Blogging

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How often do you update your blog? How often SHOULD you post?

Excellent questions! But let me clue you into the real secret to a successful blog:

Regularity.

See, there’s no “right” answer for how often you should update your blog. (I have an opinion I’ll share!) But the real key is to pick a schedule and stick with it as if your business depended on it.

While your whole business probably doesn’t revolve around how often you post, your regularity in posting is a good barometer of your overall business health. When a brand-new visitor comes to your website, where do they go? Most likely, to a blog post!

Blog articles are like food to search engine spiders: lots of yummy content they can serve up to people looking for information. But spiders don’t like old content! They like to see things being refreshed regularly.

And think about your reader: sure they may ENTER your blog on a post dated 5/12/12. But they’re certainly not going to stay there! After reading the info, they’re likely to click to the first page of your blog and start reading. If you have content that is all 60-day old or older, that’s the digital equivalent of a retail store with burned out light bulbs, and cobwebs and dust bunnies on the shelves.

Your website is a gateway to everything you do online. It isn’t the be-all, end-all of your business! I totally get that. And I know a lot of coaches who don’t even sell anything directly from their website – it’s used to gather opt-ins and book strategy sessions. Their website is something they HAVE to have – but it’s not a money-maker in and of itself.

But if you’re going to have that little BLOG link on your website, you need to post regularly. This is how you show the folks who just “drive by” your website that you’re still around.

So how often should you post?

Monthly Blogging
Is really better than nothing. But it’s too easy to let it slip by the wayside. And when somebody comes today and you just posted yesterday, you look great! Fresh content = a vibrant business. But when they visit for the first time 29 days from now… crickets.

Right or wrong, the seriousness of your online business is judged by how often you update your blog!

Should you post the date on your posts? Find out here!

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I recently got asked to submit a guest article for a blog. My first thought was “Yay! Awesome! Of course!” Then when I actually WROTE it on my To Do list, I realized that just WRITING the article was only part of what I needed to do.

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Here are 4 steps when you’ve been asked to submit a guest post:

(This is when SHE is asking YOU – not you pitching an idea!)

1. Review their website and blog
Since you were invited to write, it’s probably a safe bet to say that HER audience is a good fit for you. But you still want to spend some time checking out her website and blog.

  • What’s the tone? Is it formal or conversational?
  • Is there anything there that doesn’t align with your business or personal vision? Your name will be forever associated with this other person so before you send them your article, be sure there’s nothing there that you’re uncomfortable with or regret.
  • How long are the articles?
  • Is the target audience beginning or advanced?
  • Have there been any guest experts in your field or industry? It’s okay if there are, you just want to make sure you’re saying something different.

2. Make sure you’re crystal clear on the requirements and deadline
Guest posting are only a win-win when BOTH of you are clear! That includes:

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There are a variety of reasons to have someone write a guest post for your blog ranging from highlighting an expert to taking a much-needed break from the weekly requirement to provide an article.

When you feature a guest article on your blog, you’ll usually get a boost in traffic from the guest author’s social media efforts.

Here are some things to keep in mind when posting a guest article:
Make your requirements crystal clear. That’s your deadlines, links to their site, how you expect them to promote the post, and when/if they can use the article on their own website, and when the post will appear. I would also suggest a length – word count is universal whereas page count can vary a lot.

Request a topic. This makes it easier for the guest blogger so she gets an idea of what topics will resonate with your readership. Understand that you may end up with an article that doesn’t share your views on a topic. Most of the time, a guest blogger will not use your blog for THEIR personal platform, but it does happen.

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Let me be really clear – there’s nothing wrong with deciding to hire a ghostwriter. You don’t do everything in your business, right? You are probably already outsourcing the tasks that you are either not good at, don’t like, or don’t have time for. Most people start out with outsourcing their bookkeeping, taxes, or sending out their newsletter.

A ghostwriter is just another person on your team who helps you get it all done!

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Here are some great reasons to hire a ghostwriter:

  • You don’t like writing or feel you’re not good at it. I’m a firm believer that everybody has a story to tell but I 100% get it that not everybody is in love with the written words.
  • Tasks like your blog, book, newsletter, or articles keep getting added to your to do list and then stay there, day after day, week after week.
  • There are other activities that only you can do. Instead of being a money-making activity, these writing activities are taking you away from other things that do make you money.

I want to say this clearly: it’s not a failure AT ALL to bring in a writer! You’re an expert at what you do and people pay you for your knowledge, skills, and passion. Writers are the same and we love to write!

