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How to Use Blogging as a Job Search Tool

This guest post is by Lior Levin.

Blogging is not just writing your personal notebook these days: it’s a truly open platform where people share their ideas, passion, goals, and thoughts on subjects they care about. Gone are the days when people would consider blogs “a personal affair.” The scene has long since changed.

Blogging as a job search tool

Job seeker

Image copyright Luna Vandoorne - Fotolia.com

As a job seeker, you can use the power of blogs to reach potential recruiters and make them aware of your existence. Googling for potential employees is slowly becoming a trend among recruiters, and you should definitely use the power of blogging to elevate your job profile and establish yourself as an expert in your industry.

Of course you’ll face challenges, and there is no guarantee that you will get hired as a result of your blog. But it never hurts to give this idea a decent try, and see the feedback and response you get from employers who stumble upon your blog.

If you’re seeking a dream job and want to use the Internet to drive potential employers to your online resume, here are a few tips you should keep in mind:

Set up your LinkedIn profile

The very first thing you should do is set up your LinkedIn profile and connect with like minded people, who share common interests and professional backgrounds. LinkedIn is the social hub of career professionals, and employers are always scanning this social site to find enthusiastic candidates who love their work, and are considered leaders in their fields.

By engaging with like-minded people, you’ll understand what they want from you.

Blog about your core interests

Keep your blog focused and up to date on specific topics. It would be better if you leave aside personal rants and ramblings. Instead, blog about your career goals, past projects, lessons, assignments, and so on. The more you blog about your career assignments and skill set, the more people will consider you an “authority” and a “focused person” who knows what they’re talking about.

Blog regularly

If your last blog post was published couple of years back, potential recruiters will think you’ve lost interest. Write often—at least twice a week. Blog about your latest project, blog about the work culture, and remember a golden rule: “Never criticize any of your past employers.”

Engage

This is really important. Write about your interests, but at the same time, engage with the most important asset in any organisation: “People.” Visit their blogs and comment on a post you loved reading. Reply to their tweets, start a conversation with them, and maintain healthy relationships with your peers. Sooner or later, people will notice your online behavior, and they might shoot off an email expecting to hear more from you.

Never lose patience. It takes time to grow a tree, but once it’s there, the shade lasts forever. Just because you don’t see anything on the surface doesn’t mean the plant isn’t growing beneath it. Give your blog some time and keep writing about things you love. That’s what matters most if you want potential recruiters to notice you.

This post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing enthusiast who works for a start-up company that offers a to-do list app for businesses and individuals. Lior also advises for a web hosting company that offers consumers a list of the top 10 website hosting companies available online.

Make Money Locally—and Globally—Through Your Blog

This guest post is by Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing.

Our blog is less than a year old.

We started Firepole Marketing less than a year ago, and we’ve done pretty well with it over that time. A lot of people know who we are, and what we do.

I’ve even been dubbed the Freddy Krueger of Blogging.

And while we’re not at the scale of a major site like Copyblogger, we still do pretty well, to the point that we make a decent amount of money online, and occasionally even help others to do the same.

Connections

Image copyright Lvnel - Fotolia.com

We aren’t the only ones to have done that, and I remember that a year ago, when I saw others make the same sort of claim, I always wanted more information. I wanted to know how much money they were really making, and where that money was coming from.

All right then, I’ll tell you…

Where did we start? Where did the money come from?

Let me start with a bit of the back-story—who we are, and where we came from.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for longer than my adult life. I quit school when I was 15 to start my first business, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

For the last several years, in parallel with my various entrepreneurial ventures (some of which were successful, and some of which were less so), my regular income was earned by consulting for small businesses, usually in the zero-to-ten employee range. Sometimes I would get involved in an advisory capacity, and sometimes they would bring me in for something very specific (i.e. they need a new website)—either way, I would end up helping them make more money by tuning up their marketing and business strategy.

My partner Peter is a marketing and business coach, with similar expertise. We connected on the networking circuit, and while comparing notes over coffee, we agreed that while there were lots of businesses in our target market that were doing well enough to afford our services, there were also a lot of businesses that really needed help, but hardly had any money. We both gave away a lot of free coaching and advice, but that could only go so far.

So we decided to create our training program—that was the birth of Firepole Marketing.

That was more than two years ago. Fast-forward to last year, and the program was done—now we needed to get the word out about it, and that’s when we turned to blogging.

Obviously, my income started out completely offline. I had grown my consultancy to a six-figure business before we ever launched Firepole Marketing.

I think that’s pretty normal—very few people start their careers online, so it makes sense that you would start your transition into the online world still making money from offline opportunities.

Then we launched our product and blog, and half-expected the sales to start rolling in…

Disappointments and False Starts

Almost immediately after launching the blog, we announced it to our (small) lists, and did a small product launch. This was in the very beginning of 2010.

It flopped miserably.

We didn’t make any money at all from that launch, and in hindsight, it wasn’t hard to see why.

