Tag Archive | "Blogging"

Is Podcasting Still the New Blogging?

Odds are pretty good that you’ve listened to a podcast or two this week. They’re even better that you’ve listened…

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How Blogging Boosts the Profitability of Your Ecommerce Website (and 8 Ways to Get Started)

With the release of the Outfitter Pro Premium WordPress theme, Rafal Tomal and I have been talking a lot about ecommerce websites. Naturally, Rafal has great ideas about designing a t-shirt store, while I’m interested in how I can market an ecommerce store with, yes, geeky merchandise, but also robot kits and other nerdery for
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The Non-Perfectionist’s Guide to Noteworthy Blogging for Your Business

"You can care about quality and produce meaningful work without driving yourself crazy." – Stefanie Flaxman

The fear of criticism …

It can certainly discourage you from writing in the first place, and it also can disguise itself as perfectionism when you do attempt to create content for your business.

If you delay publishing your writing — while you try to improve your content before anyone else reads it — you are likely trying to avoid criticism.

The false belief associated with perfectionism is that if everything is “just right,” you’ll protect yourself from someone pointing out something you did wrong or something they don’t like (which is impossible to control).

The pivotal word in the sentence above is “false.” In the pursuit of perfection, you both perpetuate a false belief and prevent yourself from being as prolific of a writer as you could be.

So, how do noteworthy business blogs gain recognition for their remarkable writing without the perils of perfectionism?

Face your true challenge (it’s not criticism)

Let’s imagine a scenario where no one criticizes your writing.

It’s not that far-fetched of a concept because it happens on many blogs every single day … blogs no one reads.

"Please, please, please stop doing this." – Sonia Simone

The downside of a lack of criticism is that your blog probably doesn’t have a substantial number of readers yet or your content doesn’t meaningfully impact the people it does reach.

Criticism can be unpleasant, but it’s not the most harmful thing for your blog. Obscurity is.

The non-perfectionist knows …

When you create content that isn’t boring and forgettable, there will always be someone who doesn’t like what you do.

Keep creating anyway.

Embrace “good enough”

A lot of people say “there’s no such thing as ‘perfect.’”

Here’s how I like to elaborate on that idea:

When you’re passionate about your work, aiming for “perfect” may be necessary. But what you end up with is even better than “perfect” … because it’s a creation you’ve made that no one can take away from you.

You can care about quality and produce meaningful work without driving yourself crazy.

Explore the Content Editor Cosmos to Produce Out-of-This-World Writing

If you never publish anything because you’re worried about making it perfect, you never get to experience the benefits of having your writing available for others to read.

“Good enough” is not an excuse to publish sloppy or uninspired work, though.

It’s simply a marker that helps you assess when your content is ready to be published. With each new piece of content you create, you’ll have a chance to improve and fine-tune your style.

The non-perfectionist knows …

Prolific writers learn how to gauge when their final draft is “good enough.” Missteps or mistakes still might happen, despite your best efforts.

Keep creating anyway.

Build confidence

By now, we’re starting to get comfortable with inevitable things that will happen when you publish your writing:

  • People will disagree with you.
  • A typo will occasionally appear in your final draft, even though you proofread carefully.
  • You’ll change your mind and cringe at something you wrote a year ago.

And as you continue to get comfortable with the uncomfortable aspects of publishing, you strengthen your resilience and build your confidence.

Confidence is vital for content marketers. It’s what enables you to stand for something that matters and attract prospects who identify with your brand.

"True influence isn’t something you borrow. It’s what you embody." – Brian Clark

The more you produce, the less afraid you are of mistakes. Your confidence takes their power away.

The non-perfectionist knows …

Each published piece of content might not be a masterpiece.

Keep creating anyway.

Befriend your blog

Professional business blogs set and meet publishing deadlines.

That’s a lot easier when you like the topics you write about and approach your blog as an outlet to help your community.

If you don’t have readers yet, help the people you want to help even if they don’t know who you are. That’s the only way they’ll eventually discover you.

