Sessions 9-10—Lead Magnet Installation and Advanced Blogging Techniques

Lead Magnet Installation

 

Sample copy for your lead magnet email (MailChimp’s “Final welcome email”):

Okay, you’re all set.

Welcome!

As promised, here is a link to download your free e-book. Just click here.

I hope you’re blessed as we [connect the Bible and its lands to life].

Your Name

Advanced Blogging Techniques

You’ve come far this week. Just glance at the sidebar at all we’ve done together—representing a whole semester. But where do you go from here?

Here are some advanced blogging techniques you’ll want to consider as you move forward.

6 FREE Advanced Techniques

There are some actions you can take that cost you nothing.

  1. Post more than once per week—perhaps making use of your mini-posts. Most posts = more traffic = more subscribers and more ministry.
  2. Set up an automation sequence in Mailchimp that connects with each subscriber over the course of time. (Go to: Reports > Automation > Welcome New Subscribers > Onboarding Series) Some Ideas:
    1. At week 3, ask them to recommend your blog to others (include subscribe link).
    2. At week 5, tell them you’re praying for them.
    3. At week 7, offer to sell them something.
  3. Do a survey of your readers each year with SurveyMonkey. You can look at some surveys I’ve done for ideas. A follow-up post is a great way to summarize your survey for your readers. (SurveyMonkey is free for 10 questions and 100 responses.)
  4. Sell products through PayPal. (Not very easy to set up, but it’s free.)
  5. Start a podcast where you broadcast your teaching, your posts, or interviews with others. You can see how to do with help from Pat Flynn or the Podcast Answer-man. (Some of their recommendations may cost.)
  6. Set up sub-domains in your Bluehost account for your courses, web store, and other sites unrelated to your primary blog. You can also buy URLs that point to your subdomain. This way, you can have unlimited Websites for the cost of a URL.

5 Paid Advanced Techniques (that pay off)

If I was going to invest in my blog ministry, these are the priorities I would make and the services I would use (because I use them):

  1. Get OptinMonster to increase your subscribers. It also allows you to do “Content Upgrades”—or Lead Magnets specific to particular posts. My “Judge Not” post is an example.
  2. Get a paid email solution like ConvertKit that allows automation and smart marketing with your email campaigns.
  3. Get a social media manager like CoSchedule to easily manage promoting your posts and social media calendar. (Note: Post a review of CoSchedule each year and get HALF off the cost!) See my example and review.
  4. Join Platform University for a complete course FULL of great content to help you get your platform up and running. You can begin by subscribing to their free blog.
  5. Sell your products online with an e-commerce store like WooCommerce. It’s pretty easy to set up, mobile friendly, and provides an elegant experience for your buyers/donors. This is a free solution, but if you sell on your site, you’ll want to upgrade your Bluehost to include an SSL (Secure Site License).
  6. Create an online course to sell or as a lead magnet (or content upgrade). Get a plugin like Wishlist Member (what I currently use for my membership site) or Kajabi to make the experience more elegant.
  7. Use Lead Pages for elegant Landing Pages that are easy to set up. I use this for my Walking the Bible Lands pages and my Israel Tours and my webinars.
  8. Do a free live webinar, record it, and set it up to run 24/7 as an evergreen marketing tool to generate leads or make sales. See my “Top 6 Lessons from the Holy Land” as an example. See Amy Porterfield’s course on “Webinars that Convert” for how to set this up. You can buy Facebook ads to get folks to sign up for it.
  9. Buy Facebook ads to drive folks to sign up for your lead magnet, webinars, and anything else.
  10. Check out Jeff Walker’s book, Launch

What to Do When You Want to Shred Your Blog and Quit the Whole Thing

Blogging is ministry—and hard work. Sometimes we want to toss the whole thing. When you’re ready to quit blogging (or anything), re-connect to your “Why.”

  • Why did you start your blog?
  • Is that reason still valid?
  • Perhaps pull back some or get someone to help you.

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.— Brené Brown

Here are a few resources to encourage you:

Homework

  • Email me your Reading Report by midnight tonight. I.e.: “I completed 90% of the assigned reading.”
  • Keep blogging for ministry!

Session 8—How to Get Your First 100 Subscribers

You’re already well on your way to your first 100. Writing for SEO gets people to your blog, and your Lead Magnet will encourage readers to subscribe.

