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Do it #TodayNotSomeday: Create an Autoresponder Series

Do it #TodayNotSomeday: Create an Autoresponder Series (and tips on how to rock it!)

Yes, it can seem like a lot of work on top of an already-overflowing to-do list, but creating an autoresponder series has huge potential to pay off for you in both the short and the long term. So this episode of the ProBlogger podcast is all about moving that “someday” plan to create a series onto your task list today.

It can take as little as an hour of your time, but can really ramp up traffic (and potentially daily profit!) for your blog.

In the last couple of episodes of the #TodayNotSomeday series on the podcast, we discussed setting up an email list (and how to grow it), and creating an incentive for people to sign up to it. Now we move onto how you can deliver fantastic content to your readers through it, via an autoresponder.

In this episode I discuss everything you need to know from “ok but what is an autoresponder?!” to their (many) benefits, the variety of content you could send, the flow of emails, how often to send them, tips to create mailouts that get high engagement, and of course how create an autoresponder series that’s successful. I want you to think about the journey you want your readers to go on, and how you will provide them with useful, practical info along the way.

Don’t forget to share your progress on today’s challenge with the hashtag “TodayNotSomeday”, check out the show notes here, and sign up to get your free trial month with Edgar (the sponsor of this series) here. Now get mapping!

Further Reading:

 

How to Be a Lucky Entrepreneur: Are You Developing These 7 Habits?

Darren Rowse speaks at HubSpot's Inbound conference on the topic of "lucky" entrepreneurs and their 7 habits.

Image credit: Inbound

I was in the right place at the right time.

It was November 2002, and I received an email from a friend that changed my life in ways I could never have imagined.

Without receiving, reading, and taking action on that email, I would never have started blogging or built the business I have built.

I often reflect on this serendipitous start to the current chapter of my life – what would have happened if I’d not opened that email?
[Read more…]

Create an Opt-In Incentive to Increase Your Email Subscriber Numbers

How to Create an Opt-In Incentive to Increase your Email Subscriber Numbers // on ProBlogger.net

If you were listening to the previous ProBlogger podcast episode about my top tips for building your email subscriber list, you would have heard me talking about creating an opt-in as an incentive for people to sign up.

In this next instalment of the #TodayNotSomeday podcast, I’m going to talk you through exactly how to do that!

Creating an opt-in has the potential to significantly increase your subscriber numbers by offering something truly valuable in exchange for the reader’s email address. They are sometimes called lead magnets, and you’ll have seen them on plenty of other blogs and sites you visit.

Even though creating an opt-in and working on building your email list is one of the most important things you can do as a blogger, I know there are plenty of you who put it off to worry about another time. I know this, because I’ve done it myself! We’ve only recently started offering something similar on Digital Photography School despite being aware it is something I should have done much sooner.

You’ll also notice I don’t have a lead magnet or opt-in here on the ProBlogger blog, but you’ll hopefully see us get this task off our “someday” list in the new year.

Today’s challenge isn’t just for those of you without a lead magnet – if you’ve already got one on offer, you might want to consider upgrading or determining if it’s time to create another? Something more up-to-date, something that will appeal to a different audience, something specific to one of your site categories, or something that could boost your current list?

In today’s episode I also discuss why you should create an opt-in, and the potential it has to grow your blog. We go over how to deliver your opt-in, what format it could take, and how you can figure out something that incentivises your readers to sign up to your list and stay engaged. There is also the option of considering a longer-term strategy or offering as opposed to a one-off incentive, and I give a few ideas here. I also go through the purpose it needs to serve, how you can create your offering, tools and services I’ve used, and that all-important aspect: getting the signup!

So good luck with today’s challenge of creating an opt-in for your email list. What opt-in will you be creating? What will it be about, and how will you deliver it? Be sure to use the hashtag #TodayNotSomeday when you share your efforts to social media so we can see how you’re all doing.

Further Reading:

 

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

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

Good morning! Welcome to your roundup of interesting titbits from around the web. Plenty to mull over here – tools, beta testing of our favourite social media sites, Google doing new Google things (who knew?!) and a cool script to help you tap into your blog audience’s personas. Enjoy!

5 Visual Content Tools to Boost Engagement // Social Media Examiner

If you’re on a tight budget (or let’s be honest: no budget) for graphics, these tools should help you up your visual content game. I love the Instagram collage idea.

Instagram Now Testing Support for Account Switching, No Logout Required // TechCrunch

Oh wouldn’t this be a boon for those of you who manage multiple accounts! Let’s cross our fingers that the choice proves popular in the beta testing and they keep it.

