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Can You Make Money Online by Riding a Motorcycle?

With various ways to make money online, not everyone has the time to research, learn, implement, and then cash in on them all. Some niches might be right for you, while other you probably will not be able to stand working in. Having that extra drive behind the mechanics of making your blog and business work is where the magic really is. While I’m the never going to tell you that you need to stay in the market that you “know the most about” or “are passionate about,” I am going to to tell you that you would be surprised to see just how many people can earn great money doing something that they love to do.

I know, I’ve found my happy place – on a motorcycle.

While you might not enjoy the same hobbies as me, if you are reading this then you most likely are interested in making some money so you can do what you love to do. I’ve got a few ideas for you.

Have you ever been wearing a piece of gear that has a few obvious imperfections? Something that you wish you could just change about it? Of course, we all have. Now just think, you went ahead and bought those gloves/chaps/boots/insert-whatever without knowing that there was going to be something that you didn’t like about them. Well now is your chance to fix it.

Enter Physical product sales.

Wait a minute. Didn’t you say that I could make some $$$ by riding my motorcycle around all day? Just how am I going to be selling stuff while I am doing that? Stick with me.

Unless this is your first day on the internet, you have heard of a little retail website called Amazon. Now what most people do not know, is that there are real everyday people like you and me that sell things on this site to others. I’m not going to get into the specifics on that now. There is a lot of training in blogs, podcasts, and on YouTube about the mechanics of doing it, and you are in the learning kind of mood right?

Remember that piece of gear that you found the flaw in that you know how easy it would be to fix? Good. Fix it, and find someone else to make a bunch of them for you and get in business. Now you have one more reason that you have to go for a ride, and “promote thy biznass.”

Now if you are afraid of commitment like I am you might want to start just a little bit slower that firing up a new company. And that is OK. You’ve heard of the term “Lifestyle Business” I hope. That’s the kind of business that is the leanest of the lean, take only a few hours a day and can be ran from anywhere? You might know where I’m going with this, but I’ll say it anyway. Run it and go play on your motorcycle all day!

Grab that camera, start riding, and start practicing at taking those photos that you always wanted to anyways. Get on one-of-hundred stock photography sites and start building up your library of content (and income). Now you have one more reason to saddle-up and get out there.

Need another? Fine ?

(I’m terrible at taking good pictures too)

This idea does not require you to invest in your own brand of products OR talk pretty women into standing in front of your motorcycle on the beach. (Only half-kidding) Do you riding to entertaining destinations, popular group rides, or are not afraid to talk on camera? Give MotoVlogging a spin. Strap a GoPro on your helmet or bike and head out. After shooting a few bloopers and editing some of your own ummmsss, uuhhhhs, and aahhhhs, you’ll find out what people are interested in watching. Why not just head over to YouTube and find out before strapping up. Motovloggers get sponsored by popular brands and bring in some good $$ from ads served on their vids. The more interesting, entertaining, or info-taining, the more potential money that you can bring in.

And if you really do enjoy the Motorcycle Hobby like me and want to make some money while doing it – Great!

I’ve got 10 Clever Ways to Make Money While Riding Your Motorcycle for you to check out. Riding your bike back and forth to work should not be the only miles that you put on this year.

Karl Steinmeyer has been riding for about 8 years and his current ride is a red Yamaha Roadstar 1700cc. His goal with his website is to replace his full-time income and be able to enjoy the more of the motorcycle lifestyle while helping others do the same.

The post Can You Make Money Online by Riding a Motorcycle? appeared first on BlogPress.


Can You Make Money Online by Riding a Motorcycle? was first posted on October 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm.

Prediction: The 5 Biggest Threats to Your Online Career

online career threats

There’s no doubt about it – things change fast on the Internet.

A decade ago, everyone was talking about how the web would create millions of new and unheard-of careers that took people out of traditional offices and into a new, online workplace.

It did that (and then some!).

While it’s still true that the Internet is creating a boatload of new jobs, there are also more threats to this type of career than ever before. And, as someone who runs a web company and has been in this space since college, I find myself thinking about it a lot.

Most readers of this site are either currently running a web-based business (blog, store, company, etc.) or are actively trying to do so and, while I’m no authority on this topic, I thought it might be something useful to chat about.

Don’t worry, there’s a bit of a silver lining at the end of each section.

1. The explosion of the Internet in the developing world

In the past five years the Internet has exploded in the third world. And while a lot of people still don’t have access, the numbers of those that do is truly staggering.

If we look at some charts from Google and the World Bank we can see the percentage increases in net usage in places like China, India, and even African countries like Nigeria.

While China doesn’t reach quite as high as the USA, we have to remember the population sizes and how many people this equates to. In China alone that blue line represents about 650 million people.

This is a wonderful, wonderful thing. It has helped to pull so many people out of poverty and has spread information, knowledge, and funny cat videos to all corners of the globe.

But the days of us in the relatively privileged West coasting along are pretty much over. The competition is now much bigger than it was even a few years ago – and that means it could become harder to create new things or find a distinctive place in a market that is already flooded.

The positive side of this (other than the whole “millions of people out of poverty” thing) is that there is a bigger audience than ever before. Whatever online business you are involved in now has the potential to reach people that it never could before.

2. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is here and it’s getting smarter a lot faster than predicted.

And while many people suggest that this technology might actually create new jobs, a lot of other expert humanoids aren’t so sure.

In fact, one blogger recently predicted that Artificial Intelligence will render the idea of “working for money” as totally obsolete in the very near future.

It’s tempting to get frightened by advances in AI – it happens so fast that a lot of us (me included) struggle to wrap our heads around the potential consequences.

But it’s important that we adapt.

It’s nothing new: historically a lot of businesses have been left behind as technology changed.

The 1800’s saw Western Union make possibly the worst decision in business history by rejecting a patent for a little thing called the telephone.

More recently, a lot of small businesses struggled as the Internet grew and things became digital (think CDs and record labels, phone books, etc.).

We don’t know where AI is going to take us, but a lot of the experts in those articles above seem to focus on the idea that if your job involves little cognitive creativity, or is very repetitive, then it’s likely that a computer will step in very soon, as is happening with call centers already.

Try to think about opportunities that require social interaction, a deeper understanding of human relationships and culture, and also ways in which your existing business might benefit from a mix of both AI and human-based work.

Another spin is that it’s likely that AI will lead to new types of jobs that we haven’t even thought of yet. We just need to figure them out and adapt as early as possible.

3. Security issues

If you work in the online space you are probably already very familiar with the myriad of issues relating to cyber security.

As time goes by, the volume and type of threats that website owners have to deal with only gets worse. Some of them are politically motivated, others are done purely for financial gain.

And when organizations like the US Government and Microsoft struggle to keep themselves secure, it can seem a little bit overwhelming for the rest of us.

My solution? Try not to lose sleep over it.

