Author: Darren Rowse

A Simple and Non-Scary Guide to HTML for Bloggers

Simple guide to HTML for bloggers

Even if you haven’t launched your blog yet, you’ve probably come across the term ‘HTML’. You might know what it looks like. Or you might just have a hazy idea it has something to do with web pages – like I did when I started.

My first experience with HTML was back in 2002, when I wanted to change the design of my my first blog. But one look at all the seemingly random ‘code’ on the page and I immediately put designing my own blog in the ‘too hard’ basket.

In fact, anything remotely technical on that first blog felt too hard. Even making a word bold wasn’t easy. You couldn’t just hit the ‘b’ button in the back end of your blog to magically change it. You had to know the code for bolding words.

As a result, it took me three months of writing completely in plain text before I learnt my first bit of HTML code.

<strong></strong>

With that under my belt I decided I could learn a bit more. And I discovered the basics aren’t too hard to master.

And that with that knowledge comes benefits.

Like me when I started, many bloggers think HTML is complicated or intimidating. But it doesn’t need to be.

Today, I’ll explain what HTML is, what it looks like, how it works, and why it’s important for bloggers to have a basic grasp of it.

By the end of the post, you’ll be able to write your own simple HTML code (and I promise it’ll be much easier than you think).

Note: In this post, all instructions are for self-hosted WordPress blogs. But the HTML code itself will always be the same, regardless of what platform you use.

What Does HTML Mean, and What Does It Do?

HTML stands for ‘Hypertext markup language’.

It’s used to ‘mark up’ plain text so it can be formatted with paragraph breaks, bold or italic sections, coloured fonts, and much more.

The ‘hypertext’ part means the text can include links (or ‘hyperlinks’) to other resources.

If this blog post didn’t use HTML at all, it’ would start like this:

Even if you haven’t launched your blog yet, you’ve probably come across the term ‘HTML’. You might know what it looks like. Or you might just have a hazy idea it has something to do with web pages – like I did when I started. My first experience with HTML was back in 2002, when I wanted to change the design of my my first blog. But one look at all the seemingly random ‘code’ on the page and I immediately put designing my own blog in the ‘too hard’ basket. In fact, anything remotely technical on that first blog felt too hard. Even making a word bold wasn’t easy. You couldn’t just hit the ‘b’ button in the back end of your blog to magically change it. You had to know the code for bolding words. As a result, it took me three months of writing completely in plain text before I learnt my first bit of HTML code. <strong></strong> With that under my belt I decided I could learn a bit more. And I discovered the basics aren’t too hard to master. And that with that knowledge comes benefits. Like me when I started, many bloggers think HTML is complicated or intimidating. But it doesn’t need to be. Today, I’ll explain what HTML is, what it looks like, how it works, and why it’s important for bloggers to have a basic grasp of it. By the end of the post, you’ll be able to write your own simple HTML code (and I promise it’ll be much easier than you think).

Not very easy to read, is it? With HTML, the post has paragraph breaks, bold text, and more.

What Does HTML Code Look Like?

All of your blog posts already include HTML that WordPress has put there for you. Here’s an example of HTML:

<p>For a limited time, you can buy my ebook for <strong>just $3.99</strong>.</p>

And here’s how that sentence would look on the live website:

For a limited time, you can buy my ebook for just $3.99.

This is what the code does:

  • The <p> and </p> start and end the paragraph.
  • The <strong> and </strong> start and end the section of bold text.

The <p>, </p>, <strong> and </strong> are called ‘tags’.

Each ‘element’ in HTML (e.g. a paragraph, a list, a section of bold text) has to have an opening tag and a closing tag. (You might also hear them called ‘start’ and ‘end’ tags.)

And closing tags always have a forward slash at the start.

This can be quite a lot to take in if you haven’t seen any HTML before. Here are another couple of example so you can see simple HTML tags in action:

<p>For a limited time, you can buy my ebook for <em>just $3.00</em>.</p>

This sentence would look like this:

For a limited time, you can buy my ebook for just $3.99.

<p>For a limited time, you can buy my ebook for <font color="red">just $3.99</font>.</p>[c]

This sentence would look like this:

For a limited time, you can buy my ebook for just $3.99.

Note: HTML instructions are always spelt using US English. So make sure you use ‘color’ and not ‘colour’.

How to View the HTML Version of One Of Your Blog Posts

When you write a blog post, you probably use the “WYSIWYG” (“What You See Is What You Get”) editor. This lets you see your post formatted in the same way it will appear on your website.

But you can easily switch to the HTML view of your post by:

  1. Editing an existing post (or creating a new one)
  2. Clicking the ‘Text’ tab at the top of the posting box (next to the ‘Visual’ tab).

You’ll now see your post marked up with HTML code. For instance, the previous few paragraphs of this post would look like this:

Text view of post

To make things easier for you, WordPress doesn’t include the <p> </p> tags around paragraphs in the Visual editor. But they’re in the HTML on your actual site.

Creating an HTML Version of Your Post

If you’re guest posting for a blog that needs posts in HTML format, you can simply create your post as a draft on your own blog using the ‘Visual’ tab as normal.

Then click the ‘Text’ tab and copy the HTML version into Notepad document (or any other program that saves files as plain text).

When Might You Need to Use HTML?

Most of the time it makes perfect sense to stick with the visual editor. WordPress has made this more and more user friendly over time, and hopefully you’ll be able to do all the formatting you want using it.

However, sometimes it can be very handy to at least feel comfortable with viewing HTML and making minor edits.

For instance:

  • If something goes wrong with your post’s formatting and you can’t easily fix/undo it in the visual editor, you may be able to spot and correct the problem when you view the HTML code.
  • If you want to create a custom text widget for your blog (such as an ‘About’ widget to tell readers a little about you), it’s useful to be able to include a link to your ‘About’ page and a photo of you. While there are themes and plugins that can help, you may not want to add these to your blog. Using HTML is a quick, efficient way to achieve what you want with the widget.
  • If you’re asked to supply content in HTML format (e.g. when guest posting, and particularly when providing a guest post bio), you may need to copy and paste HTML (if not actually write it).

Trying Out Different HTML Tags

We’ve already looked at some simple HTML tags: <strong>, <em> and <font color=”red”>.

Here are some more tags to try. Create a draft post or page on your blog, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Line break: <br/>

This tag is opened and closed all in one, which is why it has a forward slash at the end.

The <br/> creates a single line break (not a paragraph break). You might use it if you’re writing poetry.

These
Words
Are
All
Separated
By
Line
Breaks

In the visual editor, you can hold down Shift while hitting Enter to create a line break.

Horizontal Rule: <hr/>

This is another tag that is opened and closed all in one. It creates a line across the page, like this:


It can be useful for separating one part of your blog post from another (e.g. if you have a special offer at the start or end).

In the visual editor, you can click the “Horizontal line” button to create one. It looks like this:

Horizontal line button in WordPress

Lists: <ul> or <ol> and <li>

As a blogger, you’re probably familiar with the importance of lists. You’ll almost certainly want to create a list using bullet points or numbers at some point or other.

In HTML, these lists are called:

  • Unordered lists: <ul> (with bullet points – like this list)
  • Ordered lists: <ol> (with numbers)

A list can look a little more complicated in HTML than some other elements. Not only does the list itself need an opening and a closing tag, each  item in the list also needs an opening and closing tag.

Take a look at this example:

<p>My shopping list included:</p>
<ul><li>Milk</li>
   <li>Bread</li>
   <li>Eggs</li></ul>

This HTML would create a list that looks like this:

My shopping list included:

  1. Milk
  2. Bread
  3. Eggs

If you wanted to number the items on the list, you can simply replace <ul> and </ul> with <ol> and </ol> respectively.

<p>My shopping list included:</p>
<ol><li>Milk</li>
   <li>Bread</li>
   <li>Eggs</li></ol>

My shopping list included:

  1. Milk
  2. Bread
  3. Eggs

Links: <a>

The HTML tag to create a link looks a little bit more complicated than the others that we’ve looked at. That’s because the tag includes the actual link.

Here’s an example:

<a href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/t/0/_/problogger/~https://problogger.com/republishing-old-blog-posts/">How to Republish Old Blog Posts – and Why You’ll Want to</a>

This creates a link that looks like this:

How to Republish Old Blog Posts  and Why You’ll Want to

The “href” part stands for “hypertext reference”. This is where you put the link (URL) of whatever you’re linking to. You must include the “http://” or “https://” here or the link won’t work.

It’s also really important to remember to include the closing link tag, </a>, otherwise the whole of your text will become a link.

Nofollow Links

And if you want to make a link ‘nofollow’ you can use the rel attribute which specifies the relationship between your post and the one you’re linking to. In this case the link would look like this:

<a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/t/0/_/problogger/~https://sitewhosponsoredyourpost.com/">Check out my sponsor here</a>

You use “nofollow” to tell Google you’re not endorsing the page you’re linking to (because you were paid for the link, for example), and that Google shouldn’t follow it or attribute any value to it for ranking purposes. But people can still click through to the page.

Images: <img>

The image tag is opened and closed all in one.

Here’s an example:

<img src="https://problogger.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/how-to-start-a-blog-in-5-steps.png"/>

You can see that the <img> tag operates in a similar way to the <a> tag. The “src” is commonly taken to mean “source”. It’s the link to the image online (normally on your own site, but you can also link to an image on a different site).

To find the link for an image on your own blog, open up your Media Library, find the image, and look for the “URL” field. This is the link to the image.

Giving These HTML Tags a Try

Go ahead and try some of these HTML tags (if you haven’t already). Open up a draft post or page on your blog, and type a few paragraphs or copy something you wrote (it doesn’t matter what).

Now have a go at entering some of the tags I’ve mentioned in this post. Don’t forget the closing tags. Switch back to the ‘Visual’ view to see how it looks.

Are You Feeling More Confident About HTML?

When you began reading this post, you may have felt unsure about HTML. But now you’ve seen examples of HTML tags and what they do, and I encourage you to spend ten minutes playing around with them in a draft post on your own blog.

There’s a lot more you can do with HTML, including creating ‘styles’ for your different elements. But we’ll leave it there for now.

I hope you’ve learned something new, and that you now feel more confident about occasionally using or editing HTML on your blog. Leave us a comment to let us know how you get on.

The post A Simple and Non-Scary Guide to HTML for Bloggers appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

244: How to Find More Traffic for Your Blog Offline

How to Promote Your Blog Offline

Today I’m tackling questions from listener, Julianna Barnaby about whether it’s important to spend time offline building your blog’s personal brand and reputation.

The answer is simple. “Yes.” Offline promotion is worth it. Get creative, and get out and meet people.

You may need to step out of your comfort zone, but that can be rewarding. You never know when someone you meet will become a reader, collaborator, team member, or even sponsor.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to offline promotion, and engagement is sometimes much stronger. People are more likely to comment on, share, and buy your products and services.

Offline methods to promote and grow your readership:

  • Events (conferences, conventions, and meetups): Go to events (or create your own) to speed up engagement and build relationships.
  • Media: Pitch ideas for stories to newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, etc.
  • Publications: Pitch story ideas to industry group publications, too. They’re always looking for stories and content.
  • Notice Boards: Post flyers about your blog in cafes, libraries, stores, etc.
  • Collaborate: Find organizations and retailers with networks of people you want to have as readers and receive value from your blog.

Links and Resources for How to Find More Traffic for Your Blog Offline:

Examples of How to Find More Traffic for Your Blog Offline

Join our Facebook group

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hey there and welcome to Episode 244 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you to start an amazing blog, to create brilliant content for that blog that’s going to change the lives of your readers, and also to work out how to sustain that blog, to make it a profitable venture not only for your readers but for you. You can learn more about ProBlogger and all that we do over at problogger.com.

Now, today’s podcast is brought to you by this year’s Success Incubator event, which I’m running with some good friends this coming September in Orlando, Florida. We ran our first Success Incubator last year and it was one of the highlights of my year. We’re going to evolve the event slightly this year to make it a little bit more of a Mastermind-style event. We’re limiting the numbers to keep it a little bit more intimate, and we’re also including considerable time not only for teaching—there’ll be a series of sessions which will be more workshop style—but also putting aside considerable time for Masterminding.

We’re running the event over an afternoon and then full day on the afternoon of the 24th of September, and then into the 25th of September, all day on the 25th. On the afternoon of the 24th, there’s going to be what we call our Power Sessions which are short, sharp teaching sessions, finished off by an unofficial kind of dinner, an opportunity for you to meet some of the other attendees. And then, all-day Tuesday you’re going to get some great teaching.

We have four sessions which we’re lining up, which we’re calling our Workshop Sessions, so there’s going to be input. And then also around those, having four opportunities for Masterminding. The Masterminds are all about you presenting your challenges, your situation of your online business, and allowing the rest of the group at your table to give you input, including our speakers.

You’re going to get access to some of the speakers, some people who’ve got years and years of experience, but also—this is where the value really came from last year—you’ve got access to an amazing group of other attendees who are on the same journey as you.

If you are thirsting for an opportunity for a day or so to get together with other people on this journey, to really put out there what you’re doing to have a critique, to have their ideas, and also contribute into other people’s businesses which could turn into all kinds of collaborations, then I really do encourage you to check out Success Incubator. Just head to problogger.com/successincubator.

Now, in today’s episode, Episode 244, I want to talk to you about how to find more traffic for your blog through offline measures. We have done many podcast in the past on how to grow traffic to your blog using online methods, but someone actually asked in our Facebook group in the last week or so, in other ways to do this in an offline setting. I actually think there are, and I think that beauty of going offline, is that you get a more engaged, more targeted reader. I’m going to talk a little bit about that.

I’m going to talk particularly about growing your audience through different styles of events, conferences made up, and those types of things. Then I’ve got a few other ones. Some of them are a little bit wacky but some of them I have seen do really well for different types of bloggers. If you are looking for more traffic, today’s episode is for you. You can find today’s show notes with the full transcript of the show at problogger.com/podcast/244.

Today’s episode really came about because Julianna Barnaby from thediscoveriesof.com asked in our Facebook group a question that stimulated it. She said, “I want to ask you whether you think it’s important to spend time building your personal brand and reputation outside of the online sphere., i.e., in face-to-face networking, in particular. How important do you think this is in cementing and growing your online presence, and what other channels that you found to be most rewarding? Is it conferences? Is it meetups? I would love to hear your thoughts. Julianna.”

Thank you, Julianna, for the question. In short, my answer is yes. I do think it’s really important to consider offline, as well as online, when it comes to growing your brand, your profile, seeking exposure, and particularly, finding new readers for your blog. One of the things I’ve noticed over the years in talking to thousands of bloggers, is that many bloggers struggle with the fact that a lot of their online promotion tends to get other bloggers reading your blog more than normal, real-life people. I don’t know whether that’s something that you relate to but one of the things I’ve noticed is that many newer bloggers, they tell me that most of their readers are other bloggers. They don’t actually have too many normal, everyday people. It can be a bit of an insular kind of an echo chamber. And one of the ways to break out of that, to find new readers is to go offline.

Let me just give you an example of what I mean by that. One of the big techniques that often is talked about as a way to grow your audience and to grow your profile, is to comment on other blogs. And this does work. It can get you new readers, it can build a relationship with the blogger that you’re commenting on, but it really makes a bigger impression upon the blogger than it does their readers. As a result, you can end up with this new reader or blogger, but not their readers as such. So one of the things I do encourage you to do is think about how can you find fresh audiences, and audiences are people who aren’t bloggers or podcasters or YouTubers—not that there’s anything wrong with bloggers, I have to say, because I know all of you are—but I think it’s also really important to ask yourself, “Where are the kind of reader that I want to have?” And the answer to that maybe online, but it may also be offline.

This is really important to some niches in particular. I was talking to one blogger recently and they have an audience of retirees. I know older people, retirees, people kind of in that phase of their life are definitely online today, but there’s a segment of them that perhaps aren’t as online as other ages. Maybe they’re hanging out in different places and maybe there’s an opportunity through that to reach them in different ways. That’s a big generalization, I know, but there are segments of the population who are less likely to be reading blogs, they’re less likely to be listening to podcasts, they’re less likely to be on YouTube, and so, how can you reach them? One of the answers to that is to go offline with your promotion and profile-building.

Now, what I want to do in the rest of this episode today is to give you some strategies, particularly around events, but also some other strategies for finding new readers for your blog and to build your profile. One of the things I want to say right upfront is that it’s really worth saying that some of the things I’m going to talk to you about today are not going to bring you deluges of traffic. They’re not going to create viral-like traffic. Some of them, actually, are just going to bring you one or two new readers at a time. But this is really important to hear. That’s where it starts and if you’re a new blogger, one or two new readers is actually a really important thing. Those one or two people will have a network of their own that they can potentially share what you’re doing with, and word-of-mouth always starts with one person sharing what you are doing with another person.

The other thing I’ll say about offline interactions that you might have: If you meet someone face-to-face and convinced them to read your blog, the chances of them becoming an engaged reader is much higher. The chances of that person coming back again the next day, that person sharing what you’re doing with another person is much higher than someone just randomly coming in from social media or randomly coming in from Google. Someone coming in from Google has a very high percentage chance of never coming back to your blog, not even taking notice of your logo or coming back again or sharing what you’re doing. But someone that you meet in person is going to be much more highly engaged and that person is much more likely to become a subscriber, to share what you’re doing with other people, to leave a comment, and to eventually buy something that you are selling as well.

These methods that I’m going to share with you today may not bring you millions of readers. In fact, they’re not likely to do that at all. But they’re going to bring you an amazing type of traffic and it’s well worth doing.

Okay, let’s look at some of the methods that I’ve kind of put together for you today. And I want to say right up front, I feel like I’m scratching the surface here. There are so many things that you can do and the more I thought about this, the more I realize there are all kinds of creative ways of getting your name, your profile, your blog’s URL in front of people. But let’s start with a few that I’ve come up with and, as I said, i’m going to particularly focus on events because Julianna kind of focused on that in her question.

Let’s talk about events. Events can be very powerful because they give you that face-to-face interaction that I was just talking about. They allow you to meet people in person, which gives you that chance to build a relationship which warms them up, speeds up the engagement that you might have with them. They’re powerful for that reason. They’re also powerful because most events are fairly targeted. They tend to target a niche so if you can find an event that is a good match for the type of reader you want to have, you can go to that event feeling reasonably confident that most people there are going to be potential readers or collaborators or partners or just influencers in your space. They also have a lot of people in the one space at the one time. It’s likely over an event or a day that you are likely to be in front of quite a few people, even if you are just there as an attendee.

Obviously, there’s a variety of types of events. There’s conferences. They’re essentially more around the content and teaching, and also have some networking opportunities. Then there’s exhibitions or conventions or shows, and these are more centered usually about people exhibiting their products. They don’t tend to have as much content but they’re more about the exhibition hall. And then there’s meetups. These are more centered around networking.

Now, all three types of these events can be worth attending but each presents a really different opportunity. I think it’s really worth thinking about the event you’re going to and the opportunities that it present, because there’s been times where I’ve been to an event thinking that one thing would happen and another thing ended up happening.

Let’s go through these three types again. Conferences. Conferences present opportunities for you as an attendee to network and also present opportunities perhaps, to speak or to volunteer even, or to participate in other ways. I’m going to give you examples of those in a moment.

Conventions, on the other hand, tend not to have as much, in my experience, networking opportunities. Some of them do have a bit of networking built into them. They’re not so much about finding new readers, in my experience, but they can be really good for finding new collaborators or even sponsors for your blog. For example, I’ve been to some really big camera shows. These are big exhibition spaces where all the big manufacturers are displaying their cameras. I remember going to the first of one of these thinking, “I’m going to meet lots of potential readers for my blog. There’s going to be lots of people there interested in cameras.” As it turns out, I didn’t meet any potential readers in my blog but I met a sponsor, I met other people in the media who became great contacts, I met people who could send me review units for my blog so that I can review these cameras. So it ended up being a very worthwhile time but I went there expecting that I was going to meet new readers. Conventions tend to be better for those type of opportunities, although, you’ll be open to finding new readers as well.

Meetups, on the other hand, are great for networking. They may not get you in front of the whole group but they might be small enough that you can actually get around to each person in the room individually. You can also have opportunities sometimes with meet-ups to become a sponsor, or even to help organize or offer prize for draw. There’s a variety of different smaller ways that you can be involved in meetups.

That’s kind of a summary of three of the main types of events. But what can you actually do at an event? Particularly focusing upon conferences, what can you actually do when you’re there? Now, there’s a whole art in using a conference to build your profile and perhaps that’s a topic for another podcast altogether.

But ultimately, there’s a few things you can do and probably the best one, the one most people think about, is speaking at an event. Now, speaking at an event obviously gets you in front of a lot of people quickly, particularly if you can get a main speaking slot, which is pretty much unachievable for most of us. But it is unachievable to get even the smaller speaking spots for some people. It’s something that takes time. Usually from my experience, getting asked to speak at an event means that you had to already build your profile quite a bit in an industry or you need to know someone and have a relationship with the organizers of the event in some way.

I don’t want to focus so much up on speaking at an event because perhaps that’s a little bit unachievable for those starting out, but there’s plenty of other ways that you can build your profile at an event. Ultimately, a lot of it has to do with getting out there and meeting as many other attendees, speakers, and organizers as you can. It’s largely about networking.

Now, that word, ‘networking,’ I know is sending some of you into the fetal position as you think about getting out of your comfort zone, going up to complete strangers, and introducing yourself. To be honest, I’m kind of cringing even saying the word because that’s me. I am incredibly shy. Now, I’ve learned over the years how to push myself out of my comfort zone and I’ve seen the benefits of doing that. But it doesn’t come naturally to me. And really, I find it so hard. I find it so difficult to walk up to someone, introduce myself to someone cold. Now, I’ve got the advantage these days, often speaking at events which does open up opportunities for people to come up to me, but I still find it very hard to meet new people.

