Social Media in 2019: 3 Tips to Stand out and Grow – Heather Heuman

Today’s guest is none other than Heather Heuman from Sweet Tea Social Marketing, and she’s here to try and boil down what has CHANGED in the world of blog social media marketing–and provide was some updated strategies that can bring you followers, traffic, and true fans in 2018, 2019, and beyond. Be sure to grab her Facebook Marketing Checklist here! #SweetFreebies

Social media is easy, right?

  • publish stuff
  • connect to Buffer, SmarterQueue, Hootsuite
  • automate sharing
  • clicks and traffic roll in

Only one problem…

That strategy was most effective years ago–when there was only a handful (comparatively speaking) of bloggers in any niche.

No longer.

Social media HAS to be utilized differently these days, if you’re seeking to amass a loyal and ginormous following.

Let’s dig into HOW to make that happen.

Listen to my episode with Heather from Sweet Tea Social Marketing

or listen on \\ iTunes \\ Stitcher \\ Google Play \\ Overcast \\ Spotify

Let’s break down some of the big takeaways from the episode:

1 – “Don’t Outsource the Voice of Your Brand”

And by “outsource,” I don’t just mean to another human being (VA, assistant, etc).

This also applies to any social media management or automation tool.

It is no longer enough to just plug your blog posts into these tools–and assume it will grow you a healthy and profitable following (and traffic).

Get it?

These “outsourced” social media interactions are NOT enough to be an influencer. (and in turn launch $100k products, land media features, get on podcasts, etc)

The answer? Use social media platforms the way they were intended to be used.

Facebook and Twitter were NOT meant to drive traffic to your blog.

In fact, most social channels are starting to crush organic reach–going “pay to play” by forcing you to use paid advertising for traffic/leads, etc.

Engage.

Have a real presence. As in “literally YOU typing out posts and sharing stuff.”

It’s 2018, and we can all see straight through “heavily-automated-only-sharing-this-for-clicks” content. You have to do more.

So what the heck does “more” mean?

This…

2 – the Answer To “Ok, so what do I DO” to Stand Out: Produce Content for the Platform.

Think about this.

The core purpose of Twitter was to have short and meaningful interactions with people.

Not just recycle content.

Facebook was originally built to quickly share with your “friends” what you’re up to (hence the words “status update.”)

Not just recycle content.

Instagram was built to share multi-media content without extended explanations and story.

Not just recycle content.

See a trend here?

Social media platforms do NOT have it in their best interest to drive people to your blog. It’s not in mission statements.

So what can you do? (aside from SmarterQueue-ing your blog posts over and over again).

Hop on the social channels and literally do what the platforms were built for.

  • Instagram = share images (doesn’t have to relate to your blog topic necessarily!) BUILDS A BRAND.
  • Facebook = create groups (encourage back-and-forth dialog that keeps people on Facebook) BUILD A COMMUNITY.
  • Twitter = follow people you care about (and engage w/ GIFs).

Pro Tip for Twitter: You don’t have to only follow people you care about. You can create separate Twitter “lists” to check-in on the people you want to engage with.

This might even mean creating content for a social media channel that DOES NOT include a link back to your blog!

*gasps

Remember, your goal is not to drive traffic.

“Driving traffic” is simply a strategy to get you closer to your real goals of $$$$$$$ or influence (or both).

If using social media in a non-driving-traffic way can also help you to those goals in some way–THAT’S how you should be spending your time on social media.

This advice also goes all the way to literally formatting your content for the specific channel.

Sometimes you can exactly re-purpose content from one channel to the next. Sometimes you can’t!

Even if this means “slightly changing” the content you share on Facebook so it’ll adapt well to LinkedIn–then do it.

This will help you stand out, simply due to the fact that so many dang bloggers AREN’T doing this. (or brands, either).

3 – Small Pro Tip: What Are Your Top-5 Authority Builders?

Let’s say you blog about parenting.

There are loads of parent bloggers on Twitter, Facebook, etc, and they all have their strengths.

