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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 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.

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.

X-Ray Vision for Guest Bloggers: Author Stats

This guest post is by Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media.

Analytics are great for seeing your site’s performance, but we can’t usually peek into other people’s web stats.

However, there is a tool that gives you a view you may not have seen before. It’s called Google Author Stats.

Embrace your new blogging super power

I think of guest blogging as modern-day PR. It has social media and search marketing benefits, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a key part of blogger collaboration.

The X-ray vision we’re talking about is useful for guest bloggers, but it works for any blogger.

To make it work, you need to do two things:

  1. Use Google Authorship to add a “digital signature” to your posts.
  2. Apply some SEO basics to your writing: a bit of keyphrase research and usage.

If you’ve been doing this all along, get ready to see through walls! Here’s how: log into Google Webmaster Tools using your Google+ login info.

This might seem strange because this account isn’t necessarily tied to a website. But keep going.

Now, click “Labs > Author Stats”. Here’s what you’ll see…

The stats

You’re looking at the SEO performance of every post you’ve written and tagged for Authorship. Let’s step through the information that’s included here.

  • Page: the address
  • Impressions: the number of times it has appeared in search results
  • Clicks: the number of visits to the page
  • CTR/Clickthrough Rate: the percentage of searchers who clicked on it
  • Avg. Position: how high the page ranks on average for all its keyphrases

It’s a thrill the first time you put on your Author Stats X-ray specs. You’re seeing the SEO performance (an important part of Analytics) for your site, but also other people’s websites. It’s enough to make a man blush!

Use your powers for good, not evil

Now that you can see through walls, what are you going to do with your new powers? Here’s a tip: use them for good. Use them as a reason to reach out and collaborate. Here are a few ways a guest author can continue to work with a host blog based on Authors Stats.

Your guest post has…

  • Avg. Position of 11-15: You’re ranking on page two, but not far from page one. The host blog should look for a few opportunities to link to the post from older posts, improving the link popularity. Or you can write another post on a similar topic with new link to the original post.
  • Avg. Position of 1-5, but CTR below 5%: You’re on page one, but not many people are clicking. There may be a mismatch between the title and meta description and the meaning of the keyphrase. Tweak the title to make sure the keyphrase and the topic are aligned semantically.
  • Clicks of 500 or more per month: You’re driving some traffic! The combination of your content and the host’s domain authority are powering significant visits from search. You should work together more often!

Now take of the X-ray glasses, email the blog editor, and continue to collaborate. Help the blog, help yourself, and help future readers find your content.

Peek at a few final tips

There are loads of competitive analysis tools that can give you a peek into the stats of other sites, but there’s still a lot we can’t see.

Ever used X-ray vision? Need help troubleshooting it? Got a favorite super power of your own? Leave a comment or question below…

Andy Crestodina is the Strategic Director of Orbit Media, a web design company in Chicago. He’s also the author of Content Chemistry, An Illustrated Guide to Content Marketing You can find Andy on and Twitter.

5 Ways to Harness Your Online Reputation For Blogging Success

This guest post is by Valerie Wilson.

Quick: Picture that bad choice for a prom or bridesmaid’s dress years ago. Or the haircut that your mom made you get—the one that looked like a Tupperware bowl had been placed on your head. The one that didn’t go over very well at school.

Some memories do last forever, don’t they? This is true. But, hey, they are just memories. All good. No real damage, right?

Quicker: Remember one rumor that floated around your high school years ago. Who was doing what with whom>?! Remember how it spread like wild fire? And how old are you now? How long has that rumor stuck with you? Those were rumors. No proof!

But your Facebook political blurt-out a few years ago—or last week? A scathing reaction you made or to which you responded? Or—the biggie—a “little comment” about a previous account or client or employer with whom you worked?

Brace yourself. That “just having a bad day” comment can have a long-lasting effect. That’s the stuff that can be cut and pasted and repeated and posted—everywhere. Don’t let that happen to you.

