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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

 

3 Growth Hacking Strategies for Bloggers to Quadruple Their Blog Traffic without SEO

This is a guest contribution from Anil Agarwal.

Who else wants more blog traffic?

Hands down, everyone wants it.

Unfortunately getting traffic to a blog is not easy. Every single visitor counts.

One of the hardest things for most bloggers is boosting their blog traffic. If you have a fairly new blog, it’s definitely a daunting task.

The #1 reason most bloggers quit is because they don’t see any growth in their traffic.

If you’re one among them, this article is for you! We’ll discuss a few growth-hacking tips to grow your blog traffic without actually doing any SEO. Are you ready?

What is growth hacking all about?

Growth hacking is the trending keyword phrase these days. It was first introduced by startup marketer Sean Ellis to redefine the startup marketing role.

Growth hacking is a method of achieving incredible growth by using non-traditional strategies.

In simple terms, growth hacking means driving measurable results by focusing on what WORKS! It is similar to 80-20 rule, identifying the 20% of your activities that will result in 80% of the gain. When you apply growth hacking, you’ll get more results in less time by focusing on the things that matter.

So how can you use growth hacking techniques to increase your overall traffic?

1. Reverse engineer your content creation

The simplest way to increase your blog traffic is to create more content, right?

Wrong.

Posting articles daily is simply not going to help. You need to write content that attracts more links, shares and comments from others. How can you do that?

You simply need to reverse engineer your content creation strategy. Instead of writing posts without thinking twice, it’s better to create content that is proven to work.

This is also known as skyscraper technique, it was the term coined by Brian Dean from Backlinko. And it is one of the most effective ways to increase your overall blog traffic.

Skyscraper technique involves in three steps:

  1. Finding link-worthy content
  2. Making it even better than the competition
  3. Reaching to the right people to get more buzz

Let’s discuss these three steps now.

Step 1: Find top performing content in your niche

I know that finding profitable keywords isn’t easy. But you can use tools like Buzzsumo for finding share-worthy content in your industry. Whether you know it or not, Buzzsumo is one of the best tools out there to help you come up with amazing content ideas. You can discover a lot of high-performing blog posts, videos, Infographics, etc using Buzzsumo.

Head over to Buzzsumo and enter the keyword phrases you want.

For instance, my favorite blog topic is “SEO marketing” and here it how to use Buzzsumo to find content that gets more shares and links.

seo

Instantly after entering your keyword you’re not only provided with lots of articles, but it also shows you the total number of shares including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

In the above scenario, we’re came up with excellent post ideas like “17 SEO Myths”, “15 SEO Best Practices” etc. All of these are great blog post ideas and you can definitely improve them by providing more data, creating Infographics, or doing expert roundups, etc.

On the left side, it also has some filters to help you find what type of content form you want (including articles, Infographics, videos etc).

Buzzsumo is not only free (although it has premium version) but it is amazing way to find high quality content in your industry.

Step 2: Make it even better (create timeless content around it)

Once you have a list of great content ideas that are proven to bring you results, you now need to make it even better.

One of the simplest ways to get more backlinks, shares and comments on your blog posts is to making your content a “one-stop source”. How can you do that?

If you’re posting textual format of contents on your blog, write detailed posts.

In one of his blog posts, Neil Patel discovered an “average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words.”

seo1

Similarly, if you’re creating videos or Infographics, make them better by creating an appealing design. In summary, add something extra to the high performing content in your niche and make it epic.

Step 3: Outreach to the right people to get more buzz

Once you have epic content on your blog, it’s now time to reaching out to the right people in your niche.

How can you find out the people who are interested in promoting your content?

You can again use Buzzsumo. Here’s how. When you enter a keyword on Buzzsumo, it shows you who linked to the top content including the social sharers.

seo2

Now, reach out to them. Connect them on twitter, find out their emails and start creating more buzz. You can also use tools like Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer, ahrefs etc to find all of the links pointing to your competitor’s content. And when you reach out to them after creating a link worthy post, you’ll have more chances of getting links to your sites too by asking them without being pushy.

#2. Using content upgrades to boost your email list

Whether you agree it or not, email list is golden. Having a list of hungry email subscribers is an asset for every blogger.

Having an email list will not only increase your blog traffic but it will also boost your sales and trust with the readers. Email list is the second biggest traffic source for Neil Patel’s QuickSprout blog. And for most bloggers the same is true – email list is their top traffic source!

So why not invest your time wisely on building an email list instead of focusing on SEO? Instead of trying all the list building strategies under the sun, it’s better to go for one crazy idea that increases your list. Content upgrade is one such list building strategy that helps your boost your subscribers quickly.

What is a content upgrade?

A content upgrade is an extra bonus that is extremely relevant to your post topic.

For instance, if you’ve a popular blog post titled “10 ways to supercharge your SEO”, you could create something like “on-page SEO checklist” to use as a content upgrade to boost your email list.

