What is Massive Sway Looking for in Bloggers Who Want to Work With Brands?

This hangout featured Kelli Miller of 3 Boys and a Dog, Crystal Van Tassel of Crystal & Company, and Tiffany Romero of Massive Sway and The SITS Girls.

Do you have what it takes?

What is Massive Sway?

Massive Sway is a social media network comprised of over 75000 women influencers. With unparalleled reach, our network enables brands to reach any region.

What is Massive Sway Looking For?

Massive Sway is looking for / brands are looking for:

Bloggers fill a different need – real storytelling and an audience who trusts them. Their network is for small to medium blogs, too. Bloggers are influencers.

Authentic storytellers who also create evergreen content:

  • funny stories
  • recipes
  • outfits
  • creative

What is the Brand Expecting?

  •  write a great post
  • amplify the post on all social media networks (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, newsletter, Google+); with your tribe
  • example: on  Facebook you can spend $5-10 (a recommended maximum of $20) to boost a post to get the desired # views on each post
  • if the post pays $150, you make a $5 investment to get 250 shares, = win, win, win
  • it will encourage repeat business
  • after the campaign, Massive Sway may send a screenshot of your blog, your face, and the results to brand

What is Massive Sway NOT Looking For?

  • not cut/paste content
  • blogger entitlement
    • “Know your worth” but be realistic.
    • Businesses have to get results. Is $200 fair to pay for $40? No. Was that campaign successful? No.

Massive Sway’s Process

  • find opportunities in their newsletter
  • private Facebook group (ask to join)
  • Facebook page
    • applications take about 90 seconds to 1-1/2 minutes to complete; then, let it go
    • be flexible, positive, easy to work with, on time, take good pictures, then you’ll get more work
    • Example: if pay is $250 per post and it took you three hours to complete it, that’s a great hourly wage ($80+/hr)
    • don’t say “I wouldn’t take a post under $500, $1000, $____” (think about the project’s requirements and what the hourly rate would translate to
    • fair payment, based on your geographic location and results (pageviews, sponsored post pageviews)
    • spreadsheet: 300-500 applicants (pick a large number who are known to knock it out of the park and a few new bloggers)
    • okay to email Tiffany 2-3 times/year to share a real, authentic story you shared in a Massive Sway campaign so she can pass it on to the brand
    • combination of an authentic story + how your family used the product (helps your chances of getting in campaigns in the future)
    • client picks bloggers and makes the requirements
    • QA team member will contact you
    • respond within 24 hours to accept
    • apply right away (within 48 hours), as most campaigns only open for 3-4 days
    • only 1-2 opportunities shown at a time
    • heavy campaign opportunities at Mother’s Day and Christmas
    • there will be a lull in sponsored content in December and during the Summer.

Benefits of Using a Third Party Network

  • Don’t require legal help, the contract is negotiated with the brand on your behalf.
  • If you negotiate your own posts (outside of a third party network), always have an attorney/attorney friend review the contact before signing.
  • Don’t negotiate money after you’ve agreed to the campaign. (You won’t get any more campaigns!)

About Sponsored Posts

  • consider the following, before applying:
    • do you have time to publish the post?
    • are you comfortable with the requirements and promo requirements?
    • is exclusivity required by the brand (can’t write about a competing brand for X period of time)?
    • can you meet deadline?
    • What is the Average Exposure of a Sponsored Post On Your Site?
  • wait 14-30 days before posting about a competing brand
  • sponsored posts should be your best posts: Bloggers & Sponsored Posts – How Many is Too Many?
  • sponsored posts done right is ART, will always get work
  • have a plan. Work the plan. Have an SEO plan.
  • budget for classes and conference. Measure your results after. Can’t learn from a teacher who isn’t successful.
  • be:
    • organized
    • thoughtful
    • business-minded

     

  • don’t get into the business of writing sponsored posts and earning money blogging before you’re ready
  •  See these videos:Blogger Funk and Busy Lives (Can You Persevere?)Can You REALLY Handle Running a Blog How to Manage Your Blog and Busy Summer Days 

Should I Wait Until I’m Receiving 50,000 Monthly Pageviews to Apply?

