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ProBlogger Podcast: Blog Tips to Help You Make Money Blogging
12 minutes | Mar 23, 2020
281: Join our 7 Day Content Sprint
UPDATE: Because our free March Content Sprint was so popular we are now running a series of paid 7-Day Content Sprints running Live: 13-19 July 2020 17-23 August 2020 14-20 September More information and sign-up here: https://problogger.com/contentsprint/ A Free 7-Day Course to Create New Content Does your blog need a momentum boost? We’ve decided to run a LIVE 7-day Content Sprint to help support you create a plan and 6 new pieces of content for your blog in just 7 days. Starting next week (Monday 23rd March at 5pm PDT/8pm EDT / Tuesday 24th March at 11AM AEDT) Darren will be teaching live daily on FB in our ProBlogger Community Facebook Group (join here). Each day for 7 days we’ll roll out supporting resources here in the course and add the video in case you can’t make it live. Join us here: https://problogger.com/freecontentsprint/ Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hi there, friends. It’s Darren here from ProBlogger. Welcome to episode 281 of the ProBlogger Podcast. I’ve also got a live audience watching us today. They’ve been chiming in and saying good day. We’ve got people watching from Singapore, California, Adelaide, and all around Australia. It seems to be quite a few Aussies on due to the time of day that we’re going at the moment. I will explain to you I have my son playing trumpet in the background today and this is not to give you ambient music but because he’s got an online trumpet lesson today as part of his schooling. Today, I want to give you a fun little opportunity. We have been hearing from a lot of ProBlogger readers, podcast listeners about their current situation and how they’re feeling about the Coronavirus, what’s been going on in their world, and how that’s impacting their blogging. We talked a little bit about that in the last episode, episode 280. I gave some suggestions on moving through it and blogging through this crisis. We also wanted to do something for you, and this is something that we want to offer to you for free, which will hopefully keep some momentum going in on your blog, and I hope this will help you. As I just said on the live video, we have created this on-the-fly, so it’s not polished by any means, but we think there’s some value in it. I’m going to share my screen for the live video viewers and I’ll pop this same graphic up in the show notes for those of you who will be listening to this on the ProBlogger Podcast. This all comes out of us observing one of the big problems that a lot of our listeners have at the moment. That problem is that many people are really struggling right now with motivation for their blog, particularly with content at the moment. They have this big problem, that they’re feeling a lack of motivation, they’re feeling distracted by all the information that’s coming out at the moment about Coronavirus, and many are feeling fear and uncertainty about their businesses. Someone just in the live stream said that they’ve lost their job out of this and that has brought fear and uncertainty for many of our readers. We’re certainly hearing that increasingly, or at least people feeling like their work, their employment might be coming to an end. They’re looking to their blog for some income but not really knowing how to do that and feeling paralyzed by it. One of the results of this is a lack of content on many of our reader’s blogs or at least some blockages when it comes to creating content. If that’s you, then you’re not alone. If you’re watching the live video, let us know if that’s something that you do feel. If you’ve got a reason for that, if it’s fear, uncertainty, or it’s just distraction, let us know about that. I have felt that myself even over the last week. A week ago, I remember sitting for almost a full day, just consuming the news about coronavirus, and I realized that I really wasn’t any more informed at the end of the day than I was at the start. The next I got up and I decided I was going to do something positive instead of just consuming uncertainty around us. What we want to do on ProBlogger is to help you through the challenge of creating content at this time. The solution that we’ve come up with—again, this is on the fly, it’s not overly polished—is we want to do a seven-day content sprint. A seven-day sprint where, as bloggers, podcasters, YouTube creators, and whatever content creator you are, together, we’re going to move through seven days of creating content together. We want to call it a sprint because we’re going to do it for a defined period of time. We want to invite you to participate in it and to participate to the level that you feel comfortable in doing that. We’re calling it ProBlogger seven-day content sprint, and it’s going to happen next week. We’re going to start it on Tuesday Australian time, which is Monday US time, so this is the 23rd of March. I’ve said April on the screenshot there, but it’s actually the 23rd of March. That’s US time and the 24th of March is Australian time, Tuesday the 24th. It’s going to start that day, run for a week. Now, I know some of you right up-front are going to say, “Well, that’s not a good week for me.” I still want to encourage you to sign up for it, and then you can do it at your own pace if you choose to do that as well. It’s the type of thing that you can have, you continue to have access to after because the sprint is over and you can run it at your own pace as well. You might want to take two weeks to do it, that’s totally fine. What do you need to know about this sprint? Firstly, the cost is free. This is something we want to give you as bloggers, as readers of ProBlogger. It’s going to take a little bit of time for us but it’s something that we want to give because it’s definitely a need that we see in our community at the moment, one of the needs. You can sign up to be a part of the sprint at problogger.com/contentsprint, and if you’re watching live, you can go there right now pop in your email address and your details. We will let you know when things are kicking off and how they’re kicking off. At the moment there’s not a lot there once you’ve signed up to look at, but you’ll see there a bit of the format for the time that we want to go through as well. “Who is it for and what is it?” is one of the questions, actually, I got on my screen here. “What is it?” is another question. Basically, over the seven days, I don’t want to overwhelm you with content. I don’t want to overwhelm you with things that you need to do, listen to, or watch. I want to provide you with a short video every day, five or ten minutes. In that video, we’ll deliver it to our Facebook group in the ProBlogger community area. We’ll give you a little bit of further viewing or further teaching on that particular topic if you want it, but the main thing each day is that we’re going to give you a challenge to create a piece of content on that day. The content may not be a big one. I’ve mixed up the types of content that I’m going to challenge you to create. Some of them are quite easy to do, some of them are a little bit more involved. As I said before, you may choose to do this over seven days, or you may want to spread it out a little bit more. On day one, I’m going to take you through a bit of a planning exercise, and by the end of day one, you should know what your next six pieces of content are going to be on your blog, and then over the next six days, I want you to create those pieces of content. It’s going to be as simple as possible. I’m going to give you a new type of content for each day. I’ve tried to choose types of content that I think you could do on a blog, a podcast. You could do these on Instagram, you could do these on YouTube, you could do them on live video. I think all of these types of content could be done in lots of different formats. You might choose to do this in any of those formats. Day one, we’ll be planning to come up with six pieces of content for the rest of the week, and then over the next six days, you’ll create that content. You will need a little bit of time every day or as much as you’ve got on your hands to create content. For some of you, that’s going to be easy because you’re in lockdown or you’re in self-isolation at the moment; you’ve got lots of extra time on your hands. For some of you, you might need to put aside a little extra time before or after the rest of your day. Again, you can sign up for the sprint at problogger.com/contentsprint, pop in your email addresses there. The last thing I already had a couple of people asking is who’s this for. It’s anyone who’s struggling to create content right now, either because of the Coronavirus and feeling fear, uncertainty, and paralysis, or for anyone whose blogs just been dormant for a while. So, whether you are a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, Instagramer, live streamer, or influencer, you are welcome to join. We’re going to have a daily piece of content for you to watch just to give you some ideas, and then the challenge is for you to go away and create that content. Then we’re going to have an opportunity for you to come back and share that content with the rest of the group. We want to encourage each of you to also visit a few other participant’s contents as well, maybe even share that. My hope is that you’ll come out of this seven days with six new pieces of content, that you will have interacted with some oth
37 minutes | Mar 23, 2020
280: COVID19 – How to Approach Blogging Through This Crisis
Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hey there friends, it’s Darren Rowse from ProBlogger here. Welcome to episode 280 of the ProBlogger podcast. It’s been a while since we chatted and I do apologize for that, I needed a little time to get my headspace right and work on a couple of other projects, but I’m glad to be back. I’m particularly glad to be back at this time that we find ourselves in. We currently find ourselves in a bit of a crazy time with COVID-19, CoronaVirus, and all that it is meaning for us in the world we’re living in. We’re seeing so many people impacted, the economy impacted, and we’re seeing lots of new things, or at least they’re new to some people. We’re seeing a lot of people now having to work at home, something that many of us, as bloggers, have been doing for a while. Today, what I want to talk a little bit about is how we navigate this time as bloggers. How do we, as bloggers, not only keep our businesses going, but how do we actually do something to serve our world where there’s so much need at the moment. I jumped on to Facebook Live earlier today and shared my thoughts on that. What I want to share with you today is a recording of that Facebook Live. I did a bit of teaching in the middle of that. I talked a little bit about what the world doesn’t need right now, what the world does need right now, and why we, as bloggers, are actually ideally positioned to make a difference. I want to give you some practical thoughts on how to go about that. Some things to keep in mind, some things to avoid, also just tackling that tricky question of how do we actually make it a win-win for our audience and for us without seeming selfish in the midst of that as well, and actually about how not to be selfish in the midst of that as well. There are some of the things I cover in the recording I’m about to play for you. I just want to say though right up front, I hope you’re doing well. I’m doing well, I’ve had a bit of a scare and I’ll talk about that in the recording today, over the last week or so, but I hope you’re doing well. I really do want to emphasize the point that I make numerous times in this recording that I hope you look after yourself in this time. We need you to look after yourself. If you are going to make a difference, if you’re going to use your blogging, your online profile to make the world a better place, right now we need you to look after yourself as well. I hope you’re doing well and I hope you do take seriously the question I pose of you in this recording: what can we do at ProBlogger to serve you better through this time? Is there something that you are facing right now in your blogging that you’d like some content to be produced to help you to navigate that challenge. If you would like to drop me a line, my team a line, you can send an email to email@example.com and that will go to our support team. We’ll put it in front of the person who is best able to help if we can, and hopefully that will inform some content going forward. If you do want to stay in touch with this, head over to our Facebook Page, facebook.com/problogger, and you will get any future Facebook Lives and updates from there. We’ve got our email newsletter which is still going out every week over in ProBlogger that you can sign up for. If you want the show notes today, head over to problogger.com/podcast/280. I’ll come back at the end of this recording and wrap things up. Thanks for listening! Hi there everyone, it’s Darren from ProBlogger here. Welcome to the ProBlogger Podcast, also welcome to those of you who are watching this live. I am going live onto Facebook today while I’m recording. Because I think it is an important topic and it’s one that I do want to get our communities input in as well. Our love viewers may have some thoughts to share that I will include in the podcast as well as if I think they’re relevant. Obviously, we’re going through uncharted waters right now with this whole COVID-19, CoronaVirus, thing. As I was just saying on the live Facebook, this is something that most of us haven’t been through before. We have not really done pandemics, at least in my lifetime. There’s certainly been health crisis in different parts of the world and we can learn from people who’ve gone through those, but this is new for us all. We’re all finding our way. One of the things I do want to say right up front is that it is a chaotic time. Here in Australia we’re moving towards social isolation, we’re seeing different parts of the world people going into lockdowns. There’s chaos happening right now, but I tweeted the other day that in the midst of chaos always comes invention, always come innovation, always comes entrepreneurship. I mean entrepreneurship not just in terms of making money, but entrepreneurship really is about seeing a problem and solving that problem. Usually in a win-win kind of way for people who have that problem and also the people creating the solution. Once we’re going into a term of chaos, we’re also going to see some real innovation at the moment. Just yesterday, I saw one of my friends on Facebook saying that they were working on 3D printing of ventilators. Ventilators are going to be something that there’s shortage of in different parts of the world in hospitals and he wanted to come out with a way of 3D printing a ventilator. I don’t know how he’s going to go with that, but he said there are communities already getting together to 3D print medical supplies. This is innovation happening right before us as a response to the chaos and the need around us. Whilst it is an uncertain time, whilst there’s also a lot of fear, my hope is that we as humanity are going to respond with innovation, invention and it is my hope as bloggers that we can be a part of that. That’s one of the big themes of what I want to talk about today, is that whilst this is tough, there’s a lot of fear, there’s a lot of pain, there’s a lot of sickness going on, hopefully we can meet that as a community and that’s my challenge to us today. Let me talk a little bit about what I think the world doesn’t need right now. I want us to keep this in the back of our mind as we think about what we can do, let’s start with what the world doesn’t need right now. I don’t think we need bad information right now. There’s a lot of information flying around and I don’t think we, as bloggers, need to add to that, unless we have some expertise already. One of the things I’d encourage us all to do is to resist the temptation to just share whatever we see on Facebook, but to really fact check and to leave it to the experts to share that and to find credible sources of information that we can share. But certainly unless you’ve got the expertise, I really want to say up front, we need to be really careful about that. I don’t think the world needs right now is more hype or more messaging about COVID-19. There’s so much going out there. We really want to be restrained in how much content we do share right now on this particular topic and we really want to avoid hype. The other thing the world doesn’t need right now is more fear. Fear is a healthy thing, fear is a signal to us that something important is happening, something that might hurt us, but at the same time what the world does need right now is some hope and we can be a part of that. I don’t think we need empty memes, I don’t think the world needs manipulation right now, to buy more stuff. What the world needs is some practical support. My hope is that we can be involved in that. What does the world need right now? Hope, practical solutions to problems that are emerging. I don’t just mean health solutions, I think there are all kinds of problems emerging right now. For example, I’ve seen problems in our community around shortages of food, I’ve seen problems in our community of people who are feeling isolated and lonely. These are problems that the world needs solutions for and we’re beginning to see that innovation happen. The world right now needs places where we can come together, and where community and belonging can happen, particularly in this time where physically people are becoming isolated, the world needs perhaps some virtual spaces and some safe spaces where they can find that belonging. The world needs people who are skilled at working online right now. I really want to emphasize this, even in the last two days I’ve had three different organizations contact me and say, “We need your help.” My church, they want to move all their stuff online and we’re seeing this all over the place. Schools are moving online. Some of them don’t have any infrastructure really set up. Our churches and places of worship are doing it, not for profits. I had a not for profit email me in the last 24 hours saying, “How do we move online? As a team to work online, but also how do we move our communications online as well.” Because they’re not able to do events. We’re seeing community groups move on. There’s a lot of stuff moving online. The world right now needs people who have experience and who have the skills and the tools to go online. As bloggers, many of us are ideally situated for that. Here is the thing, as bloggers, we are ideally situated to serve our world right now. Here are few other reasons why I think we are ideally placed to be a part of solutions right now. Firstly, we have technology already set up. Most of us already have our blogs, most of us already have the tools, the computers, the cameras, the microphones, the lights to create content. We’ve already got that stuff at our fingertips. We’re used to using it already. Even just the fact that we’ve got our smartphones, but we already have the apps probably on our smartph
33 minutes | Jul 23, 2019
279: How Jeff Goins Evolved His Blogging Into a Million Dollar Business
How Blogging Led to a Million Dollar Business for Jeff Goins Jeff Goins shares how his blogging business has evolved over the years. What he’s doing now is very different than when he started. Blog 1: Jeff started blogging as an outlet to catalogue his journey across North America while on tour with a band. “That was my first blog and my first experience with sharing my life and my ideas with the world. Just the thrill of pressing, Publish.” Wake-up Call: While living the dream of playing music for thousands of screaming fans, Jeff’s favorite part was writing blog posts. Blog 2: Jeff moved to Nashville and trained missionaries to blog for a nonprofit. Eventually, Jeff became the Marketing Director and learned about online marketing. Wake-up Call: Jeff wanted to get back to his own blogging. “I had been helping other people share their stories. I had something to say and wanted to share it with the world.” Blogs 3 to Present: Jeff wanted to make a living as a writer, but didn’t know how. Wake-up Call: Jeff’s failed blogs had one thing in common: He quit them. Time to get serious and stick to it: Write every day Get more subscribers Build email lists Learn from other bloggers Offer to write and accept guest posts Now, Jeff is a full-time blogger, author, speaker, and online entrepreneur. Top Tips to Achieve Blogging Success Give before you ask; always give more than you take. Listen to other bloggers’ advice. Connect with influential people. Next Steps in Blogging Evolution Masterminds: Creates relationships, connections, and community Events/Conferences: Tribe Conference Programs: Write a Bestseller Based on his experiences as a writer and blogger, Jeff will be the keynote speaker at ProBlogger’s upcoming Evolve 2019 in Melbourne. A few tickets are still available! For more information: Problogger.com/events. Links and Resources for How Jeff Goins Evolved His Blogging Into a Million Dollar Business: Jeff Goins The Jeff Goins Blog Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins Tribe Writers Tribe Conference Write a Bestseller Jeff Goins’ Email ProBlogger Evolve Event Evolve: Training Day Evolve: Mastermind Copyblogger Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk Brian Clarke Seth Godin Platform by Michael Hyatt Xanga MailChimp Zoom Podcast Motor Courses Start a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group. Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey there friends and welcome to Episode 279 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com; a blog designed to help you to start and to grow a profitable blog. Today on the podcast, we have a special guest, Jeff Goins. I’ve been wanting to bring Jeff Goins to the podcast for a while now. Many of you know of Jeff, he has a fantastic blog that I do encourage you to check out. We’ll link to it in the show notes today. He writes great advice for people who write. If you want to become a better writer, particularly if you want to write a book, he has some great advice. I wanted to get Jeff on the show today to talk a little bit about how his business or his blogging business has evolved over the years, because he started a number of years ago now. What he’s doing today is very different to the way he started. He really started in a personal record keeping kind of way with his blogging and he’s grown his brand, and his business around that. As he says in this interview, he’s actually had nine blogs over the years and his last one has really built the business. He’s got a lot of great advice today as we talk about this idea of evolving your blog. Today’s interview is actually a little bit different to any interview I’ve done before because I sent Jeff the questions via email and he recorded them in one hit. He kind of interviews himself, although the questions do come from me. It’s a new style of interview, it helps me to create this because we’re in different time zones. I really like what he’s put together, so this might be something we do in the future a little bit more because I think it’s very effective. In fact, Jeff says stuff during this interview that I really needed to hear on a personal level myself. I might talk a little bit about that at the end of this interview. The other reason I’m bringing on Jeff today is that he’s speaking at our upcoming ProBlogger Event in Melbourne on the 9th and 10th of August. We still do have a small number of tickets available to that, particularly the mastermind which Jeff is going to be at for two full days. If you enjoy Jeff in this and you can get to Melbourne, Australia on the 9th and 10th of August, go to problogger.com/events and you can see what we’re running there. You might just be sitting around the table with Jeff for a couple of days in August. I’m going to hand over to Jeff now. At the end, I want to come back and just pull out some of the things that really impacted me in this interview of sorts. Here’s Jeff. Jeff: Hello, this is Jeff Goins. I am answering some questions that Darren sent me. I think what I’ll do is I will read the question, and then share my answer. Question number one: how has your blog evolved to the point that it’s at now? Tell your evolution story. My blog really began as a series of different blogs over the years. My first blog was in 2006, 2005 and 2006 I was touring with a band all over North America and I wanted to catalog the journey. I started a blog on Xanga. I’d always journaled and written as a kid, and this was another outlet. This was a way for me to share my journey. I had a hand full of friends reading it. It was just fun to share. It was a big wake up call for me when halfway through this year of playing music for a living–which I had always thought was the dream–that my favorite part of the week was not playing shows for sometimes thousands of screaming, and sometimes thousands of indifferent teenagers. It was this hour in the afternoon usually on a Saturday or a Sunday where we would be staying with a family somewhere and I would ask to use their desktop computer and I would write a blog post cataloging what we have done that day. That was my first blog and my first experience with sharing my life and my ideas with the world. Just the thrill of pressing publish and sharing that. This evolved into me moving to Nashville, getting a job with a nonprofit, actually training missionaries in how to blog for this nonprofit organization that I worked for for seven years. Becoming the Marketing Director there, learning about online marketing. In that process, deciding I wanted to get back into blogging for myself. I had been helping other people share their stories and I wanted to start doing it again for myself; I missed it, I felt like I had something to say and want to share it with the world. Over the years, I had started these different blogs and fits and starts. Honestly, I’ve been following ProBlogger for a long, long time and wanted to make a living as a writer but didn’t know how to do that. I remember Darren sharing on a webinar that the first year as a full time blogger, he made $36,000. He was saying it like you’re not just going to start off making six-figures, it’s kind of hard. That was exactly my salary that year and I was like wow, I could replace my income with blogging? That sounded really exciting. I had started all these blogs. I think I went back and counted recently, it was like nine different blogs. From that first Xanga blog in 2006, to 2010 when I at the end of the year started a blog called Goins, Writer, goinswriter.com, which is the blog that I have today. I was really frustrated with myself for quitting all those previous blogs. I realized that all those failed blogs had one thing in common, and that was that I quit them at some point. I had grown up a little bit, I had a little bit more responsibilities, I better understood marketing and what might, might not work in terms of a blog and a message. I had decided when I started this blog at the end of 2010 when I was getting much more serious about writing for a living that I would do this for two years before I would quit. I would write every single day on this blog for two years without quitting. At the end of two years, if I didn’t have at least 250 subscribers, which was the most I’d ever had in any blog, then I would quit and go do something else. I wasn’t going to do it forever, but I was going to give it a good, solid try. In the past, I always heard of these blogs. Anywhere from six weeks to six months later, I would quit and I would go start something else. I thought what would just happen if I just stuck with it? That’s what I did. In 2011, I blogged every single day. I started paying attention to what I was learning on ProBlogger and Copy Blogger and following other writers and bloggers online. I reached out to them, I asked to guest post, I offered them opportunities to guest post on my site, and I just started building email lists. I learned about lead magnets and ways to get people on your subscriber list. By the end of 2011, I’d grown an email list of about 10,000 people and realized that I could monetize this. Then in 2012, I sold a couple of ebooks and made about $50,000 off of this ebook called You Are A Writer, so Start Acting Like One. Then from there, I turned that ebook, essentially, into an online course called Tribe Writers and made an extra $100,000 or so off of that and some affiliate marketing that I was doing. In 2012, I made about $150,000 in side income off of this little blog business that I had started in the last six months of the year. I was still working at this nonprofit, making about $30,000 a year. That year, my wife quit her job. She gave birth to our first child, our son Aiden. She quit her job, she didn’t go back after having our baby. I was getting ready to quit my job and we started this business. We tripled our household income in a matter of months. That was 2012, and in 2013 I quit my job, I turned 30. I’ve been a full time blogger, author, speaker, and online entrepreneur ever since. That’s been my blogging journey, lots of other stories in there. Where I’m at now is when I started the blog, I didn’t know what I wanted. I had a goal of replacing my wife’s income, which was about $30,000. I thought if I replace her income, I can keep my job and then do this thing on the side. I’ll essentially have two jobs, she can stay home and be a full time mom for a while which is something we agreed would be good, we both wanted that. This is what I would do. When my initial goal was met and then exceeded, I didn’t really know what to do with that. I just started chasing more for the sake of getting more subscribers, trying to get more money, doubling and tripling our revenue every single year, growing a team, doing all this stuff. One day, I woke up and realized this isn’t what I wanted.What I wanted was way back there, it was this simple life and way to do my work where I was getting paid to write the stuff that I wanted to write. A big wake up call for me was I started this online education business, teaching online courses so that I could write and make money. I wouldn’t have to worry about hitting the bestseller list every time and selling hundreds of thousands of copies of a book so that I could make an income off of my writing. I could just get paid and write books that I believed in, and not worry about them having to be bestsellers. It was a big wake up call for me when I realized that I was so busy running this education business that was supposed to provide the income and freedom for me to write that I no longer had time to write. I had actually hired a writer to write my blog posts for me. I realized man, something is off here. This business that I started so that I could be a writer is now keeping me from writing. Over the past few years, I’ve had to make a series of difficult decisions to get back in my lane, get focused on the creative work which is the work that only I can do and not worry about what everybody else is doing. Just learn how to run my own race, and the results of that has been I have felt more successful, I have been happier with my work than I’d ever been, and just more at peace. As a result, I think the work is better, I’m actually personally netting a higher income while generating fewer sales just because I’ve gotten really specific and focused on the work that I want to do, that only I can do. It doesn’t have anything to do with growing some huge media empire, it’s just about me doing the work that I believe in and sharing it with the world. That’s my blogging story and my answer to question one. Question two: what are three top tips behind the success you’ve achieved? I believe that all education is broken up into three areas. One is principles, two is strategies, and then three is tools. A lot of people in the online marketing space like to talk about tools and strategies, meaning what’s working now and how do I do this? How do I grow my email list? Well, you need a lead magnet and you can set it up in MailChimp. MailChimp is a tool, the strategy is using a lead magnet to get more subscribers. Underlying, most strategies and tools are principles. Tools change often, strategies change sometimes, principles never change. Principles are usually timeless truths. If they change, they change very gradually over the course of decades, if not centuries. I’m very interested in the principles. A few principles that have worked well for me, that continue to work although the modalities, the strategies and tools that I use to accomplish these things have changed. One lesson that I’ve learned, one principle, is that you always have to give before you ask. You always have to give more than you want to take. I heard Gary Vaynerchuk talk about this in regards to his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. He said most people think that means give, give, give, take. It doesn’t mean give, give, give, take; it means to give, give, give, ask. For every ask: hey, sign up for my email list; hey, buy my book; hey, do this, do that; I want to give these three things away for free. A phrase that we use in a lot of courses with our students is you have to be relentlessly generous. You have to be relentlessly generous with your audience. When I would start a blog, it was about me, and of course it’s your words, it’s your ideas, it’s your story; in a sense, it is about you. Something that really, really helped and lots of people talk about this but get so focused on the practicality of it. You have to be generous. For me, giving, giving, giving, without asking. I wrote a free blog post every day for two years before I sold a single thing. I gave away ebooks, webinars, trainings, tools, all kinds of things for free. First of all, I didn’t even know what I was doing. I was just trying to figure it out, I was practicing in public sharing my work, trying to get feedback on the stuff that was resonating, that was valuable to me. I was also trying to build up a lot of trust. At the end of that two years—it was more like 18 months before I started making an income off of the blog—I started hearing from readers saying, “Hey, this is great. Thanks for sharing all this stuff with us for free. But, can we buy something from you? Can we pay you for something?” One of the lessons that I learned is that if you give, give, give, give, if you make it all about them, they—some of them—will make it about you. You really can give your way into success. Every new business pursuit, idea, I’m just finding ways to plant seeds of generosity, helping people without asking anything in return. I think more often than not, that comes back to me giving time, giving money, giving resources to my audience, to my friends, to my network. People that I know, just trying to spend that goodwill. Overtime, you become known as a helpful, resourceful person. When your name comes up in conversation, people talk about you in a positive way. It just spreads this positive brand, plus it feels good to help people. That was one principle, it will never hurt you to out-give your audience. It will only ever help you. It is a great way to establish yourself from everybody else. Another tip, lesson, principle thing that I learned was to listen to what the people who have done this for a long time tell you to do. For a long time, I thought I don’t need to listen to Darren, he’s old. Just kidding. He’s been doing it for a long time and there are these timeless principles, like using a lead magnet. I thought I was above that and I was trying to pave my own path without first paying attention to the ways that this has always worked. It always works to give before you ask people to pay attention to you, to use a lead magnet to get somebody on your email list. That’s not tricking them and getting them in your email list, it’s rewarding them for their attention. A really big moment for me was when I stopped