Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week / ProBlogger.net

There’s a buzz of excitement here as PBEvent 2016 gets ever closer! I am obsessively going over my slides, information is being emailed, awesome competitions to win cool blogging stuff are being run, and there’s tons of chatter and getting-to-know-yous in the Facebook group for attendees – bring on the 9th and 10th of September! (and that’s not just because I’m dying to get out of the Melbourne chill and into some beachy sunshine).

How Lesser-Known Models Navigate Instagram and Snapchat | Racked

Not everyone can be at the top of the game, but you can still be successful as a mid-range influencer, blogger or online creative. The numbers pressure is still there, but you can make it work for you.

6 Website Design Tips that Will Have Your Audience Licking Their Screens | Copyblogger

That title will make much more sense when you read the article! But the truth is, design plays a huge part in how your audience will receive your stuff. Are you happy with how your site looks right now?

From Podcast Host to Full-Blown Personal Brand Entrepreneur, with Colin Gray | Chris Ducker on YoupreneurFM

Colin Gray talks to Chris Ducker about how he’s developed his podcast into a long-standing business based around his personal brand (and how you can too!). Colin has written some great posts here on ProBlogger recently, if you missed them:

How to be a Smart Breaking-News Consumer on Social Media | OnMilwaukee

This is so important – in the rush to retweet or share something pertinent with your audience, you might be getting it so, so wrong. It’s so easy to publish fake news and images these days. Make sure you don’t get fooled! There can also be huge ramifications for sharing incorrect information.

How a GIF of Aly Raisman’s Floor Routine Got Me Permanently Banned from Twitter | Jim Weber

And this too! The consequences for sharing content that doesn’t belong to you – even if everyone else is doing it – can throw a spanner in the works (and if you’re really unfortunate, cost you a lot of money).

how_to_start_a_food_blog

How to Start a Food Blog and Change the World | The Blog Tyrant

It’s one of the fastest-growing niches, and one that can be quite lucrative. This is a pretty hefty post! There’s plenty of “start a blog” posts about (we have a super-thorough one here, which is packed with resources), but if you’re looking for one with a particular foodie bent, then you’ll find some extras on Ramsay’s post.

5 Years of Business Firsts | Jon Loomer

Jon takes us back through the early days of his blog, the mistakes he’s made, and the tips he used to grow into the Facebook expert hub it is today. We all have wobbly early years! Don’t let that keep you from trying.

What Twitter’s New Quality Filter Actually Does | Edgar

I’m excited about this! As are (I assume) the perennially trolled.

The Secret Sauce to Shareable Visual Content Your Audience Will Devour | Socially Sorted

Once again Donna nails it with her epic visual social content knowledge! She really knows her stuff.

Marketing in Four Steps | Seth Godin

You may as well hear it from him if you’re resistant to the message that you have to show up and do the work. Consistently. There is no easy money, not even online.

What’s caught your eye this week?

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Overcoming the Fear of Being Heard

Hipster in the LibraryBy Karly Nimmo.

In my work with hundreds of podcasters, and potential podcasters (this also applies to bloggers, entrepreneurs, small business owners and anyone putting themselves out there) I see one key thing get in the way over and over again…

Our good old mate, FEAR.

Let’s talk about fear, because it has the capability to paralyse and stop the vast majority from ever leaving the discomfort of their comfort zone.  And, that seems such a shame.  I see so many amazing people, with incredible messages, products and services to share, who are stuck in fear.

Fear shows up in a number of ways and in varying parts of our journey.  When you’re putting yourself out there in a bigger way, there seems to be a few regulars sitting at the bar, like:

  • fear of rejection (by far the biggest)
  • fear of failure and/or success
  • fear of getting it ‘wrong’
  • fear of being exposed as a fraud (good old imposter syndrome)
  • fear that my friends and family won’t get it
  • fear that no one will listen
  • fear that it’s/I am not enough

So, here’s my top 8 tips to move through fear.

Tip one: identify the fear.  

What is it?  Name it.  Shine a light on it.  Say it out loud.

I’m afraid of (insert reason here).

Tip two:  Does the best possible outcome, outweigh the worst?

Best possible outcome?

You positively impact someone’s day/wee/month/year/life.

Worst case scenario?

Bruised ego.  (and I’ve experience enough bruises to know one thing for sure… they heal)

Tip 3:  It’s not about you.

Yeah… that old chestnut.  As humans we have this ability to make everything about us.  Namely, what people might think of us.  And that alone is enough to paralyse us from moving forward.  Focussing on service and shifting that focus from you (and all the things that could potentially go wrong), to those who you can serve, really helps move through the fear.

