Content Marketing: Blogging for Growth | Eric Siu | Skillshare
Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
11 Lessons (1h 21m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:24
    • 2. Get Inspired

      10:30
    • 3. 3 Easy Blogging Styles

      4:56
    • 4. Brainstorming Your Topic

      10:07
    • 5. Outlining Your Blog Post

      6:58
    • 6. Adding the Meat

      8:05
    • 7. One-Upping the Competition

      7:07
    • 8. Writing a Great Headline

      9:53
    • 9. Creating an Effective Featured Image

      9:48
    • 10. 5 Ways to Stay Successful With Blogging

      8:53
    • 11. Closing Thoughts

      1:51
80 students are watching this class

About This Class

Explore how entrepreneur Eric Siu creates content not just for the sake of writing, but for hitting your own goals. In this 80-minute deep dive class, you’ll learn Eric's step-by-step structure for creating compelling blog content — the same process that has helped him build a seven-figure business, Single Grain and the five-star-rated podcast, Growth Everywhere.

Key lessons covered:

  • 3 easy blogging styles
  • Brainstorming a relevant topic
  • Outlining your post
  • Adding the "meat" to your post
  • Writing an exceptional headline
  • Creating an effective featured image

This class is perfect for anyone that wants to use writing for their advantage, especially business owners and marketers. No prior blogging experience is needed to get started – Eric shares his tried-and-true methods for success, so you can enter the world of content marketing with confidence. Afterward, you’ll have your own original blog post to share, and the tools you need to start creating a content machine.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: So, my name is Eric Siu, and I'm the CEO of a digital marketing agency, called Single Grain. Today, we're going to learn about content marketing, and how it contributes to really building your brand, and really helping you overall achieve your goals at the end of the day. It's really helped me figure out, how do I blog on big publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, even Time Magazine. And how I parlayed that into doing a podcast where I interview a lot of top entrepreneurs and such people that have founded billion dollar companies. Whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you are an individual looking to just start out, whatever it is exactly, you have to be publishing. You look at people like Gary Vaynerchuk, Vainer Media, he's been doing it for a while and he just writes everywhere all the time, and there's a method to the madness. And I'm going to be teaching you how you can get started and how you can stay consistent to be successful at the end of the day. So, the project is going to take you 30 to 60 minutes, but I'm going to show you the anatomy of a great blog post. What goes into a blog post? How're you to structure it when you're starting out? How you can add me to the blog post? How you can add great images, because images will help in terms of getting more engagement. What does engagement mean? Engagement means more clicks to your articles, more people seeing it, and more opportunities coming your way at the end of the day. How do you layer on statistics? How do you research for your article? And we're starting with a blog post to the beginning, because a blog post is really, at the end of the day, the written word. Anyone can write something. So, it's just really easy to start there and then you can eventually change that into creating videos. You could change that into doing podcasts, whatever it is exactly. You start with the medium of a blog post first and then you can find out later if you want. So, this class is for people that are just starting out. You could be coming out of college, or you could be coming out of high school, or you can be the entreprenuer that's hit a wall that needs to figure out how they can get better at marketing with their business. So, the hardest thing about this class and doing this overall is first of all starting. There's always the immovable object, people, it's really hard to start a new habit. So, starting is the first thing, and the second thing is staying consistent. If you colud knock those two parts down, you're going to be fine. So, with all that being said, let's go ahead and get started. 2. Get Inspired: So, before we jump into writing, I want to talk about a few different bloggers that I really enjoy. I'm going to show you those blogs and I'm going to show you three different bloggers that have built great huge audiences and I'm going to show you why they're successful and I'm going to show you three different categories that I specifically enjoy when it comes to writing blog posts. There's a lot of different categories out there but these are three that I really like and three that I particularly use quite a bit. So let's go ahead and jump right into it. The first one that we're looking at right here is by quick sprout and this is a guide that Neil Patel who is a well-known internet marketer spent over $30,000 on this guide and you can see that it's well-designed. He has great writers that he's hard to take care of the content itself and there's a lot of vision behind it. So, first of all, you can download the post and share it through PDF which is great, not a lot of people are going to allow their $30,000 piece of content to be free and then share it and allow it for download. So, distribution purposes, it's great and it's really in-depth, it's not just one page right here. Once you hit the Get Start button, you can see there's over 14 chapters that you can go through and you're thinking, what's the reason for doing this? Well, it's for building an audience. If you have something like this, different publications are going to pick it up, different. Sometimes he's even gotten on a news as well. So, people are going to notice when you give something away that's exceptional and he's done that here. So, that's the first example that's really good. The second example, this is also from Neil Patel. He wrote the definitive guide to growth hacking. So, a couple of years ago, the term growth hacking which is another word for marketing to startups but he really leveraged at term when it was up and coming and he built this guide. If you Google right now the keyword growth hacking, this guide is number one on Google search results. So whenever people search for it, he's going to get most of the clicks maybe 32 to 40 percent of clicks go to his page. So, you can imagine if you're a reporter looking to learn more about growth hacking, if your business looking to learn more about growth hacking, if you're just somebody that's a marketer that wants to just learn what growth hacking means, you go here, you learn here, you learn about Neil and you understand his brand and you start to talk about who Neil is. Who is this person behind the scenes? Why does he give the stuff away for free? Why does he know so much? It's what people are saying behind the scenes again that really defines who you are as a brand and that's why he's established himself as and that's why he's considered very successful. So, those are two guides from Neil. The third thing I want to show you when it comes to content is this guide from an individual named Backlinko. His name is Brian Dean and he's writing in the SEO space which is super crowded and it tends to be a very spammy space. What do I mean by spammy? When marketers tend to get their hands on something, there's a lot of times when they ruin things because they just want to make money and they want to make a quick buck very quickly. The search engine optimization space happens to be in an area where it's very easy to just create a lot of content and create crap out there but Backlinko, two years ago, he decided to start a blog around SEO and people are saying, why would you start a blog around Search Engine Optimization when it's been done, done over to the past, people are saying Search Engine Optimization is dying but he decided to do something around it and he wrote a post right here called the sky-scraping technique and here he wrote writes about how he increased his search traffic by 110 percent in 14 days. What you can see here is it's not your average blog post. I'm going to show the difference between a good one and a bad one really quickly but here's a good one. You can see that as you go through this post, there's a lot of images, he links to statistics, he shows statistics, even has a video of himself talking about Search Engine Optimization and how things work. Things are very easy to digest. He's not just writing a wall of text. It's broken down into a sentence, two sentences and he's spaces things out, it's very easy to skim. Again, eight seconds is the average attention span on the internet now. So, he talks about he breaks things down by steps. Step one, how do you find proven linkable assets? What does that mean? You just dive in, he will tell you exactly what it means. He'll give you very specific examples. He'll tell you exactly what you need to do instead of saying "Hey, just go to this link." Everything is here. So, you look at this; suppose, I'm still scrolling right now and it's very in-depth and he offers the reader a free resource. They can download the blog posts itself as a checklist and that's known as a content upgrade, which is something for an entirely different course but it's here. So, I'm going to show you how many words this post is. This post is 5,500 words. A lot of people are writing 300 to 500 words whenever they're writing a piece. If you have to look at a company, you have to look at a company that really rely on SEO in the old days and totally fell apart when Google decided to change its algorithm. So, in the old days, people are creating content but they're just creating crap content to try to manipulate the search engines to give them credit so they can make money from people clicking on the first second or third result. A lot of different companies did that. One that really stands out is eHow. Even though they do have some useful content, what they did in the past was they used to hire a lot of writers for pennies on the dollar and they just created a lot of different content, 300 to 500 words and that to Google, the Search Engine became known as very thin content. So thin content means it's not very useful content and it's just content written for Search Engine Optimization's