writer's block

Tried And Tested Tips to Get Rid of the Writer’s Block – Part 2

Note – If you missed part one of this 3-part series, then you can click this link to access the previous post.


Did you take the time to implement the tips that I shared on the previous post? If you didn’t, then I urge you to give them a try right now, before you even start reading this second installment of our series.

However, if you feel like the tips that I shared previously aren’t resonating with you, allow me to continue with these second set of tips.

Let’s carry on from where we left off…

5. The story telling approach.

While there are several different stages (or phases) that you can use to write a story, I use the 5 different phases that I found at Changeminds.org. These stages were described by Gustav Freytag as:

Regardless of what topic you’re writing about, you can almost always create a story-type write-up where you’ll follow the pattern above.

If you’ve had your fair share of reading blog posts on the internet, I’m sure you’ve read somewhere how storytelling is a powerful tool that businesses or marketers can use to keep their audience from clicking away.

True enough. It is.

The thing with storytelling is, the readers tend to get drawn in the world that the writer has created. They almost always end up asking the question, “What’s next?” after reading every line since they want to know how the story will unfold.

Having said that, the storytelling approach is also an effective strategy that you can use to reduce your website’s bounce rate.

6. The Skyscraper method.

Great. You have a topic in mind that you know your audience will love.

When you Googled the topic, however, you realized that there are already several articles written about it.

Now here’s a question for you? Would you…

1. give up and look for another topic to write about?

2. still write about the same topic with half of your efforts, since you know that your article will become “just another article” about the topic?

Or…

3. gather all the information that you can find about the topic, then put together one massive — let alone value-packed — guide that will blow your audience’s minds!

Choose the latter option. Choose the Skyscraper method!

At this point, I hope you’ve already figured out why the technique is called as such. Because your content will tower over all the other content online, your article becomes a “skyscraper article”.

You can read Brian Dean’s blog post about the Skyscraper method to learn more about it.

What makes writing easier when using this method is you don’t have to formulate your ideas from scratch — or at least most of it.

All you need to do is gather the ideas that are shared by others, put them all together in one massive article, add your own wisdom bombs into the mix, and voila! Your epic content is created.

As you can probably imagine, writing using the Skyscraper method is a lot easier since the ideas are already out there, you just have to rephrase them, and add your own twist to the ideas.

Note – DO NOT copy and paste content from other websites. What you need to do is to learn the concept behind the ideas that they are sharing, and share it to your audience using your own voice and understanding.

7. Do the next right thing.

One of the reasons why people experience the writer’s block is they tend to get overwhelmed by how huge or challenging their writing project is.

Imagine having to write a 20,000 word guide.

When you put together your first few sentences, there’s a good chance you’ll experience the writer’s block because you’ll feel a sense of overwhelm. And you feel that way because you are comparing where you are at right now — where you’ve written very little to no words — to how the end product looks like (which is 20,000 words). When you see the huge gap, you tend to get overwhelmed and stressed, which leads to you experiencing the writer’s block.

The solution? “Do the next right thing.”

I learned this from having listened to one of Michael Hyatt’s podcasts.

He mentioned how we should stop thinking constantly about the stage where we’re at on completing the project, as compared to how the completed project looks like, since it can cause us to be overwhelmed.

Of course, before you even do any kind of work, you need to plan accordingly and set up your roadmap to reaching your goal.

This ensures that all of your actions (or your written content) won’t stray away from what your main objective is for writing the article.

Once you’re done with the planning stage, you can now follow the, “Do the next right thing” advice that Michael Hyatt shared.

When  using this strategy, you first need to figure out what your “next right thing” is. In my case, when I have a huge writing project that I need to deal with, I think of my “next right thing” as completing 1 thousand words (maybe 2 – 3 thousand words, even).  Or I can say that my “next right thing” is completing 1 chapter.

With this kind of mindset, I am not constantly thinking about completing a 20,000 word guide (which is overwhelming), my mind is only focused on finishing a 2 thousand word write-up which is really simple to do.

What’s next?

Alrighty! Now we’re done with the second installment of our 3-part series on how to get rid of the writer’s block.

At this point, I hope you’ve found some very helpful tips that you can use to speed up your writing, all without compromising the quality of your work.

Can you share your thoughts on the list of tips that I mentioned? Has any of them worked for you? Better yet, can you share your own tips for getting rid of the writer’s block? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Important Note – I will be publishing my 3rd and last post this Monday. Please stay tuned. I’ll add the link here once my last post goes live. Cheers!

writers block final

Tried And Tested Tips to Get Rid of the Writer’s Block – Part 1

I know. It’s nerve-racking — writer’s block, that is.

With how valuable content has become for businesses and consumers, it has become the perfect time for writers to make a living out of their skill. Of course, the more articles the writers can push out, the more income they earn.

You can probably relate to that, huh?

While the statement above is certainly true, thinking that being a writer is all daisies and butterflies is a terrible mistake. Writers contend with a very serious challenge that makes them rethink about whether or not they’re on the right field.

Of course, the challenge that I am talking about is the writer’s block.

If you’ve had your fair share of experiencing the dreaded writer’s block, and are sick and tired of it, then allow me to share you some tips that will help remedy just that.

If you’ll take the time to understand and take action on the tips that I’ll share, I promise you that you’ll be able to avoid the writer’s block, AND be able to compete those articles in no time.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Ask questions — TONS OF THEM!

It’s all about value, right?

Even if you publish a 10 thousand word article, your audience will still ignore you if they feel that your content is all fluff, and are not providing real value.

The thing with your audience is, when they’re at your page, they just want their questions answered. If after reading your article they end up saying to themselves, “I’m glad I landed on this website, now I know how to solve my problem…”, then your audience will surely be appreciative of you and your content.

What has this got to do with getting rid of your writer’s block and writing fast, you might ask?

Everything.

To use this strategy, you just need to put yourself in your audience’s shoes, then start writing the questions that you think that they’ll end up asking you. These questions will be your actual subheadings.

Imagine writing down 15 questions, and answering them comprehensively. If you’ll give each question an answer that’s about 200 words or so, then you’d have ended up writing 3000 words (minimum) in no time. Mind you that the figure still doesn’t include your opening and closing paragraphs.

