Entries by Sandra Clayton

Why You Need a Social Media Strategy (And How to Create One That Works)

Part 3 of the Blog Profit Plan series. Say whaaa? This was originally a 2 part series (part #1 here and part #2 here), but after the last post I realized that we still have a missing piece, which is a social media strategy.
That missing piece is key if we’re going to tie all of our buckets together:

  • Traffic
  • Content
  • Subscribers
  • Money

The reason is because social media is the glue that holds your business together. Think of it like a bridge that connects you to your future customers. When you do it right (and I’m going to show you how right here!), it will literally be a game-changer for your blog and biz. So if you’re ready to get serious about social media, I say let’s do this!
First, if you missed parts 1 + 2 of the Blog Profit Plan series, here’s what we covered:

  • How to Create an Epic Blog Business Plan
  • The Blog Profit Plan: How to Make Money With Your Blog
  • Now let’s take a look at part 3. Before we get into this, I should mention that having an effective social media strategy is all about showing up. Ev’ryday. Even if it feels like a colossal waste of time and you have so many other things to do already, if you stay with me here you’ll see the payoff, promise.
    You probably have questions or concerns about social media, or maybe you’re thinking…

    • I don’t have time
    • I don’t know what to do
    • Where do I even start?
    • Which platforms should I be using?
    • What should I be sharing?
    • I’ve tried it before and it didn’t work

    I used to feel that way too, and YES, it takes time. As with anything you do, effort in = effort out. You have to be on there, and at first, you’re going to be staring at your feeds wondering what the heck to do. But here’s the thing: once you have a system in place, all of those questions and doubts are going to disappear and things will come into focus quickly.
    Here’s what happened for me with social media after a few short months of digging in:

    • Pinterest followers hit over 1,000
    • I gained thousands of Twitter followers (with at least 30 followers daily)
    • I’ve gained 500 Instagram followers (in just under 2 weeks!)
    • Over 300 Facebook followers
    • My traffic has gone from 3,500 monthly views to just under 30,000
    • I’ve grown my email list from 0 to over 1,400 people, and am gaining about 30 new subscribers each day

    I’m showing you this so that you can see that when you put in the work, you will see the results. And I want you to be super successful! What I’m sharing today is a plan that you can use in your business and customize as you see fit. You’re going to have all my shortcuts so you can save time and get true results.
    First

    4 Focus Areas to Help You Build Your List Fast

    You know you need to grow your list, but what if you’re putting a lot of energy into it already and still only seeing 2-3 signups per day?

    To that I say I feel your pain, friend. I was there not too long ago, and today, I’m growing my list at about 600-900 per month. Let me help you do the same…

    Here are 4 focus areas for building your list and hitting your $$ goal:

    1) Narrow down your niche

    Why is this even important?

    Because if you’re not growing your list as fast as you’d like, it could be that people don’t know how to digest what you’re writing.
    People have a limited amount of space in their minds and need to be able to put you in a box. Give you a label, type thing. A girlfriend is different than a wife, a boy is different than a girl, a chair is different than a table. You get the gist. A travel blog is different than a cooking blog.
    This doesn’t mean you can’t write about multiple things, but it does mean that people need to know what they are getting from you (and that niche is not a four-letter word!)
    Plus, if YOU don’t even have an understanding of your own category, how can you expect others to? I’ve had so many clients come to me wondering why their content isn’t sticking, but then they stammer and stall when I ask them what they do and who they do it for.
    To be fair, I’m at fault here too. When I first started blogging, I thought I was writing for my person but I was missing the mark entirely. Once I got my focus on, my list literally doubled, tripled and quadrupled.

    #MORALOFTHESTORY Defining your one person and your one thing should be at the core of your list-building strategy.

    2) Step up your social media game

    Hopefully you’re optimizing your posts for SEO so people can find you through Google and Yahoo. But search traffic can take some time to build up. You have to be posting regularly and for some time before Google takes notice. In the meantime, start creating your own traffic source via social media.

    Wanna know what that looks like?
    Something like this:

    • You are everywhere, but then you pick 2-3 channels to become a ninja master of…You start building your audience, your business and your list at the same time.
    • You follow people who follow others in your niche. You follow people with relevant hashtags or keywords in their profile. You follow people who follow and comment on your posts.
    • Every time you publish a new post, share it everywhere. And then share it again a few days later. And then a week after that. And then one month later. I’m not

    The Blog Profit Plan: How to Make Money With Your Blog

    This is part two of the Blog Profit Plan Series, where I’m breaking down the steps to turn your blog into a full-time income as quickly as possible.
    Part one was all about business plans (why you need them, how to create them and more), and today, we’re all about getting things done. I want to help you create an action plan on steroids so you can execute on your business plan and make money with your blog f’real.
    First, I’m going to share some things that will help you approach making money from your blog from a goal-oriented mindset. Then we’ll dive into the actual steps to kick your b-plan into action.
    Ready for it? Good! First, let’s walk through the blog profit plan mindset so that you can get the most benefit from your action plan.

