating a quality, paid product for.

The cure

How do we cure ourselves of this deadly disease?

The hardest part about defeating Internet Freedumb is the fact that our heart and brain tell us it’s the right way to go. You cannot defeat these forces without the will to experiment. By being willing to try something new and go outside of your comfort zone, you will have a shot at experiencing the opposite of what you thought had to be true.

Let’s say you ask your audience what kind of product they want you to create, and you actually make it beyond their expectations. If they spend money on your product and love you for it, then you will have a real experience to fall back on anytime someone tells you the Internet Freedumb lie, especially yourself.

Here are four actual steps you can take to experience truths that dispel the lies behind Internet Freedumb.

1. Start using a list

The money is in the list, but for technical or psychological reasons, you’ve been avoiding getting one started.

Let’s cut to the chase and actually get to work on the most important part of your online career. Get a list going!

I recommend Aweber for their “$1 for the first month” deal and easy-to-use tools. If you utilize my tactics outlined in the video course, So You Think You Can Blog, then you should be making a hundred to eight hundred dollars per month in no time.

2. Sell outside products

If you want to disprove the Internet Freedumb mentality sooner than later, you’ll need something to actually sell to your audience. Since creating a high quality product takes time, while you wait to implement one, you can sell someone else’s online product.

I would suggest finding anything above $10 and starting there.

I don’t just want you to disprove Internet Freedumb, I want you to remove it from your brain forever. It’s going to take a bunch of sales from your grateful audience to do that. Thinking along those lines, make sure that you pick a product you both use and love yourself before attempting to sell it.

Now, when you go to sell it, make sure that you don’t just slap a banner on the page and say “Buy this awesome product, I recommend it!” Give it some thought and dedicate your time to writing a review or presenting the product in a more colorful light.

3. Work on your own products

Use video software and a camera to produce at least some raw footage about your niche. Focus on featuring yourself because nobody else can be you. Yes, free has been done before, but a product that you create with your voice, and comprehensive thoughts within it, has definitely not been done before.

Be a new voice even if you’re sharing old information and you’ll be shocked at how much money you can make. At the very least, use a microphone like my Blue Snowball and record high quality podcasts. Just do something, even if it’s not the best presentation the first dozen attempts. But be sure to charge money for it.

4. Surround yourself with winners

Stop hanging out with just the crowd of people who believe in Internet Freedumb. Get out there and meet the entrepreneurs who actually are successful in selling products. Maybe you’ll even learn when it’s okay to use free stuff.

Follow my advice and you will quickly find yourself building experiences which contradict the Internet Freedumb mantra. After a short while, you’ll realize just how stupid it is to follow such a suicidal ideal.

What will it be? A real business based on value or a fake business built on free garbage? You decide.

Chris The Traffic Blogger. Creator of “So You Think You Can Blog” – A video course showing how to make $100,000 per year blogging.

The Perfect Blogging Output Level

This guest post is by Greg Narayan of DearBlogger.

It’s a sad truth: if you stop blogging, people will eventually forget about you.

Just like the actors in our favorite movies or athletes once they retire, we soon forget the big names and find new ones to idolize.

Even if your blog enjoys the spotlight now with revolutionary posts that go totally Justin -Beiber-viral the moment you hit Publish, it won’t last forever. That’s where your output comes in. Reach an appropriate, consistent level of output and you’ll get returning readers while keeping Google happy too.

But how do we reach a “good” level of output, and what amount is it? How much do you have to write to stay popular? Let’s take a look.

The “one post a day” model

The one post a day model is pretty popular, probably because it’s easy to visualize. You wake up, brew the coffee, and sit down at the computer. As your heads spins with thoughts from the previous night and new ideas on the future, you write them down.

This might work very well if you run a “my thoughts on the world” type of blog, or are into self-improvement, or have a blog documenting your travels.

However, if you plan to blog seriously or blog for a living, I see a few problems with the one post a day model:

  • Short: Writing one blog a day inevitably produces short posts, unless you ramble on and on, which is never good. And after Panda, Google doesn’t exactly love brief posts. Unless you have the pull of Seth Godin, one short post after another might confuse your readers or make them think you’re…
  • Cheap: Anyone can write one post a day. You just jot down some words that look like they make sense and hit publish. But the best posts require revisions, to make the points clear and the copy concise. This level of quality is difficult to achieve every single day on your blog.
  • Too personal: If you are writing in your pajamas before beginning the day I’d bet that writing will get pretty personal. Your beliefs and biases will littler the copy in places they just shouldn’t. So unless you have a really, intensely interesting life like Kim Kardashian (ha!) I’d avoid being too personal in your blog posts. It can scare new readers away.

When I wrote on how I blog for money, one of the main messages was that you earn by giving lots of value to readers. If you find posting every day is the best way to give, that’s fine, but be careful you’re not posting every day just to drive more traffic and attention to your blog. You’ll receive just as much traffic in the long run by posting infrequently at first.

Note: For wholesome traffic-gen strategies, check out Ana Hoffman’s blog.

Now, how about we put a different spin on this model?

One post a day, revamped

The “revamped” model will help you truly give, and also use your full creative potential.

The idea is to add guest posts, newsletters, even a super long Google+ post into the mix, and here’s why it works.

Readers like consistency, we know that, so set one post per week in that regime to be on your own blog. Make it personal, with a story from your own experiences. The tone should be different from posts away from your blog, to give readers a distinct feel to latch on to.

The great thing is that allowing yourself to write on places outside your blog really frees up your imagination. I can’t tell you how many people come to me saying they feel pressured to keep the content churning on their own blog, and it’s hurting their writing. Well, this is a solution.

You should know a couple things though before adapting this model. In order to write great guest posts you’ve gotta be immersed. Not in the TV in front of you on the magazine on the table, though you may find inspiration there. No, be immersed in the tone of the other blog. Read five or ten of their posts, catch their vibe, and see what readers want.

A lot of the time, what readers come back for on another blog is totally different from your own blog. To be a successful guest poster you’ll need to wise up to these little style cues on another blog.

This doesn’t just include guest posts. Every Tuesday morning, for example, I send out a newsletter to subscribers only. I’d be crazy to publish a post the same day because it would overwhelm people. Plus, I usually reference past posts in the newsletter, so the flow of traffic coming to my blog is taken care of. This is a great way of reusing content and getting folks to the blog.

