How To Become A Successful Blogger in 2018 (Based on 102 Case Studies)

One of the best decisions I ever made was to start blogging.

It allowed me to pay back my school loan, take control over my schedule and design the life on my terms.

On top of that, I was able to help people while learning more about things I was interested in.

But LISTEN:

It was not easy.

There are well over 1 billion websites on the internet.

According to MarketingProfs, two million blog posts are published every single day.

I think you’ll agree that the online world is only getting more competitive.

Blogging seems like a pipe-dream and you even wonder if it’s possible.

Right now it feels like nobody, except “hackers”, see your site.

If you have ever wondered how EXACTLY can you build a successful blog, you are in the right place!

Because there is a way…

What you need are good role models.

You need a trusted advisor who would tell what to do, when and why so you don’t waste any time.

“If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.”

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Tony Robbins

TonyRobbins.com

Tony Robbins is master at modeling.

James Altucher calls it Tony Robbins method:

  1. at first, you don’t know anything.
  2. you find 5 people who are the experts in the world.
  3. you extensively interview them.
  4. you figure out the most simple things they have in common with each other.
  5. you do that simple thing over and over again (repetition).

And that’s how you succeed.

If it’s good enough for Tony Robbins, it should be good enough for us too, don’t you think? 😃

This unique video by NYTimes about the evolution of 100-Meter Sprint is the best visualization I’ve seen about progress and modeling. There is almost a straight line of improvement.

Credits to NYTimes.

How did this happen?

Well, once something works, others study it and copy the best practices. They constantly build upon each other’s past successes and push humanity forward.

What if you could learn how to blog from the world’s smartest bloggers, people who have built multi-million dollar blogging business all at once?

What if Jon Morrow, Neil Patel, Brian Clark, Noah Kagan, Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi, Derek Halpern, Brian Dean, Ryan Holiday (and more) all sat in one room and gave you their best advice how to build your blog?

Advice based on their experience, years of accumulated knowledge building business online?

Well, I am happy to say — now you can!

These guys have been interviewed time and time again, they have created courses, written books and have opened their kimonos and shared their key lessons.

As I prepared for my own 3rd attempt to build a successful blogging business, I set out to uncover the secrets of pro-bloggers.

First time around I made many mistakes, I learned as I went, but my lack of knowledge eventually caught up with me. This time I promised myself to do it right.

Nowadays we are drowning in information but we are starving for wisdom.

That’s why I worked hard to filter and find the most credible bloggers, online business owners.

I bought their courses, I bought their books, studied their interviews, read their case studies (in fact, 100 of them, here’s the spreadsheet).

My goal was to map out the birds-view journey that starting blogger can take to build a successful blogging business.

I wanted to make it as simple as 1-2-3 steps you could follow.

  1. Plan
  2. Write
  3. Promote

Once you get these three steps right, you’re set.

If you had a popular blog with loyal readers — couldn’t you figure out a way to make money from it?

Of course – you could!

That’s why I organized this article around these three fundamental steps.

Want a free copy of eBook version of this article? Get it here!



Table of Contents

Part 1: Strategy – The Key To Becoming a Successful Blogger

  • Chapter 1: How To Pick A Profitable Niche For Your Blog
  • Chapter 2: Your Secret Weapon To Gaining Competitive Advantage
  • Chapter 3: How Do You Make Your Blog Stand Out?

Part 2: Writing –  How To Write A Blog Post That Drives Traffic

  • Chapter 4: The Mindset and Strategy Behind Crafting SuperArticles
  • Chapter 5: How To Perform Effective Research
  • Chapter 6: How To Become A Better Writer

Part 3: Promotion – How To Get Traffic To Your Website

  • Chapter 7: The Mindset Required To Achieve Explosive Blog Growth
  • Chapter 8:  #1 Evergreen Traffic Strategy All Pros Use
  • Chapter 9: How Bloggers Make Money?

Bonus:

  • Chapter 10: How To Get Work Done Faster
  • Bonus: 2 Supporting Worksheets, Checklist, Roadmap, 2 videos, Spreadsheet Template


Are you ready to learn from the best and finally have a blueprint to follow?

Let’s jump in.


Part 1: Preparation stage: How Do You Make Your Blog Stand Out?


“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first hour sharpening the ax.”

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Abraham Lincoln

16th U.S. President

This is the most important part.

Get it wrong and you’ll be wasting years just to discover you climbed the wrong wall.

We are advised to hustle, “Shoot first, aim second.”

But this is horrible advice if you want to build a successful blog.

You MUST have a better strategy than follow your passion and hope the money will follow.

I learned the importance of this step after failing at it miserably.

I built my previous blog (sold two years ago) 1stWebDesigner to 2.5 million visitors/month without any strategy.I just had a niche I was passionate about – web design.

You are probably thinking, what is this guy saying – 2.5 million and failing?

From outside it looked like a successful business, but it was built around search traffic, ads and no authority.

When Google changed it’s algorithm the site suddently could pay only for myself and I needed to lay off almost all of my team.

That’s when I knew I was missing something. My education had some huge holes.

To put it in perspective other sites with smaller traffic than mine like Social Triggers, Backlinko, IWillTeachYouToBeRich are multi-million dollar businesses.

The problem was that I focused on:

  • list articles (simple collections that didn’t build authority)
  • writing on whatever I was interested in – web design, typography, blogging, books (site became a general store, not known for anything)
  • making quick money (I built email list, just to abuse and drain it with endless product pitches, webinars, affiliate promotions)

This is NOT how you build sustainable blogging business.

The way you do it is by spending time upfront to figure out your niche, validating your idea and position yourself to be different from the crowd.

I promise you, every hour you invest in preparation here will save you at least 10 hours in the future.

That’s 10x return on your time!


Chapter 1: How To Pick A Profitable Niche For Your Blog


“It’s shockingly common to target the wrong audience.

Of the thousands of students who come into our courses, more than 95% begin by targeting a poor or nonexistent audience that will never be able to support a successful blog, no matter how much time they put into it”

I was lucky the first time when my interest was in web design and it was a viable niche.

However, the second time around I went for kizomba dancing niche (what..zumba???)

The plan was to become a professional kizomba dancer and eventually make money with it selling courses online.

This is how far I got.

Kizomba dancers were a small, passionate community, but a year later I realized I would never make living online with it.

It’s a video of me and my girlfriend dancing if you’re curious how kizomba looks like.

a. How To Know If Your Blog Idea Is Any Good?

If I asked this question early on when starting my dancing project I would have saved sooo much time. But I didn’t.

People liked dancing idea (12K subscribers on Youtube), but when I asked only few people were willing to pay for it (and very little).

Don’t make the same mistake and test your idea first through Ramit Sethi’s demand matrix.

It looks simple, yet contains a profound lesson.

My dancing project would fit right in the Labor of Love — few customers and low price.

However webdesign blog was right in the Mass Market (they way I positioned it) – many customers, but low price. Now I know,
that if I had done better job on positioning I could have made Golden Goose out of it.

Ask yourself – where does your blog fit in?

Beware from Labor of Love category…


b. The Truth Behind The Passion Controversy

Darren Rowse from Problogger once asked — How did you choose the niche for your blog?

Can you see a problem here?

When I went for dancing project I blindly followed Steve Jobs words – “the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

But passion is the wrong question.

IT’S NOT ENOUGH.

Instead, you must ask:

What are my strengths?

Where is the money?

..and avoid your weaknesses.

You are looking for the sweet spot.

You are looking for things that motivate you, give you an unfair advantage AND something people are already willing to pay money for online. You are looking for Golden Gooses and Mass Markets.

To find these answers spend time to learn about yourself.

“The happiest people discover their own nature and match their life to it.” 

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Ray Dalio

Billionaire and author of “Principles: Life and Work

Here are the most effective tactics I used:

  • take personality tests like 16Personalities, GeniusU, and Kolbe (paid)
  • Ask your friends — What is the one thing you do better than anyone else they know?
  • List down challenges you’ve overcome, the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired.
  • Look at your book library, do you notice any patterns?
  • When friends ask you for advice, what is it about?

What you find might just surprise you (it sure did for me).

Another interesting argument I discovered in my research is that you actually don’t need to follow your passion.

As long as you gain these traits in work — good financial income, control over your time and do meaningful work — you’ll be happy.

This is what Mike Rowe noticed when making his show “Dirty Jobs”. It’s about people who do jobs nobody would say they are passionate about. Jobs like roadkill picker-upper, pig farmer or dirt sterilizer. Yet these people were happy and made good living. (Watch TEDtalk by Mike for more).

You could just be passionate about being able to live the life on your terms.

Either way do yourself a favor — pick between things you enjoy, are good at and the ones that pay good money.


c. The Million Dollar Question

“You see, people often think that competition is a bad thing. But when you have almost no competition, and the competition you do have is failing, it’s because you have a bad business idea that nobody actually cares about it.  

And that’s why competition – and competition that is succeeding – is a good thing. It’s proof that people want what you’re building.” 

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Derek Halpern

SocialTriggers.com

How big is your niche?

Jon Morrow suggests asking:

“Are there at least one million people interested in it online?”

The bigger the industry, the easier it will be to attract at least fraction of these people to your site.

I found also this to be a good question to ask —

“Do I know any million dollar businesses in my field? Can I find any?”

For example, when I asked this question for dancing niche — I didn’t like the answer.

There was nobody making full-time living with kizomba dancing online.

The only way to make living dancing was to constantly travel and teach at festivals.

Somehow I didn’t see it through my excitement.


d. You Don’t Have To Be Expert To Start

Often you won’t be an expert when starting out and this stops many people from starting. They instead go to get more “qualifications” and delay their idea for years.

For example, even now when considering a blog about blogging, I felt weary. I have some experience as I build 1stwebdesigner in 8 years, but I certainly don’t feel like an expert. More like a curious student, advanced beginner.

“I think it’s okay to start a blog on a topic you don’t know a lot about.

I certainly wasn’t an expert when I started my blogs ProBlogger and Digital Photography School.”

