How To Turn Negative Comments to Your Advantage

John Chow said you need a skin like a rhino to survive as a professional blogger. I’ve blogger since GeoCities (now defunct) in the late 90s. Since then I’ve worked on dozen of web projects. Some were more successful than others. One trend we noticed was that sites with a strong identify drew the most viewers.

An Intense Attempt to Escape
Creative Commons License photo credit: Alma Salvaje
Everyone has an opinion, right? What makes one blog more interesting that another? It’s different things. Style. Tone, Knowledge. And Opinion.
Look at the A List Bloggers. They all have opinions. Strong opinions. That’s part of the appeal. You want to hear what they’ve to say. And see the reaction from others.
But here’s the catch.
If you want your blog to move up a notch, you too need to make a stand or take a strong position. This means move away from the comfort zone and committing to what you believe in.

How to Change Your Attitude Towards Negative Comments

John Chow said you need a skin like a rhino to survive as a professional blogger.
I’ve blogger since GeoCities (now defunct) in the late 90s.
That was the first community site with semi-decent blogging tools. I ran a little blog about being… ‘left-handed’.
It was a little gathering place for lefties to come together and bemoan their faith in a right-handed world.
Some comments were terrible. Really harsh.
This was a real wake up call for me. It’s hard to have a site as inoffensive as ‘left-handedness’ but…
Since then I’ve worked on dozen of web projects. Some were more successful than others. One trend we noticed was that sites with a strong identify drew the most viewers.
They also got the most abuse.
When your site has a strong identify, two things happen:

  1. You’ll attract followers – some cosmic law ensures that there are leaders and followers. The more you lead, the more others follow. Having a strong opinion is the quickest way to do this.And please try it before you say, ‘No it’s not’! It really does work.
  2. You’ll attract abuse – another cosmic law says that there will also be trolls sniping from the sidelines, undermining your efforts and second-guessing your moves. Trolls want attention. Even negative attention works for them.

Lessons Learned

Today I run eleven sites and sell products such as the Instant Business Letter Kit, Sales and Marketing Toolkits and Project Management Methodology Suite
Some get 1000s of visitors every day, with lots of comments coming in though the forums, email newsletters, and of Social Media channels.
Do I still get abuse?
Yes.
Do I like it?
Hardly.
But, here’s the point I want to share.
You can’t please all the people all the time.
There will always be folks who want to cut you down to size, highlight that typo you made, and second guess every move you make.
and that’s fine with me because… that’s the role in life.
I don’t want to be that person and I’m sure neither do you.
So, the next time you get some negative comments, just sit back and think, ‘thank god, I’m not that guy.’
These people won’t change but we can change our reaction to them.
What do you think?
PS – thanks to Yaro for covering this in his recent Blog Blueprints forum.

How Much Should You Pay For a 500 Word Article?

I’m curious. How much would you pay me to write a 500 word article for you?
Ok. I don’t do freelance work at the moment. But, if I did, how would you go about it?One way to scale your internet business is to outsource writing tasks to Virtual Assistants and Freelancers. The upfront cost (payment) is offset by the extra sales you’ll make (returns) on the time you save.

typewriter keys
Creative Commons License photo credit: Joelk75
I’m curious. How much would you pay me to write a 500 word article for you?
Ok. I don’t do freelance work at the moment. But, if I did, how would you go about it?One way to scale your internet business is to outsource writing tasks to Virtual Assistants and Freelancers. The upfront cost (payment) is offset by the extra sales you’ll make (returns) on the time you save.
That’s how it works if you do it right. Let’s take a look.

How to outsource your articles

You can use sites like ODesk.com to post your project and get freelancers to bid. Here’s how it works:

  • Write out the specifications for the work you want done, say 5 articles on your business niche.
  • Be as precise as possible. The more details you can give, the better a response you’ll get.
  • Submit the work request.
  • Freelancers will contact you and outline their rates, offer samples, and should be able to provide references. Many sites let you see references and recommendations from satisfied customers in the freelancers profile. Yes, it can be rigged, but in general it works very well.
  • Look at the reference work and make a decision.
  • Don’t choose the cheapest option. Look for the best VA/Freelancer and build a long-term relationship.
  • Consider offering bonuses or other incentives if they deliver the material ahead of time. In the long run, it’s more economical to work with 1 or 2 trusted VAs than having to search for new ones all the time.
  • Pay as agreed. Usually I pay a percentage upfront if the person has been recommended to me or pay on receipt if it’s a new VA.
  • I use PayPal and have a verified business account.

