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If You Aren’t Involved with Holiday Gift Guides, Why You Should Be

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The blogging world has quickly made the advent of the online holiday gift guide less of a one-of-a-kind idea and more of the latest super hot trend that readers now eagerly wait for and anticipate anxiously come November.  If you haven’t yet caught the gift guide bug, regardless of whether or not your blog is necessarily “product” related, I would highly, highly suggest you jump on track with the bloggers that have.  We will look at this from both sides, whether it makes sense to host a gift guide or whether you can get involved by promoting others.  And then we’ll look at just a few of the many benefits.

Hosting a Giveaway

If it makes any sense at all for you to host a gift guide on your blog, then I suggest you do so.  If nothing else, you should find yourself inundated with free products, which makes it a lot like Christmas at your house for the month or two preceding the holiday.  You have easy content to write for the product reviews, and you can reap the rewards of the benefits we’re about to discuss.  It can be time-consuming, of course.  It may require some extra site design, and it will demand some organizational skills to keep up with product offerings, writing reviews and socially promoting all your products.  But, in the long run, your payoff will be more than ample to compensate for the extra time spent on the blog.

Promoting Everyone Else’s Giveaways

If you run a strictly content-loaded site in which it would be entirely out of character for you to put something together like a gift guide, then I suggest you make it your ambition to produce top-notch content that condenses and lists everyone else’s hottest gift guides.  You can tailor this to whatever your niche is.  If you write content on economics and finance, then choose to compile the hottest gift guides targeted towards businessmen, the office worker, the hip & trendy of 2011, etc.  If you write content on SEO, I’d list all the gift guides geared to writers, readers, Google lovers, etc.  However, I happen to think the Holiday Gift Guide is one place you can very easily get away with unrelated content.  If you’ve come across the gift guides offering the coolest, most expensive products out there even if they’re recliners and wine coolers that have nothing to do with SEO, who cares?  Everyone wants a free recliner and a free wine cooler.  If you save readers time with awesome compiled lists of gift guides, there’s a good chance your lists will go viral, because we all want the best of the best, we all want discounts, we all want free stuff and we all want to save time.  You provide us any of that and we’ll probably tell our friends about you.

Benefits: The Traffic

Because gift guides typically do much more than simply offer “ideas” for gifts and in addition, come complete with discounts, specials, and in most cases, product giveaways, you’re almost guaranteed terrific increases in traffic (unless you hide the gift guide in your queue and do absolutely zero promotion).  We all know that nothing brings in readers and traffic quite like the idea of savings, especially the idea of something free, and in this economy with a holiday season that guarantees shoppers who are out to save and cut costs perhaps more than ever, a gift guide on your blog cannot help but bring in new eyes.  The giveaways, especially, can become your ticket to success.  Depending upon the value of products you can secure, you have the opportunity to infinitely boost your site traffic as word gets out about your $250 ice cream maker for giveaway or a gift of a wine-of-the-month club.

Benefits: The Linking

If you’re hosting a gift guide, your linking benefits will hopefully be achieved by the company donating to you.  Most companies want to get as much traffic to their product on your site as you do.  This means they will quite often promote you via their own blog, in which they will link out to your site.  The value of a high quality, high PR site linking out to you with a keyword or two is almost invaluable.  There’s also a very good chance they’ll promote your guide on their social media outlets, and while not producing a link, this will produce extra traffic.  If you are the blogger compiling lists of other gift guides, you’ll often find your linking benefit as other bloggers link back to you.  Sites that you promote by including them in your gift guide will often return the favor and link out to you somehow, as in: “See this Gift Guide listed in ‘The Top 10 Gift Guides of 2011’ at ___(your site here)____.”  You should also get all kinds of Tweets and Facebook likes from the bloggers you include as well as the deal savvy shoppers (who are more often than not hugely into social media).

Benefits: Increase Your Reputation

In the end, if nothing else you should have boosted your reputation.  Whether you offered the products or you helped save readers time by pointing them to the products, readers will love you.  They’ll probably at the very least, become a follower on Twitter and maybe even subscribe to your feed.  And, you can probably guarantee that if you actually put out something spectacular, that the next time you send out something saying that your readers “can’t miss it,” they probably wouldn’t dare to do so.  This means you’ve got increased and valuable reputation and credibility in your readers’ eyes, and if you can get some good, high-quality links out of it while you’re at it, you’ll also boost your reputation in Google’s eyes.  Win-win all around.

Bottom Line:  You Should Try It

I speak from personal experience here, which is why I feel so strongly about this.  This tactic works.  It’s painless and it’s actually downright fun when you get into it.  So, why not take the extra time and put something together that truly benefits your readers.  Make it your gift to them this holiday season as a thank you for sticking with you all year long.  And, if you still have any lingering doubts, just try it for a season and see how it works for you.