I went to an event just a couple of months ago and I remember sitting in that event in this massive auditorium. I was speaking at an event, but also I just look like an attendee. I remember sitting there and I was very aware I had people on either side of me that I didn’t know. I knew instinctively that I probably should be putting my hand out saying, “Hey, I’m Darren. Nice to meet you,” but I found it so hard to do it.

But you know what? Almost every time I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone to do that, something good has come out of it. I have met people who’ve become readers in my blog. I’ve met people who are already readers of my blog who were too shy to introduce themselves. I’ve met people who’ve become collaborators. Once I met someone who became a team member of my blog. I met someone who became a sponsor of my blog who just happens to be sitting next to me in a session. It is so well worth pushing yourself out of that. Now, I know it’s hard but you need to suck yourself up for this sort of thing.

Of course, there’s plenty of other things that you can do at an event as well. I know bloggers who go to events and before they go they’ll print t-shirts with their logos so they can wear that. That often opens up a conversation. I know people who go to events dressed in fancy dress costume to draw attention to themselves. It’s probably not something I feel too comfortable doing, but it does work for some personalities. I know some people who create business cards with little mini-gifts on them. I know someone who bakes cookies to give out at conferences or put sweets on their business cards. I know people who use stickers. When I go to meetups, they stick stickers on everyone they meet, which can be a little bit try hard but also can end up fun.

There’s a variety of different things you can do at events, too. I guess make your splash a little bigger at the event. Now, you want to be careful about how you’re coming across. Some people that will come across is a little bit try hard, a little bit too self-promotional. You need to think about the event you’re going to and how that is going to be received. Some events are a little bit more conservative, so you showing up in a fancy dress putting stickers on everyone probably isn’t going to fly. But I think just being a good human being, being friendly at these types of events goes a long way.

A few other things you can do at events that I’ve seen really work for people. Number one, become prominent on the event hashtag. This is going online a little bit. I know I’m talking offline here but we’re at an event. If you’re at an event, one opportunity that may present is to become very prominent on that hashtag. Not by going spammy and not by going over the top, but by creating value on the hashtag.

I’ve seen a number of people do this at our events. We almost always have someone come at our event as an attendee who pretty much live tweets the event. Even though we got people there live tweeting in our team, there’s almost always one attendee who shines through the whole hashtag by providing value there. Answering questions, creating social graphics with quotes on them. I know some people who take visual notes and then take photos of those and put them up onto the hashtag. It’s amazing how that stands out. There’ll be plenty of other people at your event following the hashtag, and if they see someone creating value, someone being generous on the hashtag, that stands out a lot. Because sometimes hashtags get a little spammy and self-promotional, you can really stand out in that way. And that can then open up opportunities for you to meet in real life with those people.

Another thing that I’ve seen work very well at events is for you to interview people at the event. I’ve talked about this in the past in a previous episode with Michael Stelzner, who now operates Social Media Marketing World and Social Media Examiner. The first time I met him was at a conference, probably was in 2005, a blogging conference. He contacted me before the event and said, “Hey, I’m bringing a camera crew with me to this event. Would you mind if we do an interview?” I’ve never heard of Mike before but I was kind of open to that opportunity. I was speaking at the event.

It turns out he did this with every speaker at the event, and during the event he pretty much met every speaker at the event because he had this camera crew with him. He put a big backdrop up and he interviewed us. I think he was wearing a t-shirt with his URL on it. This did a number of things. Firstly got him to meet all the key speakers at the event. Number two, he get to ask these speakers lots of questions, so he gained a lot of knowledge. Number three, he built relationships with other people at the event at well because he was being seen to be with the speakers and he pretty much launched his whole blog off this idea of interviewing people at the event.

Now, you may not be able to afford to get a camera crew at your event. But the fact is, you probably have a camera in your pocket already. You could be pulling out your iPhone at the end of sessions and saying to speakers, “Hey, do you mind if I ask you one question?” That is going to get on their radar and it gives you an opportunity after the event to contact that speaker and say, “Hey, here’s the YouTube clip of me asking that question.” Gives you a chance to take that relationship a little bit further. And it may also mean that that influencer, that speaker shares the clip with their network as well.

You can do the same thing not only with speakers but attendees as well, with the organizers of the event. This is just a great way to break the ice with people rather than going up and saying, “Hi, I’m Darren, um—” and then having an awkward moment of small talk. You could say, “Hey, I’m Darren. I am doing a few quick interviews. Would you mind me asking you a question or two?” I would advise you to keep it as short as you can. You don’t want to be dominating someone’s day by doing a 45-minute interview with them. Just a question or two can be really useful. That’s something you could try at an event.

The third thing you might want to try at an event, many events are calling for volunteers to be a part of running the event. This can take you away from the content of the event sometimes but it can also put you in a position to sometimes be up front or involved with speakers. Sometimes it just gives you a way to break the ice with other attendees because you are welcoming them, you’re greeting them, you’re signing them in, these types of things. And this can open up opportunities for you to have chats with people as well.

The fourth thing that you might want to do at an event is to be involved in other ways that the event is calling for. I went to an event recently and they were running what they called Table Talks during the breaks. These were with the head tables set out for people to chat about a particular topic. Each table had a leader, a moderator. Lots of conferences do this type of thing. These are volunteers who become the moderators but they get you in front of a group of people, and again, give you opportunities to talk about what you do. So, just be open to ideas and opportunities that might come.

I know one person, every event she goes to, she contacts the event organizer and says, “Hi, I’m a yoga teacher. Do you mind me doing a yoga session at 6:00 before the event starts?” Not every attendee is going to give you a space in their event to do yoga, but many event organizers are looking to add little quirky things like that in their events. It might get a little bit more interesting. And this person who tell me that they do this, says that most event organizers say yes, many of them give her a space to do it and many of them actually promote the fact that she’s doing it and they promote who she is as well.

Other things that you could add at an event. I know another blogger who always does a photo walk every event he goes to. Just an opportunity get a group of people together, who share an interest, to spend some time with them, and to be seen to be doing something proactive and constructive as well. Gets you on the radar of the event organizer but also attendees and can sometimes lead to other cool things as well.

Last thing aside that you might want to do at an event is consider sponsoring it. This may not be achievable for many of us because the big conferences particularly can charge quite a bit for sponsorship, but there’s a small event in your area where they are looking for s smaller sponsor, or they’re looking for someone to donate a prize, or they’re looking for someone to promote the event and they’re willing to promote you in exchange for that. Many events will talk to you about different ways that you can be involved in that as well. They could use some promotion as well.

The more I’m talking about smaller events they don’t just target the big events. I know some of you are going, “Well, I can’t afford to fly to Orlando to go to an event or to Vegas to go to an event,” but you might find it there are local events in your area that may not be as big. They may not get you in front of as many people but they do still present the type or reader that you want to have and people that you want to network with.

A couple of other things I would say about events. One other thing that I’ll mention is that there’s an opportunity, not only to attend the event of other people but to run your own event as well. This doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be expensive. At ProBlogger, we obviously run some bigger events. I just told you about Success Incubator which we’ll be doing in Orlando this year but we also ran events in Australia and we’ve had up to 700 people at those events.

But do you know what? Our events started much smaller. The first ProBlogger event we ran was for 100 people but before I did that, in 2005 I ran a meet-up and 10 people came in. That doesn’t sound like much, but do you know what? I know four of those people still today read ProBlogger and they’ve been reading ProBlogger since 2005. They’ve shown up at ProBlogger probably hundreds of hundreds of times each of them and they’ve told other people about ProBlogger.

To run that event it was so easy. I just registered it on meetups.com, which is a place that advertises meetups. Just by simply advertising on meetups.com I got a few people coming to the event who’ve never heard of me before. They became new readers but then I also advertise it to my current readers and some of those came as well. There wasn’t many people to that first meet-up. But the second time I ran that meet-up I had 20 or so people. Later on, that became our 100-person event ProBlogger. Even a small meet-up like that can work.

The other option is to collaborate about doing a meetup or an event as well. Maybe you could join with two other bloggers in your local area and run an event together, maybe a couple of podcasts, or maybe look for other types of partners as well. I’m going to talk at the end of this podcast about other types of collaborations but maybe there’s other partners like a media outlet or a brand or a local government agency or your local library. There’s a variety of different potential partners that may be able to work with you on events.

There’s also another kind of event that I’ve seen a number of bloggers used and that is local markets or swap meets. Now, just stick with me here. This sounds a little bit random but let me give you a couple of examples. This is going to depend a little upon your particular niche. The key is to find a market or a swap meet or some other kind of local event that matches with your topic. I can think of a few bloggers who’ve done this.

I can think of one fashion blogger who get sent quite a bit of second-hand kind of clothing. I’m sorry. She doesn’t get sent second-hand clothing, she get sent new clothing by brands. She gets gifted these to review on her blog. Most of it she doesn’t really want to keep so she sells it, which I think is kind of an interesting way to monetize a blog and the brands are fine with it. She goes to second-hand markets that operates every now and again in her area to sell the products. But while she’s there she’s also promote her blogs. She had this sign made that is the name of her blog and she has some business cards on a table in front of the clothes that she’s selling and some flyers. She promotes the fact that she’s going to be at that market on her blog as well and does a prize draw for anyone who signs up for her newsletter at the event. She’s there primarily to make some money to sell some stuff but she also uses that opportunity because she’s in public to promote her blog as well.

I know another parenting blogger who attends craft markets. Again, second-hand kids’ toys and clothes markets. She doesn’t go to these to sell anything. She actually hires a booth to promote her blog. She gets this booth, everyone around her is selling stuff, and she’s there handing out her business card, she’s got a screen set up with her blog on it, she runs a competition to get people to sign up for her newsletter, she’s got little gift packs to hand out to people that promotes her blog. She actually creates a real buzz in the middle of this craft market, and it’s all about her blog. She doesn’t make any money, costs her about $50-$100 depending on the market to do it, but she gets new readers every time she got people signing up for her newsletter.

I’ve seen another car blogger do this as well. He goes to car events and he ask the car event organizers if he can either be a sponsor or he can setup a little booth in return for income. He does a similar kind of stuff.

So, other markets, other second-hand markets, other swap meets, other places where your kind of reader is showing up. Now, most of this is localized. Most of this is happening in your local area, so it’s probably going to better suit you if you are trying to reach a local audience but it doesn’t really matter. Many of these bloggers are actually looking for a wider audience but they end up having quite a few in their local area as well. These are just creative-wise thinking about it.

The last type of event you might want to think about running yourself is a free workshop. Now, I’ve mentioned this strategy in a previous episode as well, so I’m not going to go into great detail. In my early days of blogging, particularly my early photography blog, I used to run camera training workshops at my local library. I noticed that the library just around the corner from my house was doing these Thursday night workshops and they’re doing it on all kinds of topics.

I went to one, someone else was running on traveling to Morocco, for example. It was kind of random. I approached the librarian and said, “Hey, I know a bit about cameras. Would you like me to run an event on how to take better photos?” And they said, “Sure.” Well, I was looking for new topics.

So I ran my first one and I think about 30 people came. I didn’t know any of them, I didn’t promote it on my end at all. It was just 30 library members. I talked for 45 minutes, answered a few questions, and you know what? I know for a fact that many or at least some of those 20 or 30 people that came to that event became readers of my blog for years after that. I ended up running a number of these events and they grew every time I did it because people recommended it to other people.

Now there’s lots of community groups out there who are doing this type of thing, a running free workshop on things. Maybe it’s your local library, maybe it’s your school, maybe it’s your university, maybe it’s a church, maybe it’s a community group, maybe it’s a parenting group. I know there are parenting playgroup type of scenarios in our local area that bring in experts all the time to speak about different topics that relate to parents. Maybe it’s a men’s group, or a women’s group, or a sporting club, or a hobby-related club, or a local council, a chambers of commerce.

You probably won’t get paid anything for any of these but that’s good free exposure. And also to do practice at public speaking. This is gold. If you eventually want to be a keynote speaker at a big conference, you got to start somewhere learning the craft to speaking. These type of little opportunities to get up in front of a few people and to share can be good in the now but also to give you new skills as well.

The last thing to talk about those type of speaking opportunities is that sometimes that open up doors to speak at other larger events as well. I think it’s the second time I did that library workshop, there was someone who came to that who actually ran a larger photography event. He came because he thought, “Huh, this is interesting. I want to see what this guy knows,” and me getting that talk led me to being invited to this larger event that about 300-400 people at a camera club I was putting on. And it gave me an opportunity to speak in front of 300-400 people. You never know who’s in the audience. You never who the one or two people that you’re taking to might be or who they might know that might open up other opportunities.

Okay, I’ve covered events in quite a bit of detail there and hoped that you found some ideas through that. What I want to do now is talk about a few other things that you can do to promote your blog offline. Some of these will relate to some of you better than others but you know…

The second thing I want to talk about is media. Mainstream media are always looking for fresh stories. Now, you might hear mainstream media and go, “Oh, mainstream media is dead.” It’s actually not dead at all. The online world has overtaken a lot of it but mainstream media still is being consumed by lots of people. They’re always looking for ideas, for stories as well. The thing I’ve noticed about many mainstream media I like is that they are putting off journalists left, right, and center and there’s opportunities there to both pitch stories and help the journalists that remain, but also potentially to even write for mainstream media as well.

If you are going to pitch stories for mainstream media, you get through sort of the big media outlets, the national television shows in most type of things. You’ll probably more likely to get a response from the local television stations or local radio or local papers as well. And again, what you’ll find here is that if you can get into a local kind of space, then that can sometimes open up opportunities for you to get picked up or syndicated by larger outlets as well.

I talked to one blogger about a year ago now who told me they pitched their local suburban paper with stories about every six months and they had 80% hit rate on those. Again, she sent a couple of those and then being picked up by larger media outlets. Actually what she does is she take the article that’s written and then she send it on to the larger media. Sometimes they then syndicate that kind of content or pick it up and expand upon that story.

Now, think across the board here. TV can work, newspapers sounds a bit old-fashioned but they’re still being delivered, radio. Vanessa, my partner now wife, had a regular spot recently on a local radio station. She was invited to go on to do a five-minute spot every Saturday morning with a fashion tip. The radio host would interview her about things, pre-recorded and then played at live on the air. It was very easy for her to do that, that it gave her exposure to that audience. Free publicity for her blog. Of course, the radio station got five minutes of content out of it as well. So it’s a win-win type thing. She wasn’t paid, but it brought in new readers.

If you do want to think about media there, there are a couple of different services the could put you in touch with journalists. Probably the largest and best-known of them is Help A Reporter or HARO. You can find it at helpareporter.com. It’s a site that matches sources or experts in different areas with journalists. So if a journalist is writing about a particular topic and needs a quote or they need an insight on that particular topic, they go to helpareporter.com, they type in their topic and register that they’re looking for a quote or looking for a source and then you, if you registered as a source and you told HARO what your areas of expertise are, you get emailed when there’s a match between what journalist are looking for and what you know about.

There’s a number of these types of services out there. There’s an Aussie service called sourcebottle.com. They’re actually global now, they started here in Australia and they do a very similar thing to HARO.

These are ways that you can just register and then get told when there are media opportunities. You never know whether it’s going to be a journalist with a big audience or a small one. I’ve heard stories of people getting approached by tiny media outlets, but then others where HARO has opened up a spot on National Television in America in one of the breakfast shows, so you never quite know. It could be well-worth going as well.

The other type of media that you might want to explore is actually writing for the media as well. I mentioned just a moment ago how many a media outlet now have shrunk the amount of journalists they have and they actually now using freelance writers quite a bit. There maybe opportunity for you to pitch for articles in mainstream media. You may get paid, you may not, you may just get a byline. You obviously need to go into that knowing what the agreement is, but it can be an opportunity to grow your profile.

The other type of thing that’s kind of similar to media is other kinds of offline publications. Maybe there’s opportunity in the industry groups that relate to your topic. I know in the financial services, here in Australia there’s an accounting kind of body, there’s bodies for marketers, there’s bodies in different kind of industries, and many of these bodies have publications. Maybe it’s a newsletter that they email out every week or every month. Or maybe they still do a magazine and there’s opportunities in that case to be featured or to write content for those as well.

I know one blogger who works in the financial services industry. He’s a blogger. He’s got a blog on that particular topic and he approached a national body in his industry—the body has tens of thousands of members—and he offered to write them an article every quarter for them to use in their industry magazine. They jumped at the opportunity because he said he’ll do it for free as long as he get a byline. I think he might even get a small honorarium sort of payment for that, but it’s certainly not freelance rates. But they negotiated for him to promote his blog as part of that agreement.

Every quarter he sees a spike in traffic and subscribers. And he also told me that it has led to all kinds of other opportunities, particular speaking requests. Because he’s in the industry body magazine, every time it goes out, people get to know his name. He’s build his credibility and it opens up opportunities for him as well.

Similarly on digital photography school, we allow our articles to be republished by camera clubs in their newsletters. We have a rule that they’re not allowed to publish it on their websites because we don’t want the same content appearing on lots of websites, but we allow them to send it to their members, either if they print it out or via email, as long as there’s attribution as to where it came from. I know for a fact that by us allowing camera clubs to do that, that we found new readers. It bought us the type of readers we want. Someone who’s in the camera club is enthusiastic about their photography and that’s the type of person we want reading our site.

There might be opportunities for you to allow some of your previously published blog content to appear in different places. An example of this that I can think of here in Australia is a particular airline, Virgin Australia, has podcasts in their in-flight entertainment. I know a number of bloggers who have their content featured in that in-flight entertainment. I don’t think that they get paid a lot for that. I think there is some small fee that they are paid potentially—don’t quote me on that—but they get new listeners as a result of that. Is there a way that your content can be shared in another place by different kind of organization? There may be opportunities there for you to grow credibility and to grow your audience as a result.

Okay, the next one I want to talk about is notice boards and this is kind of a fun one. It’s one of those ones where you may not end up getting thousands and thousands of new readers for that, but it could get you the right kind of reader. I was at a local cafe a couple of years ago and I noticed they have this notice board. I ordered my coffee inside when I just noticed the notice board. It’s a type of notice board you probably seeing everywhere you go. You see these almost everyday. It allowed people to post flyers of events, or leave a business card for their business.

In the middle of this notice board was this flyer that was promoting a blog. I was like, “Wow! I’ve never seen anyone do that before.” It was beautifully designed, in color, stood out from everything else in the notice board, and it basically was about this particular blog. I think the blog was about parenting. It was particularly targeting parents in Melbourne, where I live. I took notice of it. Actually, I took notice of her URL and her Twitter handle.

I reached out to her on Twitter and said, “Hey, I just saw your flyer. I’d love to know how it works for you leaving that flyer there.” I thought she probably just left the flyer in that cafe. We have this DM conversation and she says she actually has this little folder in her car full of these flyers and every time she sees a community notice board, she goes to her car and gets one of the notices and puts it up.

She only does it in places where she’s allowed to do it, of course, but they go up in cafes, shopping malls, libraries, schools, churches, doctors’ surgeries, shop windows, anywhere where she sees other people doing it and there’s an invitation to do that, she puts one up. She usually asks for permission as well just to make sure. She told me that she pretty much puts one of those up everyday and was something that has worked for her. Her audience is a little bit more local. She’s targeting people within the city so it makes sense to do that, but maybe there’s some ways for you to grow your audience in that way.

One more example of a blogger who uses notice boards. I came across this blogger years ago. He had a blog targeting students. Don’t know if the blog is still alive anymore but at that time, he was offering courses that help the students to study. He printed up flyers and he was particularly looking for university students or college students. He put up these notices with a free opt-in on it.

It was one of this little notice flyers that had a little tear-off bits at the bottom with a URL. He used this URL, it said, “Tear off one of these, take it home, go to this website, plug-in your details, and we’ll send you a free study guide or we’ll send you something that’s going to help you with your studies.” He was only doing it in the local university and colleges in his city at the time, but had such an impact and he saw a number of people not only getting the opt-in, but buying his upsell from his opt-in as well. He ended up hiring people to do it in other cities around the U.S. as well. He had people in cities everywhere putting his flyers up. He paid them basically to go once a month and put up new ones because they actually drew him not only readers but drew him customers as well.

So maybe notice boards. I don’t know. It’s probably going to depend upon your topic on whether you can find a notice board kind of location that matches with what you are trying to do.

The last thing I want to talk about is collaborations. I kind of mentioned a number of these sort of collaborations already. But I really would encourage you to think creatively about other kinds of collaborators, other types of organizations that maybe already have networks and profile with the kind of person you want to read your blog. What could you offer them that gives them a win if they help you out by giving you some exposure or introducing you to the right people?

Earlier I gave you the example of where I spoke at my local library and in some ways, that was a collaboration. I gave them a workshop, I gave them some content, I got people into their library who maybe wouldn’t have come into their library on that particular day, and they promoted what I was doing to their members, which got me new readers and exposure.

There’s so many different ways that you could potentially do this and here’s just a few of them. What about your local government? Here in Australia we call them our local council, maybe it’s a local chamber of commerce, I don’t know what you call it in your particular area, but many times a local kind of governments and councils are running events. Now what events are they running that relate to what you do? What programs do they have? What services do they have for the type of person you were trying to reach out to?

If you are a parenting blogger, most local councils in our area are doing kind of early childhood kind of word in some form or another. Maybe there’s an opportunity for you to volunteer, for you to sponsor, for you to participate in the events that they run, for you to speak at their events in some way.

Same with industry associations. Other opportunities to collaborate. We’ve already talked about how you can write for their newsletters, but are they looking for speakers for their events? Are they looking for volunteers to help them run their events? Are they looking for help with their social media? Are they just running meet-up, some sales that you need to be participating in?

On last one, retailers. Retailers have databases of customers and if you can find a retailer that is selling something that you are writing about, then sometimes there can be synergy there. Now, this never actually came off but for a while there I was talking to one camera store retailer. We were talking really seriously about me offering them a free ebook to go with every camera that they sold. Now it didn’t end up working out in the end. They kind of go a little bit of cold feet. We didn’t quite work out the delivery system on it, but that would have been a great opportunity.

