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Partnering With Another Blogger: The Complete Guide

This guest post was written by Yoav Vilner of Ranky.

“Alone we can do so little; together, we can do so much.”—Hellen Keller

If you are a genuine pro blogger, then I shouldn’t waste your time explaining just how important it is to co-operate with your competitors.

It’s been mentioned around here over and over, in so many different variations.

It’s crystal clear how beneficial a blogging alliance would be for you: you can grab your partner’s traffic, social followers and social signals in return for letting him or her borrow yours.

Sounds like a treat, doesn’t it?

But much like trying to produce a mega-successful content marketing campaign, most of us can see the benefits in doing it, yet can’t put our finger on just how to get there.

This tutorial won’t toss reckless slogans in the air; it will turn you into a partnership expert, and teach you how to ignite that one relationship that could change your blog forever.

We’re all human

Your first and most basic takeaway from this piece of content should be to understand that we’re all human.

I am not going to drive you into bugging big shots on Twitter just for the sake of equality, but try remembering that even Pete Cashmore started off as a one-man-with-a-laptop-show, blogging about his passion, before unleashing his brilliant networking skills and creating the empire known as Mashable.

So you might not see the point of re-tweeting his keynotes from where he’s standing now—you’ll just be another fish flapping around the gigantic ocean, right?

But just for fun, imagine if you offered him a fascinating opportunity for co-operation right before Mashable’s big breakthrough.

Imagine you’d messaged him when Mashable was still a medium-sized blog, seeing a mere 10,000 visitors a month, only to get the green light: “Sure man, let’s do this!”

Where would your blog be today?

Remember: don’t be afraid nor shy to address bloggers who you might think are bigger than you. Our blog has an overall of 12K adorable social followers; do you think that it could keep us from partnering with a blog that carries an audience a third of that size?

Don’t research

Hear ye, hear ye! I hereby deny the research phase of finding your future partner! Read all about it!

Logic says that if you are blogging right now, it’s probably because you have followed blogs for at least a year, and have developed an appetite for blogging.

You’ve done enough “researching” when Googling for popular blogs, finding the ones that captivated you and made you follow them on Twitter—or better yet, contained posts that you shared to your Facebook buddies and tried creating discussions about.

They taught you all you wanted to know about your niche, whether it be social media marketing or deer hunting, and made you dream about becoming a blogger yourself one day.

You can’t think of two or three blogs that captured you right from the start? Then I would suggest you hold on to your blogging dream for the moment, until you become a more active follower of the blogosphere.

After all, you wouldn’t go and open a restaurant if you’d never actually had dinner in one, right?

I’m not writing this tutorial for people who plan on sending 100′s of automated Emails to all the blogs in their niche, but to a lot more focused bloggers.

It takes two to tango

So you have in mind a few blogs that you fantasize about partnering with.

Now, most of the blogging alliance articles online consist of tips on how to address that future partner of yours.

I find them to be completely useless. We aren’t in second grade, and we don’t need anyone to teach us how to compose an email.

I can summarize 100,000 words that I’ve personally read about writing a winning email to these obvious pointers:

  1. Make it personal: no “Dear Sir\Madam.”
  2. Prove that you are an actual follower of the blog: state just what value the blog has provided you so far, and which articles within it actually made you think.
  3. Get to the point quickly: no story-telling!
  4. Remind the blogger that it takes two to tango, and both of you should benefit from the partnership.

I just saved you hours of reading these tips in many different variations. The truth is, you don’t even have to follow them! Just remember one simple rule: be honest.

In a world dominated by one search engine, we all know Google rewards bloggers for being honest with their readers, but tend to forget that actual people can reward us even more for keeping it real.

Points of partnership for a blog the same size as yours

So you emailed the blogs that you dream of partnering with, and one of them replied asking for more details.

Great! Already you have showed more progress than 80% of people who do it wrong and don’t get a single reply.

Now, you need to elaborate on what you had in mind. Let’s take a look at the most popular ways of co-operating with a blogger.

Writing content for each other

I’m going to start with the most obvious idea, just to get it out of the way.

Google wants to see that your site is ever-growing content wise. Meanwhile, we are all very busy, lazy, and constantly seeking inspiration, and that’s where some co-operation could help out.

Though writing your own stuff is the only way to earn your crowd’s trust, just imagine how great it could be to have your partner-blogger help you out with your writer’s block and the content gaps that appear when you’re not able to write for a few days.

He’ll write an article from his angle, and once it’s up he’ll promote it to his social followers for you.

Then, when he gets stuck the next time, you’ll help him out the same way.

Both of your blogs’ readers will appreciate the diversity—sometimes it’s quite refreshing to read someone else’s opinions when following a single-author blog.

While you use your content to brand yourself as an expert in the field, uploading articles to the partner’s blog will get your “brand” in front of a new group of readers.

After exposing them to your name for the first time, you’ll start writing for the other blog on a monthly basis, say, and they will slowly realize that you know what you are talking about.

Social co-operation

We all need social signals on our articles.

They increase the chances of getting the post to go viral, they expose thousands of people to your headline and thus to your site, and in overall they just make your content seem more believable. (Would you believe an article that has been re-tweeted twice, or one that has been shared 200 times?)

Other than driving traffic, social signals have a direct affect on your site’s Google Authority, as Google started measuring these metrics in its algorithm.

If you have 2,000 social followers, and your future partner has 1,500 social followers, this would be a perfect case for a social alliance that will help you both cross the 3,000-4,000 line just by sharing each other’s stuff.

Assuming you both have social bookmarking profiles, use Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon to bookmark each other’s posts. Use Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to share your partner’s articles to your own followers.

Not only will you help him reach more readers, but that way you can get his article to be indexed by Google much faster and help it rank higher for its keywords.

A bonus benefit of a social co-operation is that most of us share our own content 90% of the time, without realizing that a better practice would be showing our followers that we aren’t a bunch of boring narcissists—we are also open to other people’s opinions.

Remember: making your partner’s blog socially stronger will directly make your own blog stronger!

Comments

It’s not enough to socially adore your partner’s blog: it’s also important to light up discussions within it.

It takes only one real comment on a post to ignite a viral discussion, and agreeing that you will both start or contribute to discussions on your articles can do wonders for your blog’s traffic and engagement levels.

This is social proof at its finest.

If you’re traveling and you need to decide whether to have a coffee at the empty place in front of you, or the packed place next door, you will probably choose the one that has the crowd.

Customers bring more customers, and the same goes for comments.

Make a rule to leave a genuine comment on each new post your partner writes, and you will see the results for yourself.

Mentions

This is my favorite idea, and it comes in two forms: backlinks and Thank you pages.

Backlinking to your partner’s relevant pages from within your new articles can do wonders for their Google rankings, and you can also benefit when they return a link.

Just remember to keep it clean and natural, as Google’s Penguin update from last August has massively increased the search engine’s ability to identify unnatural and low-quality reciprocal linking patterns.

The other kind of mentions that I like are those that come through Thank you pages.

Your readers get (or at least should get) to a Thank you page after they register, login, subscribe to your newsletter, or perform any other desired goal.

