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The Secret Weapon Every New Blogger Should Have

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copywriter

Back in the day, when I was in the ad biz as a creative director, I often marveled at the so-called “creative partnership” between writers and graphic designers.  As one would marvel at, say dogs and cats sharing a dish of meat.

That’s how it works at most agencies of any size, they have these little pods of creativity, pairings that at first compete with other pods for the best assignments, then become the primary creative engine for generating billable client work.

The Account Manager role?  That’s just an intermediary.  Someone who takes the client to lunch a lot.  It’s that creative team that makes or breaks the account, and frankly, they aren’t all that much fun at lunch.

Compatibility Issues

On paper the writer and the designer share equal responsibility for the concept, content and execution of projects, but in reality the roles and expectations are more clearly and succinctly defined.

One writes, the other designs.  And often, when one tries to hop into the other’s sandbox, trouble ensues.  Especially when one is operating under the naïve illusion they can do the other’s job.

In over 25 years in that business, I never met a graphic designer who could write killer a line of copy.  Vanilla, sure.   But vanilla isn’t worth $200 an hour.

And I never met a writer who, even if they could wrap their head around it, aspired to the mastery of design software.

A Pod of One

These days, as a blogger with a whopping six online months under my belt, I see such  partnerships differently.

Because for the most part there are two core competencies required to get a decent blog up and running – that’s on top of the wheelhouse expertise the blog is all about in the first place – and once again, it’s pretty rare when someone is a mad genius at both.

Perhaps not as rare as a designer who can write pithy copy, but I’m just sayin’. 

The secret weapon in this business, even if you are all alone with your blog, as most of us are, is to find an expert resource to cover your ass.

 The CYOA of Getting Mentored

If you’re a writer, you’ll need someone to make sense of the techno-gibberish that dominates the how-to oeuvre of blogging’s conventional wisdom.

If you’re a technophile, you may need a real writer to make you credible and marketable.

I’m of the former ilk.  I can write my techno-lame ass off, and I understand that I need to cover that ass with a vendor who knows their way around the requisite software.

I’m lucky.  I’ve hooked up with a bit of a wizard, one who could, for a modest fee, reprogram the space shuttle on short notice.  And she’s only 25 bucks an hour.

Such a secret weapon is the best investment in the blogging universe. 

If it’s your writing you need shored up, chances are you’ll have to spend more than $25 an hour to get a proven pro, unless you outsource to a third world country via Elance or some other sweat-shop level of intermediary, which are out there in spades.

Good luck with that, by the way.  In writing, you absolutely get what you pay for.  On the technical side, that’s not as true — for $25 an hour I have a consultant who knows everything I don’t, and then some.  Which, rather than saying something lame about me, actually says something pretty amazing about her.

Getting Out of Your Own Way

One difference between the two camps – professional level writers and people who are at home with HTML – is that one often takes the other for granted.

Writers who are technically challenged realize they are dead meat without a propeller head in their camp. 

Tech geeks, however, too often think they can write well enough to brand them in the bloggosphere, or that writing isn’t that hard or even necessary beyond a fifth grade reading level.  It’s the great and eternal trap of engineering-think, one that I remember well from those ad agency days — if you build it they will come is no truer in blogging than it is in advertising.  And if your client was, in fact, an engineer, you were in for a fight.

For some types of blogs that may be valid.  But if you want a massive influx of readers, you need to give them something read that transcends codes and plug-ins.

Because always, a blog’s essence is delivered through its words, as well as its content. 

It’s just like dating, you may be a cool person with deep emotional substance, great personal integrity and a significant trust fund, but if your personal hygiene suggests Mickey Rourke after a week-long camping trip in an equatorial climate, good luck getting beyond eHarmony.com.

Sometimes the difference between loneliness and stardom is a good tailor, a competent barber and a gym membership.  Toothpaste, too.

With blogs, it’s not just about content, and it’s not just about writing. 

You need home runs in both core competencies.  And unlike that little dating analogy, the good news is that you can – and should – go out and buy whatever it is you lack.

And if that particular and analogy floats your boat… to paraphrase Moliere, think about this: blogging is like prostitution.  First you do it for love.  Then you do it for a few friends.  And finally, you do it for the money.

Hopefully, you’ll never completely lose the love.  With a secret weapon in your pocket – no analogous pun intended there, I swear – you have a good shot at having both.

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Blogging

How to Do Blogger Outreach Right

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Blogger outreach confuses most bloggers.

People reach out in desperation.

Or bloggers reach out trying to get something from influential bloggers.

I either block or ignore most blogger outreach emails because people want to use me for my blogging platform. Sure I am promised a rich link, a valuable post or some other enticement, but most bloggers using crappy outreach tactics:

  • are unknown
  • offer little value
  • want to use me and my blog for their gain
  • are not connected
  • are not influential
  • have no clout
  • have not paid their dues
  • have not helped people freely
  • have not earned the right to appear on my blog

Observe Bubbie Gunter. Follow him. He does outreach right.