Nobody knew who we were, and our audience was very small (less than a hundred people on our list).

So who were we launching our product to?

Nobody—that’s right!

It was after that false start that we realized we need to focus on building an engaged audience first, and then worrying about product sales later.

So that’s what we did. I wrote lots of guest posts, landed interviews with major figures like Guy Kawasaki, participated in online conversations, and did everything that I could think of to:

  1. get my name out in front of as many targeted people as I could
  2. consistently offer as much value as I could, so that if people remembered me, they would remember me in a positive light.

And it started working. I built real relationships with lots of other bloggers, our traffic numbers grew, and we started seeing some really interesting discussion and debate on some of our posts. In less than a year, our Alexa ranking dropped from over a million to just about 85,000, where it hovers today.

And we figured that as the traffic numbers increased, we’d start seeing more people buy our training program. But we were wrong…

Next: Online Feeding Offline

We did start seeing product sales, but not as many as had hoped, and not as soon as we would have liked.

That was fine, though, because it turned out that there were a much more lucrative income opportunities that literally found us.

Those opportunities were offline opportunities … sort of.

It turned out that a whole bunch of people in our networks—some of whom we hadn’t spoken to in years—were reading our blog, and following our growth online. They were impressed, and started contacting us out of the blue, to engage our coaching and consulting services.

Once we noticed the trend, we put out a few feelers to our list (which had a couple hundred people on it by this point), asking if anyone was interested in working with us on a one-on-one basis.

More than a few people said yes, and working with us on a one-on-one basis isn’t cheap!

In other words, before we even started making product sales, we had generated something like $10,000 in extra revenues from new clients that found us through the blog.

But it didn’t stop there.

Product Sales and More Clients…

Eventually, people started buying our training program.

It was just a trickle at first—after all, this is a $900 training program, not a $17 e-book!

But people were buying, culminating in a big chunk of publicity that we got at the end of August, when we took the program off the market.

All in all, we’ve probably made another $10,000 or so from product sales, and we expect that number to grow dramatically each time we open the program to new students, which will probably happen once or twice per year (that way, we can focus on building our audience in between).

And in between launches, we get new coaching and consulting clients, which will realistically continue to make up the majority of the income that we earn online—at least for the next year or so.

So, how can you do the same?

Are you wondering whether you can do exactly what we did, and get the exact same results?

The answer is that no, you probably can’t.

I could tell you what’s worked for us—but that probably won’t be very helpful, because we’re different people with different strengths, we’ve had different experiences, and we’re in different circumstances.

What you really need is some hard data about what seems to be working, across the board.

Everybody talks about making some money locally and some money online, but there’s no hard data about what results large numbers of people are seeing, and how long it’s taking them to get there.

We wanted to change all that, so we created the Semi-Local Business Survey.

The survey will ask you how much of your income is generated locally, how much is generated remotely, and how you came to be where you are today.

Your answers are completely anonymous, and will be added to the answers of many others, so that we can see what the real trends in the industry are.

There’s no offer here, and nothing for sale—we just want to gather the data and share it with the community.

So please, take a few minutes and complete the survey!

Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is an author, strategist, serial entrepreneur, and proud co-founder of Firepole Marketing, the program that turns non-marketers into expert marketers. He wants to know where entrepreneurs, freelancers and small businesses are really making their money – help out by completing the Semi-Local Business Survey today!

How a Blog Can Help Grow Your Offline Business

This guest post was written by Gordon McLachlan of 8 Gram Gorilla.

I’ve been both an avid blogger and a huge advocate for blogging for many years now. But until recently I’ve never had any personal “success” to be able to back up my claims that blogging isn’t just an excellent pastime, it’s also a tremendously useful business resource.

Sure, it’s easy to point people to the likes of ProBlogger as a testament to the power of blogging when answering the question “why have a blog?” but I’ve always struggled to relate any major achievements of my own as further proof to my assertions.

Until now.

How my blog helped my offline business grow

It all began three years ago when I first started blogging in earnest and opened the doors to an online gaming blog (think World of Warcraft et al), the subject matter being a hobby of mine that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed for many years.

I guess, if I’m being truly honest, I did have a little thought/hope/dream in the back of my mind that one day I might “make it” as a blogger and become so popular and make so much money through advertising that I could relocate to the Bahamas and live out the rest of my life sipping Mai Tais whilst blogging from a laptop on the beach. Of course, that never happened.

I wasn’t particularly cut up about that, though, because I was primarily blogging for the simple reason that I enjoyed it so much. Plus, within a year or two, I’d managed to establish myself as one of the more popular blogs in my niche with a loyal readership and tens of thousands of visits a month.

I was content and never thought my blog would help me in any other way.

Then something magical happened.

Five months ago, I took the biggest risk of my life and left my job with a company I’d been with for over six years. I started up my own business, a web agency, with two other very talented individuals. The web has always been my passion and not only did my new colleagues and I want to make a living running our own design and development company, we also knew that we wanted to engage with the Internet through all available means.

