How to crank out content that drives massive traffic and fans – Sarah Peterson

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Sarah Peterson is one of my top 3 bloggers of all-time. Seriously.

She is a content marketing wizard who cranks out 10,000+ words a week for Unsettle.org and Sumo.com.

If you don’t know, Sumo provides tools for online entrepreneurs; their websites reach 1 out of 7 people on the planet every. single. month…and their biggest channel has been content marketing. And who helps them with content marketing?

Sarah does.

In addition to producing some of the world’s top content for bloggers and entrepreneurs (seriously), she is founder of Unsettle.org, where she helps others build the online business and life they dream of. Her writing on Unsettle is A+++++.

(note: If you’re pressed for time, check out the interview summaries and takeaways here, or listen to the last 15 mins of the episode. )

We dive into:

  • Sarah’s “smile box,” (you’ll just have to listen).
  • The secret to kickstarting your brain into content mode during the rare free time (spoiler: there’s no secret).
  • The incredible power of focus and how to limit interruptions.
  • Why you should NEVER PUT MINDLESS ADS ON YOUR BLOG.
  • and more 🙂

There are incredible takeaways in this interview, as Sarah is a brilliant content marketer. Enjoy.

Listen to my episode with Sarah Peterson

or listen on Apple Podcasts \\ Google Podcasts

Show notes and referenced links

Key takeaways from today’s episode with Sarah Peterson

Takeaway 1 – When you actually achieve the desired change in your life, remember it.

That sentence is a bit confusing, I know…but the point is simple:

You’re going to have bad days in life, no matter where you are. And remembering where you came from and what you’ve accomplished can be incredibly refreshing.

Have gratitude and be objective.

From Sarah…

“If your worst day NOW is better than your best day at the old thing you were doing…chances are you’re doing something right.”

It’s easy to get bogged down in day-to-day stress and frustrations as a blogger and entrepreneur, but for those of us committed to these types of projects, we can easily take a trip down memory lane to what life was like BEFORE we started doing this.

Chances are it wasn’t as fulfilling as life is now.

Takeaway #2 – Have a smiles folder 🙂 🙂

Tim Ferriss calls this the jar of awesome.

Keep ONE little spot to keep compliments, praise, awesome feedback, a love letter from a fan or family, etc….which can bring you moments of joy when you need it most.

Sarah has her “smiles folder” as a Gmail folder, but you could make a folder on your desktop, Dropbox, real-world filing folder, or a mason jar w/ bits of paper inside.

I’ve started doing this as well through screenshots, and it makes me sooooo happy to read about people who have enjoyed Do You Even Blog and get value out of my content.

It means the world to me, so collecting these little bits of joy is periodically revisiting is a great pick-me-up!

Takeaway #3 – DON’T chase rabbits.

Put simpler, don’t have “shiny object syndrome.”

We all try suffer from this. We choose a marketing strategy, a blog direction, a life direction…and we allow ourselves to get distracted and interrupted.

On a micro level, this can destroy productivity and disallow flow states. On a macro, it could make the different between long-term success and long-term frustration.

From Sarah:

No matter what strategy you’re trying out, commit to it and be consistent. People interrupt themselves too much. (Looking at YOU, cell phones…)

They constantly switch and ditch strategies because it didn’t work so well, they move to something new, etc…and repeat the process all over again.

Success and results come from consistency in every case.

We’ve all heard this advice before, but don’t we still struggle with it? I know I do.

Hopefully this takeaway can serve as a crucial reminder.

Also, there are tools and apps to help with this in the short run (see show notes above), but avoiding shiny object syndrome most definitely applies to long-term decision making and direction.

Sarah quit her podcast after 5-6 episodes because she quickly determined it wasn’t her strong suit. She initially launched it as a way to “be everywhere!” Fortunately, she had the foresight to quit early…saving her untold amounts of time working on something she wasn’t meant to do.

Don’t chase two rabbits, because you won’t catch either one.

Takeaway #4 (controversial) – Don’t serve ads on your website.

I KNOW a ton of personal finance bloggers serve Adsense, Adthrive, etc on their websites…and maybe it does make you a tiny bit of money…but…

I don’t think you should put mindless ads on your blog.

*gasps*

For one, you don’t even choose the ads displayed. A 3rd-party does. You have zero control over what is being promoted on your own website. Why would you do this?

Nobdy wants to click on those ads, or even see them. Do YOU want to click on those?

Then why do you stick them on your website?

These are the readers you want to read your content, share your content, buy info products from you, join the newsletter. You NEED their trust, and serving up meaningless ads will absolutely not build trust.

You are selling your readers attention, and for dirt cheap. Unless you have 2,000,000 views/month, it’s crappy money anyways.

If anything, go to companies or products directly, and work with them 1-on-1 to create an ad or sponsorship.

This way you have 100% control over the promoted products, and you can be sure it actually serves your audience in some way!

/endrant

What’d you think of this episode? Comment!

  • Want to argue with me on ads?
  • Share your blog URL so we can verify no ads on your site?
  • Say something nice? Some criticism?

Please comment below!

Table of Contents

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3 Responses

  1. I LOVE this episode GOING TO LISTEN AGAIN!!! So so good! Love the buzzsumo website. What really got me hooked was her reality. She was so real and down to earth. I know you used those terms too, but really. I feel like she was a real person that was relatable and really honest. I don’t know her obviously, but she felt honest. And true to what she was saying- not just saying it or blowing it up at all. Don’t chase rabbits, yes I do this. What IS a rabbit (*THAT IS SO HARD when you first start out- what am I supposed to follow??) Best take away was the fact that she focused on the fact that you just got to do it. There’s no magic pill that allows you to create good content. Its work. LOVED IT.

    Side note: What IS good content?
    As a new blogger, I can go to one article and think- SO BORING and the next person loves it. Likewise I can go somewhere and I am a scanner. So I write so others can scan and just get the point… but there seems to be a # of word minimum in the community- why? What helps you sort good content from bad content?

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