This is a guest contribution from Jawad Khan.
Do you have a mentor, or have you ever tried looking for one?
If yes, you’d know that credibility, apart from the right expertise, is the number one quality a mentor should possess.
A person doesn’t deserve to mentor you (or anyone) if he isn’t dependable and changes views like clothes.
In other words a successful mentor needs to have a brand image that epitomizes trust, expertise and consistency.
A Powerful Brand Image Is Crucial for Successful Blogging
Successful blogging is a lot like mentoring.
Ideally, your blog readers should look up to you for advice and direction. You should be the expert that helps them solve their biggest problems and overcome the most complex mental blocks.
But that will only happen when you intentionally work on building your brand image.
Just think about it.
Why would someone purchase your coaching program or your “Epic Guide to Freelancing” or “30 Day Affiliate Marketing Course” when a million other people are selling similar products?
It’s your brand image and how you’re perceived by your readers that does the selling for you.
When people trust you, they buy from you even when your competitors have better products.
Branding is also important from an SEO perspective.
Brands not only rank higher in search results, they’re much likelier to avoid a Google penalty even when they’ve violated its guidelines.
Not sure how to brand your blog? Let me help me break it down for you.
1. Share Your Brand’s Story and List Your Core Values
Powerful brands have powerful stories. They serve a clear purpose and do business for a reason. A brand’s story allows it to connect with its audience and help them own the brand’s experiences.
If you think your blog doesn’t have a story, think harder.
What motivates you to blog every day? What purpose are you serving? What change are you trying to make?
Most of us have a good reason for doing what we do. You just need to think harder to find it.
Darren’s keynote at the World Domination Summit is a pretty good example of a powerful story.
When you have a powerful story and purpose behind your blog, it also makes it easier for you to identify your brand’s core values.
For example, some of you core values as an affiliate marketing blogger can be
- To find the best and most useful products for my audience that can help them succeed.
- To only endorse and promote products that I have tried myself and have full confidence in.
- To be empathetic towards my readers, understand their needs and help them solve their problems
Many bloggers list down their core values by creating a blogging manifesto. You can even come up with a catchy brand slogan, based on your values, using this free slogan generator.
Listing down your core values and sharing them with your audience helps you build trust and immediately connect with your ideal readers.
2. Choose a Brandable Domain Name and Invest Your Blog’s Design
If you’re still looking for exact keyword match domains (EMDs), you need a change of mindset.
I can understand if you choose an EMD for a micro niche site, but if you’re thinking long-term, and want to create a blog that people remember, treat your blog’s URL as a brand name.
A brandable URL not only gives you a unique identity, while clearly representing your core offer, but also makes your brand name easier to remember.
ProBlogger, the brand name, is a great example. The same goes for Backlinko, QuickSprout, Smart Blogger and many others. They’re all very popular blogs with branded URLs. If you’re looking for ideas, you can use this business name generator by Freshbooks or visit a branded domain marketplace to find niche domain ideas.
The other aspect of a strong online brand image includes an eye-catching logo, which represents the mood of your brand, and a website design that is not only pleasing to the eye but also makes it easier for your readers to focus on your content and the actions that you want them to take.
You need to be precise about the colors you choose for both these aspects of your brand, especially the logo.
Source: The Business of Color [infographic by 99Designs]
Once again, the new clean design of ProBlogger is a pretty good example. It’s clutter free and makes the content more prominent with an easy to read font.
CopyBlogger, with lots of empty spaces, is another example of a clean design that makes reading easy.
You can find high quality and responsive WordPress themes on ThemeForest (recommended by Darren) or, if you like to do things yourself, follow this mammoth step by step guide for setting up a WordPress blog.
3. Solve Problems With High Quality Long-Form Content
Long vs. short posts, quantity vs. quality, users vs. Google – these are all never ending debates.
But I’ll make this easy for you.
To become an authority in your niche and establish a powerful brand image, you need to create content that solves problems of your audience so comprehensively that they become life-long fans and always seek your advice when they’re stuck.
Can you create such comprehensive content in 200 words? Can you give them step by step directions and solve their problem in 500 words?
If no, what’s the point of creating short content when it doesn’t establish you as an expert?
