I have blogged from Bali.
I have blogged from Fiji.
I have blogged from Thailand, Nicaragua, Malaysia and Costa Rica.
I have lived the dream.
I also know how it feels to want to bash your head into a wall because you’re fed up with blogging.
From writer’s block to writing for a ghost town to seeing tumbleweeds flow through your comments field I recall the intense pain I felt during the lean years. But I also know how quickly things changed after I took 4 blogging tips to heart.
Successful Blogging Tips
Isn’t it funny how the seemingly tiniest changes create the most dramatic results?
If you learn one thing as a blogger remember this piece of advice: how you feel dictates how you act and how you act dictates your results.
Re-read that line. I took that sucker to heart. I have lived in Fiji for 4 months and in places like Thailand and Bali for over a year in each spot because I changed my feelings, my actions and my results.
Before You Go Bonkers
Sometimes I feel like a sounding board for struggling bloggers.
Or a backboard.
Hey, I feel your pain. I once suffered from Mad Blogger’s Disease because I followed bad advice. I also let my greedy, desperate, fearful energies drive me. So I failed. And I felt like I was prepared to go completely nutzo. Or bonkers.
But making the same silly, crazy-inducing mistakes when you have access to proven blogging tips on an authority site like Zac’s is like a guppy residing in the Mariana Trench who says he doesn’t have enough water to live.
Let’s dive into these tips (not the Mariana Trench), shall we?
1: Have Fun!
Head Bangers, beware! Not having fun is a leading cause of blogging madness.
As a former blogging bozo I can assure you that blogging with the sole intent of making money or gaining readers or boosting my social shares lead to my malaise.
In short, I attached heavily to outcomes. If said outcome didn’t mosey on along as I felt it should I went bananas.
But when I said “The hell with it!”, and chose to blog for fun alone something amazing happened: the fun was the reward. I didn’t need anything else. Didn’t need blogging profits to be happy. Didn’t need readers.
Irony Alert: readers, profits, popularity and all that good stuff flowed my way easily when my prime blogging purpose was to have fun. My posts were fun to read. My personality came out. My humor emerged. I stood out like a gringo here in the neighborhood of Rivas, Costa Rica. Las Blancas are rare birds in this community.
Follow your fun. Blog to have fun. The profits and readers and community follows your fun-loving, playful writing style.
2: Blog to Free Yourself and Your Audience (Profitable Ideas and Profitable Actions Happen after Holding this Intent)
Ok, so you’re having fun. Good.
Now it’s time to free yourself from the manias plaguing most bloggers.
I recall the Alexa craze from last year. Many well-meaning bloggers obsessed over their Alexa score, becoming hyper attached to these numbers on a screen. They bound themselves (opposite of freedom) to this particular number on a screen. These gals and guys devoted so much of their energy to Alexa scores that they literally became prisoners to these numbers on a screen. Prisoners are bound. Meaning “not free”.
I have made this foolish mistake. I also corrected this insane tendency by deciding to blog to free me and you.
Profitable ideas made a beeline for my mind when freedom became my goal. I felt renewed. Refreshed. Invigorated!
Influential bloggers knocked down my door, asking to feature me on their popular, well-read blogs.
Blog to free yourself and to free your audience. Imagine not being bound by a thing. No boss. No set schedule. Make the world your office (if you want to travel like me).
Put those money goals and traffic goals to the side. Each is binding. Each ties you to some benchmark, some number, which dissipates your creative energies.
Or if you feel fun and free blogging to hit certain income goals, feel free to go for that.
Blog to be free. Blog to have fun. You don’t need to be a Head Banger.
3: Publish a Beneficial Solution (Versus Just Publishing a Blog Post)
Why was nobody reading my blog?
Crickets serenaded me after publishing new posts. Ghost town. I was blogga non grata.
I formed the dangerous habit of publishing blog posts just to publish “X” number of posts weekly. Someone told me to do that. This must have been good advice. But twas not. I learned – the hard way, as oft is the case – that mindlessly publishing blog posts like an automon, just to stick to some set schedule, leads to endless blogging struggles. My posts lacked enthusiasm. My posts lacked depth. My posts were grimly deficient in the “beneficial solution” department.
