The Brutally Honest Guide to Being Brutally Honest

It’s scary, isn’t it?

Having to tell a truth to someone who may not want to hear it.

Whether you have to tell a friend they’ve been betrayed, inform a client that their ideas suck, or write a blog post to burst your reader’s bubble, hard truths can feel almost as painful to deliver as they are to receive.

Because just the thought of hurting someone is scary. You don’t want that.

And you don’t know how they’ll react. They might think you’re a jerk and cut all ties with you. You don’t want that either.

So sometimes you obfuscate the truth to spare them the pain of hearing it. Sometimes you even keep it to yourself or tell a white lie.

Well, I have to tell you something, and you may not like to hear it. But if you struggle with the art of being frank, you need to hear this. It will make you a better person, a better communicator and a better blogger.

So here it is …

You’re a coward.

If you can’t be brutally honest with people, especially when you know it’s in their best interest, you’re a coward.

Why You Can’t Be a Coward When It Comes to Hard Truths

You’re not doing anyone a favor by withholding a truth from them, even if it’s difficult for them to hear.

The only person you’re protecting is yourself. Because you’re afraid of the consequences to you.

But it’s not about you.

Being honest is about making sure your audience has the information they need to make good decisions. That includes information they may not like.

You may convince yourself it’s “nicer” to hide or obfuscate things that are difficult for them to hear, but it’s not.

Ignorance doesn’t lead to bliss, it leads to bad decision-making. There’s nothing “nice” about that.

And as a blogger trying to help your readers, honesty is that much more important.

Because readers rely on your expertise and your candor.  They rely on you to set them straight when they’re headed the wrong way. They rely on you to guide them in the right direction.

You may fear you’ll lose readers when you tell them a hard truth, but withholding it is far riskier. Because it will hurt your credibility in the long run.

When you’re honest at all times, whether in your writing or in your personal life, people will know what to expect from you. And when they need the truth, you’re the one they will come to.

Yes, you may lose some readers along the way, but you’ll gain the trust and respect of so many more.

The Big Mistake People Make While Being Brutally Honest

Brutal honesty is not about being cruel, rude, shocking, or harsh. That’s not brutal honesty. It’s just brutal.

If that’s what you’re going for, you’re doing it wrong.

Maybe that seems obvious to you, but many people mistake brutal honesty for honest brutality. You’ve probably experienced more than your share. So if it’s that obvious, why do so many people make this mistake?

Because it’s not obvious. In fact, it’s almost counterintuitive.

Many people think that the point of brutal honesty is to shock someone into hearing you. They think that the point is to be so harsh that the other person can’t help but hear the truth.

But that’s not really how it works. Treating people harshly will only make them less receptive to what you have to say, not more.

The point of brutal honesty is to be completely honest and let the truth speak for itself. It’s about not holding anything back — about not telling white lies to make a person feel better, or withholding information they might find hurtful. Those are things we do on a regular basis, and the point of brutal honesty is to stop doing that.

You see, the emphasis in brutal honesty should be on the honesty, not on the brutality.

It is the truth that you need to deliver, and not your delivery itself, that needs to be brutally unrestrained.

Of course, the problem is that being brutally honest isn’t just hard to do—it’s hard to do well. That’s because it’s not just about what you say; it’s also about why, when, and how.

brutal honesty is not about being cruel

3 Common Situations That Call for Brutal Honesty

Honesty is always a good policy, but not every situation calls for brutal honesty. So how do you know when it’s time to hold nothing back?

At the end of the day, it’s about assessing the situation, being clear about your purpose, and using your judgment.

But here are three common scenarios that often call for brutal truth:

#1. When They Want Your Help in Deluding Themselves


Whenever someone comes to you to confirm their delusions, you need to do the exact opposite.

For example, many bloggers might love to hear that all they need to do to make money is write posts and slap ads on them. They might want to hear that riches are right around the corner, even if they only just got started. But what they need to hear is that there’s no such thing as easy success, that it takes time, and that they must adjust their expectations.

Trying to sugar-coat this reality wouldn’t help them.

#2. When They’re Making a Dreadful Mistake


You wouldn’t let a friend walk blindly into traffic without reaching out a hand to pull them back. Hell, you wouldn’t even be so inconsiderate to a stranger.

So why would you let them make a harmful decision without trying to save them from it?

Sure, walking into traffic is likely to cause them serious harm — but so is making a decision that would ruin their career, blow their life savings, or land them in jail.

If they’re about to make a big mistake — or even if they’ve already made the mistake — your willingness to be brutally honest with them might just be the thing that saves them from future pain.

#3. When Subtlety Has Failed


How do you know when brutal honesty is called for?

When nothing else has worked. By all means, try a subtler, gentler approach first—but when nothing seems to get through to them, it’s time to take off the kid gloves and tell them what they need to hear, without holding back.

Situations That Call for Brutal Honesty

These aren’t the only circumstances which call for brutal honesty, but they are frequent ones, and they have two basic principles in common: the hearer badly needs to be told the truth, and yet it is very difficult for them to discover or receive it.

And that’s where you come in.

8 Steps to Being Brutally Honest Without Crushing Anyone’s Spirit

Great. So you understand what brutal honesty is, and what it is not. You know why brutal honesty is sometimes necessary, and when it is appropriate.

Now comes the hard part: How do you actually do it?

Here is an eight-step process to help you deliver that hard truth.

#1. Be Brutally Honest with Yourself


Brutal honesty begins with yourself. If you’re hesitant and tend to shy away from bluntly honest conversations, then the first step is to acknowledge why you hesitate.

Are you afraid of offending people? Ask yourself whether allowing them to continue on a harmful path is kinder than having an uncomfortable conversation with them.

Are you afraid that people will get mad at you, and perhaps cut ties with you? Do you worry about losing readers, subscribers, or clients?

As I mentioned above, ask yourself whether they’re better off not knowing, or whether you just don’t want to be the one to tell them.

Remind yourself that this is about doing what is best for them, not what is easiest on you.

#2. Check Your Motives


In the first step, you checked your motives for not wanting to be brutally honest with someone. In this step, flip that around—ask yourself if being honest with them is really about their well-being, or if it’s about you.

Yeah, that happens, too.

If it’s more about your desire to speak your mind than about what they need to hear, you’re likely to end up falling into that trap of being more brutal than honest.

So ask yourself this classic trio of questions about your message:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it necessary?
  3. Is it kind (or helpful)?

If the answer to all three isn’t yes, it’s time to reevaluate.

#3. Be More Honest than Brutal


Remember, the point is always honesty, not brutality.

You can tell the brutal truth without being brutal yourself. Let the truth be merciless on its own. It is hard enough for many to hear and face. So don’t add to it. Be kind.

Let me say that again: Tell them the whole truth, no matter how brutal it may be, but do it with kindness and empathy.

Be more honest than brutal

#4. Prepare Them for What’s Coming


Don’t just launch straight into the tough love. Give them the opportunity to prepare themselves for it.

Explain that you care about them. Explain that you have to tell them something you believe they need to hear, and prepare them for the degree of honesty they’re about to get from you.

For an example, look no further than what I did in the intro to this post:

Well, I have to tell you something, and you may not like to hear it. But if you struggle with the art of being frank, you need to hear this.

It doesn’t take much. Just a heads-up about what’s coming, so that your audience can put themselves in the right frame of mind for it. Blindsiding them won’t make them more receptive to hearing a brutal truth.

#5. Reveal Your Intentions


Why are you telling them this difficult truth? What do you want to come of it? How is hearing it worthwhile to them?

Understanding what they have to gain from it will make the other person much more receptive to the harsh truth. It will be much easier for them to hear and accept if they genuinely believe that you’re trying to help them.

So take a moment to tell them why you think what you’re about to tell them is the best thing for them.

Again, you can see how I did that in this post. Before I hit you with the brutal truth, I first told you how I thought it would benefit you:

… if you struggle with the art of being frank, you need to hear this. It will make you a better person, a better communicator and a better blogger.

And then, with the benefit still fresh in your mind, I took off the gloves and told you the blunt truth.

#6. Be Short and Sweet


It’s never a good idea to beat a dead horse. As a writer, it’s a great way to get people to stop reading.

But this is even more true when your reader is taking a beating, too. Being told a hard truth is never fun. Sometimes it’s necessary. But having it thrown in your face over and over is something few people react well to.

So get to the point. Make it clearly and succinctly, and move on.

Anything more, and you’re heading back toward being more brutal than honest.

You’re a coward.

If you can’t be brutally honest with people, especially when you know it’s in their best interest, you’re a coward.

Notice how I don’t dwell on the cowardice for too long? Instead, I quickly move on to explaining the reasons behind my remarks.

Keep brutal honesty short and sweet

#7. Stick to the Facts


This is easier for some topics than it is for others. Sometimes the facts are clear, measurable, and objective. You’ve got actual data, research — cold, hard facts. Other times, the issue at hand is a subjective assessment.

But even when the subject matter is wholly subjective, you can keep the discussion focused on the relevant issues.

Be as objective as you can, given the subject matter. Avoid emotional observations. Focus on actions — things the other person has done, or things they need to do — rather than on character and personality.

Most of all, focus on problems that can be solved.

Again, you can see that in my approach to this post. I didn’t dwell on negatives or beat you over the head with character flaws. As you can see below, I focused on the facts — which, in this case, meant explaining why I had just called you a coward by emphasizing things I knew you’d agree with:

“Being honest is about making sure your audience has the information they need to make good decisions. That includes information they may not like.

You may convince yourself it’s “nicer” to hide or obfuscate things that are difficult for them to hear, but it’s not.

Ignorance doesn’t lead to bliss, it leads to bad decision-making. There’s nothing “nice” about that.”

#8. Conclude with a Solution


Don’t leave them feeling bad because of the truth bomb you just dropped on them. Help them figure out a solution. Give them a way forward.

Most of all, tell them how you’re going to help them, and commit to helping them tackle the issue.

How you end the discussion can make all the difference.

Do you want them to feel defeated, beat down, and discouraged? Or do you want them to feel hopeful that there are concrete ways that they can address the issue?

Imagine if I ended this post after calling you a coward, without offering any advice on how to deliver brutal truths. That would make the overall message feel far less benevolent and far more antagonistic, wouldn’t it?

Have the Courage to Tell the Unvarnished Truth and You’ll Win People’s Respect

Telling someone a hard truth can be scary.

Because you don’t know how people will react.

And I won’t lie. Some people won’t like it. Even if you take all the right steps, you may still offend them, and you may still lose them.

But you’ll also gain others who recognize the value of someone they can trust to be honest — the type of people who may never have paid attention to you while you were busy telling everyone what they wanted to hear.

And as you develop a reputation as a person who tells it straight, you will gain people’s respect. You will gain credibility and authority. People will seek out your advice, value your perspective, and appreciate your honesty.

And you will help people—far more than when you were telling them whatever they wanted to hear.

And isn’t that the point?

About the Author: Josh Tucker is the founder of The New Progressive. As a race and social justice writer, he’s no stranger to telling hard truths.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/brutally-honest/

Advice to Writers Who Feel Like a Fraud (from a Writer Who Feels Like a Fraud)

Let me guess …

Every success in your writing career has been a fluke.

When people praise your work, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

You’ll never measure up. You’re not a real writer. And any day now, everyone will see you for the fraud that you are.

That’s how you feel, anyway.

You read other blogs and feel crushed at how little you know and how little you have to offer. You wonder why you even bother with your own blog when so many great writers do it way better than you ever could.

Well, here’s a secret …

Those writers you admire probably feel the exact same way.

Even famous writers like Neil Gaiman, Tina Fey, and Seth Godin are on record that they still feel like frauds — like they don’t deserve their success and they’re getting away with something.

We all do.

The Voice Inside My Head That Tells Me I’m Unworthy

I have been a freelance writer for over three years, but I still feel I have no right to claim that title — writer.

I have a nagging voice inside my head that constantly reminds me of my unworthiness. It tells me to give up before I’m laughed off the Internet. That I’ll never compare to other writers — the real ones.

It provides a symphony of thoughts like:

“Who do you think you are?”

“Why would anyone care what you have to say?”

“Sooner or later, they’ll find out you have no clue what you’re doing.”

I call this voice the “Imp.” Her full name is Imposter Syndrome, and chances are you’ve already met. If you’ve ever had that dread of being outed as a fraud because you don’t stack up to other writers, you’ve experienced Imposter Syndrome, and you have an Imp of your own.

Imposter Syndrome is common across industries, but writers are especially susceptible.

Why is that?

Why Do We Feel Like Frauds All the Frickin’ Time?

Writing is a peculiar profession.

One thing that sets us apart is that we work in isolation.

That means nobody’s around  to tell us we’re doing a great job until we put it out there for total strangers to judge. We’ll often work for a while on a project with no direct feedback, so it’s easy to start second-guessing our ability.

We have nobody to discuss our doubts with, so we are locked into internal conversations, which makes the Imp’s voice sound all the louder.

Working in isolation also means we don’t have any peers around to compare ourselves with, which leads us to compare ourselves with industry giants. No wonder we feel like we don’t measure up!

This also leads to us to create standards for ourselves that don’t exist. After all, you don’t see the time and effort other writers put in. You just see the result. That blog post that seems so effortless could be the result of weeks of work. But when you fail to churn out a perfect first draft, it means you’re an amateur.

The writing profession becomes even more dangerous when you step outside your comfort zone. You may have pitched an article to a large publication, and to your horror, they actually said yes. Then the insecurity takes hold and the fear of being exposed as an imposter rears its familiar head.

Sigh …

So are we doomed to deal with this nagging voice throughout our profession?

I’ll be honest; you may never fully get rid of it.

But you can learn to live with it.

How to Beat Imposter Syndrome: 4 Tips from a Writer Who Knows How You Feel

The first step on your road to recovery is to be aware that isolation, new challenges, and pointless comparisons are common causes of Imposter Syndrome. You may not always be able to avoid them, but if you are mindful of their effect, it will help you wrestle your Imp to the ground when needed.

And here’s how to do it.

#1. End the Isolation and Surround Yourself with Writers


The first step to beating Imposter Syndrome is to tackle one of its main causes: isolation.

You need to make friends with other writers who are at the same stage in their careers. You need to have people around you who understand you, who make you feel part of the writing community instead of an intruder.

Here are a few ways to meet other writers:

  • Join online writing communities (forums, Facebook groups, etc.)
  • Find local writing meetups on meetup.com.
  • Attend writing or blogging conferences.

Meet writers who are your peers, see who you get along with, and then join or start a mastermind group. Get together every week with a small group of people (around 4–6) and discuss what you’ve been up to and what’s been on your mind.

Share your fears and frustrations, and find comfort and reassurance in your similar experiences. You’ll inspire and encourage each other to grow as writers.

And as you grow, give back to the community by mentoring less experienced writers. Not only will you be helping others, your confidence will strengthen as you prove to yourself you do know what you’re doing and people do care what you have to say.

It’s rewarding and empowering at the same time.

Imposter Syndrome Advice #1

#2. Prepare for Failure AND Success (Because Both Can Be Crippling)


The Imp comes with a cruel twist. It won’t just berate you for failures; it will berate you for successes as well.

When a pitch is rejected or an article bombs, your Imp will use it to convince you that you don’t have what it takes.  Having a few failures in a row can make you want to curl up in a ball of despair.

