I’ve been through it, too.
This is every blogger’s nightmare.
You’re doing all the right things.
Writing blog posts, creating a gorgeous looking website, even engaging with your fellow peeps via various social media platforms.
But you’re stumped.
Your traffic continues to come crawling towards your website.
Forget jaguars, even a rabbit-paced audience would make you happy.
So how can you turn your audience’s slow progress into Bolt’s speedy movement?
Find out keywords that your audience is using – SEO
When I started blogging, I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to SEO. I felt that it curbed my writing enthusiasm. That it stifled my creativity. So while my blog posts were great, they were not optimized for Google and other search engines.
I had to quadruple my marketing efforts so that people could read my article. So that they’d visit my website. So that I could nudge some traffic in my website’s direction.
However, once I started incorporating SEO tactics in my blog posts, I saw a substantial rise in my traffic.
And this what you should do.
Search for keywords that your audience uses to search for services similar to yours via Adwords Keyword Tool, and incorporate them into your post.
In order to attract readers, you need to present them with something new each time.
Consider a high-end boutique for instance.
Women flock in armed with a lot of cards in their wallet and a bank account full of green dollar bills.
They want to purchase gorgeous dresses that’s why they’re in your boutique.
They browse through your collection, like something and purchase.
Now, they visit again a couple of days later because they remember how awesome your boutique was.
But, there’s nothing new for them now. So a bit disgruntled, they’ll still browse through the stuff again, and leave.
Next time, they come over with hope that you’ve got new stuff they can purchase.
But, nope. Still the same old stuff.
Now they’re angry and frustrated.
They’ll stop coming from then onward because they know there’s going to be nothing new for them.
This is how your readers will feel if you don’t publish posts on your blogs frequently.
So in order to keep them hooked, and turn them from mere readers to your very own loyal army, you need keep on publishing new and useful posts every week if not on alternate days.
Participating in Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ groups.
You have the social media engagement down, but have you been utilizing the groups feature LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ offer?
Groups comprise of like-minded individuals, and engagement is HIGH there.
One of the most effective tactics to increasing traffic AND gaining lucrative projects is engaging in groups.
Find a group that matches your target audience and niche.
Start engaging with people on the group.
Ask questions, answer other people’s questions.
There are promo days in these groups too, so wait for the promo day to promote your blog post. Once you help people out and become visible in these groups, people will naturally want to visit your website to cyber-stalk you.
Creating Gorgeous Visuals and Posting them on Social Media
70% of marketers plan to increase their use of original visual assets in 2015.
With content creating so much noise in the digital arena, in order to get your own voice heard by your target audience, you NEED to use visuals.
After all, we’ve all been listening to the ‘pictures are worth a thousand words’ adage for quite some time now, haven’t we?
If you’re not ready to spend your hard-earned money on visuals, you can always use one of several free stock photo websites, and get gorgeous stock photos from there to compliment your post.
One you’ve added visuals to your post, how do you attract new readers?
By posting those pictures with a sub-title with a message\quote\statistic that relates to your post and a URL, and uploading it on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.
Frequently commenting on other blogs
I’ve always been slightly obsessed with following blogs.
I love reading comments people post on these blogs; and if I like somebody’s comment, I’ll go and visit their profile. Cyber-stalk them to within an inch of their digital existence.
This works the other way round too. If somebody likes YOUR comment, they’ll visit your profile.
A lot of blogs have a commentluv feature on their comment box, which is awesome because it automatically posts your latest blogs URL with your comment. This allows other commentators and the blog owner, and everyone who visits that blog to view your blog post.
And you know what that means, right?
A whole lot of traffic heading for your way.
Quora has immense power.
And it’s yours to unleash if you know how to use it.
Most people know this platform as a question and answer platform. Where you post all kinds of weird, non-weird questions and people answer them.
BUT, there’s a secret facet of Quora that few people have been able to discover.
And that is;
If you search for questions in your niche, you can find a ton of opportunities to promote your blog without being spammy.
For example if someone asks a question on how they can increase their traffic, I can post this blog post.
More traffic aimed at my way.
So, what are some of your favorite ways to increase your traffic?
This pretty much sums up my reaction when I received a reply from Arianna Huffington within 24 hours.
I never thought I’d ever be published on Huffington Post. It seemed too much like a dream.
An ultimate goal for when I was experienced enough.
But one fine day, I summoned up enough courage to press the send button, sent Arianna an email, and she replied in the affirmative.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
So, if you’re rocking the same boat I was, let me tell you one thing,
IT’S A LOT EASIER THAN IT SEEMS FROM AFAR.
I’ll show you just how easy through this guide. And you don’t need to have an impressive portfolio either. I know, I didn’t.
5 STEP PLAN
1. STEP 1
Write an awesome post. This is the most important part of this process. ‘Write from the heart’ is equally important. I’d say ‘don’t write just to get published’, but if you are doing just that (because let’s face it, that’s what we’re all doing) then make sure your post is REALLY GOOD. It should offer something to the readers. I’m a huge fan of practical, actionable steps, but anything that provides good value to the audience is great.
Can’t think of anything to write? How about a devastating experience or a triumphant occasion?
Tip: List posts generally do great EVERYWHERE.
2. STEP 2
Figure out which section you want to publish your post in. You’ll need to mention it in the email pitch. Here’s a list of all the sections:
Here’s the link to the editors of each section. You don’t need to get too intimidated by this information, it’s just for general knowledge.
3. STEP 3
Read the section you’ve chosen thoroughly. Find out if the subject you’re writing on has been broached before or not.
If it hasn’t, you can mention in your email pitch how readers would love this information since it hasn’t been talked about before. And if it has, then you can mention that since that post was received well by the readers, yours will be too.
This step is important because it shows Arianna and the HuffPost editors that you’re serious and your post is not just for self-promotional purposes. It gives good vibes.
And at this point you need all the good vibes you can get!
4. STEP 4
Now it’s time for the dreaded email pitch. There are two ways you can pitch to HuffPost.
1. You can either send Arianna an email at, email@example.com
2. You can fill up their official post submission form,
I sent an email to Arianna, so I’d advise you to go that route. However, many of those who used the form to pitch were published too, so it’s really up to you.
5. STEP 5
This is the last step. Wait patiently. If you don’t hear within a week, then send a follow-up message to Arianna. She usually replies within 48 hours.
And if you still don’t get a reply, or the HuffPost team doesn’t accept your post, DO NOT LOSE HOPE. I repeat,
DON’T LOSE HOPE.
Write another article and send another pitch. They are not going to blacklist you just because they didn’t accept your first post. Keep on trying.
Tips – Stuff that worked in my favor:
– If you’re suffering from writer’s block or have no time to write a brand-spanking-new article tailored to perfection for HuffPost, you can send in a post (you’re super-proud of) and you’ve already published on your blog.
That’s what I did.
I’ll let you in on another secret – this was the ONLY blog post I had written under my own name.
So I had no impressive portfolios or a dozen awesome blog posts to show that I was a veteran blogger. As a ghostwriter, my articles and eBooks were not-to-be-named, and this was my absolute first step to building my name in the writing biz.
– I know a lot of bloggers + HuffPost contributors’ recommend you to be acquainted with the editors of the section you’re pitching for, but I didn’t do that. I was following Arianna on pretty much all social media platforms but I had no clue who my section editors even were much less follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn.
So if that’s what’s holding you back, don’t fret too much.
Got questions? Type in a comment below, and I’ll help you out the best way I can!
It’s hard being a ghostwriter.
It’s even harder to have NOTHING written in your name.
You write pages and pages full of amazing content for clients, but have you written content in your own name?
If somebody Googles your name, what’s going to pop up?
380,000,000 in 0.7 seconds. Sure.
Your social media accounts, your college details, your home address, and similar details. Sure
But, are any of those results going to tell the Google-ie that you’re a kickass ghostwriter?
Will anything on that page, or the next few pages, pay tribute to the awesome work you’re doing for the writing community?
Is there going to be a single piece of evidence that points towards you being a writer, a weaver of words, a magician who transforms everything he writes into a work of art?
Any articles, blog posts, etc.?
Does that riddle you with pain and just a dash of guilt – because you finally realize that money, after all, may not be as vital to your success as having a name in the industry?
Sure, your clients love you. They give you raving reviews. They give you recurrent work. At times, they may even plead you to write a fantastic blog post for them, which converts. And you know it converts, because the truth is that you’re a damn good writer.
After all, your clients have said that to you plenty of times, and your friends love your work too.
But. But. But.
The time spent on branding yourself and establishing your name in the writing biz will be time spent NOT EARNING. Or earning very little.
So, is that a risk you’re willing to take?
You have absolute belief in your skills, but do you have guts to take it to the next level?
Is it worth it?
You can raise your rates
No, I’m not going to pussyfoot around this topic. A freelancer CANNOT stay constant with his rate.
As time passes, your experience grows, your skills hone up, and so your rate should increase too. But if you’re stuck in a rut, working day and night for your clients, you hardly have time to own up to your worth and raise your rates.
You’ve become a money making machine.
And that’s nothing to feel proud of. You can easily work less hours and get an equal amount of money, if not more.
There’s a simple 4-step process for successfully raising your rates.
– Market yourself by writing articles in YOUR name. Start a blog, write guest posts and conquer the writing world with your sparkling writing skills.
– Start engaging with your target audience – rich and successful entrepreneurs who are willing to pay a good amount of money for quality services – on different social media networks. Facebook groups, Google+ groups, Twitter, the mighty LinkedIn, etc.
– Share your articles and blog posts with them. Approach them. Tell them your new and improved Ask them how you can help them.
Network. Introduce yourself. Repeat.
– Work less, earn more. Live a healthy, wealthy life.
You can become the coolest kid in your field.
Climbing the hierarchy ladder may have been a tough feat in high school, but it should no longer be when you’re old and wise.
Becoming popular in your field will mean,
– unlimited access to the giants of your field,
– useful advice 24\7,
– networking with the rich and successful,
– your very own minions ready to share every single thing you post and take the major legwork of your personal branding,
– getting paid more than you ever dreamed of,
– loyal army grateful for your tips and strategies,
– and, a whole generation who dreams of becoming the next you.
Pretty awesome, isn’t it?
And all this by doing what? Publishing articles in your own name. Establishing your name and reputation in the digital world.
If you truly have skills you’re proud of, then flaunt them around. The ‘Aww shucks, I’m so modest’ attitude will get you nowhere. There are people losing millions because you are not on their radar. So get out there and become the next Henneke Duistermaat – if you aren’t already following her, then you’re missing out big time.
Branch out and start earning a 6-figure income.
Sure, writing for clients is a little like running your own writing business. But, once you start writing posts under your own name and establish a reputation in your preferred field, you can branch out as well.
Branch out? Wait. What kind of branches are we talking about here?
We’re talking about all kinds of branches. Anything that interests you.
– You can write eBooks. And get a nice, thick paycheck from Amazon every month.
– You can start a consulting business for struggling writers, etc.
– You can mentor others (and charge a hefty amount for that).
– You can start a paid membership club (I see you, Copyblogger).
– You can start pretty much anything that strikes your fancy.
But, why can’t I branch out without personal branding?
You can. You can branch out at any point in your life. However, you’re missing the keyword here – earn a 6-figure income. Personal branding allows you to leverage your traffic, your email subscribers, your followers, connections, fans, foes, angels, EVERYONE and sell your services. And? Yes, you guessed it right. Earn a 6-figure income and touch the stars.
10,000 subscribers vs. 0 subscribers.
Who’s going to win?
– The you that everyone knows and loves, or the you that only your clients know?
– The you that has a huge fan following or the you that has a limited number of followers (most of them your friends and family.)?
– The you that has a huge number of email subscribers, or the you that doesn’t even have a website or blog?
So you see, while you can definitely branch out and write your own eBooks, start a consulting service, plan to mentor struggling writers, etc; you won’t have enough clients, customers, followers hanging on your every post to make you a success.
Why would people buy your eBook, if they don’t even know you? Why would people want a mentor who’s a nobody? Why, why, why?
Clients will come to you.
Client-hunting, or hustling as it’s very fondly known in the writing biz, is a crucial part of a freelancers life. You’re always on a lookout for new and higher paying clients. Who understand your worth. Who love your work. Who’re willing to give you the respect that you deserve.
Client-hunting is the worst part of a freelancers life.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if instead of seeking clients, clients would send you emails requesting YOU to work with them. Telling you that they loved your work, and would love it if you’d work for them.
Chances are, for ghostwriters who haven’t joined the personal branding bandwagon, this ‘imagine’ will never turn into an ‘Ooh, it’s happening’.
Because potential clients are not aware of your existence. Your work is exactly what they’re looking for, but they’ll settle for someone else, BECAUSE YOU DON’T EXIST and they can’t find you.
But if you’ve got a smashing website, a ton of articles (guest posts and on your blog as well) under your name, social media presence, then clients will come flocking to you. You can state whatever terms you want (they obviously need to be reasonable) and the clients will be ready to say yes to them.
Because they love your work, your skills are what they’re looking for and they know you’ll help them succeed in THEIR business.
Win-win for all!
Is it time that stops you from taking the big leap?
Or maybe a fear of the unknown?
Or maybe you don’t feel that personal branding is right for you?
If you’re content with where you’re at, and have no desire to climb the success ladder, then you’re probably right.
But, if there’s even a slightest desire to succeed, then this is a bandwagon you definitely need to climb on. And ASAP.
Take the first step. Create a profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Start writing guest posts for leading websites in your niche. Get a blog. And kick-start your journey to success. You’ll be surprised by how amazing success feels.
It sucks. It really does.
I’ve been through this nightmare as well.
You want to increase traffic to your blog.
You’ve written blog posts BUT they haven’t been discovered, loved and appreciated by the audience.
You have a small amount of readers. And an even smaller amount of engagement in the comment section; if any.
Others in your industry seem to be faring quite well. Their posts have long discussions, likes, and an unhealthy amount of social shares.
AND, you’re a pretty darn good writer yourself. So, why haven’t YOU been able to do what THEY have managed to do so easily? Drive traffic to your blog, and get nice discussions flowing?
Something that makes your reader nod their heads and think, ‘WOW! This is exactly what I was looking for.’
So, where have you been going wrong?
A couple of places actually. A lot of factors contribute to this nightmare you’re having. In this digital world that’s full of content – stale and awe-inspiring, both – the need to light up your own special show that everybody’s queuing up in lines to attend is immense.
Writing kick-ass content no longer does it all.
It requires companions.
Friends. Foes. Minions.
It requires you to:
Become a pimpled boy in the throes of his first love. Or second. Or millionth.
An overzealous teenage kid in the throes of his first love goes social media hunting (read, stalking) trying to find out everything he can about her.
So that he can impress her by pretending to love everything she loves.
And they live happily ever after. Or not.
Either way, he knows where he stands now. And after an hour of sulking and pretending to die, he bumps into the second love of his life. And on it goes, till he grows up.
Your audience is your love interest.
In order to impress them, to convince them to visit your blog, you NEED to know what they want.
What they’re talking about.
That’s how you’ll figure out what they want to read about.
What excites them? What hooks them in and compels them to read further and further, till they become your loyal-est readers?
WHAT ARE THEY PASSIONATE ABOUT?
So, WHERE do you stalk them? How do you find the topics they’re discussing presently? What subjects in your niche puzzle them? Befuddle them?
- Join groups. Facebook Groups. LinkedIn groups. Google+ groups. Etc.
By now you know who your target audience is, so search for groups that they’re a major part of. Once you get accepted to those groups, start searching for discussions that give you an insight to what your target audience wants to know about. Use the search option, and type in keywords related to your niche to see discussions that took place about it.
As a writer, I usually join entrepreneur groups and search for keywords related to writing – copywriting, ghostwriting, blogging, SEO, and the works. This brings up a whole list of results that give me an insight to what my target audience wants to know. AND plenty of ideas to keep my blog alive and thriving for a couple of months, if not more.
And that, my friend, is what YOU have to do.
- Quora. A writers’ best friend.
I love Quora.
Because it’s a Q&A platform that thrives on discussions and problems. It has never deserted me in my time of need. It has answers to every single thing I’ve searched for. How cool is that?
In order to fully utilize its potential, all you need to do is tap into the right discussion. Do a primary keyword search and choose a question from a long list of results that pop up. Read about users’ most pressing concerns, and figure out a way you can address those concerns through a blog post.
Take this answer (the part in the yellow box) for instance. I can easily write an informative article on this answer alone, let alone the question (which has the potential to fill pages and pages).
- Get comfortable in blogs’ comment section
If you’re not a Quora, or a social media kinda person (which makes you one in 3 billion people, maybe?) then chances are that you’re a blog person.
Who’s a blog person?
Someone who’s always in hunt of great blogs. Well, if that’s the case, then you’re in great luck, because most blogs have a comment section; and the great ones have a pretty active comment section.
Find a blog that belongs to an influencer or an authority in your niche. Go through their recent blog posts, and read the comments. Look for comments that are blog-post-worthy,
and can wow your audience.
Writing content for EVERYONE does not serve much purpose. You need to narrow down your ideal readers, your target audience and write content that’s tailor-made for them.
So it all boils down to one thing – finding the RIGHT subject for your blog post. One that resonates well with your audience.
To become best friends with her friends, so that she’s forced to hang out with you.
Google is everybody’s best friend. Even your target audience likes hanging out with Google.
So what’s your next step?
Become Google’s best-est friend.
And how do you do that? Through SEO.
Optimizing your content for search engines mean that when your target audience searches for a topic that you’ve already answered – rather comprehensively and in an entertaining way, because you’re a kick-ass writer – via a blog post, Google will direct all that traffic to your blog.
You can optimize your blog post in 3 easy steps.
- Step 1: Find keywords that your target audience uses to search for your blog post. Use Adwords Keyword Planner, or Ubersuggest to search for keywords related to your niche.
- Step 2: Add these keywords in a natural way. They should synchronize happily with other words – even a sniff of a forcefully entered keyword will raise a red flag, so STEER WELL CLEAR OF IT. Add these keywords to the,
- Sub headings
- After every 300 words or so
for some extra SEO magic.
- Step 3: Track and monitor your progress. Connect Google Analytics to your website by downloading the related plugin. Sit back and check if your tactics are working. If not, then tweak,test,repeat.
The key to mastering SEO is providing quality content to your readers. This is just a blueprint Google has given you to help you provide quality information to your readers. If your content is resonating well with your audience, then Google is bound to gift you a nice friendship bracelet.
To become the ultimate selfie master. The more happy selfies, the better.
70% of marketers plan to increase their use of visual assets in 2015
Because visuals trump text.
The adage, pictures speak a thousand words, may make you cringe and you might even be tempted to roll your eyes, but you can’t deny it’s true.
Pouring over thick biology books for my O-level exam was a nightmare. I hated biology with a vengeance. The only thing that made this ordeal a little less nightmarish were pictures. Unpleasing and at times super-gross pictures (I’m not particularly fond of looking at human organs in all their bloody glory), but they at least reminded me which organs were which and what their functions were – a feat that 600 pages of text could not achieve.
Conclusion: We remember visuals.
Just as our pictures remind us of a memorable time and pictures of human organs reminded me of the various functions of those organs; pictures related to your blog post will not only increase blog traffic but also leave a lasting impact on your audience.
So, what kind of visuals are we talking about here?
- Short videos
Visuals rule – plain text, not so much.
Driving traffic to your blog is hard.
Writing about it is easy, but putting it in action requires a dash of testing, a spoonful of awesome ideas, and A LOT OF PATIENCE.
You don’t see results in a day or two, or even a week.
It’s your turtle, and it WILL win, but like all turtles it needs time. So be patient.
And remember; test, tweak, repeat.
So, what are some tried and tested strategies that increased your blog traffic rapidly?