The Diamond in the Rough System for Gaining Influence

This guest post is by Jonathan Goodman.

Content is still king, but influential relationships are queen. And we all know that women rule the world, so maybe we should start paying more attention to these queens.

Bloggers should publish less and promote more.

If you enjoy staying awake until 4am writing each night, and frantically trying to publish according to your over-zealous schedule, then continue doing what you’re doing. My guess is that you’re not paying enough attention to the queens though, and we all know how important it is to cherish, respect, and support the women in our lives.

That said, there are a lot of queens in the world, and everybody seems to be trying to get attention from the same ones. So you send emails to industry influencers and tweet at top bloggers. One day you get a response back and feel like you’ve made it to their inner circle.

Then you hear crickets … followed by tumbleweed rolling by. (Which is odd because you don’t live in the Wild West or in a cowboy movie. But I digress.)

The Diamond in the Rough System of relationship-building

In every industry there are a select few who are in the spotlight. They receive hundreds of emails, tweets, Facebook messages and so on every day. Likely they don’t answer their own mail and there isn’t much you can offer them in terms of support.

The Diamond in the Rough System is a way to get the influencers to want to approach you. It can be applied to any large social medium but I’m going to stick to Twitter for this article.

Twitter is a sea of shameless self-promotion. Much of it goes unnoticed. The feed is so cluttered and people are more interested in pumping their own information out than absorbing that of others. Add to that the unfortunate fact that what you’re saying isn’t unique—there are probably people with bigger followings already saying it—and you’re facing an uphill battle.

The Diamond in the Rough System will teach you how to find the Queens behind the scenes and court them.

First, understand that there are a number of influential people in every industry:

  • The influencers are the ones in control of the big brands. They may or may not be smarter than you, but they have hustled to get to where they are, and built an empire and great network around themselves.
  • The large magazines are usually faceless organizations with multiple walls and levels of bureaucracy getting in the way. This makes it difficult to get in touch with anyone.
  • The bloggers are gaining more steam in some industries. In the tech industries, for example, it could be argued they control the information; in plumbing they are relatively non-existent.
  • The senior editors are the top-level editors at magazines and industry publications. These people are over-worked and usually under-paid or under-appreciated.
  • The beat reporters and supporting editors are easy to access and have a lot of influence as to what goes into major publications. They are the diamonds in the rough.

Right about now you’re thinking I’m crazy. Because, if you’re like most people attempting to gain influence, you have tried to follow the conventional path and emailed various editors desperately trying to get his or her attention—and never gotten a response.

Get creative and get unconventional

Email is conventional. People have learned to ignore it. You must evolve your practices to get noticed.

Twitter is a way to build a relationship with the queens and create a friendship. Most of these reporters have modest, if any, followings on Twitter. So while they get 100+ emails a day, they might only get two @ mentions on Twitter. Which do you think they would be more likely to respond to?

How to find the diamonds in the rough

  • Follow the head editors and scan the lists of the people they follow. Look for accounts that say something like, “NY Times editor focusing on social media and marketing.” Follow everybody that seems to cover your niche.
  • Identify the top bloggers in your niche and follow the same steps are above.
  • Identify the top influencers in your niche and follow the same steps as above.
  • Search newspapers websites and find the editors that cover the subjects your niche pertains to. A Google search is usually all you need to find their Twitter account if they have one.
  • Every magazine lists the various editors and writers on the first couple pages. Identify the top magazines in your niche and write down the names of everybody on this page that fits your specifications. Do a Google search and try to find their Twitter account and follow them.
  • Pay attention to networks of influence. It’s not uncommon for a number of influencers to tweet back and forth with the same person that you have never heard of. That person is likely an important member behind the scenes.

The community of people at the top of your industry is close-knit. There are the influencers that you know and a supporting crew that acts behind the scenes that you don’t. These supporting crewmembers are your diamonds. Find them and make them feel important. Support them and build relationships with them.

How to court your queens

Now that you’ve found these people, respond intelligently to their tweets. If they promote a blog post or article with a link, take the time to read the entire article and respond with a piece of feedback or a question. If they say something about their personal life or hobby, send back a joke or tidbit of information.

