Originally I just wanted to share how I felt when I received another request today for contributing to another site. Then the article grew and now also contains info on the marketing instruments that did help me to increase the number of people following my content.

Maybe Traffic is not a Currency

Writing for Free

If you follow this blog chances are that you are a new writer/blogger/marketer.

It´s a tedious task to find the first loyal readers who appreciate your content. Everyone will tell you (or more realistically try to sell you) the secret sauce of getting lots of readers and sales in no time. One of your greatest challenges will be not to lose focus when all around you shiny objects are blinking.

There is no legit and honorable shortcut to success. You will not make 200k or even 2k in the first week. Probably not even $ 200. You will also not find 100 new coaching clients in your first week online. That said, it is possible to make a great living and even a terrific living as a writer/coach/marketer who offers their services via the internet.

Naturally, for that to happen people have to see what you are offering and you need to find a constant and growing stream of readers.

Your invited to guest blog

How exciting is that? Once your articles start to become more popular, you will start to receive messages from people who invite you to write for their site, publish or market their content, etc. No wonder you are excited and happy. Finally, the hard work is starting to pay off.

I´ll share my view on this so that you have some more brain fodder to form your own opinion.

Content is Money

I am receiving a growing number of invites (via http://blog.aurorasa-coaching.com). The first few times I was excited. And hopeful for all of the traffic that will follow. Oh, and the backlinks.

There might be a few exceptions where it makes a lot of sense to write for other sites but here are a few arguments that make me decline most of the time:

  • “Maybe traffic” is not a currency. Your time is valuable and if someone wants you to spend it they need to present an adequate value for it. 
  • A single backlink is not worth a lot. For it to impress Google, you will have to write for the site on a regular basis. 
  • Most of the time you cannot aggressively market your site but just post a link in your author´s profile. Even if your content is good, many people will not bother to look for your site. 
  • You´re not a content machine. How many good articles can you write in a given time? You have to fill your website with a constant stream of good content as well. 

My advice is that you check any offers properly and make sure that you spend your time and precious material wisely. Depending on who your client is it might be more beneficial for you to post your article on LinkedIn Pulse, Bebee.com or Facebook.

This obviously does not apply if a very influential site with hundreds of thousands of readers reaches out to you … which is not going to happen in the beginning. 

Who´s your client?

We discussed that you will receive invites to write for other sites. There are also sites where you can self-publish articles. For instance Hub Pages and Ezine Articles. I played with both briefly, and I have to say that I received LOTS of traffic through the articles I published there. 
While Hub page only allows for a “no-follow” link, Ezine Articles can help your site to rank very well in Google. 
Depending on your business this does not have to apply to you: I am offering Coaching. My clients are not on Hub page. All of the traffic did not lead to any measurable results or leads. 
For a minute, I forgot the No. 1 rule of sales: Who is your client. Where is your client spending his time? 
If you are in the area of “online business” these sites might be highly interesting for you. 
The better you understand your client, what he needs and where he spends his time the better results you will get with even only a few visitors to your website. At the end of the day, it´s about conversion and not clicks.

Backfire

SEO, backlinks, “click for click”, social selling, keyword stuffing, link farms – the strategies keep changing. So does the Google algorithm. One of your biggest challenges will be not to fall for every scam or lose your time evaluating every shiny object.

Quality content never goes out of style. Many unsuspecting new content creators learn the painful lesson that Google does not appreciate trickery. And the promise of the “expert” and his tricks turn out to be a nightmare. Sooner or later search engines catch up, and they do punish websites that used any shady practices.

You might not even know that you were using shady practices when the great sales guy had such a convincing pitch (and didn´t he say he made his first 200k in a week?).

So my first piece of advice is: If someone tells you something that sounds too good to be true answer the following questions:

  • Is it honest? 
  • Does it provide value to your clients/readers?
  • Can it be considered trickery or shady?
  • Does the guy telling me about it make his money USING his own method or does he make his money selling his method?
  • Is the system/person teaching me skill or tricks?

At the end of the day, you can rank on page one and have thousands of daily visitors – unless your content is useful or entertaining, your visitors will probably not come back.

Time is Money

So you are putting out great content and take a lot of time creating it. Still, in the beginning, the world does not seem to care. It takes a while until a new website becomes known, trusted and popular.

There were a few instruments that helped me grow the most:

Effective Marketing Instruments

Press Releases

There are quite a few sites where you can even submit your press releases without charge. The benefit of press releases include:

  • Will rank very high in search engines, virtually the day after the release
  • You can be lucky, and a reporter likes your release and decides to write about you
  • Shows professionalism
  • News sites have an excellent reputation with Google
  • You might get lucky and even land in “Google Alerts.”
There are tons of paid services for press release distribution. Even if you just want to invest time, there are many great sites to self-publish your release. For a start: Here is a list of about 20 good sites where you can post without any charge: PR

Once you site kicks off, you might consider paying for the service as it is very time-consuming.

Re-purposing content

You should be very careful about posting duplicate content. I did not notice any negative backlash from posting an article after a few months on LinkedIn or BeeBee, other than that I stay clear of it.

But maybe some of your potential audience does not like reading too much. Maybe they prefer podcasts, videos or presentations.

You can easily use snippets of your content to create pictures, slide shows, podcasts and videos and get in front of an audience that might never have found your articles. If you have a blog and add something new to an older article you can republish it with the current date.

Very effective.

Webinars

What was the most efficient measure for me was webinars. Not just for the sales but also for the quality of great people I could add to my list. It is nice to receive positive feedback and comments on your newsletters and start building a relationship with people.

Also, a webinar allows people to learn who you are. As well all know: You buy the person – not the product. If you provide value people will be happy to share your event.

Of the many webinar solutions I tested, I found THIS the best. You will also receive tons and tons of great marketing advice. I tested many other webinar solutions and found this to be the best by far.

The only negative thing I found about his webinar solution is the way that it integrates with MailChimp. People receive the webinar sign-up confirmation and then the 2-step opt-in message from MailChimp. Compared to the flaws of the other webinar solutions I tested it was the one I could tolerate the easiest.

Viral Promo

When I decided to offer a webinar, the challenge was to get new people to sign up. And to then also show up. I tried several ways to achieve that:

  • Paid ads. I burnt a lot of money for not much outcome. I guess if I go on the street and offer people the kind of money Google asks for their paid ads I would have greater success. 
  • Solo ads. Tons of sign-ups. Not many show ups. Quality solo ads do not come cheap. 
Then I came across UpViral. 
Do you have a useful freebie to offer to a new subscriber? If you do not have it already, you should definitely buy or produce one. 
In one sentence: UpViral is a system that allows you to offer a “reward” for successful action. For instance: Someone can get a free eBook after he shared your event in 3 FB groups. Or after five people signed up for your newsletter/event/etc.
Psychology can explain why people are engaging way more when they have to hustle for their reward than when they get it for free. 
At the cost of only $ 25, I was able to get 238 sign-ups for my webinar within a few days. As I cannot tell if the buyers came via the UpViral promo or from my existing list, I can only look at the number of sign-ups. 
That´s pretty incredible. I don´t even want to start thinking about the costs of getting this number of sign-ups via Google Adwords. 
Read more about Upviral HERE

It´s the concept that companies like DropBox, Realplayer, and others use with great success as well.

Publishing on Social Media Sites

As mentioned briefly another great way to build your brand and get people to know you is contributing articles to – depending on the kind of your business – LinkedIn, BeBee or Facebook. I do not actively use Facebook so that my experience might be different from yours. Of the three mentioned FB was the only site that was not worth my content. 
Especially BeBee, a relatively new site, can lead to thousands of views on your content even if you do not have a huge network.


Whatever method you chose to grow your online business: May your site thrive!

Love & Light,

Aurorasa

"Maybe Traffic" Is Not a Currency

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