6 Best WordPress Backup Plugins Compared (100% Objective)

Imagine if one day your blog just disappeared.

It’s a terrifying thought, right?

You put all that work into writing amazing content and developing an audience. The last thing you want is for it all to go up in a puff of smoke because of some technical issue or hacker.

But if you don’t back up your website regularly, that’s exactly what would happen if something ever went wrong.

Thankfully, I have some good news for you:

Backing up your website isn’t something you need a developer for. Heck, it’s not even that complicated.

And with the right WordPress backup plugin, you’ll be able to sleep easy knowing that no matter what happens to your site, you can always have it up and running again in no time.

To help you get started on the right foot with WordPress backups, I’m going to spend this post going through six WordPress backup plugins and helping you choose the one that’s right for you.

But first…

Here’s What to Look For in a WordPress Backup Plugin

While the backup plugin that you eventually choose will depend on your personal preferences, there are a few key features you should at least consider when making your choice:

  • Does the plugin offer automation? Automated backups let you “set it and forget it.” In other words, it keeps you from having to remember to do it manually every week/month/whatever time frame.
  • Does the plugin take full or partial backups? All the plugins on this list offer full site backups. But if you search elsewhere, you will find some plugins that will only back up specific parts of your websites, like just your database or theme.
  • How does the plugin handle restoring from backups? Some plugins give you built-in tools, while others require you to manually upload the files and import your database.
  • Does the plugin work with remote storage? If the plugin doesn’t let you back up to remote storage, you’ll be entirely responsible for keeping your backup files safe. Some plugins will store your backups on your server, which can still be useful, but won’t help you if your server gets wiped clean.
  • Does the plugin offer site migrations? This is the least important question. But if you think you’ll move your site often — like from a local staging site (that you use for tests) to your live site — this feature comes in handy.

The 6 Best Backup Plugins Compared in Detail

In order to help you make your decision, I want to give you an actual idea how these plugins function in the real world. So, in addition to giving you each plugin’s feature list, I’ll also show you the actual process for how you can use the plugin to back up and restore your website.

Let’s dive in…

#1: UpdraftPlus


By the numbers, UpdraftPlus is the most popular backup plugin at WordPress.org. It also has a staggering five-star rating on over 2,672 reviews to help explain its popularity.

So, why do so many people like UpdraftPlus? Probably because it gives you nearly all of the points I discussed above without charging a penny (though there is a premium version with more features).

Here’s what you get with UpdraftPlus:

  • Manual or automatic backups (based on a schedule that you define)
  • Full-site backups or backups of specific parts of your site (like your database)
  • Easy restore from backup via a dedicated tool
  • Off-site backup to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and more
  • UpdraftVault dedicated backup storage, which is basically a dedicated cloud storage service for UpdraftPlus (storage costs extra, though)

In fact, the only feature that you might miss in the free version is a dedicated site migration tool. If you do want that migration feature, though, you can always purchase UpdraftPlus premium starting at $70.

UpdraftPlus table

Who Is UpdraftPlus Good For?

UpdraftPlus is the plugin I recommend for most casual bloggers because it strikes a good balance between flexibility/features and ease of use.

But while it’s easy to use, it’s not the easiest to use. We have other plugins on this list that simplify the process even more. (Of course, those may have other downsides for you.)

How to Take a Backup with UpdraftPlus

Once you install and activate UpdraftPlus, you can access its settings by heading to Settings → UpdraftPlus.

To run a manual backup, you just need to click the big blue Backup Now button:

UpdraftPlus backup restore

Then, you can choose whether to back up your entire site, or just a specific part:

UpdraftPlus - choose backup

And that’s all there is to it! Depending on the size of your site, the backup may take a few minutes to create.

Once it’s finished, you can download the files to your computer by visiting the Existing Backups tab:

UpdraftPlus - download files

Something to note about UpdraftPlus is that it divides its backups into different files. You need to download all five files to have the full backup of your site.

Of course, one of the benefits of UpdraftPlus is that you don’t actually have to manually run your backups.

If you want to set up automated backups and/or off-site backups, you can do that by going to the plugin’s Settings tab, and choosing how often you’d like to run a backup:

UpdraftPlus - set up backups

As you can see on the image above, you can also choose a remote storage option, so you don’t have to rely on the backups on your server.

How to Restore Your Site from Backup with UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus lets you restore from backup in two ways.

First, you can run a one-click restore by going to the Existing Backups tab and clicking the Restore button:

UpdraftPlus - one click restore

Note: This only works if the backup you want to restore from is still on your server.

Second, you can upload a set of backup files from your own computer or from remote storage. You’ll need to upload all five backup data files to get a full backup.

UpdraftPlus - upload backup files

#2: BackWPup


BackWPup is another popular WordPress backup plugin with over 600,000 active installs.

Here’s what you get with this plugin:

  • Full or partial site backups
  • Automated backups via a few different methods
  • Off-site backup to Dropbox, email, S3 services, and others (Google Drive is not available in the free version, though)

And here’s one unique, though niche, BackWPup feature:

The free version works with WordPress MultiSite. Most WordPress backup plugins lock MultiSite support behind their Pro versions.

You may notice one feature missing from this list, though — BackWPup does not offer a tool to restore from backup. You’ll have to do that manually.

BackWPup - table

Who Is BackWPup Good For?

BackWPup is more flexible than UpdraftPlus in certain aspects as it offers more customization options when it comes to how and what to backup. But those same customization options make the plugin less user-friendly than UpdraftPlus and might feel overwhelming to casual bloggers.

For example, you can run backups via WP-CLI, export backups as WordPress XML files, trigger backups by visiting an external URL, and more.

If you’re a WordPress beginner, that might all  sound like gibberish to you, which is okay, because you won’t need those options. But advanced WordPress users should appreciate them, especially the WP-CLI integration.

So unless you want those advanced options, I recommend you choose one of the simpler backup plugins on this list.

How to Take a Backup with BackWPup

To start running backups with BackWPup, you need to create a Job. A Job is basically any task that you want the plugin to complete:

BackWPup - create a job

You can also choose where to send the results of your Job:

BackWPup - job destination

As well as whether to run that job manually or via some type of automation:

BackWPup - job schedule

From the screenshots above, I think you’ll be able to see why I don’t recommend this plugin for beginners. Unless you’re a power WordPress user, terms like WordPress cron and WP-CLI mean nothing to you.

How to Restore Your Site from Backup with BackWPup

Again, BackWPup does not currently offer a dedicated restore-from-backup tool. Instead, you’ll need to manually restore your site by uploading the actual files via FTP and importing your database.

While that’s not too hard to do, this is another reason why BackWPup is not a great option for beginners.

The developers are working on adding a restore tool to their plugin, though, so this may change in the near future.

#3: VaultPress/Jetpack


VaultPress is part of the Jetpack plugin from Automattic, the same company behind WordPress.com. It’s designed to make things as easy as possible for you to both back up and restore your site (if needed). Essentially, it puts your backups on autopilot.

That means:

  • Automatic daily and real-time backups. Yes real-time means that any time you make a change on your site, that change gets synched right away.
  • 30 days of backup storage in the VaultPress cloud
  • One-click restores from the VaultPress interface
  • Easy migrations — restore to different sites with the click of a button

And beyond backups, on the higher tier plans, VaultPress also scans your site for vulnerabilities and helps you fix any problems that it discovers.

Sounds pretty slick, right? So what’s the catch? Well, unlike all of the other plugins on this list, there’s no free version.

If you want to use VaultPress, you have to pay their yearly fee.

VaultPress - table

Who Is VaultPress Good For?

In terms of pure ease of use, VaultPress is the best option for beginners and casual WordPress users. It’s simple and pretty much hands-free. There is a small one-time setup to enable one-click restores, but once you complete that, VaultPress requires essentially zero manual input.

So if you’re looking for the absolute easiest WordPress backup solution, this is it. Just remember that you’re going to pay $39 per year for that ease of use, whereas something like UpdraftPlus is almost as simple without the price tag.

How to Take a Backup with VaultPress

Even though VaultPress is part of the Jetpack subscription plan, it’s technically a separate plugin. So before you can get started taking backups, you’ll need to install and activate both Jetpack and VaultPress. The process is straightforward, but if you need help you can find instructions for both Jetpack and VaultPress.

Once you have both those plugins up and running, VaultPress automatically starts working. While you don’t technically need to configure anything for it to take your first backup, if you have a large site, you might want to give VaultPress remote access through SSH or FTP to speed up the process:

VaultPress - settings

If you’re not sure why/how to do this, VaultPress has a support article on the subject and you can always reach out to Jetpack/VaultPress support or your host’s support.

Once VaultPress completes your first backup, you can manage all your backups from the VaultPress interface. If you want, you can also download physical copies to your local computer for safekeeping:

VaultPress - manage backups

How to Restore Your Site from Backup with VaultPress

To enable one-click restores, you’ll first need to give VaultPress remote access to your site (if you haven’t already configured it to speed up your backups).

Again, if you’re not sure just how to do that, give this support article a read. Or you can always reach out to Jetpack/VaultPress support and/or your host’s support team.

Once you complete that one-time setup process, all you need to do to restore your site is click a button in the VaultPress interface:

VaultPress - restore

#4: Duplicator


Duplicator is a popular and well-rated WordPress migration plugin. Because there’s a good deal of overlap between what happens when you migrate a site and what happens when you backup/restore a site, Duplicator functions great as a backup tool as well.

That said, many of the backup features that come for free in the other plugins are only available in the paid Duplicator Pro plugin.

Here’s what you can do in the free version of the plugin:

  • Download a full site backup
  • Fairly easy restore from backup (though it’s not a one-click restore)
  • Easy site migrations

And if you upgrade to Duplicator Pro, here’s what you’ll get:

  • Scheduled backups
  • Off-site storage at Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3
  • Special support for extra-large websites
Duplicator - table

Who Is Duplicator Good For?

Duplicator is a good option for intermediate users and above.

As someone who works with WordPress for a living, I find it convenient and often use it to move sites around and back them up. But I don’t believe it’s as good an option for beginners as tools like UpdraftPlus or VaultPress.

Here’s how it shakes out:

If you’re comfortable using FTP, you might enjoy this plugin for its convenience and flexibility. But if you just want a simple backup utility, some of the other plugins are better suited for you.

How to Take a Backup with Duplicator

To back up your site with Duplicator, you’ll need to create something called a Package.

Duplicator - create a package

A Package consists of two files:

  • Installer — contains a setup wizard that helps you migrate or restore your site
  • Archive — contains a complete backup of your WordPress site
Duplicator - package completed

Put together, those two files are all you need to completely back up your WordPress site.

How to Restore Your Site from Backup with Duplicator

Whether you’re migrating your site or restoring your site from backup, Duplicator uses the same process.

It’s not as simple as something like UpdraftPlus, but it is more streamlined than the completely manual process offered by BackWPup.

Basically, you’ll need to use FTP or cPanel to upload both files to the server where you want to restore or migrate your site.

