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ProBlogger Podcast 39: What is Your Why?

Blogging: What is Your Why?

The previous episode of the ProBlogger podcast asked you a very simple question that I think is the basis of all that we do: “how are you?”. How are you physically, emotionally, with your health? Are you blogging from a solid foundation of wellness? Are you taking care of your personal needs?

I shared a very personal story about what happened when I realised I wasn’t doing that any more – and the steps I took to get back on track. Once I re-cemented my foundation of wellness, it had a noticeable impact on my blogs.

Wellness is usually considered to encompass diet, exercise, rest, relationships, spirituality, but also purpose. Having a purpose impacts positively every aspect of your life and health, and it even helps increase productivity – and this is all going to impact your blog.

When my blogs have been firing on all cylinders, it usually correlates with those times in my life when I’m really working from the core of my “why” – my purpose.

Over the years, sometimes your purpose gets a little lost by the wayside. You get distracted from your why. Sometimes the blog runs away on its own and you feel as though in the machine of content creation, internet marketing, fulfilling reader expectations, and you get further and further away from the nucleus of what you wanted to create, why you started blogging in the first place.

In today’s episode, I talk about why you need to drill down and encapsulate your “why”, and how it then impacts your what and your how. How reconnecting with your why can help guide you back to a positive frame of mind about blogging when the inevitable blog slump or burnout happens. How it can raise your productivity and how you can harness it for successful blogging.

I talk about what happened earlier this year when I realised I needed to shut down a profitable part of my business, and how it ultimately set me on the right path, although it isn’t an easy decision to turn off a successful income stream. But it wasn’t furthering me on the path of my why, and I knew that I could be more useful elsewhere (and I discuss what I did instead that has been even more successful than I hoped!).

Click here to listen to episode 39 of the ProBlogger Podcast: What is Your Why?, read the show notes and leave a comment about what you think your why might be.

Further Reading:

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

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

Coming to you live from the depths of Melbourne winter – while the rest of the country (almost) is springing into spring, we’re still freezing our butts off. Fingers crossed we’ll start to see the sun soon!

Here’s what I found interesting lately around the web:

How to use a $5 Twitter ad To Redefine Your Digital Strategy //  Jon Loomer

The Facebook Advertising guy changes tack with a cheap but effective way of getting audience insights on Twitter that you just can’t get anywhere else – advertising gold.

13 Lessons on Viral Content that got 36,177 Shares in One Year // CoSchedule

With great traffic comes great responsibility.

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog, Attracting Readers, and Making Money // The Penny Hoarder

A very humorous (and useful!) description of those foundational things you really need to get your blog running as fast as you can – but also a few tips for us old fogeys like great places to find images, finding readers, SEO and more.

15 Useful Tips for Attending an Event Alone (and Actually Enjoying It) // Hubspot

There were a few nervous newbies at PBEVENT a few weeks ago – it IS daunting to go to events on your lonesome. Hopefully these tips will help for next time.

How to Tell Stories with Instagram and Facebook Carousel Ads // Social Media Examiner

I have seen some very clever versions of this lately, and I’m left wondering how I could make it work for my own blog. Some are incredibly creative!

 

What news have you read lately?

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

10 Ways To Stay Productive as a Work-at-Home Blogger

10 ways to stay productive as a work-at-home blogger - don't tell me you don't need these tips! On ProBlogger.net.This is a guest contribution from Larry Alton.

Working from home sounds like a pretty cushy job. You can wear whatever you like, eat as often as you want, text your friends, run errands, and be at home with your family, all while being employed. However, that list of things can often make it difficult to accomplish your work.

If you’re struggling to find a productive schedule as a freelance blogger, consider these tips.

Find Your Groove

Everyone has a groove that spurs productivity. Maybe you need to sit in your office chair with the lights off, blinds shut, and a fuzzy blanket on your lap. Or maybe you need to have a clear view of the sunshine and wear your lucky socks. Maybe your groove requires waking up and going straight to work without eating or showering. Everyone has a different groove, and if you find yours, you’ll find your most productive hours.

