Blogging Basics for the Beginner: How to Get Started

What are the blogging basics? Have you considered blogging but think you might have missed the boat? Want to create a blog but don’t know what to say? Now I am not the person to ask about which website name or provider you might use, but the writing part is definitely in my wheelhouse. What would you say? You might think you have nothing to say, but believe me, you have plenty to say. Here are some issues that might be stopping you, and how to address them.

If you can talk, you can write

My friend Bridget Willard said this to me, and it helped tremendously. You can always use talk to text or some similar speech recognition program (Dragon Naturally is a good one). People like a conversational style anyway. People don’t think they can write, but often they like to talk. If that sounds like you, then just speak and use a program to write your articles.

If you make mistakes

There are a ton of apps and free programs that can help you with your spelling, grammar, or creating an outline. You don’t have to make anything super fancy. For instance, the Grammarly app can help you proof and edit your work. And the Hemingway app can help make your writing more clear and precise. They both have free versions, although you may want to upgrade later if you write a lot.

If you think you don’t have time

Do you have an hour? Then you can write a basic blog post. I’ve written about this previously: How to Write a Perfectly Fine Blog Post in an Hour. And a friend of mine, Randy Clark, writes every day and has written extensively on the subject. I refer to his book How to stay Ahead of Your Business Blog Forever often. You can find it on his website.

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Blogging Basics for the Beginner: How to Get Started| Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

If you don’t have images

You can always use your own images for your blog post, but there are lots of free pictures you can use out there. I like Pixabay these days for free images. You can also get a subscription from a service like shutterstock. A good way to find graphics is to search on an abstract word like Creativity, for instance. Try searching different ways for images and make sure to give credit to the image’s creator.

If you don’t know about all the details

Create a good headline. Write 350 words, to begin with (more is better). Add an image. Have two outgoing links and two incoming. If it’s your first blog post, don’t worry about it–you can add the links to your own work later. That’s it.

If you have too much fear

Maybe I should’ve put this paragraph first because for many people it’s really about the terror of writing. The important thing is to get started. And realize that you can always delete and/or rewrite any post you create. You really do have more to say than you think. And people do want to hear your voice. Really.

 

How to Find Your Audience Pain Points and Why You’d Want to

Ever considered your audience pain points before? And what the heck are pain points, anyway? If you’re curious about what pain points are, how you find them (thus avoiding even more pain), and other wonders of the known universe, stick around!

Audience pain points, defined

Pain points are exactly what they sound like. They’re things that cause your audience pain. Of course, that pain doesn’t have to be physical pain (although it could be). Mostly it’s emotional or financial pain. This is a part of finding out who your audience is a.k.a. who you’re writing for. Do you know who you’re writing for? That would be step one!

Pick up the phone and ask

This one is super easy to do: just ask people what gives them pain. You might not want to phrase it quite that way, though. You could say “What is the hardest part about your job?” or “Is there any part of your job that you’d like to outsource?” Or even “What about your job gives you a headache?” You’d be surprised at what people tell you. Hopefully, they don’t hate everything about their job.

Run a poll to discover your audience pain points

Running a poll is really easy on Twitter. You can even use Tweepsmap to schedule one if you like. I just found this out recently on our weekly #digiblogchat chat about scheduling! This is also a great way to interact with your followers or audience and see what they’re up to. You can add follow-up questions, too, if you like. Another way to run a poll is with an email poll through mailchimp. I just checked and they still have a free version. Survey Monkey is another great way to run a poll.

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How to Find Your Audience’s Pain Points and Why You’d Want to |Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Search with Google or another search engine

Do a search on Google (or Duck Duck Go, if you don’t want to be tracked). You could search for your type of client and the phrase pain points. For example accountant pain points could work if accountants are your typical clients. Accountants have issues around managing internal and external data. You get the picture.

Some audience pain points are universal

Everyone has some pain points in common. Not many people like to stub their toes or bump their heads. Many people don’t like working weekends. And most everyone hates spam, too. Except for spammers. Their pain point might be spam blockers.

Search Yelp and Google reviews

Boy, do people love to complain! If you don’t believe me, just start going through reviews on Yelp and Google and you’ll see what I mean! “The water was too cold.” “The water was too hot.” “The water was too liquidy.” I’m kidding–sort of, but then again, no. People really will complain about anything. You could address some of the pain points you hear all the time ahead of time.

Now that you have your audience pain points…

Now you’ve got a good list of audience pain points, right? So what!? Prioritize your list. You could choose the easiest one to address first, or the one that is likely to cause the most pain. What does your product or service do to fix those pain points? You’ll most likely want to brainstorm the ways you can solve those problems. Get detailed. You could create an article with all the ways you address those pain points. Or you could create a blog post for each pain point. Or you could have a handy sheet for everyone who works with you to refer to. Either way, you’re more prepared than most to talk to your customers and provide excellent customer service! And that’s why you want your customer pain points.

The Gamification of Your Life

Have you ever stopped to think about the gamification of your life? What if you could take all the ordinary daily chores you do and make them more fun? You’d constantly be earning badges, learning things about yourself, and competing–maybe against others, but maybe against yourself. What would that look like? Stick around, and hear my thoughts. And I’d love if you would add your thoughts, too. By the way, I’ve written about gamification before: the Gamification of Social Media. (Yes, that was back in the day, so to speak!)

Definition of Gamification

Jackie Yun (@JackieYunTweets): Did someone ask about the definition of #gamification? Wikipedia says….”the strategic attempt to enhance systems, services, organizations, and activities by creating similar experiences to those experienced when playing games in order to motivate and engage users”

We do need some stinkin’ badges!

Remember when Clint Eastwood said he didn’t need no stinkin’ badges? Obviously he wasn’t thinking about gamification or he never would’ve said that. These days, Clint would earn badges for shooting people, and he’d get extra bonus points for saying that he got that quote from Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees! You can read about the history of that line and its misquotes here: This Day in Quotes: We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges.

Points count in the gamification of your life

What kinds of activities earn you points? How about eating the right foods? Losing weight? Breathing and staying alive? lol Seriously, are there areas of your life that are so boring that maybe gamification would help you keep your interest? Maybe the gamification of your life would help you stay on track, especially for people who have difficulties with focus. Or maybe gamification would help you remember if you fed the cat or took out the garbage.

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The Gamification of Your Life| Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

The Gamification of your life on #DigiBlogChat

This week on #digiblogchat, we discussed gamification, with Larry Mount (@lazblazter) contributing half the questions. By the way, if you’ve never participated in our chat, here’s how: How to Join#Digiblogchat. Here’s a poll, below, on people’s favorite ways to gamify their lives (Exercise was winning 4 hours before the poll was over).

Gamification of Your Life on #Digiblogchat

Gamification of Your Life on #Digiblogchat

People use gamification in simple ways to the more complex. John W. Lewis (@JohnWLewis) said “Ironing is something that I did gamify, for a while some years ago. I used to hate, and put off, ironing the 5 shirts per week that I needed. I realised that it was because I didn’t know how long it would take. So I timed myself and then did it against the clock.”

Benefits of Gamification

Thiam (@ThiamMeka2Gogue) mentioned that “Any good gamification process can be a source of emotions for players: a sense of belonging, satisfaction, optimism, desire to improve and/or confidence.”

Larry Mount (@LazBlazter) said “Focus, goal setting and a sense of achievement. The small wins are a great way of creating a positive tone for the day. Also, when you can get others to participate in something, it is more inclusive, at least if you set up to achieve that.”

What activities would you like to gamify?

There are so many activities that could help me, and maybe you, too. One that I’d like to gamify is brushing my teeth. My dentist would also be very interested in this idea. As of right now, I keep track on an Excel spreadsheet, and then bring the sheet into my dentist whenever I get my routine cleanings done. Then we nerd out together over what’s worked and what hasn’t. She particularly likes all the stickers I use!

George (@hagglethis) would like “Getting carbon credits for feeding and caring after (urban) wildlife. We (D & I) already gave all the squirrels names that begin with “S” to get extra points.”

Beth Staub (@AdventureGlass): “I need a dishwasher – from sink to dishwasher and then a dish put away-er. I will do laundry over dishes any day.”

