5 Foolproof Ways to Add Subscribers to Your Email List

Our last blog post touched on easy email marketing tactics using MailChimp, my personal favorite email marketing platform to send easy campaigns and connect you directly with your reader base. But, no matter what platform happens to be your favorite (it’s okay if we don’t see eye to eye on my love for Mailchimp), it’s important that you are building your email list and continuously adding to your subscriber list. I don’t mean to sound super “preachy” but these are all basics that organized bloggers (Check out our webinar on staying organized on February 11 or March 11th!) follow whenever they are taking steps towards blog monetization. (Check out our webinar “Show Me The Money!” on February 25th or March 18th!)

Subscribe Concept

So, if you are looking to strengthen your reach, increase your pageviews, and make a more personal connection with your readers, follow these 5 foolproof ways to get that email subscriber list rockin!

1. End each post with a note.

The same way that you would end a blog post you write with a question, prompting readers to answer by leaving a comment and stimulating conversation, do the same thing – but guide readers to a link where they can subscribe to your email list. Give yourself 2 sentences or so to explain what people will gain by signing up and how awesome being on your email list really is!

End with a note

2. Give something away.

If you sell products or services through your blog, awesome. If not, you can easily organize a giveaway that is exclusive to just your email subscribers – and they will love that! People love to hear the world “exclusive” and know they have access to something that others don’t, so use that to your advantage.

3. Offer something exclusive.

So this piggybacks on #2, but offering something exclusive that gets delivered into your readers inboxes on a weekly or daily basis that they won’t get just by visiting your blog is a huge bonus! The options are truly endless for instance:

  • If you are a fitness blogger, share a weekly meal plan.
  • If you are a beauty blogger, share an exclusive video to demonstrate how to use a new product.
  • If you are a fashion blogger, share a style tip of the week every Friday!

4. Add it to a giveaway.

We all love running giveaways on our blogs as a way to increase our social media presence, but also think of a way to work subscribing to your email list into what readers must do in order to enter a giveaway. This is a great way to quickly grow your list, but bare in mind that many people might just pop over to your blog that day to enter the giveaway and might not be a true reader. The outcome of this is a higher “unsubscribe rate” whenever you send out your email campaigns. Just be cautious that you are promoting your giveaways to your demographic.

5. Work it into your social media schedule.

Whenever we publish a blog post, the first thing we do it start promoting it on social media – its like clockwork! I have found that by scheduling a few tweets per day or posts per week on other platforms, I will capture 3 times more email subscribers than not – and that’s a lot of missed opportunity!

Email Marketing: Mailchimp Basics Every Blogger Should Know

Sometimes I think back to those moments whenever I first started blogging and thought that it was all about pouring my thoughts and feelings about very specific subjects through my posts and pressing “publish” whenever I was finished. Psh! How naive I once was! Blogging is about so much more than just writing, even though that is the foundation that you need. As a blogger, you need to learn so much (social media, pitching to brands, networking basics, etc), and sometimes it requires  stepping outside of your comfort zone. (Or taking some awesome classes with INTRO NYC – hint, hint!)

For me, that was email marketing. Until recently, this was a foreign subject to me and the thought of learning how to build email lists, set up RSS emails,and sending newsletters out to my community was daunting, to say the least. But I adapted and have learned to love Mailchimp (the service that I use for email marketing), and I want you to understand and love it, too! Here are some basics that every blogger should know.

First things first – it’s free!

Mailchimp has what is called a “Forever Free” plan, which costs you literally nothing, until you have 2,000 emails on your lists (combined) or until 12,000 emails are sent. This is a pretty awesome deal, especially since you can’t really get much for free these days. If you do have more than 2,000 contacts on your email subscriber list, I can tell you from experience that it’s worth every penny to upgrade and start paying a monthly subscription.

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Use the “recently sent” tab in your campaigns.

If I had to craft an entirely new email each and every time I logged in to create a campaign, I wouldn’t have time for much else in my life! Whenever you log into Mailchimp and start to set up your campaign, click on the “campaigns” tab whenever you are designing your template and drop down to the “recently sent” category. This will immediately give you access to everything that has been sent in the past – giving you he ability to click on a sent campaign that you loved and plug in the new information. Easy!

Read your reports.

