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5 Ways Outsourcing Can Increase Blog Productivity

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When you decided to start taking blogging seriously, you figured you would be spending the majority of your time…well, blogging, right?

Instead, a myriad of other tasks have showed up to the party, taking more time than you ever expected. Before you know it, writing became a smaller and smaller slice of your blogging-activity pie chart. Trust me, you’re not alone.

Tasks like promotion, emailing, optimizing, designing, and socializing can be major time-eaters, and before you know it, the sun has set with that brilliant article still residing in your noggin.

The most rewarding (and effective) task of blogging is to build and connect with an online community. If everyday tasks are keeping you from engaging with your readers through writing and responding, your blog will begin to suffer — and you will likely get burned out.

Outsourcing tasks to other trusted professionals — whether they are freelancers, agencies, or even virtual personal assistants — can free you up to do the things only you can do. It’s your job to keep things running smoothly, and part of being in charge is delegating when necessary.

Money is certainly a factor, but not a roadblock. Perhaps the return on investment (in both time and money) will make it worth your while; consider the growth your blog would see if you could do all of the important things without letting other areas suffer. If you have a challenge to overcome, outsourcing may be your answer:

Challenge 1: You want to increase traffic from search engines

Organic search traffic is a valuable source of new visitors to your blog. Organic means the unpaid website links that naturally appear after a user searches specific keywords or phrases. What you may not realize is that simple wording changes can have a big impact on your ability to get organic search traffic.

For example, if you have a blog about health and fitness, you might consider putting “eating healthy foods” in your site title or articles. After a keyword analysis, you might change your mind about that.

It turns out, the term “eating healthy foods” has medium competition and 368,000 monthly searches, while a similar term, “how to be healthy” has low competition and over 16.5 million monthly searches. Assuming the two phrases are interchangeable to your audience, It’s easy to see which phrase might attract more traffic.

If the idea of increased traffic excites you, but the idea of maintaining an effective SEO plan drains you, consider outsourcing to an SEO specialist. If your goal is to increase momentum, a consultation and detailed strategy may be all you need to do it on your own. But if your blog is large enough, the money spent on letting the pros do all the backend work might be worthwhile.

Challenge 2: You want to keep communication a priority (without spending hours in your email each day!)

Email is the interstate of communication in the online world, and it’s understandably a priority for many bloggers. Unfortunately, we can become victims of our own success, and spend hours of vital writing and connecting time answering a flood of emails that could be delegated elsewhere.

I can already hear the tires screeching in your brain — the idea of letting someone else handle your email can feel a little uncomfortable at first. Tim Ferriss of the Four Hour Workweek observed, “E-mail is the last thing people let go of. Fortune 500 CEOs, bestselling authors, celebrities — I know dozens of top performers who delegate everything but e-mail, which they latch onto as something only they can do.”

I’m not suggesting that someone else answer all of your email — it’s a good thing to be personal with your readers. Just take a step back and consider a few tasks that take up time, but don’t require your personal touch. Examples include communicating with guest bloggers, sending frequently-requested information, answering frequently-asked questions, and assisting with technical problems (like downloading an e-book).

Some issues can be dealt with auto-responders and email software, but if you’re still spending several hours a day on email, you should consider outsourcing that task to an assistant — so you can spend your valuable time on the things that earn the big bucks.  A virtual assistant can filter out and take care of emails that don’t require your personal attention, so you only worry about the few items that do.

Challenge 3: You want to spend time writing rich, in-depth articles, without compromising the frequency of postings

Cue the guest bloggers! A proven method of attaining links, increasing online authority, and getting brand exposure is having guest articles posted on reputable blogs. With all of those businesses and bloggers out there looking to guest-post, why not open open your blog to it?

Even if your blog is highly personal, a guest post on a relevant topic can add a fresh voice and perspective and fill in between your blog posts. Having a supply of guest posts can especially handy for when you’re away for vacation or even longer. Kat Griffin’s recent Problogger article explained how she used guest posts to take a ten-week maternity leave from blogging.

With a supply of guest blog posts to beef up your schedule, you’ll have more time to focus on longer, richer articles while maintaining a suitable posting frequency. If you intend on posting guest articles more than just occasionally, you may benefit from outsourcing guest blogger communication and even editing to a virtual assistant.

Challenge 4: You want to maintain an active community on several social media pages

Outsourcing social media isn’t for everyone, but it can have some major benefits. A good social media manager will know the ins-and-outs of social media, and can help you set realistic, attainable goals. They can take the burden of frequent postings off of you, so you can enjoy posting again without feeling obligated to say something just for the sake of it.