You have to start even if you don’t feel ready and before anyone is paying attention to you.

Working on one idea always leads to additional ideas for future pieces of content — and new ways to solve problems.

The practice makes you a stronger writer and a better resource for the prospects you want to attract. There’s no substitute for consistent writing practice.

practical tips for practicing your writing

As a former perfectionist who wanted to avoid criticism, it took me a long time to learn that. I actually wrote my first ebook to avoid creating a blog on my business website.

I felt comfortable putting all my perfectionist energy into writing an ebook, because once it was finished, it was finished. A blog was open-ended, and I’d have to constantly put my perfectionist energy into it. It seemed nerve-racking and overwhelming.

But when I eventually made a commitment to my blog, it was a huge step in the right direction for my business. Blog posts resonated with my ideal clients — who previously had trouble telling me apart from other service providers.

Before my business website had a blog, it’s like I was hiding. My blog not only made me visible, it made me the only reasonable choice for many prospects.

The non-perfectionist knows …

Your best writing that connects with the right prospects emerges when you’re actually doing the work. Since you start to reveal more about your point of view, will the wrong people also decide that you’re not for them? Sure.

Keep creating anyway.

Don’t save your (best) ideas

If a good idea fits into a blogger’s strategy, why would they wait to publish a post about it?

It’s typically a desire to wait until they have a bigger audience. Avoid that attitude and remember that everyone starts by serving the audience they currently have (or, when you don’t have any readers yet, the audience you aim to attract to your business).

"You don't have to just wait for your audience to stumble across you." – Sonia Simone

Follow through with your idea, rather than hold off until a seemingly more ideal time.

You’ll always have a chance to write about the topic again in the future — and with new insights.

Is your blog or a different website the best fit for your idea?

As you become your own content editor, you develop skills that help determine the best place for a piece of content. And if you have an opportunity to write a guest post for a site that has a larger audience than yours, you always want to submit your best work.

The non-perfectionist knows …

It’s smart to use ideas that fit into your content marketing strategy right away, even if you wish you were already a bigger influencer.

Keep creating anyway.

Spread your most outstanding work

When you use one of your best ideas and recognize the content is special, repurpose it in different formats to reach more people.

"This is how you increase the likelihood of reaching new audience members with your best work." – Jerod Morris

A blog post will attract readers, but your target audience might also search for videos on YouTube. A version of that blog post that leads viewers back to your website can be put on YouTube so more people can discover and connect with your story.

If you have an outstanding product or service, you should be proud of the content you create to market it.

The non-perfectionist knows …

Even though it may be your goal to build your audience, it can be scary to expose your work to more people.

Keep creating anyway.

Noteworthy bloggers overcome perfectionism

Information is … information.

Content is your chance to creatively position information in a new way — a way that your prospects want to hear it.

Aren’t you more interested in finding the information you need from people you know, like, and trust? Those noteworthy bloggers write despite their perfectionist tendencies or fears of criticism.

So, keep creating the work that gets people to know, like, and trust you.

And publish it regularly on your website.

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The Business of Food Blogging: Is It Lucrative?

sp-food-blogging

On this week’s episode, we’re joined by Shay Bocks of Feast Design Company. Shay started hustlin’ in 2008 to connect her creative gifts and ravenous curiosity with the ambition of creative entrepreneurs. Nowadays, that dream has manifested into a full-time operation serving other dreamers just like herself.

Within the Genesis community, Shay is best known for her Foodie Pro theme, one that has continually been the best-selling theme on StudioPress. She followed that up with a theme called Brunch Pro and will soon be releasing a third food blogging theme called Cook’d Pro.

In this 31-minute episode Brian Gardner, Lauren Mancke, and Shay Bocks discuss:

  • How Shay’s first seven jobs shaped what she does today
  • Challenges she faces as a small business owner
  • The popularity of the Foodie Pro theme
  • What makes a successful food blogging brand
  • A recipe solution: the Cookbook Plugin

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Darren Rowse on the Intersection of Blogging and Digital Commerce

nr-darren-rowse

We know about the power of content marketing to build audiences, inform what products and services to develop, and ultimately connect the two together.

