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A Quick Start Guide to Getting the Most from Guest Posting

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We greatly value the work of guest bloggers on this blog as they have contributed some of the blog’s best content; however, it is important to manage the guest writers correctly for the benefit of both us and them.  Below are the top fifteen points to help you get the most out of guest blogging.

A guest blogger can be a highly useful asset, particularly since we have a small editorial team and need to produce large amounts of content.  The majority of the articles on this blog are written by the editorial team, but other content contributions come from elsewhere in the company and from guest bloggers.  

Using guest bloggers we are able to obtain various perspectives on digital issues from others who are ‘in the field’ from clients and agencies.  Furthermore, the guest blogger can become a ‘cheerleader’ for the blog promoting the content to their own networks. In short, the guest blogger can be valuable and significant for different blogs.

How Can I Get The Most From A Guest Blogger?

For a blog’s editor, the trick to getting the most from a guest blogger is to make the correct choices.  This is not always simple, but here is how I try to achieve this task:

1 – Ask For Ideas

If the blogger has a track record of blogging, this can be helpful because you can review the quality of his or her writing.  If not, then it is recommended that you request that the potential guest blogger submit ideas for articles they wish to write for your site.  This will also allow you to offer early feedback for the individual.

2 – Agree On Different Topics And Themes In Advance

One problem facing several bloggers working on a single site is that, while all people want to write about social media and content marketing, there are often gaps in the less ‘glamorous’ areas including affiliate marketing.  By agreeing on topics in advance, you will help the guest blogger locate their niche on your blog and assist in avoiding any duplicate content.

3 – Be Selective

Given the vast amount of guest blogging offers we receive, it is essential that we are selective.  In fact, the volume of submissions makes it more challenging to respond to all the requests and sort the proverbial wheat from the chaff.

I can now understand Bas van den Beld’s frustration regarding guest blogging and his decision deny future submissions for guest blogging positions.  While we do not want to stop accepting applicants, the number of low-quality requests for guest blogging is becoming annoying.

So, my advice in this situation is to only accept the guest posts that you know will be good and of interest to your target audience.  While you cannot tell if the content is good until the individual submits a post, do not be afraid to reject the post or request rewrites.

4 – Setting Standards

We are sent numerous articles regularly which are obviously written as a means of ticking the guest post box and not to submit an article of substance.  I have seen various posts that are 400 or 500 words, but only words of waffle with very little true content. This does not work and will portray the blogger in a poor light.

When discussing guest blogging it is important that you make it clear what the quality level is regarding content for the site.

5 – Setting Expectations

I have been referring writers to lists similar to this whereby we explain our guest blogging criteria; however, I am creating a new checklist as it is clear that certain people are not reading the original list.  

It is important that you make your blogging expectations clear from the beginning because this will allow people to make informed decisions as to whether they want to write for your site.  If you do have expectations marked out, it should include the type of content you want, the frequency of posting, etc. In our situation, we require insight and best practice tips from our guest bloggers, not infographics, interviews or news articles.

6 – Promoting The Use Of Pictures

Believe it or not, posts do look more appealing with screenshots and charts to demonstrate the points being made by guest bloggers.  The images break up the text and evidence shows that it is more likely that people will read on.  Getting guest bloggers to use pictures in these ways reduces the workload of the editor.

7 – Ensure They Know About Your Blog

While I do not expect all guest bloggers to be avid readers of our website when they begin contributing, it does help if they are familiar with the site’s content.  In fact, I would agree that the majority of our best guest bloggers have success because they understand the blog’s audience, the content, what works, and the gaps that need to be filled.  If a person arrives at your website by randomly searching for guest blogging opportunities, then it is likely that the content will be low-quality.

8 – Provide A Clear Style Guide

According to matthewwoodward.co.uk, style and formatting are highly significant to our blog and posts need to be informative, but also simple to read.  Taking these points into account, we have formed a blog style guide providing guest bloggers with content writing expectations, an example of how the posts should look, and which hateful marketing jargon they should avoid.  In fact, if I happen to see the terms ‘leverage’ or ‘paradigm’ in a guest post I can be certain that they have not read our style guide.

9 – Speaking Directly With The Guest Blogger

I do not want to dismiss all the guest blogger submissions we receive via PR agencies, but I find it helps to have a direct conversation with the blogger before accepting their content. Using this conversation, you can be sure that your points have been put across and feedback can be passed on quickly. It also ensures that the guest posts are not written by a third-party. To learn more about other blogs that accept guest posts and how to get in touch with the owner of such sites, be sure to check out this list of sites.