This camera store is selling thousands of cameras every month. What if I had the opportunity to have one of my ebooks go alongside each of those cameras that taught people how to use that camera and had maybe some opt-in associated with that, where I could capture their email address and get them across my blog a little bit more.

Maybe there’s some sort of creative ways that you could get out and collaborate with some other kind of organization that’s already got the kind of reader that you want to have. Brainstorm it, where are your readers gathering? Where are they buying products? What events are they heading to? Where do they go locally? Who are they listening to that you could reach out to and have a collaboration with? All these sort of collaborative opportunities, almost all of them that I’ve ever had have come out of relationships. The more you can get out there, you can meet people in your industry, you can hear what they do, you can listen to the outcomes that they want, and then you can communicate what you’re trying to do, and try to find some win-win exchanges that you can have with them. And who knows what will come as a result of that.

Many times, the things that I’ve talked to you about today, these things have relatively low costs. Probably going to an event is the highest cost, one I understand that that can be a little bit out of some people’s budgets. But many things I’ve talked about today, don’t really have much cost to them apart from your time and your effort. So I wish you luck in promoting your blog and your business in the offline space, as well.

Now if you like, I just scratched the surface today. I’ve seen people do so many other things I could talk about, printing and giving away t-shirts with your blog’s name and your URL on them, or giving away other kind of merchandise. I know one blogger who gives out coffee mugs and he tells me people see people drinking from that coffee mug and ask what that is about, maybe you can donate prizes at a local fundraiser, maybe you could offer to judge competitions, maybe you could put on an award ceremony in your local area. All these things can help you to find the reader that you want to have. And I would love to hear what you’ve tried. The sky’s the limit, really and the more we hear from each other on what we do, the better.

So if you tried any offline promotion, whether it’s worked or not, I’d love to hear about it. You can leave a comment on today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/244 or you could head to our ProBlogger community on Facebook. Just search ‘ProBlogger community’ and you’ll find our Facebook group there. You can tell us, give us a tip. Just start with a hashtag tip or advice or something like that and let us know what it is that you have tried. Let’s share the knowledge, let’s learn from each other. It’s so much better when we do that.

Thanks so much for listening today. There’s been a lot of content from today’s show. Thank you for sticking with me through it. I’m almost losing my voice because of this podcast today, there’s so much I’ve talked about. I’d love hearing from many of you in the last week or so. In fact, I saw new reviews on iTunes a couple of weeks ago now. And over the next few days I had another 10 new reviews left on iTunes. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for those. They bring me great joy and encouragement. If you got a moment and you are listening to this on iTunes or on the podcast store in the Apple one, or any other one, please do leave us a review. Leave us a rating. It helps us to grow, gives me energy and inspiration as well.

I really hope you have a great week of blogging. Do check out Success Incubator again. It is happening 24th-25th of September in Orlando, Florida. Here in Australia, you’re waiting for our event details, stay tuned. It all happen later this year and I will let you know here in the podcast when that goes live. Success Incubator, just head over to problogger.com/success. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week.

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The post 244: How to Find More Traffic for Your Blog Offline appeared first on ProBlogger.

244: How to Find More Traffic for Your Blog Offline

How to Promote Your Blog Offline

Today I’m tackling questions from listener, Julianna Barnaby about whether it’s important to spend time offline building your blog’s personal brand and reputation.

The answer is simple. “Yes.” Offline promotion is worth it. Get creative, and get out and meet people.

You may need to step out of your comfort zone, but that can be rewarding. You never know when someone you meet will become a reader, collaborator, team member, or even sponsor.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to offline promotion, and engagement is sometimes much stronger. People are more likely to comment on, share, and buy your products and services.

Offline methods to promote and grow your readership:

  • Events (conferences, conventions, and meetups): Go to events (or create your own) to speed up engagement and build relationships.
  • Media: Pitch ideas for stories to newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, etc.
  • Publications: Pitch story ideas to industry group publications, too. They’re always looking for stories and content.
  • Notice Boards: Post flyers about your blog in cafes, libraries, stores, etc.
  • Collaborate: Find organizations and retailers with networks of people you want to have as readers and receive value from your blog.

Links and Resources for How to Find More Traffic for Your Blog Offline:

Examples of How to Find More Traffic for Your Blog Offline

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Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hey there and welcome to Episode 244 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you to start an amazing blog, to create brilliant content for that blog that’s going to change the lives of your readers, and also to work out how to sustain that blog, to make it a profitable venture not only for your readers but for you. You can learn more about ProBlogger and all that we do over at problogger.com.

Now, today’s podcast is brought to you by this year’s Success Incubator event, which I’m running with some good friends this coming September in Orlando, Florida. We ran our first Success Incubator last year and it was one of the highlights of my year. We’re going to evolve the event slightly this year to make it a little bit more of a Mastermind-style event. We’re limiting the numbers to keep it a little bit more intimate, and we’re also including considerable time not only for teaching—there’ll be a series of sessions which will be more workshop style—but also putting aside considerable time for Masterminding.

We’re running the event over an afternoon and then full day on the afternoon of the 24th of September, and then into the 25th of September, all day on the 25th. On the afternoon of the 24th, there’s going to be what we call our Power Sessions which are short, sharp teaching sessions, finished off by an unofficial kind of dinner, an opportunity for you to meet some of the other attendees. And then, all-day Tuesday you’re going to get some great teaching.

We have four sessions which we’re lining up, which we’re calling our Workshop Sessions, so there’s going to be input. And then also around those, having four opportunities for Masterminding. The Masterminds are all about you presenting your challenges, your situation of your online business, and allowing the rest of the group at your table to give you input, including our speakers.

You’re going to get access to some of the speakers, some people who’ve got years and years of experience, but also—this is where the value really came from last year—you’ve got access to an amazing group of other attendees who are on the same journey as you.

If you are thirsting for an opportunity for a day or so to get together with other people on this journey, to really put out there what you’re doing to have a critique, to have their ideas, and also contribute into other people’s businesses which could turn into all kinds of collaborations, then I really do encourage you to check out Success Incubator. Just head to problogger.com/successincubator.

Now, in today’s episode, Episode 244, I want to talk to you about how to find more traffic for your blog through offline measures. We have done many podcast in the past on how to grow traffic to your blog using online methods, but someone actually asked in our Facebook group in the last week or so, in other ways to do this in an offline setting. I actually think there are, and I think that beauty of going offline, is that you get a more engaged, more targeted reader. I’m going to talk a little bit about that.

I’m going to talk particularly about growing your audience through different styles of events, conferences made up, and those types of things. Then I’ve got a few other ones. Some of them are a little bit wacky but some of them I have seen do really well for different types of bloggers. If you are looking for more traffic, today’s episode is for you. You can find today’s show notes with the full transcript of the show at problogger.com/podcast/244.

Today’s episode really came about because Julianna Barnaby from thediscoveriesof.com asked in our Facebook group a question that stimulated it. She said, “I want to ask you whether you think it’s important to spend time building your personal brand and reputation outside of the online sphere., i.e., in face-to-face networking, in particular. How important do you think this is in cementing and growing your online presence, and what other channels that you found to be most rewarding? Is it conferences? Is it meetups? I would love to hear your thoughts. Julianna.”

Thank you, Julianna, for the question. In short, my answer is yes. I do think it’s really important to consider offline, as well as online, when it comes to growing your brand, your profile, seeking exposure, and particularly, finding new readers for your blog. One of the things I’ve noticed over the years in talking to thousands of bloggers, is that many bloggers struggle with the fact that a lot of their online promotion tends to get other bloggers reading your blog more than normal, real-life people. I don’t know whether that’s something that you relate to but one of the things I’ve noticed is that many newer bloggers, they tell me that most of their readers are other bloggers. They don’t actually have too many normal, everyday people. It can be a bit of an insular kind of an echo chamber. And one of the ways to break out of that, to find new readers is to go offline.

Let me just give you an example of what I mean by that. One of the big techniques that often is talked about as a way to grow your audience and to grow your profile, is to comment on other blogs. And this does work. It can get you new readers, it can build a relationship with the blogger that you’re commenting on, but it really makes a bigger impression upon the blogger than it does their readers. As a result, you can end up with this new reader or blogger, but not their readers as such. So one of the things I do encourage you to do is think about how can you find fresh audiences, and audiences are people who aren’t bloggers or podcasters or YouTubers—not that there’s anything wrong with bloggers, I have to say, because I know all of you are—but I think it’s also really important to ask yourself, “Where are the kind of reader that I want to have?” And the answer to that maybe online, but it may also be offline.

This is really important to some niches in particular. I was talking to one blogger recently and they have an audience of retirees. I know older people, retirees, people kind of in that phase of their life are definitely online today, but there’s a segment of them that perhaps aren’t as online as other ages. Maybe they’re hanging out in different places and maybe there’s an opportunity through that to reach them in different ways. That’s a big generalization, I know, but there are segments of the population who are less likely to be reading blogs, they’re less likely to be listening to podcasts, they’re less likely to be on YouTube, and so, how can you reach them? One of the answers to that is to go offline with your promotion and profile-building.

Now, what I want to do in the rest of this episode today is to give you some strategies, particularly around events, but also some other strategies for finding new readers for your blog and to build your profile. One of the things I want to say right upfront is that it’s really worth saying that some of the things I’m going to talk to you about today are not going to bring you deluges of traffic. They’re not going to create viral-like traffic. Some of them, actually, are just going to bring you one or two new readers at a time. But this is really important to hear. That’s where it starts and if you’re a new blogger, one or two new readers is actually a really important thing. Those one or two people will have a network of their own that they can potentially share what you’re doing with, and word-of-mouth always starts with one person sharing what you are doing with another person.

The other thing I’ll say about offline interactions that you might have: If you meet someone face-to-face and convinced them to read your blog, the chances of them becoming an engaged reader is much higher. The chances of that person coming back again the next day, that person sharing what you’re doing with another person is much higher than someone just randomly coming in from social media or randomly coming in from Google. Someone coming in from Google has a very high percentage chance of never coming back to your blog, not even taking notice of your logo or coming back again or sharing what you’re doing. But someone that you meet in person is going to be much more highly engaged and that person is much more likely to become a subscriber, to share what you’re doing with other people, to leave a comment, and to eventually buy something that you are selling as well.

These methods that I’m going to share with you today may not bring you millions of readers. In fact, they’re not likely to do that at all. But they’re going to bring you an amazing type of traffic and it’s well worth doing.

Okay, let’s look at some of the methods that I’ve kind of put together for you today. And I want to say right up front, I feel like I’m scratching the surface here. There are so many things that you can do and the more I thought about this, the more I realize there are all kinds of creative ways of getting your name, your profile, your blog’s URL in front of people. But let’s start with a few that I’ve come up with and, as I said, i’m going to particularly focus on events because Julianna kind of focused on that in her question.

Let’s talk about events. Events can be very powerful because they give you that face-to-face interaction that I was just talking about. They allow you to meet people in person, which gives you that chance to build a relationship which warms them up, speeds up the engagement that you might have with them. They’re powerful for that reason. They’re also powerful because most events are fairly targeted. They tend to target a niche so if you can find an event that is a good match for the type of reader you want to have, you can go to that event feeling reasonably confident that most people there are going to be potential readers or collaborators or partners or just influencers in your space. They also have a lot of people in the one space at the one time. It’s likely over an event or a day that you are likely to be in front of quite a few people, even if you are just there as an attendee.

Obviously, there’s a variety of types of events. There’s conferences. They’re essentially more around the content and teaching, and also have some networking opportunities. Then there’s exhibitions or conventions or shows, and these are more centered usually about people exhibiting their products. They don’t tend to have as much content but they’re more about the exhibition hall. And then there’s meetups. These are more centered around networking.

Now, all three types of these events can be worth attending but each presents a really different opportunity. I think it’s really worth thinking about the event you’re going to and the opportunities that it present, because there’s been times where I’ve been to an event thinking that one thing would happen and another thing ended up happening.

Let’s go through these three types again. Conferences. Conferences present opportunities for you as an attendee to network and also present opportunities perhaps, to speak or to volunteer even, or to participate in other ways. I’m going to give you examples of those in a moment.

Conventions, on the other hand, tend not to have as much, in my experience, networking opportunities. Some of them do have a bit of networking built into them. They’re not so much about finding new readers, in my experience, but they can be really good for finding new collaborators or even sponsors for your blog. For example, I’ve been to some really big camera shows. These are big exhibition spaces where all the big manufacturers are displaying their cameras. I remember going to the first of one of these thinking, “I’m going to meet lots of potential readers for my blog. There’s going to be lots of people there interested in cameras.” As it turns out, I didn’t meet any potential readers in my blog but I met a sponsor, I met other people in the media who became great contacts, I met people who could send me review units for my blog so that I can review these cameras. So it ended up being a very worthwhile time but I went there expecting that I was going to meet new readers. Conventions tend to be better for those type of opportunities, although, you’ll be open to finding new readers as well.

Meetups, on the other hand, are great for networking. They may not get you in front of the whole group but they might be small enough that you can actually get around to each person in the room individually. You can also have opportunities sometimes with meet-ups to become a sponsor, or even to help organize or offer prize for draw. There’s a variety of different smaller ways that you can be involved in meetups.

That’s kind of a summary of three of the main types of events. But what can you actually do at an event? Particularly focusing upon conferences, what can you actually do when you’re there? Now, there’s a whole art in using a conference to build your profile and perhaps that’s a topic for another podcast altogether.

But ultimately, there’s a few things you can do and probably the best one, the one most people think about, is speaking at an event. Now, speaking at an event obviously gets you in front of a lot of people quickly, particularly if you can get a main speaking slot, which is pretty much unachievable for most of us. But it is unachievable to get even the smaller speaking spots for some people. It’s something that takes time. Usually from my experience, getting asked to speak at an event means that you had to already build your profile quite a bit in an industry or you need to know someone and have a relationship with the organizers of the event in some way.

I don’t want to focus so much up on speaking at an event because perhaps that’s a little bit unachievable for those starting out, but there’s plenty of other ways that you can build your profile at an event. Ultimately, a lot of it has to do with getting out there and meeting as many other attendees, speakers, and organizers as you can. It’s largely about networking.

Now, that word, ‘networking,’ I know is sending some of you into the fetal position as you think about getting out of your comfort zone, going up to complete strangers, and introducing yourself. To be honest, I’m kind of cringing even saying the word because that’s me. I am incredibly shy. Now, I’ve learned over the years how to push myself out of my comfort zone and I’ve seen the benefits of doing that. But it doesn’t come naturally to me. And really, I find it so hard. I find it so difficult to walk up to someone, introduce myself to someone cold. Now, I’ve got the advantage these days, often speaking at events which does open up opportunities for people to come up to me, but I still find it very hard to meet new people.

I went to an event just a couple of months ago and I remember sitting in that event in this massive auditorium. I was speaking at an event, but also I just look like an attendee. I remember sitting there and I was very aware I had people on either side of me that I didn’t know. I knew instinctively that I probably should be putting my hand out saying, “Hey, I’m Darren. Nice to meet you,” but I found it so hard to do it.

But you know what? Almost every time I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone to do that, something good has come out of it. I have met people who’ve become readers in my blog. I’ve met people who are already readers of my blog who were too shy to introduce themselves. I’ve met people who’ve become collaborators. Once I met someone who became a team member of my blog. I met someone who became a sponsor of my blog who just happens to be sitting next to me in a session. It is so well worth pushing yourself out of that. Now, I know it’s hard but you need to suck yourself up for this sort of thing.

Of course, there’s plenty of other things that you can do at an event as well. I know bloggers who go to events and before they go they’ll print t-shirts with their logos so they can wear that. That often opens up a conversation. I know people who go to events dressed in fancy dress costume to draw attention to themselves. It’s probably not something I feel too comfortable doing, but it does work for some personalities. I know some people who create business cards with little mini-gifts on them. I know someone who bakes cookies to give out at conferences or put sweets on their business cards. I know people who use stickers. When I go to meetups, they stick stickers on everyone they meet, which can be a little bit try hard but also can end up fun.

There’s a variety of different things you can do at events, too. I guess make your splash a little bigger at the event. Now, you want to be careful about how you’re coming across. Some people that will come across is a little bit try hard, a little bit too self-promotional. You need to think about the event you’re going to and how that is going to be received. Some events are a little bit more conservative, so you showing up in a fancy dress putting stickers on everyone probably isn’t going to fly. But I think just being a good human being, being friendly at these types of events goes a long way.

A few other things you can do at events that I’ve seen really work for people. Number one, become prominent on the event hashtag. This is going online a little bit. I know I’m talking offline here but we’re at an event. If you’re at an event, one opportunity that may present is to become very prominent on that hashtag. Not by going spammy and not by going over the top, but by creating value on the hashtag.

I’ve seen a number of people do this at our events. We almost always have someone come at our event as an attendee who pretty much live tweets the event. Even though we got people there live tweeting in our team, there’s almost always one attendee who shines through the whole hashtag by providing value there. Answering questions, creating social graphics with quotes on them. I know some people who take visual notes and then take photos of those and put them up onto the hashtag. It’s amazing how that stands out. There’ll be plenty of other people at your event following the hashtag, and if they see someone creating value, someone being generous on the hashtag, that stands out a lot. Because sometimes hashtags get a little spammy and self-promotional, you can really stand out in that way. And that can then open up opportunities for you to meet in real life with those people.

Another thing that I’ve seen work very well at events is for you to interview people at the event. I’ve talked about this in the past in a previous episode with Michael Stelzner, who now operates Social Media Marketing World and Social Media Examiner. The first time I met him was at a conference, probably was in 2005, a blogging conference. He contacted me before the event and said, “Hey, I’m bringing a camera crew with me to this event. Would you mind if we do an interview?” I’ve never heard of Mike before but I was kind of open to that opportunity. I was speaking at the event.

It turns out he did this with every speaker at the event, and during the event he pretty much met every speaker at the event because he had this camera crew with him. He put a big backdrop up and he interviewed us. I think he was wearing a t-shirt with his URL on it. This did a number of things. Firstly got him to meet all the key speakers at the event. Number two, he get to ask these speakers lots of questions, so he gained a lot of knowledge. Number three, he built relationships with other people at the event at well because he was being seen to be with the speakers and he pretty much launched his whole blog off this idea of interviewing people at the event.

Now, you may not be able to afford to get a camera crew at your event. But the fact is, you probably have a camera in your pocket already. You could be pulling out your iPhone at the end of sessions and saying to speakers, “Hey, do you mind if I ask you one question?” That is going to get on their radar and it gives you an opportunity after the event to contact that speaker and say, “Hey, here’s the YouTube clip of me asking that question.” Gives you a chance to take that relationship a little bit further. And it may also mean that that influencer, that speaker shares the clip with their network as well.

You can do the same thing not only with speakers but attendees as well, with the organizers of the event. This is just a great way to break the ice with people rather than going up and saying, “Hi, I’m Darren, um—” and then having an awkward moment of small talk. You could say, “Hey, I’m Darren. I am doing a few quick interviews. Would you mind me asking you a question or two?” I would advise you to keep it as short as you can. You don’t want to be dominating someone’s day by doing a 45-minute interview with them. Just a question or two can be really useful. That’s something you could try at an event.

The third thing you might want to try at an event, many events are calling for volunteers to be a part of running the event. This can take you away from the content of the event sometimes but it can also put you in a position to sometimes be up front or involved with speakers. Sometimes it just gives you a way to break the ice with other attendees because you are welcoming them, you’re greeting them, you’re signing them in, these types of things. And this can open up opportunities for you to have chats with people as well.

The fourth thing that you might want to do at an event is to be involved in other ways that the event is calling for. I went to an event recently and they were running what they called Table Talks during the breaks. These were with the head tables set out for people to chat about a particular topic. Each table had a leader, a moderator. Lots of conferences do this type of thing. These are volunteers who become the moderators but they get you in front of a group of people, and again, give you opportunities to talk about what you do. So, just be open to ideas and opportunities that might come.

I know one person, every event she goes to, she contacts the event organizer and says, “Hi, I’m a yoga teacher. Do you mind me doing a yoga session at 6:00 before the event starts?” Not every attendee is going to give you a space in their event to do yoga, but many event organizers are looking to add little quirky things like that in their events. It might get a little bit more interesting. And this person who tell me that they do this, says that most event organizers say yes, many of them give her a space to do it and many of them actually promote the fact that she’s doing it and they promote who she is as well.

Other things that you could add at an event. I know another blogger who always does a photo walk every event he goes to. Just an opportunity get a group of people together, who share an interest, to spend some time with them, and to be seen to be doing something proactive and constructive as well. Gets you on the radar of the event organizer but also attendees and can sometimes lead to other cool things as well.

Last thing aside that you might want to do at an event is consider sponsoring it. This may not be achievable for many of us because the big conferences particularly can charge quite a bit for sponsorship, but there’s a small event in your area where they are looking for s smaller sponsor, or they’re looking for someone to donate a prize, or they’re looking for someone to promote the event and they’re willing to promote you in exchange for that. Many events will talk to you about different ways that you can be involved in that as well. They could use some promotion as well.

The more I’m talking about smaller events they don’t just target the big events. I know some of you are going, “Well, I can’t afford to fly to Orlando to go to an event or to Vegas to go to an event,” but you might find it there are local events in your area that may not be as big. They may not get you in front of as many people but they do still present the type or reader that you want to have and people that you want to network with.

A couple of other things I would say about events. One other thing that I’ll mention is that there’s an opportunity, not only to attend the event of other people but to run your own event as well. This doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be expensive. At ProBlogger, we obviously run some bigger events. I just told you about Success Incubator which we’ll be doing in Orlando this year but we also ran events in Australia and we’ve had up to 700 people at those events.