In the past I used to get really stressed out until I realized that that wasn’t helping me solve the problem at all.

Now I follow some strict security procedures like using a VPN, avoiding public WiFi, keeping very complicated passwords and two-factor authentication enabled, keeping software up to date, and making regular backups of my sites, IP blocking, etc.

The truth is that if someone really wanted to hurt our online businesses there wouldn’t be much we could do about it. I do my best to try and educate readers of this site about how to be as safe as possible, but beyond that all I can do is hope that we’re not targets.

4. Rapid platform change (including government intervention)

One of the characteristics of the Internet has always been rapid change.

For example, if you look at how quickly MySpace rose to fame and then fell away to obscurity, you’ll recognize a potential threat to any business that puts all of its eggs in to one basket.

But it’s not just about a prioritized website failing, it’s also about the introduction of so many new platforms that you get confused or suckered into wasting time on all of them.

For example, in the social networking world we have seen Snapchat, Vine, Instagram and Periscope all introduce some sort of viral video recording feature in short succession.

And they all did pretty well.

Another (perhaps more serious) aspect to the idea of rapid change is laws and regulations that are passed by governments that could have horrible, unintended consequences that the lawmakers simply didn’t perceive.

If you look at something like Net Neutrality you’ll see how quickly a poorly crafted law could affect every (small) business on the net. Here’s President Obama talking about it:

It’s a good idea to try and stay informed about what your local government is planning to do in regards to these types of issues and, if you are so inclined, write letters if you believe something is about to go wrong.

One advantage of some of these rapid platform changes is that, if you’re early and unique, you have an opportunity to tap into a big audience and maintain that lead while late adopters struggle to get traction. Figure out what platforms are useful to you and make sure you keep testing.

5. Human error

The last thing that I wanted to talk about is something that we all face every day – our own screw ups.

When you run a business you are inevitably faced with a lot of opportunity costs. For example, if you work for yourself that means that you have given up on the possibility of a full time career in some other (perhaps more stable) job.

Similarly, when you devote time to one project or income stream and it turns out to be a bad one you can wind up in some financial trouble.

Diversification is often hailed as the solution to this (have 10 income streams at once), but that presents another opportunity cost in that you can’t devote your resources to one product or stream that might really take off and instead need to focus on lots of small bits and pieces.

Risk is an inevitable part of a successful business on the Internet as much as it is anywhere else. Just like in stock market trading, some web entrepreneurs will embrace an aggressive (perhaps grey-hat) style that only lasts a few months but nets millions. Others prefer a more stable, long-term approach that is less stressful and possibly more beneficial to the community at large.

The major take away for me is to try and learn from the mistakes of others and not repeat them. But, if they do happen, don’t be discouraged and just remember that every successful person (in business and in charity, politics, etc.) goes through some rough patches.

What do you think?

I hope I haven’t scared anyone too much with this article. My intention was just to introduce some ideas in the hope that it helps us be better prepared for any changes that may happen. I’d really love to know whether you agree or disagree with any of these points, and whether or not I’ve perhaps missed something important.

Please leave a comment below and let me know.

Top image © Stevanovicigor at Dreamstime.com.

PB119: How to Choose the Right WordPress Theme for Your Blog

How to Decide on a WordPress Theme for Your Blog

Today I have a treat for you. Today we have a special guest, one of our new subject matter experts, Kelly Exeter from Swish Design. Kelly is one of those people who produces a heap of great content and also runs a business on the side. Kelly is one of the go to people in Australia when it comes to blog design.

ProBlogger_119

I received a question from Nils from Soul Thoughts who asks a question that many bloggers who are starting a blog. What is the best WordPress theme to choose for my blog (and how to make that decision). I’m not a designer, so I’m going to let our design expert Kelly share her tips on choosing the right WordPress Theme.

You can either listen to the episode via the podcast player above or check it out on iTunes or Stitcher. Alternatively if you prefer to read – Kelly has written up the full show below for you to keep coming back to including all the links and resources mentiond in the episode.

PB119: How to Choose the Right WordPress Theme for Your Blog

Hello! I’m here today to try and answer this very big question: What are the best themes to use if you have a WordPress blog?

And the very short answer to this is – there is no best theme. There are many themes out there that will work well for your needs. The hard part is narrowing down the list.

If you type ‘WordPress themes’ into Google you will usually end up some place like ThemeForest where, at current count, there are over 6000 themes to choose from. Even somewhere with a slightly smaller selection like Elegant Themes has 87 on offer and Studiopress, the home of Genesis themes has over 50.

So – how on earth do you choose the best theme for your needs from this wealth of choice?

Well, my number one suggestion is to stop looking in those theme libraries and start instead with the blogs out there whose designs you love.

Most WordPress themes these days are built on off-the-shelf templates which means that blog you love, you can access the same theme they’ve used.

A quick word about this however – that blog you love – is it their header you particularly love? Or their typography? Or their imagery?

If so, those are design elements that can be incorporated into any theme out there.

When you’re deciding on a theme, you really need to choose one based on it having a layout you like – so you like how their logo and menu are placed, how their blog archives are laid out, how their blogs posts are laid out, and most importantly, what elements they have on their home page and where those elements are positioned.

For example, if you choose the Metro Pro theme from Genesis – make sure you are choosing it because you like how it’s laid out … not because it has nice images.

image02

So – let’s say you love the new Being Boss blog design at beingboss.club and you’re thinking that could work well for you. The first thing you want to do is find out what theme they’re using. You do this by viewing the source code of the website.

To do this, type into your browser window: view-source:http://beingboss.club/

(NB: You can do this for any site by typing in view-source:FULLWEBSITEURL)

Once you’re viewing the source code do a search for this: wp-content/themes.

This will come up in a few places in the source code and the word that directly follows the word ‘themes’ in the source is the name of the theme.

image00

So for Being Boss, I can see their theme is called Art Mag.

If you then Google ‘Art Mag WordPress theme’ you’ll see it’s a theme you can buy from Themeforest for $49.

A word of caution – when you’re checking out your favourite website and you’re loving how they look and you’re thinking I’m saying just buy the same theme and your site can look like that too, there is a giant caveat here. If you’re loving how a site looks, it’s probably because they have killer imagery. If you don’t have the same killer imagery, then use the same theme as them all your like, your site won’t look like theirs.

image01

This, incidentally, is both a good and bad thing.

The bad comes from the disappointment you feel because your site doesn’t look as good as theirs.

The good comes from the fact that you can use exactly the same theme as someone else but your two sites will look quite different because you’re using different imagery, logo, fonts and colours. Just make sure your site uses great imagery and fontography and you’ll be fine.

Another thing that’s important to remember is that when you install that theme on your website, it needs to be set up to look like the demo version or the website you loved – it won’t look like that straight out of the box. If you’re able to follow instructions, then, using the theme documentation, you should be able to get the layout looking the way it way sold to you in the demo.

If you’re struggling, get in touch with the guys at ThemeValet.com. For $99 or thereabouts, they will set the theme up to look like the demo for you.

Another caveat – if your site has no pages and no posts (ie no content), it will be very difficult to get it looking like anything. So I always recommend creating at least an About and a Contact page and loading in 2-3 blog posts before loading in a theme and trying to make things look pretty.

Now – what if there aren’t any sites out there that have caught your eye? Well, some fairly common themes doing the rounds currently are:

  • Simple Mag which can be found on ThemeForest.com – this is particularly great if you’re looking for a magazine style layout.
  • If you’re looking for a more bloggy type layout then Foodie, Metro and Lifestyle Pro are all great looking, easy to use Genesis themes and can be found on StudioPress.com.

Note: with the Genesis themes you first have to install the based Genesis framework (which comes as a theme), then you install and activate whichever of the look and feel themes you’ve chosen.

Another really important thing you need to keep in mind when choosing themes these days is that they are responsive on mobile. Happily, most themes in most marketplaces these days are. All the themes I mention today certainly are.

Now, what about themes like Divi, Bridge and the X theme?

These are themes that allow you to set up your site pages pretty much any way you like via inbuilt Page Builders that allow you to drag and drop elements.

This sounds like a dream but in reality, I have found these Page Builders to be really slow and painful to use. You make a small tweak to say the padding around an image, or the size of a heading, for example, and then you have to save the draft of the page, and then preview it … it’s really slow going and frustrating.

Also – as much as these types of site sell themselves on being easy for non-tech savvy people to use, they’re just not.

Now, if you are quite tech savvy, these themes are amazing because they offer a huge amount of flexibility and design freedom. If you are not tech savvy, just do no go there – they will make you cry.

Of all the ‘Page Builder included’ themes out there (and I have seen many) – the one that has impressed me the most is the X theme. At Swish Design (my business) we have the ability to design and build custom themes and this is what I intended to do with my own website re-design at kellyexeter.com.au recently. I did the page design, and then because I needed the new design faster than my guys would be able to code it, I actually rebuilt the site using the X theme (+ Beaver Builder instead of the X Theme’s inbuilt Cornerstone builder) as a temporary measure. And guess what, it did the job so well I haven’t bothered to get my guys to code a custom theme for me after all.

No other theme like that – not Divi, not Bridge, not any of the several ones I’ve tried – have been as easy to use as X + Beaver Builder.   

So there you go.

As I mentioned at the start, pointing you in the right direction as to a ‘best theme’ for your needs is a very ‘how long is a piece of string’ question because there are so many variables to consider.

My major tip in this regard is that, if ever you’re in doubt, choose the simpler solution.

And remember, people are coming to your blog to read, and they’re mostly doing so on mobile. So as long as your theme is responsive, loads fast, and makes it easy to read your posts on mobile devices, you’ll already be ahead of the pack.

——-

Kelly Exeter has been a web and graphic designer for 15 years and has worked with WordPress for over 8 years. You can find her at Swish Design by day, and tinkering with her personal blog design at night.

How did you go with today’s episode?

I hope this has been helpful today. If you have more questions, I would be more than happy to tackle them myself or enlist one of our subject matter experts.

Disclaimer: ProBlogger is an affiliate for some themes and services mentioned in this article. We make a commission if you purchase these products which is how we keep the vast majority of what we do on ProBlogger free (and how Darren keeps his expensive coffee habit going). Affiliate products are carefully chosen and are always genuine recommendations of products that we either pay for and use ourselves or that come with strong recommendations from our trusted expert friends.

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You can use the following widget to ask a question. Please include your name and blog name (if you have a blog).

The post PB119: How to Choose the Right WordPress Theme for Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger Podcast.

PB118: How to Find Time to Create Your Blog’s First Product

Note: this episode can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes or Stitcher

Seven Ways to Find Time to Create Your Blog’s First Product

Today I am talking about the topic of juggling priorities and finding time to do the work we need to get done.

ProBlogger_118

In our last newsletter, I asked two simple questions. What is your dream, and what is your biggest challenge?

The recurring theme of the replies is that for many bloggers time is an issue. It’s about juggling priorities. There was also tension around the topic of monetizing blogs.

One of the emails I received was from Bradley. He writes, “I’ve been building an audience on my blog for the past two years, and to this point have made money with sponsorship and a little affiliate marketing.

My dream is to shift my monetization strategy to selling information products like ebooks and courses. I’ve started writing my first ebook. My challenge is that my schedule is full. Between a full time job, kids, writing blog posts, promoting my blog, and looking after my readers, I just don’t have enough time.

To get this ebook finished something has to give. I’ve been working on this ebook for the last couple of weeks, when I can, but at this rate, it’s going to take me another six months to complete. I can’t give up my job or my kids, so the only thing I can really give up is the blog itself. Should I put writing new content on hold while I write the ebook?”

This is a great question that really taps into what a lot of our readers are struggling with. So today, I am going to talk about seven things that might help Bradley get that product created without giving up on his blog.

In Today’s Episode: 7 Ways to Find Time for Product Creation

  • Don’t put your blog on hold completely – I understand why, but I would encourage you not to do it. When you go back to promote your product, your audience will have gone cold. Plus, you need a warm audience to sell your product too.
  • Scale back on some of your blogging activities – There are times and seasons in most blogs. You may be able to pull back a little and have more time for product creation. The same goes for pulling back a little on social media.
  • Think about batching the creation of content and other blog activities – Do two or three posts or podcasts at a time. Batching your time is really useful. You can also do the same thing with the creation of your book. When I was writing my book, I set aside weekends for purely writing. I even went as far as booking a cheap hotel and locking myself inside.
  • Use some of the product content you are creating as blog content – When I was writing my book, I put some of the archives of ProBlogger into the book. I also published book excerpts as a blog post. This made writing the book easier and kept my blog going.
  • Set an aggressive deadline – Parkinson’s Law – Work expands to fill the time available for it’s completion. If you give yourself a year and it will take a year, give yourself a month, it will get done in a month. Create accountability.
    • Accountability partner
    • Announce it to your readers
    • Take pre-orders – once you take money, it really ramps up accountability
  • Create version 0.1 or a beta version – If you are creating a big product, get it to the point where you can sell it as a first version. Break it down and release it as modules. Get the minimum viable product out the door. Can you break it down?
  • Get some help – If you are at your absolute limits and need help, you may need to get someone else to work with you and help you.
    • Get someone to help with the product – find a coauthor or get help with design, editing or marketing
    • Get some help with your blog or business, have a guest post or hire someone to write, edit or proof a post.
    • Get someone to help with cleaning or another aspect of your life – paying someone $20 an hour to help with something that generates long term income for you is worth it.

Product creation is something that can really pay off over time. A recurring income stream is a great thing to have. I would encourage you to find a way to get it done.

How did you go with today’s episode?

If you have a question you would like me to answer, feel free to leave a voice message with the start recording button on the bottom of this post or send me an email or leave a comment.

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Got a Question You’d Like Me to Answer?

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You can use the following widget to ask a question. Please include your name and blog name (if you have a blog).

The post PB118: How to Find Time to Create Your Blog’s First Product appeared first on ProBlogger Podcast.

How to Write Engaging Content About “Boring” Subject Matter

yawning-349753_1920This is a guest contribution from Anna Johansson.

Unfortunately, if you’re an industry expert in construction, finance, software development, or other similar “dry” field, you’ve already been handed the short end of the content stick. Your industry is important, and the subject matter is interesting to you and other industry gurus, but it just isn’t that exciting to the average web user. 

Of course, this only matters if you’re trying to write content that’s accessible to the average reader. However, if your goal is to give your audience an “in,” it’s time to kick up the engagement factor. Consider the following tips for rousing interest in your topic.

1. Give It Your Best Writing

When boring topics come across your desk, especially as a freelancer, it can be tempting to do a half-hearted job because you feel only lukewarm about the subject. After all, if it’s that boring, why waste your time on it? Resist this impulse. Poor writers create poor content, but a great writer can turn even the most boring topic into a compelling one.

How do good writers do it? The best content writers know how to create an unexpected angle on even the most mundane topic. They know what’s out there, so they aren’t repeating the same dull line. Instead, they push limits or create surprising connections. Great writers resist the expected.

Take for example, a post about installing drywall. While a weak writer will hand you a step-by-step explanation of the process and a list of necessary materials, a great content writer can turn this type of topic into an adventure. They provide readers with the needed information, but they’ll also show off incredible room transformations or offer anecdotes about what we used before drywall was invented. The difference is night and day.

2. Be Helpful

This is one of the primary rules of content creation. Useful content isn’t boring to the people who need it, according to the experts at HubSpot. Taxes, for example, are pretty objectively boring – but when tax season rolls around, everyone’s looking for information on how to properly document deductions and contributions to their retirement funds. The same applies to people looking for tips on how to negotiate a lower medical bill or unclog their kitchen sink.

Whatever your industry, it’s likely you can offer help to someone who needs it. You don’t have to make your boring topic more interesting. If the blog post you write is genuinely helpful and provides an actionable answer to the person who searched for it, you’ve already got an audience – and they’re reading with rapt attention.

3. Dumb It Down

“Boring” is a pretty broad category, and the term is often used to describe content that the average layperson doesn’t understand. Maybe your industry is extremely complex, but you’re trying to market your products or services to people who don’t understand all the intricacies or have access to the jargon you do. Your blog is a great opportunity for you to get on their level by offering introductory insights or tidbits about the field.

If you’re stuck on how to explain a complicated topic, the bloggers at web marketing firm AudienceBloom advise using a metaphor to break it down into more understandable information. People don’t respond emotionally to facts and figures; they want to see how they personally relate to the information.

Find a normal occurrence to compare to your idea. One popular analogy is that “blogging is like jogging” – it takes some time to gain momentum, and it’s hard to get started, but it eventually becomes second nature.

4. Dig Deeper

If you’re not interested in dumbing down your content to engage a broader reader base, the alternative is to go deep. And not just in the sense that you’re appealing to those with years of experience – no, this is your chance to become an expert on a highly specific topic. If you can become the smartest person around on a niche topic, you’ll attract a devoted, though often small, following.

As noted before, sometimes boring is code for a lack of reader understanding, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes boring means that you’re skimming the surface too lightly and it’s time to go deeper. Every topic has its devotees who find even the smallest detail of a topic interesting and creating expert content is the best way to draw them to your site.

Expert content will bring the people who are thrilled by the intricacies of home plumbing fixtures or self-employment taxes to your page. There may not be a lot of them, but they love to encounter someone who knows more than they do.

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5. The Secret’s in the Story

The most important thing you should take away is this: People relate to stories. Facts about your industry may be informative, but without a story to back up the information, your readers aren’t going to care. And if you can offer a first person tale inflected with a little humor, all the better. Readers love to see the expert taken down a notch or otherwise humanized.

As for the story, remember the old fiction pyramid from grade school? It’s time to dust it off, bring it back to life – and apply it to your blog. Here’s a breakdown.

  1. Introduction. Headlines are important. The title of your blog entry should pique the reader’s interest. Then, where the beginning of a novel introduces the characters and setting, the first few lines of your blog post will reveal a problem or conflict – bonus points if you reveal that you’re mired in this particular problem yourself. The reader should be curious about how you intend to solve or address the issue. 
  2. Rising action. It’s time to flesh out the information you want your readers to know. Now that they have some context, provide the supporting facts, quotes, links, and charts. Don’t overdo it, though. You’re trying to build a case, not bore them to tears.
  3. Climax. Here’s where you propose your solution. You’ve laid out a case for them, and this is the pinnacle of your argument – the idea you’ve been getting at. Depending on your topic, this could look a few different ways. For example, explain that they should take your advice because the alternative will have negative consequences – long term plumbing problems, tax penalties, or lost income are all compelling consequences of boring issues and these will spur readers to action.
  4. Falling action. For the most part, this is a short section both in storytelling and in blogging. Close out your argument and wrap up any loose ends. This is a good spot to mention any difficulties you encountered when acting on the solution.
  5. Resolution. Finally, present the solution to the problem. Your reader should arrive with a sense of both relief and interest. A call-to-action is a great wrap-up. If it’s an onsite blog, provide a link for where they can find more information. If you’re blogging for an external publisher, a good call-to-action is a request for comments. You’re opening up the discussion, allowing them to provide input and experience – as well as to ask questions or, in some cases, to contest what you’re saying. That’s okay, too. Discussion – even in conflict – is true engagement.

6. Go Multimedia

It’s now well documented that users are more likely to stay on a page that includes pictures or video content – or the now popular infographic. Why? For many people, visual content is easier to understand than written material, especially on technical or abstract concepts. If you can show instead of tell, go with it. People would far rather watch someone explain how to unclog a toilet while also watching clips of the process than simply read a step-by-step description.

As for content that’s less visual in nature, don’t be afraid to get personal. You may not have a great video or diagram to explain how trading stock options works, but pair a “How To” article with a video where you talk about why you started trading options and you’ve got a much more compelling piece of content.

If all else fails, try a slideshow. Slideshows are less interesting than a video or even great, instructive pictures. But what slideshows offer is physical engagement. When readers have to click from slide to slide, they become participants in your post. User propelled slideshows are also a great way to walk readers through a task by suggesting that they complete each phase before they click to the next slide.