Dress Up

It’s pretty cool that you can go to work in your pajamas and fuzzy slippers, wrapped up in your Snuggie. However, that comfort zone may be your downfall. Wearing clothes that are too comfortable can often lead to a stronger desire to relax rather than work. Dressing up in your business professional clothing can help working at home feel more like working in an office, and you might find your productivity spike.

Manage Projects

Stay organized by managing your projects. Whether you write just one blog or you ghost write for 20, there are several tools you can use to stay organized both on the computer and off.

For example, there are software tools and apps that make invoicing, scheduling, and emailing extremely easy. Or if your projects aren’t very complex, you can use a simple white board to keep track of your daily tasks and mark them off as you go. Either way, stay organized to help you stay on track.

Remove Distractions

Email, cell phones, kids, roommates, pets, food, television—all of these are some of the most tempting distractions for freelance writers, and if you want to find productivity, you’ll get them out of the way. Go somewhere to work where you won’t be distracted by your surroundings, and set aside separate time to check your phone and email so that you’re not doing it during your most productive time.

Set Specific Work Hours

Scheduling your time is extremely important for having a constructive day if you make a schedule that works specifically for you. Choosing your own schedule is one of the better perks of working at home, after all.

When are your most productive hours? When do you work most slowly? Some bloggers have their most productive hours between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Others have it from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Whatever time works best for you, make sure you build your schedule around that.

Make Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals

Both short and long-term goals do wonders for inspiring creativity and helping you stay productive. If you’re a work at home blogger, you’re probably goal oriented and deadline driven. Each day, write out your goals for your desired progress and tack it to your office wall. Similarly, define weekly and monthly goals that you’re constantly striving to achieve.

Log Out of Social Media

Social media is incredibly useful for promoting your writing and networking with others. However, when you’re supposed to be writing, it’s basically the antithesis of productivity. During your scheduled work hours, log out of social media. Better yet, block your favorite networks on your computer until a certain time or ask a trusted friend to change the password for you until you’ve finished your work for the day.

Make Time for Exercise

Sitting at your desk chair all day long not only contributes to lost muscle mass and definition, but it also makes you feel less alert and can contribute to lost productivity. When you stay stationary all day long, it can make you feel sleepier and fog your thoughts. Setting aside time for exercise on a daily basis can boost your efficiency by making you more alert and motivated, all while leading to a healthier lifestyle.

Eat Healthy Meals

Another thing that contributes to fatigue and lack of motivation is sugary, unhealthy food. These make it so that you don’t feel 100 percent, which makes it difficult to work efficiently. Healthy meals and reduced snacking on sugary treats can make you feel more alert and healthy, which enhances your abilities to perform your daily tasks.

Prepare the Day Before

As a work at home blogger, your schedule can fluctuate from day to day, but you can still benefit from preparing for your workload a day in advance. Write out all of the tasks you need to complete the next day and even a tentative schedule for completing them.

Furthermore, prepare yourself and your office space. You might set out your clothes or prepare your lunch. You might also clean up your office and pull out any resources you might need for the next day’s tasks. A cleaner, more prepared office makes it easy to go straight to work without worrying about a mess.

Further Reading: 5 Ways to Make Your Blogging Life Easier.

Productive blogging takes practice and a series of trial and error, but once you figure it out, the freer lifestyle is worthwhile.

How do you stay productive when goofing off is a more appealing option?

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

How One Couple Drastically Changed Their Life by Blogging

How blogging changed one average American couple's life / problogger.net.This is a guest contribution from Gina Horkey.

Two years ago, my husband and I were just like any other American couple.

We were both working in Corporate America, had a one and a half year old and another on the way. Our work schedules and commutes weren’t bad, we just weren’t doing work that we were passionate about.

Someone else was also raising our child. It could have been much worse – our son was maybe in daycare for 30 hours per week. And the provider was great! It just wasn’t what we wanted. Plus, with another on the way, daycare was about to get real expensive!