But do you know what? Our events started much smaller. The first ProBlogger event we ran was for 100 people but before I did that, in 2005 I ran a meet-up and 10 people came in. That doesn’t sound like much, but do you know what? I know four of those people still today read ProBlogger and they’ve been reading ProBlogger since 2005. They’ve shown up at ProBlogger probably hundreds of hundreds of times each of them and they’ve told other people about ProBlogger.

To run that event it was so easy. I just registered it on meetups.com, which is a place that advertises meetups. Just by simply advertising on meetups.com I got a few people coming to the event who’ve never heard of me before. They became new readers but then I also advertise it to my current readers and some of those came as well. There wasn’t many people to that first meet-up. But the second time I ran that meet-up I had 20 or so people. Later on, that became our 100-person event ProBlogger. Even a small meet-up like that can work.

The other option is to collaborate about doing a meetup or an event as well. Maybe you could join with two other bloggers in your local area and run an event together, maybe a couple of podcasts, or maybe look for other types of partners as well. I’m going to talk at the end of this podcast about other types of collaborations but maybe there’s other partners like a media outlet or a brand or a local government agency or your local library. There’s a variety of different potential partners that may be able to work with you on events.

There’s also another kind of event that I’ve seen a number of bloggers used and that is local markets or swap meets. Now, just stick with me here. This sounds a little bit random but let me give you a couple of examples. This is going to depend a little upon your particular niche. The key is to find a market or a swap meet or some other kind of local event that matches with your topic. I can think of a few bloggers who’ve done this.

I can think of one fashion blogger who get sent quite a bit of second-hand kind of clothing. I’m sorry. She doesn’t get sent second-hand clothing, she get sent new clothing by brands. She gets gifted these to review on her blog. Most of it she doesn’t really want to keep so she sells it, which I think is kind of an interesting way to monetize a blog and the brands are fine with it. She goes to second-hand markets that operates every now and again in her area to sell the products. But while she’s there she’s also promote her blogs. She had this sign made that is the name of her blog and she has some business cards on a table in front of the clothes that she’s selling and some flyers. She promotes the fact that she’s going to be at that market on her blog as well and does a prize draw for anyone who signs up for her newsletter at the event. She’s there primarily to make some money to sell some stuff but she also uses that opportunity because she’s in public to promote her blog as well.

I know another parenting blogger who attends craft markets. Again, second-hand kids’ toys and clothes markets. She doesn’t go to these to sell anything. She actually hires a booth to promote her blog. She gets this booth, everyone around her is selling stuff, and she’s there handing out her business card, she’s got a screen set up with her blog on it, she runs a competition to get people to sign up for her newsletter, she’s got little gift packs to hand out to people that promotes her blog. She actually creates a real buzz in the middle of this craft market, and it’s all about her blog. She doesn’t make any money, costs her about $50-$100 depending on the market to do it, but she gets new readers every time she got people signing up for her newsletter.

I’ve seen another car blogger do this as well. He goes to car events and he ask the car event organizers if he can either be a sponsor or he can setup a little booth in return for income. He does a similar kind of stuff.

So, other markets, other second-hand markets, other swap meets, other places where your kind of reader is showing up. Now, most of this is localized. Most of this is happening in your local area, so it’s probably going to better suit you if you are trying to reach a local audience but it doesn’t really matter. Many of these bloggers are actually looking for a wider audience but they end up having quite a few in their local area as well. These are just creative-wise thinking about it.

The last type of event you might want to think about running yourself is a free workshop. Now, I’ve mentioned this strategy in a previous episode as well, so I’m not going to go into great detail. In my early days of blogging, particularly my early photography blog, I used to run camera training workshops at my local library. I noticed that the library just around the corner from my house was doing these Thursday night workshops and they’re doing it on all kinds of topics.

I went to one, someone else was running on traveling to Morocco, for example. It was kind of random. I approached the librarian and said, “Hey, I know a bit about cameras. Would you like me to run an event on how to take better photos?” And they said, “Sure.” Well, I was looking for new topics.

So I ran my first one and I think about 30 people came. I didn’t know any of them, I didn’t promote it on my end at all. It was just 30 library members. I talked for 45 minutes, answered a few questions, and you know what? I know for a fact that many or at least some of those 20 or 30 people that came to that event became readers of my blog for years after that. I ended up running a number of these events and they grew every time I did it because people recommended it to other people.

Now there’s lots of community groups out there who are doing this type of thing, a running free workshop on things. Maybe it’s your local library, maybe it’s your school, maybe it’s your university, maybe it’s a church, maybe it’s a community group, maybe it’s a parenting group. I know there are parenting playgroup type of scenarios in our local area that bring in experts all the time to speak about different topics that relate to parents. Maybe it’s a men’s group, or a women’s group, or a sporting club, or a hobby-related club, or a local council, a chambers of commerce.

You probably won’t get paid anything for any of these but that’s good free exposure. And also to do practice at public speaking. This is gold. If you eventually want to be a keynote speaker at a big conference, you got to start somewhere learning the craft to speaking. These type of little opportunities to get up in front of a few people and to share can be good in the now but also to give you new skills as well.

The last thing to talk about those type of speaking opportunities is that sometimes that open up doors to speak at other larger events as well. I think it’s the second time I did that library workshop, there was someone who came to that who actually ran a larger photography event. He came because he thought, “Huh, this is interesting. I want to see what this guy knows,” and me getting that talk led me to being invited to this larger event that about 300-400 people at a camera club I was putting on. And it gave me an opportunity to speak in front of 300-400 people. You never know who’s in the audience. You never who the one or two people that you’re taking to might be or who they might know that might open up other opportunities.

Okay, I’ve covered events in quite a bit of detail there and hoped that you found some ideas through that. What I want to do now is talk about a few other things that you can do to promote your blog offline. Some of these will relate to some of you better than others but you know…

The second thing I want to talk about is media. Mainstream media are always looking for fresh stories. Now, you might hear mainstream media and go, “Oh, mainstream media is dead.” It’s actually not dead at all. The online world has overtaken a lot of it but mainstream media still is being consumed by lots of people. They’re always looking for ideas, for stories as well. The thing I’ve noticed about many mainstream media I like is that they are putting off journalists left, right, and center and there’s opportunities there to both pitch stories and help the journalists that remain, but also potentially to even write for mainstream media as well.

If you are going to pitch stories for mainstream media, you get through sort of the big media outlets, the national television shows in most type of things. You’ll probably more likely to get a response from the local television stations or local radio or local papers as well. And again, what you’ll find here is that if you can get into a local kind of space, then that can sometimes open up opportunities for you to get picked up or syndicated by larger outlets as well.

I talked to one blogger about a year ago now who told me they pitched their local suburban paper with stories about every six months and they had 80% hit rate on those. Again, she sent a couple of those and then being picked up by larger media outlets. Actually what she does is she take the article that’s written and then she send it on to the larger media. Sometimes they then syndicate that kind of content or pick it up and expand upon that story.

Now, think across the board here. TV can work, newspapers sounds a bit old-fashioned but they’re still being delivered, radio. Vanessa, my partner now wife, had a regular spot recently on a local radio station. She was invited to go on to do a five-minute spot every Saturday morning with a fashion tip. The radio host would interview her about things, pre-recorded and then played at live on the air. It was very easy for her to do that, that it gave her exposure to that audience. Free publicity for her blog. Of course, the radio station got five minutes of content out of it as well. So it’s a win-win type thing. She wasn’t paid, but it brought in new readers.

If you do want to think about media there, there are a couple of different services the could put you in touch with journalists. Probably the largest and best-known of them is Help A Reporter or HARO. You can find it at helpareporter.com. It’s a site that matches sources or experts in different areas with journalists. So if a journalist is writing about a particular topic and needs a quote or they need an insight on that particular topic, they go to helpareporter.com, they type in their topic and register that they’re looking for a quote or looking for a source and then you, if you registered as a source and you told HARO what your areas of expertise are, you get emailed when there’s a match between what journalist are looking for and what you know about.

There’s a number of these types of services out there. There’s an Aussie service called sourcebottle.com. They’re actually global now, they started here in Australia and they do a very similar thing to HARO.

These are ways that you can just register and then get told when there are media opportunities. You never know whether it’s going to be a journalist with a big audience or a small one. I’ve heard stories of people getting approached by tiny media outlets, but then others where HARO has opened up a spot on National Television in America in one of the breakfast shows, so you never quite know. It could be well-worth going as well.

The other type of media that you might want to explore is actually writing for the media as well. I mentioned just a moment ago how many a media outlet now have shrunk the amount of journalists they have and they actually now using freelance writers quite a bit. There maybe opportunity for you to pitch for articles in mainstream media. You may get paid, you may not, you may just get a byline. You obviously need to go into that knowing what the agreement is, but it can be an opportunity to grow your profile.

The other type of thing that’s kind of similar to media is other kinds of offline publications. Maybe there’s opportunity in the industry groups that relate to your topic. I know in the financial services, here in Australia there’s an accounting kind of body, there’s bodies for marketers, there’s bodies in different kind of industries, and many of these bodies have publications. Maybe it’s a newsletter that they email out every week or every month. Or maybe they still do a magazine and there’s opportunities in that case to be featured or to write content for those as well.

I know one blogger who works in the financial services industry. He’s a blogger. He’s got a blog on that particular topic and he approached a national body in his industry—the body has tens of thousands of members—and he offered to write them an article every quarter for them to use in their industry magazine. They jumped at the opportunity because he said he’ll do it for free as long as he get a byline. I think he might even get a small honorarium sort of payment for that, but it’s certainly not freelance rates. But they negotiated for him to promote his blog as part of that agreement.

Every quarter he sees a spike in traffic and subscribers. And he also told me that it has led to all kinds of other opportunities, particular speaking requests. Because he’s in the industry body magazine, every time it goes out, people get to know his name. He’s build his credibility and it opens up opportunities for him as well.

Similarly on digital photography school, we allow our articles to be republished by camera clubs in their newsletters. We have a rule that they’re not allowed to publish it on their websites because we don’t want the same content appearing on lots of websites, but we allow them to send it to their members, either if they print it out or via email, as long as there’s attribution as to where it came from. I know for a fact that by us allowing camera clubs to do that, that we found new readers. It bought us the type of readers we want. Someone who’s in the camera club is enthusiastic about their photography and that’s the type of person we want reading our site.

There might be opportunities for you to allow some of your previously published blog content to appear in different places. An example of this that I can think of here in Australia is a particular airline, Virgin Australia, has podcasts in their in-flight entertainment. I know a number of bloggers who have their content featured in that in-flight entertainment. I don’t think that they get paid a lot for that. I think there is some small fee that they are paid potentially—don’t quote me on that—but they get new listeners as a result of that. Is there a way that your content can be shared in another place by different kind of organization? There may be opportunities there for you to grow credibility and to grow your audience as a result.

Okay, the next one I want to talk about is notice boards and this is kind of a fun one. It’s one of those ones where you may not end up getting thousands and thousands of new readers for that, but it could get you the right kind of reader. I was at a local cafe a couple of years ago and I noticed they have this notice board. I ordered my coffee inside when I just noticed the notice board. It’s a type of notice board you probably seeing everywhere you go. You see these almost everyday. It allowed people to post flyers of events, or leave a business card for their business.

In the middle of this notice board was this flyer that was promoting a blog. I was like, “Wow! I’ve never seen anyone do that before.” It was beautifully designed, in color, stood out from everything else in the notice board, and it basically was about this particular blog. I think the blog was about parenting. It was particularly targeting parents in Melbourne, where I live. I took notice of it. Actually, I took notice of her URL and her Twitter handle.

I reached out to her on Twitter and said, “Hey, I just saw your flyer. I’d love to know how it works for you leaving that flyer there.” I thought she probably just left the flyer in that cafe. We have this DM conversation and she says she actually has this little folder in her car full of these flyers and every time she sees a community notice board, she goes to her car and gets one of the notices and puts it up.

She only does it in places where she’s allowed to do it, of course, but they go up in cafes, shopping malls, libraries, schools, churches, doctors’ surgeries, shop windows, anywhere where she sees other people doing it and there’s an invitation to do that, she puts one up. She usually asks for permission as well just to make sure. She told me that she pretty much puts one of those up everyday and was something that has worked for her. Her audience is a little bit more local. She’s targeting people within the city so it makes sense to do that, but maybe there’s some ways for you to grow your audience in that way.

One more example of a blogger who uses notice boards. I came across this blogger years ago. He had a blog targeting students. Don’t know if the blog is still alive anymore but at that time, he was offering courses that help the students to study. He printed up flyers and he was particularly looking for university students or college students. He put up these notices with a free opt-in on it.

It was one of this little notice flyers that had a little tear-off bits at the bottom with a URL. He used this URL, it said, “Tear off one of these, take it home, go to this website, plug-in your details, and we’ll send you a free study guide or we’ll send you something that’s going to help you with your studies.” He was only doing it in the local university and colleges in his city at the time, but had such an impact and he saw a number of people not only getting the opt-in, but buying his upsell from his opt-in as well. He ended up hiring people to do it in other cities around the U.S. as well. He had people in cities everywhere putting his flyers up. He paid them basically to go once a month and put up new ones because they actually drew him not only readers but drew him customers as well.

So maybe notice boards. I don’t know. It’s probably going to depend upon your topic on whether you can find a notice board kind of location that matches with what you are trying to do.

The last thing I want to talk about is collaborations. I kind of mentioned a number of these sort of collaborations already. But I really would encourage you to think creatively about other kinds of collaborators, other types of organizations that maybe already have networks and profile with the kind of person you want to read your blog. What could you offer them that gives them a win if they help you out by giving you some exposure or introducing you to the right people?

Earlier I gave you the example of where I spoke at my local library and in some ways, that was a collaboration. I gave them a workshop, I gave them some content, I got people into their library who maybe wouldn’t have come into their library on that particular day, and they promoted what I was doing to their members, which got me new readers and exposure.

There’s so many different ways that you could potentially do this and here’s just a few of them. What about your local government? Here in Australia we call them our local council, maybe it’s a local chamber of commerce, I don’t know what you call it in your particular area, but many times a local kind of governments and councils are running events. Now what events are they running that relate to what you do? What programs do they have? What services do they have for the type of person you were trying to reach out to?

If you are a parenting blogger, most local councils in our area are doing kind of early childhood kind of word in some form or another. Maybe there’s an opportunity for you to volunteer, for you to sponsor, for you to participate in the events that they run, for you to speak at their events in some way.

Same with industry associations. Other opportunities to collaborate. We’ve already talked about how you can write for their newsletters, but are they looking for speakers for their events? Are they looking for volunteers to help them run their events? Are they looking for help with their social media? Are they just running meet-up, some sales that you need to be participating in?

On last one, retailers. Retailers have databases of customers and if you can find a retailer that is selling something that you are writing about, then sometimes there can be synergy there. Now, this never actually came off but for a while there I was talking to one camera store retailer. We were talking really seriously about me offering them a free ebook to go with every camera that they sold. Now it didn’t end up working out in the end. They kind of go a little bit of cold feet. We didn’t quite work out the delivery system on it, but that would have been a great opportunity.

This camera store is selling thousands of cameras every month. What if I had the opportunity to have one of my ebooks go alongside each of those cameras that taught people how to use that camera and had maybe some opt-in associated with that, where I could capture their email address and get them across my blog a little bit more.

Maybe there’s some sort of creative ways that you could get out and collaborate with some other kind of organization that’s already got the kind of reader that you want to have. Brainstorm it, where are your readers gathering? Where are they buying products? What events are they heading to? Where do they go locally? Who are they listening to that you could reach out to and have a collaboration with? All these sort of collaborative opportunities, almost all of them that I’ve ever had have come out of relationships. The more you can get out there, you can meet people in your industry, you can hear what they do, you can listen to the outcomes that they want, and then you can communicate what you’re trying to do, and try to find some win-win exchanges that you can have with them. And who knows what will come as a result of that.

Many times, the things that I’ve talked to you about today, these things have relatively low costs. Probably going to an event is the highest cost, one I understand that that can be a little bit out of some people’s budgets. But many things I’ve talked about today, don’t really have much cost to them apart from your time and your effort. So I wish you luck in promoting your blog and your business in the offline space, as well.

Now if you like, I just scratched the surface today. I’ve seen people do so many other things I could talk about, printing and giving away t-shirts with your blog’s name and your URL on them, or giving away other kind of merchandise. I know one blogger who gives out coffee mugs and he tells me people see people drinking from that coffee mug and ask what that is about, maybe you can donate prizes at a local fundraiser, maybe you could offer to judge competitions, maybe you could put on an award ceremony in your local area. All these things can help you to find the reader that you want to have. And I would love to hear what you’ve tried. The sky’s the limit, really and the more we hear from each other on what we do, the better.

So if you tried any offline promotion, whether it’s worked or not, I’d love to hear about it. You can leave a comment on today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/244 or you could head to our ProBlogger community on Facebook. Just search ‘ProBlogger community’ and you’ll find our Facebook group there. You can tell us, give us a tip. Just start with a hashtag tip or advice or something like that and let us know what it is that you have tried. Let’s share the knowledge, let’s learn from each other. It’s so much better when we do that.

Thanks so much for listening today. There’s been a lot of content from today’s show. Thank you for sticking with me through it. I’m almost losing my voice because of this podcast today, there’s so much I’ve talked about. I’d love hearing from many of you in the last week or so. In fact, I saw new reviews on iTunes a couple of weeks ago now. And over the next few days I had another 10 new reviews left on iTunes. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for those. They bring me great joy and encouragement. If you got a moment and you are listening to this on iTunes or on the podcast store in the Apple one, or any other one, please do leave us a review. Leave us a rating. It helps us to grow, gives me energy and inspiration as well.

I really hope you have a great week of blogging. Do check out Success Incubator again. It is happening 24th-25th of September in Orlando, Florida. Here in Australia, you’re waiting for our event details, stay tuned. It all happen later this year and I will let you know here in the podcast when that goes live. Success Incubator, just head over to problogger.com/success. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week.

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The post 244: How to Find More Traffic for Your Blog Offline appeared first on ProBlogger.

How to Write a Series for Your Blog (and Why You’ll Want To)

How to write a series for your blog

Have you ever written a series of posts for your blog – a set of posts that are deliberately linked together?

If you haven’t, I hope I can convince you to give it a try.

Some bloggers feel writing a series of posts is more daunting than writing individual posts. But it’s often easier to come up with ideas for a ten-post series than for ten standalone posts.

Here at ProBlogger we’ve run a number of series over the years, including 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, which I’ll be coming back to later in this post.

So why should you write a series of posts instead of just individual posts?

How a Series of Posts Could Boost Your Blog

Writing a series of posts, even a short one, can be useful. In particular, it gives you the opportunity to:

  • Dig deep into a particular topic, showcasing your expertise.
  • Encourage readers to keep coming back for more.
  • Create plenty of internal links between your posts (good for both SEO and encouraging readers to dig deeper into your site).
  • Build a comprehensive piece of content readers can bookmark, share, and keep coming back to (especially if you have an introduction post or an index of posts).

Even if your blog is new, you can still run a series. In fact, it can be a great way to get some solid cornerstone content up there early on.

Two Different Approaches to Running Your Series: Which is Right for You?

When you look at a series of posts on the blogs you read, you’ll probably find they fall into one of two categories:

Type #1: Time-Limited Series of Posts

This type of series runs for a set period of time, and every post published on the blog during that time is (usually) part of the series.

For instance, a three-part series of linked posts may appear on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And on the following week, the blogger goes back to standalone posts.

We’ve done this on ProBlogger with ‘Theme Weeks’ such as Creating Products Week — a series of five blog posts on how to create products for your audience.

This approach works well if you want to create cornerstone content, or build up a piece of series content you might use later for an ebook or even the basis of a course. (More on that later.)

Type #2: Ongoing, Regular Series of Posts

This type of series can run indefinitely, with posts appearing on a specific day of the week or month, or even at a particular point in the year. And standalone posts appear as normal between installments of the series.

The series might look like:

  • A roundup of news/posts in your niche each Friday. (We used to do this in our “Reading Roundups”.)
  • An ongoing monthly series on the first Tuesday of each month. For example, if you blog about healthy eating, you might publish a new recipe at the start of each month.
  • An annual review of your progress in your niche each December or January.

If you want to build a sense of consistency and community on your blog, this can be a good type of series to use. It can also help you beat blogger’s block, as it gives you specific things to blog about. (Well, at least some of the time.)

Coming Up With a Great Idea for a Blog Post Series

It can be tough enough coming up with an idea for one blog post. So how do you come up with a great idea for a series?

For a fixed series with a limited number of posts, you might look for:

  • A topic that you’ve already covered, but not in much depth. A series could give you the chance to really dig into the topic and examine different aspects of it. We did this on ProBlogger last year with a series on guest posting.
  • Beginner-friendly topics that would make a good introduction to your blog or niche. The posts themselves could all be on different topics, but you can link them together by having them aimed very much at beginners.

For a regular, ongoing series, you might look for:

  • Something you could blog about pretty much indefinitely. It could be the week’s news in your niche, your monthly results from affiliate marketing, or common mistakes you see beginners making in your field.
  • A particular style of posts. You could have a weekly “Q&A” like Trent Hamm’s “Reader Mailbag” on his blog The Simple Dollar, or a “monthly motivation” post where you collect together inspiring quotes.

If you’ve got several ideas and aren’t which would work best, why not ask some other bloggers for input? (If you don’t know many other bloggers yet, the ProBlogger Facebook group is a great place to meet some.)

Structuring a Series of Blog Posts

Hopefully, you already feel confident about structuring individual blog posts. If not (or you need a quick refresher), check out these posts from our subject matter expert Ali Luke:

But when you’re structuring a series, you also have to make structural decisions about:

  • The series as a whole. It will need a beginning and, if it isn’t an ongoing series, an end. These might be short sections of a post, or posts in their own right (for a long series). For instance, you might write a post to introduce the series and explain what’s coming. You can then update this post with links to the different parts of the series.
  • The individual posts within the series. How can you structure these so they ‘match’ as parts of a coherent whole? You could:
    • use a specific type of image, or brand your images in a particular way
    • title the posts consistently
    • have a particular format for each post, such as a quick recap at the start and a task or assignment at the end.

Interlinking the Posts in Your Series

It’s crucial to link the parts of your series together so readers can easily navigate between them. Remember, not everyone will read your series as you publish it.

Some readers will be busy, and will want to catch up with the whole series later. But many more (hopefully) will come to your series in future weeks and months through search engines or social media.

You can interlink posts in any number of ways. Here are some you can try. (You may even want to use two or three in each post.)

  • Create a tag or category for the series, which is what we did with our guest posting series. Readers can then get all the parts of the series by clicking that tag/category name. If you’re running an ongoing series of weekly/monthly posts, this is probably the best way to organise it.
  • Put a link at the top of each post leading to the previous part(s), so readers can easily go back to any posts they missed.
  • Create a page or post with links to every post in the series. You can do this before you run the series and update it as you publish each part, or do it retrospectively.
  • Put links at the bottom of each post leading to the next part, so readers can easily go through the series. (Obviously, you’ll need to go back and add these in once you’ve published the later parts.)
  • Add links to the body of the post whenever you mention a topic you’ve already written about in the series. (You can also go back to earlier posts and link them to later posts in the series.) This saves you having to repeat yourself a lot, and makes it easy for readers to find the information they need at any given point.

Series links example

An example of links to all the posts in the series at the bottom of the post

However you choose to link your posts together, make sure you’re consistent. And remember to check back after finishing the series to see if there are opportunities to work in some extra links.

Taking Your Blog Post Series Further

Once you’ve completed a series, or have been writing an ongoing series for a while, it’s worth considering whether you can repurpose your series into something else.

That might mean:

  • Bringing your posts together as a free ebook, perhaps with some bonus content. For instance, if you’ve published ten monthly recipes on your blog, you could put those recipes into an ebook and add five extra recipes you haven’t published.
  • Publishing your posts as a product, such as a paid-for ebook or even an ecourse. (31 Days to Build a Better Blog went from a series of posts to an ebook, and this year we’ve turned it into a course.)

You might also use a short series as the inspiration for a longer one, or an ongoing series as an opportunity to get readers involved on your blog.

I’d love to hear how you’re using a post series, or what ideas you have for using them in the future. Leave a comment below to share your thoughts with us.

 

Photo Credit: JESHOOTS.COM

The post How to Write a Series for Your Blog (and Why You’ll Want To) appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

243: Tools and Techniques to Blog Effectively on the Road

Tools and Techniques for Blogging While Travelling

Today I tackle a question from a listener about blogging on the road. Carmen Fellows asked about technicalities such as how to get content online and ways to access your blog.

How can you balance blogging while traveling for work or vacation? It depends on the situation, and sometimes it’s a juggling act.  

While you’re away, here are seven approaches to try when it comes to blogging:

  1. Take a complete break, and give your readers a break too
  2. Work harder, and schedule as much as you can before you go
  3. Highlight previous content, or feature a “Best of” series
  4. Schedule one of more guest bloggers
  5. Blog on the road
  6. Use posts that are easy to create (polls, embeddable content, link posts, etc.)
  7. Do a combination of the above

If you plan on blogging on the road, think about where you can find internet access, and whether you want to bring your computer equipment or leave it behind. There are pros and cons to bringing and using devices such as a smartphone, iPad and laptop.

How much do you really need to do with your blog? Working while you’re away can have an impact on what you’re there to do, whether it’s to have fun with your family or speak at a conference.

Allow yourself to be present. It’s okay (and important) to have time off from your blog.

Links and Resources for Tools and Techniques to Blog Effectively on the Road:

Further Listening

Courses

Join our Facebook group

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hi there and welcome to Episode 243 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com – a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks all designed to help you as a blogger to start a great blog, to grow that blog in terms of the content on it but also your audience, and the engagement you have with that audience, and then to build profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about what we do over at problogger.com.

Particularly, check out our two courses once you’re there, look for the courses tab up in the navigation and there you will find out two courses, our How to Start a Blog course which is completely free. It will walk you through the steps to getting your blog up and running. And our brand new course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog which is all about giving you a 31 different activities that you can do to improve your blogging. Head to problogger.com, look for the courses tab and you will find them.

In today’s episode, I wanna tackle a question that came in this week from one of our listeners. The listener was Carmen Fellows, thanks for asking the question, Carmen. It’s all about blogging while you’re on the road. I wanna talk to you about how I approach blogging whilst I’m away, whether it’d be for vacation or for work. Carmen particularly wanted me to talk about the technicalities of doing it, how do you actually get your content up online, whether you do it on mobile or iPad or some other way. Also, I wanna talk a little bit about balancing blogging with whatever else you’re doing in your travels, whether that’d be vacation with family and friends or work.

You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/243. As I said, today’s show was inspired by Carmen Fellows who wrote in with this question via our Facebook group. She says, “Hi Darren, if you haven’t addressed this already, can you review different ways to access your blog while travelling to keep it up? For example, if I can’t get on my computer, do you find that updating via your mobile is suggested or is there a better way? I can be on the road for two to three weeks at a time and find it difficult to fit my blog in but still want to make it work.”

A great question, Carmen. It is one that I get quite a bit particularly when I’m travelling. If I’m at a conference, people often ask, “What are you doing with your blog while you’re away?” There’s no one way to answer this question. Over the years, my approach has evolved. It really does depend a little bit upon the type of trip that I’m taking. If I’m away on vacation, I do tend to not want to be working as much as I do. I tend to work a little bit while I’m away most times but if I’m away for work, I’m obviously there to do something else as well.

It is always a bit of a juggle and my approach does change from situation to situation. I did do a Facebook live on this topic last year that goes through seven different things that you can do while you’re trying to be away, these are seven different things that I’ve done over the years. I don’t wanna dig into these too much because you are particularly asking about how to blog while you’re on the road but I do wanna mention these seven approaches that I’ve taken when I’m away.

Firstly, you can take a complete break. A break allows you to focus on your trip, it also allows your readers to have a bit of a break as well which, I think, from time to time can be good. The second approach is working harder before you go. You schedule a lot of stuff so you don’t have to do as much from the road, that’s something that can help a lot, I do quite often. Number three is to run some retrospective series while you’re still away, highlighting all the content from your archives while you’re away. You might schedule some posts so you don’t have to work quite as hard before you go.

Four is using a guest blogger or a group of bloggers or someone to run your blog while you’re away enabling to take a break.

Number five is blogging from the road which is what I’m gonna focus in on for the rest of this podcast.

Number six was using a lighter post. There are certain types of content that you can have going up on your blog scheduled beforehand or that you do on the road that is lighter, that’s perhaps not as heavy or intense to create like running poles doing or doing embeddable content or doing links posts or a variety of those types of things.

The seventh option was doing a combination of the above.

If you’re interested in hearing a little bit more about those seven different options, I do link to that video and a blog post that I’ve written in today’s show notes. If you wanna learn more about blogging from the road, that’s what I do wanna focus in on now. Again, there’s a few different options and Carmen has alluded to a couple of them already.

What I used to do all the time, this is before the advent of mobile phone technology which shows you how long I’ve been blogging. Mobile phones were certainly around when I first started blogging but when I started blogging in 2002, there weren’t too many smartphones. I remember having an old Nokia which did claim to allow you to get onto the internet but it was such a slow experience and a clunky experience. There’s no way you would’ve ever blog from it. At the very most, you may have been able to get into the backend of your blog and edit a blog post but that was as far as it went.

In those olden days and even today, I know a lot of bloggers do this, is finding internet access along the way. This does enable you to travel without having to take any gear with you. In the old days, I would be looking for internet cafes or borrowing a computer from a friend while I was away, finding a blogger that was a local to where I was going, or going to a local library because libraries often have internet access. I guess I’d mention that because that would be one way to travel without any technology at all but still checking in from time to time.

What I used to do in those old days, I guess this would still work if you do wanna travel without any technology, is to take a notebook with you and to outline your blog post while you’re travelling. That’s what I did back in 2002, 2003. I’d be on a plane with a notebook, paper, and pen, jotting down, scheduling, outlining my blog posts and the type of updates that I wanted to do. When I sat down at the library or at the internet café or at my friend’s computer, I had it all ready to go and I can blog more effectively in a short period of time that I had access to the internet.

That might be one way to do it if you do wanna completely travel without too much technology. Most of us today would be wanting to blog on the road from our own device of some kind. You’ve got three main options there. It’s pretty obvious but I do wanna touch on the three main options and talk about some of the pros and cons.

Firstly, as Carmen mentioned, you can blog from your mobile phone, your smartphone. I probably wouldn’t ever blog from my phone, I wouldn’t create text content on my mobile phone. I know it’s possible but I find that too clunky for my purposes, particularly if I was writing anything over 100 words or so, I find it really cumbersome to be typing on a tiny little screen. I know you could probably get a cable and sync it to your phone but even still, you’re looking at a relatively small screen. For me, at my age, with my eyesight, that’s not something that I wanna be doing too much.

Having said that, there are things that I do do from my mobile phone and I would use my mobile phone to do while I was away. If I had prescheduled all of my content before I was going and I wanted to check in on social media, maybe create some social media graphics from time to time, interact with comments, moderate comments, maybe even edit blog posts, mistakes that maybe went up, I would do that on my mobile phone. If I was wanting to be mainly doing the social media side of my business while I was away, my mobile phone will be something that I would be quite comfortable using.

If I was creating content, particularly text content, I would not be doing that on my mobile phone because, to me, it’s too slow, it’s too frustrating, and I reckon that I would be making a lot of mistakes. You have to look at the amount of auto correcting mistakes that we see in text messages, the amount of mistakes that I make on Twitter when I’m tweeting because it’s clunky, my thumbs don’t quite get it right too often. I wouldn’t be focusing too much on that.

What I would be focusing upon is one of the next two options, the first one being the iPad. For me, this has come to life as a good option in the last year for me. I was fortunate enough to win an iPad Pro with a keyboard about 12 months ago, not the really large one, I think it’s probably about 11 inches or something around that size. That, to me, presented itself as a laptop replacement for the first time. I previously tried to use iPads to create content and travel with, I always found them a little bit clucky but the latest versions of iOS particularly have made it much more feasible for me.

There are still some things that working on an iPad or another type of tablet are a little bit feebly to do, but for me, if I was traveling for a week or maybe two weeks or even three weeks and I needed to create some content while I was away and needed to do some of the other social media stuff, then I think an iPad is definitely an option that I would take because it’s so much smaller than most laptops. Of course you can get laptops these days that are very thin, the MacBook Air for example is something that I’ve used in the past. They’re tiny but an iPad is even smaller than that.

If I was traveling predominantly for vacation, a more relaxing trip, and I needed to be able to check in on my work and maybe do a little bit of work if inspiration strikes or if an emergency happened, then an iPad, for me, is one way to go. The keyboard is definitely something that I would always take with me though, I find it a bit hard to type on the screen. Having that keyboard that is in the iPad cover is definitely worth having, it’s not as big as a normal keyboard but it allows me to touch type.

It has apps for pretty much anything that I need to do as it pertains to my blogging. There are apps, of course, for social media, there are apps to allow you to get into the backend of your blog. Accessing the backend of your blog via a browser is totally fine as well on WordPress, I’ve done that many times. It also has apps that allow me to chat with my team, Google Analytics, all those things are available on an app now. It’s a bigger screen than a mobile as well. It allows me with my failing eyesight and fumbly fingers to do okay.

I also like the fact that an iPad allows me to watch Netflix and rekindle and do other things that I do to relax as well. If you’re thinking what app should I have, I did do an episode in this podcast on that very topic, episode 207 goes through my favorite apps for iPad and iPhone, many of which are also on Android apps as well.

I guess to sum up the iPad part of this talk, there’s not really anything I can’t do on an iPad. It’s just a bit slower and it’s a little bit more feebly than a computer. I guess the question in my mind, how much of that work do I need to do while I’m away? If I’m going away for vacation, I don’t need to do much of that work so I’ll take the iPad. If I’m going away for work, I would take a laptop every time. Most times when I travel for work, I take a laptop. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever taken just an iPad when I’m traveling for work, it’s because I’m away to work and I need to be more effective with my time. I’m usually speaking at a conference and I know whilst I can present from an iPad, it’s more feebly–more reliable to do it on a laptop.

Also, I’m usually there working as well. I’ll be working on the plane each way, I’ll be working in the hotel. I’ll be doing several hours of work a day. For me, I’m much more effective on the laptop. For me, I’m taking my MacBook Pro when I’m going away most of the time.

They’re the three options that you’ve got at your fingertips; mobile, very feebly, you wanna be doing very light stuff on it. A tablet, it does enable you to do a lot more, it’s probably that in between option. I do know people who use an iPad, that’s all they ever use for their blogging. It’s possible to blog on an iPad, you probably get more effective at doing it over time. Learning how to do those things, it gets a little bit feebly quickly. Or a laptop which is obviously more expensive and larger as well but is much more powerful.

In terms of how do you fit it all in while you’re traveling. This, to me, is the crux of the matter. The technology is one thing that you can think about and it can help. But how do you actually do it? How do you juggle being on holidays and blogging? How do you juggle being at a conference and blogging as well? For me, there’s probably two things that I would advise. Firstly, schedule as much as you can before you go. This is something that I do when I’m going away for a weekend or when I’m going away for three weeks or a month. I’ve been away with my family for six weeks.

Generally, anytime I go away, I’m working harder for the period before I go away. It’s usually about the period that I’m gonna be away for that I’m working harder. I’m going away this weekend for a long weekend, we’ll be away for four days. For the last four days, I’ve been working doubly hard so that I can go away for four days. If I went away for a month, I’d be working really hard for a month before I went away and trying to increase my output and doing things like scheduling content, writing extra content and scheduling it, scheduling as much social media as I can so that I don’t have to do as much of that and anything else that needs to be done over that month, scheduling as much of it as I can, writing products that I’m doing, writing emails that need to be go out, those types of things.

A lot of it can be done before you go. For me, that is key. It enables me to do a lot less while I’m away and focus upon what I’m away for, whether it’d be work, a conference, seeing friends, being with my family. Schedule as much as you can. The other part of it, for me, is to find a rhythm while you’re away and to schedule the work you need to do. For me, this has been key because it’s very easy with smartphones today to be working all the time while you’re away; checking your emails, responding to social media, those types of things.

As a result of that, it does intrude upon what you’re there to do particularly if you’re there to be with family or friends and you are constantly checking social media and emails, it means you’re not present with your family and friends, you’re not present at the conference you’re at. What I find is that I look at the trip that I’m gonna be away for and I schedule ahead of time when I will work while I’m away. It usually happens in two ways, I generally find a little bit of time everyday while I’m away. If I need to do a bigger task, I will schedule bigger blocks of time as well.

Let’s break that down. For me, generally, when I’m traveling with my family, I don’t work during the day, I’ll only work at the top on the end of the day. Usually, before my family wakes up, I’ll be getting up a little bit early and doing my social media there, checking my email, doing those types of things or waiting till they’re in bed, particularly my kids. I’m often working while Vanessa’s awake but working at the end of the day. That’s the kind of everyday type tasks that sometimes you need to do.

You can schedule content, you can schedule a lot of your social media before you go. Engaging with people on social media, responding to comments, responding to emails, those are the types of things you can’t really schedule. They’re the things that I would be fitting into the top and tail of my day. I generally try and leave the bulk of my day to be with family, be with friends or be at the conference that I’m on.

The other thing that I would schedule ahead of time—and I’m trying to communicate both of these things to whoever I’m traveling with as well so their expectations are that I’ll be working at certain times. If there’s a big thing that I need to do—there might be a news letter that needs to go out that I couldn’t schedule ahead, or there might be a blog post that I need to write, there might be a review of the event that I’m at—there might be something that I have to create and that is gonna take a longer amounts of time, I try and schedule that ahead of time as well.

I might communicate to Vanessa and the kids, “I’m gonna be working on Wednesday morning for about three hours or for about two hours. I’ll need to go and find a café somewhere and I won’t be with you during that time.” That’s something we negotiate as a family. The reason I do that is I want them to understand when I won’t be around so that it’s not just sprung on them. I also find it helpful for me to know when that will be as well because what I find is if I am thinking ahead of time about this hour or this two hours that I’m going to have to work, what I find is my subconscious begins to work on the thing that I’m going to be working on in that time.

I try and work out when it will be and what I will do in that time. More often than not, I find that when I come to sit down to take that time to write that blog post or to do that email, in the back of my mind it’s already done, I’ve already got the ideas for the content or I know the order of the email, I’ve got the subject line there because I’ve been thinking about it for the last couple of days that I’m gonna sit down and write this thing. Your mind begins to get to work on that.

I find scheduling the time ahead is great for you and your family but also helps you to be more effective in that time as well. I actually find that I can get a lot done in an hour if I know what I’m gonna do in that hour and I just get straight to work. Schedule it out ahead of time and then allow yourself to be present for whatever else you’re there to do. Be present with your family, be present with your friends, be present on the beach, taking the nature that you’re experiencing. Whatever it is that you’re there to do, allow yourself to be present in that way.

I do try and work harder to avoid mixing the work and the relaxing too much. I think it’s so important to have time off from your blog. I know a lot of us get a lot of energy from our blogging but I still think we need to take breaks from it as well.

I hope that helped you, Carmen. I would love to hear what you do when you’re away, Carmen, and others as well. The technology you use, are you a mobile blogger? Are you using a tablet? A laptop? Or are you doing it all before you go away and then letting things look after itself? Do you put someone in place to help you out with some of those tasks? All of these are completely legitimate ways of doing it.

If you wanna let us know what you do, head over to the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/243 where there are comments so you can respond and let us know what you do there or head over to the Facebook group. Search for ProBlogger Community on Facebook and you will find that group as well.

I hope you enjoyed that. I’m packing my bags today to go away for long weekends. Luckily I’ve done a lot of work over the last couple of days so I won’t need to blog too much while I’m away but I’m gonna take my iPad with me just in case I’ll need it. I hope that you’ll have a great weekend ahead and a great week. I look forward to chatting with you next week on the ProBlogger podcast.

One last reminder, check out 31 Days to Build a Better Blog at problogger.com/31days. It is something that we’ve just launched in completely new format. We previously did have 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, the ebook. We’ve taken some of the exercises from that ebook and updated them, refreshed them, and put them into a bit of a new order as well and edit some new fresh content as well to come up with this brand new course. We hope you enjoy it. Again, head over to problogger.com/31days to check it out.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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243: Tools and Techniques to Blog Effectively on the Road

Tools and Techniques for Blogging While Travelling

Today I tackle a question from a listener about blogging on the road. Carmen Fellows asked about technicalities such as how to get content online and ways to access your blog.

How can you balance blogging while traveling for work or vacation? It depends on the situation, and sometimes it’s a juggling act.  

While you’re away, here are seven approaches to try when it comes to blogging:

  1. Take a complete break, and give your readers a break too
  2. Work harder, and schedule as much as you can before you go
  3. Highlight previous content, or feature a “Best of” series
  4. Schedule one of more guest bloggers
  5. Blog on the road
  6. Use posts that are easy to create (polls, embeddable content, link posts, etc.)
  7. Do a combination of the above

If you plan on blogging on the road, think about where you can find internet access, and whether you want to bring your computer equipment or leave it behind. There are pros and cons to bringing and using devices such as a smartphone, iPad and laptop.

How much do you really need to do with your blog? Working while you’re away can have an impact on what you’re there to do, whether it’s to have fun with your family or speak at a conference.

Allow yourself to be present. It’s okay (and important) to have time off from your blog.

Links and Resources for Tools and Techniques to Blog Effectively on the Road:

Further Listening

Courses

Join our Facebook group

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hi there and welcome to Episode 243 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com – a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks all designed to help you as a blogger to start a great blog, to grow that blog in terms of the content on it but also your audience, and the engagement you have with that audience, and then to build profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about what we do over at problogger.com.

Particularly, check out our two courses once you’re there, look for the courses tab up in the navigation and there you will find out two courses, our How to Start a Blog course which is completely free. It will walk you through the steps to getting your blog up and running. And our brand new course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog which is all about giving you a 31 different activities that you can do to improve your blogging. Head to problogger.com, look for the courses tab and you will find them.

In today’s episode, I wanna tackle a question that came in this week from one of our listeners. The listener was Carmen Fellows, thanks for asking the question, Carmen. It’s all about blogging while you’re on the road. I wanna talk to you about how I approach blogging whilst I’m away, whether it’d be for vacation or for work. Carmen particularly wanted me to talk about the technicalities of doing it, how do you actually get your content up online, whether you do it on mobile or iPad or some other way. Also, I wanna talk a little bit about balancing blogging with whatever else you’re doing in your travels, whether that’d be vacation with family and friends or work.

You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/243. As I said, today’s show was inspired by Carmen Fellows who wrote in with this question via our Facebook group. She says, “Hi Darren, if you haven’t addressed this already, can you review different ways to access your blog while travelling to keep it up? For example, if I can’t get on my computer, do you find that updating via your mobile is suggested or is there a better way? I can be on the road for two to three weeks at a time and find it difficult to fit my blog in but still want to make it work.”

A great question, Carmen. It is one that I get quite a bit particularly when I’m travelling. If I’m at a conference, people often ask, “What are you doing with your blog while you’re away?” There’s no one way to answer this question. Over the years, my approach has evolved. It really does depend a little bit upon the type of trip that I’m taking. If I’m away on vacation, I do tend to not want to be working as much as I do. I tend to work a little bit while I’m away most times but if I’m away for work, I’m obviously there to do something else as well.

It is always a bit of a juggle and my approach does change from situation to situation. I did do a Facebook live on this topic last year that goes through seven different things that you can do while you’re trying to be away, these are seven different things that I’ve done over the years. I don’t wanna dig into these too much because you are particularly asking about how to blog while you’re on the road but I do wanna mention these seven approaches that I’ve taken when I’m away.

Firstly, you can take a complete break. A break allows you to focus on your trip, it also allows your readers to have a bit of a break as well which, I think, from time to time can be good. The second approach is working harder before you go. You schedule a lot of stuff so you don’t have to do as much from the road, that’s something that can help a lot, I do quite often. Number three is to run some retrospective series while you’re still away, highlighting all the content from your archives while you’re away. You might schedule some posts so you don’t have to work quite as hard before you go.

Four is using a guest blogger or a group of bloggers or someone to run your blog while you’re away enabling to take a break.

Number five is blogging from the road which is what I’m gonna focus in on for the rest of this podcast.

Number six was using a lighter post. There are certain types of content that you can have going up on your blog scheduled beforehand or that you do on the road that is lighter, that’s perhaps not as heavy or intense to create like running poles doing or doing embeddable content or doing links posts or a variety of those types of things.

The seventh option was doing a combination of the above.

If you’re interested in hearing a little bit more about those seven different options, I do link to that video and a blog post that I’ve written in today’s show notes. If you wanna learn more about blogging from the road, that’s what I do wanna focus in on now. Again, there’s a few different options and Carmen has alluded to a couple of them already.

What I used to do all the time, this is before the advent of mobile phone technology which shows you how long I’ve been blogging. Mobile phones were certainly around when I first started blogging but when I started blogging in 2002, there weren’t too many smartphones. I remember having an old Nokia which did claim to allow you to get onto the internet but it was such a slow experience and a clunky experience. There’s no way you would’ve ever blog from it. At the very most, you may have been able to get into the backend of your blog and edit a blog post but that was as far as it went.

In those olden days and even today, I know a lot of bloggers do this, is finding internet access along the way. This does enable you to travel without having to take any gear with you. In the old days, I would be looking for internet cafes or borrowing a computer from a friend while I was away, finding a blogger that was a local to where I was going, or going to a local library because libraries often have internet access. I guess I’d mention that because that would be one way to travel without any technology at all but still checking in from time to time.

What I used to do in those old days, I guess this would still work if you do wanna travel without any technology, is to take a notebook with you and to outline your blog post while you’re travelling. That’s what I did back in 2002, 2003. I’d be on a plane with a notebook, paper, and pen, jotting down, scheduling, outlining my blog posts and the type of updates that I wanted to do. When I sat down at the library or at the internet café or at my friend’s computer, I had it all ready to go and I can blog more effectively in a short period of time that I had access to the internet.

That might be one way to do it if you do wanna completely travel without too much technology. Most of us today would be wanting to blog on the road from our own device of some kind. You’ve got three main options there. It’s pretty obvious but I do wanna touch on the three main options and talk about some of the pros and cons.

Firstly, as Carmen mentioned, you can blog from your mobile phone, your smartphone. I probably wouldn’t ever blog from my phone, I wouldn’t create text content on my mobile phone. I know it’s possible but I find that too clunky for my purposes, particularly if I was writing anything over 100 words or so, I find it really cumbersome to be typing on a tiny little screen. I know you could probably get a cable and sync it to your phone but even still, you’re looking at a relatively small screen. For me, at my age, with my eyesight, that’s not something that I wanna be doing too much.

Having said that, there are things that I do do from my mobile phone and I would use my mobile phone to do while I was away. If I had prescheduled all of my content before I was going and I wanted to check in on social media, maybe create some social media graphics from time to time, interact with comments, moderate comments, maybe even edit blog posts, mistakes that maybe went up, I would do that on my mobile phone. If I was wanting to be mainly doing the social media side of my business while I was away, my mobile phone will be something that I would be quite comfortable using.

If I was creating content, particularly text content, I would not be doing that on my mobile phone because, to me, it’s too slow, it’s too frustrating, and I reckon that I would be making a lot of mistakes. You have to look at the amount of auto correcting mistakes that we see in text messages, the amount of mistakes that I make on Twitter when I’m tweeting because it’s clunky, my thumbs don’t quite get it right too often. I wouldn’t be focusing too much on that.

What I would be focusing upon is one of the next two options, the first one being the iPad. For me, this has come to life as a good option in the last year for me. I was fortunate enough to win an iPad Pro with a keyboard about 12 months ago, not the really large one, I think it’s probably about 11 inches or something around that size. That, to me, presented itself as a laptop replacement for the first time. I previously tried to use iPads to create content and travel with, I always found them a little bit clucky but the latest versions of iOS particularly have made it much more feasible for me.

There are still some things that working on an iPad or another type of tablet are a little bit feebly to do, but for me, if I was traveling for a week or maybe two weeks or even three weeks and I needed to create some content while I was away and needed to do some of the other social media stuff, then I think an iPad is definitely an option that I would take because it’s so much smaller than most laptops. Of course you can get laptops these days that are very thin, the MacBook Air for example is something that I’ve used in the past. They’re tiny but an iPad is even smaller than that.

If I was traveling predominantly for vacation, a more relaxing trip, and I needed to be able to check in on my work and maybe do a little bit of work if inspiration strikes or if an emergency happened, then an iPad, for me, is one way to go. The keyboard is definitely something that I would always take with me though, I find it a bit hard to type on the screen. Having that keyboard that is in the iPad cover is definitely worth having, it’s not as big as a normal keyboard but it allows me to touch type.

It has apps for pretty much anything that I need to do as it pertains to my blogging. There are apps, of course, for social media, there are apps to allow you to get into the backend of your blog. Accessing the backend of your blog via a browser is totally fine as well on WordPress, I’ve done that many times. It also has apps that allow me to chat with my team, Google Analytics, all those things are available on an app now. It’s a bigger screen than a mobile as well. It allows me with my failing eyesight and fumbly fingers to do okay.

I also like the fact that an iPad allows me to watch Netflix and rekindle and do other things that I do to relax as well. If you’re thinking what app should I have, I did do an episode in this podcast on that very topic, episode 207 goes through my favorite apps for iPad and iPhone, many of which are also on Android apps as well.

I guess to sum up the iPad part of this talk, there’s not really anything I can’t do on an iPad. It’s just a bit slower and it’s a little bit more feebly than a computer. I guess the question in my mind, how much of that work do I need to do while I’m away? If I’m going away for vacation, I don’t need to do much of that work so I’ll take the iPad. If I’m going away for work, I would take a laptop every time. Most times when I travel for work, I take a laptop. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever taken just an iPad when I’m traveling for work, it’s because I’m away to work and I need to be more effective with my time. I’m usually speaking at a conference and I know whilst I can present from an iPad, it’s more feebly–more reliable to do it on a laptop.

Also, I’m usually there working as well. I’ll be working on the plane each way, I’ll be working in the hotel. I’ll be doing several hours of work a day. For me, I’m much more effective on the laptop. For me, I’m taking my MacBook Pro when I’m going away most of the time.

They’re the three options that you’ve got at your fingertips; mobile, very feebly, you wanna be doing very light stuff on it. A tablet, it does enable you to do a lot more, it’s probably that in between option. I do know people who use an iPad, that’s all they ever use for their blogging. It’s possible to blog on an iPad, you probably get more effective at doing it over time. Learning how to do those things, it gets a little bit feebly quickly. Or a laptop which is obviously more expensive and larger as well but is much more powerful.

In terms of how do you fit it all in while you’re traveling. This, to me, is the crux of the matter. The technology is one thing that you can think about and it can help. But how do you actually do it? How do you juggle being on holidays and blogging? How do you juggle being at a conference and blogging as well? For me, there’s probably two things that I would advise. Firstly, schedule as much as you can before you go. This is something that I do when I’m going away for a weekend or when I’m going away for three weeks or a month. I’ve been away with my family for six weeks.

Generally, anytime I go away, I’m working harder for the period before I go away. It’s usually about the period that I’m gonna be away for that I’m working harder. I’m going away this weekend for a long weekend, we’ll be away for four days. For the last four days, I’ve been working doubly hard so that I can go away for four days. If I went away for a month, I’d be working really hard for a month before I went away and trying to increase my output and doing things like scheduling content, writing extra content and scheduling it, scheduling as much social media as I can so that I don’t have to do as much of that and anything else that needs to be done over that month, scheduling as much of it as I can, writing products that I’m doing, writing emails that need to be go out, those types of things.

A lot of it can be done before you go. For me, that is key. It enables me to do a lot less while I’m away and focus upon what I’m away for, whether it’d be work, a conference, seeing friends, being with my family. Schedule as much as you can. The other part of it, for me, is to find a rhythm while you’re away and to schedule the work you need to do. For me, this has been key because it’s very easy with smartphones today to be working all the time while you’re away; checking your emails, responding to social media, those types of things.

As a result of that, it does intrude upon what you’re there to do particularly if you’re there to be with family or friends and you are constantly checking social media and emails, it means you’re not present with your family and friends, you’re not present at the conference you’re at. What I find is that I look at the trip that I’m gonna be away for and I schedule ahead of time when I will work while I’m away. It usually happens in two ways, I generally find a little bit of time everyday while I’m away. If I need to do a bigger task, I will schedule bigger blocks of time as well.

Let’s break that down. For me, generally, when I’m traveling with my family, I don’t work during the day, I’ll only work at the top on the end of the day. Usually, before my family wakes up, I’ll be getting up a little bit early and doing my social media there, checking my email, doing those types of things or waiting till they’re in bed, particularly my kids. I’m often working while Vanessa’s awake but working at the end of the day. That’s the kind of everyday type tasks that sometimes you need to do.

You can schedule content, you can schedule a lot of your social media before you go. Engaging with people on social media, responding to comments, responding to emails, those are the types of things you can’t really schedule. They’re the things that I would be fitting into the top and tail of my day. I generally try and leave the bulk of my day to be with family, be with friends or be at the conference that I’m on.

The other thing that I would schedule ahead of time—and I’m trying to communicate both of these things to whoever I’m traveling with as well so their expectations are that I’ll be working at certain times. If there’s a big thing that I need to do—there might be a news letter that needs to go out that I couldn’t schedule ahead, or there might be a blog post that I need to write, there might be a review of the event that I’m at—there might be something that I have to create and that is gonna take a longer amounts of time, I try and schedule that ahead of time as well.

I might communicate to Vanessa and the kids, “I’m gonna be working on Wednesday morning for about three hours or for about two hours. I’ll need to go and find a café somewhere and I won’t be with you during that time.” That’s something we negotiate as a family. The reason I do that is I want them to understand when I won’t be around so that it’s not just sprung on them. I also find it helpful for me to know when that will be as well because what I find is if I am thinking ahead of time about this hour or this two hours that I’m going to have to work, what I find is my subconscious begins to work on the thing that I’m going to be working on in that time.

I try and work out when it will be and what I will do in that time. More often than not, I find that when I come to sit down to take that time to write that blog post or to do that email, in the back of my mind it’s already done, I’ve already got the ideas for the content or I know the order of the email, I’ve got the subject line there because I’ve been thinking about it for the last couple of days that I’m gonna sit down and write this thing. Your mind begins to get to work on that.

I find scheduling the time ahead is great for you and your family but also helps you to be more effective in that time as well. I actually find that I can get a lot done in an hour if I know what I’m gonna do in that hour and I just get straight to work. Schedule it out ahead of time and then allow yourself to be present for whatever else you’re there to do. Be present with your family, be present with your friends, be present on the beach, taking the nature that you’re experiencing. Whatever it is that you’re there to do, allow yourself to be present in that way.

I do try and work harder to avoid mixing the work and the relaxing too much. I think it’s so important to have time off from your blog. I know a lot of us get a lot of energy from our blogging but I still think we need to take breaks from it as well.

I hope that helped you, Carmen. I would love to hear what you do when you’re away, Carmen, and others as well. The technology you use, are you a mobile blogger? Are you using a tablet? A laptop? Or are you doing it all before you go away and then letting things look after itself? Do you put someone in place to help you out with some of those tasks? All of these are completely legitimate ways of doing it.

If you wanna let us know what you do, head over to the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/243 where there are comments so you can respond and let us know what you do there or head over to the Facebook group. Search for ProBlogger Community on Facebook and you will find that group as well.

I hope you enjoyed that. I’m packing my bags today to go away for long weekends. Luckily I’ve done a lot of work over the last couple of days so I won’t need to blog too much while I’m away but I’m gonna take my iPad with me just in case I’ll need it. I hope that you’ll have a great weekend ahead and a great week. I look forward to chatting with you next week on the ProBlogger podcast.

One last reminder, check out 31 Days to Build a Better Blog at problogger.com/31days. It is something that we’ve just launched in completely new format. We previously did have 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, the ebook. We’ve taken some of the exercises from that ebook and updated them, refreshed them, and put them into a bit of a new order as well and edit some new fresh content as well to come up with this brand new course. We hope you enjoy it. Again, head over to problogger.com/31days to check it out.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The post 243: Tools and Techniques to Blog Effectively on the Road appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

How to Republish Old Blog Posts – and Why You’ll Want to

How to republish old blog posts

If you’ve been blogging for a year or more, you might feel like you’re running out of ideas. There are plenty of great posts in your archive, but you’ve covered so many good topics already.

Where can you go from here?

Well, one place to go is… backwards.

Instead of struggling to come up with brand new ideas, look at the ones you’ve already had.

Are there posts buried in your archives that new readers would find helpful? Have some of your best posts become a little dated?

This is a great opportunity to update and republish your posts to get them in front of a fresh audience (or remind long-term readers they still exist).

I’m going to take you through the hows and whys of republishing old posts. We’ll also take a look at some other ways to recycle old content (such as turning posts into a podcast, an ebook, or even an online course).

But before we get too far, let’s deal with a couple of worries you might have.

“Will readers complain if I republish an old post?”

No. In fact, they may well thank you. New readers probably haven’t dug into your archives and found some of your best posts. And old readers may have forgotten them.

Even readers who keep returning a favourite post over and over again will be thrilled you’ve updated it.

“Will Google penalise me for republishing content?”

No. You’ll keep all your backlinks and page ranking for that post if you republish it the right way. (I’ll explain how to do that in a moment.)

How to Decide Which Posts to Update and Republish

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you might have dozens – even hundreds – of posts in your archives.

How do you figure out which ones are worth updating and republishing?

There’s no right answer to this question. But a good place to start is with posts that bring in most of your search engine traffic, especially if they’re more than a couple of years old. They could probably do with updating (so first-time readers get the best possible impression). And chances are they’re about popular topics, so republishing them will help your existing readers.

For more on how I select posts, and the process I go through when updating them, check out How to Update Old Posts On Your Blog (and When You Should Consider Doing it).

How Much Should You Change When Republishing a Post?

When you’re preparing a post for republication, you should:

  • Read it carefully. Did you miss any typos the first time round? Are there any factual errors? Do you need to tweak any clumsy or confusing sentences?
  • Update the post to fit with what’s happening today (particularly if you write about software, social media, or any other area that changes rapidly). For instance, if you posted about setting up a blog on WordPress.com, you might need to take new screenshots and make sure your step-by-step instructions are still accurate.
  • Consider adding more detail. Are any areas of your original post a bit sparse? Flesh them out.
  • Check all links. Even if a link is working, you may need to point it to a more recent resource.
  • Link to some of your (recent) posts. If you wrote your post two years ago, you’ve almost certainly written something since that relates to it. Add a link at an appropriate point.
  • Spend the time to make it more attractive. One of the great things about republishing is you save a lot of writing time, which means you can put extra effort into sourcing images, laying out your post, and so on.

There’s no hard and fast SEO rule about how much you should change or keep the same. For a post that’s already ranking well, try not to change any of the title tags, especially if Google is already using them as a list to answer a search query in a ‘featured snippet’.  Ultimately, what matters is that you (re)publish the best post you can.

How to Republish Your Content in WordPress (the Right Way)

Don’t create a new post and copy the old one into it. You’ll lose all the links and other benefits of republishing.

Instead, edit the existing post. Change the date and time to schedule it for the future. If you’ve made the changes and want to republish immediately, changing the time to a few minutes ahead works fine.

Make sure you keep the URL the same. If you’re using a URL structure that includes the post’s date, it will change because the post’s date has changed. In that case you’ll need to use a 301 redirect to point the old URL to the new one so you don’t lose all that link juice.

As well as making your edits, you may want to put a note at the top of your post:

This post was originally published on (date) and updated on (date).

That way, if people come across a link to the post predating the (new) publication date they won’t be confused.

You can delete the post’s old comments (to avoid people replying to very old comments), or leave them as social proof that your post is popular.

Of course, republishing blog posts isn’t the only way to reuse your blog content. There are plenty of other options, several of which I’ve used over the years with 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

Case Study: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog

I first created 31 Days to Build a Better Blog as a series of posts back in 2007.

It was so popular that in 2009, I turned it into the first ProBlogger ebook: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. This used the original blog posts, plus extra material.

In 2012, I published an updated edition of that ebook.

When I launched the ProBlogger podcast in 2015, I turned 31 Days to Build a Better Blog into a series of 31 podcasts.

And now I’ve re-designed 31 Days to Build a Better Blog as a course that includes video presentations and worksheets along with fully updated information for the current blogging world. (It’s currently running in BETA, but if you’re interested in doing the course then sign up and we’ll contact you about getting in.)

All that from one month of posts.

Even if you don’t have a similar series to use, you might want to think about how you could recycle old posts into new formats. For instance:

  • You could record yourself reading a blog post and use it as a podcast episode.
  • You could take excerpts from a long blog post and use them in your newsletter.
  • You could collate dozens of your best blog posts, add some extra supporting material, and turn them into an ebook or even an ecourse.

This week, look in your archives for an old post that deserves a bit of extra attention. Make a plan for how you’re going to update it (a quick edit, or extensive changes?) and use it as your next blog post.

Don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to share how you got on – and how your readers reacted.

Photo Credit: Aziz Acharki

The post How to Republish Old Blog Posts – and Why You’ll Want to appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

11 Ways to Create More Compelling Content for Your Blog

create more compelling blog content

Today I wanted to share some tips on how you can make your content more compelling, whether it’s written, video or audio content. I’m mixing things up and testing out my new camera to create some video content for the blog.

For those of you interested in the production aspects of this video . . .

I’m happy with the visual aspects of the video considering it was shot with only the light of a window beside me (and the light changed over the 10 minutes of the video). I need to pick up a microphone as this audio is straight from the camera and will in future consider some extra lighting. The camera is a Sony A7iii and the lens I’m using is a 35mm f/1.4 (camera details at https://kit.com/darrenrowse/sony-gear) The camera is producing some great results. I’ve been posting some of them over on my Instagram account at https://www.instagram.com/darrenrowse/

What is some compelling content you’ve created lately? Share in the comments below!

The post 11 Ways to Create More Compelling Content for Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

242: How to Create a Library of Products to Sell On Your Blog

Creating a Product Library for Your Blog

In today’s episode I’m tackling a question from a Facebook group member about creating products to sell on your blog.

Kathy Farrokhzad of Horselistening.com is wondering how often she should create, sell, schedule, and roadmap new products on her blog. Is she doing too much in too little time?

Try to publish 3-4 new products on your blog each year, whether they’re courses, software, ebooks, templates or updates.

You want to avoid audience fatigue. But at the same time you don’t want to wait too long between launches. Either of these two extremes may cost you customers and money. Engage your customers, but don’t burn them out.

Create a schedule to plan content and products a year in advance. Figure out what products to create, redo or replace, as well as what promotions to include.

The frequency of new products depends on various factors, such as how many products you can create and how many different tools need to be created.

Come up with themes for your products based on popularity and whether they’re easy to research and write about. You can also gear your products toward specific audiences, such as beginners or new customers.

And don’t forget about your old products. Consider turning into new products by upselling and bundling them.

Yes, you can do lots of regular launches. But you can also get by with just one product. Both will work, so the choice is yours. 

Links and Resources for How to Create a Library of Products to Sell On Your Blog:

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Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hey there friends. Welcome to episode 242 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger. At a recent conference, I had a number of people say, “I love the way you say ProBlogger.” I’ve never really thought about that before but ProBlogger is a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks, all designed to help you as a blogger to grow as a blogger, to grow your audience, and to build some profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about what we do at ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

Today’s episode is brought to you by our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course, which launches this month. We are currently taking a group of about 100 bloggers through this course in its beta version. We’re getting very close to being able to launch it for everyone. The feedback coming in has been fantastic so far. If you are interested in improving your blog, taking it to the next level, I really encourage you to head over to problogger.com/31days to register your interest in the course or if you’re listening to this in a week or two’s time, it should be already live and you can just enroll in the course.

We’ve designed this course really to take you through a month of teaching but more importantly, some action items, which are designed to help you improve your blog whether you’re a new blogger or whether you’re more of an intermediate blogger and been going for awhile. This is a system that we’ve been using since about 2009, previously in ebook format. It’s helped tens of thousands of bloggers to really level up their blogs. I encourage you to check it out. Head over to problogger.com/31days.

In today’s episode, I’m tackling a question about creating products to sell on your blog. It’s a question that came in from one of our group members on Facebook, Cathy, who was asking around how often she should she be creating new products for her particular blog. She’s been creating ebooks. I talked a little bit about how often, how frequently you might want to be creating products.

Also, we dig in a little bit to how to schedule that and how to roadmap that. Also, how to select which products you want to talk about. How do you choose the right topics? I’m going to dig in a little bit to the format of products as well. I really want to give you an insight, particularly how we do that over on Digital Photography School, where we’ve released over 20 ebooks, a number of courses, and some other products as well. You can get today’s show notes with a full transcription of this episode at problogger.com/podcast/242.

Cathy, over in our Facebook group, this week, asked this question. She says, “I’ve written a total of five self published books and ebooks since I started writing my blog in 2011 but I haven’t written anything in the last two years. I thought maybe I was doing too much in too little time. I published approximately one per year. I know you’ve published many books on ProBlogger and Digital Photography School.