And whether you call it blogging or not, text remains a cornerstone of the online content mix.

Darren Rowse is one of Brian Clark’s favorite people. Darren has been an inspiration to Brian, they’ve been business partners, and the two remain good friends. At Digital Photography School, Darren’s built what amounts to a case study in digital commerce and community — and it brings in seven figures in revenue, as well.

Nothing happens overnight, even when it may seem that way. In today’s show, Darren and Brian discuss the long road and constant evolution that brought them both business success, powered by blogging and digital products and services.

In this 31-minute episode of New Rainmaker with Brian Clark, Darren Rowse and Brian discuss:

  • The state of blogging in 2015
  • The long-term power of evergreen content
  • Why Darren is getting into podcasting
  • How a hobby became a multimillion-dollar business
  • The evolution of a digital commerce community
  • How ebooks and online courses drive revenue
  • Smart market research for creating digital products

Click Here to Listen to

New Rainmaker with Brian Clark on iTunes

Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

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Why Your Mom Was Right About Blogging

When it comes to blogging, Mom knows best

It’s a good thing your mom taught you everything you need to know to become a well-respected, successful blogger, isn’t it?

What’s that?

Your mom never taught you anything about blogs? Because blogs didn’t exist when you were growing up?

I beg to differ.

I’m going to bet that she really did teach you everything you need to know. She just may have forgotten to say “when blogging.”

Let’s take a look.

Choose your friends wisely (when blogging)

Did your mom ever tell you she didn’t like your friends? Maybe it sounded something like this:

Be careful about who you spend time with. Your friends should be a positive influence on you. Don’t pick friends who will lead you down the wrong path.

Yes, blogging is a relatively new phenomenon. And there are a lot of people online who want to teach you how to blog.

But you have to choose your teachers wisely.

There’s the first tribe: the cool kids. They’re the touchy-feely, “profit is evil” types, who don’t believe you have a right to make a living from blogging.

Then there’s the second tribe: the yellow highlighter crew. The ones who only talk about “monetizing your audience,” as if they were piggy banks you can squeeze coins out of.

Then there’s us. We’re the third tribe.

We believe there are many, many strategies you can use to make a living from blogging and content marketing, and none of them should make you feel like you need to scrub with soap and hot water after doing them.

Don’t stay out too late, and get a good night’s sleep (when blogging)

Your mom wanted you to take care of that body and brain of yours.

And as a blogger, that body and brain are two elements that have to be working well so you can show up week in and week out on the pages of your website.

So listen to mom, and strive for balance.

  • Work hard at your content marking: Put in the hours and energy needed to succeed.
  • Schedule play time into your week: Get away from the screen, and get some fresh air.
  • Get plenty of sleep: It’s essential to keep your ideas and energy flowing.
  • Don’t neglect your loved ones: Interact face-to-face with the people in your life.

Make it a priority to keep your physical, mental, and emotional health in tip-top shape.

(When blogging), remember that some people are carrying a heavy burden

You know that time you got angry with the friend who snubbed you for no reason at all?

Later on, you found out his dog died earlier that day. He was having one of the worst days of his life, and you didn’t know.

That’s when your mom told you to have patience with people, because sometimes they’re carrying a heavy burden and you may not know about it.

As content marketers, we need to remember this, too.

The next time someone loses his cool on Twitter, or blows off steam on Facebook, let’s cut him some slack.

Social media makes it too easy to turn our bad days into public spectacles.

If someone seems off in his email message, or his tweet seems angry, or his Facebook rant comes out of nowhere, remember what mom said, and give him a break.

There might be a very good reason he’s feeling off that day.

Don’t give up (when blogging)

This might be the most important message mom gave you.

Don’t. Give. Up.

