I’m so happy with how the “Meet the Bloggers” interview series has been going on the blog and I’m extremely excited about today’s interview with Pat Flynn. I first heard of Pat a couple years ago, but didn’t really start reading his blog and his podcasts until the past couple of months. Let me say I really like what Pat has been doing and his blog posts and podcasts provide some great content and motivation to do better in the process!
I look forward to when our schedules sync up and we get a chance to meet with each other at an upcoming conference. In the meantime, everyone will not get a chance to learn a bit more about Patt Flynn and his awesome stories of finding success online.
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
My name is Pat Flynn and I actually started blogging when I was in college. It was on the Xanga platform and I blogged about what I was doing on a daily basis – typically where I went and what I ate, but that’s about it. It was nothing more than a personal online journal that I shared with family and friends.
After college, I landed a great job in the architecture industry and used a blog to keep track of notes for an exam that I was taking. This exam, the LEED exam (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), was a crazy test that required lots of memorization, and I knew that a blogging platform, such as WordPress, would be a great way to manage the content and organize it in a way that was easy to understand and convenient to study from. I added notes to the site and studied for over a year from the site, and shared it with a couple of co-workers too. After I passed the exam in March of 2008, I had no more use for the site so I just let it sit there.
Well, in the summer of that same year I learned that I was going to get laid off from my architectural position, which was a huge blow because everything I had been working for since high school sort of just flew out the window at that point. I did try to get another position in the field but nobody in the entire United States was hiring – it was that bad. That’s when I discovered podcasts.
It was a particular podcast where I listened to a success story of someone earning an income and making a living teaching others how to pass the PM (project management) exam, and that’s when I decided to give a go at online business and blogging professionally, using the LEED exam blog that I had created as my initial platform.
Well, to my surprise, after adding an analytical tool on the site, thousands of people were already visiting the site every day. Since there was a year and a half of content on there, Google ranked a lot of my content high in the search engines, I was found by several people who shared my sites on forums and other blogs – and I had no idea this was happening until now.
To make a long story short, I ended up publishing an eBook study guide and selling it on my blog. That particular eBook grossed about $200,000 in a years time, and I’ve since added new products to my product line.
It was at that point that I created The Smart Passive Income (SPI) Blog where I share my story and build new businesses, live on the site to inspire and teach others how to do the same. Currently, the SPI Blog has over 60,000 subscribers, a podcast with over 3 million downloads and a YouTube channel with nearly 2 million views.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
SPI has a focus on entrepreneurship, in particular how to succeed with an online business that you can be proud of by serving your audience and providing massive value to them, and getting paid in return. I’ve purposely done many things differently than other people in this “make money online” space, who traditionally use aggressive marketing tactics and exaggeration to sell things to people. I use myself as a guinea pig and test various business models, sharing the exact process from scratch so that people can learn from both my wins and my failures. My #1 priority is to build a true relationship with my audience and give away as much information as possible, for free, and in turn many people in my audience have become true fans who go out of their way to pay me back, typically by choosing to go through my affiliate links.
I also use the blog as the hub of my brand, which is so much more than a blog nowadays. The podcast is actually the #1 way that people discover my brand, but I always bring people back (whether through my podcast on iTunes or my videos on YouTube) to the blog because the blog is where all the action takes place – clicks, links, recommendations, etc.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
For SPI, I currently only monetize through affiliate marketing. Again, I focus on the relationships I have with my audie
nce, as well as making sure the products I promote are products that I’ve used myself and am comfortable being connected with, because if I were to recommend a product and it doesn’t perform – sure they’ll dislike that product, but more importantly that trust with me is broken. I also go above and beyond to share as much information as I can about products that I promote that are owned and operated by other people. Clay Collins, founder of LeadBrite and creator of LeadPlayer, a video tool that I promote, told Andrew Warner in an interview that I create posts and videos that are better at explaining his products than his own tutorials. I strive for that each time I recommend something. I’m also the top affiliate for Glen Allsop’s Optin Skin plugin, which many of you perhaps use. That is thanks to the same strategies.
For GreenExamAcademy.com, my LEED exam blog, I primarily earn money through my own products, however I do have affiliate relationships with a practice exam company and make a decent amount of income from that relationship as well.
On SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, a niche site that I created live on SPI, from scratch (you can find the posts at http://www.nichesiteduel.com), currently generated between $2500 and $3000 purely on Adsense at the moment, and nearly a hundred dollars through affiliate marketing as well as a Job Board on the site.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
I wish I knew two things:
1 – That VAs (virtual assistants) existed. I remember spending 8 hours trying to figure out how to move an image from the left side of the page, to the right. it was stupid. I could have easily paid someone to do that for me instead of wasting 8 hours of my time, but I didn’t know that VAs existed, let alone where to find them. Also, I was a little too prideful and tried to figure things out on my own. Now, whenever I have an issue with something or am having trouble figuring something out, I ask someone right away.
2 – How important it is to build an email list. When I launched my eBook at GreenExamAcademy.com, for months I didn’t collect email addresses, so when I came out with a new product (an audio guide) I totally missed out on the chance to sell directly to my previous customers. It was a shame.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
To be honest, I’m not reading too many blogs these days. SocialTriggers.com by Derek Halpern and ThinkTraffic.net by Corbett Barr are my top two, but I don’t visit them every day. I typically listen to podcasts because I can educate myself while doing other things, like running or driving somewhere.
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
1 – LeadPlayer – it’s my video player of choice right now. I love it because it allows me to include opt-in forms and/or a call to action right inside the video, and unlike many other players that now have that ability, LeadPlayer can serve YouTube videos on your site (i.e. free hosting for your videos) and still keep the same functions.
2 – Opt-In Skin – I don’t share this because I’m an affiliate for it. I’m an affiliate for it because it’s that good. I use it on my site (at the bottom of each of my posts, you can see it in action). It’s simple to implement as far as adding opt-in forms for your email list at any part of your site, and it gets results.
3 – Conduit.com. I use Conduit to create a nice looking mobile site for SPI, and it has the ability to build an apps for you (e.g. iPhone, Android and Windows applications) that people who visit your site on those mobile devices can download.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
Two important pieces of advice:
1 – Build relationships with other people. Real relationships. Build friendships with other bloggers in your niche, because it’s other people who will help lift you up and help your blog grow. Also build real relationships with your readers, especially when you are just starting out. You should know and care for your first hundred readers, if you can. Email them, get to know them, because when you do that you’ll start to create your first true 100 fans who will become evangelists and super fans for life, and you never know the impact that one person can have on your blog.
2 – Keep going. You’re going to be excited at first, and then maybe a few months down the road, when you’re not seeing a lot of traffic and each blog post becomes a chore, you’re going to want to give up. This is natural. What separates those who succeed and those who do not are those who keep going – so keep going. Michael Hyatt from MichaelHyatt.com once said, “Most people quit right before the inflection point.” In other words, you never know what tomorrow will bring, especially as a blogger – so keep going.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
If you want to succeed with your blog, don’t just blog. Put your brand onto multiple platforms (one at a time), such as iTunes for a podcast, or YouTube for videos. When you do that, you will reach people who you would have never reached otherwise, and you will become more authoritative at the same time. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, and yes, it’s going to take some balls, but again – these are the kinds of things that separate those who succeed and those who don’t. Those who are willing to take risks and get a little uncomfortable every once and while.
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
I’d find a person who was where I wanted to be, and treat them to dinner. That 2 hour conversation will be the best education you will ever get, from a person who is at the other end of the path you know you want to follow.
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
You can find me at SmartPassiveIncome.com, as well as PatFlynn.me.
Here are my social media URLs too:
Pat also recently published his first book, Let Go, which is hosted on a brand new platform for iOS called Snippet. Books on the Snippet platform include audio, video, stunning visuals as well as social media. If you’d like to read (and listen and watch) more about Pat’s story, you can check out his book Let Go at the following URL: http://patflynn.me/letgo
Thanks again Pat for taking the time to share your advice and story with the Blogging Tips community. If you would like to learn about other bloggers and how they are finding success online, be sure to read through our blogger interview series.
4 Effective Tips for Boosting Reader Engagement on Your Blog
If you want your blog to be successful and bring good profits, you need to ensure that your posts not only attract traffic but engage the readers. To do this you’ll need to experiment with content formats, open dialog with the audience, involve influencers, and above all, understand your audience’s exact wishes.
From online videos to content creation and social media, there seems to be an endless supply of new traffic out there and different ways to pull users back to your site. With all of this in focus and on the minds of bloggers everywhere, we wanted to highlight some of the best ways to boost content engagement, using many of the preferred mentions we’ve already highlighted.
4 Ways to Boost Your Blog Content Engagement Rate Fast
Even if you don’t run a vlog, you need to post an occasional video because that’s the ‘hottest’ type of content today. Check out an aggregation of video marketing statistics offered by Forbes to see why exactly your blog needs more video content. Note that social videos generate more shares.