    [ THE BLOG PROFIT PLAN MINDSET]

    1) Blog Income Formula

    I came across this simple formula just a few weeks ago and am in looove. Seriously, I think I’m going to plaster my apartment with formula post-its. 🙂
    Income = Number of Email Subscribers x (.02 x Price of Product)
    Pretty powerful stuff, no?
    This formula literally gives you the ability to predict your income, and create a road map for making it happen.
    Knowing that an average of 2% of your subscribers will purchase your product (the common range is 1-3%), if you want to make $3K this month and you have a product that is $100, you know you’ll need 1,500 subscribers to make it happen. This assumes that your product is relevant to your readers, which of course it will be!
    So the blog income formula tells us what areas to focus on for growth:

  • Awesome blog and content
  • Traffic
  • Subscribers
  • A product
  • That means that every goal, task and item in your blog action plan should be around these 4 areas in order to make money with your blog. Ideally, you will address each bucket every month, meaning that you set specific goals that you plan to achieve for each focus area, each month (blog, traffic, subscribers, product). This way you’ll be covering all bases and moving them all forward.
    Note: Income from affiliate programs and ads is more complex because there are so many variations in payouts, cookie lifetime and other things I’m still learning, so I’ll save those juicy nuggets for a later post!

    2) Start With 12-Month Goals

    Time to start planning! Now that we’re clear on our focus areas, let’s create your 12-month blog goals. Nothing fancy here, all you need is a simple spreadsheet. Then take those 4 buckets and map them out across every month to get a high-level view of your goals.
    For instance, you might say that starting in month 4 you want to make $3k, and by month 12 your money goal is $10K. Or, you might say that in month 1 you want

    How to Create an Epic Blog Business Plan

    This is part one of a 2-part series called the Blog Profit Plan that is designed to help you propel your business forward. I’m hoping it will be a jumping off point to get from zero to profit as quickly as possible so you can start making a living with your blog.
    The way I see it, there are two parts to building a successful business (hence the 2-part series):
    Part 1: creating a business plan
    Part 2: executing on the plan
    In today’s post, I’m going to cover how to create a blog business plan.
    This is the perfect starting point, because having a blog business plan will give you a platform to turn your blog into a business. Without it, you may find yourself stumbling around with what topics to cover, the value you provide, what your peeps really need, and many other things. Or you may spend too much time in one phase of your biz and forget to set a foundation for the next phase…simply because you’re not aware that said phase exists.
    A blog business plan only gets us halfway to the finish line, though, which is why I’m making this a 2-part series.
    You don’t really act upon them, which means they’re likely to sit in your laptop, inside Evernote, and that’s it. It’s easy to forget that you even have a business plan in the day to day of running your biz.
    What we really need is a blog action plan to help us execute on our business plans.
    Suh-weet, now we’re talkin’. B-plan + A-plan = Jackpot!
    An action plan is where the money is anyway, no? That’s what’s going to whip our butts into shape and keep us accountable for turning our big dreams into a reality. An action plan is about getting under the hood and getting it done – really, a blueprint for executing on our business plans.
    If we pair these two bad boys together, I think we’ll have a winning formula for success.
    More on blog action plans in my next post… Today, let’s jump in to creating a blog business plan.
     
    [ HOW TO CREATE AN EPIC BLOG BUSINESS PLAN ]

    SECTION 1: BUSINESS SUMMARY

    This section is a snapshot of your business, kind of like your business “at-a-glance”. You may want to complete the other sections first, and come back to this after you have everything else together. Here’s what you’ll want to cover in your business summary:

    1. Mission Statement

    This is your  “Why”. Briefly explain why you created your business, what it is about, and the purpose it serves.

    2. Business Goals

    Based on where you’re at now, where do you plan to take your business in the future? Don’t be afraid to dream big here! If you can see it, you can do it! Think about the next year and even further down the road, say

    ,

    How to Market Your Blog Posts Effectively on Social Media

    Do you ever wonder how to market your blog post once you hit publish, so that all your hard work writing it pays off – and instead of seeing crickets when you dig in to analytics, you see hundreds and thousands of page visits each day?

