Dan R Morris and Rachel Martin of Blogging Concentrated have been teaching bloggers around the world how to become better bloggers, helping them take the leap to full-time freedom. This session, Professional Infrastructure: What Pieces Do You Really Need to Grow and Scale Your Blog, is the stuff we wish we would have known long, long ago. If you’re just starting out or are a fully professional blogger you need to have your infrastructure set up to grow. In this discussion we’re going to be chatting about the pieces you need to really act like a professional blogger.
Professional Infrastructure with Dan Morris and Rachel Martin: What is your website missing?
1. You Need a FAQ Page
How many times have you had to answer the same question–whether from your blog comments, Facebook, etc.?
Answering a question that you’ve already answered takes an average of seven minutes of your of time. You leave what you’re doing, open Facebook, start the dialogue. You start checking email more often thinking someone’s going to have a question, thinking “I’ve got to be there!” How many times does this happen to you?
Let’s get out of this mindset and start providing the solutions.
Your FAQ Page can actually be a tool that grows your business.
Here are some tips on setting up your page:
- Use your FAQ page to strategically grow your business. What if the first question on your FAQ page was, “How do I join your community?” Interesting, right? Your audience will immediately think, Hmmm…everyone asks how to join this community? I better join too!
- You can actually use your FAQ page to STOP answering the same questions over and over. Whether it’s a question about your ebook, your fitness routine, whatever you frequently get asked–put it on the page! Help yourself out! This can become a really cool archive for you.
- What are your readers wanting from you? Build the page as the questions roll in. Take these questions and build blog posts from them. If no one has the answer to a common question and you do, your FAQ page becomes the authority.
- Answer questions on Quora. If someone asks you a question on Facebook, go to quora and see if the question has been asked there. If you reply to Quora for thousands to see, and then send this link back to the person who asked you on Facebook, you’re now an expert in the public and you’ve answered the question for your audience. Quora (and so many other platforms out there!) is a great way to have a presence.
- Lastly, don’t forget to add at the bottom of the page a “contact” link for all questions that aren’t answered in your sheet. And then you set up a time only once a week to go through and answer those. A FAQ page is GREAT way to direct your audience to take action, and stop answering those pesky questions that take up too much of your valuable time.
2. Work Towards an Operations Manual
Do you actually know the day-to-day ins and outs of your own site? Do you know how much time you spend on your posts each day? Do you know what size images you make for your posts? Do you know the framework of your business?
Think about it this way: When you hire someone to help you with your site, do you want to spend hours training this employee on how to create a blog post with the right size images and fonts and texts? Or do you want to hand him or her a manual that explains everything, step by step, so that you don’t have to? Every time you do something for your site, write down what you’re doing. Whether you realize it or not, you have a system and this system should be on paper so that others can come in and fill in/take over/help out as needed.
What do you do on a day to day basis? Write it down. All the details for your blog posts, your podcasts, your social media building–write it down. Then when you hire someone to help you with your podcasts, you can hand over the manual and instead of working on the cover graphics and speaker bios, finding Twitter links, etc., you can get more of the bigger work accomplished. Every single thing you do should be written down in your operations manual.
And what would happen to your site if something happened to you? What happens if you’re given an advance to write a book and you don’t have time to run the blog or the podcast? You need a manual. The next time you start a post, just start writing down the steps you take to do so. You’ll start to see and pattern and then you’ll start to develop your manual. Yeah, this might take a lot of time at first. But when it’s in place? You can immediately start taking back more of the time you need to grow your business. Scaling your business opens new opportunities for income generation, more opportunities to reach out in general.
If you’re going to act like a CEO, you need to think like one.
3. Be an Umbrella Company
You are more than just your blog. You’re constantly managing projects, people, time; you’re more than someone who writes content and hits “publish.” It’s time to be more than a blogger. Be the CEO of something bigger. Be a professional beyond the blog.
- Do podcasts
- Be a guest on podcasts
- Do TV spots
- Offer services
- Write books
- Become a consultant for companies
- Be a coach
Are you a food blogger? How about providing food photography services to local restaurants? Do you write about fitness? How about providing training programs or health consultants to businesses? There is always something more that you can do.
4. Emotionally Appeal to Your Readers
Audience engagement is what builds your community. You want people to like you, be drawn to you, and want to read what you have tos say. So you have to start thinking beyond “being the blogger” or even saying “I write for….” but you’ve got to start thinking about why you do what you do. You need an emotional connection to your work that will drive your audience to believe you, love you, follow you, and stay loyal to you.
Think about the software company, Apple. Apple customers LOVE Apple products and won’t think twice about purchasing anything the company produces. Apple has created a community built on the emotions of their audience. No one bats an eye when Apple creates a watch. Everyone stands in hours-long lines to get the newest iPhone. Apple doesn’t just build computers, they have created a community of followers who love them. You can do the same!
Take Rachel’s example:
Think about the emotional reasons of why you write your blog. Instead of saying, (and most people do say) “I write ‘JennysRunningBlog.com,’ you’ve got to start thinking the way that Apple thinks. Think about an emotional thing about why you write. When you introduce yourself to somebody, it’s not what you do, it’s why you do it. And then you get to the “why.”
So I believe that motherhood is a beautiful journey and that moms need to know that they’re enough, so that’s why I write findingjoy.net. And it changes the perspective vs. me saying “I write findingjoy.net and it’s a site for moms.” You need to instantly connect. There’s a reason you do what you do, a reason you’re writing, a reason why you have an emotional connection with your reader. So when you’re in those moments and you’re trying to discuss what you do, you start with that “why” and move it to what you do. Provide a human connection between you and the other person.
Change Your Twitter Description
And all your social media descriptions, as a matter of fact.
So what if you change your Twitter (and Instagram, etc.) descriptions to “I believe…[whatever you believe] and that’s why I write my blog.” And then every single person that comes to your Twitter/social media page for the rest of time, sees that, and if they identify with it immediately, they will press “Follow” because as Dan said, “how could they not?”
If your Twitter description right now says “I’m a blogger who likes dogs and loves to run,” is someone likely to see this and want to press “follow,” which is the first step you need to grow your likes?
You need people who believe that they need to join your community. If you don’t give them that opportunity, how do you grow? And a Twitter description is very small, and people see it when you’re not looking. If people can engage with it instantly, you will grow. You will find people who will buy your book because they will believe what you have to say. They believe the same things and they want your book on their shelves.
Think about your bio as a guest poster. When everyone else lists the site they write for and your bio starts out with what you believe, chances are, people will read your post, click over to your site, and that moment you have distinguished yourself from being another face to someone who has something to say.
If you’re not convinced yet, let me throw one more of Dan’s examples your way.
In 1969, one million people showed up in Washington DC to hear a man speak, without Eventbrite or Twitter alerts [audience laughter] because he started with “I believe.” And they felt exactly the same way. No other civil rights leader in the United States had that forward. Nobody else led with that statement.
If everyone joins your community because they believe what you believe, then how easy it it to sell the books, the webinars, and programs, and to get them involved with the things you’re doing? It’s all based on that statement.
5. Use LinkedIn and LinkedIn Publishing
How many bloggers have a LinkedIn account that they don’t really use? According to Dan, there are 100-200 million people online that will read the posts on LinkedIn Publishing.
Does this mean that your posts have to be on your own site? Does this mean that you can’t put some of your best work on LinkedIn Publishing? This is a platform that can get you in front of millions of people.
LinkedIn Publishing has a different audience that you can reach and even allows you to post on other topics as well. Rachel, for example, says that while she may write a post about motherhood on findingjoy.net, she’ll write an entrepreneurial post on LinkedIn which allows a different voice and also opens up more doors. Thousands of people will see your posts on LinkedIn Publishing and you don’t even have to drive traffic to your post. Leverage your business and piggy-back on someone else’s traffic.
And on the topic of LinkedIn, go back and look at your bio statement. Are you a writer for a website, or do you list a mission statement or belief? Does it say that you’re a VP or that you can bring something that’s needed into the life of others? Does it say “I’m a fitness trainer” or “I make fitness easy”? Isn’t everyone a fitness trainer? How many make it easy? And which would you rather visit?
When people see your tagline, and they’ll see it even when they go to other sites, you’re tagline will show up because it will say “this person also looked at these profiles…” and you’ll be there. You’ll have the tagline that stands out. You will have this benefit statement wherever you go. People won’t care that you’re a blogger. But they will care about what you believe and how you can help them. Move people to take action–you’ll start to get a lot more leads, almost instantly.
You don’t have to fill out the profile exactly how the boxes indicate. Show the benefits you bring to the world and how you can use them in different ways.
LinkedIn Tip for making connections: Say you want to connect with an influencer, but you can’t send a message without premium LinkedIn services. You can, however, look up your writing influence, find out what groups on LinkedIn he or she is a part of, join those groups, and then DM the person you want to reach out to. Find the people in your industry who need to know that you exist.
6. Put Together Your Media Kit
So you have your Twitter and social media descriptions changed. You’ve reworded your LinkedIn bio to show what you can do to help others. Have you put together your media kit yet?
When someone asks you for a headshot and a bio, you do NOT want to have to scramble around to write a bio and then email a headshot. If you are in the media business, you need a media kit.
A media kit should be leverage. Don’t just hand over a bio. Hand over a page that has different profile shots created in different sizes, white backgrounds, a bio, information about your company, and have this ready so you can hand it over at any moment and say “Take what you need.” Don’t mess around with multiple emails, attachments, forgetting to attach a link, etc.
Media Kit tips: justmediakits.com will provide help as well as several examples for you to look at. And don’t be afraid to look outside your niche at media kit examples! Look not just at bloggers, but at the big company media kids and decide to be a “big dog” too!
The full audio file of the Professional Infrastructure session is in the link provided here.
This post was captured by Steph from Strongfigure.com, who believes that everyone has the right to a strong, healthy body and mind. She strives to teach the importance of training hard, eating well, reading a lot, and having a cupcake when needed. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram!