One BIG Blogging Secret

You know I love blogging. I’m a major fan of anything that’s fun, easy, fast, and powerful.

Blogging is instant publishing: you can be read by millions around the world. You can’t get any faster than that. As for fun, that’s pretty much up to you.

Have FUN with your blog: if a blog fails, so what?

You must have fun with your blog. Look at this lady — do you think she’s having fun? You can blog about anything. Writing, sure, if that turns you on. You can also blog about fashion, travel, home renovating, tattoos, motor sport…

When I’m coaching blogging students, they’re nervous. They want to launch a blog that’s a guaranteed success. I suggest to them that they’ll learn more from creating a couple of useless blogs than they will from an instant success.

Failure makes you try harder. It’s character building. Seriously. Failure forces you to try, which means that you’ll try harder in all areas of your life.

After 15 years of blogging, I can see how an instantly successfully blog could be a major pain.

Let me count some ways:

  • Technical issues. A sudden hit of traffic can toss your blog offline. You’ll need to deal with hosting challenges. Not a big problem, but nevertheless a headache;
  • Monetization challenges;
  • Endless emails leading to stress;
  • Endless advice, and no idea who’s offering good advice.

Yes, instant blogging success might be as likely as purple pigs flying past your window. The point I’m making is: blog. The worst blog in the world will teach you a lot — the time and energy you spent in creating it is a small price to pay for that education.

If you have an idea that might work as a blog, try it out. “Failure” is just feedback. If one topic doesn’t work, try another one.

Now here’s the big secret about blogging.

Use your blog to build a mailing list: your list is money in the bank

I’m always talking about mailing lists for one reason: a list is incredibly valuable, and very few writers bother. I’ve coached veteran writers, who’ve been freelancing for over a decade, and have never bothered creating a client spreadsheet. It’s as if a client vanishes off the planet as soon as the writer has completed a project.

Your past clients are your biggest asset.

It’s not just writers, either. Check out your clients — what are they doing with their mailing list? Companies can be officious (or their staff can be) in collecting customer names, addresses and phone numbers. Then they do nothing with all that information. (This provides work for you: talk them into regular mailings. Otherwise they’re leaving pots of gold lying on the ground.)

A blog is vital. A list is more vital.

Build a mailing list. Start today.

Earn while you learn — everything’s included in Article Fire Storm

Simple articles to a six-figure annual income? Surely. Large companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing annually. When you become a content strategist, you can charge hefty fees. And your strategy is all based on articles.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Content as Advertising: Writing Savvy Web Content With Keywords

Today, Web content looks a lot like advertising. There’s a whole class of articles which are promoted online: sponsored content. (Read the linked article if you’d like to know more about sponsored content. It’s everywhere online today.)

In this video (scroll down) we talk developing a content marketing campaign, as part of a strategy. We look at…

  • Results the client wants… a dog food website wants traffic. And sales.
  • You decide to create a “cuteness” campaign: you’ll find photogenic dogs which perform clever tricks. You’ll interview the owners, and source images.
  • The audience: dog owners.
  • The kick off keyword: “dog tricks.”

We look at two of the free keyword tools we discussed in the article: Bright Ideas: 4 Easy Keyword Tools for Writing.

Like the video? If you find it interesting, and want to write the “new” content as advertising, Writing Genii members will receive download links to more videos in this series. If you’re not familiar with it, Writing Genii offers a free content library, and it’s (you guessed it… free.)

Want to know more about content as advertising?

Check out our new workshop, Article Fire Storm: Ultimate Content Strategy Secrets. Web content is hugely lucrative for writers when approached in the right way.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Bright Ideas: 4 Easy Keyword Tools for Writing

web content creation ideas

Writers ask me about keywords, and it makes me wince. Usually they’ve got a client who’s carrying on about rankings. The goal of “ranking” for keywords is a fool’s game: the days when you could con Google or any other search engine with keyword spam have long gone. That said, keyword tools are nevertheless vitally important.

Here’s why.

Keywords reveal searchers’ intentions — they’re a starting point for content

When you’re creating content for a client — before, during and after you’ve developed a content strategy — check out keyword tools, to see what people are searching for.

Keep in mind:

  • Your client’s goals
  • The product your client is promoting
  • Your client’s audience

Keywords are a huge topic. Big tip: keywords are NOT a shortcut to creating content. The content factories which churned out “keyword content” are closed.