As an aside I’ll add that you should not respond to every tweet. This comes off as needy. Respond only if you have something intelligent to say and not more than once or twice every couple of days.

Don’t ask for anything in return. Your bio on Twitter says who you are, and includes a link to your work. They will check you out. And you only publish your best work right?

You should have a headshot as your profile picture in Twitter, not your company logo. People like talking to and doing business with people, not faceless organizations.

It works

Following this system, I have been able to get featured as one of the Top 20 Smartest Fitness Trainers You Might Now Know by Livestrong, had my book featured both in Muscle & Fitness and as one of the Top 21 Health, Fitness and Nutrition Books, also by Livestrong, and recently I was contacted by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s right-hand man to write content for his site.

All of this happened because I built relationships with those that control the content behind the scenes. I never once submitted an article. Every time they reached out to me.

Write great material and only publish your best work. Then spend all of the time you saved finding the diamonds in the rough. They are the ones who will get your work to spread.

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10 Supercharged Attention Grabbing Headlines for Your Blog Posts

Have you ever struggled thinking of a catchy headline for your blog post? I know I have. Whether it’s your own post or a guest post you are writing, the content can sometimes be easier than writing the title. For me, I often change the title numerous times before I actually publish the article.

It’s important to try and get the title right because it can be the deciding factor between a visitor to your site reading your post or clicking the back button. The content might be fantastic but if the title doesn’t grab them and draw them in, then they are never going to read all that fantastic content that you have spent hours writing.

Plus, when someone has searched for a topic in Google, and your post is sitting on page 1 in the midst of all the other posts, what is it that is going to make your article stand out from all the others?  Well,  it’s the attention grabbing title that is going to entice readers to come to your site?

Let’s put it this way, which of the following articles would you be more likely to read?

The Disadvantages of Drinking Coffee
OR

Warning…Coffee May Be Dangerous to Your Health
Or what about this one?

OR

7 Surefire Ways to Make Money Online Fast
And this one?

OR

Read Why this is Rated the #1 Cordless Drill

The 3 Golden Rules for Writing Blog Post Headlines

Okay, maybe they aren’t golden rules but I just wanted to get another catchy headline in this post. Still, these are important to remember when writing blog post titles:

Keep the title short but simple – You really want to try and keep it under 10 words but if it makes sense to go longer then go for it.
Ensure the title matches the content – It’s all very well trying to write a catchy title but if the content has nothing to do with the title then your visitors aren’t going to bother reading anything else on your site.
Keywords – Yes, keywords are still important so try and get a keyword or two in the title if possible. Just don’t overdo. Personally I prefer to write the title first without even thinking of keywords and only then do I think about trying to get a keyword in, but only if it sounds completely natural.

10 Attention Grabbing Headlines

Let’s take a look at some blog post titles that will grab your readers attention.

1. The Secrets of…

Starting a headline with the words “The Secrets of…” can’t help but grab someones attention.

Eg. Secrets of Making Money FastEg. The 7 Secrets of Making the Perfect Cup of Coffee

2. Did you know…?

Getting your readers curiosity peaked can entice them to read further, although you have to be careful that you don’t give away too much in the title.

Eg. Did You Know that Coffee is Actually Good for Your Health?Eg. Did You Know that 70 People Die Each Year from Shark Attacks?

3. Warning signs…

This one is always a good one for health articles but it can work for just about any niche.

Eg. 5 Warnings Signs That You Might Be Going DeafEg. 10 Warnings Signs That You Might Be Addicted to Coffee

4. How to instantly transform…

This sort of headline implies to the reader that if they read on, their problem (whatever that might be) will be solved quickly, and who doesn’t want that?

Eg. How to Instantly Transform Your Blog into an Authority SiteEg. How to Instantly Transform Your Life in 52 Easy Steps

5. Is it worth it?…

This headline can often work well for review sites. People don’t want to have to do the research and this sort of title implies that you have done the research for them.

Eg. Is Signing Up to Google Plus Worth it?Eg. Is Buying a $600 Coffee Maker Worth the Price?

