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Blogging Like a Shark: 10 Secrets to Bootstrapping Your Blog into a Business

This is a guest contribution from Matthew Capala of SearchDecoder.com.

Shark bloggers are experts in their field of choice. However, they rarely call themselves experts or gurus. Skilled blogging pros, such as James Altucher, establish their authority on social networks and search engines by creating immensely authentic and valuable content, establishing strong connections with their readers.

1 - James Altucher 2

James hardly resembles a shark, but make no mistake. Think more in terms of a “pool shark” versus a voracious eating machine. Shark marketers are at the top of the promotional food chain but not because they use force or deception.

2 - shark definition

In today’s competitive times, bloggers need to bootstrap intelligently to stand out from the scores of new blogs and brands with million dollars content-marketing budgets. Your objective as a bootstrap blogger should not be praying all day for one kill. Your aim should be the top of the food chain.

3 - predotorty shark

Predatory Marketing Tactics Dont Work Anymore

Shark marketers rarely if ever address themselves as “experts.” This crowd is too busy helping and connecting to pat themselves on the back. Think of yourself as a center of distribution. As you disseminate more helpful content to a growing number of people an inflow of leads, opportunities and money flows in to you.

Contrary to popular belief, the idea of bootstrapping is not based on using free marketing to spread the word about your brilliant idea. According to dictionary.com, bootstrapping means “relying entirely on one’s own effort and resources”.

Play to your strengths by leveraging your time and talent. Growing your blog usually requires a minimum injection of capital to build momentum, combined with persistent, intelligent labor. For example, hiring a designer may be a good idea – online readers tend to judge the book by its over before they commit any attention to what you are saying.

5 - time money talent ven

Unlike the monstrous, ferocious predators which roam the infinite online seas, whale sharks don’t need to use predatory tactics to promote their businesses. They use great content marketing to attract the visitors to their blogs like a magnet.

Today’s intelligent buyer will be repulsed by hard-charging, competitive marketing tactics.  Operate on a creative plane of thought to attract people like a magnet. Shift from a competitive to a creative mindset and you will win big on the Internet.

Stop stalking. Start connecting. Turn your marketing into a conversation.

6 - magnet

Market with a Magnet

Web users are tuning out marketing noise. Click-through rates are dropping like a brick. Visualize marketing with a magnet instead of the old, worn out sledgehammer advertising approach. 

7 - sledgehammer vs magnet

Use pull marketing to employ the principle of attraction versus the old school push marketing tactics that turn off today’s sophisticated consumer. Create value to become valuable.

8 - Own your ZMOt

Own Your Zero Moment of Truth

80% of consumers search for a product or service before purchasing it. Ranking your blog on Google for quality keywords can turn your blogger status to a rockstar overnight. 

Place a heavy emphasis on nailing down one of the top positions on Google for your desired keywords or key phrases. Keep in mind that only 15% of search results are the old-school ’blue links.’ Estimated 85% of Google search results are social media, videos, images, maps, and the knowledge graph. Fish where the fish are.

Increase your click-through rates by designing attention-grabbing page titles and headlines. Include thought-provoking or funny images in your blog posts to stand out and boost engagement. 

Owning your zero moment of truth inspires you to increase organic search engine click throughs by improving your ad creative writing skills. It’s a win-win.

9 - personal branding

Personal Branding Is Branding

Beginner bloggers often ask me: How do you draw a line between your business name and your personal brand?

You don’t. It’s one and the same.

Steve Jobs built Apple, not the other way around. You have built your own company, You Inc. However, being a blogger is much different from being a CEO. The first is a hobby, the latter is a job.

Consider using SlideShare to tell your brand’s story, including the problems you are solving and why people should care about your brand. Readers like eye candy. Creating a visually appealing tale forms an emotional bond with your target audience.

 

10-media company

Every Business is a Media Company

Blogs serve as one-stop shopping for any website visitors. Post articles, reviews, podcasts and videos on your blog to brand your business. Companies that blog get 55% more website visitors and B2C companies that blog get 88% more leads per month, according to Hubspot. 

Yet many businesses fail to achieve desired results blogging. They fail and give up on content marketing because they don’t operate like a media company.