thinking I knew everything and just started listening to anyone, especially those who had done things that I wanted to do. Assuming I knew nothing, taking the posture of a student and acting like an apprentice, then just trying things. Being willing to do what other people said without arguing about it. Often, I talk with folks who are struggling to succeed with their blogs or online businesses. They go, “Oh yeah, I’ve tried that, I’ve heard that. Give me something new, give me a new idea.” It turns out that the oldest things that have worked for a long time are the techniques and strategies that are probably going to keep working for a long time, they just might need a fresh coat of paint on them. Do what works for other people, at least try it. Be humble enough to admit what you don’t know, become somebody else’s student, and try it. I think the last thing that works really well for me is connecting with influential people. It sounds bad and I’ll explain what this means for me, but essentially leveraging their influence to grow my own influence. What that means is I would reach out to folks and I would try to be as helpful as possible, people like Darren Rowse, Brian Clarke, Seth Godin, Michael Hyatt, a lot of people in the blogging and online marketing space. I never said how can I be helpful because that’s not very helpful, but I always say hey, can I write a guest post for you? Or could I share this tip with your audience? Obviously, there’s something in it for me when I would do that, but there was also something in it for them. I found that by simply meeting influencers, people that I considered mentors, and sharing something with their audiences, that was a fast pass to getting in front of a lot of people in a short amount of time. How do you practically do this? Well, oct people don’t do this very well, I didn’t do this very well for a long time. It’s because you get in front of somebody and say hey, let me talk to your audience. That’s not going to work; they don’t trust you, they don’t know you, they don’t know if you have any right speaking to their audience. What I practiced without realizing it, and in retrospect I now think of it as the case study strategy. What I did was remember lesson number two, be humble enough to admit what you don’t know and try new things based on what other people are saying. The second part of that is to become somebody’s case study. If I read something on Michael Hyatt’s blog that said you should have a lead magnet, I’ll go okay, great, I’m going to do that. I would go do whatever so and so influencer had said and I would implement it, and then I would report back to them. I would send them an email, or comment on their blog, or tweet back at them, reply to them on Twitter, and share the results. I would do this over, and over, and over again with people who were sharing advice particularly about blogging and online marketing. I did this, I just thought of it as seeds. I thought of it as a way of being helpful to people that helped me by saying hey, you might want to know that this worked for me and I just want to say thanks. I did this enough times with enough people that some of them started talking about me. Michael Hyatt was one of these people where in a way I became one of his case studies. He had just had a book come out called Platform which I think came out in 2012. I was growing my platform at the time. It was working, and I was sharing it with him, and he actually invited me to write a chapter in that book about guest posting, which I had gotten really into and had shared with him how it had helped me grow my blog. That relationship probably saved me years of hustling. I think there was a number of people. There are plenty of people that said hey, this worked, and never heard back from them. But those that I did hear back from, I doubled down on that connection and built a relationship, a friendship with these people. That, lots of people talk about that, everybody wants to get in front of influential people and have them share their stuff with the world but it’s actually really hard unless you realize that these people who are constantly sharing advice very rarely hear back from people who are actually doing the work and applying the principles. This is what I call the case study strategy, you do what other people say that you should do and you let them know about it over time. You build a relationship with them, and some of these people will just talk, you don’t even have to ask. Sometimes you can ask, “Hey, can I do a guest post or share this on your podcast? Or would you endorse my book?” Whatever. I have found just by simply being the case study of the giants who have come before you, it can save you a lot of time and it can help you get your work in front of a much larger audience without having to spend years on building that audience. Those are some tips that I think were pretty helpful for me. Question three: what’s the next step and the next challenge in your evolution? I’ve done the thing where I’ve worked with tens of thousands of customers buying courses, ebooks, and programs. That’s been cool, it’s made a lot of money, millions of dollars in income. The more I do this—I’ve been running my business for almost seven years now—the more interested I am in going deeper with fewer people. The two things that I’m really interested in are masterminds, I currently run a mastermind of creative entrepreneurs, about 20 people. I’m wanting to keep growing that. We meet every week on Zoom, we meet in person three times a year. Really walking these creative entrepreneurial journeys out together, really fun. I love the impact, relationship, connection that happens, and community that happens in a space like that. I can see growing more groups like that, I love the mastermind experience. Live events, doing a live conference for years has been really fun. This will be the last year of our conference called the Tribe Conference but I’ll probably do some more regional, smaller, mastermind kind of events. I like workshops. It’s funny, all the things that an online business afforded me—scale, opportunity, reach—a lot of people with a click of a mouse, being able to create a product once and share it with a lot of people, do it all online. In some ways, building an online business is moving me back towards offline activities, getting together in person, working with fewer people on ways that aren’t necessarily scalable. That’s where I’m seeing a lot of the impact. I’ll continue to do online programs and things like that, but I’m really excited about that, working with creative entrepreneurs. We have a program, helping people write great books, it’s called Write A Bestseller. I like that a lot. I hope to focus more on that, helping people get their books out into the world, that’s something that I’m focusing on a lot, and less on how do people grow their blogs, and get better at internet marketing. I think there’s a lot of value there but there’s a lot of people who do that really well. What I do well is I write books and teach people how to do the same. I’m looking forward to doing more of that from a teaching perspective. That’s it, those are all the questions. I hope this was helpful, let me know if I can be of any more service to you. I will be speaking at the ProBlogger Event in August, hope to see you there. If you have any questions, feel free to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org. If there’s a question that you have for me that I wasn’t able to answer in this interview, feel free to shoot me an email. I’ll see you in Melbourne in August, thanks. Darren: Wow, thank you so much, Jeff, for your wise words today. As I said at the top of today’s show, got a lot out of this myself. Jeff is someone that I look to for advice as a writer. I quite often will bounce ideas off of Jeff, but he’s also someone who I think has a lot of good things to say of us who are building a business as well. You can check out Jeff’s site at goinswriter.com. Check out all of the things that he’s got to say there. Few of the things that really stood out to me. Firstly, he really talked about the success of his latest venture, goinswriter.com. He has been answering the question what will happen if I stick with this? I really relate to that, because I think a lot of bloggers do have a series or a trail of half finished blogs behind them. One of the biggest things that really, I guess, gets in the way of success for many bloggers is they just don’t stick at it. Or, they have a series of blogs rather than one blog. I love that, Jeff. Finally did stick to blogging and got serious about it. He mentioned a number of things there that I think are really important for those who are just starting out; developing an email list was a big part of what he did. Having that email list of people who were regularly hearing from him really enabled him to monetize in the long run. I loved that advice. I secondly really related to this idea of having the mindset shift that he realized what he wanted wasn’t more. I don’t know if that wake up call that he had was something that you relate to, but I find a lot of us as bloggers who have been around for a number of years and I’ve used this analogy in the past. It’s almost like we build a machine around what we’re passionate about, but the machine actually takes over and we spend our time feeding the machine. Jeff talked a little bit about how he built a business which he thought would allow him to do what he loved, writing, but it actually stopped him from writing. I think a lot of bloggers actually get to this point, particularly bloggers who have had some success. Many of us do need to have these moments in our business where we realign, where we perhaps narrow our focus back down to the things that we really started out wanting to do. In the case of Jeff, it was writing. I really appreciate the fact that he shared that lesson that he had because it’s something that I know I’ve had to do periodically over the years, and perhaps even need to do at the moment as well. I thank Jeff for sharing that. His three top tips that led to his success. Firstly, you have to give before you ask; I love that line from Gary V. Give, give, give, and then ask; rather than give, give, give, and take. There’s a difference between asking and taking from your audience, and I think a lot of us as bloggers do have the temptation to just take instead of asking our audience I they would like to buy something from us. Be relentlessly generous was the advice there. I think that really does represent the success of many of the bloggers that I admire over the years, their generosity. Listen to those who have gone before you. Again, this is something that you’ve heard on this podcast before. The oldest things that have been working for a long time, it turns out those things will continue to work into the future. That’s why we do preach that you need to develop an email list. This is old fashion technology that continues to work today. Yes, we do need to learn how to continue to use it, and tweak it, and we’ve got podcasts here in the archive of ProBlogger that all about that. But don’t just latch onto all the new, sexy things that are coming out. Actually look at what’s already been working for decades now and latch onto those things. Lastly, his advice to connect with influential people. I love that strategy that he talked about being the case study of the influencers. I just think it’s such brilliant advice. Actually, implement the advice of the people you want to get in the radar of. Then, tell them what happens, and then you become their case study. Whether that be as a guest post or an interview, or something that they just use in passing as an example. I can actually think of a number of people that that’s happened to, both that have approached me but also that I’ve approached others by being their case study. Brilliant advice, really encourage you to try that one out yourself. Influencers are looking for that feedback and they are looking for case studies that prove that their own advice work. Actually be the case study for an influencer. Brilliant advice, really wish I’d come up with that one myself, so thanks Jeff for sharing that. I love this interview, in fact I’m going to listen to it again because there’s more in there that I wanted to get into. You might want to go back and have another listen to today’s interview with Jeff. Please share it with anyone who you know of that needs to hear this advice. I really hope that this episode does get shared wildly because I think it’s got so much valuable stuff into it. If you would like to check out more from Jeff, you can head to goinswriter.com and also consider coming. I know it’s last minute notice now, to our August event in Melbourne. We do have a handful of tickets both to our beginner event—we have a whole day of training for our beginners who want to start a blog or who’ve just started their blog. Jeff will be talking at that, he’ll be giving a keynote on how to develop your voice. If you’re a little bit more experienced, whether you are intermediate level or more advanced, Jeff will be at our mastermind event as well. As he mentioned in his interview, he loves masterminding and I’ve seen him in action at that type of event, he’s excellent, which is why we’ve got him to our event. Our events are in August in Melbourne. I know that cuts out some of you, but if you are able to get to Melbourne, head over to problogger.com/events. Hopefully, there’s still a few tickets available and we’d love to see you at that particular event. Thanks for listening today. Our show notes today, and there’s a full transcription of this podcast at problogger.com/podcast/279. Thanks and we’ll chat in the next episode, 280. Thanks for listening. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts.
89 minutes | Jun 26, 2019
278: Evolve Don’t Revolve Your Blogging
Evolve Your Blog Does it feel like you’re going around in circles with your blog? It’s easy to revolve in your blogging. Let’s look back at my keynote presentation titled, Evolve Don’t Revolve, from ProBlogger’s Evolve event in 2017. It highlights my journey as a blogger and areas where you can evolve your own blog and online business. Plus, the 2017 keynote features a Q & A with Pat Flynn, who shares how he achieved success by evolving his blog, Smart Passive Income. https://www.slideshare.net/problogger/evolve-dont-revolve ProBlogger’s Evolve 2019 event in Melbourne is happening soon! August 10: Training Day (Beginner/Intermediate) Four key areas of building a successful blog August 10-11: Mastermind (Intermediate/Advanced) Spend time with other bloggers, online creators, and entrepreneurs to workshop your blog and business Jeff Goins will present this year’s keynote titled, Finding Your Voice as a Blogger. He’s the author of Real Artists Don’t Starve. Fellow expert bloggers, Nicole Avery, James Schramko, Kelly Exeter, and Shayne Tilley, will talk about their knowledge and experience. For more information about Evolve 2019, go to Problogger.com/events. Don’t forget to sign-up by June 30, 2019, to get the Early Bird price. Links and Resources for Evolve Don’t Revolve Your Blogging: ProBlogger Evolve Event Evolve: Training Day Evolve: Mastermind Jeff Goins Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins Nicole Avery of Planning with Kids James Schramko of SuperFastBusiness Kelly Exeter (writer and editor) Shayne Tilley of 99Designs Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income Podcast Motor Courses Start a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group. Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey there, friends. It’s Darren Rowse from ProBlogger. Welcome to Episode 278 of the ProBlogger Podcast. The podcast is designed to help you start a blog, to build that blog, and to monetize it. Today, I’ve got a special treat for you. It is a keynote that I gave a couple of years ago at our ProBlogger event in Melbourne. It’s titled Evolve Don’t Revolve. It’s all about how as bloggers and online entrepreneurs, it’s really easy to revolve in our blogging, to just go around in circles. I don’t know if you can relate to that of feeling going around in circles. I certainly can. There’s been so many times over my 15 years of blogging where I’ve realized I’m just treading water, I stopped growing, I stopped evolving. The call of this keynote is to look at seven different areas where you can evolve your blog and online business. Also, a taster of what we do at our Evolve event, at our ProBlogger event, which we’ve been running it for quite a few years. We’ve got our new event coming up in August of this year on the 10th and 11th of August, again, in Melbourne. I want to tell you a little bit about that event before we get into the keynote. There’s two options for those of you who want to come to our event in Melbourne. On the 10th of August, we’ve got a training day. This is a one day event for beginners, intermediate level bloggers. It’s also probably relevant for other content creators as well. If you head to problogger.com/events you can actually see a rundown of what we’re doing at that particular event. Largely though, it’s me. You’ll get a full day of me teaching on the four key areas of building a successful blog. I’m going to talk for about an hour about content and crafting great content for your blog. I’ll talk about evolving your engagement with your readers, how to build community on your blog, how to find new readers for your blog, and then, how to monetize your blog. This is perfect if you are a beginner or intermediate level. If you’re just starting out, you just set up your blog, maybe with our Start a Blog course, this is brilliant to help you get the ball rolling. If you’re more intermediate, maybe you’ve been blogging for a while, you want to evolve what you’re doing, maybe from a hobby blog to a professional blog where you make money from it, or maybe you’ve had a blog that’s going a little bit dormant, a little bit stagnant, and you want to give it a refresh, then this is the perfect event for you. You will also, in that event, hear from Jeff Goins, who we’re bringing out from Nashville, Tennessee in the States. He’s going to come out and do the keynote on finding your voice as a blogger. He’ brilliant on that particular topic and a really great teacher when it comes to writing and communicating on a blog. You’ll also hear a little bit from Nicole Avery at the end of that day as well. She’ll talk about productivity and really help you shape what you’re going to do as a result of the day. The other option for those of you who are a little bit more intermediate and advanced is to come along to our mastermind. This is the second time we’ve held masterminds at our ProBlogger event. It’s being held this time over two days, the 10th and the 11th of August, again, in Melbourne. We’ll actually overlap with our training day. You’ll hear the same keynote from Jeff Goins at the start of the day. The rest of the two days, you’ll hear from some other people including James Schramko, who is a Sydney-based content creator and business owner. He’s brilliant on selling and helping you to grow a business. He’s brilliant on membership sites and just a really smart guy. You also get to sit around the table with Jeff and James in masterminding, myself as well on the second day. Nicole is there as well. We’ve also got Kelly Exeter, who’s brilliant on writing, editing, also design, self-publishing. And Shayne Tilley from 99Designs, who’s spoken at all of our events. He’s brilliant on creating products via blog marketing and just really helping you to shape your business. You get the opportunity at the mastermind to sit with all of those people and also other attendees. This is where the real value comes when you sit with other bloggers, online creators, entrepreneurs, and spend a couple of days really workshoping your business. If you like to get to our event on the 10th and 11th of August this year, just head over to problogger.com/events. You can see all the details there. We do currently have an early bird offer and that ends at the end of June. You don’t have long to grab your tickets at that special rate. All right, I’m going to get into today’s keynote. You’ll also, at the end of this keynote, hear from a familiar voice to many of you, from Pat Flynn. Pat was at our event. We fly out at least one international guest every year. This year it’s Jeff Goins, but Pat was at our event two years ago. I interviewed Pat on stage and there’s a bit of Q&A with our audience as well. As we talk particularly, again, about him and how he’s evolved his blog. Pat is just a brilliant example of someone who has done that brilliantly over the years. What he’s doing today is very different to what he started out doing. I think that’s the reason that he has had so much success. So, settle in, maybe grab yourself a beverage or something to eat because this goes for about an hour, a bit over an hour. You might even want to break it down into two sessions; that’s totally fine as well. There’s lots of practical stuff in this. If you also want to checkout the slides, head over today to our show notes at problogger.com/podcast/278 where you’ll be able to get the slides. There are a few things in this talk where I do refer to stuff that’s on the screen including a few jokes and funny bits as well. Hope you enjoy this keynote. Then, I’ll come back at the end just to wrap things up. I was interviewed on a radio just recently. Someone asked me that same question but they asked me to go back to the very start of my blog and said, “What has changed in your blogging since you started?” Now, I started blogging in 2002. It was a mind-blowing question to be asked because everything has changed in my blogging since 2002 except for the fact that a blog is pretty much the same thing. It’s chronologically organized information, it’s got comments usually, and it’s content, it’s useful content. That’s always been my philosophy. Fifteen years of blogging, things have changed a lot for me. This is the first article anyone ever wrote about me. It was written in 2006. I found it the other day as a screenshot. When I read the article, I realized things have changed but also the picture. Hopefully, I looked a little less stressed than I did back then. I don’t know what it was but this photographer just seemed obsessed with me putting my hands in my head. These are the pictures he took that day. I thought I was maybe looking seriously or maybe wanted to cover up the fact that I was bald. Anyway, things have changed for me. I now have a pose slightly differently for photos that’s partly because I’ve got an Instagram-obsessed wife and she knows you’ve got to […] this kind of stuff. Things have changed a lot and I look back on those times and think things have changed for me a lot. This is my first blogpost. When I first published it, I didn’t look like this. I’ve started on Blogspot which became Blogger and my first theme was a free theme. There was hardly six to choose from, and it was navy blue, black, and monochrome. It was the most ugly thing that you’ve ever seen. Then, this is my first attempt at a blog design. It’s pretty much the only time I’ve ever attempted a blog design and I realized very quickly that even after three weeks of work to get to this point that I wasn’t really very good at it. Even if you look at that post, you’ll see things have changed. I used tiny little fonts. It was peaches at all on any post that I wrote. The tools that I was using, Blogger, they were very basic. You couldn’t even have comments on Blogger when I first started. You had to install a script. There’s lots of things have changed since 2002. The next question I was asked in the interview when I recapped some of these things was, “How did you make the change from where you were then to where you are now?” This is the most impossible question I’ve been asked because I knew that the interview only had three minutes to go. “How did you do it? How do you transition from those awkward starts that we all start with to a point where you have a business around your blog or you’re a full-time blogger, or whatever it is that is your goal?” I completely stuffed up my answer. I’ve been stressing about how I answered that on the radio that day and I’ve been thinking about how I should’ve responded. If I have 45 minutes to answer, I probably would’ve told you what I’m about to tell you. That’s what I want to really just give my proper answer today, how do you change from those awkward starts to building a business to realizing your goals of blogging? The first thing I wished I said was that persistence is really 90% of it. That’s not the sexiest answer. It’s not a strategic answer, but it’s true. I love this quote from Albert Einstein, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I’ve stuck with problems longer.” I think it’s probably a bit of false modesty in that from Albert Einstein, saying he’s not that smart, but I really relate to that. I look around this room and I know I’m not the best writer in this room. I’m not the best writer out there. I’m not the best marketer. I’m not the best at technology. I’m certainly not the best blog designer. I’m not the best at anything, but I really stuck at it for a long time and I think persistence has really paid off for me. I love the story of the turquoise and the hare or the turtle and the hare. You’re going to see a few turtles today because I really relate to that turtle. Taking one small step after another. Keeping the momentum going is just so important. Really, I think 90% of any success I had has come from persistence. What can you persist with? I’ve shared this quite a few times now in this event. Success is usually more about doing the things that you know you should be doing rather than trying to find the secret strategies, the secret sauce all the time. I say this at the front of this event because a lot of our new attendees often come going, “What’s the real secret? How are we really going to do this?” and they’re looking for that thing that’s just going to escalate things for them. Some of the strategies that you hear will escalate you forward. But really, what is going to grow you the most is doing the things you already know you should be doing and they’re the things that you probably knew when you first started your blog already. We call these Pillars of ProBlogging and you may have heard us talking about these before. Chris Garrett, who wrote the ProBlogger book with me, came up with this in 2009. We actually based the first event on these four pillars and that’s what we’re doing again today. The first one is content. On day one, when I wrote that first blog post, I knew that I needed to write content. We all do. This is just no brainer stuff. You look at that first blog that you set up and you see there’s no post. Instinctively, you need to create content for it unless it’s not really a blog. For me, this is obviously the key to it. Every post you write is building the asset of your blog. Every useful piece of content that you write, it’s the archives that really is the value. A lot of bloggers do look for that viral piece of content. They just want to write one piece of content that’s going to escalate them. Occasionally, those viral pieces of content do come and they do escalate you forward. But really, it’s persisting with your content. This is one of those things you already know that you should be doing but you need to persist with it. That’s so important to do. The second pillar is community. It’s engagement. It’s about interaction. The way we’ve been in 2002 is changing. Previous to 2000, I reckon that most people went online trying to download stuff. A lot of it is dodgy. They were satisfied to go online and get stuff, receive stuff, download stuff. That’s what I used to do. I used to go online and research the essays I was writing. I was studying at that time. I was downloading stuff. Around 2000, and even before, but really started to escalate 2000–2002, people realized that they could interact more. The web became a much more interactive space and this is the beginnings of social media. I probably started with user boards, internet chats, and some of these older technologies, but blogging really escalated this. This is the reason I started blogging was I saw it was an interactive medium and I saw that people were really engaging. The day I installed comments on my first blog, it took me about a week to do it. I saw my blog improving incredibly. As I improved the content I was writing, it’s that engagement. People sharing their stories, sharing their experience, disagreeing, and encouraging, those types of things have really improved the content that I was creating. I realized that my blog grew faster the more engaging it was. Community is so important, but the thing about community is that it doesn’t just happen in one day. It takes time and it takes persistence. Every time you respond to a comment, every time you respond to an email, every time you engage with someone on social media, you’re building the asset of your blog. It’s persistence with community and engagement that is so important. Number three pillar is traffic. Remember that first day where you realized you’ve written a piece of content and no one is reading it except for you? That feeling sometimes last for some of us for weeks. Then, someone shows up on you reblog and you realize, someone found your blog. I remember that moment very clearly. I published my first post and then, my next feeling was, “How am I going to get people to read the post?” I did what almost every blogger does. I spammed all my friends and said, “Here’s my blog.” That’s how most of us start. Most of us realize that we can’t really sustain that approach for too long. Our friends are only going to put out with those emails for the first few days. But we’ve learnt something on that first day. We’ve learnt that we need to take responsibility for driving traffic to our blog. It’s something that we need to take initiative to. We all have these dreams that if we just write good enough content, floods of traffic is going to come to us. But in the early days of our blog, particularly, we need to take the initiative. We need to take steps to drive traffic and that really shouldn’t go away. We should always be thinking, “How am I doing to drive traffic to my blog? Where can I be engaging? Where can I be useful? Where can I build my profile and drive some traffic back to my blog?” This is something we need to persist with. Now, in time, word of mouth does kick in. Our readers begin to spread the word for us. But even today, 15years later, I’m still asking myself, “How can I get traffic to my blog?” In fact, just two days ago, I said to my team, “We really need to up our game in this area,” because we’ve noticed our traffic’s sliding from some of our old steady sources of traffic like Facebook. The Facebook algorithm is killing us all. At the moment, we need to be more proactive with that. We need to take some more initiative on that front. Traffic is the third pillar. This is all the stuff that we all know on the first day of our blog. We know we need content, engagement, and traffic. The fourth pillar is another thing. If we want a profitable blog, we need to be proactive in the area of monetization. For me, this really didn’t even kick in for a year-and-a-half because I didn’t know that you could monetize a blog back in 2002; no one was really doing it. But again, I learned very quickly that even though I dreamt of a passive income straight from my blog, that I needed to do some work to get that passive income stream going in the early days. This is another area we need to persist with. Now, this is a common theme at a ProBlogger event. If you’ve been to our events before, you know I talk a lot about putting time aside to monetize your blog. I think it was about four years ago. I put a challenge to our community and said, “Put aside 15 minutes everyday to monetize your blog in some way.” If we all put aside time to write content, we put aside time to engage with our audience, we put aside time to promote our blog, but most of us don’t put aside time on a regular daily basis to monetize our blog, at least a lot of bloggers don’t. Four years ago, I put that challenge out. I remember, a lot of bloggers took up that challenge. Twelve months later at the next event, I was amazed at how many bloggers came up to me and said, “You know, I took the 15-minute challenge and I wrote a book this year. I wrote a book I’ve never have written. I wrote […] guide, launched a course. I launched a membership site.” I can see people in the room who actually came up to me and said, “That 15 minutes a day challenge changed my blog.” To me, it was really a great illustration of how persistence in this pillar pays off. I think this is probably one of the biggest messages I want to get across to new users. If you want a profitable blog, you need to take some initiative in this, no matter what model you used. Persistence in this area is so important. Persist with content, engagement, traffic, monetization. It’s the accumulation of the little steps that you take in these areas that’s really is going to put you in the best position for a profitable blog. It’s not the secret strategies. It’s these four things. That’s why we designed today around these four things. We want you to persist in these areas. Here’s a question for you, which of these four things your weakest link? Which one is the weak one for you at the moment? Where have you been putting all your energy? That’s great that you’ve been putting your energy there but where, maybe, have you been taking the foot of the accelerator this year? For me, every year, it’s been different. Every year, I realize that there’s been times where I really haven’t put much time into my content. Or there’s been times where I really just not serve my readers and engage with them as much as I could’ve. Or like this year, maybe I got a little bit lax at driving traffic, maybe I’ve been focusing on other things, or maybe it’s been monetization. There are times in your blog’s life cycle where you probably do need to focus more on one thing. There are other times where you need to just ask yourself again, “Where have I been missing out?” That’s one of the quickie questions I would ask you to ponder today as you think about your next steps with your blog. Persist. Persisting is so important but it’s not enough. Often, I hear business quotes. There’s a lot of quotes about persisting. Sometimes it sounds like all you have to do is persist. Actually, it’s not. Persisting is really important but there’s something else that I think is just so important. We’ve actually chosen six speakers to speak to you today. Tomorrow, Shane is coming tomorrow for the mastermind. We’ve chosen people who I believe have persisted but they’ve done this other thing as well. I’ve been talking about the tortoise. I actually felt really sorry for the hare growing up. I don’t know whether you did but I use to think that the hare had wasted potential. He had some qualities that had he just applied it to himself a little bit more or perhaps haven’t been so destructive, maybe he could have been a good thing. I am an empathetic kid. I was an empathetic kid. I looked for how could the hare have won the race. I actually think that there were some things that we could learn from the hare that our speakers have as a quality as well. As I look at that first blog, I can see things have changed. I didn’t just persist to get my blogs to the point that I am today. You can see that things have changed. If I have just persisted on this blog design, I don’t think I would’ve got here. If I hadn’t persisted with tiny fonts like I did back then, I wouldn’t have got there. If I haven’t persisted with just written content, no visual content, I don’t think I would’ve gotten where I am today. Things changed and I think the lesson that we can learn from the hare is that they’re quick to change direction. Has anyone ever tried to catch a rabbit in the wild? That’s very hard to do. It can be a little bit cruel if you do it the right way. My parents actually lived on farms