How I Write

The other option is to write the material yourself. I do this is the subject matter is very specialized and I can’t find freelance writers with relevant experience.
Here’s how I do it:

  • Choose a topic, for example, Mobile Commerce.
  • Identify ten questions around the subject. How do I setup a Mobile Shop? How do I take payments over the phone etc.
  • Write skeletons for each of the questions; these are a series of headings that I’ll use to flesh out the articles in more detail.
  • Write in batches, for example, for three hours at a time. That lets me build up a head of steam and really get into the subject.
  • Turn off everything and just write.
  • Stop.
  • Leave it for a day.
  • Return to the material and complete it.

My aim would be to write 5000 words minimum.
That works out at 500 words per article, usually more. In some cases, you can cut/paste material that applies to different articles.

Typing Skills

One reason I can do this is I type very fast. Very fast.
I learnt to use a typewriter as a teenager and have fairly good touch typing skills.
If your income is based on how many words you can type, learn to touch type.
It’s a no-brainer.

Pay By The Hour

If you do choose to go with the freelancer, you have two options.
If you pay by the hour:

  • Look at the going rates.
  • See what others charge first.
  • Get a few quotes.
  • Weight up the options.

Some writers prefer this arrangement.
For me it doesn’t work. I don’t charge others by the hour – unless they want to! – as I prefer to be paid/rewarded on performance.
I prefer to pay by output. How long it takes… I don’t care.

Pay By Words

What I do is say, ‘I need 5,000 words on this subject. How much would it cost? Have you any samples of writing similar material.’
I don’t want freelancers cutting and pasting material from the web. I prefer to see if they have written about the subject before and then proceed.
I ask to see samples and get references if necessary.
When they start to write, I ask for a draft to be sent over. Again, I don’t want to wait until the end and find the material is sub-standard.
If the quality is really good, I might commission more work and…

Bonus

I offer bonuses to the really good writers. I want to lock in with them and keep them onside. This is a cost cutting measure if you think about it.
The less time you spend looking for freelancers, the more time you have for more important activities.
Another no-brainer!

How much for 500 words?

I’ve spoken to others who use VAs and Freelancers. And, it depends…

  • If the writer knows the subject matter, they should be able to write about 1000 words in an hour. This article took 45 minutes.
  • If the writer is new to the subject, it will take more depending on the amount of research.

Most professional writers can touch type. If they can type 60 words per minute, then do the math.
It shouldn’t take long if they know the subject matter.
Therefore…
If the time it takes them to come up to speed takes too long, you may as well write it yourself. I outsource to trusted writers that I know can turn it around super quick.
And I pay above the going rate.
I don’t want to waste time (i.e. money) looking for status updates, answering queries, listening to ‘the dog ate my homework’ stories.
PS – this article is 909 words and took 41 minutes to write.

Google News: How to Get Your Blog Indexed

Google News: How to Get Your Blog Indexed Ever wondered how some blogs appear on Google News and others don’t? Ever wanted to get your site on Google News. Google has published guidelines explaining how the process works. Do it right and you might be indexed. If you’d like a site to be included in Google News, you can also send them the URL directly. Continue reading “Google News: How to Get Your Blog Indexed”

How do you Manage Extremely Negative Comments on your Blog?

angry ostritchI need your advice. Someone has left a fairly negative comment on my blog. What should I do? Approve or Delete? The reason I ask is this. I want people to give their opinion and, even if it offends me in some ways—let’s say they made some sarcastic remarks or found a typo—I’d still approve it. Feedback can be a great learning opportunity. But, where do you draw the line?
Continue reading “How do you Manage Extremely Negative Comments on your Blog?”

How to write Link Bait for Digg, Reddit or StumbleUpon

Want to be on the very first page of Digg.com? You’d be famous, right? Here’s how to do it.
Link Bait has one specific aim — get me to the top of Digg.com. The idea is that once you get there, others will click through to your site and you can reap the rewards once they arrive. Of  course, it’s not that simple but if understand the mechanics of how Digg works —and what interests Diggers—then you’re one step closer.
So, pull up a chair, grab your coffee and sit back.
1. Study Digg – this is the number 1 mistake people make. They don’t hang out on Digg, get a feel for what’s happening and learn to judge what will work or not. So, sign up, log in and engage.
Why bother?
Well, it’s like writing a travel guide on Italy without ever having pizza on the Step of Rome. Once you’re there, everything makes more sense. Digg, Delicious and the rest are all the same.
Tip — if you want to succeed with link bait, focus on one site. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Ok, you’ve signed up. Use a real name if possible, not greenpig715.
People relate to real names; they are more likely to dig you if you sound human than use an avatar. But there are exceptions, I know.
2. Create a Swap File.
A what?
This is a file where you will keep links, snippets of text and other link bait that impresses you.
Told you it would take some time!
Now, this isn’t hard. You just need a text file and then copy/paste in whatever stands out.
Why is this so important?
Ans: headlines.
3. Headlines
Look at the DIGG homepage. What do you see?
Headlines. Lots of them.
Copy and paste the top 10 headlines into your swap file. Do this as often as you can.
Notice anything?
Most of them are lists.

