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The Unmissable Secret of Long Term Blogging Success.

In The Myth Of Great Content Marketing Itself, Darren said that:

The reality is that many blogs produce quality content that doesn’t get read. The reason isn’t that the blog’s not worth reading – but in many cases it’s because nobody knows to go read it.

Later, he said:

Letting your content market itself DOES work IF you already have an audience to help with that process by spreading word of it through word of mouth. YOU need to be the one who starts the process.

It’s time to hustle and get word out about your content.

I agree. Most of the apparent success you see on a blog is based on what happens outside of content creation. The main secret to kicking arse online is knowing the right people.

Yes, I’m talking about the networking.

How Networking Leads To Blog Success

You're it! - TaggedImage by Sudhamshu

Do you ever see posts with high profile commenters and tonnes of retweets that seems to echo around the blogosphere? All that happened off the blog. The connections were made months before a favour was asked. The person had provided enough value for the person to not even considering saying no to a request for help.

I recently wrote a post taking readers step by step through my networking methods. This guest post will take you through specific observations that helped me garner the attention of the big guns – and keep it.

Be A Filter. Be Seen.

I owe the discovery of this concept to Dave Navarro at The Launch Coach

“the busier and more successful someone is, the more they rely on people they trust to filter decisions for them.  They don’t have the time to take in an process all the pros and cons of some new unknown quantity, so they simply look to their “influencers” - the people who already have established trust with them – for recommendations. “

Positioning yourself as a filter is a great way to get on the radars of awesome people.

I became a filter by accident and it’s a role that I’ve embraced. I’m known as the person that hooks people up. I did one consulting call and was interviewed for two paid programs in the past week. In all three cases, I asked the person is there was anyone I could connect them too.

This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In many cases, it means getting them featured on a certain blog. They get publicity. The blogger gets quality content. I get the happiness from making awesomeness happen.

The key to being a indispensible filter is being so darn useful that the A-listers clamor to get to know you. However, before you can get to know them they have to know who you are.

So – how do you get to know them?

Meet them on their turf and go where they are most comfortable. This is where they will me most receptive to your attempts at connection.

For many people, this is Twitter. For others, it may be a uStream or an interview. Be where they are, and without being spammy show how intelligent and helpful you are. In some cases, they’ll get to know you and ask to take the conversation elsewhere.

Taking the conversation off that platform

On the platform, readingImage by Moriza

Take the conversation to phone

It’s weird, but hearing someone’s voice encourages them to be more emotionally involved. They are more likely to remember you and be willing to help you out down the track.

I know this because I’ve Skyped a lot of my blogging friends. It’s hard, especially when you are introverted. It has lots of awesome networking opportunities. You can pick up little pieces of information to leverage later, such as birthdays and children. You can also bond over accents or similar work.

For most people, this means talking to them on Skype. You can also talk to them via conference call products or by a regular phone.

Take it to email

I try and funnel most conversations to email. This makes it a lot easier to form a connection and figure out how you can help each other. I have one email for most people and a separate email for those I have a preexisting relationship with. This means that I can give a priority to those I am willing to help out.

This may not be practical for some of the bigger names. They generally get so many emails that yours will get lost. In these cases, it’s worth getting to know the person that filters their email if you definitely need their attention.

Meeting in real life

In most cases, this is unlikely to happen. That’s just the way the internet works. There is often too much hassle involved in meeting up unless you live physically close to them. I have three main ways I meet people:

  • If a social media friend will be in the same city as you, casually offer to meetup. I got to meet Yaro Starak and Melinda Brennan this way.
  • I also to conferences that my friends will be attending. This means we get to hang out during the sessions and can make additional connections with some of their friends.
  • My other method is tweetups. I limit the ones I attend because they can be tiring but they are an awesome place to develop new friendship circles.

How to be incredibly useful.

Strawberry Frozen YogurtImage by thebittenword.com

Know what they need before they know they need it

Imagine. You are craving an ice cream. You don’t have the time to go and buy the ice cream but then someone offers one because they instinctively know that it could help you right then. Now, imagine that you could help people find solutions that could save or earn them thousands of dollars. They’d be pretty darn grateful, right?

That’s what I do and it’s how you can get a lot of the big guns to view you as a peer in a short period of time.

To succeed at this you have to be good at reading between the lines. You have to:

  • Be able to see when they are hinting towards needing help such as them tweeting about feeling sick.
  • Know what type of person/product they like being referred to.
  • Know about the various solutions that they haven’t heard of. This can require a lot of research.

It’s hard work but you eventually develop processes so it requires very little time. One you reach a tipping point most of the people come to you on a referral basis.

Connect them to people that profoundly change things for them

I know I changed Dave Navarro’s career when I reviewed How To Launch The **** Out Of Your Ebook on this blog. That connection has led to so many opportunities and experiences for me.

When you do something amazing, the person will be grateful for a long, long time. People still thank me for mentioning the in the 30 Bloggers To Watch post. And, when I recently needed help, they all rallied around to support me because I’d done so much for them previously.

You don’t have to help in a huge way. Sometimes, it can be a small favour that spurs a person on. Ideas include:

  • Get a review copy of an information product on their behalf
  • Review their product on a popular blog
  • Highlight them in front of an influencer
  • Connect them with people with complementary skills

Givers get. Simple.

I help you build your influence at jadecraven.com. If you want to know whats hot in the blogosphere before it goes mainstream, check out my How to Network Fast Course. People come to me whenever they want their stuff to be shared and I only share the best with my readers.

10 Things I’ve Learned From Posting on Problogger

a guest post by Larry Brooks of Storyfix.com

10.      This is a huge community.  As in, ginormous.  Literally four corners of the world, anyplace with digital cable and a Fed Ex partner. 

Which means my frequently sarcastic American humor doesn’t always play places like Klagenfurt and rural Kirgizstan.

9.        Online sarcasm is itself risky business.  One writer’s sarcasm is another’s snarky… a word which probably doesn’t play in Kirgizstan, either. 

8.        Never write a post about the need to double and triple check for typos that has a typo in it. 

One word: crucified.  Still smarting from that one.

