Blogging And Social Media – A 360 Approach

Do you know that there is now an accredited social media course being delivered in Australia? This is a picture-perfect example of the incredible shift there has been around the validity of social media as an educational field of its own. While this marketing medium is nothing new to the average business owner, the fact that there is now theoretical material behind it might be. With that in mind, this blog is focusing on the cohesion of blogging and social sharing, and how to effectively implement and use both in unison. Blogging social media, here we come!

Blogging and Social Media - A 360 Approach

Do you have a social media platform?

I hope this is a silly question. If it’s not, then get your butt on to Facebook quick smart. There is probably only a handful of offenders here but nevertheless it needs to be mentioned. Have your Facebook account? Great. Post regularly? Hopefully. First thing you should invest time in is your Facebook housekeeping. Presumably you are utilising the platform to compliment your website. If so, have you ensured that you are using all the features available and relevant to you? Here is a little check-list:

  • Call to action button
  • Website link
  • Phone number/Address if applicable
  • Reviews – Again will depend
  • Images!
  • Automated message for enquiries

Post

Promoting your blog through social media is pretty much THE way to drive traffic; unless you are an Instagram star or influencer, the blogging audience are not likely to be randomly stumbling across your website. Anytime you post to your website, make sure that you share to your Facebook. Then jump to your Facebook and tease your audience with a sample of the post; but just a little taster. Think of something that the reader simply must click; I don’t want to say click bait but you catch my drift. Similarly ensure that you always invite your web readers to follow you on Facebook.

Neutralism

While you may have a very particular voice on your blog, which can border on opinionated, Facebook and other social media platforms are not always the best place to be yourself. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a degree of superficiality is required. Facebook for instance is a casual virtual hangout; a place to chill with your squad and draw in new readers. However, it is also a war zone in terms of vitriol, trolling and other internet new age nuances. People like to argue on Facebook, and I must admit I love to read a good virtual scrap while its occurring. As a blogger, however, you need to thread carefully. Your topics may be offensive to some people because let’s face it, lots of people love being offended. And while controversy can to a degree be an excellent boost to your blogging profile, it is also morally desirable to present yourself well on social media. Try to stay out of political, religious and any other controversial debates; too many bloggers have been burned by expressing their true selves; a sad but very truth.

Given this article is centred around social media and blogging working in symbiosis, you can now see why a bad reputation one platform could potentially damage the reputation of your website, be it personal or business.

Reach

If your business is not limited by borders in terms of locality it can trade with, then social media gives access to a massive global reach. In the same way, bloggers for personal or business gain, can tap into their audience in a massive way. The world of advertising is forever changed with the emergence of social media, and as a business or personal blogger, you better be taking a piece of the marketing cake while it is going cheap. While it is awesome to be able to connect with people on social media and draw them towards your blog, you need to make sure that your content and website alike are awesome. Don’t disappoint your followers by leading them on false pretences.

Lazy Cheat

Facebook, Instagram and the all-powerful Snapchat work wonders in times of laziness. You might be lagging in terms of your blog content, but if you can’t post something to your social media accounts, even if it’s a picture, you are still winning. It is a form of engagement, and keeps your blog followers secure in the knowledge that you are still alive. Even if you are a sloth version of your former self.

I hope that these tips give you some insight into why blogging and social media are just a couple of cosy peas in a pod.

Let me know your thoughts!

Content Creation Trend Predictions For 2017

What a time to be alive and in the content marketing industry! It is absolutely exploding in popularity now, and sees no signs of slowing down. With that in mind, I have decided to look to the predictions for trends in the industry this year. Believe me, if content creation is your thing, you need to read this. Let’s go, trend predictions 2017!

Content Creation Trend Predictions for 2017

Emails have experienced a resurgence in popularity of late. While I am not sure they ever lost their favour, the consensus was that people were digesting information through different mediums. The expert people at Radicati Group are predicting exponential growth in the number of email accounts created by the year 2019. These guys reckon there will be over 5.5 billion accounts in the world by then. With such mind-blowing figures to contend with, it seems apt to start with this; the first big trend of 2017 – Newsletters.

Newsletters

Newsletters are fantastic for so many reasons. You can knock directly on your customer’s virtual door and enter with some marketing treats. You no longer need to rely on good faith that they will visit your website to read your latest news or blog. With newsletters, you can give lots of little tasters to tantalise your customer, and lead them to where they need to be; website, shop, or straight to the online checkout. It is a subtle yet slightly in your face marketing approach and most people welcome it. Newsletters are also incredibly cheap to create, if not in some instances completely free.

I particularly love Mail Chimp as it is very user friendly and cost effective. Like website builders of late, newsletter platforms are generally marketed to the masses; those that are not tech savvy. It is no longer a requirement to be a qualified graphic designer to create something worth sending out. If you are not sending out a newsletter yet, now is the time to start. Believe me, it is going to be the talk of this year.

Mobile Friendly

In the last couple of years, the focus has been around ensuring websites are compatible for mobile devices. This year, mobile friendly will be the primary focal point in web creation, with desktop compatibility coming second. Most people are accessing information from a mobile device, in fact over two thirds. Site capability and performance are resting on the shoulders of mobile friendliness so get cracking on making that website phone ready. Conduct a little test on your site by accessing each page through your phone and rating its usability. Most web development sites make mobile accessibility simple to set up. It’s the veteran sites that are more of a worry; those guys that have been around for a while and have not made many technological advances in the last couple of years.

