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

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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 August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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