for a long time. I spent a lot of time chasing all kinds of animals on those farms including rabbits and I never caught one. It wasn’t that they were just fast. It was just that they had the ability to change directions and they’re very nimble. I love this quote from Richard Branson. “Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision, and change,” and that’s certainly been the story for me. Evolution is really important; evolving. That’s why we call this event Evolve because persistency isn’t enough. We need to evolve what we do. Persist in those pillars but evolve what we do in those pillars as well. Why is evolving so important? It’s because everything around us right now is evolving. Has anyone noticed the space we’re engaging? It’s just changing. We could run an event every month and still not keep up with the trends in blogging and the […] space at the moment. It is changing so very fast. The challenges in front of us as bloggers at the moment, just changing all the time, and as a result we need to evolve. One of the massive challenges that faces us at the moment is noise. Is anyone struggling with noise at the moment? There’s so much content being produced in all of the niches that we’re in. There’s tens of millions of blogs producing hundreds and millions of pieces of content. There so many different platforms now. When I started blogging, there wasn’t really many ways to create content. Now, we can do it on YouTube, on Instagram, and all these social networks. There’s different platforms in blogging, all these places producing noise. We’ve got mainstream media producing amazing amounts of content. The Washington Post is publishing over a thousand articles a week. Some of those articles have been written by computers now. You can’t even tell the difference between the computer-written content and the human-written content. That’s just going to get escalated more and more. We’re seeing the rising bots and messenger bots. This is all the more noise and more content. We’re seeing the automation of repurposing of content. I was talking to one blogger earlier this year about the noise and she said, “I think I’m making a lot of it myself.” I’m like, “Why? Why do you say?” She said, “I write three blog posts a week.” I’m like, “That’s certainly not much noise. You’re not really contributing.” She said, “No, you don’t understand. That’s just three posts a week. Then, this is what I do to promote those posts.” She created this checklist. I was proud of her but I was also like, “It’s your fault,” at the same time. This is what she does for every blog post. She emails her readers twice in the first month. She puts it on Facebook, on her page twice in the first month. She puts it in the Facebook group twice in the first month. She puts it on Twitter 15 times in the first month. Then, it goes into a less frequent cycle. Then, she puts it on Pinterest in her own boards—she’s got several—and other people’s boards where she’s a group member. She puts it on her LinkedIn profile, her LinkedIn page, her LinkedIn group, in Instagram as a photo, video, and a story. Then, she puts it on Snapchats. I stumbled upon Google+ on her profile and a page in her Reddit. Then she starts pitching other people to write more content for them that promotes her post and her goal is to write two guest post to promote her post on her blog for every post she writes. Then, she pitches influencers on different social networks. She repurposes all of her post into SlideShares and then turns them into YouTube. She creates Medium and LinkedIn post audio for SoundCloud, puts them on Facebook live. Then, she does visual graphics for all of these posts. She does a PDF version of her post which she uses as an opt-in. Then, she starts advertising it. She does over 50 pieces of content. Some of them micro content but 50 for every post that she does. This is happening more and more. Many of you in the room, maybe you don’t have quite as advanced system as she does, but a lot of us do. If we think about it, the amount of […] time that we spent promoting our content, this is happening more and more. Mainstream media are even better at doing it than we are. This is contributing to the noise. As a result of these massive challenges facing us at the moment, how do we stand out amidst this noise? We need to evolve our approach. We need to evolve. Another massive challenge for us at the moment is distribution. It used to be that someone will come to my blog and go, “I want more of his content. I’m going to follow him on Facebook.” Then, I would see every post that I did. Although, I would say, “I want all of these. I’m going to get his email. I’m going to subscribe to his emails or I would subscribe to his RSS feed. It used to be very neat like these yellow pipes. They want the content, they get the content. It all changed. It has become a mess. This is again, one of the biggest challenges facing us at the moment is that people want to have content but doesn’t see our content for a variety of reasons. They’re scattered in different places. The algorithms are filtering our content in social networks. Also, our emails now are being put in folders that people never open. We’re seeing a rise in pay-to-play. We’re seeing a lot of our audience now becoming blind to the techniques that we use in marketing. It used to be that I just didn’t see the banner ads, but now I don’t think that’s a opt-in as much. They don’t see our emails as much because they don’t want that. They’re distracted a lot now, partly because of the noise as well. This is another challenge we need to evolve. We need to evolve if we want our messages to be seen. Now these are negative things. The noise and the distribution challenges are negative, and I don’t want to depress you too much. There’s also some positive reasons we need to evolve as well. One of the positive reasons is that there’s these incredible opportunities facing us at the moment. The tools of that before us, the technologies that are opening up at the moment are amazing. It’s like no other time in history. The demand in video is a real opportunity. The demand for live video and the tools that are right in our fingertips, that enable us to go live on social media. I don’t know if you listen to my podcast but recently I talked about a tool called Ecamm Live. It’s US$30 and it puts a TV studio on your computer. It enables you to have multi cameras, do overlays, share your screen, do these amazing things live in front of people, and interact with people. The tools are quite amazing. It’s an incredible opportunity. In Australia, over the last six or so months, I’ve seen this rise in interest in podcasting. I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, my family and friends are now on podcasting, listening to podcast like I’ve never seen before. Vanessa, I reckon, she can choose four or five hours of podcast a day. She just constantly listening. I’m seeing my family and friends doing this. It’s really on the rise in Australia. It’s an opportunity before us at the moment. We’re seeing the emergence of messaging bots which is something I think is escalating at the moment. There’s opportunities there. I’m seeing the growth in Facebook groups. We’re seeing a growth in all these tools that enable us to market in a more personal way as well. It’s incredible opportunities if only we are able to evolve fast enough to take them. Some of these opportunities come and go very quickly, so we need to be nimble. We need to be like the hare, being able to change directions while we also persist as well. Persist and evolve. I actually start to think this way about the evolution of my blogs. This is the evolution of Digital Photography School which is my main blog since 2002. I did this because it’s actually been a tough week for me, for our company as well, and for my family. We had a death in the family this week. My father-in-law passed away yesterday. It’s been a tough time on that front. Also, it’s been a tough time in our company because one of our key staff members who many of you know, resigned three weeks ago. Jasmine. Does anyone know Jasmine? Jasmine used to direct this event. It was really sad to see her go but also exciting to see her opportunities. One of the things I started to do after she resigned was to think about the evolution since she joined my company. I actually did a little bit of a timeline on how she’s been involved in changing our company. I wanted to show her what’s she done for our company. This started as the last seven years since Jasmine coming on board, then I went back earlier. I want to show you this because it’s been constant evolution, the Digital Photography School. It really has and it started even before Digital Photography School started. It started back in 2002 when I started blogging at all. I just wanted to point out, to finish off my talk, some of the evolutions that have taken place in the last 15 years. I’ve chosen things that I think are really relevant for bloggers of different stages for you. Bear with me as I reflect on the last 15 years. It all, as I said, started in 2002 when I started blogging. I’m not going to retell that story because I’ve told it many times before. The one thing I do want to say is that I didn’t procrastinate. This is one of the only times I didn’t procrastinate in my life, pretty much, and in my business. Someone shot me a link to a blog and within an hour or so, seeing what a blog was for the first time, I started my own. I don’t really know why I didn’t procrastinate. I probably should’ve. I had a lot of reasons why I shouldn’t have started a blog back then, but I didn’t procrastinate. I started that blog and I’m so glad that I started quickly because this is one of the biggest stumbling blocks that I see happening is that people try to get their blog perfect before they launched it. I’m so glad that I didn’t. I can see that some of you are nodding to each other right now and you can relate to this. We get analysis paralysis. What I’ve learned about getting a perfect blog—there’s no such thing—any kind of ideal, perfect, blog comes through evolution. It comes through starting and realizing it’s not perfect, then fixing the mistakes. Then watching how people respond to that and then moving forward in that regard. You need to start. It just need to start. If you’re at that point where you’ve been procrastinating on starting your blog, please get it done. You’re more than welcome to come to this event if you haven’t started a blog, but if you come back next year and haven’t started, I’m going to chase you down. So start. The next most obvious thing from an external point of view about the evolution of Digital Photography School is that it’s changed its design. I’ll talk a little bit about that. This is the first design of Digital Photography School. This is the second time I tried to design a blog; really not very good. Actually, it was free template and this is what I started. This is what many bloggers do. We start with the free templates. I’ve been blogging for four or five years by this point. I didn’t really have an excuse to start with the free template, but I did and I’m tired. Very quickly, I decided that once I got some runs on the boards, want some readers done […] I decided I was going to change the design. So then, I moved to a premium template where I paid $40 for it. Then, I paid someone $100 to design a logo, so it’s slightly more customized. Then, I decided to bite the bullet and get someone to design a proper blog design for me. We had sliders. Do you remember that time when sliders became the big thing? They’re still the big thing for some bloggers but we added the slider in. Then we changed colors back to some of our roots. We changed the slider a little bit more and it became even more like a magazine. This is our current design. Then, we went for a responsive design. If you haven’t gone responsive, if you haven’t designed for mobile, I really encourage you to do that because it really helped our blog a lot. Now, we’re working on our next design. This is just a very early concept that we’re working on for the next one. This is something every two years now, we’re trying to redesign our blog just to bring freshness to it. A lot of it is really now about trying to keep up with the technology. Google really wanting you to be mobile responsive. There’s really good reasons for a good blog design as well. This is another area. Maybe you’ve come today. Maybe it’s time for your next blogs on this. People in this room are really good on that. So, ask questions around. Who designed your blog? What have you found work well for you? Look at each other’s blog on mobile, show each other what’s work well. I really encourage you to evolve in this particular area. The thing we’ve been doing more recently with our design is not just a complete redesign but an evolution. We’re trying to change bit by bit and testing along the way. I think that’s a helpful way to go. The next area is the technology side. I’m not a very technological kind of person but it’s so important to evolve in the tools that you use and the technologies. The first change from me really came in the early days where I moved from Blogger to where I thought it’s going to be the next big thing in blogging—Movable Type. It wasn’t really the next big thing in blogging, so we eventually moved to WordPress. The thing I’ll say about this type of change is that I was absolutely terrified every time I made these changes. Am I going to lose my archives? Am I going to lose all my readers? Along with some of these changes, I change domains as well to get off Blogger onto my own domain, onto my own service. These types of things, many of us get petrified by these things. We’re scared by these things. These are also some of the biggest times of growth to my blog as well. Getting more control over what you can do on your blog is so important. Some of you were probably on that stage where you’re thinking about, “Should I shift platform? Should I shift some of the tools that I’m using?” We’ve been shifting other tools recently. We’ve just recently made a shift from using AWeber as an email tool, which has served us amazingly well over the last 10 or so years. We’ve been realizing that there’s some limitations in terms of how we can personalize our communications via email with our readers. We’re shifting across to a tool called Drip. There’s plenty of other amazing tools as well that enable you to do more. Maybe you’re at the stage now where you need to change some of the tools that you use. Maybe it’s your email tool. Maybe it’s your landing pages. Maybe it’s your shopping cart or some of those types of things. We use shopping carts on our sites and we for many years use E-junkie which is amazing. It’s $5 a month for a tool that puts a shopping cart on your site. It served us so well. But again, we’ve outgrown it and we’ve been using some of these other tools as well. Again, there’s plenty of others out there. Just ask yourself again, over the next day also, “Are the tools that I’m using holding me back in some way?” You could be leaving money on the table particularly with something like a shopping cart, an email tool. You could be leaving a lot of money on the table if you’re selling products and using tools that really aren’t feature-rich. There are so many amazing tools right now. These are just some of the tools we’ve tried over the last 12 months and it’s just scratching the surface. This is one of the biggest evolutions that I’ve noticed in the blogging space at the moment is there’s a whole industry around us now. 2002, you could start on Blogger and that’s about it. There was really no tools. There was a few scripts around that could enhance your tools, your platform, but now, we’re living at a time where it’s just so amazing. The other thing I would say about tools is you could waste a lot of money. Most of these tools have a monthly fee associated with them. Maybe it’s time you cut back on some of your tools, too. You could be like me and be addicted to trying new things and I’m paying for that. One of the other bigger evolutions for me was back in 2004. Some of the evolutions for me, really, I think we’re sparked by changing my mindset. For some of you, I suspect, this would be relevant for you. You may not need to do anything differently. Maybe you need to start thinking differently about your blog. For me, it was around the time I’m starting to monetize my blog for the first time. I started to think about maybe I could be a full-time blogger one day. I was earning a little bit of money here and there from my blog. I had AdSense on my blog by this point—I’ll talk about that in a moment—and I think I was earning about $100 a week from my blog which is pretty good. I was very proud of myself and I used to spreadsheet how last month it was $90 a week. This month it’s $100 a week. Next month, it might be $110. I began to do these spreadsheets and charts about where things could go one day. I realized, in about five years, maybe 10, I’ll be a full-time blogger. I was very excited about that, I’m very proud about that, and I used to take the spreadsheets to Vanessa and say, “Look, love. $100 a week. And it could, one day, be full-time.” She humored me. She was appreciative of that because we were on a tight budget at that time. She was a first year lawyer doing articles and I was working part time jobs. The $100 a week actually was making a difference. But after a few months of me charting out my spreadsheets at the end of every month, there was a particular day when she said to me, “Darren, that’s really great, but in 10 years time when you say you could be a full-time blogger, you will be 41. Most 41 year olds have a full-time job. Maybe 10 years is too far away. Maybe we need to speed this up because you can get a fulltime job today, if you wanted.” She put it very nicely and I was like, “Okay.” We threw a variety of conversations. We decided that I needed to speed things up. We put a deadline of six months onto it. I need to be a full-time blogger in six months and that put a rocket under me. I realized, I’ve been treating my blog as a hobby that might one day be a business, one day. I decided that I need to start treating it as a business today. If you want your blog to be a business one day, treat it as a business today. This is the mindshift that I had to make and that day was the day that things escalated. This changed everything for me. It was the day I started to ring advertisers and say, “Do you want to advertise on my blog?” I’ve never done that before. It took me out of my comfort zone. Most of them said no, but one of them said yes, and he paid me $10 a month for the ad. That wasn’t much but he paid me $10 a month for the next year so it was $120. Then, he started paying me $20 a month. Then, he started paying me $30. Now I learned how I can serve him better. I started to get other advertisers who paid me $10, then $20, then $30 a month. That was a new income stream. That was the day that I started to think about how am I going to get more traffic to my blog. I started writing guest posts for other sites. That was the day I started to think about how am I going to get readers to come back to my blog who’ve already been there. I started to use email and try to work hard to gain more subscribers to my blog. I started to design systems and autoresponder sequences to get them back on a regular basis to drive more traffic. That was the day I started to try new income streams at direct advertisers but also other ad networks. That was the day that changed everything. When I started to treat my blogs as a business today. Maybe you’re at that point. Maybe you’ve got this nice little income stream and you’ve been dreaming of your blog being a fulltime business one day. Maybe you need to start doing the things you know you need to do to get to that point. The next thing I wanted to talk about is editorial. Editorial is really important. As I’ve shown you before, that first blog post was all text. Things have changed since that time. The most obvious thing I think that’s changing our content, we started to add visual content to our site. There’s a lot of other things you can do to evolve your editorial strategies. Maybe it’s the mediums you’re using. Maybe you’ve been doing written content. Maybe you need to start adding some visual. Maybe you need to start doing some video. Maybe you need to start doing some live. Maybe you need to start doing some podcasting. There’s always different mediums out there and I should think they’re all blogging. Essentially, a podcast is a blog. Its content arranged in a chronological order, it doesn’t have comments, that’s probably the only thing that’s a bit different. YouTube-ing a video, it can all be blogging. We need to think about blogging in a new way. Blogging is not just written content. It’s so much more than that. This is one way that we can evolve our content. Maybe it’s the frequency of your content. When I started Digital Photography School, I was doing three posts a week. I realized that one way I can get traffic is to increase the frequency of my posts. So, I went to five days a week. About six months later, I went to daily content. Now, we’re doing 14 post a week. It’s probably beyond what most bloggers can do. We’ve got a team now that’s evolved along the way, but maybe that’s one way that you can evolve your editorial strategy. Maybe it’s the type of content you create. When I started Digital Photography School, all of our post were tutorials. It was all information. Then, I started to add in some inspirational posts. I started to tell stories. I started to do image collections. I started to get people more in touch with their heart and their love of photography. So, I added in one post a week. There’s more inspiration content. Then, I started to add in more interaction content. We started to do weekly challenges. Got our readers to take photos and then share their photos with us. Information, inspiration, interaction became the evolution in our content. We still do a lot of the information but we found that once we start to inspire people, they started to want the information more. Got to have a reason to read the information. Then, we started to get them to interact with our content. They actually started to apply the information that we’re learning. Now, we have this flow on our week where we give them a tutorial, then, we inspire them and we show them some photos that they could take with that tutorial. Then, we get them to go online and take photos that use that information. So, they really go back to the information. They get inspired but then they start to learn. This has been an evolution in our content. Maybe you need to think about, has all your content been the one kind of content? Maybe there’s something else that you need to add in. Maybe you’ve been telling a lot of stories. Maybe you need to start teaching something. Maybe you need to do some posts in your editorial strategy that are more interactive in some way. Maybe it’s the level of your content. Digital Photography School was purely beginner content when I started. Now, it’s more intermediate. The site has grown up with our readers. Maybe you need to start writing different types of content. Maybe you’re writing lots of evergreen content, content that doesn’t date. We’ve been doing that for a long time. Then, we started doing a little bit more news content. We started to review cameras. This is more timely content. It doesn’t last as long but it’s a different type of content that served our readers in a different way. Maybe it’s a new category on your site. Digital Photography School, after about two years, we added a post production section—how to edit your photos. Then, we added a gear review section. These different categories expanded the site as we went along. Maybe you need to evolve your content in some way. This is one of those pillars. Persist with it, but it doesn’t mean you have to do it the same way over and over. Our community is another one of the pillars that you can evolve very quickly. Our community in Digital Photography School started with blog comments. That’s when people used to leave comments on blogs. Who remember those days, old-time bloggers? People used to leave comments and it used to be quite a few people. This post had 6–7 people leave a comment. Things have changed a bit. People are now engaging in different spaces, so maybe we need to evolve in that. We started a Flickr group. That was one of the early new ways of evolving our community in terms of engagement. Probably not relevant for most blogs today because you don’t have a photography rating community, but maybe there’s another place you can set up a group, another social network. We did a forum for a time that worked very well for us. We then started to use different types of social media to engage. We ran Twitter chats for a little while. Then, we started a Facebook page which used to work pretty well. And then more recently, a Facebook group. Facebook groups is where we see most of our engagement at the moment. It’s where a lot of successful full-time bloggers that I see are really doing very well with Facebook groups at the moment. I don’t know how long that will last. I don’t know how long Facebook will continue to promote groups. We’re already starting to see some changes in that, that Facebook already signaling that community and groups is an area where I want to see a lot more growth at the moment. Maybe you need to evolve in your community. Maybe it’s in your traffic. There’s a variety of different ways that you can evolve in this particular area as well. We’ve got a session on this later today. Maybe you need to be starting to create a bit more guest content. Maybe you need to think about search engine optimization, learn some skills, look at the latest trends in that. Maybe you need to engage in a new social network. Maybe you need to start networking more with fellow bloggers in your niche. For me, this is one of the key things that you can do to drive more traffic is to actually learn about who else is in your niche and to reach out to them. Then, look at win-win collaboration between them. This is probably one of the areas that we’ve seen the most growth in our blogging within our niches. Actually, getting to know your competitors and become friends with your competitors is one of the fastest ways you can grow your blog if you can find some win-win ways; a variety of things you can do there for traffic. Then, there’s monetization. I know a lot of you are here in this conference to learn more about how to monetize your blog. This for us, has been an incredible evolution. For me, it started with AdSense and Amazon, very awkward starts and very slow starts. This is our first month of AdSense earnings. This is after I’ve been blogging for two years. I already had a really good audience by this stage. First day, we made AU$12. I was so excited. $12 a day is amazing. There, I realized, all my friends were clicking my ads like crazy to make us that and that could have gotten us kicked out of AdSense. Then, it went back—after a day I told them to stop—to about $1 a day, $1.50 a day. It wasn’t even enough to buy coffee and this is after years of building my audience. That was really very slow, depressingly slow, but it was something. I was proud of those dollars a day, in the early days, even if that wasn’t that much. Gradually, I have a ton of crew. You can see here for the first six months, it was $1 a day. It really didn’t change. This is around the time that I started to have these mindset shift. I started to realize that if I was going to grow this income, I needed to get smart about driving more traffic and getting better at using AdSense. This is the same for any income stream that you might want to add. Then things escalated. August 2004, we started an Olympic Games blog. That was the Athens Olympics. It was a very profitable month. Then, it went back down again. This is about driving traffic, this is about driving more engagement, getting more email subscribers, and getting better at using AdSense. It continued to grow and this is the first two years. The reason I wanted to share with you this one because it all fell apart for a little while here. Sometimes, evolutions don’t work and unexpected things happened. We fell out of Google completely for six weeks there. We stood to this day, don’t really know why. Sometimes, it starts really slow. A lot of you probably at this phase at your income streams, don’t give up. Persist. Keep learning how to do that income stream better because you don’t know where it’s going to end up. For us, the evolution has been going through a different type of income streams. We’ve looked at direct ad sales, affiliate promotions, other advertising networks, I wrote a book. Most of these ones here didn’t really worked that well. The book didn’t make much money, speaking didn’t make much money, consulting didn’t make much money, job board is another real slow burner. It’s actually grown for us. Then, everything changed in 2009 when I discovered ebooks. This is our first ebook. Some of you heard me talked about it before. I procrastinated on writing this ebook for three years. I started Digital Photography School with a view that I would write an ebook in 2006. I didn’t write it until 2009. I was too busy. I didn’t know how to write an ebook. I didn’t know how to sell an ebook. I was scared. That was my real reason. In 2009, I took my own 15 minutes a day challenge. I write my ebook 15 minutes at a time. I got up early every morning and I wrote it. It took me four months to write it, to get it ready for launch, to write the sales page, to get the emails ready to launch the thing. At eleven o’clock one night, in 2009, I’ve sent the email, petrified about how my readers would respond to this ebook. Me trying to sell them something. Most of the content on the ebook was already in the blog. I was scared that I was going to really push back hard. Nothing at all happened for 10 minutes after I sent that email. Then, I got a sale. That four months of work made me US$14.99. That’s about $18. It really wasn’t worth it at that moment. $18 for four months of work. Then, nine minutes later, another sale came in. It became a little bit more worth it. Then, the sales started coming in every eight minutes, every seven minutes, every six minutes, and by this stage, it’s like 1:00 AM and I was like, “[…],” calculating how much I was making. Then, I started coming every two minutes. Then, every minute. Then, every thirty seconds and everything changed. I was so excited, but I wished I’ve done it three years earlier. That often is what happens when you procrastinate. This changed everything. This was the beginning of a whole new income stream from the blog. This is all part of this evolution. That launched did really well. We sold for about 5000 copies of that other than the first week or so of that launch. More important for me is that it was actually a start of another evolution. Now, we have lots of ebooks. Over the last eight years, we’ve published a lot of ebooks, 30 or so of them. Some of them we’re done better than that done and some of them had done a lot worse, but every time we launched, we learn something about how our readers react to these products and how to market them better in different ways. Then, part of the evolution is to take courses. We’ve done six courses now. We’ve done software as well. This is all part of that evolution. Monetization is something you’ve got to persist. You’ve got to be proactive. You can’t be passive. You need to put the work in. It does take a lot of work but evolve. The other part of our evolution with products and monetization is this is how I launched that first ebook. That first ebook, all I did to launch it was send two emails, write one blog post, and do three tweets. I had no idea what I was doing, but it worked really well and I’m glad it did. We’ve evolved our launches slightly. Now, this is what we do. We don’t do all of these for every launch but there’s a lot of evolution in our launches. We do pre-launch stuff. We do a variety of types of blogpost during a launch. We send multiple emails over a launch and they all go to a different type of email. We do testimonial emails. Occasionally, we’ve done webinars. We’ve done a variety of different social media things and we do now stuff on our site as well. You will get all of these slides so you can have a really deep look at this later if you like. Again, evolve. Not just your income streams, but how you use those income streams as well. I will say, whatever the evolution that I’ve shown you, every single one of them has been accompanied by fear. That’s a good sign. Fear is a signal that something important is about to happen. No important moment in your life has happened without fear. Also, it comes with excitement. You use the excitement. Don’t let the fear stop you. Learn as you evolve as well. All the evolutions bring about learning for the next evolution. The thing I’ll say about what I’ve shown you, that timeline I’ve shown you, that was just the good stuff. All those things with good things, but then a lot of really bad things along the way as well. A lot of it I tried. There are things that I’ve tried over the years have not worked. I started two blog networks. You would’ve thought that after the first lesson that I wouldn’t start on the second one. Both of them didn’t do very well, but I learned so much during those. I started other blogs that haven’t work for different reasons. Was anyone on […]? You would have thought that from a loader like that, that I would’ve known that was not a good social network to get on? I’ve invested hundreds of hours on […]. It’s just after Twitter came about. It’s this new thing that was going to change everything and everyone was going to be on […]. It turns out no one was on […]. It’s just me. I started writing at ProBlogger community and it was an income stream. This is a public folio, something that worked but didn’t really worked to my satisfaction. We had to stop it. There’s been these false starts, there’s been these failures, but every time I failed, I learned something. All of these things have been formed where we’re at today as well. You will have these failures. I want to paint a picture of just try new things that will work. A lot of them won’t, but they can be as important parts of your evolution as everything else. Some of them will grow fast, some of them will grow slow. These are my two blogs, ProBlogger and Digital Photography School. I should’ve given up on Digital Photography School about here. It was just too slow. It wasn’t growing very fast at all. But today, if that graph continued, it would be 10 times bigger than ProBlogger. I’m really glad I stuck at it. A lot of those income streams, AdSense, was really slow. I probably should’ve given up on it in early days, but I’m glad I persisted with it. You’ll have those times where things really don’t look like they’re working. Sometimes you just need to persist—evolve. You will have other things that will work really well and it will be an overnight success. Just go with the flow. Learn as you go through these things. The last thing I want to say is that it’s really important to evolve. We all know that but a lot of us also know that feeling of revolving, going in circles. This is where most of us get stuck. There’s a variety of reasons why we get stuck, I love this bottom GIF. I had to include it. Just watch. Watch. Sorry. No child was hurt during this. I don’t really know if that would hurt. Anyway, I would go pass that because you won’t take any things. There’s a variety of reasons why we revolve. I just want to say I go through these because I know a lot of you at this stage, procrastination is the big one. It’s been my big one. I procrastinated so much. I did a podcast on procrastination this year. If you are procrastinating, go and listen to that podcast. Don’t procrastinate. It will never be perfect before you start it. Analysis paralysis is the other one. Again, it will never be perfect before you start, so just start anyway. The other big one that’s been a big one for me is fear. You’ve got to step forward into your fear. You’ve got to acknowledge it but don’t let it stop you. If you need to hold a hand of someone else, there’s plenty of people in the room who will go into that fear with you. Wobbly courage is the thing we’ve talked about in this event in the past. You don’t have to be brave and get rid of fear. You need to step forward knowing you’re fearful. Wobbly courage is so important. Sometimes we revolve because we built a machine that we have to keep feeding. I talked to a number of you in this room over the last year. You’ve built the thing that’s working, but you absolutely hate it. But it’s paying your mortgage, so you have to keep feeding it. That’s a horrible place to be stuck. Maybe you need to start a passion project on the side and evolve that. Maybe you need to try and find a way to evolve what you’re doing into the thing that you do love. Maybe it’s time to sell that thing and start something new. This is one of the reasons. I felt this and I’m more than happy to talk to you if you’re in that place as well. There are other reasons why we revolve. It’s because we built a system, we just get lazy, and we just keep doing it. This is something that I’ve done this year. I’ve realized that I’ve been doing the same thing on Facebook, my Facebook page, for three years now. It really worked well for three years and it doesn’t work well anymore. I just built the system. Earlier this year, I decided to do some more learning on Facebook. I did a course and I learned some new skills, I’m trying some new things. So, look at those systems that you built, that used to work well, and be really smart about evolving those systems. The last one is it’s very easy to revolve and do things because everyone else is doing it. In the blogging space, most of us have done it. We all jumped onto Snapchat because everyone’s on Snapchat, but why are we on Snapchat? Are our readers on Snapchat? Is it working? Maybe Snapchat is good for your audience but we don’t need to do that because everyone else is doing it. Be harsh on the way that you spend your time. Ask, “Is this relevant for my audience? Is this relevant for me and my personality?” Rather than just getting stuck and doing whatever everyone else is doing. This event, I encourage you to persist. I encourage you to look for the next steps on how you evolve. I encourage you to write down as you hear today, write down the things that resonate with you. Write down the possible actions that you can take. Then, at the end of the day, I encourage you to look at those things that you’ve written down. Look for the patterns in those things and then prioritize what you’re going to do. That’s really important. My hope is that as a result of today, you’re going to get your next steps. You’re going to get some ways that you can evolve your blog. What I want you to do is to just take a moment and write down on your action list whatever/however you want to do that, what’s your thing about your weake