However, there are likely some sub-topics (or sub-sub-topics) that YOU can speak on better than 99.5% of other parent bloggers. What are those?

Play to your strengths.

If you search through the Do You Even Blog Blog (snickers) archives, you’ll note than 100% of my Pinterest-related articles are other people talking about Pinterest.

Why?

It’s not one of my top-5 authority builders.

  1. Making money through digital products
  2. teaching people through technical content
  3. relationship building
  4. community building
  5. standing out by being more than slightly odd

These are some of the things I do better than other meta-bloggers.

What are your top 5?

Identify them and write them on a sticky note. Highlight these across your entire brand–including social channels (Facebook lives? Twitter conversations? etc)

Be honest. How much of your “social media activity” is 100% automated, and how much of your voice and authority is actually broadcast on any given week?

Let me know in the comments 🙂

*

Related reading for new bloggers: A Complete Blogging guide for your first 12 months.

social media marketing 2018 heather heuman
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A Quick & Dirty Guide to Podcast Editing – Steve Stewart

Today, veteran podcaster & producer Steve Stewart joins us to talk about every aspiring podcaster’s worst nightmare: EDITING AND PRODUCTION. Have no fear, we’re going to break this down into the bare essentials!

Let’s do the math on what YOU want:

  • blog traffic
  • email subs
  • revenues

Sweet, sweet online business revenues.

To GET revenues, you need trust & authority, both of which are benefits of podcasting!

Just one problem…

Podcast editing and post-production.

*shudders

Aka “the hard part” or “the time-consuming part” or “the part I’m most afraid of that is the SOLE reason I haven’t started a podcast.

We have arrived at the 2 goals of today’s post:

  1. Help you conquer that fear
  2. Provide you with EVERYTHING a beginner podcaster needs to know to produce a listenable podcast.

Steve’s recommendations rock.

Let’s dive in.

Here’s what we talk about:

  1. Mics
  2. Other ESSENTIAL gear (must-haves)
  3. Non-essential gear (nice-to-haves)
  4. Skype vs Zoom?
  5. What editing software should beginners use? (Audacity? Logic? Audition?)
  6. The 3 “must-know” audio engineering edits.

Listen to my episode with Podcast Guru Steve Stewart:

or listen on \\ iTunes \\ Stitcher \\ Google Play \\ Overcast \\ Spotify

First, forget editing. You MUST know this first…

“First, I have to say: It’s not about the tech.” – Steve

I second this notion.

Nothing can replace interesting & remarkable content. No amount of editing, expensive mics, or ANYTHING will make up for “meh” content.

Producing content that matters to people is 10x more important than anything else in this article.

Internalize that.

Essential Podcasting Gear

Here’s a little-known secret (not really): 80% of getting a great-sounding podcast has NOTHING to do with editing–it has to do with the recording itself.

A decent mic w/ proper use + a quiet room + the right recording software = editing is 10x easier.

That said, let’s explore some of the pre-production essentials:

Mics

Steve and I BOTH recommend starting w/ the ATR-2100 ($60-70 on Amazon)

atr 2100 podcast mic
My ATR 2100 has been my go-to 🙂
  • It has fantastic sound
  • The price is right
  • It’s insanely durable
  • Plug-n-play USB directly to your computer–OR XLR.

Beginner podcaster? 10-year vet? This is the ONLY essential mic I’m going to recommend. Period. Grab it.

How necessary is a pop filter or windscreen?

Pop filter = a circle-shaped mesh thing that serves two purposes:

  1. Cuts out sharp mic sounds, including harsh “p’s.” (called “plosives”)
  2. Helps you keep a proper distance away from the mic
what a pop filter looks like

Windscreen = foam things you put on the end of the podcast.

Serves a similar function to pop-filters, and can help cut out wind noise (if outside), breathing noises, and maybe even a “plosive” or two.

See that blue thing on my ATR-2100 above?

That’s a windscreen I got on Amazon (I got 8 of them for $6)

In my quest to making podcasting DEAD simple and quick, I do not use a pop filter. It’s hard to travel with and the benefits it gives over my cheap windscreen is TINY. It doesn’t matter to me.