Since I’m not one to sit back and accept less-than-ideal circumstances, we decided to make some changes. Here’s our story of going from a dual income, Corporate America household, to a single earning one dependent on just my freelancing income. Buckle up!

Finding a Better Solution

Even though I was a financial advisor, we never thought it’d be possible for one of us to quit work and stay at home with our growing family. After a couple failed nanny attempts and the end of my pregnancy looming, we got desperate and finally entertained the idea.

My husband had always expressed interest in becoming a SAHD and my career was more promising at the time, so we set out to see if it was possible for him, the carrier of all benefits to quit.

By significantly cutting our expenses (cutting cable, reducing our dining out, raising our insurance deductibles, stopping our retirement savings, etc) we were just able to make it work!

Thank goodness we had the good sense to pay-off most of our debt the year or two before.

Fast Forward a Year

Our second child was going on a year old and Wade was enjoying staying at home. All should be well then, right?

Wrong. It should have been.

But I couldn’t help to acknowledge the growing discontent I was experiencing with my work. My clients were great and so were my colleagues. I just didn’t really enjoy talking and reading about investing, tax law or compliance all day long.

I tried to throw myself further into my career by enrolling in an accredited program and pitching a plan to buy into the larger practice. I began studying and we began talks to make it happen.

But then I realized it wasn’t what I really wanted. And I actually listened to myself for once.

Starting a Freelance Writing Side Hustle

So, I did what any other “normal” person did and turned to the world wide internet!

I explored my passions, my available options and started freelance writing on the side a little over a year ago. I secured an unpaid contributorship with The Huffington Post, got some samples by guest posting elsewhere and started my own blog.

I would get up every weekday morning at 4:30 and write for an hour or two before my family woke up and I had to get ready for work. I also had a four-day workweek at the time, so I used Fridays to work on my writing business as well.

I even hired a babysitter from time to time on the weekend to give Wade a break and get some time-sensitive client work done. It was fun, I saw the potential and I was committed to taking charge of my own career future.

All of my hard work and perseverance started to pay off. My income grew month-over-month and I figured out I really enjoyed this world of freelance. I had blogged socially for years, but this was the first time I was treating blogging like a business and reaping the financial rewards.

Putting In My Notice

Eventually things came to a head at work. I opened up about my freelance success and that I had changed my mind about what I wanted for my career future.

I was super nervous about it, but the conversation went better than I had expected. I had been an advisor for almost a decade at this point and with this particular practice for six years. We had a great relationship and I considered them almost like family. But it was hard to disappoint a father-figure!

Due to our great mutual respect, we worked out a plan for them to buy my small practice, for us to find my replacement (for the support duties I performed for the office) and that I’d have a long transition schedule to both train in said replacement and continue to build up my freelance career into a viable business that would support my family.

Becoming a Full-time Freelancer

Right around Christmas, 2014 I had my last day of work. I was now officially a full-time freelancer!

It was exhilarating and a bit frightening all at once. But now, six months later, I can happily say that I made the right decision.

I may work more than ever, but it’s work that I’m passionate about (I write, am a virtual assistant, coach newbie freelance writers and have a course to help aspiring writers for the web launch their own business in as little as 30 days). We also own our schedule, our time and choose how we get to spend it.

Better yet, we choose WHO we get to spend it with.

In Conclusion

Blogging changed our life.

We now decide our schedule, rather than our Corporate America jobs dictating it.

For us, it’s not about being rich or continuing to earn more money – it’s about defining and living out our own priorities, which just so happens to include spending as much time as we can raising our own children.

Want to know my favorite part of each workday now? Coming in for lunch with my family and laying my two toddlers down for their naps. I never would have been able to do that a year ago!

How would your life look different if you felt empowered to make big changes?
Gina Horkey is a writer for hire, with a background in personal finance. She also offers coaching services and really enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time. Please stop by Horkey HandBook and say hello and download a free copy of 8 Tips to Start Your Freelance Career off on the Right Foot!

How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog Through Your Archived Material on Facebook

This is a guest contribution from Jonathan Goodman.