With the kind of approach that we’ve taken, I’m sure you can tell that we’ll end up writing something useful (since we’re answering your audience’s questions), and not something that’s all sizzle but no steak.

* Important tip – Use Q&A sites and forums to figure out the kind of questions that your audience are asking. That way, you know that you are answering the actual questions that your audience are thinking about, and not just the questions that YOU THINK they are wanting to ask.

2. You versus them.

The word “versus” might have been too strong of a word.

What we’re merely trying to do using this strategy is to compare your your take on a specific topic, over other people’s opinion.

Here’s an example. If you’re writing about a specific product, you can tell your audience your opinion about that specific product, and how your opinion differs to other people’s.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself into talking about opposing opinions only. You can also talk about opinions that are aligned to yours.

In terms of getting your readers to engage with you, this strategy works quite well especially if your opinion challenges the opinion of most people — or if your opinion is seemingly against the standards that most people adhere to.

What I like the most about this strategy is there are a lot of publishers on the web. Since that is the case, you can simply look for publishers that have a decent amount of clout (or followers), take note of their opinion about the topic that you are writing about, then compare / relate your opinion to theirs.

Once your article goes live, you can even Tweet them, or send them an email telling them that you mentioned them in your article.

This strategy increases the chances of others sharing your articles to their community.

3. Breakdown the topic.

I have yet to come across a topic that cannot be broken-down using subtopics. Regardless of what you’re writing about, there is always a way to break it down into bite-sized-pieces.

That’s why this strategy is so easy to use.

Try to picture out drawing a mind map on a sheet of paper.

You have the main topic in the middle of your paper, then you start listing the subtopics around your main topic, and enclosing them in a “bubble”.

After writing about 10 – 15 subtopics, you’ll then draw another arrow pointing to another bubble where you can write your ideas pertaining to the subtopic.

Once you’re done writing your ideas on each subtopic, how long do you think your write-up would have been at that point?

Pretty interesting, huh?

If you’re trying to introduce a new idea, or perhaps something that your audience aren’t quite familiar of, this strategy is one of the best ones that you can use — along with strategy number 1.

4. Use the cause and effect approach to prevent experiencing the writer’s block.

I especially like using this approach when talking about the problems that my audience are experiencing — and the solution to their problems, of course.

I have found that this approach does such an amazing job when it comes to keeping your readers hooked. If your website has a high bounce rate, then you might want to use this approach when writing your articles.

The thing is, when you’re writing about the “cause” of the problem, your audience will be able to relate to it. And because of that, they will want to continue reading your article.

* Bonus tip – one of the things that most seasoned copywriters do to influence their readers to continue reading, and buy their product is to talk about the problems of their readers — and rub it in their faces. This makes their readers emotional, making it easier for the copywriters to influence their reader’s actions.

In most cases, writing about the cause and effect of a topic can cause your article’s word count to skyrocket. When you put into consideration the subtopics that you need to write about as you detail the cause (and the effect) of your main topic, you’ll end up growing the numbers even more, all while providing value to your audience.

What’s next?

Liked what you’ve read so far?

Well. That’s just for starters. I still have about 5 to 7 or so tips that I can share that will help you cure your writer’s block.

I have been using these techniques myself (for years) and they have worked wonders for me. If you’ll take the time to digest and implement the tips that I shared above, I promise you that you’ll see real results.

Stay tuned. I will be adding a link here for the second part of this guide. I will be publishing the next article this Monday. Cheers!

How to Get More Jobs Online, Without Having to Send Another Application Letter

How to Get More Jobs Online

Note: This guide is for those freelancers who already have existing clients. If you are still starting and are looking to land your first job, then this guide might not be ideal for you.

Nope. This isn’t one of those articles where you’ll read cookie-cutter-tips like, “submit guest posts”, or “publish articles regularly”. The strategies that I will share with you are actionable, easy to implement, and are effective.

If you’re looking to get more jobs online without having to send another application letter, then you’re definitely in the right place.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Build strategic relationships.

What do I mean by “strategic relationships”? Allow me to share an example.

Supposing that you specialize content writing; what you can do is to look for web developers, and establish a relationship with them.

That way, once these web developers are done with their web dev tasks, they can refer their clients to you so you can take care of their client’s content needs.

No matter where you look at it, it’s a win-win situation for the both of you (even to the client).

These are some of the important points that you need to consider when using this strategy:

  1. There are gazillions of professionals at Linkedin, you might want to start looking for your ideal partners there.
  2. Offer incentives, so your prospects will want to refer their clients to you. I usually give them a per transaction incentive, instead of giving them a one time incentive for referring. This makes the offer more enticing for them.
  3. Make sure that you aren’t reaching out to competitors.
  4. Refer some of your connections to your partners as well. That way, you’ll also be able to help them generate more income.
  5. Do not burden your connections with qualifying their referrals, they usually don’t have time for something like that. Just tell them to send over their referrals to you, and you’ll be the ones to handle the nitty gritty.

2. Offer a discounted rate for bulk orders.

Most newbie freelancers fail to capitalize on this strategy. In most cases, they tend to equate having one client, with having one order only.

That’s a terrible mindset to have.

Depending on the kind of products/services that you are offering, you shouldn’t just be focusing on closing one-off orders, influencing your clients to order in bulk is almost always the way to go.

Since winning new clients are more expensive — let alone time consuming — than keeping existing ones, it pays to get as many orders as you can from them. Sadly, not many freelancers are taking the initiative to make this happen. If you really want to maximize the kind of relationships that you have with your clients (in terms of how much you can earn from helping them), then you need to be very conscious about offering bulk orders, instead of just sealing a 1:1 deal.

3. Ask for referrals.

I hope you’re providing real value with the kind of services or products that you are offering, otherwise, you’ll never be able to use this strategy.

As you can probably imagine, the technique is pretty cut and dry; once your clients are happy with your work, you can then ask them if there is someone in their community that they think might need your services.

There are a couple of things that I’d like to share with you, so you can get better results from using this strategy:

a. Build relationships with your clients. Don’t just make your relationships with them a transactional one. Try to take it a step further. You can do this by giving free advice, asking about their day, or simply taking the time to greet them on holidays.

If you’ve established a solid relationship with them, it becomes easier for you to ask them for referrals.

b. Discounted rates in exchange for referrals. When your clients are happy with your work, and they’re about to send in their second order, why not sweeten the deal by telling them that you can give them a discounted rate, In exchange for referrals.

Considering how your client is happy with your work, and you’re giving them a discount, they’ll be more than happy to refer you to their community.

4. Ask about your client’s business, then pitch your services strategically.

I mentioned above how important it is for us to establish a real, and a meaningful relationship with our clients, right? I know that the idea was headed towards you asking for referrals, but the truth is, that’s only one of the ways that real relationships can help you in succeeding online.

Here’s the thing… as you continuously connect with your client, they’ll feel comfortable talking to you about their business, their struggles, and the direction that they are headed for as the owner of the business.

That information right there is a goldmine!

When you have a better understanding about your client’s business, and their overall direction, you can look for gaps. You can also look for problems, or areas that can be improved.

As you figure out these details, you can then pitch your services strategically.

* Important note – whatever you do, do not make your clients feel that you’re only interested in making money off of them.

Your angle should be all about helping them, and not about you wanting to get more orders. That being said, instead of saying, “you need to buy my other products”, you can say things like, “I’ll be more than happy to help you get rid of your X problem. My product A does such an amazing job at (solution to their problem)…”

Notice how the second approach doesn’t come across as salesly? If you were the customer, you’ll probably feel that I am just trying to help you solve your problems. It then becomes easier for you to close additional orders from the client.

What’s next?

Are there other client acquisition strategies that you’d like to share to our audience? If you answered that question with a resounding, “Yes”, then please take the time to share your tips in the comments section below. Cheers!

Photo Courtesy – © carmenmsaa / Dollar Photo Club

2 Things That are Preventing you from Succeeding as an Online Instructor. And How to Get Over Them.

Online Course

This article isn’t like the usual posts that I’ve been publishing. The ideas aren’t THAT specific, nor are they actionable.

However…

While this post might not be an actionable “How-to” guide, I promise you that reading this might be one of the most important things that you’ll ever need to do, as you try your hand at becoming an online instructor.

We’re going to talk about your struggles — whether you’ve articulated them in your mind’s or not. These struggles are debilitating and have caused countless others to give up on their dreams. More than just the problems, however, we will also talk about the solutions, and some ideas about why you shouldn’t be paralyzed by any of these problems.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Self doubt. “I’m not an expert enough.”

Others find themselves asking the question, “Do I even have the right to publish this course? I don’t think I’m an expert enough in this topic.”.

Does this question sound familiar to you?

Look. You need to understand that the main qualifier for someone to create an online course is not whether they’re the most knowledgeable about the topic. You need to realize that it’s all about value — value for your audience, that is.

Just because someone is knowledgeable about a topic, doesn’t mean that they can create a value-packed course for their audience. They could be teaching irrelevant aspects about the topic, since they didn’t do enough research to determine what specific aspects of the topic they’re audience are dying to learn about. Or, they could create something that’s overwhelming because they’re teaching every  nook and cranny about their topic, when in fact, their audience are just looking for a very specific segment about it.

The other question would be… Will these experts even take the time to create the course? What if they’re working 9 – 5s and are not in the position to create any? What if they feel that creating a course isn’t worth their time since they have a lot of things to take care of in their personal life?

In the situations I described above, your audience ultimately becomes the losers — and we don’t want that to happen, do we?

If you feel at 100% that your course will help solve your audience’s problems, then you ought to create, and publish it. You don’t have to know everything about the topic, you just have to be knowledgeable enough about the things that you are teaching, to make sure that you aren’t leading your audience astray.

Try picturing out 2 online courses. The first course is created by an expert, but the audience couldn’t quite understand the course because the expert used too much technical jargon. In short, the audience got very little to no value from the course.

The second course, however, is created by someone that knows just enough about the topic. The language used in the course is in layman’s terms, so the audience were able to learn a lot from the course. This has led to the audience’s lives changing for the better, since they are now equipped with the knowledge that they needed to solve their problems.

As you can probably imagine, the second course (despite it being created by someone who knows “just enough”) has provided more value to the audience than the course created by an expert.

That being said, do not let the whole “not being an expert enough” rabbit hole impede your success.

2. This is too overwhelming. Where or how do I start?

You’re right, creating an online course has so many facets to it, that it can be quite overwhelming to imagine. You have to write the actual course (you can outsource it if you want to, but I’d advise against that), you have to think about marketing, you have to create a compelling cover design,  and you also have to iron out the payment processing details, etc…

Because of how huge of an undertaking it is, people tend to get confused about how or where to start, and how to stay committed in completing the course.

If left unchecked, your being confused and overwhelmed can kill whatever chance you have on creating the course. In most cases, it often causes others to procrastinate, or give up on the idea altogether.

So, what exactly do you do? How exactly do you get over the hurdle of feeling overwhelmed and confused?

I have 1 advise to share to you… Just focus on the next right thing.

I learned about this tip from listening to one of Michael Hyatt’s podcasts.

The idea is for you not to keep on looking at the end result.

You need to stop comparing where you’re at right now in the process of creating your ebook, to how the entire thing should look like once it’s completed. You’ll only be frustrated and overwhelmed since you have a long ways to go.

Instead of constantly comparing, you just need to focus on doing the “next right thing”. If you keep doing this, you’ll surely inch closer to your online course’ completion everyday. You’ll avoid having those days where you don’t end up working on your course because you got overwhelmed (maybe even discouraged) at how far off you still are from completing it.

When using this strategy, you just need to plan one, time and set goals on your drawing board. Once you’ve created your game plan, then it’s all about doing “the next right thing”.

You can evaluate once every 2 weeks or maybe once a month, but don’t keep on checking in on where you’re at everyday.

What’s next?

What are some of the things that you think are preventing instructors (or publishers) from creating their online courses? After having worked with several entrepreneurs, the two struggles that I shared above seems to be on the top two of their list.

Are your struggles different? If they are, please share them in the comments section below.

How to Get Positive Online Reviews for Your Course

Positive online reviews

The other day, I was reading a sales copy for an online course that was meant to help me succeed at running Teespring campaigns. I couldn’t help but give the shirt selling industry a closer look since I’ve been wanting to give the industry a shot.

Everything about the sales copy was great. It has a compelling headline, the problems that the sales copywriter mentioned are spot on, he/she focused on the benefits rather than the product’s features, and he/she even used several other copywriting best practices.

At that point, I was almost ready to click the “Buy Now” button. But before I bought, I wanted to check on what the others had to say about the online course first, just to make sure that it isn’t all sizzle without steak.

Interestingly enough, after scrolling at the bottom of the page, I couldn’t see any testimonials or reviews about the course. I even tried Googling it for reviews yet I still couldn’t find any reviews about it.

Being the paranoid buyer that I am, I decided to hold off from buying the course. After all, I couldn’t ascertain whether or not what’s in the tutorial is of real value, or if it’s trash.

Now here’s a question for you… Do you think I’m the only ones paranoid about buying anything online? Do you think I’m the online one who wouldn’t buy if I don’t see any reviews validating the product’s quality?

I’m sure you realize that there are probably millions of other buyers like me who’d rather check out a product’s review first, before buying.

That being said, if you don’t want to miss-out on any potential buyers of your course because you don’t have any positive online reviews, allow me to share with you 3 tips that can turn things around for you:

1. Give free access to your course to a limited number of users, in exchange for reviews.

I’ve learned this strategy way back when I used to hang-out at WF (WarriorForum).

I noticed several sellers giving away their products to the first 5 – 10 users in exchange for reviews. True enough, I do see the users sharing their positive online reviews. The sellers will then edit their sales pages a bit by inserting the reviews/testimonials of the users.

* Important point –  asking for reviews in exchange for the free access to your course is one thing, but you can take it a step further by asking them not just for positive reviews, but also for shares. That way, your online course will get more visibility and free word-of-mouth endorsements from others.

2. Ask for positive reviews within your course.

Before you even think about using this strategy, you need to make sure that your online course can add real value to your subscriber’s lives.

Here’s the thing, this strategy greatly banks on the idea that your subscribers are having a blast going through your course. While consuming your content, they need to have the, “Oh man, this is such a goldmine!” mindset. It’s during these situations when you can strategically insert a call-to-action asking them to leave a positive review or a testimonial if they felt that the course is of value to them.

Have you ever enrolled for an online course before? One that you thought was really helping you understand the ropes of what you’re trying to learn? How do you think would you have felt if the author asked you (nicely) to leave a positive review if you enjoyed the course? Wouldn’t you reply saying, “ABSOLUTELY!”?

* Important point – don’t think twice about asking for positive online reviews within your course, if you know that your course is a real problem solver.

Rest assured that your subscribers won’t think badly of you if you asked for reviews since they are in a state of being grateful to you for helping them solve their problems.

3. Run a contest. Make the reviews part of the contest’s entry requirements.

If your course managed to gain a bit of traction and now have several enrollees, you can then run a contest that’s strictly for them.

Your contest can be about anything. However, the important bit is that you need to make adding a positive review about your course, as one of the requirements for them to join the contest.

There are several things that you need to consider to be successful when using this strategy:

a. Your contest’s prize should be worth having.

If your audience doesn’t like your prize, then don’t even wonder why they aren’t joining. The best question to ask yourself when trying to figure out what prize to give is, “What’s in it for me?” This is the question that most of your audience are asking themselves. If your prize is a satisfying enough answer to this question, then the chances are good that they’ll join your contest.

b. Make it easy for them to join.

Asking them for a positive review shouldn’t be too much of a hassle for your audience. However, in addition to that, if you ask them to blog about your course, and buy 3 of your other courses just so they can join your contest, don’t expect them to join. If joining becomes too much of a mission for them, they’ll end up becoming overwhelmed.

c. Create awesome copy.

On one of my first paragraphs, I talked about how the writer used some of the best practices of copywriting. You need to do the same when telling others about your contest, otherwise, your message won’t be compelling enough. Here’s a good resource about learning the tricks of the trade in writing a compelling copy.

* Important note – be sure to state your contest’s mechanics clearly. Otherwise, your audience might find a way to game the contest. What’s worse, others might feel cheated because you weren’t able to award them the prize due to technical reasons.

What’s next?

Using these 3 tips alone will you get a handful of testimonials or positive online reviews. You can then add them to your sales page to give your copy that extra “Oomph!”

If there are other strategies that you’d like to share about getting more reviews, then please do share them in the comments section below. Cheers!

Photo Courtesy – © tashatuvango / Dollar Photo Club

How to Succeed at Finding Customers as an Online Freelancer. No, Really!

Finding Customers as an online freelancer

Warning: This guide is brutally detailed. If you’re an online freelancer and you’re looking for a proven and tested strategy to find more clients online, then you’d better buckle off…

I get it. There are gazillions of articles talking about how to find a client as a freelancer. If you’ve done your fair share of reading, however, you’ll find that a good number of these guides are sharing tips that are so vague and cookie-cutter, they’re pretty much useless.

Not. This. One.

What I am about to share with you is one of the most effective strategies that I use to get more customers.

The best part is, this tip isn’t just going to help you get more customers, it’ll also help you grow your network of connections, and help you establish yourself as an authority in the industry you’re in.

What marketing strategy am I talking about?

Linkedin Marketing. (*insert cricket sounds here*)

Continue reading, or else… :)

Don’t worry, I understand why you aren’t as stoked as you ought to be.

I’m pretty sure you’ve read about Linkedin marketing a couple of times before and felt that what you did was an utter waste of your time.

I promise you that this guide is going to be different. No, really! We aren’t going to talk about those “optimize your profile”, “network”, or “write blog posts”, advises that makes you and your cousin Ray Ray wanna puke out of disgust.

In fact, I’m going to talk about ONE marketing tip only. And you can bet your family jewels that this one packs a punch. A massive one at that! I know because this isn’t my first rodeo using this tip. I’ve been using it for as long as I can remember and it’s gotten me real results.

What tip am I talking about? I’d like to call it, “The Welcome Marketing”.

Here’s the gist of it. When someone adds you at Linkedin, you’ll send them a welcome message that’s short and crisp, yet something that would encourage them to collaborate with you.

Here’s the template that I use:

“Hello (first name),

How’s everything in your side of (which country they are from)? I’m glad that we are now connected.

Can you tell me more about what you do? I’d love to explore if there’s an opportunity for us to collaborate.

Kind regards,

(Your name)

(Your job position)

(Your company)”

There are 4 things that I need you to take note of about the template:

  1. Since you’ll write their first names and the country that they are from, it makes your message look personalized.
  2. I did not pitch any of my services on my first contact. Pitching on your first message almost always leads to them ignoring you.
  3. Instead of pitching my services, I asked about THEIR services instead (or what is it that they do). This is a big one because everybody wants their existence in this world acknowledged. You are basically addressing one of their basic needs (which is recognition), since you made them feel important by asking about what they do.
  4. The language used is professional yet very friendly. This helps them loosen up a bit instead of being all defensive about you.

Pretty amazing, huh?

I have gotten several clients from the past using this strategy alone.

So in essence, this strategy is simply about taking the time to accept the connection invites that others are sending you, then sending them an epic welcome message that will open doors of opportunities for the  both of you.

The missing link…

Everything that you’ve read is good an all, but if you’re THAT perceptive, then you’ll realize how there is one missing link to what I have shared with you up until now.

And that is… everything hinges on others adding you as a connection.

If they don’t add you, then you won’t have anyone to send your welcome messages to.

You might be thinking, “What are you talking about Jim, I’ll just proactively add them myself”, that’s a terrible idea. Terrible on steroids, even!

You see, I did that myself in the past. I looked up a bunch of guys from Linkedin who are either business owners, executives, or managers (they are my target audience, by the way), and just clicked the “Connect” button.

The result? I received the dreaded, “Your LinkedIn account is temporarily restricted.” message from LinkedIn.

Friends, that’s the kind of warning shot that you’ll get from LinkedIn before they ban your account entirely — that is, if you don’t change your ways.

TLDR; don’t add people randomly. You’ll risk your account getting banned.

How do I get the people to add me?

This is the remaining piece of the puzzle that needs to be addressed. While there are a couple of strategies that you can go about doing this, I will share with you just one tip that I know will bring tons of other users to connect with you.

And that tip is… look out for posts from the L.I.O.N. (LinkedIn Open Network).

They are a group of LinkedIn users who will connect with anyone and everyone freely. They are the type of people who won’t tag you as “Spam”, or report to LinkedIn that they don’t know who you are.

They’ll just hit the accept button. Period.

These open networkers will often publish an update in their profile or even an article for the sole purpose of people adding them. Their posts’ headlines will often say “Let’s Connect”, “Open to Network”, etc…

It pretty much looks like this…

Finding Customers as an online freelancer 2

* Important note – DO NOT add your email address on the comments. You can simply say that you are open to networking, and that you won’t tag anyone as Spam or IDK. The other open networkers will then click the link to your profile, then add you to their network.

At this point, all you have to do is wait. You’ll start seeing people sending you connection invites over time.

Summary

While the strategy that I shared is pretty cut and dry, I’m sure that you can see how the tip is very actionable, and the methods that I shared are logical (let alone proven and tested to bring real results).

Here’s the gist of the strategy again:

  1. Look for L.I.O.N. posts and express how you are willing to connect with anyone.
  2. Once you receive the connection invites, approve them and send them a powerful welcome message asking them about what they do.
  3. Try to pitch your services strategically once they reply to your initial message. Remember that you don’t always have to pitch your services on your first, second, or third message to them. Just build the relationship, and be strategic with when you’ll pitch your message.

What’s next?

I need you to give the marketing strategy that I shared above a shot. Give it about 3 – 4 weeks and see if you’ll get any kind of results from it.

Please take the time to share your experience with the strategy in the comments section below. Cheers!

Photo courtesy – © michaklootwijk / Dollar Photo Club

 

How to Ask for a Pay Raise – And Get Approved

Ask for a pay raise

There are those that work their butts off day and night, yet when pay day comes, the amount they receive is barely enough to put food on their tables.

That’s tough, isn’t it?

I mean, if you’ve been working all day long yet all you’ll get is money that’s barely enough to pay for your bills, then you’d never enjoy your life.

You’d just end up becoming drained from all the work, all while ONLY managing to keep yourself afloat.

Don’t let this happen to you, OK?

Life is certainly more than just working to get your bills paid. You need to stare it in the eye, enjoy it, control it, and have a blast while you are still in this world.

If you are in a situation where you actually have a work (and are overflowing with it), yet you still aren’t earning enough, then a viable solution you could look into is asking for a pay raise.

Allow me to share with you 5 tips that you can use to drastically increase the chances of your client (or boss) giving you that coveted “Yes” answer when you ask for a pay raise.

1. Timing can be everything.

I cannot stress to you how important this tip is.

Can you imagine asking your boss for an increase when you have TONS of past due work, and your boss’ clients are hounding him/her relentlessly day and night because of how you weren’t able to complete the work that you should have produced?

Asking for a raise at this point is pretty much a business or a career suicide.

However, if you’ve just made your boss’s life easier, or you helped him/her rack up some recognition points from his/her clients, or even his/her direct boss’, then you’ll be in a perfect place to ask for an increase.

This strategy has a good chance of working because of the principle of reciprocity. This is a principle described by Robert Cialdini in his six key principles of influence.

2. Do not give your boss an ultimatum.

I get how your landlord might be banging your door every-single-day asking you for your rent.  It’s frustrating, scary, and sometimes… life threatening – especially if your landlord is on drugs.

However, if you want to increase the chances of getting your pay raise request approved, you’d be better off if you don’t give your boss an ultimatum.

The thing with ultimatums is that it pressures people and it can put others (your boss) on the defensive. And we all know how everyone would submit to your requests if you pressure them, right?

WRONG!

You need to give them a leeway to set things in order on their end. You need to give them a chance to work everything out on their side of the court. The fact is, depending on how a business is structured, granting a pay increase on one of the employees can prove to be quite a pain.

That being said, if you feel like there’s no way around your situation but to ask for a pay increase, be sure to ask for it as soon as you can while considering point number 1. Or at least, during times when you still have enough wiggling room for you to work on your finances.

3. Don’t play the pity party. Focus on the benefits that you bring to the company.

Playing the pity party is an underhanded tactic that others frown upon.  Sure. It may have paid off for others. But know that you put yourself at a huge risk if you choose to go this route.

Instead of doing that, however, why not use the route most professionals use by talking about the benefits that you bring to the company (or your client’s business).

If you’ve been doing business with them for quite awhile now, then there’s a good chance that they’ll remember how reliable, trustworthy, and how valuable your services are. And that you are definitely deserving of the increase that you are asking for.

The important point is that you focus on value. That you talk about how much your client/boss has benefitted from doing business with you.

4. Talk about the other offers that you’ve been getting.

Be very careful when using this tip.

Make sure that you do not assume a threatening tone. Instead, just try to be as sincere and as truthful as you can be about the better offers that you’ve been receiving.

Explain how the offers that other companies are giving you can really help improve your life – and your family’s. Mention how despite all the better offers, you would rather stay with the same company, or do business with the same client. But with how your finances are turning out for the worse every single day, you just might not be left with much choice except to leave.

Remember, the game plan is you want to come across as someone who doesn’t want to leave despite all the offers that you’ve been getting.

5. Ask about the criteria for getting a pay raise.

You’ll be amazed at how your boss might react when you’ll ask about the criteria for getting a raise. Because the truth is, in most cases, there aren’t any. It usually just comes with the job title (or your position in the company).

However, if you’ll bother to ask your boss about the criteria, there’s a good chance that it would stimulate a good discussion among him/her and the higher ups paving the way for a criteria to be made.

I mean, think about it.

If there is such a criteria for having a pay increase, then you’d never hesitate asking for the increase if you’ve met all the criteria, right?

What’s next?

The thought of asking for a pay raise can be nerve-racking. However, if you come prepared and are equipped with ideas, tools, and strategies that are proven and tested to have worked, there’s a good chance that you’d get an affirmative answer from your boss (or your client) after leaving the negotiation table.

It’s important that you remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when asking for a raise. That being said, be sure to tweak the tips that I’ve shared above to fit to your situation.

If you have other ideas or tips that you’d like to share, please do so in the comments section below.

© mudretsov / Dollar Photo Club

Get the Most Out of Your Content Marketing Campaigns Using These Strategies & Tips

Content Marketing Campaigns

Value. I want it. You want it. Your neighbors want it. And even your grandma’s cat Lucy wants it too.

We all want to squeeze as much value as we can out of something, don’t we?

I’m pretty sure that as a business owner, you also want the same thing out of your content. After all, creating quality content can be quite time-consuming, let alone expensive if you’ll pay someone else to do it.

So that’s what we’re going to talk about right now. We’re going to talk about the 6 effective content marketing strategies that you can use to get more value out of your content.

If all that you’ve been doing up until now is the “publish and pray” strategy (if you can even call it a strategy), then we’re about to change all that. With the tips that I’ll share with you, you’ll be able to get more shares, comments, views, and engagement (among others) from your content.

Let’s hop right in…

1. Send it to your email list

According to EmailExpert.org, for every $1 that you spend on email marketing, the average return you’ll get is about $44.25.

Sounds like magic, doesn’t it?

That is all the more reason why you should share your content to your email list.

Instead of simply publishing your content on your blog, you can break them into bite-sized-pieces and slowly trickle them down as newsletters to your email list. Doing so alleviates you of the effort and resources that your team would have otherwise spent, if you created content from scratch for your newsletters.

2. Re-write your post then syndicate them on other sites.

Some of the sites that I syndicate my posts on are Business2Community.com, SocialMediaToday.com and Medium.com.

What I like the most about this strategy is that you can leverage on the existing audience that the other sites have already established. In B2C and SMTs case, they already have millions of monthly visitors. That being said, you’ll have more eyeballs on your content since it is also published on other sites with millions of monthly traffic.

These are some of the points that I consider when qualifying whether or not a prospect website is ideal for syndication:

  • Is the website’s niche relevant to my industry?
  • Does the website have bad neighbors?
  • Does it have a decent number of monthly visitors?
  • Does the site have a decent Domain Authority and Trust Flow? I know that there are other metrics you can look into, however, I tend to just check the site’s DA and TF.
  • Does the website have a reasonably “strict” editorial guidelines? Don’t just go for sites that accepts the next Tom, Dick, and Harry who wants to syndicate to them without the site’s editors doing careful screening. The harder it is to get into the site, the better.
  • Does the site use a rel=canonical tag to show the search engines that your site is the original poster of the content?

* Warning – This content marketing strategy has its downsides. For one thing, the sites you’ll syndicate your posts on might outrank your site for the same exact article that was syndicated (among others).

Others are also worried about being penalized by Google because of duplicate content. However, this issue can easily be remedied by making sure that the sites you’re syndicating or reposting your content on uses a rel=canonical tag.

3. Guest post on relevant and authoritative sites

When you have a fairly new website, and your image has not yet been established as an authority in your industry, other sites won’t bother syndicating your content. Simply because they do not want to risk syndicating content that is spammy or poorly crafted.

After all, since no one really knows who you are and whether or not you are a credible person, they wouldn’t be able to tell if the content that they’ll be syndicating from your website are of good quality. So why risk it by accepting your request for syndication, right?

Because content syndication isn’t always a viable option, what you can do instead is to pitch a guest post on authoritative sites. That way, your content gets published on sites with millions of monthly traffic, instead of your own that barely gets any traffic because your site is fairly new.

There are tons of benefits that you can get from guest posting, these are some of my favorites:

  • It can help you generate leads.
  • It can help you get more traffic.
  • It helps you with your SEO.
  • It helps you build relationships with other webmasters in your industry.
  • Etc…

If you aren’t familiar with how guest posting works, allow me to share with you a comprehensive resource that I wrote about it. This guide walks you through the process from scratch, all while using free tools.

4. Create slides out of your posts then publish them on slide hosting platforms like Slideshare

70 million users… that’s the kind of figure Slideshare has going for them. If you aren’t keen on getting your slice of the that 70 million pie, then you must be going bananas.

So here’s the strategy. All you need to do is repurpose your content by turning them into slides.

If you’re about to give me the, “I don’t have the time for that…” excuse, then don’t worry – I got you covered.

Instead of doing the slides yourself, you can hire someone from Fiverr to do it for you for only five dollars.

Pretty amazing, huh?

5. Create a video

Now that you have a slideshow of your original content, you can now create a video version of your slides.

Of course, you can also have someone from Fiverr create the video for you.

Once your presentational video is created, you can now publish it on various video publishing sites like Youtube.

These are some of the most crucial points that you need to remember when using this strategy:

  • Make sure that your video has a clear call-to-action at the end.
  • Try to add as many texts as you can on your video’s description section.
  • Be sure to add a link to your website from within the video’s description.
  • Be sure to add the necessary tags for your videos.
  • Add a “suggested video to watch” within your video’s description, then link it to one of your other videos.

These are some of the best sites that you can publish your videos on:

  • Youtube.com
  • Vimeo.com

6. Include quotes from influencers

One of the best ways to get influencers to share your content is to add their quote to your posts.

Of course, when influencers take the time to share or link to your posts, you’ll get more traffic, leads, and some SEO push to your site. In short, you’ll get more value from your content.

The thing is, even if you published something amazing, that isn’t incentive enough for most influencers to take the time to share your posts, much less to link to it. Simply because if your post gets the traction that it needs, they won’t be able to directly benefit from it.

However, if you add their quote and a link to their site on your posts, that’s a different story.

Not only will they be able to get free PR if your post gets the traction that it needs, but they can also benefit from the link juice, the possibility of getting leads, and the possibility of getting more traffic to their site (among others).

I once published an expert round-up that featured experts in the customer service industry. While the post didn’t get as much shares as I thought it would, we’ve been getting a constant flow of leads through the post.

What’s next?

This isn’t the end-all and be-all guide for getting more mileage out of your content. There are certainly other methods that you can use to get more out of whatever you publish on your website. If there are strategies that you’d like to share with us about how you can get more value out of your content, then please do so in the comments section below.

Photo courtesy of  © bakhtiarzein / Dollar Photo Club

How to Use Influencer Marketing to Sell Online Courses – GuruFace

online coursesI talked to my friend last night (he also sells online courses), here’s how our conversation went:

My friend: Been marketing the heck out of my online courses, but I’m not getting any visitors on my website unless I use paid ads. It’s expensive. It sucks.

Me: I used to struggle with the same thing. What kind of marketing methods have you been using? Ever tried influencer marketing?

My friend: Yep. Didn’t work for me. Because I’m a nobody online, they’re just ignoring me like I’m a zombie.

Me: Hmm… That’s interesting. The first time I tried it I managed to get decent results. How have you been running your outreach?

My friend: I use an amazing software that blasts hundreds of emails in a matter of…

My friend lost me at the word “blasts.”

Look. If you’re using an “amazing software” (hint of sarcasm, of course) that does the same thing that my friend’s software does, don’t expect to get any kind of decent results from your influencer marketing campaign.

Influencer marketing require finesse, careful planning, and a genuine urge to establish a relationship with others. That is… if you truly want to succeed.

So here’s what we’ll do. Since you’re reading this blog post, I take that you’re looking to unlock the secrets on how to succeed at using influencer marketing to sell your online courses, right?

If you answered that question with a “yes”, then I need you to sit tight. I’ll help you with just that.

1. Interview the influencers about THEIR up and coming products.

As you can probably imagine, this strategy is pretty cut and dry:

Step 1 – Look for influencers in your niche. You can do a quick search at Google, or follow the same tips that I detailed on this guide to help you find guest posting opportunities.

Step 2 – Go through each of these influencers and check out which of them are about to release a new product.

Step 3 – Send the influencer an outreach message telling them that you’d like to do an exclusive interview with them about their expertise, and the new product that they are about to release.

Step 4 – Before the interview, tell them that you’ll do a quick intro about YOUR online course. Less than a minute will do.

Step 5 – Once the interview starts and you’re done with your quick intro about your online course, focus on the influencer. This time, forget about your course, this should be all about them.

Step 6 – As your interview ends, mention your up and coming online course again. Of course, you also need to talk about and promote the influencer’s course.

Step 7 – Ask the influencer to share the podcast or the interview to his/her audience.

This strategy is a win-win situation for everyone since everyone can benefit from the interview. Your audience can benefit from the expert advice that the influencer can share (and so does  his/her audience). You can promote your up and coming online course, and the influencer’s too.

2. Publish an expert roundup.

One of the things that will cause the influencers to share something to their audience, is if they are included in that “something”.

Of course the “something” that I’m talking about is a blog post where you feature 10 or more experts/influencers that are connected to your industry.

In short, a roundup.

Because their names are included in the roundup, they can benefit from the free PR, and also in solidifying their personal brand as an authority in the industry.

At this point, all you need to do is mention your online course on the roundup, so when all the other influencers share the post to their community, all of the readers will know about your online course.

3. Write blog posts to pre-market your online course, then include quotes from influencers.

According to Socialmarketingwriting.com’s data, “70% of people learn about a company from articles instead of ads. Invest more into quality evergreen blog posts instead of temporary ads.”

I hope that by now, you can pretty much picture out the value of pre-marketing your online courses using blog posts.

However, I’m not just here to talk to you about publishing regular posts. Because the truth is, even if you publish articles daily, it might still take some time before you get real results out of your blog posts in terms of traffic and leads: especially if your website is new.

Unless, of course… your blog posts are shared by several influencers.

Here’s how we can increase the chances of that happening.

Instead of just writing high quality blog posts with stories and numbers (data), you need to include quotes from influencers. Of course, the influencers that you need to quote are those whose audience are your target customers.

That way, once your post goes live, you can then reach out to them via email or social media to tell them that you included their quote in your post. At this point, the chances of them sharing your post drastically increases, because their names are on your article.

4. Ask them straight up if they’d like to know more about your product.

The success of this strategy boils down to the power of your outreach message.

To increase the chances of them accepting your request, you need to craft your outreach message in such a way that it focuses on the benefits that the influencers can get from learning about your product.

The question that you need to address is, “What’s in it for me?”

Answer that question, and you’ll have a winner pitch.

A couple of things that you need to consider when creating the pitch:

  • Use a killer headline.
  • Keep it to 3 – 4 paragraphs max. Try to limit the paragraphs to less than 3 lines.
  • Focus on the benefits and not the features of your product. Remember, they don’t care about you or your product. All they’re thinking about is how they (specifically) can benefit from it.
  • Leave a clear call-to-action on your email message.

If they’ll give you the go signal, be sure not to send them something that’s overwhelming. The last thing you want to do is to send them an ebook-like guide on how to use your product.

There’s no way they’ll read through the entire thing.

You’ll be better of if you create a short video (3 – 5 mins long) or if you’ll schedule a short video call with them so you can walk them through the process.

What’s next?

What are the challenges that you’ve been facing in terms of promoting your online course? No subscribers? You feel that the quality isn’t good enough? Or no one’s sharing it?

Whatever your challenges are, please take the time to share them in the comments section below.

© cacaroot / Dollar Photo Club

Get Higher Email Open Rates Using These Simple, Yet Highly Effective Marketing Tips

Higher Email Open RatesYes. You can stop seeing depressing email open rates, very time you look at your email marketing analytics. There IS a way to get more people to open your email messages, and these methods aren’t rocket science either.

But why am I talking to you about email open rates, you might ask?

The thing is, I know that a good number of business owners are struggling with getting real results from their email marketing campaigns. They’ve had the good sense of building their list, but when they try to capitalize on their list by running their email marketing campaigns, they get very little to no results at all.

In fact, I’ve just talked to my newly onboarded client 2 days ago, and here’s how our conversation went:

After having a loooong talk about the kind of content that he needs for his blog…

Me: …did you also need help with content for your newsletters?

Client: Nah. I’ve pretty much given up on that. I have about 2k email subscribers but none of them are buying.

Me: Could there be something wrong with your offers?

Client: Forget my offers. None of them are even opening my email messages. I’m getting an open rate that’s less than 1%.

Me: hmm… Can you show me the email messages that you’ve been sending to your list?

Client: Sure. Let me give you access to my autoresponder.

After reviewing the content on my client’s autoresponder for about 30 seconds, 2 words came to my mind… Business suicide!

Not only were the email messages ineffective, but with how spammy the messages look, I’d even dare say that they’re damaging his personal brand.

Look. If you’re sick and tired of people ignoring your email messages, then allow me to share with you 5 tips that will help you skyrocket your email open rates.

1. Use a short subject line. Keep it under 50 characters.

Most marketers consider using 50 characters or less since most email clients can only display as much. However, considering how 51% of all opened emails are done via mobile devices, we might end up seeing a shift from the 50 characters rule, to just 20 characters or less.

Before you craft your subject lines, just remember that the general consensus is almost always, “short and sweet is better.”

2. Make your content mobile friendly.

According to The Radicati Group “email Statistics report, 2014 – 2018”, by the end of 2018, worldwide mobile email users are expected to total over 2.2 billion.

At this point, you should already realize how important it is for you to align the way you craft your email content with the dynamics of the mobile industry.

If you fail to make your email marketing campaign’s content mobile friendly, you are bound to lose email subscribers, or get ignored by them. If bad comes to worse, they might even get annoyed at you for sending them something that’s poorly formatted. Of course, something like this can spiral down to them complaining about how you do things, and them spreading the word to their community making you look very unprofessional.

3. Avoid using spam words/characters.

Here’s how my one of my client’s subject line looks like… “+++ Act Now – Get a 30% Discount On All Items +++”

Here’s my assessment of that subject line:

  • Does it look catchy? Yes.
  • Does it look spammy? Yes.
  • Am I going to open it if I were the recipient? Hell no!

Now here’s my question to you, if YOU were the ones who received an email with that kind of subject line, would you care to click and read the email? Or is it headed straight to your spam box?

If you’re anything like me, then I imagine your response to be the latter.

That being said, you need to choose your words wisely, otherwise, there’s no way in hell that your readers are going to open your email messages. I strongly suggest that you avoid using the words, “Hurry”, “Free”, “Order”, and “Buy” (among others).

Here’s a good resource where you can learn more about words (or characters) that can cause spam triggers.

4. Timing is important.

Not all times are created equal. You had better believe this, that is, if you’re looking to increase your open rates just like you said you would.

Here’s the thing. While there is no one-size-fits-all time that I can share that will help you get better open rates, I will tell you that most marketers tend to get better open rates if they send the email messages midweek (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays).

As for when exactly (as in what time they should send it), that one’s a tricky bit. Others would say that between 8 am – 10 am is ideal, while others claim that late afternoons or the night time is better.

Which should you follow then, you might ask?

Why don’t you follow both?

Look. These are just general guidelines that marketers look into. When it comes down to it, you need to do your due diligence by testing which time will work best for your marketing campaign based on the dynamics of your business, and the type of people that you attract (and nurture).

Use multiple split tests to figure out which of your campaigns are giving you the best results, then stick to the best.

5. Segment your email list.

Here’s an important question that you need to ask yourself, “What type of offers will my audience like to receive?”

I’d wager that you’ll get varying answers from your audience, if you present them this question.

It’s important that you uncover this information since there is no point in offering your entire email list a pair of Nike shoes, when you know that a good chunk of them are ONLY interested in Adidas.

This is where list segmentation comes in.

You need to uncover what’s important to your audience (you can do this via surveys), group them accordingly, then create email messages that are tailor fitted to their needs (even wants).

This process makes your email messages highly relevant to your audience.

What’s next?

Are there tips that you’d like to share that would help our community improve their email open rates? If you answered that question in the affirmative, then please take the time to share your ideas in the comments section below. Cheers!

Photo courtesy – © gustavofrazao / Dollar Photo Club