LinkedIn’s New Facebook-like App Arrives on iOS and Android // Mashable Australia

A much easier (and more eye-pleasing!) way to see who is sharing what on LinkedIn. I can imagine it would promote more engagement, which I’m all for. I have to admit, I don’t do much with my LinkedIn but I may be swayed by this!

How to Figure Out What Keywords Your Potential Customers are Using // Hubspot

And what your potential readers are searching for! This is a super-detailed piece – Bridget has taken a step back and started at SEO right from the start before launching into what tools you can use so you can be armed with all the knowledge to create a super campaign or tailored blog content.

How to Become a Virtual Assistant // Amy Lynn Andrews

I know plenty of us have “virtual assistant” on our Christmas lists, but for those of you who would like to be one (can be a great supplement to your blog income), Amy has recently updated her guide. Check it out!

image 2 tags snowmen

Google Turns Image Search Into Pinterest with New Collections Feature // TechCrunch

It’s only for mobile (and those of you in the US), and it looks as though it’s a part of the sort-of-revamped Google+, but now when you find an image you want to keep for later in Google search, you can organise your own personal collections. Search results are filterable and it appears quite intuitive.

“Don’t Pursue Something That Someone Said You Should Want”: Derek Sivers at WDS // Chris Gillebeau

I loved attending the World Domination Summit in Portland this year, and Chris Gillebeau, master of it all, has started releasing videos from the amazing speakers across the weekend. This video is from one of my favourite speakers – Derek Sivers – who delivered kick-ass, no-bullshit business advice. I took SO MUCH away from his philosophy. Watch it, you won’t be sorry!

Persona Research in Under 5 Minutes // Moz

You know how much we love a reader profile around these parts. Who are you speaking to? What kind of people make up your core audience? More importantly – where are they hanging out? I love this script for nailing all this info in under 5 minutes.

8 Creative Ways to Add Christmas Spirit to Your Social Media // Jeff Bullas

I just spent 10 minutes trying to find the best christmas photo for my Facebook profile. It’s that time of year!

From YouTube to Persicope: The Evolution of Web Video [Infographic] // AdWeek

Crazy to see how far it’s come (and how much I suck at all of them). I wonder where web video (and indeed, how audiences consume it) is headed next. Any ideas?

Have you Christmasified your social media yet?!

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: 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.

Top Tips to Boost Your Email List Subscribers Today

Top Tips to Boost Your Email List Subscribers Today - all secrets revealed on ProBlogger.net!

Welcome to the second episode of the #TodayNotSomeday podcast series, where today’s challenge is one I would prioritise above all others: getting people to subscribe to your email list.

I started using email as a way to communicate with my readers back in 2007 when I started Digital Photography School and my dad, an aspiring photographer, didn’t use RSS (which was the popular way of getting your content out to readers at the time). I realised he would be better off having posts sent to his email address, so I set that up and kept it on the site as a secondary subscription option for readers. Pretty soon the email list overtook our RSS subscriber numbers – today we have close to 900,000 subscribers.

But why worry about email? Why is it more important to grow than say, the number of people following you across your social media channels?

Mostly because it’s familiar, and used regularly by most. Nothing has come close to killing off email, and you don’t have to worry about algorithms, news feeds, and the fleeting nature of social media. It’s an incredibly successful traffic-driver, exceptional for selling (either affiliate sales or your own products), it’s good for building community, and it helps build your brand.

In today’s episode of the #TodayNotSomeday series on the ProBlogger podcast, I want to share what I think the three keys are to a successful email list so you can finally get going on building that thriving email subscriber community you’ve always wanted!

You’ll also find today’s challenge (don’t forget to use the hashtag across social media so we can support and keep each other accountable!), and also some of the email providers I recommend (including a couple of freebies), and tips on how to optimise your email list if you’ve already got one set up.

There are plenty of different ways to entice people to sign up, and you will find each of them will convert differently. This all depends on what calls to action you use, where you use them, and how you use them.

There are diverse opinions on this, but a few things I’ve tested really have significantly improved my signup levels, and I discuss all of those in today’s episode. I’ll cover everything from colours, benefits, incentives, and where we’ve had the most success putting our sign-up box and calls to action.

You can find today’s show notes here, and I look forward to seeing what you all share with #TodayNotSomeday!

Further Reading:

10 Ways to Prepare Your Holiday Blogging Schedule

 10 Ways to Prepare Your Holiday Blogging Schedule

This is a guest contribution from Julia McCoy.

For bloggers, “rest” and “time off” are not familiar words.

