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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/).

Writing the Truth of Your Own Experience

This guest post is by Sean M. Madden of Mindful Living Guide.

The cornerstone of my teaching is to write the truth of our own experience.

They’re fine words, which roll off the tongue with ease. But I needn’t tell you how gut-wrenching it can be to put them into practice.

For when one shares the results of such writing with the world at large it is very likely to anger at least some folk—no matter how clear, how unassuming, and how well-intentioned is what you have to say. And of course, it can be daunting to commit one’s truths to paper.

But the good news is that there’s a flipside.

Write the truth, and others—perhaps only a relative few—will appreciate beyond words that you’ve dared to express what they’ve longed to say, but perhaps couldn’t quite articulate.

Rilke, in his Letters to a Young Poet, advises his correspondent thus:

Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.

This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write?

I’ve many times asked myself this question over the course of my writing life, and have reconsidered it afresh whenever I revisit Rilke’s Letters, either on my own or with a group of students. My initial response tends to be, no, I mustn’t write—my life could be well-lived without the act of penning words onto a page. And yet I do write, often as if my life does indeed depend upon it.

Eleven years ago, I participated in a meditation retreat in which I had to relinquish any and all writing (and reading) materials for the course of a week and a half. No problem, I thought. Until several days into the retreat when I found I had something I had to express. So I liberated a blue permanent marker from the men’s toilet area and wrote my then nearly ten-year-old daughter a letter which spanned the full length and width of the fitted sheet I’d brought from home to sleep on. A letter she slept with for a very long time, until—ever so slowly, wash after wash—it finally faded from sight.

And how many times, since, have I resolved to give up writing in response to the egregious crimes of state we witness on a day-to-day basis, only to find myself in the most silent hour of my night writing an article for publication, a blog post, or page after page of handwritten diatribe?

Why, if time and again I tell myself I needn’t write, must I?

At times I write to release my soul from the burden of silence in the face of monstrous lies. Other times I write in response to witnessing the wonderment and beauty of this world. Either way, I write to express the truth of my own lived experience, and am infinitely happier for regularly doing so.

10 Steps to write the truth of your own experience

  1. Jump in headfirst. As with entering a cold sea or swimming pool, it’s much easier to plunge in, headfirst, than to wade slowly cursing the cold each step of the way. Once you’re in, you’re in, and you’ll acclimate yourself much more quickly. Ditto with writing.
  2. Courage grows in the doing. Fear and self-doubt, on the other hand, fester in the not-doing.
  3. Write with pen and paper. Make it a physical act, involving your whole body, your whole being, not just your mind. Thoughts are more likely to come in the doing than in the thinking up of things. Certainly, write on your computer as well, but get comfortable with putting pen to paper.
  4. Write first and foremost for yourself. While you might eventually like to share your work with others, write firstly for yourself without concern for your readers. Remember, too, that the acts of writing and sharing your work are wholly distinct. Share your work only when you’re ready.
  5. Trust wholeheartedly in the process. Simply write down whatever comes up. Trust in this process until the need to trust is replaced by an experiential knowing that the process works.
  6. Be patient and supremely gentle with yourself. Remember, too, that a thousand-mile journey begins with that very first step. Keep walking, and writing, and every once in a while look back to see how far you’ve traveled, and how much you’ve accomplished.
  7. Write with no expectations. Rather, nurture a sense of letting go of the notion of writing well. Good writing will come of its own accord, all the more so when you write regularly and truthfully about your own life experience.
  8. Begin a daily, or near-daily, writing practice. Commit to a three-month daily writing practice as a means to recognize, firsthand, the benefits of doing so, and, thereby, to develop it into a habit.
  9. Recognize that writing topics abound. They’re literally everywhere within you as well as in the world around you. Begin to notice the rich, inspiration-packed details of your day-to-day life.
  10. Write down your inner truths with great courage and honesty. You’ll thereby find your voice. This last step is a repeat from an earlier, closely related article I wrote for ProBlogger which you might find helpful to consider alongside this piece.

What strategies have you found to be helpful in writing the truth of your own experience? Please leave your comments below so that we can continue to learn from each other’s experience as well.

Sean M. Madden is a Creative Writing & Mindful Living Guide who is slow-traveling on a shoestring in Europe with his partner, Mufidah Kassalias. In addition to leading courses and workshops, Sean also works one-to-one with clients worldwide via Skype, email and telephone. He invites you to contact him via email or to follow him on Twitter (@SeanMMadden), Instagram (@SeanMMadden) or Facebook (Mindful Living Guide).

Find Yourself … and Find Your Niche

This guest post is by Kid In The Front Row.

I once watched an interview with Ricky Gervais, where he talked about how a lot of people don’t like his stand up comedy. He said he didn’t care. All he needs is 5,000 people in each town to fill a theater, and then he’s set. Whether the rest of the population like him or not is irrelevant.

It’s the same with your blog.

You might be extremely passionate about obscure German movies, or maybe you’re obsessed with antique books; or perhaps you happen to have an unusually large amount of knowledge about Mongolian fruit. Whatever it is, that’s your niche.

And sometimes you don’t even know your niche—at least, not at first. The important thing is to get writing—to discover your niche. What do I mean by “discover your niche”?

I mean: figure out who you are.

At first, I blogged generically about movies. I thought my passion was film. Turns out, I think most films are terrible. But I love it when you really hear a voice in the writing; when a film is actually saying something. When you feel you’ve witnessed a real piece of art.

Gradually, my blogging changed—it became more about auteurs, writer/directors, and about the incredible opportunities of independent film.

I found my niche. I found myself. And the blog exploded after that.

Once you’ve figured out what you want to write about, then you can really become an expert within your field. That doesn’t mean that you know everything; it means that you’re leading the quest.

On my blog, I interview screenwriters and directors who inspire me, in the hope that they can lead me further to the truth of what it is to be an artist. They help me figure out why the struggle to produce great films is worth it. They keep me on track.

