Does the thought of blogging leave you cold? You’re not alone. In fact, if you ask most any online business owner what their most dreaded task is, blogging will likely rank right up there with bookkeeping and cold calling. With few exceptions, most people simply do not like to write, so they find any excuse not to do it.
And as you can imagine, their traffic suffers for it.
The good news is, if you hate to write or feel you’re just not good at it, there are plenty of other ways to create shareable content on a regular basis without ever putting your fingers to a keyboard (much).
Despite Google’s apparent dislike for it, guest blogging is still a fantastic way to both generate content and get in front of a whole new audience. Other bloggers, marketers, coaches and service providers are looking for ways to grow their audiences, and many of them would jump at the chance to appear as a guest on your blog. It’s a win/win for both of you.
Not into guest blogging? What about a text interview or cross-blog conversation? Simply supply a list of questions to your interviewee, and post her responses. The interview format is perfect for introducing your audience to someone they might want to get to know better.
A cross-blog conversation requires a little more work on your part but it can be a fun way for your readers to get to know you a bit better. A cross-blog conversation is exactly what it sounds like: a discussion that takes place on two different blogs, with you and your blogging partner both offering opinions about a topic, just as if you were having a chat over coffee.
Audio and Video
Podcasting and video blogs are more popular than ever and they’re perfect for those who don’t care for writing. With either type of content, all that’s required is you, sharing your thoughts. You don’t have to do anything as involved or complex as interviews, and you certainly don’t have to hire a studio for a day to record a series of “professional” videos.
You can create podcasts and video blogs with nothing more than your laptop with its built-in camera or a headset and an audio recorder. Just fire up your computer and share your thoughts. Don’t worry about perfection, your visitors will love a chance to see the real you!
If you’re like most people, you very likely share a variety of content on your social media accounts. You point out articles you’ve read, videos you’ve enjoyed, infographics that explain a complex idea in a simple way. It’s part of what makes social media fun and informational.
But what if you took your sharing one step further, and posted your thoughts on your blog first, before linking on social media? If you’re looking for tips to write that perfect blog post here is a great piece by Instrktiv UX Writing: The Ultimate Guide To User-Friendly Copy
The result of this curation technique, where you add your opinion with a link to the original article or video, is that you drive traffic to your site rather than someone else’s. Not only that, but it gives you more opportunity to start a conversation with your readers about the content you’re sharing.
Relying on Google or the other search engines to send you traffic can be an exercise in frustration. A better method is to encourage sharing on social media. But if you’re not a wordsmith, creating content can seem an overwhelming task. Rather than giving up and letting your blog languish, explore some other ways to create content your readers will enjoy and share.
We’ve talked before about storytelling and authenticity, and how being your true self is your most powerful branding tactic. But just how open and honest should you be when it comes to sharing your story?
Pat Flynn and Jon Lee Dumas are notorious for their transparency, even going so far as to post monthly income statements. You might argue that when you’re making the kind of bank they do (6+ figures each month) it’s easy to share—perhaps even inspirational to your audience. But it might also be off-putting to some, since talking about money is often seen as vulgar. In this case, though, it works to attract the exact audience they are after. Others will find other mentors, and that is, after all, the point of marketing.
Transparency comes in other forms as well. Struggles with alcoholism, depression, cancer and other health concerns are commonly shared. Stories of marriage and relationship triumphs (and tragedies) are told. Even spats between competing businesses aren’t off limits for some marketers.
That doesn’t mean, though, that you have to be frank and honest about all areas of your life and business. With a little forethought and planning, you can keep certain aspects of your story private.
Watch Your Social Media Profiles
Here’s where a lot of business owners falter, especially when it comes to Facebook. You have your personal profile, to which you invite friends and family, and your business page, where you talk, well, business.
But there will inevitably be some overlap. Colleagues will slowly filter into your personal timeline, and you into theirs. Pretty soon, your business people are hearing all about your latest bout with the flu and that snarky thing your mother in law said yesterday. Too much? Maybe.
When it comes to your social media sharing, it’s important to pay close attention to not only what you say, but who you’re saying it to. Using privacy settings, contact lists, and even limiting who you “friend” can help maintain your privacy while still being transparent about your business offerings.
Remember, the Internet is Forever
While privacy settings can help, a better way to keep your personal business away from prying eyes is to simply not post it at all. Think of every blog post, Tweet, Facebook status update and Instagram pic as a billboard. If you wouldn’t post it on the side of the highway for all who pass to read it, don’t put it online either. The chance that it will “leak” (despite your best efforts) is great, and once it’s out there, you will not ever get it back.
