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Finding the Right Voice for Your Blog

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One of the silliest yet most important questions asked when starting a blog is, “What should I blog about?“.

Nearly everyone will ask this question before they start a blog, but many will grab a domain name, setup their hosting and then ask themselves this question again. It happens all the time, so if you are asking yourself the same thing, don’t worry about it.

Before actually writing your first blog post, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

  • Am I interested in what I am going to blog about?
  • Do I know enough about my blogging topic to make me an authority?
  • Can I continually come up with new blog content 1-3 years down the road?
  • Is my blog going to be as a fun hobby, a business or just to figure blogging out?

All of these questions are extremely important and if any of them are out of sync, the life of your blog can quickly fall out of order and likely to fail over time.

Thinking About the Future of Your Blog

I will now answer each of these questions in detail and answer why you need to have the correct answer for each.

Am I interested in what I am going to blog about?

It’s easy to start a blog and be excited about the concept during the initial product. There are also a million ways to make money online, but if you quickly lose interest then you will have no passion to work and grow your project (the blog). If there is no dedication and passion behind the success of your project, then it is already destined to fail. I’ve done this a hundred times before and it never works out. I will come across a new idea or concept for a blog that would definitely make money if I was into that topic, but instead I lose interest and wasted valuable time, money and effort on an uncompleted project.

Do I know enough about my blogging topic to make me an authority?

The passion of your blog also falls into the knowledge department as well. To become an authority figure in your niche, you need to know what you are talking about and have an awesome amount of knowledge on whatever it is you are blogging on. For example, if you have been following a sports team for the majority of your life you probably know all about the players, how far they got each season, what your favorite players are… and so on. It would be pretty easy for you to create a blog around something you enjoy, simple because you enjoy it! Now if you were to start a blog about “solar panels” (which makes good money), how much fun would that actually be for you? Not much fun… and since you aren’t passionate about it, you probably don’t have the knowledge to make you an authority either.

Can I continually come up with new blog content 1-3 years down the road?

Let’s just keep the concept flowing… if you aren’t passionate or knowledgeable about something, would you still want to be writing about it several years down the road? Probably not. The longer a blog sticks around, the more likely it is to find success and build a loyal following. Here we are 7 years later and I’m still writing content for ZacJohnson.com. I love marketing, blogging and everything in between… I’m good at it and I have a ton of experience. I plan on blogging on this site for many more decades to come. When you start a new blog, make sure you have that same mentality.

Is my blog going to be as a fun hobby, a business or just to figure blogging out?

One of the last (or first) and most important questions you want to ask yourself is why are you blogging in the first place? Many people want to start blogging so they can make money and follow in the footsteps of others bloggers and marketers like myself. First let me tell you that blogging is one of the slowest methods for making money online if you are just going to push content out there and hope for the best. I have 18 years of experience behind me and seven years of that is through writing on this blog. Becoming a successful blog does not happen overnight.

With that said, many blogs start out as a fun side project or hobby, then as their quality content and readership continues to grow, then they realize there is a market for them to monetize their site, create a guide book or maybe even become an authority within their niche.

Finding the Right Voice for Your Blog

With the basic questions and concepts for your blog out of the way, the next focus is how you are going to create and write the content for your blog. This may sound like a silly question, but you actually have a few options.

  • Will you be the voice of the site?
  • Are you writing the content? a team of writers? or is it outsourced?
  • Should the articles be written as a conversion, informational or reviews?
  • Can you incorporate videos and engagement with your blog readers?

These are also important questions and depending on how you will answer them, the content and focus of your blog will vary. If you want to make a site to MAKE MONEY and it will be focusing on SELLING products through Amazon, it’s likely that you would have a more information or review based concept on the site. This would also mean you probably won’t have a face or name to the site since most of your traffic is only looking for research on a product before they buy it, and hopefully the majority of your traffic comes from organic search.

However, you could still take this approach to selling products through Amazon but add a more personal and engaging twist to it. For instance, “Mike’s Movie Blog” is all about movies that Mike watches and then he writes a solid review on each movie. Mike is also the name and face of the blog and he loves to respond to comments and engage with his audience. At the end of each review Mike also includes a link to Amazon.com where his blog readers can purchase the product and he will receive a small commission on each sale.