Imagine how beneficial it could be for you and your partner if you mentioned each other’s blogs as a recommendation each time a user completes such a goal.

Points of partnership for a blog that’s bigger than yours

Blogs that are at a higher traffic level than yours will likely need a lot more convincing to agree to an alliance offer.

After all, if you’ll be tweeting their content to 1,000 followers, while they’re tweeting yours to 30,000 followers, it can be difficult to see what they’ll get out of the partnership.

It’s important that your points of partnership are unique, as the bigger a blog gets, the more similar requests its owner will get per day.

Offering a free service

Do you have expertise besides blogging? Great!

Use that expertise to offer the bigger blog free services in exchange for a blog partnership.

You will naturally have to donate more time and effort at the start of the partnership, but when you’re calculating long-term ROI, both sides can gain much from this alliance.

Are you a graphic designer? Throw in a few free graphics to save the partner’s cash when they’re designing their next landing page. You know solid SEO? Awesome: make them a nice SEO report for their site at no charge.

The list goes on: you could be a social media expert, a mobile App developer, or even a t-shirt provider.

The bigger your partner blog is, the more you should be willing to provide at no cost in return for an alliance.

Volunteer to be the blog’s editorial assistant

If you got a reply from a blog that’s significantly bigger than yours, you might want to consider volunteering as an editorial assistant.

If they go for it, you will save the blogger a load of time answering to guest post requests, editorial emails and different kinds of inquiries. You can be the one answering all the guest posters, supplying them with the guidelines, and making sure their submissions are up to par before passing them to the editor.

Extra benefits

So you’ve started co-operating with another blog, and you’re doing great. You get twice as many social signals, your traffic has jumped and your brand is growing beyond your wildest dreams.

The good news is that it doesn’t end here.

Life is unpredictable, and you could end up running into amazing business opportunities just by forming a simple online alliance.

If you and your partner come up with a really creative partnership or a mutual product co-operation, it could be so newsworthy that it gets picked up by major news outlets in your niche—and that’s when you’ll see some serious traffic spikes.

If you and your partner blogger are both social media experts, and your alliance has earned you both more business leads, you might come to the conclusion that there’s something to it, and start a new business as real-life partners.

If you have been volunteering as an editorial assistant for a massive blog for a few months, gained their trust, and shown that your own blog is also growing, your blog might be acquired by theirs—giving you the chance to earn more money from the deal than you ever imagined.

Last but not least, partnering with a blogger can earn you what money will never buy—a new best friend.

Have you got a blogging partner? Tell us how you work together in the comments.

Guest post was written by Yoav Vilner, co-founder of Ranky.

Triple Your Facebook Likes in Two Weeks

This guest post is by Samuel of Internet Dreams.

Would you like some more cake after having a first slice?

Most of us wouldn’t be satisfied with just one slice of cake, so we end going back to the table and grabbing a second one. Heck, some of us would go for a third or fourth slice if we could!

For bloggers, the same goes for likes on Facebook. Facebook is like that party you want to go to—and it’s a big one since Facebook is the largest social network on the planet.

Most blog owners I know would love to get more likes on their Facebook pages.

Today, I want to share how I tripled my Facebook likes. This technique worked to help me get the Likes I wanted to see.

The right way to use Facebook ads to gain Likes

This technique is going to require some money, but it’s a small investment that’s worth every penny.

I’m a student that really doesn’t have much money at all.

But still, I can find a way to make the right investment for my blog. Just a small outlay—in my case, $5 a day—can propel your blog to new heights.

It helped me get thousands of new Likes for my Facebook page in a few weeks!

Let’s step through the best way to create an ad quickly, and use Facebook to target the people who are most likely to be interested in your blog.

4 Easy steps to tripling your Facebook Likes

Step 1. Create a new ad space in Facebook

First off, log into your Facebook account, look for the Ads option in the sidebar.

Create a new ad, and insert the URL to your Facebook page.

1. Choose the Get More Page Likes option

As you can see in the image below, there are several options you can take in order to grow your brand’s presence on Facebook.

get-more-page-likes

But for our purposes today, choose the first option. This can be one of the best ways to spend your money on Facebook!

2. Design your Facebook ad

edit-ad

This part needs to be well thought out, so take your time with it. Your ad is what all of those users will see—it needs to convince them to like your page.

Make the ad unique—something that will make users want to Like or check out your Facebook page. Consider your audience, and think about a message that will make them feel good about your brand or page.

I used the tagline “Want Your Dreams To Come True On The Internet?” It’s worked really well for me and has gotten the attention of many on Facebook.

3. Optimize your ad for the “right” people

choose-audience

What we want to do here is target the right people and get the most targeted Likes that we can.

Your topic or type of Facebook page might be different then what I chose, but take a look to see how each area is edited to best target my audience.

The arrows in the image above point out the most important areas that you need to edit.

Go over your blog and identify the most important keywords that you can use for the ad. Those keywords will be turned into topics that can be used as interest keywords.

Also, I like to target English-speaking countries since they seem the most responsive to my offers and updates.

4. Set up your money and budget for the ad

campaign-pricing

How much you spend is up to you. If you are looking to triple your likes in the shortest time possible, add as much money as you can to the campaign budget.

I personally started with a budget of $5 per day, which gave me a chance to see if the ad was performing at its best.

Also, set your pricing to Cost per Click, as this keeps it simple and ensured you’re only charged for user actions.

The $5-per-day budget has really worked for me, and let me triple my likes for Internet Dream’s Facebook page. Plus, I was able to do that very quickly and gather such an amazing amount of targeted likes.

Step 2. Network and connect

Of course, don’t forget good old networking and connecting as the most organic, and cost-effective way of encouraging others to check out your Facebook page.

Building real relationships is the deepest way to give other users a good impression of yourself. Have friendly conversations with the people you connect with on Facebook, and offer to help with your answers to their questions. Once you’ve done that, you can suggest the person Like your page

Here’s an example of a message I use on Facebook after I have connected with someone:

facebook-connection-thankyou-message

As you can see, I thank them for connecting with me, which encourages them to feel good about themselves and our connection.

I also direct them to my Facebook page and invited them to Like it, since people are more inclined to act if you ask them to.

There are many ways to connect on Facebook, and some of the situations you may face now could give you the change to gain a nice Facebook Like. Here are a few examples:

  • email conversions
  • commenting
  • Twitter conversation
  • Facebook profile status
  • Facebook friendship connection “Like the example above”
  • any form of conversation with a human being on the other side of the screen!

Step 3. Add a “Please like this blog on Facebook” CTA to your blog

If users land on your blog, they should appreciate it if it has a usable design and offers great content.

The main focal point of any blog is the article. This is your chance to rack up some free Likes.

At the beginning or end of the article, include a linked CTA to Like your Facebook page. Make it stand out, so it’s clearly visible to the eyes scanning your article.

Also placing your Like CTA in the sidebar will make it visible all of the time, no matter where the visitor is on your blog.

Internetdreams facebook like box

This makes the Like CTA persistent, even though it is not as effective as the CTA in the article. I made the mistake of placing the CTA too low in the sidebar, and just recently bumped it up, which has given me more Likes.