Where do I find the inspiration?

So, you’re going with the one post a day model. Maybe you’ve tailored it a bit so you allow yourself two days off. Nothing wrong with that. Either way, you’ll be writing a serious amount.

Where do the ideas come from? It’s no secret good writing requires inspiration, and some of us just seem to have more of it than others. But where do we get it?

Here are a few places you can find inspiration to meet your desired output levels:

  • Conversations: Yes, they still exist off of Facebook. Go have a rich one.
  • Old-fashioned books: Old classics (Gatsby is my fave) boast inspirational ideas well ahead of their time.
  • Restaurants: Observe the menu. Neat words will pop out. Trust me, they will.
  • Other blogs: Your favorite blog should be full of daily inspiration.
  • Travel: Check out PickTheBrain soon for my post on how travel solves all your problems.

What are my limitations?

The honest truth is there are none. I know successful bloggers who rose to fame averaging only a few posts a month (read: Dererk Halpern).

Then there are those who furiously write, even when they can’t stand to anymore.

Forcing yourself to write can be a tremendous burden in the face of another job and even a family. If it’s not a creative outlet for you, either try to make it one, or just chill out. Put the laptop away for a while.

Often, inspiration creeps in when you’re not looking for it.

So, what is the perfect blogging output level?

There isn’t one (lame punch-line, I know).

It’s all about what works best for you, given your daily restrictions to time, money, location, etc.

Personally, I enjoy posting once a week on my blog because my readers expect it, and it’s just enough of a schedule to keep me sane. I know that when I’m not posting I should subconsciously be looking for new ideas—new weird/crazy topics to interrelate—from my surroundings. Then I sprinkle in guest posts like this one or that one to keep folks on a never-ending hunt to find me when I’m not at the blog.

It’s quite fun, actually.

But, your output schedule could be totally different. The point kind of is, you should choose something. Thinking about your output levels will help you tailor a schedule, which I firmly believe is necessary to make blogging for a living actually work someday. And that’s the goal, right?

What works for you?

I’m quite aware the one post a day model is outdated and not for everyone. Honestly, I’m not even sure if I blog enough! So, what works for you? I really hope someone successful out there can chime in and help us all out.

Let me know in the comments.

The Blogger writes on everything blogging at DearBlogger. Get free updates from his email club for more, or .

Don’t Let Your Brain Destroy Your Blog Business

This guest post is by Steve of thecodeofextraordinarychange.com.

The U.S. General Accounting Office has estimated that purchases of equipment by the military that feature new technology are delivered on time and on budget just 1% of the time.1

The worldwide scientific community has agreed unanimously that human activity on planet Earth is responsible for climate change, yet more than half of the people in the U.S. remain incredulous.

In 1964, the front page of The New York Times declared the detection of the afterglow of the big bang, finally settling the question of how the universe came to be.  Or so you’d think.  Even thirty years later, proponents of the “steady state” theory—the idea that the universe has always been around and didn’t start with a big bang—still believed in iterated versions of the steady state theory rather than the big bang.2

In the UK, half of the population believes in heaven, but only a quarter believes in hell.

The common thread that links each of these facts is this:

People reject evidence where it doesn’t support what they already believe to be true.

Your brain, the painter

Your brain is pretty clever.  It doesn’t know everything and it knows that it doesn’t know everything, so it’s become incredibly efficient at painting a picture of yourself and the world that’s based on limited, incomplete and inaccurate data.

It does this without you even knowing what it’s up to, presenting your conscious mind with a complete picture of “how things are” and “who you are” that’s been composited together from different visual cues, memories, and emotions, then Photoshopped to add sunshine and a lens flare.

This mechanism helps you select, filter and even create evidence to support your own beliefs.  It also inflates your own competence and feeds the belief that you’re in control and “right.”

Social psychologists call this motivated reasoning, and recent research using FMRI brain scans shows that when you make a logical, objective assessment of what’s in front of you, it is in fact anything but logical and objective.

When attempting to objectively process data that’s emotionally relevant (such as starting a business, creating a service or marketing yourself), your limbic system lights up and your brain automatically weaves in the things you want, dream, admire, crave, and desire.

When information enters your brain that favours those things you mark it with an A. “Looking good,” you say, patting yourself on the back.

And when information enters your brain that doesn’t favour the way you want to see yourself and the world, you mark it down to a D-.  ”I’m not going to listen to that nonsense,” you say, congratulating yourself for being smart enough not to be duped.

Your choices are not so much based on fact and logic as they are centred on who think you are and what you really want.

Who’s calling the shots?

This automatic deception is normally one step ahead of you, having you do things you wouldn’t do if you knew the real cost.

It’s an in-built defence mechanism that purges the uncomfortable, painful or contradictory information that threatens your core beliefs, even if those same beliefs aren’t serving you well (such as a belief that you’re not good enough, not up to scratch or less than others, for example).

It can have you making a decision about your business based on your desire to fit in.

It can have you wasting your energy on something that your brain tells you will get you lifestyle you think you want, even if you don’t really want it.

It can have you investing time and money in a new project to gain the validation your brain craves.

Letting your brain automatically call the shots is what might ultimately kill your business.

The antidotes

Luckily, there are two antidotes to the unconscious biases created by motivated reasoning.

1. Rampant curiosity

It’s hard for assumptions about yourself and your business to remain unchallenged when you’re asking the right questions.

Ask questions about what’s fun, resonant, playful, daring, meaningful, silly, and important, and be willing to explore your own undiscovered country.

2. Deliberate awareness

Asking questions can open doors that give you valuable insights, but you can only step through those doors and hear those insights when you foster a deliberate awareness and ‘fess up to what you find.

So, notice.

Notice how you’re feeling when you’re making choices.  Notice the thoughts in your head related to your circumstances, business offering, and value.  Notice the thoughts you have about how you feel about what you’re doing.

Motivated reasoning will always have you dancing to the same ol’ tune; well-worn steps that hide the truth, constrain your growth, and ultimately limit your business.

So don’t let your brain make decisions on your behalf that you wouldn’t make while keenly awake and aware.

Wake up to it. Rampant curiosity.  Deliberate awareness. That’s where your success lies in 2013 and beyond.