7. Enter The Quizbowl

Nobody wants to start reading a boring blog post, only to find out that they’ll be quizzed, but that doesn’t mean quizzes have no place in the content industry. Rather, quizzes are a great way to draw reader attention back to your content.

Create engaging, topic-related quizzes for your content by digging up interesting or obscure trivia. In a post about day trading, for example, you might offer semi-related quiz questions such as “what year was the stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression?” or “who was the first female broker?” Just be sure to stick to the trivia and leave content quizzes to company trainings or other mandatory learning exercises. You don’t want your content to become a chore.

8. Keep It Brief

Finally, when writing boring content, make sure to keep it brief. Readers are likely to lose interest, even when they need the information at hand. Instead of droning on for pages, cut your language to the necessities. If you can, break the topic down into its component parts and present them as separate posts. This allows readers to take a break and absorb the first segment, and can actually prevent readers from drifting away without finishing the full post.

Final Thoughts: Your Blog, Your Industry

You can try a number of other strategies to spice up content that would otherwise be boring, but across the board, the answer is the same. It comes down to publishing good writing – which means understandable, engaging, and useful writing produced by skilled content professionals. No matter what your topic, there’s ample opportunity to make this happen. Just remember that no topic is a throwaway. Treat even the most boring content like its important and engaging and you’ll get the best results.

Anna Johannson is a freelance writer specializing in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

The post How to Write Engaging Content About “Boring” Subject Matter appeared first on ProBlogger.

       

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PB117: Case Study – How One Blogger Used a Blog Post, SlideShare Deck, Lead Magnet, Email Sequence and a Webinar to Earn Over $28,000

Note: this episode can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes or Stitcher.

A Blogger Shares How She Made $28,000 Using The 4 Stages of Warming Her Readers Up

Today I’m wrapping up the mini series we have been going through that is all about warming your readers up. We have been talking about how to take readers from being completely unaware of who you are or cold to being fully engaged with you or warmed up.

ProBlogger_117

I’m going to wrap this series up by sharing a case study of how one blogger, who had a relatively small list of readers, used the principles that we have been talking about in this series to generate over $28,000.

She did this by using a single blog post, a SlideShare presentation, a lead magnet, an email sequence, and a webinar.

Recap of Episodes in Warming Your Readers Up Series

Episode 112

  • I walk you through the 4 stages of warming your readers up
    • First getting their attention
    • Second getting them interested
    • Third getting a connection
    • Four getting engagement

Episode 113

  • This episode was all about getting that first eyeball on your site
    • Using Guest Content (and how to work out where you could put it)
    • Creating Shareable content on your own blog (gave tips on how to work out what to create)
    • I spoke about Repurposing content
    • Talked a little about SEO – particularly in search engines beyond Google like iTunes, App Store etc

Episode 114

  • All about getting people to look twice at you and your blog. Getting them interested, and getting them to realize that you are doing something relevant to them.
    • How to make a big promise about how you’ll relieve a pain or help bring about a gain
    • I shared some tips on how to differentiate yourself
    • I talked about creating ‘fist pump content’ that gives readers a quick win
    • Spoke about how to funnel readers to this quick win content through your site navigation, start here pages or portals
    • Shared some tips on using social proof to make people look twice

Episode 115

  • All about getting a connection with your readers. How to get them to subscribe, and I shared practical strategies on that.
    • Using pop ups, welcome mats and other ways to call readers to subscribe
    • Creating great lead magnets through creating content specific upgrades (gave you some examples of this)
    • Talked about how to create lead magnets that create momentum and build anticipation
    • Talked about the importance of content that builds desire and content that builds anticipation
    • Talked about cross promotion of your connection points to get secondary points of connection

Episode 116

  • All about deepening engagement with your readers
    • Particularly emphasises how to ‘onboard’ your readers
    • How to create content that promotes engagement and a sense of belonging
    • How to use ‘content events’ to build engagement

Today, I want to give you a case study that picks up on many of the strategies that I’ve talked about, so you can see how these might come together to help your readers flow through these stages.

To walk us through it I want to introduce you to Donna Moritz from SociallySorted.com.au

I was sharing these 4 stages of warming up readers on my FB page a few weeks back, and Donna shared with me a great example of how she brought them together.

In Today’s Episode Donna Moritz Shares How She Made $28,000 Using The 4 Stages of Warming Her Readers Up

  • Donna’s Blog Post – 21 Pro Tips for a Packed House at Your Webinar or Live Event Using Visual Marketing
    • She knew big blog posts were effective, she was asked to be an affiliate for Amy Porterfield, so she decided to create a “firecracker” blog post to get the most webinar attendees
    • She knew people interested in this topic would be interested in the event, priming readers for a topic
    • The post took a couple of weeks of collecting information from influencers, then about a day to write
    • To get the attention of influencers, you have to make time and build relationships with this people. At least show you are interested in what they do before contacting them cold. Aim high, but don’t forget to look to the left and the right.
    • The post worked because it was a list post, it had a good title, very visual, and we shared quotes. There was also a banner ad for signups and a lead magnet.
    • Darren’s reflections on why it’s a great post:
      • Comprehensive (useful and shareable)
      • Visually Appealing (interesting)
      • Features Influencers (social proof)
      • Actionable/Practical Tips – (quick wins)
  • SlideShare – Donna also created 32 slides using quotes from the influencers featured in her blog post. This content is useful in itself, but it also points at the blog post and hints at a free cheat sheet.
    • I knew Slide Share was not only a great piece of visual content, but it drives shares. Slide Share can open in a news feed. I’ve done well in Slide Share presentations.
    • Liken it to putting a firecracker under your blog post – using slideshare or an infographic or short video to drive traffic to the blog post.  Slideshare has consistently driven quality traffic for me.
    • Donna creates the blog posts and Slide Shares at the same time.
    • Give attention to the cover because that is what catches people’s attention
    • Keep it simple, so people will click through
    • Donna linked to the blog post several times and hinted at the cheat sheet, you need to have a call to action
    • We created a theme and used terminology about that theme
    • We also tweeted out from the actual SlideShare – The SlideShare team monitors traffic and you can get featured on SlideShare
  • Lead Magnet/Content Upgrade
    • It’s well worth signing up for Donna’s Lead Magnet – Free Cheat Sheet
    • Donna chose a cheat sheet because she knew they worked well and the one page cheat sheet was found to convert the best
    • The biggest mistake you can make with a cheat sheet sign up is not to follow up
    • Minimum viable product – easiest product to create
    • Make a template use Canva or Photoshop if you know it, or have a designer create a template with your logo and branding
    • Why Darren thinks this works:
      • Builds on blog post
      • Great design
      • Comprehensive (9 pages) but not too long
      • Has quick wins and really practical examples, suggests tools to use
      • Generous content
  • Onboarding – Email Sequence
    • Now people who sign up for my newsletter get a welcome email
    • Then I ask what their biggest problem is and set expectations for the next emails.
    • I try to give them value before they move onto my sequence
    • When asking questions through a newsletter be prepared to get responses, and make sure you take the time to respond
    • The people who give you long responses are your potential customers
    • Good onboarding
    • Ask questions
    • Link to PDFs to give away – add value
    • Address pain obstacles and offer value, don’t just sell
  • Webinars
    • Webinars are a great way to teach without being on camera
    • Donna likes the interaction with people, and is getting more comfortable with the sales part at the end
    • A great way to connect with people, add value, and sale some programs
    • A webinar can be a pure engagement tool
    • People feel like they are having a conversation with you

This was the perfect ending to this series. With great examples. The webinar is a great way to end this series. We haven’t talked about monetization, and the webinar is one way to sell something. If Donna had any regrets, it was she wished she did this earlier. Her advice is learn to track and it doesn’t take that much effort to add in the extra steps.

