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Meet Camilla Hallstrom of InfluenceWithContent.com

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The find success in the world of blogging and content writing, you need to provide real value to your audience. This is something that is commonly said, but not something that many bloggers still follow. The problem here is that ‘content creation’ will only get you so far — there is also already way too much of it already out there. However, if you can create great content, there is a whole world out there waiting for your influence.

That’s exactly what Camilla Hallstrom has created a business out of and preaches through her own blog. Learn more about Camilla in this week’s latest edition of Meet the Bloggers.

1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?

Camilla Hallstrom

Hey there, I’m Camilla and I blog over at Influence With Content.

I started blogging because I wanted to provide epic posts and resources for people who want to connect with and convert their audiences.

The thing is, most advice out there is fluff and hard to apply. It’s about “finding your writing voice” or “writing like you speak.” That’s all fine, but all it does is tell you how to write – not how to connect with your audience in a way that turns them into raving fans and loyal customers.

So, I decided to combine the two and create a resource that helps entrepreneurs write content and copy that digs deep and feels authentic.

2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?

Influence With Content is a content and copywriting blog with a focus on customer psychology. The goal is to help you figure out how to get your customers to say: “Wow, this is exactly what I’m looking for – I need this right now!” when they land on your site.

But the reason I got interested in this niche is that I struggled with these things for a long time. I knew how to write, but not what to write in a way that truly spoke to my audience’s desires, goals, wants, fears, and objections.

That interest led me to work with copy and content.

But along the way, I realised that there aren’t that many resources online that give actionable advice on how to write copy that connects and converts.

So eventually, I started Influence With Content to help entrepreneurs with this.

3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?

Right now, I’m working on launching a course that’s sort of a copywriting “starter kit” for entrepreneurs. But I also freelance as a content and copywriter.

4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?

Right now, I’m working on launching a course that’s sort of a copywriting “starter kit” for entrepreneurs. But I also freelance as a content and copywriter.

  • Focus on a few (important) things

Blogging (and starting any other business for that matter) consists of so many bits and pieces. You need to learn how to write emails, blog posts, sales pages, social media posts, and so forth. You need to set up a site and learn all the techie stuff that comes with it. You’re your own marketer, salesman, assistant, customer service rep, content creator, and editor (to name a few).

It can be pretty overwhelming and frustrating. At this point, it’s easy to start chasing shiny objects like a madman and trying to do everything at once. And that keeps you from getting any real results.

So if there’s one thing you MUST do, it’s this:

Focus on a few things and do them well. When you’ve mastered them, take the next step. And never do anything that doesn’t support your current sub-goal.

So for example, your first goal might be to get 100 subscribers. That’s your sub-goal and your first job is to figure out how to do it. Pick a list building strategy and roll with it.

  • Buy a solid course and/or get a coach

This might not be the case for everyone, but in my experience, online courses have helped me accelerate my learning. There are so many distractions when you start your business and you’re often trapped by fear/internal objections. So if you find a course that can provide you with a roadmap, that’s worth its weight in gold.

You know what’s best for your business

There are tons of blog posts and resources out there and they all have the ‘right solution’ for your business. One expert says you HAVE to blog five times a week and the next is convinced you should only post once a month… But the thing is, you know what’s best for your business. If something doesn’t feel right for you, it probably isn’t. Instead of doing what everyone else does or what experts tell you to do, do what feels like the best solution for you.

  • Traffic isn’t the most important part

When I first started blogging, I was extremely focused on traffic.

If you have enough traffic, the sales will follow – right?!

But I realized that traffic is pretty much worthless unless you have the right message for the right people.

In fact, traffic is secondary. You’ll get by with less traffic if you have the right message. But if you don’t have the right message, you’ll have a hard time convincing people to buy from you.

5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?

There are so many! But the three blogs I visit frequently are:

StoryBrand – This is actually a blog and podcast. It’s hilarious (I’ll often catch myself laughing when I’m walking by myself in public… awkward). But the best part is that they clearly drill down how to create a clear message for your business.

Backlinko – I love the extremely actionable tips on Backlinko. If you’re looking for a blog that teaches you how to grow a site traffic-wise, this is my #1 resource.

