How long should a blog post be
How long should a blog post be?

How long should a blog post be? Is long form content better? Should you write thousands of words? Or are short, to the point posts better?

In this week’s podcast, I’m going to attempt to answer the question. How long should a blog post be? I’ve been seeing a lot of comment saying longer is better so I was inspired to look closer.

My own blog posts are getting longer as my content is getting more in depth. Is this a good thing?

How long should a blog post be? Listen below?



Neil & Seth

Neil Patel is an internet marketing genius. His in-depth posts on all things digital marketing are mini-training courses that take you through a lot of processes and tools that can help enhance your business. His posts are long, very long.

Seth Godin is a marketing genius. To many, he’s marketing royalty. He publishes to his blog daily and his posts are often short, 100 words or less. His wisdom is widely shared by his loyal fans. He’s one of the few people in the marketing world who you can refer to by their first name and people will know exactly who you are talking about.

Two popular bloggers whose approaches couldn’t be more different.

The trend for longer content

In recent years there has been a trend towards longer written content. Studies continuously show us that posts over 1,000 words perform better. They get more shares, more inbound links and they rank better in search.

Unsurprisingly many content creators have jumped on this trend. As we fight to get our content ranked and seen anything that gives us a perceived advantage has to be worth a try.

The length of my posts has grown over the years too. My first blog post was just 79 words long, these days they can be anything from 500 – 2,500 words long.

The statistics

Track Maven’s 2016 report ‘2017 Blogging Report’ suggests that posts 1,200 – 1,400 get the most shares.

Hubspot’s analysis of their own blog in 2015 suggests even longer posts. They found that posts over 2,500 words got the most shares and inbound links but posts between 2,250 and 2,500 ranked better in search.

Even anecdotally people tell me that their long posts do better. The statistics don’t lie but are we missing something?

I think so, it can be easy to get caught up in statistics, reports and algorithms and forget about our readers. Both Neil and Seth have very different online personas. Seth has a loyal audience that will pay attention and spread the word about his words for him. Neil is known for his in-depth, valuable content that we can learn from.

The length of their content represents their brand, their online persona. It speaks to their readers. Both approaches work.

The problem with long content

As you can probably tell by now I’m a Neil Patel fan. But I rarely read his content. Why is that?

When I see his posts pop up in my feed I know they need a time investment, they need my full attention and it’s rare that I have that time to give. So I scroll past. All Neil’s posts are very, very long and he blogs frequently.

And it’s not just me. When I mention Neil Patel to people the reaction is almost always the same. The sigh, they sigh because they can’t keep up with his content either.

If I was Neil I’d be devastated that so many of the people I wanted to reach weren’t actually reading. All those shares and inbound links make for good brand awareness but what is that worth when people don’t even want to click to learn more and travel further round your sales cycle.

People don’t want to read it all

If you can convince people to click through and read many will just scan through your post. When I asked my non-marketing friends on Facebook, many admitted to skipping through long content quickly. Those who stayed and read the whole thing would wait until they were in the right environment. One person actually printed off long articles to read on his commute.

Their overall comment was that if something was academic, or something they could learn from they’d read longer content. For opinion pieces, they’d expect shorter posts.

If we are going to write longer posts I think we need to consider when we publish and promote them. Could capturing someone who wakes up early on a Saturday morning be the right time to promote those pieces? Is commuter time, when people are stuck on public transport the best time? It’s worth experimenting with these times to see if you can keep people reading longer at these key times.

My Facebook group which consists of small business bloggers and marketers were more likely to read longer articles but relied on subheadings, images and bullet points to keep them interested. For more on layout listen back to episode 40.

Long content is scary

Let’s compare long form written content to video. When you see a video online that interests you what is the first thing you look at? Is it the timestamp? Do you want to see how much time you have to commit before you hit play? If your answer is yes it’s not alone.

Whether we watch a long video will depend on the context. When we see one in our social news feeds we will only be tempted to press play if it’s short. When we search for an answer to something and find a long video we might click if we think it will be a comprehensive answer even if it’s long.

We also make time in our schedules for longer video in the form of live video. If we prepare ourselves to watch a weekly show online we will take time out to do so.

Written content is similar.

My instinct is that people will read longer content when it suits their schedule or when they seek it out. They are less likely to read it when they stumble upon it.

One solution to this is to add an ‘estimated reading time’ caption at the top of your post. A long post may only take 5 minutes to read, knowing that this is all the commitment required may encourage visitors to read on.

Use wordcounter.net to get an estimated reading time for your posts.

The temptation

The problem with any algorithm is that we are tempted to hack it. Yes, it seems Google are favouring longer content at the moment but that doesn’t mean we should stuff our posts with irrelevancies, go over the top with detail or over-extend our writing just to reach the recommended 1,500 words.

Search engines will become wise to this and use other signals to understand the value of your posts to their users.

If all your posts are long form and if you are writing frequently you may find that a lot of your audience are switching off. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write them.

Shorter blog posts

Shorter ‘snackable’ posts can work well particularly if you are targeting a time-poor audience. If you post regularly, shorter content could be the key to keeping people coming back and reading more frequently.

The downside to shorter content is that people are on site for less time, you have less time to make you and your brand memorable.

To combat this you need to focus on making your shorter posts memorable. Try and centre them around one key point that will stick in the memories of your reader.

So how long should a blog post be?

The answer is a blog post should be as long as it needs to be. But that’s not the answer you came here for.

My recommendation is to mix it up. Create some comprehensive, evergreen ‘cornerstone content’ that will establish your expertise and rank in search engine results.  Create shorter, more frequent content to engage with your audience and help build their loyalty.


Blogging challenge

  • Copy and paste your last blog post into Wordcounter and look at the ‘estimated reading time’
  • Decide on the best time to share that post to your audience. When will they have time to read it?
  • Plan some ‘cornerstone’ content, long form posts for your site.

Before You Go

Do you believe in Karma? If so I recommend that you go over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave a review on this podcast. You never know what wonderful things might happen in return.

Here’s how to review a blog using iTunes:

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

“Small

 

How long should a blog post be
How long should a blog post be?
To Automate or To Switch Off - 3 Solutions To The Small Business Owners Christmas Facebook Dilemma - 1 Minute Moment #60
To Automate or To Switch Off – 3 Solutions To The Small Business Owners Christmas Facebook Dilemma – 1 Minute Moment #60

It starts mid-November for me, the excitement, the anticipation. Soon, very soon there will be two weeks when I can switch off, kick back and forget about business.

Christmas for many small business owners isn’t about the food, the presents, the tree. It’s about total wind down.

But how can we switch off and relax in the connected world?

This week I look at 3 ways you can manage your Christmas break on Facebook

1. Schedule content

Most of us have a Christmas box in our attic or shed full of decorations. We pull it out once a year, dust off the decorations, replace any that are damaged or broken and enjoy them again.

Treat your content the same way. Create a folder on your computer and add all your seasonal content, include a document with links to any blog posts or articles you’ve written.

Now schedule it out over the break. If you create anything new add it to the folder so you can recycle it next year.

Here’s how to schedule on Facebook:

2. Shut it down

The problem with scheduling content is that

  1. Your mind will always be a little bit tied to your page. You’ll want to see how your content is performing.
  2. People might start interacting with it. If people leave comments on your posts you’ll need to respond. Bang goes your time off!

The alternative is to switch off completely. Pin a post to the top of your page telling people you won’t be around until [insert date here] and enjoy your time off.

You can set an auto responder (also known as instant messages) to respond to any direct messages whilst you are gone.

3. Hire a VA

If you have the budget consider hiring someone to manage your page during your time off. This means you can continue the flow of content and ensure that people are getting a personal response.

Here are some tips from the Smart VA about why you should use a virtual assistant.

What will you do?

Are you scheduling, switching off, hiring a VA or something else? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

“Small

 

To Automate or To Switch Off - 3 Solutions To The Small Business Owners Christmas Facebook Dilemma - 1 Minute Moment #60
To Automate or To Switch Off – 3 Solutions To The Small Business Owners Christmas Facebook Dilemma – 1 Minute Moment #60
How To Grow Your Audience, Your Reach, Your Content With A Guest Blogging Program
How To Grow Your Audience, Your Reach, Your Content With A Guest Blogging Program

What if I told you that you could reach a whole bunch of new people with your blog, people who hadn’t heard of you before? What if I told you there was a way to expand the range of relevant topics you cover on your blog? Well there is. A guest blogging program may be hard work but it can help you grow your blog.

Listen below for my guide to putting together a guest blogging program



A few weeks ago in episode 51 I talked about guest posting and how you might go about submitting your own guest posts to other sites. Today I want to flip that and look at why it might be a good idea to allow guest posts on your own site.

Why is a guest blogging program a good idea?

If you are a small business or organisation the chances are that you produce all the content for your blog. This is great as it gives your brand a unique voice and you have complete control.

However, being a single author can be limiting. By inviting guest posts from a handpicked group of quality writers you can expand your reach, drive new visitors to your site and those writers will lend their authority to your business.

It seems like a bit of a no brainer, get other people to write content and you’ll save loads of time right? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Choosing the right writers, ensuring they submit quality content on time and editing that content is almost as time-consuming as writing your own stuff.

The first question you need to ask yourself is, does the value of getting people to write for you outweigh the time and effort it takes to manage guest submissions?

If the answer is yes read on.

Setting Goals

The next step is to define your goals. What will allowing guest blog posts do for your blog and your business?

  • Do you want to reach a new audience? If so who do you want to reach?
  • Do you want to increase traffic to your site? If so what type of traffic is relevant to you?
  • Do you want to build brand awareness? If so how will you measure this?
  • Do you want to share information that is outside your knowledge base but will benefit your readers and customers?

The answers to these questions will help you choose your guest bloggers and topics.

Choosing writers

Now you know what you want to achieve start looking for people who you would like to contribute to your site. Remember, ideally you are looking for people who have a good social presence that reaches an audience that you want to target.

Before you approach anyone, remember you are looking for people who are already in the habit of writing. I made the mistake early on in my blog of approaching people who had knowledge but didn’t write on a regular basis. This resulted in deadlines being missed and a lack of quality in the submitted posts.

You should be looking for people with blogs, who write regular posts for other publications or who write lengthy LinkedIn posts.

Finding value in your existing connections

Start with your own network, who are the other bloggers that you know? Does their content and style fit your blog? Whose content do you share on a regular basis? If it’s good enough to share with your audience a contribution from them will also add value.

Who are you connected to on LinkedIn that uses LinkedIn publishing? Are they publishing content that would appeal to your ideal reader? If so put them on the list.

Looking beyond your network

Now it’s time to look beyond your network. Search Google for people blogging in niches that will attract your target market.

When we talked about looking for guest posting opportunities on other sites, I recommended looking for blogs that have a higher DA (domain authority) than you. When you are looking for contributors for your own site you can flip that. If you find quality writers with a lower DA than you you have something valuable to offer them, an inbound link from your site.

You’d be mad to turn down posts from bloggers with a higher domain authority but you will have less to offer them than those with a lower ranking.

Create a wish list of bloggers you’d like to contribute. Use Google sheets or excel to keep track of their names, their blog or website, their social channels their email address and the dates you’ve made contact. This will help you manage contributors later on.

Making guest blogging an attractive proposition

You can approach the people you know straight away but you’ll need to build relationships with those you don’t know already. using Twitter, LinkedIn, blog commenting and other social networks.

Now you have selected your writers it’s time to approach them. You may choose to contact your LinkedIn connections via LinkedIn but for the rest, email is the best approach. In some cases, you might send a direct message on Twitter or via their Facebook page but be ready to follow up with an email.

Remember, someone who writes for your site is spending a lot of time creating a post for you. You need to make it look like an attractive proposition. Think about what is in it for them.

  • Does it offer them exposure to an audience they don’t already reach?
  • Will it help establish them as an expert?
  • Will an inbound link from within the content be valuable to them and their site

Think of your offer like a business transaction. In exchange for a blog post, this is what your contributor will get in return. And don’t forget to appeal to their ego. You should know enough about your prospects now that you can compliment them on content they’ve created and tell them how you and your audience have found it useful in the past.

Make a note of the date that you send the request in your spreadsheet and set yourself a reminder to follow it up if you don’t hear back from them.

Create a guest bloggers pack

When someone agrees to post for you, it’s a good idea to send them a short document or link to a page on your site that outlines the basics.

This should include

  • What types of posts you are looking for: Include examples of the types of posts that you want and what they contain that makes them relevant. Also, let people know what posts aren’t relevant to your blog.
  • How to submit your post: Will you give them a login for your site or do you need them to send it as a word document?
  • What you require: How many words long do you need the post to be (minimum and maximum)? Do you need the writer to submit their own images? If so what is the requirement?
  • Bio: Do you need contributors to submit a bio? If so what should be included? Do you need a photo? How many words are included in the bio? Can this include a link to their site?
  • Inbound links within content: Are people allowed to link to their own sites from within the post itself? If so what sort of link is acceptable and make sure they know that you have editors discretion to remove links.

I love Hubspot’s guest blogging guidelines, they’d make a great template for anyone wanting to create their own.

Creating a guest blogging schedule

All going well you should now have a list of bloggers that are ready and willing to contribute to your site. Now you need to create a schedule.

How many guest posts per month do you want to allow on your site? Depending on how frequently you blog, and how much time you want to put into your guest posting programme you may want to include one guest post per month of one per week.

Set up publication dates in a calendar (I use Google calendar for this). When you have identified a blogger offer them a submission date. This date should be at least two days before you are planning publication as you will need to edit it, format it and add images. You may also build in extra time in case they are late submitting.

Keep in touch with the blogger in the run up to their submission date. Check in with them to make sure they are on track and ask if they need your help in any way.

 

An alternative to guest blogging

All this work may put you off the idea of accepting guest posts altogether. But there’s an alternative. Instead of inviting guest bloggers, interview them.

Although the process for finding interviewees is similar to finding guest bloggera you will get a far better response. Participating in an interview seems like less work than writing a post from scratch. It’s a more appealing prospect. 

The standard way of conducting a blog interview is to send out a list of questions and ask the interviewee to reply with their answers. Although this is a quick and easy method you might find that the answers are a bit stilted, it also robs you of the opportunity to delve further into their answers.

To get a more natural interview record it either in person or via Skype. This will add a more conversational tone to your post and you’ll get fuller responses.

The problem with this method is that you’ll need to transcribe these interviews and this can be a time-consuming process. If you aren’t a great typist REV is a service that offers transcriptions for an affordable price. Thanks to Ian Cleary for pointing that service out to me.

Should you do it?

Getting people to write content for your site could be a good way to broaden your audience. The people who contribute are lending you their expertise and authority but, it’s a lot of hard work. If you embark on a guest blogging programme make sure you are regimented in your approach and allow enough time for finding, chasing and editing guest bloggers.


Blogging challenge

Is a guest blogging program for you? If so here’s your challenges:

  • Start building a list of possible contributors to your site
  • Write a guest post starter pack
  • Create a schedule for your guest posts

Before You Go

Do you believe in Karma? If so I recommend that you go over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave a review on this podcast. You never know what wonderful things might happen in return.

Here’s how to review a blog using iTunes:

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

“Small

 

How To Grow Your Audience, Your Reach, Your Content With A Guest Blogging Program
How To Grow Your Audience, Your Reach, Your Content With A Guest Blogging Program
4 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started My YouTube Channel
4 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started My YouTube Channel

I just took a look at my youtube channel. My first video went live on 4th November 2009. That’s seven years of almost weekly videos. It was odd looking back at a slightly younger, slightly posher me and it reminded me of all the silly mistakes, most of which I only recently fixed, I made when I set up my YouTube Channel.

Today, I thought I’d share four of the YouTube channel mistakes I made with you and show you how to avoid them. I only fitted three into the video, so you as a reader are getting a bonus extra mistake.

Firstly, I don’t think you can blame me completely for the mistakes. When I started out on YouTube it looked very different. Some of the features my channel was missing weren’t there back then but in some ways not keeping up to date with the changes was my biggest mistake.

Watch below to find out what my three biggest YouTube Channel mistakes were

Mistake 1 – The Channel Art Was All Wrong

About a year ago I decided to revamp my channel and straight away I realised I was missing something really important.

‘Channel Art’ is Youtube’s version of the Facebook or Twitter cover image. It spans the width of your channel and lets you brand it.

I quickly added channel art but something was wrong. The size. I’d checked the internet, I’d used Canva but something was wrong. The beautiful brand image I’d created was cropped.

It turns out that channel art is a bit more complicated than a Facebook cover photo. Depending what device a viewer looks at your channel on the cover art will display differently. The full sized art rarely displays whereas the portion you see on a web browser or mobile device is just a tiny portion of the main image.

Luckily there is a template you can use to size your images correctly. Just yesterday I finally fixed my channel art to display correctly on all devices. I uploaded the template to Canva so that I could arrange the elements of my channel correctly.

You can download the template here.

Mistake 2 – I Couldn’t Verify My Website

Once you have set up your YouTube channel you can verify your website. This associates it with your channel. Once verified you can add cards and links to your website from your videos. It could be a great way to drive viewers to your site.

Over the years I tried over and over again to verify my site yet my status always remained ‘pending’. I’d been trying to verify my site using Google Search Console. Although everything seemed to match up on the Search Console end YouTube just wouldn’t recognise it.

Eventually, I got in touch with Google. They pointed out, politely, that I was linking to the wrong Search Console. You see, my YouTube channel was created with a different Google account to my Google Analytics and Search Console. I’d been trying to link my Spiderworking YouTube with my personal Google account.

Once I’d discovered the mistake I linked the Spiderworking YouTube with my Spiderworking Google account and I was verified almost immediately.

To verify your website:

  • Click on your logo at the top right-hand side of your channel
  • Click ‘Creator Studio’
  • Select ‘Channel’ from the left-hand sidebar
  • Click ‘Advanced’
  • Add your website and follow instructions to verify
How to verify your website with YouTube
How to verify your website with YouTube

Mistake 3 – I Didn’t Add Links To My Header

This is something that definitely wasn’t possible when I set up my channel in 2009. You can add your website link, social channels and other links to your YouTube header.

Adding these links could help drive traffic to your site and encourage viewers to follow you elsewhere online.

To add links to your header click on the pencil at the top of your channel art and select ‘Edit links’ from the drop down menu.

Add links to your YouTube header
Add links to your YouTube header

Mistake 4 – I Didn’t Have A Channel Trailer

I’m not sure when I first became aware of channel trailers but I do know I put the idea of having one on the long finger, the very long finger.

A good channel trailer introduces new visitors to your page and persuades them that subscribing is a good idea. It should be short and representative of the rest of your content.

When I finally uploaded mine I used it to promote my channel on other social channels and began gaining subscribers immediately.

To add a channel trailer to YouTube click to view your channel as a new visitor.

If you haven’t uploaded a trailer yet you’ll see a blank square prompting you to upload a video. If you have you can change your trailer by clicking the pencil to the right of your trailer description.

How to add a channel trailer to YouTube
How to add a channel trailer to YouTube

That’s just four of the mistakes I made. I made many, many more… let’s not mention the top I was wearing in my first ever Vlog!

Do you vlog? What silly mistakes have you made? Are you brave enough to admit them? I’d love to know I’m not the only one so let me know if you have.

Oh and you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

“Small

 

4 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started My YouTube Channel
4 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started My YouTube Channel

 

10 Christmas Blog Topics To Help You Get Ahead With Your Seasonal Content Schedule
10 Christmas Blog Topics To Help You Get Ahead With Your Seasonal Content Schedule

What do you do with your blog at Christmas? Do you put it on hold for a week or two? Do you carry on as normal or do you create seasonal content?

If you want to create seasonal content but don’t know where to start I’ve got 10 Chirstmas blog topic ideas that will help you get started.

If you write a post as a result of reading this post I’d love to see it. You can leave a link in the comments section or join my Small Business Bloggers group on Facebook and share it with us there.

Listen below for my 10 Christmas blog topic ideas



Today as this Podcast goes live it’s Thanksgiving, tomorrow is Black Friday, the day when Christmas shopping starts in ernest in the US and the rest of the world.

In Ireland we have just over a week until ‘The Toy Show’, a special Christmas edition of the popular ‘Late Late Show’ that traditionally marks the beginning of Christmas. With time racing by and Christmas just around the corner I thought it was time to address the seasonal content issue.

If you are winding up or winding down for Christmas you may be tempted to put your blogging on the back burner. But don’t! Plan and create your content now and you’ll be able to kick back over the holiday knowing that the content is being published and updated it as you munch into your mince pies.

A Challenge

Today I’ve a challenge for you. I’m going to give you a bundle of content ideas for your seasonal content and I want you to start writing, vlogging or podcasting now. Get your seasonal blog posts out of the way now so you can put your feet up when Christmas comes. Don’t forget to share your results and I’ll give them a shoutout on my social media channels.

Old Content

Before we get into creating new posts take a look at your old content. What did you write this time last year? The year before? Is it seasonal? Is it still relevant?

If the answer is yes, take a look at it, update it if necessary (here’s my guide for updating old content) and then promote it over the Christmas season. It’s a simple way to get new readers to your site without havign to write something brand new.

Now you’ve updated your seasonal content take a look at your Google Analytics (or other measurement softward) to see what content performed well last December.

For me, amongst the usual popular posts I found that my Facebook contest advice posts performed well. I need to spend time updating and promoting these over the Christmas period.

Themes

The type of content you create over Christmas should depend on the audience you want to reach. A post on the best children’s party games to play over the break would look out of place on my business to business blog but would sit well with businesses serving a family audience.

That doesn’t mean I can’t write about family though. Business to business brands just need to handle it differently. A post titiled ‘How to make time for family in the midst of the Christmas rush’ could suit a blog targeting small business perfectly. I might even write it myself.

Family is one theme you could tie into for the holiday season but there are many others. Themes are great for focussing your attention and that of your reader.

Here are some Christmas season themse you could consider:

  • Cold
  • Family
  • Gifts
  • Food
  • Decorations
  • Celebration
  • Relaxation
  • Loneliness
  • Religion

Of course, you don’t have to stick with a theme. Perhaps you just want to throw a few Christmas posts into the mix.

10 Christmas blog topics

1. Christmas gift list

We’re all desperately trying to decide what to buy our friends, family and our customers this time of year. There may be hundreds of gift guides out there but if you can create one that is hyper-targeted at your audience you could attract lots of readers.

Think about the type of gifts your customers want to buy. Will they want to buy local? Are they looking for the ideal corporate gift, Are they looking for the top bargins?

If you sell Christmas gifts yourself don’t be tempted just to write about your products but include them with others in your review. I did this last year to help sell copies of the We Teach Social, 365 Social Media Tips book.

2. Feature a charity

Christmas is a time for giving and that includes giving to a good cause. What charities align with what you do? Which ones are you customers interested in?

Get in touch with the causes you want to support and see if there is someone available for an interview or if they have information or statistics for a specific campaign they are running.

This makes you feel good and helps your readers see you as generous. You could end up driving some donations too.

3. How To

How to posts make highly shareable content, they always feature highly in my top posts of the year.

Make a list of how to posts you can write. Maybe you can create a series of posts on how to eat healthily over the holiday period, show people how to gift wrap using recycled products or give them a cheat sheet on how to manage their budget.

When you create a how to post be as detailed as possible. Take a step by step approach, become a resource that people will return to again and again.

4. Things to do

Tap into the family audience by giving people a list of activites they can participate in over the break. This could be games they can play on Christmas day, events they can attend locally or films to watch on Netflix. Maybe you can inspire someone to take up a new hobby, start a project or simply have more quality time with their loved ones.

Last year I created a post showing people how to take more interesting Instagram photos over Christmas.

5. Review post

What products or gifts can you review? I thoroughly enjoyed Conor Bofin’s post about shop bought Mince Pies last year.

If food isn’t your thing, what about a book people can read? A film they can go and see in the cinema? Automation software that will help the office keep working when you aren’t there?

Take time to create a full and honest review, your readers will trust you more if you point out the good and not so good.

6. Nostalgia post

Nostalgia is a very powerful emotion. if you tap into it, you could attract lots of readers and shares. What was Christmas like for you as a child? What Christmas gifts did you get that your audience might remember? What ads do you remember? What bizarre foods did you eat in the 80s.

Go and have a rummage in the attic, have a look at old social media posts and find something that will provoke a shared nostalgic moment with your readers.

7. Storytelling

In Ireland, after the Toy Show the Barry’s Tea ad is the next milestone in our Christmas calendar. It’s the story of a father (or grandfather) reminissing about a train set he recieved as a child. The story encompasses nostalgia, sentiment and a good cup of tea.

It’s a wonderful tale and it’s been running since 1994. I look forward to hearing it every year. That’s the power of a good story.

As humans, we are fascinated by stories. What story can you tell? Maybe it’s the story of your first Christmas in business. The story of a customer (real or imagined) that you have helped, or the story of what inspired you to start out in business. A story keeps people reading until the end, they will want to know what happened.

As it’s a Christmas story you’ll need to add a huge dose of sentiment. Think Dickens, think Barry’s tea.

8. Trivia – Did you know…

Collect a series of quirky seasonal facts relating to Christmas and your business.

For example, did you know that Christmas Day hasnt’ always been a day off? Delve further into that story for a B2B post.

Gift providers might focus on the cost of the 12 days of Christmas. If you bought all the items in the song it would cost you $1.3 million apparently.

If you are in the romance business what about delving into the origins of kissing under the mistletoe?

You’ll find more facts like that here.

9. A Naughty & Nice list

Imagine you are Santa? Which industry related topics, people or themes are on your naughty and nice list?

For example, I might put Twitter on the naughty list for getting rid of share counts and Facebook on the nice list for delivering so much traffic to my website.

This could be a fun post to write.

10. All I want for Christmas is…

What industry changes would make your life better? What struggles do you share with your customers that you can write about?

If you are a tourism business in Ireland you might wish for a warm summer, if you are a farmer it could be a rise i milk prices. If you are an online marketer you might just want a bucket of Facebook reach.

Make a wish list for you and your customers. You could even crowdsource your answers by posting the question in a Facebook or LinkedIn group or run a Twitter Poll.

So that’s 10 ideas for you. Which one will you take on? I’d love to see any posts you write as a result of listening so leave your links in the comments or join my Small Business Bloggers group of Facebook.

I’ll look forward to seeing what you come up with.

 

Before You Go

Do you believe in Karma? If so I recommend that you go over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave a review on this podcast. You never know what wonderful things might happen in return.

Here’s how to review a blog using iTunes:

 

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

“Small

 

10 Christmas Blog Topics To Help You Get Ahead With Your Seasonal Content Schedule
10 Christmas Blog Topics To Help You Get Ahead With Your Seasonal Content Schedule
Can Measurement Save You From Digital Marketing Apathy? - 1 Minute Moment #58
Can Social Media Measurement Save You From Digital Marketing Apathy? – 1 Minute Moment #58

Are you measuring social media success? Really measuring or are you going with your gut feeling?

It happened to me again recently. I found myself staring at my computer screen wondering if I was wasting my time with content marketing and social media. I’m sure many of you reading are familiar with this feeling. You can beat it with a good measurement plan.

I used to be a terrible measurer. I knew, or I thought I knew sales were coming from social media but I wasn’t able to prove it.

The thing is, if you measure you won’t only be proving to yourself that you aren’t wasting your time but you’ll also be able to identify what you are doing well.

Download your free measurement chart here

What are the benefits of social media measurement? Watch below

It’s human for us to question ourselves but we shouldn’t let it get in the way.

One trick that I’ve picked up is measurement. Knowing what you are aiming at, setting steps along the way and religiously measuring your results is all it takes to fight off the demons.

When vanity stats aren’t vanity

The term vanity stat suggests something frivolous. It refers to statistics that mean little on their own, like the number of followers your have on social media. It may sound frivolous but I think it’s important to measure these.

You can’t sell unless you have an audience, you can’t build relationships without connections. Headline statistics are important but to stop them being vanity statistics you need to delve deeper. Rather than just the number of Facebook likes, look at how many of those likes fit into your target market. Where do they live? What age are they? What are their interests? If you don’t know spend some time building a customer or reader persona and measure your actual audience against the one you want to create. 

Use Facebook Audience Insights to see if you are hitting the right people on Facebook and delve into your Google Analytics, Twitter Analtyics and Instagram Stats to find out more about your audience elsewhere.

What are your readers doing?

For me the most interesting part of my statistics is not just how much traffic I get to my website but what people do when they arrive.

I look at each channel that drives traffic to my website and look to see how valuable that traffic is. How many people visit but also how long do they stay and how many pages do they look at. It was using this method that I realised I was massaging my stats by using StumbleUpon.

To find this info on Google analytics click on ‘Acquisition’ on the left hand side, select social and then ‘Network referrals’. As you can see from this screen grab I took last year, Twitter is doing really well for time on site compared to other networks.

google analytics social stats
Check your social stats. Which social networks drive the most traffic and which keep users on site longest.

Don’t rely on data from one month, expand your analysis to at least 6 months to get a good overall view of what is working.

The problem with Instagram

Instagram traffic registers as direct traffic in Google Analytics. If you want to measure traffic from here, or any specific link you post online use Google URL builder to create tracking links. You can then monitor performance in the ‘campaigns’ dashboard on Google Analytics.

What to do next

Define your goals

What do you want to achieve with your online marketing? Don’t try and run before you can walk, identify your long term goals and map out the steps you need to take to reach that goal. Here are my tips on goal setting.

Keep a weekly measurement chart

Set a specific time every week to do your stats. Choose the statistics that will help you measure your progress towards your gaol. You can download my excel template here, select the metrics that matter from it and hide or delete the rest.

Learn from your measurement

Your statistics will tell you what is working and what isn’t. Make a note of your most popular posts on social and from your blog. Update any popular content to make sure it’s still relevant. Identify the types of posts that are delivering the most value on social.

 

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

“Small

 

Can Measurement Save You From Digital Marketing Apathy? - 1 Minute Moment #58
Can Measurement Save You From Digital Marketing Apathy? – 1 Minute Moment #58
Mick's Garage: Using Your Blog To Turbo Power Your Marketing Message
Mick’s Garage: Using Your Blog To Turbo Power Your Marketing Message

What makes a business blog successful? What type of content makes the most sales? How can working with other bloggers help you grow?

The name ‘Mick’s Garage’ suggests a local garage, the garage round the corner where you bring your car for a service. In fact, it’s a large organisation supplying car parts that has expanded from its Irish base to serve the UK and Poland.

The thing is, when you read the blog you still feel connected to the business, it doesn’t feel like a large business but a collection of people passionate about motoring and cars.

I spoke to Rob King from Mick’s garage about the blog, how it’s evolved over time and how they are managing to keep it personal.

Listen to the interview with Rob King from Mick’s Garage:



Summary

Rob started with the company six years ago. At first he worked in the customer service department but he soon moved on into marketing. When he arrived the blog was hosted on Google’s Blogger platform and it’s moved twice since, once to WordPress and a sub-domain of the website and when I interviewed Rob they’d just started the process of moving it into their main domain.

How important is it to know your subject?

If you know about a subject yourself and you read an article written by someone who doesn’t have good knowledge it’s immediately apparent.

When you read one by someone passionate it makes you passionate.

Why did you decide to focus on the blog?

It’s an avenue to get across the companies personality, to get across our passion and teach people something useful. But everything comes down to numbers and revenue at the end of the day. SEO was also a big part of it.

We like to market ourselves as the car part experts and I think in the main site doesn’t enable us to get that message across and that’s where the blog was able to come in. To provide useful content that would educate and inform our customers.

Your blog posts are full of personality. Did you set yourself guidelines for your tone of voice?

Not written rules but we try and write with personality and a personal tone. We avoid news and click bait and focus on trying to provide value with useful content. We write so that our customers will get knowledge and be able to educate themselves. We try to write the way we talk.

Is there really a Mick?

Yes. Michael Crean and his brother Kieran twins from County Mayo. Mick started Mick’s garage in his bedroom on his laptop.

How do you turn readers into sales?

Our most popular article is about track days, that’s when you bring your car to a race track. It’s not something we sell but it’s something I do. That is our most read article. That brings in a huge amount of traffic but not sales.

We have a set of buying guides that help people buy parts for their car. Those are the posts that really bring in the revenue.

I think you need to ask yourself what ‘conversions’ mean to you. Traditionally it’s sales but we’ve started counting collecting email addresses as conversions.

Do you use CTA’s or how do people travel from the blog to site?

We include call to actions within content but we try to make our posts non-salesy. We might have a link within the text but that’s the size of it. There’s absolutely no hard sale. No banners no ads.

It’s all about answering customers question. We use Live Chat on our site and record queries, then we tailor articles based on those queries.

You’ve been doing a bit of blogger outreach. Recruiting bloggers to create video for you. How is that working out?

It’s in its infancy but I’ve been very impressed with the results that came back. I know how hard it can be to create video content so I’ve been impressed. We’ve got a core group of 5 people who we’re working with. We’re sending them out products to review and they send us a video in return.

As far as return [sales] I don’t know yet.

How did you approach them?

We selected these guys because we ran out of in-house resources. We wanted to scale things up and reaching out to bloggers seemed like the obvious way.

Initially, I was looking for examples of what they’d done previously. We were less keen if they didn’t have examples.

Because I’d seen examples I was pretty confident I’d get back something half way decent and I did. You can see them on our YouTube channel.

It just makes our product that more believable, it’s one thing me, an employee telling you about this great thing I want you to buy. But using bloggers makes it more believable.

It adds another layer of personality as well I think. All these guys had very different approaches and I think it makes our content that much richer.

What if they don’t like the product?

I suppose what we ask them to do is review it with a price point in mind. For example, we sent out hair straighteners you plug into the plug socket in your car. They cost was €12 so we asked them to review the product with that in mind. And yes if they thought they were crap they should say they were crap.

If you were to start your blog again today what would you do differently?

I’m doing a new website ‘Trackdays.ie‘ at the moment so I’d tell myself too! I believe if you’ve got all the technical stuff in order then write passionately and knowledgeably I don’t see how that could fail in attracting traffic and visitors to site.

if you enjoy what you are writing about it doesn’t seem like hard work.

Do you work a content schedule?

We do have a schedule, we use google docs. We have an ideas dump where we throw ideas throughout the year and then we can pull from that whenever it takes our fancy. Sometimes we’d create a series of articles based on a theme. it’s pretty loose, we do have an annual plan but it’s flexible.

We tend to plan at the end of the previous year, we come up with a heap of ideas then one will spin off to another. There never seems to be a shortage.

Your building a new website. Is it harder working on your own?

It’s harder in a way because you’ve nobody to bounce ideas off. It’s great to have that safety net sometimes but it’s also great when you are a one-man band, because you don’t have the same restrictions.

Working on your own means that when you have an idea you can just action it immediately.

You can find Mick’s Garage at:

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Youtube

 

Before You Go

Do you believe in Karma? If so I recommend that you go over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave a review on this podcast. You never know what wonderful things might happen in return.

Here’s how to review a blog using iTunes:

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

“Small

Mick's Garage: Using Your Blog To Turbo Power Your Marketing Message
Mick’s Garage: Using Your Blog To Turbo Power Your Marketing Message
A Year Of Podcasting - The Listener Episode - Blogcentric #52
A Year Of Podcasting – The Listener Episode – Blogcentric #52

What keeps you podcasting for a year? For me it’s the listeners so I decided to hand over the anniversary show to them.

This week marks a year of the Blogcentric podcast. 12 months ago I sat in front of my computer, Skype headset on and recorded episode 1. My plan was to improve my blog and tell the story as I did it.

A year on I know my blog is better but I also know that I’m loving podcasting. So how could I mark this occasion?

To my delight, some people actually listen to Blogcentric and it’s hearing from you that keeps me motivated. So this week I thought I’d introduce you to 9 of my listeners and let them tell you about how they’ve improved their blog over the last year.

So it’s over to them…

Meet The Blogcentric Listeners



Colm Baker – Whabang Media

Colm Baker Whabang
Colm Baker Whabang

 

Colm blogs for his digital marketing business Whabang Digital based in Ireland

He found the tech episodes useful and is particularly happy to have discovered the Yoast plugin for WordPress.

Find Colm online:

 

 

 


Christina Ní Muirthile – Dear Passerby

Christina Ní Muirthile - Dear Passerby
Christina Ní Muirthile – Dear Passerby

Christina blogs about tech, travel and TV on her site Dear Passerby

She has 3 favourite episodes which she says she revisits regularly.

Episode 9 on visual style guides that helped her with hear design. She’s using Canva and Pinterest mood boards to help stay on track with her visual content.

Episodes 12 & 23 on SEO. She found the tips useful for blogging newbies who need to get people onto their sites. Like Gavin, she’s also a big fan of Yoast.
Yoast.

Find Christina Online:


Dee Sewell – Greenside Up

Dee Sewell - Greenside Up
Dee Sewell – Greenside Up

Dee blogs for her business Greenside Up where she runs workshops for people on community and organic gardening.

She found the episode on Call To Actions helpful as it’s something she’s often neglected. She was inspired to add a good call to action including a link to a specific page on her site as a result of listening.

Find Dee Online:

 


Elaine Rogers – The Smart VA

Elaine Rogers - The Smart VA
Elaine Rogers – The Smart VA

Elaine blogs for her business ‘The Smart VA’ offering virtual services for business.

Like Dee she found the episode on Call To Actions useful and is enjoying using the ‘Click To Tweet‘ tool to get more shares on her posts.

She also found some of the tips on security and WordPress user names useful.

Find Elaine Online:

 


Gaving Lawlor – The Digital Dub

Gavin Lawlor - The Digital Dub
Gavin Lawlor – The Digital Dub

Gavin blog The Digital Dub provides tech news and digital marketing advice. 

Gavin found the episode on blog layout helpful, particularly the tip on making link anchor text longer so it’s easier for mobile users to click. It also made him rethink his sidebar use.

Find Gavin Online:

 


Kate McQuillan – Pet Sitters Ireland

Kate McQuillan - Pet Sitters Ireland
Kate McQuillan – Pet Sitters Ireland

Kate blogs for her business Pet Sitters Ireland which offers pet sitting and dog walking services.

Kate has been implementing the tips from Blogcentric on updating old blog posts. She found she had a lot of older posts that were driving traffic but not retaining users. When she looked closer she realised they weren’t good quality ad she could improve them.

Find Kate Online:

 


Lisa Kalner Williams – AgoraPulse

Lisa Kalner Williams - AgoraPulse
Lisa Kalner Williams – AgoraPulse

Lisa describes herself as the content lady for AgoraPulse. A tool that helps you manage your social media. She’s also my boss when I write for the AgoraPulse blog.

Like Kate she found the episode on updating blog posts useful. She found the suggestion (stolen from Jeff Bullas) that we look at the posts that are ranking between 11 & 30 on Google and work on improving them useful.

Find Lisa Online:

 


Sinéad Noonan – Sinéad Social

Sinéad Noonan - Sinead Social
Sinéad Noonan – Sinead Social

 

Sinéad writes for her business blog Sinead Social where she helps bloggers improve their blogs and skills.

One of her favourite episodes was an interview with Eamonn O’Brien on story telling. In it he recommended collecting daily stories in a notebook. She combined this with using ‘Morning Pages’ to start collecting stories from her life every day.

She also recommends reading ‘642 Things To Write About Me’ by the San Fransisco Writers Grotto as a source of inspiration.

Find Sinéad Online:


Úna-Minh Caomhánach – Before My Mam Dies

Úna-Minh Caomhánach - Before My Mam Die
Úna-Minh Caomhánach – Before My Mam Dies

Úna-Minh is a travel blogger with a difference. She documents her travels with her Mother and addresses some of the taboo topics relating to death (in a good way). 

She found some of the SEO tips useful particularly those on naming images before you upload to your site to include your keywords.

Find Úna-Minh Online:

 


A massive thanks to all my listeners over the last year. I’m looking forward to year 2.

 

Before You Go

Do you believe in Karma? If so I recommend that you go over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave a review on this podcast. You never know what wonderful things might happen in return.

Here’s how to review a blog using iTunes:

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

“Small

A Year Of Podcasting - The Listener Episode - Blogcentric #52
A Year Of Podcasting – The Listener Episode – Blogcentric #52

 

 

Use These Ideas To Kickstart Your Instagram Business Account
Use These Ideas To Kickstart Your Instagram Business Account

I’ve always loved Instagram and this year I started using it for business and I’ve been delighted with the results. 

As a business owner Instagram can feel daunting, another network to manage and this one needs lots of photos. In this post I’m going to look at the steps you can take to become memorable, consistent and how to measure success.

Watch below for my quick tips for small businesses using Instagram

1. Choose a style

If you want to be remembered you need to have a consistent style on your Instagram account. Build a style guide for your visual content so it appears consistent both on your Instagram accounts and across all your social media and digital channels.

Decide on a look and feel you want for your page. Do you want saturated bright colours or a more muted look. Choose filters that you will use on all your photos that will deliver this look.

2. Decide what type of followers you want to attract

It’s easy to get carried away when you start out on Instagram. You want to get followers quickly and if you are like me you’ll start following everyone back. The problem with this is your feed will soon fill up with irrelevant content.

To prevent this from happening create a customer persona for the type of person you want to follow you and seek them out on Instagram. Search for hashtags that relate to them or locations they may frequent.

When you find them, follow them, interact with them and look at who they follow that may also fit into your target market.

3. Interact

Instagram is a great place to showcase your own content but it’s not going to work for you unless you interact with people. Liking posts from other users is great but you can’t beat a good comment.

Set yourself a daily interaction goal. Commit to leaving at least one good comment on a photo every day.

4. Drive traffic

You might not think it but you can drive traffic to your website from Instagram. The problem of course is that unless you use advertising you have to encourage people to click the link in your bio.

I recently experimented with this and advertising to see if people would actually click and I was surprised to find out that yes, they did.

5. Convert to a business account

As soon as you can, convert your account to a business account. If you want to measure success you can’t just rely on stats like the number of followers or likes you have.

Business accounts give you more in-depth information about your followers, link clicks, interactions and more. This is indispensable information. Find out more about converting to a business account here.

6. Have a schedule

Although there are apps that will remind you to post there is currently no direct scheduling to Instagram. You should still have a posting schedule for your business, this means you’ll plan and post content consistently.

Take some time to map out a rough content plan with the sort of content you will post each day of the week. For example I post an inspirational quote on Monday and Friday and Quick tip videos on Wednesday and Friday.

7. Be creative

The more photos you take the better you will get. Look at tools and apps that can enhance your photos. I’ve shared some of my favourites here before but always be on the lookout for new creative tools you can use. My current favourite is Prisma.

8. Don’t forget to measure

Keep an eye on key statistics. How much traffic are you driving to your site? How many relevant followers do you have? What kind of photos drive the most engagement?

Most of all enjoy yourself. Instagram is a wonderful network where you can reach out and make new connections.

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

“Small

 

Use These Ideas To Kickstart Your Instagram Business Account
Use These Ideas To Kickstart Your Instagram Business Account
A Short Beginners Guide To Guest Blogging And Why You Need To Do It
A Short Beginners Guide To Guest Blogging And Why You Need To Do It

Guest posting has a bad name. Back in 2014 the head of Google’s spam team Matt Cutts told us to stop doing it. That guest blogging for SEO is dead.

But in 2016 it’s still an effective way of building your brand or business online and if you do it well you could still benefit from those inbound links.

Listen below to find out more about guest blogging:



Inbound links are at the heart of SEO. Each quality and relevant link you get back to your website increases your Domain Authority and your chances of ranking well on search engines. Although many envisage a time in the future where search engines will no longer have to rely on inbound links they are currently hugely important.

Guest blogging has a bad name and that’s because of marketers. It wasn’t so long ago that a legitimate link building strategy would include posting articles to ‘content farms’ in order to get an inbound link. Back when I started blogging this was an acceptable practice and it worked.

When guest blogging went wrong…

Guest blogging for link building got a bit out of hand and back in 2014 things changed. Matt Cutts published a post on his blog that called for an end to guest blogging for link building purposes. He outlines how Guest Posting has gone wrong and tells us to ‘stick a fork in it’.

“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general, I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a link building strategy.”

Should you still look towards guest posting as part of your digital marketing strategy?

My answer is yes, absolutely. In his blog post Matt is talking about poor quality link building. If you offer high quality and relevant content to another website you shouldn’t fall foul of Google’s spam team.

Later on, Matt updated his post to clarify that there is still value in guest posting, his issue was with using it for easy SEO links.

” It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context. I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.).”