My go to mantra:  When nervous, focus on service.

Tip 4:  Practice makes perfect (err, practice makes better)

Let’s be real.  Most of the time, when we start something new, we suck at it.  Big time.  And the only way to get better is practice.

Moving through fear is like a muscle.  If you want to build it, keep working on it.  Remember the first time you’ve tried anything new and scary?  We build it up to be something really BIG.  Then we do it, and it might not be perfect, but we realise we can do it.  So we do it again… and again… and again… then it becomes something we are comfortable with…. and if we practice enough, we can become a master at it.

Whether it’s golf, crotchet, growing tomatoes, or doing live webinars, the only way you are going to improve is to keep trying.  Keep showing up – despite the fear.

Tip 5:  Drop perfection for experimentation. 

Drop perfection.  It serves no one.  And replace it with a good dose of experimentation.  Instead of placing all this crazy pressure on yourself to have things go perfectly, reframe things as an experiment.  Test.  Measure.  Review.  Test.  Measure.  Review.  Framing things as an experiment lightens the load and lessens attachment to outcome.

Tip 6:  What you’re afraid of has already happened.  

Yep.  The rejection you’re trying to avoid?  It’s already happened.  That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again, but if it does, all is well; you’ve experienced it before and you survived.  You can do it again.

Tip 7:  What others think of you is not of your business.

Easy to say, hard to live by… but oh, so true.  What others think of you comes from their experience and beliefs and their opinion of you, and anything you say, is ALWAYS going to be skewed by this.

Tip 8:  You can’t please everyone, so you might as well please yourself. 

Enough said.  You’re always going to piss someone off.  Might as well be doing it for a good cause.

Fear is always going to be present, my friend.  Always.  It’s part of our make up as human beings.  A reminder of our mortality.  A way to protect ourselves from harm.  It stems from our vulnerability as cave men and women… when we were prey to wild animals.

And while there are many people out there who behave like wild animals, trying to rip others to shreds, the truth is they only have the power you allow them to have.  Hiding away in your cave because someone might have something negative to say about you serves no one.

Take a few deep breaths, puff that chest out, focus on those who need to hear what you have to say… and hit record.

The world will thank you for it.

Karly Nimmo is all about about helping people find their voice, and giving them the tools and platform to get it out there.  She’s a passionate podcaster, teacher and mentor atRadcasters Podcasting S’cool.

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How Working Fewer Hours Can Increase Your Productivity

How working fewer hours can increase your productivityBy ProBlogger Productivity Expert Nicole Avery.

We live in a culture that assumes the more hours you work the more work you are doing. Stories are traded of working past midnight or working 10 hour days with no breaks with great pride and being sleep deprived due to work, is treated by many as a badge of honour. But is it productive?

If you look at the statistics, it appears not:

working_hours_picture_1_2

The above graph shows the productivity (GDP per hour worked) in relation to the number of hours worked in OECD countries. The trend is clear: the more hours worked the less productive we are.

Personally this is something I have worked out the hard way. At the end of 2014 I was so close to quitting blogging. I was caught in the working longer hours trap. I would work some hours while the kids were at school, then once they were off in bed I would start my second shift and work late into the night.

I found myself in the position where it seemed, no matter how many hours I worked, I couldn’t keep up. Sometimes we need to reach a low point before we make change and this was the case for me. I shared on ProBlogger last year the steps I took to turn this around and you can read more about it here, but the biggest impact was changing my work schedule and working fewer hours.

Working fewer hours when you are struggling to keep up can seem contradictory, but productivity isn’t about the volume of hours you work, it is about your work output. I set new work boundaries for myself. I was no longer going to do a second shift. My workday would end when the kids were home from school and I would have at least one day every weekend that was work free.

As I made the changes to my work schedule, the results on my productivity were instantaneous. Working tired all the time is ineffective, things take longer, you are more easily distracted and there is an increase in procrastination. Taking adequate breaks away from the blog allowed me to refresh, rest and have time for thinking, all of which helped increase my productivity when I was working.

Associate Professor Cal Newport even has a formula to explain why working more hours isn’t necessarily more productive:

work accomplished = time spent x intensity of focus

You can use this formula to see if working fewer hours can help you increase your productivity. Newport uses an intensity of focus rating of 1 – 10 with 10 being the highest level of focus.