Taking a punt, I wrote up a post on my gaming blog advertising my new company site and new company blog, 8 Gram Gorilla, hoping that we might be able to pass through some link juice and garner a little bit of interest from my gaming readership.

The response was overwhelming.

Securing international business

Within a few days of my blog post, we’d received emails from readers about job opportunities, some national, here in the UK, and some international. These people had looked at our company blog, our company website, and our portfolio of work, and decided that we, as a business, were worth investigating.

Long story short, through contact stemming directly from my gaming blog, we were able to secure international work that, as a result, has helped us survive and thrive—no mean feat given how tough it is for new businesses to establish themselves in the current economic climate.

I think it’s important to stress here that we didn’t have people just phoning us up and offering us guaranteed jobs or easy money—we still had to pitch for the work and go through the usual hoops of tendering and proving ourselves to be the right people for the job. In fact, not every lead even converted into a project. But that’s not the point.

The point is, just like any form of networking and relationship building, it’s about getting in front of people who might actually have a need for your service, and who respect and trust you enough to give you a shot at going up for it.

At the end of the day, we only won the work we got because we were the right people for the job. What my blog did give us, though, were some amazing leads and the ability to pitch for work that we would never have known about otherwise. And that’s been truly invaluable.

Better than any networking event

I’ve attended a lot of local networking events and I can tell you that most of them are a waste of time. Aside from the fact that they’re usually filled with people all trying to sell their own wares and services to each other and not actually buy anything, they don’t tend to offer enough time to really get to know anyone properly. And that’s why blogs are so beautiful.

Over the two and a bit years my blog had been running, I’d written several hundred posts on, mainly, my views of gaming, but also about my personal experiences at home, details about my wife and family, and other bits about my life, like my reading interests and holiday activities.

All this information helped cement a relationship of trust and friendship with my readers. They felt like they knew me enough, and perhaps more importantly, liked me enough, to give me a chance when I started my own business.

Funnily enough, this intimate connection has also made the business relationship with any readers easier and more relaxed than any other because, after all, it’s hard to maintain a stern, impersonal corporate facade when someone’s seen your embarrassing holiday photos. I can be completely natural with them because I know that they’ve already read hundreds of hours of my thoughts, moans, and opinions, leaving me nowhere to hide—even if I wanted to.

And all of this is why a blog, any blog, can help benefit your offline business. It allows you to make connections with thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people from all across the world whilst constantly establishing a relationship of trust, authority, and kinship.

It doesn’t even matter what your blog is about, because your readers will ultimately share your passion for the same subject and, importantly, over the course of time, they’ll come to relate with you more and more.

The moral of the story

You don’t need a blog that makes money itself by selling products or generating huge ad revenue to reap the real, tangible life-changing benefits of having one.

Just writing about what you love, regardless of what it is, is enough. People respect passion and admire talent, and sometimes, just using a blog as a vehicle to establish trust and connect with others is enough.

Indeed, one of the best things a blog can do for you is introduce you to thousands of people who share your interests and hobbies and, just like networking in the “real world,” maybe one day one of those people will need the services your offline business has to offer.

After all, you never know who might be reading.

This post was written by Gordon McLachlan, one of the founders of Primate, a digital agency driven by an overwhelming passion for the web industry. In addition to having a slightly unsettling love for monkeys he also co-authors their rather witty blog, 8 Gram Gorilla.

The Humble Telephone is Making a Comeback … for Bloggers

This guest post is by David Edwards of www.asittingduck.com.

I’m not sure why, but when you start blogging, you forget all about how businesses run.

It’s true that there are bloggers out there who wake up to full PayPal accounts and affiliate cheques flying through their doors. But if you’re in the early days of blogging, this may not be the case for you. What could you use that’s sitting on your desk every day, and could help you make serious cash?

A telephone!

What I have done, which has set me up for a very profitable year, is built a sales funnel to increase the amount of revenue in my business.

I have guest posts and viral videos published, which get me some traffic. Then, I have an email subscription list that lets me build those relationships further—to the point where a phone call from me to a subscriber would not be intrusive at all. In fact potential clients, even if they didn’t buy from me, love to receive a call. Some have said it was great to talk to someone that has a good perspective on how to make money online.

This technique may not be for everyone—I know cold calling can be daunting. It really doesn’t feel like cold calling to you or your subscriber, though! Imagine Darren Rowse phoning to ask if he could help you at all with your blog. What would you say? “Not interested, Darren!”? Probably not!

Do it right, and you’ll enjoy a positive reaction for your call. You may think that because you only have a few subscribers, you’re not worth as much to your fans as a big player. But you have the advantage, because a big player doesn’t have time to call his subscribers.

