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Quality Content – 5 Tips To Get Others To Do It For You And Do It Right

The old saying that “Content is King” needs to be updated to “Quality content is King” because the days of publishing fluff content stuffed with keyword phrases are over. If you’re serious about a sustainable business online then you have to get serious about providing content that has real value to your audience.

But what if writing content just isn’t your strong point?

There are basically two ways to go…do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. When I first started back in 1999 my background was in carpentry…not writing. But back in the dial up days you could get by with just about anything so I had an opportunity to hone my writing skills without my business suffering from penalties associated with poor quality.

Times are different today. Thanks to Panda you have to dish up quality content from the get-go if you want any kind of a chance to rank in the SERP. If you’re going to do the writing yourself let me share a few ideas with you that I learned from a professional writer who worked for me.

  • Really research your topic. In the beginning I tried writing articles off the top of my head using whatever knowledge I had on a subject and thinking that was good enough. My writer friend told me that professionals spend three times the amount of time researching topics than they do actually writing.
  • When I switched to really researching before I wrote the difference was amazing. My articles included much more information and became significantly more “authoritative”. And on top of that, my personal knowledge increased as well. Do your research.

  • Tell a story. Your articles need to be engaging and the best way to do that is to tell a story rather than just dumping out facts and features. People love stories. They like articles that are about real people and real events and other people’s experiences. Look at the hugely successful Amazon reviews. The listing for a product has all the features and sales pitch but if a visitor is considering buying the item they will check the reviews first because they want to know what other people think. Keep your articles real and tell a story.
  • “Prove” your story. Include real names and quotes to back up your story. Have outbound links to authority sites. This not only lends credibility to your article but tells Google that you hang out with a quality crowd.
  • Make your articles easy to read. People “read” the internet differently than they read a book. They scan a page first and then decide where to start. Use subtitles (h2 tags), keep paragraphs to 2 or 3 sentences and use bullet points where they make sense.

Writing is a separate skill set and requires a good vocabulary, a working knowledge of grammar and the development of a style. If you find yourself spending too much time trying to master this skill you have another option.

Get others to write your quality content for you

Actually I do a lot of this. I consider myself to be a great story teller but I’m much better at “telling” a story than I am writing one…that’s why I love podcasts. I also find that I can be more productive focusing my time on other parts of my business than I can be if I have to do all of the content creation. Outsourcing just makes sense to me.

But outsourcing can be tricky. It’s been my experience that buyers who post projects on freelance sites like eLance.com rarely give enough information in the description of their project. For example if you were to post a description of “Need 10 articles 600 words or better on how to buy premium WordPress themes for use in my blog” you might get back the perfect article or you might get back something else.

The more you tell the writers bidding on your project the more likely you will get exactly what you are looking for. I’ve actually put together an outline that I follow when posting projects. Since I started using it I spend far less time editing and going back and forth with the writers and the quality of the content is superb. Here’s a bit of that outline that can help you in your next outsource project.

  1. Start with a general description of the project. In fact the sample given above is ok as a start. But then you want to get specific.
  2. I tell them the style that I want. I make sure I tell them that I want a story style and to use real names and real events where appropriate. I make sure they understand the importance of subheaders and bullets.
  3. I give them links to examples of stories that I like so they have a solid feel for the voice I want.
  4. I provide them with links to research material (many times it’s my podcasts or articles on my website).
  5. I give them a list of keyword phrases and tell them how I would like them to appear in the articles and at what frequency.

Basically I try to give them everything they need to create content that is exactly what I want. In fact when my writers leave me feedback on a project it almost always includes a mention on how easy it was to do the project because of the detailed description.

There’s one other great benefit of having a detailed description and that’s the fact that your project is more likely to draw the attention of the better writers. When you offer all the relevant research links they know they won’t spend nearly the time searching out the information meaning they can accomplish the task in les time. This also means they can be more competitive in their bidding.

So the next time you need a story on WordPress Genesis themes, email marketing or the latest gizmo or gadget make sure your job description includes everything a writer needs to create the style and quality content that you want. Outsourcing is the fastest way to grow your business and it frees you up to do what you do best.

So that’s my take on it. If you have other tips or questions please share them with the rest of us by filling in the comment box below.

About the Author:

James Martell is well known as an affiliate marketing specialist in outsourcing and SEO. He is a sought after speaker, affiliate marketing trainer and podcaster. James is host of the longest running affiliate marketing podcast (since 2003), and creator of the Affiliate Marketers “SUPER BootCamp”, where he teaches others how to earn a living with affiliate programs. James lives in White Rock BC, a seaside suburb of Vancouver on west coast of Canada with his wife, Arlene and their 4 growing kids.

Backlinking Your Way to a 5 Figure Income

Recently we received a question regarding backlinking and just how many backlinks are required to make a 5 figure income and while there are no hard and fast rules, I think I’ve seen enough data to give a decent answer.

But there’s always a caveat. When I say backlink I’m talking about a link that exists on someone else’s site that links back to a page on your site. More importantly, that site where the link resides is a site that Google views favorably because it has quality content and/or is considered an authority site.

I am most definitely not talking about article marketing and the hundreds of worthless article sites. In fact if there is one thing that you take away from this post it should be stay away from article marketing like the plague! Google’s fixation on quality will ultimately send all of the article farms to the same shadowy realm as the old link farms. Just say no to article marketing.

The 4 steps to backlinking development – where does your site fit in?

It’s been my experience that you can lump websites into one of four backlinking categories.

1. The website is up but has zero backlinks.

Planning an affiliate website and actually putting together all of the elements is a ton of work. And it doesn’t matter what your product or service is be it digital IR photography or something as unique as arc welding services it still takes research, content development and of course website design and development.

Launching your site is something of a mixed experience. Yes it looks great and the fact that you can actually see it is rewarding but on the other hand, without developing backlinks you’re going to be the only one who ever sees it.

2. The website is up and has 5 to 10 articles distributed on quality websites.

When you first start the process of distributing articles to sites it’s similar to the backroom leg work that goes into planning a website. You have to identify quality blogs or sites that welcome guest content and then develop a relationship with them.

I think this “management” task takes the steam out of some affiliates and they simply sit back and “see” what they can get. Each article has two links pointing back to two pages on their site so the total is only 5 to 10 links pointing at each of the 2 pages. Typically they “see” very little.

3. The website is up and has 20 to 30 articles distributed.

Many affiliates fall into this category particularly those that are doing this part time. Twenty to thirty serious backlinks to each of the two pages will bring in a fairly steady stream of qualified traffic and the site probably will be doing okay on sales. Not great they are starting to see regular sales.

And then the holiday season hits and for two months the site does great so the total income for the year looks like a nice part time job.

4. The serious full time affiliates.

These are the people who want to make this business their livelihood. They have 100 to 150 quality articles distributed meaning 100 to 150 links to each of their 2 targeted pages (200 to 300 pointing at the domain) and they are easily making the 5 figure income on a consistent and sustainable basis. It’s not done over night but it is easily done within a year and the neat thing about it is you don’t have to do it all yourself.

So if you have just launched a site for an infrared filter or whatever your niche is, your job isn’t over it has just entered a new phase.

The win-win story for guest content

Google loves new quality content and if all other factors are the same it is likely to rank new content above older links. Webmasters know this and the many are willing to allow guest postings to keep their content fresh and updated. In exchange for free content they will agree to one or two do follow links for each story.

Finding these sites is fairly easy using a Google search. But before you contact them, make sure that you fully understand their editorial guidelines. Review the types and styles of articles that are already posted to make sure that your pitch to the webmaster is relevant.

Then contact the webmaster (some of these sites actually have a link for “write for us” and present two or three topic ideas that you think would be a good fit for the site. If you can develop a good relationship with 30 to 50 of these sites and then just add 10 articles a month spread out over different sites, at the end of the year you’ll have close to 200 to 300 solid backlinks pointing at you.

[asa]B0052A1UA2[/asa]At some point in this process you are going to see a significant increase in sales and that’s when you can start outsourcing this task if you like. For example if you’re a great marketer but a so-so writer outsource the articles. This allows you to move on to another project and create another stream of revenue. This is the route of serious growth.

So what’s your take on this? Do you have any questions or tactics you’d like to share? If you do just put them in the comment box below.

About the Author:

James Martell is well known expert in affiliate marketing, outsourcing and SEO. He is a sought after speaker, affiliate marketing trainer and podcaster. James along with his wife Arlene a weekly series of affiliate marketing podcasts on iTunes. James lives in White Rock BC, a seaside suburb of Vancouver on west coast of Canada with his wife, Arlene and their 4 growing kids.

Getting More Twitter Followers – Easy As 1, 2, 3

You know yourself that social media has become a way of life. No matter how much you hate the idea of one more thing to do, you know that your business can flourish in these bad economic times if you just do one thing right – social media.

So you create your FanPage on Facebook and include an opt-in form there to capture the names and email addresses of the people who go to the page. Good job!

But what are you going to do about Twitter? You know you need to get free twitter followers to sell your kitchen stools, desk lamps, chiropractic services, piano lessons, sleigh beds, mobility scooters, lawn and garden tractors, motorcycle lessons, concert tickets, or Golden Technologies lift chairs. And you did set up the account but it’s dormant or stagnant with no one really joining you.

If You Get Banned, More Than Your Account Suffers

You know that Twitter software can be one of the most artificial things out there, and do things that can get your account banned from the site. Losing your account this way would take a lot of time and energy to build back up your credibility.

It’s really not an option if you want to sleep at night.

So what do you do?

Let Me Help You Increase Your Twitter Followers

Well, I have an answer for you. With a strong background in internet marketing and being known as a lone, wild horse type that takes action and gets results for affiliate marketing and podcasts, I came up with a 3-step process on how to increase twitter followers that I know you are going to love.

Now I do have a confession to make. Even as a top internet marketer, I have to admit that at first, I just didn’t understand the relevance of Twitter to my business.

Still, I decided to get into the stirrups and get on the Twitter horse, and haven’t regretted it. Right now I have 5,413 loyal followers, nothing to brag about compared to celebrities with millions of followers.

Before you get to millions of followers, you have to get to 5000. And that’s what I can help you with. I can teach you right here and right now how to get more twitter followers.

So strap yourself into the saddle. Let’s get ready to go for a business ride into the future to get your 5000 followers.

3 Top Strategies to Create a Herd of Followers

Here’s what to do:

1. Put on the Proud Hat of a Newspaper Owner

Did you know that you can create your own newspaper based on a keyword?

Before you tell me, “Hey, James, I don’t have that kind of time! Sure I can do anything but the bottom line is I need rich rewards for little time investment,” you just have to slow down a little. You’re galloping too fast.

I created my own syndicated newspaper called The Guest Blogging Daily at www.paper.li and use it with one of my Twitter lists. You can do the same.

Check out the newspaper here: http://paper.li/JamesMartell/1308523225 and you’ll see why this beaut of an idea is going to take you riding off into the sunset soon. It’s beautifully designed and very presentable.

Now here’s the best part of all: completely automated!

I knew you would love that one.

“Come on, James, what’s the catch?” you may say. Well, there’s no catch at all. Once you set this up, you don’t have to lift a finger. There are contributing authors articles are added to the newspaper automatically based on your keywords and linked to Twitter.

When they see that their article has appeared in your syndicated newspaper (it’s tweeted to them automatically), many will they will start following you and as fast as a cowboy can draw a gun, and they retweet it to their own lists. You end up with more followers.

So now I led your horse to water on this one. Will you help him drink? I challenge you to get on this syndicated newspaper idea NOW.

2. Fill the Demand for Guest Writers

Coming up with content to fill websites is always a challenge. This site is also looking for guest writers.

Well, guest blogging gives you the opportunity to speak your truth in front of a whole new crowd. Some other things you should know about this one include:

  • If you can’t think of a topic, keep it simple. Give a new strategy to the readers to solve a problem. Can’t think of a new strategy? Then give them a tip.
  • Still at a loss for words? Go to the site’s comments section and preach share some insight on one of them.

Here’s the vital part to get you more Twitter followers: in the author’s bio, ask the reader to follow you. It’s that simple. But do tell them what they will get if they do.

3. Make Better Use of Your Thank You Pages

This one works no matter what. When someone fills in your optin form to obtain your newsletter, white paper or free report, then they automatically get a thank you page.

On the thank you page, invite them to follow you on Twitter. It’s common sense, yet I hadn’t thought of it before my friend Joshua Sloan, former Director of Online Marketing for 1&1 Hosting told me about it.

How simple is this one? How long will it take you? Maybe 5 minutes to send the instructions to your webmaster. Maybe 30 minutes to do the work yourself.

If you really want to get more twitter followers, do it! Don’t wait.

So what are you promoting? Reclining lift chairs, dental services or Pride lift chair recliners? Church services, cat toys, or organic baby food? Jewelry, protein bars or Hillsdale bar stools, business services?

It doesn’t matter. These strategies are for horses of all kinds. And I’m not calling you a horse, by the way! It’s just a figure of speech. ;)

So get yourself in the saddle and giddyup!

You’ll receive actionable tips, strategies and money making advice directly from James Martell when you subscribe to his weekly Affiliate Buzz podcast by email, RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow James on Twitter. You’ll be glad you did! ;)

How To Get And Stay Organized Online – The Key To Your Success

I’m a big believer that my success in internet marketing is largely due to my early commitment to organizing my effort. When I first got started in this business back in 1999 I was like many working at it part time. Initially I got lucky and was able to generate some decent income very quickly without fully knowing what I was doing.

However that sweet deal disappeared in the dot com bust and suddenly I was faced with reality.

I needed to start all over again, finding a new niche, building new websites and trying to figure out the best way to market my new affiliate products. It’s one thing to spend a couple of hours each evening on a single product knowing that it was going to generate money and it is quite another when you no longer have that product and you’re starting from ground zero. Where time wasn’t really a big concern for me while the dollars rolled in regularly, when that stopped time became extremely important.

It was right about then that I lost a critical password list. I knew I needed to learn how to get and stay organized online if I was ever going to succeed.

Just the kick in the butt that I needed

Now that may not seem like a big deal to you but trust me it was. I was feeling the pressure to get the business off the ground and now I have to waste precious hours trying to recover those passwords from the various websites. That’s when it dawned on me that I had to do a better job of organizing my business to prevent catastrophes like the password list but also to use my time as efficiently as I could.

Since that time I’ve been committed to improving the methods that I use to conduct business and am in a constant search for new time-saving tools to help me achieve just that. I’ve made process improvement an important part of my business model and it has really paid off.

The rewards of an organized business model

My wife Arlene and I have been working from home for over 10 years now and we are enjoying a fantastic lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong it’s not all worry free and no pressure, there are always challenges to be met whenever you run your own business but the benefits we have today are fantastic and I attribute them to our organized business model.

Today Arlene and I can’t even imagine working a 9 to 5 gig for someone else.

Today we enjoy a super short commute (30 seconds), a flexible schedule that we control and financial rewards that have allowed us to take a few amazing vacations. I knew I was making progress when I finally purchased my dream car a replica of a 1965 Shelby Cobra.

It’s a great way to live and you can do the same thing…if you get organized early on.

Laying the groundwork for an organized business model

You can start with your home office. Regardless where it is in your home you want to make sure that you have a minimal number of distractions and that includes family members or roommates. When you’re in your space the rest of the folks who live in your home have to understand that you’re not browsing for the latest sports scores, you’re trying to make a living and it’s not a good idea to interrupt you.

Your computer is your number one tool so make sure it’s adequate to do the job. If you have high-speed Internet connection and the pages are still loading slowly consider getting some more RAM for the computer. You can easily double the amount of RAM in most computers for under $50 and the difference in speed is well worth it.

You don’t need the latest whiz bang computer workstation you just need a desk that’s functional and a chair that will give you good back support. Likewise you don’t need a ton of office supplies.

What you do need is to spend the time to evaluate how you pursue your business. How are you going after your goals? How much time you spend on tasks or functions that are not directly related to meeting your goals?

A second here a second there

I found that one of the biggest time wasters in this business is simply navigating the Internet. The amount of time spent filling in usernames and passwords or filling in online forms is significant if you add it all up. And guess what… there’s a way to automate those functions.

Here’s a short list of 5 tools that I use every day to save time and get the most out of my work day:

  1. WordPress – okay you may not think of WordPress as a time-saving tool but it really is. When I design my first website back in 1999 I had to do it a page at a time in HTML. When I first learned how to create a WordPress website I was amazed at how fast the process was (literally minutes) and how robust the features were. Easy to build easy to manage, this is the best platform for affiliate marketers who have little or no technical skills
  2. Carbonite – this is your safety deposit box for all the files on your computer. Carbonite will automatically upload any file that has been modified and all new files to secure online storage facility. In short, this is where you log into to recover all of your files when your computer crashes. Think about the enormity of that kind of event. Forget for a moment the time involved, could you actually recover or re-create every file that’s on your computer? Probably not. Carbonite is a must-have to prevent a catastrophe.
  3. RoboForm – remember when I said I lost that list of usernames and passwords? It was a real pain and time-consuming trying to track them all down. RoboForm takes care of that for you. This little piece of software automatically remembers your username, password and any other personal identification such as e-mail address or physical address. When you land on the sign in page RoboForm will fill out the fields and automatically submit the information
  4. Snag it – this is another super time-saving software. One of the great time consuming tasks is the management and sizing of images. Snag it basically allows you to snag an image, crop it, add text and graphics and do it all on the fly. Managing images just doesn’t get any simpler than this.
  5. Google Documents – at some point in your business you’re going to develop a team whether you realize it or not. You’re going to want to interact and share documents with vendors, freelancers, affiliate managers and all the others that you work with. Google documents are a great way to manage information among those team members. You can share documents and you can collaborate on documents without having to create duplicate documents.

So what are you doing this weekend? Are you planning on watching that tutorial on WordPress small business themes? Let me suggest that you do this instead… spend this weekend really getting organized. Take the time to evaluate just how you do business and how you can streamline the workflow. Check out the tools listed above and others that can automate functions you frequently perform.

It may seem like small potatoes, saving a few seconds here and a few seconds there, but they add up that more importantly they keep your mojo going. There’s nothing worse than being fired up about idea and having to wait for slow page load or download. So take the time now to build that framework of organization that will allow you a faster success.

Bio

James Martell, his wife Arlene and their four children live in a seaside suburb outside of Vancouver BC. James is a recognized leader in the affiliate marketing industry and is the founder and co-host of the longest-running affiliate marketing podcast series on the Internet. James has been training and mentoring online marketers since 2001. You’ll receive actionable tips, strategies and money making advice directly from James Martell when you subscribe to his weekly Affiliate Buzz podcast by email, RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow James on Twitter. You’ll be glad you did! ;)

Is It Time To Tweak Your Website? – Fast Track Your Improvements By Outsourcing

You’ve had your website up for a while now and you’re a tad disappointed in it’s look and performance. Maybe it was the first one you built and at the time you were so proud with your new found skills. But then you started looking at the results in terms of traffic and sales and that pride started to slip. It nearly took a nosedive when you looked at competing sites.

Your site needs to be tweaked

Think about it like this. Suppose a guy or a gal learns how to ride a bike and grows up to be a cycling enthusiast. When they get their first bike it’s probably a Schwinn beach glider with no gears, no front and back brakes, no water bottle holder and handles that resemble the horns on a Texas steer. So the kid learns to ride a bike and is thrilled…for a little while.

As time passes the kid wants more out of the bike and before you know it he or she has upgraded to a 5 speed, then a 10 speed and eventually to a high end racing bike with custom tires and brakes. About this time they also buy tight spandex pants and a helmet with a little rear view mirror attached.

Each time they upgraded it was because they wanted more out of their bike. That’s where you are with your website. You’re seeing what other sites can do and you’re comparing it to your “Schwinn” website. You want more but how do you get it.

When the work requires skills you don’t have

If you have limited design and development skills the fastest way to tweak your site so it is professional in appearance and performance is to hire people to get it done for you. It’s called outsourcing and before you scream “That costs money” stick with me and I’ll show you that it doesn’t cost nearly what you think it does.

There’s a huge pool of extremely talented people who will work as contractors on a project basis. These are freelancers. Most are individuals but there are some small businesses as well. The key is they have the talent you need but not the overhead that a traditional shop requires. Net result, great work for less.

So what do they do and how do you find them?

To answer the first part of the question, they do everything. You can get simple graphic tweaking such as retouching photos to a complete overhaul of website design and development. And once your site is cranking you can even add an outsourced customer service department.

My wife Arlene made extensive use of freelancers when she built her website EpilepsyMoms.com. The result was a professional site that got launched quickly and is now one of the most popular in her niche. But just like the bike rider she is always looking to get more out of the site, (in her case she wants more content), and she continues to use freelancers to do just that.

Finding these freelancers is a snap. You can search for them on Google or you can visit one of the many outsourcing sites like Elance.com or vWork.com. You can find somebody to make a logo or you can get specialty services like digital IR (infrared) photography. The key though is knowing just what you want and how to evaluate the freelancer.

10 best practices when outsourcing a job

  1. Put all of your preconceived ideas about what outsourcing costs out of your mind and post a job. Even if you have approached a brick and mortar shop for an estimate and got shocked out of your socks at the price, give a freelance site a shot. Remember most of these freelancers don’t have anywhere near the overhead of a brick and mortar and they are individuals receiving the money directly. This has a serious discounting affect without discounting the quality.
  2. One of the most frustrating parts about being a professional freelancer is bidding on a job that that has an inadequate job description. In fact professional freelancers may take a pass on a vague description figuring that a) the buyer doesn’t know what they want meaning scope creep is likely going to occur or b) the buyer is just kicking the tires and trying to get a general feel for pricing. Either way it’s a waste of valuable proposal writing time for the freelancer. Make your description extremely detailed if you want to attract the best talent.
  3. Divide your project into chunks and set deadlines or milestones for each chunk. This allows you to see the progress being made and insures that the provider is actually working on the project.
  4. The proposal is an important document when deciding on a provider but feedback may be a more telling way to see what kind of worker they really are. Look for good feedback and a high repeat customer percentage. Avoid providers with no feedback in their history.
  5. If you like the proposal but not the price, try negotiating with the provider.
  6. Stay engaged with the provider. If he or she has questions respond to them in a timely helpful fashion. Good communications between buyer and provider translates to a finished product that meets the buyer’s needs to a T.
  7. If you’re using a platform like Elance.com or vWorker.com, don’t be tempted by provider offers of a discount if you take the job offsite and let them work directly for you. It’s a violation of the TOS and it’s also a sign you have a provider with ethical issues.
  8. When the project is complete and you’re satisfied with the work pay the provider. Don’t string them along. Get a reputation as a prompt payer and you’ll attract the best talent to your projects.
  9. When you find great providers then build great relationships. Give them excellent feedback and be sure to invite them to bid on your next project.
  10. Providers get feedback and so do buyers. Getting good feedback is a great way to build your brand. Don’t be shy about requesting positive feedback from a provider.

Outsourcing is the fastest way to tweak your website.

BIO

A recognized expert in natural search and outsourcing, James Martell is a leader in the affiliate marketing industry. His approach to the business is “real world” not some super secret technique. His methods are based on intelligent planning, solid execution and effective monitoring of results. His laid back “guy next door” style has made him a popular choice for speaking engagements at affiliate marketing conventions and events across the world. James founded the longest running podcast in the industry “Affiliate Buzz” and runs a highly successful affiliate marketing training as well.

James, his wife of 24 years Arlene and their four kids enjoy life as it should be lived at their home in a seaside suburb of Vancouver, B.C.