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How to Complete Your Blog Posts to Make Them the Best They Can Be

How to Complete Your Blog Posts to Make Them the Best They Can Be

For some bloggers, it isn’t the lack of ideas holding them back, it’s finding the motivation to get them finished.

People leave blogs in draft mode for all kinds of reasons – they run out of things to say, they’re not sure how to end the post, they know it needs something added but don’t know what, the post needs more research, it needs an image, or maybe it’s just that attention just goes elsewhere.

I’m always amazed at how many bloggers have a stash of half-written posts, even though my own record is 93 unfinished posts sitting in my drafts folder!

Today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast is the next in our series on blogger’s block, and tackles the issues we face when we just can’t finish our blog posts properly (you can find earlier posts here, here, and here).

One of the main reasons I couldn’t make it to the finish line on a blog post seemed to revolve around having too many ideas and getting distracted – I would sit down to write one post and have ideas for five more instead!

I also know that the quest for perfection holds many of us back. We don’t want to send our work out into the blogosphere if it isn’t the best work we can do right now.

Sometimes it’s that we’ve lost interest in the topic, we’re bored with what we’ve written, and we just want to move onto something else even though we’ve spent so much time trying to make this post work.

And on the flip side, some of us might be too casual with our approach – I’ve definitely seen posts published that need a little extra attention paid to proofreading, depth of information, providing value, and writing a suitable headline. If that is your problem, that you push posts out before they’re quite ready, then that really will limit the impact of your content and your ability to reach your blogging goals. There are a few things I think are non-negotiable in a post, and without them, your post just won’t really be complete.

If you’ve seen yourself in any of these familiar blogger’s block issues, then this episode is for you!

How to Complete Your Blog Posts to Make Them the Best They Can Be

I have a few solutions to provide that have helped me finally get those posts out of draft mode, and also for stopping me from collecting such a huge amount of half-done work to start with! Sometimes it does just mean knuckling down with willpower and determination to see it through, but I’ve got a few more tips up my sleeve to get you to the finish line.

I’d love to hear what you struggle with the most when it comes to getting your posts finished. Is it time? Is it overwhelm? Feel free to leave a comment, or reach out to me on Twitter.

You can find the show notes for today’s podcast here.

Further Reading:

How to Create and Use Infographics to Drive Traffic to Your Blog

This is a guest contribution from Luke Guy.

Let me start this post by telling you a quick story: I once created this niche site that I thought would do really well. I wanted to flex my SEO skills, and see if I could a new site ranked rather quickly (I talk about how I perform outreach with sites like this at Lukeguy.com).

The new site would solve a problem like no other in its field – I had created this site for insect identification purposes, and it would help people with identifying bugs within hours. You would upload an image and there you got your bug identified rather quickly. So now you could find out if that bug was potentially harmful within a short amount of time.

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I thought this helpful tool would promote itself, and would climb quickly. But was I wrong! I thought by me building it, people would come. I was wrong again. Wasn’t long before I realized my cool little tool needed promotion just like anything else. That’s when the journey began.

I turned to the greatest promotional tool on the planet, the blog, to launch my tool that I had created. I have been collecting steady links ever since, and was even  featured on Lifehacker within just a few months.

How did I do this? It all started with one thing: the infographic.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 3.05.29 pm

As bloggers, our goal is to increase readers and traffic. The best way to increase traffic is to put out great content, and the number two way is by increasing the promotion of that great content.

You can have the greatest content in the world, but without amazing outreach, it’s not going to be discovered. With my niche site, however, I understood that fairly early on and now find my blog climbing the ranks with Google as well. All because of this one infographic creation plan I’m about to tell you about.

Infographics and Traffic

How does an infographic drive traffic when all the info is included in the picture? Good question!