Teodora (@EmaPirciu) mentioned the gamification of writing: I don’t know… Every 100 words, you get one point—extra 10 points for 1000 words. Extra 50 for those who write a minimum of, let’s say, 300 words for five days in a row. The winner gets a prize.”

Blogging When You Don’t Feel Like it: Ten Ideas

How do you blog when you don’t feel like it? Summer’s almost here and all the kids are getting out of school. Everything is slowing down and the weather’s warming up. So how do you get yourself motivated when you just don’t wanna? Here are some ideas for you.

Put the seat of your pants in the seat of your chair

This is my best advice. Many times I don’t want to write anything, but sitting down and writing gets me in the mood to write more. Getting started is often the best idea. Set a small goal, like 15 minutes (or 10 or 5!) to get started. Then give yourself a reward. I like Halo Top ice cream. You might like it, too.

Revisit an old idea to blog when you don’t feel like it

Was there an idea you had that never really gelled? Maybe now you can go back and see where it leads. That article you wrote about Albert Einstein? Try it out now! You could even take two old ideas and combine them. Albert Einstein + SEO? Yes, please!

Finish something you started

Did you have a half-baked idea, but you got interrupted and forgot all about it? Now could be a good time to start that article or blog post. Of course, brainstorming topics is always helpful and can give you tons of topic ideas. Here’s an article you might like about brainstorming: Best Ways to Better Brainstorming.

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Blogging When You Don’t Feel Like it: Ten Ideas | Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Do a compilation or “best of” post

Many YouTube channels do a monthly or yearly roundup. Sometimes the compilations are better than wading through all the actual videos. You could do the same with your articles. Of course, put links into your compilation post so people can go and read the longer versions. This is a really easy way to blog when you don’t feel like it. By the way, here are some more ideas about blogging in case these aren’t enough: How to Find Ten Blog Post Ideas in One Hour That Will Make You Feel Relaxed. Feeling more relaxed yet?

Get back to basics when you don’t feel like blogging

What are the things you enjoy writing about? What did you tell yourself you’d write about when you started blogging? Go back to those. Go back to the very first articles you wrote and your favorites. Write more about those topics. Maybe you’ve strayed from your original concepts.

Find inspiration with a friend’s writing

For my last blog post, I wrote about my reaction to someone else’s post. You could do the same. Write a response to this post, or to a friend’s article (and be sure to link to their article, too!).

Do some automatic writing

And by automatic writing, I don’t mean that you enter a trance or anything like that. More that you turn off the conscious part of your brain and write without judging yourself. So definitely no editing when you’re writing that new post.

Choose something lighter than usual

Not every blog post or article has to be amazing! Why not write something out of the ordinary for you? After all, it’s the end of the school year and people are having parties and getting ready for summer. Maybe a roundup of your favorite recipes or something similar. Sometimes off-topic ideas get more traction than your regular fare.

Rewrite a post that didn’t get traction

Sometimes a post just doesn’t land correctly. Why not rewrite it? You could add a couple more links and also some images to make it more interesting.

Interview someone you admire

An interview helps you and the person you’re interviewing, too. Your readers might want to hear about someone they don’t know. Who do you think your readers would like to know more about? Putting the focus on someone else is a great way to blog when you don’t feel like it. And if you want to hear some good interviews, may I suggest Rod & Inci Jones’ excellent Thought Row Podcast? They interview people about their creative endeavors.

 

 

Completely Unsolicited Financial Advice

Why write about some completely unsolicited financial advice? I was just reading friend Mitch Mitchell’s blog post 20 Personal Finance Ideas. And, although it’s off-topic from the usual topics that I write about (ROI, social media, and some blah blah blah), I thought I’d give everyone my two cents. Actually, that’s more like 25 cents now because of inflation and the Pandemic. That’s a joke. But seriously, people don’t talk about money very often. And they should! So here are some simple ideas that have helped me. By the way, I’m not a financial expert, and a lot of this stuff is advice that your friends, parents, or grandparents might tell you.