10 – Avoiding Any Self-Promotion

While I indicate that there will not be self-promotion with guest blogging on our website, I still receive articles containing phrases such as ‘using our industry-leading solutions’.  These are similar to press releases and, while I understand it can be difficult to pass up opportunities to talk about your own work, blatant self-promotion should be avoided entirely.

11 – Do Not Spend Too Much Time On Bloggers

While you can provide expectations for content and offer feedback on the guest posts, if the blogger does not ‘get it’ you must not be afraid to cast him or her aside.  Why waste time working with these bloggers when you could be writing your own original content.

12 – Creating An Author Biography

The standard author biography can be used for guest bloggers and this ensures that no person can require ‘juicy’ anchor text or leading SEO phrases to describe themselves as content gurus.  Our standard biography allows a guest blogger to describe their job title, the company, and offer the readers some options on how to contact them once they finish reading the article.

13 – Ensure The Articles Are Exclusive

There are several reasons why the articles must be exclusive.  Firstly, you do not want to risk the chance of producing duplicate content and facing these issues with Google.  Secondly, you do not want to use the same post that has been placed on another person’s blog.

14 – Providing Constructive Feedback

You cannot expect a guest blogger to submit perfect posts the first time, and if they wish to improve they will appreciate your feedback.  Tell them why you have changed certain items in the post and what types of things can be done to improve the next post. It can take guest bloggers several posts to gain their stride, but once they have momentum it means consistent content and less work for the editor.

If you currently have a website, blog, or online brand, be sure to start implementing these simple steps into your guest posting efforts, and you will definitely start seeing better response rates, approvals, and SEO across the board.

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Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Blogging

What Is the Harshest Blogging Wake Up Call?

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My harshest blogging wake up call occurred nearly a decade ago.

I would write and publish one post weekly. I spent 1 hour writing and publishing the post.

I spent the rest of the week:

  • watching TV
  • watching YouTube
  • working out
  • hanging out with friends

After a good year of following this routine I saw a few visitors to my blog daily. I recall 3 daily visitors for many months, stumbled upon my blog.

I experienced a big time blogging wake up call; you cannot build a successful blog by listening to music and watching TV all day long, minus the 1-2 hours you spend blogging, weekly.

The harshest wake up call: blogging gives you what you give blogging.

Blogging Gives You What You Give Blogging

I know of a few bloggers who complain about having terrible business prospects. When will they get more clients? When will they get more traffic? When will they make more money? I mean, they have been blogging for 5 to 10 years already. Things should be growing SO much more quickly right now, they say.

These individuals will get more clients when they stop watching Netflix all day. Do you want to be a professional Netflix watcher or a professional blogger? Pro Netflix watchers spend hours daily watching Netflix. Not sure how well that job pays. Professional bloggers spend 6-8-10 hours daily:

  • creating helpful content through your blog, through guest posts and through videos
  • building your friend network by generously promoting other bloggers and by genuinely commenting on their blogs
  • freely promoting your premium products and services through each piece of content you create
  • generously following the prior 3 steps for months

The person who follows each bullet point for months, then years, sees more and more clients. Traffic increases over time. Blogging profits increase over time. Blogging gives them what they give blogging.

Janice Wald is always after it. She’s a hustler. Follow her for inspiration.

Ditto for Saurabh Tiwari. He is one of the most dedicated bloggers I know. Follow him for inspiration.

Do Not Fight Good Advice

I have personally coached bloggers who fight my smart advice. These people say networking is not for them. These folks resist creating content because they do not want to force it. This crowd ignores good advice, then goes back to watching Netflix or sports for the next 3 hours.

If you fight good blogging advice, you will struggle and fail. It has to be that way; you are doing the opposite of what it takes to succeed. Put your ego to the side. Follow smart advice. Succeed.

Listen to the guy with this home office in Thailand. He knows what he’s talking about.

Your mind wants you to fail because it fears the fears you need to face to become a successful blogger. I feared facing deep fears years ago, so spent most of my time and energy doing everything BUT blogging. You may nod, then, go back to watching Netflix or YouTube for the next 2 hours. 2 weeks down the road, after you spent only 2 hours of your time and energy blogging daily, you feel frustrated and want to quit because you have signed up no new clients, money seems to be running out and no business looks promising, on the horizon.

It is 100% YOUR CHOICE to spend 6 hours watching Netflix today and 2 hours blogging. You are doing this. You are making this choice.

It is 100% YOUR CHOICE to make a massive shift; spend 8 hours creating content and building connections, today.

Blogging just mirrors back to you your choices and energy, you make every waking hour of every day.

Right now, you have the next 8-10 hours to generously help people through creating and networking, or you choose to focus on yourself, watching TV, streaming Netflix, hanging out with friends.

