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How to Create Content that Actually Works? Our 5 Secret Ingredients

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The internet is flooded with content. Texts, videos, images — we consume hundreds of pieces of content every day without even noticing it. But, how many of them actually hit the target?

As a business, your primary goal is to get noticed, to get heard. So, if the content you create doesn’t resonate with the audience, you are pouring your money down the drain.

As a self-funded startup targeting a highly competitive SaaS market, we at Chanty learned firsthand how hard it is to build a solid content marketing process from scratch. Yet, we had no choice but to make it work. And so we did.

In this article, we want to share our secret recipe for crafting the content that converts.

So, if you are planning to start a blog or promote your business online, here are the 5 ingredients that can spice up your content and make it work.

  1. Write about what your readers want to read

Creating the content which is relevant to your readers and resonates with them is the key to success. Yet, finding the right topics to cover on your blog is always a challenge.

A good idea would be to start your search at a place your readers go looking for the answers to their questions — Google search. Popular search queries can be a great source of inspiration for your content. You can even explore regional interests by changing your IP address through the use of VPN servers and exploring local Google yourself.

The approach worked out pretty well for us. Namely, it turned out that many people are searching for alternatives to the well-known products. In our case, they were looking for team communication tools to substitute Slack and other popular messengers.

Such queries also clearly had a very high buying intent, so we gave it a shot.

We wrote a series of articles dedicated to the team chat comparison and created several landing pages optimized for “… alternative” keywords. As a result, our website traffic grew threefold while conversions hit 10%.

Takeaway? Don’t write for the sake of writing. Answer to your readers’ questions. Educate them. Offer solutions to their problems.

1 – Create content that earns trust

Customer loyalty begins with trust. No one will buy from a company that doesn’t seem reliable or is being dishonest with its customers. So, you need to establish credibility as a brand through the content you produce and share.

Make sure that your content is well-researched and based on facts, regardless of the topic you cover. Always give proper credit to the data you quote in your articles.

A great way to establish credibility is to create opinion pieces or expert roundups. To start with, you can reach out to the fellow startupers and ask for their comments or participate in such roundups yourself.

For example, our piece on How to get beta testers for a startup turned out to be a legit investment. The experts we included in the roundup were glad to share the piece and spread it across their networks, helping us get the visibility and build trust.

2 – Always add value

What is the main purpose of your content?

To get your website to the first page of Google search? To drive traffic to your website? To make the readers buy your product or service?

If your answer to any of the given questions is “yes,” you are getting the content marketing wrong. It’s all about adding value first.

A generic or boring article won’t help you convert the readers into customers. Neither will it help you rank higher in Google search. Yet, original and insightful content will.

Your content should be filled with real-life evidence, your own hands-on experience, and original insights. Namely, the comparison articles we mentioned earlier wouldn’t bring half of the results if it wasn’t for the original, in-depth (and unbiased) analysis they featured.

For example, in our seven-messenger test drive article, we got to the core of the team chat tools comparison. We didn’t go around singing our praises but conducted thorough research and tried to help our readers make the right choice instead.

The effort paid off well enough. The article spurred the conversation on our blog and had really positive feedback.

Feedback from the grateful readers.

3 – Channel your inner Hemingway

Even the brightest and the most valuable article can get dusty in your blog if it is impossible to read or understand. Of course, using proper grammar and following common style best practices go without saying. However, there are many more things you can do to make your content readable.

First of all, always speak the same language as you readers. Don’t overcrowd your content with unnecessary jargon, buzzwords or scientism in attempt to sound smart or trendy. Breaking the text into smaller paragraphs, using bullet lists, quotes or subheaders will make your articles easier to read.

You can also use some graphics here and there to liven up your articles. Adding a dash of humor never hurt nobody either!

Combo: an image we used in our article which is both funny and meaningful in terms of the article content.

4 – Spread the word

Once you create the perfect piece of content, it’s time to share it like mad. And by “share” I don’t mean just social networks. There are many ways to spread your content across all marketing channels. One of the best ways to accomplish this, is through the use of automated marketing tools. Many platforms will work with manual outreach and promotion, but this can add up to a lot of time-wasted, when plenty of automated options exist.

Guest posting is one of them. Getting your content posted on other resources with a bigger audience and higher credibility is a proven strategy for earning valuable backlinks as well as establishing credibility and growing your audience.

Featuring articles on such reputable resources as Hubspot, Entrepreneur, Foundr, Search Engine Journal, SemRush, Marketo, etc. was quite a journey for us as well. Yet, putting our name in front of millions of readers was definitely worth the effort.

On the other hand, if you accept guest posts, you can expect your contributors to share the articles with their network and get you some extra visibility on social media (as well as a good deal of traffic).

5 – Don’t be overly promotional

There’s nothing more frustrating than heading to the corporate blog, tempted with a promising title, just to see another ad in a shiny wrapper. Even if you choose to promote your product or service, avoid sounding too salesy at any cost. Educate your readers rather than try to bluntly sell your product.

Brand loyalty and trust can win you more revenue down the road than a one-time sale.

Need an example of how to best accomplish this? Take a look at the comparison chart at HealthyHandyMan.com, and how they list out the best benchtop jointers for sale on the internet today. We are all sick and tired of reaching long text articles, and want more visuals. This is simply one of the best ways to give your audience what they want, while also increasing conversions in the process!

Wrapping Up

As you can see, there’s no magic involved in creating the content that drives results. The recipe is simple: a cup of value and original insights, a tablespoon of credibility, and a dash of humor.

Yet, there is one secret ingredient that can make any article even better. It’s the value, the genuine desire to be useful to your readers. Only the content with a clear value will reach its target and bring the expected results.

What’s your strategy for creating the content that converts? Share your hacks in the comments.

 

Author bio: Olga Mykhoparkina is a Chief Marketing Officer at Chanty a simple AI-powered business messenger and a single notification center. This powerful and free Slack alternative is aimed to increase team productivity and improve communication at work. Having a 9-year experience in digital marketing field, Olga is responsible for Chanty’s online presence strategy, managing an amazing team of marketing experts and getting things done to change the way teams communicate and collaborate. Follow Olga on Twitter or feel free to connect on LinkedIn.

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My name is Foxy, and my job is to sniff out the good guest bloggers from the ones who aren't. This post was written by a contributing author to Blogging Tips. If you would like to learn more about becoming a writer (not one-time guest blogging) for BloggingTips.com, please contact us.

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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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