Page 1

iBlog

CATCH MY PARTY’S PINTEREST TOOL | YOUR MARKETING PLAN’S SECRET WEAPON: SEGMENTATION

The magazine for women influencers & bloggers

SNAPCHAT FINDING YOUR PASSIONATE FANS

Instagram Ads That Get Results

Are you the next face of streaming video?Yes you are.

Zero to Thousands in 18 months April 16

Is Livestreaming Meant for You?

Special Feature

ONLINE COURSES &CLASSES All you need to know & more!


©Disney


EARN MONEY PROMOTING THE BRANDS YOU LOVE Affiliate Programs Managed by Acceleration Partners

LEARN MORE & JOIN HERE accelerationpartners.com/programs

Join the industry’s most successful affiliate programs. Becoming an affiliate is a great way for a blogger or a high-performing content publisher to grow their online revenue. Whether you’re new to affiliate partnerships or already well underway, we’re here to connect you with programs that best fit your audience.

BLOGGER BENEFITS Personalized support from an experienced affiliate team Weekly newsletters Commissions up to 30% Access to many well-known brands Program bonuses

JOIN TODAY AT accelerationpartners.com/programs


What’s All This

LIVESTREAMING Talk About?

P16

@

@

@

@ @

our Y ld

i

Bu

Filling the Gap: Launching Resources in a Lagging Space

unch

e La Cours

@ @ @

P22

List with

Pin

ter

est P36 Lacy Boggs

P38

Is SNAPCHAT finding your passionate fans

Livestreaming meant for you?

KENZIE NIMMO

P26

P52


table of contents

Video & Livestreaming Feature 22

WHAT’S ALL THIS LIVESTREAM TALK ABOUT?

24

KEEP EVOLVING WITH LIVESTREAMING

26

SNAPCHAT - FINDING YOUR PASSIONATE FANS

28

CONNECTING THE NEXT GENERATION THROUGH VIDEO

Bonnie Frank - BonnieFrank.com

Lizza Monet Morales - @xoxolizza

Kenzie Nimmo - Snapchat: Kenzie.Nimmo KidzVuz - Rebecca Levey - KidzVuz.com

P20 Online Courses & Classes

Insider Secrets to creating

Online Courses & Classes P32

and making money!

$ $

$

34

Ten Tips For Creating a Successful Online Course

36

Build Your Course Launch List With Pinterest

38

Launching Resources in a Lagging Space

40

Sarah Morgan - XOSarah.com

Summer Tannhauser - LadyBossLeague.com Lacy Boggs - LacyBoggs.com

Building Your Email List for a Successful Product Launch

Abby Lawson - JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

42

Million Dollar Lessons - What No One Tells You About A Successful Online Course Launch

44

Simple, Effective Strategies For An Online Course

Nathalie Lussier - Ambitionally.com

Alea Milham - PreMeditatedLeftovers.com

How New Algorithm

’s

Affects You

P50 Raise your Influence

P56 with Video Correction

In February’s Issue of iBlog magazine an article titled “How to Extend the Life of Your Blog Posts” was mistakenly attributed to Elisa Camahort Page. The author of that article was Karen Ballum, Community Manager at BlogHer. Thanks for the great article Karen!


The Livestream Issue

IN

a world of increasingly demanded instant gratification, it can be a challenge to keep up with changing trends and adjust with the times. Currently, both brands and the online influencer space is quickly trying to adjust to the latest demand: livestreaming video. In a world where you can watch everything from a car brand release their newest vehicle model to watching someone shop for shoes, live content is more in demand than ever. The exposure and reach you are able to achieve with livestreaming depends on a variety of factors. What platform you choose, how consistent you are in streaming content, and how much promotion you dedicate on your other social media channels will all make a difference in the outcome of your livestreaming efforts. In this issue, we spoke to some experts who have achieved great levels of success, albeit not without a great deal of work. As popular blogger Lizza Morales who shines on Periscope shares, “it’s about starting on one app and leaving a tantalizing breadcrumb for them to join you on another app. As long as you always make it a win for your audience, they will follow you.” Snapchat enthusiast and singer Kenzie Nimmo agrees; as she discusses in her article “livestreaming apps and services fill a niche that can provide a lot of important, more intimate supplemental content to your audience. You can’t get more real than you are in live content.” So how do you get started? You can give it a try simply by turning your phone on and downloading one of these apps. Or you can check out an online course to help you learn the basics. In fact, online courses are an entire niche of their own, providing countless opportunities for those who develop expertise in their niche. There are countless courses out there, yet there are still so many opportunities to launch courses of your own. People buy online courses when they have a problem and are eager to solve it. We have included a round-up of articles from those who have successfully navigated this process and see profitable returns as a result.

Meet the Team.

For example, Lacey Boggs worked as a ghostblogger but saw a hole in the market for people teaching strategic blogging to small business owners. So, she began creating training products and programs to fill that gap and now offers multiple products in addition to her services. She discusses the best way to approach this and how she made it work. With her first business, Nathalie Lussier grew her website to over one million monthly views. She received many inquiries to how she did it and answering these questions quickly grew to a six figure consulting company that continues to grow and expand. In her article, she reveals the expert tips and insights no one talks about that can help you achieve your success. As a blogger and social media influencer, there are so many changes on a regular basis. With these changes, however, come opportunities that can lead to great social and business results. With hard work, determination to succeed and keeping up with the trends, you can take your blogging business to a whole new level.

Contact us today

iBlog magazine partners: • Social Media Conferences • Blog Conferences • Influencer Networks • Blogger Networks • Agencies, Brands & PR Firms Matt Cherry

Founder & Publisher @iBlogmag

Ashley Abele

Operations Mgr & Editor @AshleyNAbele

Christine Crowell VP Marketing

Networks Conferences brands

A strategic marketing partnership with iBlog adds value to your campaigns, helping you increase your reach with women influencers.

Contact us. Advertising inquiries: market@iBlogmagazine.com 813-551-0007

Membership inquiries: memberships@iBlogmagazine.com

Writing & Editorial inquiries: editor@iBlogmagazine.com

iBlog magazine Corp. Office: 231 N. Tennessee Ave. Lakeland, FL 33801

Halee Kalevitch Content Coordinator

6

Jackie Ratcliffe Graphic Designer

iBlog magazine APR 2016

Amy Reid

Graphic Designer

Amanda Schoolfield Graphic Designer

Printed in the USA, Copyright © 2015 by iTell Ventures, Inc. All rights reserved. iBlog magazine is published monthly except for combined July/August and December/January issues, by iTell Ventures, Inc. 231 N. Tennessee Ave., Lakeland, FL 33801. Subscriptions are by membership to iBlogmagazine.com website only. Address all membership correspondences to membership@iblogmagazine. com. To change address please visit your membership account at iBlogmagzine.com. Material in this publication must not be stored or reproduced in any form without permission. Requests for permissions should be directed to permissions@iBlogmagazine.com.


iBlog Advisory Committee Industry leaders committed to your success

Ana Flores Founder, We All Grow Summit, Latina Bloggers Connect, Spanglish Baby

Stacey Ferguson

Kristin Hylek

Kim Garst

Co-founder, Blogalicious Justice Fergie Lifestyle Media, Attorney

Manager, Alliances & Brands PR & Brand Engagement McDonald’s USA, LLC

Co-founder, Boom! Social, Forbes Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers

Emily McKhann

Barbara Jones

Aliza Freud

Suzanne Fanning

Ronnie Tyler

Co-Founder, The Motherhood The McKhann Media Group

Founder, one2one Network CEO, Blissful Media Group

Founder & CEO SheSpeaks & SocialSpeaks.com

President, WOMMA Word of Mouth Marketing Assoc.

Co-founder, Black and Married With Kids, Tyler New Media

Laura Mayes Co-founder, Mom 2.0 Summit, Camp Mighty, Go Mighty, Kirtsy

Angela Sustaita-Ruiz

Pat Flynn

Co-founder, Hispanicize Partner, Hispanicize Wire, CEO, Latina Mom Bloggers

Founder, Smart Passive Income, iTunes Top Podcaster, Author, Blogger

Kerry O’Shea Gorgone

Sami Cone

Instructional Design Mgr. Enterprise Training at Marketing Profs

Radio & TV Host, Savings Expert

Lynette Young Founder, Women of Google+, 1.5 million followers, speaker, corporate trainer

MJ Tam

Jeannette Kaplun

Editor, Chicagonista Co-Founder, Women Driving excellence

Founder, Hispana Global, Author-Todobebe, TV Host Journalist, Spokesperson

Nadia Jones

Joey Fortman

Cherie Whyte

CEO Niche Parent Blogger Network, Social Media Strategist

Founder, Real Mom Media, Parent Advisory Panel & Events Manager - Toy Insider

Director, Citizen Relations International

Bridgette Duplantis

Laurie Schacht

Cecilia Mecca

Katja Presnal

Co-founder of iRetreat conference & Double Duty Divas

Co-founder of iRetreat conference & Double Duty Divas

Debbie Bookstaber

Co-publisher The Toy Insider, President The Toy Book

President, Element Associates, Social Media Director, Child’s Play Communications

Founder, Editor-in-Chief Skimbaco Co-Founder, Global Mappin

Amy Atkinson

Yoly Mason

Missy Maher

Sarah Beeskow-Blay

Jyl Johnson Pattee

Founder, Amy Atkinson Communications

Founder, Cuponeando.net, Founder Las Blogueras

EVP, Zeno Group Edelman Public Relations

Director of Client Services, Share A Sale

Founder, Mom It Forward, Family Forward Conference

Do you support women influencers? iBlog magazine is seeking out new partnerships with national brand, agency and pr firm executives that would like to participate on the iBlog magazine Advisory committee. Join our industry leaders and partner with the largest business resource for women influencers online. Receive year-round exposure for your brand(s), benefit from our partnerships with leading influencer networks and conferences while discovering new opportunities to support and interact with influencers in the iBlog magazine community. For more information about iBlog’s Advisory committee please email us at: Advisors@iBlogmagazine.com

ADVISORS


April / May 16 conferences and events

Conference 4 Hispanicize Miami, FL

The largest annual event for Latino trendsetters and newsmakers in digital content creation, journalism, marketing, entertainment and tech entrepreneurship. The Hispanicize event is a launch pad for creative endeavors, new products, technologies, marketing campaigns, films, books and more targeting Latinos in the U.S. and/or Puerto Rico.

8 Indulge Conference

14 SNAP! Conference

Take a step away from your busy lives and join us for a weekend filled with fun, laughter, exploration, education and delicious food. You’ll walk away with a stronger sense of community, enhanced skills, confidence in your business and maybe even a few extra pounds.

We inspire one another and when we connect in ways that comfort and sustain, it is something truly extraordinary. That is why we launched Snap – a community where imaginative bloggers can come together; learn from one another and walk away invigorated.

Portland, OR

Conference 15 BAM Las Vegas, NV

17 Social Media Mrktg World

The BAM conference is the first event just for female content creators: writers, bloggers, and social media pros. The event brings together this special demographic to learn more about publishing, blogging, and social media. Also, it will be an opportunity to interact with very special brands.

Join 2,500 fellow marketers at the mega- conference designed to inspire and empower you with social media marketing ideas. Rub shoulders with the biggest names and brands in social media, soak up countless tips and new strategies and enjoy extensive networking opportunities.

San Diego, CA

Salt Lake City, UT

22 Eat, Write, Retreat N. Hollywood, CA

Eat, Write, Retreat is an intensive learning weekend focused on strengthening connections within the food community through shared exploration of cooking, photography, and writing. Attendees will enjoy customized dining experiences, an array of hands-on workshops, and abundant networking opportunities and professional development sessions.

23 TECHmunch LIVE!

23 BConnected (Canada)

27 Mom 2.0 Summit

The traveling conference that helps food and lifestyle bloggers learn the skills they need to succeed and take their blogs to the next level. The day-long event will feature many of the world’s most accomplished culinary and digital media experts. You’ll be able to tune in live from anywhere in the world to watch... for free!

Canada’s Digital Influencer Conference in beautiful downtown Ottawa! BConnected Conference is open to digital influencers, small business owners, charitables organizations, not for profit associations, and major brands, looking to enhance their social media and blogging skills.

The premier professional conference for influential mom bloggers and female entrepreneurs who create online content. Every year, women leaders in media and business converge at the Summit to compare notes, discuss ideas, and forecast what’s next for women online and in the marketplace.

ONLINE

Ottowa, Ontario, CA

Dana Point, CA

May

Southern C Summit 27 The Charleston, SC

A niche multi-day conference filled with networking opportunities and educational sessions from the best and the brightest. Attendees, presenters and sponsor connect through carefully crafted events and unique experiences that create meaningful conversations and provide memorable takeaway.

8

iBlog magazine APR 2016

May

3 SearchLove Conference

13 Food and Wine Con.

Join some of the world’s leading thinkers in online marketing for two days of ideas and inspiration. This conference will discuss the latest in search, analytics, content creation, optimising your website, paid promotions and more.

Food, Wine and taking your blog to the next level! Going from blog to business while enjoying a great weekend filled with great food, wine, new and old friends and memories that will last a lifetime. You will leave the Food and Wine Conference inspired to take your blog to the next level.

Boston, MA

Orlando, FL

CONFERENCES


lifestyle

Combining A Career with Blogging for Great Earnings I run the blog Pulling Curls. A blog for overwhelmed moms to find more joy and simplicity. But my “real” job is a labor and delivery nurse. I have surprised myself by surpassing my “real job” income by several fold through blogging. What has brought me to this level of success? In the very beginning I created a blogging income spreadsheet, where I tracked each income source and if it was increasing/ decreasing, etc. I wanted to show that this could be a real with real business properties like a fancy spreadsheet. I can’t tell you how much that spreadsheet has grown and changed since that first draft but it is STILL probably my #1 secret to my success. I don’t rely on the ad network’s reports, I create my own and I am able to see month to month and year to year changes and it is FANTASTIC.