Here are my tips for making successful sales calls:

  • Work on giving a free gift to subscribers that will whet their appetites for future products. I use a very short PDF on traffic generation.
  • Send out an email once a week or once a month to build your relationship with your subscribers.
  • Offer further free training videos or helpful blog posts and give them a chance to email you directly.
  • Once you have a few emails in, offer to call them.
  • Once you have made the calls and spoken to your subscribers, let them know about your more highly priced services.
  • Repeat the process.

The humble telephone is making a comeback, and I would love to hear that some of you still use it to build businesses from your blogs.

David Edwards is a freelance marketing consultant and the founder of www.asittingduck.com.
His character “Candy The Magic Dinosaur” will be starring in his very own iPhone Game this Christmas!

Make Business Blogging Fun: Write About Holidays, Anniversaries, and Other Milestones

This guest post is by Lindsey McCaffrey of Absolutely Write.

Business bloggers: do you consider every day Labour Day?

Take a breather: finding things to blog about doesn’t have to be hard work.

In light of the upcoming Labour Day weekend, I’m going to share a little tip I like to tell clients who blog: consider holidays, anniversaries and other observances.

By relating your blog post to an occasion, you can come up with some creative, timely and fun pieces.

Blog about holidays

Here’s one example of giving your writing a holiday spin: leading up to last year’s Christmas season, I compiled my PR pet peeves into an article, Dear Santa—a PR expert’s Christmas wish list.

Tip: Don’t just think about the holidays you celebrate: consider those of other cultures and countries. You just may find an interesting rite or ritual to write about.

Blog about milestone anniversaries and events

Mark a milestone anniversary or event such as:

  • a birthday, birthday year, or death day/year of someone famous, infamous, or otherwise (it doesn’t have to be someone your readers would know, provided there is relevance to the article)
  • the anniversary (day or annual) of a particular historical event
  • the year of the release of a book, album, movie or otherwise—something that perhaps you have learned a lot from, or that resonates strongly with you.

Tip: For more impact, it’s best to mark a “milestone year” (think 5, 10, 15, 20…you get the picture) rather than something like the 53rd anniversary of X, Y or Z.

Blog about weird and wacky observances

There are also less-serious, not-at-all officially recognized days, months, and milestones observed worldwide. For example, in the United States:

Tip: Before writing about a particular observance, you may wish to qualify it. Ensure it’s something that at least a few people actually acknowledge, and not something that Joe down the street conjured over beer with the guys.

Find an occasion to write about!

Here are just a few websites to use as resources:

What are some fun holidays, anniversaries and observances you have written or read about?

Lindsey McCaffrey is a writer, editor, blogger and communications consultant based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Visit her Absolutely Write blog at www.lindseymccaffrey.com/blog.

How to Use Blogging to Get Clients Flocking after You

This guest post is by Onibalusi from YoungPrePro.com.

I have been writing for others as a freelancer for over seven months now and within that period I have made over $20,000 just by writing for others. I keep on getting new client requests every month and due to an agreement with my current and main clients, I have rejected almost ten clients in the past six months.

I have also noticed that in the blogosphere and in the freelancing world, less than 20% of the people get 99% of the results, so I decided to write an article on how to use blogging to get more clients to your business.

Before I continue I’d like you to know that the tips in this article won’t help you get “cheap clients” who really don’t care about the quality of your work. I’ll be giving you tips that can help you get high paying, recurring clients that you can choose from.

I’d also like you to know that every aspect of this article is essential. Don’t think you can skip my first point to go to the next and then expect the results to come. This is definitely not the ultimate guide on getting clients—I’m far from someone to write an ultimate guide on the subject. The tips in this article can also be modified to give you better results than I’m getting, but some people like to skip the main parts and try to rush into it for the money, then expect the results to come. That just won’t happen!

Okay, let’s get to the tips.

Focus on what you’re best at

Try to put yourself into the shoes of your client first. Let’s say you’re a small business with a tight budget and you want to get the word out about your business. You think the best thing to do is to hire a marketing consultant to give you advice based on your business model and you decide to go out in search for one.

You came across two people—the first is someone who is really desperate to make money and is therefore claiming the title of a “marketing consultant” because he hears that others with that name are making it big. The other, however, is a dedicated marketing consultant who lives, eats, and breathes marketing and who has helped several people with marketing their business. Which of the two will you go with?

You might try to play smart and think clients won’t be able to see through you but as someone who hardly advertises my service but keeps on getting client requests regularly, I will tell you that the best thing to do is to focus on what you’re best at. Doing so won’t only increase your chances of getting a lot of clients, it will ensure you’re paid double what you’re worth, and it will also ensure your clients stick with you for a very long time.

After all, the only thing your clients want is results, and once you can give them a lot of those, they will happily stay with you forever.

Know which kinds of clients you want and tailor your blog posts to them

I’m not trying to tell you to start writing blog posts every day inviting clients, or to be writing aggressive blog posts with the sole aim of getting clients. I’m taking about being specific about what you talk about, and letting potential clients see you as an expert on your subject.