He reaches out to me by helping me. He is generous. He focuses on me. What does this prove? He wanted to befriend me because he was interested in me, NOT in what I could do for him. Naturally, I happily promoted him, we became friends and one neat benefit is we keep helping each other. Bubbie also purchased some of my stuff; bonus points, my Young Blogging Padawans, if you want to stand out in my mind.

I get emails from bloggers all the time who want to appear on my blog but who complain about spending money for sponsored posts. Other bloggers complain about spending money for a freaking 4 dollar eBook. Other bloggers complain about spending money on my 350 dollar blogger course. How in God’s name do you expect to impress me if you complain about what I offer? Thousands of people complain. I ignore these thousands of people. A handful of generous, kind bloggers like Bubbie promote me and buy my stuff. Can you see why he gets a link on Blogging Tips?

I trust him because he did blogger outreach right. He helped me. He did not reach out, to manipulate me to help him. He did not reach out cold. He did not reach out as a stranger. He reached out generously, warmly and genuinely. He did blogger outreach right.

Picture break; check out my current street in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Blogger Outreach Is Helping and Hugging Not Asking for Hand Outs

Most bloggers reach out to bloggers, asking for a hand out. Hey, can you help me out? Hey, I need a link on your blog. Hey, I need a link to my business but even though I love your blog SO much, your rate does not fit into my budget. Lame.

A few bloggers reach out to help me and hug me. Warm and generous, these wise bloggers retweet my post, buy an eBook and email me to connect deeper. Help and a hug. Meanwhile, all other bloggers find my spam folder or simply give up after I ignore their 3 follow up emails.

Strangers fade away. Friends thrive.

Strangers vanish. Friends prosper.

Self-serving, greedy or desperate bloggers fail. Generous, connected bloggers succeed.

Watch my recent live video from Thailand:

Alonzo Pichardo, Jan Verhoeff and Monna Ellithorpe watched my video and chatted with me. No agendas. Not trying to GET anything. Doing what friends do. I take care of my friends. I love giving my friends oodles of links on my blog and via my guest posts. I love helping them. Organic, pure, powerful blogger outreach in action. Help people, make friends, have fun, prosper.

The alternative; try blog on your own, as a stranger. Reach out cold. Get pissed off when you only deal with strangers pitching you, said strangers not respecting you because they do not know you.

You can be on the outside looking in. Or you can do blogger outreach right and be connected.

Your choice.

Before we go, you can grab my blogger outreach eBook here:

13 Tips to Make Your Blogger Outreach Campaign Sizzle

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Blogging

1 Uncomfortable But Necessary Step to Making More Money through Your Blog

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10 years ago I relied on 1 prospering stream.

Today I rely on no income streams.

I figured out; helping people for free and being detached about 5 to 10 to 15 income streams helped me make more money through my blog.

Making this journey from attachment to one stream, to detachment from many streams, felt incredibly uncomfortable. I felt terrified to gradually release different income streams on the journey too. I loved freelance writing. Made some nice coin through the income channel. But intuitively, I knew I had to let it go to move toward eBooks, courses and a 100% passive income model because going passive helps me focus exclusively on creating content and earning money around the clock as I traveled the globe.

Heck yeah I enjoyed trading time for money many years ago because doing so felt comfortable and familiar. Heck yeah I feared trusting that my passive income would grow if I added many passive streams to my blogging portfolio and if I focused on creating content.

But here I am. Living in Thailand for months.

The Step

Eventually, to make more money through your blog, you need to add a passive or semi-passive income model and get incredibly busy helping people for free, because few folks on earth charge $50,000 or more per hour. I have no idea about Tony Robbin’s hourly coaching rates. But I know he ain’t charging only $1000 per hour. He is the most famous coach on earth. He coaches former presidents and the best athletes on earth. Outside of being the most famous or most skilled human on earth in your niche, you WILL hit an earnings ceiling trading time for money solely via an active income model.

But if you add 1, 2 then 10 passive income elements to your blog, earnings potential has no ceiling. Someone can buy my blogging course in the next hour. $350. 10 people can buy my eBooks, priced at about 4 smackers. Someone may advertise on my blog. Another blogger buys 3 of my audio books. All buys occur while I write this post or perhaps fall within a window where I write 3 posts for my blog.

Passive income can increase exponentially through as many channels as you open, at any time, from all over the globe.

