The Step-by-Step Beginner's Guide to Creating An Epic Blog | Stoney DeGeyter | Skillshare

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The Step-by-Step Beginner's Guide to Creating An Epic Blog

teacher avatar Stoney DeGeyter

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (1h)
    • 1. Intro

      0:37
    • 2. Blogging: What's In It For You?

      6:48
    • 3. Blog Settings

      11:47
    • 4. Plan For The Long Haul

      4:27
    • 5. Identify Your Target

      6:44
    • 6. Act Like a Publisher

      6:17
    • 7. Choose the Right Tools

      3:55
    • 8. Plan Your Editorial Calendar

      8:45
    • 9. Be Epic

      2:36
    • 10. Make Content Findable

      5:42
    • 11. Socialize Your Content

      3:07
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About This Class

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You know you are supposed to have a blog. But do you know why? Do you know how to get set up? Do you know what to blog about?

Stoney deGeyter answers those questions and more in this class. Specifically, you will learn:

  • What a blog can do for your business.
  • How to set your blog up for search engine success.
  • Necessary tools of the trade.
  • Tricks to keep your article idea pipeline full.
  • Headline-writing techniques and other tactics to make your blog truly epic. 

View this class today to create an epic business blow that delights audiences and helps your business grow.

Meet Your Teacher

Stoney deGeyter is the CEO and fearless pit crew leader of Pole Position Marketing, a results-driven digital marketing agency established in 1998. In addition to business training events, Stoney has been known to spin a yarn or two at nationwide conferences, such as PubCon, Search Marketing Expo (SMX), and Affiliate Summit. He is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!, and his articles about how to navigate the web marketing landscape have been published on Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, Orbit Media Studios, and Search Engine Journal as well as Pole Position Marketing's own E-Marketing Performance blog.

See full profile

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In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