Guest Blogging Is A Powerful Digital Marketing Tool

Let’s put Matt’s comments aside for a moment. Guest blogging, when done well is still a good way to build links to your website (more on that later) but it’s also good for your reputation. I’ve guest blogged on Social Media Examiner, Jon Loomer, Razorsocial amongst others. This gives me a certain authority, If I’ve written for these sites I must be good right! I even mention it on my LinkedIn profile.

Whenever I’ve written for one of these sites I’ve rarely seen a massive amount of direct traffic as a result. What I have seen is an increase in Twitter followers, Facebook Likes and mailing list subscribers. Even if I didn’t get SEO juice from those posts I acquired an audience who I can sell to in the future.

The key is to have a plan to capitalise on your guest posts when they are published.

When I do write for other sites and when I’m writing about something I have written about before on my own I will include a link back to that post on my site for further reading. As long as this is relevant this should still work well as an inbound link to my site. If you do this the key is not to shoehorn a link into your content, only include it if it’s relevant and don’t try and manipulate the anchor text (the text that is highlighted and once clicked brings you to your link) for SEO purposes.

How to find sites that accept guest blog posts

Now that you are ready to write high-quality content for other sites how do you find the sites that will accept your content? How do you approach them?

Start with a Google search. Come up with a keyword related to the blog posts you want to write. Now search for that followed by “guest post” this should return lots of results.

Search for a keyword and "guest post"
Search for a keyword and “guest post” to find sites you can write for

You can get more creative with your searches too. Replace guest post with “post written by”. Steer clear of sponsored posts, these are posts by bloggers who have been paid to write content or display content on their sites.

If you have the MOZ bar installed on your browser you can identify sites that have a higher DA than you, this is a shortcut to finding sites that it would be most beneficial to write for.

Applying to be a guest contributor

Once you have identified a list of sites search each to find out if they have guest blogging or contributor guidelines. Any serious site that accepts guest posts should have this on their site, if they don’t get in touch with the site owner and ask them if there is a process in place for applying to be a guest blogger.

If you do this be aware that like me, these bloggers will get a lot of submissions from bloggers every day or every week, make sure your mail doesn’t sound generic or it will go straight in the email bin.

You should now have a shortlist of sites you can approach for guest blogging. Make sure you follow their procedures when applying. Most sites will ask you for a content idea before accepting you, others will want to see samples of your work.

For example, many bloggers choose to write for the Huffington Post. The process to get blogging for them is to complete a form pitching your blog idea. You’ll be asked for your headline, your idea, your name, your bio, your email and you’ll need to chose a topic you want to write about.

The Huffington Post guest submission form
The Huffington Post guest submission form

Before you submit an idea to the Huffington post you should look at content on the site. Make sure you are pitching something that matches the style and tone of existing posts.

If you get accepted you may be given a log on so you can submit posts easily on a regular basis.

The Huffington post features hundreds of blog posts on all topics on their site every day. It could be a good starting point no matter what you write about.

How to write a guest post

One mistake I’ve made is to inject too much of my own style on the posts I’ve written. This makes the editors job much harder.

Avoid making this mistake, take a good look at the site you are writing for. Do they have a specific format or writing frame that they seem to impose on all their content? Last week in episode 50 I talked about writing frames and outlined the format that Social Media Examiner posts take. Does the site you want to write for have a similar format? If so you will win brownie points with the editor if you follow the format.

Some sites will give you a specific style guide that they want you to conform to. Business site Tweak Your Biz has a detailed style guide that they ask you to follow. This makes your job much easier.

If the site you are writing for does provide a style guide follow it to the letter, if you don’t you are making extra work for the editor. Keeping the editor happy means they’ll be happy to accept posts from you in the future.

Some sites will give you a deadline for your content. If you want to keep the editor on side, set yourself the target of finishing the post a day early. That means they won’t have to send follow up emails to ensure you are on schedule.

Finally, when I write a guest post for another site I always get a friend to proofread it for me. Typos on my own site are a common occurrence but I can correct them later. When I’m writing for someone else I often don’t have the opportunity to edit once I’ve submitted so I have to get it right first time.

Adding your link

Most sites that accept blog posts will allow you to put a link to your website in your bio. Be careful with the anchor text you add to this link. To avoid any complications with Google and other search engines you may just choose to link the name of your business. A better use of this link would be to send people to an email signup page on your site. Most bio links are no-follow (don’t carry any search engine juice) so you want to ensure that the link you do add delivers the best results for you.

It’s also acceptable to add a link back to a blog post on your own site if it’s relevant to the post you are writing. Editors reserve the right to remove these links as they see fit so don’t be disappointed if it’s missing when the post is published.

Being realistic with your guest posting schedule

There is a lot of value to guest blogging but make sure that you don’t end up abandoning your own blogging schedule. Remember the real value of guest blogging is in producing high quality posts on other sites that will not only provide an inbound link to your site but establish your expertise. This means you will need to allocate a large slot of time for guest blogging. Aim to write one guest post a month or even a quarter with the goal of making it a really good one.

Now that it’s published

All going well your post will get published. Your job isn’t over, it’s just beginning. Firstly you will need to promote it yourself. Set up a promotion schedule the same way you would for content on your own site. Make sure you tag the site you are writing for on social media so that they can see you are actively promoting too.

 

Find people on Twitter who share your post

Copy the direct link to the post and paste it into the Twitter search bar. This will bring up a list of tweets that include the link.

Search Twitter for people sharing your guest posts
Search Twitter for people sharing your guest posts

Your job is to engage with each of these people. And when I say engage I don’t mean a simple like or a generic reply. Look at each users profile and find something conversation worthy. When thanking them for sharing your post add this conversation prompt to your tweet.

For example. If the person says in their Twitter bio that they like Cats add something Cat related to your thank you message. If you want to go all in with your thank you messages create a personalised image that you can share with them.

This may all seem like a lot of work but you’ll start to build a new audience of followers from the blog you are guesting on who could become alpha list members, advocates or even customers in the future.


Blogging Challenge

Are you up for a bit of guest blogging? If so here’s your challenge:

1. Make a list of sites you want to blog on
2. Find out their submission process
3. Apply to blog
4. Create a guest blogging schedule for yourself


Before You Go

Do you believe in Karma? If so I recommend that you go over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave a review on this podcast. You never know what wonderful things might happen in return.

Here’s how to review a blog using iTunes:

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

“Small

 

A Short Beginners Guide To Guest Blogging And Why You Need To Do It
A Short Beginners Guide To Guest Blogging And Why You Need To Do It