15 minutes | Feb 25, 2019
277: The Secret to Building a Better Blog
31 Days to Build a Better Blog Today’s the day to sign up for our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course. Why? Well, it’s 50% off for a limited time. And if you register by the end of February you’ll get to be a part of our 31-day guided sprint in March. While the course has evolved, it remains the #1 reason most blogs become successful. But you need to consistently take action to implement what you learn. The four pillars of blogging are actions and habits you should develop to grow and profit from your blog. Create great content Promote your content Enhance your relationships with your readers Monetize your blog Each day of the course you’ll be taught practical things to do for your blog, including: Setting objectives and goals Creating an editorial calendar Developing social media and email strategies Creating pillar content Optimizing for SEO Identifying and understanding your audience Strengthening reader engagement You don’t have to take the course to become an action-oriented blogger. But if you need help and want to give your blog a burst of love to get it back on track, feel free to join us. Links and Resources for The Secret to Building a Better Blog: Podcast Motor Courses Start a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group. Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hey there and welcome to episode 277 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the founder of ProBlogger, which is a site for bloggers and prebloggers designed to help them to start and grow profitable blogs. You can learn more about ProBlogger and all we do over at problogger.com. In today’s episode number 277, we’re going to talk a little bit of our secret of growing your blog. In fact, I think it’s the number one way to grow a blog and this ties into a promotion that we’ve got on at the moment on our 31 Days To Build A Better Blog course. I know many of you have gone through our Start A Blog course over the last couple of months and to continue the good work that you’ve done, we’ve decided to make 31 Days To Build A Better Blog 50% off for the next week or so until the end of February. Also in the month of March, we’re going to sprint through it. We are doing it as a group where we can support you and get bloggers interacting together. I’ll tell you a little bit more about that later in the episode. But if you do want to check out 31 Days To Build A Better Blog and grab it at 50% off, head over at problogger.com/31days. You can also find it through our courses tab over at problogger.com and in today’s show notes. Let’s get into today’s show where I do want to talk about the number one thing that is going to help you to grow your blog. In preparation for our 31 day sprint, I want to talk about why we had so much success with the 31 day program. I want to talk about the reason that they’ve been built into that course that I’ve seen help many bloggers over the years and I’ve seen help me as well. Over the years, I think it was back in 2007, I started 31 Days To Build A Better Blog and it’s been in many forms since then. In fact, I’ve counted seven different ways we’ve presented this program. Originally, it started off as a series of blog posts in I think it was in 2006–2007, and then I did that same series that evolved that every time, three times on the blog. It was completely for free. It was just a series of blog posts. At the end of the third series, I turned it into an ebook and then I updated the ebook into a second version. I think second version came out in 2012. Later on, I did it again on the podcast for free and then more recently, we’ve turned it into a course in the last year or so. There’ve been these seven different versions of 31 Days To Build A Better Blog and every time we changed the medium, we’ve also updated it to make it more relevant, to add more teaching, to get rid of bits that aren’t relevant for today and add in new pieces of information as well. Those of you who’ve done one of those early versions will find that the course we have today is quite different. But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed and it is, in my opinion, the number one reason that successful blogs become successful. The one thing that hasn’t changed in the course and that the number one thing that I think is behind most successful blogs, if not all successful blogs, is that it’s all about action. A lot of people come to ProBlogger looking for teaching, for information. They want to learn how to do something, or they want to see a review of a product or tool, or they want to hear about the latest strategy, or they want to hear a story to inspire them. Information. Most of our content is focused around these things, but information and teaching and story-telling isn’t the reason that successful blogs grow. It’s part of it, but most successful bloggers can’t build a blog based upon just information. Blogs grow when you take action. Blogs grow when you develop good habits as a blogger. What habits, what action do you need to develop? Well, I’ll give it to you for free. You don’t have to do the course. Most of the actions that you need to take as a blogger focus around four main areas. You’ve heard me talk about these before. They’re the pillars of blogging that we talk about. Creating great content is number one. Number two is promoting that content. Number three, deepening relationships with your readers. And number four is monetizing your blog. These four things is the accumulation of action in these four areas that are going to help to grow your blog and if you want to become profitable, to become more profitable as well. Let me just say them again. Number one, create great content. Number two, promote that content. Number three, deepening relationships with your readers, building community. And number four, monetizing your blog if monetizing is a goal for you. Now, this isn’t rocket science. Most of us instinctively know this stuff when we start our blog. On day one, we need to create content. That’s what makes it a blog. We know that no one’s going to see that content if we don’t tell them about it so we know instinctively we need to promote, even if it’s to our friends. Number three, we know that we need to engage with those readers. They’re much more likely to come back again the next day. If I feel like we noticed them, if we’ve engaged them in some way. We know we can’t make money unless we do something to monetize our blogs. So we know instinctively these four things that we need to do yet so often as bloggers we let these basic things slide and we get distracted by other things. One of the times we get distracted is by the search for information or the secret strategies and we actually don’t take action in these four things. This is why 31 Days To Build A Better Blog has been so popular over the years and why every time we offer it we get so many people thanking us for it. Now, you don’t need to do the course to become an action-orientated blogger. But if you need some help at the moment to get yourself going and you want to give your blog an intense burst of love and get it back on track perhaps, I do invite you to join us over this next 31 days. 31 Days To Build A Better Blog isn’t just a teaching course. There’s certainly teaching in it but more importantly, it’s a course that takes you through a series of challenges to do, 31 challenges to do. Each day you get a little bit of teaching. There’s a video, some audio, some worksheets that help you to learn, but more importantly, everyday you get at least one thing that you can go away and do. We try to give you more than one thing on some days because I know some of you are beginners, some of you are in the first month of blogging, and some of you are a little bit more advanced. You’ll see some days there’s something there that you could do for the first time or if you’ve been doing that thing already, it gives you some ideas for things that you can do to improve what you’ve done as well. The idea is that you take at least 31 pieces of action by the end of this month. Most of the things that we talk about are actually habits that you can grow and if you take these actions over and over again, you’re blog will grow. At the end of the 31 days, you have set some objectives and goals for your blog, and important actions. Something that you should be really revisiting from time to time. It’s a habit you should get into. By the end of the 31 days, you have created an editorial calendar for your blog. Again, that is something that you need to do on a regular basis. You’ve created a social media and email strategy for your blog. You’ve created pillar content for your blog. You’ve gotten your blog optimized for search engine optimization. You’ve identified and dug in to try and understand your readers better. You’ve learnt some techniques for coming out with new post ideas and you’ve actually come up with and generated ideas for you blog. You’ve promoted your blog in a variety of ways and found some new readers. You’ve deepen the engagement with its current rate. You’ve explored opportunities for monetizing your blog and you’ve clarified some next steps to build your blogging business. That’s just some of what you will do during this course. Whether you do it or not, you can actually just take that list of things, go away, do them, and build them into your rhythm. There’s so many more things. I don’t have time to go through it today, but the key thing I want to get across today is that if you want to build a successful blog, these are the types of actions that you need to be taking. Again, most of the things we cover in the course fit into the four pillars I talked about before, creating content, promoting your blog, building community and engagement, and monetizing your blog. There’s not as much on monetization but there’s certainly a couple of days that focus on it. The other three pillars are the main focus of this. Monetization really does come as a result of building your readership, building up your archives, and creating engagement with your readers as well. Normally, our course is something that people enroll. They normally pay US$99 to do and they normally go through it individually but as I said at the top of the show, over the month of March, we’re going to do it as a group and we’re calling it our sprint. Normally, we say to people, “Take your time. Go through it at your own pace. You can do it over 31 weeks. You can do it over 31 months if you want. But we are going to provide a 31 day sprint for you.” That may mean that you only sort of dip into some of the activities or you may even skip over some of them over that month because it is a fairly intense month, but you get this course forever and you can come back to and repeat some of those activities as you like. The reason we want to do it as a sprint is something we discovered really early on. That was in the first series of blog post that I did is that when bloggers go through this type of experience together, it almost supercharges the whole experience. We want to tap into that. When bloggers get together, they share what they’ve done, they show each other examples of what they’ve done, they get to ask each other questions, they get to actually go and look at what each other have done, they get to encourage each other. This really gives you energy as a blogger and can provide a lot of inspiration, and a lot of other ideas as well. The other reason that we want to do it as a sprint together is that it’s going to help us as a team to guide you through the process a little bit more and to be involved in that process with you. Normally, we don’t have a lot of opportunity to answer your questions along the way. Over the 31 days, we are going to do more of that in this version of the course. We are doing some regular live videos, we’ll do some regular chats, and sort of ‘ask me anything’ type sessions in a small Facebook group that we’ve set up for the 31 Days To Build A Better Blog challenge. If you are interested in giving your blog that intense burst of love over the month of March, I encourage you to enroll in 31 Days To Build A Better Blog. Again, you can find it at problogger.com/31days. The other thing I’ll say is if the month of March is too hard for you and you don’t think it’s realistic for you to go through that whole process in 31 days, that’s totally fine. You can still grab the course at 50% off. We’re offering it for US$49 up until the end of February. You can grab it and go through it at your own pace. This is a limited time offer. It ends at the end of February so we can go through it together. I encourage you to take action on that. Go to problogger.com/31days or just head to problogger.com, look for the courses tab at the top, and you will see our two courses there, our free Start A Blog course and 31 Days To Build A Better Blog. I should also say that 31 Days To Build A Better Blog is designed for people who already have a blog. If you don’t have a blog yet, go back and do the Start A Blog course. It’s always available there. It’s always free. You might want to grab the 31 Days while it’s 50% off and then do that as a second course. We have designed 31 Days To Build A Better Blog for those of you in your first month of blogging, but as I also said earlier, we also include extension kind of challenges as well for those of you who’ve been blogging for a while. We actually find a lot of the people who get the most benefit out of this course are in their first month or they’re bloggers who want to give their blog a reboot. They want to give it that extra boost to get things going, which is something I know a lot of you will probably be feeling this time of year. Whether you do the course or not is totally up to you. I’ll put it out there. If it’s not the right time for you, that’s totally fine, but I do challenge you to take action on your blog. Action around creating great content. Action around promoting your blog, getting word out there, getting off your blog and promoting it. Action around deepening the engagement that you have with your readers. And action around monetizing your blog. It is the accumulation of action. It’s the good habits you develop in these four areas that I think build a successful blog. Thanks for listening. You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/277. Chat with you next week on the ProBlogger podcast. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts.
61 minutes | Feb 18, 2019
276: How to Start a Successful Podcast
Learn How to Start a Successful Podcast Do you already have a blog, and want to expand into another medium? Then why not start a podcast? A lot of our Facegroup members have asked questions about starting a podcast, especially about gear, content, engagement, hosting, launching and monetization. And to help me answer all those questions I called on an expert. Craig Hewitt is the founder of Podcast Motor and Castos. When Craig started his own podcast, he quickly discovered that audio editing and producing a podcast was a pain. So he started Podcast Motor to help others. The technicalities of podcasting almost stopped me from starting the ProBlogger podcast. That’s why I turned to Craig and his team to handle them. Craig shares the nuts and bolts of podcasting: Reach existing audience in a different way, or reach an entirely new audience. Establish a dedicated hosting platform to store and distribute your media files. Differentiate yourself to develop a brand and identity (i.e. your accent). Start a podcast with everything you need for less than $100. Be comfortable with speaking, and assemble enough content to talk about. Identify and prepare guests to be on your podcast. Create an intro by recording it yourself or outsourcing it to a voiceover artist. Find a room without flat walls and hard spaces to eliminates echoes. (Try a closet). Edit audio to match your style (buttoned-up, conversational, etc.) Put your podcast on Android and Apple platforms, including Apple Podcast (formerly iTunes), Google Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, and YouTube. Get and grow your audience by getting your podcast listed in search engines. Ask listeners to subscribe, submit a rating/review, and share with others. Record five episodes before launching. Then launch with two episodes, plus or minus an Episode 0 that offers a description of what listeners can expect from your podcast. Engage your listeners by using a call to action through a link in the podcast audio, or continue a podcast discussion and connect with audience via a Facebook group. Metrics don’t really matter. Instead, review popularity, downloads and listening duration. We covered a lot in this episode, but to get all the details you need to successfully start a podcast sign up for Craig’s free course, Launch In A Week: Podcasting Microphone and Gear Audio Recording and Editing Your Ideal Listener and Podcast Personas The Perfect Podcast Recipe Media Host and Website Setup Getting Your Show Ready to Launch Launch Planning and Growing Your Audience Links and Resources for How to Start a Successful Podcast: Podcast Motor Launch In A Week Castos Seriously Simple Podcasting Audio-Technica ATR2100 Shure SM7B Focusrite Scarlett Preamp Zoom Skype Call Recorder (Mac only) Fiverr Audacity International Start a Blog Day Class of 2019 Pat Flynn’s Podcast SiteGround CoSchedule Tim Ferriss’s Podcast GarageBand Simplecast Libsyn Gary Vaynerchuk’s Podcast RogueStartups Podcast with co-host Dave Rodenbaugh Blue – Yeti Calendly Apple Podcast Google Podcast Google Play Stitcher Spotify Amy Porterfield’s Podcast Examples of How to Start a Successful Podcast: CoSchedule’s Blog CoSchedule’s Podcast Courses Start a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group. Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey hey there, ProBlogger listeners. It’s Darren Rowse here from ProBlogger. Welcome to episode 276 of the show. For those of you who are new to the show, ProBlogger is a site for bloggers and prebloggers designed to help them to start blogs, to grow those blogs, and to monetize those blogs. You can check out more of what we do over at ProBlogger. Particularly, look out for our courses. Our Start A Blog course which is free, will help you get up and running, and our 31 Days To Build A Better Blog course which is ideal for anyone with a blog who wants to take it up a notch, to have a 31 day intense burst of blogging to grow your blog. Check out the courses tab on problogger.com. Today, we do something a little bit different on the show. The last six or so shows we’ve been featuring stories from new bloggers as part of our International Start A Blog Day which was last week. We had hundreds of blogs start on the day. It was so exciting to see them. You can check out some of those blogs that were started over on the ProBlogger blog. I’ll put on a link in the show notes today to that. But many of you already have a blog. That little series we ran, you’re patient with us, and I know many of you enjoyed hearing those stories, but I know some of you have been wondering if you should start something else, some other kind of medium in 2019. So today, I’ve invited Craig Hewitt onto the show to talk about starting a podcast. While Craig’s name may not be familiar to some of you, you have all heard his work and the work of his team. Every single one of you have heard it because right now, you are listening to something that Craig and his team has been a part of. Craig is the founder of PodcastMotor, the company that edits every episode of this podcast, apart from the first few episodes. I’ve been working with Craig and his team for a few years now and they have been fantastic at helping us to get this show to you each week. All I do is record it, pop it in a Dropbox, put a few notes into a Google Doc, they take it, they edit it, they put all the little breakers and the musical bits into it, they put the show notes together for us, they put it into a WordPress installation, and they even schedule it for us. They create a social graphic for the show as well. They do everything behind the scenes apart from record it themselves. They’ve really helped a lot to help get this show up and running. Craig has also started a new service more recently called Castos. I’ll link to them in the show notes today. I so wished this service was around when I started the podcast because it’s a service that hosts your podcast, integrates it with WordPress, and basically does everything you need behind the scenes to put your podcast onto the web. It’s really affordable as well. When the number of listeners started asking questions about podcasting recently in our Facebook group, Craig was the obvious person to come on to the show. He also tells me that he’s put together a free step-by-step email course to help you launch a podcast as well and we talk about that in the show today. If you do want to check that out, it’s a seven-day or seven-step email sequence that you’ll get. You can sign-up for that at castos.com/problogger. I’ve seen it, it’s really a very helpful guide and something I wish I had when I started this podcast because I had to hack together this podcast using information from all over the place and to have it all into one spot will be fantastic. In today’s interview, we cover a lot of ground. I basically put up a thread in our Facebook group asking members of our group what they want to know about podcasting and I was amazed how many questions came in. I was inundated with questions and I basically took all those questions and put them to Craig in today’s show. We talk about the why of podcasting, the benefits of it, who should podcast, who shouldn’t. We talk about gear, software that you need to start. We talk about creating the content, recording the content, promoting the content, leveraging your podcast to take readers to take action, to monetize it, and launching a podcast a well. There’s a lot in today’s show. I’m sure you’ll find it useful. Some of you might want to check out the transcript as well because there’s a lot of information in it. You can find the show notes today and that transcript at problogger.com/podcast/276. Again, you can get Craig’s free email course at castos.com/problogger. That’s a seven-day course. I’ll talk a little bit more about that after the interview. Lastly, if you know someone who you think should start a podcast, please tell them about this episode. Not only it will help to grow the ProBlogger podcast but could also end up changing their life as well as they discover this medium for themselves. I’m going to get back into the interview now. This is a fun one for me to record because I hadn’t really spoken to Craig a lot even though we’ve been working for years. It was great to hear his voice and he had a lot of really great things to share as well. Hey, Craig. Good to have you with us today. Welcome to the ProBlogger podcast. Craig: Hey, how are you doing? Thanks so much for having me. Darren: It’s good to have you and we’ve obviously enjoyed having you work with us on the ProBlogger podcast for a while and you seem like an ideal person to get on. Many of our listeners at this time of year are thinking about new types of content for the year ahead and I know we get a lot of questions around podcasting. I thought you’d be ideal to talk to us about how to start a podcast and any tips for the early days of podcasting. What I thought I might do before we get into our reader’s questions is to get you to introduce your backstory and how did you end up in the podcasting space. Craig: I think it’s always funny. Everybody has their kind of secret story of how they got to where they are now. Mine was coming around the long way into podcasting when I started getting into online business and entrepreneurship. I wanted to start a podcast because I listen to ones like yours and Pat Flynn. I can just at least document what I’m doing and share along the way what’s working and what’s not. I started my own podcast four years ago now—I can’t believe it’s been that long—and really quickly saw that audio editing and producing a podcast is frankly a pain. It’s really difficult and I think that if you talk to anybody who started podcast, they say, “This is the reason that it took us so long to get into this. This is by far the biggest pain point we have.” It’s not like spinning up a blog where you just go and you sign up for a SiteGround hosting, install WordPress and you start typing, you can do a bit of it on your phone. With podcasting, you at least need a little bit of equipment, some software a little bit of skills around how to edit, what an RSS feed is, and all these things. I said, “I bet some people who are really busy would pay for this if I could take care of all of this stuff for them.” So, we started PodcastMotor almost four years ago now, here at the end of 2018. What PodcastMotor is aimed at is taking all of the backend podcast editing and production work off of people’s hands, like yourself, who are busy professionals, entrepreneurs, startups, businesses. They have a lot better things to do with their time than to learn how to be a semi pro audio editor. Darren: And it’s a dream come true for me. I have to say that the first months of me starting a podcast, I did it all myself. Then I hired someone to do it for me and it’s still was quite a bit of to-and-froing with that person to try and to map them to get it just the way I wanted. When we started working with you guys, it was amazing to be able to just record the podcast—the part that I enjoy the most—then to put it into Dropbox, and the next thing I knew, it’s live on the site with the show notes, with the featured image, transcript, and all those things. That’s a great service to have. You also got another product as well which might be probably more interesting to some of our listeners as well. Maybe just talk about that right out front and then we’ll get into the questions because I think it will be something that listeners might enjoy. Craig: About two years ago now, I had the opportunity to get into the product space a little bit in podcasting and purchased a WordPress plugin called Seriously Simple Podcasting. From them, we’ve built the Castos hosting platform. I will probably talk about the nuts and bolts of podcasting a little but later in the episode but you really want a dedicated hosting platform to store and distribute all the media files for your podcast. You don’t want that living in the same server where your WordPress site lives. So we’ve built the Castos platform that integrated with WordPress really tightly. That’s another product we have in the podcasting space. For people who are getting started with podcasting, we’ve built a really cool getting started email and video course called Launch In A Week. The idea is to take you from, “Hey I want to start a podcast,” to the podcast actually being live with episodes and in iTunes and all that stuff in just a week. If you have folks who want to check that out, they can go go to castos.com/problogger. I’m sure we’ll have link in the show notes. Darren: We shall. This isn’t about selling to our listeners. I just wanted to get that upfront because you bring a lot of credibility to this topic and a lot of experience, particularly in that area of editing and helping podcasts to get up and running with the hosting side of things, the technicalities of podcasting which, to be honest, almost killed me and almost stopped my podcast before I even started. That’s the perspective we’re coming to this interview today. Now I asked our Facebook group listeners to ask any questions that they had about podcasting and I was amazed how many questions came in. I was going to prepare a whole lot of questions but I think our listeners probably are the best ones to ask the questions. I’m going to throw the podcast over to them and I ordered them in a way that I hope makes sense. A lot of the questions that I want to start off with are around the why of podcasting. I said it at the start of the show, this is the time of year where we see a lot of readers starting new blogs but also new podcast or new YouTube channel. For those listening, who are wondering is a podcast right for me, why do you love podcasting? Why do you think it’s a medium our listeners should be considering? Craig: Anybody that is creating content, and that typically means they’re blogging already but like you said, they could have a YouTube channel or big social media following already, I think podcasting is a natural extension to that, in that it’s an additive type of content addition to what they’re doing instead of saying, “I’m in a podcast. Instead of blogging or instead of doing a YouTube channel, I’m going to start a podcast,” because we always say you can do two different things with a podcast than you can say a blog and it is to reach the existing audience in a little bit different way or reach an entirely new audience that might not just a blog reader. What it looks like in the first aspect is, the reaching your existing audience in a different way is having usually different types of conversations or covering different topics around your main area of focus that is just more appropriate for an audio medium. You and I having this conversation in a blog would be really weird. But having this conversation, having really a dialogue, having your Facebook group members to have questions, and things like that is really natural in this audio medium. People looking to start a podcast that already have some other type of content say to themselves, maybe, “What am I covering in my blog that’s great and what can I cover in an audio medium that could be different and additive?” Things like interviews, case studies, and things like that tend to lend themselves to the audio medium much better than written. In reaching a new audience, there’s a lot of people that don’t have time to read blog posts. I’m one of those people. When I was working in corporate, I would have hours a day in the car that I just listen to podcasts. I could never spend hours a day reading a blog. So, you kind of think about people maybe in those situations. Darren: That’s so true and then as to my experience really is by starting this podcast, I grew my audience, so there were certainly new people who came into the audience, but I really like what you said about reaching your current audience in a different way as well because it seem to deepen that relationship with old-time readers or reignite the spark with those readers as well. I actually had a question from Liso which I think build on what you’re saying. Liso said, “I’m an artist and have a blog which is about art, which is very visual. I’m wondering if I should do a podcast? How could I do a podcast with such a visual topic?” Any thoughts on that for Liso? Craig: I interviewed a fellow for our podcast at Castos who was an artist. He’s an Irish fellow that has one of our most popular podcast that we host at Castos. I can see that just by download numbers he gets 20,000 or 30,000 downloads per episode. I asked him this exact question. I said, “This is a really visual medium that you live in. This goes back to why would you podcast instead of have a blog or something?” He says, “Yeah, but I can tell the story of the artist so much better in a podcast than I ever could in a blog.” He blogs as well, obviously. I think for her to say, “Could you get the artist on and talk about just the artist themselves, their story, their journey, challenges they’re having, and things they’re up to?” Talk about the art, of course, but even in a medium like art where everything is so visual, telling the story of the artist and people themselves is really unique. Very few people probably are doing that and it would be a way for her to send out and tell a different story of the art world to their audience. Darren: Yeah and I think you can then drive people back to your blog post which might show the art of the artist in the show notes or in a separate blog post. That ought to be a good combination. Tula asked an interesting question. She said, “Would you suggest a person with a foreign accent do a podcast?” She’s got a popular YouTube channel in spite of the accent that she has, but she’s wondering because podcast is purely audio and not visual, would it be a challenge for her? Craig: Absolutely. I think that it gives you a chance to differentiate yourself from everyone else that’s American or British. If you look at the high-level podcast statistics, it’s really dominated by the North American, at least, and some of the European demographics. If you’re Australian, or Irish, or Latin American, or whatever, I think it gives you a chance to really show who you are and stand out like that. I don’t know, Darren. Have you seen being Australian that people are surprised or have different reactions to your accent? Some are really surprised that you’re Australian, right? Darren: I do. It’s amazing how many long-time readers of the blog said, “I never knew that you were an Aussie,” even though I talked about Australia quite a bit. Certainly my Twitter account’s most active during Australian hours. It’s a surprise to some people. It’s also been