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Guest Blogging – How to Make It Count

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When I got into this thing called blogging six months ago, I quickly realized that the best thing I had going for me was an experienced mentor who was willing to tolerate my inane questions

I knew absolutely nothing.  And I had a million questions.  The first of which was, how do I grow my new website?

One of the first things he told me with regard to growing my new baby blog was that if I wrote it well enough, other bloggers might invite me to appear on their sites as a guest blogger.  And that of all the strategies for attracting readers and new subscribers, this would be the most productive.

Having tried all the strategies by now, I have to conclude he was right.

A Comment on Commenting

I’d done my share of commenting on other sites – the blue collar growth strategy of blogging – and it works to some slow extent if you offer edgy and value-adding  content. 

Here’s what I didn’t expect, though, based on his prognostications.  My inbox wasn’t exactly deluged with invitations to post articles on the sites of others.  Only one, actually, and from one of the biggest writing sites on the internet.

Made my mentor look like a genius.

But the others – and there have been well over 30 guest appearances thus far, a pace of well over one per week – I had to make happen on my own. 

Scoring a guest gig is like selling a magazine article.

First you write a query letter, you submit samples (that’s easy in our game, we simply provide our URL), you pitch an interesting angle for content their readers will appreciate, and you take your chances.

Having sold a big fat bundle articles in my day, I knew how to play that game.

Very quickly, though, I realized how different things are here in Blogland.   Because while magazines aren’t really interested at all in who you are, those who host guest posts actually care about that stuff.

Why?  Because the central theme of blogging is community.  Hosting site owners are as interested in you as they are in what you’d like to write about.  Provided, of course, it delivers value to their readers.

The Central Strategy of Guest Blogging

Here’s the most empowering thing I’ve learned about guest posting thus far.

Don’t be afraid to write a core article about the most fundamental essence of your blogging brand. 

A guest blog is like being introduced to an auditorium full of people who accept you because the host has already endorsed you.  This is your chance – perhaps your only chance – to make an impression. 

So do you talk about what your host is up to, or what you’re up to?

The answer might surprise you. 

The best strategy – one that serves you and your host – is to deliver your core message, rather than trying to shape content that seems to fit with the host’s brand, or worse, is something anybody could put out there.

How To Be Somebody

The objective is to evolve from nobody to somebody, without going anywhere near being perceived as just anybody.

I recently had a post on Problogger.net, thanks in no small part to mentioning the host by name right here on Bloggingtips.com, prompting the fellow who runs that site to get in touch and throw open the door.

So did I write about what Darren is doing there?  Not exactly.  He didn’t need me – and didn’t ask me – for that purpose. 

Instead, I wrote about my thing, which is called The Six Core Competencies of Successful Storytelling, a developmental model for fiction writers.

Why would Darren allow me on his site for that

Because I found a way to make it relevant to his readers.  And in doing so, presented a clear picture of what my site is all about.

That’s the secret to successful guest blogging.  Don’t try to become your host, remain true to yourself and your brand and write about that

If you can show how your core message adapts to and benefits the host’s readers, they’ll not only accept your self-invited guest post, they’ll have you back. 

Larry Brooks is the creator of Storyfix.com, an instructional website for novelists and screenwriters.  He is the author of Story Structure – Demystified, which is one of two ebooks on writing available through his site.

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Avoid this Blogging Wake Up Call to Enjoy the Journey

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Blogging need not be a lesson in harsh wake up calls. You can and will largely enjoy the journey by knowing this: success finds generous bloggers. Let that idea firmly impress onto your mind. Be with it. Allow the idea to worm its way into your consciousness until being generous becomes part of your being. Helping people for free boosts your skills and increases your exposure. Skilled bloggers with massive exposure become successful.