In my example back in 2014, after working until 11.00pm the day before my work accomplished the next day would have looked something like this:

  • 10:00am – 11:00am – 6 intensity of focus
  • 11:00am – 12:00pm – 5 intensity of focus
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm – 4 intensity of focus
  • 2:00pm – 3:00pm – 4 intensity of focus

This would give me a work-accomplished result of 19 units of work for my four hours of work. Then I would have my second session in the evening:

  • 8:00pm – 9:00pm – 3 intensity of focus
  • 10:00pm – 11:00pm – 2 intensity of focus

This would give me a work-accomplished result of five units of work for my two hours of work and a total of 24 units of work for my six hours of work time that day.

Compare this to my current schedule, where I do not work at night and am in bed by 10:00pm:

  • 10:00am – 11:00am – 10 intensity of focus
  • 11:00am – 12:00pm – 9 intensity of focus
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm – 9 intensity of focus
  • 2:00pm – 3:00pm – 8 intensity of focus

I estimate that for my four hours of work my output is 36 units of work, a 50% increase in my productivity compared to my 2014 example. And my current output confirms this formula to be correct. I am working about half as many hours as I was working, for more output. This year I have started a podcast and have almost completed a new product to sell from the blog – neither of which I did when I was working in the evenings.

It can be scary to think about working less, but if you think about the times when you have achieved your greatest work output, you will most likely find commonalities like you were well rested and focused. Working longer hours is not conducive to creating this state, so take the plunge and revamp your work schedule to work fewer hours, but work more effectively in those hours you work.

How many hours a week are you working on your blog?

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4 Creative Ways to Build Buzz for Your Next Blog Post Before It Goes Live

pexels-photo (1)

This is a guest contribution from Bill Achola.

I remember those days when I thought writing a blog post was enough.

I would invest all my efforts on choosing the right topic, writing a quality blog post, making it smart, funny, and engaging, adding interesting pictures, carefully crafting an eye-catching format, and choosing the right time to post.

I would weigh all my options, do all the hard work, hit ‘publish’, and then wait for the traffic to pour in.

It didn’t.

It wasn’t until I had wasted a considerable amount of effort that I realized that effectively promoting a blog post is as important as, if not more so, than writing quality content.

In a blogosphere full of unwanted noise, your goal is to make your voice heard above all the others. Your goal is to attract audiences who might be interested in what you have to say and how you choose to say it. For that, you need to find creative ways to promote a blog post before you even write one.

But how exactly can you do that?

After all, not all of us can invite Drake to help promote our next offering. So, you need to rely on these four creative ways to build buzz for your next blog post before it goes live.

1. Reach Influencers Through Pre-Outreach

Influencers are every blogger’s personal gold mine. They are the gateway to blogging heaven, the key to success. The right influencers can drive valuable traffic in droves to your blog. Each of the influencer’s audience is your personal resource which you can tap into to get more hits on your blog post.

You can have separate influencers for separate platforms. And the ways to reach audiences on each of these platforms are oddly specific. For instance, consider how Wilson Hung describes his experiences in promoting his blog posts on Reddit: 

A few days before I publish an article, I look for recent Reddit posts related to my article. I then send a PM to Redditors who commented in the article asking if I have their permission to follow up with them when I release a similar Reddit post. When your blog post finally goes live, you can promote it on Reddit and send a PM to all the people who gave you their permission. This may sound like a lot of work, but soon you’ll build a list of army upvoters that will help ensure you hit the #1 spot in a specific subreddit for each article you post.

A successful example:

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 5.39.37 pm

2. Use ‘Weak Ties’ To Generate Early Buzz

But what exactly are weak ties, you may be wondering? And how do you use them to promote your blog post?

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 5.41.06 pm

Weak ties, by definition, are the antithesis of close friends on social media. They are acquaintances that you might not even talk to once a year. Think about it. How many friends do you have on Facebook? How many of them do you speak to regularly?

Not many, I suppose. Your weaker friends may not be valuable to you from a social perspective. But they are highly important resources from a promotional perspective. Sure, they might not all be digital marketing experts. They might not even be influencers in your field.

But who cares? They do have friends, don’t they? And they can share your articles with those friends, can’t they? Even if you reach five of your weaker ties, you are reaching five separate audiences. You’re increasing the likelihood of your article being read and shared by a factor of five.

According to Ronald S. Burt:

Indeed, it might not be who or what you know that creates advantage, but rather more simply, who you become by dint of how you hang out—the disadvantaged hang out with folks just like themselves, while the advantaged engage folks of diverse opinion and practice.

