ProBlogger Podcast: Blog Tips to Help You Make Money Blogging

By Darren Rowse: Blogger, Speaker, Author and Online Entrepreneur

About this podcast   English    United States

The ProBlogger Podcast is designed to help you build a better blog. With a mix of teaching, case studies and actionable challenges Darren Rowse will teach you to create compelling content, find readers for your blog, deepen the engagement you have with those readers and to make money through a variety of income streams so that you can sustain your blogging. Darren has been been blogging since 2002 and making a full time living from his blogs for over a decade. His blogs Digital-Photography-School.com and ProBlogger.net are read by over 5 million readers per month. If you’re looking to take your blogs to the next level and make money online - this is the podcast for you.
April 16, 2018
Tools and Techniques for Blogging While Travelling Today I tackle a question from a listener about blogging on the road. Carmen Fellows asked about technicalities such as how to get content online and ways to access your blog. How can you balance blogging while traveling for work or vacation? It depends on the situation, and sometimes it’s a juggling act.   While you’re away, here are seven approaches to try when it comes to blogging: Take a complete break, and give your readers a break too Work harder, and schedule as much as you can before you go Highlight previous content, or feature a “Best of” series Schedule one of more guest bloggers Blog on the road Use posts that are easy to create (polls, embeddable content, link posts, etc.) Do a combination of the above If you plan on blogging on the road, think about where you can find internet access, and whether you want to bring your computer equipment or leave it behind. There are pros and cons to bringing and using devices such as a smartphone, iPad and laptop. How much do you really need to do with your blog? Working while you’re away can have an impact on what you’re there to do, whether it’s to have fun with your family or speak at a conference. Allow yourself to be present. It’s okay (and important) to have time off from your blog. Links and Resources for Tools and Techniques to Blog Effectively on the Road: How to Take a Break from Your Blog Further Listening Blogger Apps for Smartphone and Tablet Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hi there and welcome to Episode 243 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com – a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks all designed to help you as a blogger to start a great blog, to grow that blog in terms of the content on it but also your audience, and the engagement you have with that audience, and then to build profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about what we do over at problogger.com. Particularly, check out our two courses once you’re there, look for the courses tab up in the navigation and there you will find out two courses, our How to Start a Blog course which is completely free. It will walk you through the steps to getting your blog up and running. And our brand new course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog which is all about giving you a 31 different activities that you can do to improve your blogging. Head to problogger.com, look for the courses tab and you will find them. In today’s episode, I wanna tackle a question that came in this week from one of our listeners. The listener was Carmen Fellows, thanks for asking the question, Carmen. It’s all about blogging while you’re on the road. I wanna talk to you about how I approach blogging whilst I’m away, whether it’d be for vacation or for work. Carmen particularly wanted me to talk about the technicalities of doing it, how do you actually get your content up online, whether you do it on mobile or iPad or some other way. Also, I wanna talk a little bit about balancing blogging with whatever else you’re doing in your travels, whether that’d be vacation with family and friends or work. You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/243. As I said, today’s show was inspired by Carmen Fellows who wrote in with this question via our Facebook group. She says, “Hi Darren, if you haven’t addressed this already, can you review different ways to access your blog while travelling to keep it up? For example, if I can’t get on my computer, do you find that updating via your mobile is suggested or is there a better way? I can be on the road for two to three weeks at a time and find it difficult to fit my blog in but still want to make it work.” A great question, Carmen. It is one that I get quite a bit particularly when I’m travelling. If I’m at a conference, people often ask, “What are you doing with your blog while you’re away?” There’s no one way to answer this question. Over the years, my approach has evolved. It really does depend a little bit upon the type of trip that I’m taking. If I’m away on vacation, I do tend to not want to be working as much as I do. I tend to work a little bit while I’m away most times but if I’m away for work, I’m obviously there to do something else as well. It is always a bit of a juggle and my approach does change from situation to situation. I did do a Facebook live on this topic last year that goes through seven different things that you can do while you’re trying to be away, these are seven different things that I’ve done over the years. I don’t wanna dig into these too much because you are particularly asking about how to blog while you’re on the road but I do wanna mention these seven approaches that I’ve taken when I’m away. Firstly, you can take a complete break. A break allows you to focus on your trip, it also allows your readers to have a bit of a break as well which, I think, from time to time can be good. The second approach is working harder before you go. You schedule a lot of stuff so you don’t have to do as much from the road, that’s something that can help a lot, I do quite often. Number three is to run some retrospective series while you’re still away, highlighting all the content from your archives while you’re away. You might schedule some posts so you don’t have to work quite as hard before you go. Four is using a guest blogger or a group of bloggers or someone to run your blog while you’re away enabling to take a break. Number five is blogging from the road which is what I’m gonna focus in on for the rest of this podcast. Number six was using a lighter post. There are certain types of content that you can have going up on your blog scheduled beforehand or that you do on the road that is lighter, that’s perhaps not as heavy or intense to create like running poles doing or doing embeddable content or doing links posts or a variety of those types of things. The seventh option was doing a combination of the above. If you’re interested in hearing a little bit more about those seven different options, I do link to that video and a blog post that I’ve written in today’s show notes. If you wanna learn more about blogging from the road, that’s what I do wanna focus in on now. Again, there’s a few different options and Carmen has alluded to a couple of them already. What I used to do all the time, this is before the advent of mobile phone technology which shows you how long I’ve been blogging. Mobile phones were certainly around when I first started blogging but when I started blogging in 2002, there weren’t too many smartphones. I remember having an old Nokia which did claim to allow you to get onto the internet but it was such a slow experience and a clunky experience. There’s no way you would’ve ever blog from it. At the very most, you may have been able to get into the backend of your blog and edit a blog post but that was as far as it went. In those olden days and even today, I know a lot of bloggers do this, is finding internet access along the way. This does enable you to travel without having to take any gear with you. In the old days, I would be looking for internet cafes or borrowing a computer from a friend while I was away, finding a blogger that was a local to where I was going, or going to a local library because libraries often have internet access. I guess I’d mention that because that would be one way to travel without any technology at all but still checking in from time to time. What I used to do in those old days, I guess this would still work if you do wanna travel without any technology, is to take a notebook with you and to outline your blog post while you’re travelling. That’s what I did back in 2002, 2003. I’d be on a plane with a notebook, paper, and pen, jotting down, scheduling, outlining my blog posts and the type of updates that I wanted to do. When I sat down at the library or at the internet café or at my friend’s computer, I had it all ready to go and I can blog more effectively in a short period of time that I had access to the internet. That might be one way to do it if you do wanna completely travel without too much technology. Most of us today would be wanting to blog on the road from our own device of some kind. You’ve got three main options there. It’s pretty obvious but I do wanna touch on the three main options and talk about some of the pros and cons. Firstly, as Carmen mentioned, you can blog from your mobile phone, your smartphone. I probably wouldn’t ever blog from my phone, I wouldn’t create text content on my mobile phone. I know it’s possible but I find that too clunky for my purposes, particularly if I was writing anything over 100 words or so, I find it really cumbersome to be typing on a tiny little screen. I know you could probably get a cable and sync it to your phone but even still, you’re looking at a relatively small screen. For me, at my age, with my eyesight, that’s not something that I wanna be doing too much. Having said that, there are things that I do do from my mobile phone and I would use my mobile phone to do while I was away. If I had prescheduled all of my content before I was going and I wanted to check in on social media, maybe create some social media graphics from time to time, interact with comments, moderate comments, maybe even edit blog posts, mistakes that maybe went up, I would do that on my mobile phone. If I was wanting to be mainly doing the social media side of my business while I was away, my mobile phone will be something that I would be quite comfortable using. If I was creating content, particularly text content, I would not be doing that on my mobile phone because, to me, it’s too slow, it’s too frustrating, and I reckon that I would be making a lot of mistakes. You have to look at the amount of auto correcting mistakes that we see in text messages, the amount of mistakes that I make on Twitter when I’m tweeting because it’s clunky, my thumbs don’t quite get it right too often. I wouldn’t be focusing too much on that. What I would be focusing upon is one of the next two options, the first one being the iPad. For me, this has come to life as a good option in the last year for me. I was fortunate enough to win an iPad Pro with a keyboard about 12 months ago, not the really large one, I think it’s probably about 11 inches or something around that size. That, to me, presented itself as a laptop replacement for the first time. I previously tried to use iPads to create content and travel with, I always found them a little bit clucky but the latest versions of iOS particularly have made it much more feasible for me. There are still some things that working on an iPad or another type of tablet are a little bit feebly to do, but for me, if I was traveling for a week or maybe two weeks or even three weeks and I needed to create some content while I was away and needed to do some of the other social media stuff, then I think an iPad is definitely an option that I would take because it’s so much smaller than most laptops. Of course you can get laptops these days that are very thin, the MacBook Air for example is something that I’ve used in the past. They’re tiny but an iPad is even smaller than that. If I was traveling predominantly for vacation, a more relaxing trip, and I needed to be able to check in on my work and maybe do a little bit of work if inspiration strikes or if an emergency happened, then an iPad, for me, is one way to go. The keyboard is definitely something that I would always take with me though, I find it a bit hard to type on the screen. Having that keyboard that is in the iPad cover is definitely worth having, it’s not as big as a normal keyboard but it allows me to touch type. It has apps for pretty much anything that I need to do as it pertains to my blogging. There are apps, of course, for social media, there are apps to allow you to get into the backend of your blog. Accessing the backend of your blog via a browser is totally fine as well on WordPress, I’ve done that many times. It also has apps that allow me to chat with my team, Google Analytics, all those things are available on an app now. It’s a bigger screen than a mobile as well. It allows me with my failing eyesight and fumbly fingers to do okay. I also like the fact that an iPad allows me to watch Netflix and rekindle and do other things that I do to relax as well. If you’re thinking what app should I have, I did do an episode in this podcast on that very topic, episode 207 goes through my favorite apps for iPad and iPhone, many of which are also on Android apps as well. I guess to sum up the iPad part of this talk, there’s not really anything I can’t do on an iPad. It’s just a bit slower and it’s a little bit more feebly than a computer. I guess the question in my mind, how much of that work do I need to do while I’m away? If I’m going away for vacation, I don’t need to do much of that work so I’ll take the iPad. If I’m going away for work, I would take a laptop every time. Most times when I travel for work, I take a laptop. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever taken just an iPad when I’m traveling for work, it’s because I’m away to work and I need to be more effective with my time. I’m usually speaking at a conference and I know whilst I can present from an iPad, it’s more feebly–more reliable to do it on a laptop. Also, I’m usually there working as well. I’ll be working on the plane each way, I’ll be working in the hotel. I’ll be doing several hours of work a day. For me, I’m much more effective on the laptop. For me, I’m taking my MacBook Pro when I’m going away most of the time. They’re the three options that you’ve got at your fingertips; mobile, very feebly, you wanna be doing very light stuff on it. A tablet, it does enable you to do a lot more, it’s probably that in between option. I do know people who use an iPad, that’s all they ever use for their blogging. It’s possible to blog on an iPad, you probably get more effective at doing it over time. Learning how to do those things, it gets a little bit feebly quickly. Or a laptop which is obviously more expensive and larger as well but is much more powerful. In terms of how do you fit it all in while you’re traveling. This, to me, is the crux of the matter. The technology is one thing that you can think about and it can help. But how do you actually do it? How do you juggle being on holidays and blogging? How do you juggle being at a conference and blogging as well? For me, there’s probably two things that I would advise. Firstly, schedule as much as you can before you go. This is something that I do when I’m going away for a weekend or when I’m going away for three weeks or a month. I’ve been away with my family for six weeks. Generally, anytime I go away, I’m working harder for the period before I go away. It’s usually about the period that I’m gonna be away for that I’m working harder. I’m going away this weekend for a long weekend, we’ll be away for four days. For the last four days, I’ve been working doubly hard so that I can go away for four days. If I went away for a month, I’d be working really hard for a month before I went away and trying to increase my output and doing things like scheduling content, writing extra content and scheduling it, scheduling as much social media as I can so that I don’t have to do as much of that and anything else that needs to be done over that month, scheduling as much of it as I can, writing products that I’m doing, writing emails that need to be go out, those types of things. A lot of it can be done before you go. For me, that is key. It enables me to do a lot less while I’m away and focus upon what I’m away for, whether it’d be work, a conference, seeing friends, being with my family. Schedule as much as you can. The other part of it, for me, is to find a rhythm while you’re away and to schedule the work you need to do. For me, this has been key because it’s very easy with smartphones today to be working all the time while you’re away; checking your emails, responding to social media, those types of things. As a result of that, it does intrude upon what you’re there to do particularly if you’re there to be with family or friends and you are constantly checking social media and emails, it means you’re not present with your family and friends, you’re not present at the conference you’re at. What I find is that I look at the trip that I’m gonna be away for and I schedule ahead of time when I will work while I’m away. It usually happens in two ways, I generally find a little bit of time everyday while I’m away. If I need to do a bigger task, I will schedule bigger blocks of time as well. Let’s break that down. For me, generally, when I’m traveling with my family, I don’t work during the day, I’ll only work at the top on the end of the day. Usually, before my family wakes up, I’ll be getting up a little bit early and doing my social media there, checking my email, doing those types of things or waiting till they’re in bed, particularly my kids. I’m often working while Vanessa’s awake but working at the end of the day. That’s the kind of everyday type tasks that sometimes you need to do. You can schedule content, you can schedule a lot of your social media before you go. Engaging with people on social media, responding to comments, responding to emails, those are the types of things you can’t really schedule. They’re the things that I would be fitting into the top and tail of my day. I generally try and leave the bulk of my day to be with family, be with friends or be at the conference that I’m on. The other thing that I would schedule ahead of time—and I’m trying to communicate both of these things to whoever I’m traveling with as well so their expectations are that I’ll be working at certain times. If there’s a big thing that I need to do—there might be a news letter that needs to go out that I couldn’t schedule ahead, or there might be a blog post that I need to write, there might be a review of the event that I’m at—there might be something that I have to create and that is gonna take a longer amounts of time, I try and schedule that ahead of time as well. I might communicate to Vanessa and the kids, “I’m gonna be working on Wednesday morning for about three hours or for about two hours. I’ll need to go and find a café somewhere and I won’t be with you during that time.” That’s something we negotiate as a family. The reason I do that is I want them to understand when I won’t be around so that it’s not just sprung on them. I also find it helpful for me to know when that will be as well because what I find is if I am thinking ahead of time about this hour or this two hours that I’m going to have to work, what I find is my subconscious begins to work on the thing that I’m going to be working on in that time. I try and work out when it will be and what I will do in that time. More often than not, I find that when I come to sit down to take that time to write that blog post or to do that email, in the back of my mind it’s already done, I’ve already got the ideas for the content or I know the order of the email, I’ve got the subject line there because I’ve been thinking about it for the last couple of days that I’m gonna sit down and write this thing. Your mind begins to get to work on that. I find scheduling the time ahead is great for you and your family but also helps you to be more effective in that time as well. I actually find that I can get a lot done in an hour if I know what I’m gonna do in that hour and I just get straight to work. Schedule it out ahead of time and then allow yourself to be present for whatever else you’re there to do. Be present with your family, be present with your friends, be present on the beach, taking the nature that you’re experiencing. Whatever it is that you’re there to do, allow yourself to be present in that way. I do try and work harder to avoid mixing the work and the relaxing too much. I think it’s so important to have time off from your blog. I know a lot of us get a lot of energy from our blogging but I still think we need to take breaks from it as well. I hope that helped you, Carmen. I would love to hear what you do when you’re away, Carmen, and others as well. The technology you use, are you a mobile blogger? Are you using a tablet? A laptop? Or are you doing it all before you go away and then letting things look after itself? Do you put someone in place to help you out with some of those tasks? All of these are completely legitimate ways of doing it. If you wanna let us know what you do, head over to the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/243 where there are comments so you can respond and let us know what you do there or head over to the Facebook group. Search for ProBlogger Community on Facebook and you will find that group as well. I hope you enjoyed that. I’m packing my bags today to go away for long weekends. Luckily I’ve done a lot of work over the last couple of days so I won’t need to blog too much while I’m away but I’m gonna take my iPad with me just in case I’ll need it. I hope that you’ll have a great weekend ahead and a great week. I look forward to chatting with you next week on the ProBlogger podcast. One last reminder, check out 31 Days to Build a Better Blog at problogger.com/31days. It is something that we’ve just launched in completely new format. We previously did have 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, the ebook. We’ve taken some of the exercises from that ebook and updated them, refreshed them, and put them into a bit of a new order as well and edit some new fresh content as well to come up with this brand new course. We hope you enjoy it. Again, head over to problogger.com/31days to check it out. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 243: Tools and Techniques to Blog Effectively on the Road appeared first on ProBlogger.
April 9, 2018
Creating a Product Library for Your Blog In today’s episode I’m tackling a question from a Facebook group member about creating products to sell on your blog. Kathy Farrokhzad of Horselistening.com is wondering how often she should create, sell, schedule, and roadmap new products on her blog. Is she doing too much in too little time? Try to publish 3-4 new products on your blog each year, whether they’re courses, software, ebooks, templates or updates. You want to avoid audience fatigue. But at the same time you don’t want to wait too long between launches. Either of these two extremes may cost you customers and money. Engage your customers, but don’t burn them out. Create a schedule to plan content and products a year in advance. Figure out what products to create, redo or replace, as well as what promotions to include. The frequency of new products depends on various factors, such as how many products you can create and how many different tools need to be created. Come up with themes for your products based on popularity and whether they’re easy to research and write about. You can also gear your products toward specific audiences, such as beginners or new customers. And don’t forget about your old products. Consider turning into new products by upselling and bundling them. Yes, you can do lots of regular launches. But you can also get by with just one product. Both will work, so the choice is yours.  Links and Resources for How to Create a Library of Products to Sell On Your Blog: Digital Photography School Ebooks 7 Types of Products to Sell on Your Blog Further Listening Why You Should Create a Product for Your Blog Courses Digital Photography School Courses ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Starting a Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hey there friends. Welcome to episode 242 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger. At a recent conference, I had a number of people say, “I love the way you say ProBlogger.” I’ve never really thought about that before but ProBlogger is a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks, all designed to help you as a blogger to grow as a blogger, to grow your audience, and to build some profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about what we do at ProBlogger over at problogger.com. Today’s episode is brought to you by our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course, which launches this month. We are currently taking a group of about 100 bloggers through this course in its beta version. We’re getting very close to being able to launch it for everyone. The feedback coming in has been fantastic so far. If you are interested in improving your blog, taking it to the next level, I really encourage you to head over to problogger.com/31days to register your interest in the course or if you’re listening to this in a week or two’s time, it should be already live and you can just enroll in the course. We’ve designed this course really to take you through a month of teaching but more importantly, some action items, which are designed to help you improve your blog whether you’re a new blogger or whether you’re more of an intermediate blogger and been going for awhile. This is a system that we’ve been using since about 2009, previously in ebook format. It’s helped tens of thousands of bloggers to really level up their blogs. I encourage you to check it out. Head over to problogger.com/31days. In today’s episode, I’m tackling a question about creating products to sell on your blog. It’s a question that came in from one of our group members on Facebook, Cathy, who was asking around how often she should she be creating new products for her particular blog. She’s been creating ebooks. I talked a little bit about how often, how frequently you might want to be creating products. Also, we dig in a little bit to how to schedule that and how to roadmap that. Also, how to select which products you want to talk about. How do you choose the right topics? I’m going to dig in a little bit to the format of products as well. I really want to give you an insight, particularly how we do that over on Digital Photography School, where we’ve released over 20 ebooks, a number of courses, and some other products as well. You can get today’s show notes with a full transcription of this episode at problogger.com/podcast/242. Cathy, over in our Facebook group, this week, asked this question. She says, “I’ve written a total of five self published books and ebooks since I started writing my blog in 2011 but I haven’t written anything in the last two years. I thought maybe I was doing too much in too little time. I published approximately one per year. I know you’ve published many books on ProBlogger and Digital Photography School. How often did you publish books and did you keep a schedule for these? What was your thought process around choosing themes for the ebooks that you published? I feel like I should be doing something this year, but I also feel like I’ve done plenty in the past so I’m not sure what to do next. Thank you for everything you do.” She adds in her URL, horselistening.com. horselistening.com is the blog if you want to check that out. Thanks so much for the question, Cathy. I’m going to tackle the three main questions that you asked here, and then also throw in a few other questions as well. First question there was how often do we publish ebooks? I’m going to particularly focus upon Digital Photography School because we do have more products on that and that has been my main focus over the years. ProBlogger is a smaller site and whilst we have had ebooks there, we are now starting to convert some of those over into a course format. That’s probably a topic we could talk about on another day although I’ll touch on some of our thinking of that perhaps today as well. But over in Digital Photography School, which is my main blog now, we’ve been publishing ebooks and other products since 2009. Previous to that, I’ve been doing affiliate promotions and relying more heavily upon advertising revenue to monetize that site. Since 2009, when I did my first ever ebook, we’ve published I think it’s 24, maybe 25 ebooks on the site. But I should add that we’ve really slowed down on the amount of ebooks we’ve been publishing because we have been doing more courses and we’ve also done some software products as well. Since 2009, 24 ebooks, but I think there are also 5 courses and 3 or 4 Lightroom preset packs as well. It’s probably close to 35 products since 2009. On average, it’s probably three to four products per year that we have published. The first year, from memory, was quite slow. We may have only done 1 in that first 12 months but then have begun to ramp it up. We did have one year where I think we released five products in a year, but we’ve slowed that back down now to three to four product launches per year. Around one per quarter is the frequency that we’re operating from at the moment. There are a number of reasons for that that I’ll get into in a moment. Your second question there, Cathy, was do we keep a schedule? Yes. The simple answer is yes. We try and plan out our year in advance. At the end of last year, we sat down as a team and said, “What products do we want to create in the next year?” In fact, what we do is think about it a little bit more broadly than what products do we want to create, we actually think about what do we want to promote over the next 12 months. We begin to form a calendar that not only has the products that we will create and launch, but also any other kinds of promotion that we’ll be doing. We always, at the end of every year, do some sort of a Christmas or Thanksgiving promotion. Sometimes, we do both of those. We usually do a launch or promotion in the middle of the year, which we call our midyear sale. These are times that we do some affiliate promotions and also put some of our older products on sale as well. We factor those things into our year and then around those, we think about when do we want to launch new products of our own as well. We are thinking ahead. We’re really probably thinking about 12 to 18 months ahead at all times. Now, when we’re thinking about 18 months out, we’re not really going to a lot of details as to what the products will be. We maybe have a vague topic in mind but certainly, as things get closer, within 6 to 12 months, we’re beginning to really form what those products will be, who’s going to be responsible for creating them. And so, we’ve developed, I guess it’s really a system now, to think about those types of things. The other thing that we factor into our 12 to 18 month plan is anything that we want to relaunch or anything that we want to update. That’s something I will talk about a little bit later in this podcast as well because now that we do have 24 ebooks and a number of courses and other products, we need to also be paying attention to whether those older products are still relevant for today. Do we need to retire them or do we need to update them? There have been a number of products that we have relaunched, either with smaller updates and then just putting them back on sale to let people know or completely rejigging them as well. One good example of that is our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course that we’re doing at the moment. It used to be an ebook. We’re completely overhauling it even though it really does have the same format as our previous ebook. That’s the other factor. That may be something that you want to think about, Cathy. Your first product, if you created that in 2011, which I think is when you said you started, that’s now seven years old. Do you want to update that? Is it time for a refresh? A second edition, if you like. That might be something that you want to think about. I will touch a little bit more on that in a moment. Some of the things that we are, I guess, factoring in when we’re thinking about the frequency of new things is that it’s really going to depend upon a number of factors. How often you launch a new product is going to partly depend upon your ability to create the new product. If you’re like most bloggers, you’re probably juggling other work, perhaps other responsibilities, family, or community groups that you’re a part of, friendships, those types of things. I chuckle at that because I know many bloggers who would be saying, “Friends? I don’t have time for friends.” But really, there are a number of other things that you’re going to be juggling there, plus your blogging responsibilities. I don’t know how often you’re publishing new content and doing social media. Life gets busy, and so our ability to create a product really is going to vary from situation to situation. Also, it partly depends upon the type of product that you’re going to create as well. I know some bloggers who have 10-paged ebooks. They don’t even call them ebooks. They call them workbooks or printables. Some of those products, they can turnaround in a week. They could create those things. Other ebooks, for example, the ones that we create on Digital Photography School, some of our ebooks are 200 or 300 pages long. They’re beautifully designed. They take us six months to create. We’ve got a team working so it really is going to depend upon your ability to create a new product, the type of products that you’re creating as well. It’s also going to partly depend upon your topic. I don’t know exactly what your topic is. I had a quick look at it and I don’t really know how big or broad your topic is. That would be one of the things I would be factoring in. My blog, Digital Photography School, is pretty broad. We talk about all kinds of photography. That gives us a lot of options when it comes to creating ebooks or products. We could do wedding photography. We could do how to make money from photography. We could do portraits, landscapes. We could then get into post production. How do you process your images? We could talk about gear. There are so many different sub categories on our blog and so that lends itself to lots of different potential products. Other people have niches that are much more narrow and there’s really not as much to write about and less options when it comes to products as well. Perhaps, that’s a factor that you need to consider as well. As you look at your five current ebooks or books, is there gaps around the topics you’ve already covered of have you covered everything that they’re already eased to cover? That is going to be something to keep in mind. Another factor to keep in mind is your audience’s fatigue. Sometimes, you can create so many products that your readers get confused by the amount of products that you’ve got or they get scared, worn out from you always creating or launching a new product. To be honest, this is something we’ve run into over the years. The danger is that you can have so many products that your audience just becomes a little bit numb to the idea of you launching something. I know when I first launched my very first ebook, my audience, that was new to them. They’ve never seen us launch an ebook before. This is our first thing and so they were really open to hearing about that. Now, we’ve already launched 35 or so different things that, I guess, with our older time readers, it can numb them a little bit too. That’s another thing that you need to keep in mind. There are some pros and cons of launching lots of products or not many products. I think Cathy mentioned two years between the last time she launched a product. The danger of that kind of length is that effectively, you could be leaving money on the table from your most avid fans. There are a segment of your audience, Cathy, who are waiting for your next product. They will buy everything that you launch. By not launching anything for two years, that’s two years where they have wanted to give you money for something and you’ve not had anything for them to make that exchange with. Two years between your launch, to me, feels a little bit too long. It probably depends upon what other things you’ve got going in terms of income, but I do wonder whether perhaps creating something else might be good because you’ve probably got fans there who’ve bought your previous stuff, who’ve been satisfied by what you have sold them in the past, and they are ready and waiting to buy something else. It takes a lot of work to find a customer. It takes less work to sell a satisfied customer a second thing than to find a new customer all the time. That’s one of the costs of taking a long time to release products. On the flip side of that, I do know bloggers who become too reliant upon their launches. They are always something new and these can go the other way. Their audience, as I mentioned before, can get a bit burned out and become numb to their marketing. This burns out that list that can also burn you out as a creator as well, if you’re creating too many things. It also means that you become very reliant on promoting things in launch mode or discount mode as well. You don’t pay as much attention sometimes when you get into this cycle of always launching something. You may not be paying as much attention into the systems to generate the long tale sales. If you come to Digital Photography School today, we’ve got systems in place to get you to our 24 previous ebooks. One of the dangers of always releasing something new is that you cannot work on those systems as well. That’s something that comes at a bit of a cost to ongoing sales of your products as well. I guess what I’m trying to say here is you want to get that balance right between creating new and fresh things to keep your customers engaged, to increase the long term value of those customers, but you don’t want to burn those customers out. You want to work on the systems as well so when new people come to your site, they can see the new things that you’ve got as well. Another thing that I’ve already touched on there is don’t just work on new things. I would encourage you to think about how you can update those older books or ebooks that you’ve already got. I learned the power of this the first time we did the hardcover version of the ProBlogger book, which we published with Wiley. I wrote that book with Chris Garrett. And then about a year and a half later, Wiley came back to us and said, “We want to do a second edition.” Part of the reason for that was the topics are dated so there was a need to update the content in the book. Also, Wiley said, “The other reason is that some people will buy both versions as well.” Think about that there. Could you be taking one of those older products and updating it significantly enough that it’s going to bring new value to your previous customers as well? We did this with 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Back in 2009, I published that for the first time as an ebook. Three years later, I did a second edition of that ebook. It was quite heavily updated. It was a new version of the same format. We took the format of 31 Days of Teaching and Activities and we added some new days. We took out some old days. We updated every single day in that ebook. It was enough of an update that previous buyers of the ebook wanted to buy the new one. At that time, I think we offered a discount to anyone who bought it before so that they got an extra value out of that, of being a long term customer. Now, of course, we’re doing it again in a completely different format. We’re taking the ebook version. We’re putting it into a course, which is I think a lot better than the ebook version as well. Maybe there’s something in that for you, Cathy, as well. Maybe one of those early books that you’ve done, maybe you could give that a refresh or a complete overhaul, which enables you to sell it again to long term customers with a discount if you’d like, but it also makes it more attractive and more useful to new customers as well. They are the type of things that I would encourage you to be thinking about when it comes to frequency of your launch. I guess the other thing I would say with Digital Photography School, one thing we’ve been trying over the last 12 months is to also do, I don’t really know what to call them, but in essence, they are periodic relaunch of a product. On Digital Photography School, we have a course that we only open up once every six months. We put it on sale for three or four weeks and then we get a new batch of students and we take those students through the course. Once those three or four weeks come about, we shut the course down in terms of taking new students. This is us relaunching a product two times a year. This means we don’t have to create that product from fresh. Again, it’s not a new product, but it’s a relaunch. This is another alternative for creating new things, is to actually only make them available for certain types of time. It probably isn’t going to work for an ebook, but it does work for a course, particularly if you are going to take a group of people through the course over time. That’s another thing we factor in to our promotional schedule at the start of the year. Last thing I’d say about higher frequency of creating products is that it gives you more products, which you can then use to upsell a bundle. This is one of the beauties of having 24 ebooks already published and another 10 courses, is that when we launch a new product, we can often add an upsell in our shopping cart. When we did our last course launch, we were able to bundle that with an ebook. Some people just bought the course, but some people saw the offer to get an ebook at 50% off and so that became a higher purchase as well. It does give you a little bit more option there. You’ve already got five products, Cathy, so you can already be doing that type of thing. You could be doing 2 for 1 deals or those type of upsells. But more products can help with that as well. The last question that Cathy asked was, “What was your thought process for choosing the themes for your ebooks?” I guess I would extend this to our courses as well. The first ebook that I did on Digital Photography School was on the topic of portraits. I think from memory it was called The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography. The reason I chose that topic, well there were a number of reasons. One, it was a proven topic on the blog. I knew that blog posts on the topic of portrait shot always did well. That was a hint that people were probably more likely to buy that product. Also, to be honest, it was a topic I knew I could write a good book on because I had experience with it and it also wasn’t too hard for me to write it because a lot of that content was already written on the blog and that first ebook particularly, was a repurposed content largely. I chose that first book on those factors. The second ebook we did was quite different though. It wasn’t on a topic or a subtopic. It was pitched at a particular level of expertise. That book was very much focused on the topic of photography for beginners so it was broader. It was on all types of photography, but it was for beginner photographers. It was a little bit of a different focus there. It wasn’t on that niche. It was more focused on the level. Since that time, we’ve largely start to those two options or we’ve combined them together. We’ve done books that have been on portraits, landscapes, travel photography, natural light, different types of lighting, but we’ve also done further ebooks that have been focused on beginners and more intermediate levels as well and others that have combined those things. We’ve done portraits for beginners, for example. They are some of the things we keep in mind. Some of the other factors that we can consider, I always ask, “Have we covered this topic on the blog before and how has it gone?” That to me is probably the first thing I think about. If I’ve published content on a blog and it has bombed, it hasn’t done well, it’s a signal to me that an ebook probably won’t do well. But if we’ve done lots of posts on that particular topic and they’ve always done very well in terms of traffic, engagement, interest, enthusiasm from our audience, then that’s a signal to me that maybe that’s a topic that we should choose for an ebook or a course as well. Also, thinking about the broadness of the interest. We get really good response when we write about bird photography, for example. Photographing birds, eagles, owls, those types of things, they all do really well but when we think about it, it’s quite a small focus for our audience. There’s only a small group of our audience who are interested. Even though they’re avid, I’m not sure that it’s the right topic for an ebook for us. We’ve never done anything that niche-y. We try to be a little bit broader. We are going to experiment with some smaller products in the future that are a little bit more niche-y, just to experiment with that. My gut feeling is that we want to choose broader appeal type topics. Another factor that I do consider is is the topic too broad for one product? The topic of portrait photography is actually a very broad topic. Whilst the first ebook I did did quite well, another thing in the back of my mind as I’m choosing topics now is could this be more than one product? We actually took that first portrait ebook off the market. It was my first one. It wasn’t as good as what it could’ve been but also the other reason I took it off the market was because I saw I could replace it with four or five ebooks on that particular topic. Now, if you’re going to look at our range of ebooks, we have a portrait photography called Making the Shot, which is an introduction to making portraits. We have one called Lighting the Shot, which is all about lighting portraits. We’ve got one about posing portraits. We’ve got another one about processing the photos that you get in Lightroom. We’ve got a variety of ebooks all about portraiture. This is another thing that you might want to consider, is how could you replace one of your ebooks with four or five of your ebooks. It’s another way to roll out more products. It enables you to go a little bit deeper into each of those topics but it also opens up topics for bundling and upselling. This is something that we do quite successfully on Digital Photography School, is we bundle those four of five portrait photography ebooks together and it becomes quite a compelling offer. You might buy five but pay for three, that type of thing. That has worked quite well for us as well. Another thing to factor in as you’re choosing topics is could you extend upon something that you have previously already done and has worked well. Picking up that portrait photography idea, once we came to the end of that series of ebooks, we started to think, “Well, portrait has done well for us, what else could we do? We’ve covered most of the main topics there but what else could we offer?” One of the things we did an experiment with was to create, I think it’s called 14 Amazing Portrait Recipes, It’s a small ebook. It’s more of a case study type ebook. Again, it’s something else that we’ve offered and again, enables us to bundle that as well. You may have already covered all the topics, but could you take a different slant on things? Could you build upon the little library that you’ve already got? Another thing we do with portraits was to create what we call a printable, a posing printable. It’s 67 poses that you can use in your portrait photography. Again, it’s not an ebook. It’s something else that relates to the topic. Sometimes, when you get to the end of a range of topics that you’ve covered, sometimes, there are other things that you can create, that can become nice little companion products to other products that you’ve got. Another factor that I always consider before doing a product is have we done an affiliate promotion of something similar to that? This is something that I highly recommend anyone who’s thinking of creating a product, would do. Try and find someone else’s product that you can promote as an affiliate first. It’s going to teach you so much about creating products. You’re going to begin to see what your readers respond to. You can see he price points they respond to as well. And essentially allows you to test whether your product is going to work. You don’t want to just reproduce what someone else has already created. You need to be really careful about that, particularly with plagiarism. Also, it’s just not going to be good for your brand if you’re seen to be creating something that’s too similar to someone else. But you can learn a lot by promoting other people’s products before you create your own. That’s another factor that we would keep in mind. The last thing that I’m always thinking about is what’s the best format for the product? Cathy has talked about ebooks and books but maybe, one way to extend your product line up would not be to create another book or ebook, but to create something else. You might create a course. Maybe you should be thinking about a membership site. Maybe you should be thinking about printables, or templates, or t-shirts, or coffee mugs. I don’t know what it would be but maybe there’s something quite different that would be complementary to what you’ve already got or quite different to what you’ve already got as well. Sometimes, some topics just land themselves better to more of a course type teaching, or a printable, or a membership so maybe you should be thinking about that. The other thing I’d say on that front is that sometimes, actually having a course and an ebook can be best. In Digital Photography School, the second ebook that we ever did was called Photo Nuts and Bolts. It was an ebook for beginners in photography. We still sell that ebook today but we’ve also got Photo Nuts and Bolts, the course. Some people prefer to read. Some people prefer to watch. Some people prefer to get both and so, they bundle those two things together. Maybe your ebook little library that you’ve already got, maybe that could be rolled up as courses as well, either to offer people the alternative or to get both together as a bundle. I know that’s a lot of information to digest. I hope it answers your question, Cathy. One last thought for you though, I know a lot of people who do very, very well with lots of regular launches. Similar to what we do on Digital Photography School, they’ve got lots of products. That’s their model. It works really well for them. But I do know a number of bloggers who just have one product. They focus all their energy on promoting that one thing. In some ways, that’s a much simpler model and they have a lot less headaches than we do at Digital Photography School with lots of different products and always having to update them. Both can work, but one thing I would say is that the people I see doing best with one product or just a handful of products, they generally have an audience that has always lots of fresh people coming in so they may be doing really well with search engine optimization, always bringing new people in. The other thing that most of them do is instead of selling an ebook, which is a sale that they get once, they generally have some kind of way of getting a recurring income from their sale. That type of model with one product does land itself perhaps a little bit better to a membership site or some sort of a subscription as well. Maybe, I don’t know, again, your topic would land themselves to people who would sign up for a monthly subscription to get some regular content from you and maybe a community area, but that might be another model. It means that you do get that one sale or that one customer, but you keep that customer engaged as well, which increases the lifetime value for that customer as well. I hope that somewhere in the midst of that advice is something that’s going to spark some ideas for you, Cathy, and everyone else who’s listening as well. If you’ve got any further advice for Cathy, you can do a couple of things. You can join our Facebook community. Just search for ProBlogger Community on Facebook and join that group. You’d be able to find Cathy in there, the question that she asked, or perhaps, you want to leave a comment on our show notes at problogger.com/podcast/242. We’ve got comments and you can leave a comment there as well. I hope that you’ve got some value out of that. If you’ve got a question you’d like to see in a future podcast as well, feel free to pop it in the show notes or over in the Facebook group as well. A couple of last things for you to wrap up today’s show. If you want to think a little bit more about products, listen to episode 67. It’s one which I did a year or so ago now on the topic of why you should create a product to sell on your blog. If you’re not quite there yet on whether products are right for you, that one’s a good one to listen to. I also give you some tips on how to create that product. And then over on the ProBlogger blog, I write an article earlier this year called Seven Types of Product That You Could Sell From Your Blog, which might be a good companion piece for today. I talked there a little bit about ebooks of course, because that’s where we started out, but also give you some other ideas on different types of products for those of you who maybe aren’t quite suited to the ebook. Lastly, I want to say thank you to a number of you who’ve been leaving reviews on the podcast this week. I just got my email this morning from the service I use to report on the new reviews that come in. I had one from Tim Melville who came in. I don’t know whether it’s a him or her but Tim Melville wrote, “I googled impostor syndrome, something I have diagnosed but really wanted to explore, and I found ProBlogger, and I fell in love. Thanks so much for falling in love, Darren.” Tim Melville goes on to write, “He’s the epitome of everything I had no idea that existed. He’s real. He’s humble. He’s everything you need to understand to build your blog. I incidentally heard one episode, episode 101, I think, and cannot stop listening. I ran into work to talk to a potential partner. I was talking so fast and so excited and she was like slow down and I’ve not lost a moment yet. I love his very real information for everything you need to know. Everything. Thank you, Darren.” Well, thank you for leaving your review. Also, AJ Reid wrote, “Great podcast. I listen regularly. Rowse speaks from experience and has a laid back style. He isn’t just there to sell me something. Learning so much. Highly recommend this podcast.” Thank you so much AJ and thanks Tim Melville for your reviews. If you’ve got a review for us, head over to iTunes today, rate us and review us, or on whatever app you do use as well. I particularly get notified when the iTunes ones come in, but I try and watch those other app services as well. If you’ve got a moment, I would love you to do that. Otherwise, dig into the archives. There are 241 other episodes there for you, episode 67 particularly on the topic of products. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back with you next week in episode 243. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 242: How to Create a Library of Products to Sell On Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.
April 2, 2018
Social Media Trends – Where Should You Focus Your Energy In our last episode I covered seven trends in social media and blogging. In today’s episode I want to discuss where you should focus your energy as a blogger. There’s so much we could do.but what should we do? Don’t become overwhelmed and perplexed. Instead, be inspired about where to put your effort. Should you focus on: live video? bots and messenger marketing? Facebook advertising? long-form video? Instagram stories? blog? all of the above? And how do you decide? Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) there’s no right answer. The ‘best spot’ will be different for everyone. Just don’t be pressured into doing what everyone else is doing. Consider your style, topic, audience, and objectives and goals. Get in touch with who you are and what makes you shine. Focus on conversions. Don’t give up something that’s already working just to start something new. Nine times out of ten it won’y be any better. Instead, focus on good SEO practices. Stay in control, and focus on building your own platform and assets rather than building on other people’s. Use your own to host a podcast or blog. Save some time and effort for new ways to  build your audience, brand, and engagement. Be cautious, but also be willing to pivot and diversify. And don’t feel as if  you have to do it all. Focus on being great at just one or two trends. What are you going to try? Links and Resources for Trends in Social Media – Where Should You Focus Your Energy?: Periscope Gary Vaynerchuk Darren Rowse on Twitter Darren Rowse in Instagram Further Listening 7 Social Media Trends I Noticed at Social Media Marketing World Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hi there and welcome to Episode 241 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and the courses all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your audience, to create great content, to build engagement around your blog, and ultimately to build profit around your blog. I should say profit can be money but it can be other outcomes as well. However you define it, we hope to help you along that journey. You can learn more about ProBlogger at problogger.com. Today’s podcast is brought to you by our brand new course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog which is launching around now. We’ve already opened it up to a small group of beta testers. I think there’s actually about a hundred bloggers so far who have signed up and are working through that course. It’s closed off at the moment but if you are interested in joining that beta testing group, please go to problogger.com/31days. It’s a course designed to help you over a month to give you a burst of love, bring a burst of love to your blog, to give some really intentional love and care to your blog to write some new content, to think about your editorial strategy, to think about how you can build engagement with your blog, to do some things to help you to get some new readers, and to begin to think about monetization. We don’t focus a lot on monetization in this course, it’s more about getting the foundations right that will help you to monetize but we touch on it towards the end. You can learn more about it at problogger.com/31days. We will be opening it up for a wider audience in the coming weeks. If you don’t get it on that beta test, you just signup there. We’ll let you know when it does open up. In today’s episode, I wanna talk about working out where to put your energy. This is really a follow up to the last episode, in 240. Back in that last episode, I identified seven trends in social media and blogging that I noticed at Social Media Marketing World this year in San Diego. If you haven’t listened to that episode yet, it might be worth doing so. In it I talked about Facebook, all the changes that have been happening with Facebook. I talked about Facebook live, bots, Messenger marketing, video content, Instagram stories, a lot of these newer trends that have been going on and that I’m now beginning to see people really go all in on. If you listened to that episode, you’ll know that I finished off by asking the question where should we be going all in as bloggers? There’s so much we could do, there’s so much out there that we could be focusing our energy on but how do we work out what we should put our focus upon? That’s what today’s episode is all about. I really wanna help you to begin to wrestle with where should you be putting your effort? Should you be putting your effort into somebody’s new things or should you be putting your effort into some older things, some other things as well. You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/241. Where should we be going all in as bloggers? After Social Media Marketing World this year, I spoke to a number of attendees who are feeling simultaneously inspired by the teaching that they’d heard but also overwhelmed and perplexed by where they should be putting their effort in. I had one conversation, within about 30 seconds they asked me, “Should I go all in with live video? Should I be going in with bots and Messenger marketing? Should I be going in with Facebook advertising? Should I be doing a long form video? Should I be doing Instagram stories or should I be doing it all?” I posted some further questions, should you actually be focusing more upon your blog at the moment? Maybe you need to get into podcasting, maybe you should do long form content, maybe you should be posting daily or weekly. The decisions that we need to make as bloggers go on and on. I’ve asked all of these questions at the Social Media Marketing World as well. There were certainly some really big trends being talked about at the conference this year but the reality is we just can’t do all of those things unless we’ve got a massive team. I do know some people who’ve got big teams and they are going all in on all of these things that I’ve mentioned. If you’re like me and you’ve got a small team or maybe your team is you, you’re gonna have to make some decisions about where you can go all in. The question is how do you make that decision? I wanna give you today, I think it’s five main points to help you make that decision. I hope that somewhere in the midst of these will be a few threads of, I guess, conversations that you might wanna pick up on and a few things that will resonate with you. The first thing I wanna say is that there is no right answer here, there’s no one thing that we should all be focusing most of our efforts on. Obviously, we’re all in very different situations, we’re in different stages of our blog, we’re writing about different topics, we have different audiences, we’ve got different styles and personalities. The best spot for each of us will be very different. I guess I wanna start with that because I don’t want you to feel that just because everyone else seems to be doing live video, or everyone else seems to be experimenting with Messenger bots, or everyone else is doing anything at the moment, you don’t need to feel that pressure. I wanna take that pressure off you. I can relate to that feeling that everyone seems to be doing certain things, I look around at many of the bloggers in my space and they all seem to be building these amazing live video studios and spending tens of thousands of dollars on their studios. I felt that pressure, I feel like, “Maybe I need to buy a studio, maybe I need to spend all that money.” I don’t know if that’s right for me right now. Don’t feel that pressure, I wanna say that right up front. It’s probably better for you just to choose one thing to do really well than try to do it all. You will look around it and it does seem that everyone else is doing everything, they’re not. Everyone is making strategic choices about these as well. I guess I wanna start with that. Don’t feel the pressure that you have to do it all, don’t feel the pressure that you have to do any one thing either. It really does need to come down to what’s going on for you at the moment, what can you do that’s gonna suit your situation. The other thing I’ll say in this first point is it’s probably better to just choose one thing to do really well than to try and do everything okay. You probably wanna just go all in on one thing and become known in your industry, the person who does that one thing brilliantly better than anyone else, than trying to do four or five different things okay because you’ll never gonna become known as anyone doing anything exceptional if you’re doing everything okay. Be the person who’s doing that one thing brilliantly and your audience will notice and other people will notice as well. Take the pressure off yourself, think about who you are and what is gonna suit your situation best. That’s the first thing that I wanna say which leads me to my next point. When you’re making that decision and considering your situation, what do you need to think through? I wanna suggest a few things to help you to think that through. Firstly, think about your style. For example, some of you are really good on camera. You think on your feet, you present well, you’re very clear, you do one take content and maybe that is gonna give you a bit of a hint about what you should be doing. Maybe you should be doing live video if you’re great on camera and you think on your feet and you’re fast paced, that is probably a good format for you. Your style is going to help you. Some of you are much better if you are able to plan and really think through your content and design your content. If that’s the case, maybe something that’s not live is gonna be better for you. I actually like live video, I like presenting but I do a lot of work before my live videos, particularly from presenting on a topic. I actually find that I’m probably better in this format that we’re talking now, something that I can record ahead of time and edit it and shape the content in some way, maybe a little bit more of a slow paced thinker, that’s certainly me. Maybe live video is not as good for you, maybe more episodic video which I talked about in the last episode, it might be better for you. Maybe Instagram stories is better for you because you’re able plan those things out ahead of time than at live. Maybe you’re a bit more of a geeky person and you like designing systems and strategies and that type of thing. Maybe that is a hint to you that maybe something like bots might be worth playing with. It’s something that is a little bit more geeky, it’s more about designing a system and thinking strategically about how to engage with people. I guess what I’m trying to say here is try and be in touch with who you are and your style. As you think about the different options, what makes you light up? What makes you excited as you look at them and what puts you off? If you hear the word live video and you freak out and you start sweating, maybe that’s a signal that maybe it’s not right for you. It could also be just for you getting in the way of you doing the thing that is right for you, you wanna test these things out. Even as you test them, pay attention to the energy levels that you get as well. Your style is part of it, your topic is another thing to consider and the topic that you create, content on shooting, form your choices. For example on my photography blog, the obvious choice there is to focus more upon mediums that celebrate the visual, I’m talking about photography. Bots might not be as useful as Instagram stories in that case. Instagram story is very visual, you can use video, you can use still images. You can probably weave those things in using a bot as well but I think in terms of topic, anything visual is gonna lend itself well to the topic that I’m writing about. Your topic will be different. Maybe some of the different mediums in the options in front of you will help to relate better in that type of topic. Another thing to consider is your audience, understanding who’s on the other side of your content needs to inform your choices about the type of content that you create. Some of your audiences are gonna be very suspicious towards bots, for example. Maybe you’ve got an audience that really is suspicious to anything that’s gonna interrupt them in some ways. They’re not gonna respond well to bots. Maybe your audience is like my audience in my photography blog and again they’re very visual, they’re more creative, more artistic. That might give you a hint as to the medium that you should use as well. I’m thinking about my photography blog, my audience, they’re more of a creative, they’re more into the aesthetics, they’re more artistic. Instagram stories might be something that we could experiment with there because it’s a more creative, playful medium. That will inform your choices as well. The other thing to take into consideration as you’re thinking about your situation is where are you at the moment? What are your current goals and objectives and what stage are you at? This two can give you some hints as to what you should be focusing your time on. If you are a brand new blogger, maybe you’ve just gone through a starter blog course, you’re in a different stage to someone who’s been blogging for ten years. Someone who’s been blogging for ten years probably already has an audience and their goal might be more around engagement, how do I engage and deepen the relationship with my audience? Using a medium like live video might be really suitable particularly on Facebook live where you’ve probably already got a bit of an audience on Facebook. It’s about waking up that audience, engaging with them. Using something like live video might be really good if you’ve been around for a while. If you’re a first month blogger, you probably don’t already have an audience on Facebook, Facebook live may not be the best strategy for you. Maybe some of the other networks might be a place where you can grow your audience a little bit more. I know a number of people who’ve been growing their audience on Instagram, for example. They’ve been really learning about hashtags and doing a lot of outreach, commenting. They found that they would get more exposure on that platform. Back in the day when Periscope first started out, I remember a number of bloggers who really went all in on Periscope because it was a network at that time that was enabling them to find new audience member. By being new, maybe that will inform your decision as well. What are your goals at the moment? Are your goals about building engagement? Are they about just building your audience? There’s a variety of different things that you might wanna focus on there. I guess what I’m trying to say here is one, there’s no right answer, two, really think about your situation, your style, your topic, your audience and your current objectives and goals. The third thing I wanna talk about is focusing upon what is already converting for you and for others. This might seem like a strange thing to say but over the years, I’ve seen so many people give up what’s already working for them because there’s something new there. People gravitate towards the new sexy thing even though they’ve already got something that’s already working for them. They’re giving up something that they’ve built and that could carry them into the future to focus upon something new. New isn’t always better. In fact, I would say new is rarely better because many of the new things in our space don’t end up actually going anywhere at all. I can think back over the years to numerous times where I’ve come across people who have given up blogging to get into something new. I remember back when Twitter first came out, having a huge debate with one blogger in particular who’d spent several years building up a reasonably good following on their blog. They decided to give up that blog because this Twitter thing was coming and they went all in on Twitter. They gave up their blog to go all in on Twitter. Similarly, I’ve seen people give up successful blogs to get onto Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, all of these channels. Ultimately, I’m not in a position to really say whether that was the right decision or not. None of those decisions were wrong, I don’t think blogging is the perfect fit for everyone. Maybe some of these people did do better things on these platforms. In numerous cases, as I think about these discussions I’ve had with people over the years, there’s been numerous times where I’ve heard in hindsight that person who made the switch wishes they didn’t because they realized they already had a good thing with their blog. Perhaps, instead of giving up blogging to get into these things, maybe they should’ve done both or maybe they should’ve just stuck with blogging. Really think very carefully about your situation. This does tap in a little bit too what I was talking about earlier, it does depend upon the stage of your blog. If you’ve already been at blogging for a while, you’ve probably already got some things that are working for you. Maybe you should be putting more time into the things that are working a bit for you already to grow those things than getting to something new. As I think about my situation and my business over the last few years, I can see that there are some things that worked for me that I need to bend down or I need to double down on these things rather than pick up something new. That’s the stage that I’m at but I think a lot of you out there would probably relate to this. As I look at my own business, the things that worked for me were blogging and podcasting. I’ve heard over the years blogging itself is dying, everyone keeps saying blogging is dead, blogging is dead. But as I said in my last episode, blogging seems to be back at the moment. It is where most of my business really centers around, the blog and the podcast. Blogging is not dead; it is changed, it’s certainly not dead. It is so important in my business. If I was to track the sales of my product and the income from my products, almost every dollar that I make, actually there’s been a touch point with my blog beforehand. Yeah I could get on the Facebook, yeah I could get onto Twitter, yeah I could do all the Instagram thing, I could do all of those other things and not blog at all but I suspect that that would really hurt my business in the long run. Podcasting is another part of that. I don’t get as many people listen to this podcast as read the blog, I get a lot more people touching the blog than the podcast but I know that my podcast listeners are so much more engaged than anyone else. I would suspect that anyone listening to this podcast is much more likely to do our brand new course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, or to come to one of our events. You gotta think about what’s already working for you not just in terms of traffic but also engagements and some of these other things as well. Blogging and podcasting are a bit old fashioned, they’ve been around for years and years and years now. Their path is not as sexy and new as live video or Instagram stories or those types of things but you know what, they work. They work for me and they’ve been working for tens of thousands of other people as well. To be honest, the jury is still out on Instagram stories and some of these newer technologies. I would say, do consider that. The other thing that works for me is search. The biggest source of traffic to my blog is Google, around 50% of my traffic comes from Google. Most full time bloggers I know have similar splits in their traffic. I know there are exceptions to this, I know a few bloggers who get most of their traffic from Pinterest or most of their traffic from Facebook. In most cases, bloggers who make it full time actually get most of their traffic from search and yet how much time do we spend on search? How much time do we spend on Search Engine Optimization? SEO is something that is well worth putting your energy into learning about and focusing your energy upon. It’s not something to obsess about but I actually think that a lot of people would do better to spend the time learning about SEO than they would about some of these other newer things. Another thing that I’ll put in that category is email. By far the biggest source of sales for me is email. It doesn’t drive as much traffic for me as Google but I’d estimate around 90% of my sales comes from email. That’s another area that if you aren’t doing at the moment, I would say that’s something that you need to pay attention to. It is working for most full time bloggers that I know. It’s perhaps not as effective as it was five years ago, maybe it’s going to continue to decline but it’s certainly not something to ignore. Blogging, search, email, these are all things that are gold for me. Perhaps they’re not as new, perhaps they’re not as sexy but I think these are things that we should be continuing to pay attention to. Every time I go to a conference like Social Media Marketing World, I have this internal struggle within me. Yes it’s exciting to explore on these new things but don’t give up on the things that are already working for our industry to go all in on these new things because in doing so maybe you’re actually ignore the things that has the potential to bring so much life to your business as well. What’s already working for you but also what is already working for our industry, don’t give up on those things to do the new thing. I’ve talked about there’s no right answer, I’ve talked about thinking about your situation to decide what you should do, I’ve talked about focusing upon what is already converting for you and our industry. Another thing that I really think is important here, this is my fourth point, is to focus upon what you have control over. This is the big one for me. Almost all of the new things that I heard being talked about at Social Media Marketing World this year give you very little actual control. In most cases, the things that invite us to give us our focus are things where we’re actually not building our own asset, we’re building other people’s assets. This is so important to hear. Yes, Instagram stories is great but you don’t own Instagram. I’m sorry to say that but you don’t own that, you don’t own the connection that you have with your Instagram followers. Facebook live is great, it’s very powerful but you don’t own Facebook, you don’t own that connection that you have with your followers there. This is the reason I had that big fight with my friend who gave up blogging years ago to get onto Twitter, he gave up building his own asset to build Twitter’s asset. The same is true for all of these new things. Going all in on Instagram stories or Facebook live or any of these things comes with risk. They can change the rules and the algorithms at any point. This is why we’re having this big Facebook armageddon at the moment. Twitter just changed the rules, you can’t tweet the same thing over and over again. And now, a lot of the tools like MeetEdgar are changing what they allow you to do. I had spent years building up my archive of tweets on MeetEdgar and then I logged in three days ago and they said, “You can’t retweet the same thing over and over again.” Even though I wasn’t doing it more than once every six months, I can’t do that anymore. They changed the rules, Twitter changed the rules. I spent a lot of time building up a system that isn’t gonna work for me anymore now. They may not last the distance, we’ve seen social networks come and go over the years. They may change their technology and what they focus upon. Facebook, at the moment, is giving live video a bit of prominence, they’re giving groups prominence but that may not last. They may come up with something new and by you investing going all in on that technology can actually end up being a bit of a waste of time for you as well. They may decide that you don’t belong on their platform anymore, maybe they changed their rules and they see you then breaking their rules because they changed the rules and maybe they kick you out. You don’t have control in these places, there’s risk associated with it. Consider that as you think about where you should be going all in on. I think there’s a place to go into all of these new things. I’ll talk about that in a moment. I’m a big believer in putting most of your focus into building your asset, that’s why I keep coming back to have your own blog, have your own podcast, collect email addresses, have your own domain, have your own server, have your own platform. It’s so important to put most of your energy into that. As you consider all of these new things, keep in the back of your mind you’re building someone else’s asset. My fifth and last point that I wanna make is a balance to that last one that I made. Put most of your effort into building your own asset but none of these that I’ve talked about means that you cannot get into the new stuff. You might be thinking Darren saying, “Don’t go do live, don’t do Instagram stories.” I actually think you should be doing some of it for some of your time. I actually think the new stuff is important because it is going to help you to build your audience, it is going to help you to build engagement, it’s gonna help you to build your brand, it will help you to monetize your blog and it’s also gonna show your audience that you’re up to date as well, it’s gonna keep you current. All these things are important. It is going to help you to build your own asset but the key is to approach the new stuff with a bit of caution, don’t do it at the expense of building your own asset. That’s the first thing. Experiment with the new stuff but don’t do it at the expense of building your own asset. Use the new stuff to leverage and to build your asset. Use Facebook live to get people over to your blog, use Facebook live to get people on your email list, use Facebook live to get people to your events, to buy your product. Use the new thing to build your asset. The other thing I would say is to diversify your focus where you can. This is hard because you don’t wanna spread yourself too thin, I said this at the top of the show. Maybe it’s better to do one thing than all of the things. It is important where you do have the time to diversify your focus a little bit. Maybe spend 90% of your time building your blog and doing SEO and email and those things that you own. With your other 10%, maybe choose a couple of things to experiment with. Another thing to keep in mind is to be ready to pivot. Opportunities like these new things don’t last forever. I said before that I came across a number of bloggers who built their brand and built their audience on Periscope when it first came out. Periscope was brilliant for getting exposure when it first came out. A lot of people are on it, they’re watching videos and enabled you to get yourself in front of new people. That wave of opportunity didn’t last forever. Periscope is still around and I know a few people are still on it but most of the people who were riding that wave on Periscope today aren’t doing that anything because the opportunity isn’t there, they pivoted to something else. Most of them are now experimenting with Facebook live instead. They took their audience with them, they built that asset, they built that brand and now they pivoted. Be really ready to pivot in any of these new things. One of the people I love who’ve been really riding the waves really well is Gary Vaynerchuk. I know Gary gets talked about a lot but he has jumped on so many emerging platforms over the years. He jumps on the new thing, he learns about it, he leverages it, he makes it work for him and then he moves on. He has adopted all of these new technologies, he’s worked at how they work, he’s leveraged them while they work and then he moves on to the next thing all the while building his own assets. If you’ll look at what he’s doing at the moment, he’s engaging in all these places but he’s trying to get everyone across to what he calls first in line. He’s a messenger community. If you go and have a look at that, you’ll see that he grabs you emails address, he grabs your phone number, he is trying to build his own asset from all the platforms that he’s engaging on. I signed up for it the other day. Since I did, I’ve been getting emails from him, I’ve been getting text messages from him. He now owns the communication platform between me and him. He doesn’t have to rely upon Facebook’s algorithm anymore, he’s got a direct contact point with me. I think this is really important. He’s leveraging the new things to build his asset, he is riding the waves while they last but then jumping onto the new thing. He’s diversifying what he’s doing as well. That’s so important as you think about these new things, don’t put all your efforts into those. Continue to build that blog, continue to build that podcast, continue to build SEO and email. Do the things that are already converting for you. The time that you do spend in the new stuff, make sure you leverage it to build your asset, make sure you diversify where you have time to do that and make sure you’re ready to pivot. I think it’s so important to do that. I hope somewhere in the midst of what I’ve talked about today is some advice that is helpful for you. I really hesitated to do my last episode, episode 240, sharing those trends, those seven trends that I noticed at the moment. I love that type of information but I also always hesitate to share it because I know it causes confusion and I know the temptation is to feel like you need to do it all. I really want you to take home that message that I started out with today. There is no right answer here, you don’t have to do it all. Everyone else around you is making the same decisions. The people who seem to do best are the ones that are focusing on one or two of the things and don’t feel the pressure that they have to do it all. Really do consider your own situation to make this decision, focus upon what is already converting for you, don’t give up something that’s already working to be able to do the new thing. Focus upon where you have control and be ready in those new things to pivot along the way and to use them to build your asset. That’s the advice that I wanna give you. I would love to hear your feedback. Where are you gonna put your attention at the moment? Are you gonna try something new? If so, what? I would love to hear that. Are you gonna double down on something that’s already working for you? Maybe you’ve already got some little glamour of things that are working that you’re gonna put even more energy into. I would love to hear your feedback on that. You can do so over in our Facebook group, just do a search for ProBlogger Community on Facebook. Let us know what you’re gonna double down on at the moment. You can do that also in our show notes at problogger.com/podcast/241 where there’s comments there. There’s also a full transcript of today’s show. You can reach out to me social, if you are on Twitter, I’m at @problogger or you can find me on Facebook and Instagram at @darrenrowse as well. I love to hear from you this week. Let me know what you’re doubling down on at the moment and how you came to that decision as well. If you got any question, I’m more than happy to tackle them as well. I look forward to chatting with you next week on the podcast in Episode 242. If you’ve got a moment or two, I would love to get you to rate and review our show on whatever app you’re on. I get the emails every week. It’s my favorite part of the week, getting those emails from people from services that let me know when a new review has been left. I read them all and do appreciate them all. There’s been some really nice ones over the last few days which have given me a lot of energy. Thank you for that. I’ll talk to you next week. Thanks. You’ve been listening to ProBlogger. If you’d like to comment on any of today’s topics, or subscribe to the series, find us at problogger.com/podcast. Tweet us at @problogger. Find us at facebook.com/problogger or search ProBlogger on iTunes. This episode of the ProBlogger podcast was edited by the team at PodcastMotor who offer a great range of services including helping you to setup and launch your podcast as well as ongoing editing and production of the podcast that you produce. You can check them out at podcastmotor.com. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 241: Trends in Social Media – Where Should You Focus Your Energy? appeared first on ProBlogger.
March 26, 2018
Key Themes and Trends from the Social Media Marketing World Conference In today’s episode, I want to share seven trends people were talking about at the Social Media Marketing World mega-conference recently held in San Diego. Social Media Marketing World is probably one of the biggest social media conferences in the world.  Seven main themes came about from the conference: Facebook Armageddon: Changes have shaken up things. Be Human: It’s time for you to be real. Ask questions, and respond personally. Going Live: There are more platforms to choose from now.  Episodic Video: These are stories on steroids.  Stories Style Content: Design sequences that take your audience on a journey, and stories that provide background or behind-the-scenes action. Bots and Messenger Marketing: Bots may not be real, but they can be useful in blogging to notify people of new information and to ask them questions.  Blogging is Back: People know written content is not going away. Should you do bots, go live, or create episodic content? Or blog, vlog, or do a podcast? Which social network should you focus on? Whatever you decide, make sure you don’t build your entire business around a specific social network. Links and Resources for 7 Social Media Trends I Noticed at Social Media Marketing World: SMMW FB Live YT Live Instagram Live Ecamm Live Mike Stelzner Live Streaming Pros Further Listening How Collaborations Can Accelerate Your Blog’s Growth How to Get More Traffic by Updating Your Archives 3 Principles of Building an Engaged Blog Audience Examples of Trends in Social Media Social Media Examiner’s ‘The Journey’ series of videos Gary Vaynerchuk’s ‘First in Line’ ManyChat ChatFuel Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hello my friends and welcome to episode 240 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger—a blog, podcast, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you to start an amazing blog, to create content that changes your audience’s life, to grow that audience, and to build a profit around your blog. You can learn more about that at problogger.com. Today’s podcast is brought to you by a brand new course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, which is launching around this time, and I’m a bit vague about that because we are allowing people into it gradually. We want to test it out with a smaller group of people before we release it into the world. You can head over to problogger.com/31days and sign-up to be notified when we’re ready to welcome you into that community. We do look forward to having you involved in that because it’s a product that has lived as an ebook for many years, and has helped tens of thousands of bloggers over that time. Since back in 2009, I first did that ebook and we’ve had a couple of versions of that. Now we want to release it as a course because we think it will help you to move through the full 31 days. An ebook sometimes can be a little bit hard to do that, so a course with a few emails along the way to prompt you to keep moving through we hope will be a positive experience for you. For those who do join in that beta, we have a special offer for you as well. It’s a paid course but we’re keeping it as affordable as possible. Again problogger.com/31days to register your interest and we’ll let you know when it’s ready for more people. In today’s episode I want to share with you seven key themes and trends that I saw talked about at Social Media Marketing World a few weeks ago in San Diego. Over the last few weeks in this podcast, I’ve been sharing parts of my talk from Social Media Marketing World. I’m not sure whether I actually told you that there were parts of my talk, but episode 237 I talked about collaborations, episode 238 I talked about maintaining your archives, and episode 239 I talked about building a more engaged audience. They were three of about nine things that I had in my talk from Social Media Marketing World this year, but today what I want to do is to report back on some of the things I heard other people talking about at the conference this year, both from the stage but also more importantly to me from conversations that I had with people in the halls outside of sessions. For those of you who don’t know, Social Media Marketing World is probably one of the biggest social media conferences in the world. It happened in San Diego over the end of February start of March of this year and it’s a conference I’ve been to. I think this is my fourth or fifth time going and it’s one of those conferences that I go to, to pick up on the trends and to get a sense from what people are doing. You hear about the new stuff but you also hear about the stuff that people are actually taking and applying. Sometimes you hear about all the new things that have been happening, but then you go back the next year and you hear how people have applied those things and for me that’s when I particularly pay attention. If something was mentioned the last year as something new, I kind of watch it. But when I go back the second year and I see that people have taken that new thing and done something really powerful with it and really interesting with it, that’s when my ears really perk up and I take on some of those things. Today in this episode I want to talk about seven of the main themes that came about from the conference, particularly these things coming out of what people were calling Facebook Armageddon, and that is the first thing that I do want to talk about. Facebook made a lot of changes in the last month or so and they have rocked the world of social media marketing. A lot of what I want to talk about today ripples out from that and how people are responding to that. If you want to pick up on the latest trends of social media marketing, this episode is for you. I will say next week’s episode I’m going to build upon these seven things and talk about how you work out which of the things you should be doing, which is something that I know many people are wondering as well because there’s always new stuff, there’s always new things that you could focus your time and how do you make that decision. That’s next week’s episode. Alright, let’s get into the seven themes I noticed at Social Media Marketing World this year. The things I want to talk about today, some of them are trends or emerging trends and some of them are just conversations that were happening in the halls. The first one really is more of a conversation that was happening and it was a theme that came up again, and again, and again. Almost every session I went to mentioned Facebook Armageddon. Now, not everyone used that exact term but there was a sense that people’s worlds have been rocked particularly in the last couple of months, although it goes back the last couple of years really about some of the changes that Facebook is continuing to make in their algorithm. This is not new. This is something that has been rocking our world as social media marketers for years now. As more and more people are trying to use Facebook for marketing purposes, there’s more and more messages going in, Facebook having to deal with that. A couple of months ago now, they announced that they’re going to reduce the messages getting through organically even more than previously from pages in particular. They’re going to elevate more real-life conversations which is something I want to talk a little bit about later. This was something that really is impacting a lot of people. I talked to a number of people in the halls who feel like their whole business has been decimated over the last year or so over these changes and some people, their reaction to this is like, “This is the nail in the coffin for my business unless I find some new way to drive traffic, to build engagement, and to support my business.” People seem really split on Facebook’s changes. There were some who were really despondent, confused, hurt, and angry that Facebook have made these changes, and there were others who were more philosophical about it. One of the things I heard from a number of people is that, as hard as it is, it actually was needed. Facebook needed to make some changes because Facebook is being overtaken by marketers and their messages. This will hurt Facebook. It will hurt the average day user who uses Facebook to connect with their friends. If all they’re seeing is pages manipulating the algorithm and presenting content that really isn’t personal to them, then if people aren’t having a positive experience on Facebook, then they’re not going to go back, which in the long run hurts the marketers. Some people were quite philosophical that this is a needed thing and that I guess really we need to change our focus as marketers. This is the big takeaway that I think both groups of people—those who were angry and those who were philosophical—everyone has really come to the same point that we need to change our approach. A lot of what I want to talk about in the other six or so things that I want to talk about today really comes out of that people are attempting to move their efforts away from focusing purely upon Facebook or doing what they were doing on Facebook in the same way. Some people are still trying to get the organic reach and I’m going to talk about one way that you can do that a little later, but a lot of people are now focusing their effort on other platforms and upon blogging itself, which is something I’ll talk a little about later. This is I guess the big message is that we just can’t keep doing what we’ve always done on Facebook and really this is something you would have heard me talking about previously. We can’t build our whole business around any social network because we don’t control if we don’t own it, they can change the rules, we need to build our own asset, and we need to leverage these social networks as long as they last for us. That’s something we’ll talk about in next week’s episode as well. Number one theme was Facebook Armageddon. Number two theme was a really massive theme at this conference. It’s a response to Facebook Armageddon in many ways. It was from the opening keynote right through almost every session I heard. I heard speakers talking about being real, the need to be human, the need to focus upon engagement. This is something I talked about in my session quite extensively and I talked about in last week’s episode as well. There were two main reasons that people were arguing to be more real on social media. Firstly, it stands out. There’s so much noise, there’s so much automation, there’s so much repurposing of content, there’s so many tools now that are creating content and they’re not even human beings. Really, what is standing out in this very noisy impersonal space of social media, what stands out is people being people, people being vulnerable, people being truly interested in engagement and relationship. This is why I did last week’s episode of the podcast, I wanted to really encourage you to show up, to show up predictably, to show up mentally, and to show up randomly. Those three things that I taught last week are really important. It’s not enough anymore just to be broadcasting—using tools—your messages. You need to show up, you need to be present and really take an approach and return to the roots of social media. Brian Solis gave a great keynote on this particular topic, he looked back to the roots of social media and really a lot of what happened back in the day when I started out in blogging and in social media was people talking to people, it was a very conversational space, and this is why it was called social media because it was incredibly social. People responded to comments, people left comments on blogs, people shared other people’s work, people built upon other people’s ideas, there was this collaborative kind of feel about social media back then. People were using social media to have conversations, to listen as much as they talked. Things have come and changed. Social media has become more of a megaphone-type experience. People shouting at each other and not really creating space to listen. One of the reasons that engagement is so important at the moment is that it does stand out in the midst of all the bots and all the automations and all the every three minutes a new tweet coming out of many accounts these days. What stands out is people actually engaging, asking questions, responding in personal ways. That’s the first reason that this theme is there but the second reason is purely from a strategic point of view. Conversation is cutting through the algorithms and Facebook has told us in their latest updates that they are prioritizing engagement, they’re prioritizing conversation. If you want organic cut-through from Facebook today–I still want some, I’m not going to focus all my energy upon Facebook anymore but I still would appreciate any traffic that Facebook can give me, any cut-through that I can get–if you want that cut-through, Facebook is prioritizing conversations. They’ve told us that if you get long-form comments on your posts, on your Facebook page, it’s much more likely to be seen by other people. If you get people sharing your post with other people, that’s much more likely to be getting you extra reach. If Facebook sees on your posts people talking to each other–not just leaving a long-form comment but responding to other people’s comments–this gets more reach as well. You can see there they’ve already told us numerous times that people talking to people is what it’s all about. On your Facebook page, you want to persist with Facebook pages, then what I encourage you to do is focus as much of your attention upon getting conversations going and getting people talking not just to you but talking to each other as much as possible. I tested this on my Facebook Live a couple of weeks ago. I started off my live with a question. I said right from the front I asked the question. The question was designed to get people to leave a longer comment. Now this is a bit of a switch in focus. A couple of years ago, you just wanted people to leave any comment and there was a kind of a technique that many of us used back in the day where we would ask people to respond with one word to answer a question. We wanted people to answer with anything at all because that was getting more cut-through back then. That’s not good enough anymore. If people want to leave a one-word comment it’s not really a signal to Facebook that people are engaging with you. Ask more detailed questions, ask people questions that are designed to get them to leave a few sentences, a paragraph or two. The deeper the conversation, the better. Ask questions that are designed not just to leave a question responding to you but talking to each other in some ways. Getting your readers to help one another, getting your readers to tag each other, to share with each other. This is something I’ve been trying to do more on my Facebook page over the last week or so and I’ve noticed that it does work a little bit more. I’m encouraging my readers to share the content with each other. Now you can’t say the word ‘share’ so you got to be a bit creative about this. For example, there was a post a couple of weeks ago in my photography site where I said, “Everyone knows someone who needs to read this.” That’s a very round-about way of saying share it and what I notice is a lot more people were sharing that and tagging each other in that way. Anything you can do to kind of build the conversation into your updates, anything you can do to build that sort of share this type of feel to it without getting explicit. You don’t want to say, “Leave a comment.” You don’t want to say, “Please share this.” Those are signals to Facebook that you’re trying to manipulate their algorithm so you kind of be a little backward in the way you do that and imply those types of things. But asking questions that will get a deeper engagement is worth putting your time into. It’s also worth noting that Facebook have told us that this approach is going to be the emphasis of all of their products. It’s not just Facebook Pages where this is happening. This is going to be rolled out, and it probably already has been into Groups, into Facebook Live, into Facebook Stories, and—if it hasn’t already come, and some people believe it has—over onto Instagram as well. So if you’re getting those longer-form comments, if you’re getting people replying to each other in comments, these are signals to Instagram as well that are going to get you more reach too. It’s a great way to stand out being human, being real, being engaging, but it’s also purely from an algorithmic point of view, a strategic point of view, it’s well worth of doing as well. Being human, being real was the number two trend that I’d say and I kind of feel weird saying that because we’ve been teaching on ProBlogger since 2004. It’s all about engagement. It’s one of the pillars of ProBlogging that we’ve been teaching for years, the importance of building engagement, of building community. It’s so much better than just getting empty eyeballs to your site. Do make it an emphasis going forward for yourself. The number three thing that was a trend, and it was a trend that built upon last year’s conference, is live video. There was a big focus again this year on it. It isn’t a new thing. It certainly has been the theme over the last couple of Social Media Marketing Worlds but one of the big trends this year is that we’re now beginning to see more and more people create shows instead of just going live randomly. One of the things that I heard taught again and again is that you need a weekly show or a daily show or you need some kind of a regular show, some people know that you’re going to show up at a certain time. It’s build into what I taught in last week’s episode about engaging predictably. You want to build that into your editorial calendar, but on top of that start throwing the random shows as well, the random lives. Luria from Live Streaming Pros is a big believer in this. You’ve got your show but you also want to go live from time to time to share some of the back story, to share what’s happening. The combination of the regular show and the random kind of going live is a really powerful type thing. We saw more and more people actually talking about the studios that they’ve got now, so we’re seeing more and more people at the higher end setup purpose-built studios, that’s probably beyond some people, but we’re certainly seeing the emphasis upon the quality of video production going up. More and more people buying purpose-built lights, better cameras, and using systems that are very powerful to run their studios as well. There’s also a focus this year upon not just Facebook Live but also more focus upon YouTube Live, which seems to be growing as well. The beauty of going live on YouTube is that your video then becomes a part of your video library on YouTube. Videos on YouTube do seem to have a longer life. If you go live on Facebook today, you get people viewing that video for the next day or two, and then Facebook doesn’t show it to anyone after that. People have to go digging looking for the video. But on YouTube, if you do a live video today, it will continue to get traffic to it indefinitely if it’s a good video, if it’s ranking well. YouTube is more of a search engine so people are actually going to YouTube searching for the videos. There’s perhaps less cut-through when you are going live on YouTube, but more evergreen kind of long tail views of your video as well. Also there was a bit of an emphasis this year on Instagram Live as well. That is a platform that seems to be growing for some people as well. Since the conference, I noticed a number of my friends are using it. It was really great to meet the team from Ecamm Live at this year’s conference. They had a booth there. I’m so impressed with this platform. If you’re on a Mac, for me it’s one of the lowest barrier to entry tools that you can use. It’s US$39.95 and it gets you a tool that is like having a little television studio in your computer. It allows you to screen share, it allows you to create overlays with comments so you can promote a comment and put it up on your screen, you can drag videos in, you can drag images in, you can interview people now in split screen using their Skype Call Recorder. It’s a great tool and I’m really impressed with that. I’m really impressed also by where they’re going as well with their product down the track. They shared a little about where they’re going, and I don’t think they would mind me saying in they’re going to be building a YouTube Live as well, and that to me really is going to make it even better. It’s brilliant and they’re developing it really fast. Ecamm Live is that tool. Again $39.95 and that’s a one-off fee. You don’t have to pay that on a monthly or a yearly kind of subscription. Once you got it, you got it. I just cannot believe it’s so cheap. Keeping mind with the live video that Facebook Live’s perhaps aren’t getting as much cut-through as they were a year ago. When they first released Facebook Live they were prioritizing it in their feed a lot more. To get prioritized in the feed you still need to build in that conversational element that I was talking about before. It still is powerful, not quite as powerful as it once was because there’s more people doing it today. The fourth trend I noticed this year is something that I guess building some ways upon the idea of video and that is episodic video. This is something that Mike Stelzner talked about in his opening keynote. Many of you will know Mike, he’s been on the podcast before, he is from Social Media Examiner and in the lead up to this year’s Social Media Marketing World conference, they created a series of videos called The Journey. In many ways the idea is that they created these episodic videos. Once a week, they released the new episode in the series. I think they’re probably about 10 minutes each, and that was designed to be watched either each week or binged upon. This is kind of the idea that they’ve taken. Really it was the telling of the story of the creation of their conference. They talked about the ups and downs of running a conference. There were some weeks when Mike was really vulnerable with people and talked about how things had stuffed up and how things weren’t going well with ticket sales. Then there were other weeks where they took you on to the highs of it, and “Oh this week we tried this and it brought in a lot more sales.” A lot of people this year were at the conference who attended the conference because they’ve been watching this series and have been taken on this journey which is what it was called. I do recommend you check out The Journey and I’ll link to it in today’s show notes. I talked to a number of people who said they watched that journey series with their kids like a television show and they binged upon it. They watched three or four hours in a row of these episodes. It’s kind of pretty amazing to see the results of that case study. They’re not the first people to use video in this way. Gary Vaynechuk has been doing this type of thing for a year or two, showing behind-the-scenes of his life and the talks that he does. But what Social Media Examiner did with The Journey was really almost create a television show that people are now binging upon. It’s great for story-telling, great for building credibility, great for helping people to know you and humanizing your brand. It is a higher investment though and they actually hired a videographer to do it. So it’s possibly a little bit out of range for people like myself. I’m not in a position to hire someone to follow me around. I don’t think I’ve got an interesting enough life to have someone follow me around but there are ways to create episodic content. And that leads me to the fifth thing I want to talk about, and that is the rise in stories, story-style content. We saw probably two years, three years ago at Social Media Marketing World the rise of SnapChat. Everyone was on SnapChat. Everyone was talking about their Snaps. I never really got it myself. I only really begun to get these idea of story content once it came to Instagram. Last year’s conference, there was a major focus on Instagram Stories versus SnapChat and people saying, “Oh, Instagram stole the idea from SnapChat,” and possibly they did, but there was a debate whether SnapChat would survive this or not. This year there was a real feel at the conference that SnapChat’s perhaps is on the way out. I think one of the Kardashians declared it dead and knocked its stock price right down but certainly we saw this year the rise in people talking about Instagram Stories, and to a lesser degree, Facebook Stories as well. I lost count of the amount of people who told me that they’re getting great results from Instagram Stories, particularly those who were using it to drive traffic to things that they were doing in their business. I think once you have 10,000 followers on Instagram and if you have a business account, I think that’s the qualification you can use, the swipe up feature which allows you to put a link in so people could go and check out what you’re doing. It’s pretty much the only way to get people to visit your blog or to visit your sales page from Instagram except from using your profile link. A lot of people now are using stories to call people to action. We’re talking about how they were designing and crafting sequences of stories to take their audience on a journey. So it’s not just people saying, “This is what I’m doing,” or, “this is what I’m eating,” or, “this is what my cat did,” anymore. It’s actually people designing and crafting an experience for their followers, to not just tell the backstory of their life but to actually present information and take their readers on a journey in some way. In some ways it’s what Mike was talking about with episodic content but it’s something we’ve all got in our phones that we can do in other easy way and people getting really, really creative with their stories. The other thing that people are telling me is that more and more people now are familiar with the stories. Probably a year ago people saw the stories little circles in Instagram account and didn’t know what they were, didn’t know how to use them but now it’s being adopted and I suspected there are some people who are using the stories more than they are using anything else on Instagram, so big area of growth. Of course we’ve also seen Facebook now introducing stories as well and I’m told in the last few days by people that now Facebook pages can potentially do stories as well. Hopefully we’ll see that continue to mature as a platform too. The sixth thing I want to talk about are bots and messenger marketing. This is something that came up many times at the conference this year. It was talked about from the keynote stage. There was a whole stream of content pretty much on bots. Now I’m not talking about Twitter bots, Russian Twitter bots. I’m talking about bots that are used in messaging apps, particularly in Facebook Messenger, I think WhatsApp perhaps as well. This is something that has really been on the rise since last year’s conference. It was talked about last year but this year a lot more people have taken it and have run with it. This what I was talking about before. I go to this conference to hear about what’s coming, the new emerging trends. I don’t tend to jump on in the first year. I tend to wait and see what people have done with them and jump on about a year later. That puts me slightly behind the curve in some ways and perhaps it’s a disadvantage but one of the things I’ve learned is there’s always a new trend coming and not all of them take off, and not all of them are going to suit my business. So I tend to hang back for a year and then wait a see what people are doing and then implement after that. This is one of the things I think now is maturing and there’s opportunities that are definitely there for bloggers. It almost flies a little in the face though of one of the things I talked about earlier, and that is focusing upon being real and being human. Some people would argue–and I’ve heard people argue–that bots are the opposite of that. How can a bot be real? How can a bot be human? How can a bot be truly engaging? There’s a few things I’d say about that. One, the bots are actually getting pretty good at being engaging and some of the technologies are amazing but I guess the main thing I would say is that I see the place of a bot as being getting people to the engagement. If you use it in small ways to drive people to real engagement, that’s a very powerful thing. For example, a really small example, last week in my Facebook Live I set up a bot using a tool called ManyChat. If anyone left a comment and the comment I think the word was “alert me,” if anyone said “alert me” in the comments of that Facebook Live, this bot sent them a message inviting them to be alerted of anytime I would go live on Facebook. So anytime I go live on Facebook anyone who used the word “alert me” back then is going to get a message in their Messenger saying “Darren’s about to go live.” That is a bot driving people to real life engagement. I think that type of use of a bot is one way you can actually drive people to those engaging experiences, drive people to the things they actually want. I think the best way to use a bot is to solve a problem. One of the problems I was solving there is that people tell me every time I go live, “Ah I didn’t realize you were going live today,” and, “Facebook didn’t really alert me like I ask them to,” or, “they alerted me too late.” Actually solving a problem with the bot in some way. I can see bloggers using bots in a variety of ways. You could set up a bot to notify people when you publish content, when a live event is happening, when a podcast is released. You could set up a bot to introduce new readers to your old content. You could setup a bot to help people keep on track when running a challenge. The key I think is to get people on the same page as you, as to what to expect from the bot. So when you invite people to subscribe to your bot, don’t just say, “Hey subscribe to my bot,” and then not telling them what’s going to happen. Tell them, “If you subscribe to this bot I’ll let you know when I go live,” or “you will be alerted when I have a new podcast,” or “you will get a sequence of messages from me that will walk you through this type of content.” You want to be really clear. In many ways the bot I see it is very similar to an email list, really. You can use an email list to send broadcast, you can use an email list to send people through a sequence of emails to an autoresponder, and you can do the same type of things with bots. You probably don’t just want one bot that is going to do it all because that is just going to annoy everyone if you start doing all those things to everyone who subscribes. You probably want to set up bots that tag people with their particular interest, so you only interrupt them in Messenger when you’ve got something relevant to say to them and to their needs. If you want to check out who’s doing some good stuff with bots as far as I can see is Gary Vaynechuk–I’ve mentioned him twice today. Gary has been pushing really hard on this at the moment. He set up a Facebook Messenger community which he calls First In Line. If you do a Google for that, you’ll find it. It’s really to help his followers, and his followers, his fans are crazy, they’re rabid, they’re enthusiastic but it’s to give them the information that they want. I can link to the sign-up page for this in the show notes today but you’ll see he asks for a lot of information. He asks for their name, he ask for their phone number, he asks for the things they’re interested in and what I suspect he’s doing there is tagging people who follow his bot with what they want to hear. So he says are you interested in my books? Are you interested in my speaking? My events? Are you interested in my sneakers? Because he’s got a sneaker line now. I suspect what I’m going to get from following him from that bot is information that I’ve tagged as I’m interested in. I think to me that’s a really smart way of setting up a bot. This is the space that I think will develop a lot in the next year or so. The tools that I’ve used so far, ManyChat that’s the main one. A number of my friends are using what’s called ChatFuel. I can link to those in the show notes today. The seventh thing that I want to talk about is kind surprising to me and I didn’t go expecting to hear much about this or to see that this is a theme, but I was really pleased to hear it and you’ll know why when I tell it to you. The seventh theme is that blogging is back. I don’t think that it really went away but this year I saw a renewed interest in blogging and I think one of the reasons for this is Facebook Armageddon. People are realizing finally the power of having your own blog. Having something set up on your own domain, on your own servers, where you control the rules, where you can do what you want, where you are not filtered by algorithms. I am so glad that people are finally getting this message. I have more people coming to my session this year than in previous years. I had so many people come up to me and say, “I’m getting back into blogging,” “I’m bringing my old blog back to life,” or “I’m starting a new blog.” People want to control their destiny. They’re feeling scattered across the internet. They are on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and podcast, and they’re all in these different places. They want a home base for all their stuff. They want to build their own asset and people are realizing that a blog is a great thing to have. People are realizing that with the rise of video content, that written content isn’t going away as well. We’re actually not just seeing the rise of blogging and vlogging or podcast blogs but we’re also seeing the return I think to written content as well, which I’m so excited about because it’s my first love as well. There are the seven big trends I noticed this year. Number one was Facebook Armageddon. Number two was the return and the rise of being real, transparent, vulnerable, and human. Number three was the rise of live video and the continuing rise and the maturing of that platform. Number four is episodic video which is something that’s perhaps a little bit more high-end but is a powerful thing. Bouncing off the back of that, the rise of stories, styled content in Instagram and Facebook. Number six is bots and messenger marketing, and using those to support your business. And then number seven was that blogging is back. Now, as I said at the top of this week’s show, next week’s episode, episode 241, I want to answer some questions that I know many of you probably are asking right now, and I heard many people asking at the end of Social Media Marketing World, and that is, “What should I focus my time on?” You just heard seven things that you could be focusing your time on. Should you be creating episodic content? Should you be doing Insta-stories or blogging or podcasting or vlogging or— And there’s all the other social networks I haven’t mentioned. There are sessions on Pinterest, there are sessions on YouTube, there are sessions on a variety of different platforms. What you should be focusing upon? That’s what I want to talk about in next week’s episode. I want to give you some thoughts on how I make that kind of decision for my business and how I recommend to other people to do that as well. So please make sure you’re subscribed. If you are listening to the podcast for the first time, there’s 239 other episodes you can dig back and listen to. Also if you would please take a moment or two just to rate and review this podcast in iTunes or whatever app you use to subscribe as well. You can also leave a comment on the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/240 where we have a full transcript of the show today and I link to all the things that I’ve mentioned as well. Lastly, if you got a moment and you know someone who might be helped by this podcast episode or the whole podcast, please consider sharing it as well. I’ve just given you 10 calls to action which breaks every rule that I’ve got but if you have a moment or two to take any of those actions, I would greatly appreciate it. I really mainly look forward to chatting with you next week in episode 241. Thanks for listening. Chat with you then. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 240: 7 Social Media Trends I Noticed at Social Media Marketing World appeared first on ProBlogger.
March 19, 2018
How to Develop an Engaged Blog Audience In today’s episode I want to talk about building engagement on your blog, and building a sense of community around it and your online business. Building engagement is so important for your blog. It helps word-of-mouth growth, gives you energy, builds social proof on your site, and leads to more effective monetization. When people see engagement, they want to stick around and spend money. Three ways to build engagement with your audience Show up predictably – You need to show up regularly. Show up mentally – Be prepared and ready to engage. Show up randomly – Adding an element of surprise can make a massive difference to people. Links and Resources for Principles of Building an Engaged Blog Audience: Bob  Burg Tom Shefchunas Further Listening About Why You Should Build Community on Your Blog Why You Should Make Building Community a Priority in Your Blogging How to Build a Culture of Community on Your Blog Courses ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog ProBlogger’s Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hi there and welcome to episode 239 of the ProBlogger podcast. I can’t believe I got to 239, to be honest. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses designed to help you as a blogger to grow your blog, to create great content, to build engagement around your blog which is what we’re talking about today, and to build profit around that blog as well. You can learn more about what we do at ProBlogger at problogger.com. Today’s podcast is brought to you by our brand new course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog which launches this week to some of you. This is a course that’s built upon our bestselling ebook by the same name. It’s been completely updated for today and contains 31 days of teaching, more importantly, 31 activities that you can do to improve your blog. You can head over to problogger.com/31days to register your interest in the course. If you’re lucky, you might just see the page is live now. We’re going to open it up to 50 users at a time to beta test it and we’re going to do that with a bit of a discount. To be involved in that beta test, head over to problogger.com/31days. We will invite 50 at a time and gradually over time we will get more and more people in there as we get people’s feedback. Hopefully, over the next couple of weeks it’ll be live for everyone. 31 Days to Build a Better Blog launching in the next week or so, depending on how early you get on that list. In today’s episode, I want to talk about building engagement on your blog, building a sense of community around your blog and your online business. If that is something that is a goal for you, tune in for the next 5 or 10 minutes. It’s a relatively short one today. You can also check out the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/239. Building engagement is such an important part of building a profitable blog. If you’ve been listening to ProBlogger for a while now, you do know that it’s one of the pillars of ProBlogging that I talk about. Those four pillars, creating great content is the first one. Number two is driving traffic to your blog which is something you need to actually participate in. It doesn’t just happen. You need to be proactive about it. Number three is to build engagement, to build community so that the traffic that comes actually feels engaged. Then, the fourth pillar is monetization. These idea of building community or building engagement with your readers is so important. For me, it really brings everything alive. As bloggers, we often focus upon getting more readers to our blog. We want more traffic, we want more eyeballs. That’s important because we do need to build awareness with people but if we want to turn that traffic into customers, the vast majority of them do need to feel some kind of engagement. Most people don’t just buy when they first land on a blog. It does happen but most people need to be warmed up. They need to feel like they know you, like you, and trust you; that’s the idea that Bob Berg came out with this. People do business with those they know, like, and trust. For me, I think most people are much more likely to know, like, and trust someone if I feel like they actually know, like, and trust me if they are engaging with me. Engagement is so important. It helps your blog to grow. Engagement helps word of mouth to kick in. It gives you as a blogger energy as well when you’re getting comments, when you’re getting feedback, and when you’re getting that interaction. It helps to build social proof on your site. When people come to your site for the first time and they see engagement happening, they see you actually answering questions, and taking care of your readers, that makes them want to stick around longer. It helps to get more page views on your site which is important for those of you who are monetizing with advertising. It unearths ideas for user generated content. Every time I do any kind of engagement on the site, I get ideas for new blog posts or new podcast that I could do. It also leads to more effective monetization. No matter what kind of model you’re using with your blog, whether you are monetizing with advertising, whether you’re monetizing in selling your own products, whether you’re monetizing through affiliate promotions, or monetizing through masterminds, events, memberships, or any of these models for monetizing a blog will be monetized much better when you’ve got people actually engaging with you. They trust you, they’re more likely to respond to your calls to action and engage with you by getting their wallets out as well. Engagement is so important in the scheme of building a profitable blog. There’s any number of ways that you can build that engagement. What I want to do at the end of this podcast and in the show notes is to link to a few other podcast that you can listen to that help on a tactical level for building engagement. Today, I want to give you three things that I think are really important if you want to build that engagement and that all revolve around the idea that I’ve talked before of being engaging yourself. The thing that I have taught many times over is that if you want engagement, you need to be engaging. You need to show up if you want people to shop. You need to engage if you want people to engage with you. I was listening to a guy called Tom Shefchunas–I think his name is–today. I’m sorry Tom if I mispronounce that. He was on another podcast and I was listening to it, he was actually teaching about how to work with young people. He was doing some teaching, I think it was for youth work, and he talked about three ways that you need to show up when you’re working with young people. As I was listening to him, I realized that this is three ways that you need to show up on your blog too. If you want to build this engagement, if you want to build a sense of community with your readers, these are three things that I think equally apply into that situation as well. I want to emphasize these three things, three ways that you should show up if you want to build engagement with your audience. Let me go through them, this won’t take too long. Firstly, he says to show up predictably. This for me is the foundation of it all. You need to be regularly showing up. It’s about regularity, it’s about consistency. When you show up regularly to your readers, it builds an expectation with your readers, with your audience that you show up. When they see the accumulation of you showing up every week, or every day, or even every month on a regularly basis; consistently showing up and engaging they begin, to expect that and this builds trust, this builds credibility. This is the foundation for the relationship between you and your audience. It sets the tone for what you’re on about. Showing up once is powerful but when you show up consistently, predictably, regularly, over time, people begin to see that you have a history of showing up and they begin to think that you will show up into the future as well. This builds anticipation, this builds expectation, this builds momentum for your blog, and this is very, very powerful. When people begin to expect that you will be there every week at the same time, or every day at the same time, or every month at the same time, you become a part of their lives. This is where this relationship forms and this by itself is really powerful if you make that commitment to do that. The actual distance between the times that you show up is really up to you. On ProBlogger, I show up every Tuesday morning for our Facebook Live and I’m trying to build that into my week. Sometimes, I miss one if I’m travelling. Sometimes, I’m 20 minutes late if I’m a little bit late getting back from the gym but I show up regularly and predictably on those weeks. What I’ve noticed over the last six or so months of doing that is that now my readers are beginning to show up at those times. I try to get a podcast out every Monday night Australian time. By me showing up at the same time every week, I notice that my readers now begin to show up, my listeners begin to show up as well. We missed one last week because I was travelling and I got emails from people saying, “Where is this week’s podcast?” Building that expectation is a powerful thing. People begin to know, like, and trust you because you show up predictably. This is why it’s so important to come up with an editorial calendar. I don’t really like the word editorial calendar because it’s not just about the editorial, it’s not just about the content; it’s actually an engagement calendar as well. More broadly, it’s a calendar for all of your activities. By actually thinking and being proactive about setting up those intervals of when you’re going to show up and setting that out, diarizing it, calendarizing it, that’s a very powerful thing. Show up predictably is the first thing. The second thing is just so important and this is something that I’ve fallen into the trap of not doing at different times over the years. That is to show up mentally. Don’t just appear, care. Show up mentally. You want to not just be seen on a regular basis but you want to actually make a connection. This means showing up prepared. This means showing up present and able to engage. If you’re doing Facebook Live, it’s so easy to just show up and present what you’ve got to present and then you just go away and not actually engage with anyone. It’s easy to show up on a regular basis but to actually show up present, prepared, and engaging with people takes it to a next level. This means showing up and remembering people who’ve shown up before, actually engaging with people that you’ve engaged with before, acknowledging that you’ve got that previous relationship, ready to invest with those who come and actually caring as well. Don’t just appear, don’t just be seen, actually care for people and this means actually going to the effort of engaging with people. This is something I’ve noticed, it’s easy to not do. It’s easy to set up your Twitter feed so that you just put out broadcasts. It’s easy to set up your Facebook page so that you just share your content and maybe occasionally schedule in a question but you don’t actually show up yourself to engage in that. It looks like you’re there but you’re not really there. This is something that is so easy to do, it’s so tempting to do. We’ve got all these amazing tools at our fingertips now but to actually show up, to be present, to be mentally there, and to actually be engaging with people takes things to the next level. Go beyond the automations and actually get into relationships. Go into real time interactions. This is why I love Facebook Live because you can’t fake Facebook Live, particularly, when you’re doing Q&As, when you’re actually responding to people’s questions, that’s a very powerful thing as well. It shows people that you are there, that they have your focus, that you’re calling out their name, that you actually see them, and you’re responding to them. Show up predictably, show up mentally, and then show up randomly. This one was a bit of a surprise when Tom talked about it but I see the power in this. For me, this is really what takes things to the whole new level. Showing up predictably is great but what takes it to the next level is when you add a little unpredictability to your engagement. When you add in the element of surprise, it can make a massive difference to people. Going beyond what is expected, this makes an impression, this creates memories for your audience and this deepens the relationship incredibly. There’s so many different ways you can do this. For example, replying to comments with in-depth thoughts. Sending someone a private message instead of just sending them a really quick reply can be something that stands out to people. I’ll give you a really quick example of this. On Twitter earlier today, I had someone reply to one of my tweets announcing a new post. I had this tweet go out, it was an automated tweet, me announcing this new post. As a reply to that, someone asked a really quick question. I have actually answer that question with another post that I’ve already written and I could quite easily have just replied with a link, read this, but I decided to take a little more time and to reply in a direct message with a slightly more personal response. Actually using their name, actually showing that I’d heard their question, and adding a little bit of my own thoughts. It took me three minutes to write this DM. It was probably a paragraph and a half long and then I did have the link at the end of it through the further reading. But the read this was in the context of me having heard them. It took me three minutes to do this. The reply that came back for my DM was amazing. The person was wowed. The person wasn’t expecting that level of reply. Remember, it only took me three minutes but it made an impression upon that person. It showed them that I care enough to take a few minutes out of my day to reply. There’s so many ways that you can do this. Did you know that you can reply to tweets by a video? You can actually reply with a video using the Twitter app on your phone. You can do the same thing on Facebook. If someone on your Facebook page responds to you, why not send them a video? They can actually hear your voice, see your face, and know that you have created a reply specifically for them because you use their name. This type of little simple things. It takes you almost as long as it does to type a reply but to actually personalize it in some way stands out, it surprises them. It shines in their mind a little bit. It’s these little random surprising interactions that last in people’s memories and it makes a massive difference. This is what builds a brand and this is what has huge impact upon your readers. It doesn’t just have a big impact upon the reader that you’re responding to. If you reply to a tweet with a video, if you reply on your Facebook page with a video, other people in your community see that as well and they notice that you are being more engaging as well. I hope this helps you. Show up predictably, actually create an engagement calendar. Show up mentally, don’t just automate engagement, actually do it in real life. It doesn’t need to take your whole week to do it. Showing up for an hour a week and engaging, being present for that hour can have a massive impact. Then, throw in a few random show ups as well. This might be unscheduled Facebook Lives, this might be replying to people individually, this might be showing off your readers’ stuff, resharing what they’re sharing, retweeting their stuff, actually using their responses in your blog post as quotes, actually giving your readers a chance to shine as well, actually giving them those more specific, surprising engagements can go a long way. Show up predictably, show up mentally, and show up randomly. I hope that helps. Stay tuned in the next moment or two and I will share a few other podcasts that you can listen to with a few more tactics on building engagement for your blog. If you’re looking for something else to listen to, I do recommend that you head to episode 60 of the ProBlogger podcast where I talked about why you should build community on your blog and why you should build that engagement. Dig a little bit more into some of those reasons I give you earlier in this podcast. Follow up to that was episode 61 where I talked about how to build a culture of community, a culture of engagement on your blog, and I give you seven practical things that you can do to really take this to the next level. Seven things that you can do that will build an interaction with your readers that will make them feel like they belong to what you’re doing rather than just passive observers of what you do. I hope you enjoy those. That’s episode 60 and 61. They’re both on iTunes and also over on our show notes as well. Just go to problogger.com/podcast, and then put in the number 60 or 61. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back next week where I’m going to talk about seven trends in social media that I picked up at a recent conference. Tune in for that one. Thank you so much for listening and if you got a moment, I would love it if you head over to iTunes or your favourite podcast app to leave us a review.  It’s been a few weeks since I got a review in. I do get an email every time they come in and so I’d love to see some new ones. It helps me to get a feel to how you are receiving the show, what you like about it, what you don’t like about it, and it also helps us to be seen a little bit more in iTunes as well. If you’ve got a moment to do that, even just for a few minutes it would help us a lot. That’s over on iTunes or your favourite podcast listening app. Leave us a star rating and a review. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 239: 3 Principles of Building an Engaged Blog Audience appeared first on ProBlogger.
March 12, 2018
How Updating Your Archives Can Drive More Traffic to Your Blog In today’s episode I want to talk about a trend I’ve noticed among many experienced bloggers – tending to their archives. Many experienced bloggers are slowing down on new content, while increasing traffic to to their blog by revising posts they’ve already written. Individual blog posts tend to get the most traffic on your site, which means there’s gold in them thar archives. But like any asset – your car, your home, even your body – your archives depreciate. Go back to the first post you wrote. You’ll probably cringe at what you see – broken links, out-of-date content, and a really awful image (assuming it even has one). If you don’t maintain your archives, they become worthless. Fortunately, maintaining your archives can slow down or even reverse that depreciation. So today I want to challenge you to pay more attention to your archives. (I’m challenging myself as well.) Go to one of your previous posts and update it. (Don’t worry – your internal cringe meter will tell you what needs changing.) Even small tweaks, such as fixing the obvious errors, will help. Share your updated post with my Facebook group for input and help. Finally, add a task to your editorial calendar to update at least one post a week.    Links and Resources for How to Get More Traffic by Updating Your Archives: Social Media Marketing World conference Google Analytics; Google AdSense Amazon affiliate accounts Facebook group Examples of Updating Your Archives Case Study Update – Digital Photography School Courses ProBlogger’s Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hey there and welcome to episode 238 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses, check those out especially, all designed to help you to grow your blog and to build a profitable blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com. Particularly check out those two new courses, How To Start a Blog, Our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog which is completely free for those of you who are thinking about blogging and want to build to build a blog upon solid foundations. Check that out over on problogger.com and just look for the courses tab. And also, our brand new 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course, which we’ll be launching in the next week or two. Check that out also on the courses tab. You can pre-register to be notified when that goes live and to receive a special discount as well. In today’s episode, I want to talk about a trend that I’ve noticed amongst many experienced bloggers that may explain something you might have noticed amongst them. A lot of more experienced bloggers are slowing down how much new content they are producing. This is partly because many of them are lengthening the content, it takes a little bit longer to write. But there’s also another reason. I want to talk a little bit about one of the trends I’ve noticed amongst full time bloggers. Experienced bloggers who’ve been around for a while that might explain a little bit why they’re not publishing as much, yet they’re still building traffic to their blog. It’s got to do with looking after their archives and it’s something that I think most of us have been blogging even for six or so months should be paying attention to. This is something I talked about at Social Media Marketing World over the last week or so. I just got home from that conference. As I talked about this, I had a lot of people come out to me after my session and say this is something they’ve been doing or something they want to do more of. You can get today’s show notes over at problogger.com/podcast/238 where there’s also a full transcript of the show. Today, I want to talk about your archives. I want to talk about those posts you’ve already written. I know many bloggers don’t really pay much attention to their archives, they write a post and that’s the last they think about them. The work has been done, I’ve written the post, it’s published, it’s now working for me. But tonight I want to put forward an idea that I think has the potential to drive a lot of traffic to your blog and to help you build profit around your blog as well. The idea really starts with this premise: your archives are an asset. Your archives are something that are incredibly valuable. As I just looked at my Google Analytics a few minutes ago, I can see the most popular page on my site is the homepage. It’s getting more traffic than any other page, yet it’s only getting about 8% of my traffic as I look at it now. 8% of my traffic which means 92% of my traffic is coming into another page of my site, a page that isn’t my most popular page on the site. As I dig into that, there’s a few post that are getting more traffic than others, but collectively, it is the individual posts that I’ve written over the last 16 years of blogging now, almost, that is getting the majority of my traffic. Whilst the front page is really important, 92% of my traffic in the last hours or so has come into individual posts on my blog. Which means 92% of my income from my Google AdSense Ads, from my Amazon affiliate accounts, from my other affiliate income, 92% of that income is really dependent upon my archives. This is something that I think we need to pay attention to. A lot of us pay a lot of attention to our front page, we design that front page, we might design our start here page and pay a lot of attention to that, keep going to that and optimize it, make it better. We pay a lot of attention to our sales pages because if we’re selling a product, we can optimize those, we can do better. But one of the things I wanna encourage you to do this week and in an ongoing sense is to pay attention to your archives. If you’re getting 92% of your traffic to a single type of page, then that’s something you need to pay attention to. The reality is there’s gold in your archives, no matter what monetization method you use, there’s gold in your archives. You have income earning potential in your archives because of that traffic coming in. You’ve got the potential for new readers that you could hook into your newsletter list, you’ve got potential at advertising revenue as well. Your archives are really important. But here’s the thing, your archives are depreciating. Any asset depreciates. I did accounting in year 11 and year 12 at high school. I know the basics of depreciation but I’m certainly no expert on it. But the thing I do know is that assets tend to depreciate. Here’s the test, if you go back to the first post you wrote, whether you wrote them six months ago, whether you wrote them 16 years ago, if you go back and have a look at those early posts that you wrote, I would bet that each and every one of us would be cringing at something in those posts. That cringe that you do, that internal grimace, that internal squirming in your seat as you look at that old post is a sign that your archives have depreciated. Maybe it’s the way they look, maybe you, like I did, have tiny, little images in your archives. Back in the day, back in 2004, 2005, I remember when I started to use images in my post, they were tiny images and I’ll thumbnail them so you can click the image and make them larger. That’s something I don’t do anymore. Today, we use big images. Maybe it’s the style of writing, maybe you’re writing in a voice that has developed, maybe you wrote in a naïve way about your topic. Maybe you go back and look at those posts and you can see errors in them. Maybe they’re broken links. Maybe the facts aren’t right. Or maybe they are just out of date, maybe they were written for 2006 and more relevant to that date but they’re not relevant anymore. Maybe the formatting of the post is different. Back in the day, I didn’t use headings when I first started blogging. I used to write these big large slabs of text. I would guarantee that even if you’ve only been blogging for 6-12 months, that if you go back and look at those old blog posts, that you will have a moment of cringe. And that cringe is a sign of depreciation of your archives because if you are cringing, you can bet that your readers are going to have a cringe or two themselves when they stumble upon those archives. Remember, 92% of my traffic is going to my archives. You just think about the amount of people that are seeing content that maybe isn’t quite as good as it can be. That has an impact upon the revenue that you are able to earn, the rate that people will subscribe and want to connect with you, that’s a really important thing. Your archives are depreciating but here’s the thing that I’ve learned over the last few years. Maintaining those archives, paying attention to those archives can reverse that depreciation, or at the very least, slow down that depreciation. I have blogpost in my archives and I shared an example of this at Social Media Marketing World. I had a post in my archives that have grown in traffic since I wrote them, not just because my blog has improved and had more readers come to it but because I’ve improved those posts to the point where people are now sharing them more when they come across them. To the point where Google is now seeing them as a high quality article than they used to be, so it is ranking them at a higher rate as well. Pay attention to your archives is the thing that I want to talk about today. We maintain our assets. I maintain my home, I maintain my car, my car got serviced last week, I maintain my business assets, my computers, my printers, my phone, I maintain my body. I see my body as an asset. I know that if I don’t maintain these things, they would be worthless later, they won’t perform as well later. I will pay for their lack of maintenance. So I put attention into caring for these things. What I want to challenge myself to do today and you to do today is to pay a bit more attention to those archives. Here’s the trend that I’ve noticed. This is something I’ve not heard too many people talk about. I didn’t hear a single person talk about this at Social Media Marketing World. It’s something that I am hearing more and more from the successful bloggers, that they are slowing down how much new content they’re producing. Part of the reason that they’re doing that is so that they can put more time into caring for and maintaining those posts that they wrote years ago. They are seeing, and this is really key, they are seeing bigger increases in their traffic as a result of improving what they’ve already written than writing new content. Your new posts do have potential to bring you traffic in, and they will. But if you’ve got posts that are already ranking in Google, they might be ranking six or seven in Google and if you can improve that post to the point here it is ranking higher, then that is going to bring you more traffic in the long run than one new post. If you improve an old post to the point where it will be shared at a higher rate for the next 10 years, then that has the potential as well to have a massive impact upon your blog as well. That’s what a lot of these bigger, more successful, more experienced bloggers are paying attention to. You might be thinking this isn’t relevant to me. I’ve already been blogging a year. Here’s the key, I really think that even if you’ve only been blogging for 6 months or 12 months, that you need to be paying attention to your archives as well because they are dating as well. Also, if you maintain and get into the habit of maintaining your archives in the early days of your blog, you’re going to actually find that you need to do less work down the track. I myself, have 8000 post in my archives on ProBlogger. That’s a lot of post that I need to maintain. I wish I’d started this process earlier. Let me just talk for a moment about some of the benefits of updating your archives. I’ve already alluded to this. Firstly it’s great for search engine optimization. Google loves content that is up to date, that is of high quality, that loads well, loads fast, doesn’t have broken links, that is a good experience for readers. It’s going to help you in terms of SEO. It’s good for social sharing. Someone sharing to a post in your archives that is date, that is broken, that looks a little bit old fashioned, that is hard to read, they’re not likely to share that content when they come from Google. But if they come to a post and it’s done, they make it looks beautiful, it’s easy to read, it’s helpful, it’s relevant for to date, of course, they’re much more likely to share. So that brings in more traffic as well. It’s good in terms of the reading experience as well which makes them much more likely to become hooked into your community, to connect with you on Facebook, or to subscribe to your newsletter, to grab your opt-in, and it also lengthens the income generation potential for your blog as well. The post I shared at Social Media Marketing World is a post I wrote on Digital Photography School in 2007. It’s a post about ISO which is just a basic factor in photography, something that helps you to expose your photos better. It’s a post I wrote in 2007, it probably took me two hours to write. When I first wrote it, it had about 100 visitors a day coming to it. It really wasn’t that successful but because I’ve improved it overtime and lengthened it, I’ve deepened it, I’ve added new images to it, it’s now getting 3000-4000 visitors a day. As a result of that, it’s earning income everyday from AdSense ads, and it’s hooking new readers into our site as well. It’s lengthened the income generation potential as well to my site. Here’s my challenge for you today. It is to identify a post that you can go back and update. Ultimately, I want you to do this in an ongoing way. I want you to go back and build it into your editorial calendar and to do hundreds of your posts in your archives. But it’s all going to start with a single post. Here’s my challenge: identify a post that you can update today. This doesn’t mean you have to go back and rewrite the whole post. It may be that some of your posts need that. But even just some small tweaks to your post and I’ll give you a few things that you might want to look for. Even those small tweaks are going to help you. In fact, when it comes to search engine optimization, it can be better just to tweak your posts rather than to completely rewrite them. That’s the advice that I’ve been getting in terms of SEO. What posts are you going to choose? I would personally be starting with your most trafficked post. Most of us have a post in our archives that is getting more traffic than any other post. The example I gave before of that ISO post, it’s one of the most trafficked post, it gets a lot of eyeballs and so it’s one I regularly go back to update. Over the years I’ve updated it probably every six or so months. Look at the posts that are getting a lot of eyeballs. Maybe the traffic’s coming in from search engine optimization, or from Google, maybe it’s coming in from social sharing, maybe it’s getting a lot of links from another blog, maybe it’s got Pinterest traffic. It doesn’t really matter the source of it. If you can improve that post, you’re going to continue to improve the post. Start with one of those posts. The other type of post you might want to look at is posts that you’ve written in the past that haven’t performed as well as you thought they would. Maybe it’s a post that you put a lot of time and effort into back in the day. You think it’s got potential but no one else has taken that. Maybe an update of that post, a refreshment of that post, giving it some new visual elements may actually help that. The other type of post that you might want to look back to is one of your early posts. Just something that’s dated and broken. Most of us are aware that there’s a post in our archives somewhere that does need an update. If you have one of those posts coming to mind, I would start with that as well. Identify a post and once you’ve identified that post, there’s a number of things that you can do. You could rewrite that post. If it’s completely rubbish, you might want to completely update it. But as I said before, there’s lots of little tweaks you can do as well. Here’s a few things you might want to suggest and if you want to grab this list, check out the show notes today because there’s the transcript there and you better find it. Firstly, you might want to fix any obvious errors, if there’s any factual errors, if there’s any spelling mistakes, if there’s any broken links, anything that is broken or wrong, that should be where you start. Secondly, updating the content for today. You may have used some examples that were from five, six years ago when you wrote the post. What could you add to the post that makes it relevant for 2018, if that’s when you’re listening to this. If you’re listening to this next year, what could you do to make it relevant for 2019? You want it to be fresh, you want people to come to it and feel like it still matters today. Thirdly, you want to make it longer, you might want to add more depth to it. Maybe you want to add some examples, maybe you want to add some quotes, maybe you want to add some extra points, if it’s a teaching article and you add a little bit more. Pay attention to the comments that your post may have received. Maybe there’s some questions in those comments that you could answer in the post. Because if someone else has asked a question at the end of reading your post, you can bet that other people will ask that as well. Maybe you could add the flipside if you’ve argued a strong case for something. Maybe there’s an alternative point of view that you could add in there. Maybe you could add a quote from someone else. Maybe you could actually interview someone who’s an expert in the field and get a quote specifically from them. Fourthly, you can improve the visual elements of the post. Maybe adding a new image, maybe you want to add an image overlay, some text over the top, maybe you want to format it differently by adding some headings that makes it a little bit more scannable, you might want to add a list. Something that is going to break up the post, give it a visual appeal, and make it easier to read. Test all the links, I mentioned broken links earlier and fixing those, but you do want to go through the posts and click all the links that you’ve got in your post to make sure they still work today. Google doesn’t like broken links. You might want to add some further reading. Maybe you’ve written something else since you wrote that old post and you could link to that for further reading in the post or link to it in the middle of the post as well to get people across to some of your more recently written content. You might want to also add some further reading externally. Maybe there’s another blog that you recommend. This might seem a little counterintuitive sending people away from your blog but it actually is going to increase the positive experience that your readers have as well, and it might build a relationship with that other blogger. You might want to optimize the post for search engine optimization. I know back in 2004, 2005, when I started to learn about SEO, the trends in SEO were a little bit different than they are today. Back in the early days, it was all about keyword density. You wanted to use the keywords that you were targeting over and over and over again, today that’s not quite as important. There’s other elements as well. You might want to just tweak your post, particularly think about the words that people might be plugging into Google when they search for this type of information which might impact the heading that you choose. Another thing that you might want to do is optimize the post for social sharing. Again, some of my old posts, I had calls to action for people to share the content on social networks that don’t really exist anymore. I remember in the early days, encouraging people to share my content on MySpace, that’s how long I’ve been blogging. If you’ve got a lot of traffic these days coming in from Pinterest, maybe you want to have a call to action to share. Maybe you even want to add a social graphics to the ends of your post, try and get people to share as well. Lastly, what do you want people to do at the end reading that post? Maybe you want them to subscribe, maybe you want them to grab one of your opt ins, maybe if your post is getting a lot of traffic you want to create a new opt in that is specific to people reading that post. This is something that we’re considering doing more and more. We’ve got a number of posts, probably less than 10 on Digital Photography School that get a lot of traffic today. One of the things that I would like to do is to create just some very simple opt ins that relate specifically to those individual blog posts. I may not use those opt ins anywhere else in the whole site but we’re getting so much traffic to this individual post that it makes sense to me to create some little opt ins that would hook people into our newsletter list. What do you want people to do at the end of reading your post? Maybe it’s reading another post, maybe it’s subscribing, maybe there’s a product that you could offer a special coupon code for, an affiliate product perhaps. Really think about the call to action that you’ve got. This is one of the big things that I like to pay attention to. There’s a lot of things that you can do and the last thing I’d encourage you to do is to really pay attention to when you cringe when you read your post. As you read through that old post that you’ve chosen to update, just pay attention to when you have discomfort in reading the post. Your internal cringe meter, if that’s a thing, will tell you how to update the post, so pay attention to that. The last thing I want to encourage you to do once you’ve updated your post, there’s two things. Firstly, I want you to come over to our Facebook group and share the post that you updated. I’m going to start a thread in our Facebook group asking you to share the post that you updated so that we can see what you’ve done and maybe we can even give each other some hints and suggestions and critique in how to improve them better. If you are not already a part of our Facebook group, just search on Facebook for ProBlogger Community and you’ll find the group, and then look for the post which we’ll probably pin to the top somewhere about maintaining your archives and share that post. The last thing I’d encourage you to do once you’ve updated your first post, shared it in our Facebook group, is I challenge you to do this on a regular basis. To make sure you do that, I want to encourage you to add it to your editorial calendar. Some of you have already got a formal editorial calendar, and for you, I would encourage you to add the task of updating a single post every week, every month, every day, it’s up to you as to the interval, but add it in there. Secondly, for those of you who don’t already have an editorial calendar, add it to your mental editorial calendar. I know a lot of bloggers just know that they’d post a new post on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or every Thursday, add into your editorial calendar that you update a post every whatever day it is, maybe it’s the first Tuesday of every month or maybe it’s every Tuesday. Commit to doing this on a regular basis. If you update one of your posts every week for the next year, you’re going to have 52 posts in your archives that are going to be driving more traffic to your site. They’re going to be creating a bigger and better impression upon your readers, and this has the potential to accelerate the growth of your blog, to build more traffic around your blog as well. It’s such a powerful thing to do but only powerful if you do it on a regular basis. Make it as important to you as creating new content to your blog and you’re going to see a lot of life coming to your blog as well. Again, today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/238. Our Facebook group, just do a search on Facebook for ProBlogger Community. Once you’ve done your update, come over there and let us know about it as well. I can’t wait to see the post that you update and I look forward to chatting with you next week in episode 239. For those of you who love this type of challenge type podcast, I really do encourage you to check out our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog cause which is being released in the next week or two. Go to problogger.com/31days where you can sign up for notifications. That’s probogger.com/31days. Thanks for listening, chat with you next week. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 238: How to Get More Traffic by Updating Your Archives appeared first on ProBlogger.
Feb. 26, 2018
How to Use Collaborations to Grow Your Blog Have you ever felt that too many things need doing to build a successful blog? A student I spoke to this week who recently completed our Start A Blog course said they were a little overwhelmed by how much needed to be done. They said it felt like juggling with too many balls in the air. So today I want to share a principle that has helped me keep a lot of balls in the air, and scale my business beyond what I ever thought I could manage–collaborations. When you’re juggling alone you can only keep so many balls in the air. (The current record is 9 balls for 55 seconds.) But if you juggle with other people, you can keep more balls in the air for longer. And this podcast is all about how you can make your blogging a more collaborative experience. Links and Resources for How to Accelerate the Growth of Your Blog with Collaborations: Further Listening 7 Productivity Tips for Bloggers 3 Tips to Increase Your Productivity How to Create a Product for Your Blog Examples of Collaborative Content Creating Products Week: Before You Even Think About Creating Products, Think About This Creating Products Week: Which Product Should I Create? Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hi there and welcome to episode 237 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses designed to help you to start and have an amazing blog that’s going to change the world in some way, that’s going to change the lives of your audience but also build a profit, and in doing so, change your life a little way as well. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com. Of course, check out our two brand new courses. Firstly, our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog which was released earlier this year, and our soon to be released, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. You can find the Start a Blog course at problogger.com/startablog and you can sign up to be notified when our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course goes live at problogger.com/31days. In today’s episode, I want to talk about collaborations as a way to grow your blog, to accelerate the growth of your blog. I want to give you some practical ways that you can collaborate with other bloggers to grow you traffic, to create content, to build engagement on your blogs, and to monetize your blog. Collaborations have helped me incredibly to grow my blog, to scale it so much faster than I could’ve ever done alone, and I want to help you to do the same. You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/237. Have you ever felt that there’s just too many things that need to be done to build your blog to make it successful? This week, I was speaking to one of the students who’ve recently completed our a Start a Blog course and they said to me that they felt like they were completely overwhelmed by how much needed to be done. The words they used were they felt like it was a juggle and that they had too many balls in the air at once. This is a feeling that I can relate too and I’m sure many of you can relate too as well because there’s so many things that need to be done to build a successful blog. You need to write content, edit that content, polish that content, and schedule that content. You need to promote that content, drive some traffic to your blog, engage on social media, set up an email list. Then when the traffic comes, you’ve got to moderate the comments and engage with the audience, there’s email lists, there’s blog design, there’s servers, there’s plugins, and WordPress that needs to be updated, then there’s the monetization and finding the advertisers, all the affiliate products that you’re going to promote or creating the products that you’re going to sell, and then learning how to sell them, maintaining shopping carts, and the list goes on, and on. I hope I haven’t just made you feel stressed. This is something that we all feel from time to time. It’s a common feeling. Most of us feel like we just can’t get it all done. There’s a number of solutions to this. One, we can get more effective with our time and certainly productivity is something that we teach about at ProBlogger. In fact, if you want to go back and listen to episodes 40 and 163, I’ll give you some practical tips on how to be more effective with your time. But today I want to share a principle that helps me to keep a lot of balls in the air and to scale my business beyond what I’ve ever thought I’d be able to manage in the early days by myself. Today I want to talk about collaborations. Here’s the thing when you’re juggling balls for example. There’s only so many balls you can literally keep in the air at once. I actually just look up the world record for how many balls can you keep in the air at once and the world record is nine balls for a single person to juggle for 55 seconds and there’s a video as well of it, it’s pretty cool. You can only juggle so many balls at once, there’s a ceiling to that number but when you juggle with other people you can keep more balls in the air at once and for longer. It’s just logic really. Two people juggling nine balls each, that’s 18 balls and if you’re juggling together, potentially, you could even increase that number. One of the things that I want to encourage you to do if you’re feeling like you just can’t get it all done, is to consider how you might want to make your blogging more of a collaborative experience. How can you involve others in the experience of blogging? There’s a number of ways to do this and the most obvious one is to hire people to help you. New team members, or to outsource tasks. That’s certainly one option but I know for many of you listening to this, it’s not realistic at this point in your blogging journey. Maybe you don’t have any money to invest into that, you might not have that sort of budget. For the purposes of this podcast, I don’t want to talk about hiring or outsourcing, that’s probably a topic for another episode. In this podcast, I want to talk about collaborations with bloggers or other online entrepreneurs where you find a win-win opportunity to work with each other, where one person isn’t paying another person to work for them but you’re finding a win-win solution where you both can benefit from doing something together. It’s a true collaboration. In my experience of blogging, there’s so many ways you can do this to grow your blog and the other person’s blog. The key is to write from the outset, to look for a win-win, to look for something where you are going to benefit. Your blog will grow in some way, the other person’s blog will grow in some way, and their business will grow in some way as well. You both make the same thing out of it, you both make a traffic out of it all, you both make a content out of it all, or you both make monetization out of it all. In some situations, it may be that one person gets traffic and the other person gets content or vice versa. There’s a variety of different ways you can collaborate. In this episode what I want to do is run through four main areas that you might want to consider collaborating on and they’re all tied around the pillars of ProBlogging that we talk about quite regularly on ProBlogger. If you’ve been listening for a while, you’ll know that I advise all the time that you really should be putting most of your efforts into four things. Firstly, creating content for your blog. Secondly, building engagement with your readers, building community with your readers. Thirdly, driving traffic to your blog, promoting your blog. Fourthly, monetizing your blog. If you want to build a profitable blog, they’re the foundational of things you should be spending most of your time in. Content, engagement, traffic, and monetization. There’s other things that you should be doing as well but that’s probably where 90% of your time should be going into. In my experience, you can collaborate in each of these four areas and some of you will have a real strength in two or three of them and you may have some weaknesses in another one. One way that you can supplement some of your weaknesses and boost one of those other areas is to find collaborations. What I want to do is to look at each one in turn and suggest one or two things that you could be doing in each of those areas to collaborate. Firstly, let’s look at content. There’s a variety of way that bloggers could collaborate with one another when it comes to content. Firstly, and perhaps obviously, is we allow each other to create guest content for our blogs. This is very normal, it’s very common and it’s been going on for years. I’ll write you a blog post, you write me a blog post or I’ll just write you one and you post it. There’s a variety of ways that you can kind of structure those kind of agreements, it might be we exchange posts for each other’s blogs or maybe one person just writes for the other. The idea here is that one person gets content and the other person get some traffic or some exposure to build their profile. This is very common and this is perhaps the easiest way that you might want to collaborate in this, but there’s so many other ways that you could collaborate when it comes to content. As I look at YouTube, I think we can learn a lot from them. YouTubers collaborate all the time. In fact, if you go to YouTube you can actually find a whole page that YouTube has created themselves to try and foster collaborations because they see it in their best interest if they get their users collaborating together. It’s very common for one YouTuber to appear on another YouTubers channel and they create a piece of content together. Sometimes the piece of content will then go and appear on both of the channels. It’s just normal, they do it all the time and they do it very, very well. It struck me that this kind of collaboration where we create content together could happen on blogs too. It may be slightly more tricky with written words. We might think, “Well, I can’t write an article with another blogger,” but you actually can. In writing books, co-authorship happens all the time. The ProBlogger book is a co-authored book, it’s Chris Garrett and myself writing different parts of the book. We’ve seen mainstream media. Articles get written all the time that are collaborations and the by line is two people’s names there. People work together as writers, why don’t we do it more as bloggers? I’ve got 20,000 posts that I’ve published on my blogs over the last 14 years. I didn’t write them all but of those 20,000 posts, I would say 98% of them are one person writing the post. It’s probably more like 99%. There’s two main exceptions to that. Firstly, interviews would be the main exception to that and this is a relatively easy way to collaborate on a piece of content where one person interviews another and this is where I’d be starting out if you want to go beyond this post, I would be interviewing another blogger and then getting them to interview you and have those pieces of content go up on the blog. That’s a really easy way to collaborate on a piece of content. You could actually write the post together. I can think of two occasions where I’ve done this and I’ve published a post on ProBlogger back in 2004 and I’ll link to the post in today’s show notes so you can see them. In both of these posts, it was part of a series that I was doing on ProBlogger and the posts were written with a guy called Shayne Tilley who many of you will be familiar with. He speaks at our events almost every year and he’s written a number of articles on ProBlogger. In these two posts, I actually asked Shayne to tackle a topic but I also realized I had some things to say about that topic as well. If you go and have a look at the post, and I encourage you to do it, you’ll see that he’s written the post but from time to time there’s this little section that says, “Darren says,” and it’s got my head in it. It’s my little face and it’s in italic so it looks slightly different. We’ve got these call out boxes, almost looks like a block quote type thing around it. Shayne writes his and his head is there and it says something like, “Shayne says,” and then it says, “Darren says,” and it’s almost like a conversation. It’s not an actual interview. he had written his article and then I chimed in with my comments along the way. This post really went over well. Our readers really enjoyed that back and forth on this topic. It’s just one way that you might want to do a post with someone else, a collaboration in that written form. There’s so many other ways that you can do it. You could run a series of blog posts across two blogs. I have the first post on my blog, you have the second post on your blog, and then we interlink them. Sending traffic back and forth and collaborating that way, we could do a blog take over. I’ve done this in the past on ProBlogger where I’ve taken a vacation and another blogger I think, Bryan Clark from Copyblogger came on in the early days of ProBlogger and he did a whole week of content on ProBlogger. You could do that type of collaboration as well. Think creatively about it. There’s so many different ways that you could collaborate with another blogger in your niche. That’s the first pillar, creating content. The second pillar was growing engagement or building community. When it comes to doing that, I reckon there would be a lot of different ways that we could collaborate as bloggers together. For example, why does every blogger have to have their own Facebook group or their own Facebook page? What if a few small bloggers got together and they were from the same niche and decided to have a Facebook group together that they co-ran? You’d want to choose carefully the type of person that you wanted to work with, you wanted to have some trust with that person, I’ll talk more about building that trust later but why not do that? You may not have a big enough audience to really keep a Facebook Group running but what if two or three other bloggers in your niche decided to do it with you? Together, you probably would have enough people and it’s a way of exposing each of you to each other’s audiences and to build some engagement that could go deeper and beyond what anyone of you could do individually. Similarly, you could run a Twitter chat together. Some bloggers actually do this, they agree on a hashtag and they decide that each of them is going to promote this hashtag, and once a week they do a Twitter chat where they get all their readers together to have a chat. Live video will be another way of doing it. You could do some live videos and share them to all of your different Facebook pages, or all of your different Facebook groups, and introduce each other’s audiences to one another. Engagement, building that sort of back and forth is something that you could do together. In fact it may actually be easier to do, particularly if you’re just starting out, if you do it together. Third pillar was driving traffic. The same thing is true when it comes to doing that. We all share our own content on social media and emails each week. Why not partner up with another blogger and agree to share some of theirs if they share some of yours? I’ve done this a number of times over the years with other bloggers. For example, when I was just starting Digital Photography School, there was another photography blog that was on a slightly different topic to mine. It had a slightly different focus but we realized our audiences did overlap. We decided that five times a week, once a day, we would share a post that the other one had written that day on our social media accounts. It was very simple, we just had this little Skype conversation open all the time. Every time we publish a new post, we just left the link in the Skype conversation and then every day when we’re scheduling our social media, we went to the Skype conversation and grab the other persons link and added it into our social media channels. Once a month, we decided that we were going to promote each other’s content, one piece of content in an email newsletter. We each got to choose one of our posts that we thought would work best for the other person to link to in their newsletter. As a result of just doing that, both of our blogs grew faster and we accelerated the growth of our blog. There’d be so many different ways to do that. That was just me working with one other blogger, I’ve seen bloggers do this in little groups and they set up a Facebook group and they do this sort of sharing type thing. There’s  a lot of different ways that you could do this. The last pillar that I want to talk about is monetization and for me this has been the biggest area of collaboration. I guess this started way, way back when I began to do affiliate promotions of other bloggers’ products. I remember the first time I actually did, I saw this other blogger in the photography space, had created an ebook. I’ve never really seen another blogger do an ebook before and then I noticed that it had this thing called an affiliate program to promote the ebook. They said that I could promote it and anyone could promote that ebook and earn 50% commission. I think it was like a $15 ebook and I was like, “Wow, $7.50 per sale,” I wonder what I could do in terms of sales. I signed up for their program. I didn’t contact the blogger at all. I just signed up for their program and I grabbed the affiliate link, and that night I sent out an email to my little photography list. By sending out that email, I made a few hundred dollars over night and I was like, “Cool! That’s pretty cool,” that was just one email and for me that was a pretty big deal at that time. I decided a few weeks later to contact that blogger directly because I noticed they had a number of different ebooks. I approached him, I didn’t really know what I was doing, I didn’t know whether it was a dumb thing to approach people directly but I approach the blogger and I said, “Would you be interested in giving my readers a discount on one of your ebooks?” He didn’t really know whether that was a dumb thing either, this was all new to both of us but we decided to give it a go. He’d seen the sales come through from my previous promotion and he said, “Yeah, I’ll give you 30% off for your readers for a week.” We did this week long promotion on another one of his ebooks and a few months later my email list was slowly growing, and growing, and growing and it was the first time I’ve done anything like this. I sent out an email and it went crazy because there was a discount this time. Over the coming weeks, I think we made about $5000 in sales as this promotion ran and that promotion did a few things. Firstly, it cemented a relationship with this blogger and we continued to work together for a few years after that. We’re semi-regularly promoting each other’s ebooks. Once I created some ebooks he became an affiliate for me as well. It became a really mutual relationship where we promoted each other’s stuff, where we made quite a bit of money together. The other thing that I learned by doing that little collaboration was that ebooks worked with my audience and so I decided to create my first ebook. I began the painstaking process of writing my first photography ebook. For me, it took me three or four months to get that ebook written, it was a lot of work. I got there in the end though. I think I tell the story of the creation of that ebook in episode 67 and back in that episode you might remember that ebook actually did really well with our audience. We made about $72000 over the 10 days after that launch. It was a really good payoff for all that work. But I got to the end of that launch and I knew I needed to do more products of my own but I just didn’t have the time. This bring me back to collaboration again. Creating ebooks was another ball that I had to put in the air but I was already at capacity, I was already juggling my nine balls, I didn’t know how to add a tenth into that scenario. I decided the only way I could do it to create a second ebook was to find a collaborator. I reached out to one of the people who’d been writing some articles on my blog and we started talking about maybe instead of writing some articles for me, they could write an ebook for us and we decided to create this ebook together. He’s had a collaboration work, he wrote it, he did all the work, and I’m writing it which was a lot of work but I worked on the design, the marketing, I had the traffic, I had the email list, and he didn’t have any audience. I worked on promoting it and marketing it. Getting a shopping cart up, doing the customer service, and drove a lot of traffic to it, and we decided that we were going to split the profits on that. That ebook did a lot better than the first one and it began a snowball effect in many ways. That collaborator went on to write three more ebooks. We ended up with four ebooks with him and then he also created a series of courses with us as well. It became an ongoing relationship that we had and as a result we made a fair bit of money for him and he made a fair bit of money for us as well. Today we’ve published I think it’s around 30 ebooks. All of them, except for the very first one, are collaborations. I’ve not written a single ebook on Digital Photography School since the very first one. In fact that first one no longer is available for sale, it’s been superseded. We’ve created six courses, all of them are collaborations. We’ve created some softwares, some Lightroom presets, all of them are collaborations. As I look at my income streams, 90% of them are collaborations. The only real exception in all of my income streams that’s not a collaboration is the job board on ProBlogger and perhaps the event that we run for ProBlogger as well although even that you could probably argue as a collaboration of sorts because we work with a variety of speakers who speak at out events as well. Ninety-percent of my income streams, even the ad networks, that’s a collaboration. I’m partnering with AdSense, we sell ads directly to sponsors. I guess you could say that’s a collaboration because the sponsor is working with us but we actually outsource the process of selling those ads as well to a third party who takes a cut of those ads as well so that’s a collaboration too. Everything I do is collaborations when it comes to income and as I’ve been preparing this podcast, I guess really come home to me just how important collaborations have been for me. How do you develop these collaborations I guess is the big question. The thing I want to say is that, yes, today 90% of my income comes from collaborations but it started really small. It started because that guy who wrote that first ebook with us, he started as a writer on our site and that was the small collaboration. He started writing some guest posts for us and we sent him a little bit of traffic, and helped build his profile, and he created some content for us, and that’s where it began. The first thing I would really encourage you to do is to think about how you can start small. You may not want to leap into writing a book together as your starting point. Start with them writing a piece of content for you or you writing a piece of content for them, or start with, “Let’s promote each other’s content once a week,” and let that relationship grow, let that trust grow, see if you work well together. Do small things and let the great relationship grow naturally over time. When I first had that guy write on my blog for the very first time, I didn’t know it was going to turn into an ebook deal, then courses, and an ongoing thing. I didn’t realize the nature of that relationship, I just started with something small. When you’re looking for collaborators, look for people who have complementary skills sets to you. You don’t want to just duplicate it, you don’t want to just choose someone who’s exactly like you because then you’ll end up just doing the same things. As you look at your own skill set, maybe there’s a deficiency, maybe you’re not as good on design, or maybe you’re not as good at promotion and marketing. Find other people who can complement those things and fill in those gaps that you have. Look for collaborators who share your audience or at least complement your audience. You don’t have to have a blog on exactly the same topic but there needs to be enough overlap, particularly if you’re going to drive traffic in the collaboration, there’s overlap there. You don’t want to be a fashion blogger, and if they’re a travel blogger, and you’ve got completely different audiences. You might work well together if they’re a fashion blogger, and you’re a travel blogger, and you share the same demographic of audience but if you’re talking to retirees who are 70 and they’re talking to millennials, it’s probably not going to work at least in terms of sharing traffic and building engagement in that way. Look for collaborators who share your values. I can’t stress this enough. The few times that I’ve run into issues over the years with collaborations, it usually came down to us having different expectations of the relationship, different motivations, and ultimately some different values as well. You want to choose good people, people of character, people who share your values, your goals, and expectations as well. As part of this, you want to make sure you set the boundaries of the relationship early. Get the expectations right. If it’s going beyond, “Hey, I’m going to write a piece of content for you, and you write a piece of content for me,” if you’re getting into, “We’re going to create a product together,” you want to get that in writing and know right up front how that is going to operate. There’s a variety of models there in terms of sharing revenue. You may do a collaboration where one person takes a higher percentage of profit or revenue based upon them bringing more to that relationship. It doesn’t always have to be 50-50 but you want to be really clear up front about how the benefits, the wins from that collaborations are going to be split up. Lastly, communicate. It’s just so important to keep the avenues of communication open in these collaborations at all times. I’ll just stress again, start small, you don’t have to leap into a massive collaboration with someone that you barely know. You want to build trust. Let that relationship grow naturally and who knows where it might end up. I hope that’s helpful. I would love to hear your stories of collaboration. I know many of you have collaborated in ways that I haven’t mentioned in this particular podcast and so I’d love to hear how you collaborate. Maybe we could do a follow up podcast at some stage with some of the things that you advice. You can let us know how you collaborate, any ideas that you’ve got on this topic in two ways. Firstly, on our show notes where there’s an opportunity to comment at problogger.com/podcast/237 or in our Facebook group. You can let us know there any tips that you’ve got. If you are sharing a tip, just make sure you use the appropriate hashtag there. We like everyone to hashtag every post that they’ve got. If you’ve got some advice, hashtag it with that and if you’ve got a question to ask as well, make sure you do that. There’s information in our pinned post about how to hashtag your posts. Thank you so much for listening today. I’m actually going to be on the road next week, there may not be a podcast coming out on next Monday because I will be in San Diego at Social Media Marketing World where I’ll be doing a talk. Part of my talk is actually about this very topic. If you’re in San Diego, I’d love to catch up with you at Social Media Marketing World. Otherwise, I’ll be back on the podcast in a couple of weeks’ time with episode 238. Thanks for listening, chat with you next time. If you are looking for something else to listen to, I did mention a few episodes during this particular episode. Episode 40 was 7 Productivity tips for Bloggers, episode 163 was another 3 Different Tips for Increasing your Productivity, and episode 67 was How To Create A Product For Your Blog where I tell the story of my first product and give you some suggestions on creating products for your own. Dig around in the archives, there’s 236 other episodes to find there. You might want to go back through iTunes. They’re all sitting there, at least they will be for the next little while. I think 300 is the limit. Some of those early episodes will begin to disappear once we get up to the 300 episode mark. Thanks for listening. If you’ve got a moment as well in iTunes or whatever podcast app you are listening to, I would love it if you’d leave us a review and rating. I do read them all, I get a notification every week every time a new one comes in. Let us know what your name is in that as well and if you want to pop in your blog link, it doesn’t come up as a hyperlink but I do check out the links of all blogs that are mentioned there as well. Thanks for listening, chat with you next time. You’ve been listening to ProBlogger. If you’d like to comment on any of today’s topics or subscribe to the series, find us at problogger.com/podcast. Tweet us at @problogger. Find us at facebook.com/problogger or search ProBlogger on iTunes. This episode of the ProBlogger podcast was edited by the team at PodcastMotor, who offer a great range of services including helping you to set up and launch your podcast as well as ongoing editing and production of the podcast that you produce. You can check them out at podcastmotor.com How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 237: How Collaborations Can Accelerate Your Blog’s Growth appeared first on ProBlogger.
