Close
Close

Free Webinar: How to Start (or Reboot) Your Blog Right: 8 success factors that determine your blog’s future

UPDATE: this webinar is now finished. Check out other upcoming webinars at our Problogger Webinars page.

This coming Tuesday/Wednesday (depending where you live) I’m running a free webinar with Chris Garrett.

The time of the webinar is:

Los Angeles: 5pm Tuesday 28th
New York: 8pm Tuesday 28th
London: 12am Wednesday 29th (sorry my UK friends!)
Singapore and Perth: 8am Wednesday 29th
Cape Town: 2am Wednesday 29th
Melbourne and Sydney: 11am Wednesday 29th

Note: we will record the webinar but you need to register to receive access to it.

The title of the webinar is – How to Start (or Reboot) Your Blog Right: 8 success factors that determine your blog’s future

Chris Garrett is long term blogger, the co author of the ProBlogger book and Chief Digital Officer at CopyBlogger Media.

Here’s a short description of what will be covered:

The world of blogging has gone mainstream, and this has introduced both opportunities and also challenges. Today you need more than passion and technical know-how, you need a plan.

How can you break through the noise and get started in 2014? If your blog is stumbling, how can you get it on the right track? In this webinar, Chris Garrett takes us back to fundamentals and talks us through the planning and research that lead him to his new forthcoming blog.

Normally our webinars are for paid up members of ProBlogger.com only but as this topic is so applicable to a wider audience we thought we’d open it up for free.

To register you’ll simply need to sign up for a free account to ProBlogger.com and register for the webinar.

Here’s the process:

1. Head to the webinar page here.

2. Click the ‘register’ button.

Screen Shot 2014 10 27 at 10 53 24 am

3. A popup box will appear with a button to create a free account. Click it.

Screen Shot 2014 10 27 at 10 54 31 am

4. Add your details and click ‘continue’.

Screen Shot 2014 10 27 at 10 45 03 am

5. You’ll be now taken back to the webinar page where it should show you’re now registered for the webinar. You’ll get an email confirming your registration and another reminding you of the webinar as it approaches.

Can’t wait to see you in the webinar later this week!

Remember, we will record this for those unable to make the live webinar but you’ll need to register with the above process to gain access to it.

Note: your free account on ProBlogger.com only gives you access to upcoming the live ‘public’ webinars including one with Jeff Goins next month and one with Elise Cripe in December.

Paid up members also unlock a heap more in ProBlogger.com and gain access to recordings of all webinars (currently 31 in our archives), future monthly private webinars, our ProBlogger plugins, a private forum area etc.

3 Ways to Define What Your Blog Is About

What is your blog about?

It’s a question all bloggers get asked from time to time. How do you answer it?

It’s also a question I know many ProBlogger readers wrestle with – particularly when starting out.

What is my niche? Do I even need a niche? How do I define my niche?

Every time I run a Q&A webinar over on ProBlogger.com, I get questions around whether bloggers need a niche. I thought I’d put a few thoughts into a blog post and suggest three ways to define what your blog is about.

1. Niche

Lets start with the most obvious one – choosing a ‘niche’ to blog about.

Most bloggers I know would classify their blog in this way. I often do!

ProBlogger – at it’s most basic level is a blog about blogging (sad but true!).

Digital Photography School – it’s a blog about digital photography.

Everything that happens on my blogs comes back to these core topics – they’re very much niche blogs.

There are many other examples of great ‘niche’ blogs. For example Chris Hunter’s BikeEXIF.

Screen Shot 2014 10 22 at 10 14 56 am

2. Demographic

Most ProBlogger readers fit fairly and squarely into a ‘niche’ but I know from experience that there’s quite a few of you squirming in your seat and resisting the urge to scroll to the comments section to tell me that your blog doesn’t fit into a niche.

Perhaps thinking about ‘who’ your blog is for rather than the ‘topic’ it is about is a better approach for you.

Over the last 10 years I’ve seen more and more bloggers developing blogs around a certain demographic of readers.

Gala Darling was one of the first I came across doing this on her blog (although there were others doing similarly.

