595 Power Words That’ll Instantly Make You a Better Writer

Looking for a quick way to give your writing more punch?

Maybe a little personality or pizzazz – that extra little “oomph” that makes the reader pay attention?

Well, good news:

“Power words” are the answer, and you can wake up put them in place in a matter of minutes. This post gives you areference lists of power words, examples of power words being used — everything you need to hit the ground running.

Let’s jump in.

What Is a “Power Word,” Exactly?


Rather than describe what I mean, let’s deconstruct an example from the great Winston Churchill:

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

Inspiring, right?

Well, there was a lot on the line. Under attack from Germany, Britain was fighting for its survival, and somehow, someway, Churchill had to find a way to inspire his countrymen to greatness.

He chose words. Or, to be more accurate, power words.

Let’s take a look at the passage again, this time with all the power words underlined:

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

Each underlined word makes the audience feel something. In this case, Churchill intermixes words that cause fear, such as “struggle,” “tyranny,” and “terror,” with words that cause hope, such as “strength,” “God,” and “victory.” The last, in particular, is repeated over and over, practically drilling the emotion into the minds of the audience.

It’s no accident. Smart speakers, as well as their speechwriters, sprinkle their speeches with carefully-chosen power words, drawing the audience from one emotion to another as skillfully as any novelist or screenwriter.

Granted, that’s not all they do. The best writers use an entire tool chest of techniques to create emotion, and power words are only one such tool.

But there’s good news.

For beginning writers, power words are one of the easiest tools to master. Unlike many storytelling strategies which can take years of practice to master, you can start sprinkling power words into your writing, and you’ll notice an immediate lift in the quality of your prose.

All you lack is a list of power words to use, but of course, I have you covered there too. 🙂

 

595 Power Words and Phrases to Start Using Immediately


For years now, every time I mentioned power words to my students, someone always asked:

“Where can I get a list? Is there a book I can buy?”

Sadly, not that I’m aware of.  That’s why I created this list.

Slowly, over a period of several weeks, I catalogued all the power words that jumped out to me, organizing them into categories based on the emotion you want to create, so you can easily find the right word. In the future, I’ll also update the list, adding new words on a regular basis to make it the most comprehensive list of power words available anywhere.

It costs nothing. All I ask in return is you share it with your friends and readers when appropriate, helping it reach the people who need it most.

Enjoy.

Our Giant Curated List of Power Words


 

FEAR ENCOURAGEMENT LUST ANGER
Agony Amazing Allure Abhorrent
Apocalypse Ascend Arouse Abuse
Armageddon Astonishing Bare Annoying
Assault Astounding Begging Arrogant
Backlash Audacious Beguiling Ass kicking
Beating Awe-inspiring Brazen Backstabbing
Beware Awesome Captivating Barbaric
Blinded Backbone Charm Bash
Blood Badass Cheeky Beat down
Bloodbath Beat Climax Big mouth
Bloodcurdling Belief Crave Blatant
Bloody Blissful Delight Brutal
Blunder Bravery Delirious Bullshit
Bomb Breathtaking Depraved Bully
Buffoon Brilliant Desire Cheat
Bumbling Celebrate Dirty Clobber
Cadaver Cheer Divine Clown
Catastrophe Colossal Ecstacy Cocky
Caution Command Embrace Corrupt
Collapse Conquer Enchant Coward
Corpse Courage Enthralling Crooked
Crazy Daring Entice Crush
Cripple Defeat Entrance Curse
Crisis Defiance Excite Debase
Danger Delight Explicit Defile
Deadly Devoted Exposed Delinquent
Death Dignity Fascinate Demolish
Deceiving Dominate Forbidden Desecrate
Destroy Effortless Frisky Disgusting
Devastating Empower Goosebumps Dishonest
Disastrous Epic Hanker Distorted
Doom Excellent Heavenly Evil
Drowning Excited Hottest Exploit
Dumb Extraordinary Hypnotic Force-fed
Embarrass Eye-opening Impure Foul
Fail Fabulous Indecent Freaking out
Feeble Faith Intense Full of shit
Fired Fantastic Intoxicating Greedy
Fool Fearless Itching Gross
Fooled Ferocious Juicy Harass
Frantic Fierce Kinky Hate
Frightening Force Kiss High and mighty
Gambling Fulfill Lascivious Horrid
Gullible Glorious Lewd Infuriating
Hack Glory Lick Jackass
Hazardous Graceful Lonely Kick
Hoax Grateful Longing Kill
Holocaust Grit Love Knock
Horrific Guts Lure Knock Out
Hurricane Happy Luscious Know it all
Injure Heart Lush Lies
Insidious Hero Lust Livid
Invasion Honor Mischievous Loathsome
IRS Hope Mouth-watering Loser
Jail Incredible Naked Lying
Jeopardy Jaw-dropping Naughty Maul
Lawsuit Jubilant Nude Misleading
Looming Legend Obscene Money-grubbing
Lunatic Life-changing Orgasmic Nasty
Lurking Magic Passionate Nazi
Massacre Marvelous Pining No Good
Meltdown Master Pleasure Obnoxious
Menacing Mind-blowing Provocative Oppressive
Mired Miracle Racy Pain in the ass
Mistake Miraculous Raunchy Payback
Murder Noble Risque Perverse
Nightmare Perfect Rowdy Pesky
Painful Persuade Salacious Pest
Pale Phenomenal Satisfy Phony
Panic Pluck Saucy Pissed off
Peril Power-Up Scandalous Pollute
Piranha Praise Seduce Pompous
Pitfall Prevail Seductive Pound
Plague Remarkable Sensual Preposterous
Played Revel Sex Pretentious
Plummet Rule Shameless Punch
Plunge Score Sinful Punish
Poison Seize Sleazy Rampant
Poor Sensational Sleeping Ravage
Prison Spectacular Spank Repelling
Pummel Spine Spellbinding Repugnant
Pus Spirit Spicy Revile
Reckoning Splendid Steamy Revolting
Refugee Spunk Stimulating Rotten
Revenge Staggering Strip Rude
Risky Strengthen Sweaty Ruined
Scary Striking Tantalizing Ruthless
Scream Strong Taste Savage
Searing Stunning Tawdry Scam
Shatter Stunt Tease Scold
Shellacking Supreme Tempting Sick and tired
Silly Surprising Thrilling Sink
Slaughter Terrific Tickle Slam
Slave Thrive Tight Slander
Strangle Thwart Tingle Slap
Stupid Titan Turn on Slay
Tailspin Tough Unabashed Smash
Tank Tremendous Uncensored Smear
Targeted Triumph Untamed Smug
Teetering Unbeatable Untouched Sniveling
Terror Unbelievable Urge Snob
Terrorist Unforgettable Voluptuous Snooty
Torture Unique Vulgar Snotty
Toxic Unleash Wanton Spoil
Tragedy Uplifting Wet Stuck up
Trap Valiant Whip Suck
Vaporize Valor Wild Terrorize
Victim Vanquish X-rated Trash
Volatile Victory Yearning Trounce
Vulnerable Win Yummy Tyranny
Warning Wonderful Underhanded
Worry Wondrous Up to here
Wounded Violate
       
       
GREED SAFETY FORBIDDEN  
Bank Above and beyond Ancient  
Bargain Anonymous Backdoor  
Best Authentic Banned  
Billion Automatic Behind the scenes  
Bonanza Backed Black Market  
Booked solid Bankable Blacklisted  
Cash Best-selling Bootleg  
Cheap Cancel anytime Censored  
Costly Certified Classified  
Discount Clockwork Cloak and dagger  
Dollar Endorsed Concealed  
Double Foolproof Confessions  
Explode Guaranteed Confidential  
Extra Ironclad Controversial  
Feast Lifetime Covert  
Fortune Money-back Cover-up  
Free No Obligation Exotic  
Freebie No Questions Asked Forbidden  
Frenzy No risk Forgotten  
Frugal No strings attached From the vault  
Gift No-fail Hidden  
Golden Official Hush-hush  
Greatest Permanent Illegal  
High-paying Privacy Insider  
Inexpensive Professional Little-known  
Jackpot Protected Lost  
Lowest price Proven Never seen before  
Luxurious Recession-proof Off the record  
Marked down Refund Off-limits  
Massive Reliable Outlawed  
Money Research Private  
Money-draining Results Restricted  
Money-saving Risk-free Sealed  
Nest egg Rock-solid Secret  
Pay zero Science-backed Smuggled  
Prize Scientific Strange  
Profit Secure Tried to hide  
Quadruple Sure-fire Unauthorized  
Reduced Survive Uncensored  
Rich Tested Under wraps  
Savings That never fails Undercover  
Six-figure Thorough Underground  
Skyrocket Trustworthy Under-the-table  
Soaring Try before you buy Undisclosed  
Surge Unconditional Unexpected  
Treasure Verify Unlock  
Triple World-class Unreachable  
Waste   Unspoken  
Wealth   Unveiled  
Whopping   Withheld  

 

The 7 Different Types of Power Words


As you can see in our giant list above, we’ve organized our power words into seven different types:

  1. Fear
  2. Encouragement
  3. Lust
  4. Anger
  5. Greed
  6. Safety
  7. Forbidden

These different types of power words all accomplish the same goal: They inspire emotion in your reader.

Let’s go over each type and see why they work.

Fear Power Words: Calling All Fearmongers

Fear Power Words

Let’s do a little experiment.

Just for a moment, stop reading this post, turn on the television, and go to a major news channel. Watch it for five minutes, listening for the words below.

Chances are, you’ll hear dozens of them. Here’s why:

Fear is without a doubt the most powerful emotion for grabbing and keeping an audience’s attention. To make sure you don’t change the channel, news networks load up with fear words, making you worry you might miss something important.

It’s effective. Granted, you can overdo it, but in my opinion, most writers don’t use these types of words nearly enough. They really do connect with people.

Here’s a bunch to get you started:
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Fear Power Words.

Agony Fool Plunge
Apocalypse Fooled Poison
Armageddon Frantic Poor
Assault Frightening Prison
Backlash Gambling Pummel
Beating Gullible Pus
Beware Hack Reckoning
Blinded Hazardous Refugee
Blood Hoax Revenge
Bloodbath Holocaust Risky
Bloodcurdling Horrific Scary
Bloody Hurricane Scream
Blunder Injure Searing
Bomb Insidious Shatter
Buffoon Invasion Shellacking
Bumbling IRS Silly
Cadaver Jail Slaughter
Catastrophe Jeopardy Slave
Caution Lawsuit Strangle
Collapse Looming Stupid
Corpse Lunatic Tailspin
Crazy Lurking Tank
Cripple Massacre Targeted
Crisis Meltdown Teetering
Danger Menacing Terror
Deadly Mired Terrorist
Death Mistake Torture
Deceiving Murder Toxic
Destroy Nightmare Tragedy
Devastating Painful Trap
Disastrous Pale Vaporize
Doom Panic Victim
Drowning Peril Volatile
Dumb Piranha Vulnerable
Embarrass Pitfall Plague
Fail Plague Worry
Feeble Played Wounded
Fired Plummet

 

Encouragement Power Words: Give Your Readers a Pep Talk

Encouragement Power Words

Let’s face it.

When they’re reading, most people aren’t exactly bouncing off the walls with energy and enthusiasm. They’re probably bored, maybe a little depressed, and almost definitely tired. And they’re looking for something, anything, that’ll wake them up and make them feel better.

The good news?

Your writing can do that for them. Use these power words to give them a pep talk and get them charged up again:
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Encouragement Power Words.

Amazing Fearless Score
Ascend Ferocious Seize
Astonishing Fierce Sensational
Astounding Force Spectacular
Audacious Fulfill Spine
Awe-inspiring Glorious Spirit
Awesome Glory Splendid
Backbone Graceful Spunk
Badass Grateful Staggering
Beat Grit Strengthen
Belief Guts Striking
Blissful Happy Strong
Bravery Heart Stunning
Breathtaking Hero Stunt
Brilliant Honor Supreme
Celebrate Hope Surprising
Cheer Incredible Terrific
Colossal Jaw-dropping Thrive
Command Jubilant Thwart
Conquer Legend Titan
Courage Life-changing Tough
Daring Magic Triumph
Defeat Marvelous Tremendous
Defiance Master Unbeatable
Delight Mind-blowing Unbelievable
Devoted Miracle Unforgettable
Dignity Miraculous Unique
Dominate Noble Unleash
Effortless Perfect Uplifting
Empower Persuade Valiant
Epic Phenomenal Valor
Excellent Pluck Vanquish
Excited Power-up Victory
Extraordinary Praise Win
Eye-opening Prevail Wonderful
Fabulous Remarkable Wondrous
Faith Revel
Fantastic Rule

 

Lust Power Words: Take a Page from Cosmopolitan (or Playboy)

Lust Power Words

Like it or not, lust is one of the core human emotions.

Just look at the men’s and women’s magazines in the checkout aisle, and you’ll see what I mean. Nearly every headline on the cover is either blatantly or indirectly about sex.

And it works, not just for men’s and women’s magazines, but for anything. As a writer, you can use words that inspire lust to make almost anything intriguing.

Here’s a lascivious list to get you started:
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Lust Power Words.

Allure Itching Sinful
Arouse Juicy Sleazy
Bare Kinky Sleeping
Begging Kiss Spank
Beguiling Lascivious Spellbinding
Brazen Lewd Spicy
Captivating Lick Steamy
Charm Lonely Stimulating
Cheeky Longing Strip
Climax Love Sweaty
Crave Lure Tantalizing
Delight Luscious Taste
Delirious Lush Tawdry
Depraved Lust Tease
Desire Mischievous Tempting
Dirty Mouth-watering Thrilling
Divine Naked Tickle
Ecstasy Naughty Tight
Embrace Nude Tingle
Enchant Obscene Turn on
Enthralling Orgasmic Unabashed
Entice Passionate Uncensored
Entrance Pining Untamed
Excite Pleasure Untouched
Explicit Provocative Urge
Exposed Racy Voluptuous
Fascinate Raunchy Vulgar
Forbidden Risque Wanton
Frisky Rowdy Wet
Goosebumps Salacious Whip
Hanker Satisfy Wild
Heavenly Saucy X-rated
Hottest Scandalous Yearning
Hypnotic Seduce Yummy
Impure Seductive
Indecent Sensual
Intense Sex
Intoxicating Shameless

 

Anger Power Words: Start a Riot

Anger Power Words

As writers, sometimes our job is to anger people.

Not for the fun of it, mind you, but because someone is doing something wrong, and the community needs to take action to correct it. The problem is, with wrongdoing, most people are pretty apathetic — they’ll wait until the situation becomes entirely intolerable to do anything, and by then, it’s often too late.

So, we have to fan the flames. By using the below power words, you can connect with people’s anger, and slowly but surely, you can work them into a frenzy. Just be careful who you target. Lawyers can eat you alive if you pick on the wrong person. 🙂
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Anger Power Words.

Abhorrent Gross Punish
Abuse Harass Rampant
Annoying Hate Ravage
Arrogant High and mighty Repelling
Ass kicking Horrid Repugnant
Backstabbing Infuriating Revile
Barbaric Jackass Revolting
Bash Kick Rotten
Beat down Kill Rude
Big mouth Knock Ruined
Blatant Knock out Ruthless
Brutal Know it all Savage
Bullshit Lies Scam
Bully Livid Scold
Cheat Loathsome Sick and tired
Clobber Loser Sink
Clown Lying Slam
Cocky Maul Slander
Corrupt Misleading Slap
Coward Money-grubbing TSlay
Crooked Nasty Smash
Crush Nazi Smear
Curse No good Smug
Debase Obnoxious Sniveling
Defile Oppressive Snob
Delinquent Pain in the ass Snooty
Demolish Payback Snotty
Desecrate Perverse Spoil
Disgusting Pesky Stuck up
Dishonest Pest Suck
Distorted Phony Terrorize
Evil Pissed off Trash
Exploit Pollute Trounce
Force-fed Pompous Tyranny
Foul Pound Underhanded
Freaking out Preposterous Up to here
Full of shit Pretentious Violate
Greedy Punch

 

Greed Power Words: Stomp on Their Greed Glands

Greed Power Words

The legendary copywriter Gary Halbert once said, “If you want people to buy something, stomp on their greed glands until they bleed.” Graphic, yes, but also true.

