How To Set Up a Blog For Your Business — Practical & Strategic Tips From Expert John Paul Aguiar
I talked recently talked with John Paul Aguiar about why businesses need blogs, and how to set them up. John Paul is a blogger and entrepreneur, and has dedicated himself to helping other bloggers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners learn how to use blogging and social media smarter. His road to success started when he was twenty-five and needed a kidney transplant, and was told he would be put on disability. So, he was forced to look for other ways to make money that it wasn’t a nine to five job, and within eleven months, he was already making enough money that he was able to stop receiving his disability checks. John Paul took that success, and has used his marketing know-how to build a very popular and successful blog with a total following of over a hundred and ten thousand in less than two years, and in 2013, he was number six on Forbes magazine’s list of top fifty social media influencers. His approach to blogging and marketing is straightforward and simple no matter what your experience. John Paul brings a personal approach to the tips and advice he shares, with a touch of humor to make learning less stressful.
David Reimherr: Can you quickly just touch on exactly what a blog is, and how it’s different than blogging on other outside platforms?
John Paul Aguiar: A blog is basically a platform that you own where you create content, whether that’s a blog post, a video post. Whatever it is, it’s part of your website, you own it, nobody else owns it, so nobody can close it down, nobody can tell you what you can and can’t share, and it’s the best way and the best place to create content around your business that you can then share outside, share it on social media, share it to your email list, where then those people come back to your blog. And the goal of everything you do online, whether you’re on Twitter or Facebook, the goal is to get people back to your blog.
DR: And a distinction you made there is, it’s your site, on your site, you own that platform because there are so many things that happen out of your control. Facebook could change an algorithm, or Vine could shut down.
JA: Yeah, it’s insane. Vine, you know how many people I know that have ten thousand, twenty thousand Vines they’ve created, for what? It is gone. It is completely gone. And, not saying you shouldn’t have used Vine, but the goal should have been to — most of those people, most likely their goal was not to create a Vine and then send them back to their blog. Their goal was to create a Vine, get a little attention on Twitter, and that’s it. If you did that, then you just wasted all that time creating Vines that had no place, you weren’t sending people anywhere, for example, to a blog, to benefit outside of Vine. The people who just kept that content on Vine, now look. You have ten/fifteen thousand Vines that are gone and do nothing for you. So, all that content you created is gone, and you can’t recreate it. You can’t even take it and use it for other things. It’s gone. And the biggest thing is, you don’t control these platforms. Facebook, Facebook algorithm changes like weekly. One week you’re doing great, the week you’re not getting attention again. Then you’re doing great.
DR: It is better to own than rent. You have much more control. What are some other benefits one can expect by getting going with a blog, and why they should decide to see this as a good use of their time, energy, and/or money?
JA: When you create a blog post, especially if you have a business and you’re blogging for that business, whether you have products you sell or services you sell, a blog post should be looked at as a soft sell sales page. Every blog post you write that now goes out there, and for example gets ranked on Google, say it gets ranked on the top three on Google, that will be ranked there let’s say for six months. So now, that piece of content will be working for you for six months. If you treat each blog post like a soft sales pitch like you said, share your expertise, share how to fix a problem that your product fixes, or your service fixes or helps people with, talk about that in blog posts. But you don’t have to say that ‘my product fixes that’, you can just talk about your product, and people will get it. And if they read that and they read how your blog will help them fix a problem, they’re going to put two and two together. They’re going to connect the advice you gave them with, ‘Oh, this product will help that also.’ So, without physically saying that or straight selling in your face where you say ‘For this, this, and this, use my product,’ you don’t have to do that.
With a blog post you soft sell, you share information, you teach people. Whether you’re teaching people to use your service or product directly, or indirectly, but you by helping people, if your product is a social media management tool or whatever, when that person at some point wants to buy a social media management tool, if they’ve been reading your blog posts for the last two or three months about all around social media management, whether tips, advice, tutorials, and even other tools to use besides your own, when they’re ready to buy that product, most likely they’re going to buy yours, because they’ve read your great content, they like the advice you give, they like that you’re not so much in their face, you continue to create blog posts, you’re always in front of that person, you’re always at the forefront, so when they think of social media management tools, you’re one of the top ones they think about, and if your content’s been helpful for the last so many months and all those things, they’ll buy your product, even though you never said ‘buy my product, I’m better than x y z,’ or whatever.