On the other hand, when your writing is successful and gets glowing responses, your Imp will convince you it was a fluke. It will make you feel like you’ve now set expectations you’ll never be able to meet again.

The effect is the same. You procrastinate.

Because no idea feels good enough. You never feel prepared enough. And nothing you write feels like it stacks up.

You get stuck over-analyzing and don’t start anything new.

But the trick to beating your Imp is to keep yourself busy. Because the more you have on your mind, the less time you have to listen to that debilitating inner voice.

So prepare for these situations by creating an action plan. Have a list of tasks ready for whenever they come up, so you won’t have time to drive yourself crazy.

For example, when a pitch is rejected, you might make a point to ask for feedback, find different sites to pitch, or come up with 20 new headlines.

When a post takes off, you might make a point to read all the comments, identify what connected with readers, and see if you can find ideas for a follow-up post.

Whatever you do, stay active, and end each plan with you writing your next post.

Imposter Syndrome Advice #2

#3. Log Your Victories to Reinforce Your Self-Esteem


Most of us have an instinct to devalue our talent. When a post does well, we think we got lucky. When someone compliments our work, we shrug it off.

But those are terrible habits.

You need to take responsibility for your victories.

When a post does well, you did that. When you get a compliment, you earned that.

And you should never forget it.

So log your victories in a “nice things” file. Log accomplishments big and small. Log every compliment you receive. Print them out or store them in Evernote.

Then read them on a regular basis. It will banish your Imp and reinforce your belief that you have talent. It will reinforce your belief that people value your work. Plus, it just feels good.

It’s okay to bask in your own glory from time to time.

Imposter Syndrome Advice #3

#4. Remember That Nobody Expects You to Be Perfect (Except You)


As writers, we put ourselves out there as experts, which can feel intimidating.

You feel pressured to put forth a veneer of perfection. You don’t want to show the cracks in your knowledge, as that would show everyone you’re not an expert at all.

Because you don’t feel like one. You’re certainly not as much of an expert as those other guys, right? Because they know more than you?

So what if someone asks a question you don’t have the answer to?  What if your post doesn’t include everything an expert would know? What if everyone realizes you don’t know everything?

Well, relax. Because readers aren’t looking for the holes and imperfections in your posts. They’re more interested in what you do know than what you don’t. The only one who’s worried about the latter is you.

Readers only care whether your knowledge and experience can help them reach their goals. You may not know as much as that other expert, but if you can do that, you’re expert enough for them.

Remember that.

Imposter Syndrome Advice #4

You Are Not a Fraud, You Are a Writer

Your successes aren’t flukes.

You deserve all the praise you get.

And you are a writer — a real one.

So it’s time you finally convince yourself.

It’s time you fight back, wrestle your Imp to the ground and say, “Enough! I am smart, I am brave, and I earned everything I’ve worked for. I AM NOT A FRAUD!”

I’m right by your side, my fellow writer friend.  Let’s do this together.

Let’s tear down the walls of isolation and surround ourselves with writers. Let’s stop feeling intimidated by success. Let’s stop expecting nothing but perfection from ourselves.

Let’s promise to keep writing no matter what, and let’s take responsibility for all the victories along the way.

Are you with me?

About the Author: Mel Wicks is a freelance copywriter and content marketer. Download her free bonus ‘7 Golden Writing Rules — A No-Fluff, Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Quality Blog Posts’ and be one of the first to hear when her new blog, The Craft of Copywriting, goes live in August 2017.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/imposter-syndrome/

10 Things You Need to Do After You Publish Your Blog Post

Can I ask you a question?

What do you do after you hit the “Publish” button?

If your blog isn’t getting any traction, you probably aren’t doing the right things.

Let’s be real. You can’t just post to social media a few times and move on to the next post. That’s not going to cut it.

You can’t spend all your time writing new posts and then neglect those posts once they’re published.

In fact, you should spend only 20% of your time writing, and 80% getting people to read what you wrote.

But how, you ask?

This post will tell you 10 things you need to do after publishing your post.

It contains an after-publish task list you can use to take your blog from barren wasteland to popular tourist attraction. Follow these recommendations, and you’ll stand to 10X your results from every blog post you publish!

Ready?

Great, then let’s start.

#1. Jumpstart Traffic with a Teaser Email


Your first order of business is to get some immediate traffic to the blog post. The most obvious way to do that is by promoting the post to your own email list.

Now, many people like to include the entire blog post in their emails, but you shouldn’t do that.

Why?

Because that doesn’t get you any traffic! When your subscribers get your full post in their inbox, they don’t need to visit your blog to get the content. Plus, it also makes them less likely to share, comment or read other posts on your blog.

Instead, use a brief “teaser email” that entices your subscribers to click through to your blog and share the post with their friends. This gets the ball rolling so that even people outside of your email list can find your post.

Here’s an example:

Send a teaser email.

Without giving away too much, I linked to the blog post using an enticing call-to-action. I’ve also included a P.S. that invites subscribers to share on social media, including an easy link to share the post on Twitter.

Bonus tip: I used ClickToTweet to create the link.

#2. Deploy a Never-Ending Social Media Campaign


Average bloggers share their posts on social media. Smart bloggers create “evergreen” social media campaigns.

An evergreen campaign is a series of social media updates that constantly recycle themselves. So instead of just sharing your post a few times and calling it a day, your post gets promoted over and over again, on autopilot.

You can set this up by using a tool called MeetEdgar. This tool allows you to create a library of social media updates and a queue that automatically fills itself using the updates in your library.

Here are some ideas for social media updates to add to your evergreen campaign:

  • Share the headline, or a variation of the headline for your post
  • Share a quote or excerpt from your post
  • Share an infographic or image from your post
  • Tag an influencer who you featured in the post

If you can’t afford the $79/month for MeetEdgar, then MissingLettr is a similar product (albeit with more limited features) for only $15/month.

#3. Persuade Influencers to Spread the Word


Reaching out to influencers is a great activity to focus on after publishing. One influencer sharing your post on social media can make the difference between a couple views versus several hundred, or even thousands!

So how do you find these influencers?

One way to find them is by using BuzzSumo. Just go to the Influencers tab, and search for the topic of your blog post. It will show you a list of the top influencers who share content related to that topic.

Use Buzzsumo promote your post.

To see if they are a good influencer to approach, click on the “View Links Shared” button to the right of their name and description. This will show you a list of recent links they shared. Look at the URLs of the links to see whether they commonly share other people’s content.

Use Buzzsumo to find influencers.

I should note that Buzzsumo does cost $99/month. If you’re not already using it and that’s not something you can afford, use their 14-day free trial to search for several niche-related keywords and find as many influencers as you can. (Categorize them by topic so you know for which posts you should reach out to them.)

When your trial runs out, you can google your topic and find high-ranking blogs. Then, find the people behind them on social media and check whether they are good influencers to approach. It may take more time to find good influencers, but it gets the job done.

Once you’ve collected a solid list of influencers, let them know that you have a blog post that they might be interested to share with their audience. (You can either reach out to them via social media, or send them a cold email.)

To learn how to actually persuade influencers to share your post, check out Brian Dean’s guide on how to get influencers to promote your content for free.

#4. Go Hunting for Juicy Backlinks


If you want to get as many eyeballs on your content as you can, you have to help it rise in Google’s ranks.

But you have to provide some hard evidence to show Google your post is worthy of their elusive page one — specifically, you’ll need to get backlinks from high-quality sources in your niche. This shows search engines that your post is also high-quality by association.

To find other blog owners who might want to link to you, do a series of Google searches on your topic. You are especially looking for list posts and resource posts that have lots of links to other blog posts like yours.

Google phrases like:

  • “[your topic] tips”
  • “[your topic] ways”
  • “[your topic] resources”
  • “[your topic] links”

Make a list of blogs that you want to reach out to and then find the contact info of the people in charge. Send them an email explaining that you enjoyed reading their post and that you wrote one on a related topic. Tell them you’d love to know what they think. Then, if you get a positive response, ask whether they’d consider adding the line to their post, if they think their audience would be interested.

Not everyone will say yes, but you should shoot for a 10% success rate or higher (i.e. you should get one backlink for every ten bloggers you ask.)

Bonus tip: Check out Dan Ray’s process for getting 50+ high-quality backlinks per month.

#5. Perform a 10-Minute Internal Link Audit


Speaking of links, that’s something you should take care off on your own blog as well.

Interlinking your blog posts with each other makes them easier for Google to index, helps you rank in search engines, and it keeps readers browsing your blog!

So set 10 minutes aside to do an internal link audit. Take a look at other posts you’ve written and see if you can add any links to them that point to your newly published post.

Add internal blog links.

Make a game of it, and see how many internal links you can add in just 10 minutes!

#6. Answer the Burning Questions on Quora


Another great way to promote your blog post is by answering questions on Quora.

Just search for your topic, and see what questions come up.

Use Quora to promote your blog post.

Then, compose a thoughtful answer (like this one by Ryan Robinson), and link to your related blog post.

Use backlinks from Quora to promote your content.

The key with Quora is to make your answers as helpful and informative as possible. Don’t just drop your link and run … it won’t work.

Quora uses a voting process to display the best answers at the top. Make sure that you are providing value first, and that your answer is worthy of being featured as the top answer!

#7. Repurpose Your Post


Don’t forget that content can take on many different forms other than written blog posts. Repurposing your posts by leveraging different types of content is a very smart (and efficient) way to attract new audiences!

For example, you could record yourself reading your blog post, and turn the recording into a podcast episode. User Experience designer Paul Boag does this for each of his blog posts (and he also embeds the recording at the top of the blog post itself, for visitors who would rather listen than read).

Repurpose your content.

But that’s just one idea. You could also …

  • Turn your post into a slide presentation and offer it as a webinar.
  • Turn it into a video.
  • Create a downloadable PDF version.
  • Take multiple related posts and turn them into an ebook.

You have many options, so use them.

#8. Turn Your Post into a Facebook Ad


Did you know that top blogs will actually turn their posts into Facebook ads to drive more traffic to them?

Well, Facebook ads aren’t just for large blogs with huge advertising budgets … you don’t need to spend more than a few bucks per day.

In fact, I used Facebook ads to grow my email list by 532 subscribers in just 43 days, and for the price of a cup of coffee!

The beauty of Facebook ads is that you can target specific groups of people with them. For instance, you could show your ad to people who like other Facebook pages in your niche. Or you could target people who have an interest in specific topics.

The opportunity that Facebook presents to advertise your blog would be foolish to ignore. The fact is, there are over 1.9 billion monthly users on Facebook. So chances are, your target audience is there! Why not send them to your best content?

#9. Dig Deep Into the Data


This activity is one of the most overlooked, but also one of the most important. If you don’t analyze your post’s performance, how will you ever know what’s working and what’s not?

Set up a Google Analytics account to see whether your promotion strategies are working.

Look at the data a week after your post to see how well it did immediately after publication.

Use Google Analytics to check blog post performance,

Did it get as much traffic to your post as you were expecting?

How long did visitors stick around to read your post, and did they convert to subscribers?

How much of your existing traffic is from social vs. referrals (people linking to your post) vs. direct channels (your teaser email)?

For example, if you have lots of direct but no social traffic, that could mean that you’re doing a great job with your teaser email, but it underperformed in the social arena.

Then, make sure you check the post’s data periodically to see how it’s doing traffic-wise. (More on that in a second.)

To learn more about how to use Google Analytics, check out this crash course.

#10. Remind Yourself to Refresh Regularly


Did you know that “freshness” is an important factor that Google takes into account when deciding whether or not to display your post in the search results?

You should update your best-performing blog posts with new information on a regular basis. Your posts will continue to provide the best content for your readers, and you boost your chances of keeping your rank in the search engines.

The problem is, this is a task that is easily neglected.

So after you click publish, set a reminder for yourself to go check on your post in a year and see whether it warrants refreshment. (I recommend creating a single event for a number of posts, so you don’t drive your future self crazy with weekly reminders.)

Make sure you set the event to repeat every year and set the notification to “email.”

Refresh your blog posts regularly.

Then, when you get a reminder, first check how your post is performing. If it barely gets traffic, it’s not worth your time to refresh. (Though, if you think the post is worth giving a second chance, you could try targeting a new keyword and/or republishing it under a new headline.)

If it is performing well, see if you can refresh your post by:

  • Adding new tips, examples or insights you’ve gained since publication
  • Checking the comments for questions you could address in the post
  • Revising outdated information
  • Checking whether all the links still work
  • Checking whether the resources or tools you recommend are still the best
  • Removing or replacing methods you no longer support
  • Adding or updating images, screenshots, graphs, etc.

Once you’ve made the improvements to your post, mark it as updated. You can either add (Updated) to the end of your headline, or add a message at the top of your post.

Give Every Post the Best Chance You Can

If you think your work is over as soon as you click “publish,” it’s time to think again.

Because what you do once your post is live is even more important than what you do before. Taking your foot off the gas can mean that all the effort you spent writing your post goes to waste.

So instead of writing post after post, spend some time getting people to read the ones you’ve already written. Try some of the above tasks on your older posts, and keep them in mind for your next ones.

Stop neglecting your posts after you publish them and get them the attention they deserve.

And before you know it, you’ll see your traffic soar.

About the Author: Mary Fernandez the founder of Persuasion Nation and the co-founder of AwesomeGuests: a tool that connects you with the top blogs and podcasts seeking guests just like you. Click here to access our fully-vetted database of guest blogging and podcast interview opportunities (plus SmartBlogger-only deals and bonuses)!

Source: https://smartblogger.com/after-publish-blog-post/

13 WordPress Plugins That’ll Save You a Ton of Time

Running a blog requires an insane amount of time.

In fact, there’s not enough time in your day to do everything (especially if you have a full-time job, too).

From learning new ways to get traffic and scheduling social media posts to building your email list and managing comments, you feel stretched to your limit.

And the more you learn and grow, the more you have to keep up with — it’s exhausting.

So what if I told you that you can add a squad of tools to your toolbox that will eliminate a ton of time spent on the more tedious aspects of blogging?

These 13 WordPress plugins are like having a full-time employee that shaves hours off of your blogging work week, so you can get back to doing the important things: writing and connecting with your audience.

Plugin #1: Beacon


If you’re committed to building your email list, content upgrades can increase your subscribers substantially.

My sitewide opt-in offer converts at a rate of around 10% while my content upgrades convert at closer to 25%-30%.

That means that for every 100 visitors to my blog, I can collect 15-20 more emails.

Impressive, right?

But adding content upgrades to every article you publish seems like a daunting task, right?

Not if you use Beacon.

Beacon allows you to create ebooks from your existing articles automatically, right on your WordPress dashboard:

WordPress - Beacon Plugin

If you have several blog posts that could go together in one cohesive ebook, or if you have a long piece of content that could do the same, Beacon can do that for you …

Without having to fiddle around with designing it yourself.

I made an ebook with Beacon for my guide on Instagram marketing in five minutes flat, and it converted at over 20% of visitors.

Massive results in a quarter of the time.

Plugin #2: Pretty Link


With Pretty Link, you can create shorter, more memorable links to any page you refer to a lot. This keeps you from having to hunt down their URLs all the time.

For example, affiliate links can be quite complicated and contain random sequences of numbers that are hard to remember. So if you refer to the same affiliate product a lot, you can create a simpler link like “http://yourdomain.com/productname.”

And you can do the same for any post or page to which you refer often. You can bring each URL down to a memorable keyword and won’t have to spend any time hunting down links.