Skim through good sales copy, and you’ll find a lot of these power words. Many of them are so overused they’ve become cliché, but that doesn’t stop them from working.

The truth is, nearly every human being on the planet is interested in either making or saving money. Use these words to tap into those desires:
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Greed Power Words.

Bank Freebie Pay zero
Bargain Frenzy Prize
Best Frugal Profit
Billion Gift Quadruple
Bonanza Golden Reduced
Booked solid Greatest Rich
Cash High-paying Savings
Cheap Inexpensive Six-figure
Costly Jackpot Skyrocket
Discount Lowest price Soaring
Dollar Luxurious Surge
Double Marked down Treasure
Explode Massive Triple
Extra Money Waste
Feast Money-draining Wealth
Fortune Money-saving Whopping
Free Nest egg

 

Safety Power Words: Make Them Feel Safe

Greed isn’t the only emotion you want buyers to feel. You also want to make them feel safe.

They need to trust both you and your product or service. They need to have confidence you’ll deliver. They need to believe they’ll get results.

Of course, building that kind of trust starts with having a quality brand and reputation, but the words you use to describe yourself and your product or service also matter. To help your customers feel safe, try to use as many of these power words as possible:
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Safety Power Words.

Above and beyond No obligation Risk-free
Anonymous No questions asked Rock-solid
Authentic No risk Science-backed
Automatic No strings attached Scientific
Backed No-fail Secure
Bankable Official Sure-fire
Best-selling Permanent Survive
Cancel anytime Privacy Tested
Certified Professional That never fails
Clockwork Protected Thorough
Endorsed Proven Trustworthy
Foolproof Recession-proof Try before you buy
Guaranteed Refund Unconditional
Ironclad Reliable Verify
Lifetime Research World-class
Money-back Results

 

Forbidden Power Words: Offer Them a Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden Power Words

Remember when you were a kid, and someone told you NOT to do something? From that point on, you could think about little else, right?

The truth is, we’re all fascinated by the mysterious and forbidden. It’s like it’s programmed into our very nature.

So why not tap into that programming?

Whenever you need to create curiosity, sprinkle these power words throughout your writing, and readers won’t be able to help being intrigued:
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Forbidden Power Words.

Ancient Forbidden Smuggled
Backdoor Forgotten Strange
Banned From the vault Tried to hide
Behind the scenes Hidden Unauthorized
Black Market Hush-hush Uncensored
Blacklisted Illegal Under wraps
Bootleg Insider Undercover
Censored Little-known Underground
Classified Lost Under-the-table
Cloak and dagger Never seen before Undisclosed
Concealed Off the record Unexpected
Confessions Off-limits Unlock
Confidential Outlawed Unreachable
Controversial Private Unspoken
Covert Restricted Unveiled
Cover-up Sealed Withheld
Exotic Secret

 

Power Words in Action: 14 Places Where You Strong Words Can Help You


So, now that you have a big list of options to choose from, where are the primary places you should put power words to get the biggest “bang for your buck?”

Below you’ll find examples of power words being used in:

  1. Headlines
  2. Subheads
  3. Email Subject Lines
  4. Opt-in Boxes
  5. Home Page
  6. Sales Pages
  7. Testimonials
  8. Bullet Lists
  9. Business Names / Domain Names
  10. Product Names
  11. Buttons
  12. Author Bios
  13. Youtube Videos
  14. Book titles
  15. Ready to dive in?

#1. Using Power Words in Headlines

Any bloggers who’s been in the game for a while knows that the headline is the most important part of your article.

Its purpose, after all, is to entice the reader to read the rest of the article. If it fails to get attention, potential readers will ignore it when it shows up in their social media feed.

And just one or two power words in your headline is usually enough to make it stand out.

Just look at this headline from BuzzFeed:

Put Power Words in Your Headline

The word “Unveiled” makes it feel like a secret is being exposed, and the word “Breathtaking” makes you curious to see what the photo looks like.

Here’s another example from BoredPanda:

Put Power Words in Your Headline - BoredPanda

People generally love anything adorable, so this headline will easily catch attention. (The fact that it refers to snakes will only make people more curious.) The headline then drives it home by using the powerful verb “Conquer”.

Here’s one more from BrightSide:

Power Words in Your Headlines - BrightSide

While one or two power words are often enough, this headline proves you can use more when it fits. This headline has four powerful words, but they feel natural in the headline, which keeps it from feeling like over-the-top clickbait.

#2. Using Power Words in Subheads

Once people click on your headline, most will scan the post first to see if it looks worthy of their attention. Adding some power words to your subheads is a good way to make your post look like an interesting read.

For example, here are three subheads from our post on Ebook mistakes:

Use Power Words in Subheads

See how the power words in these subheads catch attention and make you want to read the text that follows?

#3. Using Power Words in Email Subject Lines

Having an email list is of little use if only few on your list open your emails.

And these days, most people’s inboxes are flooded, so they’re selective in which emails they open.

You can stand out in their inbox and raise your open rates by including power words in your subject lines.

Just look at this one from Ramit Sethi:

Use Power Words in Email Subject Lines - Ramit Sethi

If this subject line would’ve read “The rules of learning”, do you think it would be as appealing? The word “unspoken” is what makes it interesting.

Here’s another one from Cal Fussman:

Use Power Words in Email Subject Lines - Cal Fussman

Both “Triumph” and “Tragedy” are powerful words full of emotion.

And finally, here’s a good example from AppSumo:

Use Power Words in Email Subject Lines - Appsumo

The phrase “Unleash the power” makes you feel this email is hiding something incredibly powerful inside.

See how that works?

When you send out emails to your list, try and add a power word to your subject line to make it stand out in people’s inbox.

#4. Using Power Words in Opt-In Boxes

As a blogger, one of your main goals is to grow a large and engaged readership, and the best way to do so is through converting readers into subscribers.

That means you should have opt-in forms scattered across your website. You can place them on your homepage, at the end of your posts, in your sidebar, in a popup, or anywhere else.

But no matter where you place them, your opt-in boxes must catch people’s eye and make them want to share their email address with you. Because they won’t just give it away to everyone. (Remember, their inboxes are already flooded, so they’re not necessarily eager to get even more emails.)

Fortunately, you can use power words to make your offer more enticing.

Here’s an old popup from Cosmopolitan which is an excellent example:

Use Power Words in Opt-In Boxes - Cosmopolitan

This popup had power words everywhere, but it avoids feeling like overkill. I bet it converted like crazy.

Here’s a slightly more subtle example from Betty Means Business:

Use Power Words in Opt-In Boxes - Betty Means Business

It’s more subtle, but still quite effective.

Again, you don’t have to overdo it with the power words on these. A little can go a long way.

Here’s one final example from Renegade Planner:

Use Power Words in Pop-Up - Renegade Planner

Are you using power words in your opt-in boxes yet? If not, you should add some right away.

#5. Using Power Words on Your Home Page

Your home page is the face of your website and it’s usually one of the most visited pages. Many people who enter your website, will see this page first, and you want it to make a good first impression.

Some people use their home page to promote their email list, others use it to promote one of their products, and others use it as red carpet, welcoming new visitors and explaining what their site is all about.

In any case, your home page is a good spot to add a few power words, as it can determine whether people stay (and take the action you want them to take) or leave.

Look at this value proposition on the home page for Nerd Fitness:

Use Power Words on Your Home Page - Nerd Fitness

“Nerds”, “Misfits” and “Mutants” are unusual power words that work well for the audience Nerd Fitness is targeting. These words immediately separate his blog from all the other fitness blogs out there.

But they push it even further with “Strong”, “Healthy” and “Permanently”.

Here’s another value proposition from MainStreetHost’s home page:

Use Power Words on Your Home Page - MainStreetHost

It’s quite minimal, isn’t it? They just wrote down three power words and follow it up with a service they provide.

Of course, you don’t have to limit your use of power words to the top of your homepage. You can use it in other parts of the home page too, as Ramit Sethi does here in his list of what you’ll get when you sign up for his email list.

Use Power Words on Your Home Page - Ramit Sethi

Go look at your homepage now and see if you can find any areas you can spruce up with some power words.

#6. Using Power Words in Business Names/Blog Names

Your blog or business name should have an impact on people. Having a forgettable domain name is poison to your blog growth. You want a name that people can easily recall when they want to visit your site.

If you haven’t chosen your blog name yet (or if you’re thinking about rebranding),  you might use a power word to give it some punch. It’ll make you stand out from all the boring, forgettable brands.

Just take a look at the collection of blog names below and see how well they’ve incorporated power words:

Use Power Words in Business and Blog Names

#7. Using Power Words in Product Names

Just like you can use power words to spruce up your blog name, you can also use them to make your product names pack more of a punch.

It can make the difference between your potential customers thinking, “Ooh, this product sounds cool!” and them thinking, “Meh.”

Just check out this subscription product from Nerd Fitness:

Use Power Words in Product Names - Nerd Fitness

It has such a powerful name that you’d almost want to sign up without learning anything else. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a community of rising heroes?

Here’s another good example from Pat Flynn:

Use Power Words in Product Names - Pat Flynn Podcast

It’s a powerful name for his podcasting course that instantly informs you of the benefit.

So if you’re about to launch a product (or if you’ve launched a product with a tepid name), consider giving it a power word to make it pack a punch.

#8. Using Power Word on Sales Pages

You can also use power words to spruce up your sales pages and make them more effective at selling your products or services.

They will grab people’s attention when they arrive on the page, they will keep their attention as they scroll down, and they’ll help seduce readers before they reach your “buy” button.

Just look at this headline on Ramit Sethi’s sales page for his product 50 Proven Email Scripts (which also has a power word in its name):

Use Power Word on Sales Pages - Ramit Sethi

And as you scroll down, you see he keeps using power words throughout his sales page.

His headline is follow by subheads such as these:

Use Power Word on Sales Page Subheads - Ramit Sethi

And he even uses power words his guarantee:

Use Power Word on Sales Page Guarantees - Ramit Sethi

#9. Using Power Word in Testimonials

Power words are also tremendously effective in testimonials.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you change people’s testimonials to include power words. But you can certainly select  the ones that already use them to great effect.

Just look at this example from Betty Means Business:

Use Power Word in Testimonials - Betty Means Business

Or look at this one from Farideh’s blog:

Use Power Word in Testimonials - Farideh

And here’s another example from Renegade Planner:

Use Power Word in Testimonials - Renegade Planner

All these testimonials will lend extra credibility and excitement due to their power words and phrases.

#10. Using Power Words in Bullet Lists

Many sales pages include a list of benefits of the product that they’re selling. Many opt-in forms include a list of reasons you should sign up to their email list.

You can use power words in these lists to inspire more excitement in your reader as they read through it.

Here’s one example from Ramit Sethi’s sales page for his How to Talk to Anyone course:

Use Power Words in Bullet Lists - Ramit Sethi

And here’s another example from an opt-in form on Restart Your Style:

Use Power Words in Bullet Lists - Restart Your Style

Without these power words, these list wouldn’t convince nearly as many readers to buy or subscribe.

#11. Using Power Words in Button Copy

Yep, you can use power words in your button copy too, even if you only have a few words you can fit in there.

One of the most common power words used in buttons is “Free”, as in the example below:

But you can be more creative with buttons than you might think.

Takes this button from the sales page for the book The Renegade Diet:

Use Power Words in Button Copy

“Immediate”, “Money Back” and “Guarantee” are all incredibly powerful words, and the author manages to squeeze them all into one button.

Use Power Words in Button Copy - The Renegade Diet

And take this example from Tim Ferris’ popup:

Use Power Words in Button Copy - Tim Ferris

He could’ve used “Send Me the List” as most people would do, but “Unlock” makes it sound a lot more intriguing, like you’re getting access to something that’s been kept hidden away.

Now take a look at the buttons on your site. Do you see any opportunities to spruce them up with a power word?

#12. Using Power Words in Author Bios

Your author bio is another extremely important part of your marketing.

When you guest post for another blog, your author bio has the difficult job of making readers want to know more about you so they click through to your site.

That means your author bio needs to spark attention and interest. And you usually only get three sentences, so you need to carefully consider the words you use.

See this author bio from Henneke Duistermaat:

Using Power Words in Author Bios - Henneke Duistermaat

Henneke’s author bio is full of power words. It shows her uniqueness and makes her stand out from other copywriters.

You can tell she has carefully picked each word for maximum impact.

Here’s another examples from Sarah Peterson:

Using Power Words in Author Bios - Sarah Peterson

She opens strong immediately by mentioning her guides are insanely useful. And just the name of her report alone is full of power words: “Free”, “Reveal” and “Begging”.

Makes you want to get your hands on that report, doesn’t it?

#13. Using Power Words on Youtube Videos

If you’re publishing videos on youtube and you want to get more views, you should use power words in your titles as well.

All the biggest youtube channels do this. They understand that most of their views will come from their subscribers finding them in their feed, and from people finding them in the sidebar of other videos.

In both cases though, you’re competing with many other videos for their attention.

See how Philip DeFranco does it below:

Use Power Words on Youtube Videos - Philip DeFranco

“Disgusting”, “Punishment” and “Controversy” are all attention-grabbing words (and that’s besides the attention-grabbing names of Brock Turner, Star Wars and Kim Kardashian).

Note also how he has capitalized “Disgusting”. It’s another smart trick many youtube channels use to stand out more in youtube’s lists of video suggestions.

Style vlogger Aaron Marino often does it as well:

Use Power Words on Youtube Videos - Aaron Marino

By capitalizing the power words “Don’ts” and “Stupid”, his title catches a lot more attention (as you can see for yourself by the millions of views).

#14. Using Power Words in Book Titles

If you’re interested in writing your own book, adding power words to your titles will help it sell better. With all the competition in the book market these days, you need a title that grabs people’s attention and makes them want to peek inside.

Here are a few quick grabs from Amazon’s list of bestsellers in the self-help niche:

Use Power Words in Book Titles - Stephen Covey

I’m sure you’ve seen this title before. You might say Stephen Covey’s use of power words in his title has been highly effective. (See what I did there?)

Use Power Words in Book Titles - Mark Manson

Mark Manson’s bestselling title is packed with power. The power word “Subtle” juxtaposes well with the F-bomb in the title, and his use of “Counterintuitive” will spark some interest as well.

Use Power Words in Book Titles - Jen Sincero

Lastly, Jen Sincero’s encouraging book title makes you want to flip it open right away and read it in one go. The use of “Badass” alone will make it stand out in the self-development section, but her use of “Greatness” and “Awesome” in the subtitle truly seals the deal.
 

Go Ahead and Tell Me. What Words Did I Miss?


Yes, this is an enormous list, but so many power words are available, nobody can possibly catch them all on the first pass. What are some other words that seem to have that extra little spark of emotion inside them?

Leave your answer in the comments, and as time goes by, I’ll come back periodically and update the list. Eventually, I hope to have over 1,000 words here, separated and organized by category, making this the definitive resource for power words on the web.

Thanks in advance for commenting and sharing the post with your friends!

About the Author: Jon Morrow has asked repeatedly to be called “His Royal Awesomeness” but no one listens to him. So, he settles for CEO of Smart Blogger. Poor man. 🙂

The post 595 Power Words That’ll Instantly Make You a Better Writer appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/power-words/

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Kindle Publishing for Beginners: How to Make Your First $1,000 on Amazon

What if I said you could have your book up on Amazon and making money within 72 hours?

(Assuming you’ve already written the book, of course.)

Sounds a whole lot better than waiting months or even years to find an agent, get a book deal, and go to all the rigmarole of working with a publisher, right?

Amazon also lets you keep more of the money. A lot more.

The only problem?

It’s hard to figure out how to get started. That’s why I created this comprehensive, step-by-step guide to Kindle publishing, jam-packed with little nuggets of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way.

Let’s jump in…

You Don’t Need a Platform to Publish Your Book on Kindle

I only had 250 subscribers when I launched my first book. And even though I took a relatively passive role in promoting the book — I did a few promotions during launch to give me an early bump and then mostly counted on Amazon’s algorithm to drive sales — it earned its first $1,000 within five months.

That’s not a result worth bragging about, but it was enough to inspire me to write a second book and do much better. That meant I had to take a more active approach.

So I was much more strategic, grew my audience larger, and promoted the book a lot more. And this time around, I got to $1,000 within the first month.