The nature of blogging requires that bloggers be willing to dedicate themselves to it at all times, at all hours of the day, and at all points throughout the year. While this nose-to-the-grindstone work style may be great for getting things done and building your blog following, it’s not exactly ideal for kicking back over the holidays and enjoying some well-earned time off with the people you love.

Even if you don’t actually “take a vacation” over the holidays (most of us marketers and entrepreneurs don’t), there are many ways to plan ahead so that you don’t wind up hunched over your computer screen while everyone else is passing the gravy boat.

Here are a few tips to help you get started.

10 Tips for a Holiday Blogging Schedule So You Stay Sane & Published (At the Same Time)

If you’ve never developed a seasonal blogging schedule before, take a deep breath. It doesn’t have to be nearly as tough as it sounds. In fact, planning a seasonal blogging schedule in advance can actually help you cut down on stress and produce great content all throughout the holiday season. Here are 10 tips to help you get started.

1) Start early.

Ideally, you should start planning your seasonal blogging schedule about 2-3 weeks before the holiday season rolls around. If you want to get really ambitious (give this a try next year) you can start in the beginning of October and plan out content that takes you from Halloween to New Year’s.

The first step is to sit down with your planning platform of choice (be it a paper schedule or a web-based platform like Evernote) and dedicate some time to looking over your content. If you have an editorial calendar, now is the time to consult it.

Think about how many posts you generally publish during a week and then schedule those things into your “To do” for the weeks before the holidays. While it may be stressful to push yourself to write 4 or 5 extra blog posts ahead of time, planning them in advance and spreading them out over the weeks leading up to the holidays can be a fantastic way to get your work done and afford yourself some well-earned time off.

2) Get creative with content forms.

Easy content is a blogger’s best friend over the holiday season. If you can’t bring yourself to not blog at all during the holidays, aim to post content that is easy and doesn’t take a great deal of effort to create and distribute.

Pictures, for example, are fantastic and bloggers in the lifestyle or dining industries can post appealing snapshots of holiday meals or special moments. Polls (“What is your favorite holiday tradition?” for example) are great, as are all forms of user-generated content. Create a Twitter hashtag or a Pinterest board where people can submit snaps of how they spend their holidays or what they love to cook for a special day and make each submission an entry to win a fun promotional product or freebie. In addition to being an exciting way to shake your up blog content, these easy and creative forms of content are also interesting for your customers.

3) Use your holiday blogs as a vessel for good.

No matter what you celebrate, the holidays are a time of giving and it’s important to tap into that throughout your blog content. Not only does this serve the important purpose of giving back, but holiday-centric blogs can also drive huge traffic numbers.

When you’re planning your topics ahead of time, consider how you can use your blog content as a vessel to make people feel happy. Maybe you can tell a story about the nicest thing someone has ever done for you or how you used to spend the holidays as a child. If you’re an e-commerce company, you can take it a step further and give your customers exclusive deals or coupons toward holiday gifts or shopping. If you have a physical presence you can draw upon, consider driving your readers to donate to or get involved with a specific charity. While blogging is a vessel for many things, it can easily become a vessel for giving and inspiration over the holidays.

4) Branch out.

Maybe you run an e-commerce company that sells clothing and maybe your blog content is generally about new products and developments in the fashion industry. To branch out a bit over the holidays and get your readers excited, use the holidays to theme your blog. For example, when Christmas draws near, you could write a post titled “The 5 Best Holiday Party Looks to Make You Sparkle.” People love the holidays and using each one to theme your content is a great way to grab more readers.

5) Schedule the posts.

If you’re working in WordPress or any of the other popular blogging platforms, you should have access to a “schedule” feature from your dashboard. This “Schedule” feature is a lifesaver for the busy blogger because once your advance posts are brainstormed and written, you can schedule them all at once to appear throughout the week or weeks that you would like to take off. This affords you the luxury of not having to worry about being anywhere specific to press “publish” and ensures that your content stays on schedule and gets to your readers on time.

6) Link your posts with email automation.

One great way to grab some extra traffic during the holiday season is to use an automated email service to further your reach with your customers. MailChimp is a favorite of many bloggers because it offers easy drag-and-drop building features, a fully automated schedule, and the ability for bloggers to check on their open and click rates.

If automated email isn’t already a part of your digital marketing plan, use it over the holidays to offer a special giveaway to your customers or to promote your new blog posts. Because automated emails can be created and scheduled ahead of time, they’re yet another great way to stay on schedule even when you’re taking some much-needed time away from the computer.

7) Consider offering seasonal products.

Whether or not you typically use your blog to sell things, the holidays can be a great time to offer a seasonal product. Whether you create it yourself or team up with another business, seasonal products are exciting to customers and can be a source of passive holiday income for you.

