- 5 reasons why you can’t make your email marketing work
- 5 things to email your subscribers about today
- 3 steps to better email results instantly
- the definitive guide to starting a profitable email newsletter
- email marketing timing
- 5 components of a newsletter – expand your marketing today
- how to write emails that get an immediate response
- primp my blog: Build a better newsletter
- three ways to get people to sign up for your email newsletter
- A comprehensive post on SEO
- keyword research
- essential SEO settings for every new WordPress blog
- SEO copywriting tips
- 6 on-page strategies that will boost your rankings
- SEO cheat sheet
- Correct content mistakes that are damaging your SEO
- How to optimize your business for local search and social marketing
(and yet I’m still getting those generic emails from spammers offering “developing content partnerships with good quality blogs and websites like yours” …. with ZERO specifics as I have pointedly requested.)
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 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 ….
So today I am releasing my super-simple guest posting template: Connect
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 new 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”.
TODAY ONLY (May 15, 2012) – Connect is 30% off
You will be well on your way to growing your blog audience, connecting with new customers and increasing your sales.
Let me know if you have questions and how guest posting has worked for you!
What are you doing this weekend?
All of these you can do in an hour or so. So! If you have some free time, here are some easy ways to boost your business right now ….
Write a guest post
Brainstorm, pitch and craft your guest post. If you’re in the habit of writing blog posts anyway, a guest post can be one of the easiest ways to bump your marketing. Make sure whatever subject you write about naturally leads back to your site or business. No sense in pitching a guest post without links.
Plan your next email campaign
This could be anything from an exclusive DIY project to a teaser of your next release. If you are just getting started with email marketing you can check out my tips here. Brainstorm some exclusive content you can share with just your email subscribers, make note of all your ‘news’ to share with them, or even just send out a coupon or other special.
Your email subscribers want to hear from you – so send them the goods!
Take time to comment on other blogs/tweets/Facebook statuses
By supporting your fellow artists/bloggers/business owners with your comments and ReTweets you are not only making their day by showing that you care about what they are creating, but also putting your own name/link out there to make additional connections.
Really put in the time to build the relationship. You’ll never know how it will turn out. Example: I met Allie Trumpower a year or more ago because she started commenting on my blog posts on a regular basis – sincere, thoughtful, friendly comments. And just this week I hired her to design my next ebook. Relationship building – not just for offline.
Re-do your ABOUT page
If you don’t have an About page on your site, make one now. If you haven’t looked at your About page in several months, take an hour or so and just spruce it up a bit. There are all kinds of little tweaks you can make to ensure your About page is as effective as possible – and as it is one of the top pages new readers will visit, you want to MAKE SURE it’s effective.
Learn something new
At the beginning of the year I posted some ideas for self-education. It only takes 5 minutes to request a book from the library, or download that new ebook. Teach yourself some html for you next blog design, or read up on how to make your blog content better. You don’t even have to implement anything right now, but LEARN what your next step will be.
What will you be doing this weekend?
On Monday, Kam shared her (brilliant) tips for brainstorming, pitching and submitting a guest post. She has really covered all the *big* things you need to consider for guest posting – go back and read it!
But why would you want to write a guest post? WHY would you want to do all that work for someone else’s site? For no money?
Answer: Marketing. Growing your audience, gaining a few more customers, increasing your visibility.
There are many different ways to think about what marketing is and what it can do for you … But mostly, you can use basic marketing techniques to connect with potential readers and customers.
That’s really all there is to it.
Having a guest post published can :
- introduce you to readers (who may not look at the sidebar ads)
- allow you to show off your unique voice to connect with readers
- give readers a reason to visit your site
All of these can help you connect with new readers.
With that in mind, I’ve actually found guest posting to be an effective marketing technique for Lemon and Raspberry. 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 need to include a call-to-action. I always give that new audience a reason to come visit Lemon and Raspberry.
Of course, there are more steps and pieces you want to include leading up to your call-to-action. And you, of course, want to make sure that your call-to-action drives new readers to your own site in some way. But other than that it’s not at all complicated.
