Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why Your Blog Doesn't Make (enough) Money from CopyBlogger

Darren Rowse doesn’t make his money from Problogger.
Brian Clark doesn’t make his money from Copyblogger.
Chris Brogan doesn’t make his money from his blog, either.
Neither does Sonia Simone.
Not a single founding member of Third Tribe earns the bulk of their income from the blogs that are practically (or in Chris’ case, literally) synonymous with their names.
Yes, they make some money directly from those blogs. But revenue directly from the blog doesn’t represent the bulk of their income. Not by a long shot.
So why do so many bloggers equate blog success with financial success?
Many, if not most, of the bloggers I see are hoping that their blogs will make them popular. They are also hoping their blogs will make them money. This isn’t exactly surprising. Fame and riches are supposed to go hand in hand, after all.
But when you need a new stream of income tomorrow, you don’t write ten more blog posts.
You create a new product. You launch an email campaign. You make a special offer. You network. You find a great new JV partner. You ask for referrals and check in with your current clients.
Similarly, when you want to get more subscribers for your blog tomorrow, you don’t launch a product.
You write better content. You get more active on social media. You guest post on other people’s blogs. You link to other good articles. You improve your SEO.

Building a profitable business and creating a popular blog are two different things

Related, yes. But different.
The most popular blogs you know do not make most of their money simply by racking up the subscriber numbers. They make their money with products, consulting, services, and advertising.
They make their money by running a successful business. The fact that they run a popular blog facilitates that business.
If Brian wants to launch a product tomorrow, he has a big, engaged audience to whom he can launch it.
Having a huge audience who will listen when you launch a product isn’t the profitable part, though.
The profitable part is that Brian will create a product that his audience wants and needs. He’ll run an informative and compelling launch. He’ll have an affiliate program that works and a sales sequence that converts prospects into buyers.
Does the large subscriber base help with that product launch? Absolutely. But the blog itself is not the thing that’s making money.
If Copyblogger, with its magnificently large platform, were to launch a terrible product with a really weak campaign and only promoted it with a few blog posts to this vast audience of readers, they wouldn’t make enough money to pay my grocery bill.
Having a popular blog is not enough. You still have to build the business.

No, of course you shouldn’t neglect your blog

There are many, many virtues to a popular blog: social proof, credibility, enhanced visibility. They’re good for forging new business contacts and partnerships. They’re good for attracting potential customers for the products you’ll make or services you’ll provide.
They’re brilliant for creating relationships. I don’t know my dentist as well as I know some bloggers. And I trust my dentist with my teeth even though he comes at them with a variety of pointy things with hooks on their ends. Blogs help us make those trusting, potentially valuable connections, and for that reason alone, they’re worth pouring time and energy into.
But no matter how hard you try, your subscriber numbers are never going to magically transform themselves into your bank balance.
When it comes to making money, simply having a blog isn’t enough. Now you have to take all the things the blog has given you — visibility, authority, a reputation for knowing your industry, social proof — and put them to work building you a profitable business.
Because it won’t happen on its own.
If you want to use your blog as a jumping-off place for that business, though, Third Tribehas got you covered.
The seminar you’ll want to listen to is the 4-part series on Building a Business Around a Blog, which features interviews with Sonia Simone, Darren Rowse, Chris Brogan, Brian Clark, and Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. They cover a lot of ground, including:
  • The three factors your blog must have if you want to make serious money with advertising
  • Brogan’s two favorite ways to start bringing in revenue by using a blog
  • The specifics about where the bulk of their income really comes from (you may be surprised)
  • Why “blogging about blogging” isn’t the way to go
  • How Darren uses surveys to build his business (and why Brian doesn’t)
  • A quick creativity technique to develop the next killer idea for your business
  • How to handle pushback if your customers respond negatively to your products
I listened to all four of these interviews. And not once, in hours of discussing techniques, business-building ideas, and marketing strategy, did any of these bloggers say that the best way to make money was to get more subscribers.
They’ve got a few ideas for how to do that too, though. Because blogs are valuable — just not in the way you think.
You can get instant access to all four seminars (and a dozen more), as well as Q&A sessions and the web’s best networking forum for internet businesspeople, by joining the Third Tribe today.
About the Author: Taylor Lindstrom is a freelance copywriter and Assistant Editor ofCopyblogger. She’s taking lots of notes about how to turn sharp copywriting into a profitable business.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bloggers versus Copywriters: 8 Reasons why Bloggers do it Better

So I subscribe to way too many newsletters - the upside is I share what I find so you don't have to reada them all. You are welcome. (capability:mom - 8/20/10)

From Problogger
It’s true. Bloggers do it better. The good ones do anyway.
See for yourself: Choose a handful of your favorite blogs and a handful of static websites, and compare the writing.
(TIP: Try to choose sites that look professionally designed, as they’re more likely to have professionally written copy.)
Which ones grab you? Which ones keep you reading? Which ones are friendly and full of personality, and make you feel like you’re part of a conversation, not on the receiving end of a lecture?
Guaranteed, it’s the blogs. (As a copywriter myself, this is a painful admission. But it’s true.)
It seems counter-intuitive, I know. After all, most copywriters write for a living, whereas most bloggers just wish they did. And most copywriters are trained, qualified, experienced writers, whereas most bloggers are trained, qualified and experienced at something else entirely.
So why are your favorite bloggers writing more effectively than most copywriters? I’ve thought long and hard about this, and I see 8 main reasons…
Read the rest of the article here

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Twitter Users Get Up Close and Personal With Brands

From Center for Media Research

A new study released by ExactTarget finds consumers who are active on Twitter are three times more likely to impact a brand's online reputation through syndicated Tweets, blog posts, articles and product reviews than the average consumer.

The study supported the general findings that microbloggers have many reasons to follow brands they like. Though discounts and sales are toward the top of the list, news and information about a company and its products are primary. The survey of more than 1,500 consumers identifies top motivations for following brands on Twitter and provides new insight into consumers' expectations for interacting with brands online.

Reason to Twitter Company or Brand (% of US Twitter Users)
Reason to Twitter% of Users
Get updates on future products
Stay informed about company activities
Receive discounts and promotions
Get updates on upcoming sales
Ger free samples, counons, etc
For fun or entertainment
Get access to exclusive content
Learn more about company
Show support to company to others
Share ideas, provide feedback
For education about company topics
Get direct message from company
Source: ExactTarget, August 2010

eMarketer estimates there are 26 million monthly users of Twitter in 2010. That makes users of Twitter a relatively small minority of internet users, at 14.6%, but their voice is disproportionately loud.

Morgan Stewart, principal, ExactTarget's research and education group, says... "what happens on Twitter doesn't stay on Twitter...  the number of active Twitter users is less than Facebook or email... (but) the concentration of highly engaged and influential content creators is unrivaled-it's (the) gathering place for content creators whose influence spills over into every... corner of the internet."
According to the report, daily Twitter users are about three times as likely as internet users on average to upload photos, four times as likely to blog, three times as likely to post ratings and reviews, and nearly six times as likely to upload articles.

Monthly Online Social Activites (April 2010, % of Daily Twitter Users vs. General Internet Users)
Social ActivityTwitter UsersGeneral Internet Users
Comment on photos or videos
Upload photos
Post to forums
Comment on blogs
Post ratings and reviews
Comment on news
Update own site
Upload articles
Upload video
Upload audio
Post to wikis
Sell online
Post coupons
Source: ExactTarget, August 2010

Key findings of the research include:
·      Twitter users are the most influential online consumers; 72% publish blog posts at least monthly, 70% comment on blogs, 61% write at least one product review monthly and 61% comment on news sites.
·      Daily Twitter users are 6 times more likely to publish articles, five times more likely to post blogs, seven times more likely to post to Wikis and three times more likely to post product reviews at least monthly compared to non-Twitter users.
·      23% of online consumers read Twitter updates at least monthly.
·      11% of online consumers read Twitter updates, but do not have a Twitter account themselves.
·      20% of consumers indicate they have followed a brand in order to interact with the company, more than become email subscribers or Facebook fans for the sake of interaction.
·      Men are more than twice as likely as women to follow brands on Twitter to interact with the company (29% compared to 13%).
·      Nine out of the 10 most common motivations for consumers to follow a brand on Twitter involve consumers seeking information from a company.
Tim Kopp, ExactTarget's chief marketing officer, concludes that "Twitter offers marketers an unrivaled opportunity to instantly and personally interact with customers on behalf of a brand... "

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

BlogHer Conference: What Mom Bloggers Want

By Maryanne Conlin Wednesday, August 18, 2010 from Engage:Moms

If the annual Blogher Conference, held earlier this month at the New York Hilton is any indication, working with bloggers is high on the agenda of many, if not most, major brands and agencies.

Generally accepted as the conference for female (and a few male) bloggers, attendance more than doubled this year (2,400 attendees) and was packed with representatives of major -- and quite a few smaller -- brands. This was my third year attending the conference and, as always, I was slightly bemused and more than a little overwhelmed by the three days of sessions, parties, exhibits and gatherings.

This year, I noted that attendance by brands in many of the sessions crept up again, composing at least a third of attendees for popular topics. And this year there seems to be a greater meeting of the minds.

The focus of the conference this year was "Power." While most bloggers don't deliver the eyeballs of traditional print (which is shrinking by the minute), they can deliver a targeted niche with a very effective CPM. That is not to say that outreach to bloggers will continue to be free. Blogger outreach and social media in general are beginning to straddle the gap between paid and earned media.

After being taken seriously as writers, bloggers most want some kind of acknowledgement of their work. Increasingly, this is taking the form of some kind of payment. This topic came up quite a bit at the conference.

In the Federal Trade Commission panels at Blogher, business discussions arose around the FTC ruling that any type of payment to bloggers, including free samples, needs to be acknowledged by the blogger and the brand is responsible for at least making that clear to bloggers with whom they work.

At topic-specific sessions, again and again bloggers wondered why brands do not offer some type of payment -- something as simple as buying an ad on a blogger's page to compensate them for running a contest.

The gap still exists between bloggers who, increasingly, would like to be paid for their work and brands who believe bloggers should be treated as paid journalists are when writing a review, but it is narrowing. This is perhaps out of necessity as brands find that bloggers, overwhelmed by pitches from agencies, are not as open to taking on reviews as they were in the past ... and getting that review can end up taking a lot more work.

Now is the time when more thoughtful approaches to blogger outreach will bear fruit. Bloggers often act as alpha consumers rather than journalists. Their writing influences numerous potential consumers, but in many ways, they respond to outreach more as consumers than as journalists.

Keeping that in mind may make the difference between brands whose social media programs succeed and those who don't this year.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Moms: From Coupons to Conversion

By Megan Maguire Wednesday, August 11, 2010 from Media Post Publications

It's no surprise that Moms are true dealmakers when it comes to shopping and saving money. For decades, marketers have tried to grab the attention of this influential demographic with compelling offers to save more on their brand through coupons. As technology pushed Moms online, marketers followed, offering exclusive downloadable deals through couponing sites and, more recently, by using social media in the hopes of making these deals -- and their brand -- go viral.

With so much competition in couponing, Mom Central wanted to know what Moms really thought about saving money through store and brand promotions. In July, we surveyed 2,200-savvy Moms to better understand what deals entice them the most; what avenues they use to find coupons; how they share the best deals with others; and what offers make them stray from their favorite brands.

The offer matters most. Moms are most likely to purchase an item they generally wouldn't if offered a coupon that saves them more than 50%. Moms find these discounts more valuable than other offers including "buy one, get one," instant coupons attached to products, and bulk discounts (i.e., saving by purchasing more than three items at once). To help ensure the success of coupon-driven campaigns, brands must first understand Moms' tipping point -- the product-specific offer that is just enough to entice them to purchase something new.

Moms make the effort to save. 96% of Moms have used a coupon to purchase a brand they would not normally buy, and 74% visit more than two stores weekly to redeem coupon offers. Though most still prefer clipping coupons (72%), marketers should diversify offers both online and off as 70% of Moms find coupons online and 73% subscribe to couponing emails or newsletters. Integrated campaigns combining viral distribution of paper coupons through offline influencers with online promotion on couponing websites and blogs enable Moms to find the deals that best fit their shopping habits, ultimately supporting long-term redemption.

Brand loyalty trumps even the best deals. Despite their efforts to save, Moms aren't always willing to use coupons. 82% reported brand loyalty to certain items, citing the perceived quality (71%) and value (51%) of the brand for its price as their primary reasons. When targeting this audience, brands should invest in unique offers that fit their audience, rather that simply offering a high-value deal.

Convenience equals conversion. Products must be easily accessible on store shelves or featured on promotional displays as 70% of Moms said they would give up on a coupon if they couldn't find the product in the store. Further, making coupons move with Moms through mobile applications may increase usage as 70% of Moms report forgetting to bring coupons along on shopping trips, and 89% say they would use coupons more if they were more convenient.
Influencer marketing drives awareness. 52% of Moms say they use social media to find discounts and 45% read couponing blogs. Tapping into these communities gives coupons added exposure to support long-term conversion and brand awareness.

With so many avenues to distribute coupons, marketers today have the unique advantage of reaching Moms in more ways than ever. Before simply pushing offers forward, first think about how the promotion will reach the target consumer.

Whether activating influential couponing Moms online, finding the unique offer new consumers can't refuse, or even developing a mobile app that makes couponing too convenient to resist -- the success of a couponing promotion and its ability to convert new consumers into advocates relies on the brand's ability to first pinpoint which offer Moms simply won't be able to refuse.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blog Directories - Should you use them? What are they?

I was on Twitter last night, just cleaning up some people who may never follow me and following lists of people who do follow me...that is another post altogether...and I found Thomas Shea or Tommy's Lists blog. I had just talked about blog directories with Pragmatic Mom and I had not yet gotten around to adding my blog to the any. This post gave me a good list of the directories (which are free - unless you upgrade) and that increase your backlinks and increase your traffic.

60 Ways to Increase Your Influence Online

From CopyBlogger.

#1. David Meerman Scott. “Stop talking about your products and services. People don’t care about products and services; they care about themselves.” -@dmscott
#2. Anne Holland. “Improve the buttons on your landing page. Can you make your button bigger?” -@anneholland55
#3. Mike Volpe. “We share lots of things that most companies would keep internal. By sharing both the good and the bad, you build digital influence.” -@mvolpe
#4. Michael Port. “Consistency. Consistency demonstrates commitment. You’re going to earn trust because you’re consistent.” -@michaelport
#5. Liz Strauss. “Know where you’re going — because who would want to follow you if you don’t know where you’re going?” -@lizstrauss
#6. Robert Scoble. “Follow better people. The better your inbound is, the better your output will be. And your output is what people follow.” -@scobleizer
#7. Carol Roth. “Align yourself with outstanding strategic partners.” -@carolroth
#8. Scott Porad. “Make connections with people online, and then go and meet them in person in the real world, offline.” -@scottporad
#9. Joe Pulizzi. “Create content that stands for something: what I call Higher PurposeContent Marketing.” -@juntajoe
#10. Laurel Touby. “Each month, on the first day of the month, assign yourself 3 digital trends you’ve been hearing about and do a test drive.” -@laureltouby
#11. Hugh MacLeod. “We use other people’s stuff or other people’s content to socialize. And your stuff’s either a social object or it’s not.” -@gapingvoid
#12. Chris Guillebeau. “Avoid incestuous blogging. Instead of sticking to one niche, think bigger: what social circles are related to yours?” -@chrisguillebeau
#13. Laura Roeder. “Just start talking to people! Don’t worry about what to tweet, just start responding.” -@lkr
#14. Michael Margolis. “People either identify and connect with your story or they don’t. Have a story that’s worth telling.” -@getstoried
#15. Dave Navarro. “Find people who have your audience already and co-create products with them.” -@rockyourday
#16. Loren Feldman. “Either be super-fake and make believe you’re friendly to everybody, or be completely honest.” -@1938media
#17. Ann Handley. “Ground your content in who you are. Don’t be afraid to have a point of view. But also give it wings to soar freely and be shared.” -@marketingprofs
#18. Jim Kukral. “Facebook advertising: you can run ads on profiles of people that work just within certain organizations!” -@jimkukral
#19. Joselin Mane. “As soon as you meet someone, introduce that individual to someone else you know.” -@joselinmane
#20. John Jantsch. “Get very good at filtering and aggregating content. Deliver it to people at the right time, the right size, the right amount.” -@ducttape
#21. Marshall Kirkpatrick. “Be early in the news cycle on any conversation of general interest. Detect early voices out in the wilderness.” -@marshallk
#22. Shama Kabani. “Create [video] content around your area of expertise and then distribute, distribute with gusto!” -@shama
#23. Terry Starbucker. “The only way to build influence is to go out and try and get it yourself, and to overcome that fear of doing so.” -@starbucker
#24. Johnny B. Truant. “Defy convention where it’s appropriate. Only a few people dare to step outside. And people take notice of that.” -@johnnybtruant
#25. Jason Falls. “Share good content consistently. That’s how I’ve done it.” -@jasonfalls
#26. Robbin Phillips. “It is not about digital. It’s about people. It’s about passion conversations, not product conversations.” -@robbinphillips
#27. Yaro Starak. “Learn how to talk more about other people. If you’re looking to influence a certain thought leader, talk about them.” -@yarostarak
#28. Michael Stelzner. “Set up a fan page on Facebook. Make a welcome tab with a video on it, and ask a poll question.” -@mike_stelzner
#29. Erica OGrady. “Make people around you more successful than you are.” -@ericaogrady
#30. Gary Vaynerchuk. “Talk about things you know. The reason Wine Library TV worked was because I knew what I was talking about.” -@garyvee
#31. Nathan Hangen“Don’t worry about getting attention from other people. Make something worth talking about.” -@nhangen
#32. Danielle LaPorte. “Get yourself properly interviewed. Either hire a writer, or get yourself in front of a camera with a friend.” -@daniellelaporte
#33. Guy Kawasaki. “Repeat your tweets. I repeat them every eight hours.” -@guykawasaki
#34. David Bullock. “Move offline. Sometimes your market is not online. Use another media—television, radio, speaking events.” -@davidbullock
#35. Vanessa Fox. “A lot of people attract [visitors] from search. They’ve missed that big second step: solving their problems.” -@vanessafox
#36. Lewis Howes. “Find one specific niche and master that niche.” -@lewishowes
#37. Valeria Maltoni. “Do a weekly chat on Twitter. I’m a business strategist, so we use the principle of kaizen to help people at #kaizenblog.” -@ConversationAge
#38. Sergio Balegno. “Invest more time mapping a strategy for not just using social media, but for integrating social media with other tactics.” -@sergiobalegno
#39. Hank Wasiak. “Get rid of conventional views of influence. It should be about our influence — from my influence to our influence.” -@hankwasiak
#40. Mitch Joel. “Get active in other people’s communities. Get out of your own head and get into other people’s spaces.” -@mitchjoel
#41. Tamsen McMahon. “Building digital influence is about ‘digital dimensionality.’ Show as many sides of yourself or your business as you can.” -@tamadear
#42. Justin Levy. “Listen to the conversations around you. See how different networks interact, because not every network’s the same.” -@justinlevy
#43. Chris Garrett. “What you’re looking for is a long-term relationship. You don’t want to gain influence and lose influence.” -@chrisgarrett
#44. Cathy Brooks. “Think about the authenticity and consistency of your voice across your entire online and offline presence.” -@cathybrooks
#45. Todd Defren. “To change your world, start by trying to change the world. What is it that you feel passionate enough about to shake things up?” -@tdefren
#46. Brian Clark. “Learn to be a storyteller. Narrative — it’s what makes us human. Big media does it great. You have to as well.” -@copyblogger
#47. Scott Belsky. “Share your ideas liberally. Accountability and letting people know what you’re up to can make all the difference.” -@scottbelsky
#48. Wendy Piersall. “You have to put your business model before pursuing fame. Whatever you do online, make sure that it adds to your bottom line.” -@emom
#49. Mark Silver. “Many people are afraid to speak; if you speak for them, they will be listening.” -@markheartofbiz
#50. Dan Schawbel. “Go further down the long tail and choose a much smaller niche to focus on. Be the personal finance expert for Minnesota.” -@danschawbel
#51. Shashi Bellamkonda. “Find out from your customers which social networks they are using, and be there for them at the moment they need you.” -@shashib
#52. Gretchen Rubin. “Self-expression is the new entertainment. Get people talking. I had success just asking, ‘What’s your comfort food?’” -@gretchenrubin
#53. Muhammad Saleem. “Give as much as you can give. Too often we’re too focused on what we want to accomplish.” -@msaleem
#54. Aaron Kahlow. “Think about social media not as its own strategy, but a strategy to enhance your existing marketing and business goals.” -@aaronkahlow
#55. Alexandra Levit. “Target between five and ten individuals who you admire, whose work you’ve followed, and gradually start getting to know them.” -@alevit
#56. Steve Woodruff. “Identify gifted up-and-comers. By coming alongside them and becoming an advocate, you end up creating an advocate for life.” -@swoodruff
#57. David Siteman Garland. “Start the media arm of your company, whether it’s a special show, or a podcast, or an online magazine.” -@therisetothetop
#58. Amber Naslund. “Online influence is a slow burn. It’s something that’s grown by having quality one-on-one conversations over time.” -@ambercadabra
#59. Julien Smith. “Get someone else to take a look at what you have that you maybe take for granted and gives you an advantage over other people.” -@julien
#60. Brian Solis. “How do you become a thought leader? It starts with *being* a thought leader and then connecting the dots back to you.” -@briansolis
So there you have it: 60 of the most successful digital influencers, all sharing their thoughts on how you can increase your own digital influence.
Of course, each one is tweetable — what’s the point of wisdom if it can’t be shared? (Kudos to Chris Brogan for the original inspiration of “tweetable advice.”)
And if you want to join the conversation on influence, just include #influencer in your tweets. You’ll find a community of people waiting to interact with you.
And now, my friends, I ask you: which is your favorite tweet, and why? And how can you implement it in your business, starting today? Let’s have some fun in the comments. :)
Sam Rosen is the big-time, Daddy Warbucks CEO of ThoughtLead, a digital influence agency that helps brands use the web to spread important ideas, and the co-creator of theInfluencer Project — the shortest marketing conference ever.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Creating Great Taglines from CopyBlogger

From CopyBlogger.  Advice on creating great taglines.  About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and co-founder of Scribe. Get more from Brian on Twitter.

