The Secret to Make Your Audience Love You

Do you crave a deep and genuine connection with your audience? We all want to be a trusted resource for our blog readers so they come back time and time again, purchase our products and services, and become advocates of our brand. The problem is that many times we miss that mark and many of us attribute that to inner failures, whether it’s not having model looks, a star’s personality, or enough to invest in our online endeavors.

Over the years of blogging, I tried so many different things to attract and keep an audience around. But it didn’t feel like I was doing that well at it. In fact, I thought a lot of my readers just didn’t like me. I thought I wasn’t pretty enough or had an attractive enough personality or didn’t have enough time or money to invest in myself to get to the right audience. Ultimately, I thought it was all internal failures I couldn’t fix and that the problem was intrinsic to being, well, me!

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Why I Moved to

Rebranding your blog is a huge endeavor you shouldn’t take lightly! I’ve just launched two new sites, rebranded from Bear & Beagle Creative. If you’ve ended up here from Bear & Beagle Creative, you might be in the right place—or you might not!

It all has to do with speaking to the right audience’s needs at the right place. And that’s why if you’re considering a rebrand, you need to read this! The short of it? Don’t try to talk to two different audiences with completely different needs at the same place. It’s just not productive.

Read more “Why I Moved to”

Reporting to Marketers after a Sponsored Post

You’ve been hired to do a sponsored post. Congrats! But now what should you do after (and before) you publish the post to best serve your new clients? Today I’m talking all about how to best work with marketers for sponsored posts.

It takes a bit of preparation before hand to do a sponsored post well. In fact, it’s almost always more work than just any other regular post. Watch this week’s vlog to find out how you can be a better blogger, work great with marketers, and score even more sponsored posts.

What to do After a Sponsored Post

Today I’m talking about what kinds of statistics to share with marketers who hired you to do promotional posts.

This week’s question comes from my gal pal Susannah over at Feast & West. Thanks Susannah!

She recently did a promotional post, or native ad, with a juice company and wrote to me asking about what to do after the post is published to report back to the company that hired her. She asked:

  • What kinds of stats should I be sending brands after I collaborate with them?
  • What’s the best way to present them?
  • How long after the post?

Why Bloggers Must Charge for Sponsored Content

Before we dive into stats for sponsored posts, I want to underline that bloggers should always charge for sponsored content. Sure, you could write posts in exchange for product and many bloggers do this. Keep in mind that marketers are asking you to provide a service for their clients. It’s work and you absolutely deserve to get paid for it!

Now that I’m off my bloggers should charge soapbox, let’s talk about what kinds of stats marketers are looking for.

What Marketers Want from Bloggers

The first thing to know is the purpose of the campaign. Marketers seek sponsored content for a number of reasons. It might be:

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Building brand aesthetic
  • Increased sales
  • Or something else

Generally, marketers are hired by companies to increase sales, no matter what path they choose to get to that point. Always keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to produce a lift, or what those in the business call increased sales. Since I’m in Arkansas where Walmart is headquartered, I’ve worked with a number of national brands doing these kinds of campaigns.

Keeping that in mind, it will dictate what kind of stats you hand back in after the post is published. Be sure to ask what the goal of the campaign is before signing on and it’ll help dictate your content so you can perform better for them!

What to do after a sponsored blog post and how to report back to marketers who hired you from @bearandbeagleWhat Kinds of Statistics Marketers Want from Bloggers

I’ve created a short little worksheet gives you a list of all the stats you should send to marketers. Just put in your email and it’ll arrive in your inbox so you can refer to it as many times as you like.

Grab the Worksheet

How to Present Stats After a Sponsored Post

Marketers are busy people who have to sort through tons of information, synthesize it together, and make sense of it for their clients to tell the story the client wants to hear. So what can you do to help them?

Instead of just sending the stats along, provide a short narrative of no longer than about 200 words on how your post went, what the stats can say about the product, and any recommendations on what marketers can change for the future for the campaign to be more effective.

When to Report to Marketers After a Sponsored Post

Generally, marketers have a timeline they want to stick to so finding out this information ahead of time is important. It’s also important to understand what’s expected of you for the campaign.

  • How many times will you promote it on social media after publication?
  • How long after the post is published will you still be working on getting traffic to the post?
  • How long is the marketer running the campaign?

Basically, think about the projected life of the post and report back to the marketers when the post is towards its end. Typically, that’s a few weeks out from when you publish it but can be as long as a month.

Get Testimonials For Your Work!