Don’t tell me about Seth Godin and a few other celebrity bloggers. You’re not in the same league yet and your short content won’t have the same impact, please accept that fact.
The other reason why you need to create longer content is search engine traffic. More than 75% of users click the first three results on a search page. And you’re much likelier to land a spot in the first 3 search results if you create longer content.
As you can see, the average length of the top search results is well over 2000 words.
So when your objective is brand building, focus on creating detailed and in-depth content that solves problems of your readers. Don’t blog about your products all time, focus on your customers. You can do that no matter what industry you’re in.
Here’s a really good example of a conventional business blog focusing on the problems of its ideal customers. This is the kind of content that builds your image as an expert brand.
Source: Vive Health
Here’s another good example of a business blog providing solutions to its readers. Most people visit coupon sites because they’re looking to save money and find discounts. So this particular site created a several thousand word guide to help its readers.
Source: Crowd Savers
eCommerce giants, Shopify have taken this to a completely different level. Instead of creating content only about their product, they regularly publish detailed eCommerce case studies, how-to articles and step by step guidelines that help their customers succeed in their businesses. They’ve even created an eCommerce encyclopedia for small businesses with in-depth articles and resources for their customers.
In short, when you create content that solves the problems of your audience, you eventually become their go-to source for everything related to your industry.
4. Add Snapshots, Data References and Infographics To Your Blog Posts
Publishing 2000+ word blog posts is great. But when you’re putting so much effort in creating blog content, why not make it truly epic by backing your arguments with data references and explaining your tips with snapshots.
Doing this will not only add more weight to your content, but will also make it look better than your competitors. Most bloggers take the easy route by just telling people what to do.
By using snapshots, you can raise the bar and show your audience exactly how to do something.
You can use Evernote Web Clipper, a free browser extension for Windows and Mac, to quickly create snapshots and add annotations to explain your points.
Images and snapshots immediately make your content more consumable and keep the readers engaged.
In fact, visual content is so useful for branding, that I strongly recommend making infographics a key part of your content strategy.
This has two advantages.
Infographics are not only among the most frequently shared content types, which results in more traffic and backlinks, but also help you stand out from your competition and strengthen your brand image.
There are dozens of free tools like Canva and Visme that can be used to create infographics. As an added resource, keep these infographic design tips in mind.
However, if you really want your content to stand out, try making short screencasts, webinars and explainer videos a part of your content strategy as well. It’s much easier to create video content because of the different screencast tools and explainer video apps like PowToon.
Source: Content Marketing Institute
A joint study by MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute found that 66% marketers consider webinars and videos the most effective forms of content for branding and lead generation.
In short, your content becomes much more powerful when you don’t just tell readers what to do, you show them how it’s done using visual content.
5. Feature in Other High Authority Publications to Borrow Credibility
Guest blogging may not be the best SEO strategy anymore, but it’s still one of the most effective ways to build your brand image by borrowing credibility from other authority publications.
When people see your name on websites like The Huffington Post, The New York Times or CopyBlogger and Hubspot (for marketers) they immediately start considering you someone worthy of their attention.
Forget guest blogging for backlinks. Brand building is the real benefit of featuring on other authority sites.
You’ll see this in action on almost every influencer’s website.
Simply identify the top blogs and publications in your niche, and contact them with a well-researched guest post. Most blogs and websites would be happy to publish your piece as long as it follows their editorial guidelines and offers quality information.
An alternate approach, which I’ve found useful, is to connect with influential bloggers, who write for different authority sites, on Get Reviewed and ask them to feature your brand in their articles. This might cost you a few dollars but it would save you from the hassle of writing and pitching guest posts.
6. Start a Facebook Group and Host Facebook Live Sessions
There are hundreds of social networks on the web with billions of combined users. But Facebook is still by far the most effective platform to build your audience from the scratch.
Facebook Groups in particular are engagement powerhouses that can be leveraged for community building and lead generation.
If you’re looking to strengthen your brand image and connect with your target audience, I strongly recommend starting a Facebook group of your own.
Promote your group using Facebook ads and try building a community around your brand. Engage with them regularly, share your knowledge and answer their questions.
In addition, start weekly Facebook Live sessions on different topics and invite people to ask questions. Give them live demonstration of your expertise.
