Archives for August 2011

Bloggers, have you established your route to fame?

So you’ve written your blog post, checked and rechecked it, proof read it, thought hard about the links you should include, sourced some great pictures and finally you’re happy enough to hit the ‘post’ button and your nice shiny new blog post is there for the world to see.

And the visitors will just magically appear, right?

Unfortunately not. In order to get visitors to your blog post, you’re going to need to tell people about it. Without promotion, the only people who will see your post are those subscribed to your blog, or who happen to drop in on the offchance you’ve published a new post. Oh, and your mum 😉

So, here’s a step by step guide to how *I* promote a blog post once it’s live. I’m not saying it’s the exact way everyone does it, or it’s the way you should do it – it’s what I do and it works for me – your mileage may vary.

For a free downloadable PDF of these steps, in mindmap format, click here: Promoting your blog post

How to promote a nice shiny new blog post

I’m presuming you have accounts with all of the sites I’m going to talk about – if not, the links are in the text.

Twitter

The first place I tend to start is Twitter. (You can follow me @nikkipilkington)

  • Post immediately – as soon as my blog post is finished, I post to Twitter immediately, usually via Buffer, which I have as a bookmarklet on my browser, so it’s easy. If for some mad reason I’ve written the post at a stupid time, then I’ll schedule it in Buffer to run at a more decent time to most normal human beings!
  • Schedule for later – using Hootsuite, I’ll schedule the post for maybe 12 hours later. This gives me more exposure and means that I reach more of my followers. Despite having 15,000 followers on Twitter, they’re not all going to see my Tweet, so posting twice in a day allows me to reach different time ones, and more people.
  • DMs to Influencers – if there are people I think would benefit from the post, and would happily retweet it to their followers, I DM them and ask them for some ‘retweet love’ – always offering to reciprocate of course. This way my post reaches people that don’t follow me. I keep this to 3 people per post, and of course not the same people for every post, or they’d get fed up with me asking!

Facebook 

I then move to Facebook where I have a personal profile, a Business Page and a Group. I am also a member of various other groups, some about business, some for more fun things.
  • Post to my personal profile – a lot of my friends on Facebook are business people too, and as my posts are usually business focused, I’m happy to post to my profile. You may feel differently, but even if you don’t post EVERY blog post to your profile, the odd one here and there can remind your friends what it is you do.
  • Post to my Business Page – I post to my business page, usually by hand. On occasion I’ll use Hootsuite to schedule the post, but as Facebook ‘bunches up’ posts from an app, I try and make the time to post it directly.
  • Post to my Group – if the post is relevant to the groups I run then I’ll post it in there too – usually if you run a group there’s an element of loyalty there and everyone supports each other, so I encourage members o my groups to tell me about their blog posts too so I can ‘give them some love’.
  • Other Groups – if the post is relevant I’ll post it in other groups I am a member of. I don’t do this or every post, or they’d get pretty fed up with me, but a couple of times a month doesn’t hurt. I do, however, make sure that I also contribute to these groups in other ways, either by taking part in discussions ro sharing other people’s content – the group isn’t just there for me to broadcast my own blog posts.
For a free downloadable PDF of these steps, in mindmap format, click here: Promoting your blog post

LinkedIn 

I have to admit, I’m not a huge user of LinkedIn, so I don’t do the following things with every blog post, but if you are, you should.
  • Update your status – It’s suprising how many visits a blog post can get from LinkedIn status updates, so well worth doing this if you do nothing else. Either use a plugin on your blog that allows you to do this by clicking a button, or go direct and post.
  • LinkedIn Answers – LinkedIn has a section where people can ask questions o the network. Have a browse through – is your blog post relevant to any of the questions in your area of expertise? If so, there’s nothing wrong with jumping in, giving some advice and then saying ‘I’ve just written a blog post about thi’ with a link. Again, don’t overdo it, or you’ll be accused of spamming, but it’s an effective way to drive relevant traffic to your site.
  • LinkedIn Groups – again, look at the groups you’re a part of – is your blog post relevant to that audience? If so, then reference it in there. Just make sure you’re an active member of the group, not just posting links to your blogs, and of course be sure to reciprocate if you can when others ask for link love.