4. Use plugins to help you generate Likes more easily

There are several plugins that can help you get Likes for your Facebook page. Some are paid, but some are free for you to use.

One technique I use for my blog that helps me get likes is through the Thank You for Commenting page that I set up for my blog, which is shown below. This is a fine way to connect with those new users who have just commented on your blog. Asking them to like your Facebook page on your Thank You page can be a great way to get an extra Like.

Internetdreams thankyou page

As you can see, I ask users to follow or Like Internet Dreams on Twitter and Facebook.

A great plugin to use in this situation is the Comment Redirect plugin by Yoast. This free plugin will help you redirect your commenter to the right page after they comment—you’ll need to make sure to set up the Thank You for Commenting page like mine above.

Some other plugins I’ve found helpful for getting more Likes include:

Who wouldn’t like more Likes?

In this post, I have shown you some of the techniques I’ve used to rack up some new Likes.

I have found these methods to be the most rewarding, and I’ve worked really hard on each of them to fully enjoy the benefits they provide. The results are reflected in the title of this post—but only through the hard work I have put in order to receive those results.

I cannot guarantee the same results for you, since this largely depends how much work you are willing to put in. But I can promise you that with the hard work you put in through these four steps, the results will come.

What are some ways you get more Facebook Likes? Share them with us in the comments.

Want to reach higher goals with these top wordpress plugins? Maybe learn how to get more followers? I am Samuel and I own Internet Dreams. Internet Dreams is a place where you can engage and learn how to set up and succeed with your blog or site.

Dear Bloggers, I Apologise. Regards, the SEO Industry

This guest post is by Daylan Pearce of Next Digital.

There are three common reactions I get from people when I tell them what it is I do for a job.

  1. “What is that?”
  2. “Oh that’s cool, how does that work?”
  3. *Rolls eyes* “Oh riiiight, you’re one of those guys!”

So what is it that I do for a job? I’m an SEO. Each day, I work with businesses and websites to make sure their sites and Internet presences are in the best shape possible to be found in search engines.

A big part of my role is to respond to the first two of the reactions, which is something I actually enjoy doing. These two responses open up a door for me to explain something I really love doing. It’s the perfect opportunity to educate someone on how I can help make a website, author or idea as visible as possible online.

Yet it’s the third response I mentioned that I, and many others, am finding is becoming more common lately. SEO has become a bit of a dirty word (okay, it’s an acronym, not a word) lately. And one of the most vocal groups of this negativity is from you guys—the blogging community.

There is a growing perception that SEO is full of tricks and cheats. That it is an industry full of scammers who are trying to use your site for nefarious and dastardly reasons.

And why wouldn’t you think that? If you’re a frequent visitor to this site, then you’re probably someone who receives daily emails from SEO companies looking for a guest post or link on your site. You know the ones—those poorly written and often templated emails asking if you’ll publish their awesome, relevant, and completely unique blog content on your site. The ones that remind you to “please ensure you use followed links, oh and please use these specific keywords.”

It’s insulting to you and your readers and they always seem to come from people who are doing it for SEO purposes. After cleaning out your inbox each day with the same rubbish guest post outreach emails, I don’t blame bloggers for not trusting SEO and those who claim to do it. We look like lazy, condescending jerks.

But we’re not all like that, I promise. I believe you can divide up SEO today into three categories. Every single person within the SEO industry will fit into one of these no matter who they are.

The scammer SEO

These people understand SEO, no doubt. They understand what algorithmically makes words and sites rank well and they will use any trick or tactic necessary to get those rankings.

Black-hat SEOs and companies want wins at any cost, and unfortunately the people who do partake in these tactics do often get results at the expense of those trying to do it by the Google/Bing/Yahoo etc guidelines and rules. However, these wins are often short-lived as search engines target these methods constantly, penalizing those who use them.

How to spot them

A lot of the time these tactics are obvious—we all know what spam comments and emails look like.  Sometimes, though, the tactics can get a little trickier.

Domain cloaking and redirects from approved links already on your site are two common tricks. Perhaps check your analytics now and again for any abnormalities within your referrer data or link profile:

  • keyword stuffing
  • redirects
  • linking to doorway pages
  • comment spamming.

The lazy SEO

These are the people within the SEO industry which blogging communities are probably exposed to most.

They are the ones that fill up your blog comment threads with seemingly obscure and irrelevant content trying to get an easy link on your site. They are the ones who send you those poorly written emails exclaiming their undying love of your blog to get a link. They are the ones who keep those companies who sell 1000 links for $49.95 in business.

How to spot them

These guys often have a shotgun approach to blog outreach: send many emails and hope at least one gets a response. They:

  • follow a generic (template) format
  • perpetrate spelling errors
  • have no personality
  • wish to write about topics not relevant to your site
  • offer money
  • have specific technical link requests.

The genuine SEO

This group of people know that SEO is more than just about title tags, directory submissions, and spamming blogs in the hopes of getting one response that agrees to a guest post.

Genuine SEOs will and probably have contacted you because they believe that they have something that could be of interest to your audience and their client/site. They are first and foremost online marketers who are looking to effectively convey a message to a relevant and engaged audience. The link is a nice by-product, but forming the relationship and reaching an audience is the real goal.

How to spot them

These SEOs can be trickier to identify due to the sheer volume of rubbish emails that often surround them. But typical features of a good marketer is someone who is offering:

  • relevant content to your audience
  • personalised contact and information
  • an understanding of your blog
  • a knowledge of the topic they are talking about
  • enthusiastic and personable interaction
  • a genuine tone of voice.

The shape of SEO

Unfortunately, we are all lumped under the one banner of SEO, a title that as an industry is having its reputations run into the ground because of quick wins and lazy tactics.

The ironic (and tragic) part is that SEO is all about building brand awareness and boosting reputation, yet the tactics that a huge number in the industry use to try and achieve this goal are destroying our very own brand and reputation. SEOs are hurting SEO.

Ultimately, it’s up to us as SEOs to help make the Internet and search results better. That may seem corny as hell, but we know how this search stuff works. We need to stop turning the Internet against us.

There is a reason that 19 of your 20 blog out reach emails don’t get a reply. Instead of coming up with tactics to get a link, we need to come up with and promote tactics to build an audience.  Otherwise it’s kind of like Superman using his powers to become the world’s biggest super-villain instead of helping those in need.

So, on behalf of all people within the SEO industry who do search marketing and optimization with the view to benefit users and readers a like, I apologise for those who don’t.

Daylan Pearce is search lead for Australian Digital Agency Next Digital. You can find him via his blog at DaylanDoes.com where he writes about all things search & social or on Google Plus.

40 Cool Things to Do With Your Posts *After* You Hit Publish

This guest post is by Steff Green of Grymm & Epic Copywriting and Illustration.

Blogging isn’t a case of “If you post it, they will come.” Your role as a blogger doesn’t end as soon as you hit Publish. In fact, that’s only the beginning.

If you’re anything like me, most posts take you between one and our hours to write, maybe even more. For all that time and energy, you’ll want each post to do a lot of work for you after it’s gone live.

