Yaro from Entrepreneurs Journey and his flagship blogging education program called “Blog Mastermind” has released a free chapter of his program for everyone to read, not just limited to his current subscribers. If you are not a member of the Blog Mastermind program, I would highly recommend it if you are looking to start taking blogging seriously and want to learn different ways to make your blog skyrocket into high traffic and high income. Below, is the free lesson and at the end is also some different action steps that Yaro suggests you take to achieve the different topics covered within the lesson.
I know many of you have eagerly awaited this section of Blog Mastermind. It’s time to talk marketing.
Before we do that though, let’s cover a few key points to review what we have done so far and where we are heading.
Through the early lessons you created your blog (if you didn’t have one already) and then optimized your blog structure. I then equipped you with an understanding of what goes into effective blog content, covering key concepts like authenticity and copywriting for blogs.
Theoretically you now know what goes into a blog people will want to read. The next problem is finding these people and convincing them to come discover your blog.
To this point you may have struggled to keep up with the tasks so I feel it necessary to remind you that this process is not a race. Although I assign you weekly tasks and continue to throw fresh content at you, there is no rule that you have to study and implement everything as it comes and adhere to a strict schedule.
Obviously you get more out of this program if you are doing something every week, but it is important that you work to a pace that works for you, that you enjoy the process and experience rewards relevant to your situation (yes you can celebrate your first 10 RSS subscribers!).
I don’t want you to experience information overload. If you are feeling the symptoms of this syndrome remember that you only need focus on one task and one problem at a time. Pick one aspect of your blogging that you want to improve and focus on implementing tasks related to that problem. Once you are on top of things, move on to the next problem.
Building on Previous Efforts
Many of the tasks I will assign you in upcoming lessons relate back to what you learned and hopefully implemented in previous lessons. I strongly recommend you don’t waste marketing energies until you are on top of your content production.
I’ve said this before – there is no point marketing an empty blog – so go back and work on your foundations if necessary. If that means you file the marketing related lessons for later study while you focus on the first ten lessons, so be it, the marketing lessons are available when you are ready.
The ideal situation you are working towards is to form blog writing habits, a routine you go through that results in publishing fresh content to your blog at a pace of around one article per day.
Whether you wake up each morning and write one article, or you spend your weekends writing seven articles that you drip feed throughout the week, doesn’t matter, it just needs to be a habit so you keep it up for the long haul – and you get good at it, so you can produce more content in less time.
Once content production becomes part of your life (or you have outsourced that aspect of your blogging) you can focus your learning muscles on experimenting with all the different marketing techniques I am going to present to you.
Ideally, you should now spend about 1-2 hours a day on writing great content, and spend another 1-2 hours per day on marketing, but don’t market if you haven’t got fresh content coming. The work ratio should skew towards marketing starting from this lesson forward, but writing new content should become easier, and thus quicker.
I’ll teach you methods that allow you to leverage your content production skills for marketing, so adding proactive marketing to your daily tasks should not excessively increase your workload. Move a little further forward each day and you will do fine.
How To Build Blog Traffic
By far the number one complaint bloggers have, and this effects bloggers at all levels, is not having enough traffic. Whether you are just starting out or well established, we all want more traffic, and rightly so, since traffic is the single biggest determinant of profitability – there is no money without traffic.
I’m going to cut to the chase, there are only four ways you can get traffic to your blog –
- You can buy it
- You can get it from search engines
- You can take other people’s traffic
- You can do or create something that generates attention and word of mouth
We will cover all four methods through the upcoming lessons. Note that you don’t have to use every single method, in fact many people focus on becoming proficient at one method only. Obviously the more you diversify, the less dependence you have on any one source, which is important because no technique remains effective forever and the environment constantly changes.
I make use of the last method the most, but I have experience with all of them.
Some blogs focus on search engines and work constantly on search engine optimization (SEO), researching keywords, building links and chasing long tail traffic.
Other blogs use paid advertising to establish an initial following by purchasing paid reviews, pay per click ads and banners on websites and blogs.
Then there are bloggers who use techniques to “borrow” traffic from other sources, perhaps through joint ventures, or guest blogging or even simple methods like we will review in this lesson and the next – leaving comments and posting in forums.
The most common way bloggers use to build traffic, which unfortunately is usually the slowest unless you have existing leverage points in place, is to focus on building content. Great content can be enough to sustain a blog, but it’s rarely enough to get it going in the first place. It’s usually necessary to combine this method with one or several of the other traffic techniques, at least initially.
What Method Is Best?
It’s up to you how you choose to build traffic and your current circumstances and abilities dictate what methods you use. No one method is better than another in a strict sense, but certain techniques you will find easier and suit your style, thus reward you better, so I suggest you gravitate to methods you find comfortable and rewarding.
Remember back to your initial training in the Blog Profits Blueprint – our goal here is to tap into the large rivers of traffic and if you lack resources other than your own time and energy, you will need to work your way up to the large traffic sources by focusing on building smaller sources first – the streams.
Whenever possible I will suggest the best way to leverage each technique so you get the biggest bang for your buck, but as I explained in the Blueprint, in most situations, the more you put it in, the more you get out.
