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I love finding new apps that actually make life easier.

Here are my 5 latest must-have career apps:

Workfolio is the perfect platform for the professionals that want an online presence, but aren’t interested in blogging. This site allows you to create a simple one-page website highlighting your skills. Setting up your site is totally free.   

Blinkist is the app that makes you appear well-read, without having to actually read. The app turns books into easy-to-digest  outlines that you can quickly scan through. The app is totally free, but you will quickly need to upgrade to the paid version. ($6.99 a month)

Good.co identifies your personality type, and then shows you the companies you would be a great fit for. They have a ton of features, and an amazing blog. When you log-in they give you surveys on your past positions, and allow you to not only grade individual organizations but direct managers.  

Photofeeler–Have you ever wondered what people think when they see your profile picture? This site allows you to test different images and crowdsources opinions on whether you look: likable and competent. The site is totally free to use.

Easily.Do--The best to-do app I have found to date. They sync your email, calendar and social profiles into an easy to scan to-do list. My favorite feature is that they notify you of special announcements your friends make. The app is free, with paid upgrades available.

twitter

Last night someone on Twitter asked if it was better to focus on building a huge base of followers, or to focus on a building a quality community to connect with. 

My answer? Both. 

I have spent more than five years on Twitter, and helped dozens of influencers implement strategies for increasing their following. The truth is that there are simple steps you can take to building up a twitter following, but it is a total waste of time if you don’t know what you are going to use them for.

Are you building a twitter following to increase traffic to your site? Are you trying to attract new leads for your business? Connect with like-minded professionals? 

Before you decide how to build up your twitter following, you need to understand why you are doing so. 

Once you know why you are trying to increase your following, you will have a clear picture of the type of people you want following you. 

Below is a step-by-step strategy to building a large quality twitter following in six-weeks flat. 

  1. Make sure you have a profile picture that represents you in the best way. You can use PhotoFeeler to find out which picture makes you look the most likable and competent. Fill out your bio, include a link to your site. (aka make sure you look pulled together)
  2. Every night for a month, follow 50 new people who are relevant to your goals. (A great way to find new followers is to find influencers in your niche, and see who they follow) 
  3. Each day, watch your twitter stream and unfollow anyone who doesn’t interest you, spams your feed or looks irrelevant to what you are building. 
  4. Tweet 6-8 links to interesting articles each day. (schedule them ahead of time with Tweetdeck
  5. Engage 4-5 followers each day via re-tweets & @ replies 
  6. Once you have a solid base of twitter followers, start focusing on getting top industry influencers in your niche to follow you. (A few ways to get big influencers to follow you–comment on their blog regularly, retweet/@reply them often, tweet links to their articles and include their twitter handle. Just don’t go overboard, or you will look like a creepster) 

If you follow this plan for six-weeks you will have a large base of highly-engaged followers whom you can leverage to meet your business goals. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past few days, I have had a number of new readers coming through the site. If you are new here, this post is for you.

I have spent the past six years writing online, which can make it hard for new readers to find some of the content I love best.

Here is a quick guide to help you through the site:

If you are here for career advice…

How to survive the gig economy. 

College are failing their students (and what they can do about it) 

How to find a job using Twitter 

How to find a mentor (part one) 

If you are interested in the business side of blogging….

Three things you need to know about monetizing your blog. 

Find your blogging career path. 

Or check out our complete blogger guide 

If you are a PR professional….

Why bloggers think your pitch sucks.

5 Major shifts happening in the PR industry 

While you are here, make sure to subscribe my newsletter and you will receive a copy of my new ebook, “5 Days to a Better Blog.”

Subscribe here. 

Enjoy!

Cassie

 

There are a billion guides on how to use affiliate marketing for your blog. I have (tried) to read a lot of them and was overwhelmed with all of the details involved in making money with affiliate marketing

If you love affiliate marketing or find joy in studying data and systems, this post isn’t for you. If you are looking for easy ways to monetize your blog posts with affiliate links, this post is everything you will need.

For purposes of this experiment, I am going to cover two types of affiliate programs:

Open affiliate programs, High-dollar affiliate programs and referral programs. 