As a final tip here, be sure to send along a quick questionnaire with your stats to the marketers about how you did. It’s important to gather testimonials for your work so you can entice other marketers to pay you. If you have a proven track record of working well with marketers and helping them better serve their clients, you’re well on your way.

Choosing the Perfect Social Media Platform for Your Blog

Navigating social media can be a huge chore for bloggers and business owners. Some of us love social and the connections we make. But when you’re looking for the most bang for your buck with your social media time and budget, you need to make sure you’re focusing on the right platform. So which social media platform is right for you?

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5 Best Ways to Learn SEO

Whether you’re a blogger or a small business owner, SEO can make a huge difference in your ability to attract new readers, visitors, and customers. Fortunately, there are thousands of resources out there to learn SEO. Sorting through which ones are good and which ones to avoid can be problematic, however, for new comers to SEO. Knowing where to start can also be mind boggling.

Normally, getting some bad advice might not be the end of the world. In SEO, however, it can mean the end of your website traffic from search and a really expensive fix. Bad advice in SEO can get your website on search engine’s bad list, remove your website from their databases, and result in significant traffic drops.

I’ve assembled a list of the best resources out there to learn SEO to help you sort through it all and get you started towards learning SEO. They’re ordered to help you ease into SEO by level of difficulty as much as possible.

5 Best Resources to Learn SEO

Some of these are affiliate links and by purchasing through the links, you’re helping me continue to produce informative & free content!

Read SEO Books for Foundation

Some of these full titles are a mile long so I’ve abbreviated them for ease. While most SEO books are outdated as soon as they are published, all of these are a strong foundation to learn SEO theory and practice.

The Free Beginner’s Guide from Moz – The best place to start, this digital “book” is from the best known name in SEO education resources and tools. Moz is the place to start learning SEO and continue your SEO education. I started learning SEO by reading this guide and it’s a great place to start! (Plus, it’s free!)

Inbound Marketing and SEO by Rand Fishkin et al- Another book from Moz, this one assembles together some of the most pivotal blog posts shared on their website from a few years ago. The blog posts were updated for publication to change any specific bits of information that changed so it’s not the same as just reading the posts on the Mozblog. It covers a wide variety of information about key areas for SEO.

The Link Building Book  by Paddy Moogan- One of the most important things for off-page SEO (SEO not on your website) is the number of high-quality links that send traffic and search engines back to your website. Paddy Moogan is one of the best known link builders out there and wrote this book about this one highly-valuable SEO-specific skill.

The Art of SEO by Stephen Spencer et al- While a few years old, this is considered the definitive book on SEO. Written by four of the top SEOs, this book covers the theory and theoretical foundations of SEO. Although SEO changes constantly, fully understanding the theory behind SEO is important to being able to weather changes in search engine updates and how the internet evolves as user interaction changes. I’d save this one for after you’ve dug into blogs and webinars.

Dig into SEO Blogs

MozBlog & YouMoz – Both from Moz, these two blogs are my go-to source for SEO content. The MozBlog is the best of the best and YouMoz is contributions from Moz members. They have a forum and large community of active SEOs so it’s a great place to learn but if digging in scares you (which it does many!), start off by reading the blogs. Moz is much more cautious than other blogs when it comes to announcing SEO news because they’re extremely researched back compared to many other blogs. On YouMoz, be careful to look at the up and down votes, because sometimes what’s shared isn’t great information.

SearchEngineLand – The best source of updated news about what’s going on in the SEO world, SearchEngineLand is a great place to start to learn about changes in SEO and advice on how to take advantage of these changes.

SearchEngineJournal – Another one of the big SEO blogs, this one covers a lot of the same stuff as SearchEngineLand but also shares content in unique ways, like webinars of website audits.

SearchEngineWatch – This blog tends to be less about news and more about advice for SEO and content. They have a great summation of what’s happened in Google’s part of the SEO world since 2011, if you’re looking for a good roundup of information.

The Google Blog – Most of the time, the Google blog has to do with fun stuff Google is doing or how people are searching for puppies during the Super Bowl. Trends are powerful things though!

SEO Webinars & Presentations

SEO 101 – This is my SEO course perfect for beginners that focuses on how to create SEO focused content and select keywords for your content.

Whiteboard Friday at Moz – Notice a trend here? Moz produces great content and every Friday, they give a little whiteboard lecture on SEO. Most of the time, it’s pretty foundational stuff when it comes to SEO theory and answers common questions. Take some time to go back through and watch old videos!