If you have money to spend or resources you can leverage like virtual staff, outsourcers or employees, then you can grow your traffic quickly. As always, I recommend you look for ways to have other people do things for you or at least plan for the day when you can set aside tasks for other people (we will cover systemizing your blog business in later lessons).
Become A Conversationalist
Every source of traffic comes from opening a communication channel, thus your goal at all times when marketing your blog is to communicate with people and foster relationships. By blogging and marketing your blog, you are opening conversations with an ever expanding sphere of influence.
Once your influence reaches thousands of people you create the potential to earn thousands of dollars. Reach tens of thousands of people and you can make tens of thousands of dollars, and so on.
What can be misleading is thinking it’s purely about the volume of people you can reach. In reality it’s about the relationship you develop with people that counts, and in the end, leads to a greater volume of traffic anyway.
When you open a dialog with a person they immediately begin an evaluation process. If the way you converse with them is positive, if you contribute to their life in a meaningful and valuable way, they will naturally desire to continue to know you. If you do a great job, not only will they want to stay in touch with you, they will also share you with other people, thus triggering the best marketing tool available – word of mouth.
If you communicate half-heartedly, if you rush, are unoriginal, pushy, try to get people to do something before building trust, or you lack personality or a differentiation point, chances are people who come into contact with will not wish to stay in touch and certainly will not tell others about you. That’s why writing one brilliant comment to a blog will always do more for your traffic than leaving ten useless one line comments.
Your goal is to make each person who experiences communication with you walk away wanting to do it again. This applies to every single communication channel – from email, to comments you make on other blogs or replies to comments made on your blog, to the way you approach other bloggers, how you write your blog posts, how you write advertisements, the way you write newsletters, your forum posts, how you interact at social community sites – every single way you contact other people. Simply put – if they like you and you provide value, traffic will come.
Don’t underestimate what you are learning here – this is THE key for tapping large communication channels.
While you might initially focus on smaller communication channels, how you perform early tasks impacts when or even if, you ever tap the larger traffic sources. Remember, relationships lead to relationships and if you impress people with every point of contact you have with them, eventually you will find the people who can be points of leverage, who can give you access to huge sources of traffic (A-list bloggers, people who have huge email lists, owners of large content sites, journalists, business owners, etc).
How To Effectively Market With Blog Comments
One of the best ways I can illustrate the power of how you communicate with people is the stock standard traffic tip of leaving comments on other blogs. You’ve been told to do this hundreds of times, yet most people never really build much traffic from comment marketing, and there is a very good reason why.
The secret to effective comment marketing is to realize why you do it. Most people think you leave comments on other blogs because people will click the link to your blog that accompanies each comment you make. If you leave enough comments you are bound to build traffic coming from all these little links, so you go out and attempt to leave as many comments as you can.
This simply doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because everybody who uses this strategy focuses on volume and thus leaves low-quality comments. I know this for a fact because 90% of the real comments I get (as in not automated spam) are one or two liners that add absolutely nothing to the conversation. I see this trend on every blog I visit. It’s clear that most people who leave comments just want exposure and focus only on what is in it for them – a link and maybe a trickle of traffic.
Worse still, this problem is exacerbated because every blogger writing about blog traffic tells people to leave comments without explaining how to do it the right way. The end result is thousands of bloggers leaving useless comments, filling blogs up with comments almost as bad as spam, and wondering why they still don’t get any traffic to their blogs for their efforts.
The fact is, leaving blog comments will never ever be a large source of traffic, however the reason why you do it is because it can lead you to larger communication channels. This happens not because you leave waves and waves two-line comments, it happens because you focus on each of the comments you make, ensuring they have a real impact on people, and in particular, on the blogger who’s blog you are leaving the comment at.
The Two Step Process For Successful Comment Marketing
If you want to truly leverage blog commenting as a traffic strategy you only need to do two things –
- Focus on a handful of reasonably popular blogs, in complimentary niches to your own blog, and concentrate your commenting efforts there.
- When these bloggers write articles that you can respond to, offer something of real value, perhaps a story, or a counter-point, or an additional point or a direction to relevant resources. Leave a comment that makes an impact. Repeat this process on the handful of blogs you are focusing on until you build a profile, and most importantly, you have the attention of the blogger. This is the first step to develop a relationship with them.
This process is the powerful way of building traffic with blog comments. Most bloggers read every comment they get to their blogs and for the really popular blogs this is one of the only times you get to make an impression. Why waste that opportunity by writing run-of-the-mill, just like everybody else comments?
Popular bloggers lead very busy lives and each comment you leave to their blog is a very small window of attention you have from them. Take this opportunity to contact other bloggers and make a powerful, positive impression, and do it over and over again with each comment you make.
With an initial good first impression made, when it comes time to contact that blogger they will know you already – you will be that guy or girl who leaves them great comments. This obviously makes the approach that much easier and likely that you will get the outcome you are seeking – some form of exposure to their readers.
In the best of cases just leaving great comments can result in the blogger taking notice of your blog and linking to you without you even asking for it. If they see five great comments coming from you, they might just click that link in your comments, visit your blog, find a great article or start reading your blog on a regular basis, and eventually link to you. This only happens when you get their attention with the quality of your contribution to their blog.