Take a look at Darren Rowse, for example. If a big client is looking for someone to give the best advice about building successful blogs, you can be sure they will hire Darren. Not only does Darren have three very popular blogs in different niches, he also has the most successful blog in the blogging niche (which has been the most successful for several years now). That alone speaks a great deal to show that this guy knows what he’s talking about.

If you want clients to hire you to do their website design work for them, you need to be blogging about web design, and doing case studies that help analyze other people’s blog designs for better results. The more you can show someone that you know your stuff, the higher their chances of hiring you will be.

I try to know how my clients have found me, and I have noticed that every single one of them discovered me through my blog posts about guest blogging, which assures them that I know my stuff as far as writing is concerned.

Be a living example of what you have to offer

If you’re a web designer who wants to have clients flocking after you, having a very poor website design won’t help you go far. The best way to get clients is by letting them know that you know your stuff—and what better way to do this than to be using your services yourself?

Why will people ever hire you to write for them when you don’t even have a blog? Why will people hire you to help design their websites when you have never designed for someone else and the website template you use is one of the worst they’ve ever seen? Why will people hire you for SEO when you hardly get any visits to your blogs from the search engines? Why will people hire you to write their copy when you can’t even convince them to use your service?

Since I’m human, just like you, I’d like to tell you that my number one concern isn’t my mother, it isn’t my siblings, it isn’t you either. It is me, and since every human thinks alike, I’d like to believe this is the same for everybody. Our major concerns are ourselves, and we think about ourselves before others. No one will hire you if you can’t prove to them that you’re an example of what you have to offer and that hiring you will be their wisest decision.

Market yourself

You will notice here that I’m not actually saying you should market your service.

I’m not against marketing your service altogether, but my point is that being a living example of what you have to offer is enough marketing of your service in itself. So spreading the word about yourself will let a lot of people see you, and will result in them asking to buy your services.

Look for the best tactics that those who are getting results in your industry are using, and start making use of them yourself. Don’t just rush after guest blogging because people in the IM niche says it is working for them. Facebook might be what’s working in your niche. Search engines might be the best friend of those getting the most results in your niche.

So instead of following the general approach to marketing, try to take a look at how some of the people getting the most results in your field are marketing themselves. Then, start marketing yourself using the same approach.

Use your blog

Getting clients flocking after you isn’t as difficult as most people think. It isn’t about joining one freelancing site or the other. Blogging is the most powerful tool at the disposal of everybody, and you can easily make the best use of it to your own advantage. Utilize the tips above to get clients flocking after you—and let us know how you go in the comments.

Onibalusi Bamidele is the founder of YoungPrePro.com, a blog where he teaches people how to write for traffic and money. Get his free 7 series eCourse on How to Build a Successful Online Writing Business

Make the Most of Product Reviews on Your Facebook Page

This guest post is by Jenny Dean of Business Blog Writers.

You might have seen the ProBlogger post by Tommy Walker that talked about using photos to your advantage on Facebook. This post will add to some of Tommy’s ideas.

I have two websites, Floppycats.com and Antioxidant-fruits.com, and corresponding Facebook fan pages where I like to set up albums for the product reviews that I do on those sites.

Why having albums on a Facebook Fan page is important

  • Opportunity: Since I feature a product every Tuesday, that’s pretty much 52 product reviews per year. That means 52 (or 53, depending on the year) opportunities for my sites’ Facebook fan pages to show up in people’s news feeds.
  • Link love: You can link or tag the manufacturer’s Facebook page on each photo within your Album, which means you’ll get a link back to your Facebook page from theirs.
  • Clickthroughs: You can add a link back to your website from your Fan page. I like to link back to the actual product review, so that users will visit the site if they are interested in learning more.
  • Communication: You’ll get questions—and if you are doing product review albums like me, it might give you more insight on how to do your review, or provide you with feedback for the manufacturer, showing the manufacturer how valuable you are as a blogger for them.
  • More fans: That’s right, when you link to the manufacturer, you never know who will see the link on the manufacturer’s page, and then will come and check out your Facebook Fan page—or your site.

In this article, I’m going to explain how to set up a successful Facebook album as well as how to tag and link photos in that album to the manufacturer’s Facebook Fan pages.

Setting up your album

Facebook has changed up a bit since Tommy’s post, so first, I’ll show you how to set up a Facebook album.

First you want to start from your blog’s (or business’s) Fan page. Under your photo, there is a category called “photos”. Click on that, and your photo section will appear.

To add an album, click on “Photos.”

Another page will open and on the right-hand said there is a button that says, “+ Create Album.” Click on that.

A dialog box opens, and you can start adding photos from your hard drive that are applicable to the album.

Adding photos to an existing album

Now, every Tuesday on my informational website about fruit, I do a product review on a product that has fruit in it. I have, of course, already created the album. Every week, either when I write a review or after the review has been published, I add a photo.