The good news is that there are some strong strategies you may employ to improve your online reputation:

  1. Always tell the truth. Remember those rules you learned as a kid? This was one of the most important ones. To increase your readership, don’t embellish. Your blog will succeed if you establish this intention. For example, Intentional Growth does a great job of establishing credibility.
  2. Build positive relationships. When you blog, you’re building relationships with people and organizations. Be aware of building as many of these positive relationships as possible. Follow other blogs; they’ll reply in kind. Appreciate them by directly commenting to them and about them, and keep the language fun and enjoyable. Upbeat blogs such as RapidBuyr’s exemplify this technique really well!
  3. Keep calm and carry on. If you do get that occasional negative poster, be sure to keep calm and carry on, just like the t-shirt says. The goal is to make it right. Do it quickly, or the number of your blog followers could dramatically decrease. Your reaction can and will be around for a long time. Act accordingly. One particular blog, Socialnomics, shares even more insight about how to handle negative feedback on your blog. Damage control can be painless if you pay attention to just a few key strategies.
  4. Go viral, go viral, and then … go viral. The more viral your blog goes, the stronger your reputation and following will be. Bigger is better. Get that blog up on every social media site you’re connected to, and consider providing incentives for folks who “share” your blog through their own social media. An angel investor, Haig Kayserian, shares the story of how his blog went viral, and it’s filled with great insights about how to get yours to do the same. “Word of mouth,” move over. There’s a new kid in town!
  5. Spread good karma! We all know that it just takes 30 seconds with the news, a newspaper, or a headline on your phone or tablet to remind you that life can present some pretty ugly stuff. Let people take a break from that by logging on and spending some time with your fun, upbeat, charismatic, and charming blog. When they like you, they’ll follow you. Just ask Oprah. Or Jimmy Fallon. They got the goods!  A personal favorite for spreading good vibes is the Etsy blog.

These five strategies can help you to attain and maintain a favorable reputation, and the great news is that there are now easy and efficient websites that you can use that will keep an eye on that reputation.

Sites like Reputation.com are fantastic for addressing the challenge of tracking your online reputation. They can monitor and guide you through reputation management for your businesses and your blog, and they have figured out how to make it easy for you! That’s a good day at the office right there!

Valerie Wilson is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics including creating strong workplace communications and spreading some good karma.

Why You’re Terrified to Write a Guest Post, and How to Beat the Fear

This guest post is by Ryan Biddulph of Cashwithatrueconscience.com.

I know. You are beyond terrified to publish a guest post on an authority blog. It took me years to get the gumption to submit a post to problogger.net. Yep, it took me years. To even think about submitting a post. Then, after thinking about it, I finally decided to turn out the guest post and submit it. Success!

But it took a while because I was terrified to write a guest post for one specific reason.

I feared receiving hyper-critical comments from strangers. Really, I was terrified about seeing different opinions or snide comments, or having someone take apart my post like a roast chicken at a family dinner.

This fear was very real, so real in fact, that I refused to even think about submitting a guest post for many years. Of course this held my online businesses back big time, because hey, look at the size of the ProBlogger audience.

Fear is funny. You can either be held captive by fear, or you can use the fear for your benefit, by growing from it. It’s your choice. Every time.

Getting over the fear

Getting over the fear of criticism from the comments field is not easy. It is quite uncomfortable, really, but one thing you will learn quickly is this: if you want to grow you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

If you want to submit the guest post, get it approved, attract more readers and make money with your blog, well, all of these benefits reside on the other side of your fears.

You must accept this idea to become successful.

Practical tip

Here is a neat little mantra which can help you get past the fear of criticism. Use it frequently.

“All about them, nothing to do with me.”

That is it. Repeat the mantra a few times. Embrace the idea that a commenter’s opinion is their viewpoint, which has to do entirely with them. Their viewpoint has nothing to do with you, because it is their viewpoint, not your viewpoint.

It can seem like a Herculean task, attempting to get past the fear of criticism. I know, you likely hate receiving negative comments. I do. But you need to move away from taking things personally if you plan to grow your blog readership at a quick clip.

The tendency to enter your cocoon

After reading a few negative comments from strangers who read your guest post, and disagree with it, you’ll want to run back to your lil’ comfy blog. You never want to deal with these rude, boorish commenters, who “know nothing about blogging”, so you stop submitting guest posts.

This is a mistake, entering your safety cocoon, your blog, because you will attract new readers, share your talents with the world and make money online by leveraging your presence.

Leveraging your presence means submitting guest posts to blogs with massive readerships. So, resist the urge to sprint to your comfort cocoon when you are angry at receiving criticism.

Where the big money is made

Is the criticism you receive in the comments field true? Is your ego blinding you? Are you simply angry at someone who makes a point which is true, which would put more readers in your RSS, and money in your pocket? You can dismiss people without tact but you can never dismiss the truth—at least, you can’t if you want to grow as a blogger.

The big blogging bucks are made if you can embrace all criticism, sift through the garbage, and take out the gold. Remember, a negative comment is a person’s opinion, a viewpoint. It is a suggestion. So, accept or reject the suggestion, and simply embrace the sting that might arise as you go through the sifting process.

Practice

Practice makes perfect in the fielding criticism department. Submit guest posts to authority blogs. Read the comments. Respond when you can but make sure to observe all manner of comments, and the responses or reactions which arise from within. Your blog’s RSS count will thank you for it.

Are you terrified to receive negative comments on your guest posts? Let’s talk about it in the coments.

Ryan Biddulph helps entrepreneurs create value and build connections to grow their home based opportunity. Please subscribe to his blog Click Here.

Four Simple Traffic Strategies for a Post-Panda and -Penguin World

This guest post is by Lisa Angelettie.

For many years, there were bloggers who could follow a few basic SEO rules, publish a post, wait for Google to spider and rank it, and watch the traffic flow in.

In fact, many of these bloggers made a living primarily from the incoming traffic that Google sent them. All that rapidly and dramatically ended for many businesses after Google’s Panda and Penguin updates.

Did these bloggers commit an online business blunder? Absolutely. How many times have you heard that you should never depend on one source of traffic to your website? I know I’ve heard it about a million times over the years, but the reality is that a lot of bloggers don’t really know how to actively get traffic to their sites from other than the search engines.

Here are a few blog promotion essentials to get traffic flowing to your posts from a variety of sources and none of them have anything to do with search engines reliance.

1. Share posts on your social media networks

Bloggers have one big advantage that many business owners who started years ago don’t, and that’s the leverage of social media. After you’ve written and published your post, naturally, the very first thing you need to do is to announce that post to the folks in your social media networks. Remember, though, that if you write a post at 2am, you’ll want to wait to announce it to social media sites when your followers are most active.

The social sites that have been proven to generate traffic include: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Make sure that you have included social media sharing buttons on your blog, too—many bloggers still haven’t. WordPress now offers social media integration through their WordPress plugin Jetpack, you could use Wibiya’s social media sharing bar or try a variety of other free social media WordPress plugins available at WordPress.org.

One more note: I can’t talk about social media without talking about SEO. One can influence and improve the other.

Search engines like Google have been saying for a long time now that social signals matter when it comes to search rankings. So the more you build up your social influence with more tweets, more likes, more shares, and more pins of your content, the more likely Google is likely to view your content as authoritative and rank it accordingly. The Bing search engine now includes social influence ranking tool Klout in their social sidebar.

Bottom line: if you’ve been avoiding it or playing around with it, it’s time to get serious about becoming more social.

2. Announce posts to your circle of influence

This is a strategy that many bloggers avoid like the plague. One of the cool things about blogging is that you can write what you want, when you want, and try a lot of cool things on your blog without having to get anyone’s approval.

Unfortunately that “alone on an island” approach doesn’t work when it comes to getting actual readers to your blog. It takes a village to raise a blog!