But one wake up call seems to find most bloggers who refuse to learn this lesson. Bloggers need to struggle, fail and suffer because they try to get money and traffic by focusing solely on receiving methods, versus giving generously of their time and talents. Imagine this scenario; a blogger writes and publishes one blog post weekly. Cool. But the blogger sits around and does nothing else blogging-wise for the remainder of the week. Hmmmm…this is not being generous, guys. This is being stingy. Bad move. At week’s end, the blogger did not make a penny of profits. Panicking, the blogger immediately analyzes their various income streams. How can they maximize profits through the streams? What is wrong with their income streams? Did they pick the right streams? Or did they pick the wrong streams? What gives?

Struggling bloggers then spend 2, 3 or 5 hours analyzing their income streams, focusing all of their attention and energy on the GETTING aspect of their blogging campaign. Terrible idea. Why? The reason why you struggle to get is because you refuse to give generously of your time, energy and talents. The income streams? Nope; not a problem. Your lack of generosity is the problem. The wake up call is most bloggers focus heavily on getting when struggling to drive traffic and profits when they should be focused heavily on giving generously. Giving generously leads to greater blogging profits. Instead of writing and publishing one blog post weekly, how about writing and publishing 2-3 posts weekly, weaving some stories into your blog posts?  How about you spend 4-8 hours daily generously reading blog posts, commenting genuinely on blog posts, promoting other bloggers and yes, promoting yourself, too?

Put in the giving time to make getting easier and easier. No need to slam into the cold, hard wake up call of focusing selfishly inward, trying to pin your struggles on inanimate, lifeless income streams. You have a giving problem, buddy. Time to be generous. Time to step it up. Write a guest post daily or perhaps, every 2-3 days. Go ahead. Do it. Begin video marketing. Build bonds with bloggers. Help them out. Practice writing. Gain invites to guest post on blogs from your niche. Blogging becomes more fun, more enjoyable and flat out easier if you put in the time, generously helping folks.

Focus heavily on giving. Your star will shine if you generously serve people. On the contrary, blogging and life become so much harder if you obsess over your income streams, analyzing, over analyzing, focusing, wasting precious time and energy on getting, when you should be giving more freely. Blogging feels more fun, too, when you focus heavily on giving, because we were designed to give, to be generous and to serve folks. Doesn’t it feel amazing to help people? Of course, it does. Enjoy the blogging journey and avoid this painful wake up call….plus….you get to sleep in, hehehe 😉

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The Importance of Digital Marketing Research for Brands in 2020

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One of the key aspects of launching successful marketing campaigns is to conduct market research beforehand. This is no different when marketing on the internet. Digital marketing research is crucial to successful digital marketing, and without it, one can quickly blow through their budget without seeing any type of ROI at all.

A perfect example of this can be seen in social media marketing, where billions of ad impressions are served hourly. The same is also true with paid media marketing and pay per click marketing within Google. There is simply way too much information and user views out there, and if you aren’t careful and are using paid advertising–you could blow through a large budget in a short period of time.

If you have been neglecting digital marketing research prior to launching your campaigns, read on to learn the importance of digital marketing research and why you need to get on the bandwagon!

Digital Marketing Research

Market research helps the marketer understand the market and the trends. The information received can be used to develop a sound marketing strategy. Having an understanding of your audience and how to communicate with them is key to growing your business.

But, how do you go about implementing digital marketing research?

Here’s how:

Eyes on the Audience

First, you must know who your audience is. Your business should have a niche target demographic to reach out to. Once you have established who this target audience is, you will have a better idea of how to communicate with them directly.

After you have identified your audience, you will need to get to know them better. You want to know their behavior patterns: how often they shop, what they shop for, what their preferred products are. Using a survey is a great option to ask your target audience questions to garner information about them.

And even better, if you do plan on collecting any type of data from your audience, you should definitely consider your options with remarketing afterward. By this, you can start running Google Ads or Facebook Ads campaigns that target only the audiences that you’ve selected (whether that be through pixel or email data).

Social Media Marketing and Other Digital Platforms

Once you have established your audience, you want to use social media and other digital platforms to market to them. Note: in your survey, it is best to ask them which platforms they prefer.