First up, here are two articles on ways to formulate a killer tagline:
Creating the perfect tagline is an expression of your positioning, so also check out these two articles about developing your winning difference:

Twitter Popularity versus Twitter Influencers

Popularity Is Irrelevant, Says New Measure of Influence on Twitter

The same team of HP researchers who proved that buzz on Twitter is an accurate predictor of box office sales for new movies has calculated a new way to measure influence on the micro-blogging social network.
Their algorithm turns out to be far better at predicting how far a link will travel than counting followers, and is even better than the PageRank algorithm that powers the search results delivered by Google.
It's called IP-Influence, and its predictive power reveals two facts important to anyone who wants to spread their message on Twitter:
1. The overwhelming majority of people on Twitter are passive - that is, they rarely if ever retweet anything.
2. The best predictor of how far a tweet or link will travel on Twitter is how much power its originator has to motivate the most passive of his or her followers to retweet it.
A user's IP-Influence does not correlate well with the number of followers they have, which explains why, among Twitter's most influential handles, Indonesian filmmaker Joko Anwar stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Google. Here, according to the HP analysis, are Twitter's most influential accounts, as measured by their ability to get their links retweeted and subsequently clicked on:
In the extreme case, SyFy has only 40,000 followers on Twitter, or less 1% of the followers of any of the most popular users on twitter, which just goes to show that Nerds > Justin Bieber any damn day of the week.
Future applications of this algorithm could allow savvy twitter watchers to accurately predict what topics and links are going to go viral on Twitter before they actually do. 

From Mims's Bits at Technology Review, published by MIT.  Here's the link.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

3 Step Guide to Getting More Traffic by Writing Less From CopyBlogger

Step One: Publish only one blog post per week

Whoever said you have to publish a blog post every weekday?
Nobody, as far as I can tell. It’s just what everyone does, and so most of us assume it’s the only way to do it.
But it’s not.
If you’re strapped for time, there’s nothing wrong with cutting back on the number of posts you publish each week. Your readers might even be grateful. Most people have so much to read that they don’t have time to keep up with all of your blog posts, and they feel bad about it. By cutting back, you make it easier for them to stay a subscriber.
So how many posts should you publish, exactly?
There’s no set number, but here’s a suggestion: start with one really good post per week, and if you have time, work your way up.
The key word is “good.” One well-written, well-thought-out blog post can get you more links and traffic than hundreds of hurried ones. Some writers are faster than others, but in general, if you’re spending less than two hours on most of your posts, you’re probably going too fast. Cut back the quantity, and focus on quality.
By itself, this will often double or triple your traffic. But it also does something else: it frees up time to focus on promotion.

Step Two: Publish one guest post per month on popular blogs

As you’ve probably seen, there are hundreds of strategies for promoting a blog. In an ideal world, you would use them all, digging dozens of channels for traffic to come flowing in.
There’s only one problem: you don’t live in an ideal world. And neither do I.
Even if you were working on your blog full-time with a dozen employees to help you, you couldn’t do everything.
So don’t try. Instead, focus on one strategy, and get really good at it.
My advice: start with guest blogging.
Here’s why: pretty much every other traffic strategy depends on you having connections.
To make SEO work, you need links from trusted sites. To make twitter work, you need to get retweets from people who have a lot of followers. To make social bookmarking work, you need connections with social media power users who can bring you dozens or even hundreds of votes.
And that’s hard when you’re a beginner, because you don’t have any of those connections.
In my opinion, it’s far, far easier to establish relationships with influential people first, and then use those connections to fuel the other strategies.
If you can publish just one guest post per month for popular blogs, at the end of the year, you’ll have made connections with twelve very influential people who can help you grow your blog. That’s not going to give you 100,000 subscribers all by itself. But it will give you a nice foundation, and it’s one you can build on.

Step Three: Slowly start doing more posts and promotions

Once you start getting results, I think you’ll find it’s a lot easier to expand your efforts.
Everyone is more motivated to work on something that’s working. If you land a guest post on a big blog and pick up a few hundred subscribers, you won’t have to push yourself quite so hard to work on your next post. You’ll want to do it, and that makes blogging a lot more enjoyable.
You’ll also have the connections you need to slowly start trying some other traffic strategies. For instance, you could:
  • Publish a special piece of content, such as a free report or video, and then use your connections to get links from popular blogs (Here’s a free tutorial on how to do that).
  • Build a following on twitter to help promote your posts, and then strategically make a post go viral (Here’s a free tutorial on how to do that, too).
  • Pick a search phrase that gets hundreds of thousands of searches per month, and then use your connections to get trusted links (That tutorial is coming this Friday).
By themselves, none of those strategies are new. Anyone who has been blogging for more than a few months probably dreams about attracting links, building a twitter following, and getting a first page ranking on Google.
The difference is you’ll actually be able to do it.
Cutting your posting schedule will free up the time you need to work on promotion, and guest blogging will give you the connections you need to pull them off.
It’s a very simple system, but it’s also one that gives you everything you need while investing a more reasonable amount of time.
Is the system perfect?
In fact, it has one serious flaw:

Isn’t getting a guest post on a popular blog kind of hard?