Identify and build a circle of people who you can let know that your blog post is live and will share it with their lists and their social media communities. The circle doesn’t have to be big. Even if you only know two people, that will put your content in front of a lot more eyes than doing it all on your own. These could be friends who also blog, coaches you’ve worked with, or alliances you’ve made on social media.

To communicate with my circle of influence, I created a very small private group on Facebook, invited them to join, and now we announce each other’s articles there so we can easily share and link to them. There are also a few other more prominent bloggers who I send a personal email to and they share my content. One blogger recently mentioned me to his list which resulted in over 142 confirmed subscribers to my list over a 48 hour period. That’s great for one email!

Think of two people you could reach out to today and ask them would they be willing to enter a mutual blog promotion relationship. Most bloggers are going to say yes.

3. Promote posts on blogging communities

I use to think blogging communities were a waste of time. I was wrong. Many of the bloggers who are getting major traffic to their sites are very active in blogging communities and have been for a long time. These are the types of like-minded people that you want to meet and start building relationships with.

  • Promote their content on these communities.
  • Friend them on the communities.
  • Share their posts on social media.
  • Write guest posts for them.

When you do, you’ll begin to become a part of a “clique” of bloggers who support and champion each other.

Communities that are my favorites include BlogEngage.com, Bloggers.com, Inbound.org, FamousBloggers.net, Blokube.com and ViralContentBuzz.com.

4. Announce your posts to your list

The biggest ambassadors of my content are my email subscribers, but oddly enough, a lot of bloggers forget all about this. Some bloggers have tunnel vision and are only worried about “new traffic” coming to their sites, but an essential source of traffic to any blog is return visitors.

Return visitors clearly enjoy your content and are much more likely to give word-of-mouth referrals, share your content to their social networks, comment on your posts and act on any call to actions you may have included in your articles.

To get subscriber traffic, make sure that you offer ample opportunities and incentives for visitors to opt into your list: top of site, right sidebar, after posts, in guest posts, etc.

It’s also important to give subscribers more than one opportunity to read your posts. For example, I send out a newsletter that features one new article on my site at the top of the week, but then I send another email towards the end of the week giving a wrap up of all the articles that have been published on the blog in the last few days. This helps ensure that I get regular return visitor traffic to my site every week.

What are some of the blog promotion strategies you use to drive more traffic to your site? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Lisa Angelettie is a copywriting and content marketing strategist who teaches entrepreneurs how to make more money with web content. Download a copy of her free eBook Publishing Guide or visit her site for more tips like these.

11 Reasons Your Blog is on a Road to Nowhere (And What to Do About It)

This guest post is by Henneke Duistermaat of Enchanting Marketing.

You’re smart.

You got drive.

You’re blogging, and blogging, and blogging. You’re producing good content. But somehow your efforts are not rewarded.

Your enthusiasm for checking your traffic stats is gone. Because the trickle of traffic makes you feel down, lonely, and maybe a little desperate. Are you wasting your time?

Let’s be honest.

Building a blog is hard work. It’s tough. And you need to be business savvy. That’s right. You need to treat your blog as a business. You need to get serious about marketing your blog. Because if you don’t market your blog, it’s going to remain lonely out there.

Let’s have a look at 11 common blog marketing mistakes. Avoid these mistakes, and you’ll gain more traffic, more shares, and more comments. And eventually, you’ll be able to make serious money.

Mistake 1: You’ve jumped straight in

Of course, it’s great to get started.

Get a domain name, a web host, a theme, a topic you love writing about; and you’re ready to go. Right?
I don’t think so. You need to know what your audience likes; what they want to read about, what they’re passionate about.

Before launching Social Triggers, Derek Halpern knew exactly what his audience wanted: fact-based advice on how to grow web traffic. That’s why he combines academic research with blogging tips.

Before you start your blog, research your audience. Read comments on the big blogs your audience is reading. Which topics resonate most? What are readers passionate about? What questions do they ask? What do they struggle with?

