Blog for Clients: An Interview with Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 5.21.53 PMI’ve known Corrina Gordon-Barnes for a few years now and my respect and affection for her have only deepened. She coaches, consults and runs a very fine blog for conscious service providers. She’s got a lot of thoughts worth hearing about how to create a blog for yourself and how to do it in such a way that it actually gets you clients rather than wasting your time (In fact, she’s made her popular Blog for Clients course available as a self-study training course).

Blogging is something I know a bit about, having written 600+ blog posts myself. However, I can tell you that I’ve written precisely zero of them with any sense of strategy. It’s been a way for me to get clear on my own thoughts. What Corrina is offering here is a far more strategic, wise and profitable investment of time than anything I’ve done.

So, I thought I would invite her to share her thoughts on the matter.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 5.27.36 PMTad: What is the difference between blogging and blogging for clients?

Corrina: I like to use the analogy of cooking.

Scenario one: I’m by myself. I’m cooking a soup. Yum, I’m going to really enjoy this soup. I’ll just cook according to my taste, I won’t consider quantities, I’ll just focus completely for myself; my and my soup is what I’m all about.

Scenario two: I want to feed my friends. They’re hungry. They’re coming over in two hours. I think about their allergies, their taste preferences. I plan out my cooking so I have enough provision for all of them and so that it’s ready on time for them.

This is the difference. Blogging is for me; blogging for clients is when I focus on others, think about their needs, think about how I can serve them, and then work backwards, getting strategic? about how to meet their needs through what I’m offering.

When we’re blogging for clients, we blog in such a way that it gives potential clients a taste of our approach, plus – importantly – what we have to offer through our paid-for products and services. When we blog, we give our potential clients an opportunity to fall in love with us, to feel safe with us, to feel that somehow we’re aligned and belong together. We’re in the same resonance.

Blogging might be fun in and of itself, but blogging for clients actually leads to clients, increased credibility and increased income. Blogging for clients is not about writing as a hobby; it’s about blogging as your key marketing activity. It actually works for you, supporting your business to grow and flourish and become profitable. AND it’s thoroughly enjoyable.

Why do most people’s blogs get so little engagement and no clients for them? What are they missing?

They don’t first decide what they’re selling and then work backwards from there. They don’t reverse engineer their blogs. In my self-study training course, Blog for Clients, we start with the product or service you want to sell more of, or have people hire you more frequently for, and then we choose blog topics and structure the blogs with this end in mind.

Wow. That’s so simple. Totally.

People at first worry about being strategic or having structure, they worry it’s going to limit their freedom or creativity, but here’s the truth: the writing of the blog actually can be more creative and free-flowing, once you’re writing from strategy and structure.

Another thing people miss is that they don’t give blogging enough of a chance. They give up too soon. And they don’t learn how to do it properly, from people who’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t. They stumble along, trying to figure it out themselves, rather than giving themselves the chance to invest in a learning journey with this incredible marketing approach.

Blogging is the #1 way I built my business over the decade I’ve been self-employed. People look at the word “blogging” and think it looks like something teenagers do, or people who have too much time on their hands. They don’t realize the power at their finger-tips!

What are the top three blunders people make when blogging for clients? And what should they be doing differently?

Blunder #1: They try to speak to everyone, a “spray and pray” kind of approach, rather than honing in on ONE ideal client and writing every blog for them.

Solution: Write each blog to ONE person. I actually start my blogs, “Hey Hannah”, picture my ideal client, write the blog, and then delete the greeting at the end!

Blunder #2: They don’t blog consistently. It’s sporadic, impulsive; they’ll write a flurry and then go awol for months. Think about your favourite TV show or magazine; we love that feeling of regularity, of being able to expect something will show up in our inbox or letter box or screen. We come to trust the producers.

Solution: Commit to an editorial calendar; hold yourself accountable for contributing great value regularly to your community. Be in it for the long-game.

Blunder #3: They forget that a blog is a conversation. We have a whole module in Blog for Clients about how to inspire more comments and what to do about them (because people worry about spam and trolls and negative comments).

Solution: In the way you write, and in your encouragement of comments, remember that a blog is powerful because it’s a heart-to-heart two-way conversation.

Any last advice of thoughts to people who are building their blogs to get clients?

We’re not born knowing how to do marketing.

Likewise, we’re not born knowing how to do blogging.

I often hear from people after they’ve taken Blog for Clients, they say something like: “I nearly didn’t take this course. I knew how to write. I liked writing. I didn’t realize there was actually an art and science to blogging; I thought I could just figure it out” – and they’re so grateful that they learned how to do it so it actually WORKS for them, business-wise. Otherwise, we can enjoy blogging but we won’t see the fruits of our labour. And our business won’t reach the level it can go to, with blogging as the catalyst.

About Corrina:

Corrina Gordon-Barnes wants to live in a world where marketing is fun, clients turn up easily, and money flows to those who do work that helps and heals.

