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9 Ways To Generate Traffic Without Building More Content

Just because you're too busy to blog doesn't mean your blog has to lose momentum. Here are 9 ways to generate traffic to your website without building new content.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever been busier than I am right now...which is why I’ve only posted one blog in the past few weeks. I’m making an international move, speaking at MojoCon Ireland and am booked up with a handful of exciting training sessions.

So, it’s been difficult to sit down long enough to write a super useful post, but I have just recently been inspired by my own insanity. Sometimes life gets in the way of building new content, but it’s sucks to lose momentum as followers unfollow, website metrics go down and your brand starts fading into distant digital memories.

During these past couple of weeks, I’ve struggled to come up with content to share without making anything new. But, as the busyness subsides, my creativity is coming back to me! Next time life gets crazy, I’m absolutely going to do these 10 things to maintain traffic and top-of-mind.

Curate The Content Of Others

Although this doesn't brand YOU as well as original content would, it still allows you to provide value to your audience. From sharing helpful stuff on social media to curating newsletters and whitepapers, simply save stuff as you come across it.

My favorite method right now is saving content from Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit and Feedly to Buffer. When a post inspires action that I don’t have time to take immediately, I save it to Pocket and add it to my to-do list on Asana later.

It’s also a great way to establish good will and get on the radar of ideal audience members and your awesome idols, which brings me to…

Partnerships: Formal Or Otherwise

These days, everyone is talking about formal affiliate plans to cross promote products and services, but not every partnership needs to be formal. Sometimes a simple give-take relationship on social media can go really far. It’s also a wonderful starting point for guest posting opportunities or podcast appearances when things or a little less busy.

Multiply The Content You Already Have

Chances are, you already have some awesome content. Turn a tip into a shareable image with Pablo or Canva. Clip a quote out of a video to share on Instagram or Vine. Turn a top 10 list post into an infographic for Pinterest or a Slideshare. Take some of those outtakes and turn it into a behind-the-scenes video. There are plenty of ways to breathe new life into your older content.

Create An E-Book From A Series Of Blog Posts

Chances are you have a full series of helpful blogs already written. Turn them into a list overview blog post with a download link for your e-Book. You could even sell it on Amazon, BookBub, Book Gorilla and AppSumo.

Original Social Content

Just because you don’t have time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard doesn’t mean you don’t have tons of tips floating around in your head. Hop on Periscope of Facebook live to give a mini-webinar.

Take it a step further by giving your followers an exclusive link to one of your related content upgrades, too.

Guest Blog Posts

If you’ve invested some time into 1 or 2, you have some relationships you can rely on. Ask people you respect for guest blog posts, or solicit them on social media.

Just be sure you have a way to "add value" for them. Maybe choose people who are 1 or 2 steps behind you but have a brand that jives with yours (without competing directly) and ask them to share their insight.

Guest Interviews

In my opinion, this is perhaps even better than a guest blog post because it only takes 20 or 30 minutes to provide a lot of value—and it’s a smaller commitment for your guest, so you’re more likely to get the ‘yes.’ You can post it to SoundCloud as audio-only, or record the video and post it to YouTube, as well.

You even have an easy content upgrade—a transcript! And it might not even take you any of your own time to create it—the app, Rev, charges $1 a minute to do transcribe for you. You also have the bonus distribution from your guest. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Expert Round-Ups

Take to Twitter and ask 10 experts what their favorite app, tool, tip or quote is. Take 20 minutes to fill in the blanks, pull together bios from their Twitter profiles and post it to your blog. Not only was it exceptionally simple, but you’ll also have 10 more people to share your blog when it’s complete.

(And, you've established some new relationships for options 2, 6 and 7.)

Post To Communities & Forums

Take time to answer peoples’ questions on Facebook groups, Twitter chats, Reddit and Quora. You’ll help people by briefly sharing your knowledge, and (depending on the rules) you could even link to previous posts that are directly relevant.

About The Author

Hey, I'm Sarah!

I love teaching online business bosses to create better content and incorporate cool tech and tools into their content marketing machine so they can get better results (more traffic, more customers, more money) in less time. After all, isn't that what content marketing is for?

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

5 Big Fat Myths about Video Production that Pro Videographers Don't Want You to Know

Even though we know that original video means results (more engagement, higher conversions, etc.), most of us are still holding back. We’ve quoted prices from professional videographers and decided that video is simply out of our price range. Maybe we never even considered doing it ourselves. In my experience, many of the reasons I’ve heard from professional videographers and overpriced marketing teams as to why people can’t shoot their own video are complete lies. Here’s the real story:

1) Your video DOES NOT have to be perfect. And to be perfect, it DOES NOT have to be done by a professional.

Of course, anyone who spends a great deal of time producing content is going to be better at it than a novice. But, these days, content doesn’t have to be perfect. It has to be authentic and resonate with your audience.

Did you know that the definition of “authentic” is “true to one’s own personality, spirit or character.” This also matters for brands. You can TELL when a brand is using a service to post to their social platforms that doesn’t understand their brand or their audience. As a solopreneur, who better to talk about your brand than you?

Beyond that, you can still achieve amazing results that mirror what professionals can get if you have a great story to tell. For example, I once had a client make a funny smartphone video that outperformed a video they paid a professional to do on Facebook. More views, more likes, more comments, more shares, more everything. Except, of course, money. (Need to see some numbers? Check it out!).

I’m not saying your videos shouldn’t be high-quality. Your audio should absolutely be easily audible and free of distracting background noise, and no one wants to see your Blair Witch-style shaky video, but you can get quality results if you follow some simple rules.

2) Video is NOT expensive.

Most people who’ve looked into video content know two things: it’s super effective at engaging and converting customers, and it comes with a hefty price tag (usually $3k to $5k per video). But it doesn’t have to be! Most people have a smartphone that can shoot really good video, and there are tons of apps available to edit your content.

Some apps even edit the content for you. They’ll organize your photo and audio into an photo slideshow video, a gif, or a video collage.

For hardware, there are simple, cheap solutions like using lamps to add light to a situation, and using your earbuds as a makeshift lavalier microphone. I’ve even made a tabletop tripod out of cardboard. You don’t need a $500 light kit, a $200 microphone and a titanium tripod. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The kit doesn’t make the video; the story does.

3) Making your own videos is NOT time-consuming.

Not only are there so many easy apps that automate the process, but for most solopreneurs who are close to all aspects of their business, they could easily take their phone out and film a customer testimonial or create a fun video in no time at all.

For example, I did a training session in Austin, filmed for about five minutes, asked the organizer three questions on camera, and built and posted a testimonial video on my iPhone while taxiing to the runway to fly home. Or, for Thanksgiving, I recorded by iPhone screen while I used a paint app to draw my logo into a turkey and wish everyone a Happy Turkey Day, all while I ate a delicious piece of my Grandma’s pecan pie.

Instead of making it another item on your to-do list, integrate it into something you’re already doing.

4) Every brand has stories to tell.

During my years as a journalist, people would always ask, “Why are you interviewing me? There’s nothing interesting about me.” And with every story, I would find a way to prove them wrong. Every person, like every brand, has a unique story to tell. You just have to think like an outsider. (Here are some tips to do just that).

Think about all of the things you do in a day. You meet with customers. Make testimonial videos. You’re introducing a new product. Record a quick demo.

All I’m asking you to do is talk about what you love—your brand. And do it on camera. Talk about why you do what you do. Share your knowledge. If people are paying you for your service, you must have valuable knowledge or skills to share that will attract your audience and keep your company top-of-mind with potential customers.

5) Small brands CAN do it.

Just because the brands that are creating video effectively so far are mostly big brands does NOT mean you can’t do it. Check us out on social media. A perfect example of solopreneurship video production.

If you go look at Google’s Facebook page, you’ll notice the type of video they’re creating isn’t hard to build. They print out images and create fun videos just by placing them in and out of the frame. They record themselves drawing on white boards. They create animated gifs out of simple images and text. You can do ALL of these things, and probably by the end of the day today!

I’m here to tell you that you CAN create original videos. The only thing holding you back is inaction. You have the tools (a smartphone and a story). You just need to get started.

5 Reasons You Should be Producing Your Own Videos

business video, branding, video, smartphone, video smartphone, content marketing, mobile storytelling, videography, storytelling, apps, applications,

Almost every brand has a blog these days, but if you can build original visual video, not only will you be able to use social media more effectively, save time building content and stand out among your competitors, you’ll also get to know your audience better AND could even find a new revenue stream for your business.

1) You’re already spending time posting about your brand on social media, but you could be doing it more effectively.

Everyone says you need to be telling your brand’s story, but you also need to be telling it right. Use the media types that are most effective on these platforms.

For example, on Facebook, video posts see the most engagement of any format, with about 2,200 interactions per update, on average, compared to 1,400 for photo posts. On the paid side of things, people are seeing click-through rates of up to 8 percent on video ads on Facebook, compared to 0.1 percent on the average banner ad.

Overall, content with visuals get 94 percent more views than content without. AND, this content can also lead to more sales.

Video drives higher conversion rates than other form of content.

A report by Vidyard and Demand Metric found that 71 percent of marketers claimed video drove higher conversion rates than other forms of content.

2) Save time. Be more efficient creating your content.

For solopreneurs, building content in any format can be time-consuming. But, solopreneurs also tend to be involved in more activities related to their business on a regular basis, from product development, to events and meeting with customers, you have direct contact with everything that could be a story for you. Take the opportunity of being so close to everything in your business to automate video creation.

Why not use your smartphone to start building videos from these experiences? Instead of making it another item on your to-do list, integrate it into something you’re already doing. For example, I did a training session in Austin, filmed for about five minutes, asked the organizer three questions on camera, and built and posted a testimonial video on my iPhone while taxiing to the runway to fly home. You CAN do this, too!

3) It’s a chance to stand out.

So many brands that are succeeding in the content marketing are scared to move beyond their blogs. For example, only one in 10 small brands are using video (and one in four for large brands), but more than half of all Internet traffic is video.

They think it takes specialized skills and/or expensive freelancers. They don’t realize the availability of free and cheap video apps MADE for the general consumer! They’re made for people who are learning how to produce videos, and want to do so cheaply and effectively. Take advantage!

4) Know your audience, and build better products for your audience.

When you build content people enjoy and find valuable, people will be more likely to engage with you. You can use this engagement to research your audience, build trust and increase brand awareness, with the soft goal of making better business decisions. You can use engaging video content to test and research customers, non-customers, influencers, haters and advocates.

For example, does your existing audience have another pain point that you could solve with a new product or service? This information can help you innovate your offerings and develop an authentic voice that resonates with your audience. Having access to your audiences—customers and non-customers—will help you do all of these things.

You can use this engagement to research your audience, build trust and increase brand awareness, with the soft goal of making better business decisions.

5) Monetize your content.

Beyond reaching your audience more effectively, saving time on content creation, standing out AND knowing your audience, producing high-quality videos that resonate with your audience could also become another revenue stream for your business. Consider putting a price tag on your knowledge and your voice!

Ultimately, with today’s technology, entrepreneurs with limited resources can build videos that resonate with audiences and attract customers who love their brand, and use their content to drive their entire business, from marketing and beyond.

StoryLab’s Top Tips for Startups featured on EZ Tech Startup

storylab, ez tech start up, entrepreneurship

I was recently interviewed by EZ Tech Startup, a podcast site with tips for tech-related startups. The interview only took a few minutes, but we talked about some of the greatest challenges to starting a business, the lessons I’ve learned (A LOT), and the products I use to stay on top of trends, meet new clients, and stay inspired.

Here are the magic five resources I mentioned on the show:

  • Product: Twitter to stay on top of trends and connect with clients
  • Book: “The $100 Startup” to keep you inspired
  • Habit: Setting a time limit for reading business news. Otherwise, you’ll always be learning and never doing.
  • Advice: Establish partnerships. Your relationships are one of the most important aspects of your business.
  • Motivation: Just do it. Just like with exercise, it’s easy to make excuses not to get started. Action is the hard part.

You can listen to the full podcast here. I’d love to hear your thoughts, as well as your recommended resources, in the comments!

StoryLab presents at One Million Cups

storylab, one million cups, entrepreneurship

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to present the concept of StoryLab to a few dozen people at Columbia's Downtown Business Incubator. Every Wednesday morning, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial sympathizers get together to have coffee and listen to a 6-minute presentation from a local start-up, before providing feedback and asking questions for another 30 minutes. More commonly known as One Million Cups, the Kauffman Foundation event aims to bring together 1 million entrepreneurs nationwide to continue to connect people and help start-ups succeed.

I learned a lot from my fellow entrepreneurs, and am eager to get started on some of their recommendations. Below I've included just the highlights from my 7 minute presentation (yes, I broke the rules just a little bit), and the link to the full presentation.

On May 20, 2015, StoryLab founder and chief educator Sarah Redohl presented the StoryLab business model and concept to a group of more than 50 people at the Downtown Business Incubator in Columbia, Missouri. The event was part of the Kauffman Foundation's One Million Cups entrepreneurship initiative.

View the full presentation and questions here.