8 Tips for Gaining New Readers and Growing Your Business through Guest Posts

growing your businessNo self-promotion effort has had a greater impact on the growth of my business, audience, and network than guest blogging. This should come as no surprise to Firepole readers!

Writing posts for blogs in my niche is how I gained clips for freelancing, developed friendships and started working with influencers, sold any product or service I’ve launched, and connected with thousands of new readers for my blog.

Writing a lot of guest posts without a solid plan, however, is also how I wasted a ton of time and energy in the early days of my business. If you’re not targeting the right blogs and setting strong goals, you could be wasting effort writing guest posts that won’t help you gain blog readers, subscribers, or book sales.

Here are the lessons I’ve learned to help save you that wasted effort, get the most out of every guest post you write, and grow your business.
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How to Supercharge Your Sales Page with One Easy Copywriting Tweak

copywriting Tweet it! Confession: the words I use to write my sales pages aren’t always my own.

In fact, some of my most successful sales copy was authored not by me, but by my customers.

Don’t worry – this doesn’t fall under plagiarism and it’s perfectly ethical. It’s also one of the simplest and most effect tweaks you can make to your own sales pages in order to increase conversions big time.

Yes, you guessed it – we’re talking about learning your customers’ language in order to tweak your sales pages.

As fellow small business owners, I’m sure you’ve experienced the frustrating situation of putting something you’ve worked hard on out into the world, and getting a dismal – or worse – response from your audience.

Creating amazing products are services is what you do, but communicating it to the world in the right way can be challenging. I know exactly how you feel. In fact, here’s how it happened to me.
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Project ABC: Self-Created Road Blocks on the Road to Success

overcoming procrastinationMeet Carolynne Melnyk, our newest project ABC contributor. Carolynne’s going to give a back story on her journey to building an online business, and then we’ll get into how we create our own road blocks on the road to success, and how you can overcome your own procrastination roadblocks :)

10 years ago, most of my friends thought I had it all.  I was a teacher, mentor, counselor, adviser, coordinator and vice-principal. I lived, worked and wandered around the world.  I had great paying jobs with lots of holidays in exotic places.

But on the inside, I was miserable and very unhappy.  So in 2004, I traded it all in for a backpack and flight to Peru.

Finding Joy in Peru

I have always been known for following my intuition.  But this time, family and friends thought I had lost it.

They kept asking me what I was going to do.

My answer, “I don’t know.”
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Client Relationship Management 101: Do You Know When to Tell a Client No?

client relationship managementWhen I was first starting my business, I would occasionally field requests from friends to work for free or discounted prices.

It was an awkward conversation. On the one hand, I wanted to say yes, because they’re my friends, and friends help each other out.

But on the other hand, I worked hard to develop my coaching programs and instructional materials. I didn’t want to give them away for free.

Finally, I reached out to Danny for some advice. He suggested that I quote my normal fee, and then say, “But for friends, I waive the fee.”

When I read that advice, a light bulb went off. Never accept low payments. Full price or nothing, I’m worth what I’m worth, so why devalue me? It clutters our relationship.

What liberating advice for managing client relationships with friends!

But When a Client Is Not a Friend?

As solo entrepreneurs and small businesses, we like to think of our clients as friends. Maybe not right away, but I will bet you that most entrepreneurs who’ve been around for a while have at least one very good friend who started off as a client.

However, sometimes people who claim to be clients are not. Sometimes, we encounter “the taker“.

The taker is ­­not a friend.

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CEI 047: The One Hour Business Plan with John McAdam

simple business planStarting anything new, especially when it’s a new business, can be really challenging.

So today, Danny sits down with John McAdam, author of The One-Hour Business Plan, to discuss the 5 stages to writing an simple business plan in a single hour.

Now, it might sound crazy, but John has reviewed thousands of business proposals from large and small companies over the last 7 years. And he’s found that, with one hour of dedicated writing time (and a few hours of thinking time), it’s possible to lay out a simple business plan to launch either a new business, or a new product or service for your existing business.

On this week’s podcast, John and Danny explore the five main elements of every successful business plan, whether you’re starting a small one-man shop or a large company. John’s five elements cover everything from defining your offer, how to get your offer to market, and how to set realistic business milestones.

Podcast run time: 23 min 13 seconds

And don’t forget that you can also download the transcript of this podcast. [Read more...]