I’m in a constant dialogue with the readers. Sometimes I inspire them with my insight. Other times, they shoot me down for talking nonsense—which in turn teaches me a lot. We learn from each other, and we’re on the same quest.

Having a niche is about that one corner of the world that is totally yours. Everything about it, you’re in love with. Lots of people might have blogs about how to make cupcakes, but your blog is about how to make cupcakes without sugar; or using only chocolate; or using leftover pieces of chicken—who knows? Only you do!

Whatever it is, you’ll figure it out along the way.

Once you truly focus on being yourself, you’ll stand apart from the rest, and the readers will flock to you, because you’re telling the truth, and your excitement makes them excited.

When that happens, you know you’ve found your niche.

Kid In The Front Row is a cult film blog with a more personal outlook. It’s not about reviewing movies, it’s not about criticising movies – it’s about loving movies. About loving them so much that still, after all these years, we’re just Kids In The Front Row, shoving popcorn down our faces as we stare up at those wonderful people on the big screen.

Find the Ideal Frequency for Blogging and Email Marketing

This guest post is by Francis Santos of Benchmark Email.

Blogging and email marketing are a lot alike. Okay, a lot might be stretching it, but they do share some similarities. For example, both are easy for beginners to use, are generally inexpensive, and great for business.

Another quality these two internet-powered vehicles share is the importance of frequency.

Whether it’s entertaining your blog readers or marketing to your email subscribers, frequency is something that could literally make or break you.

Blog posts: two perspectives on frequency

One of the golden rules of blogging is to post, and often. How important is it to post with regularity? Very, if you’re a fan of market research. 

According to HubSpot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing report, underestimating the importance of posting frequency is equivalent to leaving cold, hard cash on the table. The report showed that businesses that posted to their blogs multiple times per day had the highest levels of new customer acquisition, at 92%.

On the other hand, you have those who say that blog posting frequency no longer matters, citing that quality, engagement, and reader loyalty are more important.

The observers on this side of the fence have a point, but frequency is something that should never be viewed as an afterthought. It is usually the moment you get comfortable and feel you can ease off on posting that your visitors get bored and take their blog reading adventures somewhere else.

Email: frequency matters

Although I’d say it’s vital, the overall importance of blog posting frequency may actually be questionable when you factor in aspects like quality, engagement, and loyalty. When it comes to email marketing, however, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it—frequency definitely matters. It really is one of those double-edged swords that can cut you on both sides, too.

With blogging, you can pretty much post away until your heart’s content. Of course some posts might perform better than others, but this really is one of those no harm, no foul situations.

This is not the case with email.

If you flood your subscribers with too many messages, they are likely to get annoyed, which could lead them to opt-out or cry “spam” and report you to their ISP.

But if you’re not contacting them enough, you run the risk of having them lose interest, which could again lead to a higher opt-out, rate and money wasted on subscribers who have little to no chance of converting.

Finding the frequency sweet spot

Blogging and email marketing may be two entirely different animals, but you can take similar steps to determine the ideal frequency of both tactics for your blog and audience.

Think about your content

What type of content are you offering your readers? Is it the latest in celebrity gossip and entertainment news? If so, then daily updates may be appropriate. Is it coupons, special offers, or other forms of cost savings? Maybe every other day or once per week will suffice.

When you’re trying to nail down the right rate of frequency, your content should be one of the first things you consider.

Evaluate your resources

You could have all the ambition in the world, but in some cases, it will be your resources that determine what is the right frequency.

For instance, if you have multiple people contributing to your company blog, posting every day may not be a problem. But if it’s just you, something like a monthly newsletter to your email subscribers may be all you’re able to handle.

Let your audience dictate

Bloggers and email marketers alike often find that letting their audience decide is the best way to get a grip on the frequency dilemma.

It is possible to determine what they want by judging their response to your approach, but don’t hesitate to ask them in a blog post or a survey just to be sure. This is a good idea because people tend to have different preferences, especially when it comes to email communications.

Frequency and format

Whatever the format, as long as a communication concerns your marketing message, the frequency at which you deliver it will always be important. This is true whether we are talking about blogging, email, or posting on social networks like Facebook or Twitter.

No matter what turns out to be the best frequency, make sure you commit to it because your ability to be consistent with it will tell all.

Got any additional advice on frequency for bloggers and email marketers? Feel free to share them with us in the comments.

Francis Santos is a writer for Benchmark Email, a best practices email marketing company.

Escaping from Desktop: Online Document Editing Tools for Bloggers

This guest post is by Nina Gorbunova of TeamLab.

I first faced the problem of document immobility a couple of years ago, when I was far away from my PC. I lost my flash stick and realized that I didn’t have my documents stored anywhere in the cloud. That’s what we call epic fail. Of course, “it’s not the end of the world,” you may say. But being a freelancer, sooner or later you realize the importance of round-the-clock access to your files.

Another problem I faced was appropriate document management—in terms of document creating, storing, editing and sharing. Being an active blogger, I deal with document editing almost 24/7 and have strict requirements for the software I’m using. I need it to have an intuitive interface, rich toolset, and flexible sharing features.

Microsoft Word and Pages were pretty much enough for me formerly, but since I decided to step into the world of SaaS, I needed something different.

It took me half an hour to find more than a dozen services that promised to help me with remote working in the cloud. However it took me several days to figure out that most of them were not what I was searching for.

Google Docs

The most popular online document editor deserves to be covered first. Google Docs‘ interface tends to be minimal. As for the toolset, although in comparison with desktop editors it is not that rich, I believe it can suffice for an average user.

Google docs

Your Google Docs document can be downloaded as ODT, PDF, RTF, text, Word and HTML formats. Despite its popularity I had quite a few troubles when it came to inserting an image and huge problems with editing tables.

The Sharing feature is simple enough: as well as the options shown below, you can share the document with anybody and set up access rights to let them edit, comment, or just view the document. The only hindrance that might bother your collaborator is that they’ll need to be logged into your Google account to access the document (unless you use private sharing, which is preferable).

