Blogging

Blogging

What Do Our Google Searches Say About Us?


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Blogging

How To Double Your Instagram Following


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INSTAGRAM PHOTO STORY TIPS

  • When was the photo taken?
  • What were you doing during the picture? After? Before?
  • What did the object taste or feel like?
  • Does it remind you of something that other people can relate to? Elaborate on that idea [just a little bit].

1. I started networking within Instagram itself through the use of popular hashtags. Last week some companies + magazines have found me this way!

2. Provide a little narrative background for pictures.  I’m not suggesting you write an entire blog post but use thoughtful words to further your connection with viewers and tell the story behind the image.

3. It’s a great way to make an announcement.  Think business cards, work specials, new blog posts, upcoming events, important dates, cool behind-the-scenes stuff, product reviews.

4. Get out there and start a conversation.  I click on every user who likes my photos.  Follow them back if you can, and stay active in their feed through likes and comments.

5. Lump your social media tasks with Gramblr, an application that lets you upload photos to Instagram from your desktop.

6. You can add your feed to Hootsuite and save time catching up with everyone’s photos.

7. Cross-promote. Post your instagram photo on Facebook or Twitter with a catchy phrase to entice readers to click over.

8. The key to getting your following off the ground is engaging with the people who already follow you.  The more your are out there in the Instagram-sphere the more likely new followers will run into you and click over. Especially if your comment provides extra value to the original photo. Tag your photos with related keywords. My personal approach to Instagram is to provide unique information that is mostly exclusive to Instagram itself.  As you can see I have a live feed on my sidebar that offers my regular readers a preview of things they have not seen.

If you want to drive traffic to your blog from Instagram remind your viewers that there is a link in your profile [write in those words “link in profile” within the description] and only show the first or last step of the project.  Think of the photos as an appetizer to your main course ( the blog post).  I honestly don’t receive tons of direct traffic from Instagram itself.  (Keep in mind—people might be manually typing the URL address in.) However it’s a fabulous platform to bring awareness to your brand.  There’s something very powerful about constantly reminding people you’re there, and making great content as well!

9.  If you’re posting a “preview” of a blog post you can always add a comment later on, letting your followers know that its #OnTheBlog.

10. Be consistent and persistent.  Don’t worry about it too much.  It’s not the health of your children or the engine of your car.  It’s just Instagram. My best advice when you’re feeling down about your growth is to keep your head down and work. You’ll see results over time!

11. Use Padgram to add hashtags to your post.  You’ll want to use this convenient app because it suggests hashtags as you’re typing.  I found #instafood and #thatsDarling this way!

Blogging

How Do You Keep People Coming Back?


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Building a brand is a funny thing. You want people to get the clearest understanding of who you are, but often you over complicate the process. My experience has taught me it’s really not that hard. Keeping things absolutely simple is key. If your business is online, it’s especially important to make your product easy to use for the user. Successful branding hinges on people coming back for more (products, information, entertainment). This means you need to become a habit for them. A habit is defined as: “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” In his book on building habit-forming products, Nir Eyal (a Stanford lecturer + author) shares a perspective on how to think about building products people want to use. It’s called the Fogg Behavioural Model and was created by Stanford computer scientist, B. J. Fogg:

ImageThe Fogg Behaviour Model illustrates that the best path to get more people using your product is to make your product easier to use. If you make your product simpler, you increase the probability of your customers crossing the “Activation Threshold” + performing the behaviour.

Nir notes,

“Influencing behaviour by reducing the effort required to perform an action is more effective than increasing someone’s desire to do it. Make your product so simple that users already know how to use it, and you’ve got a winner.”

Remember this when you’re working on your next project. Keep it simple + you’re guaranteed to make your product, a habit.

Blogging

You Are Your Content


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1. Keep your content short + sweet

Choose a topic, do your research, use bullet points. Stick to one idea with any post. Don’t give people too much information too quickly. For ideas on how to make your posts interesting, link in from other places and use quotes from credible sources.