Screen Shot 2014 10 22 at 10 13 58 am

A quick look over Gala’s blog and you can see she’s talking about a range of topics – Style, Beauty, Travel, Self Love are 4 categories but over the years she’s talked about relationships, horoscopes and much more. While her blog doesn’t really fit neatly into a ‘niche’ Gala seems to have a clear understanding in her mind of who she is writing for.

There are many examples of bloggers targeting particular demographics. Some are focused upon men or women, others are aimed at a generation, others are aimed at a lifestyle.

3. A Fight

At this year’s ProBlogger Event in Portland Oregon Jeff Goins gave a talk that presented another way to think about what your blog is about that I know many attendees found really helpful.

He suggested picking a ‘fight’.

For a gentle shy guy like me, this at first sounded a little confronting – but as he spoke, I realised I’d already picked a fight in my blogging!

By picking a fight Jeff was not suggesting you attack another person or choose something to blog about that is necessarily controversial – but rather to centre your blog around a struggle in some way that readers might identify with.

While I’ve already mentioned above that ProBlogger is a ‘niche’ blog, I realised that as Jeff spoke that when I started ProBlogger it was definitely centered around a ‘fight’.

When I started ProBlogger back in 2004, blogging was seen as a very ‘pure’ medium that was supposed to be used largely for self expression. To suggest that blogs could be used to make money was something that polarised people.

Some argued blogs should never be used for commercial purposes and suggested that to do so would be to slimy/scammy and others doubted that it was even possible to make money blogging.

Starting ProBlogger was me putting a flag in the sand and saying that not only was it possible to make a living from blogging (I was almost full time at that point) but that you could do it without selling out or entering into sleazy territory.

Screen Shot 2014 10 22 at 10 17 50 am

That was my fight and it turns out that while it was a little controversial at the time, a lot of others who shared my belief and who got some kind of inspiration from that same fight. Others gathered around that flag in the sand and ProBlogger gained momentum.

As I think about the three options of niche, demographic, and fight, I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong way to go about it. Each has its advantages and disadvantages but I do wonder if having a ‘fight’ might be a particularly powerful way to go.

A fight galvanises people and is something that you and others can get passionate about. These things are good for a blog.

Niches, Demographics and/or Fights?

The above three options for classifying a blog are certainly not the only ones, and I wouldn’t want to argue that they’re mutually exclusive.

In fact as I think about some of my favourite blogs, I see some that have niches, demographics, AND fights!

A prime example of this would be Vanessa’s blog Style and Shenanigans (Vanessa is my wife) who has a blog about ‘style’ (niche), which is written for women (demographic) and has a fight. Her fight is that you can retain a sense of style despite having three little boys running around your home destroying everything (as we do).

Screen Shot 2014 10 22 at 10 12 54 am

How Do You Define What Your Blog Is About?

Do you have a niche, a demographic or a fight? Or do you think about what your blog is about in some other way?

I’d love to hear your take on this!

How Having a Strong Email List Can Land You Great Sponsorships

This is a guest contribution from email marketer Luke Guy.

How exactly do sponsors determine a price for ads on a blog? What would you consider the “golden standard” as for measuring how much a brand is worth or the size? There are many ways to do this. It’s important to know this so you can figure where to spend most of your time and building.

Here are general ways to determine brand size:

  1. Your follower numbers on social media
  2. Blog stas
  3. The size of your email list
  4. Social shares per article

These are the main ways sponsors determine on how much you’re worth, and the size of your brand, but which one should you focus most on? Coming from me, Luke Guy, you can almost guess, right? As you know, the email list is the best way to determine someone’s brand size.

I’ll explain why.

Social media with a large following was rare a few years ago, but now even grandma can have hundreds of thousands of followers. With it becoming so cheap now, you can buy fake followers for almost pennies. Many politicians are known for doing this to embellish the numbers -up to half of the followers have been known to be fake during presidential campaigns. So this is definitely not the way to measure someone’s brand size.

So what are other ways sponsors determine brand size?

Insights from the blog is a great way to measure traffic and to see how many people are viewing your blog. By simply taking a snapshot of your stats, you’d be revealing the traffic coming to your site. Gold, right?