11 - optimize blog content

Frequency is key to success. Blogging regularly encourages your audience to know, like and trust you. Build your blog on WordPress for increased functionality. Use plugins to capture subscribers and improve your presentation. Position sharing button beside each blog post to leverage your presence. Sharing buttons like the Floating ShareBar can increase sharing by up to 30%. Details matter.

Open your blog to guest posting and build strong business relationships. Join blogging communities, such as Triberr, to build solid relationships with fellow niche bloggers.

12 - startegy

Win Your Battles Before the First Shots Are Fired

Understand the difference between content marketing and content strategy. Content marketing is the creation and promoting of content to attract a targeted audience. Content strategy is the creation of scalable and repeatable content for a built-in audience. Content marketing is like baking a cake while content strategy is similar to owning a bakery. 

13 - cake bakery

Developing a content strategy requires intensive planning. Create content based on researched user needs, deliver this content through various mediums such as video and podcasts and promote along channels which resonate with your target audience.

14 - healthy heartbeat

You Need a Healthy Heartbeat

A healthy, vibrant blog looks similar to a healthy heartbeat. Imagine the steady, predictable ticks on an EKG meter measuring your heartbeat. Engaging through social media channels like twitter and Facebook creates tiny ticks. Sharing Infographics, videos and blog posts creates a larger spike which creates a big impact with a small hit. PR and branded content creates massive spikes. The large hits which make big impacts target news outlets and other large audiences through macro content campaigns.

15 - Heartbeat

Build your inbound marketing campaign on being disciplined. Work your system on a daily basis. Set up a content calendar. Starting at a calendar can inspire you to create content even if you don’t feel like working. Use this motivational strategy to hold yourself accountable.

16 - lead genertion

Invest in Lead Generation at the Outset

Create in-depth, thorough content you could sell for a handsome profit and give it away for free. This approach might seem counterintuitive to bloggers looking to monetize every click, but karma ensures that the value you offer will return to you in some way, shape or form. Use your free giveaway as link bait. 

Build your email list through this exchange of value. In return for your helpful, free giveaway subscribers will gladly offer their name and email address. Use tools like “Pay with a Tweet” to increase social sharing. Users can access your free giveaway by tweeting your giveaway link. This expands your presence and gives visitors a quick and easy way to access your free product.

17 - be interesting

To Be Interesting, Be Interested

Successful shark bloggers follow the teachings of famous behaviorists, such as Dale Carnegie. They generate interest by expressing interest. 

Expressing genuine, heartfelt interest in other bloggers will result in similar reaction towards you. Focus on helping others who need help. Engage in genuine conversations, add value wherever you show up and answer questions to gain the trust of your target audience.

Use social media tools like Topsy to find your audience. Run searches to connect with interested parties through twitter, blog commenting, and everything in between.

18 - marathon

It’s a Marathon Not a Sprint

Take a big picture approach to blogging. Each seemingly tiny step taken leads to solid if not spectacular results in the long term. If only you don’t give up to see it.

Work your way through temporary frustrations by visualizing yourself achieving great things. Professional athletes employ this technique. Clearing your inner world can motivate you to succeed. 

Shark bloggers are a driven, dynamic, and focused bunch. However, they combine high-octane enthusiasm with a significant dose of planning, tools and preparation to stay focused and play a long-term game. 

It might not be easy to be positive every day when you grow a blog from its infancy but doing so can provide you with immense returns in the long run.

Good luck!

Matthew Capala is an inbound marketing strategist, personal branding coach, Internet entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and author. He is an Adj. Professor at NYU and Head of Search at Lowe Profero. His free personal branding e-book, Away with the Average, has been widely praised. A leading voice in the start-up community, Matthew founded SearchDecoder.com, a venue for SEO ideas for entrepreneurs. You can find him on Tiwtter at @SearchDecoder.

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Comments

  1. Justin says:

    Hi Darren, this a clear cut and really inspiring article, I am running a few blogs for the past 3 years but havent earned a dollar yet, people like you keep me motivated and high. Thanks for the contribution.

    • Mtanzania says:

      Peace of advice Cancel, 1) Find out why did you started blogging, 2)Redefine your blogging goals, 3) Plan your blogging strategies and implement them for more six months am sure even if you wont have a penny as a cash but your affiliate accounts will have some numbers. Again see this post (http://www.problogger.net/moneymap/) from problogger to visualise how you can make money online. There is an image that I use as my desktop wallpaper.