attractive to other people and that it’s interesting. I get a lot of comments from people saying, “My kids love your podcast because they love the accent and the crazy words that you use that you don’t even know you’re using.” Yeah, I actually get it’s part of the branding, I guess as well. I guess it really probably depends on how different your accent is and if you find that people do struggle to understand your English. Maybe if your English is a second language, maybe it could be a challenge, but I actually think, like you it’s a good thing, too. Craig: And I think a bit of a higher level thing is, is having a brand and an identity. Your accent and being Australian is part of your brand and identity. For her as well, if she’s comfortable with it, she’s got to get comfortable with hearing her voice. That’s a really weird thing. The first time you hear yourself recorded, you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I sound like an idiot,” or, “I never knew my voice was like this.” Once you get comfortable with it and have confidence in it, which honestly is a hard thing for a lot of people, you’re going to embrace it, love it, and go with it. That’s part of the brand of your podcast. Darren: Yeah, so go for it, Tula. Before we move on to some of the logistics of starting a podcast, do you have any examples that come to mind of bloggers that you’ve worked with, that have launched the podcast in addition to their blog? I would be interested to hear of any examples that you’ve gotten and things that you say that they’ve done well. Craig: One of the shining examples of this for us at PodcastMotor, we’ve been working with CoSchedule. CoSchedule is a marketing automation tool for WordPress and we’ve been working with them for a long time now, a couple of years. We’ve asked them, “Hey, you guys write such amazing blog content.” If you’ve never checked out the CoSchedule blog, go check it out. You’ll be blown away at the depth of articles that they write. So, they came back to us and said, “Yeah, we can write really great in-depth blog post, but what we can’t do is hear the story of these people and have organic, natural conversations with them about what’s going on in their business, why they’re doing this, how, and get the story behind it.” What they’ve found is that the podcast now is the main—in marketing terms—top of the funnel area where new people find their brand, then come in and they link back to the website—like all good podcasters should is link back to your home base, wherever that is, business, personal brand, website, or whatever—but a lot of people are finding CoSchedule through their podcast now and not through their blog. Then they go, see the blog, and say, “Holy cow.” Their blog content is so great, this company really knows what they’re doing, and then ultimately become customers. That’s kind of the flow I think that a lot of podcasters that are in business or have a brand of whatever type, that they want to get peeled back to their site. To learn more about them is to knock people’s socks off with the quality, depth, and authenticity of their podcast content, then get them back to their site to find out more, and hopefully engage with them there. But yeah, CoSchedule’s had a really positive experience with podcasting the last couple of years. Darren: And are they telling stories or the thing that you mentioned earlier in a podcast, is that what it’s all about for them? Craig: They’re doing case studies and a fair amount of nitty-gritty how-to stuff because that’s their MO. But just doing it in an audio medium, I think, tells the story, if you will, better they can than a blog. Darren: That’s great and I think their content on the blog would lend itself to repurpose to the podcast as well and to be able to link their content together in that way would work. I’m not sure whether they’re doing that but that’s certainly something that works well on ProBlogger because we do the how-to content to be able to tackle the same topic in a slightly different way, or to bring on a guest is something that our listeners seem to enjoy, too. Craig: Yup. Very smart. Darren: A lot of the questions we’ve got were around a gear, microphones, the most commonly thing that people ask. Stewart, I’ll take for example, says, “What microphones and other recording equipment do you recommend for those starting out?” A lot of the questions were around on a budget, what’s the first one you should get that doesn’t break the bank. If you’ve got any advice on what microphone to get, I’m sure that would be appreciated. Craig: This is by far the top question. To go back just a little bit to our Launch In A Week email and videos course, the goal we put together with it is to say, “There are a million ways to do this and there are 872 blog post about the best podcasting mic out there,” and you really can. Unfortunately, a lot of folks do say, “I’m going to do all the research and spend a month doing this,” and then they never get started because they just get overwhelmed with all of the stuff out there, conflicting opinions, and all this stuff about how you should start a podcast. We try to say, “Forget it. We’re going to tell you one or two ways to do this.” You can just go and follow the Launch In A Week course and say, “Okay, this is great. Craig is taking all of the questions out of my head and keeping me from doing this so that I can actually start the podcast.” But all that preamble to say, I have two recommendations when it comes to podcasting mics. One is the one using right now and I’ve been using for 3½ years, is the Audio-Technica ATR2100. It is a USB mic that plugs right into my MacBook. I record usually on Skype, like we are doing now or on Zoom, both of which are basically free. If you want to go up one notch from there, The Shure SM7B is a really high-quality mic. It cost about $300-$400. You need another piece of equipment called a preamp to go in-between that and your computer. We like the Scarlett Focusrite, which is about another $100. It gives you a little more depth of vocal quality. I think the Audio-Technica mic, which is $60-$70 on Amazon, is great. It’s great for a lot of people. I know Tim Ferriss uses this or used it at some point for all his interviews. If it’s good enough for him, I think it’s good enough for pretty much everybody. But don’t let microphones hang you up and keep you from getting started. Darren: That’s right. We’ll compile a list of links to all these microphones and gear in the show notes as well. Similar question, what software do you recommend? You just mentioned Skype and Zoom. I presume that’s more for interviewing guests? Craig: Yeah. Darren: Do you have any other software that people should try, particularly if maybe they’re maybe doing a talking head podcast? Craig: Yeah. For remote interviews like this, Skype or Zoom. There’s an add-on for Skype called Call Recorder if you’re on a Mac. That gets the remote interviews done. If you’re just recording it locally, there’s a free open source cross-platform tool that works on Windows or Mac called Audacity. Again, it is perfectly good. It’s the tool I use still all the time when I need to edit stuff. It’s really high-quality and being open source, it’s free. So, audacity.org I think it is, for recording locally and for editing. You can do both on the same tool there and it’s wonderful. Darren: I just used GarageBand because it was on my Mac, but Audacity is certainly one that most of my friends seem to be using these days as well. Frank asked for some advice on hosting. Now we have to disclaim that you actually offer that sort of service, so maybe go check out Castos would be a good way to go. But I guess maybe if you could talk to what you mentioned earlier about not using your blog hosting. Maybe if you could just expand on that a little as to why that might be. Craig: I think having a dedicated media hosting platform is a good idea. Say you release your podcast episodes every Tuesday morning. If you’re hosting your podcast media files on the same server that your website is served from, and you have, hopefully, thousands of listeners every Tuesday that subscribe to your podcast, new episode comes out of iTunes, they’re all downloading your episode at eight o’clock on Tuesday morning. If you have a bunch of people on your website as well, your website is going to crash maybe, perform really slowly. Those files might not download because they’re all getting sucked out of the same server. If you can separate those two resources onto different platforms, then your website will perform much better and consistently, and your podcast listeners will be able to stream and download your episodes much more smoothly. So separating these two resources onto different platforms is just the best practice really in podcasting. When it comes to podcast hosting platforms, I’m of course biased, I think Castos is great especially if using WordPress because it lets you do everything in one place. If you’re not or you want to check other things out, I really like what the folks at Simplecast are doing these days. simplecast.com is a really great platform. The tool that a lot of people have heard of probably is Libsyn. They’ve been around probably the longest and they’re probably the biggest player in the industry. So, maybe check out Libsyn as well. Darren: And it’s not that expensive really. Monte actually asked how much does it cost to get into podcasting. Maybe you could speak to that. There’s hosting, obviously your microphone, what else do people need to be considering? Craig: Hosting, a good microphone because it is worth spending the $60-$70 that the Audio-Technica might cost. If that’s too much, I know a lot of people that use their Apple earbuds that come with an iPhone or Android phone. Just something so that you have some microphone close to your mouth is really important. I think that’s the one thing you have to have is some kind of microphone. A hosting plan cost $10-$20 a month. You can go all-in for less than $100 to start with. These hosting platforms are all on a monthly basis just like your WordPress hosting platform would be. There’s some other things that are nice to have when it comes to Audio gear. If you’re using a microphone like the Shure SM7B or the Audio-Technica, having a pop filter which is a little screen that sits between your mouth and the microphone, cuts down all what’s called ‘plosives,’ these really harsh P and T sounds. If you don’t have this, every time you say, “Can I please go take…” these words that start with P and T, they’re really harsh and sound really bad in your recording. The pop filter mechanically filters those out, so it’s really a nice thing. Another thing that I really like is having a boom arm which is this articulating arm that attaches to your desk or table and then holds the mic up at the vertical level of your mouth so that you can sit comfortably and talk into the mic without stooping down or holding the mic in your hand and having all sorts of uncomfortable ergonomics for podcasting. Your voice actually sounds different if you’re talking down or talking up so having it right at level with your mouth is really nice. Those two pieces together will cost you another $30-$40. Again, you’re right at $100 getting started. Darren: That’s great. The boom mic also allows you to stand up, which is what I like to do when I’m podcasting because it seems to give bit more energy to what you’re doing as well. Let’s talk a little bit about content. Let’s start with Florence’s question. Is it best to have a script for your podcast or to go with bullet points or just ad lib? What’s your preference? What do you do? Craig: This will change as your journey as a podcaster evolves. As you’re just getting started, it is much easier to have a little more content prepared and a little better idea of what you’re trying to do. As you evolve, there are a lot of podcasters that I know that say, “Let’s just hit record and see where this goes.” That’s perfectly fine when you as interviewer have some more confidence and skills. But as you’re just getting started, at least having an outline of, “Okay, I’m going to interview Craig today, I’m going to ask him these six or seven questions generally,” so that if there’s a dead point or weird transition in the interview, you can say, “Okay, I’m going to go next to this one because it’s next on my list.” I think for most people, scripting out an entire monologue or series of questions is really difficult. For me and for a lot of people, the hardest thing in podcasting is to just talk for 5 or 10 or 30 minutes by yourself, reading something, and having it sound natural. For you and me to sit down and have this conversation for an hour is no problem and for most people it probably isn’t. This is not the question but I would say, in terms of format of podcast, I think if people are considering having a solo show where they are the only one talking, I would make sure that you’re very comfortable speaking because it’s just hard. It’s just hard as opposed to having a co-host doing an interview-type show. Darren: Yeah and a few people did ask what are the pros and cons of having a co-host. As someone who predominantly does just talking head, me alone in a room, it is an awkward, strange thing to do to just sit there and talk. I don’t have a script for mine, but I certainly have fairly comprehensive bullet points, so that I know I can fill up 20 minutes. I couldn’t just adlib for 20 or 30 minutes. Someone like Gary V. probably could, but I need to have thought about the journey that I’m going to take my readers on. A script really doesn’t work for me. I think some of the early podcast, if we go back and listen to the first few, I didn’t read them, but I almost was and it comes across in the style I guess of the podcast. Any tips on finding a co-host should you find someone that compliments your personality? Any tips on that? I’ve never had one, so I don’t know what I’d be looking for. Craig: My personal podcast that I started four years ago started as a solo show where I was planning on interviewing people. I think my third or fourth interview, I interviewed a fellow, Dave Rodenbaugh, who’s now my co-host. We started down one path and went to another after he came on the show. He compliments my style, experience, and personality quite a bit. Not so much that it’s awkward, or confrontational, or anything like that. I think that’s important because it’s not quite like running a business together or getting married. I think you and your co-host are going to be spending a lot of time together and talking about a lot of things that hopefully are really important to you and your audience. I would say, if you’re considering having a co-host and you don’t have somebody in mind for it already, look around at your world that you live in, and people that you find interesting and have complimentary but similar perspectives to you. Time zone is an important one. Dave lives in Colorado and I live in France now. I’m American but I’ve been living in France for the last two years. We’re eight hours apart and that’s challenging. We start the podcast at 9:00 at night. It’s definitely something to think about. Darren: Yeah. The one thing I’d add in having talked to a few of my friends is that, some point of tension can actually be a good thing. I think you want to have similar values, but having different perspective or life experiences sometimes can make for an interesting discussion. I’m thinking of one podcast host that I know of, she’s quiet straight, she’s quite matter-of-fact, and the other one is all over the place and disorganized, and I think that makes for an interesting discussion. I think something along those lines can sometimes work, too. It just adds a little bit of tension. You never quite know where it’s going to go. Ollie asks about finding guests for your podcast. If you are going to do an interview, (1) how do you find a guest, and (2) what’s your approach in preparing the guest for the interview? Craig: Most people find when they start out, finding guests is not that hard. You have a dream team list of the top 10 or 20 people that you want to have on the show. Getting through that first couple of months is typically pretty easy for folks. All the people in your industry you really look up to, or have worked with in the past or something, a really high quality candidate for your podcast. Coincidentally, for people that are more on the business-to-business side of content in the worlds that they live in, one of the things that very few people realize I think in this hidden gem of podcasting is the networking opportunity. If you’re a business you’re saying, “Why would I start a podcast? There’s going to be 30 people that listen to my podcast.” Don’t discount the fact that if you go and ask all the leaders in your industry if they want to come on your podcast, you’re going to instantly become an authority in your space, and you’re going to have whatever 30 or 100 people that you’ve spent an hour talking to that you very likely couldn’t have had that hour to talk with them in another manner. I mean, just to be able to say, “Darren, would you like to come on my podcast? I’d love to talk to you about blogging and how it can grow your brand, all this kind of stuff,” and you’d be like, “Wow, that’s great. I’m going to get to go on a podcast and talk about this thing that I love, that I’m an authority on, and that Craig and all of his readers and listeners are going to think that I know what I’m talking about,” If you’re looking at getting into podcasting from the B2B space, I would definitely consider it as the biggest opportunity is just for networking. Audience-building for sure, but networking is huge. As far as preparing your guest, I think having a quick call before the podcast, it can be the day, or a couple of days before, or a week before is really helpful. It could just be 10 or 15 minutes, “Hey, we’re going to talk about these few things. Do you have any questions? Do you have gear?” That’s really important. “Do you have a mic? Do you at least have ear buds that you can put in?” because one of the biggest challenges from an audio perspective is, you as the podcast hosts are going to have your gear, your setup, and your recording figured out, but are you going to be able to prepare your guest so that they can record high quality audio too? Figuring out a way and a system to do that every time is really important. Otherwise, you’re going to have a great sounding audio and your guest are going to sound like they’re in a trash can, and that’s horrible for your listeners. Then using scheduling tools like Calendly, or many others that are available out there that just let you say, “Hey, I’d love to have you on the podcast. Click here to grab a time on my calendar,” it takes all of the back and forth, time zone guessing, and all of this stuff out of the equation. Darren: Great tips. Ahmed asks, where should you get an intro or outro made for your podcast? I guess he’s talking about the music or the intro that goes at the start that introduces you. Any places that you would look? Craig: I think when it comes to intros, you have two choices really, you can record it yourself which is perfectly fine and a lot of people do this, and you don’t have to go and get it outsourced to a voiceover artist. If you do for whatever reason, either you do you want some kind of vocal diversity in your podcast, or you don’t like the sound of your voice, so you want somebody else to bring you in, we actually had really good luck with some folks on Fiverr, so fiverr.com. Typically with these type of marketplace, if you search for the top level providers there, they’re pretty solid. It would cost between $5, and $20, or $30 for a voiceover, and it’s done in a couple of days. Just send them a script and they record it and send it back to you. Darren: Kathy is asking about making the audio less echoey in her room. She says she can’t alter her room too much because it’s her living room the rest of the time, but any tips on helping to deaden that echo? Craig: Looking at your microphone very well may be the answer. There are some mics out there that are really popular, that are frankly just not ideal for podcasting. The Blue Yeti is one of those. It’s a really great high quality mic if you’re in a sound booth. It works beautifully there. If you’re not and you’re in your living room, or in a conference room, or something with a bunch of flat walls and hard spaces, the echo is going to be really bad, and a really sensitive mic like that is going to pick all that up. For Kathy I would say, if she can move, that would probably be the best thing. As strange as it sounds, a lot of people record podcasts in their closets. It sounds really bizarre, but trust me, some of the best broadcasters you know podcast in their closet and it’s because it’s a small space with a lot of soft stuff, all your clothes, shoes, bags, and stuff, and you can isolate yourself in a really sound-dampened environment. If you’re able to move to somewhere like that, then do it. I podcast in my office which is the top floor of our house and has wood paneling and angled ceilings. It’s a really good room for podcasting. Things like a conference room with just this giant glass table is just the worst. Darren: Hard surfaces aren’t great, are they? Craig: Yeah. Darren: I find the best room in my house is my 12-year-olds bedroom because it’s just a complete mess. There’s stuff everywhere. I’ve gone in there a couple of times and I may do so more often because our next door neighbors have just demolished their house and are about to start building. I suspect it’s going to get noisy around here, unfortunately. Sorry to our listeners for that upcoming. It might give the editors of this podcast a little bit more of a challenge. Which leads me to my next question from Ron. How much editing is too much? Craig: This should match the style that you have overall. If you are really buttoned up and want everything to flow really quickly and sequentially, and have a really tight podcast, then spending more time removing all the ums and uhs, slight pauses, misspeakings, and things like that is going to be consistent with yourself and your brand. If you want to have a show that is more conversational, Darren and I are just having a conversation, it sounds like two of your friends talking about something you enjoy, then it’s perfectly fine. Honestly, you don’t need to spend a lot of time at all, editing. I know a lot of people that edit their podcast while they’re doing email, or spending time on Twitter, and stuff like that, and only make a half a dozen maybe small edits to the podcast, and trimming off the top and the bottom, and adding music, and things like that. Editing doesn’t have to be that hard. I think there definitely is a point to the spirit of the question where too much editing makes it sound artificial and not like a conversation. I think you want to clean it up a little bit, make it sound professional, but if you do it too much, it’s going to sound unnatural. Nobody has conversations without pauses and saying um. It’s okay to say um every once in awhile, but just don’t overdo it. Don’t take out all the spirit of the conversation. Daren: I was talking to a few friends about this the other day. Most of my friends listen to podcasts on 1.5 speed, or 1.3 speed, or double speed, and it doesn’t sound natural that way. I don’t think too many people are really worried about the ums and the uhs, and the slight gaps in the conversation. Craig: I think the other part of this that again, people are getting held up with getting in the podcasting is, you are not Gimlet Media, you’re not NPR, no offense, none of us are probably going to be award-winning podcasters, we want to do this for our hobby or for our business and an additional thing to our blog, but don’t be afraid to just do it and get started. If it’s not perfect, or it doesn’t sound like the Gimlet guys, it’s great, it’s fine, it’s you. It doesn’t matter. That’s not the end-game. Darren: They’re spending a fortune on it. I heard one, I can’t remember whether it was Radiolab maybe did an episode, and they talked about how one of their episodes cost $100,000. That’s just one of their episodes, and I do weekly shows. Don’t compare yourselves to them because you’re not on a par at all. Launching your podcast. Where should you be submitting your podcast? You’ve got it up on your hosting now, Apple is the obvious one, Paul asks, “Is Spotify worth it? Should you be putting it into all the different networks? Is there an easy way to do that?” Craig: Yes. I think there’s four places now where you really need to have your podcast and maybe five. Apple Podcast formerly known as iTunes is still the biggest one and will be forever maybe. Google Podcast, Google Play for strictly Android users is a big one. And folks in the US who say, “Android users. Nobody uses Android.” Android is much more popular on a global basis than the Apple platform. Don’t discount giving your Android friends a chance to listen to your podcast. Stitcher is a cross podcasting platform. People on Apple and on Android can listen on Stitcher, and has some cool streaming features. The fourth I would say is Spotify. It is definitely worth it. Some data that we’ve heard in the industry is that it’s constituting 10%+ of listeners for a lot of popular shows. It’s definitely worth getting your show on Spotify. You can submit to them independently if you want, most of the time, it’s done through an integration in your hosting platform. If you’re on Castos, or Libsyn, or Simplecast, it’s just a click of a button. Once you’ve created your feed and published your first podcast, just click a button and it goes to Spotify automatically. The fifth one I would say maybe is YouTube. A lot of people don’t consider repurposing their audio content into video to YouTube, but I think it’s definitely something to consider. It goes back to how people consume content in different ways. It might be that the people that you want to reach love being on YouTube and watching stuff, and they could find your podcast on YouTube instead of in Apple Podcast or on your blog. There are some tools out there that let you do this automatically. We do it automatically at Castos to repurpose your audio content into video and publish it to YouTube for you automatically. It’s definitely something to consider. Darren: Putting it on YouTube is really smart, because it is such a massive search engine, and people will find you for the first time there. They may not listen to all of your podcast there, but they may discover you for the first time. Paul and Muthani both asked how to get found as a podcast. Obviously, putting yourself into the search engines can get you some new readers, but any other tips on growing that audience? Craig: Yeah, I would love to hear some of your experience on this. I’ll give my take on it as well, but starting with your existing audiences is a natural and an obvious place to start. Go to your tribe and ask for two things, “Could you subscribe?” so they get every episode automatically, and then, “Leave a rating and review,” which gives you some of that social proof. I think it probably helps the iTunes or Apple Podcast algorithm a little bit too, but subscribe leave a rating or review to give that social proof that 30 other people think that this is a good show. I should probably check it out too if new people are finding you organically. I think the best and biggest opportunity for growing your audience with podcasts is to ask your existing listeners to share it with somebody else and that’s a call-to-action that we’re finding more and more popular is not in the show itself to say, “Hey, go subscribe, or leave a rating, or a review on iTunes,” but, “Hey, if you’re enjoying this podcast, share it with somebody else from our world that you think might enjoy it. It helps spread the word,” That’s kind of the new twist I would have on that, but I’d love hear, Darren, what have you found particularly effective to spreading the word about your podcast? Darren: I did all of those things, I’ve promoted it to a network, email their list, promoted it on social media, all that works to some degree, but probably the thing that’s brought the biggest bumps in new downloads and listeners has been appearing on other people’s podcasts. If you want to find podcast listeners, it’s better to be on a podcast than to be on a guest blog. I think you want to go into the that medium in some ways. That can be a challenge when you’re just starting out, maybe no one else knows you, but interviewing other podcasters on your podcast sometimes gets you an invitation back to be on theirs, particularly if you are an interesting, engaging interviewer. I think that’s probably something I’ll be aiming for. It’s amazing when I go into conference, people will often say to me, “ I heard you on Amy Porterfield’s podcast,” or, “I heard you on this interview that you did with someone that you can’t even remember doing an interview with,” but that’s actually what made the big impression for people. One last question on launching, how many episodes should you record before you launch? I know you’ve got a bit of an answer on this on your course, because I took a look at that today, but have you got any advice for people? Craig: There’s two answers. The question was, “How many should you record?” and I think that is something like five episodes and you want to have all those done so that when it’s time to launch, you don’t have to worry about going in creating more content. If you can go in and get five episodes, interviews or monologues or with your co-host done, then you know, “Okay, all of the content I need to really launch my show for the first month, give or take, is done. I don’t want to worry about that anymore, I can worry just about launching, promoting, and connecting with my audience,” and things like that. When it comes to the mechanics of launching, what we really like to do is to launch with two episode, typically, and then plus or minus, what’s called an episode zero. A lot of shows will have just a quick five or ten-minute, just you or you and your co-host talking about what the show is about on a meta-level, so it gives people an opportunity to hear, “Okay, the show is going to come up every week, or every other week, on Thursdays and it’s going to be about this, this, and this, and we’re going to interview this type of people,” or whatever the format is going to be. You’re maybe talking about video games, you’re maybe talking about gardening, or whatever it is, and why people should listen and what they can expect, and things like that. An episode zero is a really nice way to set your listeners up for what’s coming on the podcast. Two episodes is a nice balance of two areas of these approaches, you want to give more than one episode so that your audience has a chance to connect with you in a little bit different way. The first two episodes should be slightly different in format, maybe one is a monologue and one is like an interview. Or if you have a co-host, maybe you guys talk about really different subtopics within your main world that you’re living in, so that if somebody listens to both episodes, they may hate the first one and love the second one, but if they’re exactly the same you don’t have that opportunity. Within the same theme that you have for your podcast as a whole, having a slightly different twist on the first two episodes is really good. I think if you have an interview-style podcast, having one of those episodes where you’re real, kind of gangbuster, out of the gates high caliber guest, is probably a good move because it’s that first impression. Darren: That’s great and also I think having more than one gives people something to binge on a little bit. There’s nothing worse than finding something that you just love and then you’ve got a wait for another week, so hooking people in with you know two or even three, we did 31 in 31 Days, that’s probably overkill, but it enabled you to build a bit of momentum as well. I think sometimes going hard or up front, and then pulling back a little bit can work, too. Craig: Yeah. Just to add to that, I think the balance of creating a bunch of content once is if you’re able to, I think more content is almost always better, so Darren, you and your team are capable of creating a lot of content and for you that was really easy. What we coach our customers on is if creating content is difficult for you, or you’re busy, or you have interviews, schedules to work on stuff like that, don’t put too much out at first because a lot of people would want to listen to a couple of podcasts but almost nobody is going to listen to 10 podcast in a day. People will say, “I’m going to launch with 10 podcasts on the first day.” Unfortunately, they’re throwing away eight of those podcasts or they could just save them and release them later. That’s the balance that we want to strike, is how able are you to create podcast content and how much do you think your audience really can consume at a time, so 31 in 31 Days is perfect. Probably 31 episodes on day one would not have been as effective. Darren: No, it wouldn’t. It’s also one of things I wish I’ve known it’s how popular those first episodes can be. I guess take your time with them because the number one episode I’ve ever done is the number one podcast I’ve ever recorded. A lot of people go back and listen to that first one. I worked through it again, which I cringe at a little bit because it was good, but I’m kind of on the other hand really glad that I did those 31 because they built on each other as well. Those who do go back, get to go on that journey with you from one episode into another, into another as well. Don’t just think that no one will ever listen to you, only once I do. A couple of last questions that I want to key on in. Selfishly, these are questions that I’ve got as well. I know a lot of podcasters really struggle with is how do you actually turn your podcast listeners into more engaged customers, or subscribers, or visitors to your blog? I think the big challenge a lot of podcasters have is that anyone listening to a podcast is usually doing something else. They’re on their phone, on a walk, they’re doing their dishes, or they’re doing the ironing while they’re in the car driving somewhere. They’re not always in a position to go and buy your product, or go and click on a link and download something. Do you have any advice on how to turn those listeners into a more engaged audience? Craig: This is the tough one. Doing this and measuring this is really tough. I think a lot of savvy marketer say, “I’m going to do a podcast, but I want to make sure I get good ROI on my podcast.” Again, we’re good at having our thing that is like the call-to-action here. The best thing I’ve heard is actually from the folks at CoSchedule. What they do is—this goes back to attribution a little bit—they have a link in the podcast, in the audio itself that is not in the show notes that is usually really easy for people to be able to follow. For a particular episode, they’ll build a page where they can say, “Okay, if you want to find out more about how we scheduled this Instagram scheduling tool, go to coschedule.com/instagramscheduling.” That’s a way that they know that anybody who comes to that page was a listener to the podcast. It’s not linked in the show notes, it’s not anywhere else. It’s a way that people listening to the podcast can go find this resource that they talked about in the podcast. For them as a business, they know, we had 100, or 100,000, or whatever it is, visits to this page. It absolutely only has to be coming from the podcast. It’s not coming from somewhere else organically on the blog. I think that’s a really savvy way to do it. The other thing is kind of on a high level. The goal really I think of connecting with your audience in between podcast episodes is to continue the discussion that you started in the podcast. Darren, I know you have a Facebook group. We have one as well, and they’re absolutely fantastic. If you don’t have a Facebook group already, start one today. Say what you will about Facebook, and