A content upgrade looks something like this:

seo3

How using content upgrades can triple your email list?

Content upgrades are usually given away for free to the blog visitors in exchange of their emails.

Content upgrades are extremely specific. Hence, they convert really well. If you want to convert normal website visitors into subscribers, start using content upgrades.

Do they work? Yes, they do.

Brian Dean gives away a post-specific resource on one of his most popular posts.

Did you know that he got a whopping 785% increase in conversions (compared to the previous month).

seo4

That’s A LOT, right? That’s the reason why you need to start focusing on creating content upgrades for your top performing posts or pages.

So how to create content upgrades to increase your overall email list and traffic?

First off, find out five top-performing posts on your blog.

Create a list of posts that got more comments and shares. Also use Google Analytics to find out the top pages that are sending you more traffic from search engines.

Once you’ve the list of popular contents on your blog, you now need to create content upgrades. You can create a bonus, checklist, video or anything that adds more value to the current post.

And you can use tools like LeadPages, SumoMe etc to create content upgrades on your blog posts or pages to grab more email subscribers.

#3. Create an “after post” checklist to get more visibility

Did you know that you’ll get better results when you spend most of your time on promoting your content rather than creating it? Blog post promotion is to get more visibility on your blog posts.

If you’ve creating a great blog post, instead of sitting back and waiting for someone to find your content – it’s way better to create a content promoting routine.

After you publish a blog post, make sure to do the following:

Promoting on social media: Social media is the new SEO. If you want to boost your overall website traffic, be active on social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ etc. Almost every blogger on earth use these social media networks, so you’ll get more exposure for your blog posts if they have attention grabbing headlines.

Posting to forums: Find out the relevant forums in your niche and connect with the other bloggers. Share and comment on their links, and whenever you have posted something on your blog, make sure to submit your links. And ask for a feedback from other bloggers. This is the surefire way to get more visibility on your posts.

Submit to social bookmarking sites: Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious – all are social bookmarking sites that have huge readers. If your post does well on these sites, take it for granted that your overall search traffic will also increase overtime.

Leave comments on other blogs: Want to get more comments on your blog posts? Then, start leaving thoughtful comments on other blogs that are similar to your blog’s topic. Use their names while leaving comments and ask intelligent questions to spread your name across the blogosphere.

Here’s a great blog post checklist written by Pat Flynn, although it was written a couple of years ago – but it’s still worth following.

Spend 2/3 time on promoting “others” stuff and spend the remaining 1/3rd time on promoting your stuff. Why?

Everyone wants more shares, likes, tweets and comments. But most people don’t spend much time on promoting others. What happens if you spend most of your time on promoting others stuff instead of yours? Bang!!

You’ll get more attention from the bloggers. You’re also helping the community by promoting quality stuff on your networks like Facebook and twitter. Eventually, you’ll get more visibility, followers and shares on your own posts too.

So where do you go next?

Then see the results and watch your website traffic grow. Increasing traffic to a blog or website is not a rocket science. By following what works, you can dramatically boost traffic to your blog posts.

Check out the growth hack techniques mentioned above, pick anyone of them and start implementing.

The best part about using growth hacking to your content marketing strategy is this: you’ll get results really fast. They don’t take months to see the results. You’ll see the rewards within days or weeks.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and apply growth hacking techniques to improve your blog traffic.

Do you have any more strategies that will increase website traffic without doing any SEO? Let me know if you’ve any more insightful growth hacking tips in the comments.

Anil Agarwal is the guy behind Bloggers Passion blog where he is helping readers in building their first professional blog and at the same time, helping them build high quality traffic to their blogs.

ProBlogger Podcast: Turn Blog Surfers into Loyal Readers by Building a Sticky Blog

How to get blog readers to keep coming back for more: ProBlogger.net

When someone lands on your blog for the first time, you want them to stay as long as possible.

In he last two ProBlogger Podcast episodes, I’ve shared some tactics for finding readers by first asking yourselves some really important questions, and by discussing two types of content that you need. In today’s episode, I talk about how you keep those readers there by building a sticky blog. What I mean by that is having your blog set up so there is something that motivates readers to explore it further, making the decision to return and keep connected in some way, which I think is a fundamental component of any successful blog.

I always say it’s much better to find a new reader and hook them into becoming a regular than it is to have to find fresh readers every day. This is really how readership grows over time.

In the podcast, I discuss the ways you can make your blog completely irresistible to first-time viewers. From first impressions to subscription options, I go through all the things I believe a blog needs in order to be sticky. How can you build anticipation? What kind of content works for recurrent traffic? How can you drive interaction from your audience? What are their incentives to stick around?

Click here to listen to the episode 35 of the ProBlogger Podcast and view the show notes, and as always, I’d love to get your feedback on this episode.

