How to Create Youtube Videos Quickly

Are you wanting to go all in with video on YouTube but find that it takes too much time?

Maybe you know that video is the future of the internet, but you get stressed out whenever you think about creating a lot of video content.

Listen to This Episode

In this episode, I share practical ways to speed up the process so that you can create YouTube videos quickly.

Video is the Future

Future of VIdeo_Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zukerberg on the future of video

I know what you’re thinking. Video is the present. And yes, while video does account for a lot of what we consume today, I believe that this will be more true in the future.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Mark Zuckerberg said “We’re entering this new golden age of video . . . I wouldn’t be surprised if you fast-forward five years and most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video.”

But it’s not just Facebook. All of the major social media platforms are investing heavily in Video.

Why YouTube

I recently decided to go all in on YouTube. In fact, I ended up setting a pretty aggressive goal of getting to 100K subscribers in a year.

Challenging myself to get to 100K subscribers on YouTube

This was not an easy decision, especially since I’ve been pretty vocal on how important a platform Facebook is.

But there are three factors that played into my decision to go all in on YouTube.

YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world.

YouTube Search Engine – Second Most Popular

People go to YouTube to learn how to do things. They go there and search for things related to just about every industry.

If you can establish your channel as an authority channel on their platform, you set yourself up to be exposed to a new audience each and every day.

Your videos have a LONG shelf life on YouTube.

I started a Biology YouTube channel back in 2010. While I haven’t uploaded ANYTHING to that channel in years and even sold the channel recently, it continues to get TONS of views solely based on those videos that I created a long time ago.

Interactive Biology YouTube Channel

Interactive Biology YouTube Channel

This is a beautiful thing. When I post a video that does well on Facebook, it will get most of its views within a very short period of time and then disappear into oblivion. Since people never visit oblivion, they never see the video again.

I don’t trust Facebook.

Yes, I said it. I don’t trust Facebook (I hope Zuckerberg isn’t reading this).

They have a sneaky habit of giving you a lot of exposure when they are launching something new and then tweaking their algorithm to screw you over as soon as things get popular.

While I think that Facebook is a great platform that will continue to be important for bloggers and business owners, I would rather build my platform on a service that has consistently proven itself to be about the creators.

How to Create YouTube Videos Quickly

Creating videos can be a very time-consuming process. Trust me, I know. And I also know that if I’m going to be successful with creating a video every weekday, I will have to have a process that makes it easy.

I’ve been refining that process and that’s what I’ll share with you right now. Here are the steps.

Do a brain dump of video topics

Brain dump video topics

One of the things a lot of creators struggle with is coming up with topics to cover in their videos. However, I’ve found that if you just take 30 minutes to an hour to just throw out a bunch of possible topics, you often end up with enough content ideas for months.

So in this first step, I want you to do just that. Brain dump as many topics as you can think of for 30 minutes to an hour. Here are some questions to think about to help you come up with those ideas:

  • What is your target audience searching for?
  • What is your target audience struggling with?
  • What sequence makes the most sense?
  • What topics are trending in my industry?

By thinking through those questions, you’ll quickly be able to come up with topic ideas.

All of the following steps I recommend doing in batches of 3 – 5 (or how many ever you think you will record in one sitting)

Do your keyword research to optimize your titles, descriptions and tags.

Optimize your titles, descriptions and tags using keyword research

Once you have those list of topic ideas, it’s a good idea to do some keyword research to solidify the topics and come up with titles and descriptions.

Remember – YouTube is a search engine. And if you optimize your titles, and tags for what people are actually searching for, you’ll be more likely to show up in the search results.

You can use the Google Keyword Planner and/or YouTube search to see what people are actually searching for.

Pro tip: Use TubeBuddy to help optimize your videos and increase your rankings.

Create your thumbnails in advance

This is something that you can do yourself or you can get someone else to do it. I have a number of thumbnail templates where I can easily change images and the text to create an awesome thumbnail in a minute or two.

I use photoshop, but there are also great free tools like Canva and Adobe Spark that work very well for YouTube thumbnails.

Create an outline for each video

It’s always good to know exactly what you plan on covering in each video. This will help you too keep the videos concise while still delivering value.

If you’re creating screencasts, then you can choose to create slides instead of (or in addition to) an outline.

Record 3 – 5 Videos in one sitting

Record 3 – 5 Videos in one sitting

Recording your videos in batches will help you be more efficient. Here are some tips for faster recording.

  1. Have a dedicated space for recording videos. This makes it super easy to just walk in, turn everything on and then hit record.
  2. If your video is simply a talking head (like mine), record in one take if possible. If you make a mistake, no problem. Just redo that section while continuing the recording.
  3. Use claps and silence to indicate where you made mistakes. These audio cues can be seen in the waveform of your video editor.
  4. Give yourself verbal cues for editing. For example, if you mess up on a section of your video and decided to change what you were saying, you can say something like “don’t use this section”. Then when you’re editing, you will know to delete that part.
  5. Batch record your b-roll if you plan on using b-roll. There are some b-roll shots that you will be using in multiple videos over time. Save yourself some time by grabbing as much of that footage as possible in one day. Then you can always use those over and over without having to create them from scratch each time.

Transfer video files to your computer

Transfer video files to your computer

When you’re making a lot of video, it’s easy for files to get disorganized (or even lost). What you do when you transfer files to your computer can make your life much easier, or more difficult.

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Create a new folder for each video and have a naming structure that will make it easier for you to find stuff. For example, I name my files with the date and a keyword or two. If I were doing a video for this podcast episode, I would call the folder 20170916_Videos Quickly. By doing so, I can easily see that that the video was created on September 16th, 2017 and it had to do with creating videos quickly. Alternatively, you can just use a number and keywords (i.e. 1_Videos Quickly).
  2. Transfer all video files to the relevant folders. I create a folder called “Video” inside the folder for the project and place all raw video files in there. I then delete all the mistake files and rename them appropriately (i.e. Videos Quickly 1)

Edit your videos

Edit your videos

Editing can be a pain in the behind. Fortunately, I’ve found that there are things I can do to speed up this process:

  1. Create a master template. I use Adobe premiere for all of my editing needs. So I decided to create a template that includes all recurring video clips (intros, outros, animations, etc), royalty-free audio clips, images, title templates and presets (video and audio).
  2. Open the template and use “Save as” to save it as a new project in my new project folder.
  3. Start editing at the end of the video and work your way to the beginning. Here’s why. When you are doing multiple takes, the last take is usually the best one. If you use the last take, then you can easily delete all of the takes that came before without having to listen to the entire take.

Schedule your videos

Schedule your videos

I love the fact that you can schedule your videos in advance on YouTube. Once you finish editing your 3 – 5 videos, you can upload them all, add all the titles, descriptions, tags and thumbnails, and then schedule them to be released on the appropriate dates.

That’s it. If you follow the steps outlined above, you will become a video making machine.

So – how often will you publish videos?

Let me know in the comments area below.

Resources Mentioned

 

The post How to Create Youtube Videos Quickly appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: http://www.becomeablogger.com/25419/create-youtube-videos-quickly/

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10 Tried and True Tactics for Getting Your First Coaching Client

You’ve seen their posts on social media …

Bloggers boasting about their multiple six-figure coaching businesses, telling you how much they love their work, their clients, and their lives.

They tell the tales of their premium coaching packages and the waiting list of clients eager to whip out their credit card.

It seems like an awesome gig, and you’d love a coaching business of your own, but these posts frustrate the hell out of you. Because you’re nowhere near where those guys are.

They have built their blogs. They have built their brands. They have built their audiences. All they need to do to get clients is send an email to their thousands of subscribers.

But you? You’re just getting started.

Nobody knows who you are, you barely have an audience and, frankly, you barely have a blog. You’re nowhere near ready to launch into coaching … right?

Wrong. And here’s why …

You Don’t Need Thousands of Subscribers to Start Your Coaching Biz

Yes, having an established blog with a huge audience is a major boon to anyone’s coaching business. People will recognize you as a credible expert, and you’ll have hordes of potential clients to pick from.

It makes the whole process of getting clients a whole lot easier and less time-consuming.

