How to Make Money Blogging

marketing ideas make money blogging

Ah, to make money blogging. It’s one of the holy grails of the Internet community. We write, therefore we are–but we would rather our loquacious posts pay the bills too. Really, is that too much to ask?

Want your words working for you? Here are a few ways to help your articles make money online.

How to Structure Your Blog

Write. A Lot.

The more gravity your website has, the more value (presumably) it will have, providing you have valuable insight to offer on the topic at the center of your soapbox. The search engines don’t look at only pages; they look at the composition of the whole site, as well as the sites linking into it, the links leading away from it, etc. So the more targeted content you have, the more gravity your site will have on that topic and the higher you will rise through the results.

Keyword Research

Use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool (https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool) to help you ascertain how people are searching for the content you want to offer.

  1. On the left navigation bar, set the search to [Exact].
  2. Enter your first attempt at keywords.
  3. Sift through the proposed keywords, looking for keywords and phrases with thousands of local visits, but which also have low competition. (This is Adwords ads competition, but we’re using it as an indicator of global competitive targeting.)

how to make money blogging

Sprinkle Keywords Throughout

Now that you’ve selected some keyphrases, it’s time to work them into your post. They should appear in your title and–if you’re using WordPress like you should be–in your page URL for the post or page you’re creating. Your keywords should also appear occasionally within your content and within a link or two.

Don’t go crazy here, as it all still needs to be readable by a human, but your blog post also needs to be found relevant by a search engine.

Title Your Images

Also, don’t forget to title your blog’s images. You will want to include the keyword in the alt tag for the image, as well as the actual file name for the image. For instance, the image above is titled “make-money-blogging.jpg” and its alt tag matches the title of this post; “how to make money blogging”. The alt tag is something you can set easily in the WordPress blog software.

While taking a second job might seem like the way to go there are only so many hours in the day, and the stress of the extra workload can lead to other problems. The key to generating a secondary income stream is to find something you enjoy, something you already do or could do, and get paid for it.

Leveraging Your Blog

Affiliate Marketing

One of the major methods people use to bring in extra money with their blog (or replace their main income in some instances) is affiliate marketing. One common approach here is to become a digital advisor and for every sale you make, you earn a commission. So say you write a blog reviewing books. In every blog post, you might place an affiliate link to the book you’re reviewing. Every time someone clicks that link and buys that book, you make X percent of that sale. If no one buys the product, you get nothing, but putting up a single, popular review has the potential to lead to many sales over time, creating an income stream once you build up a steady flow of traffic.

With affiliate marketing, you don’t have to be the magic or produce the magic. You get paid to offer information about whatever product, service, dream or dread the audience is seeking.

Per-Per-Click Marketing

Per-per-click marketing is used by services such as Google AdSense and InfoLinks. With this marketing strategy your goal is not to sell a product, but rather to get your readers to check out ads related to your content. Again let’s use the example of a blog. Say your blog is about aftermarket car upgrades and how-to articles for car enthusiasts. If you allow Google to place a link or banner onto your blog, your audience will now be exposed to the ad. If they click on that ad, you get paid. The more traffic your site gets, and the more ads those people click, the more money you make. Ideally it’s possible to build up a popular enough base of traffic that you can just sit back and let the money roll in.

Selling Your Crafts

Lots of people enjoy making things, but they would never imagine there was a market for the things they make. Whether it’s weaving chainmail or making necklaces, all you have to do is set up an Internet storefront. Websites like Etsy.com or Ebay.com allow you to put up items for sale (or re-sale if you want to try and get a good price for things you bought cheap like designer clothes at a thrift store). You simply create a profile and pay a small fee to list your items. When those items sell you mail them to the buyer, and you get paid. This is more like running a traditional store, but with less of the traditional overhead that comes with a bricks and mortar operation.

Warning: Blog Owner Beware

The Internet is a great way to make extra money, but you need to be cautious when you decide to try out something you found online. Research any site or system before you decide to invest your time and effort into it, and if a “business opportunity” requires you to buy a starting kit make very sure that you look for reviews from other people. Chances are good that the only person making money is the one promising that you’ll be able to quit your day job within the year.

Afterglow

Well, while this isn’t all the tricks you can do, these ideas will get you a long way toward making money online with your blog. After all, I didn’t even discuss sponsorships, mailing list subscriptions, squeeze pages or any of the other fun monetizing techniques. There are many ways to make money blogging, but the cornerstone to running a successful blog begins with these core steps. As traffic to your site increases due to the increased value you’ve built, these money-making techniques will work better and better.
In support of your efforts,

Matt

(Updated April 1, 2015. Original posted October 30, 2012.)

101 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Over 100 ways to drive traffic to your website, drive traffic to your website

One of the chief concerns we have as website owners is how to drive traffic to our websites. Without knowing how to get more traffic, how else will we get more leads, make more sales and continue to make money online?