You want that post to:

  • demonstrate your writing and blogging skills to potential clients
  • attract new readers to your site, and encourage them to stay
  • solve issues faced by your regular readers
  • be linked and shared on social media
  • attract commenters to keep the discussion going
  • bring your blog to the attention of advertisers, companies and other opportunities
  • make you some money!

To get anything out of your blog post, you’ve got to put in extra effort, even after you’ve hit Publish.

Here, I’ve tried to make it easy for you—I’ve come up with 40 different things you can do to help give your blog post the best chance of success after it’s gone live.

  1. If your topic is an evergreen one, you could wait a few months, then republish your post with updated information. Getting your best content back in front of the eyes of your readers can be a great way to encourage sharing and point them toward the other great content on your site.
  2. Do you write posts filled with personal stories and the lessons you learn throughout your life? With a bit of editing, these posts could make great personal essays, which you could sell to freelance markets that accept these.
  3. You could combine pillar posts with additional content to create free, downloadable ebooks that you can promote through your site, or sell on Amazon.
  4. If you used a particular format for a post that was effective—like a 20 questions interview with an expert, or a particular set of subheadings on a review—you could turn that one-off post into the first instalment of a regular column.
  5. You could create a new page on your site called Free Resources or Start Here, and link back to some of your most popular articles.
  6. If you notice another blogger asking a question that you’ve answered on your blog, send them a link to the article.
  7. You could write Part 2 of a popular post and address another aspect of the topic.
  8. Turn ideas from your blog posts into pitches for magazine articles. Print publications won’t want articles that read like blog posts—the tone of the writing is very different—so you can often pitch an idea you’ve already written about. For example, I wrote a post on my Gothic Wedding blog on Wedding Advice for Shy Couples. I was then able to pitch the same topic to a bridal magazine. The article I wrote for them was much shorter, with a different tone, and I included quotes from real couples.
  9. Depending on the topic of your blog, you could turn old posts into short non-fiction pieces for children’s magazines. By simplifying the language and adding lots of interesting detail, you could sell 200-800 word info-snippets to help teach children about the world around them.
  10. Go back to your old posts and interlink them with newer posts on your blog, or to your Products or Service pages. A good internal link structure keeps readers on your site longer.
  11. Use your favorite blog posts as writing samples when you pitch articles to print publications. Most editors want to see a sample of your writing, and using a blog post has the added bonus of demonstrating your expertise in your niche.
  12. If you’ve created any tutorial posts, go back and check they contain sufficient photographs, diagrams, and screen captures. If not, spend some time drawing up, editing or inserting visual imagery, then announce the update to your audience.
  13. Do you write short, sharp, humorous posts? Why not contact a publisher about creating a gift book?
  14. If you’re looking for freelance blogging work, contact local companies who have non-existent or inactive blogs and ask if they’d like to hire a blogger. Use your post on a similar topic to demonstrate what you can do.
  15. If you wrote about someone’s product, service or resource, email them, or send them a tweet letting them know the post is up. Who knows, it might even lead to a brand collaboration in the future.
  16. Look for print magazines that accept “reprints”—these are articles that have been previously published, and can include blog posts. You’ll probably need to edit your post before you send it, to fit with the magazine’s format, culture, and content, but this can be a very successful way to get your brand in front of a wider audience.
  17. You can use old posts as springboards for guest post ideas—I struggle to think of ideas for guest posts, and I find looking back through my blog’s archives reveals ideas and themes I can jazz up and send off.
  18. You could create a photo essay, video, or cartoon to explore ideas from an old post, and link back to the old post when you release your creative project.
  19. You could create a press release based on a newsworthy story you wrote about one your blog, and use it to contact local and national press.
  20. You could approach the owners of a magazine or other popular site about syndicating your blog to their readers.
  21. If you want something physical to give potential clients, you could print out text or screen shots of your most popular posts and compile a print portfolio.
  22. Or, of course, you can put together an online portfolio for your web-based clients, showcasing your best work on yours—and others’—blogs.
  23. You could gather together blog content to form the basis of a workshop or seminar you could offer up to conferences in your niche.
  24. Or, if you prefer to teach online, you could use your blog content as a basis for creating a short autoresponder course or email workshop.
  25. You can embed links to your relevant posts in your Youtube videos.
  26. Send a few relevant links out to potential freelancing clients as examples of your skills.
  27. You could use your posts to pitch a newspaper column.
  28. Email your friends with a link to your post and encourage them to share it among their friends and acquaintances. As long as you don’t do this all the time, most friends are happy to share awesome things that are relevant to their interests.
  29. Advertise your post on social media. Don’t forget to track the results!
  30. Create a funky infographic that demonstrates the information used in your post, and either share it with other bloggers or use it on social media.
  31. Submit your link to sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, or Reddit.
  32. Create a Pinterest board based around the topic of your post—and make sure you link back to your blog!
  33. Create a poll based on a question from your article and place it prominently in your sidebar, with a link back to your post.
  34. Send a note out on your blog’s newsletter or mailing list, letting them know about the article. Depending on what your audience is happy reading, you could republish the whole thing to their inboxes.
  35. Start a discussion about your topic on a forum and use your article to back up your argument. But remember—you should only occasionally add links to forums and only when they add value.
  36. Add a link to your post in your email signature, so everyone you email has the chance to click through.
  37. You could create a competition to encourage comments, whereby one commenter on your post wins a prize. I do this with CDs, books and apparel on my blog sometimes and it’s always a great success.
  38. Turn your best-looking blog post into an artistic poster and stick it up all over town.
  39. Add some well-placed text ads or affiliate links to your post, and earn a little extra cash.
  40. Get a tattoo of your blog post URL!

There are plenty of ways you can extend the life of a blog post beyond the post-and-forget approach. If you put the extra work in to ensure each of your posts does as much as possible to generate new readers and new contracts, you’ll see your traffic—and your bank balance—will soon begin to reflect your efforts.

What do you do with a post after you’ve published it?

Steff Green is a creative copywriter, professional blogger and heavy metal maiden at Grymm & Epic Copywriting and Illustration (http://grymmandepic.com). Get her free ebook, Unleash the Beast: Release Your Inner Creative Monster (http://www.grymmandepic.com/blog/subscribe/).

Blogging the Festive Season: The Not-for-Profit Blog [Case Study]

Stephen Pepper is insurance administrator by day, youth worker and blogger by night. He and his wife run Youth Workin’ It, a not-for-profit site that provides consultancy and services for youth workers and organizations worldwide. This includes blogging 6 days a week about youth work.

As part of our Blogging the Festive Season series, we asked Stephen how he and his wife are preparing the blog for the festive season.

What does preparing the Youth Workin’ It blog for the festive season mean?

Over the last year or so, we’ve realized that we need to be well-prepared when it comes to writing posts about particular times of the year. We posted an idea for a Valentine’s Day fundraiser on February 13th, but this meant youth workers didn’t have any time to use the idea this year.

So we started publishing our Christmas posts a couple of months early, like a youth work session to include young people when planning Christmas activities and ideas for organizing a Christmas card fundraiser.