If you fall, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going.

Because in the end, persistence is what will take you across the finish line.

Content marketing is a long game. You won’t see results right away. You may not see them for months. And sometimes, it takes years to really get the momentum you crave.

Don’t give up. Keep working at it.

The more content you create, the more feedback you’ll gather. The better you understand what your audience wants from your site, the more you can provide it.

Keep hitting publish on a regular basis.

Just like mom recommended. Remember?

About the author

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson is Vice President of Educational Content at Copyblogger Media. Follow her on Twitter, listen to her Hit Publish podcast, and find more from her at BigBrandSystem.com.

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35 Blogging Tips to Woo Readers and Win Business

black and white image from 1910 of three men with pipes looking toward the left edge of the image with intrigued expressions on their faces

Let’s not pussyfoot around it.

Blogging is a lot of work. Hard work.

Generate new blog post ideas. Write weekly content. Promote posts via social media and email.

At times, we all wonder whether our blogging efforts are paying off. Do we need to keep plugging away? Write more? Promote more?

The thought of quitting might even creep up now and then. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop worrying about your next blog post? And have some extra time to go out with friends? Or to read a book?

But the benefits of writing a business blog can be tremendous. Career-changing.

A blog can generate search traffic, help build your authority, and generate leads. Your blog forms the nerve center of your social media activities.

Many case studies exist of companies and solo-entrepreneurs whose blogs fuel their businesses. In my case, blog posts generate almost all of my business leads.

So how can you make your business blog a raving success? How can you engage your readers? And win business? Without working yourself to death?

In today’s blog post, I’ve collected the best advice to streamline your content creation, to engage your readers, and charm potential clients so that they come begging to work with you.

Sound good?

Let’s start with eight quick tips to save you time by speeding up your blog writing process.

How to streamline your content creation

  1. Commit to a publishing schedule. Plan it so that it works for you and for your readers. Don’t overstretch yourself. You don’t have to publish daily.
  2. Keep a list of blog post ideas. Whenever clients ask you questions, add them to your list.
  3. Outline your posts. Because it prevents you going into myriad irrelevant directions, and speeds up your writing and editing.
  4. Follow proven blueprints. Don’t waste your time reinventing the wheel. Most blog posts follow straightforward structures.
  5. Start writing early. The best content evolves over time.
  6. Have a spare post ready for publication. For when life overtakes.
  7. Use a kitchen timer. It will help you focus. Write for 30 minutes before rewarding yourself with a brief walk or a cup of tea.

Streamlining your content is good (of course!).

But don’t make blogging a speedwriting match. Blog to help and delight your readers.

Shall we have a look at how?

How to woo readers with your content

When you use your blog to spread your sales messages, you may struggle to find readers. You might not win the clients you’re looking for. And your blog may remain a lonely voice whispering quietly into the wind with no one paying attention.

Most people aren’t interested in your sales messages. Most people aren’t even interested in your business. They want to know what’s in it for them.

To gain business with your blog, stop thinking like a salesman and start acting like your reader’s mentor

  1. Know your audience. Understand their desires, their secret wishes, and their dreams. Learn about what they’re struggling with, so you can help.
  2. Define your blog’s purpose. Decide who you want to help to achieve what. On my blog, for instance, I teach small business owners to create persuasive content so they can win business.
  3. Don’t chase clicks with hyperbolic headlines. Write for your clients and prospects, not for faceless clicks. In the words of Tom Martin, “Chase customers, not clicks.”
  4. Don’t be afraid to alienate some. Develop a stronger bond with the people who are right for your business.
  5. Study the masters. Learn what makes content boring or riveting by analyzing other blog posts.
  6. Write when you feel enthusiastic. Because your energy is contagious.

A salesman wonders how to get his next sale. A mentor cares about his students. He wants to help them get ahead and live a more fulfilled life.

Your reader will immediately notice whether you’re an eager salesman or a mentor-style blogger.

Take the mentor’s role on your blog and you’ll win more business.