I love discovering systems that work in the background so you can focus on your blog.

What I’m going to detail is like the concept of compound interest.

At the beginning, the effects will be small  – but over time, as the system continues to work and you keep adding into it small bits, it becomes a monster.

It involves Facebook. And while much has been said about Facebook’s diminishing reach, it still stands as the best platform to find and gather a purposeful audience and promote a blog.

What I want to share with you isn’t how to spam. It’s not how to copy and paste a quote onto a pretty picture and hope that it somehow goes viral. And it’s definitely not how to steal somebody else’s video and upload it as your own. I want to share an intelligent way to generate a perpetual promotion engine.

A couple screenshots taken on a random day to show that I’m not some guy who just talks about this stuff. I use it to build my own site.

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But don’t get me wrong, this is not about vanity metrics like Facebook likes. It’s about email list growth.

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A good string of days for email growth, admittedly, but it does happen. 150-350 email leads per day, much of it from Facebook, is where the site sits at right now and each week those numbers continue to inch up.

So what is this magical system?

First, it’s nothing magical.

This is about embedding videos from your Facebook page on your blog. After showing you how to do it, I’ll describe the power with it for promoting your blog and gaining leads. Beyond that there’s a few details to generate more traction both on your videos on your blog.

First, the tech stuff

In order for the embed to render on a WordPress site, you’ll likely have to embed some code into your site. I’m technologically illiterate but sent this post from Facebook to my web guy.

From there, it’s easy. Here’s a walk through:

Step 1: Upload a video to Facebook (sharing a YouTube link won’t work. You’ll have to upload the video manually)

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Step 2: Navigate to the videos permalink page by clicking on the date just under the video’s name.

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Step 3: Click the “embed video” link on the bottom right side.

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Step 4: Copy the embed code that pops up.

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Step 5: Paste the embed code into the HTML editor of a blog post wherever you want the video to appear.

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On the top is the technical mumbo-jumbo and beneath it is how the video renders on your site. The above is from an article that serves as a good example of this system teaching how to fix butt wink in the squat.

Note: You can take any video from any page on Facebook and embed it into your blog the same as you’d embed a YouTube video. Not a bad idea but you miss the real value of these embeds.

Now that you know how to embed videos, let’s look at all the components of the video once it renders on your site:

The video will show two ways: One if it’s not currently being played, and one if it is.

If the video isn’t being played there’s three places to click other than the play button:

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Along with the clickable parts, the existing video views on the bottom left adds a level of social proof.

The video name – takes the user to the video’s permalink page hosted on your Facebook page.

Your Facebook page name – takes the user to your Facebook page.

The Facebook logo – takes the user to the video’s permalink page hosted on your Facebook page.

Note: All links open in a new window so don’t worry about it navigating the user away from your blog post.

If the video is currently being played there are five places to click other than the regular video navigation buttons:

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The video name – takes the user to the video’s permalink page hosted on your Facebook page.

Your Facebook page name – takes the user to your Facebook page.

A Facebook “like” button – The user can “like” the video right from your blog.

A Facebook “share” button – The user can share the video right from your blog.

The Facebook logo – takes the user to the video’s permalink page hosted on your Facebook page.

Now comes the ninja stuff

Facebook’s putting a big push on video. They autoplay all over your feed and spammy videos stolen by unscrupulous page owners are everywhere.

Before going further – don’t steal videos! I’m sure that you see other disrespectful page owners doing it. Not only is it illegal but you’ll also get shut down. It’s simply a matter of time. I’ll show you the different ways to get videos to use in a bit.

The first benefit to using video on Facebook is that it has a high organic reach.

You can then embed that same video into as many blog posts as possible. As you’ve seen above, each video embed has a number of different options to generate traffic for your Facebook page but also share and/or like your video directly from your blog.

Having a video embedded into your blog will also increase the average time a user spends on your site decreasing “bounce time.”

Facebook views your page as more valuable if users click a link from your page and stay there for longer. It’s also an important determinant for search engine visibility.