DR: It’s just a really beautiful way to market yourself. It feels right, you feel like you’re doing something nice, but then you get the residual benefit of sales, and that’s just the winning formula. Now, what about like choosing a URL? I see sometimes people do blog.johnpaul.com versus a johnpaul.com/blog. Can you talk a little bit about that and point people in the best direction if they’re just getting going right now?
JA: If you already have a domain, and you have a website for your business and you would like to add a blog to that, the beauty is, if you have a newer theme — if you use let’s say a WordPress theme, if you’re on WordPress, then you already have the ability to add a blog. The best way to add a blog is to add the subfolder, which means it would be johnpaulaguiar.com/blog. The benefit of that is it’s technically looked at as just another page kind of. It’s a subfolder on your main URL, but it’s looked at like another page on your website, so everything you do for that blog will benefit the home URL and vice versa. Everything you do, whether it’s promotion branding, backlinking you do to the home page URL, will benefit the blog. They work together. So, if your website’s say been there for ten years, and you have huge authority, adding a blog in this way by doing it as a subfolder, which is /blog instead of the blog.johnpaulaguiar, which is technically a subdomain, which means it’s a separate entity, a separate platform almost, that’s the wrong way to do it.
You want to add a subfolder, the /blog, because if your site’s been around for ten years, you have huge authority, and now you decide ‘I want to put a blog,’ that authority you built for ten years will automatically bypass and go right to your blog, so when you write content on that blog, you will get content ranked better and faster, because technically the blog is kind of looked at as just another page on the main URL. So, that’s the benefit.
DR: So basically, a good analogy is to think that the rising tide helps all the ships in the harbor, and if you have the blog tied to your site, all the benefits that you’re getting for the blog are going to raise your entire site.
JA: What I would recommend not doing is having a website for business, and going the really easy, cheap way, and go to like wordpress.com and set up a free blog, and then just put a URL on their main site that sends you to a platform that they don’t even own. Don’t do that. You don’t own that, and you’re taking the traffic and attention away from your site and sending it to your blog that is on a free platform, whether it’s wordpress.com or any other of these free services. I see a lot of people doing that, because they want to add a blog, they don’t know how, it’s an easy way to do it, and they think, ‘Oh, no big deal, I’ll just get a wordpress.com blog set up there, I’ll connect it with just one link on my navigation bar, which says hey, go read my blog,’ where you’re basically now taking them from your website to somebody else’s website.
DR: I would like for you to dig into some key — assuming you set it up right, that’s obviously very important to set it up, get the domain correct. So, you get that done. So now, other on page elements within that particular blog page, I would like for you to dig into some key on page elements, that are necessary to have to make sure that everything is a hundred percent optimized and set up correctly. Can you get a few key pointers there?
JA: Once you have the blog set up, the branding will match, the look and feel will match, the themes, all that set up, a design that should be done because it’ll move from the main website to the blog- so that’s done, but the elements depending on your goal with the blog is, you want to focus on above the fold, and above the fold means, when you get to a website, what you see from the bottom of your screen to the top without any scrolling, that is above the fold. That is the most important part of a website. So, you want to hit people with the most important parts of what you are, your plan with your blog, whether it’s an email list, whether it’s showing a picture of yourself with a buyer to it more personal. For me, I would have an opt-in box at the very top, because you have to build an email list from day one. I don’t care if you start your blog today, it doesn’t matter. Start building your email list from day one, have an opt-in box. Give something away. I don’t care what it is. Something tied to what your business or service is, give away something free, whether it be an e-book, a white paper, a small little five-minute video series. Whatever it is that’s helpful, but targeted one hundred percent to what you’re doing on your main website, get people’s emails.
So, that should be right above the fold. That should be in the header. I would put it at the top. On the side, I would make it personal. If you are a one man show and you own your business, and you want to put your face to it, put your face on the blog and make it personal. People like that, they want to know who’s running the blog, who writing the content. Put a bio, put a picture, put a quick little three or four lines, who you are, what the blog is about, link them back to your about me page if they want to read the full bio, but make it personal. That’s the number one thing. Text wise, I would go with a bigger font. I like using a bigger font on my blog, makes it easier for people to read. I like to do about a fourteen or fifteen point, simple font- nothing fancy, and makes it easy to read on small screens. And the easier you can make things for people to read and to share, the better because you don’t want them to have to work too hard. You know how many times I go to share somebody’s blog post and their share buttons are a mess? They don’t work, and it takes you five minutes just to take the content, put it together because I want to share it on Twitter for you. When you make it that much work, they’re not going to do it.