People read blogs to benefit themselves. Anytime I read a blog I want to receive some solution. I want a resource. I crave some depth, some meat on the blogging bones.
Check out Zac’s post about content creation tips:
The title drips with benefits. The blog post oozes value. If I’m a time-strapped blogger you betcha this post offered me a comprehensive solution to my problems. He went above and beyond to share something beneficial with me. As The Terminator would say….”I’ll be back.”
I published a post recently geared toward helping struggling travel bloggers:
It is pretty much 1 stop shopping for travel bloggers hungry to build a profitable blog on the road.
Go above and beyond. Knock your reader’s socks off.
4: Make Friends in High Places (Be Generous and Genuine)
Neil Patel has been good to me. He mentioned me and Blogging from Paradise 3 separate times on this blog as of this writing. I feel like I should invite him to join me on my next trip to Bali.
Ditto with Zac. He’s helped me expand my presence uber quickly by offering me a platform to connect with his readers.
Neil and Zac are movers and shakers. These high rolling bloggers are friends in high places. If you build bonds with blogging big dawgs these influential gals and guys will expand your presence like wildfire in many cases.
Make friends in high places by genuinely helping, assisting and promoting influential bloggers in your niche. I connected with both Neil and Zac by commenting on their blogs and by sharing their posts through my blog and through my social networks. These generous icons helped to spread my word. Win-win situation here.
You cannot do this alone. Trust me. I’ve tried to be a blogging lone wolf. Lone wolves become Head Bangers.
I cannot stress the first 2 tips enough. We all thirst for practical, hard and fast blogging tips to avoid the pain and suffering of being a blogging bozo. But if you don’t improve your blogging mindset you’ll be dead in the water.
I probably have carved 3 to 4 dents in my noggin from my Head Banger days because I rarely if ever blogged to have fun. Goodness knows I didn’t blog to free myself regularly enough during the lead years.
Shifting my intent had a miraculous effect on my blogging career. Like a sweet little blogging fairy alighted on my shoulder, sprinkling pixie dust on each one of my blog posts, after I made the 2 F’s paramount: Fun and Freedom.
Take those first 2 tips to heart and you’ll be golden.
What tips can you share to avoid going “blogging bonkers”?
Top 5 Most Competitive Niches for Bloggers
Finding the perfect niche is like a unicorn for many bloggers. The right mix of passion and competitiveness can be found in the most surprising places and isn’t always clear until you’re already well on your way. But the good news is that the harder you look, the closer you get — which is a cliche, but surprisingly true in this case. So before you give up on your dream of creating content about knitting dog pajamas or anthropomorphized helicopters, start by having a look at what niches are the most competitive at the moment.
Most blogs earn their money through affiliation. The good thing about affiliation is that it doesn’t require you to focus on one particular brand, unlike sponsorships. You’re free to place links in your content or not. And to write whatever you like about the brand in question. Money is earned through reader engagement, not through passive exposure.
Of course, the most coveted and stereotypical blogging dream niche is travel. Who would turn down reviewing hotels in the Caribbean or exciting jungle safaris? Only a few bloggers get to do this, however, but there are still a lot of sub-niches that are easy to get into and earn well in. Local guides and localized content is a great way to find perfect fits for valuable affiliation links and you can even make direct content advertising if you ask. The future is definitely localized.
Making content about gambling is often as much about search engine optimization as affiliation links. This has made reviews and guides extremely competitive, but creating content only for SEO purposes can be a little monotonous. More localized information in a specific niche like mobile gambling makes mobile-casino.ca a perfect example of how to stay competitive without losing quality.
Health & Fitness
For ethically minded bloggers, this niche can be a minefield. Health and fitness bloggers can benefit from having a blog of their own in many ways — such as keeping themselves healthy and fit, while also inspiring others in the process. This niche market is also filled with misinformation, dangerous recommendations and straight up lies. Are you the one to finally inform readers about the one true way to stay healthy or get fit? Joking aside, whether you’re a zealot or a skeptic, there are affiliation networks for you. Just include a source or two, please.
Including this niche might be cheating. It can cover so much — but that doesn’t mean that your blog should. Specialised content that you’re both passionate and informed about can be very valuable for direct ads. Everyone has some kind of lifestyle niche they’re focused on, whether it be simple admin improvement or urban hiking. Find out if readers are interested in the topic, either directly or related, before you go all in, though.
With how competitive blogging is, blogs that explain how to succeed are more popular than ever. You’re reading one right now and you could write your own very easily. You don’t have to be the best or the most insightful to write an inspiring blog about blogging — it’s more useful than you think to write down what works and what doesn’t in your own humble experience. You can be an expert in learning.
Have you noticed any commonalities yet? If you look hard enough in any niche, you’ll learn enough to create content with a fresh and exciting take. And that’s the current trend for being competitive: Being both subjective and informed; localized and aware of international trends.
Do You Really Know Your Readers?
See the featured image up top guys?
I know readers dig my eBook. Said readers dig my paperback too.
Enter this featured image. I use similar images frequently on Blogging From Paradise. Smart way to appeal to my audience.
But during lean years I did not know my readers because I:
- did not listen to my readers
- did not ask my readers questions
- did not spot my reader’s pain points
- did not read my reader’s comments carefully
- did not spot patterns among my readers
Eventually I woke up. Easy to see this now. But back in the day I had a hellish time owning the fact that I did not know my readers.
Reader Red Flags
You do not know your readers if:
- traffic stalls or disappears
- blogging profits stall or disappear
- engagement dies on your blog
- nobody seems to reach out to you on social media
These are a few red flags guys. Own the flags. Honestly. Owning your mistakes is one quick way to turn things around, to free yourself of this common blogging error.
Do You Know Your Readers?
I mean; do you really know your blog readers? Be genuine before you answer the question.
I know my readers incredibly well now because every blog post, video or podcast I create meets their needs. No guess work, no writing and publishing because I want to write and publish a post and certainly no off topic posting here, on Blogging From Paradise or any place where I guest post.
The other day one of my blogging buddies endorsed my paperback with a YouTube review. In addition to feeling grateful I tuned into one other idea; his endorsement, emails from other book customers and smiling selfies from other book customers alerted me to the fact that my readers are beginning to buy my paperback too, in addition to my eBook. I published a post linking to my paperback and explaining how my book solves pressing blogging problems after spotting this pattern.
I know my readers better and better each passing day because I listen to my readers more closely each passing day. As everything expands with my blogging campaign I find it easier and easier to help folks, to come up with blog post ideas and to know my content hits the mark because blogging with my readers in mind has been the simplest way to connect with these folks.
Your blog is for you and your readers. Never forget this fact. Never forget that if you write just for yourself you are publishing a cyber diary. No need for anyone to read a blog if the blog does not solve their problems.
Knowing your readers genuinely requires you to be:
Listen to the latest podcast interview I did with Alonzo Pichardo on his Sound Cloud channel:
He has invited me to chat on his highly popular channel – with over 300,000 listens between only 8 episodes.
Alonzo is a master at spotting the most pressing issues of his audience. My readers also suffer from problems related to these topics. Naturally, as he shares and builds his impressive tribe and as I build my tribe, we have well over a quarter of a million listens between only 8 podcast episodes.
If you get to really know your readers and patiently hit the mark with your content, over years, 10 listens becomes 100 listens, then 100 becomes 1000, then 1000 becomes 10,000 listens, then 10,000 becomes 100,000 listens, and upward from there.
Develop an intimate bond with your readers guys. Poll them. Email them, asking how you can help them.
Much of your blogging success rests on knowing clearly what your reader wants so you can serve it up to them.
Listen. Ask. Observe.
5 Best Content Upgrade Ideas to Growth Hack Your Blog Email List
Growing an email list is a pain in the ass and rightfully so. It’s no longer enough to send out weekly newsletter as a way to get their attention. You need to go the extra mile to provide site visitors with immense value for them to sign up to your list.
Content upgrades provide the value that tips the scales to your favor. By giving them something in return immediately for signing up, you grab their attention and get them to subscribe to your list.
However, it’s not enough to offer just any content upgrade. You need to make sure that the incentive email contains actual useful information about the topic. If not, there’s a risk of your new subscribers to opt out from your list due to your poor content upgrade.
