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5 Life Lessons I Had to Learn The Hard Way About Blogging

5 Life Lessons I Had to Learn The Hard Way About Blogging

Have you ever dreamt of being an influential blogger earning a 7-figure income and working from wherever you want?

For some people, blogging is just a hobby. But, for others… it’s much more than that. It’s a means to be free and earn an income doing what you love.

In the past year of my blogging career, I have learned a lot of important lessons that could have saved me a ton of time if I knew earlier.

So, whether you’re a new blogger or just thinking about it… here are the 5 lessons I would like share with you today to save a few months of your time…

1. Nothing Happens Overnight

A popular blog typically gets an average of 100,000 visitors per month. Unfortunately, such amounts of traffic don’t come overnight. Okay, maybe you already knew that. But let’s start with 10,000 visitors a month. How do you achieve that?

Google!

If you ever want a chance in succeeding, you need to rank on the first page of Google. Over 50% of most traffic comes from Google for most blogs. A good start for a beginner is to write a skyscraper post. That also means you need to learn white hat SEO. (Please don’t approach black hat SEO or you’ll risk getting penalized).

The next highest source of traffic for most bloggers comes from your email list.

That means you need to work hard to converting your visitors into subscribers. So create a free report or email course and offer it to visitors in exchange for their email. There’s nothing more useless than a blog that get’s traffic but fails to convert them into subscribers.

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I was so afraid of putting opt-in forms on my blog because that would look spammy and annoy visitors. But, guess what? Once I put them, my email list started growing. Complainers will always complain. When it comes to blogging you need to follow the data. And the data says opt-in forms are essential for growing a list.

Another good source of traffic will come from guest posts and backlinks (links to your blog from other articles/websites).

In fact, your first few trickles of traffic will usually start to come from guest posts. So to end this, I recommend beginners to start off with a skyscraper post and heavy guest posting on popular blogs.

2. You Won’t Make Money if You Don’t Help People

If you’re just trying to make a quick buck… it won’t work.

If you’re trying to build your expertise and influence… it won’t work.

If you’re trying to build a popular blog… it won’t work.

Why?

Because frankly nobody cares about your goals. People only care about themselves. Let’s be honest… we’re all somewhat selfish. Everything we do is about us. I mean, you want to build a popular blog… why should anyone else care?

The grocery store down the road wants to sell more groceries… do you think anyone cares? Of course not. People want good groceries, they don’t care about the stores goal.

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But, here’s the good news… You don’t need them to. What a relief right?

So what should you do?

Your job as a blogger is to help people with information. You’re an educator. A teacher. If you can make people smarter, they’ll want more. If you can solve their problems and teach them how to do stuff, they won’t be able to live without you.

So if you want any chance in succeeding as a blogger, then you better start helping people.

3. You Can’t Do It Alone. You Need Influencers.

Networking with Influencers is essential when it comes to growing a blog. It’s not a luxury or nice to have… No, it is required if you ever want to stand a chance against the competition.

That doesn’t mean you can’t grow a blog without influencers… it just means it’ll take much longer than needed. So unless you can wait for another few years, I recommend you start building relationships with some influencers.

It’s not hard or intimidating. Just look for a relatively popular blogger in the same niche as you and start helping them… you know… like you’d do with a friend.

If I did it. You definitely can!

4. No Ideas Are Completely Original

We all learn from one another. Ideas circulate. Every single new idea you see is just a set of old ideas combined together. So don’t be afraid of repeating what others say. But, that doesn’t mean you should be a parrot.

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I’ve taken several courses on writing, copywriting, blogging and a lot of the advice sounds similar.

Yet, just because you and another 1,000 people heard something, doesn’t mean everybody has. There will always be beginners. It’s much easier to target beginners and if you search in Google, you’ll realize a lot of the search terms are for beginners.

Try Googling it.

“[Your Niche] for beginners”

Let me give you a real life example:

“SEO for beginners” according to the Google keyword planner gets 1,300 monthly searches. Which is a pretty good search volume. Typically, if you’re trying to write a skyscraper post you should target a keyword that get’s 1,000-10,000 monthly searches and low competition.

5. Giving Up Is Easy If You’re Not Passionate

Building a blog isn’t an easy job. It takes months of hard work. Blogging isn’t the same it was 10 years ago. Your content needs to be more in-depth and unique.

That means instead of smacking out blog posts every 2 hours, it will usually take over 6 hours to write a post.

Sometimes you’ll spend hours and days on a guest post and then have it rejected by the blog. The amount of frustration you’ll feel after that makes you want to give up.

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Then once you do get your guest post published, you’ll get little email subscribers. Which will make you question if guest posting was even worth your time.

And when you publish a skyscraper post a lot of people will ignore you when you ask for links. You’ll need to send hundreds or even thousands of emails to other bloggers in hopes that they’ll link or atleast share your post.

I’m not saying this to scare you, I’m saying this to let you know what you’re up against.

Growing a blog to 100k visitors a month is a tedious job.

It is for the elite few who will do whatever it takes.

And for you to read this far means you’re one of them.

So, are you ready to take on the storm?

Featured photo credit: claes krantz/Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 22, 2019

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

A cover letter is an introduction to what will be found in the resume. In a cover letter, the applicant is able to use a conversational tone, to explain why the attached resume is worth reviewing, why the applicant is qualified, and to express that it’s the best application the reader will see for the open position.

