I was so fortunate to be able to attend the ProBlogger training day held in Melbourne today. If you don’t know ProBlogger (Darren Rowse) – check him out. He is one of the foremost authorities on blogging and an Aussie as well and he gathered together a great group of blogging colleagues to present a well-rounded day of information and insights. People came from as far as Brisbane to attend this one day event!
Although parts of the day were focused on the money making side of blogging and I was surrounded by business focused bloggers, I still got a lot out of it, even from those monetizing sections. I ended up taking 7 pages of notes, so instead of inflicting them all on you in one go, I will break them up into parts.
Creating Killer Content – Chris Garrett
Worked on Problogger book with Darren Rowse. In from UK. What brings them together is content.
Its one of the pillars of blogging, but it is also the key pillar. If you don’t have content, you don’t have anything to blog with.
It’s not about making cash, it’s about long term value – to have this you have to have killer content.
First: common sense is seldom, common practice. Are you doing this? Are your peers? Could you do better at this? Keep your edge or catch up by doing this.
What is killer content? Leads to attraction, retention, conversion and referral. Many stop at the attention grabbing. Attention is only the first step and its a cycle. Blog can plateau. Need to keep existing people happy, whilst also getting new people in.
You are only as good as your last article. Even if you have consistently done great content. If you have killer content it becomes viral. Word of mouth is the best advertisement you can get.
Why create it? It puts your blog on the map – a must-have resource. Must be something that they subscribe to. You establish yourself as the go to person in your niche.
Do you know your prospect? Do you know your niche? Do you know your positioning? Have to stand out and for a good reason. What are you giving to people that nobody else does. You have to be different, but with value.
Success factors: be remarkable (people talk about it), more useful, in more depth, better researched, attractively presented, magnetic headlines, easy to grasp, friendly URL, WIIFM (whats in it for me – for your reader), minimum hype, prominent placement – being where people are going to be and no barriers – don’t make them jump through hoops, just give them the content and explain how they can share it (ie. Creative Commons badges etc). Never say you’re an expert, let others say that for you – if you say it, all the barriers go up.
Compelling content types: your biggest tips, big vision, guides/how to/tutorials, FAQs, Story with a message, research and results, jargon buster, product database, case studies, resource round-up.
Generating Ideas: Yahoo Answers etc – find out what questions people are asking and answer them. Once you get some followers, people will ask questions. Get their permission to answer the question on your blog.
Blog this! Write about what you know or your journey about learning what you want to know. But it also has to intersect with what people want to know (rather than what they need). If it doesn’t, you won’t find an audience. Add proof that you know people want to know it. Back up that you know what you are talking about with your proof – statistics and social verification.
Emotional motivators – towards or away from people – towards is goal oriented, away is worry etc – need to know your audience and blog accordingly. Past, present, future; they live on these clocks – understand where they are coming from. What if, how to…..; information…. action – people need results from your information.
Headlines – need to get people to read your information. Need to look at the reason they are looking – risk or reward. Need to have keywords that people are seeking.
10 proven formulas for blog posts:
- DO you make these mistakes?
- The secrets of ………..?
- What …….. can teach us about ……….?
- Everything you know about is ………. wrong.
- How ………… made ……….. and you can too.
- If you …………. you can …………..
- Finally, no more ………….
- At last! …………….
- Learn how millions of…..
- How to get more/better/cheaper………….
Borrow Authority – if you don’t know the information yourself, ask an authority and get permission to re-use the content. It gives you more authority because you know people who are recognised authorities.
Jedi Mind tricks (marketing) – audience, relationships, authority, proof, story, conversation, reciprocity, polarity, commitment, consistency.
Multimedia is very persuasive and easy to get out – can make it easy to go viral. It makes you stand out (most bloggers go with text) and is easy to share.
Re-purpose your content – bundle it into a container, make videos around it, take the audio and make it into a podcast, create an e-book from the multimedia you create. Leverage it to get more traction from it. You can even outsource the re-purposing.
Case Study – Chrisg.com – 41 blog success tips —– includes benefit and proof. Has an image that catches the eye. Problogger – becoming a problogger – rags to riches story – underlying message is that you can too. Copyblogger – on dying, mothers and fighting for your ideas – story with a message.
Mistakes in creating content: – writing purely for search – filler content (just to fill a space) – recycling ideas (update, not copy and paste or link) – Echo chamber (we all agree) – Poking the Hornets nest.
Finding Readers – Darren Rowse
What was your biggest day of traffic and how did it happen? (go and check it out for your blog – can learn so much from this alone)
Which Readers? What type of people do you want to read your blog? Knowing who, informs your content strategy, your promotional strategy, community strategy and monetisation strategy.
Develop reader profiles: create a typical scenario of who would read your site – demographics, dreams, why they would read your blog, needs, challenges, how they use the web, financial situation – all completely made up – but it gives you a starting point. Profiles will evolve and need to be updated. They inform your content and how you promote your site. If you don’t know who reads your blog then how can you find them? If you have a profile in mind, it helps you to personalise the content to that particular profile.
Principles of finding readers:
- choose popular topics for your blog and posts (google trends, market samurai);
- build something worth being found;
- get off your blog – build a home base – then interact on outposts on the web – outposts depend on who your readers are – eg Twitter, Flickr
- build anticipation – give readers a reason to subscribe – a reason to stick around;
- start with the readers you have – you can potentially reach more through the ones you have;
- build a sticky blog – engross them so much that they don’t want to leave (sneeze pages – gets people deeper into your blog, into the things that interest them);
- content event (results of surveys or polls and more, seasonal stuff etc) – look at what your peers are doing, social bookmarking and networking are talking about in your niche and make the most of it;
- use familiar technologies for subscribing – email;
- persist – momentum does grow and it does get easier;
- promote…… but not too much. Survey your readers – find out what they want to know about and what other sites they use.
Lifehacker – suggest a link/topic. Get them to write about something you think their readers should know about.
Blog posts on themes or greatest hits……
Techniques for finding readers:
- guest posting, social media sites, you tube, seo, forums,
- pitch other bloggers,
- leverage other online and offline presences
- participate in other memes and projects of others,
- blogging/web communities, competitions and awards,
- speaking at events and workshops online/offline.
- Blogging alliances,
- present workshops,
- develop reports/whitepapers,
- incentivise subscriptions,
- interview someone/be interviewed,
- comment on others blogs (make an impression),
- comment on readers blogs,
- promote posts or landing pages – not just your blog,
- submit stories to media/press releases,
- anticipate big events,
- press releases.
Forums still have value, particularly in finding readers – you can help those there with your expertise, build your reputation and gain exposure for your blog.
Find a community that helps you to promote and improve your own blog.
Check your public library for training opportunities on things like public speaking, choosing cameras etc.
Getting readers to subscribers – depends on your readers – add a subscribe link to end of each post and if not used too much, in content links. Sidebar links don’t work that well.
That took us to morning tea – will post the next stage in Part Two – coming soon!