Save as much as possible

When I was just starting out as a lowly tech writer about one million years ago, a friend of mine told me to “max out my 401K.” For me that was usually 18% or 20%, which went right into the company 401K. Of course, you need to have enough to live on, so paying the rent and buying food have to be your first priorities. But in general, that advice is something I’ve lived by. If you can do this, you’ll be happy you did later when you need it. Start by getting that proverbial three months of living expenses in the bank. Work your way up to six months of living expenses, and so on.

Take classes or read

If you’re lucky, your company will offer classes or workshops on investing and finances. Take every class you can. Read all you can. Figure out how you learn (for me, learning in person is best), and do that. Some people need one on one instruction. Others like video. I’m an in-person person. So workshops or mentors have been best for me. To find out what kind of learning style you have, you could try a class. But I’ll bet you already know.

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Completely Unsolicited Financial Advice| Image by 0fjd125gk87 from Pixabay

Hang out with smart people

One of my friends had a goal to make $50,000 in the stock market besides what he was making at his job. That was fascinating to watch and to learn about. He reached that goal fairly quickly and became very well off at a young age. Most people will give you advice if you ask. And it costs nothing to ask. The point is to hang out with smart people. And you might not know who they are, because often they won’t tell you! So watch and listen carefully.

Ready for more unsolicited financial advice? Learn to budget!

All you need to budget is a spreadsheet. You can use Excel or a Google sheet, and you’re set. At least once, you need to see where your money is going. Is most of it going to groceries? Fuel? Rent? Where can you cut those expenses? Most of the people I know (who are struggling) have never created a budget. It might sound boring to live within your means, but it’s a basic survival skill.

Cook your own food

Learn to make a few dishes. Now that there’s YouTube, you can learn just about anything. Unless you make enough money to either buy ready-made meals or go out to eat all the time, you’ll be happy to be able to cook. Yes, sandwiches count. And also–guess what? Cooking is one of the easiest ways to save money (there’s that budget word again). Seriously, look at your budget and see where you can cut back. Cooking at home is one of the best ways.

Get a financial advisor

You might think you can manage your own portfolio, but can you really? I thought I could, but I was wrong! It’s not something I want to check every day–I’d rather be doing something else. So ask friends who their financial advisor is. Interview a few. Do they talk to you in a way that you understand? Do they offer education? Those are both important.

You’re welcome!

I’m kinda joking, but did I miss anything? Let me know!

 

 

 

What is the True ROI of Social Media?

 

What is the True ROI of Social Media?

What is the True ROI of Social Media?

Have you ever considered what the true Return on Investment (ROI) of social media is? Is it worth having and using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other platforms? Or is it time that you’d be better off spending on direct sales, such as cold calls? Stay with me while I explore this topic just a bit.

ROI of social media defined

You may be wondering if it’s possible to figure out what the true ROI of social media is. It’s not always straightforward. If measuring your ROI feels like a guessing game, that’s because it is! In fact, Sprout Social in their article How to Define an Actionable Social Media ROI for Your Business says this: “Besides, not everything you do on social media translates directly into dollars and cents.” In my over ten years using social media, I’d have to agree. Sprout Social, like many others talks about brand awareness, not following the money.

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What is the True ROI of Social Media? | Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay

It’s about brand awareness

You can’t always prove that a customer found you because of social media. You can ask them if and when you make a sale, but that’s not always feasible. If you put money into your game, it’s more likely. But bear with me here. It’s more that customers know you exist. Social media is one stepping stone to someone becoming a customer, or knowing someone else who might like your services. And these days with social media, it’s mostly a pay-to-play game, especially if your product is a little odd or not your usual run-of-the-mill service. By the way, I’ve talked about brand awareness and social media before. You might like Social Media Isn’t Actually about Sales.

How many touches before a sale?

This is a question we social media managers get asked all the time. Unfortunately, the answer is: it depends. If you’re selling pencils, maybe it takes one touch. But if you’re selling diamond-crusted pens, that could mean eleven touches! Or twenty! Think about how you make a buying decision. You don’t just buy the first car where the dealer offers you a free pineapple, do you? Well, maybe if it’s a really really juicy pineapple. Just kidding.