So, you want to make things very simple. Simple to opt-in, simple to comment, simple to share.
If readers like the post, that’s when you hit them with, ‘Hey, don’t forget to share it on social media for me.’ Then they’ll do that. And then you want it to scroll, and then if you have it at the top and you have a thousand-word blog post, one scroll, those icons are gone. So, by the time I get to the bottom of the blog post, there are no social media buttons. I’m going to have to scroll all the way back to the top of the blog post and click those buttons. Again, you want to make things very simple. You want the site to be laid out simply. You want to share what’s most important. What’s important to you? If it’s important to you to build an email list, then that should be front and center when people land on your blog because that’s your call to action, that’s your main goal.
If it’s to build your brand, then you want your logo, you want your image of you. All that branding that matches your social media branding with a Twitter header, & Facebook, you want it to all be on the blog. That’s what you want to do on the sidebar. If you have a service or product, I would do the bio with an image. I would also have related blog posts because again, you want to try and keep them on your blog as long as you can. So, if they read one piece, you try and get them to read another piece. The longer they’re there, the better chance you have of getting them to buy something, or to get on your email list, or even to share something on social media. So, I would do that, and I would have one banner, one banner about your service, very simple. That way, as they read the blog posts, they see the banner, and they can go learn more about what’s on the home page, whether it’s a product, or service, or whatever your business is about. That way it’s there, but it’s not like in your face. The blog is not about pushing the product or service, but it’s there if they want it. It’s really about you sharing content cleanly.
Have a layout. I like to do a big image, a little bit of text so they know what each blog post is about before they read it, and keep it clean. And try to keep about ten/fifteen blog posts on your blog, on the list, that way it’s not overwhelming. And now it is content, it is an opt-in box, personality, the image of you, your bio, and that’s really what you want people to see when they get to your blog.
DR: And you mentioned the floating left icon for the Twitter. What’s your favorite plugin that you’ve used for that?
JA: Right now, I use Digg Digg. I’ve been using Digg Digg for a while. Digg Digg gives you the ability to float it on the left. So, there’s the Buffer team, Buffer owns Digg Digg, but if you type in Digg Digg you’ll see it, and that gives you the ability to manually place buttons, add them at the bottom, and float them on the left side like I do. And then it gives you the ability to customize the padding. So, you want the buttons to be close to the text on the left side aligned to the content, but you don’t want to be right on top of the text where it makes it hard for people to read. And it gives you the ability to float that, so it pushes it out a little bit. You can customize it to make it look really nice and fit your website nicely. But Social Warfare I think it’s called, they do really nice buttons. The problem with Digg Digg, great service, but their buttons are all the old-school buttons. But if you want something more modern, clean look, Social Warfare does really nice buttons. And they have the Twitter account — because you know how some services have lost the Twitter account, they have a Twitter account. So, when you get tweets, it will show the number.
DR: Just to clarify, when you’re on Google, when you’re searching anything, it’s like that two to three-line sentence underneath it. So, John Paul’s saying hey, this blog is about x y z, and just write something compelling in the amount of space that you have, so you might need to work on it a little bit, but basically just tell people what it’s about, and that’s the human aspect of it.
JA: Be descriptive. Yes. Put your keywords in front of that description, the closer to the front the better the SEO. You want to be within the first five words, and then be descriptive. And you have about a hundred and sixty characters that Google shows, and same with your title tag, whether it’s for the home page, a blog post, if you’re doing a blog post, then you want that keyword as close to the front of that title as possible, because if it’s at the end of the title, somebody that has the exact same set up, the exact same blog post, SEO exactly the same way, title tag, but their keyword in that blog post is at the front, and yours is at the back, they’ll outrank you, even though everything else is one hundred percent the same, because that title keyword is to the front. So, try to get it to the front. Sometimes it’s a little hard to do that, because of some keywords, it’s hard to put them in the front of a sentence, but that’s what you want to do. So, whether it’s a blog post, a home page, title tags, and description, put the keywords in the front, be descriptive in a blog post, tell people why they should read it. Basically, why should I read your blog post?