Spend those 8-10 hours daily blogging for 3-6 months, and eventually, you will see more clients.

100% your choice, your decision, your energy, your commitment to blogging success.

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Blogging

5 Blog Monetization Tips to Grow Your Passive Income

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blog monetization tips

As a blogger these days, sharing information is no longer enough.

Monetizing your knowledge is key to a profitable blogging lifestyle.

Of course, the goal is to always increase your earnings.

Whether it’s tweaking your current strategies or learning new ones, there’s always room for bloggers like you to grow your revenue.

In this post, you will let learn how to monetize a blog even more using the tried-and-true tactics below.

The blog monetization tips you must take to heart

The tips below should help you maximize the earnings from your blog.

None of the advice should yield an “a-ha” moment from you if you’re a seasoned blogger.

However, you must at least draw inspiration from these practical blog monetization tips. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that make a big difference.

1. Fortify your SEO strategy

Whether you’re new to affiliate marketing or not, you should know better than to do SEO on your blog.

It’s the best way to generate tons of traffic that lead to conversions and sales.

However, here’s a frequent mistake that most affiliate marketers do:

They only optimize their blog’s on-page SEO.

As crucial as on-page SEO is, it’s just half the battle.

And as a result, their half-baked SEO campaign leaves their blog rankings a tad below the first page of organic search results.

If you’re like these affiliate marketers and want to increase your rankings, then you must:

  • Build backlinks from high-quality sites
  • Research your competitors and observe their every move; take action to their plans using the data you’ve gathered
  • Monitor your backlinks and see whether you gained or lost them; find a way to get back the lost backlinks

These tasks sound like a pain in the neck. And I’m not going to lie – they are!

That’s why you need to use a tool that can help you manage all these SEO tasks for your blog.

In the crowded SEO market, I suggest that you use Serpstat.

It’s a fairly new tool that’s powerful enough to help you organize your on- and off-page SEO responsibilities.

serpstat

I wrote my unprejudiced review of the tool and I still feel it’s one of the most budget-friendly SEO tools out there.

2. Track your conversion rates using a heat-mapping tool

If you want to grow your blog’s revenue, you must scale it.

You need to know how much you’re earning and why you’re earning as much as you are now.

And you can’t do that without a heat-mapping tool.

It helps identify which parts of the page people click on the most.

Clearly, you want visitors to click on the right buttons on the page.

So if they’re clicking on all your links except your “Buy Now” button for your online course or your Google Adsense blocks, then something’s wrong!

With a tool like Crazy Egg, you’ll find out why.

You didn’t place the button or link on the section of the page where visitors can clearly see it.

Or the appearance of the button is preventing it from generating clicks.

With Crazy Egg, you never have to guess.

It lets you benchmark your content’s conversion rate and put different factors to the test!

You can change the appearance of your button, move it from one place to another – anything to hike up your page’s click-through rate!

If done correctly, you can enjoy greater conversion rates and greater revenue down the line.

3. Improve your content’s conversion abilities

Sometimes, your content – for a lack of a better word – stinks.

Even if you are a native English speaker, your choice of words can spell doom for your blog’s performance.

Here’s the thing:

You need to know who your audience is.

That makes you need to be aware of the words you’re typing in your content.

If you’re catering to women, you can’t use masculine words in the post. They will turn off your audience and leave your blog. And vice versa.

Unless you have the powers to get inside your reader’s minds, you can settle for Webtexttool instead.

webtexttool

It works similar to Yoast SEO for WordPress. The difference is that Webtexttool analyzes your content’s ability to convert.

It takes different factors into consideration such as:

  • Ease of readability
  • Text credibility
  • Target audience
  • Sentiment
  • Text layout

The tool provides an aggregate score of these factors. The higher the score, the more effective your content is.

It also shows areas of improvement for your content so you can work on them.

4. Share your site’s key metrics

If you’re offering banner space to advertising opportunities for brands, then you need to know this:

Advertisers want visibility.

They’ll be paying you to feature their banner on your blog.

But they won’t part ways with their money that easy.

You need to give them a reason why they should.

The quality of your site should speak volumes regarding this.

If you have a site that generates a least a thousand visitors every day, then you must be fielding offers on a regular.

If not, then maybe your site isn’t on that level yet. After all, advertisers won’t invest on a site that can’t even draw below a hundred visitors every day.

OR…

Maybe they just don’t know much about your blog yet.

So show vital metrics of your site’s performance!

Here are things you can feature:

  • Traffic from Google Analytics
  • SEO metrics such as Moz DA, Ahrefs DR, Majestic Flow Metrics, Alexa ranking, etc.
  • Social media followers and email subscribers (goes to show your reach outside your blog)

 

Showing off these metrics give advertisers a better idea of what your blog is about.