sake. Brian's not doing that here. He's decided to stand above the rest, above the crowd and produce something that really is useful and his traffic for his blog, I think he's breaking a couple $100,000 per month and it's only off a couple of posts. Maybe 10, 20, 30 posts that he has and these are all pillar posts. So, the key takeaway from looking at this is that if you can create pillar posts, if you can search for how to tie a tie on Google and if you can beat it out by at least 10x, you've created something that's significantly better and you can promote it and you can stand proudly behind it because you know you've created a canonical piece. So that's the key takeaway from looking at this one. So we've looked at Neil Patel spending $30,000 and giving his stuff away for free. We looked at Backlinko and his stuff stands out as well. Now, the next thing I want to show you is a piece that Google created and it's called the How Search Works piece and it's really an infographic on how their Search Engine works. So, as I'm scrolling through here to talk about crawling and indexing and things start to appear on the page and it's really nicely-designed, it is long form but the page starts to interact with you. People can talk about creating interactive content it could be a video that you can interact with, it could be an infographic that you can interact with. This is one of those examples where as you continue to scroll, the page starts to change. So, people like to share this type of stuff because, why do people like to share stuff on social media? They like to look cool, they like to look smart. So this is one of those things. So, this is another great piece of content why does it work well? It's long form. It stands out from the rest and also it's very sharable as well. So, if you're going to put the time in and you could do something like this the other benefit, you're not only going to get the search engine benefit, you're going to get the social benefit too because when you share something that's really well-designed, people like to share that type of stuff and you're going to look better. So, now I want to come back to quick sprout really quickly. I've shown you two guys that he's done. Again, Neil Patel really good internet market, he just doesn't do it for internet marketing space, he does for internet marketing sake, he does it to help people. So, if I look at his blog, he's one prime example of somebody that really knows how to do blogging correctly. A lot of different companies reach out to him for speaking all the time regarding content marketing which is blogging is part of content marketing. He just knows what he's doing because he knows how to generate traffic, he knows how to generate leads and he knows how to build his brand. So, we're looking at his blog right here and he continually puts out long-form content and we talked about the consistency thing. The thing you can see here is November 9th, he has a post. Then you can go down a little bit November 6th, three days earlier he has another post and if you dive into the post a little bit, we're going to let that load and while we go down here, you can see November 4th, two days before he has another post. He just keeps cranking out content but he doesn't only write for his blog, he writes for a lot of different publications. Inc., Forbes, he's just all over the place and you have to be all over the place to get people to remember you. He's always talking about new things he wants to try, maybe he wants to try video as well and maybe he wants to do what other people are doing and he wants continually get out there on other mediums where he is known right now. He's always thinking about that. So, the consistency part of it is there because he's always thinking about it. So, if we look at the post, we can see that again this is another long-form post and I'm still scrolling. There's a lot of images, there's a lot of links. It's really important and we're going to talk about this in a little bit. Why you need to be linking to other resources? Why you need to be talking about statistics? Because you can't just talk about things and not back them up. People are going to question you if you don't back it up. So, I'm still scrolling here, I could scroll here all day. Still scrolling and we get to the bottom. Let's look at just how much effort he puts into one post. We looked at Backlinko post, 1,500 words and that's considered a long-form. This one 4,300 words, almost 3x and he's doing this every two days, every three days, he's like clockwork, he's continuing to crank out content like this and that's why his traffic continues to grow. That's why his brand continuous to grow. 3. 3 Easy Blogging Styles: Okay. So, I'm going to talk about three different categories that you can use that I really like when I'm writing a piece of content. So, the first one is List Posts, and the second one is "How To" posts, and the third one is Roundups, and these are all different types of blog posts that you've seen when you're reading articles online. So, we're coming back to Quick Sprout right here, and we can see his article is around "Starting from Scratch: 6 Steps to Your First Content Marketing Plan". Now, the reason why this is considered a list post is because there are six steps. The first one is, he talks about, "Why are you doing this?" That's the question, first of all. He starts to use sub-headers. He starts to use bullets, and that's a whole section in itself. Then, it starts to go into section two. There's step two, step three, step four, step five, step six. Now, if I only find one of the steps relevant, maybe I only find step two relevant, I can totally forget about reading all the other ones and I can just skim directly to step two. It makes it very easy, because everyone's attention span is very low, and I can just jump to that part, get my takeaway from it and leave, go off and take action on whatever he taught me from that post. So, that's why list posts are very easy. Lists posts can be, he talks about six steps. You can talk about nine steps to losing weight. You can talk about 10 steps to becoming very wealthy. Whatever it is exactly, list posts, that's why they work for a reason. That's why magazines use them. That's why blogs use them. It's been done for hundreds, thousands of years. So, that's a list post. Now, the second part I want to go through is, I want to go through a "How To" post. So, in this case, I just googled how to tie a tie. For some reason, this website, that looks like it was made from the 1980s, is here, and they're ranking well on Google. So, Google sees them as an authority. Now, if I want to learn how to tie a Four in Hand Knot, this is going to teach me how to do it. It has a video to it, as well. But, you could see for this "How To" guide, it gives- again, it's like a list post because it's giving me specific steps to follow, but it's a "How To". The reason why eHow succeeded and why it went public is, back in the day, when Google's algorithm was a little less sophisticated, they just wrote how to post, eHow. How to do this, how to do that, how to do that. Because everyone wants to learn how to do something at a very specific time. For me, all the time, I forget how to tie a tie. So, I need to come back to this site or maybe I need to open my app. So, I have this right here. I can open it and I know how to do it. I get my value from it and I can bounce. So, that's a "How To" post, and again, there's different elements of different categories of content. You can tie and list posts into a "How To" post. You can do a Roundup into a list post. You could do all these different things, but at a very high level, this is what we're talking about. We're talking about a "How To" post in this situation. We just talked about a list post and now we're going to be talking about a Roundup. So, what is a roundup exactly? A roundup is when you pull different individuals and you have them help you write a piece of content. So, in this scenario, we're looking at customer happiness stories from Chris Docker, Wade Foster and other great entrepreneurs. So, the subject is Customer Happiness and we're talking to different entrepreneurs about how they succeed with customer happiness or some people call it customer success. So, you can see here, all you need to do with a roundup is you have these individuals who give them a question and you can see they're just answering the questions right here. They might write maybe 50, 100, 150 words and they're creating a piece of content for you. The good thing about these is that again, this is almost like a list post. This is very easy to digest, but the thing is when you leverage other people to create a piece of content for you and you're creating basically list of experts, people that are in the actual article itself, in the actual roundup, they're going to share it. Because again, it's ego bait for them. They're going to want to share something that they're involved with, right? Just like any interview that you're featured in, you're going to want to have it on your media page. So again, this is very easy to digest first of all, and second of all, it's very easy to put together. Because somebody else is creating it for you. Third of all, you're going to have good distribution with it because other people are sharing it. Now, this is great. This is going to- this is a great piece of content and you can do it over time but I would suggest with something like this, it doesn't get to far in debts, because each individual only gets a couple maybe 50, 100, 150 words. You're going to want to mix and match this with "How To" and list posts as well. So, this is a good change of pace when you have a content strategy, but this is something I'd probably recommend doing down the line. But again, this can be effective if done correctly. 