Then you can go to yourdomain.com/installer.php and follow the plugin’s four-step wizard to restore your site. The only slightly technical thing that you’ll need to do is create an empty database for Duplicator to connect to (here’s how to do that in cPanel, the most common hosting management tool):

Duplicator - restore site

#5: BackUpWordPress


BackUpWordPress is a backup plugin from Human Made, one of the largest WordPress development agencies. In addition to working with enterprise clients like USA Today, they’ve also created some of their own products like BackUpWordPress.

With BackUpWordPress, you can:

  • Take complete site backups or database backups
  • Create separate schedules for complete backups and database backups

If you upgrade to the Pro version starting at $29, you’ll also get the ability to back up to off-site storage like Google Drive, DropBox, Amazon S3 and more.

BackUpWordPress - table

Who Is BackUpWordPress Good For?

BackUpWordPress is a great option for casual users who want something that works out of the box. There’s literally nothing you need to configure — just activate and go.

On the other hand, it doesn’t currently offer a dedicated restore function. That means the simplicity only extends to actually backing up your site, not restoring it.

Also, in the free version, you don’t get remote storage, so you have to manually download your backups on a regular basis.

How to Take a Backup with BackUpWordPress

As I mentioned, you don’t actually need to do anything after activating the plugin. By default, BackUpWordPress starts off with backups already scheduled.

It will:

  • Back up your database every day
  • Back up your entire site every week

If you want, you can always manually create a backup by clicking Run now:

BackUpWordPress - manually create database

And you can also change the default schedule by clicking on Settings:

BackUpWordPress - change default schedule

In the free version, you’ll then need to manually download your backups to your local computer in order to ensure that you always have a working copy available. While the plugin will store backups on your server (according to your settings), this is not a safe way to store your backups long-term because if something happens to your server, you’ll be unable to access your backups.

How to Restore Your Site from Backup with BackUpWordPress

Again, BackUpWordPress does not have a dedicated restore function. To restore your site from backup, you’ll need to upload all of the files via FTP and import your database via phpMyAdmin.

#6: All-in-One WP Migration


Like Duplicator, All-in-One WP Migration is a migration plugin that serves double duty as a backup plugin. One thing that’s nice about All-in-One WP Migration, though, is that it offers a simpler restore process than Duplicator.

The plugin gives you:

  • Full or partial backups
  • Easy restore from backup
  • Functionalities that make migrating your site a breeze

You can also purchase individual premium extensions for off-site backups at cloud storage providers like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and more.

There’s no way to put your backups on an automatic schedule, though.

All-in-One WP Migration - table

Who Is All-in-One WP Migration Good For?

Because it lacks scheduled backups, All-in-One WP Migration is good for users who are willing (or even prefer) to handle things manually.

One advantage that All-in-One WP Migration has over some of the other backup plugins is that it gives you a good deal of control over which files you export, which is helpful if you only want to take partial backups.

Most of the time, you’ll probably want to take full backups anyway, so this isn’t a huge advantage for casual users. But partial backups can be helpful if you’re running an especially large site where taking a full backup every day takes up too much space and/or processing power.

For example, if you use tons of high-resolution images that don’t change very often, it’s a waste of resources to back up those files every single time you take a backup.

For most casual users, one of the plugins that focuses specifically on backups will offer a more streamlined solution.

How to Take a Backup with All-in-One WP Migration

To create a backup of your site, you need to Export it. You can export your entire site or exclude certain elements by using the Advanced options:

All-in-One WP Migration - create backup

Once you export your site, the plugin will prompt you to save the file to your computer (or your offsite location if you purchase a premium extension). And the files will also show up in the Backups tab of the plugin.

How to Restore Your Site from Backup with All-in-One WP Migration

To restore your site from a backup, you have two options.

First, you can go to the Backups tab and click the restore button:

All-in-One WP Migration - restore

Second, you can go to the Import tab and upload a previously exported file from your computer or a remote storage location:

All-in-One WP Migration - import
Note: One well-known plugin that’s missing from this list is BackupBuddy. We intended to include it, but unfortunately iThemes does not offer a trial version, maintains a strict no-refund policy and did not respond to any of our requests for a demo licence. 🙁

 

Start Taking Backups and Sleep Easy Knowing That Your Site is Protected

Peace of mind is a beautiful thing.

And after you start using one of these WordPress backup plugins, that’s exactly what you’ll have.

Don’t wait — choose the plugin you like the best, install it, and create your first backup.

Then, no matter what happens to your site, you’ll always have a working copy tucked safely away.

And that means you can sleep easy knowing the work you’ve put into your site is safe and secure.

Author bio: Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer for hire with a background in SEO and affiliate marketing. He helps clients grow their web visibility by writing primarily about digital marketing and WordPress. In his spare time, he travels and curates graphic t-shirts.

 

Source: https://smartblogger.com/wordpress-backup-plugin/

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Confession: I Don’t REALLY Care About Blogging

Yes, you read that correctly. I don’t really care about Blogging.

I know what you’re thinking. This blog is called Become a Blogger. I HAVE TO care about blogging.

If that’s what you’re thinking, don’t worry – I understand. But I’m going to encourage you to listen to today’s episode.

Listen to This Episode

In the episode, I get kinda personal and share the journey I’ve been on for the last few weeks.

There are certain things changing in my life, and I’m happy to share a little bit of my story with you.

This is not one of my typical episodes, but I hope you get a different kind of value from it.

Enjoy!

– Leslie

Here’s the video I referred to in the episode:

The post Confession: I Don’t REALLY Care About Blogging appeared first on Become A Blogger by Noemi M.

Source: https://www.becomeablogger.com/25624/dont-care-blogging/

Here’s the Brilliant Strategy a Regular Guy Used to Get 3.6 Million Facebook Fans for Free

When Jon Morrow launched his new personal development blog, Unstoppable.me, at the end of 2016 he reached out to a few successful bloggers to share his first post.

Jon credits Steven Aitchison’s Facebook fans for the massive amount of clicks and shares that put that first post over the viral edge — 16,000 in three days.  

“Without question, Steven is a Facebook master,” Jon said.

“Steven shared the post on his Facebook page twice, and both times Unstoppable got a massive boost in clicks and shares. His Facebook community really helped the post go viral.”

Unfortunately, few bloggers recognize and cultivate the hidden power and reach of a popular Facebook page and active community like the one Steven has built. Instead they blindly accept and follow misguided myths perpetuated by those who haven’t taken the time to study how Facebook works.

From Humble Beginnings Grew a Powerhouse

Steven admits he certainly didn’t pay much attention to Facebook during the first few years of his blog, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, that he started in August 2006. After getting good feedback from readers, he started to get more serious about turning the blog into a business in 2009, when he had about 2,000 email subscribers.  

By the time he quit his job as an addiction counselor in September 2012 to devote himself to blogging, his email list had grown to 10,000 subscribers, but he says his Facebook presence was “kind of non-existent.”

“I had maybe 30,000 likes from slow, incremental growth from posting to Facebook from my blog, typical of most bloggers,” Steven said. “I literally wasn’t doing anything.” He made $36,000 the following year from full-time blogging, more than he had made up to this point but not enough to support his family.

Then Steven began focusing on and experimenting with Facebook. And everything changed.

10X Business Growth from Facebook

Fast forward to 2017.

Steven transformed his blog and Facebook page in the last five years from an average page he described as “going nowhere” to the moneymaker it is today with more than 3.6 million likes and more than 3.6 million uber-engaged fans.

Steven Aitchison’s Facebook Likes

His email list is a healthy 71,000 subscribers. His business grossed $360,000 in 2016 and is on track for a substantial boost in 2017.

The One Question That Transformed Aitchison’s Facebook Page

Steven credits one fundamental shift in his thinking and attitude for his Facebook page’s transformation from okay to extraordinary.

“I had been asking myself, ‘How do I make more money?’” Steven said. “Then I started asking myself ‘How can I help more people?’” Without realizing it, that simple, six-word question launched his evolution from a money-centered entrepreneur to a heart-centered entrepreneur, and with it, his financial future.

“You’ve got to think about the viewer first, and you’ve got to think about what is going to touch somebody’s heart, what’s going to give them an emotional response,” Steven explained. “If you can, think about it from that point of view. Always think about the customer first. It’s not about what you want.”

That unassuming question is the catalyst behind all of Steven’s growth over the last five years. His financial success is proof that persistence, experimentation and smart marketing can combine with a generous heart and people-first approach to build a business.

“By asking that one question,” Steven said, “I think that alone keeps you grounded because you’re always thinking about the readers, not always thinking about you, the business and the money. I really found my purpose when I started asking that question.”

After realizing that putting people first enriched — not diminished — his bottom line, Steven’s naturally curious mind began questioning other common myths about making money online and on Facebook.

The One Question That Transformed Aitchison’s Facebook Page

The Two Misguided Myths That Keep Facebook Pages Stuck in Mediocrity

Steven’s popular and profitable Facebook page busts the two prevalent myths about making money on Facebook, and it’s a key element of what he shares with the community of bloggers in his membership course, Your Digital Formula.

Myth #1: You Can’t Make Money on Facebook


This myth is rooted in the mistaken belief that the feel-good focus popular on Facebook can’t be used as a monetary tool.

Steven’s Facebook page is unapologetically feel-good. He loads it with self-styled encouraging and inspirational quotes and videos (more on this tactic later). His success proves that this approach can be profitable.

From its meager beginning of $36,000 in 2012, Steven’s business grossed $360,000 in 2016, and he attributes $200,000 of the revenue to Google AdSense from the massive traffic driven by Facebook to his blog.  As his Facebook likes and followers grow, so does his Facebook-driven income stream.

Note: Steven makes a lot of revenue from Google Adsense, but we still don’t recommend you use ads to build your blogging income. It works for him because of his insanely high-traffic site. You’ll take a long time to earn that kind of revenue.

 

Myth #2: You Have to Advertise on Facebook to Make Money


In his determination to master Facebook, Steven tested and wasted $50,000 on paid Facebook advertising before he knew what he was doing with no profit to show for it.

“The myth is that you have to advertise to make any money on Facebook, and you don’t. You absolutely don’t. It takes a wee bit longer, but you can totally do it all organically,” Steven said. “I built up the Facebook page organically.”

The danger of this myth is compounded by the faulty notion that emotion has no value or currency. Steven believes touching hearts is a powerful advertising message that can have viral legs.

The point where everything changed was when he realized he could rely on connection and emotion to drive his business, instead of focusing solely on  money.

Myth No. 2: You Have to Advertise on Facebook to Make Money

The 6 Big Mistakes That Doom Facebook Pages

Central to Steven’s powerful Facebook strategy is studying and modeling what works. He’s seen six big mistakes repeated over and over, one of which can doom even well-organized Facebook campaigns.

Mistake #1: Posting Only What You Like Without Considering Whether it Touches or Helps People


Because all kinds of content goes viral on Facebook at one time or another, many people assume that any clever thought they have is fair game to go viral. Yet nothing could be further from the truth, Steven says. If you truly want to grow a massive following on your Facebook page, you have to focus on content that touches hearts and helps people.