There are a number of ways to get more traffic, so I’ve collected this list of my favorite traffic-generation techniques. I’ve tried to organize them into the following categories:

  • Content & Article Marketing
  • SEO & Search Engine Marketing
  • Video Marketing & Podcasting
  • Email Marketing & Syndication
  • Advertising & PPC
  • Public Relations & Spreading the Word
  • Social Media & Bookmarking

(Of course, some techniques could arguably be placed in more than one category. Enjoy!)

P.S. – Was this helpful? If so, please

SHARE!

Have more ideas? Add them to the comments below!!

In support of your efforts,

Matt

marketing ideas, drive traffic, drive traffic to your website

Content & Article Marketing

  1. Start a blog or add a blog to your website. Use WordPress. Tip: Don’t go with the free WordPress hosting offered by WordPress.com. It’s a watered-down version of WordPress you cannot optimize!
  1. Research your article keywords using the Google keyword tool. Target your blog posts and articles using these keywords. (Read How to Add Keywords to Your Website.) This will help your posts rank higher in the search results.
  1. Update your website or blog frequently. Three times each week is great. Daily is better.
  1. Write better headlines. Writing compelling headlines that convert into views is an art. Make sure you research your keywords and work them into your headline. Keep your headline congruent with the webpage it describes.
  1. Stay away from duplicating other posts and articles. Duplicate content is one of the big no-no’s according to Google and your site can be penalized or banned if you are engaging in this practice. Tip: If you’re hiring out your content writing, ensure the contractor knows their work needs to pass a plagiarism-detection tool like Copyscape.
  1. When considering content for your website or blog, there are two approaches to consider: timely hot topics or evergreen. Hot topics—like world events, emerging technology or celebrities—will offer you a chance to speak to something that is on everyone’s minds, however those topics often cool off and fade from relevance over time. Evergreen content—as the name suggests—is content that provides timeless value, based on principles that aren’t as likely to change with the public’s mood. A good piece of evergreen content can bring traffic steadily, year after year, and makes for a real asset to your website.
  1. Convert your blog articles to Adobe PDFs and offer them on Scribd.com.
  1. Offer to guest post at other highly-ranked websites. Include your URL in your resource box (your brief description about you and how to reach you for more information.)
  1. Comment on other blogs in your industry or niche. Make your comments thoughtful, courteous and use a keyword or two. Include the link back to your site.
  1. Similar to blog commenting, offer helpful solutions on Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers and Quora. Place the brief synopsis of your solution in answer to the question you’re addressing and post the link to the full article (already posted on your website) if they want to learn more.
  1. Join niche-related forums and offer advice, ask questions, etc. Include links to your websites in your forum signature.
  1. Offer a whitepaper that answers a common challenge for your audience. Collect email sign-ups in exchange. Deliver your whitepaper automatically using your confirmation autoresponder.
  1. Write an ebook. Include links to resources and to your own URL. Offer the ebook on your website.
  1. Place your new ebook into ebook directories for free or low-cost download.
  1. Convert your ebook into a PowerPoint presentation and post on SlideShare.
  1. Repackage your ebook for delivery on the Kindle, Nook and other tablet platforms. Then offer it for sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.
  1. Add your blog posts to BlogCarnival.com. Host a blog carnival to bring exposure to others within your niche while building the value in your own site.
  1. Form a blog promotion network. Agree to retweet, mention, link or otherwise promote one member each week. (This requires 100% dedication from all members to make it work. If a member begins falling down on their commitment, they’re out.)
  1. Article marketing. Submit your pithy articles to sites like the following and remember to include keyword links leading back to your website. (Read Marketing Mastery Series: 5 Steps to Powerful Article Marketing.)
    1. Ezinearticles.com
    2. Ehow.com
    3. Hubpages.com
    4. Articlesbase.com
    5. Buzzle.com
    6. Associatedcontent.com (now Yahoo Voices)
    7. Suite101.com
  1. Build a quiz or self-test that shows people something about themselves. Entertaining, informative or both, bring value through self-discovery. Though I am certainly biased, here is an example I especially like: Branding 101: Discover Your Brand Archetype Quiz
  1. Create a Squidoo lens. This is a collection of original articles that link back to your site from your Squidoo page.
  1. Add a forum or discussion group software to your website. (Be warned: It takes time, dedication and love to grow a thriving community, but it can be well worth it.)
  1. Offer regular webinars and communicate the schedule and topics through your website and mailing lists. Tip: Record the seminars and add them to a members area on your website, or make them available 24/7, thereby bringing even more value to your site.
  1. Offer a free tool, template or software. When Hotmail was first introduced, each message carried a little signature at the bottom of each email that said “Get your free email at Hotmail”. The email system went viral, spreading naturally from inbox to inbox.
  1. Need help getting posts out regularly? Hire a ghost-writer through an outsourcing service like iWriter, oDesk, Elance, etc.
  1. Create a compelling infographic. When done well, infographics make even the driest material visually interesting, effectively grabbing and holding the reader’s attention long enough to deliver the message—and your URL.

