Bloggers & Business Owners Can Learn Blogging To Drive Traffic, Leads & Sales
“I don’t know how to ride a dragon,” said Jon Snow.
“No one does until they’ve ridden a dragon,” said Daenerys Targaryen.
TL;DR – This is the shortcut to blogging & content marketing efficiently & effectively.
I started blogging in 2007 when I started a new business. There weren’t a terrific amount of resources then to help know how to blog and, even if I’d found a course or training to buy, I didn’t have the money to invest in myself. I had to teach myself everything I needed to know.
And that took time.
That first business grew by word of mouth and outbound sales – not blogging – and failed after four or five years. I fell off that dragon and the fall nearly killed me, but I picked myself up and started a new venture that relied far more heavily on blogging and content marketing. I created business and marketing systems that could scale and grow organically rather than be limited by my own time and efforts, and within a year I’d replaced and exceeded my old income. Within two years that blog landed me a full time role as Chief Marketing Officer and years later, I’m now the Head of Strategic Partnerships for a global brand, Agorapulse.
Fourteen years is a long time. Too long to wait for your dreams to unfold. Too long to wait for success to be achieved. And far too long to wait to learn an essential skill like blogging.
Essential? Yes. Absolutely. And I’ll share why in a moment. I started by giving you a sense of the journey I’ve been on this past decade and a half so that you might understand the scope and context of the experience I’m about to share. I don’t claim to be a wise person, but I know I’ve made my share of mistakes and what I’m offering you is an opportunity to learn from those mistakes.
In a letter to Robert Hooke in 1675, Isaac Newton made his most famous statement: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”. One of the best decisions I ever made was in 2011 when I chose to begin connecting and networking with peers and colleagues in the marketing industry online, listening to and learning from them. How to do digital marketing, how to do blogging and content marketing, and how to support one another and develop true, lasting relationships. I’ve stood on their shoulders for many years and used that vantage point to gaze into the distance and see beyond my own limitations.
And you can do the same.
In a nutshell, you can understand blogging quickly and easily by making every effort to learn from those who have succeeded and are willing to share the details of their successes. To help you get started, what follows is an interview. An interview of me, by me… but these are the questions I get asked over and over again. So often asked the asker’s faces and names are a blur. But regardless of where the questions come from, they represent the questions that you no doubt have right now in the back of your mind, holding you back from moving forward with your blog, your brand, your business idea… holding you back from putting yourself in a position to help others.
Allow me to help you with that.
1. Why Learn To Blog? Isn’t Blogging Dead?
The first question I’m asked in nearly every interview and conversion revolves around the idea that blogging is dead and has been replaced by newer, sexier mediums like short form video, live video, podcasting, or even social audio.
And the answer is always the same.
“No! Blogging’s not dead. Have you done a Google search for anything lately?”
While video and audio are terrific mediums for generating awareness of your brand and building audience, when someone is actively searching for answers to their questions they still turn to Google and Google search results are still predominantly text. And in fact, for questions and problems requiring in-depth answers, you’ll find that the top-ranked articles are the longer articles.
People searching for “how to learn blogging” will find themselves staring at a set of Google search results and at the top will be this article by someone calling himself a Blogging Brute titled, “How To Learn Blogging Quickly and Easily” and they’ll think, “Oh! That looks interesting.” And they’ll click on it and arrive here, right alongside you.
Imagine if they did that and instead of this long article with lots of information and resources, all they found were a few terse sentences and bullet points regurgitating the same tired ideas.
They’d click Back immediately, wouldn’t they? Wouldn’t you?
The two major factors that Google measures and uses to judge your content is whether or not someone looks at your page and clicks Back, and how many seconds it took them to do it. That’s called Bounce Rate and Time On Site.
You’re reading this now which means, so far, you haven’t bounced and you’re still on my site, spending your valuable seconds reading my words. As a result, Google judges my content to be of greater interest and value than that short, worthless post, and ranks my article even higher in the results, sending me more interested readers who spend even more time on my site, and the cycle continues.
This is why blogging isn’t dead and this is why it’s essential that you learn. Whether you’re focused on creating a blog for it’s own purpose, or using a blog as a part of a content marketing strategy to promote a business, the strategy and tactics are the same! If you learn how to create valuable content you will be rewarded with new readers and potential customers. And the beauty of blogging is that success breeds success. A high-ranking blog post brings in more and more readers who help it to rank higher and, in turn, help the rest of your content, site and business rank higher.
