How to create blog posts that drive traffic (inc. free download)

How to create blog posts that drive traffic (inc. free download)

You’ve spent hours crafting the perfect blog post. You’re super proud of what you’ve written and can’t wait to share it with the world. You just know it’s going to be an epic blog post that will drive traffic and convert into paying customers.

You hit publish, share it across all your social channels and then remember you forgot to include a call to action, or you didn’t place it in the right category, and you’ve missed the tags –  D’oh!

Your masterpiece has fallen into the Ether and all you hear is Crickets!

How can you stop this from happening again? Read on my friend and I will show you (free downloads also available).

It’s all in the headline
Headlines carry so much weight when it comes to Search Engines. Have you researched to see what’s already out there and how you can make yours better and more appealing?

Think emotion – words that will capture the attention of the readers (and keep them reading).
Example: how to, tips, fast, easy – including these will entice the reader that you’re going to solve their problem.

There are lots of tools out there to help you. I use these 2 all the time

https://headlines.sharethrough.com/

https://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer

Action: try it now with an existing post & see how you can improve

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What’s the purpose of the post? Think A.I.D.A

Are you trying to attract Attention to your post?
Is it all about generating Interest in your services/products?
Does it leave the reader with a Desire to know more?
Have you included a clear call to Action?

Example: Host a challenge (Attention), start a debate or discussion post (Interest), how-to guides (Desire), clear CTA post (Action)

Action: review your latest blog post – does it include any of the above? If not, how can you re-write it?

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Where does it belong?

You should make your content as easy to find for your reader as possible. Using categories and tags is a an ideal way of doing this, but think about the user experience. Is the category title logical? Is it relevant to the post? Have you used the right tags?

Action: take a look at the categories on your blog, do they make sense to the user?

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What’s the hook?

In your opening paragraph have you clearly laid out what the post is about? I follow the S.P.I.N method, which is actually a selling technique I was taught back in the day but it works great for the blogging world too.

Situation – what is the current situation the reader find themselves in? For example with this post it’s aimed at remembering everything you need before you hit publish and I’ve made that clear in the opening.

Problem – have you highlighted a common problem?

Implication – what does that mean to the reader? Do they recognise that problem themselves?

Need pay-off  – What do they need to resolve the problem?

Action: re-read your opening paragraphs – do they clearly layout the problem, the implications and how you can help them?

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“Pursue done, get pretty later” Amy Porterfield

Love this piece of advice from online marketing guru, Amy Porterfield. So many times I work with businesses that won’t publish unless it’s got all the spangly, sparkly bits in place. Yes of course it’s important to have the right (royalty free) images that match your content, but don’t hold off publishing it just because you can’t find the right picture. You can always go back and add it in later.

Some great resources for royalty free images are;

https://pixabay.com/

https://www.pexels.com/

Action: remember to add alt-tags to your images to help with SEO. Have you credited the source (if applicable)?

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Check SEO

Blogging, content creation and SEO all go hand in hand so you need to have even just a basic understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes.

Have you researched and used keywords throughout your post?

Action: Are the URLs short with your slug containing the keyword? Are meta tags present? (Check title, description, alt-tag for images, and keywords.)

  • Can the content be shared?
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That’s a lot to take in right? Worry not my friend, I’ve put together a handy, simple Blog Checklist that covers all of the above and more. You can download it here >>>> Blog Checklist

Of course, the world of blogging is ever evolving and there’s no way to teach all of this in a single blog post which is why I offer 1-2-1 blog coaching. If you’d like to know more just watch this short video where I explain all the benefits https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=WbpsYfKbmpM 

If you’d like more information or a free review of your existing blog, use the contact form below to get in touch[gravityform id=”1″ title=”true” description=”true”]

Building relationships with editors

Building relationships with editors

Read this post if: you’re curious about reaching out to editors and journalists. 

One of the most important aspects of pitching to editors is building a relationship with them. It’s much easier to connect with key editors and journalists via social media but there are a few definite no-no’s if you don’t want to go on their black-list!

  1. 1. Be persistent, but don’t stalk
    If you’re following on Twitter for example, it’s OK to comment on a link or question they’ve asked or an article they’ve tweeted. Retweet by all means, but not every single tweet, every day. Sounds like common sense right, but you’d be amazed how much it happens and it is so annoying!

2. Be persistent!
Yes, I know I’m repeating myself but this is if you’ve submitted an article and haven’t heard anything back. Editors are very busy people and as there’s less staff in the newsrooms, the chances are an editor is juggling a number of roles. It could be that they simply haven’t had time to review your piece.

3. Call them
That’s right, pick up the phone. Remind them that you’re there. It can often be easier to take a quick call and give a quick reply than waiting for that elusive email that may have got lost in the inbox.

4. Speak to the right person
Don’t waste time chasing down the wrong person. Make sure you have the right editor for the right section of the publication you’re pitching for. Again, a quick call to the editorial team will confirm this. If it’s a radio station you’re pitching to, approach the production team directly if possible.

5. Network with journalists
There are plenty of opportunities to network with journalists and editors. Remember that they are looking for stories too and events such as ‘Meet the Journalist’ are ideal for researching the right contacts. Don’t pitch anything, just ask for their contact details and what kind of stories they’re looking for.

6. Read & comment on their articles
If you write a blog then you know it can be a lonely place sometimes. Once you’ve identified a couple of journalists or editors you’d like to connect with find out if they have a blog. You could always ask them on Twitter, then make sure to go and like, share and comment on the article.

7. Take your time
Don’t jump straight in with a pitch. Get to know them a little first. Are they on Linkedin for example? Do you have any connections in common that can introduce you? You can always refer to this in your pitch at a later stage.

8. Don’t take the p**s
As and when you get your story accepted, stick to the deadline – submit earlier if you can. Consider the audience and who you’re writing for. DON’T submit a barely disguised promotional piece, it’s sure to get rejected and put in the ‘DNA’ (Do not accept) drawer i.e THE BIN!

9. Become their go-to expert
Every radio station, news outlet and TV station have a go-to expert that is tried and tested. This data is shared between various stations and channels so the possibilities are endless. Once you’re on friendly terms with your editor, ask if there’s any other area that you can help with. Suggest ideas if you feel it fits with their publication and doesn’t already exist.

10. Say Thank You
Simple and somewhat obvious but often overlooked. If you’ve had a piece accepted and published then follow it up with a thank you call or email. And whilst you’re there, suggest another article/feature – it’s perfect opportunity to build the relationship.

I hope these tips have helped you get clear on how to build and strengthen relationships with journalists and editors. If you liked this post and found it helpful you might also like download Top 10 Pitching Tips here.

How to find time to write (plus free cheat sheet)

How to find time to write (plus free cheat sheet)

As a business owner you have lots of stuff to do on a daily basis and finding time to write seems impossible. But if you want to write an article that’s worth publishing, believe me – you can! It all comes down to organising yourself and your thoughts. Once you have a routine you’ll find that ideas just flow and once you start writing you’ll find it difficult to stop!

Procrastinate
There’s always one day of the week that you’re less productive than any other. Now this might sound like contrary advice but pick this day as your ideas day. Whilst you sit there gazing out of the window, watching the world go by have a pen/pencil in your hand and let your mind wander. Pretty soon you’ll find it drifting towards blog posts, or it must be a ‘I wonder why xyz happens’. Jot it down, don’t do anything with it just yet, these are ideas that can be shaped (or thrown away) at a later day. Use the Ideas Worksheet to help you keep a track.

Keep an ideas notebook with you at all times (even at night)
Crucially important. Or if you’re not a notebook hoarder (I am, completely obsessed) use the recording function on your phone. It doesn’t matter how random they are, just keep a note. Richard Branson swears that some of his best ideas have happened this way.

Start the day with 100 words
Now I don’t know how your day starts, mine is pretty sedate. I get dressed and head to my gorgeous Shed. As soon as I sit down I open my draft blog posts and write 100 words. It doesn’t matter if I don’t use them that day, or if I change them later – I’ve written them and ticked off a goal. My day is off to a flying start. Goal accomplished and I’ve only been at my desk for 5 minutes. Of course it helps if the 100 words make sense or match up with something in my ideas notebook – don’t just write 100 random words, that’s a waste of time!

End the day with 100 words
Pretty much same as above, but I’ve found that if you write 100 words at the end of the day not only have you tricked yourself and written 200 words in one day but you’re also setting yourself up for the following morning – see above!

Plan ahead (know publication deadlines)
If you’re looking to get published in print, in a magazine such as Cosmopolitan or Stylist then you need to know they work as much as 6 months ahead. Local magazines tend to have shorter lead times, such a 6 – 8 weeks and newspapers are much shorter. If you’re not sure take a look at their website and look for Forward Features or the Media Pack as these tend to have the print deadlines included.

Put it in a draw for a week
Well done, you’ve written it. Now put it away. Yes, there, in the drawer. And no peeking for about a week! Why? Because you need to re-read it with a fresh pair of eyes, and distancing yourself from it for a while will allow you to do that.

Revise, review, reflect
THE most important part. 
Re-read it with a critical eye, read it outloud – how does it sound, does it make sense? Check the spelling and grammar. You want the editor to see you as a contributor whose work needs very little editing. Have you included facts and stats in your article? Double check the source for accuracy and include a citation if necessary. Do you intend to submit images? Have you given the photographer a name check? Have you included your contact details should the editorial team need to get hold of you at the last minute?

Don’t forget to download the Ideas Worksheet and start capturing those inspired ideas!

Good luck with your writing, don’t forget to let me know how you get on over on our Facebook Page. 

 

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