Further Reading

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

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

Greetings from sunny Queensland, where we are hosting the sixth annual ProBlogger Training Event! We kicked off the two days of learning and connecting with our fellow bloggers with some inspiring words from Darren himself, despite a few sore heads in the crowd after a solid night at the Welcome Networking Event last night!. Tonight is our poolside party, which promises to be even bigger. The theme is “shine” and I hear Darren’s got something extremely eye-catching up his sleeve to wear – make sure you’re following the #PBEVENT hashtag on social media to see for yourself!

Read on for this week’s round up of what’s making news in blogging.

Why Slack is Exploding as a Community-Building Platform // Hootsuite

We are using Slack at PBEVENT for all our team communication and while it’s taking some of us a while to get our heads round it, it’s proving to be a popular choice for community-building in general. Read why Hootsuite think it’s an “email killer”.

Is Google Experimenting with Bringing Twitter Into Desktop Search Results? // Search Engine Land

It might be time to dust off that old Twitter account. When was the last time you actively used it? Could be worth reviving…

Want More Blog Traffic? Focus on Growing Subscribers // Hubspot

The email list. The one everyone tells you to have because it’s so important for reaching your readers no matter what social network they’re on. It’s still the biggest tip. Hubspot tells you how to make it a priority.

Periscope Now has 10 Million Accounts – Time for Your Brand to Start Live-Streaming? // Social Media Today

Live Streaming is still the buzzword of the moment. This article explains why you should be jumping on that trend.

How to Optimize Your Facebook Posts with Facebook Audience Insights // Social Media Examiner

We’ve said it all along – the key to Facebook success is knowing your particular audience. Delve into the insights to help you figure out a content strategy that works.

 

So what’s news with you? What article or tip have you found useful lately?

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.

20 Tips for Better Business Blogging: How to Use Blogging to Generate Leads

Lead Blogging

This is a guest contribution from Zoe Uwem.

Blogging can be an effective lead generation strategy, if done correctly.

The majority of companies that hope to use content marketing to grow their businesses all understand that blogging is one of the most effective ways to go about it.

Big corporations, start-ups and even smaller companies are buying into it. Internet marketers, freelancers and agencies all use blogging as a means of generating qualified leads for their businesses.

Recent statistics show that B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not. In addition, marketers who give precedence to blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.

In another report published on the Huffington Post, members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) went from agreeing that blogging has great value to listing out 12 benefits of business blogging.

Whether you’re running a sole venture or managing a big corporation, a business blog can work for you in generating leads, even when you’re sleeping or while on vacation in Zurich. There’s no paying for ad space, no paying of affiliate commission, and no offline networking which obviously takes more time and resources.

Not only can a blog serve as an evangelism tool for generating leads for your business, you can also use it to creatively position yourself as an expert in your field.

What’s more, with a blog you can:

  • Reach more customers through strategic content marketing
  • Get the word out about your offering
  • Boost company visibility or even ameliorate your brand image
  • Target a global audience
  • Expose your products and services
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Build loyalty

Blogging is also a great medium for encouraging customer interaction and enhancing engagement.

But, how do you make blogging work for your business? What are the things to do to bring all these benefits of blogging to bear on your business?

If you’d like to build a following for your brand, generate quality leads, and ultimately grow your business through blogging, here are 20 things you can do to pull that off successfully:

1. Start with a Plan

Business blogging, unlike regular blogging, is blogging with a purpose. You’re not blogging just for fun (or as a hobby) but, you’re blogging because there’s a particular goal you want to achieve—to generate leads and grow your business.

With that in mind, if you want to see results, then you need a solid plan in place.

A solid plan here implies setting SMART goals and devising doable strategies. It involves knowing what you want, who you want to attract (the kind of leads you want to generate), where you’re going and how you’ll get there.

Before even writing your first blog post, develop a blueprint with which you’ll meet your business blogging objectives.

There are a lot of factors that can affect your blog business plan, some of which include your target market, your niche, your business size and even your business goals.

So, when making a plan, remember to consider all of these in order to make your goals truly SMART.

Further Reading: Setting Blogging Goals: Why You Need Them, and How to Write Them

2. Blog from Your Business Website

For effectiveness, let your blog be an extension of your business website; this can be a subdomain or a subdirectory of your main business domain.

Subdirectory and Subdomain

Blogging from a separate domain may not produce much results because most site visitors coming from traffic sources like search engines and social media will first land on your blog. It’ll take extra work to get them to go over to your business website where your products and services are displayed.

On the other hand, blogging from your business website helps drive traffic to your product/service page, convert the traffic into leads, and ultimately drive long-term results.

3. Develop a Blogging Culture

By blogging culture, I mean a set of strictly followed practices that are well-thought out and tailored to help you meet your blogging goals.

I love to call this kind of practice “systematized blogging” because it entails following a set system consistently to achieve results.

This involves practices such as following a publishing schedule, planning an editorial calendar, concentrating on the same topic and so on.

Developing your own blogging culture will help you remain focused and help you meet your blogging goals fast.