7.        “Know Thy Audience” isn’t a cliché.  It’s the natural law – the physics – of marketing.

I’m a blogger who posts about fiction writing and sells a few writing ebooks while I’m at it.  The majority of readers here are online entrepreneurs who’d rather hear about blog-related marketing than how to write the next Salzburg Times bestseller. 

Many of whom, by the way, have a story in them.

6.       Darren Rowse really is the nicest guy on the internet.  A total pro, too.   I’ve tested this theory with a wide breadth of technical cluelessless and naiveté, and you can add patience to those first two.

He doesn’t just let anybody onto this site, which means you not only earn your admission ticket (lest you wonder, I was invited to post here twice a month), you earn your keep, too.  And it’s all fair. 

5.        The company you keep defines you.  Choose wisely. 

In this case, being on Problogger has upped my online exposure and, merely by association, my chops in the online world.  My brand.  Which means, the pressure is on.

This, too, is natural law in the online world.

Because the same crowd that throws in on that count can slap you back to reality with one missed swing.  (That being three metaphors in one sentence… don’t try this at home.)

4.        It’s okay to get personal.  And I’m not talking about dating or social media sites (getting too personal on those venues can also get you arrested). 

A blog is usually an ancillary tool in an otherwise pointed branding and marketing strategy, which means it doesn’t need to exclusively spew bits and bytes (digi-speak for features and benefits) or self-serving bluster that doesn’t smack of commonality. 

People are attracted to commiseration, empathy and the voyeuristic joy that comes from reading about the sheer misery of others in like-minded situations.

3.        There’s one in every crowd.   Try not to be that guy.

You could blog about the reliability of death, taxes and gravity and somebody will post a comment endeavoring to make you wrong (one self-proclaimed “blogging superstar” tried to refute my theories about writing and publishing contemporary fiction by quoting Cervantes, who published his last book in the year 1615 … but that’s another site). 

That which doesn’t kill us either makes us stronger or simply pisses us off. 

2.        You, the blogger and the commenter, put the UNITY into community.   That’s why this venue is unique in all of the history of human communications.

And the most valuable thing I’ve learned here on Problogger is…

1.        I have a lot to learn.  That’s why we’re all here, isn’t it? 

One of the best ways to learn – albeit with a resource like Problogger on your daily to-do list – is to just keep writing.  On your own site, and on others if they’ll have you.

And if that’s not common ground, perhaps we’re all in the wrong place.

Larry Brooks is the creator of Storyfix.com, an instructional site for fiction writers and those who proof them.

Using the Blogosphere’s Trends for Your Niche

This column is written by Kimberly Turner from Regator (a great tool that gathers and organizes the world’s best blog posts). – Darren

Hello, fellow bloggers! Hope you’re having a fabulous week. Since I started this weekly column on April 7, we’ve discussed strong headlines and opening lines, use of video and images, list posts, effective quotes, and more—all through the lens of the week’s most-blogged-about topics. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the conversations we’ve had together in the comments and the knowledge you’ve all shared with each other and with me.

In the spirit of those open conversations, I wanted to answer the most common question I’ve received: How can I use these general trends if I don’t blog about current affairs? Well, you can find trends on your specific niche on Regator, but the true answer is that no matter what your niche, there is often a way—with enough creativity and research into the details of the story—to make it work for your readers. And tying posts to the week’s hottest topics can be a great way to get new readers and attract attention. This week, along with trends from Regator, we’ll take a look at how these topics were covered by bloggers in unexpected niches…

  1. Gulf of Mexico – You’d expect the disaster in the Gulf to be covered by blogs on environmentalism, marine biology, perhaps even business and politics, but PopEater managed to find a way to bring this ecological story into the realm of pop culture in “An Interview With the Guy Skewering BP on Twitter.”
  2. World Cup ­– The Next Web’s “World Cup fever? Here are 5 apps to keep you on top of things” took what would traditionally be a sports story and moved it into the technology space by focusing on related apps rather than the event itself.
  3. Steve Jobs – Jobs’s highly anticipated World Wide Developers Conference talk unveiled the iPhone 4 and was covered widely by technology blogs but Star Trek blog TrekMovie.com was able to make the event relevant to their readers by focusing on the Star Trek references in the talk and technology from the show and movie in “Steve Jobs Invokes Star Trek (Again) While Unveiling 4th Gen iPhone.”
  4. Helen Thomas – While political bloggers obsessed over Thomas’s offensive comments, women’s blog Jezebel covered the story by discussing what Thomas’s undignified fall meant for a woman who had been an icon and inspiration to women everywhere in its post “Helen Thomas: When An Icon Disappoints [Iconography].”
  5. MTV Movie Awards – Rather than approaching this star-studded event from the usual entertainment blogger’s perspective, gay blog AutoStraddle’s “MTV Movie Awards 2010 Celebrate Lesbian Innuendo, Swearing, Twilight” made the awards more relevant to their readers by honing in on the “10 most homosexual moments of the MTV Movie Awards 2010.”
  6. Rue McClanahan – While many television and entertainment bloggers focused on McClanahan’s television and theater legacy, Ecorazzi’s “RIP: Actress And Longtime Animal-Advocate Rue McClanahan Dies At 76” brought the story to their ecologically conscious demographic by focusing on the actor’s animal rights work.
  7. Lady Gaga – On a week when Lady Gaga’s latest music video was on everyone’s lips, Social Psychology Eye’s post “Facing illness, belief helps” skillfully worked the pop icon into the blog by discussing the psychological implications of Gaga’s recent revelation that she had been tested for lupus, undoubtedly earning them quite a few more readers than they would’ve gotten on a straightforward academic post on illness perception.
  8. Rush Limbaugh – Rather than obsessing about the details of Limbaugh’s wedding, as many entertainment bloggers did, The Daily Beast’s “Celebrity Wedding Singers” took Elton John’s unexpected role as Limbaugh’s wedding singer and created a list post that broadened the appeal of the story.
  9. Israel – Music bloggers aren’t the most expected source of news from Israel, but several, including Drowned in Sound with its post “Bands cancel shows following Israel’s flotilla raid” covered what is essentially a political and international affairs story in a way that created value for their music-obsessed readers.
  10. Harry Potter – While film bloggers were busy dissecting the latest Harry Potter trailer, travel blog Gadling put its own spin on the popular character with “London mayor rails against Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Florida location.”

