Be the Source

One of the things we as bloggers take for granted is the crazy amount of information we come across in our own genre.  I write about kids activities and could easily rattle off 100 other bloggers who have a really good homemade paint recipe, phonics game or toddler activity.

dig deeper - business 2 blogger.jpg

That is not normal!

Think of it as an iceberg.  The tip or visible part is what we might write about or share on social media and the massive underneath portion is what lives in our heads.

What if we started tapping into that massive underneath portion allowing our readers a more in-depth look at the base of knowledge that supports our passion?

This has been one of the reasons the Kids Activities Blog FB and G+ pages have been so successful.  We are not shy about sharing other people’s AWESOME content and sharing it often.  We have adopted an almost Pinterest-like obsession to share cool things that we trip across in a normal day.

On Pinterest it is easier, you simply scan the page, click through to make sure the source is correct and re-pin.  Generally, G+ and FB don’t have the volume of content to make it as easy.

That is YOUR opportunity.

Because it takes a few extra seconds to grab a link and post it from your FB or G+ page, less people do it.  Your readers on FB and G+ are hungry for awesome ideas – feed them.

Every single comment, like/plus, and share from your G+ or FB page helps YOU.  It helps you reach more of your fan base and attract new likes/plusses.

Kids Activities Blog publishes twice a day and has 1000s of archived articles, yet the majority of our social media posts are not our own.

Why?

Because we found something more awesome that we thought our readers would like.

We have built our FB and G+ pages on the backs of other blogger’s content!

Our readers now see us as a huge resource of information and every single one of our posts reach more and more people just because they have a peek beyond the tip of the iceberg.

 

 

Communicating with Your Sponsor

You landed a sponsored post that you are excited about.

You crafted amazing sponsored content – a personal story, and original photo and just the right amount of passion.

celebrate success - Business 2 Blogger

Now what?

There are two equally important components to what comes next.  Last week we tackled the post promotion and today is the discussion about interacting with your sweet sponsor that entrusted you with their product/service/story.

Time to Report!

I don’t do anything fancy, but I want the sponsor to know that things are going well.  So, the next step is to send an email thanking them for the opportunity and sharing the links.

It goes something like this:

Hi _______,

I just wanted to let you know that the post has been published!  I know that my readers are going to love it because _________________.

Here are links to the post and initial social media promotion:

  • Post link:
  • FB post link:
  • G+ post link:
  • First pin:
  • First tweet:
  • Other:

My plan is to tweet daily for the next week with the #hashtag and to pin it 3 more times to Pinterest boards that are a good fit.  There are a few other places online that I have in mind for promotion.

I am excited about how things are going.  There are already {3 comments on the post, 12 re-pins, 10 shares on FB, whatever is good} on the post!

Let me know if you have any questions.  It has been really fun working with you on this.

Holly

Sometimes it stops there.  And that is great.  You gave the sponsor a lot of information that will keep them from hunting all over the internet to see if you did your job.

But sometimes, a follow-up email is a really good thing.  For me, it usually happens several weeks later or when I notice something amazing has happened.  If a post does really well somewhere, don’t expect the sponsor to know it on their own…and this is a great opportunity to let them know their money was well spent with you:

  • High traffic on the post – I will grab a snapshot of my Google Analytics for that post.
  • Lots of shares or re-pins on a FB post or Pinterest pin – grab a screenshot or the post URL.
  • Featured on another blog – send the link.
  • Your social media post was shared by other people.
  • Great discussion in the comments.

Write another thank you email.  Remember that when sponsored content does well, it does your blog good too!

  • Don’t send something that is —->LOOK HOW AWESOME I AM!
  • Send something that is —>LOOK HOW AMAZING YOUR SERVICE/PRODUCT/STORY WAS RECEIVED!

The bottom line is that when sponsored content does well, it is a win-win.  You got paid to write something you loved, your readers ate it up and the company gets more than they paid for.