No matter what angle you want to go after, just make sure you stick with it. The long term value of the site is also different for each method. You may be able to sell your review site that is plain and generic, but it would be hard to sell a blog called “Mike’s Movie Blog” because it already has a name and brand attached to it.

Expand the Reach of Your Voice and Authority with a Blog

Even if you are still unsure about what direction to take with your blog, the best way to learn is to simply get started. You can add/remove blog posts from your site at anytime, which means you can never go wrong with a WordPress driven site.

If you haven’t already, get setup with your blog and a free domain name, then shoot me an email with any questions you have about getting setup. I can even set you up with a free premium theme to get you on the right path.

Free Domain Name

In the next section of  my “Seven Days of Blogging: My Personal Guide to Blogging” I will be covering the basics of what your first blog posts and pages should look like when you are launching your blog. These are some of the most important pages that all blogs have – you will need to have them too!

 

 

 

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Blog Post Ideas: How to Turn Your Ideas into Engaging Blog Posts?

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Blogging and creating content on the internet is all about ideas and getting creative with what you have to offer. However, what most bloggers and content marketers don’t realize is that you aren’t supposed to come up with new and innovative ideas for content or making money online, but instead, new and innovative ways to portray that message.

This is something I often cover in detail in many of my articles and online courses. The concept of making money online and getting the attention is no different than any other business in the world today. At the end of the day, people are using the internet for three different reasons.

  1. To find information
  2. To be entertained
  3. To buy something

Instead of trying to come up with that completely new and original million dollar idea, just spend the necessary time and focus on a legitimate business model and demand from your audience, while also catering to their needs in the process. Once you have all of this in place, you can then start refocusing your efforts on how to create better and more creative content based on these needs.

To help with this process, today we are going to share some valuable insights that will help you turn your idea in a series of blog posts, while also highlighting a few examples of what’s currently working for other bloggers, brands, and content creators.

How to Know Your Idea is Suitable for a Series?

Being a writer, you have no shortage of ideas. But when it comes to establishing your own niche, there are various things you should consider before penning down your series. This includes everything from your basic knowledge on a specific topic, how far out you would like to schedule your content, and also the monetization and optimization of your content. It would also be a huge benefit if you understand SEO and know how to look up the necessary keywords to see how much of a demand there currently is for your proposed topic.

Below you will find some of the important points that suggest your idea has the potential of a great blog series.

– Different People with the Same Issue: For instance, a physician who blogs about obesity and its health hazards can create a series of articles consisting of several diet and workout tips or plans to help people lose weight. These posts can encourage readers to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

– Come up with a List: If you write for your living, then you have a sense for how to delve deep into your ideas and develop them for an audience.

– Overflow: When you start writing, you a flow but soon you find the post turns out to be something that is focused on more than one topic, like a collection of relative ideas.

– Your Audience Wants More: This is a clear giveaway! You have received several queries related to your posts, and your readers want you to explore a specific topic, expanding your grasp and library.

– A Theory: If you want to teach your readers about something deep and complex by exploring a theory or idea, then creating a series of blog posts will be a great idea.

Hubspot also pointed out “According to our own analysis at HubSpot, headlines between 8–12 words in length got the most Twitter shares on average. As for Facebook, headlines with either 12 or 14 words received the most Likes.“. This is something every blogger and content creator should focus on before and after completing their articles. Not only will the overall content length of your article be important, but so will the headline and words you choose for your article title as well.

Creating Your Own Series

It’s not enough to simply create content for your site, you also need to make sure it stands out from the crowd and has it’s own style as well. The more time and effort you put into your site content and the user experience, the better ROI and longterm growth you will likely see. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at a few valuable tips that will help you establish a well high engaging series of blog posts that will win you a loyal audience.

An Introduction

You need to an introduction to your series. This can be a dedicated blog post or a paragraph. Make sure you convey your message with it. This is something ConvertKit does extremely well. Not only are they one of the top email marketing and delivery platforms on the internet today, they also know how to create valuable content for their audience. In the example below, you can see how to create a killer introduction for one of their content marketing series. By starting out your article strong, with the necessary text, call to actions, and resources, you can immediately impact the user engagement factor from the start.

Review Your Work

Proofread your post, and search for natural breaking points. Look for areas where you stopped talking about one point and started talking about another. If you aren’t interested in proofreading yourself or would like to hire someone with a better English history, this can easily be done through freelance sites like Fiverr or FreelanceMyWay.

