Close
Close

What Blogging for Fun Taught Me About Blogging for Profit

This guest post is by Becky Canary-King of Direct Incorporation.

There’s really too much to say about the benefit of a good blog for your business. A well done blog can bring in new customers, establish yourself as an expert in your field, open up communication with your clients, and support your SEO and marketing.

Recently I discovered that the blog I write for fun about body image issues has a higher Google page rank than my company’s blog! Of course, we get a fraction of the web views, but without pointed effort, I managed to make my personal blog keyword rich, get lots of backlinks, and ranked high in Google’s page rankings. Now that I’m writing for my company’s blog, here are the lessons I’m taking with me:

Pick a specific topic

Be specific. Want to be a catch-all related to everything about your industry? Great. But you’re going to have a lot of competition, and major competitors with more resources and established viewers. Instead, focus on what you do best, the niche area that you have a unique perspective. What is the blog that only your company could write?

Establish your credentials. Let your readers know why they would want to hear from you about the topic. Just the fact that you are selling the product or service is not necessarily enough to gain your reader’s trust. Sharing your education or career path is a quick way to add credibility; but it’s not the only one. I never got a degree in “Body Image Sciences”, but my genuine interest in the topic makes me a credible source to readers.

Collaborate with other blogs

Know your part in the blogosphere. Read other blogs on your topic! Getting to know what’s already out there helps you establish where your niche will be. You also get a feel for what readers on the topic are interested in and can borrow some tricks on what works.

Comment and share. Guest post, link back, comment on other blogs. All these actions convey your interest in the topic and establish your unique point of view. Blogs can act as a community of learners, experts and interested parties. Join in enthusiastically!

Interact with readers

Let your readers know what they can expect. Doing a series is a great way to get readers coming back for more. Or pick a day when you write on a certain topic, or have a certain type of post. Personally, I do a body positive music post every Friday, featuring a song or two I enjoy. I have been linked back to as a place where you can consistently check out body positive music.

Encourage and ask for feedback. Trying to get commenters on your blog can be really frustrating at first—it normally doesn’t happen automatically, but keep at it! At the end of every post ask questions or encourage them to give you feedback on the topic. Respond to comments right away with a real response, rather than just a thank you. Readers are a great resource for your blog, so let them know they are valued.

Now get writing!

Becky Canary-King is an Account Manager and Press Contact at Direct Incorporation, a company focused on providing a more economical and efficient alternative to using a law firm for common legal/entrepreneurial issues. She is passionate about women’s empowerment and blogs for personally for Happy Bodies, and professionally for Direct Incorporation’s Blog, offering tips for the first 6 months of your small business.

How to Avoid Legal Trouble, Income Tax Fines, and Penalties as a Blogger

This guest post is by Sunil of Extra Money Blog.

Making money online is no different than making money from any other type of business in that you have to abide by the same laws and regulations as any other business or citizen.

Many internet entrepreneurs fail to consider this and are later faced with severe fines and penalties from relevant governing authorities. Others face even more severe repercussions.

How do I know? I’ve had to help many get out from their terrible situations! See, I have a slight advantage. Not only am I a successful internet entrepreneur today, but I was also a CPA and financial consultant in my past life.

Tax time

Copyright Christopher Meder - Fotolia.com

Although I have no data to prove it, my theory is that many young entrepreneurs enter the online business space without fully understanding its nature and the laws and regulations one must adhere to in any for-profit activity.

The lack of awareness and knowledge is what leads most people to unforeseen unfortunate circumstances with the legal authorities.

Below are a handful of legalities to consider as you embark and progress in your journey of making money online. These are some of the most financially impactful in terms of fines, penalties, liability exposure, and money left on the table, yet they’re ones that are most commonly overlooked by bloggers and internet marketers.

Note that this post focuses on regulatory obligations under United States law.

Note: None of this should be construed as legal or tax advice. Consult your personal and paid accountants and attorneys before implementing any part of this discussion.

Legal incorporation

A business online is a business nonetheless. And any business can be sued for anything.  At the very least, it’s a good idea to ensure your personal assets are protected and “separated” from your business assets.

One way to do this by incorporating your business under a formal legalized structured such as a limited liability company (LLC).