But that doesn’t mean you need to wait until you’ve amassed 5,000, 1,000, or even 500 subscribers before you start coaching.

You can start coaching right now, even if you don’t have ten subscribers on your list yet.

And you should start right now.

You know blogging will boost your coaching biz, but what you may not know is that coaching will boost your blogging efforts as well.

It will provide insights into your audience that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. This will position you to create more relevant content that connects with them on a deeper level.

Even if you need to give your first few sessions for free, the sooner you get in touch with your audience, the better.

You won’t just get to know them better, you’ll also get the case studies and testimonials that will help sell your coaching down the line. (Not to mention the confidence.)

Convinced yet?

Good. Then you must be wondering how you’re supposed to get clients.

Let’s dig in…

10 Proven Ways to Get Your First Coaching Client (Even if You’re Starting from Scratch)

Getting your first coaching client may seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. Others who have stood in your shoes have already tried and tested numerous methods and learned which ones work best.

No need to recreate the wheel or waste energy trying to discover it on your own.

I checked in with a number of successful coaches from a variety of industries on what they did to win their first coaching clients. I also asked them, if they had to start all over again, what they would do today to win their first client based upon everything they’ve learned.

Their responses were overwhelmingly similar. In fact, most felt so strongly about how well their method worked, they would use it again if they had to start from scratch.

Some of their methods are online, but others are old-school and will require you to leverage offline tactics. (Imagine that!)

Pick one or two options that make sense for your personality, your situation, and your ideal customer. And then go get that client!

#1. Put Yourself on a Stage


A smart way to get people to recognize your expertise is to put it on a stage where they can see it in plain view.

It doesn’t matter how much experience you have. Anytime you put yourself in front of a group of people, either as the host of an event or as a presenter, you position yourself as an expert.

The stage makes it easy for people to see you as someone they would like to learn more from. Especially if you share valuable information about a problem they want to have solved.

And setting up a live event isn’t as hard as you think. I’ve done it in on three different continents thus far. It’s just a matter of choosing a topic, finding a venue, and spreading the word about it.

Don’t have a budget? No problem.

Use resources such as Meetup or Eventbrite to help you organize and promote your event for free.

Bonnie Kelley quote

If you’re a little squeamish about running your own event, become a speaker at one that’s already happening in your field. Local chambers of commerce, Rotary Clubs, or even WordCamps are always on the hunt for speakers to address their membership base.

You could even consider partnering with a related business in your area, to come in and talk to their customers about a complementary topic.

JV Crum III quote

How to make this work for you:

  1. Decide what you want to give a talk about. Make sure it is something you can easily transition into a package you could offer attendees for coaching if they want additional assistance.
  2. Select a venue. If you decide to present at an event that someone else is sponsoring, such as a chamber of commerce, this part is easy, because often they will have done that work for you. You’ll just need to reach out and pitch them your idea. And if these options don’t immediately work for your type of coaching, get ideas for how to find free venues to host your workshop here,  here and here.
  3. Promote your event. You can use free sites like Canva to help you create high-quality promotion materials. These will help you spread the word and capture interest on social media and other distribution channels. Go here to find lots of other cool ideas for getting people to show up.
  4. Go for the close. At the end of your event, give a clear call to action that lets your attendees know exactly what you want them to do, such as schedule a complimentary coaching session with you.

#2. Rub Shoulders at Relevant Events


Before you balk at the idea of having to leave your house and talk to people at networking events, pause, take a deep breath, and consider this:

It works.

When you go to the right type of networking events (with people who match the profile of your ideal coaching client) then you can absolutely come away from the event with a number of clients, or at the very least, high-quality leads.

Cloris Kylie quote

Why does this work so well?

Because people like to buy from those they know, like, and trust. And building that know, like, and trust is a helluva lot easier when you’re face to face with someone, listening as they pour their heart out to you about their problems. .

How to make this work for you:

  1. Identify your target customer. Get clear about who would be ideal for the type of coaching you want to offer, and the particular problem you will solve for her.
  2. Evaluate networking events or conferences in your area. You want to target the ones that your ideal clients will likely attend. All networking events are not created equal. Be selective in which ones you go to, so you’ll get an adequate return on the time you invest.
  3. Clarify your message in advance. That way, when you do see an opportunity to talk about your services, you will communicate effectively about how you can help.
  4. Prepare a success plan before you go. When you know what you would like to accomplish at the event, it makes it easier for you to identify the right opportunities and the right people to talk to. Here’s a useful guide on how to meet people at events that will help you make the most of your networking opportunities.

#3. Woo Potential Clients on the Phone


People who have an interest in what you have to offer will rarely just whip out their credit cards on the spot.

Often enough, they will want to get on the phone with you to feel you out, get their specific questions answered, evaluate your style, and see if you are a good fit for them.

A discovery call is an excellent way to do this, and it’s easy to set up. Most of the time these calls are free, and they can range anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

Ekene Onu quote

How to make this work for you:

  1. Set up a conferencing service. You can use either video or audio. For example, you could use Skype, Zoom, or even the good old-fashioned telephone.
  2. Use a scheduling service for booking appointments. Scheduling services allow people to find a time slot on your calendar based upon mutual availabilities. It is no fun having to go back and forth over five emails with proposed times to find one that works. There are both free and paid services that offer this, such as Calendly and Schedule Once. You could even set up a web page on your site that allows people to book their discovery calls with you at their leisure.
  3. Map out a basic structure for the call. You should know in advance how you want the discovery call to flow. Whether or not your potential customer decides to work with you, they should feel like they received value out of the time they spent talking with you. (You can find resources on running an effective discovery call here and here.)
  4. Ask for the business at the end of the call. The goal of getting on the phone with your potential client is to turn them into an actual client. So you must ensure that you explain how you can help them even further through your paid coaching.

#4. Enlist Friends and Family as Wingmen


This is the low-hanging fruit. I talked to so many people who said they got their first clients by discussing their services with people they knew.

Here’s what I mean:

Jamie Masters quote
Tommi Wolfe quote
Jessica Blanchard quote
Kim Farmer quote
Carole Besson quote

Since the people within your network already know, like, and trust you, they are easier to convince to give you a shot. And if they’re not interested, they might put you in contact with other folks in their networks who might be a good fit for you.

How to make this work for you:

  1. Make a list of the people within your circle. You know a lot more people than you may realize. This could be friends, family, classmates, your hairdresser, or even people you casually banter with at the gym. Give yourself a target number of people to reach out to.
  2. Get clear on the specific problem you solve. The better your network understands what you do, the more they can visualize people in their world you might be able to help.
  3. Communicate how they can help you. If you would like your friends and family to make introductions for you to potential clients, ask them to do so. If you would like them to participate in your program so you can practice, be clear about that. Never assume your loved ones will know how they can help when you let them know about your new coaching venture.
  4. Start reaching out! Don’t be scared. The people in your circle care about you, and most people are more than willing to help if they can. Remember, you are offering something of value that helps other people. Don’t overthink this.

To illustrate, here is someone announcing their coaching services in a WhatsApp group I’m in with a group of women here in Buenos Aires.

coaching services announcement

#5. Tap into Your Business Network


Just as you’ve built up a number of people within your personal circle over the years, you also likely have a number of professional contacts who are familiar with you and your work.

For some people, this is easier than telling your personal network about your coaching services, because these people already know you in a business sense.

Therese Sibon - quote

How to make this work for you:

  1. Follow the same recommendations as given in the previous point.
  2. Don’t limit yourself only to close ties.  The professional contacts you’ve been in touch with more recently make a great starting point. But feel free to reach way back into your rolodex to people you may have worked with years ago. If you left a good enough impression, most folks are happy to hear from you. Peruse your LinkedIn connections as a starting point for building your list.
  3. Personalize your communications. You don’t want to appear like you’re just sending a mass email to everyone within your network. Here’s an email I recently sent to someone I connected with a few years ago.  A few short weeks after this initial correspondence, he became a client.

    personalize your communications
  4. Follow up.  If you haven’t heard anything after about a week, reach out again. People’s email inboxes can be a nightmare, so a friendly follow-up email to bump the message back up to the top of someone’s inbox can be super-helpful.