3. Use The ‘Content Roadshow’ Technique

The Content Roadshow technique was developed by Brian Dean as a means to generate backlinks for your content. You can also use it to promote your blog post even before you begin to write it.

But what exactly is the Content Roadshow technique?

In simpler terms, it’s a way to search for leading authors for your topic and reach those authors individually to promote your content. Since these authors are well-read experts in your field, gaining their support will be highly beneficial for your blog.

Here’s how Brian Dean describes the Content Roadshow technique:

I usually just Google keywords related to my content and find other bloggers. Then I reach out to those people that come up in those results. I will send an email and just ask if they want to check it out. If they are interested, I’ll send the content and ask them what they think. It’s very simple. People will thank you and share it with their audience.

Did you notice that the process begins with looking up keywords? Finding the right keyword ideas is the first step of the Roadshow technique. Once you narrow down a list of appropriate keywords, it’s time to begin emailing the prospects.

Here’s an example of the email draft:

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 5.41.40 pm

4. Email Brands That Have Been Mentioned In Your Post

Even some of the most successful brands and services are always looking for publicity and ways to reach newer audiences. And if you do that for them, they’ll respond positively as well.

For instance, if you plan to link an article or a successful blog in your content, you can email the original author, asking whether they would be interested in sharing the content with their readers.

Formulating the email is crucial. If you do it right, you’ll be surprised by the response you receive. Here’s what Melyssa Griffin has to say about that:

Your initial email is fairly crucial, especially because many brands receive plenty of these types of emails each day. My best advice? Keep it short, descriptive, and to the point. Don’t add entire paragraphs about your blog or a three-page collaboration idea that they have to download as a Word document. Rather, keep your email to a few sentences.

Reach For The Stars

Experience is not just about learning from the mistakes. It’s about learning from the mistakes of others as well. And the best way to avoid what I went through is to follow these four steps from the very beginning.

Reaching for the stars is not easy, but taking the first step is.

So what are you waiting for?

Bill Achola is a content marketing consultant specializing in content writing and marketing at Billacholla.com. He works closely with B2B and B2C companies providing the right content that generates traffic and revenues back to their business.

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Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week / ProBlogger.net

At times the internet and blogging appears to be morphing at warp speed, setting our heads spinning and making us feel like it’s impossible to keep up – this has been one of those weeks! So I hope the first pick for you will help.

Stop Spending so Much Time in Your Head | Darius Foroux

So you can free it up to actually get some work done/get yourself out there!

Facebook Tests Streaming Videos to TV Using Apple’s AirPlay, Google’s Chromecast | MarketingLand

Gamechangerrrrrrr! No longer are they stuck on your video only, or ditching you to go back to scrolling their newsfeed – your audience could possibly now do both.

The Must-Have Social Media Tool Every Content Marketer Needs | Copyblogger

It can’t be reiterated enough! And as we learned this week, placing all your eggs in someone else’s social media platform basket can wreak absolute havok.

The Art of Writing Microcopy | Gather Content

These are the parts of a website I really get a thrill about – the tiny language you use on your buttons or error pages or basically anywhere that would usually have a stock-standard direction on it and you’ve injected a bit of personality there instead. Makes a huuuuge difference!

Twitter Shuts 235,000 More “Extremist” Accounts | BBC

This is an interesting turn of events – It can be notoriously hard to get Twitter to shut down an account. Perhaps a change is in the air?

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 1.38.06 pm

How to Build a Killer Content Keyword Map for SEO | Moz

Once again, Rand breaks it down what you need to know in one of his Whiteboard Fridays – it doesn’t get more step-by-step and hand-holdy than this.

Content Marketing is Key to Growing Your Personal Brand | Entrepreneur

It’s hard to grow traffic is it is, particularly if your blog is personal or your website is about you. But there are ways around it, and things you can do to ensure Brand You is consistent, understandable, and likable.

How to Create an Eye-Popping Infographic Your Audience Will Love | Jeff Bullas

They perform well on Pinterest and other social media, but it’s not always easy or in people’s comfort zones to create them if they’re not graphically-minded.

How to Write Better Headlines for Your Facebook Ads | HubSpot

With Facebook ads being reasonably priced and super-effective (when done right!) it pays to put some effort in to get the most out of it.

25 Tips on Becoming an Online Influencer | Mashable

Things have changed so much from the early days of brands paying bloggers for sponsored posts. The competition is also pretty damn fierce. If this is how you want to make your money/make your way on the internet, these are some solid tips.

What’s caught your eye this week?

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