Open Affiliate Programs: 

  • Low-margin affiliate programs include companies that offer a small commission for any sales you send to their site.
  • These programs offer a small percentage of sales, but have a huge inventory of product you can promote.
  • Most of these networks are easy to get into, and can be a great way to earn extra money from products you would write about organically. 
  • It can take alot of time to learn a new affiliate network, so I recommend doing some research and finding the network that makes the most sense of your blog. 
  • If you rarely cover products on your blog, you probably wont earn substantial revenue from affiliate networks. 

A few of the most popular open-affiliate programs:

Amazon Affiliates
Share a Sale
Skimlinks 
Reward Style 

High-Dollar Referral Programs:

  • High-dollar affiliate programs are companies that focus on selling one or two products, and offer a high-paying incentive for referrals you send to the site. 
  • These programs are great for bloggers at every level, because you can earn such a high commission for each referral. One post featuring the product could earn you significant revenue.
  • The key to earning revenue from these programs is to pick a couple of select products that make total sense for your audience, and promote the heck out of them. 

A few of the most popular high-dollar referral programs:
Shopify
Workfolio
Danielle Laporte
Quistic 

Product Credit Referral Programs: 

  • Referral programs allow you to earn free product for every new customer you refer to the site. 
  • While these programs don’t allow you to earn money directly, they allow you to earn free products. This is a great way to promote companies you already love, and earn rewards for doing some.

A few of the most popular high-dollar referral programs: 

Gilt Group 
ePantry
Stitch Fix

What affiliate programs do you recommend?

mediummm

Last week, we discussed publishing content on Medium, and a few readers had questions on how they can use Medium to grow their blog.

“Can you republish your blog content on Medium? How can you use it to drive traffic? What is the benefit of publishing content on Medium?”

When Medium launched, they only allowed a select number of influencers to publish. Today, anyone can publish content on Medium, and they have built an insanely engaged community.

What is Medium?

 How can you use Medium to grow your blog?                                                 

  • Medium has created a number of tools that allow you to amplify your content to their community.
  • Search: Medium users can search for specific topics or keywords they want to read about. Covering hot topics and highly searched categories can increase traffic to your post.
  • Collections: Medium allows you to create (and contribute) to topic specific collections.
  • Anyone can start a collection, and Medium users can subscribe to the collections they find most interesting.
  • When you post on Medium, you can easily submit your post to collections who have established followings.
  • This allows editors the ability to quickly curate content, and gives writers access to a new audience.
  • Beautiful layout: Every post on Medium is optimized for mobile readers, social sharing and turns your content into a highly engaging experience.
  • Publishing posts on Medium allow you to transform your content into beautiful magazine like posts that people are more likely to share.
  • Here is a guide to writing on Medium.

Should you use Medium for your blog?

There are a number of blogging platforms that offer opportunities similar to Medium. Here is a guide from Thorin Klosowski to choosing what platform is best for your blog. 

 

 

 

 

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There will always be people who will tell you that you need massive traffic to make money blogging. The reality is there are a million different ways to make money blogging, and not all of these ways require a ton of traffic. 

I recently announced a new course that will show you how to earn two thousand dollars a month off of any sized blog.

Since the announcement, I received a ton of emails wondering how it was possible to earn an extra $2K off of a small blog.

While $2K/month sounds like a huge goal, it is really just a series of baby-steps.

Here are three new ways to think about monetizing your blog: 

1. Specialize Your Niche! 

When you reach a huge audience, you have to filter through all of those people to find the ones who will buy something from you. When you specialize your content to reach the exact people you want to sell to, you build a small audience of very targeted consumers who are very likely to buy something from you. 

The more specialized the coaching business you have, the less people you need to read your blog.

For example, Michael Adams is a food expert who helps food entrepreneurs find co-packers for their product. Michael has an entire blog about creating food products, co-packing and how to make a food business successful. 

If Michael had just launched a food business blog, he would have to filter through all of his readers to find the people who had a food product they were ready to manufacturer. And the reality is? That would probably only be 5% of his entire readership. The other 95% are never going to buy something.

Instead, Michael created content that directly targets the person he is trying to reach. He is reaching the people who are actively seeking out information on how to find a co-packer. And when those people arrive on his site? He has a variety of books, software and interactive coaching to solve their problems.