Even better: The book went on to make over $10K in its first year, which was a big improvement from the first book, which made $2K in that same time span.

The lesson?

You can make money writing even if you have a tiny list, and even if you take a somewhat passive role in promotion. But the more active you are, the more money you’ll make.

So in this post, I’ll share the step-by-step strategy I used to publish and promote my second book. You’ll have to decide for yourself how much of it you’ll follow and how active a role you want to take.

Ready to dig in?

Note: This post won’t cover how to write a book. Instead, it focuses on the marketing strategies that will help you sell you book. If you want to know more about the step-by-step book-writing process, check out these resources.

Before You Write Your Book — Validate Your Profitable Book Idea

Some book ideas are destined to fail before a single word is penned or typed, which is why you should validate your book idea first.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run across authors who write books about obscure topics for tiny audiences and are genuinely surprised when their sales are low.

Don’t be like those authors.

With the right research techniques, you can find a book idea that readers love and that you enjoy writing about.

Here’s how you do it.

Step #1: Take an Inventory of Your Interests


Personally, I already knew the book I wanted to write would be about self-reinvention. It was the idea that had been nagging at me for a while. So all I needed to do was validate whether it had selling potential.

But if you don’t have a concrete idea in mind yet, you can use the follow exercise to generate ideas. (If you do have an idea already, you can skip to Step 2.)

Grab a pen and paper and answer the following questions:

  • What do you find easy that others find difficult?
  • If you could only choose one section in a bookstore to read, which section would you choose?
  • What seems obvious to you that isn’t apparent to others?
  • What topic gets you talking to the point you won’t shut up about it?
  • What do friends and family tell you you’re good at?
  • What compliments have you received from strangers?
  • What types of articles do you read online?

Once you complete your inventory, review it to look for patterns. Maybe you’re a great communicator, have excellent financial habits, or have a knack for motivating others. The traits, knowledge, and skills you possess can translate into topics for books.

Review the list and use your answers to come up with a few book ideas. You’ll use these for the next step.

Step #2: Spy on Your Competition


Like I said, I already had an idea for my book in mind, but I still needed to know whether it had selling potential. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time writing a book that nobody (besides my most devoted subscribers) would buy.

So, before I started writing, I validated my idea by researching the competition.

You can do that yourself by going to Amazon and answering these questions:

  • Are there similar books? If you can’t find a book similar to yours in the marketplace it means you don’t have a good idea, because no one is that original.
  • Can you compete? Checking the competitive landscape gives you an idea of how well your book can sell.
  • Are there enough buyers? You want to make sure enough people want the type of book you plan on writing to make it worth your time.

You can find the answers to these questions in three steps:

A: Find Your Category on Amazon

First, you’ll need to find a suitable category for your book on Amazon.

Here’s how:

#1. Go to amazon.com and navigate to Departments > Kindle E-Readers & Books > Kindle Books.

Find a suitable category for your ebook

#2. Click Best Sellers & More in the left-hand menu:

Select from best selling eBooks

#3. Scroll down until you see the menu below and click Kindle Best Sellers.

Kindle Best Selling eBooks

#4. Select Kindle eBooks from the left-hand menu.

Kindle eBooks

#5. Pick a category and subcategory that fit closest to your book idea(s).

For my book on self-reinvention, I chose the category Self-Help and subcategory Personal Transformation.  

Click eBook category or subcategory

Once you’ve picked a subcategory, you can check to see whether you can spot books in the top 20 with similar topics.

B: Check Your Category’s Top 20 Books for Similar Topics

The premise for my book was self-reinvention. I didn’t need to find a book with the exact word “reinvention,” but I looked for books with similar themes like behavior change, personality change, and life change.

I found some books that were similar to mine (#3 and #5 below explicitly state they’re about change, while #4 is a book about improving your life in general).

Find best selling eBooks that match your idea

At the end of this step, you’ve answered the first question. You’ll know whether there are similar books to your idea.

If there are, that’s good news! You can proceed to the next step which will answer the other two questions — can you compete, and are there enough buyers?

C: Check the Best Seller Rank of the Top Books in Your Category

If you want to know whether you can compete in a category and whether there are enough buyers, you need to know how well the books in your category sell.

You won’t find any actual sales numbers on Amazon, but through their Best Seller rank, you can get a decent estimate.

You can find a book’s Best Seller rank by scrolling down its product page. The rank will be listed under Product Details.

Find eBook Amazon best seller rank

The higher the rank (with #1 being the highest), the more copies it sells — but also, the harder it will be to beat. You have to look for categories where the average bestseller rank is neither too low nor too high.

Here’s how it generally breaks down:

  • Rankings above 1,000 will have great sales numbers but are very competitive.
  • Rankings from 1,000 to 30,000 are less competitive, but will still have decent sales numbers.
  • Rankings of 30,000 and lower are the least competitive, but will also have lower sales numbers.

As you can see, the sweet spot is in the middle. You don’t want a category that’s too competitive, nor do you want a category with low sales numbers.

Aim for categories where you think you can crack the top three books. If you follow the strategies laid out in this post, you should be able to reach the top three in categories with medium competition.  

If you can get your book featured in the top three when you launch, you skyrocket the chance of your book being featured highly in the Hot New Releases list.

And if you appear high enough in that list, your book will get a lot of exposure. Amazon will feature your book in a highlighted section above other books that are similar to yours, like this:

Amazon new releases feature spot

Also, people browse for books by categories, but they tend to skim through the category pages. The higher you are in a category, the higher the chance that someone will click through to buy your book.

So picking the right category is crucial. If you don’t think you can crack the top three books in your initial category, you might see if you could feature your book in an alternative category where the competition is less heavy.

Note: You never want to skip this step, even if you do have a book idea in mind that’s been nagging at you to write. If my self-reinvention idea had failed this test, I wouldn’t have written it. Instead, I would’ve gone back to Step 1 to come up with new ideas.

Step# 3: Brainstorm a Whole Bunch of Titles


Now you’ve ensured your book idea has selling potential, so you’re about ready to start writing. But before you do, you should give your book a title.

What you have to know about book titles before you write yours is that they have two components: The main title and the subtitle.

When you’re brainstorming your main title, here’s what you want to keep in mind:

  1. It should be punchy and memorable.
  2. It should hint at the book’s topic.
  3. It should resonate with your audience.

When brainstorming your subtitle, you want it to clarify how your book helps your readers. Ask yourself:

  1. Which of my reader’s pain points will my book solve?
  2. What positive outcomes will the book provide?
  3. What kind of person will the reader be after reading your book? How will their life change?

For my book, I brainstormed 50 different main titles and 25 subtitles. They weren’t all fantastic, but that’s the point. When brainstorming titles, you just write down whatever comes to mind. Then you cross out the options that you don’t like, or that you like less, until you only have your favorites left.

To give you a glimpse of some ideas I had, here were some contenders for my main title:

  • You 2.0
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Starting Over
  • The Power of Reinvention

And these were some favorites for my subtitle:

  • Unlock the Secrets that Keep You Stuck and Reprogram Your Mind for Success
  • Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You
  • Redesign Your Life, Find Your Mental Blind Spots, and Master the Art of Personal Transformation

The final title became: You 2.0: Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You — Master the Art of Personal Transformation.

What’s your title going to be?

Once you decide, you know exactly what book you’re going to write. And having taken all the right steps, you can feel confident it will sell when you’re done.

Note: If you already have an email list, I suggest you poll your readers on which are their favorite titles and subtitles. If you don’t have an email list, you can still use a polling site like Pickfu.

While Writing Your Book — Gather a Mob of Potential Book Buyers

If you’re self-publishing books, you need an audience of potential book buyers. This will give you two critical advantages:

  1. You get an early boost in sales, and having a positive sales record encourages Amazon’s algorithm to promote your book for you.
  2. You can leverage your audience for reviews, which Amazon also uses as a ranking factor, and they’ll also help other people make the decision to buy.

If you don’t have anybody buying your book or leaving reviews as soon as you publish, the chances of it taking off are slim to none.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, that doesn’t mean you need 10,000 subscribers. But the more you have, the better.

My second book made more money than my first in large part because I took the time to gather new subscribers as I was writing it.

Here’s what I did to grow my audience larger for my second book:

Note: If you already have an established audience of at least 1,000 subscribers, or if you feel you already know enough about how to build your email list, you might consider skipping to the next section. If you’re interested in my exact strategies, though, keep reading.

Step #1: Create an Alluring Incentive For People to Join Your List


People rarely part with their email addresses for nothing in return, so you need to offer them an incentive to join your email list.

To be honest, I cheated a bit here, because I offered something that I already had available. I offered my first book The Destiny Formula.

Ideally, you want to offer an incentive that’s a perfect complement to the book you’re writing.

For example, if you were writing a book about the Paleo diet, you might offer one of these incentives:

  • 5 Delicious Paleo Recipes You Can Make in 15 Minutes or Less
  • 7-Day Paleo Quick-Start Email Course
  • The Ultimate Paleo Snack List (Includes 250 Different Snacks)

Doing this ensures you build an audience that’s interested in your book’s topic.

My first book did have some audience overlap with my second, though, so it worked out in the end. And I did change my incentive when we got closer to my book launch. (We’ll get to that later.)

But if I had to start the launch over today, I’d have created something more relevant to self-reinvention from the start. It might’ve boosted sales even more.

Step #2: Set Up a Landing Page for Collecting Email Addresses


If you want to build your email list, you need two things: an email marketing platform to store your list and a landing page where people can sign up to your list.

Now, you have a number of choices when it comes to email marketing platforms, but these are three popular ones:

Personally, I opted for ConvertKit because they built it specifically for professional bloggers. It comes with easy segmentation features that let you promote your book in a more targeted way. I highly recommend it, but any of these platforms will work.

Once you’ve set up your email marketing platform, you can create a landing page to capture people’s email addresses.

I used Leadpages to do so, which makes it simple to create landing pages. It comes with ready-made templates that you can modify with its drag-and-drop builder.

Leadpages ready-made templates

You can choose one of their templates and customize it to your wishes.

Here’s a screenshot of the landing page I created:

Leadpages landing page example

Once you have everything in place, all you need to do is send traffic to your landing page.

Step #3: Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page


My personal goal was to hit 3,000 subscribers before I published my book. My main strategy for reaching that number was publishing articles on Medium, each with a link back to my landing page.

Pro tip: You can repurpose some of your book chapters as posts. Just be careful not to give your entire book away, or future buyers will feel cheated. You’ll want at least 50% of your book to be exclusive.)

Every article I published on Medium would include this offer at the end:

Use Medium to drive traffic to your landing page

But I didn’t stop there. I also guest posted on Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Thought Catalog, The Pursuit and more.

While I got most of my traffic from Medium, publishing on these sites still grew my subscriber base by a significant chunk.

Between publishing on Medium and guest posting on these sites, I reached my goal of 3,000 subscribers within six months.

You don’t need to hit that same number of subscribers, but I do recommend you build your list to at least 1,000 before launching your book.

Publish new articles on a steady schedule and keep your new subscribers engaged while you finish writing your book. Once you do, you’re ready to jump into the next stage.

After Writing Your Book — Package Your Book Like a Best Seller

You can write the most amazing book on earth, but if you don’t package it in an appealing way, few people will read it.

After all, the prestigious title is best-selling author, not best-writing author.

In this section, we’ll cover three important steps to packaging your book:

  • The cover design
  • The formatting
  • The book description

Ready to go?

Step #1: Get a Cover That Grabs Attention


I cannot stress the importance of this step enough. You need a good cover for your book, or it won’t sell.

The cover gives potential buyers their first impression of your book. If it looks cheap and sloppy, they’ll assume it’s not worth their money.

A good book cover has, at the very least, the following characteristics:

  1. A clear, legible title. Most of your potential buyers will see your cover as a thumbnail first, so your title should be easy to read when shrunken to that size. Avoid small, hard-to-read letters and scribbly fonts.
  2. A design that stands out. Whether it stands out through a bold color or an interesting graphic, you want your cover to catch the eye.

Now, if you’re tempted to design your own cover, I have one word of advice: Don’t.

Unless you’re a professional cover designer, you’re better off handing this responsibility over to someone else. This is not something you want to pinch pennies on.

Personally, I hired Happy Self Publishing to create my cover. They kept coming up in communities of writers over time, so I gave them a try. I was not disappointed. They struck a good balance of professionalism, quality, and price.

Note: If you’re on a super-tight budget, you might also try Fiverr. In that case, you have to know what you’re looking for. You have to check the designers’ samples and make sure their covers look professional. You’ll likely get better quality covers elsewhere, though.

When I hired Happy Self-Publishing, they asked if I had ideas for my cover and sent me a questionnaire to gather my book information (title, subtitle, description, etc.) and my preferences for the cover design (preferred colors, fonts, etc.).

They gave me questions like this:

Hire a professional eBook cover designer

I filled out the questionnaire, gave the designer my directions, and also sent samples of covers I liked to give him an even better picture of my tastes.

Within days, he came back with several mock-ups.

We went through several rounds where I told him what I liked and disliked, and he’d send me new mock-ups based on my (and my audience’s) feedback, until we finally settled on my final cover.

Here’s how my cover evolved over time:

Professional eBook cover designer mockup examples

Step #2: Make Your Book Look Pretty Inside


In addition to your cover, you also need to make the inside of your book look good. If all the text is mushed together, it’s full of syntax errors, or it’s written in a terrible font, people won’t want to read your book.

To prevent this, you need to format your book — specifically, you need to format and save your book in a Kindle-friendly file-type like .mobi or .epub.

Now, you can do this yourself, or you can hire a professional to do it for you.

I formatted my book myself using an easy-to-use piece of software called Vellum, which uses a simple WYSIWYG editor (“What You See Is What You Get” — the same editor in Microsoft Word and WordPress). You can just copy and paste your chapters into it, change the formatting however you like, and export.

The only problem? Vellum is only available on Mac.

If you’re on a PC, you have alternative options like Reedsy and Book Design Templates.

A do-it-yourself approach will save you some money, but if you feel you’re not very tech-savvy and want to make sure the book is formatted properly, hire someone. Happy Self-Publishing, the company I used for my cover, also provides an affordable formatting service, or you can find hundreds of freelancers on Upwork who can do it for you.

When the formatting is done, though, don’t forget to proofread the book with a Kindle or the Kindle app. Make sure there are no formatting bugs that need to be fixed.

After that, you’re done with this step.

Step #3: Write a Description That Sells Your Book for You


When your cover lures people to your Amazon sales page, the next thing they’ll do is read your book description. They’ll want to know exactly what your book is about and how it’ll benefit them.

If your description has weak writing, it won’t be compelling enough for them to click the buy button, so they’ll click the back button instead.

Now, the key thing to understand when writing your book description is that you should not treat it as a summary of your book. Rather, you should treat it as a sales letter. It shouldn’t just inform potential buyers of the contents of your book, it should persuade them to buy.

Here’s mine, for example:

How to write an eBook description

See how I focus the description on benefits to the reader? See how I use the bullet points to foster curiosity rather than give away the main points of the book? These are basic sales letter techniques you should use in your description.

Imagine if the second bullet had read, “Goal setting doesn’t work because [reason].”

Giving the reason away would defeat the need for the reader to purchase the book. Instead, I trigger curiosity by leaving it open.

If you want to learn more about writing persuasive descriptions, the following resources helped me a lot while writing mine:

Before Launching Your Book — Create a Rock-Solid Launch Plan

Your launch makes or breaks the success of your book.

You shouldn’t wait until the week of your launch before you start planning it. Instead, you want to have a plan in place and have your marketing materials prepared well before you hit publish.

Here are a few things you should do to prepare for the launch of my book.

Step #1: Create Your “Street Team”


Before your launch, you should assemble a so-called “street team” to help write reviews for your book and help promote it during launch week.

I reached out to people in my network — fellow authors and bloggers I’d met over the years — and asked them to join.

If you don’t have a well-established network, you can leverage your email list, like Kevin Kruse (a New York Times bestselling author) explains in this video:

When you reach out to people in your network, explain what’s expected of them as your street team members:

  • Explain they are to read an advanced reader copy of the book and prepare a review to post at the beginning of the launch.
  • Encourage them to share the book on social media or with their email lists. Explain this is optional, but you’d be very grateful.