This means that you shouldn’t be wasting your time writing guest posts that simply curate a bunch of pretty photos (unless your blog is known for curating pretty photos). This means that you shouldn’t be wasting your time writing guest posts that feature a recipe (unless you blog recipes regularly on your own site).
A good, general rule for myself is to think about what I usually write about on my own blog, pump it up with steroids, and submit that for a guest post.
After all, the goal with all of this is to connect with new readers and new customers.
You will, of course, want to make sure the guest post works for you as well as the blog’s author. For example, I wouldn’t ever write a guest post about basketball. I love basketball, but any readers of TrueHoop.com for example that like my guest post will not really care about anything on Lemon and Raspberry. A guest post about basketball is not going to do anything for me or for marketing my site. It’s not going to get me any new readers or new customers.
On the flip side, when I was promoting Tell Its Story, I wrote a couple guest posts for various creative, crafty blogs, and was able to connect and get readers excited about the product. I made a few sales directly from the guest post, as well as increased my subscribers, any of which could be customers or become loyal readers in the future.
Guest posting for other blogs is a really great, low-cost strategy for connecting with a new audience and growing your fan base – as long as you keep a call-to-action in mind.
Do you have a goal in mind when you write guest posts? Or do you like to just do it as a favor to the blog’s author?
I will be releasing a small, simple guest post template next week! Perfect for helping promote your next release or featured series.
The following is a guest post from L&R sponsor and real-life friend Kam of Campfire Chic. This girl knows her stuff, so be sure to bookmark this post!
Amy has written about the importance of good copy before, but how does that tie in to writing a guest blog post?
A guest blog post is…
- Your opportunity to give readers a reason to subscribe to your blog/buy from your shop
- Your opportunity to show the blog host that you read his/her blog
- Connect with new readers
- Mutually beneficial when done well
A guest blog post is not…
- To be taken lightly
- To be re-posted anywhere else on the internet
- A way to shamelessly promote an item/service of yours without some sort of tie-in
Today I am going to share some tips for crafting a guest blog post that not only entertains readers but also benefits both you, as the guest blog post writer, and the blog host.
Make a list of the themes of your blog, consider the types of posts you already published that new readers may find particularly interesting. For each idea, list how you can incorporate links to your previous posts on similar topics to get readers to click over to your blog.
Example: If you are sharing a post about scrapbooking while traveling, you can probably link to posts you published about your essential tools, how you plan ahead for a scrapbook page, and to a post about how you plan for a long trip. If you recently created travel scrapbook kits you are selling online, this would be the perfect time to promote them!
Narrow down your ideas to 2 you really think are winners.
*Amy’s note: Having trouble coming up with ideas? Here are 365 blog post topics to start with.
2. Do your Research
First, do your topics match what is being shared on the host blog? If I am going to share a guest blog post about scrapbooking, I need to make sure that the host either blogs about scrapbooking or find a way to tie in this idea with the themes she does talk about…maybe memory keeping, traveling, or general crafts.
Here’s a question…has the blog host already posted about this topic? If you are a long-time reader with an excellent memory, you may be able to answer this question easily, but if you’re anything like me and apt to second-guessing…do some research. Search the his/her blog using a search bar or tags/labels, if available. Search the different dedicated pages to the overarching topic.
Be sure to bookmark or make note of blog posts on the host site that may support your post. Linking to Amy’s books for her cruise in Alaska or how she prepared for December Daily would show that I read her blog and will really streamline the guest post in with her work.
Using my example above about a scrapbook-themed guest blog post, I would search Amy’s site for keywords like ‘scrapbook’, ‘travel’, ‘kit’, road trip’, ‘mini-album’, and ‘scrapbooking’.
3. Write Your Pitch
You came up with your idea, you made sure there wasn’t a similar post already, you found additional posts to link to from the host site, and you’re ready to start writing…but wait! Let’s get it cleared first!
Amy recently posted a great set of guidelines for guest posting on L&R and she does a fantastic job of being specific with her request for a pitch. Why write a pitch? Because the blog host should know what you are planning on sending in before you start to write. It’s only fair and it gives you and the blog host time to work out any kinks and decide if the post is going to be mutually beneficial. Also…s/he may be writing up the same post! (In that case, pitch the idea of swapping posts on the same day to drive traffic back and forth…you host his/her post on the topic and s/he hosts your post!). Another idea is to start the guest blog post on one blog and finish the post on the other. Amy shared some reasons why a self-hosted WordPress may be a better choice than Blogger on Campfire Chic and continued the discussion in more detail on Lemon & Raspberry.
Be sure to include: Why you think the post is worthwhile, dates you would prefer (for example, I prefer a Monday or Tuesday publish date over Saturday or Sunday), and an example photo if you have one available.
4. Write the Post
Once your pitch is accepted, start writing! Even with a deadline, it does not hurt to get the post drafted early. I suggest giving yourself a deadline of two days prior to the agreed upon deadline to build in time for adjustment or modification requests from the blog host.
Make sure your post has:
- A title with strong keywords (How to Plan Ahead for Scrapbooking While Traveling). Some blog hosts may simply put “Guest post with Kam from Campfire Chic” as the title. Seeing that in a reader will make very few people click over (sad, but true!)
- Some sort of ‘takeaway’ – What will readers learn from this post?
- The links you found earlier with quality anchor text (instead of click here use the links within a sentence “I am planning for our annual trip to Mammoth and hope to make a mini album similar to my December Daily album to document our trip on the go”)
- A call to action that will prompt readers to visit your site, subscribe to your newsletter, follow you on Twitter, or purchase from your shop.
5. Before Submitting
- Double-check to make sure you included anything requested of you by the blog host (a third person bio at the end, your photos are the proper width, etc.)
- Double-check your spelling and grammar. It is difficult to catch everything as you write, so take a break and come back to it or ask somebody to check it for you
- Know how the blog host would like you to submit the post (via email with images attached, host your own images, through some sort of eform, in a WordDoc, etc.)
Don’t forget: Make sure you know what day your post is going up so you can help promote it as well! Don’t leave it to the blog host to promote your post, help out!
Kam shares other blogging tips, handmade inspiration, and tales of adventure on her blog, Campfire Chic. She lives in Southern California where she is able to spend plenty of time outdoors, blogging, creating, and working on Project Life. Kam to learn more about Kam you can follow her on Twitter and subscribe to the Campfire Chic newsletter.
Final note: L&R will be releasing a super efficient guest post template next week!
You can read my brief answer here at CampfireChic (among other good answers), but such a personal thing like where-to-spend-your-money really deserves a more detailed look
You might not realize this, but the sponsoring program in this little niche of creative blogs is rather unique. Not like Google Ads, or Facebook Ads where you create an ad and just tell them what kind of people you are hoping will see it. Not like creating ads through ad networks like ValueClick or Chitika where your ad could end up on an any number of sites.
No, we have the chance to really curate what sites and audiences we want our little blog ad in front of. We can follow a writer for 6 months and get a good feel for what she offers and then take that opportunity to craft something specifically for that audience.
I’m not saying this is unheard of (IKEA sponsors Dooce.com in this way, for example), but the banner ads for Verizon or Lean Cuisine that you see randomly are not curated or crafted or even necessarily effective.
It’s fascinating to me.
Partly because it’s such a personal decision.
That said, here are my top 3 things to look for when choosing who to sponsor (in order of priority):
Do I like the blogger and read the site every day?
This is far more important to me than any other factor. Other sites may be more popular, but I want to spend my money supporting writers and artists whose work I love.
I like to think of it like the patronage system back in the 16th century, when the wealthy Medicis would commission work from Michelangelo, or an affluent duke would choose a poet to support financially. This is the same reason I BUY the CDs of musical artists I love (rather than just burn them from the library or a friend). This is the same reason I BUY the books my friends have written (rather than just borrow their copy). It’s about supporting the work in a productive way.
By my sponsoring them with just $20 or $50 a month, I’m giving them that little (tiny) financial cushion to continue doing the work that I enjoy seeing.
Will the sponsor program allow me to write a featured guest post?
Sponsor buttons in the side bar are great. Sponsor introduction posts are … fine. Frankly, I don’t even read them any more.
But getting in front of the audience with a specifically written feature guest post? High on my list of effective marketing.
Sites I have sponsored in the past that allow a featured guest post include One Pearl Button, Wild Olive and Campfire Chic. I have had extremely effective months by sponsoring them (I’ve talked about the value of sponsoring these 3 sites before). Example: This post on Wild Olive – included a little family story, tied in nicely with Mollie’s theme for the month AND let me highlight my ebook Tell Its Story.
SO much more effective than a just a photo of me, with 3 links below in a post with 10 other sponsors.
How big is the site’s readership? How responsive are they?
While the size of the potential audience is important, to me it is not the priority. No, I’m not going to pay $50 to get my post in front of 50 people, but how often is that the case?
Just to give you a sense of scale, according to Google Reader Campfire Chic has nearly 800 subscribers. More than me for sure. But even if she had 200 subscribers I would still consider supporting Campfire Chic with a sponsorship because I support the work she is doing.
I would far rather spend the money supporting Kam (whose blog I have read every day for the last 2 years) than spend that same amount of money supporting some blog I actively dislike but who has 10,000 subscribers.
I also try to gauge how responsive the audience is – if the readers are responsive to the every day post (commenting, pinning, etc) it is likely they will be responsive to my guest post (buying my ebook, for example). This is a difficult factor to figure out on your own, but checking out the number of and quality of comments on the posts can give you some idea.
SO …. there you have it! What I look for when sponsoring a site. It’s not an exact science, of course, and I have wasted some money in the past …. But this is a good place to start if you only have a small advertising budget to work with….
What do you look for when choosing which blogs to sponsor?
There are some bloggers/writers that I just love so much I want to get as much of their content as I can. I really want to hear from them!
I am signed up for some pretty amazing email lists…. My current favorites include Ali Edwards’ 52 creative lifts themed newsletter, Rhyno Marketing’s Smart Marketing newsletter and Copyblogger’s Internet Marketing for Smart People. I learn so much just from those regular drops into my inbox.
You have probably seen more and more blogger-and-business-owners starting newsletter email lists (recent additions to the club like Campfire Chic, I Just Might Explode and less-recently After Nine to Five). There’s a really good reason for this ….
Email marketing works.
Email marketing is the epitome of permission marketing.
Email marketing is someone coming up to you and saying, “Yes, I am interested in what you are saying and selling; I want to hear from you regularly.” Email marketing is the best way to regularly reach those readers, followers and potential customers that are most likely to support you further.
- Sign up with an email-marketing provider – MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, Emma and others. I personally use MailChimp for both L&R and #30Lists newsletters. It’s free (at the time of this post) for the first 2000 emails on your list, and then a monthly fee after that. It’s relatively easy to teach yourself to use and incredibly easy to personalize the layout and design to match your site/branding.
- Tell your readers – Blog it, tweet it, facebook it, add the signup URL to your email signature or your business card or your mini bio when writing guest posts. Make sure everyone knows that you have an email list, and make sure they know how to signup.
- Write and send your first newsletter – For me, the top 3 things I always try to include are exclusive content, links to my blog and highlight a product/service that I offer. You may set up your newsletter content differently, but as long as you have at least 1 set goal for your newsletter it should be relatively easy to come up with the content for the emails.
- Repeat – steps 2 and 3
That’s really all you need to get started!
There are, of course, more elements to consider and bring in as you get more comfortable but you can absolutely start your email list this week!
- Offer a coupon, free ebook or other goodie as an incentive to sign-up – Like I did. This gives you the hook to attract new signups, but your continued excellent content is needed to keep them.
- Set guidelines and a plan a rough schedule for your newsletter – Whether it’s once a week or once a quarter, best practice is to make sure your readers know how often you will be in their inbox. You don’t want to be perceived as spammy, but you also want to make sure you are consistent. Set a rough schedule and stick to it.
- Set up auto-response emails – Most (if not all) email providers will allow you to set up auto-responders for whatever length of time you like. For example, you may set up a special coupon code to be sent after someone has been on your list for 6 months. No matter what day they sign up for the list, the email knows to go out at the 6 month mark. This is a great way to maintain consistency without having to come up with new content every week.
If you already have started your email marketing list, leave a description and link in the comments so we can check it out!