Feb. 19, 2018
Growing Your Blog’s Income In today’s episode, I want to talk about growing your blogging income, particularly when you’ve already started building some traffic and income streams on your blog. This one will be most relevant if you’re at an intermediate to more advanced level. If you’re just starting out you’ll learn things that may not be relevant for you today, but will be good to know going forward. Series on Growing Traffic to Your Blog: 2 Questions to Ask to Help You Find Readers for Your Blog 2 Types of Content that Help You to Find Readers for Your Blog Turn Surfers into Blog Readers by Building a Sticky Blog Find Readers for Your Blog Through Commenting and Relationships Grow Traffic to Your Blog Through Guest Posting and Creating Content for Other Blogs, Forums, Media and Events Podcast on Autoresponders: How to Drive Traffic and Profit in your Blogging with Autoresponders Check out our two courses – ProBlogger’s ultimate guide to start a blog and the soon to be released 31 Days to Build a better blog: Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook Group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hi there and welcome to episode 236 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, events, job board, series of ebooks, and courses, all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your blog and to build profit around your blog which is exactly what we’re talking today in today’s episode. You can learn more about ProBlogger at problogger.com. Also, check out our two new courses, How to Start a Blog course for those of you who are wanting to start a blog. You can get it at problogger.com/startablog or 31 Days to Build a Better Blog which will be launching in March which is more relevant for those of you who’ve already got a blog whether it’s a relatively new one or you’re at that intermediate stage. You can find that at problogger.com/31days. In today’s episode, I wanna talk to you about growing your blog’s income, particularly those of you who’ve already got a bit of a start with building some traffic and income streams to your blog. This episode will be much relevant for those of you are perhaps at more of an intermediate level, maybe more of an advanced level. You’ve got a start but you’re not satisfied with the level of your income. Those of you who are just starting out, you’re probably gonna hear some things that may not be relevant to you today but you might also find them useful to have in the back of your mind as you go forward. Today’s show notes and full transcript of the show are at problogger.com/podcast/236. Today’s show is inspired by a conversation I had this week with a blogger who had been blogging for a couple of years now. She built some traffic up to her blog. She’d already started to experiment with selling sponsored content on her blog. She was in sort of a style, fashion, beauty type niche and had been selling sponsored posts on the site but was not satisfied with the level that she was at. She’s been blogging for two or three years and when she started out had hoped she’d be full time by this point. Whilst she had some success so far with building the income on her blog, she came to me asking, “How do I double what I’m doing?” She really needed to double what she was doing to get to a full time level. On one hand, it was great, getting to a half time level with your blog is something that many bloggers dream of but she also had this thirst for more because she wanted to be able to give up other par- time work, children were going to school now and she had a little bit more time on her hands and so she wanted to really sink herself into her blogging, and to justify being able to do that full time rather than having to have a bitsy kind of life doing lots of different things. She came to me asking, “How do I double my income?” Now, it’s a tricky question and to answer it, I actually took her back to my own kind of tipping point of my own blog. Back in, I think it must have been 2004, I’ve been blogging for a couple of years by this point, and for the first year I didn’t even know you could make money from your blog. I hadn’t made any money and then the second year, I started to dabble with some Google AdSense ads on my blog, some Amazon affiliate income. Many of you have heard me tell the story before, I did not start spectacularly, I had a few dollars a day really in those first months or so. But it did gradually grow and I got to a similar point to the blogger that I had this conversation with this week where I was starting to see it as a part-time job. I began to have this dream that it could be a full time job. To cut the long story short, I realized I needed to really escalate the growth of my income. Because it was a very slow, steady growth, and it eventually was going to get to be a full time thing if it kept growing the way that it was, but it was gonna take me 10 years to get to that point. Vanessa and myself decided that really, if I wanted to be a full time blogger, I needed to escalate the growth of the income. We set ourselves a six month time limit to do it which perhaps is not the most realistic deadline saying, “I’m gonna be full time in six months,” isn’t something I would recommend every blogger do. But we kind of sensed that I really needed to have this deadline because I was treating it as a one-day thing. We set ourselves this deadline. The problem was to get to that deadline, I needed to not double my income, I needed to quadruple my income. I was a quarter time kind of blogger, if you like, at the time. I wanted to get to a full time level. Having that deadline really did help me to spur myself on. One of the things I actually said to tis blogger this week was, “Maybe you need some sort of a deadline.” In my case, we actually said that if I didn’t get to full time level in six months that I would go and get a real job, and that would kind of put a real halt on my blogging. Potentially, could have even had to give it up, that six month mark. I wouldn’t suggest you do that but at least having some sort of date in mind, some sort of a deadline in mind, can actually be helpful. It certainly helped me. It motivated me incredibly. Some of you heard me tell the story before, but the day I set that deadline was the day I started doing things I always knew I should do, but I had no real reason to do. Like ringing up an advertiser for the first time and saying, “Hey, will you advertise on my blog?” Thinking seriously about growing traffic and all the things I knew I could be doing and I should be doing, I actually had a reason to start doing them. That deadline really did help in that regard. Over the next six months, I worked really hard on the things that I knew should be doing. I got to the point after a few months, I think it was three or four months, where I did reached that full time level, things just took off as a result of me doing things I knew I should do. The first thing I encouraged this blogger to think about was, “What are the things you already know you should be doing that you’ve been putting off?” Most bloggers I talk to have this someday list, one day I’m going to do this, or one day I’m going to do that. I really wanna encourage you to look at your someday list and ask yourself, “What have I been putting off doing?” It’s such a powerful exercise to do, and to write out your someday list, and then to identify the things on that list, the things you already know you should be doing, identify those and start with those because you already probably know what you need to do to get to a full time level. I’m gonna suggest to you, five areas that will help you to grow your blogging income. I wanna encourage to just pause this podcast for a moment and to ask yourself this question, “What do I think I need to do?” Because I suspect, that as I go through this list, if you have paused and you’ve asked that question, you’re probably gonna already have the answer. Once you do it, go listen to the rest of the podcast. I also wanna encourage to listen to you because I suspect you already intuitively know what it is that you need to do. Some of you will remember I did a series of podcasts. I think it started back in episode 66 and then went for 10 more episodes over the next few weeks. It was called 10 Things That You Can Do Today That Will Payoff In Your Blog Forever. The whole idea of that series was to identify the things on our someday list and to do those things today, to bring those things forward. I suggested ten things in that series that will help to escalate the growth of your blog. Things that you can do today that are gonna payoff forever. I wanted to say right up front, for me, this is the key. This is the key to escalating the growth of your income in your blog, to take off of your someday list and start doing them today. I think it was episode 66 right up to I guess episode 77. You might wanna check out that. But as I think about the growth of my own blogging income back at that point, in 2004, but also eversince. Since 2004, I’ve been full time pretty much the whole time. My blogging income did dip for one short period after that where Google decided to deindex me from their search result but apart from six-week glitch where I felt out of Google’s result, I’ve been a full time blogger ever since 2004. My blogging income has gone up and down over that time. But there’s been these spikes or there’s been these periods where the blogging income has escalated really quickly. I think it was back in 2004 things really took off and I got to the full time. But 2008, it plateaued, it was steady, and then it took off again. What I’ve put together today for this podcast episode are five things that I can see over the last 15 or so years that have led to spiking my income and growth in my income. As I think about it, there’s five main things that have led to that type of growth. I wanna share them with you today. These are not tactical things, these are more general things, and then I’m gonna sort of dig into some tactical things as well. The first thing that almost always has led to growth in the income is spikes in traffic. I can see very clearly as I look at my earnings over the last 14, 15 years that there’s a correlation between an increase in traffic and an increase in income. It’s not always exactly correlated. Different types of traffic can lead to different increases in income. A spike in traffic from Google for me pays off really well when it comes to Google AdSense earnings. But it doesn’t necessarily lead to a massive increase in affiliate earnings, but other types of traffic do convert with affiliates. It’s not an exact science but in the general principle I will say if you can increase your traffic, you’re going to increase your income, at least potentially. This is a no-brainer in some ways. I know most of you kind of understand this. But one way that I grew my income back in 2004 when I went from part-time blogger to a full time blogger was to put a lot of effort into growing my traffic. I learned SEO in that period. I started to write content based upon the words that I felt people would be searching google for. I put a lot of effort into creating guest content for other blogs and participating in forums. Back then, there was no real social media, but today I will put more time into social media. These types of activities can drive more traffic to your site which can lead to an increase in your earnings. Another one that you might wanna try is advertising your blog, investing some money into driving some traffic. Maybe you wanna spend some more time on a new social network, maybe it’s time for you to really invest your learning into Pinterest. There’s a variety of different ways that you can grow traffic to your blog. I don’t wanna get into the nitty-gritty of growing traffic to your blog in this particular episode because I’ve covered it so many times in the past. I would encourage you, if traffic is the thing you know you need to grow and particularly if you’re a new blogger, this is probably the one that’s going to lead to the biggest growth for you in terms of income. You really need some traffic. Go back and listen to episode 33, 34, 35, 36, and 37. There’s five episodes there that I did as a series on growing traffic for your blog. I talk about the different types of content that can grow traffic. I talk about creating guest content in different places. I think I talk about using challenges to grow traffic. There’s five episodes there that will help you to think about how to grow traffic to your blog. Again, I don’t wanna promise if you double your traffic, you’re gonna double your income because it does depend upon where the traffic is coming from, and the type of traffic you could get. I remember there were times, way back in the day, where I got a lot of traffic in from a site like Digg which is similar to Reddit today. That really did not grow my income at all because it was the wrong type of traffic. It was teenage boys who were there to make fun of my content, some even went viral because it was funny but it didn’t really lead to an on-going growth to my income. Part of the process is to try and work out what type of traffic and what type of reader you’re going to get as well. But in general, if you’re gonna grow your traffic, you’re gonna grow your income. Again, that’s a bit of a no-brainer in some ways but it just has to be said. If you can grow your traffic, you’re gonna hopefully grow your income as well. So that’s number one, traffic. Number two, and this has happened time and time again for me, to grow your income, one of the ways that you can do that is to add a new income stream. One of the first times I learnt this was when I had been playing around with AdSense for a while. I think I was probably earning $30 or $40 a day from AdSense which I was pretty happy with. AdSense, for those of you who don’t know, is Google’s ad network. I was kind of managing along okay and then I began to realize other bloggers were using other ad networks as well as AdSense. Back in the day, there were some rules around what kind of ads you can have on your blog alongside the AdSense. You couldn’t have exactly the same types of ads. But there were these other ad networks beginning to emerge. One of them that caught my eye was Chitika which is still around today. You might wanna check that out. I’ll link to it in today’s show notes. It doesn’t work on every blog but back in the day, it was a different type of ad. They were image-based ads but they weren’t sort of like the banner ads that we see today. They actually featured little products. It didn’t break AdSense’s Terms of Service to run these Chitika ads alongside the AdSense ads, and so I decided I’m gonna experiment with Chitika. I didn’t replace AdSense, I actually added these new ad units onto my page. I remember doing it thinking maybe I’ll land a few extra dollars a day. I went to to bed the night after I did it, the reports took a little while to come in so I didn’t really know what impact it was going to have. I was a bit worried that maybe it would decrease my AdSense revenue. I woke up the next day and checked my reports and I couldn’t believe it because my AdSense had not gone down at all but my Chitika income was the same as my AdSense income. What I realized is that I doubled my income overnight. Now it took me a few days to work out this was actually true, because I thought I’ll give it a few days to work it out, but I doubled my income simply by adding a new couple of ad units onto my site. Adding this extra income stream obviously led to an increase in my overall income. This has happened time and time again for me. I wanna say right upfront you wanna be a bit careful about adding too much onto your site in terms of ads particularly because it can have a downward effect on your Google search rankings. Google doesn’t like it when you put too many ads on your site particularly if they’re really up or above the fold, and they can’t see any content vault. You wanna be a bit careful there, you don’t want to plaster yourself with ads. But there’s such a variety of ways that you can monetize your site. I saw this when I added Chitika. I saw this when I began to added a job board onto ProBlogger. I saw this when I started to create ebooks for my sites, when I started to create other products like courses. I started to promote affiliate products, other people’s courses and ebooks. There was a period on ProBlogger when I offered coaching services. There was a period where I did some freelance writing for other sites, that was another income stream. There’s all these different ways that you can explore adding a new income stream onto your site. This is probably one of the things I would encourage those of you who have one or two income streams on their site to begin to think about. Have a look at what other bloggers in your niche are doing. What are they doing to make money from their blogs? You might discover by looking around that they’re all using this one type of ad network, or you might discover that they’re all promoting this type of affiliate product, or you might discover that there’s an opportunity for you to set-up a membership area on your site where you charge a little bit of money per month for some premium content to your community area. Or maybe you could offer some coaching, or maybe you could set-up a mastermind group, or maybe you could set-up a Patreon account. This is where people donate money and you maybe give them some extra bonuses, maybe you could run a little event, maybe a meet-up in your area, or an online event. These are all different income streams that bloggers use at different times. Again, in today’s show notes, I’ll link to a money map that I created with 30 or 40 different ways that you can make money from blogging. For me, this was one of the ways that I went from part-time to full time, adding these new income streams into my blog. It wasn’t just a matter of doing this or increase my traffic, I actually focused on both of these things, and that had this compound effect as well. Maybe now is the time to begin to think about adding a new income stream to your blog. But for me, the most powerful one that I ever did is I doubled my income by adding Chitika but that went from $30 to $60 a day. It was significant at the time but it wasn’t huge. For me, the big one was when I began to do ebooks and I began to sell my own products. That’s a fairly serious investment of time to create a product of my own but it paid off. I’ve talked about that first experience on this podcast before – overnight earning $10,000 or $15,000 when I first launched my first ebook. Over that first week, making $70,000 from that ebook. That blew my mind but I have to say that was based upon the first thing I talked about, building the traffic. You’re not gonna have those massive results unless you also do number one. Again, the first one is traffic, second one was adding a new income stream, the third one is better execution of an existing income stream or better conversion, I guess you might wanna talk about. This really does apply to almost any income stream. What you are doing presently to earn income, you could possibly do it better. There’s probably some way that you can improve what you are doing. Again, this was another thing that I really focused on back in 2004. I had these AdSense ads on my site but gradually, over time, I began to learn that I could earn more from AdSense on my site, even with the same amount of traffic. I could get better at doing AdSense. For me, Adsense, it’s a about a number of things. How many ads do you have on the site? Where are they positioned on the site? What size ad units do you have? Back then, it was also the design of the ads because you can change the colors of the texts ads. There was a variety of things that I began to learn about AdSense that improved the conversion that I was getting from that. That increased my, to get a bit technical, the CPM, what I could earn per page view. If you’re running ads on your site, invest some time and energy, and maybe even some money to do a course on a how do you convert better with those ads. But the same principle applies no matter what the income stream you have. I saw this work for AdSense, I saw it work with Chitika. I also saw it work when I began to think about how do I increase my earnings with Amazon’s affiliate program. I learned that sticking widgets, Amazon affiliate widgets on my sidebar didn’t really convert very well but when I mentioned the product inside my blog posts and had little calls to action that specifically said, “Get the price on this product on Amazon,” that lead to an increase in conversions. I learned that creating bestseller lists of products worked really well. Again, I can link to that in today’s show notes, a previous episodes where I’ve talked about creating bestseller links. These things led to increased conversions for me with Amazon. The same is true for all of the different income streams. If you are selling an ebook, maybe you could convert better if you split test your sales page, run two different versions of the sales page, and there’s plenty of tools around that will enable you to do that. We talked in a few episodes ago that Thrive Architect as a tool that we’re using to create landing pages, that will allow you to split test different versions of a sales page. Test different headlines, test different pictures, test different calls to action, maybe you can increase the conversions that you’re getting on that particular page. If you’re monetizing with sponsors, the blogger I was talking to, she’d been selling sponsored posts on her site. One of the things I encourage her to think about is what else could she be offering those sponsors in addition to the sponsored posts. Maybe she could create a little bundle of things that they could do on her site. Maybe if they pay double the price, they could get some banner ads on the site or maybe they could get a mention in her newsletter, or maybe they could run a competition with her, maybe they could do a giveaway with her audience, these extra things on top of the sponsored content. This is one of the things that we’ve done over the years is begin to offer our sponsors extra stuff if they’re willing to upgrade what they’re spending with us. It maybe some mentions on social media, it maybe a competition we’ve done, all of these different types of things. We find particularly newsletter advertising works well with our advertisers as well. They’re getting better results because they’re not only buying a banner ad on our site but they’re being mentioned in these other places which reinforces their messaging. This allows us to charge more for the ads. What could you do to improve your conversions you’re already getting? Look at your current income streams and ask yourself, “How can I grow those income streams?” It’s not just about adding new ones but improving and optimizing the way that you’re currently earning an income. Another quick one that you could try if you are selling a product is to add an upsell. We did a test on this just last week. We had a launch on Digital Photography School. We had a course, 31 Days To Become A Better Photographer, makes sense to me and to some of you because we use that same sort of format on ProBlogger, 31 days. We had this course and we decided to add an upsell in the check out. The course was, I think, $49 for the course, and if you paid the extra $9, we give you an ebook. It’s just like a little upsell. It was converting okay. I think the first few days we made $700 from that upsell, and that was a nice little extra $700 that we would never have had. As I began to think about it, I was like, “$9 upsell on a $49 product, I wonder what would happen if we did an upsell of a bundle of our ebooks for a little bit more.” So we tried overnight one night, we tried an upsell of three ebooks for $19. We immediately saw that that converted at a higher rate plus it was earning more because it was a higher price. We immediately saw that that led to an upswing in people taking the upsell. I think by the end of the campaign, we’ve made close to $7000 from that particular upsell. It was converting at a high rate. These are all the little things that you can do and it’s just about tweaking, and testing, and trying new things. Similarly, you can do an upsell after a sale. You could, in the thank you email say, “Here’s another offer that you might wanna take. It’s a great companion to what you’ve already bought.” There’s a variety of different ways to do that. Tip number one was to grow your traffic. Put effort into that. That is going to set almost like a baseline, a foundation for the growth of your income. Adding a new income stream is number two which in conjunction with the traffic is great. Number three is better execution of what you’re already doing, better conversions, focusing upon those tweaks that will lead to growth. The fourth thing that you might wanna try, I’ve seen this work time and time again, is what I would call extra promotional activity. You could almost argue that this fits into number three as well, it’s better execution. But it’s where you do an extra burst of promotion of something. This particularly works if you are promoting one of your own products or if you’re an affiliate as well. For us, the best example I can give you is, I think, it was seven or eight years ago now on Digital Photography School. We started to do 12 Days of Christmas campaigns. Typically, we’re launching three or four products a year and we would see big spikes in income everytime we launch a new ebook, or a new course, or when we would promote an affiliate product of someone else. I kind of came out with this idea with one of my team members to do this intense burst of promotion of all our products at the end of the year and the lead up to Christmas. Most of you, by this time, seen 12 Days of Christmas campaigns, you possibly even run them yourself. For us, it was a matter of sending 12 emails in 12 days about each of our products, and some affiliate partners as well which is pretty intensive. It was a lot of work. It felt a bit risky because we’re doing a lot of promotion over a short period of time with our audience. I was worried about our list but it led to a massive spike in income as well. Our audience seemed to like it. They like this event that we put together. So we’ve run 12 Days of Christmas in different forms over the years, different times. This led to an increase in sales. I wasn’t really adding a new income stream, although I guess you could call that whole campaign a new income stream, but it was really just growing the sale of our products, and the sale of affiliate partners which we were already doing anyway. It wasn’t really tweaking or better execution of what were already doing, it was a new thing. It was this extra burst of promotion. There’s a variety of ways that you can do that. You can do a seasonal promotion. We just had Valentine’s Day. I saw some bloggers running specials on the products that they have or some affiliate stuff around that. Christmases are our ideal time for that Black Friday, Cyber Monday. We see all these different times of the year where it’s possible to do promotion. Maybe it’s a seasonal promotion. Maybe it’s just a flash sale. This is something we did a little bit more last year on Digital Photography School. We decided to just do these 24 hour sales on some of our products. They didn’t led to massive spikes but they did lead to increases in sales of our products. It’s just a matter of looking at your calendar for the year. You’ve probably got some big promotions that you’re doing but what goes in between them? What could you do? Something small, something targeted, something focused, that might lead to increase in sale. So a flash sale might be one way to do this. Maybe it’s about creating an autoresponder. Autoresponders are something that we’ve talked about numerous times over the years. I think back in episode 177, I talked about autoresponders. Autoresponders are basically a sequence of emails that you send your list. Maybe that’s something that’s been on your someday list. I know a lot of bloggers, that’s something that they wanna do. An autoresponder could be a sequence of emails that promote your old archives which drives more traffic to your site which can lead to higher income in terms of your AdSense or it might include some promotional emails as well. Maybe setting up a new autoresponder that takes your readers through some of your archives but also promote an affiliate product or one of your own products could be useful as well. There’s some bloggers who, in their autoresponder sequences, have partnership emails. This is where they do a deal with a sponsor to have an email in their autoresponder that promotes that sponsor. That’s another income stream that you might add, or if you’ve already got an autoresponder, and I know a lot of you do, when was the last time you added an email to that sequence? Maybe, one way that you can grow some income is simply to add one more email into your autoresponder sequence. Maybe it’s an email that promotes something you’ve got that does almost like a little sale to anyone getting that particular email. That’s something that’s worked really well for me over time as well because everyone getting that one email, anyone who’s at the end of your sequence who gets this extra email, they could potentially buy what you’re selling. But it’s also an ongoing income stream as well. There’s all the different things that you can do to promote what you do a little bit more, to drive more targeted traffic towards the thing that’s converting for you. I guess another one that you could do is potentially set-up and begin to learn about advertising your products as well. If you’ve got a product or an affiliate product, maybe another way that you can promote that more is to do some Facebook advertising or some Google advertising or something along those lines. Lastly, another way to promote what you’re doing more is to think about the user interface of your site and the design of your site. Maybe you’ve got this product in your shop or maybe you’ve got an affiliate product that you’re promoting but no one ever knows that you’re promoting that thing because you really haven’t updated your menu to include the fact that you’re promoting this thing. That might be another way that you might wanna try. We are redigging out our menus at the moment to be a little bit more focused on driving people to those type of activities as well. The last one that you might wanna think about there to get more people to those activities is to create a resources page. If you go to ProBlogger and you look in our menu, you’ll see resources there. On that page, we list our affiliate partners. The people we recommend for servers, and some of the tools that we use as well. That page drives affiliate income for us. Actually having a landing page that doesn’t just sell one thing but sells a variety of things can be useful as well. If you go to Smart Passive Income and look at Pat Flynn’s site, you’ll see that he has resource pages as well. He actually, on the front page of his site, promotes quite heavily some of his main partners as well. It really comes down to the design of your site, maybe you can actually promote what you’re doing better as well. The last thing that I wanna talk about, the fifth thing is one that, again it’s a bit of a no-brainer, but it is something that’s incredibly powerful and it can lead to increased income as well. That is to increase your prices or at least to change your prices because sometimes decreasing your prices can actually lead to more income as well which is a bit of strange one. But in most cases, I think considering increasing your prices can work as well. We’ve seen this a number of times over the years. Digital Photography School, we were selling our courses for a long time for about $29. We realized, one, a lot of our competitors were selling courses for $300 that were very similar to our courses. I guess having seen the value in our own courses, we put a lot of time and energy into creating them but we were underpricing them. We weren’t actually putting them forward at the value that they really had. As a result, some of our customers weren’t actually thinking that they were any good. I remember talking to some of our customers who were buying these $300 or $400 products from our competitors. I remember having conversation with one of them, I was like, “Why do you buy that product when ours is $30?” They were like, “I just thought their product was better.” And I was like, “Why?” And they were like, “Well, it’s $300.” There’s this perception there, there’s a lot of psychology behind that. I’m not saying that you all need to 10X your prices just because it’ll make people think they’re more valuable. You gotta price your product at a price that is actually reasonable and that does give value to your customers. But sometimes, I think, we underprice ourselves. If you’re like me maybe that’s you. At our events every year, people come up to us and say, “Your event’s too cheap. It’s amazing what you deliver at your events for $300 or $400. There are other people charging a lot more.” I have this internal battle going on. I wanna keep our event as affordable as possible so that people can come to it so it serves them, as many people as possible. But at the same time, I know that the value that we deliver is above and beyond the price that we charge for it. It’s a wrestle sometimes. If you’re like me, it’s probably something that you feel, but I wanna encourage you to think about increasing the prices if you’re selling something. Or, connected to this, add a premium level to your product. This is something we discovered last year at our event that when we added a mastermind day to our event, that there was a certain segment of audience who were willing to pay considerably more to get a more intimate experience, a more personal experience with myself, and my team, and the speakers. James Schramko, I think I heard him say once that there’s 10% of your audience who’s willing to pay 10x more than what you are charging for something that is at a higher level. I don’t know if it’s 10%, I don’t know if it’s 10x the value, but I found that to be true. There is always a segment of your audience is willing to pay more for something extra. One, they’ve got the budget, but two, they’ve got the demand. They want something extra, above what you’re doing. What could you add to what you currently sell that is at a premium price? Maybe it’s that more personal attention, maybe it’s extra content, maybe it’s more advanced, maybe it’s a mastermind group of some kind. Increasing your prices can significantly help. When we actually did increase the prices of our courses, eventually we did, we actually realized, and it’s a bit of a no brainer really, but you don’t need to sell as many courses to make the same amount of profit. If you can sell the same amount then you significantly your profit and your income level as well. The other thing worth mentioning is sometimes decreasing your price can actually lead to more sales as well. That’s a whole other podcast to talk about as well. But experimenting with that, you can split test your product pricing can actually be a really worthwhile thing to do to better optimize your conversions as well. There’s five things that you can do to grow the income of your blog; more traffic, a new income stream, better execution of an existing income stream to increase your conversions, extra promotional activity to really get more eyeballs on the thing that you’re doing which I guess is 3.5 really, I say those two things is quite connected, and then the last thing is to play around with your pricing, particularly considering adding a premium level pricing to what you do as well. As I’ve said all through this podcast, you don’t have to do any of these things in isolation. It’s actually probably the combination of two or three of these things that’s going to lead to the growth in your business. This is the reason that I went from a very part-time blogger to a full time blogger within a few months because I worked so hard on increasing my traffic. Over that six months, I increased my traffic significantly but I also added new income streams, and got better at what I was already doing. As a result of those three things that I focused on over those months, my income more than quadrupled over the six months. I went from being someone who dreamed of one day being a full time blogger to being a full time blogger, and actually growing the income beyond what I ever thought I would do from anything that I would ever do. I really wanna encourage you to do that. Again, pay attention to what you already know. You probably already know the answer. It may not be doing something completely new that you never thought of, it might actually just be learning SEO, or setting up that autoresponder, or sending some emails to your list, or creating a product. These are the things that you’ve probably already been dreaming of doing. I encourage you to put those things on your today list instead of keeping on dreaming of doing them one day. I hope this has been helpful to those of you who are listening. This is literally life-changing stuff. I went from, in 2004, from being part time to full time, my dreams came true because of the intense amount of action that I took over those six or so months. Your life can really change in many ways as a result of this burst of today action, just remember that, and keep at it. If we can serve you and encourage you in any way through that process, head over to our Facebook group and let us know the questions that you have. Let us know what you’ve decided to do so we can keep you a bit of accountable to that as well. Just search for ProBlogger Community on Facebook and you’ll find our little group as well. Also, check out our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course which is coming out in March. I think it’s perfect alongside this particular podcast because a lot of the activities that we’ll be teaching in that 31 Days to Build a Better Blog are about increasing the traffic to your site as well. That certainly is gonna help you with that. problogger.com/31days and you can sign-up to be notified when that particular course goes live. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week in episode 237, I think it is. Thanks for listening. Chat next week. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 236: 5 Areas to Focus on to Grow Your Blogging Income appeared first on ProBlogger.