You might want to follow general rules and tips spread across the blogosphere, but it’s always better to come up with your own rules to see what works for you and what doesn’t, well because all businesses are not the same.

Further Reading: 3 Ways Scheduling Will Make You a Better Blogger

4. Think Long Term

Even though you can get near-quick results from business blogging, it’s vital that you don’t lose focus on the long-term aspect of things.

Can the content you’re creating today still show up in search results five years from now? Or, are you putting up a subnormal body of words that Google will kick out in five months’ time?

Truth is, it’s always better to create evergreen content. It’s always better to think long-term because that’s how to get results that are worth your effort, time and investment.

Evergreen content can drive steady traffic, generate consistent leads and produce regular conversion for a long time.

hubspot quote

Create something that adds value, something that helps people, something that both humans and search engines love. This might even mean investing in great content (see our next point below).

Here are some quick do’s and don’ts of evergreen content by 60 Second Marketer:

Evergreen content

Related: How to Write Great Blog Content

5. Invest in Killer Content that Provides Value and Truly Helps People

Running a blog is primarily about helping people, providing them with valuable information, and answering their questions.

To do this effectively, you need good content; content that provides value. More or less, the quality of your blog posts reflects the quality of leads you generate from your blog.

Successful content marketing now depends on the content quality. To get this right, let your focus be on providing value rather than on selling something.

There are a handful of ways you can provide value to readers. One of such is by helping them solve simple problems that are related to your industry.

For instance, if you operate a marketplace for developers to sell their apps, see about providing the developers (your target customers) with content that can help them improve on their app marketing skills; see about helping them make more money through their sales by offering them tips on how to market their products effectively.

Invest your time, money and resources in truly valuable content. I recommend you hire a professional writer if you don’t have the time or aptitude to create such content yourself.

6. Market your Blog Like it’s the Only Thing that Matters

That’s because the success of your blog (and that of your lead generation campaign) largely depends on how many people know that your blog exists in the first place.

You may have the best content ever, but if nobody knows that the content is there on your blog, of course nobody will go there to read it.

Imagine standing in front of an empty classroom to deliver the best lecture ever. You’d be wasting all that time talking your socks off, right? And worse, nobody is listening.

That’s a bummer and that’s the same way it is when you publish the best content on a virtually empty blog, traffic wise.

This does not rule out having truly quality content on your blog. While having quality content on your blog is vital, it’s even more vital that you get the right people to come to your blog, regularly.

The number of people who visit your blog can determine the number of leads you generate, but not necessarily the quality.

There’re a whole lot of ways you can market your blog, but you have to be tactical and invest your time smartly by focusing only on those strategies that are worth your time and resources.

Guest blogging, advertising, social media marketing and blogger outreach campaigns are some of the strategies you might want to consider.

Growing blog traffic

It’s all about going for targeted traffic, driving them to your blog and getting them to become interested in what you have to offer. Period!

Further Reading: How to Find Readers For Your Blog

7. Practice “Diversified Blogging”

Just because written content is the most widely accepted type of content doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try out other types. Add some fuel to your blog with the help of images, videos, slideshares, infographics and the like.

Publishing diverse kinds of content broadens not only your audience, but also your reach because people will want to share your content on a variety of platforms other than on the traditional bookmarking sites.

Again, you may find that there might be people who prefer other forms of content to written content.

For instance, the chart below shows an increased demand for infographics:

Search demand for infographics

8. Have a Solid Conversion Strategy

As leads begin to verge on your blog, don’t let your blogging effort be in vain by letting them go without purchasing from you or at least leaving their details.

Have a solid conversion channel set up on your blog, for converting ordinary visitors into regular visitors and then into loyal readers and ultimately to purchasing customers.

Some of the best ways to do this are:

  1. Strategically placing well-written calls to action on your blog and website
  2. Collecting visitors details through a well-configured email optin box.
  3. Using every opportunity you have to link to your sales page/landing page from your blog
  4. Systematically integrating your services into your blog articles

To make this even more effective, offer an incentive. It could be a free trial or a truly useful resource that can help them in any way.

Whatever it is, just ensure that it’s attractive enough to reel them in.

A reliable conversion strategy is the tipping point between an ordinary visitor becoming interested in what you sell.

Conversion

Without a solid conversion strategy in place, your whole “blogging for leads” endeavor may not produce as much result as you’d expect, thus the importance of getting this step right.

9. Take Your Blog Seriously and Be Consistent

Want to generate serious leads from your blog without being serious? You can’t be serious!

It’s not all about setting up a blog and creating a solid business blogging plan, you’d have to sit up and be serious with your blog; you’d have to follow your plans and goals seriously in order to turn your blog into a lead-gen machine.

In my escapade as a professional freelance blog writer, I have come across dozens of abandoned business blogs. And, whenever I asked to know the reasons those blogs were abandoned, the blog owners, in general, would blame it on lack of time, no one to create content on a regular basis and all that excuses.