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Knowing which campaigns were the most effective relies heavily on reading your reports. Don’t ever send a campaign and just immediately look at your blog pageviews to see how much of an impact it had. Click on your reports! (Mailchimp will also send you an email whenever your campaign has been sent prompting you to click on and read your report -do it!) Here are the key questions to ask yourself when viewing your reports:

  • Did anyone unsubscribe? If so, try to figure out why that may have been.
  • Are people clicking? Where are they clicking?
  • What is your 24 hour performance telling you? Is it letting you know that the time you send your campaign is or isn’t reaching your audience?

It pays to automate.

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Now this is a feature that you do need to pay for, but it’s worth it a million times over! Automating through Mailchimp gives you the option to set up very specific emails that are automatically sent to specific email lists as soon as you get a new subscriber or import new subscribers. You only have to do it one time and then – boom – its a continuous cycle of pageviews or whatever your call to action is for your new subscribers, without having to put in much effort. This feature is priceless to me.

Make good use of different lists.

You can have endless lists with Mailchimp, so use them to your advantage. If you have different categories on your blog, your readers might be interested in reading different things, so you can separate your lists by category so that your readers are getting the content they want. This will help you to better personalize your campaigns, increase engagement, and avoid unsubscribes!

5 Updates You Must Do Right Now for Your Blog to Start 2015 {Giveaway}

Ahhh it’s a new year and everyone is all about new goals, new resolutions and new everything. But before you get all excited about all the “new” stuff, let’s polish up your “old” stuff first.

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1. Get your taxes ready.

Being a blogger means you own a business. Do you have an accountant? Kept track of all your expenses and income? Then you’re in good shape! Get a head start by planning to meet with them early and get it over with. Did you pay a virtual assistant? You’re responsible to get 1099 out to freelance work (over $600) before February 15th. If you haven’t kept track, start now by looking back and try to put your expenses and income into an excel sheet. This can take some time so you won’t want to wait until the last minute. This way, you’ll also have your template ready to start keeping track for 2015. Set columns for advertising, office expenses, tech support/set-up, income, etc. That way you can break it down and see what you really made vs. what you spent and know how much you need/want to make this year!

2. Start tracking.

Have you been keeping track of your goals and setting new ones? Allison has great points on how to set these goals, but you also need to know your growth to know where you’ve come from and where you’re heading. So right now, take screen shots or start a Google Doc of all your current blog numbers and social media followers. Set a reminder to check them once a month and write them down to see how they are increasing. Are you hitting your goals? You should also be looking back once a month at your best posts – what is getting the most attention and traffic? Do you even know? You should be writing other posts that are similar, or putting your best ads on those pages to be generating the most revenue.

3. Change your passwords

Did you read my last blog on security and the big WordPress hack? Don’t lose all your hard work to some bot from a third world country. There is no time like the present to update your logins.

4. Update!

When is the last time you looked over your blog and social media profiles? Are they all up-to-date with correct emails, stats, photos and data? Do you like what they say? Did you need to add some new press and praise to your media kit or about you page? Take a minute to go through them all and refresh! What about that copyright date on the bottom of your website? Unkept websites look dated and are turn-offs to readers and brands who might be checking you out for opportunities!

5. Research and Analyze

Lawyers and doctors are required to take continued education courses every year to make sure they are up-to-date on all the industry trends and practices, so why aren’t you? There are lots of great Blogging conferences every year, so research them and pick one or two that are worthwhile each year to attend.

Some of our favorites?

Well, here in NYC we host a monthly Lunch and Learn to discuss all the currently trends and news in social media and blogging. Join us on February 9th!

Blogging Concentrated is great for those who are looking to take the leap and push their blogs into serious revenue and career. (We’ll be in Philly in March!)

BlogHer is probably the most popular, and it’s coming to NYC this July!

SITS Blogging Boot Camps are amazing. Tiffany and Francesca will give it to you straight about the business. If you really want an insiders look to blogging, attend one of these!

{GIVEAWAY}

To get you started – we want you to join us here in NYC for one of our monthly Lunch and Learns, as well as one of our upcoming webinars on how to get your blog oiled and greased for better opportunities this year.  So we’re going to give one of each away! Enter below to win and join us!

Get Ready for 2015 Giveaway

New Year, New Blogging Mentality: List, Plan, and Kick Bad Habits!

As the ball drops at midnight as a symbol for newness in our lives, we look back on the past year to reflect on the good and bad in our blogs. Reflection is a great time to think about the way we are running our blogs in every aspect and focus on what needs to to stay the same and what needs to change in 2015.

Think about it.

Think about 2014 – the good, the bag, and the ugly. What worked out great for you? What challenged you? Think about the big picture. Scroll through your blog, your social media platforms, your calendar and pin point what’s working for you and your blog and what needs to change so that you can move forward in your blogging career.

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Set goals

Think about the points that you reflected on and what stood out to you the most. Then, get out that paper and pen and set those goals the old fashioned way! I like to break things down and decide what major goal I need to work on with my blog each month or each quarter and then break it down into smaller daily to-do tasks that will help me reach that big goal.

Get organized

The main trait of a successful blogger is organization. You must have a clear cut idea of what needs to be accomplished each day in order to move towards the direction of your goals. The thing is – organization looks different for every blogger. Some people need to write things down in a notebook, which others love using Google Docs and calendars, for some its a mixture of both. Figure out what system works best for you to keep you on top of your game and maximize it!

Get social!

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We all know about the changes happening with good ‘ol Facebook (If you aren’t, read about them HERE), so we need to take matters into our own hands. You are going to need to sit and strategize a way to reach your audience if you heavily depended on reaching them through Facebook in the past. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where is my audience? (Cause that’s where you need to be!)
  • Do I need to move my audience from Facebook to a different platform?
  • Am I willing to pay for advertising on Facebook? If so, how much is my budget?

Once you are able to answer these questions, figure out a plan that you need to put in place to help re-connect with your community in the new year! Also, check out our combo class: Secrets of Successful Bloggers & How to Create a Killer Media Kit! Once you take the course, we will give you access to our super Daily Social Media Checklist that will keep you on track and balanced!

Give bad habits the boot!

We all have bag blogging habits, it’s inevitable! But in the grand scheme of things, these bag habits are only holding us back. Here are a few tips to help combat some of the worst blogger bad habits:

  • Instead of looking at other blogs and lusting over how beautiful they are or how engaged their audience is, take notes! Look at what they are doing that you love and figure out a way to work that into your strategy.
  • Set aside designated social media time to keep you focused and on task.
  • Utilize “distraction free writing mode” as a way to get those blog posts done and published without any pesky distractions!

Get featured

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Let’s be honest here – you are awesome! You need to be sharing your awesomeness with the world! There is no better way to open the new year to new opportunities, connection, and a little extra blog traffic than getting yourself featured on a website. We have a Featured INTRO NYC Blogger Program that you can sign yourself up for that will highlight a new blogger every Friday and share your experiences, background, blog, interests- everything, with the world!

Beyond us, there are many other ways to be heard! Surf the web for like-minded blogs as see if they feature contributors or guest posts to share your work with a similar audience!

Educate yourself

I can’t say this enough, “blogger education NEVER ends!” You work in the digital medium, which is an ever revolving door for change. You need to stay on top of these important media trends, industry updates, and new social tactics to always be on top of your game. The webinars that we offer are a great way to make sure you are setting yourself up for success year round!

Try something new!

Sometimes it can be hard to step outside of your blogging comfort zone and try something new, since as we get older we tend to get set in our ways. But make a promise with yourself that you will try something new with your blogging and see what kind of an impact it has with your readers, traffic, or social community. For me, I promised myself that in the new year I’m going to step up my Pinterest game and try scheduling pins to get better click through results with a program like Tailwind or Ahalogy.

We wish you an amazing blogging new year!

Are You Protecting Your Blog from Hackers?

You’ve put all this time and effort into creating a masterpiece – self hosting, content, great photos, a pretty theme – it would be a shame if one day you woke up and it was all gone. But it happens. A lot. In fact, WordPress sites just took a hit – 100,000 WordPress sites were just hacked through an outdated plug-in

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And with all the current hacking situations – maybe it’s time you took the steps to protect your valued assets online. Don’t be native – just because you’re a little ole blog doesn’t mean you won’t get hacked like Sony. If you are hacked and infected, you are ‘blacklisted’ on Search Engines. That means all your valuable readers will see a scary red screen pop up when they come to your site saying “this site is infected with malware.” Not exactly good for your traffic and thus, your revenue. Scared yet? You should be. Now make these changes:

1. CHECK YOUR SITE NOW. CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS.

Log in and check your site right now. It’s okay? Phew. Now make sure it stays safe.

And don’t use a password that is something like “password” or “123.” *eye roll* Yes – it might be easier to remember them that way, but that also makes you vulnerable to attack. Make sure you encrypt your passwords, and change them at least every 60 days or so. Not just your WordPress passwords either – change your email passwords, too. If you are using Google and have a lot of info stored on Google Docs, I am pretty sure you won’t want to lose any of that either.

TIP: Use  a program that is credible to store all your passwords for you if you have trouble remembering like Dashlane. It’s free to host them on your phone/app. But you have to upgrade if you want them to be saved in the cloud (ex. – if you get a new phone, you NEED to write them down, they will NOT be automatically updated and saved).

2. BACKUP

Do it right now. Remember that scene from Sex and the City where Carrie “sad Mac-ed” and lost everything? It happens. Don’t lose your stuff! There are lots of ways to back up your site – usually your host will offer a nightly backup so look into it. Or, you can always save your own. I personally keep my own XML file on an external drive and I pull that once a month. Just so I have a back up of all my old posts and won’t lose them all. Plus, I know this is a CLEAN backup, so if I DO get infected, I’ll be able to reinstall an uninfected backup. You can save your own by going to Tool>Export>All Content.

Tip: If you’ve been blogging for a while, you might want to export in sections – the posts, photos, etc. individually. Sometimes if you have a lot of content, WordPress won’t like to do it all as a bulk upload and might crash, so just save yourself the stress!

Pay a company to back it up for you on the cloud like CodeGuard.com.

3. UPDATE

If you read anything about the WordPress hack, you’d know that they infiltrated all the sites through an OLD version of a plugin. WordPress doesn’t just send you updates for fun – they’re send for a reason. As soon as you’re asked to update your site, plugins, etc. DO SO. Also, take a quick walk through your website now – are there any plugins you aren’t using – DELETE.  Mark it on your calendar to remind yourself to update your site at least once a month.

TIP: Install a security plugin. iThemes Security is a great way to get started that will put up some deterrents such as an away-mode disabling login feature, and changing the URLS for your WordPress login so it’s not as easy for an attempted hack. Another great one to check out is Wordfence. 

4. MONITOR

Get started by running a check-up like Sucuri SiteCheck Scanner. This will tell you if you have any malware, out of date software, your blacklist status and more. Use a monitoring system that can put up a WAF (web application firewall) to protect your site like Cloudfare.com or  Sucuri.net. Also, if you are infected, Sucuri is a the top security firm in WordPress right now to help you straighten things out. But, let’s hope we can avoid that!

 

 

 

They Said What!? Managing Negative Comments on Your Blog!

While everyone gets into blogging with different goals in mind, there is always one common value among bloggers: the ability to voice our opinions freely and speak our minds. This blog is our medium for self expression to share with our readers what is going on in our lives and how we really feel about it. The factor that we don’t always think about whenever we are purchasing our blog URL with vigor is dealing with negative feedback or a comment coming from a reader who doesn’t agree with our insight.

Keep Your Cool – Foolproof Ways to Deal With The Negative

Whether it comes in the form of an email, blog comment, or on your social media pages – handle it with care!

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Act fast!

Don’t let that negative comment linger! Once you spot it, immediately go into “survival mode” and quickly think of a plan to resolve the issue in a way that is proactive instead of negative in response.

Respond with grace.

Think of yourself as an unhappy customer tweeting or commenting about bad service. Jump in and offer some type of resolution or agree to disagree with the comment. Responding with grace shows your readers that you are always open to hearing their thoughts, even if they contradict yours.

Don’t delete!

Make yourself 100% transparent to your readers. There is nothing wrong with constructive criticism as long as it’s handled properly. Unless the comment is extremely inappropriate, keep it visible for other readers to see. Not only does this show your readers how you can flawlessly handle an otherwise tough situation, you might be surprised how it prompts more people to leave their opinions. This will ultimately stimulate conversion, grow your community, promote sharing, and keep your readers engaged!

Check back.

You never know – this person just might be a negative Nelly all the way around and  looking for trouble. Check back to that post frequently and make sure they aren’t a repeat offender that needs to be blocked.

Want to hear more about confronting different issues that people working in the digital space deal with regularly? Join us in January for our Lunch and Learn to talk media trends, our love/hate relationship with technology, and more!

Ten 2015 Trends You Need to Know About

Being a blogger doesn’t mean just writing about what you want anymore – the best bloggers have a strategy (and an editorial calendar). One way to keep on top of the pile is to always be aware of the current trends and fads happening around you, so you can jump seamlessly into the conversation. Last night we had the opportunity to attend an exclusive event held by Ford Motor Company that discussed what trends they think will start (or continue) to emerge in 2015 – and why we as a whole should be aware of them.

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From a brands perspective – it’s not always about sales or the coolest new truck on the line, it’s about understanding how the world around you is changing – and if you’re going to be able to keep up or not. So the question is – will your blog?

A car company? Yes Ford is one of the most innovative companies in the world, in fact they were named the most “green” company in the world in 2014. So with that, let’s see what they think will emerge in 2015:

1. Make Way for Gen Z

What are these younger kids thinking? Will they even (want to) be on Facebook by the time they reach the age of parenting and jobs? But with a whopping 2 billion members of out the world’s entire population of 8 billion, it’s safe to say they are going to be important. If you’re a food blogger – take note: this generation is being regarded as the “foodie” generation. They are acutely aware of where their ingredients come from, and enjoy preparing their own meals. Growing up with common terms such as Gluten-free and GMO’s, they’re much more inclined to be searching for food related articles, recipes and ideas.  Gen Z is roughly defined as anyone born since 1993.

2. Rally for Renegades and Rebels

Ahhh – chalk one up for the rebels out there. Our younger generation is aware of global issues out there, and they’re less concerned on following traditional means of life – such as college, jobs and family. The ways of the world are changing – instead of getting an advanced college degree,  55% of Generation Z is more likely to start a business and hire others right off the bat. That means you have some competition coming up the pipeline. This also means sites like Etsy stand to grow in popularity. Listen up brands! They are also drawn to companies and brands that are rebellious. This means going against the grain and creativity are more critical than ever to hold a captive audience. Take the #eatenalive show on the Discovery Channel – it sounded cool but failed to deliver, and in return, received TONS of backlash. So step outside the box, but be sure to follow through. 54% also say they want to have an impact on the world – this means going green and eco-friendly topics and blogs will be flourishing as well. People are actually wanting to HELP each other more!

3. Flaunting Failure

Today, failure isn’t being hidden in the closet – it’s being worn confidently on the sleeves of many small business owners. Even though an estimated 90% of tech startups fail, this is now viewed as a badge of honor – that the person was willing to take the leap, and learned a valuable lesson. Even Oprah Winfrey herself said, “There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.” And think about – when you listen to the stories of successful people – most of them weren’t just lucky and hit it big – they had a lot of setbacks that didn’t deter them, but helped them figure out the way to BECOMING successful. This is a great motivation moment for bloggers – instead of always having BLOG ENVY (see our past article on this), try to worry more about your own decisions and how you’re growing. Stop measuring yourself against everyone else, and measure your success against you. How much did you make this year compared to this year? Did you have an uptick in followers? Readers? I am going to go on a limb and say yes. No one becomes successful overnight – work hard and learn from your mistakes to grow in the right direction.

4. Carryless Movement

Moms can really relate to this – how many of you have been open to trying new products that weigh less, hold less or compact things for you more easily? What about using apps – especially here in NYC, think about how many times you use Seamless to order food or Fresh Direct to delivery your groceries. Are you using mobile banking to pay for things? I bet many of you accept payments through PayPal and never even have to step foot in banks anymore. What about Uber that lets you pay for your cab without having cash or credit cards on you. We’re moving into a more minimalistic society. Take note of this when opting in to do reviews for more modernized items and apps that let us do more with less.

5. No Strings Attached

The same goes for large items in your home – a lot more consumers are into “sharing” high-priced items instead of buying them anymore. Think about Rent the Runway, swap meets where you can exchange your or your children’s clothing instead of buying new ones. Ever thought about renting a dog? The BorrowMyDoggy app lets local dog owners allow people in the community to walk their dogs for them, babysit them when they go away for weekends, and more. It’s shown 40% of adults under 35 are having trouble making long-term commitments. So keep this in mind when talking or looking into products to talk about – will consumers want to host that large lawn mower in their backyard or just rent one during the summer?

6. Expanding “Next of Kin”

It’s obvious that the “traditional family standard” is changing. Over 17 countries worldwide have approved same-sex marriage, and 20 others have recognized it in some way. Divorce rates are up, and single parent homes are common. A nuclear family doesn’t mean a mom, dad and children anymore – it can be a multitude of combinations anymore, and it’s important to include these families when you’re talking to them as an audience. Over 76% (myself included) agree “family” includes good friends who aren’t blood relatives. 41% of US babies (myself included) are now born to unmarried mothers. Even 54% of American pet owners refer to themselves as “pet parents.” In Japan, pets even outnumber children under the age of 16 by roughly 6 MILLION. If you want to be viewed as an expert, you’re going to have to be less conservative on your views of the world.

7. Give and Take of Privacy

What is privacy worth to you? It’s this evil balancing act of opening up your life to be transparent and still holding on to something private and sacred. How far is too far? Are you willing to store all your images for free online if they have access to your personal moments and glimpses into your life? Are you willing to show your child’s face but won’t disclose where you live? What is your barrier? This is an on-going topic that isn’t going to go away any time soon. In fact, over 56% of millennials were willing to share their location with companies in order to receive coupons to nearby businesses. But, is anyone else creeped out when Facebook sends you a notification telling you one of your friends is “near by?”  How much Kool-aid are you willing to drink for a larger audience, following and ideally a bigger paycheck?

8. Elusive Health

Between 2008 and 2013, obesity rates have rose significantly. So much so that for the first time in history, obesity is more of a global concern than hunger. When polled, a whopping 48% of Americans said it was easier for them to figure out how to do their own taxes than it was to eat healthy? What?! There is a huge need here and people are desperate to find answers and follow those on their journeys of health. If you are a health, food or lifestyle blogger – this is your bread and butter. Recent trends like meat-free Mondays, the juicing frenzy, mislabled foods, and the education to know new food-related terminology is only going to keep getting more and more attention. Focus on these topics and you’ll see your audience start to grow.

9. Escape Artist

Ever find yourself saying you just want to unplug from the world, and then find yourself skimming through tweets and Instagram images while watching the news at night? GUILTY! More and more the need to “escape” is becoming America’s new favorite pastime. 62% of adults WORLDWIDE under 35 say they seek experiences they feel can’t be replicated. Travel bloggers anyone? Extreme sports? Why do you think shows like Anthony Bordain are so wildly popular – people want to get out there and see the world. Any Netflix bloggers out there? Maybe it’s not even escaping your home. Even 25% of Netflix subscribers have crammed an ENTIRE 13-hour season of a popular show into two days. That’s considered escaping in itself. What about day trips? Exploring the city around you – these types of posts are becoming ragingly popular. Have you ever walked the beaches of Barbados? Zip-lined in Puerto Rico? Better consider those types of articles on your blogs (as long as their relevant with SEO!). Have a fun vacation coming up or trying to plan where to go? Now you know what you need to be documenting.

10. Many Faces of Mobility

Are we really only a few steps away from the Star Trek transporter in real life? The theory of mobility is changing, and the way people are viewing it can be defined different ways. Do you think of mobile phones? Mobile as in transportation and moving vehicles? What about the way you work – are you working from home as you’re reading this? Traditional means of mobility don’t seem to exist anymore, and cars technically could become a thing of the past? Think about driving tests – now cars can park for you, or signal when you’re crossing the middle line or break when you’re too close to the car in front of you. Will our children even need to take driver’s tests? Have you heard about Ambulance drones yet? When you call 9-1-1, the dispatchers will release both a drone AND an ambulance. The drone can make it to the scene is about one minute providing a life-saving toolkit to those on the scene immediately.

 

It’s impossible to predict the future, but there are ways to follow these trends into 2015 and be skilled bloggers, supplying our audience with the information they need. Will you be ready?

5 Effective Ways To Bring Traffic To Your New Blog

So, you just started a blog. You are totally enjoying all the fun parts of crafting great content and sharing with your readers, who at this point happen to be your friends. They are super supportive, but can only spend so much time online reading and sharing your content – it’s time to really get out there and start gaining new, loyal readers. Here’s 5 effective ways to bring traffic to your new blog, so that you can start getting more pageviews and virtually meet people that you don’t know “IRL!”

1. If you build it, they will come!

Build that community and be it’s leader! Brand yourself as an overflowing resource that your audience can turn to for information in your area of expertise.  It might sound repetitive, but if you are producing quality content on a REGULAR BASIS, continuously serving your audience, your community will come to you. It might not happen over night, but the key is consistency – your audience needs to know that they can rely on you.

Beyond that, make sure you are being social and building a community on all social media platforms – and learn how to speak to those different communities to get the response that you are yearning for.

2. Group Pinterest boards.

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I totally can’t stress enough how important it is to join group Pinterest boards (like the one for the INTRO NYC Blogger Network – duh!) It is a great way to not only network with new pinners, but gain loads of traffic from pinning your latest pins there and reciprocating by pinning new content from the group board to your personal boards. It’s a win-win situation because your followers get fresh content and your pins get in front of a new audience! Boom!

3. Reference old blog posts, within new posts.

Once you start blogging more consistently, you will have a platform completely filled with awesome content that YOU created! Therefore, whenever you are writing new content, and you know that you have written something in the past that is related,  link to it! This can be done simply by highlighting the text and linking to the content or literally typing “Click here for another great post on this topic!” Either way, it makes people curious as to where the text will lead them – and they will click it.

4. Jump on the SEO bandwagon.

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Everyone’s doing it, are you? In order to start bringing in regular, organic traffic from search engines, you MUST make sure that you are mindful of the keywords you are using whenever you write. Sound like a little too much to handle? Don’t panic! We will be holing part 1 of our beginners SEO class: What the heck is SEO – on February 23rd 2015 –>Register HERE

5. Promote yourself – everywhere.

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It might seem silly, but it’s easy to over look the numerous ways that are hiding right under our noses to promote ourselves without being pushy. Think about how many emails you send per say. If only 5 of those people clicked on your website URL from your email signature and clicked around your website each day – that’s some steady traffic. Carry business cards with you, link your blog URL to all of your social media accounts (both business and personal), have friends and family carry around your business cards, comment on other blogs/forums/ Q&A’s and leave your URL as a virtual trail – the possibilities are endless!

Getting ready to take that awesome blog of yours to the next level and start connecting with brands and making some MONEY!!?? Check out all the amazingness that we are offering in our Winter Class Lineup that will make sure you are on the right path to pure blogging success!

Blogging In Real Life: Tips for Successful Networking

It’s the holidays, which means there is a lot of parties, events and networking to do! Yes, I said THE evil word – the N word – NETWORKING. It’s something that seems to make everyone cringe, yet, it’s really what we do everyday – online, at lunch, at events – we just don’t like to call it that. As successful business women (and men), we need to always be ready for opportunity, and never be afraid to sieze the moment when it’s right in front of us. So, I’ve put together a mini checklist just in time for you to make your presence known through these last opportunity-filled days of the year.

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1. Business Cards

They sound so old fashioned, but we don’t always have time to look up people on Twitter in the middle of a large loud party. Business cards are still an acceptable way of, shall I say, networking, and even bloggers should have them to carry around. If you haven’t made any yet, don’t fear – use some of those Black Friday or Cyber Monday codes to score a great deal and create some. Sites I love are: Tinyprints.com, Vistaprint.com, Minted.com and PaperCulture.com. So go creep their websites on Mondays and make some pretty cards to capture your personality on paper.

2. Go with a Goal

Sometimes, especially here in New York, we get swept up in the whirlwind of events and activities going on. It’s fun at first to try and attend and cram every single little event into your calendar, but eventually you are going to get burnt out. Start setting goals as to WHY you want to attend certain events, and only go to the ones that will be beneficial. Ask yourself, why am I going?

– To meet new people

– To connect with a brand I’ve really been wanting to meet

– Because I am getting paid for attending

– To make an appearance and get face time in the industry with others

– For the free food, swag, booze and any other goodies offered

If you’re not getting anything worth while out of the event, and you’re only going for free swag, is it really worth your time and effort to go? Use your hourly rate for blogging. Example, if your rate is $15/hour. 2 hours of travel, 2 hours at the event, 1 hour of social media posting, 2 hours to do a write-up on your blog. Right here it’s already costing you $105. If you don’t feel the event is worth that much to you – should you be going?

3. Creep the hashtag

Again, there can be so many events to attend, and being the busy people we are, we can’t always make it to all of them. A great way to still stay in the conversation is to follow the event hashtag on social media. Usually a few hours after the event, you can go through and see all the photos on Instagram and who was there. You can see brands or fellow bloggers to follow, and even make comments or like the photos. Hey, isn’t that what social media is for?

4. Be Polite

Introduce yourself to the host/brand and thank them for inviting you. Get THEIR information/business card if you’d like to work with them more, or to connect personally. People are always asking me how to connect more with brands and the first thing I say to them is – have you talked to them? You don’t get anything out of being unknown at an event. See all the big bloggers chatting with everyone? That’s why everyone knows them, because they aren’t afraid to connect IRL (in real life). I know sometimes it’s hard to just strike up conversations if you don’t know someone, so if you’re really shy, go with the buddy system. Once you start attending more, you’ll see you’ll start to recognize more people in the industry.

Also, don’t ignore the other bloggers in the room. Walk up and introduce yourself to a couple you may know from social media but have never officially met. You’d be surprised how nice most of them are – they’re just as chatty and social as you! Making friends will help you grow and build your online community.

5. Go out of your way

The best bloggers know how to connect and make their presence known. Even AFTER the event. You want go get invited to other events, right? Know what the expectations are before you show up to make sure you’re okay with them. Do the hosts expect you to tweet live? Take photos? Write a post? Going into an event knowing what they want in return is always easier than finding out you are blacklisted from future events because you chose not to. Or, go above and beyond for the brands you really want to connect with. Do a surprise write-up for them and then email them thanking them for inviting you, and passing along your link. Chances are the brand will share it because it’s free exposure for them. Plus, know you’ve gone from no one to someone on their radar. Scratch their back and they’ll scratch yours.

Why You MUST Charge For Sponsored Content on Your Blog

Let’s start this conversation with this:

How much money do you charge a brand for sponsored content on your blog?

This is obviously a private number, think about it inside your head. If for some reason your answer is a measly ZERO, we need to do some major talking! I don’t mean to sound harsh – promise! But in reality, this should be a wake-up call for any blogger NOT charging for sponsored content to learn your worth and be confident in that. If you are charging for sponsored content, give yourself a pat on the back, because this seemingly small step is making HUGE strides for the blogging community globally!

1. Time = Money

Know your worth! I can’t stress this enough. All of the time, the hours that you spend creating content, connecting with brands, being on social media, and promoting your blog is time going down the drain if you aren’t being paid for it. Start keeping track of exactly how much time you are putting into your blog, and calculate an hourly rate for that you feel comfortable with. That is the amount that you need to be telling brands your time is worth.

2. You are influential.

We wrote a blog post back in August called, “Why Working With Bloggers is The New Media,” and revealed some pretty powerful information about how influential bloggers really are. One statistic that really stood out to me came from Social Media Today stating, “61% of US consumers made a purchase based on a blog post.” Wow – that’s a big number! Overall, this is just a small measure of how influential a bloggers voice is whenever they are connecting with their audience.

Many brands and companies are beginning to realize the power of blogger’s voices and the impact that they have, but others still don’t understand that. Either way, you must realize your influence and place value on that. Once you are able to do that, whenever a company reaches out to partner with you through your blog or a social media platform, speak up for yourself. They are reaching out to you for a reason, and you will be helping them generate sales for their company in some way, so you must be compensated for that – with money, not product!

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3. Not charging under-values the blogging industry as a whole.

This is a very important point for me. While I understand that there are many bloggers out there who get into blogging as a hobby or just for fun, most people get into blogging with the intention of generating a living, or eventually fall into monetizing. If you are one of those people who got into blogging so that you can share your child’s experiences as they grow up with family members who live 1,000 miles away, then don’t start working with brands if you aren’t going to value your time and charge them.

The reason is simple. If a brand knows that they can get work done from a blogger who isn’t valuing their influence, they will stop paying highly qualified bloggers who are trying to make a living to support themselves and/or their families.

It becomes a viscous cycle of: brand reaches out to amazing blogger –> blogger won’t work for free –> brand declines to pay and partners with a blogger who will work for free –> brand is unhappy with content and outcome of campaign –> brand decides never to work with bloggers again. I hear it time and time again.

Whenever you start partnering with brands, you have to understand that your blog is growing and standing out. If you don’t charge for sponsored content over and over again, it will under-value the blogging industry as a whole and continue the cycle of brands putting their advertising dollars elsewhere. Don’t be that blogger.

After reading this, you might be asking yourself: how much money should I charge? If that’s the case, you should come to our upcoming webinar Show Me The Money – Monetization Basics for Bloggers on February 25th, 2015 or March 18th, 2015, both from 7-9pm! We hope to see you there!