2. Create a Reoccurring Revenue Stream 

The membership model is my favorite, because you can make a sale onces and have continual revenue from it.

One of my favorite blogger membership sites is from Going Home to Roost. Bonnie launched the Roost Tribe to give creative entrepreneurs access to amazing resources. 

You pay $5 and each month you get tons of premium content, free ebooks and design materials you can use for your business. 

Making that purchase is such an easy decision. You get a ton of resources for a price you cannot find anywhere else on the web.

And the best part? It is coming from a source you trust.

From a blogger perspective, this is a genius way to consistently increase the revenue you make each month without increasing the amount of work you need to do.

3. Own Your Local Region

When you think of “blogs,” most people assume they have a national (or international) readership. It’s the internet! Why wouldn’t you try to reach all of the people? 

This is the reason; regional blogs are so often overlooked. If you start a regional parenting blog, you can own the entire parenting sector of that community

MomsLa is an amazing community for moms in the Los Angeles area. They sell highly integrated partnership with local businesses, and work with national brands trying to reach that specific community.

The reason that they are so successful is that they focused their efforts on a very specific group of moms, and are able to totally own their niche.  This work in smaller regions as well. The Quad Cities Mom blog has the largest community of moms in their entire region.

Don’t overlook your local market. It can be another path to monetizing your site.

The secret to making money blogging is not reaching a billion page views and shilling for free product. The secret is figuring out what kind of business is going to work for your life, and then consistently working towards your goal.

I really hope you can join me for my course next week.  You will get access to (4) live-streamed sessions where we will discuss tons of different ways to monetize your blog, and work hand in hand to find the path that is right for you.

You can register here. 

Use the discount “BLOGBIZ” to get the course for $10. 

(Discount expires Sunday. ) 

Last week everyone in the business blogging facebook group shared the goals they had for their blogs.  After reading all of your comments, I realized that the majority of bloggers in this group are looking for ideas to increase their traffic.

This is what inspired me to pull together 25 of my favorite tips for growing your audience. Test some (or all) of these out, and let use know what you learned along the way.

  • Create a content schedule
  • Publish 2-3 blog posts every week
  • Publish your posts on the same days each week
  • Launch a weekly series that you feature on your site
  • Launch a 30 day themed challenge
  • Feature weekly “link-ups” and email links to all of the bloggers you featured
  • Publish interviews or “feature” other bloggers on your site
  • Choose your best post and submit it to 25 relevant blogs to feature
  • Share each post on at least 3 social networks
  • Share your posts multiple times per day on Twitter, so you reach a larger portion of followers
  • Share your posts on Facebook, and pay $6.99 to “boost” the post and drive more views
  • Follow 25 new influencers in your niche on Twitter everday
  • Land 2 guest post opportunities per month
  • Tweet 1-2 links each day from someone else in your niche (include their twitter handle in each post)
  • Reply @ or re-tweet 1-2 tweets per day
  • Comment on 5-10 blog posts on relevant blogs everyday
  • Set up a newsletter list and send each post to your newsletter subscribers
  • Invite family and friends to subscribe and follow you
  • Add a link to your email signature inviting people to read your latest post
  • Email links to any brands or products you feature on your blog
  • Pitch relevant media outlets and offer yourself as an expert
  • Add “Sharebar” to your blog
  • Create “guides” that link back to evergreen content on your site
  • Publish your posts to Medium and submit to relevant magazines
  • Add the “other posts you might be interested in” app to your blog

In other news! I am hosting an online course showing bloggers how to make $2K/month off of any size blog. The course will include more than 4-hours of live video sessions where you can get ideas specifically for your blog.

I would love to see you all there, so I am offering a special discount to this group. The course is normally $47, but you can use the code “BLOGBIZ” to receive access for only $10.

Register here.           

Email me directly if you have any questions: cassieboorn@gmail.com

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Most of the time you can make more money selling your ads than you can make from an ad network. The problem is that selling ads can take a ton of time, and most bloggers don’t want to deal with it.

Why would you want to sell your own ads?