To help you make the most of your blog’s list building strategy, below are content upgrade ideas you can create for your blog so you can generate more subscribers for your list and help grow your traffic and sales.
Content upgrade ideas you need to use for your blog’s list
1. Cheat sheet
It’s difficult to cover everything about a topic in a single post. For example, if you’re writing a post on how to promote your blog the right way, you can’t break down the exact process of promoting your content on a social media platform. You can turn it into a post on its own so you can create more content on your blog.
Another alternative is by turning it into a cheat sheet that visitors can download from the post once they sign up to your list. The cheat sheet contains hacks about a specific topic depending on what the visitors wants to know.
Going back to the previous example, since the post is about promoting their blog, your content upgrade can be about growth-hack tactics for Pinterest blog promotions. You can details the exact steps on how you can effectively share your content and drive more traffic to your site using this image sharing social media site.
A downloadable cheat sheet about a related topic you weren’t able to cover on the post increases the chances of people signing up to your list. This way, you grow your list and they get their hands on the cheat sheet. It’s a win-win!
Your visitors want something quick and useful for their content upgrade. After reading a long and exhaustive post about a topic from your blog, for instance, they want to cleanse their pallet by downing the information you gave them into actionabl bits and pieces.
That’s why checklists are great content upgrades because they complement your long-form content by summarizing them into different points they need to check. For example, if you listed down the many SEO factors that bloggers need to observe, you can create a checklist for the factors that people can download. Therefore, instead of browsing your post to see the different factors, they can use refer to your handy checklist to find out which SEO factors to keep in mind.
If you want to establish clout in your industry, then you need to create signature content that will put you in the map. You can’t just churn out content that’s been done to death by your competitors. To stand out, you need to develop reports and use them as content upgrades.
Reports are extremely valuable because they are unique in the truest sense of the word. By putting in the hard work and interpreting the information from the data you collected, you can create content that stands head and shoulders from the pack.
A great report to create is running your own tests or doing a quick survey and giving them away as freebies. For example, Express Writers wrote a data-driven post about the most shareable blog topics. They presented the topics backed by research to help make their case. While they made it a post, you can use the same strategy to create your report and use it as a content upgrade.
Compared to other content upgrade ideas in the post, reports are very difficult to create. You need to be produce substantial proof to back up your claims and double-check your information so everything you say is true. However, the rewards are just as great. Creating a great report will help grow your email list faster than any type and catapult you influencer status.
Some people need motivation to help them with their needs. For example, people struggle to write blog posts regularly. There are lots of factors that explain why they find it hard. However, you as a blogger are not responsible for explaining why. Your job is to show them how to generate posts for their blog like it’s second nature.
This is what Sark e-Media did with their 30-Day Blogging Challenge. For the next month after subscribing to their list, people will receive daily emails on how they can build a blogging habit and churn out excellent posts for their blog.
This example of a challenge content upgrade allows you to continuously engage with your subscribers over a period of time. As part of the challenge, you can invite them to your Facebook Group to discuss the posts they’ve written or sell them affiliate products they can use to help them blog better.
As a purveyor of knowledge, you can evangelize your visitors by handing out worksheet for them to fill out and answer. The worksheets will help them organize their thoughts so they have a clearer picture on what to do next. Worksheets essentially helps people overcome a hurdle in their lives or career. As a blogger, your worksheets are a godsend to them.
An example of a worksheet is a downloadable editorial calendar. To help people blog on time, they can fill out the calendar with the post they plan to write on that day. The worksheet can include other factors about the post such as target audience, keyword, question to answer, and others. By presenting the worksheets as a way to neatly plan their blogging schedule to a tee.
Which among the content upgrade ideas do you want to do?
Each of the content upgrade ideas above work best under certain circumstances. You can’t just choose at random and expect stellar results for your email list. You need to check what your audience needs first and how to present the content upgrades before settling on which type to create.
However, you can enjoy more sign-ups to your blog email list if you use the content upgrade ideas correctly. If your blog is dying for email subscribing, then any of the ones above will make your email rain with sign-ups!
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