For the number of reviews you want, double that number of people on your street team, because chances are only half of them will actually review your book. At minimum, aim for 25 reviews, so 50 people for your launch team.

Step #2: Start Teasing Your Book to Your List


Once you’ve written your book and you can see your launch on the horizon, you want to gently tease your subscribers so they know it’s coming. You need to build anticipation.

Up to this point, I had been keeping my list engaged by sending Monday Motivation emails every week, as well as an update every time I published a new blog post.

As I was preparing for launch, I added teasers at the end of my emails, like this:

Example:

P.S. I’m finished with my new book, You 2.0.: Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You.

It details everything I’ve learned in the process of transforming my life from broke, addicted, and depressed to finding my passion, tripling my income, and succeeding. I’m really excited about it. Stay tuned.

You don’t have to sell it hard at this point. Just make them aware the book is coming.

Step #3: Map Out Your Launch Plan and Prepare Promotional Materials


You should never be winging it when you launch a book. If you’re smart, you’ll plan every single step you’ll take leading up to the launch, as well as afterwards.

You need to create a schedule so you know exactly which promotion happens when, and what actions you should take each day. (I’ll share my own promotion timeline in the next section, which you can emulate.)

Once you have planned everything, the next step is to prepare everything.

In the weeks leading up to my launch, I prepared:

  • The email sequence promoting the book to my subscribers
  • The emails I’d send to my street team
  • 30 days’ worth of promotional articles that I’d publish on Medium
  • Social media posts to promote the book

For the promotional articles, I also prepared a few new incentives more geared toward promoting the book than my original one:

Prepare promotional eBook incentives

When you don’t prepare for your launch beforehand, you will feel frazzled and frustrated throughout the launch. You’ll be scrambling to promote the book instead of having a strategy that makes you feel confident the book will sell.

Plan ahead, and you’ll launch with a bang.

Launching Your Book — Follow This Timeline for an Early Boost in Sales

You may think your book launch happens when you publish your book on Amazon and put it up for sale.

And you’re not wrong. Technically, that is when you officially launch your book. But the launch process is a bit more involved than just clicking a publish button, and it starts much earlier than your official launch.

It starts from your first big promotion, as that’s when you start selling your book.

Below, you’ll find the timeline I used when launching my book. Feel free to emulate it.

Step #1: Send “Free Sample” Emails (Launch Minus 4 Weeks)


Four weeks ahead of your official launch, you want to send your subscribers free samples. Send them one free sample each week.

This will give them a taste of what’s inside.

I sent my own subscribers the introduction to my book, Chapter One and Chapter Two.

Of course, you don’t have to use your first chapters. You can choose to share any chapter you wish. Share the ones you think will make your readers hungry for more.

Here’s an example of one of my “Free Sample” emails:

Hey friend,

The launch date for my new book, You 2.0: Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You, is just around the corner.

I put my heart and soul into writing this book and I wanted to share some of it with you today because I’m confident reading some of it will inspire you to want to read the whole thing to transform your life.

As follows is the introduction to the book:

[Book Intro Goes Here]

In the next week or so, I’ll share even more sections of the book. Why? Because my primary goal is to get you to read the book and use it to change your life. That matters to me more than money.

Keep an eye on your inbox 😉

Step #2: Publish Your Book on Amazon (Launch Minus 1 Week)


You should never wait until your official launch date to publish your book on Amazon. You should publish it one week in advance.

This way, you can ask your street team for early reviews.

These early reviews are important, as you’ll need to have at least 10 reviews if you want to use book promotion sites during launch week. (And you do, as they can give you a huge surge in early sales. We’ll get to them later.)

To publish your book on Amazon, you need to create an account on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.

Then follow these steps to publish your book:

#1. Go to “Create a New Title” and click “+ Kindle eBook”.

Publish your Kindle eBook on Amazon

#2. Enter all necessary book information (language, title, subtitle, etc.).

Kindle eBook details for publication

#3. Enter your book description. (You can use HTML tags to change the way the content appears on your book page.)

Kindle eBook description for Amazon detail page

#4. Choose keywords.

Enter Kindle eBook keyword phrases

Amazon allows you to use up to seven keywords to help readers find your books. You want to match your keywords with the terms readers will type into the search box.

To find good keywords, you can:

Here are the keyword I chose for my book:

Select Kindle eBook categories to publish your book

#5. Choose your categories.

Initially, you’re only allowed to choose two category/subcategory combinations from the list Amazon provides, but strangely, their list doesn’t include all their categories. You’ll find a lot of the more niche categories are missing. (You’ll have a hard time trying to crack the top three in most of the broader categories.)

For now though, just pick two categories/subcategories that your book fits into:

Choose up to two Kindle eBook categories to publish your book
Choose up to two Kindle eBook categories to publish your book

After you publish your book, browse books that are similar to yours and see which categories they are in. Then contact Amazon and request to have your book added to them.

In fact, if you’re smart, you can follow this process to be added to TEN categories, rather than just two.

Here’s a video from Kindlepreneur’s Dave Chesson that explains how to approach this:

#6. Upload your cover and manuscript files.

Upload Kindle eBook cover files
Upload Kindle eBook manuscript files

#7. Enter pricing information.

Enter Kindle eBook pricing

How should you price your book?

Before we get into that, you need to understand Amazon’s pricing and royalty model:

  • For Kindle books priced from $0.99 to $2.98, you receive a 35% royalty on each sale.
  • For Kindle books priced from $2.99 to $9.99, you receive a 70% royalty on each sale.
  • For Kindle books priced above $9.99, you receive a 35% royalty on each sale.

Now, you might think that pricing your book somewhere between $2.99 and $9.99 is the obvious way to go, as that will get you the most royalties.

But for starters, I priced my book at $0.99 and I suggest you do the same.

That would earn you $0.35 per sale, which doesn’t seem like a lot … because it isn’t. The point of this isn’t to make a lot of money early, but to get a lot of sales early.

Amazon doesn’t look at the price of your book to determine how well it’s selling. It looks at the number of copies sold. If you can sell a ton of 99-cent copies in the beginning, you’ll benefit from some algorithmic momentum even after you raise the price.

When you price the book at $0.99, you can use promotional sites to get your book in front of massive audiences during launch, and you give your subscribers an incentive to purchase early (before you raise the price).

#8. Scroll down and click Publish Your Kindle eBook.

Publish your Kindle eBook on Amazon

Once you’ve clicked to publish your book, it will appear on Amazon in 24 to 48 hours.

Step #3: Ask Your Street Team for Reviews (Launch Minus 6 Days)


The moment your book goes live, you should send an email to your street team asking them to leave their reviews.

And this is important: You should ask them to download the book from Amazon first, and then write their reviews. If they don’t do it in this order, their reviews won’t be verified. They will still show up, but Amazon won’t give them as much weight.

If you’d rather not ask them to pay $0.99 in order to leave a review, you can enroll in KDP Select and  run a free promotion for 72 hours. That way, they can “purchase” the book for free, and Amazon should still mark their reviews as verified.

Step #4: Schedule Promotions (Launch Minus 5 Days)


I mentioned book promotion sites earlier. So what are they, exactly?

Basically, they’re sites that promote books while they’re free or priced at $0.99. These sites have massive lists of subscribers who love reading books, and they’ll all receive an email that links to your book.

These readers can give you a gigantic boost in early sales.

Here are the sites I used myself, along with the cost to use each:

  • Buck Books — $29
  • Books Butterfly — $40
  • Robin Reads — $55
  • James Mayfield — $10
  • Fussy Librarian — $30

I found these sites from a list compiled by Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur.

Now, considering you’ll only make $0.35 per sale, you won’t make much profit from the use of these promotional sites. You might even lose some money. So why use them at all?

Because you want to create a track record of sales success.

Amazon will promote your book for you if it sees you have sales of your own. When authors make money, Amazon makes money, but like any good business, it won’t recommend products without profit potential.

You don’t have to use five services, like I did. But use at least three.

Step #5: Launch Your Book With a Bang


Alright, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to officially launch your book to the public.

During launch week, you should promote your book hard. Hopefully, you’ve done the work to prepare yourself so you’re not overwhelmed.

You should promote your book by:

  1. Sending a sales sequence to your email list. (Examples of each email will be given below.)
  2. Asking your street team to help promote the book on social media and/or to their email lists.
  3. Running book promotions you’ve set up. (You should have already scheduled these, as instructed in the previous step.)
  4. Promoting the book on social media. (I recommend using Buffer to schedule multiple social media posts per day.)
  5. Publishing content from your content marketing campaign.

Here’s how I scheduled these activities during launch week:

Day 1:

  • Send an announcement email (See example #1 below).
  • Ask your street team to promote your book on social media (or their email lists).
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 2:

  • Send a soft-sell email. (See example #2 below.)
  • Run 10 social media posts.

Day 3:

  • Run your first book marketing promotion (Buck Books).
  • Run 10 social media posts.
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 4:

  • Send another soft-sell email to your list.
  • Send a reminder email to your street team for social media/email list promotion.
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 5:

  • Run your second book marketing promotion (James Mayfield & Books Butterfly).
  • Run 10 social media posts.
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 6:

  • Send a hard-sell email to your list. (See example #3 below.)
  • Run 10 social media posts.
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 7:

  • Run your third book marketing promotion (Fussy Librarian & Robin Reads).
  • Send price change email. (See example #4 below.)
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.
  • Run 10 social media posts.

Here are some examples of each email in my sales sequence:

Example #1 — Announcement Email:

Do you wish life came with a “do over” button?

We all make mistakes. Time can pass quickly and we can come to a point where we ask ourselves, “How the hell did I end up here?”

If you’ve ever felt this way, my new book, You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You, might provide the answers you’ve been looking for.

And it’s only 99 cents, a special price I’m revealing to subscribers only for the next 5 days.

I’m setting the price so low because I want you to read the book. At this point, I care about getting the book in as many hands as possible over making money.

Click here to learn more about the book.

Talk soon,

Ayodeji

Example #2 — Soft-Sell Email:

Hey friend,

For the past few weeks, I’ve told you about my new book,You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You, which is available for 99 cents for the next few days.

(To those who have bought already, thank you SO MUCH — the book is now #1 in its category!)

The book tells the story of how I transformed my life and how you can too. It doesn’t tell theories, it shows what I’ve actually done.

See, before I reached my dream of becoming an author, my life was headed in the wrong direction. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol, working a dead-end job, and had no hope in sight.

Then, I decided I didn’t want to live my life that way and went through a ton of trial and error to become who I am today. I’ve more than doubled my income, gotten rid of bad habits, and have done many of the things I used to only dream of doing.

In the book, you’ll learn:

  • How to discover your passions (even if you have no clue what to do with your life)
  • How to get over your past and change your self-image (even if you think it’s set in stone)
  • How to find the motivation to change your circumstances (even if you’ve tried and failed before)

I try my best to share the message without the typical theme of most self-help books that are often judgmental and critical.

See, I don’t think you’re “too lazy to succeed” or “mediocre.” Life sucks sometimes, and we’re all doing what we can to cope with it. I wrote this book to share ideas to inspire you to change, not to shove inspiration down your throat.

So, I’m inviting you to check out the book at the price of 99 cents because I care about the message and want to spread it far and wide.

Click here to learn more about the book.

Talk soon,

Ayodeji

Example #3 — Hard-Sell Email:

Hey friend,

For the past few days I’ve been telling you about my new book, You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You.

Today, I wanted to share a few reasons why I’m promoting the book and why I think you should invest in yourself by purchasing it.

I think you should invest in the book because:

  • At a minimum, you’re throwing 99 cents into the “fountain of karma.” I didn’t find prosperity in my life until I supported other artists and entrepreneurs.
  • Books are a great investment in yourself. Take the years of my trial and error and use it to your advantage.
  • You’re smart. Smart enough to know if I can help and smart enough to know if I’m genuinely interested in improving your life.

Click here to learn more about the book.

That’s it!

Talk soon,

Ayodeji

Example #4 — Price Change Email:

Hey friend,

Today’s the last day you can get my new book, You 2.0, for the low price of 99 cents. After that, the price goes up to $2.99 and it’ll only go higher from there.

Why the low price and continued promotion?

To get the message out there. I’m guessing you’re a part of this community because you’re looking for a change in your life and if I’m able to help you do that, it’s worth all the effort I put into writing the book.

Click here to learn more about the book.

Until next time,

Ayodeji

After Launching Your Book — Keep the Sales Going and Keep the Royalties Coming In

To make money writing, your book can’t be a flash in the pan, which means you have to continue promoting the book to keep the sales rolling in.

Like I mentioned earlier, you want to give the book a good start with a boost of early sales to benefit from Amazon’s algorithms. But you should keep your momentum going longer than the first week. You want to keep sales coming in with some consistency after that.

During the weeks following the launch, you should continue engaging your list and keep spreading the message about your book to new readers.

Here are a few things you should do:

Step #1: Raise Your Price Once Per Week (and Let Your Subscribers Know)


As mentioned earlier, I set the price for my book at $0.99 for the first week. If I kept sales going at this price, my royalties would continue to stay low. So after the first week, I raised the price to $2.99, then to $3.99, and finally to $4.99.

Every time I was about to raise the price, I sent my subscribers a price change email. This not only reminded casual readers to buy the book, but gave them an incentive to do so. If they didn’t get in on the low price that day, they’d miss out forever, and nobody likes missing out on a good deal.

Step #2: Keep Publishing Posts to Get People on Your List


After publishing your book, you should continue publishing articles with links back to your sign-up form. Every new subscriber is a new potential buyer.

Set up a welcoming autoresponder sequence that gives subscribers your incentive and then proceeds to sell your book. You can use the same (or a similar) sales sequence that you used for your launch.

I wrote a total of 30 posts for 30 days on Medium to promote the book, and this added 150 more sales during the first month of my launch.

Tip: You can use Amazon affiliate links to track how many readers from your list actually bought your book from the link you gave them.

Step #3: Create An Amazon Ad Campaign for Sales on AutoPilot


Amazon Marketing Services provides a “pay per click” advertising program for authors. I highly recommend you use it.

My ad campaigns made a significant difference because I could pay for views and I made a profit from buying readers’ attention.

Here’s how you can create your own ads:

#1. Sign up for AMS through your Kindle dashboard by clicking Ad Campaigns in the top menu.

Sign up for Amazon Marketing Services

#2. Click new campaign.

Create Kindle eBook Amazon Marketing Campaign

#3. Choose Sponsored Product Ads.

Choose sponsored product ads for your Kindle eBook

#4. Select the book you wish to advertise.

Select the Kindle eBook you want to advertise

#5. Set your campaign name, budget, and select Manual Targeting.

To start with, $3–$5 per day is good because you can get useful data without breaking the bank. Less than $3 won’t give you enough data, and more than $5 can cause you to lose money if you’re not careful.

Set Kindle eBook campaign budget duration

#6. Scroll down to the Add Keywords section and click Add Your Own Keywords.

Add keyword bids for eBook search campaign

#7. Find relevant keywords.

You’ll need a lot more keywords for your ad campaign than you did earlier when you published your book.

But you can use similar techniques to find them:

  • Type relevant words and phrases into Amazon’s search bar and see which keywords Amazon suggests (as pictured below).
  • Browse best seller categories and use popular book titles/author names as keywords.
  • Use the “customers also bought” section of books from best seller categories to find related book titles/ authors to use as keywords.
  • Download software. Kindle Spy and KDP Rocket are two tools that instantly provide relevant keywords for your book.
How to find keywords for Kindle eBook ad campaign

#8. Set the bid price for your keywords.

how to set bids for eBook ad search campaign

A bid price is the largest amount you’re willing to spend if someone clicks on your ad.

I added 1,000 keywords — the maximum amount allowed per ad — and set the bid at 10 cents. I didn’t want to spend too much money until I knew the type of results I’d get. If the ads worked well, I planned on increasing both my daily budget and keyword bids.

#9. Enter your ad’s marketing message.

Enter eBook ad marketing message

#10. Preview your ad and, if you like what you see, click Submit Campaign for Review.

How to preview Amazon Kindle eBook ads

After 24–48 hours, your ad will be live (if it is approved, of course).

Step #4: Boost Your Winning Ads and Drop Your Losers


After publishing your ad, let it run for two week and analyze the data.