Engaging on a Deeper Level

Too many content writers are only scratching the surface when they create copy. People are getting fed up with reading the same stuff, so make sure 2017 is the year that you dive deeper into the rabbit hole. Consumers are looking for more depth and marketeers are starting to answer their calls. Content creators will start to become masters in their field, as they strive to separate themselves from the herd.

Strategic Content

Blogging and content creation in the past has been for no other purpose than to be on the same playing field as the others that were doing it. This year will see marketeers and business owners create content more strategically and each piece will have a specific purpose. Often that purpose is placing the reader somewhere in the sales funnel.

Expertise

People are realising that quality far exceeds quantity and this year we will start to see a shift away from content mills. Businesses will enlist the help of expert writers (hey guys, I’m over here!) who care about what they write and who they write for. This allegiance between writer and business owner will forge a more streamlined content foundation, which helps with creating a loyal following. Bye bye one cents a word writers.

Audio Visual

I have mentioned these guys time and time again; videos and podcasts. Content is changing constantly and 2017 will continue to see a rise in podcasts and video streaming as alternative methods to content marketing. Unlucky for me, these methods are still incredibly scary and untouched. So, while people will be getting busy with their camera and tape recorder this year, I will be watching YouTube tutorials on how to use said camera and tape recorder.

What do you guys think? What are your hot predictions for content creation this year? Let me know!

Blog Batching – The Way Forward

The New Year is well and truly upon us; in fact, 2017 is such old news that I feel like I should be making my 2018 resolutions. Better late than never as they say, so this year I have decided to digress from the norm. I will not make promises to go to the gym more or to stop eating donuts (easy achievements, I just don’t feel like it guys). Nope, this year I am going to focus on my blogging productivity. As a part time HR Officer, and some time freelancer, I find it a constant battle between prioritising where it is that my focuses lie. I am in love with writing; it is my life’s calling card, but I also have bills to pay.

Blog Batching - The Way Forward

Long days in the office are a necessary evil at times, so I often come home withered, uninspired and not in the mood to write. I have found myself drowning with work, and feel like I let down my precious clients when I miss deadlines. I realised that I needed to come up with a solution to my blogging fails, and I needed to come up with it quick. This epiphany led me to batching. And batching, I think is the way forward.

What is batching?

Batching is arranging things in sets or groups. Within a blogging context, it refers to writing content in bulk. Goodbye Wednesday twilight’s when I type vigorously at midnight, all the while slurping on an extra-large glass of red. It’s to keep me focused people. And sayonara 6am starts when I try to knock out an overdue blog post before heading into the office. I have decided to move forward with batch blogging, which will see me spend a Sunday knocking out back to back posts. I am going to be 3 steps ahead of the game.  If you need any more reasons why batching is the answer, I have decided to tell you right here.

Creative streak

I am not alone fellow writers; as much as we love our craft, sometimes it is hard to get the creative juices flowing. I am prone to avoidance tactics. If the ideas are not smacking me in the face, I am likely to turn off the laptop and watch re-runs of Friends. However, I notice that when I am on writing form, the inspirational tap is trickling and it doesn’t stop. So why have I been stopping writing after one post? Ridiculous, right?! Sitting at a computer, with some meditative music is really soothing and generally once we writers get going, we can keep going. So, grab that time by the horns and really make use of it! You will appreciate that glass of wine even more when you can have it knowing how much work you have knocked out.

Time Saver

Batching is an efficient way of working. The point above regarding creativeness adds to this as obviously writing comes thick and fast once the ideas are there. Aside from the actual content, sourcing of images can be a time-consuming process, particularly if you are doing this on a blog by blog basis. Organising your images ahead of schedule can give you back more time to do other things.

Stress Reducer

I think I touched on this when I mentioned those manic midweeks trying to write while slightly inebriated. Being behind on schedule is just plain stressful. While the idea of sitting down for hours to write can be scary, you will be so pleased when you are ahead of your writing calendar. More importantly if you are writing for clients, they are going to be happy too, and will feel reassured that their content is in good hands.

Shift in Focus

By writing several blog posts in advance, you are essentially freeing up time that can be spent on new projects. When I set out to be a writer my big picture dream was to write a book. I am nowhere near achieving that; in fact, I can’t even remember the last time I read a book. I have gotten so caught up in playing client catch up, that I have lost sight of what I want to achieve. I want to continue to write and grow in the blogging sphere, and I want to continue to work with the fantastic people that I get to write for. However, I  also want to knock that book out. So, by batching blogs, I  can free up a day and get lost in creativity. Or maybe just start with reading a book.

Foundation Posts

When  I speak of Foundation Posts, I mean those sort of evergreen ones, the posts that are relevant no matter what time of year it is. I am sure people will argue that batching can’t work in a fast-paced world, but there is always content that has some timelessness about it. Have a think about what blogs you can create in bulk that will slot in during the year, and utilise that extra time you now have to write about the juicy new findings in-between.

I hope that this has given you some food for thought and I would love for your feedback on blog batching! Has it worked for you?

