Have Google and Facebook Failed Us? Adventures in Visibility with Dino Dogan

Dino Dogan, Founder of TriberrIn this episode of Adventures In Visibility I welcome the dynamic and outspoken founder of Triberr, Dino Dogan.  After meeting Dino at the 2014 BlogPaws Conference, and using Triberr for a couple of years, I knew I wanted to get him on the show. Our conversation revolved around the future of digital marketing and blogging in particular.

Dino Dogan is a Global Force for Badassery, Founder & CEO of Triberr, Refugee from Bosnia, Professional speaker with a real job, a Lousy Martial Artist, and a Singer/Songwriter.

On the Hangout Dino and I tackle: [Read more...]

How to be a Kickass Blogger – Adventures in Visibility with Lynne Knowlton

Lynne KnowltonIn this Adventure in Visibility, I hung out with Lynne Knowlton of Design the Life You Want to Live.  We talked about how Lynne’s visibility skyrocketed when she made one simple decision about how she was going to approach her blog.

Lynne’s secret to blogging success is simple.

Lynne blogs exactly like she talks. And that’s not an exaggeration. Lynne is my sister-in-law and I’ve known her about 18 years. When I read her posts, it feels like I’m right there having a conversation with her. Her audience loves her for it, too. [Read more...]

10 Ways to Save Time and Energy Blogging

In an ideal world, our blogging would be done at a leisurely pace out on the front porch or settled into our favorite writing chair. We'd be writing at our most inspired moments and we'd be channeling great writers of the past. We'd be writing about our passions and would become lost in our writing.

Back to Reality

Whoa. I started to inspire myself with that intro! The reality is often quite different than the idyllic writer's scene I began painting above. Often, we're producing blog content to achieve our marketing goals and to meet deadlines. We're strategically planning what we'll write about, how it will be received by our readers, and what they'll do next. And we're often short on both time and inspiration!
 
With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to share some of my favorite ways to save time while still producing winning blog content. Let me know in the comments your tips for blogging efficiency and effectiveness!
 
1) Keep your target audience's "information needs" in mind
 
Sometimes we need a quick reminder of what kind of information our readers (or potential readers) would like to know. To do this, you can brainstorm customer "pain points" with your team (or alone or with a friend if you're a solopreneur). You can also ask your support or sales staff what questions people often ask. You can look at LinkedIn Answers, Yahoo Answers or Quora to see what questions people have related to your industry. Or, you can go to the Google Keyword Tool or Wordtracker's Keyword Questions and see what people are searching for (use industry-related keywords).
 
2) Document any and all blog post ideas that you have
 
Create a Blog Post Ideas document. While you're out and about, make sure you write down, text, email or record any ideas you have. Make sure they get into your Blog Post Ideas document by the end of the day. This will be your blog post ideas source for those days when the inspiration well runs dry.
 
3) Find a blogging schedule that works and stick to it
 
I won't tell you that you have to publish a post twice per week (that's my basic schedule), but you need to find a schedule that works for you (or your company). If it's once/week, that's great. If it's once every two weeks, great. Once you've proven that you can meet that schedule, by actually doing it, confirm that goal and stick to it. Put someone in charge of keeping all contributors on track and for making sure that regular blog post gets out.
 
4) Use the calendar as a way to generate content ideas
 
Look at a calendar and decide what themed posts you can create. Consider holidays, seasons, big community events, company events, product launches or even things like the Superbowl, the Olympics or the World Cup. By planning these posts, it gives you the lead time you might need to make them happen, but you also get some more posts on the schedule.
 
5) Outline your posts
 
Half of the writing battle is outlining your posts quickly with ideas for an opening, your key points, a closing and a call to action. That can take 5-10 minutes once you get good at it. After that, completing the posts is more like "paint by numbers" or filling in the blanks! This method also saves your post from wandering too far afield!
 
6) Capitalize on a state of "flow"
 
I'm not saying to write only when you're in a state of flow! If you happen to find yourself particularly inspired about a topic and are itching to get something on paper about it, find the space to write and capitalize on this state! I've written some of my most successful blog posts when something really got me inspired and the words just poured out of me.
 