SEO & Search Engine Marketing

  1. Use keyword-centric tags with your WordPress posts.
  1. In WordPress, make sure to leave trackbacks turned on. When you link to other site owners, an email will notify the blog owners of the new link and they will likely visit your site. They may even link back!
  1. Install the Google Sitemap XML plugin for WordPress. It automatically sends updates to Google and other search engines when you make a new post, helping your material get indexed more quickly. Don’t have a WordPress site? Use Ping-O-Matic to accomplish the same thing.
  1. Can’t use the Google Sitemap XML plugin for WordPress* to create your sitemap.xml or robots.txt files (used by Google and other search engines?) Use a sitemap generator like XML-Sitemaps.com.
  1. Two words: Google Authorship. Set it up and get your face to appear next to your posts in the Google search results. (Read Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results.)
  1. Install Google Analytics on your site and actually look at it once in a while. It doesn’t even have to be Google Analytics, but you should be able to see how much traffic you’re receiving on a weekly basis and where your visitors are coming in from? How can you intelligently drive more traffic to your site if you don’t know what’s already working for you?
  1. Submit your website to search engines and search directories. Seems obvious, but most folks don’t know where to start. Here is a list of some of the top search sites:
    1. Google
    2. Bing
    3. Yahoo! Search
    4. AltaVista
    5. Excite
    6. Go.com
    7. HotBot
    8. Galaxy
    9. Lycos
    10. Gigablast
    11. Alexa Internet
  1. Use the linkdomain command in Google (ex. linkdomain:marketingideas101.com). While this only shows a subset of the links that lead into a domain, it can give you an idea about how your competitors are getting their rankings.
  1. Research popular misspellings of your company’s name and those of your competitors. Buy those domain names and forward them to your website.
  1. Find expired domain names in your niche that are still receiving traffic and buy them, directing them toward your site. For this, I recommend Expired Domains.
  1. Use a custom 404 page to help people find the information they are seeking from your website in the event it moves or otherwise becomes unavailable.
  1. Reciprocal linking campaigns with mid- to high-PR sites can offer a boost to your rankings and traffic. The best backlink is a one-way, dofollow link from a high PR site. Also, if you’re just getting started with your website and you have low PR, you had better have some great content, otherwise your opt-in rate with a reciprocal campaign is likely to be low.
  1. Join a web ring like WebRing. Advantage: Niche-related linking. Disadvantage: Uglies up your site. (Not as much of a disadvantage if you already have an ugly site. If that’s the case, jump in!)
  1. Pay a freelancer or company to generate obscene amounts of traffic for you. Just beware of the very real chance it could be a scam (Read How NOT to Drive Traffic Using Fiverr.)

Video Marketing & Podcasting

  1. Read or speak to your ebook contents in an audio post or series of audio posts and place on BlogTalkRadio or iTunes.
  1. Why only create audio posts of your ebook, blog post or web content? Create a video demonstrating the same information and post to YouTube and Vimeo. Include links back to your site in your video description and in video captions. Tip: you can do this either by presenting the material yourself, hiring someone to present it, or by creating a video with something like Animoto.

Email Marketing & Syndication

  1. Link your blog with your Aweber email marketing account. Take signups for your newsletter, ebook or other promotional/informational offers. This will grow your emailing list.
  1. Establish an RSS feed for your site. Add it to FeedBurner.com. (Well.. what was Feedburner. Google gobbled them up.)
  1. Connect your RSS feed broadcasts to your Aweber email marketing service. This will deliver your blog posts in an enewsletter format to your mailing list. Set the mailing list to weekly or whatever is appropriate for your posting frequency.
  1. Email your current and past clients regularly. Ask them about their interest in new products and services (segment your list accordingly.) Send letters of appreciation, short polls, tips, client spotlights and other relevant correspondence to stay at the front of their minds.
  1. In your enewsletter, don’t embed complete articles. Instead, display hook paragraphs with links back to the full articles on your own site. This also allows you to gauge what topics are most important to your readers.
  1. Don’t stop with only offering your whitepaper from your newsletter signup confirmation page. Include your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ profiles and links to other websites you own that complement.
  1. Syndicate your blog with Technorati.
  1. Include your website URL in your email signature. (It’s a good place to offer some of your social media URLs as well.)
  1. Run a solo ad, whereby you pay someone to market your offer to their list. Research your list owners carefully here; all is not as it may seem. (Proceed with caution. Read Solo Ads Advertising: Why Solo Ad Scams Suck.)
  1. Conduct an ad swap. You have a mailing list. Another marketer has their mailing list. Your offers align with each others’ mailing lists. The other marketer sends your offer to their list and you send their offer to yours. All things being equal, you both should see your opt-in lists expand. (Get started at Safe-Swaps.com.)
  1. Join venture with another marketer. Similar to a solo ad, you run your ad to their list, with the difference being they get a cut of the sales instead of taking a flat fee.