#6. Email Your List (Even if it’s Tiny)


If you do already have an email list, even if it is tiny, you should leverage it.

These people have already raised their hands and said they value your expertise. They said they wanted to learn more from you. Why wait until you have a giant list before making an offer?

Sarah Jones quote

When you have a big list, you have more chance of finding paying clients, and you can largely automate the process. But a smaller list has its benefits too.

For instance, you can be a lot more personal in your approach. When your list becomes massive, it’s impossible to connect with each subscriber individually. When your list is small, you can hone in on the individual issues each subscriber is experiencing.

How to make this work for you:

  1. Send out a “biggest pain” email. Ask your subscribers what their biggest challenge is as it relates to your topic area. Keep your email short and sweet. Make the “biggest pain” question the  sole focus of your communication.
  2. Ask respondents to hop on a call. Tell them you’d like to learn more about their particular situation and see if you could help. You can do it on the phone, on Skype, or live in person over coffee (if your audience is local). You’ll gain clarity on the details of what they are struggling with, and what they’ve already tried to fix the issue.
  3. Make an offer. Don’t assume that your reader will ask if you can help her. After you’ve spent time listening to your potential client, let her know you can help her with your coaching. Make an offer based on what she has told you. Lay out briefly the outcome you will help her achieve, how the process of working together will flow, and of course, your price.
Note: You can set up your welcome email to ask the “biggest pain” question. That way, any time you gain a subscriber and they respond, you can follow this same process to get new clients.

 

#7. Write the “Ultimate” Ultimate Guide


There’s a line in the movie Love Jones that says, “Let me break it down so it could forever and consistently be broke.”

That’s the goal of publishing an ultimate guide. You cover a topic in so much depth that there’s almost nothing left for anyone else to say on it.

As a result, your piece of epic content will position you as the expert your potential clients want to work with, because you will have clearly demonstrated that you know more than enough to help them be successful with what they are trying to achieve.

Primoz Bozic quote

How to make this work for you:

  1. Pick a topic that solves a common burning pain of your audience. The more relevant the topic, the more likely your audience will be to invest the time in reading your work and sharing it with others they feel can benefit.
  2. Research existing content on the topic. Remember, your goal is to create the most complete piece of content on a particular subject area. And to do that, you’ve got to know what material is already available, and then you’ve got to study it to identify weaknesses and opportunities for your guide to go deeper. (This infographic provides insights on how to do this.)
  3. Develop a promotional strategy. “Publish and pray” is not a strategy. Make sure you create a simple plan to get the people who could benefit most from your guide to see it and read it. You could publish your guide on your own website, as a guest post on a high-traffic site, or post it in relevant forums or social media groups that allow such things.
  4. Invest in creating a user-friendly design. Making your content visually appealing is an essential characteristic in making it remarkable. And the longer a piece of content is, the more important a user-friendly design becomes. You need to ensure your audience’s eyes don’t glaze over after they are only 15% of the way through. As you are designing your guide, consider adding calls to action throughout it to prime your audience to take the next step with you (such as setting up a discovery call for more information).

#8. Show Your Expertise in Relevant Facebook Groups


Groups on social media are kind of like big targeted networking groups. And since there are people in them from all over the world, at all times of the day, sharing their problems, and asking questions, it is a prime opportunity for you to slide in with the answers they need.

Over time, as you keep showing up and proactively providing value, you’ll be seen as the go-to person for your area of expertise.

Fabienne Raphael quote

How to make it work for you:

  1. Make a list of relevant Facebook groups.  Choose where your ideal customer hangs out. Focus on the groups that have high member engagement. If nobody is talking within the group, move on.
  2. Schedule a standard time in your calendar to participate. You could block time each day or possibly once a week where you will go into these groups and be an active participant. It could be as little as 15 or 30 minutes a day. It is important to schedule it so you don’t end up spending half the day on social media! No bueno.
  3. Add value consistently. Answer people’s questions. Be active. Be generous. Proactively offer tips to help others accomplish their goals. The more you do it, the more opportunities will present themselves to move the discussion beyond the group and into a private exchange. Here’s an example of how someone did it in the Millennial Entrepreneur Community on Facebook:

    Millenial Entrepreneur Facebook Community

    And here are some additional ideas from this group’s owner on the right way to get clients from the group:

    Arne Giske
  4. Seize opportunities to move the the conversation along outside the group. This could be via a private message where you can chat more in-depth on an issue, or even on a discovery call. A smart way to induce this is to mention that the advice you are providing is exactly the kind of thing you help clients with on a 1:1 basis.

#9. Step in Front of the Camera


Next to meeting someone in person, video is one of the best ways to get other people to know, like, and trust you quickly.

That’s because video is kind of like being there in person. It allows people to hear your voice, see your mannerisms, and get a good sense of your style and approach.

Ian Ryan quote
Belinda Weaver quote

And there is plenty of media  you can use to distribute your video content.

Facebook loves video, and live video in particular. In fact, its algorithm gives Facebook Live videos a boost within newsfeeds, so your friends and followers are more likely to see it.

Post the videos on your own wall, on the wall of your business page, or in a group you own. And if any Facebook groups you are a part of allow it, post relevant and useful video content on those as well.

Twitter, Instagram, and now LinkedIn are also on the video bandwagon. They’re encouraging users to utilize their respective video-sharing platforms as a means to stand out and connect with your audience.

You should also post your videos on YouTube. There’s a whole different and rather large audience of people there (more than 30 million a day!) searching for content on how to solve their particular issues.

How to make this work for you:

  1. Don’t stress over the tech. The camera on your smartphone or your laptop is likely perfect to get started. And just in case you would like to jazz up your videos with some good lighting, this down and dirty lighting kit from Wistia works wonders. You can get it all for less than $100.
  2. Know what you want to accomplish with your video series. Be clear about what you want to guide people through with the training, and the outcome you want them to achieve.
  3. Outline what you want to say. You don’t have to be scripted, but you do want to make sure that you cover all the key points you want to address for each session.
  4. Publish consistently. I cringe when I go back and look at the first videos I made years ago. But you’ve got to power through the first ones so you’re able to get better at it over time. The more videos you produce, the better you will get. The goal isn’t to be a perfectionist here. It’s to take action and get that first client! You’ll get better with time.

#10. Run a Lottery for Freebie Sessions


When people are reading your articles, you have a captive audience. And when someone is engaged enough to read your article all the way to the end, they must have a strong interest in solving the particular issue you covered in your article.

So you might take this opportunity to offer an option to work with you 1:1 via your coaching.

You can run a lottery where a select number of readers can win a free session.

Then, for the people who don’t win one, you can offer them a discount for participating in the contest. They have already expressed interest in your help. They might be willing to pay for it.

Jon Morrow quote

You can do this with articles you publish on your own website, but you may also consider doing this on a guest post for a larger blog. If you do the latter, you need to have a strong enough relationship with the owner of the blog first. Jon recommends having written at least three posts on the site before making such a proposal.

How to make this work for you:

  1. Focus your offer on the outcome. To convert a reader into a paying customer, they have to believe you will help them get to the state they desire. They aren’t buying coaching from you, they are buying the transformation you will create for them. Help them visualize what life will be like for them as a result of working with you. So if you’re a fitness coach, the outcome you’re helping your clients achieve could be to get to their goal weight.
  2. Put a limit on the number of free sessions you offer. Your goal is to get your first paying coaching clients. Free clients can pave the way to helping you get there, but there is a limit to how much free work you can allow into your schedule. You don’t want to be so busy with free activities that you don’t have time to do the work that will earn you money.
  3. Make the offer on your most valuable posts. You don’t want to try this technique on every post you publish. Your audience will learn to tune it out. Instead, test this out on an article that is truly remarkable, on a topic that is top-of-mind for your audience.
  4. Let your audience know what makes you qualified to help them. This isn’t the time to be modest. If people are going to trust you to help them reach their goals, they need to feel comfortable that you know what you are doing. Incorporating social proof somewhere in your post is helpful. You could talk about results you’ve gotten in the past for yourself. And it could be as simple as teaching with such depth and authority that it is clear you know your stuff.Here’s how Jon laid out his social proof on that guest post that got him his first coaching clients way back when.
Jon's social proof on blogging

Now Go Out and Get Your First Coaching Client

There’s no need to wait.