Using Grunt To Minify JavaScript In WordPress

In this tutorial we’ll look at how to minify JavaScript using the command line tool Grunt. More specifically, we will look at how to take the JS files in a WordPress plugin and minify them. There are a couple of benefits to doing this: Decreasing client (browser) bandwidth usage and  also add a touch of security (IP protection) to our JS code (obfuscating it). The downside is of course that by minifying (and obfuscating) our JS files, they become virtually unreadable for the user. However, this usually does not matter (unless your user base is a bunch of web-savvy developers who may need to debug your code!) and is usually a desirable outcome.

How to Minify JavaScript using Grunt

Getting Started: Install Node Package Manager (npm)

Let’s get the ball rolling by installing grunt. Grunt requires node.js, so we need to check node (and the package manager npm) is installed:
Check NPM package is installed
If you don’t have npm & node, you will need install them (installing node should install npm automatically):

sudo apt-get install node

After installing, run “npm -v” again to make sure it installed OK (mine is npm 1.3.10, running PHP 5.6). To check ‘node’ itself installed, type “man node” to bring up man pages for this command.

Install Grunt

Install grunt CLI globally

First, install the grunt command line interface (CLI) to be available globally. This will allow grunt commands to be run from any directory:

sudo  npm install -g grunt-cli

Install Grunt Task Runner (locally)

The Grunt task runner is installed on a per-project basis: each project has it installed locally.

Inside your project root folder (same folder as wp-config.php file), create file package.json and it’s contents outlined below. Replace ‘my-project-name’ with your project (note: must be a no-spaces string). The devDependencies define the libraries required by grunt to complete the tasks we will be specifying shortly in another file (the Gruntfile.js).

package.json:

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{
    "name": "my-project-name",
    "version": "0.0.1",
    "devDependencies": {
        "grunt": "~0.4.2",
        "grunt-contrib-jshint": "~0.6.3",
        "grunt-contrib-uglify": "~0.2.2"
    }
}
{
    "name": "my-project-name",
    "version": "0.0.1",
    "devDependencies": {
        "grunt": "~0.4.2",
        "grunt-contrib-jshint": "~0.6.3",
        "grunt-contrib-uglify": "~0.2.2"
    }
}

In the shell command line, navigate to your root folder (folder containing package.json) and install the grunt task runner by executing command:

sudo npm install

Grunt should now be installed locally (the folder ‘node_modules’ is automatically created).

Using Grunt

Test Gruntfile.js

Now that we have the grunt task runner tool installed, it’s time to configure our local project and give it a whirl.

As previously mentioned, we need a Gruntfile.js file to configure our grunt tasks. Let’s do a very simple test by creating a super simple Gruntfile.js (in same root folder as package.json) as follows:

Gruntfile.js

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module.exports = function(grunt) { //The wrapper function
 
 // Project configuration & task configuration
 grunt.initConfig({
      pkg: grunt.file.readJSON('package.json'),      
  });
 
  //Creating a custom task
  grunt.registerTask('test', function () {
      grunt.log.write('Testing works!');
  });
};
module.exports = function(grunt) { //The wrapper function

 // Project configuration & task configuration
 grunt.initConfig({
      pkg: grunt.file.readJSON('package.json'),      
  });

  //Creating a custom task
  grunt.registerTask('test', function () {
      grunt.log.write('Testing works!');
  });
};

Running command ‘grunt test’ shows our grunt task runner is working as expected. Too easy.

Test Grunt.js Works

Minify JavaScript

Now we know our Gruntfile.js works OK, let’s move on to more exciting things – minifying some JavaScript!

New Gruntfile.js:

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module.exports = function (grunt) { //The wrapper function
// Project configuration & task configuration
    grunt.initConfig({
        pkg: grunt.file.readJSON('package.json'),
 
        uglify: {
            options: {
                banner: '/*! <%= pkg.name %> <%= grunt.template.today("dd-mm-yyyy") %> */\n'
            },
            dist: {
// more info on src/dest config here:
// https://github.com/gruntjs/grunt-contrib-uglify/issues/23
// files{ dest1: source1, dest2: source2} ...
                files: {
                    'wp-content/plugins/twoggle-seo-post-checklist-pro/admin/js/twspc-post-edit.min.js':
                            'wp-content/plugins/twoggle-seo-post-checklist-pro/admin/js/twspc-post-edit.js'
                }
            }
        }
    });
 
// load task libs
    grunt.loadNpmTasks('grunt-contrib-uglify');
 
// Creating a custom task: Run with 'grunt test'
    grunt.registerTask('test', function () {
        grunt.log.write('Testing works!');
    });
 
// Default task: Run with just 'grunt'
    grunt.registerTask('default', ['uglify']);
};
module.exports = function (grunt) { //The wrapper function
// Project configuration & task configuration
    grunt.initConfig({
        pkg: grunt.file.readJSON('package.json'),

        uglify: {
            options: {
                banner: '/*! <%= pkg.name %> <%= grunt.template.today("dd-mm-yyyy") %> */\n'
            },
            dist: {
// more info on src/dest config here:
// https://github.com/gruntjs/grunt-contrib-uglify/issues/23
// files{ dest1: source1, dest2: source2} ...
                files: {
                    'wp-content/plugins/twoggle-seo-post-checklist-pro/admin/js/twspc-post-edit.min.js':
                            'wp-content/plugins/twoggle-seo-post-checklist-pro/admin/js/twspc-post-edit.js'
                }
            }
        }
    });

// load task libs
    grunt.loadNpmTasks('grunt-contrib-uglify');

// Creating a custom task: Run with 'grunt test'
    grunt.registerTask('test', function () {
        grunt.log.write('Testing works!');
    });

// Default task: Run with just 'grunt'
    grunt.registerTask('default', ['uglify']);
};

Note that the ‘dist’ sub-task underneath ‘uglify’ is just a random task name you use, the name does not matter. The banner option gives us a timestamp at the top of our generated files.

