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6 Businesses that Use Their Blog to Increase Sales

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In the current marketing landscape, businesses can no longer promote like a used car salesperson and expect people to hoard their products and services. They need to develop a fully realized plan that allows them to identify their goals, target a specific audience, and deliver their message on different platforms online.

The changes taking place in content marketing are also caused by the advent of user-generated content. Since consumer trust peer reviews more than content created in-house nowadays, it has become harder for business blogs to garner attention. However, this does not mean that blogging is passe. In fact, you as a business owner should not give up creating content on your blog as a way to increase sales and conversions.

If you are unable to find your footing with blogging, then take a cue from these businesses that use blogging to great effect.

Hubspot Blog

When it comes to digital marketing and sales, HubSpot Blog trumps all. Hubspot, a popular inbound marketing software, shows why you should subscribe to their product as they publish content relevant to marketers and sales agents on a regular basis.

hubspot blog

Their content is filled with the kind of value that its target readers will enjoy reading. Also, each post has a relevant call to action that encourages readers to download a free ebook, join a free course, and more.

Moreover, most of the content found on the Hubspot Blog ranks on the first page of Google results for their respective keywords. According to SEMrush, as of writing, the blog is ranking for a whopping 732,000 keywords that bring over 1.7 million worth of organic traffic. Below is a partial screenshot of keywords that the blog is ranking first for:

hubspot semrush

Lesson: Practice what you preach. As a digital marketing tool, it is important for Hubspot Blog not only to provide value to readers but also prove to them why they should subscribe to its software. Ranking on thousands of keywords within the first 100 results on Google is a feat that should encourage people to try out Hubspot for their business so they can achieve the same thing.

Entrepreneurs of Fire

John Lee Dumas is one of the most profitable entrepreneurs, and his blog Entrepreneur on Fire is a testament to his success. His online empire is built on transparency – he has been revealing his monthly income report since 2013. The idea of the report is to inform readers about the processes that John and his team did to achieve that amount so you can replicate the good and take away the bad.

Blog EOFire Business Podcasts

However, the blog section of the site takes a new life of its own. Instead of churning out tips and how-to articles, John goes the extra mile to interview fellow entrepreneurs on their journey towards success. More importantly, you can expect new interviews from the blog on a regular basis.

Lesson: Interviews, interviews, interviews! Conducting interviews with people in your industry, whether it’s through podcasts or posts, allows you to connect and build relationships with them. At the same time, you can use the interviews as content to help educate your audience and provide unique insights about your niche like John does.

Amazing Wristbands

Wristbands cater to a very specific niche. In fact, most of its audience only purchase wristbands for specific reasons; namely, for raising awareness towards a particular cause.

Being fully aware of this, Amazing Wristbands built its blog by discussing upcoming events and causes to encourage people to make a sale. Their blog talks about sexual violence to National Donate Month and how readers can spread the good word about their respective causes through wristbands.

amazing wristbands

Lesson: Know your product and audience. As mentioned, the wristband market may not be very lucrative, and maybe you feel trapped in the same predicament. However, this should not dissuade you from thinking outside the box with your blog to make a sale. By understand what your product is all about and the kind of audience you have, you can develop a content strategy like Amazing Wristbands did to attract their attention in the hopes of making a sale.

Peter’s of Kensington

This site occupies another space in the already-crowded online shopping industry. So how do you market your site amidst the fierce and ruthless competition in the eCommerce market?

Taking advantage of their in-house events, Peter’s of Kensington taps into local chefs and bakers to showcase their best recipes and menus on their blog. The chefs also hold classes at their office to members who want to learn how to cook with the best of them. These events go in line with the products they sell like dinnerwares, kitchenwares, and more!

Peter s of Kensington Why in the world would you shop anywhere else

Lesson: Humanize your brand. By holding different events that mobilize your audience and engages them with your brand, you increase the chances of boosting your sales as well. More importantly, you can to connect with people on a more human level, which you can leverage to develop brand advocates and return customers. If you don’t have the luxury of holding an event at a physical location, you can hold webinars instead, which could lead to the same effects.

Business Insurance USA

Getting insurance for your business safeguards you from potential legal troubles that come your way. However, some small businesses and startup are not keen on getting an insurance soon. They prefer to roll the dice and deal with the issue once it happens.

Business Insurance USA takes a more visual approach to their blog. For example, instead of telling facts about the increase of cybercrime, they show it using compelling visuals in the form of infographics.

business insurance usa

Lesson: Use visual cues. Your audience will most likely find it cumbersome to stare at a wall of text as your posts. Communicating your message to readers will be difficult if all they see on your posts are words. To break the monotony, include attractive images and infographic to help get your message across more effectively. Just like Business Insurance USA, you can create stunning infographics using Infogram, or you can simply find one on Pinterest to share on your post.

Blogging from Paradise

One of the most relentless bloggers out there and also a regular contributor at BloggingTips.com, Ryan Biddulph has built an empire with Blogging from Paradise. A quick look at his blog reveals not only the number of posts he’s published throughout the years but also the ebooks he’s written and is currently selling on Amazon.

Blogging From Paradise Retire to a Life of Island Hopping Through Smart Blogging

I had a chance to interview Ryan on my blog, and he has a fascinating and inspiring story to boot. Looking back at his past and how he was able to achieve success through perseverance and hard work with his blog, it was simply a matter of doing it and making it work.

On each of his posts, he upsells his Amazon ebooks so readers can get more in-depth about the secrets to his success.

Lesson: Be passionate. If there’s one thing that separates Ryan from other bloggers, it’s his sheer passion. Not only does he publish content on multiple blogs, but he also has time to record podcasts to share his story. When blogging for your business, you can’t half-ass it. You need to go all the way in like Ryan does so you can tap deeper into your market and drive more sales.

How about you – are there any bloggers or business blogs out there not mentioned above that have a content strategy optimized for conversion and increased sales? Please share them by commenting below!

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Christopher Jan Benitez is a freelance writer for hire who provides actionable and useful web content to small businesses and startups. In his spare time, he religiously watches professional wrestling and finds solace in listening to '80s speed metal.

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Top 5 Most Competitive Niches for Bloggers

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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.

Travel

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.

Gambling

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.

Lifestyle

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.

Blogging

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.

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Do You Really Know Your Readers?

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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:

  • compassionate
  • empathetic
  • heart-centered
  • loving
  • caring
  • observant
  • present

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.

Prosper.

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5 Best Content Upgrade Ideas to Growth Hack Your Blog Email List

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content upgrade ideas

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!

2. Checklist

checklist - content upgrade ideas

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.

To create checklists much easier, use tools like Checkli and Process Street to help you build downloadable lists to be used as content upgrades for your email list.

3. Report

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.

report

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.

4. Challenge

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.

5. Worksheet

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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