The Format

You need to come up with a format for each post. Try a formal layout but be quick and stay to your point. In case you are going to a traditional format, then compose your introduction and conclusion.

Make it Easy to Digest

Keep things simple, and write short paragraphs. Divide your content between sub-headings to help the reader navigate. Make your content digestible for the audience. To see an example of how to effectively do this in a ‘review style’ article, be sure to check out how the content is laid out on Frank’s review site and start implementing these same methods to improve your own engagement rate.

Be Independent

Write as people read every piece as a standalone post. Consider they won’t read related posts or may read them in a different way than you intended. So make sure every point makes sense on its own.

Interlink Your Content

Help people navigate through your content by putting links to your previous posts. You can also list them at the bottom of newer posts. Let your audience know what ideas you have already discussed.

How to Create the Best Content Possible, from Your Best Ideas

As you can see, there are plenty of factors to consider when creating content for your site or training series. The most important thing to remember is that your title is going to get the most attention, and article length is going to play a big role in the SEO process. At the same time, quality is always going to be important.

Once you’ve laid out all of your content and made sure you have some great titles with call to actions and trigger keywords, it’s then time to make sure your content is format in the best way possible. Separate your text with visuals, resources, reference links and anything else that might be of value to your audience.

Last but not least, ALWAYS put in the necessary time and research to effectively promote your content. There are more than a billion active sites online today — which means you are going to need to promote the heck out of your content in order to compete.

Follow all of these steps and you should have no problem finding success with your latest blog post ideas and content series.

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7 Writing and Marketing Skills to Improve Your Guest Blogging Efforts

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If you are a guest blogger or if you have guest bloggers create posts for your sites, you will want to read this post. It’s important to know how to improve the quality of your posts and maximize the impact you have on your target audience. This is true even if you are posting on other sites.

When you write a guest post for another site, the site or blog owner trusts you to represent their blog in a positive way that will improve their traffic and ROI. Remember guest blogging helps you, too because it serves as a backlink to your site. So you should treat the content that you write for others’ sites just as you would your content for your site.

How can you improve the quality of your blog posts and guest blogging efforts?

Check out these seven tips for writers and marketers that will help you to take your guest blogging to the next level.

1. SEO Content Writing

SEO content writing involves the skillful use of keywords as well as using backlinks and other techniques to increase targeted traffic. SEO is to search engines as excellent quality is to reader engagement. In other words, search engine optimization is the basic sauce you need as a writer or marketer to get your message in front of the people who will be interested in what you have to say.

In addition to having a solid understanding of SEO and writing content that ranks in Google, it should also be a required skill to have a solid foundation of social media as well. As effective and valuable as SEO and organic search traffic is, social media is still one of the most active areas of traffic today. With this in mind, impress your clients and sites that you contribute content to by staying up to date on the latest social media trends, while also growing out your own profiles and social followings in the process. And of course, always be sure to share your guest posts as often on social media and be sure to tag the site you are promoting as well.

2. High-Quality Content

Google still states that producing high-quality content is the most important factor in rankings within their search engine. You do need to include some SEO for natural results. But focusing on your content guarantees that you will rank and that people will stay on your page longer. The goal of effective online marketing and guest blogging is to increase the traffic of the site you are writing for, as well as to keep people on the blog once they get there.

Writing exciting and engaging content includes some various factors including connecting with the audience on a personal level, addressing their problem and offering solutions, and creating value for the reader. This is all a part of creating high-quality content. With practice, you can learn to hit on all of these critical aspects in your guest posts so you will get the results you need.

This is something we are seeing across many freelance writing platforms that not only specialize in creating content for websites, blogs, and brands but also in specialized writing services as well. Once such example is in the assignment writing service industry, where students, professionals, and business experts are looking to outsource their time and expertise from others who can simply put their thoughts and work into written publications. No matter the reasoning behind the content — whether for business or guest blogging efforts, the ‘high quality’ component is a must.

3. Creating Value

Creating value for your posts is perhaps the most important part of blogging. This is because you need to create the kind of content that will make people want to return for more once they read your content. To do this, try to create a personal connection to readers. Study previous posts of the blog on which you are writing and learn what their audience wants. You can do this by viewing comments that were left by readers on former posts or ask the blog owner to tell you more about their audience.

