Did you have a hamster as a kid? I did. We had Teaky, and Hammy From Hell (that one used to escape all of the time), Ham - Burger came a little later (But we used to call him Ham) & Snowy.. Decided to go conventional with her.
Jubious hamster names aside the strongest memory that has stuck with me from owning those hamsters was listening to the squeak of the hamster wheel turning round, and round and round at night.
Poor little hamster.
Stuck in a cage with only a squeaky wheel as entertainment. (p.s. I am dramatizing this a little for effect... our hamsters were very much loved!).
The image of my hamster running round and round on his squeaky wheel has stuck with me.
It’s the same feeling I get when I’m on the running machines at the gym (which is the reason I do yoga instead).
And it’s the same feeling I get when I am scheduled down to a rigorous content generating schedule.
In this post I’d like to share some top tips to help you drive traffic to your blog WITHOUT needing to feel like a hamster caught on a wheel.
Because no-one wants to feel like that.
We didn’t quit our 9-5, start blogging or start a business to feel trapped in a cage of our own making.
It’s true that studies show that through creating more content your traffic will go up. Makes logical sense right? BUT, producing more is not the only way to generate more traffic to your blog.
1. Add Storytelling To Your Writing
See what I did at the top there? I told you a little story about my hamster. If you are reading this sentence it means I got you this far down the page which means you are far more likely to make it down to the end of this post.
The longer I can get you to stay with me, the less lonely I feel (jokes!), the more value I can offer which means you might take action - leave a comment, share this post or even join me on my email.
Woohoo! That would be grand!
Adding storytelling makes your writing more engaging.
Without Storytelling; Cheryl is a copywriter who has several clients she needs to write content for today. She loves writing.
With Storytelling; Cheryl gets up with a million ideas buzzing in her head. She can’t wait to get to her laptop & immediately pours a coffee, sits down at her desk and switches it on. It’s going to be a busy day writing content for her clients with the sun streaming through the window.
This is just a short example but you can see that with just a few extra lines you can really paint the picture for your readers.
Show don't tell.
Take your audience on a journey and allow them to feel the mood of your writing rather than just telling them blandly.
Instead of writing “Cheryl loves writing”, in the second example I am showing the reader through the excited way Cheryl starts her day writing.
P.s. plug time. If you need content, find hundreds of amazing bloggers who can work on your project on Guest Bloggers Wanted.
2. Publish > Shout > Market
I mentioned this concept in an article I wrote for for Rising Tide, I’ll mention it again. It’s important.
Very rarely does content magically start getting hundreds of thousands of views and shares.
I’ve seen people in tons of Facebook groups complaining that they’ve been blogging now for 4 whole months and they aren’t getting the results they expected.
Um. Sorry, let me get my violin out.
Do you know how long and hard top bloggers have worked to get to where they are? They spend hours and hours (if not days) crafting content, and then they spent 10 X the effort promoting it.
And that doesn’t mean tweeting it out a couple of times & sharing it on a few Facebook group threads.
These bloggers write hundreds of Guest Posts, they actively reach out to other bloggers to promote their content.
They engage, network and work their freaking asses off. It’s great that you want to help millions of people with your wisdom, but the honor of doing so comes after learning not just how to write, but how to market. Sorry.
I’ve written more about Guest Blogging here and here. And will be publishing a post soon about different ways you build links to your blog without Guest Blogging.
Or, check out our guest blogging service and have us spark conversation around your product or service.
Not sure you have time to market your posts? Get creative, bloggers come up with all kinds of ingenious ways to get the word out there. Check out this hack for getting Haro Traffic for example, it resulted in 238 + free subscribers.
3. Reference & Link To Influencers In Your Post
Adding examples and references in your blog post boosts its credibility. Why would anyone believe a word you have to say? Back it up with proof from other well known sources.
There are a couple of rules to follow here:
Once you’ve written and published your post, reach out to those that you have included and let them know.
The chances are, if it’s any good they will share it.
Neil Patel links to around 100 - 150 different sources PER POST. By the way if you haven’t checked him out, he offers a fantastic resource for learning about Content Marketing.
