Category Archives: Blogging

How to Hypnotically Harness Your Blog for Better Search & Social Results

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Before you sell your expertise, recommendations, and time, you have to sell someone on consuming your media. It’s like dating before you ask someone to be in a committed relationship or for their hand in marriage. You wouldn’t ask on the first date would you? Your media could include blog RSS feed subscriptions through email or a reader, tweets on twitter, status updates on Facebook, or an email newsletter. The more touch points the better. This all starts with having compelling content. Social Media is merely the delivery method for content you’re already creating: blog posts, PDF whitepapers, videos. You should never practice social media marketing in a vacuum without inviting your audience commit to the next step: consuming your content on your website. This is a seduction process that takes time. Since blogging is one of the most foundational and fundamental activities for attracting business, I thought I’d start with some basic reminders.

    1. Spend More Time Crafting the Headline than the Content -
    This is an old advertising rule reiterating headlines are crucial in capturing the reader and keep him/her reading. You have to capture the readers attention first. No matter how cliché they seem, lists work. All magazines from Time to Wired to Fast Company use top 10, even top 100, lists as featured articles to attract readers passing newsstands and online. List blog posts use two irresistible psychological triggers based on classic persuasion principles: specificity and authority. Here are ten more psychological triggers you should use in headlines borrowed from direct marketing industry masterminds: social proof, curiosity, halo effect, stories, a reason why, contrast, commitment & consistency, damaging admission, scarcity, and reciprocation. These headline writing tactics, based on rarely-changing persuasion principles and can have a hypnotic effect on your reader. Having an angle or slant commenting on recent national or industry news or “How To” articles also do very well, and play into the same principles. There are several other variables you should consider when writing your post headlines including alteration, flow, and SEO. You should just start with a brain dump and hone from there. What to avoid: Cutesy, self-indulgent, vague, or pun-laden headlines.
    2. Captivate Your Audience with a Compelling or Slightly Confusing Image
    A curious image at the beginning of every blog post can increase the likelihood someone will read it in the first place as well as the likelihood he/she will read the post in its entirety. Readers will read the whole post just to see why the particular image was chosen, like an Easter egg hunt. Picking a slightly odd or weird image, not just a reflection the title, causes a little more brain stimulation. By relating the photo to something in the middle of the post, it triggers a rewarding, “I’m smart” feeling in the reader when he/she finds the connection. It’s like when the name of a song or movie is mentioned in the middle, the viewer/listener goes “ah, hah!” Use Flickr.com and perform an advanced keyword search in the “creative commons” section for royalty-free images. If you use Google Images, at least give a photographer credit. Use at least one compelling image every time you write a blog post. What to avoid: Blasé corporate clip art, stock images, not crediting the photographer.
    3. Cite Internal Links Often-
    Link to the homepage or interior pages once or twice in every post, and two to three to other authoritative sources. A good rule of thumb is one link per 100 words. When mentioning an article from the New York Times, use a linkback to the article. When quoting that article use the blockquote function on the backend of WordPress. Speaking of citation, you should always cite credible/authoritative sources, when making a blanket statement or using statistics. It not only helps persuade, there is a secondary halo effect, pairing you with the authority of your source. When mentioning a topic you’ve covered before, link to that post using juicy keyword-rich anchor text (the words that link). Once you’re written a dozen or so posts, add “Related Posts” at the end of every post to get three deep links to older posts. If you use WordPress use this plugin to make it easier: SEO SmartLinks
    What to avoid: Using non-descriptive anchor text such as “click here” when linking internal pages.
    4. Use Your Blog for Original Thought Leadership
    A blog is not the forum for selling or overt personal promotion. In order to build an audience, articles need to be engaging and offer extreme resource and citable (linkable) value to the reader. It should be something which has universal value to your specific audience in which he/she could not help but pass on to others on their networks. Only after the blog has a following should you make a soft sell. The purpose of a blog is not to sell but to be considered a thought leader and expert by displaying expertise in the field. Any press releases should be placed on “company news” section on your website. What to avoid: Posting company news, product specials & press releases. “Me too” articles. Rehashing news already covered by A-List industry blogs everyone has already read, rants or negative thoughts.
    5. Attract Links & Build Community -
    Creating articles which get shared and passed along to others using social media goes along with this goal. In this day of attention economics, one has to earn comments on his/her blog . This is done by leaving meaty comments on others’ blogs without personal promotion. These articles link back to your posts in an unobtrusive way and you get on other blog owners’ radar. He/she may link to you or quote you from time to time. Find other relevant bloggers in the same industry and network online by leaving comments.What to avoid: Thinking of other blogs in your industry as competitors to be avoided.
    6. Write Evergreen Info Until You Have an Audience-
    Evergreen topics are information users are searching for every day, all the time instead of time sensitive announcements. Create authoritative posts between 1000 – 4000 words answering and teaching in a verbose way detailing what’s important to your audience, step-by-step. Break up the copy with sub-heads which reflect a well-worded headline. Only after you have built up a loyal audience should you start posting commentary or your opinion on the latest piece of industry news. What to avoid: Doing a half-a** job, and being lazy. You’re not going to win if you don’t have the most authoritative article for a given topic.
    7. Research Topics Using a Keyword Research Tool Every Time you Write-
    Blog about what’s in demand and shoot for a five to seven word long phrase for ranking every time you post. Make that phrase your headline with one or two buffer words before or after. What to avoid: Guessing based on what you think people are searching without doing the research & targeting phrases which are too competitive.