You always want the company to feel like they got their money’s worth or more.

 

What to Do After You Push Publish on a Sponsored Post

You landed a sponsored post that you are excited about.

You crafted amazing sponsored content – a personal story, and original photo and just the right amount of passion.

Sponsored post - now what - Business 2 Blogger

Now what?

There are two equally important components to what comes next.  Today we will tackle the post promotion and next week the discussion will be about interacting with your sweet sponsor that entrusted you with their product/service/story.

Time to Promote!

The first thing you will want to do is let the world know that you have this quality content on your blog.  Some content is more appropriate to share on certain channels, so don’t feel like you need to push this where it won’t do well.  The fit should be easier than you might originally think since you have only taken on projects that fit your blog.

This is where scheduling has been a life saver for me.  After a sponsored post is published, I will sit down and schedule out all the amplification of that post RIGHT THEN.  There are two reasons for this:

  1. I want to make sure I do everything I promised…and more.
  2. It helps me make sure I am fulfilling all the requirements of the post – the proper hashtag, the mention that is is sponsored, etc.

In most cases, it looks like this:

  • I post a photo with a link and a blurb to my FB page.
  • I post it as a link with a chatty intro to G+.
  • The next thing would be to pin it to my Kids Activities Blog Pinterest board and then schedule a few more pins through ViralTag to appropriate boards over the next week – I usually space them out with at least a day or two.
  • Then on to Twitter – the first tweet is sent out and then I create several variations on that tweet to send out over the next week.  Most sponsored content gets around 7 tweets at different times of days and covering different subjects mentioned within the post.
  • If it is an Instagram fit, then I will grab one of the photos I took earlier when creating the post and announce it with a silly blurb.
  • Make a plan to link it to appropriate linky parties {if it fits…don’t spam your fellow bloggers}.  If you are hosting a giveaway, linking to giveaway places is a great strategy to get more entries.

Some things you might consider for the next sponsored post:

  • When I am concerned that a post might not go over as well as I expect on FB, I might add a little bit of money in the cost of sponsorship to boost that post on FB.
  • Always, always, always THINK about Pinterest when writing your post, if you will be promoting it there.  You are going to want at least one amazing photo or photo collage that is a bit {or a lot} longer than it is wide.
  • Take a picture of one of your steps or a mishap on your phone so you have something unique to post to Instagram.

Just like your sponsored post, you really want to craft an original and comprehensive plan of promotion.  But don’t take a nap just yet, the most important step of communicating with your sponsor will be discussed next week…

Do You REALLY Have to be EVERYWHERE?

There are only 24 hours in a day.

I promise you there is nothing I can do to change that.

Which social network do I need - Business 2 Blogger

A good chunk of that time is offline time leaving just a handful of hours to get everything done that needs to be done online.  So, I thought it would be fun to take a question today that asks about priorities:

I am new to blogging and I know that it is important to interact with social media – but there are SO many options out there and they could suck all of my time.  Where would be the best place to use my time to start out?   -Jenn, Princess Pinky Girl

 

It is a great question.  One I think any seasoned blogger has struggled with to the point of utter frustration.

I think we need to step back and take inventory of our blog and then make a plan of action being aware that it is nearly impossible to be everywhere at once.

Where is My Current Success?

Where is the majority of your blog traffic coming from now?  Is it FB?  Is it Google search (related to G+)?  Is it Pinterest?

How you answer that question becomes your first priority.

If the majority of your traffic comes from Pinterest {which I am highly suspicious might be true in Jenn’s case since she has 3.7 million followers —> Jenn on Pinterest}.  So if you only have 30 minutes to spare on any given day, it will be devoted to the place where you are already  seeing success.

OK, so y’all probably already figured that out…what next?

What Pairs with My Current Success that Excites Me?

There are certain social networks that just seem to work well together and when you are active on both, it doesn’t seem like double duty, but an expansion of sharing.

FB and Instagram.

Pinterest and G+.

Twitter and Instagram.

Tumblr and G+ and Instagram.

Actually, pairing almost any two social networks with a plan in mind can help you not feel like a manual RSS feed automatically posting the same content at multiple locations.

Use the best of what you find on your primary social network to highlight on your secondary one.

For instance, I use my Pinterest boards as a testing zone for my G+ page.  If a pin goes crazy over at Pinterest, then I post it to my G+ page as #pinoftheday.  The better content you post anywhere, the more quality followers you will attract.

If I take a super cute photo on Instagram, I will share it to FB or G+ based on the subject-matter.  If it is something fun that falls under the #parenting hashtag, it goes on G+.  If it is a glimpse of a craft we are working on, it goes to FB.

Dip Your Toes in a Third

So, you have a primary social network {the place where you are succeeding}, a secondary one {the place you can most easily grow} and now I want you to choose a strategic third one.

This one you may not be thrilled about right now, but see the value in being there.

If you are working on SEO, this might be G+.  If you have a blog where the readers are all on FB, then that might be the choice.  If you aren’t on Instagram yet, this might be the time.

Look around at blogs in your niche – see where those bloggers are having success and choose the third space in a thoughtful manner.

Time Management for Your Trio

You are now going to continue to spend the majority of your time on your primary social network.  You will consciously post daily to your secondary one with a intent to grow and check in on your third watching for easy ways to interact.

If there are ways to automate some of your actions that won’t take away from the personal nature of YOUR voice, then set it up.  Steer clear of automation that removes your personality in EACH AND EVERY POST.

What Next?

Watch your blog stats, you may find your priorities shifting as one social network naturally interacts with you and rewards you with traffic and followers.

Warning:  If your goal is to grow your blog and blog traffic, then be wary of the social network that sends you a lot of followers but not very many click-throughs!

Keep your blogging goals in mind.

Can You Be Everywhere?

Nope.

When you are working on one thing, others will take a backseat.  It is as simple as that.

While growing my FB page, my Pinterest stream suffered.

While growing my G+ page, everything else suffered!

There are seasons to everything.  Accept that.  Ride the rollercoaster and enjoy it vs. trying to steer it to another track.

I had to choose.  While my Kids Activities Blog social media channels grew, I have woefully neglected the ones here at Business 2 Blogger.

I know that.

But I had to choose because there are really only 24 hours in a day.

5 Steps to a Better FB Page

I got a few questions after last week’s blog post about how I fell in love with Facebook.  And I wanted to follow it up with a very basic set of guidelines for getting started AGAIN on your FB page.  Let’s do the questions first and then go over the 5 Steps to a Better FB Page.

make your fb page a place to party

Question:  I’d love to know your secret on how to get new followers! My only tactic is through taking part in giveaways! – Nicole Pyles

 

Answer:  Doing a giveaway every once in awhile is a great way to kickstart some numbers, but I would caution that those are NOT the type of FB fans you want for your future community.  You want people who found your page and liked your page because they adored what you were doing.  These are the fans that will continue to interact with your page.

So, how do you get those people?

Right now, according to my FB Page insights, over 50% of the people who like my page each day are doing so because they came across a post or my page and liked it.  So, by creating a place that attracts people, it will attract people.  The other 50% are from FB page suggestions.  It appears from the graphs in my insights that FB is suggesting my page more and more as I attract people on my own more and more.

Question:  Somehow my following on Facebook is no where indicative of the traffic that my blog receives and I’d like to change that. All my eggs are kind of in search traffic; though that traffic is good, I certainly can’t count on it for forever. – Katy Rawson

 

Answer:  I completely agree with you.  None of us can survive on one {out of our control} referral source.  We have to diversify.  14 months ago I identified that Pinterest was generating nearly 1/2 of my traffic and it made me nervous!  What would happen to me if Pinterest disappeared or didn’t like me anymore?  It was at that time that I started really pushing SEO, sending out press releases and linking up to weekly linkies.  Over the last year my Pinterest traffic DID decrease, but the other sources made up for it and then some.  FB is just one of the stones we can turn over for traffic.  Don’t leave the other stones unturned!

