Blogging is a powerful way to grow an audience and build trust with them before pitching your online course. By providing free content through blog posts, you attract people who are interested in learning from you and may end up paying you just to get your advanced material. For this post, we invited Bryce Conway to show you how he quickly grew a large audience by blogging. Take it away, Bryce!
Let me start with an honest confession.
I really had no desire to ever run the business I am currently running. In fact, I can vividly remember telling my business partner that I would never allow our business to become a “blog”, or myself to become a “blogger”.
I was terrible at writing (still am to some degree), afraid to share my ideas publicly, and despised the idea of having to constantly churn out new and interesting content to stay relevant.
But after 3 months of trying and failing to grow our website it became clear that we needed to start blogging if we ever wanted to build an audience. There simply is no better way to do it.How to Grow Your Audience & Sell Online Courses by #Blogging. @10xTravel @B_Conway Click To Tweet
Here are 5 things I have learned since getting started:
1. Less volume, more quality
Those who are new to the blogging world often assume that when it comes to blog content, more is always better.
More content = more opportunities to be found = more traffic, right? At least that’s what I thought.
I suggest you do the opposite. Instead of one post per day shoot for one per week. Especially if you are also sharing your posts with an email list.
But that doesn’t mean your job is any easier! Take that extra time to ensure that your one or two posts per week are valuable for anyone who reads them. And written in a way that they stay relevant for months or years to come.
Quality will always beat quantity in the long run.Quality will always beat quantity in the long run. #blogging #teachonline @B_Conway @10xTravel Click To Tweet
2. Err on the side of being too polarizing
There is nothing worse than being too bland while blogging. There is simply too much content on the internet for a mainstream opinion or article to generate traffic.
Let me give you an example from my own site.
I operate in the points and miles space, where many people pride themselves on using the perfect credit card for every situation.
Buying gas? Better pull out the card that earns 3x points on gas! Then switch to the card that earns 2x points on convenience stores when you buy a candy bar from the convenience store. Can’t miss out on those points!
So I published this article that essentially mocked that type of thinking and provided what I thought was a better alternative.
The result was exactly what we expected. Most people were outraged that we would suggest such an approach! How dare we suggest that their perfectionism was a fault!
But the result was a huge uptick in traffic, which led to more email subscribers, which ultimately leads to more revenue for our business. This article continues to be one of our best performing pieces of content to date.
Compare that to if I wrote a piece that reinforced the general idea that one should spend an inordinate amount of time on managing their dozens of credit cards. Most readers would have thought “cool, that’s exactly what I thought this article was going to be about” and completely forgotten that I exist.
Think about how you can implement this sort of thinking in your own business. Pick some sort of hot-button issue in your niche and take a controversial stand. Even if you don’t believe it at first.
Interested in personal finance? Write about how budgets are overrated.
Maybe fitness is your thing? Try to defend the idea that you don’t need a gym membership to get in shape. Or even better, make the case that gyms are actually detrimental to your fitness goals.
Anything to grab attention, even if it seems outrageous at first.
It’s much better to have 10% of readers love your work than for 90% of readers to agree with it.It’s better to have 10% of readers love your work than 90% who agree with it. @B_Conway @10xTravel Click To Tweet
3. Have some sort of call to action with every post
Another common mistake made by new bloggers is blogging just for the sake of blogging. Again, do the opposite here.
In this day and age of endless content, it’s easy for readers to navigate to your website and completely forget about it 10 minutes later.
Make sure that everything you post has some sort of call to action. Whether that be an email capture (probably the most important one), a sales pitch, or some sort of takeaway activity. Anything at all.
Here’s a quick example of the email capture that we put on the bottom of every single blog post:
Simple? Absolutely. But it’s highly effective at turning casual readers into email subscribers.
This will help your content to really sink in and keep people coming back.Always have a call to action at the end of your blog post. #blogging @B_Conway @10xTravel Click To Tweet
4. Build a system and hire help if needed
When I first started blogging I would simply sit down in front of a blank page and try to write whatever was on my mind. The result was exactly what you would expect it to be.
My work sucked. And I came to dread the process of writing.
Today I have a system in place to help me generate content in a much more efficient manner. I have a master spreadsheet of ideas to work with, templates to help get the basic framework started, and I hire freelancers to help with research and post editing.
Now I find writing to be enjoyable (most of the time anyway) and feel confident that I will never run out of ideas or content to share.
5. Don’t worry about what your competitors are doing
Another major mental obstacle that many bloggers encounter is a constant desire to try to mimic their competitors.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “well X blogger in my space wrote about this topic, I guess I should too”. Which creates a sort of “me too” feeling to your work that is easily picked up on by your readers.
This was a huge problem for me at first, as I felt I was constantly trying to catch up with other websites in my space. My work suffered tremendously.
Then one of my mentors challenged me to completely disregard what others in my industry were saying and focus only on myself. “Time to lead, not follow”, he said.
And he was absolutely right. Implementing this idea was a huge step forward in improving my work and overall attitude toward blogging.
Blogging can be scary at first, and that’s fine. Just keep at it, follow these simple tips, and I promise it will be the best thing you do for your business this year.How To Grow Your Audience And Sell Online Courses By Blogging #teachonline Click To Tweet
Bryce Conway is the Founding Editor of 10xTravel.com and the Author of Takeoff: How to Travel the World for Next to Nothing. He writes about travel, personal finance, and lifestyle design for more than 20,000 monthly readers.