Moz Webinars – A great free resource that happens twice a month, webinars cover specific topics in SEO from experts in the field. If you sign up to participate in the Moz community (which you should) you also get access to all the old webinars!

Previous MozCons – MozCons are SEO conferences put on by, you guessed it, Moz. While it’s $1,500 for a ticket, you can grab all the videos to past MozCons online for under $500. Yes, it’s a lot of money. No, I haven’t had the cash to do this yet myself but know it’s worth it. If anyone wants to buy me 2014’s video bundle, I’d be your best friend forever!

Patents & Papers

If you’re really looking to learn SEO, reading Google’s patents and the papers by the founders of Google and Googlers can give you the ultimate SEO education.

Start with the definitive Google paper that started it all and then start working your way through Googlers’ papers relevant to search in their research hub.

Not for the faint of heart or for those prone to eye-glazing when it comes to statistics.

Run SEO Experiments

Expert SEOs all run at least a few websites of their own to test out SEO strategies. I’ve a couple of my own focusing on different areas of SEO like any good student! If you’re serious about learning SEO, start up a few throw away websites you don’t care about and start trying out techniques you think will work to help your websites rank well.

Analysis is key here so crunching data is part of the job. But if you really want to get to truly know SEO, this is the only way.

Woah, that’s a lot of SEO Resources

Unfortunately, getting into SEO can feel like a total catch-22 because most resources expect you to know some about SEO before digging in. You can feel totally lost even with the most of entry-level things.

Which is why I’m here to help! I’ve been studying SEO for a few years now, working my way through most of the resources listed here. I’m taking all I’ve learned and simplifying it down to the must-know bits and explaining it in normal human speak.

SEO 101 is made just for bloggers and learn what you need to know to make SEO part of your blog with as few headaches and little hair-pulling as possible. Go grab your spot now!

How to Set up Site Search in Google Analytics

Do you want to find out what people are searching for on your own website, not how they got to your website from Google Analytics? There’s a nifty tool inside of Google Analytics that shows you what people search for on your site called Site Search. But it’s not enabled automatically and you need to take just a few minutes to set it up. Follow this tutorial for the full details.

Read more “How to Set up Site Search in Google Analytics”

Holiday Posts and Blogging

Today’s video is about:

  • How to create holiday themed content that’s right for your blog
  • Traits of bad holiday content
  • How I went wrong with my own holiday content
  • and a special Thank You discount!

Holiday Themed Blog Posts Done Right

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I’m talking about holidays, blogging & how to correctly incorporate holiday posts into your overarching blogging goals.

Hey Bloggers!

I’m Kim Herrington of Bear & Beagle Creative. Every week I give you tips, tricks, and motivation to take your blogging to the next level and start achieving your goals.

Since it’s Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a quick moment to Thank YOU for all of your support since I launched this business earlier this year. About a year ago was when I started really working in earnest on launching this business and since then I’ve had an outpouring of support, love, and new friendships.

Without you, this whole shebang wouldn’t be possible. I am so thankful for you. Not just today on Thanksgiving either, but every day when I wake up and get to work. Y’all make it worth it for me!

And also, since it’s Thanksgiving today and you’ve eaten your turkey, it’s the official start of the Christmas season!

The Wrong Way to Use Holiday Posts

I’m going to tell you a little story about a blogger who didn’t use holiday posts well. She decided that doing a whole bunch in December of Christmas giveaways would be a fantastic way to attract new readers. After all, giveaway posts attract a ton of attention, right?

Every few days or so, she had a post that was just a giveaway. It had a little message about the brand, some photos of whatever was being given away, and an entry form.

The giveaways did mean something to her blog. She focused on local artisans on her local focused blog. Totally okay, right?

Are you surprised when I tell you that her readership went down after the giveaways were over? Probably not.

Her regular readers were happy with a few giveaways but by the end of the month, they were sick and tired of only hearing about products and nothing else. That’s not why they read her blog! So they disappeared. Some never came back again.

And all that new traffic for the giveaways—it disappeared too. So overall, her readership actually decreased.

Can you guess who that blogger was? Yup! It was me.

Bloggers can get a bit carried away with holiday themed posts. It’s sort of like the blogging arms race to have beautiful photos of DIYs, tutorials, gift guides and all kinds of other posts to help people celebrate the season.

The Traits of Bad Holiday Posts

So what makes a post bad for your blog?

It’s not in line with your regular content.

For instance, I’d only done one giveaway before. It wasn’t something I did regularly. Jamming my whole month with giveaways and no other kinds of posts was my mistake.

