How to Write Content That Both You and Your Audience Love

How to Write Content That You and Your Audience Love

Bloggers must walk a delicate tightrope.

On one hand, you started blogging because you had something important to say. Your blog topics must feel relevant to you and tied in to what you care about the most. Otherwise, you won’t want to keep writing.

On the other hand, you want your blog to connect with an audience -if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be sharing your writing with the world. And if you want that connection, you need to write content that your audience craves.

So…how do you do both?

1. Get clear on your values and your superpowers.

First, look inward.

What do you care about?

This is something that’s woven through your life like a vibrant thread. You can look back and see it stitched into all different parts of your life.

Ask these questions:

  • What do people always come to me for that I also love helping them with?
  • What can I do for hours and not even notice the time passing?
  • What commonality ties together some of my best memories?
  • What would I stay up until the wee hours of the night doing?
  • If someone introduced you with, This is my friend. She’s amazing at _____, what would go in the blank?

Write what comes up and DO NOT judge it. Do not let yourself think, Yeah, but everyone is good at that. or Yeah, but that’s not a good idea to focus on. Or, Yeah, but everyone is writing about that.

Or, think those thoughts. And then let them go. Because they aren’t true.

Half the battle is figuring out what you have to offer, and the other half is feeling that you’re worthy to offer it.

2. Define your audience.

Your audience isn’t everyone.

Your audience isn’t even 50% of the population. (Sorry if you are thinking, My audience is women.)

Your audience are just the people that you would absolutely LOVE to hang out with.

If you’re still not convinced, think about your high school cafeteria. (If you’re thinking, Aww, really, do I have to? I totally get it.)

How many of the people in that cafeteria would you want to hang out with? Probably not that many.

Think of your blog as your table at the cafeteria. Who do you want to sit with you?Click To Tweet

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re not going to be hanging out with your audience; that they’re just going to be reading your blog. Because to create content your audience truly loves, you need to get to know them as well as your BFF. And that means you’ll be spending a LOT of time with them.

So imagine the people you want sitting at your table now (because let’s be real, you might not want to sit with the same people you sat with in high school).

Here are some audience-defining questions for you:

Imagine you’re going out for a drink with your audience member.

  • What kind of place does she suggest you go to?
  • What is she wearing when she meets you?
  • What is she drinking? Eating?
  • What kind of jokes does she crack?
  • What is she obsessing about right now?
  • What does she ask you for help with?
  • When you offer help, what is her reaction?
  • What is she going to do when she leaves?
  • What are her weekend plans?

Get as clear as you can about who she is and what she cares about.

3. Get to know your audience.

Once you’ve defined your audience as clearly as you can, it’s time to get to know them and see what they want to read about.

Here’s the process I recommend for learning deeply about your audience:

  1. Survey them.
  2. Interview them.
  3. Find meaningful themes in their responses.

A few tips as you go through this process:

1. Make sure to only survey/interview people who are truly in your ideal audience.

If you let anyone take your survey, you will end up with results that don’t reflect what your audience actually wants to read about.

Also, if you give your survey to people you wouldn’t want to hang out with, you will feel like you have to start creating content you also wouldn’t be that excited about. Don’t fall into that trap.

2. The purpose of this process is to get to know your audience well.

Ask them open ended questions. Don’t give them multiple choice questions.

Asking multiple choice questions where you have preselected the answers is like asking a friend if they like you better in the red dress or the black one. It’s still about you, not them.

So frame your questions in a way that gets them to open up about what they care about.

3. Actually interview them.

Yes, I know the survey is easier. And less scary. But the only way to get to know your audience members is to talk to them. You wouldn’t email your BFF a survey to ask for her in-depth opinion on something, so don’t stop there with your audience, either.

4. Create a content plan based on what you’ve learned about yourself and your audience.

Now that you know what you care about, who is in your audience, and what they care about, it’s time to create a content plan.

Please, please, (for the love of all that is good in the world), do not base your content plan on posts that you think people want to read but that you’re not that excited about.

Take your survey results and your notes from your interviews, and then pull out common themes and struggles. Break them down and identify how you can help your readers accomplish small wins in the different areas.

Example:

Audience: Busy moms of young kids who want to get fit and love the outdoors.
Common theme: Wanting to get outside and exercise regularly but not having the time to do it.
Possible blog post ideas:

  • How to work out with your kids without them driving you crazy.
  • How to fit exercise in when you have no time.
  • Why taking time to exercise isn’t selfish – it’s a gift to your family.

Want more on how to brainstorm blog posts? Read this.

5. Write irresistible content.

Write your blog posts.

Make sure they have great headlines.

Add drool-worthy blog graphics.

Format your posts so that they are super-readable by busy people. (Because we’re all busy when we’re online.)

Want more on how to do this? Check out The Blog Makeover.

How to Write Content That You and Your Audience Love

To recap, to write content both you and your audience love…

  • Know yourself
  • Identify your audience
  • Get to know your audience as well as you know your BFF
  • Create a content plan
  • Write irresistible blog posts

Your turn…

What do you do to get to know your audience better? Share in the comments below.

How to Never Run Out of Blog Post Ideas

How to never run out of blog post ideas (1)

One of the hardest parts of blogging is coming up with consistent blog post ideas.

When you’re new to blogging, it’s hard to know what people want to read about. And when you’ve been doing it for a long time, you start to feel like you’ve written every single thing about your topic already.

But the good thing is, there are always more ideas lurking in the shadows. Here’s how to make them come out into the light.

1. Get focused.

Do you worry that if you get focused, you’ll run out of ideas to write about?

Actually, the opposite is true.

When you have a very wide range of topics to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and struggle with pinpointing a topic to write about.

But when you get more specific, suddenly, you can see ideas that were hiding before.

It’s kind of like zooming in on Google Maps.

When you’re zoomed out, you can see the entire world, but each location is indistinct. And then, the more you zoom in, the more you can see individual countries, then states, then cities, and then streets.

Choosing a specific focus is like zooming in and seeing the streets – your ideas become clearer and more tangible. (And you also feel like you’re not trying to capture the entire world in each blog post.)

2. Stay close to your audience.

When you stay close to your audience, you will constantly find new blog post ideas that they want to read about.

The best blog post ideas come from the intersection of your ideas and your audience’s desires.Click To Tweet

How do you stay close to your audience?

First, know who they are.

Then, hang out with them in Facebook groups. Survey them. Call them up and have a conversation on the phone.

Go out and meet them in person.

Ask them about the challenges they’re facing.

Learn what they’re obsessed with. Listen closely so that you can find the deep emotion behind their words.

Become an idea sleuth. Consciously pull out blog post ideas and write them down for later.

Which brings me to the next point…

3. Keep a library of ideas handy.

I use Evernote to keep track of all my new blog post ideas.

Whenever I have an idea for a blog post, I:

A. Write a new note with the blog post title as the note title
B. Write a few bullet points in the body of the note
C. Tag the note with “Blog Post Ideas”

Then when I want to write a post and I can’t think of anything, I just search for that tag, and I have dozens of ideas to choose from.

4. Approach the same topic in different ways

Do you worry that you will bore your audience if you cover the same idea more than once?

If so, I’m going to let you in on a little (not so) secret.

Are you ready?

Most people aren’t reading all of your blog posts. You (and maybe your mom, or your partner) are probably the only ones reading all of your posts.

Sad. I know.

But guess what? That means you don’t have to worry about covering the same topic in different ways. You won’t bore anyone. In fact, you will actually serve your audience, because different kinds of messages resonate with different people.

Writing about the same thing in different ways serves your audience. Don't be afraid to go deeper. Click To Tweet

By covering the same topic from different angles, you will also establish yourself as an authority on that topic. Which is kind of the point of blogging to begin with.

If you’re ever struggling to come up with blog post ideas, look at your analytics, see which old posts have been popular, and then ask, How can I approach this in a new and fresh way?

5. Learn from others in your niche

Beyond knowing what your audience cares about, there are loads of other ways to research and come up with new blog post ideas.

First, set a timer. (That way you won’t get lost in the black hole of the Internet, never to return.)

Search for your topic on BuzzSumo. You’ll find the most shared posts on your topic. Then take them and put your own spin on them.

Check out which books cover your topic in Amazon. Look at the table of contents. Can you write a blog post on the same topic as one of the chapters?

Create a Pinterest board of posts on your topic. Then refer back to it whenever you feel stuck.

You don’t need to (and you can’t) come up with a totally unique blog idea topic every time. Don’t be afraid to learn from others in your niche.

6. Write thematically

One of the easiest ways to come up with a lot of blog post ideas is to stay with a specific theme for a period of time. (I call this “dating a topic.”)

Choose a theme and commit to writing about it for a month or more.

Then see all of the different angles you can take on it. Write a broad blog post on your topic and then a more specific one.

For example, let’s say you had an art blog and you chose to write about how to do watercolor paintings.

You could write about…

  • The tools you need for watercolor painting
  • How to use water effectively
  • The different types of brushes and how to use them
  • How to paint a sunset
  • The differences between watercolor and oil painting

Then you could offer a free watercolor painting challenge and link to it in all of your posts. BOOM!

You’ve come up with dozens of blog post ideas AND grown your email list. (You can thank me by sharing this post. Wink, wink.)

7. Get inspired

Sometimes it helps to go outside of your blog (and away from your computer) to find inspiration.

I get inspired by…

  • Taking a shower
  • Working out
  • Going to good movies
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Reading books
  • Having conversations with friends
  • Exploring new places
  • Meditating

What are you doing when you get the best blog post ideas?

Make sure to do that regularly.

8. Write the things you want to write but are afraid to

It’s really hard for me to write when I’m resisting an idea.

An idea will come to me, but then I’ll think, No one wants to read about that, or That’s too risky to write about or I’m afraid to write about that because I don’t feel like I’m an expert.

(Don’t you just love imposter syndrome?)

So I will try to come up with a different idea to write about. I’ll look into my Evernote folder and try to get inspired.

But no matter what I do, I can’t force myself to write.

That’s because the idea won’t let me. It needs to be written, and until I give in and write that tough post, I can’t write about anything else.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one this happens to.

So if you have an idea that you are avoiding, just go ahead and write it.

You don’t even have to post it on your blog. Just get that idea out of your head so that you can move on with your life (and your blog).

9. Have a writing practice

Writing practice means that you write on a regular basis, just for yourself.

Here are Natalie Goldberg’s rules of writing practice:

Set a timer, and then…

  • Keep your hand moving the whole time.
  • Don’t think.
  • Lose control.
  • Don’t worry about punctuation, spelling or grammar. (You can even write off the sides of the page if you want.)
  • Feel free to write the worst junk in the world.
  • Be specific.
  • Go for the jugular.

Writing practice helps you get used to writing. It kicks writer’s block in the butt by forcing you to get your thoughts on the page.

Even if you never use anything from writing practice in your blog, doing it helps you tap into your deepest truths. And when you get those out, you’ll unleash a torrent of blog post ideas too.

Want to banish writer's block? Give voice to your deepest truths.Click To Tweet

How to never run out of blog post ideas

To recap, you’ll never run out of blog post ideas if you…

  • Get focused
  • Stay close to your audience
  • Keep an idea library ready
  • Approach the same topic in different ways
  • Do research
  • Write thematically
  • Give voice to the tough topics
  • Commit to a writing practice

What do you do to come up with blog post ideas? Share in the comments below.

How to Make People Fall in Love With Your Blog

 How to get people to fall in love with your blog

At its core, blogging is about wanting to be loved.

Before you roll your eyes, hear me out.

When you blog, you put yourself and your ideas out there for the world, and that means you want to be seen and heard. You want people to read your stuff and think, Wow, this chick is amazing. You want people to fall in love with you. (Feel free to argue with me in the comments if you disagree.)

I’ve never been the type to go after the guy all the girls wanted. In middle school, I picked the most nerdy, quiet guys to obsess about, because there was absolutely no competition.

But when you blog, you’re basically competing with the entire internet to get people to love you. And it feels really hard.

Just like you don’t have to get every man (or woman) to love you, you don’t have to get everyone on the internet to love you either. Just your people. The people who were meant to find you.

And here’s how to make them fall helplessly, hopelessly in love with you and your blog.

1. Really listen to them.

Have you ever been on a date when the guy actually listens to what you have to say, instead of going on and on about himself? It almost makes you fall in love on the spot. (At least I did. That’s one of my favorite things about my husband.)

You want to be the person that really hears what your audience is saying. And you become that person by finding them and listening to them. There are SO many ways to do this. Here are a few:

1. Facebook groups

Join them, actively participate, and PAY ATTENTION to what people struggle with. You can even be audacious and ASK them.

When I was just starting this blog, I went into a couple of my favorite groups and asked them what they struggled with in their blogs. So many people responded “being consistent.” And guess what? My posts on blogging consistently have been the most popular. (Shocking, right?)

2. Surveys

Every once in awhile, I ask my readers to fill out a survey in which I ask them what they are struggling with in building their blogs. The insights I get from reading their responses are unbelievably helpful.

If you don’t have readers (or a mailing list), you can go back to those trusty Facebook groups and ask people to do your survey as well.

3. Interviews

Actually talking to people is the most powerful way of getting to know them. (Shocking, right?) You can ask your survey respondents if they’re willing to talk to you over the phone, and you can straight out ask people you know in person or online if they could chat with you as well. I use a tool called Calendly to schedule the conversations.

After you’ve listened to your audience, show them you’ve listened by writing posts that directly answer their questions and speak to their concerns. When they see that you’ve not only listened, but acted on what you’ve heard, they will start to trust you. And trust is a foundation for love.

2. Define and refine your unique voice.

Even if you’re writing about topics that people are super interested in, they won’t fall in love with your blog if it sounds like everyone else’s. You need to craft your unique voice, your unique way of expressing yourself.

And it’s not hard. First, answer these 3 questions:

  1. Which adjectives do I want people to use when they talk about my blog?
  2. What type of place do I want people to feel like when they’re reading my blog?
  3. What words do I frequently use that can convey those adjectives/place?

Here’s an awesome “voice board” from one of the students of my Define Your Blog Voice course.

Lisa's blog voice inspiration board

You can check out her blog here.

Then get to writing. Use your answers to these questions to guide you. And don’t afraid to be bold and different. No one falls in love with a copycat.

3. Be vulnerable.

That’s right. Show your true self. When I was in college, I dated this guy for one and a half years. I thought I loved him, yet I was COMPLETELY MISERABLE the entire time.

Why? Because he couldn’t allow himself to be vulnerable. He would never open up and show me that he needed me. It really sucked.

So…to be truly lovable, you have to show people that you’re human, and that you care, and that you need them just like they need you. That means being vulnerable. That means sharing your struggles and opening up about things that might be hard to write about.

Be vulnerable by sharing personal stories. Be vulnerable by acknowledging when you need help. Be vulnerable by showing your human side, even if you’re writing about marketing tactics.

Vulnerability makes you lovable. Truly.

4. Keep showing up.

The people I love the most are the people who I can count on NO MATTER WHAT.

The same goes for your blog. If you blog consistently, you show people that they can rely on you to be there.

You show them that you’re in this for the long haul. And you give them more and more opportunities to fall in love with you.

For more on blogging consistently, read this.

How to get people to fall in love with your blog

It may not be as scary as standing on the sidelines at a middle school dance, waiting for someone to ask you to slow dance with them, but blogging is about wanting people to want you. And to fall in love with you. Here are 4 ways to make it happen:

      1. Listen to your audience.
      2. Define and refine your voice.
      3. Be vulnerable.
      4. Keep showing up.

How to Plan for Your Blog So You Actually Make Money

How to plan for your blog so you actually make money

If you’re like me, you decided to blog because you loved writing, and you felt that you had something important to say.

And maybe at the back of your mind (okay, let’s be honest, the front of your mind) you had an idea that you wanted to make money, too.

You looked at the income reports from successful bloggers, saw that they were making thousands of dollars from their blogs, and thought, Hey, that would be nice.

The thing is, those successful bloggers aren’t some special alien breed. You, yes you, normal, everyday you, CAN make money from your blog. If you plan it right. Here’s how.

1. Decide how you want to make money.

There are lots of ways to make money with your blog, including…

  1. Selling affiliate products/writing sponsored posts
  2. Selling your own products and services.
  3. Running ads.

But wait…

HOLD ON A MINUTE

Before you go picking one of the monetization strategies, really stop and think about you, who you are, and what makes you feel all jazzed up and excited about life.

Often, bloggers choose a monetization strategy based on what they think is the easiest, or on what OTHER PEOPLE want, instead of based on what makes them feel all happy inside.

So let’s take a look at the different monetization strategies for a sec.

1. Selling affiliate products and/or writing sponsored posts

Do you love talking about other people’s products and how much they’ve helped you?

Are you constantly sharing resources with people?

Do you feel happy when you think about creating product tutorials and reviews? If so, selling affiliate products and writing sponsored posts may be your thing.

You can even sell affiliate products without a blog – just write really great social media updates.

However, if you’re not into writing reviews and tutorials, you may want to look elsewhere.

2. Selling your own products and services.

So this one is a bit huge. Let me break it down a bit.

Products can be anything from physical products (i.e. selling your art) to digital courses, to ebooks.

Services can be freelancing services, coaching or offering therapy, doing VA work, and so much more.

If you want to sell your own products or services, think about what you love to do.

Do you love creating things? If so, you may want to open an Etsy shop.

Do you enjoy teaching lots of people at once? Then you might want to create an online course or membership site.

Do you love working with people one on one? How about coaching?

You don’t need to know your exact strategy right now, just ask yourself some of these questions.

For example, I started my membership site, Have Your Cupcake about 7 months after I started blogging. I knew that I wanted to teach, but I didn’t know my audience well enough to understand what that teaching would look like.

After blogging for awhile and building relationships, I had a better handle on where my expertise and my audience’s desires matched up, so I could create a learning experience tailored for my community.

And because I started blogging with the knowledge that I wanted to sell courses, I was all set up to make it happen.

3. Ads.

Ads may seem like an easy way to make money in the beginning. Just fill your sidebars with ads, and you’re good to go.

But the reality is, Google Adsense brings in very little money per click, and by putting them up there, you are inviting people to leave your site to go buy whatever they were looking at online earlier. Plus they clutter up your site.

If you want to use ads as your main source of revenue, I suggest building up your audience to 20k plus page views a month, minimum.

For a detailed breakdown of the different ways to make money from your blog, check out Melissa’s post on The Nectar Collective, 11 ways to make money from your blog.

Another helpful way of looking at monetization is to think about your business archetype. Fizzle put out a incredibly helpful podcast on this topic, which you can find here.

Here’s a quick and dirty list of the archetypes:

  1. The Teacher
  2. The Thought Leader
  3. The Mediapreneur
  4. The Freelancer
  5. The Coach
  6. The Artist
  7. The Maker
  8. The Curator
  9. The Engineer
  10. The Retailer

Learning about these archetypes will give you deeper insight into who you are and how you can use your blogging superpowers to make money.

2. Choose a focus and stick to it.

So…now that you know how you want to make money, it’s time to start building momentum with your blog.

In order to do that, it is very important that you choose a focus.

Why do you need a focus?

Because without a specific focus, readers won’t have a reason to come back to your blog. If you are all over the place, people might come and read one post and then never come back. And you don’t want that.

The good news is, there are lots of ways to find your focus, including by:

Topic
Audience
Angle
Voice
Delivery Method

For more on this, read my post Why It’s So Hard to Find a Focus for Your Blog (and How to Do it Anyway)

3. Set milestones for yourself.

So…you know how you want to monetize, and you know what your focus is. Now it’s time to create milestones for yourself.

What do I mean by milestones?

Milestones are specific dates when you want to have a certain goal accomplished.

I will cover 2 types of milestones here – creation milestones and growth milestones.

Creation milestones

Creation milestones are content that you want to create, whether that’s blog posts, courses, etc.

When I started my blog, one of my first milestones was to offer a free course in the second month of blogging. I knew that I wanted to eventually get paid to teach, so I set a goal for myself to start teaching early on, even if it was free.

I got 30 people to sign up for my first free course, Define Your Blog Voice in 5 Days.

Then, 3 months later, my milestone was offering a larger course. I did The Blog Makeover which had 300 participants in its first round. (Altogether, ove 2000 bloggers have done the course so far.)

After that, my next milestone was creating a paid membership site.

See how that worked?

No matter your money making method, create milestones where you can do a small action, and then lead to larger ones.

For example, if you want to make money through affiliate marketing, maybe your first milestone is creating a thorough tutorial post for one of the products you are selling.

The next milestone might be making a 5 day, in depth course on the same product.

If you want to write sponsored posts, your first milestone might be writing a free post about a product you really love.

Your next milestone might be contacting that company and getting free products to review, and the next one would be to actually be paid for a sponsored post.

Growth milestones

In addition to setting goals for what you are creating, you also want to have goals for how much growth you want to see in your blog audience.

You can set growth milestones for:

  • Number of followers on social media
  • Number of people on your email list
  • Number of page views per month
  • Number of buyers

Don’t get too caught up in the stats, but do set goals for yourself and try to reach them by a specific date. That will help you stay on track.

Check out this epic post on how to actually make money from your blog!Click To Tweet

4. Understand the different parts of blogging how they work together

When people say to me, Oh, you’re a blogging coach. Isn’t blogging just writing? I want to laugh.

There are so many different parts of the blogging process, including…

Writing and design
Social media
SEO
Email marketing
Your offers

If you want to monetize, it’s important that you understand how each of these pieces fits into your larger marketing plan.

Here’s a handy graphic to give you an idea of how these things can work together.

Blogging as part of a content marketing plan

In brief…

  • Your blog posts are there to build traffic, authority and trust, and to get people interested in your email opt-in freebies.
  • Your email marketing is intended to deepen your relationship and show readers what you have to offer, so that they can make an informed decision about whether they want to become fans or customers.
  • And social media is there to get eyes on your blog and to build relationships.

You need each of these components in order to grow your audience and eventually monetize your blog.

5. Make yourself the CEO of your blog.

I, like so many bloggers, am a thoughtful and emotional person. And it’s SO easy to see my blog as a part of me. But that kind of thinking is exactly what prevents most bloggers from building successful blogs.

When you see yourself as the CEO of your blog, you stop looking at it as a part of you, and a measure of your worth as a human being, and you start seeing it as a separate thing – an engine to build relationships and grow an audience.

As the CEO, you need to…

Set specific goals

Take the milestones from step 3 and break them down into specific, achievable goals. Then hold yourself accountable for making them happen.

Be strategic

Don’t just write any post that comes to your mind. Plan ahead. As I wrote earlier, know what your milestones are, and plan your blog posts and other content accordingly.

Feel your emotions but don’t let them dictate your actions

If you told your boss at work that you were feeling sad and didn’t want to come in, what would she say? She would probably tell you to get your butt over there and do your job. When it comes to blogging, you need to treat yourself the same way.

Even if you don’t feel like it, do it anyway. That’s the only way to grow.

Want to make money from your blog? Think like a CEO.Click To Tweet

6. Talk to your audience and learn how to best serve them.

When it comes down to it, making money comes from giving people what they want.

How do you do this? By talking to them. Survey them. Interview them. Talk to them on Twitter. Ask them questions on Facebook.

Write your posts based on what you know they really care about.

When you do that, you will notice your readers coming back for more, because they know you care about them.

This also helps tremendously in deciding what to sell to your audience. If you have a deep knowledge of their struggles and desires, you can create or sell something that they will absolutely love to have.

7. Build strategic relationships with other bloggers.

One of the best ways to grow your blog audience is to get in front of larger audiences. You can do this by building relationships with other bloggers in your niche.

My friend Andrea Beltrami of The Branded Solopreneur and I recently did a mini course together, in which she told the audience and me that she wrote a list of 20 people she wanted to build relationships with in the coming year.

Then she shared those people’s blog posts in her own blog. She tweeted their stuff like crazy. She purposefully built relationships with them by being generous and showing them she loved their stuff. Now a lot of those bloggers (including myself) are her friends and advocates.

Make relationship building – both with your audience and with other bloggers – a part of your plan. It will be more than worth your time.

To watch the mini-course and hear Dre explain her whole strategy, click here.

8. Create blogging success habits, systems, and routines.

A money making blog is built one day at a time, through specific habits that will help you grow your audience and meet your goals.

What habits and routines can you commit to doing every day or every week?

Create blogging habits in the areas of:

Self-care – What will you do to keep your spirits up so that you can keep creating on a continuous basis?
Promotion – Create systems and habits for promoting your blog posts.
Relationship building – What consistent actions will help you build relationships with your audience and with other bloggers?
Content creation – Decide how you write and create the best, and make it an automatic habit.
Data analysis – It’s important to check your stats regularly and evaluate how you are doing. Decide when and how you will do this.

When you commit to doing these habits, systems and routines regularly, you will build your blog on a daily basis.

What routines do you do that build your blog on a daily basis?Click To Tweet

9. Plan when and how to invest in your blog.

Ah, investing in your blog. Such an uncomfortable topic for so many.

I believe that if you want to make money from your blog, you need to invest money into it.

This may sound woo-woo, but when you invest in your blog, you are telling yourself and the universe that you believe in what you are doing. And that has powerful ripple effects.

Aside from all that, though, there are areas where investing has a HUGE pay-off.

A few of the big ones include:

Going self-hosted.

Aside from not seeming legit when you have blogspot or wordpress in your blog URL, going with one of those platforms limits your monetization options. Just shell out $10 for your own URL, and less than $100/year for hosting. Trust me, it’s worth it. Want to know how to set up a self-hosted blog in a snap? Read this.

Social media automation.

If you are serious about building your blog and making money, don’t waste your time manually repinning and posting, when you could be spending that time creating and planning. Think about it. The CEO of a business doesn’t spend hours a day on social media. Neither should you.

Coaching/courses

When it comes to learning how to blog, there is tons of free information out there.

However, if you invest in a coach or in blogging courses, you will be able to figure it all out much more quickly. It took me 4 years to get my shit together and build this blog. That’s 4 years that I could have spent growing my audience. Don’t make the same mistake.

If you’re interested in joining the best blogging membership site around, click here.

10. Don’t feel bad about selling.

Many bloggers (including myself) get so caught up in providing free content, that we actually feel bad about making money. We want to make money, or at least we think we do, but we feel guilty about asking people to pay us.

Look. You are spending hours and hours building your blog, writing incredible content, building relationships, etc. Why shouldn’t you be paid for it?

If you feel weird about selling things, consider this – would you go to your day job without being paid for it? Of course not. And you are probably working just as hard at your blog as you have at any day job. You deserve to be compensated. You really do.

If you feel bad about selling, do it anyway. You aren’t forcing anyone to give you money, or to click your affiliate link. They are only doing it because they believe that what you provide is valuable and they want to give back.

How to plan for your blog so you actually make money

That was a lot, so let me recap. To plan to actually make money from your blog, you need to:

  1. Decide how you want to make money and make sure it fits you and who you are.
  2. Choose a focus and stick with it.
  3. Set milestones for yourself.
  4. Understand the different parts of blogging and how they fit together.
  5. Make yourself the CEO of your blog.
  6. Talk to your audience and learn how to best serve them.
  7. Build strategic relationships with other bloggers.
  8. Create blogging success habits, systems, and routines.
  9. Plan when and how to invest in your blog.
  10. Don’t feel bad about selling.

Making money with your blog takes time and effort. But you can do it.  I promise. Just start with step #1 and go from there.

60 Ways to Grow Your Blog in an Hour or Less

If I’ve learned one thing about blogging, it’s this:

Blogging is a longterm game. It’s thousands of tiny actions that, when put together, make a huge difference.

It’s not just about writing blog posts and hoping that people will like them. It’s about learning from your readers, building relationships with other bloggers, sharing your stuff, and on and on.

And it can feel really overwhelming when you look at the big picture.

Blogging takes a lot of time. So it’s easy to get discouraged, to throw your hands up and go, I can’t do all of this.

But you would be surprised at how much you can do for your blog in a short amount of time.

You don’t need 5 hours. You don’t even need 1 hour. Sometimes, all you need is 5 minutes to connect with another blogger or share your post.

15 Things you can do to grow your blog in one hour

  1. Write an outline for a blog post. (Or write the whole post, if you are a fast writer.)
  2. Create an editorial calendar for the next month.
  3. Edit your “About Me” page.
  4. Create a new free gift for your readers.
  5. Write an email newsletter.
  6. Schedule social media posts to go out for the week.
  7. Interview a reader to see what she really cares about.
  8. Create a survey for your readers.
  9. Research places to guest blog.
  10. Listen to a podcast about improving your blog.
  11. Brainstorm 15 blog post ideas.
  12. Participate in a Twitter chat.
  13. Set up an opt-in box for people to join your newsletter.
  14. Set up a giveaway on your blog using the King Sumo giveaway plugin.
  15. Create an infographic for one of your blog posts.

15 Things you can do to grow your blog in a half hour

  1. Write a guest blogging pitch email.
  2. Create a branded image for one of your blog posts.
  3. Write the introduction for a blog post.
  4. Edit and improve one of your old blog posts.
  5. Research and ask to join 5 Pinterest group boards.
  6. Schedule pins to go out with Tailwind App.
  7. Do keyword research to see what people want to read about.
  8. Do some “forum stalking” on Quora and in Facebook groups for post ideas.
  9. Optimize for SEO by installing the Yoast SEO plugin and writing meta-descriptions for 3 posts.
  10. Pitch podcasters to get interviewed.
  11. Send out emails asking people to contribute to a “roundup post.”
  12. Email a blogger you respect letting them know they’ve improved your life.
  13. Go on a photo shoot for your blog around your house or neighborhood.
  14. Update your Facebook or LinkedIn profile.
  15. Record a YouTube video to go with one of your blog posts.

15 Things you can do to grow your blog in 15 minutes

  1. Compose 5 tweets to go out after your blog post is published.
  2. Add a Call to Action at the end of a blog post.
  3. Comment on 3 blogs you love.
  4. Write down 3 post ideas in Evernote.
  5. Have a short conversation with another blogger on Facebook.
  6. Do an informal poll on Facebook asking people what they are struggling with when it comes to your blog topic.
  7. Post your blog post into a Facebook blog challenge and then comment on others.
  8. Add your blog post to a link party.
  9. Change the colors in your blog to better reflect your brand.
  10. Install the Use Any Font plugin and choose a custom font for your blog.
  11. Checking your Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from and thank anyone who has linked to your blog.
  12. Adding social share buttons to your blog. Affiliate link
  13. Improve a blog post headline using the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.
  14. Submit a blog post tip on the SITS Girls.
  15. Republish a blog post on LinkedIn Pulse.