If you’re doing five tips, then say give five tips on why you should think about SEO when you write a blog post, but be descriptive. You want to get people’s attention. If you’re in the top three of a Google keyword, you’re going to get attention regardless, but if you’re not, then the other way to get attention is having a great title, descriptive, creative, attention-grabbing, they call it link bait, and then your description should be just as good, and forces me to want to reveal your post over the three or four that are around you on page one.
DR: What are some of the most common on page blunders you see people make?
JA: Do the web site — and I did this in the beginning too, because I think when people start a blog, they think if five is good, ten will be better, and it’s not true. You want to keep it about the content. Like that one banner on the site, I see a lot of people putting way too many banners all over the place, whether it’s Google banners or banners of affiliate products. You want to keep the noise to a minimum, you want people to focus on your content and your email opt-in. That’s it because that’s what you’re trying to get people to do. Especially if you’re using the blog as part of your main website, and your goal is to get them to read your content — because, again, those blog posts are many soft sell sales pages. So, they’re going to do more for you than having a banner in somebody’s face, because if you write your blog post correctly, those are sales pages. So, focus on that. I know a lot of business don’t grab email from the beginning, and that’s a huge mistake because I don’t care how big you think social media is, email marketing is probably the biggest thing that will run your business today, tomorrow, five years from now.
Email’s not going anywhere, so you need to build your email list, and I see a lot of people that don’t do that.
And the branding, make sure it looks nice, man. It’s sad to say, but if your site looks like shit, people are going to leave. I don’t care how great your content is, if it’s designed shitty, the colors are horrible, it’s not well laid out, people are not even going to read the content. And your content may be amazing, but it doesn’t matter. This is the world we live in. It’s got to look good. You see that every day. I see products being sold for thousands of dollars with the ugliest sales page, but yet they still sell it. You can’t have an ugly site. You have a beautiful sales page, or a beautiful blog, cleanly laid out, and it doesn’t have to be like amazing colors and super designs, just simple. Keep it clean, match the branding colors to your website, and focus on content first. Make sure when somebody lands on your site, I see blog posts, and opt-in boxes, that’s your main goal, but content, you want it to be simple and clean.
DR: Now, we touched on this a bit, but just to clarify, you do see people get this wrong as far as the content that they’re pushing out. Just dig into that. Should companies be writing about themselves at all? A lot of times when blogs first started, it was a way to basically put out a press release, or to make an announcement and do stuff like. Obviously, the trend has turned to being helpful and educational, not talking about yourself, but just to clarify, should you ever put something and talk about yourself, or your product or services on your blog? Or should it pretty much ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, or a hundred percent of the time, be helpful information.
JA: No, I think a mix is the best. Because again, at the end of the day, it’s still a blog about your business. You want news updates, you want content that’s helpful, you want to share updates, business updates, company updates. If you have a new product coming out, you want to talk about that. If you have an update to a product, you can even do a blog post about your product and how other people are using it to fix a problem. So, if your problem is one and two, share how other people are using your products to fix one and two. So, you’re not really talking about your product, you’re kind of talking about fixing the problem, and you’re just showing how ‘John is using our product to fix that problem’. You’re not saying, ‘Hey, we’re the only solution,’ we’re just saying ‘This is how John is using our product to fix it.’ Or give ideas, because sometimes you have a product or a service, and people don’t really see the benefit fully of how they can use it. They maybe see ‘I can use it one or two ways,’ but they don’t see the other six ways they can use your product or service.
Do a blog post and share that. Give people ideas on how they can use your products, so if they do buy it, they gain the most from that product that they can, instead of ‘I’m going to buy it for a hundred bucks, and I only know that I can use it for this one thing.’ But in reality, I could be using it for six other things. Now that makes my hundred dollars feel pretty good because I’m using it for so many other things. So, you can do blog posts about that. So, I think it is a mix. Company updates, have some fun with it. You guys go on a company retreat or something, share that. Share something personal. Make sure that people know you’re a real company, you’re real people. Share that. If you do an event, record that event. Take pictures. If you have more than one employee, have them share content if you guys go to an event. Again, take images, do a blog post, something personal. So, I think you need a mix of everything, because you need the personal side to show that you’re a real, normal company, approachable, trusting, because if people see you having fun with your workers, and you as the owner of the company, I think that automatically makes you more trusting, because you just seem like a normal guy.
