This Power-Blogger’s Roadmap is the first of a series of 3 Roadmaps that together can help you maximize your affluence from blogging. After you’ve been through the contents of this roadmap, make sure you also check out the second and third roadmaps.
In this roadmap, you’ll decide on your area of professional expertise and sharply targeted audience, and then master the art and science of blog-building. You’ll also learn how to blog with a consistently high quality of polished content, attract readers, convert subscribers, manage your productivity, keep pace with trends and begin monetizing your powerful mind. Power-bloggers are painstaking, passionate, prolific, powerful – and most of all persistent. They are also meticulously planned.
Contents of the Power-Blogger’s Roadmap
Building your personal brand is the foundation of power-blogging. Without this introspection and discovery, you’re merely marketing something that isn’t really you. Personal branding is all about authenticity, and you need to define yourself before you can market yourself authentically.
Personal branding is also about identifying your “maverick factor” – your differential. You will discover that your worth is dependent on two clear things: one, it’s based not on how same you are, but on how different you are; and two, just being different is not enough, your actions, decisions and external presence have to deliberately consolidate and project this difference.
Many people get an “aha” moment in their lives when they really see themselves as “not of the common herd” and therefore being “one-of-a-kind”. Enjoy this moment. It’s that juncture, when you see that your standout difference, well-promoted, can be the foundation of your new worth!
- Knowing your deeply important values
- Determining your passions and interests
- Articulating your mission statement
- Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses
- Identifying your unique “maverick” factor
- Taking stock of your future-facing credentials
- Getting a 360º panoramic view of yourself
- Planning your goals and investing in yourself
Identifying your target audience involves one important point that may be a revelation to you. The narrower you get with your target audience the more genuine loyalist subscribers you get, and the greater the wealth you can tap from your audience. How is that? Most entrepreneur-professionals starting blogs think of this as counter-intuitive. They believe that the wider their target audiences, the more possibilities exist to turn them into subscribers. But this is how narrowing your focus works …
Let’s say you are a financial expert and your target audience is other mid-tier accountants to whom you can give authority advice. If you try to engage every type of accountant, you will have “generalist” blog posts that do not tug at them personally, and so there is a temptation for them to unsubscribe when they see your articles are not tailored to them well enough. On the other hand, if you target “financial consultants to high-net-worth individuals” (a smaller subset of the larger accountant community), you will have blog posts with more acute, focused and sharp advice, specifically useful to them.
You may think you’ve lost billions of accountants globally who could have been your subscribers, but in fact, by writing very targeted blog posts to very narrow niches, you may get a slightly smaller audience, but they will be a highly qualified audience. Such audiences have greater potential to become loyal and enduring followers – because you directly hit them every time you write pertinently for them.
- Envisioning your target audience and niche
- Planning your future target audience
- Researching your target market thoroughly
- The demographics and psychographics of your market
- Appealing both rationally and emotionally
- Locating the real pain-points of your targets
- Planning your rapport building
- Developing target audience personas
Starting a powerful blog requires some astute long-term planning upfront. When you are looking to maintain blogging power on a sustained basis, you have to think about serious issues like blog loading speed, relevance of your brand and content for the long term, and robustness of the hosting and structure of your blog. The last thing you want to be doing is time-wasting daily in tweaking the underlying shaky technology of your blog instead of adding fresh content!
I can ramble on endlessly with all kinds of things you’ll need to start a blog (and there’s loads of information online too), but my idea is to recommend some absolute minimum basics which I have tested over many times for my own sites and for client sites, so that you can be confident of these choices you’ll be making. Don’t get sidetracked by elaborate minutiae when you start a blog. Get going with the least fuss and the smartest choices – and plan to get more savvy with time.
If you’re starting with a new blog, or if you’re revamping an old blog, the process and choices are more or less the same. It’s not a very good idea (or easy) to try and tweak a blog that’s older than a year, because technology changes so quickly that you may find that your older blog could use some of the new hosting solutions, and some of the upgraded tools to look and behave according to the demands of the times. If you’ve got reasonably good re-usable content on an old blog and want to now make it a power blog for affluence, it’s far easier to build a new blog and then bring into it all the content (updated!) that was good in the old blog. So that’s a point to keep in mind.