Question:  Karen Goodman has been using her personal FB profile to promote her blog and doesn’t have a blog page.  She has this question - It sounds like you think it’s a big mistake to not have a FB page for your blog. Why? If you didn’t have one now, would you start one given how little FB is sharing the content organically?

Answer:  It sounds like what you are doing is working great for you.  People are responding positively and getting the clicks to your blog you want.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  The only downside I see for a personal profile is that you are limited to the number of friends you can have, but it sounds like the follow feature is working for you and this won’t be a problem.

Great information from Joan at Chocolate and More:  I’ve always been a fan of Facebook and it’s my #1 source for referrals to my site. I will say I’ve never seen a decline in my posts that I schedule using the FB scheduler. The key is coming back and responding to comments, letting my readers know that I saw their comments. Also responding to comments puts the post back in the news stream giving it more life.

Answer:  I believe that many bloggers have put their FB page on auto-pilot and don’t check in on it daily which has caused a decline in interaction.  Now that our FB is an interactive place, I will schedule things once in awhile and haven’t had any loss of exposure.  The key is interaction.  Whatever it takes, you HAVE to be there to do that.

Question:  What if you just can’t seem to find what it is your fans that fb allows to see you engage with?  I am a deal/frugal blog.. and unfortunately they will not engage with those posts. Pretty much anything with a link is a bomb. Recipes, frugal living posts and kid stuff generally do poorly. I even posted the playdough.. and while it did better.. it was def not viral, lol. (not that I expected it to be) questions can work and funny photos do ok.. but really that’s it at this point. would you just recommend ramping up the questions and funny photos to improve my page health and then start slipping in other stuff and see what people respond to? – Jeanetta Penner

 

Answer:  I made a video just for you!

Any other questions?

 

What to Do About Duplicate Content on Your Blog

Search engines are not a fan of duplicate content. The reason for that is clear —> they want to send people to a SOURCE of information, not a copycat.

Some icky sites have taken duplicate content to a whole new level by scraping our good stuff and republishing it on theirs. It is no secret that I am not a fan of a less egregious form of duplication where RSS is fed to another site to use my stuff as content so they don’t have to write anything.

Must be nice not to have writer overhead costs!

What I want to talk to you about today is not the BAD, EVIL duplicate content, but the kind that just happens after blogging for awhile…or blogging without knowing better.

What often happens is we do a guest post or donate content to another site that is very similar or the same as an article on our site.  What should we do with that post on our site?

Should we take it down?

NO!  We are going to re-purpose it and add some value so that Google hugs us in the arms of search engine traffic.

Here is what I am suggesting…

See how easy that was?

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow me on G+ for more blogging videos.

If you have a question for an upcoming video, please leave it here.

 

Promoting your RSS Newsletter

Once you have your RSS Newsletter setup using your chosen provider, it’s time to start promoting it. Instead of just putting a subscribe box in your sidebar, you have the ability to market it in a variety of places on your blog and in social media. So, today let’s take a look at promoting RSS newsletters to help you grow your email list and in turn, increase your blogging income.

dog megaphone

Promoting RSS Newsletters

When using an email provider such as MailChimp, your RSS newsletter gets its own URL. For my newsletter it looks like this: http://eepurl.com/D9mvH

When that link is clicked, it takes the person to the sign up form for my RSS newsletter. From there they follow the steps to sign up, confirm the subscription and then they are taken back to my site to get a free printable and to continue on as they please at my site.

Pretty easy, right?

Okay. So, let’s talk about where to promote your RSS newsletters.

While I was at BlogHer13, I went to a session called Grow Your Email List, Build Relationships and Monetize Your Blog by Laura Fuentes. Kind of a long title for a session but it was super helpful.

In this session, Laura showed her email list growth over the course of her blog as well as where she promotes her RSS newsletter.

First, she includes a link for subscribing at the top of her posts. You can see this is slide 10 of the presentation if you’d like to check it out. I also have a link for subscribing to my newsletter at the top of my posts except I use the plugin WP Greet Box for mine. The message is supposed to look different based on the referring site and it looks like this at the beginning of each post:

WP Greet Box Plugin

The next place I include a subscribe link is at the bottom of my posts. I don’t remember Laura mentioning this in her presentation but I think it’s a good place to promote your RSS Newsletter. If the person has made it to the end of the post and they liked what they read, I want them to be able to subscribe right there without having to scroll back up. You could use a hook to add it to the end of every post or you could manually add the message after you write the post. It’s up to you on what you want to do. Here’s an example of what mine look like at the bottom of my posts:

subscribe link

And finally, I also promote my newsletter at the top of the sidebar. All of your follow/subscribe/connect buttons should be above the fold on your site so that people can easily connect with you. Naturally, this includes a subscribe box for your RSS Newsletter. In slide 11 of Laura’s presentation you can see how she promotes her newsletter in the sidebar. Mine is pretty basic right now but as my list numbers continue to increase, I’ll eventually change it to be more like Laura’s.

newsletter subscribe

Another great example of promoting an RSS Newsletter in the sidebar is on Holly’s site Kids Activities Blog. It’s fun, colorful and hard to miss.

holly newsletter subscribe

 

Moving on from promoting on your blog, the newsletter can also be promoted on your social networks. I have a tab on my Facebook page for signing up for the newsletter. I could also share the subscribe link on Google Plus, Twitter and other social networks to encourage people to signup.

These are just a few ideas for promoting RSS newletters. There are a lot of other options that can be done although I’d like to remind you not to overdo it with the promoting. You don’t want to annoy your readers – maybe skip the pop up boxes.

What is the best place you have found for promoting your RSS newsletter?

More on RSS newsletters

A look into the importance of RSS newsletters
Email newsletter service providers
How to increase blog readers with a RSS newsletter

A few options for email newsletter service providers

Last week I went over a few reasons why you should consider setting up a RSS newsletter for your blog. Today, I’m going to go over a few of the more popular email newsletter service providers.

email newsletter service provider

Email newsletter service providers

MailChimp

MailChimp is free to use for those who have lists of up to 2,000 subscribers. I’ve used it for a few different sites and I like how I can customize the newsletter, see list growth and track clicks. It takes a little bit of time to setup your newsletter but once that’s done, it doesn’t take much to keep it going. They also have a lot of different templates you can use for setting up your newsletter if you don’t want to make one from scratch.

FeedBlitz

FeedBlitz advertises on their site that they are a reliable alternative to FeedBurner. For those of you who know how frustrating FeedBurner can be, this might be the email newsletter service provider for you. It will send your new posts out as an email like FeedBurner used to do and you can track metrics. They offer a free trial for 30-days and after that you have to upgrade or stop using the service. Pricing is based on the number of email subscribers you have.

AWeber

AWeber is another email newsletter service provider that will allow you to send your RSS feed out as a newsletter. It works for any blog platform and you can choose to send individual posts or weekly summaries. They also have options for autoresponders and many email templates to choose from. You can try AWeber for 30 days for $1 and after that you’ll have pay according to the subscriber pricing plans.

There are many other newsletter service providers out there but I picked these three specifically because they have the RSS newsletter option that is useful for bloggers. If there is one that is not on this list that you use and love, let me know in the comments.