But the truth really is, those who abandon their blogs are not serious about blogging.

For a blog to produce results, you need to take it seriously.

Also, as one blogging to generate leads and attract clients, you have to be consistent, not just in your publishing frequency, but also in your blog topic.

You really shouldn’t be writing about catfish farming this week, and switching to writing about how you partied in an airplane last month.

Maintaining an considerable level of consistency not only show that you know what you’re doing but also show that you’re serious about it and so every other person should be serious with you, too.

No one will probably be serious and consistent in visiting and reading your blog if you aren’t serious and consistent with it yourself.

Further Reading: How to Get Serious About Blogging and Make It Work for Your Business

10. Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines

This is especially important if you’re looking to build a magnetic system that attracts leads to your business on auto-pilot.

One sure way to show up in search results is by regularly updating your blog with epic content. By continually publishing informative and actionable posts that are search engine optimized, your content will rank high on search engines thereby bringing more people to your website, which will ultimately earn you more leads, sales and revenue.

Statistics show that over 70% of buyers use search engines at the beginning of their purchase process.

SEO

Organic search traffic is of extreme importance. If you can build this system, then you will have a sort of always-on-duty marketing tool that’s available 24/7 to bring you quality leads.

11. Be Approachable, Helpful, and Friendly

Sometimes, it’s not all about providing great content. If you really want to create impact that can translate into leads and sales, you may have to condescend and relate with your audience at their level.

For instance, if a reader reaches out to you for help, maybe to ask a question, be kind enough to respond. I would even recommend you sometimes reach to some of them and bring them to the spotlight. This can be done by mentioning a reader in your post or even posting an intelligent question one of them might have asked and answering it there for the rest to benefit from.

One question to answer is, if one of your readers meets you sitting at McDonald’s, can they come up to you freely, without feeling fettered?

Be approachable; be sociable and you’ll find that you can gain more instead of being inimical.

12. Gather Feedback and Encourage Interaction

You want your business to be better than it was yesterday, right? You want to be able to provide your audience with exactly what they need, uh?

The best way to do that is to gather feedback, and there’s only one person that can provide you with genuine, practical feedback— your blog reader.

Continually improving on your approach, strategy and offering is important for remaining indispensable in the hearts of people, especially in today’s fast-changing world of advanced technology.

Gathering customer information and assimilating the same helps you to actually improve.

There are a number of ways through which you can gather customer information. For instance, you can conduct surveys, host live sessions, use in-product request forms, or even encourage them to send in their thoughts via email.

Beyond gathering feedback, you should also encourage interaction. One benefit of interacting with your audience is that it opens doors for opportunities and also gives you the chance to learn from them the things that really matter to them.

Interaction can be achieved through the comment sections of your blog and through social media.

13. Know Your Audience and Know What You’re Doing

Imagine blogging to generate leads without actually knowing the people that are following you. That’s not cool , right?

Sure!

Successful business blogging demands that you not only know the people that are following you but actually care about them.

Do you care about your audience? (Or more honestly, how well do you care about them?) Do you care about the way they respond to your articles? Do you care about the kind of information you pass across to them?

Yet more, do you know their demography? Do you know what they want, where they hang out at (good for promoting your content), what they like, the keywords they use when searching for your kind of product/service, their preferred method of receiving information etc.?

Or, are you just blogging blindly?

Having at least an appreciable knowledge of your audience is vitally important for successfully blogging for leads.

Know your audience plus

Beyond knowing your audience, get to know your stuff; know what you’re doing. Analyze your blog often and make improvement where necessary.

14. Make Your Blog the Hub, But Don’t Be Self-Centered

Your blog should focus on helping your customers (both current and potential) solve problems related to your industry/product. But unfortunately, too many business blogs have been turned into some kind of repository for press releases, company news, and other natters.

News about your company may be interesting to you and your team, but it’s not what will ultimately exert a pull on leads and keep them engaged.

Posting what they care about should be primary. Making announcements can come in second.

However, when it comes to publishing your company news, make your blog the hub.

For instance, if you have any announcement to make, don’t go over to Twitter and rant about it without first talking about it on your blog.

The information should actually emanate from your blog to other sources and not the other way round.

This forces people to visit your blog, encourages link-building which further promotes your blog.

15. Promote Your Product/Service

While sharing helpful and interesting information with your readers, remember the purpose of doing that—to generate leads.

So, in the midst of the valuable information you’re giving out, also strategically promote your business.

You can do this by:

  • Tactically integrating your services/product in some helpful blog posts
  • Displaying some of your important web pages prominently on your blog
  • Linking to your product page or landing page from epic blog posts that receive massive traffic
  • Advertising your services, products, events etc., on your blog sidebar
  • Regularly sending well-crafted marketing emails to your blog subscribers, or by at least remembering to end every email you send with a signature showing your name and company.