One thing all of these posts have in common is that the bloggers took the time to learn enough details about these stories to find a way to make them work for their blogs’ niches. Have you managed to work a popular story into your blog’s niche by using a creative angle? Tell us about it in the comments!

Kimberly Turner is a cofounder of Regator.com and Regator for iPhone as well as an award-winning print journalist. You can find her on Twitter @kimber_regator.

How To Turn Your Blog Into A Profitable Business

Recently I went to the Connect Now conference and had the chance to hug Darren Rowse, meet Gary Vaynerchuk and hang out with my social media friends. One year ago, I didn’t think I’d be able to accomplish something so awesome.

blogbizfunnel_cover_thumb.jpgSkellie was one of the people that made this possible. She wrote this killer book, The Blog Business Funnel (aff), which presented a new model of making an income from your blog.

The Blog Business Funnel

Skellie argues that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to monetize a blog via traditional methods such as direct advertising, affiliate sales and adsense. She highlights a system which shows bloggers how they can make plenty of money doing what they’re best at.

She recommends “using word-of-mouth worthy content to generate targeted traffic, then using your knowledge and insight to generate trust.”

How it helped me.

I’ve struggled with the idea of launching a business from my blog for years. I’ve had lots of issues and was flailing around, trying to find a model that aligned with my business goals and my promotional ethic.

I had read a lot of business products about how to build a profitable business but they were separated into different niches: sales, blogging and freelancing. I was getting the information I needed but I had no way to fit it all together.

Skellie took us through key launch strategies and details how we could apply them to our own business. I’m heavily into product launches yet it never occurred to me that it could apply for services. We are in the prelaunch stages and already have huge demand. We have several larger companies willing to send smaller jobs our way as well.

I knew that my business would be successful because I had an established blog and had worked hard to create trust with my audience. What I didn’t expect was for it to be doing this well less than a month after the launch.

Why it’s so awesome.

It fits into the third tribe marketing model.

I’ve struggled with the concept of promoting myself. It’s hard. I wanted to get the word out there but didn’t want to seem sleazy or that I was trying to take advantage of my friends.

I was able to learn how to sell myself and my business by just doing what I was already doing. Hanging out online, being darn useful and creating high quality content. She taught me how I could leverage that interest in a way that benefited everyone.

Skellie has extensive practical experience

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Skellie in Melbourne. She is the real deal. This is the model she used to rock it online and leverage that success to get employed by Envato. I watched her grow from a compelling blogger to someone that commanded respect in the industry. Everything she writes is from personal experience – experience that most bloggers don’t have.

This isn’t for everyone.

Now, I love Skellie. She is one of the few bloggers I get totally fan girl over. I was worried that this would affect my objectivity so asked a friend for his opinion.

Frank Wall is a hiking blogger. His site is primarily monetized via advertising and ebook sales. He didn’t get as much out of the ebook as I did. He was intrigued by the idea and really enjoyed Skellies writing but it didn’t fit with his method of monetization.

I agree. Skellies book was perfect for me because I know I wanted to create a freelance business based off the success of my blog but had no idea how to accomplish this. I spend six months kicking arse with my guest pots and let my blog stagnate because I didn’t know how to handle the demand for my services.

Why I love Skellie

There is one blogger that I credit for igniting my passion in this industry. She showed me that you could write beautifully, no matter the topic. She revolutionized the industry for me and I’ve used her as inspiration. This blogger is Skellie.

I review a lot of products. This is the best value ebook I’ve seen in a year. Learn more about it here (aff).

Jade’s Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this product in exchange for my feedback, and get no affiliate commission.

How Many Times Do You Tweet Links to New Blog Posts? [POLL]

I asked this question over on Twitter on the weekend and it was fascinating to hear the answers and see some of the thinking behind what different people do.

I thought I’d run it as a poll and open it up for some wider discussion here on the blog.

n
How Many Times Do You Tweet Links to New Blog Posts?
View Results


I’d love to get your comments on this topic. Why do you do the number of tweets that you do? Why don’t you do more/less? Do you use any tolls/automation to manage it – if so which ones?

Here’s some of the responses to my tweet asking the question:

“I only tweet a link to it once. I’ll tweet a second time if theres something interesting in the comment section.” – JadeCraven

“One. Sometimes two. Three if it really rocks. But I post daily and don’t want my Twitter to be an endless ME ME ME feed.” – CatherineCaine

“I tweet my new blog posts only once…to me, more is spammy, even tho I know not everyone will see it the 1st time…” – QuipsAndTips

“I always tweet a link straight after I post.Then maybe the next day depending on the post time, for those who may have missed it” – CptTremendous

“I space it out over days/times. Maybe btw 5-8 over a weeks time.” – MyMelange

“I usually retweet about three times, one in a.m., one in afternoon, one at night. Covers time zones.” – docudramaqueen

“Depends on importance and global relevance. If really important to me & relevant also to US audience, I may tweet twice in Aus..” – divinewrite

“Once. More than once is spam and makes followers unfollow and complain.” – Shuttlecock

See a full list of the responses to my original tweet here.

Rock Hard Thighs and Cold Hard Cash: Robb Sutton Spills His Tawdry Review Site Secrets

guest post by Kelly Diels

When I was wondering how to create an effective, money-making review site, I thought of Robb Sutton.

Robb Sutton’s review site, Mountain Biking by 198 “pulls in thousands in review product every month” and in the last 15 months has received over $100,000 dollars worth of review product. He’s also got several other sites, including a coffee review blog, and oh yes, makes a pretty decent living as a ProBlogger.

That is, when he’s not hanging out with the likes of me and telling me all his secrets.

Kelly Diels: Robb, tell me all the dirty details about review sites.

[looooooooooooong pause. Isn't it a little early in the conversation to have offended him?]

Kelly Diels: Robb?

Robb Sutton: I’m here. Sorry…was just closing up a few things. Now you have my 100% attention.