To add a photo to an existing Facebook album, simply click on the album (follow directions above) and then click on “Add Photos” in the upper right-hand corner once you are on the album page.

As I was writing this post, I decided to add the photo of the product that will make its debut on my blog this week: blazerfarmz Fresh Frozen Aronia Berries.

When the upload is complete, click on “Done.” Then, scroll to the bottom of “Edit Album—Product Reviews” until you find the image that you’ve just uploaded.

Enter the name of the product (you might want to throw in a keyword here, too, but since “aronia berries” is already a keyword for me, I don’t worry about it) and then include the URL link to your product review.

Then click on “Save Changes,” then “Publish.”

Once this image is published, Facebook will return you to the album in question. So then you want to go find the photo you just uploaded and click on it. When I do this, I can see that it has a product name and also a clickable link back to my product review. You might even want to make this link a bit.ly link, so that you can track the number of clicks.

Now, here comes the important part that will help you stretch your reach across multiple Facebook pages: you want to tag the manufacturer’s page in your photo.

When you’ve clicked on the photo and the photo is open on your screen, in the white section below the photo on the lower left side you will see a “Tag This Photo” link. Click on that.

Move your cursor over the photo and then click on it (anywhere is fine in this situation because there is only one product in the photo). Then start typing the name of the manufacturer. In order for this to work, you have to have already liked their page.

Select the manufacturer’s name (“blazerfarmz” in this case) and then click on “Done Tagging.”

You’ll see that “Blazerfarmz” has been tagged in the photo, which means your photo is now on their Facebook page. So all the fans of their page now have the opportunity to click on your photo as well as click on through to your review. My photo is on my page and on their page—it’s double the exposure for little effort.

If we go back to my album, you can see that I have several manufacturers tagged in my Product Review album.

Benefits of using Facebook albums

Some benefits of this approach to using Facebook’s albums include:

  • Cross posting of photos with minimal effort creates much more exposure.
  • It shows manufacturers that you have interest in them and are making an effort to expose their products.
  • If you offer giveaways, product reviews, or advertising on your site, you could always add your Facebook albums as an added bonus to product owners. In other words, you will cover their products on your Facebook page and will include them in a permanent album where their product images will be located alongside those of other manufacturers. So if someone comes from one manufacturer’s Facebook page, they might discover other manufacturers’ products through your Facebook fan page.

An added touch

Something I like to do to finish it all off is to post my review on the manufacturer’s Facebook page. I like to do that from my Antioxidant-fruits.com account, though—I have to switch from my personal account to my Antioxidant-fruits.com account.

To switch accounts, go to the Account Tab in the upper right-hand corner, click it and choose, “Use Facebook as a Page.” A dialog box will open showing all your pages. Click on the one you want to use.

When you click on the switch, it will take you to your Facebook home page. Next, search for the manufacturer’s name using the search bar.

Then go to their page and type a message. I wrote, “Thank you to blazerfarmz for letting us review their awesome Fresh Frozen Aronia Berries over at @ant.” When you type the “@” symbol and your page’s name, the full page name will come up. You can select it, and it will link to your Facebook page.

I can also then include the URL of the YouTube video I did for the review. If I just copy the URL from YouTube, paste it into that field on Facebook, and then hit the space bar, a photo will appear from the video, and the link will be there too.

Then, click on “Share,” and you’ll see your message show up on their page. Here, I forgot to include a link to the actual review, so I added that in the comment section.

You can do the same on your page. The beauty of posting on your page and linking to their Facebook page with the “@” symbol is that that message will show up on the manufacturer’s wall too!

What ideas do you have for making the most of your blog site and photos on Facebook? I’d love to hear them!

Jenny Dean is a 31-year-old-business owner and entrepreneur from Kansas City. Jenny is currently working on Business Blog Writers, a company that supplies blog content specifically for company’s blogs, Floppycats.com, an informational website about Ragdoll cats and Antioxidant-fruits.com, an informational website about the antioxidant powers of fruit. Follow Business Blog Writers on Twitter or on Facebook.

How Compendium’s Web to Post Generates Content and Community

This guest post is by Jenny Dean of Business Blog Writers.

You might have read my article about a business blogging platform called Compendium. Today, I wanted to share with you a fantastic Compendium tool called, Web to Post that allows customers or clients to tell stories about your products or services.

Web to Post turns your consumer’s advocacy into web content.

Of course, as Business Blog Writers, sometimes this writes us out of the picture, but at the same time, if we are used to supplement the Web to Post content, then we can also get a lot of content ideas from what customer or clients submit.

In addition to my blog writing business, I also have a Ragdoll cat blog and all images of Compendium’s Web to Post form come from that.

How does Web to Post work?

A Call to Action is put in the sidebar of the blog. The CTA usually says something like, “Share Your Story”.

This call to action can also be put on your Facebook fan page, in your newsletter, on your YouTube Channel or in an email to an existing database.