This will be your second festive season on the blog. What did you learn last year? What will you do differently this time?

Last year, we stole an idea from Jon Acuff. He wanted to take time off over the Christmas period but didn’t want to neglect his blog, so he re-posted his his most trafficked posts from the prior 12 months. This meant new visitors read material they might not have come across otherwise, while loyal readers were reminded of some of his best writing.

On our blog, we did something similar. This was based on the 12 Days Of Christmas, where we re-posted our most highly trafficked 12 posts since we started the blog on 1 September 2011. It probably wasn’t wise from an SEO standpoint, as we were effectively re-posting duplicate material. However, we’d moved into a new apartment at the beginning of December, so not having to write new posts for two weeks meant we were able to get settled in far more quickly.

Last year, we also found that our Christmas scavenger hunt ideas proved to be popular. We therefore started posting similar ideas throughout the year, which in turn also received a lot of traffic. Having identified the popularity of these activities, we published our second book, 52 Scavenger Hunt Ideas.

Youth Workin’ It has a global audience. What usually happens to readership and traffic on your site over the festive season?

As our blog was only a couple of months old in late 2011, we had very low levels of traffic in comparison to today, making it hard to identify any kind of trend. Our average number of daily visitors has grown approximately 3,000% since December 2011, so it’s hard to estimate what our traffic levels will be like this festive season in comparison, as we started from such a low base point last year.

Having said that, I’m anticipating that in the run up to the festive season we’ll see a bump in Christmas-themed search traffic. In the first two weeks of November 2012 we had close to 300 people find our site through Christmas-themed search terms, suggesting this trend will continue.

We’ve been seeing good growth all year, but I think that overall traffic will drop off over the Christmas period. Visits to Youth Workin’ It continued increasing throughout November, until two days before Thanksgiving when it dropped off for a few days while Americans celebrated this holiday, so I’m assuming the same will happen at Christmas too.

In January, though, I think we’ll receive a lot more traffic as youth workers will be looking for new youth work and youth ministry ideas for the coming year.

Do you think that having a “cause” blog provides you with different opportunities or challenges around this time of year than bloggers with more commercial blogs face?

For commercial blogs, I’d imagine Christmas is one of the best opportunities for generating revenue, particularly by driving sales through affiliate schemes.

Although we have the odd affiliate link on our site (mainly using Amazon Associates) and produce our own youth work resources, we’re not a commercial blog.

This means we can focus on writing material that we think youth workers will find helpful, rather than feeling like we have to focus on writing about topics or products that will earn us an income. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with commercial blogs—I’m simply not a salesman, so am glad I don’t have that pressure when I write.

This also helps ensure that most of our content is evergreen, rather than becoming dated quickly. If you’re trying to drive sales of the latest phone, or camera, in six months those products will be old news, and your blog post could equally become old news.

We therefore try as best as we can to take the opportunity to provide youth work ideas and principles that will be equally as valid in five years as they are today.

How else does the festive season affect your blog and blogging schedule?

I have a full-time day job and will only be taking a couple of days off over Christmas—I contract for an insurance company so if I don’t work, I don’t get paid! My blogging schedule therefore won’t change much, as I’ll be maintaining the same daily routine.

Our engagement with subscribers and social media followers won’t change much either, but that’s because we don’t have a large focus on those channels at the moment. Both my wife and I have full-time jobs, do volunteer youth work in our spare time, and blog six days a week. Unfortunately, we’ve therefore been unable to focus any time and energy on engaging with readers and followers on a consistent basis.

What’s the start of the New Year got in store for Youth Workin’ It?

Although we’re not taking any time off around New Year, the start of 2013 is going to be very busy. My wife Shae is going to be a speaker at Open Boston—a new youth ministry event—so she’ll be planning her talk for that. She also runs three girl scout troops in low-income housing areas that rely on fundraising in order to organize activities, which means she’ll also be focused on selling Girl Scout cookies.

The result of this is that I’ll be taking over more of the blogging responsibilities. I’ll therefore try to get ahead on my blogging schedule, particularly at weekends.

And what will you be most heavily focused on?

In addition to our regular blogging, we’re aiming to publish at least two new youth work resources again this coming year. That’s an area I’ll be focusing on, along with writing guest posts for other blogs. I’ve also been approached about another blogging project which looks set to be an amazing and fun opportunity.

On top of all this, I’ve recently set up a separate scavenger hunt blog. As mentioned earlier, these activities were popular on Youth Workin’ It, but we didn’t want them to be our primary focus. I’ve therefore set up this separate niche site so that I can keep publishing these ideas, which will also hopefully drive a few more sales of our scavenger hunt book.

Shae’s focus will be on getting more speaking and consulting opportunities. We’re also planning on setting up a non-profit that will work with young people in our local low-income communities, so we’re definitely going to be busy!

We’re not planning on making any changes to the general design or layout of our site, but are seriously considering signing up with AWeber instead of relying on Feedburner to deliver our daily emails.

One of the reasons for this is that we’re considering experimenting with popovers to gain even more email subscribers, especially having seen how much success Darren had with this technique.

As we’re not a commercial blog, we’d be paying for the service out of our own pocket without expecting to earn any revenue from email subscribers, which is why we’ve held off on doing this so far. The increase in subscribers should be a good longer term investment though, as it’ll help get the Youth Workin’ It name out more widely and will hopefully result in further speaking and consultancy opportunities for Shae.

What’s your advice to other not-for-profit bloggers to make the most of the festive season—both on their blogs, and in their personal lives?

Depending on the nature of your blog, prepare for the festive season well in advance. As I mentioned earlier, we’re already receiving hundreds of visitors to our posts relating to the festive season. As always, Google’s keyword tool is an invaluable resource for finding out what people in your niche are searching for when it comes to Christmas, the New Year, and other religious holidays.

In the New Year, people will be looking for a new start and fresh ideas. What can you offer them to make their lives better?

As for your personal lives, make sure that you have some balance. Answering these questions has made me realize how much I want to achieve for 2013, but this could easily result in working too hard and getting burned out. I therefore need to make sure that I intentionally carve out time—even if it’s just for one weekend in December—where I don’t touch blogging at all.

I’ve found this leaves me feeling incredibly refreshed, so this will set me up well to launch into 2013.

Huge thanks to Stephen for taking the time for this interview. If you run a not-for-profit or cause blog, what are you doing to prepare for the festive season? Share your plans in the comments!

Blogging the Festive Season: The Digital Publisher [Case Study]

Kimberly Gauthier has been running online pet magazine Keep the Tail Wagging for just on a year. As part of our Blogging the Festive Season series, we asked a few questions about how she’s squaring up for her first festive season on the blog.

You started Keep the Tail Wagging on January 1, 2012, so this will be your first festive season on the blog. Can you tell us what your goals are over the coming month to six weeks?

Keep the Tail Wagging is scheduled out almost through December 31st and I will be sprinkling extra holiday wish-list posts through that period as well.  I went back and forth a little on how I would handle the Holiday Season and decided to keep my blog on track (sharing tips on dog care) while adding extra posts for fun.