Only thing is, the traffic numbers could change overnight. Let’s say you’re in a relationship with Google and it’s sending traffic to you like crazy. Your blog could be flooded at the time and things look really good. You bring home the amazing content and it sends you the traffic.  Such a beautiful relationship! But let’s say you burn the biscuits, forget the anniversary, or worse, you cheat with black hat SEO methods! Guess what? Google is leaving.  Your stats could drop overnight and you’re now seeing newbie traffic.

So yeah, I definitely wouldn’t depend on the stats of a blog alone. Even if it wasn’t based on Google, how could you guarantee these people would come back?

Keep reading.

Let’s go ahead and talk about the email list, is it the best way to determines ones size? I’d say it’s one of the greatest ways, if not THE best way to determine size. Why would I say that?

Well no one is going to buy 100k fake emails and then claim that as their list, you know how I know? That would cost $500 in Mailchimp fees per month. No one is going to go through that. No one would claim a list this size and it not be true. It would take one glimpse from the dashboard to convince the sponsors you mean business. Email list are the biggest way to convince sponsors.

Here’s something else to think about.

What is the best way to control traffic besides the email list? Besides paid ads, nothing. Also, what other way could you send a mass message and get 30-40% open rates? That’s 40,000 people who will be exposed to your message within hours (based on 100,000 email list). There’s no other way to control that kind of traffic. Organic search is super, don’t get me wrong, but that isn’t controlled. With the email list, you can control the how, when and where.

Combining All Three Is Best

If you have all three: Social Media, Email List, and Blog Stats. Why not reveal all three? The best way to get brand size is to combine all three of these. I know this. But if that email list is small and weak looking, the Facebook following of 50k isn’t looking very good right now, does it? Looks very fishy actually. So the email list brings credibility and the rest sweetens the deal.

By building your list, you’re showing your sponsors who you are and what you’re capable of. The size of your list is also the best way to catch eyes when applying for sponsors for your blog. So let me encourage you and start building that list. Make it a profit journey and learn how to grow that list while making money. Many ways to do this, but the biggest way is to simply use that traffic and send it to your site. Then from that site sell your services, do affiliate marketing, or my least favorite – adsense ads.

Ways to grow the list:

  1. Guest post and offer something downloadable (requiring opt-in).
  2. Try to talk with 5 people (via email) a day about your niche. Have your signature ready with a link to your opt-in.
  3. Include opt-in boxes on every page and post of your blog.
  4. Create an eBook that requires opt-in.
  5. Create a free program that requires email like Sumome.
  6. Talk about why people should join on social media

View 26 Ways To Grow Your Email List Like A Boss to get more ideas.

There’s one thing I know, and that’s people love to download things. It’s just in us to love this kind of thing. Another tool in my utility belt is how I see it. So offer something free like a plugin, program, or a series of educational emails, and start building the list!

When you give good reasons why people should download your free program (email required) the more likely they will. If it’s actually helpful, it won’t be long before you’re collecting emails automatically on a huge scale. Which is game changer.

But why go through this?

By building that relationship and collecting emails you’re building traffic. You do this by sending content-filled emails their way. You’re not pitching sales balls at them four times a week. Your sending them content-filled, and helpful emails. Send something amazing. By building this relationship you’re getting referrals and more sign-ups. The more sign-ups you get, the more traffic you can control and send your way. Once you your traffic get’s to a size, they will buy products from that site. All this can happen before the big sponsorship. So like I say, grow the list while making money. The more helpful you become, the more people will talk about you, the larger the list becomes.

So focus on that list and grow it like a boss. Get sponsored.

Luke Guy blogs at Lukeguy.com. He researches email marketing and loves to write about it. If you need further help with your email challenges, you can join him here! Or even hire him here to write for you. He has been featured on Search Engine Journal, Smart Passive Income, Jeff Bullas, Convince & Convert and a few others.

 

A Social Media Etiquette Guide You Might Find Useful

This is a guest contribution from Jennifer Landry.

What do you think of when you hear the word etiquette?

For most people, the term conjures up images of a relative telling them to chew with their mouth closed, or to take their elbows off the table. So what does it mean when it’s applied to social media?