6. Five minutes, 24 hours, 30 days…

This type of title just about always works. It lets the reader know that their problem can be solved in whatever time period you set.

Eg. 30 Days to a Healthier YouEg. The 5 Minute Plan to Changing Your Life

7. Should you be worried…?

Using fear and uncertainty can be a good way to grab your readers.

Eg. Should You Be Worried about 2012?Eg. Should You Be Worried about Drinking Too Much Coffee?

8. The World’s Best…

This can work well for a review site. I mean, who doesn’t want to know which is the best of the best.

Eg. The World’s Best Sports Cars and Where to Find ThemEg. The World’s Best Travel Destinations

9. Complete guide to…

This one is  definitely a winner, however you have to back it up with good solid content. You really can’t write a complete guide to anything in under 500 words.

Eg. The Complete Guide to Making the Ultimate Cup of CoffeeEg. The Complete Step-by-Step Plan to Building a Better Blog

10. Sure-fire Ways to…

This is a favorite of mine. It implies certainty to the reader and works really well for any niche.

Eg. 10 Sure Fire Ways to Meet a Movie StarEg. 7 Sure Fire Ways to Get a GirlfriendEg. 5 Sure Fire Ways to Choose a Cordless Drill

Email Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly!

The first feeling that comes to mind when you mention the term ‘email marketing’ usually is not positive. With technology constantly developing newer and newer ways to communicate via the internet, some feel that the bland, mundane tasks of email marketing are behind us. Wrong! Even though the world of marketing is constantly changing, email remains a viable way in which to communicate with subscribers about virtually anything. Best of all, you can revamp the process to make it easier, more creative and therefore more appealing to your subscribers. We will discuss a few strategies you can use to deploy this type of success.

Gigantic Potential

The fact is that more people are connected to one another through email than through any other outlet – including Facebook. Email has remained the bridge between “old” and “new”; for those who do not wish to make a phone call but do not want to use social networking, email is a vital component of communication and business. Backing up this assumption is the fact that over 70% of all internet users check their email more than five times per day. While some bloggers, webmasters and businesses are worried about pinging search engines with updates on their site, others are striving to build a line of communication through the most tried and true medium currently on the web.

Personal Preference

Most web users still state that email is the preferred form of communication when it comes to day-to-day business and notifications. Facebook and other social networks may have allowed users to find lost friends and new acquaintances, but people still prefer a more personal form of communication that is generally achieved via email. Another statistic shows that nearly 4 out of 5 people prefer to receive commercial communication via email as opposed to Facebook or other methods – this number alone should seriously make you re-think a strategy that is currently neglecting email marketing.

Effective Reach

We all may think that email marketing is hit or miss; this is true to some extent. However, it is more effective than taking out advertisements or pinging search engines with content in terms of the % of people who read or follow-through on the email. Data shows that nearly 70 percent of people have purchased an item or service within the past twelve months as a result of an email they received. While you certainly will not be buying email lists to accomplish this, this should still give you confidence in maintaining and improving the communication you have with your existing subscriber base.

Conclusion

While many have labelled email as an old, ineffective means of communication, the data shows us that people still prefer email to newer social interaction and do in fact respond to those messages. You can even use email marketing as a way to encourage your subscribers to connect with your brand through platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. If you are willing to accept this and re-commit yourself to expanding and improving your email marketing program, you will be successful.

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A Blogger’s Guide to Publishing A Infographic

infographicWith plenty of different forms of advertising and publication forming over the past several years, many bloggers are looking for alternative ways to catch the eyes of their readers while also creating something that will spread beyond the realm of their own blog – hopefully attracting others to become readers. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a infographic that summarizes a topic or event in an aesthetically-pleasing fashion. By boiling down the subject material into an easy-to-digest format, you stand to gain much attention from those seeking refuge in an internet environment of information overload.

Origins

Before you begin designing the finer points of the infographic, you must first develop a concept. By having a stellar idea sketched out from the beginning, you will be able to keep on track and deliver all the necessary information. Since your blog most likely is dedicated to a particular niche or category, it is smart to stick to this subject material – although other bloggers have had great success using an infographic outside their own realm to generate buzz and hype about their site. Generally speaking, a good concept will cover the history and facts of the subject while also maintaining a creative element. These tactics combined will result in a wave of people and search engine bots viewing and pinging your website.