Amy Porterfield – Again, a blog and podcast. This is one of my favorite resources because Amy gives so much value in every episode. Whenever I feel a bit unmotivated, I listen to this podcast – you can’t help but feel inspired after almost every episode.

6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?

BuzzSumo – My go-to content marketing tool. I use BuzzSumo to research and to search for articles to share with my audience.

Grammarly – I use Grammarly to edit my articles. Plus, if I want an extra pair of eyes to check my texts, I use their proofreading service.

BoardBooster – This is an awesome Pinterest tool that lets you save pins and they are then automatically scheduled to your Pinterest boards.

7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?

Here are three steps I recommend you take if you’re just starting out:

#1) Focus on targeting an audience

First, define who it is you’re targeting with your blog. The more specific you are, the easier it’ll be to sell to them. Then, get to know your target audience. A simple step you can take here is to join a Facebook group where you know they hang out (for example, a group where people discuss dogs if you’re a dog trainer).

#2) Follow a solid strategy

One thing I see new bloggers do ALL the time (I’ve done it myself), is to follow “shiny objects.” You see an article that promises $500,000 in one week if you follow a specific tactic they lay out. Don’t do it. Not to say that those tactics never work, but you need to be consistent to really see any results.
Instead, follow one, proven strategy. When you’ve mastered that strategy (i.e., when your blog is making money), you can move on to other things.

#3) You don’t need to be the best just yet

When you’re just starting out, it can be intimidating to see all these other experts with perfect websites.
To compete, you set up a beautiful website. You tweak and tweak, just to get it ‘right’. But the thing is, you won’t get it right just yet – that stuff takes time. In the meantime, you could’ve used your time and energy on building your business.
Instead, set up a simple site and when you’re making money, invest in a prettier website.

8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?

Know your audience.

So many people talk about “knowing your audience,” but I never really understood what that meant. I assumed it was all about knowing who your reader is, like where they live, what they like, and so forth.

But now I know it’s about intimately understanding who they are and what they want. You need to answer questions like: “What’s their biggest fears? Desires? Goals? Objections?” THAT’S what it means when people talk about “knowing your audience.”

So before, I would create something and think: “This is probably what they want.” Now I KNOW what they want.

9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?

I would buy a month of Lead Pages and create a landing page and a sales page. Then, I’d set up a MailChimp account (free) and hustle a webinar audience. For example, I would reach out to friends and family and connect with people in Facebook groups and on social media.

On my webinar, I would sell a service (that could be whatever – coaching or a freelance service). With that money, I would invest in a site, start blogging and expand my business.

10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?

You can find me on Influence With Content and keep in touch by subscribing to my list (only good stuff there, promise!).

Or say hi on Twitter or Pinterest.

Thanks again Camilla 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.

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Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Meet the Bloggers

Meet Karen D’Avino of KarenDavino.com

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Blogging is one of the most exciting ways to create content on the internet and engage with others around the world at the same time. In addition to creating your own content and building your own little spot on the internet, blogging can be quite a resourceful tool for educators, teachers, schools, and even principles or superintendents. As always, when profiling new bloggers and experts in our Meet the Bloggers series, we are looking to cater to all niche markets and areas of the internet.

With all of this in mind, today we have an exciting guest — Karen D’Avino, who is the superintendent of schools and has taken her expertise and talent for this industry to the internet while helping to provide others with the necessary resources and tools to further improve their schools as well.

1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?

My name is Karen D’Avino. I am an educator with over twenty years of experience in the New Jersey public schools. I most recently served as Superintendent of Schools in the Barnegat Township School District. As an educator always looking to remain abreast of current practices and striving for academic excellence for students and staff, I became engaged with educators online. I was selected to become part of the Compelled Tribe based on my contributions to education.

2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?

The focus of my blog is on educational improvement. My administrative career has been dedicated to the improvement of schools, education, and both student and teacher performance. The subjects on my blog range from dealing with adversity to behavior management skills.

3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?

While many other websites and blogs like to post advertisements on their site, I’m simply trying to create a platform where I can provide the best resources and tools possible. Through my personal blog at KarenDavino.com, you will find that my content is dedicated to in district support where parties interested can contact me for consulting work.