  • NO!
  • Always apply, if it’s a fit
  • It’s just like handing out a business card
  • The client could want a certain blog look more than a certain amount of traffic
  • Be able to turnaround posts quickly (and charge a premium, i.e. $50 extra)
  • Complete your profile for the blog network

General Advice About Becoming a Successful Blogger

  • think outside the box (with your content, style, presentation, or something else)
  • be content
  • be happy with what you do (writing, photos, editing, connecting, etc.)
  • be a storyteller
  • start out wearing all hats (writer, photographer, editor, etc.)
  • focus on the aspect you enjoy and/or excel at and offer that as a service to others
  • ultimately, just do what you like and outsource the rest

Investing in Yourself & Your Business

  • take an online blog class like those offered by Learntobloghangouts.com
  • meet in person (Bloggy Boot Camp)
  • create an income to pay for services you can’t or don’t want to do
  • pay someone to enter your posts linky parties (example: 150 links for $20)
  • you can grown from 3-4 thousand to 50 thousand views
  • be smart
  • realize you can’t do it all
  • what does your blog cost you?
  • if I didn’t have to do ______, I could do more of ___________. hire out what you wish you didn’t have to do
  • barter
  • go to your tribe for partnering
  • at 50,000 monthly pageviews, the money opens up (i.e. passive income from ads and more sponsored post opportunities)
  • implement the info you learn
  • make a goal for 2015 to get to 50,000 monthly pageviews (see How To Make and Reach Your 2015 Blogging Goals.)
  • others can see when you’re not treating this like a business

Looking Like a Professional:

  • professional design (beautiful store window)
  • remember that a network like Massive Sway has a list of 500 bloggers who apply for campaigns
  • not considering anything that doesn’t look like a beautiful, display window
  • bad design=bad color scheme, poor quality images, slow load time (See Speed Up Site – Images, Cache, Broken Links, 404 errors)
  • check in all browsers, minimize the use of plugins (See Must Have WordPress Plugins)
  • readers buy into a lifestyle that is appealing (funny stories, beautiful images, crafts, etc.)
  • can get a great, professionally designed theme for as little as $100 (use birthday, Christmas, etc. money)

What is your brand/brand’s style? Does your logo convey that?

Be a user of your own site

  • check in all browsers
  • check mobile view of your site

Have two versions of your business cards:

  • first version: for moms/readers
  • second version: for brands/brand executives
  • create a LinkedIn bio; include “Content Creator” and “Digital Strategist” as part of your job description

How to Answer “Why Are You a Great Fit?”

  • share your anecdotal experience with the brand (be specific: “Every 4th of July, we use ____ product this way ___” or “I won’t use any other detergent except _____”)
  • tell an outside the box story or idea in your answer
  • if you didn’t know about a brand or feature of their product/service, tell Massive Sway, so they can pass that on to the brand; share how you would change that/promote them

Meeting Your Goals

  • example: your blog gets 40,000-50,000 views
  • if your goal is $___/month in ad revenue, make a goal to get ___#pageviews/month
  • use sponsored content to reach that goal
  • optimize your content for search engines and to be evergreen
  • you will get ad revenue on those pageviews, too
  • don’t use hashtags in the post title <LAZY> (use them manually or in your scheduled social media posts)
  • don’t automate everything
  • disclose properly in your blog posts and social media posts

Reaching Annual Income Goals

  • January is a slow month for national brands, so promote locally during January to partner with them
  • in December, do Amazon roundups to publish on getting organized, losing weight, and saving money
  • learn to ride the wave of holiday content
  • to build traffic:
    • publish a list post, recipe, or how to post improve your SEO (once a week)
    • use vertical images, right colors, right font, crowdsourced the image in your Facebook group to create a post that’s very pinnable for Pinterest (once a week)
    • a pain point (a frustration you hear your friend state) (once a month) [Example: An Open Letter to the _______ in ______]
  • readers feel connected and understood
  • when someone asks you a question, write about it (share your struggle and/or solution)
  • See Blog Goals video

How to Get Blog Support from Your Family

  • See How to Get Blog Support from Your Family  video (with Ricky Miller and Lenny Lopez)
  • Be specific about what would help you (i.e. Can you make dinner on Tuesday night so that I can _____?)
  • Make office hours
  • Plan out your time, use a calendar, and stick to it
  • Block out time for projects
  • Allot family time (i.e. be offline for the first hour after school, then get back on late night)
  • Stick to it, then be present when you say you are
  • Give the kids a timer – “Come get me when this goes off.” Then, GET OFF!