Data

With your idea solidified and brainstorming finished, you can now move to the research and data-collection part of building your infographic. Some concepts may cover factual, historical events or ideas and will have a plethora of information to support your premise. Others may be circumstantial or involve trends that are not as clear; still, you will need to locate data, statistics and other concrete facts that support your position. After you have assembled the data necessary for putting the infographic together, you should then proceed to organize it in a word processing document or similar program so as to make the final part simpler.

Design

At this stage, your worries are putting the collected data into a graphically-pleasing format that viewers will enjoy and can appreciate. Usually, you will want to start off with a large canvas in a program such as Photoshop; an infographic is usually shown in “thumbnail” mode and are meant to be clicked on to see the entire image. You can always resize the image later, so feel free to make it as big as you feel comfortable doing. Colour schemes, borders, fonts and other elements are variables that will depend on your own likings, the theme of your website and the theme of the topic.

Distribution

Finally, you are ready to begin pinging your website with the new infographic. We recommend that you host the image on the same server and domain as the blog; you will most likely receive a boost in traffic and an uptick from search engines by earning inbound links. You may wish to put it on its own page, followed by a click-through link to the full-size image. You also want to place social sharing options on the page so others can spread the word about your newly-published infographic.

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Niche Social Networks – Are You Utilizing Them?

Most websites and companies have heard of mega social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Their omnipresence on the internet is something that we all either use on a day to day basis or are witness to when navigating just about any website. What some webmasters and businesses fail to realize is that there are dozens of other social networking websites out there that cater to smaller yet more dedicated audiences. In the world of niche marketing, these tiny social networks can be valuable in getting your products and services seen by those who are interested.

The Premise

Many people use the major social networking platforms, but they may also enjoy using platforms that are less populated and therefore more relative to their particular interests. Instead of a social network of 100 million users who have an array of different interests, many of these networks instead have populations closer to 100 thousand users that share the same unique interest. If your site is built around the premise of a particular niche or isolated category, then there is most likely benefit in finding a social network that caters to these interests. Those who successfully utilize these systems can stand to gain a heaping of new traffic and revenue for their sites, companies and projects.

Finding Your Niche

As previously mentioned, there are plenty of smaller social networking platforms on the internet that offer people like you the ability to market a brand to interested users. If your current operation revolves around pinging YouTube videos about art to interested users, then you may wish to use a site such as deviantART that currently boasts over 20 million users. Likewise, a campaign that revolves around the sales of custom comic strips may find welcome arms awaiting them at ComicSpace, which has a dedicated fan base of around 100 thousand users.

Building Your Base

Upon joining one of these niche social networks, you will probably notice that there is a pecking order of sorts – that is, there are a number of established, reputable posters who have earned the respect of their peers by providing quality information and updates. If you think you can simply begin pinging YouTube videos and instantly become a star, then think again. You will need to gain the trust of fellow community members by providing substantial value to the discussion at-large. This is perfectly feasible but does usually take some time before people begin to notice your worth.

Conclusion

With a plethora of niche social networks currently available on the web and new ones constantly being created, you are sure to find a network that matches the criteria of your site or business at one point or another. By being an active member, providing valuable content to the members of the community and occasionally plugging your own project in an intrusive-free way, you will begin to reap the rewards that these networks can offer. Best of all, most of these networks are absolutely free to join. With no excuses left and only time to spare: why are you still waiting? Begin your newest social networking adventure today!

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Five Great Ways to Spread Your Advertising Budget

Nobody has to tell you that your small business is important. Even more so is the way in which you allocate funds for any advertising efforts – whether they be conventional banners or social media targeting. If you have ads pinging to Google, Bing or other platforms and want to get the best bang for your buck, then you absolutely have to take the proper initial steps to ensure that your funds are being allocated in the best way possible. No two businesses are the same, so it is up to you to determine which venues are appropriate for your advertisements. The following article will help streamline that process regardless of ambition.