For half a decade, Neil Lemons has worked behind-the-scenes to help create exposure, traffic, leads, and sales through major search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing using . Lemons has also been involved in Social Media sites since 2001, networking, promoting and building community on : Facebook, Livejournal, MySpace, Friendster, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, and others. Calling upon his diverse background in copywriting, advertising, marketing, and sales, learning traditional SEO and SEM tactics implementing online marketing strategies since 2005.

Related Posts

Personal Vs Business Blogging
Nine Ways to get on an A-List Blogger’s Radar
Personal Branding Vs Niche News
Cali Lewis Preaches ‘Be Your Own Media’

10 More Reasons Blogging is Better on Your Own Domain

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Entrepreneurs, SMB owners, publishers, creative-types, writers, citizen journalists and independent subject matter bloggers don’t make the same mistake I did. If you have been blogging a long time whether for business or personal publishing, seriously consider the points made in this article.  If your goal is to gain influence over others, demonstrate expertise, promote your business, make money, get leads and sales, make connections with others interested in similar topics, express yourself or a combination of these, you should stop spending all your time building others’ content. Content equals currency on the web and you are someone else’s user generated content if you’re not blogging on your own domain. Always start with the end in mind.

If you are blogging “just for fun,” but are passionate about certain subjects, why shut the door to making it a viable tool for other avenues of life such as: building credibility and gaining respect in a particular area,  landing the job of your dreams, making money, and creating invaluable relationships in the mean time? As they say in academia, “publish or perish.” You can either be a footnote in someone else’s biography, or create your own.

It doesn’t take as much effort as you think. You just need to 1) Register a domain 2) Get hosting (affiliate link, seriously a great host) and 3) Install a CMS or website builder (WordPress, Drupal). I will show you the easiest way to do this in a future post, but for now this post covers many of the reasons why you should primarily blog on your own domain, not a hosted ad-centric blog network.

I realize no website or blog is an island, and having supporting profiles and posts on other websites where there is already a huge existing network is highly important. This is especially true when syndicating your content. You should only do this AFTER the content has been published on your blog and indexed by Google. The name of the game is having a large targeted audience of people who care about what you have to say and for the search engines to see your blog as the ORIGINAL source of that information. Continue reading

Nine Ways to Get on an A-List Blogger’s Radar

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Are there other bloggers currently blogging with consistency which you feel have the same philosophy on the subject you write about? Another great way to garner more readers, get more backlinks from relevant websites, and ultimately have a highly read blog which gets republished and referenced is [inter]networking with what you might consider competitors or same-subject bloggers. The search engines give you more credit for your keywords when sites that are on the same subject link to your website verses on off-topic sites. Secondly, if other bloggers in your industry like you, he/she will promote your posts as well to a much larger audience than you currently have.

Who are the Big Daddies which have a huge readership?
Before wasting your time networking with every blogger on your topic, you need a rating system to let you know who is worth going after and who is not. When a blogger does not owe his/her blog (hosted on wordpress.com, blogspot.com or Livejournal), it’s a little harder to tell.

If the blogger does own their domain, there are a number of yardsticks in which one can get a better idea of how valuable the relationship. Traffic, backlinks, RSS feed subscribers, PageRank, Alexa, comments/audience engagement are all great measures.  Add Search Status to your Firefox browser and you will be able to quickly judge who’s hot, who’s not. Also, using a site like Compete.com will give you an idea how much traffic a specific blogger is capturing each month.

How to Get on the “Radar” of Big Bloggers

Mentioning and linking to their posts from time-to-time will put you on their radar. Linking off of your site to get more traffic may seem counter-intuitive, but you have to look at the big picture. Aggregations of highly useful links add value to your readers. A-List bloggers knew this secret on their rise to the top, and they do it for a specific reason. The Law of Reciprocity.

Don’t think of this as “losing traffic,” because you’re actually adding value to readers, and gaining respect from competitors as a thought leader and team player in the community. Before you can be seen as a thought leader, you have to get on their radar. In the beginning you must think in abundance, not scarcity. Trying not to lose the very little traffic and influence you have currently will only aid in keeping your blog down on the search engines and in front of less people.

Here are nine ways to make them notice you:

  1. Link to their blog often in posts using a DoFollow link and anchor text you think they would like.
  2. Put them on your Blog Roll.
  3. Subscribe to their RSS feed & be the first one to comment on their blog posts and do it often without SPAMMING or leaving extra links to your blog besides the one automatically provided in your handle.
  4. Quote them with a link to their blog.
  5. Be patient and develop a relationship over time before asking for links.
  6. Befriend him/her on Facebook and Twitter & communicate with him/her often (don’t be discouraged by lack of response).
  7. Guest post on other blogs he/she reads, but are not quite as popular yet.
  8. Meet him/her in person at a conference and tell them you are a fan.
  9. Have an excellent blog on a similar subject, mention you are a big fan, and offer to guest post pitching them on a specific and compelling article using an outline.

For almost five years, Dallas Internet Marketing Consultant Neil Lemons has worked behind-the-scenes to help create exposure, traffic, leads, and sales through major search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Calling upon his diverse background in copywriting, advertising, marketing, and sales, he has been learning traditional SEO and SEM tactics since 2004 and implementing since 2005.

Flickr photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/67307569@N00/

Personal Branding Verses Niche News & Info

Recently, I’ve been guest blogging on a couple of friends’ websites, neglecting to add timely original content to my own. This is not necessarily bad in the long run and I’ll tell you why in a moment. In an effort to practice what I preach and carve out a truly successful news and information site, I took some time to reflect, study success, and take a big bite of reality.

Personal Branding Verses Niche News & Info
For awhile now I’ve been torn between growing this blog as a travel journal about adventures and traveling in Texas, or using it for its original purpose, personal branding and displaying my expertise. I just couldn’t seem to bring it in perfect balance like Couch Surfing Ori. Recently, I changed the title back to industry-oriented phrasing from Texas Travel Journal to The Inbound [Marketing ] Blog. One reason, two success stories of citizen journalists I know were based on the premise of hyper local information relevant to people in a particular city (in this case Dallas). I thought I would focus mine on Texas travel. Then I realized two things:

1) I don’t travel that much.
2) With online niches, it’s better to be deep than wide.

I wanted this site to be bigger than life, but I was riding the fence too long. I did not want to wait until the domain TexasTravelJournal.com was allowed out of the sandbox, so I promoted it, but redirected the site to my vanity URL which had already been established. I’m not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I just need to separate the two and work on them separately. For now I will cover more topics affecting bloggers, online marketers, and business owners.

Personal Vs Business Blogging

I have recently been writing in my personal blog more so than this blog, as you can tell since I haven’t updated since December. I am kind of struggling with knowing when write there and when to write here since a lot of what I DO I’m personally interested. I don’t just have a job for a job’s sake. I like psychology, persuasion, blogging, testing, and writing for its own sake. Over the years through my personal blog I have actually met and cultivated relationships with others which I normally would not have been able to do, since I express myself better through text than verbally. Business blogging I feel should be viewed from the outside looking in and should provide some type of value to the reader to use in his/her field. Continue reading