Monday, April 4, 2016
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Friday, March 25, 2016
- March 25, 2016
In fact, freelance blogging helped me go from earning $1,600 per month to earning more than $5,500 per month. This profession was my golden ticket to bigger and better opportunities.
The flexibility and sheer amount of opportunity that comes along with freelance writing makes it a fantastic side hustle for anyone who enjoys to write. It can be worked into any college student’s schedule and can be a great side income for everyone looking to accelerate student loan pay-off.
If you want to get your foot in the door and start earning some extra cash here are 14 ways to get paid to write.
Blogs That Will Pay for Your Tips and StoriesIf you love sharing your tips and stories and are looking for some one-off ways to get paid for your words, writing for blogs can be a very lucrative endeavor.
The Penny Hoarder – The Penny Hoarder is a blog dedicated to unique ways to both make and save money. The Penny Hoarder pays a flat rate per post (must be pre-arranged with the editor) and also offers bonuses of up to $800 if your blog post reaches a certain number of views.
The Dollar Stretcher – The Dollar Stretcher is a long standing frugal living website with a monthly print newsletter. You can earn $0.10 per word for stories or tips published in the monthly print version.
The Krazy Koupon Lady – The Krazy Koupon Lady pays for articles among a variety of different topics. You can click on the link to get specific instructions. They pay $50 per post payable via PayPal.
ACHS – American College of Healthcare Science is look for posts that are 600-1,000 words long related to your favorite topic on holistic health and wellness. They pay $50 per post.
World Start – World Start is looking for general computer, email, and software tips for their newsletter. They pay anywhere from $15-$35 per post depending on length.
Income Diary – Income Diary is a blog about making money online. If you’re a marketer or successful entrepreneur this could be a good fit for you. They pay anywhere from $50-$200 per post payable via PayPal.
Great Escape Publishing – This outlet is looking for articles about travel. They pay anywhere from $50-$200, depending on the type of assignment you take on.
Treehouse – Treehouse is a website for web designers and developers. They pay $100 to $200 per published article.
iWorkWell – iWork Well is a website for businesses covering a broad range of topics. This site will pay you up to $200 per post.
Follio.Me - Follio. me is a website that pays individual for writing articles. They pay $100 to $150 per article with Unique views
Breaking Into Magazine WritingOne high-paying writing niche that’s a little tougher to break into is magazine writing.
Writing for a magazine can net you anywhere for $.10-$2 per word. That can add up to a lot of money. If you’re successful in this niche you can make a lot more versus freelance blogging. The only downside is that your work may be a little less consistent.
If you want to break into magazine writing one of the best places to begin your search is the Writer’s Market. This book contains hundreds of different publications that will pay you for your words. Not only that, but the Writer’s Market has the name of editors to pitch as well submission guidelines and pay.
This is one book I’ve had on my shelf for a couple of years now and is a wealth of information.
Getting Jobs Off of Popular Job BoardsWhen I first embarked upon my freelance writing journey job boards were my go-to. I scoured my favorite job boards daily applying to as many writing jobs as I could.
You can find jobs like blog post writing, resume writing, and more on job boards.
Here are a couple of my favorites:
Problogger Job Board – The Problogger Job Board has many opportunities in many different niches on a weekly basis. Scour this job board daily and apply to anything that seems like a good fit to you.
Freelance Writing Gigs – Freelance Writing Gigs is a blog that scours the web and curates all the best new job offers on a daily basis.
You can find a list of other freelance writing job board sites here.
*Tip* When applying to job boards it’s extremely important that you’re only applying for jobs that you have specific knowledge in. Job Boards can be extremely competitive so the more you can position yourself as the “expert” the higher your chances of snagging that job will be.
Finding Unique Gigs on CraigslistAnother one of my go-to places when I was a beginner freelance writer was Craigslist.
Craigslist is a place you can find unique opportunities. There’s also the possibility of getting scammed on Craigslist so it’s important to do your due diligence and sign a contract before performing any work.
To find writing gigs on Craigslist simply search big cities (like New York or L.A. for example) and then go to the “Jobs” section and click “writing/editing.”
From here you’ll be able to look through the listings and find the work from home opportunities.
My favorite job from Craigslist was writing business descriptions for directories. I would write 100 word descriptions of various business (everything from AstroTurf companies to high-end hotels) which would be submitted to directories. I only received $2 per description, but since they were fairly easy to write the money added up quickly.
I usually netted at least $300 a week doing this in my spare time.
Cold Pitch to Find Your Own ClientsAfter going the job board and Craigslist route for months I finally transitioned to finding my own clients. I found this method to be the absolute best for creating a steady stream of clients who I actually enjoyed working with.
While finding your own clients is probably ideal, there are a few things you’ll need to do to make this work:
Choose a Writing Niche – Pinpoint exactly what you want to write about.
To get jobs you need to establish that you have expertise in a particular subject. Choose a topic that you enjoy writing about but also are very knowledgeable in.