Stop and ask yourself if the image, quote, blog post or video really connected with you, really touched your heart, he advises. Get beyond your own personal likes, biases and preferences and down to the emotional value of the content. If you find yourself in resistance saying, “But I really like it!” you may not be focused closely enough on your readers.

Mistake No. 1: Posting Only What You Like Without Considering Whether it Touches or Helps People

Mistake #2: Assuming Your Followers Will Like Anything You Post Because You’re You


This second mistake is a deeper version of the first mistake, which assumes that your followers will like anything you post just because you posted it. It’s actually quite easy to correct these two mistakes with one blow: Think about your audience first. Post helpful, touching content they have demonstrated they like, Steven advises.

”I think Facebook page owners are always thinking they can put anything up because they’ve got a million followers and their followers are going to like everything. I think that’s one of the big mistakes, thinking anything you put up is going to be okay for them, whether it be a blog post, a video or an image quote.

“You’ve got to be thinking and asking the questions, ‘Okay, does this entertain somebody? Does it enlighten somebody, or does it educate them in some way?’ If you ask yourself those questions, then I think you can’t really go far wrong depending on the page type and niche.”

Mistake #3: Giving Everything You Post on Facebook Equal Treatment


Let’s face it: Some content will be more popular on Facebook. Millions of dollars are spent trying to figure out that magic formula, but Steven has learned — and leverages — a simple Facebook truth: People share content that touches their emotions.

“Facebook page owners will drag out posts, posts that are good, posts that are bad,” Steven said. “If you put a lot of bad blog posts up — bad as in people are not going to interact with the content and it’s not creating that connection for some reason — those posts are not going to give you a lot of reach because the only way you’re going to get traffic from Facebook is if you create that engagement, and part of that engagement is commenting, liking and sharing.”

If you share your blog post on Facebook, and people comment, like and share from the outset, then that blog post is going to do well, and you will get a lot of traffic. You should give that post more Facebook love than the ones that get no reaction. (More on this later.)

Mistake #4: Fear of Testing, Fear of Touching People


The most effective way to determine the best type of content for your audience is to test different types and record the response, yet people hesitate and procrastinate because of two very human fears — looking stupid and feeling vulnerable.

Steven said one of the most dramatic changes he made with his Facebook page was to be in constant testing mode, trying out varied types of content — different styles and images for quotes, different types of videos, along with different types of questions inviting responses.

Once he let go of those fears and intentionally reached out to touch people’s emotions, Steven said the viral doors opened almost spontaneously.

“A lot of people are afraid to put up a test. This is all I do. I just kind of test,” he explained. “I say that to all the students as well: ‘You have to test.’

“They ask me, ‘Do you think this will work?’ I say, ‘I don’t know, test it. Just test it and see what happens.’ A lot of people are afraid to do that, to try something new.”

Mistake No. 4: Fear of Testing, Fear of Touching People

Mistake #5: Thinking Facebook Is Neutral to the Type of Content You Post


This fourth mistake (a corollary to the previous one) is thinking Facebook has no preferences about the type of content posted. Au contraire!

Right now Facebook is quite partial to video content because it has a stated goal of overtaking YouTube within a year, Steven said. That means videos of any kind are given preferential exposure and automatically ranked higher than standard text posts.

Notice more video in your feed? That’s why, and it’s only going to get more intense.

Mistake #6: Ignoring Other Facebook Pages in Your Space


Rather than treat other Facebook pages as competitors, Steven treats them as collaborators and strategically shares their content with his blog readers and Facebook followers.

Collaborate not compete

He developed a nifty tactic of writing blog posts that highlight specific genres of Facebook pages and their Facebook headers, such as “25 of the Top Consciousness Raising Facebook Pages,” then sharing them with the Facebook pages he featured in the blog post.

The showcased Facebook page owners almost always reciprocate by sharing the post on their own pages, sending more visitors to Steven’s Facebook page and creating a win-win situation for everyone, Steven said. He also watches the most popular pages in his niche to see what they’re doing and what he might try.

Steven’s well-honed strategy combines both a heart-focused attitude and savvy marketing tactics.

8 Steps to Attracting Millions of Facebook Fans

Step #1: Shift Your Focus from Making Money to Helping People


Make that fundamental shift and everything else aligns with it.

Since first asking himself that question back in 2012, helping more people has driven every question Steven asks about his strategy, tactics, products and content creation.

”Think about the kind of people on your page, what their main pain points are and what other issues they’re having,” Steven said. “If you can touch somebody’s heart, then it speaks to them and you’ve got the potential to go viral.”

Step #2: Know Your Audience Better Than You Know Yourself


Most Facebook page owners don’t really know the demographics and psychographics of their readers and, as a result, don’t know who they are talking to. Yet Facebook gives in-depth data on your audience and their preferences within your Insights page. Aitchison’s readership is about 76% women aged between 25 and 54.

“When I am writing or doing video and putting blog posts up, I always have them in mind,” he said. “You can’t put up blog posts about how fantastic men are. You can, obviously, but it’s not going to do as well as if you have a different type of blog post about how fantastic women are, for a silly example.”

Step #3: Don’t Stop at Posting Heartfelt Content — Interact with Your Readers


Steven intuitively follows a two-part content-creation sequence: establishing an emotional connection with readers with content that touches his own heart, and interacting with followers directly.

He makes sure the quotes and images he posts are heartfelt by asking himself if they touch his own emotions and connect with his readers on a deep emotional level. He follows through by being accessible and responding to readers directly. It’s this last step Aitchison feels is the critical piece of the puzzle that most bloggers ignore.

“I think what’s made the page explode is that I’ve really interacted,” Steven said. “Most page owners, when they do Facebook, they put some post up, they put many posts up, but they’re not really connecting with the readers.”

“Readers come back for more when they know they’ve got access to the Facebook page owner, who’ll respond to comments when you’re on Facebook Live, or shout out their name or respond to messages,” he said. He only got someone to help behind the scenes with automatic responses earlier this year.

He believes it’s about creating something readers can belong to and connecting with them with your posts, quotes and videos. “It’s about connecting to something and to somebody as well,” Steven said.

Don’t Stop at Posting Heartfelt Content — Interact with Your Readers

Step #4: Write Your Own “Aha” Quotes that Touch People


Aitchison is a firm believer that quotes can deliver “Aha!” moments that readers remember. When he started actively working his Facebook page, Steven was using quotes from other writers for his image quotes, just like everyone else.

Then he realized he was giving away free marketing, often to dead people, when he himself had written millions of words. So he began to rewrite the thoughts and concepts in his own words, putting his name below the quote. His online and Facebook recognition accelerated from 20 people finding his blog every month by Googling his name to 1,200 people.

Forgiving - Aha Quote

“It first started when I was doing the image quotes. Then it kind of transferred over onto video and now onto the live shows as well,” he said. This tactic is an easy and obvious way of becoming your own brand that leads directly to more traffic, more likes and, eventually, more income.

Step #5: Create Video That Touches People


Aitchison’s entry into video was pure experimentation that triggered a social media epiphany.

He was in his hotel room one night while at a conference in San Diego in 2016 when he decided to try Facebook Live, which had been recently introduced.

“I thought, I’m going to try this and see what happens. I didn’t have anything planned to say or anything. Just went on and just said, ‘Hi, Steven Aitchison here doing a Change Your Thoughts page.’ Then before I knew it there were about 10,000 people on at one time. I’m going, ‘Holy sh–. What’s going on?’”

By the time Steven had finished his first short video, it had about 50,000 total views. He realized there was a huge opportunity to interact with his millions of followers and immediately launched a daily Facebook Live show.

He mixes up his content by playing off his blog posts while talking with readers, doing interviews with people popular in the self-development niche, hosting live and guided meditations and sharing other personal development videos with commentary.

He urges bloggers to face the fear and do it anyway.

“Tech things can happen, but there have been no really awkward moments.”

Step #6: Study Your Posts’ Performance and Promote the Winners


Here’s a statistic that shocks most Facebook page owners, who think 100% of their followers see everything they post. In reality, only about 6% of your Facebook page followers will be shown a post when you first post it, as Facebook tests its popularity.

If your post is shared and commented upon — becoming more popular — Facebook will show your post to more of your followers, but not until it’s sure the post is popular enough according to its algorithm. Popularity breeds popularity in the Facebook algorithm. If your post sits around and does nothing at first, Facebook won’t show it to more of your followers.

Pay attention to the organic winners, give them a boost and let them run, Steven advises. Ignore the losers, which will drag down the overall ranking of your page. Learn from both the winners and the losers, and model the winners.

That’s difficult for most bloggers who believe the problem is that not enough people have seen the post, not that it doesn’t touch people.

Steven tracks the popularity of all of his Facebook posts and reposts the most popular content — the posts that rank higher than his average ranking — every three to four weeks. When the reach and engagement of those popular posts drops below average, he retires them for a few weeks or months, then starts reposting them again since his page will have a new set of followers who haven’t seen that post yet.

He credits this one technique — reposting the winners — with dramatically growing his Facebook page, as repostings often did better than the first posting.  

Step #7: Pay Attention to Facebook’s Next Moves


Steven always has one eye on what Facebook is pushing and will shift gears at a moment’s notice.

“You have to experiment and look out for what Facebook is pushing,” he advised. “I call it the Facebook stack. The Facebook stack is really all about checking out what Facebook is really pushing just now, and right now, for example, it’s videos. It’s Facebook Live just now and their own creation, which is Facebook Slideshow. They’re going to give it more reach because Facebook is promoting that automatically.”

Pay attention to Facebook's moves.

Rather than turn a blind eye to the advertising on Facebook, Steven recommends paying attention to what Facebook itself is advertising — a hidden-in-plain-sight clue to what Facebook is pushing at the moment. And be ready to act.

“You have to jump on the bandwagon,” Steven said. “You have to be on the ball and look out for what Facebook is promoting. You have to jump on it. People kind of get stuck thinking Facebook is going to stay the same and you can put the same old kind of blog posts up, and they don’t realize Facebook is changing almost every day.”

Step #8: Always Be Human and Genuine


Despite millions of followers and Facebook Likes, Aitchison said because of the type of person he is, his head is never in the clouds.

“I always question myself, I always question what I’m doing and I always ask the question, ‘How can I help more people?’” If you ask that one question in every area of your business you’ll quickly feel the disconnection when you don’t ask it, Steven said.

“The biggest compliment I keep getting is, ‘You’re really genuine, you’re really authentic,’ and I think that just being yourself really comes across.”

Lessons Learned: What Steven Would Do if He Had to Start Over

Steven was quick to list the things he would do differently if he had to start his blog and business over today.

Actively build my email list from Day 1.

Steven didn’t focus on building his list actively from the start, letting the list grow slowly and organically. Later, when he saw the direct correlation between how increased traffic on Facebook sent to an opt-in page exploded his email list and business, he realized the late start had held him back.

Understand that it is the interplay of your blog, email list and Facebook where you make money

Steven approached these elements in sequence, focusing first on his blog, then email list growth, then Facebook page growth. It wasn’t until he integrated these three key elements that his business growth took off. All three would be integrated immediately if he had to do it over.