When looking at yourself as a freelance writer or even as simply a guest blogger, you need to be looking at the big picture. The act of creating quality content, value, and getting exposure on big media sites is actually an exclusive service and expertise in itself. At the same time, it’s actually become one of the best ways to turn a side hustle into a real business. If you understand the value and demand of an audience, while still providing a service, there is no reason you couldn’t flip that skill and dedication into a full-service content marketing and brand business.

Knowing the audience, you are writing for is important because you need to know who you are writing for. You are not just writing for the site or blog owner; you are writing for their audience. Recognizing this fact and understanding who you are talking to will go a long way toward improving your posts on other people’s sites.

4. Solve a problem.

The “problem/solution” method in advertising is still as effective as it always has been. Even though the methods and technologies have changed, the technique of showing how your post can help people solve a problem is very effective in creating high-quality posts, whether it is for your site or someone else’s site.

To utilize this technique, only describe a problem that reader might be having such as finding the right car dealership, and then present a list of tips that may help them to locate the best dealer for their needs. This method does not require using sales-based language. In fact, this is discouraged because people come to the blog to learn information rather than to be presented with a sales pitch.

5. Entertain and Inform: Create Shareable Content

If you can develop a skill to entertain your readers, you will be on the right path to providing high-quality, valuable content to your audience, whether you are writing for your blog or someone else’s. Some of the factors in creating compelling copy include the following:

  • Discussing trending or popular topics
  • Creating humorous posts
  • Using emotive techniques that appeal to emotions
  • Posing a question for readers to comment on

All of these techniques will help you to make your posts more entertaining. Informational text can be entertaining at the same time by merely including exciting facts that correlate to the information that you are presenting in the post. People mainly read a blog post to get the information they want about a specific topic. They probably already go to the blog regularly to read the latest post on the site you are posting on. So, when you are presenting a guest post, all you have to do is to continue the high-quality informational posts that the site owner already provides while making it entertaining by citing side references or through creative wording or other techniques.

In addition to this, you should be good at posting and maintaining social media posts and reactions. If you can master this skill, along with strong writing skills, you may be able to offer bloggers more for their money than just excellent writing.

6. Define yourself as a “go-to” source for certain kinds of information.

Another way to look at this is by thinking of yourself as an influencer. If you are an expert on a particular topic, you can create a name for yourself while also adding value and credibility to the site on which you are writing. Influencers can make a big impact on their industries by presenting helpful information for others in their industries. Big names like Neil Patel, Seth Godin, and many others all started by creating their content. But they also often serve as a guest poster on other sites to share their knowledge and skills with other audiences.

7. Creating Writing Portfolios

This tip may seem simple, but it is a good one if you want to guest blog regularly. Most online publishers (including site owners), want to see what you can do with your posts. They are primarily looking for aspects of your blogging that will help them promote their brand or purpose. You may not know who looks at your portfolios every time, but it’s a good idea to have a variety of posts that you have done that blog owners can look through.

By presenting your work in this fashion, you may be able to capture the attention of potential bloggers who are looking for a certain style or writing. You could also post a short resume or cover letter that explains what you can do for bloggers that will help promote their brand.

Guest Blogging Still Works… Just Make Sure to Use These Tips!

This is not a comprehensive list of skills that you need to be the perfect guest blogger, but they should help you to get started when going after blogs to write for. Remember to check to see what their policies are regarding pay vs. shareability. Many blog owners don’t have the budget to pay other bloggers. They may, instead, share your link with their readers in exchange for the post or other perks.

The main thing is to read, read, and re-read the blog you want to write for. Once you have an idea of their audience’s likes, dislikes, and pain points, you’ll be able to provide consistent or intermittent content that will resonate with their target audience. This means they may ask you to do it again, which will be beneficial to your sites, as well.

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11 Expert Tips on How to Successfully Grow and Scale Your Business

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Business growth is always exciting. Seeing your revenue, client base, workforce and market share expand is proof that your hard work and tireless efforts are paying off. Best of all, this is something that you can control, as long as you are putting in the necessary time, work, and effort.

While you may be eager to move your startup onward and upward, you shouldn’t forget about the potential negative impacts of scaling up. Expanding too quickly can mean biting off more than you can chew, and it’s easy for a business to collapse on itself if it cannot handle rapid growth.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind as you scale up if you want to avoid toppling your business, according to 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council.

