Category

Blogging

Category

Does the thought of blogging leave you cold? You’re not alone. In fact, if you ask most any online business owner what their most dreaded task is, blogging will likely rank right up there with bookkeeping and cold calling. With few exceptions, most people simply do not like to write, so they find any excuse not to do it.
And as you can imagine, their traffic suffers for it.
The good news is, if you hate to write or feel you’re just not good at it, there are plenty of other ways to create shareable content on a regular basis without ever putting your fingers to a keyboard (much).

Crowdsource

Despite Google’s apparent dislike for it, guest blogging is still a fantastic way to both generate content and get in front of a whole new audience. Other bloggers, marketers, coaches and service providers are looking for ways to grow their audiences, and many of them would jump at the chance to appear as a guest on your blog. It’s a win/win for both of you.
Not into guest blogging? What about a text interview or cross-blog conversation? Simply supply a list of questions to your interviewee, and post her responses. The interview format is perfect for introducing your audience to someone they might want to get to know better.
A cross-blog conversation requires a little more work on your part but it can be a fun way for your readers to get to know you a bit better. A cross-blog conversation is exactly what it sounds like: a discussion that takes place on two different blogs, with you and your blogging partner both offering opinions about a topic, just as if you were having a chat over coffee.

Audio and Video

Podcasting and video blogs are more popular than ever and they’re perfect for those who don’t care for writing. With either type of content, all that’s required is you, sharing your thoughts. You don’t have to do anything as involved or complex as interviews, and you certainly don’t have to hire a studio for a day to record a series of “professional” videos.
You can create podcasts and video blogs with nothing more than your laptop with its built-in camera or a headset and an audio recorder. Just fire up your computer and share your thoughts. Don’t worry about perfection, your visitors will love a chance to see the real you!

Curate

If you’re like most people, you very likely share a variety of content on your social media accounts. You point out articles you’ve read, videos you’ve enjoyed, infographics that explain a complex idea in a simple way. It’s part of what makes social media fun and informational.
But what if you took your sharing one step further, and posted your thoughts on your blog first, before linking on social media?
The result of this curation technique, where you add your opinion with a link to the original article or video, is that you drive traffic to your site rather than someone else’s. Not only that, but it gives you more opportunity to start a conversation with your readers about the content you’re sharing.

Relying on Google or the other search engines to send you traffic can be an exercise in frustration. A better method is to encourage sharing on social media. But if you’re not a wordsmith, creating content can seem an overwhelming task. Rather than giving up and letting your blog languish, explore some other ways to create content your readers will enjoy and share.

If there’s one thing that confuses and frustrates new (and even seasoned) copywriters it’s the not-always-obvious features and benefits.
We want to share all the great things about our new coaching program, so we say things like:
• 6-week self-study course
• Includes workbooks and live training
• Members’ only discounts
While these are all good points, they’re pretty bland. That’s because they’re features, not benefits. They tell us about the program but not why we should buy it.
Benefits, on the other hand, tell us the “so what” of features.
“6-week self-study course.” So what? Why should your reader care?
• Because she’s busy and needs to work on her own schedule, not yours.
• Because she’s already studied shorter, less comprehensive courses and needs more in-depth information.
• Because she prefers to learn on her own, not in a group.
“Includes workbooks and live training.” So what? What are the benefits of workbooks and live training?
• Your student can put what she learns into action with workbooks.
• She can get her specific questions answered during live training.
• She can work through complex issues with the help of the group.
As you can see, benefits go much further than simple attributes, such as length and format. They show your prospective client not only what’s in the program, but why the product is exactly right for her, at this specific moment in her life and career.
Features and benefits work together in sales copy as two halves of a statement, like this:
“6-week self-study course so you can learn at your own pace, when it’s convenient for you.”
In fact, this powerful feature/benefit combo is often the basis for the bullet points you see in sales copy, and the format of them makes them easy to write, too.
Simply list all the features of your product, then for each one, ask yourself “Why?” Why should the reader care? But don’t stop there. Dig deeper to uncover “the why behind the why” and you’ll soon be crafting truly irresistible sales pages that convert far better than you expect. In the above example, the why behind the why might be, “so you don’t have to spend family time on webinars that have been scheduled to benefit someone else.”
Now not only is your prospective client working at her own pace, but she’s also freeing up time to spend with her family. That’s a great benefit she won’t find with most courses.
It’s easy to list all the features of your product or coaching program, but far more difficult to uncover the benefits that will drive sales. When you truly understand the difference though, it will become easier, and your sales will reflect the change in your copy.

We’ve all seen those old-style sales pages filled with yellow highlights and screaming red text and lots of “BUY NOW” buttons, and when we think of copywriting, that’s often what comes to mind. While that style of sales page can be effective, it’s not the only way to make sales.
In fact, by taking a more subtle approach, you might even find that you generate more interest—and potentially more sales.
Stories Sell
One effective way to entice readers to click through to your sales page is with stories. These can be your stories or those of other people, with the goal of helping your readers to see themselves in the same situation.
Did you help a client turn her chaotic household into a calm oasis with better organizational skills? Her story on your sales page will get more clicks than all the yellow highlight you can buy.
What about that time you trashed your entire business plan and started over because you simply weren’t passionate about your work? Your potential business coaching clients will be anxious to learn more, and will click through without you even asking.
That’s the power of stories, and you can use them everywhere: in your blog posts, in your emails, on your sales pages, and even in videos and on social media.
Be Genuinely Helpful
Want to build a reputation as the go-to person in your niche? All it takes is to help people. Answer questions on social media, volunteer to speak to groups who need your advice, write blog posts that address the most common issues your readers face.
By volunteering your time and knowledge, you’ll attract a wide audience of potential customers who may need your services in the future. Who will they turn to? That very helpful person who went out of her way to offer assistance in the past.
Now we’re not saying you have to give away all your time, but if you really want to show off your expertise, you can’t do better than a little volunteer work. Not only will you make an impression with the person you help. But chances are good she’ll share with her friends as well, further expanding your audience.
Of course this doesn’t mean that there is no place in your business for a strong call to action. “Click here to buy” and “Learn more right now” are still useful (and even necessary) on sales and opt-in pages. The key is to know when to make a subtle offer, and when to offer a bit more hand holding.

When you hear the word “copywriting” do you immediately think of long sales pages, squeeze pages, and unwanted bulk mail?
You’re not alone in that thinking, but the fact is, copywriting is more than just sales messages. In fact, as an online business owner, most of the content you produce could be called copywriting at least in some sense. After all, if you’re creating content with the ultimate goal of selling something, that is by definition copywriting.

Facebook

Sure we all like to hang out on Facebook and chat with friends, catch up on the latest funny videos, and enjoy a mindless “quiz” or two. But for coaches, Facebook is much more than that. It’s a place to connect with potential clients, and that means that when you’re sharing your latest blog post or program with your business friends, you have to keep good copywriting in mind.

LinkedIn Profile

What makes you stand out from the other coaches in your niche? Your LinkedIn profile is where you share what makes you the best person to solve your ideal client’s problems. It’s where you shout about your credentials and let your ego run the show. Think of your LinkedIn profile like a resume, and be sure to list your most impressive credentials.

About Page

Here’s your chance to have some fun while blowing your own horn. It’s important to know that the about page is often the most visited page on a website, so it’s a critical piece of your overall brand and message. The purpose of your about page is to entice people to want to learn more about your services, so be sure to include a call to action on the page.

Blog Posts

All blog posts have a job to do. Maybe they’re meant to lead your reader to a sales page. Perhaps you’re asking for readers to subscribe to your mailing list. Maybe your blog post is designed to start a conversation. Or maybe it’s just sharing great content and inviting readers to learn more by clicking on related posts. Whatever the job, it’s copywriting that entices your reader to take that next action.

Twitter

One hundred and forty characters is precious little space for creating compelling content, yet that’s exactly what you must-do if you hope to use Twitter as part of your overall marketing strategy. Think of tweets like email subject lines, and craft them to convey as much information as possible while still enticing readers to take action.