As a certified coach, marketing teacher and self-employment champion, she’s been featured on MindBodyGreen, The Daily Muse, LifeByMe and MarketingForHippies and published in The Ecologist, OM Yoga, Diva, and The London Paper. She’s author of Turn Your Passion to Profit: a step-by-step guide to getting your business off the ground.

When she’s not writing blogs and teaching courses, you can find her reading chick-lit, making vegan blueberry cheesecake, and trying to catch her niece and nephew on the monkey bars.

Take her self-study training course – Blog for Clients – and read her book – Turn Your Passion to Profit – to discover how to stay happy and profitable on the self-employment path at http://youinspireme.co.uk

Guest Post: The Secrets of a Killer Blog Post

by Marlon Gallano II

The Secrets of a Killer Blog Post.

That is the title of the infographic and it is a great example of what a blog post 101 is all about, as a killer title is one of the vital components needed for success. Research shows that the post title is the only part of a blog post that the reader is guaranteed to see, so the pressure is on to come up with a snappy and interesting headline that makes someone want to read on and find out more.

Grabbing the reader’s attention and persuading or tempting them to read more is the probably the ultimate goal when it comes to writing a killer blog post and the holy grail of blogging is finding the right formula or words in the title to give the reader an idea of what you are covering without giving too much away at the same time.

Having cracked the killer-title part of the equation and persuaded someone to read the blog post using some of the tricks shown, you then need to hold the reader’s attention and engage them with maybe a shocking statistic, a bold claim or a question that gets them thinking about an answer.

There are plenty of do’s and don’ts when it comes to mastering the secrets of writing a killer blog post so what are you waiting for? All is about to be revealed…….

 

How-to-Write-a-Successful-Blog-Post-1-7

 

Source: WhoIsHostingThis.com

niche case study: the happy MD

I met Dike Drummond (pictured here) in 2011 at a marketing workshop and loved him warm, positive attitude. I liked him instantly. He just started a new project that is so very on point around niching and a beautiful example of how our own wounds can be doorways to our truest niches. 
 
What is the name of your project?
The Happy MD
 
What’s the story of how this came about? What was the need you saw in the community that it emerged from?
 
I am a doctor (Family Practice) who burned out at the age of 40 – 14 years ago now – and quit my medical practice.
 
I have been a life and business coach and trainer in several non-healthcare niches since then and my heart has always been looking for a time and place to reach out to the people in the same situation I faced in 1998 — those who love taking care of patients and hate “the system” and its unsustainable expectations. 
 
I did some research to see if the landscape of personal development for physicians had changed and found a perfect storm.

1) The research shows 1 in 3 physicians are suffering from symptomatic burnout on any given office day – worldwide — regardless of specialty. And there is no reason to think burnout is any less prevalent in nurses or hospital administrators and others in the system.

2) Researchers have also proven a number of techniques effective in preventing and treating burnout – all of which I have either incorporated into my life or coached others on. These include Mindfulness, Work-Life Balance and Appreciative Inquiry … to name a few.

3) Even though these techniques are proven in the research – no one is teaching them on the internet. 

I created TheHappyMD.com and its evolving line of trainings and coaching to put the tools that work into the front line physicians who need them most. 

I realized that the person I have become here in 2012 is the exact person I would have so loved to meet back in 1998 … and if we had met, I am pretty sure I would still be practicing medicine in some fashion today. Once I realized this and saw the amount of burnout – and suffering – out there … the purpose of these last 12 years of my life became crystal clear. 

Your recent post about figuring out your niche poses a great question and for those of us who have some water under our bridge (it’s not the age, it’s the mileage) I believe it is THE question to build your “right livelihood” around. I resisted asking this BIG question for 2 decades and have only now done so. Changed my life drastically at a time when I needed it most.

I can now see that turning point clearly:

– At the time I had no answers to what I was feeling – couldn’t even formulate the questions
– Since then my life trajectory has taught me what I most needed to know back then … in first person experience … just like Anf in the comments below !
– And … lo and behold … there are tens of thousands of other people out there who are where I was back in the day – now 14 years ago – wondering what to do when burnout has taken away the drive to keep practicing medicine. 
– And … now I can help. THIS me has some answers that THAT 14 year ago me was missing.

As I plan my business to serve my people … it is clear that it is about something MUCH bigger than me. I am in service. It is completely different than any other business I have created or worked in. I hear angels singing a LOT. Amazing.

What’s the response been so far? 

Universally positive.
 
I have generated about 3500 hits a month to the site – we launched in January of 2012. I have nearly 500 people on my list … almost all of them doctors … and my coaching practice has 12 physician clients at the moment. I have my first corporate client and just delivered my first all staff speaking engagement to a hospital system in Alabama (I live in Washington state). I have also been picked up by a Healthcare Industry Speaker’s Bureau.
 
Can you share a few examples of how your project works?
 
Visitors to my site can download a couple of free reports. One teaches Appreciative Inquiry – a research proven method of personal growth where instead of working on problems, you focus on doing more of what is going right in your life. This is a way of seeing the world that is totally foreign to most docs and can change your outlook in a heartbeat.