4. Start With Keyword Research
Use keyword research not just to for the SEO, but to improve your writing and relevancy. Google is the number one research method aside from word of mouth. You have access to all of that beautiful lovely data (slightly less accurate data now but we will get to that).
Why wouldn’t you want to see what your audience is searching for and make sure your content is exactly what they need?
Not only will your content do better in search (eventually when you’ve built a ton of links and social equity), but it will do better in social media as well.
I’ve written in more depth about how to use Keyword Planner here.
5. Use Quality Images
This applies to within your post and the images you use to promote it. The web is a visual place and with the rise of easy design software like Logojoy and Canva the competition is fierce.
Your audience is far less forgiving now, they expect perfection.
Once your business gets to a certain level and you can afford to outsource images, design is one area to do that.
Quality images really do make a difference. They increase your click through from your social media channels, and they encourage users to come back to your website & sign up.
T Harv Ecker, one of my favorite coaches likes to quote; How You Do One Thing Is How You Do Everything.
We all subconsciously know this. So, don't skimp on your photos!
Having a professionally designed logo also makes a huge difference. It is much easier to align the imagery on your website when you can tie them back to a central point - your logo.
We always place our logo on our Pinterest graphics so that we have visual branding on our social media channels.
Logo Joy is a great tool to use for creating your logo. It is intuitive and easy to use, the AI technology is like having a designer in your back pocket.
6. Join Popular Facebook Groups
There are tons of great Facebook groups for you to join.
For more groups you can join check out Hit The Gems post The Best Facebook Groups To Hang Out In If You’re An Entrepreneur
And white corner creatives; 8 Facebook Groups Every Blogger Should Be A Member Of
Each of these groups has special days when you can promote your content or sell your services.
Make sure that you check out the other content on the thread and retweet / pin / comment on posts which you enjoy.
I have gotten a lot of cross promotion from doing that, and it’s quite fun reading new posts.
7. Share Your Post On Pinterest
If you aren’t on Pinterest yet then get on it now. I don’t buy into the idea that we need to be on all the social networks doing all the things. But don’t miss out on Pinterest. Disclaimer here, I haven’t had a chance to analyse the quality of traffic coming from there yet… so I can’t comment on that.
But I can comment on volumes of traffic which bloggers are getting from Pinterest. And I can contest to that because I set up Pinterest two months ago and it has already sent me the same amount of traffic Instagram has in 6 months. So um, I’m going to run with Pinterest as a core channel to focus on for traffic generation.
That being said, Facebook blows every channel out of the water and most of that traffic is coming from these group threads - so Facebook group threads is an important channel to focus on! P.s. if you are not following us on Pinterest come join. We also operate a group board called Viral Guest Posts, if you send me a message I can add you.
8. Map The Outline Before You Write Your Post (With research)
If you want to increase visits to your blog then you need to be producing epic content. And that starts with mapping out your content before you start. You wouldn’t write a novel without having an idea of where it is going right?
Well, it’s the same for your blog posts.
Readers need to go on a journey with you through the post, it needs to feel cohesive and that only happens when there is some structure.
It is also highly important to research before you write. Sometimes I think we can get in the habit of creating content in a vacuum.
I know I have been guilty of that.
I used to think my content needs to be original, innovative, 100% unique.
But the reality is that innovation comes from smashing together different ideas, not from sitting in a dark room.
So, before you begin your content do some searching on Google. Find out who has written about this topic and take notes! Buzzsumo is a great tool for finding out what is popular in your niche.
Read more: 21 Types Of Content That Audiences Like To Share
9. Use Your Email Signature
I learnt this tip from one of my previous clients the lovely Nadia Finer and I think it’s fab!
Nadia’s email signature always contain loads of really useful information including her latest podcast. I’m pretty sure she used a plugin to generate this dynamically. I haven’t actually implemented this one yet but it is possible!
If dynamically adding in your latest content is too technical for you then just review your static signature.
Chances are you could improve it just by adjusting your call to actions. Make sure you link to your website & your core social media channels at a minimum.
10. Write Evergreen Content
Evergreen means that it is useful for your audience throughout the year. This could be How To Guides for example. Any content which provides practical advice about a topic which isn’t time sensitive.
Anything related to seasonality or specific events are topical posts which have a season to them and a specific time period where they will be read and shared. It’s up to you how you want to weight your Evergreen & Topical content.
What I’ve seen larger brands do is create their Evergreen content first, with just a few topical posts thrown in to mix it up.
Then once they have a strong base they start to add in more topical posts over time. At HostelBookers, by the 2nd year we were focusing heavily on events in different destinations and building out the editorial calendar around what was going on around the world.
But that was because we already had a base of good evergreen content.
I am using the same strategy for Ginger Marketing. So right now I am focusing on evergreen content and in the future, when we have more recourse we can start to mix up the editorial calendar.
I would love to know in the comments below which tactic drives the most amount of traffic to your blog!
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How To Choose A Blog Name You Won't Hate In 2 Years
The Difference Between A Content Writer And A Copywriter
Obviously, Guest Posting + PR is an important part of our strategy at Ginger Marketing, being one of our primary services. Slowly but surely we are starting to increase the amount of time spent marketing our business, but it's tough to carve out the time! Even we have difficulties - and we have everything set up and in place to execute!
Recently I've been trying one tactic which has worked pretty well. It is SUPER simple and takes only a few minutes every day. That is if you follow the basic rules about how to execute the tactic effectively.
And today I'm going to explain what this tactic is AND the basic rules you need to follow in order to execute it effectively.
Please, please, please, read down to the end of the post. Don't just read the tactic and go "Right - that’s it!" and launch into execution without at least trying to understand the nuances.
Very likely you will already know this, you will probably have read every piece of advice I am about to give.
BUT, until you have actually implemented it correctly, to land your company a premium PR placement like we did for The Telegraph, maybe there is something you are missing. I am pretty sure if you are pitching and pitching, and pitching and pitching, and not getting anywhere then I know what the reason is.
And I'm going to explain exactly what is going wrong and how you need to start changing your behaviour to get results.
The reason I am pretty sure I know the reason is because I see people doing it all the time.
In fact, very recently I found an ‘hourlie’ on People Per Hour where someone was selling a pitch template - and even their pitch template had this error. It had been sold hundreds of times, with this error.
Another fact, last week I made the error myself and had to adjust, correct and send the pitch out again.
So, if there is a voice saying - "I know this", "boring", "I don't have time", kindly tell it: “Thanks for popping by and sharing, this is only going to take a few minutes, let’s pay attention and see if we can get this and land our business an epic mention on a premium site.”
P.S. Before I go further, we do not currently offer premium mentions or premium PR (I keep getting enquiries). We offer a mid-level, niche guest posting service which is extremely valuable for your SEO strategy, growing community and brand presence in your niche.
So let's get going.
The tactic I used to land a mention on the Telegraph was answering a #journorequest on twitter.
If you don't follow it already then there is a great hashtag on Twitter called #journorequest where journalists, and also bloggers, tweet out for comments on features they are writing.
There is also a free tool you can sign up to called; Journorequests which collates all of these requests into a handy email so you can just scan through and reply.
Pretty simple right?
You are probably thinking “It can't be that easy?”.
Which is exactly what I thought when I tested it out. I figured, I'll sign up, for the next 2 weeks I'll answer requests and I'll see if we get anywhere. As a rule, I tend to test lots of new tactics and then shelve or keep, depending on results.
#journorequest is a keeper.
So, hopefully, by now, I've convinced you to sign up for the tool or follow the hashtag.
Let's get into how you are going to make it work for your business.
1. Get your sales head on
itching is like selling. You are selling your story to the journalist. When you are selling something to a client what is the first thing you think about? I'll bet you think “What does this person want that I can help them with?”. Or at least that is what you should be thinking.
The trick to selling is aligning what you have with what they want.
Are you with me?
Spend at least one minute reading and thinking about what this person wants before you even think about what you can give them. In sales - the person you are selling to is more important than you. Get that trick right and you are golden.
The problem is, we have a major egocentric issue in our society. Most people are just waiting for everyone else to be quiet so they can speak, this won’t get you anywhere. Read, listen and really think about what this journalist wants and is asking for.
2. Get to the point quickly
There is a MASSIVE difference between writing an educational post like this one, and pitching/selling yourself. When you write a post like this you have to take your reader on a journey, hold them by the hand and lead them to a realisation or a knowing - that's the goal. It's a slower process, the message takes time to unfold because the goal is to educate.
BUT, when you are pitching to #journorequest all you have to do is prove in 140 characters you have what they need. Your goal is to sell. So, get to the fricking point! Just tell them plainly, this is what I can add to your feature. Don't dress it up, don't start talking about your gazillion awards, just tell them what you can offer.
3. Pack your pitch with juice
Just look at how succinct the pitches are with this hashtag and look at how much juice is being packed into the responses. The good thing about Twitter is you have a limited character count which gets rid of waste. The best pitchers give a large amount of information in a short number of words. This gives the journalist everything they need to understand if you are a fit for their piece. If you are a fit they will contact you to get more information, at which point you can start to expand and go into depth.
In summary, read what the journalist is asking for - think about it for at least a minute. Then think "How can I add value to this piece?”. Then sell the journalist that value in a short tweet which
Gets to the point
Packs a lot of juice
Practice makes perfect, so get out there and start pitching!
If you have any more tips we’d love it if you could share in the comments below. What has worked for you?
Failing. Fail. Failure.
How do you feel about these words?
I’ll tell you how I feel - indifferent. But it didn’t used to be that way, so I totally understand if you’ve used these words before. Next time, don’t say you “failed”, say “you haven’t succeeded yet”, or “you have come up against a challenge”.
These words used to bring about a tightness in my chest, a sinking feeling in my stomach, low energy, dissatisfaction, fear and sometimes envy at everyone else who didn’t seem to be failing.
Thankfully, I don’t feel that way about the word anymore; it’s just the best word to describe something that didn’t work out.
I’m going to try not to get too deep and heavy. I’m writing this on a sunny day in Italy; it’s morning and I’m in my bright pink checked pyjamas and comfy hoodie. Not a time to get heavy.
I feel the time has come to share a little bit of my story from the last few years with you, because in a few more years I will have forgotten the early stages of building a business. The memories won’t be as strong and maybe the moment I am in now, and the thoughts I have on failure, can help a new business owner who has just left their 9 to 5.
The First Idea Will Set You Free... But Probably Not In The Way You Think
My story is the same as thousands of others; I didn’t like my corporate job so I left and set out to start my own business.
When I left my job, I had zero business experience, very little interpersonal skills, zero personal development skills, I had extremely poor emotional development and a complete lack of focus.
At the time, I thought I was going to change the world in a heartbeat.
Now, I am beginning to understand the only thing I needed to change was me.
I did have enough sense to realise this was kind of a big change; leaping out of a steady paycheck and career path into a blank space, to create a vision of my future from scratch. So I had money saved and booked-in several months to go and volunteer at a retreat centre in Spain.
It was here that my first business idea formed. Well, a name... a concept…
I wanted to help others who felt stressed out and overworked in the city to feel at ease in their own life and stay connected to themselves and each other.
Just with the details I’ve given so far, I hope you can now understand why I was not in a position to show anyone the path to embody any kind of peace or tranquillity in a city. I had just run away from one and was hiding out at a yoga retreat in Spain, decompressing and trying to come up with a plan.
City Calm failed.
Well, at least for now, it is permanently calm to the point of asleep.
BUT, moving into creating this ‘business’ helped me to start to piece together the skills I was lacking, and through contrast, I have developed a lot of clarity and direction I would never have found otherwise.
And that is why I say ‘The First Idea Will Set You Free... But Probably Not In The Way You Think’.
I have seen this pattern repeated soooo many times!!
People leave their job, then come up with an idea to help others in the area they really need help in.
A Health Coach Who Struggles With Her Own Health
A Motivational Coach Who Finds It Hard To Stay Motivated
A Mindfulness Teacher Who Gets Constantly Pulled Back Into Negative Thought
The last one is me!
Setting up and running City Calm was awesome. I taught basic Mindfulness classes in the park, I ran fun events like ‘A Sand Castle Competition’ or ‘Mindful Journaling’ and ‘Mindful Colouring’.
I ran a Mindfulness retreat with a highly experienced yogi and neuroscientist who I am still in touch with now; Paresh Mhaispurkar.
I passed around a beautiful bunch of flowers at a top Marketing Conference full of execs and spoke about universal energy and oneness (still makes me smile from ear to ear when I think of this!!!). The execs were so engaged and interested in learning about Mindfulness and even took it back to their teams; it was an absolute dream to teach that class.
It was fun, and I’ll be going back into running events and retreats in the future, that is GUARANTEEEED! And my practice will continue to grow and develop and I will, without doubt, start teaching again.
But the company failed.
Here are some key business lessons I learnt.
Planning Doesn’t Generate Revenue
We made very little - to pretty much NO MONEY.
There was no business model, in the first year I actually made: £0.00. I had to fill in my tax form and the tax office thought there was an error. NOPE, I just literally thought writing numbers in a spreadsheet would somehow magically create revenue.
Planning becomes more important as you start to generate revenue. Cash flow planning, in particular, is one I am getting my teeth stuck into right now. And project planning, resource planning, etc. But those only come ONCE you have revenue.
The ONLY reason you need to project future revenue is to make a strategic business decision. Projection planning isn’t there so you can know when you will become a millionaire.
Enjoy The Daily Process Of Improving Your Craft
In the first year, I practised a lot of yoga, mindfulness and meditation. I was addicted to learning as much as I could on the topic.
In the second year, I started to teach Mindfulness. I even put together an online course with Karen, a highly knowledgeable and practised Mindfulness teacher from London (if you are ever in London check out her classes and events, she is a lovely lady!).
The course was professionally filmed and edited by Leah, an intern who came to work for us for a while. It started to feel like we were making it. We were now modelling the website of a competitor who was raking it in; there was no way this plan couldn’t fail. There was a great team of people involved who believed in the vision and the future of City Calm. You should have seen my spreadsheet projections, we were all millionaires!
The course wasn’t bad - it was pretty well put together and I thank everyone who helped to make it a reality. But the fact is, "pretty good" isn’t good enough.
It was going to take a lot of time to get up to the level we needed to be and I didn’t enjoy the process of creating or selling online courses.
And that’s another reason why I think the first idea is likely to fail.
In order to succeed long term - to get up there with the likes of Kimra Luna, Kriss Carr or Marie Forleo, the entrepreneurs we see online and want to emulate - we have to be playing at the very, very top of our game. These guys have been at it for years!
To play at the top we have to put the work in. And you need to enjoy the work. You need to enjoy the daily process of improving whatever it is you are improving.
Otherwise, the standard of what you put out isn’t going to be high enough to create the abundant business you crave.
We need to be specific about the actions we do and don’t take, and they have to make YOU feel good.
Passion For A Subject Isn’t Enough
Having tried both the on and offline version of teaching mindfulness, I know 100% that offline teaching is what I prefer to do. I know I absolutely detest the process of creating courses and marketing them.
I don’t get Facebook Groups, and I don’t enjoy learning how to make them work.
I don’t enjoy testing sales sequences and sales funnels and I have zero desire to set up webinars or start videoing live streams on Facebook.
Going through the process of these activities just takes out all of the joy I had for the subject in the first place.
Slowly but surely, I am starting to figure out, mostly through contrast, which activities I enjoy and which activities I don’t.
So take note, be specific. Unless you have a high level of self-awareness already, it might take some time to unravel what you do and don’t enjoy.
Using Contrast Positively
This is the reason why failure is not something negative. It’s neutral.
You tried something, it didn’t work.
Why didn’t it work?
This is what I learnt:
*I realise these two are ridiculously obvious but hey!! Sometimes knowledge is only fully integrated through failure.
This is an amazing amount of learning and information which I can take forward and put into any new project or business.
I hope this has helped you to understand Why It’s Absolutely Okay To Fail. Why don’t we use the comments section as a little reflection centre today? Share with us something you have failed at and what it taught you - let’s learn from each other!
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Director Of Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)