How to Write a Brilliant Blog Post per Week

Great observations and tips on how to write a brilliant blog from the fellow blogger Christian Mihai.

Click on writer’s name highlighted in red to see original post.

Thank you Christian!

Hi guys,

Today’s post is all about writing that great post. The one that is going to attract new readers, build trust with the old ones, and engage every one who stumbles upon your blog to comment…

We’ve already talked about writing a blog post in 15 minutes, which is a great skill to have, and we also tackled the issue of being consistent.

Consistently creating great content is the backbone of any blog.

But how can you make that happen? Well, one option is to caffeinated yourself to the point of near death and stay up late the night before you publish your post.

But the better option is to spread the writing and editing process over a few days. Sounds good?

Quality over quantity

The truth is that publishing a great post once a week is better than posting mediocre content on a daily basis.

That’s what your goal should be: one weekly post that will attract attention, engage readers emotions, and turn them into loyal subscribers.

The idea is that you should be able to sustain the pace. Writing content on a daily basis is not easy to sustain, even if you dedicate a lot of your time on your hand.

So, how exactly do you write a great post a week? Well, let’s all take in day by day.

Day 1: Ideas and headlines

Start by thinking about your topic, and what angle you’ll approach it from.

Think of what the readers has to gain from reading your post. How exactly is your post going to help me? How is it going to make them feel?

What are YOU trying to make them feel?

Think of all these things as you write down as many ideas for a headline as possible. First impressions matter, so you need to create the best headline that is sure to attract attention.

While you’re at it, you can also write down your subheads. The general ideas of the post. Try to get a feel for it, to sense the direction in which everything’s headed.

That’s enough for day one.

The first step is the most difficult, and you’re off to a good start. Move on to the rest of your day, and prepare for tomorrow — it’s going to be a heavy one.

Day 2: The devil is in the details

First off, revise the headline and subheads you wrote yesterday. Do they still make sense? Are they still intriguing? Are you looking forward to filling in what’s missing?

If not, edit. Once you’re satisfied, it’s time to fill in the details. Ready? Set? Go!

I know what you’re saying right now. “It’s not a race.” Actually, it kind of is.

Don’t think, just write.

Don’t try to analyse your writing, don’t linger too much on any one paragraph. Write as fast as you can.

Punch the damn keys!

Write from the heart.

Finally, before you wrap up working on your post for the day, look for an image, something that will capture what your post is all about.

Now, it’s time to walk away. Stop thinking about your post. Take a break.

Day 3: Writing is rewriting. Also, editing.

On day three, read through your first draft to see how it looks today. You might want to read it out loud in a monotone voice to be sure it still makes sense and sounds good, even with no inflection.

Now, it’s time to rewrite and edit. Move text around, keep reading, keep tweaking.

When you’re pleased with the final result, it’s time to format your post. Add bulleted lists where you can. Add excerpts using block quotes. Break up long paragraphs into smaller chunks to make them easier to read on screen.

Last thing on your do-do list should be about checking a few more things:

  • Does the headline make a reader want to know what your post is all about?
  • Is the image intriguing enough?
  • Do the subheads tell your story all by themselves?
  • Have you asked an engaging question at the end to encourage comments and conversation?
  • Did you add a call to action for a product, service, or your email list?

Ideally, you should be answering yes to all of these questions.

Day 4: This is the day

Now, don’t think that if you get to hit that “publish” button that your job is done. No. You also need to promote your post.

How can you do that? Try:

  • Making yourself available to respond to comments, answer questions and converse with your readers
  • Promoting your post across the social media channels you use
  • Include it in your e-mail newsletter.

It’s not easy to write epic posts week after week, but dividing the work up over several days will make it a lot easier.

Building time into your schedule to get away from your post will make you a better editor.

What’s your writing schedule?

This is one way to write brilliant posts, but there are many others.

Do you have a favorite technique?

Let’s talk about it in the comments.

The Home Buying Process

Today we feature our guest blogger, Bret Engle article.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Many first-time home buyers consider purchasing a fixer-upper. While you may think a fixer-upper is an inexpensive way into your first home, or a fast track to easy money, it could turn into a money pit. Take these points into consideration so you can make a smart choice.

The home-buying process. Before you do anything else, you need to know the ins and outs of the home-buying process. CNN explains the basic steps:

Save for a down payment. Typically this is around 20 percent of the purchase price.

  • Know your credit score. The better your credit rating, the better your chance of getting a loan and securing a good interest rate.
  • Talk with your bank. Your lender can tell you how much you can borrow.
  • Explore the market. Find out what’s available in your price range.

Special funding. Depending on your situation, you may qualify for special loans to buy a fixer-upper. There are government-backed home-renovation loans available through Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration. These loans are determined in part by your credit rating, along with other factors affecting eligibility.

House hunting. You need to research the homes available in your area, becoming familiar with all the local market offers. You should explore what is in your price range, decide if you can afford repairs, and think about whether it’s appropriate to invest your time, money, and energy in a fixer-upper. For instance, homes for sale in Stamford, CT have a median listing price of $570,000.

As Bob Vila explains, if you’re pooling all your funds for a down payment, it may not be reasonable to consider a home you can’t afford to fix right away. Some repairs are cosmetic, and you can live on-site and do the work yourself. In that case, you can probably take your time and make repairs during evenings and weekends. If a house has structural issues or needs major renovations, consider where you will live and whether you have the skills to do the work. When determining repairs, some items may be difficult for a layperson to evaluate. Before you fall in love with property, some experts note it’s wise to pay for appropriate inspections, which may mean hiring more than the traditional certified home inspector. There are specialized inspections for roofs, sewers, pests, and geological issues, and you might even be able to get the seller to pay for them.

Smart decisions. If you elect to take the jump into purchasing a fixer-upper home, you’ll need to invest in appropriate tools and materials. You won’t want to pinch pennies by buying poor-quality items because good tools such as drills, sanders, and jigsaws make your work much easier. Better quality equates to better efficiency and a lighter workload on your part. You also need to prioritize properly. For instance, HGTV notes you want to make any major repairs to kitchens and bathrooms first because those rooms are of high use and value.

Sell or stay? This is a big question, and there are many determining factors. One of the biggest factors in whether to flip your fixer-upper is the expense involved in your renovations. If quick, cosmetic repairs are all that’s needed and a home is located in a desirable location, you can potentially turn a profit flipping a home. However, expensive repairs, a downturn in the market, or a location that isn’t so marketable can all factor into whether your investment will pay off. Some professionals warn that for many first-time home buyers who purchase fixer-uppers, bankruptcy can be the outcome instead of a tidy profit. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before your dream of flipping a fixer-upper becomes a financial nightmare!

First-time fixer-upper? If you’re puzzling over whether to purchase a fixer-upper as your first home, it’s wise to be cautious. Understand the buying process and evaluate whether you have the skills and money to make it worthwhile. Weigh the many factors involved if you’re considering attempting to flip the property. Careful considerations are the key to making a smart decision!

Bret Engle Article

If you need help with design for your project, or with buying/selling your home or knowing the value of your home fill up the form below.

How to Share Posts From the Instagram Feed to Stories

What would you say? Have you used this yet? What do you think about Buffer postings?

Instagram has released a new way for users to easily share feed posts to stories.

More than 300 million users now use Instagram stories daily and this update will enable them to share any post from their Instagram feed directly to stories.

In the feature’s launch blog post Instagram explained:

When you come across something in feed that inspires you — like a post from a friend raising money for a cause or a photo of a new design from your favorite brand — you can now quickly share that post as a sticker to your story for your friends and followers to see.

How to share feed posts to Instagram Stories

To share feed posts to stories:

  1.  Tap the paper airplane button below the post (like you would to send a direct message)
  2. You’ll then see an option on the following menu to “Create a story with this post”
  3. Tap it to see the feed post as a sticker with a customized background ready to share to your story. You can move, resize or rotate the photo or video. You can also use drawing tools or add text and stickers.

Any post shared to a story will include a link back to the original post and include the original poster’s username.

Only posts from public Instagram accounts can be shared to stories. If you have a public account and would like to opt-out from letting people share your posts to stories, you can do so within Instagram’s settings.

In a recent episode of The Science of Social Media, hosts, Hailley and Brian discussed this update (around the 4:45 mark in the below audio):

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How brands can use this feature

Many brands and influencers already use stories as a way to drive attention to their latest feed and promote their latest posts. This update will be a welcome improvement to this process by allowing users to directly link to their latest feed posts, rather than taking a screenshot of a post and manually adding it to stories.

As Brian mentions in the podcast, this could enable brands to use stories as a way to cross-promote their feed posts to their audience on stories — people who may have potentially missed the post in the feed.

“One of the reasons we love stories so much is that it can be used as cross-promote content and now users will be able to go from stories directly to your feed,” he explained.

Hailley also drew comparisons between this feature and Twitter’s quote tweet functionality, where users can share content from the feed, but also add their own thoughts and context around it.

This is another exciting update from Instagram — following the share to stories and live video chat announcements at F8 — and it helps to better connect the feed to stories as well as providing a way for users to re-share some of their favorite Instagram content in a more public way than sharing with a couple of friends via a direct message.

What do you think to this release from Instagram? Will it change how you use Instagram stories for your business? Let us know in the comments 💬

Original article is here

 

 

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags for 2018

This is very informative information.

Did you know an Instagram post with at least one hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than a post with no hashtags?

Hashtags are powerful. They can help your posts reach a target audience, attract followers in your niche, increase engagement, and develop a more positive and recognizable brand image.

Here’s the thing, though: with great power comes great responsibility (#spiderman).

Click here to learn how to use Instagram Stories, Carousels, Influencers, and more. 

Hashtags can skyrocket your business to new heights, but if used too frequently or without a clear strategy in mind, they become pointless and inefficient, e.g.: #happy #superhappy #ecstatic #jumpingforjoy #whatsanothersynonym.

We want your business’s Instagram posts to receive optimal engagement, so we’ve put together an ultimate guide for using Instagram hashtags in 2018. With this guide, you won’t just attract followers — you’ll attract the right followers.