Advertising & PPC

  1. Run pay-per-click (PPC) ads using Facebook ads, Google Adwords or Bing Ads. Tip: Watch your ad performance carefully at first. You can lose a lot of money quickly if you don’t pay attention!
  1. Pay for banner ads on other websites. Target websites in your niche, preferably. This is a quick way to begin receiving qualified traffic.
  1. Banner exchange. Similar to reciprocal links, you agree to trade banner ads with other website owners. Aim for the same or complementary niches.
  1. Post free or paid ads on classified ad sites like Craigslist, ClassifiedAds.com, and Backpage.
  1. Begin an affiliate marketing program and spread the wealth! Pay others to promote you to their website visitors and mailing lists by giving them a cut. Make sure you can track referred traffic correctly before rolling this out.

Public Relations & Spreading the Word

  1. Offer to start an advice column for local media outlets. Have some example column posts and know your pitch well before approaching publishers. Finally, make sure the publisher’s audience matches your own.
  1. Along the same lines as an advice column, offer to write an editorial. This is akin to guest posting on someone else’s blog. By offering thoughtful insight into a common challenge or current event, you bring value to the publication and a spotlight to your own efforts.
  1. Write a compelling press release and post to free press release sites and local media outlets. Here is a short list of free and paid press release sites:
    1. eReleases.com
    2. Free-Press-Release.com
    3. Free-Press-Release-Center.info
    4. 24-7PressRelease.com
    5. 1888PressRelease.com
    6. PRBuzz.com
    7. PRCompass.com
    8. PRUrgent.com
    9. Express-Press-Release.net
    10. ClickPress.com
    11. PR9.net
    12. EcommWire.com
    13. PRLog.org
    14. I-Newswire.com
    15. PressAbout.com
    16. NewswireToday.com
    17. PRLeap.com
    18. PR.com
    19. TheOpenPress.com
  1. Are your offline marketing materials supporting your online marketing efforts? You should have your URL on your business cards, flyers, brochures, letterhead; any and all stationary.
  1. Pay a high school or college student to place flyers with your offer and URL around town. Include college campuses, malls, grocery stores, houses, etc., so long as business proprietors are asked and so long as the location is congruent (or neutral) with your offer. These locations should be places where your target audience frequents. Tip: Not sure those flyers won’t end up in the trash? In today’s age of smart phones, pay for each image of the flyers as they’re placed.
  1. Drive your URL all around town. Brand your URL onto your license plate cover, bumper sticker, or have it added professionally to your vehicle’s rear window, tailgate, side, etc. Better if your car is unique in some way (and I’m not talking about that rust spot shaped like Elvis or the Virgin Mary.) Want to take this over the top? Invest in an eye-catching vehicle wrap.
  1. Buy a pair of sandals or boots and carve your URL into the bottom of them. Then go walk on wet sand or snow and give those who follow in your footsteps something to think about.
  1. Hold a contest. Winner gets a rave review on your site, a fun toy or gadget, cash.. whatever. The more compelling and niche-appropriate the prizes, the better. Announce the contest winners on your site.
  1. Join a local business group or association. Members often benefit from being listed in the member directory, complete with their website’s URL.
  1. Your business card should have your link on it, of course. Better, use the back of your business card to state a special offer, coupon code, promotion or other thrilling reason for them to visit your site. Now those networking mixers may actually bring some visits to your site instead of seeding your business cards at the bottom of trash bins all over town.
  1. Sponsor a league team. This might be softball, darts, roller derby, bowling—even chess. Consider the audience (the players and their families and fans) and your own interests when choosing your sponsorship opportunity.
  1. Get seen on television. This technique worked well for Dave Mayer of CleanBottle.com. Dressed in a gigantic bottle costume—complete with URL—Dave was first caught on video running along Tour de France bicyclists. The video went viral and CleanBottle’s orders exploded. He has since made this technique a cornerstone in his marketing strategy, though he’s occasionally roughed up by drunken cycling fans.
  1. Give a live talk, presentation, seminar or workshop. At the end of that event, you should be collecting a short survey to see how to improve the next event. Request email addresses from those who confirm they would like to opt into your mailing list.
  1. When folks were registering for that event, did they fill out a registration form? It better not have been printed! Any flyers or advertising for the event should point to your website where they’ll find more event details and the registration form.
  1. Give an interview. Regardless of the format, a recorded interview can offer you great exposure to your market and places you in the expert seat. As the interviewer for a list of questions ahead of time, or offer your own. Practice being at ease and ask for a copy of the interview for use in your own marketing efforts.
  1. Interview others. With every interview you conduct, the easier it will become for you to interview larger names in your industry. The larger the names, the larger the draw. Tip: Have your recorded interviews transcribed and offer them on your website. It’s a great way to generate fresh content!
  1. Offer to give a product review (whether positive or negative) or testimonial in exchange for a backlink.
  1. Send your product (for free) to other site owners for an online product review.
  1. Hand out promotional items with your URL on them. Don’t skimp here. Nice metal pens and USB drives tend to tend to stay with me for a very long time, even if they have a logo and URL emblazoned on them.
  1. Hold an online treasure hunt. Contestants compete to answer riddles and collect clues to win mind-boggling prizes. Of course, one of the clues (or maybe the treasure!?) will be on your website.
  1. Printed banners, billboards and skywriting. Enough said there. Better: Save yourself the printing costs. To retaliate against political sign thieves, Michigan digital marketing agency, Oneupweb projected a 30-foot video loop of a dancing Senator Obama onto the side of their building. The stunt made the evening news all over the country.
  1. Produce viral content. How? One idea is to make a legend come true. Athletic shoe manufacturer Hi-Tec, made a series of “reality” videos showing their new line of running shoes were so water-resistant, people were attempting to run on water—and they were succeeding.
  1. Tattoo (temporary or otherwise) your URL onto your body. Anything that important is sure to get looked up.
  1. Ask a celebrity to wear a t-shirt or dress with your URL printed on it.
  1. When attending a tradeshow, you and your team wear the same shirts, visibly labeled with your URL. Buttons and hats are another version of this.
  1. Create an award program. Establish the guidelines, the award graphics, press release templates, etc. Be discerning about how you select your candidates and make your announcement. Encourage the winner(s) to place the new badge on their website. Of course, it’s a link to the award summary on your own site.
  1. Promote a sale, introductory pricing, free trial or other enticing promotion to lead deal-conscious buyers to your website.