Kelly Diels: You know a girl likes that.

Robb Sutton: Yes, they do!

Kelly Diels: I mean, so I’ve heard. Tell me, dahlink, how you got started with review sites.

Robb Sutton: Well, it all started with an idea that had nothing to do with reviewing product, ironically.

Kelly Diels: Go on…

Robb Sutton: I had this idea that I was going to have a trail review site for mountain biking that was all user submitted content. About 5 minutes into the process, I realized that you can’t have user submitted content without traffic. So I started a blog where I reviewed parts, bikes and other related products and that took over what was the user submitted part. Basically, I used it as a traffic generator that became the model for Bike198.com.

Kelly Diels: So you’re inadvertently brilliant?

Robb Sutton: I fell into it…I like to think of it as a progression. I had some experience being on the other side of the fence in the corporate world, so I knew how to quickly adapt that to blogs.

Kelly Diels: How did you get your pretty mitts on things to review?

Robb Sutton: Well, back when the industry had no clue who I was, I relied on current contacts and cold contacting through emails and phone calls. Now it is a combination of them finding me and me finding them.

Kelly Diels: Do you work with PR companies, or companies directly?

Robb Sutton: I work with PR companies, directly with manufacturers, distributers and some retailers.

Kelly Diels: And for those of us who just got really scared, what does that process look like?

Robb Sutton: Typically, I send out an email explaining who the site is, what we do and what the process is. I then include examples with some simple search engine and site stats. If it is a smaller company, you pretty much get to the right person right away. A lot of times through that email and you are off and rolling. For larger companies and some smaller ones, a follow up call is required to get in touch with the right person. Phone calls always convert better than emails, but I always start with emails so they know who you are when they pick up the phone.

Kelly Diels: Gawd, it is almost like online dating.

Robb Sutton: Yeah, a little bit!

Kelly Diels: What sorts of strings get attached to the product and reviews?

Robb Sutton: No strings really. Sometimes you have to return the product if it is super expensive. But sometimes you don’t even have to do that. Most companies know what blogging and review blogging entails these days.

Kelly Diels: Which brings us to Disclosure, baby. Tell me how you handle Big Brother, the FTC.

Robb Sutton: I have a blanket disclosure on all of my sites that is linked up in the footer that explains links, products, etc. I am very up front with my readers on the process so there is nothing that is hidden that could be considered bad by the public or FTC. Everything is up front and honest.

Kelly Diels: And if you’re just not into her the product? What do you do?

Robb Sutton: I write the truth! Bottom line is that you are writing for your readers and not the companies. If you are just going to write glorified advertisements then no one is going to take you seriously. Back everything up with facts and everything turns out ok.

Kelly Diels: Sing it, sister.

Robb Sutton: Even companies I have given poor reviews to in the past still send me stuff. They want to reach the audience and you want to deliver the goods. Its a win/win.

Kelly Diels: All press is good press…

Robb Sutton: Actually…that is very true.

Kelly Diels: Seriously. The first time someone trashed me online (Allyn Hane, lover, I’m a-talking to you) I was delighted. But I digress. What kind of traffic are companies and agencies looking for?

Robb Sutton: They are looking for targeted traffic.

Kelly Diels: What does targeted traffic mean?

Robb Sutton: The specific number isn’t really important. 100 targeted eyes are better than 10,000 that aren’t targeted.

Kelly Diels: How do you demonstrate “targeted eyes”? I feel like we just took a sharp right turn into a gun range.

Robb Sutton: Targeted traffic is basically qualified leads. When someone subscribes to your blog, they are targeted because they want to digest that subject matter. And don’t shoot!

Kelly Diels: I can’t. I don’t even know the process for getting a gun permit in Canada but I know it takes forever. Also I’m a lover, not a shooter…Tell me about a review or a product that got you all hot ‘n bothered.

Robb Sutton: Hmmm…

Kelly Diels: I went to a sex toy party on Friday night and, given the subject of my blog, I’m pretty sure that I can review those products and claim them as a tax deduction. But again, I digress.

Robb Sutton: [laughs, possibly uncomfortably] Yes, you probably could…An example of an interesting product/review was when I got in a fork from a manufacturer because of comments I made about how I didn’t like the direction they were heading.

Kelly Diels: Umm… “got in a fork”? Dude. translation, please. I mean, it sounds naughty but even I’m drawing a blank.

Robb Sutton: Suspension fork. It is the thing on the front of the bike that is the suspension.

Kelly Diels: Oh it is a thing. Not a position. That clears everything up. So why was this fork so fabulous?

Robb Sutton: Because it was sent to me after I made the comments. I backed everything up with facts on why I didn’t agree. And they said…ok…try it out for yourself. I thought that was pretty cool.

Kelly Diels: That’s pretty smart marketing, actually. And..? How was the fork?

Robb Sutton: Great product. Still don’t agree with that one aspect.

Kelly Diels: I had no idea forks were so controversial.

Robb Sutton: They are a reputable company that produces a great product but I just didn’t agree with the “new standard” they were introducing.

Kelly Diels: Ok, Mr. Fancy Britches. I get it. YOU HAVE OPINIONS – which, I’m thinking, is probably why your review site works.

Robb Sutton: Doesn’t everyone?!

Kelly Diels: Yes, darling. That was a compliment in disguise. I think that is what reviews are about – good, solid, well-reasoned opinions…So. You get loads of free products, but how do you make money? You can’t eat forks.

Robb Sutton: Affiliate revenue, direct advertising, e-book sales like my Ramped Reviews (aff), pay-per-click…I like to diversify.

Kelly Diels: And what about all the companies kissing your…site? Do they ever buy advertising?

Robb Sutton: They do, and it is a lot easier to sell advertising space to people you already have a working relationship with.

Kelly Diels: And what does that do to the separation of church and state, editorial vs revenue? Do you feel awkward about reviewing your clients?

Robb Sutton: Not at all. Everything is explained up front. No surprises. Keep in mind that nothing is written that is pure emotion or inflammatory. It is all fact-based opinion.