Mistake 2: Your audience is too diverse

When you’re writing your blog posts, who do you write for? Are you trying to write for as big a crowd as possible? Are you trying to appeal to as many readers as you can?

Writing to a crowd makes your writing bland; writing to one person makes you engaging and fascinating.
Start by describing your ideal reader. Have you seen how the Word Chef describes her ideal client? You don’t have to publish your ideal reader. But you need to know who you’re writing for.

When you write your next blog post, imagine writing to just one reader: your ideal reader.

Mistake 3: You’ve picked the wrong topic

Do you think you need to avoid the big topics, because they’re too competitive? Think again. If you pick a topic nobody has written about, then most probably hardly anyone is interested in your topic.

The truth is: the big topics are the topics people want to read about. Finance. Personal development. Blogging. Parenting. Marketing. Gadgets.

Yep, those topics are competitive. Hugely competitive. But you can be sure there’s an audience waiting for you. You just have to figure out how you’re going to stand out from the other blogs. And that’s why you need a purple cow.

Mistake 4: You don’t have a purple cow

A purple cow is what makes you different. If you’d see a purple cow, it would draw attention, wouldn’t it? You’d be fascinated by it and you’d remember it, wouldn’t you? That’s why you need a purple cow—a term coined by Seth Godin.

Why would people read you blog rather than a competing blog? A few ideas:

  • Your personality appeals to your readers.
  • Your passion attracts followers.
  • Your writing style is special.
  • Your opinion is appreciated.
  • Your experience is unique.

You’re not Walmart or Target. You don’t need to appeal to everyone. If you create something truly different, some people may think you’re crazy. But that doesn’t matter. As long as other people love your blogging, that’s absolutely fine. Don’t be afraid to put readers off. Because you’ll build a stronger bond with your core audience.

Apple has raving fans who queue up to trade in their iPhone 4S to an iPhone 5 as soon as it’s launched. But Apple also has its haters, who avoid buying Apple products.

Do you know Johnny B Truant? He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, because he tells it as it is and he swears a lot. But he has hugely passionate fans, too. You see? You don’t need to appeal to everyone. You just have to build your own tribe.

Mistake 5: You don’t know how you want to change the world

You can’t create passionate readers if your message is lame. If you want to fascinate people and create a loyal following, you need a mission. Strong brands are on a mission. Think Nike, Apple, or Harley Davidson. Popular bloggers are on a mission, too.

Leo Babauta at Zenhabits teaches people to live simply, to keep themselves centered and at peace as they make a slow journey to creating good habits and achieving their goals. A clear mission, isn’t it?

How are you going to change the world?

Mistake 6: Your design puts people off

If you want to be taken seriously, then you need to look professional. Your blog is your brand. What impression do you want to leave? Professional? Full of fun? Warm? Corporate? Artistic?

Compare these two social media blogs: Simply Zesty looks fresh, but rather corporate. The {grow} blog from Mark Schaefer looks just as professional, but a little more fun.

Also, keep in mind that your design has a large impact on readability. Use white space, large fonts, and sub headlines to guide your readers through your content.

Mistake 7: Your blogging voice is erratic

You’re a blogger. You’re a writer. You communicate through your content.

Your brand is not just your blog design; and not just what you’re blogging about. It’s also how you blog. What’s you’re writing style? And does it match your blog design? Does it match your brand?

You need a unique voice that reflects your brand. Have you read the Aweber and MailChimp blogs? Aweber is quite serious and a bit corporate. MailChimp is cheeky and more personable. One is not better than the other. They’re just different. And their tone of voice reflects their brands.

Jon Morrow and Darren Rowse both blog about blogging. Jon Morrow is like your favourite high-school teacher. He tells you off when he needs to and uses strong language, but inspires you to study harder. Darren Rowse is like a friendly neighbour. Full of useful advice, helpful when you’re stuck, and he never says a bad word about you.

How are you positioning yourself? And does your tone of voice match?