That’s not the fun part – this is:

In August of 2013, Facebook announced a change to its algorhithm called “story bumping.” Facebook’s old formula, while not completely known, was largely determined by something they called “time decay” — if your status update was more than a few hours old, there’s not much chance it would ever be seen again.

Story bumping changed things. If an old status update (i.e., a video) is getting new interaction, Facebook will selectively “bump” this story to the top of the news feed for people who haven’t seen it.

Both users of your page who didn’t see it the first time and new users who might be highly relevant to you based off friends of theirs who “like” your page.

The result is that old, archived (video) status updates that are getting new interaction can and do get “bumped” to new viewers. The result, well, looks something like this every time that you log in when you do it right:

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Two random screenshots of my notifications list for the page. In the second one you see 11 different things being shared within a 12-hour period.

And this process compounds upon itself. I can’t login to Facebook after leaving for a few hours without at least 40 new notifications (that’s 40 different things happening when I was gone. 100 people sharing one status update counts as one).

I should also note that all shares and interaction are not equal. Aim to share high-value materials and include a call-to-action to join your email list on almost every one.

Interaction is the name of the game. What I’m about to describe will get you interaction perpetually on old status updates. Archived materials go to work for you while you sleep finding you new readers and email subscribers.

Here’s why: Embedding videos into blog posts allows them to sit forever on your blog. A user who sifts through your archives and “likes” a video embed from a year ago could cause that video status update to “bump” in Facebook, thereby showing it to new users who then bump it more and give it new life.

Apart from hoping that old blog posts rank in search engines or users sifting through your archives, we also re-share old articles periodically on our page. An old article share with three Facebook embeds is like sharing four status updates at once.

Let’s say all get interaction and all have a call to action for a squeeze page at the bottom. Now you’ve got four status update sharing to four different audiences, all promoting your email opt-in.

How to Generate Videos to Use?

To share videos you’ve got to have ones that you own or have permission to use, obviously, but too often people scrape videos and upload them as their own without permission. Here are three ways to get videos to use:

Scrape your own YouTube channel: If you’ve got an existing archive of videos on YouTube, start systematically uploading them to Facebook one at a time. We do 6-10/week now. YouTube is Google property and Facebook will look at them as unique content.

Ask for permission: I never did much with YouTube, so asked a few dozen fitness coaches who had great channels to repurpose their videos at my discretion on my Facebook page. I’ve got access to over 2500 videos to use. In the video description I give full attribution with links to the owner’s materials and make sure to note whom the video belongs to and that it’s used with permission.

Film your own: For every article that you write, film a 1-2 minute video highlighting the benefits of the main points. Upload this video to Facebook first and embed it into the blog post.

After you’ve started to upload some videos, you can organize them into playlists on your video page as well.

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Some notes on the small details to get more out of your videos

Generally videos lasting 1-2 minutes work best. That said, I’ve had 10-minute videos that have done well, but they’ve got to be good.

The title and video description is where most miss the mark. A video simply uploaded to Facebook won’t drive a lot of email opt-ins or generate a lot of videos if you don’t do it right.

Write the video meta-data the same as you’d write a sales letter:

Title – Give the video a short, descriptive and punchy title.

Lede – Use 1-2 short sentences to hook the reader and expound upon the benefits that he/she will gain from the video.

Steps to solving (optional) – I’m not sold on the importance on this yet. We’ve got to do more research, but it doesn’t seem to hurt. Add a paragraph or bullet list summarizing the actionable steps gone over in the video to achieve the benefits in the title/lede.

Call to action – Tell them what to do next. I use a short line to first identify them as a personal trainer and then entice them to come to the PTDC’s about page (that we use as an email opt-in).

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“Set it and forget it” systems that work for you and get better with time are fun to discover. Facebook video embeds aren’t being used but can explode views on your website, generate a perpetual audience to your old material, and grow your email list.

I hope it works as well for you as it has for us.

Jonathan Goodman likes to think and experiment with better ways to “do” new media and live a fun, successful, and fulfilling life. He’s been called “Sun Tzu” buried under 40 layers of fun. If you want to know more about high-potency Facebook promotion, click here to claim a free guide to improve the reach of your status updates.