References

1. Ross Buehler, Dale Griffin and Michael Ross, “Inside the Planning Fallacy: The Causes and Consequences of Optimistic Time Predictions”, in “Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgement”, Cambridge University Press, 2002. Cambridge Books Online. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511808098.016

2. George Smoot and Keay Davidson, Wrinkles in Time: Witness to the Birth of the Universe (Haper Perennial, 2007) 79-86.

Steve is a confidence coach who helps you find your natural confidence so that you can put your dent in the universe – which basically means doing what really matters to you in ways that work for you.  He also likes smiling, and likes this picture of a happy horse.  See more of Steve on Twitter and Facebook.

7 Little-Known Strategies To Get Your Deadbeat Blog Working For You

This guest post is by Jarom Adair of Solopreneur Marketing.

“You lazy, ungrateful, good-for-nothing blog!”

You stare at the 0 comments accompanying each of your most recent posts.

“All you do is sit around all day. I’m the one doing all the work around here!”

Blogs are supposed to bring you traffic, collect comments, and spread your name across the Internet as everyone happily shares the content you so painstakingly created.

But instead, your blog acts more like an apathetic teenager.

It lounges around all day not lifting a finger to help your business. It takes up space and sucks up resources you could be using elsewhere. If you don’t continually feed it new content, it looks like an under-nourished street urchin, embarrassing you in front of visitors.

If you’ve ever handed out a business card and then said to yourself, “Great—now I’ve got to go update my blog before anybody sees it,” you know what I’m talking about.

But your blog was meant to be so much more than that.

Your blog is your baby. Like any good parent, you yearn for your blog to reach its full potential. You brought your blog into the world to see it increase its reach and influence and land new readers every day who will come and fully appreciate the value it holds. Like any good parent, you want your child to become more than you.

And yet there is sits, languishing away with a soda in one hand and the TV remote in the other, letting each new article you feed it slip into the chasm of archived posts without ever seeing the light of day. Despite your best efforts, your blog seems content to become just another forgotten collection of words on the Internet. Infinite potential … gone to waste.

But don’t despair! All the work you’ve put into your blog is not lost and your blog can, with a few simple strategies, bring you traffic, convert that traffic from visitors into leads, and build relationships with your audience till they can’t help but want to work with you—all with minimal prodding and nagging from you.

Grandma would be so proud.

So before you give it an ultimatum and kick it to the curb, use the following little-known strategies to transform your lazy bum of a blog into a productive member of society.

Get a job! And a haircut!

Before you put your blog to work with the upcoming strategies, you need to get clear on what your blog’s job is.

Its job may be to get visitors to call you or purchase something from you. It may be there to support your current clients or build a user community. You might be focused on making money through advertisements and endorsements. Often, a blog’s main job is to collect email addresses.

The question to ask yourself is, “What action do I want people to take when they get to my blog?”

Whatever your main call to action is, that’s your blog’s job.

Now, keeping in mind your blog’s main job, it’s time for the haircut. It’s time to trim all the extra distractions.

If you want visitors to contact you, why are you distracting them with advertisements or a list of your most popular posts? If you’re building an email list, why does each post end with a comments section instead of an email signup form?

Why do you have social sharing links on your site if your audience isn’t big enough to give you decent numbers? Even category and archive links are on the chopping block if visitors are more prone to surf your site than take the action you want them to.

If your blog isn’t performing, take a critical eye to any part of it that doesn’t support your blog’s job and snip away.

You’ve got such potential—if only you’d apply yourself…

With your blog cleaned up and focused, take all that potential you’ve seen in your blog since its inception and use these seven strategies to get the results you crave:

1. Advanced social sharing for advanced results

We all know that if you share a link to your latest blog post on a social site, some people will click on it and visit your blog. This is a fine way of getting your latest post in front of an audience and driving traffic to your site.

You see this kind of discussion posted on LinkedIn and Facebook a lot, and it’s an easy way to get some traffic:

basic sharing

But with a slight change in format, I get on average 586% more comments on my discussions, a lot more traffic to my site, and my old posts that were just sitting around on my blog before are now traffic magnets.

Take a look:

advanced sharing

Do you see the difference?

Include your full blog post in your discussion and add some “related articles” at the end, and viola! You get more comments, more readers, and more people clicking through to your other articles.

You’re using the same strategy ProBlogger uses to keep you surfing their website—you notice how you finish reading an awesome article and suddenly ProBlogger presents you with all sorts of interesting related posts? …Two hours later you’ve forgotten to pick your kids up from school. Right?

Big blogs, news outlets, and social sites have trained all of us to surf from one interesting item to the next by presenting us with related posts. So when you add interesting links at the end of your social post, you’re simply taking advantage of people’s tendency to want to click on more interesting links.

This is a great way to instantly bring traffic to your blog. If you’d like to see step-by-step directions on how this works, you can view this video on using your blog with social sites.

Providing several interesting blog posts for your audience to click on is advantageous to use in social groups as described above. You can also use it, as it turns out, in many other situations as well.

2. Unleash untapped traffic from everyday activities

Any place you’re given enough room to share several of the most popular posts on your blog, you have a much higher chance of pulling someone to your site than if you just say, “Visit my blog here.”

You can offer multiple blog posts on your Facebook Business Page description, on your LinkedIn profile summary, and in your forum signatures.

Don’t forget about email signatures, descriptions in business directories, or online advertising.

What about video? Turning your best blog posts into videos to attract a new audience is a great idea, but when you post them on a site like YouTube, use the video description area to offer links to related blog posts first and then the video description afterwards.

Video links

One of my own affiliates, using videos I created and provided to him, gets more clicks and signups through YouTube than I do using this strategy.

3. Instantly set yourself apart with new connections

We meet new people all the time online. Every new follower, friend, connection, or contact is a potential reader for your blog and lead for your business. But how can you discover if they’re interested in what you offer without coming across as an annoying salesperson?

You’ve been thrown up on by one of your new social contacts, haven’t you? “Thank you for connecting with me,” their first message to you says, and then they immediately launch into a pitch. “My company offers quality products blah blah and we’re having a sale right now blah blah blah …” That’s just annoying. And really ineffective. You don’t want to be that person.