Do content, company updates, product updates, new services, highlight some of your customers. Like I said, highlight a customer. ‘How John’s using my product to fix this and this,’ and then still do the helpful content. I think you need a mix of everything.
DR: Now, when you say ‘everything’, a lot of times on social platforms, the standard strategy is to not just share your own stuff, but do aggregate posts like on your Facebook page, Twitter feed, and all that stuff. Should any of that go on your blog? Any other people’s content?
JA: I wouldn’t do a lot of other people’s stuff. If you take somebody else’s content, like an infographic, add your two cents and share that person. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s not your direct competition.
DR: Now, we kind of moved over a little bit to strategy, strategic off page elements a little bit in the sense that, not necessarily like on page do this, put this button here, we’re talking about like strategy now a little bit. So, I’d like to kind of go down that path a little bit further. Can you talk about some other strategic elements that one must consider to make sure we’re going down the right path, be it the voice, or sharing at different times of the day, that kind of stuff? Can you talk a little bit about some other good advice once you have everything set up?
JA: If you have a blog, when you create the blog, you really have to have a plan of why you have the blog. Because having a blog and not having a plan, you’ll never use it, and you won’t use it to its full potential if you don’t really know why you’re using it. If your goal is to share content, or share how your product or service can be used, then do that. But know the people you’re going to write for. You know your customers already, so know who you’re going to write for, and there’s really no way to write the content, I think you just write it the way you write it, because then people will read that, and they’ll like the way you write. People will either love the way you deliver your content, or they’ll hate it. So, you really need to have a plan, and just write it. Try to bring some personality to it, whether you have a business or not. Try to have some personality, and write in a way that other people don’t write, because my biggest success has writing differently. Not that I’m sharing mind-blowing advice, but I’m sharing it in a different way that may be easier for people to understand, maybe with some comedy, whatever it is. I add personality into my blog posts.
The problem with having a blog is, you need to understand, nowadays, having a successful blog, writing the content is the easy part. It’s the promotion that’s more important than the content because you can write the best piece of content, the nicest blog post that is super helpful and explains your product, everything is a hundred percent, but if you do no promotion, nobody will read it, it won’t matter. I would rather you write a good blog post. not a masterpiece, but then learn how to promote it correctly, because you’ll get more from that. More people will read it, more people will share it, that will bring in more leads, possibly more customers. So, know that when you write the blog post, that’s the first easy step. Learn how to promote it on social media. I share it on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day. I share my content about three times. If I do a new blog post, I share it three to four times that day, about four to five hours separated. Because not everybody’s on Twitter at nine in the morning, not everybody’s on Twitter at lunch time, and a lot of people are on Twitter and on social media after ten o’clock, because the kids are away, the kids are to bed, they’re relaxing after work. A lot of people are on social media at night. So, learn to share your content throughout the day, and watch when it does well.
If you notice that, ‘Wow, every time I share my blog post at four o’clock,’ then make sure you share your blog post at four o’clock or very close to that every day because you’ve noticed that any time you share at four o’clock, it gets a lot of traction. You want to look at metrics. I’m not a big analytics guy because I think the problem is you get caught up on the analytics, and then it kind of hurts you producing more content. So, you want to kind of look at your analytics, look at the metrics, and say, ‘Hey, is my blog post getting better? Each blog post I do, are they getting more shares? Are we getting more opt-ins? Do I notice every time I do a blog post my opt-ins go up?’ If no, then something’s wrong. Either your content’s not connecting with people, or you’re sharing it incorrectly. If it’s going up, keep doing what you’re doing because you know it’s working. You’re getting more people coming to the site, you’re getting more social shares, you’re getting more opt-ins each time you do a blog post. I wouldn’t get crazy with analytics, because like I said, then you get caught up with that in the beginning, and you really just want to share content, create content, and not get too caught up with the numbers. But there are certain things you should look at to make sure that you’re on pace, and you’re doing things, and things are going up, and the blog is working for you.