Why Hashtags Are Important

Hashtags are essentially Instagram’s sorting process. With around 95 million photos posted on Instagram every day, it’s difficult for Instagram to efficiently deliver the right content to the right people. Hashtags help your post get discovered by viewers most interested in seeing it.

Krystal Gillespie, HubSpot’s Social Media Community Manager, explains the importance of hashtags this way: “Hashtags are like a funnel. For instance, #marketing is incredibly broad and attracts all types of posts. We’ve found #digitalmarketing or #marketingmotivation gives us a more specific, targeted reach. The audience searching for these hashtags are also trying to narrow their search to what we offer related to Marketing, so we’re actually reaching more of the right people.”

Essentially, hashtags are a better way to categorize your posts. They help you reach a target audience, and more importantly, they help your target audience find you. These users are more likely to engage with your post because your post is exactly what they wanted.

Adding one of the most popular Instagram hashtags to your post doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see more interaction. Since the hashtags above are so popular, they are being used by millions of people, so your post will most likely be obscured by the competition. Narrowing your hashtag topic is important, but we’ll get to that next.

How to Use Hashtags for Your Business

1. Keep Your Hashtags Organized

To create an efficient hashtag system, you can use Excel or an Instagram analytics tool. If you choose an excel sheet, you’ll need to manually keep track of which hashtags you use, how often, and which ones correlate to your most popular posts. Over time, you’ll see relationships between certain hashtags and your most popular posts, and this can help you decide which hashtags work best for your brand.

If you have a more advanced social media team, you might want to consider a tool like Iconosquare, which automatically stores top hashtags and provides reports on which hashtags reach the most people.

For smaller businesses with limited budgets, Krystal Gillespie says that, “an excel sheet is the best way to start. Once you get more advanced I would highly recommend using a tool to track the data. A manual system can get overwhelming when you’re posting three times a day and using about 20 hashtags per post.”

2. Figure Out Your Magic Number

Most top brands — 91% of them, to be exact — use seven or fewer hashtags per post, so it’s easy to assume that’s the magic number for everyone … right? Krystal explains that this isn’t always the case: She told me HubSpot has been more successful with hashtags ranging in the low 20s.

The point is, you can’t know how many hashtags work best for you until you test it. For HubSpot, it took the team several months to find a number that worked best, and during our trial period, we ranged from seven to 30. Give yourself the same flexibility for trial and error.

3. Narrow Your Hashtags

There are two big reasons more specific, smaller-volume hashtags are better for your brand: first, you can compete in a smaller pool. HubSpot, for example, doesn’t typically use the hashtag #marketing because it’s too broad. If you search #marketing, you’ll find pictures of restaurants, inspirational quotes, before-and-after hair style pictures, and memes.

The randomness of #marketing leads me to the second reason specific hashtags are a good idea: as a user, I’m more likely to find what I need if I search for something specific, and when your business comes up for my specific search request, I’m more likely to be happy with what I found.

Krystal explains: “Keeping a hashtag close to the interests of your brand really helps. We try to use hashtags tailored for a specific topic and then narrow it down further — for instance, we’d use #SEOTips if our marketing post was mostly about SEO.”

Think of it this way: #dogs is more popular, but it has a wide demographic. If I search #goldenretrieverpuppies and I find your post, I’m more likely to engage with it because it’s exactly what I wanted.

4. Research What Other People are Hashtagging

An easy way to generate hashtag ideas is to make a list of your followers or competitors and research what they’re hashtagging on their own photos. It can also be particularly helpful to research what influencers in your industry are hashtagging — by definition, influencers are people with a large social media following, so they must be doing something right.

5. Test Out Related Hashtags

When you type a hashtag into Instagram’s search bar, Instagram shows you related hashtags in the scroll-down menu. Instagram also delivers related hashtags on the next page after you click on a hashtag. This is a simple way to create a longer list of hashtags to try out.

6. Follow Your Own Hashtag

Another way to use Instagram hashtags for your marketing purposes is to follow your own hashtag. Krystal explains, “On Instagram I actually follow the hashtag #hubspot so I can find anyone who talks about us and connect with them. As long as your account isn’t private, people will be able to find you via the hashtag.”

Following your own hashtag is an effective way to engage with other people talking about your brand and develop better relationships with them.

7. Create a Brand Campaign Hashtag

This is the trickiest item on the list, but if done successfully, it can pay off big time. Some businesses have successfully attracted followers by creating their own campaign hashtag. A campaign hashtag needs to be funny, clever, or at least memorable in order to work.

Campaign hashtags are particularly useful for promoting a new product or upcoming event, or even just inspiring people. Red Bull, for example, encouraged followers to post Red Bull pictures with a #putacanonit hashtag (see what I mean about clever?). LuLuLemon, rather than running a more traditional ad campaign, developed a positive connotation for their brand by asking followers to post real, active pictures of themselves with a #sweatlife hashtag.

How to Use Instagram Search Within the App

Now that we’ve covered the importance of using Instagram hashtags for your business, you might be wondering how to search for Instagram hashtags within the app, or how to use the search function to find related ideas. If you’re unsure of the technical process for hashtag searching, here’s how:

Original full article is here