Connect Guest Blogging ebook redesigned!

Connect: Guest posting templateGood news! Another one of my ebooks has now been redesigned by Alexandra Rae Design to match L&R branding!

I could not be happier.

Grab yours: Connect: A simple template to make guest posting work for you

I love the practice of guest posting – both giving and receiving. In the 6+ years I’ve been blogging, I’ve have DEFINITELY found guest posting to be one of the most effective ways of promoting my site.

Guest posts are valuable as marketing, as a form of networking or as just a way of connecting with a new audience.

When pitching your guest post, what is the best way to make that post work for YOU – instead of just the blog’s owner?

Guest posting can be used for

  • Marketing. Growing your audience, gaining a few more customers, increasing your visibility.
  • Networking. You will start to connect with new readers and other blog authors and start to gain name recognition in your little industry
  • Practice. Practice practice practice. Writing well takes practice and the more you do it the better you will be.

I try to brainstorm a guest post whenever I’m sponsoring a site, as well as every couple months in between sponsoring a site.

But any guest post I write, I always have a goal. I always have a reason for the guest post. And I always give that new audience a reason to come visit Lemon and Raspberry. And it has WORKED. Worked to grow my audience (in REAL numbers). Worked to make sales (tracked directly to guest posts).

I figure, if it’s working for me if can work for you too ….

Written by me and designed by Allie Trumpower, Connect contains the basic structure to help you build a guest post that both connects with new readers, and guides them to follow-up with you to help grow your business or blog audience.

The simple structure outlined in this pdf is easy-to-use and perfectly adaptable to any subject or niche you may be blogging about.

This guest post template – Connect – gives specific steps to crafting a guest post that is both promotional for your new product or service, but also intimately connects with the reader in a way that does not feel “salesy”.

Add to Cart

Download yours and let me know if you have questions and how guest posting has worked for you!

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LIVE: Virtual retreat for BUILDers

Mark your calendars! I will be hosting the first virtual BUILD retreat August 22 – 24.

virtual retreatYou *must* be a registered BUILDer to attend, so be sure you join now! It’s the best time to jump in – the price of BUILD will be raising on September 1 to reflect all the extra content that has been added in over the last year since it was originally launched.

Which means, if you register now you will be getting:

  • Lifetime access to the full (giant) self-paced ecourse (including any and all additions)
  • Access to the private mastermind Facebook group
  • Access to the virtual retreat in August
  • The original price before it goes up!

Plus, of course, you will have the blog-building tools right at your fingertips for a big fall push!

This is the perfect opportunity to set aside some sacred focus time to get done what you want to get done.

The BUILD ecourse is self-paced, so I know everyone will be working on their own thing. The retreat will be structured as a series of themed Q&A live events, so if you are working on building your email list you can pick my brain during the marketing session, or if you are working on your editorial calendar, jump on for the content section. This format allows me to exactly personalize the weekend experience for the BUILDers who attend.

Please note: We will all be in different time zones, but I would be useless at 3am, so you will be able to submit your questions ahead of time.

Schedule:

Friday, August 22:

  • 7pm ET: General mixer and discussing goals

Saturday, August 23:

  • 10am ET: Design
  • 3pm ET: Content
  • 8pm ET: Monetization

Sunday, August 24:

  • 11am ET: Marketing
  • 3pm ET: Maintenance
  • 8pm ET: Congrats! You did it!

There is a private Facebook event where links and discussion can be posted. Plus each Q&A will be recorded and live in the BUILD ecourse content, so you can come back and listen as many times as you like.

Be sure you REGISTER soon – so you can jump in to the virtual retreat!

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5 easy ways to blog consistently

Coming on the heels of yesterday’s announcement of Spark, it’s time for a reminder that for those of us that are professional about our blogging, there there is no slacking, no matter what kind of mental slump you are in. You are COMMITTED to your blog the way you are COMMITTED to your job. You never call in ‘uninspired’ do you? No. So no excuses.

If you want you blog to be your professional online platform that helps you do awesome things, you’ve got to blog consistently. Don’t let your readers down.

blog consistently

Invest more time in Pillar Content

Here’s why: If you write a post that is super timely and right-now-centric, you’re going to want to publish it right away. Which is totally fine. Unless that means then you don’t have another post for next week. Instead, focus on writing evergreen, perpetually useful content that you can publish at any time. Next week I will be holding a free blogging webinar *just* on Pillar Content, so sign up to join me!