Further Resources on How Donna Used The 4 Stages of Warming Her Readers Up

Donna’s SlideShare Tips & Links

Other Examples of Content Upgrades

How did you go with today’s episode?

I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast. I picked up a few things from Donna that I am going to give a go. I hope you enjoyed this series.

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The post PB117: Case Study – How One Blogger Used a Blog Post, SlideShare Deck, Lead Magnet, Email Sequence and a Webinar to Earn Over $28,000 appeared first on ProBlogger Podcast.

10 Tips and Strategies for a Better Facebook Marketing Campaign

This is a guest contribution from Jerry Low of Web Hosting Secret Revealed.

When it comes to social media website players, Facebook is too huge to be ignored. With over 1 billion daily users, 934 million mobile daily users as of April 2016, one thing is obvious: you simply must market on Facebook if you want to reach highly targeted users.

Facebook Ads offers the biggest marketing opportunity on the Internet and provide:

  • A powerful targeting system
  • Different ways to approach the target audience (videos, images, texts, dynamic products, etc.)
  • Multiple entry points in funnel. Custom audience pixels allow you to do a lot of interesting things, including some basic A/B testing by sending different ad sets to different landing pages.

10 Tips for a Better Facebook Marketing Campaign

With that in mind, we are going to look at ten handy tricks and strategies that will improve your Facebook marketing campaign instantly.

1. Promote a benefit, not a product

Even though your site is monetized and you are trying to sell something to your visitors, your main message must be to promote a benefit to the reader and not your product. The sales of products, services, or content will come naturally from the relationship that you build with your audience. You must let your target audience know how your product/content can help them. What problem are you solving?

Below are some examples of well-done ads and why they work.

Present and Solve a Problem

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The ad above presents what the problem is very clearly. The problem? Most people are inundated with emails, so it is hard for your business email to stand out from the crowd.

The solution? They know how to help you and have a simple, 7-step formula to get you there. See how the ad offers something to the target audience that they might want?

Inside Information

2

The ad above talks about an in-depth report. The target audience is going to be business owners who want to promote on Instagram.

The person reading this ad knows they are going to get a report that will help them learn how to promote on Instagram better. More than likely, an email is collected in exchange for the report.

The benefit to the site visitor is a free report with information that will help his business grow. The benefit to the advertiser is converting visitors who want to download the report into email list subscribers.

I Had This Problem and Solved It

3

The ad above uses an interesting approach that befriends the reader. The ad simply tells the story of how Amy Porterfield’s first few webinars didn’t go so well, but she got better and she can help you, too.

This type of conversational tactic can work particularly well because it is so personal.

Offer a Reward

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The ad above offers rewards for reviews. Basically, the “help” is via free things and all the person has to do is a simple series of reviews for businesses they’ve already frequented.

People love contests and rewards, so this is an excellent tactic to draw them to your site.

Make Money

5

Who doesn’t love to make money? The Shopify ad above simply talks about the possibility of becoming a millionaire.

They then explain the description that they are an ecommerce platform. Simple, to the point, and with beautiful graphics, this ad works.

State it Simply

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The ad above just states what benefit is offered. It is to the point. You can tell that the advertiser knows their course is worthwhile and that this should be enticement enough to click on their sign up link.

2. Keep it short and direct

Speaking about writing to the point, keep your posts short, direct, and on topic. According to buffersocial, posts that are 250 characters or less gets you about 60% more engagement. And, that is not just on twitter, which obviously has to be 144 characters or less, but also on Facebook.

Buzzsumo found the same results in a recent study. “Short form text posts of 50 characters get the most interaction.” Short Facebook posts simply get more engagement, which makes sense because most Facebook users are highly distracted. Big blocks of text are not appealing enough to capture the reader’s interest.

Likely, this is because the Internet is such a visual media, particularly today. In fact Wishpond found that photo posts get around 120% more engagement than posts without a photo. Posts with a photo album get about 180% more engagement.

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3. Try “Thank You” ad

Acquiring new customer is expensive. Hence – it’s important to keep existing customers happy and turn them into repeat customers if possible.

Your goal should be to build brand loyalty and increase satisfaction among your existing customers. For example, Maxwell Finn at Startup Drugz on Facebook created a video thanking new customers for their business. The video is aimed at first-time customers. Finn states that the video had the effect of turning these new customers into repeat customers.

4. Start your Facebook post with a question

The easiest to write an effective Facebook post is by starting with a question. Kissmetrics found that question posts get 100% more comments. However, they did get fewer likes and shares, so be aware of whether you want to engage on Facebook with comments or you prefer to have your post shared and liked.

Here is a simple formula to use:

Formula: Want [X]? Try [this]/Read [that guide]/Use [this app].

In addition, some question words got more traction than others. The top words that got traction?

  • Should
  • Would
  • Which

Below is one example of a question post.

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5. Get creative with photos

As mentioned before, one study found that overall photo posts on Facebook get 120% more engagement than the average post, and photo albums actually get 180% more engagement. You should definitely make use of your photos and albums, but make sure they are beautiful, professional quality photos. They should not be blurry and should be framed properly.

One idea: You can turn photos album into a graphic article.  For example this is what I did recently – I created an album filled with images from a presentation slides – a brief elaboration and relevant links were added into each photo’s description.

So far, the photo album (see below) has reached more than 140,000 people, had 8,000+ clicks and 950+ page likes. This isn’t bad for a $120 boost and an extra 30 minutes of work in transferring slides into images.

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6. Creative use of Multi-Products Ads

Multi-product ads are exactly what they sound like. They allow a single advertiser to showcase multiple products — multiple groups of creative images and links — within a single ad.

This is an effective advertising option since users seem to respond so well to albums of photos. Even if you don’t offer a product on your blog, you can showcase content with a multi-product ad and point the reader to your very best posts.

For example, Jon Loomer placed an ad asking a question: “Have you missed one of my recent blog posts?” He then used a multi-product ad to showcase some of his best posts.