As you know, SEO traffic is the largest source of traffic that major sites get. By getting links from large sites, this will help your Domain Authority and increase your position in the search engines. The reason an infographic is great at getting this is because you can create one and have it posted on hundreds of sites. You create one graphic and get it posted everywhere without anything bad happening! You can’t do that with guest posting, and copy the same content everywhere, without Google penalties. This is a great reason to do infographic in my eyes and many others.

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My infographic was about bugs that bite people and what they looked like. That was it. However it was important to know and people were looking for something like this, and they wasn’t getting it. The infographic is landing major sites and collecting many links from sites all over. By this happening, my past post is now increasing in ranking with Google also and are being seen by more people also. Which is pretty sweet when you think it about it. The infographic has been seen by over 19,000 people and many more to come.

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The infographic is amazing stuff, but remember you may not be able to do this all the time, simply because infographics take a lot of energy and time. But they will definitely pay off if you do it with strategy. I don’t recommend one every week, or even every month. Just have a good one and promote it for months. Blogs are so much easier to write and they’re not as costly. However, the infographic gives you that extra nudge which every young blog needs in the beginning. They help the most with backlinks which is very important with SEO according to Cyrus Shepard from Moz.

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Before you build your infographic

Let’s talk about how to create your infographic. First of all, study what you want your infographic to be about. The best infographics solve a problem by focusing on a solution. It makes someone’s life easier in less time. It’s entertaining and as well as being helpful, so by you creating an infographic that solves a problem you’re more likely to receive a timely response with traffic. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

So think of a major problem you can solve for your readers, and brainstorm how you can make it an infographic. Make it enjoyable to look at, and as eye-catching as possible.

Factors your infographic should include for best results:

  • a solution to a problem
  • great design
  • educational and entertaining
  • statistics
  • sources

How to ensure your choice of infographic topic is a successful one

A suggestion I have is to build an infographic around content that’s already successful on the web. I’m not saying plagiarise, but build upon or put your own spin on the topic. That successful content may offer a solution to a problem your readers are needing to solve, but you see some holes you can fill, room for improvement. You want to turn this up notch with more data, more images, creating your very own masterpiece. With their shares, likes and comments as an indicator that people liked what they saw, you can be assured that it will do well when turned into an infographic. So by confirming validation from another source, you can be assured through the process that this graphic has potential.

This is the method movie producers take. They watch a book and see how people react to it. If it becomes a bestseller, that book usually (almost always) turns into a film. They’re about to invest millions, and they’re not about to do it on an unread book.

Outsourcing your infographic

If you don’t have graphic design experience or software, you may wish to hire someone to complete your infographic, which can cost anywhere from $100 to $600 and even beyond, depending on the content and how much time you have. However if you invest money in your infographic, it can be a driving factor when pushing this into the atmosphere. It can make you push harder when you realize you’ve invested actual cash in making your infographic successful.

Creating your infographic

If you have opted to create the infographic yourself, you might find you struggle with where to find great fonts and images. I myself use daFont and they have over 28,000 fonts there (for free) to choose from. Once you find a font you like, simply download it, and install into your font file on your computer. Here are some articles that show you how to install fonts step-by-step:

  1. How do I install fonts on my Windows PC?
  2. How to install a font under Windows?
  3. How do I install fonts on my Mac?
  4. How To Install Fonts on a Mac

There are also plenty of image creation tools like Canva or Piktochart which allows you to use the icons already available. These sites have templates you can just populate with your ideas, rather than starting from scratch.

Researching your infographic

By you reading other articles, and by getting a feel of how other people view your topic, you will have an idea of the conversations around it. Reading all the articles on the subject gives you an idea of what’s missing out there. I’d consider plugging your keywords into Buzzsumo and see how many popular on social media your subject is.

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Finishing your Infographic

Once you’re done, how do you know your work is complete – it’s not like you can go and change a line here and there like you can on a blog post?