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Darren Rowse

Problogger.com

Most people searching for answers are beginners. As long as you know a little more than beginner and are willing to constantly keep learning more and sharing everything along the way, you’re ok.

In fact, being a curious beginner is far more relatable to others than being an expert.


e. Authority Mindset – The Strategy of Preeminence

This is something that most people overlook (as I did too).

If you just rehash other people’s content and write only simple list posts, you won’t build any authority.

If you want people to do business with you they must see you as trusted advisor in your niche.

I learned this idea from Jay Abraham and he calls it the Strategy of Preeminence.

“It boils down to, I’m not trying to sell you — I want to serve you.”

How do you become an authority?

By being able to empathise and understand your reader feelings, worries, pains, dreams better than they can. You do it by giving insanely practical advice that solves their problems.

Jay: 

“Those who practice the strategy of preeminence tell people, — Here’s what you should do, here’s why you should do it and here’s how.”

This is how you’ll earn your reader attention and trust.
This is how you create long-term, true fans.

Recommended: Read or watch to learn more about the strategy.

Now…

How do you gain this level of understanding about your readers?


Chapter 2: Your Secret Weapon To Gaining Competitive Advantage


If you want to build a blog that will turn in the successful blogging business, you must remember — it’s not about you.

It’s about solving the needs and problems of your target audience.

It’s starts by knowing your market.


a. Discover Your Dream100

I learned about Dream100 from Chet Holmes – The Ultimate Sales Machine (Russel Brunson popularised it later, check him talking about it here).

Your Dream100 (you can add any number) is a list of 100 influencers you’d like to become friends with. These are people you look up to and who share your core values.

Dream100 is important for several reasons:

  • these influencers have your dream readers
  • you must know your competition so you could learn from them
  • blogging is a lonely road, it’s nice to have friends to share it with.

Brian Dean used his competition to discover proven content frameworks, which later became his infamous Skyscraper Technique.

Here’s how you find your Dream100:

Time needed: 3 hours.

  1. Use Other People Research

    Search Google for roundups of the top sites in your topic – “top/best/experts/popular” + “your topic” + “blogs”

    For example, Top SEO blogs, Websites for Writers 2018, Most Influential Affiliate Marketers

    Don’t forget to also look for – best [topic] podcasts/youtube channels/conferences/

  2. Do Your Own Research

    Think of keywords that describe your niche. Top sites ranking on these keywords will usually be part of your Dream100.

  3. Use Buzzsumo

    (signup for a free account to get unlimited searches) to see top articles of each website and help you decide if the site has your dream readers.

  4. Use SimilarWeb and their social media accounts

    This will help you to gauge how big is their audience and how approachable these influencers might be.

  5. Collect relevant information

    Discover who’s behind these sites and over time keep collecting relevant data about them. Later you will use it to stand out and start conversations.

    Collect data on things like what topics he is interested in, his interests, his friends, family, where he hangs out etc. This will be extremely useful when reaching out.

Here’s how my Dream100 looks like:

DR is their domain authority.


Important Note

Make sure you include both big influencers and small ones. When it’s time for networking, you will start from the bottom and slowly move up.

The more popular influencers are, the busier they are.

However, bloggers with similar-sized audiences to yours will become easily your best friends, accountability buddies and support system.

I remember how fun and motivating it was when I and my friend started blogs at the same time and had a nice competition that pushed both of us to grow faster.

Don’t underestimate the power of friendships.


b. Get Into Minds of Your Dream Readers

Listening to the people could be your greatest weapon.

Remember, it’s not about you — it’s about your reader. It’s about serving your reader to the best of your ability.
And in order to do that, you must learn all about him.

Daymond once said on interview:

“By the time I had created FUBU and did my deal with Samsung, you couldn’t tell me anything about my customer that I didn’t know.

I knew what clothes they wore, what they drank, what they drove — everything, the color, the size.

I knew they would pay $79.99, but they wouldn’t pay $99.99.”

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Daymond John

CEO of FUBU, Known from Shark Tank

You want to get out of your head and get into minds of your readers.

What exactly are you looking for?:

Their dreams and hopes.

For example:

My dream is to be able to not think about money and just focus on my craft, serving people, doing the best I can.”

Their challenges, fears and pain.

For example:

“I’m so scared that I’ll put in all of this time and effort just to have no one be interested. There are SO many blogs out there, how do you compete? I don’t feel like I have anything new or interesting to bring to the table. I want to dedicate all of my time to this but I can’t afford to quit my job.”

Exact words and metaphors they use to describe these feelings.

For example:

“How can I promote my blog without being annoying?”

or 

“I, too, am looking for more of a nuts and bolts approach. I need more of a cookbook, not a coffee table book.”

Different groups of potential audiences.

For example, for FounderTips I learned there are lots of different audiences, not just one as I previously thought.

There are:

  • get rich quick people, who want to make $1000 in the first month
  • hobby-bloggers, who just love writing, sharing their passion, don’t care about making money with it
  • startups/small business owners, who are interested in content marketing to increase their revenue
  • big companies, who want to scale, care about deep ROI, content marketing strategy, automation
  • Travel bloggers, digital nomads
  • niche site bloggers, who want to outsource, delegate, don’t care about passion and want to run multiple blogs.
  • Author, writer, copywriter bloggers – want to freelance write, become a book author (fiction, non-fiction)
  • and then there are experts, who want to become lifestyle entrepreneurs (4-hour-workweek lifestyle). People who want to build their personal brand and become entrepreneur teachers.

Sure, these audiences overlap, but can you see how the language you use will be different depending on the audience you target?

When you know exact language to use for your target readers, you cannot believe what kind of effect it will have. I experienced it when I read Ramit Sethi, Derek Halpern sales pages.

People will ask themselves:

“How’s this person reading my mind? That’s exactly how I feel!”

Here’s how you do this research:

Important Note

This will take quite a bit of time and it should be a never-ending process. Create a dedicated document for collecting these nuggets (I use Evernote).

Copy and paste exact words people use.

Here’s how I collect this info:

1.Dig in book reviews

Amazon Book Reviews is a goldmine for learning what people really want.

What books your target audience reads?

These people have paid money for the book and will tell you exactly what they loved and hated about it.

Look especially at 1-4 star reviews as 5 stars reviews are usually left by friends. Also note the headline, subtitle, table of contents and cover of these niche books as they reveal a lot about what your audience wants.

2. Question and Answer Sites

Quora is great to see popular questions in your niche. You can see it by the number of follows question has.

3. Check The Online Communities

Reddit, Forums and Facebook groups are extremely useful because people seem to open up in these environments and reveal their biggest challenges as questions.

Just use simple search strings in google to find these groups:

  • “ your topic + reddit”,
  • “your topic + forum”
  • “ your topic + facebook group”.

Look for topics that show up often and ones that seem to spark the biggest conversations. On reddit you can nicely sort subreddit posts by Top – Past month, year, all time. Make sure to use them.

4. Use Youtube

Youtube is the second biggest search engine and another great source for research. Just type in questions your audience might be asking, find popular niche channels and look at the questions people ask under popular relevant videos to your niche.

Use Ctrl + F on PC or Command + F and type in question mark to quickly find interesting comments.

5. Your Dream100 site comment sections

hen you find your competitors and plug in their URL’s in Buzzsumo, check the comment sections of these articles and look for interesting stories or questions people ask.

6. Analyse competitor product sales pages, FAQ, case studies, objections

If you spent the time to create your Dream100, you’ll notice that many of them have their products, courses and with it sales pages.

The more expensive the course, the more value you’ll get because your competitor usually has spent significant research to learn about their audience, their objections.

Use Archive.is if the sales page is not available anymore, sometimes it’s been saved before and you’ll get archived version of it.

At first, you’ll start by guessing who your ideal reader is, but over time as you talk to your readers, hear their struggles, survey them — you’ll know.

Few extra ninja tips to learn about your existing readers:

  • Darren Rowse used to manually email people who left comments on his site and engage with them. When people comment they leave their email, so why not reach out to them?
  • After people join your email list, ask them – “What are you struggling with the most right now?” You’ll get simple answers. But then you reply them manually and ask followup questions like – “What do you mean? What have you tried that worked, didn’t worked? Really curious to hear some more.” With this 1-2 punch you’ll open the floodgate and answers on second part of questions will be immensely valuable!

c. Analyse top articles

When you are doing this research notice patterns of frequently asked questions.

What kind of articles seem to be shared the most?

And what kind of articles get people to open up and share their stories in comments?

Be on lookout for these things.

As you immerse yourself in the industry you’ll start coming up with great ideas and naturally write using your reader’s words. You’ll become like Daymond John who knew everything about his customer.

Collect great articles and any article ideas you have as you are doing this research.

It will come in handy in the content creation phase.

Use Ahrefs for deeper popular content research

BuzzSumo is a bit limited in free version by showing only top 5 articles during the last year.

I would really suggest going for Ahrefs 7$, 7 day trial.

Ahrefs is great for discovering other sites popular content. My favorite sections are “Best by links” and “Best by link growth”.

There you can see to which pages other website owners have linked the most. Study these pages and look for patterns.

Alternatively you can look for your Dream100 popular content pages on their websites.

It’s usually somewhere in the sidebar or titled something along the lines of “Most Popular”.


d. Attract the right audience, repulse the wrong one

It’s not about the size of your audience, it’s about quality of it.

Ramit Sethi learned it hard way. He found that people who want to save money, don’t want to spend money to help them save it (even if by paying $9, they would gain $90).

You can either attract people with money or people with no money.
You can either attract action takers or “silver bullet” seekers.
You can either attract cheapskates and discount seekers or people, who are willing to invest in quality education.

There are two ways you can attract the right audience and repulse the wrong one:

  1. Google Search intent – Different people search for different things. For example, someone who searches “how to make money quick” is very different from the person who searches “how to build a successful online business”.

    Read this guide to make sure you rank on Google for the RIGHT keywords.

  2. The language you use – you can share stories about how you invest in your education by buying books, courses, going to conferences or joining mastermind groups. Or you can talk about cutting coupons and taking advantage of refund-policies. It’s up to you, but be mindful of the choices you make.