2. Keep it personal

Remember you are the personality behind the blog. Here’s the beauty of this new digital age: there’s a blurred line between where your blog’s content ends and where YOU begin. This is great because people like people. They like your content, but they also want to get to know YOU. Your readers are a cyber community of friends with shared interests you haven’t met yet. This gives you the freedom of writing stuff in your own voice. It gives you the freedom to share personal stories and go off topic in an appealing way if you like. You can capture your target audience in a personal way and still be effective. Make sure you’re authentic across the board. Get comfortable with who you are and your audience will be relaxed and encouraged.

3. Create resources other people find good

If you want to make money off your blog, you need to have the kind of traffic advertisers recognize as significant. Only then can you make meaningful earnings. To get the numbers, you need maximum exposure. To get that, you need informative articles which people feel are worth sharing. Check out my article on how to generate great content that interests you + keeps your readers coming back.

4. Figure out your ideal reader + your content will present itself

Do some in-depth research about your target audience and marketing angle.

The better you understand your customer, the faster your business will grow. But new ventures often struggle to define their target market and set their sights too broadly.

– Entrepreneur.com

5. Align your business brand

Your personal blog is a business (if it’s not, it has the potential to become one). You write your blog. You became a public “personality” the minute you began your blog. Write from your own point of view and be open to audience interaction 24/7 on all your platforms. In the blogging world, your personal truth becomes your blog’s brand. People who enjoy your blog will come back. They become your customers. The angle of your brand should be the same all over (your “angle” is YOU). Become familiar with your truth. Once you’ve decided on a logo/name/colour scheme/writing style you like, make sure it’s the same all across all social platforms. This doesn’t have to be forever, just for a while. You need to innovate at some point, but keep the same colour scheme/logo for at least a couple months. Consistency makes your brand familiar and more trustworthy, which increases the likelihood of converting.

6. Think about how you help your audience

What is your intention behind the blog? Is it: to help, to entertain, to provide a service? Once you’ve decided, remember it when making a post. Ensure you have a clear intention when you create an article and that you put time and effort into doing it.

7. Look to other platforms for content ideas

What inspires your posts? Run different series each month in line with your industry topic. If you don’t have a specific topic, think about your categories. Make a schedule for posting articles within each category. For ideas on your articles, look to platforms like Pinterest, Google, Industry websites, News Websites and Google Search Trends to see what people are searching for the most.

8. Leave your audience changed

The biggest part of any blogger’s job is to leave your audience changed in some way after they read your post. If you can inspire them, help them achieve or help them grow, then you have succeeded. Whatever your content is, if you can leave your audience positively changed, they will come back.

Photo: Death To The Stock Photo

Blogging

20 Ways To Get Serious About Blogging


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1. Think long & hard about your blog categories

Your categories are the main sections or “magazine columns” that you feature on your blog. Your categories can be a drop down menu on your sidebar. They should be simple and logical. Use hierarchies to organise your ideas better. Try think of a catchy angle for them so you peak your viewer’s interest and stand out from the rest.

2. Design your site as simple as possible

Keep your design simple and appealing. Make it intuitive and well-structured. People should intuitively know how to navigate your space. Make pages along the top for sections you want to highlight. Use a category drop down menu and a follow widget wouldn’t hurt. If there are other platforms you want your viewers to know about, include those widgets also. A direct link to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram invites viewers to connect with you.

3. Operate it like a real magazine

Decide on your target audience just like Cosmo or House and Garden does. This means deciding:

+ Who you want to appeal to (age group, gender, interests)

+ What your content will be (which topics you choose)

+ How involved you’ll get in your articles (short, long, lots of resources)

Plan out each piece well. It’s always a good idea to think about a catchy title and invest time into each piece. Edit and format your posts and add great designs to them. Write in a natural tone and keep it simple. Decide on your intentions with each post. Publish often (weekly is great). If your favourite magazine missed a few issues, you’d eventually find a replacement.

4. Share each post into infinity

You write and publish something once, but who’s to say you can’t share that post once per month on Twitter, a couple times a year on Facebook or every other month on Google+? Pinterest is a lovely fresh platform with a constant stream of ideas. It’s a great way to advertise your blog. Make a board dedicated to your blog and pin your stuff to it! It will make it easier for people to find you and re-pin your stuff. Due to the “timeline” nature of most social media platforms, if you only share something once, it will only be seen by a small percent of your followers. It’s also a good idea to make an advert with your heading and URL on for sharing purposes.