Instead, put your blog posts to use and say:

“It’s good to connect with you. I notice you’re a small business owner, and other people in your position have really enjoyed these articles: (include titles and links to 3–5 of your best blog posts) I hope you enjoy them too!”

And what’s nice is people will write back and thank you for the information you offered them.

This works well on business sites such as LinkedIn. On Facebook you might switch it up a bit and say:

“Thanks for being my friend! Check out my photo collection of redneck inventions and de-motivational posters, and if you’re ever in need of a copywriter, check out some of my best work here.”

It’s nice to start by giving social contacts something fun to look at in addition to business-related info if you meet them in a less formal setting like Facebook.

The right followers on Twitter would respond to a message, in 140 characters or less, such as:

“Thanks for following me! Here are 5 cool tutorials on getting more out of Twitter! MySite.com/top5twitter”

These are great ways to easily draw the right people to your website while simultaneously positioning yourself as a resource for your new contact (as opposed to a salesperson). They visit your site and, if your blog is doing its job, the right people will take action.

And if someone doesn’t click through and view the information you present to them, they’re probably not a good prospect at this time and you can part with no hard feelings.

4. A simple twist on turning old blog posts into money

You’re probably familiar with the concept of combining several of your blog posts together into a special report to give away on your site. If this report is good enough, you might even sell it for money.

One real estate investor did just that, and made a couple hundred dollars his first year selling an ebook created from older blog posts. But when he and I explored how he might make more money from his ebook, we discovered that people who read the book were much more likely to purchase his real estate course. He makes $2,000 per course he sold.

Keeping that in mind, we decided to leave the ebook for sale on his site, but whenever he talked with a prospective real estate student, he should come up with a reason to give them the ebook for free. His prospects loved getting a $39 ebook for free. The next year the investor made a couple hundred dollars selling his ebook on his site, but he made tens of thousands of dollars giving the book away and then selling his courses to people who read his book.

The moral of the story is this: if you have quite a few posts on your blog, especially older ones that don’t get much attention anymore, is it possible you could repurpose them into a special report, ebook, video, webinar, etc. and sell that information? Or use it as part of your marketing funnel to sell a larger item?

5. An easy method for reaching a larger audience through guest posting

You can only reach so many people through your own website. A time will come when you should tap into larger audiences.

If you feel you have the expertise to write for a larger blog, the first thing to do is dig through your past posts and find your top five most popular entries. With those posts in mind, search out the most popular blogs and sites in your industry.

See if those blogs accept guest posts, read through their most popular posts to get a feel for what their audience likes, and submit to the blog owners three of your post headlines you feel would do well on their site.

If they choose one of your headlines then you already know what you’re going to be writing about (using your existing article as an overview), you know readers will love it because it already worked well on your own site, and you are likely to attract more of the kind of people who are already frequenting your own site.

This approach is much faster than going to a popular blog first and then trying to come up with several topics you could write on.

Some high-end sites established protocol for submitting guest posts, while others may require you get to know the blog owners first and then propose a post to them.

No matter who your ideal audience is, a high-traffic blog is out there that caters to them. Look through your best blog posts for information and insights you could write a fresh article on, find those blogs, and propose your ideas to them.

6. Obliterate the competition from your customers’ minds

Another interesting way to make more money using your blog is to use it to educate your prospects about the difference between your services and your competition.

Writing blog posts that compel leads to consider working with you is nothing new, but here is a method to organize your posts in such a way that when your prospects have to choose between you or your competition, they’ll choose you:

A hardwood floor contractor was having a hard time educating his potential clients on why they should choose to work with him. His work was high quality, but he didn’t have enough time to explain to each individual he met the difference between his work and the inferior craftsmanship of his competitors who were undercutting him on price.

We decided to have him record each aspect of properly installing a hardwood floor in a series of blog posts, but to make it easy for people to find this information, we then organized the links to each post in a pdf that he could send his prospects.

As he’d meet new people and quote them on an installation, instead of trying to warn them about how another company might try to rip them off, he’d offer to send them a special document “12 Lies of Hardwood Installation” so they could educate themselves on how to choose the right floor and the person who would install it.

He included horror stories of floors that fell apart due to the use of inferior materials, and when his competition was found to use those materials, the customer became even more likely to call him back.

That is a very effective way to obliterate the competition from your customer’s mind.> My hardwood floor guy did less talking, people could educate themselves on their own timetable, and everyone assumed he was doing the best work because he was the one who wrote the book on it.

Could you do something similar? Could you take a collection of blog posts and organize links to those posts in a simple document to leave with your prospects?

This document will bring people to your site repeatedly, and if you need to make a correction or change, you can simply update your blog post. Writing an entire ebook is not necessary if you can simply point people in the right direction with a simple collection of links.

7. Get online results through offline strategies

As a blogger, you might only be looking for your audience online, but some great ways exist to use your blog to find subscribers and leads offline.

My first couple hundred email subscribers came from networking groups. For many business owners, or new bloggers looking to build an audience quickly, these are great places to meet your audience.

A print broker I coach went to a networking meeting and got more signups to his email list in 90 minutes than he did the previous nine months online using two simple sentences. Whenever somebody handed him a business card, he would look at it for a moment and then say:

“I’ve got some information on my blog I think you’d really like. Can I put you on my email list?”

Everybody he talked to said “Sure!” In this instance his blog was just an excuse to get permission to add people to his email list, and it worked perfectly. It has worked perfectly for many people I coach.

If your target audience meets regularly, this is a great way to build your email list and get some personal report with the people you wish to impress.

Your blog can play a role in other offline marketing strategies, too.

Do you have a business you market with flyers, yellow page ads, postcards, or business cards? If you can print the words “To learn the top 5 ways to drastically improve your health, visit MySite.com/top5” somewhere that people will see it, this kind of intriguing information will often pull a better response than special offers, coupons, or discounts.

I’ve advised a door-to-door pest control sales rep to write up several blog posts on how to detect and protect your house from termites. Instead of just turning away when somebody rejects her, she can offer them a handout with links to this useful information.

I don’t have any results to share on that yet, but can you see how good information on your blog can get in the door even when you can’t? This is a great way to use your blog posts to rekindle a relationship with somebody who had previously rejected you.

Good information is an easy giveaway item that can result in leads and sales you couldn’t have gotten otherwise.

