Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week /

Greetings! Did you have a big week? I’ve had ideas falling out of my ears these last few days so I’ve spent a lot of time with my notebook, brainstorming them all before they run out. Weeks like this don’t come very often, so I’ve learned to really indulge when they do. I hope it’s been an inspirational one for you too! (and if not… there’s always next week ;-))

Could some WordPress Plugins Actually Be Harming Your Blog? // The Blog Tyrant

This. Was. Huge. And something I needed to pay attention to, because I once broke my site with a plugin. It’s freaky and horrible and something I don’t wish to do again! This post was also concerning when it came to Akismet – a plugin plenty of us have on our very precious sites.

SEO Tools: The Complete List (153 Tools Reviewed and Rated) // Backlinko

Who has the time to go through all the available SEO tools to find which is the best? Well, Brian Dean did so you don’t have to. Yay!

Facebook Search Now Includes Public Posts: So Hide Yours // Wired

Super handy if you’re looking for something/want your Facebook page found… not so handy if you want to keep your private life private. Wired gives you step-by-step instructions on how to keep it that way.

Need Marketing Inspiration? Here are 12 Places to Find Great Examples // HubSpot

You could get lost for hours, which is very useful if you’re stuck in a bit of a design rut. Everything from landing pages, emails, website design… something to spark some creativity, I’m sure!

The 10 Traits of Successful Online Marketers // Entrepreneur

Ummmm I am about a 7 out of 10. Lucky one of my traits is number three, so I can work on it!

8 Killer Photography Tips from Instagram Superstars // PopSugar

If writing is your game, and you know you need to brush up on your visuals, these tips are pretty solid.

Twitter Announces New “Tweet Grid” Embeddable Display Option – Here’s How to Use it // Social Media Today

Speaking of visual, do you like pictures better than words? Twitter has announced a new grid feature where you see a visual representation of the wall like this:

My eye doesn’t know where to look in this situation, I’m more of a linear gal. But if you’re into it, Social Media Today explains how to set it up.

How to Get More Instagram Followers – The Ultimate Guide // Hootsuite

That’s a big call, but this is a big list.

How to Safely Redesign your Website Without Destroying Your Business // Kissmetrics

It’s true, people hate change. I think these ideas are pretty solid.

The Taco is Here! Apple Launches Emoji-Filled iOS 9.1 Update // Mashable

You know how excited I am about this.

So what do you think? What have you learned this week?

Also – if you’re feeling a bit like everyone is better than you and you shouldn’t even try, I’ve got just the post for you on Monday. See you then!

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media

The Step-By-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media - on ProBlogger.netThis is a guest contribution from Beth Hayden.

Ever want to pull your hair out when you try to share one of your posts on Facebook?

Yep. Me too.

When you put you hear and soul into publishing a piece of content on your site, it’s frustrating when you try to share it on Facebook and it shows up in other people’s feeds looking really….well….weird.

Sometimes Facebook shows the wrong image when you share your post. Sometimes it doesn’t show an image at all. Occasionally it grabs the correct image, but crops the photo in an awkward way.

And it’s not just Facebook that frustrates content creators.

Sometimes we have the same problem on Pinterest. Will our readers pin the right image to their boards? Will that image be cropped strangely, or will it be too small to view correctly?

This is not only a common and annoying problem, it’s a big one. If your posts don’t show up the “right way” when people share them on social networking sites, your social shares are going to decrease dramatically.

Here are two examples of how things can go wrong when sharing links on Facebook:

The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media2FacebookWrongWayExampleMinusTide

Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent these types of Facebook headaches.

To take control of how your posts show up on social media, you need to harness the power of social metadata .

Don’t freak out – we’re going to talk about metadata

I’m going to make a confession. My eyes usually glaze over when I hear the word “metadata.”

If you feel the same way, I want you to bear with me for just a bit.

A couple of years ago, I learned some metadata basics so I could perform some (very) simple search optimization on some of my posts. After that, I just didn’t have the patience to sift through confusing and overwhelming jargon about meta descriptions and keywords, so I stuck my head in the sand and hoped metadata would just….go away.

But it turns out, metadata’s more important than ever – so we’ve got to talk about it. But I promise you, I’m going to be brief, clear and practical in this section.

Metadata is simply the key words and phrases that describe the contents of a particular web page. Essentially, it’s data about data, and when we’re talking about writing blog posts, that means it is data about your blog posts.

Most metadata isn’t easily visible to your readers, but it can be detected and read by other websites and tools (like Google’s search crawlers).