Contractor pay compliance

In the United States, you are required to timely complete and file Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1099 for each contractor hired if you paid them at least $600.

This is how the government tracks who is earning money from freelance labor. This is also how the government tracks whether expenses claimed as deductions are being claimed as income elsewhere. For example, when you claim a $600 business deduction, that is $600 less the government can tax you with. But they will expect someone else to claim the $600 so they can collect their fair share of tax revenue.

Quarterly Tax Installments

When you’re self-employed, the Government expects you to remit your anticipated self-employment taxes on a quarterly basis so that it can operate within its budget.

Rather than paying a lump sum tax amount at the end of the year, you are expected to pay taxes in four installments (one each quarter). The idea is to pay all your tax liability by the time year-end comes around.

It is always a good idea to overpay and then claim a refund rather than underpaying and having to pay fines and penalties. You don’t want to mess with rude Uncle Sam.

Business losses

If your online business generates a loss and you happen to have a full-time job and therefore get a W2 form at the end of the year, you may be able to deduct your losses from your wage income to reduce your overall tax burden.

For example, if you made $40,000 working in a job and lost $2,000 in your online business due to expenses such as paying someone to design a website, domain, hosting, email newsletters, etc., you can deduct the $2,000 from the $40,000, netting you a total of $38,000 in taxable income. This essentially reduces your effective tax rate.

Now you won’t get into trouble if you don’t do this, but it is to your benefit to claim your business losses as a deduction against your wage income. The IRS will not remind you of this, so be sure to capitalize on what you deserve.

NOL carry-forward

If you don’t have a full-time job, and your online company is all you’ve got, providing you have it incorporated appropriately, you can carry over losses from one year to another, future year, to offset your earnings.

This is called a net operating loss deduction in more technical terms. There are certain rules around how much you can deduct, when and how long you can carry over a balance in the future. Speak to your accountant for more information.

When must you consider these income tax legalities?

These legalities collectively can sound overwhelming, especially if you haven’t had to consider them before. That said, these are not prerequisites by any means to start blogging or an internet-based business.

You can wait until your online ventures become profitable before considering the legalities involved. It makes sense. Why go through all that planning, work and possible hassle for nothing? After all, a very small minority of online businesses make money and survive in the long term.

That said, it can’t hurt to meet with a tax professional and get familiarized with the law and your obligations when you decide you want to monetize your online ventures. In fact, I highly recommend that approach. At the very least, spend some time reading about the law and your responsibilities to avoid any surprises in the long term.

Subsequent to all that, it is important to stay organized and keep track of all income and expenditures from your online endeavors. Many bloggers scramble at the last minute to obtain this information when their ventures turn profitable and they have to pay taxes on those profits.

Staying prepared and organized ensures that you can comply with tax laws if and when you have to cross that line (when you become profitable).

And while the above considerations are the most impactful and commonly overlooked, the tax law is broader and varies from one jurisdiction to another. Therefore there may be nuances unique to each blogger’s home base or jurisdiction.  For these reasons collectively, it may be best for a professional blogger or internet marketer to consult with a tax accountant who is familiar with this industry when your online endeavors start turning profit.

Conclusion

Although these points specifically apply to the United States legal system, the general premise underlying this discussion is broad. In other words, every jurisdiction has its set of legalities, and it is important to understand what you are expected to comply with as an individual earning income in that jurisdiction.

Knowledge is power, so make sure you are equipped with the right information before you start any worthwhile endeavor, whether online or off, and avoid potential legal liabilities that may come your way.

You can prepare yourself by initially learning about tax laws and your responsibilities, and subsequently consulting with a tax professional when it comes time to pay Uncle Sam.

Did you think about these things before you dove into blogging for profit? What did or do you do to prepare yourself for tax compliance?

Sunil owns over a dozen profitable niche websites and is the author of “How to Go from $0 to $1,000 a month in Passive and Residual Income in Under 180 Days All in Your Spare Time“, a FREE report you can download instantly from his Extra Money Blog, where he discusses how to create multiple streams of passive and residual income, entrepreneurship, internet marketing, blogging and personal finance. In 2007, he sold his ecommerce website for $250,000 to a top Ebay Power Seller and since then has sold several niche sites for five figures each. You can read more about him and his work on his blog

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.