The second is a single breath release technique they can use to recenter and get present during the office day – something we all need and docs have never been taught.

Once on my mailing list they get a weekly newsletter with burnout prevention tips and an invitation to a free, one hour “Discovery Session”.

I am also nearing the final stages of my Work Life Balance and Boundaries Mastery Training for Physicians. This will be a 6 week very practical course on creating more work life balance delivered via the internet.

How did you promote this in the beginning? What were the top three most successful approaches at the start of it?
 
Find the biggest sites/blogs and groups on the web and LinkedIn and pitch them good content.

What are the top three most effective ways you’ve found to market this?

Guest blogging and posting my articles in Physician Groups on the internet and LinkedIn and SEO for search engine traffic. I guest blog at KevinMD.com and their facebook page. That generates a significant portion of my inbound traffic. I am also a HuffPost blogger. In healthcare this does not generate a lot of inbound traffic, but it does give a number of very high powered backlinks to my site.

There are several large MD groups on LinkedIn and on the web (Sermo.com is one) where I post my articles and generate traffic

And I am compulsive about SEO on every blog post and that pays off. I know my niche search terms by heart and use the wordpress plugin SEOPressor to optimize to 90% or more on each term. 

Now I am adding offline promotion with speaking engagements. And I am in the midst of product development and writing a Kindle book on Burnout Prevention

What are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Find a big problem and talk about it in a way that no one else does

Go where your people already are … the big blogs and groups in your niche. The bigger the site … the more they need your content.

Offer quick tools that work right away and a free consult to the folks who need more than that.

At its heart, what is this project/business really about for you? (beyond money, status and such).

It is about healing the healers.
 
In no other profession is the health and presence of the provider so important as in healthcare. If the doctor or nurse or the person drawing your blood is not getting their needs met – they can’t be there for you … can’t listen, empathize, touch or care. We have all been to doctors or hospitals where we have had this experience. And doctors are trained to ignore their own needs and the system is set up to treat them as disposable tools. It does not have to be this way. 

There are research proven tools to prevent and treat burnout.

There are ways to create organizations where the health and wellbeing of the providers is as important as that of the patient AND these things – when implemented – will result in happier, healthier doctors, nurses and patients and more profitable healthcare organizations.

What’s the next level for your project? What are you most excited about that’s coming up?

Live training – especially in an All Staff setting where we can get nurses, doctors and administrators all together to talk about stress and burnout and be more human with each other.

Internet delivered products to teach mindfulness and work-life balance to anyone anywhere in the world who could use it.

If people want to find out more about your project, support it or get involved – what should they do?

Come to www.thehappymd.com and grab the Satisfaction Mind Flip free report and get on the mailing list. 

Tell all your stressed out friends in healthcare about the site – doctors, nurses, adminstrators …. everyone.

Anything else you’d like to add?

It is easy to have a bad experience with a doctor and blame them … and they can’t give what they haven’t got. That doctor was most likely over stressed and burned out on that day. The first thing I would suggest you do is ask them how their day is going and help them take a deep breath. Doesn’t sound like much AND it would make a huge difference to them. Then give them this website address www.TheHappyMD.com 

 

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

 
 
 

success story: calgary’s mortgage navigator

A little while ago, Charlotte Lammerhirt (pictured here) attended my daylong workshop for holistic practitioners in Calgary.

Except she’s a mortgage broker.

And yet, somehow she’s take the strategies and resources and done and amazing job at applying them. I thought I’d share her story as it not only gives a good idea of what I teach in that workshop but also just some plain old inspiration of what you can do to quickly and affordably improve your marketing as a service provider.

Check out the links to her work. I think you might just be inspired at how warm and human marketing can be.

Hi Tad,

I know that you are very busy but I just wanted to send you a thank you email….

My website is finally complete (yay!) but I just really wanted to send you this email of thanks….

Taking your day long workshop in the spring in Calgary really made a difference in my marketing. 

 

From that workshop I . . .

1) changed website designers and found someone who built and trained me on wordpress…so great!

2) bought Carrie Klassens “how to write a loveable home page” e book and rewrote my home page

3) took the “new about me” class and wrote a totally new bio

4) found a photographer who took some really really great (at least I think so) headshots of me

5) I started to do my own videos (just some really boring lender ones on there right now) but did one on ‘xtranormal.com’ about mortgages that people love and think are hilarious

6) I am on twitter!

So right now I have a great website that I am sooooo proud of….I love it!

Your workshop really made a difference in my business… Just so you know I do read all of your emails or at least I catch up on your site directly at least twice a week.  It is so amazing what you share….all for free.

I am still working on….

1) crafting my free offer for my website (your ebook is in my bag…)
2) working on my niche…..ugh…..still just have ‘first time home buyers’  not focused enough
3) welcome video…..saving a bit more coin
4) Facebook…coming in the next couple of weeks
5) monthly e newsletter

The feed back I have been getting in regards to the esthetics of the site have been good….They (i.e my friends and husband) think it looks good and is very professional.

However, in terms of the content, they think that . . .

1) I am too narrow in my focus…(i.e (just renters??  but I can do mortgages for everyone!!)…..but I know that I am probably not narrow enough as I have not yet found who my niche is

2) Some pages like my bio, may be too wordy and long winded i.e Char, no one is going to read all of that!

3) xtranormal.com!  Funny but a little weird!

So I think what I have decided to do is to listen to their input but go with my instincts.  

My friends and family are great but I am reading and studying all I can about marketing and the majority of what I am reading is to FIND YOUR NICHE.  It’s hard as most of my friends are well meaning but none of them have taken any marketing courses!!

So I need to stop asking them (a disguise for asking for their approval) and just do what I think is the best for my business.

My site is www.themortgagenavigator.ca

Thank you again so much, you really made a difference in my business

Charlotte Lammerhirt
The mortgage navigator

Share your thoughts and reflections below. I’m sure Charlotte would love to hear them.

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

51 examples of content for blogs, social media and newsletters

When I do my workshops, I often get people to brainstorm the types of content they might use to stay in touch with the people on their lists. And people come up with great ones.

So, here’s the harvest from my past few workshops. I hope it inspires you with ideas. Notice how many of them express a really clear point of view and how the ones that focus on a particular niche are particularly cool and useful.

If you’re feeling stuck on what kinds of content you could create read the below and then go and answer these questions. I promise content ideas galore.

Enjoy!

*

Mortgage Broker:

– monthly interviews with realtors, home inspectors, lawyers, title insurance brokers about the marketplace and their expertise in buying a new home.
– niehgbourhood spotlight: putting together a package of coupons for that area, doing a walking tour of the area for folks interested, introduce them to local businesses

Massage for Cancer Patients:
– interviews with cancer survivors who’ve had massage and valued it
– interviews with doctors and nurses who are open to massage
– directly addressing myths: cancer can’t be spread through massage

Childbirth:
– movie screenings of birth related movies
– youtube videos of people interviewed
– website reviews
– articles you’ve already written
– top ten things you DON’T need that people tell you you need when having a baby

Blaire Finney:
– top ten tips for supporting a family member who’s been hospitalized in a psych ward
– nutrient dense foods for addicts (that are easy to absorb)
– top five complimentary modalities for addicts

Midwife:
– How to set up a birth pool.

For: office workers
– top five strategies to deal with that person in your office who drains your energy
– ten yoga poses you can do at your desk
– top ten meditative songs to have in your ipod at work

For: parents
– tips for parenting kids at different stages

Energy Workers:
– showing the science behind the woo woo. sharing the studies and results.

For: divorced parents
– how to do homework in two homes
– 5 things your kids are saying about you at school

For: LGBT women in Toronto suffering from anxiety or depression caused by issues around discovering their sexuality and coming out.
– how to get through the holidays
– coming out stories
– the top ten ways to come out to your family and friends
– top ten WORST ways to come out to family and friend (funny)
– top ten ways to come out at work or school
– top ten ways to pick up a chick

For: women with breast cancer looking for alternatives
– how to handle your doctor and get the experience you want and need out of your appointments

For: menopausal women.
– video of older women doing cool stuff (e.g. grannies skydiving or mountain climbing)

For: women suffering from headaches
– top five foods to lighten your toxin load

For: professionals
– top ten questions to help you decide whether you need a career change
– top ten career books

For: those who’ve been traumatized by sexual abuse
– how to protect your child from abuse

For: pet owners whose pets have behavioural issues
– info on upcoming expos and shows focused on behavioural issues

For: smokers who are trying to quit
– 10 minutes of yoga to combat nicotine craving
– list of physiological changes that occur after quitting smoking (broken down chronologically over a year)

For: cancer patients who are choosing alternative treatment options
– book reviews on anti-cancer and The China Study
– list of how homeopathy can help with specific side effects of chemo

For: people with digestive issues
– how to organize your kitchen and recipes for simplicity in cooking

For: parents with children with Autism and ADHD
– answers to top question faced by faced by families with autistic children and strategies on how to deal with them
– current research and study
– videos for common treatments that seem daunting until you see them in action or try them yourself

For: socially awkward young adults.
– tips on how to use improv lessons to improve your life

For: people who are overwhelmed and stressed and craving silence in their lives
– articles on the benefits of silence
– artwork and poetry that evolved out of silence

For: sensitive and powerful men
– “The Man Box” – lies and myths about men
– VIDEO: “Real Moments of Power” – real men sharing a moment where they were powerful that weren’t hurting anyone. 2 minutes each.
– VIDEO SERIES: “Instant Warrior Practice” – practical exercises for vitality, focus and confidence.

For: People with life threatening cancer
– top five ways to look after yourself when you’re struggling with feelings around your cancer

For: Health conscious pet owners with animals that have chronic problems
– biggest feeding mistakes
– why pets need detox too

 

Do you have any cool examples of content that you’ve seen or created that you want to share? Just write them below.

backstage pass: how i write blog posts

Just had a chat with my pal and colleague Jaime Almond (pictured below) about the behind the scenes of how I write a blog post and thought you might find it interesting.