Not only will social media managers send out messages, they will be able to handle incoming messages and comments. In the fast-paced online world, social profiles can turn into customer service centers, and your ability handle issues and complaints quickly will make a big impression on your audience.

If your blog is primarily a brand — like SitePoint — and not a personal name, there’s no reason why someone else can’t be the “man behind the curtain,” as long as they get to know the ins-and-outs of your brand.

One of the most important considerations, of course, is trust — so if you don’t have a personal relationship with this person/company, be sure to check their references and see for yourself what their work looks like in action.

Challenge 5: You want to run giveaways and other promotions

Giveaways: all the cool kids are doing it. They may be effective at gaining spurts of short-term “buzz”, but you should really consider whether the time and money running them are producing lasting results. Other questions you should be able to answer:

  • Do I have any legal considerations?
  • Do I have a dedicated page for giveaway rules and disclaimers?
  • Should there be any requirements from the entrants, like location or age?
  • Am I offering the right prizes for my audience?
  • Should I seek out sponsors or just purchase the prizes on my own?
  • How will I promote my giveaway to get the most bang for my buck?

If you are unsure about some of those answers, it would be a good idea to at least consult with a public relations or marketing expert. Once you have the structure down for one giveaway, you might be able to achieve the rest on your own, or with the help of a virtual assistant. If your promotions are large and/or frequent (think expensive items), an experienced promotions agency could streamline and manage the process well enough to make it worth outsourcing.

Share your two cents

Have you successfully outsourced blog work? What can you share about your experiences?

This post was written by Willie Deutsch, who is a blogger that works with Belatrix Software Factory.

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My name is Foxy, and my job is to sniff out the good guest bloggers from the ones who aren't. This post was written by a contributing author to Blogging Tips. If you would like to learn more about becoming a writer (not one-time guest blogging) for BloggingTips.com, please contact us.

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7 Key Components to Create a Winning Brand Identity

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Every brand needs a stellar logo to enhance its image. Developing the right logo requires a lot of foresight and a thorough understanding of human psychology. It can be difficult to get right the first time, which is why some companies need to test different variations. IBM had to change its design six times over the years before settling on one that works.

Studying the logos of some of the most famous corporations is a good way to get inspiration for your own. Here are some great lessons to pick up from seven of the world’s leading corporations.

With all of this in mind, it’s important to consider a few different options and opportunities when it comes to logo design and branding. For example, there are plenty of tools online to help you design a logo, but you likely won’t end up with the professional look and feel you are looking for. A better option might simply be to go with a logo design company that has a proven history of success, and is well recommended for their branding efforts.

Some of the most immediate benefits of going with this route are:

  • Getting immediate access to a wide range of suggested designs from professional logo designers.
  • Having a logo design that is based off multiple design concepts, while avoiding simple variations and blatant copies.
  • Owning full legal copyright over your complete logo design and brand image.
  • Receiving files in relevant formats; suitable for online & print purposes (.ai, pdf, jpg, and png)

Of course this is all part of the logo design process and something that every site owner or brand will have to go through. To help with this design process and to also give you a few ideas on how other brands have been able to create a trustworthy brand identity, let’s take a look at some of the top logo designs in the world today.

IBM shows that a simple blue logo has many benefits

IBM registered its first logo in 1884. It was a picture of a globe with the company’s acronym attached to it. This logo wasn’t very popular and the company revised it five more times over the next 90 years before settling on the one that it uses today.

The modern IBM logo is a simple font in bold blue letters. The only thing that distinguishes it from other acronym logos is that it is broken up into 13 horizontal bars.

This iconic logo has stood the test of time, because it is a simple design with bold, blue letters. To the casual observer, it is difficult understand why this logo works such wonders over the human psyche. After conducting a little more analysis, it becomes a lot clearer. Here are the core benefits of the IBM logo:

  • The simplicity of the logo signifies trust and transparency. Too many customers are used to getting cheated with unscrupulous companies that try to confuse them with doublespeak.
  • Blue is both a symbol of dominance and trust. The dual message behind the color of the logo suggests that Big Blue has captivated the market by being honest and straightforward.

Companies that use simple, blue logos are especially likely to thrive in our current climate, since people are more skeptical of big companies than ever before.

Adidas logo tells customers that it will help them reach their fullest potential

There is one universal truth across all industries  – customers have clear goals in mind while purchasing a product or service. They’re always going to want to go with the company that best helps to meet those goals.

Adidas understands this principle very clearly. They even incorporated it into their newest logo.