Kelly Diels: That’s right. We all have niches. MINE is pure emotion and inflammatory prose. So stay outta that one, my love…Ok. Going general: do you think review sites of higher ticket items – like bikes, cameras etc – work better than other kinds of review sites, like say restaurants or experiences?

Robb Sutton: I think it is about equal. I also run a coffee review site (coffeeobsessed.net) that does really well and it is very young. I think the possibilities are wide open.

Kelly Diels: Now you’re speaking my language. The language of love/caffeine.

Robb Sutton: Yeah, I’ll leave that one to you! I’m obsessed…I’ll admit it.

Kelly Diels: With coffee? Or mountain bikes?

Robb Sutton: Nothing better than a great cup of coffee, but both. And blogging, of course.

KellyDiels: I ask because I like coffee and mountain bikers. I may have mentioned this before: THIGHS OF GRANITE.

Robb Sutton: Very true! And a strong grip.

Kelly Diels: If you do say so yourself. With whom can I verify this? I have to fact-check, you know.

Robb Sutton: Any cyclist…but especially mountain bikers because we have to ride technical terrain.

Kelly Diels: Well, there you have it. The secrets of review sites, hot coffee, and rock hard…thighs.

Kelly Diels writes for ProBlogger every week. She’s also a wildly hireable freelance writer and the creator of Cleavage, a blog about three things we all want more of: sex, money and meaning.

How ProBlogger Changed My Life and I’m Not Saying That Just To Suck Up.

guest post by Kelly Diels

I have been blogging for almost ten months. I quit my job – a really, really good job – last week. Today, I made $10,600.

In one day.

(Okay, not really in one day, but today I collected two cheques for writing projects that I secured because the clients saw my pieces at ProBlogger and hired me. True story.)

How did I use my blog to launch a business?

  1. I didn’t know anything about blogging except that I wanted to do it, so I googled “how to blog” and landed on ProBlogger. Thank goodness. So I learned how to blog on ProBlogger. I literally started with a piece from the archives about what to include in your first post.
  2. I started reading the blogs of people who were commenting at ProBlogger. I wrote a couple of adoring e-mails. Josh Hanagarne might know what I’m talking about. He’s easily flattered.
  3. Then, as I gained confidence – in part because I read the trial-and-error stories of other bloggers, here –  I started guest posting on ProBlogger. I sent Darren Rowse a whole whack of wacky pieces.
  4. Darren said, and I quote very loosely because I’m pretty sure he used proper grammar, hey I like your stuff, wanna write weekly?
  5. I said, umm, let me think about it. (Don’t believe that ostentatious lie. I didn’t say that. Instead, I said  “YES!!!!” and I launched (unbeknownst to him) into The Happy Shimmy wherein one drops it like it is lukewarm. And my awkward-girl-dance still looked better than this one. Maybe. Probably not. Shout out to bloggers: that’s a challenge. Let’s see your dance moves.)
  6. My blog traffic exploded. I didn’t mind this, at all.
  7. People started asking me to write for them. They’re even paying me. Lots.
  8. I have true, passionate friends – other bloggers – who are part of my heart, now, in real life (such a thing actually exists) whom I met because of ProBlogger (see #2). Either I saw their piece and stalked them until they relented and befriended me, or vice versa.
  9. A white hot meta-entrepreneur, and one of the people I admire most in this world, asked me to co-author a book with her.
  10. Yes, I am TOTALLY FREAKING OUT. ProBlogger, lots of love, some dancing and a little effort (ok, a LOT of effort) changed my life.

My quit-my-job-in-ten-months lessons:

  • when you’re figuring it out, the guidelines and tips and case studies at ProBlogger and other how-to-blog sites make the blogging world less intimidating
  • find your voice and write good stuff
  • be yourself. There’s no competition for that.
  • make friends
  • try lots of different techniques to promote your blog. As soon as you figure one out, keep doing that, and add another. (Did you read Jade Craven’s post about landing pages? Or Josh Hanagarne’s advice abouttricking his friends having a contest to get people to buy advertising? These are live-action case studies and that’s just useful.)
  • investigate – and try – lots of different models for making money: ads, products, affiliate deals, offline work.
  • play nice
  • prepare to be tired. Very tired. You may as well cut off your cable, now, because TV is no longer part of your daily regime. Unless you’re a TV blogger. In which case you’re just screwed.

So yep, I’ve got big love for ProBlogger (though my cable company may have other opinions) because what I learned here empowered me. I don’t mean that in just a fluffy, feel-good, girl-power kind of way; I mean, I have money in my hand. I mean, I now write for a living.  In just ten months, ProBlogger helped me change my life.

And I’m pretty sure that Darren Rowse would have offered me the weekly gig even if I hadn’t written this piece as bait.

I’m just kidding. Really. He made me the offer two months ago and unlike some people (me), he’s immune to flattery. Don’t even try it. Call me instead.

Better yet, let’s dance.

___________________________

Kelly Diels writes for ProBlogger every week. She’s also a wildly hireable freelance writer and the creator of Cleavage, a blog about three things we all want more of: sex, money and meaning.

How to Boost Your Alexa Ranking (by a MILLION Places!) in Two Months and One Day

guest post by Kelly Diels

In November, I rebranded and relaunched my blog. I screwed up, I suffered, I sniffled, I refuted the advances of a pervy tech wizard. And I thought: I’d better track my results to see if this was worth it. This better have been worth it.

It was.

On November 10, my Alexa rank was 1,082,076.

Two months and one day later, it is 173,556.

Alexa Rank for kellydiels Jan 11 2009

So, in just two short months (and one day), I raised my Alexa rank by almost one million places.

In three months (in the screen shot above, look at the bottom right figure of 1,766,896), my Alexa rank increased by almost two million places.

How’d I do it? I’m so glad you asked.

Once you get past the first set of ingredients – have a seriously small and unpopular blog – the recipe is simple. It simply requires a ridiculous amount of work and a bit of creativity.

Still, I’ve itemized and analyzed what I did differently in the last two months just so I could whisper sexy blog secrets in your ear.

Here is a list of my torrid confessions.

1. Write unique stuff

Yes, this is just another way of saying “write great content! great content! great content!”. There’s a reason everyone says it, repeatedly: because it works.