Blogging is a lot like life... enjoy the journey. Another key factor is that my husband quit as a teacher last summer. The long days combined with the school district cutting him to part time made just realize it just wasn’t worth it anymore. We thought he’d get a job right away, but he’s realized that teaching isn’t his passion anymore, and that has caused me to kick up blogging a bit to keep us afloat. It has been such a blessing in our lives to have this amazing income to live off of and enjoy as a family. What’s different about me is that I have a job that touches the majority of moms, right at the start of their journey. I blog about my professional life as a labor and delivery nurse and have recently started my own prenatal class. I have taught them for my hospital, but recently decided to stop because the time for travel/teaching/payment just ended-up not being worth it. I still work as a nurse (part time) though, and don’t plan to stop. I blog a LOT about pregnancy as well. Those posts have found a great niche on Pinterest. 9

iBlog magazine September 2015

But, selling my own prenatal class has been a whole new bag of chips. Probably not one that I was ready for. I have made hundreds of tweaks to the sales page. I am so grateful for friends that will look it over and give me honest feedback about what is working and what isn’t. As a nurse, I am not a natural seller but I am working on it. The thing that’s always changing is social media. I devote an hour/day to a social media network (On Tuesdays it’s Facebook,Wednesday it’s Pinterest, etc.). That’s time to schedule, tweak, and adjust my strategy as necessary. The key seems to always be finding what content does best on each network and making sure that’s getting eyeball time by promoting it. That, and not getting tied to the normal up’s and down’s. Blogging is a lot like life and if I want moms to enjoy the journey, I need to too! I will be attending my FIRST “real” blog conference at SNAP and I’d love to meet you if you’re attending too!

Hilary Erickson pullingcurls.com @PullingCurls

LIFESTYLE


INSTAGRAM

Andrea Vahl AndreaVahl.com @AndreaVahl

Creating Instagram Ads That Get Results Creating an Instagram Ad – The Basics If you haven’t created an Instagram ad before, here are some of the basic things you need to know …

I

nstagram Ads are hot right now. They’re a new frontier and many people aren’t advertising there yet. So the time is right to target your perfect customers. Instagram ads are the only type of post that is “clickable” on Instagram. Other images that you post cannot send people to a website, but when you advertise on Instagram your ad can send people to your website to sign up for a freebie, get more information, or purchase something directly from your ad. 10

iBlog magazine APR 2016

»Y  ou can create Instagram Ads through the Facebook Ads area (that’s the main place to create them – there are a few other third party options, but this is the main way) • You can use either Ads Manager OR Power Editor OR Business Manager »Y  ou don’t need an Instagram account to run Ads, but you do need a Facebook page to get the ad started »Y  ou start an Instagram Ad with the same setup as a basic Facebook Ad » I nstagram can be highly targeted (they use the same targeting as Facebook Ads, since Facebook and Instagram are connected) » I ndicate Instagram Placement during the setup of the ad »Y  ou still need to adhere to 20% maximum text rule

Why Use Instagram Ads? The biggest reason is because an Instagram Ad can drive very inexpensive and responsive traffic to your website. As mentioned, typical Instagram posts don’t allow a website link in the post. But Instagram Ads do. I have an opt-in ad that’s converting at 75% right now – that’s amazing! There aren’t too many ads on Instagram currently, so if you set up the right ad with the right targeting, you can get great results.


1

Create an Instagram-Only Ad

This is critical. It’s very easy to indicate that you want Instagram placement when you set up your ad. In fact, it’s on by default. So when you create an ad specifically for Instagram, you’ll remove the other placements and keep only the Instagram placement. The reason you want to do this is because you can keep the budget separate, you can keep track of the stats easier, and you can tailor your ad to Instagram. The targeting and bidding will be very similar to regular Facebook Ads. Since Instagram is connected to Facebook, you have the same demographic and interest targeting available to you for Instagram Ads.

2

Use a Beautiful Image

3

Use Facebook Pixel to Track Opt-ins

Instagram is a place of beautiful images. So don’t use your dull corporate graphic. Make it visually beautiful. Also make sure you size it properly for Instagram. Images should be sized at 1080 x 1080 pixels. You can run an ad with the sizing of the Facebook images at 1200 x 628 pixels, but it’s better to look more “native” to Instagram. You do have to adhere to the 20% text rule even with the square image, and all you need to do is run it through the Text Overlay tool (found at https://www.facebook.com/ads/ tools/text_overlay) before you start, to make sure you aren’t using too much text. Product images, books, and logos don’t count toward the 20% text rule. You’ll be able to see the comments on the ad within the Facebook Ad platform and respond to them if you have an Instagram account.

One of the ways to make sure your Instagram Ad is performing is to track sales or opt-ins with the Facebook Pixel. The Facebook Pixel is just a bit of code that you can install on your website that gives you the ability to track Facebook traffic to your website, as well as actual opt-ins to your offer. Get my Facebook Pixel guide at: http://www.andreavahl.com/facebook/facebookadspixel.php. When you do that, you’ll be able to see exactly what the conversions cost on the Instagram Ad and compare it to the Facebook Ads you’re running.

Instagram Ads are a great new frontier and can be extremely effective when you set them up right. But you need to make sure they’re converting as well as your Facebook Ads, so make sure you’re measuring your results.

INSTAGRAM


LINKEDIN Viveka Von Rosen

linkedintobusiness.com @LinkedInExpert

Creating a Successful Online Course: The Details Creating a successful online course, like pretty much everything in life, has everything to do with your preparation. What you think might be a “super-easy I can throw together in a few days” course, will actually take you much, much, MUCH longer than you think. And a seminal course could take more time than writing a book! Which is why I wish I’d had this stepby-step guide when I was starting out! Someone once told me, “do only what you can do and delegate the rest.” One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. However, if you do what only you can do and have a company or service do everything else, well, it could run you upwards of $30K. I checked. On the other hand, some of you will want to do everything yourself. Either because you have control issues like me, or you feel it’s not in your budget. Let me tell you right now (having done that in the past with unsuccessful courses), you are going to need some help! There are definitely some tasks that you can push off on someone else that will result in a higher quality product with less brain damage to you! 12

iBlog magazine APR 2016


Uncover Your Program Topic You might have a clear idea of what you want to offer in a program. But is that what your audience needs? I was going to create “The Complete Guide to LinkedIn”. It was a 7-hour, 70 video program with over 10 resources to be priced at $597. And I’d been planning on doing it for a year. Then my friend Roger Parker (king of content creation) suggested I read “Ask"” by Ryan Levesque. Ryan takes you through the process of surveying your audience as a lead generator. But it will also tell you what they want from you. Guess what… my audience didn’t want 7 hours of video about how to use LinkedIn. What they wanted to know was how to find quality leads using LinkedIn. Guess what my program is named? HighQualityLinkedInLeads.com

"Find out what your audience wants. Not what you want to tell them..."

Creating a Program Schedule Once you know what you want to focus your program on, create a reasonable time frame for your course development. And then BOOK TIME OFF in your calendar. If you don’t, your program will never get off the ground! This is another reason my past programs failed. I got lost in the creation, and was too tired to launch them effectively. I learned from AJ Amyx that having a solid calendar not only keeps you on track, but also keeps your energy on track, because you have a better idea of where to spend it. Pick a launch date and work backwards. Answer these questions to help you construct your program development schedule: · When do your marketing materials need to be complete? · Will you do a promo webinar? · What resources do you need to hire? Purchase? · How much time will you need for editing? · How long will you REALLY need to create the content? (Double that!!!) · How much time do you need to prep for the creation of your course?

Delegate: AJ helped to create a reasonable calendar. This might be the most important thing you do. If you have a friend or colleague who has created courses before, ask them for feedback on your calendar

Creating the Course’s TOC (Table of Contents) Just like when writing a book, you should create a TOC for your course. This outline will help you to see the glaring omissions and duplicate content. And it’s much easier to revise than a completed script. When you feel your program outline is complete, review it with a few friends, mastermind buddies or even trusted clients. Ask for thorough feedback. Make the adjustments to your TOC.

Don’t Recreate the Wheel Before you start writing, do a thorough review of your existing content. Is there anything in your file folder that can be repurposed or customized for your course? This will save you a boatload of time and brainpower. And save your sanity….

Choose a Platform You probably have a clear idea how you want to deliver your program. Audio recordings? Live webinars? Do you need a dedicated website for delivery (like my B2BLinkedIntraining. com) or can you deliver it through email? I looked at a gazillion platforms for my video-based training. Finally I decided on a landing page pointing to my customer hub on Infusionsoft because I was already paying for it. But I really liked Thinkific.com and Ontraport.com as well. My friend Steve Dotto actually used Evernote as the platform to deliver his Evernote course. How cool is that?

Record Your Course You are going to want to create scripts. I know… seems like a ginormous waste of time. Especially if you already know what you are going to do and say. But my most successful courses (on Lynda.com) all had scripts. And, oh yeah, you can reconfigure them later to be valuable training resources “valued at $97” but included for free in your program! I use both Camtasia (because that’s what my video editor uses) and Screenflow to record my programs. Screenflow gives you some really cool features and is only $97 (Apple). Check out my YouTube channel (youtube.com/linkedinexpert) to see the PiP feature I love. Don’t skip the editing, but try to delegate this if you can. Creating a course can be a valuable resource for your business. Yes, you will end up investing some money and a lot of time, but if you have something valuable to share then creating a course is well worth it!

LINKEDIN


Matchmaker of premium female, male and multicultural content creators to humanize brands. Text Pollinate to 66866 to Learn More @pollinatemedia | @weavemade

Co-authoring the brand stories for :

whoispollinate.com | weavemade.com


iBlog magazine in print is now just $1.49/Mo*

After your coffee share the good news with your friends! Sign up today!

*Price applies to new subscriptions and annual membership renewals only.


PINTEREST

Jillian Tohber Leslie

catchmyparty.com

GROW PINTEREST USING OUR TIPS & OUR TOOL It was two and a half years ago, and my husband, David, and I were looking at our Google Analytics. We realized Facebook – one of our main sources of traffic – was drying up. Unless we wanted to “pay to play,” Facebook was becoming a dead-end for us. We also noticed traffic coming from Pinterest, and that that traffic was growing. So we quickly realized we needed to grow our Pinterest following as fast as we could so we could continue to grow our site. Both of us, not wanting to give up on our dream of building Catch My Party, doubled down on Pinterest. I started coming up with an overall pinning strategy. And my husband, who is the technical co-founder of Catch My Party, started working on a pop-up tool to live on our site and ask our visitors to follow us on Pinterest. We worked vigilantly for months. And guess what? Our efforts paid off. We currently have over 420k followers on Pinterest, and our traffic is over six million pageviews a month, the majority of which comes from Pinterest. So what was my pinning strategy and what is this tool we built? 16

iBlog magazine APR 2016


PART 1 : MY PINNING STRATEGY

My strategy came together when I started to think of Pinterest as a platform more like Google than Facebook. Pinterest is a visual search engine that relies on keywords. I started being very intentional about my keywords. I added them to all my board titles, board descriptions, and pins. I used the search filters on Pinterest as my guide to find the most popular keywords. I put myself in the shoes of someone searching on Pinterest, to create an experience on our page that would actually help them. And here were some other components of my strategy: • Not just pinning our own content, but thinking of myself as a curator. I pin: – 50% from Catch My Party – 35% repins on Pinterest – 15% from blogs I love • Upping the number of pins per day from 15 pins to 50 • Using a scheduler (I recommend Tailwind) so I could spread out our pins throughout the day

Then, we noticed that Instagram was the new “it” place to be, so we built the same pop-up for our Instagram account. We programmed it to alternate with our Pinterest pop-up, so visitors to our site would see one when they visited the first time, and the other when they came back. Currently our Instagram following is over 75k, thanks in large part to what we built.

THE BIRTH OF MILOTREE

After both our pop-ups worked, and we could see how effective they were, we stepped back and thought why not help other bloggers grow their Pinterest and Instagram following by sharing our tool with them. So we launched MiloTree, where we give bloggers their own free personalized pop-up to embed on their blogs. We let bloggers customize it the way they want. They can install it as a Pinterest pop-up, an Instagram pop-up, or have it alternate between the two. For an additional fee, we offer analytics and other custom features. It works on almost all platforms, and we have an easy WordPress plugin people can use.

• Following new “power pinners” daily to show Pinterest I’m active on the platform And we did other things to help us grow, too: • Confirming our Pinterest account • Adding Rich Pins so there’s more data in our pins • Adding the Pin-It Button across our site and blog, to make it easy for other people to pin our content

PART 2 : ASK YOUR AUDIENCE FOR HELP

With our pinning strategy in place, we needed to find a way to ask our Catch My Party visitors to follow us on Pinterest. Who better to champion you than your own audience? But we didn’t want to stick an annoying pop-up up on our site because we care way too much about our users’ experience. So we built our own pop-up tool. Our goal was to make it personal and inviting. The tool automatically pulled our Pinterest description, Pinterest photo, and last four pins into the pop-up. This way people got a taste of our account before ever committing, and they saw that we were serious about Pinterest. We also optimized it for speed so it would be lightening fast. And we had it discretely bounce up from the bottom of the page where it would be noticeable, but not distracting or intrusive. I get turned off by pop-ups that shake in my face. So we launched it on our site, and it started working immediately. We grew our following by over 100k that next year.