Compare the newest Adidas logo with its predecessor. You’ll notice that the first logo was composed of three horizontal lines. The only difference with the new logo is that those lines are positioned diagonally instead. Why is this significant?

The newest design is meant to mimic the outline of a mountain. It suggests that people will be able to conquer their biggest challenges when they purchase gear from Adidas.

The message is subtle, but it is also very clearly imprinted in our subconscious. Adidas is telling you that it is the best company to help you reach your goals. Since the company markets to athletes, this message is especially important.

Google shows that a small differentiating element in an otherwise mundane and logo makes a very bold message

Google seems to have one of the most basic logos any designer could have come up with. After all, it is nothing more than the company name written in letters with different colors. There doesn’t seem to be anything special about it. Or is there?

When you really take a look at the Google logo, you will see that it actually has a very strong message that our conscious mind does not immediately pick up on. In order to grasp this, you need to pay a little more attention to the logo colors.

The company logo has six letters. If you glance quickly at the logo, you will see that every letter seems to be written in a primary color: blue, red and yellow.

Now look a little closer. You will realize that the “L” Is green. It is the only letter in the logo that does not have a primary color.

This logo is making a very clear message. It is telling the observer that Google does things differently.

The genius of the Google logo is it simplicity. It would not have been able to emphasize its uniqueness by having a much fancier design. Instead, the small difference in color would have been lost in all of the noise.

The lesson companies can learn from the Google logo is clear. It can be a great idea to have a very slight element that stands out in an otherwise very simple logo.

McDonald’s conveys warmth and security

The McDonald’s logo can be traced back to 1962 and is possibly the most famous in history. While the famous Golden Arches are recognizable to billions of people all over the world, the average person hasn’t stopped to think why they have been so successful for branding. Here are several reasons:

  • The arches date back to a time when the covered roofs protected customers from the rain while they were placing their orders.
  • The logo is bright yellow, which is a symbol of warmth.
  • The shape has a Freudian link to feelings of nurturing and sustenance.

The golden arches are very simple at first glance, but they are one of the world’s most successful logos.

Nike uses a simple shape to illustrate movement

Nike is another iconic brand that is complemented by a very simple, yet effective logo. The Nike swoosh is an incredibly basic symbol, but it is still immediately recognized by millions.

Despite its simplicity, the logo clearly conveys movement. This is a testament to the agility of people using their product.

AT&T uses a blue globe to simultaneously show trust and connectedness

AT&T has changed its logo several times in nearly 130 years. They eventually settled on the current logo, because it does such a great job communicating a message of connectedness and trust. It achieves this by using a globe with solid blue stripes.

Coca-Cola shows that a company name can (sometimes) be the best logo of all

Coca-Cola is one of the few companies that has not altered its logo meaningfully in over 100 years. The logo is simply the company name. While this may not work for every company, it has been very effective for Coca-Cola. It works, because it is part of a very consistent branding strategy.

What Are the Biggest Takeaways from Major Logos?

You can learn a lot by studying the world’s most famous logos. Here are some of the biggest takeaways:

  • A simple design is usually the best
  • Identify an emotion that you want your logo to convey
  • Know which symbols and colors best complement your message

Put some thought into your logo design. It will play an essential role in your brand positioning strategy.

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1 Key to Blogging Happiness and Success

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In today’s heavily charged political climate you may want to debate, outright fight or criticize people on social media.

Maybe the news seems to magically draw you in to negative, toxic headlines.

I have a little secret that keeps me happy most of the time.

Goodness knows following this secret promoted my blogging success.

The secret: I see fighting as fear so I do not get caught up in kicking a dog when it’s down.

This is code for: I largely do not engage fearful, unhappy folks. If I do engage said folks, rest assured the chats last for a few seconds, if that.

Why Doing this Makes You a Happy and Successful Blogger

Avoiding unhappy people automatically makes you happier because nature abhors a vacuum. Ignore fear. Ignore unhappiness. Loving, happy people move into your life since love is the opposite of fear and happiness is the opposite of unhappiness. Many of these happy, successful people will be clients, customers and rocking bloggers who promote you and endorse you.

Ignoring folks having a moment, or perhaps, having a tough life just allows them to find their balance on their own. You are a leader, not a savior.

If a trusted friend is going through a difficult time you can be a sounding board for a bit. No worries there. But even this sounding board stage has its limits and you eventually need to move on to allow these folks to find clarity and peace on their own. This benefits both parties.