And I said, when you create content, what we talked about before with the keywords and everything, for me, I don’t write any piece of content without a keyword in it because it makes no sense not to. It’s harder to write a piece of content or blog post that people love to read and share, but also won’t get ranked in Google. It’s hard to do, but if you do it, it takes a little more effort, but you’ll benefit because you can get a blog post that is ranking for you today and is ranking for you, say, for the next twelve months. If it’s on page one, that blog post continues to work for you for the next twelve months, because you added a keyword, you did the backlinking for it. So, for me, I don’t write any piece of content without a keyword. Even if it’s only a small one, even if it’s only a hundred volume, I don’t care. There’s always a keyword in it because I know for only a little bit of extra work, I potentially benefit for years possibly that that piece of content will rank and bring me traffic day in day and day out, even though I already forgot about that blog post. This blog post I have bringing me traffic, I don’t even remember writing, because it was three years ago. Yet, it still brings me traffic, so that’s the main thing, is make sure you try and get some keywords into your content.
Have a goal, know why you have a blog, learn to create the content that people like, a mix of what we talked about before, a little bit of everything, and check your stats, make sure things are going the right way, but don’t get too crazy with them because it’ll become a negative. If you focus too much on the stats, what happens is, people start saying ‘I’m not inattention, my blog is not getting shares,’ but in reality, if you’re not getting shares, you’re still driving traffic. When I tweet something, sometimes it will get let’s say two retweets, but in reality, if it’s a video for a SlideShare like the other say I shared it, it got only two retweets, but I got a hundred and fifty views on SlideShare. A hundred and fifty people watched it, but I only got two retweets. So, if you get too caught up on some of the stats, you start to forget some of the other stuff. You’re still benefitting, you’re still building your brand.
DR: And what are some other strategy execution misconceptions people might have?
JA: I think unless you’re a tech blog, if you’re just a business and you have a blog to go with that business, then two posts a week is more than enough. Even one post a week if you’ve been blogging for a while. But I think two posts a week is enough, because for me when I do a blog post, that blog post gets attention for about three days. I get shares the first day, I get a good amount of shares the second day, by the third day things start to slow down. By the fourth day, it’s the perfect time to hit it with another blog post. That way your traffic and attention is coming in steadily. So, just as one blog post is slowly losing attention, you do another blog post, and that will keep you rolling with traffic throughout the week. So, two a week is more than enough. If you’ve been here a while, and you’ve been blogging a while, and your blog gets a lot of attention, then you can get away with one blog post a week, if time is an issue because of all the work you have to do on the back end to promote a blog. It’s not just ‘write a piece, put it out there, and think everybody’s going to come’. It’s more work on the backend that people don’t see. For example, I did a blog post and I have five hundred retweets, yeah that’s great, but what you didn’t see is all the work it took me in the backend to get people to see that blog post, to get the five hundred retweets so. So, two a week is good, and I think most people can handle that, and then long and short, you want to mix.
I know people say ‘do long content’. I don’t believe long content will outrank short content. I think good content is good content. For me, I say what I have to say and I get out. If it takes me five hundred words to share something and be helpful, then I use my five hundred words and I get out. If it takes me two thousand words to say the same thing, and be just as helpful, then I’ll use two thousand words. So, for me, I hate reading blog posts that I learned something, but I could have learned it in three-quarters of the content or half of the content. I didn’t have to read a thousand word, I could have learned that in five hundred. So, say what you have to say and get out, whether that’s five hundred words, whether that’s three thousand words. Whatever it is, I think a mix is best, and if you create it correctly you, you keyword it correctly, a short piece will outrank a long piece. And you see that every day. When I’m chasing keywords, every day I see that. I see smaller blog posts beating out these huge pieces of content, because if you write a long piece of content, a long blog post, and you don’t SEO it up correctly, you don’t add your keywords correctly, then that won’t outrank a short content, short post, five hundred words, or seven-fifty, that’s created correctly, keyword rich, and has keywords in the title and everything is correct. That would beat a long post content.
And not everybody has time to read three thousand words on your blog, so you want people to come in, sometimes you need the three thousand or two thousand words, that’s fine, sometimes you can do the same thing with five, then do it with five and get out.
DR: Can you let us know what else is in your deck here, your marketing deck, as far as the tools that you have seen work the very best for you, and anything tied to the blog as far as the different tools you use?
