Blog, Marketing

How Blogging 5x A Week Got Me Zero Clients + The Secret Tool I Used Instead to Get Booked

I admit it seems a little odd to be talking about the ineffectiveness of a blog in a blog. But it’s true - I blogged 5x a week for over a year and landed all of zero design clients. Now that’s not to say I wasn’t running a successful business, in fact I was fully booked out in less than 30-days. Blogging however was never the tool that gave me consistent clients. Don’t worry, before this blog is over you will know what was.

Not only will I tell you what booked me out in 30-days, but I will tell you exactly how I replaced my corporate income. And it wasn’t as complicated as you might think. In fact it involved zero social media and a few cups of coffee.

My writing became a passion. As much as I convinced myself it was to gain customers, ultimately it was a self-serving practice. I thought I was building a marketing mechanism for my business and in fact I was building an entirely new audience, one who had no interest in my services. And while it ultimately helped me do other things it was a massive distraction. One that kept me up at night (3am most nights), tired all day and constantly worried about what to write next.

Blogging is a long game strategy - meaning it’s effects are best measured months and years after a blog is posted. It can be a fantastic way to add valuable keywords to your website and to up your search rankings through the power of SEO (search engine optimization).   But here’s a secret about blogs that no one is talking about. Blogs are likely not reaching your potential clients. Blogs are reaching people who want solutions to a problem (think how to type content), not people looking to hire.   |  Boss Project

Blogging has been long sought after as a marketing tool. A way to spread your message far and wide. But used inappropriately it won’t attract the people you need now to make money sooner.

Blogging is a long game strategy - meaning it’s effects are best measured months and years after a blog is posted. It can be a fantastic way to add valuable keywords to your website and to up your search rankings through the power of SEO (search engine optimization).

Your Blog is Reaching the Wrong People

But here’s a secret about blogs that no one is talking about. Blogs are likely not reaching your potential clients. Blogs are reaching people who want solutions to a problem (think how to type content), not people looking to hire.

Think about it this way: when you go to hire anyone what do you do first? Is it frantically google, land on this awesome blog post, figure out how to contact the person and then hire them. OR is it - First ask someone you know who they would recommend? Trust me if you were to make a list of how you looked for someone to:

  • Put a roof on your house

  • Watch your kids

  • Trim your trees

  • Care for your dogs on vacation

  • Insert basically any service ever

You first asked a friend - whether that was a generic post on Facebook, texting your mom, or your neighbor.

But I Google Everything

Ok, I hear the pushback. You use Google everyday to find things, me too. But when you did, what ultimately helped you make your decision? Reviews. Yelp, Google Reviews, Amazon customer feedback...that’s what you trust when you’re looking to buy or try something new. The trust is transferred from the other customers to you, making you feel comfortable in your purchase decision. You are more likely to trust other humans than a companies self serving blog post.

The lesson here: purchase decisions are made when TRUST is established. And the fastest way to get people to trust you? Getting OTHER people to talk about how awesome you are.

The Shortcut to Booking Fast

A blog while potentially valuable is unlikely to build trust immediately. There may be some interest there, someone may hop on an email list, someone may want to learn from you - but booking a service is off in the distant future.

The key to booking fast is those coveted recommendations. And no, I’m not suggesting you go out and spend all this time on a Yelp profile. For most of you reading this you are in the creative field, you offer a creative service like: photography, design or copywriting.

People aren’t looking on Yelp for those services. They honestly might not even be asking anyone for help finding someone. They might not be looking at all.

But with the right warm recommendation you could be the solution they didn’t even know they needed yet.

What You Gotta Do (And What You Don’t)

So we’ve established that blog posts can be valuable for you business eventually.

But I want you to get hot leads, faster than you can handle them.

Because here’s the deal, business isn’t slow because you lack talent. In fact I’d be willing to bet you could run laps around me with what you do… and I want to show you how to get your solution in front of more of the right people faster.