To be honest, I don’t think anyone ever feels like their graphic is “complete”, but there is a point where you must release and watch what happens. You’ll know when that time has arrived. The most important thing is that you have gone the extra mile in bringing reliable data together. If that data is incorrect, everything else falls apart.  Header design won’t help you, great fonts won’t help you, cool illustrations won’t help you. Make sure to stress data accuracy.

To see what successful infographics look like, I have compiled a list for you of featured infographics by major blogs (such as Hubspot). They either featured these from other blogs or made it themselves.

Inspiration: Successful Infographics

You might like to have a look at this list I’ve put together of infographics that have done really well to help you get an idea of what works and maybe what you can include in your offering.

  1. Nutrition 101 Recap: Top 5 Tips to Eat More Nutritiously
  2. THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO NOTE TAKING IN CLASS
  3. The Ultimate Guide to Creating Visually Appealing Content
  4. Imaginary Factory
  5. Games controllers
  6. What happens in an internet minute?

Promoting Your Infographic

As for the promoting of the infographic, you really need to write an amazing blog post to go with it. It will help give your infographic context, and provide background and more information. If readers and other influencers link to your blog post when they share, all these words that you have in that blog post could trigger some search engine traffic, which increases your exposure. By you adding the infographic to your blog post, the chances of someone linking to you has now increased tremendously. People can’t copy/paste your content onto their blog and be successful with SEO, however they can use your infographic and do quite well. That means more shares and backlinks for you, and that’s a good thing.

From there, start looking for major blogs in the same niche as your infographic, and reach out to them. Email them and see if they would be willing to possibly publish your infographic once you have it up, and explain what is in it for them. It might not be the path that everyone would choose, but what I would do is aim at sending it to 100 or 200 journalists. Figure out who they are, what their contact details are, and see if they would be interested in sharing this infographic with a tailored email pitch. If only five major blogs out of 200 use your infographic, it could mean 50,000 views and many other quality backlinks to your site 

Once the ball gets rolling your infographic could land in search engines and give you steady traffic every month. – thus completing the mission for your blog.

If you’re looking for an email template in how you should present this, I’ve compiled a list of articles that explain that very well. Even though there’s only four here, they are slammed with content that can help you land your infographic on “mega-sites”.

Email Outreach Templates:

  1. The Link Builder’s Guide to Email Outreach (template at bottom)
  2. How to Get Influencers to Promote Your Content for Free (template midways)
  3. Outreach Letters for Link Building (template at beginning)
  4. How to Email Busy People (template midways)

Where to find influencers to share your infographic

This maybe the hardest part of the process for you, I know it was for me.

The best thing I can advise is know your niche. Understand what is the focus of your niche and who is the top influencer in that category. Once you have this down, you must scout possible sites that you can reach out to. If you’ve never seen an infographic on a site, good chance they won’t publish yours. I’d also look to see if they’ve published infographics from other sites, if they have, that’s a very good sign.

With larger sites, they seem to cover every subject, and they have many authors on those sites. If you watch the subject and the tone of the journalist and you see a match with them within your niche, I’d consider reaching out. There’s a good chance they write for other major blogs also.

To find these rather quickly, I’d suggest using the Google method.

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Simply replace “keyword” with the word that matches your niche best and put “infographic” in quotations like this: keyword “infographic”.

Your search could look like more like:

  • marketing “infographic”
  • seo “infographic”
  • logo design “infographic”
  • pest control “infographic”
  • marriage counseling “infographic”
  • dating tips “infographic”

Conclusion

Understand outreach isn’t easy and can even be depressing at times, but by keeping a steady pace, you could really get some traction, resulting in traffic to your site. You will get tired, and things maybe tough during this process. You may have to take a break and come back. However, if you make outreach a daily habit, there’s no reason why you can’t completely crush your niche. It all takes time.

My ranking is doing well by the way and I’m on the verge of cracking a major keyword. That keyword come to a monthly of around 10,000 people. I’m three positions away from hitting frontpage and to think the site is only just a few months old. I’m ecstatic!