15 Things you can do to grow your blog in 5 minutes

  1. Write a “click to tweet” for one of your blog posts.
  2. Retweet a blogging friend’s post.
  3. Answer a question in a Facebook group.
  4. Tweet about one of your blog posts.
  5. Write a comment on one blog post you like.
  6. Repin 3 pins to group boards on Pinterest.
  7. Respond to a comment on your blog.
  8. Post an inspirational quote on Twitter or Facebook.
  9. Subscribe to get updates of an influencer’s blog (so you can be the first to comment later).
  10. Share a blog post in a LinkedIn group.
  11. Add some people to a Twitter list of VIPs you want to connect with.
  12. Update your WordPress plugins.
  13. Make a backup of your blog.
  14. Ask for feedback in a Facebook group.
  15. Tell yourself how awesome you are for blogging.

The next time you have a few minutes to spare, instead of using them to play a game on your phone, do one small action that will build your blog. You would be surprised at how quickly those little actions add up.

How to Brainstorm a Year’s Worth of Blog Topics in Under an Hour

How to brainstorm a year's worth of blog topics in under an hour

Do you ever feel like you are too close to your business to effectively write about it?

I’ve talked to a number of business owners recently who have told me that they have gotten to such a high level of expertise in their business that it’s become difficult for them to see the smaller picture in order to write blog posts about it.

This mind-mapping exercise will not only help you break down your business into smaller concepts, it will help you generate loads of post ideas in a short amount of time, and, to top it all off, you can use those clusters of post ideas to strategically post in order to support your business goals.

I used a free program called Coggle in order to do this. To use Coggle, click here.

I will show you how I generate my mind-map, from the big picture, to smaller topics, to action steps within each topic, and finally, post ideas.

Step 1: Write down your overall business concept.

Here’s mine:

Screenshot 2015-03-29 11.34.22

Here’s another example from my friend Sara who is a college consultant:

Screenshot 2015-03-29 12.24.00

 

Write down the main thing you help people do.

If you’re an accountant, you could write “Save money by doing your taxes the right way.”

If you’re a life coach, you could write, “Help people find their purpose and passion.

Step 2: Add subtopics.

Here’s my example:

Screenshot 2015-03-29 12.05.11

Here’s Sara’s example:

Screenshot 2015-03-29 12.26.30

Now take the main thing you do for your clients, and brainstorm at least 4 ways in which you help them do it.

Create branches coming out of the main idea for each of your subtopics.

Step 3: Break those subtopics down.

Here’s my example:

Screenshot 2015-03-29 12.10.19

Here’s Sara’s example:

Screenshot 2015-03-29 12.32.54

Your subtopics are still way too big to use as blog posts. You need to take them and break them down even further.

If you struggle with this, ask yourself these questions:

What do I do to help my clients with this?

How do I support them in this process?

What action steps are associated with this sub-topic?

Step 4: Take each of your sub-subtopics and brainstorm at least 3 blog posts you could write about them.

Here’s my example:

Screenshot 2015-03-29 12.15.43

Here’s Sara’s example:

Screenshot 2015-03-29 12.38.52

 

Don’t be afraid to write multiple posts on the same topic.

First of all, it builds some momentum in your blog when people know that they can come back again and again for more insights on the same topic.

Also, the more you write about the same topic, the deeper into it you are forced to go and the more creative you have to become to keep writing about it.

Here are some questions you can keep in mind while doing this:

What do my clients really struggle with in this process?

What questions come up regularly about this action step?

What components of this process tend to trip people up?

See if you can come up with:

  • List posts
  • Tutorial/How-to posts
  • Case study posts of clients you’ve helped in the process
  • Interview posts – either someone interviewing you, or you interviewing a client
  • Posts with a sense of humor

Step 5: Take your blog topics and schedule them strategically

This is where you go from just thinking of blog post topics to actually using them to drive your business goals.

For example, I can take all of my posts on blogging consistently and publish them leading up to launching a blog coaching package that helps people blog consistently.

Sara can choose to publish her college essay posts in a time of year when students are really struggling to write college essays and may be looking for a college counselor to help them with the process.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. What are my business goals for the next 3 months?

2. How can I use my blog posts to get people interested in my services/products?

How to brainstorm a year's worth of blog topics in under an hour - FB

To recap:

1. Write the main way you help clients.

2. Break it down into smaller chunks.

3. Break those chunks down further into action steps.

4. Take an action step and brainstorm blog topics relating to it.

5. Plan to publish those blog posts to align with your business goals.

 

Now, go forth and plan!