privacy, and things like that, I won’t get into that here today, but just a community. Whether it’s Facebook or somewhere else, a community where you can go and have a dialogue with your podcast listeners, your audience members, in between episodes, or in between blog posts, a way to continue that discussion, and for them to have discussions themselves. You don’t have to be the only one starting it. It’s really transformative in the ability and depth of conversation that you can have with folks in your audience. It’s like email but really 2-way and multi-way, because they start talking with each other. Everybody participates all at once. If you don’t have a community of some sort, it’s really worth looking into. Darren: I agree with that. I think for us, that has actually turned out to be the place that we do connect with our audience the most is in our group. With live video in between episodes, polls, discussions, chats, and those types of things, the more engagement you get there, the better. I don’t tend to hard-sell on the backend of my podcast, because I know people aren’t going to take too much action, but I do you say the podcast is a place to build a good first impression to showcase my personality, and then all of that then drives people towards the community, which then enables you to do other things there. I think that’s a great advice for people. Maybe one last one is from Patrice. What metrics should we be paying attention to? Maybe you can talk about what you offer with your service as well in terms of metrics. Craig: This is right behind what microphone should I use. This is a really popular question. I hate to say, “It doesn’t really matter,” but it doesn’t really matter. You should be looking at things like total downloads. That should be going up over time, every episode should be getting a little more popular, but I say that it doesn’t really matter because everybody’s podcast is different. They’re doing it for different reasons, and it fits into the rest of their business or brand and world a little bit differently. I absolutely wouldn’t get hung up on metrics to say that, “Darren gets 30,000 downloads per episode, I only get 500, but my podcast is in the B2B space talking about CNC machines,” or something. In those 500 people that listen to that podcast, frankly are really valuable, maybe more valuable than 30,000 listeners that Darren gets. You want to keep an eye on your metrics. Total downloads is probably a really good one. Some kind of surrogate of subscribers. You might say downloads for an episode in the first 72 hours after it comes out is like a good gauge of the number of subscribers you have. The one that Apple Podcast has introduced recently in their platform and we have at Castos is listening duration. How long are people listening is an interesting thing to look at. It’s a little bit segmented, so Apple Podcast only gives you that data for the people that listen to your podcast in iTunes, or in the Apple Podcast app. At Castos, we’re only able to give that data on plays that happen in the browser with our player. It’s never going to be a total comprehensive view of how long people are listening to your podcast, but I think generally when it comes to analytics—people love analytics and it’s a way to measure ourselves versus everybody else—it’s apples. It’s totally apples and oranges. Don’t get hung up on it for yourself. Just say, “Yup, I’m doing better than I was last month. That’s great.” We should always strive for that but don’t compare yourself to other people. It’s just not a fair comparison. Darren: That’s right. That’s a great advice Craig, and really, we could have gone for a lot longer this time, any more questions that I could have gotten to, but I think we will wrap it up at that. I do want to really emphasize people should sign up for that course Launch In A Week at castos.com/problogger which will really walk you through that process. I love the idea of Launch In A Week because a lot of people do have these goal of doing something one day, and then they’ve actually put an end date on it. Whether it does take you a week, or whether it takes you nine days, having that process lined out for you is great. As I said before, I’ve come and gone through the course, and looked at it myself, and it does answer all the key questions. Congratulations on putting that together. Craig: Cool. It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me on there, I appreciate it. Darren: Yeah, no problem. We’ll certainly link to that and the other things that you do at PodcastMotor in the show notes as well. We’ll chat with you soon. Craig: Okay, thanks Darren. Darren: Thanks so much to Craig Hewitt for sharing with us for that interview today. You can check out his 7-step course to launching a podcast at castos.com/problogger. Check out today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/276. There’s a full transcript there and you can also see the links to the things that he mentioned during the show today as well. Just we’ll mention briefly the outline of that 7-step course. It’s arranged in seven days, but you can take longer to go through it if you like. Day one is about podcasting microphones and gear. Day two is audio recording and editing. Number three is your ideal listener and podcast persona, something we didn’t really touch on in great depth in the interview today. Day four is the perfect podcast recipe which is a great lesson. I actually got a few things out of that myself. Day five is media host and website set up, so you’re getting into more of the technicalities of getting your podcast up on the internet. Day six is getting your show ready to launch. Day seven is launch planning and growing your audience. We did touch on some of those things, but if you do want something that’s organized in a way that will take you through the process, just head over to castos.com/problogger. We’ll have a link to that and to the other things that Craig does at PodcastMotor in the show notes as well. Thanks so much for listening today. It’s been a long one, but I hope you got some value out of it. Again, if you think there’s someone in your network that you think would benefit from hearing today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link to our show notes at problogger.com/podcast/276. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week on the ProBlogger Podcast. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? 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16 minutes | Feb 1, 2019
275: How One Blogger Quit Her Job and Started a Lifestyle Blog
How One Blogger Took Action, Left Her Job, and Began a Lifestyle Blog Today marks the end of our series featuring stories from new bloggers. We really hope you’ve enjoyed them. Jackie Baker recently started a lifestyle blog that celebrates the beauty in everyday life. She considered blogging as a business because she needed a career change that would both challenge her and leave time for a vacation once in a while. But what would she write about? Jackie narrowed her blog’s focus to a few topics that bring joy, peace, and happiness to both her readers and herself. Hence the title of her blog: Pretty Things, Yummy Food. What Jackie has learned from blogging: Take action and keep pushing forward when you feel stuck or scared Create a plan to prioritize tasks you need to get done Sign up for courses that show you how to start/launch a blog Connect with other bloggers who understand your excitement and frustration Embrace social media to find readers and build a community Use Canva to design graphics Don’t stress about what others think about you or your blog Want to start a blog? Do it and don’t doubt yourself. Follow your gut, get into a blogging mindset, and find your message to discover you have plenty to offer the world. Sign up for ProBlogger’s free Start a Blog course and participate in its International Start a Blog Day on February 7. Links and Resources for How One Blogger Quit Her Job and Started a Lifestyle Blog: Pretty Things, Yummy Food Blog Canva International Start a Blog Day Podcast Motor Courses Start a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey there and welcome to episode 275 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, which is a site for you as a blogger or someone about to start a blog, that will help you grow that blog, create great content, and monetize it as well. You can learn more about what we do at ProBlogger and check out our two courses at problogger.com. Speaking of our courses, today we’re finishing up our series of podcasts from stories who did our free Start A Blog course. We’re going to hear today from Jackie Baker from Pretty Things, Yummy Food, which sounds like the kind of blog I need to check out, particularly the yummy food part of it. This series really is all about hearing from new bloggers, bloggers who haven’t been going for too long yet, to find out what they’ve learnt in their first year of blogging. I have loved the feedback we’ve had on this series. It seems that a lot of you have enjoyed hearing from new voices, people that they’ve never heard of before, rather than just hearing from experts or gurus or people who have been blogging for 10 years. The new bloggers have been sharing some of their journey as well. We’re doing this really to highlight that people are continuing to start blogs these days and that there is a simple way to do it. That’s through our Start A Blog course, which you can find over at problogger.com/startablog. It’s completely free and it’s set out in seven simple steps that will walk you through the process. Today, we’ve got Jackie Baker from Pretty Things, Yummy Food. It’s a lifestyle blog and it’s only been going for six months. Jackie started her blog as a result of going through our course and you’re going to hear her talk a little bit about that in today’s story. She recommends a great tool for those of you who are starting out and want to create some cool social graphics and gives you a few good tips as well. I’ll come back at the end of Jackie’s story to wrap things up and to pull out a few of the things that I love about her story. Jackie: Hi everyone. I’m Jackie, the creator of Pretty Things, Yummy Food. Pretty Things, Yummy Food is a lifestyle blog designed to celebrate the beauty in everyday life and was officially launched on July 6, 2018. You can find the blog at prettythingsyummyfood.com. I began thinking of blogging as a business back in January of 2018 and at the time when I felt like I needed a career change. The job I had at the time was a good job but I wanted something that would challenge me. I also hadn’t been on vacation in a while so I was also hoping to find something that might make it a little easier to make it to the beach. But more seriously, I’ve always wanted to own my own business and I felt this year could be a good year to strike out on my own. But doing what? I wanted to use my skills as a photographer and writer but I also knew that I wanted to get away from doing the freelance work that I had been doing. While I was trying to think through my options, I received an email completely out of the blue from someone who just knew that I was looking to make a change but not what I was looking for specifically. Quite honestly, I didn’t even know what I was looking for, specifically. The email just had a link to a podcast episode about blogging full time. After listening to the episode, I started researching blogging and felt like it could actually be something I might enjoy and maybe a viable business option. So I decided to just go for it. I left my job which was a really tough decision to make. But I decided to dive in and have the attitude that if this experiment failed, it failed. At least I would have tried it and wouldn’t be wondering ‘what if’ all my life. The only problem was that I had no idea what I would write about. I’m somebody who loves learning about everything and doesn’t really specialize in one specific thing. The thought of choosing one topic and sticking with it was a little terrifying to me. I decided that I should probably choose a theme or an idea that could cross niches. As I thought of what that would be, I kept coming back to the fact that I love pretty things and yummy food. Pretty things don’t just have to be things, though they certainly can be. They can be a well-decorated room or a vacation with friends or just a comforting cup of tea. The main requirement for it to be a pretty thing is if it brings joy, peace, and happiness to you in a world that so often seems to take these things away instead of give them. My goal for Pretty Things, Yummy Food is that it’s a place where readers feel encouraged to follow their dreams, whether they’re small like trying to make crème brûlée or big like traveling the world. When people ask me what Pretty Things, Yummy Food is about, I tell them it’s a little bit of everything. There are recipes of my favorite cookies, posts on the Mediterranean trip I took was friends, and my tips for traveling there yourself, plus DIY projects that can help brighten up your home. Although it’s only been about a year since I even started the process of starting a blog, it feels like so much longer ago because I’m grown so much since then. I’ve learned that I have way more ideas when I ever knew I had and that I possess more boldness and tenacity to follow my dreams than I ever gave myself credit for. That’s why I would encourage anyone who’s thinking of starting a blog to do it. You may feel like you don’t have anything to say or that you might not be creative enough, but I really believe that once you get into that blogging mindset and find your message, you’ll find out that you have plenty to offer the world. Over the past year, I’ve learned that so much of the time when you’re feeling stuck or scared, the best thing to do is to take some sort of action. The longer you stand still, the harder it is to get going. But if you just keep pushing forward, even doing small pieces at a time, the momentum will pick up and you’ll slowly start chipping away at your to-do list. Creating a plan, even just for the day that prioritizes what needs to get done—and it actually possible to get done before you go to bed that night—is so helpful in sorting the truly important things from the things that are just cluttering up your head and making you nervous. I’m not an actual plan maker but I found that prioritizing tasks for each day helped a lot in actually accomplishing these tasks. If you feel like there are just so many things that need to get done that you can even start to sort them out, take advantage of some of the free resources out there from bloggers who have been where you are and want to help you push through and get your blog started. When I was finally to the stage where I felt like I could actually start a blog but had no clue where to start, I signed up for ProBlogger’s Ultimate Guide To Starting A Blog course and I found some stuffs that got me past my analysis paralysis. Having a list of what needed to be done and how to actually get it done was instrumental in me actually launching Pretty Things, Yummy Food. Getting advice from someone who’s farther down the road than you in general is so helpful in getting through the rough patches. Connecting with people who or where you are also helps. When I first started, I was a little bashful about admitting that I had started a blog because what if people actually looked at it and didn’t like it? But I forced myself to tell people and in the process, I found out that one of my close friends was also thinking about starting a blog and we hadn’t even thought to mention it to each other. But having someone else who understands the excitement and the stress of starting a blog has been a huge encouragement for me in my first year of blogging. Don’t be like me and try to do everything on your own. There are so many incredible resources out there that can make starting a blog easier. For example, I’ve always approach the social media like someone from the 1920s, which is to say that I really didn’t approach it at all. When I started the blog, I avoided Instagram like the plague. But eventually, I saw the ways that it could be so helpful in building a community around the blog. I finally got on Instagram and I’m so glad that I did. Instagram’s a great starting place for new bloggers in finding readers because these readers are already on Instagram. You just have to go out and find them. Reaching potential readers by finding them on Instagram is a much faster and more efficiently way to connect with them, than just hoping that they’ll find you by stumbling onto your brand new blog buried somewhere in the internet. I also cannot say enough good things about Canva, which is a free website that helps you design graphics for your blog. When I started out, I made all my pins, my logo, and other blog graphics using Photoshop. Big mistake. What took me hours on Photoshop takes me minutes on Canva, which simplifies so much of the blogging process. Finally, I just want to encourage you to remember that the only opinion that really matters is yours. What I mean is that if you truly feel like you found what you’re called to do, then do it. Ignore your previous opinions on the subject and ignore all the things you’re imagining people are saying about you, which honestly they probably aren’t because they’re too busy trying to figure out what they’re going to do next to really think about anyone else’s life decisions. Just follow your gut and work towards making your dream a reality. Don’t worry if it feels like it’s taking a long time. Things that are truly worth doing rarely happen quickly. Full disclosure, I’m still working another job while I continue to build my business. Your dreams are worth the effort so I say this year’s the year. Go out and make them happen. Darren: Hey there and thanks, Jackie, for sharing your story. You can check our Jackie’s blog at prettythingsyummyfood.com. I’ll link to it in today’s show notes as well, where there will be a full transcript of today’s show. I’ll also link to her recommendation of Canva and might pop in a couple of further listening recommendations as well. I love this story and I thought it was a great one to finish up this series that we’re doing because it touches on a few of the things that I know many bloggers or prebloggers, particularly, would be feeling as I get into this process of starting a blog. Firstly, she talked about being stuck and being scared. Very common feelings for people who are going through this process. Even though we’ve outlined the process in seven relatively easy steps, it can feel overwhelming at times. I really would encourage you to take the advice that Jackie gave of taking action, even small steps that take you towards your goal, will help to build some momentum and also help you to overcome that feeling of stuckness because you are moving. Also, I find personally that when I take action when I’m scared, it kind of put the fear in its place. The fear for me doesn’t tend to disappear completely but it kind of lessens as I move forward, as I learn new skills, as I can gain confidence by taking small steps. She talked about creating a plan as well. That is great advice and it’s something that I do as well everyday. I start my day by putting aside a few minutes to come up with a to-do list for that day. I tend to prioritize that list to the most important things first and then work through the list over time. Having a friend to go on a journey with is another great thing and I would encourage you, if you don’t know anyone who’s starting a blog at the moment, check out our Facebook group. There’s always new bloggers starting out in our Facebook group. You will find people there who can help you through that process. I’ll link to the group in and the show notes today but you can also find it by searching for ProBlogger Community on Facebook. It’s a place where you can ask any question you like about blogging and there’s plenty of experienced bloggers in there as well as new bloggers in there who can help you through that process. Also love that recommendation on starting on Instagram is a great place to start for social media. It will probably depend a little bit upon your niche and with it you’ve got a visual element for you’re niche. But particularly if you’re starting a lifestyle blog, a blog about food or pretty things, then Instagram is a super smart place to start. That idea of actually going in finding your readers rather than hoping they will find you, that is so key and we teach that over on ProBlogger, particularly on our 31 Days To Build A Better Blog course. Get off your blog and begin to take action in the places where your potential readers are hanging out as well. Anyway, great story there from Jackie. I can’t wait to see where that particular blog goes. I think you hear in Jackie’s voice that she’s someone who is thinking really smart about this. She’s taking a bit of a risk by quitting her job and starting a blog. I’m glad to hear right at the end there that she’s also got another blog to keep her going through that, because it take time to build a blog. I wouldn’t recommend you just quit your job to start a blog unless you’ve got something else to feed you, pay your mortgage, and support your family through that process as well. So it sounds like Jackie’s doing the right thing there. Props to her for taking that big step in action and I can’t wait to see what happens as a result of that. Again you can check out Jackie’s blog at prettythingsyummyfood.com. Check out the show notes today at problogger.com/podcast/275. You can always find our show notes. If you just go to problogger.com and look for the podcast tab at the top, it will take you to where the latest podcasts are. If you’ve got a moment today at the end of the series, I would love it if you would share some of the podcasts that we’ve been doing with a friend. Someone who you think should start a blog. Send them to any of the last six or so episodes or just straight over to the Start A Blog course at problogger.com/startablog. Give them the gift of having their own blog, a place to express themselves and share what they know and love with the world. Thanks so much for listening to this little series. We’re going to go back to once-a-week podcasts now after we’re done with this little intense burst of six. I can’t wait to see the blogs that will be launched as a result of the stories being shared. I should finish up by saying thanks so much to those of you who submitted stories that we weren’t able to use. We got a lot of stories submitted and we just couldn’t use them all but we do hope to use some of them in the future and continue to use the podcast to highlight what other people are learning about blogging. Bloggers at all stages of the journey. If you want something else to listen to, dig back in to the archives, head over to iTunes, and check out some of the 274 other episodes that we’ve got. There’s tons in there on all aspects of blogging. But until next week, have a great week of blogging. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts.
14 minutes | Jan 31, 2019
274: How Stefano Changed Blogging Platforms and Started Blogging with a Plan
How a Blogger Found the Right Plan and Business Idea Today our series of stories from new bloggers continues with Stefano Caioni, a web developer and photographer. Stefano’s blog offers guidance on various aspects of photography including focus modes, settings and equipment reviews. Using his tech experience, Stefano wrote all the code for his blog himself. But he soon discovered how fun it was to build and write content for it, even though it had no traffic. Then Stefano decided to migrate his existing content to WordPress to benefit from its SEO and security functionalities. But he was inconsistent with posting content, didn’t have a specific strategy or business idea in mind, and ran out of topics. He almost gave up on it. Then he came across ProBlogger.com. He started writing more consistently, this time with a plan and business idea in place. His blog lets him share his passion for photography by writing useful posts that inspire others and offer them value. He’s met many photographers who’ve inspired him as well. He never dreamed of making money from his blog or building a business around it. But traffic continues to grow, and he monetizes his blog through Amazon affiliate links. Blogging isn’t dead. The number of internet users increases every day. Fresh and updated content is needed to fulfill the growing demand for information. So start a blog. Sign up for our free Start a Blog course and join us for the International Start a Blog Day on February 7. Links and Resources for How Stefano Changed Blogging Platforms and Started Blogging with a Plan: Stefano Caioni’s Photography Stefano Caioni’s Blog Interview: Lauren Bath Olympus Visionary International Start a Blog Day Podcast Motor Courses Start a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey there and welcome to episode 274 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the founder of problogger.com, a site for bloggers and prebloggers, designed to help you to start a great blog, and to monetize that blog. Today, we are continuing our series of podcast with stories from new bloggers, people in their first year of blogging. All these are short stories from participants from our Start A Blog course and we’re sharing them in the hope that they will inspire you or someone you know to start a blog, as part of our International Start A Blog Day on the seventh of February, which is fast approaching. There’s still time to participate if you would like to start a blog, either for that date or afterwards. We have a course that will walk you through exactly how to start a blog using a WordPress platform. That course is completely free to participate in and you can find it at problogger.com/startablog. Today’s story comes from Stefano Caioni from stefanocaioni.com and I’ve got a link to that in the show notes today. He is a photographer. He is a web developer, actually, who is a photographer as well and his blog is about photography, which grabbed my attention. But I also wanted to share this story today because it is a little bit different than some of the others. Stefano actually came to blogging with a bit of a tech background, which is different to many people. We’ve had others in this series who came with no technology kind of background whatsoever. Stefano has created a beautiful-looking blog with that background but he has some interesting reflections upon that journey which I will come back to at the end of his story, too, just pulled apart just a little bit. Here’s Stefano. Enjoy his story. Stefano: Hi. This is Stefano Caioni, a landscape and outdoor photographer, living in Sydney, Australia. My website is called Stefano Caioni Photography and you can find it at www.stefanocaioni.com. I’m Italian as you can hear from my strong accent. Sorry for that. I write gear reviews on Micro Four Thirds cameras, drones, lenses, and camera equipment such as bags, filters, and tripods. I write tips on how to get better landscape photos. I also share my outdoor adventures and tips on how to organize photography travels. I’m a web developer by profession and I started my blog as a personal coding exercise a little over a year ago in May 2017. In fact, the first version of my blog wasn’t built on WordPress but I wrote the code of the entire blog from scratch. The HTML, the CSS, the backend, everything. It had basic functionalities such as writing posts, with text and images, a rudimental search, and comments. I started writing articles and my website started to take form. What I’d soon realized while I was writing my first posts is that it was so much fun and I enjoyed creating content even though it had no traffic at all. I then decided to migrate my existing content over to WordPress for two reasons. One is because I could benefit from its SEO, from all the plugins available, and security functionalities. Second, because I didn’t have time to maintain the codebase of the entire website and I wanted to focus on writing content and share my adventures. My initial idea was to only write about photography adventures and my travels. I was creating one very short article each month just for fun again. But article after article, I soon ran out of topics since I have a full-time job and I don’t travel that much. I got bored and wrote a first review of my own camera. From there, from fact, that would be the only gear review for an entire year. I wrote some short tutorials on how to get better landscape photography and I was being very inconsistent again. I didn’t have a strategy or a real business idea in mind. After a year of starting my blog, I was about to give up. I stopped uploading new content for a few months. I then came across the ProBlogger podcast, started consuming content online, and eventually subscribed to problogger.com, which helped me a lot starting writing again, this time with a plan and with a business idea in mind. Currently, I’m in the middle of a personal challenge, which is writing an article a day for 30 days, to have a bit more content, and build the habit of writing on a consistent basis. I started monetizing my website with Amazon affiliate links. When I started out stefanocaioni.com, I had no particular dreams of making money with it or to build a business around it, but now that I see some traffic coming through, I really hope that in 2019 it will keep growing and this website can become a source of passive income. I also plan of start creating video content to give something more to my readers. I think that this year of blogging has been a bit of self-discovery. It made me realize not only then my passion for photography is greater than I thought, but also that writing useful content and helping other people getting inspired and gaining benefit from what I create is really awesome. Looking backwards, what’s really fun is that as a professional web developer, I’ve always been reluctant in using content management systems such as WordPress because I wanted to build everything myself. But now, I totally changed my mind and I want to build a business on top it because it’s so easy to use. In this first year of blogging I obtained some small but amazing things. I was able to meet several professional photographers that have build an amazing online presence and I was able to interview one of them, Lauren Bath, which is a pretty popular name on Instagram and also an ambassador for Olympus cameras. She has an Instagram, almost half a million followers. I’m pretty proud of myself for being able to do an interview with her. The interview is obviously on my website, www.stefanocaioni.com. I hope I can interview other amazing photographers in 2019, to share their experiences, and inspire more and more people. What I want to share with new bloggers is that blogging is not something that’s part of the past as many think and as I thought, too, before starting. Don’t hesitate and think that there are already millions of blogs out there because the number of internet users keeps growing everyday. Today, like never before, with 3.5 billion internet users. More fresh and updated content is needed to fulfill the growing need of information. The internet needs our content, so start a blog. Don’t be afraid. Darren: Thanks so much, Stefano, for sharing your story today. I love the accent, I love the story, and I love particularly that someone from a tech kind of background, someone who was able to create his own blog using his own coding skills, actually ended up on WordPress, which is the platform that we recommend in our Start A Blog course. He talks his story about the benefits of doing so. It is easier to maintain, it has some search engine optimization benefits, which allows you to rank a little bit higher in Google when people search Google more naturally. It has an amazing array of plugins available that can help you to add functionality to your site. It is more secure than coding your own unless you’re an amazing coder. It also gives you more control, I guess, than some of the other platforms as well, particularly when you install it on your own domain and your own servers. All of that sounds really tough but you don’t need a tech background like Stefano to install the blog on your own domain and servers. Our course walks you through step-by-step that process. If you do want to be a part of that and start a blog, check out problogger.com/startablog. You do need to invest a little bit, not into the course itself, that’s free, but into your hosting and domains. But it isn’t the most expensive exercise in the world and it’s one most people can afford to do. I also like Stefano’s story because he kind of started his blog twice, I guess. He started once where it kind of was a bit haphazard and his topic was quite narrow. He stopped for a while and then relaunched it essentially with a plan and a business idea in mind. I love that idea as well. Starting with a plan is actually really important. That’s again, something that we cover in the teaching on ProBlogger as well. We believe that starting with a goal in mind is important, not just starting with kind of wide goals and not really knowing what to expect but actually starting with good foundations is an important thing. I really love the idea of setting yourself a challenge. His challenge, if you heard it, was to write an article everyday for 30 days. Now, that may not be realistic for everyone but even three articles a week or one article a week, having that kind of a deadline in mind, to get your archives fuller, to have more content on there, every piece of content you write is a new doorway into your blog. It’s a new thing that could end up on the end of a Google search from someone or social media search. So building up your archives in the early days is important and also gets you into the habit of of writing content. Even if you don’t publish something everyday, writing something everyday or writing part of an article everyday is a really good, healthy writing habit to get into if you can. Lastly, his kind of last message there that blogging isn’t part of the past, blogging isn’t dead, it’s not something for those of us who started in the early 2000s. It’s actually something that is worth investing time into today. Starting today, opportunities open up and Stefano’s opportunity is to meet people and to interview people are just some of the opportunities that can come to bloggers. Monetization, of course, is part of it as well. That takes a little bit of time and you’ve got to get the foundations right first. You shouldn’t get into blogging expecting you’re going to be rich overnight. Money could come down the track but there’s a lot of joy to be had in creating content, connecting with the readers, and also opening up your networks as well. Again, the internet needs our content. It was Stefano’s words and I truly believe in that as well. Your story, your experience, your voice is unique. There are so many blogs out there but your perspective is unique and I think the world needs to hear it as well. If you are inspired to start a blog, check out our course at problogger.com/startablog. I challenge you to get it up and running. If you can be a part of our International Start A Blog Day on the seventh of February, then that’s fantastic. If it takes a little longer for you to get your blog up and running as it has many others who’ve gone through the course, that’s totally fine as well. We’d love to hear about your new blog and to celebrate it with you, and maybe next year to feature your story in our ProBlogger series. Thanks so much, Stefano, for sharing your story today. You can find a link to his beautiful blog in our show notes today, as well as a full transcription of his story. You can find the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/274. Tune-in in the next day or two and we’ve got one more story in this series to come. Then we’ll be getting back into some different kind of podcast over the coming weeks and months. Thanks for listening. Chat soon. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts.