Market Research

Prior to placing any orders for advertisements, you first need to understand who exactly you are trying to reach through your efforts. Is your business attempting to market a product to the 18-25 demographic or stay-at-home moms? Knowing the exact target market of your product or service is not only vital for advertising but also required for any measurable success. Many upstarts make the mistake of failing to determine their audience, something that often leads to a higher rate of failure for those businesses.

Review Past Attempts

If you have used advertising campaigns in the past, then it is imperative that you review the results and assess your prior performance. Were the ad campaigns that had been pinging to Google and others effective in terms of click through rate? Which ads did well and which ones did not in terms of conversions, leads and sales? Having this information readily available helps you avoid making the same mistakes once again.

Assess Your Niche

Every niche and industry is different in terms of what advertising approach works best to attract like-minded users. If you are attempting to reach people in the consumer electronics category, for instance, then you will want to emphasize a heavily-reliant online campaign that may feature an intense amount of social networking outreach. On the other hand, a less technologically-savvy niche may find advertising to be more effective with traditional web advertising methods.

What Are Your Goals?

Every business should have a stated and concrete goal when it comes to what they want to achieve through advertising. A failure to determine how much additional revenue is to be generated or how many new visitors should be attracted to the site will ultimately lead to overall failure for your advertising campaign. There are many advertising solutions available that may be suited for your business depending on whether you wish to increase traffic, increase sales or increase community engagement.

Diversify Your Advertising

Even if you have settled on one particular format for your advertising campaign, you will still want to create multiple variations to test the success of each approach. Having all of your eggs in one basket can lead to failure if the initial ads were all poorly-designed or failed to attract the attention of viewers. By using different images, text and forms of persuasion in each ad, you will have a better chance of finding that perfect solution that drives traffic to your site. From there, you can then design multiple ads that revolve around that premise.

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Five Reasons Why PageRank Doesn’t Matter

PageRankThere has been an increasing amount of discussion recently as to how Google PageRank factors into search prioritization and whether or not its importance has faded. We know for a fact that while it was once the single largest determining factor in search engine optimization protocols, it has continuously been downgraded by Google in their algorithms. We have considered the decreasing importance of this metric and have put together five examples of why PageRank no longer matters as much as it once did. While it is good to have a high PageRank, it is no longer mandatory in order to be successful on Google.

Paid Advertising

Some may be thinking that this is a “cheat”, but the fact remains that Google Adwords have allowed websites and businesses to circumvent the ranking system in some regards. By purchasing advertising and allocating it to a relative category, your site can be seen just as easily by users as a PR7 site that is ranking at the top of major search results for that category. While the advertisements appear on top and to the side of conventional search results, there isn’t much difference in their overall appearance. This can “trick” users into clicking on them, which was the goal of Google from the start – to create advertising solutions that mimic search results.

Search Result Inconsistency

If you do a random search and then proceed to begin pinging servers to determine what PR each website has, you may discover that the PR rankings do not match the search results in terms of the order in which they are listed. On many occasions, we have discovered PR0 or PR1 sites sitting comfortably at the top of key search results, while some notable PR5, 6 & 7 sites are listed below them. If PageRank were still so important, this would not be the case.

Social Networking/YouTube Woes

While a properly designed website with great content was all you once needed to be number one, you must now compete with varying forms of media to hold that spot. Google’s algorithms have recently began giving additional clout to articles and results from Google+ users – boosting their content to the top of the page when it otherwise might not appear. In addition, the merger of Google and YouTube has now created a separate section in search results where videos will appear in lieu of websites.

Website Flippers

It has become a well-defined practice by many website developers to build a site that has high PageRank in the hopes of being able to “flip” the site for a nice profit after potential customers begin pinging servers to determine the site’s value. With this marketplace continuously growing, Google has had to shift its focus away from PR and begin to delve into more nuanced metrics for determining site measurement.

Slow Updates

It used to be that PageRank was updated at least once every three months. It now appears that PageRank is being updated less and less as Google appears to be phasing this metric out of the equation. Over the past year, it has only been updated three times – showing that Google is considering this variable less and less by the day.

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