Use Bit.ly to point to your Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/CSAuthor

Use Bit.ly to point to your Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/CSAuthor

So how do you measure the ROI of social media?

You can measure things other than sales numbers, such as when people go to your website or when they want to buy your goods. For a restaurant, that could mean someone using a delivery service to order food or checking your menu. For these measurements, I like to use bit.ly, but there are other ways to create clickable links as well. I’m not an affiliate, by the way, just a fan. If you create a shortened link, you can also customize it. For instance, on my Twitter bio, I have a shortened and customized link to my Amazon Author Page, where I sell my books. You could do the same thing. Occasionally, you can log into Bit.ly and see how many people clicked on that link.

Using formulas to calculate social media efforts

You could also use a formula to discover whether your efforts on social media are paying off. In this article How to Measure Social Media ROI, emplify uses the following formula, which they call the most basic social media ROI formula:

Profit / Investment x 100 = social media ROI %

So you can use this to discover whether your paid ads are paying off immediately. However, as they mention in the article, you can use other methods such as newsletter signups, follower counts after a paid ad campaign, etc. Only you can decide what’s important to your brand.

Benchmarking is important

Benchmarking might seem like an incredibly difficult thing to do, but don’t let it put you off. It’s simply a way of measuring what’s important to you. To benchmark, ask yourself which stats are important to you or your brand. Is it engagement? Don’t forget that follower count is most often considered a vanity metric. Some of the larger accounts with huge numbers of followers have no engagement! And that’s just silly. It’s much better to focus on things like engagement. Here’s an article about engagement you might like: For Better Social Media Results, Focus on Engagement.

Engagement and visibility go hand in hand

For any brand, getting out there on social media is no longer optional. In my opinion, everyone needs to be there. Your potential clients are looking for you and your services, whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, or Yelp. It’s important to make the effort.

 

 

 

 

 

Support Your Friends While Supporting Yourself

Are you supporting your friends on social media? Nearly everyone has been suffering lately, it seems. Or maybe it’s just that that old saw “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is at play. Because of the economy and the Pandemic, many have lost their livelihoods. Some have lost their transportation, housing, or loved ones. So it’s more important than ever to be kind, and to have compassion toward others. It might sound corny, but helping others helps us, too. Here are some ways to support others–many of them don’t cost a cent, and are easy, too. By the way, I’ve written about friendships before, and you might like to read about that: Why Friendships are Absolutely the Best ROI of Social Media.

Give them shoutouts

A shoutout doesn’t cost you anything, except your time. Who do you know whose business could use a little boost? You could talk about that friend on social media, tell others about their products in a Yelp or Google review, or just give them a digital high five. How easy is that? Super easy! Another thing you can do with shoutouts is give those friends some backlinks! So not only tell everyone about your friend Randy Clark, but include a link to his book, How to Stay Ahead of Your Business Blog Forever on Amazon! (Yes, I’ve read it and refer to it often.) If you’ve read a friend’s book, give them a review on Amazon, too.

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/zigmarsberzins-601229/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=5623231">Zigmars Berzins</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=5623231">Pixabay</a>

Support Your Friends While Supporting Yourself! | Image by Zigmars Berzins from Pixabay

Support your friends by buying their products and services

You might not need what your friends are selling yourself, but maybe you do need a gift for an upcoming birthday, wedding, or party. Why not buy something to give away? That helps you, your friend, and the person who receives the gift, too! Why not send someone a wonderful cutting board from Sandy at Creative WoodWorking of Windsor? You could buy some hand-painted cards from Maricar Jagger and give them away. As far as services, maybe you need some help with your website. You could hire someone like Justine Pretorious and then tell others about her.

Introduce them to others

This is my favorite way to support others. Do you have friends with the same interests and do they not know each other? For instance, friends Terri Nakamura and Stacy Garcia both have an interest in unusual architecture, so introducing them was easy. Others might make good podcast guests, so an intro to Inci and Rod Jones of Thought Row Podcast would be in order. Or if you know someone in the trades who needs help with their social media, how about an intro to friend Bridget Willard? She can provide training or you can do it yourself!