Build a Freelancer’s Websites or Blog – The next step is to make your own little “home” on the internet. If you already have a blog in the niche you want to write in you can simply add a “hire-me” page to your blog.
If you don’t have a blog then create a freelancers website with the domain as your first and last name. You can then add an about me page, a services page, and also be sure to list contact information.
Collect a Few Writing Samples – If you have published work in the niche you want to break into then you’re in good shape! Simply link to those pieces from your writer’s website.
If you have no previous work then you’re going to need to find a blog or business you can submit a couple of articles to for free.
Start Pitching – The next step is to narrow down business and blogs that use freelance writers and pitch them. Be sure to make your pitches customized for each particular business or blog.
Rinse and repeat!
Cold pitching companies can sound a little overwhelming at first but once you get the process down it becomes very simple. If you’re serious about making a living freelance writing this is one of the absolute best ways to get a steady stream of paying clients, I promise!
If you need help building up your freelance writing business you’re in luck. My super-successful freelance writing friend, Cat Alford, has created a video course that will walk you step-by-step through building your own freelance writing business.
Get Paid to WriteIf you’re interested in earning some extra income by writing I hope that one of the ideas above has inspired you to take action!
Freelance writing can be a fantastic way to earn money and can even lead to full-time income if you can consistently produce quality work.
Do you have any questions about earning money through freelance writing?
- March 25, 2016
- 0 comments
Create Your Own Business InsteadMillennials have an advantage in the work force that not enough people are taking advantage of. We were the first generation to be raised completely immersed in the technology world, and we have an inherently strong grasp of social media and online communication. These skills alone can open up a whole new array of job opportunities that you never before knew existed. Add in technical or coding training, and there is no reason you can’t create your own business. All you need is the confidence to go out and use that technology to create your own job.
The great thing about starting your own business online is that there is little start-up costs. Unlike traditional brick and mortar businesses that take thousands to launch, you can launch an internet-based business for less than $1,000.
Become a Freelance BloggerIf you want to have the freedom of self-employment and the possibility of a limitless income, freelance blogging is a lucrative business option to consider. Essentially, other blogs will hire you to write their content for them, and you can write from anywhere.
You can start your own blog using a free, hosted platform like WordPress or Blogger and then use it as a portfolio to market your writing skills. The key with freelance blogging is that you become your own brand and people hire you for your writing abilities in a particular area.
I’ll be very transparent here. One of the first ways I made “a lot” of money blogging was actually writing for others. I would write articles for people’s blogs, and get paid per article. I started out charging just $20 for a 500 word article, and $50 for a 1,000 word article. Over time, by building a solid reputation and consistently delivering great articles, I was able to charge more and work less. In 2012, I made over $10,000 freelance blogging for others.
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If you have the time, you can easily make $10,000 or more – just writing for others!
Take a Freelance Blogging CourseDon’t despair if you don’t know the first thing about blogging or how to get started. Sign up to take a freelance blogging exercise on our forum and you will learn what it takes to become a successful freelance blogger in as little 7 days.
By enrolling in a freelance blogging course, you will learn how to succeed in your business, the specific steps your should take, and where to go to find the best clients. Not only will the course show you the ropes of the online writing world, but you will automatically be plugged into a supportive network that wants to see you succeed.
For a small investment in yourself, you can learn how to start bringing in your own income on your own schedule. By learning how to get paid to write for blogs, you can choose your own projects and get paid for writing about the things that inspire you the most.
Take the First Step Towards Building Your Own Successful BusinessRefocus your job-hunting energy into a job-building energy. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results. You don’t need to be a victim of the fluctuating job market and you don’t have to be a statistic in our struggling economy, waiting for a job interview. Keep your standards high and make money being your own boss. People are making good money every day writing for every niche and market imaginable. You can be one of those people by taking the first step towards starting your own freelance blogging business.
I’m an affiliate for this course, simply because I have seen it, recommend it, and know that earning money freelance blogging is very possible. To me, there is no better way to close out “Earn More Money” month here at The Greatprofblog than to showcase a great resource that will help you improve your ability to earn money online.
Are you struggling to find a job in this economy? Would you consider starting your own business as a freelance blogger?
- March 25, 2016
- 0 comments
Check it out:
Online Side Hustling IdeasFor most people, an online side hustle is the easiest way to get started; you can find free WiFi a lot of places and the startup costs are minimal.
1. Sell on eBay – eBay is a great place to sell stuff and earn money, especially if you have something collectible. One of my favorite ways to side hustle on eBay is to go to estate sales and find items that you can purchase for cheap, then resell online. Just make sure that you keep the fees in consideration.
2. Sell on Amazon.com – Do you have old books, CDs, or DVDs? Then you should consider selling them on Amazon. It’s incredibly easy to list your items to sell, and you’d be surprised how much you can get for old stuff sometimes. If you’re a college student looking to sell your old textbooks, you should compare the Amazon prices to your bookstore buyback prices. Amazon is often a better place to sell.