Happiness and Success Is an Energy Thing

Folks wonder why I smile in most of my travel pictures. I smile because I am predominantly happy. I am predominantly happy because I see fighting as fear, and I do not kick a dog when it’s down, meaning I do not engage, chat with or try to convince fear-filled, fighting folks on social media, through my blog and through my email.

I do this because I have compassion for these fear-filled folks. Especially for fear-filled folks who fight about politics, religion or whatever topic these individuals are unclear on.

Typically, most of these fear-filled, unclear folks find other fear-filled, unclear folks to complain to, and they all agree in their fear and lack of clarity, and disguise their fear as passion or a love of their political party, or whatever sounds good, to soothe their bruised egos, and their unclear, fear-filled minds. Either way, the dog is down, and since I was once in the same position is life, I ain’t kicking.

Following this practice has dramatically raised my energy from fear to love. Raising my predominant vibe from fear to love has helped me be in harmony with the world, which made me:

  • generous
  • prolific
  • helpful
  • an energetic networker

Taking on these qualities accelerated my blogging success and grew my happiness, because happy, successful bloggers are generous, prolific, helpful and energetic networkers.

But you need to move up the energetic ladder to embody these traits and that involves leaving those fear-filled, unclear folks near the bottom of the ladder. Even if they appear to be successful, blogging business wise, rest assured that their political or religious fight is fear, manifest.

You can still be connected with them and chat casually here and there about blogging or other topics where they vibe love, not fear, but you will be leaving many of these folks behind until they face, embrace and release their deeper fears, to vibe more from love and clarity, so they can join you on higher rungs of the energetic ladder.

Surround Yourself with Loving, Generous Bloggers

Loving, kind, generous bloggers promote your blogging success by showing you the way.

These folks also lift your spirits, making you a happier blogger.

Seek them out. Promote successful bloggers. Comment on their blogs.

Be happier, healthier and wealthier.

 

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1 of My Secrets to Being Kinda Prolific

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I have written hundreds of guest posts for this blog.

I have written about 1000 on Blogging From Paradise between posts and travel pages.

A few moments ago I checked my DA for a sponsored post opportunity. The business owner wanted to know blog domain authority before deciding to place a sponsored post on the blog.

Blogging From Paradise has a DA of 48 and 22,457 external links in.

Not super shabby.

I am kinda prolific.

If you want to publish helpful content frequently, just run with my most basic of tips.

Do not wait around for folks to read your content, comment on your content and share your content before writing your next blog post or guest post.

Do not wait to create.

Do Not Wait to Create

The old me – and most bloggers – became highly attached to any single piece of content I created because I feared the content would not register enough shares, comments, page views and sales. Fear drove me to share this piece of content in many places to boost my stats. All well and good but because fear drove me, I resisted my prolific nature, allowing worry and lack to goad me to do stuff that led to me being the farthest thing from prolific.

Eventually, I observed how bloggers who seemed to be in 10,000,000 places at once simply prolifically created a high volume of helpful blog posts, guest posts and videos. Success found these folks because they did not wait around for readers to check out their blog posts. Said bloggers moved on to writing and publishing their next blog post.

Acting abundantly – not allowing their fears to eat into their prolific nature – promoted these blogger’s success as they created generously, publishing a high volume of content across multiple platforms.

I finally learned of this secret and used it effectively when I chose NOT to wait to create.

Now I publish 3 posts daily on Blogging From Paradise. I also publish the odd guest post from time to time. My success accelerated and my online presence expanded when I decided not to get attached much at all to any one blog post, because the next blog post called me.

No sense waiting around for folks to read my stuff because they simply will read at their own leisure. My job is to keep creating helpful content to help readers build successful blogs. As I move in this direction, everything keeps expanding for me.

All because I chose not to wait to create.

Being Prolific Impacts Folks

Peep this tweet from my friend Corey Hinde of The Good Oil Marketing:

I am humbled by such kind words from an established, super successful internet marketer. This is pretty much what happens when you are prolific; you impact folks in a positive way, and you also expand your reach and help more folks, all because you refuse to hold back.

Tips to Be Prolific

  • Blog mainly for the fun of blogging
  • Nudge yourself out of your comfort zone daily
  • Surround yourself with prolific bloggers to feast on their creative energy
  • Do not wait to create
  • Beware getting attached to any one piece of content; promote posts freely across a wide range of channels but look toward the next blog post, guest post or video to create, in order to become incredibly prolific.

Guys; this journey gets a little uncomfortable at times but if you love fun and freedom more than you fear doing some uncomfortable things you will become a highly prolific blogger.

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