Google sharing

As a positive, the Comments feature is amazing and appears to be a huge advantage. However, I had troubles uploading and editing large docs and docs that contained several images.

Zoho Documents

Zoho is another well-known giant in the world of collaboration software. From the first glance I was impressed by its colorful and bright interface. On the other hand, it appeared to be a little bit tangled and confusing.

Zoho docs

It has a custom dictionary, word count and Thesaurus—though I’m not sure how many people would use these features. Zoho developers did their best to put some fun into tables and even included Table Themes. Unfortunately, though, even those didn’t let me make the table look the way I wanted.

Zoho tables

Working with images went smoothly. One thing that was difficult me was pagination, because when I downloaded the document (you can see available formats in the screenshot), the number of pages was different from what I expected it to be.

Sharing was another feature that left me confused. The terms of sharing are standard, but the document didn’t look the same on my screen and that of my colleague; moreover, he couldn’t edit it even though I gave him “read and write” access. That’s a serious problem that might be a stumbling block for many users.

Zoho sharing

On the plus side, the toolset is extremely impressive. However, an average user would find many of the tools superfluous, besides, some of them, like tables and headers, seemed to have serious bugs.

Microsoft Office 365

Office 365 hasn’t gained as much popularity as Google Docs yet, but the service definitely looks promising. Its interface is close to what most of us are accustomed to, and the basic toolset reminds us of a desktop application.

Office 365

The number of fonts and styles significantly exceeds that available in other online editors. Furthermore, users have the ability to switch to the desktop version of the software using the Open in Word button.

What confused me most of all—and it can be seen on the screenshot—was working with images and tables—there was no drag’n’drop functionality at all. For me, this is on the “must have” list, but its implementation is probably only a question of time since Office 365 is still quite a young solution.

The application does not provide sharing capabilities, though SkyDrive by MS enables users not only to share the document with a others, but even post it directly to social networks. I’m sure this software has a bright future, being a part of such a strong suit, but for me currently it’s not functional enough—I would prefer to use SkyDrive or some alternative app.

Office 365 share

Central Desktop

The tendency of software engineers to include document management capabilities in collaboration and project management platforms has become widespread these days, and Central Desktop is an example of such a tool. A user-friendly interface and basic features, however, don’t make the service unique.

Central desktop

Document editing is inseparably linked to the other parts of the platform—Project Management, Calendar, and People, which is a benefit if you are planning to collaborate with your colleagues using this tool. If not, it may be a serious obstacle, since the sharing feature is available for system members only.

That said, the Central Desktop Document Editor can’t help but produce a good impression. The drag’n’drop deature works great, and editing tables is convenient. There does seem to be a poor number of fonts and font sizes, though.

Although I haven’t tried to collaborate with this platform, it seems to me that the opportunity of inserting Calendar and blocks of Group Activity might comes in handy especially when it comes to reporting—as you might do within a blogging team.

Central desktop 2

There’s no opportunity to use Central Desktop for free, so it’ll be a closed book for many bloggers. Prices start at $99 per month for 20 users—again reflecting its team focus. Initially you get a 15-day trial for free.

Teamlab Document Editor

This is another tool that includes an editor as a part of an online collaboration service. But I intentionally put this one to the very end of the list because—cards on the table—I work for TeamLab. Now you might say that every cook praises his own broth, so I’ll do my best to stay as impartial as possible!

Among various online document editors this one looks the most like your favorite desktop application—Office 365 is probably the only alternative that would compete with TeamLab in this realm. The toolset is also impressive—Teamlab Documents provide you with a large number of styles and fonts, using those already uploaded to your computer.

Teamlab view

Image editing is good. Images stay exactly where you put them and can be shifted easily. Tables offer the same flexibility and nice designs. The editor has its drawbacks, of course. The lack of a spell checker and drag’n'drop text pasting are the biggest issues I’ve found so far.

One of the most noticeable advantages of the application is the “document identity,” which became possible with the usage of HTML5 canvas technology. Technically, this means there are no more formatting losses when you convert your doc into another format (which is the most irritating thing about most online editing tools). You can download your document as PDF, text, DOCX, DOC, ODT, RTF, HTML, or EPUB, and it won’t change a bit.

Sharing is available for those who are registered to use the platform as well as for third parties, which means groups of collaborators aren’t dependent on the platform.

Teamlab sharing

This option also offers Dropbox, Google Docs, and Box.com integration. However, right now, Teamlab can process text documents only, as it is still in beta. Spreadsheets, PDF files and presentations are on the way, according to the developers.

Jacks of all trades, masters of none?

Though we can find a dozen services for online document editing, many users still have to admit that most solutions lack functionality and remain far behind the best offline editors, such as MS Word and Pages.

If you’re working with all document types—spreadsheets, texts and PDF files—neither Google Docs nor Central Desktop can be called a full-featured editor, though they reach the furthest of the options we’ve looked at here.

Do they offer additional tools for file processing? Yes. Are they desktop editor replacments? No. Nevertheless the younger generation of editing apps already gets closer to perfection.

Do you use online document editing tools in your blogging? Why, or why not? And if you do, which ones? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

Nina is an active blogger, a marketing manager at TeamLab and CeBIT 2012 participant. She is interested in technology advance and believes HTML5 is the future technology.

How to Systematically Build a Mountain of Links

This guest post is by Neil Patel of Quick Sprout.

We’ve all been taught to create high-quality content to attract links. This argument is usually stated in the context of a blog that basically becomes an authority where you start to build a following around consistent, fresh content—think big sites like Problogger or Boing Boing.

This is not the technique I’m talking about.

Today, I’m talking about a link-building technique that’s bigger, better and quite possibly able to put you on the map faster than you would ever imagine. I’m talking about building a linkable asset—something you do by following the steps I’m about to describe.

First, let’s define “linkable asset.”

What is a linkable asset?

