Running a blog of your own is a great way to get your message and expertise out there. Writing for other high profile blogs and media sites is an even better way. This is exactly what Sean has done through his powerful writing on top sites such as Huffington Post, CopyBlogger and others, while also writing for his own blog as well. Learn how to grow your brand and business through writing and content marketing in this latest chapter to Meet the Bloggers.
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
My experience was actually pretty straight-forward honestly. I am an SEO consultant and wanted to get some notoriety in my industry, the obvious channel for doing that is through blogging. I started blogging, writing on Moz.com and some other industry publications. I also built my own (now pretty dormant) blog up with some great blog posts that garnered a ton of traffic, that helped me boost my credibility in the industry enormously in my early years. Now I write about all sorts of things, from marketing to productivity. I also write on The Huffington Post, Adobe’s 99U, Copyblogger, Medium, and on my personal blog and the SimpleTiger blog.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
Marketing, mainly. SEO to be exact. I fell into the industry, and then fell in love with it. It’s a great industry, I love the tactics, the strategy, and the constant attention to new technological updates and tactical advantages that you can find within the slew of updates Google puts out every year. I also like to write about psychology and behavioral science a lot. As a marketer, and just as a person who likes to communicate clearly that is of great interest to me. Also copywriting, I have a learning flow on Gibbon.co with over 4,000 students learning from the curated list of resources I put together for copywriting, some of my lessons included in that list.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
Honestly, none of those. I’m a consultant, so usually clients find me through my content and want me to work with them and help their business. That’s my monetization strategy. It’s essentially content marketing for my services, though I do it genuinely to help people – which is the biggest driver. If you don’t beat around the bush, and let people know that you actually know what you’re talking about, and that you know how to put it into action – it can be massively effective, especially for any consultants in the space.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
That frequency, and actually doing the writing is more important than anything else. The content should consume 80% of your time, and only 20% should be focused on staging it – that’s the fastest way to grow your blog. Put out content, that’s it. By increasing the rate at which I put out posts, I was able to de-mystify writing. Now pushing out a blog post doesn’t take grunting and annoyance – it’s easy, and enjoyable.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
TheVerge to get my tech fix, and because they’re simply one of the best blogs there are. Their reporting, their attention to detail, and the quality of their content and website it just perfect. Copyblogger for their copywriting prowess. Fun fact, I got started in blogging reading Copyblogger religiously. I internalized everything I read over there for so long, it was my main source of content marketing wisdom. When I had the opportunity to write for them, I was beside myself excited. Now I regularly contribute pieces to their awesome breadth of marketing content. I also love the Buffer blog, always full of great content.
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
MailChimp to get a subscriber base going (it’s free). Squarespace to have a wonderful looking website quickly that scales well and doesn’t ever break. They’re my favorite CMS, even over WordPress (despite conventional wisdom). And Twitter, honestly. This is going to sound odd, because none of those are really conventional “blogging tools” but they should all be considered when thinking about blogging. Twitter should be used rigorously to connect with people, it opens up tons of even-playing-field opportunities to write on other blogs, to connect with your readers, to push out your posts, etc. I love using Twitter and honestly I’ve had some of my biggest writing experiences come from using Twitter. Being reached out to by big editors of big publications through Twitter due to a post they read of mine, etc.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
Get rolling on content. Pick some gripes, study them, find your own core “voice” based on your own unique strengths, and apply them. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, don’t be generic. Be authentic – otherwise you won’t stand out. Get writing.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
I actually wrote a blog post with a ton of resources for blogging, and one of the resources were quotes from top bloggers that I gathered up specifically for the post. The one that stands out for me is a simple one from Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, and that is “Be Useful. Be Passionate. Be Yourself.” That truly says it all.
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
Thanks again Sean for taking the time to share your advice and story with the Blogging Tips community. If you would like to learn about other bloggers and how they are finding success online, be sure to read through our blogger interview series.