So think twice about those nasty replies, intimate details, and other confidential information. You just never know who might be reading, and they will affect your brand image.
The bottom line? Know your audience and know yourself. If you’re not comfortable sharing certain aspects of your life and business, chances are they won’t be comfortable hearing about it, either. It’s okay to maintain some privacy, even in this transparent world of online marketing.
Whether you want to touch a nerve, reach a new audience, or boost your sales, storytelling is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. As humans, we love a good story, and when it resonates with us, it can drive us to take action when nothing else can.
Think about it. Which would you rather read, an interesting story, or a sales letter? Which are you more likely to remember a week from now, a compelling story, or a features and benefits comparison? And which are you more likely to buy, a story you can see yourself in, or a product that does x, y, and z?
If you think back on your most recent purchases, from the business coach you hired to the car you bought last summer, chances are you’ll find a story that resonated with you, and that drove your decision to purchase.
Stories About You
You’ve heard it time and time again: People buy from those they know, like, and trust. And part of getting to know you is hearing your stories. Your potential clients want to know how you came to be in business, what experiences you’ve had that drove your decisions, what lessons you learned along the way.
Your stories don’t have to be directly related to business to be powerful, either. That anecdote about the time you nearly got arrested for not having a valid driver’s license is the perfect lead-in to a blog post about better record keeping. Or the story about how you accidentally seated two warring families together at your wedding reception? It’s just what you need to drive home a point about relationship building.
Stories About Your Clients
Otherwise known as social proof, stories about your clients are incredibly useful in your marketing and branding strategy. Testimonials, white papers, case studies and the like are all just stories, after all, and they showcase how you and your products have changed a life or a business for the better.
Stories About Your Products
Yes, even your products have stories to tell. Why did you decide to create that new coaching program? What will it help your clients achieve? Who is it not suited to? These stories and more can show your potential clients more about your products and services than any sales page ever will. When you openly share your thought processes as you were creating your program, buyers will instantly know if it’s a product that will work for them or not.
Clearly, stories have a lot of power when it comes to branding and marketing, but you have to use caution. Beware of the awkward insertion of a story just because you’ve heard it’s good for your marketing. If you find yourself midway through a blog post and you write something like, “but anyway, enough of that, let’s get on with business” and then making a total shift to a completely different subject, chances are the story isn’t working.
But if you can tie your story in naturally to what follows, that’s your golden ticket to better branding, more sales, and a more profitable business. We love stories. Don’t be afraid to tell yours.
Do you use story telling as a way to market yourself or your products?
Ever wonder what makes some Facebook posts, videos, or blogs “go viral,” while yours are lucky to have 7 shares and two comments? While it might seem like some well-kept secret, the truth is it’s easy enough to create shareable content, if you put some thought and creativity into your efforts.
Everyone Loves Infographics
Whether you want to know more about how coffee is grown, or you’re looking for ways to boost your blog traffic, you’ll find a variety of infographics to fill you in.
These colorful, easy-to-read graphics share vast amounts of data while still entertaining an audience. By condensing numbers and stats down to easily digestible bite-sized pieces, you can make valuable information highly understandable for any audience. Even better, your market will be happy to share (and share and share).
If you’re not artistic, or don’t have the skills required to create your own, you can hire designers from Fiverr and other job sites, or use a tool such as Piktochart to quickly make infographics your audience will love.
**Pro tip: create an embeddable link for your infographic and encourage other blog owners to share it on their sites. You’ll automatically drive traffic from every site that posts your content.
Create Valuable Posts
Writing a blog post? Don’t just skim the surface of a topic. Dig deep. Provide as much information as you can on the topic.
While some bloggers will tell you that shorter is better, the truth is, posts of 3,000 words are more likely to be shared than their shorter cousins. So don’t worry about attention spans. Readers have proven they want good info and they don’t mind digging into a long post to find it.
Let Your Personality Shine
No one wants to read or share another “me too” post. Not you and not your audience.
What they do want—and what they’ll happily share with their friends and fans—is personality-driven pieces that aren’t afraid to take a stand.
That’s why coaches such as Kimra Luna and Marie Forleo are so popular. You know, simply by reading their content and watching their videos, that what you see is exactly what you get. Nothing is hidden; there’s no “corporate speak” to be found.
It’s easy to form a connection with someone like that because you feel like you know them personally. And what do you do with your friend’s content? You share it, of course!
It doesn’t take much to be shareable. Just be yourself, be transparent, and be valuable. In short, just do what you’re already doing, only with a little bit more oomph!