A linkable asset is a piece of content that is responsible for driving lots of links to your site. It could be an infographic that you update every year, but it’s usually much bigger and complex.

The Feltron Report is an annual report that’s like an infographic on steroids. It’s more than likely you’ve heard of the Felton Report. Its personal data from the life of Nicholas Felton, a designer and data guy, who’s been cranking out these reports since 2005.

SEOmoz’s Annual Ranking Report is another annual report that is a linkable asset.

Distilled’s SEO Guide to Creating Viral Linkbait and Infographics and Smashing Magazine’s The Death of the Boring Blog Postare also linkable assets.

Sometimes these assets are a simple widget like Bankrate’s millionaire calculator or egobait like the Ad Age Power150.

What’s in a linkable asset?

These assets create a mountain of links back to the site, which means more traffic and jolt of exposure to your brand or blog that never dies. But they aren’t easy to create. They take planning, time and at least four or five of the following elements.

It targets a broad market

The first step in creating a linkable asset is to identify your audience. It must be massive because small, niche markets will cause your asset to fail.

You don’t have to think about your general customers. When I’ve worked on these projects, here’s how I’ve thought through the massive audience I need:

  1. Human beings.
  2. Men and woman.
  3. Men in the United States.
  4. Men in the United States who like movies.

You don’t need to get any narrower than that. In fact, “men in the U.S. who like movies” is probably a little narrow. So I might try a small test on an audience made up of “men and women in the U.S. who like movies.”

Here are other ideas you could target:

  • Special interest groups: Republicans, Australians, gun owners or commuters all share a common pain point that you could address in a linkable asset.
  • One-time events: Think 9/11 or the historic significance of Obama’s election.
  • Holidays: Linkable assets tied into holidays like Easter or Hanukah seem to work pretty well.
  • Basic survival stuff: Anything that impacts water, safety, food, or gas consumption.
  • Predictions: Using data that points to a credible conclusion about a possibly good or bad outcome is good linkable content.

It addresses a pain point in a vacuum

What I mean by “addresses a pain point in a vacuum” is that your linkable asset will truly take off if you hit upon a topic that nobody else is addressing.

Beginner guides in new and emerging fields are good examples of this, as are “ultimate guides” that fill a space that is empty. The Authority Rules guide put up by Copyblogger is a free resource that filled an empty pain point, especially in a way that people weren’t entirely clear they even had.

You can hunt down some great data for linkable asset idea if you monitor these three sites:

Keep in mind that addressing a pain point is not an easy task to pull off because there tends to be a lot of competition in a given field to meet a pain point. That’s why you’ll see rushes to create the ultimate guide when the latest social media tools are released.

Mashable created an infographic called Global Internet Traffic Is Expected to Quadruple by the Year 2015:

This piece addresses an obvious need of companies looking to expand and grow—the infographic gives them they have some ammunition to justify their decisions.

We could learn a lesson from this infographic, since it is prediction-based. Even though that prediction is a few years out, the data is truly what is really important, but that is likely to change over time. The market may actually grow even larger, or shrink for some unexpected reason. You just don’t know with predictions, but in general they make for good social sharing.

It delivers evergreen content

In order to ensure that your linkable asset delivers content day in and day out, every year, make sure you choose a topic that will not go out of fashion in a couple of months.

For example, a prediction-style linkable asset usually doesn’t make the best example, because that content will go out of date eventually. Or they may even backfire if your prediction doesn’t come true. It will work well, however, if your prediction comes true, or if you can continue to update it every year.

Here are some examples for evergreen content:

  • Annual report: The reason the Feltron report works even though it is not evergreen content is that it is updated every year and placed upon the same link as the other reports. The same is true about SEOmoz’s annual ranking reports.
  • Guides: The guides that I mention above by Distilled and Smashing Magazine provide evergreen content in the form of “how-to” guides. Everybody needs this information and will for a long time.
  • Widgets: Pretty much as long as there are human beings there will be a desire to be rich…or at least to know how long it would take you to become a millionaire. That’s why the Bankrate calculator has been around for a while and will continue to generate traffic.
  • Tools: The classic example for a broad tool that is evergreen is Google’s keyword research tool.

It must be branded

At the end of the day, your linkable content must be about your brand. But more than just announcing your brand, it must be done in such a way that promotes adoption after someone reads, watches or uses it.

For example, my company announces that our survey tool is “Powered by KISSinsights.”

That’s the exchange we make for allowing someone to use the tool for free. You’ll also see copy that reads “Get this widget,” which helps promote the adoption and spread of the tool by encouraging people to embed it in their site.

This is what standard infographic branding element looks like:

But as you probably know, branding doesn’t end with a simple tag line that lets the consumer know the linkable asset is from you. You also have to make the design stunning.

Good graphics matter! Here are some simple tips to help your linkable asset great-looking:

  • Create a seductive headline combined with a graphic above the fold that stops the reader cold.
  • Put custom-made graphics throughout the linkable asset that are special to it. This will carry the eye of the reader down the page and further brand it.
  • Use graphics-based headers.
  • Break out of the typical blog template and use a format that is shocking or unexpected. Boston Globe shares pictures that are at 900 pixels wide.

It’s promotable to webmasters

When you create that linkable asset, you have to market it. It’s not true that if you build it they will come. Successful assets are given a big push by their creators, namely through emails asking if you will share the content.

That means that content must have zero commercial value, and a positive upside for you.

I’ve gotten requests from asset creators letting me know that they are about to let a piece of content “go live” and I and a select few have a privilege of leaking it early.

This strategy works because I like the idea of getting in front of the flood, because if you are viewed as one of the original promoters, you are likely to get a lot of the early links to your site via “hat tips.”

By the way, when you are pitching to webmasters, create a headline that is newsworthy. Webmasters love content that carries a feeling of cutting-edge news.

It’s easy to share

Nowadays most everything is pretty easy to share because you can build sharing into the assets—like buttons, for example, that share the content immediately.

What truly creates a linkable asset that’s easy to share is allowing the content to be embedded so people can share it on their own site, rather than just linking to it.