Lovely cutting boards from Creative Woodworking of Vermont

Lovely cutting boards from Creative Woodworking of Vermont

How do you help your friends?

Give me your ideas, friends! I’m all ears (it’s an ugly sight! lol). Seriously, let me know how you help your friends.

 

Productivity: Ten Items under $100 That Make a Difference

Here are ten items under $100 that I couldn’t live without. I’ve discussed online productivity before, and time management, too. Productivity and time management are intertwined, so it’s impossible to discuss one without the other. Here are some items that have helped me, and by the way, none of these are affiliate links. They’re just good tools. If you haven’t read this article about time management, you might like it: In a hurry? Time Management for the Busy Professional!

NokoTime

NokoTime is a great way to keep track of your time on social media, blogging, or anything else that requires you to know how much time you spend. I like putting the timer off to one side because often I promise myself I can quit doing an activity after 15 minutes of activity. At $19/month, it does quite a lot, including reports and invoices.

Google Drive

Google Drive is the best and easiest way to share files, photos, collaborate, etc. It’s easy and free (that counts as being under $100, right?). In case you didn’t know, Google Drive is a cloud-based storage solution that allows you to save files online and access them anywhere from any smartphone, tablet, or computer. My favorite way to use Google Drive is to collaborate with others.

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Productivity: Ten Items under $100 That Make a Difference| Image Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

Schedulers

Once upon a time, I would’ve said Hootsuite was my favorite. But after they recently quintupled the price without any warning, I’d no longer recommend them. So if you have an alternative that you like, I’m all ears! I’ve heard good things about Buffer and Tweetdeck. Do you have a favorite?

A good notebook

Are you one of those people who needs to write things down in order to remember them? If you do, then you’ll appreciate a good notebook. I’ve tried probably hundreds of notebooks. The best ones are the ones I’ve used since high school, with ruled paper and plenty of space to write.

My favorite pen

At the moment, I’m enjoying a Pilot hi-tecpoint V5 grip pen. It’s super easy to write with, and makes my to-do list fun. I must say, though, that ever since that #DigiBlogChat where we talked about bullet journaling, I’ve been using Pentel Sparkle Pop pens, too.

Calendars

My giant at-a-glance calendar always comes in handy. So is the calendar on my iPhone.

3 x 5 cards

These are so easy to use and so useful! I write down goals for each account. It reminds me of high school chemistry, when our teacher told us we could have as many notes as would fit on a 3 x 5 card. The general idea is to have a few reminders of what your goals are.

Backups

I like having a backup on a separate hard drive, which I can grab in case anything goes wrong.

Social media apps

These are the social media apps you can get mostly for free from the app store! They live on my phone so I can check in whenever I want.

DashThis

Last but not least I’ve been using DashThis for reporting. You might like it, too. You can get it for as little as $33/month (less if you buy a yearly subscription.

What did I leave out?

Do you have any favorite helpers?

 

 

 

Guest Blogger Checklist: Ten Things to Ask Your New Guest

Do you need a guest blogger checklist? Recently, I wrote a post about how to avoid getting spammed by guest bloggers. You might want to take a look at it if you’re getting that kind of spam on your blog. The outcome of that post was that a few of us might need a guest blogger checklist! So here you go.

Who are you?

Check out the potential guest blogger’s credentials. Do a Google search on their name, company, and make sure their email matches up with what they say. You might want to talk on the phone with them, too, if possible. I receive a lot of requests where the email address looks spammy and there’s no real signature.

What topics do you want to write about?

If your topics don’t align with what your potential guest blogger wants to write about, that’s an immediate no in my book. But be creative and see if there’s a way. That’s if everything else about the writer looks legit!

 

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/startupstockphotos-690514/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=593358">StartupStockPhotos</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=593358">Pixabay</a>

Guest Blogger Checklist: Ten Things to Ask Your New Guest | Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

How many links do you need?

My formula is about two incoming and two outgoing links, maybe one more or less. That’s for a 500-word article. Not 50 links and certainly not 100 links! Also, I wouldn’t add links in silly places. One guest blogger wanted to put links in words like “the” and “an.” Um…no!