Social Media & Bookmarking

  1. Facebook. Share interesting or relevant posts, images and videos on your Facebook ‘fan page’. Every now and again, include a link to your own website.
  1. Facebook. Install the NetworkedBlogs Facebook app and connect your blog to Facebook. When you post to your blog, your post automatically shows in Facebook.
  1. Facebook. Link your Facebook account with your Twitter account so a post in Facebook automatically posts in Twitter. This lightens your need to log into both accounts and adds diversity to your Twitter posts, especially if you’re smart enough to automate some of them using…
  1. MarketMeSuite. Manage your social media streams and accounts from one place. Best: Create, schedule and upload your social media broadcasts a week, month, quarter or year at a time. Greatly reduces the social media marketing burden.
  1. Twitter. Display your Twitter feed on your website or blog. If you’re using your Facebook or Twitter account regularly, your tweets will display and serve to freshen your website. This encourages repeat visits and updates your website, keeping you fresh in Google’s search results.
  1. Twitter. Include your website’s link in your Twitter bio.
  1. Twitter. Tweet about your product, service or articles. Include links to your onsite material. Use hash tags (#) to add your tweets to relevant topic streams.
  1. LinkedIn. Connect your WordPress blog with your LinkedIn account so your blog posts appear on your profile.
  1. LinkedIn. Include your URL in your profile.
  1. LinkedIn. Start a LinkedIn group. Best: Target your niche and mention your geographical location in the group’s description to build a more focused group.
  1. LinkedIn. Too busy to start your own LinkedIn group? Join other groups and add value to those communications. Often, those posts can be expanded to become full articles on your own website. Then offer the link to the group.
  1. Pinterest. Add interesting, non-copyrighted graphics to your web pages and blog posts then pin them to your Pinterest account.
  1. Create a profile in any of these popular social bookmarking sites. Include your URL in your profile.
    1. Digg.com
    2. StumbleUpon.com
    3. Delicious.com
    4. Fark.com
    5. Slashdot.org
    6. Newsvine.com
    7. DZone.com
    8. Diigo.com
    9. Tumblr.com
    10. Pinterest.com
    11. Reddit.com
  1. Using these popular social bookmarking sites, bookmark links of value, related to your niche. Your own website should be one of these bookmarks.
  1. Ask others to bookmark your site. Or bribe them. Either way.

And finally–because you can’t have a list of only 100 marketing ideas on a website called “Marketing Ideas 101”:

Content & Article Marketing (cont.)

  1. Make a “100 Ways to” list post and ask people to share if they found it helpful. Not quite that ambitious? Make the list “10 Ways to”, “3 Ways to”, “50 Ways to”—you get the idea.

Share if you approve!!

marketing ideas, drive traffic, drive traffic to your website

References

Boorn, Cassie. 50 Ways to Drive Massive Traffic to Your Blog. Retrieved from http://askaprgirl.com/50-ways-to-drive-massive-traffic-to-your-blog/ on 12/17/2012.

SEOLogic. Web Traffic 101. Retrieved from http://www.seologic.com/guide/traffic on 12/09/2012.