Now running command ‘grunt’ does the minify-zation of my JavaScript successfully:

Using Grunt To Minify JavaScript in WordPress

Grunt forth and be happy

We have learnt how to use the Grunt Task runner tool to minify JS in our WordPress (or any PHP) projects. Grunt can actually achieve many more things (file concatenation, CSS compilation using SASS/LESS, run command line statements such as git pull, etc). For further information, see more Grunt examples.

We’d love to hear how you use Grunt in your own projects?

Beat The Blogging Block

The cursed writers block. It can pounce at any time, quite usually at the worst time such as deadline day. If, like me, you are a regular blog contributor you know what I mean. Another issue that can be sometimes faced as a writer is a feeling of stagnation in subject matter. It is no secret that content has been written on the same topic numerous times, so how is your piece offering any more value than the next? Well my friends, I have come up with a few ways to beat the blogging block and overcome the writing decay. Most of the tips are related to preparation, so you don’t find yourself in the same boat as I am today. Staring at a blank screen. Making endless cups of tea.

Beat the Blogging Block

Notes

It is a handy idea to have a little notepad on your person at all times, to quite literally jot down any ideas or inspirations. It may sound a little twee but it is very effective. Only recently did I discover the value of this. While on holidays I came up with a super blog idea. I like to think the fresh coconut and Balinese background melodies were inspirational necessities. Que to when I got home and back to my laptop – and couldn’t remember what my idea was. Why didn’t I have the damn notepad right?! Notes on a mobile phone work equally well for this; I just happen to be a little old fashioned.

References

Sometimes we are not beacons of knowledge and don’t dream up wonderful content ideas. Sometimes we (me!) harness the academia of someone else’s piece and mould it into our own. Examples of this include utilising newspaper articles, educational literature or a contributor’s opinion piece. It is all well and good to take inspiration from other sources for your own content creation, but if you can’t remember the sources or what they were about, it’s pointless.

This is where I call in the help of my old friend Evernote. You might remember Evernote from previous blog posts; yep I am slightly in love with the organisational software tool. It gives the user the ability, among many other functions, to save snippets from the internet and photographs for reference later. Very useful indeed. Especially in a circumstance where you spy some worthy content that is not necessarily at your immediate fingertips; the bloke on the bus with the eye-catching headline on his newspaper. You know where this goes and it involves a camera phone and some stealth. Bye bye blogging block ; hello stolen ideas from cute bloke on trains newspaper.

Rebirth

OK kind of weird heading. What I am referring to is my above point that mentions a sense of decay in one’s work. Particularly when the topic has been done so many times before. An example that is apt today is the subject of strength training. It can feel wasteful to create an article on the topic, particularly if your findings or opinion are not so different from other contributors to the topic. This is where you need to flip your thinking on its side and approach the topic from another angle. Everyone is writing about how awesome strength training is in general, so you could write about how awesome strength training is for women in their fifties.

I guess what I am saying is to own your subject more and master its intricacies. Rather than skim the surface like many others do, get your hands dirty and dig a little deeper. Not only is this a great way of re-hashing old content in times of writer’s block, but it also gives you permission to grow your knowledge base and become the expert in the field. This only strengthens your content, and therefore your audience base.

Improvise

This is for those who are past the point of no return. Writers block has set in so deeply, that there are scratch marks on the monitor and the kettle has exploded from over use. It is also suitable for those with talents other than writing. Blogging does not always have to consist of the written word! If you simply cannot muster up the grammar to express yourself, why not get handy with a camera and create a podcast. Maybe even create an infographic; hell, even some clip art! Our brains are so spectacularly designed that if one creative function is on the go slow, the others are often heightened. Improvising may help you to get your groove back Stella.

To conclude, its January and I am clearly writing about my reality right now. How beautiful is blogging though? I have written a blog about how to overcome blogging block, thus solving my own problem! Hope this helps you guys too. Most importantly, I would love to hear your ideas on keeping your content ideas bank bright and bushy tailed. Please let us know!

Next week’s post – I clearly don’t know yet. #bloggingblock

Guest Blogging – What Is It All About?

Guest blogging itself doesn’t take much explaining but the reasons behind doing it certainly do. So I thought I would make a blog post in its honour. You are welcome.

What is a guest blog?

A guest blog is a post written by someone for a website that is not their own. While some people may find it difficult to take their foot off their website brake so to speak, letting someone else have the driver seat can actually be very positive. Here are the reasons why.

Guest Blogging – What is it all about?

Diversity

By allowing guest posts to feature on your web page, you are allowing for more dynamic content. While diversity doesn’t suit all businesses (guest blogs on a bank’s website might not work), some more creative platforms will thrive on a break from uniformity. By providing a range of blog posts by different writers, you are essentially catering for a number of audiences.

Content may be of the same subject, but styles will vary and appeal to a different range of people.  When a range of writers come together to contribute to a blog, it lifts its appeal to new levels. A one man blog is just that; when multiple people come together to write, it becomes a community. And it is this fundamental reason why guest blogging is awesome and can lift your online presence. Obviously there are other reasons so let’s keep going.

Sharing

By bringing people into your blogging fold, you are in essence spreading your content further than it might otherwise go. I can’t think of one blogger I know who isn’t ridiculously big headed when they produce published content (I am raising my hand high for this one). More than likely guest bloggers will share their wares to the world, thus increasing the hits to your site. This can only be a good thing. And sharing is an absolutely pivotal part of the blogging process. Without the golden share, you are essentially just sitting and waiting for readers; we all know this just doesn’t work.

Inbound Links

Another awesome benefit of guest blogging is the potential inbound links you could gain. If your guest blogger has their own website, there is a chance they may feature their guest post and link to your platform. This is another great way of increasing your audience size.

Credibility

This one is the real clincher. Imagine how many doors may open for you and your website if you manage to secure a prominent well known guest blogger. This might not be the easiest feat, but if you have a really good quality website and perseverance you may be lucky enough to lock in a well-known blogger. Not only does an online influencers blog post give you website more validity, it also drives a large audience.

Insider Tip Alert – I was once interning for a fashion and beauty website. This particular website was in its infancy and attracted little readership. I wanted to make an impression, so I wrote a piece about my favourite blogger. She just so happened to have a following of 20,000 on Facebook. I wrote her a little email to say I was a loyal follower and included the link to my ultimate fan girl piece. Twenty minutes later, my article was shared on her social platforms; people love to be talked about it seems, and my said influencer couldn’t miss out on sharing this completer piece about herself. The result was a large influx of traffic to the fashion website, and an overall increase in clicks per article. People came for the influencer related blog, and stayed for the other content.

Where is the tip I hear you ask? Well, if you can’t secure an influential blogger to write for your site, flip it in reverse and write about them! They will love all of the free praise and promotion and just might share your link to the post.

Building Relationships

Another awesome side effect of guest blogging is the relationships you can build. Widening your network of bloggers is mutually beneficial to both parties; they provide you with content and you provide them with exposure. Another angle you can take is to ask for some reciprocation in the form of a post to their site. This is another way of promoting yourself and your platform, and finding a potential new audience to tap into.

We hope that you have found some value in this post and as always would love to hear your suggestions for other reasons why guest blogging is awesome!

Online Monetization

Once upon a time working from home was reserved for novelists and dodgy multi-level marketing people. Those days are behind us folks, and there is now more opportunity than ever to live the dream. The dream to get paid for staying in your PJ’s all day. All one needs to have for such a life is a laptop. And tenacity. Yep tenacity definitely helps. Otherwise you are just a person sitting at home in your pyjamas all day. With that in mind, I have decided to dedicate this blog to means of monetization online. I have written before about blog monetization specifically, but you don’t even need a blog for these ones! Get making them Ben Franklins. Or whatever we call them in OZ.  To make money online takes both strategy and also some luck (sometimes you can stumble upon something by accident!). But mostly, hard work is the key.

Online Monetization

Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant can complete a host of tasks so it is hard to categorise this Job title into one box so to speak. In general terms, a virtual assistant performs administrative duties from a remote location; for me this would be in my bed. The idea behind the virtual assistant phenomenon is to improve work place efficiencies and reduce costs. Take this example; a business may have an overflow of work to be completed, but not necessarily the need for someone to be hired in a full time capacity. This is why they may decide to subcontract their data entry, bookkeeping, word processing to name just a few. Rather than bringing this person into the workplace, they may use a virtual assistant who can do the work from home.

Another popular VA model is the “call centre” one. You can work as a telemarketing person, or even just be the point of contact for a business. This works particularly well for very small businesses that have stretched resources as it is.

There are absolutely endless opportunities online to become a virtual assistant but be wary of the low paying ones. Similar to the high volume low pay content mills I loathe, they pay pittance. Don’t ruin it for everyone by agreeing to work for 10 bucks an hour.

Information Product

Are you a dab hand at pottery? Or a whiz in the kitchen? Then why not make an information product of some sort? In loose terms, this is going to be a content creation product using your knowledge wizardry. Think eBooks or educational tools. Websites can be set up pretty cheaply these days, and it no longer takes Captain Spock, Stephen Hawking and their crew to set them up. Website and information product for sale is a recipe for cash! With basic templates available, your little “business” could be up and running in no time. Obviously the process is going to timelier than what I have made it out to be, but that’s the basic idea. I am leading you to water; it is up to you to drink!

Service Product

Following much the same idea as above, this is monetization of your skills. Examples may be arty types creating business logos, or audio experts making podcasts. I have probably lost some people at this point, due to the incredulousness of my money making ideas. But folks, people are doing these sorts of things right now and profiting! Ever heard of Airtasker? This is the perfect example. Money is exchanged for services in the most beautiful caveman way; a beautifully basic bartering system. No tax file numbers or reference checks, more like “I will pay someone 20 bucks to mow my lawn”. Its genius, so go and download the app. So far I have clocked up a grand total of 40 dollars, but it’s more than I had to start with right?

Reviews for Cash

There are lots of websites that offer cash or points system for review of their products and apps. There also plenty of sites that seek out people to complete surveys for a reward. Some of the sites can be a little dodgy, as in you have to jump through a million hoops before you reap any benefits, but there are some good ones out there too.  I don’t want to recommend as I haven’t really tried this method, but I know people who have, and have made some extra money from it.

YouTube Videos

Do you ever jump onto YouTube and watch some crazy dude crying over Britney Spears, or a chick eating like 20 donuts in a minute? I would do both those things simultaneously if I was getting paid for it like these you tubers are. Yep folks, build an audience on the popular video platform and you may start to profit like some of the other crazies do. In order to be successful through this medium, you need to be either drop dead gorgeous, or dignity devoid. Either way, it’s a sure fire money maker.

The process is pretty easy, and YouTube even have a handy guide for you to follow to get monetizing. I will leave it right here.

 

Let us know if you have come across any other awesome money making schemes online. In the meantime I will continue the quest to find some more hair brained ideas for you.

 

Great Sources Of Freelance Work For Writers

While this blog is going to be full of positives, I need to start with a little bit of negative. As a struggling freelance writer, there is nothing that irks me greater, then seeing content mills paying a cent per word. Please let me appeal to your inner Shakespeare and tell you, that you are worth more than such an extortionately low pay. Do not contribute to this segment of the industry by working for so low. By continuing to accept freelance work writers at such shallow return, the vicious circle will continue, and we will never be given the value that we deserve. You got to love my chutzpah right.

OK, complaints aside, we have some suggestions for some good sources of freelance work. This is based on my experiences, and I would love to get feedback from other writers who have used the same, or different platforms.

Great Sources of Freelance Work For Writers

 

Constant Content

Constant Content has writers divided, but my experience has been only good. It is a Canadian based company that acts as the middle man between writers and clients. Of course, it takes a healthy chunk of the freelancers earning for allowing them the pleasure of working through them; healthy being a rather large 35%. Before you choke on your pen, I must point out that some of the projects are well paid, high in volume and would not have been possible to write for in any other way, other than through the Constant Content platform.

Joining the site is by way of writing a test piece, and once accepted, you can begin applying for jobs. My biggest success has been through project work which I have been lucky enough to be invited into. Often the content is stiff enough; think repetitive product or location descriptions, but it is a good little earner, and work you can bank on. You do need to be comfortable with white hatting, in that you are never going to get credit for such work. So, if it’s your name at the end of an article that gets you going, this type of work is not going to satisfy you.

Upwork

Pretty much like the Constant Content format, Upwork is another popular option, and was re-branded in 2015. Previously it was known as Elance, which you are forgiven for remembering as being one of those low paying content mills I mentioned. Well, it has come back bigger and better, and whilst the unsavory pay rates can still rear their heads, the clientele, and in turn, the pricing, seem to have vastly improved.

Pedestrian TV

If this website was a place, it would be an art gallery. And the people in it, a dedicated group of creative souls, swirling brandy on the rocks, and complaining about the insipidness of the new sculptor. I mean this all in a wholly positive way! Pedestrian TV is a pit stop for music, fashion and art lovers, and it also the home of a jobs board, which is brimming with writing and freelance opportunities. I once secured a cool internship through Pedestrian, writing for a fashion and beauty site. If anything, I was most delighted with that fact that someone trusted me to write on clothes and makeup. Clearly freelance blogging has no face!

Travelicious

This website is a little ambiguous and the jury is still out on it. It is a cool travel site that screams out for travel writer wannabes to contribute them. At $40 an article; where do I sign up? Of course, there is a catch; one of the stipulations is that you must set up a blog, as per their specifications, which costs about $15. Still $25 up, so not bad and they do pay. However, beyond the initial article, there is great mystery around how one writes any more for them. I have visited many forums to investigate, and everyone who has discussed the topic have one thing in common; they were never invited for further writing tasks.

Mamamia

This well-known website is one for the masses, primarily targeting women. Content varies from fluffy to confronting; I guess it is a bit like the TV show “The Project”- but online. They pay $50 per opinion piece; but be warned, the standards for acceptance are high, and the waiting list is very long. With no guarantee of your freelance piece being published, it is a risk, but who doesn’t love a good challenge.

Huffington Post

I think everyone has heard of the Huff Post. In fact, I reckon a chunky size of the population has been tagged in a Huff Post article on Facebook. These guys don’t pay for contributions, but what they do offer is exposure. While I generally don’t agree with writers being asked to contribute for free, sometimes I think the benefits outweigh the cost, or lack thereof in this case. With such a large readership, Huff Post, among other big news sites can offer you a very large platform to write for. And with great articles, comes lots of likes and shares. Which can bring opportunity knocking on your door. Paid opportunity hopefully.

Writers Edit

This website is Australian born and bred, and probably more high end. Not only is it a community for professional writers to utilise the different learning tools and resources; it is also home to some good job opportunities. The site also details writing competitions with cash prizes. If you are top of your game, this could be another valuable source of revenue.

We hope you have gained something from this freelance focused blog, and it directs you towards some profitable work. Next week – more about monetization.

5 Gut-wrenching Challenges Faced By Bloggers Today (and How To Counter Them)

The availability of so many blogging platforms online these days made it easier for just about anyone to start their own blog. Even so, it doesn’t mean that all bloggers find it easy to blog consistently without hiccups – there are challenges to be tackled each day, preventing a good blogger from becoming a great one.

Here are the most common challenges almost anyone will potentially face during his or her lifetime as a blogger – which ones do you experience?

5 Gut-wrenching Challenges Faced by Bloggers Today (and How to Counter Them)

Challenge #1 for Bloggers: Writer’s block

Ahh, if only I had a dime every time I hear this lament uttered by writers everywhere, in and out of the blogosphere: “What do I write about?” The problem here is NOT because there’s a lack of content to write about. Rather, it is the fact that there’s too much information threatening to send the blogger’s brain into overdrive (admit it – you DO have a list of must-read blogs and articles daily, all . And we all know that too much of a good thing can be bad, don’t we?

Challenge accepted: To counter this issue, we need to first go back to our roots. Look at your blog, the first few posts that you’ve written from the beginning, that is. Do you remember just how exciting it was back then, clicking on the “NEW POST” button and tapping away happily late into the night with only a cup of coffee for company and your favorite band singing in the background? Reminisce on that, and relive those memories by doing exactly the same thing. Think about the purpose of your blog, and write about the most basic of all things that would appeal not only to your audience, but to yourself, because that’s why you started your blog in the first place, didn’t you?

If you’re on Twitter, do consider tweeting about your predicament, along with a strategically placed hashtag (i.e. #whatshouldiwriteabout) – it’ll do wonders for your content idea bank.

Challenge #2 for Bloggers: Lack of comments from visitors

It’s discouraging to wait and wait for comments to flood in especially after you’ve spent the whole night writing a blog post after a significant research and you feel awfully proud about, and then not receiving any feedback.

Challenge accepted: Heard about the old adage “Give, and you shall receive”? If you want the pleasure of seeing comments flooding into your blog, then you should first freely offer them on other blogs. Don’t leave generic comments like “Great job!” but instead, offer constructive comments or a reply that everyone will find valuable.

 

Challenge #3 for Bloggers: Zero or little traffic

Most people, with the exception of a few private bloggers, actually put up a blog so that people may appreciate their content, while others want more traffic so that they may capitalize on it. Whatever your reasons are for gaining more traffic, it can be disheartening to see the lack of traffic pouring in. Specifically, bloggers who write on unpopular issues like ethical drawbacks, home remedies to control insects & flies, and political crimes always face these problems of less traffic as compared to tech and fashion bloggers.

Challenge accepted: Do what everyone else is doing, and that is to promote your blog via social media. Companies such as SGWDallas swore by social media widgets that can easily help them achieve this. Another method is to identify websites that are similar to your niche and offer to write them a guest post or two. That way when you link back to your site, you’ll have readers from other sites visiting your blog. Voila, more traffic!

Challenge #4 for Bloggers: No time to blog

Some bloggers find it difficult to be consistent when posting content after the initial euphoria. It may be due to busier days at the workplace or a new baby if the blogger is a mom-to-be, but if you put your heart to it, you WILL find the time to blog.

Challenge accepted: If you own a smartphone, you’ll find that you can blog from just about anywhere using appropriate apps using your mobile device (Squarespace is pretty nifty). You can also consider sending out short but regular tweets, and when you do have the time, you can expand upon these tweets into full-fledged blog posts.

 

Lack of SEO knowledge

If you properly search engine optimize your blog, you may be rewarded with higher rankings than the average blogger who don’t. However, some bloggers bemoan the fact that they are not proficient in SEO enough without realizing that the most basic knowledge is the BEST knowledge.

 

Challenge accepted: You don’t have to be an SEO genius to start obtaining higher ranks in the search engines. As long as you have great content, a user-friendly design, a good amount of followers and good social media practices, then you’re as good as the next SEO blogger.

20 Proven And Tested Marketing Tips – Your Facebook Bible

No one can refute the value of marketing in Facebook when it comes to advancing your business. It’s for this reason that everyone in the marketing industry is taking the time to learn or inquire about this strategy. Considering how millions of people are in Facebook everyday, who wouldn’t right? This post will aim to serve as your facebook bible …

For the sake of efficiency and not having to jump from one resource to another, allow me to share with you 60 proven and tested Facebook marketing tips. If you’re looking for the ultimate resource in Facebook marketing, then this is what you need.

 

*Note – There’s always an exception to every rule considering how the “one-size-fits-all” logic never works in the field of marketing. That said, don’t treat these tips as absolutes… Think about your goals, community, and quality (among many others) first and foremost and simply integrate these tips.

 

Without further adieu, here are the tips…

 

1.) Go to niche related forums to find out what specific topics your community wants to talk about.

20 Proven And Tested Marketing Tips - Your Facebook Bible

If you want to know just what EXACTLY your readers like to read/talk about, then going to niche related forums and looking for “Hot threads” is what you need to do.

Considering how these “hot threads” are getting a lot of comments and reactions from a community that’s similar to yours. Chances are (and it’s really close to 100%) that they’ll like the same topic.

 

2.) Ask questions at the end of your posts.

 

 

Do you want to stir engagement within your community? If you answered yes, then the answer is quite simple… just ask them a question. There’s no rocket science reasoning behind it. The more your question relates to their situation, the better.

That said, don’t just ask random questions. Think about your community’s day to day lives and think about what challenges they might be facing. Ask about those challenges and you’ll definitely get them to open up!

 

3.) Don’t think that less is more all the time. Trust me… That isn’t the case in Facebook.

Others will tell you how you should only be writing short posts because long ones are too long to read.

While that may be the case sometimes, that isn’t ALWAYS the case. In fact, you might have seen short stories (which are long compared to short posts) that’s getting a lot of shares and comments.

That’s because more than the length of your post, quality plays an even bigger role when it comes to getting results in Facebook.

 

4.) Make them laugh!

 

 

Making your Facebook community laugh is a good way to remove any tension or “shyness” in them. It makes it easier for them to open up and look at you as a friend rather than some other guy on the internet.

 

5.) Use memes.

If you aren’t using these, then you’re missing out on A LOT of opportunities! Memes are an awesome tool to bring about humor and loosen up your community.

 

6.) If you’re undecided between posting photos or videos, choose photos! Photos ALMOST always outperforms videos!

It’s already proven and tested how images get more traction compared to videos.

But of course, you also need to think about what you are posting. If videos make better sense than photos then by all means, use videos! But with all things equal… go with photos instead.

 

7.) Don’t “automatically post” your Twitter posts in Facebook!

Twitter has a world and a culture of its own. And it’s plain to see how different Twitter’s feel is compared to Facebook’s. That said,  you’d better not be automating your Twitter posts to your Facebook account.

Remember that you’re communicating with 2 different communities who have 2 different moods. There’s a huge chance of you alienating one or the other if you automate your posts.

 

8.) You’re making a BIG MISTAKE! 2 – 4 times a week is what’s considered as “not too much”.

Newbies at Facebook marketing think of posting 2 – 3 posts PER DAY to avoid posting “too much”. They compare it with others posting 5 – 7 times a day so they consider themselves respectful of other people’s feeds.

Well… Sorry to tell you but 2 per day isn’t considered as “not too much”! 3 – 5 times a week IS so you’d better consider these numbers when thinking about how many posts you’ll do in a week.

 

9.) Don’t just post regularly. Measure your results!

Measuring plays a key role when determining what works and what doesn’t. So don’t neglect it!

 

10.)  Remember that it’s not about you… It should be all about them!

Aren’t you just sick and tired of companies talking about how awesome their services are, how long they have been in the business, and how friendly their employees are?

Trust me you are not alone! Never fall for this trap!

Post about the things that will benefit your readers and not how good you are. There’s a fundamental difference on it. Think about features vs. benefits!

Go for benefits!

 

11.) Don’t just use good looking photos in your FB ads. Study which ones are performing better by switching it up!

This is about split-testing. Don’t just settle for one image on your FB ads. Think about using multiple images and run several tests to determine which ones perform better.

You’ll be amazed at how seemingly low quality photos outperform the good looking ones.

 

12.) ALWAYS maintain professionalism! Do not bad mouth anyone using your FB profile/Fanpage

If you don’t act professionally, then why on earth would they entrust solving their problems with you? Consider that before you start cursing and bad mouthing anyone using your fan page.

 

13.) Reply to the comments as fast as you can!

If you think it’s ok to reply to comments 2 days after it’s made, then you’re making a huge mistake!

A lot of things can happen within that 2 days. One very possible scenario is your competitors answering your prospect’s inquiry thus making you lose the sale.

 

14.) If this is the very first time you’ve visited twoggle, then you’d better bookmark it. You’ll learn a lot about Facebook marketing strategies here!

The tip says it all. You’d better bookmark twoggle if you want to learn more about Facebook marketing. This alone can go along way as far as helping you grow as a Facebook marketer.

 

15.) Use contests

Contests almost always does the trick when it comes to rousing your community’s interest. Try it. You’ll be mind-blown at what it can do for you.

 

16.) Build a Fanpage if you’re just using your personal profile.

If you’ve been marketing your business using only your personal profile, then stop living under a rock and start creating a fan page. It’s so easy and the returns it can give you is downright amazing!

 

17.) Don’t be left behind… Join niche related groups!

Keep yourself updated on what’s happening in your niche. The more updated you are, the more you can relate and spread the news to others who haven’t heard it.

One of the best ways to do this is to be connected with niche related groups. If your niche is fitness conscious, then you should join organic hemp, fitness or dietary food related groups rather than be wasting time on meaningless things.

They’re almost always vigilant about what’s happening about the niche and you can bet your family jewels that they’ll come reporting to the group if they have a new scoop.

 

18.) Be controversial

Look at how viral the presidential election is right now (even if it’s in a negative or positive way). Controversy has a lot to do with it (to say the least) so don’t take being controversial lightly. Then again, be sure that you put the right balance to it since it can backfire on you and you might end up shooting yourself in the foot.

19.)

Use sweepstakes

Sweepstakes can bring about the feeling of eagerness and suspense. It’s never failed me once especially when it comes to rousing my community’s interest.

Just remember that a well-organized sweepstakes can get you tons of interaction let alone leads/sales.

 

20.) Don’t just think about yourself, promote others too!

Promoting others is a sign of good will and your eagerness to build relationships. You should take the time to promote others whenever you can. If you do this, you’ll be amazed at the kind of relationships you can build with other webmasters.