Mistake 8: You’re hiding yourself

As a blogger, you are an important part of your brand. People connect with you because of who you are.
Nobody enjoys phoning a call centre. Nobody wants to get in touch with a boring corporation. Nobody wants to chat with a faceless company.

To build a loyal following you need to be human and get a little personal. Show your passion, mention some titbits about your life, share your experience, and let your passion shine through.

Even though I mainly write about copywriting and content marketing, my email subscribers know I love cycling, because I use cycling analogies to explain copywriting tricks and I’ve even included cycling holiday snaps to illustrate points. That’s how I’m building a connection with my readers.

Mistake 9: You think your traffic will snowball

You need to market your blog to gain an audience. Overnight success doesn’t exist.

Generating traffic is hard work, and no shortcuts exist. Social media and SEO can generate traffic, but guest blogging is often the best way because guest blogging allows you to borrow the audience from a big blog.

Don’t have enough time for guest blogging? Reduce your own blogging schedule, post once a week rather than daily; post once a month instead of weekly. And use the time you’ve freed up to post on other blogs.

Mistake 10: You’re not enticing people onto your email list

Getting blog readers to sign up to your email list should be your priority. Because once they’re subscribed, you can email them when a new post goes live. And when you’re ready to sell, your email list is your most precious marketing asset.

Email is more powerful than social media, especially when it comes to selling. Have you seen this graph from Darren?

Email drives profits

That tells you enough, doesn’t it? Get an email subscription form on your home page, your about page, and each blog post. Consider removing the option to subscribe to your RSS feed, because it distracts from your email subscription form.

Mistake 11: You’re a dreamer

Of course we’re all dreaming of success, of more readers, more shares, more comments, more money.

But dreaming about success isn’t going to get you there. You need plan. Not a Soviet-style ten-year plan. Just a plan for your next month. Decide on your mission, define your brand, your design, your voice, and think about how you’re going to grow your audience during the next month.

And then in a month’x time you can see what worked, and what didn’t work. And then you can write another one-month plan. To increase your traffic. To grow your audience. And to build your email list.

The truth about building your audience

Let’s be honest.

Growing your audience is hard work. It requires energy, enthusiasm, and guts. Dare to be different. Build your own unique brand. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Your most loyal followers, your raving fans are reading your blog because your style suits them; because your message inspires them; and because you are you.

Come on. What are you waiting for? Start marketing your blog, your brand, yourself.

Henneke Duistermaat is a marketer and copywriter. She is on a mission to make boring companies charming, and dull products exciting. Sign up for her Enchanting Marketing newsletter and receive free tips on copywriting and content marketing.

The Experts’ Views on Content Marketing

This guest post is by John Abrena of As the Ghost Speaks.

There have been a lot of discussions about what works in the realm of online marketing. Many say that massive link building and the quantity of links still matter, while others focus on optimizing their website to its fullest.

But after Google’s Panda update, there seems to be a talk of a “new” type of marketing which focuses on content.

Content marketing has boomed since Panda rolled out. Website owners looked for ways to build links, to promote their business, and to gain traction and traffic by having great content. But what baffles me is that it isn’t new. This type of marketing has been here longer than most online marketers realize. However, the belief that it’s a “new” system is ingrained in their heads only because, I believe, a lot of site owners haven’t really paid attention to their content until now.

A few weeks back, I asked a couple of online marketing experts about content marketing, and got some really interesting answers. My question? How do you see content marketing as the new face of online marketing?

Rand Fishkin

CEO of SEOMoz
RandContent marketing can accomplish much of what advertising attempts to do—earn the familiarity, trust, and positive sentiment of an audience toward your brand—and it does so without having the huge associated costs. Content requires and rewards creativity, effort and execution more so than strict dollars, but it also overcomes much of the natural bias modern consumers form against advertising’s motivations and “ad blindness.”