If you’ve ever changed the meta description of your post (in order to optimize it for search engines), then you have edited metadata.

The social metadata of a post is designed specifically so social networks like Facebook, Google+, Twitter or Pinterest can detect and read it. Social metadata determines how your post will appear when people share your content on one of those social networks.

For instance, Facebook reads metadata to determine what image will show when people post it on their walls. Metadata also determines how that image is cropped, and what words will be shown in the “title” area of the Facebook post.

Unfortunately, social metadata can cut both ways – your post might look amazing in social network feeds, or it might be a hot mess.

For instance, if Facebook can’t find Facebook-specific metadata within your post, it will grab any data it can find. Then it will use that random data to cobble together a Facebook post when together when someone shares your post with her friends.

That cobbled-together post is what leads to strange photo crops, odd post descriptions, and other social media faux pas.

Manipulating metadata for fun and profit

So if you don’t want to be at the mercy of Facebook, you need to take action. You’ve got to grab the social metadata bull by the horns, and decide exactly how your posts show up when people share your content.

Here’s what you need to do:

Step One: Install a WordPress plugin that lets you edit your social metadata.

Yoast’s SEO for WordPress plugin is a great choice, but there are other options, too. You need a plugin (or a set of plugins) that lets you edit social metadata for Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
To install the Yoast plugin, click Plugins > Add New from your WordPress dashboard, then search for “Yoast SEO” in the search box on the right side of your screen. It should be the first one listed.

Then install and activate the plugin.

Step Two: Configure the Yoast plugin for social metadata.

Next up, you need to edit the plugin settings so you can view and edit the social metadata from your WordPress visual editor for each page or post on your site.

To edit your settings, click on SEO > Social from your WordPress dashboard.

Edit the following settings:

    • Facebook: Click on the Facebook tab and make sure the box next to “Add Open Graph meta data” is checked. If you checked it, click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page.
    • Twitter: Click on the Twitter tab, and make sure the box next to “Add Twitter card meta data” is checked. If you would like Twitter to display an image when people share the link to a post on your site, select “Summary with large image” in the “Default card type to use” dropdown menu. Then click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page to save your updates.
    • Pinterest: No setting changes needed.
    • Google+: Click on the Google+ tab, check the box next to “Add Google+ specific post meta data,” then click “Save Changes.”

Step Three: Edit the social metadata for your next post.
Next time you write a post, here are the steps you need to take to edit the social metadata:

Edit the Facebook metadata.

After you’ve written your post, scroll down to the “WordPress SEO by Yoast” box, underneath the main content area in your WordPress visual editor. Then click on the “Social” tab.

The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media

Enter a title in the “Facebook Title” field. If you’re following the rules of smart headline writing, you’ve already created an attention-getting headline for your post, so you can add that here.

There’s no need to add a “|” and the name of your site – your headline will stand on its own.

For instance, this:

The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media

Is better than this:

The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media

Add a short description to the “Facebook Description” field. Again, short and sweet is better here.

Upload an optimized image for Facebook. The Yoast plugin tells you the current optimum size for the image (currently the best size it 1200 x 628 pixels). You may want to create a special image that is sized specifically for Facebook – experiment a bit and see what works best for your audience.

Edit Twitter metadata.

Enter the Twitter Title and Description fields. You can either use the same title and description you used for the Facebook fields, or you can edit them to suit your Twitter audience.

Keep in mind that the information you put in these two fields is going to show up below the tweet in which your post is shared (not within the tweet itself) so you don’t need to adhere to the regular 140-character limit. See the example toward the bottom of this post to see how a Tweet will look when people share a link to your properly-optimized post.

Upload an optimized image for Twitter. The Yoast plugin tells you the current optimum size for the image (currently the best size it 1024×512 pixels), but in my experience, I’ve found you can often get away with using the same images for your Facebook and Twitter metadata.

Edit metadata for Google+.

Enter a Title and Description for Google+. Again, you can use the same information you used for Facebook and Twitter, above, or you can edit them for your Google+ audience.

Upload an optimized image for Twitter. The current optimal size is 800 x 1200 pixels.

Step Four: Make your post Pinterest-friendly.

You don’t need to make any specific social metadata changes for Pinterest, because Pinterest’s Rich Pin validators will read the social metadata you’ve added for other social sites.

However, there are a few things you need to consider to make it easy for people to pin your post. Make sure to:

    • Embed at least one large image in the content of your post. Images at least 700 pixels wide are best for Pinterest, so plan on including one somewhere in your post.

Need some ideas of how to do this?