5. Make sure you know what  your audience wants and needs

Your readers/clients have specific questions, desires and needs. You can start to figure out these needs by putting yourself in their shoes. What would you want to read about if you were them, visiting your blog? What tools can make things simpler for your viewers? Why do they come to your blog? Read more about figuring this out here.

6. Post frequently + consistently, with quality as your best friend

Remember to keep your material current and up-to-date. Try cater for a blog audience while maintaining your brand goals and sanity. This is, of course, if you are operating your blog like a business.

7. Invest in your blog

The things you spend money on are the things you want to get value out of. The things you spend money on are the important things that you care about. The best things in life are free, but some of the things that help you create your best life cost money. Invest in marketing your blog online or elsewhere if you want the traffic that will get you money in the long run.

8. Format your posts to be read by busy, lazy humans

This means short titles, bullet points and headings. Also, it means blog posts which aren’t too long.

9. Create a content calendar

….One that includes suggested post dates and categories. Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin is great because I like a visual representation of when I should post. Without a calendar and some type of plan, you’ll get around to that one post about that one thing on the 10th of NeverEver.

10. Add in promotion & maintenance tasks

Sponsored blogging (getting paid to publish promotional stuff) must be scheduled into your usual blogging routine. A lot of the time, clients/sponsors need a date for publishing. It’s good to plan ahead so you can give them an exact date.

11. Establish a writing routine that gives you time to think

Creative people are always thinking. Sometimes I have great ideas that pop into my head which I jot down. When I get around to writing a post, I’m always excited to publish it straight away. But I’ve learnt that it’s better to save the draft and give it an ‘incubation’ period in your head. Trust me, you’ll think of different things to add over a period of just 24 hours which will add value to your post.

12. Be you. We won’t like you if you’re being someone else

Enjoy your own space online. Add photos of your life. Write the way you would speak in real life. See how you do this in my post Find Your Voice Online.

13. Get high quality photos of yourself

It’s a good idea to have quality photos of yourself. These will come in handy for your “about” page, as well as any articles you write where you have personal experience. Allow your readers to connect with you! Keep a professional flavour by getting nice photos taken. It’s good for you and will be a plus for the photographer. There’s power in collaboration!

14. Audit your blog regularly

That post you wrote three months ago? It totally needs a link to the post you published earlier this week because they’re heavily related and your readers will be happy to have guided/quick access to both. Always keep in mind that no matter what order you write things in, any post or page on your website has the potential to be the first post a visitor sees. P.S. Blog audits are also a great way to make sure you’ve included your affiliate links and product/service links in all the organic ways possible.

15. Check your grammar

Make sure to double-check your articles.

16. Be available + interactive

No one likes a person who never responds to anything. Granted, you may be so “big time” that you can’t get to every blog comment or tweet, but none of them? I’ll accept that when you become the President of the United States. Even then, you can hire some people to help you out!

17. Pay attention to the questions your readers ask

There may be a new blog post you’ve written, a new eBook you can sell, a problem you can fix or a service you can offer that is lingering in questions from readers. Cultivate community around your blog so people feel they are in a safe space where they are supported and encouraged. Grow a family around your blog. You do this by being attentive to your readers.

18. Guest post like a champ

Once you have a healthy collection of quality content to lead people back to, pitch to some sites that fit your brand (or that are frequented by your ideal readers) to do a guest post. Think about larger online magazines and websites as well. These guest posting opportunities will help you build relationships and will lead new readers back to your site.

19. Accept guest posts like a champ

If someone else is willing to say some valuable and entertaining stuff on your blog, let them. Make sure each post fits your blog, fits your readers, and is the type of quality content you want your blog to be known for. Make sure to promote your guest authors and show them love. They will likely spread the word of their guest post, which can potentially give you lots of new readers.

20. Stay focused

We creatives like shiny new projects and get distracted easily. When you have lots of ideas racing through your head, stop and focus your energy on one thing at a time. Make a list. Lists are great.