Email 

  • Newsletter – if I think the blog post is good enough to be featured in my newsletter, then I log in to Aweber, where I keep my newsletter templates and drafts, and add it to the latest draft. That way, once my newsletter is ready to go, the link is already there. As this could be a week or so after the original post, it’s a great way of getting extra traffic and reaching people who hadn’t seen it the first time.
  • Mailing Lists – I have a number of mailing lists for different subjects – if the blog post could be of interest to them then I will occasionally send it out to them via Aweber. I don’t do this for every post though so use it sparingly!
  • Email Influencers – in the same way as I asked a few people to promote the post via Twitter, I will email a couple of people with a link to the post, explaining why I think it would be of interest to them and saying that if they found it useful I’d appreciate any links they could give me. Again, not the same people every time, and I do think this through quite a lot, only asking people I have a relationship with already
For a free downloadable PDF of these steps, in mindmap format, click here: Promoting your blog post

Forums 

 

You may be a member of different forums to me, but if I think a blog post merits it then I will post an extract and a link in various forums, depending on their rules. Be sure to check the rules before you do this, as I’d hate you to get into trouble!

 

My Blog

 

As a lot of my old blog posts are listed in Google, or linked to from elsewhere and get lots of traffic, I tend to go through a few and where it matters, add a link to the new blog post. You’ll be surprised how many of your old blog posts are related to what you’ve just written.

 

Other Blogs 

 

The great thing about posting comments on other people’s blogs is that you’re allowed to get a link to your site. So I’ll find 3 or 4 relevant blogs and comment on them. When I say comment, I don’t mean ‘great post John, I agree’ type comments – add to the conversation, state an opinion, agree or disagree, but make sure your comment is worthy of posting. In the space where it gives you the option to post your website link, post your latest blog link instead.

 

Even better, find blogs that use the CommentLuv plugin – this is a plugin that automatically shows the last blog you posted – Birds on the Blog uses this, for example, so your comment will automatically promote your latest blog post. You can find other blogs that use CommentLuv by searching Google.

 Amplify 

 

Using a browser plugin, I can ‘clip’ parts of the post and send to my Amplify account. This allows me to reach a different sector of people, as a lot of the people who follow me on Amplify don’t follow me in other places.

 

Posterous 

 

Again with a browser plugin, I post parts of the post to Posterous. I’ve only really started doing this recently, but it is proving a good traffic generator.

 

For a free downloadable PDF of these steps, in mindmap format, click here: Promoting your blog post

Social Bookmarking 

 

  • StumbleUpon via yet another plugin I can post my blogs to Stumbleupon, which can be a great source of traffic. While I am posting my own content there, I’ll have a ‘stumble’ around and click thumbs up on a few other things, and perhaps submit some content from the 30 Day Bloggers, or friends who have promoted my posts in the past.
  • Delicious – Another social bookmarking tool, although probably not as good a traffic generator as StumbleUpon, if I have the time I submit here too.
  • Other social bookmarking sites – depending on the content of  a blog, I’ll post it to various other bookmarking sites such as Reddit, Sphinn, Digg etc.

Google + 

 

Last but not least, Google+. I’m still pretty wary of using Google+ for out and out business stuff, so I don’t post every blog there, but I am looking forward to when they have business profiles on there! You can follow me on Google+ at http://gplus.to/nikkipilkington
  • My Circles – I first of all post to any circles I have that are relevant. This is usually my business circle and my 30 Day Challenges circles. Not much point posting to my family or schoolfriends circles as they’re not interested!
  • Public timeline – Then I’ll post to the public timeline, if the post deserves a wider audience.
So there you have it – a rather long guide to promoting a blog post. As I’ve said before, it’s not a rulebook, but this is how I do things. Sometimes these things can span a week, sometimes I’ll do them in one day. Test and see what works best for you.

 

It looks like a lot doesn’t it? So to make it easier for you I’ve produced this free PDF which features a mindmap of all these steps – save it, print it out, stick it on your wall and follow it to promote your own blog posts. Don’t forget to let me know how you get on!

 

PS: Don’t forget to take a look at the 30 Day Blogging Challenge
PPS Also check out @saraharrow’s blog post on getting more eyeballs to your blog post – some great ideas in there too!
(With thanks to Lisa Attias for the ‘route to fame’ idea)
Image copyright WordPress premium themes

Like this post? Don’t forget to check out the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, and kickstart your blogging in just 30 days!

The 30 Day Challenges now have their own website!

With the success of the 30 Day Challenges I’ve been running recently, and the fact that there are LOADS more in the pipeline, I wanted to move them away from this site, as it was beginning to be taken over!

So I’m happy to report that the Challenges now have their own site – you can see it here –> 30 Day Challenges.

The new site carries the same branding as this one, but is a much better place to focus on the Challenges, and blog posts related to them.

You can find the Challenge you need, join either the email challenge or buy the ebook, and sign up to get info on future Challenges – I’d highly recommend signing up as we have a lot of challenges coming up and I’d hate you to miss out!

Pop on over now and let me know what you think!