For example, if you’re a copywriter, perform live copy audits of different websites. If you’re a designer, offer live design critique and share your feedback with your audience.
This strategy not only boosts engagement with your audience but also turns them into brand advocates and word of mouth marketers for you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an affiliate marketer, a business coach or a product seller, the strength of your brand image will always have a direct impact on your sales and revenue numbers. The stronger the brand, the better the results. Which is why branding should be one of your primary concerns while starting a new blog or online business.
How much time and money have you invested in building your brand image?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The post Why a Powerful Brand Image Is Crucial for Successful Blogging (And 6 Ways You Can Build One) appeared first on ProBlogger.
This is a guest contribution from ProBlogger Expert Kelly Exeter.
So you’ve written an AMAZING blog post; one you know contains everything it needs to go viral:
- Irresistibly magnetic headline
- Compelling hook
- Content that addresses a genuine pain point for your readers
- Powerful storytelling
You put it out into the world and the response is … underwhelming. It completely fails to get any traction.
So where have you gone wrong?
Is it that the post isn’t as good as you first thought?
Well, maybe. But the reason is more likely to be this: distribution.
Or rather, lack of distribution.
What is distribution?
Distribution is your ability to get your amazing post in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
Why is distribution important if you want your post to go viral?
(And please note, when I say ‘viral’, I don’t necessarily mean millions of views. I simply mean a post that gets great traction and lots of shares – much more than the average post on your site.)
It’s because the more eyeballs you get on your post, the more likely that either:
1. A very influential person is going to see it and share it with their followers and/or
2. You’ll reach that magical ‘tipping point’ where your share count suddenly starts to tick over at a mad rate.
So how DO we get more eyeballs on our posts?
Glad you asked. These eight strategies are a great place to start!
1. Share it many times across your social media properties
We tend to share a blog post only once on social media because we don’t want to ‘bombard’ our followers. The problem with this is, if you get the timing wrong it will quickly fade into oblivion and no one will see it. The other reason for posting the same post several times is that followers of yours might see it at a time where they’re not able to engage with it … but the second or third time, they might be in a better position to do so. Also, posting several times allows you to experiment with different hooks and headlines as some will work better than others in driving traffic.
Take this Copyblogger post by Brian Clark. It was shared on the Copyblogger Twitter account eight times over the course of three days (using different hooks and headlines as you can see below). The first time it was tweeted, it got three retweets and one like. By the time it was shared eight times, the retweet number was up to 44. The difference in eyeballs between three re-tweets and 44? Thousands.
ACTION ITEM: If you’ve written a post you know is really solid, make sure you share it several times across all your social media properties over the course of 2-3 days.
2. Give the post an initial boost on Facebook
Sometimes you share your post on Facebook and, because the timing is ever so slightly wrong, it fails to gain immediate traction. (We all know how crucial it is to get immediate engagement on Facebook otherwise it quickly disappears from the newsfeed.) If you have a post that you KNOW is killer, keep a close eye on it when you first post it on Facebook. If it doesn’t get immediate engagement (and you know you’ve posted it at a time that usually does), then Boost the post to your followers.
Sam Jockel did just that when she shared this article to the School Mum Facebook page. She knew the article was both good, and carried an important message – one that would (and should) be shared widely. But when first posted it didn’t get traction. So she boosted it and only a few dollars were spent before the article took off as expected. As you can see from the image below, the post reached 197,000 people and the paid reach (the dark yellow part of the line) was a tiny fraction of the organic reach.
ACTION ITEM: Share your post to Facebook in a timeslot you know usually allows for immediate traction – but keep an eye on it. If it doesn’t take off, boost it … and then keep a further eye on it for a few hours. You should only need to spend a few dollars to determine if the post is as good as you think it is.
BONUS TIP: If you’re convinced your post is killer but it doesn’t take off after a boost, try sharing and boosting it again, but with a different headline.
3. Send the post to influential people (outreach)
When Em Hawker shared her kidney health story on her blog, it got traction, but only on par with most other posts on her site. Then she shared it with Kidney Health Australia. They tweeted it and shared it on their Facebook page and from there it was shared widely by hospitals, doctors and patients in both Australia and the US.