And here’s the exciting part (and came from feedback from bloggers using our tool): We’re launching a Facebook pop-up soon, and another version that will capture email sign-ups. Soon you’ll be able to choose to grow Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and/or your email list using one simple free, well-optimized pop-up.

WHAT WE LEARNED

If you can get through a challenging period, like we did two years ago, good things are usually on the other side. Catch My Party is thriving, and we now have a sister business, MiloTree, to help other bloggers grow their followings. There’s something very satisfying about scratching your own business “itch.” But there’s something even more satisfying when you get to help others do it, too!

PINTEREST


frugal

Dedication Pays How this blogger went from 0 to thousands in monthly earnings in just 18 months

I

started my blog about 18 months ago. I had just received an email about learning to blog full-time through Elite Blog Academy. Prior to that, I had no idea that you could earn that much from blogging. I was determined to make blogging work.

I had just left my nine-year career as a State Trooper and was running a home daycare with four toddlers so that I could stay home with my son. I took the class slowly and seriously and by the end of the year, I was making more than fulltime income from blogging. In fact, last month I made over $32,000/month from the blog. I don’t know any other business that you can grow from $18 to $32,000/month in 18 months without needing capital. While there are many things that I credit for my success, ultimately it was committing myself to one year of treating the blog as a top priority. I knew that it would be hard. I dedicated myself to working as much as I could. I spent between 10-30 hours/week every single week for one year to grow the blog. Having an end date made the sacrifice easier. Because I knew it would only be for a year, that commitment never wavered, even 18

iBlog magazine APR 2016

when we welcomed our little girl 3 months after starting the blog. There are three other things that made my rapid growth possible. Each of these played an important role in my business model.

Invest in education. Investing in Elite Blog Academy was a difficult decision due to the cost, but it paid off in a big way. Professional blogging wasn’t something that I knew how to do naturally. Most of us don’t. By investing in a comprehensive course, I eliminated much of the learning curve. After Elite Blog Academy, I looked for online courses from niche leaders in the areas that I was weakest in. I researched the teacher as much as the course before purchasing and completed every action step in every course that I took.


Rosemarie Groner busybudgeter.com @BusyBudgeter

Outsource inefficiencies. I invested 100% of my earnings back into the blog until I was earning over $1,000 a month and then reduced it to 20%. This let me outsource the things that I was inefficient at or just didn’t enjoy. Things like technical assistance, bookkeeping, Facebook management, Pinterest scheduling, and a virtual assistant to handle email are just some examples of the things that I pay someone else to do. While that meant sacrificing money in my pocket right away, it also meant growingly quickly because it freed me up to work on the things that I enjoyed and was good at. Because of this, I’m able to blog “full-time” while working only 20-30 hours a week now.

Follow your niche leaders. I found two major bloggers in my niche that have a similar business model as mine and read everything that they put out. While you don't want to copy their ideas (it’s better to have your own original ideas), I look for differences between our blogs. Why are they more “professional” than me? This led me to notice things like emailing my list more, limiting paragraphs to 4 sentences and getting a site redesign. The last 18 months haven’t been without trials and tribulations. There were some growing pains for sure! The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to not take things personally. If you make a bad decision, let it go. There are countless mistakes that I’ve made in the last year. Things like sending out dead links to my newsletter list (five weeks in a row!), launching a printable product and getting a total of $6 worth of sales on it, and paying for advertising that didn’t convert (at all!). By not taking my failures personally, I was able to bounce back quickly and do things that were right. I knew that in order to be successful, I would need to make a lot of bad decisions. Because that’s how you learn and get better. And I did get better.

Sending out dead links in my newsletter, taught me that I need to test every link prior to scheduling. Launching that doomed printable taught me that I need to seek more feedback from my target audience before I invest time and energy into a project. Paying for advertising that didn't work, set the foundation for A/B testing and figuring out what does work. Finally, A/B test everything! An A/B test is when you make one small change in your current routine, analyze the results and continue with the routine that had the best results. I’ve A/B tested things like Pinterest images, algorithm changes, my work routine, Facebook ads, Hello Bar messages, and email marketing strategies. It would probably be easier for me to list the things I haven't A/B tested than the things that I have. Consistent A/B testing means that you’re constantly improving.

I spent between 10-30 hours/ week every single week for one year to grow the blog.

Blogging has opened up doors that I never could have dreamed of, and it all started with treating it like my job before it actually was my job.

FRUGAL


3-2-1 Action! Video & Livestreaming provide quick, creative ways to deliver

content and capture new audience on the go. For Influencers, livestreaming is a phenomenal way to extend reach and gain increased exposure- and quickly! Many people already have a built-in audience right there on Facebook or other social media channels. Integrating livestreaming with an already supportive audience is a great way to break into this medium and the market is still so new, there are a myriad of opportunities to still be tapped. People want to follow people that they feel connected to while browsing the internet. Since livestreaming is typically not carefully edited and scripted, it helps build trust among 20

iBlog magazine APR 2016

an influencer’s audience, ultimately leading to even more followers. So where do you start? Bonnie Frank walks through the process in her article “What’s All This Livestreaming Talk About?”. In addition to sharing a variety of platforms to try out from Blab to FireTalk to Twitch, she shares the ins and outs of getting comfortable with the process. If you’re having trouble getting started, consider checking out how hundreds of kids get into the action on KidzVuz. The KidzVuz Star Reviewer Network consists of hundreds of carefully selected kid influencers from across


the country who produce authentic and unscripted video reviews for brand sponsors in exchange for free products or one-of-a-kind experiences. These are shared on the only place online that kids can legally and safely create and share videos about the stuff they love. Livestreaming is not without its challenges. As with most social media platforms, being consistent and authentic will be crucial to your success. With hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram and YouTube, in addition to her 1.6 million followers on Vine, viral celebrity star Kenzie Nimmo agrees. As she states “it’s a

place for your most loyal and active followers. The challenge is getting your more passive fans over to your livestreams and converting them to a long-term fan of your brand.� Video has long been touted as the wave of the future and with livestreaming so prevalent, it is time to turn on the camera and start streaming. Grab a friend and do a joint Blab or simply open up Periscope or Facebook and start streaming. As Facebook, Google, Twitter and more companies emerge competing to develop the best platform, now is the perfect time to dive in and get started.


feature

What’s All This

LIVESTREAMING Talk About?

Y

OU MAY HAVE HEARD A LOT ABOUT LIVESTREAMING (BROADCASTING LIVE) in the past few months and with good reason. Livestreaming is the fastest growing medium out there right now, and people from all over the world are connecting 24/7 on these interactive, real-time social media platforms both personally and professionally in meaningful ways. Although I’m also active on more traditional social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, my business has been built off of livestreaming, specifically Periscope, Blab, and MeVee.

What is Livestreaming, and Why Are People Flocking to It?

Livestreaming is live broadcasting, and broadcasters and viewers from all over the world come on these platforms to discuss topics of interest without having to worry about the proper lighting, cameras, or finding a broadcast booth. To livestream, you just need a smartphone, tablet, or computer, and both broadcasters and viewers can be do it anywhere at anytime. They don’t even need to be in the same country! Each livestreaming platform offers different features. Platforms like Periscope (owned by Twitter) and Meerkat

22

iBlog magazine APR 2016

allow for only one broadcaster, while Blab allows for up to four broadcasters at once, as well as the ability to have people come in and out of the “chat” (audience) to become a broadcaster themselves! MeVee is currently also a one-broadcaster platform, but it has an upcoming feature that will allow you to share the broadcast and have two people broadcasting on the same screen.

How Do You Choose Which Livestreaming Platform is Right for You?

What all of these platforms have in common is that they’re all incredibly fun and effective ways to communicate live, and provide valuable content to hundreds of people at once! All of the platforms I’ve listed at the end of this article are public, but some (Periscope and MeVee) also have the option to produce a broadcast for a private audience. Blab, on the other hand, was always intended to be a public-only “conversation” platform.

What is Facebook Live?

Facebook Live (which, until recently, was only available to celebrities) is being slowly rolled out to the public and is livestreaming through your personal Facebook account.


TRY THESE LIVESTREAMING PLATFORMS

Blab: https://blab.im

Meerkat: https://meerkatapp.co

Periscope: https://periscope.tv

DingIt: http://www.dingit.tv

MeVee: http://www.mevee.com

Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv

FireTalk: https://firetalk.com MyEye: http://www.myeye.world

Once your Facebook page (the one you use for business) is “verified,” you may broadcast about business from there. To see if you have Facebook Live, go to your personal account and click “status” at the top right. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see several icons. If you have five icons, the fifth one is Facebook Live. It looks like a man with two circles around his head, as though he is sending a signal out …. If you only see four icons at the bottom of the page, the fourth being Location, be patient. Facebook Live will come to you in time! As of February. 20, 2016, there are at least 10 livestreaming platforms (outside of Facebook Live) currently in use. I built my business on Periscope and currently broadcast about 30 times a week on Periscope, Blab, and MeVee.

YouNow: https://www. younow.com

“ … livestreaming platforms build the know-like-trust factor exponentially faster than any other social media platform.”

Where Do I Begin With Livestreaming?

Like anything else, I advise people to use social media platforms that make sense for them and their business, and that fit into their schedule and lifestyle. Pick one to start with, read about the features and how to use it, and try it out! Use it once a day for 10 straight days to see if you like it and can see yourself continuing. If it works, great, if not, that’s okay, too. Livestreaming isn’t for everybody. There’s no “edit” button, and no “perfect” broadcast exists. You have to be okay with being imperfect and others seeing that. I love livestreaming for those reasons! In my opinion, livestreaming platforms build the know-like-trust factor exponentially faster than any other social media platform. My business is proof of that!

Bonnie Frank is a business coach and social media strategist.

Bonnie L. Frank

bonnielfrank.com https://periscope.tv/BONNIELFRANK https://blab.im/bonnielfrank http://www.mevee.com/bonnielfrank

FEATURE


Keep evolving with

Livestreaming

These days, livestreaming can be done on so many platforms. For me, I’m platform agnostic. I love them all, as I see a different value in each of them and have found a completely different type of audience on each of them as well. As I mentioned above, just because one app is hot today, doesn’t mean it will be hot tomorrow, Connection Livestreaming gives you immediate access to those who follow you and they to you. As they say, “if a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is worth a million.” We know that people only do business with those they know, like and trust. Other than meeting someone face to face, video is proven to be the best way for your readers, customers, community members to get to know the person behind the brand. Regardless if that brand is a Fortune 500 company or YOU as a blogger or digital influencer, at the end of the day we are all storytellers and we want to connect with those who tell the best stories. Live streaming allows you to not only tell your story but have your community be a part of the story as it unfolds.

24

iBlog magazine APR 2016

so I like staying involved in all of them so I can be where my audience is. I always recommend securing your name on a new app, regardless if you are into it or not because you might change your mind one day. Livestreaming provides three important aspects in the online space: connection, collaboration and community. Collaboration Even though livestreaming has been around for awhile, we really saw it come into the limelight in 2015 with MeerKat and Periscope. By the end of 2015, we saw MeerKat fade out, Facebook Live rolled out, SnapChat became part of our daily “story” and Periscope named by Apple as “App of The Year”. Now as 2016’s first quarter comes to an end, we now have Google throwing their hat into the livestream game and YouNow really coming into their own as well. It is extremely important to not only build your email list but also collaborate with content creators and brands on the different livestreaming apps you feel your audience is active on.


This allows you to introduce your audience to other content creators doing great work and vice-versa. Not only do you both organically grow your followers this way but you are also being of service to your community when you introduce them to other content creators of value. Users will not keep coming back to an app if there is only one or two people on there they like and no one they know is really using it, can we say Ello app?

Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood, I started with a behind the scenes tour via my Periscope, I then invited my audience to join me on SnapChat to see the action going on inside Hogwarts and then directed them to Blab, for an “afterBlab” to come ask me questions about the rides, how it compares to the one in Orlando or the real set in London (which I have also taken my audience to on Livestream). So it’s about starting on one app and leaving a tantalizing breadcrumb for them to join you on another app. As long as you always make it a win for your audience, they will follow you.

“Growing up I was told the revolution would be televised. I’ve seen first hand that the revolution is being livestreamed! It is exhilarating being a part of that process, especially when I know we’re just getting started.” Recorded Video vs. Live

Community I’ve never had the deep based connection with my community the way I have had with them via livestreaming. Since I get to take them on my crazy adventures around the world, on and off set, in my virtual “pocket” at the touch of a button, they get insider and unedited access to my daily life. When I’ve hosted my #PeriLatinos or #LovebugNation meetups around the globe, I am always touched by how much they truly tune in and care about what is happening in my daily life. I love hearing their favorite Scopeisodes and how it has inspired them in their daily lives. On top of it all, it’s been great to see them having meetups and group chats on Blab, without me. Both #PeriLatinos and #LoveBugNation have become true communities online and offline that take care of one another. This is beyond a priceless gift.

HIT BROADCAST and go LIVE!! Seriously, I have found that often times we get stuck in analysis paralysis and don’t want to upload a video onto YouTube until it is perfectly scripted, shot and edited. However, by being so caught up in the process, I’ve seen content suffer or even worse the project totally abandoned. On the flipside, when you are “live”, the hardest part is hitting “start”. Once you do, the train leaves the station and you are on. And trust me, your best self will shine through. Once you end your broadcast, you can always go back and edit your video down to include the key messaging and then repurpose the content via YouTube, your newsletter or a podcast, the options are endless.