Google+ explained [video]

Loving this Google+ video, which explains Google+ very quickly and simply.

You can find me on Google + here: http://gplus.to/nikkipilkington

 

 

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21 Things You Could Blog About Right Now

When I speak to people about blogging, one of the first excuses they come up with is ‘I don’t have time’, rapidly followed by ‘I don’t know what to blog about’.

Sometimes we’re a little too close to our business, and can’t see the wood for the trees. Hopefully this list of 21 things you can blog about right now will help clear your mind, and give you some ideas.

21 Things You Could Blog About Right Now

  1. A topical news piece – read the online news, locally, nationally, internationally and industry – find something you can relate to your business and write about it.
  2. Your latest client – tell your readers who your latest client is and what you’ll be doing for them – it helps them to see the kind of person they could refer to you for future business.
  3. Your latest product – if you have a new product or service, use your blog to tell your readers about its benefits.
  4. Your latest member of staff – growing as a business? Brag about it – let you readers know what’s going on in your business and they’ll reward you with loyalty!
  5. A Day in your life – describe a typical day in your life at work / in your business. People like to read about people.
  6. Top tips in your industry – share top tips – help to educate people and they’ll share you, tweet you, facebook you and more.
  7. An opinion piece – a risky one, but if you have an opinion on something, share it!
  8. A how to article – help people out by telling them how to do something to do with your industry.
  9. FAQs – round up the questions you get asked the most and answer them!
  10. Industry news – what’s going on in your industry that could interest your potential clients / readers?
  11. Answer a question – look at your email. What was the last question you received about your business? Answer it in a blog post.
  12. Do a recent roundup – really stuck for something to blog? A round up post of recent or popular posts on your blog is a quick and easy space filler, and will be useful to readers who may have missed previous posts.
  13. Post a poll – ask a question, give people a few choices, and post up your poll. Use another blog post to go over the results when you’ve collated them.
  14. Tell people how you started – people like people. Share with your readers how you got started in business, and ask them to share their stories too.
  15. Take a picture – a picture tells a thousand words – take a picture; of your office, your shop, your latest product, your coffee cup, whatever – and write a blog post around it.
  16. Ask a question – want interaction on your blog? Ask your readers a question they can answer easily.
  17. Give something away – find the right giveaway and you can generate a lot of links and traffic. Giveawy checklists, white papers, ebooks, reports, the list is endless.
  18. Review a product or website – been visiting a website for a while? Finished a course or book? Used a great product? Write a review post and let your readers know.
  19. Share resources – found some great industry resources? Or websites you think your readers will be interested in? Share them 🙂
  20. Write a testimonial – had great service from someone? Write them an open letter testimonial on your blog and be sure to link to their website and Social Media accounts. Put a smile on someone’s face 🙂
  21. Link to other great posts – share the love of your readers by directing them to other great posts that may help them. Whether it’s ‘Top 10 Posts about Facebook’ or ‘Posts I love this week’, a list of great posts you’ve read is easy to do and helps others out too.
Off the top of my head, there are your starters for 21 🙂
Like this post? Don’t forget to check out the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, and kickstart your blogging in just 30 days!

The 30 Day Adwords Challenge is on its way – prebuy now! #30dayadwords

When I decided to produce a series of 30 Day Challenges, I knew that there were some I could write myself, but others would need expert help, and when it came to the Adwords one, Claire Jarrett was the first name that sprang to mind.

Within minutes she’d said yes, and I’ve seen the draft outline of the course and have to tell you it’s going to be a corker!

You’re going to learn about:

  • Keyword research
  • Setting up ads
  • Ad groups
  • Campaigns
  • Quality score
  • Tracking
  • Budgeting
  • and more!

Even I’m excited about this one, and looking to learn from it!

The ebook is now available to prebuy – so get in quick and be among the first to learn from Claire’s vast knowledge!

5 Great Features of WordPress

WordPress

Image by Adriano Gasparri via Flickr

WordPress has long been considered one of the best content management systems for all sorts of websites. It is popular for lots of reasons, such as you can do a lot with it for free and it is extremely versatile. For those unfamiliar with it, read on to find out about 5 great features of WordPress.

Themes
One of the things that draw people to WordPress is the fantastic range of themes it has on offer. Everyone from casual bloggers to professional companies can find something to suit the style they are looking for. The vast range of choice also means it’s relatively easy to find a theme that stands out, captures the spirit of your website and won’t be used by too many other people. This is particularly great if you aren’t especially comfortable with custom coding, as it means you can still get a good website without too much hassle.

Easy-to-use Content Management
The content management system has to be one of the best things about WordPress. It has comprehensive options that allow you to add all sorts of graphics, images, videos and more to your site, and it’s all pretty easy to do. The clean, easy-to-understand interface is a definite benefit as it appeals to beginners and advanced users alike.

Custom Options
WordPress also allows you to tailor a large number of its themes, so you can do relatively simple things such as add your own header graphic, as well as more complicated things such as insert your own coding to create a truly bespoke, unique website. This versatility and adaptability is one of the enduring appeals of WordPress and external software providers make use of it to give users further options. An example of this would be the Genesis Framework powered by Studiopress, which has a focus on SEO that allows users to boost the performance of their website while still making sure it looks fantastic.

Social Media Integration
Most businesses now make use of social media. As Facebook has over 500 million users and Twitter has more than 200 million, it’s easy to see why this might be a good idea. WordPress websites make it relatively easy to integrate social media features so you can continue to grow your online presence in alternative ways while still keeping your website as the centre of your online operations. This is important as it is always useful to have an online ‘base’ in the same way it’s useful to have a physical office – being able to access your social media from your homepage is a definite plus point for a lot of web users.

It’s Open Source
Finally, another great thing about WordPress is the fact that it is open source. This means that not only are new, user-generated themes always being added (thereby giving you more choice as to what you want to do with your site), but it is constantly being upgraded and improved – so you can benefit from the latest developments and access them easily, practically as soon as they become available.

Are you using WordPress as the basis of your website?

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Do you blog at weekends?

If not, why not?

What a fantastic couple of days at NP Towers!

The sun has been shining, the birds have been singing (when Olivia hasn’t been chasing them that is) and we’ve had a great few days here at NP HQ, so if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share just some of our highlights!

We launched the 30 Day SEO Challenge

Following on from the Facebook Challenge and the Blogging Challenge, the SEO Challenge was the latest in the ’30 Day’ series, and it was a bit of a fight to get it out on time. Over 100 of you prebought the ebook, so it was essential to launch it on the day we said we would, and there were over 300 people waiting to hear when the email version would launch.

Despite a few gremlins, we managed to get the ebook and the email Challenge launched in the evening of Aug 1st – slightly later than planned, but at least on the right day!

The 100 free places on the email course went within 2 hours, and a further 50 were snapped up early the next morning, so, as per our other Challenges, the challenge moved to a paid model. Only this time with a difference! This time YOU can choose what to pay – radical, but it’s working and we’ve had around 60 new signups since then, all paying an amount they feel happy with 🙂

Next up is the 30 Day Adwords Challenge, and there are loads more in the pipeline so watch out!

We’re an iPhone App!

Well, this blog is. With the help of the fabulous Helen Stothard of IntelligentVA you can now access this blog and our special offers on your iPhone with the NikkiPilkington.com iPhone app. Woohoo!

It’s a free app, and we have lots of plans for it in the future, so watch this space! Please do download the app – it costs nothing and I’d love your feedback.

We’re selling like hotcakes on Kindle!

OK, we’re not going to break any world records, but we’ve smashed our Kindle target in the last month, which I’m really pleased about, considering I’ve not promoted it half as much as I should!

We also have some great reviews on Amazon, which I am humbled by – thank you to all who took the time to leave reviews for the Challenge ebooks.

We have some fab new clients!

I’m really looking forward to the new site we’re going to be putting together with the lovely Kay of WraporShrug, which is a bit of a secret now, but as soon as I can tell you more I will 🙂

It’s been fab to work with Sarah at Savvywoman; not only does she help women manage their money and get out of debt, she’s a great client too!

A massive eye-opener has been working with Dr Elmar Jung, a holistic dentist with a great new product – have you ever heard of Blotting Brushes? I hadn’t before working with him!

Working with Terje at Marbella Rentals has made me want to go back to Spain – I wonder if he will lend me the villa with its own private cinema? Terje? 😉

Not a new client, but a client with a new website and blog, Securstore finally have a website that backs up their great service – they’re a pleasure to work with.

Other clients I can’t tell you about include: a trainer, a recruitment company, a jewellery store, a kiddie’s clothes store and a health consultant – sshhh!

Lots of stuff coming up!

More 30 Day Challenges, I’ll be speaking in Spain (more on that soon), a series of webinars are in the offing, and more – watch this space!

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Another reason your META description tag is oh so important!

Smiley from the sMirC-series. "Doh!"

Image via Wikipedia

Why Meta Description is So Important

A guest post from Chris “Kip” Carrier of Kip FX Design

This morning when I was checking my G+ (I love Google Plus), a friend {Nikki’s note: ahem, it was me, having been lazy…} had shared one of her blogs, yet the snippet was displaying all of her follow info, and not an excerpt of the actual blog entry, this is something that needs to be avoided, as the first few lines of the blog/page need to tease people, make them click through to the main page.

There are a few ways of doing this, a lot of the time, your blog theme will automatically use the first few lines of the article, this blog will explain how to ensure you are displaying the right teasers, both in search engine results and with social media link sharing (Facebook, Google + etc).

Search Engine – Meta Description

This is extremely important, writing a good meta description is one of the most important parts of any blog or web page, and we are not just talking SEO here, but as a CTA (Call to Action), below is a picture of how I write a meta description for clients, but more importantly, how it displays in Google.

meta descriptionAs you can see, I have dropped in some relevant keywords, kept it short and sweet, and added a CTA with the number to call. When you have spent time and money in making sure your website appears on the front page of Google, you do not want to lose out on traffic and clients because your competitors have meta descriptions that entice people to their sites, and you have a bunch of random keywords that make no sense.

Social Media – Meta Description

There is no real difference when sharing on social networks, the same rules apply, but you want people to share this, tell their friends, tweet it, FB it, G+ it, so it has to be right. Below is an image of how the same page that showed up in Google, displays when shared on Facebook, starting to see a pattern yet?

Social media meta description

The reason it is so important on Social Networks is because of the shareability (did I just invent a new word?), like, comment and share are underneath this link, so the better the meta description, the more chance of it getting a wider coverage.

Meta Description – How To:

  • Keep it under 160 characters.
  • It has to have relevant keywords.
  • Do not keyword stuff (too many keywords, bad move).
  • It has to make sense.
  • Tease your viewers.
  • Add a CTA at the end (only seen if kept under 160 characters).
  • CTA: Call Now 01234 567 8910 (good for trades etc)
  • CTA: Read More, Click Now (good for blogs or info sites)
  • CTA: Buy Now, Check Stock (Good for eShops)
If your blogging platform (I use WordPress), does not have a place for adding the meta description, then a good SEO plugin will help solve this problem, All in One SEO. If you are not using WordPress, you can always Google “adding a meta description to [whatever you are using]”, and look for one with a good meta description.
Chris “Kip” Carrier is a web & graphic designer, primarily WordPress, with a passion for Social Media Marketing and iMacs. You can find him at Kip FX Design
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Bloggers, are you laying out the welcome mat?

A guest post by Sarah Arrow

Over in this post I wrote about how to listen to hear your blog’s community. In this post I would like to share with you how to welcome your readers and make them feel part of your blogging community and with careful calls to action, how you can grow your subscribers.. How to make them want to come back again, and again and again.
When a reader first finds you, you can welcome them with two WordPress Plugins – WP Greetboxor What Would Seth Godin Do? Both of these plugins welcome your reader and invite them to stay in touch. WP Greetbox can be tailored to greet your reader from the referencing site:

Greetbox_welcome

Click to enlarge

 

Greetbox_call_to_action

Click to enlarge

What would Seth Godin Do? works slightly differently and treats returning visitors slightly differently than new visitors. The messages can be tweaked so a first time visitor to your blog post is welcomed differently to a returning visitor. The settings can be adjusted so that the message is shown a certain number of times. This means your regular readers don’t get annoyed or “ad blind” to the welcome greeting.

The first time someone leaves a comment on your blog, you can use Comment Redirect to take them to a comment policy page. OK, comment policy may sound a little high-brow, but this page explains a little about how you moderate comments, how pleased you are they took the time and how much you would like them to stay in touch.

Calls to action here may include inviting them to join your Facebook page, your newsletter, following you on Twitter. Remember one call to action, don’t overwhelm the person and be gentle. If you don’t like a sales pitch at every opportunity, your readers won’t too and that may turn them off of being part of your social media community.

The downside to the Comments Redirect plugin is that it is not compatible to all commenting systems. It doesn’t work well with Disqus or LyveFire.

Thank me later is a wonderful little plugin that you can use if you use a commenting system such as Disqus. Using Disqus means you cannot use the Comment Redirect plugin. By adding Thank me Later, you can send a message to your first time commenters thanking them and inviting them to stay in touch and visit often. The messages are highly customisable and again you can extend the invitation again to join a Facebook Fan Page or follow you on Twitter.

A blog where you are welcomed means you are more likely to get comments and social shares, give it a go and remember to measure your before and after stats so you can see what works best for your blog.

Sarah

Sarah Arrow is the author of “Always Be Creating”, The ebook for bloggers looking to improve their community and expand their subscribers. She also blogs about the unsexy transport stuff for her Same Day Courier company.

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