Just compare:

WordPress - Pretty Link Target URL
WordPress - Pretty Link URL

You can see how the second URL would be easier to remember, can’t you?

And that’s not all. Pretty Link also saves time whenever you have to replace a link you’ve used a lot.

Say you were to change your username on Twitter. You’d have to hunt down every link to your Twitter account and replace them …

Unless you created a Pretty Link that says “http://yourdomain.com/twitter.” You can just go into your dashboard, edit the target URL, and you’re done.

WordPress - Edit Target URL in Dashboard

Plugin #3: SEO Smart Links


When you publish a new article on your blog, do you visit all your previous articles and link them to the new one?

It’s good for SEO and will boost your page views by helping more readers find your content.

But it’s way too time-consuming, right?

Enter SEO Smart Links, which is a plugin that automatically links keywords or phrases in your articles based on rules you set.

For example, I have an article about one of my coaching clients who built a $10,000/month business through one method I teach of finding clients. I set it up so every time phrases like “freelancing clients” or “find freelancing clients”  come up on my blog, they’re automatically linked to this article.

This makes it so I’ll never have to dig through my older posts to create internal links.

Note: This also comes in handy with affiliate links. You can make sure you never miss an opportunity to earn affiliate income by setting an SEO Smart Link.

Plugin #4: Yoast SEO


Let me guess …

When somebody says “SEO,” you want to run for the hills.

For new and even experienced bloggers, search engine optimization is like Mount Everest for beginner climbers. It’s the “holy grail” of traffic generation strategies, yet it’s daunting to execute.

So you could spend the next several months learning about SEO.

Or, you could save yourself hundreds of hours reading case study after case study, researching best SEO practices, and trying to decipher Google-ese by installing Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that guides you through optimizing each of your posts through a handy checklist to “grade” how well you’ve optimized your post:

WordPress - Yoast SEO Plugin

You should know the basics of SEO (so you don’t piss Google off), but with Yoast SEO, you don’t need to spend hours studying.

Plugin #5: MonsterInsights


Checking stats is as addictive as Candy Crush and just as unproductive too. When you break your focus from what you’re working on (i.e., important things like writing articles), you sacrifice about 20 minutes of productivity — even if you were only distracted for two minutes.

This is called “task switching” and it’s a huge time suck.

Cutting back on obsessive stat-checking is difficult once you’re hooked, but you can reduce the time you waste with MonsterInsights.

It’s a Google Analytics plugin for WordPress that shows you the most important stats right on your dashboard.

WordPress - Monster Insights Plugin

You’ll no longer have to leave your site to check analytics (and get drowned in the ocean of distracting figures). You can stay inside WordPress, get your quick fix, and move on to writing your post.

Plugin #6: WP Performance Profiler


The speed of your website directly impacts your search engine results.

Meaning that if your blog is slow, Google will penalize you. And often, when your blog is slow, it’s one or more of your plugins that causes the issue.

This is a huge pain to fix.

First, you have to pull up Google’s PageSpeed tester. Then you have to begin disabling your plugins one-by-one. And after every plugin you disable, you have to test the speed again to see if you found the culprit.

That is, unless you let WP Performance Profiler do all the heavy lifting for you.

This nifty plugin costs less than ten bucks and saves you having to dig for problem plugins by reporting the activated plugins that are making your blog lag the most.

It even tells you the impact your plugins have on your site’s front end, which affects how speedy it seems for your readers:

WordPress - WP Performance Profiler

This saves you the time of having to test your site to try and find the offending plugins.

So activate WP Performance Profiler on your blog, deactivate those problem plugins, and get back to doing the important work of a blogger.

Plugin #7: UpdraftPlus


If your blog has never gone down, it probably will at some point, whether it’s because of hosting issues or a broken plugin or theme.

These issues can often be fixed quite quickly, but sometimes it’s not that simple and it wipes some of your blog’s history clean. Worst case scenario: You lose a ton of content.

Unless you install UpdraftPlus, a WordPress plugin that backs up your blog and stores your backup files in DropBox, Google Drive, or whatever remote storage solution you use.

WordPress - UpDraft Plus

This essential plugin will save you time in two ways:

  1. You won’t have to spend hours on the phone or in online chat with your web host trying to restore the last backup of your site.
  2. You won’t have to backup your blog manually. UpdraftPlus will run automated backups on a schedule, so you don’t have to remember to do so yourself.

Trust me, when your website does inevitably break, you’ll be glad you had the foresight to install this plugin.

Plugin #8: Akismet


Have you ever logged onto your blog’s WordPress dashboard and seen comments like this?:

WordPress - Akismet Spam Plugin

Thanks for the compliment, “Petite Clothing.”

These are spam comments that are a huge time waste.

There’s nothing quite as mind-numbing as sorting through comments to identify what’s real and what’s left by robots.

Which is why all bloggers must use Akismet – WordPress’s most popular anti-spam plugin which filters out all spam comments with remarkable accuracy:

WordPress - Akismet Spam Plugin - v2

Plugin #9: WP Broken Link Status Checker


Broken links hurt your SEO and your reader’s experience of your site.

So you need to make sure your links are all in good order, right?

Except that would take hours upon hours. You’d have to go through your posts periodically to check for broken links, testing each one as if you were a reader.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Instead, use WP Broken Link Status Checker.

This plugin runs scans which will check all of the links on your website on autopilot based on your own parameters. You can check for internal links, or make sure that your reader won’t bottom out when they click on a link you placed to another blogger.

WordPress - Broken Link Status Checker Plugin

Plugin #10: ManageWP


When you have more than one blog, you can get even more overwhelmed keeping track of everything.

You have a million tabs open on Google Chrome, you waste a ton of time each day flitting between each tab (often to bring up the wrong one), and you can hardly keep up.

Well, look no further, because ManageWP will make your life a whole lot easier.

ManageWP is a WordPress management system that connects your blogs to a single dashboard.

I have three blogs, and this plugin saves me a ton of time going from one to the other. It provides me easy access to each one with a single click, and also provides an easy overview of the security, performance, and analytics of each one.

ManageWP is a must-have for anyone who manages multiple blogs.

WordPress - Manage WP Plugin

Plugin #11: Enable Media Replace


About a year ago, I hired a web designer to overhaul my blog, Unsettle.

When the design was finally done and pushed out to the world, I began to notice little problems:

I needed to replace my old logo on all of the pages it still showed up on. My headshots were out of date on my old content and pages, and a lot of the blog images I had created were no longer relevant.

I had some work to do.

First, I had to upload the new logo, headshots, and blog images to WordPress.

Then, I had to comb through the pages of my blog to update these images, eating up hours of time (and a lot of patience, too).

But then I stumbled across Enable Media Replace: a WordPress plugin that lets you replace the piece of media (in my case, the images) rather than uploading new ones and hunting them down.

WordPress - Enable Media Replace Plugin

Plugin #12: Appointments+


You’ve been there.

You’re trying to book a coaching call, or a time to meet with a potential freelancing client, or maybe just trying to set up a call with a reader, but you can’t find a time that works for you both.

So you spend what feels like hours in your email inbox proposing, rejecting, and rescheduling.

If this sounds familiar, this plugin will give you huge relief. Appointments+ is a plugin that allows you and your clients or readers to book appointments right on your WordPress website …

WordPress - Appointments+ Plugin

Allowing you to get out of your email inbox and save time, frustration, and back and forth.

Note: This plugin is only available as part of a larger package which costs $49/month. On the other hand, you won’t need this plugin until you have enough clients to afford it. (And the package includes other useful plugins as well!)

Plugin #13: CoSchedule


You know the feeling …

You have a million ideas for blog posts (or maybe, like me, you have a million half-written drafts), and you’re overwhelmed. It’s hard to keep everything organized and keep yourself focused.

Sound familiar?

Then try CoSchedule. It will help you manage your editorial calendar and your social media promotions all in one spot, saving you the time of having to flit between different apps.

Plus, you can post to your Facebook Group right from your WordPress dashboard, and it shows how well your social media posts did, saving you from having to find your analytics in a different app.

CoSchedule is another paid plugin, but it’s a huge time-saver that will leave you feeling far more organized and put together.

Get Off the Blogging Hamster Wheel


Sometimes, blogging feels like you’re on a hamster wheel.

You’re busy all the time, but you’re not getting anywhere fast.

My guess is that’s because you’re spending time on some tasks that, while crucial, won’t propel you forward.

So get off the blogging hamster wheel. Automate the boring stuff with these 13 WordPress plugins so you can get back to the meaningful work: the work you thought you were getting into when you started your blog.

And watch your productivity soar.

Sarah Peterson writes insanely useful guides on marketing and entrepreneurship at Unsettle.org. Get her report, 10 Free Tools That Reveal the Product Your Audience Is Begging For to finally start making money from your blog … the right way.

 

Source: https://smartblogger.com/time-saving-wordpress-plugins/

26 Crazy Stories about “OMG!” Opportunities that Blogging Made Happen

Will it all be worth it?

You can’t help wondering sometimes.

Every spare minute, you’re glued to your computer, reading, writing, doing all you can to grow your blog and build your audience — all on the shaky promise that someday your efforts will pay off.

But sometimes, that someday feels far out of reach. Sometimes, you can’t help wondering whether that day will ever come, or whether you’re just wasting your time.

Well, hang in there, my friend. Because you never know what kinds of opportunities your blog can bring you.

And they might take time, but for all you know, they might be right around the corner.

To prove it, I asked 26 of my blogging friends to share the coolest, craziest opportunities their blogs made happen in their early days — that is, before they amassed a huge following and made tens of thousands of dollars off their blog.

Ready to dive in?

#1. Jeff Bullas / Jeff Bullas


Jeff BullasOne of the “craziest” opportunities I had happened about a year after starting the blog when I was invited to speak in New Zealand.

It came about because a millionaire who was reading my blog, loved my content and had an idea and sent me an email.

After the event he asked me to join the board of a new tech startup and offered shares.

Five years later the company has raised $3 million and is continuing to grow.

That company is Shuttlerock.

We were a winner in Facebook’s 2016 Innovation Spotlight providing a scalable creative solution to unlock the true power of Facebook Advertising.

#2. Ryan Biddulph / Blogging from Paradise


Ryan BiddulphThe coolest opportunity that arose for me as a beginning blogger was being asked to interview Thrillionaire celebrity Nik Halik. I had no clue how to blog, let alone conduct an interview. Since this was some 7 years ago I literally pressed “record” on a tape recorder – I am not kidding – received the call on my land line (resistant to cell phone usage back then) and preserved the interview for transcribing.

I learned a valuable lesson too; be prepared! I asked two canned questions sent to me by his press guy and Nik told me he was bored of the same old questions as this was his 10th interview of the day. Because I spent 20 minutes researching him earlier that day I nimbly shifted and asked probing, interesting questions that made for a great interview.

#3. Chris Guillebeau / The Art of Non-Conformity


Chris GuillebeauIn my early days of blogging, Air New Zealand flew me to the Cook Islands for a 24-hour event.

It was a whirlwind visit and I learned that I don’t like sponsored trips (too much expectation on behalf of the sponsor, even when they say otherwise…), but I was still grateful for the experience.

#4. Danny Iny / Mirasee


Danny InyThe craziest opportunity that arose from blogging was that I ended up co-authoring a book with Guy Kawasaki and other A-listers when I was an unknown. Here’s how it happened:

Firepole Marketing (now Mirasee) was just a tiny blog with less than 1,000 subscribers, when I had the opportunity to guest blog on Copyblogger. My post was “38 Critical Books Every Blogger Needs to Read.” Number 12 on the list was The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki.

It must have caught the attention of Guy and/or his publicist, because a few days later, I received an email from Guy thanking me for including his book. He said he had a new book coming out and offered me a review copy and an interview.

Of course, I seized the opportunity. I spent 15 hours preparing for the interview to make it so good that Guy would want to share it with everybody. Afterwards, I posted the interview on my blog and created a video to promote the book on YouTube. I wrote reviews on Amazon and other bookseller websites—I did everything I could think of to get the word out.

Months later, I invited Guy to contribute to my book, Engagement from Scratch!, and he said yes. And that’s how blogging helped me co-author a book with Guy Kawasaki.

#5. Richard Lazazzera / A Better Lemonade Stand


Richard LazazzeraBlogging quite literally changed my life. Within months of starting my ecommerce blog, A Better Lemonade Stand, I wrote a really long-form piece of content that drove thousands of brand new visitors to my site. One of those visitors was the director of marketing for Shopify. He reached out to me via email and we started to build a relationship.

About a year later, I moved to Toronto. When the director at Shopify heard, I was offered a position at Shopify which I jumped on. That position allowed me to reach two million visitors per month through their blog (while still growing my personal blog), write a full length book, and participate in the IPO of Shopify.

I’ve since left Shopify and continue to build A Better Lemonade Stand and several other companies. To think it all began with a single blog post still amazes me.

#6. Ian Cleary / Razor Social


Ian ClearyWithin six months of launching the blog it was voted one of the top ten social media blogs in the world by a competition run by Social Media Examiner.

That was pretty amazing for me because I started the blog based in Ireland and I was the only European blog on the list. This rapidly helped me become an influencer in the Social Media Space and generated me significant business.

#7. Amy Lynn Andrews / Amy Lynn Andrews


Amy Lynn AndrewsIn 2006, when I had been blogging only a few years and blogs were still somewhat of a novelty, I was contacted by a writer from TIME Magazine. She had found my blog and wanted to interview me for a story she was writing about one of my main topics.

For some reason I didn’t think it could possibly be true, but a few months later I found myself in the print edition of TIME Magazine (in March 2007). Unfortunately I wasn’t savvy enough to maximize the exposure, but I did keep in contact with that journalist and enjoyed her friendship for several years.

#8. Dave Chesson / Kindlepreneur


Dave ChessonYou never know who is reading or following your content. I found out that my all time favorite writer, and multi-NYT Bestseller, Ted Dekker, had come across my work.

This led into getting to meet him for coffee, and ultimately, become an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) reader as well as helping with some of his book marketing projects.

#9. John Lee Dumas / EOFire


John Lee DumasVery early on I had the opportunity to be featured on some pretty big sites as a guest poster, which wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t had the EOFire blog up and running. One of the first was on Think Traffic​ (now Fizzle.co), and we were featured there within just one month of having started our own blog.

This first guest post gave us powerful momentum and exposure, which we then used to request to guest post on other big name sites like Social Media Examiner, Copy Blogger, Content Marketing Institute and over twenty others.

Each new guest post opportunity brought with it exposure, more momentum, and most importantly, a very valuable friendship with people I’m proud to still call friends today.

#10. Aaron Orendorff / Iconicontent


Aaron OrendorffBack in March 2014, I had just started blogging. Basically, it was me, my mom, and literally 261 unique visitors (I checked with Google Analytics just to be accurate).

I’d posted six times, when — out of the digital blue — I got an email about this post, Getting Your Customers to Hold It, Love It, and Give It Money:

Aaron Orendorff - email

I nearly lost my newbie-blogging mind. Of course, I said yes. And somewhat embarrassed myself by asking for a link:

“This is for a book project, so the linking is tough — but I’ll give you lots of love otherwise,” was Ann’s kind response.

Three months later, I’d secured my very first guest post at Copyblogger and I knew enough — just enough — to immediately turn around and pitch Ann on a MarketingProfs guest post. I composed a full article, sent it off, and was in. Everything I’ve done over the last three years has been built on that foundation. And I owe it all to one nice lady who stumbled on my blog when I had no business getting visitors of her clout (or visitors at all for that matter).