Branded Video is only growing According to AOL’s 2015 US State of the Video Industry report: Over 30% of brands’ digital video budgets are dedicated to branded video, a number expected to rise in the next year. As a content creator, that is great news as I’m able to pitch different ideas to my clients that they now actually have the budget to implement. It is the Wild West right now and even though Periscope just celebrated it’s one year anniversary it is still a great time for new users to jump on board and be successful. I use livestreaming to tell my story or my client’s story in a very real way. Additionally, while I may start the story (or the adventure) on Periscope, I will invite my audience to join me on my other social media platforms I am using that day to experience the rest of the story. For instance, during the soft opening of The Wizarding World of

Lizza Monet Morales @XOXOLIZZA https://periscope.tv/XOXOLIZZA XOXOLIZZA.com

FEATURE


feature

S N A P

finding your passionate fans

C H A T LIVESTREAMING APPS AND SERVICES FILL A NICHE THAT CAN PROVIDE A LOT OF IMPORTANT, MORE INTIMATE SUPPLEMENTAL CONTENT TO YOUR AUDIENCE. You can’t get more real than you are in live content, and I think that aspect of streaming makes your audience feel elite for getting to experience that reality. There’s also a sense of urgency in live content that you don’t get on other social platforms. Because your audience has such a small window of opportunity to be a part of it and interact, it becomes exclusive, and people love exclusivity. If livestreaming platforms 26

iBlog magazine APR 2016

are used efficiently, I feel they have the greatest opportunity for creating

© eskaylim

long-term relationships and loyalty between your brand (or your site or whatever it is you’re doing) and your target audience. I prefer Snapchat, and I use it almost every day. I am not a “Snapchatter,” but my most loyal fans and followers are on my Snapchat. I say this because unlike other social media channels, you can’t passively follow someone on Snapchat or passively view their content. You have to choose to add them and then actively watch their content daily. It allows me to build on that loyal fan base in an effortless way


because I’m merely exposing “behind the scenes” clips of what I’m up to, and it makes them feel like they’re up to speed on what’s going on in my life. As a musician, I also use Periscope for special concerts from time to time. I like Periscope because it ties effortlessly into my Twitter account, the streams only stay up for 24 hours, and there’s a limit (there’s that exclusivity again) of how many people can be interacting at a time. I’ve branded my Snapchat as being for “my biggest fans” so they never miss a beat, and my biggest fans appreciate that. I am a musician and a “social media influencer,” so I use Snapchat to give my most loyal fans sneak peeks of my upcoming content on YouTube or iTunes. Once a week, I share my current music obsessions and take their Twitter requests. Or I tell my “Snapfamily” to comment something specific under a video, and it gives them the chance to show that they are, in fact, my biggest fans. My thoughts when it comes to marketing yourself is just do as much as you possibly can. In the world of social media, nothing is ever enough. I advertise and market offerings in my YouTube videos, Instagram posts, tweets, and Snapchats. I think there’s no harm in pushing everything everywhere, but do I think the urgency and reality you get from livestreaming gives your audience a chance to feel like you’re talking to them directly in that moment, for them to feel like you’re real, and for your audience to interact on a personal level. I’ll compare it to dating. You have two options: You can hand someone a piece of paper with your phone number on it, tell them to call you, and walk away; or, when they’re standing right there you can say, “hey, let me give you my number” and watch them put it in their phone. Even if they don’t really want to, the fact that you’re in their face makes it harder to say no.

applies to all social media in general. Consistency is king. You can’t grow if you’re not consistent. Find something you can be consistent at in livestreaming and focus on that. The other hurdle is that livestreaming’s

… my most loyal fans and followers are on my Snapchat. I say this because unlike other social media channels, you can’t passively follow someone on Snapchat or passively view their content.

biggest strength is also its weakness. In my opinion, it’s a place for your most loyal and active followers. The challenge is getting your more passive fans over to your livestreams and converting them to a long-term fan of your brand.

Kenzie Nimmo

@KenzieNimmo SnapChat: Kenzie.Nimmo YouTube: mackenzienimmomusic

In livestreaming, I think the biggest hurdle you’ll face is the one that

FEATURE


feature

KidzVuz Connecting the Next Generation Through Video Founded by two top Mom Bloggers, Rebecca Levey and Nancy Friedman, KidzVuz is the only video review platform created just for kids. It’s free to be a member, and it’s the only place online where kids can legally and safely create and share videos about the stuff they love. The KidzVuz Star Reviewer Network consists of hundreds What inspired you to start KidzVuz? Five years ago, we were both successful bloggers, and both of us were getting a lot of kid-focused products to review. Neither of us were that excited about being review bloggers, but our kids had TONS of opinions about this stuff. We knew that while kids wanted to make reviews and participate in social media, and that they were making the decisions about the products they wanted to buy, there was nowhere online for them to safely do that. So we decided to create a kid focused online media company that would empower kids to safely and creatively find their voices and share their opinions. 28

iBlog magazine APR 2016

of carefully selected kid influencers from across the country who produce authentic and unscripted video reviews for brand sponsors in exchange for free products or one-of-a-kind experiences. Our unique partnership with Amazon.com amplifies our kid reviewers’ influence right on the product pages of the world’s largest etailer. What was the first major hurdle you encountered when launching KidzVuz? To start with, the legal issues around privacy and kids online is governed by COPPA – the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act. So we immediately hired a lawyer to make sure that everything we did was 100% in line with the law. We actually went above and beyond what the law required and added full adult-moderation of the site. All of the videos are watched before going live and all comments are read to prevent bullying.


In 2016 we are expanding our star reviewer network and our video review content on Amazon.com. We were lucky that we were ahead of the law with our parental verification in place as well. When the law was updated 2 years after we launched, we already had the extra levels of security in place and that gave us a big advantage moving forward. Third, work on developing solid and good relationships with brands. Sponsored posts can be a large and consistent part of your income. We don’t have much control over ad networks and what they’re going to pay, so working on and developing a solid sponsored post base for your blog can provide you with a more consistent income. What would you say would be one of your biggest successes? One of our first truly big successes was with our partnership with The Broadway League when they came to us to help build out their Totally Tony’s initiative for The Tony Awards. Many Broadway shows were family focused that year and they wanted to engage families and kids. We created a Totally Tony’s kid video contest where hundreds of kids from all over the country submitted videos of themselves singing their favorite showtune. Not only was the campaign incredibly fun to watch, but the Tony Awards saw a 20% increase in their ratings in the key family demo, proving that reaching out directly to kids really works. What has been the biggest challenge to achieving your success so far? Initially our challenge was parental attitudes and brand education. When KidzVuz.com went live in 2012, there weren’t really any kid YouTube stars, and parents were wary about letting their kids appear in videos online at all. It’s funny, because now we have the opposite problem. Many parents have unrealistic expectations that their kid will be the next video star. We have to make sure kids are making video reviews for us because they truly enjoy being part of our network and love sharing their opinions. We never want a kid to feel like it’s a chore. We also found that initially brands didn’t understand or believe in the power of the kid influencer. We had all kinds of data showing that kids ages 6-13 have $43 billion dollars in purchasing power, that 65% of them rely on recommendations from a friend before buying something, and that they spent more than 17 hours/wk online. But, it was hard to convince brands that these unscripted, unpolished kid-generated videos were powerful. Now brands have not only come around, but they are turning to us to help them engage real kids and create true kid brand

ambassadors. Part of what helped to make that happen were our huge influencer events. Our KidzVuz events for Back to School and Holiday bring big brands like Hasbro, Microsoft, and the WWE together with top bloggers and their kids in a hands-on experience. Brands got to see first hand not just the bloggers’ influence -- to the tune of 100 million Twitter impressions at our last event - but also to see the importance and effectiveness of kid influencers. What makes KidzVuz different from other companies like it? There really isn’t anything else like KidzVuz out there. As the only company dedicated to the power kid-generated video reviews, we have a dual mission to help foster future creators and to teach them the skills they need to navigate the digital space. There are other networks and MCNs that have kid video stars, but the Kidzvuz difference is that we are in there with the kids, every day. It’s all we do. Nobody else is literally listening to what real kids are talking about every day. Kids know what they like, and when they sincerely love something they want to tell other kids all about it. We believe that our KidzVuz star reviewers are especially talented at expressing their opinions and sharing valuable tips and information with other kids. So, when brands and agencies come to us looking for sponsored campaigns, we have hundreds of star reviewer kids in our network to choose from – and can find them the perfect kid who truly fits their brand. Is your kid an budding influencer? KidzVuz is always looking for new kids to be Star Reviewers and to work with our clients: brands like Hasbro, Wonder Workshop, Sony Pictures, WWE and lots more! Parents, have your kids create a free account at www. Kidzvuz.com. And brands, learn about working with KidzVuz at www.KidzVuzLLC.com.

Rebecca Levey www.KidzVuz.com @kidzvuz

FEATURE


affiliate

Great Resources to Learn More About

AFFILIATE MARKETING One of the things I love best about working in affiliate marketing is the way things change almost daily. Whether it’s Google algorithm updates, new plug-ins or technologies, or the latest social media strategies, there’s always something new to learn. Here are just a few of the great people sharing their knowledge on affiliate marketing every day for free.

Sugarrae Hoffman

Tricia Meyer

Sugarrae.com @sugarrae Known for her strategic insights and relentless work ethic, Rae “Sugarrae” Hoffman is brilliant when it comes to SEO and affiliate marketing. Her story of the path that led her to become a legend online is both heartbreaking and inspiring. To get the most from Sugarrae, make sure to sign up for her newsletter “Sugarrae Sound Bites.”

James Martell

AffiliateBuzz.com @jamesmartell No one knows more about podcasting than James Martell. James began as an affiliate marketer in the industry’s infancy and quickly became an internet success. Over the years, he and his wife, Arlene, have shared their knowledge through a variety of online courses and books, but my favorite is his long-running podcast AffiliateBuzz, offered through Webmasterradio.fm. More than 400 episodes are now available on just about any topic you can imagine, and James always secures knowledgeable guests to share their in-depth knowledge about specific subjects.

Winnie Anderson

SunshineRewards.com @sunshinetricia As owner of SunshineRewards.com, HelpingMomsConnect. com, and countless blogs on her favorite topics like chocolate, women’s issues, and the Twilight movie series, Tricia Meyer also has the Tricia.me blog focused on topics around internet and affiliate marketing. Her legal background helps to explain some of the trickier points of affiliate marketing, such as the FTC disclosure requirements, the difference between affiliate and influencer marketing, and how the new guidelines on Contractors impacts affiliate marketers, plus lots of other wonderful topics. Her free newsletter includes an offer for 30 Affiliate Tips in 30 Days, and she certainly knows her stuff.

Geno Prussakov

AMNavigator.com @AMNavigator Geno Prussakov is the founder of AMNavigator, an affiliate management company (also known as an OPM or outsourced program management) that

iBlog magazine APR 2016

Kim Rowley

Workinmypajamas.com @kimarketing If you’re ever fortunate to meet Kim Rowley in person, first thing take a look at her shoes! After starting ShoppingBookmarks.com as a hobby in 1999, Kim parlayed her next site ShoeaholicsAnonymous.com into countless free pairs of shoes daily, plus a highly respected reputation in the affiliate marketing industry. So many people asked her about how to work from home as she did while raising her four kids as a divorced mom, that she created Workinmypajamas. com. While many of her posts include information on affiliate marketing, she also shares tips on everything from work-at-home ideas to organizing a home office.

BONUS RECOMMENDATION

TheLetsTalkTechShow.com l @winnietechtalk While this is one of the newer podcast offerings, Winnie Anderson is working hard to secure experts on subjects like successful self-publishing, Apps 101, or learning all about email marketing. Right now I’m listening to the one on Livestreaming with Blab. Past shows are available either on the official website or via iTunes, in the Technology section.

30

manages affiliate programs for other companies. His blog is full of thoughtful, well-researched articles on a wide range of affiliate marketing topics – both for affiliates and advertisers. Reading some of the issues that advertisers face daily helps affiliates be better partners, for sure. Though his How To Guide was last updated in 2011, the fundamentals remain the same.

Jeannine Crooks AffiliateWindow.com @Jeannine_Crooks

AFFILIATE


Online Courses & Classes

Digital marketer’s tools for capturing new leads and creating long term, repeat revenue streams.

I wa to lea 32

iBlog magazine APR 2016


There are many people out there with expert knowledge - on blogging, on email marketing, on social media skills… the list goes on and on. For those who have honed their skills and enjoy teaching, there are plenty of people out there who want to learn right now. This is where experts decide to launch an online course. While creating an online course can be a substantial time and energy investment, many see the payoff as well worth the work. Sarah Morgan knows how much work and dedication these online courses can take. Before you jump into your creation process, learn from her tips she’s acquired over the course of five launches to make sure the road to success is a little less bumpy for you. When you are ready to promote your course, use Summer Tannhauser’s secret weapon: Pinterest. She says that it’s time to stop thinking of Pinterest as a place to look for recipe inspiration and start looking at it as the powerful marketing machine that it can be for business.

ant arn!

$ $

Many may wonder if you can really be successful with these courses. The answer is yes, with a little help from some experts who have been there and conquered that. Nathalie Lussier has earned over a million dollars from creating and launching online courses. In her article, she shares some tips and secrets no one really talks about. Nathalie comments that “some of these details can really take you from “hearing crickets” to “making bank” with your online courses” so take note of her expertise when approaching your own project! No matter what type of course or class you are selling, most successful experts agree: be prepared. You will undoubtedly spend more time and energy than you expect when building and promoting a successful launch. But with determination, smart marketing and creative ideas, you can carve out your own space in the online course market.