Jaime
I just had an idea for a blog post for you

me
oooh

Jaime
you know how we were talking about how you turn everything into a blog? well look at this break-in you could do a inside look on how this turned into blog posts it started with posting on Facebook…

me
hmm

Jaime
then you turned the experience into a blog about what you learned then you posted questions about backups on Facebook this might not be the best example, but it’s interesting

me
which i will then turn into another blog post about ‘online back ups’

Jaime
right

me
i think what it hilights for me is the dynamic between my blog and facebook.

Jaime
yeah, and how you blog about everything… also I love how I can say “you should turn that into a blog” and you do you really listen to others. seriously Tad, I bought 2 new hard drives on Saturday because of you I’m backed up! What a relief

me
i am constantly struck but the overwhelming amount of content there is. i think part of the challenge is most people don’t have a place to capture their ideas. every good comedian i know has a little back pocket book where they can jot down their funny ideas. and i think every serious blogger (and entrepreneur in general) should have a place where they capture good ideas. I’ve got 616 potential blog posts jotted down right now. plus fifty or so half written on my blog that i’ve not yet published. like when we were chatting in Toronto, I’d get an idea, jot it down and then forget about it.

me
it also highlights the power of word of mouth marketing. so i get my stuff stolen, put up some facebook posts, realize it might be a good facebook post and then someone writes a comment about how they use online back ups. that inspires me to do it. so i go to sign up for the service they recommended and thought, ‘wait. maybe there’s a better one out there. let me pause’ and so i posted a question on facebook asking, ‘what’s the best online back up service you know?’ and that will almost certainly turn into a really useful blog post for my crowd itself. so it becomes this neverending conversation. and i get to hear word of mouth recommendations from people i trust. this feels so different from trying to sell people. or ‘trying’ to engage them. i’m asking questions i’m genuinely curious about and then i harvest and share the learnings.

i think people think that they have to come up with all sorts of original content – and you don’t always. sometimes you can just gather up all the flowers and arrange them in a beautiful bouquet. you don’t need to grow them all yourself. or create some new flower no one has ever seen.

Jaime
absolutely! it’s such a great way to learn too because you aren’t the expert in everything. you crowdsource. plus it cuts your research time down by a lot

me
so it feels like three main parts (in no particular order):

1) using social media to engage conversation and get different perspectives, ideas and suggestions or just express where you’re at.

2) my blog where i gather it all together and offer the synthesized versions back to the community (and often get even more corwdsourced wisdom) and

3) a place to capture ideas that come up through these conversations.

Jaime
yeah, and then it helps you develop your content etc

me
can i turn this convo into a blog post?

Jaime
of course

(for more of my thoughts on blogging click here)

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

Fifty Two Kick Ass Blogs to Inspire Your Blogging

Sometimes people ask me ‘what’s a blog?’ or they feel stuck and uninspired in thinking a blog has to done in only ONE way.

Well, here are fifty blogs I’ve collected from friends.

I asked them all: “What is the most kick ass blog you know of. Not one that’s ‘okay’ or ‘cool’. One you read all the time. One you often forward to your friends. One that inspires the hell out of you.” And these are the fifty I got (with some of my own additions) divided by category. The comments next to them are from the people who sent them in.

Blogs are a powerful social media tool, powerful in positioning you as an expert and helping you become a hub and building trust.

Who knows – you might just find your new favourite blog in here!

 

Nine Recommended Business & Career Type Blogs:

  1. www.whitehottruth.com
  2. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ – my absolute favorite is Seth’s Blog – mostly because it is always short, sweet and to the point – his comments always totally relate to topics I’m interested in, he’s very quotable,and his site is beautifully laid out for referring back to older posts – I like everything about it and refer people to it all the time. Thought provoking blogs that give new perspectives on crowd psychology, being an individual, and “different” marketing. And the guy can get more thoughts in a paragraph than most people put in a book.
  3. www.springwise.com
  4. www.ridiculouslyextraordinary.com
  5. www.puttylike.com always inspire me to actually get off my ass and do cool/important shit.
  6. http://www.copyblogger.com/ – Copyblogger. It’s lucid, informative, focused, and often funny.
  7. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/
  8. http://heartofbusiness.com/blog Mark Silver
  9. www.getknownnowblog.com Suzanne Falter-Barns
  10. http://www.trendwatching.com