Watch our hangout on YouTube:

**This post is part of a series of G+ Live Hangout outlines written by Raki Wright in exchange for our SEO Class.  Any opinions stated are those of the writer unless quoted from our video above.**

How to Create the Perfect Blog Schedule for Growth

Everyone wants traffic like Holly Homer of Kids Activities Blog. But, are you willing to do what it takes to get there? She does have multiple writers, but the site publishes something like 8 posts every day. The more content you create, the more traffic you will receive, the more your blog will grow.

**note: out hangout from this week messed up, so we don’t have a video.  Thankfully, Raki of Outside the Box Mom took great notes and was able to write this up for us.  Thanks, Raki!!

If you blog three times a week, you might be considered a hobby blogger. Consider if you’re willing to invest more time to grow your blog. If you receive X amount of traffic only publishing content 12 times a month (3 posts a week x 4 weeks), then you could nearly triple your traffic and growth if you posted every day. Ask yourself: Can You REALLY Handle Running a Blog?

how to create the perfect blog posting schedule for traffic growth

How do you grow your blog?
*Post regular content. See building an editorial calendar.
*Create landing pages See creating landing pages for SEO.
*Focus on the current season. See planning seasonal content using Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics.

Succeeding with SEO

You can’t rank well with just one post for a specific keyword phrase.

Create a post that focuses on each keyword phrase you’re working on at least once a week. If you are behind (in the season), you may want to post twice a week.

Create a list of keywords you want to be known as an expert for and that you want to rank in Google for.

What if it takes me a long time to create posts or create recipes?
*Barter with others (Example: Write recipe posts for me and I’ll run your Facebook page. Crystal of Crystal & Co. partnered with another blogger for her Letter of the Week project who was an “expert” in this area.
*Create roundups and crowd source ideas from your friends, family, or social media.
*Brainstorm other ways to create easy content.
*Host guest posters on your site.

Be strategic.

*Plan keywords using Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools
*Write consistently. Organizing Your Blog Life
*Create landing pages to focus on your keywords.
*Add links to new posts in your landing pages as you publish new content.

If this is your full time job and business, plan to dedicate 40 hours a week to it. If it takes you one hour to write a post and you want to publish posts every day, that’s only 7 hours a week. If it takes you two hours to write a post and you want to publish posts every day, that’s only 14 hours a week. You should have plenty of time to do that.

Kelli of 3 Boys and a Dog said that roundups take her 2 hours to complete (including researching links, adding them, etc.) and a normal post takes 30 minutes.

Kelli’s Weekly Editorial Schedule:

More structured and scheduled.
Sunday – Organization or Weight Loss/Health + Amazon deal + possible Product Review (by one of her contributors)
Monday – Recipe Roundup + Amazon deal + possible Product Review (by one of her contributors)
Tuesday – Homeschool (Prefers to feature a free printable) + Amazon deal + possible Product Review (by one of her contributors)
Wednesday – Recipe + Amazon deal + possible Product Review (by one of her contributors)
Thursday – Homeschool (Prefers to feature a book) + Amazon deal + possible Product Review (by one of her contributors)
Friday – Sponsored post or keyword focus + Amazon deal + possible Product Review (by one of her contributors)
Saturday – Drugstore deals roundup + Amazon deal + possible Product Review (by one of her contributors)

Kelli’s goal is to have 1-2 posts of her own included in her roundups. So, if “cranberries” is a seasonal keyword she is working on, she’ll need to post a “cranberries” recipe by Wednesday in order to include it in her roundup on the following Monday. Strategy!!!

Crystal’s Weekly Editorial Schedule:

More flexible and spontaneous.
Based on projects she’s working on, current season, current keywords she’s working on. She has a general idea of what she wants to post each week. Focuses until she gets each post done. Creates an Amazon deal post each day. Hosts weekly linky party for mommy solutions.

That’s 7-14 posts published each week! You have to create more content to increase your chances of it going viral.

Action Items:

  1. *Consider if you’re willing to invest more time to grow your blog.
  2. *Assess your current blogging schedule to figure out how you can publish at least one post each day.
  3. *Decide on the topics your readers want.
  4. *Determine the best keyword phrases for those topics.
  5. *Focus on the number of searches for that keyword phrase.
  6. *Write about each keyword phrase at least once each week.

How else can you grow your blog?
Social Media:
Facebook
Pinterest
Google+
Twitter
Linky parties

#LearntoBlog Forum: Grand Opening Twitter Party

To kick off the grand opening of the Learn to Blog VIP Forum, we are having a Twitter Party and it is being done in true Crystal and Kelli fashion – with real actionable tasks to give you a jump-start on gaining that blog traffic this Fall!