Derek puts it nicely:

“When you think about who you want to attract, think about MORE not LESS.


Show your readers how spending MORE on education will make them MORE successful.”

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Derek Halpern

SocialTriggers.com

Your vibe attracts your tribe.

Make sure you attract your dream clients instead of clients from hell.

The reason why in the early days of 1stWebDesigner I attracted cheapskates was that I was cheapskate myself. It showed in articles I wrote, the language I used.

Don’t make the same mistake.


Chapter 3: How Do You Make Your Blog Stand Out?


“If you’re just going to start another me-too blog, what’s the point? 

My motto has always been, figure out a way to be the best in the world on that small piece of real estate you have on the internet. 

Just try to be the best, and you’ll find you get disproportionate rewards.” 

Most people don’t spend time to think how they can differentiate. They enter red oceans full of people trying to undercut each other on price. You don’t want that.

The point of differentiation is so that when people introduce you to others —  they would say, oh he’s a traffic guy, conversion expert or if you want to run faster — you gotta talk to this woman.

You gotta ask yourself:

What’s the hook for my blog?

Why would anyone read my blog instead of a million other blogs?

This is #1 tip Tim Ferriss has for people starting new businesses —

“It’s easiest (and in my mind, more fun) to create a category and own it rather than trying to dominate an existing category with something incrementally better.  

Create a new category that is easily differentiated.”

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Tim Ferriss

4-Hour Workweek

This concept is explained more in books “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” in chapter 2: Law of Category and “Blue Ocean Strategy”.


a. Good Examples

Are you confused?
It’s easier to show than explain..

  • BehaviorGap – Carl Richards explains complex financial concepts through simple sketches.
  • Blogging From Paradise – Retire to a Life of Island Hopping through Smart Blogging
  • GrooveHQ shared their startup journey to $10M in annual revenue.
  • MichaelHyatt – Your Leadership Mentor
  • Matthew Woodward launched his site with Zero Link Building Challenge (SEO)
  • StartaMomBlog – How to start a successful blog as a mom.
  • RomanFitnessSystems – We do two things: make People Hot and Get People Huge.
  • Fluent In 3 Months – Language hacking and travel tips. Have confident conversations in weeks instead of years!
  • NicheHacks – teach how t build niche sites and monetize with affiliate marketing
  • Kinowear is a menswear fashion blog that aims to help you dress in your own unique, upgraded style… while actually saving money.
  • MeeraKotHand – I simplify email marketing so that you can create a tribe that’s addicted to your zone of genius (even if email scares you senseless)
  • ShaeBaxter – I’m here to help… Make Google fall in love with you! (let me show you how)
  • NerdFitness – “I love breaking down a difficult concept or a controversial topic and attacking it from a unique angle with our twist of Nerd culture references and lessons.” – Steve Kamb

Every one of these sites have something that makes them different. This is especially important in the beginning.

Even Jon Morrow, Smart Blogger site started super niche — BoostBlogTraffic.


b. Pick a sub-niche of a niche you can dominate FIRST (10 articles)

In one interview Brian Dean explained how he came from nowhere and quickly became an expert in the competitive SEO industry.

He did it by going super niche.

At first, he picked up a popular sub-niche of a niche – Link Building.

Then he wrote 8-10 epic articles only talking about link building.

When he was guest posting, he wrote about link building.

His bio, his homepage, his about page all talked about him being link building expert.

Quickly he was recognized as an expert in this sub-niche. He was interviewed about link building and invited to contribute on expert roundups.

Next, Brian picked another sub-niche of a niche, until he mastered that..and so on…until he arrived to where he is now.

This reminds of a story about Facebook, doesn’t it?

Facebook didn’t compete with Myspace head on. At first they were social network only for Harvard, then other Ivy league schools until step by step they ended up spreading over the world.

It’s a proven strategy, make sure you use it!

Develop Your Unique Solution, Technique

Along with picking a sub-niche of a niche, you must come up with a unique solution that will help to position you as an authority.

I kept seeing this again and again as a key factor to authority for today’s experts.

Few successful examples:


The Briefcase Technique by Ramit Sethi

The Briefcase Technique is a simple tactic, that helps to negotiate a higher salary. Ramit noticed how well this simple trick worked, he named it and eventually became famous because of it.

It’s so powerful because it works and gives instant improved results when applied.

Feature Box by Derek Halpern

When Derek started he knew he must do something unique to stand out. His audience struggled with conversions, so he came up with the Feature Box. Then he went around and did website review videos of influential bloggers online.

He gave tips on how to increase website conversions and always made sure to mention his Feature Box solution. 

His association with popular bloggers and his unique solution quickly helped him to become an authority.

The SkyScraper Technique by Brian Dean

The SkyScraper technique is basically just about how to write remarkable content. Many people have talked about it and even a huge authority like Rand Fishkin came up with his unique solution and named it 10X Content.

But 10X content is little known, while everyone in the blogging/SEO community talks about Skyscraper. Why?

Because after creating his solution, Brian Dean went around guest posting and talking about his solution everywhere.


It must be something that solves one important reader problem instantly when applied.

You do that and you get true fans for life.

“You may not have unique ingredients, but you’ve got a unique recipe. And that unique recipe is all that matters.” 

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Derek Halpern

SocialTriggers.com

You may not have an idea for your trademark technique yet, but keep it in the back of your mind.

SuperPower solution is a powerful way to establish authority and it would be foolish not to take advantage of it.


c. Review 127 blogs to get perspective

It’s extremely useful to check both great and bad blog examples.

When you research your Dream100 naturally you’ll be exposed to great, successful examples, but what about bad ones?

Where do you get that perspective?

When I asked this question I found Problogger was doing the International Start a Blog Day, where they listed 127 new blogger websites. I checked all these websites and analysed them.

I asked questions like:

  • What did I like about the site?
  • What seemed missing?
  • Does the site stand out in any way?

Approach this exercise with curiosity and put on your Sherlock’s hat. It’s fun, I promise.

For example, I discovered that most people are self-centered.

They write about things they are passionate about, but they forget to think how others can benefit from it.

This was a big AHA because I found myself doing it too. On my About page I invited people to follow me on the challenge, but I forgot to explain what’s in it for them!

When someone visits your site he is thinking – is it for me or not?

You have only 2.6 seconds to leave the first good impression!

Make sure your design looks trustworthy and your messaging explains why a visitor should stick around.

RomanFitnessSystems immediately stands out with quality design and unique messaging

If there is no unique hook —  the visitor thinks, oh it’s yet another food blog. Same old. No thank you.

If there is too much me, me, me talk — the visitor leaves because he doesn’t see what’s in it for him.

If there is a popup before the visitor can read anything — he gets annoyed and leaves.


d. Figure out hook for your email list

By now everyone knows they need to have email list.

From 127 blogs I reviewed almost everyone had optin box on their site.

But why should anyone give you their email address?

To receive free updates?

You must have AT LEAST an enticing freebie or ebook that solves big reader’s challenge.

Or even better you can develop unique hook not only for your website, but also your email list..!

“It’s critical that you pick an angle for your mailing list. What are you good at? What can only you offer via email?” 

Few examples:

  • Reading List — Ryan Holiday recommends life-changing books he has read each month. It’s been a huge success, you can read more about it here.
  • Brian Clark started not one, but two unique email lists. Further – is a personal growth newsletter, and Unemployable – a newsletter that provides smart strategies for freelancers and entrepreneurs once-a-week.
  • The Daily – David Risley has a newsletter where he promises to send a daily email from Monday through Friday to give actionable advice on what’s working in the world of blogging and online marketing.
Brian Clark’s Further email newsletter looks tempting, doesnt it?

Email list is your most valuable asset as a blogger, why not spend little extra time to make it unique too?

Both Neil Patel and Jon Morrow say that you can expect to make $1 per subscriber per month. Money is in lists.

Unique hook could be something as simple as promising subscriber-only insights as Kyle from GrowthBadger demonstrates.

Ninja Tip

Don’t focus on email list only. Start collecting Browser Notification lists, Facebook Messenger lists – money is in all lists that you control.


e. Including Hero’s Journey as Part of Your Blog’s Theme

“Having a story arc built into your blog does wonders.

People want to follow to find out what happens. 

That’s why “project blogs” do so well. 

You need something big, something personal, and something that you care about deeply. Then you frame it in a way that capitalizes on the natural storytelling elements. 

If you can do this, half your work as a blogger is done. 

Blogs without a central purpose always struggle.” 

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Alex Turnbull

Founder of GrooveHQ

If you are still struggling with how to differentiate, don’t worry!
The most unique ingredient is YOU.

You have unique experiences and fascinating stories only YOU can tell.

The easiest way to add story arc into your blog is by starting a challenge.

This is how you start with a bang. Alex talked everywhere about this challenge and attracted lots of interest right from the start.

Here are few examples:

Challenges get people hooked like a good TV show.

People love real stories.

Challenges are inspiring, relatable and personal.

I did it with my kizomba dancing project. I committed myself to one year of practicing for 3 hours a day.

Then I publicly shared my journey short video blogs. People loved it and saw themselves on the journey I took.

You don’t need to start as an expert.

But after you overcome challenges in front of your readers you’ll become one and people will trust you.


Part 2: Writing –  How To Write A Blog Post That Drives Traffic


After you’ve got the foundation right, it’s time to start creating.

In this section, you’ll learn how to write SuperArticles that build authority and get traffic.

In the past advice – “Write one new article every day” was great but now to break through the noise you must create SuperArticles with OOMG feel to them.

Today a better advice is — “Write every day, publish every two weeks.”

It’s so easy to promote remarkable content, but it’s hard to put a lipstick on the pig.


Chapter 4: The Mindset and Strategy Behind Crafting SuperArticles

Let’s review where traffic comes from, how articles go viral and what’s #1 traffic source you should focus on.


a. There Are Only Two Major Sources Of Referral Traffic Online

Where does traffic come from?

Shareaholic discovered there are only two major referral sources – search and social media.

In terms of search traffic, Google dominates it with 36.82%:

Others are not even close!