  2. Mazhar says:

    Great Article Matthew, Love the part about Personal branding vs blog branding, seriously as a blogger both are one and the same like you said. And yes its a marathon not a race, a lot of new bee bloggers just want to make money in the first month and when they don’t, they quit.

  3. George says:

    I like center of distribution, but it reminds me of UPS or FedEx. I like influencer until that words gets ruined too. I have interviewed a lot of very successful bloggers and I find that 2-yrs is a very important mark.
    I like the emphasis on beyond Google SERPs.

    • Hello George, I think that 2-year for a blog is a big anniversary as well. Things start getting together after you put out enough great content constantly. No free lunch in blogging.

  4. Priya Ranjan says:

    Awesome post. You’ve not left any stone unturned.
    What I’ve learnt so far:
    1. Blogging is a persistent exercise
    2. It is healthy habit (and passion), and you can’t live without it
    3. Content is king
    Your post reinforces my thoughts.

  5. Matt says:

    Great article, especially in a society of instant gratification. Starting up and running a successful business takes planning, persistence and patience, not to mention hard work.

  6. Aaron Diaz says:

    I read your article and I like your post I think that is very useful information to me I’ll follow your tips.

  7. Vivek Shukla says:

    great article to boost my website and get traffic from several location. i have a blog with 50+post but don’t get traffic from google or any other social networking sites. i wish your tips helps my blog to get traiic

  8. Eugene says:

    #10 Really stood out to me. Understanding that blogging is a process. It grows and develops.

    Any one can start a blog, but the key is to continue blogging. Eventually the blog catches fire and expands on its own.

    • The idea behind growth is built around ones’ ability to build a scalable process where small things (over time) compound into big results. Blogging is just like that :-) thanks for reading

  9. All great points, but the last one in particular is so important. All too often, bloggers who have the potential to turn their blogs into fantastic businesses give up right before they start seeing results.

  10. wheat penny says:

    Great Article! We have been focusing on creating content and not enough on marketing. If you treat your blog like a business you must have a good marketing strategy. IMO, this is why most websites/blogs fail.

  11. Thoughtful post Matthew,

    It will do your business no good if all you want to keep pitching prodcts to them without producing something of real value regularly.

    And I love the point that one cannot draw a line between his personal and business life.

    Thanks for this post Matt,

  12. Mike Cusano says:

    Really enjoyed reading this article. My favorite was #10. Blogging seems like such a simple thing, but little do people know the complexity and science behind a successful blog. I think this article gives guidance in the right direction towards a successful blog.
    http://jsimple.com/

  13. Amanda Kelly says:

    Great article Matthew! All of these are so true and so important to remember. Thanks for the inspiration to keep going!

  14. Really amazing post you have here. It’s no longer a secret. Thanks for sharing, it have inspire me to do better on working on my task and business strategies.

  15. Naina says:

    Really a very helpful and inspiring article. Explained very well.

  16. Ari Wahyudi says:

    A very fine presentation, Matthew.
    I will surely mark this article as a must read for every marketer.

  17. Siraj Wahid says:

    Hey Matt,

    I recently started to believe that blogging is a business, if you want to change your name from blogger to a rockstar then you must convert your blog in to a business and you should expect the same things from blogging which you can expect from a business. But converting your blog into a business isn’t easy, you need a complete strategy to do it. So, make this day your very first day of creating your own business.

    -Siraj Wahid

  18. Hey Matthew,

    Really an informative article. I was confusing myself between a CEO and a blogger, but now I know the difference. I think your article will help me converting my hobby to a business. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Saboor Zaidi says:

    Loved the last part. It’s truly a marathon where every little step matters.

  20. neerajsom says:

    Really good ting for bootstrapping for website..

  21. John says:

    Yes blogging is a Marathon not sprint. We must need to know that.Thanks for sharing these top 10 secrets,hope all these will help us to establish our blogging carrier.

  22. Dan Stelter says:

    This was a very creative and interesting post. I especially loved point #5 – every business is a media company. I’m trying to communicate this to companies these days. Most don’t really understand what “taking your blog seriously” means, and those that do win the search marketing game.

  23. cori warner says:

    I just found problogger, after two years of blogging, and just in time! Ive been struggling with how to grow my blog and trying to make decisions about content. I think your site will be very helpful in working through these decisions!

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