Beyond The Boost Post Button: A Business Bloggers Guide To Facebook Advertising
Beyond The Boost Post Button: A Business Bloggers Guide To Facebook Advertising

Do Facebook ads work? Should you be using them to drive traffic to your blog posts? How much do they cost? That’s what we’ll look at in this Facebook ads guide for bloggers.



The problem with Facebook

I have a love hate relationship with Facebook. I love the way it keeps me in touch with my old friends and helps me make new ones. I hate that it’s become so hard to market on it.

I get it, I really do. There are so many businesses on Facebook flogging their stuff that if there was no algorithm to hold us back it would resemble a free ads newspaper.

People, me included go to Facebook to talk to people, to friends and colleagues and be a part of their lives. Our business posts are just getting in the way.

So although the algorithm means that my posts reach a fraction of the audience I’ve built over the years I’m willing to forgive Facebook. They do after all have their customers, their real customers the every day users at the heart of their decision making. Without their massive user-base they’d struggle to make money.

If I was Facebook’s business consultant I’d be telling them they were doing a good job.

Like many businesses who know the Facebook is a valuable tool but are suffering from the tragic reach I advertise. I advertise to reach the right people with my posts, I advertise to build my brand, my list my readerships and sales.

In this post I’m going to share with you a basic guide to using Facebook ads. I’m going to share my process, results and mistakes.

Going beyond the boost post button

Blog visitors are like magazine readers. Some will read the whole thing from cover to cover, others will read a few select articles others will have a flick through whilst in a waiting room or in a queue.

Our goal as business bloggers is to make sure the next time any of these readers see our magazine they pick it up. Eventually we’ll buy their loyalty with our content and they’ll become loyal and subscribe.

It’s easy to click the boost button underneath your posts but this button is designed to boost engagements on your posts. People will take a look at the cover of your magazine and smile but they won’t look inside. If you want them to open and start reading you’ll need to delve deeper into Facebook ads and you’ll need a plan.


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The big question

As with any plan you need to start with the big question.

What is your goal?

We’ve established we want people to click through to our websites or to follow the magazine analogy open the cover but what’s our goal beyond that?

  • Do we want to build up our email list?
  • Get people to keep coming back to our site?
  • Build an audience of readers that you can sell to later on?
  • Do you want to build your online brand as a source of good information?

Once you know the answer to the big question you can start putting together your advertising plan.

Audiences

Who do you want to reach?

There are many ways to build an audience on Facebook. The type of audience you select can have a dramatic effect on the success and price of your ad.

Some Facebook users are going to be more invested in what you do than others.

Retargeting with Website Custom Audiences

If you shop on Amazon or book accommodation on Booking.com you’ve probably noticed that once you’ve visited their sites or viewed specific pages they seem to follow you around the internet.

They do this using cookies and the Facebook pixel. This is a bit of code that you add to the head section of your website that builds an audience of Facebook users from your website visitors.

You don’t have to go full on Stalker like Amazon does but you can use this audience to encourage repeat visits. If they’ve read your previous blog post but not your current one you can ask Facebook to put your latest post in front of them.

It’s like putting the latest issue of your magazine in a shop display. They read the last issue, when they see the latest cover you can attract them again.

These existing readers are aware of your business and content so theoretically they should be cheaper to convert to clicks on your newest post. It doesn’t always work that way as I’ll reveal later on.

Reaching the people who like your page

The people who already like your Facebook page are also a warm audience. At some point they clicked that Like button so they are interested. If you push your latest blog post out to them it gives them the opportunity to re-engage with your content.

These people haven’t read your magazine before but they are familiar with your title and branding so a good cover could entice them to read.

Targeting page engagers

Facebook recently introduced a new audience type, the ‘Page engagement’ audience. This is made up of the people who have interacted with your page or content in the last year. Targeting these people with your new content could be a good way to get them to re-engage.

These people are more committed than just the people who Like your page. They’ve had a taster of what you do already. They may have picked up a copy of your magazine off the shelf but not read it through.

Targeting your email subscribers

You can target people on your email opt-in list. These people have gone one step further than visiting a page on your website or Liking your Facebook page. They have filled in a form showing they are interested in what you do, agreeing to receive more information from you.

These are your magazine subscribers, they may not read every issue but they’re interested enough to want regular personal communications from you.

If you are smart with your list building (see episode 66 on building better email subscribers with lead incentives) the majority of the people on your email opt-in will be strong leads and potential customers. Using Facebook ads you can reach them again even if they don’t open your emails.

Lookalike audiences

For all the different custom audiences I’ve described above you can create ‘Lookalike audiences’. These are Facebook users that are similar to the people in your original audience.

These audiences will never be as good as warm audiences but they can help boost the number of people you reach if you find your existing audiences are too small.

Interest targeting

Finally you can go in cold and target people who may never have heard of your magazine before but fit your ideal reader profile.

Facebook interest targeting can be extremely effective at reaching a brand new audience. Instinctively this won’t be as strong an audience as the others as they haven’t encountered you before. If you can find a big enough sample you can make it work. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with my cold targeting.

Targeting cats and dogs

One trick that many advertisers miss is that you can target people who like one thing and another thing. People who like Cats and Dogs.

Targeting people who like cats AND dogs
Targeting people who like cats AND dogs

By default when you add interests to your audience you are targeting people who like Cats or Dogs. See below.

Targeting people who like cats OR dogs
Targeting people who like cats OR dogs

Go large

I used to believe small audiences offered better results on Facebook ads but I’ve learned that bigger is actually better. Only a small portion of people on Facebook click ads, if you aren’t targeting warm audiences it’s worth throwing the net wide and seeing who bites.

Using multiple audiences

You don’t have to choose just one of these options. For each post I promote on Facebook I create three audiences.

1. Website custom audience (excluding people who like my page)
2.Page Likes audience (excluding members of my website custom audience)
3. Interest based cold audience

Which works best? Keep reading and I’ll tell you.

Setting the objective

I talked vaguely about goals at the beginning of this post. Whichever goal you chose you can chose a Facebook ad objective that aligns with it.

As we’re talking blog posts here I’m going to stick with three key ad types:

  • Boost post (page post engagement)
  • Website clicks (people who click the link to your blog post)
  • Conversions (people who take an action like filling a form or reach checkout on your site)

All three of these ad types can be applied to your blog posts shared on Facebook

Here’s the thing, depending on which objective you chose, Facebook will show your ad to a different group of people.

  • If you chose a Boost Post objective Facebook shows your ad to people it knows are more likely to click the Like button or comment.
  • If you choose the ‘Website clicks’ objective Facebook will show it to people who are most likely to click the link.
  • If you choose the Conversions ad type it will be shown to the people most likely to convert.

If you want people to read your blog you need to abandon the boost post button and create your ads in ad manager.

If you want to optimise for conversions you’re going to need to do a bit of magic with that Facebook pixel I mentioned earlier. This is probably something you are going to need your web developer to do.

How much will it cost?

Now you know the type of ad you want to run and who you want to target the final decision is your budget.

The minimum cost for a boost post ad is €1 per day. For a website clicks ad it’s €5 per day.

I spend a minimum of €10 per week on boosting one post.

Your cost per click will vary depending on who you are targeting, where they live, the time of year and the industry you are in.

When you buy Facebook ads you set a daily or lifetime budget. Facebook will spend that the best it can and you’ll see afterwards what it cost per click, engagement or conversion.

It’s only after you have run a campaign that you will have a CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) to benchmark yourself against

For more on pricing read this post from Buffer.

You’re ready to create your ads

I have to take my hat off to Facebook, they have made the ad creation process really user-friendly.

The one thing that may not be obvious is the structure of a Facebook ad campaign. Before I share my process and results with you I just wanted to give you the basics.

Facebook ads are structured a bit like a tree:

  • The campaign is the trunk of the tree – It defines the objective of the ads you want to run (engagement, website click, conversions)
  • The branches of the tree are ad sets – Each ad set can have its own budget, schedule and audience.
  • The leaves that grow on each branch are the ads. – Each ad can have its own creative elements, images videos and text.
Facebook ad structure
Facebook ad structure

Facebook will automatically split test the ads within the ads set and use the ones that produce the best results widely.

My method

When I promote my blog posts I Have one campaign the objective is website clicks

In that campaign I have three ad sets, each one reaches a different audience:

1. Website vistiors
2. Page likers
3. Interest based audience

Each one of those ad sets contains one ad (although best practice would be to have at least three). I use my Facebook page post as the ad in all cases.

Right so that’s the theory. Lets look at the results

I’ve been analysing the results of my website clicks ads since the beginning of the year and I have to say I’m surprised.

CPM (Cost per 1,000 impressions)

The audience it’s cheapest for me to reach is my page likers. They cost me an avearge of €1.80 per 1000 impressions. I pay twice that to reach my interest audience and three times that to reach my Website custom audience.

Facebook ad results - CPM (Cost Per Impression)
Facebook ad results – CPM (Cost Per Impression)

CPC (Cost per click)

When I look at my cost per click the Interest audience wins with an average CPC of just 17c. In second place it’s my Website custom audience at a massive 47c per click and lagging behind is my Likers at 51c per click. That’s three times the cost of my interest audience.

Facebook ad results - CPC (Cost Per Click)
Facebook ad results – CPC (Cost Per Click)

Conclusions

Does this mean you should ignore everything I said about warm audiences?

No, I don’t think so, I’d like to offer a different conclusion:

  1. I’m not excluding the post I’m promoting when I target my website custom audience. This means that many who see the ad may already have seen it.
  2. A lot of my website visitors will be reading posts that aren’t relevant to the latest post I’m sharing. I need to target interests within my website audience rather than a one size fits all approach.
  3. I’m targeting really well at my interest audience.

I’m going to keep experimenting with this. I’m also going to be running some lead gen and conversion ads shortly. It will be interesting to measure those results against the theory too.

Challenge

If you haven’t started using Facebook ads to target your audience yet give it a try. It’s a great way to get exactly the right people to read your blog posts

Do what I’ve done and split test your audiences, work out the ones that are working and hone the ones that aren’t.

 

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Beyond The Boost Post Button: A Business Bloggers Guide To Facebook Advertising
Beyond The Boost Post Button: A Business Bloggers Guide To Facebook Advertising
 In Pursuit Of The Perfect Email Subscriber - How To Use Lead Incentives To Build A Better Audience

In Pursuit Of The Perfect Email Subscriber – How To Use Lead Incentives To Build A Better Audience

Are you struggling to grow your blog’s email subscribers? Are the people who subscribe actually interested in what you do?

In this post I’m tackling something that was on my ‘Yup I’ll do that one-day’ list for way too long. Something that sat at the bottom of my todo list, nagging me for months on end. When I finally got around to implementing it I saw an instant result.

That one thing was creating a lead incentive, also known as a lead magnet to attract email subscribers.

This is the story of what I created, how I’m marketed and how it’s working. I’ll share some tips along the way.

The story of my lead incentive



I’ve had an email sign up on my site since I built it, a MailChimp embed on my sidebar. It was one of the first things I added and over the years I’ve seen a steady trickle of subscribers from it.

But I wanted more.

I haven’t always been the best email marketer but just over a year ago, around the time I launched this podcast I vowed to take it seriously.

The first thing I did was clean my list. I deleted hundreds of people who didn’t open my mail. This meant that suddenly I had a small list and an urge to build it again, but properly this time.

How could I do that? Create a lead incentive. It took me over a year to finally get one up on my site.

You see there had always been a problem with that trickle of subscribers I was getting. I have this neat little free plugin from Hubspot that tells me when someone subscribes to my list and shows me the pages they looked at before they hit the subscribe button.

I found that I could predict from the page that the subscriber came from if they were really interested in what I was doing, if they’d want to read more, if they’d be interested enough to spread the word or buy from me.

How could I increase the type of subscribers I wanted? I could create a freebie that would be attractive to them and offer it as an incentive to sign up.

Now, this is hard for me, and it will be hard for you if you have different types of customer. I have different types of customer that I target with different types of post on my page.

The idea

In an ideal world, we’d have lots of lead magnets, one for each type of customer and we’d assign them to specific content on our page.

I have a plan for that in the future but as I’d been procrastinating a long while I decided just to bite the bullet and create one.

Before you create a lead incentive you should have a plan for the future too:

  • Write a list of the different types of customer that you write content for
  • Look at the problems you help them solve
  • Come up with a list of lead incentive ideas that will appeal to them

I chose to target the small business bloggers that visited my site with my first lead incentive. I had lots of ideas, eBooks, guides and checklists. In the end, I chose a simple checklist. Why?

I identified a common problem bloggers have. If I could offer them something that addressed that problem and give it to people in exchange for an email I was bound to get sign ups.

My first lead incentive for Spiderworking (and saying first after 8 years in business that sounds ridiculous) is a checklist for bloggers to implement before they publish a blog post.

Creating the checklist

So now I had my idea I needed to start creating.

I talked to my Facebook small business bloggers group and asked for their help. I’d put together a rough list of things to check before publishing but wanted to ensure I hadn’t missed anything.

The group members were great and suggested improvements.

If like me you work alone seek feedback on your work. If you want people to download your incentive and recommend it to others you need to make sure you are on the right track.

I used Canva to create my checklist but if you have the budget for a designer I recommend you use one. They’ll add the flare your design needs.

A good looking incentive is likely to get more traction.

Promoting your incentive

Have a look around, what assets do you have that can help you promote your incentive?

Here’s my list:

My Twitter profile:

  • Pinned post at top of feed
  • Link in my bio
  • Graphic in my cover photo
  • Regular tweets about the incentive
  • Twitter ads

My Facebook business page:

  • Pinned post at top of feed
  • Graphic in my cover photo
  • Link in description of cover photo
  • Facebook lead gen ads

Instagram:

  • Link in bio
  • Link mentioned in comments on a post (need customised link for this)
  • Instagram link click ads

LinkedIn/ Google+:

  • Links posted as part of content schedule

Pinterest:

  • Include a portrait pinnable image on the checklist landing page

Website:

  • Pop up window CTA
  • Landing page for lead incentive
  • Banner CTA on blog posts
  • Sidebar CTA
  • Hello bar (for the future)
  • Blog post/ podcast talking through the checklist

Email:

  • Add link to incentive in email signature

Creating graphics

Now I knew where I wanted to promote it I needed to create graphics for each one (except email, I still find a simple hyperlinked text call to action works best)

Each place I wanted to promote the checklist had different image dimensions. I made a list of these and used Canva to create the versions I needed.

Again, if you have any budget for a graphic designer I’d highly recommend you use one for this.

I use the Rapidology plug in for my pop up window and this lets me split test versions of my graphic so I created 2 for this. One with me and the CTA and one that just featured an image of the checklist itself.

Links

The pretty links plugin is a really handy tool for creating memorable links. Those of you who have been listening to my podcast for a while will remember that the link to my show notes used to be a customised bitly link. That was before I found Pretty Links.

Using it I can create customised URLs using my domain name. For example, the link to this post is spiderworking.com/65 far more memorable than the full complicated link. I can also see statistics on how often a pretty link has been clicked.

For my checklist landing page I chose the link spiderworking.com/beforeyoupublish. This is the link I shared to social channels where the link would be visible.

For the less visible links I used tracking URLs. These are links that you add a bit of tracking code to that show up in your Google analytics.

The sidebar promo of my checklist includes one of these tracking links.

Finally, I created a Thank You page that subscribers would land on once they completed details either on the pop-up window or on the landing page. This meant I could measure conversions by monitoring the number of users who landed on that page.

The results

Almost instantly I started seeing subscribers come in. Of course there were more at the beginning as I’d made a big splash launching it.

I also discovered pretty quickly that it was the graphic of the checklist that drove the most sign ups from my pop-up window.

It wasn’t until I started putting this post together that I delved further.

The checklist has been live for 2 months and this is the result so far:

  • 268 pretty link clicks
  • 93 on sidebar CTA
  • 238 unique visitors to the landing page
  • 86 downloads
  • 100% increase in conversion rate from pop-up window

Rapidology has inbuilt conversion tracking and I’ve been keeping a score of this since I installed the pop-up.

A mistake

One thing I didn’t do but should have was to create a separate thank you page for the pop-up window so that I could benchmark the conversion rate against the landing page, or set up a goal in Google analytics that could assist me with it. That’s something I’ve added to my todo list.

What’s next?

Am I happy with the results? Well yes it’s an improvement, and I’m getting not just more but better quality sign ups, but it could be better. I still have work to do.

Here’s what I have planned:

1. Use social ads
2. Use CTA’s in blog posts
3. Try Hello bar as pop-up isn’t enabled on mobile
4. Keep working on split testing on pop up
5. More targeted lead incentives for other pages

Blogging challenge

Your challenge for this week if you are willing to accept it is to

1. Decide on a lead incentive that will appeal to your ideal customer
2. Create your lead incentive
3. Promote it and set up a plan for measuring the results

Register for my FREE webinar: Top 5 Mistakes Businesses Make on Twitter (And How to Avoid Them)

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 In Pursuit Of The Perfect Email Subscriber - How To Use Lead Incentives To Build A Better Audience

In Pursuit Of The Perfect Email Subscriber – How To Use Lead Incentives To Build A Better Audience
How To Use Blog Commenting To Build Better Business Relationships
How To Use Blog Commenting To Build Better Business Relationships

People are always talking about building relationships but how do we do it? Are we overlooking the one thing that could be the biggest relationship builder of all? Blog commenting.

Relationship building is definitely one of the most important parts of business success both online and offline. As customers we want to get to know the people we do business with before we hire them or buy from them. It can take months, even years for businesses to build strong relationships with customers but when they finally bloom you’ll have an ally for life.

When I’m asked about building relationships online the tools that always come to mind are Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. But there’s one tool that I know I’m neglecting and that’s blog commenting.

How to leave blog comments that work for your business



Pro-actively posting meaningful comments on other people’s blogs is an amazing way to build relationships with influential people in your industry.

So why don’t I do it more often?

My big excuse is that it’s time-consuming. As we know time is not something small businesses have a lot of. It’s so much easier to send a 140 character tweet or leave a quick comment on Facebook than it is to compose a decent comment in response to a blog post.

To leave a good comment you have to:

  • Read the blog post
  • Find something worthwhile saying
  • Compose your response
  • Spell check it (if you are me)

That’s a lot of work, it’s no wonder so many of us put it on the long finger.

Is the effort worth it?

Sometimes it might not be

There’s a blog I follow. I think I found it because it too talks about blogging. The first time I visited the site I was impressed, she had loads of comments. Immediately I was envious, why didn’t I get as many comments?

I followed the blog to try and find out.

It soon became clear that I’d made a rookie mistake. I’d looked at the numbers but I hadn’t looked at the comments. When I did I started to wonder why people were commenting. The comments weren’t bad but they were meaningless.

When I started looking at comments in general, I realised that there are only a few bloggers who get good quality comments on their blogs.

I suspect the blogger I was following was using a ‘Comment ring’. That’s a group of people who get together and comment on each other’s blogs in order to grow the number of comments they have.

I’m not totally anti this idea, I had a comment ring of four people once. The idea was that if people arrived on our blog and saw a comment they would be far more comfortable commenting themselves.

Our ring didn’t last long but it also didn’t work. I got comments from the group but very few otherwise.

We also run a comment thread in the Small Business Bloggers Facebook group. I have found this useful. We’re a small, supportive group and people will leave comments even when it’s not the allotted comment day or thread. The comments left have been valuable too and it’s becoming a good place for me to craft my commenting skills.

All this is great but as a business we need to be more strategic with our commenting.

A couple of weeks ago I listened to a CopyBlogger podcast hosted by Sonia Simone ‘How To Write (Much Better) Blog Comments‘ and I took it as a call to arms.

The value of commenting

Building relationships with potential customers should be one of the most important goals you have as a small business owner. Blogging and social media are great for this. You can get to know them, assess their needs, find out what problems they face and produce content that answers them.

The problem is, you are only reaching one person at a time.

I’m not for one minute suggesting you should stop building relationships with customers. What I am suggesting is that you take some of the time you assign to this to building relationships with the people who influence them.

This isn’t really a new concept. I’m sure if you are in business you’ve already started building a list of press contacts that you’ll send press releases to? And you’ll know that if you get to know those people better before you send your release they are more likely to give it a look?

It’s the same deal with influencers except you don’t need to send them a press release. Get to know them, and provide valuable content and they could well start talking about you without needing to be prompted.

If the right influencer shares your stuff, instead of reaching customers one by one, you’ll be reaching a whole bundle of your customers at once. Even better, because the influencer is a trusted source of information you’ll become trusted too.

Building relationships with influencers goes beyond them sharing your content. If you become friends with the smart people in your industry you’ll learn a whole lot from them that will benefit you and your customers in the future. If they know your customers or people like them they’ll have good insights into what makes them tick.

Creating a blog commenting plan

If I managed to persuade you to give it a go don’t just go on a comment frenzy. Using blog commenting effectively IS going to take time so you’re going to need a plan.

When people hear the term Influencer they think Kim Kardashian but she’s not going to be of any use to most of you. When I talk about influence I’m talking about the individuals who appeal to your target market and compliment your business.

You’ll need to choose these carefully. If you haven’t spent time creating a basic customer persona yet go do it before you start. I covered this back in episode 14.

Finding influential bloggers

Do some research. Find some people online who match your personas. What blogs and online publications do they read? Which to they look up to the most?

Make a list of blogs and online sites that are relevant to them.

If you’ve been following this blog you may have already done the work. Listen back at episode 62 for more on content discovery.

Once you’ve compiled your list subscribe to those blogs in Feedly or by email.

Setting a time

I’m a big believer that if you don’t set a regular time to do something it won’t happen. Or at least it won’t happen enough.

This, I admit has been part of my problem so I’m going to set mine now and you can hold me to it.

Monday is content day at Spiderworking so I’m going to slot it in at 12 noon, just before lunch. I’m going to allow 1/2 an hour and lunch will be my reward.

It’s your turn, get out your diary, your iCal, your Google calendar and set a day and time and set a reminder.

Now for the hard bit…

Writing comments

If you are a natural born writer or conversationalist you might find this bit easy, if like most of us you’re not it’s going to be more challenging.

Before you start typing your comment remember why you are doing this. It’s not just a challenge, you actually want to build some sort of relationship with the blogger and for that reason you’re going to need your comment to stand out.

Read the post:

  • What is it’s key message?
  • Do you agree, disagree?
  • Do you have an anecdote that supports or otherwise?
  • Does the post tap into an emotion?
  • What are other commenters saying?

Your answers to these questions are cues for your own comments. If you can write a blog post you can write a good comment.

Don’t type your response straight into the comment box.

There’s nothing worse than crafting a great comment and hitting publish only to get a website error. Your comment could disappear and never return.

Writing your comment somewhere else beforehand (I use Written? Kitten!) also helps the spelling challenged like me. When I read it back I’ll spot my typos and another plugin indicated errors with little red lines. That saves me lots of red-faced moments.

Finally, add your details.

Most sites will require your name and email address (which isn’t published) and your website address if you have one. If they ask for a web address it’s a good idea to add it. The blogger can follow that link back to your site to find out more about you.

If you are prompted to sign up for follow-up comments do, you’ve opened a conversation make sure you can see when people respond.

I’m just scratching the surface with advice here. I’ll come back and do another post once I’ve mastered the art. Until then listen to Sonia’s podcast episode on Copy Blogger.

Challenge

I’ve set myself the challenge. 1/2 an hour every Monday devoted to commenting on the blogs that matter. Will you join me?

Let me know below if you are joining in or if you’ve found success with blog commenting.

 

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How To Use Blog Commenting To Build Better Business Relationships
How To Use Blog Commenting To Build Better Business Relationships
The nervous bloggers guide to getting through face to face networking events
The nervous bloggers guide to getting through face to face networking events

Does the word ‘Networking’ strike fear into your heart? Do you hate walking into a room full of strangers? What has that got to do with blogging anyway?

When we talk about promoting our blogs we tend to think of what we can do online to push our content out. We Tweet, we share on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest even Instagram. We build relationships online and people begin to share our content too.

Could walking into a room full of people also help you promote your blog?

This week we’re going to look at face to face networking, how to conquer the fear and build better relationships using your blog.

Trying Frederique Murphy’s STOP technique could help. Read more about that here. 

How To Overcome Your Networking Fears



If you cringe when you hear the term ‘Networking’ you are not alone. I too dread networking opportunities but I tend to find it’s not half as scary when I arrive at a meeting or event as I thought it was going to be.

Networking in person has benefits way beyond promoting your blog. In many ways it mimics what we do online to build readership and community.

  • We will meet people who can help pass business to us
  • We will meet people who will become our customers
  • We will meet people who are influential to our target market

I’m a reluctant networker but I’ve developed some strategies that make it more effective and we’ll look at how you can use your blog to leverage the connections you make.

Before I get onto that let me tell you a story:

I’m actually quite reluctant to share it as the memory still has me cowering with embarrassment.

As many of you might know, prior to starting my first business I used to work in the film industry in Ireland. I worked as an assistant director and breaking into the business isn’t an easy job. Like most careers in Ireland success very much depends on who you know.

I’d only been in the country a year when I started looking for work so I knew no one. I needed to find people and connect with them.

There was no Facebook, I didn’t have computer access and the internet was only for special people back then. All I had at my disposal was a phone and myself.

I learned that every month there was a ‘union meeting’ in Ardmore studios. Assistant directors would get together to assess submissions from new people wanting to get involved in the industry and to chat.

So I went to a meeting armed with my CV.

When I arrived there were 6 or 7 people in the room. I sat on my chair, terrified and listened to what was going on. The meeting ended, the bar opened so I made my move.

I approached one woman and handed her my CV “I’m a trainee” I said, “here’s my CV”. My voice was trembling, my hand was trembling, my face was white. I had the fear.

The woman took my CV turned her back on me and left.

It may not surprise you to hear that she didn’t hire me. Not then, not ever. I was hardly a picture of confidence.

It wasn’t the end of my career, I got better at it but I’ll never forget that day.

If only I could go back in time now and instruct my younger self. I’m pretty sure I could have made a friend and gotten hired.

Luckily in 2017 we have a lot of tools at our disposal that make networking easier. I’d never approach a stranger today the way I did back then. I’d have done my research and I’d be prepared.

Preparing for a networking event

There’s nothing worse than arriving at an event and not knowing anyone. The fear sets in. Luckily in the age of the smart phone we can pretend we’re looking at something important on our phone but if we spend too long doing this we’re missing opportunities.

To ensure you don’t end up alone with your phone make plans in advance. Use your social networks to find out who is going to the event and connect with them. Open a conversation online and arrange to meet.

Now when you walk in the door you will be on a mission, you are looking for the people you have arranged to meet. You might even meet other people in the process.

Some events send you a list of attendees beforehand, others have Facebook, LinkedIn or Slack groups. These are good places to strike up conversations.

If you don’t get this info follow the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. Who is tweeting about the event? Send your own tweets including the tag to find out who is going.

Check the social media accounts for the event itself and get involved in the conversations on their pages.

At the event

The event hashtag and accounts are your friends.

I’ve had the best conversations whilst sitting on a train, bus or tram on the way to an event. Start following the hashtag and get involved in the pre-event buzz. Tweet, Snap, Instagram or Facebook a selfie on route and interact with others who are doing the same.

Sharing a selfie makes you easy to identify and you’ll spot some familiar faces from the feed when you arrive. You’ll feel more comfortable approaching them as you’ve been talking online already.

This interaction can continue when you arrive. Keep an eye on the hashtag and find out who else is in the room. Don’t just follow, tweet and interact with people. Arrange to meet up in the break.

Many networkers advocate meeting as many people as possible at an event. There are even ‘Speed networking’ events where you get to talk to people for 60 seconds each.

These might be good ice breakers but I find it more valuable to get to know one or two people better rather than 20 briefly. If you’ve already made a connection on social media you’ll know a little bit about each other and the in-face meeting will just solidify your relationship.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and meet new people, set a goal to meet at least 2 new people at every event you go to.

Conversations

I think one of the most intimidating thing about going to a network meeting is wondering what you should say. I was certainly struck dumb at that union meeting.

Here are a few tactics that can help you cope:

1. Ask people about themselves

When you ask someone about themselves you are tapping into a wealth of conversation and making a good first impression. It’s flattering to know that someone is interested enough in you to ask. Listen carefully to what they say and if they seem comfortable talking ask them some more.

Be careful of turning into an interrogator. If someone seems uncomfortable talking change the subject, talk about the weather the catering or find some common ground they are more comfortable with.

I got talking to a guy in the food queue at a conference once. It was clear straight up that his line of conversation wasn’t suited to my business yet he persisted to ask me question, upon question. I felt quite intimidated and although I did manage to turn the conversation into holidays in New York eventually I was sure to avoid him for the rest of the event.

Don’t’ be that guy.

2. Prepare

Have your conversation starters prepared in advance. You’ve already identified on social media who is going to be there. Before you go to the event make a list of them and do a bit of research. Did they write or share a blog post recently that you can bring into the conversation? Do they talk about their pets, hobbies or family online? If so these could be great conversation starters. I’ve built many relationships after talking to fellow cat lovers.

3. Smile

When I went to that union meeting and met the woman it wasn’t just my hard sell that was a turn-off. It was the terrified expression on my face.

These days I’m a big fan of the term ‘fake it until you make it’. The last thing you feel like doing when you enter a room full of strangers is smiling but a big smile will make you appealing, people will want to talk to you. Go to the bathroom before you walk in and plaster a smile on your face, you’ll ooze confidence when you walk in the room even if you aren’t feeling it at first.

4. Look for others who are struggling

Because I have struggled with face to face relationships in the past I’m overly sensitive to others who look like they may be experiencing the same thing. If I see someone standing nervously by themselves I tend to go and chat to them. I’ve met some amazing people that way. If you are in a group bring that person into the group, you’ve made a new friend and alleviated their discomfort.

5. Important conversation topics

Once you’ve got someone to open up and tell them about themselves and their business tell them about what you do and find out if they have any challenges in that area. You’re not going to sell to them straight away but by understanding their challenges now will give you some great blog post topics and fodder for later.

6. Get a card, a Twitter handle or and email address

There’s not point networking at an event if you aren’t going to nurture that relationship. Don’t let those few hours at a meeting be wasted. Get a business card, email or Twitter handle so you can stay in touch. And when I say get an email address don’t add that to your mailing list. Networking meetings are about building individual relationships, you can persuade them to sign up to your list later.

Business cards are handy because you can scribble some notes on it later whilst your meeting is still fresh in your head. Many networkers recommend doing this during the meeting but unless your jotting down something you need to send them as a follow up I find this makes for an uncomfortable moment.

The notes you make should include:

  1. What they looked like – it’s so hard to remember faces if you meet a lot of people in the day
  2. What you talked about
  3. Questions and challenges they had about what you do and your industry
  4. Anything you told them you’d follow up with.

After the event

Now you’ve met people you should follow up your connection. When you get home Tweet them, connect with them on LinkedIn or drop them an email saying how nice it was to meet.

Look back at the info you jotted down about them. What topics did you discuss? What challenges did they have? Can you share a link with them from your blog that will help? If you haven’t written about that topic yet is there another helpful article you can share?

If you haven’t blogged on the topic could you? If people you are asking this question other potential customers are looking for the answers too.

I’m sure your new connection will be delighted that you have created a bit of content just for them that solves their problem. Make sure you share it with them first. They’ll appreciate the gesture and there’s a good chance that they’ll share it with their network and remember you when they find someone needing what you do.

Just because face to face marketing happens offline it doesn’t mean it’s not an opportunity to promote your blog and gather ideas. The people you meet in real life could well become your strongest advocates in the future.

Your Challenge

Next time you get an invite to a local chamber networking meeting or go to a conference don’t back away from the opportunity.
Find out in advance who is going, plan to meet people, connect with them on social media and attend.Don’t forget to make notes about the people you meet so you can continue to build the relationship when you get home.

What about you?

Do you love networking or hate it? What tactics have you put in place to make it easier? I’d love to hear your thoughts below. 

 

 

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The nervous bloggers guide to getting through face to face networking events
The nervous bloggers guide to getting through face to face networking events
Build more loyal readers with an email list
Build more loyal readers with an email list

How can you get people to come back to your blog over and over again? How can you capture the attention of new site visitors and get them to return? Build an email subscription list for your blog.

Repeat readers are the best, the more someone visits your blog the more they’ll trust you, the more likely they are to buy. But how can we get more of them?

You’ll recognise this story:

You’ve been browsing the internet and you arrive on the best blog site ever. It’s fun to read, packed with great information or just interesting. You say the name of the blog to yourself a few times. You know you’ll remember to check it out again. You might even follow their Facebook page and Twitter account whilst you are there.

A couple of months later you remember the site but you can’t for the life of you remember what it was called. You scroll through Facebook but there’s no sign of any updates. Same on Twitter, you follow so many people you click on a few that you think might be them but no, none of them are.

You’ve lost it. You feel a pang of regret and chastise yourself for being so forgetful and then move on.

It’s not just me or you that has this problem, it’s your readers. You’re creating great content, attracting the right people who love what you do but you are losing them.

Today I’m going to give you a quick overview of how to get started using email marketing to promote your blog. It’s a huge topic and it’s one I’m sure I’ll come back to.

Building an email subscriber list for your blog



I asked my Small Business Bloggers Facebook group how they chose to subscribe to blogs. I’ve always been an RSS Feedly fan but I was surprised to discover that members of the group predominantly subscribed by email.

Granted, it’s a small and bias sample of readers but it definitely warrants some more thought.

If you’re going to start an email list for your blog you should subscribe to a few. Look specifically for blogs that share your target market. This will give you a taste of what is working and what isn’t.

  • Are they sending a mail each time they blog or do you get a digest?
  • Do their emails land in your inbox or do they end up in the promo or spam tab on Gmail?
  • Do you actually read the posts that come in or do you filter them to read later?

Now you’ve got an idea of what others are doing you can start planning your own.

You’ll need:

  • An email marketing software provider
  • A way to encourage people to subscribe
  • A plan for sending emails

Email marketing software

Why do you need email software anyway? Can’t you just email out from your own email address?

The answer is no, it’s not a good idea.

Why not?

  • There are deliverability issues, you can only send a few emails at a time via your own email. This stops us spamming.
  • It makes it hard, nearly impossible to manage your list. You’ll get loads of bounces, unsubscribes flooding your email.
  • Your email could be marked as a spammer which means your regular emails might stop delivering
  • There’s no measurement. You can’t see if your emails are working, if people are opening and clicking.
  • Email software can give you some amazing statistics about who is subscribing, opening and interacting.

If you’re on a low budget Mailchimp is a good starting point. It’s free to use up to 2,000 email addresses and it’s reasonably user-friendly.

Other services Constant Contact, Aweber amongst others offer a free 30-day trial. Test them all and chose the best fit for your business.

All of these providers offer easy email design, list management and statistics.

Getting subscribers

It’s tempting just to add all your friends and contacts to your email list and start sending them your blog updates.

But don’t…

That’s spam! if people start marking your emails as spam you’ll find that you have problems delivering your emails in future and you could get banned from using your email marketing tool.

Instead, you need to think about building a relevant list of people who really want to get your updates.

Make it easy

Remember our visitor at the beginning, they found your site, they loved your site, they want to return. You need to make it clear to them how they can subscribe.

The simplest solution is to add a subscribe form to your site. You’ll get the code from your email software provider, it’s then just a case of adding it to your site somewhere.

The obvious place is the sidebar but this might not be obvious when viewing your site on mobile. You could create a landing page for your email subscription on your site and link to it with calls to action in your blog posts, your email signature and on social media. You could add a pop-up window to your site that encourages readers to subscribe.Or you could include all three.

The key is to make it easy for your visitors to see how to subscribe. Don’t hide your form in the footer of your site, make it obvious. To get people to hand over your details you need to tell them what’s in it for them.

Think about the value you are offering

Will subscribing keep them up to date with the latest industry news? Help them build a better business blog?

Adding a form to your site should result in a trickle of subscribers.

Getting relevant subscribers

Not all of the traffic that comes to your blog is relevant. Some of my most popular posts have a broad appeal beyond my target market and my current strategies. It’s great that they are signing up to receive updates but the people I really want are the people who fit my customer personas.

Is there a way of encouraging more of these subscribers?

Yes, there is. You can offer a lead incentive, often called a lead magnet that you’ve developed with your customer persona in mind.

This could be an:

  • ebook
  • Voucher
  • Free consultation
  • cheat sheet
  • checklist

or something else that will entice your ideal reader or customer to hand over their email address.

You don’t need to stop at one lead incentive. You should create at least one for each type of customer or reader you are trying to attract and add CTA’s to the posts that are targeted at each. You can even trigger pop-ups that appear on specific posts, pages or categories on your site.

I keep mentioning Pop-ups and I know you’ve been cringing each time I do. Pop-ups are annoying and nasty right?

I resisted them for years but finally, after looking at stats and data I added one to my site. I’m using a free pop-up WordPress plugin called Rapidology that allows me to create ‘exit intent’ pop-ups. You will only see the pop up when you are about to leave the site. It’s working, I’m getting subscribers.

Before you enable a pop-up, be aware that if you have one that displays on mobile Google could penalise your site in mobile search results.

For mobile email collection, you might look at other tools such as Hello Bar. Instead of a pop up this adds a line at the top of the screen that includes your call to action. You could also consider adding a form to the bottom or middle of your posts.

Promote it

Once you’ve got your lead incentive, promote it. Pin it to the top of your Facebook and Twitter pages, Share it on LinkedIn, in your Instagram bio, Tweet about it regularly.

Facebook ads will also help you drive subscriptions. I’ve found that ‘lead gen’ ads on Facebook are the best value.

When you click a link on Facebook the page it can take a while to load. This has nothing to do with the site you are visiting, it’s the Facebook browser that slows the process. This slow load time means that people often abandon your site before your page loads. Lead Gen ads address this issue by removing that load time. They work within Facebook allowing users to complete lead gen forms without leaving Facebook.

Going offline

We’ve talked about the online ways to capture emails but there are lots of ways you can encourage subscribers offline.

Every time I go to Wagamama there’s a big bowl on the counter full of business cards. If I add mine I’ll get special offers by email. Special offers sound good. Wagamama have my email.

A local hotel has a similar bowl but this time, if I add my email address I could win a dinner for two. That local hotel has my email address.

If you have a physical premises is there something you can do to encourage people to give you their email?

Be careful what you ask for. People aren’t stupid, they understand that their email address is currency. Just linke when you are collecting emails online you need to offer something of real value in return.

There’s a large European chain of shops that offer shoppers the chance to get their receipt by email. It’s confusing, I’ll be standing at the cash register, paper receipt in hand wondering why they need to email it to me as well? I always politely decline the offer. That store does not have my email.

What emails should you send?

According to a speaker at Hubspot’s Inbound conference in 2015 on average 67% of subscribers will open the first email they get from you. Only 27% open the second.

So that first email better be good right?

To ensure it is, set up a welcome email. This is an automated email that goes to new subscribers as soon as they sign up.

I try and make mine sound as personal as possible, I want recipients to know they are talking to me, a real person, not a corporate machine.

I tell people a bit about myself, what they can expect now they’ve signed up and ask them to respond by telling me a bit about themselves.

This approach works well for small businesses. It will help you build stronger relationships with your readers.

You can go beyond automating this one email by setting up a whole email sequence that will slowly involve readers in your brand. Darren Rowse discussed this at length on his Problogger podcast.

What about your blog updates?

I subscribe to Mark Schaefer’s blog, each time a new post appears on his site I get an email containing the post in full. I read those posts in my email when they arrive and if they are good, which of course most are, I’ll share them on social media later.

Although as a reader I like this approach it has drawbacks. Particularly if we don’t’ have an audience the size of Mark’s.

We need people to come to our website so we can track them, segment them, sell to them. If our readers are reading our full posts in our emails we could be missing out on this data and opportunity.

Instead, most bloggers will share a taster of their article in the email with a click through to where subscribers can read more.

If you are blogging once a week or once a month sending an email out each time you blog could be a great way to keep readers coming back but if we blog more frequently, like Mark we need to make sure we aren’t overwhelming our audience with content. Three emails a week could be way too much for our readers.

What’s the alternative?

I used to send my blog posts out automatically, as I posted them. But this meant that some weeks readers would get three emails other weeks they’d get one. This inconsistency wasn’t good and I’d get lots of un-subscribe and very few opens on the weeks that three emails went out.

I switched and now I send a digest email once a week. In that email, I include not just my latest blog posts but links to my Facebook live and articles I’ve written for other sites and any additional content I have created. The result has been a boost in open and click-through rates.

Other emails

You’ve built a list, you should see more repeat traffic as a result but don’t leave it there. Look at scheduling other regular emails. Could you send a monthly newsletter? What about sales and offers emails?

Create a schedule for the emails you want to send out to ensure you’re not overlapping sales, newsletters and updates. I’ve always found that it’s email that makes the most sales for my businesses but I also want to ensure I’m delivering enough value to my subscribers to keep them interested.

This might sound like a lot of work but you can’t rely on people finding your latest post on social media, you need to make it easy for them to read your latest posts.

Email can help you build relationships the same way social media does. I like nothing more than chatting to subscribers who reply to my newsletters, blog digests or welcome emails.

The more people come back to your site and communicate with you the more they’ll trust you and it’s when they trust you that they’ll buy from you.


Challenge

  • Choose an email software provider
  • Devise a plan for collecting email addresses
  • Make an email marketing plan for sending out your blog updates, newsletters and sales emails.
  • Sign up to my newsletter and blog updates

 

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:

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Build more loyal readers to your blog with an email list
Build more loyal readers to your blog with an email list
Good Bloggers Read - How To Hunt Down Quality Content To Inspire & Motivate Your Writing
Good Bloggers Read – How To Hunt Down Quality Content To Inspire & Motivate Your Writing

Content discovery is an important part of what we do as bloggers and marketer. Finding great content that inspires can make you a better writer, a better marketer and a better curator. But where do we start?

Small business bloggers face a problem. A good writer should read, a good marketer should curate content but how do we find content to read and curate?

A few things happened over the Christmas break. If I didn’t know better I’d have said it was a cosmic sign.

I finally got to read Stephen King’s book “On Writing”. In it he talks at length about the importance of reading if you are going to write.

Then I got an email from Chris Brogan titled ‘Fill The Jukebox’. In it he suggests amongst other things:

“1.) Unsubscribe (in all forms) from anything that’s not moving your goals forward. “News” is stupid. “Keeping up” is stupid. Pushing yourself forward is the real work. Growth.
2.) Subscribe to newsletters (and blogs and sites) that grow your mind IF they are pushing you toward your goals.”

If you’re not subscribed to Chris’s emails, why aren’t you? Sign up here.

The third thing wasn’t really a happening at all. I finally got so annoyed with the disruptive ads on one particular site that I subscribed to that I unsubscribed. It felt great.

Whilst I was there I decided to have clear out of all the sites I subscribed to that no longer or rarely published anything worth reading.

It felt great.

Stephen King is right, you have to read to become a better writer and I read a lot, I read books, every morning I read the blogs and news sites I subscribe to. Reading helps me write.

I also know that Chris is right. The low-quality content from the blogs I subscribe to was getting in the way. After my clear out I’d open up my Feedly (more on that in a while) and instead of hundreds of new stories there were less than 50. It was much easier for me to find what I wanted to read.

But there was a hole. Now I’d cleared out the rubbish I wanted to fill the space with more, better quality content. So I went hunting.

I thought I’d share my content discovery process with you today.

How can you find interesting, inspiring and valuable content, not just articles but videos, podcasts and what should you do with it when you do?

Content discovery – How To Find Content That Rocks



When I started putting this post together I realised that it could quite easily end up being a long list of tools. I’ve collated quite a list. I’m going to highlight my favourited below but after the meaty bit of the post I’ll add the full list.

Before you start looking for content you need to ask yourself a few questions.

1. What do you want to read/watch/listen to?

  • Content that will enhance your life?
  • Are you a news junkie who needs to always be up to date? (Whatever Chris Brogan says this is important to some businesses)
  • Motivating, inspiring and really useful content?

You might want be looking for all three of these types of content, just one type or something completely different.

The purpose of this exercise is to define what you are looking for before you start searching.

2. What are you going to do with that content you find?

  • Are you just looking to read and be inspired?
  • Are you looking to up-skill and learn?
  • Are you looking to break out of your bubble and find content that challenges your ideas and opinions?
  • Are you looking for content that you can curate and share on social media sites?
  • Is it something else?

Armed with the answers to these questions we can go hunting and know exactly what we will choose to follow and what we don’t

Google Alerts & Feedly

Google Alerts has been my starting point for finding new blogs and content creators for as long as I can remember.

If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a tool from Google that sends you search results relating to a specific keyword or phrase every day.

Go to the site, enter a keyword of phrase that you are interested in and it will send you a daily email with a list of articles and webpages that it has found.

Google Alerts
Use Google alerts to find stories relating to the topics you are interested in

This is handy but you’ll find your email inbox fills up pretty quickly and you’ll stop looking.

To get value from Google alerts you should pair it with an RSS reader. Enter Feedly.

Feedly lets you subscribe to the results that Google alerts finds. Instead of having to wade through all those emails you can visit the Feedly site, or access the results via their app.

Find out more about Feedly & Google Alerts here.

Google Alerts will find a lot of results, it’s your job to find the gems.

And once you’ve found a gem, a blog or website that produces consistently good content you can subscribe to that blog in Feedly.

I recommend setting up separate folders in Feedly for Google Alerts and the blogs you want to read on a regular basis. This way you can filter the results to just the cool blogs if you are overwhelmed with stories from the alerts.

Create different folders for different content in Feedly
Create different folders for different content in Feedly

That’s the problem with Google Alerts, the sheer volume of results. What you need if you want to retain your sanity is a tool that can help you discover the really good content.

A tool with an algorithm that understands what you want.

Let’s start with the obvious one

Facebook

Our Facebook feeds are designed to show us the content that is most interesting and relevant to us. We can subscribe to as many business pages, blog pages, and news pages as we like, Facebook will only show us what it considers the best.

Even if our feed is full of amazing interesting and inspiring stories we don’t always have the time to read them. We’re often taking a sneaky look at Facebook when we should be doing something else, or passing the time whilst we wait in a queue. We are already feeling guilty about spending time on Facebook when we’re supposed to be doing something else so we scroll by.

But don’t. Before you scroll use Facebook save. When you sit down to read your quality content it will be there under the save tab.

Save links from the Facebook feed
Save links from the Facebook feed

 

Find saved links in the save tab
Find saved links in the save tab

If you find a site producing consistently valuable content add it to your Feedly account so you don’t have to rely on Facebook showing you content from that site again.

Pocket

Twitter doesn’t have an inbuilt save function but ‘Pocket’ will integrate with your browser and phone and allow you to bookmark links from Tweets and other pages you visit to read later.

The browser extension for the web adds a Pocket icon under your Tweets, just click it to save a tweet containing an article to your Pocket.

Use Pocket to bookmark articles from Twitter
Use Pocket to bookmark articles from Twitter

 

I love this tool, whenever I have a spare moment I can dip into the content I’ve saved either via their website or the mobile app and know there is something worth reading.

Pocket isn’t just for bookmarking, it’s recently added an explore tab that lets you find articles that are of interest to you.

I thought I’d give it a try. When I told it I was interested in ‘Blogging’ it found me a bundle of articles, some were quite old but many were well worth the read. I think I may have found some new content sources already.

Use Pocket 'explore' to discover articles related to your interests
Use Pocket ‘explore’ to discover articles related to your interests

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a surprising source of interesting reads. Because users can now effectively blog on LinkedIn using their publishing tool you’ll find a lot of content there that doesn’t appear elsewhere.

Click the list icon to the left of the search bar and then type your topic into search. You’ll get a list of posts relating to your search term.

Find LinkedIn posts related to your topic of interest
Find LinkedIn posts related to your topic of interest

LinkedIn automatically orders results by relevance but this can show you some out of date results. You can change the filter to recency if you want to see more.

If you find someone who is posting good stuff you can follow them or add them to your connections.

Medium

If you haven’t discovered Medium yet take a look at it now. Medium is a cross between a blogging platform and a social network.

You can search results by topic and you’ll find some interesting stuff. When you find something you like you can read it now, share it on Twitter or Facebook or save it to read later.

Here are a couple of the stories it found related to blogging:

Medium results for 'Blogging'
Medium results for ‘Blogging’

If you are on the look out for something completely random ‘Reading Roulette’ in the sidebar offers random selections from the site.

If you find someone producing consistently good content you can follow them and see their content in your feed when you log in.

Nuzzle

Nuzzle is a content discovery tool that hooks into your Twitter and Facebook accounts and identifies articles that are getting shared by your friends there.

The idea is that these stories will be more relevant to you because your friends are recommending them.

Results are prioritised by the number of friends sharing those stories. I was surprised to discover the popular stories I was missing.

Here’s what it has for me this morning:

Nuzzel finds articles your friends share on social
Nuzzel finds articles your friends share on social

You can broaden your results by selecting stories from friends of friends or narrow it by selecting a Twitter list.

Making time

That’s just a small selection of the content discovery tools available. I’ll link to more in the show notes. But the sheer volume of tools presents us with another problem.

How do you find time to log into all these websites?

The first thing to remember is that we are using these tools to help us identify the blogs we want to subscribe to on a more regular basis. Once you’ve found the good ones you can add them to Feedly. Your Feedly account will become your daily content newspaper. I read mine over breakfast.

Now you need to decide how often you are going to look at the other tools and sites. It doesn’t have to be daily, if you looked every day you’d have little time for anything else!

I recommend allocating time once a week or once a month to look through these sites.

Once a month…

When I cleared out my Feedly account after getting Chris’s email I found blogs I’d been subscribed to for years, that had been uninteresting to me for years, whose content I’d scroll through and tut as I’d pass.

Avoid making my mistake and schedule a monthly clear out. We wouldn’t let a pile of old newspapers fill our homes, we wouldn’t keep the junk mail that comes through our letter boxes so why do we allow our digital feeds to fill up?

Find time once a month for a clear out and find new and interesting content to add to your feeds.

What should you do next?

Well obviously you should read the content you find. Don’t feel like you have to read it all, just the stuff that appeals to you the most. Allow yourself to be inspired by it, if Stephen King is right you’ll become a better writer.

If you’re generous you might want to share the good stuff too. Show your followers that you find and read good valuable content that they might like.

And finally, if you are short of blog content why not start a weekly roundup post, sharing your top reads of the week.

I hope I’ve inspired you in the same way Stephen King and Chris Brogan inspired me. In fact I’m hoping you’ll add me and this podcast and my blog to your Feedly so you don’t miss an episode or post.

Your Challenge

As I was preparing to record this I saw a Tweet from Rebekah Radice, it linked to the results of a survey they’d done over on Post Planner that discovered that

“29% of respondents said that finding and sharing quality content” was a challenge.

Use the tools I’ve outlined in this podcast, in the show notes and of course Post Planner to help you overcome that challenge.

Content Discovery Tools

As promised, here’s a long list of content discovery tools recommended to me.

Pocket

Drumup

Scoop.it

Medium

Bloglovin

GetCrate.co

Flipboard

Grapevine6

ContentGems

PostPlanner

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Before You Go

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Good Bloggers Read - How To Hunt Down Quality Content To Inspire & Motivate Your Writing
Good Bloggers Read – How To Hunt Down Quality Content To Inspire & Motivate Your Writing

 

How To Build Your Blog Audience By Interviewing Experts
How To Build Your Blog Audience By Interviewing Experts

Interviewing experts for your blog is easier than running a guest blogging programme and you’ll see similar results.

A few weeks ago we talked about running a guest blogging programme. There were lots of advantages. It would help you add expertise outside your knowledge base to your site, help you reach a larger and different audience and help you build relationships.

But allowing others to write for your site also came with some pretty hefty disadvantages. Organisation, follow up and that’s just two of them.

There’s an alternative that delivers many of the same advantages with less of the headaches. Interviewing experts.

I’m going to put my hands up and say, I’m not the best interviewer in the world but I’m getting better and learning from every interview I do. What’s more I know my listeners and readers enjoy my interview posts, they always get good traffic and good dwell time.

I’m going to share some of the things I have learned about interviewing people for my podcast and blog.

Your Guide To Writing Expert Interview Blog Posts



The two types of interview

There are two ways you can choose to interview experts for your blog. You can send a list of written questions by email or you can interview someone in person, by phone or skype and transcribe it.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Text interviews

These are the easy option, you don’t have to sync schedules with your subject. Just send a list of questions by email and edit the replies when they come in. The disadvantage is that you’re stuck with the questions you send. If the interviewee touches on an interesting topic that you’d like to explore more you’ll either need to send a new email or not explore it at all.

In person interviews

There is a lot more work involved in this type of interview. Not only do you have to sync schedules, set up some sort of recording mechanism but you also need to transcribe and edit the interview to a readable length, in person interviews can span thousands of words.

The upside is you’ll get a far more natural response, a far better picture of the expert you are interviewing. The spoken word is full of quirks and that can help bring your subject to life. You can also entice your interviewee to expand on topics that come up during the interview.

Doing the research

Now you’ve chosen a style make a list of people you’d like to interview and do the research. You are looking for people that will enhance your blog, add expertise and appeal to your target market.

The real key to any good expert interview is to research. You should allocate a big chunk of time reading about your interviewee and the content they have created. If possible listen to podcasts and videos they have appeared on so you can get a better idea of how they speak and what they look like. It can be quite surprising when you hear someone’s voice or see what they look like for the first time.

Look for the things that are important to your subject, you’ll find they will talk about these with passion, their words will flow freely.

What  stories do they tell online? Make a note of them so you can refer to them or use them to spark good conversation.

Think about what the benefit for them is to appear on your blog, will it expand their reach or personal brand? Will the inbound link to their site be valuable? And make sure you are following them on their social media platforms. There’s nothing worse than interviewing an expert and then finding out you aren’t following them on Twitter. You can hope they don’t notice when you click the follow button but you’ll always feel embarrassed.

Getting in touch

Now that you know about your expert, it’s time to approach them and ask for that interview. Use your research to send a personalised email. Your email subject line is important here too, try and make it something interesting enough that the recipient will want to open it when it appears in their inbox.

Sinéad Burke who blogs on Minnie Mélange publishes amazing interviews with powerful women and inspirational celebrities. I saw her speak at Bloggerconf in Dublin last year. She described how she approached her subjects and shared some of the subject lines she uses in emails. One started with the words “Totally chancing my arm…” I loved this approach, I’d definitely click and open an email with that headline.

But don’t copy her ideas, your headlines need to ooze personality too but it should be your personality. Ask yourself if you would click it if it landed in your inbox?

The questions

Interviewing isn’t easy. As I’ve said I’ve got a lot to learn. But we’re all amateurs when we start out and some interviews we do will be better than others. Even professional interviewers have tough interviewees sometimes. Look at Michael Parkinson’s famous exchanges with Meg Ryan.

One way we can ensure a better interview is to prepare good questions.

All your questions should be open. These are questions where there is no set answer. They could spark a variety of responses. Some interviewees will be more verbose than others but you don’t want to end up with a bundle of ‘Yes’ ‘No’ answers.

Start with some easy questions and build up to the longer ones.

Getting your expert to tell their story at the beginning of the interview will put them at ease and give your readers some good background information.

Then it’s time to get into the topics that you have researched. Focus on the topics that you know will appeal to your audience. Will they be looking for tips and expertise or are they more interested in the expert and the stories they want to share?

Try to keep your questions to a minimum, somewhere between 5 and 10. If you are conducting an in-person interview keep a notebook at your side and jot down questions that are spurred by their answers that you can refer to later.

Introduction paragraph

I find that it’s not until I’ve conducted an interview that I know what the key theme is. Sometimes it goes in a completely different direction than I expected it to.

For this reason, I leave writing the introductory paragraph until last. In it I’ll include some information about the expert and talk about the key learnings that we can expect from the interview.

Transcribing and editing

You may find that you need to edit the words that come from your subject. Maybe it’s a little long or maybe you want to edit for clarity. If you are changing your subject’s words it’s important that you are not changing the meaning of their words. For written responses send your edits on to the interviewee so they can approve them.

For recorded in-person interviews editing is harder work. You’ll need to remove the umms and ahhs and in some cases neaten up the text so it flows well when being read. Don’t be too heavy-handed though, let their personality and quirks shine through. Again, if you are changing their words significantly you should send the edits on for approval.

Conclusion

You’ll want to wrap up your expert interview with some conclusions and a bit more information about your subject. It’s totally up to you how much you promote your interviewee in your post. I like to add a paragraph linking to their online presence and other resources they mention in the post. Remember, these links will be one of the reasons they will agree to the interview.

Now you are ready to hit publish. Don’t forget to tag your interviewee when you share it online and email them a thank you message.

Interviewing experts is a good way of expanding your audience, the knowledge base of your blog and it can help you build relationships with your subjects. They are less time consuming that guest blogging and can offer real value to your audience.

Blogging challenge

  • Make a list of experts you’d like to interview on your blog
  • Research each one in full
  • Send an email request
  • Write a list or questions for your interview

 

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How To Build Your Blog Audience By Interviewing Experts
How To Build Your Blog Audience By Interviewing Experts
Beat Imposter Syndrome With STOP SWAP SCRIBE - An Interview With Frederique Murphy
Beat Imposter Syndrome With STOP SWAP SCRIBE – An Interview With Frederique Murphy

Do you have imposter syndrome? That niggling voice in the back of your head telling you that you aren’t good enough? Does it get in the way of your blogging and business?

Until 2016 I didn’t understand the term ‘Mindset’ it seemed a bit airy fairy to me. But something happened in 2016. I had a mindset change. I didn’t engineer it, I didn’t even realise what it was until much later on but it gave me a new perspective on life, blogging and business.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have hang-ups or anxiety though. I’ve quashed some demons but there are some that persist. For example, I suffer, as I know a lot of bloggers do from Imposter syndrome. The thought that actually I haven’t got a clue, I’m a fake, a fraud a flake.

Enter Frederique. I’ve known Frederique offline for about seven years. We met because we were both blogging for ‘Bloggertone’ now Tweak Your Biz and we’ve stayed in touch online. We finally met in person last year at a Sage Business Expert meetup and it was then that I realised she had a lot of advice for bloggers. We discussed some simple things you can do to banish your imposter syndrome and the nagging voice that just wants to tell you you’re rubbish.

Listen to Frederique’s tips for banishing imposter syndrome



Hi Frederique, tell the listeners a bit about yourself

I’m a mindset strategist, I help leaders and work with business leaders. I inspire and equip them to move through extraordinary change. What really stops us from change is the limits we put on ourselves our inner dialogues that we have, procrastination. All of this has to do with mindset.

One of the things I like about your stuff is you make it simple

We tend to make things more complicated than they are. We need to remember that simplicity is our friend and how empowering it is and I think that’s something that makes me quite unique. Even though I come from a scientific background I think my audience never feels like it’s going to be complicated to listen to me or think ‘oh gosh she’s going to start talking about the brain and I’m not going to understand’.

Let’s talk about ‘Impostor Syndrome’. I wanted to talk about it because it’s something that hits me a lot and I think it hits others a lot too. Particularly at this time of year when there’s less light and we start looking at the goals we set.

Everyone can have imposter syndrome.

We all have this little voice. The first thing that anyone listening to this podcast should know is that they are normal. Having this little voice, telling us things we probably don’t want to share, that goes with us wherever we go and just nags at us is normal.

There is nothing wrong with you. The voice just shows up when we have the tiniest doubt, the tiniest figment of fear, the smallest insecurity. As you said it could be the light, it getting a bit darker or it could be a tweet we receive, a comment we get, an email we receive. Anything that is going to spark our insecurity, doubt, fears and suddenly it just goes full on. What’s important is to really leverage our mind so that we can control it instead of letting it control us. And remember that it is an ‘it’ and we have power over ‘it’ unless we don’t do anything. When we do nothing ‘it’ powers us.

The 3 S Process For Banishing Imposter Syndrome

Strategy 1 STOP

The first thing we can do is to realise how powerful we are. We need to command it and know that it’s going to work.

So say to yourself STOP, STOP IT. You can say something less PC if you wanted to whatever command is going to work for you.

I really talk from experience. I wouldn’t want anyone listening to think ‘she has it easy’. All of my stragtegies come from really deep personal experience. There were times when I’d have to use them ten, twenty, thirty, forty times a day because that’s how strong my inner dialogue was. The more you do it the easier it gets.

Should you say it out loud?

It depends, if you are in the tube or a busy environment you will not want to say it out loud but if you feel that you can, by all means go for it. I would mutter it or strongly think it. Whatever we think of the brain picks up on.

By saying stop we are stopping ourselves spiralling into that chain of thought?

Yes, because you are interrupting a pattern.

Strategy 2 SWAP

The brain, as amazing but it doesn’t like to multitask. It can do it but it doesn’t like it as it’s not being as efficient as it could be. Your brain is dedicating energy and focus to that little voice. If you then suddenly say ‘OK I’m going to put on a song and dance for the next five minutes like no one is watching’ or ‘I am going to go out for a small 3k or 5k run or walk’ you are interrupting that activity.

The worst thing you could do, and we’ve all done it would be to go into a room, switch off the light and put on one of the worst depressive song and just continue listening to that voice. So swapping is a great thing and if you use music is really powerful.

I always recommend to my audiences to have a playlist of 3 to 5 songs ready. These are the songs that are going to revitalise you, energise you, make you really happy. It’s easily accessible, just grab your phone, if you are in an environment with people around you put your headphones on. If you are not, dance.

The reason I’m saying not just to listen but dance is that this makes it even more powerful because your brain has to send some energy for you to start moving your arms and your legs.

When we do this inner voice thing we tend to be sitting and we stay sitting and actually standing up increases the oxygen flow in your brain by 20%. That amazing 20% makes you feel so much better. It’s interesting, when we have a problem we tend to sit down which is quite illogical because we want our brain to be the best so we should be standing up.

Are you a fan of those standing desks?

Yes I am, I have one, that’s how I’m recording this interview with you right now. They are based on that fact that I just gave you. When we are standing up there is an influx of oxygen in our brain, it makes it perform best.

Strategy 3 SCRIBE

All the strategies are how to take control of ‘It’. When we don’t do anything and ‘it’ is in our head it tends to get messy, it’s a jumbled mess. Take a pen and paper and start writing down what the voice is telling you. What is overpowering when it’s in our head would actually just be laughable when we write it down.

It’s like when we read a joke, it could be funny on paper. But if someone actually says it to you, they are moving their arms and delivering it to you it’s much funnier. This is a little bit like what your inner voice is doing. Your voice is delivering the joke in a clownish way and it has quite a lot of power. If you start writing it down you’ll start not believing it.

Is that something you’d recommend doing just when you hear the voice or is it something you should do more regularly to keep our heads clear?

The techniques are pattern interrupts so they work really well as soon as your little voice comes in.

The first one, STOP, takes a second. SWAP and SCRIBE can be done in addition if it’s still going on and you just want to get through it. Those ones are for when it’s happening.

For general wellness it’s great to have bullet journaling or mindful journaling, there are so many journals out there. For example, you could keep a gratitude journal that makes you focus on what you are grateful for and the positive of your life. This helps towards your inner dialogue and that little voice of yours. It will have less stuff to say because you will be more focussed on the good things. So having a journal as a maintenance for your overall wellbeing is a great thing.

I’m also a fan of visualisation. I talk a lot about visualisation on the blog, the podcast and from stage. When we spend time visualising it’s just really, really powerful. As business owners, solopreneurs, executives anything we achieve has to start in our mind. When we visualise and give ourselves the time to see it happen in our mind first then we can make it happen. So both would be ideal.

One more thing

My platform is called Mountain Moving Mindset. When your mindset is strong enough to move mountains your mindset is strong enough to do anything. We call it ‘M3’.

The full M3 process is:

  • Stand up
  • Look up
  • Smile and think of one major achievement you have already accomplished.

That takes you about 30 seconds and really boosts you for that next hour, then do it again.


Talking to Frederique is always inspiring. I’m going to share some links in the show notes so you can find out more about her techniques but it’s simple really. That inner voice needs taming, so tell it to stop, swap it for some crazy dancing… or something more sedate if you prefer and get it out of your head and onto paper so you can see how irrelevant it is.

More about Frederique Murphy

Specialising in Inspirational Leadership, Frederique Murphy is a mindset strategist who inspires and equips leaders to move through extraordinary change. With her Mountain Moving Mindset (M3) platform, she equips you with scientifically-based strategies to take your life, career and business to a whole new level. With strong business acumen (15+ years of experience in corporate change), science expertise (positive psychology, neuroscience, and behaviour change), and strategic vision, she makes change happen! Frederique is a passionate and charismatic speaker, who captivates audiences – when she takes to the stage, sparks fly and beliefs, attitudes and behaviours will be instilled to create lasting change.

Website www.frederiquemurphy.com

Twitter @irishsmiley

LinkedIn

ARTICLE: 7 Strategies To Control Your Thoughts (and not the other way around!)

PODCAST: The M3 Mile podcast

EPISODE: M3 1-07 | Do You Make This Mistake with Your To Do List?

VIDEO: The Success Formula to Drive Extraordinary Change | TEDx Talk (9min)

 

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:

 

Register for my FREE webinar: Top 5 Mistakes Businesses Make on Twitter (And How to Avoid Them)

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Beat Imposter Syndrome With STOP SWAP SCRIBE - An Interview With Frederique Murphy
Beat Imposter Syndrome With STOP SWAP SCRIBE – An Interview With Frederique Murphy
Get Your New Year Into Gear - The Ultimate To Do List
Get Your New Year Into Gear – The Ultimate To Do List

Are you bubbling over with ideas for the new year? What have you got on your list for the day you get back to work? This week we’ll look at how to get that stuff done in 2017.

Time off can be a wonderful thing for a small business owner. You get to sleep you get to meet up with friends, you get to have hobbies.

The Christmas holiday break is one of the most refreshing holidays. I take two weeks and that’s two weeks that I use to totally indulge myself. In food, in hobbies, in anything that isn’t business.

But something weird happens towards the end of week one. Once the Christmas festivities are out of the way and I’ve caught up on lost sleep the ideas start flooding in. There, invading my relaxation times are lots of tiny and large aspirations. Things I want to do, put straight before the new year comes. My mind, once unleashed on all things non-work related becomes hyper-motivated to make a start on the new year.

Perhaps this feeling is what sparks new years resolutions. There is a problem with this. When day one in the office finally arrives we’ve either forgotten all our resolutions or we’re sitting looking at a list of work that simply has to be done and our new ideas get pushed down the priority list.

This year it can be different. Getting your new year in gear is what we’re going to talk about in this week’s podcast.

Listen – How To Get Stuff Done In 2017



Capturing your ideas

Have you ever had a wonderful idea just as you were dropping off to sleep? In that moment, snug and comfortable in your bed you’ll try to convince yourself that you’ll remember it in the morning. You invent lots of ways that you’ll get your brain to tell you the next day.

You’ll fight with your half asleep brain until you get up and write it down, hopefully. If sleep wins out it could end up forgotten forever.

The same goes for the ideas that flood you over the holidays. If you are anything like me your head will be full of ideas that excite you.

Unless you wrangle the ideas as they come, you are in danger of losing them.

So stop reading now, grab something, a device a notebook and jot them down. I’ll wait.

Dealing with the volume of ideas

I remember when I was a kid I’d go OTT with my new year’s resolutions, I’d want to refresh everything, become a better person in every conceivable way the following year.

I’d want to eat healthier, get more exercise, cook more from scratch, expand my vocabulary, keep a diary, take more photos, learn how to… the list would go on and on. Having such a packed agenda meant I was setting my self up to fail.

It’s simply not that easy to change every aspect of your life in one big chunk.

I’ve stopped making resolutions like that but It’s easy to make the same mistake when it comes to business.

So now you have your list of ideas I don’t want you to go straight at them, at least not all of them at the same time.

Prioritise

Now you have a list of ideas it’s time to prioritise them. I use a spreadsheet for this.

Create a row for each idea and two columns for scoring them.

The first column is to score it on size. Give it a score between one and 5. 1 = a large time-consuming task 5 = a small task.

The second column is for how important it is for your business. 1 = tasks that will have the biggest positive impact. 5 = those that will have the least.

The tasks you need to do first are those with the biggest impact on your business. If you have a lot of large tasks in this category you’ll need to spread them out.

I recommend taking on one big task a month and prioritising these by which will have the biggest impact.

For example:

One of my new year tasks is to create a new page for my website advertising me as a conference speaker. It’s quite a big job, I need to get some landing page software, design graphics, get testimonials, write the copy. I’m giving that a 2 on scale. It will also have a significant impact on my business as one of my goals for 2017 is to get more speaking gigs so a 2 for importance too.

A second task is a home page redesign. The current one isn’t selling me or my services as well as it could. This scores 2 for scale and importance too.

If I tried to do both of these tasks at once at the beginning of January the chances are neither would be completed.

Instead, I’m scheduling the speaker page for January and the home page in for February.

Work through your big tasks allocating a month of the year for each one. For a really big job like a website redesign you may need to allocate more than one month.

Use a spreadsheet or a calendar to map these out. This will help you stay on track and you’ll start anticipating each task as you start a new month.

Breaking it down

Looking at a big task can be scary.  Unless you break them down into simple achievable steps they often don’t get started.

Make a list of all the things that need to happen in order to get the task completed. Now allocate how long it’s going to take to complete each stage of the task.

I’m a devil for underestimating how long each stage will take so I tend to add some extra time on top of my initial estimate.

Dealing with smaller tasks

The small tasks that scored 5 on size can be gotten out of the way quite quickly. It can feel quite liberating to get a big bundle of them done at once.