Creating a badge for accomplishing some sort of task is another great example of linkable asset that is spread by embedding the code. For instance, once you “finish” Distilled’s link bait guide, you can grab a badge that shows off your new knowledge:

Monitoring your linkable asset

The wonderful thing with these assets is that you can leverage their appeal throughout the year, or even over years. But you can’t know how they’re doing if you don’t monitor them.

Follow the progress of your asset by using these tools:

With these tools, you can keep tabs on where your asset is traveling across the web, and then make sure it’s linked correctly. If the link is broken, follow up with the webmaster to ask to have it fixed.

At some point you can re-purpose and re-introduce the content to get a fresh boost of eyeballs. But if you are not keeping track of all the mentions and links, then you won’t be able to find fresh places to promote it.

Start today

Can you see now how the linkable asset is a pretty big task? It takes time to create, and you may not succeed on your first try. In fact, the odds are that you will probably fail. But that’s why it’s important to share a prototype to a small audience to help you work out the kinks and see if it will have a wider adoption.

Have you created a linkable asset? Share your tips and advice with us in the comments.

Neil Patel is an online marketing consultant and the co-founder of KISSmetrics. He also blogs at Quick Sprout.

Build Keyword Density the Right Way

This guest post is by Bill Achola of SeoArticleWriteService.com.

It would be great if the only purpose of your copywriting was to sell your products. Unfortunately your copy often has to serve two purposes: attracting visitors to your site, and then selling to them.

Attracting traffic using copy requires using search engine optimizing techniques, and adding keywords. Using the topic of baby food, in this post we will look at a few ways to include keywords in your copy.

Keep it natural

The key to successful keyword optimizing in your copy is to keep it natural. As Greg McFarlane points out in his post Why Bieber SEO Copywriting Sex Doesn’t iPad Work Minecraft, people often make the mistake of overloading the text with keywords, and replacing every generic key term with the keyword or phrase. This will not give you high-quality persuasive copy, as you can see in the following example.

Keyword = baby foods

As new mothers we all want our babies to have the best baby foods; we spend a lot of time researching good baby foods recipes and making sure we buy high-quality baby foods. Giving your child a good start in life with healthy baby foods ad not giving them baby foods that they are not ready for, is one of the major concerns of new parents.

The above example is not only annoying to read, parts of it have been made grammatically incorrect in an attempt to use the keyword as often as possible. While you might get a lot of traffic to your website from parents searching for the keyword “baby foods,” they will quickly move onto another site when they start reading.

Make sure you select your keywords carefully so that they fit in easily with the subject of your copywriting. This will improve the flow of your copy, increasing your sales conversions.

Here are three ways to include keywords naturally.

1. Break up keywords phrases

It can be hard to fit a long keyword phrase into your copywriting. I was once asked to use the key phrase “baby food recipes 6 months.” This is an awkward phrase to use altogether, but it works well when split up by punctuation. Search engines read straight punctuation marks such as full stops, commas and colons so think how you can use these to split your keyword phrase.

Keyword phrase = baby food recipes 6 months

Look no further for tasty and healthy baby food recipes. 6 months is the perfect time to start introducing your bay to new tastes and textures.

The above example keeps the keyword phrase intact so it will be recognized by the search engines, but does not seem out of place or awkward.

2. Lengthen the keyword phrase

Some phrases are difficult to include because they are singular when you would usually use a plural or vice versa. Adding words to the end of the phrase can help you overcome this problem as well as giving you inspiration for your writing.

Keyword = food for baby

  • Food for bay weaning
  • Food for baby meals
  • Food for baby taste buds

Adding a word or two to the end of this phrase makes it less grammatically awkward and helps you to fit it into your copy writing sounding repetitive.

3. Use a keyword phrase that describes what your product is not

Take the example of the keyword “cheap baby food.” When a parent enters this search term they are looking for good value, high-quality baby food that they do not have to pay very much for.

However, if you describe your product as cheap baby food, it will give the impression that it is poor quality, and therefore not great for their precious child. Avoid this by using the keyword to describe what your product is not.

Keyword = cheap baby food

Try out one of our healthy, easy-to-make recipes as an alternative cheap baby food. Once you’ve tasted one of these nutritious homemade meals, you’ll never want to feed your little one cheap baby food again.

Using the above techniques will ensure your copywriting remains natural and that you don’t have to sacrifice quality to keyword density.

A final tip: write your copy first and then go back with your keywords in mind and place them where appropriate. This will make your copy flow more naturally, and will appeal both to your readers and the search engines.

Visit the blog at SeoArticleWriteService.com to learn how Bill Achola can write high conventional marketing content for bloggers and affiliate marketers.

From Blogger to Book Author: The 4-Step Guide

This guest post is by Jeff Goins of Goins, Writer.

Some bloggers don’t start a blog to make money. They start blogging, because they have a message that the world needs to hear. In other words:

Some bloggers blog to get published.

Recently, I signed a contract with a book publisher. I had always hoped to one day publish a book, but I never thought it would happen in a few months.

What made this possible? In a word: blogging.

Planning a book

Image copyright Lasse Kristensen - Fotolia.com

If you want to go from blogger to book author, you’ll need to do a few things. But the pay-off can be significant.

Why you should publish a book

With the rising popularity of ebooks and self-publishing, why should you go with a traditional publisher?

Why even write a book at all? Doesn’t a blog suffice?

Well, no. Not always. In some cases, self-publishing (especially your first book) may not be a good idea.

Reasons to work with a publisher

Although self-publishing can work just fine, there are still some legitimate reasons to go traditional:

  • Marketing: A publisher will offer its resources and knowledge to help you not only promote your book, but consider the marketability of it before it’s published.
  • Editing: A publisher will help you with the actual writing, as well as proofreading and copyediting. Normally, you would have to pay someone to do this or do it yourself.
  • Authority: There is still a great deal of social clout when it comes to having a published book from a reputable publisher. Publishing a book will make you more of an authority in your niche.