JA: I use Hootsuite. I schedule all my blog posts, and for the people who hate scheduling, it’s insane, because if you try to grow a blog, and try to manually share content throughout the day that you need to on social media, it ain’t gonna happen. You have to schedule things. And there’s nothing wrong with scheduling. People don’t care. Your followers really don’t care where the blog post came from. They don’t care if you manually were at the computer sharing it on Twitter, or if it came from Hootsuite and was scheduled out earlier. They don’t give a shit. What they do care is when that piece of content goes out on social media, are you available, or are you just a bot sharing content out and you’re not even around to engage with that content? That’s what they care about. They don’t care that it came from Hootsuite, what they do care is that once it goes out and they have a question, or they retweet it, you thank them, or you answer their question within five or ten minutes, or whatever it is. That’s what they care about, so you have to schedule your content, and Hootsuite for me is great. Buffer is another tool. I use Buffer a little bit, but without Hootsuite, I’d probably be lost on sharing content every day. I’ve been using that for so long.
As far as keywords, I like Google Keyword Planner. It’s changed a little bit, it’s still useful. I also like Wordtracker. Wordtracker works really well, and I’m looking for long tail keywords, which, I think everybody should, I use HitTail. HitTail is a great tool. I’ve been using that for a few years, and that takes you to the long tail, and the difference is a regular keyword might be two words, ‘blog advice’, and then a long tail would be ‘blog advice for beginners in 2016’. So, that’s the difference between a long and short. As far as Twitter management, and growing my following, and finding the right people, I use Audiense. It used to be Social Grown a couple years ago, its Audiense now. Great tool for managing Twitter, and finding the right people and content you want to share, too. If I’m creating images, I use Canva. I have no design skills. I can create it in Word, and then I give it to a designer to make it for me, but with Canva, I look like a pro. It’s a great tool, free, and then as far as hashtags on Twitter, I like Hashtagify. Because if you’re using Twitter, you really should use hashtags.
My recommendation is no more than two per Tweet because then it gets messy. One to two hashtags, you should use them, there’s a benefit, and it’s one of those things, you don’t know it’s working, but it’s working. You can’t really prove content gets seen more with hashtags, but you know it does, so you should use hashtags, and Hashtagify is a great tool for that, finding hashtags you didn’t even know existed. Those are my main tools I use right now, man.
DR: Any parting thoughts in regards to when people should see a return on their efforts or anything else you’d like to share before I have to let you go?
JA: You can’t put a time limit on any of this. A blog is a blog. I can start a blog today, and it’ll take me twelve months to get attention. You could start a blog tomorrow, and it takes you six months to get attention. Really, I don’t put a time on anything. You just need to do it. At the end of the day, having a blog, creating content, and sharing that across social media will help you in so many ways, that if you didn’t do it, it would never help you. So, it’s not one of those things I’m going to say, ‘Hey, six months of me doing this.’ That’s not gonna happen. But I guarantee you if you don’t do it, nothing’s going to happen. But if you do do it, you’re going to get more email offers, you’re going to get more leads for your business, you’re going to make more sales, and you’re going to grow your brand, and get connections, and build relationships with people that you normally wouldn’t do if you didn’t have content. And in social media, you need content, and that’s why the other thing is, you need a blog, because if you didn’t have a blog, and you weren’t creating content, where would you get the content that you need to share? So, to be on social media and do well, you need to concentrate on content, so that’s why you need a blog. You need a place to create that content and then share it.
DR: How can people go about that?
JA: The best way is if they have any questions, I offer a thirty-minute free call. We get on Skype, we talk one on one, answer any questions you have. That’s probably the best thing, if somebody doesn’t have a blog, doesn’t know what to do, if somebody has an idea for a blog, or wants to brainstorm, we can do that too. So, they can find me at 30withjohnpaul.com, and then just sign up for the free call, and then we’ll schedule it, and then we’ll jump on Skype together.
DR: And your Twitter handle?
John Paul is an Internet Entrepreneur, Social Media Consultant, and Experienced Online Marketer. He shares easy to understand ideas and tips and how to’s that are easy to put to work growing a blog into a business by using Social Media and Marketing. His blog, the Money Dummy, will help you learn is everything you need to know to start a blog and finally make money with that blog.
I am also the author of the Twitter Dummy Guide — Teaching how to Build a Large and Strong Twitter Community.