You might want to grab a mic stand.

I’m qualifying a mic stand as “essential,” as the stands most of these mics come with are terrible.

A boom stand is fine–but annoying to work with. I use the $35 Gator stand, and LOVE IT.

Nothing takes that bad girl down.

Pro tip: Here’s how to position and angle the microphone:

Note: This assumes you’re using a dynamic mic like the ATR-2100, Heil PR40Shure SM48Shure SM7B, etc.

  1. Keep the mic 2-4 inches away from your mouth,
  2. Pointed at an angle,
  3. Never turning your head away from the mic while talking.

That’s it.

podcast mic position
My local coffee shop owner Mark demonstrating great mic position

If you were to shoot it like a gun, it should graze your mouth.

While recording interviews, you MUST wear headphones or earbuds.

If you don’t, the sound from your computer will bleed into the mic.

Any earbuds will do.

Though I’m loving the HECK out of my fancy ATH-50x, complete w/ Bluetooth attachment. (Same company that makes the ATR-2100 btw)

Other super-handy-but-non-essential podcasting gear:

Remember, these are the basics:

  1. decent mic w/ proper use
  2. quiet room

Once you have that, everything else only adds quality in small increments.

That said, here some ideas:

  • a mixer to have more control over what goes in the mic (I’m buying this one soon)
  • preamp (I got nothing here. I just know a few people use them)
  • sound barriers or “shields.” (these do a great job of absorbing sound).

You’ve probably seen foam sound panels on studio walls before–but they also sell desktop versions you can corner your mic with:

sound shields on amazon
these absorb sound, leading to a clean recording.

Let’s move on to software.

What software should you use to record podcast interviews?

First, if you’re just recording solo shows or voiceover intros/outros, etc–you can usually just record right in your editing software.

(Or using a digital recorder, like my Zoom H5)

For interviews, MOST people do 1 of 3 things:

  • Use Skype + an addon to record
  • Use Zoom (different company than the Zoom H5 mentioned above)
  • Use Zencastr

Skype = Use Ecamm Recorder if you’re a mac user. It’s what I use–cheap and easy. Windows? Check these recommendations out.

Zoom = A GREAT platform for video/meeting calls. Way better than Skype–but the recorded audio quality is NOT as high as Skype’s. If you’re just doing audio recordings, stick to Skype. Video? Zoom maybe.

Zencastr = Free and Paid versions available! A browser-based software for recording interviews. I’ve heard nothing but great stuff about them–but I much prefer cheaper alternatives.

ecamm on Skype
Ecamm in action on Skype

What software (DAW) should you use for podcast editing and post-production?

Psst. DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation.

Remember: Which platform you choose matters LESS than choosing one and sticking with it!

Here’s a quick review of the most common programs:

Audacity – 100% free. Ugly. Works great & is all you actually need.

Adobe Audition – 100% PAID. Pretty and updated often. Works great but costs too much IMO.

Garageband – 100% free. Mac only. Does not have great tools and doesn’t do much.

Logic Pro – 100% paid, but a one-time fee. It’s GarageBand on steroids, and what I use! It’s also geared towards music. I love it 🙂

Hindenberg – 100% paid, but a one-time fee. I’ve never used it before.

Reaper – Both free and paid, and the paid version is CHEAP. Ugly, but simple and it works!

“Ok that’s great, Pete. But which one should we use??”

It doesn’t matter. All of the ones above can get your podcast sounding decent.

  • If you’re looking to stay simple and free = use Audacity.
  • If you have the Adobe CC suite already = use Audition.
  • Wanna go paid, but starting small = try Reaper.

A beginner’s guide to podcast editing and mixing:

DYEB Tip: Your goal is not to be an NPR-sounding podcast. Your goal is to learn how to make your podcast “listenable,” then focus on improving the content itself. You can’t out-NPR NPR.

The 2 post-production “edits” a newbie podcaster needs to know:

  1. Noise reduction
  2. Loudness leveling

Nail these two things and your audio quality is already at 80%.