Connect with people and collaborate sooner

Steven said he was like many bloggers, doing his own thing as a lone wolf for the first six to seven years. Not only did that mean he learned some things more slowly as he struggled, it meant he didn’t have the advantages of a network that would support and help him.

Understand the focus is on how many people I can connect with and help, not only on making money

Without the focus on helping people, Aitchison believes even a masterful execution of the first three lessons will result in mediocre success.

More Growth Means More People to Connect With and Touch

Steven doesn’t expect that his Facebook page will look the same in a year or two. Nor will his blog or business, except that he’ll be connecting with more people and touching more hearts. He understands that change is the only constant, and he fully intends to roll with Facebook’s direction.

He anticipates his page will evolve as livestreaming becomes more of a focus on Facebook, likely requiring him to upgrade the quality of his live shows to more TV-like quality, in effect creating mini TV shows.

“I think it’s going to be about me getting in front of the camera more,” Steven predicted. “Not something I’m naturally inclined to do, but this is why I’ve been doing Facebook Live for some time now — to get out there, to connect even more with the audience. I see it growing bigger, obviously, along with the challenges.”

He relishes the challenges because they keep him connected to the readers, and it’s that connection that keeps him going.

“I’ll never get big-headed or conceited because I always bring myself back to earth as quickly as I put my head in the clouds,” Steven said. “It’s a nice feeling when people come to you and say, ‘You really changed my life.’

“And I keep on asking the question, ’That’s nice, but the balance is, how can I help more people?’”

Author Bio: Marsha Stopa is senior instructor and coach for all Smart Blogger courses. She’s living her dream in the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, where she just bought a fixer-upper among the bears on a quiet mountain with a stunning view.

 

Source: https://smartblogger.com/facebook-likes/

What We Took Away from Success Incubator and FinCon – with Serena Appiah

Don’t you wish you were at FinCon with me?

In this episode, I’m coming to you live from Dallas, TX, where I’m attending FinCon 2017! With me is Serena Appiah of ThriftDiving.com, who is joining me for a fourth time on the podcast.

We’re here to share the action steps that we have gained from this conference and we’re planning to implement in our own businesses with you! It’s almost like actually being here…almost.

Intro

 

Listen to This Episode

This year is Serena’s second time at FinCon, and she says it’s just as amazing as last year. I always say that the best learning is what happens outside of the sessions, and Serena is finding that to be true. You get so many tips and tricks to take back to your business just from people you’re having conversations with in the hallways, during the coffee breaks, or at lunch.

By the way, we went to The Clutch for lunch. It was my first time ever eating bacon. That wrap was SO good!

Serena’s #1 Tip

Which Path?

Serena’s top tip comes from the keynote by Darren Rowse of problogger.com. He spoke about knowing who your audience is.

Sure, we hear this all the time, but Darren said something really new and really profound.

He said that once you know your audience and you know what their struggle is, you then have to figure out where you want to take them. It’s not enough to think about where they are right now. You have to imagine where they’re going to be.

The first step is to figure out who the person is. Draft an avatar and ask: what is their pain? What is their problem?

Once you, as a blogger, transform that person, how does the avatar change? What do you want them to look like after?

Actually draft your “before” and “after” avatars. Who will your audience become as they engage with you?

What’s extra cool is once you do that work, you will have a clear vision about what you should and should not take on. So if someone approaches you to promote a product, think about your avatars and remain true to them. If something isn’t the right fit, even if it’s a lucrative opportunity, turn it down. Stay true to your audience.

Leslie’s #1 Tip

My number one tip actually comes from Success Incubator, which took place before FinCon. The tip is about your homepage:

Instead of having your homepage focused on who you are, have it focused on who your audience is and what value you’re going to provide to them.

When I come to your blog, quite frankly, I don’t really care about you. Your audience isn’t worried about who you are — they’re looking for what this blog can do for them.

Take a look at your homepage and think about whether you’re really demonstrating what the value of your blog is to someone who is visiting for the first time.

Darren Rowse actually lists the problems he’s trying to solve on the homepage. He identifies the problems and gives people one-click solutions. If you scroll down on his homepage, you’ll see a section titled “I Need Help To…” followed by a series of problem areas: grow content, build a community, make money, and so on.

Darren Rowse Problogger Homepage

Darren Rowse identifies the problems and gives people one-click solutions on his Homepage.

His site is like a roadmap. It says, “Click here to see how you can solve your problem.” And that makes it really easy for visitors to find what they need.

More Tips

Call audience

Call your audience on the phone

Another tip Serena is going to take home is the idea of calling readers on the phone. Pat Flynn calls about ten of his readers every month. A real phone call makes people feel so special and helps you really build a relationship with them.

Plus, the amount of information you get from a phone call is really different from a survey. For example, in Serena’s niche, people often say that they don’t do DIY because they don’t have enough time. But when she talks to people, she finds that a lot of people are actually lacking in confidence rather than time, and that’s a separate problem.

I loved this tip from Steve Chou’s session. So, he has a lead magnet, and people opt in when they come to his page.

The great part is that Steve tries at that point to get them to evangelize. His thank you page tells the visitor that if they click and share the content on Facebook, they’ll get an additional free resource. You get something extra when you share the content. How smart is that?

Steve Chou allows his audience to access more content if they click and share his other content and infos.

But how do you know that someone has shared? Steve coded his himself, but Thrive Themes has an option for this. There are also a number of plugins that will allow you to unlock content automatically if your audience shares content in a particular way.

This is a great way to leverage your thank you page and grow your list even more.

Serena is also planning to go home and ask herself, “What are your money blocks?” She picked this one up at the Internet Marketing Party, an independent get together here in Dallas.

She was talking to Denise Duffield-Thomas, author of Lucky B*tch. Denise always asks, “why are you not earning the money that you deserve? Why are you not getting more passive income?” Those are your money blocks.

One of Serena’s blocks is that she’s afraid people aren’t going to take her seriously or think she’s worthy of paying for her skills. We tell ourselves that earning good money means we should be working hard, and if we’re not working hard we feel like we don’t deserve it.

Have a tough conversation with yourself. What is holding you back? What are your money blocks?

Drip Email Marketing

Drip Email Marketing

Kim Sorgius hooked me up with a much more advanced trick. Depending on which email marketing service you’re using, you may not be able to do this, but I really recommend trying it if you can!

Say you have an email list of 1000 people, and you send an email to all of them. If 200 people open that email, you have a 20% open rate. So Kim uses Drip lead scoring to be able to determine who is always opening her emails. She can actually tell which email addresses belong to her most engaged list members.

But wait! It gets better! Once Kim determines who really engages with the content, she will automatically set Drip to email those people first. That first email gets a 90% open rate, or even higher.

Then, half an hour or 40 minutes later, she sends the same exact email to everyone else.

Why? By sending to your hot leads first and getting that high open rate, the email servers see your email as a high-quality message. They’ll then prioritize that email when you send the second set, which makes it more likely to land in priority inboxes.

Kim currently has 100,000 subscribers. When she started doing this, she was getting about 30,000 opens per message. But her open rate has increased significantly over the time that she has been using this trick. This then puts more and more people on the hot engagement list, which makes the tip work even better!

Even More Tips

One more thing that I am re-learning at this year’s FinCon is the importance of keeping your thumb on the pulse, riding the waves, and getting in on the trends.

For example, a couple years ago when Snapchat was first on the scene, I made a comprehensive Snapchat tutorial to help people get started on that platform. It was super popular and really successful because people were already searching for help with Snapchat.

Snapchat

The Ultimate Snapchat Tutorial

Keeping on top of trending topics gives you an extra boost.

How do you find these trending topics? Know your industry, and follow news sites that are important for your industry. Another great tactic is to go to conferences! There are often new products being previewed or launched that aren’t yet available to the general public.

Serena recommends going to any conferences in your niche. You don’t have to restrict yourself to blogging conferences!

Another great tip, even though I can’t remember who this one is from: look in Google Analytics and determine your top five posts.

Optimize

Optimize your top posts.

Then — and this is the important part — spend one day on each of those posts and optimize the bejeezus out of it.

  • Optimize the images.
  • Make the SEO perfect.
  • Update it to add more resources.
  • Add a lead magnet.
  • Put in some affiliate links.
  • Create a pdf version, or a checklist or infographic version that they can download and take away.

Final Tip

Serena and Leslie at FinCon 2017If you’re listening to this podcast right now, Serena and I want you to pick one of these tips and make it a goal.

Over the next days, or weeks, or months, do this one thing to help move the needle on your business just a little bit. Make this happen!

If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’re going to be successful.

You can learn more about what Serena is up to over at ThriftDiving.com and on all the social media platforms @ThriftDiving!

Resources Mentioned

The post What We Took Away from Success Incubator and FinCon – with Serena Appiah appeared first on Become A Blogger by Noemi M.

Source: https://www.becomeablogger.com/25606/success-incubator-fincon/

How to Grow a Large YouTube Channel – Adam Ali

Could your YouTube channel use a jump start?

Ready to take your YouTube content to the next level?

In this week’s episode, I’m on the line with Adam Ali, a brand marketer living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His passion lies in motivating others to reach their personal best. He’s the founder of iWontLose.com, a brand with the sole purpose of inspiring and motivating the masses.

Listen to This Episode

Adam built his brand through motivational videos posted on YouTube and, as a result, he has been featured on major outlets like NBA TV, CBC Television, CP24 and many other media platforms. Now, runs a digital marketing agency called IWLagency where he helps online influencers and brands raise their social presence online by using social media strategically. One of his main platforms of focus is YouTube.

Adam and I connected in St. Maarten earlier this year, and I knew right away that I wanted to bring him on the show to talk about growing a YouTube channel.

Adam’s Story

Adam Ali

Adam Ali

Adam describes himself pre-iWon’tLose.com as just an average personal trainer working in a gym. But got tired of that and felt that he wanted more out of life.

He used to go to YouTube for workout and motivational videos, and eventually he started thinking that he could make videos, too.

But Adam didn’t want just any old YouTube fitness video. He wanted to tell stories. So working with a producer, he put together a really cool four-part story as his very first video. It was high quality, even cinematic, and it featured Adam working out without being a typical “let’s focus on our chest muscles today” video.

The storyline showed him waking up around 4:00 or 5:00am to go for a morning run. It showed his dedication to starting the day with a workout. It also had what Adam describes as “crazy music” that was full of energy. The music really pushed the story and got people pumped up and inspired.

Motivation Fitness Training Part 1

Motivation Fitness Training Part 1

That first video went really well, so Adam kept making content.

His third video went viral. Adam narrated and poured his heart out, which resonated with a lot of people. It’s still biggest video he’s ever produced.

It was called “Dear Hard Work,” and it was basically a letter to the concept of Hard Work. In the video, Adam says that he’s been afraid of hard work, but it really is a good thing because it leads to progress, gains, and results.

Dear Hard Work

Dear Hard Work

This video resonated so powerfully with his audience that he started getting sponsorships from other fitness brands.

Adam wanted to top that third video to close out the four-part series. So he decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He had never climbed anything before, and he says he didn’t even really train. He describes the experience as the hardest thing he has ever done.

