When you blog it’s easy to get carried away on a tangent, and that’s OK. It’s your blog, and it’s your article. You’re free to express your opinion, and that opinion is one of the main reasons why your readers keep coming back for more. But even in expressing your own opinion, it’s helpful to do a little research beforehand.
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Researching your article topic will give you the background you need to effectively convey your opinion, making you a more trusted and noteworthy blogger. This is important because in becoming trustworthy you’re able to attract more regular readers, and you also establish yourself as an authority on your given topic. Your blog traffic is somewhat reliant on your ability to get repeat readers. Since creating trusted article goes towards proving yourself as an authority, it’s important that you get your facts straight.
Here are some basic starter points regarding research for your blog:
Go to the source
If you can, go to the person who knows your topic best. For instance, a news article may involve a company that has updated their product, or has made a public blunder in some way. While it’s sometimes fun to speculate reasons behind a company’s decision-making process in pushing a product update or dealing with a corporate mistake, hearing their side of the story can help you immensely.
Go through your contacts to see if you know anyone at the company. If you don’t, go through your contacts to see if you know anyone that has a connection with the company. Still no luck? Look for the company’s contact information and try to get in touch with someone that can comment about your article topic. For a product update, the company’s marketing team members may be the right people to talk to. For a public blunder, see if you can get a comment from their public relations department.
Most company websites have their contact information, via phone, email or snail mail. But be sure to also check professional websites such as LinkedIn for employees as well as company profiles, and often times you can contact someone from that company via these professional sites. You can also check other social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Many companies have public profiles on these major sites, and you can request information regarding your article topic directly. Lastly, go to the company office if you live nearby.
Use the Internet
While it’s true that you can’t believe everything you read on the Web, you can still find some useful information on just about any topic under the sun. Do a Google search for your topic to see what you can find out. Resource sites such as Wikipedia have a process for updating the site in order to provide a checks & balances system that works towards ensuring the accuracy of their data.
Other blogs can be helpful as well. See what’s been written about previous product updates in order to get a little background for your article. The best part of reading others’ content is the added perspective you’ll gain as a result. Regardless of what they’ve written (good, bad or otherwise), you’ll be able to write a more well-rounded article if you can see all the angles. Remember that blogs are written by individuals, typically in the narrative. So you should still do some fact checking. Other bloggers have to earn your trust, too!
Ask others what they think of your topic. Twitter is a great way to do this, because there’s a potential to receive a good amount of feedback to use as material for your article. Gaining additional points of views will also help you to expand your own understanding of your topic, resulting in a great article.
Look for connections
There’s nothing that makes you look more knowledgeable than knowing the connections behind a particular topic. Find as many connections as you can. Start with the basics and work your way out from there. Who invested in the company, and what other companies did they invest in? Do they have anyone sitting on the board of other companies, and is there any conflict of interest? Could a potential conflict of interest be a reason why the company made the decisions it made?
What else is going on in the industry? Have the company’s competitors done anything recently to spur a new product release? How has the company done in the last quarter, and what affect could this have on the company’s decisions?
These are just a few examples of how you could go about processing your research in order to formulate a viable opinion. If you can’t get any information directly from the company, you’ll have to work with the information you have at hand, but if you show that you’ve at least done your research, readers will still consider you a trusted source.
[image credit: Oklahoma State University]
Do You Need to Make a Huge Blogging Shift?
Sometimes, you get bogged down with your blogging routine. Routines feel comfortable, right?
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But blogging is a feeling game like life is a feeling game. All flows based on your emotions. If you feel really good – first – then you take good feeling blogging actions and over time, with patience and trust, see good feeling blogging results.
Unfortunately, most humans give almost zero thought to their emotions before diving in to a blogging routine. Bloggers believe you need to do something or follow a set routine to succeed, to drive traffic, and to make money. Day after day, year after year, most bloggers follow a routine without giving zero thought to how they are feeling, if they enjoy blogging, if they have fun following the routine, and if they feel detached, patient and trusting in the process.