#11. Sean Ogle / Location Rebel


Sean OgleAbout six months after starting my blog, I wrote a post about quitting my job as a financial analyst. I had no idea what I was going to do after that, but I knew I was ready for something different.

The following week I received an email from a reader congratulating me on taking the leap, and telling me that he was looking to bring an intern out to Asia to help him with the online marketing for his company. I’d work part time and he would pay my basic living expenses, while teaching me the ins and outs of the digital world.

Six weeks later, I was on a flight to Bangkok where I would live for the next seven months – and it would set the foundation for my life and business for years to come. I haven’t had a real job since.

It never would have happened had I not started the blog, and positioned myself for a big opportunity to come my way.

#12. Camilla Hallstrom / Influence with Content


Camilla HallstromBack when I got started, I had NO clue what I was doing.

I wasn’t sure what worked and what didn’t. Sure, through programs like Serious Bloggers Only I knew what sorts of posts got results, but I still felt uncertain about putting anything out there. What was the point, really? What if I was just wasting my time on this blogging thing? A nagging voice inside my head told me I would end up empty handed without anything to show for it…

That’s why it felt amazing when one of my first posts got tons of shares and comments. But the best part? Brian Tracy (the sales mogul) shared it on his Facebook page (at the time, he had around 1.5 million followers). And that same post went on to win the title of “Most Epic Post” in a contest here on Smart Blogger (Boost Blog Traffic back then).

That’s the moment I understood exactly how powerful blogging can be. You can get noticed by anyone and you can open doors that right now seem firmly shut.

Apart from this, blogging has made such a difference in my life. I have met new friends who have the exact same interests as I do — that NEVER happens offline (for some reason, people’s eyes glaze over whenever I try to start a discussion about a content idea I just heard about). I’ve gotten job offers in big part thanks to my blogging experience and I started my freelance career because of it.

#13. Ashley Faulkes / Mad Lemmings


Ashley FaulkesWhen you are just getting started, you don’t really expect anything crazy to happen. But sometimes you get a big surprise!

One of the things I did when starting out was to create a post featuring all the influencers in the blogging and social media scene. It got a lot of people’s attention and connected me with a lot of influencers very quickly. After all, it was a post with the sole purpose of highlighting these influencers (and letting them know of course :>).

Now, having connected with these influencers, I had the opportunity to take it a step further. I started inviting a lot of them on my brand spanking new podcast. Of course, I did not expect many of the bigger names to say yes. Surprisingly, I got quite a few big bloggers on the show, including some who were very reluctant to put themselves out there (not everyone is a lover of the microphone you know :>). Some of the people I got on my podcast included: Rebekah Radice, Ileane Smith, Ann Smarty, Susan Gilbert, John Paul Aguiar, Ian Anderson Gray and more. No, not Seth Godin, but still, for a complete beginner not bad I think!

What blew me away is that getting in contact with people you look up to is not as hard as it seems (if they don’t have an assistant answering their mails :>). Don’t forget, they were exactly where you are not too long ago. And most are more than happy to help out a newbie! Give it a shot.

#14. Daniel Scocco / Daily Blog Tips


Daniel ScoccoBlogging is a great way to showcase your expertise and expand your network. I learned this when, back in 2009, I landed a consulting gig with an agency of the United States Government! The guys from Voice of America (the official external US broadcaster) were planning to launch a new site, and they wanted to learn what would be the best ways to optimize and promote it. It was a very interesting experience, and certainly a nice touch to my CV!

Practically speaking, this happened because I wrote a lot of content on related topics (website optimization, SEO, content marketing, website promotion), and that content got linked from other bloggers and site owners, and eventually it ranked well on Google. Then when the guys from VOA started doing some research they came across my stuff, liked it, and decided to get in touch.

#15. Meera Kothand / Meera Kothand


Meera KothandOne of the craziest opportunities I received when I started out was not only having my guest post accepted at Marketing Profs but also getting an invitation to record a mini video training for their paid members.

It was scary but I took the plunge and did the training for them and got paid for it as well. This was when my blog was barely six months old. I’ve always believed in guest posting but its benefits reach far wider than just getting traffic and growing your list. It gets you exposure, introduces you to a new audience and paves the way for other opportunities like it did in my case!

#16. Dave Schneider / Ninja Outreach


Dave SchneiderWell I got the opportunity to join my current startup, Ninja Outreach! The opportunity arose when I was invited on a podcast with my now partner Mark, who read my blog, only a few months after I started it.

After the podcast was published he reached back out to me and we discussed some ideas we had for building marketing tools in the space. We decided it made sense to work together on it. That was three years ago, and NinjaOutreach is doing over half a million dollars a year now.

#17. Nathan Chan / Foundr


Nathan ChanI can’t put this down to any one situation! Ever since we started the Foundr blog this has given us opportunities to interview some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our generation (Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Seth Godin etc.) and with this we’ve also been able to connect with some amazing entrepreneurs in our community which has been an extremely rewarding experience.

#18. Julie Harris / Whiskey and Red


Julie HarrisThe craziest opportunity that arose from blogging was being invited to speak at my first live class. I had been blogging for about six months when I was contacted by the Hawaii Chapter of a national women’s entrepreneur association, “Femfessionals” to speak at their Hawaiian Chapter dinner. They had found my name through another local business I had worked with in the past and found their way to my blog. I had just posted about “Charging What You’re Worth” and they loved the post so much they asked me to present on the same topic live, in front of their whole local chapter.

There was a whole catered dinner, wine and beverages, and a room full of local entrepreneurs waiting to hear what I had to say. I was so crazy nervous but excited. This opportunity then opened more doors to new clients, new projects, and continued speaking gigs. My business was so new at that point, I didn’t have much of a portfolio, and my small social following was pretty slim, but I had a pretty extensive business blog, and that was what convinced them that I was the perfect speaker for them.

#19. Franklin Hatchett / Online Dimes


Franklin HatchettWhen I first started blogging I came across a new internet marketing method with Shopify. I ended up writing about it on my blog and uploading a Video to Youtube. To my surprise this became a great opportunity and the opportunity grew my blog from around 1,000 visits a month to over 25,000.

This is the single biggest thing that grew my blog and I seized every moment of it. The blog post and video in question were posted all over the internet because people had doubts and talked negatively about it. That negativity grew my email list to 35,000 and Youtube to 30,000 subscribers in a year. I also launched a private Facebook Group four months ago that quickly grew to 15,000 members and counting.

The blog post that was shared and talked about now has over 400 comments with the video having over 300,000 views. Some might not call this the perfect opportunity, however controversy is used on a daily basis for advertising and any publicity is good publicity.

#20. Zac Johnson / Zac Johnson


Zac JohnsonWhen you put yourself out there in any industry and start to gain a following and audience, new opportunities are going to come up all the time. I’ve learned to not get excited by any of them, as only a very small percentage will actually come together. However, when they do, it’s pretty cool!

One such example was when Michael Bayer contacted me through email and asked if I’d like to be featured in a documentary on internet entrepreneurs. At the time I said yes… but always fully aware opportunities and emails similar to these come in every day and usually result in nothing.

Long story short, Michael was able to pull it all together and release the film! We had a nice premiere party in Hollywood, CA and it was pretty cool! Definitely a fun and exciting opportunity that never would have happened if I didn’t start ZacJohnson.com.

#21. Scott Chow / The Blog Starter


Scott ChowI would have to say that the craziest opportunity to come from blogging as I was getting started was the opportunity to be interviewed by a journalist from a nationally distributed magazine.

I’m generally a pretty shy person so it felt a little strange to have that kind of spotlight on me. However, I think for a lot of people that’s what blogging is all about: finding your voice and sharing that with the world.

I am proud to share that message with people and also to help so many people establish blogs of their own!

#22. Joe Bunting / The Write Practice


Joe BuntingThe craziest thing that happened to me as I first got into blogging was in 2008, after blogging for just a few months, I connected with another blogger who had been doing it for years for the organization he ran. We started emailing back and forth, and once, when he was going to be traveling in my city, we met and he introduced me to his daughter.

A few years later, I was traveling through his city, helping him with a book he was working on, and I saw his daughter again. We hit it off over coffee, started talking, and very long story short, less than a year later we were married. All from blogging.

#23. Tor Refsland / Tor Refsland


Tor RefslandThere are a lot of crazy opportunities that have happened thanks to blogging.

Let me mention two of them:

1. I got featured in a book with some of the best marketers in the world: Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, Brian Clark and Grant Cardone.

2. I got headhunted by Noah Kagan (I graciously turned him down, since I wanted to focus on building my own business).

#24. Ryan Robinson / Ryan Robinson


Ryan RobinsonI got to work with Tim Ferriss, Neil Patel, Lewis Howes and dozens of other entrepreneurs right after I started blogging.

A few months after I started to write about my experiences running side projects, I applied for a job as a content marketer for the business classes at CreativeLive—the online education company. Thanks to the fact that I had already been blogging for myself about business related topics and essentially doing everything the content marketing job would entail, I got the gig and overnight started working with some of the most prominent names in the business world, helping them to create content and market their classes.

By going after a day job that put me in close proximity to the most influential people in my industry, I’ve since been able to grow these relationships and they’ve led me to do things like become a contributor on Forbes, land interviews with people like Pat Flynn and to launch my own consulting business. Blogging is all about relationships—go out of your way to forge meaningful ones that’ll help you progress within your industry.

#25. Nick Loper / Side Hustle Nation


Nick LoperThe craziest opportunity that came from blogging was the chance to speak at my local TEDx event. I was about a year into writing the Side Hustle Nation blog when I was accepted as a speaker, and without any relevant public speaking experience I could point to, I think it was the blog (and Side Hustle Show podcast) that tipped the scales in my favor.

I was incredibly nervous leading up to the event, but it was an awesome “bucket list” experience and a chance to step out of my comfort zone in a big way. Plus it forced me to refine my message into a (hopefully) coherent and concise talk. I went through a half dozen different drafts and rehearsed like crazy before the big day, but the talk ended up receiving a standing ovation and has now been viewed almost 10,000 times on YouTube.

#26. Kiersten Rich / The Blonde Abroad


Kiersten RichMy first ever client was Visit Jordan for a video campaign where I got to produce a series of videos in the capital, Amman.

I’d always been passionate about videography, so it was an incredible opportunity and I was humbled that a tourism board had such faith in me despite only having just gotten started as a “blogger.” I learned early on that my audience and influence was only one aspect of my worth, but that my content also had value!

What Crazy Opportunities Are Waiting for You?

I know those pesky doubts are hard to shake sometimes. I know sometimes you feel like your day will never come; like you’re just wasting time and you might as well quit.

But let these stories inspire you to hang in there.

Blogging can (and often does) pay off in big and unexpected ways.

It is worth it.

So keep reading, keep writing, and (this is important) keep honing your skills.

Keep growing your blog and audience, and opportunities will find you.

Your turn will come.

And it might be right around the corner.

Author the Author: Eli Seekins is the founder of Launch Your Dream. He helps bloggers and entrepreneurs turn their passion into a business. Want help getting your first 1,000 email subscribers and making your first $5,000? Check out his FREE Job To Blog Virtual Summit — where 25 expert bloggers teach you how to quit your job, start a blog and make money doing it.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/blogger-opportunities/

Meet Dr. Brett Kotlus, A NYC Cosmetic Surgeon Who Doubled His Traffic And Now Gets Half His New Patients From His Blog

Two years ago, Dr. Brett Kotlus quit his job as a cosmetic surgeon.

Everyone thought he was nuts.

Why?

He was moving to New York to start his own cosmetic surgery practice.

“People told me I was crazy to move my practice from Detroit to New York because it’s the most competitive and expensive city to start a cosmetic surgery practice.”

When Brett started, business was tough.

He was only seeing a handful of patients at a time. He needed a way to stand out from the intense competition to survive.

Brett knew writing was one of his strengths. So, he committed to starting a blog and writing one post a week for a year.

He quickly discovered he needed some help…

“I didn’t have a lot of direction, so I would brainstorm and come up with ideas. I would write about some that would stick but others just fizzled out. I realized I was doing a shotgun approach and needed to be more focused to create a better website.”

…And that’s when he enrolled in my online course, Blog that Converts.

“It spoke to me because I was in a period of transition with both with my website and my business. I was looking for focus and direction in growing my business.”

Since joining Blog that Converts, here’s how Brett’s practice has changed:

  • He’s fully booked several weeks in advance and is now looking for his own office space (he’s currently sharing space with two other doctors).
  • Brett has doubled his traffic and estimates HALF of his new patients come from his blog.
  • His blog posts have led to a speaking engagement at a national conference, publication in a large online medical journal, and presentations on international webinars.
  • Brett was able to do all this with the help of my easy-to-implement system, Blog that Converts.

Here’s how he did it…

Change #1: He Separated Himself From Brutal NYC Competition

If you’re building an audience, the last thing you should do is occupy the same niche as your competitors.

Think about it. They’re established businesses. How are you going to get any attention doing what they’re doing?

Yet I see it time after time. New blogs that cover the SAME topics everyone in their niche is already writing about.

Nothing new. No character. No flavor. Just plain VANILLA.

These blogs never get any traction.

In Blog that Converts, I show you a technique to stand out and create a niche you can dominate. For Brett, it was a game changer.

“One important thing was to speak in my own voice. Some of my colleagues hire companies to blog for them. But their blogs become invisible because they’re all the same. They have no perspective and are generic. With my articles, people get my perspective and they know it’s my voice.”

Brett focused his blog on the sweet spot between his patients’ common complaints and the procedures he was best at.

He was able to stand out from the hundreds of cosmetic surgeons in New York by talking about the things he did differently — and better — than anyone else.

Change #2: He Established His Credibility With One Procedure

Most new bloggers struggle to show they’re credible. And then they fail to get traffic or build an email list, and they get discouraged.

How can you show people you’re the real deal?

By proving you have a unique solution for a specific problem.

In Blog that Converts, you’ll learn how to do this with one of my favorite techniques. I’ve seen it used over and over by students to give a ton of value to their audience and gain their trust.

For Brett, this took a little trial and error, which isn’t uncommon.

“I started to become known for certain procedures and I didn’t know what those were going to be before I started my practice. What helped me figure that out was my blog.

At first, I thought people wanted to look better in pictures, but I overthought it. I was trying too hard to create something that wasn’t natural for my practice. So I think being open to pivoting or changing direction was very helpful for me.”

Once Brett found a procedure that resonated with his audience, he struck gold. He’s now the #1 Google result for his best procedure:

More importantly, Brett is now known as the go-to surgeon in New York for this procedure.

Change #3: He Courted Controversy For Traffic Wins

Today there are a million things pulling for our attention. If you’re starting a blog, you have to find a way to break through all the noise and find readers.

The problem is most people use the spaghetti cannon approach: they fire, and see what sticks… But it doesn’t have to be this way.

There are certain psychological principles you can use to push the right buttons in your readers and get consistent attention.

For Brett, this meant courting controversy in the cosmetic surgery world.

“I’ve created a lot of content that says, ‘I know this works or this doesn’t work,’ and people respond to that honesty.”

Your competitors might not like you for it, but — as Brett’s results show — your customers will…

50% Of His New Patients Now Come From Reading His Blog

Since enrolling in Blog that Converts, traffic from Brett’s blog has doubled. His practice is now fully booked several weeks in advance.