A look into the importance of a RSS newsletter for your blog

Today is going to be the first of a few posts on RSS newsletters for blogs. To start off with, I’m going to give you a look at the numbers of growth I’ve experienced with mine over the last month. After that, we’ll talk a little bit about why they are important. Now, if you already have a RSS newsletter for your blog, then you’re off to a really good start. If you don’t, continue reading and hopefully you’ll be convinced by the end of the post that you should make the switch.

rss newsletters for blogs

My journey with subscribers

When I first started my blog of cocktail recipes I went with FeedBurner for my subscribers. I had it set up for RSS and email subscriptions. However,  once rumors started flying FeedBurner was going away I switched my email subscribers to JetPack which is offered with WordPress. It worked just the same as FeedBurner except new posts would be emailed out immediately after hitting publish.

However, after going through the Mom Blog Money Blog online workshop (affiliate link) I started to reevaluate this decision. Especially after Holly wrote about how she increased her blog readers using a RSS newsletter. So, after seeing some stats on list growth at BlogHer 13 I finally made the switch (yes, this was months later but hey – better late than never, right?).

I imported all of my FeedBurner subscribers over to MailChimp and set up a fancy RSS newsletter. I changed the widget in my sidebar so that people could subscribe to the newsletter instead of the old RSS feed. In addition to that, I also have a link at the beginning and end of my posts that people can click on to subscribe.

So, how has this change affected my numbers?

Well in October alone I added 126 new subscribers to my RSS newsletter. That’s better growth than I’ve seen in one month using both FeedBurner and JetPack.

Also I don’t have to worry about FeedBurner going away or doing crazy things with my subscriber counts (we all know how annoying it is to see subscriber numbers bounce up and down with FeedBurner).

Why is an RSS newsletter for blogs important?

But list growth isn’t the only benefit of using an RSS newsletter. I can also customize the email to match my site, highlight certain posts, and I can get sponsors for it which means more income!

All of these things are important for us bloggers. We want to be branded the same across all platforms. We also want control over what our newletters look like. And of course we all want to increase our income.

The next few weeks I’ll go more in depth about RSS newsletters for blogs (setting them up, providers, promoting, etc.) but for now I’d like you to think about switching over to a service like MailChimp if you haven’t already.

Are you using a RSS newsletter for your blog? If so, how’s it going for you? If not, what are you waiting for? 

3 Ways to create new content without search keywords

If you have been paying attention to your stats and Google Analytics over the last month or two, you might have noticed that the number of “not provided” search terms have increased. This is because Google made a big change to search a few weeks ago. They switched all searches to private or secure search. So far, I believe Google is the only search engine to make this change so you might still see some search keywords but nowhere near as many as you used to.

create new content without search keywords

What does this mean for us bloggers? Well… it means that we can no longer rely on those search keywords to create new content to increase traffic. It also means that if people are landing on our sites from keywords that aren’t a good fit and immediately leaving, we can’t make changes to get them to stick around longer.

But that doesn’t mean it’s the end for us bloggers. Nope. There are ways around this and they aren’t too difficult. I promise.

How to create new content without search keywords

Check top posts monthly

When checking your Google Analytics at the end of each month, pay attention to the top ten posts. Use these posts to help you generate new content that’s related. Obviously your readers like this type of content, whatever it might be. While you should always know your top ten posts, it’s a good idea to take a look at what’s popular beyond that. Maybe look out to the top twenty to fifty.

What’s popular on social media?

Keep an eye on what’s popular on social media. What are people liking on Facebook, pining on Pinterest, tweeting on Twitter, etc? Knowing this information will help you create related content that your readers will enjoy (and help your traffic grow).

Ask your readers

This is probably the easiest of them all but the one we will often forget about. If you want to know something, just ask. If you want to know what type of content your readers would like to see more of, ask them! Ask them in your newsletter, on Facebook, on Google Plus, wherever they are – just put the question out there. Their responses will guide you in creating new content without search keywords. Try it.

I know this is a transition for some of us, especially if you’ve been blogging for a long time. But it will be okay and there is life after knowing search keywords.

What tips would you also add to the list?