Employers do read your cover letter, so consider the cover letter an elevator pitch. The cover letter is the overview of your professional experience. The information in the body presents the key qualifications, the things that matter. The cover letter is the “here is what will be found in my presentation”, which is the resume in this case.

Something really important to point out- a cover letter should be written from scratch each time. Great cover letters are the ones that express why the applicant is the best for the specific job being applied to. Using a general cover letter will not lead to great results.

This doesn’t mean that your cover letter should repeat your most valuable qualifications, it just means that you don’t want to recycle a templated, general letter, not specific to the position being applied to.

Here’re 10 cover letter tips to nail every interview.

1. Take a few minutes to learn about the company so that you use an appropriate tone

Like people, every company has its own culture and tone. Doing a bit of research to learn what that is will be extremely beneficial. For instance, a technology start-up has a different culture and tone than a law firm. Using the same tone for both would be a mistake.

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2. Don’t use generic cover letter terms — be specific to each company and position

Hiring managers and recruiters can easily identify generic cover letters. They read cover letters and resumes almost every day. Using words and terms like: “your company” instead of naming the actual company, and “your website” instead of “in your about us section on www.abc123.com”, are mistakes. Be as specific as possible, it’s worth the additional few minutes.

3. Address the reader directly if you can

It is an outdated practice to use “To Whom it May Concern” if you know the person that will be reviewing your documents. You may wonder how you’ll know this information; this is where attention to detail and/or a bit of research comes into play.

For example, if you are applying for a job using LinkedIn, many times, the job poster is listed within the job post. This is the person reading your documents when you “apply now”. Addressing that person directly will be much more effective than using a generic term.

4. Don’t repeat the information found in the resume

A resume is an action-based document. When presenting information in a resume, the tone isn’t conversational but leading with action instead, for example: “Analyze sales levels and trends, and initiate action as necessary to ensure attainment of sales objectives”.

In a cover letter, you have the opportunity to deliver your elevator pitch: “I have positively impacted business development and growth initiatives, having combined two regions into one and achieving 17% in compound growth over the following three-year period”.

Never use your resume qualifications summary as a paragraph in your resume. This would be repeating information. Keep in mind that your cover letter is the introduction to your resume- the elevator pitch- this is your opportunity to show more personality.

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5. Tell the company what you can do for them

As mentioned above, this is your chance to explain to the company why you are the best person for the open position. This is where you tell the company what you can do for them: “If hired as the next (job title) with (company name), I will cultivate important partnerships that will enhance operations while boosting revenue.”

Many times, we want to take the reader through the journey of our life. It is important to remember that the reader needs to know why you are the best person for the job. Lead with that.

6. Showcase the skills and qualifications specific to the position

A lot of people are Jack’s and Jill’s of all trades. This can be a great big picture, but not great to showcase in a cover letter or resume.

Going back to what was mentioned before, cover letters and resumes are scanned through ATS. Being as specific as possible to the position being applied to is important.

If you are applying for a coding position, it may not be important to mention your job in high school as a dog walker. Sticking to the exact job being applied to is the most effective way to write your cover letter.

7. Numbers are important — show proof

It always helps to show proof when stating facts: “I have a reputation for delivering top-level performance and supporting growth so that businesses can thrive; established industry relationships that generated double digit increase in branch revenues”.

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8. Use testimonials and letters of recommendations

A cover letter is a great place to add testimonials and information from your letter of recommendations. Mirroring the example above, here is a good way to use that information:

I have a history of consistently meeting and exceeding metrics: “(Name) rose through the company and became a Subject Matter Expert, steadily providing exceptional quality of work.”- Team Manager.

9. Find the balance between highlighting your achievements and bragging

There is fine line between telling someone about your achievements and bragging. My advice is to always use facts first, and support that with an achievement related to the fact, as shown in the examples above.

You don’t want to have a cover letter with nothing but bullet points of what you have achieved. I can’t stress this enough — cover letters are your elevator pitch, the introduction to your resume.

10. Check your length — you want to provide no more than an introduction

The general rule for most positions is one page in length. Positions such as professors and doctors will require more in length (and they actually use CV’s); however, for most positions, one page is sufficient. Remember, the cover letter is an introduction and elevator pitch. Follow the logic below to get you started:

Start with: “I am ready to deliver impeccable results as (name of company) next (Position Title).

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What you know and like about the company, what initiatives, missions, goals resonate with you: “I read/listened to an interview that your Chief of Staff did on www.abc123.com. His/her statement regarding important up and coming employee engagement initiatives really resonated with me”.

Overview of your qualifications and experience: “I have a strong background in developing, monitoring, and controlling annual processes and operational plans related to community relations and social initiatives”.

Highlight/ Back up your facts with achievements: “I’m a vision-driven leader, with a proven history of innovation and mentorship; I led an initiative that reduced homelessness in four counties and received recognition from the local Homeless Network and the County Commissioner”.

Close with what will you do for the company: “As your next (job title), I am focused on hitting the ground running as a transformational leader who is driven by challenge, undeterred by obstacles, and committed to the growth of (name of company).

Bonus Advice

When applying for a job online or in person, a resume and a cover letter are standard submissions. At least 98% of the time, both your resume and cover letter and scanned via ATS (applicant tracking systems). You can learn more about that process here.

The information provided in a cover letter should be written and organized to be compatible with these scans, so that it can make to a human; from there, you want to make sure that you capture the recruiter and/or hiring managers attention.

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Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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