How often did you publish books and did you keep a schedule for these? What was your thought process around choosing themes for the ebooks that you published? I feel like I should be doing something this year, but I also feel like I’ve done plenty in the past so I’m not sure what to do next. Thank you for everything you do.” She adds in her URL, horselistening.com. horselistening.com is the blog if you want to check that out.

Thanks so much for the question, Cathy. I’m going to tackle the three main questions that you asked here, and then also throw in a few other questions as well. First question there was how often do we publish ebooks? I’m going to particularly focus upon Digital Photography School because we do have more products on that and that has been my main focus over the years. ProBlogger is a smaller site and whilst we have had ebooks there, we are now starting to convert some of those over into a course format. That’s probably a topic we could talk about on another day although I’ll touch on some of our thinking of that perhaps today as well.

But over in Digital Photography School, which is my main blog now, we’ve been publishing ebooks and other products since 2009. Previous to that, I’ve been doing affiliate promotions and relying more heavily upon advertising revenue to monetize that site. Since 2009, when I did my first ever ebook, we’ve published I think it’s 24, maybe 25 ebooks on the site. But I should add that we’ve really slowed down on the amount of ebooks we’ve been publishing because we have been doing more courses and we’ve also done some software products as well.

Since 2009, 24 ebooks, but I think there are also 5 courses and 3 or 4 Lightroom preset packs as well. It’s probably close to 35 products since 2009. On average, it’s probably three to four products per year that we have published. The first year, from memory, was quite slow. We may have only done 1 in that first 12 months but then have begun to ramp it up. We did have one year where I think we released five products in a year, but we’ve slowed that back down now to three to four product launches per year. Around one per quarter is the frequency that we’re operating from at the moment. There are a number of reasons for that that I’ll get into in a moment.

Your second question there, Cathy, was do we keep a schedule? Yes. The simple answer is yes. We try and plan out our year in advance. At the end of last year, we sat down as a team and said, “What products do we want to create in the next year?” In fact, what we do is think about it a little bit more broadly than what products do we want to create, we actually think about what do we want to promote over the next 12 months. We begin to form a calendar that not only has the products that we will create and launch, but also any other kinds of promotion that we’ll be doing.

We always, at the end of every year, do some sort of a Christmas or Thanksgiving promotion. Sometimes, we do both of those. We usually do a launch or promotion in the middle of the year, which we call our midyear sale. These are times that we do some affiliate promotions and also put some of our older products on sale as well. We factor those things into our year and then around those, we think about when do we want to launch new products of our own as well.

We are thinking ahead. We’re really probably thinking about 12 to 18 months ahead at all times. Now, when we’re thinking about 18 months out, we’re not really going to a lot of details as to what the products will be. We maybe have a vague topic in mind but certainly, as things get closer, within 6 to 12 months, we’re beginning to really form what those products will be, who’s going to be responsible for creating them. And so, we’ve developed, I guess it’s really a system now, to think about those types of things.

The other thing that we factor into our 12 to 18 month plan is anything that we want to relaunch or anything that we want to update. That’s something I will talk about a little bit later in this podcast as well because now that we do have 24 ebooks and a number of courses and other products, we need to also be paying attention to whether those older products are still relevant for today. Do we need to retire them or do we need to update them? There have been a number of products that we have relaunched, either with smaller updates and then just putting them back on sale to let people know or completely rejigging them as well.

One good example of that is our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course that we’re doing at the moment. It used to be an ebook. We’re completely overhauling it even though it really does have the same format as our previous ebook. That’s the other factor.

That may be something that you want to think about, Cathy. Your first product, if you created that in 2011, which I think is when you said you started, that’s now seven years old. Do you want to update that? Is it time for a refresh? A second edition, if you like. That might be something that you want to think about. I will touch a little bit more on that in a moment.

Some of the things that we are, I guess, factoring in when we’re thinking about the frequency of new things is that it’s really going to depend upon a number of factors. How often you launch a new product is going to partly depend upon your ability to create the new product.

If you’re like most bloggers, you’re probably juggling other work, perhaps other responsibilities, family, or community groups that you’re a part of, friendships, those types of things. I chuckle at that because I know many bloggers who would be saying, “Friends? I don’t have time for friends.” But really, there are a number of other things that you’re going to be juggling there, plus your blogging responsibilities. I don’t know how often you’re publishing new content and doing social media.

Life gets busy, and so our ability to create a product really is going to vary from situation to situation. Also, it partly depends upon the type of product that you’re going to create as well.

I know some bloggers who have 10-paged ebooks. They don’t even call them ebooks. They call them workbooks or printables. Some of those products, they can turnaround in a week. They could create those things. Other ebooks, for example, the ones that we create on Digital Photography School, some of our ebooks are 200 or 300 pages long. They’re beautifully designed. They take us six months to create. We’ve got a team working so it really is going to depend upon your ability to create a new product, the type of products that you’re creating as well.

It’s also going to partly depend upon your topic. I don’t know exactly what your topic is. I had a quick look at it and I don’t really know how big or broad your topic is. That would be one of the things I would be factoring in. My blog, Digital Photography School, is pretty broad. We talk about all kinds of photography. That gives us a lot of options when it comes to creating ebooks or products. We could do wedding photography. We could do how to make money from photography. We could do portraits, landscapes. We could then get into post production. How do you process your images? We could talk about gear. There are so many different sub categories on our blog and so that lends itself to lots of different potential products.

Other people have niches that are much more narrow and there’s really not as much to write about and less options when it comes to products as well. Perhaps, that’s a factor that you need to consider as well. As you look at your five current ebooks or books, is there gaps around the topics you’ve already covered of have you covered everything that they’re already eased to cover? That is going to be something to keep in mind.

Another factor to keep in mind is your audience’s fatigue. Sometimes, you can create so many products that your readers get confused by the amount of products that you’ve got or they get scared, worn out from you always creating or launching a new product. To be honest, this is something we’ve run into over the years. The danger is that you can have so many products that your audience just becomes a little bit numb to the idea of you launching something.

I know when I first launched my very first ebook, my audience, that was new to them. They’ve never seen us launch an ebook before. This is our first thing and so they were really open to hearing about that. Now, we’ve already launched 35 or so different things that, I guess, with our older time readers, it can numb them a little bit too. That’s another thing that you need to keep in mind.

There are some pros and cons of launching lots of products or not many products. I think Cathy mentioned two years between the last time she launched a product. The danger of that kind of length is that effectively, you could be leaving money on the table from your most avid fans. There are a segment of your audience, Cathy, who are waiting for your next product. They will buy everything that you launch. By not launching anything for two years, that’s two years where they have wanted to give you money for something and you’ve not had anything for them to make that exchange with. Two years between your launch, to me, feels a little bit too long.

It probably depends upon what other things you’ve got going in terms of income, but I do wonder whether perhaps creating something else might be good because you’ve probably got fans there who’ve bought your previous stuff, who’ve been satisfied by what you have sold them in the past, and they are ready and waiting to buy something else. It takes a lot of work to find a customer. It takes less work to sell a satisfied customer a second thing than to find a new customer all the time. That’s one of the costs of taking a long time to release products.

On the flip side of that, I do know bloggers who become too reliant upon their launches. They are always something new and these can go the other way. Their audience, as I mentioned before, can get a bit burned out and become numb to their marketing. This burns out that list that can also burn you out as a creator as well, if you’re creating too many things. It also means that you become very reliant on promoting things in launch mode or discount mode as well. You don’t pay as much attention sometimes when you get into this cycle of always launching something. You may not be paying as much attention into the systems to generate the long tale sales.

If you come to Digital Photography School today, we’ve got systems in place to get you to our 24 previous ebooks. One of the dangers of always releasing something new is that you cannot work on those systems as well. That’s something that comes at a bit of a cost to ongoing sales of your products as well. I guess what I’m trying to say here is you want to get that balance right between creating new and fresh things to keep your customers engaged, to increase the long term value of those customers, but you don’t want to burn those customers out. You want to work on the systems as well so when new people come to your site, they can see the new things that you’ve got as well.

Another thing that I’ve already touched on there is don’t just work on new things. I would encourage you to think about how you can update those older books or ebooks that you’ve already got. I learned the power of this the first time we did the hardcover version of the ProBlogger book, which we published with Wiley. I wrote that book with Chris Garrett. And then about a year and a half later, Wiley came back to us and said, “We want to do a second edition.” Part of the reason for that was the topics are dated so there was a need to update the content in the book. Also, Wiley said, “The other reason is that some people will buy both versions as well.”

Think about that there. Could you be taking one of those older products and updating it significantly enough that it’s going to bring new value to your previous customers as well? We did this with 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Back in 2009, I published that for the first time as an ebook. Three years later, I did a second edition of that ebook. It was quite heavily updated. It was a new version of the same format. We took the format of 31 Days of Teaching and Activities and we added some new days. We took out some old days. We updated every single day in that ebook. It was enough of an update that previous buyers of the ebook wanted to buy the new one.

At that time, I think we offered a discount to anyone who bought it before so that they got an extra value out of that, of being a long term customer. Now, of course, we’re doing it again in a completely different format. We’re taking the ebook version. We’re putting it into a course, which is I think a lot better than the ebook version as well. Maybe there’s something in that for you, Cathy, as well. Maybe one of those early books that you’ve done, maybe you could give that a refresh or a complete overhaul, which enables you to sell it again to long term customers with a discount if you’d like, but it also makes it more attractive and more useful to new customers as well.

They are the type of things that I would encourage you to be thinking about when it comes to frequency of your launch.

I guess the other thing I would say with Digital Photography School, one thing we’ve been trying over the last 12 months is to also do, I don’t really know what to call them, but in essence, they are periodic relaunch of a product. On Digital Photography School, we have a course that we only open up once every six months. We put it on sale for three or four weeks and then we get a new batch of students and we take those students through the course. Once those three or four weeks come about, we shut the course down in terms of taking new students.

This is us relaunching a product two times a year. This means we don’t have to create that product from fresh. Again, it’s not a new product, but it’s a relaunch. This is another alternative for creating new things, is to actually only make them available for certain types of time. It probably isn’t going to work for an ebook, but it does work for a course, particularly if you are going to take a group of people through the course over time. That’s another thing we factor in to our promotional schedule at the start of the year.

Last thing I’d say about higher frequency of creating products is that it gives you more products, which you can then use to upsell a bundle. This is one of the beauties of having 24 ebooks already published and another 10 courses, is that when we launch a new product, we can often add an upsell in our shopping cart. When we did our last course launch, we were able to bundle that with an ebook. Some people just bought the course, but some people saw the offer to get an ebook at 50% off and so that became a higher purchase as well.

It does give you a little bit more option there. You’ve already got five products, Cathy, so you can already be doing that type of thing. You could be doing 2 for 1 deals or those type of upsells. But more products can help with that as well.

The last question that Cathy asked was, “What was your thought process for choosing the themes for your ebooks?” I guess I would extend this to our courses as well. The first ebook that I did on Digital Photography School was on the topic of portraits. I think from memory it was called The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography. The reason I chose that topic, well there were a number of reasons. One, it was a proven topic on the blog. I knew that blog posts on the topic of portrait shot always did well. That was a hint that people were probably more likely to buy that product.

Also, to be honest, it was a topic I knew I could write a good book on because I had experience with it and it also wasn’t too hard for me to write it because a lot of that content was already written on the blog and that first ebook particularly, was a repurposed content largely. I chose that first book on those factors.

The second ebook we did was quite different though. It wasn’t on a topic or a subtopic. It was pitched at a particular level of expertise. That book was very much focused on the topic of photography for beginners so it was broader. It was on all types of photography, but it was for beginner photographers. It was a little bit of a different focus there. It wasn’t on that niche. It was more focused on the level.

Since that time, we’ve largely start to those two options or we’ve combined them together. We’ve done books that have been on portraits, landscapes, travel photography, natural light, different types of lighting, but we’ve also done further ebooks that have been focused on beginners and more intermediate levels as well and others that have combined those things. We’ve done portraits for beginners, for example. They are some of the things we keep in mind.

Some of the other factors that we can consider, I always ask, “Have we covered this topic on the blog before and how has it gone?” That to me is probably the first thing I think about. If I’ve published content on a blog and it has bombed, it hasn’t done well, it’s a signal to me that an ebook probably won’t do well. But if we’ve done lots of posts on that particular topic and they’ve always done very well in terms of traffic, engagement, interest, enthusiasm from our audience, then that’s a signal to me that maybe that’s a topic that we should choose for an ebook or a course as well.

Also, thinking about the broadness of the interest. We get really good response when we write about bird photography, for example. Photographing birds, eagles, owls, those types of things, they all do really well but when we think about it, it’s quite a small focus for our audience. There’s only a small group of our audience who are interested. Even though they’re avid, I’m not sure that it’s the right topic for an ebook for us. We’ve never done anything that niche-y. We try to be a little bit broader. We are going to experiment with some smaller products in the future that are a little bit more niche-y, just to experiment with that. My gut feeling is that we want to choose broader appeal type topics.

Another factor that I do consider is is the topic too broad for one product? The topic of portrait photography is actually a very broad topic. Whilst the first ebook I did did quite well, another thing in the back of my mind as I’m choosing topics now is could this be more than one product? We actually took that first portrait ebook off the market. It was my first one. It wasn’t as good as what it could’ve been but also the other reason I took it off the market was because I saw I could replace it with four or five ebooks on that particular topic.

Now, if you’re going to look at our range of ebooks, we have a portrait photography called Making the Shot, which is an introduction to making portraits. We have one called Lighting the Shot, which is all about lighting portraits. We’ve got one about posing portraits. We’ve got another one about processing the photos that you get in Lightroom. We’ve got a variety of ebooks all about portraiture. This is another thing that you might want to consider, is how could you replace one of your ebooks with four or five of your ebooks. It’s another way to roll out more products.

It enables you to go a little bit deeper into each of those topics but it also opens up topics for bundling and upselling. This is something that we do quite successfully on Digital Photography School, is we bundle those four of five portrait photography ebooks together and it becomes quite a compelling offer. You might buy five but pay for three, that type of thing. That has worked quite well for us as well.

Another thing to factor in as you’re choosing topics is could you extend upon something that you have previously already done and has worked well. Picking up that portrait photography idea, once we came to the end of that series of ebooks, we started to think, “Well, portrait has done well for us, what else could we do? We’ve covered most of the main topics there but what else could we offer?” One of the things we did an experiment with was to create, I think it’s called 14 Amazing Portrait Recipes, It’s a small ebook. It’s more of a case study type ebook. Again, it’s something else that we’ve offered and again, enables us to bundle that as well. You may have already covered all the topics, but could you take a different slant on things? Could you build upon the little library that you’ve already got?

Another thing we do with portraits was to create what we call a printable, a posing printable. It’s 67 poses that you can use in your portrait photography. Again, it’s not an ebook. It’s something else that relates to the topic. Sometimes, when you get to the end of a range of topics that you’ve covered, sometimes, there are other things that you can create, that can become nice little companion products to other products that you’ve got.

Another factor that I always consider before doing a product is have we done an affiliate promotion of something similar to that? This is something that I highly recommend anyone who’s thinking of creating a product, would do. Try and find someone else’s product that you can promote as an affiliate first. It’s going to teach you so much about creating products. You’re going to begin to see what your readers respond to. You can see he price points they respond to as well. And essentially allows you to test whether your product is going to work.

You don’t want to just reproduce what someone else has already created. You need to be really careful about that, particularly with plagiarism. Also, it’s just not going to be good for your brand if you’re seen to be creating something that’s too similar to someone else. But you can learn a lot by promoting other people’s products before you create your own. That’s another factor that we would keep in mind.

The last thing that I’m always thinking about is what’s the best format for the product? Cathy has talked about ebooks and books but maybe, one way to extend your product line up would not be to create another book or ebook, but to create something else. You might create a course. Maybe you should be thinking about a membership site. Maybe you should be thinking about printables, or templates, or t-shirts, or coffee mugs. I don’t know what it would be but maybe there’s something quite different that would be complementary to what you’ve already got or quite different to what you’ve already got as well. Sometimes, some topics just land themselves better to more of a course type teaching, or a printable, or a membership so maybe you should be thinking about that.

The other thing I’d say on that front is that sometimes, actually having a course and an ebook can be best. In Digital Photography School, the second ebook that we ever did was called Photo Nuts and Bolts. It was an ebook for beginners in photography. We still sell that ebook today but we’ve also got Photo Nuts and Bolts, the course. Some people prefer to read. Some people prefer to watch. Some people prefer to get both and so, they bundle those two things together. Maybe your ebook little library that you’ve already got, maybe that could be rolled up as courses as well, either to offer people the alternative or to get both together as a bundle.

I know that’s a lot of information to digest. I hope it answers your question, Cathy.

One last thought for you though, I know a lot of people who do very, very well with lots of regular launches. Similar to what we do on Digital Photography School, they’ve got lots of products. That’s their model. It works really well for them. But I do know a number of bloggers who just have one product. They focus all their energy on promoting that one thing. In some ways, that’s a much simpler model and they have a lot less headaches than we do at Digital Photography School with lots of different products and always having to update them.

Both can work, but one thing I would say is that the people I see doing best with one product or just a handful of products, they generally have an audience that has always lots of fresh people coming in so they may be doing really well with search engine optimization, always bringing new people in.

The other thing that most of them do is instead of selling an ebook, which is a sale that they get once, they generally have some kind of way of getting a recurring income from their sale. That type of model with one product does land itself perhaps a little bit better to a membership site or some sort of a subscription as well. Maybe, I don’t know, again, your topic would land themselves to people who would sign up for a monthly subscription to get some regular content from you and maybe a community area, but that might be another model. It means that you do get that one sale or that one customer, but you keep that customer engaged as well, which increases the lifetime value for that customer as well.

I hope that somewhere in the midst of that advice is something that’s going to spark some ideas for you, Cathy, and everyone else who’s listening as well. If you’ve got any further advice for Cathy, you can do a couple of things. You can join our Facebook community. Just search for ProBlogger Community on Facebook and join that group. You’d be able to find Cathy in there, the question that she asked, or perhaps, you want to leave a comment on our show notes at problogger.com/podcast/242. We’ve got comments and you can leave a comment there as well.

I hope that you’ve got some value out of that. If you’ve got a question you’d like to see in a future podcast as well, feel free to pop it in the show notes or over in the Facebook group as well. A couple of last things for you to wrap up today’s show. If you want to think a little bit more about products, listen to episode 67. It’s one which I did a year or so ago now on the topic of why you should create a product to sell on your blog. If you’re not quite there yet on whether products are right for you, that one’s a good one to listen to. I also give you some tips on how to create that product.

And then over on the ProBlogger blog, I write an article earlier this year called Seven Types of Product That You Could Sell From Your Blog, which might be a good companion piece for today. I talked there a little bit about ebooks of course, because that’s where we started out, but also give you some other ideas on different types of products for those of you who maybe aren’t quite suited to the ebook.

Lastly, I want to say thank you to a number of you who’ve been leaving reviews on the podcast this week. I just got my email this morning from the service I use to report on the new reviews that come in.

I had one from Tim Melville who came in. I don’t know whether it’s a him or her but Tim Melville wrote, “I googled impostor syndrome, something I have diagnosed but really wanted to explore, and I found ProBlogger, and I fell in love. Thanks so much for falling in love, Darren.” Tim Melville goes on to write, “He’s the epitome of everything I had no idea that existed. He’s real. He’s humble. He’s everything you need to understand to build your blog. I incidentally heard one episode, episode 101, I think, and cannot stop listening. I ran into work to talk to a potential partner. I was talking so fast and so excited and she was like slow down and I’ve not lost a moment yet. I love his very real information for everything you need to know. Everything. Thank you, Darren.” Well, thank you for leaving your review.

Also, AJ Reid wrote, “Great podcast. I listen regularly. Rowse speaks from experience and has a laid back style. He isn’t just there to sell me something. Learning so much. Highly recommend this podcast.”

Thank you so much AJ and thanks Tim Melville for your reviews. If you’ve got a review for us, head over to iTunes today, rate us and review us, or on whatever app you do use as well. I particularly get notified when the iTunes ones come in, but I try and watch those other app services as well. If you’ve got a moment, I would love you to do that. Otherwise, dig into the archives. There are 241 other episodes there for you, episode 67 particularly on the topic of products.

Thanks for listening. I’ll be back with you next week in episode 243.

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242: How to Create a Library of Products to Sell On Your Blog

Creating a Product Library for Your Blog

In today’s episode I’m tackling a question from a Facebook group member about creating products to sell on your blog.

Kathy Farrokhzad of Horselistening.com is wondering how often she should create, sell, schedule, and roadmap new products on her blog. Is she doing too much in too little time?

Try to publish 3-4 new products on your blog each year, whether they’re courses, software, ebooks, templates or updates.

You want to avoid audience fatigue. But at the same time you don’t want to wait too long between launches. Either of these two extremes may cost you customers and money. Engage your customers, but don’t burn them out.

Create a schedule to plan content and products a year in advance. Figure out what products to create, redo or replace, as well as what promotions to include.

The frequency of new products depends on various factors, such as how many products you can create and how many different tools need to be created.

Come up with themes for your products based on popularity and whether they’re easy to research and write about. You can also gear your products toward specific audiences, such as beginners or new customers.

And don’t forget about your old products. Consider turning into new products by upselling and bundling them.

Yes, you can do lots of regular launches. But you can also get by with just one product. Both will work, so the choice is yours. 

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Hey there friends. Welcome to episode 242 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger. At a recent conference, I had a number of people say, “I love the way you say ProBlogger.” I’ve never really thought about that before but ProBlogger is a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks, all designed to help you as a blogger to grow as a blogger, to grow your audience, and to build some profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about what we do at ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

Today’s episode is brought to you by our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course, which launches this month. We are currently taking a group of about 100 bloggers through this course in its beta version. We’re getting very close to being able to launch it for everyone. The feedback coming in has been fantastic so far. If you are interested in improving your blog, taking it to the next level, I really encourage you to head over to problogger.com/31days to register your interest in the course or if you’re listening to this in a week or two’s time, it should be already live and you can just enroll in the course.