Here’s our objective:

AVOID really loud parts that hurt our listener’s ears–and AVOID really soft parts that they have trouble hearing.

We want to “level” that audio to make it more smooth: i.e. loud noises a bit softer, and soft noises a bit louder.

Before and after compression.

Image courtesy of Sound Quality Matters.

Just one problem…

If we don’t remove unwanted background noise–i.e. your air conditioner, police cars driving down your street, or the next room’s laundry running…

Any loudness leveler will BOOST that soft background noise (in an effort to smooth things out).

We don’t want that.

That’s why it’s important to work in order:

  1. Remove background noise
  2. Level audio.

1 – How to reduce background noise:

Bad news.

There are approximately 159 different ways to reduce background noise, and they’re often called something different in every DAW.

  • Expanders
  • Noise Reduction
  • Speech Enhancer
  • Noise Gates

These things can be found in almost every DAW out there. You don’t need a 3rd-party plugin or anything.

Below we’ll map out how to reduce noise in Audacity, but here are the best resources for other DAWs:

Using Audacity like a good beginning podcaster? Here’s how to remove background noise:

1 – find periods of silence in your recording (i.e. where the ONLY noise at that part is technically background noise.

2 – Drag your mouse across the file and select background noise

3 – click “noise reduction” under “Effect” menu item

4 – Leave the settings at the default levels (unless you know what you’re doing. You can learn this later), click “get noise profile.”

This is looking at the background noise “sample” you selected.

5 – Highlight the entire track (Important) by pressing CMD/CTRL + A to select all, or by clicking the track’s box.

6 – Go to “Effect” again and click “Repeat Noise Reduction.”

That’s it.

Will it be perfect? Nope.

Will it make a difference for now? Absolutely.

Here’s a video to help if you’re having trouble.

2 – How to adjust loudness to “level-out” your audio.

used to use all of these to adjust my levels:

2 fine-tuned compressors and a limiter. UGH.

I had to go through these 3 effects and fine-tune for every track, every situation, etc.

Now, I just use The Levelator.

Levelator is a 100% free download that allows you to simply drag-n-drop a .wav file onto it–and it levels the audio.

30% compressor, 30% limiter, 40% magic.

Here’s the process:

  1. Remove noise from your audio file FIRST.
  2. Export in .wav format (an uncompressed audio file. All DAWs can do this)
  3. drag that file onto Levelator
  4. Levelator spits back a new file in the same folder.

Despite the fact that this plugin looks old as heck–it still works really friggin well.

I have added this to my podcasting workflow, and the results have been fantastic (and time-saving).

levelator podcast
Old school and awesome

A slightly beefier but paid version: Auphonic.

I’ve never used this, but Steve said it’s great, and I’d trust Steve with my–podcast editing.

Pro Tip: Always record and export interviews on split tracks.

I.e. Your vocals are on a totally different audio file than your interviewees. This allows you to better isolate background noise, etc.

You can do this with about any recording software for Skype, Zoom, Zencastr, etc.

Last thing about podcast production in general:

“You just want to have it listenable.”

Think about the 80/20 rule.

What 20% of pre-recording setup and post-production editing can I do that will make up 80% of my show’s audio quality?

Here’s the precise answer to that:

  1. Grab an affordable dynamic mic (that helps cut background noise right off the bat)
  2. Record somewhere quiet (or use sound panels, etc)
  3. Remove background noise in post-production
  4. Level the audio in post-production

That’s it.

What hosting should I use for my podcast?

Here are Steve’s top recommendations:

1 – Libsyn

The industry leader for podcast hosting.

While their product seems to be great, I’ve never gone with them due to their pricing:

  • $5/mo = only 50mb of uploads a month (that’s not a ton if you podcast for more than an hour or two a month) and no statistics.
  • $15/mo = still only 250mb of uploads a month, and that’s more than I wanna pay.

See Podbean below for more on pricing.

2 – Blubrry

I worked with a client once who used Blubrry, and it was very straight-forward!

It also costs more for limited bandwidth.

