By Lamin Turay
Every month Maveriqs hosts a Content Creators Collab event here in San Diego. In our latest Content Creators Collab event we covered the topic of "Blogging The Right Way." We executed a couple of blog writing exercises with the group that got everyone's creative juices flowing. We also went into detail on the various aspects of a successful blog; from time spent writing content, to frequency of publication. It was an excellent learning opportunity, and I'd like to share the information that we covered with you. Here's what we learned at the event...
Content Exercise #1
Storytelling: Extend & Advance:
Pick a topic…any topic. Write about that topic for 30 seconds. Stop! Extend on that topic by going into more detail. Extend for 1 minute. Stop! Now advance the topic to provide more to the story. Move the story forward by advancing its direction. Advance for 1 minute. Stop! Repeat your extend and advance steps one more time. You now have a story. Cheers!
Topic Overview: Blogging…WTF?
Initially blogging involved a personal web log, in which a person would journal about their experiences. A diary of sorts. From the term “web log” came the shortened term “blog.”
Like most new innovations on the internet, many saw the marketing potential in having a blog, and it took off from there. A blog can be used for marketing, home business, or documentation.
Sometimes a blog is often confused with a website. This is due partly to the fact that many businesses or individuals integrate their blogs and websites into a single web presence. However, there are two features that separate a blog from a website:
Topic Overview: Why Should I Care?
Search Engines Love Content:
The older and deeper the content on your website, the higher it will rank when people search for you, your business, or your services online. A blog is a fantastic way to produce content that will rest on your website and increase its overall amount of index-able, archived information. The more relevant content your site has, the more credible it will appear to search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo.
Keep Your Audience Informed:
A blog is a great way to keep your customers or followers up to date on what’s going on with your
business, let them know about great deals you’re offering , or provide useful tips. The more a person
comes to your blog to stay informed, the more likely they are to spend money on your goods or services.
Your blog allows you to build trust and rapport with your followers as well as your business prospects.
Not only can you develop articles about what you know, but you can also get to know your audience by
interacting with them in your comments section.
There are multiple ways to generate income with a blog. However, you’ll want to develop a deep,
engaged following before you decide to monetize. Some methods for monetizing a blog are as follows;
Pay-Per-Click Ads, Partnerships, Affiliate Marketing, Sponsored Content, Influencer Relationships, and
Paid Media. Don’t be afraid to reach out to potential partners or sponsors and ask them to work with
Topic Overview: Things to Consider
Blogs Require Time (A Lot):
For a blog to be effective at SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and engaging readers it needs to be
updated regularly. The success of a blog comes from having people return to it in order to read new
content. People will only return to the blog if it is consistently updated. That means you need to publish
content on your blog several times a week.
Blogs Require Fresh Ideas:
To keep people coming back to your blog you need fresh ideas to write about. These ideas should be
both topical and relevant to your audience. They don’t always have to come from you though. You can
leverage guest/contributing writers, freelancers, or curate content from other websites.
Blogs Require Patience:
When it comes to blogging, the payoff is not immediate. One of the biggest frustrations bloggers realize
is that a blog is incredibly time-consuming with little initial payoff. It takes time (usually 24 months of
daily posting) to build a readership.
Blogs Require Consistency:
Again, in order to experience success with a blog you need to post content multiple times a week, and
distribute that content in the places where your audience spends their time online. The founder of
Copyblogger (one of the most successful blogs on the internet) did not earn his first dollar until he had
been posting on his blog every day for two straight years. That’s the kind of consistency that is needed.
In order to experience success with a blog you need to post content multiple times a week."
Successful live blogs on the internet:
Effective tools to help with your blogging efforts:
Content Exercise #2
Rewriting: Improving Your Creativity:
Pick out a word that you can use to hone your story from Content Exercise #1. Words like “Why,”
“Simplicity,” “More,” or “Deeper” are all good. Now give yourself 5 to 10 minutes to rewrite your
original story using that word as your inspiration. When you’re finished compare the two stories and see
how you've improved.
We've really enjoyed hosting our Content Creator Collab events, and the incredible amount of useful information that has come from them. We look forward to the next event. Like our Facebook page and stay tuned to our Email newsletter for more information!
By Lamin Turay
One of the great things about being an active participant in the entrepreneurial community is attending events where you can learn ways to improve your business. Both the networking and educational opportunities are invaluable. Last night I was lucky enough to attend just such an event. It was hosted by our good friends Chloe Banales and Mike Sebastian over at The Pineapple Project. The topic of the evening was "Content Writing For Your Business". There was a special guest speaker named Lauren Ventura who is a professional copywriter for Portfolio Studio. She has had her work featured in numerous famous periodicals, including Forbes magazine.
Lauren was gracious enough to share some of her most valuable insights into the world of content creation. Through years of experience working on both the agency, and client side of business, she has created some highly effective content which resulted in both traffic and sales for the companies that she's worked at. Here are some of the highlight topics that she spoke about in teaching the group how to create content that both your audience, and search engines like Google will like.
1. High Click-Through Percentage Is Good - Lauren taught us that if your content has a high click-through percentage then you are doing good. What this means is, when someone searches for a topic that your content covers, and they click the link to view your content, your click-through percentage goes up. You want to make sure that you optimize your content so that it is appealing and will warrant click-throughs at a high rate. Be sure to have enticing headlines as well as sub-text so people know that your content is the best source of information about the topics they are searching for.
2. The Older The Better - This one is simple, but can be a little confusing. Essentially it's great to have an older site. If your website has been around for a long time, then both people and search engines will consider it to be a more trusted source. This doesn't mean that you need to keep your content stagnant though. Be sure to have a consistent feed of fresh content. Just don't be quick to pull the trigger on a new URL or platform. The longer your primary website is around, the more trusted a source it becomes.
3. Keywords Are Not King - Any traditional SEO-focused consultant or company may tell you that it's absolutely imperative to cram keywords into your website, headlines, and content. While that may have been an optimal strategy in the past, it's not the name of the game anymore. Ever since its 2011 Panda Update, the Google search engine is more and more keen to those who overuse keywords in their content. A more modern and effective alternative to this, is to utilize terms that are related to the topics your are writing and/or posting about. For instance, if you write an article about Amazon's new Echo product, you may want to include terms like "digital assistant," "Alexa," or "voice-operated". By including related terms instead of just keywords, you are effectively making your content a more credible source of information.
4. Size Does Matter - While you may think that created quick, concise pieces of content that are very easily consumed is the right way to go, this is not always the case. Yes, it is convenient to be able to quickly digest a piece of meaningful content, however that's not the best way to get that content ranked higher in searches. When creating articles be sure that the bulk of them contain 1200 to 1500 words. That way you create more depth of content on your site. You are also able to provide your audience with that much more information. Try to include call-to-action, statistical data, or references to other popular articles to flesh out your content even more.
5. Cross-Links, Back-Links, All The Links - Cross-Linking to content that you have previously created is a great way of reducing bounce rate on your website, and keeping people focused on what you produce. In addition, utilizing back-links to other reputable sites, or having those sites create back-links to your content is incredibly powerful. If you have relationships with other content creators, work with them to create links back-and-forth. Be sure that the links make sense for the content you are producing. Another thing to keep in mind, is that website's which utilize the .edu or .gov domains are considered highly reputable. Possessing back-links to those types of sites can create huge gains for your search rank.
Those are just a few of the topics we covered in the info session yesterday. This is information that any content creator or business with a web presence can leverage to level up their production. Can you think of any more useful techniques related to content creation? Please sound off in the comments below?
By Lamin Turay
We've all heard it by now, "If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you're going to need a mentor!" It's a phrase that those who are determined to being successful know all to well. It's also extremely sound advice. There's no substitute for experience, and reaching out to your network to find someone who can guide you along your journey is extremely helpful. A mentor is someone you can meet with face-to-face, or call on a regular basis and share your most important questions, thoughts, and goals with. In turn, that person will provide you with honest feedback, which has been derived from their many years of going through the same challenges you currently are. This type of interaction is invaluable.
But why limit yourself to just mentors that you know. The world we now live in is bursting at the seems with knowledgeable individuals. There are literally tens of thousands of successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, gurus, and innovators who are willing to share their wisdom with those who seek it. This wisdom is only the click of a mouse or the touch of a tablet away. By establishing a "Virtual Mentor" using online platforms, you can give yourself even more of a leg up on your path to building a successful business. Platforms like YouTube, iTunes, Audible, and even SoundCloud are packed with incredibly useful information about how to succeed in the modern world of entrepreneurship. You need only search for the topics in which you are looking to self-educate, and filter for the content providers with the highest levels of engagement (likes, views, listens, downloads...etc.).
Incorporating a Virtual Mentor into your regular self-education schedule will undoubtedly provide you with a knowledge upgrade and another outlet for learning about the latest trends in your space. When it comes to the world of entrepreneurship there are hundreds to choose from, but we've narrowed down a couple form our favorite platform (YouTube) that can help you get started
If you're interested in entrepreneurship, and you haven't heard of Gary Vaynerchuck by now, then we are incredibly happy to make the introduction. GaryVee, as many have come to call him, is the fastest rising star in the world of content creation about the hustle, grind, and dedication it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. His DailyVee and #AskGaryVee video series are some of the most intriguing pieces of content on the web. He's interacted with, and provided advice to people of all walks of life. From world-famous musicians to Fortune 500 CEOs, GaryVee has talked shop with them all. He's a must add to your list.
Evan Carmichael is a technology and web development professional who began creating content about entrepreneurship and success a few years ago. He now has just under half a million subscribers on YouTube and produces some of the most poignant videos around. His "Top 10 Rules For Success" series are entertaining and inspirational videos in which you can learn the thought process of some of today's most successful public figures.
Addicted2Success is a platform very similar to Maveriqs Academy, but with years and years worth of content to sink your teeth into. They have dozens of videos, eBook, seminars and articles about navigating the challenging waters on your path to success. Their content is also widespread when it comes to topics. So you know you can find something useful each time you visit their channel. We highly recommend you adding them to your subscription list on YouTube.
Those are just a couple of our favorite YouTube-based Virtual Mentors. Can you think of any more? What about other platforms? Would you like us to point out some of the best Virtual Mentors on the iTunes Store or Audible?Let us know your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.