Michael Hyatt makes his posts exceptionally Pinterest friendly:

The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social MediaSelect an image as the “Featured Image” for the post. In most cases, a regular Pinterest “Pin It” button within a post will allow your readers to select and pin any image on particular page – but some “Pin It” buttons (particularly ones that are built into social sharing toolbars) only let your readers pin one particular image within the post.

The simple and elegant Genesis Simple Share plugin, for instance, only lets readers pin one image from any given post.

The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social MediaThe Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media

If that’s the case with your social sharing buttons, you to select the individual image you want your readers to pin from your post.

To do that, you need to select a “Featured Image” for your post, in WordPress. It’s a quick step that will make things far easiest on your Pinterest-using readers.

Click on “Set Featured Image,” then select an existing image from your Media Library or upload a new image.
The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media

Check your work and make sure everything looks share-worthy

Bottom line: If your post doesn’t show up in an attractive, readable way in social media, it’s not going to get shared. That’s the practical reality of our current social networking climate.

So after you’ve edited your metadata and optimized your content for Pinterest, you’ve got to check your work and make sure your images and post information are rendering correctly.

Yes, this is a bit of a pain at first, but it’s worth it. You really don’t want to kill your chances of going viral before you even start promoting your post.

Here are the steps you need to take to check your work:

STEP ONE: Use Open Graph Debug on Facebook.

To see how your post will look when readers share it on Facebook, use the Facebook Open Graph Debug Tool.

Paste the URL of your post in that debug field, and it will give you a sneak peek at your post’s metadata code, and give you a preview of how the post will appear when someone shares it on Facebook.
The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media
STEP TWO: Validate your Twitter Card.

Use the Twitter Card Validator to see how your post will appear when people share it on Twitter. Just copy and paste the URL of the post into the Card Validator and click on “Preview Card.”

The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media

STEP THREE: Check your Rich Pin Status on Pinterest

To make sure your content is rendering correctly as a “Rich Pin” in Pinterest, run your URL through the Pinterest Rich Pin Validator. For more information about Rich Pins on Pinterest, check out this post.

The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media

STEP FOUR: Share your post manually.

Your last step is to share your post on all four of the major sites (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest), if possible. This is the very last check to make sure everything looks great during the sharing process.

It will also get you in the habit of promoting your own content after you publish it – which is always a good idea!

Here’s a basic idea of how your posts should look on each of the social sites, if you’ve done things correctly. Keep in mind there will be variations in how your content will look, depending on your specific images and post text.

The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media14CorrectTwitterShareThe Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media

The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media

If anything looks strange when you run your posts through the social validators (or when you share your post manually), go back to your original content and update the appropriate metadata. You may need to wait a few moments for your new metadata to propagate before you run the tests again.

Practice makes social metadata perfection

If this process sounds arduous, take heart. It will get easier with every post you publish, and you’ll get faster at it each time.

It’s a good idea to create a checklist for yourself, so you can whip through these steps in just a few minutes before you hit “publish.”

The one thing you can’t do at this point is ignore the importance of social metadata.

Visual marketing on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest is here to stay, and if you close your eyes and keep wishing it will go away, you (and your clients) will suffer the consequences in terms of fewer social shares and decreased traffic to your site.

So dig in, use this post as a primer on how to conquer this process, and get comfortable going through these steps for every piece of content you publish.

Start practicing today, and before you know it, you’ll be a social metadata rock star. 

Beth Hayden is an author, speaker and content marketing expert. Want to find out how to build your list and get more traffic to your blog? Get your copy of Beth’s free report, “How One Smart Blogger Doubled Her List by Taking One Brave Step.”

Tools to Help You Optimize Blog Headlines and Content

Tools for headline and content optimisationThis is a guest contribution from Robert Morris.

The reality is harsh for bloggers and content writers: potential readers won’t waste a minute trying to figure out whether or not you have something worthy to say. If you don’t grab their attention with a great headline and captivating content, you often don’t stand a chance.

Even if you write awesome pieces that your readers love, you won’t attract a greater audience if you don’t lure the search engine to list you among the top results. Is there a way to make everyone happy?

Relax, there are tons of tools you can use for the purpose of optimizing your headlines and online content.

Tools and Resources for Optimizing Headlines


There are plenty of tools that provide automated suggestions for headlines once you provide a keyword. They rarely work… most of the offered alternatives are ridiculous, and the ones that seem great have already been used by other writers. Qualaroo is not that type of tool.

This service provides actual users’ feedback. It will tell you which headlines the audience is most attracted to, but it will also inform you why the users chose to read a certain post instead of another. Thanks to this analysis, you’ll understand your readers’ behavior and you’ll be able to choose the most appealing headlines.