How to create a must-read blog

The web is full of bland content.

Yawn-inducing blog posts that keep rambling on.

Stock photography soooo unbelievably boring that you prefer the relaxing nothingness of white space.

To create a must-read blog, you need to stand for something. You need to become an authority in your field. You can’t simply rehash content and join the giant echo chamber of the web.

The following are the eight most important points to remember when building your authority:

  1. Have a strong opinion. True leaders aren’t afraid to tell you what they think.
  2. Cross out the buts, ifs, and maybes. Eliminate the phrase in my opinion — because it’s obvious it’s your opinion as you’ve written the post.
  3. Skip common sense and shallow list posts. Always add value. With every blog post you publish. With every paragraph you write.
  4. Stop worrying about giving stuff away for free. Write in-depth, tantalizing tutorials to give away your most valuable ideas — because that’s how you gain leads and win clients.
  5. Quote industry experts in your posts. It shows you know your field.
  6. Scrap jargon. Explain your ideas in simple words.
  7. Use examples and case studies. They show your in-depth understanding of a topic, and they liven up your content.
  8. Show up. Regularly. With quality content.

When you generously share your advice, potential clients will find your blog and buy your products.

How to keep your readers hooked week after week

Authority can be a little boring. It can even — when mishandled — bring on disaster. You don’t make friends by standing on a pedestal, lecturing people.

When you do that, you’re increasing the distance between you and your audience.

Keep readers captivated by energizing, motivating, and inspiring them. Be a good mentor.

  1. Empathize with your readers. Understand what they’re struggling with, and promise a solution to their problems.
  2. Don’t waste your most valuable tips with drab subheads. Write strong subheads that arouse curiosity, or promise a benefit to reading the next section.
  3. Allow readers to get to know you. Share tidbits of your life, but always remain focused on helping your readers.
  4. Sprinkle questions over your content. Because it makes readers feel you’re having a conversation.
  5. Inspire your readers with your close. Your final paragraph should overcome their objections to implementing your ideas.
  6. Treat your readers like dogs. (In a nice way!) Reward them with a cookie — or useful tip — in each of your blog posts. Be generous.
  7. Learn how to get your ideas humming around in your reader’s head. You do this by writing memorable sound bites.
  8. Create a unique voice. You want readers to come back to “hear” you … and they should miss you when you’re not there.

When your posts lack personality, you become a me-too blogger. You become easily interchangeable with any other blogger in your field.

Seduce your blog readers with your unique voice. That’s how you gain a raving audience.

How to spread your ideas

Creating a blog to win customers is not like traditional selling.

You’re not asking for a sale; you’re starting a conversation. Your blog can help you win customers, but don’t expect to win sales just by writing a few posts.

Use these six tactics to grow your readership and spread your ideas:

  1. Start an email list. Over time, your email list will drive the most traffic to your blog.
  2. Warm up new subscribers. You do this with an autoresponder series. Build relationships and bond with your readers by emailing more frequently when they sign up.
  3. Write short emails. Encourage readers to click through to your posts. Highlight a problem they recognize, and promise a solution in your blog post.
  4. Optimize your posts for SEO. Said another way, optimize your content for discovery and conversion. That’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?
  5. Create a social sharing checklist. Here’s how. Engage your audience on your favorite social platforms. Don’t try to be everywhere.
  6. Guest blog to grow your audience. Because it’s the quickest way to raise your profile and gain an audience.

The truth about business blogging

You can work hard to polish your blog posts. To drive people to your blog. To generate SEO traffic. To boost social media shares.

But the key to your business blogging success remains: Have ideas that are worth spreading.

Don’t be afraid to be different.

Don’t be afraid to be opinionated.

Don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Let your personality shine through and write with passion. That’s how you woo your readers and win business.

Let’s discuss …

While you were reading this article, which of these 35 tips jumped out at you as something you should start doing right away?

Have any of these tips been particularly effective for you in the past?