When Digital Photography School (dPS) was in its infancy, Darren Rowse often shared his posts with influential blogs in the hope they’d share it with their followers or link to it in a post. In 2007 he pitched this one to Strobist who was, at the time, a fellow medium-sized photography blog. After Strobist linked to him, Darren pitched the same post again, this time to Lifehacker (pointing to where Strobist had linked up for extra credibility). As a result of both those sites linking to his post, Darren noticed it started getting traffic from Digg.com, StumbleUpon and Delicious
He went on to repeat this strategy over the course of that first year and a pattern emerged: he’d get a link or two on medium sites, then larger sites, then social bookmarking traffic (Digg.com etc) would follow.
ACTION ITEM: You do have to be careful with this method – you don’t want to be annoying. But let’s say you write a post talking about how Gretchen Rubin’s book changed your life. If you share that post with Gretchen you never know … she might just share it with her 200,000 followers.
You might also notice a popular blogger or personality has recently written about the same topic you cover in your post. You can drop them an email and let them know that your post expands on, or was influenced by, the topic they’ve just written about. And again, you never know, they might just share it with their followers.
4. Summarise your post in an infographic
If you’ve written a long and detailed post why not try summarising the main points from it in an infographic? Infographics are brilliant for Pinterest and they’re also great for outreach. They’re something visual that people can quickly and easily share from both their blog and social properties, and those shares should drive people back to your blog to read the more detailed information (if you’ve made sure the url of your post is also on the infographic image).
ACTION ITEM: Infographics might seem like scary and expensive things to produce, but they’re not. Simply pull out the main points of your post then engage someone on Fiverr to arrange them in a visually appealing way. (You can even do it yourself). Then reach out to people whose communities might benefit from the information in the post and see if they want to share your infographic with their followers.
5. Create a Slideshare presentation
In the same way you can summarise your post in an infographic, you can also summarise it in a Slideshare presentation. I did this with a post of mine that was quite popular and it got some really strong views plus sent some good traffic back to my site. Learn from my mistakes however – I basically gave away the entire post in the presentation so there was no real reason for people to click through to my website to read it in full! Just give the highlights of your post so the person flicking through your presentation feels compelled to head to your site for the more detailed version.
ACTION ITEM: Create a visually appealing Powerpoint presentation where the slides outline the key points from your post. Ensure there is a link back to the full post at the end of the presentation, and then upload to Slideshare.
6. Make sure the image in your post is attractive to pinners
Pinterest is second only to Facebook when it comes to driving traffic to websites worldwide and quite often a post only goes crazy after the image in it goes nuts on Pinterest. This post of mine started to get heaps of traffic a few months after it went live thanks to the image at the bottom being shared 5000 times on Pinterest.
The image from this Merrymakers post has been pinned 7000 times and helped contribute to the massive 44,000 shares that post has received.
ACTION ITEM: If you’ve taken the infographic route mentioned in point number four above, then you’re covered. If not, simply open Canva, create an attractive image that is taller than it is wide, and embed that in your post. You don’t have to be super fancy about them.
7. Re-post on Medium and LinkedIn
We’ve all become so frightened of duplicating our content – fearful that Google will slap us with a big penalty for doing so. But Google is smarter than that you guys. It’s very safe to repost your content on Medium and LinkedIn (so long as your name is attached to that content) and those two platforms are a great way of getting additional attention for your words – especially if you catch the eye of the people on those two platforms who decide which content gets highlighted.
On Medium, it’s really important to get picked up by one of their publications (curated lists of articles under a particular topic umbrella). On LinkedIn, getting the attention of the right people might see you featured on the front page of the site or featured in one of their Pulse categories.
CTION ITEM: This post goes into amazing detail about how to get noticed on Medium so all I can say is read it, then choose an existing post of yours that you think would benefit from republishing there … and make sure there is a link back to your original post at the bottom. (Something like ‘This post first appeared on My Website Name. For more great articles like this make sure to visit myweburl.com’.) On LinkedIn – many people I know have had great success posting the first half of their post, or a pared down version of their post and then pushing people to the post on their site for the full version like I’ve done here.