This tool enables you to see what the visitors are doing at your website. If you feature a list of headlines at your site, the heatmap will show you the ones your audience is most attracted to. When you see where people are clicking, you’ll be able to set your focus on a particular type of articles. If, on the other hand, you notice that some of the posts are not attractive at all, you can alter the headlines to make them more appealing.


Thanks to this tool, you can discover what the influencers in your niche are writing about. The main purpose of Onalytica is to connect you with these influencers and help you establish valuable connections in the online community. In simpler words, you should get them to share your content. However, there is another way to benefit from the tool: analyze the headlines of your competitors and you’ll realize why they are successful. That will help you understand and fix your flaws.

10 Questions to Help You Write Better Headlines

This is a checklist that enables you to evaluate the headline alternatives you are considering. A good headline needs to be accurate, promising, concise, and much more! The author of this article explains 10 points that test the quality of your headline. When you answer all these questions, you’ll know whether you can continue writing that post or you need to spend more time in discovering the right starter.

How to Write Magnetic Headlines

Before you can test headlines, you need to know how to write them. Most bloggers and content writers like to skip this part, so they use automated headline suggestion tools that don’t result with the desired outcome. Spend few hours of your time on this eBook and you’ll understand what exactly a great headline is supposed to look like. The edition covers important chapters that teach you about ‘how to’ posts, lists, keywords, headline formulas, and much more.

Tools and Resources for Optimizing Content

SEER’s SEO Toolbox

Since you already are a blogger/content writer, you don’t actually need tools that teach you how to write. You sort that part out by interacting with your readers and offering what you know. However, you do need to find a way to make Google happy. The solution is simple: search engine optimization. SEER’s SEO Toolbox is a set of interactive tools that enable you to pull data from many sources and build effective links that will position your posts among the top search results.


Thanks to this service, you’ll get insight into the strategies of your competitors in terms of advertising and link building. The set of tools enables you to compare domains and estimate the efficiency of different keywords. When you see which keywords your competitors use, you can do your best to infuse them into better content.

Rank Checker

If you want to start writing better content, you need to evaluate the performance of the pieces you’ve already published. This is a free Mozilla add-on that enables you to check your rankings in the easiest manner. You won’t have to share your data with third parties. It takes some effort to learn how to interpret the results, but you’ll understand how the Rank Checker functions without much struggle. Everything is explained at the homepage of this tool, so don’t forget to read the instructions before installing it.

Xenu’s Link Sleuth

Links are an important part of content optimization. Your readers need them because they want to get more information without wasting their time on research; and you need them for boosting the functionality of your site and ranking better on search engines. If a link doesn’t work, you get a frustrated reader. Thanks to this tool, you’ll easily locate the broken links at your website. You’ll get a continuously updated report of URLs that you can customize according to different criteria. Xenu’s Link Sleuth also detects and reports redirected URLs, so you’ll be aware if your website is a target of phishing attack.

There is an entire science behind online content creation. If you want your articles to get more visibility and better feedback, you need to implement some of the above-listed tools into your research and writing practices.

Robert Morris is a freelance editor and essay writer at custom writing service NinjaEssays. Follow Robert on Google+ or NinjaEssays on Twitter and Facebook!

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When You’re Afraid

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When You're AfraidFear is one thing I know those of us in this industry (and generally in life) can really hold you back. Often we’re so worried about what might happen when we try something new that we end up just not. So in today’s podcast I wanted to share some strategies for overcoming fear and taking a chance on something that just might work.

I don’t think ignoring fear is necessarily the right choice, but rather working with it, acknowledging it, and even harnessing it to some degree so you’re more in control of the fear than it is in control over you.

People starting out with blogging, podcasting, and using social media often come up against some or even all of these questions as the test the waters with this new hobby they’re excited about – what if no-one reads? What if no-one likes it? What if it upsets someone? What if I fail? What if I get criticised? What if I’m wasting my time?

Sometimes answering these questions instead of shying away from them can actually help you drill down to your ‘why’, and what you’ve started on this journey for in the first place. It can help you realise that even if all these things do happen, you will survive and even thrive because they’re not the end of the world.

We all face fear. And I happen to think it’s a pretty useful thing when we do. Fear can give you an insight and clarity when faced with danger – it can help you make the right decisions when it’s crunch time.

In today’s podcast I talk about what you can do when faced with fear that’s paralysing. When you feel as though it’s holding you back, that it’s too scary to go on, the ways you can push through and make a go of it anyway.