In general terms, etiquette is a set of guidelines on how to behave properly around other people. While you might not have face-to-face interaction with all of your followers, the way you present yourself online directly affects people’s opinion of your brand. You might be surprised at the amount of companies, even the big ones, that don’t quite understand this simple fact and have posted inappropriate updates that made light of important events or misused certain hashtags. The simplest way to avoid this problem is to read over your posts before pressing publish. If you think it could somehow be misconstrued or you’re not sure what the hashtag means, it’s best to simply not post the update.

While you might know the basics of presenting yourself on social networks, you might not realize that there is a set of more nuanced etiquette rules for each of the different platforms. The infographic below outlines these unspoken rules for the most popular social networks. While not a complete list, it can help set the groundwork for how to post and interact with your audience.

Imprimir

Jennifer Landry is a writer/journalist living in Malibu, California. 

How You Can Make Your Writing Twice as Fast by Making It 3x More Time-Consuming; Wait, What?!

This is a guest contribution from Karol K. You can read the first post in this series “The Power of TK in Content Writing and How it Can Help You” here.

Imagine yourself in the following scenario…

It’s a normal Tuesday and you decide to write a blog post. You start confidently with a blank screen, and after a minute or so, the first sentence is ready. But almost immediately there’s a problem.

“No, this doesn’t sound right,” you start thinking, so you correct a couple of words and read it back again. “Okay, this is better!”

Now you can†proceed to†the next sentence.

d3

Does this sound like you?

More importantly, do you see anything wrong with this scenario?

(Hint: the answer is yes.)

The big problem here is that trying to write and edit at the same time†results only in†prolonging the whole content creation process significantly.

d3

Better solution?

1) Write first.

2) Edit later.

3) Proofread even after that.

Yep, crafting a quality blog post is†a three-part process. And the absolute best solution is doing each part on a separate day.

Although it sounds counterintuitive (after all, why take three days to write a post if you can do it in just one), it does work. And it works exceptionally well.

Here’s why.

Writing and editing are two extremely different activities. Writing is 80 percent (give or take) creativity and 20 percent craftsmanship. Editing is the opposite.

Now, trying to do both at the same time forces you to switch between two different mindsets multiple times over. And even though you might be effective at each individual activity (editing or writing), it’s the switching that takes time, confuses you and costs you energy.

You will always be much more effective and much faster focusing on just one kind of task at a time.

Granted, I know that it’s much easier said than done and that editing as we write is a huge temptation. It feels like a†natural thing to do, even though it works against us. So here are 3†hacks†to help you write in peace, not disturbed by any editing urges:

1)

Don’t go back to re-read what you’ve just written. It’s a soft form of limiting your creativity and it slows you down significantly. Even if you end up writing the same paragraph twice by accident, it’s still something you can fix during the editing phase.

2)

Make†the red spellcheck underline your friend. The underlined words shouldn’t annoy you. They should be a testament to your creative method of†writing! Don’t correct them right away.

3)

Backspace is the one forbidden key on the†keyboard. Don’t erase, just write.

d3

At the end of the day, I guarantee that you will be much more satisfied having written two unedited 1000-word articles, than ending up with†just one edited article†that’s 800 words.

Or am I wrong?

Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance writer, published author, founder of NewInternetOrder.com and a blogger at Bidsketch.com (delivering some cool freelance blogging and writing tools, advice and resources just like what you’re reading now). Whenever he’s not working, Karol likes to spend time training Capoeira and enjoying life.

Stat-Driven Tips on How to Pitch to Big-Name Publishers in Your Niche

SplitShire_IMG_9970

This is a guest contribution from Wil of Startup Bros.

What’s the best way to pitch a content idea to the big players in your niche? What do today’s top publishers look for in a contribution? Many of today’s biggest influencers get hundreds of pitches every week. How do you stand out from the crowd?

It’s a tough question to answer unless you’re the one who’s doing the sifting. So, the folks over at Fractl went straight to the horse’s mouth to find out what separates the good enquiries from the bad. After surveying 500+ industry-leading publishers, writers and editors over the course of three months, they found several interesting trends. As you continue reading, you’ll find out specific, stat-driven dos and don’ts to keep in mind during your next pitch.