As online marketing evolves, more and more attention and awareness goes to the web’s content—to blogs, to social media, to search results, to videos, to news publications. But, only a fraction of this attention spreads to the paid advertising on these channels. Thus, it only makes sense that as ads become ubiquitous but low ROI, marketing efforts will spread to inbound channels.

Don Rhoades

Owner of The Gonzo SEO

DonContent marketing is a hell of a lot better word than “inbound marketing”. I would argue that content marketing has always been the face of online marketing. I know some people are tired of hearing the phrase, but it does best describe the intent of the campaign. It also supports the necessity for shareable content, and not just writing.

John Doherty

SEO Consultant at Distilled

John I don’t think it’s the new face of online marketing. It may be the new thing that SEOs have not thought about before, but it’s always been the most effective form of online marketing in ethical ways, ways that build businesses for the long term. As someone recently said, “Content marketing is not a shiny new toy.” It has always been around. We are just now realizing that old ways of gaming the system don’t work well anymore, and we need to find ways that will last.

Michael King

Owner of iPullRank and Director of Inbound Marketing at iAcquire.

MichaelIt’s not the new face of online marketing, content has always been what people are looking for. It’s trendy in online marketing right now at least to talk about. Not enough brands have embraced it as a more viable method than interruption marketing. The concept of Earned Media is definitely not new, and most brands only consider it a small part of what they do. They will continue to funnel the biggest dollars into advertising and the like, but I think as more big brands like Coca Cola and Red Bull see results more people will adopt it.

Jon Cooper

Consultant reachable via his blog, Pointblank SEO

Jon Content is giving someone a reason to link to you. In the past, you didn’t need much of a reason, just a website. But as time goes on, and like with any market that deals with an increase in competition, you have to set yourself apart in someway, and outside of the obvious ones like pricing, community, and product quality, content is becoming the main (if not only) way to do so.

James Agate

Founder of Skyrocket SEO, the content-driven link building agency

Content marketing isn’t a new concept. Joe Pullizi was recently talking about a form of content marketing which dates back to 1895; obviously it has moved online since then but the fundamental principles remain the same.

JamesContent marketing has and always will be an integral and vital part of online marketing. The name might change and the way we do it might evolve but fundamentally nothing has changed for over 100 years. It’s about “creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers.”

Content touches and drives every aspect of online marketing so if a business isn’t investing in content then they will be falling behind. As many businesses (and agencies in fact) have found out recently, link building for example without the production of solid content will really only get you so far and in some cases may end up pushing you backwards.

Tom Demers

Co-founder and managing partner with Measured SEM, a search engine marketing firm that offers paid and organic search marketing consulting services

TomContent marketing is really a great example of a new kind of marketing that a lot of people are talking about by a number of different names (inbound marketing, permission marketing, etc.) I think the reason content marketing is being adopted so quickly is that it has a cross-over set of benefits where it’s delivering a lot of the things direct advertising has (direct, measurable traffic and conversions) while simultaneously providing a lot of the same benefits traditional brand advertising has (thought leadership, brand building, etc.)

Cyrus Shepard

Former SEO at SEOmoz, owner of Above The Fold, his own blog

CyrusIt’s ironic that content marketing is finally seeing it’s day in the sun. In reality, good content marketing has been the primary tools of many good SEOs and online marketers for years. If you look at what some of the industry leaders were doing back in 2005, it was content marketing mixed with technical SEO—really no different than today.

The difference is that many of the “tricks” SEOs have relied on for so long have finally been devalued, too many companies have been burned by Penguin and Panda, and so marketers with an eye towards the long term are waking up to the benefits of producing content with actual value. Take it for what you will, but the shift towards content marketing is a direct result of Google’s war against low quality websites.

Neil Patel

Marketing Guru at Quick Sprout

NeilI don’t see it as the new face. I just see it as a piece of the bigger picture. I don’t think there will be one thing that is the “face” of online marketing as what works for one company won’t work for another.