I admit it. When I started blogging, I was a wannabe. I wanted to be Steve Pavlina, Darren Rowse or Yaro Starak.

Now, I just wannabe myself. I’m lit-on-fire for the written word, I have big, ballsy opinions, I’m in bed with surprise, and I love to love. That all shines through in my transparent and sometimes pulpy posts. I know the blogging and business-writing rules and alternate between obeying them and breaking them with abandon. It is roller coaster writing, to be sure, but it seems to be a ride with an lengthening line up.

The lesson: be you, write you, and write wild and free.

2. Get your great stuff out there

In two words: guest post.

I don’t have a commenting strategy – or maybe I do, but it goes like this: don’t really do it, unless profoundly moved or delighted by the post or am crushin’ on the writer and you know who you are – so guest posts are almost exclusively how I get in front of new audiences.

Guest posts bump up my traffic significantly. In the last two months, the single greatest driver of my traffic was, you guessed it, ProBlogger. There was even one day when I had two guest posts up on both ProBlogger and Write to Done.

That day was a good day.

(That day was the day I started making money – but that’s another post, entirely.)

You know who I blame for my promiscuous guest-posting?

Josh Hanagarne, World’s Strongest Librarian. He encouraged/pushed/nagged me to guest post, but I was too timid. (Really. I was scared. What if people said no? Rejection is not my thing.) When coaxing me to approach other bloggers failed, spectacularly, he took a new approach.

He demanded a guest post from me for his site. So I sent him one and his people loved me up. It was like rolling around in a meadow full of daisies and puppies and then a unicorn slid down a rainbow and gave me a cupcake. Magic.

Then, after more encouraging/pushing/nagging from Josh, I wrote a guest post for Darren Rowse at ProBlogger. Of course, I didn’t submit it for ten days until I got exasperated by my own cowardice, cursed myself out and straight-up courted that fearsome dragon – Rejection – by pressing send.

Darren accepted it in something like 15 minutes and made nice virtual noises. Later, he said he’d publish as much as I could send him. That was all I need to hear. I sent him A LOT.

Suddenly I had confidence and started sending pieces all over the place.

And my blog grew. So did my traffic.

The lesson? Guest posts work predictable magic on your blog. Go forth, guest post, bewitch and bedazzle.

And have big, strong, nagging friends.

3. Write more, more often

I used to post new pieces 1-3 times a week. Now I post 5-7 times a week. I’ve simply developed a habit of writing every night. It is sometimes painful, almost always exhausting, I’m wasting money on cable I never watch, Facebook misses me something fierce, and I have very nearly stopped dating.

(Very nearly. Not entirely. If I stopped dating, what would I write about? I romance in the name of research. THAT’S HOW MUCH I LOVE ALL OF YOU.)

And then there’s Twitter. I’ve written 322,560 words on Twitter, which is basically a novel in Tweets.

Oh. That just made me a little sad.

But other than that twinge – I could have written a novel in the time I spent Tweeting, oh yes that stings - I’m ecstatic. I’m having so much fun. I’m seeing results.

And my blog is growing.

The lesson? Don’t worry about statistics. Worry about quality.

I didn’t set out explicitly to raise my Alexa rank. I set out to improve my blog, light my writing on fire, and make a lil’ love to my people (and find more of them). And, as a result, my blog took off and took my Alexa rank with it.

You can do it, too. Please do.

And then tell me all about it on Twitter, where I still won’t be writing my novel.

_____________________

Kelly Diels is a wildly hireable freelance writer and the creator of Cleavage, a blog about three things we all want more of: sex, money and meaning.

30 Bloggers To Watch in 2010

In this post Jade Craven shares her thoughts on 30 bloggers worth keeping an eye on in the year ahead!

Update: You can now follow all these guys from the one twitter list! Check out Blogger To Watch.

1. Dave Navarro

Follow @rockyourday

Dave was featured as one of tomorrows star bloggers in 2008 and has continued to impress in 2009. His tenacity and hard work have helped cement himself as a leading blogger and  coach. He has a truly impressive resume with guest posts on Copyblogger, two product reviews here on Problogger and joint ventures with other high profile bloggers.

2009 has been the year where he strategically built up his profile to become a respected member of the blogging community. In 2010, I expect he’ll be leveraging that profile to provide more awesome resources to help bloggers succeed. You can check him out at The Launch Coach and be sure to sign up for his advance discount list and for advanced notice of his More Buyers Every Month training.

More on Dave:

2. Skellie Wag

Follow at @Skellie

Skellie has kept quite for most of 2009. She has focused on her work at Envato and providing the occasional killer resource at Skelliewag. Despite her absence, many bloggers still credit her as one of their favorite bloggers.

I hope we will be seeing a lot more of Skellie in 2010.

More from Skellie:

3. Sarah Prout

Follow @sarahprout

Sarah Prout runs a boutique publishing company called Sprout Publishing. She creates cool products targeting business, bloggers, social media professionals and entrepreneurs.

She has caused quite the stir in the local social media scene with her blog, Entreprenuerial sparkle. She has built a strong reputation on delivering quality products and being really useful to her twitter followers.

You can check out my review of her Twitter Success Blueprint at Twitip and find out about her new course, Sprout Buzz. I am so keen to learn what awesome projects she’ll be working on next year.

4. Johnny B Truant

Follow @johnnybtruant

Johnny B Truant was rocking it at his humor blog before getting the attention of Naomi Dunford. He offered to be a guinea pig of her Online Business School and started guest posting on Ittybiz about his attempts to build an online business.

He raised his profile quickly with strategic guest posts and free offers. He quickly became a fixture in the blogging community and restructured his online presence so that all posts are hosted at Johnnybtruant.com.

He now makes a considerable income through technology consulting, affiliate commissions and sales of his product Zero to Business. You can check his new venture with Charlie Gilkey at Charlie and Johnny Jam sessions.

I hope he expands his products available in 2010 and that he continues to provide his awesome guest posts.