Publishers Love Market Research

What should you write about? Fractl’s study showed that 39% of publishers put a premium on market research, especially if it’s exclusive. That means you should either put your own spin on somebody else’s study (like what we’re doing right now) or write about research that you’ve personally done. Doing your own market research is actually easier than you might think. Once you come up with some questions you want to answer, here are a couple ideas to get reliable data:

  • Ask your email list or social following to complete a survey about an interesting industry trend.
  • Do the same thing, but using a crowdsourcing tool like mTurk or Google Surveys.

There are two big R’s to remember when writing about market research – Relevant and Recent. For example, you wouldn’t expect to publish your research findings about people’s favorite new restaurant chain on TechCrunch. Similarly, you wouldn’t expect SEOmoz to publish yet another “10 Reasons You Should Be Doing SEO” post.

Make Your Contribution Easy to Digest

Fractals study shows that publishers like content that’s easy to absorb. For articles, that means that you should write with plenty of white space. Use bold and descriptive subtitles so that readers can get your message without consuming every single word of your content. Better yet, incorporate graphics or imagery into your contribution. Fractl’s study shows that non-text contributions are becoming more and more important. Over 36% of published pitches feature some form of mixed media, whether that’s an infographic, data visualization or something else.

Publishers Want You to Collaborate

This one is actually a bit surprising. It turns out that almost all top-tier publishers want to work with you to develop your contribution.

  • 70% of publishers want you to pitch an idea, not a finished piece.
  • Only 30% will consider publishing a finished article, and even then they’re picky.

For each publication you target, come up with three or four different ideas you can pitch them. This gives your publishers a sense of ownership because they’re participating in the creation of your content. Warning!You shouldNEVER mass-pitch a contribution to lots of places at once. That’s a good way to get your email address relegated to the junk folders of the top publishers in your niche.

When & How to Pitch Top Publishers

When and how do publishers like to be pitched? Fractl’s study turned up some interesting trends:

  • 81% of publishers want you to pitch by email.
  • 69% prefer to respond to enquiries in the morning.
  • Shockingly, only 9% of publishers respond to pitches made through social media.
  • Less than 1% of publishers want you to call them with your pitch… The rest adamantly hate phone calls.

In addition to never pitching over the phone, you should also avoid pitching during holidays. Unsurprisingly, most publishers don’t read pitches they get during their time off work.

How to Write Your Enquiry

By now you know what to write about, what type of content today’s publishers want, when and how to pitch your idea… Now all you need to know is how to write your actual enquiry email. Fractl’s study turned up a few surprising trends you can incorporate into your next pitch:

Subject Line Matters Most – 85% of publishers open or delete an email pitch based on its subject line, so this is the most important part of your pitch. Ideally you want your email’s subject line to be descriptive and engaging using only 6 – 10 words.

Keep it Short & Sweet – Once they’ve opened your email, 85% of publishers want to read a brief pitch of less than 200 words. Don’t waste time buttering them up or assuring them that their readers will love your post… Introduce yourself, make your pitch and get out. Your idea should be so intriguing that 200 words is all it takes.

Good Grammar or Go Home – This shouldn’t need to be said, but Fractl’s study revealed just how important it is. Apparently, 9 out of 10 publishers will instantly delete a pitch if they find spelling or grammar errors. So, triple-check your enquiry email before you hit the send button.

What Can You Do With These Stats?

Fractl’s study makes it clear that behind the big names are normal people with likes and dislikes just like you and me. If you give them what they want, they’ll return the favor. With these stats, you don’t have to be nervous or afraid to pitch the biggest publications in your industry.

You now have the knowledge you need to stand out from the crowd and cultivate mutually beneficial connections with the leaders in your niche. Now go out and start pitching!

My name is Will, and I’m a young entrepreneur and marketer living in Tampa, FL. You can learn more about me from the StartupBros About Page.

The Language of Selling – Are You Using It?

BEAUTY

 

This is a guest contribution from Richard Akhmerov.