You’re not lazy, so don’t let your blog be

We put our hearts and souls into our blogs. We spend hours writing each week. We lovingly craft each new blog post, yet once it becomes old and leaves the first page, we tend to allow it to die a slow death as an archived post and we rarely dig it up again.

This means that the majority of your blog’s potential—a majority of what you’ve written—is left untapped and unappreciated by your audience.

You and your blog deserve better than that.

Squeeze extreme value out of everything you write. The ideas above are just the beginning of how to do that.

Because you deserve full credit for what you’ve written, and the world deserves to discover the insights you have to offer.

So kick your blog out of its cozy crib and put it to work until everybody else sees your blog for the valuable contribution to their lives that it is.

Jarom Adair is a marketing expert for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses. Sign up for his email list on Solopreneur Marketing to get all of his advice sent to your inbox, including the video “5 Foolproof Strategies Small Businesses Use to Double Their Income” 

How to Brand a Blog Product: Tips from the Pros [Case Study]

Branding. We’re always talking about it, but too rarely do we stop to think about what it actually means. So today I thought I’d step through two great examples of blog product branding and see what tips we can take from these stories. The products I wanted to look at are conferences, which I mentioned in my last Blogging in Brief post.

Amphitheather

Image courtesy stock.xchng user gozdeo

Whether or not you run a conference off the back of your blog isn’t important. I’ve chosen conferences as the example because they’re such a personal, real-time embodiment of a blog’s brand and ethos. Since conferences are often the biggest-ticket item on a blog’s product list, bloggers tend to put a lot into promoting them, so this is a really good way to learn about the branding techniques the pros are using.

The conferences we’ll look at here are very different: Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit and the BlogHer ’13 conference.

World Domination Summit: rockstar branding

This conference’s homepage combines casual and cool really well. To me, the background map image says “wordly, adventurous, unpretentious.” And the other thing that draws the eye on this page—the still photograph from the video—says “rock concert!” I wonder if you feel the same when you look at it?

WDS homepage

The navigation items are also casual-sounding: Story, Schedule, and Headquarters. Unusually, they’re sub-titled, and those subtitles are cheeky and fun. The page’s call to action follows the same spirit: “In July 2012, a small army of remarkable people converged on Portland, Oregon for a weekend of strategizing and adventure. Join us in 2013?”

Language is an important part of branding, and this site proves it. Instantly we know that this conference is going to be a blast.

Clicking around, again the imagery stands out. Most of it looks creative, like the Instagrammed photos we see on Twitter. People are important in these shots—the black-and-white Featured Guests photos look really natural (and their “bios” focus in on the personality and what they’ll teach in a candid, friendly way). But the imagery also focuses on the things you’ll enjoy if you attend: the Portland atmosphere, good food, and an exciting, rock-concert vibe.

Overall, that’s what I get from this conference site: that WDS is going to be an exciting and fun adventure. No wonder it’s already sold out!

WDS also lists its attendees on a map on the homepage. Clicking on the map shows you a profile of the attendee, along with the distance they’re travelling to get to the conference. This is a great way to underscore the value of the conference to peers of the site’s visitors—it’s almost saying, someone like you is willing to travel 576kms to get to this conference. What are you missing out on? Again, to me this reinforces the rock concert vibe.

There’s also a link at top-right of that map which takes you to “The Worldwide Dispatch”—a complete overview of the social media footprint of the event and its attendees, which is great for social reputation-building.

BlogHer: educating women bloggers

BlogHer looks to be targeted at women bloggers who want a kind of blogging “professional development” program. The site offers access to a lot of conferences that carry the BlogHer brand, but we’ll focus on the main conference.

The homepage image is an important one: it shows attendees talking one on one, but that crowd stretches off into the background. Instantly we get the idea that attendees will make personal connections with large numbers of people, and have the opportunity to share stories and learn from each other.

BlogHer home

The navigation for the conference material is very straightforward: Agenda, Register, Sponsors, Attendees, Speakers. And the copy manages to communicate enthusiasm with clarity. The homepage call to action says simply, “Be sure to join us and register now!” And here’s the description of the “Newbie Breakfast”:

“BlogHer welcomes our new attendees to a breakfast dedicated just to you! Spend some time with other attendees just as nervous and excited as you are. Grab a plate, make a buddy, and kick your conference off on the right foot. We’ll offer you some helpful tips to get the most out of your conference experience, walk you through the program, the sponsors, and the social ecosystem of BlogHer ’13.”

This conference sounds fun and very welcoming. There’s no “edge”—the site definitely communicates that attendees will get the opportunity to learn in a comfortable environment.

Speaking of attendees, this page is another interesting contrast with the WDS version. The BlogHer Attendees page is clear, not fancy, and puts attendees front and center. Click on a person, and you’ll see that their profile is designed to allow you to connect with them directly, perhaps even before the conference.

While the information is similar to that presented about WDS attendees, it’s presented differently. It gives access to the attendee’s social media presence, shows their activity in the BlogHer forums, and has space for chats too. Where WDS attendees answered questions about dreams and ambitions (and “What’s your superpower?”), the BlogHer profile is less confronting, providing a snapshot of the individual, and access to communicate with them.

Where personalities might be the focus for WDS, at BlogHer, it seems relationships are most important. It’s a subtle distinction, but I think it’s an important one.

What can we learn?

This quick analysis provides some valuable insights that we can use to review our own blog products, and our blogs themselves, to make sure that our branding is as strong as it can be.

1. Make your products themselves emphasise your brand

Every product we make should be an extension of our core brand. We can see that WDS is an extension of Chris Guillebeau’s blog, The Art of Non-conformity. The imagery and language reflects the attitude on which Chris’s blog is founded. And the presentation of speakers and attendees really emphasises the individualism of the people who’ll be at the conference.

The conference looks like it’ll be even more non-conformist than The Art of Non-conformity—it’ll take this much-loved brand to a whole new, more intense level. Every blog product should do that.

2. Target your audience with every aspect of your product’s presentation

The BlogHer conference site embodies the unintimidating nature of this conference. From the simplicity of the navigation to the opening call to action on the home page, you get the sense that the conference is big, inclusive, and welcoming.

The site is simple to use, and there’s nothing unexpected—unlike the WDS site, which is full of surprises, from the nav subtitles to the map. These presentations have been carefully designed to home in on the emotions that the target audience is likely to feel about attending the events, and create a sense of connection on each of those points.