Of course, some authors make good money off ebooks without ever going through a publisher. So this may not be for everyone. But it’s at least worth considering. (Even Darren and Chris G. released their Problogger book through Wiley. It’s not about money as much as it’s about influence.)

If you’re interested in becoming a published author, there are the three steps you’ll need in your path to publishing.

Step 1: Build a platform

All publishers want to know the same thing: Do you have a platform?

In other words, are you “legit”? Do you have the audience and authority to speak on a particular topic? Money is so tight in publishing that if authors don’t bring their own marketing chops, they have little hope of succeeding.

A platform can range from a podcast to a television program; however, in our case, we’re going to assume it’s a blog.

Why a blog is a great platform

Blogs are great for authors, because of the following reasons:

  • A blog allows you to practice writing.
  • A blog allows you to capture email addresses (with a service like Feedburner or Aweber).
  • A blog allows you to communicate a core message over time.

My blog has been instrumental in helping me find my voice as an author, as well as providing some content that I’m actually re-purposing for my upcoming book.

Step 2: Release a manifesto

Once you’ve built a blog and starting building a decent audience, you can now work on something that articulates your core beliefs: a manifesto.

A manifesto is a short, actionable ebook that you give away for free. The point of it is to spread idea and help you connect with your tribe (i.e. people who share your beliefs).

This can also be a great way to capture attention, by exchanging the ebook for people’s email addresses. I grew my email list from 75 to 1000 subscribers in a week, thanks to a manifesto. And it also caught the attention of my publisher. It works.

If writing a manifesto sounds hard or overwhelming to you, don’t worry. It’s not.

The DIY way to publish a manifesto

  • Find the content. Dig up an old blog post or series of posts that resonated with your readers.
  • Develop it. Build upon your original idea and edit out what’s irrelevant.
  • Finish writing. Shoot for 1000-10,000 words long. It needs to clearly communicate one, important idea. The shorter you can make it, the better.
  • Create it. You can do this through a program like Word or Pages (for Mac), or you can use a slide presentation program like PowerPoint or Keynote and export as a PDF. Michael Hyatt also has a great seven-step tutorial for how to do this. (Note: This may create a huge file, depending on the length of your e-book. If you get something that’s over 10 MB, you can use the program PDFshrink to make it smaller.)

Alternatives

If you’re looking to spread an idea quickly, you can even publish the manifesto through a site like ChangeThis.com. Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, and Guy Kawasaki have all done this. Only the best ones make it, though, so this doesn’t guarantee you’ll get an ebook published through them. (See mine here.)

You can also hire someone to do it for you, if you have the budget.

Step 3: Connect with people through social media

Social media is a great way to find fans and create advocates that will spread your work for you.

The great thing about social media is that it’s social (obviously), which means it can lead to other meaningful interactions, including real-life relationships.

From follower to friend

I’ve connected with more people through Twitter than any other way. This has led to grabbing coffee with other writers, picking up freelance gigs, and even getting to meet some of my heroes. It’s the best networking resource I’ve found.

Starting a Facebook page for my blog has also been a great way to share content and connect with my audience.

The people you connect with through social media may begin as followers, but they can quickly become friends and even patrons of your work. If you do it right—by adding value to your readers and followers—these people can become life-long supporters of you.

What better asset to have before publishing your first book than an already large and growing fan base? The publishers will be fighting over you.

Step 4: Establish your brand by adding value

Every author needs a brand—an established voice that makes his or her content unique.

Blogging can help you do this, because it allows you to practice in public. It also attracts an audience, which can help you in defining (and building) your personal brand as a writer.

Serve your way into influence

The best way to earn trust and establish a brand is to serve people.

Do the grunt work. Hustle to help people, and you will get noticed. In a world full of self-promoting sleaze bags, if you add value to people’s lives, you will never have a marketing. People will come find you.

This is a great way to brand yourself as an author, too. Someone who serves others doesn’t have a hard time selling books. People know you’re going to help them, so they’re eager to pay money to hear what you have to say.

And if you can demonstrate that, a publisher will be honored to work with you.

Interview experts

Another way to do this is by interviewing experts. You can seek out other authors and bloggers in your niche and ask to interview them. Do this over time and you’ll not only deliver value to your readers, you’ll also build relationships with influential people.

Pretty soon, people will come to think of you as the expert—which is exactly what publishers are looking for.

All of these relationships (if founded on serving others) will come back to help you. It’s true what they say: what goes around comes around.

You’ll be publishing a book in no time.

Jeff Goins is a soon-to-be-published author, blogger, and nonprofit marketer. You can connect with him on Twitter @jeffgoins and Facebook and get his free, weekly newsletter. You can also find out more about his path from blogging to book contract by getting his eBook Every Writer’s Dream: How to Never Pitch Your Writing Again, which is free for a limited time.

12 Essential Tips for Revitalising Your Blog in 2012

This is a guest post by Gregory Ciotti of Sparring Mind.

As 2011 comes to a close, now is a better time than ever to evaluate your blog, its performance, and most importantly, what you can do to improve your blog in 2012!

A point I always like to drive home is that you will never find blogging success by turning into an “eternal student”, one who always consumes information but never creates or takes action.

Toolbox

Image copyright mipan - Fotolia.com

As I am in the process of taking a step back from my own blog to reevaluate what things I could do better, I wanted to present Problogger readers a list of actionable tips that they could act on right now to improve their blog for the new year.

So check this list out, bookmark it for later (or tweet it out to your fellow bloggers), and make sure you go through and see what quick actions you can take to improve your blog!

1. Optimize (or start) your email list

Had you email list become stagnant, with a slow trickle of subscribers rather than a huge flow of new signups? Have you not even started building a list yet?

Now is the time to take action, because your mailing list is the most important aspect of your blog’s long term success. So if you haven’t already, create one now.