Benefits, benefits, benefits. We’ve all heard that benefits sell, not features. Create needs, not wants. But this is all rehashed information. And no amount of reading will make you better at the following if you don’t practice it by trying.

But there is one thing missing from all of this marketing talk. And it has to do with the epicenter of marketing and copywriting. What creates the language of selling, and how does it work?

The language of selling is not a single language. In fact, every product, idea or service has a different language for selling. In order to find out the language your product is using, you need to live the product. But there are a few ways to make this easier to understand…

You can activate the language of selling by finding out the core buying emotions used with prospects of the product or service.

This can be accomplished in multiple ways. The most important thing to do is listen. Any category most likely has a forum associated with it. Whether it’s car parts, video games, weight loss, relationships, etc…

To find out the core buying emotions, you need to learn the language of these prospects. By surrounding yourself with prospects, you have the ability to listen to the way they talk, the way they discuss their problems, and the way they feel about certain subjects.

This is gold.

Few marketers go to these steps to find out what their prospects ACTUALLY want. Most marketers will sit there and guess as to how their prospects will react. This isn’t a powerful tactic, and will not generate huge results for your marketing efforts.

Remember, forums aren’t the only place to find networks. You can join Facebook groups, watch Youtube videos and read the comments, or go to established sites with a following.

Your prospects are located in the comments. And by reading them, you will quickly gain an understanding of what they’re looking for.

If you go on a tech site like Engadget or Gizmodo, you can quickly discover what is lacking from a certain product. These customers know what they want and what they’re looking for, unfortunately, few big companies spend the extra time to hear out their customer’s needs.

But it is all right there in front of our eyes. And this applies to any subject and any product.

For example, let’s say that you have a product in the weight loss category. You can visit more established websites and go through the articles. Most articles will have a comment section below…

Read the comments, and see how the customers react. You WILL find problems that are addressed but never solved. Here is your chance to change that by incorporating it into your product.

Find out the needs of your customers and solve them. Use their language to connect with them. Now you have a winner.

Richard Akhmerov is from Devore Agency, you can learn more great information by visiting the website.

Be a Better Blogger by Doing as Little as Possible

problogger.netWhen you make the decision to grow your blog and hopefully create an income from it, it can be so easy to fall into the trap of doing everything all at once in the name of getting as much exposure as you can. You’re blogging every day, you’re promoting those posts to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, you’re ensuring all posts have a Pinnable image, and you’re Instagramming the behind-the-scenes for your followers. You’re working hard, commenting on other blogs, finding interesting things to retweet, staying up half the night with your editorial calendar, reading sites like this one about how to make money, and signing up with the next big thing in case it can help grow your blog (Vine, anyone?!).

It’s pretty easy to get to a stage where your blog is running you instead of you running your blog. You’re drowning in emails, you can keyword posts in your sleep, you’re a slave to your stats, and you will scream if Facebook changes its algorithm one more time.

But that’s not all. You’ve had ideas for a Blog Series, several eBooks, a podcast and an eCourse. You’re keen to get started – in fact, when you see how successful others are, you wish you started years ago.

But what if you’re stretched so thin that you’re doing everything, and none of it as well as you could? What would convince you to cut back to only a few things, and putting your heart and soul into making them great?

A while ago I was listening to the How they Blog Podcast with Kat Lee. Kat is a blogger, a podcaster, and a stay-at-home mom of three. She has two blogs (each with their own podcast), the usual number of social media sites, eBooks, a small blogging course, coaching sessions, and seemingly a huge number of things that need her attention on a daily basis.

But one thing she said in conversation with another blogger really caught my attention: her motto is “do as little as possible as well as possible”.

Each year, each season, she has different things she focuses on, and is happy to let the others take a back seat. I decided to ask her more about it, in the hopes that the way she came to streamline her online presence might be inspiring to those of you who are a little bit overwhelmed and over it.

First things first: How did Kat adopt the mantra?

“I’m an ideas person,” she says. “I love being creative and starting things, but while this can be a definite advantage, it can also be a huge disadvantage – I realized that every time I started working a new idea, I was actually also giving up on something else. And if I kept moving on to new things, I’d never develop anything excellent.