Email

Whether you’re sending an email about a new product or service or simply letting readers know you have a new blog post up, your email definitely qualifies as copywriting. In fact, even the personal emails you send to prospective clients contain what we would call copywriting.

Ads

Even if your ad is only one sentence long, it needs to be a sentence that influencers the reader to take the next step and click on it. No point shelling out big bucks for impressions.

The fact is, copywriting is everywhere in your business, from your sales pages to your invoices. Whenever you ask a reader to take some action, you’re writing copy, and the more comfortable with the idea of it, the better (and more natural) you’ll become.

As any smart business owner knows, the key to passive income is a well-established (and full) funnel.
So of course you’ve optimized your opt-in pages and monetized your download pages and encourage more buyers through well-placed upsells and downsells.
But what about the follow-up? Do you contact customers about the products or services they didn’t buy? Do you encourage them to use the products they have purchased? Are you making sure they know about all your other wonderful programs?
If not, you’re missing the boat. But the good news is, this can be easily managed with just a bit of simple automation, and when done right, it will smoothly lead your customers from one purchase to the next, at the exact right time for them to take advantage of your best offers.
Segment Your Audience
Many autoresponder services allow you to target emails based on reader action. Want to sent a follow up email to those who clicked a specific link? Create a segment and mail away. Want to re-engage with those who haven’t opened your emails in a while? Easy to do, and you can potentially recover subscribers who have gone missing.
In more sophisticated systems, such as Infusionsoft or Ontraport, you can dig even deeper, and move people from one series to another based on their buying habits. That way you’ll never promote a product a reader already owns. Not only that, but you’ll always be able to offer the very best next thing, no matter where a subscriber is in your funnel.
Still another way to segment your list is according to what they do not buy. If a subscriber has been on a list where you’re promoting your top-level coaching program, and she has not yet purchased, it may simply be too expensive for her at this time. Consider moving these readers to an autoresponder series promoting a lower cost option instead.
All of these tactics require that you know your audience and your products exceptionally well. Study your stats. Know your open and click rates. Pay attention to the promotions that work, as well as those that fall flat. With information in hand, you’ll be better able to effectively segment your lists and make the most of all the parts of your funnel.

JV partners and affiliates are a huge asset for any coach or product seller. They’re the ones who are out there singing your praises, spreading the word about your services, and helping you reach a larger audience than you could on your own. Not only that, but they generously lend their good name and reputation to your business, so it makes sense that you want to treat them as well as possible.
But there are some mistakes that product sellers make over and over again that will frustrate and even turn your potential affiliates away. Here’s how to fix them.
No Promotional Calendar
Busy entrepreneurs are obsessive planners. They know they need to produce content, mail their lists, create products, speak at events, and all the other marketing tasks that go with owning a business. They very likely maintain a calendar that helps them stay focused and on track. If you want them to promote you, it’s a good idea to publish your own promotional calendar so they know what’s coming up.
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and it doesn’t have to stretch for weeks or months ahead, but it should give them a bit of notice about upcoming launches so they can work your products into their schedule.
Launching Without Them
Got a big product launch coming up? Excellent! But don’t even think about launching without your affiliates on board. Your lists most likely have some overlap, and promoting to your list before you allow affiliates to mail will result in lost sales for them—and angry JVs who won’t be anxious to promote you again.
Stealing Their Sales
This should go without saying, but if you’re considering creating your own affiliate link for your products, stop. Mailing your list or posting on Facebook with your own affiliate link will—in most systems—result in your promotions overriding those of your affiliates. In short, you’ll be stealing their sales, and no JV partner will want to promote you after that.
If you need a tracking link, there are far better ways to go about it than to create an affiliate link in your own system.
Slow Pay
No excuse is ever good enough for failing to pay your affiliates on time. If you promise to pay monthly, then you must make that a priority. It’s never okay to “borrow” from your affiliate payments to cover an unexpected bill or take advantage of an opportunity. To do so is bad form, bad karma, and will give you a reputation for unreliability.
Your JV partners and affiliates are some of your most precious assets. Treat them as such, and they will return the favor with increased sales, more leads, and plenty of social love.