If you have a list, let’s think of a few ways to optimize it…

  1. Make sure sign-up forms are in the best locations (sidebar, feature box, at the end of posts).
  2. Create a “toolbox” of freebies that only subscribers get access to (think of it like the free ebook strategy, only kicked up a notch).
  3. Create newsletter only content just for subscribers (makes the newsletter more worthwhile for them).

Last but not least, make sure there is an option to subscribe on the pages of your site with the most traffic. I’m talking about your intro/about page, your resource pages, and any other pages that visitors often visit from your homepage.

Start building your list now the right way. You won’t regret it in 2012!

2. Make a list of every blogger (who writes quality content) in your niche

You might be wondering why bother to do this. Certainly if you at the intermediate stage of blogging, you already know about the power of guest blogging and the kind of traffic and subscribers it can bring you.

The thing you have to realize though is that as powerful as guest blogging is, it is only one part of being good at networking in your chosen niche.

In order to truly succeed as a blogger, you are going to need important people who are truly rooting for you. The best way to do that? Network.

Most bloggers are afraid to start, so by creating a list like this, you are already on your way, and it takes far less time than you might think. Simply use sites like AllTop and Technorati, along with the blogs that you regularly read, and create a comprehensive list of the best ones in your niche.

Plan on emailing each one, maybe breaking the ice with a completed (and awesome) guest post. From there, stay in touch, actively support the other bloggers in your niche, and in time, you’ll find yourself getting links naturally, it won’t take a guest post for your fellow bloggers to mention you…

They’ll be doing it because they support you. And that is an essential ingredient to growing a popular blog.

3. Re-evaluate your blog’s unique offering to readers

What about your blog makes it distinct? What are readers getting there that they simply cannot get on the hundreds to thousands of other blogs in the same niche?

For 2012, you should take a look at your blog, and really evaluate what you are adding to the web that nobody out there is doing exactly the same.

The key word there is “exactly”, because your blog doesn’t have to be a totally unique experience that is doesn’t compare to anything else, it just has to be a twist on existing topics.

For instance, there are a lot of blogs for people who love blogging, but how about people who love Tumblr? Heck, your twist can just be what medium you use to create content.

For instance, there are a lot of personal fitness blogs that use video, that makes sense. But what about a finance blog that uses a lot of video? What about craft blog that uses a lot of video? How about a marketing blog that focuses on podcasts? How about a personal development blog that utilizes SlideShare?

The point is: it’s not too hard for you to put a “twist” on your niche, making it something that adds value and that also helps you stand out from the sea of others.

4. Try new content types to keep your blog fresh

Speaking of different content media, a lot of bloggers get so overwhelmed with different traffic methods and writing techniques that they fail to realize that they could be putting their efforts to a medium they might be better (or more comfortable) at.

Maybe writing posts really is the thing you feel most comfortable at, but I’d definitely suggest giving a few other mediums a try. They can bring extra traffic from being hosted on the parent site (like YouTube videos) and can give your blog a appeal by creating content in an unusual form.

Here are some great content types you can try:

  1. video (on YouTube or Vimeo)
  2. audio on SoundCloud (or by starting a podcast)
  3. ebooks
  4. slideshows on SlideShare
  5. workbooks
  6. infographics
  7. webinars.

See if some of these suit you better from time to time, and you’ll likely be one of few blogs in your industry doing them!

There’s also another great post idea I want to discuss…

5. Interview someone influential in your niche

Interviews are a blog kickstart technique that seriously work for any niche—at least, I’ve yet to encounter one in which they don’t work well!

Interviews are great for a few reasons:

  • The person you are interviewing will notify their following of the interview, bringing you traffic.
  • People will respect you more for getting the thoughts from an influential person, and be more inclined to check out your self-made content.
  • Interviews add instant social proof to what you are saying, and if you can even add small parts of an interview to back up your own claims, readers will appreciate it.

Scared to ask someone for an interview? Don’t be! Research has shown that people are more likely to help you out than you think.

They key: keep your emails short and your requests reasonable. Also, never send the questions in the first email, ask for permission first!

I’ve used interviews with people like Brian Gardner (owner of StudioPress) and popular musicians on my electronic music blog to get, literally, thousands of new visitors in days, not weeks or months.

And this is on entirely new blogs!

Trust me, finding a good person to interview (an interesting or unusual expert is always good) and creating great questions for the interview will likely be a huge benefit for your blog. It’s a must-try technique in 2012.

6. Clean up your sidebar: show what matters

If there is one part of a blog that typically turns into a complete mess, it’s the sidebar in the typical content/sidebar blog layout.

Bloggers (especially newer bloggers) are tend to add way too many widgets and sections on their sidebar, and instead of making their site better, they end up making it far worse!

How? The first thing is site speed. I’ve written about how to speed up WordPress before, and the conclusions you can draw from other website owners and SEO experts is this:

  1. People won’t wait for slow loading sites, general wait time is as little as a few seconds (that’s single digits).
  2. Site speed has an impact on SEO, affecting your rankings.
  3. A fast-loading site is apart of a great user experience, and users appreciate fast page loads far more than you realize.

Those are some pretty important reasons to be concerned about your site speed… But there are even bigger concerns that you should be worried about!

In addition to slowing your site down, the results from this research study have shown that too many choices can actually decrease conversions!

What that means is that a cluttered sidebar is likely to decrease your conversion rates on new subscribers! This is bad, bad news for your blogs potential success.

Fortunately, this can be fixed quickly, by scrapping all of the junk in your sidebar and including only the essentials, which are:

  • sidebar opt-in (must be at the top!)
  • list of popular posts (shows readers your best content, right away!)
  • resource sections (these sections showcase a lot of info on a single topic, or including things like what blogging tools you are partial to using)
  • …nothing else!

Honestly, having only these three items in this list might make you think I’m crazy, but hear me out: those really are the only essentials!

Of course, if you blog offers a product, service, or advertising, these need to be included, but for most people, the three I mentioned will increase your conversion rates after you get rid of the junk.