Essentially, you will be adopting a multi-channel marketing approach to reach your target audience. This means that you will be using different digital platforms to reach your audience, be it through content, social media, or messaging systems such as email, chat, or text messages.

Your market research will tell you which is the best platform to reach your demographic. For example, if your audience are teenagers and young adults – you may opt to use Snapchat and Instagram for marketing campaigns.

An older audience would prefer Facebook or even traditional platforms such as email for newsletters. And of course, if targeting professionals then LinkedIn is your platform of choice.

Who Can Help You and Who Can Challenge You

The importance of digital marketing research extends to knowing who can help grow your brand and who your competitors are.

A prominent aspect of digital marketing is the use of influencers. Use your marketing research to seek out these influencers and ask them if they can help promote your brand. For example, if you ran a company that sold protein powder, you would want to find fitness models who could endorse your products.

Similarly, use your marketing research to learn who your competition is. You can also look at their marketing campaigns to get an idea of what you are up against.

Get The Ball Rolling

Now that you have learned about digital marketing research, it is time to get the ball rolling. By following each of the recommended steps and methods above, there is no reason why you shouldn’t see improved numbers across the board. Digital marketing is changing all of the time, and so are the ways in which you can target and reach new audiences.

Research your target audience and ask them what their needs are. Determine your platforms of choice. Utilize influencers and keep a watchful eye on your competition.

Are you looking for more tips on how to use your blog for marketing purposes? If so, then browse around our blog for more of our latest content.

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Do You Honor the Law of Lag?

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The law of lag is always in effect. How it works; you generously, patiently and persistently help folks, trust in the process and yeah, make sure you promote yourself freely, too, OK? Be patient and persistent. Relax. A lag exists between you working generously, and, actually seeing traffic and profits increases. I refer to this as the law of lag. Lag times exist between you doing what works blogging-wise and seeing specific traffic and profits increases. Relax. Take a chill pill. Do not panic. Never believe that 0 traffic and 0 profits over the first few weeks of your successful blogging campaign indicates being generous, patient, persistent and trusting is NOT working, guys. Far and away, this is hands down the biggest mistake I see in blogging. Bloggers do not honor the law of lag. Bloggers panic and bail because they see minimal or no traffic and profits increases, during weeks or months, after they follow the successful blogging route.

See the journey through guys. Honor the law of lag. Know how it takes time and practice to become skilled enough and to yield enough exposure to actually boost your blog traffic. Boosting your blogging profits takes a bit longer, usually. Honor this lag time between work and results to become a highly successful, prospering blogger. Imagine being a doctor. During your first 3 months in pre-med, do you panic and bail because you have not made a cent through being a doctor? Nope; of course not. Do you panic and bail during your 6th year of medical studies because you have not made a penny from being a doctor? Nope; of course not. Do not panic and bail if you have not made a penny during your first 6 months of generously creating and connecting. Be patient. Good things take time. You need to become more clear and skilled in order to gain credibility in the eyes of readers. Plus you need to gain greater exposure by generously posting to your blog and by guest posting.

What happens when business slowly, steadily begins to grow?  Now it’s time to learn how to better serve your customers.  Nobody knows how to serve customers and clients fully until serving customers and clients in real world circumstances, gaining critical experience without a mentor or coach looking over your shoulder. I learned priceless lessons by boosting my traffic, by meeting more folks, by coaching clients and by interacting with customers. I had to put in the time and be patient during seeming lulls, or lags, to be a full time blogger. Being patient, persistent and generous made me the blogger I am today. You never grow until you go through testing periods where nothing appears to be happening but where everything is happening more quickly than you could ever see, in the background. All grows exponentially under the surface but only slowly and steadily bubbles up as profits and traffic stats. Envision the slow burn, bubbling up as a lag that cultivates your generosity, patience and persistent, and, your trust in self, as well as your trust in the blogging process.

I believe in you. See the journey through. Honor the law of blogging lag.

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