I talk about why I see fear as a signifier that something important is about to happen, the times I’ve felt most afraid, and the three questions you can ask yourself when you feel that familiar feeling take hold.

It’s not about totally removing fear from all your decisions, but how to manage it so you can still succeed.

You can listen to this episode in the player below or head to the episode 54 shownotes here, where you’ll find other notes and opportunity to connect with other Podcast listeners.

Further Reading:

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week /

Your weekly links are coming hot off the heels of the annual ProBlogger Team retreat, where we get together for a couple of days to brainstorm where we’re at and where we’re going with ProBlogger. I always leave with so many ideas and so much motivation to bring you the very best!

Enjoy the info this week – would love to hear your thoughts on the links.

How to Launch Your First Twitter Ad Campaign // Hootsuite

How do you get heard in amongst the 500 million tweets sent every day? Well, Twitter has started offering Twitter Ads, and if you think that’s something you might be interested in, Hootsuite has made a simple outline for you to follow. You could, also check out what Twitter recommends here.

The World’s Highest-Paid YouTube Stars // Forbes

There’s no doubt YouTubers are making cash from their videos – and paving the way for the rest of us to do so as well. Forbes ranked the top 13 DIY Filmmakers, and at the top of the heap is PewDiePie on $12 million. Not bad!

It Took Me 13 Years to Learn This Lesson About Blogging // Jon Acuff

A great reminder about what we can really do with our blogs and the platform it gives us.

10 Hidden Tricks to Make Snapchat Infinitely Better // Mashable

Oh Snapchat, I’m still trying! I love these hacks though – they will definitely help you stand out.

Why Your Business Should Consider Blab // Social Media Examiner

We know Darren loves it – but this is why you too should be jumping on board the Blab train!

The More you Improve, the Harder it Gets // Chris Guillebeau

We are told that if we just try hard enough, we can succeed – is this really true?

Globally, We are Now Watching as Much Online Video as We are Television // Social Media Today.

Oh, it was only a matter of time. But what does that now mean for blogs? How much should we invest in video to capture this audience?

How to Teach Yourself SEO in Three Days // HubSpot

Now there’s a challenge! So much information here.

How Airbnb’s CMO Transformed the Company into a Super Brand in Just 18 Months // AdWeek

They say marketers need to be fearless – and I’m definitely seeing a trend for both bloggers wanting to think outside the square, and brands requiring more of it. I love this story about how Jonathan Mildenhall helped Airbnb stand out from a flooded market.

Instagram Says its for Business and Not Just Selfies, with New Account // MarketingLand

If you’re looking for Instagram tips, you might want to follow the source – Instagram has launched the @instagramforbusiness account promising to be “a source of inspiration for the Instagram community”. Hm.


So what have you read that’s new this week? Anything motivating?

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

10 Writing Tips to Help You Sound More Human



Today’s episode of the ProBlogger Podcast is an interview with Beth Dunn, Product Editor-in-Chief at HubSpot. Beth is responsible for the HubSpot product microcopy, voice and tone, and customer communications, as well as being the founder of their internal newsletter. I was attending the HubSpot Inbound conference in Boston recently and had been so impressed with some of Beth’s earlier talks that she was the first person I plugged into the schedule to see.

Her session at the conference was titled “Use Your Words” and it was all about how you build you brand through the words that you use – and conversely, how you can damage your brand through language.

In today’s podcast, Beth takes us through 10 tips to get us through the creation of content and how we interact with our audience – you might even feel you want to go back and edit some of your previous posts!

Beth discusses these issues that reinforce the brand we’re trying to portray:

  • how to write and connect like a human – and how jargon can ruin relationships
  • how using short words can actually increase your perceived trustworthiness
  • why not to use exclamation marks, and how to convey excitement in other ways
  • what to do about mistakes
  • the importance of style guides even if you’re a solo blogger
  • how different pronouns elicit different reactions in readers
  • Writing as a reader
  • navigating the fine line between sassy writing and being a jerk

And other ways of using your writing to build relationships.

It’s a fascinating look at how brand consistency and chosen words can make or break a blogger.

You can find episode 52 of the ProBlogger podcast “10 Writing Tips to Help You Sound More Human” here, along with show notes, links to Beth’s detailed descriptions of what we discussed, and video of her talks.

Further Reading:


How to Make Money As a Blogger Through Affiliate Marketing

How to Make Money As a Blogger Through Affiliate MarketingThanks all for your feedback on our 50th episode of the ProBlogger podcast! I still can’t believe we finally made it.

