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60 Days in the Blogosphere: Part II

22 March 2012

I'm back with more blogging advice.  {I can feel the excitement in the air!}
First off, let me say the response to my first installment was uh-mazing.  It warmed my heart to get so many comments from bloggers saying that the advice helped them.  I know, I know, I'm a nerd.  I embrace it.

Without further ado, I give you Part II.

Sponsorship
So you want to grow your followers?  Paying to sponsor a big blog can be a nice way to do this in an expedited fashion.  Of course, there are free ways of doing this too, which I'll discuss in a moment.  If you want to do a paid sponsorship, here's what to consider:

1.) Does the blogger's content and writing style gel with yours?
2.) How has the blogger promoted sponsors in the past?  {go read old posts....if you were one of those sponsors, would you like the way you were presented?}
3.) Check out the usual stats {either provided on their "Sponsor" page or provided when you email them for sponsorship details.}  How many followers?  How many pageviews?  What size ads?  How much money?
4.) Does the blogger rotate the ads throughout the month for maximum exposure?
5.) Does the blogger tweet about sponsors or offer guest posts or hosted giveaways?
6.) Contact a current sponsor of the blog you're considering.  Ask them if they are happy with the experience and how many followers they gained.


My two cents: I would rather pay slightly more money to have a solo guest feature.  If I'm paying, I'd rather not share the spotlight.  Secondly, the best bloggers will never use the word 'sponsor' in their posts. When you read blogs that say "check out my lovely March sponsors", that translates in blogger language to "you can skip this post where I tell you how awesome the people are who paid me money."  {I see this a lot and I'm not being a hater; however I do believe that the very best bloggers promote their sponsors in a "check out this blog I love to read" kind of way instead.}

Also, sponsorship is not a silver bullet.  If your blog design is bad or you don't put time & effort into the introduction you provide the blogger, all the money in the world won't buy you new followers.  I also see some poorly designed buttons out there.  Why pay money to place a blah-button on someone's site? Invest in the basics first.

Guest Posting
This is an awesome way to meet new readers, and is mutually beneficial to both bloggers.  Even better? It's free!  Many bloggers have weekly series {such as my Tuesday Travel Diaries </end shameless plug>} for guest bloggers.  Otherwise, contact a blog buddy of yours and suggest that you blog swap for a day.  Your readers will follow you to your guest post, and the blog's regular readers will get a nice introduction to you and your writing.  It's a win-win.
{I also have a bit of a rant about guest post etiquette that I'm stewing on.  Coming soon...haha!}


Link-Ups
Another wonderful, free way to meet new bloggers.  There are link-ups galore around the blogosphere. However, a word of caution...it's easy to go overboard on these.  Yes, they are easy because the post is somewhat prompted and it's a nice way for your blog to be discovered.  The trap is that it can be difficult to make the content compelling.  Take a look at your Top 5 favorite blogs.  How many link-ups do they participate in each week?  I'm willing to bet the answer is zero to one.  Many big bloggers host a link-up, but it's rare to find them linking-up very often.    The reason goes back to creating unique, compelling content.

When you do a link-up, try to weave it into your post.  Your goal should be that your reader doesn't even know it's a link-up until you spill the beans at the end.

My favorite link-ups:
Ashley @ Aventures of Newlyweds hosts "Friday Letters"
Heather @ Undercover Blonde hosts "Book Club Friday"
{And, yes, all the good link-ups are on Fridays.  Oh, the dilemmas!}

Creative Content//Working Ahead
Jenni from Story of My Life recently attended a blogger conference.  She came back with this gem:




People respond to original content.” –Camille, Camille Styles (Jenni’s note: this is one of the #1 most important things to understand if you want to grow your blog!  Curating content is gathering pictures/inspiration from around the web and compiling it on your blog. But people truly do respond best to original content, created by YOU, photographed by you, and with your own personality inserted!)


I agree with that statement 1,000%.  It's the reason I love my favorite blogs.  Strive for that!  The number one tip I can recommend to help with creative content is working ahead.  As soon as you feel the obligation to blog, you'll lose your desire.  And if you force it?  The content will suffer.  Write when you feel inspired.  The best bloggers do this.  They write several posts at a time, when they are feeling creative.  They have their posts scheduled 5-10 days in advance.  This gives them time to write, re-read, and edit.  But most importantly, it gives them freedom.  Let's face it--there are going to be days when you don't feel like blogging.  And the best thing to do on those days?  Don't blog.  If you work ahead, then you can honor your creativity, and avoid apathy.  

Labels
You might think the "Labels" section under your 'Post Settings' is just for you, as a way to categorize your content.  Or you might think it's just to make your label cloud look cool.  Well, you're wrong on both accounts.  Labels are the things that tell Google's search engines what your post is about.  Hence, they are an important way to drive traffic to your website.  Use them!  Single words are typically best.  Try to add at least three labels to every post.



Internal Links
These are another item that Google search engine's love.  Without going overboard, it's good to link to other parts of your blog, within your posts.  For example, at the top of this post, I linked back to 'Part I'.  I cannot tell you exactly why Google loves internal linking so much, but they do.  So use it to your advantage, when you can.


I really hope this blogging advice is helpful!  Clearly, I'm no expert, but I have done my research.


What advice would you give to bloggers?

15 comments:

  1. Once again, *love*! So much great advice here!
    I get a lot of Google search traffic to my blog and that leads to the visitor clicking on a corresponding label. Labels also help when I'm emailing posts from a trip we've taken to Grandma.
    I'm guilty of not working ahead- when I decided to step my blog up from just our travel journal for family/friends I was trying to force posts everyday. I still prefer to post same-day when we go to a site or have an adventure, but I've started saving filler posts for the boring days, or just skipping a day.
    Are there going to be more Parts to Blogging Tips? You're setting yourself up as a guru, and I think it's worthy!

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  2. Dang girl! You SOUND like an expert...forreal ;)

    I've never really thought about to calling my sponsors "sponsors" in the intro post...that's a really good point. I'll have to remember that when I'm doing my spotlight posts...so thank you!

    And PS - that baby picture is a tad creepy haha...yikes!

    Happy Thursday? Maybe Friday...I can't keep up with your time lol :)

    xo

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  3. I will honestly say, I never ever look at the sponsers/blog buttons on the sides of other peoples blogs. I have never clicked on one without it being an accident. But I am a marketing person's fail. I dont pay attention to commericals and I just go read and don't look. However, a post about something with a pretty picture will get me to click to an etsy store ha.

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  4. I love the advice. I'm a new follower to your blog. I found your first set of blog advice and totally loved it.

    I am going to e-mail you about a button swap when I get my blog button a little smaller (I got a little excited with the size when I made it).

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  5. Great advice! Im SO bad about labeling things and always intend on getting better, but seemingly forget each time. Need to work on that! I think the best way to grow the blog is to be an 'active' blogger: comment, respond to emails, actively seek out new blogs and comment on them. For the longest time, I jsut figured people would flock to my blog because I am awesome, then I realized it takes a little more work than that :) I love comment hoping too from my fave blogs. I find that people who enjoy/comment on the same blogs I do will most likely have a blog that I enjoy (I have met several new friends from comment hopping here!!)

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  6. Great advice, thank you! And, I appreciate your comments with tips--I just linked my email address, thanks! A lot of things I'm just unaware of and don't know about, and these "60 days" posts are incredibly helpful. Thanks so much for your help!!

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  7. super helpful! I didn't know that the labels are for google, good to know! That will change the way i use them.

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  8. I love your advice. It gets better each time. I struggle with the sponsoring. I offer button swap, but I don't want to pay to gain reader - so I like that you say find a blog that flows with yours, because that is SUPER important to me. I want real readers. Also I love the guest posting. I would love to do more of those, because you actually get to show off your writing. I always skip the post when it's people who require a spotlight for sponsorship. It's very obvious. Anyway, good post! Thanks you!

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  9. You are so wise my friend.
    Seriously your advice is so so spot on. I wish I'd read something like this when I had first started blogging =)
    Also, I am a firm believer that a sponsor post should not be referred to as a "sponsor" post.

    Loved reading this

    xoxo

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  10. My BBFF is so wise! :-)

    Of course, your tips are amazing. And I love that you give more than just a one-liner for each tip. It's like a counseling session. You should charge for blog counseling. Ha! Could you imagine?

    I really struggle with sponsorship. Now that I'm releasing on "the numbers game" and going back to writing my blog instead of promoting it, I can't imagine paying for sponsorship. And I'll admit. I skim through sponsor posts unless there is something included other than a bio. For this reason, I'm no longer doing sponsor spotlight spots beginning next month. I'll just be swapping ads and guest posting.

    Right now, my best blogging advice is to write what you want to write. At the end of the day, I want to connect with bloggers who I have something in common with. I won't attract my true audience if I'm masquerading as someone else. But you already knew that! You included it in your first installment!

    I can't wait to read your guest posting etiquette tips!

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  11. This is great Emily! I have a post scheduled while I am away with my blog findings over the past year - I had linked your part 1 but luckily I saw this before I left so I can also link part 2. You are equipping the future blogging community with great arsenal.

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  12. I love love love this post! We're all striving to be the best bloggers we can be and any advice like this is great. I feel like I learned a lot.. thank you dear!

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  13. Oh dear LORD. Guest post etiquette...I cant feel it coming...I AM SO SORRY! I logged on to my computer at 6am this morning and my computer froze, so I restarted it, hopped in the shower, no big deal...Tried again, my my computer wouldn't pick up our wireless! In a panic, I restarted my computer one more time and no luck.

    Turns out my computer needed a windows update...and decided to tell me at 6am.

    My most SINCERE apologies. I can't even tell you how HORRIBLE I felt when I had to leave for the bus at 6:45.

    For my next guest post, and I totally give you permission to suggest this, I will be setting my blog to "Auto-post" so it posts for me automatically, whether I'm at the computer or not.

    (All I ask is that you don't make me feel like TOO much of an ass)

    Your post is up, and will remain up until Monday afternoon, to make up for not going up today.

    xoxo

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  14. You are a blogging genius. That is all.

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  15. Hi Emily, I'm a new reader of your blog (I found it via Hope Squared). Thanks for the advice. As a new blogger, I really appreciate it. There's lots to learn and it's nice to know someone out there can help out! Great post.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts and love!
Every comment makes me smile :)

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