Here’s a screenshot of my ad dashboard:

Amazon Marketplace eBook ad dashboard

The key metrics you want to look at are:

  • Impressions: The number of times people saw your ad.
  • Clicks: The number of people who clicked on your ad.
  • aCPC: The average cost per click on your ad.
  • Spend: Total amount spent.
  • ACOS: Average cost of each sale. If your ACOS is 25%, you spend 25 cents of every dollar you make. If it’s 75%, you spend 75 cents of every dollar you make. If it’s 125%, you spend $1.25, for every dollar you make, which means your ad costs more than it makes.
Important note: You must keep your royalty rate in mind when factoring ACOS and ad spend. For Kindle books, you pay 30% in royalties, which means only 70% of every dollar you make lands in your pocket. That means if your ACOS is 70%, your ad is breaking even.

You can click into the campaign itself to see these same metrics for individual keywords. You can use those metrics to adjust your campaign.

For instance, when you see a specific keyword is costing you more than it earns, you can pause that keyword, and your ad won’t show up again.

How to pause specific keyword eBook ad campaign

Once you see how your keywords are performing, you can expand your campaign reach in the following ways:

  • Increase your bids. Once I saw my campaigns doing well, I increased the bids of keywords to 20 cents, then 30 cents, and eventually went as high as 50 cents per keyword.
  • Add more keywords. The more keywords you have, the more opportunity for new sales. I started an additional campaign with 1,000 more keywords.
  • Increase total spend. If you find your daily budget is being spent quickly, raise it. I raised my spend from $5 to $10 to $15, and then to $20. As long as my ads turn a profit, I will keep investing in them.

The End Result?

So how exactly did my second book do? What are the numbers?

The final tallies for the end of the first month were:

  • 877 ebook copies sold
  • 37 print copies sold
  • $1,237 in sales

The book has been out since April 2017 and has now sold approximately $10,000 in all formats combined (I added a paperback and an audio version, which I highly recommend you do as well).

After the initial launch month, I continued to promote the book through content marketing.

Anyone who subscribes to my email list goes through an email series that includes a few educational emails and a hard-sell email to buy the book. I publish one blog post per week to send new traffic to my email list and promote the book.

I’m continuing to run and scale my ad campaigns. I’ve spent more than $1,500 on ads so far and earned $4,955.50 to date from those ads.

That’s a solid return on my investment, if you ask me.

The first 90 days after launch accounted for a large portion of book sales. After that, sales remained consistent at around $500–$700 per month.

Play the Long Game and Build Your Self-Publishing Enterprise

I’m working on my next book right now.

With an even larger audience than I had when I launched my last book, my goal is to sell at least 10,000 copies of my third book within the first year.

What’s next? I’ll write another book, and another, and another. I’m building a body of work, and with each new book, I’ll continue to build my audience and my income.

When you build a body of work, you reap the benefits of having multiple assets. When a new reader discovers one of your books and likes it, odds are they’ll want to read your other books.

When you have multiple books for sale you can market them in unique ways like creating book bundles and offering deals on each book at different times.

Over time, you’ll improve your writing skills, you’ll grow a fan base which loves your work, and (if you do it right) you’ll make more money with each book you publish.

I love writing. I’d do it (and have done it) for free. But I want to make an impact and an income. Self-publishing provided a route for me to do both.

It can do so for you, too.

About the Author: Ayodeji is an author and writing coach who helps aspiring writers develop the confidence and habits they need to make an impact and and income. Visit his page to get three free writing guides, plus a copy of his bestselling Amazon book.

The post Kindle Publishing for Beginners: How to Make Your First $1,000 on Amazon appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/kindle-publishing/

337 How to Leverage Your Blog for Speaking Opportunities

Do you want to be a paid speaker?

Wondering how you can leverage your blog for speaking opportunities?

In this post, I will give you steps you can take to get paid to talk about what you love.

Listen to the episode

My first “speaking” gig

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had done an interview with Cliff Ravenscraft about how my job landed me my dream job.

First interview with Cliff Ravenscraft

My first interview experience with Cliff Ravenscraft

He was so impressed with my story that he invited me to speak at Blog World.

He was in charge of the podcasting track and wanted me to be a part of a panel discussion.

The topic – How to leverage your podcast to land your dream job.

I was excited – my first speaking opportunity in this industry. And while it wasn’t a solo session, it was a big step.

It sparked a flame inside of me and have lead to ripple effects related to my speaking.

Since then, I’ve had the privilege of speaking to audiences across the U.S. Caribbean and Australia.

Why you should consider public speaking

I know, I know – public speaking can be scary. In fact, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 74% of people suffer from speech anxiety.

public speaking

Face the world of speaking.

Ouch! That’s a whole lot. But here’s why you should consider facing your fear and stepping out into the world of speaking:

  • You can have an impact. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, it’s not all about the money for you. You are blogging because you want to have an impact. This is a great way to get deeper with a smaller audience and have that impact.
  • Increases your credibility. If you’re growing a blog, credibility is a big deal. Speaking helps to increase your credibility.
  • Gets you in front of a very targeted audience. If you do it the right way, you will be speaking at events with your ideal target audience. This has the potential to open up all kinds of opportunities. I’ve landed coaching clients, consulting gigs and even more speaking opportunities by speaking.
  • It expands your network. Speaking at industry events is a great way to connect with people in your industry.
  • Added revenue stream. Yes, you can get paid to speak. It’s a beautiful thing.

How to prepare to be a professional speaker

Ok, so let’s assume that you’re sold on the concept of becoming a professional speaker. How do you get the best bang for your buck?

Let’s talk about what you should do/consider BEFORE diving in.

What do you want to speak on (be known for)?

Know your expertise

What do you want to talk about?

This is an important question to consider. Knowing this will determine everything else you do in your pursuit of a speaking career.

What is your expertise? How do you want to apply that to your industry? Get clear on these things.

How often do you want to speak?

This is something a lot of new speakers never think about. This is a BIG mistake – especially if you have a family.

Traveling takes a toll on you, your business and your family. How much can you sustain? How much is too much?

Make a decision and stick to it. If you’re married, talk this through with your spouse.

Don’t just let things happen. Come up with a goal and a plan. Then work that plan to get to your goal.

Do your research

Research

Do your research.

Who are the speakers in your industry? Do some Google searches to find out.

Where are they speaking? What are they doing online? What are they doing well? What could you do differently?

These are the kinds of questions that will help you figure out how to position yourself.

Create content

Did I really need to mention that? I mean, you’re a blogger. You already know this.

Create content

Create content for your blog and social media

But it’s so important that I have to mention it. Create the kind of content you want to be known for. And do it consistently.

Create that content for your blog and for social media.

I highly recommend that you use video and/or audio. These types of media give you the ability to practice your speaking. Doing this helps you hone your craft.

And of course, if you need help getting going with your blog, check out my Coaching Club.

Start speaking (for free)

Your next goal is to get practice. Start by preparing your talks. You can even start with one talk that focuses on what you want to be known for.

Start speaking for free at local events, classes, wherever you can. Apply to speak at relevant conferences.

You want to focus on improving your speaking skills through practice.

There’s a great course I recommend call Heroic Public Speaking. It will help you improve your speaking skills.

Heroic Public Speaking

Heroic Public Speaking

Join a local Toastmasters. Take a video of yourself speaking and watch it after the fact. Analyse what you do and figure out how you can get better.

Gather your assets

As you start speaking, make sure to gather assets to use in your marketing. Videos, pictures, and testimonials can go a long way in helping you land great speaking gigs.

How to create the perfect speaking page

Ok, you have some speaking gigs under your belt. Now it’s time to create the perfect speaking page. This is what you will use to promote your speaking, so let’s talk about how to do it well.

Understand who you’re targeting

Make sure to connect with the right persons

Make sure to connect with the right persons

In most cases, your goal is to connect with the people who are putting on the events. These may be event organizers, school administrators, church leaders, etc.

You are NOT targeting the people who will be in the audience. That’s important to realize.

Make sure your speaking page appeals to the right person. What pain points do they experience?

Here are some of the things you want to include on the page:

Why should they hire you?

hire you?

Why should they hire you?

What value do you provide? What is your experience? What makes you unique?

Most importantly – How will you make their job EASY?

When they go to your speaking page, the answers to these questions should be OBVIOUS.

Use video

Use video

Use video

Video is an important element on your sales page. This is why you were collecting them in the earlier phase. Having a speaking reel is a great way to demonstrate your expertise.

Include parts of your talks that emphasize key points that align with your message.

Include what others say about your speaking. Include some of the answers about why they should hire you.

Your key topics

Include a brief summary of your talks (titles and descriptions). In your summaries, focus on the benefits for the audience.

Give a clear picture of what you will be delivering in your talks so they can know whether it’s right for their event.

Testimonials

Your speaking schedule

Your speaking schedule

Include testimonials from your past speaking events. Testimonials from event organizers go a long way. But make sure to also include some from attendees.

Your speaking schedule

Do you already have events lined up to speak at? If so, add your speaking schedule to your page.

This will provide some social proof end encourage others to reach out to you.

Inquiry form

Collect information form

Add a simple form to collect their information.

This is where you give them the ability to find out more information about you and your speaking. Add a simple form to collect their information. It should include things like:

  • Who they are
  • What role they have in the business/ organization/event
  • Details about the event
  • Optional: Budget info. This is one you can try out and see how it works. Personally, I prefer having a rate sheet that I send to them.

Should I include pricing info?

I recommend not including pricing information on your speaking page. People will often decide when they see a price. You want them to be fully equipped to make the best decision.

pricing info

Should I include pricing info?

Let’s say you charge $1,000 for a speaking event. There are a lot of event organizers who would say no immediately after seeing that.

But if you wow them first and THEN they hear the price, they will be much more likely to say yes.

If your communication is great and you show your value, not saying yes will seem like they are missing out.

Create a speaking kit with more details about the value you offer. In that speaking kit, include a pricing sheet.

Two examples

Here are two example of speaking pages you can check out:

Don’t copy those pages. Use them as inspiration. Remember, you have to customize your page to the person you’re targeting.

Start reaching out

reach out

Reach out to the key people

Now that you have everything set up, it’s time to start reaching out. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Create a list of ideal events. These are the events you’d love to speak at. You may already know what those events are. You may have to do some Google searches to find some. Do whatever’s necessary.
  • Find key contacts. Who’s the person that makes the decisions about who will speak at the event? Try to find that person. LinkedIn can be a great place to find this info.
  • Send your pitch email/message. Reach out to the key people with a relatively short message. Tell them who you are and what you do. Explain to them the value you’d like to provide the event. Link to your speaking page for them to find out more.

Show up and give your all

show up

Show up and give your all

You’ve done all the prep work and have booked some gigs. Now it’s time to show up and give your all. Deliver your best performance. You’ve had lots of practice now. Your goal is to WOW the audience.

While you’re at the event, make yourself fully available to the attendees. Stick around to answer questions.

You never know what can happen as a result of those conversations. At my last speaking engagement, one of those discussions lead to me setting up a speaking tour in Asia next year.

Be pleasant and a joy to work with. Let all your conversations be positive and uplifting. Help as many people as you can.

The follow-up

The event is over, you showed up and put your best foot forward. It’s not over yet.

free gift follow up

It may be for most speakers, but not you. Here are a few things you can do to help you stand out after the event:

  • Follow up via email and thank them for having you.
  • Ask them for any feedback related to having you at the event. You never know – this can lead to a great testimonial.
  • Let them know that you’d love to work with them in the future.
  • Ask if they had any referrals or recommendations for other events you should work with.
  • Send them a gift. Yes – an actual gift in the mail.

Update your speaking page

We’re at the last step in the process. You now have another great speaking engagement under your belt.

It’s time to update your speaking page. Add this event to your experience. Include relevant testimonials.

Of course, you may have to pick and choose what you add to the page, but keeping it up to date is important.

Over to you

I would love to hear from you. Have you started speaking at events yet? Is this something you plan on doing? Go ahead and share in the comments below.

Resources Mentioned

Infographic

Blogger Speaking Opportunities

Infographic: How to Leverage Your Blog for Speaking Opportunities

The post 337 How to Leverage Your Blog for Speaking Opportunities appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: https://www.becomeablogger.com/26075/leverage-your-blog-speaking-opportunities/

336 How to Use Pinterest (and Hashtags) to Grow Your Blog – with Jennifer Priest

Are you looking to drive traffic from Pinterest to your blog?

Do you ever wonder if hashtags work on the platform?

In this interview, Jennifer Priest shares how she used Pinterest to grow her blog and how you can do the same. She also shares a hashtag strategy that has worked for her.

Listen to Episode

About Jennifer Priest

Jennifer Priest has been a craft industry professional for over 15 years.

She’s the creator of Smart Fun DIY, a blog that provides smart ideas for DIY projects. And yes – she makes them fun.

Smart Fun DIY

Jennifer Priest’s Blog – Smart Fun DIY

Her blog has been featured in major publications like Apartment Therapy and MSNBC.

She runs Smart Creative Social, a firm with clients across different creative industries.

Jennifer’s Backstory

Jennifer started scrapbooking when her daughter was born back in 1998.

By 2007, Jennifer had been teaching scrapbooking in different scrapbook stores.

Jennifer Priest at the ilovetocreate booth

Jennifer Priest at the ilovetocreate booth at a Craft and Hobby Association Show

Around that time, more of her students kept asking her to start a blog.  So she decided to dive in.

In the beginning, it was all about using her blog to market her offline business.

This involved the scrapbooking classes as well as Ebay and Etsy stores.

But then she noticed that her students were starting to share her blog with their friends.

At that point, she started looking for ways to start making money online. She learned about driving traffic, running ads, creating sponsored posts and more.

This was also great for her offline business. Her blog served as an online portfolio that she could show to stores.

How Jennifer grew her blog

In the beginning, her blog grew organically. Her students would use it and share it with their friends, who would share it with their friends.

But then she started learning about traffic generation. She was hearing more about how bloggers were using Facebook and Pinterest.

So she started experimenting with those social platforms.

She then decided to dig into Pinterest.

Smart Fun DIY Pinterest Page

Smart Fun DIY Pinterest Page

She started researching how to use Pinterest to get traffic.

Within six months, her blog went from 30K page views/month to 191K page views. This was in 2016.

How Jennifer used Pinterest to drive traffic

When Jennifer started digging into Pinterest, she found lots of strategies that worked.

In this section, we will take some tips from what she did.

Optimize your top 10 performers

Google Analytics

Use Google Analytics to find top performing posts

Jennifer dug into Google Analytics to find her top 10 performing blog posts.

Once she found them, she rewrote them or beefed them up. The goal was to increase the quality of those posts to offer more value to the visitors.

She also started making pinnable images. These are images that are vertical/longer images that are visually appealing.

Use Pin-stacking

Pin stacking with strategy

Pin stacking with strategy

Using the pin-stacking strategy, Jennifer would pin a post aggressively every day for at least a week.

If a pin performs very well, she would do the same thing every month.

Pin strategically

When she first started, Jennifer relied heavier on group boards. This strategy hasn’t been working as well recently.

So, now she makes sure each piece of content has 5 to 7 boards she can pin them to.

She also live-pins the top 2 posts for the week as well as one new post daily.

Create boards the smart way

Use Pinterest Analytics

Use Pinterest Analytics

One of the great features of Pinterest is that it provides detailed analytics.

Once you verify your blog, you can add code to track your traffic. This will show how people are interacting with your blog on the platform.

You can see what pins are performing well and what your audience is interested in.

Use that data to choose which boards to create.

Determine the right posting frequency

Determine the right posting frequency

Determine the right posting frequency

Jennifer recommends starting by pinning ten times daily. Once you get ahead of schedule by two weeks to 30 days, try increasing in increments of 5.

During this process, take screenshots of your analytics to see where you are at.

Export data from Google Analytics and Pinterest. Then, wait 30 days and compare the data.

How did your numbers change? Use this data to determine the right posting frequency for your blog.

Optimize your pin descriptions

Optimize your pin descriptions

Optimize your pin descriptions

Pinterest is a search and discovery platform, which is very much like Google.

As with Google, your first paragraph is critical. You want to use copy that hooks people. Use relevant keywords in your first paragraph of your blog posts.

Also, use keywords in your Pinterest descriptions and hashtags.

Jennifer’s Pinterest Hashtag Strategy

Use your brand hashtag

Use your brand hashtag

Hashtags on Pinterest act as an indexing tool. It’s similar to the indexes in the back of the book pointing to where the words are in the book.