Onward with episode 51 and my tips on affiliate marketing as an income stream:

This episode is sort of an introduction to what affiliate marketing is and how I personally approach it. There are a heap of practical tips so you’re sure to get something out of it whether you’re a complete affiliate newbie, or have seen some success before.

Affiliate marketing is a blogger’s promotion of a particular product (created by someone else) with a specific link that contains a tracking code. When someone buys on the basis of your recommendation, and clicks through from your tracking link, you get a commission on that sale. For Digital Photography School, we often recommend cameras, and therefore will get 4% of any sale resulting from that recommendation from Amazon.

So why consider affiliate marketing as an income stream? When you consider in advertising the advertiser is taking a risk by paying you for amplification on your blog that might not work out, and you as the publisher are taking the risk by becoming an affiliate, it seems like a dud deal. But the rewards of affiliate sales can often be greater than through general advertising alone, which can make it an attractive option despite the risk.

Today I discuss one particular experience I had with an early affiliate collaboration and how it exceeded beyond everyone’s expectations, and I also talk about the kinds of blogs that can be more successful with affiliate sales, and the three things I believe they need to have that will boost their chances of getting a high return.

The other topics I touch on are:

  • Personally how I approach affiliate marketing
  • How much of my income is derived through affiliate marketing
  • How it is often dictated by seasonal trends
  • The three types of affiliate programs I promote on my blogs
  • The types of affiliate networks available and how they work
  • Tips for affliliate marketing on blogs (and what NOT to do!)
  • The types of promotion you can use depending on your audience
  • Placement of affiliate links for higher returns
  • How I drive traffic to the post and the promotion
  • Tips on transparency and disclaimers
  • Easy tracking of results
  • Promotional sequences and strategies
  • How to balance promotion frequency

You can find episode 51 of the ProBlogger Podcast How to Make Money As a Blogger Through Affiliate Marketing here. 

Related Reading:

6 Actionable Content Promotion Strategies You Can Use Today

This is a guest contribution from Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard.

Have you ever published a piece of content and watched it flat-line?

Putting all of your effort into content which can help others, but you just can’t seem to drive enough traffic to it.

We’ve all been there.

So what’s the solution?

It all comes down to effective content promotion and in this post you’ll find some highly actionable tips that you can use to promote any piece of content more effectively.

Let’s dive in!

Identify hot topics in your niche

Content promotion starts right at the beginning, when you’re planning your piece of content.

This ensures that when your content is published, it has a solid foundation.

The reality is that there are certain topics that people just aren’t interested in, and others that are hot button topics that spark engagement, sharing and all of the traffic that follows.

So how can you identify these hot topics?

1) Identify which content people are sharing the most

Start off by making a list of your biggest competitors, then use BuzzSumo to find which of their blog posts are being shared the most.


Now pull out a small list of the most shared topics from your different competitors and you’ll have a good idea of which top level topics to cover.

2) Identify which content people are linking to the most

Looking at the most shared content is one avenue, but the one most people forget is figuring out which pieces of content are being linked to the most.

This is a significant indicator of topics popularity, providing your competitors are not engaging in any shady link building practices.

To do this, you’ll need to use a backlink analyser. I prefer to use Ahrefs, it is a paid tool but you can still get some actionable data from their free version.


Just type in the website in question, click “Top Content” on the left hand side and then click the “RD” column and you’ll find a list of the websites pages/posts ranked in order of which has the most referring domains.

Once you’ve collected the topics which are being linked to most, you can combine them with the list of most shared topics to create a more detailed list of ideas for your content plan.

Invite influencers to contribute to your content

There are people who have influence over your target audience.

You can put together a strategy to build relationships with these key influencers. And in time, that relationship will help you to expand your readership.

But, the key here is to focus on building mutually beneficial relationships – helping is essential to creating good will.

So how can you get started?

  • Identify who you want to build a relationship with – You may have a good idea who to connect with already, if you don’t tools like Inkybee and Ninja Outreach can help you (they’ll also help you throughout the process).
  • Connect with them – Follow them on Twitter, share their content, comment on their blog or even send them an email without asking them to do anything for you (hint: It works even better if you help them out with something).
  • Ask them for a quote or answer to a question – This will give your content some added social proof and the influencer will be far more likely to share your post with their audience as they’ve contributed to it directly.
  • Let them know when the post is live – If they don’t know the post is live, they probably won’t share it. So let them know and make it easy for them to share but don’t hassle them to share (that’s a sure-fire way to burn a relationship before it’s had chance to develop).