7) Leverage your network
 
Use your network to your advantage. See if you can have one of your friends, partners or colleagues contribute a guest post. Do an interview with someone that your readers would learn from. Be creative in enabling allow others to contribute to your base of content.
 
8) Repurpose content or ideas
 
Go through your hard drive or do a mental inventory of all the content you're created or been involved in the past several years. Are there old articles that could be dusted off or rewritten? Can you take part of a presentation you gave and write a post about that? Did you make any key points in a recent interview that could be written up as a post? Are there pictures or videos that can be used on your blog?
 
9) Share your posts (but not obnoxiously)
 
Don't waste that great work you're doing. Make sure to share your posts on social networks where you have a presence (e.g. your Facebook page, via your Twitter account, in LinkedIn groups and on your profile, in Google+ and/or on Pinterest). Just make sure you share other people's content too – not just your own. Also, don't share it by saying, "Here's my new blog post". Share a compelling headline with the link to the post.
 
10) Track your website traffic
 
If you have no feedback mechanism, you'll feel less excited to keep going. Make sure you track your stats so you can see if (when) your visitor levels increase and you can see which posts are most popular. Don't depend on comments or shares of your post as your most important feedback mechanisms because most people don't comment and many don't share either (but they will visit and read your posts).
 
Bonus: Don't be focused on just your own blog!
 
Make sure you look out for other bloggers. Read and share their content. Leave comments to establish a connection. Look at other blogs for inspiration and to learn new blogging styles. Also consider learning from blogs in other industries.
Feeling inspired?
 
Did you find any new ways to make your blogging life easier? Which ones? Do you have any tips for making blogging easier or more effective? Let us know in the comments!
Tom Treanor
About the Author
Tom Treanor helps solopreneurs and companies break through their blog writing barriers with his Fast, Easy Blogging Course. You can also find him at Right Mix Marketing.
 

What Blogging Can Teach You about Yourself

My journey to increase my business’ visibility started three months ago when I signed up for Denise’s “Online Visibility for Introverts” class.  It promised to teach me how to build my email list, get on board with social media, and increase my online visibility.

One of the first habits Denise encouraged was “consistency,” or doing the same thing on a repeatable schedule, to help build your visibility.  And since the blog is the hub of a business’ online efforts, that meant I needed to start blogging consistently.

This was a big challenge for me. Up to that point, I blogged when I found time and posted every few months. At best.

But I vowed to change my ways. Here are some advice and insights from my blogging journey that might help you. I struggled with blogging at first – and at times still do. But I was surprised at how it’s not only helped my business grow, but it’s helped me grow personally, too.

  • The more you blog, the easier it gets. Really. There’s something about forcing your brain to write a 200 or so word article on any topic you want (and, hopefully that your target audience will also find interesting) that gets easier each time you do it. 

As you write more posts, you’ll start to cultivate a flow and rhythm that makes it quicker and easier. You’ll also develop your voice, which can take some time to evolve. Once you have those things in place, you’ll find writing posts is a much smoother process.

  • Trying for perfection eats up a lot of time. One big block I had to writing posts regularly was the expectation each one needed to be 100% perfect. This was a tough nut for me to swallow, because I’m a copywriter. I’m supposed to be picky with my copy.

But it was causing me to take forever to finish a post.  I’d edit over and over, critique from every angle, and decide it still wasn’t ready for prime time. I was stalling based on the fear it wasn’t quite good enough.

I once had a boss who said “It’s better to take something that’s 80% perfect and get it out there, than try for 100% and it never sees the light of day.”

Very true. While you do want compelling content, you don’t want to spend so much time on a post that you never publish anything, or you spend an inordinate amount of time polishing it. That won’t go far in building your online visibility. Try for “pretty decent” or “good enough” and then publish. You can always go back later to edit and add more.

  • It’s far easier (and quicker) to blog if you plan in advance. I’m a copywriter, so I often write in my head. If I know what my next blog topic will be, then my brain starts percolating away. And then when I starting writing, the words just flow.

The most difficult posts were ones I didn’t plan in advance. They forced me to stare at the computer screen, think of a topic, and THEN write.  That’s too many steps to do in one sitting. Do yourself a favor – make a list of your next 10 post topics and assign a date to each (also known as an editorial calendar).