I’m working with several brands to promote Holiday Wish Lists that dog lovers will be interested in.  The brands are sending me their holiday look books and I’m choosing the times I want to promote—items that I would buy for our home and dogs.  I think these posts will come across with a genuine feel for my readers.

What does preparing Keep the Tail Wagging for the festive season mean?

This season, I’m working on building relationships with brands and small pet businesses, while helping my readers save time and money.

One thing that I promote on Keep the Tail Wagging is the ability to save money on quality dog food and products. Preparing for the season for me means networking with my favorite pet brands (for quality images and Black Friday sneak peeks) and making lists of items that I would purchase.

My goal is to be realistic about what my readers will buy and what’s safe for dogs.  I now have a rule that I won’t promote a product that I won’t buy for our dogs.  One vendor approached me about rope toys, which I find hazardous, because our dogs shred them and I worry about them swallowing the string (big vet bill).  I explained my thoughts and policy, and the vendor was able to share a different (very cool) product to promote instead.

I notice that you’ve already published a seasonal post from Petsmart. Is this a sponsored post, or a guest post? Does the festive season give you different opportunities to generate revenue than the other months of the year?

This is a press release that I agreed to publish on my site, because I’m a Petsmart customer.  I usually pass on press releases, preferring to post guest post (or my own post) instead.  In the upcoming weeks, you’ll see posts that I’ve written for Target and Petco.

These posts are generating revenue, but I am building a solid relationship with these brands.  A fellow blogger suggested that I hold out for money, because they’re taking advantage of me, but I disagree.  My logic is that I’ll be shopping at these stores and talking about it anyway. So why not work with the brands, get quality images and access to the stores (I spent the morning taking pictures at Petco with their permission), and build those relationships?

I’m excited about a recent job that I landed after working for free with a brand.  The PR group who represents the brand appreciated my work and is now paying me for a job this season.

That post’s archived in a category called “Happy Holidays”. Why create a separate category for festive season posts?

I wanted my readers to be able to quickly call up the holiday posts for when they’re ready to do their shopping.  I also want to be able to quickly call them up for repeated promotion over the next six weeks.

I’ll also be creating a button for my site that links to the Happy Holidays posts.  I’m all about making it easy for my readers to find things; plus, I want them to stick around on my site longer, which they’ll do if they’re not frustrated with my organization.

I’ll also be putting these posts in a “Gifts for Dog Lovers” category for the rest of the year.

How’s your blogging schedule looking for the festive season?

One of the bonuses of scheduling out my posts so far in advance is that it allows me to place more focus on other tasks.  Right now, I can focus on writing, promoting my Holiday Wish Lists, blog commenting, and sharing.

What I am going to start doing is spending more time on promoting images.  I’ve been uploading images to Flickr, Pinterest, and creating photo albums on Facebook and Google Plus.  I created a Fur-Holidays board on Pinterest where I’m storing all of my Wish List items.

Are you taking time off around New Year? How are you preparing Keep the Tail Wagging for that time?

I will be taking a break for New Year.  I will be writing a Year in Review post and a One Year Anniversary post to schedule around the New Year.

We stick close to home on New Year’s Eve so I can do some social networking, but I made a commitment that I will take a break during that time.  It’ll make it easier if I can schedule posts and only respond to emails and messages for a brief period (an hour) each day.  I receive over 100 emails a day (I know a blogger who receives nearly 1000) and taking the time to respond to, file, and delete emails each day will make my return to the blogging world much less stressful.

When you do return to the blogging world in 2013, what will you be most heavily focused on?

Content, building traffic, and affiliate marketing.

In 2012, I identified what I want to write about (dog training, behavior, nutrition, health, safety, pet products) and that I wanted to write in my voice, sharing my experience with my readers.

In 2013, I want to continue with this trend and connect with guest bloggers who have a similar writing style.

Building traffic is something we’re all working on and I will continue to do this through networking and PR, both locally and online.

I want to do a better job promoting affiliates through my writing.  I don’t want my site to come across as an online catalog, but it’s important that I remember to place those links and banners effectively throughout my blog posts and pages.

Sounds good! What’s your advice to other digital publishers who want to make the most of the festive season?

My advice is…

  • Be genuine. Don’t accept a check to promote something you don’t believe in, because your followers will notice and call you on it.  My goal is to build Keep the Tail Wagging into an authority that people will respect; they won’t respect me if I make choices that paint me as a hypocrite.
  • Set office hours.  The longer I work, the more work that comes my way.  I’ve accepted that I will never get to the bottom of my To Do List, so I created a working schedule and try my hardest to adhere to it.  This allows me a much-needed break and gives me time to spend with my family and friends.
  • Have fun.  If it’s not fun, then it’ll show through in my writing.  If I’m not into doing something, then I won’t do it.   I apply this to brands, guest contributions, and my own writing.  What’s the point in putting in the work to write, edit, and promote a post that no one will like, because you didn’t like it?  I’d rather spend that time walking the dogs; which is what I do when I find myself grappling with my blog.  Take a break, come back with a better approach later.

Special thanks to Kimberly for sharing her plans with us. Are you a digital publisher? How do your festive season blogging plans compare? What ideas can you share? Tell us in the comments!

Coming up next, Blogging the Festive Season: The Not-for-Profit Blog

Become a Guest-post Ninja in 5 Steps

This guest post is by Timo Kiander ofProductive Superdad.

There you are with a big smile, after slapping together another 400-word post. It took you 30 minutes to write, and now you are ready to submit it to some random blog.

Although you didn’t really put your mind to the post, it got published anyway. Quite soon after this you start to wonder why you aren’t getting any great results in return: no visits, no subscribers, no nothing.

You make the conclusion that guest posting is just a waste of time. You also decide to move to other, more compelling traffic methods that have the potential to drive massive amounts of visitors to your site.

In fact, a certain marketer just published a course that shows you how to get floods of traffic to your blog—by spending just ten minutes per day with his technique.

You figure that’s a much better use of your time than the overhyped guest posting thing, which isn’t working for you anyway.

I’m sorry to hear that you feel this way about guest posting. However, if you let me, I can at least try to change your mind.

Guest posting is more than a simple list post

Too many times people think that a great-performing article is just a simple list post that, after being submitted to a blog, will bring a lot of traffic and subscribers. Then they become frustrated when they fail to get the results they wished for.

This frustration is caused by a lack of persistence. Guest posting is a long-term strategy that requires commitment—not just doing a random post here or there.

You’ll also need the focus properly when you’re doing the actual writing. Your goal should always be to produce as valuable and meaningful stuff for your readers as possible.

Unfortunately, if you are not focused enough, you end up offering some superficial advice that has been said elsewhere many times over.

The more time you spend on guest posting, the more certain you can be that you’ll get the big rock rolling—and you’ll get great rewards in return.

On the other hand, if you expect the results fast or you are not willing to put enough hours in, then you should definitely start figuring out some other promotional strategy that suits your better.

Mindset and success are connected

The lack of success is traceable—to your mind. In other words, you might lack the proper mindset to succeed at guest posting.