Here’s what you’re not going to have to do though:

  • magically become extroverted overnight

  • cold call people (my personal nightmare)

  • go to a bunch of crazy boring networking events, only to hand out your business card to people who are going to throw it away on the walk to their car.

  • put on pants. (I mean you CAN. But you don’t have to for the method I’m about to share with you)

Here’s what you ARE going to do:

You have to sit your people down (and by your people I mean those closest to you). And tell them what you want, your true ambitions, seriously, what do you want your business to do for you. Because honestly, hiding isn’t getting you anywhere.

You can totally do this. I’ll explain how.

The Mean Girls Method

You remember this cinematic masterpiece, I know you do. In the movie there was a hard core clique - referred to as the Plastics. They stuck together like glue, and bitchy demeanor aside they were basically family. Now their secret to popularity wasn’t their charming good looks, it was there tenacity to stick together. They were stronger together.

You have a group of people in your life that are there for you no matter what. They love you fiercely and want you to succeed. They are your inner circle. Even if you don’t all wear pink on Wednesdays.

Your inner circle is made up of no more than 10 people. It’s the people you are in communication with daily - calls, texting, telepathy. It’s the people in your life you can be your truest self with. It may be your mom, sister, BFF, biz besties. How you are connected is honestly not important. Your belief in how connected they are to your potential customer, also not important.

Step 1: Who is in your inner circle? Remember: if you have to think about it more than 5-seconds they aren’t on the list.

Step 2: In the next 24 hours you are going to contact your inner circle and let them know you are ready to see growth in your business. Share with them the desires you have for the kind of clients you want to work with. Ask them for connections.

Step 3: Use this script if you need it!

Not sure what to say? We got you:

Hey, NAME. I’m sure you’ve seen me post things about _________ and ________. I’m at the point now where I’m getting really focused on landing more clients for __________ and I need your help. Here’s what I know I can provide: ________, _______ and ______. Does anyone come to mind that you could introduce me to - either someone who’s a perfect client fit or someone who knows someone who might be? I’m ready to work with them, can you send 5 messages today and copy me on it?

Sounds simple right? Don’t let that fool you: it’s highly effective.

This is EXACTLY how I was able to replace my cushy corporate salary: One of these conversations led to one intro, which led to a consistent stream of clients. Hear more about how I took the conversation further in this podcast episode.

I repeated the system again with my next ring of contacts and landed relationships that got me deals designing for Coca-Cola, 7-Eleven, Dominos, Massage Envy and more.

So guys, to recap:

While blogging may help long term, I want you to find clients right away to get your business profitable. Try this strategy and then share your results in our secret FB community built just for you. It’s application only and free to anyone in the Photography, Design and Copywriting space. Apply here. 


Website Traffic, Blog

10 Ways to Maximize Your Blog Posts and Increase Your Traffic

How many times have you heard that you need to blog regularly? All the time, right?

And whether you are a natural or reluctant blogger, you need to ensure that you are optimizing your blog to maximize the visibility of each post, your blog, and business.

How many times have you heard you need to blog regularly? All the time, right?    And whether you are a natural or reluctant blogger you need to ensure that you are optimizing your blog to maximize the visibility of each post, your blog, and business. | Think Creative Collective

Does this scenario sound familiar?

⏳ You finally write an awesome blog post that you are so so pleased with.

💻 You lovingly publish it on your website.

📲 Then you share on your social media profiles once…and then you stop.

🚫 You wonder why no one is reading it, no one is leaving comments, and you’re not getting traffic to your site. Zero…zilch…nada.

“Why?” We hear you cry,  “What am I doing wrong? Is it the content? Is no one interested? Do I need to change what I am writing about?”

Well, maybe.

But no, what you really need is a social sharing strategy. Ok, we know it’s another thing to worry about but trust us, this works. Basically, you need to have a systematic approach to sharing all your new content multiple times and re-sharing your old content again, too.

Again, imagine if the one time you shared your blog post someone missed it or they were too busy to take a look. And let's face it, not all of us have necessarily got the type of blog (yet) that someone will just log into every day on the off chance that you have written some awesome words (besides, this kind of blog reading behavior is soooooo 2007).

Or, you shared it to Facebook and only 1% of your audience saw it anyway.

What you need is your own sharing strategy, as well as a method to get others to share your content more easily.

So let's get started on a social sharing strategy. Follow these simple suggestions and you’ll be doubling your blog traffic in no time:

1. THINK ABOUT SHARING YOUR NEW CONTENT MULTIPLE TIMES ON ALL OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS.

Set up a schedule that makes sense for you. For instance, you can share more frequently on Twitter than on Facebook and your audience won’t switch off. Think about what works best on each platform. We personally use Post Planner, and love their feature of recycling old posts to repeat forever.

2. CONTINUE TO SHARE OLD CONTENT.

You should continue to share old content – some of our most popular posts were written over a year ago. There’s no reason we can’t shout that from the rooftops from time to time. You’re constantly gaining new readers and growing your audience and you need to remember that they haven’t seen everything you’ve ever put out so it’s okay to remind them.

3. ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE INTERNAL LINKS IN BLOG POSTS THAT LINK TO OTHER CONTENT YOU HAVE DEVELOPED – IT SPARKS THE INTEREST OF READERS TO GO CHECK THAT OUT TOO.

Remember that you’re adding value and creating an experience for every reader. If there’s another post you’ve written, a post someone else has written, a great news article or resource that might add value, be sure to link it up. If your readers know that you are a source for valuable content, they’ll keep coming back for more.

4. MAKE SURE YOU POST COMPELLING HEADLINES.

When you post to social media channels, mix your headlines up across platforms. As you begin to share multiple times, you'll begin to figure out what works best.

5. REPURPOSE YOUR CONTENT IN VARIOUS WAYS.

This could be as an infographic or a podcast, an intense course or a quick email series. Different things work for different places, so remember that when you are repurposing.

6. BE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR BRANDING AND MAKE IT LOOK VISUALLY APPEALING AND INTERESTING.

We know how enticing it is to want to change up your blog layout, the header, the graphic or even your logo. But every time you do this, you’re potentially taking a reader who recognizes you and confusing them. Create consistency across the board by trying not to change anything for 6 months (at least).

7. MAKE IT EASY FOR OTHERS TO SHARE YOUR CONTENT WITH TOOLS SUCH AS:

  • Clicktotweet: Clicktotweet is the easiest and simplest way to promote and advertise your blog, website, and business on Twitter. Highlight a message you want to promote, generate a Clicktotweet, and you have an instant way for others to easily share your content.

  • Sumome: Sumome share toolbar is a tool that makes it easier for your readers to share your blog posts on their own social profiles. Sumome also has an email capture tool, so you can build your email list at the same time. Bonus!

8. ADD GRAPHICS TO ALL YOUR SOCIAL UPDATES.

Tweets with images are, on average, shared 180% more than those without.

9. USE A SCHEDULING TOOL TO SET UP YOUR POSTS SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT.

Again, we use Post Planner to share out content across Twitter and Facebook. We utilize Later to schedule our content on Instagram.

10. DEVELOP YOUR OWN CHECKLIST OF THE MULTIPLE TYPES OF CONTENT AND PLACES TO SHARE (SO YOU DON’T FORGET ANYTHING).

Something like this might work initially (it's in Trello, of course!) and once you get going you can add more steps.

Try implementing these simple steps and sharing your content multiple times and see what effect it has on your blog traffic. Spoiler alert: it’s going to help it a ton.



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Blog, Marketing

Why You’re Not Making Money From Blogging + Tips on How to Start

So you’ve started a blog — congratulations! You’ve probably heard amazing stories of people making money from their blog and you’ve envisioned this life of writing posts + cashing checks (virtually). It sounds like a dream.