Unless your blog as 1000+ posts, you don’t need a search bar, categories—none of that stuff. What you do need is a fast loading site that converts well, so make it happen.

7. Improve your knowledge of SEO and SEO copywriting

If you are running a WordPress blog, understanding the fundamentals of WordPress SEO is essential to succeeding as a blogger (I’d highly recommend starting with SEOMoz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO, it’s a great read that’s highly detailed and includes great visuals).

More importantly though (and non-platform-specific), you need to learn more about SEO copywriting if you don’t know about it already.

The process of effective SEO copywriting is far less confusing than you think. In fact, even if you just learn the basics of good interlinking habits (linking to old posts of yours in new posts, naturally) you’ll already be more skilled than most bloggers in your niche.

It is essential to understand good SEO copywriting as a blogger because it allows your site to do better in search rankings, offers a better user experience for readers by involving your old content in a natural way, and adds a new skillset to your blogging knowledge—one of great importance.

8. Add social proof where it matters

Bloggers sometimes get too caught up in social networking proof, rather than what social proof really means (and when it’s actually useful).

Social proof can be as simple as quote from one of your readers/fans on what a great blog you are running, how you helped them, or how your content has benefited them in some way. This type of social proof is often as powerful as a big Facebook following, and it’s much easier to get legitimately!

Here are a few easy ways to get a powerful statement for your blog:

  1. Ask! Ask one of your readers if they’d mind giving you a quote to use on your blog as social proof. Most people will be glad to provide one!
  2. Use a comment. Take a comment from a reader on your site that states something positive, and use it as social proof.
  3. Quote someone else. Has anybody else mentioned your blog or writing before? Quote them, whether it’s from Twitter or their own site, people will usually have no problem with you quoting them for social proof.

Okay, so we have some ways to get social proof that’s outside of a big social networking following…

Where should we put it? Here are the two best spots to put social proof:

  1. anywhere there is an “opt-in” form
  2. anywhere you ask users to purchase something.

Simple, clear use of social proof boils down to this: any time you need someone to trust you (to opt-in to your list or to buy something from you), social proof is king, and those are the locations in which you should use it.

9. Start a “post ideas” journal

I’ve discussed the importance of using journals (or some storage device) in order to break through writer’s block, as they can serve as a growing list of ideas (that may come at any moment) you can access when you need to write a new post.

Writing down great posts ideas as they come in your head will not only benefit your own blog, it will help with writing all of those guest posts to get your name out there!

The thing is, great posts ideas could come to you at any moment. The problem? You are not always in a position to expand on those ideas or to see if they’d really make for a great post. The solution? Write any decent ideas down, and save them for another time.

This way you can keep any ideas that you might have lost if you relied on your memory, and you also get to work on great ideas later that might turn into dynamite posts.

10. Guest blog using the “funnel” technique

If you are going to utilize guest blogging to build your blog (and you definitely should be), you should start approaching your guest posts with an actual strategy, rather than relying on blind writing.

The best (and easiest!) strategy to try is the “funnel” technique of guest posting. The funnel method involves writing a guest post that has to do with one of three big aspects of your blog:

  1. your blog’s unique offering (discussed above)
  2. a free ebook/guide you’re giving away
  3. an opt-in webinar or course you’re offering.

How and why does this work so well? Simple: you are priming readers with a post about a specific topic. Then, you offer them additional content (via your email list) by offering one of the three options listed above.

In case you still don’t get it, think of it like this: I’m a personal fitness style blogger, but I only focus on writing about high-intensity interval training (HIIT for those familiar with the acronym).

So, it would make sense for me to post on fitness blogs, but to focus on writing an article like “5 Reasons Why HIIT is the Best Form of Cardio.” The reason this makes sense is that anybody interested in Fitness and HIIT would go to check out my blog, where they would be greeted with more content on the subject. This would make them more likely to subscribe.

This also works with the other two methods: offering a freebie such as an ebook or Webinar on the topic that my guest post was about. Try this and I guarantee your blog will see maximized conversions for all of your blog posts in 2012!

11. Evaluate your social media buttons

What do I mean “evaluate” your social media buttons? Simply put, you need to take a step back from your blog and look at the buttons that you are using on your site.

Many bloggers just plaster up whichever buttons they can without really evaluating what’s been working in their niche. The key point here is that you most likely don’t need all of those buttons! It’s been proven time and time that too many options can decrease conversions, and this applies to social sharing too.

The reason bloggers get misled is because they see big sites like Mashable using every button under the sun, but what they don’t seem to get is that Mashable is about social media, so a majority of their traffic and “subscribers” are social media users.

It makes sense for them to have tons of social media buttons, but for a blog like yours, which is most likely concerned with growing a stable and profitable email list, you need to evaluate which buttons work best for your audience.

For instance over on my electronic music blog, I immediately removed the LinkedIn and Google+ buttons when I found out that they weren’t being used. It made sense, but I wanted to test things out first.

The thing was, my audience was younger, and not interested in tech or business aspects as much as most LinkedIn and Google+ users are. Generally, they stuck to Facebook, and used Twitter slightly less.

So I updated the social sharing buttons to include only those two, and guess what? My traffic didn’t drop by a single visitor. In fact it increased, all while I was speeding my site up!

Make sure your social buttons are actually being used by your readers.

12. Utilize the most powerful social network of all

When most people think about networking these days, they tend to think about social networks.

While social networks (especially those like Twitter) are indeed extremely useful for establishing connections, in reality they better serve as icebreakers for real planning on the most powerful social network of all…

Email.

That’s right. All of your guest post submissions, all of your interview requests, collaborations, joint ventures, product launches, everything will be happening behind the scenes through email (or at least the important stuff!).

What else will you be doing to revitalize your blog in 2012? Share your plans in the comments.

If you are a blogger who wants to tap into the psychology of successful content marketing, you need to check out Sparring Mind, where Greg prefers to write about what works (backed with research and data) and avoids the fluff. Find out more here and start marketing your blog the right way.