8) Focus on quality rather than quantity.

During the holidays, it can be especially easy to get stressed and feel like you have to hammer out a blog post right now. This is especially true if you haven’t exactly aced your planning beforehand. Doing this, however, can easily wreak havoc on your blog readership and can harm your reputation.

Instead of waiting until the 11th hour to publish something, focus on creating content in advance. If life gets in the way and you absolutely can’t fulfill your editorial calendar for a week, tell your readers and provide one of the easy forms of content mentioned earlier in place of your normal blog post. The holidays are a time of goodwill and as long as you communicate with your readers, all will be well.

9) Speak directly to your fans.

People love to be appreciated and the holidays are a perfect time to let your fans know how much your blog has grown, how much you appreciate their readership, and what steps you’re planning on taking in the upcoming year. Often, people who read blogs don’t hear about how they’ve helped further your business (but they have and you know it) and they love the feeling of being involved when bloggers begin speaking directly to them. For some unique content this holiday season, consider reaching out to your customers and giving them a personalized, unequivocal thank you.

10) Have fun!

Last but not least – have fun! The holidays are an exciting time and it’s important not to take them too seriously. Focus on providing high-quality, valuable content as always to your readers, but accept that you need a break too! Spend some time with the people you love and come back to blogging post-holiday refreshed, excited, and ready to get back to work.

Conclusion

While maintaining regular blog content over the holidays can be tough, simple steps like planning posts in advance, scheduling posts and emails, and creating simple, unique, holiday-focused content can go a long way toward making your holidays less stressful and more enjoyable.

How do you manage the silly season on your blog?

Julia McCoy is a serial entrepreneur and content marketer, and the founder of Express Writers; she loves to blog and is a soon-to-be published author.

5 Reasons Batching Your Blog Content Can Improve Your Productivity

5 Reasons Batching Your Blog Content Can Improve Your Productivity

This is a guest contribution from Christian Karasiewicz.

Do you ever find you’re always rushing to compose a blog post?

Or maybe you meant to write a blog post, but life happened and you forgot?

What if you could relieve the pressure of constant blogging and have content ready-to-go on a weekly basis?

Would it help you be more active on your social media channels?

At the same time, would you feel less stressed and more accomplished knowing you’ve written your articles for the week or even the month and all you have left to do is hit the publish button?

In this article, you’ll learn why you should batch your blog content to do just that.

Let’s take a look at how batching your content can help!

What Is Batching?

Rather than rush to create new content on certain days of the week, the art of batching involves writing everything on one day or in one sitting.

This way you don’t have to worry if you completed your post for the day in case things get too hectic.

Here are some ways that batching your content can help you.

5 Reasons to batch your blog content

1. It saves time

We’re all well-intentioned to write a blog or article. Except life can get in the way.

That hour you thought you had free became a meeting or last-minute project. When that happens, you scramble to get your corner written, and in turn, you put out a mediocre article or you just don’t write one at all.

By batching your blog content, it helps save you time because you plan out and write it ahead of time.

2. Reduces stress

When we don’t write our content ahead of time, it can add unwanted stress because it’s constantly on our mind or on our to-do list.

Couple that with the fact that we might be too busy, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Not only do you not grow your business, you also lose any momentum you’ve built up because you didn’t complete a task you set out to do.

By batching your content, you won’t have to worry if a post is done since you’ll be planning them out and writing them ahead of time.

3. Keeps you on schedule

At the beginning of every month, you should create your editorial calendar. This is what you plan to work on for the month. It includes projects and content you need to create.

Once you’ve come up with the ideas, it’s time to put them into action. Often times, we get part of the equation right – we do the planning but don’t execute the content.

To solve this dilemma, spend a day planning out what you need to create and the spend a day writing it all.

Not only will this lower your stress levels because it will be done, you’ll also be making progress and building momentum as you move from month-to-month.

4. Boosts your productivity

By writing all of your content ahead of time, it helps you build momentum.

The momentum can propel you forward and give you confidence to tackle other tasks you’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t because they seemed too challenging.

5. Free up time for other tasks

One of the single best reasons to batch your blog content is because it helps you get more done. And we’re not just talking writing more content.

By focusing your energy for one day, you can complete your blog posts for the entire month.

This would give you with even more time to work on other areas of your business. For example, maybe you needed to complete a website redeisn you started or put together more videos.

By batching your blog content, now you have more time and the confidence to help move you forward.

Your Turn

As you can see, batching your blog content can have tremendous benefits for your sanity and your business.