This is the only reason why as of about 7 years ago, 80% of bloggers never made more than $100 during their blogging careers. If 8 out of 10 humans can not make $100 through blogging over 1, 2, 5 or 10 years, 8 out of 10 bloggers clearly give zero thought to their feelings BEFORE blogging. Feel bad, and you see no money. But those 2 out of 10 bloggers who feel really good make lots of money over the long haul.
Maybe it is time to make a shift, guys.
2-3 months ago I made one shift. 1 month ago I made an even bigger shift; quite huge, for me. But what I did differently made almost zero difference. How I chose to feel marked the big shift, then, I moved into different blogging actions.
For example, I faced some deep fears, felt the fears, and instantly, after feeling pretty crappy for a short time, I felt better and better. Choosing to face fear, clear it, and feel better, helped me see things clearly. I tired of my blogging schedule, my social sharing groups, blog commenting and heavy cross promotion. In truth, I hated it. I did have some fun with each for a while but the passion long left me. Since how you feel before and while you blog means everything, my mindset-feeling shift told me I’d have so much fun guest posting. So as of about 3-4 weeks ago – maybe less – all I do is guest posting because I have fun guest posting and guest posting comes easily to me.
Making the shift involved facing deep fears of failure, loss and struggle. I had to feel the fear of letting go lifeless activities for me – at the time – to clear out the fear, and properly release these strategies, and to move forward so I could feel good, then, decide what blogging actions would feel fun and easy and enjoyable to me.
All shifts happen emotionally first, by your choice. After feeling some muck and then feeling better, you clearly and intuitively feel through the next fun-feeling, enjoyable step.
What About You?
Do you need to make any shifts with your blogging campaign? Or do you need to make one big, sweeping, all-encompassing shift?
Getting caught up in blogging routines feels comfortable, familiar and safe, sometimes. But do you feel good before you begin the routine? Do you feel good working the routine? Do you feel detached, relaxed, trusting and like you are cared for, and prospering, while following your blogging routine?
Be honest to make a necessary shift. If you love following your routine, cool. Proceed. But most humans are taught – me included – to follow some routine (no matter how you feel) to get something, specifically money, so you can avoid failure, struggle, poverty, going hungry, illness, and embarrassment. This is exactly why most humans work jobs. Follow a routine to get money even if you feel really bad or terrible following the work-routine; aka, even if you hate your job and it feels lifeless, or soul-less.
May be time for a big shift guys.
Why Comedians Teach You a Powerful Blogging Lesson
Last night I saw a funny comedian perform in Atlantic City.
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Chris Delia charmed the audience with his silly, somewhat absurd, level of humor.
He also explained how comedians need thick skin to become successful. Humor is a very personal, subjective topic. Some people find some comedians hysterical but never laugh at other comedians. As you imagine, bombing feels terrible to most comedians. At least until they develop a thick skin.
I once read how Kevin Hart often waited until 1 AM to work an open mic. Sometimes he waited until 1 AM and the place closed down so he never got the chance to do his set. Imagine how thick-skinned you need to be to not let that bother you? Is it any wonder why he is now worth $150 million? He became immune to criticism, failure and rejection. As a matter of fact, after developing a thick skin, he likely did not see criticism, failure or rejection.
All those evenings of 1 AM sets in front of 1-2 lifeless people or all those nights of being told to go home at 1 AM after waiting for hours to do his act purged the fear of criticism, failure and rejection from his being. Void of these fears, he rose up to being one of the most famous, wealthy and powerful comedians on earth.
Bloggers Need Thick Skin
I once promoted a course to the tune of 8000 page views before I sold one copy. Did I quit promoting the course? No. I developed a thick skin during the process. I did not see 8000 rejections. I only saw meeting and helping more human beings through my blog. Even during moments when I felt like giving up I trusted in myself and believed in the blogging process. Quitting and failure were no options for me. But in the same vein, I needed to be thick skinned to see through criticism, rejection and failure.
I needed to be aware of opportunity amid the appearance of nobody reading my blog. Toss in being patient and persistent in helping folks during my most trying times and you have a pretty thick-skinned individual.
Do Not Care What People Think
Chris Delia shared how he could care less what people thought about him. He dressed down a few hecklers during the show.
Comedians succeed because they care less about what people think of their acts; being heckled, ignored or criticized had nothing to do with their belief in self and their belief in their comedic style.
As a blogger, give no thought to what people think of you. Guess what? You cannot control your reputation. No matter how long and hard you work in life to maintain a positive reputation, you can never physically control what people think of you. I am largely a nice guy 99.99% of the time yet some people genuinely hate me. I cannot control their demons. Plus I know we see the world as we see ourselves so if someone hates themselves I cannot do anything about that self-loathing.
Focus on yourself. Focus on what you think about yourself because this is the only thing that matters. Being comfortable in your own skin aligns you with loving, loyal followers who appreciate you for who you are. Let go everybody else. Critics form an energetic yoke if you care about their thoughts but dissolve into thin air when you could care less about what they think of you.
Bloggers become successful because these few folks who have thick skins shine brightly in a world of thin-skinned bloggers who fear criticism, judgment and rejection. The few who step it up do wonders because we all want a piece of free spirits who march to the beat of their own drum without caring what people think, say or do, in response or reaction to them simply being themselves.
Do You Have an Exit Plan for Your Blog?
This past week I ceased sharing posts in blogging tribes.
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I finally got it; I joined tribes because I feared unless I shared other blogger content, nobody would read my content. I feared if nobody shared my content, nobody reads my content, and I needed to share other blogger content to effectively influence bloggers and people to share mine. Ouch.
As you can imagine, I put in many long, hard hours working a job, NEEDING to be online to succeed with my blog. Rewind. Working a job. Did you see this phrase? I worked a job. I needed to be online to succeed. Largely, at least. Does that sound like a business owner to you? Does that sound like leveraging? Sure I drive some passive traffic and profits to my blog but being honest, I largely worked a job and had a job for much of my 10 years online, and I did not have a pure business so I could step away from my blog and business for months, at a time. Or, forever.
I have more of an exit plan now. I have a blogging business. I am writing my tail off to be in as many spots as possible without relying on sharing tribes and other groups that require me to be online, to social share posts, so other people can social share my posts, so I get traffic and profits. I began to think; what am I doing? I mean, if you love joining social sharing tribes, do it. Nice friendship builder. But you need to have some exit plan with your business and need to see how you can step away one day so it is about a 100% passive income machine – or, so you can sell it at a tidy profit – in order for you to be a free entrepreneur, versus a bound employee.
I am having so much fun writing blog posts and guest posts daily. Plus it is easy peasy. Every piece of content is forever, unless all these blogs vanish or get closed out by all these bloggers. Fat chance. Plus I can drive to Atlantic City today with my wife and enjoy a show this afternoon into evening and my business will still grow from a heavy passive element. Even though I am online writing this morning, all my blog posts and guest posts serve as a passive promotional army for the Blogging From Paradise blog and brand.
Imagine me trying to social share other blogger posts as I am driving down the Parkway? Not happening.
Network. Have fun making friends. Build a rock solid foundation for your blog. But eventually, evolve into someone who leverages your presence so you work a business, not a job. Any strategy 100% dependent on you being online, sharing blogger content so other bloggers share your content and boost your success, is a job, not a business, because you are tied to the online world and have no exit strategy, and a light passive element to your blogging business.
Gradually place less emphasis on networking online. Focus on purely passive elements, like writing more blog posts and guest posts, which last forever. Humans change, quit, fail, change tastes; you never want to be at the mercy of the fickle human beast. Unless all blogs close down, all of those blog posts and guest posts you wrote are pretty much forever.
Focusing a bit more on things – things helping people – helps you leverage your blog and business powerfully so you can make an exit plan and step away from your blogging business for 1, 2 or 3 months. I know bloggers who take vacations for months; everything keeps growing money-wise because they leverage, and are not dependent on people for cash flow, because their system creates the cash flow.
Trust in the process plays a big role too.
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