It’s going so well that he’s looking to lease his own office space.

And because Brett learned the the step-by-step framework in Blog that Converts, he has created compelling content in multiple formats. He has written two books, created professional video content, and started a podcast.

His content has led to amazing opportunities, too. Brett was invited to speak at a national conference and was published in a large medical journal.

Those are amazing feats after starting his practice only two years ago – in the most competitive market in the US!

“I feel like I have a structure now. There’s a foundation for when I create something. I have an approach now, instead of just going by my whim or whatever I feel like it. I can direct that energy to my blog because I have a framework for it. I also feel less stressed because the system works.”

Blog that Converts isn’t just a collection of tips and tactics. It’s a proven system for building your blog and your business… no matter what you sell.

“You can take the pieces that work for you and apply it to your business even with a wide range of strengths and services.”

It’s so good you may even want to keep it a secret…

“I would not recommend it to people because I don’t want them to have the edge that I do. But really, I would. I’ve told a few of my colleagues about it.”

Whether you’re just getting started or been at it a while, the time is now.

Join Blog that Converts



Source: http://feeds.socialtriggers.com/~r/SocialTriggers/~3/NuI0brmWUrM/

31 Insanely Useful Resources for Writing a Bestselling Book in 2017

You’d love to learn how to write a bestselling book, right?

Problem is, it’s scary.

You’re not even sure what goes into writing a book, let alone a bestselling one.

The good news?

Below you’ll find 31 fantastic resources to help you write a bestselling book. (If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by how many there are, just commit to reading one each day for a month!)

Note: I’ve focused on non-fiction books here, though you’ll find that some of the advice — particularly on areas like research and time management — will apply to other types of writing too.

Stage 1: Develop a Book Idea That’s Practically Guaranteed to Sell


You can’t have a great book without a great idea.

I’ve written a lot over the past eight years, and one thing I’ve learned (the hard way!) is that the ideas that I think are great aren’t necessarily the ones my audience will want to buy.

Stage 1: You can't have a great book without a great idea.

The following resources will help you come up with ideas and road-test them so you’re sure the book you’ll be spending months of your life on will be one that people actually want to read:

#1. Got a Book Idea? These 4 Steps Reveal if It Will Sell

Author: Dave Chesson
Source: Make a Living Writing

This post is all about creating a book that people already want. It’s a guide to doing market research on Amazon, with lots of handy links to free and paid tools you can use.

Key Takeaways:

  • Unless you have a huge email list of your own, you won’t write a bestselling book without having an idea that’s “organically discoverable” (i.e., people are searching for it on Amazon).
  • You can use the ABSR (Amazon Best Seller Rank) for existing books on similar topics to judge whether your book is likely to make money.
  • A popular idea isn’t enough; you also need to find a topic where you won’t have too much competition.

#2. Writing: How to Get to Know Your Target Readers Better and Craft Your Self-Published Books to Resonate with Them

Author: Dan Blank
Source: Self Publishing Advice Centre (the Alliance of Independent Authors’ blog)

In this post, Dan explains how you can take very specific steps to find out exactly what your ideal audience likes, based on the books they’re already reading and the authors they’re already following.

Key Takeaways:

  • One of the best ways to learn about your market and refine your idea is to look at similar books that already exist.
  • When you’re using social media, focus on making a connection — don’t just be promotional.
  • Be consistent with reaching out through different channels (social media, emails, events, etc). Do a little bit each week.

#3. 9 Essential Tips for Researching Your Nonfiction Book Idea

Author: Debbie Reber
Source: Debbie Reber Writing Coach

Although this is a short, succinct post, Debbie offers great practical tips for digging deeper into your idea — for thinking not only about how to position and sell your book, but also about what to include in your outline and plans.

Key Takeaways:

  • If you already have an audience, survey them to ask for specific feedback on your ideas. Surveys can even give you useful statistics or quotes to use.
  • Look for existing conversations around your topics: in blog posts and comments, in Facebook groups, in news coverage, and more.
  • Set a specific end date for your research so that it doesn’t drag on and on.

Stage 2: Create a Rock-Solid Structure to Make Your Book Easy to Read and Write


Once you’ve got an idea that you’re confident will sell, it’s time to figure out the structure of your book and create a full chapter-by-chapter outline.

Your outline is particularly essential if you want to submit a book proposal to agents or publishers. But even if you’re self-publishing, having a solid structure means you’ll end up with a much better book as a result.

Stage 2: Corral your ideas and outline like a pro.

These resources will help you corral your ideas and outline like a pro:

#4. How to Get Started Mind Mapping Your Book (and Everything Else)

Author: Roger C. Parker
Source: The Book Designer

Before you start your outline, you should get all your ideas down on paper through mind mapping. This post explains what it is and how it’s done, and offers some suggestions for making the most of mind mapping software.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mind mapping allows you to see your whole project — and how various bits fit together — at a glance. It makes it easy to move ideas around, add new ones, or remove weaker ones.
  • While some authors like to mind map on paper, if you’re using this for your full outline, you’ll want to use software.
  • There are lots of different mind mapping programs out there, but all share common features. Most allow you not only to put your topics and subtopics on the map but also include notes, comments, relationships and other features to help you link and annotate your ideas.

#5. The No-Stress Way for Writers to Outline

Author: David Carr
Source: The Book Designer

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of outlining, or if your mind goes blank whenever you sit down to plan out your book, David’s post breaks things down into simple steps — with a focus on gathering your ideas then getting them into a logical order.

Key Takeaways:

  • Outlines don’t have to be scary, and you definitely don’t have to start with a blank page and go straight to creating a linear outline.
  • By outlining, you won’t get stuck when you’re writing. You’ve already thought about all the key points you need to bring in. You can also jump ahead in the outline: you don’t have to write in sequential order.
  • Start with the big picture and narrow down: come up with broad topics, get them into a logical order, then take each topic in term and break it into key points.

#6. Using Scrivener to Outline Your Non-Fiction Book

Author: Lise Cartright
Source: Author Basics

This video and accompanying post explain how to use a writing tool called Scrivener to outline a book by using its corkboard view. In case you’re not already familiar with Scrivener; it’s a paid-for piece of software that many fiction and non-fiction writers use as an alternative to a word processor. It’s highly recommended; see next resource)

Key Takeaways:

  • You can group ideas from your mind map to form the chapters or sections of your book.
  • Scrivener’s “Corkboard” view can help you see, at a glance, how your book all fits together. You can easily drag and drop ideas to refine your chapter order.
  • Adding a brief paragraph to each chapter heading will help when it comes time to write the book because you’re no longer starting from a blank page.

#7. Scrivener [Software]

Source: Literature and Latte

Writers love using Scrivener to write their books because it creates a much more organized writing experience. It’s not only beneficial for outlining, but will help you keep track of everything once you write the book. The more of your book gets written, the harder it becomes to navigate in tools like Word. Scrivener fixes this problem.

If you want to give Scrivener a try, there’s a free 30-day trial (it only counts the days on which you actually use the software, so you could use it 3 days per week for 10 weeks). After that, it costs $45 (Mac) / $40 (Windows) to buy.  It has a bit of a learning curve, but it’s worth it (and you can find video tutorials on its website).

Stage 3: Research Your Book as Efficiently as Possible, Without Spending Hours Lost in an Internet Rabbit-Hole


Note: Although I’ve put this as Stage 3, there’s no rule saying you need to do all your research before you begin writing. Some authors prefer to draft first, leaving gaps or sections to come back to at a later stage.

The idea of “research” can conjure up images of dusty libraries, complicated trawls through obscure online archives, or daunting conversations with experts. If you’ve never done much research before, the idea of it can be enough to put you off writing altogether.

Stage 3: Research doesn't have to be difficult.

Research doesn’t need to be difficult, though. All of these resources demystify the process:

#8. How Real Online Research Works

Author: Paul Gil
Source: Lifewire

This excellent post isn’t aimed specifically at authors, but at anyone conducting research online. It distinguishes between “hard research” (when you’re looking for objective, scientific facts) and “soft research” (when you’re looking for subjective, opinion-based sources), and offers specific suggestions on the types of sources to turn to.

Key Takeaways:

  • It’s crucial to use the right online authorities for your topic. Don’t simply Google for a keyword: think about what sites will provide useful, accurate information.
  • Experiment with different keyword phrases and combinations, starting with broad big-picture researching before narrowing down and using specialist search engines.
  • Watch out for specific red flags when you vet the resources you’ve come across: avoid sites that are amateur-looking, that are plastered with ads, or where the author appears to be overly positive or overly negative.

#9. Journey into the Hidden Web: A Guide for New Researchers

Author: Ryan Dube
Source: MakeUseOf

This is a fascinating, very in-depth look at the “hidden web” (or “deep web”, “invisible web”, etc.): the huge volumes of online information that are not accessible via a standard search engine. While some of this won’t be relevant to authors — e.g., the first section is more focused on personal, family research — it also offers a look at academic research, particularly academic databases and search engines like JSTOR.

Key Takeaways:

  • The “visible” web — accessible through search engines — isn’t all there is. There is a LOT of information that you’ll never find through a Google search because it isn’t “crawlable.”
  • Tor is an alternative web: a separate network where websites have to be accessed through a special browser (the “Tor Browser Bundle”). There’s a lot of dodgy stuff on Tor (pirated and criminal content, for instance) — but it’s also used by journalists and protesters who want to keep their online activity away from potential prying eyes.
  • There’s an amazing volume of statistical information online, which you can find using government databases and academic databases (you’ll find links in the post).

#10. Writing a Book? 9 Killer Research Tips

Author: Chandler Bolt
Source: Self-Publishing School

This post takes a closer look at the idea of writing first, then researching. Chandler focuses on efficient research: making sure you find out what you need to know to write a great book, without spending too much time bogged down at this stage.

Key Takeaways:

  • Turn off the Internet when you’re writing, so that you don’t get distracted by researching (or by social media) when you’re focusing on your first draft.
  • Organize your research: it doesn’t matter exactly how, so long as you keep it all in one place: virtual folder, physical folder, Evernote or Scrivener could all work.
  • Consider taking on an intern or hiring an assistant to help you out with your research.

#11. Help a Reporter Out [Email List]

Source: Help a Reporter Out

This huge mailing list is a fantastic resource for researching pretty much anything. You can send out a message saying what you need and find loads of great sources: individuals who’ve signed up to receive messages about their particular area(s) of expertise.

Note, though, that HARO requires your website/blog to have an Alexa ranking of one million or less before you can send out a request for sources. (To give you some idea of rankings, Smart Blogger is at 47,868 and my own site Aliventures is at 639,675.)

You can sign up to HARO as a source, if your book’s topic is your particular area of expertise. That way, you can get quoted in other people’s articles and books — which is a great way to market your own.

Stage 4: Find the Time, Energy and Focus to Actually Write Your Book


Once you’ve got an outline and you’ve done enough research to at least begin — it’s time to write! One of the biggest struggles that authors face, though, is actually getting their writing done consistently.

Maybe you love coming up with ideas and even writing outlines and noting down interesting bits of research … but when it comes to the actual writing, you end up stalling.

Stage 4: Find the time and motivation to write consistently.

Whether your problem is a lack of time, or you’re simply struggling to focus when you sit down to write, these are some great resources to help you:

#12. Use the Two-Hour Rule to Make Progress on Your Creative Projects

Author: Charlie Gilkey
Source: Productive Flourishing

In this post, Charlie explains why it’s difficult to get into creative projects in very small chunks of time — and why a two hour block of time works better.

Key Takeaways:

  • While some tasks can be easily fitted into short (15/30 minute) chunks, it takes a bit of time to get into the flow of a creative task like writing. You want to work in longer bursts.
  • It’s hard to focus for more than about two hours on something intensively creative.
  • You might have no idea how many words you can expect to write in a day or week, but you probably have a good sense of what you could produce in a two hour block.

#13. 10 Ridiculously Simple Steps for Writing a Book

Author: Jeff Goins
Source: Goins, Writer

This post offers a lot of excellent tips and many are specifically about finding the time and keeping up motivation to write. It also includes a handy chart of roughly what word length equates to what type of book (e.g. “20,000 words = short eBook or manifesto”).

Key Takeaways:

  • Writing a book happens in three phases: Beginning (you have to actually start), staying motivated (conquer self-doubt and overwhelm) and finishing (avoid languishing in the “almost finished” phase).
  • Have a set time (ideally daily) and place to work on your book. Write some each day and it quickly adds up.
  • Set a total word count for your book. Are you producing a short pamphlet or a huge academic tome? A word count keeps you on track so you don’t end up with too-long or too-short chapters as you write.
  • You must forgive yourself when you mess up. All writers mess up. The difference with writers who make it is that they learn their lesson and keep going.

#14. 12 Time Management Tips for Writers

Author: Michelle V. Rafter
Source: WordCount

Michelle takes a look at some key difficulties that writers face (like managing their own expectations and the need to work on multiple projects), and offers practical tips for staying productive. While some of these are familiar ones (like “turn off distractions”), others might be newer to you.

Key Takeaways:

  • Time management issues may show up as a lack of balance, getting distracted, having unrealistic expectations, lacking margin and flexibility, or struggling to deal with multiple projects on the go at once.
  • Try following a “formal productivity regime”: a system like David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
  • Set daily or weekly goals and reward yourself when you meet them. Or, if you prefer, use a daily to-do list and enjoy checking things off!

#15. Free Planners and Worksheets Designed to Help Creatives Stay Focused and Productive [Free Downloads ]

Author: Charlie Gilkey
Source: Productive Flourishing

These excellent planners come in various different flavors depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Some help you plan over a long-ish period of time (the Momentum Planners) and others are good for breaking down tasks (the Individual Project Planner) or are designed for specific aspects of your work (the Blog Post Planner and Calendar).

Stage 5: Get Your First Draft Down on the Page


Writing a book can seem like a daunting project and at this stage you might start questioning whether you have it in you. But you just need to get that first draft out of your system.

If you can write a blog post, you can write a book too! You can even structure your book chapters like blog posts. Many non-fiction books use the same direct, conversational tone you’d use on your blog. Some even use blog posts as the basis of a book (e.g. Michael Hyatt’s Platform and Darren Rowse’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog).

Stage 5: If you can write a blog post, you can write a book.

Use the following resources will help you get the words out of your head and onto the page:

#16. How to Dictate Your Book With Monica Leonelle

Author: Joanna Penn
Source: The Creative Penn

There’s no rule that says you have to type your book … if you prefer, you could write by dictating it. Many very prolific authors (including freelancers and “indie” fiction authors) are huge fans of dictation. This podcast — with full transcript — takes a look at the process and how to get started.

Key Takeaways:

  • Even if you feel that you think by writing, you can learn to dictate: just be patient. Think about speaking in phrases rather than in words, as that’s how dictation software works.
  • Your writing process may need to change a little for effective dictation. For instance, you might outline in more detail before starting to dictate.
  • Dictation is a lot faster than typing: Monica can dictate at 3,000 – 3,500 words on average per hour. You don’t have to dictate every word, though: you can still type when it suits you!

#17. Concentration: 22 Ways to Stay Focused on Writing

Author: Matthew Stibbe
Source: Articulate

If you find your attention wandering as you write, this list has lots of great ideas to try — from the super-practical, like using “TK” to mark facts to look up, to the more inspirational, like the “rock and river” principle.