It can also help you build lasting habits that carryover into other aspects of your business.

While these are just some of the benefits to batching your blog content, can you think of any other reasons batching your blog content would help you?

If so, please share them with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or in the comments below. I would love to hear them!

Christian Karasiewicz is the CEO and Founder of Social Chefs, a digital training site that teaches you how to create winning recipes for success in social media marketing and business. Follow him @ckroks.

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

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

Coming to you live from ProBlogger HQ, the interesting things we’ve found on the internet this week. May they help you blog better!

Is Blogging Finally Dead? // Blog Tyrant

I know. We’ve even talked about it too. And Dooce said she was over it. And then Mia Freedman jumped in. But there is no denying the landscape is changing. Ramsay gives us some stats that might get you thinking… and possibly Tumblr-ing…

Google Releases the Full Version of Their Search Quality Rating Guidelines // Search Engine Land

And it’s a behemoth. 160 pages packed with SEO goodness! If you’ve ever wanted to know the lowdown, now’s the time.

How Many Outbound Links Per Word or Page? [Original Study] // Northcutt

Is it however many are most useful for readers? Less than 100? None? Heaps? Carter Bowles tells us what his research has shown is optimal.

Click Here: 16 Hacks That’ll Get Your Call-to-Action Buttons Clicked // Neil Patel

With dowloadable cheat-sheet! You guyst know how much I love that.

moz.com

Image source: Moz

Announcing Moz’s New Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing // Moz

Are you part of the 70% of content marketers who are now making double the amount of content you were a year ago? Or are you keen to get stuck into the nut and bolts of content marketing? Moz has just released a huge guide (nine chapters worth!) to get you moving. With added Carl the Content Cat, of which I am a fan.

4 Ways Anand Sanwal Captures More than 1000 Signups a Month // Entrepreneur

That’s a number not to be sneezed at. The founder of analytics platform CB Insights gives us an insight into how he keeps on rolling in those potential-customer numbers.

6 Holiday Instagram Marketing tips for Businesses // Social Media Examiner

It’s that time of year again, trying to be seen among the consumerist din. How do you stand out? Try these tips and see!

Disappearing Act: Twitter Pulls Share Counts from Tweet Buttons // Marketing Land

I did not know they announced this in October, but I noticed the other day the count had disappeared here, and thought it was something wrong from our end. Twitter says it’s because the wanted to consolidate and simplify their platform… I’m not sure how I feel about this. My poor Tweet button looks empty and sad next to its other populated friends.

Of course there’s backlash, and with backlash comes a hashtag: #SaveOurShareCounts. If you’re annoyed, let ’em know!

How to Take Good Photos with Your Phone: 17 Tips and Tricks to Try // HubSpot

Taking a great photo on your smartphone is not as simple as pointing and shooting – as we’ve all learned the hard way. Simple tips will help you look like a pro in no time.

Meet the Director of Social Media Who Doubled Pitchfork’s Instagram Following // Hootsuite

All the Instagram secrets from Pitchfork’s manager of day to day social output across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, and Tumblr, their quarterly print publication, and music festivals, and email marketing – a huge job where she’s learned a lot.

So what are your thoughts? Upset with Twitter? Think blogging’s not dead? How many outbound links are you comfortable with?

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: 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.

How to Work Out What To Focus Your Time On

How to Choose What to Focus Your Time onDo you ever feel like you don’t have enough time to fit everything in?

Like there’s an opportunity  staring you in the face to start something new but to take it on would mean everything else you’re already doing would suffer?

You know the feeling – you’re

  • working away on your blog
  • creating content
  • updating your FB, Pinterest, Twitter accounts each day
  • responding to comments and emails
  • reading and commenting upon other blogs
  • creating the occasional eBook
  • updating your advertiser page

And then all of a sudden, the game changes. We’re meant to be across live streaming, have a podcast on the go, speak at events, guest post on relevant niche blogs, and be carrying out consistent brand work.

FOMO starts creeping in… you feel overwhelmed… and afraid to say “no” to any one opportunity because what if it’s the next big thing? Your next big break?

I get asked by readers all the time how to work out what to focus upon, and I also get asked all the time – ‘how do you fit it all in?’

In today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast, I want to tell you the truth. How I manage to write, blog, podcast, tweet, live-stream, speak at events, and publish books. What my strategies are, how I’ve learned to resourcefully use my time, and what I choose to say “no” to, so I can say “yes” to something else.

If you’ve got any questions or feedback about how your spending your time, or how I juggle all the responsibilities of being an online entrepreneur, I’d love to hear it!

The show notes for episode 65 can be found here.

Further Reading: