Thursday, March 31, 2011
Twitter is a marketing bomb if used the right way. I have been using twitter for more than 2 years now and have been benefited only when I discovered the right way to use it.
Just like many of us I usually blindly do 2 things:
Blindly follow as many as suggested twitter accounts to follow.
Blindly tweet every single post on my blog using the retweet plugins.
I can for sure say these two are the biggest mistakes that could get your cracker wet.
The major pattern you could see on Twitter is:
You get followed back by many if you follow them
People subscribe to auto-follow tools to increase the follower counts
Your Twitter dashboard is flooded with tweets if you leave it un touched for 10 minutes
As soon as you tweet you see few new visitors from twitter landing on your website / blog
Is that what Twitter is all about – a few extra visitors, lot of blind tweets, flooded dashboards and huge chunk of followers to show off?
Now let me share what I learnt the hard way and something that could really help you benefit.
I created another twitter account and followed a different strategy that the one I used to use and many of us still use.
I had the new Ground rules this time:
Only follow who I really wanted to
Will try to keep the follower to following ratio unequal
Have a straight forward profile Bio (simple words about me and what I do)
Have a real profile pic (preferably not a graphic unless you are a huge brand)
Respond to direct messages
Visit / Reply to interesting tweets and if good, re-tweet.
Meet / interact with real people and build contacts
How this was different from my previous approach
With my old profile even though I had 8000+ followers on a retweet I used to get 120 -150 new hits on my blog posts. Then what are the 7850 followers for? Spamming you? I guess you have got the message I am trying to send across.
Here is a snapshot of my account: ( I have 60 people I follow and 1794 followers)
Take Home: Twitter is all about real people and real contacts – build them and you would be rewarded.
About the Author: Joshu Thomas is a Blogger from India. Blogging and web development helped him become independent, and that is why loves it. You can read more from him on his website, OrangeCopper.com.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
The following three strategies will assist you:
1. Move confusing sentences to a clean page
Ever been whistling along with your blog post when suddenly you arrive at a thought you’re trying to express on paper, yet it’s being completely uncooperative like a toddler who refuses to eat his brussels sprouts?
If you’re dealing with a bratty sentence that doesn’t want to be clear and concise, don’t let it just sit there misbehaving. You have to discipline it. To do so, move the disorderly sentence away from your post, onto an empty page.
Once you’ve pasted the confusing sentence into clear, white space, begin formulating a new sentence underneath it. By moving the confusing sentence outside of your post and onto an empty page, you won’t be distracted by the rest of your writing. The singularity of focus gained will help you create a better, clearer sentence.
Sometimes it’s helpful when pasting the confusing sentence to include the surrounding sentences for context.
2. Replace a word used in consecutive sentences when it’s monotonous
I’ll use an example from a blog post I wrote that uses a river as a metaphor. Pay close attention to how the word ‘rushing’ is used in two consecutive sentences.
Here’s the original segment:
“Do you hear the sound of the water rushing over the rocks? Tell me… when you hear the rushing water, when are you hearing it; in the past or the future? Neither. It’s only possible to hear this precious sound in the now.”
Do you notice how the word ‘rushing’ used in these consecutive sentences sounds monotonous? Using this word consecutively dulls the delivery because it’s repetitive to the reader’s ear. Instead, it’s best to replace one of the usages of ‘rushing’ with a synonym or something close to it.
Look at the improved version with the second use of ‘rushing’ replaced with a new word:
“Do you hear the sound of the water rushing over the rocks? Tell me… when you hear the babbling water, when are you hearing it; in the past or the future? Neither. It’s only possible to hear this precious sound in the now.”
Much better sounding prose, no? In the aforementioned example, replacing one of the usages of ‘rushing’ actually fosters a more vivid picture in the reader’s mind. A thesaurus can help you come up with a good replacement for a word that’s detrimentally used twice in a row.
3. Don’t over explain
Our writing often gives enough information so that the reader will understand what you’re conveying even if you didn’t specify every last detail. If you’re determined to give information that your readers will discern without your help, you’ve bloated your writing and slowed its delivery.
In the book On Writing, Stephen King reminds us, “If I tell you that Carrie White is a high school outcast with bad complexion and a fashion-victim wardrobe, I think you can do the rest, can’t you? I don’t need to give you a pimple-by-pimple, skirt-by-skirt rundown.”
The above principle applies equally to non-fiction.
Earlier I told you that when you’re dealing with a confusing sentence, you should move it onto an empty page and construct a clearer sentence underneath to take its place.
I also added this:
“Sometimes it’s helpful when pasting the confusing sentence to include the surrounding sentences for context.”
You’ll notice I didn’t specify how many surrounding sentences you should include because that’s something you’ll determine yourself, right?
When writing for your audience, always make clarity and engagement the highest priority.
About the Author: Bamboo Forest created Tick Tock Timer, an online timer that helps bloggers increase their focus and get more work.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
We all know the vast power of social media and the role it can play in your success as a blogger. However, there are still many, many blogggers who are not taking advantage of this phenomenon.
When I say taking advantage of it, I don’t mean posting your weekend activities on Facebook or tweeting out random thoughts you have throughout the day.
What I’m talking about is using social media to build relationships with your peers and with those who are in social circles that you want to be a part of
The Power Of Networking
Networking is especially important for a new blogger. If you think you can go it alone and see the same level of success, then by all means try it. However, if you want to speed up the process of building traffic and gaining new readers and subscribers, then you need to leverage other bloggers audiences. This is where networking comes in.
Great content is the starting point for a successful blog, but when you are just beginning, nobody is going to read it because you have no traffic. Building significant levels of traffic takes time and that’s part of the blogging process, but why not help yourself and begin networking with bloggers who have already achieved what you want?
For example, I have a fitness blog which has been running since 2008. It has never received more than 300 visitors in any given month. Why? Because I have not networked one bit. I have written my posts and done nothing to get people to read them.
Now take my current blog, I have focused my attention on building relationships through networking and have had much greater success. Here some of the things I have done which have helped grow my blog quite rapidly:
1. Use guest posting.
We have all heard that guest posting is a great way to reach out to more readers and build traffic. A few important things to keep in mind when using this method are:
Find a blog in a similar niche.I see a lot of bloggers who want to submit their post to a high traffic site even though it is in a completely different niche. Big mistake. Even if you get some traffic from it, chances are that they will have little interest in your topic. There is no point to driving traffic to your blog if nobody wants to read it or opt in to your newsletter.
Interact with those who comment on your guest post. Don’t just reply with a “thanks for the comment”, ask them questions and get them talking to each other, that’s how you will get them to come to your blog and become your readers too.
2. Use Twitter.
For months, I was resistant to Twitter because I thought it was a glorified chat room. When I was finally convinced to get on board by a friend, I discovered its potential. In my opinion, Twitter is themost powerful of all social media streams. Just in the last month, I have been in contact with “A” list bloggers and gotten their radar, formed relationships with very successful business owners and bloggers, and made several friends in the process. When used correctly, Twitter can be incredibly powerful and can have a huge impact on your business.
3. Be Useful.
Anyone can self promote and send link after link promoting their own stuff, but the real potential for massive traffic is when others start doing it for you. I can send out 20 tweets about my own most recent post and get a few visitors.
One tweet from someone like Pat Flynn, Brian Clark, or Yaro Starak will send 50 or 100 times the traffic that I could promoting myself. How do you get these big names to promote you? You need to get their attention. Email them something that will interest them, sell their products as an affiliate, send them a personal and unique Tweet, but you HAVE to provide value.
Successful bloggers are incredibly busy people and inundated with emails, calls, and everything else all day every day. You need to stand out, be different, and NOT be looking for a handout. “Please RT this” will not work with these folks.
4. Make Friends.
I have been lucky enough to meet a few people on Twitter who I can now call friends. It just so happens that these friends have blogs that are MUCH more successful than mine.
My intention is to build on those friendships and hopefully learn some things about blogging along the way. If you have a hidden agenda and are just using your “friendship” for your benefit only, it won’t last too long and you will have burned a very important bridge.
If we constantly ask our network to promote us, it will most likely ruin the relationship. However, if we are providing a good resource for people and our content is high quality, we may find that we get promoted without even asking. Just being mentioned in a high profile bloggers blog can send hundreds or thousands of visitors to our sites. The important thing here is to focus on building a network of friends, not promoters.
5. Give, Then Receive.
If you can adopt the philosophy that you need to give before receiving, you will be in a much better position in the long run.
If you can consistently promote high quality sites and valuable resources to your network, you will find that you will begin to build credibility and trust. These two things are absolutely critical to a building a successful blog.
People love to share information. It’s our job to share high quality and valuable information. If you find a new blogger who seems to have great ideas, by all means, send out a tweet. If you come across a fascinating article, share that too.
Don’t worry about others promoting you right now, that will come in time (assuming you have good content). Your focus should be on providing helpful resources and offering that information to your network. Over time and with a little luck, you may get the attention of the people whose blogs you have been promoting. That’s when great things can happen.
If you are not building your network in some capacity every day, you are severely limiting the growth of your blog. Make a commitment to building relationships with those in your niche and start building mutually beneficial relationships today!
You will be amazed at the difference it can make.
About the Author: Steve Roy is the owner of EndingTheGrind.com, a blog dedicated to helping people get out of their miserable jobs, build an online business, and live with passion!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Its that "TIME" already! Day Light Savings time starts Sunday March 13th at 2 am! This is just a friendly reminder to "spring ahead" and start going to bed a few minutes earlier each night so you can remain as productive as possible!
Friday, March 4, 2011
It’s more craft than art.
If you can internalize what’s required to write a solid blog post, you’ll beat out the competition in the same way someone with a black belt will usually win a fight against someone who hasn’t trained and internalized fighting principles.
While getting a black belt in blogging doesn’t guarantee you’ll become huge, it does significantly increase your chances.
Let’s examine some of the fundamentals you’ll need to master to receive your black belt in the craft of blogging.
1. Use Metaphors and Similes
Using metaphors and similes will increase the quality of your posts in two ways.
It helps your audience to easily understand a concept since you’ll be comparing the new concept with a concept they’re already familiar with.
It paints a picture in the minds of your readers which will engage and please them.
A metaphor I recently used was comparing water to focus. I explained to my audience that focusing on the negative is like randomly pouring water out of your canteen when you’re lost in a jungle and really need that water for survival.
Do you see how the above metaphor not only paints a picture that makes reading more enjoyable, but also instills the lesson with much greater impact than mere plain language does?
2. Be Succinct
Saying everything you want to say in fewer words requires more time than conveying the same message to your audience without concern of how many words you use.
It may seem odd that a shorter post often takes longer to write than a longer one, but it’s not.
When you strive to limit your word count without compromising your message, you have to be methodical in how you express your message. Conversely, when you’re indifferent about word count, you don’t need to make as much an effort in how you convey your message.
Just as a good martial artist strives to make every movement as efficient as possible with no wasted energy, likewise, you should make every post you write as short as possible without your message being compromised.
I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had time to make it shorter. ~Blaise Pascal (1623-1662).
Your readership will love you for being concise.
3. Be Entertaining
As Jon Morrow of Copyblogger has mentioned before, if all people wanted was information they’d buy a textbook.
One primary reason people read blogs is because they’re looking for a diversion from the mundaneness of life.
If you want to compete with the competition, discover and practice as many ways as possible to make your blog entertaining.
Here are some ways to do that:
Use metaphors and similes.
Share interesting experiences and how they relate to your message.
Use quotes from books, music bands, movies and TV shows to help illustrate your points.
4. Be Diligent
Unlike a black belt in the martial arts, once you get your black belt in blogging, it can be taken away from you within a moment’s notice.
In martial arts, once you get your black belt, you don’t necessarily have to spar with anyone from that day forward and you’ll always remain a black belt.
Not so with blogging.
You see, we’re fighting every day. Every day we’re fighting for people’s attention and trying to convince them that we’re worth staying subscribed to and that the competition can’t offer what we do.
There’s really only two ways to keep your black belt and it requires tremendous discipline.
1. Read like your life depends on it
I currently read an hour and a half a day and consider my reading more important than content creation for the simple reason that you can create all day long, but if it doesn’t shine, what good is it?
Reading diligently, blogs and books, will ensure that ideas are constantly coming to you and that they’re the kind of ideas that will keep your readers craving more of what you have to offer.
When I fall short in my reading regiment, fewer ideas come to me and the quality of ideas diminish.
2. Write like your life depends on it
While I definitely think reading is even more important than writing, writing’s a close second.
For starters, if you’re not updating your blog on a regular basis you can hardly be considered a blogging black belt no matter how much talent you have.
Writing is also the best way for you to practice all the techniques you’ve learned. Even in martial arts, any serious black belt never becomes complacent once they get to this exalted level. They just want to keep getting better.
What else do you need to receive your black belt in blogging?
About the Author: Tick Tock Timer is an online timer that helps anyone serious about getting things done be more productive, created by Bamboo Forest.