The customer sees the CTA and decides to submit a story. They click on the link and are taken to an online form that asks them things like their story title, the story, and their first and last name. They can also choose to upload a photo to include with their story. The forms are totally customizable to fit your campaign or story needs.

Once the stories are received, the administrator of the blog is sent an email letting him or her know there is content waiting in the system. The stories can be edited, approved or declined from there, just like internal blog posts on Compendium’s system. So in other words, the story isn’t instantly on your company website the second the customer or client hits “submit”. Rather, it has to go through an administrative layer for final approval. This is awesome, because it turns your advocates into your bloggers! [Share Your Story Submission on Dashboard.jpg]

Once the administrator has checked out the post and added a keyword rich title, then the admin approves it. At that point is the Compendium algorithm automatically categorizes or tags the story to the relevant, targeted keyword pages on your blog . The admin can also choose to promote it on your company’s social networks, like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Then, the viral effect kicks in. Each story is published on your company’s blog, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages.

The customer who submitted the story also gets an automatic email that says their story has been published on your company’s blog. Another link encourages them to share their featured story on their own social network profiles.

How Web to Post helps business blogs

Lee Jorgenson, an Account Manager at Compendium recently pointed out that Sears Outlet has generated over 5,000 posts in just three months by gathering content from five different channels.

Sears Outlet sends a great transactional email after someone purchases from their website that invites customers to share their stories. This email is timely and helps harvest stories while they are fresh in the customer’s mind. The email has a link that drives the customer to a web to post form to submit their story. They also use the Web to Post forms to capture stories from blog and website visitors. They also have one embed on their Facebook fan page tab and collect stories from Facebook fans that way.

The process is simple: Content → Exposure → Referrals → Sales

Another Compendium client, The College Network, was able to launch a contest asking nurses to share their stories. The prize? An iPad. They received nearly 100 user generated stories (that’s 100 free posts!). The stories got over 40 comments and over 1,500 Likes. They drove 3,500 unique visits to their story page and tracked an average of 35 additional Facebook fans per day from the campaign. It also increased their organic search traffic by 25%—all for the cost of an iPad.

How Web-to-Post helps smaller bloggers

As far as my site, Floppycats.com, is concerned, Web to Post has made my life incredibly easier. When I run a giveaway, I tell people that for an extra chance to win the prize, they can submit a photo of their cat as well as a description explaining why their cat needs to win the product.

This approach not only generates more activity on my site, but also creates more content for my blog. And readers love to see photos of their cats on my blog!

I also use Web to Post for Ragdoll breeders who want to advertise kittens for sale. It saves me the time involved in uploading them to the site, and entering all the information—and they’re hosted on Compendium’s server, not the one I am paying for.

I also use Web to Post to accept content from people who need to rehome their Ragdoll cats, and cat rescue groups that need to get the word out about cats available for adoption.

I give a lengthy explanation of what I want (this eliminates time-consuming emailing back and forth between the poster and me) and provide examples so readers know what information they need to submit.

So while Web to Post is great for sales and boosting social media buzz about your company, for the blogger who wants an active online community on their blog, Compendium’s Web to Post can also make your life a lot less busy. Just say “no” to too much right- and left-clicking!

What if you don’t have compendium?

If you don’t have Compendium, you can probably still put something like this together, but it would require more manpower and coordination to get it done.

Frankly, I don’t like to spend my time on the technicalities and would rather have it right from the get-go. Compendium’s business blogging platform simply takes care of the strategy, process and technology so your business can focus on the content and stories.

Jenny Dean is a 31-year-old-business owner and entrepreneur from Kansas City. Jenny is currently working on Business Blog Writers, a company that supplies blog content specifically for company’s blogs, Floppycats.com, an informational website about Ragdoll cats and Antioxidant-fruits.com, an informational website about the antioxidant powers of fruit. Follow Business Blog Writers on Twitter or on Facebook.

How to Build a Business By Supporting Bloggers: a Case Study

This guest post is by Jeremy Delancy of passivepanda.com.

Some people get struck by lightning, some people win the lottery, and some people make good money by blogging two hours per day in their pajamas. I’ve never met any one the above-mentioned people, but the snake oil salesmen of the Internet will try to convince you that you’ll be making millions in a few months if you buy their info products and start a blog.

The truth is, profitable blogging requires hard work. An even less accepted truth is that profitable blogging will, more and more, require a collaborative effort. In his ebook Partnering Profits, John Morrow likens the early days of making money online to the early days of computer gaming. The first computer games were so basic that one person designed and produced an entire game! Think about what is needed to create Runescape or Starcraft II. The time and effort is well beyond the capability of any one person.

A similar change is taking place in blogging. Readers now want multi-media content, social media widgets, great writing, and so on. Add in the marketing and promotion of your blog and it soon becomes more than any one individual can deliver without spending 80 hours in front of a computer. The job of managing research, affiliates, guest posts—all while learning new technologies—has already begun to overwhelm some small bloggers.