8. Share your post in Facebook and LinkedIn groups you are part of
This is another one where you need to be very careful else you could be perceived as being spammy. But most Facebook groups I am part of allow people to share blog posts in the group that are genuinely useful to the rest of the community. In fact, a friend of mine often gets on the front foot with this by asking members of various groups she is part of for thoughts and ideas around a topic she is writing about. That way, once the post is written, she knows there will be genuine interest around her post in those groups since many of the group members feature in them.
ACTION ITEM: As I said above, please don’t be spammy with this. But if you’ve written a post that would be genuinely useful to a group you are part of on Facebook on LinkedIn, share the post with that group (so long as that kind of sharing is within the guidelines of that group). You might get lucky and not even need to share the post yourself. I’ve heard of a few instances where a Thermomix-related post was shared in large Thermomix groups on Facebook and went ballistic. Same with certain Thermomix recipes. (In fact, maybe there’s the secret to going viral right there – just write about Thermomixes ☺ )
The final word: It’s never too late to start
Remember, just because your awesome post hasn’t gotten traction straight away, that doesn’t mean it’s dead in the water forever – especially if its topic is an evergreen one.
Most of the strategies I’ve outlined here can be applied to any post and once you’ve worked your way through the above, you can safely say you’ve done everything in your power to get as many eyeballs on your post as possible.
If your post is as awesome as you think, those eyeballs should take care of the rest!
Kelly Exeter is a writer, editor, and designer who’s endlessly fascinated by the power of the stories we tell ourselves. She explores these on her blog and in her two books Practical Perfection and Your Best Year Ever. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The post The One Reason Your Amazing Blog Post Hasn’t Gone Viral (and 8 Things You Can Do About It) appeared first on ProBlogger.
As a blogger and social media strategist, there are a few things I absolutely would not be caught dead without.
I have to keep on top of a ton of tasks in all my roles, and the faster and more efficiently I can get these done, the better! Having important tools only a click away makes all the difference in the world – hence why I love keeping my Chrome toolbar stocked with things I need every day.
The current state of my toolbar:
Ok so there’s more than five, but some tools I can live without!
5 Chrome Apps I Can’t Live Without
Ever since Twitter icons the world over stopped showing the tweet count of every post, it’s been harder to see who has tweeted your content, and when. This isn’t what you want when you’re in charge of social media strategy and having to compile reports (or even if you just want to keep track, thank the tweeters, etc)!
Fortunately the Buzzsumo Chrome extension is a handy tool to see exactly what you want – It still shows tweet counts, and who were the sharers. It also gives you a great social media overview without having to open and log into the Buzzsumo site.
Buzzsumo is a godsend for analysis on what content performs best and where.
One of the things I’ve noticed though, is that she share count isn’t totally accurate if you’ve recently removed the dates from your URLs. This can be super useful for SEO purposes, but it does then skew your Buzzsumo data as it only counts the shares of your new URL, not the old.
As you can see, one of my most popular posts on Veggie Mama looks like hardly anyone cared at all!
Whereas the share reality is far different:
However, it is a great tool for quickly checking the success of yours and others’ posts – particularly if you curate content for social media channels (or roundups posts, like I do here).
And, of course, you can still manually search for shares (although it’s obviously a bit more involved).
I use CoSchedule multiple times a day, so I’m usually always logged in and the site open in a tab.
However, if I’m casually reading on a weekend or haven’t got it open for some reason, I can quickly share or schedule an interesting post for my audience, right from that post with the CoSchedule app on the Chrome toolbar.
You simply click on the icon and this page will pop up, allowing you to personalise your message and set a time for it to go live.
3. RSS Feed Reader
Part of my duties both at ProBlogger, as a blogger, and managing the social media for other small businesses is curating content to go out on social media. It’s also imperative that I keep up-to-date with current news and trends in the online world to help keep up my skills and knowledge in my industry.
Enter the old-school RSS feed reader, totally available from my toolbar!
I have mine set to feed me the most popular and shared content across three platforms (I will be expanding this): Tech, vegetarian news, and blogging, according to share counts from Buzzsumo.
At the click of a button I can see what is the most popular content across all three niches, ready for me to share with our audience, or to help me stay abreast of current online affairs.
4. Ahalogy (or other Pinterest scheduler)
I love the easily-pinned images found on blogs and websites the world over, but I don’t always want to pin that content right away.