They show content in mostly chronological order.

Most people on Pinterest don’t search hashtags. But, they do send another strong signal about what your content is about.

Here are Jennifer’s tips for using Hashtags on Pinterest:

Use your brand hashtag as the first hashtag

In the desktop feed, Pinterest shows the first three to five hashtags. These are clickable. By using your brand hashtag first, people can easily click to go to all your pins with that hashtag.

Use Google Analytics to find which hashtags work for you

As you start using hashtags, they should start sending you traffic over time.

In Google Analytics, go to “Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.”

Open the top landing page and add the secondary dimension of “Referral Path”.

This will tell you all the URLs that sent traffic and how much, including pins.

Click through to the pins and see if it had hashtags. Determine which hashtags send you the most traffic.

Use those hashtags in your hashtag strategy.

What about you?

Are you using Pinterest to market your blog? If so, how’s it working for you?

Share your experience in the comments area below.

Resources Mentioned

Infographic

Pinterest (and Hashtags) with Jennifer Priest

336 How to Use Pinterest (and Hashtags) to Grow Your Blog – with Jennifer Priest

The post 336 How to Use Pinterest (and Hashtags) to Grow Your Blog – with Jennifer Priest appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: https://www.becomeablogger.com/26219/use-pinterest-hashtags-grow-blog/

10 Ways to Exploit Human Nature and Write Amazingly Appealing Headlines

Sucks, doesn’t it?

You know how important headlines are. You know the success of your blog hinges on your headlines. And you know that yours aren’t getting the job done.

Your blog posts just sit there collecting e-dust because your headlines barely get clicked.

So what are you doing wrong?

What are your headlines missing?

Well, chances are your headlines don’t exploit your audience’s human nature enough.

If you want your headlines to connect with your audience, you need to exploit their drives, their instincts, and, at the risk of sounding cynical, their utter self-absorption.

In fact, if you want to write better headlines, you should take lessons from those who exploit human nature on a daily basis — con artists, sleazy politicians, and anyone who manipulates people to further their own agenda.

You just have to be careful not to cross over to the dark side.

Let me explain…

Why You Must Write Headlines Like a Skilled Manipulator (Even If That’s Not Your Style)

Con men will say whatever you want to hear to get inside your wallet. Sleazy politicians will make any false promise and tell any half-truth if it means they’ll get your vote.

These skilled manipulators know exactly which buttons to push to get people to do what they want. They’re rotten scoundrels — and you, my friend, could stand to be more like them.

“What? I don’t want to be a scoundrel! I don’t want to manipulate anyone!”

Relax. I’m not saying you should.

As bloggers, we’re not in the market of manipulation — but we are in the market of persuasion. And there’s only the finest of lines between the two.

Think about it. The goal for both is to convince people to do what you want them to do. Con men want you to give them their money, while politicians want you to give them your vote. You want people to click your headlines and read your posts.

The only difference is that manipulation implies a degree of deception, while persuasion does not.

It’s no wonder the success of both relies on pushing the right buttons.

Want to find out what those are?

Keep reading.

How to Push the Right Buttons and Make Your Headlines Irresistibly Clickable

We all respond when certain buttons are pushed.

When we lose someone we love, we cry. When something pisses us off, we raise our voice. And when we open a bag of Cheetos, that sucker is empty ten minutes later.

It’s not exactly the same for everybody, but no matter how we respond, we will respond.

It’s in our nature.

And if you want to write headlines that appeal to your audience and get them to respond with a click, you need to know how to push the right buttons.

So let’s find out how to push those.

#1. Promise to Grant Their Wishes


Okay, this one’s familiar, right? You’ve probably heard your headline should offer the reader something they want.

But as familiar as it is, too many bloggers get this one wrong. They focus their headline on something they want their audience to want, or something they think their audience should want.

When you use this appeal in your headlines you have to ask yourself, “If I asked my audience what they wanted most right now, would anyone give this as an answer?”

Compare these, for example:

  • 10 Crucial Steps to Writing a Stellar Business Plan
  • How to Write a Business Plan That Makes Investors Beg to Give You Their Money

At first glance, the first one doesn’t look half bad. But if you asked an audience of entrepreneurs what they wanted most right now, would anyone answer, “I want to write a stellar business plan”?

Doubtful, right?

On the other hand, they might well answer that they want investors to fund their business.

That’s the difference.

Questions to Ask:

  • What does your audience want most of all right now?
  • Where does your audience want to be in the future?
  • What do they want to have? Who do they want to be? What do they want to accomplish?
  • What are some smaller goals your audience could achieve today/ this week / this month that would bring them closer to that future?
  • What are some immediate problems your audience wants to have solved?

Examples:

  • How to Write a Business Plan That Makes Investors Beg to Give You Their Money
  • How to Get Your Beach Body in Shape and Rock Your Bikini This Summer
  • 10 Ways to Turn Unruly Kids into Well-Behaved Little Angels

#2. Give Them a Scapegoat


“It’s not your fault.”

Those are four words everybody loves to hear when they feel like they’ve failed or made a mistake.

Because let’s face it, we all hate feeling like a failure or screw-up. Our egos would much rather shift the blame elsewhere so we can keep feeling good about ourselves.

So when your headline offers readers a valid excuse for not achieving their hopes and dreams, they’ll eat that up like warm chocolate pie.

Questions to Ask:

  • What is your audience trying but failing at?
  • What are some outside forces that hold your audience back?
  • Who or what can your audience blame for their lack of success?

Examples:

  • Why Investors Are Petrified to Fund New Businesses Right Now
  • How Supermarkets Brainwash Us into Buying Junk Food
  • 10 Ways Class Overcrowding Is Killing Your Kid’s Grades

#3. Point the Finger of Blame


You can also take the opposite approach. Instead of pointing the finger at someone else, you can point it at your reader. You tell them their failures are all their own fault.

This appeals to the same basic desire as before — the desire not to feel like a screw-up. We’ll do anything to avoid mistakes and get things right because we want to avoid making fools of ourselves.

If we’re doing something wrong, we want to know so we can fix it.

Questions to Ask:

  • What common mistakes does your audience make?
  • How is your audience holding itself back?
  • What mistakes do they already suspect they’re making?

Examples:

  • 10 Clear Warning Signs Your Business Idea Sucks
  • 7 Common Dieting Mistakes That Make You Gain More Weight Than You Lose
  • How Pushy Parenting Can Hurt Your Children’s Grades

#4. Call Upon Their Tribal Sense


We are social creatures with an instinctual drive to belong. We don’t live in tribes in the same way our ancestors did, but this drive still exists in us nonetheless. These days, we use personal attributes to define which tribes we belong to.

For example, you might be a man, 40-something, married, entrepreneur, father, and theater fan. Or you might be a woman, 20-something, single, blogger, writer, and book lover.

These are all different kinds of “tribes” you might be part of. Calling one out in your headline will get the attention of anyone who feels like they belong to it.

But that’s not all. You can also use tribes to which your audience aspires to belong — the ones they wish they were a part of but aren’t quite yet. For instance, if you aspire to be a six-figure entrepreneur or best-selling author, any headline that mentions these tribes would get your attention too.

Questions to Ask:

  • Which labels and attributes would your audience use to describe themselves?
  • To what groups does your audience aspire to belong?

Examples:

  • 20 Startup Secrets from Top Silicon Valley Companies**
  • 7 Shocking Facts Every Dieter Should Know
  • 15 Everyday Things Skinny People Do Differently
  • 7 Scary Thoughts Only Dads Will Understand
  • The Single Mom’s Guide to Getting Regular Me-Time

*Notice how this headline states both the tribe the audience belongs to (Startups) AND the tribe they aspire to be part of (Top Silicon Valley Companies).

#5. Scare the Living Crap Out of Them


Fear and anxiety are powerful emotions. Everyone has experienced them at some point in their lives. They’re primal instincts that can override our brains and make us forget about everything else around us.

So imagine the power of a headline that stokes your readers’ biggest fears and anxieties.

Is their worst nightmare coming true? Are they right to be afraid? They’ll have to click to find out.

Questions to Ask:

  • What is the worst possible future your audience can imagine?
  • What are they afraid will happen if they [do X]?
  • What do they fear is already happening?
  • What situation does your audience dread finding themselves in?

Examples:

  • 10 Pitching Mistakes That Make Investors Laugh Behind Your Back
  • 15 Exercise Routines That Will Ruin Your Feminine Curves
  • 7 Warning Signs Your Kids Are Having Unprotected Sex

#6. Put Their Worried Mind to Rest


While scaring the daylights out of your readers is fun, it’s not the only way you can use fear in your headlines. You can also take the opposite approach.

Just like your mom used to do when you were scared as a child, tell them there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Promise they can avoid the situations that cripple them with anxiety. Promise they can keep their nightmares from coming true. Promise they can take their desired actions without the disastrous consequences.

If your headline promises to relieve their fears, they’ll want to find out more.

Questions to Ask:

  1. What is your audience worried about that they shouldn’t be worried about?
  2. How can your audience prevent their fears from coming true?
  3. What situation does your audience dread that you can make less scary for them?

Examples:

  • How to Raise Money for Your Business (Even if You Suck at Pitching Investors)
  • 12 Exercises That Burn Off Fat Without Ruining Your Curves
  • 5 Cringe-Free Ways to Teach Your Kids About Safe Sex

#7. Help Them Be Lazier


Let’s face it. If given the choice, we want to get stuff done quickly and easily, so we have more time to relax and do the things we enjoy.

Unfortunately, we often get stuck with tedious or complicated tasks that take a lot of time and effort to complete.

Can you help your audience simplify or fast-forward through those tasks? Use this promise in your headline.

Questions to Ask:

  • What does your audience find complicated?
  • What’s a recurring task your audience finds tedious?
  • What’s a recurring task that takes up too much of your audience’s time?
  • What’s a recurring task that your audience wishes they could skip?

Examples:

  • Can’t Stand Bookkeeping? Use This App to Get it Done on Autopilot
  • 10 Simple Paleo Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for the Overwhelmed Beginner
  • How to Soothe a Crying Baby in 15 Seconds Flat

#8. Confirm Their Worst Suspicions


Have you ever watched a movie where you guessed the twist before it happened? Didn’t it make you feel smart for seeing it coming way before anyone else?

That’s the emotion we want to evoke with this appeal. Everybody loves having their suspicions, theories or opinions validated with some cold, hard proof. Let’s face it, we just love being proven right. (It beats being wrong!)

So when a headline promises to give us that validation, we want to know more. Because having uninformed opinions is one thing, but having facts to back them up — that’s catnip.

Questions to Ask:

  • What does your audience suspect is too good to be true?
  • What activity does your audience suspect doesn’t actually work?
  • Who does your audience suspect is lying to them, and what about?

Examples:

  • Why the Four-Hour Work Week Is a Foolish Pipe Dream
  • 10 Fad Diets That Never Lead to Lasting Weight Loss
  • 7 Lies Colleges Will Tell About Their Graduate Employment

#9. Demolish Their Conventional Wisdom


Breaking with conventional wisdom is a powerful way to grab attention.

When everyone repeats a certain idea, we’re prone to accept it as true. And the more we see an idea repeated, the stronger our belief in that idea becomes. At some point, we treat these beliefs as common sense.

But we don’t always get it right, do we? And when you can point out how everyone else got it wrong, you’ll shock people out of their comatose state.

They’ll either be curious to find out whether you can back up your claim, or eager to prove you wrong. But in either case, they click.

Questions to Ask:

  • What conventional beliefs does your audience hold that are flat out wrong?
  • Which established methods are holding your audience back?
  • What preconceptions does your audience have that hold them back?
  • What commonly peddled advice is misleading your audience?

Examples:

  • 10 Reasons You Should Ship a Shitty Product
  • How to Lose Weight on a McDonald’s Diet
  • Why You Should Never Force Kids to Finish Their Plates

#10. Hate on Your Common Enemies


You may have heard this phrase before: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

And it’s true. Shared animosity is a powerful unifier.

So when your headline takes aim at someone (or something) your audience hates, they’ll feel like you’re on their side. They’ll want to find out what you have to say because, as mentioned before, people are always looking for confirmation.

It’s a powerful appeal, but try not to become an outright hate-monger. Remember, we’re trying not to cross over to the dark side!

Questions to Ask:

  • Who does your audience hate?
  • What groups of people does your audience hate?
  • What companies does your audience hate?
  • What products does your audience hate?
  • What activities does your audience hate?
  • What situations does your audience hate?
  • What events does your audience hate?
  • What else does your audience hate?

Examples:

  • How to Silence Those Uppity Investors Meddling with Your Business
  • 10 Reasons Why Dieting Is Torture Worse Than Waterboarding
  • Parents Must Finally Unite to Destroy All Legos

Exploit Human Nature and Get Your Headlines Clicked

As a blogger, you know that understanding your audience is key to your success. But that goes deeper than understanding their unique struggles and interests. You must also understand their very nature.

You must know what makes people tick. You must know what drives them. You must know which buttons to push to make them click your headlines.

Go through the list above and answer all the questions. That will give you a list of topics to write about.

Put each one in a headline template, add a power word or two, and you’ll end up with amazingly appealing headlines.

If you push the right buttons, your audience can’t help but respond.

So go ahead and push those buttons.

About the Author: Robert van Tongeren is the former Associate Editor of Smart Blogger. He has also helped countless of our students get published on big blogs like Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and Fast Company. Want to shape up your headline skills fast? Sign up for his free weekly headline repair.

The post 10 Ways to Exploit Human Nature and Write Amazingly Appealing Headlines appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/headline-writing/

335 How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow Your Blog in Five Steps

Do you want to use Facebook ads to grow your blog?

Are you afraid you’ll be throwing money down the drain?

In this post, I will share five steps that will simplify the process for you.

Listen to the episode

My Facebook ad mistakes

We’ve all heard how great Facebook ads can be for driving traffic and getting sales.

I know I did. So I decided to give it a try.

spend much

Spending for ads with no ROI was a BIG mistake

I started posting things on my Facebook page and boosting it. And you know what? I got more visibility.

More people were seeing my content. Isn’t that exciting? NOPE!

Because the REAL result was that I spent money and had no return on my investment (ROI).

In essence, I was paying Facebook to build Facebook. Now that’s just dumb!

Then I got a little smarter. I decided to run Facebook ads to my sales page.

The problem – I spent a lot of money and got no sales. I was targeting the wrong people in the wrong way.

So I did what most bloggers do when they see money going down the drain – I turned off the faucet.

That was the end of my Facebook ad experiment.

Studying the best

Fortunately, that was not the end of the journey. You see, for the last 4 years, I’ve been working with the Social Media Marketing Society.

I’m now the head of training. This means that I get to work with the brightest social media marketing minds.

I help them refine their training so that they can give our members their very best.

And as a result – I’ve been able to learn the best techniques for using Facebook ads effectively.

And what I’m going to do is distill that down for you so that you can get started on the right foot.

So let’s do this…

Start with your strategy

Strategy

Start with your strategy. Ask questions.

Before we even get into running the actual ads, we need to talk about your business strategy.

There are three questions I’d like for you to answer first:

  • What is the end goal?
  • Who is my ideal customer?
  • How do I get them from where they are to where I want them to be?

What is the end goal?

Why are you running ads in the first place? Is it to grow your Facebook page (wrong answer)? Is it to get visitors to your site (ok

answer)?

end goal gain customers

Your end goal – gain loyal customers and advocates for your business.

I’ll tell you what your answer should be – to gain loyal customers and advocates for your business.

These are the people who love what you do, buy your stuff and share you with the world.

Getting these kinds of customer advocates starts with:

  • Creating Value
  • Helping them solve their problems
  • Helping them achieve their goals

Who are your ideal customers?

First of all – are they on Facebook? The answer is most certainly yes.

target facebook customers

Identify target customers. Are they on Facebook?

What kind of content do they engage with on Facebook related to your niche? This can be tricky to determine. But there are a few things you can do to determine this:

  • Analyze successful Facebook pages in your niche. What kind of content are they sharing? What kinds of posts do their followers engage with the most?
  • Join active Facebook groups in your niche. What are the members sharing? What kinds of posts, images, and videos?

Finally, another important question to answer is – what are they struggling with? THIS (along with what you find from the pages and groups) will be the key to attracting their attention.