Here’s what you need to do before hiring a ghostwriter:

1. Be realistic about your budget

You might be able to get a writer on the cheap but is the writing of any quality? This writing is representing your business – more than video, podcasts or interviews ever can. You don’t need to pay through the nose, but don’t expect a quality writer to be cheap either.

2. Look at their credentials

Your writer should be a native English speaker or have the writing skills of one. Ideally she should have a degree in writing (Creative Writing or Journalism) or English. If not, then years of experience will also do the trick!

3. Be clear about your expectations

Nobody is going to write EXACTLY like you do but a good ghostwriter should come close. However, understand that there will be a process while your writer gets to learn your voice so there might be more edits in the beginning. You’ve got to be okay with letting go and letting the writer do her job. That being said, if she isn’t matching your voice and style, you might need to look elsewhere.

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A headline is one of the most important pieces of writing – ever. And it’s also one of the most difficult to write!

A headline is designed to attract attention and create desire in a person to read the rest of the piece. Don’t fool yourself that headlines are only found on articles or sales pages. They’re not! For the purposes of this article, a ‘headline’ is anything that needs to attract a reader’s attention and get them to take a second action; usually to read the piece of writing.

Headlines can include:

  • Article or blog post titles
  • Book titles
  • Email subject lines
  • Headlines for sales copy

There are three main types of headlines:

Positive Attraction

These headlines focus on the pleasure words. They’re often benefit laden and overtly promise that the following copy will solve your pain.

Negative Attraction

These headlines don’t just unearth a reader’s pain, they POUNCE on it, sink in their claws and drag it kicking and screaming from under the bed. Negative Attraction headlines make you feel uncomfortable.

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Last week I participated in a comment exchange party – each participant posted a link to a blog post that she wanted additional comments on and then OTHERS in the party would leave comments on the post.

Makes total sense, right? You get more traffic on a blog post, they get more links to their website, you get to read new articles, your name is seen by more people… It’s a win-win, right?

Well, maybe. There are a LOT of factors involved when it comes to commenting on other people’s blogs.

  1. MOST blogs have a nofollow policy which means that the link to YOUR website is listed as nofollow. Now, I’m not an SEO expert but I think this boils down to the link isn’t as valuable as an incoming link with a nofollow tag as it is without.
  2. People don’t always reciprocate. In an event like this, it’s completely possible I would comment on more blogs than would comment on mine.
  3. Time. Even if you skim the articles, it still takes time to read them. But the biggest time-overhead is the commenting itself. And sometimes it’s tough to even figure out HOW to comment!
  4. Finding something to say. There have been times I’ve been involved in comment-swaps like this and I knew NOTHING about the blog’s topic and had zero interest. Makes it hard to say anything that “Thanks! Great post!”
  5. Not all blogs delete spam comments, moderate snarky or mean commenters, or engage with their readers. Personally, I reserve the right to delete ANY comment on my blog.

So how DO you write a good comment on somebody’s blog?

Decide WHY you’re doing it. I’m usually looking to get my name out there and expand my visibility in the blog-o-world. And with most blogs not offering a ‘follow’ link back to MY site, SEO reasons aren’t my main consideration.

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For me, there’s a big difference between being inspired to write and having the motivation to write. One is about fun and ideas and flow and the other is about working towards a goal and keeping the end in mind.

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I think that most books START with inspiration. You get that great idea, have that little voice whispering in your ear, or just get flat-out excited. It’s perfect to take those great feelings and get started! It’s that serendipitous moment that kick-starts the creativity.

Motivation is what keeps you going after the initial inspiration fades.

And inspiration probably WILL fade over time. Work ethic and the “I’m not going to let anything get in my way” take over and eventually, the writing gets completed. Motivation is a needed ingredient in your writing. But inspiration, ah, inspiration! Without it, nothing would get started.

Don’t for one second think that inspiration is limited to writing fiction! All writing is creative. You have to find the right order of words to express your thoughts. (If you’ve ever struggled to convey your thoughts you know what I mean!) In fact, MOST of my inspiration lately is about articles for the blog!

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t believe in writer’s block. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a LOT easier to write when inspiration is knocking.

5 Ways to Stay Inspired

1. When inspiration hits: WRITE
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, drop everything and get words on paper. Period. No excuses. Inspiration doesn’t come around every day so make the most of it when it’s around. I’ve scribbled article drafts on napkins and done character sketches on the back of envelopes. And yes, I’m THAT WOMAN who’s pulled over to jot a note in the dust of the hood of my truck.

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