3. Sell on Fiverr.com – Fiverr is a micro-selling site where you can sell all kinds of random projects, from design work to simply recording yourself on video talking about a brand. We just wrote an article about how you can earn $10,000 by starting a Fiverr gig. It’s possible!
4. Just Search The Internet – Do you search the Internet? Want to get paid for it? Swagbucks is a site that rewards you for doing various online tasks like taking surveys, watching videos, and using their search engine. When using their search engine, you get reward points after several searches, usually in the amount of 10-15 points. You can start cashing out rewards at the 500 points mark.
If you sign up for Swagbucks through THIS LINK you can earn a $5 bonus!
Mobile Expression is a similar app for iPad. You can earn rewards for installing it and leaving it on your device for at least 90 days.
Another option is InboxDollars. Similar to Swagbucks, they offer cash bonuses for searching the web or shopping online. Just by signing up with THIS LINK you can earn a $5 bonus!
5. Fill Out Online Surveys – If you have some time to spare online, you could spend it filling out online surveys. There are sites that will pay you to do so and it’s very easy. All you have to do is register, and these companies will contact you when they have a survey that fits your profile. Typically these are online market research surveys for big brands.
Some of the most popular online survey sites include:
- Swagbucks Surveys – Swagbucks now has a dedicated survey section, and you can get $5 just for signing up.
- Pinecone – Earn about $3 for each survey you complete.
- Survey Junkie – Earn cash and rewards for sharing your thoughts and opinions.
- Survey Spot – Earn cash and rewards for filling out surveys and sharing your opinion.
- ProOpinion – Get cash and rewards for filling out surveys.
- iPoll – Earn cash, gift cards, and more. You get $5 just for signing up with this link.
- Harris Poll – This company is run by Nielsen, and gives great rewards for filling out surveys.
- Opinion Outpost – Earn cash for filling out surveys.
- Pinecone 18-24 – If you’re 18-24, you can earn $3 per survey with Pinecone.
- Pinecone Males – If you’re a guy, there’s special surveys you can fill out that pay even more.
- Reward TV – Get paid to play games and fill out surveys about TV shows!
7. Online Freelancing – There is a lot of freelance work online. You can sign up for sites like UpWork, or you can even become your own online freelancer like I did. I’ve made over $10,000 on the side by online freelancing, and I share my story, as well as resources to help you get started, here: How To Start Freelance Blogging and Earn $1,000s on the Side.
8. Sell Crafts on Etsy.com – Are you creative? Maybe selling your own creative products is the way to go. You could open a shop on Etsy and sell your crafts to others who are looking for unique products. You could sell paper goods like cards and invitations, or even home decor products themed around the holidays.
9. eBook Publishing – Have a story you want to tell? Maybe you should write an eBook and sell them on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Michael Piper has made a living selling eBooks about financial topics online, and we recently wrote 14 Ways To Get Paid For Writing Online.
10. Sell Stock Photos – Perhaps taking pictures is your forte. If you are a great photographer, you could possibly sell your photos online. Sites like iStockPhoto are always looking for contributors, who get paid a royalty every time their photo is purchased. This could be a great way to turn your art into some extra cash.
11. Blogging – Blogging is a great side hustle because you can do it at your own pace anywhere you want. It’s not a quick and easy way to make money, but there are a lot of ways to make money side hustling while blogging. You can sell advertising, become an affiliate for other people’s products, sell your own online product, and more. It does take time to build up an audience to be able to make a decent amount of money, but once you have a large following, you could earn over $50,000 per month like Pat Flynn.
12. Do Micro-Tasks on Mechanical Turk – Another micro-task site is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. The gigs on this site pay incredibly low amounts – less than a nickel typically. However, they take seconds, and you can earn around $6 per hour if you keep at it.
13. Do User Testing – Sites like UserTesting.com are always looking for users to rate and give feedback about websites. Website owners post gigs to the site, and you simply login and give feedback and usability ratings on different websites and online apps. You can earn up to $10 for each test you participate in.
14. Create A Course Online – Do you have something you can teach? You can teach something online at sites like Udemy.com. There are courses online for just about anything, and you can charge whatever pricing you feel is right for your instruction.
15. Become a Virtual Assistant – Do you enjoy writing, social media, and blogging, but don’t want to start your own blog? You can find virtual assistant jobs where you help other people run their sites and social media accounts. Depending on the amount of time you have, this side hustle could even become a full time gig.
Offline Side Hustling IdeasSometimes, working offline when you side hustle is a more lucrative prospect – especially depending on your skill set.
16. Tutor – Are you a college student who has already taken several classes in your major? You could help tutor others in those same classes and earn upwards of $20-$50 per session. It’s a great way to side hustle in school, while keeping your own knowledge sharp.
17. Be A Task Rabbit – TaskRabbit.com is a place where you can sign up and run small tasks for others. It can include anything from picking up the groceries to cleaning or helping people move. Typical tasks take a few hours, but there are a lot of tasks available in most large cities.
18. Catering – Do you want to side hustle just on Friday and Saturday nights? Well, you should team up with a catering company, as they often need servers and wait staff just for the events they host on the weekend. Many companies are “call-in”, which means you can work when you choose to.