If I’m hoping to schedule something to pin later (particularly if I’ve gone on a bit of a Pinning spree), I use my current Pinterest scheduler, which is Ahalogy. I have also used Tailwind and found that toolbar app useful also.
I love using a scheduling app that puts your pin in your current queue, or allows you to manually set a scheduled time.
5. The Great Suspender
As I’m sure you can imagine, I have many tabs open and on the go at any one time – keeping track of everything all the time is a massive job that can easily suck your data and your battery dry.
Enter The Great Suspender, available from the Chrome Web Store!
After a certain amount of time, your computer will suspend any tabs that haven’t been used, but will unsuspend immediately you reload the page. You can also whitelist your favourite pages so they will always stay open.
It can often shut off when you might not want it to – for example, if you’re downloading something or listening to music or the radio on a webplayer, so be warned!
Also, you will be prompted to save your work or stay on a page if the suspender attempts to suspend a tab before you’ve saved what you were working on. Yay!
I do use these apps often, and find them invaluable, but would still survive if they weren’t on my daily toolbar!
Clip to Evernote
Having said all that, I’ve used the article clipper on Evernote a whole bunch this last week – it helps me keep my posts-to-read-for-later in their appropriate folders, and also makes it easier for me to send information to shared folders for my clients (or my podcast co-host) to read.
You can clip any part of the article or send the entire thing to your Evernote. I’ve found it particularly useful when the post I’m reading doesn’t have an email option and I can’t email it to my relevant folder.
It’s saved me a lot of time and effort!
Simple Pomodoro is also a great app to have when you struggle to stay focused or find it hard to get through your to-do list without being distracted.
The app is based on the Pomodoro technique, which advises you to work for 20 minutes, then take a break, to help keep you on task.
You can set yourself a timer very quickly, and personalise the timeframe – I always do the 20 minute pomodoro, but you can also choose 5, 10, 15 or multiple minutes.
So these are the tools I have on hand to be the best blogger and social media manager I can be! I hope they’re helpful to you too – do you have favourite toolbar apps you just can’t live without? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Do you feel like there is so much change afoot this year? I totally do! And I think this week’s picks really reflect that. There is an undercurrent of taking risks and moving forward. My kind of undercurrent.
I’d love to hear what changes you’re making, if you’re starting a blog, revamping a current one, branching out into online business or something else? I’m also keen to hear your input into our community discussion on what social platforms everyone uses and why.
WHSR Twitter Chat Recap: Blog Smarter and Stay Productive to Grow Traffic | Web Hosting Secret Revealed
Plenty of ideas to stay on top of things here, and I particularly love the tools breakdown.
Google to Penalise Widget Link Tactics | Search Engine Roundtable
If you’ve got some keyword-stuffed or otherwise not-so-legit links in your widgets, you might wanna remove them – now!
Instagram Reaches 500,000 Advertisers, Releases New Business Stats | Social Media Today
With the advent of new business accounts and integration with Facebook, Instagram has seen a surge in people using the platform more strategically. Have you got a business account, and do you find it helpful?
Facebook Plans to Expand Program to Fight Against Online Hate Speech | Wall Street Journal
This is more for online activists fighting against terrorist propaganda, but I can imagine it would be the beginning in a drip-down effect for online hate speech in general.
How This Social Media Strategist Stays Focused on His Goals | Entrepreneur
I LOVE hearing how other people deal with these issues! Super helpful.
If you’re struggling with overwhelm, your to-do list threatening to take over your entire life, then check out productivity ninja Kelly’s streamlined life/work organisation.
Ouch! Probably time to get the date out of your URLs – just like we’ve done here at ProBlogger.
How Creating A Private Facebook Group Can Unlock New Business Opportunities | Business2Community
It’s like a virtual office/sitting room where everyone can network, chat, share ideas and information and ask you questions. It can be invaluable (but also getting to the point of being overdone). Do you have a Facebook group? What do you do in there?
4 Creative Ways to Use Instagram for Business | Social Media Examiner
Oh my gosh, that Old Spice idea is GENIUS.
Something for everyone here – from strategy to ideas to hacks to success stories. I’m hooked!
What’s caught your eye this week?