We want to hear from you. Join us over at Google+ to discuss.

Editor’s note: If you found this post useful, we recommend you read Henneke’s most shared post of all-time (1,000+ shares each on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn): 37 Tips for Writing Emails that Get Opened, Read, and Clicked.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via State Library of Victoria Collections

Join Henneke for an in-depth webinar on how she built her business

Henneke will be dropping by our Authority community on July 4 (yes, it’s U.S. Independence Day) to share the details of how she built her online business.

Authority members: You can register here for free as you usually do — the link for Henneke’s session will be available the week of the event.

Not an Authority member yet? You have until Friday, June 20 to lock in the lowest price Authority will ever sell for. Click here to try it out risk-free. After June 20, it will still be a great value, but not as great as the one you’ll get today.

About the Author: Henneke Duistermaat is an irreverent copywriter and marketer. She’s on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle. Get her free 16-Part Snackable Writing Course for Busy People and learn how to enchant your readers and win more business.

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Never Fear Google Again: The Smart Person’s Guide to Guest Blogging

Image of motel sign reading Guest Enter Here

It’s simple really — at least in theory.

You run a blog and want new material.

Others out there want some new exposure.

You offer would-be contributors a chance to share their material, and in return you get fresh content, expert insight. Maybe even a day off.

But there are shadows behind the glossy exterior of guest blogging.

  • When you open up your blog for guest posts you might be immediately swarmed with spammy offers
  • You might accidentally allow worthless or shady links in the posts
  • You might even be punished by search engines like Google

What seems so simple can quickly turn into a hot mess.

So why even bother?

Because once you learn the right system to use with guest blogging, there are huge benefits available — and you never have to fear what Google might do to you.

The benefits of guest blogging

Guest blogging is a terrific means of generating fresh content on your blog.

You allow fresh voices to blog on your behalf, and you grow more diverse with minimal effort. You may know a lot about your particular subject, but you certainly don’t know everything. In fact, you may learn something by offering your blog as a platform for others to share what they know.

Guest blogging is also an opportunity to network within your community.

You might accept guest blogs on your website or you might prepare some of your own. This opens up avenues for communication between the various websites in your niche (and even out of it), and also brings you quite a few fresh eyes from other popular websites.

Guest blogging can boost your social media stake as well, since you now have a combined effort promoting and sharing material on your behalf.

If you’re the guest blogger, you get visibility. You capture a new audience, build traffic for your own website, and gain new social followers as well.

What’s not to like about the guest blogging model?

This is one of the purest forms of marketing online — true collaboration and natural back links.

The downside of guest blogging

Unfortunately, guest blogging isn’t always sunshine and roses. There is a dark side.

Potential guest posts might:

  • Inundate your inbox with requests for guest posting spots
  • Use your submit forms to overload you with terrible posts you have to sift through
  • Slip links into a post that could get your site banned or punished by Google and other search engines
  • Sound credible and offer you something amazing … only to produce a load of nonsense

Then they have the audacity to be offended when you don’t immediately post it!

And many marketers who engage in “black hat” or rule-breaking SEO methods have long turned to guest blogging as a way to game the system.

These unethical marketers are using guest blogging to manipulate the search engines and often don’t mind using illegal or spammy methods to reach their goals.

And, of course, Google noticed.

The “death” of guest blogging

A few months ago, the head of Google’s Spam department, Matt Cutts, received the sort of nonsense emails that are generated by guest blogging spammers.

He wasn’t happy.

Matt Cutts is one of the biggest names in the blogging industry, and someone dared to send him spammy messages offering shady guest blog posts? There should be hell to pay. Matt may seem like a friendly, personable guy (and he probably is if you’re not the one sending him spam), but the guest blog spam he received unleashed his own darker side.

You may remember the tsunami of chaos Cutts generated in the blogosphere with his post on guest blogging and its ultimate demise.

(The Copyblogger team immediately shot down the most troubling implications of Cutts’ initial statements, which he later assured bloggers he had never intended.)