This guest post was written by freelancer Jocelyn, a blogger for Heater Home and has been working around the clock to get gifts like gorgeous fireplace heaters in gift guides across the nation. 

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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

Why Does Blogging Seem Hard?

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Aha!

The question of blogging questions.

Why does blogging seem hard?

Blogging in and of itself is not hard. Blogging is a concept. A blog is an inanimate object. It is neutral. It is not hard, tough or easy.

Human beings label their feelings with emotions. THIS is why blogging seems hard.

Why?

Doing the neutral activity of blogging feels scary, meaning you unearth and either resist or feel fears. Feeling the fears feels highly unpleasant. Especially if said fears feel deep, strong, and terrifying, depressing or anger-inducing.

But if you resist these deep fears, and refuse to feel them, and blog mainly from a dominant vibe of fear, you fully experience the feeling of blogging being super hard. Blogging is actually neutral but you refuse to feel deep fears that blogging has unearthed. You resisting fear leads to prolonged blogging failure, aka, not seeing much money and traffic, aka, blogging being really hard.

Real World Example

A few moments ago, I scanned one of my daily blogging income streams. I made a little less than I had been making for 1 of a billion reasons. 1 such reason may have been the internet crashing here last night. We experienced a few big, powerful thunderstorms.

Anyway, I noted the dollar amount being lower and felt fear arise in my body. Rather than resist the fear, I felt the anxiety, and my mind hurriedly racing ahead to next month’s paycheck, and then, after breathing deeply for a few moments and fully embracing the fear, I released it. I did not resist it. I felt it. The fear disappeared. I then blog from an abundant, relaxed, detached, generous energy, which helps me become more and more successful.

But the old me – and most bloggers – see a lesser dollar amount for daily earnings, feel an intense fear arise, panic, bury the fear versus feeling it, and run around like mad men and mad women with that DEEP FEAR DRIVING THEM, desperate and greedy, resisting the fear, being driven by fear, and of course, they do stupid stuff with a dominant fear energy guaranteeing their blogging failure. Then, these humans who refuse to face, embrace and feel fears, proclaim blogging to be hard. This is a lie. Blogging is neutral. But you refuse to face, embrace and release your fears, so blogging *feels* hard.

Solution

Feel fears when fears arise. Cry it out. Shout it out. Feel depressed or deflated.  Do not resist fear. Then, after feeling fears, you will feel good, detached, relaxed and trusting. Feeling these dominant abundant energies, you will create, connect, trust, persist and blog from a relaxed, chill energy. Blogging from this calm, trusting, generous energy makes blogging easier and easier and easier. Money flows in easy. Traffic flows in easy.

Blogging went from hard to easy because you faced fears, felt fears, and progressively blogged from an abundant, generous, calm, detached vibe.

Tip for Feeling Fear

Engage in some energy management ritual that expands your awareness. I do deep yin yoga and power walk daily. Prayer and/or meditation may help. Breathing deeply helps. Do anything that expands your awareness so you can observe and feel fear versus resisting this destructive energy.

Some humans bury fear with busy-ness and jobs they hate. Other people turn to drugs or alcohol to bury fears. All of these folks are unhappy and depressed because you cannot feel good, abundant, relaxed and successful with oodles of fear buried deep inside of you.

Be with your fears. Be gentle with yourself. The blogger who feels and releases fear soon learns blogging gets easier and easier.

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Blogging

Do You Need to Respond to ALL Comments?

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No.

One mistake holds back many bloggers who fail to scale. These folks obsess over responding to every single comment, every email, every message. Why? Pride. Obsession. Attachment to people. Fear of missing out on an opportunity. Fear of missing out on friendships.

Unfortunately, if you spend 14 hours daily responding to every single social request and chat and email and blog comment and message – even if it feels fun – you lose opportunities to scale through blog posts, guest posts, podcasts and doing interviews.

Please; if responding to virtually everything feels fun, do it. But 99% of bloggers BS themselves on this because they respond to EVERYONE from an energy of fear, pain, lack, resistance, force and hustle. Bad idea guys. Force negates. But, power attracts. Meaning if you are willing to use power, and love, and fun, to inject into your work, you quickly see: the cornerstone of massive scaling and persistent growth and freeing blogging success is writing, publishing and placing blog posts and guest posts.

Example

Today, how do I have most fun growing my business, reaching more people, helping more people, and leveraging my blogging presence? Do I achieve these feats by spending 3 hours responding individually to every retweet, Like, blog comment, and so on, and so on? Nope. I spend those 3 hours effectively and efficiently by writing and publishing 3-6 blog posts and guest posts. Blog posts and guest posts scale. Blog posts and guest posts help me reach hundreds to thousands of targeted folks through each blog post and guest post.

