5 things I've learned from coaching blogging

I took on two new blog coaching clients this week bringing my group of coaching clients up to 14. They are both in big business and it’s interesting what we are learning from each other.

Lesson one – people still don’t understand how people search and and what phrases they are looking for.

My business coaches love the phrase “finding clarity”. Market Samurai tells me that 5 people a day want to find clarity. A heck of a lot more want to know about strategic business planning, how to increase profits, how to goal set and how to increase performance. What you do may not be what people are looking for. You need to understand how your ideal client talks in order to know what they are searching for. If in doubt, ask.

  • Ask questions on Twitter
  • Ask questions on Facebook
  • Ping them an email
  • Pick up the phone and ask existing clients what they would look for to find you
  • Send out a survey
  • Get a keyword / phrase report

Lesson two – it’s hard to say no to people who are not your ideal client

I know that one, you do as well. We have someone who desperately wants to work with us. They could be in a niche we don’t like or understand. It could be their niche is saturated and you can’t do a lot for them. But you want the money, after all we all still have the mortgage to pay and it’s just this once, right? The trouble is when you take these clients they sap your energy and they skew your vision of who actually is your ideal client. You start to think that your ideal client is the one you have taken on for whatever reason – and it becomes harder to attract the right client through your blogging and social media activities.
  • Visualise your ideal reader often and write only for them (and yes, this post is just for you)
  • Don’t be scared to say no
  • Refer if you can’t say no
  • Be honest, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose

Lesson three – Knowing is different from doing

You know you should write a great headline, you know you need to fill in the meta description and you know you need a great image and a call to action. But often you forget one of the criteria as you have been so busy focusing on just one aspect of blogging – writing the content.
The “writing the content” part isn’t that hard if I write some headlines, hack them up a bit and generally do some brainstorming. It can seem overwhelming to do it often but it’s in the repetition that we gain discipline and complete the parts we need to without thinking. It’s by doing we become better.

Lesson 4 – SEO isn’t a dark art

It’s just using what the blogging Gods gave us :)
  • Complete meta descriptions so that they entice the searcher to click. Yes, a call to action in your meta description
  • Categorise the post correctly
  • Tag your images
  • Optimise your titles
  • More about optimising your WordPress blog for SEO
We all struggle with headlines and getting the right one is similar to  hitting the jackpot at Vegas.

Click to enlarge

We can use two headlines and you might think bah! two headlines…  but two will get you better results than one. Click on the image to see how.

Lesson number 5… it’s never too late

It’s never too late to add a call to action, add an email pop-up or try something different. Experiment. Make older content stronger using thing like Scribe. Optimise a few posts that are not converting very well to see if they can do better. Add an image where there is none. Trying something different may take you out of your comfort zone a little but you can learn a lot, says she who has taken to coaching an internet marketer.

Over to you, what have you learned about blogging this week?

Sarah

PS you are welcome to share what you are stuck with – we can work out a solution for you

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Sarah Arrow

Blogging an issue for you? Social media not quite working how it should be?That's okay I understand. I started blogging back in 2006 and grew into a kick-ass blog coach as well as creator of Birds on the Blog (listed 3 times by Forbes as a top 100 website for women), I'm frequently listed as both a top content marketing expert and as an influential marketer.
You want your blog to make a difference, so subscribe hereand stay in touch, my updates will help you achieve content marketing success.

29 Comments

  1. Dear Sarah

    I have learned that I should comment on blogs more often , I should write blogs more often and I must remember to say blog posts not blogs :)

    Reply
    • Hey Steven, thanks for dropping by.
      Today I learned that I should share more :)
      I really liked your post, people respond well to wise words.

      Reply
  2. I’m glad I subscribed to ‘Blogging for Business’ ; you write so well, Sarah, that it’s not only a pleasure to read in the moment but I like to keep them saved in my hotmail account for future usefulness.
    I know you write JUST for me.

    Reply
    • Aww thank you Lisa :D , and yes it’s written just for you.

      Reply
  3. Wow Sarah! Love this. Lesson No. 2 is so imporant to coaches. I believe it’s so important to be ethical and give clients what suits / needs / feels right for them. In the beginning I took on clients who weren’t ready to be coached and in the end it was a fruitless experience for all. It’s great Sarah that you are always at the heart of what is happening for bloggettes and your advice comes just when it is needed the most. Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Sarah, I LOVE#1. You know, whenever I do a conference or seminar, it almost always starts with ‘How does google search work..’

    Fact is, more folks don’t understand the phrase ‘organic search’ or PPC or Adwords, Long tail, or anything like that. Yeah, sure a bunch of Soc Media peeps may know, but still, 90% of businesses have no clue.

    Good stuff lady, keep kickin butt!!!

    Marcus

    Reply
    • What a way to start the seminar, glad to see it’s not all Dirty Dancing videos ;)
      My experience is that people grasp long tail easier/faster as that’s what they do naturally whereas the rest is just gobbledegook to them. It’s now the second thing I do with my clients, the first is make sure they have a blog…

      Reply
  5. I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn so I’m just going to just trudge on. I’ve got a personal blog and I’m creating a business that I want to market using Social Media. Blogging comes off as just “writing” something but that’s a deception. Want to create a(nother) blog that’s more tailored.
    Like I said, lots to learn

    Reply
    • Hi Dianne,
      The learning and developing is continual, but it’s fun I promise you. It has to be or I would have given up years ago.
      Danny Brown has a series of posts about turning your blog into a social media post here – http://bestbloggingtipsonline.com/5-days-turn-your-blog-into-social-media-hub-day-5-designing-hub/ and they are well worth a read. But don’t tell him I said that ;)

      When I started blogging everything was under one roof, now I have multiple sites and if I don’t have the right space on any of my own sites, well then it becomes a guest post.

      Thanks for stopping by

      Reply
  6. I’ve learned that I don’t know anything yet. I’m creating online and offline businesses and learning more about how I can use blogging to target market (in addition to other ways to monetise a blog). I feel like I don’t know much but I just have to put one foot in front of the other and just start moving!

    Reply
    • Sorry about that! I was having connectivity issues so I posted twice by accident. Just ignore this one as the one above says roughly the same thing.
      Sorry again!

      Reply
  7. In terms of searches, do you think it’s necessary to provide keywords in your SEO widget? I’ve provided many already but haven’t added any more… I’m assuming the content in my blog is enough?

    Reply
    • Hi Suzanne, like me you blog in a highly competitive field so filling out the widget gives you the advantage, if you just put the keywords in a human reader will glide over them but if you put “Workout not as great as it was? Want to get better results? In this post Suzanne shares why changing your routine and increasing your workout intensity works to your advantage. Click through and read more.”

      By adding a description that explains the post you are more likely to get the search engine click compared to saying “fitness, better fitness, change routine, up the intensity”. You’re on Thesis? So you have it all built in and don’t require an SEO plugin.

      Reply
  8. Sigh, heavy sigh. I am so guilty of the problem you describe in lesson one. Excellent tips for helping me figure out what terms normal people would actually use to find the content I’m writing.

    Reply
    • Your content is fab, I share it all the time as I am a big fan.
      Mary, let me know if you would like me to run you a report on the keywords to help you find the right ones for you. Drop me a note on Skype and I’ll sort it out with you.

      Reply
  9. Great post, Sarah. So pleased you are achieving so much, wonderful.

    I’ve learned that I either need to turn the random nature of the wide range of topics I work with into an asset in search, or learn to focus them better and centralize them to help readers and potential clients understand more about what I do. That I also need to overcome my aversion to SEO, headlines, meta descriptions etc . Oops.
    That I probably need to write and post more short pieces myself and share them more.
    That I need to comment more on other people’s blogs.
    And that it all need balancing with the books I’m writing on leadership and organisational change… :-)

    Reply
    • Thanks Christine :)
      It’s a big old juggling act for anyone so I can imagine it’s really hard for someone as busy as you are.
      I like to think that the SEO is there for the readers and not the search engines and I don’t hyper optimise every single post. But the ones I do get far better traffic and I get relevant subscribers from those posts as well.
      Good luck with it and let us know if you try it and how it works for you.

      Reply
  10. Did you write this post for meeeeee??? I’m working on my SEO stuff but struggle with over analyzing everything and then forgetting where I started!

    Reply
    • Indeed it was, but don’t tell the others I told them it was just for them too… my hubby says that attitude will get me in trouble one day ;)

      I can’t begin to describe how much I analyse stuff, and now I have this rule that says I have to stick with something a week before I change it… I may not last a week but I get better data to base by decisions on by slowing down on it.

      Reply
  11. I’ve learned (or at least reminded myself yet again) that I really need to remember to include a call to action on my posts. I’m hopeless at it, and there’s no excuse. I know why I should do it, and I know it works, but I nearly always forget.

    But, as you’ve pointed out, it’s never too late, so I think it’s time to go back over some old posts and do a bit of tweaking :-)

    Reply
    • Hi Angela, thanks for stopping by – tweaking is good fun, it spawns ideas for new posts :)

      Reply
  12. Hi Sarah
    Speaking for me, I don’t think you can over-emphasize Lesson One :-(
    Lesson Two: “It could be their niche is saturated and you can’t do a lot for them. ” Is that really so? That there are times when there genuinely is no way to help them improve their ROI on blogging?

    Reply
    • You just can’t help some people at all Linda, I had a client over the summer who did two types of work. One of them was very popular although in a saturated niche. He decided that blogging wasn’t working as he only wanted to work in the strand that people were not interested in. You can lead a horse to water… the other thing to consider that if the niche is saturated the blogger has to do more work, and employ more diverse tactics involved in making themself a success in that niche. Not everyone is prepared to make that investment.

      Reply
  13. Thanks for the lessons, I am really struggling with titles for my blog posts, not sure why I find this so ‘hard’, I mostly enjoy the writing part but need some more captivating titles, any suggestions very welcome.

    Reply
  14. This is all so true, but #3 is killer – that’s what holds me back – I know exactly what to do, it’s just getting it done that’s the hard part!

    Reply
  15. I must admit calls to action are my big omission in my blog post writing – thanks for the nudge Sarah I will work on adopting better practices!

    Reply
  16. Great points, Sarah… I always struggle with #1 and #3 are things that is really key but needs more regular work and effort from me. I always find it interesting to see what words people use to find the blog in Google, but a keyword search report is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I nearly always think of a great headline after posting, arrgh!

    Reply
    • Thanks for dropping by Sally, there is nothing to stop you tweaking the headline after posting… I find some of my best headlines appear a few days after posting ;)

      Reply
  17. Very interesting website, you clearly are very experienced. Have you thought about the benefits of e-coaching. You might want to check out http://e-coachingsecrets.co.uk to read more about an e-coaching course. By using e-coaching coaches can reach a far wider audience. I shall certainly pop back again to read more on your site.

    Reply

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