I am thrilled by the madness. It’s making everyone pay attention to the real problem here, which is that spammy guest blogging is just that: spam.

Guest blogging itself, however, is far from dead … when done right.

Google’s position on guest blogging

It’s pretty simple.

Google has always wanted websites to:

Quality. Trust.

By following those simple, over-arching guidelines, you can feel safe no matter what Google does in the future — because they are never going to turn their back on the kind of content their users want the most.

Just be thoughtful with your links.

How to link safely in a guest post

The bottom line is this: Google doesn’t want you to engage in any unnatural link building practices.

An example of this would be a guest blogger paying to post on a high-PageRank site for a link. In this situation, the site publishing the post should use the rel=”nofollow” attribute to properly classify the link and stay out of hot water. Google explains this right here.

You also want to ask yourself these questions, as either the guest blogger or the publisher:

  • Is the domain you’re working with fully developed and “above board?”
  • Is the guest blog quality high enough to read as high-quality and suitable for your audience?
  • Do the links in the post follow normal, natural linking patterns?
  • Does every link go to a site that is valuable and relevant to the audience for the post?

Guest posts, like all content marketing, must serve audience needs first. Any SEO value must flow from that.

When Matt Cutts published his post initially, it had a different title that was designed to shock people into thinking about guest blogging. It worked.

I had several emails from people asking if they should continue guest blogging. They didn’t want to wind up on the wrong side of Google after spending weeks perfecting a blog post.

But then the title changed. Matt appeared to calm down. The world of guest blogging righted itself again.

Matt apparently realized that he overstated things a bit, and added an update:

There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.

I’m also not talking about multi-author blogs. High-quality multi-author blogs like Boing Boing have been around since the beginning of the web, and they can be compelling, wonderful, and useful.

Your guest post decisions are yours

I run Guest Crew, a platform where blog owners and those looking to write guest posts come together. Like so many other platforms — forums, Skype, Google — this is a way to meet people and do business together. It’s all in how you use it.

We’ve been approached by users multiple times suggesting that we make our system all “nofollow.” Then all guest posting problems would be solved, right?

Wrong.

There is a big problem with that method: We don’t want to tell other people what they can and can’t do. We aren’t Google. And the industry appears to respect this decision. Since Matt’s rant about guest posts, Guest Crew saw a 719 percent increase in membership.

Everyone is buzzing about guest blogging. But it’s not just links and spam being discussed. People are starting to realize that there is more to guest posting than just linking strategies.

“Nofollow” links are getting some serious consideration as well, because even if they don’t provide an SEO benefit, they can still help you build the audience that will build your business.

Checklist for successful guest blogging in 2014

Guest blogging is definitely not dead, and it may see considerable improvement in 2014.

Here’s a checklist for guest bloggers (and a few relevant to publishers also) that will ensure you are submitting guest posts safely and in a way that will help you achieve your goals:

  1. Content quality. When I do a guest post — I check and re-check the material. It must be perfect before I send it out. Does the material fit the audience? Does it entertain and inform? Is my message clear and fitting for my host website?
  2. Check backlinks. Looking a little suspicious? Use “nofollow” links if necessary to keep the intent pure. Better yet, remove a link to any site you aren’t proud of.
  3. Focus on social networking. Build up your social following with guest blogging. G+ authorship is easy to claim and then add links to your Twitter and Facebook. This builds the social aspect and maximizes your guest post potential.
  4. Look for niche opportunities. Niche guest blogging is more specialized and can help to build your name and blog reputation in your specific industry — a big fish in a small pond, if you will. (And remember that useful content can be created even for “boring” niches.)
  5. Get mentions from media sites. When media members talk about you, you not only get links, but the mentions can build up status and reputation as well.
  6. Change the term. We use “guest blogger,” but why not try “contributor”? Arrange for your regular “contributors” to update your blog routinely — perhaps once a month or so.
  7. Infographics. Score some visual appeal with guest post infographics. Not only are these fun to look at and eye-catching on a website, they also broaden the field of guest blogging to designers who aren’t as strong with long written posts.
  8. Get links in the article body. Links in the body of the text are more natural, for both readers and search engines.
  9. Focus on strong sites. Post on high-quality websites and your credibility rises. Post on enough big names and you’ll soon become a big name in your own right.
  10. Write in the voice of the intended audience This may require hiring a native English writer to handle your guest blogging or editing.
  11. The final word on guest posting