The good news about this particular dragon is that you don’t have to simply hop on one to learn and fly. You can go into it with a plan.
2. Why Is It Important To Have A Plan?
If you were to walk into a bank today and ask for a loan to start a new business, one of the first items the loan officer would ask to see is your Business Plan. They would want to know what you had in mind and, more importantly, see that you’d put thought and effort into crafting a plan that has potential for success. First-time business owners might refer to the Small Business Administration for training and templates, buy a book or two, or hire a business coach. Since they don’t teach you how to draft a business plan in high school, unless you studied business in college you’ll need to get help to create that plan.
One book you might study is “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries, one that I reference and recommend regularly. In it, Ries argues that having the right plan and purpose is essential for your best chance of success. When you take a little time up front to research your idea, create a Minimal Viable Product, and talk to your target audience about it for feedback, it’s far more likely that you’ll proceed with a business idea and plan that can result in achieving your goals.
Blogging is 100% the same.
While it’s possible to start publishing blog posts today with no actual research or plan in place, you’re just trusting to luck and instinct to lead you to success.
I mentioned earlier that I started blogging in 2007 but that after four years the business failed and that all my sales had come from word of mouth and essentially cold calling. How is that helpful? I mean, it sounds like I wasn’t blogging at all during that time.
Here’s one of the massive lessons you get take from my past failures.
I blogged for four years without research, without customer feedback, and without a plan. While the years spent writing helped me to hone my skill, the content itself was entirely useless and did nothing to help my business.
Had I done my homework before I started, I would have found that businesses that wanted the kinds of services I was selling weren’t interested in the content that I was writing. I was targeting the wrong audience and even if my articles had brought in tens of thousands of visitors, they still wouldn’t have gotten me a single sale.
Imagine for the moment that you’re the owner of one of my favorite pizza joints in the world, Pisanello’s in Bowling Green, OH.
Every day you’re serving up delicious pies to college students, business owners and families in and around Bowling Green. So, naturally, you’d run ads for napkins to residents of St. Louis, Missouri, right?
Of course not!
True, pizza eaters need napkins, but someone in need of napkins isn’t necessarily going to buy your pizza, and particularly not if they aren’t in your target geographic or demographic.
I often interchange “blogging” with “content marketing” because blogging really is marketing with written content. You’re creating content that should be designed from the start to attract your target audience, speak to them about something they need, and help them to make a purchase decision.
One of the issues facing college students today is how to safely put on the kinds of events and gatherings that they used to before the pandemic. A savvy pizza shop owner might write a series of articles providing club presidents and social chairs helpful tips and information, guidelines, recipes and more. That is the kind of content a successful business creates. And if you have a plan, you can write that kind of content from the start instead of wasting years of effort.
As you determine your blogging plan, you’ll also discover everything you need to work on and potentially learn.
3. What All Do I Really Have To Learn?
So the first, most critical, bit of learning is that you need a plan and, as a correlation, what that plan should entail. Fortunately, a blog plan doesn’t have to include profit forecasts or anticipated expenses like a business plan might, but it will include determination of target audience, research of keywords, and how you plan to build content around your buyer’s journey.
There are some technical aspects to blogging that, unless you have a team to assist, will need someone to sort out initially. Fortunately, buying a domain and website host, installing and configuring WordPress, and setting up necessary plugins and a theme are all strait-forward tasks which can be learned or even outsourced.
Once you have your blog plan and a blog to which you can publish content, it’s time to start writing. From crafting blog titles to structuring your posts, and from selecting the right images to optimizing for search engines, there’s quite a bit of ground to cover here. Fortunately, the most important element is to make sure that you’re writing helpful information for your target audience that can potentially lead them to make a purchase. Everything else you might learn will only add to or improve on that, which means that understanding can come over time.
Finally, once you’ve started to publish content, you’re going to need to learn how to promote it and grow your audience. That typically entails creating and using social media profiles, building an email subscriber list to reach out to, leveraging influencers, paid media, and more. This, too, is something that you will most assuredly learn and get better at over time.
So the core areas of learning for an up-and-coming blogger like yourself include:
- Blog & Content Marketing Plan Determination (Immediate, Fast)
- Technical Blog Setup & Customization (Immediate, Fast)
- Blog Writing (Short-term, Moderate)
- Audience Establishment & Growth (Long-term, Slow)
4. What Is The Best Approach To Learn Blogging?
Given all that you need to learn, both initially and over time, what exactly is the best approach? Other than just paying someone else do it for you.😉
Should we just get on the dragon and trust that our Targaryen blood will be enough to us keep in place while we soar to new heights?