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I hope this post helps you, and that this post helps fulfill your blogging dream.

Luke Guy is THE SEO guy who isn’t your average robot who talks just about backlinks. He focuses on connections and uses this ability to rank well among search engines while using his strategies. Get his free eBook “How To Guest Post On Any Blog While Crushing SEO” to learn more.

8 Ways to Find Trending Topics and Key Words

8 Ways to find trending topics and keywords for your blog and social media.

One of the key success factors in marketing is the ability of a marketer to seize a certain moment – jumping on a trending item that will resonate with their audience, and repackaging it so it’s relevant to the reader.

We’re all individuals, and what we like could be totally different to our friends. But if people are interested in your blog, they are interested in you, and what you’re interested in. If something is trending that you know they will love, it’s easy to capitalise on that for the benefit of your followers.  Here are a few places you can keep tabs on the pulse of what’s new and interesting on the internet, so you can bring your audience the latest.

Where to find trending topics and keywords for your blog

While a decade ago it would have been difficult to find such trends in real time, internet has now made it very easy to locate the live trends and come up with smart content to cash in on the same. So, let us have a look at a few tools and methods for locating the accurate trends for you.

1. Twitter

It hardly needs introduction! While the idea has existed for a long time, Twitter brought it to public attention by directly listing current trends on their homepage and profile pages. It is still the best way to find out the present political and cultural trends as well as the mood of a nation. You can check global trends or look for country specific trends as per your needs as you search the hashtags.

If you have the budget, you can also consider using “promoted trends” in Twitter. These hashtags will show up at the top of the list in the homepage of your target region. Include your brand name in the hashtag for the right impact.

2. Google Trends

Google has many services to provide analytics. Google Trends is the best option out of them to find trending topics. You can search any topic here and check out the volume it is receiving. You can also make country-specific as well as sector-specific searches to make the results more targeted.

You can explore in depth by clicking on the country name and then the state names to get completely localized details which will help you to find extremely targeted keywords for your focus market.

3. Social Mention

It is a smart tool that analyses content in a huge number of websites. It does not only limit itself to major networks like Twitter and Facebook but also goes through more than a 100 sites including the likes of Digg, YouTube, FriendFeed and basically anything that hosts user generated content to find out trending topics.

For any query, Social Mention also gives you a list of influencers, i.e. people who regularly post on one of the social networks on that topic and are popular with high number of followers and engagements. You can find potential collaborators and endorsers from this list.

8 Ways to find trending topics and keywords for your blog and social media.

4. Keyhole

Keyhole is an interesting tool that allows you to track hashtags across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It just works like Google alerts, but for social media. So, you can set an alert for a certain topic and observe it on real time.

Use it as a defence mechanism for your brand, if necessary – If you have the resources, put one dedicated person to monitor all mentions of your brand in real time using this app and immediately respond to any issues or criticism.

5. Agorapulse

Agorapulse is mainly a tool for creating contests and other marketing campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But it also lets you create customized queries for specific keywords on Twitter and identify the buzz around the same.

Its analytics clearly tells you which your best performing Tweets and FB posts are. Go through the posts in the recent weeks to get an idea about more popular topics and fine-tune your keyword list.

6. Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed grew simply by posting content on trending topics. So, you can rest assured that the people at Buzzfeed know how to find the right trends. The good thing is that they also display Buzzfeed trends for everyone to see on the right hand side of the homepage and so you can easily find out how to your trends through this site.

Buzzfeed’s trending topics are mostly in the shape of listicles. What you can draw from here is not only keyword ideas and topics but the most effective way of framing the titles. This site works simply because it can make people click on the links. You learn it too.

7. Reddit

Reddit is a hugely popular site where everyday people are having heated debates on every topic under the sun. The topics can be voted up or down on the site and so the ones with most “upvotes” only are seen on the homepage. So, in a way, one look at the Reddit homepage can give you a very good idea about what is trending right now.