As a worst case scenario, you may still need to contact the blogger to enjoy the fruits of your commenting labor, perhaps asking to submit a guest article, or for them to check out one of your blog posts. It’s much more likely that this blogger will be open to your communication and actually respond if they know you from your comments to their blog. You will also evoke the law of reciprocity – the blogger will feel they owe you something because you have contributed so much time and value to their blog.
Best of all, this method of commenting actually takes less effort for better rewards than the traditional low-quality, high-volume method. If you spend just 20 minutes each night leaving three great comments to one blog, and you understand why you do it (to get the attention and open a relationship with the other blogger), you will get better results than spending an hour writing 25 one and two line comments to ten different blogs.
As an added benefit of this technique, other people who read your comments will come to respect your contribution – you will add value to the conversation, which in turn makes it much more likely that they will actually click the link and visit your blog.
Remember your goal at all times is to rise above the crowd and be remarkable in the way you converse, and if each comment you make is clearly superior to all the other comments left on a blog post, guess which comment is likely to get the majority of any clicks. This should make complete sense to you.
The Leverage Is In The Relationship With The Blogger
Depending on your current status and reputation in the marketplace (for example if you have a proven, demonstrable track record), you may be able to bypass commenting altogether to form a relationship with other bloggers by contacting them directly. This can work if the blogger already knows you by reputation, or you can introduce yourself and offer proof of your value (perhaps show them your book, or your successful blog, or whatever other credibility tool you have).
For most of you reading this, there isn’t a good reason why a popular blogger should pay attention to you until you do something to warrant them giving you attention. Leaving powerful comments is one way to do this and is the only effective method of comment marketing that can lead to serious traffic.
If you decide comment marketing is one of the techniques you will use to market your blog, make sure you are clear with your purpose and you follow the two step process I introduced to you in this lesson. It’s not rocket-science, but if you focus on making an impact with how you communicate with your commenting – and in every marketing technique we will cover in this program – you will get exponential results over time.
Lesson 11 Action Activities
Here are your tasks:
- Let’s start with your mandatory content requirement since this must come BEFORE marketing. Publish 2-3 pillar content pieces to your blog before next lesson and if you can, slot in a few smaller news posts so you can get your blog updated with daily content.
- Make use of the two-step effective comment marketing process I introduced to you in this lesson. Isolate about 2-5 blogs as your targets and start up a habit of adding valuable comments to them. If you can leave a solid comment every day to just three blogs, which shouldn’t take longer than twenty minutes, you will have success with this process.
- If you know a really popular blog or person and they have access to the type of audience that would love your blog, consider who you would need to get to know in order to get in touch with them. Sometimes it’s necessary to make use of a connector – a person who knows and is trusted by the person you want to know – since a direct approach won’t always work. Find the connectors and build relationships with them and you are only one step away from the person who can deliver huge amounts of targeted traffic to you.
- I recommend you avoid targeting the really large blogs, because even if you write brilliant comments, chances are you won’t ever get through to the person who makes decisions and publishes content. The best targets are the “one-man-(or woman)-show” type blogs were the person who makes all the decisions is the blog owner. They do all the work and hence you just need to get to know them.If you can get in touch with a top blogger who commands an audience of 20,000+ readers alone, just one article focused on and linking to your blog, can add hundreds of new readers for you. Finding this type of blog might take time depending how popular your niche is, so spend some time this week surfing blogrolls and technorati.com to find the type of blog that could potentially deliver a big break for you. Remember sometimes you have to think outside your niche and consider complimentary industries to find the large blogs.
- If you have no luck finding massive blogs, that’s okay, you can always work your peers. The traffic windfall won’t be as large, but sometimes knowing five people who are all working hard growing their blogs can lead to big traffic for everyone as you rise together. Find bloggers who share a lot in common with you and your blog – similar audience and subject matter – and work to build a “mastermind” group with them. Collaborate together to create combined resources (perhaps string together a couple of pillar series, one from each blog, to create a PDF report that you can all distribute).Things happen quicker when multiple people are working towards the same goals and relationships can come from simply taking a little extra time when you leave comments. This method will require that you (or someone else in your group) takes initiative and organizes people, because generally without some form of leadership, nothing gets done. The goal is to work together to create resources that will increase traffic to all the blogs involved.
Here’s an additional task you can do if you have already completed the above tasks.
- I have only one additional task for you this lesson, but it’s a very important one. Many of the techniques coming up require you have a pool of content to use outside of your blog. If you can, start compiling short-and-sweet pillar articles (the list format works best, around 400-700 words) and have them ready to go for use in other marketing techniques. Do not post these to your blog – they have to be original content not published elsewhere online.
Next lesson we continue discussing conversation marketing techniques. Have a great week everyone!
Here’s to your blogging success,
Blog Mastermind Mentor
Yaro is shutting the doors for the Blog Mastermind program coming up in only a couple days. If you visit the free lesson page, then you will be able to see the countdown that he has placed on the site. At time of publish, there is a little over 4 days left to sign up for the program.