Where do you want the links to go?

If the links are spammy, that’s another immediate no. Links should go to legitimate websites, not to unrelated places that would simply anger your readers. Check all the links before publishing and make sure they’re adding value to your post.

Who provides the graphics?

Ensure that the graphics are really in the public domain or create or buy your own graphics for the article. A place like Pixabay has free graphics, but for a guest blog, you might want to go with Shutterstock or another subscription-based site. Also, you might want to take a screenshot (if you use a free graphic and store it somewhere safe in case the artist changes their mind about it being free. It happens all the time!).

Who writes the headline?

You don’t want a click-baity headline. I’ve written about headline writing before: What Happens When You Wtie 25 Headlines Before Choosing One? If your potential guest writes click bait, then they’re not for you. Sometimes I’ll write one for fun, but humor can be tricky.

How many drafts do you need?

I prefer two drafts myself, but maybe three if the subject matter is complicated and needs more research. Beware of anyone who doesn’t want to have their copy checked, researched, or edited. That’s a sign that you’re dealing with someone shady.

When can you write the article?

Is there a specific timeline? Does your guest blogger want fast turnaround? Do you? Spell it out–then tell your potential guest blogger!

How long will the writing take?

Will your potential guest need a week to review each draft? A day? Let the blogger know what to expect. And let them know what you expect, too. For me, the process could take a couple of weeks to review and send back and forth the drafts.

How long will the article be?

Do you have a minimum number of words that you like to publish on your blog? And is there a maximum number, too? Decide upon what you’d like the length of the article to be. Yoast recommends a minimum of 300 words for a blog post.

You have the final say

Remember: it’s your blog and your reputation on the line. Make sure the guest blogger knows that you have the right to change what appears on your blog! Did I leave anything out? Let me know!

 

 

How Restarting Your Social Media Can Revive Your Business

Have you been considering restarting your social media? Everyone can have a lull in their creativity or ideas. Maybe you’ve had a death in the family or been feeling low. It’s to be expected, especially during Covid. If you’re thinking of restarting your social media, stick around. Here are a few ideas!

Decide where to start

Have all your accounts gone dormant? Why not start with whichever is the easiest one to restart? That might be LinkedIn for you, or it might be Facebook. Start wherever you think would be easiest. Then pick the second one and the third, and so on. If only one account has gone dormant, then you know where to start. You might also want to start at an slower time of the week (Friday, for instance) to ease back into the water. I’ve written about Fridays before here: Why Friday is the Worst Time to Publish a Blog Post.

Choose some topics

Maybe you’ll have five topics to write about. That could be one topic per day of the week. Say you’re beginning with Twitter and you have a brick-and-mortar women’s boutique. You sell dresses, skirts, pants, plus accessories. Maybe you’d do something like the following: Mondays = bright colors, Tuesdays = designers, Wednesdays = purses and wallets, Thursdays = throwbacks, Fridays = weekend sales. For other ideas on topics, check out 14 Talk-Worthy Social Media Topics. You can also look at what you competitors are doing and do something similar (just don’t copy them!).

 

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/5688709-5688709/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2425121">5688709</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2425121">Pixabay</a>

How Restarting Your Social Media Can Revive Your Business| Image by 5688709 from Pixabay

Write four posts about each topic

If you do this, you’ll now have enough content for four weeks! Having some structure will help you decide what to post on your social media. It’s important to have some ideas before you really get started. I’ve written about writer’s block before, so this might help: What to do when writer’s block has got you down.

Too busy? Hire someone to do it for you!

If you do the above exercises, you will have some structure to show your newly hired gun. To find someone good, ask your friends in business who they use. And remember–they may not need to be local to you. It really depends upon your business. You might hire someone out of state or even out of the country! For instance, I’d hire my good friend (and have) Bridget Willard in a heartbeat. Read what she says about her Twitter Management Process.

Rinse and repeat to restart your social media

Measure your success rate with the content that you share. What kind of content does best? Try to repeat that success. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but you can do it! Remember that each social media platform has its own analytics, so they’ve made it easy for you. Just Google analytics to get started.

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