When you put the time and effort into creating a smart strategy to leverage the influence of others, you can see some impressive results. Groove used a similar approach to get 1,000+ subscribers from a single blog post in 24 hours.

Leverage online communities in your niche

The holy grail of content promotion is finding exactly where your target audience hangs out in large groups.

But, the idea isn’t that you find a great online community and start dropping your links everywhere – that’ll do more harm than good.

Instead, focus on becoming part of the community. Help others by sharing their content and answering their questions.

Focus on networking with others in that community and then you can start thinking about promotion (just without dropping links to your content all over the place).

This works best when the people you’ve built relationships with share your content without you having to ask – help enough people and publish the right content and this will happen.

How to get started with online communities

The web is full of online communities, which includes everything from Facebook and Google+ groups to online forums.

Below are a few to get you started:

  • org – Marketing
  • com – Growth Hacking
  • com – Business
  • com – Films
  • com – Gaming

Share to social networks at the right time

Sharing your content to social networks should be done no matter what, but aside from growing your followers on a network like Twitter, how can you get more traction from the following you have right now?

Here’s the answer:

Share to your followers at the right times.

So how can you do this?

First of all, forget about every infographic that you’ve seen which tells you when the best time to share is.


It’s someone else’s data – not yours.

If you want to figure out the best time to share on social networks, you need to use the right tools to help you.

This will ensure that your data is used instead of someone else’s.

The great news is that there are some free tools which can help you here such as Timing+ for Google+ and Tweriod for Twitter.

Repurpose your content for a different audience

We all have different preferences when it comes to content consumption.

Some people prefer written content, some like videos and others prefer podcasts.

If you’re just publishing one type of content, you can easily expand your audience by repurposing your existing content into something else.

Let’s say you’re publishing blog posts, you could turn a blog post into an infographic.

For example, last year I published a group interview which was detailed and while it performed extremely well (it got over 2K social shares), the information was difficult to consume as it took so long to read.

With the help of 24Slides and TweakYourBiz, we published an infographic which featured trimmed down responses from each expert.


What about the results?

Just by repurposing an existing post, we were able to expose it to 30,000+ more people. Not bad right?

Here are a few other content types you could use:

  • Slideshare presentation
  • Audio/Podcast
  • Video
  • Instructographic
  • Emails
  • Ebooks
  • Courses

The possibilities are endless.

Use paid traffic to give your content a boost

“Free traffic” does not exist.

This is because even if you aren’t investing money, you’re investing your time.

And that’s valuable!

There’s only so much time you have to spare so more often than not, buying cheap (but targeted) traffic can be a great way of seeding your content and driving more eye-balls to your blog.

If you only have time to invest then you might want to avoid paid traffic for a while.

However, when you have some budget to play with, it’s an option worth considering.

Especially when you can use the likes of Outbrain and StumbleUpon to get highly targeted traffic without breaking the bank.

It requires testing and you might find traffic prices change from one niche to another, but don’t discount it because it can be immensely effective.

Putting it all together

We’ve talked through some specific content promotion strategies and all of them can have a significant impact on the success of your next piece of content.

The key is to take one strategy, try it out and see how well it works for you.

The truth is that certain strategies will work better in different niches but it’s essential that if one doesn’t work for you, you ask yourself the important question – WHY doesn’t it work?

Most people quickly try out something and give up too soon.

It may be that you need to approach the strategy in a different way or give it more time to reap the rewards.

So, now I have a question for you – which content promotion strategies have been most successful for you?

Adam Connell is the Founder of Blogging Wizard. He helps bloggers get started and take their blog’s to the next level. If you want to blog smarter and not harder, click here to find out how you can get free access to the Blogging Wizard resource library with guides and checklists to grow your blog by 425%+.


The 5 key elements your blog’s ‘Start Here’ page must have

The 5 key elements your blog’s ‘Start Here’ page must have: on ProBlogger.netThis is a guest contribution from Kelly Exeter.

Imagine this: you’ve written a killer blog post and it’s being shared all over the place. Woo hoo! Your traffic is going through the roof and it’s great fun watching those numbers climb. There’s just one problem; all those new readers are reading that one viral post and then leaving your site, never to be seen again.

Or this: you’ve been blogging for seven years. There’s a LOT of content on your site. And new readers are finding you via Google every single day. But your site’s bounce rate is high. Those new readers are sticking around long enough to read the one post Google sent them to and then they’re gone.

How do we stop this happening? How do we capture these readers and turn them into repeat visitors?

The answer is: with a killer Start Here page. One that brings all the important stuff buried deep in your site up to the surface, and offers it up to the reader in a logical way.