To succeed, you’ll need to be consistent and persistent with your efforts. You also have to be ready to test and tweak different things related to guest posting: headlines, landing pages, and the blogs you submit your posts to.

Unfortunately, guest posting is not for the person who wants to reach the big figures in this very moment: the traffic, the subscribers now, and the sales. Sure, you’ll get those, but only with enough commitment and intense work.

If you don’t own the right mindset, guest posting is just another way to get some random traffic to your site. A lack of focus is going to give you a lack of results.

Becoming a guest-post ninja

Do you want to become a guest-post ninja? Well, I have good news for you—it’s totally doable!

Instead of jumping around like a real ninja warrior, I want you to develop a proper guest posting mindset. You can do this using the steps I’m about to tell you.

First, don’t hold back on anything!

I remember the time (when I started writing guest posts) when I was always thinking, “Is this post too good to be given away, or should I publish it on my own blog?”

If you are feeling like this, then stop. Don’t hesitate to give your best stuff for other blogs.

My blog doesn’t have tens of thousands of readers (at least, not yet!), so it’s useless for me to publish all my best content over there.

Instead, I try to get my content published on those blogs which already have those tens of thousands of readers and who will (at least partly) come back to my blog for more.

Second, writing is just one part of guest-posting.

Guest posting is also about interacting with the readers of the guest blog’s audience. If you think that your job is done after getting your post published, you are wrong.

The worst thing to do is to stay quiet during the conversation. This just proves to the blog’s author that your posts are not worth publishing in the future.

Third, the biggest fear in guest posting is about rejection.

I can totally understand this—especially if you are just starting out. However, the more posts your write, the less you’ll experience this feeling.

You can always offer the rejected post to another blog and, unless it’s badly written, it’ll be published elsewhere.

Fourth, systematize your work.

When you start writing posts on a regular basis, a good system will help you a lot. This means that you have certain guidelines to follow whenever your write a guest post, and you’ll be able to produce great posts easier and faster.

Finally, plan ahead.

Never start writing your posts without outlining or planning them in advance. This becomes especially important if you are building your blog while you have a day job and a family.

Every minute counts! The more effective you are, the more you get done with your available time, and the better the results you are going to get.

Put that black mask on, and become a guest-post ninja!

Now that you understand the guest posting mindset, and how to become a guest-post ninja, it’s time to look at the action steps that you can take next.

1. Give away your best stuff

Don’t save the “good stuff” for your own blog—give it away, especially if you are just starting out. Your blog gets more exposure that way, and so do you.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be writing awesome stuff on your own blog—of course you should! But you should publish your great content where the people are, rather than posting it only to your blog.

2. Reply to comments

There are really two parts to this piece of advice.

First, I batch process all post comments at once, on a daily basis. This way all the comments get a reply. This is also what the author of the blog you’ve been a guest on expects.

As soon as I know that the post is live, I’ll let the author know that my comment policy is to reply to all the comments once a day. I also let the blogger know if I’m travelling and I can’t reply to comments right away. This way the blogger is informed and knows that eventually the comments are going to be replied to.

3. Kill your fear of rejection

To feed your fear of rejection, write your first guest post and try to get it published on a big blog.

A much better way to kill that fear is to get your stuff published on smaller blogs first, and then, once you’re more confident, to go after the big fishes.

This is exactly what my strategy was in the beginning, and the fear of rejection is nowadays pretty much non-existent.

You should use this strategy too: start on the lowest steps of the ladder and then proceed upwards, one step at a time.

4. Create your system

You can create your ownguest-post system from scratch, or borrow a system from someone else.

I have a certain way of writing posts and this system works for me. On the other hand, you’ll definitely want to put your own tweaks to existing systems, so that they suit you better. It’s the best way to create quality guest posts that get results on a consistent basis.

5. Plan and execute

Finally, there is the planning part, which shouldn’t be underestimated. In fact, the planning is critical part of my system, but I wanted to bring it up as a separate step.

Every Sunday, I outline my posts for the coming week. This ensures that I’m ready to start writing as soon as I wake up.

Mornings are technically the only part of the day when my home is quiet enough for writing. Besides, writing stuff after getting back home from work is not practical for me as I want to spend time with my family or with my hobbies.

Like me, you’ll have to find the optimum time for you to write. Then, plan and write around that schedule.

Are you a guest-post ninja?

Guest posting works, but you have to concentrate on it properly if you want to get good results. To get that concentration, build a strategy and a system for your guest posting efforts. Take these steps as a starting point or implement your own system if you want.

Have you done any guest posting? What is the most important lesson you have learned so far?

Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD superdad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to improve your blogging productivity, grab his free e-book, 61 Ways for Supercharging Blogging Productivity.

8 Rules You’ll Need to Become An Editor’s Go-To Writer

This guest post is by Thomas Ford of www.123Print.com.

Whatever stage of development your blog is in, it’s useful to consider the elements that characterize a good blog writer. Perhaps you’ve recently begun accepting guest posts. What are the criteria that inspire you to publish or make the call to reject a post?

Even if you’re just getting started and authoring all of your own posts, don’t publish just anything. Learn to self-edit, and you’ll be far more likely to please future editors when you begin posting elsewhere and seeking other outlets for your writing.

If you get to the enviable place where an editor or blogger is paying you for your words, it’ll be due to both your insightful sharp wit and your ability to make their life as easy as possible.

To keep the paid work flowing your way (or even if you’re just blogging for yourself and slowly building an audience), stick to these tried-and-true rules of the road.

1. Don’t turn in typos

We all know that you’re working on deadline, but clean copy is paramount to pleasing an editor. Don’t push yourself to the wire, to the extent that you’re literally skipping the reread to get your copy in on time.

Once you’ve spent hours (or even days) with a piece, it can feel like a chore to read slowly through it, line by line, but it’s the only way you’ll catch the tiny errors that can chip away at an editor’s trust in your grammatical skills.

2. Try to sleep on it

This can be tough, I know, but do your best to arrange your writing calendar to allow yourself a day between writing a piece and posting it or turning it in. It’s amazing the clarity that a day can provide. Even when I feel like a post is perfect, revisiting my words the following day always turns up something I can improve upon.

3. Meet your deadlines

Being a professional writer or blogger often boils down to self-discipline and time-management. Design your schedule in a way that affords you the time to follow rules 1 and 2, while still always meeting your deadlines.

If you miss a deadline early in your relationship with an editor, you may have blown it already. Once you’ve proven yourself, most editors will provide you some leeway now and then, but being late should always be the exception to the rule.

4. Seek feedback

A good blogger loves to collaborate and offer input to writers working on a post for their site. Seeking feedback and direction during the researching and writing process is also a fantastic opportunity to build a relationship.

If you discover a new angle for a post, don’t hesitate to reach out to an editor or blogger before completing your writing. The perspective they provide may lead to more posts down the road, and will almost always strengthen the blog you’re working on.

5. Offer strong headlines

Often, bloggers will replace headlines by a guest poster with a phrase that better fits the direction of their site. Even if this happens to you on multiple occasions, don’t stop providing headlines with each post. Your title helps an editor understand the direction of your piece, even if they recreate it in their own words.