Photo break; me by the roof top pool here in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Owners do not trade time for money. Owners invest money and energy, and build a fortune passively. Why? Owners know passive income potential has no limits, with exponential growth over time. Every one of the top 1,000 wealthiest people on earth worked for FREE for many years to set up passive income that made them the wealthiest people on earth. Although some of these icons may make coin through sky high hourly consulting rates, the billions of their net worth flowed in passively, due to their free service, free help and generous value shared.

Leave the employee mindset of trading time for money behind.

Embrace the owner mindset of opening 1, 2 or 15 passive income streams. Give 99% of your time and energy to creating helpful content and building bonds with top bloggers like Kulwant Nagi. He teaches you how to make money blogging through passive income models and is a fabulous dude too. Follow him.

Feel free to keep an active income model open. Coaching, freelance writing or consulting can be lucrative streams, for sure. But every hour you spend trading time for money, I am creating free content that expands my reach and helps me earn money through 15 passive income streams.

I learned from the great Bob Proctor that multiple sources of passive income can help you live a life of freedom. Years ago, Bob had already opened and earned through 220 passive income streams. No; that is not a typo.

Are you trading time for money, solely?

You better open passive streams and get busy helping people for free.

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Blogging

Law Blogging Trends For 2019 – What’s In And What’s Out

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One of the challenges of maintaining a blog for your law firm is that, while your legal specialty may not undergo significant change, you have to keep developing new content to stay relevant to your audience – and you need to stay on brand. This can be a tough balance to strike, but by keeping up with trends, you can create powerful content that drives readership and increases conversion. Here’s what to expect, and what you need to bring, to the law blogging community in 2019.

In: An Emphasis On Authority

One of the reasons that developing a clear niche has always been important to the law blogging community is that it helps you demonstrate your expertise in that area. In 2019, though, it won’t be enough to demonstrate that authority to your readers; you also need to build authority from a technical perspective – think “domain authority.” Domain authority (DA) is an SEO metric, and it’s at the heart of whether your site attracts traffic.

To boost your DA ranking, you’ll need to ensure your blog is well-equipped from a technical SEO perspective, which means that it has clear navigation, a sitemap, and is easily crawlable by search engines, as well as that it has linkable content. Linkable content will attract the attention of other websites and help you build backlinks, as well as providing readers with added value through quality content. That might mean writing ‘Top 10’ lists or using other popular formats, injecting humor into your writing, or creating your own resource guides. The goal is to keep your audience engaged and participate in an ongoing conversation, not just to churn out content.

Out: Vague Branding

There are a lot of law blogs on the web, and the majority are associated with a specific firm or topic, which gives them clear boundaries and an obvious audience and purpose. One blog that closed shop at the end of 2018, though, “Concurring Opinions,” was widely read despite its lack of affiliation, at least until recently. According to one of the core members, Gerard Magliocca, the blog saw a serious drop off in readership as venues for sharing ideas evolved. In Magliocca’s view, the law professor blog format “only really works if there is a kind of brand identity.” That means this is a critical moment to clarify your brand’s position.

From your logo to your blog niche, it’s vital that your blog serves a clear purpose. Readers should be able to recognize who you are, what your focus is, and even your writing style after going through a few posts. As an added benefit, the more firmly you establish your brand, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to drive traffic from a wide variety of sources. Brand recognition is key to increasing referral traffic and creating conversations across the internet.

In: Increased Creativity

In order to keep the content flowing, legal blogs, especially those that have been around for a while, need to shift away from older content strategies and start thinking outside the box. That means reading blogs outside the field to get inspired and using the skills that make you a great lawyer in the first place. After all, being a lawyer demands complex, abstract thought and the ability to solve problems in new, creative ways. It’s how you argue cases, and it will make your blogs more interesting and fun to read.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s time to start posting memes on your legal blog; they might be a bridge too far. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to engage with popular culture, sharing commentary and analysis. Those topics can bring in readership that wouldn’t otherwise engage with a law blog, with potentially fruitful results. This is also a good way to remain focused on your blog’s topic without becoming repetitive or dull.

Out: The (Too) Long Form

One of the most common trends across all industries is that more people are accessing websites, including blogs, on mobile devices, and that means they’re reading on smaller screens. Writers need to be conscious of this fact and make sure that their posts are accessible in this way. That means covering all of your bases in terms of what Google looks for as part of the mobile-first indexing process, but also trimming your posts.

The fact is, no one wants to read 1500 words on their phone, and if readers aren’t making it to the end of your post and your call to action, you’re not getting the most out of your blog. You need to hit a happy medium in terms of providing sufficient information while also keeping your content brief. Google also prioritizes brevity over length, so you’ll be doing yourself a favor in more ways than one.

Your law firm’s blog is an important tool for building your business, but it’s important to keep up with changing trends. Luckily, with these tips under your belt, your blog posts will draw a growing audience, driving leads and growing your client base. One feeds the other in a powerful relationship.

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