3 – Podbean (what I use and recommend)

If I’m honest, the real reason I chose Podbean in the first place was that they had an unlimited upload plan at $110/year. That’s $9/month paid annually, $14 if you pay monthly.

But I don’t have to worry about podcasting too much (important given I prefer long-form content!).

I’ve been very happy w/ Podbean, and have no plans to switch anytime soon.

4 – Spreaker

I’ve never used them, and they’re a bit newer, but I hear great things.

The cool thing I hear is that they’re not just geared towards podcasting, but also live broadcasting, etc. Interesting stuff.

That’s really all a newbie podcaster might need to know. Want more? Here’s a free course:

This course is stupid simple–and covers the whole process (not just editing).

  1. Getting ideas for how you might stand out
  2. Connecting to iTunes, Spotify, etc
  3. Growing your audience in the first few weeks
  4. and more.

In fact, Steve Stewart actually has an entire course on editing (and more) that’s probably WAY more thorough than mine! Find it here.

podcast editing steve stewart 2
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July 2018 Monthly Blog Income Report – $9,663

README: Generally, I do NOT approve of many monthly blog income reports–they are often filled with affiliate links but LACKING practical and useful info for bloggers. That’s why I’ve vowed to share NOT ONLY revenues–but also expenses, wins, fails, and additional behind-the-scenes operations. Enjoy!

13 months after starting a blog with no existing audience–I made $9.6k in a month.

I must be super happy, right?

All bloggers who make a buck are happy and fulfilled, right?

I’m just that good and making money from a blog is easy, right?

Wrong.

July proved to be the most stressful, overwhelming, and confusing month of DYEB, and I’d like to explain why I think that is.

(Hint: It wasn’t just the fact that I launched Blogger U, which accounted for the bulk of my income and stress. )

However, let’s dig into numbers & strategies first.

Monthly Blog Income Breakdown – $9,662.85 Gross

Here’s the income statement for July:

Two interesting (and exciting!) things to note:

1 – The Blogger U launch obviously accounted for most of my income (from members who signed up with the up-front payment)

However, a great deal of the sales were payment plans, so only $50 of that was recognized in this amount 🙂

A recap of the pricing model (which I’m re-doing–more on that below):

  • $500 one-time payment, or
  • $50/mo for 12 months
blogger u sales
Forget money–sales validate effort too.
That’s monthly–after splitting Elite fees w/ Jillian AND accounting for affiliates

2 – Affiliate marketing income is growing!

No, it’s still not at lifestyle blogger levels, but it has been growing steadily for the past few months, and I’m stoked be growing the passive income side of the business (hahahahaha “passive” yeah right).

Want to learn how to start a blog–and monetize it?

I’ve written massive guides on both subjects–so I won’t cover this stuff in the income report.

You can find those guides here:

Speaking of Blogger U sales/launch…

Would you be interested in seeing a video breakdown of the product launch?

I wrote up a case study of my first product launch ever (that generated roughly $1,500), but that was 10 months ago now.

Comment below if you’d like to see another case study of this launch. I’ll make some slides and a video w/ the email sequences, strategies, etc.


Expense Breakdown – $593

Expect this number to GROW for the rest of 2018.

I’m planning on dropping some cash on contractors/freelancers and a part-time VA to leverage out some of my precious time.

We’ll talk more about that below in the “reinvestment” section.

Note 1: I’m extremely grateful right now for software programs w/ “free credit” affiliate programs like Tailwind and SmarterQueue. I have months of credits for SQ. Thankful for that at this early stage of the business.

Note 2: I’m seriously considering moving to Drip for email marketing–now that my email list has grown to the next pricing tier on ConvertKit.

The recent changes at ConvertKit have left me frustrated. I’ve seen one or two handy features (modal pop-up forms) disappear, and while I appreciate their new form designs, it’s still clunky and buggy.

That and Drip is AWESOME. So, I’m debating pulling the entire list over.

Last–credit card transaction fees suck.

That is all.


Monthly Blog Traffic, Podcast Downloads, and Email List Growth

To be honest, the growth of DYEB is still going slower than I’d like.