Is Your Blog Ready for Fall

Join us on Thursday, August 7th at 8 pm Central for a GOOD TIME!

We will be chatting about blogging and giving out some actionable tasks as well as some awesome prizes!

Twitter Party Prizes:

  • 2 – Free VIP Memberships to the Learn to Blog VIP Forum for 3 months!
  • 2 – Free Site Critiques!
  • GRAND PRIZE – One, 30-minute, Private Consult!

Simply Register Below and then Show Up for the Twitter Party!

 

Get the NOTES:

UPDATE: Did you miss the Twitter Party? No worries! All of the notes, questions, actionable tasks and videos you should watch are over in the forum! If you are a paid member you can get to it under Twitter Party Notes.

 

Do You Know Your Keywords?

You should be planning your current blog posts based on what Google is already sending you traffic for and based on profitable keywords with low supply that are relevant to your content.

This can be a little overwhelming.

Do you know what you’re writing about for the Christmas holiday season and for the New Year?  Do you know what  your blog keyword focus should be right now? We can help you!Grow Your Profit and TrafficKelli and Crystal  would love to help you determine the keywords you should be focusing on for the next 4-6 weeks, and even beyond. The cost is only $29.99 for the Webmaster Tools Evaluation & Keyword Recommendations package! This is a well spent business expense.

With access to your Webmaster Tools, that has been installed for three months or more, Kelli and Crystal will pull together a recorded video that will tell you exactly which keywords you should be focusing on based on high demand, low supply and excellent profitability.

This is perfect if you have not determined what you’re going to be writing about over the next 6 weeks and/or if you need another pair of eyes to boost your ideas.

Click here to get the Webmaster Tools Evaluation & Keyword Recommendations for only $29.99. We can help you take your search engine traffic to a new level!

Keyword analysis

Week 28: Blogging Tips for Foodies

Today, Kelli and Crystal have Tiffany King, from Eat at Home Cooks, to give you Blogging tips for foodies and non-foodies.   In this hour long video, Tiffany will show you how to find your niche, what to write about and who to write to. When writing, Tiffany says to ask the question, “Whose problem are you solving,” i.e. gluten free recipes or weight watchers.

blog tips for food bloggers

Tiffany will show you how your photography should reflect your blog niche, using simple props for everyday food  or if you are a gourmet site, you would use more formal props and she will share what she uses in this video.

Tiffany uses Picmonkey for most of her editing along with Photoshop and a point and shoot camera.

Using simple props with good lighting will make all the difference on your images for pinterest and your blog posts. She also shares what to add to your photos and the right size to make them more pinnable.

Great quote from Crystal this week:  You can spend thousands OR you can take a path that is more budget friendly and still have a VERY successful blog! Tweet: You can spend thousands OR you can take a path that is more budget friendly and still have a VERY successful blog! #LearntoBlog

This video is for the foodie and the novice alike.

LINKS Mentioned in the Blogging Tips for Foodies Video:

For some yummy inspiration, find:

Tiffany on Pinterest

Kelli on Pinterest

Crystal on Pinterest

Week Four: How to Use StumbleUpon Correctly!

Not all bloggers are familiar with StumbleUpon, but it is a social media platform you should be utilizing. Some bloggers have better luck than others using it, but those who succeed get excellent amounts of traffic. With a little bit of knowledge and explaining, we can have you using SU to grow your blog’s exposure in no time. Quality social media usage is the goal here.

how to use stumbleupon correctly

Kelli and I had the pleasure of interviewing Annie Shultz who has written an eBook about generating traffic for your site using  StumbleUpon correctly. Great gal with lots of successful information and gets the majority of her blog traffic from this social media platform. It will blow your mind!

With the help of Annie, Kelli and I give you tasks to implement for successful exposure on StumbleUpon and we walk you through how StumbleUpon should be used as a blogger.

Links for Extra Information:

  • Read about more Crystal’s take on this techie tool!

We Love to hear from you:

Don’t forget to join us every Tuesday over on Google+ at 10:00 am CST  for our #LearntoBlog series where we help you become a better blogger and answer all of your blogging questions.

Week Three: Build Blog Community Using Facebook

We are working our way through the major social media avenues to help you build blog community via your social media channels.  This week, we are talking Facebook!  With all the changes Facebook has undergone, our readers are simply not seeing our updates anymore.  If the readers can’t see the updates, how are we going to reach them with the next great post we write?  The next UH-MAY-ZING giveaway we have?  The next funny story of our darling kids?

