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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. 

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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Advanced Blogging Tip: Have a Poor Link Memory

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I create oodles of content daily. One tip to being prolific is to have a poor link memory. I forget what I published content-wise and link-wise to keep publishing content frequently. Do you know how most bloggers publish one blog post, include a link to a product and/or service, and keep checking the post again and again, to see how the link performs as far as clicks and conversions and sales and profits and money? I never do that. I have no time and energy to check how my links perform because I have a terrible link memory. I am always on to the next piece of content to create and the next link to place and the next person to help because I have a poor link memory. I forget links. This works perfectly for me; makes me super duper prolific.

Most bloggers attach to and cling to particular business links. What happens if you attach to a link? You give attention and energy to checking the link again and again instead of creating more content from a generous, prolific energy. How can you appear to be all over your niche if you check links regularly throughout the day and if you are not creating helpful, new pieces of content? You cannot be super successful if you are not prolific and you cannot be super prolific unless you have a poor link memory. Be generous, abundant and detached by forgetting links you place in posts; especially links pointing to business opportunities.

I link to my blogging course quite a bit but never get attached to any one link or blog post or guest post through which I link to it. Why? I have more fish to fry. I have more content to create and more bloggers to bond with and more folks to help and more bloggers to connect with and heck, after converting 50 more of my eBooks to paperback, I will have over 200 products about on Amazon, under the Blogging From Paradise umbrella. That is a lot of products to promote! We need to have a poor link memory to forget the prior link we promoted so we can move forward and promote more links, more content and greater blogging success. Envision yourself having an abundant mindset. What happens if you do not feel like anything seems short, scarce or running out? Being prolific is what happens. Being generous is easier if you are not burdened by any link to promote, to review and to assess regularly. I am not opposed to scanning metrics if doing so feels good and relaxing but most bloggers never take the time to assess their genuine feelings when it comes to how they feel promoting links.

I do. I am ruthless in assessing, observing, embracing and moving along my energies because watching your energy is the key to blogging success. Blogging from abundance, relaxation and trust leads to success while blogging from fear, scarcity, tension and anxiety leads to failure.

Which road do you prefer to take?

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How to Get Over the Fear Nobody Will Buy Your Product

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Ship. Publish.

Promote the heck out of the product. Unearth fears. Feel fears. See fears come true. Release fears. Sell your product. More and more folks buy your product only if you face, feel and release fears aligned with the product. If you hold the fears ya ain’t selling the product. Even if you publish a blogging product – like my blogging course – and sell it for a little bit you will not generate big sales until you fail enough to finally feel fears triggered by failure. Feeling fears clears fears which clears resistance which helps you inspire more people to buy the product.

Getting over this fear is messy. Do you enjoy feeling like a complete loser? Nope. Do you enjoy feeling like a complete fraud, or huckster, or embarrassed or ashamed? Nope. You hate trying so hard and then, no freaking people buy the course you promoted 10,000 times but doing so and feeling fears triggered simply makes it easy to promote the product, because feeling and getting over the fear makes you promote the product like you breathe. Being in that space, plenty of people see the product and more folks buy the product.

I promoted my blogging course to the tune of 8,000 page views before someone bought it. 8000 page views was nothing. I had to clear fear-resistance during the 8,000 page views to show the world how fun, freeing and inspired this course was. Fear cleared, more people bought it at 10 times the initial price versus the initial cheapy price. Raising the price ten fold? Yep; another fear for me to conquer. But I did it, and far more people bought it at $350 than at $36. See how funny fear works? You fear something, refuse to feel the fear, and struggle. But feeling the fear and doing it anyway leads to increasing success. Buy the course for a fun, entertaining, inspired blogging guide. Tis the season for celebration and joy and love and fun, helpful blogging courses.

I have no tips for nudging into fear save meditating and doing yoga frequently. Following each habit expands your awareness which helps you become intimately aware of your fears, so you can feel fears and release fears. Feels rough but this is part of the blogging journey if you want to get over the fear of selling your stuff. Hey; do you want to hurt people, mislead people or lie to people with your blogging product? No? Then just sell the thing already. Ship it. Publish it. Fear is so insidious. Fear makes you do what you do not want to do, if you trust fear. Fear causes you to tune into an alternate, illusory universe, where nothing is true and everything is lies, smoke and mirrors. Do you really want to take that road? I did not think so.

All I can do is be a cheerleader. You need to be the athlete on the court, not the fan on the sidelines. Get on the court. Publish your product. Promote your product. You will eventually face, feel and release all the fears you need to release to become a successful blogger and to sell your product successfully, too. Get in the game. People will buy your product when you get clear on it.

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Pro Blogging Tip: Release Expectations

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Ouch.

Am I asking you to be a Blogging Buddha? Nope. Not really. No one save enlightened beings completely releases expectations but us mere mortals clinging some to a worldly life can largely release expectations, to become successful and to enjoy the blogging journey. 10 minutes ago, I checked my email. I received a few. I clearly make it difficult to get in touch with me through email because I want to give most attention and energy to building a passive income empire. Every second I spend in email, I could be spending creating content and building connections. Knowing this, it feels good to receive few emails because it helps me scale and move forward from an abundant energy.

Unfortunately, most bloggers have heavy expectations when it comes to receiving email. Bloggers expect a chock filled inbox, with all types of clients, Paypal payments and sponsored post deals. What happens if you get 3 emails daily, all responses to comments? Your expectations not being met levels you, depressing you, making you sad, sapping your energy. If you expect some sweet outcome and reality is not delivering you the outcome to fulfill the expectation, you eventually lose your blogging motivation and quit. Or you make the massive mistake of quitting after seeing your expectations fall short, then, you begin blogging again, quit again after expectations are unfulfilled, and you suffer through this vicious cycle until you fail and quit for good.

Release expectations. Begin blogging with an intent to live your dreams but let go the anchor of expectation because either you feel hopeless after not getting what you expected or you feel average when expectations line up or you feel super high and excited after exceeding expectations, leading to an imminent crash after your emotions settle down. Expectations are anchors, pulling you down, holding you back, preventing meteoric blogging growth. I expect little to nothing blogging-wise because my day is about having fun helping people to blog successfully. I cannot go wrong whether I sell a copy of my blogging course or not because I have no expectations; I just promote the course in a seeming billion places (coming soon) and leave things at that.

If anything, allow a little part of yourself to desire some expectation but make it tiny. Why? If the expectation does not come true quickly, you will keep blogging from an energetic, relaxed, abundant vibe, positioning yourself to succeed. Harboring wee expectations means you remain unstirred if the expectations do not manifest; no crushed, hopeless feeling. Meanwhile, most bloggers with grand, wild expectations often slam into tons of resistance because no spectacular dream comes through and manifest overnight. Living your dream life through blogging requires years and thousands upon thousands of hours of generous service.

Blog for an absolute love of blogging. Be passionate about the blogging process. Release largely on outcomes because weighing yourself down with expectations slows you down. Imagine desiring big blogging bucks only to see an empty inbox for the next 3 months? 90 plus days, zero dollars. After the 90th day, most bloggers quit blogging for good, because they came up so short on their expectations, being frustrated, disgusted, and tired of wasting their time.

Fall in love with the process – not outcomes – to fuel yourself for your blogging journey.

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