Both sites tell the target audience, “meet other people just like you.” What’s interesting is how clearly they communicate what “just like you” means—and how much that differs between the two products. Do your blog products connect with their audience this strongly?

3. Communicate your product’s point of difference with perfect clarity

A quick glance around either site communicates its point of difference.

WDS is for those who want to live an exciting, untemplated life.

BlogHer is for women bloggers who want to connect and learn about blogging.

Importantly, you don’t need to read the page copy to understand these differences—the imagery, rich media, page designs, and taglines do a lot of the work. Nothing on either site is inconsistent in this regard. But a as a prime example of that communication, compare the agendas for both conferences.

Here’s the WDS agenda:

WDS agenda

And here’s the BlogHer agenda. BlogHer has multiple events running simultaneously, with titles like “Interest & Identity (Presentation: What Type of Social Media Leader are You? / Roundtable: Beyond the Vertical, Into the Niche),” and provides a brief description of each one.

The agendas of events, and the lists of speakers, are really where the crux of a conference lie. So it’s really interesting to see the differences between these presentations for these two events—instantly we can see these brands’ points of difference.

The critical elements of any blog product should embody its point of difference.

4. Back up that branding everywhere

WDS—and The Art of Non-conformity—targets people with a spirit of adventure—people who are embracing the journey of their lives.

So it makes sense that the WDS site includes interesting details about the city in which the event’s located. It makes sense to mention how far each attendee is travelling in their profile. It makes sense to have a “Headquarters” navigation item, which echoes the idea of having a “home base” when you’re on holiday—a place where you can relax and focus, and which you head out from each day on a new adventure.

Meanwhile, the BlogHer Agenda helps users out with links to an “at-a-glance” session list, and links to speakers and additional program announcements right under the page header. Again I get the feeling that the BlogHer attendees are going to be well looked after—they’ll never get lost at this event.

BlogHer more info

These little things seem like, well, little things. But they add up to consistent branding that speaks to the audience on multiple levels simultaneously. That makes the product branding trustworthy.

5. That’s right: everywhere

Blog product branding isn’t about creating a coherent atmosphere through your product and its sales pages—you also need to look at the way you’re communicating about it on your blog, on social media, in any content or off-site marketing you do (including ads and promotions), and so on.

That might mean you need to be selective about the information you provide to affiliates. It might mean you avoid guest-posting on certain blogs that don’t reflect the ideas or ethos that your product is promoting.

Don’t just limit your branding to your own sites and efforts: try to ensure that the keys to your product’s ability to connect with customers are consistent wherever it’s mentioned.

More branding tips from the pros

I know many of you have blog products of your own, so it would be great to hear what you’ve learned about blog branding and product branding through your own work. Let us know your tips in the comments.

How to Get Your Headshot to Appear in Google Results—Wherever Your Content is Published

This guest post is by of WebBizIdeas.

Many people who blog want their image to appear next to their listing in Google’s search engine results (SERP) when either they publish a post, their guest contributors publish a post, or when they guest post on other sites.

What is the correct way to code your blog to ensure your content looks like this in Google.com?

SERP

First, does having this picture in the SERP results increase Click Thru Rate (CTR)? Yes.

Cyrus Shepard had a great blog post on SEOMOZ about how just changing his picture increased CTR by 35%!

Imagine the increase in your blog’s traffic if every blog post you write has your picture next to it.

Where is your content located?

So what are the steps that you need to take in order to get an author picture next to all your blog content, wherever it’s published? The steps you take depend on these three questions:

  • Is your content on a single author site?
  • Is your content on a multiple author site?
  • Is your content on a site you don’t own?

Content on a single author site

If you own a blog and only you post on it, here are the steps to follow to get your image to appear in Google’s search results:

  1. Log into your Google+ account.
  2. Click Edit Profile.
  3. Click Contributor To. You’ll see this page:
    contributor to box
  4. Add a custom link (Blog homepage) with a label (Blog Name).
  5. Click Save and then Done Editing.

Next, option 1, drop this code into the <head></head> of your website:

<link rel=”author” href=”YOURGOOGLE+URL” />

Note: You need to change the “YOURGOOGLE+URL” to the URL of your Google+ profile, like this, for example:

<link rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/117792845748456348623/” />

Or, option 2, add an author bio plugin to your blog so that an author bio section appears at the bottom of each post. It should look something like this:

Bio

Next, link to your Google+ profile with the text “Google+” in this way:

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/(number)?rel=”author”>Google+</a>

Note that you need to change the link in the example above to your Google+ account information. If you just link to your profile and don’t add this, Google will not trust that it’s really you. Why do they trust it if you add this code? Because only people who have access to their own website should be able to add that code.

So change the (number) to the number that appears in your Goolge+ URL, like this:

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/104880783618418200291?rel=”author”>Google+</a>

Where does that 21-digit code come from?

If you go to your Google+ profile, and look in the URL, you will see your unique, 21-digit number:

the code

Content on a multiple author site

If your content is published on your blog, along with posts by other writers, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your Google+ account.
  2. Click Edit Profile.
  3. Click Contributor To.

    multi-contributor blog

  4. Add a custom link (Author Bio Page) with a label (Blog Name).
  5. Click Save and then Done Editing.
  6. Create an author bio page (like this example author bio page).

Now, link to your Google+ profile from that author bio page using the text “Google+” in this way:

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/(number)” rel=”me”>Google+</a>

Note: You need to change the link in my example to your Google+ account information. If you only link to your profile, and don’t add this, Google will not trust that it is really you. Why do they trust it is you if you add this code? Only people who have access to their own website should be able to add that code.

Here’s an example:

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/104880783618418200291” rel=”me”>Google+</a>

Then, link your name on each content page to the author bio page in the following way:

<a href=”AUTHORBIOPAGE” rel=”author”>Jeff Foster</a>

Note that here, you need to change “AUTHORBIOPAGE” to your author bio page URL. Plus, you need to change “Jeff Foster” to your name in the example above.

So here’s the example code:

<a href=”http://www.webbizideas.com/author/jefffoster” rel=”author”>Jeff Foster</a>

Where do you link your name?