Live video streaming is also greatly popular today, so be sure to launch an occasional Facebook Live session to share something interesting with your followers. Then post a recording of the stream on your blog so those who missed the airing will be able to enjoy it anyway.
Research your audience in great detail
To boost reader engagement on your blog you need to understand what motivates your targeted audience to actually get into your content. You’ll need to not only consider the analytics data that will show you which of your posts are most popular. You also need to search for information on your targeted audience, such as what kind of posts are generally more popular with them.
The more precise you are in developing targeted content, the higher the reader engagement rate will be. This means that if you seek to create a diverse readership base, you might need to consider launching several websites. In that case, you’ll need to use specialized software and a hosting service that allows you to run multiple blogs. This will make managing them easier, so you’ll be able to focus on creating several posts. Bear in mind that you might be able to apply the same basic content strategy to all your blogs, even if they differ in subjects.
The differences in those strategies and individual posts will be dictated by the data you get from a detailed study of targeted audiences.
Get more influential persons involved
Influencers of any kind can help you boost reader engagement on your blog because if they promote your content, their loyal readers will want to read it themselves. You can also generate more traffic and engagement by mentioning various celebrities and popular bloggers.
A perfect example of this can be seen in one of our expert roundup posts, where 73 different online marketers and bloggers took the time to share their expertise on social media. The benefit here wasn’t also just for our site. Each of the experts got a lot of exposure out of this, and the audience loved the content as well.
However, you’ll need to be careful if you choose to use mentions. For celebrities, you should research laws and regulations surrounding the issue. You need to be 100% sure that you won’t be sued for mentioning someone’s name or other information in your post. When you mention bloggers, you’ll need to consider those rules too as well as give them a heads up about doing this.
Having various opinion influencers popular with your target audience is a great boost to your blog and personal brand. This will also increase your reach as you’ll get an indirect contact with the influencer’s audience.
However, attracting influencers is a big challenge, especially for a blogger. You can use the tips from Neil Patel, a true marketing guru. Think carefully about how to adapt them to your situation.
Post engaging graphics
Much like with videos, you should post relevant graphics to boost reader engagement because this type of content is popular and shareable. Infographics are particularly effective for this, so be sure to create some. It will be best if your infographics have some original data on relevant topics. But, even simple step-by-step instructions can generate decent shares and likes.
Your every post should contain several images by default as they promote reader engagement and memorization. Be sure to add .GIFs as well, because these graphics are in trend now.
Best Search Engine Marketing and SEO Practices to Follow in 2018
Marketing often requires four basic factors: first, there should be people with unsatisfied needs; second, these people should have the desire to be satisfied; third, there should be opportunities for communication; and fourth, there should be an exchange of goods or services. A businessman with keen acumen for business opportunities would readily recognize these unsatisfied needs, build opportunities for communication with these people, and relay the service or product that could satisfy their needs. The important thing is that the prospective businessman is able to reach his target audience via good marketing strategies and tactics.
Understanding Search Engine Marketing
Marketing strategies have greatly changed since the introduction of the World Wide Web. As the Internet expands, it also provides good avenues for new marketing strategies and tactics. It also engenders new buying behavior among consumers, as contemporary consumers first search online for a product or service that they need before purchasing it. On the other hand, business owners are now required to create their own websites to be relevant online.
As highlighted in this article, writing for humans is always going to be the example to follow. It also means keeping the following SEO guidelines in mind when creating content:
- Keep it unique. Avoid duplicating content that’s already out there. Ask yourself: what can I add to this ongoing conversation?
- Do more research than competitor sites have done.
- Consider all options: infographics, videos, podcasts, an interview, a step-by-step guide or even a new tool or template.
- Remember that longer content gets more links. If your page is supported by high-quality links, it will move up in the ranks. Although Google has stated that even a few sentences can rank, in general, you’re better off creating content that is at least 300 words or more.
One form of effective online marketing is search engine marketing. It involves website promotion aimed at increasing the visibility of your business site online. It is also designed to make your site rank higher on the search engine page results (SERP). However, this marketing form is wrought primarily through paid advertisement.
In 2007, for example, advertisers in the U.S. had spent 24.6 billion dollars on this type of marketing. Google, on the other hand, leads the pack of search engines that profited from search engine marketing. Furthermore, in the second quarter of 2015, Google got a sizeable 73.7% share of profits from search engine marketing as compared to 26.3% of Yahoo/Bing. Based on these data, search engine marketing appears to be a very profitable business that rakes billions of dollars of profit for search engines.