Promoting your product/service doesn’t mean asking for the sale, but mildly and continuously keeping your offering in front of people who may likely buy them.

16. Be Professional, But Add a Bit of Personality

It’s important to keep your blog professional, but did you know that readers are equally interested in knowing you as a person?

Don’t be that faceless, robot-like being behind the computer that’s always posting. You have a name, right? So why keep the default “Admin” as the publisher? Maybe a picture of you and your team will do over on a well-written Team Members page.

I know you’ve got awesomely actionable tips but, blog posts with a sense of personal touch tend to do great as well. So, once in a while share a little beautiful story about yourself to inspire and endear your readers to you. That way, they’re likely going to buy from you or at least become loyal visitors which is all good.

Emotional stories work pretty well at this. The charts will help you choose the right emotions to target:

Popular emotions

And another one:

emotions

17. Establish and Portray Yourself as an Authority

That’s because without being or presenting yourself as an expert, nobody may really listen to what you have to say.

Except your mom. And maybe your cat, too.

So, get your skates on, do epic content, talk like you invented that niche, guest blog on some top sites, get interviewed and they’ll listen to you.

Why is it important that people listen to you? Well, it’s because you can only get their attention when they’re listening, and getting their attention is essential for conversion.

Good news is, with a blog, you can set yourself apart, establish & portray yourself as an expert, and grab people’s attention through authoritative posts.

18. Encourage Your Readers to Share your Content

You don’t have to do the work alone; this is why you have to create viral content and have social sharing buttons on every blog post you publish.

When your readers share your content, other people in their network will see the content and head over to your blog, resulting in increased reach and more leads.

Social media and blogs generate real customers

To get readers to share your content, create content that resonate with them, kit out your blog with easy-to-use social sharing buttons, lead the way by sharing first, and openly ask them to share the content if they love it.

Related: 10 Quick Tips for Going Viral

19. Demonstrate Positive Results of Your Product/Service

Use your blog as a medium to demonstrate how remarkably awesome and result-oriented your product and/or service is.

This will egg people on to purchase from you.

You can do this by quickly sharing, in a blog post, a success story of how your product helped a person solve a problem. Case study articles are good for this, too.

Even more, you can interview some of your clients and publish the interview on your blog. You can also invite some of them to share their positive experience through guest posting.

People are more likely to buy from you when they see the positive results your product is producing.

20. Remember to Sell

A lot of businesses that blog to attract customers may end up selling nothing, not because the visitors were never interested in buying from them but because they never sold.

Unlike promoting your product/service mildly but continuously, here, you’re bold to ask for the deal. This shouldn’t be done every time but once in a while, lest you bug your readers.

Wrapping Up

Running a blog for your business holds many benefits especially when following business blogging best practices and the right steps to successful content marketing– developing your goals, building your audience, publishing creative content and so on.

business blogging

Beyond generating leads, you can nurture those leads and eventually convert them into buying customers.

This list of business blogging best practices is far from exhaustive, but if you’d be diligent enough to apply them, you’d be on your way to generating quality leads with a business blog.

Zoe Uwem is an entrepreneur, a successful freelance blog writer, copywriter, and a content marketing expert who is passionate about helping businesses generate quality leads, reach more customers and make more sales. Zoe writes for and helps companies spread the word about their businesses. You can hire him to write for you, too. Find Zoe on his website, ZoeUwem.com, or connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

2 Incredibly Innovative Ways to Draft a Spectacular Blog Post

typing hands

This is a guest contribution from Lorraine Reguly.

“Damn. It’s not perfect, but it’ll have to do.”

“Shit. I wanted it to be better than that.”

Have you ever felt that way before hitting the “schedule” or “publish” button?

I bet you have, during at least one point in your blogging career.

Writing is difficult for many people, and bloggers are no exception. Creating a stellar blog post is the goal, but drafting a blog post often takes a lot of time and frustration. Many bloggers know what they want to say, but just can’t seem to follow an outline or compose a post in a logical order on their first try.

Perfectionists, especially, suffer from this. I know this to be a fact, because I am the mother of all perfectionists! Not only am I a blogger, but I’m a writer AND an editor, too.

As such, I have pretty high standards, and I tend to edit as I write. Most of the time, it drives me crazy. I can’t stand making mistakes, and I hate typos with a passion. When I’m writing with a pen, the paper ends up looking like something a six-year-old might write, full of scribbles. When I’m writing on my laptop, the “backspace” key gets hit more than any other!

To tame my perfectionistic ways and combat overuse of that key, I’ve learned to approach writing by creating drafts first, using two incredibly innovative methods.

The first method is by using stream-of-consciousness writing. The second is by blindfolding myself.

Sometimes I even use the two together!

Innovative Method #1: Stream-of-Consciousness Writing

By definition, stream-of-consciousness writing involves writing down whatever comes to mind, ignoring typos, omitting periods, and basically separating the writing from the editing process. Stream-of-consciousness writing does not have to be logical or follow an order. Instead, rules can be broken and complete freedom from writing conventions should be had.

Psst. Let me tell you a secret. I don’t usually swear online. It’s a bit unprofessional, and the vulgarity of cursing often turns people off.

But guess what?

Swearing can attract people, too. Many people curse, and if they see you doing it, they’ll know you’re a real person, too.

Are you the same person online as off?

Do you “pretend” to be a little bit better, a little bit nicer, and end up being – or feeling – just a little bit phony instead?

With stream-of-consciousness writing, the best thing you can do is to be yourself, your TRUE self. Swear as often as you want. You can delete the curse words later. After all, that is what the editing process is for!

When writing this post, I thought of a few different opening lines.

Here’s an example of how I originally wanted to begin this article:

“Here we go again. More f@!*in’ advice from a damn guest poster.”

“Shee-iiit. She’d better deliver the goods.”

That is SO NOT ME!

But you have to admit, it IS kind of interesting. It also probably would have caused you to continue reading, right?

Either that, or it would have caused you to immediately move on to another post.

As you can see, I wasn’t willing to take that risk. Alternatively, for demonstration purposes, I included it in the body of the post. I wanted to show you that you can move things around when you are finished writing. Again, that’s what the editing process is for, and why posts such as how to edit your own blog posts have been written already!

Benefits of Stream-of-Consciousness Writing

1. You will not be burdened by the constricts of grammar and punctuation.

2. You will feel freer once you get into it.

3. You will appreciate and understand the difference between the writing process, the editing and the formatting process.

4. You can drop the F-bomb… as often as you like!

5. You won’t be judged on what you initially write.

6. You will get addicted to the freedom stream-of-consciousness writing affords you, and you will become more productive as a result.

7. The quality of your blog posts will improve! (Well, hopefully, they will!)

Innovative Method #2: Writing While Blindfolded

This is a great option for you if you tend to write and edit simultaneously – like I do!

To write while blindfolded, you would obviously have to be working at a computer in order to create a draft this way. I don’t know anyone who can write with a pen on paper while blindfolded!

To achieve the blindfolded state, there are many things you could do. You could simply take a scarf or a mask of some sort and cover your eyes, or create one using this template.

Closing your eyes isn’t enough; the temptation to peek is too great! By physically covering your eyes, you will be more conscious of the fact that you have to keep them covered in order to achieve your writing goal.

There are many other ways for you to “blindfold” yourself. You could take an old pair of sunglasses and paint them with nail polish so that you cannot see through them. You could tape paper over them. You could use a cut-up tea towel or pillowcase or some other soft material. If you have access to a dental or surgeon’s mask, you could cover your eyes instead of your mouth and nose with that. Get innovative. Make this exercise fun! Blindfolds come in many shapes and sizes!

4 Benefits of Writing While Blindfolded

1. You might feel a bit ridiculous wearing a blindfold, but the benefits that you will reap will be worth it.

2. You will have a better focus on your content, and won’t be distracted by any typos you see.

3. You’ll train yourself to write faster. Of course, you can improve your writing skills by learning how to type faster, too. ;)

4. You’ll have a greater appreciation for the various stages of editing and formatting a blog post.

Relevant links and images can be added when the bulk of your post has been written.

You can re-order the points of your post, fix the typos, and correct your grammar and punctuation then, too. For the third time, that’s what the editing process is for!

(If you need assistance editing your blog posts, you could always ask me for help. I’ve received recognition for my editing services from BookVetter, from a few authors, and from bloggers, and am rapidly building a plethora of testimonials from others for the quality of my services.)

Innovation Is Key

Innovation when writing can help you create better blog posts.

What other things have you discovered that have helped you write better?

Let’s discuss them in the comments.

Lorraine Reguly is an English teacher-turned-blogger who offers both writing and editing services to anyone in need. She has been a guest blogger on various websites, is an author, and is currently giving away a free blogging ebook. She can also help you turn your ebook into a print book! Visit Wording Well for more details.

Opening image of typing hands courtesy of Naypong and FreeDigitalPhotos.net, although altered with text by guest post author.

ProBlogger Podcast: Two Types of Content to Help You Find Readers for Your Blog

ProBlogger Podcast: Two Types of Content to Help You Find Readers for Your Blog

Today’s episode of the ProBlogger Podcast is part two of a mini Finding Readers series (you can find out more about part one here in the Two Questions to Ask to Help You Find Readers for Your Blog), and it’s all about what you’re writing when it comes to getting traffic.

After you’ve asked yourself those two very important questions in the previous podcast, you can move on to fulfilling that brief on your blog with today’s.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the journey I’ve taken in blogging, and as I look back I can see that the strategies and techniques I used to drive traffic weren’t as important as the content on my blog. I’ll talk about what I mean in a few episodes’ time (as you may find those techniques useful yourself), but today it’s all about what you’re serving to your readers.