You don’t need your blog to gather an audience. You don’t need any more expertise. And you don’t need any additional certifications or sources of proof.

You know enough right now to help someone else create a transformation for the better in their life.

So don’t keep them waiting any longer.

Choose one of the methods above (or combine some) and go get your first coaching client. Then get another. And then another.

Soon enough, you’ll start to gain momentum. Your confidence will build. And then you’ll be the one with a full roster of clients who are more than eager to work with you.

But it all starts with getting the first one.

Go get ‘em.

*Note: Because Smart Blogger has been such an essential part of my blogging-for-business journey, I want to give back to the community. I’m setting aside time in my calendar to do ten free 30-minute work sessions, where you and I will roll up our sleeves and build your simple plan to book your first paid coaching client in no time. Answer this simple question to be considered.  I’ll pick ten people, and we’ll schedule a time to chat.*

About the Author: Sonia Thompson is a content marketing strategist, coach, and founder of TRY Business School, which is all about helping you get the customers you want and keep them coming back for more. She’s also a bit obsessed with roaming the streets of Buenos Aires and dancing tango. Join the free 5-Day Get Your 1st Coaching Client Challenge, so you can start building your thriving coaching business today.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/how-to-get-coaching-clients/

How to Grow a Blogging Business with Zero Budget – Erin Odom

Ready to start blogging, but don’t have any money to invest yet?

In today’s interview, I’m talking to Erin Odom, the author of More Than Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated and founder of The Humbled Homemaker, a blog dedicated to grace-filled living designed to equip and encourage mothers in the trenches.

Listen to This Episode

Her Southern charm and wealth of inspirational, practical content has drawn an audience of millions over the years. Erin and her husband Will live in the South where they are raising their four children.

Erin can speak to an experience that I hear about all the time. She built her blog at a time when she had ZERO money to invest. Yes, actually zero money. But that didn’t stop her. Nope, she blogged, networked, DIY-ed and bartered her way into a full time income and brought her family out of poverty.

How did she do it?

Erin’s Story

Back in 2011, Erin and her family were living on a very low income. After moving to South Carolina to be closer to her parents, they had a home in Mississippi that was under water and not selling, right in the middle of the recession.

Her husband Will was a high school teacher working in a state that does not pay teachers well at all. They had a toddler and an infant. Both Erin and Will were working odd jobs but living on government aid. Erin’s degree in journalism helped her to get some freelance work at a local newspaper and couple other writing gigs.

Erin and Family

Erin and Family

The schedule was hectic. Erin worked a lot in the middle of the night and during naptime. Her parents helped out with child care, too.

Would she have done it differently? Erin feels she didn’t have a choice back then, but she definitely doesn’t recommend sacrificing your rest if you have the option!

Erin found out she was pregnant with their third child in winter 2011. At the time, they thought they were doing everything they could, but they still couldn’t make ends meet. “The tunnel just felt really dark,” Erin says.

She didn’t know much about blogging at the time, but within a week of each other, two separate people mentioned that some stay-at-homes moms were making an income from blogging.

Erin was initially excited but skeptical. She was intrigued by the idea but didn’t know how to go about it. And she was scared to tell anyone that she was thinking about blogging for a living.

For the first six months, Erin didn’t tell anyone except her husband. At first, he said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Over the course of six years, there were many ups and downs. There was also a period of tension when the blog was taking a lot of time but not making a lot of money. Then, Erin started to burn out and wanted to quit, but her husband encouraged her to keep going. And now, her husband has quit his job teaching and works on the blog with her.

Erin called the blog The Humbled Homemaker to speak to her own experience of being a wife, mother, and homemaker and feeling “humbled” by the daily challenges she faced. She wanted to help other moms in similar situations navigate “life in the trenches,”

The Humbled Homemaker

She mainly wrote articles at first. She wanted readers to know from the get-go that there would be no guilt, but only grace coming from her. She strove to provide content that came from the heart but was also practical. And she tried to create content around things that she was struggling with at the time.

No Money

All the experts say that you need to buy a domain name, have professional design, and so on in order to monetize your blog. Erin is here to tell you that it is possible to start for free if you don’t have money to invest. Just start somewhere.

The key is choosing a platform where you can monetize. Erin initially used Bloggr, and started off as thehumbledhomemaker.blogspot.com.

When she felt like she had $10 to spare to buy the domain name, she upgraded to thehumbledhomemaker.com. And, finally, eventually, she had enough to get started with a professional WordPress site.

You don’t need money to start your blog today!

If you really can’t invest anything in your blog right now, that’s okay! But start with the intention of upgrading as soon as possible, and make sure that you’re still able to monetize your work.

So what was Erin’s strategy?

Back in 2011, link ups on other blogs were really popular. Erin found a meal planning blog with a link up. She wasn’t doing weekly meal plans at the time, but she saw the potential to get some traffic within her niche. She started posting her meal plans there every week.

After about a month of doing this consistently, she got a random email from two other bloggers. They had seen her link and invited her to join a Mastermind group that they were forming.

These three women formed a group with the intention of helping each other grow. So they posted on each others’ sites, did series together, and boosted each other on social media. This was a huge factor for Erin in growing her audience.

Erin stresses that this Mastermind group wasn’t about competition, but camaraderie. All these women were in a similar niche and could’ve been aggressive with each other, but they were motivated to help each other succeed.

She also says that you also have to be willing to start these connections yourself. If no one approaches you, you’ve got to put yourself out there and approach them! Take some initiative, and start a Mastermind on your own. As Erin says, “It’s free! You can do it.”

Everyone in that first Mastermind group was at a similar stage with their blogging business. This group was also very intentional about growing audiences. They did several joint series, where they would link across blogs in their posts.

Today, you could share your group’s content in your weekly newsletter. You can also share through social media. With zero money to invest, these are all FREE ways to grow your business.

Building an Audience

Erin wants you to remember that although there are so many things you can do today to grow your traffic faster, but slow and steady wins the race. Remember the tortoise and the hare!

Relationships yield amazing benefits for your blogging business.

In Erin’s story about her road to blogging success, RELATIONSHIPS keep coming up. Relationships require investment of time to nurture, but they don’t necessarily cost money. And they can yield some amazing benefits for you.

Around the same time that she started her Mastermind group, Erin also started writing guest posts for other blogs. This proved to be a fantastic way to build new relationships.

She also used these relationships to barter for stuff she couldn’t afford. For example, someone in the Mastermind group was very skilled with design and wanted some more experience. Erin herself is more skilled with words.
These two partnered together for their mutual benefit: Erin offered to edit her friend’s ebook, and her friend offered to migrate Erin’s site to WordPress and do the design work.

By 2012, Erin had also learned how to barter to attend a conference. She approached companies for sponsorships: ”I blogged about their products, and they sent me to the conference.”

This is great advice because, as you know, attending conferences is such an important part of blogging. So think about building relationships with companies where you create value for them and then you get something in return.

Monetizing

Erin’s blog started making money right away, but not very much. Just a couple dollars here and there.

However, Erin was also pursuing other income streams at the time. She started editing for other bloggers, and she says that she learned a lot from that job: her client was using WordPress, so she go to learn the platform while making some money.

Real Food, Real Easy

Real Food, Real Easy

She also edited ebooks and tried to VA for another blogger, but that didn’t work out too well!

Erin says that you may have to find some related money-making ventures when you’re first starting out. Then you can use that money to start growing your blog.

She also made money through private sponsors (that was more popular back then than it is now). She approached sponsors through email, and they then bought sidebar ads or sponsored posts.

A friend’s husband installed Google AdSense for her, and she also did a little bit of affiliate marketing. Eventually, she got AdThrive.

Finally, she wrote an ebook together with her Mastermind group. It was a joint recipe book called Real Food, Real Easy that they collaborated on and sold together.

Was Erin using an email list? At first she just had an RSS feed.