Let’s look at three tools; they’re free.

Ubersuggest: a fun overview of search terms

Ubersuggest has a tagline: “Suggest on steroids”, and that’s about right. When you start typing in Google’s query field, Google makes suggestions: you can cycle through the alphabet. Ubersuggest saves you typing time. Enter any word related to your client’s business, and you’ll see keywords, listed via the alphabet.

It’s a good starting place for brainstorming, and getting content ideas. You can save the list of keywords to use later; in practice however, you’ll rarely do that.

Grab a few ideas, and enter them into our next keyword tools.

KWFinder: “long tail” keywords — grab ideas

KWFinder is a good basic keyword tool. Enter a couple of keywords you’ve found via Ubersuggest, and see what happens. You can do five free searches a day. If you need more, their Basic plan is inexpensive.

Tip: KWFinder is useful to mix and match keywords. Check out your client’s analytics program to see what his website visitors are searching for. Remember that keyword tools are historical: they can only show you what people have searched for in the past. Your client’s logs will tell you much more.

Indeed, they may even tell you that your client’s positioned himself for the wrong audience. That’s common. Your content will help him to get on track, and start attracting the right audience.

SEMrush: see what your client’s competition is ranking for on Google

SEMrush is useful to see how your client’s website measures up to others in his industry. You’ll see which keywords a competitor ranks for (ten keywords in the fee version of SEMrush), how much of their traffic is organic search and paid, how many backlinks they have, and much more.

SpyFu — see how and where money’s being spent on keyword advertising

When you’re thinking “show me the money” SpyFul is invaluable. It shows you who’s spending money on keywords, what the keywords are, and how much money they’re spending. If you enroll in our Article Fire Storm workshop, you’ll even discover how to mine SpyFu for prospective clients. Companies which are spending money on paid search are open to a content strategy which will help them to not only potentially save money, but also get a bigger return on the money they’re spending now.

Keywords aren’t everything: use your head

To repeat. Keywords aren’t a shortcut to content. They’re a compass. They help you, in many ways, however your brain is your most important tool.

Please don’t fall into the “keywords for content” trap. If you go that route, you’re crippling yourself as a writer. You’re a savvy writer. Use keywords as a basis for research: remember, searchers’ intentions are what matter, and so are your clients’ goals.

Get a grip on lucrative content strategy with Article Fire Storm

If you’re writing for the Web, or want to, content is HUGE. That said, few writers know how to develop content strategy for their clients in 2015. This means that the field’s wide open, and ready for you. Students love the workshop: content is huge fun, and very profitable too. Join us.

 

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

What’s Social Media Worth To A Working Writer?

If I had a dollar for every time a writer’s told me that social media is useless, I could indulge my passion for Dom Pérignon more easily.

This week, we’re in the prelaunch of Article Fire Storm, so we’ve been discussing content marketing. However, a social media following isn’t just vital to Web writers, it’s important for all working writers.

Your social media following equals MONEY

Your social media following is worth money.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that two writers want the same writing gig: Writer A, who has an aggregated social media following of 2,000, and Writer B, who’s blithely ignoring social media. Writer A will get the gig, because Writer A can get potentially get 2,000 pairs of eyeballs to his content.

2,000 followers are worth money to the hirer: it’s free advertising. These days, even Twitter and Facebook have advertising programs. Facebook is aggressively promoting paid advertising across its network, and deliberately sinking unpaid content. Companies which relied on their Facebook “likes” to appear in people’s streams are forced to pay Facebook for visibility.

Your social media following equals credibility (and money)

Getting back to writers A and B (Writer A being the one with the following.)

Writer A’s written a few ebooks. He now decides he wants to be a hybrid author; that is, traditionally published, as well as self-published. He develops a book proposal and approaches an agent. Writer B approaches the same agent. (Unlikely, I know, but bear with me… :-))

Assuming that Writer A’s proposal is competent, and that there’s a market for his book, the fact that he’s got a social media following won’t induce a publisher to give him a contract. He’d need a few hundred thousand or a million followers for that to occur. However, it will ensure that the acquiring editors the agent approaches will look at his proposal more seriously.

He’s got credibility; he understands something of marketing. An acquiring editor decides that Writer A will probably be easy to work with — because he got that following on his own.