Here are some other great ideas to increase your subscribers:

  • Make sure you have subscribe forms in your sidebar, About Page, footer (in Appearance > Widgets), the end of posts and in your RSS feed (in Get Noticed! > Advertising).
  • Provide signup opportunities on your Social Media accounts:
  • Guest Post on others’ blogs in your niche. Check out Jeff Goins’ post about how to do it.
  • Each month, send an email to your new subscribers and ask them to share your blog with others they know who might enjoy it. (When you upgrade to a paid email service, you can automate this.)
  • Here are 73 other ideas (some you’ve heard before)
  • PAID: Use Optinmonster

Don’t be overwhelmed. You’re in this for the long-haul. Just pick one to start with, and go for it. Then pick the next one.

Session 7—Repurposing Content and Monetization

Repurposing Content

Paul models the value of repurposing content:

When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea. —Colossians 4:16

Ways to Monetize Your Blog

Solomon speaks to the wisdom of diversifying your income:

Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. —Ecclesiastes 11:2

  • Advertise (ton of work for little return)
  • Sell Affiliate products in your posts and on your Resource Page.
  • Offer Services
    • Consulting
    • Events
    • Speaking
    • Writing
    • Training
    • Copy editing
    • Social media manager
  • Write book reviews.
  • Sell your books and audiobooks on Amazon
  • Sell your products on your blog via PayPal or Shopify
  • Create an audiobook from your book or posts and sell it on Amazon.
  • Create an online course from your content (speaking, writing, etc.).
  • Create a membership site that pays you each month. This actually can work! It’s currently how I earn my living through Walking the Bible Lands. Here’s a sample video of what my subscribers get 3-4 times per month.

It’s Overwhelming! Where Do I Start?

  1. What’s your quickest win?
  2. What’s your biggest opportunity?
  3. Make a list of steps and just do the next step.

Resources to Help You with Repurposing Content and Monetization

Your Disclosure and Privacy Policies

If you plan to make commissions off of affiliate or product sales, you need to include a Disclosure Policy and a Privacy Policy on your blog. Simply make a page for each, and put a link to them in the footer menu. You can generate some generic policies through these Web sites:

Interview with Michael Hyatt

Homework before next class

  • Write and post a post.
  • Watch Michael Hyatt interview.
  • Complete your Lead Magnet Semester Project (due by email to me by midnight tonight.)

Sessions 5-6—Creating Pages and Landing Pages; Commenting and Contact with Readers

MailChimp Fix and setting up RSS/Email note:

  • To insert the title of the post, rather than the name of the blog, use the *|RSSITEM:TITLE|* merge tag instead of *|RSSNAME:TITLE|*.
  • To have your campaign display the full post, rather than the short excerpt, click the post to pause and edit, go to the Design step, click the RSS Items content block, and select Full Content from the dropdown in the Edit pane. Here’s a screenshot for reference: cl.ly/3B2T2I3l0S37.

Pages

Unlike a post, which has content current to the day you post it, a page contains static content good for all time. Think of pages like your standard Web sites you see. The pages you want at minimum:

  • About Page
    • Begin with the user’s interests. (Remember, your blog is for your reader, not for you.)
    • Tell them a little about your blog and what it will do for them.
    • Tell them what they can expect from you (how many posts a week)
    • Invite them to subscribe in the middle of the page AND at the end. Do include a subscribe form. This will prove one of most-visited pages on your blog.
    • Show them your top posts with links. (Update this as time goes on.)
    • Tell them about yourself, your brief bio, background, writings, and hobbies. Keep this current.
    • Tell them how to contact you (link to your contact page).
    • Optional: include a “colophon” or technical info paragraph as well as a disclaimer. Feel free to borrow mine.
  • Contact Page – use the plugin WPForms Lite instead of Contact Form 7.
  • Archives Page – install plugin Clean My Archives. Insert the following shortcode where you want the archives to begin on your page: [clean-my-archives]

Landing Pages

A Landing Page represents a page dedicated to one call to action: sales, signups, subscriptions, etc. It should use the “wide” template and incorporate testimonials. Example from my blog.

Menus and Your Footer

Set up your menus for pages and categories. My suggestions:

  • Put your pages as the Top Menu.
  • Put your top 4 categories as the Category Menu.
  • Put your pages again in your Footer Menu.