You read it right.

Spongebob would kick ass at blogging.

And yes, I’ve been watching too much Spongebob Squarepants lately.

What can I say?

I’ve got 4 kids in the house and they all bump heads and start screaming for mom.

Followed by complaints. Complaints I can’t understand cause they’re all yelling at the same time.

Damian stole my book. Sabrina won’t share the sofa. Natasha took my train. Vanessa won’t let me change the channel.

And you’ve got to hear all of it while you’re cooking dinner.

See why I burn dinner so often?

Or why I forget and throw salt into the pot twice?

But that hasn’t happened in two weeks.

Why? Cause every afternoon when I head into the kitchen to cook, I tune the TV to Spongebob and for 90 minutes the four of ’em sit there mesmerized.

I did have some concerns after the first week of this little experiment. While I was cooking, I could hear the preschoolers chanting All Hail Plankton from the family room. Mentioned it to hubby and he said the wisest thing he’s ever said (other than will you marry me).

“Just be grateful they’re not chanting mommy”.

My hubby? Brilliant I tell you.

And if you’re ready to scroll down to the comments section to gripe about me allowing my kids to watch something as brain cell burning as Spongebob Squarepants, sistah, you can kiss my ass.

I need to have my sanity too and if Spongebob can help me get it, he can come on over for dinner every night. Slimy snail and all.

And honestly, I don’t mind the kids brains going to mush for an hour. These kids spend most of the day learning. That’s hard work no matter what age you are. Some vegetation time for them is similar to any adult turning on the boob tube after a long day at work.

But let’s move on to why bloggers need to Be Like Spongebob.

How To Blog

As enjoyable as blogging is, once you get sucked in and decide to make it a permanent part of your life, it’s a hard road to travel.

Its easy to give up within the first few months. There are road maps out there, but nothing specifically tailored to what we may dream up our blog should be. This causes discouragement, but in my humble opinion, if we were more like Spongebob, we could make it.

  1. Spongebob is relentless. He commits to something, he keeps at it with single minded focus. Whether it’s his goal to be the best fry cook ever or his need to get Squidward to play a game with him or his dream of getting his boating license, Spongebob keeps trying. He doesn’t see his small beginning as a hindrance, he doesn’t take no for an answer and even though he’s not the greatest driver, he keeps going knowing one day he’ll make it.
  2. Spongebob is optimistic. He always sees the silver lining. He believes anything is possible.
  3. Spongebob is brave. Though some may say he should be named Spongebob Scaredypants, he’ll step out of his comfort zone to prove his point. There was an episode where Sandy, the underwater squirrel dared Spongebob and company to head on up to dry land. He was afraid, yes, but he did it. True he was pecked at by seagulls afterwards, but he still did it and came back wiser. There’s also the episode where he and Patrick headed into the ring against wrestlers 10 times there size. He was scared to compete with pros but he didn’t give up.
  4. Spongebob is kind. He’s always willing to help someone out and gives them his best.
  5. Spongebob is friendly. Always happy to make a new friend. He’s the social butterfly of Bikini Bottom.

If us bloggers were

  • relentless in our pursuits,
  • optimistic even when are traffic is low,
  • brave enough to put ourselves out there against bloggers who have bigger audiences and have been blogging longer,
  • willing to give of ourselves by helping others,
  • and really took the time to network and know our audience,

we could kick ass at blogging.

Now I plan on being more like Spongebob this New Year. I need to get more personal with my network and be relentless in pursuing my goals of building more exposure for this blog.

How about you? Do you find any of Spongebob’s traits admiring? Can you see where being relentless, optimistic, brave, kind or friendly can help you ROCK YOUR BLOG in 2013? Can you Be Kick Ass Like Spongebob? I hear he’s got Moves Like Jagger.

artwork:  Spongebob Ninjapantsby ~willgreg123