For me, the take-home message here is about creativity: Adam didn’t just do what everyone else was doing. He saw what was going on, what was popular, and put his own spin on it. How can you apply that to what you are doing?

There’s nothing wrong with “how to get abs” videos, but the key is to pay attention to what people are looking for. You can be as creative as you want, but it won’t matter if people aren’t looking for what you’re making.

You’ve got to create content that people are seeking. Don’t do it just because it feels good to you. You have to fill a void. We’ll come back to this point later.

In 2012-13, Adam met his wife Latoya. She had a comedy channel on YouTube – LatoyaForever – and Adam saw opportunities to scale it.

Latoya Forever

Latoya Forever

He wanted to fuse her comedy and his fitness, so he reached out to Latoya with a crazy idea: do a video of Adam training Latoya, with her doing “all this wonky stuff.”

People still love that video! It really helped build her channel. Adam says that he learned a lot from growing her account.

Adam’s initial goal was to make Latoya’s channel sustainable so that she could quit her retail job. It’s always hard to leave a stable job and take that risk. But Adam pushed her and she pushed herself, and by the end of 2013, she made the leap.

At the time, she had about 300,000 subscribers. Now, she has over a million.

Around the same time, Latoya wanted to move to L.A., so Adam left his job at a not-for-profit and they drove from Toronto to L.A.

They had been there for 3 or 4 months when they found out they were expecting a baby. That changed everything (but in a good way!). They moved back to Toronto.

The moment she knew she was pregnant, Latoya started documenting her journey as a mother. She and Adam started another channel for this content: Latoya’s Life.

Latoya's Life

Latoya’s Life

For a while, they were focusing on that family channel because they were seeing a lot more engagement there. People were sharing stories and giving advice. Vlogging was fairly new at the time, so it felt like a whole new world.

They parked Latoya’s first channel for about a year. She just didn’t feel like being goofy and funny anymore. However, after a year, Adam pushed her to revisit it.

Once they started focusing on that channel, they gained 700,000 subscribers in a year. Latoya was able to find the content that really resonated with her, that she was comfortable making in her new role as a mom.

Starting Out On YouTube

I wanted to get Adam’s advice for those just starting out on YouTube.

He says that the most important thing is to be a YouTube viewer FIRST. See what other people are doing. Live on the trending page and see what’s going on.

be courageous and press publish

Be courageous and press publish

It’s okay to look at other people and see how they are doing what they do. Stay plugged in to what’s happening in the community. It sparks ideas, for content, ways of editing, and delivery.

Bottom line: you’ve got to be a passionate viewer first if you really want to be a great YouTuber.

Once you are ready to publish content, it’s important to take that leap. You just have to be courageous and press publish.

Then, tweak as you go. There’s no such thing as perfect, so just keep going. Part of the process is creating content from where you are, and trusting that you’ll get better as time goes on.

Okay, great! You’ve arrived. You are watching and learning, and you took that leap to press publish on your first video. Now what?

Adam has a few tips:

1. Consistent Content

Consistent content

Consistent content

Decide to give yourself a year of consistent content upload before you give up. At the start, it can feel like you’re not getting any traction, but these things take time.

Come up with a schedule that is right for you. It needs to be something you can actually keep to with your other responsibilities.

Then, once you’re comfortable with that, you can think about adding an extra day.

Be consistent with the day: teach people when to expect your content and get them into a routine.

It really takes time, especially now that the platform is so saturated. But if you’re consistent, YouTube will favor you in the algorithm.

You need to focus on longevity. It’s so easy to get burnt out.

Back in 2012-13, Adam was publishing on Latoya’s main channel about twice a week. Lots of experts say it should be three times a week, because that’s what the YouTube algorithms favor.

But we’re humans, not robots. There’s no point posting that often if it’ll just burn you out.

2. Foster a community.

Foster a community

Foster a community

Make people feel something or your time on YouTube will be short. If you really connect with people, they will champion your content.

Once you have that community, throw it back at them. Ask for advice and comments.

Latoya has been really successful in creating a community of passionate, opinionated people who want to dissect everything every chance they have. And that’s great!

Here are some ways that Adam and Latoya build and connect with their community:

  1. Feature a male and female viewer every week. They call this “Viewer of the Week”. People submit their photos via an app, and then Latoya and Adam acknowledge them in the video. This is a big thrill for people, since they’re getting seen by 100,000+ viewers per video.
  2. Respond to at least 40 to 50 comments on every video. At this point, they get 500-1500 comments per video on average. It take a lot of time, but it’s important to acknowledge your audience. Lots of YouTubers don’t do this – they publish the content and then they’re gone. But the audience wants interaction!
  3. Screenshot favorite comments and show them in the video. This is the “Comment of the Week,” and it’s another great way to acknowledge your audience and make them feel special. .
  4. Giveaways and contests. Throw it back into the comments and ask for input from your viewers. Adam and Latoya will do things like, “Tell us the funniest joke pertaining to the vlog or this topic,” and then do a giveaway for the best ones. It’s all about involving the audience.
  5. Engage them in a non-spammy way. You will have to find that balance. It’s a fine line between engaging and annoying. Also, people can tell if it isn’t coming from an authentic place. They’ll see right through anything you’re doing just because you want more subscribers.

Driving Traffic

So how did Adam and Latoya get their channel to a million subscribers?

Create relevant content

Create content that people care about

They started by creating content that people care about. You do that by looking for what people are searching. See what videos are trending.

Then, take those topics and incorporate them into the video. When you do that successfully, it brings a whole new stream of traffic from places you never even expected.

Talk about things that matter to people. Use what YouTube gives you: write the perfect title that sparks interest. Write good descriptions. The YouTube system is designed to get your content discovered via search.

Throw the word YOU in the title – “What do YOU think of X?” It makes people want to click because they want to answer the question.

Understand the YouTube algorithm. Use the right keywords, and look at what’s trending. If “Trump” is trending, and you incorporate Trump into your content and your description, then people are much more likely to find you.

Create content around tags and challenges. Spin what’s trending in a way that’s authentic to you.

Remember that the reason it’s trending is because people care about it right now. And that’s how you’ll get discovered.

YouTube used to be all about subscribers. If you had lots of subscribers, you’d get lots of view. Now, they don’t care as much about subscribers, but they do care about content.

Just because you have a million subscribers doesn’t mean you’re going to get lots of views. YouTube wants to be able to push your content to certain places, so it’s all about content now.

It’s important to understand that there are three layers of subscribers:

First, they hit the subscribe button.

Then, they hit the bell to say, “Please notify me.”

But then, they have to actually turn on notifications to be pinged when you upload a video. They have to click “always” in notification settings, and lots of people don’t do that.

Subscriber counts are metrics for brands, and that’s about the only reason they matter now.

If you’re just starting out, this should be very encouraging! You used to be a disadvantage if you didn’t have many subscribers. Now, you’re getting equal treatment from the algorithm. It’s a more efficient system for all users.

Social Media Strategy

Social Media Strategy

Adam has had a lot of success with social media, so I wanted him to talk a little bit about his strategies for using other platforms to drive traffic to YouTube.

He says it’s important for him to have a social media strategy that funnels everything back to YouTube. Why? Because that’s ultimately where they generate income, not just through AdSense but also through brands that they work with.

So every time they create a video on YouTube, they also create supporting content for all of the social platforms:

On Snapchat, they’ll let everyone know that there’s something coming out, and give a specific time. This is a teaser.

Then, they come back when it’s uploaded and let people know that they just dropped the video.

On Instagram, they do the same thing with their story.

Sometimes, they’ll also do a teaser video on the feed. They take their favorite parts and create a shorter video. The trick is to make it irresistible. Make people want to click and go there.

On Facebook, they’ll post the video snippet natively. Just a YouTube link won’t do it, since YouTube and Facebook are direct competitors. Facebook really favors native uploads.

Adam Ali FB

Adam Ali Facebook Page

More recently, they have started posting the entire video on Facebook. They started doing this about six weeks ago.

At first, that sounds counter-intuitive, because the strategy is usually to drive people back to YouTube. Why go to YouTube if the whole video is on Facebook?

But Adam looked at the analytics, and only about 1% of their views come from Facebook clicks. At that level, it doesn’t really matter if it funnels to YouTube.

He’s also trying a new strategy, although he’s not 100% sure that this works. To avoid punishment by the Facebook algorithm for linking to YouTube, Adam uses a bitly link in the captions of the videos. Sometimes they also paste a bitly link in the comments.

There’s some research suggesting that bitly links and link shorteners get suppressed on Facebook, too, but it’s always worth trying out a new tactic!

They also use Keek.com, which allows you to upload 36-second videos. This platform is not as cool anymore, but they have a big following there, so they keep it going.

On Twitter, definitely upload a teaser instead of just a link. We all know that video converts better than text.

Final Tips

Reach out and Collaborate

Reach out and Collaborate

Adam recommends that you reach out and start collaborating in meaningful ways. That will help you grow.
YouTube is such a community of creators. Build friendships and connect with those creators in order to keep growing.

If you want to know more about what Adam is up to, you can find him on the I Won’t Lose website.

He’s also on the I Won’t Lose YouTube channel.

And you can follow I Won’t Lose on social media, too:

Finally, you can check out Latoya’s channel.

Resources Mentioned

Infographic

Grow a Large YouTube Channel

How to Grow a Large YouTube Channel – Adam Ali

The post How to Grow a Large YouTube Channel – Adam Ali appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: https://www.becomeablogger.com/25545/grow-your-youtube-channel/

How to Grow a Blog to Millions of Pageviews – Jillian Tohber Leslie

Wouldn’t you love to have millions of pageviews?

In this week’s episode, I’m on the line with Jillian Tohber Leslie. Jillian founded Catch My Party with her husband in 2009, and it’s now the largest party ideas site on the web. This site gets over four million pageviews every month. Yes, I said MILLION!

Listen to This Episode

In 2015, Jillian and David built a custom popup app for themselves to grow their Catch My Party social media followers. It worked so well, they launched it as their second company 2016 called MiloTree.

When I heard all of this, I knew I had to get Jillian on the podcast to talk about how she was able to build her massive audience. Her secrets? Using smart SEO, embracing the long tail, and being early adopters of social media (especially Pinterest).

Jillian’s Story

Back before she was a blogging sensation, Jillian was writing teen movies for Hollywood, and her husband was Head of Product at Myspace (remember Myspace?).

Jillian Tohber Leslie

Jillian Tohber Leslie

They knew that they wanted to find a project to work on together, so they started their website as a side hustle. The idea was to create a social photo sharing site for teen girls to post about their sweet sixteens, quinceañeras, bar/bat mitzvahs, and other parties.

So they hired a team of developers in Indonesia and started designing the site. It was hot pink and purple, designed to be appealing to teenage girls.

But there was a problem: how do you get teen girls to add their photos? The site doesn’t work if no one wants to put their pictures there. They tried a bunch of tactics, but they didn’t get a lot of traction.

Then, all of a sudden, they noticed that moms with Etsy shop had started putting party photos on the “teen” site. This is not the plan.

After talking things over, they decided to pivot, and they learned an important lesson: “you co-create with your audience.” There was no point trying to make a teen site happen if the interest was coming from moms.