Then, in Fall 2012, about 18 months after starting her blog, Erin was involved in an affiliate marketing sale. People were starting to do really well, and everyone started emailing back and forth about what was working best.

People weren’t building email lists back then, but someone in the group had downloaded email addresses from Feed Burner and gotten a lot of sales that way. When Erin tried the same trick, Gmail kept shutting her down because she was sending too many emails. It was working!

She quickly got MailChimp (although she has since switched to Mad Mimi) to manage all those email addresses. Email then became a big deal for her.

How can you build an email list on a budget? MailChimp and Mad Mimi both have free plans that you can take advantage of. MailChimp actually allows up to 2000 subscribers, and you can send up to 12,000 emails per month, on the free plan.

It took Erin two years to replace her husband’s income of about $30,000 before taxes. It took three years before she was earning a full time income.

Her husband quit his job in December 2016 to work on the blog full time with her.

Let that sink in: Erin had zero to invest, but within two years she was making $30,000 before taxes. Within three years–well, she doesn’t want to give a number, but she does say that it completely blows her mind how much she can make.

You can do it fast, but that take a lot of hustle and lot of financial investment. If you don’t have money to invest, you can still do it–it might just take a little longer.

Relationships, Relationships, Relationships!

Relationships, relationships!

Look at everything Erin was doing: it ALL comes back to relationships. If you are trying to do this thing and you have money to invest or you don’t, don’t try to grow as an island! No one is an island. It won’t work unless you invest the time to build those relationships.

Erin met some of her best friends online through blogging. A couple that she met online once drove hundreds of miles to stay with Erin and Will and offered to help them figure out their financial situation

Nowadays, she gets together with other blogging families once a year, as a family to Mastermind in person.

Foster those relationships. You never know where they might lead.

Want to know more?

Erin’s new book was released on September 5! It’s called More Than Just Making It and it’s part memoir, part practical advice on how her family climbed out of low income living in the aftermath of the recession. The key was discovering that they needed more income, and creating that income through blogging. You can get all the info and purchase a copy at morethanjustmakingit.com.

Resources Mentioned

Infographic

How to Grow a Blogging Business with Zero Budget – Erin Odom

The post How to Grow a Blogging Business with Zero Budget – Erin Odom appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: http://www.becomeablogger.com/25389/erin-odom/

The Future of Facebook for Bloggers

Have you noticed a decline in your Facebook engagement over the years?

Are you concerned about what the future of Facebook looks like for bloggers?

In this episode, I share my thoughts on the future of Facebook and how we, as bloggers can take advantage of where Facebook is going.

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The Facebook Algorithm

Do you remember the Facebook glory days when you could just post something on Facebook and get tons of traffic?

Well, those days are gone, and the algorithm has taken over.

Facebook Algorithm

Facebook Algorithm

If you think about it, it really does make sense. There are over 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook as of June 27, 2017.

According to the best data I could find, the average person on Facebook has 338 friends (and I’m sure that number is way higher now).

If we were to see everything that our friends (or the pages we like) post on Facebook, we’d be more overwhelmed than we already are.

As a result, Facebook has implemented their fancy algorithm with the hopes of serving you with the content that is most relevant to you.

As a result, we have seen a decline in organic reach.

In 2012, it was reported that only 16.5 of the people who like your page see what you post.

Then there were reports in 2014 that that number was as low as 4.5%, and since then – we’ve seen even lower numbers.

Organic reach is almost negligible and the glory days are gone.

So the big questions are:

  1. Does it still make sense to focus on Facebook?
  2. What does the future hold for bloggers?

My General Thoughts

YES, it still makes sense to focus on Facebook, but you can’t do it in the same way you did 5 years ago.

Target FacebookFacebook has changed, and we’ll see even more changes in the future. The smart thing for bloggers to do is to position yourself where Facebook is going.

Here’s what you have to realize. Facebook is a business and has a very specific objective – to make more money.

I know they talk a lot about bringing the world together, forming community, etc. But a HUGE part of their decisions center around what makes the most money.

They make money by getting our attention, because that’s something they can sell.

If your actions align with the goal of making them money, they are more likely to promote what you do.

So let’s talk about the future of Facebook.

The Future of Facebook is Video

It has become obvious that Facebook is making a shift towards video. In an interview with BuzzFeed last year, Mark Zuckerburg made the following statement:

“We’re entering this new golden age of video . . . I wouldn’t be surprised if you fast-forward five years and most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video.”

Future of Facebook - Video

Future of Facebook – Video

A Facebook commissioned study by Kantar Media has shown that people watch video five times longer than static content.

But in addition to that, people watch live videos on Facebook three times as long as non-live video.

Facebook has also recently rolled out Facebook Watch both on mobile and desktop.

This is a new section of Facebook devoted exclusively to video consumption.

In the episode, I share a few areas that Facebook want content creators to focus in order to do well on their platform.

If you want to take advantage of Facebook’s video push, here’s what I would recommend:

  1. You have to create a video strategy. If video is what Facebook wants and what holds people’s attention on Facebook, get over your video creation fears and go all in.
  2. Consider doing live video. This is the one form of content that Facebook will actually send instant notification about. Take advantage of this and grow your engagement.
  3. Perfect your video creation skills – Video creation is a craft, and while it has become very easy to put video out there, if you want to be in this for the long haul, I would recommend investing in getting better at the craft of video creation.
  4. Be consistent. When it comes to content creation, consistency is so important. You want to get your growing audience used to coming for your content on a regular schedule. That will help to give you the momentum that’s necessary to grow at a faster pace.
  5. Collaborate with other video creators. When you do this, everyone benefits. Content creation gets easier and you get exposure to a brand new audience.

Master Facebook Ads and Grow your Business

Have you ever looked for something on Amazon only to realize that that product follows you over to Facebook in the form of ads?

Ads to Grow Business

Master Facebook Ads and Grow your Business

Facebook has mastered the advertising game and as a result. You can now target people based on what they’ve demonstrated that they care about.

Here’s the beautiful part – this targeting ability will continue to improve. Smart bloggers who use Facebook will get better at targeting and remarketing and use these strategies to grow their blogs.

If you want to take advantage of where this is going, here’s what I recommend:

  1. If you do nothing else, make sure to install the new Facebook pixel. This will set you up to do all kinds of advanced targeting. Even if you don’t start running ads immediately, you will be building custom audiences passively.
  2. Start studying up on Facebook ads and remarketing. This is a skill that will pay off over and over.
  3. Learn about custom audiences. This one tactic is the secret to getting the right audience to take the actions you want them to take.
  4. When you’re somewhat comfortable with Facebook ads, start experimenting. This will be an ongoing experiment and the more you test, the better you become.

Messenger Bots – The Next Big Platform

When email marketing services came on the scene, this revolutionized email marketing.

No longer did marketers have to manually send emails to a bunch of individual email addresses. Automation made our lives MUCH easier.

Messenger Bots

Messenger Bots – The Next Big Platform

In the early days of email automation, open and click through rates were ridiculously high.

Well this same transformation is now happening with messaging.

There are platforms like ManyChat that allow you to create bots that function somewhat similar to autoresponders.

However, they also allow for immediate interaction, and this is game-changing.

People who are using messenger bots are currently seeing open rates of over 90%. That’s CRAZY.

If you want to take advantage of where messenger bots are going, here’s what I recommend:

  1. Sign up for Manychat and start experimenting. The best way to get your feet wet is by diving in and checking out what the platform has to offer.
  2. Check out bot examples at Botlist. This is an easy way of seeing what others are doing. Not to copy them outright, but to get some ideas for how you can use messenger bots.
  3. Create your first bot.

Inside the episode, I also talk about how you can create a comprehensive strategy for taking advantage of where Facebook is going.

Make sure to have a listen.

Question for you:

Which of these Facebook developments are you most excited about? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Resources Mentioned

  • Interview with Mark Zuckerberg on Buzzfeed last year where he made a statement on Facebook’s obvious shift towards Facebook.
  • Kantar Media biometric analysis – Results of Facebook IQ commissioned analysis of  people who regularly watch short-form videos online.
  • Facebook Watch – a new section of Facebook devoted exclusively to video consumption.
  • ManyChat – a platform that allow you to create bots that function somewhat similar to autoresponders.
  • Botlist – has some good examples of how to use messenger bots.