Social Media Marketing
Your online marketing strategies and tactics would never be complete without tapping into social media. Services like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Baidu Tieba, and LinkedIn have also been used for marketing. LinkedIn, for example, as an employment-oriented service can be used to promote your services and get more mileage for your online marketing efforts, but keep in mind that it is primarily used to establish professional networks.
Just take a look at the screenshot below and how LinkedIn can provide such great information for anyone looking for earnings and jobs reports within any specific niche market. Not only will these same results rank and appear within the search results, they are also heavily shared through social media as well.
Search Engine Optimization
Aside from search engine marketing which makes use of paid advertising, you can also make use of search engine optimization (SEO). Search engine optimization is another way of expanding the online visibility of your site without necessarily paying for online advertisements. Search engines have organic or natural page results, known as SERP, and you can influence these organic results through SEO.
Not many, however, are experts in SEO. Hence, if you are a businessman who doesn’t have the know-how on SEO, you should visit BestSEOCompanies.com and search for the expert that fits your needs. If you want a reliable and trustworthy SEO specialist, this website can really help you with its list of the top 50 SEO services that you can immediately hire.
Business websites that are ranking high in the SERP usually gets two-pronged benefits. First, if your site ranks high in the SERP, chances are casual searchers will click on your website, and you can turn them immediately into actual clients. Additionally, if you get more clicks and visits from casual searchers, the search engine will further rank your website higher.
What Is the Chief Benefit of Going the Extra Blogging Mile?
10:15 PM on a Sunday night.
After waking at 7 AM I did an hour of yoga.
I followed up with 4 hours of blogging work.
Toss in another 4 hours of blogging work plus a 1 hour walk and some R and R, and where I am late on a Sunday night. Going the extra blogging mile.
I love blogging. Working late on a Sunday does not feel like going the extra mile because blogging feels fun to me. But putting in a bit more effort when I feel tired helps me to help more people. Going the extra blogging mile also makes me memorable in the eyes of readers.
I know other bloggers who go the extra mile.
My friend Ronald at Web SEO Marketers runs a first rate blog.
Beyond his super content though, he goes the extra blogging mile in the relationship-building department.
A few moments ago I saw this update in my stream when I logged in to Facebook:
Buying the paperback version of my blogging eBook would have been awesome in and of itself. But Ronald snapped a selfie holding the paperback, noted how he just received my book in the email and tagged me to let me know he bought my book and he’d see me in paradise.
He perfectly embodies how you go the extra mile relationship building wise. Compassionate, heart-centered bloggers think of how they can help folks out. Generous folks always stick out in your mind because we resonate with people who are kind, helpful and genuine in all they do.
Being Memorable Helps Expand Your Presence
I noted Ronald’s rocking blog in this post because he is a skilled blogger, because he shouted out buying my book on Facebook and because both factors make him memorable. I could not fall asleep until I wrote this post and shouted him out because it feels fun to spread the love and to help you guys understand the chief benefit of going the extra blogging mile; people will remember you.
If people remember you they will feature you, interview you, invite you to guest post on their blog, or they will hire you or buy your stuff. As your features, interviews and guest posts increase you will appear to be all over the place in your niche, growing your business slowly and steadily until your generosity and willingness to go above and beyond results in exponential growth of your online presence.
Alonzo Pichardo embodies this type of massive growth over the long haul by going the extra mile.
Check out his Instagram account.
His follower growth and overall engagement levels are staggering, with 55,000 followers receiving Alonzo’s update on the platform.
Alonzo continues to get so many followers because he gave so much of his time, skills and expertise over the past decade. He did not attract 55,000 followers after a week of going the extra blogging mile. He generously served folks for a decade and continues to help folks even if doing so takes him late into the night, becoming more memorable to more folks around the world.
Be patient and persistent in creating value and building bonds. Good things take time.
You may not make a penny through your blog for 6 months after doing the right things with the right energy but you will succeed over the long haul. Every kind act is rewarded over time.
Keep helping people. Focus on the process, not on outcomes. Stay up late to write the guest post, linking in to your blogging buddies to increase their exposure. After you purchase a book, take a selfie and tag the author on social media. Think of how you can impact humanity in a generous, significant way, one friendship and one generous act at a time.
Go the extra blogging mile.
Accelerate your blogging success over the long haul.
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