Tag Archive | "Face"

How to Face 3 Fundamental Challenges Standing Between SEOs and Clients/Bosses

Posted by sergeystefoglo

Every other year, the good people at Moz conduct a survey with one goal in mind: understand what we (SEOs) want to read more of. If you haven’t seen the results from 2017, you can view them here.

The results contain many great questions, challenges, and roadblocks that SEOs face today. As I was reading the 2017 Moz Blog readership survey, a common thread stood out to me: there are disconnects on fundamental topics between SEOs and clients and/or bosses. Since I work at an agency, I’ll use “client” through the rest of this article; if you work in-house, replace that with “boss.”

Check out this list:

I can definitely relate to these challenges. I’ve been at Distilled for a few years now, and worked in other firms before — these challenges are real, and they’re tough. Through sharing my experience dealing with these challenges, I hope to help other consultants and SEOs to overcome them.

In particular, I want to discuss three points of disconnect that happen between SEOs and clients.

  1. My client doesn’t understand the value of SEO and it’s difficult to prove ROI.
  2. My client doesn’t understand how SEO works and I always have to justify my actions.
  3. My client and I disagree about whether link building is the right answer.

Keep in mind, these are purely my own experiences. This doesn’t mean these answers are the end-all-be-all. In fact, I would enjoy starting a conversation around these challenges with any of you so please grab me at SearchLove (plug: our San Diego conference is selling out quickly and is my favorite) or MozCon to bounce off more ideas!

1. My client doesn’t understand the value of SEO and it’s difficult to prove ROI

The value of SEO is its influence on organic search, which is extremely valuable. In fact, SEO is more prominent in 2018 than it has ever been. To illustrate this, I borrowed some figures from Rand’s write up on the state of organic search at the end of 2017.

  • Year over year, the period of January–October 2017 has 13% more search volume than the same months in 2016.
  • That 13% represents 54 billion more queries, which is just about the total number of searches Google did, worldwide, in 2003.

Organic search brings in the most qualified visitors (at a more consistent rate) than any other digital marketing channel. In other words, more people are searching for things than ever before, which results in more potential to grow organic traffic. How do we grow organic traffic? By making sure our sites are discoverable by Google and clearly answer user queries with good content.

Source: Search Engine Land

When I first started out in SEO, I used to think I was making all my clients all the moneys. “Yes, Bill, if you hire me and we do this SEO thing I will increase rankings and sessions, and you will make an extra x dollars!” I used to send estimates on ROI with every single project I pitched (even if it wasn’t asked of me).

After a few years in the industry I began questioning the value of providing estimates on ROI. Specifically, I was having trouble determining ift I was doing the right thing by providing a number that was at best an educated guess. It would stress me out and I would feel like I was tied to that number. It also turns out, not worrying about things that are out of our control helps control stress levels.

I’m at a point now where I’ve realized the purpose of providing an estimated ROI. Our job as consultants is to effect change. We need to get people to take action. If what it takes to get sign-off is to predict an uplift, that’s totally fine. In fact, it’s expected. Here’s how that conversation might look.

In terms of a formula for forecasting uplifts in SEO, Mike King said it best:

“Forecast modeling is questionable at best. It doesn’t get much better than this:”

  • Traffic = Search Volume x CTR
  • Number of Conversions = Conversion Rate x Traffic
  • Dollar Value = Traffic x # Conversions x Avg Conversion Value

TL;DR:

  • Don’t overthink this too much — if you do, you’ll get stuck in the weeds.
  • When requested, provide the prediction to get sign-off and quickly move on to action.
  • For more in-depth thoughts on this, read Will Critchlow’s recent post on forecast modeling.
  • Remember to think about seasonality, overall trends, and the fact that few brands exist in a vacuum. What are your competitors doing and how will that affect you?

2. My client doesn’t understand how SEO works and I always have to justify my actions

Does your client actually not understand how SEO works? Or, could it be that you don’t understand what they need from you? Perhaps you haven’t considered what they are struggling with at the moment?

I’ve been there — constantly needing to justify why you’re working on a project or why SEO should be a focus. It isn’t easy to be in this position. But, more often than not I’ve realized what helps the most is to take a step back and ask some fundamental questions.

A great place to start would be asking:

  • What are the things my client is concerned about?
  • What is my client being graded on by their boss?
  • Is my client under pressure for some reason?