Example: Other than the mentions above of “yesterday’s announcement” and my “free blogging webinar” coming up, this post could be read at any time and still be useful. Tomorrow. Six months from now. Three years from now.

Seriously, though. Sign up for the webinar because I will talk about this at length.

Use an editorial calendar

Wait. Have you heard me say this before? Like here and here and here and here? Huh. Well, what do you know?

In all seri0usness, if you want to be consistent you need to know what that actually looks like. Practically speaking. Which means you need to dig out your calendar and commit to blogging consistently on a regular basis in the future. Even if you only have *teeny* bit of time to create blog posts, you can still be consistent. 1 post every other week consistently is better than 4 posts in 1 week and then none for 2 months.

Batch your tasks

So, let’s pretend that you only have a few hours each week to blog (or, like a BUILDer, you only have the summer to work on your blog because you teach the rest of the year). If you are in fact committed to publishing a blog post once a week, try batching your tasks and getting several weeks’ worth of blog posts done and scheduled at once.

You can write 4 posts on a Sunday afternoon, and then have consistent content for your readers for weeks.

Embrace the brainstorm

If you are going to commit to blogging on a regular basis, that means you need to have the ideas flowing. I have found that the best way to always have ideas for blog posts is to write down EVERYTHING. Brainstorm. Mind map. Journal. Make Evernote your best friend. Anything to help you record all the ideas that flit through your brain. Then you have plenty to draw from when it is again time to blog (on your consistent schedule)

Related: Revisit previous topics. Repetition just establishes you as an authority.

Practice publishing

Ok, all these other tactics are specific to the mechanics of getting blog posts written and scheduled. But what if your problem is … fear? Fear of finishing. Fear of putting your ideas out there. Fear of publishing just in case maybe you got it wrong and if you do not hit schedule then no one can judge you or troll you or tear you apart in GOMI. Slightly extreme, yes.

There comes a time when you just have to be BRAVE and hit publish. Consistently.

So how often will you be blogging?

CONSISTENTLY?

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Summer BLAHs – and a solution

It’s coming. I can feel it. The SUMMER BLAHs.*

That slump in the middle of the year when you are far from your new year’s resolutions, but still don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s like The Dip and creative blocks combined on a recurring annual basis. We’ve been 140% committed to our new goals and our One Little Word and making this THE BEST YEAR EVER, that we *may* have overcommitted ourselves and gotten burnt out.

I can tell you that my friend Kam – Campfire Chic – has sent me quite a few emails and texts over the last few months. She’s up late because she has too many deadlines, she needs help, and sometimes she has even had to stay home sick because her body is just protesting! In all of this, Kam thought to put together a collection of tasks and challenges to help her move past that overwhelm and BLAH. Kam is one of the smartest bloggers people I know; I am always so grateful when she has time to help me talk through my own overwhelm and BLAH.

Which is why today I am so excited to help her announce Spark – a new ecourse that will take you 30 days of challenging yourself, refocusing your intentions and combating the overwhelm and BLAHs that every blogger inevitably faces.

What is the Spark ecourse?

Spark will take you through the 30 day process of getting out of a blogging rut. It’s an email based course so the daily content is delivered straight to your inbox – no hassle of remembering a password to some website you’ll only visit once or twice. Some of the tasks are a little unconventional, but if you trust the process and you have a little fun while finding your spark, you’ll understand why Kam included some of the sillier things with each email. This is the prescription she gave herself to halt her blogger burnout in January. In fact, I’m sure she used some of the lessons again recently when she was burning ALL of the midnight oil.

I have just signed up myself, so I’ll be sure to give you all a more complete review once I’ve gone through the emails. So far I have created a specific folder in my email box for these because I’m *sure* I will want to revisit them after these initial 30 days.

The 30 emails will take me almost all the way to my 1 year quit-versary – the *perfect* time to rekindle my passion for blogging. I’ll be armed and ready to combat those Summer BLAHs. Lemon and Raspberry is my job, so it is important that I am totally committed all the time, not just when I’m all hyped up on new year goals.

CLICK HERE to register and join me!

*If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere,
do you get Winter BLAHs this time of year?

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Review: About You ebook and workbook

About You ebookLast week I recommended that you spring clean your blog. Did you get on that yet?

I am *always* thinking about reshaping my About page and I recently re-did my short author bio for guest posts and things. It is a constant maintenance issue and I actually have a recurring event on my Google Calendar to remind me.

Writing about yourself is always tricky. You need to come off with authority but also not like a know-it-all.

I know it’s hard to write about yourself. If you’re stuck on what to write about, how to write about yourself or where exactly you need to keep your About info updated, check out Campfire Chic’s ebook and workbook About YOU: A simple guide to writing about yourself with confidence.

Favorite part about the ebook:

The 10-minute tasks. A) These little exercise give you a succinct idea of what you should be learning from the chapter and B ) Taking action (even little ones) helps me learn better. Also (bonus) I don’t have to take more than 10 minutes and over-think it (which I am prone to do).

Favorite part about the workbook:

I love the space to visually consider what the about page will look like, including space for photos, bulleted lists and other visual design space. What a great idea! Especially when you consider all the little pieces you can put in a full About page.

I would actually do something similar with a shorter author bio too – you don’t want those to be too link-heavy and a visual can help you see if it’s off-balance at all.

I have a bit of an advantage, in that I can get away with harassing Kam ALL THE TIME for her advice on my blog/business/etc. But even so, I loved reading through this for her thoughts on such a specific aspect of my online platform. She’s so smart :)

About YOU: A simple guide to writing about yourself with confidence is a 20+ page ebook focused on you and your story. It’s clear and concise, because you’re busy and want to make changes right away. The ebook progresses quickly and reinforces lessons in each chapter, because practice is awesome!

About You ebookChapters include:

  • Introduction
  • What do you have to say?
  • Write about what you know
  • Do some research
  • Brand narrative
  • About page
  • Author bio
  • Your social media profiles
  • Interviews
  • About for projects
  • How much is too much?
  • Get your calendar out

Need more homework? Check out some About pages from that I really like:

Grab About You ebook + workbook (or just the ebook) and get your info all fancified, up-to-date and effective!

Full disclosure: I am an affiliate for this product and was given copies of both the ebook and workbook. That said, all of the opinions in this post are totally my own, and I delayed posting about the product until I had the time to go through it properly. Even though it is *months* after launch.

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Blogging resources

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Weekend project: Spring clean your blog

It’s been awhile since I’ve assigned you all a weekend project, but I have a GREAT one this week!

This is something that I’ve been thinking about on and off all year already. It totally goes with my One Little Word NURTURE … And I’ve been newly inspired to really make my blog work for me from some long lovely conversations Andrew and I have.*

weekend project

Here are some ideas:

Recycle older content:

We talked a little bit about this on my free Pillar Content webinar a couple weeks ago, but just think about how many amazing posts you’ve written in your years blogging that are just languishing in the archives. There are a bunch of ways you can refresh and reuse those posts to make sure they continue to get read by your newer readers.

Refresh your about page:

 When is the last time you updated your About page? Had any big life changes? Tweaked the topics you write about? Win an award recently or published something big? Your About page is the first page most new readers visit, so just double check and make sure it’s what you want.

Purge your sidebar:

The problem with blogging for a long time is you make a little change here and a little change there and then after a year your blog design is a mess! This weekend, clean it up! Pull out the extraneous affiliate buttons. Pull out the Goodreads or Spotify widgets. Make sure that your sidebar has just a few options for readers, so you know that they’ll go where you want them to go.

Check out this big group Pinterest board – Blogging Tips and Tools – for even more ideas!

I would *love* if you leave your blog URLs in the comments below! Public accountability – can’t beat it. I’ll be looking forward to checking out all your blogs come Monday morning!

*He’s the best and always so supportive.

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Who is the BUILD ecourse for?

The BUILD ecourse has now been out for 9 months. That’s 9 months of focusing content, 9 months of brainstorming monetizing, 9 months of building marketing systems and 9 months of building online platforms to really get what you want.

I’m working on a new class tour document for those of you who are still hemming and hawing about whether or not the ecourse is for you. But in the meantime, I want to let some of the students tell what they have gotten from the course:

Praise for BUILDAllie from Alexandra Rae Design:

Most of all this class has given me courage to actually just get started making my blog even better. I feel confident that I know the information and material, and really, all that is left is the “doing.” The way Amy presents (and complied! Wow, those Resource pages are AWESOME) the information, you just want to get started right away. I’ve spent all my free time in the past few weeks watching videos, rereading modules… And I can’t think of any better way to spend my time. Thanks for such a great course, Amy!

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Praise for BUILDTrina from Feed the Birdies:

This class has taken all the little details of what I want my blog to be and helped me create a big picture and a PLAN of how it’s all going to work. I was having a lot of trouble with that part and always missed it by a mile, but now with Amy’s help, I can say I will be a well noted blogger and mean it. It’s already happening!

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Praise for the private Facebook mastermind group…

Praise for BUILDKristin of rukristin papercrafts:

The BUILD facebook group is the first place I come to when I’m looking implement a new idea for my blog or brand. Because I work at home (and alone) it is incredibly helpful to have a group of smart and savy like-minded people to bounce ideas off of. The wealth of information found in the BUILD ecourse is even more valuable when you can discuss it with hard-working, capable people who are looking to succeed in the same way you are. The BUILD facebook community is a must-have resource for every person looking to build something on the web.

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Praise for BUILD ecourseKam of Campfire Chic:

I know I can go to the BUILD private facebook group if I have questions or want to start a dialogue about the lessons in the course. I find myself going straight to the community with drafts to see what feedback I can get…it’s awesome knowing that I can count on those involved to really give me an honest opinion and share their own experiences.

 

The BUILD Facebook group is a real Mastermind Group. It is amazing.

It’s a supportive place that you can come to bounce ideas off of other bloggers and micro business owners. It has been such a delight to see how the private Facebook group has developed.

Still have questions? Check out my interview with Megan about who the BUILD ecourse is for:

free blogging tips

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5 easy ways to blog better

Sometimes I repeat myself.

When I chat with my consulting students or answer comments or emails, a lot of the advice and encouragement I give is the same. Most of the time if a blogger is struggling to really find their groove or find their voice or blog consistently or just blog better in general …. I give them the same advice over and over again.

Which means that if it’s working for someone else, chances are it will work for you too.

Today, let’s talk about the top 5 easy ways you can be a better blogger. Easy. Really.

blog better

Use an Editorial Calendar

This is one of my soapbox preaching topics. I have written about the wonder and glory of having an editorial calendar and then also how to maintain your editorial calendar. I’ve written about how the limits of an editorial calendar actually help get through creative blocks. Beyond those posts, my most helpful tip is just try it. Give it a shot for a month. If you hate it I won’t be offended but I 100% believe an editorial calendar will help you be a better blogger.

If you use WordPress, this Editorial Calendar plugin is helpful.

Reduce the number of posts each week

Again with limits. Your readers will REALLY be ok if you don’t publish 7 days each week. If you are currently publishing 7x / week, and cut down to 5x/week all that extra time can be put into crafting even better content. Either longer posts or better DIY projects or even more effective marketing of those posts so you can be helping even more people.

In fact, one of my favorite bloggers publishes once a week? Maybe even once every other week. And you know what? I don’t even care because I know that EVERYTHING he puts out is amazing, instead of having to click past ‘filler’ posts.

Show-off your personality

Please don’t be a faceless corporation. Please don’t water down your opinions or quirks just to try to appeal to a larger audience. It’s not likely to work. You’re unique, fantastic, maybe slightly eccentric and you will find your tribe if you show off your personality. There are readers out there just like you, who share your Austen obsession or who will love to hear all your estate-saling tips week after week.

It’s only through showing off those peculiar facets of your personality that you’ll be able to find those other members of your tribe who will be thrilled every day to see your newest blog post.

Focus

Ok, on the OTHER hand from showing off your personality, you don’t need to show off ALL of your personality. For example, I love to travel but I don’t post my travel stories on this blog. That would not fit into my L&R content. I love to cook (and make up recipes), but that doesn’t fit here. I will write about creativity and reading and blogging and storytelling here at Lemon and Raspberry but I’m not going to nerd out about how much I love my dutch oven.

Be able to focus your blog content enough that you can describe your blog in 1 sentence. It will make you a better blogger AND help your readers be able to share how amazing you are.

Include a takeaway

Your readers need a REASON to read your blog. Yes, your workspace is gorgeous; thank you for showing it off. But why do I care? Maybe it’s because you have a tip for working in a mess. Maybe it’s because you want to show off this new tool you think I should buy. Regardless of what it is, your blog post should have a takeaway, a valuable piece of info that will make your readers’ lives better.

Extra credit: Sign up for BUILD ecourse!

Build an online platform ecourse

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Creative small business resources

What are you doing this lovely (spring?) Monday afternoon? Not ready to jump into your week yet?

Procrastinate Spend quality time doing research by reading through these creative small business resources from around the web that I love.

Any good resources you want to add in the comments?

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