We’ve designed this course really to take you through a month of teaching but more importantly, some action items, which are designed to help you improve your blog whether you’re a new blogger or whether you’re more of an intermediate blogger and been going for awhile. This is a system that we’ve been using since about 2009, previously in ebook format. It’s helped tens of thousands of bloggers to really level up their blogs. I encourage you to check it out. Head over to problogger.com/31days.

In today’s episode, I’m tackling a question about creating products to sell on your blog. It’s a question that came in from one of our group members on Facebook, Cathy, who was asking around how often she should she be creating new products for her particular blog. She’s been creating ebooks. I talked a little bit about how often, how frequently you might want to be creating products.

Also, we dig in a little bit to how to schedule that and how to roadmap that. Also, how to select which products you want to talk about. How do you choose the right topics? I’m going to dig in a little bit to the format of products as well. I really want to give you an insight, particularly how we do that over on Digital Photography School, where we’ve released over 20 ebooks, a number of courses, and some other products as well. You can get today’s show notes with a full transcription of this episode at problogger.com/podcast/242.

Cathy, over in our Facebook group, this week, asked this question. She says, “I’ve written a total of five self published books and ebooks since I started writing my blog in 2011 but I haven’t written anything in the last two years. I thought maybe I was doing too much in too little time. I published approximately one per year. I know you’ve published many books on ProBlogger and Digital Photography School.

How often did you publish books and did you keep a schedule for these? What was your thought process around choosing themes for the ebooks that you published? I feel like I should be doing something this year, but I also feel like I’ve done plenty in the past so I’m not sure what to do next. Thank you for everything you do.” She adds in her URL, horselistening.com. horselistening.com is the blog if you want to check that out.

Thanks so much for the question, Cathy. I’m going to tackle the three main questions that you asked here, and then also throw in a few other questions as well. First question there was how often do we publish ebooks? I’m going to particularly focus upon Digital Photography School because we do have more products on that and that has been my main focus over the years. ProBlogger is a smaller site and whilst we have had ebooks there, we are now starting to convert some of those over into a course format. That’s probably a topic we could talk about on another day although I’ll touch on some of our thinking of that perhaps today as well.

But over in Digital Photography School, which is my main blog now, we’ve been publishing ebooks and other products since 2009. Previous to that, I’ve been doing affiliate promotions and relying more heavily upon advertising revenue to monetize that site. Since 2009, when I did my first ever ebook, we’ve published I think it’s 24, maybe 25 ebooks on the site. But I should add that we’ve really slowed down on the amount of ebooks we’ve been publishing because we have been doing more courses and we’ve also done some software products as well.

Since 2009, 24 ebooks, but I think there are also 5 courses and 3 or 4 Lightroom preset packs as well. It’s probably close to 35 products since 2009. On average, it’s probably three to four products per year that we have published. The first year, from memory, was quite slow. We may have only done 1 in that first 12 months but then have begun to ramp it up. We did have one year where I think we released five products in a year, but we’ve slowed that back down now to three to four product launches per year. Around one per quarter is the frequency that we’re operating from at the moment. There are a number of reasons for that that I’ll get into in a moment.

Your second question there, Cathy, was do we keep a schedule? Yes. The simple answer is yes. We try and plan out our year in advance. At the end of last year, we sat down as a team and said, “What products do we want to create in the next year?” In fact, what we do is think about it a little bit more broadly than what products do we want to create, we actually think about what do we want to promote over the next 12 months. We begin to form a calendar that not only has the products that we will create and launch, but also any other kinds of promotion that we’ll be doing.

We always, at the end of every year, do some sort of a Christmas or Thanksgiving promotion. Sometimes, we do both of those. We usually do a launch or promotion in the middle of the year, which we call our midyear sale. These are times that we do some affiliate promotions and also put some of our older products on sale as well. We factor those things into our year and then around those, we think about when do we want to launch new products of our own as well.

We are thinking ahead. We’re really probably thinking about 12 to 18 months ahead at all times. Now, when we’re thinking about 18 months out, we’re not really going to a lot of details as to what the products will be. We maybe have a vague topic in mind but certainly, as things get closer, within 6 to 12 months, we’re beginning to really form what those products will be, who’s going to be responsible for creating them. And so, we’ve developed, I guess it’s really a system now, to think about those types of things.

The other thing that we factor into our 12 to 18 month plan is anything that we want to relaunch or anything that we want to update. That’s something I will talk about a little bit later in this podcast as well because now that we do have 24 ebooks and a number of courses and other products, we need to also be paying attention to whether those older products are still relevant for today. Do we need to retire them or do we need to update them? There have been a number of products that we have relaunched, either with smaller updates and then just putting them back on sale to let people know or completely rejigging them as well.

One good example of that is our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course that we’re doing at the moment. It used to be an ebook. We’re completely overhauling it even though it really does have the same format as our previous ebook. That’s the other factor.

That may be something that you want to think about, Cathy. Your first product, if you created that in 2011, which I think is when you said you started, that’s now seven years old. Do you want to update that? Is it time for a refresh? A second edition, if you like. That might be something that you want to think about. I will touch a little bit more on that in a moment.

Some of the things that we are, I guess, factoring in when we’re thinking about the frequency of new things is that it’s really going to depend upon a number of factors. How often you launch a new product is going to partly depend upon your ability to create the new product.

If you’re like most bloggers, you’re probably juggling other work, perhaps other responsibilities, family, or community groups that you’re a part of, friendships, those types of things. I chuckle at that because I know many bloggers who would be saying, “Friends? I don’t have time for friends.” But really, there are a number of other things that you’re going to be juggling there, plus your blogging responsibilities. I don’t know how often you’re publishing new content and doing social media.

Life gets busy, and so our ability to create a product really is going to vary from situation to situation. Also, it partly depends upon the type of product that you’re going to create as well.

I know some bloggers who have 10-paged ebooks. They don’t even call them ebooks. They call them workbooks or printables. Some of those products, they can turnaround in a week. They could create those things. Other ebooks, for example, the ones that we create on Digital Photography School, some of our ebooks are 200 or 300 pages long. They’re beautifully designed. They take us six months to create. We’ve got a team working so it really is going to depend upon your ability to create a new product, the type of products that you’re creating as well.

It’s also going to partly depend upon your topic. I don’t know exactly what your topic is. I had a quick look at it and I don’t really know how big or broad your topic is. That would be one of the things I would be factoring in. My blog, Digital Photography School, is pretty broad. We talk about all kinds of photography. That gives us a lot of options when it comes to creating ebooks or products. We could do wedding photography. We could do how to make money from photography. We could do portraits, landscapes. We could then get into post production. How do you process your images? We could talk about gear. There are so many different sub categories on our blog and so that lends itself to lots of different potential products.

Other people have niches that are much more narrow and there’s really not as much to write about and less options when it comes to products as well. Perhaps, that’s a factor that you need to consider as well. As you look at your five current ebooks or books, is there gaps around the topics you’ve already covered of have you covered everything that they’re already eased to cover? That is going to be something to keep in mind.

Another factor to keep in mind is your audience’s fatigue. Sometimes, you can create so many products that your readers get confused by the amount of products that you’ve got or they get scared, worn out from you always creating or launching a new product. To be honest, this is something we’ve run into over the years. The danger is that you can have so many products that your audience just becomes a little bit numb to the idea of you launching something.

I know when I first launched my very first ebook, my audience, that was new to them. They’ve never seen us launch an ebook before. This is our first thing and so they were really open to hearing about that. Now, we’ve already launched 35 or so different things that, I guess, with our older time readers, it can numb them a little bit too. That’s another thing that you need to keep in mind.

There are some pros and cons of launching lots of products or not many products. I think Cathy mentioned two years between the last time she launched a product. The danger of that kind of length is that effectively, you could be leaving money on the table from your most avid fans. There are a segment of your audience, Cathy, who are waiting for your next product. They will buy everything that you launch. By not launching anything for two years, that’s two years where they have wanted to give you money for something and you’ve not had anything for them to make that exchange with. Two years between your launch, to me, feels a little bit too long.

It probably depends upon what other things you’ve got going in terms of income, but I do wonder whether perhaps creating something else might be good because you’ve probably got fans there who’ve bought your previous stuff, who’ve been satisfied by what you have sold them in the past, and they are ready and waiting to buy something else. It takes a lot of work to find a customer. It takes less work to sell a satisfied customer a second thing than to find a new customer all the time. That’s one of the costs of taking a long time to release products.

On the flip side of that, I do know bloggers who become too reliant upon their launches. They are always something new and these can go the other way. Their audience, as I mentioned before, can get a bit burned out and become numb to their marketing. This burns out that list that can also burn you out as a creator as well, if you’re creating too many things. It also means that you become very reliant on promoting things in launch mode or discount mode as well. You don’t pay as much attention sometimes when you get into this cycle of always launching something. You may not be paying as much attention into the systems to generate the long tale sales.

If you come to Digital Photography School today, we’ve got systems in place to get you to our 24 previous ebooks. One of the dangers of always releasing something new is that you cannot work on those systems as well. That’s something that comes at a bit of a cost to ongoing sales of your products as well. I guess what I’m trying to say here is you want to get that balance right between creating new and fresh things to keep your customers engaged, to increase the long term value of those customers, but you don’t want to burn those customers out. You want to work on the systems as well so when new people come to your site, they can see the new things that you’ve got as well.

Another thing that I’ve already touched on there is don’t just work on new things. I would encourage you to think about how you can update those older books or ebooks that you’ve already got. I learned the power of this the first time we did the hardcover version of the ProBlogger book, which we published with Wiley. I wrote that book with Chris Garrett. And then about a year and a half later, Wiley came back to us and said, “We want to do a second edition.” Part of the reason for that was the topics are dated so there was a need to update the content in the book. Also, Wiley said, “The other reason is that some people will buy both versions as well.”

Think about that there. Could you be taking one of those older products and updating it significantly enough that it’s going to bring new value to your previous customers as well? We did this with 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Back in 2009, I published that for the first time as an ebook. Three years later, I did a second edition of that ebook. It was quite heavily updated. It was a new version of the same format. We took the format of 31 Days of Teaching and Activities and we added some new days. We took out some old days. We updated every single day in that ebook. It was enough of an update that previous buyers of the ebook wanted to buy the new one.

At that time, I think we offered a discount to anyone who bought it before so that they got an extra value out of that, of being a long term customer. Now, of course, we’re doing it again in a completely different format. We’re taking the ebook version. We’re putting it into a course, which is I think a lot better than the ebook version as well. Maybe there’s something in that for you, Cathy, as well. Maybe one of those early books that you’ve done, maybe you could give that a refresh or a complete overhaul, which enables you to sell it again to long term customers with a discount if you’d like, but it also makes it more attractive and more useful to new customers as well.

They are the type of things that I would encourage you to be thinking about when it comes to frequency of your launch.

I guess the other thing I would say with Digital Photography School, one thing we’ve been trying over the last 12 months is to also do, I don’t really know what to call them, but in essence, they are periodic relaunch of a product. On Digital Photography School, we have a course that we only open up once every six months. We put it on sale for three or four weeks and then we get a new batch of students and we take those students through the course. Once those three or four weeks come about, we shut the course down in terms of taking new students.

This is us relaunching a product two times a year. This means we don’t have to create that product from fresh. Again, it’s not a new product, but it’s a relaunch. This is another alternative for creating new things, is to actually only make them available for certain types of time. It probably isn’t going to work for an ebook, but it does work for a course, particularly if you are going to take a group of people through the course over time. That’s another thing we factor in to our promotional schedule at the start of the year.

Last thing I’d say about higher frequency of creating products is that it gives you more products, which you can then use to upsell a bundle. This is one of the beauties of having 24 ebooks already published and another 10 courses, is that when we launch a new product, we can often add an upsell in our shopping cart. When we did our last course launch, we were able to bundle that with an ebook. Some people just bought the course, but some people saw the offer to get an ebook at 50% off and so that became a higher purchase as well.

It does give you a little bit more option there. You’ve already got five products, Cathy, so you can already be doing that type of thing. You could be doing 2 for 1 deals or those type of upsells. But more products can help with that as well.

The last question that Cathy asked was, “What was your thought process for choosing the themes for your ebooks?” I guess I would extend this to our courses as well. The first ebook that I did on Digital Photography School was on the topic of portraits. I think from memory it was called The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography. The reason I chose that topic, well there were a number of reasons. One, it was a proven topic on the blog. I knew that blog posts on the topic of portrait shot always did well. That was a hint that people were probably more likely to buy that product.

Also, to be honest, it was a topic I knew I could write a good book on because I had experience with it and it also wasn’t too hard for me to write it because a lot of that content was already written on the blog and that first ebook particularly, was a repurposed content largely. I chose that first book on those factors.

The second ebook we did was quite different though. It wasn’t on a topic or a subtopic. It was pitched at a particular level of expertise. That book was very much focused on the topic of photography for beginners so it was broader. It was on all types of photography, but it was for beginner photographers. It was a little bit of a different focus there. It wasn’t on that niche. It was more focused on the level.

Since that time, we’ve largely start to those two options or we’ve combined them together. We’ve done books that have been on portraits, landscapes, travel photography, natural light, different types of lighting, but we’ve also done further ebooks that have been focused on beginners and more intermediate levels as well and others that have combined those things. We’ve done portraits for beginners, for example. They are some of the things we keep in mind.

Some of the other factors that we can consider, I always ask, “Have we covered this topic on the blog before and how has it gone?” That to me is probably the first thing I think about. If I’ve published content on a blog and it has bombed, it hasn’t done well, it’s a signal to me that an ebook probably won’t do well. But if we’ve done lots of posts on that particular topic and they’ve always done very well in terms of traffic, engagement, interest, enthusiasm from our audience, then that’s a signal to me that maybe that’s a topic that we should choose for an ebook or a course as well.

Also, thinking about the broadness of the interest. We get really good response when we write about bird photography, for example. Photographing birds, eagles, owls, those types of things, they all do really well but when we think about it, it’s quite a small focus for our audience. There’s only a small group of our audience who are interested. Even though they’re avid, I’m not sure that it’s the right topic for an ebook for us. We’ve never done anything that niche-y. We try to be a little bit broader. We are going to experiment with some smaller products in the future that are a little bit more niche-y, just to experiment with that. My gut feeling is that we want to choose broader appeal type topics.

Another factor that I do consider is is the topic too broad for one product? The topic of portrait photography is actually a very broad topic. Whilst the first ebook I did did quite well, another thing in the back of my mind as I’m choosing topics now is could this be more than one product? We actually took that first portrait ebook off the market. It was my first one. It wasn’t as good as what it could’ve been but also the other reason I took it off the market was because I saw I could replace it with four or five ebooks on that particular topic.

Now, if you’re going to look at our range of ebooks, we have a portrait photography called Making the Shot, which is an introduction to making portraits. We have one called Lighting the Shot, which is all about lighting portraits. We’ve got one about posing portraits. We’ve got another one about processing the photos that you get in Lightroom. We’ve got a variety of ebooks all about portraiture. This is another thing that you might want to consider, is how could you replace one of your ebooks with four or five of your ebooks. It’s another way to roll out more products.

It enables you to go a little bit deeper into each of those topics but it also opens up topics for bundling and upselling. This is something that we do quite successfully on Digital Photography School, is we bundle those four of five portrait photography ebooks together and it becomes quite a compelling offer. You might buy five but pay for three, that type of thing. That has worked quite well for us as well.

Another thing to factor in as you’re choosing topics is could you extend upon something that you have previously already done and has worked well. Picking up that portrait photography idea, once we came to the end of that series of ebooks, we started to think, “Well, portrait has done well for us, what else could we do? We’ve covered most of the main topics there but what else could we offer?” One of the things we did an experiment with was to create, I think it’s called 14 Amazing Portrait Recipes, It’s a small ebook. It’s more of a case study type ebook. Again, it’s something else that we’ve offered and again, enables us to bundle that as well. You may have already covered all the topics, but could you take a different slant on things? Could you build upon the little library that you’ve already got?

Another thing we do with portraits was to create what we call a printable, a posing printable. It’s 67 poses that you can use in your portrait photography. Again, it’s not an ebook. It’s something else that relates to the topic. Sometimes, when you get to the end of a range of topics that you’ve covered, sometimes, there are other things that you can create, that can become nice little companion products to other products that you’ve got.

Another factor that I always consider before doing a product is have we done an affiliate promotion of something similar to that? This is something that I highly recommend anyone who’s thinking of creating a product, would do. Try and find someone else’s product that you can promote as an affiliate first. It’s going to teach you so much about creating products. You’re going to begin to see what your readers respond to. You can see he price points they respond to as well. And essentially allows you to test whether your product is going to work.

You don’t want to just reproduce what someone else has already created. You need to be really careful about that, particularly with plagiarism. Also, it’s just not going to be good for your brand if you’re seen to be creating something that’s too similar to someone else. But you can learn a lot by promoting other people’s products before you create your own. That’s another factor that we would keep in mind.

The last thing that I’m always thinking about is what’s the best format for the product? Cathy has talked about ebooks and books but maybe, one way to extend your product line up would not be to create another book or ebook, but to create something else. You might create a course. Maybe you should be thinking about a membership site. Maybe you should be thinking about printables, or templates, or t-shirts, or coffee mugs. I don’t know what it would be but maybe there’s something quite different that would be complementary to what you’ve already got or quite different to what you’ve already got as well. Sometimes, some topics just land themselves better to more of a course type teaching, or a printable, or a membership so maybe you should be thinking about that.

The other thing I’d say on that front is that sometimes, actually having a course and an ebook can be best. In Digital Photography School, the second ebook that we ever did was called Photo Nuts and Bolts. It was an ebook for beginners in photography. We still sell that ebook today but we’ve also got Photo Nuts and Bolts, the course. Some people prefer to read. Some people prefer to watch. Some people prefer to get both and so, they bundle those two things together. Maybe your ebook little library that you’ve already got, maybe that could be rolled up as courses as well, either to offer people the alternative or to get both together as a bundle.

I know that’s a lot of information to digest. I hope it answers your question, Cathy.

One last thought for you though, I know a lot of people who do very, very well with lots of regular launches. Similar to what we do on Digital Photography School, they’ve got lots of products. That’s their model. It works really well for them. But I do know a number of bloggers who just have one product. They focus all their energy on promoting that one thing. In some ways, that’s a much simpler model and they have a lot less headaches than we do at Digital Photography School with lots of different products and always having to update them.

Both can work, but one thing I would say is that the people I see doing best with one product or just a handful of products, they generally have an audience that has always lots of fresh people coming in so they may be doing really well with search engine optimization, always bringing new people in.

The other thing that most of them do is instead of selling an ebook, which is a sale that they get once, they generally have some kind of way of getting a recurring income from their sale. That type of model with one product does land itself perhaps a little bit better to a membership site or some sort of a subscription as well. Maybe, I don’t know, again, your topic would land themselves to people who would sign up for a monthly subscription to get some regular content from you and maybe a community area, but that might be another model. It means that you do get that one sale or that one customer, but you keep that customer engaged as well, which increases the lifetime value for that customer as well.

I hope that somewhere in the midst of that advice is something that’s going to spark some ideas for you, Cathy, and everyone else who’s listening as well. If you’ve got any further advice for Cathy, you can do a couple of things. You can join our Facebook community. Just search for ProBlogger Community on Facebook and join that group. You’d be able to find Cathy in there, the question that she asked, or perhaps, you want to leave a comment on our show notes at problogger.com/podcast/242. We’ve got comments and you can leave a comment there as well.

I hope that you’ve got some value out of that. If you’ve got a question you’d like to see in a future podcast as well, feel free to pop it in the show notes or over in the Facebook group as well. A couple of last things for you to wrap up today’s show. If you want to think a little bit more about products, listen to episode 67. It’s one which I did a year or so ago now on the topic of why you should create a product to sell on your blog. If you’re not quite there yet on whether products are right for you, that one’s a good one to listen to. I also give you some tips on how to create that product.

And then over on the ProBlogger blog, I write an article earlier this year called Seven Types of Product That You Could Sell From Your Blog, which might be a good companion piece for today. I talked there a little bit about ebooks of course, because that’s where we started out, but also give you some other ideas on different types of products for those of you who maybe aren’t quite suited to the ebook.

Lastly, I want to say thank you to a number of you who’ve been leaving reviews on the podcast this week. I just got my email this morning from the service I use to report on the new reviews that come in.

I had one from Tim Melville who came in. I don’t know whether it’s a him or her but Tim Melville wrote, “I googled impostor syndrome, something I have diagnosed but really wanted to explore, and I found ProBlogger, and I fell in love. Thanks so much for falling in love, Darren.” Tim Melville goes on to write, “He’s the epitome of everything I had no idea that existed. He’s real. He’s humble. He’s everything you need to understand to build your blog. I incidentally heard one episode, episode 101, I think, and cannot stop listening. I ran into work to talk to a potential partner. I was talking so fast and so excited and she was like slow down and I’ve not lost a moment yet. I love his very real information for everything you need to know. Everything. Thank you, Darren.” Well, thank you for leaving your review.

Also, AJ Reid wrote, “Great podcast. I listen regularly. Rowse speaks from experience and has a laid back style. He isn’t just there to sell me something. Learning so much. Highly recommend this podcast.”

Thank you so much AJ and thanks Tim Melville for your reviews. If you’ve got a review for us, head over to iTunes today, rate us and review us, or on whatever app you do use as well. I particularly get notified when the iTunes ones come in, but I try and watch those other app services as well. If you’ve got a moment, I would love you to do that. Otherwise, dig into the archives. There are 241 other episodes there for you, episode 67 particularly on the topic of products.

Thanks for listening. I’ll be back with you next week in episode 243.

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