Substantive Editing: The Editing Step You’re Forgetting that Could Make or Break Your Next Book

substantive editingWhen you think of “editing”, where does your mind go first?

Most readers and writers think of editing as correcting grammar, punctuation, and word choice in a manuscript – but there’s a lot of work to do with your book’s first draft before it’s ready for that!

Don’t go straight from finishing your first draft to correcting grammar and punctuation. Before you can focus on these, you have to ensure that what you’ve written is even on the right track.

If your book’s content isn’t effective or interesting, the best grammar and mechanics in the world won’t matter – and you’ll waste time and money focusing on them. Make sure you’ve first included and organized all the stuff your book needs to achieve its goals.

How do you do that?
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Are You Holding Yourself Back as a Writer? Take Your Seat at the Table

becoming a writerAsk any writer, and they’ll tell you the same thing: becoming a writer is hard work. And if writing is hard work, building an audience who appreciates your work is even harder.

So what’s holding you back from building your audience? You already know what you need to do to grow your blog and authorship platform. You’ve read the posts and attended the webinars. You’ve already put your best effort into your website and free offering.

Thre’s just one missing piece: you need to forge strong relationships with top writers. You need to stop going it alone and start becoming a part of the group.

By now, you know that writers don’t ‘make it’ in isolation. It doesn’t work to toil away in online obscurity, hoping that someone will swoop in to be your promotional Fairy Godmother. What does work is to facilitate heartfelt connections with writers you admire, people whose missions align with your own.

It makes so much sense, doesn’t it? When you read the posts and watched the videos, you feel jubilant. All I need to do is make friends with some ‘big players’, connect with them, encourage them, help them promote their work. Then, eventually, I can ask them to consider sharing my best work, because it will help the people they serve as well. It’s a win-win!

You wrote “make connections” atop your to-do list. Maybe you had a step-by-step itinerary, filled with great ideas as to how to go about doing that.

What’s Really Holding You Back

The only problem is, you’re not reaching out.

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Brand Yourself: How to Use Your Personality to Your Advantage in Marketing

brand yourselfIf you ask your customers why they chose to buy from you, your personality is likely to come up in the answers.

Maybe you seemed trustworthy. Or your sense of humor made people want your products and services.

Tweet it! Whatever the personality trait, your marketing made people notice it – whether or not you intended it to happen.

When you know what aspects of you people find most positive, you can brand yourself by emphasizing them in your marketing, and making lots more sales.

And if you know what aspects people aren’t as drawn to, you can avoid bringing them forward.

How you present your personality has a huge impact on your results. Yet, few people use their personalities well in their marketing.
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Is the Fear of Failure Keeping You From Starting Your Business?

business successYour job is sucking the life out of you. It’s Sunday evening and you have a knot in your stomach dreading the thought of facing another day at work.

Despite the stress, you know that you can’t walk away because you have bills to pay and a family to support. You feel trapped. You search the want ads desperately hoping to find a solution. But those searches leave you feeling more depressed because there is nothing out there that won’t be more of the same.

You start to think that maybe starting your own business is the solution; however, the statistics are scary. And the fact that you don’t even know where to start doesn’t help.

Does this sound familiar?

I don’t know about you, but for years, those thoughts used to keep me up at night.

Is the fact that most businesses fail keeping you from taking that leap?

It’s a scary fact, isn’t it? Every day, there are start-ups that don’t make it, and freelancers who never quite seem to make a go of it.

Now, I can’t guarantee that the business you start will be a success. But, I can give you the one ingredient that will give you the best chance for business success.

No, it’s not an unlimited pile of money (not that you had that anyway.)
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CEI 045: Struggling with Entrepreneurial Overwhelm

PodcastImage045Every entrepreneur, no matter if they’re just starting out or have been running their own business for years, encounters entrepreneurial overwhelm. Basically, entrepreneurial overwhelm is a succinct way of describing the fact that we can always be doing more – more learning, more testing, more evolving, more strategizing.

The question is – how do you keep the overwhelm in check? As usual, Danny has some ideas and practical knowledge to share, and that’s why entrepreneurial overwhelm is the topic for today’s podcast.

Podcast run time: 17 min 39 seconds

And don’t forget that you can also download the transcript of this podcast.

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