WarriorForum. 50 Great Ideas to Get More Traffic to a website – I found it and you might find it useful. Retrieved from http://www.warriorforum.com/mind-warriors-success-power-self-improvement/166835-50-great-ideas-get-more-traffic-website-i-found-you-might-find-useful.html on 12/17/2012

 

(* Did you see a pattern? I’ve mentioned WordPress a few times now. I wonder if WordPress could be a powerful option for those who want to have a search engine optimized website that draws traffic. I wonder…)

Marketing Mastery Series: 5 Steps to Powerful Article Marketing

Marketing Ideas Article Marketing

Today, article marketing is probably one of the most powerful and inexpensive forms of online marketing available to small business owners and non-profits. For those not savvy with the term “article marketing”, here is a quick definition:

In exchange for a little sweat and focus, an article author (you) shares their wisdom and experience with the world by posting their short article of advice or insight to blogs, social media and article publication sites. Within those articles are one-way links leading back into the author’s own website, raising their website’s “authority” karma with the search engines and increasing their qualified web traffic.

You Are the Expert

Here is a little mental preparation for you. I want to make sure you are looking at article marketing—and yourself—through the proper lens.

When you produce articles, it is your goal to encapsulate gems of experience-hardened wisdom and share them with the online community. In doing so, you:

  1. Help to advise those who are seeking that knowledge, and you
  2. Position yourself as an expert on the topic. (Important!)

Warning: Don’t get caught on the term “expert.” Many humble folks who are vastly knowledgeable about their industry wouldn’t refer to themselves as experts because they are also aware there is much they don’t know. You don’t have to know it all. You just need to know more than your customers and then know where to find the answers when you are stumped.

Your Mission: Inspire, Inform, Entertain

Your primary goal in business is to help, right? Businesses and non-profit organizations provide products and services with the intent of helping people. (Naïve? Maybe. Choosing to see the best? Definitely.) That might mean helping to:

  1. Provide a solution to a problem,
  2. Offer inspiration, motivation or elevation,
  3. Foster greater awareness to a social concern, or even to
  4. Entertain and enthrall.

The best place to start? Begin with what you know. Offer advice. Offer your life experience. Offer sagacious words of wisdom. Expound and elucidate. Maybe even do a little research. Article marketing is your vehicle for taking your wisdom to your audience, answering their questions before their questions have bubbled up.

Step 1: Target Your Topic

What do you specialize in? What do you know a lot about? What is the point to your website? After all, the goal of any article marketing campaign is to place articles of value out into the world and grow your number of back links (links that point back to your website from another website.) Google and other popular search engines/directories see these links leading into your website as proof you must be something of an authority.

Translation: On the Internet, you are somebody important if other people say you are. It’s like high school all over again! Yeah!

Step 2: Write the Article

To begin marketing with articles, you must write the articles. No kidding. Sure, there is some work involved here, but the rewards can be great as qualified traffic to your website increases. Yes, I’m aware there are certain sources for pre-written articles on a myriad of topics, however I would recommend against putting your name on other people’s work. Call me paranoid, but here are some possible dangers with this:

  1. Loss of credibility and damage to your reputation when it’s discovered you’re not writing your own material,
  2. Being called upon to discuss a topic you barely considered to begin with, and
  3. Being accountable for someone else’s errors if they pop up.

Remember: One of the greatest things about writing is the fact you’re building an asset when you write. You are building a body of reproducible and shareable knowledge. This is what “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author, Rob Kiyosaki, refers to as “doing it once and replicating it over and over.”

To write an article, you don’t have to be a Harvard literature graduate, but you should know how to complete a thought, hold a one-way conversation with a friend, and use spellcheck.

  • First, know what your goal is for your article. What is your point? Being clear on this will help keep you on track as craft your introduction, body and conclusion.
  • Next, pretend you are relaying this information to a friend. What would you say? How would you counsel this friend if they came to you seeking this advice?
  • Finally, use spellcheck. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Read the article aloud to test for smooth flow and phrasing. Ferret out all typos, grammatical errors and punctuation gaffs. If missed, these mistakes can detract from your writing and credibility.

The Resource Box

The last detail you’ll consider for your article will be your resource box. Your resource box is the little paragraph at the end of your article that tells the reader a little about you and how to contact you. It should always include a link to your website. Always. You want your readers to be able to find you if they desire more information and you want the search engines to see you as an authority through that back link, remember?

Key point: In your resource box, you don’t always have to use the same link back to your website’s homepage. In fact, you will likely have greater success by linking to the page on your site most closely related to your article’s topic. This moves visitors from the article directly to their topic of interest. (For example, if a web design company also offers web hosting, their article “How to pick the best web host” should link back to the page on their website that describes their web hosting services.)

Step 3: Launch!

There! You have produced a shiny little gem of literary brilliance. Now it is time to set it free.

  • Place it on your blog (if you have one and if it fits appropriately.)
  • Share it with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and your other social media outlets. You can post it over and over by hand or use tools like PingFM to automate this process.
  • Submit your article to free article directories! Here are the top 10 most popular article directories, according to list of the top 50, found at http://www.vretoolbar.com/articles/directories.php:
  1. ezinearticles.com
  2. ehow.com
  3. hubpages.com
  4. squidoo.com
  5. articlesbase.com
  6. buzzle.com
  7. associatedcontent.com
  8. suite101.com
  9. technorati.com
  • Use an article submission software or service to shorten this process. One good example is isnare.com.
  • Feeling brave? Record your article as you read it into a microphone and post it to iTunes.
  • Braver still? Use your digital video camera and post your work to YouTube and the like.

Step 4: Track Your Results

Just because you’ve accomplished the first three steps of deciding, drafting and delivering your article, don’t think you’re done! You should be watching to see how this article affects your traffic. Did you see an increase? Did your website’s conversion rate (the number of calls, emails, sign-ups, sales, etc.) edge up? If not, did your article compel people to want to know more? Did it provide enough value? Was it placed properly?

Marketing Tip: Use the powerful and free traffic-tracking tool, Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics). Design your Analytics reports and schedule them to automatically arrive in your inbox as frequently as you like.

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat

Now do it again. Find different-but-related categories to place your articles under so they don’t compete with each other. Discuss different aspects of products and services you offer. Determine how often you will produce and post your articles. This depends on how intensely you will run your article marketing campaign. You’ll need to weigh your priorities against your normal day-to-day workload, your goals and the competitiveness of your industry.

If you’re just starting out, aim to write weekly or bi-weekly articles using the promotional campaign in Step 3 as a model. If you are an ambitious writer or blogger, step up your efforts to daily and spread your articles across the media outlets.

Marketing Tip: Since you’re writing these articles anyways, you may as well post them to your website to keep your site’s content fresh. Then place them in your online newsletter and send them to your mailing list.

Afterglow

At this point, you have enough of a blueprint to successfully manage your own article marketing campaign. Writing articles can be a fun way to promote your website and your effort, but it can also be a great way to collect your thoughts and bring greater clarity to challenges you and your audience may be facing. Use articles to entertain, educate and inspire!

In support of your efforts,
M

To Market Online, Know Your ‘Why’

Marketing Ideas Know Your Why

Question: When marketing online, I have always focused on marketing only one of my many services. Should I market something else? How should I market my business online?

Answer: Many folks wonder how to market businesses online. I believe your starting point depends upon where your heart lies.

If you’re in love with one particular element of your business, focus on that. For instance, if you’re a photographer who favors working weddings, I would recommend staying focused on ‘wedding photographer’ as a keyphrase. Then add your target location (where you want to work these jobs.)  Your keyphrase would then look like ‘wedding photographer Detroit’ or ‘wedding photographer Chicago’.

Yes, if you’re a talented wedding photographer, you probably do well photographing other events. If you prefer photographing sporting events, sure, follow that. However, know that maintaining a singular focus over time will yield more singular results than a dispersed focus (better position in the search engines, more qualified traffic, therefore higher conversions to paying wedding photography jobs.) When choosing keywords during your online marketing activities, take aim at your singular idea—your one thing—and charge after that.

At the time of this writing, MarketingIdeas101.com is only about five months old. Judging by the domain name, it’s safe to guess ‘marketing ideas’ is one of the coveted keyphrases. Well, it so happens there are lots of top-dogs ranking well for that keyphrase, nationally and globally. When the Marketing Ideas 101 site first hit Google, it was on page 2 for ‘marketing ideas 101’ and between pages 13-17 for ‘marketing ideas’. For ‘marketing ideas’, that’s a position of 130-170 out of the approximate 196,000,000 results found by Google. Who is going to go to the 17th page of their search results? The site may as well have not existed!

It took only five months and now Marketing Ideas 101 dominates ‘marketing ideas 101’ (top four positions when I looked this morning) and is now on page 3 for ‘marketing ideas’, surpassing even an Inc.com page. During this time, Marketing Ideas 101 has been grown from a single page to over 50 pages, most of which have ‘marketing idea’ or ‘marketing ideas’ in the title and URL.

(Note: Don’t think for a second I believe there are throngs of people looking for ‘marketing ideas 101’ as a keyphrase. This phrase—which coincides with the domain name MarketingIdeas101.com—was simply one of the smaller milestones I used to gauge progress. Now that the top position for the full phrase has been captured, we’re continuing on after the big fish on the national and global levels; those who sit atop the ‘marketing ideas’ search results.)

The off-site marketing of the MarketingIdeas101.com site has not been aggressive. Maybe there has been a blog comment every two weeks? Maybe there has been a broadcast for new post or article to Twitter and LinkedIn about once a week? More importantly, there are 2-3 new posts every week. Plus, most these posts carry titles based on low- to medium-competition keyphrases with higher search volume.

The aim is to reach folks who have specific marketing questions on topics that have been under-served. Combine this with broadcasting new posts through Facebook, Twitter (automated), LinkedIn groups, and Pinterest (my photographer example should definitely be using Pinterest) and Marketing Ideas 101 moved up to an average daily volume of 50-60 visits each day. The Marketing Ideas site cleared 100 visits in a day last week. Yes, these are still small numbers, but for many small businesses and nonprofits operating at a local level, it is targeted traffic at this volume that begins to make the phone ring.