4. Brainstorming Your Topic: All right. So, we're going to be talking about how to come up with a topic, and something that's really been interesting me is morning routines, it's something that, it's productivity hack. A lot of people are talking about it now because Tim Ferriss, author of the Four-Hour Workweek, who's a, he's hacker in his own right. Hacker. He talks about morning routines. Every single person he interviews on his podcast has a morning routine. It's funny because one of my friends basically told me, if you don't have a morning routine and you don't meditate, you basically suck. So, we'll take that for what it's worth. But for me, it's something that's been interesting to me and it's something that I've been trying to craft and refine. So, on the left side right here, I'm actually going to maximize this. We're using Google Trends again. So, looking at Google Trends, again free tool, when I type in morning routine, this is the result that I get. You can see starting in 2012 this keyword started to take off and it is on fire, it just continues to grow. It's still on a crazy hockey stick like trajectory. So, we know that this is a worthy keyword to perhaps write about. Now, if we go down we can see the related searches for this keyword. So, morning school routine, the morning routine, my morning routine, morning yoga routine. You can come up with different topics around these, different ideas just by looking at these related searches. If I wanted to expand on that even further, if I just googled morning routine- I'm going show you something really quick. Again, this is free. If you scroll to the very bottom when you're looking for a specific keyword, I can see searches related to morning routine. So again, morning routine YouTube, maybe I can get some more ideas from looking at YouTube. Morning routine for summer, maybe people have different morning routines for summer. Night routine. Whatever. Morning routine checklist for adults. That's a great one, because people like checklists. Because, again, people have short attention spans and they'd like something that they can just take immediately, and deploy for their own purposes, and really modify for themselves at the end of the day. So, a lot of different ideas here when you're searching for specific keywords. So, you can use Google, you can use Google Trends, and just to start coming up with different topic ideas. And another tool that I like that does have the capabilities to at least give you some more insights is called BuzzSumo. So, they have a free version and they have a paid version as well, but the free version will give you some ideas as well. So, if I'm searching for morning routine, I just go into BuzzSumo. Again, I've typed it in. You can literally go to their homepage, BuzzSumo.com and just type in morning routine. This is what, at least, the top five of your results will look like. So, you can see a post that has done really well with over 44,000 social shares is 20 incredible things that happen when adding warm lemon water to your morning routine. Never knew that. Probably going to add lemon water to my morning routine now. But, it's a great headline. This is what people, if people are sharing it you know it's something that might be worth exploring a little bit. Now, with BuzzSumo, it also lets me see what type of people have shared it and who has linked to the specific post were we talked about for search engine optimization purposes. You can come up with different- there's a different list of URLs that you can really just go after these people that have linked to something related to morning routines because they're interested in productivity, they're interested in morning routines. There might be a chance if you create something really great, something really exceptional that you can reach out to these people later. But, using a tool like this you can see who these people or who these websites are, at the very least, and start to find out more about them, and create a relationship with them. If you just go down you're going to find a different websites, different social profiles that might be worth looking into down the line. Maybe you want to guest post something on their website. So, doing this type of analysis is important because, first of all, you come up with different topic ideas. Perhaps different headlines. You find out what's interesting the people. You find out different people in that specific niche, if you're trying to write for that niche. Very important. Again, that's a whole another subject we can talk about later, but this is just a great example. So, just to review, Google trends, we can go to Google related searches, those two are completely free. You can use BuzzSumo, they have a free version that you don't have to give your email address for, and then you can use the paid version for I believe 30 days and you can really get an idea of who your niche is, what people are talking about. Now, in terms of what you want to think about, the criteria you want to think about when you're creating a post, I have a framework that you can just use. So, I'm going to show you this really quick. This is a blank document I created around morning routines. The very first thing you want to think of is the objective. What is the objective for your posts? What do you want people, what's one key takeaway, what's one nugget you want to give people when you're writing something? Even if you write a 5,000 word post people aren't going to remember every single detail about it, you have to have one objective for your posts. That way you know the direction that you're going in when you're writing something. That's your north star, that's a guiding point. When I first started out I would just write, and I'll just write a lot of gibberish, and I've just kind of go all over the place because I didn't know what direction I wanted to take it in. I knew I wanted to write it, but there's just no structure. So, the objective is the first thing. Even if you have no structure, you're at least going to have a key takeaway that people can see. So, that's the first thing. Now, the second thing is how do you want to make the reader feel after reading your posts? What type of action do you want them to take? So, for example, if we use the, how adding lemon water to your or adding lemon to your hot water in the morning makes your morning routine 20 times more effective, whatever it is exactly. What do you want them to feel after? Do you want them to feel amazed? Do you want them to take action afterwards? What is it exactly? You had to figure out. This kind of ties into the objective, but how do you want to make them feel? If you're writing a controversial piece about Donald Trump, how do you want to make them feel? You want to make them feel angry. If your piece doesn't make them feel angry. Well, then you've failed as a writer. So, you have to have first of all your objective. You have to know how you want to make them feel and then you can go from there. Now, what I really like to do when I'm writing is I want to be able to outline. Now, what do I mean by outline? So, I'm going to give you an idea of how I might structure a morning routine post, okay. So, for my morning routine, what I'd like to do in the morning is I write into my five-minute journal, which is something that Tim Ferriss recommended. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to write- I'm going to go x steps to a successful morning routine. In this case, I have the five-minute journal, I have meditation is in there. Going to the gym to train is in there as well, so I'm going to put train. Then I'm also going to- I also spend some time reading the news and the headlines in the morning, so I know what's happening around the world. I don't really like involving myself for the news, but I'll look at the Economist, I'll look at what people are sharing on my Twitter feeds, and I'll save it into pocket for later or I might just read some of this stuff. What's really important for my morning is I'm not going to check email. Because once I start getting into email, once I start getting sucked into email, I start doing other peoples to-do list. My friend likes to call it other people's checklist. So, I avoid email. I don't touch email until nine or ten in the morning, after I finish my, I call it the combo in the morning, but it really is the morning routine. I'll make sure to drink some tea or some hot water at the very least. So, I'll put green tea in here, training is in there as well. So, yeah, we'll just leave it like this. We'll call it, Four Steps to a Successful Morning Routine. The very first thing five-minute journal, and then what I'm going do from this, I have a skeleton already. I have four different sections. This is a list posts. I'm going to write about the five-minute journal. I'm going to have different bullet points as well. What is the five-minute journal? Why you should use it or why I started using it? How it has helped me and where I can get it? So, I'm going to cover those points. Then we'll go to meditation, same thing, but then I might link to other resources because maybe I might not be able to articulate the benefits of meditation. I might embed a YouTube video that's two or three minutes long and I might just put it into the posts. So, you can leverage what other people have already put out there and enhance what you're producing. Now, I'm gonna talk about training. Why am I using the word training exactly? I might link to a podcast. So, you can see by having at a high level structuring the post, putting the skeleton out first, that's going to free up my mind where I'm not all over the place somewhere I'm not sure what I want to write about. This structure is good. A lot of people don't like structure. I used to hate having structure for post, but it's there for a reason. So, you start with the structure and you start to write sub-bullets, headers, sub-headers as well, and then you're able to break everything out, then you're going to be able to go even deeper into your posts. So, right now I'm just talking about how you can create a topic, but there's a lot of thought that goes into it, you have to outline it, you have to have specific criteria. You have to figure out your objective. How do you want people to feel and how you want to outline your post at the end of the day. In a little bit we're going to talk about how you can add even more details as to make this really stand out on its own and become a world-class piece of content. 