Key Takeaways:

  • You’ll enjoy writing more (and write better) when you concentrate rather than multitask.
  • Don’t mix writing and editing. Get the first draft down, then worry about getting every sentence right. Keep moving forward as you draft.
  • Accept that distractions crop up, but do your best to minimize them by noticing and labelling them, and by switching off your TV/phone/email, etc.

#18. Practical Tips on Writing a Book from 23 Brilliant Authors

Author: Steve Silberman
Source: NeuroTribes

This huge post is packed with great advice from non-fiction authors writing on a wide range of subjects. Some of the tips deal with the pre-writing and editing, but there’s a lot of focus on the writing itself and how to get the words down on the page.

Key Takeaways:

  • First drafts are allowed to suck. Don’t worry, just keep writing.
  • Remember that you’ve done this before, just not in a such a long form. The techniques you’ve used for blogging/freelancing/whatever else you’ve written still apply.
  • Find a way to organize notes and scraps of information as you write. (Note: Several authors here also mention Scrivener.)

#19. Dragon NaturallySpeaking [Software]

Source: Amazon

While there are free dictation options out there, many authors recommend using Dragon NaturallySpeaking — which you can use not only to dictate but to browse the web, edit your text, and more. The most recent “home” (not premium) version is currently $39.72 on Amazon.

Alternatively, if you’re on a tight budget, Google Doc’s “voice typing” feature has a decent reputation and is free.

Stage 6: Turn Your Rough Draft into a Polished Book to Be Proud Of


Once you’ve finished your first draft, take some time off from writing and celebrate! Many would-be authors never get this far.

After you’ve set your work aside for a few days or weeks, though, it’s time to read it through and start making notes about everything you need to change, cut, or add.

Stage 6: Shape and prune your work.

If you can afford to bring in a professional editor, do! But before that, these resources will help you shape and prune your own work:

#20. The Three Stages of Editing (and Nine Handy Do-it-Yourself Tips)

Author: Ali Luke
Source: Aliventures

This post explains that when you edit, you’ll want to make changes in the right order: there’s little point perfecting a sentence or paragraph that you later cut completely. Work on big-picture revisions first, then smaller edits, and finally proof-read.

Key Takeaways:

  • Before you edit the nitty-gritty details, use the “Revision” stage to make major changes, like cutting out whole chapters or moving sections around within the manuscript.
  • When you’re editing, cut out unnecessary words. They add clutter and weaken your writing.
  • It helps a lot to proofread on paper, or even to read out loud. Otherwise, your eyes just skip over mistakes.

#21. Self Editing Basics: 10 Simple Ways to Edit Your Own Book

Author: Blake Atwood
Source: The Write Life

Even if you are using a professional editor (or turning to beta readers for help), you’ll want to give your book an initial edit yourself. This straightforward post offers practical and realistic advice on how to do just that.

Key Takeaways:

  • Put your manuscript aside for a few days before you start to edit. That way, you can come back to it with fresh eyes.
  • Use the “search” function to find any words that you habitually misspell, and correct them. You can also use this for words you tend to overuse (your “crutch words”).
  • Don’t keep on editing endlessly: you’ll never reach perfection. If you can, hire a copy editor to help you put that final polish on your manuscript.

#22. 5 Ways to Find the Right Freelance Book Editor

Author: Stacy Ennis
Source: JaneFriedman.com

Finding the right editor for your book can be tricky; in this post, Stacy outlines some key things to look for — not just an editor who’s experienced, but also one who works well with their clients.

Key Takeaways:

  • You want an editor who’s not only experienced but who you enjoy working with: someone who seems friendly and approachable.
  • Get a referral from friends, if you can, or look in the acknowledgements of books that you’ve enjoyed and considered to be well-written.
  • Talk to the editor’s previous clients and find out what the editing process was like and how happy (or not!) they were with it.

Stage 7: Take a Deep Breath and Send Your Book Out into the World


If you want to go for traditional publication, it’s normal to approach publishers once you have an outline and a sample chapter or two. Some first-time authors prefer to write the full manuscript first, though, so they’re confident they can complete it.

These days, more and more authors self-publish (for full creative control and a bigger share of the royalties). This may be a good route for you if you already have an established audience.

Stage 7: Publish in a professional manner.

The three resources that follow cover the different publication routes.

#23. Start Here: How to Write a Book Proposal

Author: Jane Friedman
Source: JaneFriedman.com

While your outline is part of a book proposal, it’s far from the whole thing. This post explains what you need to include — and emphasizes the importance of making a strong business case for your book.

Key Takeaways:

  • If you want to get a traditional publishing deal, you have to write a book proposal. This applies even if you’ve already completed the book.
  • Your business case is crucial: your platform and expertise are much more important to publishers than how brilliant a writer you are. (You need to be a competent writer, but you definitely don’t need to be the next Shakespeare.)
  • Every book proposal must answer the key questions “So what?”, “Who cares?” and “Who are you?”

#24. How To Self-Publish An Ebook and #25. How to Self-Publish a Print Book

Author: Joanna Penn
Sources: The Creative Penn — Ebook and Print Book

These two excellent, detailed guides from prolific indie author Joanna Penn explain in very straightforward terms how to go about self-publishing in both ebook and print formats. They look at a lot of practical, tactical considerations (like “exclusivity vs. going wide” and whether to use print-on-demand).

Key Takeaways:

  • Even if you don’t personally read ebooks, many people do, and most independent authors make the vast majority of their money from ebooks, not print books.
  • However, it’s also well worth publishing in print. It can be very personally rewarding to hold your finished book … and some readers will want to buy the print version for their bookshelf. Even those who don’t buy print books will see the “comparison pricing” showing what a great deal the ebook version is!
  • These days, you can publish a print book as “print on demand,” so you don’t need to pay for and store any inventory.

#26. 8 Self-Publishing Secrets for Designing An eBook Cover

Author: Rob Nightingale
Source: MakeUseOf

If you’re self-publishing, you need a professional-quality cover.  It’s always best to hire a professional, but if you’re determined to design your own cover, read this article first. It’s packed with great tips, with lots of examples and links. If you’d rather bring in a pro, this post is still useful because it tells you what to check for once they’ve completed their design.

Key Takeaways:

  • Designing covers that work online is very different from designing a good print cover. In particular, the author name and title need to be visible at small sizes.
  • When you’re looking for images to use, avoid clichéd stock photos, think about mood and feelings rather than specific keywords, and be willing to pay for a good image.
  • Pay very careful attention to typography as this can make a huge difference to how professional the cover looks.

#27. Monthly e-Book Cover Design Awards

Author: Joel Friedlander
Source: The Book Designer

One of the best ways to see what works in book cover design is to look at lots of different examples. Each month, Joel publishes a whole load of ebook covers (mainly fiction but some non-fiction) that have been submitted to him — along with his comments.

Key Takeaways:

  • It’s very hard for authors to design a good cover! Unless you’ve got significant design experience, you’ll be best off hiring a professional.
  • Typography can let down an otherwise good book cover: the font may be difficult to read, too small, or wrong for the genre.
  • All the elements included on the cover need to fit together seamlessly: they shouldn’t look like they’ve been pasted on or added as an afterthought.

Stage 8: Get Your Book in Front of (the Right) Readers Without Spending a Fortune on Advertising


Publishing your book is far from the end of the process of creating a bestseller: you need to market, too.

This is the case even if you traditionally publish. Unless you’re already an established name, your publisher will not have a huge budget for promoting your book — and you’ll be expected to do a lot of the work yourself.

Stage 8: After publishing your book, get busy promoting it, too.

Marketing can seem a bit daunting or mysterious at first, but these resources break down the process and make it much more straightforward:

#28. The Author’s Guide to Building an Email List (and Selling More Books)

Author: Tom Morkes
Source: TomMorkes.com

This very thorough guide explains how to market a book effectively, explaining why you need an email list and how to go about setting one up. Tom includes case studies, screen shots, and lots of links. You may well want to bookmark the post so you can refer back to it.

Key Takeaways:

  • You can’t use Amazon to market your book. It’s a great sales channel, but you need to drive attention to your book through marketing channels.
  • Having an email list is essential: it allows you to get in touch with your audience directly and easily.
  • You’ll need to give away something to encourage people to join your email list: many authors use a free book or course. This could be something short or something full-length.

#29. 15 Tips for Promoting Nonfiction Books Successfully

Author: Nina Amir
Source: Write Nonfiction Now!

This round-up post brings together lots of excellent advice from different authors: some of the suggestions are high-level strategic ones and others are very specific, like suggestions on what to include in your online media kit.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are many different ways to promote your book. Find out what’s effective for you, and what you enjoy (or at least don’t actively hate!)
  • Your email list is crucially important, and your marketing should point people toward your free gift for opting in.
  • Partner up with other authors, coaches, experts, etc. who have an on-topic audience for you and offer them a guest post, interview, or whatever might work for their blog/podcast.

#30. Should Indie Authors Put Endorsement Quotes or “Puffs” on Self-Published Books?

Author: Debbie Young
Source: Self Publishing Advice Centre (the Alliance of Independent Authors’ blog)

The use of “puff quotes” (endorsements on the cover of your book) is a divisive one. Some authors feel they’re a huge boost to sales and marketing efforts, and feel they’re useful for adding extra information on the cover … but other authors think they could be actively off-putting.

Key Takeaways:

  • If you are going to use a puff quote, get one from the right person — it needs to be a name that your readers will recognise, and someone whose opinion they’ll trust.
  • Use puff quotes that add something to the information already on the cover (for instance, they might give readers an idea of the tone or style of the writing).
  • Consider using reviews as a source of puff quotes: take a sentence or phrase from a review, check the reviewer is happy with you using it, and put that on the cover.

#31. Self-Publishing Success Stories: How I Do It — with Joseph Alexander

Author: Joseph Alexander
Source: Self Publishing Advice Centre (the Alliance of Independent Authors’ blog)

This post doesn’t just cover marketing; it also looks at some other areas like integrity and quality, prioritizing, and moving into publishing other people’s books as well as just publishing your own.

Key Takeaways:

  • Creating a branded series of books can be particularly powerful; if people have bought one, they’ll likely buy others. This also allows you to partner up with other writers (who can write books on topics that aren’t quite your area of expertise).
  • Consider getting your work translated into other languages, so you can reach a worldwide market.
  • It’s hugely rewarding to hear from people who’ve read your book and who’ve benefitted from it. When you’re writing, do your best work and have integrity.

What’s Stopping You from Writing a Bestseller?

Writing a book isn’t easy.

Writing a bestselling book is considerably harder.

Of course, nothing can guarantee success. But if you start with a great idea and a strong sense of your target audience, come up with an outline that includes exactly what that audience wants, get your first draft down, edit carefully, publish in a professional manner, and put some energy and thought into marketing …

… then you’ve got as good a chance as anyone.

If you’ve never written a book before, it might feel like an almost impossible task. It isn’t. Take it step by step, and you will do it.

When New Year’s Eve rolls around, will you be entering yet another year with your book still unwritten, or will it be out there solving problems, bringing in a steady income, and even changing lives?

You’ve got all the resources you need at your fingertips.

The rest is up to you.

About the Author: Ali Luke blogs about the art, craft and business of writing at Aliventures. If you’re worried that you’re not cut out to be a writer, or if you’re going through a difficult writing time right now, check out her post Seven Things to Do When You Feel Like Giving Up on Writing.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/how-to-write-a-bestselling-book/

302 Family > Business – Why I’m taking a Break

A lot has changed over the last week and a half. In this mini-episode, I share those things. I also explain why I’m taking a break from most of my business.

Thank you for your understanding.

The post 302 Family > Business – Why I’m taking a Break appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: http://www.becomeablogger.com/25312/302-family-business-im-taking-break/

Ignored Your Blog for Months? 13 Tips for Getting It Back on Track

Come on, fess up!

You’ve done the unthinkable. You’ve let your beloved blog wither in the shadows of neglect.

Once a thriving haven of ideas and wisdom for your adoring readers, your blog is now just a wasteland of stale posts.

You’re bugged by the numbing guilt that you’ve let yourself down, and even worse, that you’ve let your readers down.

Will they even give a crap when they see your name pop into their flooded inboxes again? They’ve probably moved on. They’ve probably replaced you with someone they can count on.

Before you throw in the towel of defeat, know this — it’s not too late to fight for your blogging dream and claw back the attention of your readers.

But don’t just charge back into the arena frantically waving a flag.

Remember, it’s not who leaps in with chaotic enthusiasm who wins; it’s who plays the game with grit and strategy.

You Need to Get Your Head Back In the Game

Now’s the time to dive deep into your mind and clear the roadblocks that are waiting to trip you.

Maybe you regret letting your blog slip? Maybe you think it’s too late to save your blog? Maybe you fear that you’ve squandered any goodwill your readers had, and that they’ll never trust you again?

Make peace with the reason for your break. It could be as simple as a new baby, a new job, or a new relationship keeping you distracted. Or it could be deeper. Whatever the reason, revisit the passion that fueled you during your blogging honeymoon days and use it to add power to your comeback.

And stop inspecting the collateral damage of your neglected blog — plummeting traffic figures, zero social engagement, and the once steady stream of subscribers that’s now as dry as a river in a drought.

Focusing on the past sucks every ounce of energy you need to change your future. So throw aside any doubts, fears, and worries and look forward.

Concentrate on what needs to be done to make up for losses and get your blog humming again.

But you can’t just dive right back in. You need a plan.

13 Revival Tips That Will Restore Your Blog to Its Former Glory

I know you’re pumped to start blogging again, but you can’t just leap at your keyboard like an overzealous puppy.

Think about it — maybe your readers have moved on. Maybe they’re ticked off that you’ve left them hanging. Maybe they’re just not that into you anymore (gulp).

If you simply dive back in with blind faith and hope that your readers are still eagerly waiting for you, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

The strongest move is to map out your revival plan before your first play. I’m talking the whole kit and kaboodle — email sequence, blog posts, fancy relaunch ideas — all with the life or death seriousness of a Super Bowl final.

Remember, any game plan that’s worth its salt is cram-packed with tactics that cover all the bases.

Here are 13 tips to build into your plan to stack the odds in your favor.

Tip #1. Suck It Up and Apologize


Like yesterday’s news, you’re no longer at the top of your readers’ minds. You could leap about in your underpants while they’re blindfolded for all the attention they’ll give you when you email them again.

You must begin by re-engaging your neglected list. You need to win back their attention, trust, and respect. And the first step is to send them an email that says:

“I owe you an apology … ”

You need to tell your subscribers you’re sorry for letting them down and explain what has kept you away. And whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of making excuses to cover your butt, even if your reasons seem trivial or selfish.

Own your absence with raw honesty and a heartfelt apology, and watch your vulnerability draw them back to you like a magnet.

Tip #1. Suck It Up and Apologize

Tip #2. Prove That You’ll Put Their Needs First


The next step to healing your relationship with your readers is to make them feel like you have their backs — that you’re listening to their specific issues and that you’ll do your best to help them.

Send them a survey with one meaningful and open-ended question. But don’t call it a survey. Ask them to tell you about their situation or to offer their opinion, and they’ll be more willing to play ball.

You can then use their answers to tailor your next few blog posts to their specific wants and needs, guaranteeing that you’ll win back their affection.

You can even go one step further by rolling up your sleeves and jumping on the phone with them. They’ll be stunned into adoration by the personal connection in our cold, digital world.

And these readers will turn into your biggest fans, opening every email and sharing your posts with their friends.

Tip #2. Prove That You’ll Put Their Needs First

Tip #3. Win Back Their Affection With a Shiny New Gift


Now that your readers are paying attention, you’re ready for your next re-engagement play — the freebie.

Think of it like a relationship — you’ve rekindled the spark of attraction and you’ve shown you care by listening to their needs. So next, you win back their affection with a gift.

And make sure you tell them it’s free. The word “free” will set your readers’ pulses racing as it releases a flood of happy chemicals through their bodies that are impossible to ignore.

You could design a new report, cheat sheet, or checklist, but if you’re looking for a gift that packs a punch, try joining the online quiz craze. Tap into your readers’ innate curiosity to find out what type they are, how much they score, or which category they fall into.

You’ll restore trust and respect by demonstrating you’re on-trend with your content and grow your shrinking list at the same time, as quizzes are often shared like crazy.

Tip #3. Win Back Their Affection With a Shiny New Gift

Tip #4. Show Them a Crystal Ball


Let’s assume your readers totally dig you again. Even if you’re back on their radar, what’s to stop them getting distracted next time you contact them?

They could miss your email as they dizzy themselves scrolling past all the clutter in their inboxes. Or they could be sidelined by the unpredictability of life.

But there’s a way you can set a honey pot for their attention so they don’t drift away before you’ve become a sought-after fixture in their life again …

You can prime their minds to be on the lookout for everything you send.

Create an email that shows them the future and tells them what they can expect in the coming weeks. Drill down into the topics you’ve mapped out in your relaunch plan, and target the pains and desires they’ve shared with you in their survey responses.

Your email open rates will soar as they instantly recognize your email as familiar content that they’re waiting for. And they’ll like you more as you demonstrate you’ve listened to them.

Tip #4. Show Them a Crystal Ball

Tip #5. Be Bold and Boost Your Open Rate


The first few emails in your re-engagement plan are the keys that unlock your readers’ attention and draw them back to you. You need to get as many eyeballs on them as you can.

But if statistics are anything to go by, you probably won’t connect with up to 70% of your readers every time you email them.

Don’t leave it to chance. Be bold and resend the emails to unopens after 48 hours, sporting a new headline. The apology, the survey and the gift emails should be hot on top of your resend list.

Every one of those emails puts you back on your readers’ mental radar, boosting your chances of them opening your email next time.

You can also do this once you start sending them posts again.

Speaking of which …

Tip #5. Be Bold and Boost Your Open Rate

Tip #6. Remind Them Why They Loved You So Much


You’re back in the saddle and now you’re picking up pace, but the journey is just beginning.

Remember, you’ve let your readers down, so you need to win back their trust. You need to remind them why they loved you so much in the first place.

The last thing you want to do is hit them with a bunch of fluff pieces or generic, rehashed content that leaves them feeling disappointed.

Your revival campaign should include at least three posts — let’s call ’em revival posts — that go above and beyond.

Write an ultimate guide that details every single step of an intricate process, create an epic manifesto that gets your readers’ blood pumping, or collect a huge number of insider secrets from influencers in your niche.

Your revival posts must be so jam-packed with value that they blow your readers’ minds and hook them to your blog again.

Tip #6. Remind Them Why They Loved You So Much

Tip #7. Name-Drop to Be Noticed


To run a successful revival campaign, you need to do more than just re-engage your list. You also need to make up for readers who chose to unsubscribe despite your valiant attempts to win back their hearts. Plus, you need to reconnect with other bloggers in your niche who think your blog is pushing up daisies.

You can hit three birds with one stone by making one of your revival posts an expert roundup.

You provide massive value to your readers, you let other bloggers know your blog is back in action, and since you give them an irresistible reason to share it, you’ll get a surge in traffic.

So gather multiple expert opinions together into a meaty post bulging with value and name-drop like mad. Send it to your list and to the experts who’ve participated, and triple-whammy the effect.

Tip #7. Name-Drop to Be Noticed

Tip #8. Make Yourself Impossible to Ignore


Imagine you’re taking a stroll through your neighborhood. You notice a big poster on a wall, but you pay it little attention. A block later, you see it again. And then again. This poster is plastered all throughout your neighborhood.

How many times do you think you’d have to see it before you stop and see what all the fuss is about?

The more you come across something, the more likely it is you’ll get curious enough to check it out. And your readers are the same way, so here’s what you do …

Write several guest posts for popular blogs and, if they’re accepted, tell the bloggers the posts are for a revival campaign. Ask if they could be published on the same date (give or take).

Chances are, your target audience frequents a number of blogs in your niche. Readers can be fickle creatures, and some may click through on the first post of yours they see while others won’t. But when they see you on the second, third and even the fourth blog they visit —  well, now you’ve piqued their interest!

There’s no way they can ignore you when you’re everywhere.

Tip #8. Make Yourself Impossible to Ignore

Tip #9. Harness The Power of Social


Let’s face it — not everyone reads blogs yet. But there are millions of potential readers actively lapping up everything they see on Facebook. And ads are a hot way to reach these readers.

Sure, back in the dark ages of social media, only the technically minded would dare run a Facebook ad campaign. But Zuckerberg, being the smart cookie he is, realized he was making it too damn hard for us.

You don’t need to sit back and wait to be noticed any longer. You can take your posts to these hungry new readers — or send them a landing page offering them a bribe to subscribe — by running ad campaigns with minimal pain or risk.

Here’s a tip — don’t just use a scattergun approach, select the audience you’re going to target by interest and demographic. You can even set small daily limits, so you don’t spend the day panicking that you’re draining your life savings.

You’ll rebuild that crumbling list in no time.

Tip #9. Harness The Power of Social

Tip #10. Give Your Blog a Face Lift


Beauty turns heads. It sets our hearts fluttering, and our brains read that feeling as a positive sign.

Before you invest hours into writing guest posts and dollars into running Facebook ads, ask yourself this — does your blog still look okay?

Perhaps your fonts, headers, and buttons now resemble last year’s uncool fashions. Or maybe the design still holds up, but your outdated theme is snail-slow to load.

If your blog design is a mess, you might give your blog a makeover before you start your re-engagement campaign. After all, your readers aren’t really expecting to hear from you right now, so it’s the perfect opportunity to invest some time in it.

Not only will your new design make a better impression on the new visitors you’re getting from your guest posts and Facebook ads, but it also sends your existing readers a signal that you’re serious about being back.

Be sure to add your face lift announcement to your relaunch strategy in one of your re-engagement emails.

Tip #10. Give Your Blog a Face Lift

Tip #11. Switch Your Hobby Hat for a Business Hat


Have you ever had a grand plan to do something, felt an immense surge of motivation, and then slipped back to your old ways?

It’s the sticky trap of old habits. And they’re lurking nearby, ready to thwart your plans of a blog revival the split second you lose focus.

By treating your blog as a hobby, you’re weakening your defenses against the same old mistakes you’ve made in the past. You need to get serious to keep up momentum.

Let’s face it — blogs take a painstaking number of hours of behind-the-scenes grunt work to stay well oiled. And to stand out from the crazy millions of mediocre blogs out there, you need to keep your foot on the pedal.

tweet thisTo stand out from the crazy millions of mediocre blogs, you need to keep your foot on the pedal. (Tweet This)

Flitting in and out of your blog with whimsical notions of creativity and abundance ain’t gonna cut it. Shift your mindset from hobby to business by blocking time aside to work on it, creating to-do lists, and planning your content strategy. Your results will speak for themselves.

Tip #11. Switch Your Hobby Hat for a Business Hat

Tip #12. Jump on the Weekly Roundup Bandwagon


You’ve executed all the big moves in your comeback strategy, and now your energy is waning. Keeping up momentum can become a struggle as you get overwhelmed by producing weekly content.

It’s daunting — you see all the big players sending steady streams of amazing posts to their readers, and it strangles your confidence. “How can I maintain a regular schedule of riveting content?” you wonder.

Easy! There’s a growing trend in weekly roundup emails for a good reason — your readers are suffering from content overload.

So make their life a little easier, and they’ll love you for it. Become a trusted source of the latest and greatest content in your niche by offering a weekly roundup email straight to their inboxes.

It’s also a cunning energy-preserving tactic that allows you play the long game.

Tip #12. Jump on the Weekly Roundup Bandwagon

Tip #13. Safeguard Yourself from Slipping Again


As with any long game, you need to replenish your resources to succeed.

But being a blogger can be lonely. It can be hard to feel inspired when your coffee buddies are your keyboard and monitor and your office manager is your pooch.

Build a safety net to prevent yourself from slipping back into your old ways by surrounding yourself with people who inspire you, support you, and keep you accountable.

Feed your mind by joining online communities pumping with engaged members who stimulate your thoughts and generate intelligent discussion on topics in your niche. They’re the perfect place to find accountability partners or to jump into mastermind groups that will keep you in the right mental groove.

Restoring your energy and passion will spark inspiration for longer, deeper posts and allow your blog to evolve with your audience well into the future. And having people in your corner will ensure you keep your momentum from here on out.

Tip #13. Safeguard Yourself from Slipping Again

Ready to Get Back in the Game?

The churn in your gut as you think about your neglected blog makes you nauseous.

Following the path of least resistance and turning your back on it would be so damn easy. Nobody would even notice as you slipped silently into the recesses of binary code.

There’s one person who’d notice, though — you — and it would gnaw at your soul.

You can do this. Really, you can.

With a healthy dose of preparation, you’re sure to pull together a winning comeback strategy.

With a bit of resourcefulness, you’ll have months of content at your fingertips.

With hard work, strategy, and grit, you’ll win back your reader’s hearts, and your blog will be hustling and bustling once again.

So go on — get your head in the game, construct your plan, apologize and stage a comeback that you can once again hang your blogging dreams upon.

Your pride is counting on you.

Your readers are counting on you.

About the Author: Miranda Hill is a writer and coach who helps life-hungry souls get unstuck from the chaos of life. If you want to stop spinning your wheels, hopping from one thing to the next in search of answers, take her “De-Stress in 5 Minutes” quiz and start living a life you love.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/revive-your-blog/

How to be confident

What’s the secret to becoming confident in any social situation?

About 10 years ago, when I was just starting college, I would have said, “there is no secret. You either have it or you don’t.”

And I would have been DEAD WRONG.

You see, back then, I had almost zero confidence.

But today I’m thinking about getting “unstoppable” tattooed on my forehead.

How did I develop my confidence?

The answer might surprise you…

Why Confidence Matters – in Business and in Life

But first, let’s be clear WHY being confident matters:

Whatever you want to do or achieve in life, success comes from taking ACTION. Or to quote myself…

Those who do nothing, achieve nothing. – Derek Halpern

…and I bet you’ll agree.

If you want to go on a date with someone, you have to ask them out.

If you want to get a raise, you have to ask for a promotion.

If you want to build your network, you have to be more social.

And if you want to build an audience, you have to step onto the stage.

Without action, no success.

Now here’s the thing…

The hard part isn’t knowing WHAT to do. The hard part is actually doing it. And that’s where confidence makes all the difference.

Because when you lack of confidence, you don’t take action…

You want to speak up in a large group. But you stay silent because you’re afraid to get shut down.

You want to meet new people. But you’re too shy to start a conversation. Or you’re just worried that people will think you’re weird.

And it’s a shame. Most people don’t do the things they want to do. Not because they don’t know how. Not because they’re not smart enough… but because they lack the confidence.

It’s time to change that. And I have good news:

With just a few simple hacks, you can build your confidence every day and reach level “unstoppable” too.

Confidence Leads to Action, Action Leads to Success

Confidence is like the granddaddy of all self-development…

When you’re confident you stop feeling self-conscious about your quirks.

When you’re confident you stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and stop second-guessing your decisions.

When you’re confident you can face your big fears. Whether it’s something specific like becoming better at public speaking

…Or simply going ALL IN and following your dreams.

In short, confidence is the difference between thinking about doing something… and actually doing it. And that’s why it’s so important for success – in all areas of life.

Especially when it comes to business and selling. And even more so if you sell services, coaching, or online courses. And there’s science to back this up, too.

In particular, one study by Don Moore of Carnegie Mellon University shows that people are more likely “buy advice” from a more confident seller. The crazy part? It didn’t even matter if that seller had been wrong in the past.

So, if you want people to listen to you, take your advice, and ultimately buy from you, being confident is crucial.

But isn’t that just being a fake?

No…

Of course you shouldn’t pretend to know things you don’t know. You see, there’s a big difference between being confident and being an arrogant jerk…

What Does it Really Mean to Be Confident?

So what is self-confidence?

Some psychologist make a distinction between self-esteem and self-confidence. But for our practical purpose here, it’s not important. So I’ll just talk about self-confidence.

Being confident means two things:

  1. You believe that you deserve to succeed
  2. You trust in your abilities to succeed

When you have both of those things, you can act with confidence.

As you can see from the definition, confidence arises from INTERNAL sources – your thoughts and beliefs – as well as EXTERNAL sources – your abilities and skills.

Thoughts + Skills = Confidence (= Success)

And I’ll address both parts of that equation below.

But first, let me point out the difference between confidence and arrogance. Because that’s where a lot of people get stuck…

And here it is:

Arrogant people brag about skills they don’t have, to get confirmation from others, because they lack belief in themselves.

Whereas…

Confident people let their actions speak for themselves, because they have the mindset and skills to succeed.

As you can see, being confident is not about bragging. It’s not what you say at all. It’s about how you see yourself and how you carry yourself. And then, as a result, how you’re being perceived by others.

This is the FIRST thing you should remember, if you want to be more confident. And then you can stop humble-bragging, too…

…which is a terrible habit. For TWO reasons:

First, you’re still bragging.

Second, why are you trying to be so “humble” in the first place?

Just look at the definition of the word “humble:” It means having a “low estimate of one’s own importance.”

The sad thing is, I used to see myself that way. But it’s straight up destructive. No one should think of themselves as “of low importance.”

Alright, with all that said, let’s focus on developing real confidence…

The Secret to Becoming More Confident

How did I build my confidence?

The real answer:

I faked it.

That’s right. At first, I pretended to be confident. But I didn’t really FEEL confident yet. I just ACTED the way a confident person would act…

And what happened? Over time, I started to feel more confident, too. And before I knew it I became the confident person I always wanted to be.

And that’s the secret…

I call it the A-B-C Method of building confidence:

First you just ACT confident.

Then you BELIEVE you can be confident.

Finally, you just are… CONFIDENT.

It worked for me. And there’s science to prove that it will work for you. For example…

When you force a smile with a pencil in your mouth you actually FEEL happier. Why? Because your body tells your brain you’re smiling.

Or as Amy Cuddy revealed in her awesome Ted Talk: Simply standing in “power poses” can lead to changes in hormone levels and make you feel more powerful.

(Note: Below you can see the power poses and other body-language hacks for more confidence.)

The point here is:

Just by going through the motions, you can change how you feel.

Now…

You probably have TWO questions:

#1 How do you know how a confident person acts?

#2 What if you don’t have the confidence to fake it?

And I’ll answer both questions.

First, I’m going to show you the mindset of a confident person. Why? Because that’s how you’ll get yourself over that first hump.

Second, I’ll share 13 ways to build your confidence every day. Until you are the confident person you’ve always wanted to be.

The Confident Mindset

I remember the first time I joined a gym. I was 19 and I was standing on the scale like the hunchback of notre dame!