The post The Future of Facebook for Bloggers appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: http://www.becomeablogger.com/25378/future-of-facebook-for-bloggers/

How to Get Unstuck and Build Your Online Business – Jason van Orden

Episode: 305
Who: Jason van Orden
Website/Blog: JasonVanOrden.com

Do you ever feel stuck or dissatisfied with your business?

Are you feeling like you need a change, but you’re not sure where to start?

Today, I’m talking to Jason van Orden, who has worked with more than 6,000 students and clients over the past twelve years, teaching them about how to monetize their unique brilliance with content marketing, scalable courses, and automated sales systems. In September 2005, Jason co-founded the first ever podcast about internet business and online marketing, which quickly became one of the top business podcasts in the world and one of the most profitable on iTunes.

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He’s also the author of the bestselling book Promoting Your Podcast, and his work has been used to teach marketing at the university level. In case that’s not enough for you, he has also been featured on Forbes.com and Entrepreneur.com.

I brought Jason on today because he and I have been chatting lately about a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. We’re gonna talk about changes that are happening and need to happen in the industry.

Jason’s Story

Jason actually has a double degree in Jazz Guitar and computer engineering. He kind of fell into business and podcastings. He says that he didn’t know he wanted to be an entrepreneur.

Jason Van Orden

Jason Van Orden

Jason enjoys programming (he has done it since age 5), but he really did not enjoy working in a corporate atmosphere. Like a lot of us, he was tired of the “Sunday night dread” and hitting the snooze button a million times.

It was long, zig-zagging journey to find his niche. He was opened up to real estate investment through reading books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad, for example. It was a step by step process. Once Jason realized he was good at real estate marketing, he started teaching people what was then called “information marketing.” This was around 2004,  pre-social media and pre-online video, and he was looking for more ways to market his seminars.

So when podcasting showed up in 2005, it was intriguing to Jason for a number of reasons. He very quickly set the goal of becoming “the business podcasting guy.”

His podcast, Internet Business Mastery, very unexpectedly turned into a six-figure business and beyond. It quickly became a primary focus for Jason, and continued to be the backbone of his business until he moved into consulting 2 years ago.

Internet Business Mastery Website

Internet Business Mastery Website

Jason calls his journey a “zig-zaggy, circuitious path.” I think will resonate with a lot of us: you go in a direction, and you don’t know where it will take you. You think outcome will be one thing, but you find out that’s not where you needed to go. So you are constantly changing the plan and reinventing yourself.

Taking Your Own Path

Jason Van Orden Podcasting

Jason very quickly set the goal of becoming “the business podcasting guy.”

Nowadays, it sounds totally reasonable to start a podcast to help your business. But back in 2005, no one was doing it like that! So I want to know what made Jason go in that direction when no one else was doing it that way. It’s intriguing to me because there wouldn’t have been a mentor to lead him toward business podcasting at the time.

Jason says that he had no reason to think podcasting was going to take off the way it did, except that he had a gut feeling about it. So he followed his gut. And of course, there was a little bit of luck involved. But when I ask him why he went that way, Jason answers,  “I almost didn’t, honestly!”

Thankfully, his wife really encouraged him to go for it. She had helped him to process the fear of quitting his engineering job back in 2003, and now she was helping him face the fear of going into podcasting. As Jason emphasizes, it is hugely important to have those advocates in your life, whether it’s your spouse, your mentor, or your Mastermind group.

Making a Change

About three years ago, Jason needed to make some changes. The industry was really starting to  wear on him.

Failing business

Jason needed to make some changes. The industry was really starting to wear on him.

He was living in Paris at the time with his wife and daughter. This was the pinnacle of his lifestyle dreams: he had always wanted to live in Paris, even before he went to college. And he says that he was “loving it.”

But there was a big “but”. All of a sudden, the business he had built wasn’t fulfilling him the way it used to. Keep in mind that his job was advising people to choose their niche carefully because it needs to fulfill you and can’t just be a money maker. But suddenly, he felt like he was not being fed by his work. He wasn’t enjoying it.

Jason says he felt like a fraud: what would his students and customers think if they knew that he didn’t actually enjoy the work himself?

This led to a prolonged period of soul-searching. Jason kept asking, “Why do I feel this way? What’s out of alignment?” He needed to discover what it was that had to change.

His wife stepped in again and recommended taking a retreat. He says that she recognized some of the stuff she had seen over a decade before when Jason wasn’t satisfied in his job as an engineer, and she knew he was avoiding really digging into “the meat of the matter.”

Would Jason say he was depressed at that time? Yes: he says that it “absolutely was the beginning of depression”.  He uses the analogy of a frog sitting in boiling water: the feelings of dissatisfaction were slowly eroding “all the things that I depended on as an information-based business owner.” He had to stop ignoring it and putting it off in order to recognize depression.

Space and time for yourself

Give yourself space to get out of your usual element, and to give yourself time.

Now, when you’re a podcaster, you have to show up and perform on a weekly basis. When I turn on my microphone, I know that I have a mission to complete. But when you’re feeling a lack of fulfillment, it must be difficult to show up.

Jason agrees that it took a lot more energy to podcast when he was feeling depressed. He hasn’t gone back to listen, but he’s sure people noticed that the tone of the show was changing. He was mustering energy rather than being excited to share new things.

Jason now realizes that his momentum had ceased. He had been doing same thing for ten years and had gotten complacent. He uses the image of a shark to explain what he means: sharks need to move through water in order to get oxygen through their gills. They’ll suffocate if they don’t move because the water isn’t bringing them that oxygen. That’s how Jason was feeling: stuck and suffocated.

He figured out that he needed to give himself space. When we find ourselves stuck, it can be easy to isolate ourselves. We might be feeling guilty, or shameful and, according to Jason, we ”isolate ourselves from the very input that we need.” Talking to others helps you get “unstuck.” If you’re feeling suffocated, Jason recommends giving yourself space to get out of your usual element, and to give yourself time.

So after he took the retreat his wife recommended, Jason realized he needed more time and took a sabbatical. This allowed him to learn that his drive was gone because he wasn’t being challenged, wasn’t pushing self to master new things. It was time to change some things up, and he had gone too long without listening to those needs.

Getting Unstuck

When he came back to New York City in 2015 to speak to his business partner, Jason was worried. How is the business supposed to survive if they don’t show up and create the content?

Luckily, his partner was feeling kinda the same way. He was very supportive and suggested that they come up with a creative solution to give themselves some time to rejuvenate the business.  

In the end, they found a way to just show up to do the podcast and hire someone else to do the rest. This started as a 3-month break, but it became 18 months. Jason continued to make the same money as before, but he only had to work about 4 hours a month. This wasn’t sustainable longer term, but it gave him the room to figure out next steps and reinvent the business.

His advice when you’re feeling depressed, dissatisfied, or stuck?

1. Don’t isolate yourself.

Sharing how hard things have been or how down you’re feeling will help you to unlock and process this stuff.

2. Get out there and have conversations with people.

This should be people you trust as well as new people. You never know who will spark an idea.

3. You’re not the only one.

Remember that you’re not the only one that goes through these things (even though it feels like that in the moment). Every entrepreneur has these struggles from time to time.

4. Don’t neglect your mental health.

Our minds are a part of our products, and if your mental health is suffering, so is the value that you create. You’ve got to take care of yourself, too!

Jason also recommends asking yourself questions like these:

  • What would be fun to try right now?
  • What fascinates me?
  • Where do I find my curiosity pulled?

The answers can be hard to find when the market seems to pull you in a particular direction, or when “everyone” is doing the same things. For Jason, moving into one-on-one work was a total change of direction, but it was exactly what he needed to do. He enjoyed it so much that he still does it.

Jason says that if you pay attention to where you get energy and ask yourself what you enjoy, you’ll find what feeds you as a content creator.

It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. But just because everyone else is doing it, that doesn’t mean you have to do it, too. It goes back to Jason’s start in podcasting: he started because it was interesting to him, not because it was what everyone else was doing.