(#blogging right? It’s a normal feeling for all bloggers around the 6-18 month mark)

Here’s my traffic breakdown for July 2018:

july 2018 blog traffic
Still low honestly lol

And by source:

seo traffic blog 2018
Finally starting to catch good SEO waves!

A few interesting things here:

1 – Look Mom, I made over $1 per page view! ($1.10 gross revenue per page view)

This is a silly metric, and it isn’t sustainable with my current business model (which is changing though), but it’s still kinda fun.

In case you’re wondering, “gross revenue per email subscriber (3-month average)” is my #1 tracked metric. It’s what I care about the most.

That number was just below $4 for the past 3 months.

That’s LOW btw–mainly due to the fact that I only made $1.2k in June (dropped 1 freelance client and dropped everything to prep for the Blogger U launch).

2 – For the first time since DYEB was born, organic SEO is overtaking social media in terms of traffic source.

Pinterest and Twitter are still my top two referrers, but given I’ve all but killed my Pinterest efforts…this is welcome news.

See the “what worked” section below for a bit more insights here.

And what about podcast downloads?

Considering I only published 5 episodes (I usually publish 8), not too bad!

podcast downloads july 2018
Big Takeaway: How can I grow downloads??

On the scale of podcasts at the 13-month mark–this is LOW. Here are my thoughts on why:

  • I had no existing audience when I launched
  • Meta-Blogging is a tough niche still–especially since podcasting is such a brand-loyalty thing (shoutout to Pat and Darren)
  • I should publish more (and possibly shorter episodes)(?)
  • I’ve stretched myself thin w/ the podcast, the blog (SEO), freelance clients, and Blogger U, etc.

My big question for you: are these just excuses for me not knowing how to market a podcast and grow downloads?

🙂 Honestly asking. Drop me a comment.


What worked this month? What didn’t?

Ok, here’s where the income report gets juicy.

WIN = the Blogger U launch sequence.

If you’ve listened to more than 3 episodes of the podcast, you’d likely know that I do NOT like to spam people w/ emails.

I’ve publicly expressed my disapproval for email-intense product launches (especially those that contain emails from the product owner AND dozens of affiliates.).

Just one problem…

Product launches require a certain amount of communications. Period. There isn’t a way around sending more messages than usual.

However, I DID find a way around my hatred of spammy launches: Be proud of what you send.

I am DANG proud of my email sequence.

Aside from the fact that it made sales, I had fun creating the emails and did not feel bad at ALL with the number of emails I sent. (which was still less than other meta-blogger launches.)

I even had a few notes from readers/friends that reinforced what I hoped to be true:

Thanks Des. Hope you’re correct 😉
🙂 on the right track

FAIL – The affiliate portion of the Blogger U launch

I initially tried to line up several “big name” and “huge similar audience” affiliates for BU.

So I sent a few emails to the first 3-5 names (all of whom know me by the way. We’ve hung out offline. We’ve talked & have a relationship), and what happened?

They said no.

Here’s how those conversations went:

Me: “I have a product I believe in, it is WELL worth the price I’m asking, and it’s really awesome for your blogger-audience.”

Them: “Oh that’s awesome! But I’m already an affiliate for Elite Blog Academy, and that’s who I promote.”

Also them: “Oh that’s awesome! But I’m also releasing a blogging course in [123] months.”

Me: ….

After getting shot down by some key affiliates, I made a decision:

Blogger U would move to a student-only affiliate system (like Making Sense of Cents or Elite Blog Academy.) This would save me massive time prepping the affiliate launch, and also provide a few more benefits:

  • It limits promoters to those who have TAKEN courses in Blogger U
  • It adds exclusivity
  • This might even tempt some people to join Blogger U

Fast-forward to after the launch. Here’s why that was a mistake:

I confided a few issues about the launch to a trusted blogger friend, who sent me this:

Dangit. Truth bombs hitting me in the face

Reasons why my decision was dumb:

  • Students in Blogger U are still in their first few years and don’t have massive reach (yet).
  • I aimed to save time (which worked), but I didn’t even provide affiliates with proper information and assets to promote.
  • My network is my biggest asset, which was totally underutilized.