4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?

I began using the blogging portion of WordPress before I created my own webpage. My page is also on Word Press but I wish I knew more about building web pages prior to blogging. I also know more about SEO’s and how online searches work. I wish I knew more about that before I began blogging.

5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?

http://www.thecompellededucator.com/
https://allysonapsey.com/
https://fouroclockfaculty.com/

6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?

Most times I use blogging to provide educational support for a variety of challenges that may occur in schools. Through blogging, I have been able to address many topics of concern for teachers but mostly for administrators. I have addressed various funding challenges that school administrators might find in the day to day operations of schools. I have blogged about teaching and learning strategies to implement in the classroom and I have blogged about working with challenging students.

7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?

Blogging is something I just kind of fell into, but also something that has been quite beneficial and amazing in the process. My best advice for anyone looking to start a blog of their own, is to focus on their passion and see how they can provide value to others. Through my blog I have been able to share some great stories, my expertise, and also help others who are in the same educational environment as I am.

8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?

Creating content can be a challenge if you do not focus on a few topics. The internet has lots of information and deciding what your niche is will be important to gain and retain constant readers. I would also recommend that anyone in the education space focus some time on connecting with others in education and teacher forums or social groups online. With so many teachers already online, there are some amazing resources available when you put in the time and effort to find and connect with others.

9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?

I would research the content areas in education where there is a need for information and focus my energies on creating a blog, supportive website, and possible member services. Anyone can get started with a blog of their own, even if they are a teacher or working with a small budget. If you have the time and money, I would invest in a domain, hosting, and maybe a custom logo design or WordPress them to stand out from the crowd.

10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?

My blog can be found at http://karendavino.com/
You can also see one of my latest radio interviews here.
Also feel free to follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks again Karen D’Avino 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.

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Blogging

Meet Ruben Gamez of Bidsketch.com and Docsketch.com

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Many entrepreneurs have dipped their toes into blogging but not many have gone far. A lot of factors may have played in failure. Perhaps the lack of courage, determination, persistence? There are also instances wherein a venture is progressing but suddenly plateaus in growth. This is often the result of complacency. Successful business owners can attest that facing challenges head-on have led them to great accomplishments and the total lack thereof can do more harm than good.

For Ruben Gamez, he didn’t even have to wait for the challenge to come. He got into blogging by getting out of his comfort zone and challenging himself. Today, he continues to excel as an entrepreneur by constantly finding ways on how to improve his tactic. Learn more about Ruben in this week’s episode of Meet the Bloggers.

1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?

Ruben Gamez

I started blogging as a marketing experiment and to prove to myself that I would be able to sell my first product. At the time I was working a full time job and had an idea for a software product, but wasn’t sure if I’d be able to bring in enough traffic to make the idea viable.

By this point I had read enough about marketing to realize that blogging was a great way to bring in qualified traffic. I quickly did some keyword research and found a topic that I could write on, and published a post (one week later).

The goal was to see if I could actually bring in traffic, and how long it would take for that traffic to start coming in. After two weeks I started getting traffic to that post (through Google)! I was hooked on content marketing at that point.

2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?

Initially we started with a very narrow focus of writing about proposals for designers. That’s because at the time, our product was very niche and that was our target audience.

For example, one of the better performing posts we had at the time, was literally titled “How to Write a Web Design Proposal,” which still performs well for us. As you can imagine, there’s only so much of that type of content you can write for a specific niche.

I quickly realized that it was too narrow and eventually expanded to blogging about helping freelancers, agencies, and consultants land more clients.

We went in this direction after talking to enough customers and seeing what interests they had, and what type of content they liked.

3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?

We have an online software product called Docsketch. So the main way that we monetize our blog is by converting a portion of readers into customers.

It tends to be a longer process because instead of pushing visitors directly into a trial of our product, we work to get them into a drip campaign. From there we can better educate them and build trust. Eventually, some people give Docsketch a try and become customers.

4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?

Great question. I wish I knew enough to focus on the right type of content, and not pick topics by guessing what would appeal to our audience. Nowadays, we’re a lot better about picking our topics.