1. Do What You’re Best at and Outsource the Rest

As you scale your business, your highest priority is to identify what you do best in the company and then find someone who is even better than you to do that task. This will free up your time to focus on growing your company and not just working for it. For example, my strength is ranking websites so I hired someone I trust to implement my system and it’s saving me 80 hours per month.

Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide

2. Invest in Talent Management Early

Too many startups hire for the present when they should be hiring people with the skills for 18 months into the future. Design roles for capable people to grow into. While a jack-of-all-trades talent seems valuable at the earliest stages, hiring experienced functional leaders is important during a startup’s growth phase. Lastly, turnover is inevitable so be prepared for this necessary reality.

Eddie Lou, Shiftgig

3. Implement Top-Notch Project Management Systems

As you scale and hire people, there will be more to manage and more minutiae will be created to account for the increase in projects and personnel. Having a project management system that can account for tracking projects at the macro level, as well as the minutiae of each project, is essential as you grow. Find a project management solution that is flexible, customizable and scalable.

Marcela De Vivo, Mulligan Funding

4. Make Sure Your Technology Can Grow With You

Make sure that your technology has the capability to scale with your business. For example, many e-commerce businesses find themselves needing to migrate from their current platform to a more robust solution in order to handle higher user and order volume. This is a complex process that can stunt a company’s current growth rate. To avoid this, select a platform built for scalability.

Duran Inci, Optimum7

5. Constantly Monitor Cash Flow

As you grow your business, you will be acquiring new obligations and spending more money. Make sure to constantly monitor your cash flow and P&L. New expenses are not directly proportional to the contracts you are getting. Contracts have different arrangements and payment schedules. I have seen a lot of companies grow really fast and end up failing for this reason.

Felipe Cornejo, Devsu LLC

6. Invest in Continuous Education

When I first launched AFS, we were a small company with an idea. As we expanded to a national player, we maintained the way we did things as a small company, and we didn’t adapt well. Once we instituted a continuous training and education program, we built teams that could adapt to growth and I found myself better equipped for the new challenges we faced as a larger organization.

Rahim Charania, American Fueling Systems

7. Build Your Internal Processes to Handle Scaling

Scaling a business is not necessarily about getting more sales or hiring more employees. If your internal processes aren’t built to handle more business, then you could be wasting money overstaffing due to repetitive tasks that can bottleneck the workflow — an error that could cost you in potential sales and revenue.

Codie Sanchez, Www.CodieSanchez.com

8. Have An Exit Strategy

When times are good, it can be deliriously satisfying to expand your business exponentially. However, it’s important to have a plan for when the money stops flowing in. Markets are unpredictable and can turn sour at any time. A bit of foresight and careful planning can ensure that your business survives a recession.

Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

9. Improve Your Customer Service

Too many complaints can bring your business to a crashing halt. You can’t stop every complaint, but you can reduce them greatly by beefing up your customer service. Train staff to resolve complaints. Stay engaged on your social media pages where customers love to take out their frustrations. Reply and make them feel like they are a priority. Just replying can make a huge difference to customers.

Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

10. Prioritize Employee Career Development

To sustain high growth, a company needs to retain and attract the right people. One necessary tactic to employee retention and attraction is designing career growth within a company. Employees need to see themselves progressing as fast as your company — and there needs to be buy-in from both employer and employee on what that career development looks like so you can both grow together.

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors Website Development

11. Take a Slow and Steady Approach to Growth

It can be easy to get caught up in growing quickly, but I’ve seen a ton of businesses do that and then have to downsize immediately. It puts people out and isn’t a great way to build a solid reputation for your company. It’s important to take a step back, move slowly and really think about the next steps you’re taking to grow your business so you don’t get ahead of yourself.

John Hall, Influence & Co.

Grow Your Business, By Growing Your Personal Brand

Of the many different ways to grow your online business and brand, don’t forget about the importance of growing your personal brand in the process. This is especially true if you are the face of the brand. Through the power of social media, it’s extremely easy and effective to not only reach new audiences but to also rank higher in Google for personal names and brand names in the process. Be sure to try out this method, along with each of the recommended tips above for growing your brand or online business in 2018.

If you enjoyed this expert roundup, I recommend you also take a look at our previous ones on expert SEO tips and best tips for making money online.

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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