What does a killer Start Here page have on it? Glad you asked!

Here are the five most important things it needs in the order in which they should appear:

  1. A very clear statement about who your site is for

If someone’s landed on your site and they’re not your ideal reader, don’t waste their time or yours. Make it clear this is not the place for them.

If they ARE your ideal reader? Then this first part of the page should make them feel at home; like you ‘get them’. This bit need not be more than a paragraph or two.

Here’s what Pat Flynn has at the top of his Start Here page:

“I’m Pat Flynn, creator of Smart Passive Income. If you’re new to the world of online business, blogging, and passive income, this page is for you! It contains the information you need to get up to speed quickly and start your own venture confidently!”

This is what kicks off Michael Hyatt’s:

“If you’re like most of my readers, you’re a successful, high-achiever. You are committed to winning at work, and—equally important—succeeding at life. You strive to grow, get better, and reach your potential. You want to leave a lasting impact on your world.”

While Nicole Avery from Planning with Kids states:

“Planning With Kids is about productivity for families. Getting organised at home so you can spend more time on the good and fun bits of family life.”

  1. Now tell them a little bit about you

Just a little bit. Like a paragraph. If they’ve read past the first paragraph they’re thinking your blog is going to be useful to them in some way. So use this bit to quickly and easily establish some rapport – show them why you ‘get them’.

Here’s Michael Hyatt again:

“I know what it feels like to be in over your head—to have your success outpace your ability to manage it, while still attending to the things that matter most—family, health, faith, and community.

For years, I, too, struggled to get off the treadmill. Too often, my success came at the expense of my health and my most valuable relationships.”

  1. Give them the opportunity to buy something from you

Now I know some people are going to vehemently disagree with me here, but I’ll stand strong on this. Some people will be so sold on you at this stage they want to throw money at you. Let them!

Do you have a book? Offer an online course in something? Link it up!

At best, they will buy. At worst, you’re signalling to the reader right from the word ‘go’ that you’ve created something valuable enough it’s worth paying actual money for (which gives you instant credibility).

Immediately after introducing himself on his First visit? Click here! page, Chris Ducker establishes himself as an authority on the topic of Virtual Staff and Outsourcing … and then says “I wrote a book about this!” I bet a lot of people don’t get much past this bit of the page because they’ve hurried over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble to buy.

The 5 Elements Your Blog's "Start Here" Page Must Have: on

  1. Give them something for free (+ bonus social proof)

Ok, they’re not ready to buy from you just yet, but they’re still here. Now’s the time to offer them something great for free to get them on your list. If you don’t … what a wasted opportunity!

Here’s what Pat Flynn offers:

The 5 Elements Your Blog's "Start Here" Page Must Have: on

If you can offer some social proof in with your free offer like Pat does (‘this book has been downloaded 15,000 times’), all the better. Us humans like to belong so if we see that lots of other people are doing something, we feel both compelled to and comfortable in doing that thing too.

Here’s another form of social proof from Chris Ducker (when he talks about his free 7-day New Business Bootcamp):

I get approximately 150-200 emails a day from entrepreneurs that want to start growing their business the right way for today’s economy.

And here’s James Clear offering two kinds of social proof: the rather large number of email subscribers he has, along with the logos of the big online publications he’s written for.

The 5 Elements Your Blog's "Start Here" Page Must Have: on

  1. Links to your favourite blog posts/things that tell your story

The final element on your Start Here page is arguably the most important. If someone’s got to this point, they want to know more of your story. They want to know more about YOU. So this is where you both showcase your best content and offer up blog posts that tell your story/share your journey in a logical fashion.

Michael Hyatt lists his favourite blog posts under specific categories and offers subtle social proof by noting they’re his most popular posts.

Pat Flynn shares three podcasts and also adds in social proof along with a guarantee!

SPI fans tell me all the time how much these episodes helped them understand the types of passive income opportunities. I guarantee they’ll help you too.”

The Minimalists link and link and link (in a useful fashion).

So does Leo Babauta on the Zen habits site.

And, although it’s not a specific Start Here page, Bron from Maxabella Loves does a magic job telling her story/sharing her base philosophies through the links on her About page.

Diving deep into your archives and categorising key older posts in this way will take some work. But it will be completely worth it for the way it will allow someone to lose themselves in your site for an hour or two. If you managed to captivate them, you’ve got yourself a brand new super-fan!

Kelly Exeter is editor of and author of Your Best Year Ever – 7 simple ways to shift your thinking and take charge of your life. Can a highly driven person really lead a less frantic life? She ponders that and more here.