19 minutes | Jan 28, 2019
273: How One Blogger Turned a Painful Situation into a Life-Changing Blog
How One Blogger Found Encouragement in Difficult Times Our new bloggers series continues with Melissa, who started Living in the Wait. Her blog serves as a resource for those waiting for something in their lives, whether it’s a job, spouse, home or something else. Melissa discovered you can still live life during that time of waiting for something your heart desperately desires. In Melissa’s case, she and her husband were waiting for a family due to infertility. It’s a painful topic to talk about, but Melissa felt like it was her calling to share her story. Blogging about her journey and wait has brought joy to her life. She wants to continue encouraging people going through difficult times. First-year blogging highlights: Started The Wait List featuring guest posts to connect with others who were also waiting Selected as recipient of ProBlogger scholarship to further the blog’s reach Generated cycle of encouragement: live life to the fullest, and give back to others Melissa’s blogging tips: Progress over perfection Celebrate your wins Don’t forget to sign up for our free Start a Blog course and join us for the International Start a Blog Day on February 7. Links and Resources for How One Blog Turned a Painful Situation into a Life-Changing Blog: Living in the Wait Podcast Motor Further Listening 263: How Mim Blogged Vulnerably to Grow a Six-Figure Blog 255: My Mid-Life Crisis and The Power of Being Vulnerable on a Blog Courses Start a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Welcome to episode 273 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a site and a podcast to help you to start an ,amazing blog that’s going to change the lives of your readers in some way, and hopefully will change your life, too both in what it gives you personally but also hopefully some income as well. You can learn more about what we do at ProBlogger and find our courses at problogger.com. Speaking of courses, today we do continue our Start A Blog story series where we’re featuring stories from bloggers in their first year of blogging. There are all these bloggers who’ve been throughout Start A Blog course and many of them participated in our International Start A Blog Day last February. We’ve got the second iteration of that event coming up on the 7th of February this year. We’re running these stories to try and inspire as many people as possible to start a blog and be a part of that process. You can join in the fun of International Start A Blog Day and get a free course to help you set up a blog in that time over at problogger.com/startablog. Today’s story is from Melissa. She has a blog called Living In The Wait. I love the topic of this blog and that’s one of the reasons that I wanted to share her story today. I’m going to link to her blog which is livinginthewait.com on our show notes today. There’s also a full transcript of the show today and some further listening if you do want to be into one of the big themes that she talks about. You can find the show notes today at problogger.com/podcast/273. I’m going to let Melissa talk now and I’ll come back at the end to just pull out a few of the themes that I love in what she shares. Melissa: My name is Melissa. I started the blog called Living In the Wait and the URL is livinginthewait.com. What my blog is about is it’s a resource for those who are basically trying to live in the wait. Whether you’re waiting for a family, job, spouse, we all wait for something in our lives. For my husband and I, that wait happened to be infertility. Why I started my blog was based upon our own personal experience. For over three years, my husband and I have been going through infertility. Something that I never imagined or of course, who would want something like that to go through? But while we were in that process, I began asking myself this question. I said, “How am I supposed to keep living in the wait? How do I keep living every month when I’m continually disappointed? How do I keep living my life? How do I live in the wait?” That’s really where the whole concept and idea behind Living In The Wait began, where I wanted to be a source for others who are going through a wait and providing them encouragement, support, a community, resources, so they knew that while you are waiting for something in your life that your heart just desperately desires, that you can still live during that time. That’s what I had to learn and that’s also what I wanted to share with others, as well to be a resource for them. I started my blog. My first post was February 4th of 2018 and as I mentioned, really the whole goal with that is just to be a resource, support, encouragement for those going through some sort of wait. We all wait for something. Our wait just happened to be infertility. During that time, I really noticed a lack of resources, information, support available for people going through infertility and I wanted to do something about that. I knew that I needed that for our journey and I just was surprised that it wasn’t made available to us readily in my community. I’ve noticed that it’s a topic that is hard to talk about and I think that’s part of the reason people maybe don’t share as much. I knew that it was something that God was leading me to do, was to share my story. I was just amazed as soon as we started sharing ours, how many people stepped up and shared their story as well. Through that, just felt so much community of other people from around the world experiencing the wait, the same wait that my husband and I were going though and how that’s all what we wanted. We all wanted those resources and support, community, just to gather around us to help us during that time because going through something like that, like I said, the resources for that were very limited. How do you go through something? How do you handle those emotions? The grief, the disappointment every month, how are you prepared to do that? That’s what I wanted to do with Living In The Wait. I still have a long way to go but that’s really kind of my goal and objective is to be that resource to people when they are going through talk a lot about infertility, but we all wait for something. I feel like those tips and the articles that I’ve written are things that do apply for anybody, whatever their type of wait may be. That’s really been my goal with that. My big dreams, I guess you could say is to continue to have this blog. It has been so much fun. I thoroughly have enjoyed writing a blog. I never would have imagined doing something like that but our journey, our wait really just brought to light something that I think was always there. I’ve always enjoyed writing. I’ve always journaled when I was younger and it just kind of brought all that back in full circle. It’s been something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I want to continue having this blog up. I want it to continue to grow. I want it to be more information available for people. I want to continue to just encourage people. I feel like that something that we need so much along with those resources and practical information to help us get through those difficult times of when we are waiting for something, how do we keep living. It is possible and that’s what I want people to know is you can still live while you’re in the wait. Those desires are still going to be there but you can still live a life to the fullest. My husband and I have just adopted that attitude ever since starting this blog. It has been a game-changer for us where yes, we’re disappointed every month, we find out that we’re not pregnant but we have been able to just live life to the fullest by doing things that we enjoy and also giving back and being generous to other people as well. This has been so much fun blogging. That’s kind of the story of why I started Living In The Wait. Kind of some of the dreams that had end goals and objectives that I’ve wanted as well with this blog. Just a couple of highlights from my first year that I wanted to share. One of the things I did was I started my blog in February but in April, I started a monthly series called The Wait List. Basically, it features guest host from people who, you guessed it, are all waiting. As I said, we all wait for things in our lives. I wanted to feature these stories of other people to provide hope and encouragement for others who are going through their wait and basically allow them to see those people and see how they were able to live in their wait. I think when you’re able to connect to someone that you know, that you can see them getting through a tough situation, it brings you hope. It reminds you that this is something that I can do as well. That has been one of the most powerful things I have done with my blog is The Wait List. It has been one of the most popular posts that I do every month as well. What’s so neat with that is just how it’s been able to help further the reach of Living In The Wait because there’s only so many people I can reach. But when these other people who are being featured put that information out there and they share to their social media sites, that’s another way I have been able to get that reach spread more is other people read and they find out what Living In The Wait is and what it means. It’s been so much fun to hear other people’s stories. I love meeting people and that’s what I enjoy the most about The Wait List is I get to connect with them, share their story, and every one of them has just brought so much encouragement to me so I know it’s brought a lot for other people as well who are going through that. That’s been one of the big highlights that we had for Living In The Wait. When I first started my blog, which was around the time of International Start A Blog Day, I was very surprised and thankfully selected for one of the ProBlogger scholarships. That was a huge surprise that really set things on a very positive note for me starting my blog. I think there’s a lot of self-doubt sometimes when you try to start a blog and you’re wondering, “Is there something really I should do? Do I really have a lot of value to bring?” Those are all questions I experienced when I was starting this. When I received that scholarship, it was just a sign for me that this is something that I was supposed to be doing and it was great. I was able to get just my information out more and hit a big reach. For that, I just really appreciate ProBlogger and what they’ve done, for offering that, and just really rallying around just supporting other bloggers. It’s awesome to be a part of this community because I really feel it really supports each other and wants to see each other succeed, which I love being a part of. Also, for any other people who are interested in blogging, like I said, this wasn’t something that I really would have thought of doing myself but through our experience with infertility, I just really felt that nudge that this was something I should be doing, was starting a blog, sharing our story, and encouraging other people through their wait. Through that it includes me. That’s what so neat about starting a blog. It’s definitely very therapeutic for the person that’s writing it but other people when they read it, it’s just like this cycle of encouragement that comes back to you. Just a couple of tips I’ve learned along the way that I would like to share. The main one is progress over perfection. I’m a perfectionist and there have been so many times when I was writing a post or I was trying to decide about a giveaway or questions to ask to my community. There was so much self-doubt and so many times that would stop me from doing things. I was so concerned about being perfect with the information I was sharing that it would stop me. I finally got to the point where I was just like, “You know what? I’m tired of this. I know I have value to provide and I’m going to share it.” Yes, there’s times where maybe I wished I would have done something different but that’s where we learn and that’s where it’s so important to go out there and just do that progress, make that progress, do it scared, and know that it might not be perfect, but sometimes, I feel those posts were maybe the ones that people enjoy the most because you’re so vulnerable and genuine with people. So, progress over perfection. Second I would share is celebrate your wins. There is always more that you could do. There’s always a better post or a better way to write something. There is always more people that you want to read your blog. But here’s the deal. Celebrate the ones that are reading your blog. Celebrate the fact that you did make that post. Celebrate that that post maybe you’re more vulnerable in it. Celebrate your wins because those are what is going to keep you going. Darren: Thanks so much, Melissa, for sharing you story and blog with us. I love the topic of this blog. It does come out of a painful experience the starting of this blog but this is a theme that I’ve noticed over the years is that many of the blogs that have the biggest impact upon their readers actually start out of these tough situations or these hard experiences that the bloggers have themselves. A painful experience can actually be a life-giving thing for both the person themselves going through that experience but also many other people who can relate to that. The topic of waiting is something that even as Melissa was talking, I can think of times in my own life when I was waiting in different areas and it’s something that I think many people will be able to relate to. I want to celebrate this topic and say, “Well done, Melissa, and your hubby, I’m not sure what his name was, for starting that blog.” I love the illustration here of Melissa sharing vulnerably and that leading to a vulnerable reaction in her readers as well. This is something I’ve talked about numerous times over the years is that if you want a particular response from your readers, you need to take the lead and blog in a way that will elicit that kind of response. This is a great illustration of that. I think I talked in episode 263 about vulnerability and how, when I’ve been vulnerable with my readers and listeners that, often I see that come back to me in the comments, in he messages, in the emails, in the interactions that listeners have. So, great listen there. To put yourself out there and to be willing to go into some of those more painful parts of your life and just see what happens as a result of that. I also like in the topic that Melissa talked about here is that she’s not just thinking about the topic. She’s actually thinking about the need, the situation of her readers. She’s not just talking about infertility but she’s actually talking about waiting. It would have been possible for her to just start an infertility blog and that would have been a great thing to do. I’m sure that would’ve helped many people but she’s actually thinking a little bit outside the box and extending that into writing for people who are waiting. I think that’s an interesting way of broadening the topic, giving her not just one topic to talk about and perhaps broadening the audience as well. I think that’s a really nice illustration of an alternative way to think about the topic of your blog and to position your blog. The monthly series of The Wait List, again, brilliant strategy and it kind of relates to what we heard in the last episode. The last episode, our blogger was interviewing people and that led to the growth of her blog. This also, in featuring the stories of other people, guest writers will help to both broaden the topic into different areas but also broaden the audiences as well because each of those writers has their own network and obviously that sharing into that network has helped to grow Melissa’s blog as well. I just love that Melissa really obviously has her reader in mind. She wants to change their life in some tangible way. Help them through a situation, help them to feel they’re not the only one. Great topic. Really great tips as well around progress as a perfection. We’ve heard this already in the series as well. Don’t let perfection hold you back from actually publishing content, from starting that blog. Then, that last point she made, to celebrate your wins. I really like that. She kind of bravefully mentioned it there but I think a lot of bloggers, in the early days of their blogs, focus so much attention on the readers they don’t yet have. I think a lot of good things come when you focus not on the reader you don’t yet have, but to focus upon the readers you already do have. You may only have 10 readers of your blog. You might not even have that many. You might have three and one of them might be your mom. But focus upon what you already have. Celebrate those two, or three, or 10 people because each of those people has their own network. If you serve them, if you love them, they then spread the word. Celebrate those wins. Focus upon what you have, not just upon what you don’t have and I hope that good things come for you in your blogging as well. Thanks so much, Melissa. Again, you can find her blog at livinginthewait.com. You can find our show notes with a full transcription of today’s show as well. Another episode you might want to listen to on our show notes today at problogger.com/podcast/273. Also, the episode that you might want to dig into a little bit, I kind of mentioned a little bit earlier is episode 263 where I talked about vulnerability. I give an example of my own vulnerability and the good things that happened when I put my pain and confusion out there for people. It’s a little bit more personal but I hope that you find something good out of that as well. I’d love to hear your examples of when you’ve been vulnerable with your readers as well. Don’t forget to check out our Start A Blog course at problogger.com/start-a-blog. If you are interested in getting a blog up and running in a similar way that Melissa is going to bring a lot of life to those around you and to you as well, that’s at problogger.com/start-a-blog. Thanks for listening. Chat with you in the next few days where I will continue our series of stories from our new bloggers. 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13 minutes | Jan 25, 2019
272: How Networking and Interviewing Helped One Blogger Build Her Blog
How One Blogger is Making the Most from Networking and Interviewing Our series of stories from new bloggers continues with Penny Wilson, who started Lingo Mama to blog about language learning and travel. Penny’s reasons for starting a blog: Return to her passion for language learning Establish accountability and discipline with language learning Share love for language learning with others Inspire others to learn a second language Starting a blog involved a huge learning curve for Penny, especially when it came to the technical aspects of managing it. Fortunately, Penny hasn’t struggled for content ideas. The challenge is getting those ideas across in a way that’s interesting, entertaining and informative, and that adds value. One of the highlights of blogging came when Penny connected with bloggers she respects in her niche. She also created an interview series that lets her connect with other language learners. Making money from her blog has been slow, but Penny has been happy with affiliate ads she installed early on to generate traffic and referrals. Penny’s Top Tips: Don’t stress too much about being perfect Promote content that’s most useful to readers Listen to feedback from readers Did Penny’s story inspire you to start a blog? Then, sign up for the free Start a Blog course as a way to celebrate our International Start a Blog Day on Feb. 7. Links and Resources for How Networking and Interviewing Helped One Blogger Built Her Blog: Lingo Mama Podcast Motor Further Listening 172: How to Build a Blogging Business Through Interviewing Others [An Interview with Michael Stelzner] 198: 6 First Income Streams Recommended for Bloggers Courses Start a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey there and welcome to Episode 272 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse, and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger, a site, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you start an amazing blog, to grow that blog, and to make some money from the process. You can find more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com. Today, we’re continuing this short series of podcasts with stories from bloggers in their first year of blogging. Although stories have been gathered from participants of our Start a Blog course, which we are promoting at the moment, even though it’s a free course, we’re promoting it because, in the next few weeks, we have our International Start a Blog Day, which is being held on the 7th of February. Today, we’re celebrating new blogs and we’re launching a whole lot of blogs from students from our course, and we hope to send you a little bit of traffic as well to help that blog get off and running. We’ll be highlighting some of those new blogs that have started our social media as well as on our blog as well. Each of the bloggers that are sharing in this series are sharing their story, just a really short story but also some tips that they’ve learned along the way. If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, or you know someone who’s thinking about it, or you know someone who should start a blog, please head to problogger.com/start-a-blog. You will find this free course that we’ve put together. It’s a seven-step course that walks you through everything you need to know to get involved in our International Start a Blog Day but also to get that blog up and running. Now, today’s story comes from Penny Wilson, an Aussie from lingomama.com. I’ll link to that in the show notes as well today. You can find those show notes at problogger.com/podcast/272. I’m just going to hand it over to Penny because she’s got a great story to tell, and I will come back at the end of her story just to wrap things up and to pull a few things out I like about what she says. Penny: Hi, my name’s Penny. My blog is called Lingo Mama and I blog about language learning and language travel. The URL is lingomama.com. I started my blog in May 2018, and I really had a few reasons why I wanted to start. One of them was to get myself back into language learning and to give myself some accountability and discipline with my language learning. I have learned Chinese for a long time and also Vietnamese in the past and Japanese so my focus is really on Asian languages. I’ve had a baby recently, and I really wanted to get back into my passion of language learning and share my love for language learning with my readers. The other premise, really, was about inspiring to people to learn a second language. I really think it’s an amazing challenge, and it’s such an amazing feeling when you are able to communicate in a second language even if it’s in quite a basic way. That was my other motivation as well. I have really enjoyed blogging on my website. It’s been a huge learning curve. I think, particularly, the technical aspect of learning about how to manage a blog, resizing images, changing fonts and headings, managing all the ins and outs with the WordPress platform, that’s been a real challenge. Editing videos, of course, is another big one. One of the highlights for me, I think, has been, earlier in the year, I identified a handful of language bloggers who I really looked up to and thought were doing an amazing job. The highlight for me has been able to connect with these three or four bloggers in various ways. One has interviewed me on an Instagram Live, which was fantastic. I have also interviewed one of these language bloggers for my website and a couple of these other website bloggers I’m involved with in an online mastermind session. I think, in just a short time or feels like a short time to me – six, seven or eight months – I’ve been able to connect with some of the more high-profile language bloggers. It is quite a small niche, but I’ve been really happy with that. Content-wise, I haven’t struggled for ideas in terms of content. I’ve always got the ideas. I think, for me, the challenge is getting those ideas across in a way that’s interesting, entertaining, informative and actually adds value to people. That’s something that I’m continuing to learn how to do. I created a language learning interview series a few months ago, and that’s been really valuable because it has allowed me to connect with other language learners and interview them about their process of language learning, their challenges, ups and downs, but also when the interview is live and I’ve published it, it’s a way for me to attract new readers because the interviewees then share the interview that they were featured in. That’s been really valuable for me. In terms of making money, it’s been a very slow burn, but I did install affiliate ads very early on in the past and have been somewhat happy, I guess, with the small amount of traffic that my website receives that I have been able to make some money off affiliate ads and referrals. I think it’s always a great thing to see that increasing and see how, if it does, have any parallels with the amount of web traffic you’re receiving or the types of content that you’re producing. In terms of top tips for new bloggers, something that I really would want to get across to you is don’t stress too much about having the perfect post or the perfect images. It is a lot of work to create a blog post so you are doing well in just getting your content out there. Be very happy about that. Also, promote the content that you think is most useful to your readers as much as you can because that content is what is going to create your name and your brand and generate more readers for your website. Also, listen to the feedback and the questions you receive from your readers, whether that’s directly on your blog post or via social media because this is what your readers are most interested in and probably what they want you to create more content on. That would be my top tips for new bloggers. Thank you. Darren: Thanks so much for sharing your story, Penny, and I really do appreciate those bloggers who have put aside some time to share their stories with us today. It’s nice to be able to highlight some younger bloggers. Often in these types of podcasts, we highlight experts, and gurus, and people who have been blogging for 10 or 15 years, but it’s really nice to hear from those at the beginning of their journey, to hear the energy and excitement in their voices, to also hear a little bit about what their struggles have been, what their learning curves have been like but also hear their tips because what they are learning today as new bloggers is just as valid as what us told-timers are learning as well. A few things I loved about what Penny shared: firstly, that she networks like crazy by the sounds of it and she has gotten to know others in her niche and has connected with them, even the higher-profile people in this small niche, and it’s been really worthwhile to connect with them. I love the idea of interviewing people. Even if those people that you’re interviewing aren’t the high-profile ones, they each have their own network. They each have their own story. They each have their own value to add to your blog but also, as Penny shared, they can send people to read your blog as well. We’ve had numerous podcasts in the past about this particular technique, of interviewing others about their experience of what you are talking about. This is a brilliant way of building the traffic, to build your credibility, to build relationships with the people that you interview. I love that she’s connecting in this way with others in her niche but also through the online mastermind. That is just brilliant. Even if those other five people in the mastermind are all the same level as you, as you all grow, you have the potential to grow each other’s blogs. It’s just a great strategy there in networking, the interviews. The last thing I loved about Penny’s strategy is to monetize first with affiliates’ promotions. As Penny said, she doesn’t have a massive amount of traffic, and so for her to create a product right now in the early days of her bog while she’s trying to build traffic, trying to get more content and new archives, may not be the best strategy, particularly if she’s juggling other things in her life like family and other things or other priorities. To find someone else’s product to promote and to add a commission from is a great first step when it comes to monetization. To see that it’s converting already is a really good sign. Lots of valuable tips there. Lastly, she’s talked about not having to be perfect with her content. Great tip there. Get it out there. Get your content out there. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Yes, polish it. Yes, make it as good as it can be, but make sure you publish it and get that content out there. Listen to the feedback of your readers, create useful content, and promote it as much as you can. Great tips there from Penny. I reckon this one’s worth re-listening to at some point as well. If you have a moment to share this with someone else maybe at the beginning of their journey, I would appreciate that as well. Get this podcast out there to others who are considering starting a blog. You can find the show notes and you can share it from problogger.com/podcast/272. Thanks again, Penny. Check out her blog at Lingo Mama. I’ll link to that in the show notes with a full transcript of today’s show, and I will also find a few other podcasts to listen to that relate to some of the things as we talked about today or that will relate to interviewing people. We’ve definitely got a couple of podcasts there that I’ll link to in the show notes today and also affiliate marketing as a great first step. Thanks for listening. Tune in early next week, and we’ll have another blogger story for you. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? 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11 minutes | Jan 23, 2019
271: How One Blogger Simplified Starting a Blog by Sharing the Load
How One Blogger Worked With Others to Start a Blog We continue our series featuring stories from new bloggers who have recently completed our free Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course. We hope they’ll inspire others as part of our International Start a Blog Day on February 7. Today’s story comes from Jacob West, who started the blog Live Life Liberated. His blog questions social norms and traditional ways of thinking. Jacob’s blog doesn’t tell you what to think or do. Instead, it provides a friendly and open-minded environment to discuss such topics and build a like-minded community. Jacob’s tips on how to prepare, if you want to start a blog: Ask friends for help. Share skills, learning curve, and success Care about blog’s focus Stay passionate. Always have goals to pursue Be willing to work hard and plan for various tasks Links and Resources for How One Blogger Simplified Starting a Blog by Sharing the Load: Live Life Liberated Podcast Motor Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group. Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey there and welcome to Episode 271 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse and I’m the founder of ProBogger, a blog podcast, ebooks, courses, and events that are all designed to help you to start a blog, and to grow that blog, and to build profit around that blog. Now, today, with are continuing our series of podcasts with stories from bloggers in their first year of blogging. These are all short stories and tips from participants in our free starter blog course, which we launched last year. We’re sharing these in the hope that they will inspire others to start blogs as part of our International Start a Blog Day on the 7th of February. Each of the bloggers in these series will be sharing their story and some tips that they learned along the way, which will help those of you who are starting a blog. If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, and we know a lot of listeners this podcast are thinking about starting a blog, or you know someone who’s thinking about starting a blog who should start a blog, head over to problogger.com/start-a-blog. You’ll find our free seven-step course to help you through that process of getting a blog started and also some information on how to get involved on the International Start a Blog Day on the 7th of February. If you are listening to this after the 7th of February, that’s totally fine. You can still start a blog using our course. It’ll be there all year, so problogger.com/start-a-blog. Now, today’s story comes from Jacob West, and he shares a short story that he submitted via video this week. He has a blog called Live Life Liberated, which you can find at livelifeliberated.com. He sent us in a video story. I’ll strip the audio out to use on the podcast today. You can find the full transcript of his story as well as a link back to his site on our show notes over at problogger.com/podcast/271. I’ll be back after he shares his story to pull out a few of the things that I noticed about what he shares. Here’s Jacob. Jacob: Hey, everyone. My name’s Jake West. I just wanted to spend five minutes of your time to talk about my experience as a 2018 blogger. My site is Live Life Liberated at central URL, livelifeliberated.com. It’s a blog designed to question social norms, traditional ways of thinking, and a friendly, open-minded environment. It’s not really telling you what we think but more or less discussing, and so it’s very centered around the idea of having open debates, and commenting, and emailing between one another, and really just having a fair wondering of what’s really going on. I started that in June 2018 so we’re on five months now. Essentially, the reason that I decided to start it because I had a group of friends and we would discuss these things a lot, and I couldn’t imagine that we were the only people wondering these things. I figured that we should make a blog that would create a community, create a friendly environment so that we could find more people that thought the same, or wanted to think the same, or whatever. It’s been going really great. It’s been exactly what we had set it out for. We have been building more readers, a bigger community, and the swing of things have been going very, very well. I’d like to spend most of the time talking about tips because as prepared as I thought I was, I was not nearly as prepared as I definitely should have been. One of my main tips that I’d have if you’re thinking of starting a blog is to do it with people, preferably friends, because, for one, I thought web design was going to be very easy. I thought it was mostly going to be laid out. It was not at all. One of my friends came in and they really set everything up for me and helped me learn do this and that. Together, he just made it possible. It would have taken five times as long without him. That’s the web design portion. There’s also the content writing because, eventually, you hit dry spots. It’s really nice to have some buddies of mine and, together, we made a weekly cycle of who was going to write for what week. The workload’s never too much especially because, right now, I’m an undergrad. I thought it was going to be really hard to balance work or studying and then writing content but because of the flow and just the teamwork that we’ve had, it’s been really, really helpful and encouraging, too. It’s really nice to achieve something with people. It’s so much better to be able to hit a new reader number or get ad money which, by the way, is also something that I was not expecting but very cool. I think we just got $50 after five months, which isn’t a lot, but it’s $50 more than I thought I had. That’s also a really cool part of running a blog. You also have to stay passionate and constantly try to pursue something more than you have. We’re always trying to redesign the site. We’re trying to find a new way to get more readers. I think these goals are good ways to keep yourself progressing and keep yourself loving it so I think that’s very key. Personally, the way that you say passion is it’s something that you’re passionate about. You can’t write 20 or 30 posts about things you kind of care about; it’s really got to be something you care about and your group cares about, not just you. Lastly, you should be aware that it takes a lot of work and takes a lot of planning before. I was not that prepared and I wish I was, but by having a plan for logo, for web design, for ads, all these things, it really makes the workload and maintaining the blog a lot easier, and it just makes the whole process more fun and it’s less stressful. Those are my four main tips. I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you. Darren: Thanks so much, Jacob, for sharing your story with us today. Now, the main reason I wanted to share Jacob’s story today is that it is a little bit different to some of the others that you hear about in these series. Most of the other bloggers that we’re featuring in these series are solo bloggers. They’ve started their own blog. They’re the main contributor. They set it all up themselves. I love the fact that Jacob actually involved others in that journey. Whilst you would go to his blog today and you’d see he’s the main writer on it, there’s certainly other voices there. As you’ve heard, he had others involved in the setting-up process. There’s a lot of good reasons for doing this. Firstly, you are able to share the load of setting it up. You’re going to involve other people who might have more experience than you in the technicalities of your blog but also, as he said, it really does help to share the load to keep fresh as a writer, as a communicator. Also, I love that point that he made about celebrating the successes together, and that’s something that I’ve certainly enjoyed over the last few years as I have involved other people more in my blogging. When I started out, it was just me and I got a lot of joy out of my blog just being a solo blogger but, certainly, having others involved and celebrating those wins that you have along the way is that something that can be really encouraging and energizing as well. If you are perhaps an old-time blogger or are listening to this, that is something that you might want to take on as well out of today’s podcast, perhaps involving some others in what you’re doing. Having the shared goals is something that is great. Also, I love his other points there of having something to pursue, having goals, having something that you are working towards. Again, this is something for as much for new bloggers as it is older bloggers, particularly those of you who are listening who have maybe been blogging for a year or two now. It’s very easy to lose some of the passion that you have to lose your way and energy for your blog as well, and having those regular updates of goals is something really important. You might have had a goal of getting a blog started, but what’s your next goal going to be? Maybe you want to have a burst of trying to find new readers for your blog, or a burst of exploring a new social network that you can promote your blog on, or perhaps you need to start a new way of creating content, trying some video, or podcasting, or live video. These are all things that can help to bring a little bit of energy back into your blog, and to have another goal, having something to pursue, will energize what you do. Having passion for what you blog about is something else that Jacob talked about, which I think is really important for those of you who are just starting out. As you think about the topic of your blog or the topics of your blog, make sure it is something that you will be able to sustain. Then, lastly, his last tip there: It does take a lot of work. Whilst we try and break it down, starting a blog, into seven achievable steps in our course, it is going to take some work. You will need to put some time aside into it and then have ongoing time that you can put into your blog as well. If you are looking to start a blog, again, head over to problogger.com/start-a-blog, register for the course there. 7th of February is when we’re doing our International Start a Blog Day. That’s approaching pretty quick, and it may be achievable for some of you to be launched by then. For others of you who aren’t launched by then, don’t let that put you off. Start the blog. Many of the bloggers that you hear from this week took a little bit longer to get going, and that’s totally fine. As Jacob says, it does take some work. The main thing is to get it launched at some point. It doesn’t need to be perfect when you are launched, but get involved in the process. Hopefully, you’ll find a lot of joy comes from the process as well. Thanks for listening. Again, today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/271. Stay tuned in the next few days, and we’ll have another blogger story for you. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts.