Getting them to convert

The process of converting strangers into advocates is NOT a one-step process. It’s done in a series of steps, with the key being a growing relationship built on providing value.

In fact, I illustrate that point in the following video:

Don’t be like me in that video. Take people down all the stages of the funnel.

Those stages are awareness, familiarity, consideration, purchase, loyalty and THEN advocacy.

The best way to look at Facebook ads is a journey through the first four phases of that funnel.

Loyalty and advocacy will be the result of providing tons of value to your customers consistently over time.

Now that we’ve spoken about those foundational concepts, let’s dive into the ads.

Step 1: Prepare your blog

Facebook Pixel

Download the Facebook Pixel on your blog.

Before running any ads, it’s important to install the Facebook pixel on your blog. This is a piece of code that Facebook gives you to add to your blog. Once added, Facebook can track how its users interact with your blog.

This will be important for you to be able to track how your ads are working. It will also give you the ability to remarket to those people (more on this later).

To do this:

  • Go to the Facebook Ads Manager.
  • Click on “Create a Pixel”.
  • Name your pixel (name of your blog) and click “Create”
  • Add the pixel to your blog. You can do this using your theme settings or the “Insert Headers and Footers” WordPress plugin.

Here’s a video to show you how to do that:

*****INSERT VIDEO SHOWING HOW TO DO THIS*****

Once you do this, Facebook will start tracking your visitors. Whether you’re running Facebook ads now or not, you should do this.

That will allow Facebook to start collecting that data for you to run ads in the future.

Step 2: Create custom audiences

A custom audience is an ad targeting option that lets you find people who have done certain things. Why do you want to create custom audiences?

Because it gives you the ability to target people who have shown their interest. If someone visits all your posts about the Instant Pot (for example), it would be smart to show them an ad for your Instant Pot course.

Here are a few custom audiences I would recommend for you to create:

  • People who have visited your blog
  • People who have visited your landing pages (opt-in and sales pages)
  • People who have subscribed to your email list.
  • People who have bought your products
  • People who have engaged with your content on Facebook (especially videos)

Here’s a video to show you how to do that:

*****INSERT VIDEO SHOWING HOW TO DO THIS*****

Whether you use these custom audiences now or not, they are good to have.

Let Facebook start collecting that data so that you can use them when you are ready.

Step 3: Create your funnel

Blog sales funnel

Blog sales funnel

This is where the magic happens. It’s where you convert casual visitors into customers.

There’s a lot to say about creating funnels. In fact, I said a whole lot in my episode on creating blog sales funnels.

I cover three specific plug-n-play funnels there. Choose one and set it up.

In an ideal situation, you will be able to use that funnel to determine the value of each lead. For example, if you get 100 people to signup to your list and 10 by your $37 product, you made $370.

That would mean that each lead would be worth $3.70. You now know that you can spend up to $3.69 on each lead and still turn a profit.

That’s powerful information. But that will come over time. For now,  just create the funnel.

If you’re new to this, I recommend creating separate landing and thank you pages for your ads. That will make it easier to track conversions from those ads.

Step 4: Create your ad

Create your ads

Create your ads

It’s time to start driving that paid traffic to your blog. Depending on how you set up the funnel, you will be driving traffic to a post or landing page.

Here are the steps:

  • Go to your Ads Manager
  • Click on “Create Ad”
  • Choose an “Ad Objective”. I recommend starting with traffic and experiment with others over time.
  • Define your audience. You have a few choices here. You can choose one or more of the relevant custom audiences you created. You can specify relevant pages whose followers you’d like to target. You can also specify demographic information.
  • Set your daily budget (self-explanatory).
  • Create the actual ad. You get to choose the ad format (single image, video, carousel, etc). Add compelling copy to the headline and text and select the call to action button.
  • Once you’ve done all that, click confirm.

Once you’ve done all these four steps, the real work begins, which is step 5.

Step 5: Monitor and tweak as needed

If you thought your Facebook ads would be a “set it and forget it” system, you were wrong.

Split tests

Run split tests to improve the effectiveness of your ads

This is an ongoing process of monitoring and tweaking.

How much are you spending to get subscribers? This will tell you how well it’s working. If your subscribers are worth $2 and you are spending $3 to get them, it’s not worth it.

You can track these numbers in a few ways:

  • If you want to keep the setup simple, have separate landing and thank you pages for your Facebook ads.
  • If you want to get fancy, you can setup custom events on Facebook. This involves adding more code and is a bit more advanced. But it’s better for tracking conversions. I’ll have to cover this in more detail in a future post.

You can also run split tests to improve the effectiveness of your ads. And of course, you can try different formats like videos vs images vs carousel.

There are many ways to run ads. What works for me may not work for you.

The important thing is to set it up right and then keep testing.

Eventually, you’ll reach a point where your ads are performing the way you want them to. That’s when the magic happens. Your blog becomes like an ATM machine. You put your card in and pull the money out.

Your turn

Now I want to hear from you. Are you running ads to your blog? If so, how are they going for you? If not, do you plan on starting?

Let me know in the comments area below.

Resources Mentioned

Infographic

Facebook Ads Grow Your Blog in Five Steps

Infographic: How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow Your Blog in Five Steps

The post 335 How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow Your Blog in Five Steps appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: https://www.becomeablogger.com/26073/use-facebook-ads-grow-your-blog/

What the Heck is GDPR? (and How to Make Sure Your Blog Is Compliant)

Ever get that feeling that something’s just waiting to bite you on the ass?

A disturbance in the force that you just can’t put your finger on?

You’re sure it’s not your anniversary?

Your kid’s piano recital?  

Maybe it’s the cable bill.

Dammit.

You can’t place what it is, but something’s waving a red flag.

For bloggers, that brain worm might just be the GDPR.

Niggling away at you like an unscratchable itch.

In a way, that’s good: You know enough about GDPR to be worried.

But in case you’re in the category of “blissfully unaware,” we’ll take a look at what the GDPR is all about.

And why it absolutely CAN affect you and your blog.

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer. The information below is absolutely not legal advice. But it might just save you a ton of worry and expense.

GDPR 101

GDPR is currently taking Europe by storm.

It’s the General Data Protection Regulation — a new data privacy law being introduced by the European Union — and it’s a bit of a game-changer.

It comes fully into force on May 25, 2018.

Yep, that looming deadline might just be lighting up your radar.

It affects people across the globe, not just in Europe. And some forward-thinking folks have been working on preparing themselves for the last year or two.

Well done them. Straight to the top of the class.

But the truth of the matter is that many people have been just the slightest bit “mañana, mañana” about the whole thing.

Now that the countdown can be measured in days, some people are getting a touch, well, panicky.

It’s like that school assignment that you had a year to write.

Here you are, “T-minus-one and counting,” and you’re staring at a blank page.

And that’s due, in no small part, to the fact that GDPR appears complex, and there are still some gray areas.

We are all struggling to interpret some of the details of the regulation.

But some things are clear — so in case GDPR is entirely new to you, let’s hit the basics.

The Five GDPR Basics You Absolutely Must Know

  1. It applies to anyone who processes “personal data” — Most obviously, that’s things like names, email addresses and other types of “personally identifiable information”;
  2. It creates significant new responsibilities — If you process personal data, you are now truly responsible and accountable for its security and the way it is used;
  3. It has a global reach — It might be an EU law, but it can apply to anyone, regardless of their location;
  4. It doesn’t just apply to traditional businesses — The principles are concerned with what you do with other people’s data, not who you are or why you do it;
  5. There are eye-watering fines for non-compliance — up to €20 million ($24m) or 4% of global revenue, whichever is higher.

So the GDPR’s scope is surprisingly wide-ranging. It could easily apply to you.

It gives data regulators powers to apply unprecedented financial penalties.

And crucially, it’s becoming extremely high-profile. The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal alone has elevated the subject of data privacy to mainstream debate.

So it’s worth spending a little time to try to understand the key principles that the GDPR is attempting to achieve.

The Six GDPR Core Principles

The central principles of the GDPR are not new.

They expand on existing European Union data protection regulations, and most folks might generally consider them to fall into the category of “quite a good idea, really” (from the consumer perspective, at least).

So let’s break them down one by one.

Principle #1: Lawfulness, Fairness and Transparency


You must process personal data in a way that is lawful, fair and transparent.

“Lawfulness” has a specific meaning under the GDPR. There are six legitimate, lawful grounds for processing personal data. You must satisfy at least one of these six criteria before your data processing is “lawful.”  

The first and most obvious lawful basis for processing personal data is consent — that is, where the individual has specifically agreed (usually via one or more checkable boxes) that you may use their data in a specific way. More on consent later.

The majority of the other lawful grounds will be less relevant to bloggers. They include situations where it is essential for you to process personal data to fulfill a contract with the consumer, or if you are required by law to collect specific data (such as information required for tax records).

But the sixth and final lawful basis is relevant:

It can be lawful to process personal data without the individual’s consent if it is in your legitimate interest as a Controller to do so.

This is the subject of heated debate — because it appears to provide a convenient catch-all for controllers. (More on controllers later, but assume for now that the controller is you!)

Well it’s certainly not that, but it is an acknowledgement that data privacy is not absolute.

There should be a balance between the individual’s right to data privacy and the controller’s legitimate interest in running their blog, business or whatever.  

“Legitimate interest” is most likely to be used where consent is not appropriate or feasible.

Examples might include:

  • Storing IP addresses in server logs for the detection and prevention of fraud.
  • Using non-privacy-intrusive cookies (such as Google Analytics).
  • Storing personal data in backups to allow a blog to be restored following a technical issue.

These scenarios highlight that in some situations (such as preventing fraud), consumers must not be permitted to prevent processing. In others, it would simply be unworkable to try to gain consent in advance.

It will typically apply where your data processing involves minimal risk or impact to the individual’s privacy, and it is of a type that the individual might reasonably expect you to undertake.  

That said, we can be clear that “legitimate interest” is not:

  • Carte blanche to do whatever you fancy without consumers’ knowledge.
  • A justification for collecting data that you know full well your consumers would not consent to.

Those scenarios would not be lawful, fair or transparent.

Anyone planning to rely on the “legitimate interest” lawful basis will need to familiarize themselves with the detail of the regulation because there are specific requirements, such as the need to conduct a Legitimate Interests Assessment.

“Fairness” is not specifically defined in the regulation, but on any definition it overlaps significantly with lawfulness and transparency.

All of the regulation guidance suggests that fair processing involves ensuring that it does not have any unjustified adverse effects on the individual, and that data is used in ways that the individual might reasonably expect, given your relationship with them.

In short, if you are being open and transparent about how you process data, then you will almost inevitably being processing it “fairly.”

Examples of unfair processing might include:

  • Deceiving consumers about your real identity.
  • Attempting to hide the true purpose of your data processing behind swathes of small print or unnecessarily formal legal language.
  • Trying to hoodwink consumers in any way into providing their data.

“Transparency” is a fundamental and recurring theme throughout the regulation. You are expected to be conspicuously open and honest about what data you collect and what you propose to do with it.

More on transparency later.

Principle #2: Data Is Only Used for Specified, Legitimate Purposes


You must only use personal data for the specific purposes that you have declared.

Closely related to the concept of transparency, this principle demands that you may not collect data for one purpose, and then go on to use it in a different way.

Let’s take the example of a “Sign Up to Receive This Free Report” offer.

On the face of it, the individual is providing their email address so that you can send them the report. That’s it.

You cannot then add their email to your mailing list and send them other promotional material unless you’ve made it clear at the point of sign-up that that’s what you intend to do.

Principle #3: Limited to What Is Required to Achieve the Stated Purposes


You must collect only the minimum amount of personal data required to achieve your stated objective.

This is the concept of data minimization.

If you collect personal data to allow you to send blog notifications by email, then the minimum information you require is an email address. “Name” is probably fine too (for the purpose of personalizing your emails), but collecting anything else could be seen as excessive.

So if, in the same scenario, you also collect cell phone number, gender and age, then you need to be very clear why that information is necessary to allow you to send blog notifications.

Principle #4: Accurate and Up-To-Date


You must take all reasonable steps to ensure that any data you collect is accurate and kept up-to-date.

The risks to individuals’ data privacy are clearly increased where that data contains inaccuracies. Incorrect email addresses are a prime example of where other personal data can be inadvertently disclosed or leaked.

You are therefore obliged to address data inaccuracies without delay — incorrect data must be rectified, or deleted.

In practice, if someone contacts you to update their email address, you should take action on it without undue delay.

But being proactive is also important — for example, if you are getting regular bounce-backs from addresses on your mailing list, then this should be telling you something. Periodically checking your list and removing bounced addresses is highly recommended.

Principle #5: Time Limited


You must only hold personal data for as long as is required to achieve the stated objective.

It’s central to the concept of fairness that data is not retained for any longer than required to achieve the purpose for which you collected it.

Data retention also has implications for accuracy. If you’re still storing customer address data that you collected five years ago, the chances are that a significant proportion of that stale data is now inaccurate.

Principle #6: Data Must Be Processed Securely


You must process personal data in a way that ensures appropriate security.

The security of the data you hold is clearly pivotal to the whole objective of the GDPR. You are responsible for ensuring that there exist appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect against unauthorized access, loss, alteration and disclosure.

That said, you’re not expected to be Fort Knox.

But you are expected to take steps that are proportionate to the sensitivity of the data that you collect, and the risk to the individuals concerned were the data to be lost or disclosed.

Basic precautions would include:

  • Not storing consumers’ data on a portable device like a smartphone (especially if you’re the type who regularly leaves it in a cab on a Friday night).
  • Never sharing system login details with others.
  • Password-protecting any office files that contain personal data.
  • Using encrypted (https) connections for your blog (while this isn’t specifically required by the GDPR, it’s an all-around good idea).

That’s obviously not an exhaustive list, but you get the point.

All of the specific requirements contained within the GDPR are based upon these six principles.

By keeping these principles in mind, you should never deviate too far away from what the GDPR expects from you, even if you’re not an expert in the details of the regulation.

The problem is, there’s a certain amount of GDPR misinformation doing the rounds too.

Warning: Beware of These Three Dangerous Myths about GDPR

GDPR is new, and there’s a huge amount of speculation about how it will be applied in practice.

So let’s deal with some of the emerging myths.

Myth #1: I’m Not Based in the EU so It Doesn’t Affect Me


Don’t be fooled. That’s not the point.

The regulation protects consumers within the EU, regardless of where in the world the person who collects their data is based.

Anyone who runs a blog that is available to consumers within any of the EU Member States is potentially affected.

There are subtly different rules for controllers outside the EU, but regardless of whether you operate out of London, Milan or New York, GDPR needs to be on your radar.

At the very least, you will need to take an informed position on the subject, and that means having a plan.

Myth #2: I’m a Blogger, Not a Business, so It Doesn’t Apply


A swing and a miss.

While there are some provisions aimed specifically at organizations, the core accountability applies to anyone considered to be a “Data Controller.”

A Data Controller is the person responsible for “determining the purpose” of processing.

And it can be anybody — an individual or a business.

Long story short, if you are the person who decides to collect the data, or decides what data is collected and why, then you are a Data Controller — regardless of whether you are operating as a business in the normal sense of the word.

Bloggers. Micro-businesses. Non-profits. Charities. Hobbyists.

All potentially covered.

I’ll get into why I say “potentially” later.

Myth #3: There’s an Exemption for Anyone with Fewer Than 250 Employees


Nope.

I’ve seen this one doing the rounds a lot, and it’s based on a very lazy interpretation of the rules.

If you process personal data and have fewer than 250 employees, you may have an exemption from one very specific administrative reporting requirement.

It is absolutely not a general exemption.

GDPR can apply if you have no employees at all.  

Four Common Blogging Activities That Could Put You in the GDPR Firing Line

As a blogger, you might feel that you’re not in the habit of collecting people’s personal data.

From there, it’s a very short walk to convincing yourself that GDPR is not your concern.

But think again — there are a number of very common blogging activities that can put you in the GDPR firing line.

#1. Collecting Email Addresses


Without doubt, this is the clearest scenario in which the GDPR can apply to bloggers.

Sure as eggs is eggs, names and email addresses are personal data.

If you invite people to give you this information — such as on a mailing list sign-up or via an online contact form — then you have a responsibility for that data.