More from Johnny:

5. Leo Babauta

Follow @leobabauta

Leo was already widely regarded in the blogosphere, but this year he has shown why he commands so much respect. He has released two new blogs – Mnmlist and Zen Family Habits as well as courses at A List blogging Bootcamps. He has also released the free minimalist theme, the ebook on minimalism and the motivation handbook.

He has done this on top of promoting his book The Power Of Less and maintaining the high caliber of writing at Zen Habits. He shows no signs of stopping in 2010 with rumors of more projects in the works.

More from Leo:

6. Ali Hale

Follow @alihale

Ali Hale has made waves in 2009 with her staff blogging, guest posts and subsequent release of her Staff Blogging Ebook. She has set a new standard for high quality guest posts.

She has recently launched her blog at Aliventures where she provides in depth articles and comprehensive product reviews. I believe she will be contributing even more to the blogging community in 2010.

More from Ali:

7. Yaro Starak

Follow @yarostarak

Yaro Starak has shown bloggers’ just what they can achieve if they dominate a niche. Yaro started blogging at Entreprenuers Journey and has created a drool-worthy product funnel.

He has released a series of membership sites targeting bloggers at all levels of success including the very successful Blog Mastermind. I’m hoping he releases some new products in 2010 and continues to show bloggers what can be achieved through perseverance and delivering high quality content.

More from Yaro:

8. Joanna Penn

Follow @thecreativepenn

Joanna has been the hidden success story of 2010. Her blog, The Creative Penn, has had a lot of success in both the local and international blogging communities. She is developing a strong reputation for providing high quality content and is famous for providing high quality links on twitter.

She shows how rising stars can be useful and gracious. I know her blog is just going to get even better in 2010 and feel honored to be part of that journey.

9. Naomi Dunford

Follow @ittybiz

Naomi Dunford is awesome. She has a shaved head, conspires against a duck and likes to swear. She also has one of the freshest blogging voices online.

Her blog, Ittybiz, is one of the best resources on how to market your blog and business. She provides tonnes of free material and affordable courses as well as other courses like Marketing 101, Marketing School, SEO School and Online Business School for her loyal customers. So many of my friends credit her for their inspiration and success. She is fresh from a recent redesign and I can’t wait to see how her site evolves in 2010.

10. Chris Guillebeau

Follow @chrisguillebeau

Chris has received a lot of attention with his blog, the Art of Non Conformity. His unique philosophy and compelling writing style propelled him to authority blogger in less than 279 days.

He has released a number of unconventional guides including the Unconventional Guide to the Social Web, Unconventional Guide to Art and Money and partnered with skilled writers to deliver niche products. His full range of products are fantastic.

2010 will see Chris travel to fascinating countries, release more unconventional guides and the publication of his first book.

More from Chris:

11. Mike CJ

Follow @mikecj

Mike has created a name for himself in the blogging niche. He become a Problogger in 2008 thanks to Mikes Life and his two travel blogs.

He stood out with his practical blog posts and fast developed a community around Mikes Life. In 2009, he released his blogging course  and twitter guide. In 2010, he has just released Beyond Blogging (cowritten with Nathan Hangen.)

12. Dan Schawbel

Follow @danschawbel

Dan Schawbel is a brilliant example of an authority blogger. He has risen to the top of the personal branding niche having released a book, magazine and awards.

In 2009 he expanded the personal branding network with the creation of the Student Branding Blog. His content is syndicated by Forbes, Reuters and Fox Business.

In 2010, I think we will see Dan take niche blogging to a whole new level. I feel privileged to watch it happen.

More from Dan:

5 Ways Blogging Can Make a Difference For You in This Economy

13. Jonathan Fields

Follow @jonathanfields

Some of you may not know Jonathan. He is a blogger, author and speaker. That’s the simple version. His bio described him as

a giddy dad, husband, New Yorker, multi-time health & fitness industry entrepreneur, recovering S.E.C./mega-firm hedge-fund lawyer, slightly-warped, unusually-stretchy, spiritually-inclined, obsessed with creation, small-biz and online marketing-catalyst, speaker, direct-response copywriter, entrepreneur-coach, yoga-teacher, columnist, author, once-a-decade hook-rug savant, pro-blogger and career renegade™ gone wild.

He wrote a fantastic book called Career Renegade and released a killer report, The Truth About Book Marketing. He’s spent this year helping as many people as possible – whether it be through his speaking events and workshops or the creation of new projects like Tribal author.

It will be fascinating to see what he accomplishes next year.

More from Jonathan:

14. Marko Saric

Follow @howtomakemyblog

Marko has had astonishing success during 2009. He marked a year at How To Make My Blog and successfully launched his Twitter Marketing ebook. He earns a consistent income through his Thesis theme reviews and blog consulting. He did a fantastic presentation about how to build a better blog at a recent meetup in London.

I hope 2010 brings more products and presentations because he brings a lot to the blogging community.

More from Marko:

15. Charlie Gilkey

Follow @Charlie Gilkey

Charlie Gilkey is many bloggers secret weapon. He is a business and productivity coach that writes at Productive Flourishing.

He recently launched Email Triage and has joined with Johnny B Truant to produce monthly Jam Sessions.

He will be released more affordable products in 2010, as well as helping more bloggers kick arse. I cant wait to see what he and his clients achieve.

16. Robb Sutton

Follow @robbsutton

Robb has impressed many with the success of Mountain Biking 198. He has received over $100’000 in review products which he spoke about in his book Ramped Reviews . He now works on his network while blogging about his journey to success at Robb Sutton. You can check out his comprehensive free ebook, Ramped Blogging, while there.

He shows how people can apply practical business schools to the blogosphere and what you can achieve when you don’t doubt yourself. He does done multiple guest posts and podcasts this year and I look forward to hearing about his future projects.

More from Robb:

17. Gary Vaynerchuk

Follow @garyvee

What can I say that hasn’t already been said? He crushed it during 2009.

He launched Vaynermedia, a business specializing in building brand equity. He signed a 7 figure book deal with Harper Studio and released his best-selling Crush it. He has had many high profile press mentions and television appearances.

Gary has given many bloggers something something to aspire to. Knowing him, he’ll give us even more next year.

18. Chris Brogan

Follow @chrisbrogan

Chris has accomplished so much this year. His book, Trust Agents, became a New York Times bestseller. He touched a lot of people with his overnight success video series and grew his blog to almost 40’000 subscribers. I’ve had trouble with keeping up with all he’s accomplished this year because he has done so darn much. He works incredibly hard to ensure that his work helps as many of us as possible.

Judging by his business wishlist, he will be achieving so much more in 2010.

19. Michael Martine

Follow @remarkablogger

Remarkablogger has been a good friend this year and it has been a pleasure to watch his site grow. On top of his blogging and coaching duties, he helps market the Headway wordpress theme. This theme has really impressed a lot of my designer friends, and I know they have great plans for it.

Michael is definitely someone to watch in 2010. I just hope that, despite his success and accomplishments, he’ll always be the awesome guy I’ve come to respect.

20. Lea Woodward

Follow @leawoodward

Lea and her husband, Jonathan, have shown that you don’t need to stay in one place to rock the blogosphere. They have taken one blog, Location Independent, and developed an entire community around it.

The expanded the blog to create a network – using the birth of their daughter Mali as motivation for Location Independent Parents. She also expanded to develop a series of Location Independent guides.

2010 will see them expand their product range as well as develop the Location Independent community. If you are aspiring to blog while traveling, they are a must read.

21. David Risley

Follow @davidrisley

David is now a fixture in the blogging community. He tells it like it is at his DavidRisley.com blog and makes 6 figures a year from his PC Mech blog and products such as the Blog Masters Club.

He has taught us so much this year and will continue to do so during 2010. It will be interesting to see what new projects he comes up with.

More from David:

22. Glen Allsopp

Follow @viperchill

Glen Allsopp has a resume that would make many established bloggers envious. He has guest posted at many high profile blogs and is a successful staff blogger. He launched Cloud Living to much acclaim and has followed that up with another killer ebook - Reality Switch. I’ve loved learning about Glens story, both at PluginID and Viperchill.

More from Glen:

I’m confident that his business will skyrocket in 2010 – especially with his $1 million case study.

23. Laura Roeder

Follow @lkr

Many bloggers owe a lot of their success to Laura Roeder. She has shown how you can leverage social media effectively and how to market with class. Her blog, and business, boomed in 2009. She released a paid version of The Dash, launched her Creating Fame course and developed that into the Creating Fame Classroom (and more like Backstage pass to Twitter).

I hope she continues to create more brilliant information products in the new year and that she continues to provide so much value to the community.

More from Laura:

How to Make Deals with Bigshots in Less Than 10 Minutes

24. DM Scott

Follow @dmscott

DM Scott isn’t the sorta guy you normally see on these lists. I met him at a Social Media Masterclass and was blown away by his blogging knowledge. He has written two successful books – World Wide Rave and The New Rules of Marketing and PR. He has released many killer free ebooks and blogs at Web Ink Now.

He is someone you should get to know if you want to learn how to get world wide attention using social media. He knows his stuff and I’m sure he’ll be providing high quality content beyond 2010.

25. Darren Rowse

Follow @problogger

Darren already rocks the blogging community. He has a top 100 technorati blog, is one of the co-founders of b5 media and is the inspiration for many leading bloggers.

He took things to a completely new level in 2009. He launched Problogger.com, a personal blog as well as 31 days to become a better blogger Workbook.

I’ve heard that he has amazing things planned for his other blogs and can’t wait to see how he develops Twitip and Digital Photography School.

26. Collis Ta’eed

Follow @collis

Collis Ta’eed is many bloggers’ worst nightmare. I don’t want to know how much money I’ve spent on market places like Theme Forest and Graphic River.

Envato has grown so much this year. They have launched many new marketplaces, blogs and tutorial sites. They have cemented themselves in the creative communities.I’m really excited to see how Envato will develop next year. I hope that I can somehow even be part of it.

Also valuable are the E-books that Collis is part of from Rockable Press – how to be a Rockstar WordPress designer and how to be a Rockstar Freelancer.

More from Collis:

27. James Chartrand

Follow @menwithpens

2009 has certainly been a busy year for James. When he isn’t pumping out content on Men with Pens, he is actively commenting or connecting to the community via twitter.

2010 will be for interesting for James after the recent revelation that he is, actually, a she. James is still one of the best ‘blokes’ I know, but this story has really set the blogosphere on fire. It will be very interesting to see how it unfolds in the new year. Will she release a book? Will mainstream press pick up the story? I don’t care – as long as she continues to bring class to the blogosphere.

Also co-authored by James is the Unlimited Freelancer e-book.

28. Caroline Middlebrook

Follow @cmiddlebrook

Caroline Middlebrook was one of the star bloggers during 2008 but has slowed things down this year to work on her software project.  Her income has been consistent despite only spending only one hour a week.

Caroline will be launching her software project later this month. It will be interesting to see how her blog and project evolves in 2010.

More on Caroline:

29. Adam Baker

Follow @manvsdebt

Adam shows that you don’t need to be a metablogger to be successful. He has indirectly taught me, and many others, so much about engaging your community. He writes at Man Vs Debt and has spent most of 2009 traveling/working in Australia and New Zealand.

Adam celebrated the 6 month anniversary of Man Vs Debt with a fantastic article about how NOT to suck at blogging. I’m genuinely excited to see how he develops the blog over the next 12 months.

More on Adam:

30. Sonia Simone

Follow @soniasimone

As the senior editor at Copyblogger, Sonia has the finger on the pulse of the blogosphere. She shows how you can make writing informative and fun. She’s joint ventured on many awesome products this year including Freelance X Factor and Marketing For Nice People. She recently launched the Remarkable Marketing Blueprint – something I’m still annoyed I missed out on.

If you want to excel at content marketing, Sonia can help you. I’m sure she’ll be providing many opportunities to do so during 2010.

Who would go on your list?

These are the people that made it onto my radar this year, but I know there are many fabulous bloggers I haven’t met yet.

Share who you think are the bloggers to watch and why. Some of them may be featured in future Problogger posts.

Disclaimer: While there are affiliate links in this post, none of them are mine.