  • 5 ways to sleep while working
  • 7 ways to wash your iPod
  • 10 ways to alienate your children

People like lists. And what else do they like?
4. Benefits
Give your heading an extra boost by adding a nice, juicy benefit.
For example,

  • 5 beers that get you drunk faster & make you smarter
  • 7 ways to break your iPod & get an instant refund
  • 10 ways to alienate your children & win an award

You get the idea.
All of these are slightly idiotic but—here’s the thing—you’re tempted to see what’s on the other side of the link.
5. Write to be scanned
No-one reads on the web, they all scan.
So, write to be scanned.
Write your article or blog post so that readers will scan down through the article — like you’re doing now — go, “yeah, I like this” and then, fingers crossed, hit the DIGG IT button and do us all a good deed.
Sounds to easy. It is. You need to also…
6. Add ‘off-beat’ images
Avoid PC junk. Add an image that captures the mood and will appeal to the reader. Something with an edge but not too risky.
Humor also works. Get it wrong and you look lame.
7. Credibility
It takes time but if you join other networks and comment on others post, guess what?
They’ll hang out with you and give you a few digs. This does work but it’s a really slow way to generate link bait. It does work, but, well, it’s not for me.
8 & 9  Test & Re-Test

Here’s something I do and it works.
Write a 300 word article. About anything. Doesn’t matter.
Spend 20 min and come up with 20 variation on the same headline. Have fun. Shuffle the words upside down, inside out and back to front.
It’s yours to play with. Enjoy it.

  • Mon – submit the 1st headline. On Wed, record the Diggs.
  • Thurs – change the headline and submit it. Record the Diggs.
  • Sat — change again and submit it. Record the Diggs.

And so on…
Then what happens?
Patterns begin to emerge. Some headings bomb.
No-one clicks on them.
Not even your Mom, kids or pet Labrador, Caesar.
Others take off!
Paste these into your swap file (remember him) and use this as a starting point.
Twitter is also another way to test headlines.
Remember – No-one bookmarks tweets.
It you know how to write, people will click thru.
And finally…
10. Practice
Like all things, the more you practice, the better you get.
Focus on writing amazing headlines, develop super-sharp content, and you’ll get the Diggs.
Want to know more?
Top Diggs of the year
7 Days – http://digg.com/all/popular/7days
365 Days – http://digg.com/all/popular/365days
Check these out and you can see what people are interested in. These are the big hitters.
Avoid news of the day type material. The web is saturated before you even get there.
Write, submit, Digg.
What do you think?
What’s the best example you’ve seen of link bait? Was it the words or the images?

How to Blog Almost Every Day – Use the Inverted Pyramid story format

MobileRadio.hk 紀念出席了creative commons 的 pin
Image by jonathansin via Flickr

Do you want to update your blog every day?
Chris Brogan provides this framework for writing a blog post (almost) every day. He adds that while it’s not easy, once you develop the right habits, they stick with you. I’m writing quite regularly now, but it took me several years to get my groove down to a science. Continue reading “How to Blog Almost Every Day – Use the Inverted Pyramid story format”

WordPress Twitter Tool

Twitter Tools lets you integrates your blog with Twitter, so that every time you publish an article, it is automatically sent to Twitter. Even better, it can setup a daily and weekly blog post listing all the tweets you sent. One small thing is that the default setting for the blog posts is “New Blog Post”. Luckily, you can change this. Here’s how.
Continue reading “WordPress Twitter Tool”

How much do freelance writers charge for writing posts?

How much do freelance writers charge for writing posts? Now that our little site is doing well, freelance writers are approaching us and offering their services. I thought I’d offer this to give you all an idea of the rates per post and per article we’re being quoted. By the way, the writer you sent this was very professional, had a great portfolio and recommendations from satisfied clients.

goldNow that our little site is doing well, freelance writers are approaching us and offering their services. I thought I’d offer this to give you all an idea of the rates per post and per article we’re being quoted.
By the way, the writer who sent this was very professional, had a great portfolio and recommendations from satisfied clients. Continue reading “How much do freelance writers charge for writing posts?”