    So there it is. The good and the bad of guest posting. Focus on content quality and being useful to an audience — with the long-game in mind — and you’ll be rewarded (as you always have been).

    Plus you’ll never have to fear Google.

    Try and shortcut or cheat the system, however, and you can expect to feel the Wrath of Cutts — with the full power of Google backing him up.

    What do you think?

    How has your guest blogging experience or strategy evolved — either from the writer or publisher side?

    Do you still view guest blogging favorably? Or has any of the negative chatter soured you on it?

    We’d love to hear your thoughts. Join the discussion over at Google-Plus.

    Did you like this article?

    If you found this article useful, check out this post by Sonia: The Essentials of Guest-Blogging Strategy for SEO, Traffic, and Audience-Building.

    Flickr Creative Commons Image via Thomas Hawk

    About the Author: Uttoran Sen is a content marketer and a social media expert. He is the CEO and Founder of Guest Crew. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

The post Never Fear Google Again: The Smart Person’s Guide to Guest Blogging appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Flip Guest Blogging on its Head, With Steroids

Guest blogging was once considered a widely recommended white hat technique.

Today our monopoly-led marketplace arbitrarily decided this is no longer so.

Stick a fork in it. Torch it. Etc.

Now that rules have changed ex post facto, we can expect to deal with a near endless stream of “unnatural” link penalties for doing what was seen at the time as being:

  • natural
  • widespread
  • common
  • low risk
  • best practice

Google turns your past client investments into new cost centers & penalties. This ought to be a great thing for the SEO industry. Or maybe not.

As Google scares & expunges smaller players from participating in the SEO market, larger companies keep chugging along.

Today a friend received the following unsolicited email:

Curious about their background, he looked up their past coverage: “Written then offers a number of different content licenses that help the advertiser reach this audience, either by re-branding the existing page, moving the content to the advertiser’s website and re-directing traffic there, or just re-publishing the post on the brand’s blog.”

So that’s basically guest blogging at scale.

And it’s not only guest blogging at scale, but it is guest blogging at scale based on keyword performance:

“You give us your gold keywords. Written finds high-performing, gold content with a built-in, engaged audience. Our various license options can bring the audience to you or your brand to the audience through great content.”

What’s worse is how they pitch this to the people they license content from:

I’m sorry, but taking your most valuable content & turning it into duplicate content by syndicating it onto a fortune 500 website will not increase your traffic. The fortune 500 site will outrank you (especially if visitors/links are 301 redirected to their site!). And when visitors are not redirected, they will still typically outrank you due to their huge domain authority (and the cross-domain rel=canonical tag), leading your content on your site to get filtered out of the search results as duplicate content & your link equity to pass on to the branded advertiser.

And if Google were to come down on anyone in the above sort of situation it would likely be the smaller independent bloggers who get hit.

This is how SEO works.

Smaller independent players innovate & prove the model.

Google punishes them for being innovative.

As they are punished, a vanilla corporate tweak of the same model rolls out and is white hat.

In SEO it’s not what you do that matters – it’s who your client is.

If you’re not working for a big brand, you’re doing it wrong.

Four legs good, two legs better.

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Matt Cutts: “Stick A Fork In It, Guest Blogging Is Done”

Google — and Matt Cutts, in particular — has made a number of statements about guest blogging over the past year as the tactic has grown as a link building tactic. None of those statements are as clear as the one Cutts wrote today on his personal blog. Cutts, the head of Google’s…



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