For example, one approach, is to start by focusing on a larger category and growing that through individual pieces of content. We’re actually doing that right now, with a “contract templates” section on our site: https://www.docsketch.com/contract-templates/

Based on researching what our target customer is looking for, we are expanding that page with individual pieces of content that can also bring in traffic (like a specific type of contract template). This helps in that you can slowly build authority in a very large category, and the individual contract templates will inherit that authority.

Another approach we take is using tools like Hotjar to run microsurveys so we can ask visitors that aren’t on our email list, what we should write about. We even do phone interviews with some of these visitors (and offer them an Amazon gift card for 15 minutes of their time).

5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?

Well, I’ll give two blogs because I’m having a tough time thinking of three.

My current favorites:

  1. The Sumo.com blog which focuses on growth stories (so good):
  2. The James Clear blog which focuses on personal improvement through fitness, psychology, and more.

6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?

  1. Hotjar for microsurveys, visitor recordings, etc
  2. Sumo.com for email collection of all types
  3. Moz for traffic, keywords, and more

7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?

Look at the top five blogs that you love to read, and deconstruct them. Work backwards. Why do you like them so much?

Don’t look at the specifics of how they’re doing things (images, content length, etc.), instead look at how their positioning hooks you, or how their topic choice gets you coming back. Look at the high level things that make a big difference.

From there, spend some time brainstorming how you can use some of what you’ve learned on your own blog. Then, spend lots of time researching, writing, and promoting 🙂

8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?

I think the best advice I’ve heard (and that I still try to internalize) came from Derek Halpern. Spend 20% of your time writing, and 80% promoting. That doesn’t mean write for 30 minutes and promote a weak piece of content. That means, that whatever time it takes to write a very high quality piece of content, spend 4x that long promoting it.

One interesting side effect is that you start looking at whether the topics you’re writing about are worth that type of promotion time.

9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?

I’d use part of it on Sumo.com tool to help me collect leads, the rest on hosting. After that, it’s really just my time on research, writing, and promoting.

The most valuable things that need to be done on a blog don’t cost money. They do involve you investing some time doing them though.

10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?

My personal twitter and our product.

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Blogger

Meet Daniel Cowen-Rivers of TravelWeekli.com

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Blogging can lead you to many opportunities. All established bloggers now have been through the phase of being a new comers. They have experimented one way or another along the process. Trying different things out does help in determining your own style and strategy.

We’ve interviewed bloggers covering various niches in Meet the Bloggers. For this episode, we’d like to introduce Daniel Cowen-Rivers. He’s a budding travel blogger. Read on to know more about his journey across the globe and a

1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?

Daniel Cowen-Rivers

I am a budding travel blogger who travels the world and shares my experiences and travel expertise via social media and through my blog. I got into blogging as I wanted to share my traveling tips and photos with others to make them travel more before global warming destroys the world.

2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?

I chose traveling to share my love of seeing the world and different country’s way of living. I also wanted more people to find out about the world we live in.

3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?

AdSense. I have a few paid ads but not that many as I am still new to the game. I’ve started blogging since February of 2017.

4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?

I did not know about DA and SEO that I know now is very important in order to get sponsored post.

5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?

The blogs are:

  1. Backpack With Me
  2. Bradley Bow
  3. Hand Luggage Only

6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?

The three services that I recommended using to help your blog are:

  1. Yoast  A blog in called SEO by Yoast. This makes optimizing my blog post easier to rank higher on Google search.
  2. OneNote – I’m constantly making notes for future articles. As I always have random moments where I’m going by my day and I just randomly have an idea for a blog article. I always carry my phone to write the note in OneNote.
  3. MailMunch is a plugin for WordPress that comes with email subscription templates that you can place in certain parts of your blog and I made mine as a popup.

7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?

Pick a niche category that you want your blog to be about. As well as this, one of the most important advice I have is one that you need to know when starting out, is how to improve your SEO and DA.

8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?

Just keep blogging! After a few months, I only got a few readers per day and I’ve thought to quit then. However, I’ve read that it takes people years to get enough readers to be a full time blogger. Just keep blogging and don’t stop.

9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?

I would use the money to gain more Facebook likes on my Facebook page that in turn will convert readers for my blog. This will be done by advertising the page and blog on Facebook.

10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?

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