Everywhere. If you have the author’s name on top of the post, in the author bio, or even in a “More articles by” box, you should link using rel=author to tell Google that the linked page is the author’s bio page.

Linked name

linked name in bio

Content on another site

  1. Direct the blog owner to step #2 above. Remind them that if they do not start publishing content from real, Google-verified people, Google may consider the content to be of lower value than that on other sites—or even penalize them.
  2. Add <a href=”https://plus.google.com/(number)?rel=”author”>Google+</a> to the author bio section of the page or somewhere in the body content.
  3. Log back into Google+.
  4. Click Edit Profile.
  5. Click Contributor To.
  6. Add the website you have posted your guest post on. To verify your code is correct, use the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool.

Is your picture appearing alongside your search results?

It’s not hard to make sure your image appears in the search results, and as we’ve seen, this can increase clicks to your articles—whether on your blog or someone else’s.

Have you made these changes to your blog yet? Let us know in the comments. Also, if you’re a visual learner take a look at the a video and infographic tutorial I made to reflect the information in this post.

is the owner of WebBizIdeas, an SEO, social media marketing and website design firm. Visit his seo resource center for more helpful tutorials on how to promote your business online.

Triple Your Facebook Likes in Two Weeks

This guest post is by Samuel of Internet Dreams.

Would you like some more cake after having a first slice?

Most of us wouldn’t be satisfied with just one slice of cake, so we end going back to the table and grabbing a second one. Heck, some of us would go for a third or fourth slice if we could!

For bloggers, the same goes for likes on Facebook. Facebook is like that party you want to go to—and it’s a big one since Facebook is the largest social network on the planet.

Most blog owners I know would love to get more likes on their Facebook pages.

Today, I want to share how I tripled my Facebook likes. This technique worked to help me get the Likes I wanted to see.

The right way to use Facebook ads to gain Likes

This technique is going to require some money, but it’s a small investment that’s worth every penny.

I’m a student that really doesn’t have much money at all.

But still, I can find a way to make the right investment for my blog. Just a small outlay—in my case, $5 a day—can propel your blog to new heights.

It helped me get thousands of new Likes for my Facebook page in a few weeks!

Let’s step through the best way to create an ad quickly, and use Facebook to target the people who are most likely to be interested in your blog.

4 Easy steps to tripling your Facebook Likes

Step 1. Create a new ad space in Facebook

First off, log into your Facebook account, look for the Ads option in the sidebar.

Create a new ad, and insert the URL to your Facebook page.

1. Choose the Get More Page Likes option

As you can see in the image below, there are several options you can take in order to grow your brand’s presence on Facebook.

get-more-page-likes

But for our purposes today, choose the first option. This can be one of the best ways to spend your money on Facebook!

2. Design your Facebook ad

edit-ad

This part needs to be well thought out, so take your time with it. Your ad is what all of those users will see—it needs to convince them to like your page.

Make the ad unique—something that will make users want to Like or check out your Facebook page. Consider your audience, and think about a message that will make them feel good about your brand or page.

I used the tagline “Want Your Dreams To Come True On The Internet?” It’s worked really well for me and has gotten the attention of many on Facebook.

3. Optimize your ad for the “right” people

choose-audience

What we want to do here is target the right people and get the most targeted Likes that we can.

Your topic or type of Facebook page might be different then what I chose, but take a look to see how each area is edited to best target my audience.

The arrows in the image above point out the most important areas that you need to edit.

Go over your blog and identify the most important keywords that you can use for the ad. Those keywords will be turned into topics that can be used as interest keywords.

Also, I like to target English-speaking countries since they seem the most responsive to my offers and updates.

4. Set up your money and budget for the ad

campaign-pricing

How much you spend is up to you. If you are looking to triple your likes in the shortest time possible, add as much money as you can to the campaign budget.

I personally started with a budget of $5 per day, which gave me a chance to see if the ad was performing at its best.

Also, set your pricing to Cost per Click, as this keeps it simple and ensured you’re only charged for user actions.

The $5-per-day budget has really worked for me, and let me triple my likes for Internet Dream’s Facebook page. Plus, I was able to do that very quickly and gather such an amazing amount of targeted likes.

Step 2. Network and connect

Of course, don’t forget good old networking and connecting as the most organic, and cost-effective way of encouraging others to check out your Facebook page.

Building real relationships is the deepest way to give other users a good impression of yourself. Have friendly conversations with the people you connect with on Facebook, and offer to help with your answers to their questions. Once you’ve done that, you can suggest the person Like your page

Here’s an example of a message I use on Facebook after I have connected with someone:

facebook-connection-thankyou-message

As you can see, I thank them for connecting with me, which encourages them to feel good about themselves and our connection.

I also direct them to my Facebook page and invited them to Like it, since people are more inclined to act if you ask them to.

There are many ways to connect on Facebook, and some of the situations you may face now could give you the change to gain a nice Facebook Like. Here are a few examples:

  • email conversions
  • commenting
  • Twitter conversation
  • Facebook profile status
  • Facebook friendship connection “Like the example above”
  • any form of conversation with a human being on the other side of the screen!

Step 3. Add a “Please like this blog on Facebook” CTA to your blog

If users land on your blog, they should appreciate it if it has a usable design and offers great content.

The main focal point of any blog is the article. This is your chance to rack up some free Likes.

At the beginning or end of the article, include a linked CTA to Like your Facebook page. Make it stand out, so it’s clearly visible to the eyes scanning your article.

Also placing your Like CTA in the sidebar will make it visible all of the time, no matter where the visitor is on your blog.

Internetdreams facebook like box

This makes the Like CTA persistent, even though it is not as effective as the CTA in the article. I made the mistake of placing the CTA too low in the sidebar, and just recently bumped it up, which has given me more Likes.

4. Use plugins to help you generate Likes more easily

There are several plugins that can help you get Likes for your Facebook page. Some are paid, but some are free for you to use.

One technique I use for my blog that helps me get likes is through the Thank You for Commenting page that I set up for my blog, which is shown below. This is a fine way to connect with those new users who have just commented on your blog. Asking them to like your Facebook page on your Thank You page can be a great way to get an extra Like.

Internetdreams thankyou page

As you can see, I ask users to follow or Like Internet Dreams on Twitter and Facebook.