Yeah, it can be.
With audiences numbering in the tens or even hundreds of thousands, popular bloggers are justifiably careful about the quality of content they publish. Frequently, they also have a lot of bloggers volunteering to do guest posts, so the competition can be stiff.
But it’s not impossible. New bloggers do it on a regular basis here at Copyblogger, as well as many other popular blogs.
There’s no reason you can’t do it too. You just need a few tricks of the trade to help you get started.

Check out the free GuestBlogging.com videos

If you haven’t seen the GuestBlogging.com videos yet, you should check them out.
They’re free, and they contain some of the most powerful strategies I’ve learned while writing for Copyblogger and building popular blogs of my own. So far, thousands of people have signed up for them, and many are saying it’s some of the best blogging advice ever published.
The bad news is that I’m about to take it all down.
No, it’s not because I’m the King of Mean. (Even though I am.)
It’s because next week, I’m opening the doors to a new training program I’ve put together specifically for people who are serious about building a popular blog. I’ll leave the videos up for about another week, but once the training program starts, I’ll be taking them down to give members 100% of my attention.
I’ll probably be releasing them again at some point, but I’m not sure when, and I didn’t want the Copyblogger readers to miss out. So, if you’ve been looking for a strategy you can implement in your spare time without having a lot of connections, be sure to take a look.
It’s not the only strategy for building a popular blog. But if you’re strapped for time, I think it’ll work well for you.
About the Author: Jon Morrow is the Associate Editor of Copyblogger and the founder ofGuestBlogging.com. Get more from Jon on twitter.

The Importance of Writing Great Headlines to Your Posts

From Media Post Publications

by Rob Garner , Wednesday, August 4, 2010
If my title premise is correct, then my point has already been made, and this column should really end right here.  But what really amazes me about online publishing these days is the power of the headline.  Every day, both great and godawful articles alike thrive or die by their headline quality, or lack thereof.  In just a few short words, writers have the opportunity to relay the crux of their point, to include relevant keywords that might encourage scanning or clicking, or to just simply engage overall with a potential reader who may never see anything other than the title, and make a final judgment on the quality or truth right there.
I've lost track of how many times I've been in a meeting, and someone quoted an erroneous report or other incorrect information, based on the title of that particular piece of research, blog post, or article, because that was all he bothered to read.  In trying to work out a problem or recall information, I've also found myself questioning the accuracy of data based on my own recollection of only headlines, as I find it typical to scan hundreds per day. 
We all make mistakes, but the trend I've been seeing more of lately is that titles, when ranked highly for a given keyword or widely propagated via status in social networks, are most often taken as fact without even critically assessing or reading the document.  Headlines have long been the judgment and end of the story in print and other media, but there is something completely different going on within the speed of the network and search world.
If you want to know how much the misperception of quickly spread headlines in the digital realm cost, just askUnited Airlines. Back in September 2008, an old news story about United's 2002 bankruptcy was recrawled on a Web site with an unclear date, and subsequently posted by Google News.  The story was picked up by a Tribune Co. news editor who saw the bankruptcy headline title on Google, but apparently did not verify the date or accuracy of the story (United was in fact not bankrupt at the time of the recrawl, and well past its 2002 troubles).  The editor added this news bite to South Florida's Sun-Sentinel Web site, and a degenerative stock -selling frenzy ensued, taking out a 76% shark bite in one day before trading was stopped.  Though United recovered some ground when people started actually reading the story below the headline, the company ended up losing almost 11% in market cap for the day.  Many investors who bailed out at the bottom also lost big as well.  Again, this was all based on the frenzy of an unchecked headline that could have been easily verified, if anyone had bothered to do so. 

Building titles (as well as thinking critically about titles as a reader, searcher, and network user) is a serious deal, and though I'm not going to write an expanded how-to here, let's just say that more often than not, the success of your article or blog post hinges on it.  Here are a couple of fundamental make-or-break strategic details (misinterpretations notwithstanding) that are worth kicking around a bit more in the writing and content strategy process: 
1)     Write your headline with consideration of the reader or audience you wish to engage.  What is captivating about your piece, or are there any salient points in your article that sum it up?  In short, what is it about your article that would be compelling enough to make someone want to pass it along to their friends and networks?  It's a key question to ask, because in a world where content is disseminated instantaneously, grabbing your reader against the other hundreds or even thousands of daily headlines is critical.  It's a do-or-die proposition: whether your content travels via engagement with the headline, or not.
2)     Write your headline with consideration for how machines may interpret it, but not at the ultimate expense of your audience.  The bottom line is that when practicing "free range SEO" -- that is, creating your content and setting it free to earn SEO benefits on its own -- a good title that addresses the literal ways people use search will ultimately determine whether that page ranks or not.  So that awesome 20,000-word tome on the benefits of "online banking" should have the keyword "online banking" somewhere in the title, if that is what the article is about.  If the writer chooses to use "non-searched for" terminology, fine.  Just don't expect it to independently have the slightest shot at ranking for a highly desired term not included in the title, or have any extended shelf life in search, no matter how engaging the article is, or how many links it attracts. 
And make sure that your date stamps and conventions are clear and accurate for the purpose of real-time search.
Certainly there are deeper pieces of research going on about this phenomenon of the decline of critical analysis and attention spans in the digital and networked world.  If you have read this far, you are also probably interested in this topic.  For those interested persons, I'd recommend reading a great piece in the August 2008 The Atlantic("Is Google Making Us Stupid?" by Nicholas Carr -- great title, by the way) about how technology changes the way we think (the part about Nietzsche's change in writing and aphoristic thought is particularly compelling).  Also check out Copyblogger.com for other excellent writing tips if you haven't already done so. And don't forget the timeless, self-deprecating classic, "'Search-Engine-Friendly' Copywriting Style Is Often Not Very Friendly To Humans," which still ranks at #2 in Google for the term "search engine friendly copywriting" to this day.

Women Shaping Web

From Center for Media Research

According to a comScore study, Women on the Web: How Women are Shaping the Internet, social networking sites reach a higher percentage of women than men globally, with 75.8% of all women online visiting a social networking site in May 2010 versus 69.7% of men.

Globally, women demonstrate higher levels of engagement with social networking sites. Although women account for 47.9% of total unique visitors to the social networking category, they consume 57% of pages and account for nearly 57% of total minutes spent on these sites. Women spend significantly more time on social networking sites than men, with women averaging 5.5 hours per month compared to men's 4 hours.

Linda Boland Abraham, comScore chief marketing officer and executive vice president, says "... women across the globe share some similar usage patterns online... but it's also important to understand gender differences on a regional, country and local level, where cultural differences are continually shaping online usage and content consumption..."

Worldwide Social Networking Category Usage and Engagement by Females and Males (May 2010 Total Worldwide Audience, Age 15+ - Home & Work Locations)
Social Networking
% Reach
% Composition Unique Visitors
% Composition Pages
% Composition Minutes
Average Hours per Visitor
Total Audience
All Females
All Males
Source: comScore Media Metrix, July 2010

Social Networking's reach among women is highest in Latin America where it reached 94.1% of females online, and in North America where it reached 91.0% of females. Europe saw 85.6% of its female online population visit a social networking site in May 2010, while in Asia Pacific, where parts of the region still face low broadband penetration and site restrictions, reported a 54.9-percent reach.

Social Networking Category Reach by Worldwide Region for Females and Males (May 2010 Total Audience, Age 15+ - Home & Work Locations)
Social Networking % Reach by Region
Latin America
North America
Asia Pacific
Source: comScore Media Metrix, July 2010

Additional findings from the report include:
  • Although men are in the majority across the global Internet, women spend about 8% more time online, averaging 25 hours per month on the Web
  • Globally, women spend 20% more time on Retail sites overall than men. Among the various retail sub-categories, Comparison Shopping and Apparel sites reached the highest percentage of women at 24.8% and 18.7%, respectively, in May 2010
  • In the U.S., women are more avid online buyers than men, with 12.5% of female Internet users making an online purchase in February 2010, compared to 9.3% of men
  •  Health sites show some of the largest overall differences in reach between female and male, with a nearly 6-point gap between global women and men
  •  In most countries women spend far less time watching online video than men, but women spend a much higher share of their time watching videos on YouTube than men
  •  In both the U.S. and Europe, smartphone usage is dominated by men with both markets experiencing close to a 60/40 split in smartphone adoption between the genders
To learn more about the study, and to download a PDF copy of Women on the Web, please visit here.