As we’ll see later, this doesn’t of itself guarantee that the full force of the GDPR will apply, but it does mean that you are potentially affected.

#2. Using WordPress (or Another Content Management System)


Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a big fan of WordPress.

One of its biggest selling points is just how much it does for you straight out of the box.

But that can be a double-edged sword — would you know if WordPress was collecting/processing personal data in the background?

Possibly not.

Well it can, and it does:

  • With blog commenting enabled, WordPress will by default require all commenters to submit their names and email addresses before they can comment. This is personal data.
  • WordPress will set web cookies for anyone who logs into your site or submits a comment. The GDPR specifically states that cookies are potentially personal data.
  • All plugins that you install on your WordPress site give you additional functionality (that’s why you use them) — and every one of those plugins has the potential to collect personal data.

#3. Using Any Type of Web Tracking or Profiling


Use the Facebook pixel for tracking page views and conversions?

Track who opens your MailChimp or AWeber campaign emails?

Use Google Analytics to understand web traffic?

Each of these, to one extent or another, involves profiling the behavior of identifiable individuals, and is potentially within the GDPR’s remit.  

#4. Using a Web Host That Logs Visitors’ IP Addresses


It’s extremely common practice for your web server to record, in its server logs, the IP addresses of anyone who visits your blog.

Now there’s nothing the matter with that, because it can actually help to protect against malicious attacks and unauthorized access.

But IP addresses are personal data as far as the GDPR is concerned.

So, while you might not consider yourself to be actively collecting personal data, there’s a very good chance that, in reality, you are.

How Some Bloggers Can Dodge the GDPR Bullet

We’ve already seen that the core factor in determining whether the GDPR applies to you is whether or not you process personal data. It what the GDPR calls the “material scope” of the regulation.

But that’s not the only consideration.

We also need to consider what the GDPR calls “territorial scope” — and it’s this territorial scope that might allow some bloggers to dodge the GDPR bullet.

Territorial scope is EU-speak for the geographic limitation of the GDPR.

We’ve already touched on this in our first dangerous myth above.

The regulation protects the interests of consumers within the EU — regardless of whether the individual/business that collects their data is based in the EU or not.

So the real question is not where you are based — rather it is where your intended consumers are based.

A US-based blog can be caught within the scope of the GDPR if it in any way targets consumers in the EU.

But to be clear, if you can legitimately argue that your blog falls outside the territorial scope of the GDPR, the regulation will not apply to you — and none of the requirements, responsibilities or fines apply.

Some folks will, understandably, see this as a GDPR get out of jail free card.

Just be wary…

The GDPR makes a clear distinction between Data Controllers (remember, that’s probably you) who are based in the EU and those based outside the EU. It boils down to this:

  • Data Controllers in the EU are within the territorial scope, and the GDPR applies.
  • Data Controllers outside the EU are subject to the GDPR rules if they “offer goods and services” to individuals within the EU.

This distinction will be crucial for many bloggers.

It introduces the concept of your intended target audience.

If your blog is genuinely targeted at a non-EU audience and you don’t, in reality, process the data of EU consumers, then you have a potential exemption from the entirety of the GDPR.

But it’s important to understand that this is a gray area.

The actual wording of the regulation refers to whether “the Controller envisages offering goods and services to data subjects in the Union.”

If you blog about childcare in San Francisco, then I’d argue that you’re on pretty solid ground. It doesn’t have any obvious relevance to EU consumers, and it would seem fair to argue that you don’t “envisage offering a service” to them.

On the other hand, blog on a subject that’s not limited by location (such as the cool new features on the iPhone X), and that argument might not fly. Your content is just as relevant to EU consumers as it is to anyone else, and you probably have no real intention of limiting your readership.

So it’s going to depend very much on the nature of your blog.

Factors to bear in mind:

  • While there is no definition of what constitutes a “service,” it is highly likely that blogging will count as one (the UK data regulator has strongly implied to us that blogging is clearly an information “service”).
  • It is irrelevant whether or not your consumers pay you for your service;
  • Just because you have a blog that can be accessed from the EU does not necessarily mean that you intend to offer your services in the Union.
  • Some specific factors will strongly imply that you do intend to offer your services in the EU — such as offering payments in a European currency, having localized domain names (such as .eu or .co.uk), or offering local phone number options.

Importantly, if in reality you DO process the personal data of EU consumers (let’s say by having people with .co.uk email addresses on your email list), then it’s hard to argue that you don’t envisage offering a service to them.

Because you’re already actually doing it.

The $64,000 Question: Is Your Blog in Scope?

Coming to a conclusion about whether your blog falls within the scope of the GDPR is something that only you can do.

It will depend on the exact nature of your blog, the data you capture, and your target audience.

And there are areas that are not perfectly clear-cut when you apply them to blogging.

Just keep in mind that it’s human nature to try to shoehorn your own blog into one of the limited exemptions to the rules.

If you offer a service to consumers in the EU and, by so doing, process information that qualifies as “personal data,” then, at face value, the GDPR will apply.

If you’re in any doubt, the wise approach is to have a plan to tackle it.

Three Totally Legitimate Approaches to Tackling GDPR (Including One That’s Super Easy)

Let’s assume that the GDPR applies to you and your blog.

What now?

Strikes me that people are going to take one of three approaches that extend beyond simply pretending it’s not happening.

Approach #1: Do Nothing (aka “Wait and See”)


Let me be clear here: “Do nothing” is not the same as “ignore it.”

Ignoring it would be bad. It needs to be on your radar.

But depending on your approach to risk, you might well choose the “wait and see” method.

Day 1 GDPR compliance would be awesome — but pragmatically, it can take time, effort and potentially expense.

And realistically, you are unlikely to come to the attention of the data regulators unless you actually experience a data breach or someone chooses to make a complaint against you.

So why not just wait for the dust to settle and see what everyone else does?

Pros:

  • You buy yourself some time.
  • Provided you keep your ear to the ground, you’ll get to see how the regulators approach enforcing the rules in practice.
  • The specifics of how to be compliant can only get clearer over time — so you can possibly avoid going down a variety of rabbit holes in the meantime.

Cons:

  • This is undeniably a higher risk option.
  • You will technically be non-compliant on Day 1 (albeit along with much of the rest of the world).
  • Technically, you could be fined in the event of a data breach, such as your WordPress site being hacked.
  • Depending on your brand visibility, your reputation is at risk if you’re simply unprepared for things like individuals’ requests for access to data — and that might bring you to the attention of the regulators.
  • Regulators are likely to have little sympathy for people who have made no apparent effort to comply.

It’s hard for me to wholeheartedly advocate the “wait and see” approach — because it feels reactive, and maybe I’m a bit risk-averse.

But there is arguably a place for it if you understand and accept the risks.

That said, some of the risks can be mitigated, which leads me to the second approach.

Approach #2: Show Willingness by Implementing Some Quick Wins


While full GDPR compliance is going to be complex for some, there’s likely to be some low-hanging fruit to be had.

Not only will it start you off on a path toward full compliance, you’re also demonstrating a commitment to data privacy — and you might be surprised how much you’re already doing.

If you do nothing more than revisit your consent processes and publish a privacy policy on your blog, you will still be making a significant step towards compliance.

(Check out my Seven Easy Steps Toward GDPR Compliance below, which suggest what some of these approaches might look like.)

Pros:

  • Significantly lower risk than doing nothing.
  • Relatively low effort, time and cost.
  • Simply reviewing your privacy risks will put you in greater control.
  • It promotes a data privacy mindset that will inform your future decisions.
  • Practically, you are even less likely to attract the attention of regulators.

Cons:

  • Quick wins alone are unlikely to make your blog fully compliant.
  • You will need to commit some time and effort to evaluate your risks and liabilities.

My guess is that “showing willingness” will be where many bloggers and small businesses will be when the GDPR comes into force.

Approach #3: Go the Full Nine Yards and Aim for Complete GDPR Compliance


In an ideal world, full GDPR compliance from Day 1 is clearly the place to be.

It minimizes risk and — to those who know what to look for — demonstrates your credibility and professionalism.

For simple blogs and small online businesses, full compliance might be perfectly achievable, because simplicity is your friend.

Pros:

  • All privacy risks will be closely managed.
  • You won’t be caught off-guard in the event of a personal data inquiry or, worse, a complaint.
  • All other things being equal, you get to sleep at night.

Cons:

  • Will require time and effort to understand the full requirements of the GDPR.
  • May involve cost to bring processes and technology into line.

Seven Easy Steps Toward GDPR Compliance

The actual GDPR regulation itself is a horribly impenetrable document.

It runs to over 250 pages, with 99 main provisions (“Articles”) and 173 supplementary “recitals.”

And they wonder why people don’t read it.

Unless you’re a lawyer, you’ll likely come away from it feeling just a little overwhelmed.

But if you can master the concepts and the six core principles, you’ll see that there are a number of discrete, tangible things that you can do toward compliance.

And some of them are pretty pain-free.

#1. Make a Personal Data Inventory


Spend 30 minutes just brainstorming and documenting the types of personal data that you collect.

Then you’ll begin to understand where your actual liabilities are.

Make sure you consider:

  • The information you actually ask people for, in particular names and emails via contact forms and blog subscriptions.
  • The information that might be collected by your systems — if you use Google Analytics or Facebook remarketing, you will have some thinking to do about the fact that these applications use cookies. If you use WordPress or another CMS, it’s worth investigating whether you’re setting cookies that you don’t know about.

Only when you’ve identified how you collect data can you start to address whether you need to take further action.

#2. Publish a GDPR-Compliant Privacy Policy


Publishing a privacy policy is the most tangible thing you can do to demonstrate your commitment to data privacy.

It’s your opportunity to:

  • Outline what types of data you collect and specifically how you intend to use it — including who that data might be shared with.
  • Detail what types of cookies are used on your blog.
  • Describe what steps you take to ensure that the data is secure.
  • Highlight exactly what individuals are consenting to, how they provide consent and, importantly, how they may withdraw their consent in the future.
  • Explain the rights that individuals have over their data (the GDPR gives individuals a range of new rights, including the rights to access and the data and the “right to be forgotten”).

If you already have a privacy policy, you may already have much of this covered. But it’s unlikely that your policy will be GDPR-compliant without some form of amendment. If nothing else, you will need to add the range of data access rights that consumers have.

And just publishing your privacy policy is not enough.

You need to stick to it.

And make sure that anyone else working on your behalf sticks to it, too.

Your GDPR protection is only as strong as its weakest link.

Feel free to check out my own privacy policy as a guide to what should be included. You’ll find other great examples on the web, but I’m confident mine is firmly on the right track.

That disclaimer again: I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. And please don’t just copy my policy — it’s not polite, and your policy needs to reflect what you do, not what I do!)

#3. Be Crystal-Clear about Consent


A lot of people who talk about GDPR seem to think that consent is the silver bullet for all GDPR problems.

It’s not.

Consent is just one of six lawful grounds for collecting personal data under the GDPR, and it won’t always be the most appropriate one to rely on.

That said, it IS important.

Where consumers are volunteering personal information (such as online contact forms and blog sign-ups) you must ask for their specific consent if there is no other legal ground for processing that data.

This will usually mean having one or more checkable “consent” boxes on all sign-up forms.

Important things to consider:

  • People must be able to tell what they’re consenting to — vague and generalized statements about what you intend to do with the data will not cut it. (The days of “we collect data to improve your experience” are gone!).
  • Your privacy policy is the place for this information, and your readers must have the opportunity to read the policy before they are asked for consent.
  • Consent must be given as an “affirmative action” — so it is not acceptable to use a pre-checked consent box. Any consent checkbox must be unchecked by default (Some email providers like MailChimp make this easy with built-in GDPR features).
  • You must only use the information gained via consent for the reasons you gave when consent was given.
  • You should always take advantage of the “double opt-in” options that are found within campaign management tools like MailChimp. Double opt-in requires the individual to confirm their initial request before their data is added to your mailing list. It will also usually give you a means of demonstrating when consent was given.

#4. Stop Collecting Data You Don’t Need


Data minimization is the way to go.

Do you really need someone’s cell phone number to send them blog updates?

Probably not.

The more data you collect, the more data you’re responsible for.

If you can’t justify why you’re asking for a particular piece of data, don’t ask for it.

And if you already hold data that you don’t need (or can’t justify), now is the time to dispose of it. (Securely, of course!)

#5. Make Sure Your Blog Is Super-Secure


One of the core objectives of the GDPR is to keep personal data secure.

You can directly influence this by making sure that you are taking basic, common-sense security precautions such as:

  • Never sharing your blog’s login credentials with anyone else.
  • Always using strong passwords.
  • Removing the default “admin” user account on WordPress blogs.
  • Using a reputable security plugin to prevent unauthorised access.
  • Physically protecting data stored on removable storage such as USB sticks and external hard drives.

All of these things form the basis of the “how we protect your data” section of a privacy policy.

#6. Use a Reputable Web Host


You are most likely using some form of third-party web hosting for your blog — either shared hosting or maybe VPS.

By providing the servers that your blog runs on, that 3rd party hosting company becomes a “Data Processor” in GDPR terms — because they are processing data on your behalf.

You are effectively subcontracting the technical hosting activities to them.

As a result, they have access to any personal data that is stored on your blog — and they are therefore quite capable of being the weak link in the chain.

A reputable web host will be only too happy to talk to you about the security processes that they have in place, their security accreditations, and so on.

The best ones already have GDPR-compliant conditions within their standard terms of service, or will offer you a personalized data processing agreement on request.

This is important, because the GDPR expects you to have a written agreement with anybody who acts as a Data Processor on your behalf — especially if it involves processing that takes place outside the EU.

So choose your web host wisely.

And be prepared to find a different provider if you don’t get the answers you need.

#7. Check Your Google Analytics Configuration


Okay, this is a bit specific, but it might be the difference between compliance and non-compliance for some simple blogs.

Google Analytics uses cookies to track when people visit your blog. They enable GA to distinguish one visitor from another.

But, when set up correctly, GA cookies are likely to be seen as “non-privacy intrusive,” which means that you do not need to get prior specific consent to use them (which, believe me, would be a technical minefield).

For this exclusion to apply, though, you need to be careful:

  • It’s important that you haven’t implemented the (optional) User ID functionality within GA. User ID allows you to identify a particular individual even if they view your blog from different devices. You should know if you’re using this functionality, because it’s not enabled by default, and you would have had to implement it manually.
  • You should take advantage of the “anonymizeIP” function that GA provides, which has the effect of obscuring part of visitors’ IP addresses when the data is stored at Google. Note that this is switched OFF by default, but can be activated by adding a simple parameter to your GA tracking code (the exact code depends on which version of the Google Analytics code you’re using — analytics.js or gtag.js). If you’re using a plugin for analytics, you might find this option in the plugin settings.
  • You should make sure that you never (intentionally or inadvertently) include personal data within page URLs that are sent to GA. Not only is this bad for GDPR, it’s also a breach of Google’s Terms of Service.

For a handy visual reminder of the seven steps, check out the image below (click to see a larger view):

Seven Easy Steps Toward GDPR Compliance

 
Embed This Infographic On Your Site

What the Heck is GDPR? (and How to Make Sure Your Blog Is Compliant)
What the Heck is GDPR? (and How to Make Sure Your Blog Is Compliant) from SmartBlogger.com

 

Stop Hiding Under the Pillow and Get Ahead of GDPR

Like it or not, the GDPR could affect you.

Even if you’re not in the EU.

While regulators are extremely unlikely to start handing out huge fines on Day 1, smart bloggers will see this as an opportunity get their data processes properly nailed down.

Get on the front foot and you’ll have a better, deeper understanding of the value of the data that you hold, and the responsibility (and accountability) that you have for that information.

And frankly, even if the GDPR doesn’t apply to you, it’s a strong indication of where data privacy is going — so why not embrace the principles anyway?

It may seem a million miles away from why you pour your heart and soul into blogging. You blog to inform, to inspire, to share your passion.

But you’re also responsible to your loyal followers for the information they entrust to you.

So don’t lose sleep over it. Get ahead of it.

Because when you do, your blog will be stronger than ever.

Paul Long is a small business web designer, WordPress enthusiast and self-confessed data freak based in the UK. He currently spends his days helping folk to tread the fine line between GDPR denial and meltdown. For further actionable guidance, check out his free GDPR Action Plan for small businesses.

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