The Biggest Lesson I Learned About Building a Profitable Blog in 2015

healthy-person-woman-sport-medium

Episode 38 of the ProBlogger podcast is focused on something I’ve learned in the course of the past year that I think has the potential to transform not only your blogging, but many areas of your life.

Today’s episode is personal – my personal journey of the last nine months. I talked about it at the ProBlogger event a few weeks ago now in my opening keynote – an unexpected topic perhaps, but one that I think is so useful as the foundation of everything, including building a profitable blog.

The question I want to ask you today is the question we get asked all the time: “how are you?”. Not your blog, not your business, but you?

Not just answering “good”, or “busy”, but finding out how are you really? Don’t gloss over the question – really ponder the answer.

The biggest lesson in blogging I’ve learned this year, is that if I want my blog to shine, I need to move beyond the minutiae of monetising, finding readers, creating content – I need to work on making myself shine. The wellbeing of my blogs is directly linked to the wellbeing of me, and I had been letting myself go.

Late last year I went to the doctor for my annual health checkup, and what he told me changed the trajectory of not only my life, but my blogs as well. He gave me a list of things to work on to get my health back up to speed – a whole list. It was stuff I already knew but had never really done anything about. Seeing it there, in list form, was confronting.

I left that doctor’s office feeling pretty low. I didn’t sleep well that night, as I thought about all the things I needed to change in my life. I even pondered the stuff that the doctor didn’t know, but that I knew was an issue.

The story I want to tell you today is how that day was a pivot point for me, and how putting my health and wellbeing first has made such an impact on my blogs and my work ever since.

I hope it inspires you to examine the parts of your life that need changing, to inspire you to take your health seriously and to stop forgetting to exercise, forgetting to eat well, forgetting to get your priorities in order as we churn on through the hamster wheel of work. I hope it helps you set a solid foundation from which your blogs and online endeavours can grow.

Click here to listen to episode 38 of the ProBlogger Podcast: The Biggest Lesson I Learned About Building a Profitable Blog in 2015.

I’d also love to hear your feedback on today’s episode, either here or at ProBlogger.com, and your answer to the question: “how are you?”.

Further Reading:

Grow Traffic to Your Blog Through Guest Posting and Creating Content for Other Blogs, Forums, Media and Events

Grow Traffic to Your Blog Through Guest Posting and Creating Content for Other Blogs, Forums, Media and Events on ProBlogger (the podcast)

Today’s episode is the fifth in this series we’ve been exploring on the ProBlogger Podcast about finding readers.

To get you up to speed, you can find the first four here:

So once you’ve started creating great content, and you’ve found your readers where they’re already hanging out, you can take the next step: creating content or guest posting for other, larger sites to help build your profile and drive traffic.

One of the best ways that you can showcase the kind of value that you’re able to deliver to people on your blog is to create that kind of content for other destinations on the web. But of course, the first thing you need to discern is what we discuss in episode 33: who are you trying to reach? And where are they? That will help you determine who to guest post for, or where to have your content published.

In this episode I will help you find where your ideal readers are, and also what kinds of content you could create to best show your skill and style in places other than your blog. In future episodes, we’ll drill down into each of the strategies I suggest, but for today it’s great to get an overview of how and where you can expand your reach.

Your goal should be to create your best content for these channels you choose in order to demonstrate credibility and authority and that you provide high value in all places, including your own blog.

We discuss:

  • How to add value
  • Building a portfolio of this valuable content elsewhere
  • Pitching ideas
  • What makes it more likely that you’ll be accepted
  • How to promote that content to your own networks
  • Multiple pitches
  • Short term burst strategy, featuring on more than one place at once
  • How to drive traffic without being spammy

So head over to ProBlogger.com for episode 37: Grow Traffic to Your Blog Through Guest Posting and Creating Content for Other Blogs, Forums, Media and Events, show notes, and to leave a comment, or a review.