The answers to these questions should shine some clarity on the situation (the why or the motivation behind the constant questioning). Some of the reasons why could be:

  • You might know more about SEO than your client, but they know more about their company. This means they may see the bigger picture between investments, returns, activities, and the interplay between them all.
  • SEO might be 20% of what your client needs to think about — imagine a VP of marketing who needs to account for 5–10 different channels.
  • If you didn’t get sign off/budget for a project, it doesn’t mean your request was without merit. This just means someone else made a better pitch more aligned to their larger goals.

When you have some answers, ask yourself, “How can I make what I’m doing align to what they’re focused on?” This will ensure you are hitting the nail on the head and providing useful insight instead of more confusion.

That conversation might look like this:

TL;DR

  • This is a good problem to have — it means you have a chance to effect change.
  • Also, it means that your client is interested in your work!
  • It’s important to clarify the why before getting to in the weeds. Rarely will the why be “to learn SEO.”

3. My client and I disagree about whether link building is the right answer

The topic of whether links (and by extension, link building) are important is perhaps the most talked about topic in SEO. To put it simply, there are many different opinions and not one “go-to” answer. In 2017 alone there have been many conflicting posts/talks on the state of links.

The quick answer to the challenge we face as SEOs when it comes to links is, unless authority is holding you back do something else.

That answer is a bit brief and if your client is constantly bringing up links, it doesn’t help. In this case, I think there are a few points to consider.

  1. If you’re a small business, getting links is a legitimate challenge and can significantly impact your rankings. The problem is that it’s difficult to get links for a small business. Luckily, we have some experts in our field giving out ideas for this. Check out this, this, and this.
  2. If you’re an established brand (with authority), links should not be a priority. Often, links will get prioritized because they are easier to attain, measurable (kind of), and comfortable. Don’t fall into this trap! Go with the recommendation above: do other impactful work that you have control over first.
    1. Reasoning: Links tie success to a metric we have no control over — this gives us an excuse to not be accountable for success, which is bad.
    2. Reasoning: Links reduce an extremely complicated situation into a single variable — this gives us an excuse not to try and understand everything (which is also bad).
  3. It’s good to think about the topic of links and how it’s related to brand. Big brands get talked about (and linked to) more than small brands. Perhaps the focus should be “build your brand” instead of “gain some links”.
  4. If your client persists on the topic of links, it might be easier to paint a realistic picture for them. This conversation might look like this:

TL;DR

  • There are many opinions on the state of links in 2018: don’t get distracted by all the noise.
  • If you’re a small business, there are some great tactics for building links that don’t take a ton of time and are probably worth it.
  • If you’re an established brand with more authority, do other impactful work that’s in your control first.
  • If you are constantly getting asked about links from your client, paint a realistic picture.

Conclusion

If you’ve made it this far, I’m really interested in hearing how you deal with these issues within your company. Are there specific challenges you face within the topics of ROI, educating on SEO, getting sign-off, or link building? How can we start tackling these problems more as an industry?

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Sorry, No Emoji Allowed In Google PLAs (Frown Face)

The emoji moment was short-lived, if already technically not allowed.

The post Sorry, No Emoji Allowed In Google PLAs (Frown Face) appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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How to Face Unafraid the Plans That You’ve Made

image of footsteps in fresh snow

Later on, we’ll conspire,

As we dream by the fire

To face unafraid,

The plans that we’ve made,


Walking in a winter wonderland.

Have you caught yourself at any time over the past few days and weeks daydreaming about what you plan to do in 2015?

Maybe you have a new website idea you want to launch, or an old idea you want to complete. Maybe you want to double your number of clients. Maybe you have a new plan for positive personal habits you want to implement.

So you look to the new year.

It’s a blank slate. Anything and everything is possible. The upcoming year represents a wonderland of potential where your best-laid plans are sure to become your proudest wins and successes.

Thoughts like these keep us warm, like a fire, on winter nights, while we conspire.

But warm and fuzzy thoughts eventually have to turn into bold and consistent actions. Otherwise, what good are they?

That means facing unafraid these plans that you’ve made.

Which means taking the first step.

No more New Year’s resolutions

Every new year is a blank slate where everything is possible and plans can become proud successes.

Of course it is. Every day is exactly that too. Every moment exactly that as well.

Which is why waiting for January 1, 2015 to begin executing on a plan already in your head is arbitrary at best, fearful and self-defeating at worst.

Why are you waiting? Why not take the first step, no matter how small, right now.

Face unafraid, these plans that you’ve made.

Because if you’re waiting for the “fresh start” of 2015 to get started on some new idea, initiative, or plan, what you’re really doing is letting fear get the best of you. And you’re better than that. We all are.

You have a fresh start tomorrow, December 25, if you want it. You have a fresh start as soon as you finish reading this article, if you want it. Heck, if you’ve already read enough, you can stop reading this article right now and get a fresh start immed–.

You get the idea.

Only fear, family, or egg nog are preventing you from taking the first step on your new year journey right now. Once the egg nog wears off, just find a few private moments away from family at some point over the next week … and then all you have left to do is vanquish the fear and step into the new year (a week early).

That’s how you face unafraid, these plans that you’ve made.

What one little step can you do right now?

So what is your biggest goal or initiative — personal or professional — for 2015? What plans are you waiting for the first day of January to get started on?

And what one step can you take over the next week to get started now? To start building positive momentum immediately?

Don’t worry about thinking beyond that one step. It will inevitably lead to a second, then a third. Just take the first one. You’ll already be way ahead of the alternative — which was waiting for the new year.

Don’t do that. Don’t wait. Instead, embrace the new here. Embrace the now.

Face unafraid, the plans that you’ve made.

And walk into your winning wonderland.


Want a place to publicly declare your biggest goal for 2015 and the step you’re taking now to get started on it? Hop on over to the LinkedIn discussion and share it with the group.

Also, a tip of my winter cap to our Manager of Editorial Standards, Stefanie Flaxman, for inspiring this post. She sent me the lyric from “Winter Wonderland,” bold part included, with the explanation, “Perhaps extract that bolded lyric and apply the sentiment toward fearlessly seeing your business goals through to completion.” Great idea. Teamwork FTW.

Happy holidays everyone, from the Copyblogger family to yours. We’ll be back Monday.

Flickr Creative Commons image via Sean J. Connolly

About the author

Jerod Morris

Jerod Morris is the VP of Marketing for Copyblogger Media. Get more from him on Twitter or . Have you gotten your wristband yet?

The post How to Face Unafraid the Plans That You’ve Made appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Be Intentional about Your Content & SEO Goals or Face Certain Failure – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

We’re seeing more and more companies investing in content marketing, and that’s a great thing. Many of them, however, are putting less thought than they should into the specific goals behind the content they produce. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand covers examples of goals for targeting different kinds of people, from those who merely stumbled upon your site to those who are strongly considering becoming customers.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Be Intentional about Your Content & SEO Goals or Face Certain Failure

Video transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about being intentional about the content investments that you make. Now this is particularly important because otherwise it can lead to doom.

I got to organize the Foundry CEO Summit last week in Boulder, Colorado. I’m not sure when you are watching this. It might be several weeks ago now. But in any case, I’m talking with a bunch of CEOs and we have a number of discussion topics. One of the discussion topics, which was my personal favorite, one of the ones I was moderating was the top of funnel customer acquisition.

So I’m talking with a lot of these CEOs, B2B and B2C CEOs, about their content marketing efforts. Virtually everyone is investing in content marketing or thinking about it, which is awesome because it is very powerful. But many of them are investing in it somewhat unintentionally, or they haven’t talked with their CMOs and their marketing teams about precisely what that content is.

So we pulled up a couple of blogs from some of the participants. I’m kind of looking through like, “I’m not sure that there’s a strategic initiative behind all of the content that’s being produced.” That can be hugely helpful, and that’s true both for the content side of it and for the SEO side of it.

Many of the folks who are watching Whiteboard Friday undoubtedly are really deep into the tactics and the SEO side. So this video is for your managers, for your bosses, for you to help them understand how to choose content investments and what to expect from different kinds of investments.

Let me show you what I mean. Different kinds of content exist to target people at different sections of their experience with your site: at the consideration phase, where they’re close to buying, this is really for people who are thinking about buying your product; at the discovery phase for people who are just learning about your product or company; and at the viral or super broad content phase, where you’re not even necessarily trying to attract an audience that might buy from you, you’re doing other kinds of things.

So I’m going to try and walk through each of these. I’m actually going to start with the one that’s closest to the conversion process or the conversion point in that process.

So let’s imagine that I’m going to be the marketer at GeekDesk. GeekDesk sells these great sit-stand desks. I have one at home. I have one here at Moz. I love them to death because I stand up and work. I have sciatica in my left leg that I’ve had for many years, and I’ve been trying to work on that. One of the things I did is switch to a sit-stand desk. I actually almost never put it in sit mode anymore. I’m standing all the time. But in any case, GeekDesk makes great ones, ones that I really like.

So if I’m working at GeekDesk, my consideration phase content might be things like the models page, the models of all the different GeekDesks that I can buy. It might be a page on the advantages of the GeekDesk preset heights. GeekDesk has these little settings. I can push one, two, three, four, and it’ll go to different heights. I have one at home where I can push it to two, and it will go to the height for Geraldine so she can work at my desk. Then I press one, and it goes to my height. Then I press three, I haven’t pre-programmed three or four yet. But in any case, maybe if Elijah comes over, I’ll set one for you.

It might be “GeekDesk warranty and return policy,” or “sit-stand desks from GeekDesk.” These are kind of product-centric things. My content goals here are product awareness and conversion. I’m trying to get people to know about the products that I offer and to convert them to buyers.

This is really about information for those potential buyers. So my audience, naturally, is going to be customers, potential customers, and maybe also some media that’s already planning to write about me, which is why I want to have things like great photography and probably some testimonial quotes and all that kind of stuff.

The SEO targets for these types of pages are going to be my branded keywords — certainly things like “GeekDesk” and “GeekDesk desks” and whatever the models that I’ve got are — and then non-branded keywords that are directly, exactly tied to the products that my customers are going to perform when they search. These are things like sit-stand desks or adjustable height desks. That’s what this stuff is targeting.

This is very classic, very old-school kind of SEO and almost not even in the realm really of content marketing. These are just kind of product-focused pages. You should have plenty of these on your site, but they don’t always have overlap with these other things, and this is where I think the challenge comes into play.

Discovery phase content is really different. This is content like benefits of standing desks. That’s a little broader than GeekDesk. That’s kind of weird. Why would I write about that instead of benefits of GeekDesk? Well, I’m trying to attract a bigger audience. 99% of the content that you’ll ever see me present or write about is not why you should use Moz tools. That’s intentional. I don’t like promoting our stuff all that much. In fact, I’m kind of allergic to it, which has its own challenges.

In any case, this is targeting an audience that I am trying to reach who will learn from me. So I might write things like why sitting at a desk might significantly harm your health or companies that have moved to standing desks. I’d have a list of them, and I have some testimonials from companies that have moved to standing desks. They don’t even have to be on my product. I’m just trying to sell more of the idea and get people engaged with things that might potentially tie to my business. How to be healthy at work, which is even broader.

So these content goals are a little different. I’m trying to create awareness of the company. I just want people to know that GeekDesk exists. So if they come and they consume this content, even if they never become buyers, at least they will know and have heard of us. That’s important as well.

Remember television commercial advertisers pay millions and millions of dollars just to get people to know that they exist. That’s creating those brand impressions, and after more and more brand impressions, especially over a given time frame, you are more likely to know that brand, more likely to trust them, conversion rates go up, all those kinds of things.

I’m also trying to create awareness of the issues. I sometimes don’t even care if you remember that that great piece of content about how to be healthy at work came from GeekDesk. All I care is that you remember that standing at work is probably healthier for you than sitting. That’s what I hope to spread. That’s the virality that I hope to create there. I want to help people so that they trust, remember, and know me in the future. These are the goals around discovery phase content.

That audience can be potential customers, but there’s probably a much broader audience with demographic or psychographic overlap with my customers. That can be a group that’s tremendously larger, and some small percentage of them might someday be customers or customer targets. This is probably also people like media, influencers, and potential amplifiers. This may be a secondary piece, but certainly I hope to reach some of those.

The SEO targets are going to be the informational searches that these types of folks will perform and broad keywords around my products. This is not my personal products, but any of the types of products that I offer. This also includes broad keywords around my customers’ interests. That might be “health at work,” that might be “health at home,” that might be broadly dealing with issues like the leg issue that I’ve got, like sciatica stuff. It can be much broader than just what my product helps solve.

Then there’s a third one. These two I think get conflated more than anything else. This is more the viral, super broad content. This is stuff like, “Scientific studies show that work will kill you. Here’s how.” Wow. That sounds a little scary, but it also sounds like something that my aunt would post on Facebook.

“Work setups at Facebook versus Google versus Microsoft.” I would probably take a look at that article. I want to see what the different photographs are and how they differ, especially if they are the same across all of them. That would surprise me. But I want to know why they have uniqueness there.

“The start-up world’s geekiest desk setup.” That’s going to be visual content that’s going to be sailing across the Web. I definitely want to see that.

“An interactive work setup pricing calculator.” That is super useful, very broad. When you think about the relationship of this to who’s going to be in my potential customer set, that relationship is pretty small. Let’s imagine that this is the Venn diagram of that with my actual customer base. It’s a really tiny little overlap right there. It’s a heart-shaped Venn diagram. I don’t know why that is. It’s because I love you.

The content goals around this are that I want to grow that broad awareness, just like I did with my informational content. I want to attract links. So few folks, especially outside of SEOs and content marketers, really understand this. What happens here is I’m going to attract links with this broad or more viral focused content, and those links will actually help all of this content rank better. This is the rising tide of domain authority that lifts all of the ships, all of the pages on the domain and their potential ranking ability. That’s why you see folks investing in this regularly to boost up the ranking potential of these.

That being said, as we’ve talked about in a previous Whiteboard Friday, Google is doing a lot more domain association and keyword level domain association. So if you do the “problems with abusing alcohol” and that happens to go viral on your site, that probably won’t actually help you rank for any of this stuff because it is completely outside the topic model of what all of these things are about. You want to be at least somewhat tangentially related in a semantic way.

Finally, I want to reach an audience outside of my targets for potential serendipity. What do I mean by that? I’m talking about I want to reach someone who has no interest in sitting and standing desks, but might be an investor for me or a supplier for me or a business development partner. They might be someone who happens to tell someone who happens to tell another someone, that long line of serendipity that can happen through connections. That’s what this viral content is about.

So the audience is really not just specific influencers or customers, but anyone who might influence potential customers. It’s a big, broad group. It’s not just these people in here. It’s these people who influence them and those people who influence them. It’s a big, broad group.

Then I’m really looking for a link likely audience with this kind of content. I want to find people who can amplify, people who can socially share, people who can link directly through a blog, through press and media, through resources pages, that kind of stuff.

So my SEO targets might be really broad keywords that have the potential to reach those amplifiers. Sometimes — I know this is weird for me to say — it is okay to have none at all, no keyword target at all. I can imagine a lot of viral content that doesn’t necessarily overlap with a specific keyword search but that has the potential to earn a lot of links and reach influencers. Thus, you kind of go, “Well, let’s turn off the SEO on this one and just at least make it nicely indexable and make the links point to all the right places back throughout here so that I’m bumping up their potential visibility.”

This fits into the question of: What type of content strategy am I doing? Why am I investing in this particular piece? Before you create a piece of content or pitch a piece of content to your manager, your CMO, your CEO, you should make sure you know which one it is. It is so important to do that, because otherwise they’ll judge this content by this ROI and this content by these expectations. That’s just not going to work. They’re going to look at their viral content and go, “I don’t see any conversions coming from this. That was a waste.”

That’s not what it was about. You have to create the right expectations for each kind of content in which you are going to be investing.

All right everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. We will see you again next week. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Case Study: How Two Artists Used Online Content to Build their Face to Face Business

Content Marketing Case Studies | copyblogger.com

Colorado-based artists, Lori Wostl and Lorri Flint, noticed that when they attended huge art retreats, the experience was more stressful than relaxing.

So, they founded their business — Art Camp for Women — in order to provide a fun, supportive, relaxing camp adventure for their participants.

They started a blog in order to help them market their camps, and got a sweet surprise a few years later when a huge national magazine called to offer them some amazing exposure.

Let’s talk to Lorri and Lori to find out more about their business, and how content marketing helps them reach their professional goals.

What’s your business?

We are Lori Wostl and Lorri Flint of Art Camp for Women. We run mixed-media art retreats for women, and we write online about creativity, art techniques, and mixed-media artists.

Who are your customers and readers, and how do you serve them?

We have a small but growing niche of women who are interested in mixed-media art (and in attending an art retreat). 

Our “campers” are women generally over 40 who have time and money to spend on themselves.

We’ve got women in our community from all walks of life — we have career women, retired women, empty-nesters, women who have recently recovered from cancer, women who are widowed or divorced … and everything in between!

Was there a pressing problem you were trying to solve?

Our business, Art Camp for Women, started because we wanted to provide an intimate retreat environment and a relaxing experience for our campers. ACFW is all-inclusive, and we provide chef-prepared meals, comfortable and cozy lodging, leading-edge art instruction, art supplies, and daily wine and chocolate.

We provide art retreats on a scale that allows our campers to meet and relate to everyone at the camp — including well-known artist-teachers.

We personally have attended “Big Box” retreats in the past with hundreds of attendees. Although the art instruction we received was amazing, our overall experience wasn’t great.