When it comes to social, Facebook is the undisputed leader with 18.16%.
(though Pinterest is showing growth).

Here the fight is a bit more interesting.

If you are starting out, less is more.

Doesn’t it make sense to focus on ONLY the two major sources that give 80% of results?

Or better yet, one?

Facebook is all about virality, which means you’ll get a spike in traffic and that’s it.

Google is the most attractive traffic source because when you get your content ranking, it usually stays there for a long time.

It’s the closest you can get to evergreen, passive traffic.

Neil Patel also said:

“Something I learned recently is that most of the posts that have done well on the social web typically don’t do as well on Google.

Writing basic content that has high search volume usually isn’t as popular as click-bait from a social media perspective but, in the long run, these high search volume posts usually generate more traffic due to their search engine rankings.”

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Neil Patel

NeilPatel.com

The third traffic channel worth mentoning is other websites. You will get to that traffic as you develop relationships, write guest posts and get people to link to you.

This is interconnected because the main Google ranking factor is how many backlinks articles have.

As people begin to see you as authority, they will link to you more.

Likewise as you gain more backlinks and get higher search rankings, people will find you on Google and naturally link to you.

It’s like yin-yang, one affects another.

You should at least learn the basics of SEO. Why not take advantage of free search traffic?

But don’t take my word for it.

Brian Dean, Neil Patel and Tim Soulo (aHrefs) all agree that search traffic is #1 priority for them.

“Focus on organic search traffic ONLY.

It can be tempting to write about whatever currently excites you.

Perhaps a hot industry topic, an exciting feature release, or even just a random rant.

Resist temptation!

Why? Ask yourself this simple question:

Will this article send me traffic two years from now?
Nine times out of 10, the answer is no.”

Just keep in mind that search traffic is a long-term game.

It can take 6-12 months to rank, but when you rank it’s the closest thing to passive traffic.


b. Writing Remarkable content – 5 D’s by Jon Morrow

How can you create remarkable content that gets shared wildly and ranks on #1 spot on Google?

It’s easy to notice remarkable content when you see it. But how do you create one?

Jon Morrow explanation is the best I’ve found.

He calls them five Ds and organizes them in order of power (the strongest point is last):

1. Depth

Depth – you create the most complete resource on your topic.

Michael Pozdnev’s How To Write Your First Blog Post is an awesome example.

That’s only 50% of table of contents!
2. Unique Data

If you have access to unique data like Ahrefs do, use it.

This article is a great example:

 91% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. And How to Be in the Other 9% (New Research by Ahrefs).

If you have a big audience, you can survey them for unique insights.

Or you can do what BufferApp and Derek Halpern do — they uncover little-known scientific researches and put them in an interesting light.

3. Design

Good content and great design add a lot to perceived value.

For example, this ultimate guide by Ramit Sethi has both depth and great design.

4. Drama

If you are a good storyteller write a story that evokes emotion, shows your passion.

This article “The Secret of Life” by Brian Clark spoke to me deeply.

Emotion is a powerful trigger.

5. Unique Disctinction

It’s content that changes someone’s thinking and worldview.

Seth Godin’s every blog post offers unique insights.

You can do this by sharing your unique experiences, stories, case studies.

Tell your readers something they never thought about.

Mix it with depth and you’ll get a strong combo.

You should ONLY focus on writing remarkable, in-depth content.

“Here’s what I look for in [guest post applications]. 

Posts that are backed up by research, charts, data, and expert quotes, not your opinion.

It’s easy to write what you think. It’s much harder to produce data that back up an argument.”

Everything else will just disappear in the crowd and you’ll never break through the noise.

Ryan sums it up nicely: 

“People don’t want to browse, they want ONE STOP SHOP.”

Be on constant lookout for remarkable content.

When you read something that blows your mind, ask yourself – why? Incorporate the findings in your content.

Here are more examples of remarkable content:


c. Science of Virality

Every blogger’s dream is to create a viral masterpiece.

Dollar Shave Club type viral.

The question is — can you do something about it or is it just a matter of luck?

While there is always luck involved, you can definitely improve your odds.

What can you do to prepare viral-worthy content?

Do badass challenges.

Like Drew Manning FIT TO FAT TO FIT:

Yep, he did it willingly to prove that his approach works.

…or like Jia Jiang who went through 100 days of Rejection (Ted talk).

Challenge was so successful, Jia Jing even wrote a book about it!

P.S. If you want to try it yourself here’s the full list of 100 rejections. 😉

Doing unique challenges will help not only with viral one-hit-wonders, but it will also provide you with endless streams of stories to share in your content, as Tom Kuegler points out.

One of the best researches on virality has been done by Jonah Berger who shared his discoveries in his book “Contagious“:

“Virality isn’t born, it’s made.” 

“People don’t think in terms of information. They think in terms of narratives. But while people focus on the story itself, information comes along for the ride.” 

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Jonah Berger

Author of “Contagious: Why Things Catch On”

Here are some of his “viral ingredients”:

  1. Content that evokes the high level of emotions, especially positive ones. Emotions like wonder, delight, amazement or bad emotions like — outrage, fear.  

    For example, I was in tears when reading this – 7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can’t Move Anything but His Face (this article has almost all viral ingredients and it got 79,000 shares!)
  2. Extremely practical content (delivers results quickly).
    Example: Writer’s Block: 27 Techniques to Overcome It Forever
  3. Tell a great story. 
    Example: How Long Have I Got Left?
  4. Take opposite position to accepted knowledge.
    Example: Why You Should Define Your Fears Instead of Your Goals
  5. Content that supports reader’s viewpoint.
    Example: 5 Minutes Early Is On Time; On Time Is Late; Late Is Unacceptable
  6. Read seven more viral post case studies here.

Finally, a surprising fact is that if your blog is new you shouldn’t publish a viral-worthy article on your site. Instead, you should pitch it to a popular news site.

Read Assya Barrette’s case study to learn the exact steps to crafting viral content. 

Assya landed 130,800 shares on a single article!

It’s a must read.

One of the sites she got published on.

d. View Yourself as a Ceator, NOT a Consumer

This idea comes from a self-made millionaire M.J. DeMarco.

“Applied, this means instead of buying products on TV, sell products.

Instead of digging for gold, sell shovels.

Instead of taking a class, offer a class.

Instead of borrowing money, lend it.

Instead of taking a job, hire for jobs.

Instead of taking a mortgage, hold a mortgage.

Break free from consumption, switch sides, and reorient to the world as producer.” 

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M.J. DeMarco

Author of “The Millionaire Fastlane”

We are taught from an early age to be consumers.

We are taught to buy, to read, to watch — to consume.

But if you want to become a successful blogger you must become a creator FIRST.

Ramit Sethi even once said that top performers create 10x more than they consume.

So, how can you create more?

Since blogging is all about writing, I checked how the best writers got their work done.

I discovered that almost everyone one of them, including Ernest Hemingway wrote the first thing every morning (great analysis by James Clear).

“When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible.

There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.”

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Ernest Hemingway

American novelist

They created first, consumed second.

Only after they’ve created first they did other things like — socialize, check email, go out, exercise.

Another benefit to writing every morning is that you’ll develop a habit.

Instead of using willpower to start writing, it will become effortless and something you just do – like brushing teeth in the morning.

Tips to create more:

  • Don’t check anything before you put in your 1-2-3 hours (or 1,000 words) of focused writing — no email, no Facebook, no phone, no disctractions.
  • Use habit tracking apps to help you develop a daily writing habit.
  • Write first, edit second. Just keep typing even if you think what you’re writing sucks. Embrace the idea of “shitty first drafts”.
  • When inner critic comes out, remind yourself —  it’s not about you. It’s about connecting with your readers and doing your best to improve their lives.

e. Write less and pick your targets strategically

“Don’t hit the “publish” button until you’re sure that your content is the bar-none, #1, undisputed heavyweight champion of awesomeness on that topic.”

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Brian Dean

Backlinko.com

In past, Google ranked one keyword for one article.

Today Google will rank one article for hundreds of keywords.

For example, let’s imagine I wrote an article targeting keyword – “Web Design Trends 2018”.

Google will rank this article not only for the main keyword but also for:

  • website trends
  • web design inspiration 2018
  • newest website design

The lightbulbs wen off when I saw these 2 websites:

  • Backlinko by Brian Dean dominating SEO industry with only 41 articles published in 5 years on his site (it’s on average 8 articles a year).
  • Robbie Richards got 1,000,000 pageviews from 28 articles. (he has a total of 37 articles published in 4 years)

Brian Dean’s top 3 posts are ranking for 512, 1472 and 10,810 keywords according to Ahrefs:

Isn’t that crazy?

If this isn’t a confirmation of how quality wins over quantity, I don’t know what is.

Now on comparison let’s check Problogger by Darren Rowse, who is considered by many #1 site on blogging.

Darren publicly shared that there are over 8,000 articles published and according to SimilarWeb ProBlogger receives 682,000 monthly visits.

Let’s compare it with Brian Dean’s Backlinko with 41 articles. According to SimilarWeb it receives 1.35 million monthly visits.

Twice as much traffic!

With frikin’ 41 articles!

8000/40 = 200X less articles!

Interesting is that Warren Buffet uses the same mindset in his investing strategy and explains it with a baseball analogy.

The idea is that you don’t try to hit every ball that comes your way, instead you cherry-pick the ball that is within your sweet spot.

You don’t need to act on every article idea that comes your way.

You may take hours looking for that one article idea which fits in your “Circle of Competence”.

Article idea which:

  • is not competitive, with opportunity to rank #1 on Google
  • you can say something unique about
  • would bring YOUR ideal readers (future buyers)

Now, that’s an EVERGREEN winning strategy that will never go out of style.


Chapter 5: How To Perform Effective Research


a. SEO keyword research + Your Dream Audience Problems = Perfect SuperArticles

It all starts with finding the reader’s problem you can solve.

If you did your homework from Part 1 you already might have some article ideas.

Here’s a quick recap how to find article ideas:

  • Use Quora, Reddit, forums, popular article comment sections
  • Use AnswerThePublic for more keyword ideas
  • Use QuestionDB and Keyworddit to quickly find questions asked on Reddit around your keyword
  • Brainstorm your own ideas
Make use of tools like QuestionDB to research faster.