21 Recommended Personal Blogs:

  1. http://www.explorationsoftruth.com/ my friend Ted has a lovely blog about his dances with life and truth. I love his candor, and he always makes me feel less alone with my struggles.
  2. http://www.postsecret.com/
  3. www.thxthxthx.com . Brilliant, simple, funny, thoughtful and all about thankfulness.
  4. http://www.starkravingmadmommy.com/. Being a mom, I’m biased about my preference. I love sassy mom blogs like this. I understand that there are a lot of amazing people out there doing amazing things but I think I prefer to read about them in full scale articles. For my daily dose of something to accompany my coffee I greatly prefer those who can eloquently write about the things I wouldn’t dare say out loud, or those who can lend nobility to making mistakes, being human, and learning from it along the way.
  5. http://www.50datesin50days.com/ – is socially relevant
  6. http://mimismartypants.com/ – The parenting this woman does blows my mind, PLUS she is awesome. I love this blog.
  7. http://sexgeek.wordpress.com/ – awesome sexuality resources for poly and kink, really interesting person. wish she updated more.
  8. http://inharmonyastrology.blogspot.com/ – best astrology ever. thorough, accessible, relevant.
  9. http://www.vergepermaculture.ca
  10. http://zenhabits.net/ – Leo’s got inspiration and living a beautiful life down to a regular 200-500 word blog post. 1. My heart sang when I first saw his minimalist lay out and clean design. 2. His excellent writing about letting go of stuff, and simple living speaks to my soul. 3. And he walks his talk — he has a policy of “copy free” for everything he writes, meaning “go ahead and use it however you want” (he believes in the art of giving and receiving). And, finally when he sends his newsletter out his links don’t include any tracking – a minor point, but sort of floored me and reminded me that you can let go of the “rules” that no longer suit you and pare down to what really matters for you.
  11. http://whipup.net it’s a crafting blog but it has ongoing amazing ideas, projects and links to tutorials and more for kids and adults.
  12. http://www.saidthegramophone.com/ – New, off-the-beaten-track music every single day, and wacky little stories.
  13. http://earthbagbuilding.wordpress.com/. I spent hours reading it and watching all the videos yesterday- ridiculous, but awesome.
  14. www.breaktheillusion.com
  15. http://www.kunstler.com/blog/
  16. http://artofmanliness.com/
  17. www.stevepavlina.com. Personal Development for Smart People. He is brilliant and talk about things people would rather sweep under the carpet. He has over 2 million subscribers to his blog and he did it by just being straightforward, no SEO gimmicks or anything.
  18. http://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/
  19. http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/
  20. http://wiselivingblog.com/
  21. http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/
  22. http://www.centsationalgirl.com

Five Funny Blogs:

  1. http://firesidelolocausts.tumblr.com/ – Eccentric, hilarious commentaries about pretty much anything. Some of it could be a bit notsuitableforwork.
  2. www.questionablecontent.net – Web comic
  3. http://the-comique.blogspot.com/ Fantastically unique and humorously tragic:
  4. http://sleeptalkinman.blogspot.com/
  5. http://wwtdd.com makes me land others laugh every day

Five Food, Local Food and Farming Related Blogs:

  1. http://thecoolvegetarian.com/blog/home/
  2. www.101cookbooks.com
  3. http://www.kevinkossowan.com/
  4. smittenkitchen.com and 101cookbooks.com – They’ve both changed my cooking life. Not even kidding.
  5. www.hitchhikingtoheaven.com – she’s a fab writer and insightful as hell and I love that she started off with something completely different – the universe took her to such a cool place “I named this blog “Hitchhiking to Heaven” because what I meant to write about was the quirky, unexpected stuff we encounter along the road to a thoughtful, satisfying life. Then — surprise! — what I encountered was a lot of jam and jelly”

Ten Political Blogs:

  1. http://www.racialicious.com/
  2. http://www.albertadiary.ca/ – David Climenhaga’s Alberta Diary – he is a very experinced journlaist and political activist who takes you behind the scences of power making in this province, very smart, witty and always very relevant for those who seek to understand the context of politics in alberta.
  3. http://daveberta.ca/ is probably the single best, fair and balanced look at Alberta politics on the interwebs. Wherever you fond yourself on the political spectrum, that blog will provide you with some great information on what is happening in your province and how your tax dollars are being used or misused.
  4. www.itsgettinghotinhere.org dispatches from the youth climate movement
  5. http://feministing.com/
  6. http://spacing.ca/
  7. http://goodintents.org/blog
  8. http://detroitblog.org/ detroitblog has some of the best stories anywhere of what it’s like living in a dying city:
  9. http://simple-green-frugal-co-op.blogspot.com/ – It’s not fancy or incredibly well designed but it has my absolute favorite content:
  10. http://www.thinkersjam.com/

 

So, what’s YOUR favourite kickass blog?

(please share the URL and why you think it’s so amazing below)

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

how i more than doubled my blog following in 10 days

hey friends,

So, at the beginning of the month, I invited people on my list to join my blog and wrote a little post explaining my thought on the three most vital keys to growing your blog following. I sent one email to my list and I’ve popped it onto facebook and twitter a few times. I’ve not done any intensive promotion via hubs and strategic alliances but I thought you might enjoy a quick update.

With very little effort my blog following has more than doubled from 94 people to 204 (i’m writing this on April 15th so it might be higher than that now – you can check the latest numbers here)

I know these numbers are very small all things considered . . . but consider that I’ve barely started the campaign. So I write this to encourage you to see what you can do to yours. Might be easier than you think.

I’ve got a goal of 1000 people subscribed to my blog by the end of April.

Can you help me get there?