So, the trainer who showed me around, told me to pay attention to my posture and make sure I stood up straight.

Why do I remember this exact moment? I remember it because then he added something else…

He said:

“There’s nothing wrong with putting your chest out. It’s the proper way to stand.”

And it stuck with me to this day.

So remember, being confident is the NATURAL way to be.

And that’s GREAT news because it means…

Everyone is born with unstoppable confidence. It’s not a just a “gift” that some people have. It’s a skill anyone can practice and (re-)learn. And for that, I’ve included 13 insanely-practical ways you can build your confidence below.

But let’s be clear about something else:

Most ADULTS struggle with confidence.

So while confidence is natural, as we grow up, almost everyone loses it. At least to some degree. It’s hard to get reliable stats on this, but I’ve seen numbers as high as 80% of adults.

And it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s accurate. The point is, the overwhelming majority of adults don’t feel as confident as they would like. So, if you’re feeling insecure, you are not alone.

Finally, there’s one more part to a confident mindset…

It’s a-ok to look like a fool sometimes.

Look, I know about myself that I’m 99% useless, but…

…that 1% when I’m not, I’m dangerous.

Aiming for perfection is the ultimate confidence killer, because if you aim for perfection, you’ll always fall short.

Yes, you can aim for excellence, but you should accept this now:

You’ll have lots of bad ideas, say many dumb things, and regularly make a fool of yourself.

Like that one time when I was driving and I stopped behind a car, because I thought traffic was backed up. Turns out, it was just a row of parked cars. LOL.

The old insecure me would have been ashamed. The new confident me thinks it’s hilarious. Because…

Confident people aren’t right all the time. The difference is, they’re not afraid to be wrong.

And that’s why today, I don’t take myself too seriously:

Today is the day I turned into the guy who quotes himself. #lookhowsmartiam

A post shared by Derek Halpern (@derekhalpern) on Dec 14, 2016 at 10:20am PST

And even though I love my $300 haircut, I’m not afraid to look silly sometimes.

I don’t know how other people run staff meetings… but this is how I do it.

A post shared by Derek Halpern (@derekhalpern) on Mar 3, 2017 at 12:38pm PST

It’s counterintuitive. But it’s an amazing insight:

If you want to be more confident, start by not taking yourself too seriously.

So now, let’s get into all of my favorite ways to build confidence…

13 Amazing Ways to Boost Your Confidence

Some of these tips will give you an instant boost of confidence. Some are small practices you can do every day to build confidence over time. Some are little hacks and tools that automatically put you in a confident mindstate.

All of the techniques come from my personal experience of going from confidence level 0… to 100. Most of the techniques are backed by science, too.

You can – but you don’t have to – use them all at once. Some will work better for you than others. I do suggest you give them all a try, though. Because…

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. – Dale Carnegie

As I explained above, confidence both breeds and stems from taking action. Which is great news. Because when you take action once, you’ll set in motion a cycle of positive reinforcement.

Now, the first time you do anything, is usually the hardest. That’s why I’ve got one more useful tip for you:

Practice when there’s nothing at stake.

I’ll explain…

As an example, every time I would walk up to a cashier or server, I would take that opportunity to pretend to be confident. I knew they were paid to be nice to me, so I thought, “Why not practice on them?”

I’d walk up and say, “Hey, how are you?”, begin to make small talk, and speak like I was the most confident person on earth.

So what did I say exactly?

Check out this first technique…

Confidence Booster #1: “It’s not free today?”

In the short video, in addition to sharing my personal journey with confidence, I share a word-for-word script that you can use start using to develop your confidence TODAY.

Do you have a friend (or colleague) that’s struggling with their confidence?

Use this link and send them this video.

Use this script the next time you’re checking out at a store or your favorite coffee shop. With a big smile on your face, just say:

“Wait, it’s not free today?”

You’ll laugh. They’ll laugh. And everyone will have a good time. That positive feedback will put you one step closer to be confident in social situations.

Confidence Booster #2: The Eye-Color Test

Whether it’s a job interview, a date, or a conversation with a friend, people who make proper eye contact appear more confident.

(Not only that; Research shows that when you look people in the eyes, you also appear more likeable and trustworthy.)

But there’s a fine line between making good eye contact and, well, a creepy stare. And that’s why I like the Eye-Color Test.

Here’s how it works:

The next time you interact with someone face-to-face – whether it’s a stranger or a friend – look at their eyes just long enough to notice the color of their eyes.

Simple, right? You can do it throughout a conversation, too.

Just remember to regularly break eye contact. And when you do look away, look to the side, NOT down. Looking down communicates low confidence.

Confidence Booster #3: Proper Posture

Studies have shown that body language is 60% of communication. At a minimum. And posture is the first thing people notice when you walk into a room. So fixing it can give your confidence – and your perceived confidence – a huge boost.

Luckily, I stumbled on a simple trick to drastically improve your posture…

I noticed one of my friends has great posture. So one day I just had to tell her, “You walk so straight, it’s amazing!”

She laughed and said, “Yeah, I always hold in my stomach.”

Lol.

The funny thing is, it works. Just tighten your stomach muscles. You’ll notice your posture improve instantly.

Start by doing it every time you walk from one place to the other. Then you can start doing it while seated, too.

Bonus tip for better posture:

When you’re walking, don’t look at the ground right in front of you. Instead, look straight ahead, further into the distance. This way you’ll automatically keep your chin up – and look and feel more confident.

Confidence Booster #4: The Power Pose

Speaking of posture…

Let me show you Amy Cuddy’s Power Poses that I mentioned above.

Cuddy’s research suggests that standing in one of these poses for just 2 minutes will give you a boost of confidence.

You can see the poses here.

So let’s say you’re about to have a job interview. Take a moment before you go in and stand in a power pose. Your body will tell your brain to feel more confident.

(Side note: Cuddy’s research has recently gotten some critique. I suggest you try it and see if it works for you.)

And of course, you can also use the poses simply to appear more confident to others. Remember, when it comes to confidence, “fake it ‘til you make it” is actually a good strategy.

Also, don’t worry too much about the exact pose…

All you need to remember is that “open, expansive” postures (taking up more space) express power and confidence. Whereas “closed, contractive” postures (taking up less space) express powerlessness and low confidence.

So…

Stop being excessively modest and humble – don’t apologize for taking up space!

Confidence Booster #5: Listen to Some Music

Funny story…

A friend of mine used to go skiing a lot as a kid. And he wanted to be a ski racer. So, he always tried to go as fast as possible. What did he do?

Apparently while he was skiing, in his head he would sing along to the most badass song he knew…

Listening to the song made him feel more confident.

There’s interesting research about this, too:

Researchers from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management found that people who listen to “high-power” music are more proactive.

In the study people were asked to go first or second in a debate. And in fact, after listening to high-power music, people were almost twice as likely to be proactive and go first.

So, it’s not a coincidence athletes listen to music right before they compete.

If you need an instant boost of confidence, listen to music that gets you fired up.

The high-power songs that were used in the study are:

And here’s a great high-power playlist on Spotify.

Now, I am personally a sucker for cheesy pop music; don’t judge. But whatever your taste, playing a high-energy, motivating song will give your confidence an instant boost.

Confidence Booster #6: Look Your Best

They say, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

Is it true? Does the way you dress make a difference in how confident you feel? New research suggest…

Absolutely.

Clothes change how we feel, as well as the impression we make on others. And specifically, wearing nicer clothes can make you more confident.

But what can you do exactly? The research suggests that dressing more FORMAL is the key:

So, instead of a t-shirt and jeans, wear a suit.

(What’s crazy is that the research suggest this can actually increase your abstract thinking ability, too.)

Now maybe wearing a suit is wayyy over the top for your job. Or maybe you’re just uncomfortable wearing extra formal clothes…

Well, there’s another simple hack:

Wear black.

A recent survey revealed that black is the color of confidence. This might be the simplest way to give your confidence a boost. Try it!

But looking and feeling confident is not just about clothes…

First thing in the morning, I always jump straight in the shower. Why? Because when I feel fresh and clean, I also feel confident.

And whenever I get a haircut, I stick my chest out a little further even – I know, it’s hard to believe… But seriously…

Do whatever makes you feel good about yourself:

Get a haircut. Take a shower. Shave. Put on some cologne. Get a manicure.

These small things can really make a difference in how confident you feel. I’m sure you’ve experienced it. So this is just a reminder to take care of yourself. Cool?

Moving on…

Confidence Booster #7: The No-Effort Conversation Starter

Confident people make small talk seem so effortless, right?

Right.

Believe me, I used to struggle with this. I was afraid to talk to anybody. Especially strangers. How do you even get a conversation started? And I mean WITHOUT being weird and creepy.

Well, I’ve got a couple of ways to practice making small talk like an uber-confident person for you.

And this first one is what I call the “No-Effort Conversation Starter.” Because you don’t even have to start the conversation when you do this…

Look, here’s me on my way to the coffee shop with a t-shirt saying, “Patience: Level Zero:”

Today is Valentine’s day. And this person in the picture means the world to me.

A post shared by Derek Halpern (@derekhalpern) on Feb 14, 2017 at 1:14pm PST

Now what do you think happens?

PEOPLE START TALKING TO ME.

I don’t have to do anything at all.

This is a GREAT way to practice small talk and being more confident in social situations with strangers.

Your No-Effort Conversation Starter could be a t-shirt, sparkly shoes, a laptop cover, a piece of jewelry, or WHATEVER.

At first you’ll feel a little weird. But this technique will get you from “faking” confidence to BEING confident quickly.

Confidence Booster #8: Accept Compliments

Whenever you get a compliment it’s a great opportunity to practice being confident. I’ll explain…

Everybody likes to get compliments. However, back in my low-confidence days I had no clue how to gracefully accept a compliment.

Here’s what I used to do:

I’d either ignore it and move on with the conversation – rude! – or I’d downplay it. I’d say, “Oh it’s no big deal” or give the other person an even bigger compliment right away.

Why does this show a lack of confidence?

Because when you ignore or downplay a compliment, what you’re communicating is: “I didn’t deserve the compliment.” But that’s NOT how a confident person thinks or acts. So today, I handle compliments in a different way.

And it’s very simple:

I just say, “Thank you!”

I acknowledge the compliment. I accept it. And I show my gratitude.

And that’s what I want you to do: The next time you get a compliment, just say, “Thank you, I appreciate it!”

Assume the person giving you the compliment actually means it. So you can believe it, too. There’s no need to be humble. It’s a great time to practice acting and feeling confident.

Confidence Booster #9: Give Compliments… to Strangers

What goes around comes around – so now that you know how to accept compliments confidently, let’s talk about giving compliments.

Why is giving compliments a sign of confidence? Because when you’re confident, you don’t constantly feel threatened by other people. That’s why confident people are not afraid to give others compliments, too.

But there’s one thing they never do…

They don’t give insincere compliments. So, when you give someone a compliment always be genuine.

Now here’s the BEST way to build confidence by giving compliments:

Give compliments to strangers.

See someone with cool shoes? Tell them, “Hey, cool shoes!” Or if you see someone who’s working extra hard, tell them “I like your dedication!”

Just try it once – you’ll probably make the person’s day. So next time you’re walking down the street or waiting in line, give people genuine compliments. Just look for one thing you like about them and say, “Hey, I like your…”

To make this work, don’t think more than 3 seconds about what you’re going to say. The goal is to get out of your head. Just say the first thing that comes to your mind.

It’s very low-risk. So it’s a great way to practice being confident in social situations.

Confidence Booster #10: “What Would … Do?”

When I get in a confidence-slump, here’s what I do:

I ask myself, “What would the most confident person in the world do right now?”

But actually, you should pick someone specific. It could be a public figure, a friend, or an acquaintance with UNSTOPPABLE confidence. And then, “channel” that feeling. What I mean is: Just pretend to be them for a moment!

For example:

What would Sheryl Sandberg say in this situation? How would Muhammad Ali walk down the street right now? How would Mark Cuban react? Would Marie Forleo think like this?

I know – this technique sounds like woo-woo. But you don’t have to analyze every little thing this person does to copy their confidence. Next time you walk into a room, or you’re just walking down the street, just pretend what it would feel like to be that person.

Try it.

Confidence Booster #11: Prepare and Get Better

Remember, a crucial part of being confident is the belief that you have the SKILLS to succeed. And it’s a lot easier to believe it, if it’s true.

In other words:

Competence breeds confidence.

And that’s why working at getting better at what you do – by practicing! – will take your confidence to the next level.

For example, let’s say you’re giving a speech and you feel insecure about public speaking. What’s the best way to feel more confident?

Simple:

Prepare and practice your speech.

Same goes for an important meeting. A job interview. A date. A networking event.

When you show up prepared, you’ll feel and act more confident.

But there’s another advantage of working on your competence…

Confidence Booster #12: Learn a Life Skill

I am a TERRIBLE swimmer. As in, I used to barely stay above water…

I liked jumping into a pool. But until a few weeks ago, there was always this sense that I COULD drown.

But then something changed. I finally learned how to float in water. I’m still not a good swimmer. But at least now I know hot to not drown! And I feel much more confident in water.

Makes sense, right? Competence breeds confidence. But there’s a more general lesson here.

When you learn a new “life skill” it’s not just about that particular skill. You also prove to yourself that you’re capable of learning ANYTHING. Which makes you a more competent – and more confident – person overall.

“Everything is figure-out-able.” – Marie Forleo

For example, you could…

  • Do your taxes by yourself.
  • Learn how to replace a tire.
  • Volunteer for an after-school program.

Or learn how to not drown, like me. Whatever it may be, when you learn a small life skill, watch your overall confidence level go up.

What’s a life skill you could learn?

Confidence Booster #13: Get to Know Yourself

Finally…

To be confident in yourself, you need to know yourself.

I realize that “knowing yourself” is easier said than done. What I do know is that it’s as much about “what you ARE like” as it is about “what you like.” I’ll explain…

A buddy of mine has a weird hobby. He likes to bake bread. I say it’s weird because it’s uncommon. I actually think it’s awesome! And the bread is delicious.

The point is: He FULLY embraces his interest in baking bread. And when he talks about it he exudes confidence.

But embracing your interests and knowing “what you like” is just one part of knowing yourself. It’s also about having clear principles – and sticking to them. So it’s also about what you ARE like.

One principle I try to stick to is this: I don’t sugarcoat my opinion. I always say what I mean, and I mean what I say.

Of course, this part of self-confidence doesn’t develop overnight. It’s made up of your whole life experience. And it might change over time.

What I suggest you do is this:

Write it down.

Write down your principles. And answer the question, “What are the rules I want to live by?”

Just remember, you’re not doing it to fit into anyone else’s expectations. These are YOUR rules.

When you fully embrace your interests and have a strong sense of the rules you want to live by, you can finally act with 100% confidence – in everything you do.

Now…

I’ve got some homework for you…

Use these simple ways to build your confidence. Even if you have to fake it in the beginning, like I had to…

You’ll notice quickly:

When you’re confident you’ll get more done and you’ll feel happier.

And with practice you will BE more confident every day. And before you know it, your confidence will be through the roof.

So, here’s what I want you to do:

Step 1: Choose at least one of the techniques I shared and use it TODAY. Even if you’re not struggling with your confidence, use it.

Step 2: Come back here and leave a comment letting us know what happened. Share how it felt!

Once you master your confidence, think about how easy it will be to meet new people. For business and pleasure.

So, use these tips today.

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