Then you type these keywords in Google to see the competition and related searches:

You repeat until you find “sweet spot” keyword – that has reasonable competition and reasonable search volume (at least 1000 searches per month).

Low competition keyword with buying intent.

With both of these tools, you can see if the first page is dominated by high DR (domain rating) websites with lots of backlinks or if you have a shot.

In my example, I discovered “Thinkific vs Teachable” had 1,000 searches per month, but the #1 result had only two backlinks, even if it was a high Domain Rating website.

Note: Thinkific and Teachable are online course platforms that allow you to create and sell your own courses.

I spent two weeks doing email outreach and a few months later landed on #3 spot.

Finding good keywords is both science and art.

How do you determine if you can rank for certain keyword? 

If you are starting out, I would avoid any keywords where first page Google rankings have hundreds of backlinks.

It’s also a good idea to check first page articles and see if you can improve on what’s out there already.

If you can’t, don’t bother.

Keep looking for another keyword on which you can write content that’s 10X better than everything that’s out there.

Keyword research is a massive topic, check Brian Dean’s Ultimate Guide to Keyword Research to dive deeper.

Ninja Tip

Watch out for new keywords that arise in your niche.

For example, Thinkific vs Teachable is a new keyword, because online course platforms have become popular only in the last few years.

Previously everyone was searching for – “best membership plugins”.

How to look for new keywords?

Embed yourself in the industry and over time you’ll notice trends, people coining new words like – “voice search, how to use Alexa, lean startup, growth hacking”.

If you use Ahrefs (paid), you can spy what low competition keywords other sites rank for.

Make sure to take advantage of Search traffic while you still can.

Jon Morrow predicts it will only become more competitive:

Final slide from Jon Morrow’s speech on Traffic & Conversion Summit 2018.

b. Table of Contents First – Beat Writer’s Block Forever

This was a big AHA-moment for me.

I was reading about Ryan Holiday’s book writing process and he said:

“Do most of the research first. Treat writing as something separate. That’s how I think about it.

I might spend several months or a year accumulating stuff—and then one day you start WRITING.

That’s a big day, and it’s an important shift.”

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Ryan Holiday

American author best known for “The Obstacle is the Way”

For his book “Ego Is The Enemy“, Ryan first created a table of contents.

He decided that book will have 3 parts, 10 chapters each and he set out to find 30 GREAT stories.

Only after the research is done, he sits to do writing.

I thought — “M’kay, but this is just one writer.”

I dug some more and Ramit Sethi repeated the same thing.

He said when he was writing his bestselling book “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”, he spent 8 MONTHS coming up with the perfect table of contents before he wrote anything!

“When I started writing my book I spent 8 months getting the table of contents right. Because I know once I got the structure down, writing itself would be very easy.”

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Ramit Sethi

I Will Teach YouTo Be Rich

Treating research and writing as a separate process was a game-changer for me.

You’ll save so much time you would spend trying to connect article together for a natural flow.

Just try it and you can thank me later!

Ninja tip to hook skimmers

Make sure your two strongest points come first and then last.

If your sub-headlines, bolder parts, quotes impress the reader she might stick around longer. Make sure your best tips stand out.

Eliminate expected points

After you’re done with Table of Contents make sure you eliminate the fluff.

This is another golden advice from Jon Morrow:

“The biggest distinguishing factor between great content and the rest of the crap online is that it’s not a regurgitation of the same old stuff you’ve read a thousand times before.

Don’t tell people what to do.

Tell them what to do DIFFERENTLY.”

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Jon Morrow

SmartBlogger.com

The way you do it is by writing down what people would expect to read , and then write down what would be the surprising advice.

For example, what kind of advice you would expect for the article “How To Become More Productive?”

Probably something like:

  • write your ToDo list previous evening,
  • prioritize the tasks,
  • use Pomodoro technique?

What would be unexpected advice?

What if I told you dould become more productive by sleeping more?

That would probably be something you never thought of.

But there is an actual science behind it.

Here’s a good article on the science behind sleeping more.


c. Look for expert stories, data, quotes to support your writing, copy them all out as you read

How do you convince people that you are a credible source, that you are worth listening to?

You learn the subtle arts of persuasion.

Your best persuasion tools as a writer are stories, anecdotes, and data.

Ryan Holiday suggests:

“When in doubt, turn to the classics. Remember, there is nothing new under the sun.

And if we’re all just saying the same things with new words, what quote is going to have more authority: one from Tacitus or some flavor-of-the-month blogger?

Von Clausewitz once said that military historians love to cite Greek and Roman history because, as the oldest and most obscure, it is the easiest to manipulate.”

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Ryan Holiday

American author best known for “The Obstacle is the Way”

The older and more respected the authority the more credible the source.

For example in blogging, IM niche I could quote:

  • Our day experts like Jon Morrow, Brian Dean, Ramit Sethi, Derek Halpern, Neil Patel, Russel Brunson, Tim Ferriss.
  • Senior experts like Frank Kern, John Reese, Rich Shefren, Jeff Walker, Eben Pagan
  • Even more senior experts  – Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham
  • The fathers of copywriting like David Ogivly, Eugene Schwartz, John Carlton.

By knowing and quoting the most credible experts in your industry, their credibility rubs off a bit to you too.

Ninja Tip

Avoid using popular quotes everyone has heard of. Give them something UNEXPECTED. 😉


d. Only Write Case Studies (Tell Stories)

Brian Dean once said he ONLY writes case studies.
And this makes sense. If you look at many of the most popular content online — those are real-life case studies.

Remember in the “Science of Virality” section we learned that content with DEPTH and UNIQUE DISTINCTIONS has viral triggers.

Everyone can go in depth, but nobody has your stories.

Use these stories to strengthen your writing.

I believe the best way for people to create SuperArticles is to go for depth and include lots of mini case studies (or one big case study). The more data you can show to back up your story claims, the more trustworthy it will be.

The reason why it works is that our brains are wired to learn from stories. Read more about this phenomena at BufferApp.

This Is Your Brain on Metaphors, a great visualisation by NY Times.

Alex Turnbull did an interesting experiment. He A/B tested two versions of his content. One had a story in the introduction, while the other one didn’t. There was nearly 300% difference how long people stayed on that article!

Well, the difference wouldnt be as dramatic if Alex had written at least short hooking intro for “No Story” example. But still the point is strong.

Chapter 6: How To Become A Better Writer


After you’ve done the research and came up with Table of Contents for your article — now it’s time to do the actual writing.


a. Write Insanely Valuable Content & Use Your Audience’s Language

There are a lot of writing hacks and ways to improve but focus on the cake first, icing second.

  • A cake is an insanely practical information, unique ideas supported with relevant stories and case studies
  • The icing is good grammar, great opening, subheadings, closing, anecdotes, metaphors, power words etc.

“Sure, writing well helps. Knowing the basics of grammar and sentence structure is a useful skill.

But what sets an amazing piece of content apart from a mediocre one isn’t grammar or punctuation.

It’s the information.”

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Sarah Peterson

UnSettle.org

Sarah has a proven track record of writing a handful of popular posts at Sumo.com (Noah Kagan’s company). One of her posts got 23,000 shares, quote from here.

This is just to remind to you and me — we won’t become superstar writers overnight.

But we can always focus on value first and over time work on becoming better writers.

Use The Exact Words Your Reader Uses

Remember the section where we learned about our dream reader dreams and struggles?

This is where we use it.

“If you can define the problem better than your target customer, they will automatically assume you have the solution.”   

For example, I found that my dream readers have all read 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. For that reason, I make sure to include some Tim Ferriss quotes and examples in content I write.

Another example, I noticed someone wrote — “I always feel like a robot when I write.”

Well, then this would be a perfect place to say — the following content will ensure you never feel like a robot when you write!


b. Invest in Great Headlines & SubHeadlines

According to Brian Clark from CopyBlogger:

“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.”

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Brian Clark

CopyBlogger.com

Yes, this is an expected point you have heard a million times before. But I couldn’t NOT include it.

Every successful blogger stressed how important headlines are.

When Jon Morrow was working for Brian Clark, Brian told Jon to write 100 headlines a day for a month. Jon Morrow did it for a year.

He wrote 36,500 headlines and now is considered one of the best in the content marketing world. It’s THAT important.

If you don’t care for our-day experts, maybe you’ll listen to old masters.

Old advertising geniuses Eugene Schwartz and Joseph Sugarman both agreed:

“The headline is make-or-break. Nail it, and your reader will continue into the ad. Get it wrong, and she’ll turn the page, or close the tab.”

Also David Ogilvy in his book “Confessions of an Advertising Man” (1963) said:

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.

When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

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David Ogilvy

“The Father of Advertising”

How Do You Become Better at Headline writing?

  • Write lots of headlines for every single article (Jon Morrow suggests to spend 20% of your total writing time working on the headline)
  • Check viral content in your niche, copy out headlines that grab your attention and try to replicate them
  • Use headline templates
  • Train your intuition. Go to Growth.org (find your industry voting site or subreddit), look for new submissions and try to predict which ones will get lots of votes. Put a reminder on your phone, come back a week later and check how it worked. Intuition is a muscle that can be trained.

Another great headline writing tip from Tim Ferriss (see what I’m doing here quoting Tim?):

“Never tell the whole story in the headline if you want optimal click-through.

“Home Prices Drop 47%, Largest Single-Quarter Drop in 50 Years” 
isn’t nearly as good as
“Largest Drop in Home Prices Since 1960: The Reasons, Numbers, and What You Can Do.”

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Tim Ferriss

4-Hour WorkWeek

Don’t give away everything in your headlines or subheadlines.

Create a curiosity gap. Give the benefit, but not the solution.

Remember, practice makes better and writing at least 30 headlines for each article is a must.

Assya wrote 70 headlines with different angles when preparing for the article that went viral and received 130K shares!

Now that’s how the pros do it, eh!

Want to become headline ninja? Study and make use of these resources!:

Learn The Science Behind Winning Headlines

If you really want to becomming better in writing headlines, you should study copywriting.

Neville Medhora’s blog would be #1 place to start (besides the articles listed below):

Headline Hacks & Formulas

Use headline templates to become a better headline writer. These are proven headlines that work:

Headline Analyzers and Idea Generators

Now these tools are great to review your headlines or even generate ideas for you:

Ninja Tip

You can mini-test headlines by creating a survey on any friendly Facebook group or ask your friends to vote on their most favorite headline.

Buffer A/B tests their headlines on Twitter.

There’s is also WordPress plugin (paid) to A/B test your headlines.

Or simply if the article doesn’t perform, keep tweaking headline and repromote it again on social media.


c. Bonus Copywriting, Writing Ninja Hacks

This next part is a collection of random writing tips. These will help to improve your content even further.

This is the juicy icing on the cake.

“The purpose of the first sentence is to get the reader to read the second sentence.” 

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Joseph Sugarman

Copywriting Legend

The headline and image grab attention.

The first sentence hooks you.

The second sentence opens a story, which opens a mental loop that we want to close.

The next sub-headline peaks our curiosity and we read on.

And so on and on.

Ideally, it would be a constant flow where a reader is pulled in and loses the awareness of time.

Here are the best tips I discovered that will make your writing more captivating.

Have a strong opening that hooks people

Brian Dean recommends his APP technique:

  • Agree – Start your intro with something the reader will agree with. For example, “I think you’ll agree that it’s getting harder and harder to grow your blog.”
  • Promise – give your reader a hope for a solution. For example — “All the most successful performers model what works first before they start innovating. I’ve studied 100 successful bloggers and decoded patterns that you can implement to quickly grow your blog.”
  • Preview – tell exactly what readers will get. For example — “You’ll learn how to position your blog to stand out from the crowd, how to write articles that go viral and how to promote them without being sneaky.”

Here’s another template I learned from Yaro Starak’s course that you can use:

  • Why? (Motivation) – Why do you need to read this article? What will you get? Why is this a challenge? Give the motivation to keep reading.
  • What? (History/Credibility) – Give background of me working on this problem, tell a story..research that went into this, so they can justify I’m worth listening to.
  • How? (What are the steps?)
  • What if? (Outcomes) – What happens if I do this? How life will change if they apply these aspects. Paint the picture of the result that they would get.
  • (bonus) Tell your readers what you believe..if they believe the same thing they will be more inclined to keep reading.

Use Power Words

People respond to powerful emotions — positive or negative.

Avoid weak, sluggish words and replace them with powerful words that are MIND-BOGGLING!

Few examples:

  • I could say, You look good! vs You look outlandish!
  • I could say, I felt bad  vs I had never felt more embarrassed in my life!
Sumo-sized cheat-sheet.

Here are helpful cheat sheets with power words by Sumo (400 words) and by SmartBlogger (595 words).

Make reader your hero

Transform your content from self-centered to reader-oriented.

For example:

  • Bad: When I want to improve my writing skills, I read these articles about headlines.
  • Good: If you want to improve your writing skills, you should read these articles about headlines.

Which one speaks to you more? Do more of that!

Replicate natural conversation

When you pose a question to your reader it stops their reading flow and makes them think.

Did my previous question “Which one speaks to you more?” stopped you to think for a bit?

And what about this one? 🙂

Use lots of examples

I learned about this idea first from Bryan Harris:

You need to shock and awe your readers.

The best way I’ve found to do that is going deeper than everyone else.

Give more details, more case studies and more actionable advice.

Sometimes you might find yourself stuck and feeling like it’s nearly impossible to go deeper in your post.

When you feel that urge, inject the phrase “For Example.”

This forces you to go deeper and provide real case studies of what your advice looks like in action.

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Bryan Harris

VideoFruit.com

If you look back and just use CTRL+F (CMD + F for Mac) you’ll find I’m using “For example” all over the place. 

Use analogies

Analogies stop boredom, shift perspective and help with understanding.

Few examples of great analogies:

As smoking is to the lungs, so is resentment to the soul; even one puff is bad for you. 

– Elizabeth Gilbert

A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest. 

– Winston Churchill

“Fighting for peace is like f***ing for chastity” 

– Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis

Jon Morrow is a genius at analogies, read this article to learn more.

Shorten and Simplify The Sentences

When we write our first drafts, they are guaranteed to be full with long sentences and weak words that should be eliminated.

When you go to the editing stage, it’s important to remove everything you can.

Check out this article about simple edits that make your writing 100% more powerful.

Use Grammarly to help you. It’s the next best thing if you cannot afford to hire a proofreader.

Grammarly in action.

d. Formatting for Scanners – Structure Your Content

As I was doing my research I noticed the comment:

“Even skimming through this (we all do it, don’t we?)”

And I realised it’s true.

I always scan the content first. Don’t you?

Often I scan the article, read the sections that catch my eye and move on.
Sometimes I will skim the article and be impressed to read it thoroughly.
But often I quickly scan the article and close never to return.

We do this as readers, but as writers we forget it.
Instead of fighting this trend, we need to work with it.

Here are some tips to prepare your content for scanning.

Start with short sentences to ease people into reading.

Aligning a small image to the right helps to break the text.

This study proved that short sentences increase readability by whopping 58%!

Use the Hemingway app during the editing phase to help you to identify long sentences.

Super nice way to ease people in reading (Credits: SmartBlogger)

Break up paragraphs

Forget what you learned in school. Writing for the web is different. Break up content as much as you can for easier reading.

Use simple, conversational language 

Talk like you would be talking to your best buddy.

The research has shown that most adults read at the 7th-grade level.

Add pictures (no stock photos!!!)

It’s been proven that adding images make readers stay longer.
The problem is that everyone uses stock photos and they look cheap.

Take this as an opportunity to add your personality:

  • create amateurish photos to visualize your stories
  • take a lot of screenshots and write on them using Skitch.
Commentary adds to the picture, don’t you think?

Finally, use lots of various elements to break up your content:

  • horizontal lines
  • bold, italic, underline, highlights
  • bullet points, quotes
  • Tweetables, videos, audio files, memes. (Windows/Mac) to create them

Remember, there are three types of learning – reading, listening, seeing.

Try to get as many as you can in every article.

It will make for more entertaining read and readers will stick longer.

Fizzle article formatting is one of the best I’ve seen and suggest you use it as inspiration.

Pay attention to article styling on other sites. Once you find something you like, implement it on your site.

If you don’t know how to code, a quick google search always works —  “how to style horizontal lines in CSS”.

Ninja Tip

If you know the basics of HTML & CSS you can also inspect other website’s CSS (Chrome) to spy on their code.

I’ve done this countless times to see what fonts others use, for example.  


e. Create an Evernote Swipe Book

Creating those SuperArticles require a lot of research and lots of references.

All successful writers use organizational systems to collect information and quickly find it.

For example, Ryan Holiday uses paper Notecard System. If you’re not that extreme, the second best option is to use Evernote.

Here’s how my Evernote looks like:

There are four levels of organization:

  • Notebooks
  • Notes
  • Details inside notes.
  • Tags for notes

Within notes, I collect all the interesting articles I’ve read and copied out the most interesting parts.

This allows me to keep track of the best ideas and easily credit original sources.

If I just read the article and don’t copy out the best parts, I forget what I learned and lose time reading it all again.

You should also create your own Swipe file:

The more you use it, the more useful it becomes.
Invest a little time learning how to use Evernote, it will pay dividends later.

You can check the Udemy Evernote course, a good book or just check Youtube for tutorials.

I use these exact resources to create my own system.

Final Words on writing:

E. L. Doctorow once said that “writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way.


You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you.


This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard.

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Anne Lamott

American novelist, author of “Bird by Bird”

Both Ramit Sethi and Tim Ferriss mention “Bird by Bird” as one of the best books on writing.

When you dive deep into writing reading books about it will help to delve into a mindset of successful writers:

  • Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott – teaches to accept shitty first drafts and take it one step at the time trusting in the end it all will make sense.
  • On Writing” by Steven King – is sprinkled with actionable writing tips and insights on his writing process are invaluable. 
  • Master Content Marketing” by Pamela Wilson – she helped build Copyblogger and the book is filled with content strategy, writing and copywriting tips.

Reading about Ryan Holiday and Tim Ferriss writing process will help to see yourself as a writer and have realistic expectations about both the process and the results.

Writing is hard (at first), but the one skill you must master to become a successful blogger.

After we’ve done with that, the fun stuff starts — promotion, traffic, launch — the sweet results from the labor.

Can I get hell yeah?

HELL YEAH!


Part 3: Promotion – How To Get Traffic To Your Website


Lack of traffic is #1 worry for 69% of bloggers according to BlogTyrant survey.

And it’s understandable — if nobody reads your stuff, nobody will buy either.

The reason I spent so much focus on strategy and writing is because my research showed this as #1 factor between success and failure.

Sure, promotion is a crucial piece of the pie. 

But if you are climbing the wrong wall you won’t get where you desire no matter how badass you are.

In this section, you will learn the mindset of promotion and few core EVERGREEN strategies that have worked and will work for years.

I saw these same unsexy strategies being mentioned by successful bloggers again and again.

Don’t take them lightly.


Chapter 7: The Mindset Required To Achieve Explosive Blog Growth


Let me ask you:

If you do what everyone is doing what results will you get?

My guess:

Average.

But what if you would first check commonly accepted advice and then ask: 

 What can I do DIFFERENTLY?

Every day we are fighting with noise:

  • There are 30 trillion indexed pages on Google
  • 5 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook every day
  • The average person is distracted every 40 seconds when working in front of a computer

If you want a fighting chance you must be a Purple Cow.

“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing.

In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” 

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Seth Godin

From the book “Purple Cow

How would an average person promote their content?

Well,  probably she would share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, email list…

…and that’s about it.

Now what would a more advanced person do?

Probably:

  • send cold outreach emails using templates
  • leave lots of quick comments
  • join Google+ groups and share their content there
  • join shared Pinterest boards
  • join collaboration groups and exchange votes with each other

This is what most people do it and it does work (a little).

But it’s such a draining process.

I did it for two weeks to promote my Thinkific vs Teachable article.

I wrote lots of comments, emails, Quora answers, Google+ submissions.

Article landed 12 backlinks, but it felt like a HARD work, when it should feel like a challenging game. 

I knew there was a better way, but for that, I needed to change my mindset.

Look:

If you are in it just for money — it will show and work will feel like work.

Same way if you genuinely enjoy learning more about your industry and are in it for the long-term  — it will show as well!

That’s when work is challenging, but it’s also becomes an inspiring game.

“In this new, exciting, changing world, you will discover that the people and teams who are doing what they love are the ones who are thriving.

If it feels like hard work you will always get trumped by those who have passion.”

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Daniel Priestley

From book “The Key Person of Influence

When you find a niche you are passionate about and which has good money making potential, you’ll be ready for the following question and strategy:


a. How Can You Promote Your Content DIFFERENTLY?

“As soon as you open your mind to doing things differently, the doors of opportunity practivally fly off their hinges.”

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Jay Abraham

The Abraham Group

For example, what if instead of leaving lots of comments, you would spend 5-10 minutes writing a comment that stands out like a sore thumb?

If everyone is competing in social media, what if you would join unsexy forums and build your reputation there?

That’s exactly what Matthew Woodward and Brian Dean did when they started.

“Forums are a VERY underrated traffic source.

When you become an active, respected member of a forum, you’ve built a funnel…

…a funnel that brings people back to your site.”

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Brian Dean

Backlinko.com

b. Do Things That Don’t Scale

Do you love automation?

Then you must read the following VERY carefully:

If you are starting out, you should actively look for doing the hard things to gain your foothold in the industry.

Paul Graham, the founder of YCombinator wrote the famous essay — “Do Things that Don’t Scale”:

The most common unscalable thing founders have to do at the start is to recruit users manually.

You can’t wait for users to come to you. You have to go out and get them.

The other reason founders ignore this path is that the absolute numbers seem so small at first.

This can’t be how the big, famous startups got started, they think.

The mistake they make is to underestimate the power of compound growth.

We encourage every startup to measure their progress by weekly growth rate. If you have 100 users, you need to get 10 more next week to grow 10% a week.

And while 110 may not seem much better than 100, if you keep growing at 10% a week you’ll be surprised how big the numbers get.

After a year you’ll have 14,000 users, and after 2 years you’ll have 2 million.

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Paul Graham

Founder of YCombinator

It means going the extra mile to get your first readers.

Darren Rowse in early days of Problogger personally emailed everyone who left a comment or joined his email list.

People notice outreach from miles away as Glen demonstrates:

Email templates are cool, except they scream automation.

If you understand and embrace this concept of thinking DIFFERENTLY (oh hey, Steve Jobs) and doing the things that don’t scale, then you’ll love the next strategy.

If you are looking for silver bullets here, sorry, you should go somewhere else.


Chapter 8:  #1 Evergreen Traffic Strategy All Pros Use


What’s the biggest secret all influencers know?

RELATIONSHIPS.

It’s the biggest traffic hack of all time.

Have you ever wondered why all the top influencers hang out with each other?:

  • they interview each other on podcasts
  • they link to each others articles
  • they guest post on each others websites
  • they hang out together in conferences

Well, there are two reasons:

  1. They like to hang around with the smartest minds in the industry and learn from each other
  2. They help each other to grow their businesses faster #traffic-hack
Glen Allsopp did a great job uncovering this phenomena from SEO perspective.

All the fastest growing blogs usually have few influential friends in the niche who support each other constantly!

Could it be that simple?

We are on constant lookout for the next ninja traffic strategy, but what if Dale Carnegie was really onto something with his “winning friends and influencing people” idea?


If you want other influencers to help you, you must help them first.

If you want to become an influencer, you must develop relationships with other influencers.

The reason why most people don’t do this is because they are not committed or passionate about their chosen niche (or maybe just self-centered).

They are in it for money.

Everything is binary — 1’s and 0’s.

They see relationship building as a waste of time. They just want to get a link and cash in quickly.

That’s why “Relationship Marketing Strategy” will always work.

Because it doesn’t scale.

Because it requires you to be deeply interested in your industry.

Because it requires you to help influencers without expecting anything in return.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

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Dale Carnegie

Author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People

Building relationships take a lot of time (as all good things).

But if you are genuine, helpful and friendly — over 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, you’ll build lasting relationships that will benefit you for a lifetime.


How I Grew Onkizomba by Helping Influencers  

A great example to this is how I grew my dancing project Onkizomba.

When I started dancing, I mapped out the top dancers in my field and started attending festivals where they taught.

Then I professionally recorded the after-class demos, edited them nicely, wrote a kind description and made sure to tag these dancers on Facebook.

At first, nothing happened.

But as I kept doing it for 3, 4, 5 times, teachers took notice.

They approached me on festivals to express their gratitude. I got to hang out with them and gained key insights what it takes to become a great dancer.

Me with Jojo & Mickaela (one of the top kizomba dance couples)

Later, when I started doing my own dancing videos I tagged them and credited them as inspiration for my dance choreography.

They responded kindly in comments and some even shared my post.

This gave me an instant credibility and within one year I was well on my way to becoming an authority myself.

Note, making those videos took a lot of time. But that’s exactly why it worked so well — nobody else was doing it.

Also important to mention is that I never wrote a kind commentary if I GENUINELY didn’t like the instructor and the class.

If I didn’t have anything good to say, I didn’t say anything.


How Can You Do This? What are the Steps?

While there really are no steps to building GENUINE relationships (show me your 5 Step Process to Finding Your Life’s Partner), still there are some guidelines you can follow:

a. Create a list of influencers you want to connect with

Include only people you would genuinely love to be friends with.

Eliminate people you would only want to know because of their influence.

People B.S. radars notice insincere people from miles away.


b. Find out where they are the most active

Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, site comments?

You can see Noah for example being active on Youtube (though he’s active on OkDork and Twitter too). Aim for least crowded then 🙂

During my own research, I noticed that usually big influencers use at least one social network actively.

Don’t engage them on a social network where you see only scheduled posts.

Look for opportunities.

Everyone might reach out to the person on Twitter, but maybe you discover that he posts personal photos and replies to people on Instagram.

If the influencer writes articles himself make sure you leave unique and thoughtful comments there. Ideally, you would be the first commentator and you would ask a question as well.

Tim Ferriss once said himself, that the best way to get his attention is through the comment section.

And this makes sense.

If you spend hours writing an article, even if you are busy wouldn’t you stick around for few days to see how people react? Sure, you would.

Ninja tip

You might notice that big influencers are so busy they don’t even respond to the comments.

This is your chance.

Watch out for questions and answer them yourself!

This will help establish your authority and get new fans 🙂


c. Look For Opportunities to Help People

“You can have everything you want in life if you will just help other people get what they want.”

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Zig Ziglar

Author and motivational speaker

Follow them on social networks and be on the lookout when these people ask for something. This is your chance.

For example, that’s how I got to chat with Rand Fishkin.

He was asking for feedback for his new SparkToro Twitter tool and I responded:

Now, this is a very small thing, but little by little, that’s how you get there.

If you want to really stand out, you should do this though…

Serena Soo seemingly came from nowhere.

Selena Soo (in the red, then blue dress) hanging out with top business people 🙂

But when she revealed how much she invested in relationships it all made sense.

For example, she wanted to get on the radar of Ramit Sethi. When Ramit asked her for feedback on landing page he was working on, do you know what she did?

She could reply in a few minutes (like I did), but instead, she created a focus group in her school and spent FIVE HOURS analyzing the page and writing a detailed feedback report.

Do you think it got Ramit’s attention?

You betcha!

Step by step she connected with Ramit until he offered her to write a guest post (a great read) at his site.

This one post doubled Selena’s email list.

Oh, and she also landed $30,00 worth of new clients and opportunities.

These things don’t scale, but they work.

“Being generous with your time and resources will dismantle any suspicion people have towards you.

They’ll let their guard down and invite you in.

And what’s the point? What is this all about?

Being remembered.” 

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Jeff Goins

GoinsWriter.com

Final example.

I am a big fan of Glen Allsopp and would love to get connected with him.

One day, I noticed him inviting people on his webinar. I jumped on the webinar (even if I had planned other things to do).

Glen was playing a recorded webinar, but he was actively engaging in the comment section.

I made sure to add value and ask additional questions. Since I loved the webinar afterward I spent a little extra time to craft a unique tweet praising it.

Glen liked it so much that he retweeted it.

I also emailed Glen and we had a quick chat.

It’s nothing big, but these are the baby steps.

Do you see now how it works?


d. Become Their Case Study

The other way how to get influencer attention is to APPLY their teachings.

You should join their courses, buy their products, use them and make sure you share your results.

Influencers love this! Who wouldn’t?

You prove that their content works and they need testimonials and they might even write a case study about your results (free exposure for you).

This is how Bryan Harris from VideoFruit started and got Noah Kagan’s attention and his first 10,000 readers.

Bryan got nicely featured as a case study on Noah’s course website.

This is how Katrina Padron got featured on SocialTriggers website. All she did was – she implemented Derek’s Drafting Technique and he wrote a case study about it!

If you look for opportunities you’ll find them.

You need to be willing to ask:

What can I do DIFFERENTLY to be noticed?

Nomadic Matt asked this question and instead of only following travel blogs (as everyone in his industry), he also followed travel journalists.

This led him to notice this tweet:

He got published in the New York Times “Frugal Traveler” section.

How awesome is that?

“Chance favors the prepared mind.”

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Louis Pasteur

French biologist

e. How Much Time Should You Spend Promoting?

I’m sure you’ve heard of 80/20 rule. Experts recommend that you should spend 20% of writing article, 80% of promoting it.

Important Note

This doesn’t mean spend 2 hours writing an article and 8 hours promoting it.

It means to spend 20 hours writing an article and 80 hours promoting it.

My experience supports this point.

The reason I could grow 1stWebDesigner so fast was that I spent huge amounts of time networking and constantly trying new ways to grow my blog.

I tried everything — until I found what worked and did more of that.

When the downfall happened for 1stWebDesigner, one of the reasons was that I stopped getting out there.

I thought with 80,000 email subscribers, 100,000 Facebook fans and millions of traffic we would grow naturally.

I was wrong.

Promotion is a lifelong discipline for any size business.

While you will promote your content much differently when you are starting out vs when you have 100,000 visitors/mo you ALWAYS need to aggressively invest in it.

Do you remember how Brian Dean wrote only 40 articles in 5 years on Backlino?

Did you know that during this time he also published 200 articles as guest posts? (read about it in detail here)

Do you think it’s an accident?

Nope, he’s applying 80/20 rule right there.

“Here’s the truth:

It’s smarter to find another 10,000 people to consume what you’ve already created as opposed to creating more.

Or, in other words, create content 20% of the time.

Spend the other 80% of the time promoting what you created.

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Derek Halpern

SocialTriggers.com

Derek Halpern created lots of controversial viral articles, but do you think it just happened naturally?

Not a chance.

For example, when Derek created this controversial post The “Content Is King” Myth Debunked he emailed everyone.

He reached out to the writers who would obviously support the content is king idea AND he reached out to the designers who would love the idea that design is king instead.

He worked hard to make it a viral piece.

And that’s the hidden part of the iceberg.

We so often see new experts coming out from nowhere, but we had no idea how they did it!

But now you know.


Chapter 9: How Bloggers Make Money?


In early days of SocialTriggers Ramit Sethi had a call with Derek Halpern and he asked him — “I see you have an email list? Are you selling any products? How do you plan to monetize?”

Derek replied:

“No, no, no. I don’t care about selling anything until I get 25,000 subscribers.

Now I just focus on writing the best content I can and once I have audience THEN I’ll worry about turning it into business and monetizing.”

Build your audience first, figure out what you’ll sell second.

There are many others who built their blogging business using this strategy:

  • Brian Clark from Copyblogger
  • Rand Fishkin from Moz
  • Danny Inny from Mirasee
  • Bryan Harris from Videofruit
  • Joe Pulizzi from ContentMarketingInstitute

This might not be a sexy answer, but the best way to monetise your blog is by having a long-term approach.

Blogs attract markets. Markets buy products.

This makes sense, doesn’t it?

Imagine I’ve been coming to you for a business advice for a year and I trust you. Then you start selling business courses and tools — guess who I’ll buy from? From random company or you?

Plus, the truth is when you are starting out, you don’t even know what your audience wants. You wouldn’t want to create a product nobody buys, right?

So here’s the plan:

  1. Write great content
  2. Attract audience
  3. Nurture and learn about them.
  4. Ask them what they want.
  5. Build it.
  6. Make money.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to take 12 months to start making money like in Derek’s case!

I really like Matthew Woodward’s story.

He used the same concept – help first, monetize later, but he was able to start monetizing naturally in a few months! How?

As he was creating tutorials and case studies, he shared the tools he used.

For example, he was big on getting traffic from forums and he used some paid tools to help him automate parts of his work.

Matthew added affiliate links to these tools and started making a few hundred dollars in commissions. Later Matthew launched several giveaways and increased his income even more.

When you genuinely care for helping your readers, you’ll get emails like this!

But here’s the key:

He thought about his audience first (don’t promote anything you don’t trust or use yourself).

He never abused this trust.

He also went an extra mile to negotiate better prices for his readers.

That’s why you’ll notice popular bloggers always have Recommended Tools pages.

However, this will only work if you have built relationships with your readers and they trust you.


The best ways to monetize your blog in order of sequence:

  • Affiliate marketing – promote your favorite products, books, courses. Notice what your readers like and buy!
  • Offer 1on1 coaching – it’s a great way to learn more about your readers’ problems and earn some money
  • Create paid tools, courses, ebooks

Both Jon Morrow and Yaro Starak agree that 1 on 1 coaching is the best way to start monetizing, but even more importantly use it to learn more about your readers.

Don’t price yourself for anything less than $50/hour, otherwise, people will perceive you as less valuable.

When you have too many 1on1 coaching’s scheduled, that’s when you know you should start working on your course.

That’s exactly what Neville Medhora from KopywritingCourse did:

A very insightful talk between Noah Kagan and Neville. Highly recommended.

In fact, Neville suggests to always do some 1 on 1 coaching in order to stay in touch with industry and real people problems.

So don’t worry about money too much in the early days.

Take your time to build a good foundation first.

From my experience — when you have the audience, you can always figure out how to make money.

To illustrate this better let me share two examples from my Latvian friends.


Story #1 — How Aigars Makes Awesome Living ONLY From Affiliate Commissions

Sometimes affiliate income is all you’ll need like my friend’s Aigars website Colorlib.

He noticed early on that people were on the lookout for premium WordPress themes so he started creating theme roundups and worked hard to get them ranking on Google.

Fast forward 3-4 years later…

Now he gets two million unique visitors every month from organic search traffic!

He’s making an awesome living just from affiliate income!

He doesn’t even need to create his own WordPress theme shop. 

He’s the perfect middle-man, receiving commissions from each sale without worrying about customer support and theme updates.

Important Note

Notice though, he offers support for his free themes.

But it’s an UNEXPECTED service.

Who else offers professional, free support for free themes?


Story #2 — How Emils Built Multi-Million Dollar Business by Taking a Long-Term View

Another story comes from Emils from iPhonePhotographySchool.

He noticed early on the trend of people wanting to do iPhone photography.

He liked photography himself so he started making free content and tutorials about it.

Eventually, his site became #1 in iPhone Photography niche.

He built an audience first, then listened to his readers and created courses they asked for.

Then he built a sales funnel and made sure he knew his conversion numbers.

With this information, he started playing with Facebook ads. Facebook ads were excellent to scale his operations and it quickly became a multi-million dollar business.

The key here is that he was able to test the funnel with “free” audience he built. He didn’t need to make expensive Facebook Ads testing. Instead, he created a working funnel first, when he was ready he added Facebook Ads to the mix and floodgate opened.

Remember —  this didn’t happen overnight, it took years.

But their work snowballed over time and now they can do whatever they want with their lives!

Wouldn’t you be willing to invest few (3-4) years to be at the place where you never need to worry about the money?

I think this is the best investment you can ever make!


Bonus Chapter 10: How To Get Work Done Faster


I know that many people myself included getting stuck with PERFECTION.
We want everything to be perfect — website, strategy, design, article — and in turn, we shoot ourselves in the leg and take ages to launch.

I am horrible at this. It took me one month to write my first storytelling article.
I spent a week writing the first version to 12,000 words, then scratched it and spent another three weeks writing the second version.

Finally, I read Noah Kagan’s goal setting approach and noticed that everyone he worked with mentioned Noah’s goal setting as key to their quick success.


Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals and Commit To Daily Schedule

And let me tell you it works!

This article is here so early because of Noah’s advice.

“If you didn’t measure it, it didn’t happen.” 

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Noah Kagan

Founder of Sumo & AppSumo

Here are four key steps to getting the RIGHT things done and achieving explosive growth:

  • Set an S.M.A.R.T. goal — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based.
  • Reverse engineer your goal to smaller, manageable pieces
  • Make sure you focus on numbers you CAN control and directly affect. For example, you cannot directly impact how many subscribers you’ll get, but you can impact how many outreach emails you send.
  • Get accountability buddy and send him an overview of what you’ve done every day.

Read all about setting SMART goals and reverse engineering them here.
And here’s the perfect video by Noah explaining the mindset behind focusing on numbers you can directly affect

If you want to see how this strategy looks like when applied, you’ll love these three case studies:

This will help with your productivity and getting the right things done.

Important Note

You can also use this website GoFuckingDoIt to help with your commitments by financially committing to it.

You pay if you fail to stick with your goal.

Beware from perfection trap!

“Done is better than perfect. 

I have tried to embrace this motto and let go of unattainable standards.

Aiming for perfection causes frustration at best and paralysis at worst.”

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Sheryl Sandberg

COO of Facebook

(this saying is also displayed on the walls of Facebook office).

Bonus: 2 Supporting Worksheets, Checklist, Roadmap, 2 videos, Spreadsheet Template


Wooh, you made it!

To make it easier to implement I made several supporting documents and worksheets:


Conclusion


Now you have the tools and knowledge from the best and it’s time to apply it.

If you feel overwhelmed, remember the first time you were learning how to drive the car.

It was a lot to take in, right?

You needed to look at the mirrors, transfer the gears, worry about potholes, lights, traffic signs… ARRRGH!

But look at you now – you probably can easily talk to the phone, drink coffee and drive at the same time.

That’s how it goes with everything.

The beginning is hard.

You gotta hustle.

You gotta accept that your first articles will suck and won’t get much traction.

But you gotta persist.

Both Tim Ferriss and Pat Flynn agree –  you only need 1000 true fans.

It’s not that hard to get a fan – it just requires caring about one person at the time.

Repeat it over a few years.

You’ll be amazed about you can accomplish.

“Imagine that in order to have a great life you have to cross a dangerous jungle.

You can stay safe where you are and have an ordinary life, or you can risk crossing the jungle to have a terrific life.

How would you approach that choice?

Take a moment to think about it because it is the sort of choice that, in one form or another, we all have to make.”

avatar

Ray Dalio

Billionaire, author of book “Principles: Life and Work

Imagine yourself in 3-5 years.

Your blogging business now supports you and your family.

You get to wake up when you want to wake up.

You had imagined how it would be to retire, but now you love the lifestyle so much that you think — Why would I ever want to retire?

It could take only a few years of focused effort and your life could be transformed forever!

Isn’t that a worthy goal to strive for?

Now tell me what action step you will take next?

Tell me in comments and let it serve as mini-commitment to better tomorrow!

Hire Me For Consultations:

You can email me at dainis@foundertips.com – I would love to hear from you! Don’t be a stranger!

I also offer consultations about blog growth, strategy and online marketing. If you need a help, shoot me an email and let’s talk.

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