I’d recommend getting some of these out of the way on your first day back in the office. Start the day with a step towards one of your big tasks and consider the small ones a treat for when you finish. Tackle them in order of priority, those you gave a score of 1 & 2 for importance should be done first.

Depending on the number of small tasks you have you could complete these within a month or less if you tackle 2 or 3 a day.

Add them to your calendar or spreadsheet next to the date you want to complete them. But be aware, these small tasks have a habit of multiplying, you’ll find yourself constantly adding to this list.

Mid-level tasks

Mid-level tasks are those that scored 3-4 for size. You could aim to get one of these done every fortnight. Prioritise them according to importance and choose a day and time each week that you’ll devote to them. Add them to your calendar/spreadsheet.

You should now have your year mapped out for big tasks, your month mapped out for small tasks and a number of mid-level tasks scattered across your schedule.

Your weekly to-do list

We’re on to the final stages of your plan now. You’ve scheduled your tasks now it’s time to add them to a to-do list.

If you only have a daily to-do list it’s time to switch it up. Weekly and even monthly to-do lists can be far more effective. Seeing your week mapped out and knowing what needs to happen will help you stay on track or at least help you know how far behind you are.

Start by adding the work you do that makes you money into your weekly list. For me that’s client work, meetings, training days and course planning.

For you it could be the things you need to do for the day to day running of your business.

Now look at your daily and weekly tasks. This will include reading and responding to email, social media updates, researching and writing your blog post content, doing your book keeping. Add these tasks to your to do list.

The time left over is the time you have to work on your tasks. If possible allocate the same day and time each week to complete these. Remember, try and get the big tasks started first and then reward yourself with the small ones.

For more on goal setting read/listen to episode 45.

Your challenge

If you are still in holiday mode all you need to do for now is write down the ideas as they come. Before you go back to work map out your tasks following the method above. You’ll be surprised how many of your resolutions you fulfil as a result.

How To Win At Twitter

If Twitter is part of your 2017 strategy take a look at the course I’m running with Digital4Sales. In it I take you step by step through building a Twitter strategy that will drive results.


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:

 

 

Register for my FREE webinar: Top 5 Mistakes Businesses Make on Twitter (And How to Avoid Them)

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Get Your New Year Into Gear - The Ultimate To Do List
Get Your New Year Into Gear – The Ultimate To Do List

 

Instagram for Bloggers: How To Get Noticed On Instagram
Instagram for Bloggers: How To Get Noticed On Instagram

Is Instagram a good fit for your business blog? How can you make yourself stand out? Is it a good platform for promoting your blog?

Sue B. Zimmerman is a serial entrepreneur, she started her first business when she was 13 and had her first $1 million at the age of 22. In total she’s built 17 businesses but these days it’s Instagram and educating others on how best to use it for their business that’s her passion.

She was also one of the 10 expert contributors to my post on blogging mistakes.

Listen below as she tells us her story. How she discovered that Instagram could be an effective tool for business and how we as businesses can be successful too.

How To Get Noticed On Instagram – An Interview With Sue B. Zimmerman



Some of the highlights from our conversation:

How did you get started on Instagram?

Sue started using Instagram for her seasonal store on Cape Cod @suebdo.capecod

Instagram came my way mainly because I pay attention to my twin teenage daughters and particularly their mobile habits. I believe teenagers set the next mobile trend, they were on Instagram and I had my store on Cape Cod. My revenue grew over 40% after using Instagram and empowering my employees to do it too.

Because of that great success and because off-season I was teaching and coaching people with social media I decided to make the shift to do more teaching and specifically Instagram. I knew that so many businesses struggle with which platform, the how and why, the distractions, the overwhelm.

A little over 4 years ago I decided to shift completely into teaching and I was lucky, I got interviewed on some great podcasts. Because of the podcasts, I got asked to speak on many different stages.

For the last two years I’ve been travelling around the world speaking internationally, speaking here in the US and getting paid to speak and that wasn’t even in the plans, it just happened because when you are good at what you do and you give value, people want to pay for that value so I’ve been able to create a whole new business teaching Instagram marketing going all in, staying in my lane and having great success and I’m having a lot of fun.

Your seasonal store was a B2C business now you’re in a B2B business. Is it possible to get those great results with a B2B business?

Every business has a story to tell and every business can visually tell that story. It doesn’t have to be literal. People think you have to be literally showing in the photo or in the video exactly what you are talking about in the description but if you look at a lot of successful Instagrammers there’s a story that relates to the emotional pull of the imagery and often it’s not related to the product or service that they sell.

Think of Instagram as your digital magazine. When someone follows you based on your bio and who you are the content you share in your feed represents a magazine. When you purchase a magazine you purchase it because of the content you expect to see. If there was a disconnect, say the magazine is all about Yoga and you started to show me images about travel there’s a disconnect unless you are a travelling yoga instructor.

So you’ve got to make sure that it’s congruent, that there’s a theme, that there’s a story that’s cohesive. Everyone’s biggest mistake that they are trying to go down too many lanes and be too many things and it’s confusing. If you confuse someone on Instagram you’re not going to get those follows or that engagement that you are looking for.

How do you create that theme?

Take a step back and have a strategy around the business that you are in. More importantly, you have to know what your customer, your client is interested in. That requires time, time spent on their Instagram account, their language, their posts and what makes them tick. Too many people spend time thinking about what they think they should be posting for themselves when it is what is your ideal customer or client looking for that matters. How can you inspire, educate, entertain or give value in a profound way every day?

Can you blog on Instagram? And how do we get people over from Instagram to our blogs?

Instagram just announced a new feature. You can now bookmark posts on Instagram. Now you don’t want people to just click the link in your bio, you also want them to bookmark your posts, especially if you are giving a lot of content.

We just released our top 10 most popular and controversial blog posts of 2016. That’s my latest blog and I am driving traffic to that blog now from Instagram, from my personal account @SueBZimmmerman and from my business account @TheInstagramExpert because then we can re-target them with Facebook ads.

Now with the new update, you can encourage people to bookmark your post as well so that they will be able to go back and read it later, especially when it is a micro-blog post like I typically do on Instagram.

How do you make the time for Instagram stories?

I love doing it, you make the time to do what you love. Look at the post below.

#BusinessTip – You have to create your own happiness! Here’s one truth – when you focus on what makes YOU really happy everyday and work towards doing those things you will feel more alive a grounded. I know it can be hard & overwhelming with all the choices you have to “Go Live” and connect with your target audience especially if you aren’t comfortable on camera. If you are struggling in your business and need someone with sound advice you can click the “contact button” here >> @theinstagramexpert and send me a text… YUP being accessible and available to talk to those who need your gifts & services is great way to listen and learn more about the needs of people you are meant to serve. Try it go ahead send me a text :: #suebsays #instagramtip #2017goals #2017isyouryear

A photo posted by The INSTAGRAM Expert is #Sue (@suebzimmerman) on

 

I give a call to action, I make myself accessible. Every time I get on the phone with someone my success rate is 95%. When I say success I don’t mean I’m making money every time I do that. I’m connecting with someone, learning from them, sending them where I need to go.

Do they need to go to my YouTube channel and listen to all my free videos over there? Do they need my Instagram for business free Facebook group? Or do they simply need to talk to me further and book a free 15-minute call. I make myself really accessible and I think that’s different to a lot of people. That’s me, that’s authentically being me.

You use video a lot on Instagram but I’ve struggled to get views even though I get likes. Is there anything we can do to get more views?

I think you have to make sure it aligns with the visual elements in your ‘magazine’ so there’s no disconnect and you have to be consistently giving value. I know what people want from me so I am able to deliver it. A lot of it is trial and error.

I am trying to consistently post my blogs the same way on The Instagram Expert at the moment. I use Phonto to overlay the link to my blog suebzimmerman.com/blog at the bottom of the image. Then I upload it to Legend which does the text overlay of the title as an animation so that it’s not sitting on the photo as I’m not a fan of text overlay.

I’m able to choose the cover photo for a video and the cover photo I use doesn’t have the text on it but if you tap it you’ll see the overlay

BOOK MARK THIS (#NewBlog ) Our 10 Most Popular & Controversial Blog Post of 2106 If you are serious about upping your game on Instagram then this blog post is for you! Here are just 3 of the 10 blog post you can learn from …. ✔️#1  My First Interview With @marieforleo ✔️#2 How to Use Instagram On Your Computer – if you are a desktop user this is for you ✔️#3  Instagram Stories: 7 Tips For Improving Viewer Retention – one of my favs Tap the link in our bio then circle back here & LMK which post was your favorite Cheers to YOU! The @sbzteam appreciates every like, comment, DM, and repost. 2016 has been a year of listening, learning + ♡… •
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A video posted by Instagram Marketing w/ #Sue (@theinstagramexpert) on


Because I get more views on my videos this is better for me.

On Instagram you need to make stuff obvious, blatant and a little bit out there. You cannot read people’s minds. If they are scrolling on Instagram and they can’t see it’s a blog post they might think of it as just an image so you need to make it clear.

You’ll see on my Instagram account that the last 3 blog posts are all with this process, whilst the process works you should keep doing it. But a process can get stale, you need to shake it up. Go back and listen to what your audience is appreciating, commenting on, liking, reposting.

Instagram live, how should we be using it?

I’ve not pressed Instagram live yet because I want to be intentional, I want to have a plan. I think so many people jump the gun and just do it and then it’s not special so you lose your audience.

I want to make sure that when I go live [the audience] say ‘I wanna tune into this every time Sue goes live’ I want it to be so good you guys don’t miss one of my live broadcasts.

Everything you do with your business should be done with intention, not because someone else is doing it. You have to think about what’s best for you. I think a lot of people copy other people who they think are having great success without thinking about if it makes sense for them.

And I notice with marketers that they don’t seem to have the creativity on Instagram. They post a lot of text overlay and quotes, they just don’t know how to position themselves.

Challenge

Create a post on Instagram of anything whilst you are listening to this episode (or reading the post). Then use the tag #suebmademedoit so Sue can see you.

Look at the tag on Instagram for inspiration from others.

You can grab Sue’s free 2017 strategy guide for Instagram here.


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Instagram for Bloggers: How To Get Noticed On Instagram
Instagram for Bloggers: How To Get Noticed On Instagram