The best way to exploit Reddit is to discover subreddits i.e. instead of just exploring the homepage, find subpages that are dedicated to specific topics and offer more specific insights. You can directly search for subreddits based on your topic of interest here.

8. Topsy

Topsy is another tool for smart marketers. It allows you to search for topics in a targeted manner. For instance you can even search for trends on a certain date, time or place. You can set alerts, monitor and analyse all the trends to figure out existing social sentiment towards them.

For instance, suppose you have a plan for a campaign focused on the next Christmas. So, you can just go to Topsy and look for the trends from the last few years’ Christmas to find out useful keywords. Such date specific search would have been a nightmare with most other tools.

Conclusion

All these tools discussed above have their own USPs. In order to make the most of them, you should stick to a few that give regular results relevant to you.

Born in Los Angeles, Blair Strasser is a business and marketing enthusiast that enjoys sharing his knowledge through his writing. He is also Founder and CEO of eMerchantBroker and passionate about technology. @BlairStrasser

How to Come up with Fresh Ideas to Write About On Your Blog

How to Come up with Fresh Ideas to Write About On Your Blog - on ProBlogger.net

There comes a time in the life of every blogger when they feel as though there’s nothing left to say – that they’ve said it all, and no new ideas are forthcoming.

It can strike when you have been blogging for some years and have spent a lot of time crafting posts on the important issues in your niche, and one day you realise you’ve written about every topic you care to write about and the tank is empty.

The newest episode of the ProBlogger podcast is the second in a mini-series on blogger’s block. In the previous episode I discussed the different types of blogger’s block you can experience, and what I’ve done over the years to help counteract it. Today, though, I want to tackle the issue of coming up with ideas to write about, and if you haven’t completed the task in episode 11 about what change you’re trying to bring to readers’ lives, that would be an excellent place to start.

While everyone is entitled to blog about what catches there interest, there is a strong record of blogs that change the lives of their readers in some tangible way are the ones that tend to be successful. Identifying this change (as mentioned in episode 11) is going to be a great foundation for you to then map out the journey you want to take your readers on, and can potentially then help you come up with tons of ideas to fulfil their needs.

I also discuss plenty of other options to help you break through blogger’s block and tap into that well of knowledge, inspiration and ideas to get your content rolling again. I can give you advice about how to identify these needs and problems, and all it will take is a few minutes of your time.

You can find the show notes for episode 84 of the ProBlogger Podcast How to Come up with Fresh Ideas to Write About On Your Blog here, and I’d love to get your comments below.

Further Reading:

Battling Bloggers Block – Where do you get Stuck?

Battling Blogger's Block - where do you get stuck?

Recently, I had a question from a listener:

“Darren do you have any tips for bloggers with bloggers block? I want to take my blog to the next level in 2016 but I’m stuck. Every time I sit down to write nothing comes and the more that happens the more stressed I feel and the less it seems to flow!”

And it gave me an idea – so today is the first in a mini-series of common problems that many bloggers face, and one of the biggest issues revolves around content. What happens when you run out of ideas? What happens when you feel as though nobody is hearing you? What happens when bloggers’ block strikes? It can happen to the best of us, and when it does it can be incredibly frustrating.

As I’ve given this topic much thought over the years, I’ve come to realise that there is not just one type of blogger’s block. To be more specific, there are different stages of the blog writing process that have tripped me up from time to time.

In today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast I want to help you through this common stumbling block by talking about the three types of blogger’s block I’ve suffered from, and what I did to break out of those ruts. Whether it’s at the ideas level, the productivity level or falling down before the finish line, if you’re feeling it, chances are I’ve been there too.

You can find the show notes here, and if you have any questions I’d be happy to answer them in the comments or on Twitter, where I’m @problogger.

 

Have you ever suffered from blogger’s block? What did you do about it?