Set up your footer widgets with anything you’d like (or nothing). My suggestions:

  • A mini-bio that takes the reader to your About page
  • Your recent posts
  • Another subscribe form

Commenting and Contact with Readers

Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Or you will also be like him.
Answer a fool as his folly deserves,
That he not be wise in his own eyes.
—Proverbs 26:4-5
Some general rules for comments:
  • Comment on other blogs, offering genuine ministry without spam. Copy content from a post you’ve written. (Hey, why not?) Just don’t write too much.
  • Comments are a great place of ministry. See this post as an example.
  • For the person who is truly hurting:
    • Connect with them emotionally and validate their pain
    • Point them to the Bible. You always want to point people to the Scriptures as your authority. If they have a problem, make sure it is with God’s Word and not with how you share it.
    • Point them to the DTS counselor link.
  • Beware of the danger of immediate response. Think of your own email habits (or key relationships). Best to pause, pray, and consider before responding—especially to critics.
  • The Disqus plugin allows you to connect with readers individually and to respond via email at your convenience. Occasionally, you’ll want to included a link for them to read further (i.e. for salvation, for specific posts, etc.).
To embed a link in your comments, use this code (I suggest you save this code in your text expander for easy access):
<a href=http://www.waynestiles.com/>TypeHere</a>

Homework before next class

  • Write and/or post a full post plus 2 mini-posts.
  • Write and post your “About” page, “Archives” page, and “Contact” page.
  • Reading: Hyatt—pp. 193-224, 144-146
  • Watch virtual interview with Jeff Goins.
  • Forage for your tribe and Buffer 5 posts.

Interview with Jeff Goins

 

Session 4—Creating Mini-Posts and Writing for SEO

Mini-Posts

Mini-posts represent a unique feature of the Get Noticed! Theme (GNT). They allow for shorter posts on a variety of topics, and they look  pretty cool. Here are some examples of mini-posts from my blog:

Writing for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

search engine optimization: (noun) the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. (Apple Dictionary)

Why fuss with SEO? Because 75% of your traffic will come from searches. 

After we install your Lead Magnet, I recommend you get OptinMonster to help capture those leads. (I estimate that 70% of my subscribers come in this way.)

SEO Checklist:

  • Make sure your post has:
    • At least 300 words
    • Put keyword in title, once in a heading, several times throughout body
    • An internal link in first paragraph
    • Several internal links throughout
    • Alt text in all images
    • People linking to you helps a lot.
    • Follow guidelines Yoast SEO gives you.

You’ll also find a good checklist in Syed Balkhi’s posts:

When you’re ready to become a keyword ninja, see Keyword Research: The Definitive Guide

Google Analytics Info to Bookmark:

Session 3—Touring Your New Blog and Getting People to Read It

Welcome to Your New Blog

In this session, we’ll tour the “back end” of your blog, particularly the details of your Get Noticed! Theme. We’ll install some plugins, fine-tune some theme settings, and take a whirlwind tour through the widgets that go in your blog’s sidebar and footer.

If you’d like to borrow the code to add a reader subscription to your RSS feed, here you go! Copy/paste at Get Noticed > RSS Feeds >Continue Reading Text (Just be sure to add your subscription page to the URLs.)

<strong><a href=”[permalink]”>Keep reading this post. >>></a> <p><p>Better still, get my full posts the easy way when you <a href=”http://www.waynestiles.com/subscribe-via-e-mail-2/”>SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG.</a> When you do, I’ll also send you <a href=”http://www.waynestiles.com/subscribe-via-e-mail-2/”>my FREE e-book!</a></strong>

Getting Started with Email for Your Blog

Email remains the best way to connect to your blog readers. Why?

  • It’s personal.
  • People check their inbox daily.
  • Email gets more attention than social media.
  • It takes action to deal with it.

Before we get your email list started, we need to create a few pages on your blog:

Create your MailChimp Account: Sign up with MailChimp

(For the future, MailChimp resources: Getting Started with MailChimp)

Homework before next class

  • On your blog (in Pages), customize the pages we made in class:
    • Thank You Page (upload the Twitter and Facebook images if you need to)
    • Confirmation Page
    • Signup Page–Tell them why signing up is a benefit to them: they don’t miss a post, get posts easily, can share posts with friends, etc. Eventually, you’ll include your lead magnet on this page as an incentive.
  • At some point, you’ll want to customize your MailChimp account, customize your email series.  If you want some sample copy, subscribe to this list (and then unsubscribe) and customize the email series content you receive for your own use. Remember, you customize these in your MailChimp account: Lists > (your list) > Signup Forms > General Forms. When you’re done setting it up, subscribe and unsubscribe until the process works the way you like it.
    • optin confirmation email
    • final welcome email
    • unsubscribe success page
    • Unsubscribe Form
    • Goodbye email
  • Make sure you’ve completed the homework for session 1 and session 2.
  • Design your blog name and tag line in your identify graphics. Install them in your theme. (Particularly your touch icon and logo/header graphic–which should include your Blog name and tag line.)
  • Select your headshot and create your Avatar image for use everywhere.
  • Read through the Theme Customizations settings and make any changes you feel comfortable making.
  • Connect all of your social media accounts in Get Noticed! > Social Media
  • Sign up for a Google Analytics account. Follow the instructions here to “set up a property” (your blog). Then install your Google Analytics ID in your theme: Get Noticed! > Integrations
  • OPTIONAL: Install plugin: Search for “WP Database Backup” and follow instructions here. (You’ll probably find WP-DB Backup in Tools on your side panel.) Eventually, you’ll want to get a paid backup system like VaultPress so that it’s all automatic and worry-free.
  • install plugins:
    • Contact Form 7
    • Akismet
    • Disqus Comment System
    • Yoast SEO
  • Forage for your tribe and Buffer 5 posts. In other words, look through your RSS feeds and share 5 posts with your readers via Buffer.
  • Reading: Hyatt—pp. 81-122, 225-229
  • Subscribe to other students’ RSS feeds.
    • Scott
    • Debbie
    • John
    • Destiny
    • Lisa
    • Cynthia
  • Write your first blog post! Feel free to use previous content.
  • Choose 3 mini-post types and post them.