A great plugin to use in this situation is the Comment Redirect plugin by Yoast. This free plugin will help you redirect your commenter to the right page after they comment—you’ll need to make sure to set up the Thank You for Commenting page like mine above.

Some other plugins I’ve found helpful for getting more Likes include:

Who wouldn’t like more Likes?

In this post, I have shown you some of the techniques I’ve used to rack up some new Likes.

I have found these methods to be the most rewarding, and I’ve worked really hard on each of them to fully enjoy the benefits they provide. The results are reflected in the title of this post—but only through the hard work I have put in order to receive those results.

I cannot guarantee the same results for you, since this largely depends how much work you are willing to put in. But I can promise you that with the hard work you put in through these four steps, the results will come.

What are some ways you get more Facebook Likes? Share them with us in the comments.

Want to reach higher goals with these top wordpress plugins? Maybe learn how to get more followers? I am Samuel and I own Internet Dreams. Internet Dreams is a place where you can engage and learn how to set up and succeed with your blog or site.

The Valuable Content Marketing Strategies Of George Carlin And Sheldon Cooper – How It Has Helped Me

This guest post is by Frank Angelone of Social Tech Zone.

The same rehashed garbage! 

They were my feelings in 2012 about to bloggers implementing content marketing strategies.

They seem to believe that just because they’re in a potentially crowded niche that revisiting topics which have already been covered is going to be successful for them.

These types of bloggers are usually deluded by this misconception:

“The 300,000-subscriber blog wrote about this topic, so if I do it too, I’m sure to get people interested in my content.”

Let me tell you something: it’s not going to work.

When does content actually resonate with someone?

To be brutally honest, in most cases, it doesn’t.  We’re all looking for some type of answer, yet the majority of people online are either talking about the same thing or they really don’t teach anything.

They’re more interested in using their content to get you to buy something.  This is a failed marketing strategy waiting to happen.

In this post, I’m going to share with you how you can connect with your readers and not have to resort to rehashing what everyone else is doing!

Solving problems with selfish content

Aren’t you tired of hearing “good content” or “quality content is the key” every single day?  Yeah, me too.

Your job in content marketing is to be able to tell me why you’re experience is worth listening to.  You need to do something that will smack your readers in the face.

What one, two-punch combo can you deliver? and how do you execute it to perfection?

Simple.  Anything that fills the readers potentially selfish desires.  I mean, we all are online for answers and solutions, aren’t we?

We always say we’re here to help people and it’s true.  Well, you are here to do just that, but the person on the other end wants you to cater to them (and they’re not wrong to feel that way). 

That’s not going to happen unless you trigger a “selfish” emotion that you know they can relate to.

Sheldon Cooper: the A-list marketer?!

If you watch the Big Bang Theory, you’re familiar with Sheldon Cooper and his amusing yet obnoxious sense of humor.

While it is just a t.v. show, everyone loves the character.  Why?  He’s funny, but he’s selfish. 

You have to keep this in mind when writing for your audience.

Viewers of the show (you) are Sheldon’s audience.  We may not always agree with his methods of getting our attention, but we listen because, as viewers, we’re able to identify with a variety of his “selfish” scenarios.

Sheldon wants it his way—and the same holds true for whoever you’re marketing to. If you do something different and in a non-traditional manner, kind of like this post, people tend to pay attention.

Sometimes being a little over-the-top or over-zealous with your content marketing is the real secret sauce that people can relate to. You should definitely considering trying this out.

Derek Halpern of Social Triggers has the over-the-top personality when he markets to you, but you listen because you can relate to him.

So ask yourself this question: “How can I put my experience, plus a story, plus an edge into what I’m teaching?”

Point out the unexpected like George Carlin

Probably the greatest comedian of all time, George Carlin was probably also one of the greatest potential content marketers.

He smacked you in the face. He got you to think and maybe even gave you some insight on what we as a society can do to improve ourselves. (See? It’s all about you!)

His words live on to this day.  Why?  He didn’t rehash what the other big-name writers were pushing out there.  He took a different approach. His 7 Deadly Words You Can’t Say On TV was so off-color, and strayed so far from the norm that he found himself in major trouble with the FCC.  He revolutionized the industry and his content sold!

Now, I’m not saying you need to revolutionize your industry with what you’re creating, but stop getting sucked into the playing-it-close-to-your-chest mentality that so many people have become engulfed by. Do it your way and show people how things really are in your niche.

To put things in perspective, I recently wrote a post entitled How To Land A Job With One Of The Largest Social Media Agencies: What I Did.

Granted, a lot of people write about this topic, but if you notice, I included information about what I did in the title.  This assures my readers that I have a proven tip that works.

“But, Frank,” everyone always says. “Don’t make it about you! Make it about your reader.”  That’s wrong.  If you don’t make it about you and your experience, your content will not be relatable to your reader.  It all goes back to selfish Sheldon Cooper.

I shared a personal experience and here’s how one of my readers reacted to it…

“This blog post should be shared with every college age student looking to grab their dream job! So neat that you left such a prestigious place to perform in a position that supports your passion!”—Jim Traister

I created value by doing something that I’m teaching.

Being selfish isn’t always bad

I want to clear up any ambiguity and let you know that I’m not saying readers of your content are selfish, bad people.  They want answers backed up by experience, not just a rehashed answer that they’ve heard somewhere else.

When I go somewhere for content, I want an answer.  I’m being selfish in that respect because I need the answer to improve my life.  To stay in this mindset as a content marketer can be a very solid approach to grow your business.

I value anyone who reads my content and I talk with all of them.  If they’re enjoying what I provide,  I continue to find ways to do more of what they need.

When I interview well known entrepreneurs like Brian Clark, Gary Vaynerchuk, or Leo Babauta on my podcast, I do so knowing they can help my audience. 

We’re all trying to help the next person in line.  If you’re aware of that concept, it’s all you need to know moving forward.

Do you take this approach when you write your content?  Are you understanding the needs of who’s on the other side?  Do you have an actual experience that I can relate to?  Tell me in the comments.

Frank Angelone is the Founder of Social Tech Zone provide unique views on social media strategies and new technologies instead of the same rehashed grabage.  He couples his blog with the STZ Podcast talking with successful entrepreneurs like Brian Clark, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Leo Babauta. Subscribe to his newsletter and you can be sure he’ll develop an actual friendship with you.