- Choosing an ideal domain name
- Branding your blog for longevity
- Choosing the easiest blogging platform
- Signing up with the fastest hosting service
- Designing your blog for visual impact
- Structuring your blog for maximizing SEO
- Creating your first pages and posts
Creating brilliant blog content has as much to do with your “listening skills” as with your writing skills. Writing can become a very satisfying pursuit to those who love to be in the the flow of their self-expression, but to be a powerful blog writer, you have to write what readers want to know and not what you are dying to say. And that is a fine art in itself!
Of course, the quality of your expression, the perfection of your grammar, the pull of your headline and the craftsmanship behind your writing matters. There’s no doubt you have to get better and better at writing compellingly with time, and the more you write the better you get. But a lot of blog writers don’t realize that power-blogging is not like writing a white paper to get your knowledge or expertise pouring out. Power-blogging demands that you tune in to your readers’ satisfaction points and write for them – and not at them!
I am reminded of a learning session I once had with the great David Ogilvy when I was a cub copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising. One of our team members was recounting a story of how someone’s Rolex watch had fallen off his hand onto the road and it survived a car running right over it. Wow, what a story to make into a powerful ad for Rolex, we all thought. Till David Ogilvy said, “Unfortunately, no one buys a watch because it can survive a car running over it … people buy a watch for things like brand value, because it tells the time beautifully or because it look great on their wrists. So your ad had better be about why the reader may want to buy it rather than what excites you, no matter how incredible your story is!”
- Producing content of real value to your readers
- Coming up with torrents of fresh blog post ideas
- Keyword mapping strategies to make content SEO-friendly
- Calendarizing content creation and content promotion
- Crafting compelling headlines that hook readers and sharers
- Writing your posts and enhancing with images and videos
- Creating original content versus being a copycat
- Bringing polish and perfection to your blog content
Attracting targeted blog traffic is possible through many different routes. That is also the precise reason why many bloggers fail to get traction – because they try too many things to get traffic and don’t apply heavy time and effort investments into a few strategically chosen methods. Focused, sustained and systematic exploitation of just a couple of strong channels of traffic is the way to go. Spreading yourself thin across many different traffic generation methods, or chopping and changing and experimenting all the time, yields nothing – while also draining your motivation.
Also, gone are the days when Google was the only method of gaining traffic. Today the social media are seen as one of the prime ways to attract traffic – and even within that sphere, there are bloggers relying solely on one or two channels to magnetize readers to their blogs and sites.
One question that most bloggers ask is: “How do we get enough traffic fast enough so our blogs build some strong starting momentum?” That’s a fair question. You can’t judge the potential of your strategy to get traffic if you can’t have some opening traffic to test your assumptions on. Many bloggers I know, therefore, decide to bite the bullet, and buy traffic initially through Search Engine Marketing and Pay-Per-Click Ads just to get their blogs going. If you are following this method, and you’d rather get some paid-for traffic first, make sure you have enough of a budget to generate your estimated traffic for at least three months. A good SEM expert should help you allocate a reasonable budget.
- Relearning Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Getting the right help for Paid Search (SEM)
- Attracting traffic from the Social Media
- Picking up traffic from Content Syndication Networks
- Guest-blogging as a power-blogger’s traffic-puller
- Blog commenting as traffic generating resource
- Maximizing traffic via niche forums and groups
- Making the most of blog roundup posts
Increasing your blog subscribers is an integral part of power-blogging. Blogging is in fact inseparable from emailing. After your readers visit your blog for the first time, it’s important to grab their email addresses to keep in touch with them on a regular basis. If you are increasing followers on the social media you can again directly lead them to subscribe to your mailing list. Alternatively, you can attract them to your blog first, to read some articles, before they sign up as subscribers.
The purpose of such consistent (and persistent) addition of subscribers (and then emailing them) is not just to get the same visitors to come back to your blog often. Even if they don’t do so, they need to be kept up-to-date with happenings and new articles on your blog. They need to be kept informed on larger events and trends in the blogosphere. And you have to become their No. #1 resource on your domain expertise topic, and through the frequency and quality of your emailings to them. They have to begin to see you as an invaluable conduit that helps them keep up with the world and their online markets.
You may often have heard experts in emailing say “It’s all in the list!”. That is one of the truest sentences on the Net. The really big money for bloggers is not from monetizing websites and blogs with advertisements and paid blog posts. The big money from blogging comes off email subscriber lists, gathered via the blog or social media. Here’s how it works in two ways …
- Creating your highly covetable lead magnets
- Building great optin forms and landing pages
- Constructing your compelling welcome email
- Nurturing subscribers through different types of emails
- Planning your drip email sequences and frequency
- Building community through building interactivity
- Selling small things subtly to your subscribers
- Managing subscriber lists and keeping them clean
Boosting your blogging productivity is a result of how well you utilize the limited resources at your command. By resources we don’t just mean the amount of money you have to start with – resources also include time, information, labor (or effort) and psychological self-command.
If you are a solo blogger, as most bloggers are when they start, you may be depending purely on your own efforts, time, money and free information to get your blog going. How you allocate time to your various processes involved in blogging and blog-marketing, how you use or save precious money, how you apply personal effort or hire help, and how you choose to make time for continuous learning as you blog, how you manage your frustrations – all these factors will affect your overall productivity as a blogger. The more you are able to balance your resources to gain maximum productivity out of yourself, the more your equipoise will affect the quality of your blog.
This article first shows you the connection between time, money, information and quality. It then shows you how to manage time, and sustain the ultra-beneficial quality of persistence. The article then moves on to show you ways to manage money, how to manage hired freelancer help, and how to find and use good information online that makes your work easier. Finally, you need patience and easy productivity management systems, which also this article will teach you.
- Understanding the “time-money-information-labor” equation
- Managing your brain to manage your time
- Discovering the magic of the persistence effect
- Making a small blogging budget go a long way
- Hiring freelancers to do your blog-writing for you
- Finding and learning from good information online
- Using Agile management practices in blogging
- Bolstering your patience and beating frustration
Making early money blogging is very possible. In fact, you don’t have to wait till your blog is big enough to start making money off it – or because of it. Most bloggers, unfortunately, think with very small minds about money-making from blogging. They may begin blogging with great intentions to produce quality blog posts and brand authority, but when it comes to thinking about how to start earning off their blogging businesses, they get into what I call a “smallness mindset”. I don’t mean here that they get petty. I mean that they do get into a low self-esteem mode, telling themselves: “With so much competition around, who would pay $2500 for my consulting, or even $30 for my ebook? Impossible!”
I have had so many bloggers believe that the online world is so full of “freebies” and free information that people almost never pay for what they buy – or if they buy, they read up and then get themselves the promised refund that is almost always advertised with any digital product. But then, if you stopped this argument for a moment and looked at your own self, and totted up everything you have recently bought off other blogs, you’d be aghast how much you have actually spent, without even intending to. It happens all the time, with almost everyone I know!
In an article I’d done some years earlier, I’d written asking if it was really consumers asking for freebies, or were marketers assuming so? Here’s what I had written: “It’s a pretty common lament online amongst brand marketers that the market is so spoilt by those offering everything free to the consumers, that there’s hardly anybody wanting to purchase anything at all. Now we all know that isn’t true, because research every year points to fast growing volumes of internet selling and buying, and the trend seems only more increased with mobile now becoming the medium of choice for even more buying and selling than before. Could it be that it’s not really the customers online who are window shopping for freebies, and it’s the marketers who are assuming that customers want things free and will not pay?
- Making more money with more or less traffic
- Selling your own products and services for bigger income
- Doing the brand-building kind of affiliate marketing
- Keeping your arsenal of sales-ready items ready upfront
- Pricing very high and still getting buyers
- Creating as many passive income streams as you can
- Looking for joint ventures with niche heavyweights
- Managing money with an eye on growth
Also check out:
- Become An “Authority-Blogger”: The Intermediate Blogging Roadmap
- Become An “Influencer-Blogger”: The Advanced Blogging Roadmap