  • You have complete control over the ads that show up on your site. No blinky flashy corporate logos taking over your content.
  • Small busineses and independent advertisers don’t normally pay per CPM. Theses businesses see the value in a very targeted engaged audience, and are willing to pay a flat fee for promotion.
  • You can create advertising campaigns that are designed for success. Selling your own ads gives you tons of control over your brand.

I have studied dozens of successful blogs that sell their own ads and the best tool I have found is passionfruit ads.

Passionfruit is a  simple app you can integrate into your site. They charge $3-$9/month, and give you the ability to feature the ads spaces you have available, track views to the page and process all of the invoices and payments that hassle most bloggers.

You can also take a look at the prices other bloggers are charging, which give you a good benchmark for pricing your packages. 

Another good option is Adproval. They are totally free to set up, and take a 10% commission from any sales.

Once you decide what space you will sell, and the rates you will charge you can  start pitching potential advertisings.

How can you find independent advertisers?

  • Create a page on your blog for potential advertisers. Everyday potential advertisers are viewing your site, and they don’t always know you are open to running their ads. Create a page letting advertisers know they can buy space on your site, show your average reach and the costs of each space.
  • Look at other blogs in your niche. Who is selling their own ads? What companies are buying space on their site? Pitch those companies. There is a good chance they will want to feature your site as well.
  • Research relevant small businesses and startups in your niche. Find their marketing or press contact, and let them know the opportunities you have to offer.

 

chooseadnetwork

A couple of years ago I worked on an ad network project, and learned a ton about how bloggers are using ad networks. 

The truth is that most bloggers do not expect to make a ton of money from their ad network. Running ads in your sidebar takes zero time, and guarantees you a check every month. (even if it is small)

The reality is that bloggers are leaving huge amounts money on the table  by not asking the right questions.

Ad networks are a new concept, and each operates in a different way. This has left most bloggers unsure of what to do with this space. The problem is? That space is valuable.

Here is a list of questions you should use to evaluate an ad network: 

What kind of ads do you want to run on your site?

You will make the most money running video or interactive ads on your blog, but they might annoy your readers. Decide ahead of time what kind of ads you want to run, and where you want them to appear. Do you want a banner ad on the top of your site? How many ads do you want in your sidebar? Do you want ads to run between blog posts? Knowing what you are comfortable with ensures you join a network that is a good fit.

What is the CPM?

Most networks offer $1-$3 CPM, which means you make $1-$3 per 1,000 views on your site. Larger networks offer $4-$8CPM, but have much higher traffic requirements. I have heard networks promising as much as $15 CPM to highly trafficked blogs.

What is the fill rate?

Most ad networks will not guarantee you a fill rate, but will give you an average of what they sell. The fill rate is the percentage of ad inventory they will consistently fill. For example, if you have 100K impressions each month, but they only sell $10K in impressions—you would have a 10% fill rate. That means you are only making money on 10% of your ad space. The problem with networks promising huge CPMs is that it puts huge pressure on their sales teams, and most of the time they cant fill all of your ad inventory.

Do they offer a monthly guarantee?

A number of ad networks offer minimum guarantees to blogs that have a huge reach and/or a very profitable niche market. I have heard of networks promising everything from $2K/Month to $10K/Month. Of course, you need to have a very established readership to incentivize networks into a guarantee.

Do they offer sponsored post or review opportunities?

Networks typically pay very well for sponsored programs, so it is a huge bonus if you join a network that offers that. Ask if they offer sponsored programs. How often do they run these opportunities? What do they typically offer in compensation?

Do they require exclusivity?

Ad networks are a little different than blog agents in that they define exclusivity in a totally different way. Some ad networks will want exclusivity over all of your “above the fold” advertising.  This simply means you are not allowed to sell ads in the spaces they own. As long as you are comfortable with the CPM & fill rate, I think this is totally fine.

Other networks will ask for exclusivity over your sponsored content or all brand programs. This is a terrible decision. It gives a network total control over your revenue.

If needed, what would you have to do to get out of the network contract?

Good ad networks will leave you leave as soon as you wrap up programs you have already committed to.  Any ad network that requires you commit to them for any length of time is questionable. Unless they are offering a minimum guarantee, there is no reason they need you locked into a contract.

What has your experience been with advertising networks? Leave your stories in the comments.