“We all have a finite amount of time in the day. I’d rather be excellent at one or two things than dabble and be average in twenty things.”

For the people I know who have turned their backs on “having it all” and have shifted gears to hone their talents in one or two areas at a time, it was usually because of burnout. Trying to be all things to all people at all times had forced them to make a change. Kat says it wasn’t quite like that for her, but she still needed to make that change.

“Honestly, I think I hit “plateau” stage rather than “burnout” stage,” she says. “I wondered why things weren’t taking off like they used to. I finally realized that greater levels of success require greater levels of sacrifice. That’s why you don’t see Olympic athletes at McDonald’s or Disneyland the day before their gold medal event. We all have a limited capacity for…everything. So the only way to increase our capacity for one thing is to reduce our capacity in another area – hence “Do as little as possible, as well as possible.”

“This past year, I’ve focused a lot more on podcasting (and less on writing) and as a result, my podcast [Inspired to Action] is consistently on the Top of the Kids and Family charts on iTunes. The beauty of this is that I’m not eternally confining myself to anything. Just because I’m currently focusing on podcasting, doesn’t mean I’ll never write another epic blog post. It just means not right now. “This season is for learning how to consistently create excellent podcasts and building systems and skills that will make it all relatively habitual. As I build habits, podcasting requires less effort. Eventually, much of it will become second nature…which then increases my capacity to add something else back in – like writing.

Gary Keller says, “Success comes sequentially, not simultaneously.” Ronald Reagan was a famous actor and President of the United States of America, but not at the same time. We just don’t have the capacity for simultaneous excellence, but we can build on our knowledge and skills so that we can have sequential success. I want to do things with excellence and excellence can only be achieved with focus on one thing at a time.”

When you’re new or you’ve just made the decision to turn your blog into a business, the internet is a world of possibility. It can take time to get to a point (whether burnout or plateau or otherwise) to really narrow down your focus. You might not want to do less, you’re happy to just be on the playing field. Kat explains the situation well:

“I think the biggest reason [for that] is because newer bloggers aren’t sure what they want,” she says.

“That’s not a bad thing, but until they figure out what they want, it’s hard to find the motivation to say no to other things. Just like kids participate in 24,976 different activities – their job as a child is to figure out where their talents and passions collide. Once they find that sweet spot they can then arrange their effort around pursuing it with excellence.

“It’s the same with a new blogger. Until they know their audience, their message and their voice, it’s hard to say no to all the opportunities that are out there.”

In fact – Kat thinks it might be worth newer bloggers shifting priorities at the start to ensure that when they do focus, they’ve got a solid foundation from which to grow.

“I think that a new blogger needs to focus on writing and connecting with their audience,” she says. “Increasing traffic and building a platform and refining their message should come AFTER they actually know what they want to say. Otherwise, they spent all that energy possibly building their platform in the wrong location.

“However, I do think they can follow the motto by applying it to the process of finding their message, audience and voice. Be focused about writing and honest about what resonates with you and your readers. Instead of spending energy on increasing your page views, focus your energy on understanding what you want to say and who needs to hear it.”

So how does the motto manifest itself in Kat’s reality?

“I’ve narrowed down what I do online,” she says. “Ironically, I blog less and podcast more. I’d rather have a Top 10 podcast and an average blog and social media presence, than an average everything. Of course, as I mentioned before this is temporary. Once I have a system for podcasting with excellence, I want to return to writing and learn to do it with excellence.

And as someone who has spent a lot of time being intentional about how she divides her attention, she has some advice:

What’s the best tip you’ve found to help you pare back?

To use physical folders. It’s easy to expand digitally, but if I have physical folders for projects I’m working on and limit those to 6 at any given time, I have a concrete reminder when I over commit.

Did you read any books or resources that helped you refine your schedule?

Simplfy by Bill Hybels, The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst and Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews

 

What would be something you’d like to pass onto bloggers who are feeling overwhelmed?

Why are you blogging? What message burns within you that you know will help others? Who are you blogging for? Once you know the answers to those questions, it’s so much easier to separate the blogging wheat from the blogging chaff. Just like a hunter might have a super powerful gun that can down any deer from a mile away, if he isn’t locked in on the target, that powerful gun doesn’t do him a bit of good. Find your target, then scale down your vision to focus on it – success comes easily once you do that.

