I blogged for 3 years before I regularly told my travel stories.
Some folks had no idea I was even traveling.
I had been to places like Bali, Costa Rica, Thailand and Fiji and had yet to integrate my travel stories into my blog and brand.
All that changed on a fateful night in the jungles of Fiji in 2014.
My host pulled my old blog.
I was faced with a choice; either cling to my old blog and brand or move in a new direction.
I went with Blogging From Paradise.
I also worked my travel stories – for the first time, persistently – into my blog and brand.
I drove more traffic to my blog.
I eventually was featured on sites like Richard Branson’s Virgin blog, Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fox News.
Everything expanded for me the moment I began telling my stories and drawing analogies between these experiences and sharing smart blogging tips.
If you are struggling like hell to drive blog traffic it’s time to tell stories.
As we delve deeper into the how to increase blog traffic series let’s dive into storytelling as a traffic boosting tool.
Why this Works
Everybody loves a good story.
Netflix. Movies. TV. Theater. Books.
You likely have been listening to stories since your mom and dad read bedtime stories to you as a kid.
But the love affair has continued well into your adulthood.
Stories are a traffic builder because we relate with stories. Or maybe you cannot relate with a particular story but the experience entertains you, inspires you or helps you access long buried emotions.
Most readers tune out dry, bland, 3rd person accounts because anybody can write like that.
Story tellers are a fairly rare breed though, so if you can weave a fascinating tale, adding as many details as possible, you will have no issues driving steady traffic to your blog.
Your Story Differentiates You
No 2 snowflakes are alike.
No 2 humans are alike.
No 2 human stories are alike.
You may see some similarities between 2 different life stories yet our paths deviate at some time or another.
Your story differentiates you, making you appealing, making your content compelling, driving an increasing number of visitors to your blog.
Even if you appear to have the most Plain Jane, dull, lifeless story it is unlike any story ever told when you tell it in your voice, from an authentic, genuine space.
Everybody Loves a Good Story
I binge watch Netflix.
I usually head to the movies anytime a new Marvel movie debuts.
I love a good story.
I don’t know of any human who can turn down a good story, whether through movies, theater, a novel or television.
This is why storytelling through your blog is a traffic builder; recounting personal experiences has a universal appeal.
Your readers want to learn more about you.
Who is the person offering the blogging advice? Who is the human being offering the personal development insight?
By telling your story you become more human, more approachable and more credible as a blogger.
Tips for Storytelling through Your Blog
Tell your story but relate the story to your blogging niche.
I tell stories from my world travels but draw analogies between these experiences and running a successful blog.
The story is the humanizing agent, the entertaining recount, but the analogy between the story and blogging tips is what really resonates with my audience.
All stories touch readers on a different level and all stories are significant.
Just because you are not running away from Thai ladyboy prostitutes in Bangkok or fighting off wild men attacks in Kathmandu doesn’t make your story boring, or pointless.
Tell your story in your voice. Be you and allow your experiences to form a bond between you and your blogging community.
Are you working stories into your blog?
Blog Content or Promotion?
I just scanned a tweet. Someone noted how a well-read blog stressed promotion over creating content, going so far to say that blog traffic does not come from publishing great content. 100% of the time, this statement is not true. Why? If you do not publish valuable, helpful, great content, you could promote it in 1 billion places and nobody will care. Nobody will read it. You will not get traffic. Nobody will buy your stuff. You will not boost profits. I know top bloggers mean well, but sometimes they get so analytical that they blind themselves from truths, and advise bloggers inaccurately.
Blog content needs to rock, for people to share it, and for people to buy what you offer, or for people to hire you. But blog promotion needs to be top shelf too, or else you blog in a cyber cave. Nobody will know who you are or what you offer unless you promote your blog effectively through guest posting, through genuine blog commenting and by building your blogger friend network. No way around that one. Like I say in my course for getting featured on top blogs, you want to write your butt off and bond with niche leaders. This means plenty of creating, and plenty of connecting. Or, content and promotion.
But never get promotion twisted, guys. I received a few common emails this morning; strangers asked me if they could submit a guest post to me. I have no idea who they are, what they offer or heck, anything about them. But strangers who never earned my trust want to promote themselves and their blogs on my blog? Nope. I ignore these emails or alert them to buying my eBook so they can learn how to guest post on popular blogs. Promoting your blog is not about promoting YOUR blog. Promoting your blog is about building friendships with bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. Allow friendships to form. As bonds form, blogging buddies promote your blog freely, expanding your reach and increasing your traffic and profits.
Of course, you need to practice your writing regularly to create skillful content showing off your expertise. Readers only gobble up and enjoy content created by skilled writers. Skilled writers practice writing daily, either online or offline. Nobody becomes skilled unless they write a bunch. But skilled writers do lay the foundation for a prolific, successful blogging campaign because folks freely share good content published by experienced, expert bloggers.
Both Content and Promotion
Focus both on creating helpful content and building bonds leading to cross-promotion. Think of promotion being an indirect thing. You will not promote your blog in 1000 places daily by copying and pasting links. But you will make friends with top bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. These friends promote your blog in many spots; indirect but powerful, and effective, in spreading your blogging word around the clock.