5. Outlining Your Blog Post: To build on what we've been doing already, I want to show you how we can outline the post even more. But before we continue, I think one really important thing to emphasize is that when you're writing a piece, or when you're creating any type of content, again, audio, video, whatever, you should first think about creating content for yourself. What do you think is interesting? What would you want to read? Because then, you're going to be able to really write in your own voice, and then you're going to be able to write to people that understand your passion, then you're going to build an audience around that. Because ultimately, if you try to please everyone, you're going to please no one. I'm going to go back to the article we've been putting together which is called Morning Routines. You can see here what I've done is I've already started to add a little more in terms of the outline. So, when I'm putting together I've already figured out the four different steps. Two are successful morning routine, but what should actually go into those steps? What I did in the very beginning was, before you start to actually go into the steps you need to have a introduction. So, in the introduction you can see here I'm writing, morning routines have been on the rise in the last few years. What I'm doing inside an outline right now is I'm figuring out okay, how do I want to structure this? Maybe I can lay on more stuff later. But again, we're trying to skeleton things out. So, I've said, "Morning routines had been on the rise in the last few years." Then I wrote right below that in asterisks, "show Google Trends image". We talked about earlier I showed you the Google Trends images in terms of the trends for that keyword, morning routine. So, it's important to have images, I'm not going to find the image right now specifically, but I'm going to say later because I put the asterisks there. I'm going to come back to that later, I'm going to add the image. Then right below it I say, "Productivity hacker and author Tim Ferriss makes it a key point to talk about morning routines in all of his podcast interviews with world-class performers." I can layer on more after that. But, it's just good stuff for me to remember, so I can come back to. And now, when I actually go back into one of the steps about the five-minute journal, that's the first step. So, that's what I do. I get what, why, how, and where. So, I talk about the five-minute journal. Five-minute journal is what I use to start writing in the day, it gets me feeling grateful and it puts focus into what I want to accomplish. I start getting into a little bit of the meat, but not too in depth. I talk about, here's what it looks like, then I might put an image. Then, here's what I get out of it, here's what I need to fill in. Then, later on when I come back to it, I'm going to talk about statistics, I'm going to talk about more details, I'm going to link to the specific product itself the five-minute journal. I might link and embed other media as well. After that step, I'm going to jump into meditation. Another quick introduction again, clearing my mind through meditation has been immensely helpful to keeping me calm throughout the day and preparing me for the day. Then I might just start going into videos. Then I'll talk about the video a little bit. Statistics around meditation, why it's on the rise, I might show another Google Trends image. But at least I have something to go off of. So, again, you come up with the topic, and then you start to outline things. The outline is not the end-all be-all, but at least you start to really know what direction you want to take the posting. Then, you can really start to decide what type of meat you want to add onto the post, and how that really helps at the end of the day. A really key thing to understand when you're starting to hit writer's block, or it's just not flowing anymore for you, there's a few different tactics I like to use. The first one is, I'm going to look around and see the content that's already out there, and then I'm going to see what I can add that really resonates with me. There's no harm in copying or leveraging what's already out there, because you're already doing that when you're researching anyway. So, that's the first thing I like to do. The second thing I'd like to do is, if I don't know what to write anymore, I am going to just move on to my other tasks for the day and maybe come back to this later, and come back to this the next morning when I've made more time for writing, and really want to have a fresh set of eyes and a fresh perspective on things, then I can come back to it. Maybe I can move back to another topic that I've been working on. It's not always going to flow for you, keep that in mind. Nothing good ever comes easy at the end of the day. So, you have to understand that. Again, consistency often means having to go through the struggle, having to endure and pounding your head against the pavement, and then ultimately breaking through. One other key point to emphasize when you're writing a piece like this, even when I've shown you Neil's articles, the articles from Mars that are 4,000, 5,000 words, they're not exactly essays. They're pretty much short digestible pieces inside of a long form piece. When you talk about Lisp posts, you can have a blog post inside of a blog post since it's so long, and you can have key takeaways in there. Your key is not to write an essay that you've put together in the eighth grade, or even in college, those research papers. Those are dense, those are boring, nobody wants to read them because it's hard to scheme when you're on your mobile phone. You have to make it easy digestible. I really like what Backlinko does with his blog, and he is a copywriter by trade, which means he likes to write a lot, and he writes to sell. If you're writing to sell, your writing to consumers, and it has to be very digestible, it has to be very simple to understand, fifth grade reading level. You're not here to write an essay, you're not here to sound didactic at the end of the day. You have to make things as easy as possible. It's just like when you're purchasing something on Amazon, it's very easy to purchase because it's become a science to them, and they're removing all the friction. You have to remove as much friction as you can when you're writing a piece. That way people are going to remember you, because you're creating a great experience. We can go into user experience here, and this is partly user experience, and that's what you're creating for them. So, if you were to type to start writing immediately, and you don't really need to outline, by all means go through that direction. I'm going to say, for most people including myself, I need the outline to go off of. I used to like to just start writing, and letting things flow, but I start to ramble over time. It really depends on who you are as a person, how far along you are, and what you're comfortable with. A lot of the structures that I'm giving, a lot of the tactic strategies, a lot of it can be removed, a lot of it can be modified, you can just add that to your own processes if you have them already. But starting with this is very simple, and then you can gradually create something for your own at the end of the day, because everybody's different. Now that we've shown you how to do an outline, let's go ahead and jump into how you can add meat into the post to make it something really substantial. 6. Adding the Meat: Okay. So let's talk about how you can add the meat onto your post. So, what does that mean? The meat is actually the details. It's the statistics you're talking, it's the images, it's the references to case studies that you have as well. If you're going to make any types of claims inside of your posts, you need to be backing it up. Because if you talk about 100 percent of the people like Coors Light over Bud Light. You're going to have to back that up, otherwise people are going to call you out. You have to have something that's substantial. So, the first thing you do, let's say if I'm writing a post about marketing, for example, all I need to do is Google marketing statistics and we can just see what shows up on Google. You can see we talked about earlier HubSpot tends to do a good job of producing content and you can see they're in the number one result right here. So, I'm just going to go ahead and click that one and see what we get. In this case, obviously, because we're talking about marketing and we're going to talk about meditation or morning routines in a second. But if you just look at this one, it's super simple, they have a well laid out page with so many statistics. I can have search engine optimization statistics, I can have blogging stats, I can have social media stats. If I just look at some of these, 82 percent of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57 percent. So, what I do is I just pull statistics that I like. I might pull every single claim that I make. I might layer on some of these and I'm going to say, I'm going to have the quote and I'm going to say, I'm going to cite where the source came from. So, if I have a quote out there, I'm just going to highlight this right now. If you look at the way they have it set up, you're going to want the quote and then you're going to want an actual link to the website where the statistic is or the claim is coming from. That's how you want to put it together. The more references that you're linking out to, the better for you because, when you want to get distribution for your piece of content, you can just reach out to these people that you might not even know. You could say, "Hey HubSpot, I really liked the piece that you put together on marketing statistics and we linked to your article here. " A lot of times you're not going to get a response, but in many cases 10-15 percent of the time, you're going to get a response. So, every 100 times you reach, out 10-15 people respond and one of them becomes a full-blown relationship, that's worth its weight and gold. So, that's why you want to be referring out to other people, you don't want to hoard all the information for yourself. You don't want to just keep everything within a vacuum of your company or your brand. You have to be willing to share at the end of the day. So, first thing that's how you find statistics. Then the second thing you can do is, you can layer on, we talked about imagery earlier. We talked about videos as well. You have to be very careful in this scenario because, in some cases, you can't just link to random images, you might get sued in some cases. So, you have to look into copyright law in your specific area, your country, whatever it is exactly. You have to look into it, you have to really understand what you can and you can't link to when it comes to images and even videos as well, even audio too. If I come back to the morning routine posts, and I want to find more details on my second point about meditation, all you need to do is Google meditation statistics. So, let's take a look at this and there's some imagery here that might be helpful. So, first thing I want to do is click on the first result, because usually the first result has some good stuff. Here's some statistics we can use. Let's go back to my post really quick. We can see, clearing my mind through meditation has been immensely helpful in terms of preparing me for the day and keeping me level headed. Here's a quick introduction. So, what I'm going do is, I am going to actually go to YouTube really quick and I'm going to Google, not Google, YouTube search meditation for beginners. So, what I'm doing here is I'm just looking for a good video that I think explains meditation really well. In this case, since we're a little short on time, I'm just going to look for something that is more concise. I'm going to look for something that has good lighting. I'm going to look for something that really might resonate with me. A lot of these are just, the first two results wouldn't really resonate with me. The first two results are actually ads, and then the two organic results right below that. You have one that's 15 minute long video and it looks like it was made from the 90s. You have another one that's like a kaleidoscope, I'm not going to touch that. Then you have one where it's a lady sitting in a meditation pose and there's a nice big headline. This looks like a video that would make me, it doesn't give me anxiety, so I'm going to click it. Okay. So, here is the video that I am going to look at really quick. So far, from what I saw in the search result page, my assumption was correct, that this video is- the lighting is great. You can see that there's big text, I know exactly what's going on and the engagement's telling me that it's great, 3,600 likes. Fifty nine hundred, not 5,900 59 dislikes. Let's just take a look at it for a second. Welcome to 2014, and my brand new video is for my series, you have four minutes for meditation. Today we're doing a New Year's meditation, but if you happen to be watching this on a day that is not New Year's day, that's okay, because every day is yours to start brand new. First, I want to give you a few instructions on how to set up for meditation. There you go. So now I know immediately I'm comfortable with this girl and also, I like the fact that it's how to meditate for beginners. So, it's perfect because my article is more of an introductory piece, and I just want to give specific tactics for people. So, people that don't know how to meditate, take a look at this video, it's only going to take six minutes of your life. You can cut that down to three minutes if you just watch it on 2X, which is what I like to do to save time. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to take this, and then I'm going to take the embed link and I'm going to copy it. Whoops. Then I'm going to go back to my Evernote. You don't have to use Evernote, you can use any other text edit, you can use Word. I just like to use Evernote because it's simple. So, I'm going go into Evernote. Right here where I put, here's a quick introduction, I'm going to put the embed code, okay. That way when I know when I'm going into my blog post and I have my- and I'm editing for the- when I'm making final edits, I have that in there and I don't have to come back and dig for it. So, I'm already doing the research, I'm adding the meat into the post. So anyway, now that I found the video, I want to come back to what I was talking about regarding statistics. So, here are statistics regarding meditation. I could come back, and now I'm back on the statistics page by a government website, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Anyway, so now I know eight percent of US adults, 18 million use meditation. We can read more about the key findings. We can read about the trends as well. So, let's take a look at this. It just takes a little more digging to add the meat that's relevant for your audience. So, in short, basically, you can use Google to find very specific statistics, you want to make sure you're giving credit and delay on other kinds of media out there. You can use YouTube, you can use Visually, you can use Pinterest. You can find all sorts of information out there. You can even pull audio bytes from different podcasts as well. Just make sure that you're digging as much as you can. That way you're producing something that's better than the number one result out there 7. One-Upping the Competition: So, expanding on the adding meat to your posts, it's really also helpful to take the next step and look at what the competition is doing. So, if we're building upon the meditation example because we have different steps, right? Right now, we're just focusing on meditation. So, let's see what the number one result for how to meditate. What it looks like and what my thought process is when I'm looking at a piece and what the action items would be afterwards. So, the first result; how-to-meditate.org. So, instantly when I look at this, when you do a how to meditate and you have hyphens in between and you use a dot org, you know immediately this is an affiliate marketer that is trying to manipulate the system. Again, this is a crop site that looks like it's made from the 1980s. So, this one looks like a big win, because it's such a piece of crap. So, if you look at the word count for this one, 232 words. How in depth could you get on meditation, right? It's super high level. This is something that can be written by somebody for probably $5. If you want to buy articles, you can definitely get them offshore. I know a lot of great places from the Philippines and India. I've done it before in the past and I will tell you, it does not work well. I have a background in SEO, does not work well anymore. So, this is one of those. And you know when you have something like this, this is limp pickings. So, how would I improve this? Well, first of all, I would like to extend it. There's not one external link in this piece that it doesn't cite any statistics, it doesn't cite an outside reference. There's no videos, there's no imagery, and yet this piece has 7,000 Facebook likes, 500 tweets. So, this is something that's really important to people and unfortunately, it's the number one result and this is what people see when they click on it. So, number one result on Google, I'm just going to tell you right now. Typically, you're going get around anywhere from 18-40 percent, sometimes even higher than that. So, it's a good amount of traffic, okay? So, we already know how we would build upon this one. But let's take a look at the next result just to see what we can, perhaps, and in my hope is the next ones is significantly better so we can figure out what we want to steal from the piece and what we can improve on. So, the last piece, you can go nowhere but up. The next piece, let's take a look at it. Okay. So, wikiHow, they have some good stuff every now and then, but again, it's like a e-how-type of website. But, you can see there's a lot more detail here, there's imagery, right? How do you prepare to meditate? You see there's this guy with a yoga mat in front of a tree, it's very zen like. You continue to go through, and this just makes sense, how much time do you want to have? There's imagery of a guy in his watch. How you should stretch. All this, there's different steps in here is well organized. This is a long-form piece and this is actually a really good piece. There's different parts meditating in everyday life. This is perfect. This is something I want to steal. Why do I want to steal? I want imagery that's better than this. I want to do something that's more long form than this, okay? Maybe I want to break it out into different sections. Maybe I don't want it all in one page. Maybe we want to have a resource page that has like a table of contents. There's not a lot of statistics here, there's not a lot of external linking as well, but what this one does that the other one doesn't is that it's long form and it has imagery and it's reasonably well organized. But I don't like about it there's ads in-between, it disrupts the usual experience. I don't like that. So, we can see from the first two results, you've already gotten some insights as to how you could really just make one section of your posts better, because remember, I'm talking about four steps, this is only one section but this section can be pages and pages, thousands of pages of content. I can expand it and make it something that's significantly better. Even this section can be better than the first result on Google. How crazy is that? Okay. Now, I'm going to look at the third result and I'm trusting that this result is better because if we go back to the search result page, we can see that Google decided to scrape the third result. It didn't scrape the first or the second result, it scraped the third result. So, this means Google's algorithm is saying that this one is worth looking at. This one has the right definition of what meditation is. So, let's take a look at it. The first thing I see in the URL is that this website, they actually sell a lot of yoga gear because I've seen it before. So, meditation 101, techniques, benefits, and beginners how-to. So, right here the reason why this one, I think the reason why Google decided to scrape this one, is, first of all, they have a lot of external links out there. They're linking to observing wandering thoughts. They're linking to daily meditation practice, cultivation of compassion, walking meditation, I've never heard of that, relaxation. All these different things. They're also talking about the different benefits, it's layered in sub-headers and bullets. We talked about the organization earlier. It's easy to skim, it's all in there. Then, there's the simple, at the very bottom, how to meditate, simple meditation for beginners. So, this isn't the what I would call a canonical piece that can really be the end-all be-all for the topic, but this is good for me, for my article because I only want to talk about this for a little bit. My articles not all about meditation, the way this is setup would be perfect for my article. So, this is ideally what I want to steal and put into mine, but I want to make it better. How do I make it better? Well, this is lacking statistics. How do I make it better? This is a stock image of a woman meditating. How to make it better? I can add videos, I can add audios. After I've taken a look at the first three, I have a really good handle on how I can beat those parts out. You can do this for each section you have for your post. So, now, that I found something that I really like, I'm going to go back to my post. This is just an outline right here, and I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to add this to the section under put resource, and we refer to it. Because I'm going to come back to this later. As I continue on this outline, I know that I want to use this resource to layer on more meat at the end of the day. So, that's how you pretty much will be able to find meat to layer onto your piece, because the internet, there's just so many things you can find through Google now, and just going through this exercise right now, you see how much information I got. So, you follow this and you'll be able to find meat no problem. 8. Writing a Great Headline: So, I'm going to start to section off with a quote from David Ogilvy, who is an advertising genius and he ran one of the biggest advertising agencies still to this day, Ogilvy. So, what he said was five times as many people read the headline as they do the body copy. So, when you've written your headline, you've already spent 80 cents of your dollar. I'm paraphrasing here but you have to take that into account. Because when you're reading articles and you're scrolling through your e-mails, you're only clicking the things that catch your eyes. Things that really can draw you emotionally, things that interests you, things that are simple to understand, things that are sometimes, there's statistics or sometimes, you can see it's digestible, Seven Steps to something. A lot goes into a headline which is why copywriters can make hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars just writing copy. It starts with the headline and then you start to sell inside of the copy. So, you have to think about how you can write a great headline. So, I'm going to show you three resources that I really like for creating great headlines. This piece right here is from copy blogger. The piece is called How to Write Magnetic Headlines, and it has 844 likes, about 1,300 tweets and 286 Google Plus. You can see, it's an interactive piece, and you go down. What they do is they link to other resources. All of these other resources why you should always write your headline first. The Cheater's Guide to Writing Great Headlines, 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work, Nine Proven Headline Formulas that Sell Like Crazy. Hold on a second. All of these are great headlines in themselves. So, you know that they know what they're talking about when they're writing headlines. So, you can read any of these and all you need to do, this will be included. But even if you just Google it, how to write magnetic headlines, Copy Blogger has it covered. That makes sense because they're a copy blogger. So, that's the first resource. They also have a lot more ebooks that they give away for free. Great resource, I have been a fan of theirs for years. The second resource that we come back to good old Quicksprout again. So, this piece is the formula for a perfect headline and you can see it highlighted yellow right here. He actually has a downloadable bite sized and printable checklist that you can take and execute. So, what makes a good headline? He has a infographic right here. There's numbers on it. You can see inside the infographic, you have to be using interesting adjectives: effortless, unique, incredible, essential, strange. Think about all the magazines you see on the news stand when you're walking through the grocery store. Then, you have to think about keeping your headline short and sweet. The thing with when you think about writing online is that there's a character limit that Google will cut you off at. It used to be 65 characters. Now, they've expanded it a little bit but you have to keep that in mind that you just can't write a super long headline. Keep it short and sweet, keep it digestible. Then also, when people are reading e-mails, it's not going to go off the page. You have to keep it concise. Eight out of 10 people will read a headline copy, but only two out of 10 will read the rest. This goes with David Ogilvy's quote. This is really interesting right here: A writer should spend half of the entire time it takes to write a piece of persuasive content on the headline. That's how important it is. If guys like this are talking about how important it is, you can see copy blogger has built the whole business on writing copy, great headlines, teaching people how to do this stuff, how important it really is at the end of the day. Okay, so another tool that I really like using is the Portent's Content Idea Generator. This is a great tool to use. But keep in mind, like any type of especially when you're trying to drive emotion with your headlines, a computer is not going to do a good job of recognizing that. You still need to be the judge of that and you can bounce ideas off other people as well. So, this one again, it's called a Portent's Content Idea Generator and all I need to do right here is enter my subject. So, let's build off of that section I was talking about: green tea. So, green tea, I'm going to type that in, and you can see, there's four underscores right here. There's four different yellow lines. So, the headline that they gave me is the 11 best green tea YouTube videos. That might be a good one because there's a lot of great videos out there. But, maybe I don't want to talk about YouTube videos, I can say the 11 best green tea statistics. The 11 best green tea health benefits. I can start to build off these different sections. On the other side, I can talk about the 11 worst green tea side effects. So, you just play around this tool more. I might put in meditation and see what it spits out. If I don't like what it says, I can just keep hitting refresh and the unconventional guide to meditation. Look at that one. That's a great headline because a lot of the stuff you see out there in Google is conventional. What can you talk about that's unconventional? Now, the last two I want to talk about right now for finding different ideas is using Feedly. So, Feedly is a free tool that helps you consolidate different RSS feeds for blogs that you really like. What I've done here is I've segmented different blogs I liked based on the topic. So, you can see here, I have one section on content marketing. You can see I have one section on conversion rate optimization, Facebook advertising, marketing in general because I care about marketing. So, if I just wanted to find different ideas for content marketing, I can just look at this. I've logged in, I'm just going to click on the content marketing section, and I can see right here. This is the stuff that people are talking about in my industry. Maybe I've been on vacation for two, three months. But if I keep following this, I know what the trends are. I know what people are talking about. I can dig in, take me a day or two, and I'll be all caught up again. So, 12 critical elements every website home page must have. So, maybe I can just change this into another topic I'm writing about: Twelve Critical Elements of a Success of Yogi, Three Reasons Why Great Writers Always Work Alone. So, a lot of actionable stuff that you can pull from Feedly. So, all you need to do action item for you is to figure out what topics you're interested in, and then subscribe to them through Feedly, which is free, and then you can just dig through this every single day and look at the headlines. Maybe you don't have to read every single article, look at the headlines. That's how you can come up with different headlines. That's how you can come up with different topic ideas at the end of the day. All these tools are completely free, you'd be remiss to not look at them. Okay. So, now, we're going to use the Portent's Tool to come up with a headline that's better than what I already had for that piece. The morning routine piece. So, let's go ahead and type in morning routine. Let's see what we get. How to be Unpopular in the Morning Routine World, not the best headline. Eight Things Your Boss Expects You to Know About Morning Routines, nope. Here's one that has potential. So, 19 Reasons Morning Routines are the Weakest Links. So, here's where you want to modify things. We're going to talk about Four Reasons or Four Ways Morning Routines Will Make You More Successful. Everyone wants to be more successful. So, four ways morning routines will make you more successful or as a matter of fact, I should switch it to Four Steps Morning Routines will Make You More Successful. So, we're going to modify it up here. So, Four Steps to a Successful Morning Routine or Four Ways, I should say four steps, Four Steps To a Morning Routine that will Make You Successful. So, what's the difference between these two headlines? Four Steps to a Successful Morning Routine, you're talking about a great morning routine, or Four Steps to a Morning Routine that will Make You More Successful. Which one will resonate with you more? Think about that for a second. Because for me, personally, the second one resonates with me more because I want to be more successful. No matter how successful you are or how successful you perceive yourself to be, every single person wants to be a little more successful. So, what does that mean? You're going to grab on to that emotion and ultimately, you're going to be paid off for grabbing onto that emotion. You're going to get more clicks, you're going to get more shares, you're going to get more people linking to that piece because you've grabbed on to that emotion. That's what you want to try to grab when you're writing a headline. So, I'm going to go after Four Steps to a Morning Routine that will Make You More Successful. Now, if that doesn't work for you, you can continue to refresh using this. You can look at headlines people are writing across different blogs, different industries and really take what you think will resonate with you most. In this case, this one's good. This one resonates with me because I want to be better. I want to see how we can improve and be more successful. So, that's how you can use a tool like this and layer it on with other tools out there, other blogs and come out with different ideas for creating a great headline that's going to get the click. So, now that we've talked about how you can create a magnetic headline, we're going to transition over to creating a great feature image for your post and why it's important. 