Further Reading

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

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

Here we are again! Fridays come around so fast, it seems… which is good, and bad.

There are heads full of knowledge and excitement and ideas after last week‘s ProBlogger Training Event, and it’s thrilling to see people starting to put their dreams into practise. Such a surge of energy and hustle! If you missed out and would love to keep updated about future events, feel free to join the Facebook group to keep in touch, and also connect with the attendees who have formed a wonderfully supportive and informative community.

For now though, let’s check out blog news:

Three Reasons Why You Should Take Snapchat Seriously // Hootsuite

I’m the first to admit I let Snapchat fall by the wayside years ago. But I’ve noticed a resurgence of late and I reinstalled the app. This is just the beginning, they say…

Facebook Now Drives More Traffic to Media Sites than Google // Fortune

And will blogs be next? I know Facebook is the number-one referrer for a lot of blogs – what lessons can we learn from it?

How to Optimise your Tweets for Search // Social Media Examiner

I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THIS! Especially seeing as Twitter accounts are showing up in Google search results.

A Brief History of Internet “Joke Aggregator” The Fat Jew // Mashable

When curating your content, for goodness’ sake, attribute your sources! Goes for images on Instagram and elsewhere, “image via Pinterest” is not enough.

How to Use Evernote at a Conference // Veggie Mama

I know I wrote it, but it’s useful! How you can keep all the notes, audio, and images you take at each session in neat files, and what to do with all those business cards you accumulate through networking. You won’t know what you ever did without Evernote at conferences before!

So what did you learn this week? Care to share? Gonna revive that Snapchat account?!

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

9 Habits of Bloggers Who Have Huge Audiences

9 Habits of Bloggers Who Have Huge AudiencesThis is a guest contribution from Jeff Foster.

If you’re just starting out as a blogger, you’re probably wondering how to grow your audience.

The good news is that there’s a lot you can learn from bloggers who have already built an enormous following – no matter what they blog about, great bloggers share a number of habits that make them successful. If you’re diligent about developing these habits yourself, you too can build an army of loyal supporters.

Let’s look at why highly successful bloggers truly connect with their audience:

1. They are Passionate About Their Subject

When you’re truly excited, it comes across in your writing – it arouses your audience and makes them feel that you have something worth saying. Don’t pick a blog niche just because there are lots of potential readers, write about something you truly care about, and readers will come flocking. In any case, if you’re not deeply passionate about your subject, chances are you’ll get bored and abandon your blog very quickly.

2. They Take the Time to Make Themselves Experts

People read blogs because they want unique insights and interesting points of view. If you just repeat what other bloggers are saying, then you’re not adding any value.

You need to take the time to become a true expert. If you’re passionate about your subject, this should be a labor of love – not a burden. Read widely and keep up with the latest news so that you have your finger on the pulse of your subject.

Engage in social media – not just your own blog – to build your knowledge and have meaningful discussions. By making learning a lifelong process, you’ll give your readers something that they just can’t get anywhere else.

3. They Create Incredibly Useful Content

Not only are top bloggers experts, they also give their readers genuinely helpful information.

Don’t just focus on expressing your own views – think about what your audience wants to know, and then give them this information.

For example, if you blog about cooking, ask kitchen equipment manufacturers for product samples. Then try these samples out, and tell your readers what you think. On the other hand, if you’re a fashion blogger, make the effort to go to real fashion shows and give your followers a first-hand account of what went on.

4. They’re Prolific

To grow a huge audience for your blog, you need to keep your readers coming back. Sure, it’s important to add new readers all the time, but if your existing audience is drifting away, then you’re fighting an uphill battle.

The way to build a loyal following is to produce lots of fresh content – every day if possible. This doesn’t mean you should write for the sake of writing – fuzz and fluff are useless. You have to deliver concise, insightful material on a regular basis – it’s tough to do this, but the more you try, the easier it gets.

5. They’re Motivated Self-Starters

The great thing about blogging is that you don’t have a boss telling you what to do – it’s also one of the biggest challenges.