Changing the Industry

So I want to know: where does Jason see things that need to change? Or things that derail us and distract us from what’s really important?

He’s got a few ideas! These apply to the  industry as a whole, but Jason says they apply to individuals, too:

Noisy industry

“The noise floor has just gone up and up and up as more people have come online” trying to sell or establish a brand.” – Jason Van Orden

First of all, we need to realize that marketing is always going to depend on these very sexy stories about the one thing that makes a difference or the story that seems like the overnight success. According to Jason, “the noise floor has just gone up and up and up as more people have come online” trying to sell or establish a brand.

Because of that rhetoric, it’s easy to get caught up in the feeling of “OMG I gotta go and do that. I can’t miss out! #FOMO!” Jason finds this really aggravating. Everyone feels like there’s only one or maybe two ways to do it “the right way.”  

That’s just not true, Jason says. Things have become more homogenized online, but there are so many ways to share your voice, show up online, and share your products. We need more innovation in how we create and deliver value.

This isn’t just helping us feel more fulfilled, by the way. The audiences that we’re trying to reach are shifting, too. They are looking for a fresh voice and getting fed up with what’s been done for the last 5 years.

So how do you break the cycle? Here are Jason’s suggestions:

1. STOP Comparing yourself to others.

If that means unsubscribing, do it. Go on a social media fast if you need to, or at least unsubscribe from anyone on Instagram who triggers feelings of anxiety. You do not need to follow everyone in order to “do it right.” Filter out the stuff that doesn’t feed your creativity. 

2. Go back to fascination, curiosity, and fun.

Give yourself the space to hear your own approach. If there are hundreds of ways to get where you want to go, you might as well choose the journey that excites you, rather than going with what someone else says because they want you to buy their program. The bar has to be raised because the noise level keeps going up. You can chart your own course.

3. Don’t buy the hype.

We don’t do a good job as human beings to looking back and seeing all the variables that affected us on our journeys. So be wary of anyone saying “this ONE THING made all the difference!” That might be their impression, but it’s probably not true.  

I’ve gotta interject for a minute here: this is all crazy talk! I mean, I agree with all of it, but it goes against everything we’re taught when it comes to online marketing.

I believe in everything Jason is saying, but I also have an online course and a membership site, and an ebook. I teach people to blog in a particular way. How do you balance that kind of structure with the knowledge that everyone who goes through a program is a unique individual?

Find a thought leader that you resonate with, that you share values with, that you enjoy listening to, who also has authority, expertise, and experience.

Jason says that he continues to look for answers to this question. We all understand the appeal of a blanket digital course, but evergreen passive income doesn’t really exist. Yes, you want a scalable business and a successful business, but only if it empowers you more and more to pursue your “why”.

Digital courses by nature, end up being created for the “common denominator”: what is the methodology that will work best for most people? Jason has gravitated toward one-on-one work for this exact reason: it allows for more nuance in teaching.

What does this mean for you as a consumer? Find a thought leader that you resonate with, that you share values with, that you enjoy listening to, who also has authority, expertise, and experience. And then understand that there may also be part of what they teach that isn’t wrong, but doesn’t resonate with you or isn’t right for you.

Jason says that he used to be very prescriptive with courses because he wanted people to have the greatest chance of succeeding. Now, he realizes that you also need to make space for people to experiment and make it their own, otherwise they won’t be as successful and fulfilled as they could be. And we need to make clear, as teachers, that that is part of the process.

Frameworks vs Formulas

Keep a healthy balance between teaching a system and making room for individuality.

Jason has a great model (which he borrowed from a friend) for keeping a healthy balance between teaching a system and making room for individuality.

Think about the difference between frameworks and formulas.

A formula says, “just do it the way I did it, and you’ll be fine.” It doesn’t allow for creativity or change.

But a framework is something that can be applied to a number of scenarios that still has room for leeway and nuance. It accounts for a wider range of learners and needs.

So take a look at your content: are you offering formulas or frameworks?

And look at who you’re learning from: are you getting prescriptions (formulas) or flexibility (frameworks)?

Building a Business Model

Jason has some final tips for anyone looking to adjust their business model to help shake things up.

1. Think about positioning.

Find your voice and figure out your ethics. When you read or listen to something online, think about how you would’ve said something similar.

2. Find the best channels to communicate that positioning.

The audience for this podcast is mostly interested in blogging, but challenge yourself to branch out, too.

3. Look at packaging: how do you want to present your knowledge and perspective?

There are alternatives to the digital course model. Everyone right now is talking about funnels and scalables, but that’s all about creating a customer journey.

Those aren’t the only paths. Think about maximizing the value to and value from each student or customer at every point on their journey. Just as there are lots of different customers, there are lots of ways to set up a customer journey that delivers maximum value to them, and therefore maximum income to you.

Remember: there are lots of ways to snap all these pieces together. Jason says that if you’re feeling uncomfortable making a change, remember that  it’s not square peg/round hole situation because there are infinite shapes that your business can take. You might have a dodecahedron-shaped business, and that’s great!

Want to know more?

The best places to find Jason are at www. jasonvanorden.com or the Jason Van Orden page on Facebook.

Resources Mentioned

Infographic

unstuck blogging business

How to Get Unstuck and Rejuvenate Your Blogging Business

The post How to Get Unstuck and Build Your Online Business – Jason van Orden appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: http://www.becomeablogger.com/25355/jason-van-orden/

How to Grow a Blog That Will Have an Impact

Are you a blogger who’s trying to have an impact in the world?

Wondering how to stand out in a world where there is so much noise?

In this episode, I lay out a step by step game plan to help you rise above the noise, grow your blog and have an impact.

Show notes coming soon!

The post How to Grow a Blog That Will Have an Impact appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: http://www.becomeablogger.com/25335/grow-a-blog-impact/

How to Write a Paragraph in 2017 (Yes, the Rules Have Changed)

You want people to read your content, right?

That’s why you wrote it in the first place.

But getting people to read your content in today’s world of speedy news, food, and pleasure is a challenge. You’re not just competing with other writers, but with everything online — cat videos, Kardashian gossip, Game of Thrones, etc.

With all the available alternatives, your readers are easily distracted.

Most people who land on your page will scan it and decide, within seconds, to either leave or stay.

And one of the biggest turn-offs for online readers is poor paragraph structure.

That’s why you must master the art of writing paragraphs for today’s audience, and the first step to do so is to forget everything you learned about it in grade school.

Let me explain …

Why You Must Forget Everything School Taught You About Writing Paragraphs

The paragraph was born from a desire to topically organize long blocks of text. And for a long time, that worked.

“When the topic changes,” your grade school teacher said, “so does the paragraph.”

While that practice still mostly applies to print media — books, magazines, and sometimes newspapers — it’s an outdated rule of thumb for the larger rally of writers who spend the bulk of their time publishing online content.

Consider the drastic difference in paragraph length between this teacher-pleasing page from Habits of a Happy Brain and this online article by Tomas Laurinaricius that reviews the same book.

Contrast Paragraphs in a book vs. online article.

The difference in paragraph structure is obvious.

But why has the paragraph changed?

The main reason for the paragraph’s evolution is the way we consume media. Print publication is no longer top dog; online publication has become the primary media for consuming written content.

We read more from our screens than from the page, which completely changes how we approach the act of reading.

When we open a book or magazine, we’re usually at home or somewhere quiet and giving it our full attention. We usually set aside some time to dive into a book or magazine.

Online, a multitude of ads and pop-up notifications threaten that undying attention, especially when we’re reading on our mobiles.

The reading habits of our audience have changed, and we must change with them or risk being ignored.

So here are the rules for writing paragraphs that will be published online. Use them to your advantage the next time you sit down to create.

The Rules of the 2017 Paragraph

Rule #1. Short Paragraphs Are Mandatory


One of the best ways to instantly turn off your audience is to present them with a big wall of text that has few breaks and little white space. A visitor who looks at such a page will click the back button faster than you can cry, “Please give it a chance!”

We have adapted to expect and prefer paragraphs that are short because they look and feel easier to read. Short paragraphs are easier to scan, and they allow readers to consume the article in bite-sized chunks, which helps maintain their focus — and this is critical in this age of distraction.

Consider, for example, the ease with which you can read the introduction to this article by Mel Wicks.

Easy to read introductions

Yes, Mel Wicks uses empathetic language and easy-to-read prose, which no doubt enhances her clarity. But you can’t ignore the sense you get just by glancing at her article that it will be an easy read.

This is the effect that short paragraphs have on readers.

In her above article, there are ten paragraphs. The longest paragraph is 42 words, and seven of them have only 12 words or less.

The 100- to 200-word paragraph standard is crippling before our eyes.

So what’s the new standard? How short do you have to be?

Well, your average paragraph should be between two and four lines. You can go over and under — some paragraphs are just one word long — but stay close to that average and you should be fine.

Rule #2. Rhythm Dictates the Next Paragraph


Rhythm is the new arbiter of words. It determines where paragraphs end and where new ones begin.

Rhythm in writing is something that’s hard to teach. It’s not an exact science and doesn’t follow hard rules. It’s something that you mostly have to feel out.

The more experienced you become as a writer, the more you’ll develop your rhythm. But in the meantime, you can follow these basic guidelines:

1. Variation

As mentioned earlier, you want to keep your paragraphs short, but that doesn’t mean every paragraph has to be under 50 words.  In fact, switching between short and long paragraphs will make your writing sing.

Here are a few noteworthy rules of thumb. You don’t have to follow these perfectly, but they’re worth remembering.

  • If you just wrote one or two paragraphs that are four lines or more, shorten the next few paragraphs.
  • If you just wrote one or two paragraphs that are only one line, lengthen your next few paragraphs.
  • If you just wrote three to four paragraphs of similar length, shorten or lengthen your next paragraph.

Too many same-sized paragraphs in a row will bore your reader. It doesn’t matter if it’s too many small paragraphs or too many long paragraphs, the effect is similar.

Consider this excerpt from Jon Morrow’s post on earning passive income online:

Balance short and long paragraphs.

See how he perfectly balances between short and long paragraphs?

Now imagine if the same excerpt were structured this way:

The reason I put “passive income” in quotes is I think the term is a little misleading.

Almost nothing is totally passive.

While you may not personally be doing any work to receive the money, someone is.

And there’s usually at least a little bit of management overhead.

For instance, I’ve gone on record saying this blog averages over $100,000 per month.

From that total, about $60,000 of it is technically “passive income.”

Because I don’t have to do anything to generate it.

I could die, and the money would keep coming in month after month for years into the future.

But that doesn’t mean no one is working.

It also doesn’t mean I’m personally receiving the entire $60,000.

The truth is, most of that money goes to paying my team.

Even though all of these paragraphs are short, this text feels monotonous. Too many short paragraphs make a reader feel like they’re on a rollercoaster ride with no destination — they’re moving fast but they quickly get confused about where they’re going.

Similarly bothersome is if the excerpt were structured this way:

The reason I put “passive income” in quotes is I think the term is a little misleading. Almost nothing is totally passive. While you may not personally be doing any work to receive the money, someone is, and there’s usually at least a little bit of management overhead. For instance, I’ve gone on record saying this blog averages over $100,000 per month from selling online courses.

From that total, about $60,000 of it is technically “passive income” because I don’t have to do anything to generate it. I could die, and the money would keep coming in month after month for years into the future. But that doesn’t mean no one is working. It also doesn’t mean I’m personally receiving the entire $60,000.

The truth is, most of that money goes to paying my team. We have course instructors, customer support representatives, marketing specialists, and so on. All of them are working full-time to keep the “passive income” machine running, and they do it quite well. But somebody still has to be the boss.

While I don’t technically do any of the work necessary to generate that income, I do spend about 10 hours every week on phone calls and meetings. I also spend at least another 10-20 hours a week thinking about how to improve the business and make things run more efficiently. So, in reality, I’m working 20-30 hours per week for the “passive income.” In exchange, I receive a nice salary, plus the majority of the profits the business generates.

Visually, this looks dull (and somewhat daunting) to read, and a casual reader is likely to be turned off by it.

In the original, however, each paragraph is appropriately varied, which doesn’t just look but also feels pleasant to read.

Ultimately, you want to guide your reader. And the only way to do that effectively is to recognize when your reader needs a few short paragraphs, a long one, or a bit of both.

2. Topic

While topic was once the ultimate indicator of paragraph change, it is now one of many. Topic is still critical for clarity. If you change paragraphs at a topically awkward time, the split disturbs the reader.

Take, for example, this excerpt from Liz Longacre’s article:

Blogging is a battle.

A war to get your ideas the attention they deserve.

Your enemy? The dizzying array of online distractions that devour your readers.

This battle is not for the faint of heart.

There are so many learning curves. Plugins you’ll need to install. Social networks you’ll need to employ. Marketing techniques you’ll need to try.

Imagine these paragraphs were structured like this instead …

Blogging is a battle.

A war to get your ideas the attention they deserve.

Your enemy? The dizzying array of online distractions that devour your readers.

This battle is not for the faint of heart. There are so many learning curves.

Plugins you’ll need to install. Social networks you’ll need to employ. Marketing techniques you’ll need to try.

Notice the difference in how you read the original paragraph versus the variation.

In the original, the last paragraph tactfully emphasizes the difficulty of learning how to blog. But in the variation, you take a mental pause between “There are so many learning curves” and “Plugins you’ll need to install.”

And it feels off, doesn’t it?

The last three sentences are examples of learning curves, which means they are topically linked to the phrase introducing them.

It reads even worse as follows:

This battle is not for the faint of heart.

There are so many learning curves. Plugins you’ll need to install.

Social networks you’ll need to employ. Marketing techniques you’ll need to try.

See what I mean?

Due to our topically-paragraphed past, readers still expect that topics will — for the most part — stick with each other. It still reads better that way.

Just avoid beating topics to death. Allow topics to change as they need to — which should be every few sentences.

3. Emphasis

Paragraphs of one short sentence naturally add emphasis.

This can be used to highlight ideas you want the reader to take note of, but it can also be used for dramatic effect.

For example, check my introduction to an article for Carrot — a SaaS company that caters to real estate investors.

Use paragraph structure to guide readers.

See how the introduction guides the reader through the feelings they experience regarding content marketing with a long paragraph, and then emphasizes, “So you quit producing”?

This phase conveys a dramatic turn of events. The shortness of the paragraph emphasizes this.

The longer paragraph that precedes this phrase preps the reader for the punch. The effect wouldn’t be quite the same if it was preceded by a paragraph that was similarly short.

But you don’t always have to go from a long paragraph straight to a short paragraph to create emphasis. You can also use a gradual decline in word count and finish with your main point. This builds the reader up to the punchline.

Here’s another example, taken from The Brutally Honest Guide To Being Brutally Honest. The author, Josh Tucker, decreases wordcount over three relatively short paragraphs to bring attention to his final sentence: “How you end the discussion can make all the difference.”

Use paragraph length as a tool in writing.

Think of paragraph length in the same way you think about the rest of your writing. Your word choice, sentence length and paragraph structure all have a massive impact on what your article communicates.

Ultimately, paragraph emphasis is up to the creativity of the writer. Paragraph length is simply another tool at your disposal.

Write Paragraphs for Today’s World and Readers Will Thank You

Yes, you want people to read your content.

And despite the difficulty in grabbing the attention of today’s readers, you can still turn visitors into content absorbers by crafting easy-to-read paragraphs — paragraphs that are short, rhythmic and varied.

Doing so is simply a matter of being aware of the way your paragraphs are structured. Once you’ve mastered the art of the paragraph, you’ll do much better at keeping your readers’ attention. People will crave your content and they’ll look forward to the next time you publish.

They’ll appreciate your courteous writing and — dare I say? — they’ll keep coming back for more.

About the Author: “Lover of all things communication — speaking, writing, and listening — Mike is currently the founder of MB Content where he helps businesses create significant, consistent and valuable pieces of content. You can see more of his work at Carrot, follow him on Twitter, or join his email list for entrepreneurs at Booktrep.”

Source: https://smartblogger.com/how-to-write-a-paragraph/