In this episode I go over the two things I think you should provide to your community which will both help you grow that community and find new readers, and also keep the current ones sticking around. It’s really important, particularly if you are at the start of your blogging journey. I would recommend that if that is you, that you focus on today’s topic 100%, before you worry about anything else. It’s real foundation stuff that will not only help you now, but will reap you the benefits in years to come.

As always you can find the podcast at ProBlogger.com/podcast, and today’s episode and show notes here.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this topic, so feel free to chat here or in the comments on the show notes.

Further Reading

How to Build Your Blog’s Audience with Long Form Evergreen Content
Top Takeaways from ProBlogger Perth Training Event: Content, Blog Design, Social Media, Productivity, and Monetization
Most Popular Posts on ProBlogger 2014: Creating Content
The Nine Ingredients that Make Great Content: Kissmetrics
How to Write a Blog Post –  Your Five-Point Checklist to Rock a Perfect Blog Post: CoSchedule

4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Drive Traffic To Your Blog

4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Drive Traffic To Your Blog - tried and tested tips to boost your traffic with some simple changes. On ProBlogger.netThis is a guest contribution from Marie-Eve Vallieres.

Nobody puts Pinterest in a corner. With 73 million users (85% of which are females), an expanding presence outside the United States and upcoming buyable pins, this social media platform/search engine is now more powerful and sophisticated than ever.

After months of pinning diligently and engaging with my subscribers, my analytics exploded, figuratively speaking – Pinterest has become the #1 referral for my blog, bringing a steady flow of high-quality visitors (that stay on my site for more than a microsecond and comment on/share the content) every day.

And that’s the beauty of Pinterest right there: their algorithm is not aggressive in the way Facebook’s is. People are either following your boards or they are not. There is no such thing as playing the Pinterest game or paying for advertisement in the hopes that an infinitely small slice of your subscribers will get to see your post in their feed. Pinterest popularity is entirely a question of how your subscribers engage with you and how easy you make it for them to share your content.

Here a few tested and tried tips that helped me reach over 160,000 followers on Pinterest.

Create bespoke pins

4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Drive Traffic To Your Blog

Millions of pins are being shared every minute. Your subscribers are constantly being thrown new information. How could they possibly know that your content is more relevant than the rest?

Think about it: by creating custom-made pins, you will immediately stand out on your subscriber’s home feed because you will present something they’ve never seen before. You want to create something that will, 1: catch their attention, and 2: that will make them want to click through. Spend an hour or two in Photoshop to create a memorable template that you will adapt for each new pin and that your subscribers, in time, will come to recognize and associate with your brand.

There are four “rules” you should follow when it comes to creating bespoke pins:

  • Always opt for vertical images. Pinterest automatically resizes pins to the same exact width. Play around with your image’s length in order to create something big enough to be noticed.
  • Don’t shy away from bright and bold colors. You do want to catch your readers’ attention, don’t you?
  • Clearly state what the pin is about. Opt for concise yet engaging wording that reflects the content of your blog post.
  • Stay in line with your blog’s visual identity. Use the same fonts or color scheme if you have one.

Find out what blog posts are already being pinned

The first custom pins you will want to create are for blog posts that are already being shared on the platform; enhance the appearance of your own popular content in order to make it even more shareable.

In order to find out which posts are attracting the attention of other users, simply follow the URL www.pinterest.com/source/YourBlog.com/ and see what comes up. These are the posts you want to make as Pinterest-friendly as possible.

4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Drive Traffic To Your Blog

Be loyal to your online persona

Nobody likes a spammer; don’t be that person who only shares his or her own content. Strengthen your brand’s identity by pinning things that are relevant to your niche or personality that you haven’t created. Identify lacks in your competitor’s strategy and enforce them on your own boards. Engage with the influencers in your community. Participate in collaborative boards. This will ensure that you won’t bore or annoy your subscribers, and that your brand’s presence on Pinterest will be as organic as possible.

Make your blog Pinterest-friendly

It’s one thing to improve your Pinterest interventions directly on the platform; it’s another to fine-tune your blog in order to make it inherently more pin-able. There are two ways to encourage your readers to pin your content (I strongly encourage you use both and not just one of the two).

First is by adding Pinterest buttons to your social sharing plugin – this method will allow your readers to share the post straight to their boards, as the featured image and title will generate automatically.

The second and most effective option is by adding a “Pin It” plugin for your images – this, on the other hand, will enable your readers to pin whatever image they like in the post (a hover Pin It button will appear when they mouse over your images) and create their personalized caption. This technique works particularly well if you use lots of vertical images on your site.

Marie-Eve Vallieres is a professional travel blogger at ToEuropeAndBeyond.com and social media strategist from Montreal. She has been to more than 20 countries, lived abroad in both France and the U.K., and is always on the lookout for authentic experiences wherever she travels – as long as she has WiFi.