Just like if you were to go to school for a new profession, the fast pass toward blogging success is when you invest time to go through guided training and exercises which focuses on the most important and immediate aspects of blogging, then gives you a core foundation upon which to build the secondary, long-term aspects.
And just like school, the best approach to learn blogging includes visual presentations that you can watch and listen to, text that you can study, and exercises you can employ to reinforce and expand on what you’ve learned.
That means you need to invest in a structured blogging course. Training that has been put together by someone who has been in your shoes, understands your goals for creating content and a business, and wants to help you avoid the potential mistakes and pitfalls. Such a course will equip you with the information and experience you need to get started with your blogging journey on the best possible footing.
5. How Much Do I Need To Spend?
The really good news is it won’t cost you anywhere near that of a college education to learn blogging, and yet, frankly, could be considered even more valuable.
There are the technical requirements for a blog: domain name, website hosting, platform & design. If you’re willing to learn and tackle these tasks yourself, your up front cost will be minimal… less than $250 total. The domain and hosting will be renewed annually.
The really, really good news is that all of the rest of the training you need costs just $297.
I’ve assembled a series of tactical videos designed to guide you through the entire process I just outlined. You’ll start by learning how to develop your blogging plan, including how to research and target what your audience is searching for, then make your way through learning how to write and publish and promote.
- How To Structure Content for Traffic, Leads & Sales
- How To Come Up With And Brainstorm Blog Ideas
- How To Spend Less Time Writing And Still Write Better
- How To Optimize Blog Posts for Peak Performance
- How To Promote Blog Posts For Greater Visibility
- How To Use Blog Content To Make Real Money
- How To Optimize Your Blog For Search Engines
- How To Leverage Other People’s Audiences To Grow Yours
- How To Repurpose Content To Reach New Audiences and Opportunities
- How To Create… And Conquer… Long Term Plans For Your Blog
The Blogging Bootcamp consists of ten training videos with transcripts, as well as a companion Content Marketing Workbook which you’ll use to record your ideas and research, conduct brainstorming exercises on themes and topics, and pull together everything you need to build a successful blog and business. The Blogging Bootcamp also includes a digital blogging planner which you’ll use to calendar your plans and promotions for the coming year, and eight bonus training modules covering writing, SEO, and even podcasting.
Perhaps most importantly, your one-time investment equals a lifetime membership. You’ll have automatic access to updated modules and additional training when released, and you will take full advantage of the Blogging Brute Squad private membership group.
- Share your Wins & Losses with other bloggers for support
- Ask questions and get real-time answers and feedback
- Leverage live video Office Hours to get timely input and encouragement
Your investment of time and money in the Blogging Bootcamp is the absolute best way to learn blogging.
6. What Do I Do Next?
You’ve done it. You’re ready. You’re determined to build a blog and business and brand that stands for something. All you have to do is make sure that the initial choices you make are the best possible. So your next step is to enroll in the Blogging Bootcamp. You will immediately gain access to all of the training and resources.
Set aside 1 hour each day for two weeks to go through the training, exercises and research. In 14 days you will have a Blogging Plan in place, complete with a head-start on your new blog content. The Content Marketing Workbook, Blogging Planner, bonus training modules, and access to the private support community are all included.
Ryan K Biddulph
Sensational breakdown Mike. I started blogging in 2008. Definitely self-taught in the beginning but then I began learning more and more from pros who experienced success. Blogging is fun, freeing and although uncomfortable sometimes, not nearly as hard as bloggers make it out to be. Turns out, virtually all folks who say blogging is highly difficult are doing failing things or blogging from a fear-filled energy.
Thanks Ryan! You’re right, whenever I have an opportunity to talk to and coach someone on blogging, we always achieve a breakthrough moment when a light bulb goes off and they realize something they were doing or thinking about wrong, and everything’s easier from there.
What an amazing article! Some of my friends are thinking about starting a blog, and I think this article will be very insightful for them. You shared many amazing tips about blogging. Although I did share my own insights with them, I think reading about yours will help them a lot. It was such a great read, and I really like how you highlighted the importance of planning. I will share this article with them, and I really hope it helps them.