Keep helping people through your content and through assisting other bloggers freely, asking for nothing. Content, and promotion, both create a dazzling blogging campaign. Beware about getting caught up in either/or; focus too much on content and you lose your blogger friend network, along with massive indirect promotion. Focus too much on promotion by building your network, and you have no quality content for them to share. Easy does it. Balance between each aspect of blogging and you will become a successful blogger.
Does Blog Content Make You Money?
starts off with a Bali Bang. I slammed into the ground during a wicked motorbike accident. Pain followed. Big time pain. Excruciating pain. What was my life and blogging lesson? Never take your eyes off of the road. I looked at a dog for a split second who’d been hit by a car or motorbike. Shaking my head at his injured paw, I missed the oil slick ahead. Ouch. 2 seconds later, I felt like 40,000 monkeys stabbed me in the back and lungs, after hitting pavement, Superman-style.
Blogging is similar. You will be punished if you take your eyes off of the proven, straight and narrow road of blogging fundamentals. One such fundamental is knowing YOU, not your blog, and not your content, makes money. Sometimes, we say blogs or content makes money because we speak in casual terms to help people see importance in creating and connecting. But getting clear, and helping you understand this simple concept, behooves me to stress how your generous practice, your creations and your connections make you money through your blog. Never, ever is it the other way around because blogs are inanimate objects. Content is an inanimate object too; it cannot do anything, or be anything,
You are the one, the blogger, the being, that puts everything into motion. This involves your generous effort, your willingness to learn a skill and your daily practice, creating and connecting for years, to make your content pop. Sure I sell stuff THROUGH my content but it was me, and my generous effort, and not the content itself, that did the selling. The content is not anything. Content cannot do anything. Content is worthless unless bloggers inject worth into it; see what I mean? The blogger makes it pop, or, makes content a dud, and that pop-dud outcome bases itself solely on a blogger’s generous effort and full commitment to learning their craft, day after day, for years of their lives.
You can and will succeed. You can do it. Really. But you need to understand how you are the center of it all. Everything moves according to your focus, practice and generosity. Content is a tool; like a hammer, if by itself, totally useless. Hammers need humans to work, and hammers need skilled carpenters to really sing. Content needs skilled, generous bloggers to make it sing, too, and the skills increase as your focus and generous practice, and service, increases.
Does blog content make you money? Nope, not at all. Put in the time and energy to helping folks for free. Improve your skills. Increase your exposure. In time, slowly add multiple streams of income to your blogging campaign. Allow cash to flow to you as people see you in all types of spots, making a serious impact where you show up, because of your blogging skills. Everything gets easier if you commit 100% to honing your skills blogging-wise because the content genuinely sings when you get the job done, with your prodigious, polished blogging skills.
Content makes zero dollars.
You, through your practice and generous service, develop the skills through which you make your content top notch. Profits follow.
Why Do You Want to Publish an eBook?
One subsection of my eBook on writing eBooks is:
Know Why You Want to Publish an eBook
Knowing why gives you clarity if you write to free yourself and to free your readers. But if you write just to make money or to be well know, clarity lessons. Fear invades your mind because you write mainly to get, not to give. Shifting from fear to fun intent-wise just takes a little decision on your part. Small potatoes really. But this shift does feel a bit uncomfortable if you are new to the eBook writing process because you need to face fears. Who wants to face fear? Nobody, really.
But facing fear is one tax to pay for being successful in blogging and life. Ditto for your self-publishing journey. I largely faced fears to be who I am today, although I keep uncovering fears along the way. Part of the journey. I am cool with that. I had to ask why I wanted to publish an eBook about 4 years ago when I went on a tear, but even before, in 2014, I asked why I published an eBook in the first place? Simple. I created a new blog and brand in Blogging From Paradise and just believed having an accompanying eBook would help me be successful. I only had one eBook in mind. I never thought beyond the single eBook. But someone told me I deserved to write another eBook so after my first, I wrote and self-published a second eBook. I caught the writing bug.
100 plus eBooks later, here I am, writing eBooks for years, and now, promoting the eBooks effectively. The why, the emotion I chose in writing eBooks, propels me forward because I do what I do to have fun, to spread love and to help you, largely. One small part of me wants to make money online too. This is OK. As long as it is a small part of what you do, eBook-wise. Moving that money aspect mostly to the side gives me the energy to keep writing and to keep promoting, should I choose to write another eBook. Now I am all about promoting those suckers.
Why did you consider writing and shipping an eBook? Be honest with yourself. Think through your driver. Money? Fame? Sweet passive income stream? Each primary driver saps your energy because money, fame and passive income flow to you years or minimum, months, after publishing your eBook. What do you do during that zero dollar time? Money drives you, but you see no money. Since you lose your motivator, you quit. This is why so many authors fade into obscurity. Poor driver. Sell 3 eBooks, get flustered because you made $4.35 over 6 months, and quit, because money drove you but you made no money. On the flip side, bloggers and authors who choose a fun, freeing intent promote and write every day for their online career because the work is the reward. All else feels like a bonus, gravy, extra, or icing on the cake….including money.
Be straight with your eBook driver. Do not bother writing an eBook if you mainly want money because you quit and fail when money does not arrive. Even in rare cases if you make money pretty fast, you lose your heart and feel bad reaching money goals because we are mainly designed to have fun and help people, not to make money.
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