But maybe it’s not going quite as you expected. Maybe you’re not making it rain dollar bills, people aren’t knocking down your door with offers to pay you for posts, and perhaps all of this seems a lot harder than you thought it would be. Sound familiar?

Well, there are probably some pretty solid reasons why you aren’t making any money from your blog. And a lot of it starts with your expectations. Let’s break down the school of thought that’s traditionally surrounded the world of blogging + money making so you can start to see it a bit more clearly.

Bonus: we’ve got actionable ideas for you on how to actually start making money with your blog further down in this post, so keep reading!

So you’ve started a blog — congratulations! You’ve probably heard amazing stories of people making money from their blog and you’ve envisioned this life of writing posts + cashing checks (virtually). It sounds like a dream.  But maybe it’s not going quite as you expected. Maybe you’re not making it rain dollar bills, people aren’t knocking down your door with offers to pay you for posts, and perhaps all of this seems a lot harder than you thought it would be.  |  Think Creative Collective

First, we’re going to be real honest with you. A lot of the old school advice about how to make money blogging is just that — old school. It’s outdated and it’s not how blogging works anymore. You’ve probably been fed a lot of bologna when it comes to how to establish your blog and audience to make money. But there are few people out there teaching on this subject who are not only up-to-date in their methods, but who are actually profitable (we’ll link to a few at the end of this post).

Now we’re going to get down and dirty, busting myths and taking names. Are you ready?

You're Wanting to Learn from the Wrong People

Okay, this is possibly our biggest pet peeve. We’ve been seeing this topic come up a lot lately. Someone will start a thread in a Facebook group and it goes on like wildfire. It goes like this…

“I’m not making money from my blog and I’m tired of just hearing from people who teach others how to make money blogging. I want to learn or hear from people who aren’t teaching or running courses, but who are making money from blogging. Why aren’t they talking about how to do it? Does anyone like that even exist??”

Then someone will chime in and say something like…

“Oh, I totally understand. I want to hear from a lifestyle brand that makes money blogging! What about this person who sells moccasins? Why can’t I know how she makes money blogging?”

Let’s be clear.

The reason why you are hearing from someone who is teaching about how to make money blogging is because that is their job.

The reason why you aren’t hearing from someone who sells moccasins or fine art prints or yoga poses is because their job is to not teach you about how to make money blogging. Their job is to sell moccasins or fine art prints or yoga poses.

It’s not that they don’t exist.

They are just working in their businesses.

And you should absolutely want to learn from someone who makes money blogging that then teaches how to make money blogging. Because guess what they’re doing? Making money from blogging.

Which is what you want.

If they’re good teachers they will give you examples of how this can work in many different industries. They will let you know that the foundations of making money blogging aren’t that different, regardless of what you sell (more on that later).

Learn from people who know how to teach. Period.

Your Blog Doesn't Actually Make You Money

Okay, this is a hard idea to grasp. Back in the early 2000’s when blogging was just getting started, you made money from your blog. Like literally.

How much you made was determined by how many people visited your blog, how many people shared it, commented on it, etc.

Why?

Because ads on blogs were huge then.

So advertisers would pay per view, click and share. Then the blogger would get a check. Boom.

That’s not how blogs work anymore. That’s not how readers want to engage with bloggers and advertisers anymore.

So that’s not how money is made through blogging anymore.

Now, it’s about what you sell. What can you offer? It’s about curating a content library, attracting the right people to read it, providing immense value and then selling something to them (we’ll get more specific about the selling later).

What You're Selling Doesn't Make Sense

Okay, so sure, you’ve heard that you need to sell something in order to make money from your blog. So you do. But...chances are it’s the wrong thing. Here’s a scenario that we just saw someone in a few week ago…

This person had a blog where they wrote about energy, positive mindsets and motivations. They had readers that liked this type of content. So they decided to leverage those readers and put up something to sell in their shop.

They decided to sell editing presets that you can use in Lightroom.

Why?

Probably because they’re good at making presets and they’ve been told to sell what you’re good at. The problem is, that’s not what their audience was used to hearing or learning about from them, so they were not primed to buy that thing.