The higher the metrics, the more opportunities will come pouring your way!

5. Publish a blogging income report religiously

I bet you are familiar with Pat Flynn’s now-defunct income report every month:

smart passive income monthly income report

Pat’s last published income report was in December 2017.

He’s one of the first guys who did it in this space.

The income reports are very useful for marketers who are interested in building a passive income.

The goal is not to make people feel small. Nor is the purpose to brag your earnings.

Here’s the real objective of income reports:

Evangelizing your audience.

Documenting your journey towards profitability helps you connect with like-minded people who share the same path as you.

At the same time, you are transparent to your readers with your business practices.

You open the dialogue between you and your readers above what worked and what didn’t. You then are able to build a brand by sharing things that helped you grow your income and that people can replicate.

So, the question remains:

“How exactly can I earn from income reports?”

Simple – here are a few ways:

  • Use the income reports to drum up interest to your online course about (drum roll please)…how to grow your blogging income
  • Same as above but, instead of an online course, you’re selling an ebook about passive income
  • Get feedback from readers and exchange ideas on how to improve your process and make more money

These are just three quick ideas off the top of my head. You probably have more ideas in you right now. Use them!

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Blogging

How to Deal with Travel Blogger Trolls

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Have you picked up my eBook for dealing with blogging criticism?

This could be a helpful read if you don’t know how to effectively deal with blogging trolls.

I read a post from rocking blogger Jo Karnaghan on a travel blogging group run by Meg Jerrard. Jo encountered her first dyed in the wool, major league, travel blogging troll. For the uninitiated, trolls are critics. But we are initiated, aren’t we, Bruce? (I work Batman lines into posts.)

I recall writing a Huffington Post piece advising folks visit Turkey after the coup attempt. I spent a month there 1 week after the attempt. A few folks sent angry messages telling me I was not responsible, assailing me for making such a suggestion, in nasty fashion.

Dealing with trolls feels uncomfortable. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to crawl into your blogging cave, to avoid these folks? Nope. All exponential growth ends if you pull back after meeting a travel blogging troll or 2.

Follow these tips to effectively deal with blogging critics.

1: You Are a Mirror

Travel bloggers; you are not the object of criticism. You are a mirror, reflecting back to the critic something about themselves. All criticism is a projection, since we are all connected. All trolls speak of themselves. Trolls say nothing about you. Knowing this, you can breathe a bit more easily, because it is not about you.

2: Cultivate Compassion

I am typing these words in a sleepy village in Northern Thailand. Pretty cool experience.

I imagine how angry and in pain I’d have to be, to send an email to Jo, like the email she shared. I imagine how fear-filled and in pain I’d need to be, to message me as trolls-critics have messaged me in the past. These people are not sick; they are afraid and in pain, calling out for attention in bizarre fashion, one way fear-filled, pained people call out for attention.

Have some compassion for critics. Critics suffer. Otherwise, they would not be critics.

3: Turn Complaints into Creations

Commonly, we travel bloggers do a bit of complaining in response to critics, or troll-slaying. But turning the complaint into a helpful:

  • blog post
  • video
  • podcast
  • eBook; like mine above (or below)

is a smart way to help people and to prosper.

Complaining about critics or fighting trolls or trying to prove right-wrong, all waste your energy. Ultimately, you learn from criticism or you regress by fighting critics, or, by fighting your feelings.

4: Be with Feelings

I recall facing my first few angry critics. Embarrassment, rage, anger, fraud-feelings, annoyance and all types of fear-based energies coursed through my being, indicating a part of me agreed with them. I saw truth in their criticism. I sat with the fear, felt it, cleared it, and freed myself of fear-fight-fright. Clearing fear-fight-fright allowed me to see future trolls as pained, afraid people I could release instantly. No wasted energy on these folks.

Do not fight troll-induced fear-pain. You need to clear it to handle criticism with grace, ease and detachment.

5: Do Not Gang Troll Bash

Again; newbie bloggers or newbie troll facers often share updates of their encounter, leading to mass troll bashing. Not good. Not effective use of energy. No human benefits from a large group of hurt, pained, afraid bloggers saying, “Hey that guy’s a freaking jerk!”, because the troll is not a jerk, but afraid. Have you been afraid? I have. No sense kicking a dog when it is down. No sense showing your fear-pain by piling on, because only unclear, unfocused folks spend time or energy judging an obviously hurting, afraid individual.

Trolls actually like what you do. If they did not like what you did, these critics would ignore you.

Betcha you didn’t think of criticism that way, eh?

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