Photo: Death To The Stock Photo

Blogging

Finding Your Voice Online


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1. Speak like you do in real life, online.

Communicate to your virtual audience in the same way as you would talk to the one person in the world who you feel most comfortable with. Why? Because that’s who you really are. That’s the way you talk, those are the things you say. So just type in the same way you would talk to this person in real life and that is your “voice” online.

2. Find a comfortable way of writing to communicate your thoughts online.

What things interest you? What things make you smile? What do you really think/value/believe in/feel? What do you find amusing or not so amusing? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and the countless other realms are only conduits for you to reflect your inner spirit in a cyber realm. There’s no one else like you! Embrace that. You surely want the expression of you across all your platforms to be accurate, don’t you? That way there’s no mixed signals with the people you care about. On top of writing about your interests, you need to write so people won’t get bored.

How to write with ease and make your posts effective:

  1. Use simple language
  2. Use short sentences
  3. Use bullet points
  4. Use metaphors
  5. Write many drafts of your article/status updates/posts before publishing them
  6. Use photos
  7. Practice using your “voice” in everyday stuff. Really look at how you write text messages, respond to comments on public platforms and in e-mails. Get to know how you express yourself and keep it congruent with your online platforms
  8. Respond kindly to all comments/e-mails/tweets and virtual interactions
  9. Do regular audits of your old blog posts, status updates and posts.
  10. Encourage your audience to approach you!

3. Constantly look for inspiration.

I love Pinterest, music, other blogs and everyday things that are happening to me! I use these as catalysts for articles and updates/posts because they mean something to me and chances are they will be relevant to my audience, too.

4. Keep up to date with your goals.

This involves “thinking on purpose sessions” as Joyce Meyer instructs. And wine. These are fun brainstorming sessions I would suggest having with yourself at least once a week to brainstorm new topics/angles for what your audience would like to read.

5. Get up-to-speed with your field of ‘expertise’.

If your blog is topical (deals with a specific field), get up to speed on current happenings and events so you can offer something valuable and relevant to your desired audience.

6. Be Passionate about what you are writing about.

Because it all begins there.

7. Hone your intention.

Is it to help, enlighten, entertain, inform, discuss?

8. When using your voice online, run the “Digital Presence” Four-Way Test

(my personal adaptation of the Rotary Four-Way Test)

+ Is it the Truth? Do you believe in what you are saying… really? Are you saying it with comfort and ease; expressing your honest personal and creative views?

+ Is it Fair to all concerned? Think about whether your audience will feel repelled or energized. Think what makes you feel repelled from other people when they post stuff. Then don’t post that kind of stuff. The aim is always to make sure your audience feels better after having read your stuff than they did before they read it (life lesson in general)

+ Will it build Goodwill & Better Friendships? Will people reading your material feel like they can comment and interact with you? Would they want to have a coffee with you in real life?

+ Will it be Beneficial to all Concerned? Is what you are saying helpful to your audience?

9. Things you want to aim for with your blogging/social presence in general:

Credibility 

Your readers respect that you have a fair share of experience in life/your field and can truly give them good insight and guidance to help them.This is especially true if you’re running your blog as a business (for profit)

Authenticity

Your readers feel you are being transparent and open with them. You are being the ‘you’ who you are in real life

Mutual Respect

Your readers will honour you if you honour them. They will interact with you if you take the time to respond to them and visit their portals.

Visual Appeal

Your readers are human beings and need to feel visually engaged in what you are writing about. Make sure to include photos and infograms (don’t know what an infogram is? I didn’t either. But now I love them. I have a collection of them on Pinterest here.) Include a couple personal pictures also so your readers feel connected with you. Keep it exciting!

Sustainability

Don’t start something you can’t finish. Keep the creative energy flowing. Keep the content high quality and truly ‘you’. Continue sharing and embracing the beauty of others who you have learnt from. Link back!!

 

Twitter – https://twitter.com/TamikaDoubell

Instagram – @misstamikajade  http://instagram.com/misstamikajade

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TamikaDoubellLiving

Linkedin – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/tamika-doubell/3b/63a/16

Photo: Death to the Stock Photo