Feb. 12, 2018
How to Build Authority and Influence with Your Audience In today’s episode, I want to talk about building authority and influence. This topic came about from talking to a number of bloggers who’ve just completed our Start a Blog course. They’re starting from scratch (as we all did), and want not only to be found, but also to make an impression on those who arrive at their blog. How can you be seen as a trusted authority on your topic, and a credible source of information, people don’t yet know who you are? Getting traffic is one thing, but how do you build influence? In this episode, I want to share 13 things that I’ve noticed good influencers do to build authority and credibility with their audience. Resources for How to Build Authority, Influence and Trust When Nobody Knows Who You Are New Blog Honor Roll Facebook group Courses ProBlogger’s ultimate guide to start a blog 31 Days to Build a better blog Further Reading Demian Farmworth – CopyBlogger – 10 ways to build authority as an author Shane Snow – some writing he did on the level that great writers write at This Surprising Reading Level Analysis Will Change the Way You Write Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hi there. Welcome to episode 235 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you to start an amazing blog, to create content for that blog that’s going to change the world, that’s going to change your reader’s lives, to grow traffic to your blog, and to build profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about what we do at problogger.com. In particular, check out our brand new course How to Start a Blog, our ultimate guide to starting a blog. Check out our new course which is coming in the next few weeks, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, which is perfect for new bloggers and intermediate bloggers who want to give their blog a kickstart. You can find our How to Start a Blog course at problogger.com/startablog and 31 Days to Build a Better Blog at problogger.com/31days or just over on ProBlogger, look for the courses tab and you’ll find them all. In today’s episode, I want to talk about building authority and influence with your audience. This topic came up as I was talking to a number of the bloggers who just completed our Start a Blog course. We just graduated 103 bloggers. They’ve just started their brand new blogs. We posted links to all of them on our site. If you want to check them out, head over to ProBlogger. Today I’ll actually link to them in our show notes as well. These 103 bloggers, just like all bloggers starting out, they’re starting from scratch. They’ve got a number of challenges. One, they need to create content. Two, they need to build traffic. But also more important than building traffic, they need to actually build influence, they need to build authority, they need to build credibility. This is one of the things that a number of new bloggers have talked to me about in the last few weeks. They can see the traffic coming in but how do they actually become someone with authority on their topic? How do they become someone who is trusted as a credible source of information? How do you build this when the traffic that’s coming in has no idea who you are? It’s one thing to get traffic but how do you build influence? In this episode I want to share 13 things that I’ve noticed good influencers do to build this authority and credibility with their audience. You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/235. Today we’re talking about how do you build authority, how do you build influence, how do you take this traffic from giving you their attention to actually beginning to feel connected to you on this deeper level and seeing you as someone to be trusted. There’s a number of different approaches to this. One of the old school way of thinking about this, I’ve seen many people build their business in this old school way, that school of thought would say gather as much knowledge as you can. Then show what you know, show what you’ve achieved. Be an expert, look the part. If you don’t know it all, fake it ‘til you make it. Be confident, promote yourself. This is the advice that I grew up seeing other people living out. This kind of approach works sometimes. But over the years, I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of bloggers, a lot of podcasters who don’t take that kind of approach, this approach where you build your authority but telling everyone that you’re an authority, that’s the approach that I see a lot of bloggers are doing. Sometimes it does actually work but in most cases I don’t think it does today. I think things have changed. What I want to give you today is 13 things that I think you can do to help you to build some authority. We might call this the Authority 2.0. It’s a slightly different approach. It’s not just about telling everyone that you’ve got authority and they should trust you but it’s a deeper way. It’s perhaps a little bit slower in some ways but it’s actually more powerful, more sustainable. It’s hard to put your finger exactly on how someone builds authority so I can’t give you a definitive list of all the characteristics of these kinds of people. But in this episode, I want to share some of the common characteristics that I’ve noticed in meeting people who do have influence. They’re the people who I guess have had influence upon me. Really I guess one of the things I would say before I get into my list is that I would encourage you to think about who influences you and to do some analysis on why you think they influence you because really, that is the answer. If you do that analysis yourself, what individuals, what authors, what companies, what friends influence you? If you can unlock why they influence you, you’ll probably find the answer as well. That’s really how I’ve come up with this list. I will say I don’t know anyone who’s got all these 13 characteristics but let me have a go at describing some of what I’ve noticed about them. Number one, this is what I’ve noticed, their authority isn’t just built upon what they know but how generously they share what they know. I’m not discounting the fact that you need to know something about your topic. I do believe that the more you know about your topic, the better position you’re going to be in to be seen as a credible, authoritative type of person. Talking about your topic, knowledge is important but if you want to be influential, if you want to actually be trusted, if you want to be seen as someone that people want to connect with, it’s probably just as important to be known as someone who’s generously sharing what they know. Let me say that again, their authority isn’t just built upon what they know but how generously they share what they know. I’ve seen this time and time again. Sometimes the people who rise to the top of the niche don’t know the most but they share everything that they know. I think about my own situation, Digital Photography School, I’m not a professional photographer. A lot of people are surprised at that, “You’ve built this site with millions of readers, how did you do that? You must be a professional in photography. You must know a lot about photography.” The reality is I didn’t know a lot about photography, I knew enough to teach beginners. I shared everything I knew on that topic. I shared this one as number one because I want to be an encouragement to those of you who are struggling with impostor syndrome. This is something I see time and time again with bloggers starting out. They want to write on a topic but they’re not an expert in that topic yet so they discount themselves as being someone who should have a blog on that topic. You can be an intermediate level and write about that topic as long as you are transparent about what you know and what you don’t know and as long as you are aiming to teach people who are a bit behind you on that journey. That’s important. Be known not just as someone who knows a lot about what you’re writing about but as someone who shares everything that they know. That goes a long way as well. Not to discount that you need to know something, you can’t just bluff your way through it. It’s not just a fake it and make it approach, you do need to know something, you need to be a learner on your topic, you need to be growing in your knowledge. But it’s just as important to be known as someone who is generously sharing everything that they know. Number one, their authority isn’t just built upon what they know but how generously they share what they know. Number one, they don’t just talk about what they know but they also share what they don’t yet know. This comes into what I was just talking about, that transparency. The old school way of building authority is to just build yourself up to present yourself as the expert, as the guru. The reality is none of us know everything about our topic. We need to be clear with people that we have strengths and to promote those strengths but we also need to show people that there are areas that we don’t yet know and that we’re still learning about. That transparency about where your expertise ends and who you are best at serving, those types of things are really important. If you’ve been traveling with ProBlogger over the years, you know that I’m not the most technical blogger in the world. I, quite often, in my Facebook live say I don’t know the answer to that question about how servers or domains or those types of things. I know enough to teach a beginner but we’ll find the answer for you because it’s not an area of expertise for me. I’m putting people around me who can fill in those gaps. Don’t just talk about what you know, talk about what you don’t know. Whilst that might seem a little bit counterintuitive, it actually has a big impact upon your readers. They will trust you so much more because they see that you are willing to admit to a weakness or a deficiency in your knowledge in some way. It’s a very powerful thing. It’s a way of making a really deeper connection with people. Don’t just talk about what you know, talk about what you don’t yet know. Number three thing is that these people that I’m thinking of who influence me and that I see as authorities learn in public. They learn in public. This is all a part of that transparency. When people see you as someone who’s still learning on a topic, who’s still gathering knowledge, who admits that they don’t know everything, that has big impression. But when you learn in public and share the journey of your learning, that is something that people want to be a part of as well because they can relate to that. They’re on your blog because they want to learn about that topic. When they see you learning and sharing immediately what you’re learning, then that’s a powerful thing. Some of the things that you can do there to learn in public, I used to do interviews. I’ve used the example of Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner, one of the biggest social media blogs on the planet right now. He started out as someone who didn’t really know a lot about social media by doing interviews at conferences with social media experts. One of the reasons he did that was to learn from these people. He said, “I couldn’t get one-on-one coaching sessions with them all so I decided to interview them and record those interviews and then share those interviews.” It became a content creation strategy but it also was a learning strategy for him. It also built relationships with the people he was interviewing. He was learning in public. He was asking the questions he wanted the answers to. One, to gather his own knowledge and to improve the position that he was in but also to create content that he knew would be relatable to other people who’s in that same position. Interviews are a great way of doing this. Doing experiments in public can be really important as well. I’ve seen people like Pat Flynn do this over the years really well. He’s known for doing experiments in starting new blogs, starting new businesses in public. He doesn’t do them behind closed doors and then report what happened. He actually says, “Here’s what I’m doing. Watch me do it. I’m experimenting, I’m learning.” People can really relate to that. Talking about the failures as well as the success is really important. Asking lots of questions, this is one of the things I use to do on ProBlogger all the time, have blog posts that were me seeking information from my readers and me asking, “What would you do in this situation?” That again seems a bit counterintuitive, shouldn’t you as the expert be telling everyone what the answer is? No. People actually respect when you don’t know all the answers and when you are trying to find the answers for people. You will learn and as a result, you become more of an authority on your topic and more of an expert because you’ll be gathering these answers. Don’t pretend you know it all. Learn in public is a very powerful thing that you can do. Tied into this is my fourth point. They use case studies, both case studies of themselves and others. Talk about the experiments that you’ve done, report back on what you are learning and what you are doing. But also talk doing case studies of other people can be a powerful way for you to learn but also for you to build credibility particularly when you’re doing case studies of what you were doing with other people. Let me give you an example on ProBlogger. When I started ProBlogger, one of the things I did semi-regularly was to do case studies of how I would improve another blog. Sometimes these were blogs that hadn’t actually asked me to do this case study. It was just me seeing something and thinking I like the way they do this, this is what I would do to improve their blog and to actually write that type of post in a positive way. I never critiqued what they were doing. They were just suggestions and constructive things. Down the track, people began to ask me to critique their blog and to coach them. Instead of coaching them one-on-one in private, I would coach them in public. I’d write the little critiques of their blog, with their permission, in public. This became really useful in the type of content that my readers wanted. The post became very popular but they also showed that I knew what I was talking about. This is one of the things that I’ve learned over the years. When you can demonstrate your knowledge indirectly, that’s a very powerful thing. The old school way of building authority is to tell everyone what you know. But when you do this type of public coaching, in this case study, you’re demonstrating what you know. You’re actually showing people what you know by just doing it and by giving advice to someone else. People find that as a less confrontational way of building authority. Instead of telling people what you know, actually show them what you know in an indirect way, whether that be through a case study, whether that be through public learning or public coaching in some way. Number five is that they show vulnerability. This, really, I guess comes into this transparency that I was talking a little bit about earlier. They don’t just show their credentials and strengths but also their weaknesses in that way. That’s vulnerability. There’s been a lot written over the years about vulnerability. Brené Brown’s written some great stuff on that topic. It’s similar to that transparency one earlier but I really want to emphasize it here because there’s something about being vulnerable in public that people really do respect. It builds relatability and it also shows that you are a human being. One of the things I’ve noticed over the years about people who take this old school way of building their authority, telling everyone what they know is that they almost become superhuman. It’s almost like they become a bit robotic. Sometimes they come across as having it all so much together that they don’t actually relate to me. People like to see the frailties and the humanness in other people as well. Showing your vulnerability is important. As part of that, to show as much of your personality and your personal situation, your personal life as you feel comfortable to do. This doesn’t mean you need to be Instagramming your family life, you might want to have some boundaries around some of that. But people do appreciate when you are able to weave into your content the fact that you are a normal person. To show a little bit of yourself in that way can be powerful. Last year I think it was, I had one of my sons do the intro for this podcast. You wouldn’t believe how many people contacted me about that. Actually hearing one of my kids’ voices on the podcast made a big impression upon people. When I meet people in public, that’s the podcast episode that people tend to remember the most for some reason. They don’t even remember the content I had there but they remember the fact that I let my kid to be on my podcast. That was something that connected with many people, I guess who are parents as well. Allowing these little personality quirks, your personal situation but also your vulnerabilities into your podcast can really make a deep connection with people as well. The other thing I will say about this by way of a personal example is some of the podcasts where I’ve shared my failures and mistakes have been the most powerful. I did a podcast about my procrastination, my character trying to be a perfectionist and as a result procrastinating. That podcast, again, had a massive impact upon people. I did another podcast years ago now about my health situation, how I was gradually putting on weight and what I did about that. Those podcasts are slightly off topic in some ways but they actually had a massive impact and made a deeper connection with people. Share your vulnerability, share your personality – really important. Number six. People with authority, people with influence that I respect the most, they share their transformations and conversions. This is a massive part of them being seen as a credible source. They don’t just talk about the destination of where they’ve arrived but they talk about their origins and who they were when they started out. This inspires and it also makes them more relatable. If you think about it, if you were hiring a personal trainer, would you be more likely to hire a personal trainer who was born with chiseled abs, perfect genetics, and had no struggles in their health or would you prefer to go to someone who had really struggled with their nutrition and with exercise over the years but through trial and error has gotten to a point where they’re healthy? I personally would prefer someone who has had ups and downs over their life and who has come out the other end in a better place because I can relate to that type of person. I can’t relate to someone who always had chiseled abs and who’s got perfect genetics and who’s never struggled with their health. I prefer to go and see someone who has journeyed through it and can relate to the struggles that I’m having. The same is true with building authority in your particular topic. If you can demonstrate by telling your story about who you were and who you are now, you may have reached a point where things are really great but what were things like in the way to getting there? Actually sharing those stories is a very powerful thing. This taps into the transparency and the vulnerability. It’s amazing how many people on their about pages talk about their achievements and talk about where they are now but they don’t actually tell their story. I think your about page is a brilliant place for you to tell stories about your journey, about your transformations, about your conversions to the way that you’re living today. It’s not just about the destination but it’s about the journey. People are much more interested in the journey that you’ve had than the destination that you’re at now. Weave that into your about page. Weave that into your brand if you can. Weave that into the way you promote your blog, the taglines that you have, your content, you can be constantly telling those little stories. Pretty much every time I talk, I tell my stories of becoming a blogger. I talk about how I really had no credentials to be a blogger, I talk about how it took me three months to work out how to make text bold on my blog once I’ve started. This is I guess an entry credential in some ways, me talking about my weaknesses. But it illustrates the transformation to get from that to being a full-time blogger, to get from no readers to having millions of readers. That is something that people get inspired by all the time but they can also relate to that because they can relate to having those same challenges in the early days as well. Share your transformations, build your brand on those transformations that you’ve had. It’s a very powerful thing. Number seven thing, over halfway now. They tend to be positive, optimistic, and constructive in their outlook. I’m thinking here about people who I’m drawn to. Maybe it’s just partly my personality coming out here but I’m personally much more likely to be influenced by and see someone as an authority on their topic when they have this more positive, optimistic outlook. They’re not just interested in busting myths and tearing down and critiquing. They spend more time presenting solutions, solving problems, and pointing to a way forward. This isn’t to say that from time to time you can’t get negative with your blog. I think being negative, critiquing something, busting myths – these types of things can actually play a part in building authority. To show that side of yourself from time to time can be important. I think you don’t want to be known purely as a negative person. I know some people build their whole brand around critique. But most of the people I’ve seen attempt that don’t tend to last the journey or they tend to transition into a more positive person at some point because they realize that people come to them for their critique but they’re coming almost more for the entertainment of the critique and the snarkiness but they don’t actually see them as an authority on that topic. I think probably about ten years ago in the blogging about blogging space, there are a number of people who started blogs that were very negative, very snarky. They’re talking about the negative things that they were seeing other people were doing. They were having a go at people, they were tearing down, and they were calling them out. Their blogs became very popular. They got a lot of traffic but no one actually saw them as an authority on their topic, no one actually bought their products, no one actually saw them as an authority in their space. They weren’t actually putting forward a solution alongside their critique. Go there if you need to from time to time, bust myths, critique, that’s fine from time to time. But always do it with a solution, with an alternative, and you’re going to be in a much better position. They’re positive, they’re optimistic, they’re more constructive than being known for being negative. Number eight, they build a platform of giving and generosity before they promote. There’s definitely a time for asking. There’s definitely a time for selling what you do. But as I think about the people who I see as influencers and the people who I bought their products, the asking tends to be dwarfed by their giving and by their generosity. Survivors don’t be self-serving. Yes you need to win out of the scenario and this is a trap that some bloggers get into, it’s like just give, give, give and don’t actually get. You’ve got to get some balance in there on that. But you want to be known as generous before you ask. Blogs like Copyblogger. I’ve read Copyblogger for years. Brian Clarkson Simone generously gave amazing teaching. I read them for years and as a result of that, anytime they will release a product I was a buyer of that product based upon the generosity of what they’ve done. I wanted to reciprocate. The only reason I bought their products was because they were so generous. Build a platform of generosity, of giving before you ask or promote. Number nine, they show up, they deliver quality, they ship, they’re reliable. Authority isn’t just built on what you know but rather people knowing they can rely and depend upon you, people knowing that you have their back. Don’t be flaky. Don’t promise things that you don’t deliver upon. You want to be shipping, you want to be showing up. If you say that you were going to do a podcast every week, do a podcast every week. If you’d say you’re going to do a blog post every week, do a blog post every week. If you’re going to send an email newsletter every week, send that email newsletter every week. Do everything you can to show up. Not to say that you can’t take a break but forecast that break. Tell people the reason why you’re taking that break. It’s reliability. It’s being there for your reader and them feeling like you’re consistent and you’re going to continue to show up and you’re going to have their back. This builds credibility. When people know that you deliver a podcast every week or that you deliver articles every week and you deliver that newsletter, they begin to show up expecting that you’d be there as well. Be reliable in that way. Point number ten is to keep your messaging clear and simple. Did you notice how clearly and simply I said that? Keep your messaging clear and simple. Authority isn’t built upon making yourself look smart and lording your intelligence over those who follow you. Authority comes when you make your audience feel smart, when you facilitate them making discoveries, when their knowledge grows because of you. Again, let me think about this. It’s not about you looking smart, it’s about you making your readers feel smart. I love the quote from a guy called Adam Grant. He said, “Good communicators make themselves look smart. Great communicators make their audience feel smart.” Really important distinction there. The old school way of building authority is about look at me, look at all the things that I know, look at all the things that I can say, look at all the big words that I can use. That might make you look good but influence, trust is built upon people feeling that they are benefiting from the relationship and that they are getting smarter as a result of you. This needs to shine through in your content, the way you write your content. I’ve read a number of articles recently that talk about how to best communicate is actually write at a low level. They write at an 8th grade level rather than a university level. Actually writing in a way that your readers can understand the words, they don’t need to go away and look up words in dictionaries, they don’t need to guess the jargon you used – actually writing in a very clear way that makes your readers feel like they can understand what you’re saying is actually so powerful in building authority and credibility as well. It needs to shine through in the content that you use but also in the way you promote yourself as well. Don’t just make yourself look smart, make your readers look smart. Bring them into that in many ways that you can. Number 11 is one that I’m really passionate about. Great influencers use their influence for the benefit of those they influence. There are too many word influences in there but think about this. A lot of influencers use their influence to benefit them. “I want to be influential.” “Why do you want to be influential?” “I want to be influential because it’s going to get me a car, it’s going to get me a holiday, it’s going to get me money. It’s going to get me all this stuff. I’m going to get a lot out of being influential.” The reality is that that’s only going to get you so far. Great influencers use their influence for the benefit of other people. Use your influence for the benefit of other people. I see a lot of people trying to build authority and influence because of how their influence and authority will improve their lives. But I’m struck by the fact that many of the great influencers that I’ve met live very simply. They use their influence to benefit others. What can you do that’s going to improve the situation of your readers and make the world a better place in some way? I actually ask that question from time to time. You will discover ways to use your influence, as small as it may be, to benefit other people. Obviously, you can write content that’s going to solve your readers’ problems but what more could you do? What more could you do for your readers? For example, as I think about this for ProBlogger, what can I do to benefit you as an audience? One of the things that we’ve been realizing over the last year or so is that yeah, we can teach you how to blog but one of the needs that we see a lot of bloggers having is they want more traffic, particularly new bloggers. As you start your blog, you’ve got no traffic. One of the things we realized as we were doing this Start a Blog course that we launched recently is that we can actually help our students to get their first traffic. This is why we started International Start a Blog Day, which happened yesterday as I record this. We actually promoted the 103 blogs that started as a result of our course because we realized we could not only help these bloggers to start their blogs but we can actually give them a little bit of traffic. We’ve been promoting these blogs. I had an email this morning from someone who said, “Wow, I had 100 readers yesterday. I never thought I’d get 100 readers on the first day of my blog.” What could you do that could help your readers to have their dreams come true? What could you do to help your readers’ dreams come true? Don’t just use your influence to make your dreams come true. Find creative ways to make your readers’ dreams come true as well. I’ve got two more here. Point number 12, these influencers, these authoritative people that I respect don’t seek to be known, liked, and trusted. They show that they know, like, and trust their audience. I’ve spoken about this before. The quote by Bob Burg, “People do business with those that they know, like, and trust.” This is a very well-known quote. I believe it. People will want to do business with you when they know, like, and trust you. One of the ways that you speed up people knowing, liking, and trusting you is to actually do those things to them as well. I think this quote is a two-way thing. Don’t just try and be known, don’t just try and be liked, don’t just try and be trusted but actually display that you know your audience, that you like your audience, and that you trust your audience. Let’s just break that down a little bit. Do you know your audience? The more you know your audience, the better position you’re in to build authority with them. Do your research on who is reading your blog. Who are they? Their demographics. What are their needs? What are their dreams? When you know these things, you’re in a much better position to serve them and as a result they’re going to begin to realize that you actually know who they are. One of the best things that I get is emails from time to time from people saying, “I feel like that podcast was for me.” That is because I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand who is my audience. I create content based upon knowing who they are having met many of them at our conferences and our events but also talking to them on Facebook lives and those types of things as well. The more you get to know your audience and show them that you know who they are, the more they’re going to want to know, like, and trust you as well. Know your audience. Know, like, and trust. Like your audience. Show warmth to your audience. Show your audience that you actually like them. Make your audience feel they are charismatic. A lot of bloggers they want to be charismatic themselves. Actually make your audience feel like you know them but you also like them. Spend time with them. Get on Facebook live and answer their questions. Hang out with them. Some of the most popular Facebook lives that I’ve done have been the ones where I’ve sat with a beer on a Friday afternoon and I’ve just said, “Let’s hang out.” We just chatted back and forth. We’ve asked questions of each other. We’ve hung out, we’ve had fun. Those are the types of things that, actually as I look back over the year, I’ve built relationships with my audience the most. Hang out with them. Show them that you like them. Lastly, show them that you trust them. This comes down to this vulnerability that I was talking about before. When you share something of yourself, you’re showing your audience that you trust them. By me sharing that I’ve got three boys and me sharing that I’ve just been on holidays and me sharing some of the mistakes that I’ve made and some of the insecurities that I have, that shows that I trust you as my audience. I wouldn’t share that type of stuff if I didn’t have some trust of you, if I didn’t like you. Don’t just try and be known, be liked, and be trusted. The way that you actually do that is to know who you’re speaking to, to like them and to show that you like them, and to trust them – very important. The last thing I’ll say about building influence and trust and authority is that it takes time. Most of the people that I see as influencers and authoritative type people and people that I see having credibility in the topics that they talk about, as I think about it and as reflecting on this week, they’ve all been around for a while. I’ve been following them for a while. It didn’t happen overnight. I look at someone like Chris Guillebeau. He’s been blogging for years, probably for a decade or so now. He’s someone that gradually over time I’ve come to know, like, and trust. He’s someone that overtime I’ve began to see has authority on certain areas. It’s because he’s done all of the things that I’ve just talked about. He’s been vulnerable, he’s put himself out there, he’s kept his messaging clear, he’s shown up, he’s delivered on his promises. All of these things I’ve just talked about, he’s done them but he’s done them time and time and time again over the years. It’s the accumulation of that that makes me think, “Yeah, he’s credible. I can trust him. He’s an authority.” That is key. I know that’s a little bit disheartening for those who just finished our Start a Blog course and you just started. But it’s the accumulation of the little things that you do over time that are going to lead to people knowing, liking, and trusting you, and people seeing you as an authority. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the accumulation of these things. It’s the longevity of you doing these things overtime that’s really going to count the most. Yes you can build little bits of influence early on but it’s going to exponentially grow the longer you show up and the more consistent you are with these things over time as well. I really hope that has been helpful to you. I hope it’s been clear and simple enough. As I thought through, I’m very aware that different people grow their authority and influence in different ways. I actually made a list of about 20 people that I see as authorities in their niches. As I looked at the list, I saw some of these characteristics but every time I look at a different person I’m like, “Yeah but they don’t quite fit with this one.” I want to emphasize again that those 13 things I’ve just talked about, these are different mix and play for each person. Take it as a put it out list, some of it will resonate with you, some of it you want to try, some of it you might not relate to as much but somewhere in the mix of all that I think are some answers. I’ve got some further reading for you today. I’ve got a few articles that I read in preparation for this podcast. There’s an article from Copyblogger Demian Farnworth, 10 Ways to Build Authority as an Author, which overlapped with a few of the things that I said. Then Shane Snow has a couple articles that I’ll link to and a couple articles he wrote about the level that writers write at. That touched on that, in keeping your messaging clear and simple. He’s written about some investigation that he’s done that talks about how writers that are most powerful in their communication tend to write at a lower level. He did some research into the level that great writers write at. He found about the 8th grade level was about the level that they were writing at, and that made them more relatable and easy to read. I’ll link to those in the show notes today as well as some further listening on the podcast as well. You can find today’s show notes over at problogger.com/podcast/235. Thanks so much for listening. If you’ve got a moment, I would love it if you would head over to the ProBlogger blog and check out our list of 103 bloggers who started their blogs. The reason that we do have that list public is that we want you to visit them. We would love it if you would encourage those bloggers. I know a lot of you have been blogging for years now. I want to encourage you just to remember what it was like that first week that you launched your blog. Wouldn’t it have made your day if someone had a shown up your blog and left a comment? Wouldn’t it have made your day if someone had shared your blog on their social media account? That would’ve been so encouraging for you. I really want to encourage you to head over to that list and find a blog that you can leave a comment on, maybe more than one. Find a blog that you resonate with that you could share on your social media account. Pass on a little bit of the traffic that you have. Use your influence to build and benefit other people as well. I really encourage you to do that. We love the fact that there’s all these new blogs out there, and excited that there’s a lot more coming as well. I think almost 2000 people have started the Start a Blog course already. We’ve seen 100 blogs launched. There’s quite a few coming up behind them in the coming months as well. Anything you can do to support those new bloggers would be fantastic. Thanks so much for listening today. I will link to the honor roll in the show notes as well, problogger.com/podcast/235. Chat with you next week. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 235: How to Build Authority, Influence and Trust When Nobody Knows Who You Are appeared first on ProBlogger.