No one is going to force you to sit down and write that next blog post, or tell you to go out and interview industry experts. What you do has to come from within yourself. Unless you can get up each morning and tear into life with a fresh appetite, you’re going to struggle. That’s why it’s so important to be passionate about your subject – if you believe in what you’re doing, then staying motivated is much easier.

6. They Know How to Manage Their Time

As a blogger, it’s so easy to waste time. There are countless ways to pretend to yourself that you’re getting useful work done. For instance, you may find it fun to play around with the latest plug-ins for your blog – but you need to ask yourself whether this is the best use of your time.

Successful bloggers look at their time as a precious resource – they plan ahead, schedule activities, and then do what they say they’re going to do. Everything in their plan is there for a reason. If something isn’t in the plan, it isn’t a priority.

7. They Persist

Even the most successful bloggers have setbacks. Not all of your blog posts will hit the mark, and you’re going to get turned down again and again by people you want to interview.

It’s easy to get discouraged, but to succeed you need to carry on. Talent isn’t enough – there are lots of skilled bloggers who don’t succeed because they can’t keep going when the going gets tough. The best bloggers are determined and won’t take no for an answer – if something doesn’t work, they just move on to their next great idea.

8. They Engage in Meaningful Dialogs With Their Readers

A blog isn’t a lecture. The best bloggers listen to their readers and create a dynamic community.

By responding positively to what their readers say, answering their questions, and engaging in meaningful conversations, they make their readers feel like they belong. This in turn creates a deep bond and a sense of trust – turning readers into impassioned supporters.

9. They Build Strong Relationships With Other Bloggers

Blogging isn’t a competition.

Great bloggers take the time to build relationships with other bloggers. They leave thoughtful comments, share other bloggers’ posts and even get in contact with them directly. If you do this, you’ll get amazing insights that you can share with your own blog readers. Equally important, connecting with other bloggers gives you exposure and helps you to build your audience. When you build a relationship with other successful bloggers, they’ll be the first to talk about what you do. Just make sure that you’re completely genuine. You have to truly care about what other bloggers are saying – otherwise you’ll just come across as engaging in cynical promotion, and they’ll spot you a mile away.

Jeff Foster is co-founder and CEO at Tomoson, the influencer marketplace. The platform allows bloggers and social media influencers to get paid for posting sponsored content, and lets businesses connect with targeted, niche audiences.

Find Readers for Your Blog Through Commenting and Relationships

Find Readers for Your Blog Through Commenting and Relationships on ProBlogger.net

In the last episode of the ProBlogger podcast we talked about how to build a sticky blog to keep readers on your site. Today, we’re going to talk about how to find them in the first place by building community, strengthening relationships, and commenting on other blogs.

It’s important that not only you build great content that hooks the reader in, makes them want to read more, and makes them want to share it, but it’s also important to find readers for that content.

Before we get started on today’s episode, I want you to recall what we discussed in episode 29 about identifying where online your ideal readers are. It’s all very well and good to promote your content, but what if you’re promoting it to the wrong people? So if you did the exercises in that episode, you should have a list of places your ideal reader is hanging out: blogs, forums, social networks, who they’re following, the podcasts they listen to, etc – this will be the basis of where you will look for places to be useful and build your profile.

Today I want to focus on two things: prolific usefulness through commenting, and networking/relational growth.

The first idea, prolific commenting, is definitely a low-level strategy that won’t bring heaps of traffic, but it will help you gain confidence and get the lay of the land. It’s also useful for getting your name out there, as people begin to see it and remember you. I talk about this strategy more in episodes 9 and 20, but it’s a really good place to start. I do give extra tips in today’s episode about how to do this well on Twitter and even in YouTube comments.

The second strategy revolves around strategic networking and building relationships with others in your niche that can help to grow your profile. There are quite a few ways to do this, from informal online networking to pitching influencers, and I list the options available to you, and the best ways of making them work.

To listen to today’s episode and to view the show notes, head to ProBlogger Podcast Episode 36 Find Readers for Your Blog Through Commenting and Relationships

Further Reading