In today’s competitive marketplace, a social media following gives you an edge.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it

If you’ve managed to collect a social media following, no matter how tiny, flaunt it. When you’re sending out queries and proposals, mention it.

No social media following? Get one. It won’t solve all your writing challenges. Only your writing can do that. But if you’re one of these writers who thinks that social media is useless, consider that it might be very useful indeed.

Article Fire Storm: turn your writing ability and creativity into (great) income

The Web’s awash in content. Can you really make money? Yes, you can… 86% of companies are using content marketing in 2015. Help them too make money, and you will too. Check out Article Fire Storm now.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Doubting Yourself: “I Can’t Write, Because…”

Are you doubting yourself as a writer? There must be something in the air. This week I chatted with two writers who were trapped in the misery of self-doubt.

Consider this quote:

“Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.”

It’s from the wonderful E.B. White, of The Elements of Style fame, who knew his trade, if ever a writer did.

“Writing is an ACT of faith…”

The operative word is ACT. Put your rear end in a chair. Write. Writing is always discovery. You will never translate what’s in your head via your fingertips to the screen, much less to your readers. But you’ll write something.

Here’s the problem. Your expectations of what your writing should be get in your way. Consider this, if you already know what your writing should be, you’ve just slammed the door on what your writing may be.

What you write is just what you write, on a particular day

Accept the reality of “shitty” first drafts.

Something else to consider. The part of you that’s doubtful, and complains, is NOT the part of you which writes. It just gets in the way.

All writers have doubts. They learn to ignore them, and concentrate on writing. When you’re writing, you’re choosing words and ideas, and deciding. It’s an active process, and it’s based on your faith that what you need will come to you.

Put your doubts on paper

If you’re doubting yourself, write down your doubts. Writing things down is always important; defining a problem is the first step in solving it.

Next, list your strengths

Yes, you have strengths. :-) List them. Write down your accomplishments.

What three good things happened today?

When you doubt yourself, you lose confidence. We forget that good things happen, and that we all have lots to be grateful for.

Try this practice; it’s a variation on a gratitude journal. Each day, list three good things which happened. Even on your worst day, you can find three good things. This helps you to focus on the positives, and makes you stronger. Your self-doubts will fade.

Try the Easy-Write Process, and write anyway, no matter what

I use the Easy-Write Process every day. So do other writers. It works.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Writing Ideas: What Are You Offering For Valentine’s Day?

It’s that time of the year again: Valentine’s Day will soon be here. Lovers are making plans. Wives are nudging their husbands and are sharing their expectations. For writers, the approach of Valentine’s means that it’s time to dream up profitable writing ideas.

If you’re an opportunity writer, you’ve sold ideas already, and are busily creating. If you’re not using the process, get on board now, it’s not to late to cash in.

I asked a several students what they were offering for Valentine’s Day, and out of five email messages I sent, only two writers were considering offering anything special. That’s a shame. Valentine’s is a prime opportunity.

Your only excuse not to use the opportunity is if you’ve already got a full pipeline, and can’t take on any more work until March.

As I pointed out in Sell Your Writing Via the Calendar (Sell Ideas), commerce happens via the calendar. Companies sell, which means that there’s a marketing opportunity there for you too. Moreover, once you create a cache of products to sell for Christmas, or Valentine’s or each summer — you can do it year after year.

If nothing else, Valentine’s Day is an excuse to get in touch with past, and prospective clients

I hope you make a practice of following up with clients. Valentine’s Day is an excellent excuse to get in touch with retailers, and service businesses of many different types.

If you’re creative, (and you are, even if you think you’re not), any business can benefit from a little Valentine’s Day marketing. One year, our local bank gave out long-stemmed roses. I visited my hairdresser on the same day, and she gave each client a small box of chocolates.

Those two businesses know the value of goodwill. You know the value of goodwill too. Contact your clients — ALL of them, even if you haven’t worked with them in a couple of years — and ask them if you can help them with Valentine’s Day. Offer ideas. Spread the love. It will flow back to you.

Opportunity Writing — get paid before you start writing

Get an idea, offer it, and get paid. Then write. Here’s why it works: everyone’s busy. Companies are looking for ideas, and have ideas of their own. However, implementation is a challenge. When you offer ideas, and will implement them, the very least you’ll achieve is that you’ll be remembered. The best you’ll achieve is that you’ll create your own writing jobs. Learn more.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.