Ask yourself what you readers expect from your blog all year round. What are you helping them achieve with your blog? Then make sure that your holiday posts do just that, even if they are holiday themed.

So if you write about body acceptance, it’s totally up your alley to write about dealing with family comments about appearance during the holidays or the pressure to look great at parties.

Ask yourself: what is my over-arching goal for my blog? Does my holiday themed post help me get there?

If you’re having trouble with ensuring your blog posts are inline with your blog goals, you might want to grab my 2015 Blog Goal Getter Calendar. It’s jam packed full with the process I use to develop content for all of my blogs that keeps me right on track.

Use discount code THANKSFRIEND through Saturday for 20%!

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your holiday with your family & friends. Until next time,

Keep Blogging!

Bloggers, You’re Not Beyonce (And That’s Okay!)

“You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce” is a refrain that keeps popping up in the blogosphere. I’m here to tell you that you don’t. It’s a concept of economics that is important to grasp as a blogger—and as a person. It can also give us some sincere insight into the truths behind blogging successes and what elements you’ll need to be become a successful blogger in the biggest, boldest sense.

Why Beyonce Is “Better” Than You

Let’s first be clear here that I’m talking about the Brand of Beyonce, not the person behind all of it. I’m talking about the things we see about the artist known as Queen Bey, like her albums, music videos, social media accounts, and even tabloid stories. All of those things are perfectly executed by a team of skilled celebrity PR experts. After all, if Beyonce really is Queen, she can demand the best of the business to make her even better.

Take, for instance, one of her latest videos that aims to make her seem more like us, “7/11“. It looks like something you or I might be able to make one really awesome night in a hotel with our friends and a couple of Go Pro cameras.

But that’s where the fantasy dies. Our friends need to be professional dancers, outfitted by professional fashion stylists and hair and makeup artists, attended to for meals and clean up by professional handlers, fixers, and caterers. Let’s not forget that Beyonce’s team brought in an expert at making these low end, fun videos. Even the Guardian knows it’s all “carefully crafted candor.”

At the end of the day, Beyonce isn’t like us. She, the Brand of Beyonce, is the culmination of lots of accumulated experience and time. The Brand of Beyonce is hundreds of different people with hundreds of different lives focused on being the best at one thing all smashed into one person—at least what it looks like to us. When you’re putting that into a time perspective, you’re getting one life multiplied by hundreds.

And the same goes for every other aspect of her life. Beyonce can hire the best experts in different fields and benefit from their lifetimes of learning and perfecting to make her life all the better for it. It might be hiring someone to watch every thing she puts in her mouth to an expert trainer to help her stay in shape.

The Economics of Beyonce’s Time

So here’s where the money and time thing comes in. You knew we were headed this direction, right?

Time is money but money is also time. Because Beyonce, as a brand, generates so much revenue, she can spend thousands of dollars to multiply her time, if not millions. By multiplying and increasing the Brand of Beyonce’s time, and therefore expertise, the Brand can make more money. It’s a cycle that’s self-systaining as long as the Brand of Beyonce is churning out money making hits that you and I love.

If you’re a big Bey fan, you might point to “Ghost,” a haunting song inspired by the desire to tell the label to shove off about making boring music that sells well. In the song, Bey sings:

All the shit I do is boring
All these record labels boring
I don’t trust these record labels I’m torn

Summed up, Bey is torn about creating boring but sellable music the labels love. (But in reality, it’s the musician Boots who wrote these lines. Just goes back to hiring experts to multiply your time and, in this case, expertise and creativity.)

Beyonce can get away with making un-boring music though. Why? Because she can still sell the crap out of it. Or rather, the Brand of Beyonce can. So the person of Beyonce can do what she wants because the Brand of Beyonce is so damn powerful.

It’s the same as the President of a company being able to cancel meetings while a cubical worker has to go anyway, even if it’s the worst thing for their ability to bring in money to the company. The President is seen as the big money driver and can do what she wants while the cubical worker needs to toil away.

Why I, like Beyonce, Have Employees

Now that we’ve covered some basic principals about multiplying time and expertise by paying for others, it’s pretty easy to see what the benefits of bringing in outside help can do for your ability to rock at everything. I recently hired my first employee and I can tell you first hand what a difference it has made in all aspects of my life.

Not only is someone doing tasks I assign and multiplying my time, I’m also paying my employee less than my business makes on for those hours. That’s how business works. I’m making money by doing nothing during those hours to actively make that money.

Sure, I’m making less than if I did it myself. But it’s freed up time for me to do other things, like focus on crafting better content to attract more leads, publish a 2015 blogging calendarhost a free blogging webinar, and even taking care of myself and family more.

It’s also allowed me to increase the business’ income overall. I’ll be paying for the employee I hired before too long with my extra time, making the same amount of money as if I’d multiple myself because of the bought time.

It’s a hard concept to wrap your head around at first. But once you do, it’s pretty easy to see why having people to do tasks for you is pretty damn amazing and important to doing the stuff in your wildest dreams, like, oh, being Beyonce.

The Truths about Blogging Successes

The next time you look a blogger who does really amazing things online and has a huge audience, give some thought to what goes on behind the scenes with that blogger.

  • Are they really doing it all themselves?
  • Have they brought in outside help?
  • What kind of expertise do they bring to the table?
  • How much professional development do they do?

In all likelihood, that blogger is much like the Brand of Bey, just on a much, much smaller scale. It could even be something as little as someone taking their photos who knows more than they do about photography or as big as a virtual assistant that deals with formatting and scheduling posts or creating graphics. Or maybe they have hired someone like me to help them?

The thing is you probably wouldn’t know it unless you were really looking for it, just like with Beyonce.

The best bloggers out there all have a plan to help them achieve their goals in a short period of time. Many of them use the support of experts to get them there.

I bet you’re thinking right now about your own personal holdups about hiring help as a blogger. If it’s just a hobby, sure, hiring help can seem silly. But if you’re serious about growing your blog or turning it into a career or money maker, it just makes sense.

Why do master it all yourself when you don’t have to? There are plenty of experts out there ready and willing to help you make your dreams real. To be a top blogger, you need:

  • A goal that actually gets you to what you really want
  • A plan broken down into steps to get you there
  • The knowledge and tools to execute the steps
  • Help in your weakest spots or where you could be better spending your time

Next time you compare yourself who seems to do it all with magic like expertise and perfection, remind yourself that it might not be all that it seems.

P.S. Looking for a low cost way to up your blogging game? Try my 2015 Blog Goal Getter Calendar or free webinar on Dec 2, 2014.


Choosing the Right Blogging Goals: Video

Today I’m talking about the most common blogger frustration: not meeting goals. Watch the video above for all the details on how to better select blogging goals and what makes a good blogging goal.

Choosing the Right Blogging Goals

Hey bloggers! I’m Kim Herrington of Bear & Beagle Creative. Every week I share blogging tips and tricks to help you turn your blog into a goal getting machine.

Over the years, I’ve been able to get to know a lot of bloggers. It’s one of the parts I enjoy the most about my job. And there’s been one common thread between all of the discussions I’ve had with bloggers.

None of them are happy about how much time they spend blogging and how little they’re getting in return.

As bloggers, we spend hours every week creating content for our blogs. It can easily rack up to 10-12 hours per week of blogging time.

When you look at what else you have going on in your life, putting that much time towards a blog can easily seem like a bad deal.

I recently spoke with one blogger who was focus on her goal of getting a certain number of page views each month. She really wanted to hit her goal number. And she was so dang close. So she asked me what she should do to get there.

So I asked her one question in return before answering her:

What did that certain number of views do for her?

She couldn’t really give me an answer. She said that it meant a lot more people were looking at her blog. So I followed up with the same question. And we kept going back and forth. She’d say something and I would ask her what it did for her.

Eventually, she discovered the point I was getting to. Some blogging goals we have just don’t make sense!

Page views are great and all but they don’t actually contribute to our lives. So having a goal of so many page views is kind of silly, isn’t it?

I’m a firm believer that your blogging goals should actually do something productive in your life.

So think about your main goal right now for your blog and ask yourself—what is it doing for me? What will achieving that do in my life?

I’m sure that you might be surprised to find out that it’s not what you thought it was.

I’m hosting a webinar on December 2 at 7 pm central time about how to choose the right blogging goals and how to better fit blogging goals into your life. Be sure to grab your seat by signing up.

I really hope to see you in the webinar!

Till next time,

Keep blogging!

How to Stop Blogging Burnout

Getting your blog ready for 2015 shouldn’t be something you do when after the clock hits midnight on New Year’s Eve. Blog planning for 2015 should start right now.

In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m offering a heck of a lot in the next two months to get your blog ready for 2015. For editorial planning, I released the Blog Goal Getter Calendar and I’m currently offering special blog audits for a limited time. I really want you to rock your blog in 2015. 

Read more “How to Stop Blogging Burnout”