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Transcripts

1. Intro: Hi. I'm stony together and CEO of pole position Marketing. We have been doing digital marketing since 1998. Pretty much got in on the ground floor on the whole S CEO thing on. We've been helping businesses succeed since then. I wrote a book called The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period. This is a great actionable tool that will take you through a series of different digital marketing aspects. To really help you figure out what you need to dio and why things need to be done. I'm glad to be here and hope that you learn something new from this lesson. 2. Blogging: What's In It For You?: So we're gonna talk about how to create an epic blawg. Anybody who has been doing any kind of digital marketing over the past 10 15 years, we understand that blog's have been an important part of that process. But maybe we don't understand why. Maybe we don't fully understand how to get a blogger up and running or what kind of things we need to do. Ah, in order to be successful blogging and that's what we're going to do. We're going to kind of take you step by step from a beginner standpoint, to really look at this whole idea of blogging, and where that process starts is really getting to the point of knowing what's in it for me . Why do we block? Why do we want to spend our time writing these block posts? Who's going to read them? What's the purpose behind that? And we live in an age where there's a lot of opportunity, a lot of content being written online, and we don't want to waste our time writing content that nobody is going to read right. So we want to make sure we're investing our time wisely and where it's going to give us the most return. So let's start and just look and understand. What is it about blogging that's going to give you some return? Won't first of all, Yeah, people actually do read blocks. I'm on a regular basis. Either they go daily or weekly or monthly. They follow blog's that they like. They use RSS readers. Or they use some of the social media channels to keep up with, um, people who they know blogger on a regular basis. And people who do Re blog's 38% will read 5 to 10 blog's in a given week. That's their taking time to go out and consume this content Now that maybe individual block posts, um, or they may be out there following blog's and you know that post maybe once a month or once every couple weeks. But the point is that there are people out there that do consume this content, and we also know that search engines will post content or the rank content, um, that people do post in these blocks, so when you do searches, a lot of those search results will be blocks, so people are reading them, and that's important to note because we don't want to waste our time. We want to make sure we have the opportunity to do something that's going to get in front of the people that we want. Noticed. Want to notice us? Um, and and that's what belonging does. It gets noticed, first of all, by Google, um, those websites that have on a blawg, a blawg attached to them. They have over 400 mawr percent MAWR index pages than companies that don't have a block now . Part of that is probably because they have a lot mork content. Every block post is a page that Google can index. And if you've been blogging on a regular basis for any amount of time, well, those numbers add up. But by the more pages you have index, the more opportunity you have to bring people to your website. So it's important to have content that Google can index. If you have a 10 page site, you've got 10 opportunities there for Google to bring somebody into your site. Basically 10 different landing pages. If you have a blawg and you have hundreds of block posts, well, now you have hundreds MAWR opportunities to bring people into your website, and that's very important because every eyeball you get to your website is a potential customer. It is somebody that is going to beat, come familiar with your name, your brand and the products and services that you offer. Um, blocks deliver visitors. It's not just Google indexing those pages, but its its potential traffic coming to your site companies that blawg they get 55% more website visitors and companies that don't. So you know, if you just on that basis of loan, you think OK, you know what I like to increase my traffic to my site by 55%. Well, here's one thing that you can dio you can start blogging. You can start looking at opportunities to write content that people want that will bring them to you. So it's really important that, you know, we look at this full context of what blogging does. Um, it not only doesn't get indexed by Google, not only does it get traffic, but it creates leads. B to B companies get 67% more leads from sites that have blocks on them. B two C, 88% more leads so Not only are you getting more traffic, but the leads go up because it's not just bringing people to the site, but you're building that familiarity I mentioned a few seconds ago. You're getting your doing that branding. Um, people are becoming familiar with who you are, what you offer, and they begin to realize that you are an expert. You are somebody who knows what they're doing, and that is an opportunity to create more leads, more sales, things like that. Blogging creates links, links for since the beginning of search, pretty much since Google came around, they built their algorithm on links. And you really can't rink without having ah, number of links pointing to your website from credible sources and blogging creates links. If you have a block, you're going to get 90% mawr inbound links than if you didn't belong at all. And every one of those links provides value back to the search engines in determining how you're going to rank. The more quality links you have, the more the better you're going to rank, the more pages they're gonna be able to rank. So that is a very crucial component to this whole blogging thing. And finally, blog's build customer loyalty. Ah, people who connect with company after they made a purchase. You know, they come through the blawg when they come through the block, they are more likely to connect with them on that social channel. And so again, it's not just getting to the site getting that Lincoln that getting that sale, but it's getting them to carry through. It's pushing them through into making that purchase and then following your company and becoming it engaged party. And that, ultimately, is what marketing is about, especially online marketing. It's about building that engagement. You wanna have that customer, but you're going to have, ah, better customer, a longer lasting custom or loyal customer if you have an opportunity for engagement. And that bloggers that first step, that first critical step for engaging with their company, becoming familiar with your products and then following you and continuing to engage and become a lifelong customer 3. Blog Settings: Let's talk about some of the settings that you're gonna need for your blawg. There's a lot of options out there when it comes to blogging platforms the and you get into the back end. And a lot of it could just be so overwhelming that a new blogger doesn't know what to do. Doesn't know what's important, doesn't even know what to tell the developer to dio. So what I want to do is just very quickly run through some important settings. Important things in the behind the scenes of the block. So you just have, ah, good framework for getting started with your blog's on a very sturdy or foundation. Then, you know, you otherwise might have if you're just playing it by ear. So let's get into this. There's a couple different of blogging options. You got the free and you got the hosted option. Now the difference. The primary difference of these is the free options. They are controlled by somebody else. Those air platforms like blogger um, maybe tumblr or some of these other things where you go in, you type in your name, give it a password and boom, you have an account. You have a blawg. It's yours. Um, now, there's some good up sites to that. But there's also some down sites. Obviously, it's free that that that could be great for most people. Hey, that's all they want. They just want something free set up. Easy click of a button. Um, you can change templates. Ah, give a good look and feel however you want. Based on what? The templates they have to offer. Um, And then you're gonna get fast indexing by the search engines because of search engines. No, to come to these blog's and they'll find the pages very fairly quickly. Um, a couple of the downsides is you're going to get a generic you or l It's gonna be it blogger dot com slash Whatever the name of your blog's is, um, which that could be problematic down the road. The other thing is that you could be censored if you write or say anything. Um, you know, at this course of your writing, your content that these services don't like they can strip your content down, they can pull it down and you lose it. You could lose your entire account, lose all of your content now on the hosted side. It's not free because you've got to pay for hosting now. Platforms such as WordPress. They do have a free version of that that you can download install on your site, but you've got to get the hosting. It does require some technical set up, which means you might need to hire a developer. Um, and then, you know, they can install a template. Maybe that has a little bit of costs. Maybe you find a free template. If you want any kind of customization than that developer, the costs are gonna, you know, start adding up a little bit there. Um and then, you know they require some promotion. If you want to get noticed, you have to do more than just blogged. Now that promotion doesn't necessarily mean it's going to cost you a lot of money. That could just mean posting links on your social media channels and engaging on social media. But, you know, there isn't a nisi way to let people know about your blog's Other than doing that promotion . Now you do have a custom mural, which means it's going to be at site dot com slash blogger or something like that. So it's branded. And there's value in that. Um, but the rial value behind the hosted is that you own the content. It is yours. Nobody can take it from you. If you say something that somebody disagrees with, well, they might be able to remove you from the hosting account, but that content is still yours. Um, they can't ever sensor you. You can take your content. You can move it somewhere else. If you decide to switch Web Host, you can take all your content down, put it somewhere else. Um, do all the redirects and all that kind of stuff. It's always there. It's always yours. The free versions. Sometimes you can't even export your content if you wanted Teoh and put it up somewhere else. So there can be some problems with that. Um now has a web marketer. I would always say, Hey, go the hosted route. You're going to get the most bang for your buck. However, depending on where you are, free might be a way to go at least temporarily for you toe get things off the ground, and then you can transfer things over. But if you have any opportunity, you start with the hosted. It generally is worth the effort, especially if you think that is something you're gonna want later. I say, Hey, just do that now I'm Ari. So let's get in the background. Um, now I'm gonna go through some examples and some things, and all of this is very wordpress centric. That is one of the most popular content management platforms. Um, you know, I think 25% of all websites are use WordPress. It started as a blogging platform, and it is now mount morphed into an entire site development plan, fork platform, content management and everything like that. But as far as the blood goes, I'm gonna kind of run through some settings. And I got some screen captures here, and it's just to give you an idea of you know where to go. Where to find this information. If you are using WordPress, if you're not using wordpress, things were going to be a little bit different. Ah, but the first thing you want to do, um, when When you get in your blocks set up is you want to set it to use www dot your site dot com, um or not to use www dot state dot com with or without the www. It does not matter what you choose, but you need to set one particular way. That will be the default. Um, and then that's how every one of your links, every everything that you do within the site, going from page page is gonna follow that format. But this tells WordPress how you want that to be done, so just get in there and decide. Hey, do I want it? Do I not want it? There's no harm either way, Um, but that will help you set the standard for the site going forward and everything that you do. You want to make sure search engines confined the sites. Um, there's, ah privacy area in WordPress that says, Hey, you know what? Yes, I want search engines to be able to find this or no, I don't now. Typically, you always want search engines to find your site. Once it's complete, Um, but until it's complete, you can. You can have that check. There's no so you can tinker with it. And you don't have to worry about the search engines doing anything or finding that content are putting out there before you want them to. You just have to remember to go back. And to change that, you want to set your u R L structure. Now, by default, WordPress will put in some, you know, numbers every page. Every post will be be site dot com slash and here's a number for that corresponds to that page that post whatever. Um, generally, you want to customize that a little bit, Um, and using the post name is a great way for that. Customization is very simple. Where, Whatever you name your post, um, wordpress will take that name and turn it into part of the or else. So it's actually a readable You are ill. It might be a little bit long, but that doesn't matter. You know, for simplicity. That is one of the fast, simple things that you could do. So somebody's looking at that. You are all they can tell what that block post is going to be about. Then you want to optimize your block posts. There's two good plug ins for that Once called Yost. Um, the other is all in one seo pack. Now, these plug ins don't do the actual optimization for you. They just allow you to do the optimization of each post. Ah, Yost is very, very powerful. But on a base level, it lets you write custom title tax, um, custom metal descriptions and customize the your L beyond what WORDPRESS might already do. If you wanna make some changes to that. Plus, it'll give you a snippet, let you see what the search engines, they're going to see eso, you know, use that plug in. But then you have to go in every page, every post. Make sure you are, um, editing this information, so it's optimized the way you want it to be. You want to prevent spam now, initially, this isn't gonna be a problem, but assuming search engine start picking you up other other places, they're going to start finding you, and then you're going to get inundated with spam comments. So you want to install a ah spam plug in like a kid's matter? Capture these air These air great tools just toe reduce the amount of spam that you're gonna gets not going to eliminate it, but it will reduce it a great deal. So it's worthwhile putting that in, Um, just so you can keep an eye on the span at least, or keep it down to a minimum. You want to back up your site. There's plug ins that will allow you to do regular backups or scheduled backups. So something happens with your Web host that you have that information. If if somebody hacks the site, you have a backup. You can undo what's been done with pretty much a click of a couple buttons, so very important that you have a back up and, you know, look at the plug ins that are available for that. You want people to be able to subscribe to your blawg again. Part of the the idea behind the bloggers to initiate some kind of engagement and comments are a great way, you know, want people toe comment, um, and tell you what they think or give their own opinion. Well, if you want people to do that, um, or continue that conversation, you want them to be able to know when somebody else has commented after them. One of things I find frustrating when I comment on a block is if I don't have an option to be notified when somebody comments back. Well, then I have to bookmark the blogger. I have to remember to go visit that bookmark if I want to see somebody that somebody commented or see what other people have said in addition to my comment. So give them that opportunity. It says, Hey, you know what? After you make this comment, you click this. Say, yeah, give me an email. Whenever somebody follows up, whenever somebody says something else, I want to know about it so they can stay, stay engaged and be a part of that conversation. Finally, you want to make sure you install Google analytics. Um, well, maybe this isn't. Finally, um, you do want to make sure you install Google analytics, though. Really? Um, all the things that you do with your blawg you have to be able to measure wasn't What doesn't You have to be able to look at what posts are successful? Which posts or not? Um, which marketing avenues are bringing in traffic, which aren't. And Google is a very powerful tool there. It's free. So there's really no reason not to utilize that, but it does require maybe getting a developer involved to install some code, um, or there some plug ins that will allow you Teoh put in your Google analytics information. Um, and then it's handled pretty easily. But, um, however route whichever route you go, make sure you do have Google analytics and that it is recording information properly, all right. And finally, you want to make sure each block post is set up for social sharing. Again, we're looking at engagement is being a primary motivation for a blogging getting engaged with your customers. Not everybody's gonna leave a comment. Not everybody's going to show your post. But if you don't have, If you don't make it easy for people to share your post, they're not going. Teoh. Most people aren't going to go copy the your l Go open Twitter, Pacey where? L and then post a comment. Um, but people that you are inclined to do that if there's a button there, you don't just click here, boom. They share it on Twitter with their feet. That'll be done. That will get done. So you want to make it easy to share content? Um, and again, there's plug ins that will allow you to you know, install and and say, Hey, these are my social networks. You connect him to your feets. Um, that's all you gotta do. So just make sure you have that opportunity. With every block post, every one of them can be shared online. 4. Plan For The Long Haul: going to start getting into the mindset of blogging. And this is a very quick section, but very important, because we want to make sure that before we even start setting out this whole blogging process, we know what to expect. We don't have delusions of Granger that, Hey, I'm gonna put out the post there and millions and millions of people are going to read. It's going to go viral on all of this kind of stuff. Um, so let's kind of start with this mindset of planning for the long haul. Blogging does take time. It's not like you're gonna be able to put out a post. Um, and then suddenly you're going to become one of the world's most famous bloggers. In fact, years ago, I remember somebody saying, When I first started blogging, they said, Look, it takes at least a year for your blog's to start getting traction and really take off now unless you have a lot of social media connections, unless you have a lot of people that you're already connected with and I are gonna re share and republish information, um, you know, if you're just starting out, most people hey, they've got one. Few people. Well, you're in this for the long haul. It's going to take some time, and it really starts with knowing who you are. You know, you want to figure out what's your story? What is it that you have to tell? Why is it that people are going to be interested in reading about what you have to say? And you have to make sure that that personal story really does resonate with the business from the business side of things. You're not just there to give a diary, but you're not just there also to just throw out business information. And hey, I want business a coming to my website. You know, you want to make sure you can connect with people, so you've got to share your story in a very, very human way. And as any story, um, you know, it takes time to unfold. So, you know, you don't put your entire story one post and go. Hey, that's it. Now it's journey. Um, and, you know, planning for the long haul. It really gets to mind this whole This is a journey. This is a process. Um, you got to determine your focus, you know, What is it that you want to do? What is it you want people to get from your site? You know Heather Heather mezza content marketer Francisco said Throw away your work persona . Start being who you really are. And in that, who do you want to focus on? You know, who are your customers? What is your expertise? Um, and all that kind of shuffles down into your blawg and what you become. Don't think of your blog's as a sales tool. Think of it as a way to connect with your audience. Um, and really figure out who your audience is and what they're going to value, and that's what you want to give them. It's not formulaic. It's just more about being riel with who they are. Make sure you set some goals, you know? Yeah, We talked about telling her story. You want to build awareness? What kind of how many customers do you want to get? You know, what kind of social shares do you want to get? How big of an audience? How many subscribers do you want to get? Set your goals and then figure out from there? How doe. I achieve those. How do I best resonate with my audience? You know, who is it that you're trying to attract to your blawg? If you don't know what audience you're trying to bring in, then you're never really going to adjust your strategy or really zero in on those particular people. So you want O make sure you're thinking about the bigger picture and setting those goals for your website. Um, and then you got to stick with it. You know, this is a long term process. Um, it takes somewhere around 50 posts before you start generating leads from your blocks. And this this isn't just Hey, I'm gonna throw out 50 posters so I can get to that, know that they've got to be quality content. There's got to be valued that. And of course, the more post you put out, the more leads you're going to get, the more sales you're going to get. Ah, so you just think of this as an ongoing process. You're not just there to achieve a benchmark and say, Okay, I got to 100 posts. I'm done. This is an ongoing thing, and and you just got to realize it's gonna take getting to those 100 posts before your site really starts to pick up and start resonating. So again, plan for the long haul. Make sure you're in this to win it. 5. Identify Your Target: mentioned in the last session that you have to know who your target audiences and who you want to go after. Well, I wanna go in a little bit more detail in that here. So you understand that when it comes to blogging, you really have to know who you're focusing in on. You know, they say if you aim it, nothing, you'll hit it every time. Well, that's true. So with your blood, we want to make sure that we're aiming at something. First of all is you got to know who you want to reach. You gotta know not just, oh, I want thes businesses or business owners or I want people who are interested in this. That and the other thing. You got to go deeper than that. It's like, What are their priorities? What is it that they're looking for? How do they make decisions? Um, what are the obstacles that we have to try to overcome? What expectations do they have all of these things? You know, if you start thinking in these terms, you really begin to be able to flush out some content, you know, And people often think Well, I don't know what to write about. I have written about everything that I can Well, you know, when it comes down to it, you're not just writing about a topic you're writing about how to connect somebody to that topic and how to really make that connection or get them interested. I wrote a post a while back called the Taco Theory of Blogging or Web marketing something like them. And my whole point was, you know, if you go to Ah, Mexican restaurant and no offense to anybody who has a restaurant, especially Mexican restaurant. But, you know, my wife and I joked that it's the same five ingredients, no matter what's on the menu. It's the same five ingredients just in different combinations. And, you know, when it comes to digital marketing, it's the same ingredients. I can rattle off a list of all the things that go into Web marketing, and it's just different combinations of those same ingredients. And ah, blawg is the same thing. It's just different combinations. It's just it's the same topics. You're writing about the same information, but you're approaching it differently a little bit differently every time, and that's all you've got to do is you gotta think about how do I reach these people based on what their needs are. I mean, really, the topics the same. It's how you connect with them, and that's what's going to be different. You want to gather some intelligence, you know, you want to know a little bit about them. Their job, their title of demographics, interest, gold's challenges, how they describe themselves. All of this is very important information because then again, using this taco theory, it allows you to tweak the content in different ways. It allows you to take the same basic content and go, You know what? How do I How do I approach this from this person's perspective? I'm And if you think about it, this is all Hollywood does with movies. They say All movies have seven there. Seven basic plotlines, two movies and all movies will fall into one of those seven basic plot lines, and that's all it is. It's figuring out, OK, we've got this plotline now. How do we reach this audience? What's going to resonate with this group of people? What's going to excite this group of people? What's gonna connect with this group? of people over here. And so it's not always about being the most creative in terms of topic buts about being creative in terms of addressing that content. You getting that intelligence. But you have to have it. You have to go out, and you have to find out something about your audience to begin with. So make sure that you're not just going, okay? I want business owners. Um, I want CEOs. I want people who are trying to do X dig in a little bit, find some valuable information about them. Um, you want to interview your customers? You know, one of the best things that you can do is reach out to people and say, Hey, what is it that you want? We recently did a survey for our block subscribers say, Hey, look, we want your feedback. We want to do a better block for you. So tell us what you're looking for. What kind of information you want to get. Find out what resonates with them. You could do all the research that you want, but nothing is going to be better than an actual conversation with somebody who you are. You are trying to target and figure out from their mouths in their words. And then you got to find out what services at that confirmation that social confirmation are living. Builds that up with people saying, Okay, somebody's talking about this product or the service or this block post. Ah, these things reactor in And you, you know, listen, advice. It's not just your going out with an agenda, you know? Hey, I'm gonna sit down and interview you, and there's part of that. You do have an agenda. But then there's that other side where I don't have an agenda. I'm just going to listen. I'm just going to learn. I'm just going to just take everything in and so I can become mawr off what you're looking for. I'm and then you want a plan for the actions, you know? What is it? What is the purpose of your blawg? Is it just to get readers or do you hope to get customers? Do you hope to sell some products? Do you help people find people who are interested in your services? So everything that you do on your blog's eventually comes back to that and you want toe, make sure that you give your readers and action to take. That could be to download free e book to capture their email address. Um, it could be to go to your main website toe learn Maura about what you dio Now. This isn't overt selling. It's not. The idea behind this isn't to just go in a pound. People in say, Hey, come to my site by my products. It's just giving them an action to take. You know, don't lose an opportunity for them to take a next step. If you don't give them that next step, they're not going to take it. So you have to provide that next step for them, and that begins to open that door in that process of building that relationship. 6. Act Like a Publisher: recently invited to speak to a group of wannabe entrepreneurs. This was a college course that gradual kids that were graduating. Um, it was course about entrepreneurship, and I went around the room and I asked him, What is it that you do or what is it that you want to dio? Uh, you know, what kind of business do you wanna have? And they all told me, Well, I want to be a photographer. I want to go into, um I t and all these other things. And, uh, after everybody told me what they want to do, I proceeded to tell them that they were all wrong about what they wanted to do or what they were going to dio. And the reason why they're wrong is because in this digital age, everybody now is a publisher. We are content producers, and I gave them example after example of companies that we look at as though they do this. But then realize if you look deeper well, no, they actually produce content. I'll give you a couple really quick examples. Um, one lot of people don't know Red Bull. They are actually they get all their business or most of their business from producing content. We think of them as an energy drink, but they think of themselves as a publishing company. They produce content, and that's how they grow their business and selling the energy drink Chipotle. That's, Ah, fast food chain. But they actually have a TV show. It was, um I can't remember the name of it, but it was ah limited, you know, like 45 episodes or anything like that. It wasn't a commercial. It was a legitimate, you know, you could call it a miniseries. Um, it was file intensive purposes. It was good. It was just like any other show that you would see on TV. Um, so they realized they were in this publishing content publishing business and Netflix. Well, you know, they used to just stream other people's content online, but now they are in the business of producing their own content. A M C. The American movie classic they used to publish old movies or broadcast old movies, will. Now they are producing their own shows, walking dead and breaking bad to to some of the most popular shows on TV. So the idea is to get out of the mind set that I'm just here to sell my products or services. Ah, we have to realize that we're in the publishing business, and one of the ways to publish and to build content to grow content is getting involved in the community. And, you know, there's a lot of other people who own content out there, and we can share that again. Netflix and AMC or great examples because they have their own content. But they also utilize other people's content, and that makes it, ah, good opportunity. It's very difficult to grow your business by having to do all the content yourself all the time. That is a lot of work, but what you can do is you could make partnerships with some of the other content owners and share they can share your content. You'll share their content. Um, fine people who provide value that your audience is interested in find something out there , something else out there that you know your audience will find value, that maybe that they're not competing with you directly so you can share back and forth. You want to look at those opportunities for that type of collaboration. Um And you also want to collaborate with content creators. Recently, we worked with a company that built copiers copy machines. And I mean, how many people are all that interested in reading block post about copy machines? Well, what we did is we worked with them to collaborate with somebody who actually does create content. Um, and and on their blawg, they kind of tied in what they did. They were a content creator. They were a writer. They tied that in, emerged in with photocopying. Um, and it turned out to be a very popular piece of information merging these two topics into one. And, you know, it just it creates a new light, a new opportunity to get your content out there. So you look at these opportunities with other content creators say, Hey, let's share, Let's work together. Let's do something here and see if we can create some content that's beneficial for not just my audience, not just your audience, but both of our audiences. Um, you wanna make sure you establish some guidelines on and this is very, very critical for anybody who has a blawg and whether or not you have other writers or you're the only writer. There has to be some guidelines that you follow. Um, you want, you know, decide what your voice is gonna be. You want to make sure that every block post is written using that you don't want to have some block posts that you know they're over here talking about this talking politics, using foul language and then others over here that are kind of prim and proper. Um, you know, those two types of things don't don't match. So you want to make sure that you go. Hey, it stylistically, Here's our guidelines here. Some of the things that were going to do to make sure that all of our block posts follow the simple set of rules and everybody When they come, they know what to expect. And that's the most important thing that people know what to expect. Um, once they start reading your content and you don't kind of jar them out, and so that just that just didn't fit. You know, it's kind of like going to a movie with your kids and they throw a preview to rated R movie upon the screens like that and know that that just doesn't fit. That doesn't fit the expectation. Um, and movie theaters supposed to have guidelines about that kind of thing. So it's important that you set some guidelines? Um, it could be You know how often you're gonna post what? What post lengths are going to be acceptable. How many images you're going to use, how you're gonna optimize the post or do titles or proof it all that kind of thing. Those are all very, very important. Um, and so get that out. Get that done. Put in writing and make sure you adhere to all of those things that you dio. 7. Choose the Right Tools: bloggers going to need some tools on going to talk about, Ah, a couple different tools here or at least tool categories, and then you'll have to figure out what the right particular tool is. But you want to make sure you're utilizing the right things to kind of keep this blog's thing that you're doing. Keep that going, build the momentum and keep it moving through. So you got to make sure you're choosing the right tools. And first tool that you want to have is a listening dashboard. Um, again, when when we talk about blogging, Um, and all of marketing being engagement. Well, in order to engage with people, you have to actually be able to listen. Um, and there's a lot of tools out there, you know? Google Alerts, Google News Feed Lee Hoot suite. These are all tools that you can use to listen and see what people are doing to monitor news, social streams, competitors, things like that. But you have to be yet the set ups and tools, so you can quickly and easily monitor what people are doing on the topic. Whatever your topic is, whatever you're trying to pay attention to so you can be involved in the conversation. You gotta have these tools doing the listening for you because the Internets too fast. It's too big to be going out there. You know, every website and going. What are people saying here? What are people saying here? And even even on a website my website basis going Well, this is my favorite site. Um Aiken, go there. Ah, lot of them. There's just there's just too many too much stuff being published for you to go through and read everything. So you get a tool said to do that, listening for you save you a ton of time, and it just consolidates everything and allows you to really go in and just tackle those things you want Tackle on gives you the opportunity to scan and go. OK, there's a question there. I can answer that question or Hey, somebody's talking about this. All right? I'm gonna go there and I'm going to respond to that. Ah, another tool is you have an idea storage bank. Um, and writers, you know they talk about this a lot is if you get an idea, you need to write it down. Don't think you're going to remember it. Always carry a pen and paper around with you or, you know, have your phone where you can talk into it and send you that information. There's a lot of good tools. Evernote, Google docks. Um, you know, uh, for for book writers, there's, ah, forum called scrivener. It's very valuable, but you want to have a place where you go to write down your ideas. Whenever you get an idea whether you use it or not, you never know when the day's gonna come you go. You know what? I don't No. What I should write about, go to your idea Storage bank Looked through it and go. Okay, there it is. There's something I can dio, but you have to have that storage make in order for you to be able to go to it to pull out the idea. Ah, and then you got to set up your distribution tools again. You know, social media and blogging. A lot of people use it as a publishing platform, and I talked about being a publisher. Um, and even though that's true, it's an engagement platform. So you've got to you bound find that balance between I'm going to distribute my content. I'm gonna publish my content. I'm gonna broadcast my content and I'm gonna listen to what people want and I'm going to share and I'm going to get involved. Well, you have your distribution tools and you know, any time you write a post, you can send it out. I'm going to use these distribution tools, send it out, let people know about it. But make sure that you're engaging beyond just publishing your stuff. You're not just distributing content. You're creating an opportunity for engagement, but you'll find the tools that are right for you. Ah, lot of options here and figuring out what's going to work. Different people like different things. You want different features, so test out some different tools, figure out what's gonna work, But you do these thes three types of tools are going to be hugely important for you to build and grow your 8. Plan Your Editorial Calendar: every publisher needs toe have a calendar in which tells them, Hey, this content is do or this is what we're gonna publish and win. Magazines have deadlines. Newspapers have deadlines. I and your blawg should also have a deadline. You need to know when you're going to publish content. Because if you don't know when, then it's very easy to push it off and say, Well, I don't have time today to get to that, or I don't have time to do that or whatever the case may be, you know? So you want to make sure you have that calendar and you say These are the things I'm going to do and the calendar helps. You kind of, you know, get ideas. And we're gonna talk about that where you generate content ideas and you put those on the calendar and you don't want to just play it by ear. I'm in the last session. I talked about having an idea storage bank, but that's just to help you through those times, uh, not knowing what to write. You still want to make sure that you have the content ready for when it needs to go out. Now I have a process for blogging where I stay anywhere from three weeks to three months ahead of my block posts on my long form blanc post, um, that I usually published to a month. I stay three months ahead. My short form content that I poeple it published, you know, probably once a day I stay three weeks ahead, Um and that that works for me. And I look at my calendar. I say OK, today. In order to stay three weeks ahead, I need to write X number of block posts. And what this does is it gives me an opportunity to basically go on vacation or ifs. An emergency comes up. I don't have to stress and go, Oh, crap. I'm not getting my content out there. Um, it's already there. It's ready to go. And all I gotta do is is hit the publish button, and then when things settle down, I can go and get caught up and get back to being three weeks or three months ahead. So again, going back to you know, this whole idea of content and how to get those ideas, you know, you want to be ableto look at different ways to produce content and the different type of content that people are going to to want. Um, and you wanna you know, again, we talked about interviewing customers, asking questions, but you can also talk to your sales team. You can talk to the people who interact with customer on the phone when they call. Ah, and figure out. You know, there's a lot that can be learned from that industry publications. There's a lot of information that can be learned just by keeping upon on your industry, and you're seeing what are other people writing about? What do I have that can add to that conversation? Even another block posts? For people in your industry that provides an opportunity to say, You know what, That's a good topic. Let me see if I can explore that a little bit more, um, and then taking some of content that already exists, whether it's online or offline and figuring out how to reuse that a little bit. And what can you do to reuse that content or put it together in a new format in a new way to hit a hit, a new audience. So there's a lot of different ways to generate content ideas. And that's very important in order to keep that calendar scheduled and keep content being produced and ready to go when it needs to go out. And then we want to make sure that we're creating what we call cornerstone contents and thats content that kind of anchors your site. It's This is who I am. This is the real, real meaty stuff. Now when you're writing block posts, not everything has to be epic. Um, I mean, you want oppa content, but not everything has to be. But you have to have some of that in that cornerstone content. You know, it's it's the stuff that's really going to resonate with your audience. It's gonna attract the most eyeballs. So you want to make sure that in all of your content ideas and looking at your editorial calendar going well, when are we gonna publish this? When we're gonna publish this figure out, you know what I can produce maybe one piece of a cornerstone content a week or maybe one a month, but you have that schedule for it where you say, you know this is going to take that extra bit of time, this is gonna be that extra piece of content. You know, I'm going to really invest in that to make sure that it's it's something special. Um, and then, you know, you use that calendar to go. Hey, we're going to do different types of content. Um, and I'll talk about that in a little bit here. But you also want content that connects cornerstone content. That's that deep stuff that's really going to speak to the bulk of your audience. It's really gonna drill them into who you are, but you all set after content. It's maybe a little bit lighter that's designed mawr to connect with your audience, maybe reach into and get their passions going where the cornerstone content, you know, again, it's going to try and be all things to all people, um, in and valuable across the board that connection content might be connecting for a specific group. It might just be targeted for this group over here, another piece of connection contents going to be for that group over there. Um, you know, maybe it's going to spark some disagreement or, um, kind of beyond amore entertaining note. It's just that way to kind of personalize what you're doing just a little bit, um, Mawr than what that other stuff wouldn't do, because that that's also going to keep people coming back. Um, you know, I like to tell people that either they're gonna learn something or they're going to be entertained when I speak. Hopefully both. But if they walk away, who? Just one of those two things, I'll be happy. And that's the idea here between cornerstone content connection content. But you can also look at developing content strictly for your customers. Um, and again, you don't want everything to be about you. You don't want everything to be about trying to sell your products or services. Um, but you can make sure you're providing content that your customers are going to find valuable, whether that means they're gonna come back and be a repeat customer. Or or maybe it will help them spread the word of mouth a little bit. But you want to make sure your resonating with them and those can be You know how to articles. Say you've already bought my stuff. Let me show you how to use it, right? You've already purchased what we're doing. But let me give you some tips and some tutorials and things like that that maybe nobody else would be interested in. Except for those people who have already been built. That engagement, that relationship with you, Um, and then you want to make sure you vary your content a little bit. And again, this is where that counter comes into play where you say, you know what I'm and we do this with our block. You say Wednesdays are going to be the days that we post guest posts. So ever Wednesday, you can expect a guest post to come out and weaken. Schedule those out, you know, 468 weeks. As long as we've got people interested in guest guest posting, we can put those on the calendar and then, you know, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Then it might be some short form intent. Mondays and Fridays might be something a little bit different. Ah, and you just want to make sure you're mixing it up a little where maybe there for gonna be that connection content or what have you based type of you doing? How to text over and over and over again. You want to make sure you mix it up a little bit, get some different ideas, take some content that you've written, turned it into a different phone format, you know? Ah, take a post that you wrote turned into an infographic taken interview, turned it into a podcast. Or take a podcast and turn it into ah, written out block post. There's a lot of different things that you can do, and you just the idea is just make sure you're mixing it up. Don't just do the same thing over and over again. Be creative and give people you know something mawr to keep coming back for, because it's not just I'm going to read. That content is they enjoy the nature of getting something a little bit different, and you want to make sure you're always giving them something just a little bit different. Even though technically you're giving them the same thing, you're just giving them new ways to digest it. 9. Be Epic: talk about how to be epic because ultimately, you know, you've gotta have that epic content. We talked about the cornerstone content in the last session, but there's something about being epic and just having something so awesome, so valuable, so important that people can't help but talk about it. Um, and we're gonna look at some things that you can do for that. And first of all, it starts with having an attention getting headline. Um, you want to make sure that you have a headline that is really gonna hook him in? You know, you don't want to just have a bland headline and, you know, maybe they'll see it. And if they do see it, maybe Lori, that you really gotta grab them. And if you think about you know what the tabloids style tabloids air designed, they have those headlines on the cover. They're designed to get your attention. Um, now, this could be overkill. You can go a little bit overboard with that, Especially if you don't follow through on that attention getting headline. But otherwise, you know, you make sure that whatever your content is, you produce the best possible headline that you can that's really going to resonate with your audience. And here there's eight different headlines styles and they all work. Um, so you just got to figure out what's the best style for any particular post that you're doing and then work and rework and re work the headline. And I've heard people say that they spend as much time on the headline as they do on the block post itself on. And I'm not saying that you have to do that, but that gives you some idea of how important that headline is. And then you want to make sure you're implementing worthy content. People come, they read the headline, You got their attention. They click through. You have to follow through If the content doesn't match. If the content isn't worthy of the headline that you gave it, then you're not just gonna lose the audience A king. For that, you're gonna have a harder time getting more people to come because the words going to get out, basically that you're site can't be trusted. People are not going to keep coming back to your site if they feel like you're ripping them off with the headline. So make sure your content. You don't have that stimulating introduction. Use good images. Um, make sure you're talking like a person. You know, You want to make sure you're dressing your audience on a personal level, Um, and then always have a called action. You know, make people want something out of your content. So make sure that after they've read the content, they know what to do next. They know what to expect. They know where to go or to get whatever it is they they want to get to take that next step . 10. Make Content Findable: So we've been spending these last several sessions talking about content producing content , all that, and when it all comes down to it, we can produce all the content of world we want. But if we don't get readers, it's pointless. We have to get eyeballs on the site. So we're gonna talk a little bit about how to make your content findable. And this gets into the CEO area. The search engine optimization. How to make sure search engines confined your content. There's a lot of different ways where you can publish content. Um, you know, on social media is a great opportunity to get content out there and let people follow you. Um, again, you know it. That's reaching your existing audience when you're using social media. Um, and hopefully that expands beyond your audience a little bit into the audience of the people who do follow you. Um, but we also want to look at reaching audience that doesn't know anything about us. They have no connection with us, and that is through search engines. And so let's talk a little bit about how to make our content Findable through searches is that we wanna have quality um, But we also have to do some things that will what we call optimizing each post because constant that can't be found as well be invisible. So we have to look at some of the different aspects of how do we optimize our block posts. In one of the earlier sessions, I talked about the Yost plug in, um, to optimize your titles and descriptions, and that's where this comes into. Play is we have toe be able to go. What is it that the search engines were looking for? We don't want to sacrifice what people are looking for, but we have to have our eye on at least a little bit what the search engines want so we can make sure we're developing content that they're going to that they're gonna be able to grab onto and rank. And one of the things you do is have keyword rich title text. Now, this requires actually doing some keyword research. And that means knowing what your audience is searching for their some tools out there that you help you do keyword research. Um, and that kind of give you an idea. You type in a keyword, and I'll give you some. A lot of these, a lot of these related phrases, so you can see exactly what people are searching for. And then you go, OK, you know what? I know what this block posted about. I see exactly what people are searching for. Let's see if I can kind of merge the two. So you want to make sure that when you're writing your block post titles now this can be the title of your block post itself. Or it can just be the title that you put in that Yost plug in, which is what the search engines will see. They don't have to be exactly the same. An example here you see on the screen where the title in the Orange is a little bit different than the title that you see on Google, and that's deliberate because we've optimized that so one we can we can control the message . So Google show the entire thing. Um, and it's ah better wayto resonate with the audience of what they're searching for and what they want, so make sure that you take the opportunity to know a little bit more about what people are looking for. and optimize your title Tex accordingly. And same with the meta description again, this could be done through the Yost. Um, the description is nothing that anybody will ever see on the Web site. But the search engines will pull that in, and it becomes that area beneath the title that just gives a little bit more information. So this is where your called the action comes into play. You don't necessarily have to use keywords here, uh, do it if it makes sense. But you really want to give somebody a reason to say, you know yes. That's the sign I want. I'm gonna click into that. Your title got their attention. Now, your description kind of just rounds it out, and it shows them This is the information that they're looking for. Um, you also want to have proper heading tag hierarchy. Ah, and that means that every post usually you wanna have you know, your title. The top is what's called a h one tag. Um, and then there's h twos, H threes. Each force a fight and they work their way down and he's heading. Tags are used to break up content, and you use them much like you do. Ah, an outline of a term paper. Your H one is your heading. Your each to is your subheadings and your H threes are the subheadings the points below that, um you don't have to use all on your all the way down to h six. Sometimes you just have the H one and then multiple h two. Sometimes we'll get into some h theories. Um, but you want to lay this out like an outline for a term paper and make sure you're using these properly. It helps your content be skim a ble so people can don't have to read every word they can kind of dropped down to sections. It also just helps the search engines kind of see the hierarchy of the content as well, and that could be very important for rankings. You want to optimize your images? Um, there's a couple things that you can do to optimize images. The easiest thing you do is just to put in what's called alternative text. And that is your description of the image. Should the image not show if somebody didn't see the image? What? How would you describe that? Um, and that's important because the search engines use that if somebody's doing an image search, search, engine issues that all text in order to rank the image now. Hey, maybe you don't care about showing up on image search, but that can also factor into the regular organic because it provides an additional signal to the to the search engine of the content of the page. 11. Socialize Your Content: It's the last section of this course here, and I just want to talk real quickly about socializing your content because this is one of the most powerful ways to be found with a naughty inst that's connected with you. We talked in the last one about search and being found with that. But socialization is where you have that opportunity to connect with people that have some sort of relationship of you, or relationship with somebody who has a relationship with you, and that could be very important and be very powerful. First of all, you gotta find the social network that's going to work for you. There are thousands of social networks, Um, and there's only a handful that are going to matter. But there might be some kind of, uh, off the beaten path, ones that are really going to resonate with your audience. So you you've got to figure out where your audience is. It's not just about the social networks that you use and go, Hey, this is what I'm used to using, So that's where I'm gonna go. You want to find out where the your audience is and where they find the most value and go after them. They're a good example of that is, you know, there are some some niche social networks for musicians, and there's social networks that are designed for people who do different things. And if you're in those niches, you want to make sure you're targeting those networks first and foremost, you've got to stay engaged. Blogging is not something you do once and even on a block by block basis. You don't write your block post, publish it and wash your hands of it. You have to stay engaged, so you have to be out there on the social channels after you publish your content and you put it out there on social media. If people start linking to it, um, or sharing it, you want to engage with them. Thank them for linking to it. Ask them questions. What they found valuable. If if you see them talking about it or mentioning it, get involved in that conversation. Very, very, very important that you stay engaged with the conversation because that's going to make each piece of content resonate longer, Um, and and finally, just be great at what you do. Don't do anything halfway um, you know, I like to say you don't Don't half ass it, but the full ass into it. You really just have to go in and give it your all. And this whole course was designed to help you. It brought us to this point, which is how do we do Great blogging. And if you follow all of these steps that we've gone over these last 10 sessions, you're going to be on that path for becoming not just ah OK, blogger. But on that path to be a great blogger, Teoh have a blawg that matters. And that resonates because it if what you're doing isn't great, then you're never really going to get the traction that you want to get because somebody else is going to be doing it greater than you. And they're going to be getting the traffic. So you want to make sure that everything you do is designed to have the most impact and get the most value out of this. This blogging journey that you're on