6. Answer follow-up questions quickly

Editors and bloggers are busy people. Even if they take a week to get to your post submission, once they do read it, they’re going to want quick answers to their questions.

Make a point to prioritize these emails and calls when they arrive, providing quick edits, clarifications, and rewrites as requested. The easier you are to work with and the more promptly you respond, the more likely it is that you’ll find repeat work with that blogger.

7. Be careful talking money

It’s amazing how some editors will reply within seconds to emails about content, yet any question about payment is met with silence. Work out your payment arrangement and schedule in advance, before writing your post. Give bloggers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to sending payment, and then some.

If you’re depending on payment from a particular post to pay the bills this month, you may need to seek out further employment and save some money before trying to make it as a writer. When you’re not dependent on fast payment, it’s easier to be patient, and editors will respond in turn with more work when you’re not one of the writers that’s always bugging them about money. Most of the time, they’re just busy—they haven’t forgotten.

8. Be a self-promoter

Whether you’re writing for your own blog or submitting a guest post, utilize all of your avenues and social media channels to promote your work. Once a post goes live, link to it and spark conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. If there’s a corresponding, compelling image, link to it on Pinterest.

When you utilize your own contacts to draw traffic to a site, editors will take note and appreciate your efforts, returning the favor with new assignments.

What other tips do you have for writers looking to increase their visibility with an editor or blogger? Have any of these ideas worked for you?

Thomas Ford is the Marketing Director of www.123Print.com, a leading supplier of business cards and a wide variety of business and office printing materials. Tom is responsible for the blog at 123print, and writes on a range of topics of interest to bloggers and business people.

Trial by Fire: a Beginner’s Attempt at a Product Launch

This guest post is by Ryan Derousseau of R.M.D. Media.

Unlike most bloggers who share their experience on ProBlogger, I haven’t quite seen the fruits of my labor turn ripe—yet. I only launched my blog on social media and media outreach a couple months ago. I’m a newbie to this whole blogging thing.

My decision to launch the blog fit well with my background, since I work as a journalist and a social media manager. But jumping into a blog of my own meant I had to do more than just write about my niche.

It involved truly marketing my own business, building readership (not just benefiting from a standard readership that I’m used to through the magazines I write for), and developing my brand. I think we all can relate here. It’s a move that has come with some trial and error.

In order to build this brand quickly, I wanted to develop an ebook and offer it for sale. “What better way to jump into the world of creating sales marketing copy and grow readership quickly?” was my thought.

Of course, this meant a bunch of reading and strategizing on how to ensure I had some following before launch, in order to help spread the word of my new product, The Insider’s Guide to PR.

I tried to do all the things that the experts tell you to do: join an affiliate network, find partners to help with promotion, guest post, write a sales page well in advance, and on and on. Along with those tools, I’ve tried some other endeavors—some from experts—that I launched or prepared prior to the ebook release, in order to see the effects I desired. I want to share some of those with you.

But this post isn’t about how effective these strategies were, as I’m not an expert at launching products (it’s my first one, remember). Instead, I’m sharing my experience, to help spark some ideas for you. Maybe this will lead to some other, better, ways to promote your product, which I overlooked.

Tactic 1: Leaking details of my ebook

When I was about a month out from launching my first online PDF, I started leaking tidbits from the book. I did this in order to build buzz and enthusiasm, but also to highlight my expertise, since I was a new blogger.

At first I began to leak ideas that are shared in the book. For example, I wrote a post on the types of media pitching campaigns that a consultant, independent business owner or entrepreneur could use to plan outreach. (This has actually become one of my more popular posts to date.)

These types of posts made for great content for the blog, provided knowledgeable “pillar material that I can use for months and years to come, and were easy to write since I had already developed the ideas in the ebook.

But I went further then that, as I began to have a clear launch date in mind. Once I did, any time I referenced something that would relate to my book, I began to say things like “And you can read more about this in my upcoming guide to PR.” That way, I encouraged the reader to check back, if they had interest in hearing more.

And it worked. About two weeks before my launch, I was at an event hosted by a client, and they asked me about the guide. That was exactly what I wanted to hear!

Tactic 2: Developing a product to encourage newsletter signups

If you’ve delved into building a newsletter list before, then you have heard this over and over again: “You have to offer them something!” So I listened to the shouting, and did.

In my Guide, there are free email templates for pitching the media. I took the ones for pitching guest posts, and turned that into a free offering in order to encourage signups. I then published a blog post announcing the new free offering, which I promoted heavily.

It’s still difficult to just do that and expect a ton of email newsletter signups. After all, if no one sees the post, how can they sign up?

So at launch, I decided to test the effectiveness of this strategy by earmarking a portion of my advertising budget for encouraging newsletter signups. Instead of pointing people to my product, these ads point them to the newsletter. Once they sign up, they receive a copy of my sales site, so they still learn about the book.

The issue with this tactic is that it’s leading to tons of clicks, but few sign ups. While I wish there were more, each one is very valuable, so it has been worth it. But moving forward, instead, I will offer the first chapter of my Guide to see if that entices more opt-ins.

Tactic 3: Offering consulting to encourage new clientele

One thing I wanted to try was to offer a consulting-like service prior to the ebook launch. This idea came from a partner I work with, and I thought it was so great that I put together the offering the day after our conversation.

Unfortunately, it proved ineffective at encouraging signups or promoting my ebook.

And looking back on this, it’s clear to see why. I put together the plan so quickly that I didn’t have time to promote the offering besides a blog post and some tweets (not enough!).

However, I do see the strategy working out now that I’ve launched. Because the service is in place, I don’t have to constantly promote it, but people who are on the site, and looking at possibly purchasing the ebook, can see that I also have this consulting service. They may prefer this service instead, or are simply comforted to see that I also consult. I’m not sure which, but I saw pageviews to my consulting page jump by a factor of eight in the week of launch, compared to the week prior.

That can only mean potential for success down the road. But it also means I can quickly change tactics after the book promotion dies down, to focus on consulting services. It gives me options—something you need at the early stages of a business.

Tactic 4: Sharing the guide free

One thing I did as soon as I launched the guide was send a free copy to anyone and everyone who helped me in some way prior to the launch. This includes partners, mentors, those that I reached out to in order to ask a question, my parents, and others.

I also told them to share the guide with anyone they liked. I did this because I’m not just looking for sales; I’m also looking for readers and newsletter signups.

By offering the guide to those who supported me the most, I provided them with content that they could use to further cheerlead my efforts. That could lead to a number of other opportunities down the road as well. And who knows who in their network can send my pageviews, and sales, flying?

What works for you?

While I’m sure I’ve missed steps in the process, these are the key tactics I tried before my first product launch.

I’d love to hear what you found effective—and what failed—as you launched your first product, second product, or 20th product. It’s a learning process, and there’s no better way than trial by fire. Still, might as well make that fire as dim as possible, right? Share your tactics with me in the comments.

Ryan Derousseau is Director of R.M.D. Media where he provides advice on media outreach and social media. And receive the first chapter of his new e-book by signing up for his newsletter here.