In my haste to ship product, launch, and make things easy for myself–I sacrificed a key strategy that probably could’ve resulted in a much bigger launch.

Lesson learned. I have a new strategy for affiliates going forward.

WIN: Organic SEO gains across the board.

While a great deal of May, June, and July was made up of NON-growth traffic activities (read: I spent 2.5 months straight on Blogger U), my SEO juice is growing.

This is due to a few factors:

  • I’ve continued to gain backlinks (most naturally, roughly 6-10 via outreach)
  • The site is as optimized as ever.
  • Age and authority are continuing to increase

2 recent changes to DYEB that have helped w/ site speed:

1 – I went all-in on image compression and automation.

I had been manually compressing images this entire time, and after trying 3 separate plugins, I finally landed on ShortPixel. It’s amazing, and I’m thinking about doing a full review post soon.

2 – DYEB is now utilizing a CDN (finally)

CDN = content delivery network.

I had tried to use Cloudflare before, but it had messed up my email DNS. I have since moved all DYEB over to a G Suite business account, so I went back to Cloudflare and all’s been great since 🙂

FAIL – I have over-committed across all areas of life.

My lineup currently looks like:

  • DYEB podcast (2x per week)
  • DYEB blog content (for SEO and fun)
  • Marketing & Outreach
  • Blogger U engagement
  • Blogger U content
  • Learning (I’m working through 2 advanced SEO courses and a funnels course)
  • THREE Freelance clients
  • Side Project (not shiny objective syndrome actually)
  • Life

That’s too much.

There are bloggers out there that can thrive with this many commitments. I am not one of them, and it has taken me a long time to discover this.

I used to think “lacking focus” was primarily due to chasing “shiny objects,” i.e. new opportunities.

I’ve since realized over-committing is also a huge part of that.

essentialism notes
A few notes from “Essentialism,” a book I read recently

Here’s one of my problems:

(Also, drop me a comment below and let me know I’m full of crap or justified)

I feel like I need to keep the freelancing clients, for two reasons:

  1. I need the money to feed my family. I don’t have a full-time job.
  2. I can imagine non-monetary benefits to DYEB, given the relationships I’m building.

Can you spot the issue?

Freelancing (and side projects, and anything else EXCEPT for DYEB growth tasks) are absolutely non-essential for my main goal: to grow Do You Even Blog in both impact and income.

Non-essential.

See the goals section below for what I’m doing about this.


How am I reinvesting blog income to grow the business?

A few days back I reached out on socs meds and wondered what you all might like to read on this income report.

The response?

Great Q

This question is rough for me. I am dependent on DYEB income to live. I still have 30k in debt to pay off.

And while I almost made 5-figures this month, I’ve still made less than $50k since DYEB’s inception 13 months ago. It’s a full-time job for me (a sole bread-winner for a family of FOUR).

Thus, the topic of reinvesting blog income is a bit tricky for me personally.

Here’s how I believe OTHER bloggers should reinvest their income:

It’s time for a simple flow chart:

BLOG INCOME reinvestment chart
Explanations below

Scenario 1 – You are dependent on your blog income to survive:

Use your best judgment on a percentage to save and reinvest, but only on low-risk investments such as

  • project-based virtual assistants or interns (i.e. NOT ongoing monthly costs)
  • blogging software products (Essentials like Drip, Tailwind, SmarterQueue)

These types of investments are straightforward, and the value you get in return is clear! These will absolutely bring some benefit and growth to your blog/business.

Invest in these activities without hesitation.

Scenario 2 – You aren’t dependent, but aren’t making much income yet (less than $200/mo):

I’m still heavy into personal finance, so I’m all for NOT changing your lifestyle for increased income–so I’m still recommending you save 100% of this blog income for reinvestment.

However, $200/mo is not quite enough to regularly poor cash into Facebook ad funnels. Not yet.

I’d suggest you:

  • reinvest in low-risk essentials (as above)
  • save monthly incomes in a separate bank account
  • reinvest in bigger marketing projects (giveaways? t-shirts? etc)

Scenario 3 – You aren’t dependent, and are regularly bringing in $200+/mo:

Invest everything as quickly as possible. Your goal is to leverage this money for growth as quickly as possible.

  • the software essentials (as above)
  • marketing projects (as above)
  • part-time or full-time virtual assistants or contract employees
  • Facebook or Google Ads
  • Paid PR opportunities, etc (paying other people to get you on other podcasts)

Ok, that said…

Here’s how I am personally reinvesting my blog income:

1 – I’m still paying for software essentials.

This is nothing new, as I’ve been paying for the BEST tools I can for a while now. Here’s my entire blogging tool lineup.

2 – I’m paying myself more so I can eliminate freelance clients.

This might not be “reinvestment” per se–but it’s a CRITICAL use of my cash right now.

I’ve spread myself thin, and need to back out of freelance projects when that opportunity comes (Side note: I’m committed to my freelance clients, and will be giving them more than a 2-month notice. I’m not one to simply quit them like it was a 9-5 corporate job).

3 – I HAVE to grow the DYEB team.

My honest opinion:

Full-time bloggers making money w/ no kids (who don’t struggle with focus) = hiring team members is an attractive way to create leverage.

Me = hiring team members is a MANDATORY way to create leverage, stay sane, and grow my business.

Paid ads are difficult in any niche, especially digital marketing, and ESPECIALLY with no evergreen product funnel (hint hint though).

That, and I

  • struggle with over-comitting & focus
  • want my time back
  • suck at long-term planning due to short-term execution overwhelm
  • really like working with other people

The decision has been made: hire people.

My rules for making your first blog hire:

I’m a hiring fanatic (this stems from several poor job decisions of my own!), and have VERY strong opinions on how bloggers should start leveraging their time through employees/freelancers:

Rule 1 – NEVER hire somebody outright with a long-term commitment, without giving them a trial period first.

Rule 2 – Do not hire quickly. Ever. Do your due diligence and vet. (hence the trial period).

Rule 3 – Do NOT hire people to literally speak for your brand, at least at first. (I.e. no ghostwriters to literally produce YOUR content)

Rule 4 – Always ask for referrals.

Rule 5 – Pay people very little for a trial period, and pay/reward them a TON if they turn out to be valuable.

Rule 6 – Leave as little room for error as possible with regards to your management! Put systems and training videos in place.


What will I do differently next time I launch Blogger U?

Here’s the deal on product launches:

They’re not “hard,” as there’s tons of info on how to run them. But they do require absurd amounts of work & planning if done properly, and that consumes time.

Long-term planning and time. Two things I suck at.

Things I don’t suck at it? Creating and selling helpful products and building relationships.

Solutions:

  1. Leverage time w/ non-essentials (through DYEB team) so I can spend more time on planning effectively.
  2. Do NOT set a launch date until I’m actually prepared to launch
  3. A secret-sauce affiliate strategy that I can’t share yet. (it’s experimental and different, and quite frankly I don’t wanna make it public yet. Sorry.)
  4. Make some parts of Blogger U evergreen, a la carte, and more accessible for both purchase and promotion (more on this when I reveal the affiliate strategy!)

Gotta leave it at that for now 😉


My goals for August & September:

Screw traffic, downloads, and the email list.

Both the long-term AND short-term growth of DYEB is dependent on me creating leverage immediately. This is a personal problem and personal revelation.

2 goals for the next 2 months:

  1. Make a complete a “quit list,” (Thanks, Elite BU Mastermind folks) to free up all non-essential commitments
  2. Make a SOLID first hire.

If I accomplish those two goals, I’ll be setting myself up for a very strong 4th quarter. A time period I am greatly looking forward to 🙂

Please drop me a comment below!

I’d love to hear from you on 3 things, specifically:

  1. Would you like a detailed case-study of this past BU launch?
  2. How to grow podcast downloads – am I just making excuses? (read that section above)
  3. How are you currently reinvesting blog income?
monthly blog income report july 2018
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