9. Creating an Effective Featured Image: So, let's talk about why feature images are important. These are the images that preface the blog post itself. It gives a little insight as to what the post is about. Oftentimes, you do a better job for yourself, for your brand having a great image, instead of just using a stock image. Here's the thing with images. When it comes to featured images, and when it comes to Twitter, the images will get 18 percent more clicks, 89 percent more favorites, and 150 percent more retweets at the end of the day. So, take that for what it's worth but, if you're getting millions of visits, or hundreds of thousands, 10,000 clicks. If you're bumping your numbers up by those percentage points, what does that mean to you as the individual? What does that mean to your business at the end of the day? That's why you have to start with a very good featured image first, and then you can start to think about how you can layer on other visual assets, perhaps create them yourself or have a designer help you with that. But, I'm going to go through a few tools that will show you how to do it really quickly if you're low on time and low on budget. So, what we're going to do first is, we are going to pull the headline really quick of the post we're working on for the morning routine. Four Steps To A Morning Routine That Will Make You More Successful. We're going to use a tool called Canva. So, Canva, they have a paid version. They have a free version as well. But, you can really create infographics, you can create a blog feature images, you can create Instagram posts, you can do a lot with Canva. You can see right here, there are a lot of different graphics you can create. I'm going to go with blog graphic or actually, you know what? Since this looks a little too big, I'm going to go with the social media post. So, you can see on the left-side where my cursor is right now. I can find literally whatever images I want. I just need to type in a keyword. So, morning routine might be a keyword, success might be a keyword. I'm trying to debate which one is going to have more an effect on me. So, I'm going to type in success. It's really interesting because everybody has their arms up like that, and there's also images of people showing their arms in victory, putting their arms up in victory when the sun's coming up. Perfect. So, I am going to take that one, and this one right here. Keep in mind, when you're taking these images from Canva, you have to pay a dollar for them. That's how they make their money. You don't have to use these images, but ideally to invest one dollar into something you put a couple of hours into, probably worth it. Right? Just for the sake of simplicity, I'm going to use this one. Then, I'm going to add text to it. I'm going to add a heading. Then, I'm going to type the headline. Then, I'm going to have to resize it because it's a little too big. So, let's make it 28. Nope, too small. Maybe make it 32, and you just have something to go off of. So, this is obviously not the best thing you can do, but if you put a little more time into it, it's going to look good. So, I'm going to say, for this one, I'm going to go the different font, maybe we go with this one right here, see how this looks. Then, we can change the coloring to whatever we want. In this case, I'm just going to leave it black, and then we have something to go off of. Now all we need to do is, you just need to download the image and use it for your purposes. Now, I'm just going to hit the Download button right here and I'm going to use the PNG, because it's a higher quality. As you're preparing the design, here's where I'm going to stop using Canva for a second and move over to the next tool. So, you have the option right here to purchase the image directly for one dollar or you can buy a package. You can pay $10 for 11 images, or you can use a image stock. Not a stock image, you can use an image that they have in their database that doesn't charge you a dollar, that you can do it for completely free. For the sake of this example, I do not want to force anybody to buy something. So, let's move over to the next tool that's completely free. So, this one is called Pablo, which is like buffer. What Pablo does is, it creates engaging social images in 30 seconds. That's what the sub-headline is. So, all I need to do now is, I click into this section right here where the text is. All I'm going to do is put 4 Steps To A Morning Routine That Will Make You Successful. I'm going to remove this section right here, and then I'm going to look for an image that I think resonates with my audience. I have the option of uploading an image, or I can choose from these images right here. This one's perfect. The sun is rising right here. I'm going to use this one. Since there is a little whiteness over here where my text is, I'm going to move my text down a little bit. Then, what I can also do is I can blur the background. In this case, maybe I don't want to blur it so much. We have enough contrast here to set the text apart. It's looking pretty good actually. So, 4 Steps To A Morning Routine That Will Make You Successful. This is what our blog image looks like. Then we can add a custom logo if we want. We can add secondary texts. We can just put By Eric Siu. Ideally, we would make it wide. We want to make it wide because we want to share this on Facebook and Twitter. A lot of people are reading blogs from their desktop device or maybe they're just scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and they're just clicking through. Might not make sense for Instagram. You can try to promote your stuff on Instagram. But, as of now, not a lot of people do it. But you can try to create something. If you do have an Instagram channel about your brand, you can tie people back to coming back to your site or whatever resources that you're trying to link to. So, for Pablo, it's super simple. Ultimately, it's going to take me less than 30 seconds to put this together. Now, all I need to do is hit the Download Your Image button, and now they are preparing the image. Now I have it ready to go. If I just click it, boom. It is right there on the screen ready to go. So, if you're on a budget, whatever, there's really no excuse at the end of the day. You can create a image within 30 seconds. You can create an image with more options around it using Canva, or we can hire a designer to do it. You can go to dribble. You can go to any types of websites and just look at other people's works. Look for aesthetics that you like, and you can reach out to people. That's when you have a higher budget. But to start, Pablo's great. Canva's great. Just get started. That way you've gotten over the hump, and you can move on to bigger and better things later. So, let's take a look at the first two results on Google for the keyword morning routine. Let's look at what feature images that they're using. So, this is one of that, I believe this is the first result right here. There's actually no feature image unless you want to consider the authors face a featured image. So, right here, we already know that the work that we've created is already better, because we've created something that's relevant. I'll come back to that in a second. Let's actually look at the second result. Second result is from Entrepreneur Magazine, and they have a good image from Shutterstock. It's a stock image. You can't even tell it's a stock image actually. It's a girl holding her coffee cup looking outside the window and looks like the sun is coming up. Very relevant image. But, if I'm sharing that on social media, maybe I want something that adds a little more context. So the context here is actually really good. But, how do we make something that's better than this? How do we improve on this? So, the way to improve on this is to have an image that's similar to this and have texts with really good font surrounding it. So, the image that we've created, we've added some context for our image. We have the sun coming up 4 Steps To A Morning Routine That Will Make You Successful. Whenever we share that on Facebook and Twitter, that's going to be there. That's establishing what it is exactly without people having to read the headline, versus just having an image that they share outside. Like Entrepreneur, if they're just sharing the image out there, people are going to have to read the headline right below, which is not a huge obstacle, but it's just nice to have the actual headline inside of the image as well. So, that's what's missing right now. The first result doesn't really have a featured image, and then the Entrepreneur one, I would just say to add to this one, if we could take this image and later on, we can go to Shutterstock, because Canva actually hooks in with a stock image website. We can take an image like that and then put the headline in there. We're going to have something that's really great. So, that's how you can create something that's better than what's out there, better than what's just okay. You're creating better than what's okay. You're creating something that's better than just pretty good. You're creating something that's exceptional. So, now that you've finished the image, you now have the complete form of an article. Now that you've finished this process, you can replicate this process and improve upon it over and over. 10. 5 Ways to Stay Successful With Blogging: All right, so now I'm going to talk about five ways to really succeed with all of this at the end of the day. So, the first thing that you need to focus on is consistency. So, I really like this piece written by a Venture Capitalist that, guess what? He blogs. This guy that's supposed- Venture capitalists are supposed to be focused on deals, they're supposed to be focused on pushing things through, funding people, and this guy spends time blogging. So, this first right here is about the compounding returns of content marketing. There's a graph that shows that when you're first starting to blog, things are just, they aren't going that well for the first year. But just as compounding interest like stocks that continue to grow over time, if you keep depositing every day to the bank, it's going to continue to grow. So, if you look at this, the compounding effects of content marketing, you can see this graph right here, it just starts to stack over time. And you can see what happens over here as well in the second graph. So, things just get bigger and bigger. You write one thing, it's going to grow over time and you stack one thing on top of it, and you stack one thing on top of that, and just keep stacking over time, and it's going to become something really, really big. Which is why these publications get lots of traffic to begin with. Because it keeps stacking, you're building that interest over time. So, how do you build that consistency? What I really here, this website is called Tiny Habits, and this is from a PhD called BJ Fogg. His name is BJ Fog and what he does is he teaches you how to develop habits. And it all starts with small deposits in the beginning. If you don't floss your teeth everyday, maybe the way you can start this habit is you just floss one tooth. If you hate running but you know you want to run more, maybe only you need to do is run for one minute each day. And it starts to stack on top of that, that's how you develop the habits. And habits are really hard to establish and they're hard to break but you have to first start. We talked about in the beginning. You need to stay consistent and you have to start. This is how you start and this is how you can stay consistent. Now, the other thing I wanted to mention is the editorial calendar. So if we're looking at our screen right now, this is my editorial calendar for one of my websites called Growth Everywhere. You can see right here this is a tool called CoSchedule, we looked at their blog earlier. And we can see my social updates that are scheduled ahead of time. We can see which posts are scheduled for the week. So we can see last Monday, we had a post go out leadpages, on leadpages. That was a post that went out, we saw how much traffic it got. We can just see for each day what we have scheduled ahead of time. That way, we know we can prepare ahead of time for how we want to do things. It's just easier that way to have a form of structure. So CoSchedule is a paid tool, you can have a free trial. But what I'm going to show you is something you can use for free if you have a WordPress blog. So, if you don't have a blog at all, what I advise you to do is to get a WordPress blog and you can easily just search WordPress blog tutorial setup and somebody will teach you how to do it. There's a lot of different videos out there on how to do it. It's very simple at the end of the day. And you can just get started. So you can see here, I have content scheduled out for a couple of weeks. And if I just go to Google, and if I have set up my WordPress blog, all I need to do is add a plugin to WordPress. And the plugin is just called Editorial Calendar. And I can have something very similar to what I have over here, looks the same. You can just scheduled things ahead of time, that way, you know what's coming. You want to have a process for all of this and having a good editorial calendar for down the line is super important because maybe it's not going to be just you writing later down the road. Maybe it's going to be other people contributing as well, so you have to take that into account. So Editorial Calendar, it's important to think about, maybe not important to do immediately. And moving on to the next thing, I want to talk about constant education. In this world, and actually when things are moving so quickly, when you have so much information coming at you, more and more people are creating content every single day, you have to be educating yourself constantly. I'll give you an example. In the internet marketing world, technologies are changing all the time, ad platforms are changing all the time, Google is changing their algorithms. You have to be on top of what's going on in your industry. otherwise you're going to become irrelevant, because you're not going to have anything to talk about anymore. You also need to be aware of the newest blogging technologies or podcasting technologies or video technologies, whatever's out there and you have to be up to date because people see you as the expert, that's why you have an audience. People see you as having value. You have to be constantly adding value to yourself to add value to other people. So constant education. That's why on the screen I have Feedly up right now. I'm constantly educating myself, I'm looking at my favorite blogs. Not only that, I'm using other sources. I'm using Twitter. I'm following very specific groups of people to just find out what's going on in the world, what's specific to my niche. Twitter is great for finding news in your specific or news. You just have to be able to fine tune it Twitter, you have to be able to set it up. Once you set it up, it's not super intuitive. But once you have it set up, you have that system going, you're going to be able to have that constant education coming. And to me, having blogs out there, having other people sharing their experiences through podcasting, that to me is free mentorship that is invaluable. Some people charge thousands of dollars for coaching each month, but it's like having a personal coach in front of you. People are sharing their experiences and you can take away from that. So you have to be educating yourself no matter what. Now the third is really important. I talked about this earlier but you have to be writing for yourself. You can't try to write in somebody else's voice, you can't try to write for everyone because then you're not going to have a voice at all. You have to be able to write for yourself, because only you know what you like best, only you know what's interesting to you. So you write in your own voice and you start to iterate over and over. You start to get feedback from your audience. People might have negative feedback, people might have great feedback. But the people who are negative, maybe those aren't the people that you want in the first place, so you start by writing for yourself because that's the easiest thing to do. You know what's interesting to yourself, so write for yourself. Now, the fourth thing is you have to make sure that you promote your content. We talked about distribution earlier, creating your piece of content, creating a great headline, that's one piece of it, but you have to be promoting it. Because just because you build it doesn't mean people are going to find it, okay? Which is why I mentioned it's very important for you to link to people inside of your posts, link other references, mention it to other people that were mentioned inside of the article. And then also try to get your friends to promote it as well. You have to find relevant people that have interest in what you're writing about and talk to those people about it, build a relationship with them. And what I really like when it comes to distribution, there's this piece by Brian Dean, and this is called a skyscraper technique. I highly advise you taking a look at this. This is a post on how you can reach out to people, how you can build relationships, how you can find people that are linking to very specific articles. It's all in here, it's all free education. And this is a really good piece, and frankly, I'm surprised he's not charging for education like this. So this is a great piece. That's how you can start promoting your content. And you need to constantly think about how you can reinvent it. Maybe you're using manual outreach, maybe using paid advertising to distribute your content, but you have to be doing it because you're starting out, nobody knows who you are. You have to start somewhere. Now the fifth and final thing is, when you think the piece is good enough, when you think you've "finished" the piece, you haven't really finished. You have a couple more hours that you need to dedicate to it because what you think is good enough is only just good enough. You have to think about what's damn good. Putting those extra four to five hours layer on more meat, find other research, talk to other people and ask them what they think is missing from the post, and just keep adding to it. Once you think you've written enough, once you think you have the canonical piece, then you have something. I'm not saying just write something long form and just lay on a bunch of fluff to it, add meat to it that actually makes sense, that's actually substantial and valuable to people. So if you follow these five ways, stay consistent, constant education, write for yourself, promote your content. And finally, when you think it's good enough, add more to it, you're going to be okay. 11. Closing Thoughts: Okay, so now you've learned the basics of creating a content machine. It all starts with the blog and then you can parlay that experience into other types of mediums. Everybody out there is doing it right now, everybody's creating content. Bill Gates in the nigh he said that everybody is going to eventually become a publisher. In 2020, 40 percent of people are going to be freelancing in some respects, some way, shape, or form, and all these people, how are you going to build an audience? You're going to start by building your blog first. Then, it's going to become other stuff. But, you have to build an audience because an audience is the hardest thing you can build, and then from there, you can decide however you want to monetize. Maybe it's not about money at all, maybe it's just about building a brand. But, you have to start with this foundation, and here's the thing, all the theory that I've given you right now, everything I've taught you, it's all going to go to waste unless you put it into action. So, you have to go out there, you have to take action, and there's two things I talked about. The first thing is you have to start, the second thing is you have to stay consistent. So, what I'm going to tell you to do right now, what I'm challenging you to do is go out there, come up with a topic, maybe two topics and just start writing. Start outlining, start layering on meat, start all the concepts I've taught you, just create something. Maybe it's not good, maybe it's great. But, go out there, create it, and just say that you've at least gone through the process, so you can start to refine that process. Share your project inside of the project gallery. Get some feedback from your classmates and then start to build upon that and let it snowball. So, those are my closing thoughts and I think it's really important to have a even keel when you're doing this type of stuff and it's really easy to just fall off the wagon after three months of doing and not seeing much, that's happened to me in the past. So, just stick with it, and I guarantee you, you're going to be okay.