Further Reading:

How to Overcome Fear of Speaking, Podcasting, Live Streaming, Webinars and More

How to Overcome Fear of Speaking, Podcasting, Live Streaming, Webinars and MoreIs fear holding you back from engaging in mediums like Live streaming, Podcasting, webinars, talking-head videos or even speaking at live events?

Over the last couple of years we’ve seen amazing opportunities open up to bloggers who are willing to embrace some of these mediums – but alongside the opportunities, I’ve noticed a rising tide of anxiety among some bloggers who while comfortable to put themselves out there on the internet through the written word are reluctant to jump in front of a camera or microphone.

For some the reluctance comes from lack of experience or skills, but for many of us it is fear that holds us back.

Speaking in public is often cited as the #1 fear that people have and this extends to many of these mediums.

Like to Watch and Not Read?

A few days ago I jumped onto my Periscope account to talk about how to overcome this type of fear so if you’re the kind of person who likes to watch rather than read – the first 10 or so minutes of this video is for you.

If you’re more of a reader…. read on below!

My Own Struggle with Fear of Speaking in Public

As a 16-year-old, I took a class in public speaking that taught me a lot of the skills needed to construct and deliver a good talk. I learned that I could do it and that I even enjoyed parts of the process – but nothing in that class taught me how to deal with fear.

So for the next 10 years, whenever I needed to speak in public (which was a regular occurrence as I worked for a decade as a youth worker and minister in a church) I would feel a growing sense of dread as the time to present approached.

Fear would gradually creep in and would usually raise its head in the form of questions like:

  • what if they don’t like me
  • what if I look stupid
  • what if I forget what I’m supposed to say
  • what if they think I don’t know what I’m talking about
  • what if I’m boring

I could go on… but I think you get the picture.

For a while there I tried to use this growing ‘fear’ as a motivating factor. It drove me to prepare extra well. I would spend days preparing even for a short talk so that:

  • they did like me
  • I didn’t I look stupid
  • I didn’t forget what I’m supposed to say
  • I did look like I knew what I was talking about
  • I wasn’t boring

It got to the point that when I had to give a talk I would become consumed by it for days and even weeks. I would practice it 10, 20, 30 times over and over again – trying to perfect it – all driven by not looking stupid.

My talks ended up being ‘good’…. but the fear didn’t go away. In fact, at times it got worse and when I started to get asked to speak at bigger events I would sometimes say no simply because it got too much.

Something needed to change.

How I Reframed It

One day as I worked myself into a frenzy of fear in the days before another talk it dawned on me that I was being incredibly selfish.

All the ‘what if’ statements that I dwelt on were all about me and how I looked.

All of that preparation that I did for each talk was also all about me and how I would be received.

While on some levels this motivated me to prepare it was actually a massive destruction from what my focus should have been on: my audience.

I decided to combat the selfish negative questions I’d been asking myself with questions that forced me to think about my audience.

Questions like:

  • Who will be in the audience as I speak
  • How will they be feeling?
  • What are their needs and struggles?
  • What are their dreams?
  • What is their pain?

Lastly I began to ask myself ‘how could this talk change their life for the better?’

A number of things immediately changed as I began to prepare for talks this way:

Firstly – the Fear started to Slip Away

I crowded out the negative self talk with talk that focused me in other directions.

Where I’d previously been focused upon myself and how I looked – I was now focused upon others.

Where I’d previously been focused upon ‘what if’ statements (things I couldn’t really control by the way), I had started focusing upon ‘what are’ and ‘what is’ statements.

Secondly – I prepared with different Intent

Previously I would spend many days on each talk preparing – but my preparation was all about looking polished, perfecting my delivery and finding the perfect words.

With the change of mindset I began to prepare with a whole different motivation. It became all about finding the best way to serve the audience.

I still put as much effort into the preparation process, but it became less about how it came across and more about how useful the information was, and how to craft it in a way to bring as many of the audience on the journey towards transformation as I could.