Unless you went with a friend, you were completely on your own in the evenings — often in a hotel in a strange city, without a car.  We also had bring all our own art supplies, which meant lugging incredibly heavy bags through security and on the airplane.

We also had to arrange and pay for our own meals, which meant eating unhealthy and expensive food in our hotel.

Overall, the experience was exhausting. We are fit and healthy women, and we had to come home and rest up after going on our “retreats.”

 

So we started ACWF because wanted to provide retreats where women could expand their art, be inspired by their surroundings, meet women from all over North America, and be rejuvenated — not become masters of the logistics of travel, lodging, food, and art supplies.

 

What kinds of online content are most important to your business?

On the Art Camp for Women blog, we publish art journaling prompts, free tutorials, interviews, organizing tips, and mixed-media art projects.

We use Pinterest to pin artwork, organizing tips for artists, architecture, travel, art exhibits, and photos from our Art Camps.

We use our Facebook page to direct people to our blog posts, and share links and resources from other writers and artists.  

We also run an email newsletter that features our blog content, regular contests for our community, and special offers.

In the last few years, we have joined a lot of different art groups online, trying to get the name of Art Camp for Women out into various communities. We also read and comment on lots of different blogs in the art community, which has helped us build relationships and market our camps.

What resources or tools did you find most helpful when you were getting started?

We took some classes on blogging and WordPress right at the beginning, and we knew that content marketing would be an important part of our marketing strategy.

We also took some business-building classes with our local Chamber of Commerce.  

This past fall, we signed up for Danny Iny’s Guest Posting course. By putting in a lot of work into doing guest posts, we have seen a spike in our web traffic, and increased our mailing list by more than 200%.

Were you always a business owner, or did you have a more traditional career before you started this business?

We had both worked in the corporate world as executives and trainers, and we have each had our own (different) businesses before we started ACFW.  The traditional careers were fine at the time, but there’s no going back for us at this point.  We like to make our own decisions and change direction quickly if we need to — flexibility is a top priority for us.

What were some of your tipping points or “a-ha!” moments? How did they come about?

 

In the fall of 2011, we were were working at our computers when we received a life-changing phone call. It was the photography editor from Oprah Magazine. They were doing a feature story about self-expression, and wanted to include our Art Camps in the story. Oprah has 3.8 million readers a month, so we were thrilled.

Three months after that call, Art Camp for Women was the first item listed in the February 2012 cover story, “Express Yourself! You from A to Z.” 

Our web traffic went from fewer than 100 hits a month (and sometimes far less) to more than 500 hits a day. In the first two weeks after the magazine was released, we had 4,000 hits on our site, and the average length of a visit on our site was over three minutes.

Oprah magazine’s editors called us because we had a great website, and because we were findable in the search engines. And when they called, we were ready.

Since then, we’ve seen a lot more diversity in the women interested in coming to Art Camp. We’ve also had better teachers and artists interested in working with us. The experience also raised our confidence quite a bit — we really felt like we were playing on a whole different level.

Our only regret is that it would have been great to have some professional photographs ready — we sent the O editors the photos we had, but they didn’t use them.

What does your business look like today, and what’s next for you?

We have always been a business that operates in the black, and we have no company debt.  

In the fall of 2012, we organized an online campaign for 2013 to both acquaint us with possible Art Camp teachers, and to grow our mailing list.

Our biggest business goal is to keep increasing the number of fully-attended Art Camps we run each year. We’re also expanding our camp locations, and and we’ll be doing camps in the tropics and in Europe.

We’re focusing on building our blog audience and our email mailing list.

Personally, we want occupations that contribute to the demographic of our choice, (women artists and art lovers) with a comfortable income and flexible working hours. We also have a huge commitment to having fun while always learning something new.

 

What advice would you give to bloggers and content creators who are trying to build an online audience?

Build a viable mailing list and use it.

Follow-up — stay in regular and timely contact with your list.

Always say yes to an opportunity and then figure out how to do it.

Don’t be afraid to give away tutorial information and actual (physical) gifts. It is a low-cost way to build your mailing list and grow your following.

Be willing to drop something that doesn’t work — even if it’s your favorite part.

After every event, or at regularly scheduled times, evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Make sure to do your evaluation in terms of dollars — not just emotions.

Make your photographs as professional as possible. You never know when Oprah may come calling!

About the Author: Beth Hayden is a Senior Staff Writer for Copyblogger Media. Get more from Beth on Twitter and Pinterest.

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