Ryan Clark

Head Strategist (and all around awesome guy) at Linkbuildr

Content marketing is the “old but new face” of online marketing perhaps, and it basically means lazy marketers are going to have to become creative in their efforts. Being creative will do the one thing I love the most, making your brand stand out from the rest. If everyone likes what they see those coveted links will come in naturally … and yes, that actually does happen. Being creative with your content will also bring in more social followers who will help spread your next masterpiece so keep that snowball rolling.

The other huge benefit of content marketing is also putting a face to your brand, not just a funky logo. Your customers will appreciate experiencing your brand with someone they can relate to and content marketing is the perfect weapon. This is advice myself and our team actually needs to get better at which is why I’m getting forced into doing more videos in the near future.

What do I love the most out of all of it? The fact that you’re not trying to trick any search engines or really care about them at all. It’s all about the user experience here and if you start by pleasing their needs and wants first, the search traffic will soon follow.

Hugo Guzman

Owner of his own title site, HugoGuzman.com

HugoI actually don’t see content marketing as the new face of online marketing. It’s been one of the foundations of my approach—and that of many colleagues—for many years. What I do think is that its popularity is rising, especially among SEOs, because Google has done a good job of muting other techniques like reciprocal linking, article submission, and paid linking.

Wayne Barker

Online Marketing Consultant at Boom Online

WayneTo be honest, content marketing isn’t that new but there is always a buzz when something starts to getter wider recognition. The more people ‘get’ it the more it spreads. I think people are definitely getter smarter at measuring it’s worth and defining real strategies – and that is where the success lies.

Bonus!

So there you have it. Now, you ask, how will you shape your content marketing efforts? Which types of content should you focus on? If you are a small business and plan to scale your content marketing efforts, read my previous post about truths in content marketing scaling for small businesses, answered by the same people I mentioned above.

But here’s what you need to know if you want to get started on content marketing:

  1. Focus on being a brand: whether your business is a small one, or if you are aiming to be a large enterprise, always (and I can’t express how important this is) focus on your branding efforts first. You want to be known as “that awesome company that provides great content,” not just “some random source of good content.”
  2. Develop a unique value proposition for your business: know what makes your business sell, and what makes it unique. From there, you can build additional content that will be bought by your market. For instance, the other day I was searching for car rental comparison websites and I stumbled upon CarRentals.co.uk. As a would-be customer, I really liked how the home page was set up, and for me, it’s the business’s unique value proposition. Have a look:

    Car rentals home page

    Note the following elements:

    1. They already know what I’m looking for, and make finding it straightforward. They make it easy to choose the date, pick up location, drop off location, etc. They don’t bother with asking your name, address, and other essentials yet. You came to their website to find something, and they help you do it.
    2. You can choose which currency you will be using.
    3. Country of residence can be chosen as well.
    4. You can get a free quote!
    5. A list of the best suppliers of car rental services to choose from is also provided.

    I took the bait. That’s how good the service is (for me). Learn which part of your business/blog is your most valuable asset, and harness it. From there, and with tons of creativity, other forms of content can easily be produced.

  3. Know your audience: after you identify your unique selling proposition, another very important factor is to know what type of content your audience and would-be customers want. Assess your website assets (current articles, videos, presentations, etc.), then from there work out what content types your audience would enjoy. Some people do not like reading long posts, while others enjoy interacting with you directly. Study your audiences’ demographics to help you decide which content to build.
  4. Businesses should know how the conversion funnel works: this is important if you wish to really convert your content marketing efforts into something profitable.
    1. Top-of-the-funnel content should be for promoting your site/business, which works well in forms of guest posting.
    2. Middle-of-the-funnel content can either be blog posts on your own site or a solid and interactive page with good call to actions.
    3. Bottom-of-the-funnel content can be your product pages, etc.

Content marketing isn’t new, but as we know, it works. Add your content marketing advice in the comment section below.

+John Abrena writes on his own blog, As the Ghost Speaks about search marketing, blogging, and all the random things on his mind. He is also a marketing consultant for UPrinting.com, a top of the line offline peripherals printing company.