Feb. 5, 2018
How to Relaunch a Dormant Blog In today’s episode, I want to answer a question I get regularly from listeners: How do you relaunch a blog that has died or become dormant? I want to talk you through two scenarios for relaunching a blog, and give you 11 things to consider during a relaunch. Before I get into today’s show though, a couple of things. Firstly, this week on 7th February we’ve got our first ever International Start a Blog Day. For those of you enrolled in our Start a Blog Course, keep working on your launch. And secondly, coming up in March we have our brand new course – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. This is a perfect course for anyone in their first month of blogging, anyone relaunching a blog, or anyone who is blogging and just wants to give their blog a bit of a kick start. It’s a brilliant month of learning, but more importantly doing small things every day to improve your blog. Whether you do the tasks daily or tackle the course slower, it’ll give your blog a boost. Register your interest in the course at problogger.com/31days and we’ll send you an email when it launches with a special early bird discount. Further Listening on How to Relaunch Your Blog After It Becomes Dormant 10 Things I Wish I Knew About Blogging and Content Marketing When I Started A Blogger Shares How She Made $28,000 Using The 4 Stages of Warming Her Readers Up Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Good morning and welcome to episode 234 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses, all designed to help you as a blogger to start a great blog, to create great content on that blog that’s gonna change your reader’s lives, to find new readers for your blog, and to build profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about what we do ProBlogger at problogger.com. You can also dig into previous episodes of the show and thousands of tutorials that we’ve published over the years. In today’s episode, episode 234, I wanna answer a question I get regularly from readers. How do you relaunch a blog that’s previously died or become dormant? I wanna talk you through two scenarios for relaunching your blog and give you 11 things to consider during the relaunch, 11 questions to ask yourself that will help you to relaunch with your best foot forward. Before I get into today’s show, I want to mention two things. Firstly, this week, on the 7th of February, we’ve got our first ever International Start a Blog Day. For those of you who have previously enrolled in our Start a Blog course, keep working on your launch and look out for emails from us of details on how to participate in that. If you already have a blog and you wanna check out some amazing new blogs, watch out on problogger.com on the 7th of February and you’ll see a massive list of some amazing new blogs. If you follow us on our Facebook page, facebook.com/problogger, I will also be featuring some of the new blogs on that day and some live videos. The other thing to mention is that coming up in March, we have a brand new course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, which has previously been an ebook and a series of blog posts, and a series of podcasts as well. We’ve updated it all and we’ve put it together in a course format. For anyone who is in the first month of blogging, maybe you’ve just done that Start a Blog course or anyone who is relaunching a dormant blog, this would be perfect for you and anyone who’s been blogging for a while who just wants to give their blog a bit of a kickstart, maybe it’s that time of the year and you wanna get things going again, this is a brilliant course that’s really going to walk you through over a month or you can take it slow if you want to, some teaching, and more importantly doing some small things everyday to improve your blog. Time and time again, I hear from people who’ve done this course and they’ve stuck it out through to the end. Previously, they’ve done it as ebooks, they’ve said that it really has given them a boost. The most important thing is not the learning, it’s the doing, it’s the implementing the small things that we suggest everyday. If that sounds like it’s gonna float your boat and improve your blog, check out problogger.com/31days and you’ll be forwarded there to an outline of the course and also a place where you can register your interests and we’ll let you know when the course goes live. We’ll also send you a special early bird discount as well. If you are listening to this sometime in the future and it’s already live, you’ll already be able to sign up there at problogger.com/31days and get involved in that course. Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/234 and with all that said, I’m gonna get into today’s show. Last week, I was asked by a reader of ProBlogger for advice on how to relaunch their blog, which had become dormant for the last year. They’ve had 12 months off blogging. They’ve had to take a break from blogging, blogging had to take a backseat I guess, while other things in their life or their family took priority. They have some really good reasons for putting their blog on hold for that 12 months. But now things had settled down at home, they wanted to get back into blogging again. This is something that many of us bloggers have to deal with at different times. There’s been times where I’ve put my blogs on hold, not ProBlogger and Digital Photography School but I’ve had other blogs that have been on hold and one day, I may need to relaunch them. This is something I thought through numerous times for myself but also in talking other bloggers through as well. Maybe the reason your blog has become dormant is a family reason, or a health crisis that you just have to put things on hold for a while, maybe it’s because you’ve lost motivation or passion to keep the blog going, maybe you’ve become disillusioned, or distracted, maybe things just haven’t quite worked and so you’ve put things on hold for a period of time. No matter what the reason, many blogs tend to have this period where they at least slow down or become completely dormant. In today’s show, what I wanna do is give you some advice on bringing those old blogs back to life. The first thing that I wanna say, and really this is so important, is to assess the current state of play, to actually do some thinking about where things are at for you at the moment. Of course, there’s no one piece of advice that I can give you here, but I think really, if you do this first step of assessing the current state of play, assessing how you are and how your blog is, it’s going to help you to determine what to do next. What I wanna suggest you do is answer a few questions and these will all be in the transcript of today’s show. The first three questions are about you. The first question I want you to ask is why did the blog become dormant? Why did you stop blogging? Understanding this is gonna help you to guard against that thing happening again. Maybe it was you become disillusioned, maybe there’s health stuff going on. The answer doesn’t really matter but understanding why the blog became dormant is actually important because it’s gonna help you to guard against that happening again. The second question is what are your dreams and goals for the blog? I think it’s really important to go back to this because you probably started your blog with certain objectives, certain goals, certain dreams, certain things that you thought might happen but the reality is that it may have changed for you. What were your goals and dreams and what are they now? Actually getting back to your why is really important because it will shape what you do and you’ll probably find your why will be a little bit more realistic the second time. It possibly has evolved a bit. What is your dream? What is your goal for the blog? And thirdly, do you still want the blog to have the same topic or focus? You may just think this blog was great, I loved it, but life got in the way and I just wanna start again doing what I was doing. That’s fine, but maybe you wanna tweak things a little bit. We’re gonna talk a little bit more about pivoting your blog later but I think it’s really important to begin to ask those questions and you probably already got the answers to those in your mind. The second group of questions are about the blog itself. The questions that you might wanna consider, I’ve got five for you. How long has it been since the blog was active? That is going to determine how you’ll relaunch it. If it’s only been month, you can probably get back to blogging pretty quickly. But if it’s been 12 months, or it’s been two years, or five years. I talked to one blogger recently who had a blog five years ago and they wanna relaunch it. The strategies that you use are probably going to be different. If your blog has been dormant for five years, you’re probably gonna wanna do some redesign, you’re probably gonna wanna update archives, you might wanna completely change tech. But if it’s only been a month, you can probably get back to it a little bit faster. How long has it been since the blog was active? How much traffic does the blog still have? Actually, dig into your Google Analytics account. If you haven’t got a Google analytics account, install it, and work out if you still have any traffic. I was looking at one of my old blogs the other day and I realized it was still getting a thousand visitors a day and they were all coming in from Google. Is it getting traffic? Where is the traffic coming from? Is it coming in from the search engines? Is it coming in from social media? Is it coming in from other sites? Maybe you’ve got some links coming in from other sites as well. Do you have traffic? How much traffic? Where is the traffic coming from and where is it going to? This is really important. Do you have a post or a page on your blog that’s still performing really well? I talked to a lot of bloggers who have dormant blogs and they tell me that they’ve just got the one post in their archives that’s going really well. Understanding what that post is or what that page is can really help as you think about moving forward because that page might be a good starting place to do some analysis, to do some updating, and to think about the leveraging in someway. Think about the traffic but maybe you don’t have any traffic at all and so you can skip through that one, but digging into that is important. Social media is another thing to ask. Do you have social media accounts set up? How many followers are on those accounts? Where was the action previously for you in terms of social media? You can ask the same question about email subscribers. How many email subscribers does it have? Is it still getting fresh email subscribers or are they all very old, you know, years ago kind of subscribers? Understanding a little bit about the health of your social media and email subscribers is important. Are they warm? Have automated things been happening to keep those subscribers and followers warm and connected with you or are they completely cold? That’s going to shape your strategy for warming up your list again. I guess the last question to ask about your blog is if your blog topic or focus is changing. I’m getting to this a little bit more. Is the current domain still relevant? That’s just another question to ponder now. I’ll talk a little bit about that later. We’ve asked questions about you, we’ve asked questions about your blog, and it’s probably also worth doing a little bit of analysis on the niche that you’re in as well. Some questions about your niche. What’s the current state of play in the niche that you’re operating in? If it’s been a couple of years since you blogged, you might wanna do a bit of a dig around to find out what other people are doing in your niche. Who are the big players? Who are the big bloggers? Who are the big social media influencers? What are other bloggers mainly doing at the moment? Have they changed tech? Are they using different types of mediums? Are they all in podcasts now? Are they all on video? Where is the action happening for them in terms of social media? Doing some digging there can actually help you to work out where you should be doing things as well. Not that you wanna just copy what everyone else is doing, maybe you actually spot some gaps in what they’re not doing, some opportunities that you could do, but they also would give you some hints to where is the most logical place for you to be engaging in terms of social media. Are there any other emerging trends in the niche or industry that you could latch onto? In the photography space for example, over the last four, five years, we’ve seen the emergence of new types of cameras, of drone photography. If I was relaunching my photography blog today, one thing that I might do would be to have a blog that really focuses on the new types of cameras, the new types of technologies, drone photography for example, mobile phone photography because things have changed over the years. Understanding how your industry, your niche has changed is really important as well. Hopefully, in asking some of these questions about you, your blog, your niche, you begin to hopefully get a bit of an understanding for a few things about your relaunch. Hopefully, one of two scenarios is probably emerging. I wanna talk about these two scenarios. Most of the times, I see people relaunching, they end up doing one of two things. First scenario, maybe as you’re pondering these questions, you will realize that you were already on the right track with your blog and you just needed to get back to it. Your blog was doing well and maybe the reason you stopped was health reason, or an emergency, or something just interrupted you and it was relatively healthy and you just wanna get back to it. This is obviously the most easy scenario but there’s a few pieces of advice that I would really want to encourage you to consider if that’s you. You just wanna get back to blogging, well there’s a couple of things that I would like to encourage you to really focus upon.   Firstly, pay attention to the content you’ve already published that’s still working for you or that has worked in the past. One of the things that you can really shortcut the growth of your blog again is to really pay attention to that type of content. As I mentioned before, you possibly already got a post that is still getting traffic. I would be starting with those posts and maybe updating them, maybe republishing them. Put a new date on them as long as the URL doesn’t change. Put them back up as fresh content on your blog in someway. If it’s something that’s already working for you in someway, update it and leverage it to get some new subscribers.Write some follow up content on those topics. Repurpose it perhaps in a different medium. You might wanna take the written basic content and do a video, or an audio post, and really pay attention to those pieces of content that are already working. Also, think about are there ways that you could expand upon them. I guess, do similar types of things. If you’ve got a category that’s really working for you, maybe focus more upon that category because there’s obviously still interests in that category if it’s still getting traffic to it. Pay attention to your archives. Just don’t start writing new content all the time. Actually, I think one of the emerging trends I’ve noticed in a lot of bloggers recently is that they’re paying as much attention to their archives as they are to new content. Go into your relaunch maybe writing some new content but also updating your archives, maybe every second piece of content that you published, maybe you should be doing a new one and then updating something old and then a new one and then updating something old. The second thing I’d say is if you’re just getting back into blogging, you wanna pay attention to warming up your old followers, subscribers, and readers. If you have a dormant blog, you’re gonna have a cold reader, a cold email list, a cold social media following. They’re not as warm to you as they were in the past. They may still think highly of you, they might still remember you, but they might be a bit frustrated that you haven’t been updating, or they may be wondering if you are still alive, or if you are still healthy, or if you’re still interested in them and their topic. They may be feeling a bit abandoned. You may need to just think through how do you warm them up again? Maybe if it’s been a long absence, maybe you need to explain your absence, maybe this might be a time to do a video post that tells the story of your last 12 months. You may not wanna go into great detail if it’s been a health thing but maybe that actually helps to make connection with your audience. If you can tell your story, that sometimes can warm people up. Maybe, now is the good time to create something to give them as a gift. Maybe you’re going to create an opt in for your new email subscribers but you can send it to your old subscribers as well just to say thank you for sticking around. Maybe this would be a good time for you to launch with a series of content that’s gonna get your readers to do something, some sort of a challenge, or content event. These types of content actually are all about not just teaching your readers or not just informing them but actually engaging with them in someway, or maybe you wanna use live video, or more images, or something that’s a bit more personal in terms of the medium itself to warm up your readers in some way. I guess the key thing is if you just need to get back to blogging, you really just need to get back to blogging and you need to start creating content again. The best thing that you can do in relaunching your blog, particularly if it’s just picking up where you left off, is to be as useful as possible to your readers. That’s the first scenario. What I wanna do after I talk about the second scenario is give you 11 more things to think about that will be relevant for you if you’re in that first scenario as well. Hang in there. I’ve got some more that will be relevant for you as well, but is also relevant to people in the second scenario. First scenario, you’re just picking things back up where you left off. The second scenario is that maybe as you answer those questions that I went through earlier, as you assess the current state of play for your blog, maybe you’re realizing that you need to change direction. Maybe your blog became dormant because you lost the passion for your topic, maybe you stopped because the niche changed, the blog wasn’t working in some way. To just start up again in the same way that you ended it is probably gonna end up leading to the same kind of results. Maybe as you’re doing the assessment, you realize you need to change the way you approach a blog. You need to pivot in someway. The second scenario is about pivoting your blog. I think in most cases, a pivot is probably a good idea. These things were really firing in the past and you can just pick things up again and keep them firing. You’re probably gonna change it if you’ve had a break from blogging. You’re probably gonna find, if you’ve had a break from blogging, that you need to pivot in someway. There are four different ways that you might wanna consider pivoting your blog. Changing things up to hopefully get slightly different results from what you were doing in the past. Firstly, you might want to pivot your topic. Maybe you want to completely change your topic, or maybe you just wanna make some smaller evolutions and pivots in your topic. There are a few different ways of that you can do this. Firstly, you might just completely change it. Maybe you had a photography blog and you wanna start a blog about blogging. Maybe you had a fashion blog and you wanna do a blog about travel. They’re completely different topics, in which case you’re probably better off to start a new blog completely rather than relaunch it. Unless you had a domain that’s kind of relevant to both topics, you’re probably more thinking about a new blog and you might want to check out our Start a Blog course to do that. But in most cases, the pivot that people make is actually more of a tweak and there are a few ways that you can tweak your topic to bring you new life for your blog. Firstly, you might want to  narrow your topic. For example, and I’ve used this example in the past, Donna Moritz who we talked to in episode 117, narrowed her focus. She used to have a blog that was on all things social media that was not really that different to all the other blogs that were all things social media and so she decided to really focus her blog of the topic of visual content in social media. She talks about infographics, on how to create a visual content for social media. She very much narrowed her topic. As a result of that, she became known as one of the key people that had expertise in visual content for social media. Her narrowing her focus made her stand out from all the other social media blogs and so maybe, there’s a category in you old blog that should become your focus when you relaunch and then you can become the expert in that particular field. I remember when I was getting you to answer questions earlier, one of the questions was is there traffics still coming to your old blog? Do you have a category that still getting lots of traffic? Do you have a blog post that’s still getting lots of traffic? Maybe that could become your thing. That’s a hint as to how you might want to narrow your focus. The opposite of this is that maybe your previous topic was too narrow and you need to broaden it as well. I’ve seen bloggers do that quite well as well. They might have had just a blog that was about printers and they got bored with that topic and so maybe they want to broaden that out to other related technology type topics as well. A second way that you might wanna pivot is to change the perspective that you’re blogging from. Perhaps your topic is right, you’re still interested in that topic but maybe you wanna explore using a different voice, or maybe you want to change the intent of your content as well. I talked a little bit about voice in episode 213 so I’m not gonna go into great depth there but in that episode, I talked about this five voices that Jeff Goins talked about and he says that you can use these five voices for any topic really. You can be the professor who teaches. You can be the artist who brings out the beauty in their topic, that story tells. You can be the prophet who tells the cold, hard truth and busts myth. You can be the journalist who is curating and gathering ideas and putting them together in stories, or you could be the celebrity, the one that everyone wants to know your opinion, they wanna know what you think about a topic. There are five voices but really, you can come up to any voice of your own as well. You can be the companion who journeys with people around a topic, you can be the mentor, the entertainer, you can be the reviewer, the curator, the storyteller, the guide, the teacher, the thought leader. All of these are different voices and you may actually want to try and bring out couple of those into your blogging. You can dig more into that in episode 213, but this is one way that you might want to consider pivoting your blog. The other way to kind of think about this is to think about the perspective that you come from and the intent of your content. You might wanna tweak that, change that. Maybe your blog was about bringing your readers the latest news in a niche. Maybe you got a bit sick of that and maybe you could pivot to be more of an opinion blog. You’re still talking about them but you’re bringing your opinion into it. That’s a slightly different intent, that’s a slightly different voice that you bring to your blog. Maybe your blog previously was more of storytelling and you wanna bring in some more reviews. Maybe this is about completely changing your voice or maybe it’s just tweaking things as well. An example of this was my original photography blog which used to be a review blog. Back in the day, 2004, I had these camera review blogs. I was reviewing cameras. I got completely sick of it. I got burnt out. It wasn’t something I was passionate about and so I decided to pivot that blog and to start teaching people how to use their cameras. This was, for me, a big change. I changed my domain, I changed the older content and really that’s when Digital Photography School was born. For me, it was a big pivot. But you might just want to tweak your voice. Maybe it’s about adding in new types of posts to sit alongside of the old types of post. It’s really important to think this through before you relaunch your blog. A third way you might wanna consider pivoting is around the medium. Maybe you previously had a written blog, but you wanna launch it to explore using more video or maybe you wanna use audio or more visual content, or do more live shows. This could be a complete shift. You might change from having a written blog to having a podcast or a video blog or you might just wanna add the new medium into what you’re doing. Like we do on ProBlogger, every week we publish a blog post, a podcast, and a video. Maybe you just wanna change the mix of the mediums as well. The fourth and last way that I’ll talk about pivoting your blog is to change up the audience and to focus on serving a different type of demographic. This is something I’ve seen a number of bloggers do over the years with real success. I get it. Similar to narrowing your focus, instead of just having a blog that brought everyone in your topic, you might wanna focus in on being a topic blog for a certain demographic. Instead of just being a travel blogger and trying to write general travel advice, you might wanna reposition your blog to be a blog that has travel advice for retirees, or for families, or for single women, or for gay men. You can think about your topic for a particular audience and this makes your content much more useful for those individual types of people. It may sound a bit dangerous. You’re narrowing your potential audience down but it’s gonna make it more so much attractive to anyone who is from that kind of demographic and your content is going to be able to be more focused as well. It will probably impact your design, your  branding, and all of these things as well. There’s four ways that you might wanna pivot your blog, it’s the topic, the perspective or voice that you’re writing from, the mediums that you use, and potentially, the audience that you’re trying to attract. You may be wanting to just pivot in one of these areas or you may actually wanna pivot in a few. You might want to narrow your topic and narrow down to a particular demographic, and to change medium slightly and to use a different voice. Maybe you want to do all of those things, or maybe your pivot is just in a couple of this areas and in quite small ways. But I think it’s well worth considering. Particularly, if you’ve been blogging for a few years, you’ll probably find that things in your niche have changed quite a bit. For you to just go back to blogging in exactly the same way may not connect to its readers quite so much. One of the things that we all are aware of is the internet is changing a lot. We’re seeing a lot more video, we’re seeing a lot more visual content. Changing the medium can really work a bit and we’re also seeing more focused content, and more focused sites as well. I’ve noticed, over the last few years, people focusing in on serving narrow niches of demographics as well. There are a few things to consider as you relaunch your blog. Can you pivot things a little bit? You will also find as you pivot, sometimes that will give you a bit more passion for what you’re doing as well. You’re not just getting back to the same old thing you used to do, you actually got something new to learn and that can keep you fresh as well. Once you’ve worked out, if and how you’re gonna pivot, you’ll probably need to consider a few other factors. One of the biggest things you need to consider is whether you need to find a new domain or name for your blog. We’ve previously talked about domain names and how to choose good domain names and I’ll link to that particular episode in our show notes. But for some people, this pivoting that you’re going to do is going to mean you just have to change your domain. This is particularly if you are changing your topic completely, maybe you’re going from being a travel blogger to a fashion blogger and your old domain just doesn’t suit you at all. In that case, to keep that old domain is just gonna confuse your readers and it’s gonna confused your brand as well. Effectively, what you need to do if that’s the case is you’re almost starting a new blog and as I said before, that Start a Blog course the we’ve just released will be useful to you. But in many cases, the old domain you already have can work. Particularly if you’re only just changing the medium, or the audience, or the voice, or the topic in a slight way, or if your domain was a more of a general domain, or maybe it was your name, darrenrowse.com, I can change darrenrowse.com into any direction really I guess. That’s one of the advantages of having your name. Keeping the domain of course is good in some ways because it does help you with search engine optimization, any past links coming into your site is gonna help you to rank higher for the future as well. It may also be helpful because you’d be able to keep your previous social media accounts but I just wanna emphasize, if it’s going to cause too much confusion to keep that domain and change things up, sometimes it’s better just to have a clean break. That’s what I did with my photography site in the early days. The domain that I previously was using just wasn’t right and Digital Photography School was a much better name for this new blog so I bit the bullet and I change things up. It felt really scary to do that and it did mean I was starting from scratch a lot more but in the long run, it did really help me a lot. If you are changing domains, then you could keep that previous domain up as an archive of your  previous work and maybe have some links on it to what you’re newly doing or what you’re doing today. You might wanna even forward that previous domain to the new one. Anyone who arrives on that past one is gonna end up on your new site. Again, you probably wanna really think through the user experience that your readers are gonna have. If your old blog is on one topic and the new one is on a new one, it’s probably no sense in forwarding people from one to the new one because it’s just gonna annoy them, really.  It’s gonna be hard to bring those old readers across as well. Hopefully, you’ve worked out whether you’re doing a pivot or whether you’re just restarting what you’ve previously doing. No matter what the scenario you’re in of those two options or if it’s something in between even, there are still other things that you want to think about. What I wanna do is finish off this podcast with 11 other things that I’d be focusing my attention on as I was relaunching my blog. These are the 11 questions that you can ask, 11 things that I think you should be working on, particularly in those early days of doing that relaunch, before you do the relaunch, and in the first month or so as well. I will say up front that most of these things are actually included in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course as well and if you go and have a look at that, you’ll see a lot of these things are mentioned in the outline. First thing I’d be thinking about are your goals and objectives to your the blog going forward. Don’t just think about the topic, but what are you trying to achieve with the blog? What do you want it to lead to? Are you trying to build income? Are you trying to open up opportunities like landing a job or a book deal? Having this really thought through, what is it you are trying to achieve will help you in in so many ways. You will inform the content that you create the way you design your site the construction that have. What are those goals and objectives going forward? You don’t have to write a thesis on this but actually having them clear in your mind is really important. A second thing to consider is how will your blog change you readers’ lives? If you’ve been listening to my podcast for any time now, you’ve heard me talk about this time and time again. For me, it is the key to success for blogging, having a blog that is gonna change people’s lives. Having a dream for what you wanna achieve with your blog is one thing but what is your dream for your readers? What’s in it for your reader? Get laser focused on that. How are you gonna change your readers’ lives? This will come out in the content that you create in the way you design your site as well. This is a really important factor to consider. All of your content should really be focused upon bringing about this change in some way. Third thing to think about is to start generating ideas for content. This is pretty obvious. A blog without content is not a blog. Many bloggers, this is actually why the blog becomes dormant. It’s because they struggle to come up with new ideas. Before you get back into blogging, spend as much time as you can on generating ideas for content. Map out the next few weeks, the next few months, the next few years. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers recently mapping out a year of content ahead of time. This is particularly important if the reason your blog become dormant is because this was a struggle for you. If you know this is a struggle, put a lot of time into this, get some friends involved in it as well. Survey any past readers that you have to find out their questions. Dig into the archives. Look at what did well in the past. They can give you ideas as well. Speaking of those archives, number four thing that that I wanna encourage you to think about and I mentioned this at the top of the show, is to build your archives up and to build upon your archives. If you’re not changing domains and are simply starting your blog again with minor changes, you wanna think really carefully about your previous content. Do an audit of what you have in your archives and once you’ve done that, be ruthless about deleting anything that is not  serving your readers anymore or updating it. If you’ve got old posts that dated, taking your readers against the change you’re trying to bring about in their lives in some ways, delete them or update them in some way, or forward them to other articles that you’ve written. Pay attention particularly to any post that’s getting significant traffic. I would be identifying your top 10, maybe your top 20 or so posts that are still getting any traffic and make them more visually appealing, make them more scannable, optimize them for search engine optimization. Think about the calls to action that you have to get new subscribers. Think about could you do a follow up post? Could you add a link to further reading? Could you repurpose that content in someway? It’s really important. Those posts that are doing well already, leverage them. Update them. Make them even bigger, make them even better. It’s really important to focus upon that. That’s probably the number one thing I’ve been doing out of all the things that I’m mentioning here. That’s number four. Number five is think about the editorial calendar going forward. You’ve brainstormed the ideas but actually get those ideas into some kind of a calendar. When will you publish them? How often will you publish? What mediums will you use? You might wanna come up with a weekly format. Monday is gonna be a blog posts and it’s gonna be a tips article. Tuesday is going to be an audio post. Wednesdays might be a link post to someone else. Thursdays might be a review that you do. It really doesn’t matter whether you publish everyday but actually think about the types of posts that are you going to publish. Put topics alongside them in a calendar and suddenly, you’ve created yourself an editorial calendar. It’s so important to do that particularly if you struggled with keeping your blog going in the past because you had issues around planning. Number six is to do some analysis on where your readers are going to come from. If you’ve already got some readers coming in, do some analysis on where they’re already coming from. Also begin to think about how am I’m gonna grow my readership. That’s really important as you launch your blog, as you relaunch your blog to think about could you do some guest posting? Should you be interacting in forums or Facebook groups? How can I be useful in these places? What other influences in the niche do I wanna network with? Maybe it’s been a few years since your blog was active. Maybe you need to introduce yourself to some of the new players. Maybe you need to reestablish contact with some of your previous friends in that particular niche. What events will you attend? Doing some analysis on where your readers could come from and how you’re going to grow your readership is really important. Number seven point is kind of related to number six. Identify which social networks you’re going to focus your attention on. Things have probably changed in your space. We’ve had Snapchat come out. We’ve had Instagram come out. We’ve had all these different social networks come up perhaps since you previously were blogging. Do they present some new opportunities? Have people moved from one network to another in your particular niche? Identify the one or two that’s gonna be your primary focus. Make sure you’ve registered all the accounts that you need to. But then, come up with a little strategy of how you’re going to use those social networks going forward. Tip number eight is to start creating content. I would be focusing upon pillar content first. This is sort of that evergreen content that is going to be really, it’s what the rest of your blog is going to be built around. It’s your pillar content. It’s that evergreen content that you’re gonna refer to time and time again. It’s what you stand for. It’s your core teaching. On Digital Photography School, it’s my post around aperture, shutter speed, ISO, these key components of photography. As you relaunch your blog, go back and look at the previous pillar content but also are there new pieces of content that you need to write first. Think about that evergreen content because that evergreen content is the type of content that’s gonna payoff for years to come. Deliver as much big value as you can with your early posts. Tip number nine is to think about your list. If you’ve previously collected emails, how are you gonna warm that list up again? How often are you going to send emails? How are you going to use that list going forward? How are you going to get new emails as well? Again, there are plenty of content in our podcast archives on growing your list. We’ve got some more coming up for you in the next little while, but begin to put some thought into that in those early days. Number 10 thing to figure out is your blog design. Maybe it’s been a couple of years since you’ve been blogging. Things have changed in the blogging space. Blogs look different now to what they used to look like. Do you need to update it? Do you need to change that logo? Do you need to lay it out differently? Is your blog mobile friendly? It’s so important these days, most people are looking at your blog probably on their mobile phone. Is it viewable on a mobile phone? You may need to give things a refresh in that particular area. The last thing I’d encourage you to think about as you’re relaunching your blog is how are you going to use your time going forward? This, again, is one of the reasons that so many bloggers become dormant, is that the blogger is struggling with juggling life and their blog and all the things that come along with having a blog. Actually thinking about how much time do I have that I can give my blog and what am I going to spend that time on? We all have a limited amount of time and we are much more productive when we think ahead of time about how we are going to use that time. Make a list of what you need to do, and look at the available time that you’ve got, whether its one hour a week or whether that’s 40 hours a week and begin to prioritize the things that need to happen and plug them into a calendar. This is what I do. I have a weekly template. I know on Monday mornings that I’ll write content. On Tuesday mornings, I’ll record a podcast. I know when things are going to happen and as a result, I’m so much more productive. Even if you’ve only got two or three hours a week to do it, you can fit a lot in if you’re sensible and proactive about planning and arranging your time. Those are 11 things. That will be in today’s show notes as well. These are the kinds of things that I’d be thinking about if I was relaunching a blog. Ultimately though, the success of your relaunched blog is gonna be determined on what you do over the coming months and years. It’s the accumulation of the content that you create. It’s the accumulation of the value and usefulness that you deliver and the engagement that you have with your readers. Prioritize those things first. Content creation. Promoting your self, engaging with your reader. Creating value. They are so important. To help you with this process, we are in that final stages of putting together our brand new course that I mentioned at the top of the show. 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. It really is designed to help bloggers to kickstart their blogs whether they are new blogs relaunching a blog, or established blogs. The course is launching in March. We’ll give you the dates in the coming weeks. As the name suggests, it’s a 31 days course that will give you 31 days of teaching but more importantly 31 things you can do to make your blog better. It’s all about helping you to think through the kind of things I just ran through. Things that will help you establish good habits and routines for your blog. Things that are gonna help you to build the asset of your blog’s archives to grow you readership and to turn those readers into true fans. I’m so excited about this new course because I know in the past, 31 days to Build a Better Blog is an ebook and as other series of content have helped tens of thousands of people and so I just know this course will help people as well. You can head over to problogger.com/31days to be signed up and notified when that course goes live. It’s a paid course but we’re keeping it as affordable as we can and if you register your interest now, we will be sending you an exclusive early bird discount in the coming weeks, in the lead up to that. Again, that’s problogger.com/31days. I really hope this has helped. It’s been a long one today, I know and it’s been a lot to digest so you may wanna head over to the show notes and dig into the transcript that I’ve got there for you and some further listening that I’ve got for you as well. Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/234 and for the next little while, at least it will be on the front page of ProBlogger as well and at the top of your iTunes feed as well would be the podcast but you’ll be able to find the show notes there as well because I noticed the other day the show notes are appearing in iTunes if you click on the avatar, at least they do for me. I hope you found some value in today’s show. Do check out 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Register your interest for that and I can’t wait to set that one live in March for you as well. Thanks so much for listening today. Again, today’s show notes, problogger.com/podcast/234. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week. You’ve been listening to ProBlogger. If you’d like to comment on any of today’s topics or subscribe to the series, find us at problogger.com/podcast. Tweet us @problogger. Find us at facebook.com/problogger or search ProBlogger on iTunes. Before I go, I wanna give a big shout out and say thank you to Craig Hewitt and the team at PodcastMotor who’ve been editing all of our podcasts for sometime now. PodcastMotor have a great range of services for podcasters at all levels. They can help you to set up your podcast but also offer a couple of excellent services to help you to edit your shows and get them up with great show notes. Check them out at podcastmotor.com. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 234: How to Relaunch Your Blog After It Becomes Dormant appeared first on ProBlogger.

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