The preparation was less about getting a standing ovation or words of affirmation after the talk – and more about seeing people walk away ready to change their life in some way.

Thirdly – My Presentation came from a Different Place

As I began to think differently and then prepare differently I noticed that I also began to present differently.

As I let go of how I looked and focused more upon transformation in my audience I found myself speaking with more compassion and passion.

I would get up to speak not hoping to be polished and professional but hoping that what I had to say would change someone’s life.

Of course not every talk that I gave (or give) hits the mark – but I began to notice the way that my audiences responded to me changed. I got less ‘great talk’ comments and more ‘I felt like you were talking to me’ comments.

Audience members seemed to notice the shift.

Don’t Focus Upon What You’ll Get…. Focus on What You can Give

It’s so easy in the space we’re engaging in to focus upon the affirmation we’ll get from doing a Periscope or Youtube Video or Podcast or Blog post.

The ‘likes’, ‘shares’, ‘hearts’, smiley emoji’s and comments are all there staring in the face.

But as much as you possibly can – attempt to look past them to the fingertips behind the keystrokes and the human beings to whom those fingertips belong. Imagine their face and more so imagine who they are, what they feel, what they dream of, what they struggle with and who they are becoming.

Make that your starting place and I truely believer the content that you create will go to a whole new level.

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.

Top Takeaways for Bloggers from the International Food Blogger Conference 2015

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This is a guest contribution from Thei Zervaki.

Each year, the International Food Blogger Conference brings together USA-based and foreign food bloggers under the same roof. During the three-day event, participants taste food, improve their food writing skills, and learn more about the latest trends in photography and technology. As a participant myself in this year’s conference held in Seattle, I share the highlights:

FOOD –the center of all activities

Food was the main event of the conference, so to speak! The opening night reception and gift suite, the wine reception on Saturday followed by the culinary fair, and two breakfast sessions hosted by two sponsors, it was indeed a show for those who are in the food business.

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The Takeaways:

  1. Be observant, curious, open-minded and spot upcoming food trends. IFBC is rather small compared to massive food trade shows like the Fancy Food Show for example, but trends are there in terms of recipe making, propping and decorating. You can reinterpret these trends on your blog for a unique twist on everyone’s new favourite.

The trends I saw were:

  • The avocado cupcakes served may well be an indication of a cupcake comeback – this time savory.
  • Yogurt got an upgrade by being served in martini glasses. Is this the new way of serving, daily, modest foods and dishes?
  • Cocktails were made with tea, spices and herbs, marking a soft passing to the fall and winter months.
  • Street-food inspired dishes as well comfort food dishes with a twist had a bold presence.

WRITING: are food bloggers moving towards to more conventional food writing?

There were several sessions with the topic of food writing. From a New York Times writer to Seattle-based bloggers to published cookbook authors, all shared their personal writing and blogging stories, and made suggestions on how to improve our writing skills.

The Takeaways:

  1. Find your writing voice. Bloggers can have different voices for different blogs or outlets. One may require you to reveal yourself, a second to play a bit more of a character. Whatever you decide to go for, you have to be consistent to the outlet you contribute because consistency will bring readers back.
  2. Decide who you want to be as a blogger/writer. Are you a recipe tester? A mom trying to make better and healthier meals everyday? Or a professional who wants to succeed in everything including cooking? That will define your surroundings and it will be essential to find your voice.
  3. Do exercises to improve your writing skills like try to create a scene with your words. Don’t forget the famous Ws: when, where, what, why and who.
  4. Make three changes after the final post is written to delve even deeper: why the pie is so good? Who made it? Where is now? Can you improve on your writing?
  5. Keep an eye on the food trends for updated, fresh and interesting content that can be seasonal or holiday-related. It will help you establish yourself as a blogger who has their finger on the pulse.
  6. Watch out with those freebies. Bloggers should respect the FTC regulations that demand from all bloggers to disclose in their postings any free products or services they receive in order to write it. Postings can be sponsored by brands very often and this also has to be disclosed. What bloggers should build first to bring and keep readers to their sites is trust, so ethics is an important piece of food blogging.
  7. The well-worn path is often the most fruitful – if you want to become a published cookbook author, you have to follow the traditional path of getting an agent, sending a proposal and working with a mainstream publisher. In come cases, a publisher may ask you to find a photographer and a food stylist for the images of the book and this is an additional cost to you. There are self-publishing options of course but in this case writers are in charge of everything.