Build Blog Community: #LearntoBlog Facebook

The video below will help you reach out to the ones that are missing out on your updates by following a few key tasks.  We also discuss ways of increasing the number of Facebook fans you have, easily and organically, to help you to build blog community.  Since Crystal and I are more Twitter fiends these days, we reached out to a few experts that have their Facebook Fan Pages going on!

Let’s look at the numbers!

Currently, you have 1000 fans and only 10% are seeing your updates, then only 100 people are being reached.  However, if you can have 10,000 fans then 1,000 will see!  So, while we always say that “numbers don’t matter”, in a sense they do!  The more people in your communities, the more you can reach with your message.

Psst, check our services button for our online blog conference where we go into even more personalized detail to help you grow your facebook community and engagement!  Classes start monthly on a first-come, first-served basis!

Links for More Ways to Build Blog Community:

  • 3 Boys and a Dog – Gives a few more tips and ideas to help you grow your Facebook community involvement.
  • Crystal and Comp – Breaks down each of the Utilizing Facebook tasks we give you in the video into actionable steps with tips and tricks!

We Love to hear from you:

Don’t forget to join us every Tuesday over on Google+ at 10:00 am CST  for our #LearntoBlog series where we help you become a better blogger and answer all of your blogging questions.

Week Two: Using Pinterest to Grow Your Blog Traffic

If you have been blogging for long you know how important it is to utilize social media to grow your blog.

You’ve probably also noticed that Pinterest can be a huge traffic referral for you.  Since Pinterest came onto the scene, it is responsible for as much as 80% of my monthly blogging traffic referrals. Obviously it fluctuates from month to month, but the influence is significant.

Pinterest is changing the way we blog.

Pinterest is changing the way readers read our blogs.

Read those last two sentences again. Pinterest is a game changer- in both positive and negative ways.

If you are a blogger (or even a business), you need to be up to speed on how to use Pinterest and how it directly affects the potential impact you can make with your online presence and brand.

#leanrtoblog

If you are a blogger and you do not have a Pinterest account dedicated to your blog and/or utilizing your blog’s name as the Pinterest account name, stop what you are doing and make that happen now.

Then, I want you to watch this Google+ Hangout video where Kelli Miller and I share with you how to use Pinterest to get traffic to your site. We give you actions to take to grow your exposure on Pinterest which directly will feed traffic to your blog.

Links for Extra Pinterest Tips:

We Love to Hear From You:

Don’t forget to join us every Tuesday over on Google+ at 10:00 am CST  for our #LearntoBlog series where we help you become a better blogger and answer all of your blogging questions.

You can also email us with your questions learntobloghangout(at)gmail(dot)com or to request more personalized one on one consulting.

Week One: Twitter Tips to Grow Your Blog Traffic

With these twitter tips, you will learn to make your Twitter account work for your blog!  In this one hour video, we tell you how to use your twitter, how to find and use hashtags, and how to make parts of your account automated to save you a bit of time and still keep your account relevant and personalized.  We also talk about finding followers to grow your account!

Twitter Tips to help with traffic growth

Our very first #LearntoBlog hangouts started with the one item that Crystal and I know best.. Twitter!  The video below and the extra links will help you to learn to use your Twitter account to grow your blog community and increase your readership!

While Twitter has the potential for some blog traffic, it will not be one of your top blog traffic referrals.  However, Twitter gets you in the “here & now” of people, brands, and other bloggers so, like the major 4 in social media, this tool needs to be used and used to the best of it’s potential.  If you are using this social media tool correctly, you will be making MANY wonderful connections with many wonderful people.  In turn, your blog traffic will grow!

Links for Extra Twitter Tips:

  • 3 Boys and a Dog – Making Twitter Work For You includes TONS of links that were mentioned in the video plus some bonus ones for extra homework
  • Crystal and Comp – 16 Twitter Tips for Bloggers – this post gives you some of the best Twitter Tips that have worked for Crystal over the years!

We Love to Hear from You:

Don’t forget to join us every Tuesday over on Google+ at 10:00 am CST  for our #LearntoBlog series where we help you become a better blogger and answer all of your blogging questions.

You can also email us with your questions learntobloghangout(at)gmail(dot)com or to request more personalized one on one consulting.