Again, the only aggressive effort here has been in the delivery of solid content. This content was designed to provide answers to current marketing questions, assisting as many people as possible (e.g. where to find Google Analytics report templates, what’s hot in social media, why you don’t care about building a mobile app, etc.)

Make no mistake; claiming page 1 positioning may take a couple more years even though the Marketing Ideas 101 site jumped to page 3 after 5 months. I can be patient. I understand this is a journey. As long as I’m serving others with the goal of making a difference for as many people as possible, I’ll keep after it. You must know your ‘why’ though; otherwise you may find it easy to become distracted or frustrated when you occasionally lose position to a competitor (or the latest Google update,) or when you lose a client, etc.

My goal for this project is to serve as many folks as I can by providing great content, tools, instruction and support. The intent is to help my followers and students 1) gain the competitive edge in their marketplace and 2) see their dreams through to fulfillment and expansion. Ultimately, my ‘why’ is to fortify or restore hope in the entrepreneur, the small business owner, the freelancer, the nonprofit–anyone who would have more from life from the status quo. Then I arm them with a set of the tools by which to do this.

Knowing your ‘why’ will help you focus your direction and your dedication. Then you can begin selecting your keyphrases. Then you can really get into your online marketing strategies.

So my question to you is this: What is your ‘why‘? Why is it you do what you do? What does driving toward your mission fulfill for you and what does it fulfill for those you support?

What is your ‘why’?

marketing ideas ebook divider

Update, Saturday, July 14, 2012

It appears the Marketing Ideas 101 site has jumped to page 2 in at least one of Google’s indexes (Google has at least two I’m aware of.) Since this original post 20 days ago, I’ve produced three light posts and two full-length articles. Additionally, I had an online article publisher offer to publish this article and Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results. (Read more on article marketing.)

Page Position Marketing Ideas

I’ll report back once I’ve achieved a first page position for “marketing ideas”. Until then, go forth and conquer.

Matt

3 Reasons You’re Not Building a Mobile App

Marketing Ideas Mobile Web Apps

According to Tonia Zampieri, Mobile Strategist at Atlantic BT, “a full 50% of US adults own and use smartphones. This number jumps to over 75% for those under 44 years old. These numbers are only going up…” Yet, many organizations still have not chosen to enter the mobile fray. Here are a few reasons why I think small to medium-sized organizations of all types remain sluggish in their response to the mobile revolution.

Generation Gap or…

If you look at the demographic of individual donors who give $1,000 or more to any given cause, I’m betting most of them are over the age of 40-50 years. Indeed, I would also hazard a guess to say most nonprofit directors would be among this age range or older. Whether from a subtle, underlying apprehension to learn yet another technology that experience says will be outdated in two years, or maybe just out of pure wisdom, this older, more seasoned demographic tends to be slower at adopting the latest technologies, including mobile computing.

…Practical Priorities?

In the natural course of responding to today’s hectic schedules, I think most folks are still content with email at the desktop. Most C-level executives and program administrators I know don’t do much surfing from mobile (but they’re more than happy to check their email in the middle of a meeting!) If they’re not using the technology in that way, they have considerably less notion that others will use the technology in that way. When this is the case, a firm mobile strategy becomes less of a priority and the focus is placed on more familiar traditional strategies.

The Advent of Mobile-Friendly Web Design

Additionally, web technology is evolving in such a way as to compete with mobile apps. In the past, if you wanted a mobile-friendly website (which sometimes was what the client really wanted—not an app like they originally requested) you had to develop a whole new shell for the site’s content; if you were lucky enough to have a database-driven site. For those who had static websites, you had to create a whole new site and now you would be charged with the tedious task of maintaining two websites instead of one.

With more thoughtful design, we now have websites that collapse to fit a mobile format. These sites require no extra management to be mobile-friendly—you still manage a single site. Additionally, if you build a web application using the same mindfulness, now your web application can double as a “mobile app” (or, at least, a mobile-friendly app.) Obviously, there is a difference between this and a true mobile application, but for those on a budget (which I think describes most small to mid-size organizations,) this approach can help fulfill the mobile strategy they seek.

Afterglow

Ultimately, if you’re a small business or nonprofit interested in marketing online, you should be watching your web statistics on a weekly basis (at a minimum) to determine how much of your traffic is coming through mobile platforms. Whatever that number is now, you can bet it will only continue to grow as mobile computing becomes more popular and as the mobile-savvy population advances in their careers and influence.

marketing ideas mobile app divider

Reference

T. Zampieri. Unlike Facebook, Nonprofits Don’t Get an IPO. May 28 , 2012. Retrieved from http://www.atlanticbt.com/blog/unlike-facebook-nonprofits-dont-get-an-ipo.