It would’ve made more sense for this person to sell desktop screensavers with mantras on them, a positive energy cleanse course, a book on essential oils and meditations, etc.

Is what you’re selling in line with what your audience is used to hearing? Fix it.

If You Don't have Time, This isn't Going to Work

This is the biggest and most crucial piece of advice. Woven through every Facebook thread like the one we mentioned earlier is the concept of time. Someone comes in and says something like “Blogging takes time, you have to be consistent and keep at it to get results.” (Which is true) But the person struggling comes back with something like “Yeah, I just started blogging a couple of months ago. I only blog once a week, because I just don’t have time. But if I were making money from it now I’d be able to dedicate more time to it.”

That is not how any of this works.

Your audience won’t come unless you provide value.

They won’t come back unless you provide material and a reason for them to come back.

You won’t be able to make money unless you create something to sell.

You won’t know what to create to sell unless you spend the time engaging with your audience and providing value.

All of that takes time. A whole lotta time.

Blogging is the least “get rich quick” business plan that has ever existed. If that’s what you’re here for, you’re going to be so disappointed.

Here's How to Turn it Around

  1. Create a content calendar

  2. Put out valuable content for the sake of putting out valuable content

  3. Turn your readers into subscribers by offering them something for free

  4. Nurture those readers

  5. Ask them how else you can help them

  6. Create something that takes what you already talk about a step further

  7. Sell it

  8. Do all that again and again.

If you want some accountability and a place to bounce your ideas around then be sure to join our community. It’s free and it’s awesome.

P.S. Earlier we said we’d mention the people who teach about blogging really well. We recommend Melyssa Griffin, XO Sarah, and Mariah Coz.


Instagram is our Jam!

Blog, Infographic

Super Saucy Blog Post Anatomy (BONUS: Blog Planning & Analysis Printable)

We know that you're probably hearing every single day how important it is to have a blog. The numbers don't lie, the interaction with you audience is incredible and the value of what you can give can be a game changer. We also know that sometimes you put off something simply because you don't know the best way to go about getting it done. We want to make sure that you're using each and every post to its full advantage - it takes way to much time to prep those posts for them to not be working for you!

Today we're breaking down a blog post piece by piece. We'll tell you exactly what how your post should be laid out, what to include in it and how to wrap it all up. 


Your Free Blog Boost Weekly Worksheet

At Think Creative Collective we want to continue to help you grow and reach your potential. We want to see you succeed and be proud of how far you have come. We want you to go after a life and a business that you love.

And because we just love our readers and want to encourage them (that's you) we have created a printable perfect for keeping your blog on track. You can use it as your planning tool to title new content. Keep it around to check off your engagement across social media platforms. And assess the results every week - "hearting" your favorites and seeing the real traffic numbers. We would suggest printing one a week and using it to track for the next month. See if it helps you stay on task. See if there is new growth. Use it to see what is and isn’t working. Keep it in a binder so you can come back and look at it later. 

Get instant access to your free printable worksheet and many more in our all free backstage resource library for bloggers and creative entrepreneurs!


Keep Up to Date on Our Recent Blog Posts & Ways to see Your Blog Explode


Email Marketing, Entrepreneur, Blog

The 10 Things You Need to Know Before Making Your Blog a Business

Abagail here. I always knew if I blogged it wasn’t just going to be for pleasure. That wouldn’t incentivize me enough to keep going. I had to make my blog profitable. It had to be an integral part of my business. It had to give to me, but it also had to give to my business. 

Blogging for me hasn’t necessarily brought in the dollars and cents, but it has served as a foundation for my readers to turn into clients. When I started I really wish someone had sat me down and told me what I am about to tell you.