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7. Test out your page CTA

Your Call to Action (CTA) can make or break your ad. If your CTA isn’t working, then you may just be wasting money driving traffic to your site, even targeted traffic.

Try different Call-to-Actions on your Facebook Page and track analytics within your ad manager to see which ones are working best for the conversion you’re trying to achieve. Detailed info is available by going to Facebook Page > Insights > Actions on Page > Page Call to Action Clicks (sectioned to by Age and Gender, by country, by City, and by Device)

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8. Try “Abandoned Cart” ad

According to the Listrak Shopping Cart Abandonment Index, more than 70% of shoppers left their online shopping cart without buying anything. Barilliance found similar results in their study of cart abandonment statistics.

You can target those who have visited the landing page of a product (or added to the cart) but did not complete the purchase using Facebook Targeting.

This type of ad is highly targeted and not general in nature. So, you might offer free shipping to those who’ve previously abandoned a cart, or perhaps 10% off to complete the order.

Go to:  Facebook Ad Manager > Power Editor > Create Custom Audience > People visiting specific web pages but not others

But wait, that’s not all. You should also install an off-site pixel for your campaign and track how many people from your “Abandoned Cart” ads complete the buying process.

Use: Power Editor > Tools > Pixels > Create Conversion > Track Custom Conversion > Purchase

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9. Try “Facebook Page Admin” targeting

Page admin targeting is an excellent tool if you wish to reach out to business owners and social media managers. So, it is a great B2B marketing tool that gives you an extremely targeted audience to advertise to. If you are offering an SMM guide or tools – this is a must try.

Facebook Ad Manager > Power Editor > Create Saved Audience > Detailed Targeting > Digital Activities > Facebook Page Admins

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10.  Try “Upcoming Birthday” targeting

It’s a known fact that highly personalized ads are much more effective than general ones. It makes sense, doesn’t it? In an ever increasing impersonal world, we want to feel like someone knows us and our interests.

One way to deliver highly personalized ads to people who have not visited your site is by using the “upcoming birthday” targeting option.

Facebook Ad Manager > Power Editor > Create Saved Audience > Detailed Targeting > Demographics > Life Events > Upcoming Birthday

By Facebook’s own definition:

“If you run an ad over a period of many days, it’ll be shown to people whose birthday is within one week of the day when they see the ad. For example, people with a January 1 birthday may see the ad for a week leading up to January 1. People with a January 2 birthday will see the ad for a week leading up to that day.”

Startup Drugz is one success story using this method. They use the birthday option to offer a 20% discount to people who had birthdays coming up in the next 7 days. They simply said a birdie told them that the person had a birthday and here was the gift. The strategy resulted in a 2,700% ROI.

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Wrapping Up

These are just some of the ways you can use Facebook ads to drive new customers to your site and turn them into loyal fans for life. Facebook ads are a fairly cost effective way to advertise your brand. The ability to target a specific audience and track the results of the ad make it a highly desirable marketing platform.

Jerry Low is a geek dad who is passionate about SEO and digital marketing. His site Web Hosting Secret Revealed (WHSR) offers helpful hosting advice and tons of smart blogging strategies.

The post 10 Tips and Strategies for a Better Facebook Marketing Campaign appeared first on ProBlogger.

       

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7 Small Ways to Be a Better Writer

7 small ways to be a better writerThis is a guest contribution from Larry Alton

You could be a prominent authority in your industry, with multiple bestselling books and a successful business around your writing; or you could be a novice who just launched their first blogging website – as long as writing is a significant part of your life, there’s one thing you’ll always want: to be a better writer.

There are two surefire ways to become a better writer, and they’re universally effective: reading and writing.

Reading lots of outside material helps you expand your vocabulary, sharpen your communication skills, and become exposed to new topics and perspectives that help inform your writing. Writing itself serves as practice to gradually hone your craft.

So if becoming a better writer is (apparently) so simple, why isn’t everybody on their way to becoming a great writer?

Time and Patience

Reading a book doesn’t instantly take you to a new tier of writing ability, nor does a handful of written articles instantly make you better at your craft. To be effective, you need to spend tons of time reading and writing—and only after years of commitment will you start to show the results.

Most of us would prefer something a little faster, and something a little less repetitive when our eyes start to bulge out of our skulls. That’s why we’ve come up with these seven small ways to become a better writer:

7 small ways to be a better writer

1. Talk to strangers

Writing is a form of communication. Even though it is, in many ways, distinct from verbal communication, verbal conversations can still improve your writing by teaching you new vocabulary, exposing you to new styles, and introducing you to new concepts.

Talk to strangers wherever you can—at the grocery store, at a coffee shop, or on the bus to work. It’s important to break out of your element and communicate with people outside your traditional circles. That’s the only way you’ll learn anything new.

As an exercise, challenge yourself to meet a certain quota; for example, you could commit to talking to a new person three times a week, or if you’re especially ambitious, every day. Take note of their word choices, and walk away with new nuggets of information about the world.

2. Eat healthier foods

It may not seem like eating habits could impact your writing ability, but according to a recent study, excessive consumption of processed and unhealthy foods can actually impair your cognitive abilities.

Stick to fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains when you can.

As a long-term benefit, you’ll be able to think clearer, you’ll have more energy, and you’ll be more motivated to accomplish your goals. As a short-term benefit, you’ll get a boost of energy immediately after eating thanks to your body’s pleasure receptors and metabolism.

And as long as you’re eating foods rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, you won’t suffer from a sugar crash afterward! If you can, keep a store of healthy foods in your desk, or wherever you work most frequently.

3. Work on pet projects

Don’t limit yourself to only writing for your career, or only writing for your blog. Adopt some pet projects to expand your linguistic horizons.

For example, you could commit yourself to writing poetry on the side, or start work on a novel you’ve been planning.

All forms of writing can improve all other forms of writing, so find something you’d enjoy writing about and write about it! Not only will you build and diversify your writing skillset, you’ll also relieve stress and introduce a change up to your routine—no matter how much you love writing, working on the same project ad infinitum can lead to burnout.

7 small ways to become a better writer

4. Meditate

Meditation has tons of physical benefits—it helps you lower stress, reduce anxiety, and may even help prevent the onset of certain mental health conditions.

Even putting these benefits aside, meditation can help you clear your mind of clutter and zero in on what really matters. If you practice meditation regularly, you can enter a meditative state with relative ease—which comes in handy as you anxiously prepare to write something significant. Taking just a few minutes before an article can clear your head of the clutter; with a clearer head, you’ll write more productively, and in a purer, more intelligible form.

Over the long-term, meditating daily will lead you to a more relaxed, productive, and mentally healthy existence, which can only help your ability to write.

5. Set rules for yourself

Create rules to control your productivity and limit yourself from distractions or damaging habits.

For example, in the context of writing quality, you could set a rule not to use a certain buzzword in all of your articles moving forward, or you could set a rule to avoid any first-person or second-person pronouns.

In the context of productivity, you could set a rule that you’re only allowed one distraction until you finish your current article, or set a rule that you must start working within X minutes of turning on your computer.

You could even construct rules about your habits, such as mandating that you write at least 1000 words every day, in order to reinforce behavioral patterns you wish to adopt naturally.

6. Watch lots of movies and TV shows

Most people would agree that TV is a time suck, and it can be, but it can also be a useful exercise in linguistic analysis and communication improvement, if you allow it to be.

Turn on the subtitles, and watch programs known for their exceptional writing (especially dialogue). Pay close attention to what makes the writing especially believable, compelling, or intriguing, and treat it with an analytical eye.

Even though you probably aren’t writing scripts for TV shows and movies, you can advance your skills by doing this (though, depending on your definition, this could count as “reading.”).

7. Learn a new language 

You won’t be writing much in this new language, but learning the rules of a foreign language can help you better conceptualize your thoughts and speech patterns.

To illustrate, when learning a new language, non-native speakers are forced to experiment with new situations in both written and verbal forms. These situations force you to think carefully about your responses, rather than allowing you to fall back on the colloquialisms and phrasing you’re used to.

These new conversation patterns will help your mind work harder to find the right words for any situation, and might even expose you to new linguistic concepts. Plus, learning a new language will force you to re-familiarize yourself with basic concepts of grammar, such as sentence structures, giving you a bird’s-eye view of how the world communicates. 

These strategies aren’t an excuse to stop reading and writing to become a better writer; they’re designed to serve as complements to those two pillars of writing success. Like it or not, you’re still going to have to read and write—often—if you want to succeed. These tactics won’t take you from “novice” to “professional” overnight, but they will help you refine your approach, clear your head, learn some new perspectives, and strengthen your command of language.

Combined with enough practice and repeated exposure, you’re sure to hone your skills in due time.

The post 7 Small Ways to Be a Better Writer appeared first on ProBlogger.

       

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PB116: How to Snap Readers out of Passive Lurking to Become Engaged

Note: this episode can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes or Stitcher. How to Move Readers From Passive Lurking to Engagement Welcome to episode 116. I am working through a series that helps you to warm your blog readers up.  In episode 112, I introduced the four stages of warming your […]

The post PB116: How to Snap Readers out of Passive Lurking to Become Engaged appeared first on ProBlogger Podcast.

The Best Research Tools for Finding Kick-Ass Content

handThis is a guest contribution from Jonathon Ohayon of Brilliance.com

From infographics to Slideshares, articles to memes; marketers and bloggers can never have too much help coming up with ideas for compelling, relevant content.

However, ideas can be elusive and trending subject matter can be hard to nail down. Tools like Facebook Trending and Google Trends are a good start, but there is goldmine of content research available in lesser-known platforms that don’t have the same brand recognition.

Before you go hunting for the latest trending topic, the first step should be to make sure you understand the metrics, processes and data that drive content marketing.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 2.15.12 pm

Educate Your Content Creators (or Yourself)

The artistic effort of creating content is often a far more enjoyable endeavor than back-end metrics analysis. But that can’t stop bloggers from learning what makes content effective, what renders it ineffective and the analytical tools used to tell the difference.

Content creators should take a few courses from the Google Analytics Academy. They’re free, and they’re taught by genuine Google measurement experts. The five-unit program covers the fundamentals of digital analytics, platform principles, ecommerce analytics, mobile app analytics and tag manager fundamentals.

With your new-found understanding of the data-driven mechanics behind the content, it’s time to try some new, exciting tools that fly under the radar of many content creators.

Answer the Public

At a glance, Answer the Public is just another keyword research tool designed to give marketers consumer insight. When you choose a country and enter a keyword into the search box, however, Answer the Public returns a brilliant, sun-shaped visual display made of answers to questions that begin with when, who, where, how, which, were and are.

For example, I entered the word “music,” and received trending questions like:

What music makes you smarter?

Why is music important?

Why should music education be cut?

Which music school is right for me?

Are music and math profitable?

What music was popular in the 1920s?

If I were a music blogger or a marketer who specialized in music, I would have a clear picture — literally — of the questions people in my target audience want answered. There are few better places to begin a discussion about what kind of content to create.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 2.16.14 pm Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 2.16.24 pm

Trending on Twitter — Dig Deeper

In April 2015, content creators rejoiced when Twitter announced it was abandoning its Discover timeline and upgrading to a new mobile tool designed to capture detailed trending topics. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out at the time, the shallow and often arbitrary Discover timeline had been woefully inadequate — especially for content creators who rely on up-to-date information about which topics are trending to determine the subject matter that will provide a foundation relevant subject matter.

Twitter’s mobile replacement is undoubtedly a step up, but content creators can dig much deeper to find out which topics are stirring people’s passions, driving their interests and stoking conversation on Twitter. Check out the following tools, all of which are free, have a free version or come with a free trial:

  • Hashtagify: Not only is Hashtagify great for tracking critical social media influencers, but it acts as a hashtag search engine. With this tool, the user can see the top 10 hashtags related to one that they’re searching or one that is trending.
  • Statweestics: This tool stands out for the frequency of its live updates. Track trending keywords, hashtags, users, locations and sources as they change — literally by the minute.
  • Trendsmap: Trendsmap uses a unique algorithm that empowers content creators to research trending topics on a truly local level. The tool crunches 80 million tweets a day and displays which topic is most popular per geographic region, by superimposing keywords over a map.
  • Hashtags.org: This popular tool is special because it tracks hashtags by growth. Use it to identify the top 40 hashtags from any given 24-hour period and gain valuable insight into the topics that accumulate traction throughout the day.

Uberflip: Content for Each Stage of the Buying Journey

Uberflip is an underutilized tool. It helps marketers create content, but it doesn’t stop there. Instead of researching trending topics or hot subjects as a foundation for creating content, Uberflip lets you research how your customers interact with that content throughout the purchasing journey.

Once they understand the nature of how their audience connects with their content along their buying journeys, marketers and bloggers can tweak, rebuild and develop new content based on the information that take away from Uberflip.

Familiar tools like BuzzSumo can still be powerful and useful. They are so common, however, that your competition is likely to be using them as well. Content creators should first make an effort to educate themselves about the analytical process behind content marketing, and then explore lesser-known, but equally powerful tools that their competitors haven’t yet discovered.

What tools do you use to help inform your content creation decisions?

Jonathon Ohayon is the COO of Brilliance.com and has been managing companies and motivating people since the 6th grade. As a proven business leader and gemologist, he is uniquely skilled in navigating the ever changing e-commerce landscape. When he is not answering emails into the wee hours of the night, he can be found spending time with his wife and three children.

The post The Best Research Tools for Finding Kick-Ass Content appeared first on ProBlogger.

       

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