19. Cleaning Service – If you like to clean, you could help clean houses. These can be ongoing side hustles, like a weekly or bi-weekly service, or one time deals (such as for when people move). You could even join forces with some friends and tackle larger projects.
20. Baby-Sitting – Baby-sitting is another great side hustle that can earn you upwards of $100 per night! Many people start baby sitting in high school, but there’s no reason that college students and other young adults can’t keep in the game, especially if you have neighbors or relatives with young children.
21. Computer Repair – Are you tech savvy? Maybe you can help your friends and neighbors with computer repair, from updating and installing the latest operating system to helping them get a virus off their computer. If you have the know-how, people will pay.
22. Recycle – Recycling can be a great way to earn some extra money. I’m not talking about becoming a bum at the park rummaging for cans (although you can do that) – I’m talking about encouraging your friends and neighbors to leave their cans and bottles aside for you. If you want to take it up a notch, look for recycling metal and scrap to get even more money.
23. Resume Help – Are you working at a company right now and see a lot of resumes? Do you hire people? Perhaps you can help others with their resumes and cover letters (for a fee, of course). If you want an example of what you can do,
24. Dog Walking – Do you have friends or neighbors with dogs? Do they work in the day? Maybe you can offer your services to them as a dog walker. Not only is this a great side hustle that can earn you a little extra cash, but it also gets you exercising every day.
25. Estate Sales – Instead of just selling stuff on eBay, you can also host estate sales. I used to host estate sales online and offline, and it can earn you a nice amount of money if you have customers with a full house of stuff. To be successful, though, you’re going to need to get some friends involved to help.
26. Handyman Work – Do you have a knack for home repair? Then you could side hustle as a handyman on nights and weekends to earn a little bit of extra money. Just be up front about your skills set – repairing fences, doing small plumbing jobs, whatever it happens to be.
27. Housesitting – One of the easiest side hustles to do: simply sit and sleep in someone’s house while they are out of town. This is a great side hustle, but too bad it’s usually not a consistent revenue stream for most.
28. Hauling Service – Do you have a truck? You could sell your services helping other people haul stuff to the dump, or even picking up large items at places like Home Depot. Don’t have a truck? You could work at a hauling company and do the manual labor for others.
29. Modeling – This is the side hustle for the good looking people of the world. You can go to school or work, and still take modeling jobs at night and on the weekends. For many models, there isn’t always a steady stream of work, but if you have success at a few gigs, this could become very lucrative.
30. Movie or TV Extra – Depending on where you live, you could become an extra on a TV show or movie. Many studios are always looking for a steady stream of extras, and you can get paid a couple hundred dollars for just standing or walking around in the back of a movie set.
31. Mystery Shopping – Do you enjoy fast food or going into retail shops? Many companies hire mystery shoppers to test the customer service of their stores. A common one is Subway, which hires mystery shoppers to ensure that “Sandwich Artists” are following all the franchise guidelines. If you have time and can travel to different places, this could be a good side hustle.
32. Pet Sitting – If you love pets, taking care of your friends’ and neighbors’ pets while they are out of town can be a great way to earn some extra cash. It can be fun to make a new furry friend and get paid for it at the same time.
33. Join A Research Study or Focus Group – Have you walked through a college campus and seen the flyer for research studies and focus groups? Companies are always looking for people’s opinions about products and services, and for sitting in one of these groups for a few hours, you could earn upwards of $100.
34. Moving Service – If you have time on the weekends, and are okay lifting heavy boxes and furniture, you could join up with a moving service and get paid to help people move. It’s not easy work, but most people tip the movers as well.
35. Gardening Service – A lot of entrepreneurs got their start mowing lawns, and it’s still a great side hustle today. If you live in an area where people need gardeners, knock on doors and offer your gardening services. It’s a great way to earn some extra cash.
36. Painting Service – Painting services are another common side hustle for college students. If you have time on weekends and during the summer, you can paint houses or join a painting company. It’s not easy, but it can pay well in the right neighborhoods.
37. Pool Cleaning Service – Pool cleaning is another one that can be easy money, as long as you know how to do it. Matt Giovanisci started cleaning pools, and then turned it into a great side hustle at SwimUniversity.com.
38. Become Someone’s Friend – Join a service like Rentafriend.com, where you can get paid to become someone’s friend for a period of time. This is strictly platonic stuff here, so don’t get any ideas!
39. Shoveling Snow – In the winter in many parts of the country, this can be a lucrative side hustle.
42. Participate in Medical Studies – One of our favorite unique ways to make money, this can earn you several hundred dollars or more for being a guinea pig. A recent study that a friend participated in was to get her knees numbed over night – a different numbing drug in each knee. She then had to tell the doctor which one wore off first the next morning. Odd, but it paid over $1,000 for one night.
Micro-Entrepreneurship IdeasThese ideas are a little different than the typical hustle – they are more based on entrepreneurship and asset leveraging to make even more money for you. These can lead to passive income over time if done well.