    Today, I’m sharing a blog promo plan for social media traffic that will help you:

    • Give new posts an initial spike of social traffic
    • Turn your post into other types of content
    • Recycle older posts so they’re always out there

    What this means is that right after you publish a post, you have a plan for how, when, and where you will share it.
    One thing I should mention…you don’t have to tackle every social channel listed here.
    If Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are making a difference in your business (or if your audience is likely to hang out here), get into a system for sharing your posts consistently on these channels first. Don’t worry about the others. You can always add them later.
    BONUS: I created this Blog Promotion Plan + Checklist to help put what you learn into action.

    Blog Promo Plan for Social Media Traffic

    Facebook

    • Day 1 – Share the link post
    • Day 3 – Create a video summarizing post
    • Day 7 – Turn a quick tip into an infographic
    • Day 14 – Pose a question with a link to the post
    • Day 31 – Repeat Day 1

    Twitter

    • Day 1 – Tweet a link to your post
    • Day 1 (4 hours later) – Change the text and tweet a second link to your post
    • Day 3 – Share a clip of FB video
    • Day 7 – Twitter moment with all tweets related to your blog posts
    • Day 14 – Share another link with an image
    • Day 31 – Repeat Day 1 (use the best tweet)

    Pinterest

    • Day 1 – Design image with link + pin to boards
    • Day 3 – Change caption of pin and image and pin it to boards
    • Day 14 – Pin a link to the video
    • Day 31 – Repeat Day 1 (use the most popular pin)

    Instagram

    • Day 1 – post image with text overlay
    • Day 3 – Instagram story in video format, introduce blog post content with call to action
    • Day 7 – Post the video clip from Facebook
    • Day 14 – Share the same quick tip from Facebook

    Google+

    • Day 1 – Share the link post to Public
    • Day 1 (4 hours later) – Share the post to Communities
    • Day 7 – Share the same quick tip from Facebook
    • Day 31 – Repeat Day 1

    LinkedIn

    • Day 1 – Share the link post as an update
    • Day 1 (four hours later) – share to LinkedIn Groups
    • Day 7 – Share the same quick tip from Facebook
    • Day 31 – Repeat Day 1

    Youtube

    • Day 1

    Free Fonts and Font Pairings for Web, Social Media and Blog Images

    I’ve been in a bit of a font craze lately hunting for the perfect fonts to use for Pinterest and Instagram, and today I’m sharing some gems I discovered so you can use them too! If you want to rev up your creative genius even more, head over to dafont.com or Google fonts to find others you like – they’re all free. Woo hoo!

    8 Font Pairings for Social Media + Blog Title Images

    Click here to download:
    Helena Script;   Nexa Light;   Sweet Pea;   Marchy Script;  Playball;   Aaargh;   Gardenia;   Keytin;  Alex Brush;   Ecuyer Dax;   Chamomile Tea;   Thirsty Script;  Melanie BT;   KG Skinny;   Angelface; Bebas Neue

    8 Font Pairings for Web Headings + Text

    Click here to download:
    Montserrat;   Merriweather;   Minimo;   Pontano Sans;   Playfair Display;    Tradition Sans XLight;  Libre Baskerville;   Josefin Sans;   Melbourne;    Fauna One;   Raleway;   PT Sans;   Oswald;    Source Sans Pro;   Noto Sans;   Esteban

    If you want, you can use the font inspiration kit I created with over 60 free fonts and font pairings to spark your creative genius even more. Click on the image below to download your kit.

    Some things to keep in mind when choosing fonts:

    • Make sure they’re super easy to read (no strain on the eyes, please!)
    • They should complement each other beautifully.
    • Test each character in a font family to make sure everything looks cohesive . Some fonts can have odd characters and numbers, like a  cap “G” that just looks funny, or a “17” that drops below the baseline and is hard to read. Play with the font a bit to make to make sure you’re happy with all of the characters and you won’t have any surprises later on.
    • Get creative with social media share images and blog title images. For branded quote images, why not try a bold condensed font paired with a delicate script? This will help you decide which of your title words you want to emphasize and draw attention to.
    • For your website, you can be creative with headings (think block-style or handwritten type). But for web text, stick with a simple sans-serif font. You want your readers to have an amazing experience when they interact with your brand without struggling to read what you’re saying.
    • You’d be surprised at how many interesting font combos you can create by using just one font family. To get the most out of each font, try to select a font family with a many different weights (light, medium, bold, and black, etc). Open Sans and Source Sans Pro are great places to start here.
    • For logos, think about the uses and applications you’ll need for it ahead of time. I’m talking about more than your website here…uses like favicons (the icons you see in
    ,

    32 Insanely Easy Ways to Boost Your Blog Traffic (For Free)

    Hey friends! Today I want to talk about ways to boost blog traffic and get incredible visibility for your posts, so that all your hard work pays off and gets found by more people everywhere.
    Traffic is a biggie when it comes to blogging. The reason is that if you want people to get to know your brand, love your brand, and ultimately, become customers, they first have to see you. They have to know your business exists.
    It’s like you need a signpost to draw their attention to your business…and in the blogosphere, traffic = signpost.
    Truth is, blogging is a lot of work and when you see your hard work pay off with more traffic, you can’t help but do a happy dance. You get excited and want to keep the momentum going, no?
    On the flip side, when your blog traffic plateaus or even goes down, it can kill your enthusiasm for blogging altogether. We don’t want that to happen, so…
    Today, I want to share some things I’ve been experimenting with that have helped me increase my blog traffic, so that you can increase the traffic to your website too.
    Before I continue, I have to tell you the one thing I did that actually made my traffic go down:
    Nothing.
    Yep, I said it. I did nothing. Didn’t promote my posts after I published them. Just let them sit there, and my blog traffic dipped down fast, I tell you. I know this because my traffic was on the rise and I thought Good, I can ease up on content promotion a bit. Let’s just say lesson learned!
    Ease up on content promotion = take down my signpost = no traffic. Which is pretty much the gist of it.
    There’s a whole lot you can do to drive tons of blog traffic, without spending thousands of dollars on advertising. You just need to understand the types of traffic sources there are and these powerful techniques to get over 10K page views per month.
    Let’s check out the steps.

    Things You Should Do As Part of Your Overall Blog Traffic Strategy

    1) Build your following

    Decide which social media sites you want to lean on and work to build a following on those platforms. Social media will be a huge source of blog traffic if you approach it right, so spend some time actively engaging on those sites, sharing other people’s content as well as your own. I cover more about creating a social media strategy in this post.

    2) Social media profiles

    Give your website a boost in traffic by making sure you include your website URL in all of your social media sites. You’ll be amazed at how much traffic this can drive to your website.

    3) Post on social media regularly

    I know we’re all busy, still posting regularly and frequently on social media is going

    ,

    What Should I Include On My About Page?

    You’re blossoming online, seriously putting your business out there and getting things done. Now you’re ready to show the world just how incredible and amazing you are. And you want new readers to be able to learn more about you, why they should stick around and what’s in it for them.
    Could it be time to create an epic About Page?
    Absofreakinlutely. Today, I’m going to walk you through how to structure your About Page so that you cover all of the important points to make this page one of the most useful and popular pages on your blog.

    Here’s what your About Page should do

    Preferably in this order:

  • Communicate that you know who you’re speaking to
  • Let them know that you get what they want / need
  • Tell your story and how you can help
  • Ask them to do something
  • That, my friends, is all there is to it. When you get this right, you’ll have all of the ingredients to grab people’s attention, make them fall in love with you, and turn those first-time visitors into raving fans and subscribers!
    In a nutshell, your About Page is the story of you.
    Correction.
    Your About Page is the story of you AND them.
    Your job is to weave these two legendary stories into an experience, or a movement even, that hooks people on your blog and your business. And also on YOU, your world view, how they connect with you, and why you’re the perfect person to help with their problem.
    So how do we weave these two beautiful stories together? Let’s start by drilling down on each of the points above.

    1) Who are you speaking to?

    This one’s a biggie. Even though your About Page is about you, it’s really mostly about your readers. You want to connect with them and let them know right away that you know who they are and what they’re struggling with right now.
    Picture one specific person when you’re writing. What are their core desires? Being very specific with things like their name, age, where they work, what’s holding them back, and so on will help you visualize your person. And you’ll be able to write as if they’re right in front of you.
    Related: How to Attract Your Ideal Customers

    2) What do they most want?

    Then, you need to show them that you know them and you get it. Let your audience know how you identify with them and what their biggest challenge is right now. What is it that they want to do, but aren’t able to do right now?
    I find it helps to describe their current situation, like this:

    • What do they have right now? (chaotic mornings, marketing that doesn’t work, not enough time, boring exercise routine, flat hair, tasteless meals loaded with carbs, you get the gist)
    • What do they want right now? (calm quiet mornings, effective marketing, time to do the
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    The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Bloggers and Entrepreneurs

    Search engine optimization is a big topic that can easily trip you up.
    At least it tripped me up for a while. I felt like I was chasing some SEO phantom and was never really sure what to do first, why it mattered, and how crazy I should get with it.
    Because you can get kinda crazy with it.
    I know even saying the word SEO can get you all flustered thinking about the magical ways you can poof! get your posts ranked just like that. But there’s really no need to get crazy, unless of course you want to. 🙂
    SEO is just a clever way of saying Let’s create engaging, relevant content for our readers. That’s it. Then of course, if we just tweak our awesome content a tiny bit, we make it a whole lost easier for Google to find us.
    I like to think of SEO as having 2 parts:

    • The non-techie part: creating great content
    • The semi-techie part: tweaking your great content for search engines

    And the semi-techie part isn’t really that techie, so not to worry. Want I want most for you to get out of this post is that if you’re absolutely insanely determined to get crazy about SEO, get crazy on the non-techie part. That’s what you’re in the business of anyway, right? Creating remarkable content for your audience.
    Lucky for you, content is the name of the game for Google and other search engines like Yahoo and Bing. So you’re already halfway to the finish line, clever girl. Plus, once you have a foundation of great content, you can always go back and make your posts SEO-tastic, one semi-techie tweak at a time.

    My take on SEO, algorithms, indexing and all that

    If you’re curious to know what SEO really means, I’ll take a crack at it but please understand I know only what I need to know. Anything more than that and my creative brain gets a little woozy. Here goes…
    Jane is looking for something, say “faded bell bottom jeans” (because she’s so over skinny jeans). She types it into Google’s search bar and hits Enter. What Google is going to do next is crawl and index its pages to see which ones would be most helpful for Jane. Then it’s going to take those pages and present them to Jane in the search results.
    Now you’re a fashion blogger and you just happen to know a thing or two about faded bell bottom jeans. You want Google to know that you’ve got bell bottom jeans covered and to include your blog in the search results for Jane.
    How do you do it? Basically, you want to use every opportunity you can to tap Google on the shoulder and say “hey this site is about faded bell bottom jeans”.
    We’ll get into more on this in the semi-techie part.
    First,

    120 Fill-In-The-Blank Blog Post Title Templates That Work

    You’ve just spent hours writing an insanely epic and remarkable blog post, and after a lot of sweat and tears you’re ready to share it with your readers.
    Hold on, friend. Before you hit publish, I have a question for you:
    Do you want your post to live a boring, lonely life tucked away in your blog archive, or a long, happy life surrounded by your friends and biggest fans?
    Uh, is that even a real question? Of course you want your post to be the life of the party!
    The real question is how do you do it?
    One of the easiest ways is to write a killer blog post title. Blog titles are a huge part of getting increased traffic to your blog and building an audience for it. I know this for sure because my posts used to be very lonely.
    Here are some examples:

    • 8 Ways to Create A Buyer Persona Template
    • 7 Steps to Being a Great Content Creator
    • Get More Leads from Outbound Marketing

    Want to click on any of these? I don’t either. What the heck is a buyer persona template? And why do you care about “being a great content creator”? No kidding… I wrote this title and have no idea what it even means!
    Okay, so I get it, you get it. Titles like these are lifeless and uninspiring.
    Let’s flip the switch and turn them into attention-grabbing, must-click titles.
    In this post I’m sharing 9 blog title tips I’ve learned, plus over 120 fill-in-the-blank templates from Copyblogger, Hubspot, Jeff Bullas, and more. These guys are the best of the best, so let’s see what we can learn from them…
    Ready? Let’s do this.

    9 Quick Tips For Writing Blog Titles

    1) Know who you’re writing for.

    This sounds basic, and yet the #1 thing both my clients and myself have struggled with is defining the “one person” we’re talking to. This lack of clarity translates into a dull blog post title. But when you’re crystal clear on who you’re speaking to, you can even include your audience in the title to grab their attention.
    Here’s an example: The Ultimate Blog Post Checklist for Entrepreneurs and Bloggers
    If you’re an entrepreneur or a blogger, this post is at least worth a look…

    2) Write a post that solves a problem.

    Yes, this is more about content than your title. The reason I’m including it is because when your post solves a specific problem for your person, your title will practically write itself. Here are some questions to ask before your write your next post:

    • What are my readers struggling with right now?
    • What do my readers most want to do?
    • How does this post help them do it?

    When you approach your content like this, you’ll have very little tweaking to do with your blog title. Which leads me to my next tip…

    3) Focus on the benefit.

    The biggest problem with the