In this turmoil created by the growth and development in the blogosphere, I see opportunity. The possibility exists to create an additional income not by starting your own blog, but by helping other bloggers build a loyal readership, increase blog traffic and monetize their blogs. I’m starting to do just that and I’ll analyze the steps that I’ve taken so far.

Getting started

First, some background information: I’ve worked as a full-time speech writer for the last ten years. The job entails loads of research on all sorts of topics. Previously, I was an English Literature teacher. I began reading blogs on Personal Finance, Entrepreneurship and Lifestyle Design in 2009.

Since then I’ve come across blogs that had great, well-researched content and good design. I’ve also come across many more that were quite the opposite. It’s obvious to many blog readers that some bloggers need help. The questions I wanted answered were, “Are bloggers willing to pay for assistance?” and, “Is there a market among bloggers for my particular skill set?”

The process

In retrospect, I could have begun the process of finding out who needed assistance, and what kind of assistance was needed, quite differently. One alternative would have been to subscribe to blogs on blogging (ProBlogger) and read the comments to see what were the most common challenges faced. But, that would not have been true to my nature, which is to gain first hand information through research.

Instead, I developed a questionnaire, which I emailed to bloggers who specialized in: personal finance, christian living, entrepreneurship, woodworking, and eco-friendly lifestyles, all of which are areas of personal interest. Some of the questions were informational, i.e. “How long does it take to move from new idea to blog post?” Other questions were about the bloggers’ aspirations, i.e. “Where would you like to be in terms of blogging within the next six months to two years?”

Tip: When you’re doing this kind of research do not send more than five questions unless you have developed an excellent rapport with the other person. I found that sending seven questions in an email dropped the response rate to zero.

Tip 2: For an excellent article on what to write when emailing busy people, go here.

The answers were then collated and turned into A Report on Building A Better Blog which was uploaded to Scribd.com. By using Scribd, I was able to keep track of the number of downloads and the number of positive responses I received. To get a copy of the ten page report, which details my methodology, questions and suggestions, go here.

The service offering

The process of researching and writing the report, had several very important benefits. Primarily, it gave me an insight into the some of the biggest problems faced by bloggers.

Secondly, I had made a tangible product to showcase my research and writing skills.

Finally, and most importantly, the answers allowed me to focus on providing the following services to bloggers in personal finance and entrepreneurship:

  • Guest posts—Invitations to write guest posts are common but not every blogger finds the time to do so, even when it would increase their readership. I write and the blogger who hires me, posts to the blog he/she received the invitation from.
  • Ghost writing—Surprise! Bloggers are people too! They need time to attend to their families, take vacations, etc. Due to the nature of my full-time job, I know how to replicate the vocabulary, syntax and style of others. After a few days of practice, most readers won’t be able to tell the difference between me and their beloved blogger.
  • Research—Find entrepreneurial blogs with 50, 000 RSS Feed subscribers. I’m on it. Research the benefits of credit card X, compare to credit card Y, and write a post. Not a problem. Summarize guru A’s new book and email the finer points. With pleasure.

The major benefit, that I provide bloggers? Time. By spending less time researching and writing, they have more time to work on other projects and find new ways to monetize their blogs

Finding potential clients

When the time came to begin pitching bloggers with the above-mentioned service offering, I had a good idea of their major challenges, and was able to offer solutions because of my research. To find potential clients I searched Technorati.com for personal finance blogs with high to medium authority and then focused on those that announced a soon to be released information product (indicating a very busy blogger), or those whose Compete.com numbers had tumbled sharply (indicating that the blogger had missed several posts) and e-mailed them.

Some of you reading this will think that the process is far too tedious to emulate, but there is a major benefit. By putting 80% of the work up front, your chance of rejection goes down considerably. This is because you are in your customer’s head. You will have taken the time and effort to know their goals, their pain points, their likes and dislikes, and crafted your service to meet their needs. In return they will show their appreciation by giving you their business.

How you can get started today

Finally, for those of you interested in helping bloggers, I’d suggest skipping the research and focus on the following instead:

  1. Niche down and know what topics you will specialize in.
  2. Be clear on what problems you can solve … and those you can’t.
  3. Perfect your service offering via email as it will give you a foot in the door.
  4. Constantly strive to improve your skills.

Become the support network

Helping bloggers is essentially freelance work, and the first rule of freelancing is find your niche. The blogosphere is a big place and as it grows there are more and more opportunities for you to fill in the gaps. Spend some time thinking about how you could help a blogger and you may find yourself earning more freelance income as a blog supporter than many people do as a blog owner.

Could you support a blogger? Have you considered this as an income option? I’d love to hear of your experiences in the comments.

Jeremy Delancy writes for Passive Panda. To get more tips and other proven strategies for earning more money, time, and freedom join Passive Panda’s Free Newsletter on Earning More.