  • Schedule the time on your calendar. And stick to it. If I don’t schedule blogging time, then client work creeps in or other business activities. Before I know it, it’s 5 pm on Friday and I have no post for the week. So I grudgingly get up early on Saturday morning to get the job done.

Here’s my fix: I schedule two hours first thing Tuesday morning to write the post, edit, and publish. If I do it early in the week (and early in the day), then I can spend the rest of the week promoting it.  Pick a day that works best for you, schedule a recurring appointment in your calendar, and stick to it.

  • Blogging consistently is strangely gratifying. Around week six, I had a startling revelation: writing my weekly post was surprisingly cathartic.  Business blog posts normally don’t share intimate, personal revelations like a diary (or at least mine don’t) but, still, committing your opinions and thoughts to electrons that can be read by anyone, anywhere makes them more real and concrete.

There’s also something gratifying about taking the risk of publicly sharing your opinions. You’re putting yourself out there. And that’s the first step to being seen as an expert by others and, even more importantly, by yourself.

What are your stumbling blocks to blogging regularly?  Has blogging taught you anything about yourself that surprised you?

About the Author
Kim Gusta is a copywriter and content marketer who creates powerful content for high-tech companies. Visit her blog at www.kimgusta.com/blog .

How to Be an Ideal Guest Blogger

Early in my marriage, my husband, our two children, and I lived in Hawaii. As many people who originally lived on the mainland who moved to Hawaii can attest, having house guests is a common occurrence. Who doesn’t like a free room in paradise?

The best types of guests were what my friends and I referred to as “low maintenance guests.” They were the ones you could hand car keys or a bus pass and a map to, and know they’d have a blast, grateful for all you did for them, even though it wasn’t much!

When you guest post on a blog, you are just that; a guest. It’s a privilege to be there, and depending on how you handle things, you’ll be a source of pleasure or pain for your host.

Here are some ways to be an ideal guest blogger:

1) Respect the House Rules

When you stay in someone’s home, the house rules may include things such as no smoking in the house and no loud music after 10:00 pm. Whether you smoke or play loud music in your own home is besides the point; different house, different rules.

On a blog, the house rules may include things such as no affiliate links and no mention of or linking to competitors. Whatever the rules may be, be sure to respect them with a good attitude, even if you would do things differently on your own blog.

2) Get Home On Time

Deadlines are important. If your blog host is expecting your post by a certain date and it doesn’t come, it can be a source of anxiety and can result in throwing off their blogging schedule.

In the same way that it’s rude to keep your host up late at night waiting for you to come home while you are out partying, it’s also rude to keep the host of the blog waiting for your post. Do everything you can to get your post in on time (early is even better), and if something comes up that is making that difficult, be sure to let the blog owner know you’re running late.

3) Look for Ways to Benefit the Host

Your blog host is benefiting you by providing you with exposure to a new audience. Don’t take that lightly, and in return, do what you can to benefit the host.

Here are five ways to benefit the blog owner when guest posting:

  • Provide a good quality post, free of punctuation and spelling errors.
  • Promote the post on social media.
  • Respond to comments on the post.
  • Speak highly of the host when you share your experience with others. (If you have negative things to say, be sure to speak honestly with the blog owner, rather than to others.)
  • If you provide images, be sure you have the legal right to use them.

4) Appreciate the Lodging

When you’re in your own home, the bed you sleep in is likely exactly right – for you. When you sleep in someone else’s home, the bed may be harder or softer than you prefer. The food they serve may be too bland or spicy for your taste. The bottom line is that it’s someone else’s home, and there may be little things about it that you don’t like.

The blog you guest post on may be on a platform your don’t like, and your post may need to be written in a style that’s not your favorite.

You can feel grumpy about the things you don’t like, or you can have an attitude of gratitude for what you’ve been given. Make the choice to be grateful for the hospitality, knowing the owner of the blog is likely giving you her best.

Keeping these guidelines in line will make you a guest blogger that your host will want to welcome back again and again.

Got a tip on how to be an ideal guest blogger? Share it in the comments below!

Rebecca Livermore

About the Author
Rebecca Livermore is a writer, editor and virtual assistant with a specialty in social media and content marketing. She blogs at Professional Content Creation.