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Trends in Technology

Write more, and write well

Sara Rosso, Marketing Director at Automattic (WordPress.com) gave a presentation that focused on the Jetpack plugin for the self-hosted WordPress sites. The presentation was packed with all the features that Jetpack offers from the stats to contacts and the extra side bar widgets to security backups (through vaultpress).

The Takeaways:

  1. Write often and well
  2. Develop quality content
  3. Adopt descriptive titles (in recipes and all content)
  4. Add text to images, and add links to their content.

Photography is King

But if food, writing and technology were the themes, photography actually under-staged them all. High-profile photographers talked on how to make your food look better in photos, how to prepare the food, prop styles for cookbooks and how to shoot excellent photos for major culinary magazines as well as your blog. Those well-planned and staged shots manipulate any plate of food in such detail that it looks delicious, so delicious that your desire of having it is immediate. The recipe on how to make your Thanksgiving turkey look brown and mouthwatering includes some dish soap. You’re better off not eating it afterward!

The Takeaways:

  1. Create the setting for your image: think about time, season, weather, indoors/outdoors, people, emotions…
  2. Develop your personal style to really stand out from the crowd: consider colors, props, decoration
  3. Tell a story through food: what do you want to portray?
  4. Develop recipes from different angles so they can be photographed in different ways: give a twist to classic dishes, think outside the box.
  5. Prop styling is as important as writing and photography: Invest in surfaces, linens, flatware, etc that you can use again, but also diversify. Scout for little treasures in antique and vintage shops, eBay and boutique stores in your area. You can also rent them instead of buying them.
  6. Have a budget for gear, workshops and travel in order to learn to take better photos but think where you will use these photos first

Next year the IFBC is moving to Sacramento for the much needed change of scenery. The choice is not coincidental – Sacramento is the heart of California’s farming and agricultural industry. Next year’s content will include some key issues facing the world’s food community, including drought, food-insecurity, urban farming, sustainability and agricultural innovations. It seems that food bloggers are moving to food writing with a larger scope.

Are you a food blogger? Have you seen similar trends emerging in your space?

This is a guest contribution from food writer and columnist Thei Zervaki. You can read her culinary adventures on fullybooked.biz and at the Huffington Post

Content Marketing – Secrets From an Entrepreneur Who Has Used It to Build a Successful Business

Content Marketing – Secrets From an Entrepreneur Who Has Used It to Build a Successful BusinessI’m really excited about this episode of the ProBlogger Podcast, as today I am sharing my interview with Dan Norris: serial entrepreneur and founder of WP Curve (which gives bloggers access to WordPress developers for unlimited small jobs). Dan recently spoke at the Australian ProBlogger event as part of the Small Business Bootcamp, which we ran in partnership with Telstra Business, and his session was one of the highest-rated of the whole weekend.

In today’s episode, we talk about content marketing, how to differentiate yourself from millions of others doing the same thing as you are, and how to scale your business. Dan also gives insight into how he came to start WPCurve and what they offer to bloggers who need quick WordPress tweaks and peace of mind.

We also discuss what exactly is content marketing (and why bloggers need to care about it), examples of people doing it just right, and how you at home can do it too. We talk about what mistakes Dan sees bloggers making, how he tracks metrics, niches, storytelling, monetization, and his top tips to get eyeballs on your content.

You can find the show notes to episode 64 of the ProBlogger podcast here – we’d love to hear your feedback on our chat!

Further Reading: