I really appreciate all the questions we’ve received and we keep working our way through them.
After this, there will still be some more and look for another Rapid Fire post soon to polish them off.
There’s a lot to cover here, so let’s get right to it…
Do I Really Need a Blog and Social Media?
Question from: Billie A Williams of BillieAWilliams.com
Q: If you have a website why should you have a blog–why is it important to connect on Twitter, Facebook and the other social media? It’s so time consuming.
A: Well, I’m never one to say you HAVE TO do anything, so it’s really up to you where you focus your time. If you are getting the results you want from what you’re doing right now, you may need to do more of what you’re doing and you don’t need to add extra to your work pile.
A blog allows you to create more personal connections, share updates and opinions. It can go a long way to growing a faithful readership and keep you in the minds of your customers. It also encourages linking and sharing of your content, which is extremely valuable to your main website. Of course, it takes work to maintain, update and grow a blog. If it’s not something you have the time or resources for, it’s definitely NOT wrong to go without one…but as a professional author, it makes sense to connect with your audience with the written word.
The same goes with social media. There is an investment required to receive the benefits. If your target market is on social media (they probably are), you might do well to investigate and do some experimentation. Have a look for other mystery and suspense authors and see what they’re doing on social media and how you might follow suit.
One thing to remember, if you don’t have to do it all at once. It takes time to build each piece of your social marketing puzzle, so take your time, do it well and adjust your plans as you go along.
How Long Should My Articles Be?
Question from: Skipper Holmes
Q: How long should my articles be on average?
A: The simple answer is, as long as they need to be. There is no magical formula. Simply create content that is useful and satisfying to your readers. Of course, that answer will vary if you are submitting content to a publication with length requirements, but if you’re publishing content for yourself…there are no rules.
Stories and Personal Content
Q: Can I story-tell in my articles? Is it ok to have sad content, perhaps even personal?
A: Story telling is a great way to make a connection with your readers.
Stories are a way of making content easier to understand and it’s also a way to connect more deeply with your audience.
When your audience feels they really know you as a person, they are more likely to trust you and buy from you too.
As far as having sad and personal content, of course. However, be careful with this and ensure you understand your content’s purpose. If you have a totally personal blog where you just let everything hang out, go for it. If you have a personal blog that serves a commercial purpose, you have to keep that in mind at all times. There really is such a thing as TMI (too much information) and you should always be weary of that. Ask yourself if your sharing serves a purpose.
Recently I came across an article (WARNING: It does have some colorful language) called “How to Make the World Give a [expletive] about You.” I think it gives some very poignant advice that applies here. The author, Ashley Ambirge, writes..
“And so when you turn around and tell fiercely honest stories–the kinds of stories that make you utterly, unapologetically human–you make others feel better about who they are. And when others feel better about who they are, they’ll tend to want to be around you more. Or your writing. Or your photographs. Or your artwork.”
Then she states the only rule to this:
“Rock out with your human out only with regards to the past.” You can read the rest here(adult language).
Shopping Cart vs. Membership Site
Q: I know you use membership sites to sell your content but have you tested shopping carts over membership sites for this purpose? What are the advantages of one over the other? What would you recommend for someone starting off selling content a membership site setup like yours or a shopping cart set up?
A: Oh Ken, I’ve tried a wide variety and ended up with what I find the best and what the majority of our customers have actually requested. When I started my latest content project, I was using a cart and my customers actually told me they didn’t like it and they preferred Amember. It might be because they were used to using and knew how to make their way around. On the other hand, I also recently came across some customers who told me they hated it.
I recently contributed to a post on this topic at Nicole Dean’s blog…and interestingly enough, this is the post where I discovered, in the comments area, that some of my customers hated Amember. It might be worth a read through the posts and the comments.
As far as the choice between membership site and shopping cart, if you aren’t doing any recurring payments, I think a shopping cart makes sense. However, finding the right cart is the challenge.
But the most important thing is to just something up and running. While it can be a pain in the butt, shopping carts and systems can be changed later if they aren’t the right fit. You won’t know what works best until you get something started.
Aweber and PayPal
Question from: Karen
Q: I am having trouble with the interface between PayPal and Aweber to start sending ecourses automatically. How do I fix that?
Coming up with Topic Ideas
Dave asks: “DO you ever worry about coming up with content?”
Kim Bradley of smarterdigitalsolutions.com asks: “How do you constantly come up with fresh ideas within a niche week after week?”
Annette and I actually covered a topic similar to this a couple of weeks ago, so I wanted to make Dave, Kim and you saw it. Have a look right here.
One of the most important things is to keep your topic planning separate from your other content marketing activities. It’s hard to just come to the computer and start writing week after week, month after month and year after year. It’s much easier when you’ve got a plan before you sit down.
Question from: Stephanie of homeschoolfamilylife.com
Q: Have you thought of giving tips or guidance on presentation of eBooks or articles? Maybe some (more) guidance on finding or producing photos or videos?
A: I think, if you look around, we’ve got quite a bit of advice around these topics, but it’s not always easy to dig through archives and find what you need…that’s for sure. So let me see if I can find a few useful resources for you.
- In our Better Content Marketing Course (it’s free to register) a few lessons would be of interest. Lesson 3 is the “Contentrix Guide to Style”, Lesson 9 is “Dressing it Up: Branding Your Content”, Lesson 16 is “Creating Effective Free Reports” (which would be helpful for ebooks as well) and Lesson 17 is “Building and Earning from Information Products”.
- For finding images for your site, have a look at this post.
- As far as video marketing goes, it’s not a topic we cover much, but I’d check out Jendi Pagano’s, Simple Vlogging Tips for some advice.
Question from: Deni of Master Keys Coaching
Q: What is the simplest, most effective to monetize content?
A: I am not sure I can suggest the simplest and most effective way…as everyone’s results will vary. Plus, many of the things that are copy-and-paste easy aren’t usually the most effective.
I’d recommend checking out this top 12 ways to monetize content post for some starter ideas. You can also work your way through our free Monetize Your Knowledge course for ideas.
Do I Need Experience?
Question from: Brian
Q: “I have been told that you must have the necessary experience in the given subject you write about. For example, if I was writing about getting a blog on to the first page of Google then I must prove I have achieved this before I write any content. Is this correct?”
A: Experience always helps and gaining experience is one of the fun things about making content your business. So why not explore and find out how to get to the first page of Google? Then write about your experience.
But to answer the question more directly, no, you don’t necessarily need experience to write about a subject. Of course, if you want to enjoy a good reputation online, never pretend you have that experience because people will see right through that. There are plenty of people writing about getting to the first page of Google. They’re also making videos, podcasts and more. You can gather those sources and guide your readers to helpful advice. You can even take some of those resources you share and try some of their techniques and then report the results, so you’re gaining the experience while creating content at the same time.
More Ready-Made Blog Post Packages?
Question from: Ron at newplr4you.com
Q: When are you going to write more blog post packages especially on travel and health? I bought your Summer Travel package and it saved me so much time.
A: We do plan to do some more of those in the Fall. We will likely do some business packages, but travel and health are definitely a consideration as well (By the way, Ron is asking about some packages we made at All Private Label Content…the ones he is talking about are now sold out, but we’ve got more coming).
More Answers Coming
Hope those answers are helpful. Feel free to ask for clarification, additional resources or dig deeper. I’m happy to help. I’ll be back with more answers next week.