OPTIONAL: Watch virtual interview with Mary DeMuth

Session 2—Social Media, Your Niche, and Productivity Hacks for Blogging

Do the things we do online make sense in real life? This video reveals how odd social media is (if we think about it).

Productivity Hacks for Blogging

  1. Create a to-do list you can add to on the fly.
  2. Schedule time for blogging on your calendar.
  3. Schedule a weekly review on your calendar.
  4. Batch your work: social media (Buffer), emails, writing.
  5. Use templates (save them in Evernote or in your text expander)
  6. Use a text expander!
  7. Eliminate, automate, and delegate tasks.

Resources for Productivity

Resources for Your Blog Posts

Template for a Blog Post

Title/headline/subject (create last unless you have a great reason not to)
Subtitle
Hook/lead paragraph
Featured image
Illustration or elaboration paragraph(s)
Curiosity line. Set the hook.
<More tag>
Keep content scannable and interesting:
– subheads
– bullets
– short sentences and paragraphs
– Tweet quotes
– pictures
Conclusion
Call to action: question, link, purchase, etc.

sample post content from Reg’s blog.

Headlines

Images

You can find some great free images here:

Homework before next class:

  • Sign up with Bluehost for your hosting and domain name. This video walks you through the process and make it easy. (See note at bottom.*)
  • Please send me a link to your blog when it goes live. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Just live!

 

  • If you haven’t already, buy your copy of the Get Noticed! Theme. After you get your credentials emailed to you, log in and follow these instructions to install the theme. We will tour the theme together in class next time.
  • Sign up for (any or all of) these social media accounts:
  • Sign up for a free individual Buffer account and connect it with the social media accounts that best fit your brand.
  • Sign up for a Bit.ly account that will help shorten long URLs as you share them. We’ll connect this to your theme soon.
  • Sign up for a Feedly account and subscribe to some RSS feeds relevant to your niche and your interests. We’ll review this again next time. (Search Google for a Feedly extension for the browser of your choice.) Some feeds you might consider subscribing to:
    • WP Beginner
    • Michael Hyatt
    • Jeff Goins
    • Mary DeMuth
    • Michelle Cushatt
    • Dallas Theological Seminary
    • Connecting Google alerts to RSS
    • Here are the RSS feeds I currently subscribe to in Feedly. You can add any by searching for them as we did in class.

feeds2 feeds3 feeds1

*Note: After you sign up with Bluehost and your domain goes public, you’ll likely get some solicitations you can just ignore. For example, you’ll get a bogus one that says:

As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration. This letter is to inform you that it’s time to send in your registration. Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.

 

Session 1—Introduction and What’s a Blog, Anyway?

Introduction

I’m excited to join you for this course on blogging for ministry.

This course will introduce basic blogging techniques as part of an effective writing ministry. You will learn to:

  • set up a self-hosted WordPress blog
  • choose a niche audience
  • maintain a blogging schedule
  • apply creativity to repurposing content
  • write for search engine optimization (SEO)
  • set up and grow an email list
  • learn tips and tools to maximize productivity
  • utilize Google Analytics
  • implement an effective social media strategy
  • and more!

We will also discuss the balance of promotion, monetization, and motive in the context of a blogging ministry.

Required Textbook and WordPress Theme

  • Hyatt, Michael. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012 (288 pp.).
  • Get Noticed! Theme. (Private link for our class only.) This premium WordPress theme is available at a special discount to you as a student of this course. This highly customizable theme is required so that the class can work on the same page while learning blogging tools, techniques, and strategies.

You’re welcome to contact me here or via Canvas or leave a comment in a post if you think others could benefit from your question. (When you’re ready to leave a comment, sign up for Disqus.)

Homework before next class:

Watch Interview with Michele Cushatt