I always knew if I blogged it wasn’t just going to be for pleasure. That wouldn’t incentivize me enough to keep going. I had to make my blog profitable. It had to be an integral part of my business. It had to give to me, but it also had to give to my business.   Blogging for me hasn’t necessarily brought in the dollars and cents, but it has served as a foundation for my readers to turn into clients. When I started I really wish someone had sat me down and told me what I am about to tell you.  |  Think Creative Collective

You have to have a clear niche.

Seems obvious enough, but trust me it isn’t. When you start, it is easy to get caught up in being everything to everyone. But then things don’t end up working and you end up capturing no ones attention. You have to deliberately shrink your niche down to a size that is so specific, people automatically know they can come to you to cover a certain subject.

I specialize in content that helps small business owners grow their business and simplify their social media. I focus on helping dreamers who are desperate to leave their full-time job to pursue their passion. And I create actionable tools for these creative entrepreneurs that are functional, usable and downright awesome! 

You have to have a plan.

Call me silly, but would you drive across the country without a map? Ok, maybe not an Atlas, but at least a GPS? Before you begin blogging for business you have to know where you are currently located and where you want to go. Then create content that gets you from point A to point B. 

I didn’t always have a plan. My first month blogging I tried to fill up every part of my life, by bringing it into my business. This included a DIY painting tutorial for my guest bedroom. It was fun, but not on point. 

You have to be consistent.

If people know when they can count on you they are way more likely to come back. When this adventure began I consistently posted every M-F with posts live at 5 a.m. CST. After publishing more than 100 posts, I scaled back to 4 posts a week, which makes my life a little more manageable.

When and how often are you going to post? Tell your audience so they know when to count on you.

You have to know where to draw the line.

What will you do and won’t you do for your blog? Are you willing to sacrifice the look for paid ads? Are you ok with affiliate links or posts? Define what is going to work for your business and stick to it. Working this out in advance makes it much easier to decide what you are going to do when opportunities come knocking. 

You have to step back and analyze what is and isn’t working.

It is pretty easy to get in the swing of things and not do a little self-analysis on what is and isn’t working. Pay attention to your analytics. What posts naturally get more hits? Do some graphics perform better on certain social media platforms? What are people sharing? What stays popular long after it is posted?

To help me stay organized I developed the Blog Boost Weekly. It helps me plan out my week. Track how I post on social media and then analyze the results at the end of every week. Snag your own FREE copy Back Stage. 

You have to be dedicated.

Blogging for pleasure is one thing, however, if you decide you are going to do it for business I urge you to be dedicated. This isn’t some crash diet, it is your business and it has to be taken seriously. Start by making small changes. Let them compound over time. Make blogging a habit you cannot give up. Make it a ritual. Make it a time of reflect. 

You must keep up the impeccable quality. 

I refuse to write chintzy blog posts. If I am going to take the time to lure you in with quality social media and rocking graphics, then I better have meat when you bite in!! Focus on fabulous quality. I know you don’t want to hear it, but you are only as good as your worst work. If you don’t think what you are writing is up to par with your other content, it is best to wait to be inspired than put something out that you aren’t proud of.

You have to know not all readers are buyers and not all buyers are readers.

Someone told me this one-day and it hurt a little. But instead of letting the sting stay, I learned to embrace it. Create content that works towards converting one to the other. Ideally, your ideal reader should also be your ideal client. If it isn’t, then something is going to have to shift to accommodate. 

You have to showcase your expertise.

Consider your blog your long form sales letter. Over time they begin to pick up on your expertise. If you’re an expert health coach, why would you blog about social media? Or why would a DIY crafter chat about dieting? It doesn’t make sense to your reader. Your expertise, particularly when blogging for business, must directly align with your products and services. It can be a platform to introduce your readers into the behind the scenes of your business. Use it as a way to promote your best qualities and  place emphasis on your strengths. 

You have to know how to capture your readers’ information.

A couple weeks ago, I introduced you to the idea of a sales funnel. Blogging can be an integral piece of the puzzle to really capture someone and later convert him or her to a sale. The big piece, once they are here and reading or perhaps even reading regularly, is to get them to hand over their personal information such as their name and email address.


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