Here’s an easy way, on Twitter or Facebook post this: “Are you a conscious entrepreneur? Check out this cool blog: http://bit.ly/fbgfnI

And if you haven’t subscribed yet – then I invite you to do so here.

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

soul filled cafe – very cool business building blogging strategy

Here’s a strategy that can take your blog from Deadsville to being a bustle of activity, connect you with key hubs and influencers in your scene, build your credibility and trust with your people – and ultimately get you more of the kinds of perfect clients you’re wanting.

You’ve likely already heard of my dear friend Alex Baisley and his work around helping people create a wonderful, eclectic and sustainable lifestyle. He’s brilliant. So, when he started raving about a woman named Heather Gray . . . I paid attention.

And then, as strange things in life occur, I found myself in Brooklyn (close to where she lives)  a few months later, sitting next to her at a beautiful little vegan and amazing food restaurant/cafe. And she told me a bit about her work in helping people to slow down, get really clear about what they want and then craft a lifestyle out of that.

And one of the marketing and community building ideas she had, had to do with her blog. It’s one of the most practical and innovative ideas I’ve heard in a while. So I thought I’d interview her for you and let her explain it herself.

*

What is the Soul Filled Cafe?

The Soul-filled Cafe is a guest blog event series hosted at my website soulfilledlife.com/the-cafe

I launched the guest blog events as a way to feature other coaches and cool people I know to share their expertise with like-minded others. By inviting them to be available to answer questions through out the day, there expertise really shines and the post gains depth.

I also quickly realized that these blog events made a great way for other coaches to interact with each other.  So I see the “cafe” as a virtual place where “experts gather, share and connect. “    It’s a departure from the “Dear Abby” type of expert posts, where the expert knows everything and you are invited to come with your issues and ask questions anonymously. This is a “virtual cafe” where you have a conversation and get to know the expert and share yourself as well.    Building a coaching business (or any solo-venture) can involve a lot of time alone, talking with a mentor or working with clients, so a great benefit is that this creates a nice virtual hang out to meet other experts and get great information.

What’s the structure? How does it work?

I post an article or video from a guest expert at my blog in the morning and for an entire day people are invited to “stop by” and ask questions, share comments and interact with the guest and each other (all via the blog comment section).

Where did you come up with the idea?

In January 2010, Sarah Robinson of Escaping Mediocrity (www.escaping-mediocrity.com) hosted a month long blog series with a different guest every day.  There was tons of interaction at her blog, and each guest would pour out great information through the questions from the blog  which helped to bring the article they had shared to life.  I loved it!

Borrowing her idea, I hosted my first “guest blog event” with Cherry Norris (The Hollywood Dating Director, hollywooddatingdirector.com) in February 2010, which was perfect for Valentine’s Day.   She was great about “experimenting” with me.  I use google analytics to track the stats at my website, and there was a nice spike of traffic on the day of Cherry’s guest blog.

I know a lot of cool people, so through out 2010 I continued to host a new expert once a month, and they were called “Guest Blog Events”  (very exciting name).

In November, I hosted Alex Baisley, from the  Big Dream Program and he has a magical way with words.  During the blog conversation that day, he commented that he was excited to be hanging out at the “Soul-filled Cafe”  The name stuck!

In 2011 I have been playing around with more regular spots.  In February I hosted a week long event called “Rejuvenate Love” with back to back days of experts.  And starting this month (April) I am hosting weekly guest events.

The whole thing has become very streamlined, so it’s gotten easier to implement.  And it’s become a great place to invite cool people I meet to be spotlighted.

What’s the response to it been?

It’s been great!  As I mentioned I get spikes of traffic to the blog on the day of these events  (200-500 visits on that one day).  So there are lots of people who “stop by.”

However, only a fraction of the people that “stop by” actually submit a question or comment.  I think there is a “getting comfortable factor” with communicating or sharing yourself through a blog.    I hope I am helping to break down people’s barriers and that they will go on and share themselves at other blogs.  I know for myself, the more I comment at blogs, the more fun it is.

To help with this I’ve been starting to “educate” a bit when people sign up for the Soul-filled Cafe updates.  I share how to use “disqus” (the comment system) and recommend that they register, with their name and photo so we “see” them and encourage them to share about themselves and interact with the other commenters.  Just like you were at a real “cafe” hanging out with cool people. :)

The response from the experts has been really nice too.  Without exception, everyone has said that the experience has been both fun and informative.  I’m always floored by how generous they are with sharing amazing information via the blog conversation and I love seeing them in their zone of expertise helping others.  Such a gift.

This seems like a brilliant idea on how to use a blog. What are the three biggest mistakes you see most people make with their blogging?

#1 Not blogging. I have some clients and peers who are “shy” about getting a blog going.  And they are wonderful writers with wonderful ideas — so it’s not that —  but it’s a fear of being “seen.”  (Funny thing is once you get into it, then you switch to, “how can I get more people to see this?!”)

#2 Blogging ONLY because someone told you it’s good marketing. Great recipe for a boring blog.  I’ve seen blogs that feel more like a string of articles or uninspired posts.  Maybe google likes them, but if people are not “hanging out” and really reading it, it feels yucky to me.