But how did the Etsy moms find the site in the first place?

Jillian and her husband thought about SEO from the very beginning. This was before Facebook took over social networking, so there were some burgeoning, tiny social networks that were interest-based. These were places where people interested in certain topics got together, so Jillian put her site out there on those networks, too.

Catch My Party

Catch My Party Website

Today, the people who add content to Catch My Party are all moms. “Moms are unsung heroes,” Jillian says. If a mom throws a beautiful party and posts it to the site, Jillian will try to find a way to feature it so that the mom feels appreciated and celebrated. She shows off the best ones on homepage slider and on her social media feed. It’s all about celebrating people.

Blogging for Catch My Party

trending blog idea

Search for what’s trending as idea sources for your blog

Jillian is not a party planner, even though her site is all about parties. Instead, she thinks of herself as an influencer and curator, “flying above” and looking at what’s trending. She started blogging for the site right away and always recommends blogging as a way to put your point of view out there.

But she wasn’t convinced at first: her husband said, “you need a blog.” She said, “Why? And what do I write about?” He replied, “You’ll write about what we’re doing.”

She is currently posting on the blog three times per week. She loves to do roundups, to show people a selection of what’s trending. The blog is also helpful for SEO.

Catch My Party Blog

Catch My Party Blog

Amazing Growth

When Jillian and her husband started out, they thought about SEO first. Jillian wants to emphasize that they get traffic via “the long tail.”

SEO Management

SEO Management

What does that mean? They’re not trying to rank for things like “party ideas” or even things like “princess parties” or “pirate parties.” They can’t directly compete with Party City and big retailers like that.

But if you type in “rainbow unicorn sparkly party,” that’s a lot more specific and niche. And it will lead you straight to Catch My Party.

So their traffic really comes from what Jillian calls “tiny little search results.” That is the long tail.

Jillian manages SEO by manually adding tags whenever someone adds a party. She has to be very intentional about keywords because Google doesn’t understand photos. You have to tell Google what’s in the photos or else they won’t come up in the search results.

Using Social Media

Jillian and her husband got in on social media relatively early. Back in the day, Facebook was awesome. People would respond to everything!

And then, as we all know, the algorithm changed. Facebook “tightened the spigot,” in Jillian’s words.

traffic source analytics

Look at your analytics for traffic sources

When that happened, Jillian and her husband looked at the analytics and saw that a lot of their traffic was coming from Pinterest. Jillian says you’ve got to look out for the “serendipities that happen in your business,” and this was one of them.

She had had the idea for a picture-saving app years before, but her husband never got around to making one. When Pinterest came around, Jillian started pinning just for herself. Her personal board was what initially drove traffic to Catch My Party from Pinterest.

So she started to create content specifically for Pinterest. She currently has 750,000 followers there. Pinterest is great for visual content, but Jillian recommends playing by their rules. It’s best to be making content that is just for Pinterest.

Catch My Party Pinterest

Catch My Party Pinterest Page

Also, pay attention to what’s trending on Pinterest to get inspiration for your next post. Jillian creates collages based on what’s trending and then thinks about how she can do her own version of that popular content.

MiloTree

Around this time, Jillian and her husband started focusing on growing followers. They built a popup tool to promote Pinterest for Catch My Party in 2014-15. This popup helped them to grow their following organically.

Why not just use the widget? Jillian says the widget wasn’t converting, and they needed to be actively growing.

They had so much success with their first popup that they decided to build a similar one for Instagram. They currently have about 130,000 Instagram followers, largely from the popup.

Instagram popup

Instagram popup on their Milo Tree website

Then they thought that if their popup tool had been so successful for them, it might benefit other bloggers, too. So they started building that out as part of the business, and MiloTree was born.

Their initial popup just asked people to follow them on Pinterest. They would populate the popup with recent posts in order to show social proof.

They had the same strategy with Instagram. This means that when somebody clicks, they already have a sense of what your account looks like.
MiloTree is also “smart” because it can connect various different accounts, including Facebook, Insttreagram, Pinterest, and email. The plugin shows a different account from the slider every time somebody visits the site, so if you have your Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook connected, each visitor will get a random selection from that list. They also have a new feature coming that will let you set an order, so that every first-time visitor sees Instagram, for example.

MiloTree has been so successful because it is so simple. Bloggers have to wear so many hats and make so many decisions, so Jillian wanted to create a very simple product. She wanted to make lots of decisions on their end so that customers don’t have to.

For example, Google announced that it would penalize sites that used a big popup on mobile. So Jillian and her husband adjusted the MiloTree to be Google-compliant for mobile. The plugin can detect on its own whether your visitors are using mobile or desktop.

Getting Traffic

Jillian says one of the most important things you can do is “ride the waves.” Keep an eye on what’s trending and think about how you can make more of that content.

Collage of trending halloween

Catch My Party Posts Based on Trending Topics

For example, Catch My Party rode the Frozen and Minecraft phases. Jillian noticed that that content was “going gangbusters” and made more of it. Once you see a trend, start doubling down on that content.

How do you tell what’s working? Jillian has a few suggestions:

  1. Always looking in Google Analytics. This will give you so much information that can steer you towards more popular content.
  2. Use Pinterest analytics to see what pins are most popular. You should be pinning your own content, but pin other people’s content, too. You can see what things you’ve pinned are performing well and think: “How can I make similar content?”
  3. Think seasonally. Halloween is huge for Catch My Party, so they think ahead and try to launch that content a month or two before the holiday.
  4. Combine trends. Right now, unicorns are huge and Halloween is huge. So they created a cute party printable of a green witch unicorn that they give away for free. It combines two trends and puts a different spin on content that’s already popular.
Catch My Party Unicorn Halloween Printables

Create content or resources based on combined trending topics

5. Learn over time who your audience is. Jillian knows hers very well: they live in the sweet spot of moms with little kids. Jillian totally gets the struggle of wanting to throw a great party for your kids, so she is able to relate to her audience.

The best part is that all of these tools are free! You can do this on any budget.

Jillian says you’ve got to go toward what’s working. If something isn’t working now, it probably won’t ever work. You can tweak it and see, and you might get a tiny bit of lift. But the ones that hit are the ones that hit.

If you are just starting out and you don’t have much of an audience yet, it can be hard to get that instant feedback. Jillian wants you to think about your WHY. Why are you a blogger?

If you don’t have a WHY, don’t be a blogger. It’s too hard. It’s a long slog. You’d better be in there, and you’d better have something to say that’s meaningful to you.

Once you have your WHY, the next step is to look around at people who are doing what you want to be doing. Think about why you like certain content, and then think about how you can put your own spin on that.

Ask, “What about it is resonating with me?”

Start from yourself and what you need to say to the world.

Also, remember that blogs evolve over time. Don’t think your blog is going to stay the same forever. Allow that evolution and be open to change.

Most importantly, think about co-creating with your audience. Even if one person reaches out to you through Instagram and loves what you’re doing, pay attention. This is something you can do at any level.

Co-create with your audience

Be caught up in listening to your audience and co-creating with them.

If I have ten people following me, there’s a difference between eight responses and just one response. Don’t be so caught up in the millions (even though that’s the title of the episode!). Be caught up in listening to your audience and co-creating with them.

You also have to be double-checking stuff. There can be a fallacy of small numbers. If you don’t have a lot of followers, take interaction as a direction for the next post, but see how it goes. Don’t bet your whole business on 10 likes.

What does that look like in practice? For Jillian, if people email her, she’ll ask to get on a phone call with them. She tries to be available to her audiences. She is always wanting to learn from them.

When the numbers are smaller it’s easier to connect. When you’re starting off, you will do a lot of things that won’t “scale.” You can’t talk individually to a million people. But that’s a good problem to have!

Social Followers vs. Email List

Catch My Party is monetized primarily through ads and sponsored content, not through an email list. But for MiloTree, the email list is more important because they’re selling a product.

Think about why you’re growing your email list. If you monetize via traffic or by working with brands, your email list won’t be as important to you; a list is more helpful if you are selling a product.

If you are growing your list, you have to be very intentional about it. Lists get stale really quickly, so if you’re not selling short term, your list may not be very valuable by the time you actually have a product.

Think about what best works for your business.

Think about what best works for your business.

Jillian makes sure to remind me that “These are best practices for US.” You have to “think about your business, your special sauce, and how you monetize.

If you monetize via ads, you need the most amount of eyeballs on your site in the most cost effective way possible. If you do anything visual, right now that’s Pinterest. Jillian says it is better at driving traffic than Instagram.

But Instagram is important if you’re working with brands, because they care about how many followers you have.

It’s all about being intentional based on YOUR business. Do what’s best for you, not just what everyone else is doing.

Final Tips:

Remember that there is no magic bullet. “If there were a magic bullet, I would be using it,” Jillian says. It’s a long slog, but Jillian has two tips to get you through:

  1. Enjoy the journey. Because it’s a lot of work.
  2. You have to be nimble. Jillian says her biggest mistakes were when she thought something would work and it didn’t, but then she doubled down on it. What’s working today might not work tomorrow. Listen and be nimble.

If you want to get in on MiloTree, Jillian wants you to know that you can try it for free, risk-free for 30 days by visiting http://www.milotree.com.

MiloTree works by converting visitors into followers and subscribers. It’s best for people who have some traffic already. It’s like lighter fluid on top of your existing traffic. If you have traffic on your blog, it will work.

Success in blogging is about taking advantage of what you have. You’ve got to constantly let people know what you’re offering. MiloTree is one ask for your visitors. It’s quick and easy and doesn’t paralyze them with choices, which is why it’s so effective.

80% of your traffic will leave and never come back to your site. MiloTree is about bringing those people into your ecosystem.

Tell your audience what you want them to do. Be very clear. Don’t be subtle. If you want them to click on something, say “click here.” People want to live their lives on auto-pilot. The easier you can make those steps the better.

Jillian also says that you can email her any time. She actually answers every single email she gets, and she’s always happy to answer your questions!

Resources Mentioned

Infographic

Jillian Tohber Leslie

The post How to Grow a Blog to Millions of Pageviews – Jillian Tohber Leslie appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: https://www.becomeablogger.com/25539/grow-blog-millions-of-pageviews/

What Camera Do You Use for YouTube Videos

So you wanna create videos on YouTube, but which camera is right for you?

In this video, I’m gonna answer that question, and the answer might not be what you expect.

I also break down 4 different camera types and share which is best for you.

Background

I love technology. And when it comes to video, some might say I have a problem

I have a bunch of cameras. And that’s the problem for many people.

There are so many options that it’s often difficult to know which one is right for you.

create videosHere’s the truth – the best camera to use is the one you have right now.

You see – Content is king!

While quality does influence our perception to a certain extent, I’ve seen MANY examples of people creating awesome content using just a simple smartphone.

There are many viral videos that were shot on a poor-quality smartphone with terrible audio.

So – the key is to create videos, over and over. Learn to tell a story using this visual medium.

If you take care of that first, the rest will come.

That answer may not be enough for you, so I want to give you some specifics so that if you have some money to spend, you know where to look.