17 minutes | Jan 21, 2019
270: How One Blogger Changed Her Life by Starting a Blog
How Starting a Blog Helped Transform the Life of a Blogger Happy New Year! This first episode of 2019 launches a series of stories from new bloggers who started their blogs after completing our free Start a Blog course. The course features seven steps, which makes it a perfect way to celebrate International Start a Blog Day on February 7. The first story comes from Denise Bumby, who took our course last year and launched her Does Size Matter? blog about six months ago. Denise was searching for a way to cope with changes in her life. And she found her way through blogging, which brings her joy and hope. She may not have many subscribers yet, but that number is growing daily. And so is Denise. Denise’s tips on how to boost your blog: Consistently produce content Use social media Post content in various formats (videos, etc.) Get mentioned on other blogs Learn and implement affiliate marketing and sponsorship Keep working. Don’t give up or get discouraged Despite what you may think, anyone can start a blog – young or old, tech savvy or not. Blogging is for everyone. So, are you ready to start a blog? Links and Resources for How One Blogger Changed Her Life by Starting a Blog: Does Size Matter? Darren Rowse on Facebook Podcast Motor Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey there and welcome to the first episode of the ProBlogger podcast for 2019. This is episode 270. You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/270. ProBlogger is a site for bloggers and prebloggers, who today’s episode is particularly for. It’s all designed to help you to build and grow a blog that not only makes your reader’s life better in some way but also helps you to achieve your goals and bring you a little joy to your life as well. We’re going to hear a story today where that happens. Today, we are launching another round of our bloggers’ stories. It’s a series that’s going to go for the next couple of weeks. They’re shorts stories from brand new bloggers. This series is all about starting a blog and hearing the stories of bloggers who started their blog over the last 12 months. They all started their blogs as a result of doing our Start A Blog course, which we are currently really pushing hard because on the 7th of February, we’re running our International Start A Blog Day for the second year in a row. Last year, we ran International Start A Blog Day and hundreds of bloggers started a blog on that particular day. As you’ll hear today, hundreds more started their blogs in the months afterwards. Some people needed a little bit more time. We want you to be a part of this year’s Start A Blog Day. Whether you are a blogger who’s about to start and you’ve been thinking about starting a blog or whether you know someone who should start a blog, we want you to encourage them to get involved. If you want to be a part of it or if you know someone who really does need to start a blog, our course is 100% free and it will help you to start that blog. You can find it at problogger.com/startablog. Before I introduce you to today’s story, I want to pause for a moment and say Happy New Year. I know it’s three weeks into the new year and I should apologize for the delay in getting this episode out but I do want to start off by saying Happy New Year. The reason for the delay this year is that it’s been a bit of a tough year so far. In fact, last year was a little bit tough as well. Many of you I know have been following my Facebook profile and my personal profile where I shared recently a couple of posts about my own battles with depression over the last year and also the recent loss of a friend.
18 minutes | Nov 12, 2018
269: How Rowan Grew His Pinterest Following to More Than 300,000 in Two Months
How a Blogger Uses Pinterest to Boost His Following Welcome to the final episode of our Blogger Breakthroughs series. Today we share a story from Rowan Sims, Digital Photography School writer and ProBlogger podcast listener. Rowan's also a landscape and travel photographer who uses his blog to teach readers how to improve their photography, as well as share his photo adventures and location guides. The biggest challenges he faced with blogging were being inconsistent and not attracting the right audience. So he switched his blog's focus from just sharing photography to teaching it as well. He's also written some guest posts. Don’t underestimate the power of guest blogging. It’s about more than just link building. Another breakthrough for Rowan was discovering the power of Pinterest. It’s become Rowan’s largest source of referral traffic. Rowan has used various tools and social media sites to promote his photography, but Pinterest needed a different approach and was a steep learning curve. No matter what your niche is, Rowan has suggestions on how to optimize Pinterest for best results: Set up a Pinterest business account and review your Pinterest insights/analytics to know what’s working and help identify your target audience Create attractive pins Use Tailwind to drip feed pins and create tribes Pinterest is one option, but experiment with different platforms to figure out what works best for you. Rowan’s blogging breakthroughs have not only helped increase his traffic, but has brought him the right traffic. People are genuinely interested in what he has to say and share. Links and Resources for How Rowan Grew His Pinterest Following to More Than 300,000 in Two Months: Rowan Sims Pinterest for Photographers - The Ultimate Guide 2018 Canva Tailwind Pinterest Digital Photography School Podcast Motor Further Listening PB 037: Grow Traffic to Your Blog Through Guest Posting and Creating Content for other Blogs, Forums, Media and Events The Rowse Report Podcast Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey there and welcome to episode 269 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the founder of ProBlogger which started out as a blog with lots of blog tips and has become a blog, a podcast, ebooks, courses, and a job board as well to help bloggers to find jobs. There’s a lot on ProBlogger. You can check it all out at problogger.com where we really are about trying to help bloggers to monetize their blogs. Today is the final episode in our blogger breakthrough series. We may do this again in the future because I’ve had a lot of really great feedback on the stories that we’ve been featuring. I’m going to get back to a noble flow of things next week. But today, I want to share with you a story from Rowan Sims. Rowan actually is a writer over on Digital Photography School. I didn’t realize he was also a listener of this podcast. You hear at the end, he worked his way back through all of the archives of the podcast—all 269 episodes. He may be up there as one of the most avid listeners of the podcast. He submitted his story of how he grew his blog. He took his blog from fairly inconsistent blogging, he switched his focus, and he shares two strategies that he used to help grow his traffic particularly Pinterest. He gives some good tips on driving traffic with Pinterest as well. He actually submitted a short 4 ½-minute story and then I asked him to submit a few more tips so you will a bit of a change in the audio—that’s kind of part two coming in halfway along where he gets to be a bit more practical about Pinterest. Before I introduce you or put Rowan onto you,
23 minutes | Nov 5, 2018
268: How Anita Diversified Her Blogging Income and Depended Less On Page Views
How a Blogger Expanded Her Income Streams and Engaged Readers in a New Way As a blogger, do you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel? Do you need to continually feed the machine to keep your blog generating traffic and income? We continue our Blogger Breakthroughs series with Anita Joyce, who experienced the same problem with her Cedar Hill Farmhouse blog. Anita was working non-stop on her blog. She didn’t even have time to go to the grocery store or relax with her family. But the income from her blog was tied to page views, so she needed a breakthrough. Anita shares what she did to diversify her income streams and engage her readers in a new way. She started a podcast that turns listeners into friends, and a store that provides relevant products and valuable content for her audience. Anita has some tips to share with you: Survey your audience to find out what they want from you and what you want to give them Partner with others to gain expertise in areas you need covered Don’t give up if you fail. Focus on your failures and learn from your mistakes When something isn't working with your blog, try something new to diversify traffic sources and income streams. That way, if something does go wrong it increases your income and puts you in a better position to survive. Links and Resources for How Anita Diversified Her Blogging Income and Depended Less On Page Views: Anita Joyce French Accents Decorating Tips and Tricks Podcast Bespoke Decor Podcast Motor Further Reading The Day I Almost Lost My Blogging Business By Having Too Many Eggs in the One Basket 11 Ways I Diversified Traffic Sources for My Blogs to Become Less Reliant Upon Google [With a Surprising Twist] How I Diversified My Blogging Income Beyond Having All My Eggs in the AdSense Basket Further Listening How I Diversified My Blogging Income and Became a Full Time Blogger How to Grow Your Blogging Income Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hello there friends. Welcome to episode 268 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I'm the blogger behind ProBlogger. A blog that’s dedicated to really helping you to start an amazing blog, to grow the traffic of that blog, to grow an income from that blog, and to help your readers in some way as well. You can find more about ProBlogger and what we do at problogger.com. You might also, while you're there, check out our two free course. I have one free course, How to Start a Blog, and our other paid course, 31 Days to Build A Better Blog. Particularly check out that Start a Blog course if you are looking to get going with blogging. Now today, we're continuing our series all of blogger breakthrough stories and we've got Anita Joyce from cedarhillfarmhouse.com. She's got a great story that I think is going to really connect with many of you because she shares a problem that many bloggers have–that feeling of being on the hamster wheel with your blog. Have you ever felt like you've built a blog and you may have built some traffic, you may have built some income, but to keep generating that income, you need to keep feeding the machine? This is something that Anita talks about to her realized that her blog was very dependent upon page views and shares a story of what she did about that to diversify her income streams and to engage with her readers in a new way. So really some really practical things. I want to come back at the end of what Anita talks about to really share some of my own story with these as well and to give you a little bit of further reading because Anita's story is going to relate really well to some of you, but there are some ways that you can apply what she's talking a...
16 minutes | Oct 29, 2018
267: How Krista Overcame Fear and Procrastination in Her Blogging
How One Blogger Pushed Through Her Fear We continue our Blogging Breakthroughs series with Krista O'Reilly-Davi-Digui, who has a blog called A Life in Progress. Krista knew nothing about setting up a social platform. But she overcame procrastination and fear to show up regularly. Krista shares how her first viral post "What If I All I Want is a Mediocre Life?" made a major impact, resonating with people across the world She's been invited by others to share her story. Through collaboration and connections, her number of followers grew from 1,000 to 35,000. Her work brings her joy and has given her a voice. She is just like everyone else - not perfect. She affects others by giving them a chance to be seen and heard as well. Take imperfect action, and remember to enjoy each step of your journey. The world is incredibly noisy. We don’t need more people being the same. We need honesty. Don’t be afraid to be you - raw and real. Krista’s always found a way to love herself through the freedom that telling the truth offers. Bearing your soul and becoming an entrepreneur makes you grow. Links and Resources for How Krista Overcame Fear and Procrastination in Her Blogging: What If All I Want is a Mediocre Life? A Life in Progress Krista on Facebook Finally Deciding You’re Good Enough Can Quietly Change the World (on Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper) Podcast Motor Further Listening 263: How Mim Blogged Vulnerably to Grow a Six-Figure Blog 255: My Mid-Life Crisis and The Power of Being Vulnerable on a Blog Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey, there, friends. Welcome to episode 267 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rowse. If this is your first time with us, welcome to you especially. ProBlogger is a space dedicated to helping you set up a blog that will be a profitable blog and also make a difference in the world that you live in and the topics that you're writing about. You can learn more about ProBlogger, particularly, our courses, our free Start A Blog course, and our 31 days to Build a Better Blog course over at problogger.com. Just look for the courses tab in the menu. Today, we're continuing our blogger breakthrough series with a story from Krista who comes to us from Canada. She has a blog called A Life in Progress, it's alifeinprogress.ca. She's going to tell us a story—a beautiful story, really, of her first experience of a viral post. It's actually a post that went viral a number of times and the impact that it had upon her blog. A bit of a theme because last week was about viral content as well but this is a very different story. I love this story because it talks about how Krista went from procrastination fear to showing up regularly and pushing through that. It is a beautiful story and I encourage you to listen to the end. I'm going to come back at the end of the story and just pull out some of the nuggets of gold that Krista mentions in this story because it is a beautiful one. I'm going to head over to Krista. Again, her blog is at alifeinprogress.ca and you can find the full transcript of today's show notes, as well as links to her blog over at problogger.com/podcast/267. Krista: Hello, I am Krista from Central Alberta, Canada. I write at alifeinprogress.ca. I help other messy humans like me show up through comparison, perfectionism, and fear so they can show up fully in their imperfect and beautiful lives. Again, you can find me at alifeinprogress.ca. I started vlogging three years ago. I had been showing up weekly to my blog for about 4 ½ months, when a post of mine went viral for the first time. I say for the first time because initially I was contacted by the BBC London about my post,
21 minutes | Oct 22, 2018
266: How Viral Content Grew Rachel’s Income from ‘Pay for Groceries’ to ‘Buy a House’
How a Blogger Used Viral Content to Grow Her Income Enough to Cover Her Mortgage Payments Rachel Miller is back on ProBlogger for our Blogging Breakthroughs series, which features bloggers’ stories about traffic, income, and other parts of blogging. Blogging has transformed Rachel's life, and made a difference in the lives of others. Rachel shares various breakthroughs that helped her generate a blogging income that went from paying for her groceries and mortgage to building a six-figure business. How’d she do it? By harnessing the power of her audience and going viral. Virals aren’t just about people seeing your content. They can also help you grow your bank account. Every time you love on your audience by creating content that engages and resonates with them, it takes your brand to the next level. Rachel went from affiliates to dropshipping and fulfillment through Amazon. She went from making pennies on each product to a decent percentage. She always puts a product on a viral. Don’t create a viral just for the sake of traffic. Add a monetization stream to it. Rachel also drives traffic to her eProducts to make sales. Blogging has given Rachel a debt-free lifestyle. Her audience benefits from it, too. Build your audience for the purpose of getting ad revenue and making a difference in their lives by selling them a product. What product can you create to celebrate an audience and what they love? Links and Resources for How Viral Content Grew Rachel's Income from 'Pay for Groceries' to 'Buy a House': Rachel Miller Moolah.life Rachel’s Free Facebook Group Audience Growth Pack: Top Traffic-Sending Resources Rachel’s Course: Transform Your Audience into Engaged & Raving Fans Make Money Blogging AdSense Podcast Motor Further Listening 5 Actionable Tips You Can Use to Get Better Results on Your Facebook Page Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey there, friends. It's Darren from ProBlogger. Welcome to episode 266 of the ProBlogger Show. So today, I want to introduce you or re-introduce you to Rachel Miller. Many of you will know her from her previous episode where I interviewed her about Facebook strategies. It was titled "Five Actionable Tips For Better Results On Your Facebook Page." It was back in episode 208 and it's been one of our most popular episode and so I decided to invite Rachel to be a part of our blogger breakthrough series that we're currently running where we hand the podcast over to bloggers and other online entrepreneurs to talk to us about some of the breakthroughs that they've had in their blogging and online entrepreneurial journey. Rachel has been doing this for years now. I think it's about 11 years that she's been blogging and working particularly on Facebook where she's renowned that's why I interviewed her on that topic last time. Today she's going to share her story with a series of breakthroughs that have helped her to move from blogging income that paid for her groceries and paid for a modest mortgage through advertising revenue to building a business that’s in high six figures per year some years. And has literally transformed her life and the life all of others as well. I'll let her tell you a little bit more about that result later. It's one that is really impressive and I find quite inspirational because it's not just about buying things for her, it's actually about making a difference in the lives of others as well. I will mention that last time Rachel was on in that previous episode, she had some free downloadable cheat sheets to help you with your Facebook marketing and they're particularly going to help you with a story that she shares today around getting viral content.
18 minutes | Oct 15, 2018
265: How One Blogger Grew His Traffic Tenfold Without Producing New Content
One Blogger's Experience of Growing Traffic Without Producing New Content If you've been blogging for a while you'll relate to Todd Tresidder’s story in this episode of our Blogger Breakthroughs series. A blog that’s been around for a year or more ends up looking messy, and gives readers an inconsistent user experience. Content is old and repeated. Links are broken. Content comes in different styles and voices. Graphics look dated. A blog can become a house with many extensions that hasn't been architecturally designed with any clear thought or plan. So what should you do? Scrap the blog completely? Or is it worth giving it a major overhaul? That can take time – sometimes years – but the rewards come quickly. What Todd did: New code base New theme New redesign New internal linking New navigation structure Deleted junk, irrelevant and out-of-date content Redirected deleted content to other posts Rewrote, combined and updated remaining content Branded image and social media policy Todd stopped creating new content and started updating old content instead. And Google started rewarding his efforts. It’s not about more content. It's about better content. Quality is the new SEO. Links and Resources for How One Blogger Grew His Traffic Tenfold Without Producing New Content: FinancialMentor WordPress Pinterest Further Listening How to Get More Traffic by Updating Your Archives Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey, there. Welcome to episode 265 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger, a blog that is designed to help you start and grow a successful, profitable blog. Now, today you’re going to hear from Todd Tresidder who has a remarkable story to share with you. I first came across Todd a number of years ago now at a conference. In fact, I heard about him before I met him. I kept bumping into bloggers who said, “You’ve got to talk to Todd. You’ve got to hear his story about how he completely updated his whole blog, which had been around for years, and gave it a real overhaul that just drove so much traffic and good things.” Today, Todd is going to share his story of how he did that. He grew his traffic tenfold without producing hardly any new content on his blog. In fact, he deleted content on his blog and he’s going to talk to you about how he did that. I think you’re going to love today’s episode, particularly if you’ve been blogging for a couple of years. This is one that is particularly relevant for anyone who’s got an archive of content already. This is something that you can do. It’s not going to be something that you can do quickly. It’s a big job but it can have amazing benefits for your blog. So, hold on. This story doesn’t go too long but it is one that I’m sure you’ll get some real value out and you’ll probably have some questions. We may have to get Todd back on the podcast to answer them. So, hold on. Here’s Todd Tresidder. Todd: Hi. This is Todd Tresidder from Reno, Nevada, United States. My site is called Financial Mentor and you can find it at https://financialmentor.com. I teach advanced investment strategy and advanced retirement planning to build wealth. It’s an educational site that offers books, courses, the Financial Mentor Podcast, and one of the largest collections of free financial calculators anywhere on the internet. I started Financial Mentor back in 1998, basically prehistoric times for the internet. Back then, all I had was a brochure where static website, built-in frames that modelled every mistake you shouldn’t do building a website. It was a showcase for worst web practices.
13 minutes | Oct 8, 2018
264: How One Blogger Builds Engagement and Makes a Difference with an Online Community Event
How One Blogger is Using Online Events to Build Engagement and Make a Difference We continue our Blogger Breakthroughs series with a story from Trixi Symonds, whose Coloured Buttons blog teaches kids how to sew. She also created Sew a Softie Day. Trixi started her blog in 2009 to post kids craft projects. After a few years, she started posting more hand-sewn, well-designed and simple projects that kids could do. She soon discovered that kids love to sew. They feel empowered when they can make their own bag, cushion or soft toy. So Trixi decided to teach kids all over the world to sew. The goal behind Sew a Softie Day was to have a day where people all over the world would teach a friend, neighbor, or anyone how to sew a simple softie (a soft toy). July 16, 2016 became Sew a Softie Day. And Trixi knew she had to promote it. She contacted anyone and everyone for help – bloggers, friends, influencers and magazines. People were happy to help. Sew a Softie Day was so successful that it turned into Sew a Softie Month in July 2018. Each day, bloggers post a simple-to-sew softie tutorial. And kid ambassadors from around the world have taught a friend how to sew or held a Sew a Softie party. Anything you can do to get your readers to participate, gather together, and work on something collectively can be very powerful. A day or event gives your readers focus and purpose. It creates anticipation and excitement. It’s something you could do for any number of topics. If you need help promoting a day or event, ask for help. You’ll be amazed and overwhelmed with the positive response. Asking for help is such a valuable but hard lesson for many of us to learn. It might take you out of your comfort zone. But put yourself out there and network. You never know what will happen. You could make a real difference in the lives of your readers. Links and Resources for PB 264: How One Blogger Builds Engagement and Makes a Difference with Online Community Events: Sew a Softie Coloured Buttons How to Get Your Readership Involved and Grow Your Audience with Community Challenges How to Snap Readers Out of Passive Lurking to Become Engaged (refer to Content Events section) International Start a Blog Day Class of 2018 Uppercase Magazine Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey, there! Welcome to episode 264 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind problogger.com which is all about helping you start a great blog that’s going to change the world in some way, that’s going to make the lives of your readers better, but also be profitable for you. You can learn more about ProBlogger and all we do particularly our courses and ebooks over at problogger.com. Today, we’re continuing our series of blogger breakthrough stories with a story of Trixi Symonds, a fellow Aussie who I think has been to some of our events, at least she’s networked with a number of people who have because she comes highly recommended. She has a great little blog called Coloured Buttons. You can find it at colouredbuttons.com. She’s also got another really interesting project which she’s going to tell us about in today’s story called Sew a Softie. Now, Trixi teaches kids how to sew. That’s what her Coloured Buttons blog is about. It’s got a lot of amazing tutorials that help people to do that, but she started this day, Sew a Softie Day. Now, I had to actually look up what a softie was. A softie is a soft toy and she teaches kids how to make their own softie. She started this day to have kids around the world join in on this project. She’s going to tell us the story about why she started that and how it’s gone for her.
16 minutes | Oct 1, 2018
263: How Mim Blogged Vulnerably to Grow a Six-Figure Blog
How One Blogger's Vulnerability Resulted in Growing Her Blog In this episode of our Blogging Breakthroughs series we feature Mim Jenkinson and her blog Love From Mim. Mim started blogging for one reason, but ended up blogging for a different reason altogether. On her blog Mim shares tips on how she stays organized as a busy mom and juggles time for work, home, and herself. But when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she used her blog to share her story. It became a kind of therapeutic outlet for her, and made her feel better. And by showing her vulnerability she also grew her audience. Remember: readers are interested in your content because of you and the topic you're writing about. Mim now earns a six-figure income through multiple streams from her blog. She shares a few tips to help take your blog to the next level and monetize it: If you want it to be a job, treat it like one Set goals Create a structure Plan each week Work hard and be professional Mim stays true to herself and remains ethical when it comes to her blog. She is also brand ambassador and generous with other bloggers by sharing and working together. She finds blogging joyful, and has found her identity through it. She enjoys sharing things to help others. “I love my job,” she says. “There aren't enough hours in the day for all the ideas I have.” Links and Resources for How Mim Blogged Vulnerably to Grow a Six Figure Blog: Mim Jenkinson Further Listening 7 Strategies for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome 5 Areas to Focus on to Grow Your Blogging Income Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hello there and welcome to Episode 263 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name's Darren Rowse and I'm the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, events, job board, series of e-books and courses all designed to help you have a profitable blog. Now, today, we're continuing our series on blogger breakthroughs, where we've got listeners of the podcast pitching their stories to us to share with you. We've chosen a few of them from many that were submitted in to share with you. We tried to choose a variety of bloggers from different parts of the world with different accents, with different niches and different experiences of blogging. Today, we've got Mim Jenkinson who has a blog called Love from Mim at lovefrommim.com. Now, Mim started out blogging for one reason and ended up blogging for another. I'll let her share that transition of her blog. She's got a story that I'm sure many of you will relate to but also find quite inspiring as well. It's got some real little nuggets in there, golden nuggets of advice that I want to pull out at the end so stay tuned until the end of her story. Again, you could check out her blog at lovefrommim.com and you can check out today's show notes where I will have links to her blog and also a full transcription of her story at problogger.com/podcast/263. Now, here's Mim. Creating great content, finding an audience, building engagement, monetizing your blog. This is ProBlogger. Mim: I'm Mim Jenkinson and my blog is Love from Mim. You can find ir at lovefrommim.com. I started blogging in 2013 in June and my blog is about how I stay organized as a busy mom of two small kids and how I work from home. I'd like to share my tips on how I try to stay organized and how I juggle my family time, work time and time for myself as well. Before my breakthrough, my blog was just a hobby blog so I would share everything about my life as a mom, a little bit about the kids and the things that we use to love the products and services, the things we got up to, and I made a small income occasionally from selling a few sponsored posts,
13 minutes | Sep 24, 2018
262: How Carolyn Started a Directory to Attract Readers to Her Blog
How One Blogger Created a Directory that Attracts Readers We continue our Blogging Breakthroughs series with Carolyn Edlund, whose Artsy Shark blog focuses on the business of art. Carolyn shares the story of how she created a directory to attract readers to her blog instead of having to chase after them. It revolutionized her blog, and helped her build a successful business around it. Carolyn understands the importance of building strong business relationships and creating win-win situations through collaboration. Her directory identifies places artists can sell their art online. It also provides solid business information and helps artists gain exposure. To attract readers for your blog, ask yourself: What do your readers want? What problem can you solve for your readers? What issue can you help your readers overcome? Based on tips from Carolyn, what kind of magnet do you plan on creating to draw readers to your blog? Links and Resources for PB 262 - How Carolyn Started a Directory to Attract Readers to Her Blog: Artsy Shark Carolyn Edlund’s Directory Inbound Marketing book Success Incubator ProBlogger Job Board Courses Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hi there, friends! Welcome to episode 262 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse, and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog podcast, events, series of ebooks, and courses, all to help you start an amazing blog that’s going to change the world in some way, make people’s lives better, but also hopefully be profitable for you. You can learn more about ProBlogger and all that we do at problogger.com. Now this week, I’m actually in Orlando. As this episode goes live, I will be at our Success Incubator Event, and I know some of you will be at that event, I’m looking forward to seeing some of you. And while I’m away, we’re continuing our blogger breakthrough series of content, where we’re featuring stories from listeners of this podcast, and we’re talking about their breakthrough moments. Now, today’s listener is Carolyn Edlund, who has a great blog called Artsy Shark. You can find it at arstyshark.com. Her blog is about the business of art, and she’s going to tell us a story today that I think will be interesting to many of you. It’s a way of drawing readers into your blog that’s going to stop you from having to chase your readers, but hopefully attract them to your blog, and this has revolutionized her blog and has helped her to build a really successful business around the blog that she has. You can find show notes today at problogger.com/podcast/262, where you’ll find links to Carolyn’s blog, and also the directory that she’s about to talk about as well, and a book that she mentions, too. At the end of her story, I’ll come back and pull out a few of the golden nuggets that I heard her share, okay? Now, over to Carolyn. Carolyn: My name is Carolyn Edlund, and I’m the founder of Artsy Shark, which is the blog about the business of art. Before I ever became a blogger, I was a self-employed artist for more than twenty years, with a successful production studio, and subsequently, I was a sales representative for an art publishing company. I had a lot of experience marketing and selling art, and I also led a business networking group where I learned a lot about the importance of building strong business relationships and creating win-win situations where both parties can benefit by collaborating with each other. I got into blogging sheerly by accident back in 2009, after I took a free course held at a local community college. At that time, I had no idea what I was doing, and I wasn’t quite sure what would happen. I got started by writing some business articles for ...
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