#3  Not being creative with blogging. Some people don’t like to “write” and they think, well I won’t blog.  But your blog could be video posts, or if you enjoy taking photos you could do a “photo” a day post, or you can highlight other people and stuff you like.  So many ways to create fun, regular content.  Get creative!   And make sure it’s something you love doing (because you’ll want to do it regularly.)

What are your three biggest things you’ve learned about blogging?

#1  It is good marketing (just don’t have that be the only motivation.)  Without a blog, my website would be dead in the water.  I can’t imagine not having one now.

#2  Just get started! When I look back over the content I’ve created, mostly over the last 3 years, I see how it has helped me to articulate my core message.  So just get started!  There will be gold even in those first posts.

#3  Don’t be a lone wolf. Add the energy of others into your blog.  Either invite people to post on your blog, interview someone, or post at other people’s blog.   1+1 = 10 when it comes to blogging.  I’ve definitely experienced that.

What has been the impact of the SFC on your business and income?

The only way I can answer that is with the goolge analytics.  It has created 10x’s the traffic to Soulfilledlife.com which has led to at least doubling my list size, which has led to new clients.   It’s also led to some fun JV projects and some new income streams that way.

How does the SFC fit into your bigger marketing picture?

It’s become a big part of my free content piece.  It also brings new communities to soulfilledlife.com via the experts. And then there is the “who knows who” factor: people respond to you because someone they like is at your blog.

If someone else wanted to start using this model – what would be your three most important pieces of advice?

1) Start by reaching out to the people you know will say yes. People you know well and people who just like you already.

2)  Don’t have the guest post be about “selling anything” My intention is always to create a great experience for people out of the day and learning opportunity.  I see the events as a “touch” point for the guest.  I know that new people will discover them and want more  (and people from their community find out about my business too.  A win/ win)   It also makes the guest event fun and spontaneous too.  Wonderful conversations have happened out of my blog, simply by coming from a place of “giving.”  And as a result more people know and trust me and the guest.

3) Don’t  aim for just the “Big Names” There are so many people doing cool things that have expertise to share.  I find that those who may have a smaller followings can be some of the best guests, because of the enthusiasm they bring to the event.

What’s the next level of this going to be for you?

Right now the Soulfilled Cafe lives at a page and a string of posts.

What I am working on is  creating some branding and a separate website for it (though linked to Soufilledlife.com).  My vision is to have  some sponsorships and a “cafe” shop where I could feature products from the experts. I recently registered “soulfilledcafe.com” –actually it was funny, the day I went to register it, my hosting service informed me it was “free” — I still have no idea why, but I thought it was a cool sign.

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

ideas of things to put on your blog

Last week, Jaime Almond (pictured right) and I got to chatting about blogs and what sorts of content is good to have on them.

Jaime: you are definitely the best blogger I know

me: really? what makes me so good do you think?

Jaime: you are very creative with content you do different styles of posts – like chats, comments etc you highlight what others are doing, you went from zero to blogger extraordinaire in like a month . . . well instantly, but after the first month you had a ton of content

me: hmm! i hadn’t thought about the importance of different styles in blogging. let’s do another brainstorm – what matters most in blogging!

Jaime: engagement – so connecting with your audience in a way that opens a conversation. new bloggers can give up because they don’t get lots of comments straight away.. it takes time to build a following

me: i think having lots of internal links in your blog so they can find other blog posts on your site that are in a similar vein

Jaime: relevance.. it has to be relevant, interesting

me: what are all the different blog formats you can think of?

youtube videos

Jaime: interviews
7 steps to __________
event listings

me: screencapture videos of things on your computer, before and after case studies

Jaime: highlighting someone
tips

me: a highly opinionated rant about something, commenting on current events and tying it into the work you do

Jaime: oh yeah everyone loves a good rant.. drama is intriguing

me: reviewing a book, movie or something. chats like this!

Jaime: your best content. thought leadership – ie universal truths for your audience

me: some sort of question you put out on a controversial topic: like when i put out ‘is conscious marketing bullshit’ i got an epic response of people weighing in to share their take on it, a critique of your own industry

Jaime: Questions are the key. I think every post should end with a quesiton. oh.. on delivery of the content.. it needs to be easy to read.. have clear headers to break up content, include pictures…. blogs must be good for scanners

me: yes! i’m a huge fan of including a really compelling picture at the top of every blog. it really transforms it. and i think it’s good to mix up the length. once in a while write an epic long one. other times – put out something that’s a couple of paragraphs.

Jaime: so people go online to research and be educated, they also want to socialize, and finally they want to be entertained.. so finding the balance between all of these competitions

me: right.

Jaime: critiques – that could be like a case study, or it could just be a before and after

me: yay. i’ll put these on my blog next week. woot!

Jaime: before you do, you should ask your readers.. do a survey about what they like on blogs on your blog also ask what they would like to see

me: might just do that!

Jaime: then you could use actual data – also ask them what their favourite blogs are and why.

 

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