43. Rent Your House on AirBNB – If you travel a lot, you have the potential to rent out your house while you’re away on AirBNB. Paula Pant at AffordAnything.com shares how she is averaging over $500 per month renting out an apartment.
44. Become an Uber or Lyft Driver – Another set-your-own-schedule business is driving people around. All you need is a car and some spare time. Just sign up with Uber or Lyft and start driving people around. You’ll make what you put into it. Harry at The Ride Share Guy has a lot of great resources about getting started, including a course about starting to RideShare for Profit.
45. Become a PostMate – Similar to Uber or Lyft, except you’re delivering food instead of people. PostMates is an on-demand delivery service where you get paid around $20 per hour to deliver food. In fact, right now you are guaranteed to earn $1,000 per 60 deliveries in New York or San Francisco. That’s not bad.
46. Agent Anything – Agent Anything is outsourcing geared to students. People post projects on the site and you can make offers for how much you’re willing to pay to help. Most gigs on the site earn anywhere from $20 to $100, but some earn more. However, they are usually pretty quick and easy jobs.
47. Renting Out A Room – If you have a spare room in your house, you could make some extra money by renting it out. You have to advertise, screen tenants, and collect rent, but the small amount of time involved could be lucrative.
48. Renting Out Your Garage or Driveway – If you have extra space in your driveway (or side yard), you could rent that space out as well to people looking to store property, like boats or RVs. In many areas, there are HOAs that prevent people from parking this type of equipment, and you could help solve that problem for them while earning a little extra cash.
Hustle At WorkSometimes, side hustling isn’t about starting something else, but it’s really about making better use of the job you currently have.
49. Volunteer for Overtime – If you are working at a job, this might not be a true side hustle, but it is a way to earn some extra money fast. In many companies, you can volunteer to work longer and earn extra pay. If you don’t have an idea on what side hustle to do right now, this could be an option.
50. Employee Referral Program – Again, not a true side hustle, but a great way to earn extra money. Many companies offer referral programs where you can earn anywhere from $25 to $1,000 per employee you refer. That could go a long way.
51. Tuition Reimbursement Program – Many companies also offer tuition reimbursement programs to help pay for school. Maybe your short term hustle is to better your education. Why not have your company pay for it while you’re at it?
52. Get A Part Time Job – Finally, if you don’t want to work for yourself, go spend your time hustling for someone else at a part time job. While not ideal for some, it can be a great way to earn some extra money in your spare time.
Have you tried any of these side hustles? What’s worked for you and what hasn’t? What did you use the extra money for? Comment below
- March 25, 2016
- 0 comments
Those “overnight successes” you see are normally the results of years and years of hard and deliberate work. The good news is that when it comes to building wealth there are no secrets. The same set of principles will work for absolutely everyone! If you’re willing to put in the work and make the sacrifices you can build wealth at a fast pace.
Here are five personal finance habits that will make you rich.
# 1- Spend Significantly Less than You EarnThe first habit is to spend less than you earn. And if you want to build wealth fast you need to spend significantly less than you earn.
You would think that this would be a common sense rule but unfortunately it’s not. Most Americans spend a lot more than they earn which is why there’s so much consumer debt. If you can ingrain this one habit at a young age you’ll be on the track to financial freedom.
# 2 – Invest Your Money at a Young AgeThe earlier you start investing the more time your money has to grow. This is why investing at a young age is so crucial.
Even if you only have an extra $20 per week to invest you need to do it. Those small amounts can turn into something huge in twenty to thirty years.
Don’t know where to start? Open an account at one of our recommended brokers below:
# 3 – Avoid DebtDebt should be your enemy. Those of you with mountains of student loans have probably already figured this out.
Debt will hold you back from so many financial opportunities. Make it your mission to avoid all forms of consumer debt. If you’re already in debt you need to first work on getting rid of it before you’ll be able to build wealth.
# 4 – Save as Much Money as You CanSaving for the sake of saving is pretty pointless. Instead you should create financial goals like saving for a house, car, or early retirement.
# 5 – Find a Career You EnjoyLast but not least you need to find a career you enjoy. You’re not going to be able to realize your full earning capabilities unless you at least mildly enjoy what you’re doing.
Plus, who wants to work their entire life doing something that they hate? It might take you awhile to find that perfect fit but you’ll know when you find it.
Don’t know what to put your passion into? Well, get a job and start a side hustle. Many millennials work a side gig starting in college and continue to grow it after graduation.
Practice Makes PerfectIf one of your goals this year is to build wealth then these five personal finance habits will get you there. At the end of the day the steps to take are very simple, it’s acting them out that will be a test of character.
What else would you add to the list?
- March 25, 2016
- 0 comments
Think about it.
Be it via social media, paid media, SEO or lead nurturing, a marketer is constantly inviting people to check out their content.
In order to capitalize on this traffic, one must learn proper hosting etiquette when looking to elicit engagement, and more importantly, return visits.
A great way to do that is by relating the experience to the psychology of meeting someone.
In this post, find out how you can connect interpersonal value alongside three distinct creation tactics for more successful events with your content.
Before that, take a moment to reflect on why these concepts make such an impact.
The Power of First Impressions
First impressions leave a lasting impression in social life, as well as in digital.
I mean, if a person’s face determines whether we think they are trustworthy, dominant or attractive, imagine what the look of a piece of content will communicate to audiences.
(Source: University of York)
According to research published by Oxford University Press, users differentially evaluate and remember websites after seeing them for only 5 seconds.
(Source: Bit Rebels)
So, while we’re not here to instruct you on the use of better body language, we can help you develop content that draws the most interest from viewers for strong positive impressions.
Welcome Readers to Your Article
First and foremost, you can welcome visitors to an article by introducing what the article is actually going to provide right out of the gate.
This way, the reader knows exactly what they can expect, giving them the freedom to decide for themselves whether investing in your content is worthy of their time.
Assuming they are, the opportunity then revolves around matching their expectation.
There are several different ways that you can do this, sometimes before they even show up:
Connecting The Meta Description to the Content
Considering how, in a given year, trillions of people are searching Google for answers to questions or for resources to meet their needs, being well-optimized in the SERPs can make a large impact on the initial impression a reader has with your content.
The meta description has been optimized to reflect what the reader can expect to take away from the piece of content and will be used as a tool for determining whether it is truly relevant to their search.
Additionally, this is the information that’s pulled from a link when shared across social media.
- Highlight main aspects of the article
- Explain what you are offering inside
- Include any relevant keywords
- Communicate what the audience member will get from it
Basically, address the need you intended to meet with the piece of content you’ve created.
Upon clicking into the article, the reader should be reassured right away that their problems are, in fact, going to be addressed within:
Characteristic of the inverted pyramid writing style, aim to frontload all of the most important details you hope to introduce over the course of the article in the first paragraph.
Not only is it great for SEO, as it’s often advised focus keywords be dropped within the first 100 words a post, but also solves the problem of users pogo-sticking from your content.
Consider this incredibly important excerpt from Moz about on-page optimization:
You have to think about all the searchers, the 90% of the searchers who may not be your customer and how do you answer their query, because otherwise you’re probably going to be falling in those search results. What questions do those people have? What makes them engage versus leave? What is it, when this person performs a search, that they want to know? And if you don’t know, you can ask.
Matching the Article Title to the Value Proposition
A title says a thousand words.
Sometimes, literally, in the form of a 1,000 + word article.
Whatever the case, ensuring an article is a direct representation of what you’ve communicated in the title is necessary to avoid that icky clickbait problem diluting reader experiences online.
Following the logic that users click through to an article to satisfy a need, a well-crafted title can often lead readers to predict the content within.
If the perceived promise isn’t met, this “prediction error” can often result in lower response rates with your content, and potentially, decision-making with your brand.
This is what happens on a neural level when these predictions and evaluations of outcomes take place:
When used in a headline, the words “photo” and “who” increase CTR.
The words “easy,”“how to,” “credit,” “cure,” “magic,” and “free” decrease CTR.
Bracketed clarifications, which are clarifications of the type of content represented by the headline – e.g. [Infographic], increase CTR when included in headlines.
Making references to the reader by using the words “you,” “your,” or “you’re” in the headline decreases CTR.
Headlines generate the highest level of engagement at moderate lengths (81-100 characters).
Including positive superlatives (“best”, “always”) in headlines decreases CTR.
When used in the headline, the words “simple,” “tip,” “trick,” “amazing,” and “secret” decrease CTR.
Using words that convey a sense of urgency (e.g., “need,” “now”) in the headline decreases CTR.
It’s pretty clear that providing the most descriptive and concise information about an article in the headline wins over more gimmicky and persuasive tactics.
Host Readers with the Right Engagement Techniques
You’ve got them through the door and have offered them a seat to your content.
Now, it’s all about supporting the main takeaways of your article in a way that resonates with audiences new and familiar.
If we continue to flow from the inverted pyramid:
This portion of your content should focus on providing tons of value and knowledge to the reader in hopes of satisfying the initial needs outlined at the beginning of your article.
Again, if they aren’t enabled with all of the necessary information on a particular topic or subject, they may end up outsourcing answers through another content destination.
Content creators should try as hard as they can to become all-in-one resources for their online audiences.
That doesn’t all have to take place in one piece of content, either.Check out the diagram below to see what I mean:
(Source: g2m Solutions)
Regardless of reader intent upon arriving on a piece of content, you not only want to become their touch point for education but also considered as a potential solution beyond the specific article they are interacting with.
This can be done effectively without overloading the audience through:
Smart Content Structure, Format, and Elements
Think legibility, readability, and comprehension.
A reader should be able to flow along the content in a way that is easy to process, absorbing your words and the various elements fluidly.
There is an order to it — much like the pyramid above defines.
Years ago, Ahava Leibtag produced this amazing checklist for creating valuable content which is still essential to this day. Additionally, Neil Patel works from this “ blog post anatomy” in order to identify/meet reader need.
Here’s an abbreviated version of the tactics I have found most useful, which when implemented, can hyper-optimize an article framework for both the reader and search engines.
- Clear and defined <H2> headers </H2> with matching sub content
- Broken up text and short paragraphs for scannability / mobile consumption
- Cited research with internal / external links to authority domains for topic support
- Rich media such as images, video, data visualizations and diagrams
- Instructions for actionable learning or deeper problem-solving
- Smart CTAs that guide readers to other areas of your site for support upon article completion
So, you don’t even have to be in the business of creating long-form content which aims to tackle comprehensive issues. You can set the reader up to succeed by leading them to other resources (owned or not) that help answer all of their questions.
This article links to other valuable information to supplement your journey in creating the best possible experience for your readers.
Before I digress too far, let’s pluck one bullet from the list above and dive in.
Take a look at how clear headers make it easy for the reader to assess and prep for the intake of information:
You can guess what comes next, right?
Yes, a breakdown of the integrated PESO model (with a diagram to boot).
I know it may sound silly and incredibly simplistic, but matching these two experiences / expectations throughout an article is key.
It’s like inviting someone to a 90s’ party, but informing them that the event has changed to a formal affair only after they’ve arrived and settled in. Think about what their neural activity would look like on that level.
If they had only known…
Send Readers off with a Proper Night(re)cap
Have you ever been reading an article and all of a sudden it comes to a dramatic stop?
It’s like the author just finished their last point and decided they were done writing. Hopefully, they’ve done enough work laying it out for you to be able to recall specific areas.
In any case, there’s nothing quite like solidifying your points with a strong recap that audiences will remember after finishing your article.
Search Engine Watch has mastered the conclusion as most of their article takeaways come formatted in bullet point lists for ease of digest.
If one wanted to, they could do a quick run-through of the article by scrolling here for everything they needed to know first, then navigating to specific areas of interest.
As a marketer with very little time, I know I’m guilty of this time-saving tactic!
Basically, reiterate everything you want them to know / you think they came to your article looking for.
Make Room for Questions
With any engaged audience, you are going to solicit questions and feedback.
Sometimes naturally, sometimes not.
That’s why it’s important that you empower the voice of your readers by asking them to leave comments. Co-Founder of Content Marketer and Narrow.io, Sujan Patel knows the value of a solid end of article question to spark debate:
A small ask for great potential in building connections with audiences.
Readers just need to be triggered to internalize their shared experiences and anecdotes in order to hit the keyboard.
Not only does it create more affinity with your content, but when you consider commenting in relation to increased shares, it would make sense that someone would feel more inclined to share something once they’ve commented on it.
That feeling of contribution to a topic is immeasurable.
In the example below, we asked a question about which top five paid traffic sources every online marketer should be testing, and it generated 21 comments + return visitors checking back on the conversation.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
- March 24, 2016
- 0 comments
Content marketing has taken over. You hear about it all the time.You’re probably talking about it with your marketing friends and trying to explain it to your significant other. You may even be interested in leveraging it to create more meaningful relationships with prospects and customers.
But you still might not be sure how. After all, there are a variety of strategies, tactics, and tools at your disposal.
What should you focus on first?
I’m going to set you up with a simple framework that will help you get started with content marketing as early as today.
Ok, maybe tomorrow.
The PESO Content BreakdownThere are lots of different distribution channels and content types out there, so it’s important to know what’s available to you.
(Source: Amex OPEN Forum)
Whether you invest in the promotion of paid content through platforms like Outbrain , leverage third-party PR placements through earned media, spread the word organically through shared content on social media or publish blog articles directly to owned channels such as your website, pretty much everything you can do falls under one of these buckets.
But it’s not quite that simple.
Earned, owned, and shared content can all be paid content as well.
- Earned – The news cycle never stops. Once the initial interest from your press coverage dies down, how can you get more of your audience to read that article?
- Owned – It takes time to grow your own email list and build your SEO authority. In the meantime, how do you get prospects to read the blog post you just published?
- Shared – Social networks have significantly diminished the reach of your posts to your own followers and friends. How do you get more views on the Youtube video you just uploaded?
Whether you’re paying to increase exposure within a certain social platform or driving readers from other channels, it’s becoming more difficult to experience significant growth with content without some kind of paid strategy.
This is why understanding the value of every piece of content you create is critical. What is it worth to have the perfect audience consume your content? Do you know?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s go through each letter in this handy PESO Starter Kit.
The PESO Starter Kit
1. Paid MediaYou’ve probably noticed the flood of content online these days. It’s filling your inbox, your news feeds, and your messaging apps, and showing no signs of slowing. So how can you enter such a saturated market in hopes of reaching your target audience?
You guessed it. You can pay for visibility.
There are several options you can use for paid distribution. A recent survey conducted at the Digiday Content Marketing Summit, revealed the top 3 distribution partners used by most of the conference attendees:
Simply publish something to your Facebook wall and select the option to “Boost Post.” From there you can select your targeting, budget (based on audience reach) and the promotion duration you want.
If you want to make it to the News Feed in a more organic way, this is a great tactic that requires minimal exertion or know-how.
OutbrainAll you have to do is submit your great content to Outbrain, we recommend it across our network of premium publisher sites like CNN, TIME, ESPN, Mashable, and thousands more, and you get high quality traffic back to your blog post, video, or third-party press coverage, in the form of engaged readers or viewers.
If you want to see what that looks like, visit this page, enter your URL and click the start now button to test your earned and owned content.
To create a campaign, just add your targeting and budget preferences for the specific pieces of content you are interested in promoting.
Then, add your URLs or RSS feed and launch the campaign.
2. Earned MediaThere’s almost nothing better for a business than great publicity via the right publisher placement or trusted industry leader.
While tactics such as the press release still have their place, tons of new strategies and tactics have cropped up which can help gain the right brand mentions and press coverage.
Influencer marketing in particular has become a very effective way of obtaining earned media from authoritative third-parties.
A tool we use at Outbrain to find influencers in a specific niche is called Scrunch. It’s great for surfacing hidden brand champions with large loyal followings.
Ever read an amazing article and think, “I wish I could connect with this author,” but don’t want to come out of left field with a random cold email?
The truth is, with a little bit of time, consideration and authenticity, you can come out of left field to forge meaningful relationships with influencers. They actually expect it.
All you really need is just the right tool to mine their contact information for outreach. We found just that tool!
The next time you find yourself in that predicament, copy the URL of that blog post and use ContentMarketer.io to scan the post. After working its magic, you’ll be able to play around with some ideas using categorized templates which keep you on-message and as professional as possible.
3. Shared MediaSharing is still caring as thought leadership and industry authority have become top of mind for marketers looking to leave their mark online.
Sujan Patel said it best in his article on “Creating Content Around Your Niche Or Core.”
“Authority isn’t just some meaningless word, conjuring up visions of marketers acting like rulers of the internet. It is, instead, something that reduces the barrier to conversions and sales”A strong platform-specific content strategy is a critical step in building the trust essential to the ultimate purchasing decision.
I’m going to cover a few places you can do that…
MediumMedium is a blog-publishing platform that packs a serious punch, inspiring a hybrid of contributions from a variety of different viewpoints.
Casual meets professional, splicing in paid contributions, brand storytelling and social journalism.
Now heavily adopted after its long evolution since founded back in 2012 by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, you can connect with passionate readers by sharing high-quality articles related to your area of professional expertise.
Create a new story and take advantage of the well-packaged design elements in order to draw in more viewers, referrers and recommendations.
Be mindful of read time, as Medium’s data suggests optimizing for 7 minutes in order to achieve the most attention.
Since we use Medium as a part of a syndicated content strategy, it’s important for us to include a link back to the original post in hopes of capturing new blog subscribers from this channel.
YouTubeDemand for video continues to climb, but with low supply in the marketplace, there couldn’t be a more optimal time for you to meet audiences with great content in this format.
So, while creating a YouTube channel is the smartest way to host your video and share across platforms, you may still be looking for some tools to help you create your video content. Here’s a few free quality tools to check out: Splice, Clips, Adobe Premiere Clip.
LinkedIn PulseIf your audience is on LinkedIn it’s definitely worth considering publishing your content on LinkedIn Pulse. Much like Medium, this offers a seamless publishing experience which will produce a mobile optimized article that you can easily share with your connections.
4. Owned MediaAs you start building your confidence in content marketing, you’ll want to adopt more of an “own rather than rent” mentality.
As Greatprof points out, owned content creates opportunities for:
- Building audience cookie pools for retargeting
- Optimizing the content for better engagement and conversions
- Gaining SEO and organic sharing value
- Building a CRM program for continuation of (free) messaging to audiences
Employee BloggingThere’s no better way to produce authentic owned content, than by tapping into your in-house teams and showcasing their expertise in the form of employee blog posts.
Take it from us.
We tackle a variety of different topics by working internally on content that is not only suitable for our online audiences, but also helps to build individual and brand authority in the industry.
A brand storytelling canvas where I’d like to share with you smart, creative, inspiring, engaging, cool, and innovative content marketing ideas that take my digital marketing breath away once a week.Start drumming up some conversations around the office, putting feelers out for who might be interested in contributing.
Narrow in on subjects and provide them with any necessary resources in terms of style guide, and you’ll be surprised how easy it can be to empower employees to write great content.
ConclusionHopefully, in breaking down the various media types, tactics and tools, I’ve warmed you up a bit to start testing the waters of content marketing. Here’s a quick PESO recap of what we covered.
- Paid – Facebook and Outbrain are two great options the help your content rise above the noise.
- Earned – Use tools like Scrunch and ContentMarkter.io to leverage influencer marketing
- Shared – Medium, YouTube, and LinkedIn Pulse are all great places to publish.
- Owned – Leverage employee expertise, and just start blogging!
I’m here to help!