$


feature

TEN

Tips for Creating a Successful Online Course If you’re tired of trading time for dollars and are ready to expand your business online, creating an e-course should be next up on your to-do list. But before you jump straight into the creation process, I’ve got 10 tips that I’ve learned over the course of five launches to make sure the road to success is a little less bumpy for you. 34

iBlog magazine APR 2016

O N E : Vet your topic You may be ready to blast off with your brilliant idea, but before you get started, check that it’s something your audience will actually hand over the cash to learn. You can do this by checking email open rates on emails related to your topic; listening to audience/client questions; adding content upgrades to related blog posts, plus checking the download stats; and sharing a little info on what you’re planning to create by creating a landing page. People vote best with action, so if lots of them opt in you’ll know you’re on the right track!

T W O : Price your course higher than you think it should be Pricing is one of the most difficult parts of building an online course, but one of the best ways to get through this roadblock is to consider value over the time it takes to create or the length of the course. Remember, a $250 price tag on just about anything has a higher perceived value than a $25 price tag. Even if the items are similar, we start to wonder why something would be priced so low. Is it broken? Not high quality? Outdated? Customers will generally opt for a higherpriced item just to make sure they’re getting their money’s worth.

T H R E E : Build your email list Building your list helps to connect directly with those people most interested in your product topic. One of my favorite ways to grow my list quickly is by adding content upgrades to my blog posts. Content upgrades are worksheets, checklists, or some sort of additional resource that helps readers use the information in the post. Readers are required to submit their email address in order to download the freebie, which means adding them to a few of your popular posts can help to grow your list quickly!

F O U R : Find collaborators You can go it alone, but I guarantee you’ll be more successful if you take a few collaborators along for the ride. Seek out people to contribute interviews and new perspectives to your course, find online friends to co-host


webinars, and ask a few people to test your product prior to the launch in exchange for a testimonial and an affiliate link.

F I V E : Understand your audience Does your audience REALLY need your product? Like need it to the point that they’ll pay you for it? One of the most important things you’ll do in the process of planning your course is to dig deep into whom your ideal buyer is. What are the challenged by? How does it affect their lives? What techniques/tools have they tried in the past? Understanding your ideal buyer will not only help you create a product that addresses their needs, but also makes it a lot easier to write sales copy that speaks to them directly.

S I X : Choose an e-course platform that includes everything If you’re going to put the time into a course, then it’s worth it to invest in a membership platform that assumes a big chunk of the workload. Platforms should be easy to set up design/tech-wise; include drip content, sales pages, affiliate programs, the option for subscription/monthly pricing; and be simple enough for students to access lessons without emailing you for tech support.

E I G H T : Add bonuses If you’re looking to boost the price AND draw in more students, add bonuses. These can be things like a community, video training, extra interviews, case studies, worksheets/workbooks, checklists, swipe files. Anything that you might include in a blog post as a lead magnet can also be used to add value to your course.

NINE :

Include a community

Adding a community has been one of the best parts of each of my courses. Knowing that there is the option for support and feedback helps students feel more confident that they’ll be able to complete the course. It helps students work together and be more successful, and allows me to get to know and connect with each of my students, as well!

T E N : Understand that online courses are for EVERYONE Online courses are a HUGE business, which means no matter your niche you can create a course that will be valuable to your audience and profitable for you. Any aspect of your business or hobby that was a challenge to you at the beginning is a great starting point for launching your first course!

S E V E N : Give yourself more time to create than you expect It’s all too easy to get overly excited and set your launch date a little too early. Depending on your weekly schedule, the number of modules, and the course content (written, audio, video, slide presentation, all of the above!), you’ll want to block out at least two or three months. It can take quite a bit of time to write, shoot, and edit, as well as create a sales page, write launch emails, and plan and host webinars, giveaways, and other promotional events.

Sarah Morgan is an online strategist teaching people to build engaging blogs, thriving businesses, and profitable infoproducts.

Sarah Morgan xosarah.com @XOSarahMorgan

FEATURE


d l i u

feature

@

@

@

@

@ @

Do you want a way to build a list, drive traffic, and secure paying customers for your course, virtually on autopilot? Pinterest is your secret weapon. It’s time to stop thinking of Pinterest as a place to look for recipe inspiration and start looking at it as the powerful marketing machine that it can be for business. Tweets have a shelf life of a few minutes, you have to pay to play on Facebook, and even Instagram posts stop gaining engagement by the end of the day. Only Pinterest has the potential to take the pins you 36

iBlog magazine APR 2016

B

List with

Pin

post today, and keep putting them in front of new eyes and new potential customers over and over again for months (and even years!) into the future. We’ve all heard the phrase “the money’s in the list” and that couldn’t be more true than when it’s time to launch your course. Your email list size and how well targeted those subscribers are to your offer will have a huge impact on the effectiveness of our course launch success. So how do you build your email list consistently and effectively throughout the year, and especially leading up to your course launch? My answer is the powerful duo of Pinterest marketing plus blogging strategy.

Creating a Powerful Pinterest Account

h c n u a rse L

Cou

@ @

r u Yo

If you’ve only used Pinterest as a personal social media platform in the past or have been ignoring its potential for business,

ter

est

it’s important to start by creating a strong Pinterest foundation. Be sure that you’ve set up your Pinterest as a business account, confirmed your website, and applied for Rich Pins. Look for ways to include keywords in your business name, about section, board titles, and board descriptions to gain the maximum SEO power from your Pinterest account. Finally, don’t forget the overall aesthetic of your Pinterest page. Be sure you’re choosing pins and board cover images that match your business branding style. The key is to remember that your Pinterest account is no longer for you. It’s all about your ideal client. Your focus is on what they like, what they want to see, and what inspires them. Your Pinterest should fully reflect that!

Setting Up a Pinterest List-Building Funnel

Now that you have a powerful Pinterest profile all set up, it’s time to put a funnel in place that drives people from Pinterest to your website and secures their subscription to your email list …


STEP 1 Create the Blog Post

Your blog content is at the heart of this funnel. You must create a blog post that’s of interest to your target market. Ideally your post will answer a question that your potential client would have on a subject related to your main course topic. Try to include actionable tips that can be implemented right away (think step-by-step, DIY, etc.) and don’t forget the headline! Spend some time to ensure you have a highly intriguing title for your blog post.

Course Launch List Building

When you’re building your email list specifically for a course launch, it’s important to be gaining subscribers that have expressed an interest in your course topic. The easiest way to do this is to create a content upgrade that directly relates to your course. For example, I recently launched Pintastic Profit Plan, a Pinterest marketing course.

STEP 2 Create a Content Upgrade

Think about what your blog post reader would need to be able to implement the strategies or information that you provided in the blog post. How can you provide a highly valuable piece of content that will propel them forward? This is your content upgrade, or “freebie,” that you’ll offer in exchange for the reader providing their email address to receive it.

STEP 3 Design the Pinterest Pin

The next step is to design a Pinterest pin that leads Pinners back to your blog article. Be sure to create a vertical image that includes a text overlay with the blog post title. Your pins should include bold text and easy-to-read fonts, to cater to the large audience of mobile Pinterest users. Work to create a branded style image template that you can reuse over and over again, and begin to gain brand recognition for your pins on Pinterest. Consider adding a text mention or a graphic mock-up of your content upgrade directly on the pin image.

STEP 4 Optimize Your Blog Post

Every blog post should have a goal or the action that you want a reader to take next after reading the post. In this list-building funnel, your goal is to have the reader opt in to your email list. Therefore, your blog post should be optimized to achieve this goal. You can encourage opt-ins by implementing a strategy such as including multiple clickable buttons throughout the blog post that lead to the content upgrade. Another powerful strategy is showing a visual representation of the content upgrade that will be received after opting in.

STEP 5 Develop the Relationship

You’ve got the new subscriber to your email list, but your work has just begun! Once you’ve provided the content upgrade that you promised, don’t let their email “go stale.” New subscribers must be indoctrinated to your brand, and it’s time to start growing your know, like, and trust factor with them. Considering implementing a welcome email sequence, where you provide the “freebie,” and then follow up with some of your best content and resources in future emails.

The strategy plan that I used to gain targeted subscribers for my course launch list was: » C  reate a content upgrade that was a 27-point Pinterest checklist. » D  esign a landing page on my website specifically for the purpose of gaining opt-ins for the checklist. » C  onnect my email provider to deliver the checklist automatically to new opt-in subscribers. » C  reate an optimized Pinterest image pin linked to the checklist landing page. » P  romote my pin on Pinterest by pinning multiple times to my boards and group boards. Once you’ve set up your Pinterest list-building funnel, as long as you maintain an active presence on Pinterest, your funnel will continue to work for you months into the future. It’s an investment well worth your time to create your Pinterest funnels, and allow the list building, traffic, and leads to come in on autopilot for your business.

@ Summer Tannhauser ladybossleague.com pinterest.com/ladybossleague

FEATURE


feature

I have two “tracks” in my business. I started out doing 1:1 work as a ghostblogger, blogging for other people’s small businesses, and I still do that work for a few VIPs and offer some 1:1 strategy packages. I also have two subcontractors ghostblogging for other businesses through me. But through my 1:1 work, I saw there was a hole in the market for people teaching strategic blogging to small business owners, and so that’s when I started creating training products and programs. I now offer three “DIY” products (a workbook and two courses) in addition to my 1:1 services.

Getting Started I took a course early on about producing eproducts, and their advice was to start with a “minimum viable product” – in other words, the smallest piece of what you do that you can teach. For me, that was brainstorming content ideas and putting them into an editorial calendar, which became my first ecourse, Blogstorm (soon to be relaunched as Content Intelligence Academy). From there, the subsequent ideas flowed easily. I now have a DIY workbook for people looking to define their brand voice and an advanced content marketing course.

Filling the Gap: Launching Resources in a Lagging Space 38

iBlog magazine APR 2016

Lacy Boggs lacyboggs.com @blogspiration42


Email is Still Valuable My primary marketing strategy is always email marketing – I’m a writer, so it makes sense that would be my strongest channel! But you have to get people on your list in order to market to them. Right now I’m using a combination of JV webinars, content marketing (blogging with content upgrades), and I’m dabbling in Facebook ads to grow my list. Almost all of my direct selling happens via email. (I do make a pitch on some webinars – but I’m not very good at it!) My strategy is to use my blog content over a period of a month or more to warm up my list to the problem I’m solving. I challenge assumptions they may have, expand their idea of what’s possible around that problem, analyze where they may be going wrong, and then teach something valuable to help them begin to solve the problem. Then, when I announce that the product is available to buy, they’re primed and ready for the sale. I never discount and very rarely use added incentives. I do, however, use “limiters” to very good effect. For example, I run Blogstorm live only twice a year. It’s the exact same program they can get any other day of the year, with the small added bonus of a few extra Q&A sessions with me. But that limited time frame that they must buy it now to get it “live” drives massive increases in sales.

Keep It Simple First, keep it very simple. I think the concept of the “minimum viable product” is vital because it prevents you from getting bogged down in trying to figure out things like what tools to use, whether to do video, membership sites, etc. etc. None of that is as important as creating

The next time around, I did it my way, with just email marketing and made more than 10 times as many sales – and I’ve repeated that over and over. So I learned the hard way that it pays to play to your strengths rather than following the crowd. You can’t just scream “BUY NOW!” and expect results; you must prime the pump for sales by consistently providing useful content that walks potential customers down the path to a sale. and launching the product. You create the simplest possible thing and see what happens; you can always upgrade it later (which is what I’m doing now). Beta testing is a wonderful process. It allows you to create and tweak content on the fly, and get feedback so you create something that your customers truly want and need. Be sure not to sell yourself short. I made the mistake of keeping my programs at too low a price point for too long, and it influenced the value I see in them.

Overcoming Obstacles For me, the biggest hurdle was getting over the fear that no one would buy. Once I made my first sales, I started to feel more confident that I was actually providing a product people wanted and needed. Figuring out how to launch and sell was also tricky for me. I tried one of the (many) “launch formulas” out there – complete with three videos, webinars, etc. – and sold exactly three products, which was really disheartening (and a LOT of work for not much reward).

Growing Your Offerings Blogstorm has been the same program for almost three years. It was offered first just twice a year and then as an evergreen product with “live” sessions twice a year, which has been very successful for me. This year, I’m adding to it, and relaunching it with a new name and a new price. It’s getting a redesign and rename to match my new branding, and I’m adding a valuable new module to the course on selling with content, to justify the higher price point. The other products developed naturally to fill a need I saw that wasn’t being met. The voice workbook was something people were asking me for that I developed and launched pretty quickly. It’s now my tripwire offer in my autoresponder sequence, as well. And my signature course, Focused Blogger’s Intensive, is in its second round of beta testing. It picks up where Blogstorm leaves off and goes into much greater detail, which is why I think of it as “advanced” content marketing.

FEATURE


feature

How to

Build Your Email List to Ensure a Successful Product Launch

Since 2014, my husband Donnie and I have launched many different digital products, ranging from eBooks to courses to planners to printables. We always tweak our launch strategy to meet the needs of each individual product, but there is one factor that continues to be the most important aspect of our launch no matter what product we are promoting. It’s our email list. More than social media shares or blog posts or guest posts or anything else, a focused, engaged email list has been the thing that has helped us launch successful products again and again and keep sales rolling in all year long. We don’t want just anyone on our email list, though. We want an email list full of people who are genuinely interested in the topic that we’re covering in our upcoming product. So how do we

40

iBlog magazine APR 2016

generate this list of engaged people who can’t wait to buy exactly what we’re offering? It’s all about the opt-in incentive (also known as a lead magnet). You want to create a something free (which people have to turn over their email address to get) that is related to your eBook or course topic that is so valuable for your target audience that they won’t be able to pass it up!


A great way to do this is to think about what your readers will learn from your product and teach them the first step of that process. For example, I have an eBook + course called Building a Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook that teaches people how to start and grow their blogs. My lead magnet for that product is a free 7 day email course that walks people step by step through the process of getting their blog set up. If people sign up for that free course, I know they’re interested in starting and growing a blog, so they are the perfect audience for my blogging course. An email course, which can easily be set up in your email service provider (I use ConvertKit), is my favorite freebie to offer because it allows me to give people a lot of valuable information for free, they can get to know me and get used to my teaching style, and they get used to opening my emails as well. If your content doesn’t easily lend itself to an email course, you could also offer readers a checklist or cheat sheet of some kind, give them access to an exclusive tutorial that’s not on your blog, or give them a sample chapter from your eBook that can stand on its own and teach them something that will help them in some way. Whatever you offer, your readers should come away from your freebie with a small win, having accomplished something that “primes the pump” and gets them ready to dive into the more in-depth content that you’re going to be offering through your product. Once you decide on and create your freebie, you’ll need to create a way for people to sign up for it. Even more than pop-ups or sign up boxes within a blog post, we have found that we get the best conversion rates for signups when we use a landing page. Landing pages make your freebie seem like it is more valuable, and they make it appear as though you’re giving your audience something rather than asking them for something, which is an important distinction. We’ve created landing pages in a number of different ways. The simplest way is to use ConvertKit’s easy landing page templates. They’re easy to customize and look professional. We have also created landing pages with Instapage, which has an easy-to-use drag and drop format. These landing pages are more in-depth and have more options than the ConvertKit pages. Finally, if you’re not ready to invest in ConvertKit or Instapage, many WordPress themes come with a landing page template, and you can build a landing page the same way you would set up a regular blog post. Once I have my landing page set up, my next task is to get people to visit it and sign up! I do this in a number of ways. I add a bright pink button to the top, middle, and bottom of any relevant posts, inviting people to sign up for my opt-in incentive. I of course share across my social media platforms, including creating an enticing Pinterest graphic to pin to related boards. I write new blog posts that relate to the topic of my upcoming product and organically mention the freebie and invite people to sign up. I put a graphic on my sidebar. I guest post for blog friends about my topic and offer my freebie to their audiences to expand my reach. I email my existing list and share the offer with them so I know which segment of the list I have already will be interested in my upcoming product. Get creative, and get the word out! The people who sign up for your awesome lead magnet become the perfect audience for your upcoming product! Stay in touch with them, provide them with valuable information, keep them updated about your product, and when it comes time to launch,

that list of people will become your biggest supporters. They already know you and have confidence in your knowledge on your subject, and they won’t be able to wait to get their hands on your eBook or course! After your product is live, you can go into your lead magnet and tweak it to include organic mentions of your eBook or course, letting readers know that if they are looking for more information on the topic, your product covers it in a more in-depth way. This puts your sales on autopilot because new readers who sign up for your opt-in incentive are still getting something extremely valuable for free, AND they are learning about another incredible resource that can help them learn even more about this topic that is of interest to them. It really is an awesome formula for product launch success. The lead magnet that you create one time will work for you over and over and over to help you engage your ideal audience and sell your product while you’re sleeping, on vacation, or playing with your kids. It’s passive income at its finest! To learn even more about how to build the ideal email list leading up to a product launch, I invite you to take our free course Build Your Launch List at http://buildingaframework.com/list.

Abby Lawson

www.justagirlandherblog.com www.buildingaframework.com www.periscope.tv/justagirlabby @JustAGirlAbby

FEATURE


feature

Million Dollar Lessons

What No One Tells You About A Successful Online Course Launch Let's set the stage, before we dive into the specifics... Over the past few years, I’ve earned over a million dollars from creating and launching online courses. I started out in my first “training business” by launching an online course in the health and wellness space, then moved onto selling lower-priced evergreen products, and creating high-end programs that cost thousands and are only available during a launch window. Throughout my experience, I’ve noticed that there are certain things that no one talks about. And some of these untalkedabout details can really take you from “hearing crickets” to “making bank” with your online courses. Here are just a few of the things you’ll need to keep in mind as you prepare to launch a course...

Sell Your Ecourse As a Proof of Concept First Newer business owners tend to jump from an idea to creating an ecourse before they’ve tried to sell it individually. I’ve made this mistake myself. But if you aren’t able to convince someone to invest in your ecourse in a one-on-one conversation (via phone, email, whatever), chances are slim that you’ll be able to do so successfully with online marketing.

The Pre-Launch Should Mirror the actual Course One thing you want to do with your prelaunch materials is makes sure that they mirror what you’re doing with your launch. For example, if you’re giving away a free PDF as your pre-launch incentive, your paid material should also be in a format that appeals to readers. Likewise, if you’re selling a paid video course, the pre-launch should also be in video format. 42

iBlog magazine APR 2016


What Your Course Stands for Is As Important As What It’s Made Of If you can tap into why you’re so passionate about your product, you’ll be able to give people a reason to join that goes beyond the shallow stuff. Everyone is looking for meaning in their lives; they’re as likely to connect with your mission as as they are with the product itself.

You really want to think about this because people who like reading and who download your pre-launch PDF aren’t necessarily the same people who will want to invest in a podcast or video-based course. In short: Don’t give a free taste of apples if you’re selling oranges.

Your Affiliates Aren’t Going to Be Your Salespeople Bringing affiliates onboard adds a new technical layer for you. You have to give them everything they need to succeed at sharing your message. This means you’ll be writing and sending out more emails, creating shareable graphics, and creating a calendar of dates that they can refer back to for the launch timeline. But, even though affiliates can be super profitable to have onboard, they don’t guarantee a more successful launch. In my experience, only 20% of affiliates really promote well, regardless of who they are. After all, they’re also busy with their own personal and work lives and may not be able to fully invest in your launch. Make sure to give them all the tools they need, but don’t depend on them for your success.

If you’re just in it to make money, people will see through you and you won’t be as successful. Dive into the meaningful side of why you’re in business - beyond the money - and allow that to come through in your marketing.

There’s No Need To Invest In Expensive Tech Stuff Until You’re Ready In the early days of my bootstrapped business, I didn’t spend a lot on tech tools. I don’t think you need to, either. Whatever money I made from my ecourse launches was reinvested back into the business to keep improving what I had. When it comes right down to it, no one’s going to care whether your tech tools were free or cost thousands, as long as they get the results they signed up for. (I say this as the creator of tech tools for online courses] (www.ambitionally.com/products), so that’s saying something!) That being said, when you are ready and financially able to upgrade, investing in the best tools can really bring an incredible ROI.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships. There are so many things that no one tells you when it comes to marketing and launching your online materials. But as the word begins to get out and you establish your deep passion for helping others, you

pave the way for your own success. Most People Don’t Finish The Online Courses They Buy - But You Can Help! Most people who purchase an online course don’t end up finishing it. They start out with great intentions, but life just gets in the way. Your mission as a course creator is to make it easy for them to complete and take action on your course content so they get the results you promised them. You can do that by designing your ecourse intentionally with the student in mind. Features such as gamification and progress tracking help to provide incentive. It’s one of the reasons we created the ProgressAlly plugin (www.ambitionally.com/ progressally) for WordPress, to really up the learning experience for our students. Any additional support you provide beyond the course - through an online group or another method of ongoing access can really come in handy.

Nathalie Lussier is an award-winning entrepreneur, software engineer, and international keynote speaker

Nathalie Lussier www.ambitionally.com www.nathalielussier.com @nathlussier

FEATURE


feature

SIMPLE, EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES for Offering an Online Course

I own PremeditatedLeftovers.com and am the author of Prep-Ahead Meals from Scratch. In addition, I have The Strategic Blogging Academy as a side business. My course is designed to provide the type of help I felt I needed but could not find in a class when I was a mid-level blogger. There are many courses that explain what to do, but leave the student to figure out the how on their own. I wanted to make it easier for bloggers to implement the what, by providing them the how with over 100 short screencasts walking them through exact steps and processes. For example, after explaining optimal placement of Cost per Mille (CPM) ads and the concept of how to waterfall ads, I walk students through the process of finding passback ad codes and creating a waterfall in a screen share video. I want my students to be able to implement what I teach them immediately if they choose to.

Word of Mouth Pays I primarily use word of mouth to market my course. Most people hear about my course from a former student or coaching client. Some people learn of me when I speak at an event. If someone follows up after a speaking engagement with an email asking me if I offer coaching or other services, I direct them to the waiting list for my course. My approach is counter-intuitive. I do not have Joint Venture (JV) partners, but I allow former students to become affiliates. I ask my affiliates to only share my course with those who they assess are ready for it and would benefit from it. Instead of casting a wide net, I employ my affiliate partners to help me identify ideal students.

Are You Ready? If you are considering offering an online course, ask yourself these questions: What skill do you have that is unique or different from others in your niche? Can you teach others how to acquire this skill in an online course? Would others benefit in a tangible way if they acquired the skills you teach? The biggest hurdle to creating my course was deciding which courseware, cart, and email provider to use. I had certain features I was looking for and I wanted everything to integrate seamlessly. Researching all the available tools was a time-consuming process.

Continuing to Sell At this time, I guide students through the 12 week course and offer a weekly online Q&A, so I am updating the course quarterly before each release. I am also in the process of creating shorter courses that focus on just one component of blogging for those who only want to work on one aspect of blogging at a time.

I have not done any paid advertising or used incentives to sell my course. I feel the best way to convert people is by being authentic; you don’t need Niche down; if you make your course for to create scarcity or give bonuses to attract buyers. In everyone, you make it for no one. fact, you may turn people off with those strategies. I use a simple three email campaign targeted to those who have joined my wait list. In the first email, I explain what I offer in my course, who would benefit, who will probably not benefit from the course, and my price. If they purchase my course they are moved from my waiting list to the course list, and receive no further sales emails. After 3 days, I send the remaining people on my wait list an email inviting them to send me any questions they have about the course. My www.premeditatedleftovers.com last email is a reminder that the cart will close in 24 hours. @AleaMilham

Alea Milham

44

iBlog magazine APR 2016

FEATURE


tech tools

Sniply Makes Sharing Actionable IF YOU THINK BACK TO THE PAST 10 ARTICLES YOU READ, THEY WERE PROBABLY FROM FACEBOOK, TWITTER, OR SOME OTHER SOCIAL NETWORK. The way we consume content has drastically changed, and nowadays content discovery has become an inherently social experience. Naturally, brands and businesses started becoming content curators in an effort to engage followers. We share links and track clicks, but what does it all mean? What is the value of sharing a viral link and getting a million clicks? Businesses invest heavily in social media, but how do you calculate your return on investment on link clicks? Sniply was the answer we developed to the big question. In order for followers to be worth anything, there needs to be a conversion opportunity in the link clicks. Sniply’s core function enables you to add a personalized message and a custom call-to-action (CTA) to every link you share. This allows your followers to not only click on the links you share but also engage with your brand. Sniply creates a conversion opportunity within every link you share. With Sniply, businesses are now able to answer the big question of return on investment for social media. Every link they share has a conversion rate, and the conversion rate is closely tied to marketing goals. With the conversion Sniply brings to the table, brands can calculate the value of each follower and make better business decisions when it comes to investing in their social presence.

Increasing Calls to Action Sniply is an amplifier that helps you derive the most value out of what you already do. Influencers share plenty of content already –they are the thought leaders that people turn to for content recommendation. Yet, at the same time, influencers need to make a living, too. Influencers, much like businesses, have many marketing goals, such as growing their newsletter, downloads for their ebook, registration for a course, and so forth. Sniply enables influencers to attach their CTAs to every link they share, and, thus, convert their social followers into clients and customers.

The Future is Mobile One of the most exciting trends I see happening in 2016 is the increasing rise of mobile traffic. Facebook has announced Facebook Instant Articles, where content will be hosted natively on Facebook. At the same time, Google has announced Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, which will see content hosted natively on Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Native mobile formats represent a huge shift in content production and consumption. We started Sniply because we saw that content consumption has become entirely social, and this trend is taking that movement one step further. With Facebook Instant Articles and Google

Accelerated Mobile Pages, content will become natively embedded into the social experience.

Build Relationships to Succeed The single most important thing to succeed in social media is to always remember that social media is a platform for genuine relationships. The moment you begin to see social media as a sales platform is the moment people will walk away from you. Social network is the online manifestation of social interactions. Social media is most powerful when people are there to make friends, build connections, and have authentic interactions. To be a successful influencer, you need to reach out and build these relationships online. You must treat every retweet and favorite with gratitude, and thank your followers for taking the time to engage with you. Become genuinely interested in helping your followers succeed in whatever they pursue and go the extra mile to show them your support.

Top 3 Highlights of Sniply Sniply allows you to: 1. Attach personalized messages and custom calls-to-action to every link you share, allowing you to share viral content from across the web and drive conversions toward your marketing goals at the same time.

2. Raise brand awareness by including a

widget on every page you share that can be customized with your own logo, brand name, brand colors, and more.

3. Track powerful analytics on your content

curation efforts that cannot be found anywhere else, such as conversion rates, time on page, pages per visit, bounce rates, and more.

TECH TOOLS


tech tools

Your marketing Plans secret weapon:

SEGMENTATION

I

n The Lord of The Rings, there’s “One ring to rule them all….”

Thankfully, the rules of Middle Earth do not apply to email marketing these days. With incredible details, tools, and resources available to modern marketers, there’s no longer “one list to rule them all” and there never shall be again.

different buckets and speaking to each of those groups directly - is one of the key distinctions between a list that converts and one that struggles to reach the regular goals and it’s a key feature within ConvertKit that we just can’t live without.

Until fairly recently, there were only a few options available in the world of email segmentation. This practice - putting your email subscribers into

If you feel like your email list is missing a crucial piece of the puzzle or maybe you just aren’t seeing as many conversions as you’d like, listen up.

46

iBlog magazine APR 2016


Pro Tip ConvertKit offers some cool automations that allow subscribers to unsubscribe themselves from a certain segment (perhaps they don’t want to hear about your podcast, for example) without unsubscribing from your entire list. Without segmentation, that just wouldn’t be possible and they’d be gone.

LESS UNSUBSCRIBES Let’s face it, unsubscribes are a downer. Even though I can tell you ‘til I’m blue in the face that unsubscribes are good for your list health overall, no one likes to feel unwanted. On top of that, when someone unsubscribes from your emails they’re gone for good - no more possible conversations (or conversions) with that person.

So here’s my tips on how to make affiliate marketing work on almost any kind of blog.

INCREASED OPEN RATES

Using segmentation to your advantage will keep the number of unsubscribes to your account at a minimum. Sure, you’ll still have people who will be cleaning up their inboxes in general, but the more targeted you can get with the emails you send, the more likely your subscribers are to hang out.

An email in an inbox is only as good as the person reading it. Having a segmented list allows you to send custom subject lines to specific subscriber groups that appeal to their needs. Have you ever judged a book by it’s cover? Well your subscribers are doing the same thing with your subject lines and you have less than a second to make a good first impression.

AVOID THE DREADED SPAM FILTER

Your customers aren’t all the same person (at least we hope not!) and segmentation can help you get more specific with smaller groups of your list. More specific segments means more customization and better open rates. We’ve seen 70-80% open rates on emails sent to specific segments by ConvertKit customers!

Email service providers want to see that your subscribers are opening emails, clicking on links, sharing emails, replying to emails, marking them as important… generally not immediately hitting delete, right?

BETTER CLICK-THROUGH RATES So you have your custom subject lines in place and your template is just the way you want it. Time to send those emails! But the email alone doesn’t land dollars in your bank account. You want your subscribers to do something with your emails, specifically click through to another link. ConvertKit customers with targeted segmentation often see clickthrough rates of as high as 10-14%. Considering the industry average across all email marketing platforms is roughly 6%, that’s a 66% increase. Nevermind that the subscribers are also much happier as they’re now getting emails they actually want to open and click on!

The whole point of this email marketing thing is to have your emails you send actually delivered and read, right? Junk folders are notorious for making that hard on marketers but there are actions you can take to make it better.

So then segmentation makes sense to avoid being marked by those ESPs. Send emails to people who want them with content they engage in regularly? Bonus points in the eyes of the Email Gods.

BETTER RESULTS AND HAPPIER CUSTOMERS Who doesn’t want better results and happier customers (besides, like, those guys from Clerks, maybe)? When you’re sending emails with subject lines people want to open, links they want to click, and products and services they’ve shown interest in, your results from your email efforts skyrocket and your happy customers just refer more happy customers your way. Yes, segmentation means more work on your end up front. But with a little time and attention, the potential payoff is huge for your email marketing.

MAXIMIZED CONVERSIONS When you finally send that sales email to your list, the last thing you want to see is zero conversions. If you’re blasting an entire list of subscribers who may or may not be interested in that particular offering, you risk losing them as a subscriber and you certainly risk losing the sale. Why not sell to people who really want to buy from you? With good segmentation you can track who clicks on your links (say, to a sales page for your product) and then send targeted emails just to those people with a reminder about any details, some FAQs, or anything else they need to know to seal the deal. Emailing just the people who have shown direct interest is not just a smart business move, it makes you look like a real human on the other side of the computer screen too.

Val is a content manager and customer success pro at ConvertKit

Val Geisler

www.convertkit.com @ConvertKit

TECH TOOLS


COURSES/CLASSES

Online Courses That Can Help You Wildly Grow Your Business I’m a big proponent of continuing education that can help you grow personally and professionally. Because this is so important, I’ve been cataloging some of the best training that can help you grow your business. Key to having breakthrough results in your business is that you are focused on investing in training that can dramatically impact the way you do business. As an entrepreneur, I have found several training courses that have helped me not only grow my business, it has also helped me grow my clients businesses. COURSE: Your Fastest Path to Cash Group Coaching Program LENGTH: 8 weeks TARGET CUSTOMERS: coaches, consultants, expert who is tired of trading hours for dollars Let’s start with a program by Maritza Parra and Joe Vilardo. They have developed a program that truly meets the needs of a “quick startup” to make money. They love working with coaches and consultants to craft a high value, high ticket offer they love so that they can get off the income roller coaster and then build out all their marketing systems. Their focus is to help coaches and consults to differentiate themselves from their competition by finding their unique angle and using the power of story. This program also teaches coaches and consultants where to find and how to effectively close their ideal prospects using a Sacred Selling System.

Kim Beasley kimbeasley.com @kimbeasley

48

iBlog magazine APR 2016

This helps the coaches and consultants to be open to a high ticket mindset and belief in themselves and rising above your competition is also a big focus of this program. Maritza brings over 25 years of marketing experience in different niches, along with mindset and Law of Attraction coaching while Joe brings in his expertise with systems and copywriting to bring a double whammy of mentors to the group.


COURSE: Business Visibility Builder DIY Program LENGTH: 8 weeks TARGET CUSTOMERS: entrepreneurs who are creative introvert who want to STOP hiding and START being seen so you can sell to your target customers. Next we are going to take a journey into a program that was specially created for those who are creative introverted entrepreneurs (CIE). The focus of this program is to help CIEs to build a firm foundation for their business that will help them Be SEEN and SELL. This training was created by me, Kim Beasley, because I wanted to create a powerful Do-It-Yourself (DIY) program that will walk you through different topics during 8 weeks. The key focus is to help you build a profitable and long-term business! Here are a few topics we cover:

• How to Identify Your Ideal Target Customer • Crafting Your Ideal Business Message • Setting Up Lead Magnets & Sales Pages That Convert Your Target Market To Clients

• Bringing It All Together To Continue Growing Your Visibility And Selling And of course, so much more. As you complete each week, you will build on top of the basic foundation created in the beginning.

COURSE: 6 steps to a 6 figure sales webinar LENGTH: 4 video series (20-30 minutes long) TARGET CUSTOMERS: author, expert , coach/consultant , product creator , service provider or eCommerce Would you like to learn how to implement a profitable and automated funnel with webinars? Then this next course is just for you. It was created by Casey Zeman. In this course, Casey teaches you the 6 steps to a 6 figure sales webinar. He focused on creating training that has been cleverly crafted for authors, experts, coaches or consultants who want to invest in the growth of their business through the use of webinars. Providing valuable techniques and tools during the webinar training, makes it innovative and an excellent component for those who want to integrate webinars into their business. People are using webinars as an opportunity to build a deeper foundational experience with their audience. They use it more like a broadcasting tool to do live video, and the experience has now changed into bringing a more nurtured experience.

COURSE: List Builder’s Lab with Amy Porterfield LENGTH: List Builder’s Lab is a self-paced course, meaning you can work as many or as little hours per week as your schedule allows TARGET CUSTOMERS: List Builder’s Lab is for entrepreneurs who are just getting started with their list building efforts AS WELL as seasoned online business owners who feel their list growth is stagnating (inconsistent flow, little or no engagement). If you have been trying to build your lists and you just can’t see any improvement, then it’s time to invest in the List Builder’s Lab that was created by Amy Porterfield. According to Amy, When doing business online, the energy of your business is directly tied to the strength of your email list. When you go through this training, the tools, techniques and tips will help you strengthen your lists and experience steady growth. The List Builder’s Lab will walk you step-by-step through the best FREE strategies designed to add up to 500 engaged will-be buyers to your list every month. It will also equip you with the solid foundation and proven frameworks that actually help you outperform your competitors with deeper pockets and bigger ad spends.

COURSE: Content Marketing: Squirrly Academy LENGTH: 3.5 HOURS of Video lectures TARGET CUSTOMERS: marketers, small business owners, online shop owners, content writers, SEO Professionals, and startup founders Has content for your website always been hard for you to create? Then take a look at the Content Marketing course that was created by Florin Muresan and the team from Squirrly Academy. When it comes to Content Marketing, it’s good to have the right mindset, be prepared to create a strategy for content marketing, be ready to implement promotion tactics, be open to idea generation. By the end of this course you'll have a Content Marketing Strategy for your own business. You will understand how to get search engines to place your content better in search results. You will understand how to make Human Readers (not just search bots) love the content you write. You will know how to hack referral traffic and get social media love and have a clear mindset that will help you in all your future marketing activities.

COURSES/CLASSES


INSTAGRAM

How New Algorithm You’ve probably heard by now that Instagram threw the planet into a tailspin with its recent announcement about adding an algorithm to its feed. Yes, I was one of those who first freaked out. I’ve subsequently gone through all five stages of grief. But in all honesty, this is something that has a lot of people concerned. We are used to,

Why It Is Happening Before you can accept what’s going on, and how to adjust (if needed) your Instagram strategy, it’s first important that you understand WHY this is happening. First of all, yes, Instagram is a business. And do you know what happens to

50

iBlog magazine APR 2016

’s

Affects You

if not thrilled with, the algorithm on Facebook. Twitter introduced a “bumping” algorithm, as well. Pinterest uses an algorithm to determine what to show you. This isn’t something new to the online space, but we’re just not used to it on Instagram. Here’s what Instagram’s new algorithm means for you.

businesses (hopefully)? They grow. And when they grow they need to evolve. They need to scale. They need to adopt new ways of operating. We’ve witnessed this growth, exponentially and unprecedented, on Instagram. It means it has to evolve to

keep up with its demands. Let me use an analogy. When I first started my blog and someone tweeted one of my posts, it was like I wanted to run across the country and hug them personally. Seriously. But I settled for a polite and heartfelt thankyou tweet in response.


As my blog grew and more people were tweeting my content, sometimes I couldn’t respond to everyone directly. Now, with a lot of shared content everyday on Twitter, there’s no way I can respond to everyone. And, not only can I not keep up with the number of personal responses I’d have to give, but my Twitter feed would look like a running “thank-you” feed and, really, who wants to see that? It’s called scaling. We have to adapt.

Growth Can be a Good Thing Instagram cited in its announcement that people miss, on average, 70 percent of the content in their Instagram feeds. That’s a lot of missed content! Now, if you’re a diehard like me, this sounds shocking. How could someone miss that much content?! But, again, with growth rates like Instagram’s, an evolving audience presents itself. You see, us diehards check Instagram multiple times a day (sometimes more than we care to admit). We love it, and we’re on there all the time. But as the platform gained popularity, everyone jumped on the shiny object syndrome and set up an account. Of all these new users, many of them are what I call “casual” users. They log on maybe once a day, but more likely a couple times a week or even less frequently. They scroll absentmindedly for a few minutes then jump off and on to something else. These are the people who changed Instagram. These are the people who are missing out on a ton of content. These are the people who are not engaging with your content, which is why engagement rates are down. So, Instagram is trying to make sure that these casual users have a more pleasant experience, see content they’re more likely to engage with, and get them more actively using the platform. That’s just good business.

us. “The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post.” Just a little vague, right? Here’s my interpretation based on pretty much nothing but a hunch, past experience, and a little bit of hope. Nothing in this says that you won’t see ALL the posts in your feed. It just says they’ll be reordered. So, I’m hoping that every post will still be there, just the “best” ones bumped up to the top, where the posts moved to the top of the feed will be the ones Instagram believes you are more interested in. This means if there are accounts

“… you need to focus right now on creating better content.”

you have a tendency to engage with more frequently, these posts should move to the top of your feed. I would also assume that there will be some emphasis on “trending”type content related to hashtags or locations that you use(d) or engage with.

How Does This Affect Your Strategy? This is what everyone, especially us marketers, is really freaking out about. How are we supposed to adjust our posting

strategies to accommodate this change? First and foremost, let me point out that if you currently have good engagement, produce quality content, and give your audience what they want, this will NOT affect you negatively. If your followers aren’t seeing your content right now because they fall into the casual user category, then are you really missing out on anything by your content not being filtered up into their feeds? Not really. And, if your audience is seeing your posts but they’re not liking or commenting on your posts, then maybe you need to up your posting strategy. With or without an algorithm, if you’re not getting reactions from your audience, then you aren’t hitting the right mark with your content.

Moving Forward First, let me caution you against adding more content. Please, please, please do NOT make this your solution to the algorithm. Posting more content that does not resonate will not help you. Instead, you need to focus right now on creating better content. Creating more engaging content. Getting your audience to fall in love with your account. Work on this now while the algorithm isn’t yet in effect to better position yourself when it does go into effect. It’s also going to be paramount that you focus on building a solid and loyal community. Respond to every comment on your posts. Use calls-to-action that invite people to leave a comment on your posts. Drive that engagement and build your loyal following now. If you really want to know how Instagram’s new algorithm is going to affect you, my recommendation is to up your game. Poorquality photos, boring captions, lack of a good hashtag strategy, and poor community building will crush you. Which it should. So, step up and give your audience what they deserve.

How Will the Algorithm Work? All we know is what they tell us. Until we start seeing this in effect, we won’t know for sure. And, as we know from Facebook’s algorithm, even what they tell us and what we see doesn’t fully represent what’s really going on. So, don’t expect to ever really know. But, that said, here’s what they’ve told

Jenn Herman jennstrends.com jenns_trends

INSTAGRAM


business

Is Livestreaming

Meant for You? WHY DOES IT SEEM LIKE LIVESTREAMING IS A NEW THING?

Dan Morris

www.bloggingconcentrated.com @BloggingCon

52

iBlog magazine APR 2016

TV REPORTERS HAVE BEEN DOING IT FOR DECADES. LIVESTREAMING BECAME A THING IN 1996 WHEN A COUPLE BLOKES FROM YALE DECIDED TO FILM THEIR EVERYDAY EVENTS. THOUSANDS WATCHED THEIR LIVE LIFESTREAM ON THE INTERNET. IN ADDITION, CITRIX WAS INSPIRED TO START GOTOMEETING IN 1996. WE THEN SAW LIVESTREAM.NET START IN 2002, USTREAM.TV IN 2007 AND SPREECAST FOLLOW IN 2011.


Since then, Blab, Periscope, Meerkat, Google Hangouts, Snapchat and a myriad of others have joined the fray. And that doesn't even include the world of audio content ... just video alone. Well it was back in 1964 that the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase, “the medium is the message”. Perhaps that is what has tipped the scale. Now that the medium is something as simple as your mobile phone screen, livestreaming has become commonplace. But does commonplace mean it has a place in our business? Our real goal is audience engagement, traffic and monetization in a sustainable and predictable way.

LET'S LOOK AT THOSE FOUR ASPECTS AS THEY PERTAIN TO LIVESTREAMING CONTENT.

TRAFFIC For the most part, livestreaming does not involve the convenience of click traffic, especially for content streamed over the phone. So traffic isn't something that comes as easily as Pinterest pins. Traffic then requires a compelling offer and reason to move to the destination. In addition, for much of the listening audience, traffic means stopping the live cast and opening a new browser window, which doesn't really happen. For click traffic, mediums like Spreecast work the best as the links can be placed on the screen and in the chat bar. Otherwise, to move people to a URL you really have to use a shortener or something terribly easy to remember. (Think radio stations and their cute 1-800 numbers.)

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT There are few mediums that offer audience engagement like livestreamed content. In that regard the medium really is the message.

Periscope makes it extremely easy to engage with their hearts feedback program. Meerkat makes it easy with their “picture-in-picture” to actually speak back to the presenter. Blab is four people chatting, while Google Hangout chat has people talking back and forth. Other than a Twitter party, there is little to rival audience engagement with live streamed content. The question is can you turn the audience engagement into repeat viewers, sales, or increased clout? With live-streamed content being so very much fleeting, how do you turn an engaged audience into a long term business? That is the question you must overcome in your content planning.

MONETIZATION Perhaps easier than blog posts, the ability to explain, teach and be the expert in live content dramatically improves conversion. Are you putting on live-streamed content for that reason? Do you have a means by which monetization can occur? And is there a long term goal you're moving people towards?

yesterday will likely be gone tomorrow. And without moving the audience to your own list, it's hard to wrangle everyone and bring them to the new service. On top of that most live streamed content gets watched live but never seen again. SnapChat, Periscope, Meerkat and Blab make that a reality with the platform alone. Fortunately with Google Hangout, Spreecast and Livestream, your content stays live on your channel. That gives you a chance to move people there and a chance for others to see it when pushed to other parts of your channel. The challenge with livestreamed content is just that. When you can spend time writing a blog post or creating a YouTube video that may drive traffic for years, how do you exchange that for something that is only seen today? Perhaps the question isn't should you start livestreaming, it's who should you do it for? Creating livestreamed content for your already built community may make a lot more sense than trying to use it to build traffic. That is the charge to you.

It takes a while for people to pull the trigger. That means you have to be consistent over time with your message and call-to-action. This works best with single product companies or point source monetization. A new affiliate product every week isn't nearly as effective as marketing of one over time.

SUSTAINABLE AND PREDICTABLE The hardest part of building a business on live-streamed content is there is no major player yet. What was hot

BUSINESS


LIFESTYLE Angie Nelson

www.theworkathomewife.com @thewahwife

Key Tools to Create Success

I

I started blogging in 2008. Success didn’t come overnight. It took me a long time to generate the full-time income I desired. There were so many times that I caught myself comparing my blog to others who seemed to be finding success a lot faster. It still happens on occasion. Rather than allowing myself to get discouraged and make excuses, I get busy. There is so much opportunity out there. But, you’ve got to go get it. Put yourself out there. Make connections. ASK for what you are after. I attribute my success to dogged determination and being too stubborn to quit. Having the right workbox helps, too. 54

iBlog magazine APR 2016


There are so many great tools available to make running an online business easier and more efficient. Three I can’t live without:

Email Marketing Service (ConvertKit) Thankfully, I started building my email list from the first day I bought my own domain and hosting. Back then, Twitter and Facebook were still in their infancy so email was absolutely essential. And it still is! I take list building seriously. I offer freebies to encourage people to join my newsletter list. Every week I send my subscribers my latest posts in addition to helpful things I find around the web during the week. I don’t just use it for broadcasting. I try to give people not just a reason to join, but a reason to stay and a reason to open my emails week after week. Successful list building is all about bringing more value than what a person would receive simply following your RSS feed. It doesn’t matter how many people are on your list after all if they aren’t opening and acting on your emails. When I have something important to say, I don’t have to worry about the latest social media algorithm update. I don’t have to cross my fingers and pray my followers will see what I have to say. I know. My email list is my top priority to this day, and I’m more than happy to pay for the newsletter service that allows me to get in touch with my biggest fans whenever I need to.

Accounting Software (QuickBooks)

There are also some blogging essentials I use almost daily that I don’t pay for.

Google Drive I was slow to transition from Microsoft Office products to Google Drive, but now I’m glad I did. I love having access to my most important files whether I’m on my desktop, laptop or smartphone.

Analytics Software There are a lot of great website analytics software out there, but I haven’t felt the need to upgrade from Google Analytics yet. There are so many ways to manipulate the data and create custom dashboards that I can get what I need for free so far.

Todoist This is a simple To Do List application that I’ve been using for almost three years. You can set up recurring tasks, sync across several platforms and devices, prioritize tasks and even add team members. Premium plans are available, but the freemium option meets my needs and keeps me on track.

This is another business tool I have been paying for since the beginning. It’s imperative that you know your income and expenses not only for tax purposes but also so you can run an efficient and profitable business. In an instant, I can see which monetization avenues are up or down. I can see what and where I’m spending money and maybe where I need to stop spending or redirect my spending to something better suited to my goals.

Social Media Management Software (SproutSocial) Even though I can’t rely on social media for connecting with my followers when I need to, it’s still important for reaching new readers and establishing trust. Because it’s so fast-paced, it can be easy to miss questions, comments and even posting on a regular, consistent basis. SproutSocial came onto my radar last year, and I’m happy to pay for the service. I’m able to schedule updates in advance. I can see any comments and mentions across my social media profiles in one place - and respond to them right then and there. The reporting lets me see what’s hitting home with my followers and what I need to work on.

LIFESTYLE


video

Raise Your Influence With Video

V

ideo is not just for YouTubers! Your thoughts, opinions, and perspective can all be perfectly worded, but add the extra aspect of a video and you can take your blog to the next level. At a time when visual content is playing such a massive role in social media influence and marketing, adding video to your site’s content is something that will not only increase your impact but help you move beyond your blog’s URL to an area of influence that gives you further reach with brands and your audience. 56

iBlog magazine APR 2016

Why Go Visual? After having my blog for a little less than a year, I decided to take a leap. I pitched a small company for a big opportunity – to become their on-hand blogger. My proposal included receiving sample pieces, mentions on their site, and cross-promotion; in return, I offered a full review, fashion writeup, exclusive posts to their site, as well as monthly promotion on my site and across my own social media. I whispered a prayer and hit send. The owner responded! She was willing to take the risk with me as a newer blogger (yay!) but wanted me to include a video review, as well (what … ?). I said yes and then had a mini-panic attack soon after. A video review? Sure, I had a YouTube Channel but used it for nothing more than Band Mom recordings of my son’s performances.

What had I just agreed to? How was I going to do this? Video was in no way a part of my blog … YET! I didn’t realize it then, but saying yes to that opportunity opened the door to many more. Since then I have had many brands and campaigns that hinged on the fact that I could offer video in addition to what every other blogger offered. Getting visual on my blog helped me become a social mediai nfluencer in every sense of the name.

Influence Influence. It’s what every blogger works toward. Influence means that when you say something, give your opinion, or offer your perspective, people listen, share, react, and respond. Stressing my blog, I thought Twitter, Facebook, Instagram,


and Google were enough to gain me the influence I needed. I never even considered video or YouTube. It wasn’t until this first request to add video to my site that I realized many bloggers were on YouTube but more as a casual side hobby than as a part of their site. Bloggers who are able to offer their consistent presence on both were able to take their blogs to a place where they can offer a brand a bit more than the blogger one site over. The added influence of hearing and seeing the voice behind the words can be a deal breaker not only for the brand but for potential consumers as well. How many times have you read a review thinking it seemed interesting but once you saw the commercial you simply “had to have it”? I wanted to bring that added influence to the table. I went to work to learn how to make my YouTube channel a seamless extension of my blog – I did everything to take my brand influence beyond my URL and create a YouTube presence with the same influence potential as my site.

Perfect Your Presence I needed to perfect my presence on both my site and my channel. The same dedication given to design, content, and production of content on my site had to be given to the production of the videos I published on my channel. When I look back at those first videos now, I cringe. I was stiff, programmed, and sounded like I was reading off a script. Why? I was letting my fear take control, and it was

showing. I had no personality, and none of who I was came through on that screen. Who was I? What did I want to say? How did I want to say it? Three questions that need answers to help you take a new approach to what being on camera really means. To take content, reviews, opinions, and brand and make them visual, your personality and perspective need to come through the same way they do through the words and images on your site.

have at it. If you’re a bit nerdy, let it shine! Your personality will draw your audience. Those who are meant to watch you, will. Acting like someone else is hard, but being natural and who you are in truth comes so much easier.

Find Your Presence I had to stop trying to sound like the talk show host I had seen the other day, the info channel guy, or even the YouTuber I just watched and instead be me. Who could be better at being me than me, right? I’m a bit quirky, a bit nerdy, and at times a bit awkward, but all of that combined makes me who I need to be to give my audience a unique perspective and keep them coming back. Finding your voice is simply learning to be your authentic you. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. As bloggers, we had to learn how to use words to express who we are, our beliefs, our personalities. Do I want to write grammatically correct … through the voice in my head … as I speak or in a style all my own? Once you find that, you know it’s yours! Finding your voice makes your writing distinct and recognizable. The same applies to your visual presence. On camera, be who you are always. Pretending or trying to take on the personality of someone else will only lead to a struggle. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re sarcastic,

Lose the Fear Getting visual doesn’t need to be scary. The first time I hit “Publish” on a post for my blog, I was so nervous. I wasn’t sure who would read it, what they would say, or how I would react. BUT, I had to lose the fear and get past it. Don’t see the camera as a live studio audience; see it as a friend you want to share something really awesome with. The same way you would chat about that cool coffee mug you found the other day, the recent changes in your community, or anything else in your life. See your audience as friends, and I promise you will lose the fear and gain a new way to influence.

“Finding your voice is simply learning to be your authentic you. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. …Once you find that, you know it’s yours!”

Three ?’s That Need Answers

TO HELP YOU TAKE A NEW APPROACH TO WHAT BEING ON CAMERA REALLY MEANS, ASK YOURSELF THESE THREE QUESTIONS …

1. WHO AM I? 2. WHAT DO I WANT TO SAY? 3. HOW DO I WANT TO SAY IT?

Tiffany Haywood TheMrsTee.com @mrsteeh

VIDEO


Maria Lichty

twopeasandtheirpod.com Snapchat: twopeasandpod

This easy slow cooker soup is loaded with veggies, beans, and whole wheat pasta! It is the perfect meal for a cold day. When you are ready for dessert, these healthier cookies are my FAVORITE. They are made with whole wheat flour, coconut oil, oats, and dark chocolate. Bake a batch today!

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup INGREDIENTS 1 small red or yellow onion, diced 2 small carrots, diced 2 celery stalks, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices 6 cups vegetable broth 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained 2 bay leaves 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried basil 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 small zucchini, diced 1/2 cup dried whole wheat elbow pasta (can use gluten-free pasta) 1 cup chopped fresh spinach Salt and black pepper, to taste Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, for serving, optional

DIRECTIONS 1. Combine the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, green beans, tomatoes, broth, and beans in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the bay leaves, oregano, basil, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. 2. 30-40 minutes before the soup is done cooking, add in the zucchini, pasta, and spinach. Cook until pasta is tender. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Remove bay leaves. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Note-for vegan, don’t use the Parmesan cheese and for gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta. Makes 8 (1-cup) servings / calories per serving: 148

RECIPES

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil INGREDIENTS 1 cup white whole wheat flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened (not melted) 2/3 cup light brown sugar 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg, at room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2/3 cup old fashioned oats 1 cup dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips Sea salt, for sprinkling on cookies

DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper and set aside. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. 3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together softened coconut oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. 4. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Don’t overmix. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips. 5. Form the cookie dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet, 2-inches apart. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden around the edges and soft in the center. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely. Note-cookies will keep in an airtight container on the counter for 2 days. The cookies also freeze well.


McCafé® is expertly roasted for a smooth, rich flavor. Now available where you buy groceries.

© 2015 McDonald’s. McCAFÉ, the Swirl design and the Golden Arches logo are trademarks of McDonald’s Corporation and its affiliates.

iblog magazine Apr 16  

iBlog magazine April issue focuses on Livestreaming and how to create online courses and classes and profit from them. Enjoy your April issu...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you