Here are four great options:

Option 1: Your Smartphone

smartphones

Smartphones are the most convenient to use.

This is the best option for most people. Here’s why.

Smartphones are convenient, always with you, and shoot great quality videos.

In addition to that, there are a few accessories you can add to take your smartphone video quality to the next level.

Things like lighting, tripods or other devices to keep it stable and an external mic to increase your audio quality.

Option 2: Point and Shoot

Sony RX100

Sony RX100

These smaller cameras very convenient for vloggers who are on the go because they are relatively compact and light.

You can even add an external shotgun mic.

Many of the newer versions even have a flip out LCD screen.

This allows you to see yourself while filming. The one I have (and love) is the Sony RX100.

Option 3: A DSLR

Canon 80D

Canon 80D

This is the camera of choice of many professional video creators. They offer high-quality videos with a choice of many lenses.
You add lenses for very specific types of shots and you can get some of the best footage ever.

Depending on the camera you have, the autofocus is awesome. Also, the color profile you get with certain DSLR is so rich and vibrant.

The best thing is that you see when you look into the viewfinder is what you get as the picture.

There is one major downside – they are big and bulky. If you plan on shooting in a studio/office with a tripod, this can be a great option.

A popular example of a DSLR for video is the Canon 80D.

Option 4: Mirrorless Cameras

Panasonic Lumix GH5

Panasonic Lumix GH5

These are relatively new on the scene. They can give you a very professional look and have many lens choices.

With a quality Mirrorless camera, you can get video quality that’s similar to DSLR, BUT they are much smaller in size.

One great feature is that many of them offer 4k video, giving you a much crisper image.

If you compare an inexpensive DSLR to an inexpensive Mirrorless, the DSLR will almost always win in terms of quality.

But as you go to the higher price ranges, especially when you’re talking about cameras over $1K, you will find that the differences become less and less.

At that point, it’s more a question of convenience. If you don’t mind the size of a DSLR, go with it, but if you want something smaller, then Mirrorless will be the way to go.

I use the Panasonic Lumix GH5 as my main camera for all my videos now.

Let’s wrap this up

Those are my general four recommendations for cameras to use for YouTube.

However, make sure to watch the video above. In it, I also share some tips that anyone can use to help them record better video.

Resources Mentioned

The post What Camera Do You Use for YouTube Videos appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: http://www.becomeablogger.com/25521/camera-use-youtube-videos/

How to Salvage 2017 and Plan for 2018

Are you satisfied with what you’ve accomplished so far in 2017?

Did you create goals for this year only to fall short?

In this episode, we talk about how to salvage 2017 and plan for 2018.

Intro

Listen to Episode

The post How to Salvage 2017 and Plan for 2018 appeared first on Become A Blogger by Noemi M.

Source: http://www.becomeablogger.com/25510/salvage-2017-plan-2018/

YouTube Video Structure – What works!

What’s the best structure for your YouTube videos?

How do you get people to watch till the end?

In this video, I talk all about structuring your YouTube videos to be more effective.

Your YouTube Video Goal

YouTube Watch Time

The longer the watch time, the higher your rank is on YouTube

In the last video, we spoke about the importance of watch time.

If you can get people to watch your videos until the end, YouTube will start ranking you higher.

So, as you create your videos, the goal is to get the viewer to watch it till the very end.

To do that, you want to make sure to structure your video to hold the viewer’s attention.

Here are some tips to help you do that:

Tip 1: Start Strong!

Video Content Value

What value will they get from your content?

Here are some interesting numbers. There are 300 hours of video upload to YouTube every minute.

People watch almost 5 billion videos very day on the platform.

They are consuming a lot of content and as a result, are easily distracted.

Let the viewer know what you are covering in the first few seconds.

Focus on what’s in it for them – What value will they get?

At the beginning of this video, I asked 2 questions. These questions let you know right up front what value you’re gonna get from the video.

Tip 2: Have an Intro Video Clip/Animation

After your strong start, include a short introductory video clip/animation.

Short Intro

Include a short introduction of yourself after adding a short animation or intro clip

This does a few things:

  1. Shows a certain level of professionalism. It lets people know that you take your videos seriously.
  2. It includes key elements of branding. You can include your logo, colors or any other visual elements. I include my name to let people know who I am.
  3. It makes you look good. We all like to look good, don’t we?

Tip 3: Introduce Yourself

Once your animation is over, it’s time to let them know who you are and why they should listen to you.

This helps to provide validity to your videos.

You may also choose to invite them to subscribe to your channel here.

Tip 4: Jump into Your Content

Jump into your content

Be concise, provide value, and keep it engaging.

Now that you’ve done all the groundwork, let’s get right into the content.

Don’t go on and on. Provide them with the value they are looking for in a concise way.

Oh, and don’t forget to be engaging.

Tip 5: Give a Brief Recap (Optional)

Now that you’ve covered the good stuff, it’s a good idea to do a brief recap.

This will help to solidify key concepts in the viewer’s mind.

It also shows them that you delivered on the promises you made on the beginning.

Tip 6: Include a Call-to-action

Call to Action

Give a call to action to a product/service you offer.

You’ve delivered the value, and now they are ready to move on.

This is where you want to nudge them to the next logical step by giving a call-to-action.

What do you want them to DO next?

Tell them.

It can be as simple as asking them to like your video and subscribe to your channel.

Even better, create a free resource and provide it to them in exchange for them joining your email list.

This is a key step in helping you grow your business.

If you want to be a bit ambitious, feel free to let them know about a product or service you offer.

The conversions won’t be as great for that, but you’ll be bringing exposure to a key part of your business.

The YouTube Growth-Tracking Spreadsheet

If you’re trying to grow your YouTube channel, I have a gift for you.

I created a YouTube Growth-Tracking Spreadsheet to help you plan your channel growth.

Click here to get the spreadsheet

Join the Coaching Club

If you’re trying to build a blogging business, let me hold your hand.

Join the Become a Blogger coaching club.

Click here to find out more

Resources Mentioned

Infographic

YouTube Video Structure

YouTube Video Structure – What works!

The post YouTube Video Structure – What works! appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: http://www.becomeablogger.com/25498/youtube-video-structure/

8 Ways to Make Old and Boring Topics Feel New and Exciting Again

I get it.

You don’t want to be one of the millions of bloggers stuck in the land of sameness — indistinguishable as you parrot the same old advice everybody else does.

You want your voice to be heard, and you want it to feel vibrant, fresh and new.

But your blog topic feels threadbare, and you’ve got no bloody idea how to make it exciting again. Every angle has been rewritten, rehashed and reused. It bores you so much you’d rather poke your eye out with a stick of spaghetti than write another post.

So you search for answers on how to stand out.

But all you find is airy-fairy platitudes. Provide unique insights! Be interesting! Write in your own voice!

It’s all surface-level hoopla that lacks the substance and specifics you really need.

So I scoured the Internet in search of posts that felt new and exciting despite having well-trodden topics. And I unearthed a handful of practical tactics you could add to your repertoire.

Enough small talk. Let’s get into it …

Tactic #1: Turn Fluffy Concepts into Living, Breathing Characters


Procrastination. It’s a well-worn topic. It’s also a bit of an ethereal concept — untouchable, yet it touches us all.

But in this insanely viral post, Tim Urban skillfully brings procrastination to life by casting interesting characters to play the roles of emotions that live inside a procrastinator’s brain. See what I mean …

Procrastinator's Brain line drawing

Mel Wicks also did it when she created the Imp to play the role of Imposter Syndrome —  another fluffy concept.

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.

[…]

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.

 
Doing this makes reading about fluffy concepts much more fun and interesting for the reader. You bring the topic to life, as readers can visualize these characters better than ideas that only exist inside our minds.

So if you write about a topic that only exists in the abstract plane, consider breathing some life into it. Think of crazy names for concepts or aspects of problems that your readers may face, and cast human or animal characters in their roles.

Your readers will love it.

Tactic #2: Make Your Readers Choose a Side


Trump or Clinton? Yankees or Red Sox? Ebooks or paperbacks?

You can’t help but choose a side. It’s a natural reaction, and it’s one that you as the writer can play to your advantage. It’ll create standout content for even the most dreary topics.

Devise contrasting sides or categories and compare them to spark your reader’s attention.

Like this:

There are two types of bloggers in this world — let’s call them Sameness and Fearless. Sameness writes posts that are as functional and beige as an L.L. Bean parka. Fearless reveals his deepest thoughts and dares to try new things —  even though he may fail.

 
Take, for example, Elle Luna’s post, The Crossroads of Should and Must, in which she rockets interest levels to amazing heights by contrasting two paths we can choose to take. It’s a home run of a post that takes the well-trodden topic of “living life to the fullest” to an entirely new level.

The Crossroads of Should and Must

And then we have the $2 Billion Wall Street Journal Sales Letter, which is one of the most successful sales letters ever written:

The Wall Street Journal sales letter

It begins by introducing two young men, painting a picture of their near-identical happy lives, then throws in a surprising contrast to generate curiosity and emotion that makes it impossible to stop reading.

Contrasting two sides like this can be both engaging and persuasive. Readers will be swept up by the comparisons, and they’ll find themselves agreeing with the side you want them to pick.

So next time you write about a dreary topic, consider presenting two opposite sides, and force the reader to choose one.

Tactic #3: Make Them Laugh So Loud They Wake Up People in China


Humor is the perfect way to flip the script on a humdrum blog topic. Oli Gardner proved this point beautifully in his highly entertaining post on landing page optimization.

His setup was gold and left no doubt in the reader’s mind that the post was going to be an interesting ride.

Landing pages rule. Blah.
Homepages suck. Blah.
Do some A/B testing. Blah.
Base your optimization strategy on customer feedback. Blah.

All of those statements are true. But they sound boring and being boring is lame. It’s twenty fourteen and I refuse to be lame.

If you want to be a non-lame marketer, it’s really easy. Read this post, have a laugh, and treat everything I say as gospel.

 
And he certainly continued to deliver throughout the entire post.

The experienced adult readers amongst you might remember that “Shit. The condom broke!” moment. Yeah you do. You might also remember that it felt like a good time to run a test. #STDsArentFunny. Perhaps. But, as we go through this epic journey together today, I’ll show you exactly when and how you should really be testing.

 
But what if you’re not funny? Humor can’t be taught, right?

Not true.

Humor writing is a creative art, and, just like all creative arts, it has structure and formula. And all artistic endeavours are built on teachable skills and techniques. — Mark Shatz, Comedy Writing Secrets

 
Sure, some people seem to be born oozing raw comedic talent, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us are doomed. You’ll have to do the legwork, but it’ll be worth it. Many of the most successful and memorable blog posts ever written contain humor or quirkiness.

Here are two of the simpler humor writing tricks to get you started.

Humor Technique #1: The Rule of Threes

Simply put, you write three statements. The first two are the setup, and they establish a thought pattern. Then you add a third, incongruent idea, which is your main point or punchline. Like this:

Let me predict a few things that will happen in the next year. Jon Snow will unite the Seven Kingdoms and save the world. The day you wash and wax your new Honda will be the day it rains. And your inbox will clog up with so many deathly uninteresting posts that you’d rather stab your hand with a freshly sharpened pencil than read another one.