So what do you think – is simplifying but excelling something for you? What would you focus on? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net, and the gal behind Veggie Mama. A writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd, she can be found making play-dough, reading The Cat in the Hat for the eleventh time, and avoiding the laundry. See evidence on Instagram here, on Facebook here, and twitter @veggie_mama.

Top Five Things to Learn from the Greggs vs Google Twitter Debacle

This is a guest contribution from Mark Potter.

Greggs is the UK’s largest bakery chain, famed for its sausage rolls and steak bakes. They have always enjoyed a strong social media presence, winning a Digital Impact Award in 2013 for a ‘Sandwich Maker’ Facebook app.

As a relatively low-budget food chain, they are a popular target for online abuse. As a result, they have already developed a robust strategy for dealing with complaints and controversy:

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.47.55 pm

Things turned particularly sour in August, when the Google algorithm accidentally replaced the official Greggs logo with a highly offensive fake version. The gaffe spread like wildfire across the internet, and the Greggs Twitter account was rapidly inundated with tweets.

However, the social media team kept their cool, and handled the crisis with aplomb. Almost 300 tweets and a new hashtag later, the correct logo was restored – and Greggs had emerged as a Twitter champion.

Here are some tips on handling a crisis on Twitter, as demonstrated by the social media team at Greggs:

Rise Above It

The whole internet is teeming with trolls, but Twitter is a particularly virile breeding ground. Although many people sympathised with the situation, Greggs was also subjected to a fair amount of abuse.

When Twitter catastrophe strikes, never stray from the Golden Rule – DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. Hitting back with an angry retort can only ever backfire, making a bad situation worse. Make like Greggs by responding in a polite, classy manner – or simply don’t reply at all.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.48.33 pm

Crack a Joke

Twitter partly revolves around competitive comedy – the accounts with the funniest tweets often have more followers. Therefore, humour can be one of the best ways to divert a Twitter crisis.

However, before making light of a disaster, you should always use discretion. In some situations, comedy is inappropriate – as many brands soon discovered during Hurricane Sandy.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.49.12 pm

Hire an Expert

Twitter disasters are occasionally brought about by the company itself – as with McDonald’s ill-conceived #McDStories. However, as Greggs discovered, crises can also be caused by external forces. These unpredictable situations are perhaps the most dangerous, as many companies don’t have the resources in place to deal with them.

If social media forms a large part of your marketing plan, you should hire a professional social media consultant to manage your online image. As many people noted during the Greggs debacle, they’re worth their weight in gold when disaster strikes.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.49.53 pm

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Ellen’s infamous Oscars selfie is currently the most retweeted message in the history of Twitter. This highlights the importance of imagery on social media. Pictures are far more likely to be shared by followers, and are therefore invaluable to social media marketing campaigns.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.50.30 pm

As Greggs demonstrated, pictures can also prove helpful during a disaster. This simple shot cost next to nothing, yet received an incredible 83 retweets and 589 favourites – making it one of the most successful tweets Greggs has ever posted.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.51.03 pm

A follow-up tweet, posted when the correct logo had been restored, garnered a similar number of favourites and retweets:

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.51.37 pm

Monitor for Mentions

It goes without saying that you should reply to direct questions and comments on Twitter. Throughout the crisis, the official Greggs account was inundated with questions and comments – and each one was met with an appropriate response.

However, not every tweet about the situation was directed at Greggs. The social media team was forced to go a step further, proactively ‘butting in’ to other people’s conversations about the debacle.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.52.15 pm

If you have an online presence, sign up for a monitoring service such as Google Analytics or Topsy. These automatically scour the web for brand mentions, notifying you when people are discussing your company online. If you see a comment – whether defamatory or positive – about your business, you will be poised to reply and set the record straight.

No two Twitter debacles are the same. However, by studying the reactions of different companies to their own crises, you will be able to respond effectively when disaster comes knocking at your own door.

This article was written by Mark Potter of Namecheap.com, a leading ICANN accredited domain registrar and web host.