Blog posts and guest posts never seem to be written by people who complain about having no time to blog post, and, guest post. Meanwhile, a hefty chunk of these humans spend 1, 2 or 3 hours responding to every Like on Facebook, from a strained, forced energy, fearing they miss out on traffic and bonds, not having fun doing it. But the wise move would be spending 10 minutes responding to comments on Facebook and maybe a few Likes, then, devoting 2-3 hours to writing and publishing blog posts and guest posts.

Think Scale Not Small Time

WAY too many bloggers play small, giving most of their attention and energy to building 1 to 1 bonds. Making friends is important but meeting new friends is even more important.

One lesson I learned from millionaire bloggers: scaling through blog posts and guest posts is the quickest way to reach more people, make more money and increase your blog traffic. Building 1 to 1 bonds by engaging commentors plays a role in succeeding online, but the top bloggers on earth are not running around, spending endless hours responding to Likes on Facebook.

Titans scale.

Titans also build one to one bonds through engagement, but if you are not getting 1000 page views a day, something is wrong in the scaling department. Namely, you are playing it small, not thinking about scaling. Scale. Guest post. Post to your blog. Make this the focus of your day. Then, feel free to engage folks 1 to 1 in a limited time frame.

You need to let go responding to every single person all day long to genuinely scale, to reach an increasing number of folks and to do what matters most to your business.

People will buy your stuff without you engaging them. Guaranteed. Folks will find your blog, love your content and buy your course or eBooks. This is a simple, organic process that you muck up every time you believe you need to respond to and engage every single person who reaches out via all online channels.

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Blogging

Should You Aim for Blog Post Quality or Quantity?

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Both!

The human mind is silly. It thinks one or the other. It thinks you cannot have it all. You can have blog post quality and quantity but you need to make a clear decision on what you define to be a quality blog post.

Quality posts do not mean 2000 to 4000 word, pillar style masterpieces. A quality blog post answers the question you asked via title or delivers on the promise you made on the title.

I do understand how Google ranks 2000 word or longer, SEO-optimized posts requiring hours of work for even skilled bloggers to write, package and publish. But Google also ranks 600 words posts. 600 word posts are quality posts. Guess what? For the 30,000 bloggers out there asking the title question, I just wrote a quality blog post because they get a clear, concise, dead on answer.

Avoid Scarcity Thinking

Any time you FEAR posts are not quality because word length is 600 words, you think scarcity, or, not enough, or, not quality. But fear is not true. Fear is illusion. I can write 10, 600 word, quality posts today to make a massive impact and to help people IF I think abundance. But if I only believe I write quality, helpful posts in the 2000 word range, I stopped thinking abundance and began thinking scarcity.  I chose fear over love and abundance. Naturally, all bloggers who think scarcity either struggle, fail and quit or work like beasts just to make end’s meet. Not good.

Go for quantity and quality. Some posts may span 800 or 1000 words but you can answer most questions and solve most problems in 600 words if you have immense clarity. Seth Godin answers most questions in 100 to 300 words. You have so much more to work with. So…work with it!

Think abundance. Blog abundance.

Massive Exposure

I have referenced Gary Vee many times recently and his 2000 video interviews on YouTube. Before he landed world famous speaking gig he had a pure abundance mindset, doing videos left and right, offering quality insights on a high quantity of channels. Blogging fools would try desperately to land an interview on a TV show, pitching, fearing, worrying, striving, and wasting months of time, thinking scarcity. Gary thought abundance, seized every opportunity through interview requests from some entrepreneurs who registered zero views per video, gained massive exposure organically, and, the dude became famous through his abundance mindset.

He thought quality and quantity. He did not hold back.

I am beginning to gain massive exposure through the 5-10 guest posts and blog posts published under my name daily. I do not turn down a microphone. I also know the easiest way to become well known is to focus heavily on quantity and quality, to share the wealth.

Many bloggers would obsess over a quality post being 2000 words, SEO-optimized and all that jazz, spending 4 hours to write said post on blogging tips. Meanwhile, I just wrote and published 8 quality, 600 word posts during those hours. I am being seen helping people in 8 spots. While you are on the sidelines. Even if that SEO’ed out, 2000 word post gains massive traffic over the long term, via Google, I am gaining even more massive traffic, being in 8-10 places daily via my posts and guest posts.

Think exponential increase. Imagine my 10 guest posts building up over 365 days. That is 3,650 guest posts, 3,650 spots where I am spotted online. That is a lotta spots!

See why it pays to think quality and quantity?

 

 

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