 
The rule of three is a classic joke structure that you’ll see used by many comedy writers. Here are a couple of examples by the pros so you can see it in action.

Men are simple things. They can survive a whole weekend with only three things: beer, boxer shorts, and batteries for the remote control. — Diana Jordan
I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land. — Jon Stewart
When you die there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. When my father dies, he’ll see the light, make his way toward it, and then flip it off to save electricity. — Harland Williams

 
See how that works?

Humor Technique #2: Ridiculous Exaggeration

Exaggeration is an age-old trick used to emphasize importance and evoke strong emotions. It’s also a powerful way to inject humor into a post. You can embellish or stretch everyday truths, over- or understate distance or size, and express extreme or ridiculous emotions.

Geraldine DeRuiter’s side-splitting post I Went Paleo and Now I Hate Everything is a good example, as it’s riddled with exaggeration. Just check out these entertaining quotes:

Like most things in my life, I’ve jumped in headfirst without putting any thought or research into it (this is also how I ended up taking a workout class called “Insanity.” Afterwards, I was drooling and delirious. So I guess it delivered).
Parenthetically, I really should stop listening to people just because they’re attractive. If Jeff Goldblum told me to get a bowl haircut and rob a bank, I totally would.
The cookies look exactly the same before they are digested as after. They are eternal and unchanging. As time passes, they don’t decline in quality or taste because they can’t. They’ve already started out at theoretical zero on that scale.

 
Hilarious, right?

To do this yourself, begin with a common situation, such as having dismal site traffic. Then play with how it makes you feel, what it makes you want to do, etc. Here are a few I came up with:

  • Dive into a pit of Kleenex and cry like a baby.
  • Send a fire-breathing dragon to incinerate Google HQ.
  • Run away and live in an igloo for the rest of your life.

You get the idea.

So dust off that funny bone and give it a go. It’s a hoot.

Tactic #4: Give Data-Driven Answers to Compelling Questions


In his book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Jonah Berger reveals the results of a study of New York Times articles. He discovered that science articles that discuss research results are more likely to go viral because “they frequently chronicle innovations and discoveries” that evoke a feeling of awe in readers.

In other words, readers love data-driven content.

So instead of approaching your topic the same way as everyone else, perform an experiment or run a survey and share the results with your readers in a post.

That’s what Mark Manson did when he crowdsourced his article, The Ultimate Relationship Guide to End All Relationship Guides™.

Rather than share his own opinion, he ran a survey by the people in his audience who were happily married for 10+ years that asked for their best relationship advice. He then turned the most common answers into an article.

The Ultimate Relationship Guide to End All Relationship Guides

BuzzSumo took another approach. They analyzed 100 million headlines to find the commonalities that popular headlines share and the ones unpopular ones share. Lots of content has been written about writing headlines, but data-backed insights like these are hard to come by.

Buzzsumo Top Headline Phrases

Of course, you may not have access to thousands of subscribers like Mark does, or to millions of headlines and their share counts, like BuzzSumo does, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create data-driven content.

You could run a survey through Facebook Groups or forums. There are plenty of communities online that you could tap into. And hey, you might just go out into the real world and survey people on the street. That works too!

Or you could run a small-scale experiment of your own. For example, if you write about social skills, you could try different conversation openers with strangers and track their responses, seeing which ones work best.

Or, you know, you could grab data and research results from studies that have already been conducted.

Creating data-driven content takes work, but the end result will be a fascinating post that will stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Note: If you want to make your data look pretty, check out online chart creation programs such as chartgo, onlinecharttool, plot.ly and rawgraph.io.

 

Tactic #5: Inject Your Post with a Healthy Dose of Attitude


There’s a powerful theme that appears in many wildly interesting posts — they all ooze head-flicking, hip-swaggering attitude.

They’re unmistakable because the writer totally embraces their irreverence. They’re written with wit and quirk. They’re unconventional, confrontational and bold. And they border on unreasonable as the writer dances on the edge of insult.

An undeniable strength and passion is woven through every word. There’s total conviction and unwavering commitment to the main idea.

David Wong nails it in his post, 5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Life (Without Knowing It):

What I hate about articles like this is that they’re always trying to guilt you into bettering yourself. “What are you doing sitting on your sofa eating ice cream, you lazy bag of Dorito farts! Get off your ass and go become the high-achieving superman you know you can be!” That pisses me off because I know exactly why I’m on the sofa eating ice cream. It’s because I’ve had a hard day and this makes me feel better, so fuck you. Even if what I’m doing is a frivolous waste of time, I’m doing it for a reason.

 
Johnny B. Truant also does it well in his post, The Universe Doesn’t Give a Flying F**k About You (I mean, that title alone …) His irreverent message of “You don’t matter” hits hard, yet he turns it into something inspirational.

That means that although what you do doesn’t matter to the universe, it should matter one hell of a lot to YOU.

In fact, it should matter to you more than it currently does. If you knew how small you are and how short a time you have to do what you can, you wouldn’t waste time watching five fucking hours of TV a day. You wouldn’t waste time doing a job you hate. You wouldn’t waste the little time you have dealing with assholes, feeling sorry for yourself, or being timid about the things you’d really like to do.

 
And let’s not forget Jon Morrow’s How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers. He just flat-out calls his readers dumb and gets away with it.

Well, it’s not because you haven’t found the right traffic strategy. It’s not because you need to change your domain name. It’s not because the Google gods have turned against you and cursed you to wallow in anonymity forever.

It’s because you’re dumb.

And if you ever want a chance in hell of anyone listening to you, you’d better smarten up.

 
Any post you write with irreverence will stand head and shoulders above the masses. Nobody remembers a fence-sitting, white-bread boring post. They remember the hilarious rant in which the writer unleashes daggers of unspoken truth upon a popular idea or common situation. They remember the posts in which the writer says the things that everybody wishes they had the balls to say — but don’t.

Be willing to put your neck on the line. And be ready to piss a few people off along the way. You’re not a blogger to lull people to sleep. You’re a blogger because you’ve got amazing ideas that need to be heard.

Do this by kicking your emotions into a higher gear. Give yourself permission to write freely — not as you should, but as you want. Don’t be angry, be furious. Don’t be happy, be delirious. Don’t be annoyed, be completely pissed off.

Tactic #6: Snare Your Readers’ Attention with a Surprisingly Mismatched Tone


Let’s start by imagining that all your readers are Walking Dead zombies.

They’re stumbling through their days on autopilot, scrolling through their newsfeeds in a stupor. Your only hope is to shove something unexpected into their eyeballs and shock them back to the here and now.

Contrasting your tone with the topic is a fantastic way to inject interest into your post. You can:

  • Mismatch a story about disappointment with an appreciative tone.
  • Be annoyed by simplicity.
  • Find pleasure in the pain of something going wrong.
  • Write about something you hate as if you love it.

For example, like this …

Ahhhh, tax time. I’m truly astonished by the painful and grim stories of hate and loathing I hear in the weeks leading up to the financial year’s end. Why would any sane person hate a justified reason to never answer their cell phone and leave emails unopened, unanswered and unactioned for weeks on end? And then there’s the crazy-sweet pleasure of spending hours searching for that needle in the haystack of receipts — and then finding it. It sends me into excited fits of high-fiving anybody within a ten-foot radius.

 
And check out this hilarious post about the worry of thinking you have cancer. A topic that summons expectations of gravity and worry.

So This One Time I Thought I Had Breast Cancer—And the Doctor Was a Huge D*ck

So today I placed my boobs into a giant, hospital-grade George Foreman grill and held my breath as the nurse took the X-ray.

 
The headline piques interest, and the wry and unexpected tone of the opening sentence snares your attention and commits you to an irreversible free-fall until the end of the post.

Tactic #7: Predict the Future


The future is the devil we don’t know. And it’s cloaked in uncertainty.

Your readers desire for certainty about tomorrow is as guaranteed as day turns into night — and it can be used to your advantage.

Build your reader a safe haven of certainty by predicting the future as Jon did here by sharing his view on how to write great content in 2014.

Why Education Readers is No Longer Enough

There’s evidence everywhere to illustrate how not-so-interesting, written-to-death topics, such as content marketing, can continue to pull huge share counts every year by exposing trends for the immediate future.

Content Marketing Trends

Mike Blankenship also worked this tactic nicely in How to Write a Paragraph in 2017.

How to Write a Paragraph in 2017

But what if you don’t know the future?

Remember that none of us do. Chances are, however, that you know the history of your niche (if you don’t, get researching), you’ve checked out your competition, and you have an opinion about how things are evolving.  

So be bold. Write a future prediction that becomes a magnet for attention as it creates hope, generates discussion and encourages new ways of thinking for your reader. If you get it wrong, no one’s going to call you on it — it’ll just vanish into the fog of forgotten posts. (You can always delete it too.)

Tactic #8: Pepper Your Post with Quirky Visuals


You’ve probably heard that you should add visual content to your blog posts. And yes, adding infographics, screenshots or photographs can do a lot to liven up your posts… But you can also use visual content to add some whimsy and fun to your posts.

Several of the posts I’ve already featured as examples do this.

Take the aforementioned Medium post from Elle Luna, the Crossroads of Should and Must. She doesn’t just have her readers pick a side, her post is also full of line drawings like this:

Quirky line drawing visuals

The casual nature of these line drawings lifts the feeling from humdrum to fun and injects the post with an entertaining dose of personality and character. As soon as the reader scans the page, they instantly feel like they’re in for a treat.

Tim Urban also uses drawings in his post about procrastination (and every other post he writes).

Quirky line drawing visuals - 2

Line drawings are a great way to move away from the dry formality of graphs and screenshots, but they’re not your only option.

If you don’t feel that artistic — though you don’t have to be that artistic to draw a stick figure — you can also use other quirky imagery, like memes, cartoons and funny pictures. These can be found on the web or easily created with tools like Canva and other meme generators.

If you look back on Geraldine de Ruiter’s I Went Paleo and Now I Hate Everything, she interchanges the expected photos of food with images and GIFs like these:

Entertain readers with GIFs
Entertain readers with GIFs - 2

Dull topics are more likely to send your reader’s brain for a coffee break instead of paying full attention. Keep them riveted to their seats by entertaining them with unusual, surprising and vibrant visuals.

Time to Breathe New Life into Those Old and Boring Topics

No blog topic is too boring, too dull or too worn-out to ever be interesting again. It’s you, the writer, who has everything within you to make it interesting.

Because when you do, your voice will be heard and you’ll know you’re helping others as you share new ways of doing things, thinking, and approaching tasks, work or life.

Your posts will stand out from the masses of regurgitated ideas and cookie-cutter advice.

Your posts will open the doors of possibility for your readers, and let you shine brightly.

So which tactic are you going to try first? Pick one and start today.

Light up your blog topic with an explosion of freshness like only you can.

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, discover the 10 Mindset Secrets That Set Truly Successful Writers Apart and realise your full writing potential today.

 

Source: https://smartblogger.com/old-and-boring-topics/